What to do...travel is nice...but what about a hobby?
In looking through our 50th reunion class booklet, a classmate suggested that we hear from Doug Anderson, a man with hobbies. Doug's entry in the booklet said "I collect things and am currently into shot glasses, crayons, and SI swimsuit issues. I asked Doug to tell me more about his collections. He responded: "In 2009 I bailed out of systems programming on mainframe computers and my wife, Jeanette, and I moved north to Otter Tail county (MN). But what to do?"
He said his "...crayon collection consists of boxes of crayons. about 160 of them. Ranging from the small 8 crayon packs, up through 12, 16, 24, 36, 48, the 64s, a couple 72s, 96, 120, a 150 count spiral container and crayon tins
...the swimsuit calendars start in 1988 - just ordered the 2014."
This was not enough information to satisfy my curiosity, so I sent Doug a list of questions:
I love it that you collect boxes of crayons. I would like a little more information, because I have not known anyone who collected crayons and I am intrigued. What made you choose crayons to collect? What started you off in collecting them? What do you like about crayons or collecting crayons? Is there a market for crayon collections? Do you ever display your collection anywhere - in my town, people can display their collections at the local fair in a competition for a blue ribbon. Do you ever use the crayons? Did you like to color as a child?
"...lots of questions...
what made me start? truth be known I had other collections that became inappropriate for someone with granddaughters. So these were sold. I was looking at Ebay for annual swimsuit issues I was missing and happened to search on Crayola crayons. The swimsuit issues aren't in my write up below but that collection has issues from 1954, 1967, 1970, 1972 - 1976, 1979 and 1983 through 2013. I found some crayon tins for sale, bought them, and started accumulating boxes. Crayola.com was a source, stores of all kinds, and I started filling shelves. Crayola had some colors they were discontinuing so by a 64 crayons box of each color. Some boxes where issued for a special event so there are boxes of various shades of pink, a box that is red, white and blue. Target has special crayons boxed only for them. These are boxes of 8. I got 12 last year and just picked up this years release.
Each year there are small changes in the boxes themselves.
I like them because they are "neutral". there are no opposing factions. Shot glasses bring out the for and against kind of people. I not only collect but I also use.
Might have colored as a kid. I remember the big crayons from 1st grade. I have an older brother who was very possessive as a child and he would take his things away if the play time wasn't going his way. An older sister fixed him by eating his crayons. But now if if need color I use colored markers
There is a limited market for them but almost always the vehicle of choice is Ebay. I never displayed them other than in my "office". A few years ago we built a garage that is 28 feet wide and 44 feet long. I have the back 20 feet, walls paneled with what they call boxcar siding, which I thought appropriate for boxes of crayons.
More questions? Ask away...."
Those of us on our class Facebook page have been treated to Doug's collection of exquisite pictures of raindrops that he posts from time to time, and it was Doug who set up our class Facebook page. Thanks, Doug!
And for Travel....
In 2008 Stan Heller drove to Guatemala from Southern California. He wrote a travel blog to document his trip. He currently lives in Antigua.
Travel Adventure to Central America and the Caribbean
July – November 2008
Welcome to my travel blog. This is intended to be a log of my travels to Central America and the Caribbean with my good friend Roland Kosser.
We are planning to leave around July 29-30. We will be driving through Mexico to Guatemala and then to Belize.
I'll try to be diligent in making postings and also hope to be able to figure out how to post photos etc.
Naturally i look forward to hearing from my friends and staying in contact through my travels and adventures.
Posted by Stan on Sunday, July 20, 2008
Well - tomorrow I am on the road. First stop is the LA area to visit and party with more friends. I'm having so much fun leaving, I'm not sure I should go! Roland and I expect to leave the country on this coming Tuesday. We will be crossing into Mexico at Yuma, AZ. We expect to be in Antigua Guatemala by August 9th for my old friend Paul Kronick's wedding. From then on, no plans.
Posted on Friday, July 25, 2008 - 3:25 PM
It's about 12:30AM on Saturday August 2. We finally got out of the LA area this afternoon. We are spending the night in Yuma AZ. Tomorrow we plan to cross into Mexico and hope to get to Guymas by the afternoon.
