May 31, 2007

clear as mud

Today I had to go pay a bill and send money to Omar's parents. I got lost in the process. Lima is so big, and the streets all twist around and most of them don't have street signs anymore. I have a hard time telling my directions here, even when the sun is out, and today is so GRAY that no shadows are cast, so I can't even tell where NORTH is. Anyway, I asked directions to the National Bank from about 10 people - I'm finally getting where I can ask for and take directions, but because there are no street signs, no one gives the name of the street nor the block number. If they could just say "go straight on San Filipe for 5 blocks, turn right there on Carnaval, then go left 3 more blocks and that will put you on Mariategui", I would be just fine. But no. Everyone says "go walking for 15 minutes to the front, then when you see a church on the right, turn left. Five more blocks walking will put you close. The bank is on the spine of the block. Just remember that." Walking fifteen minutes? On my legs or yours? Is my 15 minutes going to put me close to where you think I should be turning? Hmmm. So I go walking the the front for about 10 minutes. I see a church and turn left. I walk five more blocks. No bank. Ask in a store. The storekeeper says, "cross the street and go walking to the front. The bank is on the spine." I cross the street and walk to the front. That puts my in the middle of a huge complex of apartment buildings, with the security guards giving me the eyeball. I ask one of them where the bank is. He says "Keep walking to the front. The bank is on the spine of the block." I keep walking and I get out of the apartment complex. Ooops, dead end. Ask at a news stand. They twirl their fingers in the air, indicating turning a turn or a twirl. I look all around, spin around, look back at the newspaper vendor, who twirls her fingers in the air again. So I go walking to the front in a different direction. I turn a corner and there is an entire community of banks in a strip mall, among them is the bank that I need.

The trip home was much easier. After asking for directions to Salaverry from two people, I caught a taxi.

Simple. Just go walking to the front. Remember that the bank is on the spine.

I think it must be similar for Celeste. I'm always throwing her toy across the room and saying "Go get the TOY." I point. She turns her head and looks in the direction that I'm pointing. She sees the white tip of her tail curled over her back and goes for THAT. I point again. She spins around, looking for the TOY. I say, "go walking to the front for ten steps and look on the spine..." Then I twirl my fingers. I can tell by the look on her face that it's totally mud. Both of us are obviously NORTHERN girls.

May 30, 2007

Extreme Crochet

Wow . Is it Halloween yet? This one took a lot of work, too.

Here's one for Thanksgiving.

Just a Fairytale...

I was sitting at the computer when SuperCeleste came back to life while chewing on her rawhide chew toy and took a flying leap and landed in my lap. She only has her super hero powers of flight when she's holding a chew toy in her mouth. Any other time, she has to have help to get up to sit on my lap. Kind of like Popeye and the spinach that he sucked through his pipe (ever notice that?). No joy unless you have either your vitamins or your magic with you.

Later, Celeste was singing in her Donald Duck voice and I sang "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?" and Celeste yodeled. So we went through the Little Red Ridinghood thing...

"Oh Grandmother, what big EYES you have!", to which the wolf (Celeste) replied, "Ow Wow." "Oh, Grandmother, what big EARS you have!" "Ow Wow". "Oh Grandmother, what big TEETH you have!" And Celeste GRINNED, opened her mouth big and WIDE, showing her LACK of top front teeth, and said, "RAAAALF!"

At that point, I think Little Red Ridinghood would have been gummed to death by the Celeste wolf that lost her teeth yesterday on the chew toy.

May 29, 2007

Look What I Found!

There is an animal rescue place in Lince! adopta un amigo

We live on the border of the two districts of Lince and Jesus Maria, so they aren't too far away. They support the spay/nueter program, they offer pets without paying an adoption fee. They really encourage the adoption of adult dogs. Dogs and cats are their primary focus. I'm feeling better about Lima now. I wish I'd known about the animal shelter before we got Celeste. I'd have taken an adult dog over a puppy in a heartbeat. But...then we wouldn't all be entertained by the antics of the lovely Ms. Blue Eyes.

