Mar 30, 2007

The Return of Ms. Violet

After a rough week and a half of puppy sitting, Ms. Violet did the unthinkable - she took a leave of absence. We hunted high and low for her, but there was no sign of her. We thought of the possibility that she might have stowed away in a garbage bag, hoping to hitch a ride on a trash truck to brighter horizons. We thought that perhaps Celeste had buried her in her bed, but a thorough search of the old pair of jeans revealed no trace of said missing purple puptoy. She was no where to be found. We mourned her, we missed her, we shrieked for her, we begged her to come back in the middle of the night.

Finally, Ms. Violet relented and showed her nose from under the laundry cart. Overjoyed, Celeste leapt upon the lavender lady, slinging her about like a rag doll and emitting screams of delight. Ms. Violet did her fair share of joyful squeaking, too. Little did she realize that Celeste had almost doubled in size, and was now much bigger than Ms. Violet. From now on, I imagine that Celeste and Ms. Violet will be fast friends.

No more unannounced vacations, please!

fresh cheese

This morning I made a batch of fresh cheese. I didn't think I could do it here...they don't have fresh from the cow milk. Everything I've found before has been canned milk. The last time we went to the grocery store, though, we found whole milk in bags that had to be refrigerated, and then, ummm...there's no closing it back up. And it's a BAG, so you can't even set it inside the fridge without it falling over and dumping milk all over the place. So, yesterday, we opened a bag and made hot chocolate...then we had leftover hot milk...what to do, what to do...

So I poured some vinegar in it and left it to separate. And it did! I was apprehensive, because I'd tried this before with canned milk, but canned milk does not curdle at all. Encouraged by the fact that the milk solids had separated from the whey, I lined my strainer with a paper towel and poured the solids and whey through. Yeay! It's sitting on my counter now, draining. WOOT!! I would have preferred to use lime juice, but I thought I might just be pitching the whole works out, so just dumped in a couple of shots of vinegar instead. I've tasted it already...not bad, not bad...tangy with a bit of vinegar flavor remaining...needs some salt and maybe some herbs after it completes the draining process. It will be soft, because I didn't continue with the scalding of the curds, but for my first attempt here, on the fly and kind of spontaneously done, not bad at all.

I offered Celeste a bit of the whey and she turned her nose up at it. Picky dog.

Mar 29, 2007

Celeste - Check out the ears!

Look at Batwoman!
No more floppy ears!
You'd never guess by the serene look and the calm face that this is a little hellion. She seems so at peace with the world in the split second that I took the photo - between trying to chew on my clothes and scrambling up and down with her chew stick. You'd just never know that this little zen chick is really chaos with ears.

some leisure time

I'm off work till Monday, now that the term has ended. Today, I went to the market to buy some meat and a newspaper, and pay some bills, and ended up with an armload of goodies. I bought some nice buttons for my tan sweater, tomatoes, cookies, a piece of chocolate (which I'd been craving for a couple of days now) and a DVD. I enjoy the market. I like being able to use Spanish well enough to buy what I want, and do a little bargaining to get a better price. There are places where the smell sometimes is enough to make me gag, but I love the colors and the people. I wanted to go to eat somewhere, but by the time I realized how hungry I was, I didn't have the money to buy a lunch at a restaurant. So, it was back home for me...dodging traffic, listening to the constant beeping of horns, and into the apartment to be greeted by screams from Celeste...yes, she's still screaming whenever things aren't exactly to her liking. *sigh*

Celeste is getting almost too big to sit on my lap comfortably now. Her wabi sabi floppy ear is now strong enough to be erect and match the other one. She's understanding that the papers are where she potties, although if I'm not watching her like a hawk, she will still make a mess anywhere the mood strikes her. At least, she does sleep through the night most nights. She's awake and screeching again at 5:45 am...just before the alarm clock goes off. So, not all bad, but an article on the internet says that Huskies are usually quiet dogs, dignified, and that they "talk"...kind of a soft "woo woo woooo". And they do howl very very, too. Okay. I'm okay with howling. Celeste does howl and it doesn't grate on my nerves or make me grit my teeth like screaming does. And I want to know where the soft "woo woo wooo" is. When do we get that instead of shrieking? Maybe the shrieking is baby talk? She's getting better and bigger, but I REALLY want the screaming to stop.

The sweater is coming along nicely. I'm working on the first sleeve, doing the raglan fully-fashioned decrease thing. This part goes pretty quickly, and I love it. I always poop out oon the second sleeve, about halfway through, so I have to make a concerted effort these next couple of days, if I want to have the sweater to wear for my next term at work. I've been thinking about doing a duplicate stitch on the back and the fronts, maybe some flowers or something...those pieces are pretty much blank canvases, and I have never done duplicate stitches before. I think it will be fun.

Mar 28, 2007


Here's another beautiful boy up in Casper, Wyoming. His name is Chance. Chance desperately needs a home. He is not adjusting to life in the shelter very well and although he came to them strong and active, he is not the bouncing, happy boy he was. Chance needs a family or friend! If you have a place in your home for Chance, please contact the Casper Humane Society at: 307-265-5439, or by e-mail
Chance needs a second chance! Please consider him for your new best friend!

