Tag Archives: expat living in Mexico

Sometimes A Distraction Is What Is Needed

13 Nov

Life continues to be about healing from back surgery for Lisa. We are both spent from handling the daily basics. Our wonderful house sitter in Bacalar keeps us supplied with photos of the adventures of Stella and Luna. Maybe we should change the name of the blog.

Stella loves her pillow on our back porch. We are missing our pups.
We know who runs our house. Luna was never allowed on the furniture until a house sitter changed all that.
It’s hard to believe she is blind.

The Broken Cookie

12 Sep

When my kids were little, it was not uncommon for them to have a meltdown at the oddest times. After a fun day at the waterpark, some seemingly inconsequential thing would trigger a full blown scream-fest on the way home in the car. We called it the broken cookie syndrome.

One of my favorite pictures of our kids.

It makes no sense to try and talk a child out of a tantrum. A broken cookie tastes the same as a whole one. But after a day of trying to hold it all together, the slightest infraction ie the broken cookie and the wheels fall off.

That’s what happened to me today. We have been four days of caring for our three year old twin granddaughters. We sang songs, read stories, did yoga, drew pictures, and walked to the park, all the things you do with young ones to pass the day. Let’s not forget naps, baths, and bandaids on skinned knees.

Our bundles of fun.

Don’t get me wrong, this was a volunteer gig to help out their parents. Except, the girls were supposed to be in school all day and our job was to transport to and from, feed them dinner and put them to bed. Easy peasy right? Runny noses from allergies made it impossible to go to school in the time of Covid. We thought they would get better as the week progressed but they never did.

Wonderful artwork by the girls in my journal.

Today I had my own broken cookie. I made a broccoli slaw which was a first for me. Raw broccoli, carrots and a peanut sauce. The slaw was my own version of a Pinterest recipe, substituting what I had on hand. Yummy. It was a bit of work and I was excited for dinner.

Lisa came to ask what she could do support dinner prep and I suggested she slice up some tomatoes and cucumbers for the burgers. She misunderstood and added them to my slaw.

I have NO idea why it upset me so badly. I wasn’t mad at her. But I found myself sitting in the bedroom senselessly boohooing. Dear God what is wrong with me? I blame it all on a broken cookie . The straw that broke the camel’s back so to speak. BTW the slaw was still delish.

DOS TORTAS

Broccoli Salad (This recipe lends itself to many options, adding pineapple or apple is nice too)

4 well packed cups small broccoli pieces, stems removed (~2 small-medium heads of broccoli) you can grate the inner stems too.

1 cup thinly sliced celery

1 cup shredded carrot

½ cup dried cranberries

DRESSING:

½ cup plain nondairy yogurt

¼ cup vegan mayo

3 tbsp tahini (or peanut butter)

1 ½ tbsp dijon mustard

1 tbsp maple syrup

2 tsp white miso (optional)

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

¾ tsp fine grain kosher salt

½ tsp pepper

½ tsp garlic powder

Cheesy Roasted Sunflower Seeds

½ cup raw, unsalted sunflower seeds (or peanuts)

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 tbsp olive oil (optional)

¼ tsp salt

Mask Distance Vaccinate

8 Aug

As Austin, Texas moved into stage 5 this week, the highest Covid warnings were put back in place. People have been admonished to cease circulating and cover your face, even if you are vaccinated. And of course, get the vaccine.

We planned our trip from our jungle paradise to the US when conditions had vastly improved and we had gotten our vaccines. Having spent the quarantine to date in Mexico has gotten us used to masking up before going anywhere. Unlike Texas, Mexico has no problems requiring masks. We are hoping that wearing a mask and only hanging with vaccinated, careful people will get us through. Fingers crossed.

Our son building a climbing structure for his kids.

It has been wonderful to see family and a few friends. We had a small outdoor gathering of my former coworkers on Thursday. Many cancelled, however it was so good to see people whom I have known and worked with for over twenty years. Everyone is in various stages of retirement. One couple is visiting from Portugal where they recently relocated. What fun!

Please add us to your prayers as we navigate the crazy times we live in.

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

Life is A Blooming Delight

23 May

We had a bit of long overdue rain last night. There are many flowers blooming, but I thought you might enjoy seeing the orchids popping up here and there. I once tried to raise an orchid in Austin, Texas. Epic fail. It can be done, just not by me.

This little orchid is currently blooming by our dock. It is very fragrant,
Aren’t they gorgeous?

There are more than 25,000 species of orchids worldwide. In the Mexican tropics, where we live, orchids pretty much raise themselves. They thrive in the humidity and shade, clinging to a tree trunk. They are epiphytes, non-parasites, living on another plant, wild and free. They’re a delightful surprise to find while walking around the property, a pop of color and in some cases a whiff of sublime fragrance.

So delicate.
This beauty ( Phaelaenopsis or moth orchid) bloomed for three months in the earlier part of this year.

So kick back. Enjoy whatever is blooming in your life, yard or neighborhood. Life is good and I’m grateful.

DOS TORTAS

Great Nan Is Dead

8 May

My grandmother died a few months before her 95 birthday. I remember coming home from somewhere to my husband and youngest in arms waiting at the door. Before my foot crossed the threshold, my baby blurted out, “great Nan died”.

So many old photos with no dates.

Nan had been sitting on the bed with my mother helping to dress for the day, when her heart just gave out. I would say that it wasn’t a bad way to go, except Nan was mostly deaf and totally ornery. As her 24/7 caregiver, I’m sure that my mother had mixed feelings though she’d never admit it. She adored her mother and repeated frequently how she could never make rice pudding nor potato salad as good as Nan’s.

My mother in the front with her siblings and mother.

I was named for my grandmother which didn’t keep our personalities from clashing on more than one occasion. She once prevented my six year old daughter from joining her grandparents for weekday mass because, “you can’t go to church dressed like that.” I had been looking forward to a quiet hour sans daughter. I got mad and told my grandmother to mind her own business. Not my finest hour.

My mother to the left of center. Nan also lost a child to whooping cough and another died at birth.

This Mother’s Day I am thinking of her. She was a single mother during the Depression, working as an operator for Bell Telephone and just about any job she could find, to provide for her family. She loved to drive and frequently flirted with truck drivers by honking and waving. She always had a lifesaver or some other sweet in her purse to delight a grandchild. Nan thought nothing of inspecting me and my four siblings for dirty ears and sending us off to the bathroom if we didn’t meet her standards.

Left bottom was her 81 birthday. She wore a wig because of her thinning pate.

Today her twelve grandchildren (actually there’s two more, but that’s another story)have managed to produce twenty-six grandchildren, and forty-seven greats, as far as we know. Her Irish Catholic blood is passed down from a line of strong women. Her own mother Anna outlived three husbands and was married mother and widowed in one year.

Happy Mother’s Day out there, today and every day, however you mother, whoever you mother, and whatever you mother.

DOS TORTAS

Four generations of moms.

For The Love Of Dogs

25 Apr

I’m not sure when I first started making our dogs’ food. Neither the cheap croquetas sold in Mexico nor the $40 a bag specialty diet the vet offers, fits the bill. I’m too cheap and don’t care to drive 40 minutes if I were low on fancy food.

Probably I just started adding leftovers to their dried food and it took off from there. I have looked at Pinterest and YouTube for recipes but mostly, as with the rest of life, I make it up as I go along.

A sad street dog to a princess.

It’s easy and I probably make a batch about once a week. I label the container, which Lisa appreciates, as sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s what in our refrigerator.

This week we had lots of leftover salad, including beets.

Caveat, I am not a purist. I will not buy them steak. I just want my doggos to be healthy. The truth is, they snarf down whatever I put in front of them, no thanks given, none expected. They’re dogs.

A street urchin to a beauty.

Main ingredients:

Brown rice, stale corn tortillas, cooked barley or raw oats.

Tuna fish, eggs, beans, occasionally meat

Fruit and vegetables- such as grated carrots, apple cores, ripe bananas, etc

Any leftovers, soup, spaghetti, or casserole we’re tired of.

Once when our kids were young, we went to the Texas coast for a long weekend. A beach goer walking by and glancing into the open trunk of my Honda Civic, said “You all eat better camping than we eat at home!” Eating a fresh, varied diet has kinda always been my thing. Our dogs eat well, are healthy and we have very few leftovers. Win win.

DOS TORTAS

The truth.

Finding My Way

25 Apr

Swimming has now become a daily routine. I no longer have to brace myself for the plunge into chilly water, as days are creeping into the 90s (32c) on Laguna Bacalar in southern Mexico. The water is getting noticeably warmer and in a month or so, it will feel like stepping into a bath.

I have been working on my swimming stroke for years studying and practicing Total Immersion Swimming. I point my nose toward the bottom, keeping my neck and spine aligned. Catch and pull toward my thigh while cork screwing my body through the water. Pull, rotate, pull rotate, 1, 2, 3. Kicking is not the frantic churning of feet in an effort to propel oneself through the water. Stroke, kick, stroke, kick. It’s a beautiful dance gliding with the grace of a porpoise (at least I try) rather than laying flat like a squat tugboat. 163, 164, 165.

Sometimes I count, sometimes I sing, “Imagine all the people, living life in peace, you ooo may say I’m a dreamer….” I also like to float on my back watching the clouds and the birds. An occasional kayaker passes but for the most part the lake is all mine.

There is one thing, with all this pulling, and singing and counting, I am swimming all over the place. There are no lane lines as in a public pool and I’m not sure if it’s the currents, the wind or my uneven pull, but one minute I’m paralleling the coast and the next I’m heading for open water. I zig and zag and without repeatedly lifting my head, I never know where the heck I am.

My goal is to reach that point off in the distance.

I suppose it’s all a metaphor for life. Some days I certainly am going around in circles. Regardless, when I climb the ladder out of the water, I am flush with gratitude, a feeling of supreme accomplishment and a laugh at not knowing where I am or where I’m going, but so happy to be alive.

DOS TORTAS

Emilie Vardaman

travel and random thoughts

midwife87505's Blog

A great WordPress.com site

A Dead Kennedy

: A journal of a very slooow marathon swimmer

The Soulful Word

Intuitive copywriter + content creator: word whispering magic for lightworkers

View From Casita Colibrí

gringa musings from a rooftop terrace in Oaxaca

Your Hand in Mind

Musings of a human factors engineer after her brain was released...

Adventures with LoLo

PUERTO RICO: "Isla del Encanto”… "Island of Enchantment"

Our House In...

Living where we are

Surviving Yucatan

Smoothing out Mexico's rough spots.

A Boy and Her Dog

Traversing the Border between Butch and Transgender

Surviving Mexico

Adventures and Disasters

Just Another Moment in Paradise

Snippets of an Adventure's Life in Cozumel, Mexico

Perking the Pansies

Jack Scott's random ramblings

Mexico Retold

There's more to Mexico than meets the media

WordPress.com News

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

The Amazon Express

From the most distant source to the sea.

Biketrash Holiday

Adventures on Two Wheels!

%d bloggers like this: