Mom's Blog

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Centellas Fishing Contest

EVeryone up for a Centellas fishing contest? Last year we all had a great time fishing and catching not only some bluegills, but also some pretty good sized bass and some good pictures and videos. Let's have three categories: first fish caught, largest fish, and best fishing snapshot or video. All in?
Can't wait to see everyone this June.
Check out Miguel's site to see some new pics of Javi and his christening. He looks so much like Miguel at the same age.
Congratulations to Andres and Saloumeh who will both be getting their Masters on the 31st. Andres was nominated for the business student of the year.
Looking forward also to a car race from Midland again this year. The 15th? Sam is looking for some courageous passengers. We must all be there with plenty of sun block!
This may be my last blog on this site. The members are quickly and quietly fading away, stale coffee or just plain busy life styles. So I need to talk to Sam about doing something else....
Seeing most of you soon! Comment if you read this and let me know what you think abou the contest. Everyone get your poles ready! Grandpa may have to get a couple of poles for some young ladies we know who are eager to get a line in the water.

Centellas Fishing Contest

Just had a 'great?' idea. I'm getting really excited about getting up to Gladwin and seeing the family. I think we can hold the first annual Centellas fishing contest. Let's see, we need some categories: first fish caught, largest fish, and best fishing picture. So get your cameras and poles ready. I think Novali and Raquel would have won two of the categories for sure last year. Novali had a great fishing video and Raquel, I think, got the largest fish. Can't remember who got the first one. Maybe I did?????
This may be my last blog on this site. Got to talk to Sam about updating or redoing. Most of the sites here are all but retired. Andy's coffee is getting stale, Raquel hasn't the time and Miguel has moved. And I bet people are wondering about Oscar??? So time to re-do or move out, I'm thinking.
Daniel just finished up a tennis tourament. 4th place....lost his first game (to an 18 year old) so that moved him down in his ranking....
Everyone check out MIguel's site; some great pictures of Javi's Christening. Leave a comment so I know you read this and tell me what you think about a fishing contest.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Counting the Days

It is now less than 30 days before our trip to the States. So we are starting to think about what we need to get done before we go and thinking about what we'll need to take.
I have had to get a new passport; mine is tied up in Bolivian immigration. That item had to get checked off first. Still don't have the passport but it should come in a week or so.
Next on the list is my teeth. The dental chair is a torture chamber and I reluctantly climbed in today and got sentence - that I already suspected. So that will take some time until I suffer enough at the hands of Dr. Drill.
Just before we leave, our church is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Daniel and I are both busy with that. Daniel, of course, working hard to see that the renovations are completed on time. We are still waiting for a few tiles to be laid.
In the meantime I am helping with the children's activities and women. The floor tiles came in nice size boxes. Do any of you remember the diarama you made in school? The 3-d stories made in shoe boxes? Using the empty tile boxes we have challenged the children to make a Bible story scene. WE are awarding 3 prizes according to age groups and the boxes will be on display for the anniversay celebration. (Of course, I had to make one as a sample, and that took all of one day - a great excuse not to clean house!) Today Daniel and I went out to look for prizes. EAch child will also get a small token prize just for entering. I really enjoy doing fun things with the children! I usually teach Sunday school about one or two Sundays a month when any of the teachers has to work or cannot be there.
With the ladies group we have made little momentos for the anniversary. I was able to find miniature clay pots that we have decorated with silver ribbon and an anniversary announcement.At our last meeting we made 100 of these little favors to be given at the celebration which is June 1.
This Sunday with the ladies we will be going out into the homes of the neighborhood with a tract and an invitation to attend church. The church, by the way, is looking really nice, we a new floor and entrance - very inviting.
Daniel is busy with his stamp collection, working on it most nights while we watch TV. I have been busy putting together three books for my grandchildren. Two are finished. Yet, I think I'll want Miguel's help to make them more published looking if we have time this vacation. (Thanks, Miguel)
Swimming has been postponed for a week due to cold weather. It has been in the 60's for quite a few days and the water is too cold. I have worked up to 30 laps!
Thanks for reading this long blog.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Referendum Vote, May 4

Sorry on that last blog couldn't get the photos in. Seems our computer needed some work and we'll try again. But for now, just want to add some notes on the referendum note for anyone who is following Bolivia's political situation.

