Apr 30, 2007

I think winter is comng...

...because it is gray and chilly every morning now. The sun comes out from behind the fog and clouds about 11 am, sometimes later. It makes it hard for me to get out of bed and get motivated when it's so gray. I need to hurry up and finish a sweater or capelet so I'll have something to throw on when it get cold. So far, it's still warm in the afternoons, but that won't last forever. Omar knows I get bummed out when it's overcast for extended periods, and these days, he's asking if I'm alright, if I'm handling it okay. The truth is that Celeste sees me through the days until I go to work. The gray, overcast winter is the single most important reason that I wanted a dog. I hate the cold, I hate feeling "caught" in the city, and I know that when I was down in Cheyenne, my Sunny always with me. Always happy, always smiling, always warm and willing to sit in my lap and help me be busy and warm.

This week, we are going to Ecuador for a couple of days. Tomorrow we'll be gone in the morning and return Wednesday evening. I have to get my visa validated and for some reason, in order to get a Peruvian residence visa, one has to travel to a dfferent country to do that. Of course, they wouldn't do that in the US...and I don't understand why. Celeste will be spending the two days with Ivan and Luz and their two boys. I hope things go alright there.

I have almost finished the first hat with Maggie's yarn! I need to crochet around the edges and put on the braided ties and tassels, and then get a photo to her for her approval. This is the first hat I've made with this particular pattern, and I'm sure that the subsequent ones will go more quickly and be a little more elaborate as I become more comfortable with the pattern. When Omar saw the pattern, he was pleased to see that someone wanted a Peruvian-style hat. I need to go to the artisan fair and pick up a REAL Peruvian something to share with Maggie.

Usually, when I knit a pattern, I do it several times, until I have it memorized and perfected, with each one progressively better and different. I hope this will happen with the hat pattern, too. I need to find some complimenting, but contrasting color to include with these hats to get those little sheep and llamas illustrated properly in the intarsia. This time, I simply knitted llamas in relief, using the purl stitch to create the llamas, but there is not enough contrast to see them if you're not looking.

We also have a barbeque to go to this afternoon. It's gray enough that I don't really feel enthusiastic about going. And I'm REALLY not looking forward to a cold shower before we go. It will, however, wake me up.

Apr 28, 2007

Gray Saturday

One of the things I miss about Cheyenne is THUNDER. I love a good thunderstorm. It doesn't really rain here, not like it does in Cheyenne. It doesn't just cut loose and pour down. The rain here, in Lima, is more of a drizzly type of moisture. And it doesn't come with thunder and lightning, which is probably good, because rain coming down in sheets here in the desert would amount to disaster. I've sat through "Conager" three times tonight, just for the thunder storm and hearing the rain fall. Sam Elliot isn't bad, either, but it's really the storm that I want.

Something else that I miss is the chilly freshness of the morning. I suppose I knew there wouldn't be chilly freshness, because I'm just south of the equator, at sea level, in the middle of a huge metropolis. The only thing I smell outside in the morning is car exhaust.

This afternoon, I washed some clothes in the wash tub and put Ms. Violet in to soak (and hopefully drown whatever fleas she might be harboring). The phone rang and I stepped out of the laundry room to answer it. Celeste stayed there in the laundry room, watching the drops of water fall back into the tub...you already know what happened, don't you? I won't try to guess what was going through her mind, or how exactly she did it, but Celeste took the washtub full of water off the stool. When I returned from answering the phone, I found a flooded laundry room, a soaked and shivering dog, and Ms. Violet on the floor with the overturned washtub. The only dry spot in the room was on a wall or in her plastic bed. She tried to rush out of the room when I opened the door, but that wasn't happening. I didn't need a soaking wet pup sliding all over the house while I mopped things up. She sat in the water for a while, and then finally decided she could stay in her bed and shiver while I put things right again. She hates baths, so I imagine this wasn't her best day. She smells "spring rain" fresh, though.

Saturday morning

Saturdays are always good for me. I know I don't have to go to work, I can have the day to do my stuff. Omar is at work for half the day and then, likely he will play soccer in the afternoon, so I have the majority of the day to myself.

This morning, I made myself an omelet and tea. I love cinnamon-clove tea. There's something about the steam rising, the aroma, the sweetness that makes my morning. The omelet was made with two eggs, chopped onion, chopped green beans, and bean sprouts. Then I sat down to knit.

I couldn't figure out why my capelet wasn't turnng out and discovered that I had miscounted my cast-on stitches...duh. So this morning, I ripped it out and started completely over. Two hundred seventeen stitches...nothing more, nothing less. I made a capelet earlier, a crocheted one, but I have been making capelets from that same pattern for 6 months, so I decided to change to another pattern. I need a little variety in my life! So I'm moving way from the crocheted flower capelet and going to a knitted arrowhead lace capelet, if I ever get my cast-on count correct.

Celeste is good company this morning. She's played for a couple of hours, tried to steal a sip of my steaming hot tea (and scorched her tongue), and is now trying to wangle a spot on my lap to snooze as I type. We need to get out on the bike path this morning before she gets obnoxious. Sometimes I haven't enough patience with her, I know. And she often gets into things that she knows full well she shouldn't. I've heard that this is an opportunistic breed of dog and she certainly fits the description. I love her. I do get tired of being the bad guy and the strict mommy. It seems like, lately, my spoken vocabulary has been limited to "No...no Celeste...Celeste, no!...no no no no no...Celeste, what are you doing!?! Get out of that, Celeste...no Celeste...Celeste,no!" Quite a conversationalist, aren't I?

