Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas to All 2009!!!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Who's Your Dachshund: My First Dachshunds

It is true what Frankie said....once you have a dachshund, you are hooked!

If you want to hear about how I got hooked, check out the following post: My First Dachshunds.


P.S. Parents got into town just fine, Dulcinea already loves them!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Who's Your Dachshund: Pillow Hog

Dulcinea steals my pillow and so I wrote about it on Who's Your all about how she is a Pillow Hog here.


Monday, December 7, 2009

Who's Your Dachshund: Thankful, Oh So Thankful

Forgot to post this one here: Thankful, Oh So Thankful

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I Heart Christmas-time

Went shopping for Christmas decorations last night.  My parents will be here for the holiday and we will spend it at our home (instead of traveling), so we have to make it Christmas-like.  This holiday is by far my favorite! I can´t wait till we put up the decorations and our little tree.  Maybe tomorrow night....I want to make sure all 3 of us participate in the decorating process.  If not tomorrow, for sure on Sunday afternoon.

I've also tried to get a start on the gift buying, etc.  I hate leaving it to the last minute and I love getting gifts for people.  I normally do some sort of craft or homemade gift to give to friends and family, but I haven't been able to think of a good and *feasible in Chile* that tradition might be on hold until we return to the US.  

Yay for Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Me Ganó El Toro


+ your typical fall =

Me not blogging for a least until I can type with both hands again.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

Happy Thanksgiving to all you gringos out there!!!!!  We hope that you all have a wonderful day and can be with the ones you love.  

We celebrated Turkey-day last Sunday with some friends in Santiago.  Chileans do not normally celebrate Thanksgiving, but we wanted to keep the tradition going.  I started a "new" tradition for my family which was to create a Thankful Book.  So each Thanksgiving we will have our guests write in the book something or all the things they are thankful for.  It can be something small like your favorite candy or something big like the fact that a surgery went well.  I got the idea from this blog post, which is one of my favorite craft blogs.

Today, and more specifically, Christian and I are very thankful that Dulcinea seems to be getting better.  She has been sick for a week now and spent all day yesterday at the vet's office.  When we picked her up last night she was very happy to see us and has her personality and spirits back again which makes us feel a lot better.  She is on antibiotics and some other medicines, but we expect a full recovery.  Tonight we are still going to get an ultrasound done just to be 100% sure it is gastritis and nothing else, but we already feel much better about her after seeing the progress she has made.  

With that, I will close.  Here is a family picture that we wanted to share.  Hope everyone out there has safe travels and fills their bellies with yummy food!!!  

Tyffanie, Christian & Duclinea

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Who's Your Dachshund: I Wish It Weren't So

Click here for the more detailed story on what is happening with Dulcinea.


Off to the Hospital

We took Dulci to a different and better vet clinic last night (American Vet Clinic).  She is not getting better, in fact I'd say worse so we wanted to get a different opinion.  They ordered an x-ray and took it last night, but it didn't come out good so the doctor said it would be best for her to go back this morning for another x-ray and some observation.  They came to pick her up at 9:30 this morning.  I sent her off with her pink blanky and some filtered water.  The doctor said they would take another x-ray this morning and then call me as soon as they know something.  So here I am, waiting for my phone to ring and trying to focus on work meanwhile.  If the x-ray doesn't result in an answer, we'll probably get her an ultrasound.  I don't care what they need to do or how much it costs, I just want them to figure out what is wrong and how it can be fixed.  I am sick to my stomach worried about little baby, this helpless little thing who is being as brave as she can be....I just want her to get better and turn back into the puppy that steals our socks from us and who loves chewing her bone.


Monday, November 23, 2009

The Madness of Last Week...

...and what is looking like this week too.

I have wanted to write lately but there has just been no time.  Last week I was busy every night and then Dulcinea got sick on Thursday which meant I got less tan 3 hours of sleep that night.  She had started to feel better on Friday so we kept our plans to celebrate my birthday with a bbq and friends at the park.  Then yesterday we had Thanksgiving dinner for lunch at our place and in the afternoon went to a goodbye party for a gring who is moving back to the US.  Duclinea seemed to get worse yesterday so we took her to the vet clinic in the evening and I ended up sleeping with her on the floor again.  So apart from looking after my little baby and nursing her back to health, I still have a million other things going on this week and seriously do not know how I will muster up the energy to do them all.  In all honesty, I am not too worried about me...I am more worried about Dulicinea, I have been sick to my stomach too much in the past 5 days worried about her.  If anything, please keep her in your prayers and thoughts.  

Hopefully soon I'll be able to go into more detail about her getting sick, my bday bbq, Thanksgiving celebration and life in general.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wake Up Muscles

Last night was my third dance class since starting back up after over 1.5 years! My muscles and brain are still waking up from what seemed like an infinite sleep meaning that I've been getting quite a few muscle cramps right in the middle of doing a move. We were working on a new piece last night in which I have to do a lift with a male partner. We did the first lift and I got a huge cramp in my back....boy was that fun. And in my first class last week I got a horrible cramp in my hips when we were stretching cuz I overdid it....go figure, right? The nice thing is that it is all coming back...slowly, but surely. I wish it were coming back faster, but whatev. I know it takes time, I just don't have patience and I am super competitive so I want to be the best in my class of course. In the dance we did yesterday, I couldn't get a couple steps which was so frustrating, but I'll get there....and when we have a recital, I'll be sure to let you know so you can come and see me!

