Today is a first for us… Celebrating the completion of a brand new roof! We had no such celebration when we built our house in Los Altos. These Panamanians just love to celebrate and they seem to find any excuse for a Fiesta! This is just one small thing that I love about living here in Central America. Scott & I fit in just fine here, we too love a party! Although, truth be told, I could do without the Cow stomach soup! This could have fit in nicely for our Halloween Parties thought! Hah! Actually, I jest, I also really love the fact that they not only have a traditional celebration for a new roof, but a traditional dish to serve for the celebration! We too have certain dishes that are often reserved for celebrations, Turkey for Thanksgiving, Ham for Easter, and Hamburgers and Hot dogs for the 4th of July. So who's to say a little cow stomach soup is so odd for celebrating a shiny new roof! I'm really excited to do something special for our 7 workers who show up 6 days a week and work side by side with Scott to build our new home.
For months I’ve been counting the day’s until Mariah got to Panama! She arrived on May 11th and today she has 10 more days of her visit left, she goes home on June 3rd. We’ve had so much fun exploring together and reconnecting in a way that we never have before. I must say that I ‘m enjoying the company of my daughter as a mature, (mostly! 🙂 Hah! ) young women, for the first time. It’s been so incredible to get to know this independent, young women and to discover and renew a relationship with her like I’ve never had before. We’ve been working on putting the past travails behind us and on establishing a relationship based on who we are now. The past is long gone and although we all three went through a lot of pain and sorrow together , it’s time that we all let go and forgive. We’ll just chalk it up to a nasty adolescence and move forward from here…
Well, after learning how to properly mix the cement, what proportions of sand cement and fiber to use, I’m beginning to get the hang of it. I’ve made a beautiful birdbath from a giant leaf I got on my property up in Jaramillo, and I made a bowl using a stainless steel bowl as a form and placing small leaves in the cement to create a leaf pattern. I also made the stand for my birdbath . Yesterday we learned about staining the cement. Chris (the instructor) gave us notes on all the formulas for the tints and dies, thankfully because he already had all the colors all mixed up and Geesh! The guy is like a mad scientist when he’s working and not especially great at teaching how to actually do what he’s doing. I can totally relate to how hard it is to teach, It’s near impossible for me to teach someone how to do a haircut! I don’t really have the words to describe to someone in great detail , exactly what to do, I have to just do it and show someone. Chris is much like that when he’s trying to teach what he already has in his head. It’s all just such second nature to him and I notice he’s best at showing rather than talking. He has provided us with some great notes on all the formulas and all the important procedures for working with concrete. So, as I said, we colored our pieces yesterday and I had a great time watching all the other students pieces come to life as they painted the different colors onto them. We really have a great group of people in our class, which to me has made this experience even more fun! You know how much I love making new friends and I met some great people as well as got to know someone I already knew. Everyone ended up making some great pieces, all very different and all just beautiful! I’m going back today to finish up a few things. I also started trying to create a figure, which was my whole goal in taking this class. I was really hoping to learn how to do my figurative work that I love so much. The torso that I started is not looking so good! Yikes! It seems as though working with cement is not quite as forgiving and its not the same immediate gratification that you get when working with clay. I just hate that I have to work in layers and wait till the next day to add any detail! I’ll work on it some more today and see where it goes. I suspect I just need to get used to this new medium. Another thing that’s not so great about working with cement is “Ouch!” it’s terrible on your hands!! Sheesh! I’m all cut up from bending the chicken wire and my poor fingers have areas with no skin from the lime in the cement drying it out so badly!! Yesterday I experimented with working with my latex gloves that I have for doing my hair color and that seems to have really worked pretty well! I can buy them at Price Mart in bulk and they aren’t too expensive so as they tear I can just dispose of them and get new ones. I’m going to keep trying to acclimate myself with using cement and I may even set up a little space here at the house, under the carport to work on making a few things. It’s really nice that you don’t need a kiln and the pieces just dry up on their own. There are so many cool possibilities, I’m psyched to explore what I can do and what I can create with this new (to me) medium. I just hope my poor hands will forgive me, Yikes! Latex gloves are my new best friend!
Day two of my cement art workshop and I’m hooked!! On the first day we learned all about cement mortar and concrete and how to properly mix it to make different figures and pieces of art. We’ve been mixing a mortar like consistency with sand cement and a little fiber and water. We practiced by making our first project which was a bowl. We simply used a stainless steel bowl placed upside down on the table and added moist sand around the lip to hide that part of the bowl and create a wide rim on our bowl. Then we covered the bowl with wax paper to assure that the cement will easily release from the bowl. We also walked around the yard and collected cool looking little leaves and placed them on the bowl over the wax paper and before adding the concrete which will give a pretty leaf pattern inside the finished piece. Another option , in place of the wax paper some used plastic wrap which gave the piece a shiny surface after it dried. I decided to scrunch up my wax paper and this gave a wonderful texture after it dried. Then we added the mortar and completely covered the bowl and the sand around the lip. I then added more leaves on the cement to give the outside of the bowl the same leaf pattern. We used a trowel to flatten the very bottom of the bowl giving it a level base so it sits nicely. Then we covered it with plastic wrap and let it dry over night. This morning , first thing we unwrapped our bowls and removed all the wax paper and leaves and used a file to smooth out any rough, pokey edges. Then rinsed it off and put a little water inside the bowl, wrapped it in a plastic bag and put it away to finish slowly drying. If it dries too fast it may crack so keeping it a little moist is important. I just love my bowl, its very organic looking, which I love. The next step will be learning to tint and die and all that good stuff. It will be very interesting to learn about all the different dies and tints and chemicals to use to create color on concrete.
