Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Cellular Confusion

There are several cellular companies here and we went with Personal. As with any cellular company, we are inundated with texts about recharging our phone with additional minutes, contests, and so on. We like to joke that they're not really nuisance calls because they're PERSONAL. We take our laughs where we can get them. 

Yesterday Ivan got a text from a friend and he was having trouble deciphering the message. It made sense except the end. Last night he was talking to this young man's parents and mentioned the odd text message. It turns out that his phone service tacks a little addition onto EVERY SINGLE TEXT MESSAGE sent. So the confusing bit wasn't even from our friend, but from the cellular company. How weird is that?! Should that even be legal?

I have given up trying to make sense of why something is the way it is...there is often no rhyme or reason, it's just the way it's always been done. Reminds me of a story our pastor tells. He taught his wife to make a roast the way his mother did, and one of the things she had always done was cut off the tip end of the roast. Pastor's wife wanted to know why and he didn't have a reason, it was just the way his mother did it. Years passed and finally one of them remembered to ask his mom -- only to find out it was simply because her roasting pan was too small so she invariably had to cut the end off to make it fit!

That's how I feel a lot of things are done here. Nobody thinks about whether it makes the most sense, or how efficient it is, or if there might be a better way; they just mindlessly continue doing things the same old way.

One of the irritating aspects for me is how there are no lists of requirements or criteria for the many different, necessary forms of paperwork. For example, to get permanent residency status I had to first stand in line to apply. I will go back in a month and stand in line to supposedly finalize the process only to be told I am missing at least one very important piece of paper. How do I know this? BECAUSE THAT HAS BEEN THE CASE WITH EVERY SINGLE THING WE'VE EVER DONEWhen I applied, Ivan even asked if we could have a list of what is required but they just verbally rattled off a few things and when we pressed for a written list, they just stonewalled us. And before you ask, yes we tried to find it on the official website too. Nada, zilch, nothing. My theory is that this is because it gives them great joy to make you go back and forth multiple times to accomplish what could be done in one single sesssion, IF THEY'D TAKE THE TIME TO STREAMLINE THE PROCESS AND MAKE IT MORE EFFICIENT. But then, what's the fun in that?

With that I will climb off my efficiency soapbox and, as Ivan suggests, spend my time thinking about things I actually have some control over. Like what to make for lunch and planning the lesson for English class.

But it sure felt good to get that off my chest!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Monday Meanderings

It's been a while since I meandered on a Monday, but while I wait for photos to upload to flickr, I thought I'd do a quick post.

I'm uploading photos because after two years, thousands of photos and dozens of videos, my Macbook is pretty much out of memory and I'm DESPERATE to make space. It takes a while, especially when the internet is sketchy; every time it "burps" and goes down -- even for just a few seconds -- it causes the upload to stop abruptly. I've actually been working at this off-and-on for months. Recently I decided I needed to stay on top of the project and GET'ERDONE. I started with the oldest photos and am working my way forward. Over the weekend I cleared over 3 GB and am up to April 2009. Go Me!

After being so hot last week, it started cooling off on Sunday and today it's:
By the weekend it should shoot back up into the 70s and stay there. Average September temps: mid 70s. How perfect is that?!

Has anyone seen the British version of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition? It's called DIY SOS. The host is no Ty Pennington but gotta love those British accents :)

My daughter scored some amazing deals on craigslist over the weekend and I'm a little GREEN with envy -- she totally scored that RED couch [plus loveseat] I've always wanted! :)  Kyle's folks also found them a cool retro kitchen table; the kind with a chrome base and bright red top.

Remember the odd assortment of stuff we want/need that I mentioned recently? My friend Katie is packing for us today; fitting it all into one piece of luggage to send with our other friend who flies out Wednesday.

He'll be attending Instituto de Palabra de Vida this year and once he arrives on Thursday he'll head straight to school just outside Buenos Aires. We've been working on the logistics of getting bedding and towels to the school for him to use, and figuring out how to get that suitcase to us. We just missed being able to send the box of bedding with a friend from Sta. Rosa who went to Bs. As. last Thursday night. But miss him we did so Ivan sent the box via overnight bus yesterday and our co-workers' son (also a student at P de V) was going to take the bus into the city to pick it up today, since we could only get it as far as the Capital Federal (downtown). We're hoping our friend from Sta. Rosa will be able to bring the suitcase back for us; just not sure if he'll still be there when it arrives from the U.S. Timing is everything!

Ivan's working with the architect on ideas; not just for the house but how to best utilize the property long term. Skype chats and e-mails have been flying back and forth. We haven't actually bought the land yet; hoping to be able to do that in the next couple of weeks. It's a much more involved process than it would be in the U.S.

Have had some discouraging set-backs with the ministry. Resting in the knowledge that God is in control and just calls us to be faithful.

Ivan stopped by the municipality today and picked up more free seeds. We missed having a winter garden this year; we were just too busy. But we're anxious to have a spring and summer garden and with the weather as nice as it's been, we think we can put it in fairly soon. I'll also be planting the dill seed that friends brought from the U.S. a few months ago. I'm SO excited about that! I want to make dill pickles since you cannot find them here, but I couldn't find dill either and knew I'd have to grow my own.

I could meander some more but have other stuff I need to get done, too. If only the housework would do itself!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Project 365, Week 35

After just under 48 hours in Sta. Rosa for various work projects, estoy muy cansada and I'm simply going to post my photos for this week's Project 365 with minimal [for me] commentary.

On a walk last Sunday I stopped to snap a photo of this house with an interesting name: Everybody's.
Every once in a while an odd English word pops up and sometimes it doesn't really make sense. Does this mean this house belongs to Everybody? Or is someone actually named Everybody? Does Anybody know? Or does Everybody know but me?

In place of Monday's photo (which I missed taking) I'm sharing several from our daughter's engagement photo shoot last weekend.
Do you think Kyle's preparing to meet us, his future in-laws?!  :)

Our McDonalds has a new burger. Is this available in the U.S. too? Haven't tried it yet and, to be honest, it doesn't look that appetizing so I don't think I ever will.
Missed Wednesday :(

Arrived in Sta. Rosa on Thursday afternoon. We unpacked, made up the bed, opened all the windows to let the warmer air inside and took a walk along the river. It was a gorgeous day, beyond merely warm and approaching downright HOT.

Lately this black dog has adopted us whenever we're out there and parks himself on the front porch. We're calling him Blackie for obvious reasons. He likes to take walks with us, staying right on our heels.
Mostly Ivan's heels who, for anyone who knows him, isn't a big dog person but for some reason Blackie seems to really take to him :)

The purpose of this quick trip to Sta. Rosa was twofold: (1) patch the walls in the kitchen and bath where Ivan had to bust out cement to fix a leaky pipe, and (2) cut a section of the counter top from the far right and move it to the far left, replacing an old section of counter top that wasn't in the best shape any more. The wall patching needed to be done now, giving it time to dry sufficiently so that by mid-September we can re-tile and make it all nice again. Ivan started by moving the counter top since that gave him more room to fix the busted wall (which was right below the counter).
I am just LOVIN' the change! Having the counter tops match just makes me uber happy :) Here's an after shot.
In mid-September we'll not only be re-tiling the repaired walls but I'll also be painting those lower cabinets a lovely clean white. Won't that look nice?!

This corner used to contain a cabinet which we took out over a year ago (it had rotted due to a leak in the old cement tank that also damaged the wall). It's been on our "to do" list ever since, but other issues took precedence (i.e., major plumbing woes). The leaky pipe which required busting out part of the wall moved the corner up to the top of the "to do" list...once the whole area has been tiled, we'll be sliding the fridge into that spot.
Today after I finished packing and cleaning the house we headed to the river for a picnic lunch before heading home.
This was probably the shortest trip we've made to Sta. Rosa (except for one-day ministry activities) and we didn't go to Belgrano even once! Ivan made several trips into Sta. Rosa though, including one to pay the hook-up fee for the WATER LINES which have [finally] been laid down our road!!! WOOT! The city will install a meter and then we can run a line from the house and hook up. That's very exciting news! Especially considering how we've had problems with the well running really low during dry season the last couple of years.

Ivan hasn't been feeling the greatest lately. He's on a second round of antibiotics for a really bad sore throat and he's just been feeling wiped out. I'm trying to get him to slow down, but taking it easy isn't easy for him.  I'm sure other wives can empathize :) The heat doesn't help. It left us both feeling rather wilted today.
People, we're still almost a month away from the official first day of Spring!

So how was your week?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Flashback Friday -- The Music Edition

I almost didn't do Flashback Friday this week because music is one of those areas which TRAUMATIZES me. ...and anyone within hearing range when I sing or play an instrument. But then aren't our best stories the ones where things go wrong? Well, when it comes to me and music, things go very, VERY, VERY wrong! So here's the Flashback Friday prompt:
What role did music play in your growing up years? What, if any, music do you associate with early childhood? What music style or songs were popular when you were in high school? How did you listen to music - on the radio, albums, etc. Did you have a stereo in your room? Did you attend concerts when you were a teenager? Did the music you liked cause conflict with your parents? What song or songs take you back to a certain place and time of your youth?
Now, let me start by saying I enjoy music! One of our favorite dates is to go to a good concert. I enjoy listening to tunes on my iPod or youtube. The problem arises when I try to CREATE music. Like my mother and untold ancestors before me, I can't carry a tune in the proverbial bucket.

But that didn't stop me from trying.
~I took piano lessons until the teacher (working his way through college by giving lessons) suggested to my mother there might be better ways to spend her money.
~I played clarinet in the school band for three years until the exasperated director asked me to PLEASE find something better to do with his time!
~I was even in a church choir during high school.
My lack of ability isn't for lack of trying!

I realized in second grade I might have a problem. During music class the teacher played a record and everyone else could tell there were two different singers but it sounded like only one to me. Participating in band made me realize I could not tell the difference between notes that were near each other on the scale.

Being unable to play or sing has not dampened my enthusiasm for music though! I like just about everything except rap, heavy metal and anything overly repetitive (and every genre has that problem occasionally). I do lean more toward country and celtic (which much of country derives from) and that's probably because I grew up hearing country music. Being a southern girl and all :) I'm pretty sure I could have sung any Loretta Lynn or Charlie Pride song from memory during grade school...along with a dozen other country singers that my mom loved. I didn't discover celtic music until my adult years but thoroughly enjoy it now. These are the two genres I can listen to endlessly.

Other genres I can only handle for short periods. After a while most other music begins to grate on my nerves. Does it affect anyone else that way? For instance, classical. I really do like it, but can only listen for a couple or three hours and then I have to go somewhere quiet for a while.

Growing up, country WASN'T cool and I hid my affinity for it until we moved back down south where I could enjoy it to my heart's content. The one and only concert I went to as a child was a Johnny Cash concert at Cobo Hall in Detroit. My dad treated the whole family to it when his mom and sister were visiting from Tennessee one year. Since my mom and dad were country music fans and so was I, that was never an issue. Which is a good thing, since we had plenty of other things to wrangle over!

The Jackson 5, Osmond Brothers, Tony Orlando and Dawn, the Carpenters and Sony & Cher are groups I remember from my younger teen years. During high school it seemed everyone was into Led Zeppelin, ZZ Top, and groups like that. I preferred Alabama and later the Judds. One song that sticks out from my high school years is "Big Bad Leroy Brown". I don't know why; it's not even a very good song, but it got played a lot -- in our area at least. I've always loved Percy Sledge. One of my best friends in high school had one of his tapes and we listened to it over and over and over...

During our first months in Argentina we were in a store in Cordoba and a Percy Sledge song came on the radio. I stopped right where I was, closed my eyes, and just savored the music. It soothed a little of the homesickness I was feeling.

Percy can do that for you.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Random Dozen

1. What is your favorite Mexican dish?
Chi Chi's had a seafood chimichanga that was TO DIE FOR delicious. Unfortunately, some people did die after eating at a Chi Chi's in Pennsylvania back in 2003. One of the worst Hepatitis A outbreaks in U.S. history was traced back to their green onions. *gulp* Also unfortunately, when Outback Steakhouses bought the bankrupt Chi Chi's properties, they didn't buy Chi Chi's recipes so those amazingly tasty seafood chimichangas live only in my memory now.
These days I'd have to go with any kind of chimichanga smothered in cheese sauce and sour cream with a good helping of guacamole on the side.

2. When you were a kid, did you get started on your homework right away after school, or did you procrastinate?
I usually had it done while still at school. I usually whipped through stuff and did any homework while waiting for the slowpokes to finish their classwork. We won't go into whether my work was well done or legible, but it was FAST.

3. What is your favorite store for home furnishings?
I haven't found a store here that really trips my trigger. In the U.S. I had a passion for Ethan Allen but not the budget. I just liked to go and "window shop" in their stores.

