Tag Archives: gratitude

I Want To See You Be Brave

12 Jun

As we plan our upcoming July trip to the US to attend to some long overdue medical issues, I find myself awash in fear and sadness. The reports of surging Covid leave me wanting to chuck it all and pull the covers over my head.

I found this timely reminder on Facebook this morning…

In times of trouble, carry on small steps.
Do what you have to do, but a little at a time.
Don’t think about the future, not even about what could happen tomorrow. Wash the dishes.
Remove the dust.
Write a letter.
Make some soup.
Do you see that?
You are moving forward step by step.
Take a step and stop.
Get some rest.
Compliment yourself.
Take another step.
Then another one.
You won’t notice, but your steps will get bigger and bigger.
Time will come when you can think about the future without crying. ❤️

(Elena Mikhalkova, ′′ The Room of Ancient Keys ′′)

We have arranged house sitters and bought airplane tickets. I am working on transportation and housing. One step, one day, one action at a time.

We learned this week of another dear friend whom we saw and hung out with in Austin pre-Covid, is in hospice. She has a neurological illness that the doctors can’t figure out. She was next on my list of friends to ask for space in her spare bedroom. Some days there just are no words.

On Wednesdays I make myself go to my drawing group. It is a brief foray out of the house, that provides social interaction and a break from the sadness. Plus I get to draw naked people! I can see the improvement in my drawing. It’s the little things, the small steps.

Lisa got her second shot. We are now both fully vaccinated. Another step.

Brave by Sara Bareilles is my new theme song. Today’s blog is me being brave, refusing to push down my tears and sadness. One thing Covid has done is bring to light people’s mental health struggles. How could we NOT be sad. I would love to hear from you. We will sit and hold hands together. Small steps.

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

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

A Day To Celebrate Gratitude

29 Nov

I wish I could ask my mother about her Thanksgiving menu. Why didn’t it occur to me until now? Her menu was the same every year. How it developed I’ll never know.

My MIL Alice, Lisa and myself. Pups Luna and Ms Bossy Pants, Stela, Happy Thanksgiving 2020

First there were the appetizers, celery stuffed with cream cheese, dates stuffed with walnuts and rolled in powdered sugar, tiny pickles and pearl onions. All were placed delicately on special plates saved for the occasion.

My mother, always in an apron.

Next there was turkey. My dad cooked the turkey, sealed in aluminum foil and baked to perfection. The turkey was filled with boxed stuffing mix, one of the only things that was not entirely made from “scratch “. There was always homemade gravy, silky mashed potatoes, candied sweet potatoes (sans marshmallows), mashed rutabaga (my favorite), broccoli and a salad almost no one touched. My mother made the best cranberry sauce. The bitter cranberries were lightly sweetened with apples from our tree and a touch of sugar. I have the cone sieve she used to separate out the skins. The fragrance filled our big kitchen. She would bake pies ahead of time, pumpkin, and minced meat. The desserts would vary when my grandmother was visiting.

Lisa and my first Thanksgiving 1994 (with family friends)

This year the beloved US holiday looked nothing like it has in the past, for anyone. We had one guest which gave me an excuse to get out my mother’s silverware. I thought of my childhood home, filled with extended family, my grandfather and his sister, my grandmother and my Uncle Jack who died this year, playing poker. Lots of grumbling but lots of love. Probably the best was my mother’s eggnog. It was more like liquid heaven, rich and delicious. One year my uncle spiked the entire bowl which meant we kids couldn’t have any. I thought my mother would kill him. My parents didn’t drink either.

Prayers of gratitude for you all.

Thanksgiving was a day to reminisce and tell stories. The Macy’s Parade in New York was always on the television. My dad loved parades and promised every year to take us. Watching the crowd bundled up and freezing, none of my four brothers and myself were in much of a hurry to go.

One recipe I actually got from my mom.

I wish you good memories and loving connections, even from afar. We had a Zoom call with our children, which was a sorry replacement for the laughter, smells and tastes from my mother’s kitchen. And best of all, the eggnog.

DOS TORTAS

Continue reading

The Fine Art of Not Complaining

2 Aug

I’ve been pondering the line between talking about a thing and complaining about a thing. How to tell the difference?

Blooming in our yard.

