Thursday, February 28, 2008

It Could Be Worse

You know, I know this family of mine is messed up. Chepa, my wife/ex-eife has a new boyfriend and two babies with him. We sometimes fight about money, about girls she thinks I have in Iquitos, Peru--where she's from--and all sorts of things. But then there are other times, like tonight, when she comes over for dinner with Madeleina--I asked her to bring Madeleina because she's been sleeping at Chepa's for 4 of 7 nights since I returned from Peru two weeks ago and I miss my kid--and she did, without hesitation. And she brought Sierra and Alexia as well and I sang to the babies and made dinner and Chepa just raved about the food and apologized for not doing my toe nail-which are killing me--and laughed when Sierra called me Dad and Papi, along with "P", when she yelled that we had to feed the goats. And Chepa laughed at jokes and got flirty and then she and I had a sit-down with Marco and he couldn't believe we were on the same page, and he still got it. And then Madeleina said she was going to sleep at Mom's tonight but would sleep at our house the the next few days and Sierra gave me four or five big kisses and asked if I would see her in the morning with fresh strawberry juice (strawberries, banana, oranges, milk, water and sugar, like they make in Iquitos, Peru) and I said yes and so she saids "Okay dad, see you with juice in the morning" and so I've got a purpose to wake up tomorrow and man, sometimes, even though this family is about as buste4d as it can be, it still feels like we'll be the same circle in 20 years as we are today. And you know what? Despite me needing a lover in an awfully big way, this wouldn't be the worst, and might be the best crowd I could hang with when it's my time to check out. I don't know why and maybe I'm just hanging on rediculously, but I still think this is my crowd. And tonight at least, that felt real and that felt honest and good. Even though we're busted.

Those Boys of Mine

Well, Italo didn't make the cut with the pro-soccer tryout and Marco hasn't yet apologized for calling me a Stupid Old Man, Mother Fucker or however it was he phrased it.
Yesterday, before he looked at who was still in the pro-tryouts, Italo came out and asked me what the word perseverance meant. I told him it meant the ability or willingness to keep trying at something. He asked me if it was the same as persistent. I said it had the same root, but perseverance was almost always a good thing, while someone who is too persistent can be a pain in the ass. At least in general use.
And then this morning, though he didn't tell me me didn't make the cut, I flipped over an envelope on the kitchen table and there in black magic marker was something like "Italo Gorman is a worthless piece of shit. He can't do anything, sucks at everything...." and so forth. There was a marker on the table and I'm guessing he must have written it sometime last night or maybe this morning before he want to work.
I'm sorry buddy. Time to apply some perseverance. You'll make the cut next time. THis was your first glimpse at that level of play. Relive it, absorb it, utilize it.
Marco, on the other hand, backed Chepa's new (1998) Plymouth van right into the quarter panel on my 1998 Ranger, nearly crushing the gas cap and really giving the truck some character it didn't need. He did it in the driveway, not realizing that my truck was parked behind and to the right of Chepa's van that he'd borrowed.
He felt awful about that one. Just started sobbing how sorry he was and that he deserved to die and all. I took a look: it sucks but won't interfere with the door opening, so who cares? Accidents happen.
Funny thing is he can apologize for an accident like that but not for choosing to call me names most people wouldn't get away with.
Even funnier: at some point during his guilty funk he put three $20 bills on my desk to help pay for the damages. I saw them and left them there. This morning when I came back from taking him to work at 4:30 AM or so, they were gone. I guess his guilt only lasted so long and I wasn't quick enough in putting them into my wallet.
Ah well, what the heck. I still love them both.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Pusangas: Love Potions

Someone wrote me today, someone I don't know, who asked if I could tell her where to find Pusanga Love Oil. A pusanga is a love potion. They can be quite strong: If you make a pausanga by using a Q-tip to collect the pollen from 24 datura flowers and mix that into a tea that you brew for half an hour, the person drinking the tea will become very open to suggestion. And they will be open to the suggestions you make for years. Of course, any time one is dealing with datura, there is the chance that the person being served will flip-out and might never come back. But decoctions made from datura are the famous mickey finns that have had tourists in Colombia go and empty their bank accounts for perfect strangers, or allowed them to give up a kidney in the bathroom of a nightclub, only to wake the next orning complaining that their back hurts--only to discover that someone took one of their kidneys.
In Iquitos Peru and in Colombia, the datura pusanga I mentioned above has worked so well for some people that their desired lovers cling to them so closely that the person who administered the pusanga finally has killed their lovers just to get a moment alone in the bathroom.
So while some and probably most pusangas are worthless, some are quite potent. I have never used one, though I was tempted many times when Chepa left me and I couldn't fathom why. I thought that if I just used a pusanga she would return to me and I'd be happy again. But I knew that would be a lie: I wanted her to return, of course, but of her own volition. Still, many people who know a great deal about this wanted to help for the sake of the kids and taught me quite a lot on the subject. Fortunately I resisted. Unfortunately, Chepa never returned. Ah, well.
Anyway, one of the simplest pusangas, and one I have seen work numerous times, though I can't pinpoint why is the following, which is in the answer I wrote to the young lady asking me for the Pusanga Love Oil.
This was my answer:
"There are lots of love oils, all available in Belen market in Iquitos. There are lots of pusanga curanderos in Iquitos as well, and someone at the Belen market will steer you right.
"Know something about pusangas: Eventually, they wear off, and the person who had the pusanga might respond badly, as if they were in a love affair against their will. It doesn't always happen that way, but often enough.
"That said, the safest and perhaps one of the most successful of all pusangas is this: make the person you love three meals a day for three days (if you can get them to hang around that long). Before each serving, think of your love and spit into their food. Mix it so they won't know it.
"After 9 meals, they will be inexplicably drawn to you: Your saliva will act as a homing device to their love.
"Again, be careful. When the attraction wears off--and with spitting in their food it needn't as you can continue the pusanga for years--they can get quite upset with the feeling that they've been used against their will, despite the fact that when under your spell they will love being there."

Monday, February 25, 2008

This Family of Mine

Ah, this family of mine. I wouldn't choose another. I love them all. But Marco, without a car--since one of my Ford Rangers broke two months ago and I won't have the money to fix it till next week--wakes me daily at 4:30 AM for a ride to work. Today he had me drive him to his girl's house and then began calling at 7 PM for a ride home. No big deal but it is a seven mile round trip and I had just put a chicken in the oven and started a tomato sauce to have with bow-ties (a simple tomato with basil/ shaved parmesan and mozerella) and couldn't pick him up till it was done. I don't like leaving the stove on when no one is home and no one was home as Chepa had Madeleina, Sarah was at work, and Italo was out. So I finally called Marco at 8:10 and said I'd I'd pick him up in ten minutes. Two minutes later he calls and opens with "Hey, you stupid fucking old man..."
I had to cut him off. "Marco. Are you talking to me? You don't really want to get into it with me, do you? Cause you and Italo are the only guys who can use that phrase and not get into it..."
"I know. And I'm sorry. What I meant was you don't have to pick me up. I'll get a ride from someone else."
"Then that's what you ought to say."
"Sorry, dad."
"Much better. I'm the guy doing the favors here, right?"
So that was Marco today. Do him favors, get called a stupid old man.
Italo, on the other hand, went to work at 4 AM, finished work at 9AM, came home and left at 9:30 for a tryout with the Dallas Burn, the American Soccer League team from Dallas. He's not home yet, and I'm sure, with a bad ankle he got playing in this semi-pro team's playoff Saturday night, that he couldn't have played up to par, but I'm still gonna give it to him for going to the tryout, an open forum. Boy has balls of steel: You got to thing you're special to show up and tell a pro coach you ought to be on his team, knowing he's probably going to laugh at you, tell you you're too slow, too small, not skilled enough and so forth.
So I'll find out in the next hour or so when he returns and I'll tell you guys how it went. All I know is that Italo has made every team he's played on better by large strides. On the semi-pro team, if you remember, he made the practice squad some months ago and was thinking of quitting. I told him to hang in there, he'd get his shot. And he did. Over the course of the season he wound up grabbing half or more of each game. And in the last playoff game he played the entire game, defending well, having two assists and scoring once--as a midfielder. And if he ever makes the Dallas Burn, he'll make them better as well. He's just that kind of influence.
Two sons. I love them both.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Pot Dealing Woes

Well, this morning, Feb 23, there was a story in the NY Daily News about a 72-year old guy from Harlem, NYC who was busted in Maryland with about 65 kilos of pot. The story notes that Rodell Cole, a retired city painter on a pension and social security, was enroute from NYC to the Carolinas when he had a fender bender in a 7-Eleven parking lot. A cop happened to see it and asked Cole for his driver’s license. It turned out to be suspended and the police who came to the scene told Cole they’d have to impound the car, but that he could take his personal belongings out. Cole, who has such a bad cataract in his left eye that he’s virtually blind in that eye, then tried to remove two large duffel bags from the trunk. The cops smelled pot, brought in a K-9 and Cole was busted.
The kicker to the story is that the local police estimated the pot’s worth at $1.3 million. But the pictures accompanying the story clearly show that it’s Mexican brick weed, which sells for maybe $600 a kilo by the time it reaches New York. Which means it hits maybe $1,000 a kilo when it’s finally distributed. But the police, DEA and FBI have always liked to figure the numbers high. In this case the police figured that if each individual gram of pot—there would be 65,000 in 65 kilos—was eventually sold for $20, the going rate for the best marijuana in the world, it could be worth the $1.3 million. Cole, who said he was simply told to deliver the goods for $500, had his bail set at $1 million.
In fact, Mexican brickweed, the cheapest and most plentiful pot on the market, is rarely, if ever, sold by the gram. And if it is, it runs maybe $5 a gram on its best day. But mostly it’s sold in larger quantities because the quality is so poor that you need a lot to get high. So a better figure would have been to assess the value at $600 a kilo and call it a $39,000 bust. Of course, that wouldn’t have looked as good on the local television stations or in the NY Daily News. There’s no headline in "Grandpa with one eye paid $500 to deliver cheap pot gets busted after fender bender."
Of course, I'm thinking of the Keystone of it all: Who the hell hires a one-eyed 72-year-old with a suspended license to be their long distance dope driver? What were those boys in NYC thinking? They didn't do a license check on their driver? They didn't have him get a ticket in NYC to make sure the police ran a check on him so that they'd know if he had a good license or not, or whether he had any outstanding warrants or not? Jeez, Louise, those boys near deserve to lose their dope if that's how dumb they are.
Anyway, they're dumb. But the local cops who told the press it was a $1.3 million haul, now they're just flat-out liars. And they know it and knew it and said it anyway. And the local press didn't call them on it. Shame on the sheepish press, just printing what they're told without regard to looking for the truth in it. Makes me embarrassed to be a journalist sometimes.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Money Money.....

Money changes everything...
I don't care too much for money, money can't buy me love...
I want money...that's what I want, I want money...

Well, well, well. The gorman's got the check from the State this week for the latest land taking for the new road coming through our neighbors' and it was a whopper! $40 grand. For rich people that ain't nothing, but for me and mine that's a year and three month's work. And considering the year I just had, well, whew! is all I can say. Thank you Baby Jesus!
Butttttt......getting that money meant that my wife/ex-wife decided she was worth at least $10 grand of it. Why? Who knows. We were separated long before I bought this house, and in fact I never would have bought it if she hadn't bolted NYC with my Madeleina to come live with Cabeza de Hamburgesa--HamburgerHead himself, Mr. Vic. And to afford that she used the $20 grand I gave her to buy their house...Nonetheless, somehow she felt entitled to at least $10 grand and it was only by a miracle that our taxes were ready on the same day we got the check. Now the problem with both checks: We both had to sign them both--the taxes and land taking--because 1) we filed taxes together and 2) even though I bought my house in Texas in my name only, the Department of Transportation wouldn't issue a single name check to a married man because it's terrified of future lawsuits.
So what luck that both checks were drawn on the same bank on the same day. Because Chepa was ready for a fight. And I wasn't going to have any of it. She's never contributed a penny to this house or property and though I love her, fair is fair: She's got a boyfriend and he's supposed to be taking care of her business, yet I paid last two car payments, bought several hundred dollars of groceries,a new and bigger car seat for Sierra the queen and clothes this week for beautiful newborn Alexa. And I'm on my way to bring milk for the babies over to Chepa in about one minute. So I'm doing my share.
Check signing time. Chep asks how much she's getting from the $40 grand. I tell her I'll give her $4 grand just for a present. She raises the roof. I look at the tax check. "I'll let you have the whole $3,100 refund and forget the two car payments if you sign the big check. That's $8 thousand for two signatures. Not a bad day for an amatuer writer. Hell, I've only had two days that good in my whole writing career and they didn't involve just signatures."
She did it. I exhaled.
And then I came home and looked at the $40 grand check and made the list of people who need to be paid: $4500 for my last operation, on credit cards; $750 to finish paying off October trip coordinator Virginia's unpaid bills in Peru; $4,000 for Chepa; $3000 to Chuck and Larry for loans they made to save this house for us five years ago...and on and on until it turns out that $40 grand check is really a $12,000 check. Not bad. I will have paid everyone in the universe off, all the friends who have helped me who expect money back, but the reality is it's not a $40 grand check. It's a nice little check that will allow me to get the kids' passports and citizenship done for about $3 grand, to get my car fixed, to buy a new washing machine and a few hundred bucks of paint we need and to sock maybe half of the 12 away for a rainy day, which might come tomorrow.
So I'm fat like a cat that just ate good. But I still ain't rich.
Still, it'll be wonderful to get those nagging debts done with. Can't wait till the check clears.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Another New Dog

Well, Marco came home from taking his girl to work with another new dog. We've had so many new dogs and so many dogs hit by cars that I'm terrified. I'm thinking of calling the new dog Dead because they can't resist the call of the road and don't understand that if you chase an 18-wheeler and run between its wheels you're just Ted Nugent road kill and ready for the skillet or another hole in our back yard.
Marco got this dog, a real real beautiful black dog with brown feet we're going to call Sneakers, from a woman who was giving them away. He's had no shots, no nothing and is 8 weeks old. Pick him up and smell him and he still has his birth fur, that thick and still angel-scented fur of just being born. I'll get him shots tomorrow and he'll quickly learn to distrust me because when I pick him up I'm going to stick a needle into his neck and shoulder muscle. It will prevent distemper, which Blue had and which was awful to witness, despite, or perhaps because of how much I loved Blue. But the dog will still never trust me again. Nuts.
And Marco spend the afternoon fixing holes in the fencing behind the house. That's an area of about 40 foot by 80 foot, plenty of room to live in. But that dog is still going to see the other fence, the one the goats live in, which is 300 feet by 200 feet and want to be there. And then this dog is going to notice that Boots can go over the whole property, ignoring fences, and cross the road, and chase ambulances and fire engines and he's going to want to do that. And what he is not going to know is that Boots got hit by a car and broke his hips at six months. I nursed him back to health after setting his hips (I got lucky on that one, believe me) for months, carrying him to a place to poop, staying up some nights when he was in extreme pain, giving him a little beer or whiskey to alleviate the pain to allow him to sleep--doing what any pal would do when a friend is sick. And now Boots is the best guard dog in the world. He doesn't bite but boy he looks scary. The mailman knows him for two years and is still terrified. And god-forbid the people who need our driveway to turn around in: Boots has them peeing in their pants. But then Boots knows to stay on the side of the road, in the ditch, even when chasing cars or bicyclists. And he wakes me at night if there's anything suspicious. He can bark pretty fiercely.
Best of all, Boots, like his father Spike, the greatest dog who ever lived and who disappeared while I was on a trip last year, poops and pees at least 100 yards from the house. He's a real gentleman that way.
And now there's Sneakers. What a gorgeous baby. I've always taken care of my human babies, whether mine or just in my charge, very well. I might be boring but I teach them what to do and how to do it and how to think for themselves and how to accept love and how to avoid fake love and how to work and all that jazz. I've been less successful with my dogs. They have all, except for Blue and Spike, wanted to run under car wheels on a 60 mph road. And they've always lost, which is why my garden soil is so damned productive. We've probably lost 8 dogs in the last six years. And I wish we had every one of them because they were all fantastic.
Anyway, this is the announcement that we've got a new dog, Sneakers, and that I hope and pray we can keep him in the interior fenced back yard and that he can have a great life and live till he's 20.
And in the oven is a 7-pound boneless pork roast sitting on celery, onion and garlic and surrounded by carrots and sliced potatoes and that was probably someone's pet pig. And I'm sorry I had that pig killed. Along with being sorry for the celery and other veggies. All of you will eat my dogs or me in short order. And I hope we serve you as well as you're going to serve us tonight.
Let's eat.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Recent Jungle Trip

Well, I had a couple of tough trips recently. The June trip included a couple of women who had no business being on it for a minute, much less for 22 days. The October trip ended with the organizer splitting the country owing nearly $5 grand in unpaid hotel fees. The big January trip was cancelled when the organizer needed to borrow all the funds to save her dying husband with serious and emergency surgery. Whew! Talk about a lousy year: I was an emotional wreck and financially devastated. Add to that the three emergency surgeries and I don't know how I even functioned, much less flourished. But I did and I'm nearly better (though my stomach is still sore and there is one muscle that hasn't entirely healed yet, leaving me in excruciating pain when I do anything that calls on that particular muscle). Hey, I'm not complaining here, just making a note to baby Jesus that he might consider healing tha last muscle a bit more quickly!
And then there was this late January trip. It wasn't even scheduled, but when the big trip organizer told me that trip was full, I had to put an extra trip on for a couple of private clients that I thought I could fit into the big trip. And then I had to work hard to get a few more clients to make the trip financially doable.
In the end I had 10 people. Two of th em were from Men's Journal magazine. And you know what? This trip is going down as one of the very best groups I ever had. I didn't hear one complaint, about anything--and the trip isn't all that easy, what with long boat rides, night canoeing, bathing in the river, doing serious medicines that knock you to the ground and leave you begging for mercy. Not one peep. What a wonderful group of adventurers. They took all I could dish out and I think most of them loved most everything. I may find out differently when they begin to write me or if the magazine story says I sucked from day one, but until that happens I am one happy guy.
And I didn't get any wild flesh-eating spider bites, didn't burst any more intestines or get botfly infestation. Just had a blast. I love being out in the jungle.
And this year I am going to do my best to get down there at least once without any guests, so that I can do some exploration of my own. I've got some pyramids--or pyramid formations, out there that are just begging me to investigate them. Whether they're man-made or a geolological anomaly doesn't matter. Either way they'd be vital to our understanding of certain lowland indigenous groups in the area. If man-made, of course, they'd be the find of all South America from an archaeological standpoint. If a geological anomaly then the wind that carved two rows of six pyramidal shapes in the middle of nowhere would also have carved caves into the limestone. And if there are caves--now covered by vegetation--then animals utilized those caves. And if animals utilized those caves, then, man went in after them. In that case there might be some very interesting things to find, as man always leaves a footprint in the way of broken pots, hunting weapons, petroglyphs. And I need to get out there with some good sound resonance gear, a good archaeologist, maybe a good botanist and some others to spend a few weeks investigating them. It's a project I've been meaning to do for years now but I haven't had the finances. I still don't. But I am going to make an effort to get a grant, a loan or find a sponsor for the $30 grand it will take to cover the expense and try to get out there with my friend Lynn C (who promises to car bomb me if I try to go without him) and Richard A while I've got this enormous strength I still have.
Anybody know anybody who's looking to give money away, take your share first and then send them on to me, okay?
Two yars ago my daughter Madeleina gave me a green rubber bracelet that has the word "Endurance" cut into it. I haven't taken it off. And won't. And whenever I felt like giving up last year, felt like some guests were simply to much for me, or that the operations were too painful, or the money too short, well, I looked at that bracelet and saids Hell no. This is nothing. I've got endurance. And I've got my Madeleina. Can't quit yet.

A Short Note on Dietas

I've recently had two former clients stay on in the Iquitos area to begin dietas. And I made this point to them and I think it's a valid point.
For most Westerners, a no fat, no salt, no spice diet of boiled river fish and plantains is difficult to maintain. But that's not the case among riverinos. It is, in fact, the favorite meal among people who live along the river. My team, for instance, eats that meal several times a day, each time with relish, when we are out in the jungle. They could have eggs, chicken, potatoes, beans and tons of vegetables and fruits but the choice is always fish and plantains.
So during a dieta done by a local, the meal isn't something difficult, it's the break from the difficulty of being alone. It's the best time of the day for them, the comfort food time.
As to salt, well, salt simply isn't used on food in the river by the locals. Salt is used to preserve fish and meat and not squandered on meals. It's traditionally been a difficult commodity to come by and so traditionally isn't eaten. That's no longer the case, of course, but traditions die hard. And many curanderos doing dietas are eating fish that's been preserved in salt. So while they'll tell you no salt, that's not always the case, depending on the availability of fresh fish.
As to no spices? No one uses spices in traditional river food. If you have peppers they are for sale or trade, not for indulging in.
No fat? No meat fat, yes, but lots of those river fish have plenty of good fatty oils in them and they work fine with traditional dietas.
So I guess I'm just trying to clear up the notion that the standard dieta is a difficulty for curanderos doing a dieta. It's anything but. It's only a difficulty for us gringos who are not used to and don't love boiled plantains and fish.
For me, for instance, the dieta would be the equivalent of saying that I'd be having chicken soup every day for several weeks. Or for a vegan that they'd be having steamed vegetables and beans.
I think you just want to eat simply, but that self-flagellation is not the point, at least not to locals. So I think it doesn't need to be the point with us, either. Dieta is a time of solitude, of learning to commune with the jungle and spirits around you, of slowing down to the point where you can hear what those spirits are whispering. It's a time of getting strong and clean. If the physical diet you are on prevents any of that or has you dreaming of food, then that diet isn't helping you attain your goals and so isn't the right physical food diet for you. If it is, that's fine. If not, then I think it ought to be modified, that's all, without taking away the simplicity of it.
Ain't that a kick in the pants?

ADD ON: I don't think there is anything wrong with the traditional dieta food. I just wanted to give it a context. For most westerners, I would think it would be fine to have steamed vegetables and beans/lentils, cooked plainly for our vitamin/protein intake. A lot of river fish have thousands of little bones and they're difficult to get the meat from unless you've grown up in that culture. My kids can do it, my ex can do it; I just tend to spit out an awful lot of the meat with the bones.
I don't think you'd want sugar, because of the rush, and I don't think you'd want meat, because of the difficulty of digestion. I don't think you'd want nuts for the same reason. I think you just want to eat simply, but that self-flagellation is not the point with locals and it doesn't need to be the point with us, either. Dieta is a time of solitude, of learning to commune with the jungle and spirits around you, of slowing down to the point where you can hear what those spirits are whispering. It's a time of getting strong and clean. If the physical diet you are on prevents any of that or has you dreaming of food, then that diet isn't helping you attain your goals and so isn't the right physical food diet for you. If it is, that's fine. If not, then I think it ought to be modified, that's all, without taking away the simplicity of it.
Now, I have never done an official dieta. I didn't even know the word until five or six years ago. Julio never discussed it, never told me to do one. What I did instead was walk across the jungle several times with Moises, and because it was such a bother to carry much food, we would eat farina with water, or a bird if we got one, or some fish with hearts of palm, or rice. Always simple. Always to make you strong. And all day we wouldn't speak five words, for days on end. Moises would be in front, I'd be behind, looking for his trail markings. And we would drink ayahuasca with Julio before we left to put the jungle in my blood, and we would drink when we returned, to keep the jungle there.
So when I talk about dietas, I'm not any sort of expert here and don't pretend to be. I am an expert of what people eat in the jungle and how they prepare it and do know that the favorite meal is plantain and river fish. People will choose that over mahass or tapir or monkey nearly always.
So I really just mean to give a context to dieta food, not sound show-offy. And I've watched a lot of my guests go on to do dietas in the last few years and have a difficult time with the food. And that interfered a great deal with the work they were intending to do. And then this trip out I watched my team, all of whom grew up on the river, though they now commute to live part time in Iquitos, turn down all the great food they were making for us, or I was making for us, in favor of their plantains and fish. And suddenly what I'd seen for years made sense in terms of the dieta: That only gringo's suffer the food think on dieta, not these guys.
And since I'd never seen anyone make the point before, I thought I'd make it. That's all.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Hello, Everyone. I'm back

Hello, everyone. I'm back from the jungle. I'm jet lagged and tired and afraid I've nothing of great import to write tonight. I just want to tell you I'm home, have filled the cubboards and am ready to work. Chepa and Italo and Madeleina and Sierra and baby Alexia picked me up at the airport and we had my birthday celebration yesterday with an ice cream cake brought by Sarah, Italo's girl, who saluted me with a big hug and an "Is that Mr. Peter Gorman I see feeding the dog?" when she saw me, and Chepa made a flan that was great but not good enough for her so she made a second, perfect one, today, and Madeleina hugged me like I was her dad and she'd missed me and little Sierra demanded "P!" all day as she went through my jungle stuff and demanded to besmoked with mapacho cigarettes and blessed with Sgua Florida and Julio's special mix of mountain and jungle garlic/onions/camphor and cuma lunga seeds in aguar diente and I felt like dad and the head of the household, as Joan Armatrading might have sung some years ago. And Italo had redone Madeleina's room the way we'd discussed doing before I left and it's beautiful, though she thinks it too girly now, and Italo and Marco went over every inch of the house filling mouse holes till there are no more mice and nothing touched by mouse droppings left here--though they did toss a few of my favorite things. But I can live with that because their work and intentions were so good. And the goats are fine and the rooster and rat are fine and Boots is fine and the kids are good. So I'm home and all is okay and I hope all is good with all of you.
Thanks for your patience, guys and gals. When I'm working in Peru I just can't get my hear around anything else but the guests I have, and when the guests are gone I have a party for a few days and heck, I don't even remember most of that (though I did evidently win a fistfight against a pal of mine who thought I needed to be hit hard in the stomach to see how well the operations would hold up--I guess they held up well and the left to his eye proved he was human and not superman--so I guess it all went well.
Thanks for reading.
Love, me.