Ahhhhh to dance is to live.....

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I need a Do-Over

I seriously need a do-over of a weekend so that I can actually relax and rest a bit. I am exhausted.....and it isn't even Wednesday yet! In fact, this morning I had the hardest time getting out of bed. Not that we did much during the weekend, in fact it was pretty boring, but apparently I didn't relax enough and now I am feeling it! I guess it also doesn't help that I have been non-stop since the week began, just like I was last week, and just like I will continue probably until after the holiday season.

My hopes of resting this weekend are shot cuz it is my birthday on Saturday and we are doing a Thanksgiving celebration with some friends on Sunday! Although last weekend we were quite busy and I was pretty refreshed on Monday so maybe it will be the same for next Monday.

In any case, I haven't had much time for blogging as you can tell and with that I must go finish what I was doing.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sleeping with my baby....

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Baby Album

I got an email for a free 7x9" photo book from Shutterfly and of course, I never turn down the chance for a free one of these--even if I have to pay for shipping--and so we have decided to use it as a Baby Album for Dulcinea!

I just got done editing the pictures to fix her eyes because any pictures that were taken with flash make her eyes blue or green. It took a while as it is not as easy to fix a dog's eyes like human red eyes.

Can't wait to see how it turns out.....the pictures are uploading and then I'll put it all together.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Blue & white name tags?

Has anyone else noticed the people in Providencia wearing the blue and white name tags that say "MANTENGASE ALERTA"??? What they heck is this all about?  The rest of whatever their name tags say is too small to read from afar and I am not about to go up and ask them what it is all about.  Seems like something pretty gringo since I have never seen Chileans wear name tags at meetings, let alone on the my guess is that they are foreigners and that it is something church-related.  Does anyone know what it is related to????!!!


P.S. I had planned on posting yesterday but fell asleep at my computer.....

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Missing Mexico

Oh what I wouldn't give to be back in Mexico on the beach again....

...hopefully one of these days I'll get a chance to write a bit about our honeymoon!

The Cutest Bee You'll Ever See

Head on over to Who's Your Dachshund to see the cutest abejita (bee) ever!!!!


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

First Dance Class in Over a Year

Well I think the title of this post pretty much speaks for itself. Tonight I took my first dance class in almost a year and a half! The last time I took a dance class was in the Spring of 2008 during my last semester at the University of Colorado-Boulder! I have, of course, missed dance like crazy....I've even mentioned it here on my blog. But for various reasons it just hasn't worked out until now that I start dancing again. I don't want to jinx myself, but I did really enjoy the Advanced Jazz class that I took tonight and plan to sign up for the rest of the month. It was a lot of fun, but hard as heck and I am feeling it already. I know tomorrow I'll probably barely be able to walk, but it'll be worth it. It just takes one class to get me going again, to remind me how much I love dancing, how I need to be dancing, how I am truly not living without it.

Monday, November 9, 2009

I've Got Nothing....

I really wanted to write a decent blog post tonight seeing as how lately I have just been posting random ramblings....but unfortunately for you, I've got nothing. While work wasn't overly stressful today, as soon as I got home, I've been working on important personal business which has actually worn me out.

So with that, I apologize. But if you are in the mood for reading about Dulcinea, just pop on over to today's post, A South American Salchicha.

And yes, I will be doing shameless advertising for my posts (and any other awesome posts) on Who's Your Dachshund. It is a great blog and deserves as much attention as possible. Thanks for understanding :)

Who's Your Dachshund: A South American Salchicha

Want to know how we finally decided to get a dog and then how hard it actually was to find her?  How about seeing a video of the tricks that Duclinea already knew at 4 months old?  Well then check out my blog post today on Who's Your Dachshund:  A South American Salchicha!


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Disappointed with the Doggie Park

Remember how excited I was about Parque Bicentenario a few weeks ago? Well we decided to go again this afternoon with some friends who have a puppy (who we had not previously met) and I have to say that I was thoroughly disappointed. Although the weather was not as hot and sunny as that weekend in October, it was decent enough to be outside for sure. But there were hardly any dogs at the park today.....instead it was overrun by cuico (meant in a negative way too) little kids who were playing all over the dog toys and whose parents were just standing around watching them do it! WTF?!?!?!?!!! It is a D.O.G. park....not a kid park. And besides, the kid toys are like 100 meters away from the dog park so take the little brats over there. It is one thing if you bring your kids into the doggie zone to pet the dogs and whatnot, but they should not be climbing on or in any of the toys.

The best thing about today was meeting a new little puppy at the park named Simón, who is a wired-haired mini doxie. He was so cute! Dulcinea of course wanted nothing to do with him or any other dog, but she is getting a bit better. At least she sniffs the dogs now and then walks away.

This time, when we took out her boomerang to play, instead of brining it back to us, she would walk up to whatever stranger was around. She kept going back to this one guy like 10 times in a was so funny.

