Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Finally, an excuse for the Random!!!

Which may explain why I'm SO excited to finally participate in Linda's Random Dozen Meme.

Memes that help us get to know one another other better are always fun. Blogs in general are fun. I read a really great post on my SIL's blog yesterday and learned some things I didn't know -- and I've been part of the family for a very long time.

On with the questions!

1. Tell me the absolute best way to watch a movie. At home, in your p.j.s, munching on all your favorite snack foods AND with people who don't mind that you like to discuss the actors and plot (or lack thereof), predict what comes next or dis what just happened -- basically, provide a running commentary throughout. For some reason that bugs a lot of people. But it's what I do.

2. Do you ever think about your own funeral? If so, do you have specific ideas about how you would like it to be? Um, no.

3. Are you more of a giver or a taker?  I love giving, sharing, doing and find it generally easier to be on the giving end. Right now, because of the situation, I feel like I'm doing a lot more taking. There's so much I cannot do because of the language barrier, health issues, etc. so I have had to depend on others to a much greater extent than I'm comfortable with, but it's where God has put me right now. You think maybe He's trying to teach me to let go of some of the control issues?

4. Vacations: planned activities and schedules, or play it by ear? Definitely prefer having a plan because without one, nothing much seems to happens. But I'm married to a man who loves the spontaneous and scorns schedules. Have been trying to let go (it's one of those pesky control issues) and just "wing it" but can't say I'm altogether comfortable with the whole concept yet. Would love to hear from other couples like us who have come up with a solution!

5. What is one often overlooked item in your home that needs to be cleaned regularly? Only ONE?! Seriously? One?! Okay, let's go with windows. No, no. Not windows because if they were clean people would see all the other overlooked items. On the other hand, that might motivate me to take care of those things too... So yeah, let's stick with the windows.

6. Name a cause that means a lot to you. That people would know Jesus. When you have Jesus, the other things fall into place.

7. Do you eat a regular old peanut butter jelly sandwich, or do you customize it? And by the way, jelly or no jelly? P.B. and bananas is the preferred sandwich with a thin coat of peanut butter and thick slices of banana. Sometimes a little smear of homemade jam or jelly is good too. But not always.

8. If we were having a conversation in person, how would I know if you were nervous? I don't think I would be -- we're friends! But when I am nervous, I have a hard time talking coherently, walking without mishap, and blushing a brilliant red if I'm particularly nervous. Of course even when I'm not nervous I have a hard time talking coherently and walking without mishap; nervousness merely makes them more pronounced. And these days the hot flashes replicate the brilliant red blush while doing nothing more than standing by myself in the kitchen peeling potatoes.

9. Do you have an elaborate bedtime routine, or just the basics of tooth brushing and jammies? Basic.

10. Have you ever regretted something you wrote on your blog? That's why they have the delete function. I've also regretted a few comments on other blogs because later it occurs to me, "Oh my, what will they think? I didn't mean that the way it sounds at all!" I can't do the funny and when I try it generally comes out all wrong and not funny at all.

11. Has anyone ever told you that you look like a famous person or celebrity? Did you agree? No but I've been told numerous times that I remind people of other people they know. Kinda scary, thinking how many Kim-alikes could be running around out there in the world.

12. If you were going to dedicate a song to a loved one or friend, what would the song be and to whom would it be dedicated?

To Ivan, mi cariño.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Monday Meanderings

Cultural differences I've encountered in the past couple of days:
~ because the city hasn't paid its water bill in a while, the co-op drove through downtown on Saturday morning blaring a message to that effect over loud speakers while co-op employees went store-to-store handing out fliers (from what I understand, this does not prompt the city to pay its bill but apparently does make the co-op folks feel better)
~ in the grocery store you will often encounter numerous empty shopping carts blocking check-out lanes because people who have already checked out, rather than returning carts to the front of the store, push them back into the check-out area after they've unloaded their goods onto the conveyor belt
~ people serve themselves from food that is right in front of them but do not pass bowls around the table as we are accustomed to doing in the U.S. -- I'm still not clear on whether you are expected to pass your plate and ask whoever is in front of the desired food to serve you or only eat what is in front of you or ask them to pass the food to you... any of the relatives know the answer to this? We'd like to know!

I watched a recent episode of Dancing With The Stars (a show I'd never seen before) because HELLO, DONNY OSMOND was on it. Anyone my age will totally get that; the rest of you, trust me, it was something I HAD to do :-) I did not expect to be so amused; I laughed -- hysterically a few times. Like when Ashley Hamilton said, "I think the biggest challenge is all the physical stuff." Duh! Then I felt really bad when he told about his motorcycle accident and brain injury and subsequent surgery, and being in a wheelchair for over a year. [Although I admit I couldn't stop laughing even then.]

And when Tom Delay commented that one move made him feel "prissy" before admitting: "One thing I wasn't prepared for in learning to dance was getting in touch with my feminine side" and then dancing to "Wild Thing".

Having never been a fan of reality or competitive television, I normally avoid such shows like the plague. But DONNY OSMOND compelled me to watch. The experience is best summed up by a comment from dapper elderly gentleman judge Len who is cold -- very cold -- and ruthless: "Parts were magic, parts were tragic."

I made cornbread yesterday after seeing the photo on Sara's blog. And it is some of the best I've ever made. I threw in some sweet red bell pepper, onion from our garden and a handful of freshly grated Sardo cheese. Yum! Thanks for the inspiration Sara!

On the other hand, I also experienced Fail #4 with no bake cookies. 

My SIL is having a giveaway on her blog but I don't want anyone to go over there because the winner will receive a beautiful handmade pottery bowl and I WANT IT. So just ignore her blog for a while, okay? Oh alright, go on over...but don't leave a comment. Fine then, leave a comment...but TRY NOT TO WIN.

In case you hadn't heard, you can be friends with a real, live Ugandan gorilla on facebook now. Don't believe me? Go here to read all about it. I'm not sure which is more disturbing: that I can be friends with a gorilla or that the word gorilla comes from a Latin term meaning "hairy woman".

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Week 39, Project 365

We had a terrific storm last night that knocked out the internet as I was trying to upload photos for Project 365 so I'm running a little behind today. But before it went down I did manage to get three short videos up on youtube (what's up with the new blogger set-up that doesn't allow us to post videos directly any more?) because this week I went a little crazy with the video feature on the camera.

Our week started and ended very busy but with a nice break right smack dab in the middle. My photos reflect that; I took a great number of photos at the beginning and end of the week and almost none while we were in Sta. Rosa. In fact I realized Thursday that I took my shoes off when we arrived on Tuesday and didn't put them back on until Thursday afternoon. Not leaving the house = No photos.

