Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Project 365, Week 17

Better late than never?

I've had the blogging blahs lately. Just haven't made time to post with so many other things distracting and keeping me busy.  Plus I haven't felt like I had anything to talk about...blah, blah, blah. Anyone else ever feel like that?

But here, finally, are the photos for last week's Project 365.

Two Sundays ago we were having asado when Ivan noticed the intricate spider web in the tomato pot.
Monday was very busy with the regular stuff as well as getting ready to go to Sta. Rosa. Late that night I stopped long enough to look up some free Kindle books and download them. I've discovered if I download them to my computer first they don't charge the $1.99/per book download fee that they do for direct downloads to Kindle (can anyone explain the difference to me?) plus they can be on my virtual bookshelf and after I'm done reading it on my Kindle I can delete it, but still have it accessible.
Whew! That was an excessively long explanation to go with this photo, where I'm transferring books over to the Kindle.
Can you believe that although I've done this numerous times, I still have to look up how to do it EVERY SINGLE TIME?! Don't they say you have to do something 18 times before it become a habit? Guess I have a few more times to go before that happens.

[Or Amazon/Kindle could just make it easier to do so that almost brain-dead middle-aged women could remember the steps.]

Tuesdays and Fridays we put our empty water bottles by the fence and the delivery man trades them for full ones. Since living here I have become a big fan of soda, plain water that's carbonated.
Wednesday you may remember we didn't have power all day. That evening when I was done cleaning kitchen cupboards, I sat down with my Kindle, homemade chocolate cookies and the flashlight. Oh, and the box of tissues since my allergies have been acting up.
No photos for Thursday. Busy, busy day! (At least we had power restored by 9:30 a.m.)

No photos for Friday. Finished with the cleaning and some minor house repairs and then headed home. We were going to walk down to the river before we left and I planned to take photos of the trees; they're always so colorful this time of year. BUT they were grading the road (hurray!) so it was a muddy mess and impassable by foot at that point. 

Saturday I finally got around to the baby quilt. Super easy to stitch together quickly but then after I'd already started tieing it off, decided my hubby was right so instead I quilted-in-the-ditch which extended the work time a little.
Love, love, love these fabrics!
Sunday evening we had the monthly birthday party after church for all those with April birthdays. Here's the birthday bunch blowing out the single candle on the cake.
And that's my week in photos.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I'm powerless

The power went out about 9 a.m. this morning. Didn't think a whole lot about it, since we often have power outages at the house in Sta. Rosa. Early afternoon Ivan noticed a branch on the line and we assumed that was the problem. Since we couldn't find a number for the electric company, he ran into town. The office was closed but he saw some men working in the barn out back so he talked to them.

Long story short: a couple of the men drove out a while later in the company truck, getting us all excited about having the problem fixed. BUT they couldn't since it just so happens that they had turned us off that morning because of an unpaid bill :-(  NO, they could not turn us back on and NO we could not pay bill today because the office is only open in the morning.

We don't handle the electric bill for the house in Sta. Rosa. A friend of the family has been taking care of the house for years and he is extremely conscientious about paying bills, taxes, etc. So we guessed (correctly) that he had not received the bill. A not uncommon occurrence here. When Ivan called him he looked through and discovered that while he'd paid the bill for April, there was no record of ever receiving one for March. And before you ask, NO they do not carry the balance forward LIKE ANY RIGHT MINDED COMPANY WOULD DO. That would be much too efficient and organized. And NO they do not call or try to contact you in any manner before turning you off. And YES there is a re-connect fee. Sense a little scam business tactic to extract more money from unsuspecting customers?

NO we are not surprised. This happens all the time. On Monday we received a bill in the mail for the house in Carlos Paz that was already 9 days overdue. Of course there was an overdue fee.

We're just thankful that we had power yesterday when we arrived. It wouldn't have been very fun to arrive and find a dark, cold house. AND we're thankful we chose to come out and get some work done before our friends use it this weekend. If we'd waited, they would have arrived to find a dark, cold house and there would have been nothing we could do until next Monday. At least now we can get things handled so they can enjoy their (well-lit) visit.

