Saturday, June 16, 2012

Joy - 31 Things Day 31

Joy from hearing my two children playing together. 
Joy from Agustín’s quick smile that lights up his face and goes right to his eyes.
Joy from an unexpected hug from Nicolás, and realizing that it actually is quite expected as he seems to hug and kiss me every time he comes near me.
Joy from Agustín’s earnestness and sweetness and good heart.
Joy from Nicolás’s alertness and ability to pick things up so quickly.  
Joy from smiles and giggles coming from either of them.
Joy from a husband who is willing to take a sample into the lab at any hour of the day, just so I don’t have to go out in the dark alone.
Joy from experiencing a special moment with my son.
Joy from a house full of guests, good food, and good drinks.
Joy from an unexpected package arriving with goodies from home.
Joy from a spot of sun shining through the window and warming me up.
Joy from reading and sharing and finding connections through the written word.
Joy from the Internet and the way it helps me connect and share and have fun.
Joy from knowing that in less than a month I will be in warmer weather, sitting on a porch sipping coffee and feeling a whole vacation of possibilities ahead of me.
Joy from imagining a summer trip in Minnesota with an empty calendar.
Joy from an ice cold glass of beer or a perfect glass of wine and nothing to have to do in the morning.
Joy from knowing how lucky I am.
Joy from accepting my life, the ups and downs, the good and the bad, and embracing it and loving it.

Friday, June 15, 2012

3:35 pm - 31 Things Day 30

I am sitting at the kitchen table with Andrés and Agustín. Nico is upstairs and I have no idea what he is doing. It is way too quiet up there. The day has been a bit stressful and already seems too long. I am listening to Andrés talk about work and feeling hurt because he doesn’t ask me about my day, even though we talked earlier. I recognize that this feeling of being on the verge of tears is mostly from the stress of having a sick kid and not knowing what is wrong with him. Agustín sits at the table just picking at his food. He looks like he is on the verge of tears as well.
The house needs attention and tomorrow we are having people over for Nicolás’s baptism party. There are strawberries on the table that Anita from work gave us. They need to get eaten - they are already getting moldy in parts.
Next to the strawberries there is a pile of Agustín’s school stuff - sent home last week, but I am afraid he may need something these next two weeks and so don’t put it away yet. I am overwhelmed with just where to put it - I feel like the stuff from last year is still sitting on my desk.
Andrés is still talking and noticing that I am not really paying attention. He is getting a bit short-tempered with me and I sort of don’t care at this moment.
The day has been cloudy and cool, not at all sunny and warm like it has been the last few weeks. I suppose we need the rain but the weather isn’t helping my mood.
There are some flowers in the vase that probably have a few more days left in them. Blue roses. Very unusual and quite fun to have around. I really should try to buy flowers more often.
There are backpacks and bags with the things from the kids’ open house lying all over the living room floor, and I can’t bring myself to clean them.
Andrés gets fed up and goes upstairs. Agustín follows him and I welcome that because I can just sit and cry for a few minutes. I am also trying to get over a cold and not feeling right, but a small cry does the trick. I do still feel sorry for myself, but I feel better as the tears start to dry.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Smell - 31 Things Day 29

SMELLS I LOVE: Coffee brewing, freshly baked bread, freshly cut grass, summer mornings, my kids’ hair, cinnamon and apple, peppermint, pinecones, the smell of a crisp winter night after a snowfall, burning leaves and smoke from a campfire, a fire in the fireplace, coconut oil, popcorn, onions sautéing, the smell of Andrés when he walks in from outside: sun and fresh air mixed in with his own smell.
MEMORIES: I love it when a smell transports me to a place in the past. The smell of leather instantly reminds me of the senior letter jackets all the boys would wear in high school. A chlorinated pool puts me right back at that gym at Como Park, late night basketball practices, the smell of the pool seeping into the gym. The smell of plastic and suddenly I am five years old again, opening presents on Christmas morning.  // The night I met Andrés, he was wearing Gucci No. 5 cologne. They don’t make it anymore, but I sometimes wish I could find it again. I am sure it would bring back a flood of memories of that summer.  //  I love smelling things. I love smelling candles in the store. I love the smell of new clothes, the smells piped into the stores. When I was pregnant with both kids, I remember being really sensitive to smells, and how much it upset me. I was afraid I would never enjoy certain smells again. I was so happy when that feeling went away quickly after the boys were born.  //  I have a niece whose nose is like that of a bloodhound. I love listening to the stories of how she knows things, just by the smells around her.
WHAT I WEAR NOW:  I have always wanted to be the type of person who has a scent that distinguishes her, but I am not. For most of my life I have experimented with different perfumes because there are so many that I actually like. Some all-time favorites are anything by Ralph Lauren, Beautiful by Estee Lauder, So Happy by Clinique, Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker. I have never even owned most of these, but will spend hours in the perfume department “testing” them (and making little perfume swatches to scent my purse).