Apr 27, 2007

What European City Do You Belong In?

You Belong in Barcelona

When it comes to Europe, you don't want to decide between culture and fun. You want art by day and a big party by night.
Barcelona is ideal for you. You can check out some Picasso, eat some tapas, take a siesta, and then dance all night!

crocheted tam hat

Look at this fabulous tam!


I want to make it!

Back From Our Walk

Yeay! We just came in from outside, going to the pet store to get Celeste her chew toy and visiting the local artisan fair that's 2 blocks the other way. She was so good! No throwing herself into traffic, no jumping and grabbing legs while crossing the streets, no drama, no tantrums. Just a good honest dog and what a pleasure she was! I know it's too much to ask for right now, but I wish she was this good all the time. With time, she'll be a great dog. For now, I guess I have to settle for a great little girl sometimes and brat the rest of the time. For now, she's worked the kinks out, blown off some steam, and is happily working on her chew toy.

I just quickly walked through the artisan market with Celeste and most of the stuff I saw was the usual. Nothing jumped out at me, except some knitted socks. I'm thinking of picking up a few pairs of those to get me through the winter; I have enough projects going at the moment.

Drama Queen and the Stash Grows

I've been awake since Celeste began bawling at midnight. She ate her chew toy on Wednesday and yesterday had nothing to fling around. Ms. Violet is in the laundry, awaiting her turn in the wash tub (no, I don't have a washing machine nor do I have a dryer NOR do I have a clothesline) and the hanger to dry herself on, so Celeste was lonely last night. At the moment, she is snoozing on my lap until it's time to go visit the pet store and get another chaw of rawhide. I wish I could snooze that easily. When I'm tired during the day, I just get cranky, so look out. I'm cranky.

We went yesterday to see if we could get a rawhide thing for her, but the store didn't open when it was supposed to, and after walking the block for a while, we decided to go home without it. We'll go later today and see if the store is open. But yesterday, while we were crossing the street, Celeste decided to run in front of me and leap on my leg. It's a thing she pulls every so often, and I usually see it coming, but this time we were in the middle of the street and I was watching cars, not Celeste. She jumped on my leg, grabbed my pants in her teeth, and I almost fell. And in catching my balance, stepped out farther than usual...and stepped on Celeste's toes. She, of course, screamed bloody murder, and at length. She stepped back from me and looked right in my face and SCREAMED for 2 solid minutes. She screamed as I was dragging her from the intersection. She screamed as we reached the sidewalk. She screamed as I felt her toe to be sure there was no damage. She screamed as we continued down the sidewalk. By that time, I think she was enjoying her role as the victimized drama queen. She screamed until I told her it was time to stop screaming. Then, oddly, she took a breath, paused, and shut her mouth.

I can't take the same route to the pet store, because all those people who were there on the street think I torture my dog in public for sport. That jumping and grabbing thing is something that I've been trying to correct for a while now, but when Celeste is in a playing mood, she doesn't see correction for what it is. She thinks it's part of the game. I didn't mean for things to happen the way they did, but maybe now she'll understand that jumping on anyone is not a good thing.

My half-ripe tomato red sweater has morphed into a capelet. Before that, it was in the third row of a crocheted poncho. I still am envisioning a sweater in this color, but maybe that will come later, or maybe I'll end up ripping out the capelet and going back to the sweater.

While I was out the other day, I found some different yarn. It's an alpaca/acrylic blend. I'm looking at the label, and it says "100% alpaca-acrylico". It seems odd to me that they would blend alpaca with acrylic, but that's just me. Maybe in time, all alpaca yarn will be available. I have a few projects already in the works, so I'll wait for a while to start something with that. Until then , my yarn stash grows.

Apr 25, 2007

The Big Dog

I received this via my e-mail recently.

"Hercules was recently awarded the honorable distinction of Worlds Biggest Dog by Guinness World Records. Hercules is an English Mastiff and who has a 38 inch neck and weighs 282 pounds.

With "paws the size of softballs" (reports the Boston Herald), the three-year-old monster is far larger and heavier than his breed's standard 200 lb. Hercules owner Mr. Flynn says that Hercules weight is natural and not induced by a bizarre diet: "I fed him normal food and he just 'grew'...

and grew and grew and grew..."

I wonder if he sleeps on the bed.

Apr 24, 2007

Aaahhh...the good stuff

Finally, FINALLY I have a chocolate bar. A beautiful, melt in your mouth, milk chocolate with nothing added, sweet, creamy, chocolately Hershey's chocolate bar. AND a Pepsi. Chocolate and sweet, fizzy caffeine...what could be better for the complete sugar fix?

Celeste and I went to the market today and I BEGGED the candy store man for chocolate. "Please, Mr. Candy Seller, I NEED chocolate. How come I'm not seeing the leftover box of Valentine's Day chocolates? I NEED it. Chocolate, nothing but chocolate." And guess what?! He pulled out a real Hershey's chocolate bar! I caught myself drooling as I paid him and gingerly, reverently, every so gently took the candy bar and slide it into my bag with the bread. When we got home, Celeste sat with me as I collapsed on the living room floor and drew the chocolate bar out of the bag.

