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Abi, in the grey sweatshirt, and
Elea, in the pink sweater, having
fun at the fair.
Sign Guestbook View Guestbook
Ribsy shows off her duds.
Elea on the merry-go-round.
It's the first week of 2007, and I'm feeling bad that I haven't posted any essays for a while.  And it's not that no
significant events have come to pass - in fact, most importantly, we finished our first draft of the book, about a
week before Christmas.  It was somewhat of a anticlimax for me, as one by one, we all fell ill, passing around a
stomach virus.  First Elea, who had the mildest case, then Abi, who was retching her guts out as we were killing
our main character. (And hey, I'm not giving anything away here - if you don't know that Blackbeard was killed,
where the heck have you been?)  We were forced to take a night off when Dave succumbed, and the next night
we struggled through the most tedious writing I've ever endured as my body was preparing to shut down for the
next twenty-four hours.

But finish it we did, and shortly our neighbor Rita, an experienced children's book author, had us over for a
celebratory dinner.  Rita has also written an adult book about her adventures around the world,
Tales of a Female
Nomad - you can also visit her beautifully designed website.

In mid-December, the town had a big street fair, with vendors lining the streets leading up to the Basilica and a
fairway of rides.  We got made some interesting Christmas present purchases, and Rita dragged me and the girls
down there one evening - and I say dragged in a good way, because if she hadn't suggested we go, we might well
have put it off until it was too late.  We had a great time, the girls riding rides and being crushed by the crowds.  

We had a visit from the Oestreicher family from Texas.  They found us over the internet and have been considering
moving to Mexico, so over their vacation they toured around Mexico a bit.  They brought us a few treats from the
States (including two boxes of Cheezits the girls went nuts for), and we had lunch and spent the afternoon talking
about what life is like here.  The girls and their two boys played non-stop, and we all had a great time.

Talk about jumping all over the map - the day we closed on our house and were packing up Fabiola for our trek,
we had a small pile of things that were second priority, things we would take only if we had enough room.  Not a
one of those items made it and we ended up squeezing them into our storage unit ... One of them was my sewing
machine.  Hankering for a bit of creative handiwork, I have hand-sewn bathrobes for the girls since I've been here,
and I'd like to make the same for Dave and myself but am a bit daunted by the long seams involved.  It occurred
to me that I could get my hands busy with some crochet, so my hunt for yarn and hooks began.  My findings have
been a little sparse, but I've managed to create a poncho, a scarf, a funky hat, a tote bag and a dog sweater (more
on that later).  Then I got interested in knitting, something I've always wanted to do but had difficulty getting the
hang of it.  I discovered a website,
KnittingHelp, that has instructional video clips, and finally I find I'm able to knit!
 I imagine some can't understand this desire to create things, but for me it's always been very gratifying.

The dog sweater - A little dog showed up at Gringolandia one day and adopted Elea.  I thought she looked like a
dog in
Henry and Ribsy by Beverly Cleary (though I notice in this new  edition they've used a different illustrator -
I think Louis Darling illustrated the edition I'm thinking of), so we call her Ribsy.  Our dog man, Emilio, took her
down to the free clinic to have her all fixed up, and she seems to be quite happy to have inserted herself into the
family.  Whether we will be able to take her with us across the border, we do not know.  

Dave and I are just now finishing up editing three chapters to include in our book proposal.  We've summarized
the chapters, and next we'll work on the pitch.  In a couple of weeks, our plan is to drive up to Laredo, Texas, to
send off our proposals and get a little taste of the USA.  And then ... we'll see.  We may stay here a little longer
than planned and continue to work on editing the other chapters, and much will depend on whether we're able to
generate interest in the book with our proposal submissions.  Not to fear, though, we certainly do NOT have plans
to stay here forever ... extending our time here is a matter of practicality.

So, the routine continues.  Today, for instance, it's time to stand under the shower drip (our newfound solution to
the non-existent water pressure is to fill a bucket with warm water to supplement our ablutions), walk to the
Centro to check by the post office and visit the ATM, pay the electricity bill, finish my final redlining and put in a
little work on my latest knitting project.  And I think perhaps I'm finally awake enough to do just that.

And that's the latest from Patzcuaro.  I think.
HAPPY NEW YEAR
The Oestreicher family visits
from Texas.
Abi shows off her "thing" on
Christmas Day.