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Drink - 31 Things Day 28

>> MORNING: coffee or yogurt
>> DAY: Diet Coke or Coke Zero, more coffee, perhaps unsweetened iced tea 
>> EVENING: more Diet Coke or Coke Zero, coffee again or maybe herbal tea, Crystal Light, maybe a beer or glass of wine 
>>I don’t like sweet drinks. I am not a big juice drinker, take my coffee or tea black (and strong), like my wine dry (generally – there are always exceptions for wine). I prefer sour and acidic to sweet and syrupy.
>> I drink a lot of liquids throughout the day, but water is usually at the bottom of my list. If I do have water I’ll usually “spike” it with a squirt of lime (or a few squirts).  I would love to be the type of person who drank more water than pop. I drink too much pop.
>> Andrés and I are not big drinkers. I am embarrassed sometimes when we go out because I have no idea what to order. I usually stick with something I know (and enjoy): vodka and tonic, gin and tonic, a beer or a glass of wine (Pinot Grigio is a favorite right now). I would like to have a larger variety of drinks in my repertoire, but usually end up enjoying the ones above more than something “new” that I’ve tried.
>> My mom and dad were not drinkers at all, and still are not (although now Dad will occasionally have a glass of wine). Alcohol was never in our house, and looked down upon. In Andrés’s family, however, there is always wine or champagne (and lately Scotch) at every event. I like that. 
>> In the last few months I have been having a beer at night about once or twice a week. It tastes really good and makes me feel grown-up for some reason.
>> When Agustín was little he hated any fizzy drink. He would point at them and say, “Tatay” (yuck!), and then hold his throat and say, “Me hace ayayay.” (It makes ouchies in my throat.) To this day, he prefers to drink milk (white & chocolate) and yogurt, juices (peach is his favorite) and his go-to drink everywhere: agua sin gas.
>> Nicolás is a bit more rebellious in his drink selection. He likes to try new things: juices (blackberry and orange are favorites), flavored sweetened milk and regular white milk, agua con gas, Tampico, Kool-aid, and even soda pops. He loves to order pop at a restaurant.
>> Agustín is like his father: at a meal, he saves his drink until the very end. Nicolás is more like me: drinks before and throughout the entire meal and then fills up on liquids and doesn’t finish his food.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Hobby - 31 Things Day 27

I couldn’t live without my hobbies. Andrés says I have “too many”, but I can’t comprehend how someone can have too many hobbies. Really.
Growing up I considered reading and writing my hobbies, but now I feel like they are so integral a part of who I am, they aren’t exactly a hobby. 
Throughout high school I played sports: volleyball, basketball, softball, and softball again in college. I considered them hobbies at the time, something I did that I enjoyed (even if I was never the star of the team).
Two years ago I got into jogging. I could probably say that jogging is my hobby now, but I don’t always enjoy it, and lately have been avoiding it entirely. Isn’t a hobby something you enjoy?
Thirteen years ago I made a quilt for my mother-in-law with the neckties of her father, who had just passed on. It was hand-stitched and something I thoroughly enjoyed doing. I haven’t quilted since, but I enjoy dreaming about the quilts I would like to make.
I started stamping in 2002, and scrapbooking was a natural step from there, especially when Agustín was born. Scrapbooking is most definitely my number one hobby right now, although it is so difficult to find products here. Even white cardstock (good quality white cardstock) is a huge hassle. I absolutely love scrapbooking – I have always been a stationery girl, collecting and loving papers and pens and notebooks and stickers. My kids have definitely inherited this from me, and sitting down to do “obra de arte” with them gives me a real sense of peace. That is, until I have to sweep up the mess.
In an attempt to find a hobby that would be less expensive and more readily available in Ecuador, I decided to re-teach myself crochet last October. My Grandma Bauer had taught me when I was young, but it had been years since I’d picked up a hook. It came easily, then became unbearably difficult, and now feels easy again. I so love buying yarn, rolling it up into a ball, then scanning through patterns to find something fun to make. I love watching a piece of yarn turn into a design right before my eyes. I have even started buying patterns online and in magazines.
I would like to learn how to sew, knit, do embroidery and needlepoint. These are the next hobbies on my list. 
I enjoy hobbies. They make me feel productive and happy. They’re therapeutic and something I have always turned to to find motivation and release stress.
As I said, I couldn’t live without my hobbies.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Covet - 31 Things Day 26

