December 21, 2010

Half-O turned two ...allegedly

As mentioned in the previous post, Half-O turned two (back in the beginning of November).

She had a good day: read in the backyard tent with The Archaeologist, channeled Cinderella til lunch, got to ride in a tow truck, ate dinner one-handed so she wouldn't have to let go of her new calculator, rode the merry-go-round, and blew out her two candles all by herself.

{Yes, her two gifts were an elaborate Cinderella gown (+ crown) and a calculator. No, not because we are ham-fisted parents forcing some sort of toy balance, but because that's what she wanted. She has very decided ideas regarding her gifts. Today she walked up to the Santa at the grocery store and repeatedly told him that she wanted a pink book and a Kermit for Christmas - just repeated it over and over as he stared down at her. Then he finally gave her a candy cane, looked at me and asked, "de que pais son?"}

Throughout these two years of her life, I have been increasingly suspicious that Half-O is not just the infant/toddler she ostensibly ought to be. On more than one occasion, she seems to have forgotten the ruse and almost blown her cover, like last month:
We were singing that song from The Sword and the Stone - the to and fro one - while playing with her animal dominoes. There's the line with "thin and stout" and I stopped and asked her if she knew what stout meant, entirely intending to define it for her in the next breath - but, she absently answered "fat". Now this isn't a song we sing often - she doesn't really know it. I don't remember previously defining stout for her, and if I had, I don't know that I would've said fat - but even if at some point I did, it would have been quite a while ago. She may have deduced that the song was explaining the existence of opposition in all things - but is that less fishy? So I incredulously asked how she knew that and she suddenly became very interested in her dominoes, and then when I asked again, "so, what does stout mean?," she did some non-committal mumbling.

Or the other day:
We were doing some coloring and I asked what color the horse should be and she said, "gray - like a winter day."

Then there are these cleverly couched comments, like back in the spring:
We were standing in line at the store, and I was holding her on my hip when she proceeded to knock on my head and ask "anybody home?".

Or last week:
She said something was very funny, but I didn't catch what that something was so asked, "What's very funny?" and she responded "Look in a mirror."

Seriously she said that.
She doesn't have older siblings, she doesn't play with kids who speak English, and we don't have a TV. So how is she throwing out insults at a 3rd-grade level?

changeling? G-Man? a result of all that protein I ate in the last trimester?

Looking forward to year 3.

December 3, 2010

for gma in germany

so i'm quite behind on my posts. half-o turned two, my sister came to visit - during which there was a swim with smelly and seemingly not amused sea lions, and there's always all the other things i mean to post about - like half-o's distaste for the pomp and circumstance of polite society: "i don't want to say um, excuse me; i just want to yell."

but instead i'm going to post a video for half-o's grandma chase who is currently serving the good volk in deutschland:

(i know the sound of music is set in austria not germany, but it's a video wherein half-o says auf wiedersehen.)

November 1, 2010

DIY: land war in asia

first of all, half-o is awesome - but secondly, she will be the end of me.

this halloween nicely illustrates my protracted demise - plus an easy-peasy how-to for homemade fairy wings.

{yes, peruanos celebrate halloween - though not to the extent that we do in the states. the day coincides with el dia de la cancion criolla, or creole song day, so there are a lot of festivities - just not all are the spooky kind. also, instead of trick-or-treat, you say: halloween, halloween}

so early in october we introduced half-o to the main halloween concepts - mainly the dressing up part. she dresses up all the time anyway, so she was on board. when i asked her what she wanted to be for halloween, she replied: "a pumpkin". we serendipitously happened to have an orange pillowcase in our possession, so though not unique or clever, i was totally on board with her choice. so on board, in fact, that i went and got the pillow case and a green hand towel right then.

here's exhibit a: why half-o is awesome

she was totally down with this modern dance version of a pumpkin costume. she wore it for hours.