4. When you were young, did you like school lunches?
In grade school we walked home for lunch and could make what we felt like, so yes I liked my lunches then. In high school, when I lived over half hour drive from school, I ate in the cafeteria. Some items were okay, others almost inedible, and nothing stands out as being particularly good. 

5. Is religion a crutch?
Religion? possibly. A personal relationship with Jesus? No, and I'm not going to get into a theological debate about it either.

6. In your region, what is the "big" (most popular in the community or state) high school sport?
SOCCER. Or as we say here futbol. Argentines are FANATICAL about their futbol, during high school, elementary school, and forever-and-always-amen.

7. Do you consider yourself rich?
In money, no. In the ways that count: family and friends, YES.

8. Which of these would you have the best chance for success in administering:
A) CPR
B) Heimlich Maneuver
C) Changing a flat tire
Probably CPR because I'm not sure I'm strong enough to do an effective Heimlich Maneuver, and let's just hope it never falls on me to change a flat tire because it would "defeat me" as they say in Uganda :)

9. Which dance would you prefer to learn & why:
A) Salsa
B) Hip Hop
C) Waltz
D) Swing
SWING. We've taken classes and learned some steps but since we're both rhythmically challenged, we've never progressed very far.

10. What's the worst news you've ever delivered to someone?
That someone they loved has died. That's happened a few times and it doesn't get any easier.

11. Name something you learned in college that had nothing to do with classes or academics.
That college cafeterias don't have any better food than high school, but they DO have a soft serve ice cream machine. And sprinkles IF you get there early enough.

12. New variation on an old question: If there's a song in your head that just won't get out, what is your favorite (or most repeated) line in that song?
"Bellas palabras que cambian la vida llenan de goza mi ser" which is the last line in a favorite chorus:

BELLAS PALABRAS DE VIDA, SON LAS DE CRISTO JESUS
ELLAS ALIENTAN MI ALMA, DAN FORTALEZA Y LUZ
BELLAS PALABRAS DE VIDA, DAN SALVACION Y PODER
// BELLAS PALABRAS
QUE CAMBIAN LA VIDA
LLENAN DE GOZO MI SER //

I tried to find it on youtube to share, but all the ones they have are a translation of "Wonderful Words of Life" and not this chorus.

Be sure to stop by 2nd Cup to see how others responded. 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Project 365, Week 34

This week went by very fast! I missed one day this week, but that's not too bad considering how busy it was, so I'm giving myself a pass :)  The main purpose for participating in Project 365 is to do a better job at documenting our life, and I'm okay with how that's going.

First up is a photo that might be off-putting for anyone not raised in the country -- or those who just have an aversion to raw meat. Last Sunday a friend dropped off a freshly butchered cow's leg...
The price wasn't too bad, and the meat was VERY tender. Ivan, with a dull knife and no clue, did a great job cutting the meat into sections we could freeze. We ended up with 15 freezer bags in the end, and some of those cuts (the roasts) will provide more than one meal.

Monday we went into Cordoba to have afternoon tea with an older couple we met a while back. It was fun getting to know Gene (a Texan) and his Argentine wife Nora. They decided to move to Argentina after Gene retired from a career in architecture, specializing in hospitals. I'm sorry to say I completely forgot to take a photo of them! We were too busy talking and enjoying a fabulous spread of finger foods with the tea. BUT we did take photos at Easy (like Home Depot) on the way home. We're pricing tile for the casita so that we'll be ready to go once the property is ours (hopefully soon!).
This tile is higher than we want to pay, but we did like the look.

Tuesday Ivan had to go to Cordoba again but I stayed home. I had hoped to get some sewing done but a bad head cold has kept me moving slower than normal this week and by the time I did the necessary cleaning and cooking, I only had time to cut the fabric. But I'm excited to try this new FREE pattern!
It's from The Quilt Show, a wonderful site for quilters and crafters. Basic membership is free and allows you access to a lot of stuff -- like this pattern.

Also on Tuesday we received the sad news that our niece's husband passed away very unexpectedly. Mike was only in his 40s! We grieve with Elizabeth and the family and pray for God's comfort and grace. On July 26 Mike's facebook status said: "10 years ago today - on our way home from work, Elizabeth and I pulled over inside the Wekiwa Springs State Park in Apopka, Florida...I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior" -- what a blessing to know that Mike went straight home to Jesus! The last time we had a chance to visit Mike and Elizabeth was in 2007 and I snapped this photo of Mike and their niece, Rachel.
Mike and Rachel

Wednesday we took a walk, the only one this week because of my poor feet. Periodically psoriasis rears its ugly head and this time the spot is right on the bottom of the tender part of my foot. We didn't get very far but happened to see this crane/egret (?) on the edge of the lake. I zoomed in as much as possible but this was the best I could do.
Missed taking a photo on Thursday :(

Friday we had to go into Cordoba again. When Ivan went in on Tuesday he found out that we could indeed get my permanent residency based on his permanent status. BUT once we arrived they told us they don't do that kind of paperwork on Fridays! Ivan was very polite but rather insistent and they eventually allowed us to file the application. We have to go back in a month to finalize it. Anyway, just a few doors down from where we had to go was this little place for sale.
If I had to live in the city, this is the kind of place I'd want...it's just oozing charm and character.

Christmas of 2008 we bought several peacock feathers from a little boy selling them at the park where we were having a picnic. But until now I didn't have any way to display them. I was waiting for just the right vase and this week I found it -- at Walmart of all places! It was made in Vietnam and is some kind of lightweight wood composite material. I knew it would go perfectly with the other things I have displayed in there. So finally my peacock feathers have found a home.
Thanks, as always, for stopping by. I started this blog to stay in touch with family and friends, but have made some new friends along the way -- and many of them have come through participating in Project 365!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Flashback Friday - School Edition: Extra Curricular Activities

It's Flashback Friday time! I'm so happy to be back to this meme. So here we go...
What type of extra-curricular school activities did you participate in during your school days? Clubs? Spelling bees or other contests? Cheerleader or drill team? Sports? Journalism? Choir or theater? Were there any memorable events related to those? Did you receive any awards? Were football games a big deal at your school? Did you usually attend - and was it with a group or as a date? What was Homecoming like?
Let me say, while I do have some good memories and had a few great teachers, I think I had a disproportionate share of BAD ones,. Thankfully that didn't extend (much) to extra-curricular activities.