Random things I dream of owning and having
ONE | Technology. I love playing with it. I have an iPod Touch and cannot help but wish sometimes I had an iPhone. As well as an iPad. And huge speakers to connect them to, so I could listen to music all through the house. And a really good, reliable, fast, Internet connection.  TWO  |  Scrapbooking products. Pretty patterned papers. Solids with lovely textures. Beautiful embellishments. Digital brushes and overlays. Washi tape. Lots and lots of washi tape. And I wish I had unlimited access to stores carrying these things. I covet all the products I see online.  THREE  |  Clothes. Cute t-shirts and tops with skinny jeans. Matching shoes, purse, and earrings. I love the outfit combos I see on Pinterest (an online bulletin board where  you can save images you find online), even though I am not even really into fashion. Of course, I would also need a cute, fit body to go with my new clothes.  FOUR  |  A haircut that I love. I’ve been searching for a haircut that I can fall in love with for over two years. Something super easy, that needs about 30 seconds of blowdrying in the morning and is ready to go. Something short, that won’t get in the way. Something that will make me look younger. Hip.  FIVE  |  Beautiful cooking supplies. Classy serving dishes and plates and saucers. I don’t want to spend my money on these things, but wouldn’t mind if I had them. Mine are pretty old and scuffed up.  SIX  |  A web site or Etsy shop. I am not even close to opening one. I don’t even have the talent needed to get one started. but I love the idea of creating something and then selling it to someone who would actually pay money to buy something I made. That would be awesome.  SEVEN  |  Cute decorations for my house. Things for the table top. Vases in the hottest trends, filled with flowers I grew from my own garden. Candles that smell heavenly. Throw pillows. Chevron anything.  Lots of color.  EIGHT  |  A sewing machine and somewhere to put it. This is my ultimate dream right now. I want to reteach myself to sew and make things for my house. Clothes and pillow cases and handbags and even toys. Blankets and a quilt out of the kids’ old clothes. Beautiful fabrics.   NINE  |  Summer vacation. An empty calendar with nothing but fun outdoor activities planned. Picnics in the sun with lots of blueberries and watermelon. No homework. No washing uniforms at the last minute. No rushing around in the morning. Long, lazy days just for me and Andrés and the kids.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Outside - 31 Things Day 25

I love to be outside. Absolutely love it. I love warm weather. In fact, the hotter, the better. I love the sun, I love the humidity, I love feeling a warm breeze. I don’t even mind the sweat. High 80s and low 90s is my ideal temperature.
When I was young, my parents had us outside all summer. We weren’t exactly prohibited from being inside, but we were always encouraged to go outside. We weren’t really an outdoorsy family, but my dad did take us on an occasional camping and fishing trip, and those are some of my favorite memories.
As a young girl I spent so much time outside. There were tons of kids in our neighborhood who were always outside as well. Playing kickball, ditch, tag, catch, freeze tag and statue tag, hopscotch, jumprope. Walking or riding our bike around the lake. Pulling the wagon as we helped Mom hang Avon bags on the doors of our neighbors (the best). Sitting on the swing or at the picnic table or in a lounge chair reading a book. Sitting on our front porch steps just watching things go by, waiting for something exciting to happen. I remember touching tree trunks and marveling at how the bark felt on my fingers, picking grass and weeds and playing with them in my hand, collecting rocks and even looking at bugs. I feel like I really connected with my childhood backyard. 
And even though winters can be brutal in Minnesota, I remember making snow angels, snowmen, snow forts, shoveling snow and just staring up at the crystal clear winter nights. I don’t like the cold at all, but even winters didn’t keep us in the house all the time.
One of the reasons I loved this house so much was the small yard. I need to be able to get outside. I want my kids to be able to get outside as well.
Before buying, we looked at house after house, and soon realized that if we wanted a house in the city, this was as good as it was going to get for a yard. And it is huge in comparison to many yards in Quito. Most houses have a cemented patio, just big enough for a washing machine. Here we have space for a grill, and grass, and the kids can even play soccer. 
I used to sit outside with a book and think, “This is my own.” It was pure joy putting Nico on the grass, not having to worry about litter or broken glass or who-knows-what-else: all the “normal” things you find in Quito’s parks. 
We don’t take as much care of it as we used to, but when I think about our house I think first of the little yard. It just makes me happy.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Relationship - 31 Things Day 24