Mar 26, 2007

The Fuzz Of Celeste

One of the reasons that I have Celeste just occurred to me! Huskies "blow" their coats a couple of times a year, according to an internet source. So a couple of times a year, I'll have a FIBER ANIMAL! I need to read up on spinning dog hair, but Huskies are supposed to lose copious amounts of fuzz during the spring. Celeste is beginning to develop her coat now. The guard hairs are growing and turning black, where before she was mostly gray fuzz. The fuzz is still there, and we're heading into fall. We've been practicing being brushed, only with a lady's hair brush, but it's to get her used to being groomed. I won't have her getting matted and ending having to be shaved to set the coat right. Think of all that lovely FUZZ that could be lost, if she's allowed to become matted and messy. Think of how miserable she would be, too, with all that hair filled with sticks and dirt, not to mention probably a flea colony and some ticks again.

Speaking of fleas, I ordered some essential oils from Mountain Rose Herbs earlier last week. I hope they can be sent directly to the house quickly and without ending up in customs, which is an hour away from here in Los Olivos, and is a huge pile of red tape and time consuming procedures. I got the essential oils to chase away the fleas and make the house comfy. I love essential oils, although I don't use that much of them. A little goes a long way, once their use has been established.

Okay, I'm back editing:

This is a link to read about spinning dog hair on a drop spindle. I could do this! I wonder if Celeste would sit close by and let me gather her shedding coat as I spin...


Look at this young man! His name is Oreo and isn't he a beauty?! He's at a shelter in Casper, Wyoming, right now. What a face he has! I think those might be shar-pei ears, but the more I look at him, the more they seem to fit on his labrador face. He's so lively and bright! They say he's young, so that would put him in the 1 - 2 year old category. What a great pet he would make for someone! Contact the Casper Humane Society by e-mail at:

This was the first morning that Celeste did not wake me up by screaming. At 6:30 am, I awoke with the thought that she might not be puppies succumb to SIDS? I got up and headed for the laundry room, on check on her. She was sitting quietly on the floor, doing her own thing. When I let her out, she bounced out to play while I made my breaskfast. We do not eat together, so when my food was ready, she went back to her room to eat her own breakfast and I had mine. She's becoming accustomed to the routine, I guess. Yeay! I'm glad she's adjusting.

I have a few things to get done this morning. Money, I need to get some money to pay a bill that came over the weekend, and I have some other debts to pay. Then off to the Institute for another of those training classes. They run through tomorrow. I wonder if we get paid for coming to those. I wonder if I get paid. I wonder how things work there at the Institute. I see that they are trying to teach us how they want things done, but they aren't very clear about how they do things that we want done - like pay. And documentation. As the month has progressed, I've picked up things from the other instructors about how to document grades and whatnot, but there has been no formal training on that, and I think that might be the most important part, both for instructors and students. I'm always hearing how if you don't do this right, if you do that wrong, "they" will fire you. But there is no clear-cut "this is what we expect" about very much.

I wonder if I will get another class or two next month. It's kind of exciting to think about the classes. I'm glad they only run a month long. It's a little difficult to present all the material and add some of what I think is helpful in such a short period of time, but it's do-able. Those who want to learn will, and those who want me, or their classmates, to do it for them will not be able to learn all the material in a month-long cycle.

I finished the right front side of the tan sweater last evening, and started the left side. I hope that by tomorrow, I'll be ready to start on the sleeves. I was worried about having enough yarn to finish a complete sweater, and thought about going for just a vest, but it looks like I'll have enough for the whole sweater.

Mar 25, 2007

out of the funk with cool buttons

Whew...this weekend of solitude (except for being with Celeste) has done me good. I actually took a nap this afternoon, which is something that I NEVER do. The house is much better, and I took myself out to the market this morning to buy some fresh yarn. I'll be glad when Celeste is a little older and can go with me on walks and trips to the market. She'll be good company after she's out of that obnoxious puppy mentality. It's only cute for so long, and then it gets tiresome. I miss my little man, Sunny.

But...I've cooked, cleaned, and knitted this weekend, and watched 3 movies. My tan sweater is progressing nicely, in spite of the fact that I ripped out about 4 inches of stockinette for no good reason. I'd be done with that front side if I hadn't momentarily lost my mind and started ripping. I've re-knitted that and have promised that I will not unnecessarily rip back anymore. Okay, okay, I know that's the picture of the back piece of the sweater, but I haven't taken another photo of the progressing sweater. I'll take another one before I sew it together. I need some buttons for this sweater, and have some in mind that I saw in the market. Oh, and WOO HOO! I found a little store that has COOL BUTTONS! They do have those plain blah buttons that most people here use, but they also have some really nice vintage-looking buttons, too. I bought some pink yarn from that store and found some COOL BUTTONS to go with it.

