Tag Archives: Inspiration

The Loss Of An Artist And Friend

24 Apr

When an artist dies, the art that never was is often mourned with as much grief as—if not more grief than—the individual themself. The individual, after all, was flesh and blood. It’s the art that’s immortal.” Esme Wang

Sometimes we don’t know what someone means to us until they’re gone. Filiberto Ayala had more talent in his little finger than I will ever have in my whole body. He also had more heart.

Me learning body painting from the master.
Such talent.

Fili died this week of brain cancer. I never did find out what kind. Coming from a poor, uneducated family, it probably didn’t make any difference to them. Having lost my youngest brother to a glioblastoma, it mattered to me.

He spent days painting this mural in our bathroom. I see him there everyday.
What a gift he gave me.

I had plans to visit him again on Monday. He died that morning before I could get there. When I went to pay my respects, he was laid out in a coffin in the living room with family and friends sitting outside. There was going to be an all night vigil and cremation the following day. I wish I could have stayed. I think it would have been awkward. At least that’s what I tell myself.

His art is not immortalized in museums, but on walls and in our hearts.

Fili’s Facebook page was flooded with photos, accolades, and stories. He was loved by many, an amazing, artist, son, father and friend. Go with God dear Filiberto.

DOS TORTAS

Embarrassed To Be Happy

17 Apr

With so much pain and suffering in the world, is it super privileged to be content? There are no broken bones, the car is running, we have food and shelter.

I am grateful, and I don’t want to jinx things. I’m not saying that life is perfect. I still struggle with not sleeping. It’s just the way it is. My body hurts from gym work outs, but it’s a good hurt and I’m thrilled with the muscles. Lisa and I have been having date-night once a week. Sometimes it’s the little things.

Moon over Laguna Bacalar.

I’m leaving for California a week from Tuesday and I’m actually excited. Not much really excites me these days. Soon I will be checking the weather, hauling out the suitcase and getting a Covid test. Hi ho hi ho.

Going for a swim.

Until then, I will try to keep the bubble from bursting, however I did buy travel insurance.

DOS TORTAS

Let’s Book A Flight

10 Apr

When we retired to Bacalar, Mexico from the United States, we took so many things into consideration. I was working a job that gave me time to spend researching. Bacalar was thirty minutes from an international airport. We would be able to travel back to the US easily for holidays and visits with family. We had direct buses to Cancun where we could get flights to anywhere in the world. There was one caveat that we didn’t consider, couldn’t have possibly known.The world of 2022 is no longer the world of 2013.

Nine short years. How time flies. I’m not suggesting that we should not make plans because of an uncertain future. The future is always uncertain.

Sitting on my couch looking at travel search engines makes my head spin. Lisa said something his morning that is so true. “You should go. When you get home you’ll never want to do it again.” How right she is. I hate flying. Flights are long (there are fewer route options), expensive and involve crazy people. I also drop my cell phone and loose my headphones. The stress makes me crazy.

I will persist however. I miss my kids. Wish me luck.

DOS TORTAS

Persevere

26 Mar

Watching the US Supreme Court nomination hearings this week of Judge Katanji Brown Jackson has been both inspirational and emotional. She gives hope to all women, young people, and anyone who has dreams for a better more egalitarian world.

Reading today that Ginni Thomas, wife of sitting Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas tried in December 2020 to influence the overthrow of US elections made me sick to my stomach. What the heck!

Every day is a new beginning.

My personal takeaway this week is what an anonymous passerby whispered to Katanji Brown as a young, confused Harvard student, “persevere.” I’m so glad Judge Brown did.

We must all persevere. Life is hard.

DOS TORTAS

Which Way To NOT Go

20 Mar

When we retired to southern Mexico seven years ago, the village of Bacalar was quiet and peaceful. Three cars slowing down was a traffic jam. We used to listen to the stories of dirt roads and no gas stations from the expats who have been here twenty years. You would have thought we’d have seen the writing on the wall.

All roads lead from Bacalar.

In the last two years, as growth has exploded, some good things have happened. Well, at least some pot holes are filled. Slowly roads were paved and with the improvements I noticed something that I found unusual. Roads around town became one-way streets. The odd thing is that rather than pointing out which way TO go, the street signs direct traffic which way NOT to go. It messes with my brain, but this week I think I found out why. There are anomalies in Spanish, not found in English, that may explain.

Don’t turn left.

Menos mal, literally “less bad”. means a good thing in Spanish.

Menos mal que, means “it’s a good thing that.”

So something that is good is described by the degree of badness that it has.

Echar (to throw) de menos, less or badly means to miss

Te echo de menos means “I miss you”.

Also, telling time is stated by subtracting quarters of the hour. For example,

Son las cinco, it is five o’clock, menos cuarto, less fifteen minutes or 4:45. In English we would say that it’s fifteen minutes TO five.

Perhaps other languages use subtraction rather than addition to life in general, ie which way NOT to go or the degree of negative a thing is to determine it’s benefit. If anyone can shed light on this observation, I would love to hear it.