Commitment. Time. Ideas. Creativity. Fear. Frustration. Laziness. Trust. Affection. Communication. Ask. Share. Honesty. Selfish. Hurt. Love. Comfort. Happiness. Fulfillment. Satisfaction. Dissatisfaction. Continuity. Understanding. Blame. Awareness. Sight. Acceptance. Tolerance. Willingness to change. Adapt. Culture. Expectations. Disappointment. Growth. Change. Giving. Expressing. Absence. Self-consciousness. Silence. Embrace. Guilt. Language. Listen. Hear.
Questions that I ask myself occasionally:
Am I taking care of my relationships? Unfortunately, I’d say the answer is no, not as much as I should. Relationships are hard work, and I don’t feel like I put enough work in for what I get out of them. I recognize that I am a bit selfish and stingy, somewhat unwilling to change or accept what I can’t change. I need to listen more. And hear what is said. Really listen and hear. And give. Give everything I can, and not wait until tomorrow. Something I need to work on.
Which relationships do I need, and want, to nurture most? I want to nurture the relationship with my family most, and because I want to, I do. I spend a lot of time thinking about family and what we mean to each other, and how we can mean more to each other. But I need to nurture my other relationships better: my sisters, my friends back home. I’m not sure why I never call them, never text them, don’t check in on the important things often enough. Self absorption? Laziness? Or the thought that being so far away from everyone makes me invisible?
Which relationships do I miss most? Good friendships. My friends back home, the few I still see when we visit. My sisters. My nieces - my kids’ cousins. I wish we weren’t so far apart. I crave a big, extended family. I miss just hanging out or chatting over coffee with friends. Craft or game nights. Discussing a book with girlfriends. Andrés and I have a lot in common, but this is one area where he isn’t as interested as I am.
Which relationships am I happiest about? My family. My husband (this needs more work, as any relationship of this kind does, but I feel good about us in the long run). My boys. I really love my family and love spending time with them. I feel like I do a good job of showing my feelings, keeping us close and connected. 

Friday, June 08, 2012

Write - 31 Things Day 23

The first book I wrote was in Mr. Johnson’s fifth-grade class. We made books for our parents for Christmas, bound them and illustrated them, and I thought it was the best surprise ever. My parents did, too, since that book was put out with the other books on the book shelf near the family room for many years.
I think this may be where my love of writing started. Seeing that story come alive and turn into something tangible that I could hold in my hands is something I’ll never forget.
I was never afraid of a writing assignment in school, although I might groan, knowing how much work would go into it. But once I got started it was hard to stop. In college, I remember loving test day. You were given a blue book with about eight pages of lined ruled paper and a question or problem and told to write. And I wrote. I would write for one, two, three hours straight (however long the class was) without stopping, my hand cramping up but my mind feeling strangely light and free.
Throughout the years I’ve turned to writing on and off. At times I’ve kept a journal. (I am not keeping a journal at the moment, but thinking about it.) At other times I’ve turned to poetry (classes with Deborah Keenan and meeting Elizabeth Alexander during our MALS program were some highlights that really turned me towards poetry). At other times I have written short stories. (I won first prize for a short story my senior year at Hamline. The prize was $33.) At other times I’ve focused more on real, academic writing (the Academic books Andrés and I wrote together - grammar books still being used at EPN today). And still at other times the thought of writing has either terrified me or seemed tedious and superfluous.
What I love about writing isn’t just the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction it gives me. I love the feeling of moving things around, cutting and pasting, finding the perfect home for a sentence or paragraph. Experimenting with style and voice. I don’t usually like what I’ve written when I go back and reread, but the act of writing really fulfills me.
Writing, it seems, has always been a part of my life. Depending on where I am at, it might scare me, or thrill me, or make me feel inadequate, or help me solve a problem, or just help me get the negativity out of my system. It might even be glaringly absent, like it has been for the last couple of years. But it’s there, waiting for when I’m ready to find it.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Spot - 31 Things Day 22

There’s a spot in our house at the top of the stairs on our second-floor landing where I spend a lot of my afternoons. It is in front of a west-facing window that gets the direct afternoon sun. It can be a space that is very warm on a chilly day, just because of that sun coming in. From that spot, looking out of the window, you can see Pichincha volcano, and spot the planes taking off (and sometimes landing, depending on the orientation of the airport at that moment). I sit in my orange chair from Colineal, the chair that Andrés and I really debated buying, because it was orange, and do a number of things throughout my day.
Some days I read there, whether it is a magazine, a book on my iPod Touch, or a real, physical print book. 
I crochet there often. My crochet bag is right next to the chair, and I love to just sit there during those in-between moments in the afternoon and crochet a couple of rows of whatever project I might be working on.
Sometimes I write and daydream there. I may be on my iPod browsing the Internet for news, information, inspiration, a couple of laughs. Or I might be there with my notebook, jotting down a list for the supermarket or a few things I want to remember for work. Or just staring out the window at the flower box. Sometimes the flowers are alive and beautiful, and sometimes they are dead, like now.
If I get a phone call from my sister or another family member, I will usually bring the phone out there and sit to talk and catch up.
I almost always bring the laundry up there so I can sit in the warm sun and fold clothes. It makes the job so much better. 
At night, before we go to bed, it is usually where the kids sit while we help them brush their teeth. They sit on the chair or the matching stool and we sit in front of them and brush, brush, brush, until the foam gets crazy big in their mouths and they gesture frantically for a sink break. I think we all love that moment at night.
I really love this spot.
In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who really loves this spot.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Think - 31 Things Day 21

We leave for our summer trip to Minnesota in a few weeks.
I am so excited.
It will be the second time I go alone with the kids and Andrés meets up with us later. I am a little nervous to travel with them by myself, but I know that - in the end - it will all work out.
It will be the first time I will be in the new house in the summer - just our family. I am anxious to get in there and open the windows. I want to walk through the house and open the shutters, look out at the little pond and watch for deer, leave the windows open at night. I am really, really excited to leave the windows open at night.
I am dreaming of sitting outside on the small patio and watching the ducks come in and land on the water. I want to feel the sun on my back as I get up early and sit out there with a cup of coffee, hopefully while the kids still sleep. I plan to put the awning out only when the sun is unbearably hot. I plan to let the sun in as much as possible.
The pool will be open and the kids will probably want to swim a bit. It will be so nice to sit out there with a book while the kids just soak and cool off. Praying for lots of hot, hot, sunny days. 
I will be thrilled if I can get bikes for the kids. I hope they feel the need to get out and ride, play, run, jump, dance, get their bodies moving. I am ready to just feel summer in every breath of the day, re-experience the summers of my youth through them.
We might go for a walk to the park nearby, or maybe see if there are any trails around the lake that isn’t too far from the house (I don’t remember the name). It would be awesome if the kids went out to play by themselves - something they can’t do so much back home. I hope they explore and touch and really get to experience nature. I so want that to happen.
And I really, really hope I hear crickets chirping at night.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Carry - 31 Things Day 20