I smelled it. Celeste smelled it. She watched with fascination as I took the outer wrapper off. She moved a little closer, to get a better look at the beautiful brown color and to sniff the wonderful chocolatey aroma, and...I GROWLED at her. She sat back, grabbed her rawhide chew toy and let me eat my goody.

Apr 23, 2007

A Chocolate Fit...

I'm having a fit this morning...a chocolate fit, to be exact. I NEED CHOCOLATE. Probably because Omar had the last of the Milo this morning and I have nothing to put in my cup that is chocolate. Gads, I can smell it, taste it, feel it in my mouth...I just don't have any. I've just eaten lunch and I'm not hungry for anything except chocolate. Maybe a banana will help. Better yet, a banana smoothie, with lots of sugar added and full fat milk, and maybe an egg tossed in there for extra protein. Okay, give me a minute and I'll go try that...

I've got my cup of banana smoothie, and I can already tell that it's not going to do. I have no money to buy chocolate, and it's 8 blocks away in the market, and it's not the kind of chocolate that I want anyway...not the rich, smooth, almost too strong to swallow tasting dark chocolate. They have wafer cookies dipped in a light chocolate, but no overpoweringly dark, flavorful chocolate. Somebody told me once that a chocolate craving is a sign of a magnesium deficiency and that mustard on crusty bread would relieve that craving. It really does not. Maybe that's the fix for a magnesium problem, but I have a chocolate problem. There is no comparison between a smear of mustard on a piece of bread and a mouthful of rich, sweet, dark chocolate.

I don't even know why I want dark chocolate...I hate it. I'm a milk chocolate fan, myself. Maybe it's because the day is gray. It's 11:30 am and the sun has yet to come through the clouds. Even Celeste is satisfied to spend a quiet morning snoozing on the floor. Ah! The sun has just peeked through the fog! Yeay! And I just found $5 in the night stand!

Now maybe we can get out of here and go find a leftover box of Valentine's Day chocolates...I saw one the other day. I hope it is from this year...

Monday Musings

I'm almost finished with the long pink vest. I've decided that I will put this one up for sale. It is long, about mid-thigh length, and about a size 14 - 16. I need to put an edge on the front, the neckline, and the arm holes. No buttons for this one. I added a tie closure to it, and I like it. I still haven't made a hat to go with it yet, but I do have enough yarn, I think, to do that. I wore the red vest to a meeting on Saturday and I liked it, too. I felt a little bit like a school girl in my mid-calf length jean skirt and vest, but it was fun to wear, and I think that's what it's all about. I mean, if you don't enjoy wearing your clothes, then you're wearing the wrong things...right?

I gave Celeste a bath on Sunday and she cried like I was skinning her alive. After she dried, we went outside for a few minutes and GAH!!! She ran through the grass and came back with fleas. Most of yesterday was spent scratching and biting at herself. So this morning, I made a flea treatment for her of essential oils and olive oil and poured it on her, rubbed it all over her and found fleas running to the ends of her ears and toes. They couldn't run far, because they were coated in olive oil and getting them off her was much easier. They didn't jump; they didn't escape, either. I got about 7 off of her; I know there are more, but they're either taking a prolonged break or they smothered in the oil. I need to find a way to get something better. This is the first place that I've had to deal with fleas and, at times, I feel like I'm at my wits' end. I haven't found anything here, like Advantage, that can be given to the dog to keep her comfortable and keep the fleas out of my house.

Today is so different than Saturday was. Today, Celeste is sleeping in my lap as I write this. She hasn't tried to eat my shoes, shows no interest in the woodwork, ate her food without so much as a whimper, and watched with interest as I fixed her bed in the washtub. She hopped in and out of it a couple of times to try it and then went on about her business.

I've read all my dailies. I found "Confessions of a Pioneer Woman", and felt so bad for her when her little son burnt himself at the calf branding...in between laughing till I cried at her description of showing up at the hospital in her greasy weekend hair, crotchless pajama bottoms, and old green sweatshirt. Lisa is inspiring me with her search to help her community and Andrew is giving moral support to Rosa, who is on fighting the urge to use crack again. Lisa and Andrew are so strong! I wish I had that kind of strength. Pim made strawberies with vanilla sauce and simple but beautiful flower decorations in jars for her table. Maggie almost bought a horse at an auction and brought back memories to me about farm auctions. Bird Chick made a video of Ms. Cinnamon Rabbit's busy nose in the park. I found several gardening and farming blogs that take me back home for a brief moment. I love all of these blogs and hope that others will read them and enjoy them. I've enjoyed the search for them, sifting through many other wonderful blogs in the process. I wish I was so talented and inspiring.

Apr 21, 2007

Obnoxious Saturday

Today Celeste has been pushing. Maybe it's because we went out the other day and pooped in the grass and now she has a fresh crop of fleas. I don't know. What I do know is that she's just a mess. Before we went to the market today, she had so much balled up energy that she was into everything, chewing, tearing it up, barking, screaming...the works. I was on the run watching that she wasn't trying to tear the woodwork off the wall - that's her most recent interest - or shred my shoes. So I thought I'd just take her to the market with me...that should burn off some of that energy. So we went to the market.

