Living In The Wilds Of Mexico

23 Jan

The weather has been lovely, dipping to 60F (15.5C) at night and low 80’s (28C) during the day. It’s been far easier to pull on my jungle shoes and take the dogs for a walk. Nature also seems to be enjoying the mild temperatures as I have had several amazing animal sitings.

STOCK photo.

Out on our afternoon stroll, I heard a thud and Luna was going ballistic. This lovely creature dropped out of a coconut palm about 20 feet from me and flew into the jungle. I stood in shock trying to figure out what I had just seen. After talking to some naturalists in the community and describing an animal I’d only seen in a flash, we determined it to be a tayra. They are members of the weasel family and like all animals in the area, quickly loosing their habitat. The picture looks small, but it was almost the size of Luna. No rumble in the jungle for this dog, although she sorely wanted to.

I’m still not sure exactly what this bird was.

Looking out my window this week I saw this lovely, large heron perched on my neighbor’s palapa. It hung out for a long time and I couldn’t get a great photo. I was hoping for a wing span. We don’t see many birds this size except for the occasional buzzard.

The rarely seen sofa climbing blind pug.

And finally we have Stela who escaped the yard last Saturday and went on her own adventure. It’s a good story…in retrospect. Stay tuned next week for details. Meanwhile, get outside and take in nature, before it’s gone.

DOS TORTAS

What Exactly Is PRE Cancerous?

16 Jan

A week after noticing a flakey, fingerprint sized patch of dry skin on the bridge of my nose, I went to see the dermatologist. The area wasn’t healing and I suspected the worse.

It was diagnosed pre-cancerous and I was given a six week treatment with some kind of cream. Fingers crossed it works. I was also given a sunscreen with instructions to apply liberally every morning and to wear a brimmed hat any time I leave the house. I guess I no longer have to worry about styling my hair. As if I ever did.

My new chapeau bought when I was last in California.

When I lived in Texas I never left the house without a hat of some kind. I’m not sure why I got so lazy living in the Mexican tropics. The doctor assured me that no matter where we live, sunscreen and a hat is required to prevent skin cancer. So if you’re one of those people who “doesn’t do hats”, I recommend you get over it, or you too could be Googling PRE CANCEROUS. Just sayin.

DOS TORTAS

The Four Pillars

9 Jan

I read on CNN that Hillary Clinton had co-written a mystery book with a famous Canadian author I had never heard of, Louise Penny. Hillary’s book got mixed reviews, but the first of many books by Ms. Penny was exalted.

I have taken to audiobooks to encourage me to spend more time in the kitchen cooking, baking and cleaning up. With my chief dish washer still in Texas for a few more weeks, I need all the encouragement I can get. Cleaning up is not my forte.

I have not finished Still Life, but I’m enjoying it immensely. A few days ago, the main protagonists said something I had to replay several times. It was one of those lessons I needed to hear.

Of these four noteworthy statements, “I need help” seems to be the most difficult for me, followed in close second by, “I don’t know”. I freely admit that if we know everything, we learn nothing. I grew up in the time of women’s liberation and as a lesbian, asking for help, especially from men, was frowned upon.

Since taking note of this foible of mine, I have caught myself several times saying, “yes” to offers of help. The roof did not cave in, no one thought me less capable and I didn’t spend a lot of time trying to figure out something that was outside my realm of expertise. It also felt good to be vulnerable.

So which is your Achilles’ heel? They’re pretty easy to remember,

<I need help,

<I don’t know,

<I’m sorry,

<I was wrong.

DOS TORTAS

Every day,

What A Year What A Year Adiós 2021

2 Jan

I fell into 2021 which required a cast and a lot of inactivity. An indication of what was in store perhaps?

Some of my blog posts for the year included among other things, recipes for garlic soup, spaghetti sauce, broccoli slaw, and dog food.

I renewed my passport in an adventure to Playa del Carmen.

Taking the bus and being careful.

Shared my quilts and my art.

