Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Veinticuatro de Julio

I haven’t written in a few days because I’ve been horribly sick with fever, sore throat, dizziness, etc. What a way to spend my birthday. Honestly, it was a pretty good birthday, considering I was surrounded by a good number of very recent acquaintances. During breakfast I had to get up to clear my nose in the bathroom, and while I was away, apparently Wyatt told everyone that it was my birthday – bless him – I had forgotten with all of the craziness! So, when I came out of the bathroom, everyone was singing loudly, and I couldn’t figure out what on earth was going on; I thought perhaps there was a prank in process! That is, until Nick reminded me of my birthday!

After breakfast, we had to run a few errands in regard to the insurance situation with the car. Unfortunately this has been a very stressful situation for Wyatt and Adrianna, only made worse by the fact that everyone is either telling them something different from person to person, or the same person will change their story back and forth 3 times! Wyatt finally was able to reach Mazda, who they are still sending payments to, and was able to sort things out a bit more. Of course, that wasn’t very easy either, since Mazda only has an 800 number, which you can’t call from Mexico! So, Wyatt’s mother had to make a 3-way call with Wyatt and Mazda so that he could get some clarification. Of course, Mazda has never had to deal with a total loss of a car in Mexico. Awesome. In any case, it seems that things have reached a positive level on that front. For now.

As we were preparing to leave the house for our errands, we were all informed that the maid, Adelita was leaving for a few days for a family reunion.

Once we finished all that business, we went back to the hospital for follow up appointments. I actually felt absolutely fine by the time we got there, in regard to my neck and back, so the doctor told me that I only needed to wear my neck-brace if I felt tired. This is, of course, much better than the original plan of a strict 3-4 weeks! Every one seems to be doing great, and we all received good feedback, with instructions to follow up with a doctor in the states.

Finally, all of the errands were finished! We drove to Adrianna’s mother’s place, where everyone was busy making shrimp! At one point, every single sister and cousin was in the kitchen peeling shrimp. Unfortunately, by the time dinner was ready, my fever had spiked considerably, and I was pretty congested, so I wasn’t very comfortable. Plus, my lower back was in extreme pain – figures that it felt FINE at the hospital!!! I figured some food might help, but it turns out that the shrimp were “camarones diables”, not a very friendly recipe if you can’t handle spicy food! By the time I finished that, my stomach was in knots! I went upstairs to Sylvia’s room to lie down for awhile, and someone had given me some medication which is good for fever, congestion, etc. Once that kicked in, about 20 minutes later, I was feeling much better – the back rub from Nick helped a lot too, of course!

Once that disaster was over, things started to look up again. America and I went over to her place with Veronica and we made chocolate chip cookies for everyone! We used my recipe that I’ve had for over 10 years; I was really interested to see how it would turn out with the altitude and the ingredients! They actually turned out pretty well, considering I was trying to convert to ounces, and managed to totally mess up the amounts for both types of sugar! They were a bit flat, and pretty darn sweet! Everyone was pretty happy with them though. Once we had finished baking, we brought the finished cookies back to the waiting crowd at Sylvia’s house. Upon arrival, I was greeted with many smiling faces, all singing a Mexican happy birthday song! They even had number candles to put “27” on the cake, which Wyatt was kind enough to reverse, so apparently I am 72 years old today. ;> Of course, in Mexico there is a really great tradition that the birthday boy or girl has to take the first bite out of the whole cake without using their hands. Apparently this signifies the transition from young to old, in that it is a sort of “comparison” to when you are very small and you put your hands and face in the cake before anyone get’s a chance to cut it! So, being the adventurous girl that I am, I made sure that no one was behind me, then I leaned in for the bite. Adrianna, being the sneaky girl that she is, managed to get back behind me to push my face into the cake! Good times. ;>

After cake was served and thoroughly enjoyed (a 3 milk cake that is traditional in Mexico with a lemon frosting – delicious!), some of the girls were looking at the necklaces that Veronica had made and collected. In the midst of this, she handed me a beautiful beaded necklace that she had been wearing the other day, which she knew that I was admiring – a wonderful birthday gift, indeed!

When everyone was starting to head out, I was invited up to watch another art project. Adrianna’s brother Lalo is quite the sculptor, apparently. I found out that he used to be very active in making the large statues that you see of angels and saints, mostly of a Catholic flair. He has also done some philanthropolic(sp?) work, and even did some forensic work! Apparently some very old bones were found, and some scientists were trying to re-create the facial features. They were able to create the markers to indicate muscle and tissue, and then passed the project off to Lalo to create the full sculpture. Fascinating, no? So…what I found upstairs was Lalo making a mold of one of the younger cousins! He wanted to make a fairy sculpture, and he asked to take a mold of her face and upper chest area, shoulders, etc. He wrapped her hair in saran wrap, then coated the areas to be molded with Vaseline, so that the dried cast wouldn’t stick to her skin. Then he went to work with the casting material. Lalo had gone to the drug store and bought the same material that they use to make casts in doctor’s offices for broken bones! It’s a gauze type material, with dried plaster powder coating, which he soaks in water, and layers on the skin, taking great care to ensure that it is perfectly smooth, without wrinkles or folds. The hard part is the eyes, nose and mouth, of course! He does leave holes for the nostrils, but everything else is completely covered with dried plaster when he is done! I can imagine that it is quite claustrophobic in there!

Apparently Lalo had asked for me to come watch, because he is interested in making a mold of me for an angel sculpture, and he wanted me to watch him work so that I knew what I was getting into before I agreed. It was so cool to watch him work and such a pleasant surprise to be asked to participate, that I had to say yes! I know that I can’t keep the sculpture, but I would love to have photos of the finished project. I’ve always wondered what I look like as an angel! ;> So, tomorrow I will go back to Silvia’s to have a mold made!

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