Dec 31, 2010
This morning we had to shovel our van out of a snow drift...the driver tried several times before she finally got it stuck really well. The guys in my house made me so proud by working till we got it loose. The driver jumped in, backed out of the drift area, gunned the engine, and promptly buried it in a different drift. Grrr...
but wemanaged to extract her from that one, too.
Aside from that, we've have below zero temperatures and terrible wind chill. We stayed inside for the majority of the day, and are beginning the weekend with movies and popcorn. I'll be going home for FOUR DAYS!!!...if I don't get stuck in a snow drift myself somewhere.
Dec 24, 2010
O called me this morning, and we wished each other a happy Christmas. I miss him. But we are both well and happy and employed, so those are blessings to be thankful for this year. I have a home that is nearly paid for, too, with a payment low enough to be made even in the event that I become unemployed. Porter is snoozing on my bed with the electric blanket turned on LOW, and he's not even snoring. So, YEAY! Life is good!
My daughter will be coming out on the 26th to attend the wedding of one of my nephews on the 28th, and bringing the boyfriend who apparently is so excited to come he is beside himself. I'll be glad to see and - really - happy to meet him. I will probably only see them at the rehearsal dinner and the wedding (damn those 24-hour shifts!), but that will be alright. I have no vacation yet, but am free to attend both events, as long as I take my "loquitos" (little crazies, as O calls them) with me. Luckily, the little crazies are invited to both events too.
We haven't had snow yet, but I'm okay with that while I'm driving the 50 miles to work. After I get there for the week, it can snow, snow, snow! So I hope you all have a beautiful white Christmas if your're hoping for one, and drive safely if you're traveling!
Dec 15, 2010
You've seen some of them before - the little Peruvian dudes (there's another one over to the right)...
...and maybe some you haven't seen, like the tall celebratory glass (I once read that the taller and thinner the glass, the more you think you're drinking, but you really are not. I think it has more to do with the taste of the drink than anything else for me. But that's what the psychologists and diet experts say anyway). Anyway, O and I had a set of very similar glasses that we drank our champagne from when we got married in Trujillo. They were stolen from the table immediately after we drank our wedding toast to each other. Everything was stolen. we have nothing to remember our wedding, except a video tape and 3 photographs. Seven years later, I discovered the cake topper from our wedding cake on the coffee table of one of O's friends. It still had our names written on the bottom of it. Aaaaah yes, life in Peru...
...the green glass creamer that my dad gave me from my mom's stuff and the teapot that I saw in Pier One and just had to have although I have only had one cup of tea from it since I got it 5 months ago...
...the tea pot and little set that came with it that I bought from a lady at the farmer's market this summer when I had money burning a hole in my pocket, and the souvenir wine glass from my daughter's high school graduation party...
...the cardinal ornament from Hobby Lobby that I bought because "Cardinals Rule" when I should have been shopping for someone else, and the dishes that my parents found for me in a flea market on the south end of College in Ft. Collins, because they knew I loved the pattern and it had been discontinued. They said it was fun to find them...I think the hunt is often
more fun than the actual find. They found enough of them that my daughter now has almost a complete set, too!
There's an incense burner that my daughter sent me for my first Christmas in Lima, and a stick of my favorite incense, Drrrragon's Blood (affecting an Irish brogue).
If you enlarge the last photo, you'll see a little pink petal dish; I think it's meant to hold a tea light. That's also from my mom's stuff that my dad couldn't look at without crying after she died. And the last little item is a tiny, lidded pottery dish that I found in a second hand store after I returned to Cheyenne and discovered that I needed clothes but had no money to speak of. I splurged and bought it for 50 cents.
Next time I'll post pictures of some mittens that I've been working on for my daughter's boyfriend. He's from Houston and has never seen snow. They're coming out for a wedding at the end of the month. It's December and freezing here every night and most mornings. His thought is, "How cold can it be?" Well, let me tell you, dear man... :o)
Dec 9, 2010
Them: The white van? This one is a little dark, but maybe it's white under the brown paint.
Me: The white van, everyone! Follow me to the WHITE VAN.
Them: Follow you? I thought you said to go to the white van.
Me: Yes, follow me. I'm going to the white van.
Them: I thought WE were supposed to go to the white van.
Me: Yes! Go to the white van.
Them: Then what?
Me: Then we're going to get groceries.
Them: Groceries?! Hey I want to get groceries, too! Can I go?
Me: Yes you can.
Them: Are the groceries in the white van? Where are we going? Are you going with us?
Me: See the white van? Go get in there.
Them: Are we going somewhere?
Me: Yes, we're going to get groceries.
Them: Which van should we get in?
Me: Get in the white van.
Them: The white van is a Ford. The brown van is a Chevy.
Me: You're right.
Them: Soooo, what are we doing today? Do you think that brown van is a Chevy?
Me: Yes, the brown van is a Chevy, but go get in the white van.
Them: Don't you like Chevy vans?
Nov 21, 2010
Nov 18, 2010
One of the results of this vocal, physical, and emotional uproar from this person is that Porter is reacting. Not necessarily in a bad way, but in a more forceful way than before. He's barking at people who come in the door and rushing the door to see who's not stopping to wait to be invited in. People here tend to knock once and walk in, and Porter is all about checking them before they enter. Another thing is that he has been sounding the alarm at nothing...and then getting embarrassed about it. His hair trigger is too hairy and goes off for no good reason really.
One of the benefits of working here at the ranch is that we have several angora goats and a couple of alpacas here that are strictly kept for fiber. So I have been learning a lot about the end of fiber working that I have never really had much experience with - the shearing, skirting, picking, and carding of fleeces. And there are lots of scraps of dyed fiber that are used for needle felting or thrown in the trash, so I've been playing around with blending colors and fibers on the carder and also the needle felting. I'll have to get some photos of what I've been doing...it's so much fun! I end up doing a lot of it at night, after all the residents have gone to their rooms. I tell them I'm working on my secret projects, so they don't try to follow me around. Remember, my guys here have the mentality of little boys between 8 and 12 years old. They think I'm a secret agent right now, working on my secret projects down in the basement. Hope I don't get to carding too fast and blow the house off it's foundation!
Oct 22, 2010
So, I came back and the furnace was sending out cold air, and wouldn't you know, this is the first week we've had frost at night every night. My two guys will be grumpy and cold tomorrow. One of them gets to go home tomorrow for the whole weekend, so that's good. If it gets too cold, the other one will go spend the night in one of the other houses tomorrow. the maintenance man said he thought he could get it fixed tomorrow, so I have my fingers crossed for a warmer house sometime tomorrow afternoon. I had planned to take my two to the movies tomorrow afternoon, but since I went full time, I have the whole weekend as the "Staff on Duty", which means I have to take everyone - all 10 of the residents - wherever I go...so no movies this weekend, I guess. Maybe I can work in an afternoon matinee for my two sometime during the week. They want to see the movie about the owls - "The Guardians" or something like that.
My two days off were yesterday and today, and I worked on a sweater. I've got one going here at work and one going at home. Hopefully, I'll have two sweaters pretty soon. There is a little yarn shop going out of business in Cheyenne, called "Georgette's", and I bought a good amount of Lopi wool yarn to start in making my hats again. And, I want to make some felted mittens, too. Hopefully, I'll get motivated and photograph the couple of hats that I've already finished, and get them into my Etsy shop.
Here's the one you've seen before...I have a couple more that are languishing in the cabinet at home.
I've got one sock done for a friend's Christmas present, and I'm suffering from SSS...second sock syndrome. I love the first one, but have lost my go power for getting the second one done. And I've promised myself that I'll do a pair for my daughter - and a pair of mittens for her, too. Those sweaters might have to be put off for a couple of weeks while I catch up on my Christmas commitments.
Oct 16, 2010
...Porter and I went out walking this afternoon around the neighborhood. We took pictures, enjoyed the sun, and walked along the bike path.
The urban jungle
my magical windchimes that lift my spirits whenever I listen to the wind playing them
the tour guide takes a sit-down break
okay, and another break...
fall foliage in Cheyenne
more colors flying!
Oh my gosh! The sun is SOOO bright!
The cookie jar
Oct 12, 2010
In other news, I've just about finished my first ever super-chunky sweater project. It's done in Lion Brand Hometown USA yarn on size 17 knitting needles...giant ones! It's gone realy fast, though, and I'm at the stage where I have to sew the pieces together, then do some finishing work. Yeay! I should have a new sweater by this afternoon!
The more I get to know Porter, the more I think he was abused by someone. He has begun barking at people when they come to the house, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but the other day, when the maintenance man, Larry, came to check the fire extinguishers at the ranch house, Porter had a little problem. When Larry picked up a fire extinguisher in both hands, and came walking over to where we were, Porter came unglued. When Larry backed off and put the fire extinguisher down by his side, it was ok, but Porter still kept his eye on Larry and did a few little "grr woof" grumblings under his breath. So I'm not sure what's going on there, but I think something bad happened to Mr. P. in the past. I'm going to continue to do some detective work and figure out what sets him off, at least.
Sep 26, 2010
One of the things that makes this job hard for me is that it's set up to be like a family, with the "coach" being in a parental role and there all the time, except 2 days a week. There are 2 other coaches here besides me, and they have more or less made these residents like their own families. Unfortunately, I see this as a job, and I don't love the residents of this place. I do care about them, and I want them to have a good life. I want them to be safe and happy, however I do not love them. They are not a part of my family and I do not want them to be. I have difficulty with a lot of their behaviors. When we do something nice for them, like taking all of them out to eat, instead of appreciating it, they are more likely to throw a tantrum because they had to drink a Pepsi instead of a Coke, or something similar. They are likely to steal things as part of their compulsions and most of them are habitual liars. Some of them are like little spoiled children in adult bodies. Most are nasty and arrogant when they are caught in a lie or theft. Some throw things and others hurt themselves in tantrums.
None of this is their fault and I recognise that. I've had some major problems accepting their behaviors and being understanding with them. Some have mild retardation, others have had traumatic head injuries and most have seizure disorder. Life coaches only last an average of 2 years...I'll probaby be one of them, if another opportunity comes by. Sometimes one of the residents will say something like "You don't make me happy." I'm not here to make them happy. I'm here to help them make the right decision, to keep them safe, and to provide security while trying to help them live as normal a life as possible. I'm here to give them their medications and perform CPR and first aid when necessary. I'm here to wipe their noses and try to teach them skills that will help them interact with the rest of the population.
There is so much about the human brain and intellect that I don't understand. I had a lot of misconceptions about disabilities and retardation that have since been dispelled. I think there is a lot I don't WANT to know. I hope that if something terrible happens to me, if I should have a horrific accident, I hope that no one in my family will revive me and make me live a life like these people have.
Sep 25, 2010
This job I have as a relief Life Coach for cognitively challenged adults is a challenge for me. I look at it as a ministry. I have to. The pay is small, the hours long, and the residents are a total challenge every day. They can be charms individually, but collectively they are sometimes a nightmare for me. Each has his or her strengths, weaknesses, and totally "out there" moments...and sometimes hours. Still, I am learning skills that will benefit me in the future. Aside from being a Qualified Medicine Administration Person (QMAP), I am being re-certified in CPR. My pay will increase when all my training is done, which is a plus, but so will my hours, which is not such a plus in my estimation. Five 24-hour shifts pulled consecutively is a LOT. I'm completely wiped out when I get home.
The greatest benefit I have is that I can take Porter to work with me. He is sometimes the single sane mind that I can turn to when things get to be too much for me. But even he gets to the point when he's had enough. Last week, Porter went to the car 3 times before Friday, and our shift work didn't end until Sunday afternoon. He was ready to go home. This week is better. Things are on a more even keel, but next week I look for some insanity on a larger scale. Some of the residents will be moving and I will be taking over a house and going full time. GAH. I'm so not sure I can or want to handle that.
I have applied for a job with the sheriff's department in Cheyenne. Emergency communications dispatcher is the position. I so want it. It has regular hours, competetive pay, and vacation time. I so need this job.
Pray for me.
On a happier note, I love being back in my house. The one thing that would make it perfect would be for O and Celeste to be here. He says he'll be here (legally, yes, legally) in May. Then we have to work on getting his green card. And I have a sock done!
Aug 14, 2010
Aug 10, 2010
Aug 4, 2010
I remember why I abandoned the automatic sprinkler system years ago and just used a hose and a big sprinkler to water with. It's a great idea to have your lawn watered automatically, especially when you're at work more than you're home, but it's such a false sense of security. This sprinkler system is so high maintenance that I've been collecting short hoses and sprinklers to augment or replace the whole thing - above ground. I'm short a timer, but after I get that, I'll be set.
I've lost about 15 pounds in the last little while, so none of my clothes fit me any more. I just got my first paycheck from the ranch, and WOOHOOO, it's a check! Not a giant one, though, so I've been doing my clothes shopping in the local thrift stores. Who needs Ross or Target when there are flea markets and thrift shops? I now own 6 pairs of shoes, which are new for me but already soft and broken-in. Oh yeah, I know it can be a little gucky to think about putting your feet into someone else's shoes, which is why I carry a can of antiseptic spray in my bag. And I also found a cute little bench, of real wood, which became my coffee table. I'm currently looking for a larger one for a TV stand.
Yup, you guessed it - I have become a thrift shop junkie; a flea market addict.
And Porter. I continue to learn things about little Porter. He is afraid of the sound of plastic bags being shaken or opened, although not, apparently, afraid of the bag itself. He's also afraid of the moving cars, but loves to go for car rides. He hides or runs for the door whenever a car pulls into the driveway or passes by the house. I wonder where he came from and when went on in his life before arriving at the pound. Celeste had no fear of anything that I'm aware of. She was totally confident in everything she did and every where she went, it seemed. Maybe that was just because we went with her wherever she had to go. Porter is pretty much an awesome pup in every other way, aside from the plastic bags and cars, though. He's 3 years old and a speed racer when he's outside. Running is his thing....he does laps around the house when we're at work! And he loves sleeping on the bed at home and being invited to sleep on the sofa with me when we're at work. The novelty of being around animals is wearing off, so the goats and alpacas don't spend so much time confronting him at the fence these days.
So, I'm off to get ready for work. But armed with my laptop now, I can updated and finally post some pictures, and keep up with what you are all doing. Yeay! I think I'm back!!!
Jul 8, 2010
Porter is turning out to be a great guy! He is very gentle with the residents and has so far stayed calm through both tantrum and seizure. He tells me when he's has enough for the moment and goes to the door. Sometimes I'll see him looking in the screen door, but when I open it for him, he just stays on the step and declines to come in. He just watches from the door for a bit, and when he's ready to join the group again, he lets me know. The residents love him and he seems to understand that this is our work now. He's always ready to go home to his own house and yard, though. For me, as well as Porter, this job is a challenge and a learning opportunity that seems to have come along at just the right time.
I now have cable TV, telephone, an internet service, but unfortunately no computer yet. I've gone shopping for one, and was amazed at the desktop computers that are available now. Monitor and CPU all in one unit! Touch screen. ...and everything sold separately. No more of everything in one box. It was a little daunting for me. I didn't have the money to buy one (luckily), so I have more time to figure out what I want and what I need.
Thanks again for thinking of me and for leaving me the great comments! And to the people who leave me comments in Japanese: I'd be happy to publish your comments if they were in English, and of course not spam, but I can't read Japanese. Please leave your comments in English so my friends and I may enjoy them.
Jun 24, 2010
My other news is that I have found a job in Colorado, about 45 miles from where I live in Cheyenne. It's on the Triangle Cross Ranch, which is not really a ranch, but a farm where mentally challenged people live in a supervised environment. It will be a new challenge for me, and hopefully I'll be up to it. Porter can come too, and spend the days that I'm there with me and the residents, as long as he behaves himself. I really hope that works out, but if he takes time to adjust, then there's a dog run he can stay in.
Gotta go - that's all the time I have in this session. More in a couple of days!
Jun 16, 2010
Celeste didn't get to come, either. It was going to be too hot sometime during the day in Miami, so we were stopped at the ticket counter and had to give Celeste to some friends that came to the airport with us. She's on vacation till O gets back to Lima, which will be on Monday...SOB!!!! I'm so glad to be back home now, but to have him go back just breaks my heart. At least Celeste will have him there with her.
I've been thinking about being by myself here and already have been taking a few turns around the local dog pound, searching for a dog for me and potential pal for Celeste. She's supposed to be coming back with O next year. I found a little dancing cutie - I think she must be something like a miniture Pinscher - but she stands on her hind legs and dances. And then barks her little brains out. Hmmm. Also visited with a schnauzer mix who is about the same size as Celeste. He is only about a year old and very friendly. He's got a bristly schnauzer mustache going on, and some bristly guard hair on his coat that pokes straight out from his body. And a beautiful border collie - one-eyed, but really a nice dog. I guess I'll see who's still available on Friday, after O gets on the plane back to Peru. I'll be bawling then and in need of some friendly distraction - I think a dog will be just the friend I need.