I hope the next time we go there are actually dogs instead of children running all around because that is when it is fun! If I wanted to be around kids, I would have one for crying out loud.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Joys of Jumbo

Now that we have a car we get to go shopping at Jumbo on the weekends. If you have never been to Chile you wouldn't know that Jumbo is like a Super Target or other large supermarket and most other grocery stores in Chile aren't nearly as big, nor have the variety of things that can be found at Jumbo. I'm pretty sure that even the huge Liders aren't as cool because they don't have the taste-testing stations.

Today we got a late start after Christian had to work a bit from home and while we were starving for lunch, by the time we got done at Jumbo (it took approx. 2 hours) we had eaten enough samples to fill us up! Hahahaha....

Anyway.....I heart Jumbo. Thank god we have a car now.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Sunday Night Dinner

My sophomore year in college and the summer after, I used to go to Sunday Night Dinner hosted by one of my friend's family.  We would head over the house on Sunday evening, help finish preparations for dinner and just hang out.  Their family was big, but they never had problems with inviting more people over.  It was a lot of fun and I remember thinking how cool of an idea Sunday Night Dinner was.  For various reasons my friendship with this girl became distanced, but I never forget how open and warm her family was for always welcoming me into their home.   Sunday Night Dinner was such a new idea for me.  When I lived with my parents we hardly ate dinner together because I was always off doing extracurricular events or in my room or whatnot.  Holidays were our family meal time pretty much.  In coming to Chile, I realized that those sort of weekend gathering are not so few and far inbetween because families here are much more united that families in the United States (sounds a bit ironic, doesn't it?).  My host family would gather with my host mother's side of the family ever Saturday for a huge lunch with the grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.  They would literally prepare a feast that would last a minimum of 4 hours.  I really enjoyed going to these family lunches.  At first it was a bit overwhelming, especially when my Spanish hadn't quite caught up to speaking Chilean, but after a while it just seemed normal.  Sometimes I would feel like lunch lasted too long, especially for a Saturday because Saturdays are the days to go shopping and to the beach and whatnot.  If the lunches had been on Sunday, I probably wouldn't have cared.  But that's neither here nor there.  The point is that Saturday Lunches en El Cerro Castillo (where the grandparents lived) was so much like Sunday Night Dinner.

My husband's family isn't quite the same breed as my host family.  See, my host mother comes from an Italian family and they had a huge family that would always get together.  My inlaws, on the other hand, are pretty much the only of the family that live in Viña and so there really aren't people to get together with.  Of course when we go to Viña, we have lunch and most of the onces (afternoon snack that normally replaces dinner for us) with my inlaws and sister-in-law, but it is nothing like Sunday Night Dinner.  

I miss Sunday Night Dinner.  I miss that feeling of togetherness, the hustle and bustle of preparing the dinner, and catching up with everyone.  Not even my own family has the same sort of vibe as Sunday Night Dinner or Saturday Lunches in El Cerro Castillo.  My mom can even attest to that, she went to a lunch with my host family while she was here.  I think it would be fun to start the tradition of one here in Santiago, but I doubt that it could be weekly.  A lot of my friends travel some weekends (as do we) and also have their Chilean in-laws to be visiting.  I also think I might die if I had to prepare a huge dinner or lunch every weekend....although if everyone pitched in to bring something, it wouldn't be so bad.  And of course if people pitched in with the clean-up, that would be even more appreciated.  I think shooting for once or twice a month would be fun.  I would also prefer to do a lunch instead of diner.  Everyone knows lunches in Chile are the principle meal and most of us would have to prepare ourselves for the week ahead, so having the evening free would give us the needed time.  I wonder....anyone interested?


P.S. I had imagined this post going in a totally different direction when I first thought about writing it.  In fact, I wanted to arrive at talking about Friday lunches at home, but I just never got there.  I guess I'll save it for another post.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Hooray for the Birthday Month

November is my favorite month of the year because my birthday is the 21st!  

This year it falls on a Saturday and plans for the celebration are already in the works.  My plan is to do something in Santiago on the 21st and then something in Viña the following weekend in collaboration with my cuñada (sister-in-law) because her birthday is the 27th.  I have more of a concrete idea of what to do here in Santiago, but am still throwing around ideas of what to do in Viña.  In any case, I am still excited because I love that birthdays are the best excuse to get all of your friends together.

Plus I am pretty sure that this will be one of the last birthdays to get excited about seeing as how I will be turning a quarter-of-a-century and well.....with the big 3-0 only five years down the road, eek!  Who wants to turn 30?  I love being in my 20s.  I am not looking forward to my metabolism slowing down and all the stuff that comes with age.  The good thing is that cosmetic surgery exists, but I digress....

The only thing I have never liked about having my birthday in November is that 1. it never falls on Thanksgiving, only the day before and 2. I hate the birthstone (yellow topaz)....a yellow stone? I mean...pluuuueeeeeaaasseeee.....the point in a diamond is that it is colorless.  Why would you ever want a stone that is purposely yellow?  A ruby, sapphire or emerald all make sense, but well I am just not a fan of yellow topaz.  It could have been blue or pink topaz and I'd have no problems.  