Day two (today) we learned about sand casting. We were told to bring a big leaf with us to class. I went up to our property and got some huge leaves to bring. I decided to use one of my giant leaves to make a birdbath. First we placed damp sand down on the surface about the same size as the leaf, the leaf then goes on top of this small form and then on top of the leaf is the mortar. He instructed me to make it about 2-21/2 inches thick and to make the edges a little flatter so the birds would have a place to sit while they drink. This will dry tonight, we shall see tomorrow what happens with that. I also made the base of the birdbath by rolling up some wire mesh and covering it with a scratch coat of mortar to be added to tomorrow. I cant wait to finish this piece. My mind is just racing, thinking about all the different possibilities! One thing I’d really like to consider trying is making concrete countertops for our casita! The most important part will be learning where we can buy all the chemicals for tinting and adding color. Here’s a few photos of the progress so far….. Read the rest of this entry
We were invited to an event to remember today, our 5Th day in Boquete! Our new friends who shall not be named, as I will protect the names of the innocent in this case. (Hey, it’s a small town and they have a reputation to maintain! ) Anyways, when they met us they new they had met just the right couple to include in this inaugural Boquete Panama event! What an honor and a privilege to have gotten front row seats to ….. drum roll please……. CHICKEN SHIT BINGO!!! Yes, you read correctly! These unsuspecting Gringos were not disappointed ! And I must admit, fun was had by all, but we all agreed, one round of Chicken Shit Bingo would last us a lifetime. This sport is not for the faint of heart, the suspense was nearly unbearable as the crowd around the giant bingo board cheered for “Big Boy” (The chicken) as he was very lovingly placed in the pen that was the Bingo board. The object of this game is to root for said, “Big Boy” to shit on the number that you paid $2.00 for and randomly drew from Nanette’s cowboy hat. I know, it’s a complicated game but nothing 2 or three Margarita’s can’t help turn into a night to remember. If nothing else, this particular Bingo game was good for a lot of laughter and a good lesson in how long it takes a Chicken to shit, take it from us, it’s not instant gratification! One must possess , aside from a strong drink in your hand, a sense of humor and a willingness to cheer for a nice big shit!
This event was held at a local hang out called One Eyed Franks. We sat outside and had a great dinner of ribs and cole slaw and chicken parmesan sliders . There was a band playing inside and they had a pretty good turn out. I would go back for the food but maybe one round of this Bingo game is all we can take. We did get to meet a lot of really friendly people and felt welcome. Scott of course was happy to have a beer in his hand and to watch the proceedings from afar, opting to let me root for his number down by the shitting chicken. That guy, he’s so generous, letting me have all the fun!
We had our friends drop us off at Romero’s (the grocery store) instead of taking us back to our Inn. We needed to get a few things for dinner and breakfast in the morning, I also needed to pick up some cat litter (since I had shit on my mind!) . After we got what we needed we went out and hailed a taxi to take us back up the hill to our Inn. On a side note, we have been walking into town just about every day to get some exercise and last night when our friends drove us home from dinner we clocked it to see how far it was and it’s just a little over two miles, not bad. We will know we are getting in shape when we can walk back up too.
Tomorrow we’re having lunch at the Fish House in town with another Virtual friend from the blogging world. It’s so nice to finally meet these people who I’ve been corresponding with for so long . We also plan to follow up on a lead we got on a possible long term rental . We first have to go load some minutes on Scott’s newly unlocked and fresh Panamanian sim card phone. Then on Tuesday evening we were invited to a friends house for a fish dinner, : ) This Adventure is going just fine so far! Lots of fun and relaxation mixed with good people! (we could probably do without the Chicken shit but whose complaining, not me!!!) Cheers!!
12/16/12. Scott needed to use a very generous gift card he received as a big thank you from some friends who he did a bathroom remodel for. The gift card was for golf at Poppy Hills golf course on 17 Mile Drive in Monterey. Soooooo given the fact that there is a marvelous spa conveniently located near Poppy Hills golf course, I was happy to tag along with my sweetie! This was a golf game I would enjoy , for sure! We met our friends at the golf course , the boys jumped in their golf cart as me and my girlfriend followed the friendly GPS to “The Spa at Pebble Beach”! We were on a mission to indulge ourselves in much needed, and much deserved opulent luxuriating ! Ahhhhh! We were not a surprised, to confirm what we both suspected ,” we are ‘naturals’ when it comes to luxuriating !”. Yep! We had no problem soaking up every moment of our delicious spa day! We truly BELONGED there!
A Memory to last a lifetime ! Yep, zip lining through the redwoods at night with a giant elf and seven of my friends qualifies as a memory to last a lifetime! Screaming, crazy laughing, flying like a rocket man (Cole!) , and hugging trees(Caroline!) are things I will fondly remember! Our Twilight Twinkle Tour was a successful adventure full of much screaming (ME!), lots of laughing(everyone) and a bit of overcoming fears of heights(I won’t mention any names(Caroline)) ! The Santa Cruz mountains was a fabulous backdrop for a holiday gathering and we couldn’t have chosen a better night for such an adventure!
Can you think of a more special gift than the gift of FUN!!! I certainly can’t ! Which is why I’m taking a group of special people zip lining through the forest in the Santa Cruz mountains! Yep! Not ‘Only Zip Lining’, but Zip Lining At NIGHT!! WhoooooHooooo! It’s called a ” Twilight Twinkle Tour!”. They only do this during the month of December, they decorate the forest with twinkling Christmas lights and the guides are dressed as elves,( or are they actually elves?, Hmmmm?). This glorious event is Sunday night, December 9th and I’ll let you know if it turns out as fun and glorious as I expect it to be! I know I’ll be enjoying an adventure with my friends and creating a memory that will last a lifetime.