Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Cancel My Trip to Guatemala

These people are no longer my friends. I know Mike told Gaby to send this e-mail to me. If this is a baby, I don't want to see its parents. I notice that Carlos is the only smart one in the group (hands in pockets, not on the creature). I think I'm going to like him.

We went to the zoo the last friday night and took this nice pic. The snake was a baby piton of 10 months, her body is so soft, cold and firm. Are inofensive, dont bite, she only eats baby chickens and mices, that fact make me sad, but almost every body eats cows and chikens, so it is the same thing. (don't want to look hipocrit)

At the photo, to left to right: Dina, Carlos, Herwin (daddy), and me. Below: Diego y Alejandro, hooo and I forgot: The Reticulated baby piton. Here the snakes are so common animals, more on the suburban houses, they are looking for a nice warm place to sleep, but nobody wants one on the bed hahaha. Do you like it? Waiting for coments

And Mike's answer to her:

Sra Gabriella bruja--you are correct, I believe. Humans eat animals...snakes have the right to eat food also. You are not a hypocrite at all. (Excellent English vocabulary, Gaby.)
I think Guatemala has many snakes, no? Is this correct? Is the reticulated python a Guarmalena? Si o no?
Maybe when Becky visits to Guatemala we can arrange for a visit to theMaya jungle to search for wild animals and reptiles?


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Windy Morning Pictures

Stella was on the tip-top of the storage house roof when we went out to go to church this morning, but by the time I got the camera, she was headed down. She likes to sit there and stare down in the neighbor's yard. I bet they love that.
I looked out the kitchen window and saw this bird sitting in the little crepe myrtle with his wings ruffled from the wind. I took several pictures, but he doesn't look windblown in any of them. He kept an eye on me, and I think he knew he was being photographed, because I got all sides. Maybe it was a lady bird looking for her best profile. The last one, he's just taking flight, and you can see the little feet.
Below is the wisteria from up the street that I enjoy so much every spring. I keep planning to get a closer picture but always forget.

I've run out of time now, and my supervisor is harassing me - Hi Donna - to get to work. Just kidding. I do so enjoy my interaction with my co-workers and hope to get a chance to meet some of them in person this summer. I also have to watch my typos now that I've given Donna a hard time about her Yiddish IM just now.

I've found a lot of old very interesting pictures lately that I'm going to post soon, some just interesting but some downright weird. That should keep my family members glued to this blog!

Elise just sent me some cute ones of Miss Kitty in TX but I now have to WORK!

Pretty Bad Pictures - or Sewing Memories Part 3

The first two sections of my sewing memories came easily - until I got to the knitting part. I did do a lot of it. I made baby sweaters, booties, and blankets for friends - never any for my own children though, strangely. I learned a lot of techniques - learned to turn a heel to make socks, to knit with different colors, to do lacy knitting, make buttonholes and ribbing. But there are no pictures of any of it. EXCEPT. This outstanding one of me actually doing the knitting AND wearing my hand-knitted pink slippers with pompoms. Mike is sitting on the right reading the Atlanta Journal, and Daddy's arm is shown sitting next to me. So I guess Mama took the picture, and it's her fault for not telling me to cover up more - or unwind or something. I can't remember what I was knitting, but it looks like there is more of it on the table shelf. The hairdo looks frozen into place, and unfortunately I still wear a version of it except with less hair and less hair spray. I don't know how to fix pictures to make them look better, but I do know how to crop, and I decided not to. Like Mike always said, "It's who we are." The messy table, the book beside me just in case I get tired of knitting, the book on the table for when Mike gets through with the newspaper, our busily pursing our own pleasures, although we obviously have company. I always thought this picture was taken at the apartment in Cornelia, but looking at the floor, I realize it's in Alto in our first house complete with the Danish Modern furniture from Mike's parents that we were happy to have and never wore out. I believe some of us still have those tables around. There's some sort of radio, it looks like, and my ever-present glass of something. These pictures didn't hold up well.
I'm not totally proud of this bit of handiwork, but it must have seemed appropriate at the time. This is Grandma with her precious poodle that everyone hated but her and their matching outfits. Debby, if you read this, tell me it's name. I'm sure all 3 of us were very proud at the moment. Gray was born 3 days after this picture was taken, so I can be forgiven for any lapses of common sense, I guess.
I see our merged collection of 33's and that Danish Modern coffee table holding the decorated bush. I wish the picture were clearer so I could see that what that decoration was behind her. I don't believe wired ribbon had been invented yet, so I can't imagine what could make a bow behave that way.

