Tag Archives: family

Wake Me Up When We Get There

1 Aug

During my time working for the State of Texas, I flew frequently for my job. I arrived at the airport with just enough time to slip on board the plane to Houston, Corpus or El Paso. If meetings ended early, it was easy to jump on an earlier flight. And there was no additional charge!

Mexico City Airport

When 9-11 happened, the addition of a security line increased the amount of time necessary to arrive at the airport. An hour flight from Austin to Houston took so much additional time in a security line, that it was often easier to drive. Fees began to pile on for rescheduling flights. Flying became less fun.

We travel light. Unfortunately Stela had to stay home.

Our recent trip to the United States from Mexico, after a year and a half in quarantine has us thinking twice about the future of travel. Add to the experience is the fact that none of us is getting any younger. There are additional fees for everything, checked luggage, seat selection and even water on the plane. Each airline has different requirements for proof of health, an application to to be downloaded and filled out or paper to be signed. So much screening! To leave Mexico City we had to get up at two a.m. to be at our flight three hours ahead of time. We knew it would be different but nothing prepared us for the actual experience.

Lisa takes a snooze.
Fun times with the grands. Makes it all worth it.

At the same time, we are excited to see family and friends. We can no longer isolate in our jungle paradise, although I will be supremely happy to get back when our tasks are completed and we make our way home.

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.

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.

Dear Terry

20 Dec

Sitting on the couch this week with my broken leg propped, I have been thinking of you and remembering our family Christmas traditions.

1999 Our commitment ceremony with Terry and Steven.

Every holiday was defined by the menu and our mutual love of feeding our extended family. Seven layer bean dip was great finger food that we noshed on all Christmas Eve. Tamales with the green sauce that Lisa loves brought the kids to the table and home when they were older. We sat around your table eating, laughing and putting together an Italian feast for Christmas Day. What started out as spinach lasagna morphed into stuffed shells to save time. I can smell your spaghetti sauce bubbling on the stove. Everything was tucked into the refrigerator to be reheated on Christmas Day. It was a simple, elegant meal that we all loved.

2012 Dylan and wife Maria with their son Hunter, Grandpa Frank who turns 93 this month, son Cullen and daughter Felice, cousin Lincoln, Lisa and me, Terry and husband, my former and kid’s dad Steven.

Christmas morning was the best. Showing up at your house early to wrap my hands around a mug of coffee and peruse your beautifully decorated table of Christmas breads and homemade cookies. Nuts and dried fruit and your famous bourbon balls were displayed on festive plates. Thank you for all the hours you spent making them. Unfortunately the only pictures are in my head.

Thanksgiving but close enough.

We spent many years watching our children grow and eventually showing up with their children. I tear up now thinking of how we didn’t know about the twists and turns life would take, preventing us from experiencing that extraordinary time again. Life is like that, but doesn’t keep me from occasionally wishing I could have held on a little longer. I am supremely grateful for those memories and our relationship. You have been a blessing and the sister I never had, only better.

Stela wishes you happiest holidays.

DOS TORTAS

Lisa’s mom Alice joins Luna, Stela, Lisa and me to wish you a peaceful holiday.

Passing the Torch – A Generation Gone

16 Aug

This week my mother’s two brothers died. Uncle Bill was 96 and died of Covid. Uncle Jack was 100 and had been hanging on for a month after a stroke. We have good genes in my mother’s family.

My Uncle and me, Celebrating his 50th Wedding Anniversary

I was supposed to be in Atlanta in April to celebrate Jack’s 100th birthday. I had a flight and was excited to see my six cousins and their children and THEIR children. Covid hit and everything closed, especially nursing homes. We celebrated via Zoom. Jack looked amazing and I was sure he had a few more years in him. Once he had a stroke, that was it. He lost his sense of taste and quit eating. Fifty pounds fell off in a matter of days. He went almost a month without eating. A full military funeral is planned for this decorated war hero.

Jack and Irene at my baptism

He was my godfather and called me Alley-oop. I so wish I were telling stories with my cousins. Grieving over Zoom doesn’t quite cut it.