But speaking of happier things...
Today Ivan chopped and stacked one trailer load of wood, ensuring heat for at least a portion of the winter. We figure it will take another load or two to see us (and guests who use the house) through the whole season.
And I cleaned out all the kitchen cupboards, removing everything so I could scrub the shelves before putting freshly washed dishes back in.

One of the cupboards I left empty since Ivan's going to remove it and we'll take it home with us so he can cut it down in size. We're doing a little reconfiguring in the kitchen so we can tuck the fridge into the end of the cabinet area rather than sitting off to the side like it does now.

The great clean-a-thon and preparing-for-winter event continues tomorrow and then we'll head home Friday morning. I look forward to catching up on blogs when we get back to Carlos Paz. Meanwhile I'm thankful for this lovely tea house in Belgrano with delicious tea, fast internet, and beautiful views of the sierras.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday Meanderings

I haven't had much blogging time lately, and this week will have even less. We're heading to Sta. Rosa tomorrow for three days of heavy-duty cleaning, chopping wood for the heating stove and preparing the house for winter. Since we all know how sketchy the internet is out there with our 3G thingy, I don't know that I'll even try. Especially since the forecast is for cold, rainy, stormy kind of weather which makes it even less likely that we'll be able to get online.

Yesterday was anything but cold, rainy or stormy. I heard it even hit 31°C (88°F) -- absolutely gorgeous day!  The whole weekend was really beautiful.

We had a great time with our visitor, a student from Hillsdale College who's majoring in Spanish and doing a semester here in Cordoba. Hillsdale is our old stomping ground so it was fun catching up on people and places we had in common. She also attends our home church when she's at school so there are lots of connections. Next time she comes she's going to bring another student in the Spanish program (although the other girl is from a different college).

Anyway, back to Sta. Rosa...
Received the welcome news recently that the city is extending the water line out to our neighborhood (which is approximately 4 km from town). How exciting is that?! No more worrying that the well will run dry -- we had problems with really low water levels just last year.

We'll be able to pay half the hook-up fee at the beginning and divide the remainder into four payments, making it totally doable. Not sure when they plan to begin but we hope to find out while we're there this week.

My hope is that they'll soon follow with a gas line. You might hear shouts of HALLELUJA! all the way in the U.S. if that happens :-)  Now we use a wood burning stove (and it does a great job of heating the main area of the house) but the house is always SOOOOO COLD when we arrive in the winter and we have to get the fire started and keep our coats on for an hour or more until it starts warming up. I know what you're thinking: "Oh quitcherwhining!" But I will be beyond gleeful if (or should I say when?) the gas line is extended out our way. It would make it not only more comfortable for us, but also any guests who might want to use the house during winter.

I've heard from three different people that this winter is supposed to be exceptionally cold. NOT what I want to hear! [So I think I'll pretend I didn't.] It was surprising how the cold snap last week turned our area into a wonderland of amarillo -- every street has so many trees changing color that it's like walking or driving under a golden yellow canopy.

Fall is my favorite time of year! I love the cooler nights and mornings, being able to snuggle under the covers with just my nose peeking out, spending happy hours baking yummy treats and simmering pots of soup on the stove, taking long walks in the evening, drinking hot tea or cocoa...and especially sitting on the couch in the evening with an unfinished quilt on my lap while taking tiny (for me) stitches that bind the layers together to create something for someone I love.

That reminds me, I need to finish cutting out the project I'm taking to work on this week in Sta. Rosa. Dear friends just had a baby girl last week! (For those who know them, it's Roberto Colle and his wife; Valentina was born Wednesday.) Remembering how long it took to make the two baby quilts last year, I've chosen a simple Trip Around the World pattern, will use 5" squares AND I plan to tie it off rather than quilt it so it should go together quickly. Picking out fabric from my stash was easy... pink and yellow since I have two lovely floral prints as well as some smaller tone-on-tone fabrics in different shades. Hopefully I'll have a photo of the finished (or nearly finished) project on Sunday!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Project 365, Week 16

Almost ALL of my photos for Project 365 this week were taken on walks; only the last is an exception.

Monday was a gorgeous day so late afternoon we walked along the lake into town to check the mail. On the way, we got a big kick out of the ducks heading to dinner. We had no idea the city had a program for feeding the ducks!
Tuesday wasn't so nice. The temperature dropped about twenty degrees and it rained off and on. We even got some hail -- not very big, but hail nevertheless.
[I apologize for the poor quality of photo; my camera doesn't take very good pictures in the dark and I wasn't about to go out INTO the hail so just snapped this from the safety of the garage door.]

It stayed cool but stopped raining so we went for a walk on Wednesday. I've mentioned that not too many have lawn mowers here; most yards are tiny and people just use weed whackers. But it was surprising to see that even the city doesn't use mowers; they have a large crew of men they send out with weed whackers to take care of the parks. There were three working by the lake near our house but we could see more farther down the costanera.
Disappointing to see they didn't bother picking up trash beforehand so they basically just shredded all the paper and sent it flying everywhere. The next day we saw men out picking up trash -- not doing a very good job either, which isn't surprising since it had multiplied with the mowing/shredding, and it just seems to me it would have made more sense to pick up the garbage BEFORE they cut the grass.

Another day the lake just shimmered in the sunlight and was so beautiful I had to take a photo.
Friday I saw the first tree changing colors! None of the trees turn orange here but many turn this gorgeous shade of yellow.
During youth group we played a variety of games, including "Oso, Mono, Loro" -- sort of a take-off on rock, scissors, paper. Oso trumps mono, mono trumps loro, loro trumps oso. Two people stand back-to-back until on the count of three they turn around and assume the position of their animal. Here's a couple of the boys being an oso and a loro. Can you guess which is which?
We have a guest this weekend -- a student from Hillsdale College is in Cordoba for the semester and came to visit. Tonight after youth group we came home and enjoyed my version of Mari's famous cornbread salad for supper -- a welcome American-style meal :-)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Really, Really Random Dozen

I'm not sure how Lid does it week after week, but she always has fun questions for the Random Dozen meme.

I haven't had much time for blogging (writing or reading) lately and memes provide a quick and easy way to post. I'm sure y'all have experienced time constrains and blogger's block; both have been problems for me lately. Well, I've had some IDEAS for posts but not the time it would take to do them justice.

1. How do you feel about "Gladiator" sandals, also called "Roman" or "Jesus" sandals? A fashion yea or nay? Not a lot of women can get away with this look, in my opinion. Most of us who are middle-aged don't really want to draw attention to our calves. That said, if you've got shapely legs then there's no reason not to wear kickin' shoes! Although I'm still trying to figure out the reasoning behind these:
Why would anyone want to wrap all that hot leather around their ankles in the summer?!

2. What is your favorite pizza? Thin crust vegetarian.

3. There are plans in the works to sell roughly 1,000 items from Star Trek: The Experience in Las Vegas. This means you could buy Picard's chair for your family room. If not a Star Trek item, what prop, background, set, etc. from what TV or movie would you buy if you could?
[Ex: Hurley's "I Love my Shih tzu" shirt from LOST, the plantation home "Tara" from Gone With the Wind, or Tracy's tambourine from the Partridge Family.] The radio from The Walton's:
I'd really like their dining table but there's no way I'd have room for it, so I'll settle for their radio...I'll never forget the chills I felt during the episode when they heard about the bombing of Pearl Harbor on that radio.
I'd also love a painting that was in the Oval Office on West Wing. Couldn't find a photo of it, but I've always really, really liked it.

4. Name a local food or restaurant that your area is famous for. We have a plethora of pizzerias and sandwich shops, since this is a tourist area, but not a lot of good restaurants. There is a parrilla style restaurant in Cordoba called La Corta that's well known for its asado (grilled meat). We've never been but several people have told us about it -- the kind of place you go for special occasions since it's rather pricey.

5. What is your current favorite snack? No Bakes when I crave chocolate and tortilla chips (with or without salsa) when I want something salty.

6. Hypothetical: You are required to be a reality show contestant. Which show would you choose based on your probability of success? (You cannot choose "none.")
A. Dancing with the Stars
B. Biggest Loser
C. Survivor
B. Biggest Loser -- I'd just take a jug of water from my house, drink it the first week and watch the pounds slide off :-) I've actually never seen this show but I understand the premise is to see who can lose the most weight.
I've also never seen Survivor and have no desire to, but I did enjoy last season of Dancing With The Stars when our boy Donny won!

7. On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being uninhabitable and 10 being cleanliness that meets the standards of OCD, how clean is your vehicle's interior? 7 or 8 since Ivan just had it cleaned a week ago.

8. It doesn't feel like Spring until _my roses begin blooming again after being dormant for a couple of months_.

9. Something that made you laugh really hard recently is _trying to both understand and play a game [in Spanish or course] with the youth group the other night -- I think I'm forever branded as the crazy lady who can't keep the directions straight so I just shout out "No! No! No!" whenever it's my turn_.

10. Tell me about a goal you're working toward. Being able to understand and play games in Spanish.

11. Share a thought-provoking or inspiring quote this week. Read this morning: an anonymous poem that Madeleine L'Engle included in her book, A Circle of Quiet:
The written word
Should be clean as bone,
Clear as light,
Firm as stone.
Two words are not
As good as one.
...reiterating my belief that I need to work on being more succinct and not use SO MANY WORDS in my tendency to over-explain.

12. Name one thing that you do as a parent that you absolutely know will make your kids happy. If you're not a parent, feel free to substitute "friend" or nomenclature that works for you. Cook their favorite foods.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Project 365, Week 15

This year seems to be going even faster than last year -- can we seriously already be on week 15 of Project 365?!

I did better this week about taking photos every day but not very exciting ones. We're back to walking almost every day and most of mine are from those walks. But it was either that or more photos of clothes hanging on the line. And for those who do not share my laundry fetish, I know you'd just as soon never see another line of clothes -- yours or any one elses :-) We did make our monthly marathon shopping trip to Cordoba this week and I have two photos from that, but not super interesting ones. My life has settled back into the ho-hum of ordinary, which suits me just fine.

Last weekend the young men who helped us over the summer went back to Bible Institute, but before they left they hosted a two-day soccer tournament. Ivan took a ton of photos but I think these three typify (IMO) what boys this age most like about sports:
Agree or disagree?

Y'all have followed the progress of the lake which, for a while, I was calling the field-formerly-known-as-a-lake. You'll be happy to know the recent rains have done a fabulous job in filling it back up as you can tell in this photo that once again shows the boats are afloat!
Seen in Cordoba: we got a huge kick out of this -- the sofa is about as big as the auto!
Empanadas are meat pies and every region of Argentina has their own favorite filling. Because this is a touristy area, you can get a wide variety but my favorite includes ground or chopped beef, hard boiled eggs, sweet potatoes, and raisins; a meat pie with a slightly sweet flavor. I've not been shy about admitting my challenges with producing an edible pie dough but that's not a concern with empanadas because I have a wide variety of packaged doughs to choose from:
This is the cooler case at Walmart holding probably a dozen varieties, that all come in packs of 10.

We have access to fresh bay leaves year-round because of this giant bush about a block from our house that's on public land, right next to the road!
Parrots are a huge pest here. They're prolific and persistent. And LOUD. Half the parrots had already flown off when we stopped to take this photo, but the four you can still see weren't about to leave their tasty snack shop (a.k.a. someone's garbage) until we got even closer.
I have no idea what this viney flower is, but it's lush and beautiful. It covered not only the fence at this house but climbed up the house and draped itself elegantly over the second floor balcony.
This is the plane Ivan's been helping his friend work on. Anyone want to buy a home built, experimental airplane? Our friend Julio designed and built it (with a little help from his friends) but can no longer fly it (due to health issues) so he's looking for a good home for his baby. Saturday it made an inaugural appearance at a small air show held in a nearby town.
That's all for this week...couches on cars, parrots and planes and purple flowers, soccer takedowns and supermarket treasures.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Flashback Friday - The Birthday Edition

Mocha with Linda is celebrating her sister's birthday by asking us to share birthday memories this Flashback Friday:
What were birthdays like when you were growing up? Were they a big deal or understated? Did you have parties? Get to choose what or where the family ate for dinner? Are there any particular birthday traditions that you remember? Is there any birthday that stands out (good OR bad!), either due to the events surrounding it or due to the particular present(s) you received?
First off, let me say I'm a December baby which meant I could never have large back-yard parties because it was always FREEZING. Since we lived mostly in small houses while I was growing up, I was allowed to have just a handful of friends over to celebrate. That kind of rankled since my sister, a June baby, always had (you guessed it) large back-yard parties with lots of people and a huge meal, usually picnic fare.

