Dec 14, 2008

First snow of the summer and other nonsense

Yup, it's summertime here in the southern hemisphere. Finally. Celeste is in the final throws of divesting herself of her winter coat, and so we're also in the final weeks (yes, I said weeks) of the semi-annual Siberian blizzard. We have Celeste fuzz everywhere, in spite of vacuuming and sweeping up daily and daily brushing with a shedding brush. It's tapering off now, the fuzzy undercoat is off her neck, shoulders, and back, but we still have a good portion of dog-butt fuzz to endure. The brush doesn't do much for the guard hair coat, which is STILL coming off, so I simply pull it out by the handfull when we go for our walks. Her new lighter summertime jacket is slick, clean and soft - just right for a blue-eyed girl in summer. Not a floral print dress, but just as pretty.

It took my mother-in-law almost 5 years to speak to me. For a while, she simply refrained from acknowledging that I existed, then later she would nod to me on occasion. Once, when we invited O's parents to travel with us to Cusco (I paid all the expenses), she told someone that I was a "friend" that was traveling along with them. I have never been invited to her home, and have never been acknowledged as part of anything...

...until last weekend, when O picked me up from work and she was in the back seat of our car with two other of O's friends. What a surprise! As I opened my mouth to say hello to her, she suddenly grabbed me and hugged me and fairly screamed, "Hola mi hijita!" (hello my little daughter!). I was so caught off guard that I couldn't reply for a few seconds. That was the last thing she said to me for the rest of the day, and I have the feeling that it was more for the benefit of O and his friends than anything else.

O's father is here in Lima. He is an elderly man that is reaping the results of his misspent youth. He's a 75-year-old diabetic. Many Peruvians have diabetes. I think they have a genetic tendency for it, but I also think that diet and lifestyle figure prominently, too. The diet here consists of very few veggies, fish, meat, rice and rice and rice, with bread and pasta and sodas and prodigious amounts of beer and other alcoholic beverages. A meal isn't a meal around here with out rice, even if potatoes and pasta are served. And there is always beer. I have been told by several that real communication cannot occur with out drinking beer, because then the people are relaxed and they can speak without holding back. So, at every meeting, every working lunch, every family get-together, every child's birthday party, first communion, or walk in the park, there is beer. And when the beer flows, it doesn't stop until sometime the next morning. With a diet like that, it's not hard to see how one could become a diabetic. Or an alcoholic. Which is what O's father is: a diabetic alcoholic that goes out of control from time to time when the alcohol cravings become too strong or when he simply gets bored.

I have a lot more to say about this, having lived with an alcoholic before, but it's more rant than anything else, so I'll stop talking about it while I am still off the soapbox.

I'm still spinning the teal laceweight...and probably will be for a few weeks more. Only 7 more little batts to go! I'm averaging about 100 yards of two ply every week, so I should be ready to knit the shawl in another 3 or 4 weeks. There IS light at the end of the tunnel! I'm getting my beads sorted in anticipation!


aighmeigh said...

incredibly interesting topic... as far as diabetes is concerned, it's my understanding that it's really common amongst salvadorans and mexicanos too.

i have often thought, on my trips to el salvador, that it must be next to impossible to get away from alcohol if you have a problem with it, even if you *want* to... i don't drink beer often, as i prefer wine, and my husband's family always wondered what my problem was... and there was a bit of teasing that went along with it. last time i was there i was in a rare mood and actually drank with them... which was even more a cause for celebration in their eyes... got me thinking thinking though: with a culture with so many alcohol related issues, why is there such a pressure to drink?

i have no clue.

Kathleen said...

I honestly think that it has become so ingrained in the culture that no one thinks much about the consequences of drinking, socially or otherwise. Only recently did it become illegal to drive drunk, and that is almost never enforced.

I was shocked at first and now am simply disgusted at the fact that the adults turn every occasion into an opportunity to get drunk and they do it with their kids playing there in front of them. So the kids grow up thinking that getting drunk is the thing to do when company comes over.

Appalling. If I were to have done that in the US, I would have been arrested and my child taken away from me for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Here, it's just the most fashionable thing you can do.

Kathleen said...

Oh, and be sure the kids are close at hand so they can go buy more beer when the adults are too drunk to make it to the corner store. Disgusting.

Margaret Cloud said...

Hope your dog is done shedding by now. It is too bad about mother-in-laws, I think they suffer from some syndrome about having their son or daughter taken away from their household. this is what I think. I am sorry about O's father.

Iron Needles said...

Life presents us with interesting lessons for sure. My first in-laws I didn't feel were so accepting of me. I married the baby, youngest of five children, AND only son. I didn't believe I was ever going to match up! My new in-laws I am more accepting of.

The lessons that age has taught me! Much of what I spoke of was true in the first case. But I am also much more comfortable now in my own skin, and don't have to please others so much now.

It must be a difficult environment indeed. I would have problems with the alcohol part, having had to deal with that in my first marriage.

~ Phyllis ~ said...

How sad that your mother-in-law treats you that way. Stay strong.