Yesterday, Sunday was the vote. Elections are usually held on Sundays since it is a non-work day for most. Everyone was to stay home, bars and licore stores closed 48 hours before, it was illegal to port arms or weapons and everyone was to stay in their neighborhoods and walk to the polls. Daniel walked about a mile to our polling site, waited in line to sign in, be given his papaer balots, be fingerprinted as a sign of presenting himself to vote and then place his ballot in the cardboard box. It is interesting here that voting is not just considered a prililege, but a very solemn duty. Some banks and public institutions do not want to wait on people the day following the vote if your finger is not ink-tainted as a sign that the person had voted.
Well, the refererdum passed. There was very little violence and what did ocur was in a couple of places that had been anticipated as there was a strong leadership of MAS (Socialists Movement Party which is the ruling party in La Paz.) During the voting the President played soccer, having declared this election illegal. Actually it is NOT illegal, but that, of course, depends on your interpretation of the Constitution. However, I must add that the international press has pretty much sided with the La Paz or Evo's version of the events. MUch of the information is distorted and even in many cases just plainly NOT TRUE.
So now we'll have to see how the Central governemnt deals with this. NOw they MUST negociate.
For those of you who are unsure of what the voting was about. Santa Cruz WAS NOT voting to be independent of, or succeed from the Nation. It was voting to have some of what we in the US would call 'States Rights" which they do NOt currently have.
Not only is Santa Cruz calling for this, but four other states - here we call them 'departamentos' have already scheduled their vote for this same autonomy. This vote in Santa Cruz was the first and probably the most important since Santa Cruz is such a large and economically powerful departamento. It produces 40% of all the nations per capita income and goods.
If you want more information, read Miguel's blog For me, it was an interesting day. I'm thankful there was so little violence.
I proudly wore my 'autonomia' T shirt that evening as we went out to church.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Visitors, Pirana, and a new doctor

Having a bit of trouble trying to get this blog published with its pictures; I'm on my fourth frustrating try. so maybe no fotos, but just want to catch up any who may read this and wonder what happening in Santa Cruz. I promise not to talk about the political situation..:)
First our visitors: It's been a busy week. Our nephew, Martin Gutierrez, called that he was coming to Santa Cruz with some filming work and we were happy to have him stay with us for three days. Martin was a young teen when he stayed with us one Christmas in our home on Mason Street. Now, a young man who has his own communictions and filming business in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It was a joy to catch up with him on his life, watch some of his dvd's and remember old times.

Just after he left, my ex-student, Yolanda called saying that the Peace Corps was moving her from her village to the city for a couple of days. It seems the Bolivian President was to visit her village and bring along some of his 'cohorts' and the Peace Corps preferrred that she be tucked away in Santa Cruz. So she and another Peace Corps volunteer in a similar situation came to stay with us for two days. Maybe we should open up a bed and breakfast? It was fun having these enthusiastic gals with us, eager to begin their assignments, yet not sure if the Corps is even going to keep them here with the political unrest the country is experiencing.

In between these two visits, Daniel and Osvaldo, the man who is overseeing most of the work at our church were able to squeeze in a short fishing expedition. The two had been planning an excursion as soon as the flooring was done. So along with a couple of others from the church and brother Ruben and nephew Enrique they headed out and came back with a bucketfull of Pirana, the flesh-eating fish. Dangerous to catch since they have such sharp teeth that can cut the line or even bite your hand. But once in my fry pan, they were MY domain and with a little pepper and lemon they made a great lunch.

Then I can't not add a note about our newest doctor in the family. Felipe, Adrian and Lea's youngest, has just completed his internship at a hospital here and is now a doctor. Being only 22 years old this is quite an accomplishment, especially that he was voted the most outstanding intern by the doctors at the hospital. Way to go Centellas!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Posting requires patience!