We are spending the morning together. We went out to buy a couple of papers earlier this morning and to walk on the bike path. And the rest of the morning we have been just resting...she in my lap on the floor or sitting here at the computer with me. Yesterday was especially difficult for her, because I had to go out 3 times before I actually went to work, and she wasn't expecting to spend most of her day alone. Anything unexpected or out of her personal routine is tough for her to deal with. It leads to screaming and diarrhea explosions. I think I will continue to keep my routine of leaving at 3:30 in the afternoon and returning at 6pm, just before dark, so she remains in that routine. It's only a couple of hours for her to be alone, and there are times when I have to deal with life beyond Celeste.

situation resolved, Celeste is eating

The situation at the market in Santa Anita has been resolved. The police did finally enter the market - it is a HUGE area, about 33 hectares (I don't know how big a hectare is), separated from the rest of the city by high walls and the entrance is a large gate. The police entered, prepared to use tear gas, and I saw a film clip of some kind of fumes rising about the market square, but I don't know exactly what it was. They were allowed to pack their things and gather their children, then were ejected from the property. Quite a number of weapons and explosives were found among the vendor stalls and police say that they have evidence that children were hired from the street or families to be a human shield in the past weeks. Most left peacefully, but a few were seen being carried out. There are plans to renovate the market and there are no plans to allow people to move in and LIVE in their space, as they tried to do this time. There were around 10,000 people that were removed from the property.

Celeste has decided that she can indeed eat her own food, but only after she has checked out the space where the trash used to be and looked to see if someone else might possibly have dropped something on the floor. She is unhappy about being restricted to her own food, and if there is a whiff of anything else that might be had, she cannot eat hers until the other is gone. I can't tell if this is intelligence or some kind of nuerotic stuff going on. I have this week off, so I think we will spend a good amount of that time walking and running on the bike path. The market is off-limits to her. She eats too much garbage, papers, candy wrappers, etc. when she's there. I know. I got to see it all on the laundry room floor the other day. Maybe with extended activities, she will appreciate her food a little more and not worry so much about what I'm eating.

May 28, 2007

robbery on a grand scale

There is a situation here in Lima. At the major market in Santa Anita, huge quantities of fruits and vegetables are sold to distributors throughout Peru. Three weeks ago, the vendors decided to take over the market and the property, in spite of the fact that they don't own it. They moved their families, children in particular, into the area to live in the stalls so that the police would not use any rough means of removing them from the premises. The owner has been trying to talk with them, but they are unwilling to cooperate in any way. The matter went to court last week and whether or not the police were allowed to enter the property and remove the squatters was dependent upon the decision of one particular judge. It took this judge a week to issue his decision. This morning the police entered the market to remove the trespassers using whatever means was necessary. I haven't heard yet what is happening. I saw a line of police entering the market bearing their clubs and riot shields. A policeman was on the loud speaker asking the people to leave the property without resistance, to avoid injury to the children. No one was going at the time that I turned off the TV.

I guess I might be able to sympathize with the invaders, if they had not allowed the cocaine traffickers to enter and support them in this. I guess I would be able to sympathize with them if they had been open to negotiation or some kind of dialogue. But they simply decided that they wanted to wrench the property from the man who spent his own money to buy and develop the property. I can't understand this. It goes back to the idea that thieves wait until they think they can take what someone else has worked and sweated for because it is just easier to take from others rather than work for it themselves.

May 26, 2007

Ahhhh...Sweet Annie

Still a little big, but not quite so smart

Celeste decided she would eat about HALF of her normal ration of food today, just to humor me, I think. I offered her breakfast this morning and she turned up her nose again, but after reviewing the kitchen and understanding that there were no other goodies to be had (not only was there not trash, but the whole trashcan is gone...under the sink), she decided that she COULD eat dog food, but only if there wasn't anything else. For lunch she ate a few mouthfuls, confident that she was going to get part of MY lunch, but unfortunately I am the wrong person to beg from - I don't share my lunch with puppies. Never have, never will. And eggplant isn't exactly a dog's favorite, unless there's only dog food to be had. It turns out that she spent her lunch in her room again, after acting like she thought she was a BIG dog while I was making my lunch. I don't mind a dog being in the kitchen, but I don't enjoy it when they think they can jump up on the counter to see what's happening up there. Skillet meets dog's head and dog meets floor. Very straight forward and simple, BIG dog or not.

I took her to the market with me this afternoon and BIG dog attitude continued. I think that waiting for the tax man for those three days was very bad for Celeste. She had about 3 days worth of wound up energy to unload, and wah, I'm whupped now that we're back. She's having an afternoon nap now and I'm having a little time to myself, sans BIG dog. I think we'll stick to the bike path for now. The market is terrible on the weekends, with the kids out of school and everyone spending their time there. Celeste could hardly think straight with all the people calling her, kids screaming and squealing, all the different odors coming out of the market stalls. Celeste nearly swooned over the shop that sold cheese and baloney.

Or maybe it was just MY attitude that made things hard today.

WOOT!! Pirates of the Caribbean is out in the theaters! I can't wait to see it! But, wah! It's the last one...after that, who knows when we'll see Jack Sparrow again. I might have to go get the DVD.