But back to the fun things about November......birthdays!  Actually, tomorrow we have a birthday bbq for a friend to go to so I guess that starts the festivities!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Flirting Spring

It is officially spring in Chile and while I feel like that normally equals a dramatic change in the weather from cold to hot, this spring has been quite unpredictable.  We have had days so hot you would think it was January and days so cold you would think it was July.  I'm not sure why the Spring is being so flirty, but I have to say that I hope the cloudy days go away soon.  I know that may be wishing an unbearable summer that is more like an oven, but I am a person who needs the sun to start my day.  I don't really care if it is cold out, just as long as the sun wakes me up in the morning.  That is one thing that I love about Colorado....approx. 300 days of sunshine a year.  Doesn't mean it is frigid outside during the winter, but there will be sun.  So, c'mon Chile, be a bit more like Colorado and let that sun shine....pretty please!


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Exciting News!!

Before I let you in on the exciting news of today and possibly the whole month, I'd first like to wish my Dulcinea a very happy 5 months!  Today is her 5 month "birthday" and my oh my does she keep growing.  She is so strong now, it is quite amazing to see the difference in such a short period of time!

And now for the news....I've been asked to contribute to the Who's Your Dachshund blog!!!!  Today my biography was published and soon my first official post will be up.  We (Chris, Dulcinea and I) are all really excited about this as Who's Your Dachshund is one of our favorite blogs....I mean, how can you go wrong with a blog all about salchichas?  You can't!  

So head on over and check Duclinea & me out!


Monday, November 2, 2009

Our Car & Driving in Santiago

We have a car!  Finally!  Technically it isn't ours--it is my mother-in-law's, but since she never drives it (and I mean it went from one revisión técnica to the other without being driven) she decided to let us use it since we now have a dog.  Prior to having a car, we would just use the bus system to travel back and forth to Viña, which is quite efficient, cheap and pretty comfortable.  But dogs are not allowed in the buses and of course we would never stow Dulicnea down below!  We "snuck" her on the bus once and didn't have any problems.  When I say snuck, I mean that I walked on the bus with her in her crate (which looks like a gym bag) and simply sat down in the last seat in the bus.  She didn't make any sounds and slept the whole way.  That was for the long weekend back in October and luckily we just had to go the one way because for the vuelta (return) we had the car.  It isn't the best car in the world but it works quite well and is in really good condition for being a 1993.  The only downside that I think it has is that it doesn't have power steering so turning the wheel, especially when stationary, is much more difficult than your typical car.

That said, I thought I wouldn't be driving it at all.  But then I decided I should give it a shot so that I would know whether or not I can really drive it--in case of emergency or otherwise.  So two Saturdays ago, it was my turn to drive to Jumbo.  And it went really well!  The car isn't really that difficult to drive or turn when moving.  It is just when you stop and then need to turn the wheel, or perhaps a tight parking situation, in which things become more difficult.  This was also my first time driving in a big city.  Of course, I have driven in Denver, but I really don't consider it a big city even though it is Colorado's capital.  I find traveling in Santiago kind of nuts...people don't respect the lines on the road, the micros rule the road, there are more one-way streets that there should be, etc.  But Saturday and Sunday were perfect days to drive in the city as there is much less traffic and thus less stress on me.  We don't really use the car during the week since we live so close to everything, but it is so nice to have for the weekends!  

We went to Viña this weekend again and the drive went well both ways.  The car has an old stereo for cassette tapes and in Santiago we can normally tune into good ratio stations, but on the drive to Viña they go in and out and mostly you hear static.  So I think we'll be looking for some cassette tapes to play during our drives.  Christian wants to put in a nicer stereo, but I think it is a waste of money considering the car is so old.  Plus it would be just another reason for people to break into the car and well, in Chile, there are already enough reasons for that so I prefer not to.  I'd be ok with sticking to cassettes....hahaha.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Path to Where?

Do you ever feel like you are on the road to somewhere where you have no idea? I mean, like you don't know where you are going career-wise and although you have options, you don't know which ones to take? Well.....that is how I feel.

Ugf, who knows why sometimes I feel like this and other times no, but I sure wish I could stop feeling like this.

Back in college, I had clear goals, I knew what I wanted to do and how to get there. I was motivated to all ends to achieve those goals. The annual scholarship process helped me really consider my goals and document them. But then I came to Chile and my life changed, my outlook changed and my plans changed. Since I have graduated and have not had the need to really reflect on my goals and how I plan to achieve them. I feel like I use to have everything so clear and that kept me motivated to keep going even when things got difficult or boring or whatnot. And when I achieved my goals, it felt sooooo good.

Not that the changes that came out of study abroad in Chile have not been for the positive. They have....I would never give up what I learned during that year, meeting my husband or anything about it. But at the same time I feel like all of those changes were so dramatic in comparison to my previous goals that I can't get myself back on track. Now I don't know what to do with my life....where to go, how to make it fit with our international lifestyle that will always be there, etc. Do I want to stay in the same sort of position that I am in (financial accounting-related) or do I want to go the tax route (another viable option) or do I want to throw accounting out the window and do something all together different (event planning has crossed my mind a time or two)? All require an investment in furthering my studies or gaining more experience in order to be come successful.