During junior high (which was 7-9 grade in our district) I was horse crazy and joined the S.E.N.S.E. Club (Seventh, Eighth, Ninth Student Enjoyment Club) because during the fall months they would bus the club members out to a riding farm just about every Saturday. I lived in the suburbs of Detroit at the time so it was a good hour drive to get there. I was a very shy young teen and none of my close friends shared my equine passion so I didn't enjoy the trips back and forth; talking to anyone I didn't know well -- be it boys or girls -- was agony for me back then so I typically sat by myself up near the front of the bus, my nose stuck in a book. Not only did I love to read, but I found that if you appeared to be reading, nobody bothered you.

Horse-back riding was a blast, even if it did clean out my allowance every week. I do, however, remember being bitten by a horse once -- right on my behind! OUCH! And another time I was chewing gum and during a brief gallop when my horse attempted to catch up with another horse, the gum flew out of my mouth and got stuck in my hair :(  Some "helpful" person decided the best thing to do was cut it out, but they took a huge chunk of hair and not just where the gum was stuck. Aaaargh! I got a shag cut to mask the missing chunk, but it wasn't too long before I just had my hair cut super short -- and it's been that way most of the time ever since.

We moved to Kentucky just as I was getting ready to start ninth grade. Instead of being "top of the heap" like Linda mentioned, I was a lowly freshman at the high school. Major letdown! Even though I'd been born in Kentucky, my family had lived "up north" since I was four so my classmates counted me a Yankee. I was still pretty shy and it was very hard to make friends, being considered by most as an "outsider". There were no clubs or anything, no music, art or theatre programs, nothing except sports.

Not good at sports and definitely not popular enough to be a cheerleader. 'Nuf said.

Being from the south, you know Football is King! Although we did have basketball too. Anyway, what I remember about Homecoming is that our senior year the "king" had just had to get married and even though his wife was only a junior, and the title of queen had ALWAYS gone to a senior prior to that, the teachers and administrators decided it would just be too uncouth to have a married man be paired with anyone other than his wife, so a junior was crowned "queen".

My last two years I did get involved in the high school newspaper as well as the FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America). My first year in FBLA I was the club reporter. My senior year I was president for the local club and reporter for our southeastern Kentucky district. One of the highlights was going to the national convention in Alabama!

My one and only award was for wielding a calculator faster than anybody else. LOL  Seriously! I had completely forgotten about it, but my mom saved the award in a scrapbook and I ran across it just a few years ago as we were packing to move overseas. FBLA sponsored competitions in different areas: shorthand, typing, etc. and I apparently could tabulate columns of numbers faster than anyone else. Aren't you impressed?! :)

Even though high school was a rather painful experience for me, it has been fun to remember some of the happier times. Thanks Linda for another great Flashback Friday topic!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

It's BAAAAAACK! The Random Dozen

1. What is your favorite fair/carnival food?
There are SOOOOO many great carny foods...fresh dipped corndogs, vinegar fries, sausage sandwiches... but my favorite would be ELEPHANT EARS! Next year we'll be in the U.S. during our hometown's annual county fair and I can once again partake of some deep fried sugary goodness. [Here there is something similar called pastelitos but I'm wary of food sold by street vendors who cook in who knows what kind of conditions.]

2. Are you holding onto something you need to let go of?
About 20 lbs.

3. What is your favorite gift to receive?
I just plain like gifts (see #12 below) but favorites would have to include anything for the house, books, fabric or quilting tools -- anything to feed my addictions :)

4. When was the last time you tried something new?
Monday we had tea with a lovely older couple and one of the foods she served was a ham, cheese and pineapple sandwich. I liked that combination!

5. What is your favorite and least favorite book genre?
Memoir, Mystery, Political Intrigue, Romance, Humor, Historical Fiction, Historical nonfiction, Chick Lit, Self-Help, Other
Favorite: Mystery
Least Favorite: Science Fiction

6.Silver or Gold?
Used to be gold but am leaning toward silver these days.

7. What makes you sigh?
Oh, so many things. *sigh*

8. If you didn't know how old you are, how old would you claim you are?
This morning I would have to add some years because I have a cold with all the accompanying aches and pains, and a psoriasis breakout on my left foot that has me limping. Just call me Granny.

9. Would you break a law to save a loved one? To protect a loved one?
Hmmm, that's a tough one and would depend on whether I believed the law to be contrary to God's law.
10. If you had to teach something, what would it be?
Quilting/crafting things with fabric.

11. You're having lunch with 3 people whom you respect and admire. They begin to criticize a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend. What do you do?
I don't have a lot of patience with that kind of thing. I'd probably indicate my displeasure and leave.