We have heard all sorts of warnings about traveling through Mex. I called the State Department today to see what they had to say. There are no specific travel warnings but they also advised us to be cautious, stay on main roads, and not to drive at night.
Even though we are on the road, it doesn't feel like it yet. Maybe tomorrow it will seem more real!
It has been a bit of a pain getting out of town. Roland had so much to do I wasn't even sure we would get out today! Boy does he need a vacation!
Actually it was probably ok that we didn't get going until today. It gave me 3 chances to see a chiropractor. My back has been screwed up ever since my falls skiing and then I really messed it up right before I left Mammoth. The Dr was amazed at my x-ray - it appears that I had 2 old compression breaks of different vertebrae that I never even knew about. He also put 7 of my ribs back in place. I had never been to a chiropractor before but now I am a believer. I think I'm about 1" taller since the adjustments. He says the pain will go away soon too!
Well it is late and has been a long day and I'm tired so good night.
Posted on Saturday, August 02, 2008 - 1:45 AM
Yesterday was something else! We crossed into Mexico at a little crossing near Yuma Az. If you ever want your teeth or eyes fixed that seems to be the place!
The road was fairly good except there was literally no shoulder. If you were to just barely hit the edge it was going to be sure death - it dropped off on the sides like a cliff! There were so many memorials along the road it was like a continuous religious experience!
We also loved the fencing around many of the properties - old tires stuck in the ground. We could tell the more affluent properties because they painted the tires white.
We spent last night in the town of Santa Ana - probably 150 plus miles from Guaymas. I guess we better re-evaluate our expected progress. If we make Guaymas by early afternoon today we will be doing well! Hopefully we will spend tonight in a town called Navojoa, south of Guaymas and just inland from the Pacific coast.
More later! (By the way - please don't pay attention to my terrible spelling - My Space doesn't have a spell checker!!!
Posted by on Sunday, August 03, 2008 - 8:28 AM
Well, I'm n Puerto Vallarta. Lot's has changed in the last 2 days. I don't have the time to go into it right now, but Roland and I are no longer traveling together. We were not very compatible to say the least. Anyway, I'm safe and looking for a place to stay tonight. I'll have more time tomorrow to update.
Posted by on Monday, August 04, 2008 - 7:09 PM
There is no point in going into why Roland and I are not traveling together anymore. Suffice it to say we see friendship and the world very differently.The drive from Tepic in the north to PV was truly beautiful. The climate/foliage changed dramatically from dry desert to lush green. Lot's of up and down and curves on a very narrow two lane road with huge trucks barreling up our back! It was somewhat intense.I spent last night at a hotel in Puerto Vallarta. Boy is that a busy tourist town. It almost feels like Tijuana (sp?) with shills trying to lure you into every type of business. The water in the bay is not very clean and basically it is not a particularly nice place. It is also a lot more expensive than other areas. Why anyone would want to spend a vacation there with all the other options is beyond me.
This morning I had to figure out where I was going. Everyone I have come into contact with has been very nice and helpful. I got some good advice from the PV Tourist Board after I helped them interpret a letter of proposal. They suggested I drive about 150KM south to some very isolated beach towns/villages that cater to the local Mexicans. The first one I turned off to must have been destroyed in a hurricane or something a few years ago because I was the only living person there among lot's of ruins. The beach was spectacular with huge breakers and off shore rocks and a reef with an outside break. The road leading in from the main highway was virtually overgrown with vegetation. One section was lined with pomegranate trees and the fruit was laying all over the road. Pretty amazing. It looked like a great place to camp if you are into that. The name of the place is El Tecuan.
I then drove back 10KM..s to the main road (if you can call it that) and went to the next beach town. It is about 7KM's from the main road and I really thought I was going to see the same thing but I was definitely surprised. The name of the place is Tenacatita. It is set in a large bay with huge rock islands out in the water. The whole place is about 200 yards from end to end, There are 2 hotels and some very funky condo type whatever with about 12 restaurants and beer halls all right on the beach. The water is warm and very clear. The surf is fairly intense. Lot's of very fat people that swim in clothes rather than bathing suits. Thank God for small favors! I'm staying at a very small hotel right on the beach. No air-conditioning or any other amenities but it is great and there actually is an Internet place in the area. Hence I am able to post this.
Before I left PV I bought an English/Spanish dictionary since I am on my own in a strange country without knowing the language. There are three ladies that work in the hotel and we are attempting to school each other. It is funny as can be since they speak hardly a word of English and I speak even less Spanish. We have lessons planned for the next several days! I won't say for sure, but I may be the only American in the town and maybe the only one who speaks English. I am loving it!
It is getting late and it has been an intensive few days so I am off to bed. Hey=it would be nice to hear from you all! I only have 3 friends logged on and one works for My Space! If you log onto to My Space and we are online at the same time, we can chat.
Posted on Tuesday, August 05, 2008 - 8:40 PM
I’m still in the same little beach town. Sort of stranded for the timer being. I’d write more but it doesn’t seem anyone but Marcia has been looking - so if you want more let me know since it is somewhat difficult to find internet connections when I am so isolated from larger towns.
Posted on Thursday, August 07, 2008 - 7:24 PM
Buenos Tardes mi amigos! I am learning Spanish very fast since I need to eat and find places to stay! The Mexican people are wonderfully hospitable and patient with me. I spent the last four days/nights in a great little beach town. Other guests at the hotel invited me to join their families for the beach and meals. It was quite a special experience.
I left there this AM and am now in a surfing beach town about 200 miles north of Acapulco. It is called Playa Azul. No Americans, just local surfers. It has a very impressive break.
The drive down here was as beautiful as any place I have seen. The shoreline is rugged with spectacular beaches, cliffs, and amazing vegetation. There are mountains all along that rise over 2000 back from the shore. The road was very very winding and up and down. The vegetation grew right to the edges of a very narrow 2 lane-so close in places that my antenna rubbed against the bushes. There are NO shoulders-if you go off-adios! I went miles without seeing any approaching cars but I did see a lot of donkeys with people on them.
The food has also been great. I have been eating at roadside fried chicken shacks and it is great.
I hope to make it out of Acapulco tomorrow and to the Guate boarder the following night. I expect to get to Paul’s house by Tuesday sometime if all goes well.
Well. it is time to find some food.
Posted on Saturday, August 09, 2008 - 6:30 PM
I have lots to say but no time to say it now. I am at the border of Mexico and Guatemala and planning to cross shortly. I hope to be at Paul's by this afternoon. I am somewhat concerned because of the report I just read from the US State Department. I will post my arrival in Antigua. More later.
Posted on Wednesday, August 13, 2008 - 9:41 AM
i arrived last night. will post more when i get time and rest.
Posted on Thursday, August 14, 2008 - 9:51 AM
I have a little time to post some comments.
First I would like to make a few observations from my trip down here.
1) The keyboards here are so different i cannot figure them out. Keys don[t do what they are labeled so please excuse my punctuation and of course I have poor spelling skills to start with.
2) I know why Mexicans piss out side all the time. There are few public bathrooms and they usually have someone standing outside wanting to be paid! I also saw a sign on one of the only pieces of grass that asked people not to piss on the grass!
3) We all know Mexican men are macho. The women never ride inside the truck. They are always sitting in the truck bed. Some of the less macho men do try to make it a little more comfortable for their women by putting a couch in the truck bed
4) What are considered paved highways in the US are not the same as in Mexico and Guatemala? Some are great and you can go 60 to 70 MPH. Many others are basically a series of very poor patches that resemble the dirt road out the Hot springs in Mammoth. There are large potholes all over that you literally have to dodge at 50 plus MPH or risk a broken axel. every several miles there are huge speed bumps that you literally have to crawl over or risk serious undercarriage damage. Averaging 30 to 40 MPH over 8 plus hour periods is standard.
5) Three or four nights ago I stayed at a traditional local Mexican Hotel. There was no toilet seat on the crapper. When i asked about it they showed me how to squat! When i went to shower in the morning I realized there was only 1 faucet in the shower and sink and they was not for the hot water.
6) In this same town, at 7AM loudspeakers went off all over the town with some kind of announcements or whatever. They continued every 15 minutes and roused the entire population. I have no idea what they were talking about but to me it sounded a little like a work camp- do what we say and be a good followed or else!!!