She couldn't wait to get out of the apartment building, but then refused to walk without being dragged. Then we came to the first crosswalk and she tried to rush out into traffic, then tried to wind herself around my legs. We unraveled that and crossed the rest of the streets without trouble, until we arrived at Fireman's Park, where there were several older men, sitting idle on the benches, whistling and calling Celeste; she was more than glad to oblige, but was restrained, dang it, by a troublesome leash. Once again, she went to rush out into traffic and ended up being jerked back (honestly, what were these men thinking, or were they thinking at all?). We avoided them and continued on to the market.

Celeste thinks that every thing on the street has been put there for her. She darted back and forth in front of me, grabbing at every leaf, used Kleenex, old candy wrapper, and puddle of spit until I ended up stepping on her. Once in the market, there were the kids. All of them squeal when they see her and she falls over, squirms and wiggles her whole body until they come over to her. The kids are on the ground with her and I'm trying to complete my shopping...all this is going on in a two foot wide aisleway crowded with people also trying to do their shopping. GRrrr...I want to kick the kids off and move on, but I end up dragging Celeste out of the aisle and into the main entrance of the market block.

I've had enough by this time, and we're heading home. Back to trying to grab trash on the street, leap into traffic, and twist herself around my legs, only this time I have a load of vegetables and dog food on one shoulder and I'm cranky. I don't care if I step on her toes when she's darting around in front of me...and I do, more than once. I don't worry about her conking her head on a light post when she's busy walking backwards or rubber-necking while making eyes at the kids behind us...and she does, more than once. We make it home and I put her lunch in a bowl and I make my lunch. We both sit down to eat - she in her room and I at the table - and she takes one sniff of her food and puts up such a racket that I'm sure the neighbors are thinking I'm killing my sweet little innocent itsy bitsy, cutie-wootie of a BRAT puppy.

I squirted her in the face with a spray bottle of water and she shut up, ate her lunch, and went to sleep. She's sleeping still. Thank God I have to go to work this afternoon. I need a break.

the search for the perfect fiber...

Recently, I have seen and been drawn into discussions about fiber and yarn, and have found myself in the midst of heated, heated discussions about fiber, or yarn snobbery. Hmmm. I have my own thoughts on that. After I'm done, you may think that I'm a snob, or you may come away with the thought that I'm open to whatever comes my way in the form of yarn. But that is completely up to you. Bear in mind that I'm expressing my own personal opinions, and if you disagree...well this is MY blog, so please keep it civil if you care to share your opinions. I don't enjoy nastiness and a rude comment will find itself immediately flung into oblivion without a second thought.

Okay. On fiber: in my opinion, there is no finer fiber to spin than huacaya alpaca fiber (but not the suri fiber). It has the crimp, the fine micron count that I want, the luxurious handle that I want, and it slides through my fingers so easily. When I spin alpaca fiber, I get completely spoiled and don't want any other fiber. That being said, I can honestly say that I have not spun every fiber in the world and am completely ready to experiment. I love trying new fibers and blends. The thing I love about animal fiber is that it holds it's shape, doesn't pill as readily as synthetic fibers, and can be felted! I LOVE FELTING!

In spite of all that, I do my fair share of knitting with synthetic fiber, too. I'm have no free access to animal fiber at the moment. What is available for an affordable price to the general public here, in Lima, is acrylic. I can't even find expensive animal fiber. So I use acrylic and am happy with it. And it comes in so many vibrant colors, many different textures, and ranges here from lace weight to worsted weight (no chunky stuff available yet). Moth-proof, and hypo-allergenic, anyone can handle it or wear it without breaking out or getting the itchies. The drawback is that acrylic pills badly, right from the start. And it doesn't hold it's shape. I HATE saggy elbows and baggy necklines and I get both when I use acrylic.

I am somewhat picky when I buy yarn, even acrylic yarn. My all-time favorite acrylic yarn is Lion Brand Homespun, with their Wool-ease running a close second. I'm sad that Lion Brand yarns are not available here. But when there is animal fiber available, I'll go for that every time. Lopi, I love you. Lamb's Pride, I'm enthralled with you. Odyssey Rock Ranch yarn (huacaya alpaca)...I'll take that over everything else. Now, let me say that at this moment I have an acrylic sweater on the needles that is a delicious olive green and I can't wait to see how it turns out!

One other thing that just really grabs me by the eyeballs and won't let me go is when someone walks by my booth at a craft show, picks up a skein of the yarn that I have lovingly spun, flings it back down, snorts derisively, and says LOUDLY, "I could buy a whole POUND of yarn at Walmart for what this costs". Really. I wonder why that is necessary. If the price seems unreasonable, why not simply put the yarn back and go to somewhere else? Or why not ask, without being rude, why this yarn costs more than that yarn? I'd be glad to tell them why I've priced it as I have. I don't try to talk anyone into buying anything, but I present what I have made and I'm THRILLED if they buy it. Oddly, people who pick up a sweater that I've made don't snort and tell me that they could buy a bunch of sweaters at Walmart for the same price. They usually just buy the sweater they like, acrylic or not, and I do make and sell sweaters from acrylic as well as sweaters from animal fibers, and I'm still thrilled when they buy.

One other thing: I do shop at Walmart when I'm in Cheyenne, and at Hobby Lobby, and I love them. I shop at the LYS when I'm there, too, and I love it.

So, am I a snob? I don't know. If I am, I am. I just do what I do. What I think it the MOST important is that people are freely able to express their creativity in their chosen medium. I have simply stated my preferences. What's another word for SNOB? Maybe connoisseur?

Apr 20, 2007

A Room With A View

Behind our building is a convent. It is not open to the public, and people are only invited there on certain occasions. The nuns throw a fund raiser luncheon periodically and invite those who are endowed with plenty of cash. During lunch, the nuns sing and play musical instruments, and we can her the music. It's beautiful, even though we aren't welcome inside.

Everyday, I enjoy this view from my bedroom window. It kind of makes up for not having my own yard and listening to city traffic all day. Beautiful, isn't it?

Apr 19, 2007

Little Lost Siberian

This evening, we all (Omar, Celeste, and I) went for a walk. Up and down the bike path for a little while, then down to the market block to find something to eat. We were hoping to work some of the sass out of Ms. Blue Eyes (THAT didn't work) and neither of us felt like cooking. We got our carry-out hamburgers at the Mi Carcochita (My Little Old Jalopy)hamburger stand and mosied on home.

Just as we were waiting to cross Salaverry Avenue (one of the busiest thoroughfares in my part of town), we spied a bushy little tail dodging traffic. After crossing, we caught up with the bushy tail and it turned out to be another Siberian Husky - withut his people and apparently lost. He stopped on the sidewalk across from our apartment building and just looked around. As we approached him, he turned some soulful and sad blue eyes on us. Celeste fell silent and completely still, for once. His collar was tied to him with a piece of electrical wire and a nylon strap, both of which had been chewed through. He was young and dirty, thin, and forlorn looking. We stood with him for a few minutes and talked about what to do. I could tell by looking at Omar that he wanted to take him inside, but his better judgement told him that 2 dogs in a tiny flat would be next to impossible. The dog seemed to know, too, that he couldn't be with us. After a few moments, we parted ways - the dog continuing on his search and we went on home.

Inside, I looked at silent little Celeste (the silence only lasted half a second) and thought how lucky she was to have a real home and not be tied up somewhere or chained to a tree or be lost wandering the streets. She seemed to know how sad the Siberian boy on the sidewalk was.

We Want People Food!

Celeste is on a hunger strike, I think. I made my lunch yesterday (squash, tomatoes, potatoes, and onions with minced garlic over rice) while she watched, as usual. Then I filled her bowl with her own food and put it in her room, filled mine and went into the dining room to eat mine. When lunch was over, mine was eaten and hers was still there...all over the floor. Last night, Celeste declined her dinner. This morning she turned her nose up at her breakfast. She hops all over the place when I make MY breakfast, but leaves HERS where it is. It's cut down dramatically on the amount of poop that I clean up, and her energy level hasn't dropped, so I imagine she'll eat when she's good and hungry. My Basset hound, Sunny, did a similar thing when he was a pup but he enjoys eating so much that his strike only lasted a day. By breakfast the next morning, he was ready to eat anything. I'll be keeping a close eye on Celeste to be sure we haven't got something ugly, like parvo, but for the moment, I don't see anything to indicate it.

I see people spoon feeding their school aged kids and begging them to eat when they aren't hungry. Maybe that has skewed my thinking, but I won't beg my dog to eat or spoonfeed her from my plate. She knows what food is, she tried to steal my apple this morning, and I imagine that when she's hungry enough, she'll go back to enjoying her own food. Until then, I have a cleaner laundry room.

This happens, of course, after the vet tells me that Celeste, at her age, needs to be eating 4 times a day, instead of 3 squares daily. Hmmm.

*Note* - If Celeste drops weight or becomes depressed or listless, she'll be off to the vet's office immediately. But for now, I think it's a battle of wills between a picky eater and a pig-headed food provider. I won't wait long, don't worry. I don't want anything to happen to my girl! But no spoonfeeding and she doesn't get to eat MY food.

Apr 18, 2007

Celeste and a tan sweater

Celeste is growing like a little weed. She's ornery, head strong, intent on chewing up something, almost anything, and lots of fun most of the time. We go trotting on the bike trail a couple of times a day, to keep all the boundless energy in check, and it does help. I'm glad she's so happy to go along. We're slowly working our way towards disgarding the potty papers. She's just discovered that it's okay to potty outside, even if there are no papers to be found. The photos are a little blurry, partially due the my shaky hands and partially due to the fact that she's in motion all the time.

Below is the tan sweater that I finally got finished with. It's an interesting looking sweater...I like it, but I need to adjust the buttonholess...they're just a touch too big. It's not the best I've ever done, but it's warm when I need it to be and I can wear it with my "what do I wear with this" skirts!

Apr 15, 2007

a different viewpoint

I went with Omar and a couple of his friends to have a beer and some lunch this afternoon. As I was sitting in the covered patio of the restaurant, I watched several people pass by. It suddenly occured to me as I was watching, that each of them reminded me of bird or animal. I watched a lady walk by that seemed like a pidgeon...head held back and high, breast thrust forward, stepping carefully and slowly. Another woman passed and I thought she looked exactly like a heavy setting hen...red hair, a smallish top with well-endowed tail feathers. I laughed a little, then looked up at the blaring television, that was showing the very last few moments of an episode of "Charmed"...one of the witch sisters was singing, very made up, hair long and wavy, heavy makeup on the eyes and lips, clingy evening gown...she looked exactly like Jessica Rabbit from "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?", and by coincidence, she was singing the Jessica's opening song! After we ate, I excused myself to go home. The whole afternoon seemed like it was out of a cartoon strip. Not fair to Yogi Bear and Yosemite Sam, with whom we were having lunch.

