Saturday, April 30, 2011

Project 365, Week 18

This has been a super busy week and I haven't done a very good job taking photos. In fact, if it weren't for Ivan snapping a few, we'd have very slim pickings! He took four of the five I'm sharing this week...

Last Saturday Marce and Caro came over. Caro finished the fabric bag she'd started a few weeks ago and I also showed her how to make banana bread -- something she grew fond of while in the U.S. as an exchange student. In this photo we're looking at the books I've accumulated to help me teach English. Marce's not only my Spanish teacher, but she also teaches English in several area high schools.
I told Marce I'm pretty sure I'll need an intensive refresher course in Spanish when we get back in November!

Ivan went to the lot to mow one last time and took this photo looking down our street. This is at the top of the street, and our lot is at the very bottom next to the river, three blocks down. This photo gives you an idea of the view we have of the mountains.
While he was out there he killed this...
SOOOO glad I wasn't with him!!! I do NOT like snakes!

I started working on a script for the video we'll be putting together to share in churches, and we spent a little time the other day running around trying to take photos we need. Time is running out and we still have so much to do, so we went despite the storm clouds overhead. Made this shot rather dramatic, wouldn't you say?

And finally, here's my latest creative endeavor, using paper instead of cloth for a change:
This was before I put the banner together, attaching the flags to ribbon for easy hanging. I both sewed AND glued them on! This is for our co-workers' son and his fiancé who are getting married just before we get back in November. We'd planned on being here for the wedding but after we'd bought our [non-refundable] tickets, we found out they'd had to move the wedding up because the place they're getting married didn't have any other Saturdays available. Since we can't be here, I still wanted to contribute something to the festivities and I'd had so much fun helping Tina make one for her wedding, I thought it would be a nice project for this young couple too.

Looks like we're selling our computers and not sure if we'll be delivering them Sunday or Monday. Plus, we still have quite a lot to do before our plane takes off Tuesday afternoon. If I manage to do more than check my e-mail periodically, I'll be surprised!

Next week I'll be posting P365 from the U.S.! YIKES! 

And now, back to work...

A Royally Good Time

I hadn't planned on getting up early to watch THE wedding. But since my poor husband spent an uncomfortable night with tummy issues, we were both up well before the event started and decided to go ahead and tune in.

I may be one of the few women my age who did NOT watch the marriage of Charles and Diana so I really can't compare the two, but I enjoyed this stately occasion with all its pomp and pageantry.
It was also fun to do a little research on the royal family while watching the festivities, learning more than I ever knew (or needed to know) about the parties involved. Like the fact that the Queen's mum didn't like Philip at first and initially referred to him as "The Hun" because of his German connections. Reminds me of my mom's endearing nickname for a boyfriend back in the day: The Grinning Idiot. 

Plenty of grinning going on today -- I particularly liked Catherine's as Wills wrestled the ring on her finger.
I can just imagine her thinking, "Gotcha!"

And to think, it only took her seven years! No longer can we call her "Waity Katey"

Oh, and that reminds me... why is she called Kate with a "K" when her proper name begins with a "C"? Shouldn't it be Cate?

I was not all that impressed by the dress. Call me a philistine, but it just seemed a little blah after all the build up. Classic but excessively understated, but I just figured it fit Kate-with-a-K's simple, relaxed style. Then I saw this photo:
Much more impressive when you can see the level of detail, especially around the bottom of the skirt and train.

The entire affair was reminiscent of something out of a musical or movie, replete with hundreds of thousands of extras.
In order to ensure front row "seats" some folks camped out...
I can't imagine anything I'd be willing to camp out for, since my idea of roughing it is a hotel without a pool, but I am clearly in the minority... I personally think the view through the TV screen (in my case, it was actually a computer screen) was as good, if not better, than those who lined the streets.

But then again, there's something to be said for being able to say, "I was there!"

I'd especially like to say "I was there!" for this amazing cake :)
With me, it always comes back to the food.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The One Week Countdown Is ON!

Whew! We've worked really hard and much of the packing and organizing is done. I think (I hope) that by the end of today we'll be done with all we can do except the last minute stuff.

Leaving us lots of time to spend with people.

I cleaned out Ivan's closet yesterday, finding a pair of my Reboks in the process. Not sure why or how they ended up in his closet, but I was happy to find them since the pair I've been using started falling apart some time ago -- the inside fabric has come mostly unglued and every time I put them on the fabric rolls up in a ball and is most uncomfortable. So finding this other pair with the interior intact is a blessing.