{it's been way cool watching her imagination develop. it's also very convenient. i can buy cheap band-aids, and we pretend they're the princess band-aids. we also eat pretend candy. she's even more obedient when in character. if i ask half-o to pick up her toys, she's a bit dismissive. but if i ask pumpkin or snow white or jane/michael banks, they're all over it.}

as the month went along, i'd periodically check in regarding her choice of halloween costume. for the most part, she continued to respond "a pumpkin" but occasionally and increasingly she'd say "a fairy". so in an attempt to avoid a halloween day meltdown - i make a pumpkin, she cries for a fairy; i supply fairy wings, she looks longingly at our orange couch while a silent tear slides down her cheek - i suggested she be a pumpkin fairy, and she excitedly agreed. i am so clever; i am so smart with strategery.

now i can't find any craft or fabric stores here. i believe most people buy wholesale, and i would gladly do that too - and i inquired on an expat site and went on a bit of a wild goose chase, and then decided that i'd rather take the challenge of making a pumpkin fairy out of supplies i could find at home and/or the grocery store over the challenge of traversing this large city in search of standard supplies and then still have to make the costume. i don't mind traversing adventures; i just prefer them without a deadline attached. additionally, i think i do better with macgyver, apollo 13 type challenges anyway (though, not actually those challenges - i just want to make a pumpkin fairy costume in a foreign country).

so thanks to some ingenuity and a little help from the internet, i made awesome fairy wings. they were surprisingly easy and turned out super cool. i fused together 12 sheets of cellophane by placing them between two big pieces of paper and ironing them. the resultant cellophane mass was thick enough to hold its shape, so i just traced/cut out wings. i don't know if you can tell in the pic below, but they're translucent and have a really neat texture. mission accomplished!

halloween arrives. pumpkin? check! fairy? check! half-o? nothing doing.

it totally doesn't matter that i have both a pumpkin and a fairy. she won't put on one piece of it. she won't let me put her hair in a ponytail (meant to be the pumpkin stem). she won't even come too close to me for fear i'll just muscle the costume right on her (she wouldn't be wrong).

no problem - she doesn't realize candy is on the line (and not pretend candy). time for a new tactic ...tactics.
  1. bribery (promises of candy galore): not interested
  2. an appeal to tradition (today is halloween - this is what one does): she quickly deduces the logical fallacy
  3. social pressure (other kids will be in costume): doesn't care
  4. diplomacy (rational recap of why she should put on her cute costume): no dice
  5. retreat
  6. stew a bit
  7. misdirection (sure, i'd love to help you with your puzzle. while you fit that piece in, i'm just going to put your hair in a ponytail. and while we celebrate our puzzle completion, how 'bout we try on our cool pumpkin costume?): perhaps it was the misdirection; perhaps she felt sorry for me, but my maneuver was met with little resistance.

i quickly secured the wings (large safety pins) while i asked the archaeologist to quickly grab the camera - this truce may not last long.

...but it did. she posed; she danced; she had some imaginative scenario going that entertained her til dark.

she is clever. she is so smart with her strategy of indefatigable caprice. i'm just tired.

later that night she and the archaeologist were on our bed reading when i came in to announce that dinner was ready. half-o responded that no, she didn't want to eat, just read her book. she invited me to join them on the bed, patting an empty spot next to her. i replied, in a sing-songy voice: "but we're having potato pie." without looking up from her book, she replied with the exact same sing-song: "but i don't want it." the archaeologist and i looked at each other with nervous smiles. it was pretty funny - it would've been funnier if she were someone elses kid -she's not yet 2. as we contemplated the potential strong-willed sass the future held, she finished her thought: "i want cake."

October 16, 2010

A PSA for aspiring Nobel Laureates (I'm looking at you, Cormac McCarthy)

About a week ago the Nobel Foundation announced the 2010 recipients, and the Nobel Prize in Literature happened to be awarded to Mario Vargas Llosa. He happens to be the first Peruvian to be awarded this award. I happen to have been reading his book Conversation in the Cathedral.

"That's very nice. He's a great author. But what are you getting at - that this has something to do with you? A Latin American author hasn't won the award since 1990 (Octavio Paz); it was time," you say. But a Peruvian? in the one year I happen to be living in Peru? and reading his book?