My mother was the type of person who had every imaginable thing in her purse (she still is). We made fun of her at times, but it was nice to always have anything and everything you could possibly need at your fingertips. Even so, I told myself that I wouldn’t be like that when I grew up. And I’m not, really.
I prefer to carry as little as possible when I go someplace. I don’t like to have things in my hands, either, so I usually opt for a small purse. (Although when we travel, I go for the biggest one possible, and fill it to the brim.) I am usually very aware of what I am carrying with me. I have a lot of purses and tend to switch them often, so the contents get cleaned out pretty regularly. I don’t really change bags to match my outfit, but choose them depending on their size and what I feel like carrying around at the moment. I do love to have access to lots of things, even if I don’t like to carry them. At times I find myself adding a book or my crocheting bag to my purse. It makes it pretty heavy, however, and it isn’t long before I go back to something smaller.
THINGS IN MY PURSE RIGHT NOW ⎢ a wallet stuffed full of credit cards and other cards (library, stores, gas), my digital camera, my iPod Touch, my cell phone, a band-aid, a small packet of Kleenex, a flyer for a co-worker’s new restaurant, a small 2012 planner, a mini Tide-to-go stick, the car papers, five journaling pens (different colors), two tubes of Carmex, a coin purse with bills and coins and the keys to my office.
THINGS I ALMOST ALWAYS CARRY WITH ME ⎢ lip gloss (Carmex), my ID and driver’s license, my iPod Touch, my cell phone, a pen and a piece of paper for jotting down ideas, some cash (both coins and bills).
My school bag is a different story. It is the point of no return. It almost never gets cleaned out and I carry the same things around with me day after day, always with the intention of taking out some work while in front of the TV or after dinner, and never doing so. This is a bad habit I would really love to change, however the few times I have decided to reduce the stuff in my bag, I invariably need, urgently, something I had taken out. 
THINGS IN MY SCHOOL BAG TODAY ⎢ two notebooks, a day planner, a small baggie with an assortment of pens and pencils and paper clips, a small stapler, a small pair of scissors, a folder with loose papers that accumulate throughout the workday, my invoices. There is much more when I have a class.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Listen - 31 Things Day 19

I LISTEN to the windows rattle as the boys wake up and open their door. // I LISTEN to the boys fighting over how many moons Jupiter and Saturn have. I am asked to referee by looking it up on the Internet. (66 and 62, respectively.) // I LISTEN to Selena Gomez & The Scene in the car on the way to school at the request of the boys. They tell me, “Sube el volumen” a couple of different times.  // I LISTEN to pigeons cooing and really wish I could find (and destroy) their nest.  // I LISTEN to talk radio when I remember. I like chatter in the background when I am home alone, although I often forget to tune in. My friend Bree’s family always had WCCO talk radio on in the kitchen (even when they weren’t home, if I recall correctly). I would love to be in that habit. I loved walking into their kitchen and hearing the radio. // I LISTEN to music sometimes. Mostly with the kids. Mostly in the car and mostly when Daddy isn’t home. He doesn’t like background music. // I LISTEN for the gas truck all morning, running from window to window trying to determine if the one I hear is on the inside or outside of the complex. There are three false alarms before I finally see him. // I LISTEN to the typical chatter as I pick the kids up from school: how much homework they have, which of their friends have cell phones already, Nico contradicting everything as his grouchiness increases exponentially with his hunger. // I LISTEN to Agustín say Nico hit him. // I LISTEN to Nico say Agustín is bothering him. // I LISTEN to the boys chase each other around the coffee table. // I LISTEN to a ball hitting the walls and the stairs and the doors, over and over, as Nico practices his technique in the house. // I LISTEN to Agustín making explosion noises as he plays and remember that someday he’ll be all grown up and I won’t hear those noises in the background all day long. // I LISTEN to the sound of hundreds of Legos hitting each other as Agustín digs through his stash, looking for the perfect piece. // I LISTEN to Agustín’s giggles and laugh literally ring and peal through our house. When I hear him laugh I can’t help but laugh also. // I LISTEN to myself sound calm when what I really want to do is scream at the boys, and then I listen to myself sound upset when I think I’ve got it under control. // I LISTEN to Nico blowing through a whistle and wish I weren’t listening.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Shoes - 31 Things Day 18