I also packed one more box of kitchen things yesterday, finding a mound of ant gunk in the process. Yuck! It was a corner cupboard (hate those!), all dark and hard to get into so it's rarely used, making it the perfect "playground" for the carpenter ants. When we build our house, there will be NO CORNER CUPBOARDS!

Ivan ran around in the morning -- while things were open -- and got about half the paperwork stuff done. Then he spent over an hour on the phone getting more things handled.

Today he'll spend most of the morning doing just one thing: the paperwork to sell our car. Not the actual sales paperwork, just the preparatory paperwork. For whatever reason, every time a car changes hands the government requires an extensive inspection to verify it is indeed the vehicle in question, matching all the appropriate numbers. We thought it was a simple matter of going to the office, paying a small fee, and having it done.

That IS an option... IF you want to get up at 2 or 3 a.m. and go get in line! People literally start getting in line by 1 or 2 a.m. because only the first 20 people get served.

Yes, you read that right, only the first 20 people in line get served.

Because what they REALLY want you to do is pay more than twice the amount to have someone come to your home and do it on site.

But before that can happen you have to:
1) go to the office and get a form and sign up for the on-site inspection
2) go to the police station for another form
3) take both forms to the bank and pay for them
4) take the one form back to the police station

Then we wait for the on-site inspector who will bring yet another form which we'll fill out and pay an additional amount directly to him.

Basically what has happened is that they've created another industry that (1) allows the office designed for this purpose to do minimal work, and (2) provides an income for the poorly paid police during their off-duty hours.

[Or at least I'm assuming it's their off-duty hours.]

You're paying for convenience.
Sort of.
It's not really convenient to spend a morning in various lines filling out forms and making payments.
But it is the lesser of two evils because who in their right mind wants to get up at o'dark in the morning to get in line?!?!

All this so we can legally sell our car to our co-workers.

You're probably wondering why we're even selling our car.
After all, we're only going on furlough for six months.

Long story made short:
When we bought the car we failed to note it has NO POWER STEERING.
I have trouble parallel parking with an automatic transmission and power steering.
I've already got one strike against me with the stick shift.
Throw in NO POWER STEERING and I am extremely limited on where I can go by myself.
I'd say 85% (or more) of our town has only parallel parking.
I can go to the grocery store with its normal parking lot.
And not many other places.
Or I find myself driving around and around (and around and around), looking for a spot on a corner I can just pull into.

So we decided back then, when we realized our mistake, that we'd keep it for this term on the field, then sell it and get something with power steering after furlough.

I have to say, I will miss our little Fiat Uno. It has been a good car, taken us many places in (relative) comfort, with few mechanical issues. So I'm kinda hoping we can find a newer Fiat Uno with power steering when we get back. We'll have to go up about a decade in that model to get it, which might put it out of our price range. In which case I'll be happy with any cute little car with power steering.

Finding a cute little turquoise car with power steering would be icing on the cake.

Oh, and have I mentioned? WE LEAVE IN EXACTLY ONE WEEK!!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Project 365, Week 17

Only a day late with Project 365, instead of a whole week this time :)

A week ago Sunday we took a bunch of photos in an attempt to find one we could use on our prayer cards (which should have been ordered weeks earlier but then I'm behind on just about everything these days). Anyway, this was the best of the lot and although the light is uneven, the man who's designing our prayer card said he could work with it.

These open tour buses take the tourists around our fair city and we often see them on the costanera during our walks. Gotta love the big smiley face on the front!

On our way to visit a friend who lives off the beaten path we passed this place...
Reminded me of the forts we used to build with chairs and blankets when we were kids :)  Not sure if there's a more stable structure underneath or if it's just a frame with these large pieces of fabric to keep the wind out. Makes me wonder if it's still standing after several days of high winds over the weekend.

The friend we went to visit gave us some walnuts collected from his trees and that evening Ivan hulled them.
I've already used almost all of them as I made three batches of brownies for various activities this past week. As Emeril would say, these walnuts really helped "Kick it up a notch!" Best brownies EVA.

We pass this house almost every time we take a walk, and this week I decided to take a photo for our scrapbook with construction ideas.
I like both the inset bars on the windows and the cement "frames" around the windows -- I think it makes for a much cleaner look than some of the other designs we've seen. What do you think?

There's a sign artist in Cordoba who sells at a street fair every weekend, as well as the big artisan's fair (the one with almost 800 vendors). Ivan snapped this photo of one of his larger pieces. Such detail!

A friend of ours started a men's meeting when he moved to a new town several years ago and out of that has grown a church! He and his wife and two families spent several days in Sta. Rosa over the long weekend and on Friday he baptized the two men and their wives. We drove out to join them for the day. What a blessing!
After the baptism at noon we enjoyed a wonderful meal together. One of the men prepared "pollo al disco" which is basically a chicken stew prepared in a large pan over an open fire; the pan is actually a plow disk with sides! (I came across this great post with an explanation of the dish and the recipe if you're interested.)
While we were at the river I noticed this tree with thorns protruding from its trunk. Ivan said it's a black acacia.
It reminded me of the crown of thorns, so appropriate for the day and event. With baptism, we identify with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. What a great prelude to Easter Sunday when we celebrate the hope, the glory and the life to come

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Project 365, Weeks 15 & 16

Once again playing catch-up. Lots of photos from the past two weeks to share!

Two weeks ago we headed to Sta. Rosa on Monday. That night missionary friends arrived from Buenos Aires, delivering a suitcase another friend had brought from the U.S. in March. One of the items was a Shutterfly book our daughter put together (wedding pictures!). Which I've enjoyed showing to everyone I know -- from my hairdresser, to co-workers, to the people who own and manage our favorite tea store in Belgrano (they said hi, Wally and Katie!). And now I'll share the front cover and a few pages with you :)

Of course I have some outdoor photos from the country to show you. Can't go to Sta. Rosa and not take plenty of those! It's kind of hard to tell, but there's a bird sitting on the rock by the river. It's yellow belly and brown "coat" blend in so well with the river rocks and water.
The neighbor's horses were taking a nap. I think, anyway. One was resting his head on the other -- until I started snapping pictures.
We were there to get things ready for a young couple who will use the back bedroom suite for the next six months. Money saved from not paying rent can go to buy materials to build a small house on a lot purchased shortly before they were married. They work with a drug and alcohol rehabilitation ministry nearby and can eat their meals there but needed a place to sleep, and just get away.

While Ivan worked on installing a secondary door between the 2nd and back bedrooms (to provide more privacy, like at hotels with connecting rooms -- either or both sides can lock their doors) I painted the frame around a storage area above the tub in the main bathroom. So here are the results of our labors...
Installing this door was a challenge because the door frame is wonky, measuring 71 cm across at the top, 70.3 cm in the middle and 70.6 at the bottom. In the end he had to remove the middle hinge to make it work right.

Creating a secure storage area was important because the storeroom where we keep all our personal junk  stuff  household items is part of the back bedroom suite. Adding lockable doors to the space above the tub allowed us to safely stash a few basic items (towels, bedding for one bed, pillows). [Everything else we brought back to Carlos Paz to store in the garage.] The bath is just too small to get a photo of the whole storage space above the tub, but here's a partial shot:
As you can see, the space slopes with the roof line, which meant he had to make odd-shaped doors. It's so nice being married to such a handy guy!

Toward the end of the week we visited Aldo and Mirta in Rio Tercero. Mirta is a dear friend of Rita's -- I could be wrong, but I do believe they've been friends since grade school! And Mirta has saved Rita's letters over the years, carefully keeping them in a binder which we will hand deliver in a few weeks; they should be invaluable as Rita works on writing a family history.

On the drive over we passed a church in Santa Isabel that Ivan remembers his family helping to build, so we stopped to take a photo:
[The building isn't wonky, just my photography skills.]

Upon our return to Carlos Paz last Sunday we were greeted by this glorious display of roses at the front of the house...
I love that roses bloom here for 8-9 months out of the year!

I took an early morning walk one day and came across this new construction. Looks like a small condo development is going up.

We went to Cordoba twice this week. Our co-workers own a foreign built vehicle that's almost impossible to get parts for, but they found a place in Cordoba that rebuilds old parts so we took them in. This gorgeous turquoise jeep was parked nearby:
Yes, my passion for all things aqua or turquoise continues unabated.