Bill, Bernice (my mother) and Jack

My Uncle Bill is a whole other story. He was in prison in Florida, a convicted felon, child molester. Many of my family will say, “good riddance “. He had been in prison almost eight years and would have been there for life, as he was. When I was in college in Mexico in 1974, he showed up without warning at the house where I lived. I was shocked to say the least. He loved Mexico and had arrived asking around the college until he found me. It was no small feat.

Disneyland with my granddaughter.

This week I stepped into the next generation. There are definitely things about aging that I’m not all that thrilled with. But for the most part I’m good. We think we will always have the elders with us and then one day they’re gone. And now I’m them.

DOS TORTAS

A Time For Reflection

23 Sep

It’s Sunday (my usual day of blogging) and nothing has been posted, written or is even dancing around in my head. I am in Bacalar, Mexico to handle an immigration deadline and I will be going back to California in a week to finish the commitment to our daughter and her family. 

EA7C7FB1-7421-4BC2-B4FB-D3F8774B5192

Our beautiful granddaughters.

I think I really want to spend some time this week listening. Our home in Bacalar is such a place of peace and quiet. California with our twin granddaughters and two year old grandson has been a challenge to my sense of calm. I believe that peace is not a matter of circumstances but a choice. My listening is about what I need to consistently make that choice.

66716557-7BE0-4FDF-ACFA-F4158552BE9A

A lovely little shower moving across the Laguna. Can you hear the thunder?

I know this is out of the norm for my blog. It’s where I’ve been lately and trying to decide whether or not to share it. So here goes. What do you do when you need guidance that talking and thinking does not provide?

DOS TORTAS 

5C394F89-3608-4372-922D-71C5FAC465C2

Quote

Off The Beaten Path – Ticul

19 Aug

For the next two months we will be visiting our children in Northern California, helping with the integration of two new family members.

F652F62A-8487-4D10-8997-56D5C7F5838A

Our newborn twin granddaughters Analise and Sara.

Please enjoy his earlier blog post from May 2015. September begins our sixth year of retirement in Bacalar. Life is good and we are so grateful for these babies and the chance to support their parents in getting them off to a good start. What are you grateful for?

DOS TORTAS 

via Off The Beaten Path – Ticul

What You Won’t Find In Bacalar

5 Aug

I have spent over five years describing retirement life in the far reaches of the Mexican jungle. There are blog posts on murals, mercado’s, pyramids, dogs and small town living. For the next few months we are in Northern California, USA taking care of our daughter’s family as they integrate two new members. 

4EB3412F-0E88-4923-821E-2CB56233001C

Our granddaughters born July 11, Sara and Analise

Some things I’ve noticed that we DON’T have in Bacalar:
Hot Air Balloons

There is a local festival here every June so it’s no surprise that we’ve seen balloons overhead the last few mornings. What better way to see the wine country? Unfortunately the sky has been hazy due to the fires burning north of here. Maybe we could get some balloons over Laguna Bacalar. I’d be up for a ride. How about you? https://youtu.be/C6-mO46u9hc

3A5CEB2A-8F97-4206-B3B5-A8885A57B007
Wild Geese

I’ve been seeing geese overhead and grazing on the lawns of the high school when out for an early walk. They’re so majestic and noisy.

9AD4B573-989C-4DE8-B365-5C89E9F359EE

Cherries

We might occasionally get cherries at the grocery store in Chetumal, but not like those that are available in Northern California. We’re going to the farmer’s market later today. Cherries are number one on my shopping list.

Our Kids

It’s wonderful to be retired and able to help our daughter and her family. It really does take a village.

586744FE-E5A0-4F7D-8E6B-A49A075B5659

 

Enjoy your life today. It’s the only day you get.
DOS TORTAS
3D63F435-9F65-45FE-89AA-B535956BE3AF
Gallery

Bread for the Dead

5 Nov

Enjoy this blog from Casa Colibrí on Day of the Day events in Oaxaca. 

