Sunday, December 28, 2008

Oda a Paraguay

This post is a tribute to Paraguay, the beloved country of my missionary service. I have gotten really nostalgic about it lately since I just finished reading a novel by the paraguayan author Augusto Roa Bastos called Hijo de Hombre (Son of Man). Also, my cousin David just received his mission call to the Paraguay Asunción North Mission, the same mission that I returned from just over a year and a half ago. I love the country and especially the people. I would go back in a second if could to visit all of my friends there and to show Tiffani that little piece of my life.

Esto es un tributo a Paraguay, el querido pais de mi misión. He pasado mucho nostalgia recien por dos razones. Primero, hace poco terminé de leer un libro por el autor paraguayo Augusto Roa Bastos que se llama Hijo de Hombre. Tambien, mi primo David apenas recibió su llamamiento misional a la misión Paraguay Asunción Norte, la misma misión en que yo serví. Asi que, al va a poder conocer el lugar, la gente, y el idioma que ya conozco. A mi me encantaría volver para que pudiera visitar a todos mis amigos de allí y mostrar a Tiffani esta pedazito inolvidable de mi vida. Para todos mis amigo de Paraguay, les quiero mucho y espero verlos pronto.
Elder Hernandez, Inocencia and her children, Ramona and her 4 children, and me, Elder Lehmitz
Me at a little birthday celebration with Gordo, Osvaldo, Jenny, Jasmin and Cintia

The baptism of Benigno and Irma, accompanied by family and neighborhood friends


The LDS temple in Asunción (el templo)

Difficult, not impossible

Some statue along the highway near barrio Molino, Luque, Paraguay

Just in case you get the hankering for some pool in the middle of the jungle

Coco trees, beautiful

Sugar cane! And check out the cool straw hat and Indian bag. La cana, y mira el sombrero piri y la bolsa
This is one of my favorite places in Paraguay; barrio Salado in Limpio. I love those hats too!


Toucan (although I don't think it's Sam)

Monkey! Don't worry, he's chained up. Don't tell PITA



Empanadas--they come in beef, cheese, ham & cheese, corn, chilean, etc. (carne, queso, jamon y queso, chocla y chileno)


Paraguay, especially in the town of Luque, is known for its hand-crafted guitars and harps. I never say anyone else wear a poncho, but I thought it was cool anyway. The orange and black centerpiece on our kitchen table below is called nanduti, which translated would be something like "spider lace."

This is a bag made by the indigenous peoples. There are actually a ton of different Indian tribes in Paraguay with lots of different languages and dialects. Thes bags are mostly a tourist souvenir; the people don't hardly ever buy them.

These are some more souvenirs from Paraguay. The three cup things in the middle are called guampas and are used to drink the most common beverage of Paraguay, terere and/or mate. Terere is drunk using ice water, whereas mate is made using hot water and mixing it with yerba, which is a combination of dried herbs that when mixed with water, makes a kind of tea. The guy on the right is a figurine made of a wood called palosanto, which is native only to Paraguay. It smells goods too!

This shot includes some bracelet trinkets and the currency of Paraguay. Their money called guaranies are highly inflated and come in sets of 1000 units. The small bill, similar to the U.S. dollar in its usage is the 1000 bill, which is call a mil. They also have 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, and 100,000 guarani bills

This is a brick kiln that they use to cook a special kind of bread called chipa, which is similar to a bagel. I can't remember the exact name they use for the oven though.

In this picture I'm sporting my Paraguayan shirt made of a material called aopoi. They do some pretty cool embroidery with them and come in long and short sleeve in a variety of patterns and colors. I'm also showing off Jorge's Mission Fund. I baptized him the last day of my mission and we still maintain contact. We currently donate $10 a month to help fund his mission, which he plans to serve as soon as possible. If anyone else would like to contribute, just contact me.

Well, that gives you a little glimpse of Paraguay and the wonderful treasures that it has. Hopefully someday we'll return to see more.

Friday, December 12, 2008

New Media and Processes

While student teaching, I had the opportunity to try out some new processes in art. Ever since I went to the Springville Art Museum last year, I wanted to try doing a collograph. I made two templates, and a bunch of prints. Here is one of my favorites.Although this piece is non-representational, the floating organic forms kind of remind me of outer space. As I was creating it, I kept thinking about the band, Brave Saint Saturn, and their strange, ethereal theme. My favorite thing about collographs is the layers of intricate texture that can be created.

The other piece I created is an oil painting of my Great-Grandma Ruby who recently passed away in September. The painting is a Christmas present for Grandma Sally, Ruby's caregiver and daughter. It's just a copy of a picture of Grandma Ruby in high school, but it was a great starter piece to introduce me to oils. Oils are great because they take longer to dry, so each time I revisited the painting, I could just get it a little wet with turpenoid and pick up where I left off.
Since I used a monochromatic color scheme, painting Grandma Ruby was a great exercise in value. It's funny how our eyes deceive us sometimes. At first, I had some of the shadows way too dark, and then I had to go in and lighten some things up. I really enjoyed working on this piece, but now I want to try something that will challenge my creative abilities by producing a more conceptual piece.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Chocolates, Devil's Garden, and the Slot Canyons

Last year, Will was introduced to Thanksgiving at the cabin. This year, he reaped the benefits of being one of the family. Instead of sleeping on cots, we got a "married people bed." As part of our new role of grown-up folk, we also assumed some responsibility for the Thanksgiving feast. I was a little ambitious and decided to make orange rolls in addition to crescent rolls. We ran out of flour. Needless to say, bisquick is a great substitute.
After the feast, we embarked on our long-time tradition of making chocolates. Will and I decided our contribution would be the caramel. Unfortunately, we struggled with the "hard-ball stage" to say the least, our caramel turned out to be toffee. Thankfully, Wendy and Torrey, my aunt and uncle, came to our rescue and made some more. We're now enjoying a vast array of chocolates and getting much closer to becoming diabetics.
We got a little cabin fever after Thanksgiving, so in the middle of chocolate-making, we took the kids to Devil's Garden, a vast aray of hoodoos found near Escalante. These are some pictures of the gang.
The kids loved crawling in all the little caves and passages. Contrary to popular belief, I think I will be a cautious mother after all. It's one thing when I go rock-climbing and another thing when little munchkins are scrambling around.
To the right are some hoodoos. (I just really like that "hoodoo" doesn't sound scientific at all.)

And here's a little hoodlum. (She's wearing a hood. . . silly)
The next day, we decided to go to the Slot Canyons with the little Widget. Canyoneering with a two-year-old poses some unique problems. I think Will was more concerned about the dangers of the car ride than the actual expedition. He got a little car-sick from Justin's off-roading.
Kell insisted on wearing the "pack-pack" but could barely walk around with it since it was just about as heavy as he was.

See that little white speck sandwiched between cliffs--that's me!

All in all, Thanksgiving weekend was a grand adventure. It was fun to relax, eat food, be with family, and explore new places around the cabin.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Fear of Failure

My parents bought us poor folk a Christmas tree this holiday season. I had high aspirations to make a tree skirt, especially after I saw the ridiculous prices of tree skirts on retail. Unfortunately, my fear of failure prevents me from doing so. I don't think it would be that difficult because basically it's a circle, but the task seems overwhelming. Just getting out the sewing machine is a hassle! Designing my tree skirt is even more intimidating because the tree is garnished with gold, but is juxtaposed with natural elements like pinecones and moss balls. I think I will just keep filling up the floor under the tree with presents so observers don't even notice that our tree is naked.
P.S. I have yet to make my own pie crust--that is another fear--my last attempt was in eighth grade foods class.