Now that I live in the southern hemisphere and my birthday falls during hot weather, I'm past the phase of having -- or even wanting -- a large back-yard party. Such is life.

When I was 11-years-old we moved into a house with a large finished basement. One end held my stepfather's office, a half bath and a laundry room but the vast majority of the basement was open and served as a great room. Previous owners had a mural painted on two adjoining walls. It was a wonderful space and I remember lots of (mainly grown-up) parties down there.

The year we moved in, my mom threw a huge, surprise birthday party/sleepover for me. I knew we were having the normal, invite-a-few-friends-over party, but I had no idea mom had invited people from our old neighborhoods as well as friends from school and my scout troop. I don't really remember how it all went down. I think my stepfather took my sister and me somewhere for a while after school and while we were gone everyone arrived and hid in the basement. When I got home, mom sent me down to the basement for something and when I turned the light on, they yelled SURPRISE. It was such a fun party! Not everyone slept over but I think about a dozen of the girls did. I wish I had the photos from that party to share with you. It was 1970 and we were all wearing very "groovy" outfits :-) I had a beaded band of some kind tied around my forehead.

Definitely a stand-out birthday for me!

Putting the Christmas tree up was a birthday tradition. Because of my mom's allergies, we had a fake tree -- a glorious silver monstrosity that had a revolving light box that turned the tree red, blue, green and then yellow. I loved that tree! And decorating it was something I looked forward to doing on, or very near, my birthday.

Of course, I often received singular gifts "for birthday-and-Christmas" from a lot of people. Because of that I was always sensitive about making sure our son, also a December baby, received plenty of gifts on BOTH days! Perhaps an over-reaction because of how much it bothered me as a child. 

I don't remember going out to eat for my birthday until I was an adult. It just wasn't part of our family culture. My mom worked in a diner type restaurant most of my growing up years and we'd often go in for a burger or some other sandwich at lunch, but I don't have memories of going out to many other places. And never for a birthday.

I'm a little embarrassed that I cannot remember a single birthday gift received as a child! Not a one. I remember Christmas gifts, but not the birthday ones. I think maybe the birthday gifts were kept simple and practical, especially since mom made a really big deal about Christmas and always gave us tons of presents then. I'll have to ask my sister what she remembers.

Definitely cannot beat Linda's story of her 5th birthday though!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Random Dozen

While the fog of cleaning solution slowly dissipates in the bathroom -- until the point I can venture forth and actually breathe while scrubbing toilet, sink and tile -- I decided to see how fast I can post this week's Random Dozen. Because what better way to accompany speed cleaning than speed blogging?

So hang on to your hats, here we go!

1. Define a great relationship.
Wherein I am the object of adoration and an excess of lavish gifts.
Oh, I jest.
Kind of.
A great relationship involves trust, first and foremost. Then comes the ability to be silent together at times. Or to put it another way: not find it necessary to fill all the white space with words. A shared sense of humor. Kindness. Generosity that goes both ways. Time together that leaves you encouraged and motivated to be a better person.
Honestly, I could spend all my speed blogging time on this one question! So let's just move on...

2. Why is it called a "drive-through" if you have to stop? (Real question: What was the last food/drink you purchased at a drive-through?)
Since there are no drive-throughs here that I know of, it's been over 18 months and if you think I can remember back that far, you are seriously delusional.

3. As I type this, the Butler Bulldogs are getting ready to play in the NCAA championship game. Every Hoosier is hysterical about this except me. So in honor of the Bulldogs ... what is your favorite breed of dog? (I tried.)
Hmmmm. Another one of those seemingly innocent questions that could totally boondoggle you into a blogging breakdown.
If I had to choose just one breed, it would probably be a cocker spaniel.
4. If you had to move to a state besides the one you currently live in, where would you move?
South Carolina. Or maybe New Mexico. Possibly Colorado.

5. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
Oh my word, what are you trying to do Linda, send us all into therapy?
I'd probably change a lot about the way I was raised but then I wouldn't be the person I am today, which might or might not be a good thing, but then we'll never know, will we, since that's NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN.

6. Who's the funniest person you know?
My husband cracks me up! He also makes me groan at times with his silly puns. But when I think of funny, I think of Rob and Paul. Those two, when combined, always send us into hysterics. We laugh until we are weak. And smile for weeks over their stories and antics.  We met them when they were college students and now Rob is the associate pastor at our home church.

7. Did you get enough sleep last night?
Not even close. Can any middle-aged woman remember the last time she got a good nights sleep? I'm pretty sure I slept more when my kids were babies; at least they eventually slept through the night and so did I. A female doctor on some dramedy was chastising a patient who was complaining about something minor, and she said, "Get over it. I haven't slept in five years." It was an inconsequential comment that stayed with me because IT STRUCK A CHORD. Yep, I think it's been about five years.

8. What's the first thing you thought about this morning?

9. Grilled or Fried? --HONESTLY
Grilled. Can't handle the fried much any more. Sad but true.

10. Are you afraid of the dark?
Not really. I need it completely dark in order to go to sleep.

11.When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A paleontologist. I grew up at a time the U.S. was starting to push the maths and sciences for all students, girls and boys alike. I was fascinated by geology and fossils and rocks. 

12. If you had one word to describe yourself , what would you choose?
Instead of being all settled and middle-aged at this point in my life, I'm simply middle-aged and confused.
About what I'm doing.
Where I want to go (as a person, not a place).
What I want to be (as a person, not a career).
How I fit into the grand scheme of things.
The older I get, it seems the less I know.

And that's all I have time for with this speed blogging thing. The fumes have settled and the bathroom is ready to be cleaned.

[At least I know what I'm doing IN THIS MOMENT: cleaning the bathroom.
And where I'm going IN THIS MOMENT: to clean the bathroom.
And what I am going to be IN THIS MOMENT: the cleaner of the bathroom.
And how I fit into the grand scheme of things: the perpetual cleaner of the bathroom.]

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Another accident in the mines

I'm not a coal miner's daughter, but I was a coal miner's granddaughter and I'm pretty sure all my uncles worked the mines too, at one point or another. So news of the explosion at Upper Big Branch mine in West Virgina caused that sinking feeling I thought was long forgotten. Twenty-five dead and four missing. Just numbers to most of those hearing about the disaster, but to the families and community of Raleigh those numbers represent fathers, husbands, sons, friends.

They're saying it's the worst U.S. mining disaster in two decades. We're used to seeing news of mining accidents in other countries (China comes to mind) but not the United States. I would have hoped we had learned our lesson after the many explosions and cave-ins that occurred throughout the past century until stronger regulations and stiffer penalties went into effect. But regulations only work when there's compliance on the part of the mines.

We don't want to keep hearing about mine explosions that kill 25.
Or 29.
Or 38, as happened in my home town back in 1970.
We don't want to hear about even one more life being lost in the mines.

I just pray the missing men will be found alive.
And soon.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Monday Meanderings

Fall arrived over the weekend. A hard rain on Friday ushered in cooler temperatures that had me digging through my closet for warmer clothes. While it is supposed to get back up into the 70s this week, cooler nights will be the norm from here on out. Which suits me fine; I sleep much better when I can snuggle under the covers.

I took a walk this morning down by the lake. It's the highest I've ever seen it -- such a contrast to the dry lake bed of just a few months ago!

[Why does my cursor look like it's going back to the beginning of the paragraph I just wrote, rather than scrolling down to where it finally appears once I start typing a new paragraph?]

[As you can see, I'm feeling deeply philosophical this morning.]

On my walk this morning my mind was a jumble of thoughts. About things happening in our little body of believers. What color I'd like to paint the study and laundry room in Sta. Rosa once the roof is fixed. Thinking that I need to print out the next lesson on Romans that I'm doing through Women of the Harvest (they're on to another study now, but I preferred to go back and do Romans). Wondering what we can fix for lunch. And supper. Without having to go to the store. I need to ask Ivan when we can plant our winter garden. Trying to decide if it is safe to store away window fans.

[That weird cursor thing is very distracting.]

