Archive | April, 2017

The Long Trip Home

30 Apr

After a twenty hour return trip from our vacation to Austin Texas, the Tortas are very glad to be home. No, it doesn’t normally take that long, but we had a five-hour layover in Dallas. It’s a long story.

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A great find tucked away at the end of a hallway in the Dallas airport allowed us to work out the kinks. Every airport needs a yoga studio.

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Lisa is a veteran so we checked out the USO.

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What a welcoming spirit and comfy chairs to pass the time!

A shout out goes to our house sitters Paul and Natasha. We returned to healthy, happy dogs and a home much as we left it.

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Puppy kisses from Luna who was very happy to see us.

After sailing through customs, we met up with Lisa’s mom in Cancun. She was arriving from California. Our travel was not particularly stressful, just long.  It is great to be home.

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Go With God Sandy

23 Apr

The recent visit to our hometown of Austin, Texas included a drive through the old neighborhood. You could tell which houses had had a facelift or complete makeover and likely changed hands. One house stood out with its overgrown yard and clunker parked in the driveway. It looked absolutely the same as when we left almost four years ago. We laughed and wondered aloud how Sandy was doing.

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Pulling out of our driveway August 2013

Leaving Austin after having lived there forty years for me and more than twenty for Lisa meant lots of goodbyes. We visited with friends, some of which we hadn’t seen in years, but who wanted to connect before we took off for the wilds of Southern Mexico. We even threw a party in our yard, complete with live music. There were many opportunities for folks who wanted it. But we never saw Sandy.

She was our neighbor a few doors down. She played softball with Lisa’s team for a few years. I remember hanging out in her hot tub with a group of women naked and laughing. It was a first for me but lots of fun.

Over the years, Sandy became more and more of a recluse. I stopped by her house more than once to invite her to some event and she was clearly uncomfortable and did not invite me in. The house reeked of cigarette smoke. She promised to show, but never did.

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Sandy’s trusty little white truck.

I knew Sandy had retired from her job as a surgical assistant to an eye doctor. She also volunteered with children. I wonder what happened. Lisa and I had dinner last week with some mutual friends who informed us that Sandy had died. When she didn’t show for a cancer treatment, the clinic sent the police for a wellness checkup. They found her in her recliner.

I believe a lifelong struggle with depression and alcohol contributed. She only died the first of March and it makes me so sad. I just came from the grocery store and saw someone who looked like her and did a double take. Then I remembered.

Adiós means “go with God”, so adiós Sandy. I know that you are at peace. We just never know when we say goodbye if we’ll ever see anyone again. So hug them tight and tell them you love them, even if they’re your neighbor.

DOS TORTAS

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God Bless Texas

16 Apr

The Tortas are heading into their final week of vacation in Austin. It’s been fun beyond words. When we lived here, we did not take the time to be tourists in our own city. We’ve been eating great food, visiting locations old and new, and loving on family and friends. 

I’m not a big fan of taking photos of food, but here are a few that I couldn’t resist. A vegan bacon cheese burger from the Cove in San Antonio. Absolutely delicious. Stuffed zucchini at Cuba512 at Westgate and Wm. Cannon. We’ve eaten Thai, Indian, and lots of Texas Mexican food. Yum yum.

A cemetery in Round Rock from the 1800’s that houses the remains of Texas slaves. There are also beautiful old headstones from later times.

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Sunset Valley Farmers Market

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An art gallery in San Antonio while visiting friend Alison.

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A Texas rattlesnake at Roberta’s house.

McKinney Falls State Park outside of Austin.

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Maria’s Tacos with friend Harper.

As you can see it’s been a varied and enjoyable trip. The upcoming week is scheduled with lunch dates and a party. Today we’re hanging out with the grands. Our trip has been so much more than we expected. A truly memorable vacation. God bless Texas.

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Texas Fun

9 Apr

The Tortas are having a blast on our annual trip to Austin. The weather has been perfect and our stay comfortable thanks to the loan of a house and car by friends. We feel very grateful.

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Port Aransas on the Texas gulf.

No trip to the coast would be complete without renting a giant unicorn floaty-thing. Hunter and Grandma rode the rough surf taking in faces full of water. Hunter loved pushing me off the raft. Building sand castles took me home to my childhood on the Jersey Shore.  The kids and grands camped in the trailer with the dogs. The Grandmas got a hotel.

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Grandma Lisa, Sophia and Dad play in the tide pools.

A visit to the State Aquarium rounded out the weekend. Otters, sharks and stingrays, oh my. Everyone had a great time and the kids slept on the long ride home.

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Great Grandpa joins in the birthday lunch. Sophia loves her hat and all things pink.

A birthday lunch to kick off a celebratory weekend for Hunter who turned six on Saturday. He reads and does math and creates Lego masterpieces. Quite a kid.

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Making funny faces.

We are having so much fun. Life is good.

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Lawn signs seen about Austin.

Out And About

2 Apr

The Tortas are on vacation, I know, maybe it’s better to say, the Tortas are NOT in Bacalar for the month of April. We are visiting family and friends in Austin, Texas. As a result, there will be an nominal effort at keeping up the blog. 

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Grabbing a selfie with our good friend Roberta at our favorite breakfast spot, Kirby Lane.

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A respite to contemplate and relax.

Since arriving, I have been in a state of anxiety at landing in a big city and driving around at a gazillion miles an hour. People don’t make eye contact and are focused on their devices or wherever they are headed. Having lived here forty years, everything feels familiar but foreign at the same time.

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Texas Bluebonnets

Today I went for a walk on one of Austin’s many lovely green belts. It was just what I needed! There was cool air, fresh fragrances and lots of friendly dogs and their walkers to greet. In Bacalar, we live outdoors so much, that we feel claustrophobic in the US. Note to self, get outside and connect with nature IMMEDIATELY upon arrival NOTB (north of the border).

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Prickly pear cactus blooming.

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A trail to explore. 

We’re off on an electronics-free weekend camping trip with kids and grands to the Texas Coast. Hopefully I will have some pictures for next week. Until then, if you want to reach us, please use email or FB Messenger and do get out for a walk, wherever you live.

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