May 25, 2007

I'm so big, I'm so smart

Today Celeste turned her nose up at her lunch. Nope, no thank you, no dog food for me today. Okay fine, Ms. Blue Eyes. You think you're so smart, I'll just pick the food bowl up, like the vet said to do, and you do without until suppertime. Celeste trotted out of the kitchen and tossed a look at me over her shoulder. That's right, I'm a BIG DOG now. I don't eat dog food anymore. Poo poo on you. I got it all figured out.

So, hmm, I says, hmm...and I sit down to eat my own lunch. Celeste wandered around the house and in and out of the kitchen, not even LOOKING at me odd. I walk towards the kitchen and hear a rustling. Celeste comes out of the kitchen before I get there. It's fine, everything's just fine. Nothing to see here, move along. I'm not hungry. Nope, she says, nope. Don't worry about me. I can do for myself. I'm a BIG dog now.

I sit back down to eat and hear that rustling again. This time I make it into the kitchen before she can drag her nose OUT OF THE TRASHCAN, and then her hind feet are suddenly grabbed up in the air and she goes HEADFIRST into the trashcan that not only contains food scraps, but also WAY more of her own now inedible (thankfully) and very stinky BIG DOG poop. AND...she gets a BIG DOG spanking while she's headfirst in her own excrement. Smart little Ms. Celeste screams, but her cries are muffled by many rolls of used potty papers and so no neighbors race to her rescue. Then she's jerked out of the garbage by her tail and the scruff of her neck, which is something that happens to PUPPIES - don't you know that? - and her pride, her butt, and her nose are all suffering so....oh, the shame of it all, oh the pain of it all, she cries...

Phooey. No trash can lunch and no dog food lunch either. Wah. Ms. Blue Eyes is sitting out the noon hour in her room, pouting. I took the trash out, too, so no more gourmet snacks to be had today.

Move along now. Nothing to see here. Just a BIG dog, 4 months old now, that's right, 4 big ones...taking care of herself up while sitting there on time out.

May 24, 2007

Granny Squares and Magic Carpet Rides

I'm back to work on the green sweater with the granny square trim. It's a little tedious. The granny squares are finished, and I have enough to trim the neckline and the cuffs on the sleeves. I am almost finished with the bodice, so only have the sleeves left...but geeez, I hope I have enough yarn to make them. I'm looking at the last couple of skeins and hoping they'll do. I might have to take out the whole thing and make something else, which would gall me some, but I imagine I could deal with it. Maybe I can make some 3/4 sleeves for it, if it looks like the yarn won't be enough for full length sleeves.

Celeste thinks her doormat is a magic carpet. I was sweeping the living room floor yesterday and moved it while she was laying on it. Not only did she get a charge out of the ride, but she leaped on it this morning for another! She rode around the living room on her magic doormat, yodeling and hanging on to the front of it with her teeth. This dog...she's quite a character!

As I read other blogs, I notice the huge differences in the weather in various parts of the United States. Some people are talking about how HOT is it, already on the upper 80's and lower 90's, while others are stil taking photos of frost on the leaves and talking about waiting till June to transplant the roses to avoid a late freeze. I guess while living in the US, I never bothered to pay attention to what was happening in other parts of the country. Now that I'm on the outside, lookiing in, I see things in a different way and pay attention to different things.

May 23, 2007

The Bear

There is an older movie out again in DVD. It's called "The Bear". Have you seen it? Made in 1989, it is the story of two bears. A bear cub's mother is killed in a rock slide, and the cub goes on his own at a very young age. Not much dialogue in human form, but an amazing story all the same. I highly recommend it! Celeste has left me here at my computer to go in the living room to watch this movie. She has her spot on the floor, on the doormat, where she has parked herself to listen to the sounds of the birds, the frogs, mountain creeks, and the bears.

Omar hasn't seen it yet. I wonder how he will feel about the vast mountain ranges and, as a complete city boy, the lack of people.

May 22, 2007

whispering in the crowd at the tax place

Today is going to be kind of hectic, so if I don't get back to post again and if I don't get to answer e-mail, it's only because I haven't had the time. This morning I have to go to a place called SUNAT (don't ask me what that means...the T at the end means TAXES, I'm sure), so I can get info on how to pay taxes on what I earn. I can earn about $450 a month before I have to pay taxes. I don't make near that, but I have to file my info every month. And there's a luncheon at Omar's work that I have to go to. Then tonight I have two classes to teach, from 4:15 till 10 pm. WAH! My day will be all taken up by other people.

I have a tub of laundry waiting for me, which I haven't even touched yet, a house to clean, and I know that by the time I get home this evening, Celeste will have destroyed her room. And poor Ms. Violet has almost had it. She's being slowly loved to death. She's losing her stuffing and, although she still squeaks, she's got a huge hole in her that the squeaker could fall out of. I need to find a replacement...Walmart, where are you?

I think I've become spoiled...I want my time to play, too.

edited at 11:12 am -

I'm back from the tax place. I'm already at a disadvantage linguistically, but in a place where many people are talking and getting upset, trying to do business, and trying to make themselves heard over the rest of the people, I REALLY have a difficult time. Although I managed to get done what I needed to do, I had a lot of trouble hearing what was being said to me; I only heard about half of the directions being given to me and basically understood about half of that. Lots of "what did you say?" and "please repeat that", and the dreaded "I don't understand"... What I did come away with was a tax reporting number and the impression that someone will be coming to the house this week sometime to verify that I really do live where I say I do. They'll bring a form that has all my information on it and, if I'm really living here in the apartment that I bought and pay for every month, then they'll stamp it approved and I get to go pick up my book of receipts with my tax number on it. Hopefully the people who come to the house will be able to explain more to me while they're here, in a place where no one is yelling or talking so quietly that one has to almost crawl over the counter to hear them.

Along those lines, I often feel like I need to explain that I forgot to bring my hearing aid along or something, so could they please SPEAK UP. I can't understand why people, who work in a place where many people are all talking and, often yelling, all at once, don't at least have an informational packet ready so if we don't get everything at the moment, we have something to refer back to. For a while, I thought I really was hard of hearing, until I saw several others leaning across the counter to hear, too.

Celeste just brought me a piece of Ms. Violet stuffing. She laid it in my lap in trade for a piece of the sandwich that I'm eating. I guess it might be seen as a fair trade. That stuffing will last me much longer than the sandwich will.

May 21, 2007

Hmmm...Celeste and I went out for our walk yesterday. When we came back, we discovered that our car had been broken into and the radio and the electric window control things on the front doors had been taken. The head rests were gone. The battery cable had been cut so the alarm wouldn't keep screaming and alert the neighbors. The radio was gone. The apartment building guard caught the guy in the act, but couldn't detain him. He took back one of the headrests and the air conditioning control panel.

All that actually doesn't amount to that much...we still have wheel and tires, the radiator and engine parts are still there, Omar's bank ATM card wasn't touched, the car still runs, if the battery cable is held together to get it started (which we did in order to move it to a safe place). It could have been MUCH worse. The thing is that being robbed leaves us with a feeling of being violated. And it pisses me off to no end that someone thinks that getting a job is too difficult, so they're just going to cruise the streets and take what someone else has worked for. The police here do nothing about robberies, unless it is a very large amount of identifiable property that has been stolen, or if a government agency is involved.

Omar spent the afternoon in crisis. He felt guilty for leaving the car in a vulnerable place; he remembered when he was beaten and robbed at gun point two years ago. He thought about how it was when the taxi driver rear-ended us last year, demolishing the taxi and causing significant damage to our car. His stomach was in knots and he told me he was afraid to go out of the house last night. He's more worried than usual today about me walking to work.

On a more positive note, I made myself a different capelet to take the place of the half-ripe tomato red one that turned into Rocio's birthday gift. This new one is crocheted, it's light brown, and has a couple of big lady bug buttons on it. :o) I like it better than the red one. It has a big collar that falls over my shoulders to keep them extra warm. It's kind of lacy-looking, but I've been trying it on all through the process of creating it and it's still warm, in spite of being a little lacy. I have one more skein of that yarn, and I'm thinking seriously of making the capelet just a tad bit longer. We'll see. I'm going to wear it to work today, and if I'm cold, I'll extend it a bit. If not, I'll just leave it as it is.

And, yes, I did take a photo of the 2nd chullo of Maggie's hats. It's half done and looks pretty good, I think.

I took another photo of Celeste, and she got the red demon eyes again. I can't figure out how to shut off the flash. She has such beautiful blue eyes; they're intense, but with this frickin flash going off all the time, all you can see is red..

May 20, 2007

Sunday noon...

It's almost noon, and the sun is finally out. Yeay! Celeste and I are going walking for a little while...Omar was on call all night and just came back fom the hospital. He's crashed out, so I think we will go outside and let him sleep. Celeste is all full of bark this morning and who can sleep with a dog yelling all the time?