Another picture I found shows the second thing I knitted, a pink stuffed rabbit. You can't see much of the rabbit - I don't think it held up very well either - but I just wanted a chance to use the picture of that cute guilty-looking guy behind the door.

I guess I hadn't gotten the memo about babies playing with balloons yet.

That's about it with my knitting career. I did sew a few things during this time, some curtains, and I found a couple of pictures for a later time.

Friday, March 27, 2009

More Rain

I haven't quite had enough rain, but it's getting there. The ground is squishy, and Darby looks at me mournfully when I make her go outside. She can stay inside when it rains, although she has a dog house, but she has to stay outside when it's just wet, and that hurts her feelings. Is this not a pitiful face? I think she deserves a nice inside nap.
Mama said we had storms last night, but I must have slept right through them. She "put her clothes on" around 3:00, she said, as she has done all her life when the weather gets bad. She wants to take no chance on getting blown into a tree in her pajamas. I stayed up pretty late last night because today is not a get-up-early work day, and I just heard enough rumbling thunder and light rain to make it easy to fall asleep.

Some rainy morning pictures.

The Pyracantha that Ryan espaliered against the fence for me. I think it needs trimming. It had only about 7 berries last winter, so maybe these blooms mean more berries.

I always like a surprise. I'm not sure what I had planted in this pot last years, probably petunias, last summer but not strawberries - that was the year before. This one looks healthy though and is sending out runners. I may have enough berries for a bowl of cereal soon.

This clematis had just 2 leaves last month, but it's taken off and is very enthusiatic. These are all buds, and the flowers will be outstanding.

Lori, my blogging friend from SD, mentioned having to have her coffee perked on the stove. I had actually forgotten that. Even with that shiny GE percolator, we must have liked the coffee made on the stove too, because I can remember 2 pots we had, 1 plain aluminum and the other green enamel. The green one is very clear in my memory because that's the one we used to perk coffee on the grill after the hurricane that reached up into Alabama in the 70s. We lived in Geneva then. Someone will probably correct me, but it must have been Eloise in 1975 - just from Googling it. That's the only hurricane we've ever experienced, and I don't want to do it again. As much as I like wind and rain, that was too much for even me. Gray, Elise, and I cowered in the hallway while Mike paced and looked out windows and, along with a neighbor, watched the progress of a huge pine tree that was threatening to fall on our house. Afterwards, with no power for 9 days, we cooked (and perked delicious coffee) on the grill, along with everyone else in the neighborhood. The smells were wonderful, coffee and food mixed with the turpentine smell of all the fallen pine trees. Chain saws were busy, and neighbors milled around and visited for a few days. After the first few days without power and water and with a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old, it stopped being fun though. I think I depended on Sesame Street every afternoon to give me a break.

I couldn't find a picture of that old coffee pot. Maybe Lori will send me a picture of hers. We did have this one, though, for years. Speaking of ceramic rabbits earlier this week, I don't want to neglect my favorite bunny from the 1980s.