12. Which of the 5 Love Languages is your prominent means of experiencing love?
Quality Time
Physical Touch
Acts of Service
Gifts
Words of Affirmation
I'm bi-lingual :) Words of Affirmation is probably a little stronger, especially as I have been trying to sublimate the whole gifts thing the past few years. That one can get you into trouble, both in terms of expectations and when the desire to give becomes too time consuming and/or expensive. I prefer to make the majority of the things I give, but it does take time. Which means I give fewer gifts and I'm becoming more comfortable with that reality.
~~~~~~~~~~
Linda had this handy-dandy little button on her blog and I thought it would be fun to include it, too, in case any of you were interested in finding out which is YOUR primary love language. Just take this quiz!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Some randomness leading up to more Random tomorrow

I haven't been blogging much lately, mainly due to lack of time. But some of it is just being out of the habit. Since this blog is the primary way we keep family and friends informed about what's happening, I've decided it really needs to be more of a priority. Because I've enjoyed blogging so much I had begun to think of it as something more "fun" than "necessary" but have come to understand it's both.

Our work limits what I can share because we want to be sensitive about privacy issues and, the fact is, ministry is messy and everyone doesn't need to know every last little detail. But while I'm limited in what I can write about ministry-wise, I'm pretty free with other aspects of our lives, and with the crazy that occasionally regularly occurs around here. But sometimes I am at a loss for something to write about and it's nice to join a meme or link-up where the subject is chosen for me. With that in mind I'm hoping to get back into the Random Dozen hosted by The Lid each Wednesday and Flashback Friday which is hosted by The Other Lid. Women for whom coffee is one of the major food groups and therefore my kind of people. 

One of my 'projects' recently has been figuring out what to have my daughter put into the suitcase that a friend is bringing for us. In case you have ever wondered what missionaries stuff into their suitcases, here's an abbreviated list of things we've been ordering online or having Tina buy:
cheap mechanical pencils
Ranch dressing mixes and craisins
a can of cranberry sauce (for Thanksgiving!)
Kindle cover
jeans for Ivan (from Goodwill)
several books to help me with the English class
tinted moisturizer 
regular moisturizer
several months worth of Shaklee vitamins and supplements
radio/amplifier to use with 'Gloria'**
flannel sheets
tools for Ivan
fabric (of course!)

[**'Gloria' is a little machine that has the music for all the songs in our hymnal. We just press the buttons for the number of the hymn...a very handy "tool" since neither Adriana or I play piano. But not worth much if you can't hear the music! So the amplifier is also a handy little tool :) ]

But I didn't even have to wait for the suitcase to receive a special, early birthday present -- it came in the mail! My sweet SIL, Rita, sent these early since she figured I could use them more now while it's winter*** than around my birthday in December when it's REALLY blazing hot :)  Thank you Rita!!!
Aren't they pretty?! I love the colors and they're SO SOFT. Luuuuuurve!
[***Not to rub it in or anything *cough, cough* but it's 81° here today -- the equivalent to mid-February for our friends in the northern hemisphere.]

Received the sad news that my niece, Elizabeth, became a widow today after her husband passed away very unexpectedly. She and Mike had been married less than 10 years and had so many plans and dreams for their future together.  Pray for her, won't you?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Project 365, Week 33

I did it! I took a photo every day this week! That's the first time in a long time I've managed to remember. Which means I have a full seven nine photos I want to share for Project 365 this week.

Last Sunday was a GORGEOUS winter day in Carlos Paz. We took our sweaters when we went for a walk and had a picnic but half the time we had to take them off because it was so warm. It was only right along the costanera that the cool lake breeze required the extra layer. The picnic was a last-minute, spontaneous idea so we stopped at a grocery store on our walk and grabbed some salami, cheese and bread along with tangerines for dessert. I'd packed the glasses, a knife to cut the cheese and meat, a small container of olives and several paper towels at home. Simple but delicious!
This model of the "Eugenio C" was in the window of a travel agency in Cordoba and Ivan had to take a photo. He remembers as a child going to the port to meet his sister who had traveled back to Argentina on this ship.
Maybe you can share some memories of that trip sometime, Rita?

We've been wanting to take these photos for a long time but it hasn't been easy getting  good shot. This shanty town section is on a busy corner with multiple lanes of traffic going every which way, and we never seem to be in the right location to be able to take pictures. But Tuesday we managed to get a half-decent shot and the second photo is actually from Thursday (remember, we made FOUR trips into Cordoba this week!)
Isn't that a hoot? The shacks are literally scrap pieces of lumber slapped together with bits of tarp and tin serving as roofs, windows and sometimes even doors, or crudely built block structures. But they have satellite television! There were three dishes clearly visible from the road.

Wednesday when we had company I showed the ladies how to make fabric flowers...
...wish I'd remembered to take a photo of their finished products!

I really like the home decor fabric that's so popular right now with a trellis design like this:
This is a metal security screen on an older building in Cordoba. I think it may have been a hotel at one time but it's empty now. I'd love to have that design in fabric: white on an aqua background, so I could make some pretty pillow covers.

Also seen in downtown Cordoba on Thursday: a protest against Walmart.
This wasn't even close to any of the three Walmarts in the city, but by disrupting a busy downtown street during a weekday morning (and right outside the newspaper headquarters) they were assured a bigger audience than if they'd protested outside one or more of the stores.

I've already shared this fun photo and its story from Friday :)
Taken during marathon trip to Buenos Aires; there and back in 27 hours -- and it's a ten hour drive one way! I now have a freshly stamped VISA in my passport, good for another year.

Saturday our architect came to look at the lot and get a preliminary idea of what we're thinking. Roberto and Ivan were scratching a rudimentary floor plan in the dirt when I snapped this photo.
Roberto is a good friend and we look forward to working with him to design our future home!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Good thing we're not superstitious

...because yesterday, Friday the Thirteenth, found us holding the thirteenth position in line at the Departamento Nacional de Migraciones where we were attempting to renew our VISAs.

I've already shared some of the crazy that made up our week...multiple trips to Cordoba to get a letter from the police stating we didn't have a criminal record, which we HAD to have that before we could go to Buenos Aires to renew our VISAs. 

With that in hand (along with a LOT of other necessary paperwork) we took the overnight bus to Bs. As. on Thursday, paying a little extra for "suite" seats -- what was supposed to be chairs that completely reclined. Not so much. They went back and clicked into place about 80% of the way, just like the next step down (price wise) called "cama" (bed) but in order to get them to go completely down you had to put all your weight onto it and sort of force it down. Which didn't work so well for me since I think it was designed for 250 lb. men. Mine kept bouncing back up to the 80% spot, which made me slide down so I had to curl up because there wasn't enough room to stretch out. It was also hotter 'n blazes on the bus. Needless to say, not a lot of sleeping occurred.

But we did get into the bus terminal, just blocks away from the Departamento Nacional de Migraciones, with enough time to grab a hot cup of coffee and for me to pop into the ladies room and put my contacts in. The wind practically carried us to migraciones. Whew! (We heard later the wind was so bad it was pushing waves up along the coast in one area and flooding streets.) Our co-worker who had been handling the initial paperwork was already there and had grabbed us a number (as seen above).

