Thursday, January 10, 2013

Picking up Where I Left Off...NOT!

I'm not even going to try to make up for the past 6+ months. They're gone forever and I didn't blog about them. Too bad. No guilt. No shame. :)

I am, however, starting back today and will be trying to post more-or-less regularly. I've considered beginning to blog in Spanish here, and may do that someday. Google Translate is a poor substitute for an actual Spanish blog, and I do see more need for a Spanish blog than another English one in the blogosphere, but that's another topic for another day.

 For today, I wanted to share about our latest addition. My mom will laugh and say, "I'm not surprised!" Anyone else who knows me will agree.

 Seth just put this sign on my bathroom door:
So we open the door...
There she is (pretty sure it's a she. Who knows?) We don't always keep large reptiles in our bathroom, but we have a small space heater in there, and it's the safest place for her at this moment. Our friend, Esteban, came over this morning looking for Seth the Iguana Man. Apparently a guy in town found this poor creature and was about to kill her when Esteban stepped in and saved her life. Yay, Esteban!!! Yes, I'm an animal lover. Guilty. Anyway, she injured herself a little while the guy was trying to capture her, but I think she had been injured before because her wounds look a little old.
Made me sad to see her -- would you believe she was crying? Seriously!!! She had big, fat tears in both eyes! Gives new meaning to the term "Crocodile tears".
I'd be crying, too, if I looked like that. Ouch. So, we have a new resident in the bathroom for a few days while we let my herbal concoctions do their magic and see if we can return her to the wild in a week or so. I've actually missed having a green iguana around! This should be interesting!!!

Sunday, June 03, 2012

A Bird in the Hand

In February I acquired a rooster. Although I didn't ask for him, and really could have lived without him, he was quite handsome and the hens seemed to generally appreciate his presence. He only had one small issue:

His clock was broken.

The dumb bird sang beautifully, but he sang any time the mood struck: three in the afternoon, two in the morning, it didn't really matter when.

We finally tired of his incessant crowing and found a replacement. His name is Thor. Cock fighting is a popular sport here (NO, we do not condone fighting roosters or gambling on the games), and Thor is a champion fighter. That really means nothing to me. The important thing to me is that in the 2 weeks we've had him, I've heard him crow exactly once.

It's a problem having two roosters, though, especially if both are bred to be fighters. Thor stayed in the pen with Mama Hen and her babies and Old Rooster roamed around the property with the other two hens. All was well until one day when the gate got left open and suddenly both roosters were in the pen.

That was the end of happiness on the chicken farm. The decision was made to catch Old Rooster and deliver him to his new home with our friend Ramon.

Have you ever tried to catch a wild rooster? It wasn't easy, but it certainly was funny!!! I only wish I'd had a video camera!

The boys started by hunting for the rooster. After about 15 minutes, they located him roosting in a tree behind our house. They shooed him out of the tree...and the chase was on. Caleb nearly caught him in the open stretch as the two flew (almost literally) across the front patio, over the garden box and around the pool. Rooster had his eye on another stand of mesquite trees and made it into the underbrush just as Caleb was about to grab him. With the rest of the brothers beating the bushes, they drove Rooster back into the open and across the road...into another stand of mesquite. At this point Mindy, our retired herd dog, caught on to the fact that we were trying to catch something (duh) and decided to get in on the fun.

Mindy dove into the mesquite briars and turned Old Rooster around -- straight toward Doug and I.

At this point, I made a grave error: I put down my camera to try to catch the bird. I should have known, from my years of experience with country life, that I had no chance of catching that terrified rooster. I could have, however, caught two amazing photos. One of Doug as he grasped at Old Red who streaked between his legs and one of Hunter as he dove, without thought of his own safety, on top of the bird. Neither attempt was successful, but both were so hilarious that everyone was shrieking with laughter. I'm sure the neighbors thought we were nuts.

I'm sure they already think we're nuts.