Let's continue.

About 7 years ago we were closing in on our first year in Chicago when the Nobel Prize in Literature happened to be awarded to John M. Coetzee. He just happened to be a professor at the University of Chicago at the time - the university just blocks from our apartment and the one to whom we had recently bequeathed our souls.

"Yes, but the University of Chicago can claim more Nobel Laureates than any other university." I know. It's awesome.

Now obviously I'm not the only factor considered by the committees in Stockholm. Nevertheless, we will likely be living somewhere new in the next year or so, and that seems to be a trigger of sorts. So, amass some frequent flyer miles and keep an eye on our profile - I'll try to keep it up-to-date.

And if you're still dubious: about a month ago I happened upon a short story entitled "The Solipsist" by Fredric Brown.

October 8, 2010

Final Countdown

Peru had elections this week. I admit that I hadn't really been following the various races - we don't have a TV and my Spanish is still quite lacking. Nevertheless, I knew elections were approaching, having witnessed a number of political rallies and parades and picked hundreds if not thousands of flyers off our lawn (I briefly contemplated constructing a sign for our front gate explaining that I would vote for whichever candidate's flyers I had the least of come election day, but it was a little too Andy Rooney and kind of a convoluted sentence to try to translate anyway).

Lima will have its first female mayor - we're just not sure which one yet. Here are the options:
Lourdes Flores is on the left and Susana Villaran is on the right, though that is the opposite of their political positions (come on AP). Susana "won" by less than 1% so nothing has been officially declared. There have been a number of challenges - lots of ballot irregularities. It's all very hanging chad. Fortunately the State of Florida should be entirely unable to muck up the democratic process this time.

But at least one noteworthy race is decided. Here's the Mayor of the district of Magdelena del Mar:
Guess GOB finally decided to live it up down old South America way.

I believe this was his acceptance speech:

Oh - and voting here is mandatory - or at least you have to pay a hefty fine if you don't. What do you think about that? Everyone is involved in their democracy ...albeit in a para-fascist sort of way. Of course, I don't envision Mussolini every time I put on my seat-belt (only on occasion). Though I wonder if the social cost figures for voting are actually the inverse of those for seat-belts.

September 28, 2010

We'll always have awkward laughter

So on the phone the other day, The Archaeologist suggested that my near solitude may be affecting my sense of humor. He's been up in the mountains for 1-2 weeks at a time, coming home for 2-3 days and then heading back up. I watch The Daily Show now and then to keep informed on U.S. current events, and had hoped that as a by-product, my gauge for what's funny would also be up-to-date. Apparently not (though I in no way blame Jon Stewart). After finishing what I had thought was a funny story, The Archaeologist kind of laughed, but I'm pretty sure it was solely meant as a leavening lead-in for the above comment. Upon quick reflection, I consented that yeah, the story wasn't actually that funny and laughed at what was now funny - me. But I figured the situation couldn't be that dire if I could so quickly realize that I strayed. I wasn't in denial - no intervention necessary - just a simple outside observation to set me straight.

Then today Half-O was watching some YouTube videos of classic sesame street and animated songs meant to teach her the letter sounds while I read an e-book on the other side of the screen. When her video ended, I saw a link to a video entitled "Flashcards for Kids...", and thought Half-O might find it both interesting and informative, so I clicked on it. After about 30 seconds I was dying laughing.

Have I lost it? Is this funny? It's been viewed a ton, so I thought maybe it had been one of those viral videos that lots of people found funny, but all the comments talked about how much their kid liked it - and to be honest, Half-O did like it (though not for the whole 7 min). But seriously, tell me if this is funny:

If you can make it to 2:29, you get George Michael.

Now, I don't find it the most hilarious thing ever, but if you just clicked on it looking for another educational distraction for your child, you'd laugh too, wouldn't you? The background music is awesome (Striesand's Woman in Love??), and a lot of the words unintentionally (I assume) come out sounding sarcastic/mocking/chiding.

But please - what do you think?