There is that word: successful. What does it mean anyway? I know they say that each person should define success to them and go after that, but well I have to say that as a perfectionist, defining success becomes a pretty unattainable goal. I mean, I happen to be one of those people who when they do something, does it 100% or doesn't do it at all. I know this is a weakness of mine that I have to work on in the fact that I need to learn to take risks even though I am not 100% sure because big wins come with big risks. As Jenny mentions in her post, doing something is better than nothing. I have tried to implement starting small....but seriously, my perfectionist side gets to me and unless I can devote enough time or make official a new idea, it sadly goes stagnent. I want success, for me, to be having a career that I that I wake up in the morning excited to do and one that I don't want to stop doing at night....but I also want to be able to live financially well. I have this right brain-left brain battle constantly going on. It is like when I was deciding what to major I go for dance/ballet because I love it or do I got for accouting/business because I am good at it, like it enough and it is practical? I took the practical always, choosing what seems like the logical and more stable career.

Then there is this other issue that plays a big role in what I am feeling: I want to be the boss. For those of you who know me, maybe this is no surprise to you. But, really, I want my own company. I want to call the shots. To be honest, I am tired of being the bottom rung, so to speak--always having my work reviewed by the higher ups, not being able to make decisions without consulting a plethora of people, etc. I mean, from one angle, it is obvious that things should be this way....I work at a multinational company that has certain policies and procedures in place and these things have to be followed. But on the other end, I just want to have that control. I have been working since i was 15 and a half and I feel like that is enough experience, even if it isn't all considered "professional". It would be a dream come true to have my own business and it be viable financially. The next question to conquer would be what kind of business? Well, I have about a million different ideas about businesses that I think would be good to start.

Does this boil down to a question of too many options? Maybe.....but, I also can't seem to shake this sort of lost feeling that I have in that I want to know where I am headed. I want to decide where I am headed and move in that direction. Of course I know that plans will change, but I went from having a detailed plan to not having one and well, I need to find a middle ground.

It doesn't help that we are in between two countries all of the time. We think we know when we will head back to the US....but of course it is really all dependent on the economy, the visa application process, and a ton of other things.

Sorry for the ramble.....I tried talking to Christian about these things and while he is a great listener, he was not so good at giving me the feedback I need. I think I need to find a mentor who would be open to discussing these topics with me. I have some in the States, but the distance makes it kind of difficult to maintain such personal relationships. I mean, I just don't feel comfortable contacting them and dumping all of this stuff on them. And here in Chile, well I just don't have a mentor of that sort. I have my friends who are also great to talk to, but we all have busy lives, some may be feeling the same way and while talking about it and generating ideas with them is good, it is hard for us to get the chance to get together and talk. Forget about phone conversations.....with calls being at least US $0.50 per minute, that just isn't an option. Which for now leaves me with my blog. And all of you out in the blog-o-sphere. So thanks for being there. I needed to get this off my chest.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Parque Bicentenario

Yesterday we went to Parque Bicentenario with Brittany for a photo session that I had won at the Chilespouse Dinner back in August. We had never been to the park out in Vitacura, but quickly came to like it after seeing the open spaces and how dog-friendly it is.

We decided to go back this afternoon with Emily & Lola and see how Dulcinea would do with all the dogs that are there. This park is really quite different from any others in Chile--first of all, you can have your dog off the leash and they have a special fenced off area with a doggie playground. But the people that go there are also different. They all love dogs and no one really freaks out because a dog comes up to them or barks, etc. It is just a really chill environment that I am SO glad we found in Santiago.

Today the weather was just beautiful. The sun was out and the park was full of people, but it even though there were hundreds of people, it never seemed over-crowded. Dulcinea did really well. She still gets kind of scared when dogs come up to her but she doesn't cry or whine. She just kind of ignores the dogs and then they ignore her too. Her and Lola didn't play too much, they were both too interested in their own toys--Dulcinea with her boomerang and Lola with her tennis ball.

Our neighbor, Panchito, and his humans also met us at the park. Although Dulcinea knows Panichito and has played with him, she still didn't pescarle mucho (pay much attention to him). She was much more interested in playing with her boomerang and having all the people, especially little girls, ask about her and want to pet her. She was seriously a hit with the little girls at the park!

Here are some pictures we snapped of the afternoon. It was so nice to get out of the house and i have a feeling this park will be our new weekend go-to.

(Dulcinea and her boomerang)

(Lola eagerly waiting for Emily to throw her ball.)

(A picture of the doggie playground. There are a ton of toys for the dogs,
but most are too tall for Duclinea.)

(That is Lola on top of the arch-type toy. She also did really well at
jumping over the posts in the picture.)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My Oh My She's Growing!

We went from this...
(The first pictures the breeder sent us of Dulcinea, before we had met her in person.
She was just shy of turning 2 months old.)

...To her first day in her new home & with her new parents...

...To a months time already passing!...

...To the latest picture of her, taken on her Daddy's birthday (Oct. 6th).