This is the second blog regarding Sunday April 6. Hopefully I can get it all this time.
Daniel and I hosted the Centellas family birthday bash at our house on Sunday. About 25 people squeezed into out home to enjoy all kinds of foods as we remembered Claudia and Miguel who celebrate the 7th, Daniel having his 60th on Thursday and remember GRandma Centellas whose birthday was the 4th. So we had humintas that Graciela learned how to make from Abuelita, homemade Donuts made by Lea who is always trying out new sweets on all of us. I produced several loaves of my cheese bread with lots of spreads, and alforjes - those fruit filled cookies Grandma always made for her little store and which our boys always liked. Of course, topped off with traditional cake and fruit.
The pictures are of Daneil and three of his brothers, me playing RummyCube with Graciela, Lea, and Mayra, and hopefully I can get David and his son Christian in this blog. Christian is the youngest Centellas, born just several hours after Javier. We had a good time eating and catching up with each other.

Family Gathering

Sunday afternoon Daniel and I hosted a typical family gathering celebrating the April birthdays. With about 25 people at out house around our tables and outside we feasted on Graciela's homemade humintas (like Mexican tamales), Lea's homemade donuts, my cheese bread with several spreads, alfajores - the filled cookies that Grandma Centellas used to make for sale in her little store, and , of course, cake and fruit. Here are a few pictures if I can get them all downloaded. Daniel and 3 of his brothers, some of the women playing RummyCube and our youngest Centellas with proud father, David. Christian was born just a few hours after Javier.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

SASA Student=Peace Corps Volunteer

In Saginaw, I often would run into ex-students while out and about town. It was always interesting to see what some of them had done with their lives and to hear their stories. Unfortunately, there were a few times that I couldn't remember their names.
Yesterday I had great experience with an ex-student. Yolanda Brooks was in the first high school Spanish class at SASA. She was a quiet, determined and hard working student. Then in her senior year I was her mentor for independent advanced Spanish. Not long ago she emailed me that she had just graduated from MSU with a degree in Microbiology, but was volunteering with the Peace Corps. She informed me that she would be placed in Bolivia.
With great joy we finally met up as she was in town here in Santa Cruz, before heading out to her assignment in Mairana, a small town about 4 hours from Santa Cruz. She had been in Cochabmaba for training and was excited to be ready to go to her work site which would involve envronmental education related to Amboro National Park.
WE showed her around town a bit, had lunch at Casa Del Camba - all typical Santa Cruz dishes and showed her our home, and the bedroom she is free to use anytime she comes to Santa Cruz for supplies or errands. It was so much fun cathing up with this very bright young lady.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Homework and Tests

I know, I know, I'm getting as bad as some other family members I won't mention who are not blogging very often.... sorry. Just have other things on my mind....

HOmework.... Since we were in the States for a whole month, I got behind on my group Bible Study and catching up on watching the one-hour video lessons and doing all the 10 or so pages of homework for each lesson took up a lot of time. But time well-spent. I have been attending a weekly Bible study for women who speak English here. There are at least 40 of us who meet and we are using a vido series by Beth Moore on the book of Daniel. Most of us are familiar with the Sunday School stories of Daniel in the Lion's Den and the three young men who were thrown into the fiery furnance, but that's not all there is to this amazing Book. We are in the second half of the study which is Bible Prophecy, especially of the end times. I know not everything takes these things seriously, but man, they deserve an honest looking into. If all the early profecies regarding the Nation of Israel were fulfilled to the letter and date, why would God not fulfill the rest as well? And as we discussed in our last lesson, God expects us to use our brains as well as our hearts when we contemplate his Word. Boy, this study has sure taxed my brain and challenged my heart beyong what I had ever thought! So I've been doing homework folks. And it has been worthwhile.

I've also been having tests. My side of the family has had its share of heart problems, my parents, both of my brothers. I jokingly had said to one of my brothers while in the states, "well, it must be my turn next." But I wasn't REALLY joking and I was wondering if some of the symptoms I was feeling might just be my heart. So upon arriving back in Santa Cruz, we decided to check it out. Yes, the EKG, a Halter monitor and the Stress TEst. All seemed to indicate some sort of problem and the nasty word CATHERIZATION was just what I didn't want to hear. But, all told, we went forward, trusting in God's Goodness and Grace to follow through with whatever may need to be done. It's easy to say a good Christian doesn't worry, but it is easier to say than accomplish. I am thankful for good friends who upheld me in prayer and we are amazed that the results were so good.

Now that the tests are done maybe we can get back to a 'regular' schedule.Not sure if that is possible, now that Daniel has just had the tile delivered for the new floor for the church and this new phase of the remodeling project is going forward.