Three hours later, after much discussion with several officials, we left with my passport sporting a fresh new VISA stamp. Ivan, however, was empty handed. But not to worry! It's because he no longer needs a VISA because of his permanent residency status (which he'd never really lost apparently, even though he'd been gone for 30 years). YIPPEE!

He does have some more paperwork to do though. OF COURSE. We're hoping he can get it done in Cordoba because when he went to the office in Bs. As. Friday they said he had to have an appointment that could only be set up via phone or internet, but not in person. Isn't that funny?! We're trying to remember that it's not necessarily right or wrong, just different.  

We were going to take our co-workers out to lunch in appreciation for all the work they've put into this for us, but decided it would be wise to get our bus tickets first. This weekend is a long holiday weekend and Ivan had already been informed that tickets were scarce because everyone who could, was heading to the interior. Turned out the available seats were either on really late buses leaving in the wee hours of the night or we could catch one right about lunch time. We'll have take our co-workers out to eat another time because you know we grabbed the earlier tickets!

Definitely going to have to ask around and find out which bus lines are better. Because the one we took home? ICK! It was supposed to be a straight-through but the driver stopped at least four times to take on passengers or let them off (once in the middle of nowhere), the bathroom was beyond disgusting, it was also really hot (what's with the heat on these buses?!) and they kept showing really awful movies on the t.v.s mounted throughout the bus and there was no headphone system so we had no choice but to listen as it blared from every direction. I chose to listen to the iPod for a good portion of that time.

Lunch was served at about 4 p.m. and consisted of a small tray with cold chicken, rice and peas, a roll, slice of cheese, slice of ham and a tiny fruit tart. There were also packets with salt, lemon and mayonnaise tucked under the roll. The bus steward came through delivering the trays, then about half an hour later dispensed tiny plastic cups and another half hour after that he came with a bottle of Coke to finally fill up the little tiny cup. I guess that's the system that works for him :)

Our lovely, wonderful team mates from Carlos Paz were in Cordoba and decided to go to the bus station and wait to bring us home! That was SO nice. We didn't have to find another bus for the last leg of the journey from Cordoba to Carlos Paz and we were home exactly at midnight! Able to sleep in our own, comfortable, warm but not too warm beds. *sigh of contentment* 

Today the architect is coming! And we have another birthday party tonight, for one of the other young ladies in our church (although it's not a 15th so not quite such a big deal). Ivan's fighting a sore throat and we're both feeling rather wrung-out after all the travels this week (about 1,300 miles, give or take a few). I'll be back later today or tomorrow with Project 365 and despite my hopes for lots of photos, the ONLY one I took in Buenos Aires was the photo of our line ticket. We were in and out of the city SO fast (arriving home only 27 hours after we left) that there just weren't any good photo ops.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"It's not necessarily right or wrong, it's just different"

We read this a number of times when we were getting ready to come to Argentina. The mission we're with requires their new missionaries read certain books as part of the preparation, and this phrase stuck in my mind. From our previous experience in Uganda, we know we sometimes have a tendency to get frustrated or aggravated with the way things are done. But we also know that once we are aware of the "why" behind something, it often helps things fall into place and make more sense. Not always, but often.

And sometimes things just make absolutely no sense :)

[That's how I feel about the whole bureaucracy thing.]

Whether they make sense or not, many things fall into that broad category of "not necessarily right or wrong, just different."

Last night we returned to Cordoba again, but this time for an entirely different purpose: a doctor appointment. Ivan's been seeing an ENT specialist who's in Carlos Paz once a week but the doctor wanted him to come to his office in Cordoba where he could perform additional tests. Ivan wanted me to consult with this doctor, too, to see if sinus issues might be causing my migraines. Guess what time our appointment was for? 8:30 PM

When we arrived the waiting room was full and people were spilling over onto chairs that lined the hallway back to the exam rooms, so it wasn't surprising that we weren't called back until almost 9:45 PM.

And it was 11:30 PM when we finally pulled into our driveway.

I don't remember ever going to the doctor that late at night in the U.S. unless it was a visit to the emergency room. Here it's not at all unusual. Not necessarily right or wrong, just different.

On the way to Cordoba last night we got a call from friends asking if we'd be home this morning and after we said yes, they said they'd be stopping by.

At 11 AM they did indeed stop by, with a large pan of goat meat to grill, and our co-workers! [Our co-workers didn't know anything about this either; the friends stopped by there first and said, "Come on, let's go have lunch!"]

I had just cleaned up the kitchen, had a load of laundry in the washer, and was getting ready to clean the bathroom. I was dressed in my sweatpants and an old, stained turtleneck. Not exactly ready for company who had come for lunch! LOL  I quickly changed, visited with the ladies and showed them how to make those cute little fabric flowers, made a pot of rice with vegetables to go with the goat, Ivan ran out for bread and tangerines and it was all good. 

I don't remember this ever happening in the U.S. -- but we had a great time and I know the bathroom will eventually get cleaned [just maybe not until we get back from Buenos Aires] [Hopefully I'll get the kitchen cleaned up before then though -- right now there's a mountain of dishes]. Again, this kind of thing is not necessarily right or wrong, just different.

Missionaries come in all shapes and sizes, from all different backgrounds, each equipped with different gifts and abilities...but one thing that each and every missionary MUST have is flexibility, able to "go with the flow".

I have to admit, I'm not real great in this area. BUT I'M LEARNING. I can understand intellectually that things are not necessarily right or wrong, just different, but still have a difficult time handling the differences on a practical level. Thankfully I've adjusted enough to the culture that most things don't phase me any more. And I have a great (and exceedingly patient) husband who calls me on it when they do :)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Saw a beautiful sunrise this morning

...on our way to Cordoba for the second day in a row.

Let me back up. We found out last Friday we need to travel to Buenos Aires to renew our VISAs -- which was kind of a bummer because we thought our co-worker who lives there was going to be able to file the paperwork on our behalf. Not so.

But first we have to get some paperwork done here. The primary need is for a letter from the police stating we haven't been in any trouble since moving to Argentina two years ago. No outstanding tickets, no arrests, etc.

Now we had to do this for the initial VISAs to get into the country, only the first time around it was a letter from the police in the town where we were living in Michigan. It was a simple matter of stopping by the police station, explaining what we needed and within a day they had a nice letter all typed up on official letterhead. Granted, Jonesville is a small town but still, I don't think it would have been much -- if any -- more complicated in a bigger city. A simple matter of them running our names through the system.

But here it's a whole 'nother ballgame; a long, drawn-out process that I personally think is designed to make people NOT want to come here -- or stay too long. Ivan has a different theory: he thinks that any country highly influenced by Great Briton has this excessively time-consuming bureaucracy, designed and initially used by the English to keep their colonies in line. They kept them so busy filling out forms and handling paperwork that they didn't have any time to rebel. 