This week I’ve been writing a lot of blogs in my head, but none of them seemed to settle into my bones. It’s been one of those weeks, hot temperatures, body aches and not sleeping. It’s left me lethargic and cranky. Last night going to bed I was crying, sad after having read stories about people who died this week from Covid. Lisa asked me what was wrong. I couldn’t talk about it. An explanation would have required a thought process. I was immersed in my feelings and didn’t want to put them in words. She patted my shoulder and we went to sleep, at least she did.

Sunrise on Laguna Bacalar

The night was a swirl of thoughts. Sometimes I feel like my dogs doing zoomies around the couch. My brain jumps from subject to subject and sleep eludes me. I was then up way too early when the dogs wanted to go out. As Lisa appeared from the bedroom I announced that I was heading back to bed, something I don’t think I’ve ever done. She began to ask me what was wrong but caught herself. That woman is a quick study.

My mother in law’s cat. Gato

Back to the topic at hand, how to talk about my thoughts and feelings without complaining. For me, factors include:

Tone – if I find my voice getting whiney or high pitched, I am surely complaining. Even in my head.

Intention – If I’m wanting sympathy, I am complaining.

Responsibility – if I’m trying to avoid taking responsibility, I’m complaining.

I guess I have two choices, 1) come up with a solution or 2) live with the situation. Complaining has never made me happy. Sometimes other people have good ideas but I find that I have to be in the right place to hear them. I do have one thing that seems to help no matter what the problem, exercise!

Daily swimming in Laguna Bacalar.

If I feel cranky, am not sleeping, or have body aches, I know I must exercise more. Sometimes it feels counterintuitive. It would be so easy to tell myself that I need more rest, but that’s almost never the case.

How do you handle the swirling thoughts or lack of sleep? Until next week.

DOS TORTAS

Adiós Amigos/Amigas

4 Nov

Dear Followers, Friends and Family, this will be my last blog post. I have been toying with the idea of discontinuing DOS TORTAS for sometime and the decision is final. With over six years, 310 posts, 5,848 views from all over the world, 195 likes, and 341 followers, it’s been a wonderful experience and a lot of fun. I’ve grown as a writer and pushed myself in ways that I wouldn’t otherwise have grown. I remember being thrilled at having 100 followers, woohoo!

8D6FAFE2-E64F-46F2-A76D-AD56BE2F71A5

Our original route from Austin to Bacalar September 2013

There are so many blogs about moving, traveling and living in Mexico. I have veered off topic quite a bit lately which is death for a blogger. Any “how to” guide will tell you to be narrow in topic and write to a specific audience. I’m afraid that ship has sailed. 

A few things we have learned on this great adventure:

  • Living in Mexico is not easy. There is a gaping cultural divide. It is not insurmountable but there is a price. 
  • Living in a gated expatriate community is not living in Mexico. 
  • If you don’t speak Spanish you better have money to pay someone to help navigate a system that is frustrating and complicated at best and incomprehensible at worst – renting, construction/renovation, banking, immigration, shopping, medical, veterinary, etc. etc. 
  • Air travel back and forth from Mexico to wherever has only gotten more problematic. The easy travel that we imagined no longer exists. Missed connections, flight delays due to bad weather, the cost of rescheduling tickets and the unexpected need for a hotel room adds up. Not to mention the inconvenience of lost passports, credit cards and other identification. 
  • Be fearless no matter where life takes you. It’s so much better than the alternative.

5ED718DA-4025-470A-B7B1-260D04F446AC

My hard won permanent residency card.

None of this is said to discourage anyone. We love it here in Bacalar and have no regrets or plans to return to the US. Even at 55 and 66 we talk more frequently about aging in place. Illness and disability are probably the main reasons foreigners pack it in and head “home”. Life can turn on a dime. It’s good to have a plan B.

54F4474B-C934-48C5-84D3-9BC482EB28F6

Lisa’s mother’s tumble which resulted in multiple broken bones, surgery and physical therapy.

I would still love to hear from you with questions or comments. I will continue on Instagram at dos_tortas.  With much gratitude, blessings and peace. 

DOS TORTAS

ED27E0C1-6E5C-4D03-ADD5-3DD031189393

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

Summer in Bacalar

24 Jun

It’s that time of year again here in southern Mexico. The rainy season is upon us in full force with almost daily showers. Our gardens and the jungle are lush, green and beautiful with new growth and flowers everywhere. There is something about the rain. We could water everyday but nothing is quite like a soaking rain. You can see the ferns and palms smiling. 

img_4802

I would love to walk around the yard and take pictures. However, the mosquitoes are the size of pterodactyls, no kidding! This morning I put on long sleeves and sprayed myself in a cloud of insecticide and they were undeterred. Dog walks are getting shorter and shorter.

image

Hibiscus are called tulipani here.

