Monday, November 21, 2011

My husband is the best!

Busy, busy, busy ... ever since we came back from Peru/Nashville. It's almost like ... where to start? James was very busy with Timberly Court, the townhouse Sarah lived in as a student while becoming a pharmacist at VCU with her two room mates. It's for rent since she moved out ... and a renter just left. Oh, but how he left it! And surprise, surprise ... when we checked today ... no batteries in the fire-alarms either. We replaced them today with the new "no batteries needed for 10 years guaranteed" kind. James hopes that today was the last trip there for a while.

 First thing I did to get ready for my lace-meeting in Williamsburg ... cut up the necklaces I had bought in Peru to make dividers for my lacemaking friends.
It was great to take time out from all the things which need to be done for a day making lace at Maria's house. So relaxing.

I always like to see what others are working on.

Several were working on this Christmas tree ornament. It's going to be 3-D.

Lali is from Barcelona. This is her traveling Spanish pillow.

Catching up with the volunteer bookkeeping for the church.
Getting ready and holding a workshop for this year's Chrismons for St Martin.
Getting ready and holding a workshop "Chrismon Ministry" offered to other churches in our Diocese.
Making things for my charity sales table at the CR bazaar (CR = CrossRidge = our subdivision).
And just generally thinking of getting ready for Christmas ...

Helen, Ben and William are coming in a week. Omi cooked her little heart out and put individual portions into the freezer for William ... all natural chicken ... selection of veggies.

Yuck. This is what the stove looked afterwards. Thanks to my German cleaner  not really a problem.

A flowering bush at our church last Sunday.

It is called "Yuletide Camellia". So lovely to see when most plants are dying and the trees are becoming bare.
First I read Dee's blog and her cooking-baking-jumpstart on the holidays.  Then I read Carolyn's blog about Muffin News, the Banana Praline Muffins the dog ate.

I had to be inspired!!!

I baked two recipes of Cranberry Bars (oh, yes) for the freezer and the above mentioned Banana Praline Muffins. Recipe here. We had two as dessert after dinner (no, no, one each!). The recipe needs a little tweaking but is going to be a keeper.

Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!! One problem solved.
Love this house, but the kitchen is small and the pantry just not sufficient. So we found space to put up shelving ... which James did today. I am sooooo happy! I will be able to have provisions handy and KNOW what I have.

Love my husband!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Something to celebrate!

My grandparents went to Peru and all I got is this t-shirt.

No, no no. There was more.

Helen and William picked us up from the airport. We were "only" about 3 hours late. Thanks for cell phones.

A Peruvian hat. Reversible too. And with ear flaps.  He didn't want to try it on in the living-room. This was the fifth attempt to take a picture. But he is very happy to wear it when Grandpa takes him for a walk..

And then Grandpa introduces Cuy. I think the video is very funny.  Click here.
 First he was a bit shy.

But he really likes the softness and now even cuddles with Cuy.

Trying on the new vest. Baby alpaca wool (so they said).

Shawls for my girls and me.

More shawls for my girls and me.

One day we went out to eat. William loves his Olive Garden cup. He even points to it with his curvy little finger and Helen had to pour the water from one cup into this one. Then he drank it.

Grandpa still has the touch. A little walk ...

... and Omi can lift William out and put him into his bed for a nice nap.

This is the day!!! William is all ready to help celebrate his Mommy's achievement.

It was a lovely day (Sunday afternoon) and William likes the improved deck. He didn't want to come back in.

But, there was cake. Ben had organized an especially baked for Helen Mexican tres-leche cake.

Joy, Jessie and Helen's good friend Kim helped celebrate too. It was so nice.

He doesn't get sweets very often.

But he probably could have eaten the whole cake.

Yes, what did we celebrate? Helen has successfully completed her schooling and is now a teacher for English as a second language ... with a shining A.
Hard work! We are all so proud of her.

Guess who stole the show at the party though ???
Click here to see William taking walking the easy way.
 Later Grandpa and Omi had to pack. He has outgrown this and we are taking it back to Virginia. But he wasn't happy about it and complained when Grandpa collapsed it. He tried to climb back into it. Yup, definitely outgrown.

Helen and I had a last minute project. November Block Lotto: Scrappy trip around the world. This is Helen's.

This is mine.