September 17, 2010

6 in one hand, bad dates in the other

As of today, we have been in Peru for 6 months. 6 months more and it'll be time to go home. So, I had planned on doing a post about all that, but it just wasn't coming together. Instead, I give you:

Indiana Half-Jones

Fortune and Glory

September 1, 2010

I blame you, Montesquieu

I applaud the checks and balances of the United States' governing bodies. I do not, however, feel the same measures are necessary for my household chores. Apparently, others feel differently.

In order for me to do the laundry, I first have to do the dishes since the washer empties into the kitchen sink (there's no dish washer, so no need to wonder where it empties). In order for me to use the dryer, no other electricity can be used simultaneously save a few lights (so no vacuuming, no microwaving, no next load in the washer, no toasting, etc). In order for us to shower/bathe with hot water (it's winter here) we have to turn on the water heater (electricity) a couple hours ahead of time and it lasts about a shower and a half. I don't even try for hot water when washing dishes or clothes. So I guess there's no check on my doing the dishes ...aside from my visceral dislike for it.

So, most days this is how a bill becomes a law:

Half-O wakes me up and convinces me through compelling repetitive sound bites that we should leave the rooms with beds and go out into the kitchen and/or living room. On the way I flip the switch that turns on the water heater so either The Archaeologist or I can shower sometime in the morning/noon/nap time.

After breakfast and some computer time, Half-O plays while I do the dishes from the day before.

Per my constituent's request, I then participate in some game playing, puzzle making, book reading, coloring and/or dancing (these were campaign promises, after all).

Then I start a load of laundry. We head out for some fresh bread and diplomacy. I make us lunch. We eat. She naps (objection overruled).

Recess: There's no need for extra lights mid-day; we've eaten lunch, and dinner is hours away, so no need for the microwave or toaster or rice cooker. Water is hot, so the switch is flipped off. Laptops are charged, so switched to battery. And I can now load the wet clothes into the dryer.

By the time Half-O awakes and we reconvene, the laundry is done, and I can safely warm up the mandated post-nap milk in the microwave, and turn the water heater back on for her bath in the evening.

We're a sparkling clean republic.

The other day, however, we were a total Failed State.

I did the dishes in the morning, as is unfortunately my executive privilege. But by lunch time the schedule was askew. The missionaries were coming over for lunch so I decided to do more than melt cheese on bread and cut up a cucumber and an apple. Consequently, I didn't start a load of laundry.

The missionaries came late, so Half-O had already gone to sleep (her No-Nap Resolution vetoed), and she woke up not long after they left.

I needed to do a load of laundry that day and figured that since we also needed to go to the grocery store, I could quickly put the clothes in the washer, turn on the water heater while the clothes washed, and then turn it off (along with all other appliances), throw the clothes into the dryer and head off to the store while they dried in darkness.

Oh, the negligence; Oh, the natural law.

While Half-O and I played in the other room, I heard some extra loud water sloshing, and it dawned on me: "It's the dishes, stupid!"

I ran into the flooded kitchen and grabbed all the dirty special-missionary-lunch-dishes and dumped them in the dish rack (at least I had managed to put the clean ones away), and fished out the strainer and food pieces so the water would drain. My shirt was soaked, and my pants had begun the long process of sopping up the water on the floor.

I've been a registered democrat since the age of 18, but now I really felt like a jackass.

Though I am super grateful for the dryer since presently Lima is the land the sun plumb forgot - and, in that vein, I am grateful for the washer too - and to be clear, I'm grateful for the hot water heater so we don't have to use one of those contraptions that hooks onto the shower head and electrocutes you - but seriously, for someone who hates housework, is it a good strategy to put me in the house with all the amendments and addenda?

Blast that vast shoestring conspiracy!

Sorry - it's late, and apparently I can only recall political quotes from the 1990s.

Good night and good luck!

August 13, 2010

Apologies all around

Apologies to July – you didn’t even get one post.

Apologies to Pachacamac, the zoo, and Ecuador – it seems so long ago that all I can manage by way of report are photo captions:

Pachacamac is a large archaeological site with a bunch of buildings, pyramids, a nunnery, a temple - but if you ask Half-O, it's the place with the little rocks.

Half-O and Uncle Benny on the Temple of the Sun

with a shot of the ocean

the side of the Temple of the Sun


action shot

Yeah, these aren't animal habitats a fair distance from spectators. Half-O may seem nonchalant about a huge giraffe just above her head, but this was a quick shot, pre anxious pleas of "ready go; no like it; all done".

A perk of Peru and of only one child, is that we can do all the extra-curricular activities. They don't gouge you on those things here. So first we went on a little motor boat ride. How effective do you think that life-jacket is going to be?

Then we went on a hansom cab ride. On our right are the water buffalo. Perhaps you, like The Archaeologist, will be disturbed to learn that mozzarella comes from their milk.

Finally we went on the train ...or motorized vehicle in the shape of a train.

Ecuador, we hardly knew ye. This is Guayaquil - at least the view of it from our hostel. We chose Guayaquil because it was the cheapest flight out of Lima, and we stayed 2.5 days. But though it began for bureaucratic reasons, we quickly fell in love with the warm days and cool, windy nights.

Here's the hostel - Iguanazu. I highly recommend it if you find yourself in Guayaquil for a day or two.

Half-O really hit it off with the hostel cat. She's got an ad for a river front cafe in her hand - figure they were making lunch plans.

I laughed when I saw this (then made a mental note to try to correct my poor posture). We hadn't planned on imitating the sculpture. Nevertheless, I'm Bolivar and Half-O is San Martin.

The Archaeologist was excited by the port city's probable smuggling history as we walked along the banks of its muddy Guayas River. The city still has a fair amount of crime/corruption (like any port city worth its salt). They're trying to clean it up. This was taken along a newish boardwalk with museums and restaurants and shops and large iguanas.

And finally, apologies to those of you who come here for Half-O – she’s super cute and smart and awesome, and I haven’t been documenting it for you. I hope this is sufficient restitution:

June 30, 2010

Hello Old Friend, no. 2

I was thinking that I could turn my previous posts Hello old friend and A High-Class Blog into Recurring Blog FeaturesColumns? Is that what they’re called? That seems excessive/inaccurate. We’ll go with the more vague Feature (I am The Archaeologist’s Wife afterall, and these are, ostensibly, field notes).

So, here is the second installment of Hello Old Friend, a new Seymour Chase Blog Feature:

The Archaeologist’s brother came down and stayed with us for much of May and a bit of June. It was great to have him around (please come visit us!!!). A couple days before he was scheduled to leave, we decided to get serious about site-seeing/Peru-experiencing/etc. So we crammed a bunch of museums, cathedrals, catacombs, historic districts, humungous fountains, and archaeological ruins into those last few days. I also arranged for us to eat this:

That’s a guinea pig – well, half a guinea pig; we weren’t that hungry.

It’s been 28ish years since I last saw the guinea pig at Mesa Montessori. I don’t remember its name (nor the gender). I don’t recall any tearful good-byes. Actually, I don’t think we ever really hit it off – no ill will or anything …I mean, I didn’t make plans to eat it someday. But that being my succeeding guinea pig experience, I could see how Mesa Montessori guinea pig might take it personally. I’m sure it envisions me saying “Hello old friend” like Hannibal Lecter said “Hello, Clarice”. But I swear it wasn’t like that. It’s just bad timing. There was a lot on my plate. It’s not you; it’s meat. (that last one was for you, Chris)

Now guinea pig (cuy) isn’t typical Limeña food. Lima is a great big modern city and Limeños are citified. It’s apparently one of the new gastronomical “it” places (that’s a thing, right?). But many Limeños were not always Limeños, and occasionally they long for the food from their previous highland home. So thus our opportunity to eat it.

Basically it tasted like chicken - like a chicken wing with the high bone to meat ratio, just a tad gamier.

I also gave a few pieces to Half-O. I figure it’ll be a good story to tell her when she gets older …and goes to preschool.

June 20, 2010

Her Father's Daughter

A story:
When The Archaeologist first left for the mountains, Half-O and I decided to entertain ourselves with a trip to the zoo (it's a pretty cool zoo, but we'll save that for another post). While at the zoo, I misjudged the wetness of the dirt/mud in front of the tiger cage (eager to get us a good view of the huge pacing cat) and subsequently ended up with stroller wheels and red mules encased in sticky mud. Upon realizing the extent of the caking, I let out an "oh, shoot". Half-O saw the mud-covered wheels, heard my "oh, shoot" and thought it all hilarious. She mimicked the "oh, shoot" and laughed and laughed. When she noticed me trying to scrape my shoes off on a step, she said "oh, shoot" and laughed again. As I'd periodically try to dislodge the chunks of mud from the stroller wheels, she'd repeat "oh, shoot" and laugh some more. This continued for much of our zoo day with an encore performance when I hosed off the wheels at home. But while we were still at the zoo, and my annoyance at the mud began to extend to my daughter, I found it was an all too familiar feeling. Had he been there, The Archaeologist would have found it equally hilarious. He too would have recommenced with the laughter at each recollection. Though "oh, shoot" may not have caught his fancy, previous exclamations have, and he too appeared to enjoy repeating them at the launch of each laughfest. So, somewhere not too far from the tiger, I told Half-O that she was her father's daughter. She liked that, and she repeated it almost as much as "oh, shoot".

But that, of course, she gets from me: in addition to our zoo trip, we ate tuna patties and listened to Neil Diamond that weekend.

Happy Father's Day to The Magnificent Archaeologist and to my Fabulous Father as well! Half-O and I are two of the luckiest ladies around.

June 6, 2010

All it's cracked up to be (or the longest post in Eternia, but there's a cute clip at the end)

I’ve never been down with chiropractics. I don’t mean to disparage the profession, the practitioners nor belittle the help so many swear by – it’s just not for me. I assume my bones, joints, soft tissues, etc. have worked out some sort of homeostasis, and if we start mucking with one part, the whole system is going to break down. It’s kind of like Mr. Burns:

Burns: Well, doc, I think I did pretty well on my tests. You may shake my hand if you like.
Doctor: Well, under the circumstances, I'd rather not.
Burns: Eh?
Doctor: Mr. Burns, I'm afraid you are the sickest man in the United States. You have everything.
Burns: You mean I have pneumonia?
Doctor: Yes.
Burns: Juvenile diabetes?
Doctor: Yes.
Burns: Hysterical pregnancy?
Doctor: Uh, a little bit, yes. You also have several diseases that have just been discovered -- in you.
Burns: I see. You sure you haven't just made thousands of mistakes?
Doctor: Uh, no, no, I'm afraid not.
Burns: This sounds like bad news.
Doctor: Well, you'd think so, but all of your diseases are in perfect balance. Uh, if you have a moment, I can explain.
Burns: Well ... [looks at his watch]
[the Doctor puts a tiny model house door on his desk]
Doctor: Here's the door to your body, see? [bring up some small fuzz balls with goofy faces and limbs from under the desk] And these are oversized novelty germs. [points to a different one up as he names each disease] That's influenza, that's bronchitis, [holds up one] and this cute little cuddle-bug is pancreatic cancer. Here's what happens when they all try to get through the door at once. [tries to cram a bunch through the model door. The "germs" get stuck]
[Stooge-like] Woo-woo-woo-woo-woo-woo-woo! Move it, chowderhead!
[normal voice] We call it, "Three Stooges Syndrome."
Burns: So what you're saying is, I'm indestructible!
Doctor: Oh, no, no, in fact, even slight breeze could --
Burns: Indestructible.

Or if you’re not a Simpson’s fan, it’s like John Daly’s golf swing. He goes way beyond parallel on his back swing, but there are all these other compensations and techniques that work in tandem with the back swing to make it turn out quite awesome. If a golf chiropractor tried to adjust his back swing, the whole thing would be ruined.

