A Very Long Meme

Jessie just tagged me for this fun and extremely lengthy meme. But really, who doesn´t enjoy answering all these questions?

 1. What kind of soap is in your bathtub right now?  I don´t have a bathroom, but I use my Herbal Essences shampoo as soap. It just smells too darn good.

2. Do you have any watermelon in your refrigerator?  No, but I do have a cantelope.

3. What would you change about your living room? Um. I´d get a longer sofa.

4. Are the dishes in your dishwasher clean or dirty?  No dishwasher, but my pila is piled full of dirty dishes. I´ve been too sick and busy writing to get out there and scrub.

5. What is in your fridge?  Not a lot, we´re going shopping today. Let´s see,  3 jocotes, a packet of hamburger meat, some very old cauliflower, apples, half a cantelope, a nearly empty trijumbo of Pepsi, tomatoes, onions and some parsley. Pretty healthy, huh? Except for the Pepsi.

6. White or wheat bread? Wheat, but I usually add a little white flour to make the bread fluffier.

7. What is on top of your refrigerator? A blender and a notepad.

8. What color or design is on your shower curtain? No bathroom, so no shower curtain.

9. How many plants are in your home?  None. Unless you count the mold under the bedroom windowsill.

10. Is your bed made right now? Nope

11. Comet or Soft Scrub? I have to say Comet, having never heard of Soft Scrub.

12. Is your closet organized? Not really. We only have a little wardrobe and it´s too narrow to fit hangers. I try to organize, but Irving just tosses everything on the floor when he´s looking for something.

13. Can you describe your flashlight?  I use my cell phone.

14. Do you drink out of glass or plastic more at home?  Glass.

15. Do you have iced tea made in a pitcher right now?  No, I only have water and Pepsi.
16. If you have garage, is it cluttered?  No garage.

17. Curtains or blinds?  Still working on that. We have two mismatched ones up in the bedroom, one bedroom window and all the ones in the main room are still bare.

18. How many pillows do you sleep with?  Two, they are both so flat that it is really rather pointless. Irving uses a giant stuffed seal. Dorian uses a giant stuffed dog. Pillows in Guatemala are HORRIBLE.

19. Do you sleep with any lights on at night?  Yes. We have a nightlight in our room and Dorian has a lamp with 3 levels. Depending on the fear factor each night, he either has it on the lowest or second setting.

20. How often do you vacuum?  No vacuum. We only have tile or concrete floors, so it´s sweeping and mopping here.

21. Standard toothbrush or electric?  Standard.

22. What color is your toothbrush?  Blue, I have two actually because one disappeared for a while. Both are blue. Irving insists that his are also blue, so we have to settle on him keeping his by the pila and mine is in the closet.

23. Do you have welcome mat on your front porch?  no

4. What is in your oven right now?  Nothing at the moment, but yesterday there was a yummy pumpkin coffee cake.

25. Is there anything under your bed? Is there anything under my bed? Why do you ask? There are LOTS of things under there. About 50 mismatched socks, a box full of stuff I don´t even remember, three market bags full of fabric scraps, quite a few shoes that are either broken or don´t fit anyone and I think there might be some oranges under there, too, from Dorian playing catch with them last week.

26. Chore you hate the most?  Washing dishes. I would rather clean toilets than wash dishes.

27. What retro items are in your home?  Nothing. We don´t have much except junk, really.

28. Do you have a separate room you use an an office? If you count a corner of my bedroom as a separate room, then yeah.

29. How many mirrors are in your home?  Two, both are on the wardrobe.

30. Do you have any hidden emergency money around your home?  Yes, but don´t tell Irving or he´ll spend it on pizza.

31. What color are your walls?  Bedroom: beige with a brown ripple on one wall, Boys´ Room: Blue, but it will soon be turned into a transportation room, with cars and planes and trains, Living room/Kitchen: Melon, it´s a dark yellow

32. What does your home smell like right now?  I have no idea, I can´t smell right now.

33. Favorite candle scent?  Rose or Vanilla

34. What kind of pickles are in your refrigerator right now?  none. Pickles are expensive here and I don´t have the stuff to make my own.

35. Ever been on your roof?  No, it´s only thin corrugated tin, so it wouldn´t be wise to go up there!

36. Do you own a stereo? Irving does. I rarely listen to music.

37. How many TVs do you have? One in the living room

38. How many phones?  I have one cell, Irving has two or three. He´s a bit obsessed.

39. Do you have a housekeeper?  I wish

40. What style do you decorate in?  Mom with two small boys style. It´s basically anything that hides the dirt and isn´t smashable.

41. Do you like solid colors in furniture or prints?  Definitely solid. Which is apparently against the decorating code in Guatemala.

42. Is there a smoke detector in your home?  No. Though it might be a bit tough for a cinderblock and tile house to burn down . . .

So I´m passing this on to the following three people, just copy and paste the questions and add your own answers.

Janne

Deb (yes, again! but you´re so good at this stuff. :D )

Grace

All These Holidays

Growing up in Canada, we didn´t celebrate the American Thanksgiving, ours is in October. My parents were Christian, so Halloween was out, too. For us, there was a big gap between Thanksgiving in mid-October and the festivities of Christmas.

Being the avid blog reader that I am now, I can´t believe how you Americans celebrate! One holiday after another, it´s got to be exhausting. And with Christmas prep starting earlier and earlier . . . well, I´m just glad I´m not from the US.

