Sunday, March 29, 2009

Costa Rica: Part Uno

We spent Sunday in El Salvador, a town of 350 people in the mountains near the Pacific Coast. That evening, we stayed with families throughout the community, experiencing life in small-town Costa Rica.

The town welcomed us at the school with food and music.

The local futbol team challenged us to a game. Our team looked clumsy and doughy out on the field, but they let us a score one goal to their seven.

The most challenging part of the game, aside from physical activity none of us are used to back home, was the fact that us Minnesotans left -20 degree temperatures for El Salvador's 90+ degrees.

I spent most of my time photographing, which was a nice icebreaker with the kids. They liked looking at the photos after I took them.

The little girls cheered on the El Salvador team. They were somewhat camera-shy, but warmed up quickly. The lighting was tricky, so my photos didn't turn out as well as I would have hoped.

I was amazed with how much fun we had with simple items. We spent hours walking on stilts made of sticks, and "moon shoes" made of old paint cans.

We also spent time walking on home-made stilts and jumping rope.

I was not impressed with this snake—mostly because I hate snakes. This was the third day of the trip, so I expected to see many more. Pleasantly, this was the only one I saw the whole trip.

After our day at the town square, a.k.a. the soccer field, we split up to go home with our host families.

Lisa and I stayed with the Munoz family, a father, two sons, and a grandmother who lived next door to the school.

Austin, who was staying with our family's sister next door, had fun showing Alejandro how to use his camera.

My two-year-old host brother was very shy, but also eager to hang out with us.

At sunset, our host father brought Lisa and I to watch the sun go over down over a gulf on the Pacific coast. As cliche as sunsets may be, it was nothing short of spectacular.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Red River rises

I returned from Costa Rica at 7 a.m. Friday to find Fargo fighting back the worst flood we have ever seen.

I've been out shootings photos, sandbagging, sleeping, sandbagging, etc. My house is safe for now. The river is expected to crest in the morning and stay there for several days. We haven't had school all week, which has been seriously crazy. They evacuated my university this morning.

On top of the natural-disaster chaos of things, we are also moving. I wanted to post my photos of the flood, but unfortunately I can't find my card reader or cable to connect my camera.

I'll post some Costa Rica photos, but my heart is just not in it right now.

Poor, poor Fargo-Moorhead.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Feeling out of touch

So I blog about how busy I am all the time, but that inevitably leads to me missing out on my friends more than I would like.

My best friend and I have known each other since we were 4. The reason we know this is because I once found a picture of us both dressed as ugly ducklings for our preschool program. We went to grade school, middle school, high school, parted a bit for college but eventually ended up in the same city and have lived together for the past three years. At the end of the month, we will venture into the world of cohabitation, which we mostly have been doing anyway. But nonetheless, I will miss her. We barely see each other as is, and I think that's what makes moving even harder. At least now, we have the chance of running into each other at our place.

Secondly, two of my best school friends are in England for the semester. I tell them this often, but it's strange to walk through the department and work on the paper without them around. They will both be back in June, but we're all nearing graduation.

My other best friend Tara moved to Minneapolis in January 2008, and I have to say my social life still has not recovered. I keep promising I'll make it down to see her, but every time I'm there it's for a convention or meeting and it never happens.

Along with a smattering of other wonderful pals that I never see, I'm feeling lonesome for them. But alas, tomorrow is production day and I will hole up in the office for 20-odd hours. Luckily, my staff is great full of good friends. No doubt, there will be some fun had in Advo-land tomorrow.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Toddler Tees

Over winter break, I actually got some fun stuff done. Back in my Christmas ideas post, I spelled out what I hoped to get crafted in time to give away gifts. I made plenty scarves (as usual), but my favorite projects were the ones I got from the "The New Crewel."

I tried ordering the crewel wool, but it proved hard to choose colors on the Web, and no one in town carried it.

Instead, I used the cute modern patterns and embroidered them.

I used a $3 cloth napkin from Target, and embroidered this pattern on it.

This pattern (pictured on a pillow from the book
"The New Crewel") made a nice framable
picture for my sister's mustard-colored living

I framed the finished product and gave it to my sister as a house-warming gift. I do have to say it didn't turn out quite as nice as I would have like, but I will definitely try it again.

I also used the patterns for T-shirts for my nieces. My 4-year-old niece is a girly-girl princess, so she got this pattern, in four shades of pink on an even pinker T-shirt. The satin stitch used for the loops is time-consuming as well as as it being difficult to get uniform stitch widths.

The pattern on the left titled "Love Loops" was done in four
shades of pink on a pale pink T-shirt.

For little 2-year-old Maia, I made this pattern (also from the book). It turned out so cute. I like that it looks like tiny sea creatures.

This patter was the easiest of the three.

It contains a blanket stitch (in turquoise) and the French
knot (in lime). The purple satin stitch as the border actually
took the longest time to finish.

To wash them, my sister turns them inside out and washes them as usual. So far (fingers crossed) they've remained intact.

I got a sewing machine for Christmas from my mom. Once I get it set up in our new apartment, I will start making aprons for the girls. I like this one from Angry Chicken.

Maybe I'll finish them off with a little embroidery.

Pointing fingers

I broke my finger back in January. I'll spare you the gory details, but not the gory photos.

Here's the back view. Not so bad.

And the front. A little gross, but not as bad as it could be.

The little accident required a trip to the E.R., as well as a follow-up appointment and physical therapy, all for a cruddy finger. After $581 in medical bills and a month of walking around with a perpetual middle-finger salute frozen into my hand, it fully operational again.

I received the statement from my insurance company last week and discovered that they are covering none of my medical expenses. That's right, not a dime. I have had this student insurance plan for over three years, and this is the first claim I have ever had to file with them. So not only do I pay almost $100 per month, they cover zero percent of my expenses. How does this work and why are insurance companies getting away with this baloney?

I think I will turn this photo into a postcard to my insurance company. A big, fat thank you very much postcard.

Thanks for nothing, buttheads.

My congressmen will certainly be hearing about this.