This is the time of year that most foreigners head for cooler climes. There isn’t a Canadian to be found. My brother in the hills of North Carolina has record flooding. Colorado has fires. Where on earth could we go? I guess we’ll stay right here.

The end of July I head to Northern California. Our daughter has been hospitalized with preeclampsia. She is thirty-one weeks pregnant on Tuesday and the goal is at least thirty-four weeks. This certainly wasn’t the plan. We are grateful for everyday the twins get bigger and stronger. Please keep her and her family in your prayers.

F2E1A047-3CE8-4A32-B487-D549066753D3

Even the fountain is getting overgrown. 

I am doing my best to hole up and knit baby socks and hats. One of my favorite pastimes. Until next week…

4C4B420D-900B-49F5-8764-C4CE1F7CD1B3

DOS TORTAS 
3AB4A40D-E938-4FB4-A245-B651D7E8BD50

It’s That Time of Year

29 Oct

It is that season in Bacalar, cooler temperatures and beautiful sunrises. It’s the time of year that those who reside here year round, live for.

 

The Canadians and other part-timers usually show up about the first of December through April. The hotels are full and the restaurants busy.

C19804A3-B5A0-4003-9C99-ECA367684C3E

In the four years since we moved here, we’ve seen a lot of growth. There are many new hotels and a wider selection of good places to eat. I’ve heard there’s even a Japanese restaurant although we haven’t been able to find it. Lol

93B4139F-043A-4215-9F0C-AA447CA55254

Lisa really appreciates the new Time Out sports bar run by our friend Kim. We get to watch football and the World Series and eat some good food in Bacalar! Imagine that.

8FFB92CB-A731-491A-82A0-71AD14ACDE5C

Love love love Mexican murals.

E4F86508-F51F-455E-967C-1095E91806BA

We are learning to enjoy the Bacalar of today and smile at the “do you remember when…?” reminiscings of those who moved here before us. The only thing you can bank on is change.

AA13099A-D02E-4D2C-AB17-BB141DC78A93

So enjoy whatever is here and now for you. Love whoever is in front of you. Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude. DOS TORTAS 

6CEA5E6F-03F0-4C35-8A51-45CE256E432A

 

 

 

 

Oaxaca – Ruins, Monastery & Crafts

1 Oct

During our nine-day visit in August to Oaxaca City, MX, we enjoyed a second day trip. This time we boarded a van to the ancient city of Monte Alban. “The White Mountain” was strategically placed in 500BC, by rulers high on a mountain, to better subjugate the lands and people below. They ruled about a thousand years. The City was abandoned before the Spanish conquerors arrived in 1521 and because of its obscure location went undiscovered until much later. As a result many royal tombs were found intact with jade masks, detailed murals, pottery and onyx jewelry. We wandered the site and small museum on a stunningly beautiful day to be alive.

IMG_0351

There’s always the question of climbing one more pyramid. What a treat to experience such a breathtaking vista.

IMG_0353

Evidence of early cranial surgery. Some patients actually survived.

After Monte Alban, we continued to Cuilapam and the monastery complex of Saint James the Apostle, a beautiful Dominican cathedral with no roof over the nave. The priests abandoned construction in the 16th century due to the lack of funds and diminishing native population to convert. A small rear sanctuary church, rarely open to the public, was holding a funeral and we entered respectfully amid blaring trumpets and pounding drums.  Love the churches and rituals of Mexico.

IMG_0359

Pope John Paul II landed his helicopter for a visit in 1979.

IMG_0360

A stone baptismal font.

The tour ended with a visit to an artists cooperative. The skill of hand painting takes lots of practice and installs awe. We had so little space in our luggage for purchases and even less space in our house for display. We also had Puebla and Cholula left to visit. Sigh….

IMG_0357

Getting one’s groove on at work? Steady hands and concentration.

IMG_0358

Drunk with all things Oaxacan we reluctantly packed up to begin the next phase of our trip, the colonial city of Puebla! Thinking it couldn’t get much better, boy were we wrong.

DOS TORTAS

IMG_2378

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

Mexico's Copper Canyon - Barranca Del Cobre

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: