Where Oh Where Are The Keys?

4 Dec

On Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, we were heading out to be with family. Hat? check, bathing suit? check, cell phone? check, keys?

Standing in front of our rental car I reached into the end pocket of my purse for the car keys. They weren’t there. I try my best to have a designated place for the keys. Mmmm. No keys.

Key Largo, Florida USA

In the parking lot of our condo, we began digging. Still no keys. Back inside, we searched through all the obvious and not so obvious places, pockets, counter tops, bathroom? Nope.

The conclusion was that they must be locked in the trunk from when we unloaded the car the night before. It didn’t make sense but where else could they be? We tried reaching the car rental company, a local lock smith, and finally a Nissan dealer thirty minutes away. My brother volunteered to come over and call AAA a roadside assistance company, when WE FOUND THEM (ok Lisa found them. Credit where credit is due.)

Drum roll, they were under the dresser in our bedroom. As near as I can figure, I placed them on the bed and when I climbed in, the keys went flying and slid under the dresser.

It was a very stressful hour with a happy ending.

DOS TORTAS

When all else fails?

A Day To Celebrate Gratitude

27 Nov

My first favorite activity to celebrate the US holiday of Thanksgiving is watching the New York Macy’s Day Parade. I remember as a child, sitting with my dad, who loved parades. Every year we said we’d go and never did. At my brother’s house, the TV is so large you can see the performers’ nose hairs.

Turkey day tradition.
Santa closes the show.

A newer tradition that I enjoy is the Westminster dog show. I caught the end in time to watch Winston the Frenchy win best of show.

Miss my puppers.

Of course the day would not be complete without stories of Thanksgiving’s past. The family memories that we are making and passing down are what it’s all about. “Remember the time…”

We saw a dolphin off the back of my brother’s boat. Lisa got the money shot.
Walking the neighborhood.
What it’s all about. Family and food.

DOS TORTAS

Florida Same Only Different

19 Nov

After two days of intense travel that turned out to be even more difficult than I imagined, we are finally in Florida, USA. If you look on a globe, you’ll see that Bacalar and the Florida Keys are the same latitude more or less. I’m looking at the same swaying coconut palms from our Key Largo balcony.

Raining

There were some sweet moments over the last two travel days, like visiting with this child on the bus who was intensely studying my art journal. I love kids and am so happy that I have enough Spanish language skill to be able to talk to them.

She intently studied every sketch, turning the pages slowly.
Travel Art Journal
Adiós Mexico

Sunrise in our hotel room in Puerto Morelos, outside of Cancun.

Also the delightful couple who are minding our dogs while we are gone. Ben from Ireland and Katrin from Austria.

We will be enjoying my siblings and assorted nieces and nephews and a grand holiday meal. I’m sure all the crazy travel expenses and headaches will fade into the distance. Not!

DOS TORTAS

Family Reunion Time

13 Nov

Our family has been whittled down to four siblings, myself and three brothers. We are spread about and with the added delight of Covid, haven’t seen each other in six years. We will gather in a weeks time in Florida to reminisce, eat, swim, share, hangout and pass our family lore on to the next generation. I’m looking forward to it.

1981, my youngest brother Michael’s wedding. He died in 2000.

There is something about siblings. We have fought, resented, silenced, made up and reconnected as adults. I think we’ve finally made our peace and there should be no food fights.

2016 Nieces and nephews, spouses and my son at the far end. One brother missing.

So we’ll be packing up and making the trek to the US. House sitters arrive on Wednesday. Wish us safe travels.

Last picture before my mother died.
Mid 1950s

A Scary Close Call – Hurricane Lisa

5 Nov

Living in the tropics makes us vulnerable to hurricanes, plain and simple. Over the years we have taken measures to ensure our safety and ability to ride out whatever Mother Nature throws at us.

Facing the Laguna.

After several years of mopping up water on our screened porch, we added hurricane shutters. Our biggest threat is wind. I imagined a branch flying through our screens. Yikes.

