Sunday, January 24, 2010

Late December and Early January was in Panama

Christmas in Panama was about visiting old friends. It started with Carlos, my wonderful taxi driver who picked me up from the airport. He took me to Anne and Howard's apartment, which I was to be house-sitting while they visited family in the US. Imagine my surprise when I arrived and they were still there. Howard has suffered a stroke so wasn't traveling. I was still able to stay and was some help, especially useful to Anne who needs another hip replacement - postponed until Howard is stable. For my birthday, they took me to an amazing restaurant in Casco Viejo. When the lights went out, I thought we were having a power failure, instead the waitress sang Happy Birthday and a candle topped a flan. The best flan I have ever had.
Annie Laurie took care of me for Christmas Day and most of the time I was not with Anne and Howard. Here she is sporting an attitude while cooking. Isabel, her maid of umpteen years, is in the background.
We did a walking tour of the renovated/non renovated cobble streets of the French Quarter of Casco Viejo. Annie Laurie does not hesitate to ask strangers ot pose with her...
I am more reluctant to approach strangers, but wanted a picture with this wonderful iguana.
With Anne I went to the Canal Museum in Casco Viejo which had a display of hundreds of molas from the 1950's. Anne is the one to see molas with because they are her passion. Afterwards we went to the Cuna market to look at Diego's molas - I bought two and Anne bought one.
Anne and Katrina (standing) and Jutta (the director of the school in Mexico where I'll be working next year) gathered at Katrina's new house not far from The International School of Panama, where Anne and I used to work and Katrina still works.
I also got to see Cheryl whose husband, George, died in a car accident a year and a half ago. I needed to confirm that she is all right and has a game plan in place since I knew that her income is greatly diminished with the loss of George, though the demands of the property near Las Uvas on the Pacific side are the same. She is OK.
Approaching Cheryl's front door, one is met by orchids and a friendly snake.
Cheryl's place is high on a hill, at the foot of which is the beach. I do not have a picture of the beach but it is worth describing. I walked down about 40 steps carved into the hill, through this jungle (about a ten minute walk) then onto the beach. As far as the eye can see in any direction not another soul was to be seen. Cheryl's dobermans accompanied me. While I swam in the gentlest water the ocean is capable of, one dog sat next to my wrap and shoes and watched me, while the other turned his back and watched the path. I was in the water for an hour and the dogs stayed in their positions the entire time.
One night was spent at Mi Ranchito in Amador where friends gathered so I could see everyone. Well not everyone, almost as notable were the people I did not see: I had hoped to see Padre Mickey and Mona, various former colleagues and students, Maritza Kitras, Egbert Leigh, and...the list could go on and on, but I needed to spend extra time with Anne and Howard since I had not seen them the last visits and they needed someone to run up and down stairs for them as well as listen. I loved being that someone.

Well, this should catch me up on my part of the blogging. Megan is so patient with me.

Part of December was spent in El Salvador

Carol, a colleague who has lived in El Salvador for many years, took me to the beach at one point. We went to Club Salvadoreno since she has a membership and where we are well taken care of.
The beach is lovely to look at, but the sand is littered when we walk beyond the Club's boundaries, and the waves are too strong to happily swim. We tried but were tossed about.
Lovely view from a nearby restaurant.

November in El Salvador

My ex-husband's half-sister's half-brother, Kenton, came to El Salvador in November to do some work for the Canadian government - helping poor areas develop sustainable businesses. He looked me up; having someone to go places with made all the difference in the world to me.
Kenton found a taxi driver, Jose Miguel, he could depend on to take him hither, thither and yon, so we used him on all excursions.
This is one place I had been dying to see so we went together. Joya de Ceren is a Maya farming village discovered in 1976 when the owner of the property was looking to plant more crops. When pre-hispanic items were found, he called in the authorities. A well-known anthropologist from Colorado came to lead the excavation. It is pre-hispanic, from around 600AD, and like Pompeii was buried under volcanic ash.
Interestingly enough no bodies were found, unlike Pompeii, even though utensils and half-eaten meals were identified. This area was probably inhabited as early as 900BC by the Mayans.
More evidence of the Mayan presence in El Salvador.

Friday, January 15, 2010

This and That thrown in with a lot of Catching Up

Meet Dudley - my new acquaintance.

Every morning for 20 or so minutes we attempt to bond with each other,
perhaps in the future we will be friends....
Aging makes you do things that only "old folks" do.

We've started to sell our chicken's eggs. They are laying about 15 eggs a day so we need to move them out the door. Whenever I go to a meeting (knitting or such) I take deviled eggs, or quiche, anything that uses a lot of eggs.
These next two photos are for my Mom's sake - she wants to see that Keith's leg is healing, so here ya go Mom - taken this very morning.

I've been bad about posting lately - I have some Christmas, Visitors, and New Years photos to share with you.

Keith had the tree outside lit up plus the bridge and
he found a perfect tree for inside the house!

A three-sided one that fit snugly against the bookcase.

Great Aunt Winnie hand-sewed this heart, we've had it on a Webster Christmas tree for as long as I can remember.

I forgot to take photos of our Christmas dinner - it was wonderful though - we had Richard, Arlene, our brother Butch and our neighbors Susan and Alan. "Fletcher's" ribs was the main course but we also had a "little Miss Piggy" leg plus the usual side dishes of brussels sprouts, and Yorkshire Pudding (recipe from Keith's Dad Al) I'm sure we had dessert but I can't remember what it was - oh and I made pumpkin soup which every one said was good but I couldn't eat it for the smell was not pleasant - I think our guest were being nice to me.
After dinner Alan played songs on his banjo and we all joined in with various percussion instruments. Susan then read a children's story that she had written and Alan had illustrated. It was about how the forest animals had a tradition of making harmony bread - when she was finished we all ate Harmony bread which she had made.
Lots of fun!

Another night during the holidays Arlene & Richard had us all over for Dinner at the Yurt. Our friend Bill and his dog Deuce joined in the festivities.

We had ham and a new recipes for scalloped potatoes that did not involved cheese or cream - and they tasted great!

Baked apples for dessert - a perfect ending on a winter night.

After Richard, Arlene & Butch left for Seattle we got more snow!

and a visit from Emily and her boyfriend Pete,

They came with me in the morning to feed the animals and collect eggs -

"wait for me!"

They headed back to Alaska - driving to Prince Rupert then catching the Ferry to Juneau.
Other news is that Ducky has started laying eggs - that puts to rest any question of her sex.

Can you see the difference? Do you know which is Duck and which is Chicken?

Both are delicious.

This was our New Years Day Meal - Cornbread, Black eye peas, Collards(from the garden, frozen) and Rooster. Should be a Good Year!

The snow is melting away, but maybe there will be more before long - feels more like March to me. Keith and I are doing fine - thinking of projects to keep us busy before the Growing Season begins. If you need a break from the City come on out to the Farm - we will be happy to see you!