7) The border from Mexico into Guatemala was totally insane. The process required multiple stamps and paperwork. I had to drive 45 KM between three different crossings to get everything i needed. There were no instructions anywhere but there were dozens of hustlers offering to sell any kind of official looking paperwork they can. I finally found 1 guy that spoke English and put him in the car and had him lead me to all the right places. It only took 4 hours and they never even looked in my car, Nuts!
I am now going out to find an intensive Spanish School that i can enroll in. I plan on spending up to 8 hours a day for the next 3 to 4 weeks learning enough Spanish so I can function better. Paul’s house is great and he and his family have been terrific. He really has a wonderful life style and it is easy to see why he likes living here so much. What a great family! More later.
Posted on Friday, August 15, 2008 - 11:38 AM
Sorry I have not written sooner. I have been getting organized! Last Thursday and Friday I investigated various intensive Spanish schools. There are many here in Antigua. Apparently people from all over the world come here to learn Spanish. The dialect spoken in Guatemala is very pure or clean and therefore applicable in many Spanish speaking countries.
On Saturday I choose my school. It is called Academia de Espanol Guatemala. I am going to attend for 4 weeks. Each morning I meet one on one with my teacher, who will be different each week, for 4 hours of intensive study. I then have a 2 hour break for a siesta. Each afternoon from 2 until 4 or 5 we then go as a group of students (4 or 5 total) on a different excursion around Antigua. The tours are mostly in Spanish so we can practice in real life. Each night I have homework. My mind is spinning and I have dreams in Spanish that I do not understand!
I started my school this past Monday. We have gone to a Jade factory and learned the history and differing qualities etc of Jade, a major industry here. We also went to a coffee plantation and learned al about coffee growing and processing. We went to a Mayan museum of musical instilments and culture which was also fascinating. One day we took a hike up the mountainside above town to a cross and a spectacular view of the town and surrounding volcanoes. Today, Friday was a Happy Hour at the school.
As part of the program, students live in the homes of Guatemalan families that do not speak English. I moved into my family’s yesterday because staying at Paul’s was not as helpful in my progress. It is quite strange to be living in this house. It is a nice home-very traditional. I take all my meals with the family except I still will have to go out for more food because I do not eat a lot of the traditional diet-lots of cooked vegetables! I cannot put toilet paper down the toilet and that sort of freaks me out. The people are very nice and I am learning fast but have a very long way to go before I will be even somewhat fluent. I got a new phone today. The number when calling from the US is 011-502-4398-0989 so call if you like!!!
Tomorrow I am going with Paul and his family and some friends to their beach house on the Pacific. It is about one and one half hour drive and apparently very private on a black sand beach. I am definitely looking forward to the warm water! Well, how’s that for a good update. Write me at email@example.com !!!!
Posted on Friday, August 22, 2008 - 5:21 PM
Well I finished my second week of school yesterday. It is very intense but I am learning fast. On Wednesday afternoon went into Guatemala City with Paul. It was like going from the 18th Century to the 21st Century! Antigua, without cars and bikes looks very much as it did hundreds of years ago. no neon, no stop lights, and only very small signs to identify various buildings and stores. Everything is built behind ancient walls and there is no hint as to what is behind them. On the other hand, the section of Guatemala city we went to (actually only a small relative part to the more typical third world city which is very dangerous) there were upscale shops, stores, great restaurants and high rice office buildings. A bit of a culture shock. Please write - more later
Posted by on Saturday, August 30, 2008 - 2:42 PM
Hi, sorry I haven’t been too communicative lately. School and living in a local family’s house has been fairly intense. My computer access was limited, as was my free time. I completed my fourth week last Friday and moved into a small furnished apartment for the next month in a well-situated part of this ancient town. I now have internet, cable, and time. I am planning on staying here in Antigua for the foreseeable future. I am looking for a larger and more permanent apartment. If you don’t know much about this place, it may be worth looking it up. The history is fascinating, and not unlike Mammoth, if a certain series of events had not unfolded just as they did, this place would probably not be here. I’ll try to write more about that in some future entries.
Several not so important observations:
I am a tall person here.