Here in Guatemala, there are plenty of celebrations, too, but most are in December and we are trying to incorporate both Canadian and Guatemalan traditions into our culturally mixed up blended family. So, we´ll be following my family tradition of setting up the tree and decorating on Dec. 1st, Irving´s tradition of burning the Devil on Dec. 7th, and enjoying posadas in the 12 days leading up to Christmas.

Dorian´s birthday is on Dec. 14th, he´s a Christmas baby! Really, because he was in the hospital for his colostomy after birth, he is a Christmas baby. He came home on Dec. 22, and we were so worn out from giving birth (me), running around finding money and doctors to help our baby (Irving), and traveling to the capital every day by chicken bus (both of us, me with stitches :o ) that we didn´t even put up a tree that year. Not that we had room, we lived in one tiny little room at that point.

So, we have Dorian´s birthday on the 14th, then my mom´s birthday is the 24th, which is also when Guatemalans celebrate Christmas. They usually hang out in the streets all night, with lots of fireworks and firecrackers going off at midnight, then tamales with the family. This is the first year that we will be getting Dorian up for this, so it will be exciting. Any gifts from Guatemalan relatives will be given at this point.

The next day, on the 25th, is Canadian Christmas! The boys will have stockings ( a very non-Guatemalan tradition) and gifts from us as well as any Canadian relatives. And there will be a traditional turkey (or chicken, since there´s just three and a half of us eating) dinner on Christmas Day. But since Irving is a musician, he has to play that night, so it will be more like a mid-afternoon meal.

Anyway, with all that, and then New Year´s . . . I just couldn´t deal with Halloween and American Thanksgiving on top! Good luck everyone and Happy Thanksgiving!

13 Things to Do on All Saints Day

Today is Nov. 1st, All Saints Day here in Guatemala. It´s a big event and we´re going to be celebrating it all day long! So, here are 13 things you can do on this great day.

1. Visit the graves of loved ones. I don´t have any here, of course, and our babies died too small to be buried, they were taken by the hospital. But Irving has plenty of relatives and we go to the cemetary to see the graves and light candles for them.

all saints day

2. Eat fiambre. Yum! This plate differs depending on who makes it, but it includes a large number of pickled veggies, assorted meats, cheeses and garnishes. It is usually tasty . . . as long as they don´t put fish on it! Guess what we´ll be having today?

3. Fly kites. Dorian is very excited this year about flying kites because he has his very own! His is simple, but there are giant kites here that take up to 12 months to build! The final result is held down by massive cords and the kites (made of TISSUE PAPER) are up to five or six stories high!

giant kites

4. Decorate graves. People go early in the morning or the day before to clean the graves. My first year here, I thought there had been a huge accident or something because all the graves looked fresh. Later, I learned that they pile new dirt on them every year to make them look nice!

5. Sleep. It´s supposed to be a day of relaxing and reflection.

6. Work. That´s what I´ll be doing since I have a deadline! I did stay up really late last night finishing some articles so I can work less today, though.

7. Eat. There are food stalls outside the cemetary and there will be HEAPS of food. I´m looking forward to it. Can you tell I think a lot about food?

8. Travel. Many people here travel to places like Santiago to see the giant kites, but we don’t anymore. One year, Irving and I went, before the kids were born and we got caught up in crowd that was going down a hill, between straight walls. People were screaming, children were trampled, parents held kids above their heads to keep them from getting squashed. It was simply a matter of everyone wanting to leave at the same time and once you were in, you couldn´t move because more and more people were pushing in from the back and more from the front. It was absolutely horrific. I was carried along, pressed between sweaty bodies for a few meters and lost my bag and jacket, they just got caught between people and ripped away. We finally climbed out and into a little hut where a woman was nice enough to let us sit until the police managed to sort people out, getting the front wave to back up and spread out. I´m astounded no one died that day.

9. Pray. This is a day when people pray a lot. It´s a Catholic holiday, so they light candles for the departed and the sick. I think today will be a very sad one for many families after what happened a week ago, with four men being shot. One of the men had lost his wife to cancer a week ago and now he has joined her in heaven. They left 5 small children behind and they have been split up. I feel so bad for those little kids . . . especially today.

10. Talk politics. With the elections coming up this weekend, everyone is talking about them! This is the second voting held this year, because in the first one, no one got even 50% of the votes. Now it is down to two main candidates, Colon and another guy. One says he will rule with an iron fist, which might be good, though it sounds scary, the other says he´ll be for the people, whatever that means.

11. Climb on tombs. That´s what kids do here, to get higher to fly their kites. One year, Irving´s brother, Melvin, fell off a tomb (about 8-10 feet high) and fell onto a branch. It stuck into his arm and broke off. I spent about 2 hours working on him, getting all the bits of wood out and bandaging him up.

12. Celebrating. Really, today is about celebrating the lives of people who have moved on and the fact that we are still here. People don´t usually cry at the cementary, they are happy. Death is far closer here than in our Western world. People die at home, they are prepared for burial by family members and wakes are held, with everyone talking about the dead, playing cards and drinking with the body right there. They just seem more comfortable with it.

13. I´m running out of stuff! Ummmmmm, I guess we´ll also be taking photos! I´ll post tomorrow with shots of everyone having fiambre and fun.