Lone Star

Had dog adventures which included a trip to the vet after much chocolate consumption.

They look so innocent. I think Luna was, but not the evil pug.

Reviewed a few Netflix movies.

Provided some tips for dealing with emotional trials and tribulations.

And documented two trips to the States which included Lisa’s back surgery.

What a year, what a year! Here’s to 2022!

Much love from DOS TORTAS.

No Muddling

26 Dec

A friend recently commented on Facebook about muddling through in 2022. I had to give it a think and decided, “no muddling for me.”

I want to live a happy life. There’s something about getting older, I’m less willing to put up with bullshit, I mean muddling. I want clear communication, peace and connection. None of these things comes easily or naturally to me. But I’m willing and continually work at it.

This sweet video is an absolute inspiration. Maybe you’ll find something in it for you too. Enjoy and Happy Holidays.

DOS TORTAS

Pave Paradise And

19 Dec

put up another hotel.

Three new apartments across from us. They’ve been sitting empty and unfinished for a year.

We bought our property in 2012 in Bacalar, Mexico. The town is situated on a pristine lake, the second largest in Mexico. At that time the village of Bacalar was small and not particularly memorable. I always thought that if not for the Laguna, no one would give Bacalar a second glance.

A new Private Property sign and fence near our house. The jungle has been cleared by two men and a machete.

During the Covid shutdown, construction was booming in Bacalar. There are new hotels on every corner, sometimes two. The president of Mexico is pushing the Mayan Train project, a tourist train that will connect the major cities and ancient pyramids of the Yucatán. We’re talking 8,000 additional visitors a day. Those tourist dollars and jobs are hard to pass up.

A hotel has blocked our street. We can no longer walk the dogs along the lovely Laguna coast road.

One of the reasons that Bacalar has been so attractive to foreign residents is the lack of US tourists. A four hour drive from Cancun keeps people with a week vacation in the all-inclusives in Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum. The addition of a fast train will change all that.

Tourists will be funneled to many of the quiet Mayan villages.

Not only will the construction of the train tear up the jungle but it will overcrowd the ancient sites of Palenque and Calakmul. Bacalar may be building hotels like crazy but the rest of the infrastructure is sorely lacking. More tourists means more boats which means more pollution in the water. Seasonal floods are already washing pesticides and fertilizers into the Laguna. The striking blue colors near our house are slowly dying.

Crystalline water that is threatened by development. (2012)

What does the future hold for Bacalar and Dos Tortas? We talk all the time about what will be our Plan B. For now we stay put. If and when the train goes through, we will have to make a decision. Stay tuned.

DOS TORTAS

Allergic To Breathing

11 Dec

Austin Texas aka the allergy capital of the world has cedar fever. Ask anyone who is afflicted. You’d better book with your allergists a year in advance. Burning eyes, drippy noses and yes, sometimes fever make winter a time to be dreaded in Central Texas. Also it is intermittent. One year I’d feel smug as everyone else suffered and the next year I’d want to do myself in.

If you’ve ever heard the saying, “wherever you go, there you are,” well this moment I’m in Bacalar and the sugar cane is in full bloom. I thought I had escaped allergy season in Texas. Not so fast.

This week, on our way to Chetumal, the fluffy sugar cane flowers were waving in the wind. Sugar cane pollen is a known allergen causing runny noses and all the other symptoms I’ve been experiencing this week. If there’s anything in the air to be allergic to, it finds its way up my nose.

Certainly one option.

So I’m feeling a bit under the weather and trying to stay rested. One suggestion is to stay indoors as much as possible. For one, I practically live outdoors as our house is very open to the elements and second, my dogs just don’t cooperate. Maybe I’ll start wearing a mask!

DOS TORTAS

The only way to be sick.

It’s Good To Be Home

5 Dec

I left Austin via magic carpet this past Wednesday on the first flight out scheduled for 8:30 am departure. I had a rental car to gas up and return. International flights require arriving at the airport three hours ahead of time. My sleep was restless so I got up and was at the airport waaaaay too early. Oh well.

I arrived to a rainy Cancun which made locating the car a bit of a challenge. Our house sitter had left it for me ten days prior. I prayed it would start, and it did! Much gratitude.

There was bumper to bumper traffic leaving the airport and construction along the Playa del Carmen highway. My gas tank was getting low and I planned to stop on my way out of Tulum. Way too many travelers had the same idea. There were long lines at the gas pumps so I crossed my fingers and kept going. True to the season I hit a thunder storm which slowed my progress. By the time I made it to the next gas station, I was feeling nervous and coming up with contingency plans.

I made it home to Bacalar safely and spent the first few days putting out fires. One of them was no internet and thus the tardiness of the blog. I’m sitting here watching large, fat, black squirrels prance on our coconut palms. Their antics make me laugh, breathe, and relax. It’s good to laugh. Welcome home.

DOS TORTAS

https://youtu.be/zJ6VT7ciR1o

Time For A Kick In The Butt (Mine)

27 Nov

Time spent in the US has sometimes been surreal. I want to click my ruby slippers three times and be home in my jungle house in Bacalar, Mexico. Dang, I left my ruby slippers home!

1999 commitment ceremony before we could legally marry.

While visiting the States I have needed to address some health issues. There is more technology available and I have good health insurance so why not. The trouble is, the outcomes have been a bit disconcerting.

2012/2021 (one new granddaughter)

High cholesterol– This is nothing new. I have had the same results in the past. I hunker down with my diet but then don’t follow up to see if what I’m doing is working. In Mexico there isn’t an annual exam per say. I have had my head in the sand.

High triglycerides– Sugar is my Achilles heal. At home I eat almost none. In the US I get sucked in to the SAD (Standard American Diet). Too much nibbling, too much sugar, too much food.

Pre-Diabetic– This diagnosis really threw me. With a Masters in Health Education I have always prided myself in eating well and exercising. Truth be told, I haven’t been understanding how my aging body, well, ages. I have been lazy and am paying the price.

View from the kitchen window.

My answer came from a friend who recommended an online application to keep me accountable. In just a few days I have learned that I am not exercising as much as I think I am, I am not eating as well as I think I am and I need help.

My seventieth birthday is in February and I am using it as both a goal and a marker. The doctor in Austin gave me little assistance other than take this pill and eat less carbs and red meat. As much as I hate to document everything, research shows that it works. Simply keeping a food journal reduces weight and most of us can use to loose a few. If you’re interested in knowing more about the application, leave your email in the comments.

DOS TORTAS

As Thoughts Turn Home Toward Mexico

21 Nov

As my time to return to Mexico from Austin, Texas looms on the horizon, I have such mixed emotions. I wish I could be in two places at once, which always happens when I have to leave my dear wife. My departure requires her to be more independent, fixing her own meals, arranging transportation and most of all, finding support that is not me. All of it while juggling medication and healing from major surgery. She’s a trooper, I’m the one who’s nervous.

How I’ve been passing the time in Austin.

I do get the bennies of returning home to the jungle of Southern Mexico, seeing the dogs, returning to daily swims and sleeping in our bed. There is also much to be done. We have been navigating a lot from the US, including my mother-in-law’s care and clogged toilet. Daily messages from our workers, house sitter and MIL do not make for peace and quiet.

Home sweet Bacalar.

This week we will celebrate the US holiday of Thanksgiving. It will be a lovely visit with family and a delicious meal round a large table. A day devoted to gratitude while gazing on the faces of those we love is a good thing. We haven’t been in Austin for Thanksgiving since 2012.

February 2012 My 60 birthday.

Whether you’re in the US or somewhere else on the planet, take a whole day to devote to being grateful. I find that listing things I’m grateful for and WHY helps me to connect more to my heart.

Blogging has afforded me the opportunity to write, connect and hear from followers around the world. I appreciate each of you. So Happy Thanksgiving and catch my socially distanced hug.

DOS TORTAS

Emilie Vardaman

travel and random thoughts

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