I believe I may have made this one, although if a daughter wants to claim it, they can. I think I was whiling away the time at a pottery-painting Girl Scout meeting in the early 80s. I'm almost sure Emily didn't do it because I saw the other thing she did that day, and this is not a 5-year-old's bunny. This was not my troop at the time, although it later was. I know this because I would never have had the imagination to take them to a pottery place to do Easter eggs. The eggs they painted were the kind never seen in nature. I think even the Easter bunny would have cringed, but they thought they were so beautiful at the time. They may have been beautiful in 1983 - look at the clothes we wore and thought looked good. The eggs were roughly the size of a football and were covered with flowers and swirls and bows. The ones I have hidden away in the attic lovingly preserved were mainly a pearlescent pink and yellow with a little blue and yellow mixed in. They opened in the middle, and we did display them for a few years until one year, they just didn't come out, and no one missed them.

I think despite the gloomy weather today, I'm going to be forced to get out today. I'm down to eating dry cereal, and Mama needs purple buttons.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Rain, Birthdays, and Other Things

I wonder why I like rain and gloomy weather so much. It affects most people the opposite way, but yesterday when the clouds starting getting plump and gray, my spirits rose. I would prefer a little thunder, just a little rumbling, at night to let me know it's carrying on while I sleep. There was none of that last night, but this morning we got a nice steady spring rain, and you could just see the new plants and trees enjoying it. I forgot to bring in the flat of seedlings last night, and they were near the overhang of the roof. I was so afraid I would go out, and they would be just a mass of mud, but no - here they are after enjoying a misty hour or so.

Not only did they not suffer, I think they grew a bunch during the night and even added a few more. I hate those double ones. I always plant more than one seed in a pot in case one doesn't come up, but then you're supposed to clip off one and leave only one per pot. But I can't stand to sacrifice even one, and how do you choose? I'll have to leave all twins and triplets, at least for a while.

Maddy Cat doesn't usually like damp weather, but she was out bird watching this morning and ignoring me while I took her picture. The doves sit on the chimney and make that mournful sound, and she likes to think she could catch one if she tried. Nothing can show disgust with the human race more than a cat. She was doing that stuttering noise cats make when they're serious about their prey (at least ours do, but maybe they're weird). Mike and I always called it percolating. For people who are young, it's like the sound coffee used to make in a percolator.

I think I want one of these again. Not only are they prettier than the coffee makers now, the coffee was probably better. I can't vouch for that, but I really liked coffee when we had one. Ours was a wedding gift, and we used it for years. Maybe even had 2. I can't remember the first Mr. Coffee we had, but I guess it replaced the percolator. I may have to see if they're still selling these and get one for rainy days - raindrops, thunder, and perking coffee. Now, that's comforting.

Today is Mike's Dad's birthday. He says he's either 85 or 95; he can't remember which. I think I'd go with 75. He doesn't want his picture posted, so I'll do one of his alter ego, Uncle Fuddy-Duddy. He's written 2 books about this story-telling rabbit based on tales he used to tell Gray, Elise, and Emily when they were small enough to sit in his lap.

Below is an excerpt from an email from my cousin Debby. Her husband Tom is leaving for Iraq in April, and I asked her for details about it. They're from Luverne and would appreciate everyone praying for him and the family that will miss him. I think this is for a year.
Tom’s rank with the Army is Command Sargeant Major—he’s the highest you can go in the Nat’l guard. He’ll be leaving Apr 15th to go to Kuwait/Iraq. He is going to be in the unit in charge of “chemical warfare” (scary stuff). They are going on a security mission. None of it is safe and I want you to pray for him and his safety. I hate to see him go.

Totally unrelated to anything above, I can say without panic that I'm back to working on the log cabin quilt. I was so frustrated over the squares not measuring up perfectly that I dreaded even looking at them, but in talking to Sherry Friday about it, I decided to stop messing with that quarter-inch foot and measure exactly where I needed to feed the cloth - and mark it. So I did just that with a bright blue tape and moved my needle over to exactly where it needed to be. So now I'm sewing them assembly-line fashion, and nearly every one in the first batch had the correct measurements and didn't have to be ripped out - only the 10 or so that I sewed wrong side up. They're white on both sides, but it would be my luck to matter in the end. But I'm back to enjoying it again. This is my highly technical solution.

Now before I can go have fun with it again, I have to call my company's tech guys and let them get inside my computer to see what's causing it to freeze sometimes. One asked me just now, "When is the last time you had the cover off." I said, "You mean the case that covers the whole computer? How about never. I don't even know how." He says he will tell me how, and we can check the inside for dust and stuff - like I would tell him if there was dust inside my computer!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Random Musings

I don't think of myself as a muser, but I have to have some title for this entry, and it makes it sound like I'm a deep thinker. Besides, I'm sure I've already used titles like "Meaningless Drivel" and "Boring Stuff" already.

My work computer once again healed itself until the next time it unexpectedly decides to do the freezing act. I was kind of wanting it to stay frozen so I could get some things done, but then I didn't want to use up my sick days either. So I worked on and off all day Saturday, went to church Sunday morning, and then worked Sunday afternoon. It wasn't completely boring though, since I spent a lot of time outside puttering around the yard, mainly just looking hopelessly at the flower beds, but sometimes pulling a weed or two.

I found this in the back side bed almost under a carpet of weeds.

This is left over from last summer, although I don't really remember planting any petunias this color in this particular flower bed. It's nice to see though. I also uncovered an amaryllis that's just coming through.

These are the bushes behind the bird bath, and the bird bath appears only at the very top and at the base in the pictures because cleaning it has not been one of my priorities. I'm not sure what these bushes are, but they are pretty for a little while in the spring.
This is how the seeds are progressing. It's so exciting to see them first pop out and then to get the first set of leaves. I think this a good result so far. Some of them haven't popped up yet. I take them outside to the sunshine during the day and bring them into the garage at night. Seems to work.

The white cosmos. They're the most vigorous.

The morning glory is always a show-off. This one is red and hopefully will help make the ugly fence prettier.

My supervisor just IM'd me and asked if I could work some extra tonight. I don't really want to, but what is a person who starts to work an hour late this morning without telling anyone going to say? It takes someone with a lot of self-confidence to admit this, but it took me 3 hours to realize I had started late.

My alarm didn't go off this morning, but a cat was walking on me, so I glanced at the clock and saw what I thought was 6:45, but it was really 7:45. Don't know what happened to my alarm. I went through my morning things - taking out the garbage and recyling, feeding the cats, feeding myself, reading emails, etc. - still never really looking at the clock. I clocked in at 9:00, thinking it was 8:00 and worked until 12:00. Then when I clocked out, I was outraged to find I had gotten credit for only 3 hours. Oh no, the famous webclock is broken. I'll have to complain. And then it slowly came to me what might have happened, and I checked the first report I did - finished at 9:10. It took courage to admit that. But I had to start an hour earlier this afternoon and now seemingly have to work an hour later.

I spent the whole afternoon looking at and for pictures, but I'll have to talk about that later. I'm wasting time when I should be working, and Mr. Webclock knows.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday in Andalusia

I went to Andalusia this morning to spend a little time with my father-in-law, and it was a gorgeous day to be out. It's not quite late enough to see the wisteria all up in the trees along the interstate, but you could see it just beginning to blossom. Here is what greeted me when I drove into Roy's driveway:

A neighborhood cat keeping watch over the azaleas.

I don't know the names of all the azaleas, but I think this is called Formosa.

There is another smaller one that is my favorite. I'm not sure of the variety, but I'm thinking it has coral in its name. I took a lot of pictures trying to get one shot of the many bees enjoying themselves, but I think they were too fast for me.

Here is the bridal wreath, or Spirea. We had plenty of this in the yard growing up. It's beautiful, but it makes me sad, because that's the flower that we used in pet funerals. The memory of that little mound of dirt with the vase of bridal wreath and roses still makes my heart ache even though I can't remember the names of the pets.

I think the dogwood may not be in its prime right now, but it's still beautiful.

I really didn't enjoy the flowers until after lunch because Roy was ready to eat when I got there, so we drove to the favorite lunchtime spot of what seems like half of Andalusia. We met my sister-in-law Kathy there. The food was good, as usual, not my favorite menu today, but I managed to make do with turnip greens, butter beans, black-eyed peas, stewed tomatoes, and roast, and a salad. I had to pass on some things, like rice and mashed potatoes and gravy as well as fried catfish and 2 or 3 kinds of bread. Once we got the pleasantries out of the way, Kathy and I got into serious wedding talk. She's an expert, having attended and helped with many weddings of her nieces and nephews and friends, so she had some good ideas about cakes and tin tubs and just about anything I had questions about. Roy was okay letting us babble on as long as there was food. I'm not sure we let him get too many words in, but the cobbler and ice cream made it bearable.

Kathy came over later, and brought pictures and more ideas, and we had a good time discussing groom's cakes, the merits of plastic utensils over silver ones and how to decorate the above-mentioned tin tub (which I took home with me) to make it wedding-ish. By that time, Roy was sure we had lost our minds even though he was nice enough to say he enjoyed hearing us talk, so we left him to a much-deserved nap but not before I once more got proof that the blue-flowered bunny was in its usual place on the mantle. Neither Kathy nor I trust the other one not to take it home, so we keep a good eye on it. When we inherit it one day, I suppose we'll have to have a big fight joint custody.
The ride home was just as beautiful as the ride down, but I got home to a broken work computer that I've been complaining about for months. Maybe now that there is only a blue-striped screen, someone will send me a new one. Guess I won't be working tomorrow and can work on my quilt. I enjoyed talking to Sherry today on the way down (sorry my phone connection so rudely cut us off) and Debby on the way back. Pray for Sherry's dad, my uncle Olmond, who is seriously ill and for his wife, Mary Ann.

Also talked to Mike and Elise who were on their way to El Paso. Elise wasn't too impressed with what she had seen of the Pecos River, but I'm sure they'll find a lot of interesting things to see and do. While I'm not going to El Paso. But that's okay. Bleaching the sink and repotting plants is more exciting anyway.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Middle of March

I need to add something interesting today to make that pot of shamrocks go away, but I'm having a hard time finding anything.

Going back to last Friday, here are some pictures from when Debby and I went to the cemetery to take Aunt Betty some spring flowers. It was a nice afternoon. We jabbered on, sometimes in the present, sometimes in the past, memories of Grandma, memories of growing up in a simpler time, and if you're related to me and reading this, yes, we talked about you.
The pretty day turned into clouds and rain, and I loved every minute of it. It wasn't as much fun on Saturday having to get out in it though. Emily came rushing in from Warm Springs, and we had to get to the alterations place before it closed to get Dress #1 fitted and ask about hemming Dress #2. It probably wasn't pretty to see us juggling an umbrella, a big box, and 2 wedding gown through the deluge. As we burst in, the place was full of bridesmaids, all getting fitted. It was hectic, to say the least, but we finally got the dress all pinned up to fit. We're still not sure in the confusion when it will be ready but certainly before she'll have any need for it. We then went to Dillard's to take back the "unacceptable" dress and get a new one, but then it turned out the new one was unacceptable too. I can't remember what we did after that, but we ended up stopping to get veggie sub from Publix. Yum. Emily picked out the ingredients, and I need to remind her I don't consider jalapenos veggies.

I was not wanting her to go to Atlanta Sunday morning in the pouring rain, and I didn't actually ask her not to - well maybe hinted a little - and made staying in the warm house making lists and drinking coffee sound like a lot more fun. We did get a bunch of things decided. It's slow going, but I think with this next trip to Atlanta, she and Ryan will get the ball rolling. Talking to the caterer, going to the photographer's, looking at cakes. That and the music will be the big things, and it'll be a relief to get those things decided.
The last 2 days have been just working and getting nothing done in between times. I did go to Michael's and take pictures of votive candle holders and pots and vases so we can make more decisions and bought some more outside hanging lights at Target - on sale!
Today I had to learn a new account at work, and I kept having to wait on this and wait on that, so my morning was wasted. I decided to plant some of the seeds I bought. These are the cute little pots I got. Mama thought they were chocolate cookies. They do look edible in those little candy-box containers.