So perhaps my spine, et al are not optimally arranged, but the take home point is this: yes, it’s possible that it would be better, but it’s also possible that it would be worse …much, much worse. It’s what I wrestled with before finally getting my eyebrows waxed. Oh and that reminds me – a take home point addendum: even though my brows looked way better and I should have done it years ago – treatments necessitate future treatments – I’m roped in … I mean, I’m not 7 ft tall like Brooke Shields –the average human encounters my brows at or below eye level – you experience the whole brow from that view.

But this post was never meant to be a discussion on chiropractics (or my eyebrows).

I don’t really have any aches or pains at this time.

I only intended it as a lead in to soliloquize on adjustments. Guess I veered off a bit (scoliosis or slice?).

For the past week or so I’ve been mulling over the idea that adjusting to life in a foreign country is not the only thing I’m adjusting to – perhaps a degree or two of the awkward learning curve is adjusting to being a stay-at-home mom. Of course, I’ve been home since the end of November, so it’s a bit more nuanced.

But basically, the adjustment I’ve been adjusting to is no longer having a viable reason to shirk my home duties.

Since moving, I have no responsibilities outside the home and my only contributions are from within the home.

Consequently I am no longer nearly as busy as my husband. He is super duper busy. I am totally not.

I mean it wasn’t super fun when I was working – when every hour was either work or Half-O or sleep. But – it very conveniently eliminated hours for cleaning, cooking, and laundry. I still did those things – but cleaning was more like tidying unless someone was visiting, cooking was minimalist and often something ready-made or take-out except for Sunday, and laundry was done in the wee hours when absolutely necessary.

But how do I justify a dirty house now? Before it was priorities – now it’s a vice – it’s sloth – that’s one of the main ones.

Plus I lost my passive-aggressive option of leaving the garbage or the dishes untouched for a couple days knowing The Archaeologist would soon do them. Whereas once we both had full plates, mine is now pretty sparse – so how can I not wash them? It’s ludicrous to expect him to do all his work and the dishes just because I don’t particularly like to …but I don’t like to.

And I can’t figure how to get out of it without it reflecting poorly on me. (that can’t be the grammatically correct way to say that – what is?)

So, bummer.

Can a personality chiropractor rearrange my brain so that regularly scheduled mundanity no longer makes me want to claw out my eyeballs? First, however, we’ll have to tackle my issue with paying someone a lot of money to do something that I could theoretically take care of myself …I suppose they could offer that part pro bono – a high-yield investment.

But in an attempt to do it myself:

You know the sand paintings (mandalas) that Tibetan Monks make? They’re huge and gorgeous and elaborate – and made by arranging individual grains of sand. And when they’re finished, they are promptly destroyed. It’s the impermanence of the material world.

So cooking, cleaning, and laundry are the daily Sisyphean slogs necessary to keep entropy/e.coli at bay – OR they’re not – they're mandalas - they’re daily rituals reminding me of religious/spiritual/universal principles like the impermanence of the material world, or that I love my family and they would like to eat and not wear smelly clothes (well, Half-O doesn’t care), and avoid scabies.

Frankly I’d rather make sand paintings during Half-O’s nap and then let her destroy them in post-nap elation.

Weekly readjustments will likely be necessary, as well as daily mantras. I fear it’s like waking up early. It seriously never gets consistently easier. Is it Communism where someone who enjoys cleaning would come clean my house and I could go to their home and do something I’m good at and enjoy but they don’t …like read a book? Don’t lots of people feel like they should read more – well, I could read for them, someone can clean my house and do my laundry, and someone else will come by and separate your recyclables.

Of course, whether it’s torture or enlightenment, I’ll do the laundry, cleaning, and cooking because it means I’m home with Half-O. This week I introduced her to funnels and Elvis – both were well received.


May 14, 2010

año y medio

I hope you appreciate the ñ - that was no little feat - I had to call for back-up. But(t) had I not put it there and gone with a standard n, a much different post would be in order.