But back to last Sunday... A group of Bible Institute students spent the day running Mufa Pufa games on the costanera again. We had lunch together first, enjoying the beautiful weather by eating on the patio. Pasta, salad and bread hit the spot and provided the energy we needed for the activities of the day.

For those who may not remember, Mufa Pufa is simply the name they've given a bunch of crazy games using lots of props -- oversized wooden "feet", fabric tunnels, and good old inner tubes...

The next day the city of Carlos Paz hosted their annual fiesta del Día de la Primavera y del Estudiante and teens from all over the country flooded in. What teen wouldn't want to go where there were free bands, a variety of sporting events and lots of other teens? Actually this year there weren't as many as usual. Not sure if that's because of the economic crisis or because they had better bands in Cordoba :-) I meant to find out if the anticipated 80,000-100,000 came but we left town the next morning before I had a chance to check the news. Anyway, it was tens of thousands, just not sure how many tens of thousands. While we were downtown Monday I stopped in the center of the sidewalk across from the bus station, near two band stands, and did a 380° turn with the video camera so you could get an idea of the sheer number of kids. Remember, this is just a fraction because there were things happening all over town.

(Notice all the short sleeves? It was a beautiful first day of Spring!)

After supper one of the guys from PdeV in Sta. Rosa found my Spanish/English dictionary and the section on colloquialisms. Now I don't feel so bad about butchering Spanish after seeing him do a number on English. Here he is trying to say "be in a bad mood" -- although no one could be in a bad mood after watching this!

Tuesday we took the boys and a trailer load of Mufa Pufa props back to Sta. Rosa. As we came into view of the high Sierras, the panorama took our breath away! Snow covered the mountain tops and a low band of clouds hovering above made it seem like the snow extended into the sky. Amazing sight.

Then I went inside and didn't come out for two days.

When I did, it was to take a walk before we packed up and headed home. I've talked before about the pesky wild parrots and huge nests they create with thorny branches. They were particularly raucous that day so I stopped, aimed the camera at a tree with multiple nests and just recorded the sound of parrots for about 15 seconds. I knew your life would not be complete without the opportunity to listen to REALLY LOUD parrots squawking.

WAY more effective than a rooster in the morning.

Our son has to scrape the paint off his garage and Ivan knew he'd seen an article about how to do it efficiently in one of his Fine Homebuilding magazines. He subscribed for years so we have a bunch of issues -- so which one was it in? He was able to find that info online, pull out the correct magazine and take photos of the spread to e-mail to our son. I know Ivan would love to be there helping Jon (especially in light of the fact Jon will be one-handed for the foreseeable future) but since he can't, he figured the next best thing was passing along some good how-to tips.

[Please keep praying for our son; he started physical therapy last Friday and doesn't know when -- or even if -- he'll get feeling back in the tips of his fingers. Meanwhile the pain in his wrist and up his arm continues to be pretty intense. Not fun!]

The neighbor across the street had her palm trees trimmed and among dried fronds stacked along the curb, bright green seeds caught our eye. I thought they looked kind of like green grapes. What do you think?

Saturday there was more soccer followed by merienda followed by a time of sharing. Last week only a handful of boys showed up; this week the turnout was better with 13. They quickly decimated the cookies, cake, cheese and crackers we'd set out.

That's our week. How was yours?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Oatmeal Pancakes

I've been MIA this week. The internet worked when we first arrived in Sta. Rosa and the morning we left -- at which point I was too busy cleaning and packing to use it. We made it home Thursday night and yesterday I had no writing mojo so I simply caught up on reading the blog posts everyone had written since Monday... between four loads of laundry and continuing with the small sewing projects. I am bound and determined to finish at least one of them this weekend!

Thought my plan was thwarted when I hooked up my Pfaff last evening and the peddle didn't work. But Mr. Fix It husband had it humming along in no time. Thanks honey!

Do you ever have a lot to say and don't know where to start? That's where I am. So rather than go on and on and on...and on, I'm going to share some food related items with you. Because that's who I am and that's what you get. 

We had a most delicious dinner last night that included lettuce and green onions from our garden. Baked potatoes were topped with butter, sour cream, the green part of green onions, freshly shredded Fontina cheese and chunks of bacon. For salad I tossed the thinly sliced white sections of green onions, lettuce and a sprinkling of fire engine red pepper chunks with olive oil, salt and a light Rosé balsamic vinegar. The last item I found a few months ago and we are on our third bottle. It's balsamic lite, in a sense; doesn't have quite the bite a traditional balsamic has, but it does have the sweetness and just the right amount of tang. In my humble opinion.

Hungry yet?

Then how about I share a hearty autumn recipe for those of you in the northern hemisphere. Although those here in the south would enjoy them too.

*Note: Must start these the night before!!!*
2 c. old-fashioned rolled oats (i.e. NOT INSTANT)
2 c. buttermilk, plus a bit more
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
2 t. sugar
1-1/2 t. baking powder
1-1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
2 eggs
1/4 stick butter, melted and cooled
vegetable oil for frying
Partially prepare batter the night before: in a small bowl, combine oatmeal and 2 c. buttermilk. Cover and refridgerate overnight.
The next morning, sift together dry ingredients and set aside. In a larger mixer bowl beat the eggs until frothy. Add butter and blend, then add oatmeal mixture. Quickly blend in flour mixture. Batter will be very thick so you may need to add buttermilk -- CAUTION: one tablespoon at a time until it's the right consistency.
Fry pancakes, using heaping tablespoon of batter for each cake, and flatten to about 3/4" thickness. Pancakes will puff when turned over.
Serve however you like: with syrup, sauteed apples, powdered sugar...or WHATEVER. They're your pancakes; eat 'em how you want!
~ brought to you by Cooking from Quilt Country: 
Hearty Recipes from Amish & Mennonite Kitchens


Okay, so attempt #3 with the no bake cookies failed as well last weekend.

I Am A No Bake Failure.

What am I doing wrong? I followed the recipe TO.THE.LETTER. They were dry and crumbly and we again ate them with a spoon. Because it is hard to eat the crumbs with the fingers. And eat them, yes we did. Not as good as batch #2 but definitely edible.

Could it be the higher altitude? We're at about 4,000' elevation. Would that make a difference?

Perhaps my ingredients here aren't equivalent to what I'd get in the U.S.? But it's basic stuff and I don't see how it could be that different. Sugar is sugar. Right?