I got two packets of seeds planted, and then I weeded the front flower bed a little, kind of half-heartedly, but I think it looks better. All the trees are budding out, the althea, the crepe myrtle, and even my little dogwood that is still in a pot from last year. I think it likes it there.

I'm always surprised to see this clematis every spring. In the fall, it turns into an ugly tangle of vines that looks like it will never come back, but then I've watched the little leaves come out in the past week, and it's already trying to climb.

I think I can see from the kitchen window a little purple on the wisteria in our neighbor's yard that is amazing every spring. Unfortunately, there's nothing pretty about this corner disaster, and I don't have much time to work on it. Maybe I can throw a few blooming annuals on top of the mess until the gardenias and azaleas start blooming. So that's my exciting week. Tomorrow is beauty shop day for Mama and her weekly outing to Wal-Mart afterwards, and then I'll probably go to Andalusia Friday. It'll be a nice drive if the weather stays like this. There's something interesting and free going on at the quilt shop Saturday that I might like to get to if I have time. If anything more exciting than this comes up, I'll be sure to mention it.

Oh, Mike said he and Elise were going to just drive down to El Paso this weekend. I would go too if I didn't have to fly and had time or maybe lived there. I hope they have fun and take some interesting pictures for me.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day

I've been too lazy or busy or something to write anything lately. It has been a nice few days though in regards to getting to talk with people I don't ordinarily talk to - a couple that I haven't seen for over 40 years.

I have done a few searches for my friends from our freshman year at Troy over the years. Only problem is, I wasn't sure who they married, and it's hard to find someone just looking up Elaine and Beanie. Somehow I found them by remembering a sister's name, so we're just beginning to catch up. One has a daughter's wedding in April, so I don't expect to hear anything out of her for a bit.

I got to visit with my cousin Debby last week. She's the urchin on the front row in the picture. She's better behaved now - but not much. We still laugh at the same things and can tell each other exactly what's on our minds. Her mom, my Aunt Betty, died last fall, and we went to take some spring flowers out to Greenwood Cemetery. I have some pictures of that beautiful afternoon once I get enough energy to find my camera.

I then, through my other cousin Bobby, got reconnected with maybe a step-cousin, Teresa. Her dad married my aunt, so I guess that's a step-cousin. We spent some time together growing up, but I got to know her better my last year of high school when we rode to school together. She's living in Wyoming, and it's so good to chat with her. We're going to try to find time to get together for a bit in May when she comes to Andalusia.

And another old friend called me last weekend. Karen was, I guess, my first real friend. We found each other again about 5 years ago after going our separate ways after high school. She visited me in Greensboro and Columbus, and we took a fun road trip from Columbus to New York where she lives a few years ago. She's promised her red guest house to us if we need a place to live when we retire. Summers only for me though. I don't want to get involved in plowing my way through snow to get to the grocery store.

More about all these good people later. I have to get to work now.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Beautiful Pictures

As promised, here are the pictures of our Guatemalan friends. If I get a name wrong, I hope I'll be forgiven. I'm not going to say which one is the "angry walrus" or who is pollito (chicken), Porci (Porky), or colocha (curly) and to protect Gaby, I won't mention the name she told me for Carlos.

Teto no quieree agua.

Even I could figure out what this meant. This is Diego (Yeyo) offering some water to his little cousin Roberto Alejandro (Teto).

The two boys a little older:

This is Teto, son of Gaby and Carlos

And Diego, Dina and Allan's son

And more pictures of the boys. Did I mention yet how cute they are?

Here are the parents of the little guys. You can see where they get their looks. Gaby and Carlos with Gaby and Dina's dad.