May 20, 2010
Celeste is confused and worried. Her whole world was dismantled throughout the week and sent away to the house in Trujillo this morning. The only familiar thing left in the apartment is her own crate, and even that is probably too new for her to like just yet. Her old one was dismantled and sent to the trash, since it was made of wood and not up to airline standards. When the guys came this morning to pick up the furniture, she stood watching and following them around as the took things out and put them in a truck, checking with me once in a while to make sure it was okay for all this to happen.
I finally found a veteriarian who didn't try to swindle me, and Celeste now has all her paperwork, certified healthy and fit for travel and entry into the US. I know it will be a tough trip for her, having to be alone in the cargo hold through the entire journey. I looked for a dog toy for her that might make her feel a little better, but couldn't find a single squeaky toy anywhere. Maybe tomorrow I can find something fuzzy and soft in a pet shop in San Miguel.
I stopped working a week ago and my entire attitude has changed! Not that I hated my work - on the contrary, I enjoyed the work. But not having to pass through downtown every morning to see the drunks sleeping it off and the homeless begging for anything has made a huge difference for me. (A nice little severance package helped my attitude a bit, too!) I know I'm not cut out to live in a big city like Lima. So it's back to Cheyenne for me; O will be coming this time, but only for a month. Then he has to return till December, when his military commitment is up. He's got some options to consider and some things to compete, so he'll have about 6 months to get that stuff done.
So, the next time I update here will probably be from my sister's house in Colorado, where we'll be staying for a little bit, till I get the furniture put back in my house in Cheyenne.
Hasta la vista!
May 14, 2010
mayo de 2010
If all goes according to plan (and we're always ready for a "detour" here), Kaiser will be winging it to Winnipeg, Manitoba, in cool Canada. He's scheduled for a Tuesday morning flight (May 18) that will lead to a wonderful, caring beautiful couple. His first home there will be with Dr. Chris and Marny Hohl. THey seem to have a line-up of frriends who would like to adopt our Kaiser. But once the Hohls meet him.....well....there may be a different ending to this story,,,,,.
For those of us who watched Kaiser suffer through an unnamed disease for many months, this is the best news of the year. When he was finally diagnosed with scarcoptic mamge, we then were able to treat him successfully. Thanks to the vets at Colorado State University School of Veterinary Medicine for helping with the diagnosis.
For newcomers to the Kaiser story, I will again post his foto in his "bad days" when we first rescued him from an uncaring owner and brought him to Casa Lupita. Dr. Jasson Figueroa took over his medical care, and he had the loving attention of many of us, most of all Lucy Bartlett and Diane M. who cared for him in their homes.
The foto below was taken just days ago when Dr. Jasson and I took Kaiser to the vet for his health check and vaccinations.
Kaiser's two flights on Tuesday will cost a bundle. He must travel in a large kennel on a Continental cargo flight as well as a Westjet flight from Toronto to Winnipeg. We are asking...no, we are BEGGING!...for donations to help defray the high cost of getting Kaiser to Canada. We are estimating a a bill of at least $1,000 dollars for the combined flights. If you can help with any amount, please send to Building New Hope through PayPal or by check. We do need your help.
Thanks to all who had a part in helping Kaiser to recover. Thanks for being part of the massive effort to send him off to a new, wonderful life. And thanks to the many Kaiser fans who kept in touch from afar, asking about him and wishing him a speedy recovery. You got your wish!
Apr 18, 2010
I took Celeste to the vet to see what was required for her to get a health certificate. Oh. My. God. At first, the vet said it would cost about $150 for everything. Then things changed. The well-cared for, healthy dog that he saw just a few months ago suddenly was down on her weight and needed the most expensive dog food on the market to get her weight up, which he just happens to sell. And she suddenly has fungus all over her body - that's why her hair is falling out; nothing to do with the fact that she's shedding in her regular shedding schedule (twice a year, in spring and fall), and I must buy these expensive anti-fungal treatments, which hejust happens to sell, of course. Oh, and what about a crate? If I don't have one, he'll be glad to order one for me, at a cost of $400, plus $50 for the mandatory "disinfection of crate" cerificate. Holy Crap. I watched his eyes light up as he punched in numbers on his calculator. If I take all his advice, we'll be approaching $1000 dollars to take Celeste to the US. I think this is a scam. So....
I said okay to the fungus treatment. Maybe I don't know everything there is to know about Peruvian dog fungus. But I draw the line at $400 dog crates and dog food made of gold. If the crate is actually that expensive, I'll give my money to someone else and not give the vet the satisfaction of getting my entire paycheck. We're going to visit the airport this weekend to see about that mandatory crate disinfection certificate that the vet is planning to charge me for. All the airline wants is a health certificate and proof of rabies vaccine. That's all the US customs wants. That's all the State of Wyoming wants.
I've never seen anyone be so blatant about gouging a customer in my life.
And I gave my notice at work this past week. It was a sad, tearful thing for me, much harder for me than I anticipated. The administrator Told me that I was wlcome to return to teach at any time and that my record as a teacher was stellar. The academic head promised me a letter of recommendation and a statement of work for my resumé. That was very nice.
And now, I have to set about getting some things sent home and deciding what goes to the states, what gets sent to Omar's family in trujillo, and what goes in the trash. We're having gangs of fun here!
Apr 4, 2010
Usually, we go to Fanny's house. Fanny is Omar's cousin, who lives in Ica. They have a bed & breakfast inn there and we usually try to throw our holiday business her way when we can. In fact, nearly all the family does. Usually we would arrive first in our car (which was a minivan), oblivious to the fact that the rest of them were following (or maybe it was just ME who was oblivious to that fact.) Then a day later, two carloads of people - aunts, cousins, nieces, and nephews - would arrive, all jammed and crammed into one single vehicle. How they managed it year after year without someone dying of asphyxiation or being crushed, I'll never know.
So, anyway, during La Semana Santa (Holy Week), this entire family only eats fish. That's a whole week of fish for breakfast, fish for lunch, and fish for dinner. Fish, fish, fish. There's usually fried fish for breakfast, ceviche or fried fish for lunch, and fried fish for dinner, with the more martyrous older ladies picking at fish heads, tails, and fins and declaring them delicious, while the others consume the choice parts of the fish. It's usually at this time that I choose to go vegetarian. Watching someone picking the eyeballs out of fish heads at breakfast or just before going to bed gives me nightmares.
I'm notoriously a drylander. I won't go to the pool on my own - I have to be forced. I don't enjoy swimming and a trip to the beach only entices me to play in the sand and get my feet wet. I don't particularly enjoy the scent of the sea. It smells like fish to me. I do like sea shells, but only if they don't smell like dead fish. So I guess it all comes down to not really being a fan of fish. So during this Easter week, I explore other food options that aren't in conflict with what most people here consider proper. At Fanny's, I ask for bread and butter or avocado with tea for breakfast. For lunch, I can handle ceviche one or two days, but for the other 2 days, I usually ask for potatoes and salad. Dinner is usually similar to lunch. Eyebrows are usually raised at this. I've noticed that unless one specifically asks for vegetables, they are usually not given a starring role at any meal.
During the time at Fanny's we usually go to the fish market in the evening to help her pick out fish for the next day's meals. This market is right on the pier where the fishing boats come in with their catches, so sometimes you have to look sharp to avoid stepping on an escaping crab or the gull that is in hot pursuit. There are also processions on Good Friday that start from the church (I think) and carry the image of Christ and the Virgin Mary through town, returning to end at the same church. It's quite an amazing sight. The streets are closed for the processions, and people line the streets and pack the Plaza de Armas in hopes of getting glimpse of the spectacle, with the devout following throughout the entire route. And in the morning, the men and boys usually go fishing while the women stay in the house and prepare the fish and the rest of the food for the day's meals. After that chore, I usually read in the garden, which is huge and green and filled with pink and purple blooming buganvillia trees, or play with the dog. There's no Easter Egg hunt, no Easter basket, no Easter Bunny. Wah.
All in all, it's a nice week, filled with interesting things to do and see. At the end of the week, we pack our things to head home. It's at this time that it's usually announced that Aunt So&So has gained so much weight by eating too many fish heads that those who originally packed into the one car can't possibly fit into it for the 4 hour ride home. And being the good boy that he was raised to be, Omar usually offers seats in our car to those who would have been at the bottom of the pile in the other car. It's in this way that family members subtlely take advantage of one another. We never refuse. We would never consider refusing...unless there were fish heads brought as an after-Easter snack.
This year, Omar's in Trujillo with his brothers, so Celeste and I are on our own. No sign or scent of fish here. It's still been a vegetarian week, and keeping in mind that I don't bake in this heat, here are a few quick and easy although probably not peruvian things on my menu:
Fried Granny Smith apples
Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
Fried zuchini squash with new red potatoes, onions, and tomatoes
any above served with hot black tea
Twice cooked yellow chili peppers stuffed with bread crumbs, cheese, and onions
Fresh lettuce/tomato/cuke/carrot salad with lime juice and salt
Fried eggplant with cheese and fresh tomato/red wine sauce on french bread
Spicy tomato soup with shrimp and lime juice (okay here's a nod to the sea, but only a nod!)
any above serves with lime water or cebada
Anything from the first two menus, freshened up with ensalada criolla (shredded onion, marinated in lime juice and salt, with fresh mint leaves added at the last moment)
- O - throw it all out the window and have...
Pear and apple slices with good bleu cheese and a small glass of dry red wine...My favorite!
So, because I have nothing more interesting to show you, here are two spindles that I recently acquired:
Mahagony and paduak wood top whorl spindle
Reclaimed ash top whorl spindle.
This spindle maker uses only wood from old furniture that might otherwise be left in the landfill. I think it's a great idea to recycle and reclaim wood and other materials in this way!
And, I'm working on a funky crocheted skirt. Deep green, the top of it is mesh, ad the bottom is...well, the bottom part, I'm still working on. It's a process of evolution. I've experimented with several options and ripped out each one. I've got one more option in the works and if that one doesn't work out, I'm thinking about a whole skirt of crocheted mesh work, with maybe some beads on the lower edge to give it some weight. And since I have the camera, I should be able to put up some pictures of it later today, when I have it all figured out.
Apr 2, 2010
I found myself speaking pretty directly to them. Heh, that's one thing about the English language, American English in particular, that people in other countries find rude. But, hey, these two bad boys needed to hear it straight. I had to tell them today that their low grades were directly related to their behavior in class. It's very difficult to listen and participate in a meaningful way when you are spending all your energy and attention in acting like as a**...well, you can fill in that blank.
When students receive their grades, the teacher is expected to give some kind of explanation for the grades and some advice for improvement in the next cycle. I really dreaded giving these two their grades, but they were surprisingly accepting of their scores. One actually passed the class, although he thought he should have been at the top of the class. The other didn't make the cut, and felt kind of bummed out. I explained again that if he could have simply come to class with the idea of learning something and participating like a gentleman instead of some kind of baby gangster, he could have passed right along with his peers. It was really pretty sad to see the effort that he put into his final oral exam, and then to know that he was going to fail in spite of that one single last-ditch effort.
I wish he'd have put that much effort into his daily participation. He could have been great.
Mar 23, 2010
2 new spindles made by Heidi, who is RestlessPeasant on Ravelry. The top spindle is the Posey, and has my spin a long fiber on it. The middle one is the Big Lotus, a bottom whorl spindle made to ply with, and the lower spindle is a tibetan-style supported spindle made by Grizzly Mountain Arts on Etsy.com. I haven't learned to spin with it yet, but ooo la la! It's a beauty!
This is also a spindle made by Grizzly Mountain Arts. It's a tahkli supported spindle, the fat part (the whorl) is made from Tiger Maple and the tip is of mesquite wood. The shaft is birch. this spindle is a LOT of fun to spin on, but I don't think I'm terribly proficient with it yet, because it takes me a really LOOONG time to spin with. I use it to spin laceweight singles and it does great!
And I've been doing some spinning, as well.
I've been participating in a "Year of the Tiger" spin a long, and you can see some of that on the purple flower spindle. It's gorgeous fiber, fun to spin, and well prepared. I hope the yarn turns out as beautifully as the unspun fiber is!
Yesterday, O and I closed on a house in Trujillo. We have sold this apartment and the car in anticipation of moving to the US in mid-May, and WHAT?? O's family finds themselves evicted from the house they were renting because the owner sold it to someone who plans to live in the house (It was a major GAAAAGH!!! moment for me.) So...being the good son he is, O decided to buy a house for them. Not like we're so well-off that we can just go around buying houses whenever we feel like it, but neither of us could stand to see his brother and his wife and new baby, and his incapacitated father out on the street with no place to go. Their income is barely enough to get by on, and they usually end up living in a little ramshackle place (like the one they were just evicted from.) Isn't it just typical that just when everything seems to be coming together, something falls to pieces and things don't turn out like we planned?
So. Nearly all our savings here in Peru went into this house, which is plenty big for everyone. The roof is good, the walls are sound, the door locks, and each person can have his or her own bedroom, even O's mother, when she comes to visit. There is a mall planned to be built not far away in the near future, so the property values in this area are predicted to double in the next few years. The brother plans to buy his own place in a year or two, and it may be that the father will not live for too many more years. If all this comes to pass, we'll sell this house and hopefully earn our money back (fingers and toes crossed.) If not, then O's family will have a place to live as long as they need it, with no danger of being evicted. The deal is that they have to make periodic improvements in exchange for living there. In theory, it's a good deal for them, and possibly for us, but in practice...well, I have my apprehensions. I've already had my experience with other people living in my house, and it wasn't good.
Don't you just love it when a plan comes together? I mean, after all...What could possibly go wrong? :o(
Mar 15, 2010
Feb 28, 2010
We're getting ready to move back to the US, at least I am, and to prepare, we're doing things! Yes! We're doing things! Not exactly the kind of things you might imagine, though. Behold:
Last Sunday, O and I went to get groceries at the local supermarket. We got his favorite greek-style olives that come in a plastic box full of olives and juice. They are a local product, really, Peru has almost everything necessary to be self-sufficient in the way of produce and natural resources. Anyway, these olives were carefully placed into a bag and loaded from the shopping cart to the back seat of the car. Then we unloaded all th grocery bags from the car to the steps of the apartment building. I only have so many hands, so I usually drop my cell phone and wallet into a bag with dry goods, like bags of rice and boxes of cereal, so I can carry everything up. So I did that, but somehow the box of olives got turned on its side and all the juice leaked out in to the bag they were in. When I lifted that bag to the counter, it went all catty-wampus on me and all the juice that had left the olives splashed out...into the bag with my cell phone and wallet. Oddly, everything in the wallet was totally dry, which was probably due to the fact that my cell phone soaked up a lot of the liquid, and ended up fried. Argh. Cell phone sautéed by its own battery, in olive juice.
Later that night some lady called for O, and upon discovering that he wasn't at home, she asked for his cell number. I had to tell her that I didn't know what his number was, since it was saved to my cell, I never bothered to learn it - just hit the speed dial to call him. After finding out that I was his wife, she proceeded to tell me what a terrible wife I must be, if I didn't even know my own husband's cell phone number and what was I going to do about it, and did he know that I was so slovenly and uncaring that I didn't keep track of his phone number and she was certainly going to tell him about it.
I hung up on her.
Then we sold the car. O was thrilled that he'd driven a hard bargain and gotten his price, which was really pretty good for a 1997 Mitsubishi Chariot minivan that had been rear-ended at east once and honestly needed some serious repairs. We transferred the title over and collected our money and walked back to the house, which was the moment that reality set in. OMG, it was like losing a child! O has been in mourning for a week, but shows signs of adjusting to life on foot again, or at least life on city bus.
The next day, O hitched a ride to class with a friend who lives in Chorrillos, an hour away from our neighborhood. That was really nice of the guy, but O forgot his keys in the friend's car and didn't realize it till he got home...then had to take a taxi all the way to Chorrillos to retrieve the key. He didn't get back home till around midnight. And then he told me that his taxi driver was either drunk or really tired because he couldn't drive without roaming all over the road and he kept falling asleep at the stop lights. SCARY!
On Thursday, when I stepped out the door to go to work, the doorman told me that the water tank would be cleaned on Friday about 10 am, and that the water would be off for a few hours. What he REALLY meant was that the water would be off for a FEW DAYS. The water was turned off before I got home from work on Thursday, and stayed off till this morning. Thursday night, I walked to the closest store to buy some 2.5 liter bottles of water so we'd have drinking water and something to brush our teeth, knowing that the water would be on in the morning for showers and washing dishes and whatnot. On Friday, I returned to the store to buy some more water to scrub off with. On Saturday, I went to the store AGAIN to buy water and found it sold out of water. GAAUUGH! Saturday
was particularly hot in the classrooms and I was feeling particularly self-conscious and stinky as I walked between the desks during the exams. It was more like squishing and sloshing between the desks as I sweated along. After two days of bathing in a plastic water bottle, I was beginning to feel like I'd been in the trenches for far too long. In short, I reeked. I was thankful for the end of the work day so I could get home and take a shower. Surely the water would be on by the time I got home.