Pan de Muertos in Tlacolula mercado - October 29, 2017

View From Casita Colibrí

When Día de Muertos approaches, the panaderías (bakeries) work overtime to fill their shelves and counters with Pan de Muertos — an egg based bread, sometimes elaborately decorated, but always with a cabecita (also known as a muñeca), a little painted flour dough head, at the top.

The most intricately decorated bread comes from Mitla.  For a few years, Mitla held a Pan de Muertos fair and competition, with prizes for decoration.  Alas, because their bread is in such demand, the feria was halted two years ago as the bakers put a priority on attending to their customers needs — this is their livelihood, after all!

However, the small pueblo, Villa Díaz Ordaz picked up the slack and last year began holding a Festival del Pan de Muertos.  The village is off the beaten path and the festival hasn’t yet drawn much in the way of tourism, but it’s a…

View original post 194 more words

It’s All About Relationships

11 Jun

Making the decision to move to Mexico required many considerations. One of them was Lisa’s mom, Alice. Lisa left her California home at nineteen and only returned for the occasional family visit. Alice made a few forays to Texas but their relationship was not close. What to do?

IMG_6356

Lisa and Alice. They’re relationship has blossomed.

Alice was feeling increasingly isolated and her capacity for self care seemed to be diminishing. We felt like she would have a more vibrant and varied life with us and decided to invite her to live in Bacalar. After a rocky adjustment, life has settled into a new normal. I decided to ask her a few questions about her decision to move with us. It was a fun chance to connect and get to know her a little better.

IMG_6533

Alice’s 300 sq foot house on our property.

What made you decide to move to Mexico? – First and foremost to be near my daughter. I never really liked Bakersfield and I was ready for a change. My siblings all have their families and I was ready to do something different.

IMG_6538

A secure front door, media room and tiny kitchen.

How has Mexico surprised you? – I had visions of donkeys and huts. People are poor but they work hard. I am always amazed how kind they are. I like that people are not stressed. It’s such a peaceful environment.

IMG_6536

A porch makes the house feel spacious and comfortable.

What do you like here? – I love my house. I also get to see things I’ve never seen before like pyramids, villages, churches and markets. I would like to do more traveling.

IMG_6537

One of the few tubs in Bacalar, a colorful bathroom and cozy bedroom. A design all her own.

What do you miss? – I really miss driving. (we both laughed, as her driving was a problem in CA) I miss going out at night. Sometimes Bacalar is a little too sleepy for me. Truthfully I don’t miss much. I’m really happy here.

IMG_0963

Saving a visitor stuck in the fence and corralled by the dogs.

We talked awhile and agreed that it’s hard to connect with other foreigners here. People live their busy lives in Mexico much like the US. The responsibility is ours to reach out. It’s not easy but very worth it.

IMG_4779

 

 

Texas Fun

9 Apr

The Tortas are having a blast on our annual trip to Austin. The weather has been perfect and our stay comfortable thanks to the loan of a house and car by friends. We feel very grateful.

IMG_6179

Port Aransas on the Texas gulf.

No trip to the coast would be complete without renting a giant unicorn floaty-thing. Hunter and Grandma rode the rough surf taking in faces full of water. Hunter loved pushing me off the raft. Building sand castles took me home to my childhood on the Jersey Shore.  The kids and grands camped in the trailer with the dogs. The Grandmas got a hotel.

IMG_6181

Grandma Lisa, Sophia and Dad play in the tide pools.

A visit to the State Aquarium rounded out the weekend. Otters, sharks and stingrays, oh my. Everyone had a great time and the kids slept on the long ride home.

IMG_6180

Great Grandpa joins in the birthday lunch. Sophia loves her hat and all things pink.

A birthday lunch to kick off a celebratory weekend for Hunter who turned six on Saturday. He reads and does math and creates Lego masterpieces. Quite a kid.

IMG_6182

Making funny faces.

We are having so much fun. Life is good.

DOS TORTAS

IMG_6165

Lawn signs seen about Austin.

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

Iceland: Land of Fire and Ice

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

The WordPress.com Blog

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: