11–15 of 15 entries from the month of: September 2007

Great White Goof Ball

September 10th

Last week a friend asked me to take some photos for his new company. He and some friends have created a clothing line that I happen to really like. In fact, I went to one of their fashion shows this summer and broke my “no new clothes” policy and bought one of their tank tops.
This is from the photo shoot on Friday, ala pretty model:


And this would be me in the gift shop at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago last weekend.

Great White

No wonder why my modeling career never got off the ground. That said, I still love that tank. I’ve worn the tar out of it this summer, with a cheapie $5 Old Navy tank underneath. My no new clothing rule is about to be broken anyway. I’ve got that 10 year reunion coming up and I’ve got my eye on a new pair of stupidly expensive jeans and wedges.

On an entirely different note, I read a ton of great books while traveling that are worth mentioning. One of my favorite new books of all time is “The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint.” Wowie, wow, wow, as my friend Erin would say. It is a beautifully written story and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Five out of five bananas absoloodle.
I also read “Other Voices, Other Rooms.” This is Truman Capote’s first novel, which was published when he was 23. His writing is lyrical and so southern. I enjoyed it. Three out of five bananas.
Somebody’s Heart is Burning,” is a good West Africa travel read. I’ve had different experiences traveling through Africa, but I liked what she had to say all the same. It is a good read. Three out of five bananas.
Citizen Girl” was passed along to me by a friend and I couldn’t get through the first chapter. I thought it was horrible. Goes to show you that everyone has wildly different opinions on books because this thing received great reviews nationally. One out of five bananas.
Memoirs of a Geisha” was great and wow, I feel so much better for finally having pushed myself through this read. I have picked this book up and read the first 100 pages about 5 times. Thankfully, I used some layover time to get into the next 100 pages and then couldn’t put it down. Four out of five bananas.
Next up, I read “Snow Falling on Cedars,” which is an interesting read after “Geisha” because they both deal with the Japanese community in the same time period, but in Japan and the US. I was impressed by the author’s knowledge of so many subjects in this book. I felt like he taught me a little about a lot of things, and I enjoyed his story-telling. Four out of five bananas.
I also read through a bit of “Nancy Drew Girl Sleuth” and found the story behind my favorite children’s books entertaining. Three out of five bananas. And Oprah’s BFF Dr. Oz hooked me into reading “You on a Diet.” I did learn some new stuff and I think he’s got solid advice for how you can get your eating habits back on track and find your natural weight. Ah, common sense.

I am currently reading “Wuthering Heights” (I am tutoring a high school student) and “Living Your Best Life Now” — which I am loving.

Have you read anything fantastic lately?

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Journal, Media, Photography
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In Stitches September: Feeding the Addiction

September 7th

September In Stitches Assignment

Dear Finny,
The first step of getting over an addiction is to recognize you have a problem, right? {Or, if you are Lindsay Lohan, to hire a great publicity/law team and take a rehab vacay until everything blows over. Pun intended.}
Point being, I have a bag problem. I love them. I am like the Imelda Marcos of handbags — I want a pretty, sweet, different one for each day of the week. Except, you know. I don’t really own that many and I am regularly making and giving away handbags, rather than adding them to my already quite blessed closet.
That said? I want a new fall bag — a lovely bag perhaps made out of that pink and chocolate fabric stash I’ve been hoarding. Something I can wear when I drive up to Flagstaff to get my Halloween pumpkins. You know, because I can’t grow a thing and your garden is an unfortunate 1000 miles away from my doorstep — you amazing fronteirswoman!
While I’m drooling over this beauty at Banana, I like homemade even more. The September assignment for the In Stitches sew-along is officially the patchwork handbag. Here is the twist: not only is this the September assignment, but also the October assignment too.

Let's take two months, shall we

And the theme? Create your own adventure, like those books you loved as a kid. Do you go this direction or that one? Do you want to take your time with one bag over two months? Or, create multiple bags during this time? Either way, throw your photos into the pool, let us know where you blog and you could win a fabulous prize. I’m thinking a pretty wristlet full of goodies every woman should have in her purse du jour.
What do you think Fin? I mean, I hear you might like handbags too?

P.S. Did you see one of our favorite domestic divas is finally blogging! Welcome Junie!

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Domestic Art, In Stitches Sew Along
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A Last Taste of Bolivia

September 6th

A few more of my favorite photos:
{Tomorrow: In Stitches September and back to domestic/triathlon/book chatter.}

Sweet patient

Has to be one of the cutest kids I’ve ever met. She was waiting for surgery at the Entre Rios hospital.

