Archive | December, 2013

Familia Nueva

29 Dec

Spending our first Navidad y Año Nuevo in Mexico has been both a time of celebrating a journey that started more than a year ago and a bittersweet absence of the family traditions that we have maintained for many years. With the sale of our Austin home and the yet to be built house in Bacalar, we are staying here and there with our possessions scattered.

This week we had the delightful experience of meeting Nancy and Judy who found Dos Tortas on LIPS (Lesbians in Paradise) Facebook page. They are retired and live full-time in Mexico and were on a holiday vacation to a warmer clime. Judy recognized me on a chance encounter in the town square and the rest is herstory. We’ve been exploring pyramids, kayaking and sharing stories of world travels and life in Mexico. Lisa and I now have familia nueva and a place to visit on our trips to and from the States, or a getaway from the tropical summer.

There has been so much unknown in this process of jumping off a cliff and praying to grow wings or find new solid ground. Being open to the unexpected and having it land in our lap has renewed our faith that this is the right move. It’s more than a bond of strangers in a strange land. It’s knowing there are Tortas the world over and opportunities for close relationships wherever we go.

If you want to see more photos from our visit to the Mayan pyramids of Kohunlich, visit our Facebook page. As always, comments are appreciated.

Our New Torta friends.

Our New Torta friends.

Just sayin.

Just sayin.

Pass the Tamales

22 Dec

To say that I moved to Mexico to avoid the Christmas hype would not be far off the mark. The endless Christmas carols, holiday traffic, and buy, buy, buy mentality starts earlier and earlier. I used to look forward to breaking out the outdoor lights, brewing up a batch of my mother’s home-made eggnog and dusting off the cranberry recipes. While we had pretty much quit giving gifts, we certainly enjoyed time with family and friends.

This will be the first Christmas we have been away from our family. We’ve missed a few Thanksgivings, but never Christmas. How did I not see that I would have feelings about this? It hit me that I am dealing with this sadness by acting like I don’t care. “I don’t even LIKE Christmas. The people here are all weird. Do we HAVE to go to all these parties?” Waaah.

The truth is that this is the new life we’ve chosen. Our kids are grown and creating their new families and traditions. We will see them in January and have lots of time to connect. We are getting to know our new peeps and the last thing I want is to be aloof and distant, been there, done that.

So pass the tamales. I know that eggnog recipe is around here somewhere.

Thanks to our friend Scott for this wonderful little greeting card.

Electronic Hell

15 Dec

I have a brother who has no email address. He has never Googled nor ordered anything from Amazon. He doesn’t know what a Kindle is. I booked his recent flight to our family reunion while he was on the phone feeding me credit card information. I can’t send him pictures from our vacation, and he’s never read my blog. He takes great pride in not participating in a much bigger world, preferring his life on simpler terms. No passwords, I get it.

I remember when I got my first cell phone. I didn’t like the idea of being tethered to anyone who had my number. Then like everyone else, I quickly couldn’t live with out it. I purchased an IPhone to keep up with my kids and feel like technology wasn’t passing me by. Without my laptop and internet, I couldn’t have spent hours researching “retiring to Mexico” from the comfort of my lap. It would have been old school library and books.

Since coming to Mexico, we have heard of many ways to stay plugged in. For the past few months we have used wifi (in Spanish weefee) to access the web and Skype to the States. I believe there is a data plan in Mexico that can be used with an IPhone which will allow people to reach us via Skype and can also serve as a Mexican phone, all in one. Probably when we get back from the States in February, we will look into it.

This week Lisa had a liquid explosion which dumbed coffee on her laptop and I lost my IPad, both on her birthday. The laptop was rescued but the IPad is gone. It took me about 12 hours to pull myself out of a pity party and get my head on straight. The IPad allows me to take the lovely sunrise pictures that I post to Facebook daily. Sometime during the sleepless night following our disaster, I had a vision of a Bush man of the Kalahari Dessert. He was wearing a loin cloth and carrying a spear used to provide food and water. No laptops, I-this and that, charging cables, internet woes, error messages, and above all no passwords. While I will likely get another IPad, the freedom from electronic hell does sound appealing. I’m just not sure about the loin cloth.

Easier Than You Think

Easier Than You Think

Revisiting Some Favorites

Revisiting Some Favorites


First Sunrise Living in Bacalar

First Sunrise Living in Bacalar

Madre Mia

8 Dec

The Tortas have returned from Florida where we enjoyed a very family Thanksgiving. We have not been together with my siblings for many years. We hiked, did some boating, saw manatees, ate and ate some more.

Thanksgiving in Key Largo

Thanksgiving in Key Largo

Upon returning to Mexico, we landed in Cancun and breezed through customs. Outside of the airport I was looking for a bus to take us to Bacalar when a tall, official-looking young man asked me if I needed help. In the conversation, he called me “Madre”. At first I was annoyed (my go-to response) but within a breath I realized that calling a woman madre in Mexico is a term of respect. In the US we call someone a “mother” and it is akin to cursing.

While much is challenging living in Mexico, it is small, unexpected cultural experiences that endear the country to us. Being in Florida reminded us of the incredible wealth and infrastructure that the US has that makes life so easy for so many. And we don’t even know it. In poverty, human connection is the major resource. Sometimes it shows up simply as treating each other with resect.

Tortas on Holiday

Tortas on Holiday

Starfruit Key Largo

Starfruit Key Largo

Florida Sunset

Florida Sunset

Thought for the Day

A Wonderful Recipe


Feliz Dia De Gracias

1 Dec

The Tortas are off on holiday to Florida visiting family. Here’s an earlier post from our preparation for the move to Mexico. It all seems so long ago. Have  a wonderful holiday.

Date night with Lisa.

Date night with Lisa.

I met Lisa on September 16,1994 in a lesbian bar. That’s why last night was such a perfect send off for our last weekend in Austin. We had spent the day packing the trailer. Looking from our pile of stuff to that tiny trailer had caused me some exceedingly restless nights. Lisa’s history of packing 18-wheelers gave me some hope, but I still had little faith. The end results were amazing. We had help from our sons, their dad and Lisa’s cousin. I was in charge of recording where everything was put in the trailer, writing furiously as they squeezed things into every nook. If I didn’t see it with my own eyes, I would never have believed how much we fit in that trailer.

Friends had told us of a fun sounding event happening last night. It was a reunion of folks who used to hang at a bar named Rusty’s, long gone the way of lesbian bars in Austin. We took naps, dusted off our only pair of clean shorts and headed over to Maria’s Tacos for an old fashioned lesbian soiree and drag show. We had a blast. A last chance to dance a little two-step, run into some old friends and visit the time capsule of our past. It was absolutely the best send off possible. Had I not seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed we could step back in time, except of course for the cell phones, gray hair and extra weight LOL.

An end to a perfect day.

A Room Full of Stuff

Fit this in the Trailer? OMG



Find Something? I doubt it.

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