First we had to go to the Ministry of Justice in the provincial capital and wait in line to get the forms to fill out, only to be told we had to come back another day because they didn't have any more forms. WHAT?! Ivan was tempted to offer to go make copies for them. He explained we really needed the letter as soon as possible, and was there anything else we could do? Well, they said, maybe the lawyer down the hall could help. So down the hall we went. Nobody in the office so we sat down to wait. After a while Ivan went to find out how long it might be. Turns out the lawyer was in court and they had no idea how long before she returned.

Okay.

We decided to grab some lunch. Right around the corner we were thrilled to find a Subway! Quick in-and-out so we could hurry back to the Ministry of Justice. But the lawyer still hadn't returned. So back out for a sundae from a nearby McDonald's. Returned to wait some more. Sat there and sat there outside the lawyer's office. Finally Ivan went and asked, even if the lawyer came back, would she really be able to help us without a form? Oh yes, she -- being a lawyer -- could work outside the system.

Turns out they weren't really out of forms, they had just already handed out their daily quota and were unwilling to exceed that amount. WHAT?! They have a daily quota for forms?!

Ivan came back and told me what the deal was and we just looked at each other, wondering whether to laugh or cry. And we continued to wait...

At 2:05 -- a full two hours after we'd first arrived --- one of the clerks came over and kind of suggested that if we were willing to pay a higher fee, we could get the forms after all. Are you kidding me?!

[Time out from the story to just say, I was reminded once again how glad I am that Ivan handles 99.9% of this kind of stuff. Because, people, it would MAKE ME CRAZIER THAN I ALREADY AM.]

Armed with the forms and a pen, we began the process of filling out all the pages. Which is when I realized/remembered we would have to go to the bank FIRST to pay the fees before we would be allowed to turn the forms in. AND THE BANKS CLOSE AT 2 PM.

These *lovely* public servants had waited until they knew the banks were closed before letting us have the paperwork, knowing full well we'd be required to make another trip to turn it in.

Now this was on top of our first experience of the day, when we tried to get the addresses on our DNIs changed. [We had applied for the DNIs as soon as we arrived in Argentina, long before we found this house to rent so by the time we got them 18 months later, the address was already outdated.] We stood in line at the bank to pay the fee for a different piece of paperwork, then in line at the police station to have it authorized and stamped -- along with our co-workers who served as our testigos (witnesses), then in line at the Registro Civil in Carlos Paz only to find out (1) we couldn't get it done there but had to go to the Registro Civil in Cordoba and (2) we didn't even need that paper from the police because we had utility bills in our name that we could use to prove we indeed lived at this new address.

We basically stood in various lines or sat and waited for the better part of six hours and accomplished NOTHING, NADA, ZIP, ZILCH.

But as my husband is fond of saying, "It is what it is."

This morning we got up early and headed back to Cordoba while it was still dark, witnessing an absolutely GORGEOUS sunrise on the way in!

Today went much better although there were still lots of lines. Ivan stood in line at the bank for 45 minutes to pay the fees*** and then we stood in line another 45 minutes to get finger printed but only 10 minutes to turn the paperwork in and find out that the letter wouldn't be ready until Friday because it takes three days. WHAT?! 

Monday is when our VISAs expire and we are supposed to get them renewed BEFORE then. Which means we need to get it done by Friday since none of the offices are open on the weekend. But if we can't pick up the letter until 10 a.m. (or later) on Friday, there's no way we can make that happen since Buenos Aires is a 9-10 hour drive. So Ivan asked -- very nicely -- if there's any way we can get it earlier, considering our situation. [Which wouldn't be a situation if they'd just given us the paperwork in time yesterday!] She huffed a little but eventually went to ask and came back and grudgingly told us we could pick it up Thursday morning instead.

Doncha just love it when public "servants" act like anything but?

We're still not altogether sure it will be ready on Thursday but we're hoping and praying it will be!

[***Apparently this system of paying fees at the bank was initiated to prevent the rampant corruption going on at every level of government.]

Relieved to have that done, we went around the corner to Subway. It was only 10:30 a.m. and not even close to lunchtime but our Subways have something I bet your Subways don't: a traditional Argentine breakfast of café con leche, fresh squeezed orange juice, toast and medialunas (tiny glazed croissants). There was also a variety of spreads: butter, jam, cream cheese and dulce de leche. A very welcome repast since it had been hours since our first cup of coffee of the day!

Yesterday I'd noticed the store across from Subway but hadn't had time to check it out. Today we did. It's a custom drapery place that has the most gorgeous fabrics! I've been looking in fabric stores all over and kept finding the same old-same old stuff (none of it very exciting). But this place has loads more upholstery and home decor fabrics. We were still kind of in a hurry (needed to get back to Carlos Paz because Ivan had a dentist appointment) but I hope to stop in again Thursday when we go to pick up our letter from the Ministry of Justice. I'm almost afraid to ask the prices of the fabrics, but we don't need much to re-cover the dining chairs so I'm hoping it's not too expensive. We'll see!

And on the way back to the parking garage we stopped quickly at the used furniture store where we've seen some nice pieces from time-to-time and found a dining table that just might work for us. It's a fairly simple style and, best of all, the price is within our budget (CHEAP!) because it needs to be refinished. Not a problem, since we want to change the color of the stain anyway. We'll take the trailer with us Thursday so we can haul it home.

All in all, a MUCH better day than yesterday!

We've debated on whether to drive the car or take a bus to Buenos Aires. Driving would allow us to stop and see friends on the way back, but now that we have to go and return so quickly at the end of the week, we've decided to take the bus. We'll take the overnight bus Thursday, arriving Friday morning in time to be at the office of Immigration when it opens. We're really hoping everything can be done that day and then we can take the bus home Friday night. Quick in-and-out.

Since whatever we take, we'll have to haul around town, we'll be packing LIGHT. That means a change of shirt and underclothes for each of us in case we have to stay longer, but not much else. If it doesn't fit in the backpack, it doesn't go. Good thing I'm not a high maintenance person (in that area, at least).

We'll have to take our supper for Thursday and breakfast for Friday and I want to make something nice, to make it more of an adventure, and turn our focus away from the drudgery of having to make this trip in the first place, and it being such a fast, business-only thing. So I picked up what I need to make a vegetarian sub, which will include roasted eggplant and red pepper, sauteed onions and mushrooms, and sliced avocado. There will be tangerines for dessert. For breakfast: yogurt and the last of the chocolate scones...

...which I made yesterday to serve as a base for strawberry shortcake. Because we bought some fabulous strawberries from a street vendor in Cordoba. Not enough for a pie, but perfect for a lovely treat of strawberry shortcake. Once you've had it with chocolate scones -- instead of that spongey cake-like substance which is normally used -- you'll never settle for anything less!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Project 365, Week 32

Did not do a good job of taking a-picture-a-day for Project 365 this week, but I'm compensating by sharing extras on a few days.

A while back I made this purse but this week I added the cute little fabric flower after seeing the tutorial on Pony Tails and Fish Scales (a very creative blogger!), just in time to give it to a young lady who celebrated her 15th birthday this week -- a VERY BIG deal here in Argentina!
As you probably know, Wednesdays we have a pretty informal English class. I say informal because WE DON'T HAVE A CLUE WHAT WE'RE DOING -- but we have a good time doing it :)  This week the idea was to introduce game-related vocabulary while teaching them a couple of new games. Unfortunately, they didn't do too well on the vocabulary because they were too busy trying to win! LOL