Happy with her new house

One of the happiest participants in our housing project; a resident of El Puente, Bolivia.

How nutrition influences height

The two of us in her new kitchen. I am not a giant in the United States, but in Bolivia I have a feeling most people look at me like Godzilla just arrived. Yes, I am slouching.

Llamas or alapacas?

A pretty moon, blue sky, happy llamas.

Female Shepherd

This photo was taken in Yunchara, Bolivia — at 13,000 feet. So high I had to stop to catch my breath after walking about 200 yards. Fruit and vegetables don’t grow here. The diet is entirely animal-based.

Indigenous woman

Our Bolivian partner told us that many indigenous people from Ururo and Potosi are gathered up and brought to the bigger cities to beg by “patrons.” Then they are taken home after a few months and they receive a percentage of what they’ve earned. It made my heart hurt for those I saw begging. Many women sit in the streets wearing traditional clothing and playing flutes with tiny, filthy children at their feet. You can tell this isn’t the way they want to earn a living, but circumstance has brought them to this street corner. I regularly gave food. (Take that patron!)

Candles for the Virgen de Chaguaya

Candles at the Virgen de Chaguaya cathedral.

Hey Zeus!

The biggest Jesus statue in the world — Jesus of the Concordia, Cochabamba, Bolivia.

Phew. Done traveling internationally for a while. Actually, I have to send my passport out tomorrow for additional pages. So, I’m stuck for at least 8 weeks.

Posted in
Journal, Photography, Public Health, Travel
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September 5th

Apparently I’m not the only one entranced by different foods when traveling. A few more of my favorite photos of Bolivia dining:

salty fava beans

Rehydrated fava beans. They have a nutty flavor and are wonderful.

peeling potatoes

Peeling potatoes. She didn’t want me to take a photo of her face.

crepes, bolivian style

Cooking crepes, Bolivian style.

tamales, bolivian style

Tamales, ala Bolivia.

the many types of Bolivian banans

They said they had 40 different types of bananas in Bolivia. I only tried a couple, but the texture and flavor varied wildly. I like the little, super sweet yellow ones best.

tried and true

A typical lunch scene.

welcome to our meeting

One of many community meals I was presented. This one was incredibly good: goat cheese, hard boiled eggs, llama jerky, peanut drink, sweet potatoes, regular potatoes and salad. I didn’t eat the salad, but tried everything else.

what's for lunch

Catch of the day.

traditional stove, cu

A traditional Bolivian stove and kitchen. Makes me appreciate the age-old stove I am working with, even if the temperature is incredibly off. I don’t have to find firewood!

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Journal, Photography, Recipes, Travel
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The Food Fascinates Me

September 4th

oil, fish = big meal

Fish and oil are a meal. Just add fire.

I’ve been going through my photos of Bolivia and about 80% have something to do with food. I think my love of cooking and eating has taken over my trigger finger. This could also explain why once again I came home with jeans a bit snug and a ravenous appetite. Bolivians know how to feed their guests and I am a sucker for great hospitality.

Fish fry whole

The matriarch used most of that bottle of oil to fry these fish. When I asked her how often she gets to market, she told me she makes the six hour walk every other week. This fish fry was quite the gift to our group.

When we visited another Guarani community near Timboy, they prepared a min-meal for our meeting. It is fishing season, so there nets in the nearby river were overflowing — to the extent they prepared the gift both grilled and fried.

Fish place precariously above the coals

The second batch of fish were filleted and placed between layers of barbed wire fencing that had been modified to be used as a grill. Coals were prepped and the fish began to sizzle.

fileted fish in the grill
fish come off the fire
community food provided as a gift

As the fish cooked, we met and discussed the community’s health needs. Before I knew it, the large table in the center of the meeting area was ready for the snack. No need for plates and hand-washing; just grab a handful of fish and corn from the table. Everyone!

showing off his snack

What? You don’t want the grilled fish? Then how about a fried one?

fish, fried whole

Fried whole, mind you.

grabbing a snack

Whatever, lady. Your loss. Out of my way!

our workers chow down

That just means more for us. Why don’t you and your “delicate stomach” wait for us in the car. And don’t even think about sneaking one of those protein bars. We can see you.

Tomorrow: the markets.

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Journal, Recipes, Travel
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