Tag Archives: family

Time For A Kick In The Butt (Mine)

27 Nov

Time spent in the US has sometimes been surreal. I want to click my ruby slippers three times and be home in my jungle house in Bacalar, Mexico. Dang, I left my ruby slippers home!

1999 commitment ceremony before we could legally marry.

While visiting the States I have needed to address some health issues. There is more technology available and I have good health insurance so why not. The trouble is, the outcomes have been a bit disconcerting.

2012/2021 (one new granddaughter)

High cholesterol– This is nothing new. I have had the same results in the past. I hunker down with my diet but then don’t follow up to see if what I’m doing is working. In Mexico there isn’t an annual exam per say. I have had my head in the sand.

High triglycerides– Sugar is my Achilles heal. At home I eat almost none. In the US I get sucked in to the SAD (Standard American Diet). Too much nibbling, too much sugar, too much food.

Pre-Diabetic– This diagnosis really threw me. With a Masters in Health Education I have always prided myself in eating well and exercising. Truth be told, I haven’t been understanding how my aging body, well, ages. I have been lazy and am paying the price.

View from the kitchen window.

My answer came from a friend who recommended an online application to keep me accountable. In just a few days I have learned that I am not exercising as much as I think I am, I am not eating as well as I think I am and I need help.

My seventieth birthday is in February and I am using it as both a goal and a marker. The doctor in Austin gave me little assistance other than take this pill and eat less carbs and red meat. As much as I hate to document everything, research shows that it works. Simply keeping a food journal reduces weight and most of us can use to loose a few. If you’re interested in knowing more about the application, leave your email in the comments.

DOS TORTAS

As Thoughts Turn Home Toward Mexico

21 Nov

As my time to return to Mexico from Austin, Texas looms on the horizon, I have such mixed emotions. I wish I could be in two places at once, which always happens when I have to leave my dear wife. My departure requires her to be more independent, fixing her own meals, arranging transportation and most of all, finding support that is not me. All of it while juggling medication and healing from major surgery. She’s a trooper, I’m the one who’s nervous.

How I’ve been passing the time in Austin.

I do get the bennies of returning home to the jungle of Southern Mexico, seeing the dogs, returning to daily swims and sleeping in our bed. There is also much to be done. We have been navigating a lot from the US, including my mother-in-law’s care and clogged toilet. Daily messages from our workers, house sitter and MIL do not make for peace and quiet.

Home sweet Bacalar.

This week we will celebrate the US holiday of Thanksgiving. It will be a lovely visit with family and a delicious meal round a large table. A day devoted to gratitude while gazing on the faces of those we love is a good thing. We haven’t been in Austin for Thanksgiving since 2012.

February 2012 My 60 birthday.

Whether you’re in the US or somewhere else on the planet, take a whole day to devote to being grateful. I find that listing things I’m grateful for and WHY helps me to connect more to my heart.

Blogging has afforded me the opportunity to write, connect and hear from followers around the world. I appreciate each of you. So Happy Thanksgiving and catch my socially distanced hug.

DOS TORTAS

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.

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.

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. 

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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.

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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 

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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.

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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. 

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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

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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.

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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.

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Enjoy your life today. It’s the only day you get.
DOS TORTAS
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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…

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