I was almost finished with Maggie's second hat when I discovered that the llama on the front was off-center. So I ripped it out past where the llama started and began again with a different pattern. I've knitted half of it again this morning. Pictures when we return from walking.

I also finished the half-ripe tomato red capelet and before I got a photo of that, we remembered that it was Rocio's (Omar's half-sister) birthday. So he aske dme if we couldn't give her the capelet for her birthday. Okay, sure, it turned out a little differently than I had hoped, anyway, so I think while we're out, I'll see if I can find some more of that color, or something else that I like and make another one.

More after the walk!

May 16, 2007

SuperCeleste to the rescue!

First off, I need to thank you, my friends, here on the blog for your supportive comments and your general moral support. Sometimes I feel very alone here, although I know I'm not. Some days I think I'm just down. Your comments mean a lot to me, although I couldn't respond to them yesterday. Yesterday was a day...

To continue, check out our updated page at Odyssey Rock Ranch! It's now updated! We have new alpacas listed, new photos, and the rose gray sweater is listed there, too! Odyssey Rock Ranch is the name of our farm in Colorado. Suzzanne owns the animals, my dad owns the farm, I knit knit knit for the business, and contribute in any way that I can. Hopefully, in June, the alpacas will begin to have new babies there will be more baby pictures to post!

This morning, I went with Celeste out to trot around on the bike path. It's gray and damp out there, as it is every day now (yup, Lisa, the gray days are beginning to get to me), and Celeste just HAD to run! So in spite of feeling down and teary, I ran with her and got my blood flowing, warmed up my feet, and began to BREATHE again. I'm better now than I was earlier, MUCH better than I was yesterday, and yesterday, Celeste did her best to entertain me. I am positive that THIS is why Celeste came to us.

Yesterday, I was sitting at the computer, minding my own business, when Celeste launched herself like a rocket the other end of the apartment. I didn't hear her as she flew towards me, faster than a speeding bullet. She leaped higher than the tallest building in a single bound, planning to land in my lap and help with the computer work...Yes! You know it! Say it! Say it! It was SuperCeleste! ...but she miscalculated and hit the side of the desk instead. She bounced off the desk, bounced of my shoulder (yes, she jumped THAT HIGH), and hit the floor. Not to be discouraged, she tried one more time, this time leaping even higher, completely missing my lap altogether and landed in the bookcase on the other side of me. SuperCeleste gathered the tattered remains of her pride and found a comfy spot on the doormat in the living room. This morning, as I'm here typing, she comes over periodically to see what I'm doing, but no more leaping onto my lap. Phooey...we didn't even get to the "more powerful than a locomotive" part...

May 15, 2007

Things to be thankful for

Every once in a while, I get a little down about things. I find myself wondering what I am doing here; just what was it that possessed me to move to a place where 90% of the people here do not understand a word I'm saying, even when I am able to express myself in Spanish. I can't help but wonder if I will ever overcome this language handicap I have created for myself. And why did I hook up with a guy who works 6 days a week, goes to classes in the evenings and is one of those guys with the best of intentions but no follow-through? What makes me think I can make a positive difference in any one's life, when I'm so un-together in my own life? Why did I move from my cute little brick house in Cheyenne, where I had a big back yard and a nice front yard, possibilities for a second career, and family not too far away but not too close for comfort, a car, almost everything I don't have here? I'm stuck in this tiny flat with a demon puppy that is teething and pooping like there's no tomorrow. I left the few friends that I have to come here, and I miss them. The people here who say they are my friends are more likely Omar's friends who accept me as they accept the furniture in our apartment.

So now it's time to remember that I have been given so much...

I was given the opportunity to CHOOSE where I live, and I chose to live here. I was given, somehow, a wonderfully gentle and understanding man for a husband, who seems to love me very much and helps me in whatever way he can. I have a very nice home of my own here, when many others do not, and still am able to afford to keep my house in Cheyenne. I have a beautiful daughter who is making her own life and doing quite well. I have been able to find work (when others have not) that sometimes makes me feel like I am helping others. I am able to continue working in the fiber stuff as I choose to and love to, and help Suzzanne and Maggie continue with theirs. Although living in this enormous city is really, really scary for me, I have not been bothered by any malevolent people. I have a little loving dog that will become a great friend and is well on the way to being that friend now, even if every photo of her has wicked red eyes (she's not really a demon). I still have a great and understanding family in the US, and have even more family now, here in Peru.