I've started my list for Cordoba since tomorrow is the day for our monthly marathon. We didn't have time to do much last month -- the day we went in, we spent 90% of it getting our D.N.I.s handled. I'm thinking we may need to lower our expectations because I don't see how we can get through everything on the list. Maybe focus on the things we need to do together and leave the rest for Ivan on another day.

We've settled on Wednesday afternoons for the English conversation group. Spanish is Tuesdays and Thursdays. By May I'd like to offer either a class on cooking or quilting, but I have to figure out where I can best fit it in. AND decide which it will be. Cooking would be easier and take less preparation, which is appealing at this point.

I'm reading A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L'Engle in which she states that our children have a "passionate need for the dimension of transcendence", but that "the tendency of churches to be relevant and more-secular-than-thou" does not answer this need. Then she quotes George Tyrrell, a Jesuit priest (1861-1909) who I'd probably disagree with on most things but I think he's spot on with this statement:
If [man's] craving for the mysterious, the wonderful, the supernatural, be not fed on true religion, it will feed itself on the garbage of any superstition that is offered to it.
"the garbage of any superstition" We certainly see that here. What's funny (not haha funny, but weird funny) is that so many take a mix of New Age thought, throw in ideas from various 'religions' and cults and create a big pot of "stew" that forms their belief system. No matter what you say you believe, people will agree with you. But they'll also agree with half a dozen others with totally conflicting sets of ideas.

It reminded me of how a college student responded when our pastor in Michigan asked why they came all the way out to our country church, by-passing many other churches on the way. The student replied that our church preached the Word of God, unadorned and without pretense; there was no "fluff".

[Obviously that jumble of thoughts has continued long after my walk this morning.]

[But that's okay, because this is Monday "meanderings".]

[Now I'm going to meander to the washer and proceed to hang out a load of clothes.]

[And hopefully the cursor will behave itself the next time I want to post.]

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Project 365, Week 14

Last weekend we went to Sta. Rosa to pick up Wally & Katie (we'd left them there for two weeks with a rental car and a dictionary -- and they did just fine!). Saturday evening we went to a new tea house in Belgrano that has wifi so I could upload photos for Project 365. While we were sitting on the veranda I snapped this photo that I just had to share this week.
The views of the mountains from this tea shop are just stunning.

Sunday we headed home to Carlos Paz but stopped several times so Katie and I could take photos. A little background: a few years ago they built a new road on the other side of Lago Los Molinos that's not as steep and winding as Route 5. I am SOOOOO thankful for it! There's still a section of Route 5 between Ciudad de las Americas (where the newer road starts) and Alta Gracia that always makes me a little nauseous from the many twists and hairpin turns but we can now avoid the worst of the old road to Sta. Rosa. Anyway, they finally finished the section that connects the newer road to Route 5 near Belgrano so you don't have to go through town; it's a straight shot as you can see here:
My mother-in-law would especially appreciate the new road and how much nicer the drive is into Cordoba (or Carlos Paz) now.

I failed to take any photos on Monday and Tuesday. Too busy having fun with Wally and Katie and TALKING. I even talked my way through a couple of almost disasters in the kitchen :-)  These are NOT soap suds!
It's milk that I was heating for the coffee and as it warmed I whipped it with a little battery-operated whisk I have -- but then I got side-tracked talking (!) and when I turned around the foam was about 6 inches above the pan. I turned off the burner and ran for the camera but it had already gone down several inches by the time I was able to snap this photo.

I completely and utterly failed to take any photos Tuesday night of the large group here to meet Wally and Katie and enjoy asado

Wednesday morning was a beautiful clear day so we took Wally and Katie up the chair lift to the top of the mountain so they could see out over the city. Had fun taking self portraits on the way up.
The last half of the week we were all a little tired of the excessive amounts of food we'd been consuming so for dinner began just munching on cheese and crackers or popcorn and apples or sliced cold roast beef and fontina cheese, along with tea or decaf coffee, as we kicked back and relaxed in the living room.
Our friends left today. It was very hard to say goodbye! I missed them before they even got past the glass doors.
It's been wonderful to have them here and we thoroughly enjoyed every minute of their visit. Now it's back to the same old, same old. *sigh*