We have had Dulcinea for 2 months now--and although that is such a short amount of time, it feels like we've had her forever. She has learned so many tricks and surprises us every day with her new antics.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Good Luck Isa!

Today, one of my bosses is having surgery.  And not just a simple in-and-out surgery....she is getting her stomach removed because at the beginning of September they found a cancerous tumor in there.  Apparently the type of cancer is very aggressive so although the tumor is small, they are taking the entire organ in order to mitigate future risks of it coming back.  I honestly don't know the whole story, that is just what we have been told about the whole thing.  She has been out of the office ever since she found out and just like we did with Joaquin, we have been getting together to pray for her (& her family) and send them buenas ondas

We aren't sure what time the surgery will take place today, nor how long it will take....but I ask again that everyone keep her in your thoughts.  If all goes as "planned", she should only be in the hospital for approx. 3 weeks after the surgery.  However, the doctor said she will lose at least 10 kilos (approx. 20 lbs) and that is A LOT for her....she is already super tiny.  I really hope that all goes well and no matter how long it takes her to recover, that she is cancer free.  She has three small children, a husband, family and friends who need her and who are rooting for her.  I know she has taken all of the news really well, she has been calm and had peace of mind which I think is really important before going into such an important surgery.  Her faith has kept her strong.  

We really miss her in the office and can't wait until she comes back :)

¡Buena Suerte Isa....qué los doctores hagan su mejor esfuerzo y qué todo salga bien!


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My Little Peluche Vivo

White Cake & Cream Cheese Frosting Recipes

I thought it would be good to post the recipes I used to make the cupcakes that came out amazingly! I have included the small tweaks that I had to make in order for the recipe to work in Chile. Don't forget to be exact in your measurements at least for the cake mix. Baking always requires exact measurements whereas cooking is more forgiving.

Basic White Cake (from here)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
3 cups sifted* cake flour**
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon baking powder (polvo de hornear)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
6 egg whites

*Make sure you sift your flour before you measure the 3 cups to be used. I don't actually own a sifter but I have some small strainers and used that for make-shift sifting.

**I have no idea if cake flour exists in Chile and I wasn't very interested in starting a search for it so I looked online and found out that you can use all-purpose flour to do the job. However, the ratio is not 1:1 which is where you have to be careful. I used harina sin polvos de hornear (all purpose flour w/o baking powder) since the recipe calls for you to add extra. In any case, the ratio that I found online for substituting cake flour for all purpose is: 1 cup minus 2 TBL all purpose flour = 1 cup cake flour. Did you get that? All purpose flour has more gluten than cake flour and if you use a direct substitution you will get a hard cake. So for every cup of cake flour that a recipe calls for, you should take 1 cup of all purpose flour and take out 2 tablespoons of the all-purpose flour. Again, I did this after I had "sifted" the flour.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (I have no idea how to measure this in an oven heated by actual flames, so I put it at a low-medium heat. Better to have less heat than more so you don't get burned cupcake bottoms, even if it takes a bit longer).

Grease and flour 2-9 inch cake pans (I used cupcake pans and put liners in them.).

With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar (Anyone in Chile, this means use your elbow grease to cream the two.). Mix in vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine cake flour, baking powder and salt with a wire whisk. Add flour mixture [to creamed butter & sugar] alternately with milk until all combined.

In a clean, dry bowl beat egg whites until stiff but not dry (this will tire our your arm for sure!). With a rubber spatula, add a scoop of egg whites to cake batter. Then fold in the rest. Carefully, divide batter between pans (or scoop into the cupcake pans).

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes (my cupcakes took approx. 10 minutes to cook). Test with toothpick for doneness. Cool cakes in pans on rack for 15 minutes. Remove to racks to cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting (don't remember where I got this, sorry)

8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
6 Tbsp. butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
Dash salt
2-4 Tbsp. light cream (I mixed regular cream with some 2% milk, or leche semi-descremada)
1 tsp. Vanilla
1/4 tsp. almond extract (this was my addition)
Food coloring if desired (also my addition)

In large bowl, combine cream cheese and butter and beat until light and fluffy. Alternately add powdered sugar and light cream, beating until desired spreading consistency. Beat in salt and vanilla and use to frost cake. (I separated the frosting into three parts and added food coloring to make pretty pink, blue and green cupcakes.)


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Christian's Bday Surprises

I mentioned that I made cupcakes and frosting from scratch on Sunday for Christian's birthday. I'm really proud of how they came out because this was my first time ever making cake mix from scratch. I've always used the boxed mixes and mostly the cans of frosting too. Here in Chile, it is hard to find boxed mixes from the US and the Chilean ones are not very good. Frosting doesn't exist here unless you find an imported one. I went about looking for recipes online and settled on a white cake recipe and a cream cheese frosting recipe--all ingredients could be found in Chile without difficulty. It was quite a process with the white cake because there are several steps in the recipe. I'd say that in total, cake and frosting, I was baking for at least 3 hours. I had fun so it wasn't lost time. Here are some pictures of the final result and taste test that Christian could not resist doing:

Align CenterThe cake mix made 24 cupcakes perfectly.

The other hard thing about baking in Chile is getting the oven temperature correct. Our oven does not have numbers to say what temperature it is, it just has a knob with low-high flame. Yes, our oven uses fire to heat up--it is a gas stove. Although it is brand new, the whole flame oven for me is so old-school.

Christian unwrapping his first cupcake EVER!

The approval after the taste test!

For Christian's birthday, I had some other surprises in store. Dulcinea was in on the plans too. Here is what she wrote to her Daddy in his birthday card:

These are the flowers that she bought Daddy for his bday.

And now, some pictures of my guaguita ("baby" in Chilean Spanish). She got a new collar which is pink and has diamonds! Love it!

Isn't she such a doll?!?!?!!!! I just love her!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Finally Friday

I am happy to finally have arrived at Friday.  Not that it has been a bad week or anything, on the contrary it has been a pretty good week, but I have been exhausted and feeling like I'm coming down with a cold.  I'm pretty sure that those symptoms are thanks to the spring weather and allergies.  But I forgot to take an allergy pill this morning to see if that would help me.  

Work has been super busy.  I have had at least 5 pretty big projects on my plate in addition to normal day-to-day activities.  I finished 1 of those projects, so that leaves me with 4.  Did I mention they all have to be done by year end?  Or what about the 3+ more projects that will be coming before year end too? of. work.  In fact, I'll be spending so of this three-day weekend working on one of the bigger projects.  The positive side of all this work is it makes the days fly by in general and I am learning a lot.  

Tuesday night was Christian's birthday and we had a fabulous dinner at Astrid & Gaston, the gourmet Peruvian restaurant  in Providencia.  I need to post our pictures and a food review but let's just say our dinner was one of the best meals I have ever had.  Ever.  If I can find the right words to describe the flavors and our experience, be prepared for your mouth to water just thinking about the food.

Last night we went to Los Cuates on Manuel Montt to celebrate Christian's birthday with his co-workers.  Food was delish as usual, I love Los Cuates.  It isn't really spicy Mexican food.....cuz well they wouldn't have any business if all they offered was super spicy food seeing as how Chileans think garlic is spicy.  But it is a solid choice for a casual meal.  I ordered two strawberry margaritas....which turned out to be two too many.  My alcohol tolerance is like zero these days.  Or maybe it is because when I do have a drink, I am normally eating food that isn't super healthy so the combination makes it lethal. 

Tomorrow we are headed off to Viña with Dulcinea.  Wish us luck that they let us on the bus or at least accept a bribe to stay on the bus if the find out we have her while we are en camino.  Monday is a holiday (yay for long weekends!) and Christian wants to celebrate his bday with this family so off we go.  I am excited to see Claire & René and Claire's growing belly.....she's around 5 months prego right now and the first of my friends to be having a baby.  I haven't seen them since their wedding in May so it'll be so nice to get together again.  I really wish we could see each other more, especially since she is only 1.5 hours from me, but alas, we both lead busy busy lives.

I really hope the weatherman is wrong about this weekend's weather too.  This week it has been so hot--28 and 31 degrees the past two days--and for the weekend they are predicting highs of 14 with possible rain.  What the heck?!  Why can't we save the nice weather for the weekend when I can actually enjoy it?!  


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Christian!!!!!

Today is my wonderful husband's birthday!!!

To celebrate, I made cupcakes from scratch this weekend. I was nervous about how they would turn out since I have never made a cake mix from scratch and baking in Chile is more complicated than in the US....but they are awesome! Today, he took several of them to work to share with his friends. Ahhhh, it's just like in elementary school! He had never had a cupcake before and absolutely loved them!

Today we are going to have lunch together and then in the evening I have surprise dinner plans for us. Well, he knows we are going to dinner, he just doesn't know where. Let's just say that in all my research of the best restaurants in Santiago, this one was in the top 5 on every single list.

Para mi amor--muy feliz cumpleaños, te amo muchísimo y espero que tengas un día muy lindo :) Besitos!!!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Back to Monday

Geeze, the weeks and weekends are just flying by these days. We are already at the end of September and I feel like January was yesterday. This past weekend definitely went quickly, especially since it was only 2 days. The good thing is in 2 weeks, we'll have another 3 day weekend....gotta love all the holidays in Chile.

Friday night we went to Melissa's bbq birthday party. It was also a combo going-away party since she left for Thailand on Saturday for 1 month. While we didn't stay very late, it was fun and the dips that Melissa made were awesome! Who knew that palmitos could replace artichoke hearts in the spinach dip without too much difference?

Saturday we stayed in bed most of the day, hahaha....our favorite weekend thing to do with Dulcinea. Although she is sleeping in her carrier at night, it is placed in between us so she is technically still sleeping in bed with us. In the afternoon, Christian had a photo shoot with Brittany and her boyfriend. I went along to help carry stuff and see how it went. We spent about an hour in Parque de las Esculturas and around that northern part of Pedro de Valdivia. Then we went to Starbucks to warm up cuz it was cold out on Saturday. In the evening, we went to Sarah's bday party at Basic Bar. Christian and I were pumped for the burritos and french fries and then we found out they don't serve Mexican food there anymore! It has moved to the "new" restaurant called California on Las Urbinas in Providencia. Needless to say, we were bummed, but then we ordered a hamburger and the fries were just as good.....I don't know how they came up with parmesan garlic french fries but they are amazing. Nothing healthy of course, but to die for.

Yesterday was the typical Sunday routine--grocery store, lunch, skyping with my parents, and cooking lunch for this week. I also made some hummus for Tuesday night since I'm hosting the Spanish-English exchange. I also made the casera pita chips to go with it, which are always delicious.

Well it's Monday morning....time to work. End of the month = busy days.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Quick Update

I know I haven't been aroung much. Last week was el dieciocho here in Chile and it turned out to be quite a busy week. On top of that, I am trying to disconnect from the internet on the weekens a bit more so that I can spend more time with my husband and puppy. Last weekend, I barely checked my mail so there was no chance of blogging, even though I do have quite a bit to share. Quick updates below:

--This year was our first dieciocho in Santiago and it was fun. It wasn't go-go the whole weekend, which is partly why I liked it so much. More to come later.

--Dulcinea has now hit her "terrible twos" phase and loves to tear up the newspaper we leave for her in the bathroom. Yes, this is the newspaper where she is supposed to go potty, and she still tears it up. Her energy levels have like tripled. She doesn't like to walk on her leash anymore, but she has learned some new tricks.

--My leg is better and not better all at the same time. I've been in physical therapy for 5 weeks now, today was my last session actually, and I am still having some pain. But the weird thing is that there were a few weeks without pain, so the physical therapist is worried that it isn't just the hamstring tendonitis and could be hip-related too. I hope his is wrong. I need to make another appt. with the doc for next week.
--The social scene for this weekend are two birthday parties (tonight and tomorrow). We also have to get some stuff for Dulcinea (more food & more toys since she destroys them). Christian has a possible photo shoot, depending on the weather too. I am hoping to do some sort of exercise to try out my leg and more than anything, I just really need to focus on doing at least the exercises given to me by the physical therapist (for some reason they are so hard to fit in).

--Today is Christian and my 1.5 year wedding anniversary (of our civil ceremony). Hard to believe its been so long. It hasn't been easy, nor hard, just new with all the ups & downs included. But I love it and I love him.

Ok, that's it for now.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Interesting Articles

Colleges Are Failing in Graduation Rates--Who would have ever thunk it? I can definitely see the truth in it. I think part of the problem is financial aid for upperclassmen. I remember I earned way more scholarships for my freshman year than any other years. There just aren't as many available and that makes it near impossible for people who really need financial aid to continue. Obviously it isn't the only problem, but it is definitely a big part of these failing rates.

A Decade With No Income Gains--This is scary. Period. It makes me thankful I have a stable job in Chile right now.

Obama’s Health Care Speech to Congress--I really liked this speech. It is the first thing I have even really read/heard regarding the health care reform, but damn, I am impressed. I think these changes are SO necessary, it isn't even funny. It scares me to hear all of these terrible stories about normal people who can't get coverage, or who go broke & become homeless thanks to illnesses. Again, it makes me thankful that I have a good coverage here in Chile and that regardless or not if I have a job, as long as I can continue to pay my policy fee, I will have coverage. I think the health care system in Chile, while not perfect, is something the States can learn from. And I like Obama's plan to make improvements to what there is, instead of trying to go to one extreme or the other.

Big Food vs. Big Insurance--Just another article that speaks to our culture...bigger is better? Maybe we should take a better look at that belief cuz it is causing us pure problems.

Another Boulder business scammed by fake employee arrest
--Those of us in Chile, and specifically Chilespouses, have heard the many stories of scam artists in Chile who call the residence when the maid is home alone and feed them lies that their employer has had an accident and needs money ASAP. Or the phone calls that your son was arrested and you must transfer money to a certain account, etc. Sometimes I wonder how people can believe these things, but then again, the scam artists come up with elaborate stories and the nanas aren't normally educated enough to know the difference. Anyway, I thought this article was interesting because a similar thing happened in Boulder, for the second time. Meaning that Chileans aren't the only ones being scammed. (Now wouldn't that just be crazy if the perpetrator in this case in Boulder was Chilean?)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Dulcinea's Package from USA

(Check out the Attention: Miss Dulcinea)

Grammy & Poppy were so excited to hear about their new grandpuppy on Sunday Aug. 23rd when we called them via skype, that they went out and bought Dulcinea some presents that very evening. For some reason, the mail system was a bit slow and so Dulcinea didn't get her package in the mail until Friday, but boy was she excited.

She got a cute little dress to wear and a new chew toy!!! Grammy & Poppy also included a Dachshund book for Christian & me. Here are some shots of our little cabrita, as we like to call her.

(What a beautiful little model...showing off her new dress!)

(And now for the new toy! It's her favorite....!)

(Trying to eat her dress, she still hasn't figured out that clothes are not food nor chew toys.
We're working on it...)

Disclaimer—La Chilengüita is a blog created upon my personal experiences and which expresses my personal opinion that in no way represents the views my employer, family or friends.