Apr 14, 2007

The hazards of city people and hippy knitting

We're back from our morning walk. Just after Omar went to work Celeste became incredibly unbearable and obnoxious, so we went out to stretch our legs for about an hour. These walks do her (and probably me, too) so much good. She burns off so much of that boundless puppy energy that makes her chew things up, scream and bark, roar around our little flat, and just basically be a little monster. The drawback to walking here in the city is that people try to call her to them, and she is so willing to go! She loves people, and I'm glad that she does, but people will call to her from the window of a moving city bus, from their cars as they squeal around a corner, from across a busy intersection, and they toss out a bit of food...a piece of sandwich or cookie - WHAT ARE THEY THINKING? Yes, of course Celeste is in that cute, happy, love everyone stage, but if she were off her leash, she'd be mashed into the pavement by now. If I have anything to say about it, my girl will never leave the house off her leash. There are just too many people out there that seem willing to risk HER life for their own gratification. Just another reason for me to be glad when she grows up and out of the puppy stage. No one tries to call an adult dog to their car window. Huskies look too much like wolves to most people (which is good) and adult dogs always come with a big mouthful of teeth. Okay, I'm done with that rant. Celeste is doomed to the spend her life on the leash, but she will at least be alive and well, and getting plenty of exercise. Omar thinks that later we can teach her to run with a bicycle on the bike path, so she can really stretch her legs. I hope we can figure that out. By that time Celeste should be a leash pro!

Celeste is also becoming quite the talker. She talks in kind of a half-howl, with yips and yodels. I love it, but every time we hear her talking, we can't help but laugh - she sounds like Donald Duck. It's her baby voice and I know it will change, but for now, it's hilarious. She's so vocal! She has some little idea about everything and enthusiastically takes part in every conversation.

I seem to be caught in a vicious cycle of drop stitch. I apparently haven't gotten enough of it yet, because my pink DROPSTITCH pullover has morphed into a long hippie vest with a front tie (for the moment). I have the back and one front side finished, and am into the second front. It goes so fast, and I love it, but hmmm...one can't live in drop stitch everything. I need to find something else that fascinates me for my next project, but I usually find myself knitting with the same stitch until I've either mastered everything that can be done with it, or I make myself sick of it.

I should have enough of this pink yarn left over to make a hat...a floppy hat, to really finish the hippy look? Ha! Maybe so...we'll see. I don't know if I can get that bohemian here without embarrassing Omar. I could make the hat anyway, put some knitted flowers and leaves on it, and sell it in November when I go back home for a couple of weeks. I also have some yarn in a beautiful shade of red...maybe I need to cater a little to the red hat ladies of Northern Colorado? What about a bright red hat with pink flowers and green leaves, if I have enough leftovers from whatever I make with my new olive green yarn? Or a hot pink hat with bright red flowers and green foliage? I also have some lighter red, more like the inside of a Roma tomato that hasn't reached the peak of ripeness...you know what I'm talking about, that kind of pinky-red with a little white through it color. Ponchos are big here, too...but not MY style of long, flowing and warm poncho. They like the little shoulder things here, and nothing seems to go below the elbow. I prefer a capelet for that...just a differentce in style, I suppose, but a poncho for me should be long and warm.

Apr 12, 2007


I apologize if this photo makes the blog load up slowly, but I have to post this. I got this when I FINALLY got my e-mail open. It's too precious not to share. The dog's face is just perfect!

Phooey on e-mail

I have been trying for two days to open my e-mail, but it's just not happening. Forgive me if I haven't written, but I'm trying! Maybe after my class this evening, I'll be able to answer whatever e-mails there are in my inbox. Thanks for your patience.

Apr 11, 2007

my *sob* plants...

Apparently pups and plants don't mix. Puppies LOVE to shred the plants, up root the plants, chew up the plants, but the plants don't return the love. My last potted plant was uprooted last night - TWICE. I don't know what the attraction is for Celeste...the plant just is there, not bothering anyone, not making a sound, but apparently somehow, in puppy language, begs to be destroyed. I took some cuttings from this plant earlier in the week, in hopes that I could transplant them in the OTHER pot, that suffered from Celeste's love, but I may have to go find some more ivy to take the place of the plant that I am watching slowly die today.

So, last night, Celeste was severely chastized after ripping up my last plant. She spent the night pouting, and didn't even scream this morning. Not a good way to get a decent night's sleep, but maybe now she'll stay out of the plants, should I get the chance to replace them. And this morning, Ms. Blue Eyes was so pleasant, I couldn't believe it was the same dog. She's resting quietly on my lap now, almost too big to be doing that, and feet and head hanging over the side. She's discovering her voice now...the soft wooo wooo wooo hasn't quite made it yet (I wonder if it ever will), but she's working some new yodely Husky words in with the barking. She has kind of a rough sounding voice right now, but I think it's because she does the majority of her talking when she's really excited.

Uuufff...property taxes came due this month...there was no warning, just a big bill that showed up in the mail. Crap. That was money I was hoping to put toward a hot water heater. I don't look forward to bathing another winter in a cooking pot.

Apr 10, 2007

Quieter Days

Now that the fuss of Easter holidays is over, and Celeste has learned to walk on the leash, I have quieter days. We start our day with getting Omar to work, up fr breakfast at 6 am, out the door by 7, and then Celeste and I have our breakfast in a more leisurely fashion. Then we're out the door by 8, usually, and on the bike path or to the street market for about an hour.

Walking on the leash is probably the best thing that has happened to Celeste. She is eager to go and be part of everything, so a walk in the morning and a walk before bedtime are sure things. And if I need to go to the market, she goes along, too. The market is about 8 blocks away from our apartment building, quite stroll for a 10 week old pup, and is like an adventure for her. There is the JOURNEY, which must seem like an enormous thing to her - crossing Salaverry Avenue is like crossing I-25: 4 lanes of heavy, fast moving traffic and no street lights to help. Several construction projects are in progress along the way, so there are ruts in the streets, holes in the sidewalks, and big piles of dirt to be negotiated.

Then there are the dangers: giant dogs waiting around every corner...some seem to want to chew her up, and others are scary because they seem oblivious to her and would step on her without knowing it. People are like that, too. Some get right down on her level, putting their faces in hers and saying "here puppy puppy puppy", while others kick at her or screech at the sight of her. As we walk, there are always those who try to call her to them, in spite of the fact that she's on a leash and is unable to go visit them. And there's the inevitable taxi that runs the red light or fails to signal for a turn, so it's imperative to keep an eye out to the fore and aft, just in case that errant cabbie goes a little wild.

Of course after we arrive at the market, Celeste's fans abound. They greet her with the occasional kiss and a quick pat on the head. As she accompanies me from shop to shop, Celeste does her best to wangle a treat from the attending staff, but so far, that's been unsuccessful. The good thing is, though, that dogs are not banned from the shops and stalls there, and Celeste can go in with me anywhere...not inside a restaurant, but in the market area she is welcome, as long as she behaves herself. When Omar and I went to a little place to eat the other day, it was in an open part of the market and Celeste parked herself under my chair to watch the passers by. That was so nice! No one glared at us because the dog was with us, or asked us to leave. And I was so proud of Celeste for behaving, in spite of being surrounded by people eating.

So today was a market morning. We made the journey to the market, negotiating all the pitfalls and dangers, and Celeste waited patiently with me while I did my shopping, lounging on the floor and enjoying the cool tiles, checking out the interesting odors, and watching the other people as they entered. We went from shop to shop, only on the street side of the market this time, and then went home. She's resting quietly on my lap while I type this now...no chewing, no tormenting me, no restless scrambling around. I'm thinking that this walking thing is good for both of us!

On the knitting front, I have almost finished the back of a pink pullover for myself. It's of the drop stitch...we'll see how it turns out.

Apr 7, 2007

Friday on the leash and fish

Yesterday Omar and I went to a place called "Canta" and to a camping/picnic area to spend the day. It was a beautiful place in the mountains, and apparently everyone else in Lima thought so, too, because it was overrun with tents, people, and dogs. We took Celeste and Omar's friends, Rosa and Flover (whose name, I'm ashamed to say, I thought was Flobert and I laughed every time I thought about it), and their 3 kids. All the way up and back down the mountain side, Flover taught his kids about the land formations, the farmers we saw who were still using their horse-drawn plows, explaining why the river water was brown and why it was loaded with silt, why the early Incan farmers made the terraces that are still visible and sometimes used today. It was quite gratifying and wonderful to hear him give credit to the farmers: "thanks to these gentlemen, by their sweat and pain, we have food to eat", something one rarely hears any more. Rosa cooked food (fish...uuggghhh) and brought enough to feed the Chinese army. We gave Celeste her first experience on the leash. She has a little harness to wear and a short leash to hook onto it. After she had a tantrum and decided that she was NOT going to walk, she sat down and we continued to walk. Celeste slid along on her butt for a couple of feet, then tried to fight it, then gave in and reluctantly trudged along behind us. All this resulted in her being dragged for 5 long minutes...then she decided that tantrums weren't going to cut it and being pulled along was no fun, so in the 6th minute, she began to trot along with us. And I think she enjoyed the walk. At one point, there was a crush of cars and honking horns, people chattering and buzzing like a swarm of hornets, dogs, and horses all seemingly upon us at once. To make matters worse, Celeste squeezed between my feet to escape the crowd, and I stepped on her toes. My poor baby sat down, tipped her nose to the sky, and howled a long, mournful wail. Then the group passed, the clatter waned, and Celeste was ready to continue.

We found a good spot for a picnic and just got situated when it began to rain. Everyone grabbed up what we brought and ran for the car. We had our picnic in the car (luckily it's a minivan) and then after the rain slowed to a drizzle, we mosied around, checking out the sights. By the time the day was over, Celeste was ready to crash. And crash she did. She slept like a rock all the way home...4 hours worth of mountain driving. But she popped right back up at 5 am, screaming her head off. What a gal.

I am not a fish eater. I never have been. I don't like the taste nor the smell, nor the texture of fish. I think I just never learned to like it, kind of like drinking coffee and smoking. I've never learned to like those things, either. I do like shell fish of all kinds, and I love fried calamari. I love crab meat, clams, shrimp, mussels, and raw oysters on the half shell. On occasion, I can stomach a tuna fish sandwich, and I do like cebiche, but I definitely have to be in the mood for it, and I can't bring myself to eat it day after day. I find it edible because the lime juice marinade takes away all the fishiness from the flavor and the smell, but I still have to mentally prepare myself for it. Here in Peru, during holy week, people traditionally eat fish. Last year, at Fanny's house in Pisco, we had fish for breakfast, lunch and dinner for four days. I went vegetarian. This year, I couldn't eat much of Rosa's fish for our picnic, and when she brought it back out again for supper, after we drove them home, I just couldn't manage it. I'm sure that Rosa is a good cook. It's not that her fish wasn't good or wasn't done right. I just don't like fish. That's the long and the short of it. I broke from tradition today and bought a Big Mac for lunch while we were out. Omar had a Big Mac with me and learned what the drive through is and how to order from it. Then he went to a little hole in the wall restaurant and ordered...fish.

And that's Flover - pronounced like clover with an F - not Flobert. Last name is Landeo: Lan-day-oh. Interesting name, hmm?

Apr 5, 2007

Easter weekend and all the happenings

It's Easter weekend here in Peru. We have a looong weekend - 4 days beginning today! I've just gotten the floor swept and mopped and Celeste and I are waiting for it to dry in our respective areas...she in the laundry room, close to the potty papers, and I at the desk, blogging away. I've been away with a head cold for the last few days...it's just beginning to go away now. Still have some of that stuffiness in my head, but at least I am able to hear a little better this morning than I was before.

I always have to stop in at Maggie's Farm (link on the side bar, if you're interested). Maggie's in the midst of lambing and kidding season, hip-deep in rain and babies, it seems. I love reading her blog - it makes me feel like I'm closer to my own home farm in Colorado. My sister, Suzzanne, just wrote me to say that the Angora goats there are due to have kids just anytime now. The alpacas won't be due to give birth until a little later in the spring. So when kids are born, there'll be pictures of them here!

My essential oils showed up the other day, thanks to Mountain Rose Herbs. I immediately made a flea repellent for Celeste, which seems to be working quite well. Just a couple of drops of citronella oil, lavender oil, and geranium oil in olive oil, and the fleas fled. She smells divine and her coat seems to appreciate the light dose of olive oil, too. I searched for essential oils here, but all I could find were perfume oils, which are not the same thing.

I called my dad on Tuesday morning. I hadn't talked to him for about 3 weeks - my, how things change! He's got a steady girl now...June from across the road is going to lunch with him now on a regular basis, and they have plans to spend the summer touring the local museums and libraries. He also bought a shiny newer black car. I think my 73-year-old father may be turning into a CHICK MAGNET. Suzzanne told me that he seems younger than ever, which was a worry for me after Mama died. He seemed so lonely and lost without her. I was afraid that he would fall into a depression and waste away. But...NO - he's found a freedom that he never had before. He's never lived on his own and been independent until these last 5 months...he left his parents' farm to join the Army in the '50's, spent 2 years in south Korea, living with his buddies there during the Korean War, then came home and moved back to the farm. He met and married my mother, and they moved into a little house then. He didn't have complete independence until Mama died in November - she pretty much directed things there - and he was terrified of finding himself alone and unwanted. June's husband died a few years ago, and she spent some time dealing with that. June is kind of a gushy sort...everything is just too TOO...hmmm. She's a little bit much for me, but if Papa is happy with her, that's wonderful, as far as I'm concerned. It's taken me a little time to come to this, but I'm fine with him spending his time with June. I don't know how I'll feel if she decides to move out of her own home just across the road and into the farm house. I guess I'll deal with that if and when it comes. I hope she drops that "what will the neighbors say?" stuff. Papa doesn't give two hoots what the neighbors think or say, so I hope that June will find another thing to gush about. What could the neighbors say about 2 adults over 70 years old spending time together at church, at the park, at the museums, and having lunch together? Papa told me that there is probably no possibility of them getting married...it might be a little to soon to be seriously considering that anyway...because the marrage would so drastically reduce their social security benefits to the point that they couldn't financially survive. As long as Papa is happy, I'm happy, too. He seems to be so worried that one of us kids will take exception to what he's doing. And, honestly, June is a nice woman.

Now that I've gotten that out of my system, I can move on to other things. Celeste is growing in leaps and bounds. She is a bundle of energy and orneriness. She still screams, but is moving to howling and barking now, which I absolutely welcome. I will be so glad when the nightly screaming stops. And I'd much rather awake to a bark than a shriek. When she's potty trained and reliable, she can begin to sleep in the bedroom with us, but for now, she's still sleeping in the laundry room and protesting strongly. She's killed one of my plants, and got started on another one, when she was caught in the act of uprooting it. Having been trounced upon within an inch of her life, she knows now that plants are off limits to puppies, but they are still a temptation. I've started a few cuttings in a jar again, to root them out so I'll be able to transplant them into my now vacant clay pot.

I finished the tan sweater, and wore it to work yesterday. It's not the best I've ever made, but now I have a sweater that I can wear on chilly days without donning the winter gear.

Celeste and I are alone in the apartment this morning. Omar had call last night at the hospital, and hasn't returned from that yet. After I clean up the bedroom, we are going to PLAY!