Apr 28, 2009

The answers

Okay, so I took my concerns to my supervisor and other teachers to get an idea of how things like this are handled, and basically what I got was "Do Nothing."

Most people who spend a lot of time sleeping on the street and in various states of undress are considered to be mentally ill. If their families cannot take care of them, there is nowhere for them to go until they become a hazard to themselves or others. Then they go to prison, where they either improve or die. Although Peru seems to have socialized medicine and is actually quite advanced in their medicine, there is no long-term care for anyone unless some money is provided. There is no state funding or social security of any kind (that I can find out about) for poor people with chronic mental illness. There isn't even a state mental institution. So the treatment for poor, mentally ill people in Lima is to turn them into the streets and ignore or avoid them until they die or commit a crime. Street vendors feed them when they can, and their diet consists of whatever the vendors can spare - soda, candy bars, and potato chips usually. I don't know where they go when it gets cold, but I imagine I'll find out one of these days.

These are not good answers for me, but I don't know what I can do to make things change. I hope someone will read this and tell me that I'm mistaken here. I hope they'll tell that there really is someplace that people can get treatment when they are at their worst and have hit rock bottom.

Apr 27, 2009

I wonder if it's the heat.

Saturday and today presented me with social challenge that I haven't figured out yet.

On Saturday, I walked around the corner of the block on my way to work to find a woman lying on the sidewalk, apparently taking a nap. She was an older lady, I think she might have been in her late 50's. And standing next to her was a policeman. I wondered what was going on, but really, there are many people in this city who simply drop down wherever they happen to be and take a nap. I stepped around her, asked the policeman if she was okay and, getting a curt, "Yes lady. She's fine," I continued on to work. Everyone else stepped over her or around her and didn't worry about her.

Later that day, I went to have lunch in the local Metro supermarket comedor and stepped over this lady again! She was awake this time, lying in a different part of the block, in the middle of a busy sidewalk, stripped naked to the waist and apparently taking in some sun. She smiled and waved to me and I waved back. But I was and still am confused about her. People stepped over and around her and basically ignored her.

This morning while on my way to the bus stop to go home for lunch, I crossed paths with a woman who was completely naked, save for her woven shawl that she wore around her shoulders. She was apparently in no mood to talk and marched resolutely on, bare-footed and bare everywhere else, except, of course, for her shoulders. People and policemen did nothing, said nothing and simpy ignored her.

I wonder what happened to these two women. If I were in the US, the policeman wouldn't have been standing idly by while the first woman caught a nap in the middle of the sidewalk. He might have called for an ambulance or some other kind of asistance, and let her know that there were other places to doze. Later, people might have suspected that both women been assaulted because of their states of undress and called 911, or at the very least offered to help them find some clothing.

Is it the heat? Is it strange that no one else seems to think it's strange to see the isolated naked and half-naked women on the sidewalk in a modern city, regardless of how dangerous or overcrowded it is? Doesn't it bother people to see others like this, especially in dangerous places like this inner city area?

It just frickin freaks ME out. I think need to go talk to my supervisor about what I should be doing in situations like these. Maybe doing nothing like everyone else is the correct thing to be doing, but it sure doesn't feel right to me.

Apr 26, 2009

This face

This is the face of a schemer.

This is the face of a manipulator.

And this is the face of a blackmailer.

I think Celeste lays awake at night, laying her plans, scheming how she will control us through the day. This may be the beginning of the Dog Mafioso is our apartment building. All the dogs in this building bark their plans and accomplishments to one another as they leave or return to their apartments. I think they are planning something big. Maybe a blackmailing scheme for bones. I can't be sure, but I see Celeste looking at the other dogs with THAT LOOK in her eyes...hmmmm...

Apr 22, 2009

Thorn Rainbowfly, at your service!

Your fairy is called Thorn Rainbowfly
She is a fortune bringer.
She lives in brambles and blackberry bushes.
She is only seen at midday under a quiet, cloudless sky.
She wears purple and green like berries and leaves. She has multicoloured wings like a butterfly.

I'm sure by now, everyone has tried the Fairy Name generator. So this is the name of my inner fairy, my true self, and who I am in my dreams (yeh right...) I wish I could find a picture of her, but I can't seem to come up with one, so I officially declare my next project to be devoted to creating my inner fairy. I hope I can find some fiberfill stuffing for her body!

Apr 19, 2009

The week in review...

This week has been pretty uneventful. I spun a couple of spindles of some black merino/silk fiber and plied it. It's had a bath and is now hanging up to dry. And I'm working on two more spindles of it. I only have 4 ounces of it and have spun half of it so far. I thought I was getting it pretty thin and would have some good yardage, but so far, I've got only 148 yards of 2-ply out of 2 ounces. But it's spinning pretty fast, so I should be finished with it by the end of this week.

