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Dodged A Bullet

21 May

Right before I left for California to see my daughter and her family, the US lifted the requirement for wearing masks on airplanes. I wore one anyway, as did most people.

We walked into this show four minutes before the curtain went up. It was amazing,

As a matter of fact, I wore a mask at all indoor events, shopping, museum visits, theater and a K.T. Tunstall concert. The only place I didn’t wear one was at home with family.

Fun at the Blue Note in Napa CA

The vacation was a lot of fun. Last Monday when I landed in Mexico City on my way home, I received a message from my daughter that my son-in-law had tested positive for Covid. Shit. He had driven me to the airport and hugged me goodbye.

This week I have tested negative twice after wearing a mask at home as a precaution. I’m getting back into routine and recovering from the change in time zones. You wouldn’t think two hours could make such a difference. Shit, getting old sucks.

A big shout out to blog follower RudeinNewYork who sent me a box of Covid antigen rapid home tests. They are not available in Bacalar and frankly it never occurred to me to bring some back.

One of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me.

My doctor advised that if I tested positive to start antivirals. I found an agency that would deliver the medication to our door in four hours for a mere $950 us. We decided to pass. It seems I dodged a bullet. Please be careful out there.

DOS TORTAS

So grateful.

Sometimes The Most Fun Is Unscripted

15 May

With family responsibilities, children, transportation and husband handled, my daughter and I slipped away for a two day, one night adventure to San Francisco. We stumbled into so much fun!

I had wanted to visit a museum and the Legion of Honor Fine Arts Museum was chosen. Except we didn’t expect the extraordinary Haute Couture exhibit by Chinese designer Guo Pei. There was so much glitz and glamor that I was seeing double. Words cannot describe this amazing collection. I was as close to the Met Gala as I’ll ever get.

Dresses were covered in beads, crystals, shells, mink and intricate stitching. I walked around with my eyes wide and my mouth open. One gown was more dazzling than the next.

Stay tuned next week for our continuing story which includes Harry Potter, Louis Vuitton, amazing food and a trip to Napa!

DOS TORTAS

Make art!

Shopping, Eating And Kid’s Parties

8 May

Whenever I visit the States, there’s a list of items to bring home to Mexico. They are things we can’t get where we live, or they are exorbitantly priced. All the corners of my suitcase get filled.

There’s also been a couple of trips to local eateries, Japanese and Middle Eastern. When I raise my eyes at the prices, my daughter reports, “that’s just the way it is”. I guess that’s why we live in Mexico.

Heaven on earth.

There have been three kid’s parties this weekend and today is Mother’s Day. That’s a lot of socializing for this introvert.

Friday afternoon was my grandson’s school talent show. From kindergarteners to eighth graders, children danced, tumbled, sang and played drums, piano and guitar. I was moved by their fearlessness. There wasn’t a savant among them, but I loved it anyway.

DOS TORTAS

We all have the mother we have. For some it is a happy relationship, for others it is a sadness. For some it is a blessed memory, for others a painful reminder. Motherhood itself is as we experience it. For some a vocation, for others a choice intentionally untaken. Today I want to invite us all to gather around these mixed truths of our mothers, celebrating the joy it means to so many, acknowledging the reserved response of many others. We all have the mother we have. We are all siblings of that reality, however we encounter it. May the Spirit bless us, with love or healing, as we embrace this day in our own way. And may the mothers we have be a door: to our thanksgiving and to our wisdom. Rev. Stephen Charleston

Vacation Nation

1 May

A brief hola from the land north of the Mexican border (NOB). I am engaged with grandchildren and for the next few weeks will be taking a blog break.

Many birds of paradise.

Lisa is holding down the fort and Stella is driving her crazy. So enjoy a few pics from the California coast where I’m hanging out for a few days on a short family vaca. On Monday it’s back to Northern California. Until next week….

Walking to the gym is its own workout.
Playing in the chilly Pacific.

DOS TORTAS

The Loss Of An Artist And Friend

24 Apr

When an artist dies, the art that never was is often mourned with as much grief as—if not more grief than—the individual themself. The individual, after all, was flesh and blood. It’s the art that’s immortal.” Esme Wang

Sometimes we don’t know what someone means to us until they’re gone. Filiberto Ayala had more talent in his little finger than I will ever have in my whole body. He also had more heart.