I have not given up, oh no I have not. The fight has just begun! I am off to the store this morning to buy yet more oatmeal. I'm going to attempt recipe #2 again but add more oatmeal to see if that prevents it from being too gooey.

Although gooey is good. Sometimes I'm in a gooey mood.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Snow in the Sierras!

Yesterday was the first day of Spring and today there's snow in the Sierras. Lots of snow. More snow than we saw all winter.

Ivan had to bring the guys back to Sta. Rosa, along with the trailer full of props for Mufa Pufa (yes, it was another crazy weekend of games on the costanera). We decided to take advantage of the trip and I came along with him. As we came up over the hill by Ciudad de las Americas, the snow capped vista of the Sierras spread out before us. Wow! We stopped several times to take photos and I'm hoping we have at least one good one to share for Project 365 this week.

Our co-workers suggested we take a few days for some R&R. You may remember last time we tried this, the wildfires chased us home the next day and instead of a relaxing weekend it was actually pretty stressful. So we are very much enjoying this middle-of-the-week break. We arrived about lunch time and after a nice hot bowl of soup, we took a nap. A lovely, long nap. I'm planning to take several of those over the next 48 hours. Along with a hot bubble bath or two and some fun sewing. I brought two little projects to work on.

After our nap Ivan picked some eucalyptus leaves which are now in a pan of water on top the heating stove, emitting truly wonderful smells. The fire Ivan built when we arrived is keeping us warm and toasty. The internet is working, albeit very very slowly, allowing me to check e-mails and write a quick post. Life is good.

Ill miss a couple of Spanish classes but did bring the short story by Borges that I'm working on. MANY words I have to look up so it's slow going. There will be a whole stack of index cards with new vocabulary words by the time I'm done.

But mostly I'm just going to veg.

Yeah for spontaneous getaways!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Week 38, Project 365

I shared some photos Monday from our day in Cordoba city but wanted to share more. This is the closest "big" city to us; it's about 35 minutes away. As the provincial capital, it's where we have to go for important paperwork and the primary purpose for our trip Monday was to see if our national I.D. cards were in yet. Still no cards, but it was such a pretty day we enjoyed a little sight-seeing. As we walked along I happened to look up and see this view.
The building in the foreground is quite old, dating from the 1600s I believe. Behind it is a more "modern" church from the 19th century. It's old enough to need some work done on it, hence the scaffolding all around.

I took this photo from inside looking out so you could see people walking by and get an idea of how TALL these doors are -- they're humongous!

I hardly ever post photos of people. I won't get into all the reasons why; those who are in ministry know there's a fine line with the whole privacy thing. And some have specifically asked we not post photos of them. But this week I have one of us to share. That's actually a very pretty fountain, and not the giant birdbath it appears to be.

Tuesday after class I snapped this photo of my tutor's porch. Her yard is lush with plants and from the front you can't see the porch except from certain angles. Doesn't it look like a most inviting place to sit, read a book and sip iced tea?

When Del Potro won the U.S. Open, there was great rejoicing in the land!

A quick stop at the YPF turned into a long one when the driver in front of us suddenly shifted into reverse and slammed into the front of our car. Our little Fiat Uno was no match for his SUV and sustained a broken headlight, bent bumper and I'm not sure what else.

Even though it's still officially winter, one of our rose bushes burst forth with a blossom this week! I have to say, I'm inordinately proud of this photo. This is right-out-of-the-camera with no changes whatsoever.

In preparation for a more informal, local soccer tournament this Saturday I washed all the uniforms on Friday.

They finally hauled the 40 foot container off the not-so-empty lot next door. It took quite a bit of maneuvering and almost maimed a few trees in the process. You really should click on the photo and enlarge it to see exactly how tight of a fit it was -- we thought they were going to have to take down part of the fence.

That's all from my little corner of the world. If you haven't visited Sara yet, make sure you stop by and see who else is participating in Project 365 this week.

Saturday randomness because that's all I've got

Attempt #2 at No Bake Cookies failed again. But at least these tasted good so we ate 'em with a spoon :-) After I made them I hopped online to read a few blogs and saw that Linda had posted her recipe -- which I'll try next time. Hers calls for for the addition of peanut butter which sounds wonderful.

Earlier this week we received a call about the house in Sta. Rosa; something was wrong with the water -- as in, there was none. So yesterday Ivan and Abram went out and discovered the problem was minor (the outlet which the pump plugs into was messed up) so they fixed that and a few other things. Like replacing the drainage pipe on the water heater because it had caught fire and melted. Not a good thing, but again, a relatively easy fix. They actually took care of several chores we'd had pending so it was a productive trip. When they returned they brought back a couple of guys to help with the soccer tournament today.

This afternoon we're hosting an informal soccer tournament for whoever wants to play. Ivan and our co-worker are over at the playing fields now. I'm heading over shortly with two sheet cakes and some Tang for merienda. 

I started the expense reports over a week ago. And stalled. And have not returned to finish them yet. All that's left is to fill in the mileage reports. Easy. Really easy. But apparently I'm having issues with paperwork at the moment. Whenever I pass the pile on the desk I quickly avert my eyes. If I don't see it, it's not there.

The empty lot next door wasn't really empty. It was full of big pieces of metal, a couple of business signs and a long 40' container, among other things. Over the past couple months they've been coming with trucks and hauling stuff away, little by little. Today they finally came and took the long 40' container. It was an entertaining 1/2 hour while they jockeyed it through the gate and maneuvered it onto the street. Our street isn't that wide so it was a lot of back and forth, back and forth. Like when you've parallel parked and you go to leave and discover the cars in front and back of you are almost bumper-to-bumper with your car.

I guess this means they'll soon be breaking ground to build next door. Should be fun to have front row seats to a construction project.

One of our rose bushes has already produced a bloom this season!

My new art project is not going as planned but I'm liking the direction it has taken. It's going to be a collage: técnica mixta with paint and found objects. I'm normally a very task-oriented person and like a purpose for my projects so taking this art class and doing things just to practice what I'm learning has been a challenge. I know practicing is a valid purpose in and of itself, but it seems kind of lame to me.

After not having time to sew for over a month, I grabbed an hour today and started a small Christmas quilt. I've been mulling ideas and playing with sketches until I knew what I wanted to do. It feels wonderful to get back to the sewing machine!

Now I must go finish getting things together for merienda. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

How would you like to grab some pots and pans and join us in a little protest?