There is a great deal of personal day to day freedom here. If there happen to be laws about parking, speeding or going too slow, passing zones, one way streets, honking, marching bands, general noise, pedestrian regulations, motorcycle, scooter, or bicycle rules, and many other little personal expressions of independence, nobody seems to enforce, complain or even care. There seems to be more personal responsibility and civility rather then self interest. It’s like another aspect of the time warp of this city; an environment reflecting days gone by; a surge of memories of personal freedoms I felt growing up.
I am now consciously incompetent in Espanola. I know just enough to recognize how badly I am fracturing the genders, pronouns, tenses, and general grammar. I am suspending school for the next several weeks while I continue to become more comfortable using what I am supposed to already know.
There is a local bar here called the Café No Se’ (“Café I Don’t Know” in English, duh) that is a major hangout for ex-patriots from all over and tourists. It is owned by an American who I meet several weeks ago. We had a book in common which stimulated an interesting conversation about it, and many other things. He also is a friend of Paul (who seems to know everyone). He offered me a bar tending job even though I told him I don’t have a clue about mixed drinks; apparently his clientele doesn’t drink mixed drinks. It is a great place to meet people of all kinds and from all places. Of course that can cut two ways too! I saw him the other day and he reminded me. I expect I am likely to add another “career” to my resume, bartender in a dump in Central America!
I also have been thinking and working on an actual business venture. I might have hit upon a concept that seems so simple yet has not been marketed. Who knows, maybe I can make something of the idea. I have spoken to several others regarding it and the responses have been encouraging. I’ll keep you posted as I progress.
Antigua, as many tourist towns, seems to have different prices depending on where you are from. In some places the prices are similar to the US, and other places it is hard to believe the prices could be so little for the same basic stuff. To assist me in my search for this apartment, another apartment for longer term, information, research and contacts for my business idea and other day to day needs, and to not pay US prices for everything, I have hired my first Guatemalan employee. He is a teacher in the school I attended. He only works ½ day there and is motivated. People work for incredibly cheep here and he is happy to have the very small additional income I give him – less than $25 per week! Some days he may spend several hours for me and other days nothing. It is worth it to me to have someone like him on call, so to speak, to help me out and negotiate for me. This is a very easy place to live. More later.
Posted by on Wednesday, September 17, 2008 - 12:48 PM
Sorry I have not made any new posts for awhile. I guess I must be getting the Central American attitude of manana. I have been occupied with moving into my house which included furnishing it. I have also been without internet for the last 2 1/2 weeks. I will stay in Antigua as a base to explore from. I have worked some in the bar, which is certainly interesting and amusing. It has been easy to meet people and I even run into some of them on the street, which makes me almost feel like a local. It has been between tourist seasons and I have not worked as much as I would like (2-3 nights per week) because it has been slow. It is picking up now and I expect to be back at the bar soon. One thing I have figured out; I am a much better bartender than customer - I really don't like hanging out at a bar, but working there is a whole different and more interesting experience. Everyone assumes that I am as drunk as the other bartenders and it is fun to sort of "mess" with some of the patrons. All the different languages and accents add a lot! I am also occupied with a project I am working on regarding the Mayan Zodiac and Astrology. It is very interesting and I think that it may even lead to a possible business that would be worthwhile and rewarding in many ways. I'll keep you posted.
As they say here, "Vida es tranquilo" (life is peaceful)!
Posted by on Friday, November 14, 2008 - 1:08 PM
I just uploaded a group of pictures taken with my cell phone - sorry they aren't a better quality - from a day at the Festival of the Dead. (On my home page, click on the blog photo album) It was a few weeks ago and I went there with 2 Peace Corp volunteers that I met around town and at the bar. It is a celebration that combines both Spanish Catholic and Mayan traditions. Families go to the cemeteries and do major numbers of decorating the graves and picnicking - then they continue celebrating by flying kites. They are of all sizes from very small to over 30-40 feet in diameter. The larger ones are truly amazing as pieces of art and that some actually fly is beyond belief! (check out the photos of bringing in one of the kites and notice thickness of the rope used) It was a really great day!I will have a good camera within the next few days and I will take more pictures. Stay in touch!!!
Posted on Sunday, November 30, 2008 - 1:57 PM
I have moved to FaceBook and have been updating that site with many photos plus. Please go there - thanks Stan.
That's all for now - Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!!
Posted on Tuesday, June 02, 2009 - 10:55 AM
Karen Stenback, Editor