So, Half-O is 18 months old!
I've been trying to decide on a theme for her 1.5 birthday post - so many awesome tidbits - she cracks us up. I figure I'll just give you a sampling instead ...a pu pu platter:

She seems to particularly enjoy colloquialisms. For example:
"What's up foo foo?"
"okay dokey smokey"
She gets a kick out of saying them - like it's so quaint - isn't it a hoot to talk like the masses?
She also enjoys taking a hat (or bowl) off her head, bowing slightly and saying "madam" or "sir". Apparently she's already bored with standard speak and more common social mores like hand shaking - or she thinks she's bourgeois ...poor girl.

She's a budding botanist. They're not just flowers - they're roses, daisies, hibiscus, dandelions, tulips, or daffodils (which is the default flower when she doesn't know the name ...because I don't know the name to tell her) - oh and may I interject a back story on the flowers (it'll be like Lost - just do the zchwooomp sound in your head) - she learned about daffodils from a book (winter) while we were still in Chicago. Then we got here and it being summer, there were a lot more flowers - so first I pointed out roses since we had some in our front yard - and she started singing "ring around the rosies" - she likes making connections like that. Next were daisies - when I told her the flower was called a daisy, she looked at me with a clever gleam and said "whoops-a-daisy?" (she's been saying that since Thanksgiving - her version of uh-oh) - and now that's what she mostly calls them. And after I pointed out a hibiscus, I said, "can you say hibiscus," and she said "Hi, biscus!". She can also identify palm trees, ficus trees, pine trees, and cacti - she even knows to say cacti when there are more than one. I'm sure she could identify more if I could. It's no good that I'm already short on knowledge - I was hoping I could make it to chemistry or calculus.

Finally, I bought The Archaeologist a travel alarm clock (not an awesome tidbit, but we'll get there). It's a bust - it doesn't wake him. It does wake me up and I nudge him, but that's not going to work in the field. Anyway, Half-O likes it. It has a little cover that flips back and works as a stand. She flips it down like it's a cell phone and in a manner akin to the newspaper editor in Spiderman she says "Hello? Cheese Sandwich!".

May 3, 2010

A High-Class Blog

appetizing, no?

April 29, 2010

PCH Sudamerica Style (a substandard photo essay)

This photographic journey travels the length of Lima Bay - from the southern tip (Barranco) to Callao (Lima's northern neighbor with the airport and main seaport ...and that's why it's still Callao the city, not Callao a neighborhood in Lima). All but the first two pictures were taken from the backseat of a taxi.

The anatomy of Lima's coast (west-east) is this: ocean, beach, road, cliffs - and on top of the cliffs is the city.

Heading north from Barranco you hit the nice areas - nice homes, nice/huge ocean view condos, nice beaches, good surf spots.

You also hit traffic.

As you head north past Magdelena, the landscape changes. The cliffs are no longer green - they're sand - they've been indunated. And the "beaches" are not really for sunbathing. (I have been quite taken with the word indunated since I first heard The Archaeologist say it back in 2004. Not only is it fun to say, but it evokes awesome imagery.)

But, Peru boasts an amazing rarity - an economy that actually improved between 2009 and 2010. They have a rapidly growing middle class (now I'm not an economist, nor do I really speak Spanish, but from what I think I've gleaned, I might postulate that Peru has got it's own credit bubble thing going and right now it's the Clinton years. I'm not saying that within a decade their housing market will plummet, there will be high unemployment, and the sol will have been awfully devalued - we're so beyond my purview here - I assume there are many x factors like the global economy, culture, who gets elected next, etc. - I'm just saying that from what I think I've heard and from what I think I've seen, credit is rampant in a way that it was not 8 or so years ago). So the indunated oceanfront is getting a makeover - a big reclamation/development makeover. They're planting grasses along the cliffs to help stop erosion. They're smoothing out the beach area to make it accessible, and putting in bike/jogging paths, soccer (futbol) courts, ramada thingies, plus more grass to combat the ...indunation.

So that's what we saw from Barranco to Callao, in the order that we saw it. Here's the final shot:

Oh - and here's a picture of Half-O and The Archaeologist at the beach.

Half-O gets very serious near large bodies of water. I don't know if it prompts pondering the imponderables, or if she's wary of our intentions.