Let me just say that I have a lot of shoes for someone not very interested in them. 
I have work shoes (red, black, brown, blue, gray, & beige ballet shoes and a few heels that I never wear). I have tennis shoes (one pair I run in and another new pair I’ve never used yet, plus a few old pairs that Andrés tends to wear. We wear the same size shoe.) I have Crocs (one fake pair and two real pairs, Mary-Jane style). I also have Croc slippers (which I wear in the house, every day, all the time. I love these slippers.) I have a pair of boots (which I also never wear).
That’s a lot of shoes for someone who doesn’t think about them very much.
Granted, I have so many shoes because of Andrés. He is really into shoes. When I met him I probably had three pairs. Every time we go shopping, he looks at shoes for me (and him). He will often buy me shoes online (Crocs, for example) and when we are out shopping, he makes sure we stop at shoes stores like Payless, Nine West, Aldo or look into the shoes departments of Macy’s, JCPenney, Herberger’s, Target. Basically everywhere they sell shoes. He does this for the whole family.
I like most of my shoes, but many of them pinch my feet and toes and give me blisters. It’s hard for me to find a comfortable pair.
You would probably say that I have big feet. I wear a size 9 1/2 but have a hard time finding that size, so usually opt for a 10. My heels are narrow, so many shoes flap off my feet if they are too big (size 10), so I often buy them a bit smaller (size 9). Then they hurt my feet. Of course. 
My sisters and mom all have smaller feet than me. My mother-in-law and all of Andrés’s female relatives have tiny feet. Size 5 or 6 or smaller. Needless to say, shoe shopping is virtually impossible for me here.
True story: I used to periodically go through my closet and get rid of old shoes. Once when I went to the shelter to drop them off, they took a look at them and laughed, then said they didn’t want them because no one, not even a man, would be able to wear these. So embarrassing.
Now I just throw them in the trash, under the potato peels, just in case someone decides to dig them back out.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Technology - 31 Things Day 17

I use technology every day.
I have a desktop computer.
I have a laptop.
I have an iPod Touch. Love this the most.
I have a cell phone.
I have a digital camera.
I email. 
I blog. 
I use Facebook to keep in touch with family.
I use Twitter to get my news. 
I use the Internet every day.
I use my camera every day.
I use memory sticks to bring information between computers in our house and computers at work. I also send myself files through email a lot.
I use my iPod for reading books, getting emails, checking web sites, writing notes, and sometimes texting my sister. The kids play games on it a lot.
I am slow at texting but am starting to use it more. I like the immediacy but also that it isn’t as disruptive as a phone call. I don’t have many people to text.
I do not like my cell phone. I do not like that it always feels like an interruption. I do not like running around the house searching for my vibrating phone. I have a MagicJack Internet phone which means I can talk over the Internet for cheap.
I love playing with technology but do not use its full potential.

Today's suggestion was to play around with the shape of the text and use it as a design element. I haven't seen the teacher's (Ali Edwards) example yet, but this is what I came up with. I love this idea of making the text look different throughout the album.

Uniform - 31 Things Day 16

Layers. I always wear layers. I am usually cold, so this is very important to me when I choose my clothes each morning. Mornings in Quito are chilly, and if the sun doesn’t come out, days will be too. If the sun does decide to shine, it will be warm but cool in the shade. Most of the time I wear a long-sleeved shirt with a cardigan. Lately I feel like I never take off my cardigan.
Tops. I have a few that I love. I like them to be long-sleeved, or at least have a 3/4 sleeve. I never wear short sleeves unless I am at the beach in 90 degree weather. My shirts are always colorful. I find that I have a lot of hot pinks and corals, which is interesting since I don’t think I like those colors much. But I tend to choose bright colors when I have an option. I’d like to wear more black. It feels more sophisticated, classier. But I never choose black.
Jeans. I wear jeans most of the time. One reason is because I love the look and feel of them. The other is because I have wide hips and thighs and a very narrow waist in relation, so it is difficult to find pants that fit me. It is usually easier to hide a poor fit with jeans. Pants are not my favorite thing to go shopping for.
Underneath every shirt I wear, there is probably a tank top. My sister got me into this some years back and now I feel naked if I don’t have one on.
I almost always prefer to wear socks, but like the look without, so on many days, I don’t. When I don’t, I feel cold all day.
Scarves. I have more scarves than necessary. On cold rainy mornings, though, a scarf is second best to socks. There are a few I have crocheted myself and many made by Andrés’s grandmother, but I actually prefer the lighter store-bought ones best.
I never wear dresses or skirts.
I am usually pretty conscious of what I wear each day, since personal image is given great importance in Ecuador. My students, my husband, his aunts and uncles (whom I rarely see), will often remember what I wore to a certain event or what I was wearing on X day, so when I am teaching I am especially aware that I need to mix up my clothes a lot. Other than that, however, I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about my clothes or fashion in general. I’d like to be more mindful about the clothes I buy and wear, but doubt this will change any time soon. I get clothes about once a year (on our U.S. trips), and am usually hunting through the clearance racks to get more for my money. 

Here is a (blurry) picture of days 14 and 15 side by side. This album is getting cuter and cuter by the day. I love it so much.