“X” marks the spot. At the time this was posted, it wasn’t even raining at our house.
Bacalar waiting for the rain from Hurricane Lisa.

Lisa came ashore in Belize, which is south of us.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=-O11pydzb38&feature=share

Since we are not on the ocean, there is no fear of storm surge. We have built drainage both outside and in. At some point we’d like to add solar as back up. The other option is a generator. In the nine years we have lived here, we’ve been very very lucky.

The morning after.

We finally got some wind and a downpour during the night. My wife slept through it all.

DOS TORTAS

Gallery

Bread for the Dead

30 Oct

Oaxaca is my favorite city in Mexico. I have spent hours walking the narrow streets, people watching, haunting the galleries and museums, praying in the cathedral and sketching the water fountains and gardens. The ancient traditions can be seen in the parades and fiestas that fill the calendar. Especially important is the Day of The Dead. The venerable are brought to life as in the Disney rendition COCO, a sweet story of a young boy trying to bridge the gap between old and new, life and death.

This year has brought to my alter of memories my dear friend Suze, artist Fili and now a most unexpected guest Leslie Jordan. What a shocker! I guess none of us knows when our time is up.

Enjoy this 2017 blog from Casa Colibrí (House of the Hummingbird) on Day of the Day events in Oaxaca. 

Pan de Muertos in Tlacolula mercado - October 29, 2017

View From Casita Colibrí

When Día de Muertos approaches, the panaderías (bakeries) work overtime to fill their shelves and counters with Pan de Muertos — an egg based bread, sometimes elaborately decorated, but always with a cabecita (also known as a muñeca), a little painted flour dough head, at the top.

The most intricately decorated bread comes from Mitla.  For a few years, Mitla held a Pan de Muertos fair and competition, with prizes for decoration.  Alas, because their bread is in such demand, the feria was halted two years ago as the bakers put a priority on attending to their customers needs — this is their livelihood, after all!

However, the small pueblo, Villa Díaz Ordaz picked up the slack and last year began holding a Festival del Pan de Muertos.  The village is off the beaten path and the festival hasn’t yet drawn much in the way of tourism, but it’s a…

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Too Old To Learn Spanish – Not

23 Oct

Some people have a knack for languages. Research shows that the earlier you start, the easier it is to learn. Rolling your r’s and softening your d’s is just some of the oral gymnastics required to speak Spanish.

We drove out of Texas on September 1, 2013. Lisa’s first foray into learning Spanish was translating highway signs. Many were self explanatory. Others not so much.

Si toma no maneja – If you drink don’t drive

No deje piedras sobre el pavamiento – Don’t leave rocks on the highway (sometimes a form of civil protest)

Más vale tarde que nunca – Better Late Than Never

Works for us and it’s free!

After nine years of using the application Duolingo, Lisa can hold her own in most conversations. I joke that I can’t talk about her behind her back any more because she understands almost everything. Her main skill is not being afraid of sounding foolish. I remember overhearing her tell a friend’s Mexican parents to “talk to me like a two year old “. She is not afraid of making mistakes. Locals really appreciate her effort.

Lisa at the pyramids of Teotihuacan 2017.

For me, I lived in Mexico and learned Spanish in my twenties. In the beginning of our time in Mexico, I was doing all the translating. Today Lisa thinks nothing of heading to the hardware store, pharmacy or market by herself. I’m still in charge of phone calls, government documents and doctor’s appointments, although I sometimes need help with technical language. God bless Google Translate.

Living with a Mexican family in 1974.

Living in the country who’s language you are trying to learn helps, but so does determination and perseverance. It is said that learning a second, or third language helps keep your brain sharp and “young”. I guess for us, we’re getting younger every day.

DOS TORTAS

Slow Slow Quick Quick

16 Oct

This week I was working in the kitchen and listening to 90’s Country Music. I was dancing around by myself, two stepping, spinning. Slow slow quick quick. So many of the songs brought to mind individual friends, Harper, Jean, Cori, Denise, Cindy, Trish, Betty. We danced two or three nights a week, two stepping, waltz, and line dancing. It’s where I met my wife.

That’s me, second from the left.

I came out in 1990’s in Austin, Texas. The country bar was the place to see and be seen. I quickly figured out taking dance lessons and learning to lead got the attention and the girls. I’d always been a dancer so it wasn’t that difficult. So many memories.

We had so much fun. Happy Halloween

I remember being much younger and having a neighbor in the duplex next door who listened to 60s music all day. I rolled my eyes. Ah the judgements of youth. While I don’t listen to Garth, Travis, Willie, George, Dolly or Shania all day, for an hour this week I was transported to a simpler time. Good times for this old gal.

DOS TORTAS

Finding Your People

9 Oct

You’ve probably read about “Blue Zones”. They are areas of the planet where people live longer, healthier and happier. Studies have identified commonalities that we all can incorporate into life to improve health and longevity.

The one important area of the circle that has eluded us has been having a community of friends and family that we socialize with and depend on. When we first explored moving to Bacalar, we found what appeared to be a vibrant social community. There were parties and the potential for numerous friendships, or so we thought. In the nine years we have lived here, much has changed. People moved on, Covid hit and we have grown more and more isolated in our beautiful jungle home.

The view from our porch.

This week the proverbial shit hit the fan. Lisa’s mom has not been doing well since her bout with Covid. There have been multiple doctor visits as we attempted to figure out and give her some relief from symptoms that have put a halt her day to day activities.

Last photo before Covid.

Also this week, Lisa and I both broke out in some jungle crud rash that is itchy, and causing small, burning blisters. I will not post any pictures.

I had a molar pulled due to a broken root. Hopefully I am a candidate for an implant down the road. Again, no pictures.

On top of all of this and more that I won’t go into, the car broke down. Weird smells and even weirder noises is enough to stress us out big time which I’m sure is a no-no for Blue Zone living.

When I woke today my game plan was clear, ask for help. As a USer, lesbian and overall pain in the ass, my modus operandi is, figure it out, do it myself, “I’ve got this”. Well, not today folks.

David, the general contractor who built our house took Alice to her doctor appointment and provided translation ❤️

I had made a friend at the gym who mentioned that he had an auto mechanic. We have found it so important to know people who know people. I called Rod and his mechanic is at our house right now working on the car. We have been loosing sleep over all this drama, which is never a good thing.

A burned out alternator is not in our wheelhouse
My hunky gym rat. Thank you Rod for sending your mechanic.

I’m not sure what’s with us and hunky guys but we are so grateful for the help. The car is fixed and Alice has an inner ear infection which is highly treatable. Breathe, relax. I guess you never know where your people will come from. Relationships of all sorts are worth nurturing and sometimes you do that by being vulnerable and asking for help. Friends can always say no, but sometimes they surprise you.

DOS TORTAS

Happy Anniversary – 28 Years

2 Oct

Twenty-eight years for a lesbian relationship is like a hundred years for everyone else. The bookies taking bets on us would have lost money big time.

Lisa – twelve years my junior. Former smoker, drinker, X-military. She just started college in 1994.

Me – mom to three children, still sharing a house and co-parenting with my X-husband. I just started graduate school in 1994.

Our first Valentine’s. We were so young! 1997

We met at “the bar”. For you younger folks, back in the day, gay bars were how we all met. At one time there were actually three lesbian bars in Austin, Chances, Nexus and About Time! Unfortunately they have gone the way of the very extinct dodo bird.

In 1999, we had a backyard commitment ceremony after five years and the purchase of a house. Nothing says commitment like buying a house together.

It’s all about the cake!
Sharing a private moment.

In 2015 marriage became legal in all 50 US states. We had a small ceremony and made it legal in California. In case you lost count, that gives us three anniversary dates (and two honeymoons).

Our daughter planned and executed this memorable event.

As we can barely remember what day it is, we have always celebrated the day we met, September 16, 1994. It’s been a wild ride and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Our recent visit to Austin. Our eldest son. 2022

DOS TORTAS

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