My attitude is renewed and happy again, and I can face the world again. I've gotten over my feelings of being invaded in my own home. Life is back to normal again, just in time to get things ready for the book quiz and the final exam at the institute this week.

Mar 24, 2007

a rant

I'm in a reclusive mood today. I don't want to talk with anyone...I just need to be in my own little world. Omar went to Trujillo for the weekend to visit his parents and some friends, and I opted to stay here with Celeste. It's a good thing, too, because I need the weekend to myself. Have you ever been in one of those moods where you just want to shut out the world? That's where I am right now. This morning, two of Omar's friends came to the about 4:30 this morning...drunk, and he let them in. They left not too long after they came, but while they were here, they dropped their cigarette ashes on the rug, slopped beer on the floor, and somebody peed himself on the sofa (It's beyond me how an adult could do such a thing, but drunks are drunks.) Actually, showing up drunk at someone's house is completely disrespectful, as far as I'm concerned. It shows no respect for oneself and no respect for the person you are visiting. I was furious with all of them - furious with the buddies for coming to my house, drunk, at such an hour and furious at Omar for allowing them to come in.

I showed Omar the sofa, and all he could do was to stand there with his mouth open. Then we had a serious talk about how people are to behave while in this apartment. The house smells like a pigsty, although it looks tidy enough NOW. I have some laundry to do in order to make things better, now that I've scrubbed the sofa and rinsed it with clorox water. I think the smell has been mostly removed. I still need to go over it again with some lavender soap to make it nice again. This has been the only time that I've been glad we don't have a regular fabric covered sofa. I have spots on the rug to take out. I'm just glad we have hardwood floors instead of wall to wall carpeting. What a nightmare that would be.

My apartment is my sanctuary, or at least I thought it was. It is not the local flop house for drunks to come to sleep it off, not the neighborhood gossip pond, not a party house. It's where I go to be safe, to relax, to be myself without the rest of the world invading.

So I'm cranky and still more than a little angry today, and do not want to talk with anyone. Omar called me a couple of times this morning, but you know what? I just don't feel like answering. It's not my day to be nice. I need some time to myself. He can go to Trujillo and see the rest of the world. I can't. I don't want to. I need tme to pout and get over things.

Mar 23, 2007

another day in the neighborhood

Yesterday, I got a bit accomplished...extra study material for my students, Celeste went to the vet to take care of that "kennel cough" thing that she's been doing for a couple of days, copy of my passport to the security office at the Institute, laundry done, and went to a class for new instructors at the Institute. My students have two exams next week, Monday and Tuesday, and then that's the end of the cycle. Then I get to see what class or classes I can teach in April.

The classes here are intensive to say the least. We cover one book a month, and it's not a small book, when we're talking about learning a new language. It's intensive English, and I'm teaching book 28 in a course of 30 books total. They leave my class far from fluent, but they have a good base to build upon. I'm hoping that the next class I get will have a better basis to learn on. This one seemed to come to me after sliding through with other teachers that didn't demand that the students participate and pronounce their words correctly, or do their homework. Sometimes it's frustrating, but I really want them to do well. I know that my accent is difficult for them to understand because I am the only native English speaker in the entire Institute, and they are not used to listening to my very round "O'' or an "A" that sounds like a flat tire. All the other instructors are Peruvian and their pronunciation of the words is usually not that different than that of the students. Most do not have that great a grip on the language.

Ok, I'm off to the cleaners to pick up my bedspread. We took it there earlier this week, because it reeked so much of Celeste that the whole room stunk of puppy feet and whatever they had run through. Uuufff...and I have more laundry to do.

Mar 19, 2007

dogs and doilies

Well, what a weekend it has been. Celeste is doing okay...wonderfully, in fact. After she got her shots and a mouthfull of de-wormer, I thought she might be having a reaction to the parvo vaccine...depressed, not much appetite, watery poop, and altogether just blah. So we kept an eye on her and later Saturday night, she passed a PILE of worms. Now she's got a much bigger appetite (big enough to eat real dogfood and like it), bouncing around the house, sleeping better, and more solid poo. And just basically more obnoxious than she's ever been before.

In Cheyenne, Lisa's litle dog passed away due to contaminated dog food. It was an excruciating time for us, as she documented in e-mail her pain and the dog's pain as kidney failure overtook him, and had no idea why he was dying at 5 years of age. She finally couldn't take watching him in pain and had him put to sleep. She's just discovered what happened, by watching CNN last night, when they broadcast information on the dogfood recall by Menu Foods Income Fund.

People, be aware of what food you are feeding your pets! These contaminated foods were manufactured LAST YEAR, and they are just now being removed from the shelves.

On the knitting front, I have finished Maitri's dishcloth and will be sending it off tomorrow, as soon as I find an envelope to mail it in and a post office to send it from. Hot pink crochet! It's not really that great of a dishcloth...maybe she can use it as a big doily or something...