The worst of it was that not only did I stink, but I had quite a good crop of fruit flies buzzing in and around my sinkful of dirty dishes and a pile of laundry like I hadn't seen since having surgery last year. It was too much for me, so I grabbed the last bottle of water before O could, slammed the kitchen door shut before the flies could take over the rest of the house, and took refuge in the bathroom to scrape off the top layer of dried sweat and car exhaust. I did leave the last half of the bottle of water for O...he stunk worse than I did.
This morning, before daylight, I checked for water in the bathroom. EUREKA!! We had struck water again and I leapt in the shower. After that, I attacked the kitchen with a can of Raid and scared the daylights out of the flies that had taken up housekeeping in the sink, beneath the dirty dishes. I'm sure I didn't manage to kill any of them, but I destroyed their stockpile of moldy and stinking food bits when I washed the dishes, so there's nothing worth returning for. I posted the Raid can on the window sill as a wicked reminder to any and all flies that my kitchen sink is an unfriendly environment for fruit flies.
What can this coming week bring that could possibly beat last week? Can't wait to see...
Feb 19, 2010
I've recently been asked to teach a pronunciation course. To prepare for this, I've been attending some workshops with a very fine teacher of pronunciation here at the institute. We teach American English here, and in examining the way words in English are pronounced, I find myself turning words and their pronunciation over in my mind...over and over. I disagree with some of the ways she says words are pronounced, a very small point really, because English pronunciation in the US is so influenced by the region and prevalent cultural group of the local area. She says that A, as in RAN is pronounced with almost 2 syllables, like RAY-AN, where as I (being from the High Plains area) say it with just one syllable, as A. Just AAAA. No AY-A. Just AAA. And the -ing in bring, something, thing, wing, and ring...I pronounce that almost like EEEENG, long E and NG. She says it's pronounced with a very short i, similar to THIS, IN, LIFT. She learned her pronunciation in the Deep South, and I grew up in Colorado. With all this regional difference, I wonder if the students will be confused.
Along with that, as I think about pronunciation, I have in my mind the story that my parents used to tell us when we were all kids. How it kept coming up, I can't remember, but we heard it numerous times. We always laughed uproariously each and every time we heard it...here it is, in a nutshell:
When my parents, Tommy and Phyllis, were in school, they knew a little boy named Johnny, whose last name escapes me now. When he was little, Johnny mispronounced his words, never learning to say his "K", "G", "F", or any other sound that required him to move his tongue from the ridge behind his teeth. So he used the "T" and "D" sound a lot when he spoke, calling my mom "Tyllis" instead of Phyllis. He never had the opportunity to go to speech therapy, but he could make himself understood and besides - he was so darn cute when he was in elementary school, so Johnny never learned the correct way to pronounce most of his words.
Time passed, and everyone grew up and tried to be cool, even little Johnny Whatsisname (gads, I wish I could remember his name!). The girls were wearing their hair in tall bouffant 'dos and wearing red lipstick and black mascara, and the boys were rolling cigarette boxes in their t-shirt sleeves and rolling their pant legs up so their white socks would show. Johnny's parents got him a 1941 Ford coupe to drive around, so cool. So very cool...until he opened his mouth.
Johnny never did learn to pronounce any sounds that required him to use different points of articulation in his mouth, aside from his old stand-by, the ridge behind his teeth. He wanted to be cool though, and boasted about his "Torty-un-Tord" (Forty-one Ford.) Everyone, even my mom, thought he was funny. Plus, he had the hots for my mom. So one day, he pulled up beside her with the '41 Ford and offered her and her friends a ride in his car. They all piled in, with my mom in the front seat, my dad as one of the pals in the back. Johnny leaned over to my mom and put his arm around her shoulders, puckered up, and (being the suave, smooth-talker that he was) said, "Div us a tiss, Tyllis!" While the pals in the backseat laughed so hard they couldn't sit up and gasped for breath, my mom gave him a look that said "Drop dead, jerk", exited the car and ran, mortified. You know the look I'm talking about.
Funny how after these more than 60 years, old Johnny is still remembered, but not as a cute little kid with a speech impediment, nor as a cool teenager in a hot car. We all remember him as either the moron, or the poor unfortunate, who never learned to pronounce his words correctly.
Feb 8, 2010
Feb 7, 2010
Lion Brand made a wonderful display of large knitted and crocheted animals at the Craft and Hobby Association convention in Anaheim, California last week. Pictures of some of them can be seen here. They even had knitted plants!
I can't imagine the amount of work that went into this project, but I love the results, especially the peacock.
Feb 1, 2010
When I was a child, a monster hid under the bed, only on MY side of the bed. My older sister may have had her own monster on her side, but I can't be sure. She never spoke of it. I don't know if it is common knowledge, but monsters often live under the beds of children. As I grew up, the monster stayed, but made itself less obvious, probably because of the increased activities of 4 adolescent girls. Still, at night, I had to stand back from the side of the bed and LEAP, from a distance of about 3 feet, into bed to keep the monster from grabbing me by the feet and dragging me under there so he could feast on little kid meat. And of course, COVERS were the only thing that actually kept me safe through the night. I was so thankful that I had my magic covers to stand between me and certain death at the hands of the monster under the bed. Without covers, it could have reached up and snatched me away in my dreams.
When I grew up, I got married and moved away, escaping the monster for a few years. But eventually, the monster tracked me down and once again crawled under my bed. I didn't see it, but one evening after a particularly stressful day, I felt its presence and had to leap into bed again. Imagine my chagrine. Twenty-something years old, and I had to leap 3 feet into my bed. I lived with that monster under the bed until getting divorced several years later. I managed to give it the slip again when I moved out and moved around for a few months. I moved into my own house in Cheyenne, and still manged to elude the under-the-bed monster.
And then I moved to Peru and got married to O, confident that the monster under the bed would never, ever be able to follow me across North, Central, and South Americas. And, until last night, I was sure that the monster hadn't figured out where I was, and maybe had even forgotten about me.
...end of confession...
I didn't feel that monster's presence, but last night in the middle of the night, when Celeste crept under the bed to her usual cool summertime sleeping spot, a struggle ensued with what I could only conclude was indeed the monster. She must have caught the monster unaware, and was about to catch him off-guard. For a few intense moments, there was a short battle that included some little barks and growls, and whimpers, some kicking, and then Celeste launched her most lethal attack yet - THE DEADLY GREEN GAS. There was a final kick to the mattress and the bed frame, a vicious growl, and then a soft sigh. Mercifully, a breeze came through the window and carried the remnants of the gas out...or maybe it was the monster, finally vanquished, that created the breeze when it leaped out the bedroom window to escape the deadly fumes.
A short time later, Celeste emerged from under the bed, rumpled and bearing a few dust bunnies (a sure sign that the monster had been there) on her coat, and crawled up onto the foot of the bed to sleep the deep sleep of a triumphant warrior. Luckily, she hadn't been suffocated by her own gas attack, which is always a danger to the novice monster hunter. Mission accomplished. The monster under the bed is gone - until next time.
Jan 30, 2010
Jan 23, 2010
Asunto: RE: Kaiser
Enviados: 20 enero 12:53
Hi Kathleen, kaiser is actually beautiful! I was starting to think I would never see him as a well dog again. He loves to take walks with his team of "walkers" who cater to his his whims. First walk of the day is at 6 30 a.m. to the lake and back! Will be posting fotos on my blog soon!
This makes me soooo happy! Thanks to everyone who donated on Kaiser's behalf! When I see the pictures of Kaiser, I'll post a link so you can go see them!
Jan 13, 2010
£1,500,000 BRITISH POUNDS WINNER!!!.
From: Liverwood Promotion (email@example.com)
You may not know this sender.Mark as safe|Mark as junk
Sent: Tue 1/12/10 7:32 AM
Dear Prize Winner, £1,500,000.00 British Pounds Winner in 'January' New Year 2010 Promo Draws: This prize was AWARDED to your E-mail Address by Liverwood Promo. CLAIMS Reference Number: LIUK/5020/0261/20 Reply to ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) Extol Finance, For Enquiry: Telephone: 0044-70-3183-3488. United Kingdom. For claims,FILL THE FORM BELOW:YOUR NAME: ADDRESS: TELEPHONE/CELL: AGE:COUNTRY:NATIONALITY:OCCUPATION: You can also Fax this message with your E-mail to Fax Number: 0044-84-4774-2128 Thanks for your response for Claim.Liverwood PromotionLeicester, United Kingdom
Then I googled them and found this:
The e-mail here is just one type of the thousands of scam e-mail variants sent out each day by 419 scammers. If you've received an e-mail even remotely similar to the one on this page or if you have arrived at this page via an internet search resulting from an e-mail that you received, I can 100% guarantee that YOU HAVE RECEIVED A SCAM E-MAIL!
The read, blue, and black sparkly stuff is Vardo, from Farm Witch. The brown skein is handspun of wool from Maggie's Farm, Inc.
And a little bit of crocheting. The beret is of handspun Flickabunda wool that I got from Maggie's Farm.
Hmmmm...I thought this would be the underside of the beret, but...
Jan 10, 2010
I think this is probably THE BEST movie that Robert Downey Jr. has ever done. I don't usually like Robert Downey Jr, nor do I like Jude Law, but I have to say that in this movie, they were both brilliant! It's a fun movie, although set in dark and gloomy London, similar to the set of "Sweeney Todd, The Butcher of Fleet Street". The music is great, the story is great, and the acting is wonderful.
If you haven't seen it, RUN, don't walk, to the nearest theater showing it!
The story takes place in Victorian England, and is comprised of letters sent between two cousins, Kate and Cecelia. Kate is in London, "coming out" this Season, being 16 years old now, and Cecelia is at home at Rushton Manor in Essex. The two correspond throughout the Season, and disclose secrets about the strange goings on in their lives. Both are intrigued by magic, but both are forbidden to study it by their ever-watchful and extremely proper aunties, Elizabeth and Charlotte. Forbidden to study magic, they are unwittingly drawn into a subversively sorcerous plot to destroy Thomas, the Marquis of Schofield (who is a magician in his own right), and his friend James Tarleton (no wizard, but an extremely loyal friend of Thomas.)
The story line twists and turns, drawing the reader deeper into the recesses of the tale, revealing humor, intrigue, and two different plots. After readng the story, I read the afterword at the end of the book with the two different authors, and discovered that the entire story was indeed written in a series of letters. The two authors had entered into "The Letter Game", in which they collaborated on the development of the main characters and the setting and the timing (when the story would end), but each created their own plots and additional characters, and did not discuss them with each other. After the letter game ended, they got together and revised, refined and created a more readable and understandable story, then dashed off to an editor. It wasn't originally intended to be published - it was just for fun. The letters are long on fun and gossip, full of creativity and wit.
I enjoyed the book immensely. I think it would be fun to play the letter game, too! I wish I could find someone who was interested in playing. What fun it could be!
Jan 2, 2010
People of Walmart
(this one made me go check my wardrobe and throw out those leopard print tights - so tacky! - that I wore with my pre-worn polkadot hotpants and plaid belly shirt.) Personally, I do shop at Walmart sometimes, but there's something about the place that encourages some to get creative with what they're wearing.
For Your Entertainment
(this one makes me grit my teeth)
Cake Wrecks (It takes a special talent to be a cake decorator, and some of us just don't have it.)