Archive | July, 2021

When The Dog Ate Chocolate

24 Jul

Have you ever have a day that started off one way and ended up in quite an expected place? That was our Friday this week, in spades. We had an appointment for Covid tests in preparation for the trip Monday to the States. Off we went to Bacalar with our house sitters in tow. The plan was to drop them off at the mercado, get our tests and then meet up to show them our favorite shops and explain some of the unfamiliar fruits and vegetables. That was the only part of the day that went according to plan.

We returned home to a peculiar and unfamiliar sight. There were bits of foil wrapping torn up all over the living room. Mmmm. Had someone gotten in the trash?

It seems our house sitters had some lovely good quality chocolate, unopened and wrapped in plastic at the bottom of a backpack, a perfect treasure hunt for a highly food driven, blind pug with an exceptional nose for trouble.

Who knew such a little dog could get in so much trouble.

Poor Luna who we later surmised had nothing to do with the caper, but got caught up in the tsunami of activity that followed. A quick calculation of the amount of chocolate consumed, weight of a tiny pug and the possible consequences, had them both bundled into the car and off to the veterinary clinic.

Luna said she was innocent.

The doctor was in the middle of another emergency and had us leave the dogs for observation. What a crazy day.

Stella and Luna spent the next few hours crated at the clinic and then home, with Stella passing chocolate diarrhea and vomit for the next few hours. The worst part was her inability to settle down, wandering in circles, disoriented and running into things. (Reminder, she is blind). It took until far into the night for her to finally quiet enough to sleep. This from a dog that sleeps most of the time.

We are so grateful that it was not worse. Dogs can die from chocolate poisoning. With two days until we leave! At least our sitters were not trying to find a vet, handle a sick dog and google translate, “damn dog ingested chocolate” in Spanish.

The good news is that the Covid tests came back negative. And I thought I wasn’t going to have anything to blog about this week. A shout out to our sitter who acted quickly and insisted we go to the vet. Disaster averted and two very scared moms relieved.

DOS TORTAS

Breathe Relax Have Fun

18 Jul

This week we pack.

Unfortunately Stela will not be going on our trip to Austin, TX.

Our first trip north of the border in two and a half years has required much thought and planning. Beyond the usual acquisition and preparation of house sitters, the reservations for transportation (air and ground), arrangements for Lisa’s mom, housing and visiting family and friends, we have the fear of Covid swirling in the mix. How will things be different? God only knows.

Somehow lots of hearts have worked their way into our home.

A friend imparted wise words this week as I expressed my fear and anxiety. “If you are overly afraid of getting sick and dying, you will also not be living.” So we will be cautious and do our best to relax.

Our bathroom mural and outdoor reality.

Once the doors to the plane close, I will take a deep breath. Maybe I won’t wait until then. Breathe, relax, have fun.

DOS TORTAS

Buena Vista Mexico

11 Jul

This week we ventured out of Covid quarantine to attend a small village art fair. The thirty minute drive landed us in Buena Vista (Good View) situated north on Laguna Bacalar. The town has mostly dirt roads and the first language is Mayan. Masks in place we wandered, sampled and shopped. Purchases included tamales, virgin piña coladas and a hammock for our dock! There is nothing like Mayan women selling their wares out of a beat up pots covered with a dish towel. There were kids playing, upbeat conjunto music and the opportunity to support local artists. The day couldn’t have gone better.

The largest sunflower I’ve ever seen.
The hammock is huge. Do come join me.
Hand made rugs and tortilla warmers.

DOS TORTAS

Your Life Has Meaning

4 Jul

I read those words this week by Father Richard Rohr, as part of his daily inspirational message. “Your life has meaning”. Some days it’s very hard for me to feel as if my life has had meaning, then I remember

Early 1990s. Weren’t we gorgeous?

I used to work for the City of Austin in the sexually transmitted disease clinic. I gave people the news that they had HIV or some other infection they picked up along the way. I interviewed them as to their sexual partners and who else needed to be tested to stem the spread. I jokingly called myself a sex detective. The official title was Disease Intervention Specialist.

Assured of anonymity, people still reluctantly gave over information. I frequently looked for contacts with very little to go on. No name, sketchy address, and sometimes not even that much. FYI, your neighbors will tell anyone your business, where you work, when you’ll be home, at least they did in the 90’s.

1996 Master’s of Education, University of Texas

I think the most amazing experience I had was finding a young girl. A guy came into the clinic with symptoms of gonorrhea or chlamydia, I don’t remember which. The problem is, men are way more likely to have symptoms (discharge, burning) and women can have a silent infection that is only uncovered in a routine physical.

He had gone to a party the previous Saturday with people he didn’t really know, in a part of town he wasn’t familiar with and had sex with a girl who’s name he couldn’t remember, Sara or Susan or something. Sigh. Finding her was a true needle in a haystack.

I asked him all the usual interview questions and was getting nowhere. He then remembered that she might have been a high school student in Georgetown, a community outside of Austin.

1993

His information didn’t really narrow the field much. What to do? My memory is a bit sketchy on the details, but I got the idea to call the school nurse at Georgetown High School. Those were the days when schools had their own nurses. I told her who I was and the oh so familiar story of the Saturday night party. And much to my amazement, a student who fit the description had been in her office that morning complaining of burning in her nether region. Bingo, mission accomplished.

My creation on Procreate.

I rarely saw clients more than once. I tried to convince them to be safe, selective and sober. Looking for contacts, I thought nothing of walking into a crack house, homeless camp or neighborhood that most folk didn’t know existed. I tried to treat everyone with respect. I really loved my job and felt like I was doing work that made a difference.

Today, living in the jungle in Mexico, I have my memories. Soon we will be heading north to see children and grandchildren. Just maybe I have made a difference there as well.

DOS TORTAS

Emilie Vardaman

travel and random thoughts

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