Mar 16, 2007

A Queen in the Street

Celeste and I just came back from the vet's office, where she got her first series of shots and a dose of de-wormer. I have no car, so we walked...well, I walked, she rode. The vet's office is about 10 blocks from our apartment building, with 2 major 4 lane streets to cross. We started out about 11 am, and hoofed it across San Filipe and Salaverry Avenues dodging the crowds of lunch-goers and then continued on down to the market area, where the veterinarian has his office/store. Throughout this little trek, Celeste rode in my arms like a queen in her carriage...regal, stoic, an occasional parade wave of her tail; she greeted her subjects with grace and a dainty little slobber on a priviledged cheek or nose. Her "subjects" were 4 or 5 older ladies out for a walk, a mother and her little daughter, and several street vendors. Each of them made such a fuss, gushing about her blue eyes, her tiny feet, her kissable little nose; comments about her beauty and inquiries as to her age and breed flew so thick I thought I might choke on them. I had no idea she would create the kind of stir in the market that she did. It took us 10 minutes longer to get to the vet's office because of it.

The vet was duly and fashionably 20 minutes late, so we took a seat in the outer area of the office, where dogfood, and pet accessories are sold. One of the stock boys there spoke some broken English, and we got into a conversation about Peru, the US, dogs, and pretty much covered the state of both countries in about 10 minutes. Celeste joined the conversation at certain times, voicing her opinions with short, high-pitched squeals and yodels. I had no idea that was how she communicated, other than screaming in the middle of the night or the occasional growl and regular bark while we are playing. The veterinarian arrived shortly, and turned out to be a jovial, competent fellow, pleasant and good with Celeste, in spite of her screeching when she got her shot. We left the office happy.

The trip back was somewhat less time consuming, but we stopped in the market to buy bologna and cookies. The aroma of bologna nearly made Celeste swoon, and then she tried to scramble out of my arms into the display case containing the lunch meat, plowing into the glass on the outside of the case. Not very queenly demeanor, I thought. She garnered a kiss on the nose from a fellow customer at the lunch meat stall. On we went, to buy the cookies, and were met by another fan, an elderly lady with a soft smile and a freckled cheek, upon which Celeste bestowed a dainty lick. The lady giggled and trotted off to attend to her own shopping.

On the way home, Celeste began to squirm in my arms, so I looked for a likely place to put her down, away from traffic, so she could find a place to squat. The little queen searched and searched, but never did find a suitable newspapery toilet, so I scooped her back up and we beat feet for home. As soon as we got in the door, we headed for the utility room, and thankfully, newspapers.

Ahhhh...relief at last. Thank the heavens and the sun, moon, and stars above for newspapers. All is right with the world.

Mar 15, 2007

it's all about Celeste these days

Here's Ms. Violet Fuzzbutt, drying after her bath. Way up there in the air, hanging by her ear, waiting for the breeze to dry her out. Ms. Violet got so wild that she accidentally fell into the newspaper potty sometime yesterday...and this morning couldn't stand herself any longer. She needed a bath in the worst way.

And here's Ms. Celeste, looking for her buddy. She spies her balancing up there on a coat hanger, but wonders about hanging by an ear. Doesn't she worry that one ear will stretch longer than the other?

life goes on

"Whirlwind Celeste" --->

I'm sitting here with Celeste in my lap this morning. Last night was the first night she slept all the way through without a sound. She awoke at 5:45 this morning after Omar was up and moving around. She greeted the day with her usual high-pitched scream; I can't figure out if that is a demand to have attention or if she's just so thrilled to be alive that she screams for joy (tongue in cheek, there). I'd much rather heard a richer, more melodious tune, but with her at her age, I'm just glad to be getting a full night's sleep.

Today there are mid-term exams at the institute. My students were quite confident last week, so confident in fact, that they neglected to do their homework assignments most of the time. The last couple of days they sat bored in their chairs, not wanting to participate, not responding to anything really...but yesterday, thinking of the mid-term, they were nervous and wanted to review everything in an hour. Interesting how someone can go from being so intelligent and confident that they know I couldn't possibly have material of value to teach, to being so nervous that they can't remember just how terribly intelligent they were just the day before. They aren't kids...they are high school graduates at least, and preparing to go to college. I wonder if they know that I REALLY want them to do well today.

I am in a dishcloth exchange and haven't started a single stitch on the dishcloth that I'm sending to Maitri! Argh! I have decided what pattern I'm using; I simply haven't made a move on it yet. This evening, I have to get to it. It won't take long, but I'm mailing it to the US, and THAT will be what takes the most time. I need to get a move on with that!

Mar 13, 2007

please save Bella

Please help Bella! I wish she were in Lima, I'd run to get her! All her info is in the link above!

Mar 12, 2007


Here she is. Her name is Celeste, named for her blue eyes. She's still in that all night screaming and screeching mode, and screams whenever she's not in my lap. I hate that. I appreciate that she's little and needs company, but I have to sleep, too, and have more to do than sit with her in my lap. The worst is that she's not past that stage of pooping whenever and wherever the urge strikes her, so she can't be loose in the house without direct supervision. I can't wait till she's a little bigger. She's screaming as I type this. Uuuufff...I know it's like this these first days, but I wish I had a back yard or garage for her to scream in, instead of my laundry room. I'm VERY aware of her needs, but I'm also aware that I have to continue with life and let her adapt to things here, in spite of how much she tries to make change things to suit her. Babies are so self absorbed.

*sigh* We'll get through this.

Mar 11, 2007

more on the pup

She's got ticks and fleas. This is the first time I've ever WATCHED fleas crawl around on a dog. It makes my skin crawl, but even more, it makes me ANGRY. When I see these bugs, I become enraged. I feel like they've invaded not only my pet, but hitched a ride into the house. And she's got an infestation of ticks in her ears and on her face. There's about 5 of them. I have one woman who has told me just to take some tweezers and twist them off. I've also been told that you don't want to do that because leaving the heads inside increases the possibility of infection. I'm at a big HMMM right now.


OK, I'm back to edit. I followed Kris's instructions about "twist and pull", and removed all the ticks that I could find. The ticks came easily, legs waving and a bit of dog tissue along with each one. I examined each one, and I believe that the heads came along with the bodies. The little girl is now resting comfortably in her bed, snoring through her little traumas of having had her ears turned practically inside out while I carried out an assault mission on the ticks. There were six of them in all, one on her face and the rest in her ears.

It's interesting that my husband and my dog both deal with their stresses in the same way: by sleeping through the stress after the trauma has occurred. I hope they both can sleep as well tonight. That would mean that I could sleep, as well. And that would please me.

Mar 10, 2007

Thoughts On The Pup

Well, I know I said we had decided to wait until next month to find a dog, but we went downtown today and, not really planning on a dog at all, found ourselves with a puppy. She looks like a husky or a malamute or one of those varieties that originated from wolves...what in the world are they doing so close to the equator? Anyway, she looks like she's just barely old enough to have been separated from her mother...but just barely. Gray coat, blue eyes, black tail tipped with white, and a white streak down her nose. We haven't figured out a name for her yet, nor have I gotten any photos of her. Hopefully tomorrow I'll have pictures to post of her, and hopefully a name to go with her.

I confess that I have not enjoyed any dogs of husky or malamute origins, though I have only known a few. My daughter had a young one just a few months ago that was as hard-headed as could be. She insisted on tearing things up and peeing all over the house, I think mostly to spite me. We did manage to kennel train her, though. I have always been the disciplinarian or the house when it comes to dogs. I'm the alpha female and the bad guy. Tai's pup wanted to be the boss, I think. Happily, Tai realized that she didn't have the time to devote to house training or even to enjoy the dog, so she gave her to another family. They love the dog, but she has destroyed their sofa, along with other household items.

I had a room mate once who also had a malamute. That dog ruled the house and the room mate, too. She had no authority with that dog. He did what he wanted, ruined what he wanted, and intimidated her whenever the mood struck him. He had a huge, heavy coat that she could not brush out because the dog did not allow it. The snapped and bit at her whenever she attempted to brush him. I detested that dog, but I think she had allowed the dog to run her for years, and by the time I met him, he was too old to re-train. She didn't believe in discipline. I DO. I am probably too strict, but I cannot tolerate dogs that don't respect (my) authority, don't listen, or that destroy things (furniture, shoes, carpets, etc.). I hope that this little husky dog doesn't have a destructive personality. The alpha wolf will come out in me if she does, and we will go the rounds. I really have no idea why I accepted this pup, considering my experiences with her breed.

I think, though, that I have enough time to exercise her, to spend with her, and to teach her what I expect from her that we will get on fine. She's sweet, and so young that she should be very impressionable. Our first task, of course, is to learn that in our home, we don't unload wherever and whenever the urge strikes us. It's a big step for a baby her age, and I know it will take time. We've started paper training for now, but in a couple of weeks, I hope she will begin to recognise that outside is where we really want to go. It's at times like this that I wish I had a backyard. We've a park nearby, and there's the medians in the streets, and I can always carry a bag and a scooper, but all of that is 2 floors down, so I may be running with her for a little while, until we establish a schedule.

Am I sounding too strict?

post script: I have been doing a little research online, and have figured out that the pup is more along the lines of a husky, rather than a malamute. Maybe that's better for us. There's no way of knowing if she has some other breed mixed in there somewhere, at least for the moment, but maybe after she grows and develops, she'll reveal more of who and what her background is.

The McDonald's Experience

There is a McDonald's a couple of miles from our building. I have wanted to try something from there for a long time, just to know if there are any differences between McDonald's in the US and in other countries. And there is, at least in the Big Macs. I LOVE Big Macs. They are my one McD weakness. When I go to McDonald's, which is almost never, I get a Big Mac. And that jingle from the old ads on TV always runs through my head. In fact, when I was doing my stint at the McDonald's in the Cheyenne Walmart, I would sing that little song to myself as I made the sandwiches...two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onion on a sesame seed bun...

So last Saturday, when we went inside the restaurant, just to see what they had, I immediately looked for my favorite. Yeay! There it was! In English! A great big "BIG MAC" along side the McDoble (I think this is a double cheese burger) and the McPollo (McChicken). I ordered it, mouth watering. Omar and I sat down at a table to try it...he'd never eaten McDonald's anything before. So we shared wasn't the same. It just didn't taste like a Big Mac. I took my bite and then, with my discerning palate, ran that little song through my mind. Two all beef patties (yes, there were two beef patties on the sandwich), special sauce (yes, the Mac sauce was on it, but...), lettuce (yup, but not shredded like in the US), cheese (of course, there was that same american cheese; it even smelled the same), pickles (but just a few), onions (scanty, but freeze-dried and reconstituted as always) on a sesame seed bun (the bun was good).

It was the sauce...the "special sauce" just wasn't little jingle ended halfway through the second rendition.

It had a vinegary taste to it and wasn't as creamy as it should have been. I think it may have been old. Omar took his bite, made a face, and handed the sandwich back to me. I finished the sandwich, he ate the fries. Then we went over to the chicken place and ordered a quarter of a roasted chicken. I wasn't hungry enough to eat much by then, so I shared the fries and he ate the chicken. It tasted just as expected.

I don't think I can talk Omar into passing under the Golden Arches again.

Drop stitch vest

I've finished piecing together the red drop-stitch vest. I walked around with it on, and I like the way it drapes. I haven't tried to do anything with the edging yet, nor have I put buttons on. Maybe that will come later. I may keep this one to wear to work when it gets a little more chilly. We'll see. I worry about my grace in wearing this piece...I'm not the most adept person, and often run into things, scrap against them in passing, trip, stumble, and am mostly just a klutz. The drop stitch is more vulnerable to snagging, so I'll either have to learn to walk a little more gracefully or not wear the vest. Hmm.

Mar 7, 2007

*sigh*...maybe next month...

I've decided it will be better if I wait until next month to get a dog. This month is just too difficult for Omar. He's stressing over money and didn't tell me until yesterday. Next month I'll hopefully have gotten my tax money and we'll have a little breathing room. I was planning on taking a correspondence course from Susun Weed, but have decided that there are problems that require a little money to resolve them before I do something so expensive and so completely indulgent for myself. The dog will be indulgence enough, and not nearly so expensive.

In April, Omar will begin working at a different hospital and his classes will run from 5 pm to 10:30 pm. I'll be mostly alone for the day, except when I teach my class, from 4:15 to 5:45, plus a 20 minute walk each way. Kinda lonely, so that's the reason I want a puppy so much. My Sunny is such good company for me...I MISS HIM! But I know that he's doing a good job of keeping my daughter and her dog company in Cheyenne, for now. Another dog will be good company, too, even if it's not a Basset, even if it's not Sunny.

Buttons and The (ggrrrrr) red drop stitch vest

I've ripped out the last piece of the vest, the right front panel, 4 times! It seems like it's always like that! I buzz right along until the last piece, and then I start to have troubles, make mistakes, have doubts about how it will turn out. What is UP with that? Most recently, I was over half way through that piece, when I discovered that I had lost a stitch somewhere. I looked back through it and found that I'd done the second button hole wrong and in the process of messing that up, lost a stitch. So I ripped back about 7 inches of knitting and re-did the button hole. Now I have the button hole made again and it should go quickly again. I have my fingers crossed!

I'm still pondering the edging. And I've found some lovely gold buttons in my stash that would go very nicely with it, but I haven't decided yet. This is a prototype, and if it turns out well, I could make a similar one with alpaca yarn, and then I would want those gold buttons.

I wonder about buttons. I love them. I have planned entire sweaters around the buttons that I chose, and I think they should be a very obvious and decorative part of the garment. But when I entered a sweater in the county fair, I was told that my choice of big, beautiful gold buttons on my dark blue sweater was rather unfortunate and detracted from the sweater rather than added to it. So, hmmm...I took the same sweater with its unfortunate gold buttons to a show and it sold immediately. Someone else enjoyed the gold buttons as much as I did, apparently.

So I'm confused about buttons. Should they be decorative and beautiful? Or are they strictly a functional necessity that should blend in with the sweater, not to be noticed? My husband prefers unobtrusive buttons that go unnoticed and that's good for him, since I can't find any fun buttons here in Lima, so far. I think I may have to break down and order some more cool ones from the Walmart website or something. The shipping is outrageous, but I gotta have beautiful buttons.

Mar 6, 2007

New picture

Ah! I am figuring out the photo thing. I went a little bit nuts with the dog photos, but that was fun and it makes for a more interesting post, when there's something more to see than just the written word. And, as you can see, I've put up a photo of Omar and me. My mom took this when she came to visit in 2005. We had taken her to Gamarra (the huge central market of Lima) and she was overwhelmed by the size of it. But not so overwhelmed that she couldn't take some pictures.

So, now I'm not such an enigma to the few that read here. Surprised?

Here's another photo of Omar, playing the guitar at a birthday party last year:

Mar 5, 2007

Time change?

This makes me laugh:

Anyone who knows a Peruvian knows that, in Peru, everything has its own time. I am perpetually early. It's a habit of mine to arrive 10 - 20 minutes early, no matter where I go, in the US or in Peru, or anywhere else. I get in a panic if I'm late. Omar, on the other hand, is one of those people who is nearly always late, no matter where he goes. I think I drive him nuts.

Fun and Games in the Street

Last night Omar, after having slept most of day, confessed to me that he is very nervous about driving in town. The other day, a car cut through an intersection, just as Omar was driving through it, and nearly caused him to get in a wreck. Apparently it nearly scared the life out of him. He spent a good part of the next couple of days thinking about the fact that people will put their lives in jeopardy to get to a party on time, to beat the next guy to the light, to get somewhere ahead of the crowd. Then a day in bed to sort it all out, I think. It bothers him so much that he dreads getting in the car now. I wish he understood that I went through that same kind of fear from the first time I experienced traffic in Peru, and still do.

One day not long ago, we had some friends in the car with us, and we were just next to a bus that wanted to move into our lane. For some reason, Omar continued to stay parallel with the bus and did not give one way or another. The bus began to move over in spite of our presence in the lane. The friends began to laugh and I freaked out. It was a game to them. We did speed up and pass the bus before we were squashed between the bus and the retaining wall, and the friends shrieked with glee. Lili screamed "Kathy, you're not going to die today!", laughing all the while. I ended up with a huge migraine and went to bed for the rest of the day. Omar didn't understand at the time, none of them did. I was furious that they would play a game so dangerous and that they had such little regard for their lives, especially when I was involved and I DID NOT want to play. I was furious with Omar for putting himself and me in such a spot and not giving it a second thought. I think Omar does understand now, though. Maybe because none of the friends drive, they did not take anything seriously. Maybe they assumed that they would be safe because someone else was driving. Maybe they really don't care about their lives. Maybe they are resigned to the fact that they have nothing more to look forward to than the rut they are in right now. I don't know.

Anyway, it has come home to Omar why I react the way I react, why I was so unwilling to participate in something that puts my safety at risk, and that he has the same reactions when he encounters someone who does not care about the risk they put him in or themselves. Not such a bad realization, as far as I'm concerned.

It's an idiot that will risk all to beat the next guy through the intersection.

Mar 4, 2007

I Want A Dog

I love my dog. Un-fortunately, he is in the United States. I've tried to bring him with me twice, but both times the weather has been too cold in Denver and he was denied entrance into the checked baggage area. I want a dog to be with me here. I spend the whole day alone, except for a couple of hours that I have a class, and I mostly go stir-crazy.

I've finally gotten over the feeling that I'll be cheating on Sunny if I get another dog. If Sunny can't seem to make it here the next time I travel, when I go back to the US to stay, the buddy that I get here will go with me. I'd really love to find another Basset Hound, but I think that will be next to impossible. We went to visit Omar's Aunt Lilia last evening, and she tried to talk me out of a dog. She thinks they are too dirty and that turtles are better company. That may be because her daughter, Carmen, got a puppy for her kids, and they were too busy for it. The puppy spent most of its time locked in the laundry room, tearing things up and screaming. The poor pup was so lonely and isolated that whenever he saw someone, he got so excited that it peed all over the floor. And they never house trained him, so there was a constant mess. Poor baby. Eventually they got rid of him and now have 3 turtles. Turtles? How could anyone trade a warm, expressive pup for a reptile? No matter how many turtles you have, they'll never run to meet you at the door, roll on the floor with you, cry with you when you're sad, keep you company when you're lonely, warm you up when you're cold, or go with you when you're scared.

I'm not really picky about what kind of dog comes to live with me, but I prefer a dog with a pleasant voice...a deep, rich voice. And I don't want a hairless dog. That doesn't seem too cuddly to me. Just a regular mutt would be great; it doesn't have to be a purebred dog. Just a warm, happy dog. There's something comforting about the smell of a dog.

Puppy, I need you!

Mar 3, 2007

red drop stitch vest

I started a vest the other day; I think I mentioned it before in passing. Anyway, I am nearly finished with the back of it, and I really like the way it is working up! I started with a rolled edge at the bottom, and then ribbing, then went from there with the drop stitch every 6th row. I'm getting excited about the way it is turning out...can't wait to finish it and see the end product!

After I get the front 2 pieces finished, I will add a little rolled collar similar to the bottom edge of the piece. Finishing the edge of the sleeves will be the challenge. There is so much space in the drop stitch, ad it is LOOSE space. I'm not sure how I will handle that...I may just leave it as it is...I also want to finish the edges in the front for buttons, but I don't know if that will be possible, either. I have time to think about it, since I don't have the fronts even started, but just the planning and thinking about the project coming together is exciting and intriguing.

Mar 2, 2007

Driving in Cars with Peruvians

This morning I had a "teacher's meeting" at the institute where I'm supposed to teaching next week. There was supposed to be a speaker, and I guess an actual meeting, but the speaker baked out, and we ended up creating exercises to be loaded into the institute's virtual classroom...computerized courses, I guess. I worked with 2 others, and one asked questions in Spanish, the other responded in English, and I sat between them agreeing or disagreeing. Not a very interesting way to spend the morning, but it got me out of the house.

I love the walk to the Institute. When I first started, I made it there in 40 minutes. Now, it's a 20 minute walk for me, in slippery sandals and hobbled by a skirt. I'm not crazy about getting out in traffic and crowds, but the walk does me good, and I can take the bike trail that runs through a good portion of our suburb, Jesus Maria. About every 3 blocks there's a major intersection and if I time it right, I can sprint through the intersections and avoid practically all the traffic. I have to watch, though, because there is always those few idiot taxi drivers that think they can sneak through the red light.

Cops are few and far between, usually on foot, and can do little to stop a driver who is intent on violating a traffic law. Almost every morning, I hear on the news that one or more people have been killed while crossing the street. It's so different the US, the pedestrian has the right of way, and NO ONE wants to hit a pedestrian. Especially me. I'm not sure I could live with myself if I hurt or killed someone with my car. Here it's a little different. Certainly no one INTENDS to hit anyone on foot, but the pedestrian crosses the street at his own risk. Cars have the right of way, and the pedestrian that doesn't run to get out of the way is usually the pedestrian that ends up as a red puddle on the pavement.

It's an attitude change that one is forced into when one deals with traffic, either on foot or in a vehicle. I can't drive in Lima, unless it's late at night or really early in the morning. There's just too much traffic for me to deal with during regular business hours...even when Omar is driving, it's better if I don't look at the traffic. To avoid gasping or screaming, grabbing the dashboard, pounding my brake foot through the floor, and/or gnashing my teeth, I have to busy myself by fiddling with the radio, talking to Omar, or just focusing on the floor. Traffic is heavy, 2 lanes are spontaneously made into 3 or 4, they make left hand turns from the outside right lane or left hand turns from the outside left lane...traffic lights are viewed more as suggestions than absolutes. So I decline to drive between the hours of 8 am and 10 pm. And NEVER to the mall.

Mar 1, 2007

Peruvian food - cebiche

Ceviche is one of my favorite local foods. It is claimed as Peru's national dish. Usually served as a lunch item, it consists of sea food marinated in lime juice and salt, sometimes with spicy pepper sauce added in. There are so many varieties of ceviche that it boggles the mind, and each area creates ceviche in its own local style.

Those are slices of rocoto pepper you see in the photo, not tomato, and it's hot enough to light your hair on fire. Handle and eat WITH CARE! Thinly sliced onions are also rinsed in lime juice and salt, and added to the mix. Garnished with lettuce and a small amount of sea weed. I personally enjoy the addition of tomatoes and cilantro sprinkled into the dish, and a sweet potato on the side. But this seems to be a more Mexican take on ceviche. A Peruvian lady here laughed at me when I put tomato in my ceviche...she said, "whoever puts tomato in the ceviche obviously doesn't know how to make it properly." But there are so many variations throughout Latin America that who can say what is the proper way?

I think almost all versions of this dish are YUMMY!!!

Have you any wool? Real wool?

I went to the market yesterday. It's an open market, where one can buy food, clothing, and household goods. Stalls and booths line the street of one city block, and within the block is an enclosed market. The bakery is my main stop...we go through bread in this house like crazy...and then the yarn store. It's a pity that there is only acrylic yarn available here in Lima; Peru is so famous for its llamas, alpacas, and fine Peruvian sheep that I'm appalled that there's no real wool of any kind to be had. So strange. Maybe the people are so busy running away from who they are that they've left their valuables behind. Valuables as in heritage, handicrafts, genuine articles, etc. Things to be had in the market are cheap little plastic junk, similar to the trash that was sold in the US during the 60's & 70's, in the "Made in Japan" era. I may have to start buying my wool from people in the US or other countries, if I can't find it here. When I asked where I could find real wool yarn, I was directed to the artisan markets in the downtown area. "Maybe" they have it there.

Phooey. I think I'll just be sending money to my sister to send me some batts of alpaca and mohair after I go through the REAL ALPACA yarn that I have here. Do you hear that, Peru?? I have real alpaca yarn here in my house that I brought from the US, to the homeland of the Alpaca and the Llama. So maybe in another 20 years, there'll be an influx of animals to Peru, from the US, and real wool will be available to the general public once more. Even the alpaca yarn that is produced for export is not 100% alpaca. It is only a small percentage that has been blended with sheep's wool. In Peru, anything with even a small percentage of alpaca fiber is labeled as "Alpaca", with no mention of the percentage or the fiber it has been blended with. Maddening, completely maddening.

So, in the meantime, I'm making myself a dropstitch vest in red. I have about 6 inches done on the back. Maybe by the time I get more done, I'll have decided to make it into a sweater instead.