And, I've been looking for some double pointed needles for a long time. There are no well-stocked yarn shops here, like there are at home, so knitting needles are pretty hard to come by. I only have one set of size three DPNs and they are occupied with a sock that I stalled out on for lack yarn, so I've done no sock knitting for a few months now. Yesterday, I decided it was time for decisive action. I marched myself into the local Metro supermarket and went straight to the toy section, looking for something, something, something that would do for DPNs...and I found it!

PIXIE PICK-UP STIX, 30 each in bamboo. They come in a metal box that is just perfect for crochet hooks and DPNs. The pick-up stix are size 3s, just like my single set of metal DPNs. I haven't started knitting with them yet, but I have high hopes. Anyway, for a buck and a half, if they don't work out, I've still got a game and a cool metal storage box for my crochet hooks. I'll let you know how they do as knitting needles.

And on Wednesday, the electric company sent a man out to cut off our electricity because we didn't pay our bill. The catch was that we HAD paid our bill well in advance of the due date. Luckily, I was home when the doorman called up to tell me. I went downstairs to find out how this could possibly be, with my receipt of payment (we don't send payments through the mail here...you have to go pay in person) and the electrician told me that I should have paid by the 11th of the month.
Well, yes and I'd paid on the 5th.
But Señora, you had to pay by the 11th. I have an order from the company to cut off your electricity.
But Señor, I just showed you my receipt that said I paid on the 5th.
Profound silence. Electrician thumbs through his notebook for a few moments then clears his throat.
OH. There must be a problem with the system, Señora. I'll reconnect your electricity now.
Muchisimas gracias.

Such is life.

We went to see Monsters and Aliens at the movies tonight. I must not be that much of a kid anymore. I was bored through the whole thing. It was cute, but just not my style. I did, however, totally LOVE Inkheart and Twilight, even though Inkheart was in Spanish.

Apr 12, 2009

O and me, shopping in Gamarra

camping, anyone?

This weekend was a long one...we had 4 days off for Easter...and decided to go camping for two of them. What I had in mind was a quiet weekend in a tent, hiking some, reading, spinning, maybe some knitting, and a swim - just generally doing what I wanted to and escaping the noise of the city and escaping people. What I got was just the opposite.

We started out well enough - we packed a few things for just two days, Thursday and Friday. Celeste was going to stay with her buddies and we could play without worrying about where she was. On the way to drop Celeste off, O told me that we were going to take Landeo and his family with us. So much for escaping the noise. The Landeo family has three boys who pick on each other, whine, cry, yell, and generally make life miserable for everyone around them. The mother, Rosa, spends her time yelling at the boys and giving orders to whomever happens to be close. Landeo himself usually spends his time at work, so he doesn't have to deal with the family too much at one time. So, the 2 hour ride up to the campground was kind of miserable for me. By the time we arrived, I had a headache from all the racket going on in the back seats (we have a minivan, so there's always plenty of room for others.)

The campground was well-populated by the time we arrived, but there were places to put up a tent. I have never understood why people say they want to get out of town and then basically bring everything from town with them. Maybe I'm too much like my mother in this respect. O and I brought a tent, sleeping bags, and a change of clothes. On top of tents and sleeping bags and clothes, Rosa brought a boombox, toys, candy, soda, an iron, 6 blankets, a different bottle of shampoo for each boy, an umbrella, a curling iron, make-up, an evening gown and heels, a suit for each boy and her husband, and 4 pairs of socks and shoes for each of them. I guess you just never know when you will encounter a formal party during a camping trip.

Half an hour after we arrived, several of O's friends from work also arrived and pitched their tents right next to ours. Okay, I as glad that O had some other friends to talk to, because I knew that I would be a boring partner for him, just hiking and spinning, and maybe doing some knitting. But not long after they got to talking, a crate (12 liters) of beer arrived, and then a bottle of pisco, and by dark, these people were completely wasted. I took a walk for a few hours, then went back to the tent to sleep, but the party continued for a few hours more. Then I heard our car start up and O and Landeo were off on a joyride down the mountain. CRAP. Two drunks in a car on a mountain road. Not the best of situations. O and I have had NUMEROUS discussions about this and he promise me that he would NEVER drink and drive. By the time he returned, I had been worried, scared, and furious by turns. I heard the car arrive and was on my way out to talk to him, when he cranked it up again. ARRRGH! I flew to that car, pounding on the window and screaming for him to open the door. He did and I demanded the keys. He handed them over, in shock, I think. I took the keys and slammed the door in his face. Yup, in shock. I had never lost it like that, but this time, along with the way the weekend was going, to have O pull something like driving under the influence was just the limit of my endurance.