Anyway, the chase ended when Mindy cornered the rooster behind the cactus hedge and Hunter grabbed him.

Mindy was quite proud of herself and everyone else was still hooting with laughter at the craziness which is our family.

After we calmed him down a bit, I deposited Old Rooster into a cardboard box, and we delivered him to Ramon's house.

No more roosters singing at midnight. Yeah!!!

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Elephants and Mayhem

So, today I was reading a couple of news articles regarding the violence in Sinaloa. Very little was said in the article about what really happened in the village. Only the villagers know the whole story, and we all know how stories grow and change in the telling, depending on the bias of the storyteller. The facts reported in the news were in agreement with the rumors circulating.  It's interesting to read internationally published news articles about events which happen in your own "backyard", so to speak.  Sometimes a bit disconcerting, but interesting.   

Links to other newsy tidbits from around the world were attached to the articles I was reading.  Some intriguing, some not so much.

A music video was banned from YouTube. I'm not going to waste my bandwidth to watch it. I'm sure the world won't miss hearing my opinion on it.  I know I won't suffer for not having seen it.

There was a riot in Seattle. Having visited Seattle and seen some of the protest marches which seem to make Seattle what it is, I was curious to see what the riot was about. The media even gave it a catchy title: May Day Mayhem.  (To be honest, I was trying to figure out how a bunch of little girls in white dresses and daisy-chain necklaces started a riot.  I decided I must be missing something, so I had to read the article.  I mean, really?  What do you think of when you hear the phrase "May Day Mayhem"?  Uh-huh.)

So I clicked over and read the Fox news report.  My somewhat cynical and slightly conspiracy-theory-warped brain began to ponder the irony of the violence in Guasave, Sinaloa, compared to the violence in Seattle, Washington.  Interesting comparisons, actually.

As nearly as I can tell, riots broke out during a protest march and things began to get out of hand.  Basically everyone involved picked up whatever weapon they could get their hands on and started to defend what they thought was the correct side of the conflict.  Then police arrived and began trying to restore order.  People were hurt.  People were jailed.  Lots of windows were broken.  That's over-simplified, I know. 

My thought was that the Seattle incident stands in sharp contrast to the Bamoa conflict.  In Bamoa, two warring drug factions began shooting at each other.  The police showed up and tried to stop the violence.  Seeing that they were outnumbered, they called for reinforcements.  No one came.  Five hundred villagers with access to machetes, shovels, metal bars and et cetera, and the municipal police headquarters only 10 minutes away but no one was willing to stand up against a bunch of thugs with guns.  Back-up did arrive, but not before two soldiers were killed.

I'm really not fiercely political.

But I wonder what would have happened if the residents of the village of Bamoa had had the passion of the protestors in Seattle.  Obviously the protestors were willing to sacrifice their freedom and maybe their lives for what they thought was a just cause.  I imagine that they thought they could affect change through their blatant disregard for propriety, otherwise why would they get involved in such a violent display?  The villagers in Bamoa were afraid to get involved because even though they outnumbered the bad guys 10 to 1, they felt powerless.

The mayor of Seattle has apparently issued a decree which gives police the authority to confiscate any item "which could be used as a weapon."  Hmm.

I once heard a story about the training of an elephant.  An adult elephant can be tethered using a small rope with little to no risk of escape.  Why?  Because as a baby, the elephant is tethered with a huge, heavy chain which he can't possibly break.  By the time the animal is large enough and strong enough to actually break the chain, he has already resigned himself to the fact that there is no way he can possibly break the tether -- no matter how strong the tether.  He never even tries.

I find the comparisons and contrasts interesting.

This is just me on my philosophical soapbox.  I don't do this very often, so bear with me.  I'll be back to normal tomorrow -- with happy posts about homemade laundry detergent or lizards in my garden or newly-hatched baby chicks.

It's a crazy world in which we're living.  I'm quite glad that it's not my final destination!


Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Details, Details

So the painting is done and all that's left are the "last details". Anyone who's ever done a remodel knows that those two little words usually mean "you still won't be in your kitchen for a week".


Finally. We had a lot of help and were able to crank out the second coat in less time than the first.

Kitchen counter frame...built.

In this photo, Doug is still smiling because I hadn't pointed out that the wooden mold for the cement counter top was actually...backwards.

Alfredo...sick of me saying, "ummmmm", because it usually meant he had to change or redo something. ;^)

Counter top...poured.

Counter top...smooth and level (this is where I did most of my "umm-ing" at Alfredo. He really was patient!).

Counter top...finished.

At this point, the guys said I'd have to wait a week to take the wooden frame off. I glared at them and they reduced it to 4 days.

Anyone else in the middle of a remodel?  I feel your pain!!! :^)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Optomist and the Realist

When we left home in March to spend a month in the States, we arranged for some friends to stay in the upstairs of our house while another friend did some construction work on the downstairs. It was a bit impulsive on our part, and we knew that Alfredo would need to work hard to finish everything which needed to be done in the time available. A month is just not a lot of time when you're working alone on a kitchen remodel! Alfredo was confident, though, so we charged ahead.

What's that expression? Something about angels and fools and rushing???

I was very optimistic, but not ridiculously so.   After all, I was not imagining this...
The Perfect-World Kitchen
I was simply looking forward to having paintable walls, a downstairs bathroom with a door, a sink which drained. Simple things.

Sarah, always the one with her feet firmly planted on tierra firma, told me to picture something more like this...
 The Worst-Case Scenario 

I told her to stop being a pessimist.

I firmly looked forward to having the interior walls of the downstairs "stuccoed" when we came home. We even brought paint and flooring which was gifted by a friend in Tucson. I was very ready.

Doug called Alfredo a couple of days before we were scheduled to head home. It turns out, Sarah's estimation was closer to reality. We waited a couple of days to return, giving Alfredo time to finish. Prolonging the agony, really.
Two days just weren't going to make that much difference. Sigh.
So, for the past month we've been half-camping in the conference center. It is definitely a multipurpose facility!!!
Seth and Sarah goofing around in our "upstairs kitchen". 

Of course, we don't have water in the center, so we've been utilizing our lavadero a LOT!!!
But now, the end is in sight! Hurrah!!!
Everyone has been pitching in to help finish this project. It was just a huge undertaking for one guy working alone. Once we got home and could put in our hands, the work went faster and by last week, Alfredo was putting up the bathroom wall and Doug was wiring in electrical fixtures. Yay!!!

Anxious to finish, we didn't waste any time getting ready to paint. Doug dumped the various cans of paint we were given into a big tub and Andrew started stirring.

To be honest, at this point I didn't much care what the final color would be, but I must say I'm extremely happy with the color and with the paint! I just love American paint!!!

Even the neighbors got involved!  Becca came over asking if we needed help and then Cruz, from our home fellowship group, stopped in. 

Many hands make light work!!!
This would be Evie. As the smallest member of the painting crew, she was nominated to paint under the stairs. She didn't mind too much!
Proof that I actually did something besides take pictures! hehehe 

Pictures of the finished product? Not yet! Tomorrow we plan to give the kitchen a final coat and then the painting will be done. Lord willing, we will pull the wooden frames off the cement counter on Wednesday and then put the downstairs back in order...just in time for a men's fellowship on Saturday! Never a dull moment around here, eh?

 Well, at least now you have an idea of why I haven't posted during the past month. We haven't let the construction slow us down much. It's just life, afterall, and life does go on! I'm so blessed that we are able to set up our "kitchen and dining room" in the conference center. A friend here is in the middle of a similar kitchen face-lift. Half of her belongings are in the front yard. No more complaining on my part!

I'm off to write a post about something more interesting now. Check back in for photos of our new kitchen in a couple of days!