Dina, Allan, and Diego

Sisters Dina and Gaby

Dina and Allan

Gaby and Carlos

Gaby and Teto

I hope I did the pictures and the subjects justice. I have enjoyed getting to know Dina and Gaby by email. They have given me lots of laughs this week, and I hope we can meet either in Guatemala or Alabama. We three ladies chose Hawaii to meet, but Mike kind of shot that idea down. I found out that his calling us tres bruhas in his email was not very nice. Think the 3 Macbeth characters, Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble.

Even bruhas have to sleep. Again, I hope the names match the pictures.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Happy Cow in Any Language

Since the members of my own family are either too busy or not interested in my blog, I've decided to adopt another one, folks who appreciate my deep and insightful ruminations and haven't yet learned all about me and therefore like me. Meet Gaby and Dina from Guatemala City. Mike discovered them a few years ago, as Dina had the impossible exciting job of translating his speeches when he was there. As you will see later, after all these years, his Espanol(despite his boasting) leaves much to be desired. It seems they have been exchanging recipes for awhile now; he told them about the blog (only because he wanted to share Elise and Emily's pictures), and they got in touch with me to chat about important things, like planting squash and avoiding housework.

They are 2 beautiful sisters who are just delightful to talk with. They each have equally beautiful husbands and sons, and I'm waiting for permission to post their pictures.

The language barrier is no problem - there's not one - and that's totally because they speak English so well - and I speak no Spanish, except for the few phrases I remember from high school Spanish . But when Gaby sent me her recipe for zucchini soup (succini), I was a little confused about the cheese. I just figured it might be a special cheese that we couldn't get here, but then lying in bed one night thinking about important things (like cheese) it came to me. The "smiling cow" cheese she mentions must be my Laughing Cow cheese that I eat every day. Little round container, cute little wedges, several flavors. I still need to ask what president is.

Anyway, here is the recipe - and I include it in her own words because of the wonderful expressions she uses. She says she is just learning English, but I think she does a great job. I'd love to see me translate a recipe to Spanish!

3 succinis
1/2 onion
1 garlic
olive oil
3 slices of triangled cheese, (the brand is that who gots a smiling cow) maybe president? Comes on a rouded package, on triangles.

Cut the succinis on wheels with the onion and garlic on a pan with the olive oil. Stir frecuently, when the veggies are almost tender, put them on the blender with the cheese and salt, add water and put it back on the stove to warm it again.
This is so delicious, has a silky texture.

Sounds delicious, no?

So instead of being happy at having gotten us together, Mike feels left out, so this is his correspondence to us. This is idea of "having the language."

Dearest Gaby, Dina, Becky:

Blah blah blah dee blah-blah.

Las tres brujas writing to each other and not giving me maximum attention. I will maybe act badly like a child. Now I have things to say:

1. Zucchini seeds would be excellent to send to Guatemala,. I think yellow Alabama squash also for sure. What about some hybrid tomato seeds like Better Boy? Something that might give Gaby some 1 kg tomatoes? And cucumber? We should get a seed catalogue and load up with the special types for small areas. Of course, this will have to be smuggled in to Guatemala.

2. Dina, why do you not send to me--your ONLY friend--pictures

3. The zucchini recipe sounds good, Gaby. I will try. But with my gringo cheese. I have not done the tres leches yet, but I will cook it soon.

4. Go to avaphoto.net on tu computadores. This is the photographer that Emily will be using. And...for all the money we will be paying this person we do not get any prints. Only the digital access.

5. Maybe we can find a way to get you three diablas together--would you prefer to meet in USA or Guatemala? I think Mrs Ray would enjoy having Dina and Gaby visit, but I am having trouble deciding what she would think was happening.

It would be great if they could come for a visit. I very much want to go to Guatemala (and stay) where it's always spring and you can grow vegetable almost year round.

I now have permission for posting pictures, but that will have to wait until I have more time to get the names straight. It'll be worth waiting for - those little boys who are so beautiful they'll break your heart. Also more recipes to come, at Mike's request.