Neither one of us won in October. Keep your fingers crossed for this month. Ah, we just had fun doing it though. It is nice to feel having something completed successfully.

Got up at 5 am in Nashville and now we are back in Virginia having driven about 10 hours (including breaks). Unpacked the car, had supper but ... putting everything in its proper place has to wait til tomorrow. Yeah!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Peru Trip Day 10

Wednesday November 2, 2011

Wake-up call 7:00 am. Bags out at 8:00 am. Departure from hotel at 9:00 am. 
James feels a little better.

First stop is to look at a real local market ... not a tourist place. We are asked to be very discreet when taking photos. People do not like to have their photos taken.

Potatoes on the corner. There are hundreds of different potato varieties in Peru.

The white things on the left are dehydrated potatoes. The Incas and natives before them had developed good systems on how to preserve food so it can be stored for a long time. As long as 10 years or so. After all, even today refrigerators and freezers are not so practical where there might not even be electricity.

A wonderful variety of different fresh  fruits and vegetables.

Sweet cucumbers (?)

Got permission to photograph. The child was really cute. Would have loved to take a close-up.

Dehydrated llama meat.

Remember the "Ceremony for Pacha mama" we had on day 3?  click here
Well, we had been told that those offering packages can be readily bought. And here they were. It looked like these were to celebrate a marriage.

Several butchers cutting meat to specification.

Beef heads. Really?

All women have beautiful long braided hair. But how do those bowler hats stay on which only seem to sit on top of the head?

Special bread in form of a swaddled baby. Today All Souls Day was celebrated. Flowers, bread and other offerings were brought to the cemeteries.

from the Odysseys itinerary: Early this morning we visit the mysterious round or square stone burial towers (chullpas) at Sillustani, overlooking Lake Umayo. Built by the warlike non-Inca Colla tribe, the towers here represent the best surviving examples of this impressive type of architecture.
For more information  click here.

Eliseo explains it to us.

Those 'fingers' on the shore of the lake look like rice paddies but are really for growing potatoes. Although the sun is strong and warm during the day it gets below freezing at night and the water surrounding the beds prevents the potatoes from freezing.

Picture taking for 'un soles'.

On day 3 at the end of the 'pacha mama' ceremony we were each given one of those little sacks to offer whenever appropriate. As we can't take home seeds and leaves etc. (US customs would have a fit)  James and I saw it very fitting to have our own little ceremony at this beautiful place.

As it was All Souls Day we scattered the contents thinking about and praying for all our loved ones who have already gone from us.

I am sure some in our group thought that the ceremony on day 3 was total nonsense. But does it matter how you pray and how you show our Creator God and Father that you love him? 

Lake Umayo. So peaceful.

And down to the bus again.

Tail down? Must be an alpaca.

On the way back we stop at this house.

The man is holding a Vicuna with llamas and alpacas in the background. Typical twin oxen (made from clay) on top of the entry arch way.

We were invited into the court yard.

Some were even brave enough to try the bread and cheese.
It is a rather barren countryside at this altitude above 12,000 ft. but the sheep,llamas and alpacas seem to find some grass to eat. 

This lady had knitted shawls and we bought three. Her child was a bit shy.

Guinea pigs  in the next court yard ...

... in the corner.

Mary must have bought something too. She had to sit on her suitcase to be able to close it.
(Just happen to see it from my seat in the bus)

from the odyssey itinerary: 
Following our visit we transfer to the airport

for our late afternoon flight to Lima, arriving this evening. Upon arrival, we claim our luggage and
transfer it to the LAN terminal. We then check in at the airport hotel where we have time to rest and
relax. Dinner tonight is on your own before returning to the airport and boarding a flight to the U.S.

Since we were the first to come from the plane arriving in Lima, Sheila asked James to hold up the sign so she could take care of our luggage.

We spent a few hours at the Costa Del Sol Ramada Lima Airport (Day Room) and have a meal.

James had a lasagne which was more like a shephard's pie. The first food he had eaten in the last few days! He is feeling much better.

I had ravioli filled with salmon and shrimp on a bed of spinach. Good choice.

Our plane from Lima to Houston is delayed but finally leaves shortly before 1:00 am. We were lucky to be upgraded to business class and even had a little sleep. We miss our connection in Houston but are automatically booked on the next.
Arriving in Nashville around noon on Thursday.