Archive | January, 2014

Adiós Tejas

26 Jan

As we prepare to return this week to Mexico, I reflect in the lessons learned while visiting family and home. Lisa and I try to live by a few “rules”, one of which is not to play the “what if” game, i.e. “what if we have car trouble?” “what if we can’t find a hotel?” what if, what if!! It can make us crazy. Instead we prepare the best we can and deal with situations as they arise.

A similar crazy-making thought came up for me yesterday as I decided whether to visit with my dear friend Alison in San Antonio, or go to the zoo with my wife, MI and kids. I chose to visit with my friend. We sat in her beautiful livingroom and talked much as we have for forty years, catching up on family and life in general. It was very peaceful and I enjoyed myself very much. At the end of the day, while listening to Lisa, et al rave about the wonderful time they had at the zoo, I began to second guess myself. I SHOULD have gone to the zoo (along with the resulting bad feelings). But I caught myself and decided to be happy with my decision. I haven’t managed to be in two places at the same time yet. It is impossible to know the results of my choices before they are made. There are no guarantees, only the decision to be happy with the choice made.

I finished out the day with a lovely memory. Hopefully as I prepare to leave our children and grand babies, I can be equally at peace. The intention is set, wish me luck on execution.

The love affair continues.

The love affair continues.

Chilly San Antonio Farmer's Market

Chilly San Antonio Farmer’s Market

Love is messy.

Love is messy.

Missing Texas? Really?

19 Jan

Being visitors in our home country and state has been an unusual experience. With a Walmart on every corner, it is difficult to be interested in the passing landscape of highway travel. Driving in traffic is a universal complaint and a very different experience from Mexico which has its own version of congestion. So what exactly do we miss? Now don’t laugh, it’s the Country Western radio station! Yup, you can’t live in Texas without something rubbing off. I listen to the radio in Mexico, but as in the US, there’s way more chatter than music. I love música mexicana, but I cannot follow the DJ dialogue AT ALL and grow bored and turn it off. We both laughed out loud when we found ourselves b-bopping down the road singing along to music that we didn’t know we missed. After all, we met in a CW bar and started our courtship two-stepping.

So yes, there have been surprises during our visit. One that wasn’t unexpected was the birth of our granddaughter Sophia Aria who made her appearance yesterday. She weighted in at 8lb 2oz. The best part for me was seeing my son fall madly in love with his new daughter. As the father of a two year old son who’s life revolves around all things on four wheels, my son has voiced self doubt at his ability to father a daughter. I think we can set that notion to rest.

Please join me in welcoming the newest Torta.

In love with Sophia

In love with Sophia

Loving Sophia

Diaper changin Daddy 

The Newest Torta

Our First Granddaughter


Waiting in Texas

12 Jan

The Tortas have been recovering from our adventurous drive from southern Mexico to central Texas. We’re hanging out with our youngest son and his family waiting on the birth of our first granddaughter (Sophia). Lisa’s mom arrived and will be driving back to Bacalar with us at the end of January. I remember playing the waiting game, with babies who refused to be born on anyone’s time but their own, and with a move to Mexico over four months ago. Actually, we’re still waiting to close on our property in Mexico, build and move into our home there. The builder has been selected and first payment made, so we wait some more.

The computers are fixed and the IPad replaced. We are working our way through the purchase of items that are difficult to find in Bacalar – yarn to finish a project, a battery for my watch, new running shoes, lube for my bike chain that rusted from three months of neglect.

I think this week will be pretty low key. Lisa came down with a bug yesterday and we’ve been dealing with fever and other bodily fluids that need not be mentioned. A challenge is visiting friends in Austin, over an hour away, while waiting on Sophia. We’ll probably arrange a get-together on short notice and hope folks can come.

The challenge is always to appreciate the present and not constantly look down the road to some better time or situation. Thanks for visiting with the Tortas. What are you waiting for to be happy?

The Newest Torta

The Newest Torta

Hunter and GrandmaLIsa

Hunter and GrandmaLIsa








So much for waiting.

So much for waiting.

OMG It’s Sunday!

5 Jan

We left Bacalar on Monday with the dim-whitted idea of meandering along Mexico’s Costa Esmeralda toward Veracruz, and Tampico while enjoying a peaceful drive with beautiful vistas of the Gulf of Mexico. Day one, we drove like wild women through Villahermosa and on to a “little town” who’s name no one can pronounce. Driving for 12 hours is not a good idea.

As in the US, many small towns in Mexico have exploded with traffic. Narrow streets make for a hair-raising experience and after a long day on the road, the Tortas don’t do so well. We spent one chilly night in Coatzocoalcos as a northern had blown in making a walk along the beach impossible. The hotel front doors were tied shut because of the wind.

Day two, on to Veracruz. This time we got smart and made reservations at a little hotel downtown. We wanted to be in the heart of the New Year’s Eve celebration. What were we thinking!? At two in the afternoon, the traffic was a nighmare. We got within blocks of the hotel only to find roads closed and traffic diverted. I tried calling the hotel but my language skills disintegrate over the phone. We were parked at a curb, trying not to cry, surrounded by street musicians and parties that got started early. They were having way more fun than we were.

We channeled our inner Amazing Race and hailed a cab and told a sweet driver our dilemma. He told me to climb in and off we went with Lisa in tow.  Placed in his experienced hands we turned in circles until arriving as if my magic in front of the hotel. He told me why the traffic was so bad. Apparently the presidente of the state was being sworn in downtown that very afternoon. Road closures were for security and our cab driver was not happy either.

We had a blast in Veracruz for New Year’s Eve. Once we got settled in the hotel, the tension of the trip melted away. We walked through the zócalo, cathedral and artists mercado, people watching and enjoying a beautiful evening. Veracruz is an old city with so much to see and do. We decided to stay.

Day three, we walked the malecón, (boardwalk) and visited Fort San Juan Ulúa. Veracruz has a very busy port. We stood mesmerized by huge ships full of cargo containers parking more easily than we could downtown.

We crossed the boarder without event and arrived at our son’s house outside of San Antonio yesterday. The middle of the trip we’d like to forget. To say the least, it was a huge lesson learned and possibly material for a future blog. Our granddaughter is due any time and we are glad to be settling in for a visit with family and friends. Just how resilient are the Tortas? We better find out before we drive back to Bacalar in a month.

Shipping Port Veracruz

Shipping Port Veracruz

Fort San Juan Ulúa

Fort San Juan Ulúa

NYE Selfie

New Year’s Eve on the Zocalo

Mantra for driving in MX

Mantra for driving in MX






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