Me learning body painting from the master.
Such talent.

Fili died this week of brain cancer. I never did find out what kind. Coming from a poor, uneducated family, it probably didn’t make any difference to them. Having lost my youngest brother to a glioblastoma, it mattered to me.

He spent days painting this mural in our bathroom. I see him there everyday.
What a gift he gave me.

I had plans to visit him again on Monday. He died that morning before I could get there. When I went to pay my respects, he was laid out in a coffin in the living room with family and friends sitting outside. There was going to be an all night vigil and cremation the following day. I wish I could have stayed. I think it would have been awkward. At least that’s what I tell myself.

His art is not immortalized in museums, but on walls and in our hearts.

Fili’s Facebook page was flooded with photos, accolades, and stories. He was loved by many, an amazing, artist, son, father and friend. Go with God dear Filiberto.

DOS TORTAS

Embarrassed To Be Happy

17 Apr

With so much pain and suffering in the world, is it super privileged to be content? There are no broken bones, the car is running, we have food and shelter.

I am grateful, and I don’t want to jinx things. I’m not saying that life is perfect. I still struggle with not sleeping. It’s just the way it is. My body hurts from gym work outs, but it’s a good hurt and I’m thrilled with the muscles. Lisa and I have been having date-night once a week. Sometimes it’s the little things.

Moon over Laguna Bacalar.

I’m leaving for California a week from Tuesday and I’m actually excited. Not much really excites me these days. Soon I will be checking the weather, hauling out the suitcase and getting a Covid test. Hi ho hi ho.

Going for a swim.

Until then, I will try to keep the bubble from bursting, however I did buy travel insurance.

DOS TORTAS

Let’s Book A Flight

10 Apr

When we retired to Bacalar, Mexico from the United States, we took so many things into consideration. I was working a job that gave me time to spend researching. Bacalar was thirty minutes from an international airport. We would be able to travel back to the US easily for holidays and visits with family. We had direct buses to Cancun where we could get flights to anywhere in the world. There was one caveat that we didn’t consider, couldn’t have possibly known.The world of 2022 is no longer the world of 2013.

Nine short years. How time flies. I’m not suggesting that we should not make plans because of an uncertain future. The future is always uncertain.

Sitting on my couch looking at travel search engines makes my head spin. Lisa said something his morning that is so true. “You should go. When you get home you’ll never want to do it again.” How right she is. I hate flying. Flights are long (there are fewer route options), expensive and involve crazy people. I also drop my cell phone and loose my headphones. The stress makes me crazy.

I will persist however. I miss my kids. Wish me luck.

DOS TORTAS

Culture Clash

3 Apr

As a US citizen, I find that living in a foreign country (Mexico) is educational, stimulating and often times humorous. At first I thought it was a Bacalar thing, but having visited other towns in Mexico, I know that’s not the case. This week it happened again to my surprise.

Also add the ability to wait.

I remember the first time I went into Parisina, a fabric store in Chetumal. Figuring out how to make a purchase was complicated, confusing and time consuming. I later discovered that the process is the same in the local hardware store and in the art supply store I found in Oaxaca.

This week I stopped to purchase fabric to make a blanket for a dear friend who is expecting baby number five. To my surprise, the store had no cotton fabric. With rows and rows full of bolts of fabric, there was NO 100% cotton. Scratching my head, I wandered the aisles until I found the perfect alternative.

They have a pug!

I took the bolt of fabric I wanted to purchase to a male worker. He took out a hand held device and produced a ticket that I was to take to a cashier. I waited in line to pay the bill. I returned to original guy with the stamped receipt and he then measured and cut my fabric.

This is the same process at a hardware store. An employee pulls your requested item from the back of the store. You receive a ticket which you take to a cashier. The stamped receipt allows you to pick up your purchase. The entire process requires you to wait in three lines, first to be waited on, second to pay and third to retrieve your purchase. As a USer I think I don’t like to wait.

I’m not sure if this process is the norm anywhere else in the world. I love Mexico but it sure does make me scratch my head sometimes.

DOS TORTAS

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

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