Just Another Week In Paradise

3 Jul

With my wife off to the US visiting family and taking care of business, I am home holding down the fort.

The side of the house and entrance to the outdoor shower.

I’ve been glued to the hearings on the January 6, 2021 attempted coup and attack on the US capital. This week was a doozy. You can’t make this stuff up!

The weather had been lovely and the dogs are behaving. What more could I ask for?!

A little trip around the house.

DOS TORTAS

Something our former president and his cronies know nothing of.

These Dogs Are Not Going To Walk Themselves

26 Jun

As a child, we always had dogs. However, I was never given the responsibility to walk, water or feed them. As an adult, when we expanded our family to include (Princess) Luna, I was puzzled by her barking, anxiety and difficulty sleeping. A quick toodle on YouTube and I found trainer Zak George and his helpful suggestions of taking dogs for daily walks, duh!

You may or may not know that once you do anything a few times with a dog, it quickly goes from a one off, to a habit, to a demand. Their internal clock tells you when it’s time to eat, walk and snack. Once a dog is allowed on the furniture, it takes a LOT of persistence, aka an act of God to break the habit. Our dogs have nothing better to do but wait us out. And they have far more patience.

Royalty

This week on Thursday we had an an arms’ long list of errands to run in preparation for Lisa’s trip to the US. By evening I was so tired that I fell asleep on the couch at 6pm. Of course Stela jumped on me at 7 for her final potty and snack. That dog will kill for food.

Stela the trouble maker.

Come Friday I declared a day of rest. No gym, no swimming, no leaving my hammock ALL DAY. It was a wonderful idea, until around 8am when I felt two pairs of eyes on me. It was time for the morning walk. I was loathe to get to my feet, change into mosquito-proof clothing and pull on my shoes. It’s a good thing I love these dogs, that’s all I have to say. And besides they’re awfully cute.

DOS TORTAS

Love Letters From My Father

19 Jun

My father died almost thirty-six years ago at age 66. He left an enormous gap in my life. Men of that era did not talk about feelings or history. I knew only snippets of his childhood, early relationship with my mother and military service. I will be getting together with my siblings in November. It will be a good time to share stories.

Coupons given out during the war to ration food.

After he died, I naturally went through his things. There I discovered some of his letters to my mother sent from his Fort Knox, Ky. military station. He was twenty-five years old.

Letters written in pencil from a lonely soldier 1945.

Imagine my surprise discovering his overt desire tucked into stories of demotions for not having his shoes tied properly and success on the rifle range.

We’ve got a lot of lovin to make up for Woof! Woof! Woof! Pretty risqué for 1945.
They were a lovely couple for fifty years.

Raising five children left little time for public displays of affection. It’s wonderful to know in their early relationships they were playful and hot for each other.

Lover, take a good look at the floor until I get there cause you’ll see nothing but the ceiling while I’m home.

Finding these letters among his things was such a joy. He always loved my mother which was a wonderful gift to his children. Happy Father’s Day Daddy. I miss you a lot.

Pictures from my father’s wallet.
Always a loving gaze.

DOS TORTAS

Checking Privilege At The Door

12 Jun

Life is slowly returning to pre-Covid days which for me includes Thursday night drawing class. This week we had a group of about eight meeting on the second floor over the Pirate bar. We draw with our non-dominant hand, left handed for me, which helps to develop hand/eye coordination.

Left handed drawing.

The evening started out delightfully with a shapely model. All too often we have young, skinny models with no hips or butt. During a break someone turned on music that was louder than I liked. Then the model, while posing for a longer sketching period, began reading aloud in Spanish. With the reading and the music, it was hard for me to concentrate. Then someone lit a cigarette! Yikes.

My head began to spin. Needless to say I’m the oldest artist in the room. I know how old people are labeled cranky or finicky. While I didn’t want to come across that way, it was exactly how I felt!

An enjoyable evening turned into an internal dialogue with the teacher, requesting that the class suit my needs, turn down the music, and NO smoking. I was clearly no longer having fun. So I gathered my things and left.

During the days that followed, I have realized that it is not the responsibility of the group to meet my needs. If someone smokes, I am quite capable of asking them to go outside. I will also bring my earplugs, as I do in the gym, to protect my hearing.

I am so privileged in many ways here in Mexico. An older, white (from the US) educated, wealthyish woman is pretty much at the top of the heap. Time to check my privilege at the door.

Naked reading.

So I give myself permission to leave the class if I need to, without the angst and self recrimination, and I realize that privilege means that something that is a problem for me is not necessarily a problem for anyone else.

DOS TORTAS

Tropical Storms, Mosquitoes And Mud

5 Jun

What a week, what a week filled with windy downpours and cooler temps. Walking the dogs meant wading through a river of potholes in inappropriate footwear.

After leaving us, hurricane Alex headed to Florida.

Back-to-back tropical storms threatening to become hurricanes provided a welcome reprieve from the heat. We hunkered down and mostly enjoyed the sound of rain and the peace.

A second wave of storms finally moved off providing a beautiful weekend.

When finally venturing out, the mosquitoes made an unwelcome appearance. You must either stay moving, cover up or completely douse yourself in poison, or all three.

Sitting on the dock o the laguna.

Saturday evening saw the first rays filtering through the clouds to provide a stellar sunset. Life is good even in a squall.

DOS TORTAS

Brown Jays 2 Grackles 0

29 May

A lazy quiet week is not a bad thing, even when that still small voice in my head tells me that I should be accomplishing something. Sigh.

This morning there was a smack down between the brown jays and the grackles. No, they’re not soccer/football teams, but the birds of our yard. Lisa and I were meditating when the screeching started.

View of the zapote tree from our porch.

We have a large wild zapote tree on the Laguna, out our back window. It attracts black squirrels the size of small monkeys, birds and our dogs who also love the small, brown fruit it produces. Zapotes, also known as sapodillas are unusual tasting, sort of like a cross between a pear and a kiwi in texture. Our tree is quite prolific and huge.

Our zapote is wild and the fruit doesn’t grow as large as cultivated zapote.

Lisa and I meditate every morning. The birds began making a racket this morning like I have never heard before. If I’d known I was going to write a blog on it, I would have recorded them. It went on for almost twenty minutes.

When I got up to investigate, I saw the large zapote tree full of irate brown jays chasing the grackles out of “their” tree. It was hilarious. Brown jays are bigger than grackles and very, very loud.

I finally put on headphones. This is life in the jungle, peaceful but certainly not always quiet.

DOS TORTAS

Walking under the zapote tree to go for a swim.

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. 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

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