Archive | March, 2022

Persevere

26 Mar

Watching the US Supreme Court nomination hearings this week of Judge Katanji Brown Jackson has been both inspirational and emotional. She gives hope to all women, young people, and anyone who has dreams for a better more egalitarian world.

Reading today that Ginni Thomas, wife of sitting Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas tried in December 2020 to influence the overthrow of US elections made me sick to my stomach. What the heck!

Every day is a new beginning.

My personal takeaway this week is what an anonymous passerby whispered to Katanji Brown as a young, confused Harvard student, “persevere.” I’m so glad Judge Brown did.

We must all persevere. Life is hard.

DOS TORTAS

Which Way To NOT Go

20 Mar

When we retired to southern Mexico seven years ago, the village of Bacalar was quiet and peaceful. Three cars slowing down was a traffic jam. We used to listen to the stories of dirt roads and no gas stations from the expats who have been here twenty years. You would have thought we’d have seen the writing on the wall.

All roads lead from Bacalar.

In the last two years, as growth has exploded, some good things have happened. Well, at least some pot holes are filled. Slowly roads were paved and with the improvements I noticed something that I found unusual. Roads around town became one-way streets. The odd thing is that rather than pointing out which way TO go, the street signs direct traffic which way NOT to go. It messes with my brain, but this week I think I found out why. There are anomalies in Spanish, not found in English, that may explain.

Don’t turn left.

Menos mal, literally “less bad”. means a good thing in Spanish.

Menos mal que, means “it’s a good thing that.”

So something that is good is described by the degree of badness that it has.

Echar (to throw) de menos, less or badly means to miss

Te echo de menos means “I miss you”.

Also, telling time is stated by subtracting quarters of the hour. For example,

Son las cinco, it is five o’clock, menos cuarto, less fifteen minutes or 4:45. In English we would say that it’s fifteen minutes TO five.

Perhaps other languages use subtraction rather than addition to life in general, ie which way NOT to go or the degree of negative a thing is to determine it’s benefit. If anyone can shed light on this observation, I would love to hear it.

Rather than looking at the negative, behind, or ahead, left or right, we work on staying present. “Right here, right now.” Mexicans are also pretty good about living in the moment, when they’re NOT, not turning left. I’m not sure any of this makes sense, but have a good week.

DOS TORTAS

Sometimes Life Is A Miracle

12 Mar

I hate when the week winds down and I have nothing in mind for the blog. Somehow the Universe steps in, like it did today. (Saturday)

I went to the Scotiabank ATM in Chetumal to withdraw cash. One thing we’ve had to figure out living in Mexico is how to economically transfer dollars from our US retirement accounts to pesos for our every day living expenses. There are fees everywhere, bank limits on how much we can transfer, and the exchange rate to keep an eye on. At the moment, the dollar to peso is in our favor, so I thought I’d take out our limit on two different bank cards.

I had recently read that someone using the ATM at our bank had been robbed and I was being extra cautious and staying aware of my surroundings. I took one of the wads of pesos and slipped it into the side of my leggings. The rest was in my purse.

I proceeded into the mall where I bought a pair of house shoes and then walked to the opposite end to the supermercado and began to work my way through our long shopping list. We only go to this store every few weeks and mostly for specialty items (my particular brand of soy milk) we can’t get locally. I suddenly remembered the money in my legging and reached for it but it was gone.

Down near our dock. Gratitude gratitude.

“Stay calm, breathe.” I tried to talk myself down from panic. The wad of cash was 9,000 pesos or about $450 dollars. Was it worth a coronary? I didn’t think so. I continued with my shopping and prayed that whoever found the money, really needed it.

I saw a summer tanager this week (stock photo)

My mind was working overtime trying to figure out what could have happened. I thought perhaps I had dropped the money in the store where I bought the slippers. I headed in that direction pushing my full grocery cart. Suddenly there was a commotion behind me and I turned to see money scattered everywhere and people rushing to pick it up. I realized it was my money, but how…?

Coati. A group ran in front of our car this week. We counted 31 adults and little ones. (Stock photo)

When I walked up and said that the money was mine, all the angels handed over the cash. I got back every peso. I had patted down the wrong leg when I thought the money was gone. The money had been falling from my pant leg as I walked along. Boy did I feel stupid. Mexican people pride themselves in their honesty. However 9,000 pesos could be two months salary to a day laborer. Hard to resist.

Life’s lessons can be painful at times. I’m glad this wasn’t worse than it was. Lesson learned.

DOS TORTAS

Luna Hates Feet

5 Mar

I should have known when Lisa looked at me doe-eyed and said that I needed to “go look at this puppy”, what that really meant. We were getting a dog. All the expats in Bacalar, Mexico where we had retired (2015) told us that we would get a dog, or two. I had insisted no, we don’t want a dog. Silly me.

Luna aka Lunatic, will be turning seven at the beginning of the summer. It’s always hard to tell with Mexican street dogs or callejeros. The breed is dubious, but dogs tend to be scrappy, independent, food driven, and excellent additions to any family when properly socialized and trained.

A typical street dog in Mexico. Maybe Luna’s daddy?

Friends heard crying under their car, only to discover a puppy in a grocery bag. She was full of fleas and ticks and very skinny.

Such a sad little thing.

When we moved into our newly constructed house in Fall of 2015, we had a “no dogs on the furniture” policy. Upon returning from a visit to the US in 2019, we found Luna had become queen of the couch. Our house sitters unknowIngly gave her access and there was no going back. The couch is now her domain and covered in blankets.

Love that puppy belly.

Luna has never been a cuddly dog. She does love butt and ear scritches but on her own terms. Just don’t get near her with your feet! She will grumble and growl, not in an aggressive way, but more like a shots fired over the bow sort of warning. Luna and I have had conversations about how she is extremely privileged and why on earth is she put off by feet anywhere in her vicinity, but to no avail. Sigh.

Luna loves a boat ride.
Her Majesty taking in some rays.

Other than her feet aversion, Luna is a very good girl. She has a big, deep voice which lets passers by think that she means business, which is why people have dogs in Mexico I guess. They are excellent door bells and protection. It was one of our better decisions.

DOS TORTAS

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