Tag Archives: gratitude

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.

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

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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.

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

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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….

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

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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

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A Diós Cha Cha

6 Aug

The TORTAS are off on another adventure with a quick trip to the U.S. and then four weeks in Central Mexico. We were only gone three days when I received a message from our neighbor that Cha Cha, my new little dog got out of the yard and was hit by a car and killed.

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Before she came to us after being spayed. Looking sad and skinny.

We’re not sure how she got out. I’ve been feeling sad and even now it’s hard to write about it. I only had her a month, but time really doesn’t matter. I took a risk and opened my heart. How often do we really get to do that in our lives?

 

Adiós Cha Cha. Vaya con Diós. Go with God.

DOS TORTAS

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You Win Some You Loose Some

30 Jul

On Wednesday this week, I lost and found my diamond necklace and had my iPad stolen from my luggage, both on the same day. Travel has its perils.

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Winery beauty Northern California.

Sitting on the plane as we landed in Mexico City to start our U.S. vacation, my hand went to my throat and my necklace was missing. With an attempt at no drama, we looked through the plane seat and sent messages to our house sitter and friend who drove us to the airport. No luck. There wasn’t much else to do, so we continued with our travels.

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Petunias

Hours later, Lisa pointed incredulously at my foot, “what’s that?” and there was the necklace tangled in my shoe laces! It must have fallen and in my 3 a.m. stupor, I tied it into the bow! How crazy is that? I was feeling pretty smug at not having gotten upset at the possible loss of my beloved necklace. Not so fast, the day was young.

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Blooming artichoke.

Any way you look at it, travel these days is getting more stressful, especially international travel. There’s the luggage, fees, passports, immigration paperwork, security, finding your gate, layovers, delays etc. etc. In our case, all is negotiated in Spanish.

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Who doesn’t love goats at a winery ❤️ she looks pregnant.

We landed without further event in San Francisco. The plane arrived thirty minutes early. We slid through immigration and ran to catch an earlier shuttle than we expected for the two hour ride to my daughter’s house. Things were clicking along until I reached into my suitcase to retrieve my iPad. I had it stowed in my checked bag due to newly released security warnings. Drum roll….

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The cover was there but no iPad. Our very long day just got longer. Fast forward to today, I have a new iPad and thanks to that mysterious thing called the cloud, my old pad has been erased and a new one restored. I wish I could say that there was no drama. I understand in my head why people steal, but it’s hard not to take it personally. Replacing a device is an inconvenience, not to mention a pain in the ass and an expense. Lesson learned, nothing of value in checked luggage. When we moved to Mexico we had visions of zipping north to visit the grands. Not as easy as we though and one more thing to consider when making plans to retire in Mexico.

DOS TORTAS

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Nana’s Visit To California

9 Oct

Visiting friends, children and grandchildren in the States is a bittersweet part of retirement life in Mexico. Please enjoy a few pictures while I head out this morning to car shop with my daughter and her husband during my vacation to Northern California.

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Taking selfies with dear friends.

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Riding in the back seat with Maxwell.

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A fun time taking pictures at the pumpkin patch.

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The children’s museum.

Max is a great one handed walker who took seven steps to Grandma Lisa on Skype last night. Lisa is holding down the fort in Bacalar. We have a new fence going up while I’m gone.

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A grainy photo of the new privacy fence between us and the neighbors.

In an effort to settle the ongoing conflict with our neighbors, we have put up a fence to keep Luna in and curious eyes out. We now have a small stretch of privacy fence that will have a planter with lovely vines along it. (See Standoff With The Neighbors-How It’s Done In Mexico)

DOS TORTAS

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Taxes and the Retired Expatriate

15 Feb

Let me start by saying that Lisa is in charge of taxes. She tells me what to do and I do it as we prepare for a trip to the States and a visit with our accountant. This week I found myself in a familiar place, stressing about money. It happens every time we fly to the States which involves airplane tickets,  car rental, eating out and the laundry-list of purchases that we intend to bring back. My stomach knots, my head spins and I don’t sleep well. It’s not fun for Lisa and certainly not fun for me.

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Trumpet Vine at Casita Carolina

This morning I was doing my tax assignment, gathering my W-2 and investment balances. The fog lifted and I came to the conclusion that I DO NOT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT MONEY! Stop it, cut it out, quit!

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Blooming aloe on the patio. The bees love it.

As a partnership of two women, we have never made the big bucks. I have a small State of Texas retirement, social security and a portion of a former spouse’s retirement. What I did right was save a portion of every paycheck as soon as I made any money. I maxed out my IRA’s for years. Even though friends and fellow employees poked fun at my taking the bus, bringing my lunch, and general modest living.

Orchids on Cozumel Island

Orchids on Cozumel Island

This morning I did the math. I gave myself thirty more years on the planet, subtracted what we’ve put aside to build the house, and added in my retirement checks and voila. I’m fine. We’re fine. I have nothing to worry about.

Petaluma, CA last summer.

Petaluma, CA last summer.

It really has nothing to do with money, but my frame of mind. Remembering to be grateful, throw in all the people who love me and I really never have to be afraid about anything, ever. Relax, breath.
DOS TORTAS

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