Later on we had dinner with friends. Most of the family had gathered to celebrate Valentina's first birthday -- she looks a little sleepy in this photo taken near the end of the evening but cousin Juan looks ready to party through the night -- hope he let his parents get some sleep :)

And we returned to Cordoba on Friday for the big artisan fair. Around 750 vendors from all over South America set up for this 10-day show. I am particularly fond of things made from wood, like this lovely pie server. Isn't the wood grain lovely?!
And Mari, this photo is for you -- the gloves you won on my giveaway last year were made by this woman! I found her at the fair again and Ivan took her photo.
So ends another looooong Project 365 post.

Can't promise things will improve any time soon. We leave for furlough in just over two weeks, and we have SOOOOOO many things to get done before then. Ivan is trying to get tramites (paperwork stuff) handled... appreciate your prayers about that. The two items we really need are still in limbo -- and not for lack of our trying! If they don't get done before we leave, I'm not sure how it will affect some of the legalities of living here.

And our co-workers are moving into our house while we're gone so I have to pack everything in the closets and dressers, plus a lot of personal decorative stuff because they'll be using the space differently than we do.

So you can see why I won't be around much in the next few weeks :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Power of Words

Edited to add: I didn't discover until we got home late tonight that the video was being cut off and the missing bit is the most important part of the sign at the end. To make it work I ended up re-doing the whole blog design :)  But now you should be able to see the video in its entirety.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Project 365, Week 14 (and some from weeks 12 & 13 too)

Yes, I am going to attempt catching up with Project 365. Because of the hearing loss/vertigo issue I haven't been out and about much until this past week (except to the doctors), plus it's really hard to snap many photos when your primary position is prone :)  However, I do have an abundance of photos this week so let's not waste any more time...

I mentioned in a previous post that the surveyor had finally gotten around to doing our lot. Three of the corners were not really where we expected them to be, but this one was right on the money... the front corner against the neighbor's fence.

Before the first trip into Cordoba for a series of hearing tests I packed a lunch...and then left it sitting in the kitchen :(  So we stopped at this little Greek style restaurant that had an appetizer plate for two, with hummus, stuffed grape leaves, tabouli and falafel. YUM!

We went for a walk one day while the vertigo was still a serious problem so there were frequent stops to sit down. At one stop we saw group of swans hanging out:

On the next trip into Cordoba for more tests we parked near this very cool oldie but goodie:
Isn't it just the cutest car?!

Last Saturday I painted the front side of these cupboard doors (they'll fit an odd storage space over a bathtub):

Monday I caved to the crave and made No Bakes:

FINALLY finished the baby quilt (that I started in January) on Tuesday. I didn't have enough of any one fabric to do the binding so used bits and pieces of several to continue the primary color theme:
Wednesday we delivered the quilt to a happy mama and little Juan Ignacio:
Lorena decorated the nursery in bright primary colors so the quilt works perfectly :)

This photo is mostly for my daughter. Tina, see in the very middle of the picture -- it says "Sushi Point"! It's a new place that just opened this year.

Even though the lake is rather stinky this week (smells like dead fish), it hasn't stopped people from enjoying it:

One of the ways a business will advertise here is to hire these cyclists with billboards. One of them also has a speaker system and broadcasts (loudly!) an accompanying audio advertisement.
They just bike around town all day, every day, spreading the word for whatever company has hired them.

Today I knocked my big white ceramic bowl off the table while sweeping :(
I've had that bowl for at least 15 years, maybe closer to 20. It was a Christmas gift and I've always really liked it. It was ginormous and perfect for salads when we had a crowd. The rest of the time I used it as a fruit bowl on the counter. Oh, and at the same time I also took out the butter dish with a new stick of butter that was sitting next to the bowl. *sigh* 

This morning Ivan finally found a telephone pole (he's been looking for weeks) that he could use as the corner post for our fence. He had to get that put in a.s.a.p. because we're having someone with a back hoe come in and level out that back area which is EXTREMELY uneven right now. There's a mound of dirt/debris right next to a very low area. Ivan knew it would be much, much easier to put that post in NOW rather than having to dig through several feet of dirt/debris after the fact.
He painted (all that he thought would be buried) with asphalt paint to keep it from rotting.

I know, my life is so exciting...cupboard doors, fence posts, broken bowls...

What IS exciting is that we will be going on furlough IN EXACTLY ONE MONTH! We still have SO much to do before then. It's going to be a crazy busy month!

I'm hoping to meet some of my bloggy friends during the time we'll be in the states. Some of you live in far away places that we won't be going to, but hopefully I can connect with those in Georgia (our mission headquarters is in Lawrenceville), Indiana and Michigan. Oh, and we'll be making a trip to Arizona too.