May 12, 2007


I just came back from a walk with Celeste. She's finally starting to be pleasant to go walking with. Very little crossing in front of me anymore; she's more mindful of where she is in relation to where I am, so I don't end up dodging her or stepping on her toes; less pulling on the leash and less need to be dragged while on the leash, too. Altogether a much more pleasant dog to be with. I offered her a treat this morning and she very gently took it from my grabbing and snapping, no bitten fingers...what's going on here? Is my Ms. Blue Eyes beginning to grow up a little bit?

Now that I've said that, later today she'll probably make a liar out of me and tear up the house.

She pooped on the floor again on Thursday, when Omar had her by himself. I guess she figured that her old softy wouldn't mind, but she found herself on the receiving end of a spanking, and not a gentle one, either. Hmmm...Omar must be maturing a little bit, too, and asserting himself with her. She spent a lot of time trying to butter him up, but he chastized her a little more before softening up enough to let her kiss him goodnight. Whufff...poor Celeste. She has such strict parents.

So, back to today's walk. We went to the pet store to pick up another rawhide chew toy and then took a walk down the bike path. The bike path is beautiful in places and in the most scenic portions, there are benches to sit on. We passed by a young couple who were engaged in a deep conversation - he talking at length, she gazing at him like he hung the moon. They kissed and Celeste chose that moment to bless them both by leaving a little love bundle not far from their feet.

Lordy, I can't think of anything more romantic than to look up breathlessly from a hot, passionate kiss to see a dog pooping a half a step away. Celeste's very cute, but I think she might have ruined their moment.

May 11, 2007

Rose gray sweater

These photos are of a handknit sweater, made of rose gray alpaca fiber, knitted by my sister, Suzzanne. The model is my neice, Bethy. It's about a size 10-12 ladies size, but Bethy was so ready to be a model that no one could say no. She's only 12 and is tall and thin, and the sweater looks HUGE on her. It's priced at $100.

a couple more babies...

Just a couple more shots of babies that have arrived recently. This is Daisy. She's one of Rose's babes...Rose is the oldest doe and has begun to have troubles giving birth. Her first kid this year, Daisy, had to be pulled because she was HUGE and all tangled up inside her mama. The second one came out fine, happily. Last year, Rose lost both her babies during the process of pulling them The first was too big and had to be taken out piece at a time, and the second one drowned before it could be pulled. That was a huge loss, but this year, everyone was ready and watching to help Rose when the time came.

The next photo is of Rose and her 2 kids, and Lucy. Lucy is Rose's daughter. So here we have almost the whole family, except for Carmen and her kids.

Whoops! Not goats, but also new additions at the farm!

May 10, 2007

Baby Days: Dolly

Dolly is one of the older does. I think she's 5 years old now. Her babies are both white, both girls, and both healthy and happy! No trouble giving birth and this year is a great mom. It seems like from time to time, the mother goats change their minds about whether or not they want to devote time to having kids...but so far this year, there are no bottle babies. There are two more does to give birth, and then that's it for goats: Melanie and Barbie. Melanie is a nubian goat whose job it is to provide milk for bottle babies. So far, the goats are doing fine and don't need any additional milk...we'll see how the alpacas do.

More Babies: Lucy

Lucy is Carmen's sister. She's a white, where Carmen is a red. Lucy a is a shy girl, but seems like she's going to make a great mom!

Her black baby is a little girl and the black and white is a boy. Lucy's sire was Dexter, a cantakerous white and red spotted old boy, who was as crazy and unpredictable as a loon. Luckily, his mental state hasn't been passed on to any of his progeny, so far. Lucy was bred to our black buck, Hermes, who is as calm as Dexter was out of control. It looks like Dexter's spotted genes have made their way through with this baby boy. It figures the color would come through on a male...I wish the female were as colorful!

Baby Days at the Farm: Carmen

I got several e-mails from my sister, Suzzanne. Babies are arriving! Right now, only Angora goat babies. Alpacas will give birth later in the year.

These first photos are of Carmen and her kids. They are her first, and she's a good mom. No problems giving birth and she fell in love at first sight. Carmen has always been a happy, friendly girl. The black one is a male, and the other is a female; Suzzanne says she looks like she might be a red, but it's hard to tell right now.

May 8, 2007


Okay, here's a picture of the chullo that I did in Maggie's wool. It's the first of a series of hats...I know it needs some other color added in to create more interest, but this was the first I'd made in this pattern. It's not bad, but I know I can do better. I have already started the second one, with white alpaca yarn for creating an intarsia pattern. I've got one ear flap done and it already looks better than the first one.

And while I'm at it, here's a shot of what I have done on my Half-ripe Tomato Red Capelet. The bottom half is done in a basket weave of stockinette and reverse stockinette stitches. The top will simply be done in stockinette stitch, with a basket weave pattern on the collar. Dark red buttons for closure, 6 of 'em.

And finally, here's my co-pilot, busy working away at the computer.

May 7, 2007

Animals and potato pudding

I love this free-style dance between a dog and his girl. Beautiful! Enjoy!

There's also this. I haven't seen many moose anyway, but this guy is BIG.

Yesterday, we went to a local field to watch a soccer game. No big name teams, just the local over 40 guys trying to keep up with the younger ones. After the game, we tasted some of the food that was brought in to sell. We didn't get there too early, so there wasn't much left by the time we got hungry...luckily. We tried a pudding that is apparently NOT a local favorite, but they had it there to sell anyway. It's called TOCOSH, and if anyone ever offers you a taste, just say no. Believe me, it's horrible. It's a lesson you don't want to learn on your own. It is made of some kind of dried potato, which sounds a little odd to me anyway, but it has the distinct flavor and smell of buck goat in rut (not that I've ever TASTED buck goat in rut, no no no). If you ever are tempted to try it, stop yourself immediately and go for something else. We all tasted it and gagged. I'm usually pretty adventurous, and Omar will usually eat anything that is put in front of him, if only to keep from offending the cook...but tocosh was too disgusting even for the most non-discriminating palate. Definitely a hold-your-nose-and-run moment. Hard to believe the innocuous potato could be messed up that bad. It's right up there with caldo de cabeza (sheep's head, or whatever head is available, soup) with it's eyeballs & nostrils floating in the broth.

May 6, 2007

Flea-free At Last

Yes, I know...I forgot the batteries. BUT...I DID find a flea cure for Celeste.

We went to the vet's office for her latest vaccine and de-worming dose. The vet first looked at Celeste and commented on how SLIM she is. They like big fat puppies. I have to say that I think the roly-poly babies are cuter, too, but Celeste is a live wire, and even though she is eating 3 - 4 times daily, she is on the go all the time...until she is exhausted and just drops where she stops, and is now growing tall instead of growing out. After Celeste overwhelmed the vet with kisses, she relented and declared Celeste to be in peek condition. So, after the vaccination and de-worming pill, I asked about something for fleas. The vet went looking and found something in a Peruvian brand that comes in a little tube, you apply it directly to the dog's skin (not to the hair) in little drops, and it lasts for 2 months. It costs 23 soles (about 8 dollars), and is so worth it. Celeste is so much more tranquil scratching, no chewing on herself, sleeping MUCH better. Much more pleasant to be around. YEAY! We are rejoicing here! The only problem now is that after her first full night's sleep without fleas, she has so much more energy to be spread around. She took several laps around the apartment and several leaps onto the sofa and down and around again and on the sofa and down and around again, stopping only once to bat her eyes at her reflection and flirt with herself in the THAT 10 or 15 times first thing in the morning and see if you're not exhausted and furious with your puppy for being on the sofa, punching holes in your knitting pattern, and tangling your yarn. Even so, we are rejoicing for the lack of fleas. What else could all that running and leaping be, except JOY?

But I was so pleased with my find that I skipped happily home with Ms. Blue Eyes and forgot all about buying camera batteries.

May 5, 2007

dead's the story of my life....

Okay, I took photos of everything, but then the batteries went dead and I have a camera full of photos that I can't download. So, I'm going to the market now, to get batteries and get Celeste her latest vaccination, so when I return, I should be able to post some photos.

Unless, of course, the batteries that I buy turn out to be older than I am...that's happened to me before.

Last night, Omar inspected the chullo, to be sure it is a good representation of the kind made by Peruvian knitters. He told me that real chullos have a little puffball on the top, and a gathered closure at the top of the hat, which is where the puffball attaches. He also told me that the next one has to have more than one color of yarn. Yup! I've already got that planned for the next one, and there's a puffball waiting to be attached on the hat I've got just about finished.

I transferred a little money from my savings account and I think I want to order a couple of books to read. One will almost surely be a kntting or crochet book, but the other has absolutely got to be an interesting mystery, or some other juicy novel, hopefully it will have an incredible amount of pages and keep me immersed in fable for a couple of weeks. I've been thinking about Diana Gabaldon's series of books...they are pretty big and have, in the past, kept me in stories for about a week. The problem is that I've read almost every one of them. Wah.

Does anyone else have any good ideas for reading?

May 4, 2007

Bunny Disapproval

Yeay! Bird Chick has added another page of bunny disapproval! Check it out! Cinnamon has become a B-movie star.

May 3, 2007

sweating at the equator

Whew! Can I just say that equatorial areas are frickin HOT?! We're back from getting the visa in Machala, Ecuador, and I'm SO glad to be chilly and working on my knitting again. I can spread it across my lap and keep myself warm as I work on it. I took my knitting to Ecuador, but couldn't bear to have it anywhere near me without a fan going full speed ahead.

We left on Tuesday morning for Tumbes, Peru. Omar's mom lives near Tumbes, and Omar grew up there. As we took a taxi from the Tumbes airport, he told me some about growing up there and I could tell that he was feeling sentimental about the whole place.

That was before the flies invaded and the heat overcame our brains.

We arrived in the city about 1 pm, and met Omar's mother in the Plaza de Armas (located in the center of the city). She hadn't eaten yet, and suggested that we find a good place for lunch. She took us to a fabulously expensive tourist restaurant. I suspect that she'd wanted to try the place for a while, but couldn't afford to, so we treated her to lunch. The place was packed and it took quite a while for our food to arrive at the table. We ordered two large dishes: ceviche de pescado and fried rice with a variety of seafoods mixed in. I liked the ceviche much better in Tumbes than I do in Lima. I'm not sure what it is...the fish was a different variety than what is normally served in Lima, and reacted differently to the lime juice. I didn't have the feeling that I was eating completely raw fish. It "cooked" better in the lime and I loved it. The rice was great, too. But it all cost more than I had planned for, and blew my food budget for the trip.

After lunch, Omar's mom went back to her family's home. Omar and I got tired of sweating rivers, and found a hostel with a fan in the room. It was clean and had a fan. Those two things were the only prerequisites that we had. The room came with a lamp that didn't work, windows that didn't open, one electrical outlet in the far corner of the room where the fan was located, and a sign on the bathroom door with an appeal not to pee in the shower. The heat was exhausting, so we tried to sleep for a couple of hours. We were back out on the street about 7 pm, looking for a place to eat.

Omar's mom had recommended a place that was just across the plaza from our hostel, so we went there to eat. Ummm...the flies weren't bad on the tables that didn't have food on them, so basically, it looked promising. We sat down and ordered cabrito with rice and a pitcher of chicha morada (a beverage made from purple corn). Our food arrived very quickly, and just as quickly, the flies came with it. The forks and knives were housed in a plastic dome-like outfit to keep the flies away. If I see that again somewhere, I'll be forewarned that flies are expected visitors at the table. The napkins were actually 4 x 4 squares of butcher paper, so I took some of them and covered the pitcher and the drinking glasses, to keep the flies from falling into the drinks. Dinner was actually goat meat, roasted and served with seasoned rice and something like a cold gravy that turned out to be more greasy than I liked, so I let that stay on the plate. I was so hot and was sweating so much that I don't remember what it all tasted like, but apparently it wasn't inedible, because I emptied most of my plate.

We walked around the plaza a few more times, looking for a place to buy toothbrushes, since I couldn't find ours. Our duffel bag seemed to somehow developed an appetite for them, since ours were no where to be found. The heat got to us, so we headed back to our hostel to sleep.

The next morning, we were both paying for eating cheap, but luckily, it passed before we crossed the border into Ecuador.

We passed into Ecuador by way of Aguas Verdes and Huaquillas cities. On the Peruvian side, huge amounts of farm produce is imported into Ecuador....I saw mountains of onions being loaded onto hand carts to be pushed across the border. On the Ecuadorian side, the market or electronics and clothing is just as huge. The streets are packed with vendors' stalls, big umbrellas to block the sun out, and elbow to elbow buyers. It's a noisy, boisterous place, and if crowds aren't your thing, this isn't your kind of place. You can get a little bit of an idea how this is here.

Ecuador does all its business in US dollars only. They have their own centavos, but accept American coins also. So, it's a more expensive place than Peru. I thought that Ecuador would be cheaper than Peru, since it's economy isn't as strong as Peru's, but it's not so. Maybe the presence of the dollar as the main form of currency raises the price of everything. I don't know for sure, but that's what I suspect.

All in all, it was a fun trip. Ecuador seems more Americanized to me than Peru. i got the visa in Machala without a hitch. The only real inconvenience tht resulted from the whole thing is that Celeste had to stay with relatives while we were gone. She came home thinking that she could climb on the furniture, chew up shoes, and had a good case of Los Olivos fleas. They seem to be more vicious in their biting techniques than those in Jesus Maria. She was crying as she scratched herself, and today she had the first bath that she actually screaming whatsoever. Her only complaint was when she grabbed one of my sandals, the other sandal immediately slapped her up the side of the head. I hate it when that happens.