There are e-mails circulating to organize a cacerolazo next week, in protest to actions by the government in the past year. I'm not totally up on all that's going on because I still don't understand everything being said or written. What I do know is that last year they took private retirement funds in order to pay for public retirement. Now they're getting ready to make it illegal for journalists to report anything negative about the government or face the very real possibility of being thrown into prison.

What is a cacerolazo you might wonder? Wikipedia provides the following:
Cacerolazo or cacerolada: a form of popular protest practised in certain Spanish-speaking countries – in particular Argentina – which consists in a group of people creating noise by banging pots, pans, and other utensils in order to call for attention.

One of the largest cacerolazos occurred in Argentina in 2001, consisting largely of protests and demonstrations by middle-class people who had seen their savings trapped in the so-called corralito (a set of restrictive economic measures that effectively froze all bank accounts, initially as a short-term fix for the massive draining of bank deposits). The corralito meant that many people who needed a large amount of cash immediately, or who simply lived off the interests from their deposits, suddenly found their savings unavailable. As court appeals were slow and ineffective, people resorted to protest in the streets.

As the Argentine peso quickly devalued and foreign currency fled the country, the government decreed a forced conversion of dollar-denominated accounts into pesos at an arbitrary exchange rate of 1.4 pesos per dollar. At this point the unavailability of cash for people trapped in the corralito compounded with the continuous loss of value of their savings, and the unresponsiveness of the appeal authorities (minor courts and the Supreme Court itself) further angered the protesters.

The first cacerolazos were spontaneous and non-partisan. While in Argentina most demonstrations against government measures are customarily organized by labor union activists and low-level political recruiters among the lower classes, and often featuring an assortment of large banners, drums and pyrotechnic devices, cacerolazos were composed mostly of spontaneously gathered middle-class workers, housewives and professionals, who used not to be involved in grassroots political action of any kind.

After a time, however, the cacerolazo became an organized phenomenon, often of a violent nature, directed against the banks. Many of them were attacked, their facades spray-painted, their glasses broken, their entrances blocked by tire fires, or even their facilities occupied by force at times.

In order to avoid further violence, especially with the deadly December 2001 riots still fresh in the memories of Argentinians, the government decided not to use active police force against the cacerolazos unless absolutely necessary, and to restrict most police presence to barricades in critical spots, a policy that was followed also with piquetero marches of unemployed people asking for state welfare and jobs.
Isolated cacerolazos also featured during the apagón ("blackout") of September 24, 2002, to protest against increases in public service fees requested by the providers.
As the financial and macroeconomic conditions became more stable, the government loosened the restrictions on the withdrawal of deposits, and the cacerolazos died out.
Not sure how many in the interior of the country will participate in this organized but innocuous form of protest. I've heard the folks in Bs. As. do it up big. Interesting concept, no?

Even if people in my town haul out their pots and pans to join in, not sure anyone will hear them over the 14 bands that will be playing around the city, celebrating the annual Festival de Jovenes. We're expecting thousands of young people to descend on the city for the day-long, city-wide party on the same day as the protest.

We never talk politics here; that's not why we came. But I have always had a healthy interest in the political process and am finding it fascinating to see how a different system functions, and thought it might interest others as well. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

So what's happening?

adj.   bus·i·er, bus·i·est
  1. Engaged in activity, as work; occupied.
  2. Sustaining much activity
Good description of my week so far. Not sure I'm accomplishing much but I am "engaged in/or sustaining much activity." Leaving very little computer time, either for reading other blogs or writing on my own. Preoccupied with my "to do" list which isn't really any shorter today than it was last week.

Leaving me very tired and not very coherent so I'm not even going to attempt to write much tonight. Just didn't want folks to think I'd gone missing.

Also would ask y'all to pray for my son who is still in quite a bit of pain three weeks after surgery on his wrist. He saw the doctor again, had some tests run, and will be seeing another doctor soon. Hopefully they'll sort out exactly what's causing the pain and take steps to fix it. It's rather discouraging to be one-handed when your job requires two hands.

Hope you're having a great week!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday Meanderings

A trip to Cordoba today provided so many photos I won't be able to post even a fraction of them for Project 365 so I decided to share a few of them today.
I'm including this heinous shot because you have the right to know that someone in Argentina has committed a serious fashion faux pas. Actually several someones: one person designed this monstrosity, another physically made it, and now a store owner is not only selling it but giving it place of honor in their window. Yikes! Or as I recently learned to say, "¡Horroroso!"

The purpose of the trip was to once again check on our D.N.I.s (national I.D. cards). Still not in. Although we were offered a small glimmer of hope as the man at the front desk said a batch of cards for foreigners recently came in but hasn't been put into the system yet.

While we were downtown we took in a few of the sights. First up: Colegio Montserrat which was founded in 1687. When you first walk in, you can feel how worn the floor has become due to centuries of use. Classrooms are filled with antique desks (the really, really old ones that are over 100 years old). Which I guess when you think about it, are relatively new compared to the rest of the school.The central courtyard appears to be a favorite place to hang out.
Nearby is the University of Cordoba which is even older (the oldest in Argentina, second oldest in the Americas). I am totally in love with the architecture of this place. Is this doorway not one of the most gorgeous things you have ever seen?!
Finally we headed back to the car, window shopping as we walked. A few street performers kept passersby entertained, including this sax player.
Definitely got our walking in today.

Also stopped for a short visit with our friends who live in the southern part of the city. Juan is a retired pastor in the Grace Brethren Fellowship -- which will be celebrating 100 years in Argentina next month! My in-laws were missionaries here with Grace Brethren Foreign Missions so my husband and I hope to see lots of people he knows at the fiesta grande in Río Cuarto.

Hope you enjoyed this little tour of downtown Cordoba. I'll have more photos on Sunday with Project 365.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Week 37, Project 365

I am such a party animal that I'm still trying to recover after being out two nights in a row and only getting about 4 hours sleep each night. [What's up with having an internal alarm clock anyway? I'd like to be able to shut mine off!]

Thursday night's cafe literario provided superb entertainment. Entertainment which didn't start until after 10 p.m. and finished about midnight. Tango presented in music, prose and poetry in a dark basement theatre against the backdrop of a small stage sporting a bright gold lamé curtain. A blindingly bright gold lamé curtain. None of my photos turned out due to the glare of the lamé.

Hombre de la esquina rosada, a short story by Jorge Luis Borges (probably Argentina's best known author) read by my friend Graciela and another woman. Several pieces of poetry recited by a dapper older gentleman. Tango music by individuals as well as this duo.

About thirty of us around tiny round cafe tables on equally tiny chairs, most folks knocking back tiny cups of espresso. I refrained from the cafe. Good grief, if I dared drink that much caffeine at any point after noon I'd be awake half the night. With perimenopausal insomnia I don't need any help staying awake at night. And there's no such thing as decaf here. They'd look at you like you were nuts if you should ask for it. What's the point, they'd wonder.

Then Friday night we attended a musical evening featuring both tango and folklore music. It didn't start until after 11 p.m. Not sure but I think these things usually go until 3 a.m. or so. But Ivan had to get up early on Saturday so we were the first to leave, around 1:30 a.m. The man who sang tango has a beautiful voice. His day job is driving a taxi. The folklore band -- two guitars and a bongo style drum -- were good too. The younger guitarist looked like a young John Lennon while the older one seriously resembled former Argentine president Menem. The folklore portion was much like a giant sing along. 90% of the audience were senior citizens and knew all the words to all the songs and weren't shy about joining in. At one point a man from the audience even got up on stage and took over the microphone. Fortunately he had an exceptional voice so we quite enjoyed his performance.

I think the senior citizen factor might have been the reason behind the music being so LOUD. It was so loud that even though we sat in the back, it still hurt my ears. So while I enjoyed the music up to a point, I was more than ready to leave. We've noticed most public places seem to have their speakers perpetually set on HIGH.

Ivan was up and out the door early Saturday because he and our co-worker took 18 boys to an all-day soccer tournament in another town. Some are contacts we made when the Bible Institute students were here helping recently. Others just heard about the event and called to sign up. 

Over the past week Ivan and our co-worker visited the homes of each young man who wanted to go to the tournament, to meet their parents. Ivan took this photo while they were in a neighborhood on the other side of town. He liked the mix of roof lines with the mountains in the background, and I do too. We're fond of architectural art.

Saturday was a long day for Ivan; he left at 8 a.m. and returned home at 10 p.m. One set of parents also went, helping transport the boys to and from Jesus Maria, a town about 1-1/2 hours from here. A total of fifteen teams from a number of towns competed and although none of our three teams brought home any trophies, everyone had a great time.

There were a few tense moments; one of our teams was so sad after a loss that some of them were crying. Argentines take their soccer pretty seriously. But in the end, smiles prevailed and they're ready to do it again!

As y'all know this week we celebrated my second blogiversary AND I managed to write post #500 on the actual day. That was fun :-)

To make learning how to use the bus system a little more fun for Andrea, Ivan devised a plan: They had a goal of finding an empty lot that was going up for auction. The newspaper description landed them in the right neighborhood but wasn't specific enough that they could go right to X-marks-the-spot. They had to ask neighbors and do a little investigation. Eventually they were successful and took photos of the surrounding area. Including this great castle-like house not far away. We've passed this place every time we go to Tanti and often wonder what the story is behind it. Maybe one day we'll find out. Meanwhile I like to think up possible scenarios.
I'm going to try and be more intentional this week about taking photos. I have a few ideas and hope to have the time to try them out. It's interesting to see what each Project 365 participant "brings to the table". We live all over and lead very different lives. Some have little kids, others are surviving the teen years, and then there are those of us whose kids are grown. We live on farms, in cities, out in the 'burbs. It's fun to get a peek into one another's lives as we develop this internet community.

I've really enjoyed the comments this week, leading up to my second blogiversary giveaway. Y'all have shared verses, stories, posts...bits of your life. I appreciate more than words can say the friends I've made in this journey. Next week I'm going to be talking about some of our favorite posts. The party may be over but the fun sure isn't! If you were putting together a time capsule and could only put in one blog post, which would it be? Hmmmmm, have to think about that? No problem. Just make sure you come on back and leave a comment with the link :-) Inquiring minds want to know!

And now for the winner of my Second Blogiversary Giveaway....
(drum roll please)

Her entry stamped 6:12 p.m. on Wednesday, September 9 was the one drawn from the bowl.
I'll be putting together a little package just for Skoots this week.
Thanks to all who left comments. Not just this week but any time. They're like drops of rain on a thirsty plant.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I'm pretty excited about tonight

We're going to a cafe literario for a special program on tango. Like most things, it doesn't start until 9:30 p.m. or so. My friend Graciela invited us. She's part of this literary group that meets weekly to read whatever they've written, be it poetry or prose, but tonight she promised there will also be music -- since the topic is tango. Should be fun!

It's already been a pretty full day with Spanish and art class. I finished a second painting using gesso and acrylics, based on two photos I cut up and reassembled in cubist style. I have two ideas for upcoming projects; I think first up will be the mixed media collage with bits of found objects from the kitchen and my husband's shop. I'm having a lot of fun with this art class!

I believe we are all innately creative in some way -- God made us to be creative. Bloggers write creatively. We take the everyday events of our lives and use words (sometimes lots and lots of words!) to describe those events for others. I would love to read what you consider to be the best post you've ever written. Is it sad, serious, funny, sentimental? Please join us and leave a comment with the link! 

Although we're celebrating all week, today is my actual Second Blogiversary and this is my 500th post! Such a lot has happened in the past 24 months and I've appreciated the constancy of blogging, of keeping this online journal. It's interactive nature is something I especially enjoy and know other bloggers do too. Yes, we'd probably write even if no one ever commented -- but it's really, really nice to receive feedback!

Wonderful Words of Life

Remember this hymn:
Sing them over again to me, wonderful words of life,
Let me more of their beauty see, wonderful words of life;
Words of life and beauty teach me faith and duty.
Beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life,
 Beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life.

Y'all shared some truly great verses yesterday and I wanted to say thank you!

So daughter, here are some beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life!

Micah 6:8 "And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God."

PS 119:35 "Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight."
PS 119:105 "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path."
~ Robin

Ps. 37:1-7
No use comparing ourselves with the world... (vss 1,2)
You need a good job, a means of sustenance? TRUST in the Lord. (vs.3)
You have deep-seated, legitimate desires?..(husband, home, family of your own?...some spiritual offspring?) DELIGHT in the Lord. (vs. 4)
You have the senior panic? (job, direction in life, etc.?) COMMIT your way to the Lord, He'll work it out. (vs. 5)
Concerned about your impact on this world? REST in the Lord, WAIT patiently for Him. (vss. 6,7). As great grandma Hirschy's sign said "Ve get too soon oldt und too late schmardt..."
~ Lynn

Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths."
~ Susan

Proverbs 22:7 "The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender."
Romans 13:8 "Owe no one anything except to love one another."
~ Karen, who says “[we’re] working diligently to get out of debt -- debt I wish we'd never incurred.”
(excellent words for someone just starting debt is inevitable but no sense in adding more!)

Jeremiah 29:11 "I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you"
Isaiah 43:1-3 "When you pass through the waters I will be with you, and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned, the flames will not set you ablaze"
~ Mari

Jer. 33:3 “Call to me and I will answer you, and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know."
~ Susan

Ephesians 2:10 “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
~ Rita

I'll be back later today but wanted to post the verses this morning and say thanks for encouraging Tina -- and me!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Happy Birthday to my sweet girl


My baby (*sniff, sniff*) is 23 today. This is the second birthday we've celebrated far, far apart. It doesn't get any easier. But even if we were nearby, not sure we'd be able to do anything since she's in class all day and has to work tonight.

When I was pregnant with her, we were living in hot, muggy South Florida. I rarely ventured outside our air conditioned apartment except to take our 4-year old son to the pool for brief -- very brief -- periods. Oh my word, I don't think I've ever been so hot in my life. Southern girls aren't supposed to sweat. We glow. We perspire. But we do not sweat. Only that summer? I sweat. Great big drops of sweat, all the time, everywhere.

It was a difficult pregnancy with me losing weight rather than gaining it. I survived on yogurt and the newly released Dole Fruit 'n Juice bars. And water. Lots and lots of water. Couldn't stand the smell of meat. Any meat. Couldn't stand the sight of meat. Any meat. Ivan had to do the grocery shopping the entire pregnancy. I could not walk anywhere near the meat section or I'd barf. Just thinking about the meat section made me barf.

I weighed the same right after I had her as I had when we got married. Only the weight had seriously shifted. My arms and legs were stick thin but my middle... well, let's not talk about that.

She was a scheduled c-section and I was relieved to know my mom would be flying down right before, to stay with our son while I was in the hospital and then help the first few weeks I was home with the baby. Only Tina was rather impatient and came three weeks early. She's always been raring to go, the first one in the car, the one planning trips whether it was just to the library or out west to Colorado. We called her our "Go Go Girl" when she was little because she was always wanting to Go! somewhere.

She hasn't changed. Give the girl keys to the car or a ticket on a plane, and she's outta there. She might have gotten the itchy feet from her parents but she's taken it to new heights. She's already been to more states than us, and I have no doubt that within a few years she'll have been to more countries and continents as well. And that's just fine. I have only one thing to say: You Go, Girl!

Right now she's busy finishing her bachelor's degree and thinking about that next, all important step: finding a "real" job, one that will utilize her skills and training. We're excited to think about where God will lead her next.

AFTER she visits us, that is :-) We are very much looking forward to her visit in December. Only 99 days to go! 

Will God direct her to a secular job? One with a non-profit? Into full-time ministry? She doesn't know. But she's open to wherever He wants her to go. And for that we're thankful. Thankful that she knows God and loves Him and wants to do His will.

I'm sure y'all have some great verses you could give to encourage her in these coming months as she seeks to know WHAT'S NEXT. Today would you share those verses in your comments? Don't forget, comments serve as entries in my 2nd blogiversary giveaway!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I finally pried the calculator out of my cramped hand so I could post before the day is over

And oh my, when I logged on I saw a whole new lineup of icons. Yesterday after landing on Between Naps on the Porch where Susan has a FANTABULOUS post with lots of how-to info on blogging, I followed the directions to switch to the new post editor and it has WAY more features. How exciting! I also changed my comments to appear in a pop-up box. That's a feature I liked on other blogs but had no clue how to do it on my own. There's a lot more I'd like to do when there's more time.

Most of today -- a good 7 hours of it anyway -- was spent working on expense reports. Still not done. Ugh. My shoulders ache from hunching over all day, crunching numbers. [What does that mean exactly? Crunching numbers? Sounds like it might involve a whole grain cereal, sort of like Alphabits only with numbers.] Well, I don't think what I was doing really qualifies as crunching numbers but I've always wanted to say it. It sounds so MATHEMATICAL. And that is so not me. I am doing well to balance my checkbook. Which might be why it took seven hours and I'm still not done. *sigh*

I also had a test in Spanish over the subjunctive.

Ran to the store before lunch. The plan was to get lots of fresh vegetables at the verdulería next to the grocery store BUT I forgot to take cash. I had a few pesos in my purse so was able to grab potatoes, a red pepper and some cucumbers, but I'd planned to get more than that. We use the credit card at the grocery but the verdulería only accepts cash.

We interrupt to bring you a public service announcement give you a quick lesson on life overseas...
Because we aren't able to open a checking account here, we use ATM machines to access money from our account in the U.S. The bank that manages the ATMs here charges just over $3 per withdrawal, our bank charges a $5 fee, AND we are charged a 3% international monetary exchange fee. FOR EACH AND EVERY TRANSACTION. Plus the ATMs limit the amount you can withdraw at one time. It's a very small amount so those fees pile up awfully fast. We've found that using the credit card, to buy groceries or pay for gasoline, means we aren't paying those extra bank fees on items we charge. Well, except for the 3% international fee. Can't get away from that one. Unfortunately there aren't too many places that take credit cards and we have to use cash for most of our expenses.

Now back to our regular program....
Also managed to get two loads of laundry done and made Mari's wonderful Chili Cornbread Salad for supper. If you haven't tried it yet, you should! I throw in whatever vegetables I have on hand and am in the mood that included red pepper, a carrot, tomato, cilantro and radishes (from our garden!), onion, and cucumber. As well as the cans of beans and corn. You would not believe how many times I've made this recipe since Mari posted it at the end of June. We ♡ this recipe.

Which brings me to the topic I'd love to see addressed in the comments today... Are you in the habit of trying recipes you find on other blogs? If you do, what has been your favorite so far? Be sure to leave a link if you can! All comments will, of course, be entered in the drawing for my blogiversary giveaway!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Monday Meanderings

Works For Me Wednesday and Saturday Stirrings are two of the regular blog events I've participated in with some consistency. Their practicality appeal to me. Who doesn't want to know how to do things faster/easier/better? And who can resist a great new recipe that will wow your family and earn you brownie points?

Speaking of brownies... No, no I'm not going to get sidetracked this morning.

My problem is REMEMBERING to participate. You'd think with names that include which day of the week they occur on, it would be easy-peasy. Not for me. You would not believe how many times I'd think about WFMW on Thursday. Seriously. I finally gave up trying, realizing that for whatever reason, the middle of the week is not a good time for me to try and consistently do anything. Maybe because right now Wednesday and Thursday are my busiest days.