Hope everyone has a blessed Easter tomorrow!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Flashback Friday - The (Frightful) Fashion Edition

Linda says a lot of us mentioned Easter outfits last Friday which inspired this week's Flashback Friday that's ALL about fashion:
What fashions were popular when you were growing up? (Any time from birth to high school graduation) What did you beg to wear? What style did you happily embrace that you now look back and think, "Ugh! Whatever possessed me to wear that? (Of course, pictures would be great - the more hideous embarrassing, the better!) Have any of these come back into style? What have you worn that you vowed you never would? (You can also include hairstyles in your walk down Memorial Fashions Lane!)
I have a feeling the answers to this one are going to be a hoot!

I don't remember much about the fashion of my childhood nor do I have a lot of photos from that time period. (And what photos we have we left in the states.) But one that sticks in my head is my sister and I standing on the road just below my Aunt Lizzie's house in Kentucky. We were probably 4 and 8 years old and had on dresses and big floppy hats and carried purses all made from the same floral material. The dresses were straight with little cap sleeves, hung to just above our knees,  and had no collars or ornamentation of any kind. The purses were tiny, had a really long chain strap and they snapped shut like most purses of that time period. I think we had different colors of the same floral print but the photo is in black and white and I really can't remember for sure.

[I only remember that one because a few years ago my sister and her girls and I went to visit Aunt Lizzie and we took a similar photo of my nieces in that same spot.]

I came of age in the 70s and remember well the bellbottoms, shirts with flared sleeves, platform shoes and crazy hair -- especially on the boys. We still lived in Michigan when I was in Junior High and I tried to be as fashionable as the other girls. I found this photo on flickr that brought back a flood of memories from that time period.
I wanted one of those long crocheted vests so much but I couldn't afford them. I really envied one friend whose mom was a talented knitter and crocheter and made her daughter several in different colors and patterns.

Everyone had a pair of bellbottom jeans...
(But I didn't fill my out nearly as well as this girl! LOL) I do remember having a nicer outfit with pink corduroy bellbottoms and a black ruffled V-neck sweater that flared at the waist and had ruffles at the neck and cuffs. I was so proud of that outfit! I also had a khaki pantsuit with bellbottoms and what I called a safari shirt, very similar to this:
My mom would not allow me to have platform shoes. That made me so mad! My friends had lovely shoes like these:
Later I thanked her for her foresight since those shoes were flat out dangerous! One of my friends literally fell off her extra high platforms at a school dance and broke her ankle in two places.

Just before I started 8th grade my mom took me coat shopping. But being a working mom, she had to just drop me off at the mall. I'd been saving my baby-sitting money and she had some to put toward the coat as well. I knew what I had to spend. I'll say that right up front. BUT mom made the mistake of dropping me off in front of the nicest department store in the mall. Having never gone shopping by myself I didn't have enough sense to know I couldn't afford to buy a pair of underwear in that store, to say nothing of a coat!

So I made my way to the coat section and found THE MOST BEAUTIFUL calf-length reddish brown suede coat with a REAL red fox fur collar. People, that coat was almost four times my budget. But I fell in love with it and HAD TO HAVE IT. I used all my money to put it on lay-away and then, smitten with remorse, spent the remainder of my time walking around the mall in a daze thinking, "What in the world have I done?!"

This was the style:
Now imagine it in rich red-brown suede with a lovely fox fur collar. In my defense, how could anyone resist? To say my mom was livid is putting it mildly. I took every baby-sitting job I could find, mom took on extra hours at work, and my step-dad (who was no longer even married to my mom) chipped in the last bit needed to get it out of lay-away before it got really cold. I think it was mid-December by the time I proudly (but sheepishly) carried it home from the store.

The really sad thing is, I only wore it two winters before I outgrew it :-(  Mom didn't let me go shopping alone for a LONG time!

We moved back to Kentucky in time for me to start high school and I adopted the comfortable "uniform" of jeans and t-shirts in warm weather and jeans and flannel shirts when it was cold. A lot of the girls dressed fashionably but I wasn't one of them. I discovered I much preferred comfort over fashion, and that hasn't changed in the intervening years.

Thanks Linda, for another fun walk down memory lane!