Went out to the lot to take photos on Thursday and ended up taking so many I did a whole post on Friday which you can check out if you're interested. Here I'm just including the photo taken from the front of the lot looking back; the casita is at the very back of the property line. Between the work that has to be done on the little house to the yard clean-up to fencing the perimeter...we'll have our work cut out for us once it's finally ours!
Saturday we had a combined youth group/birthday party because one of our girls is a quinceañera this week. Lots of extra fun activities -- and food! -- thrown in to help her celebrate with her church family. One of the surprises was to have Fernando dress up as a clown, then while all the lights were turned off he sat down next to Carol and this was her reaction when the lights came back on...
We had a lot of fun!

This morning I tore into this package...
...so I could enjoy a few coquitos (coconut cookies)
...that my friend Katie got me hooked on when she visited. Yes, it is ALL Katie's fault because she found the bakery and bought the first coquitos for us to try :)  THANK YOU, Katie! It's a special treat we enjoy from time to time. The other galletitas aren't half bad either.

We bought these because we thought the architect would be coming Saturday to look at the lot and begin the brainstorming on our future house, and it would be right about merienda time. But he called  --  about 15 minutes after we stopped at the bakery -- to let us know he wasn't feeling well.

And now we have to eat them all ourselves. Not really! I'll take them for merienda before church tonight. I've also been asked to bring more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Last night I made three kinds of sandwiches for the party and one was PB&J which was a huge hit! Not only the kids liked them, but several adults asked where I buy the peanut butter (we have to get it in Cordoba or Sta. Rosa; none of our local stores carry it).

We've rescheduled with the architect for next Saturday. IF we're back from Buenos Aires by then. We found out Friday afternoon we have to go in person to renew our VISAs. But before we go we have to get some paperwork done locally. Since part of what we need to do is in Carlos Paz and part in Cordoba, we can't count on getting it all done Monday (LINES, remember the LINES we encounter everywhere!) and we may not be able to head to Bs. As. until mid-week.

We're still trying to decide whether to take an overnight bus or drive; the cost is about the same and there are pros and cons to both. Either way, hopefully there will be some good photo ops this week!

Friday, August 6, 2010

A brief introduction to the site of our future home

Yesterday we drove out to the property we're in the process of buying to take some photos. My idea was to get a good one for Project 365. But when I downloaded them to my computer I realized it would be hard to "show" the lot with only one photo so I decided to do a whole post about it.

For some people photos of an almost empty lot could be be boring, especially taken in the dead of winter when everything is gray or brown. But in my mind I can already envision what it will look like one day. In fact, I have to admit that -- because in my mind I was already seeing what the little house will look like with some TLC -- I was a bit taken aback to be reminded how bad it really is right now! LOL

As I've mentioned, we're trading our house by the lake for a house by the river. I've shared PLENTY of photos of the lake and now here's one of the river.
It's really low right now because we get very little rain in the winter. In fact, aside from some random snow flakes on Monday, we haven't had any precipitation in over a month.

We were excited to see the work is slowly progressing along this stretch of river with them widening the road where needed... further down they're already grading and installing curbs and gutters... it looks like they might actually make their goal of being done by the end of the year! When we first arrived to take photos yesterday it was a little before 5 p.m. and a front loader was just finishing up for the day. You can see here where he'd been digging.
Ivan says there's a spring that feeds from the neighbors behind us to the river and they'll be installing these big cement pipes to direct the flow of water under the road. I basically stood in the same spot and looked one way to take the above photo and then turned 180°to take this one.
One day this will be a beautiful new costanera!

And to provide some perspective on where our lot is located, here's a photo from right in front of our lot looking toward the river. See those same big cement pipes just left of center?
We're not sure if the couple who own the corner lot are going to build any time soon or not. Maybe Ivan will find out when he calls them-- we learned they also own a dumpster business. And as you'll see from the following photos, we will be in need of a VERY LARGE dumpster!

Okay, I mentioned the neighbors behind us have a spring that feeds into the river. It's quite a large property owned by an order of priests and, from what we understand, they plan to leave it a green space and not allow it to be developed. Suits us just fine!
All that garbage you see along the fence? Unfortunately that appears to be from our property, blown over by the wind. The lot we're buying is a MESS. Piles of cement rubble, broken tiles and pieces of granite countertop, garbage just tossed...
...even an old refridgerator! We'll definitely have our hands full cleaning up the area once we take possession! We figure we'll rent the biggest dumpster possible and invite all the young people over to help clean up the yard, with the promise of pizza and ice cream to follow :)

We also have to immediately start fencing the perimeter. Since we don't have house plans yet or know exactly where and how the house will be oriented, we'll probably put up a temporary fence and gate in front. Although it's possible we will have house plans by the time the property is finally ours. This process is a little more time consuming than what we would experience in the U.S.

Here's a photo from the front looking straight back. The casita sits along the very back of the property line. (photo is a little cock-eyed; the house isn't crooked, I just made it look like that way with my mad photog skilz)
Obviously we have our work cut out when it comes to the casita too! Ivan will have to put on a new roof and run the wiring to the two rooms and bath. I'll help with tiling the floors and the bathroom walls, and it will be my responsibility to paint the interior walls. 

Like I said, I can already envision how cute it will be when we're done! The outside will get a nice new coat of paint, maybe some window boxes and a little stone patio. Just not sure those will be a priority. Since the casita will serve as storage for materials and tools while we build a house, we may wait until after to "prettify" the exterior.

The architect is coming out Saturday to look at the lot and sit down with us to discuss what we need/would like in our future home. Not positive, but I'm pretty sure we'll have to build in two phases -- just like most Argentines do! Phase one would include the main living areas with a separate dining room that we could use as a bedroom until we have the time and money for phase two: a second floor with two bedrooms and second bath. The open kitchen/living area would be big enough for a small table and chairs, at least, so it's not like we'd be without a place to sit down and eat. Even after we have the second floor, we'll still probably eat most of our meals at the smaller table in the main area. It's just that I'd like a separate dining area eventually because we host a lot of meals for large groups, and that space would also be great for in-home Bible studies or crafty get-togethers :)

We have a long way to go but it's exciting to be at the point of beginning!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

CSI Link Up #2


Like I said, I couldn't pick just one project so I'm entering two in the CSI Project Link Up Challenge for all things fabric and sewing. The curtains were my utilitarian entry. Now I want to share one of my "fun" projects.

I won several fat quarters in a giveaway last year and have debated on what to make with them. I finally ended up using one of them recently to make this purse, along with some other, coordinating fabric I already had.
Then the other day I came across this tutorial (at Pony Tails and Fish Scales) to make cute little fabric flowers and had an "Ah Ha!" moment so I made a coordinating flower pin for the purse.
This will be going to a young lady in our church who's having a birthday this month.