I later heard him asking his buddies what MY problem was, and resisted the temptation to march out there and attack him verbally. I know that talking to a person who has been celebrating and drinking for hours is pretty much a lost cause. No point to it, because he wouldn't remember it in the morning anyway. And it was true - the next morning, he couldn't find the car keys (because I had them) and didn't remember that I had almost crushed him in the car door after I got the keys away from him. We still need to have a talk about that. We did talk that night - he came into the tent crying and upset that I treated him badly and why and it wasn't his fault, and what had happened that I was so mad, and so on and so forth. I was straight with him and told him exactly what the problem was, which made him cry more, but...like I said, the next morning, he didn't remember. All he knew was that he had a massive headache and a terrible hangover, and he spent a good part of the day sleeping it off.

We left the campground about 6 pm on Friday. We dropped off the whining, crying, and yelling at their house, then went to pick up Celeste. At that house, we were offered a little to eat, ate and got sick later that night. I spent Saturday in bed, feeling like crap.

But today is a better day. It's the last day of the weekend, and I have time to spin, knit, and go for a walk, which was all I really wanted to do in the first place.

Okay, now I'm done fussing and whining. No more of that, I promise.

Apr 8, 2009

just blabbing

Whew! I just realized that I'm almost back to normal again! Still about 10 pounds lighter than I was before going into the hospital, but with a higher energy level and NO PAIN. That's the biggest thing. And I can think now. And clearly, too. That's a HUGE difference for me.

So while I'm still spinning yarn, I'm now spinning thoughts now, and have some to share.

I've been reading about this new April Fool worm threat that was supposed to do something on April 1st. I wonder if my computer is infected or if our new anti-virus software eliminated it. Or whether our computer is too old for the worm to bother with. I haven't had any trouble with anything yet, but am taking the precaution of using the computer system at work to check on my important financial and banking things. I noticed while I was using the system in class the other day, that a message was sent saying that the worm had been removed. So I think that might be a safer place to access bank records and whatnot. And luckily, I got my taxes done before April first, too. Has anyone else heard anything more about this worm?

I've got a small group of students this month - again - who smell so bad that my eyes water every time I get within 10 feet of them. This morning, I went to my supervisor to ask for advice on the best way to approach this. They are good boys - enthusiastic, motivated, and interested in learning. I don't want them to feel intimidated or embarrassed, and I don't want to shut them down by telling them that they reek. So my supervisor said that the administration would handle it, and that they had had many cases like this before. That's load off my mind. I don't want to hurt any feelings in my classes or make them embarrassed to come to class.

Last month, I had a young lady in my class that had deformed hands. Both her hands were enormous and had only a thumb and two fingers on each hand. They resembled claws, actually. She was so self-conscious about them that she kept her hands hidden in her purse and wouldn't raise a hand to volunteer for about two weeks. I did my best to put her at ease, and really, none of the other students said or did anything rude about her hands that I was aware of. About 2 weeks into the class, she began to participate. I was thrilled! I moved her around to different groups of students and put her with different partners and she seemed to gain confidence and flourish. She did great on her exams and passed the course.

But if I had it to do over again, I would have gone immediately to my supervisor and asked for some advice about how to bring her out of her shell a little sooner. Two weeks into a 4 week course is a little late to decide to participate. It's very difficult to catch up and get up on everything that was missed.

Has anyone ever had experiences similar to this? What would you do to help a student like this gain confidence in a shorter period of time?

And one other thing....I see that I've got over 14,000 visits to my blog! Woohoo! I'm thinking about a giveaway or contest thing to happen when the visit number tops 15,000. Could be some fiber to spin, maybe a spindle, maybe some of my funky hand spun yarn, maybe a crocheted skirt...I think I have plenty of time to figure it out! Whatever it is, it will be a surprise!

Apr 5, 2009

spinning obsession?

Well...maybe. I have several spinning projects in the works right now:

Apr 3, 2009

and the spinning

These two photos are my latest spinning project. It actually took me about 6 months to get this all spun up. It's 8 ounces of pink, purple, white, and brown cotswold and merino, with some sparkles, spun in two-ply worsted weight. About 400 yards. No idea yet of what I should make with it.

New Spindles

These spindles are handmade by Heidi, on Ravelry, her name is RestlessPeasant. They are quite light, made for spinning laceweight yarn. They are so well made that they make spinning a breeze!

Apr 1, 2009


Well, here I am in an internet cafe up the street from the apartment. Yesterday afternoon, we lost both telephone and internet. So hmmmm. I don't know what the problem is and I don't know when it will get fixed. Just hmmmm.