Also, if truth be told, I have a hard time coming up with new ideas of how to do something faster/easier/better. I'm in a rut as to how I do things, be it cleaning or laundry or cooking, and I just don't have anything earth-shatteringly intelligent to impart. My brain is currently too consumed with trying to remember when to use the subjunctive in Spanish and how to conjugate a multitude of verbs in past, present and future.

We participate in different things because it fits where we are in life, and I'm not in a WFMW phase of life apparently.

I'm still in shock over the fact that I've kept up with Project 365 all year! It really helps to have that pretty button on my sidebar to remind me :-)

[I hope to do better at remembering Saturday Stirrings because one can never have too many new recipes.]

So what phase of life are you in? It would be fun to hear what blog events you participate in on a regular (or even semi-regular) basis. (Don't forget, leaving a comment enters you in the giveaway to celebrate my blogiversary this week!)

I had several comments on my new look. The credit all goes to Simply Blog It Backgrounds, whose button is now on the sidebar. I simply had to pick out the one I liked best and do a little cutting and pasting. Which I learned how to do in first grade and re-learned how to do electronically in my 30s. Creating new backgrounds is probably not something I'm going to learn so I'm really thankful for those talented people who are willing to share their creations for free!


That song "It's a small world after all" is running through my head. This story is kind of convoluted so just hang in there and try to follow me... A few years ago, before we visited our future co-workers in Argentina, a cousin mentioned she knew some other missionaries working in this city. We weren't able to meet them on that trip and they left shortly after we moved here last year without our paths ever crossing. But recently we met their daughter, who married a man whose dad is a pastor on the other side of town. Then this week Ivan met the pastor/dad at the grocery store and found out he had been discipled by Ivan's dad! My FIL was living in Rosario in the early 80s but every two weeks would travel 180 km to meet with a group of people without a pastor in Corral de Bustos. Now all these years later we run into one of the men from that group who has become a pastor himself. "It's a small world after all..." Pastor Jorge, his wife Wilma and their children, Gimena and Claudio

It was quite windy by the lake yesterday. We made sandwiches for a picnic and had to hang on tightly and eat chips from the bags we had wedged in the chairs with us, otherwise everything would have gone flying into the distance. Great weather for water sports though and it was fun to watch the kite surfers, sail boarders and regular sailboats. Sometimes the wind was strong enough to just pick the kite surfers right up off the water several meters. Whoa!

Yesterday I asked folks why they blogged. It was fun reading your answers. I started out because my kids wanted me to blog, as a way of keeping in touch with them and other family and friends from far away. It does that, but it has grown into much more. Like some of you said, we've encountered this community and become a part of something bigger than we anticipated. It's an exciting world in which we live, when we can have friends from all corners of the globe!

Now for some reason I have this strong urge to make brownies...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Week 36, Project 365

If we were pregnant, we'd be having this baby by now. Yes folks, we've been at Project 365 that long!

Something else I've been doing for a long time is this blog. This coming week marks my second blogiversary! The same day I plan to write post #500! And if that isn't exciting enough, sometime last month when things were so busy that I didn't have time to keep track, I passed the 25,000 visitor mark. Woot!

I have a few things to celebrate!

All this week anyone who leaves a comment will be entered in a drawing. Each day I'll ask you to do something different... today I'd love it if you leave a comment about why you blog. Tomorrow it may be what you like best about blogging or a link to the favorite post you've ever written... Each comment will be a separate entry so be sure to come back every day to enter. You can comment through midnight Saturday, September 12th, and I'll announce the winner next Sunday morning.

I'd planned to have a photo with the giveaway items but then I decided it would be best to wait and see who wins and then tailor the gift for that person. Because not everyone likes the same thing. And what if I had girly things and then a guy won (I know of a few men who read this blog and who might be tempted to come out of lurking mode and comment when there's the possibility of winning looming over them). So just know that if you win, you'll like what you get because you'll be giving me ideas!

If you happen to mention my little giveaway on your blog, you'll get another chance at winning. I'm sure if I'd had enough time I could have figured out how to make a fancy button for the occasion, but people, time is a commodity in short supply these days so we're keeping it low tech.

Now, on with the photos for the week!

There's a town near here that dates back about 400 years. I think that it thought rather a lot of itself, because this not-so-big town has this grand entrance way. I shared the other day how we were given some tomato plants and, based on our experience last year, we decided to grow them in a big pot on the patio. I am hoping we get a good crop so I can make some fresh salsa. Among other things. I was sick part of the week so there aren't as many photos as usual. And the next photo is one Andrea took because I didn't make it to the cooking lesson our friends gave on Wednesday. Nestor and Graciela are from Las Rosas in Provincia Santa Fe, where there's a pasta factory that's well known in the area. They went last weekend and brought back fresh tallarines and then demonstrated how to make an amazing sauce with chicken and vegetables. Although I missed the lesson and lunch, I do know it's really good because they've served it before. This photo is a repeat from the other day. Ivan took this at a concert of senior choirs from around the country. This handsome fellow is the director for the choir from Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. Finally, a photo representing what I did yesterday: pack away winter clothes and unpack the summer things. These are things I don't like to box so we'll put plastic bags over to keep the dust out and hang them in the loft storage space. Sara, thanks again for hosting Project 365! We're 3/4 of the way done!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Paperwork makes the world go round. Or at least my world.

I'm taking a break from paperwork. Ugh. Is there anyone who actually enjoys it? I love the feeling when it's all DONE, but the process is worse than a root canal. I know whereof I speak, since I've had a number of root canals over the years. One very recently. Today I finally received the crown for that tooth. Along with a little filling for the tooth next to it. And the confirmation that I did indeed break another molar on the other side of my mouth last week. *sigh* I know I said I really, really like my dentist but I didn't mean that I wanted to continue seeing her every week indefinitely.

I won't get all the paperwork done today. I'll be happy to finish half of it.

But let's talk about happier things.

Like food. Food always makes me happy. I made banana bread last night and a fresh batch of granola this afternoon. I'm still getting the hang of this oven but at least the bottom of the bread wasn't black this time. A nice dark brown is wholly acceptable (shoot, who am I kidding? the black bottomed bread was eaten and no one bothered to cut off the black stuff first). Also made Cuban pork last night so you know what we had for lunch today :-)

Also enjoying some fabulous salads with lettuce from our friend and our garden, along with green onions and whatever else Ivan feels like throwing in. At lunch today it was some beet leaves for their color.

After making this batch of granola with real maple syrup I decided next time I'll try using some fake syrup I recently found at Walmart. I just hate to use the real stuff for anything other than homemade pancakes. I'm down to my 3rd container (of four) of real maple syrup and I don't see how I can stretch that another two years until we go on furlough. I've tried making granola with honey but I prefer the maple flavoring. Has anyone had any experience using something like Mrs. Butterworth's with their granola? Or do you have any other suggestions for what I can use as the sweetener?

Ivan went to a concert last night. (Andrea and I were too whooped.) Anyway, it was a gathering of choirs from all over the country. Choirs composed of senior citizens. Ivan said some of the music was rather painful, but he enjoyed seeing so many elderly folks obviously having a great time and giving it their best. He decided that the director makes a huge difference. The best choir by far was from Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. Their director was quite spiffy as well as very energetic and enthusiastic. Isn't his mustache fantastic? We knew about the concert because a friend told us. The only advertising was a small ad in a local paper that few people read. But the choir members didn't care. They made up the audience, cheering one another on and providing plenty of applause. The concert didn't start until 9 p.m. and was still going strong when Ivan left after 11 p.m. Everyone stays at the same hotel each year and they have a blast just getting together.

Another thing that makes me happy is passing along the funny stuff. I know y'all like to laugh so if you haven't already read Boomama's post the other day you should know it left me with a side stitch from laughing so much. And this post by DeeDee is hilarious! When I visit Deb's blog I make sure I'm sitting on a flat, level surface and am not drinking any beverage that might be spewed through my nose. Because not only does Deb write very funny stuff, she has lots of great photos and graphics to illustrate her point, as was the case with her post about Truth In Advertising. If you are the lone blogger in Bloggyville who hasn't stopped by to see Pioneer Woman, you really should read about how she finally got the cover photo for her new cookbook. Oh my word, that woman can tell a story!

And there are lots more but I'm running out of time. If I don't get back to the paperwork I won't even get half of it done today. Hasta luego!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The rain continues

It's currently raining and 54°. Quite a difference from Saturday's blinding sun and 99°. Haven't had time to look at the news but I'd guess the fires are out, or at the very least under control by now.

I started the day with a cup of herbal tea. Trying to wean myself off caffeine, since it's not good for me on so many levels. But boy the headache! I have to admit I drank about 1/2 cup of Coke midway through the day after aspirin and migraine meds didn't even touch the pain. This might have to be a gradual process.

But my headache is nothing compared to what our poor son has endured ever since his wrist surgery the other day (bone graft and pin inserted). Excessive pain, and this from a guy who has a very HIGH pain threshold. He compared the pain to an auto accident ten years ago when he ended up getting a titanium rod from his hip to his knee. Appreciate your prayers for him.

I made it back to art class today after missing a couple weeks. Not sure if it was the rain or something else, but there were only 8-10 of us there today. Everyone was pretty quiet too. Very intent on, you know, making ART. Little of the usual chatter and gossip. Andrea is also taking the class and Marcela started her out with some exercises on perspective. I still don't have that lesson down pat yet, which is evident in my current work-in-progress. Also evident is my minimal gesso skills. But I'm just pretending it's "modern" art so it's all good.

One of the ladies in class told us about a restaurant in Cordoba that serves food very typical for this area. Not sure when we'll be getting into Cordoba next but we're going to see if we can find the restaurant next time we go.

Actually we need to go in soon and check on our I.D. cards. It's been over a year since we applied and we still haven't received them. A lot of things we'd like and/or need to do require them and those things are on hold meanwhile. No, they don't let you know when the cards are ready; you just have to keep checking back.

Yesterday afternoon Ivan made a mad dash into Cordoba after learning that a missionary friend there was heading to the U.S. because a close family member was having surgery. Ivan met our friend at the airport and gave him the old Vonage phone and computer battery and he'll mail it to our son for us. That's much safer than mailing it from here. I love how God works out even the littlest details for us!

While he was there, he stopped to see a friend whose son gave Ivan some tomato plants (as well as really good lettuce from his greenhouse). We learned last year that planting tomatoes along the back of the yard isn't a good idea because the wall provides too much shade. Instead we're using this big pot we can put over by the patio where it will get full sunlight. Ivan created a frame using bamboo poles so now the tomato plants will have something to climb on.

I can almost taste the tomatoes.

If the farmer's strikes goes on very long, we'll be very happy to have our own little vegetable garden come summer. Last year the strike lasted several months and disrupted food delivery all over the country. Meat and vegetables were hard to come by, and very expensive when they were available. This strike just started last Friday so we'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

It's raining!!!

Everyone is pretty excited about the rain. Not only because we haven't had any in over a month and everything was dry as a bone and brown, but because it's allowing the fire fighters to finally gain an upper hand.

It's not a hard rain, more like the drizzly, misty kind so common in Ireland. My favorite kind. Not sure it's the best to fight fires but we'll take whatever we can get.

I read about one group of fire fighters who were suddenly surrounded by fire so they jumped into a nearby pool, surviving with only minor burns. That happened Saturday. So yes, I think it's safe to say the bomberos are especially grateful for the rain.

When I was signing in this morning I happened to notice that this is my 492nd post (which means #500 is coming up soon) AND sometime last month I passed 25,000 visitors on my stat counter, PLUS I'm approaching my 2nd anniversary with this blog.

Don't you think all that deserves some sort of celebration?

Me too!

Any suggestions? A give-away is always good. But I'm thinking we need more than that. Hmmmmm. In the next few days I'll let you know just how we're going to celebrate.

Haven't been online much the last few days. I figure that's okay since everyone is probably busy doing the back-to-school thing and you're likely not on either. September was always a crazy month for our family; second busiest after December. Along with school starting, we had our daughter's birthday and the county fair with 4-H and all that entailed.

I miss it.

Not that we're not busy; it's just a different kind of busy -- the regular round of Spanish classes, Bible studies, visiting with people in their homes or ours, weekly art class... September doesn't bring any changes. School started back in March; no county fairs, but there are folklore festivals.

Mainly I miss my kids. This week our son had surgery on his wrist and he's still in a world of hurt from that. Our daughter started what will be her last semester of college and in exactly one week she'll celebrate her 23rd birthday.

I'd really like to be able to hug them both right now.

But you know what's really cool? The internet makes it possible for us to easily stay in touch even though we're 6000 miles apart. So kids, I'm sending you virtual hugs. Great big bear hugs!

And to everyone else I want to say how glad I am that you stopped by. Family, friends from back home, friends from churches that support us, friends I've made in the blogging community... thanks to each and every one of you. It makes being so far away a lot easier.