Rather than looking at the negative, behind, or ahead, left or right, we work on staying present. “Right here, right now.” Mexicans are also pretty good about living in the moment, when they’re NOT, not turning left. I’m not sure any of this makes sense, but have a good week.

DOS TORTAS

Sometimes Life Is A Miracle

12 Mar

I hate when the week winds down and I have nothing in mind for the blog. Somehow the Universe steps in, like it did today. (Saturday)

I went to the Scotiabank ATM in Chetumal to withdraw cash. One thing we’ve had to figure out living in Mexico is how to economically transfer dollars from our US retirement accounts to pesos for our every day living expenses. There are fees everywhere, bank limits on how much we can transfer, and the exchange rate to keep an eye on. At the moment, the dollar to peso is in our favor, so I thought I’d take out our limit on two different bank cards.

I had recently read that someone using the ATM at our bank had been robbed and I was being extra cautious and staying aware of my surroundings. I took one of the wads of pesos and slipped it into the side of my leggings. The rest was in my purse.

I proceeded into the mall where I bought a pair of house shoes and then walked to the opposite end to the supermercado and began to work my way through our long shopping list. We only go to this store every few weeks and mostly for specialty items (my particular brand of soy milk) we can’t get locally. I suddenly remembered the money in my legging and reached for it but it was gone.

Down near our dock. Gratitude gratitude.

“Stay calm, breathe.” I tried to talk myself down from panic. The wad of cash was 9,000 pesos or about $450 dollars. Was it worth a coronary? I didn’t think so. I continued with my shopping and prayed that whoever found the money, really needed it.

I saw a summer tanager this week (stock photo)

My mind was working overtime trying to figure out what could have happened. I thought perhaps I had dropped the money in the store where I bought the slippers. I headed in that direction pushing my full grocery cart. Suddenly there was a commotion behind me and I turned to see money scattered everywhere and people rushing to pick it up. I realized it was my money, but how…?

Coati. A group ran in front of our car this week. We counted 31 adults and little ones. (Stock photo)

When I walked up and said that the money was mine, all the angels handed over the cash. I got back every peso. I had patted down the wrong leg when I thought the money was gone. The money had been falling from my pant leg as I walked along. Boy did I feel stupid. Mexican people pride themselves in their honesty. However 9,000 pesos could be two months salary to a day laborer. Hard to resist.

Life’s lessons can be painful at times. I’m glad this wasn’t worse than it was. Lesson learned.

DOS TORTAS

Luna Hates Feet

5 Mar

I should have known when Lisa looked at me doe-eyed and said that I needed to “go look at this puppy”, what that really meant. We were getting a dog. All the expats in Bacalar, Mexico where we had retired (2015) told us that we would get a dog, or two. I had insisted no, we don’t want a dog. Silly me.

Luna aka Lunatic, will be turning seven at the beginning of the summer. It’s always hard to tell with Mexican street dogs or callejeros. The breed is dubious, but dogs tend to be scrappy, independent, food driven, and excellent additions to any family when properly socialized and trained.

A typical street dog in Mexico. Maybe Luna’s daddy?

Friends heard crying under their car, only to discover a puppy in a grocery bag. She was full of fleas and ticks and very skinny.

Such a sad little thing.

When we moved into our newly constructed house in Fall of 2015, we had a “no dogs on the furniture” policy. Upon returning from a visit to the US in 2019, we found Luna had become queen of the couch. Our house sitters unknowIngly gave her access and there was no going back. The couch is now her domain and covered in blankets.

Love that puppy belly.

Luna has never been a cuddly dog. She does love butt and ear scritches but on her own terms. Just don’t get near her with your feet! She will grumble and growl, not in an aggressive way, but more like a shots fired over the bow sort of warning. Luna and I have had conversations about how she is extremely privileged and why on earth is she put off by feet anywhere in her vicinity, but to no avail. Sigh.

Luna loves a boat ride.
Her Majesty taking in some rays.

Other than her feet aversion, Luna is a very good girl. She has a big, deep voice which lets passers by think that she means business, which is why people have dogs in Mexico I guess. They are excellent door bells and protection. It was one of our better decisions.

DOS TORTAS

I’m sure of it.

Grief And Gratitude

27 Feb

Two years ago we adopted Stela, a blind pug. I had never been around a pug and had a lot to learn about their quirky nature. One skill she has is to be asleep on the couch, snoring loudly and on her feet a moment later when someone says one of the magic words, outside, potty, snacks, or walk. She’s a zero to a hundred in the blink of an eye kind of gal. Sometimes life is like that too.

Stela loves her pillow.

Last weekend I was blissfully returning from kayaking on Lake Bacalar, Mexico,where we live. I was anticipating the week leading up to my seventieth birthday, and in one misstep, I was sailing off the dock, landing on a pile of rocks, and screaming for my life. No bones were broken but doctor’s orders has me off my feet for 2-4 weeks. Zero to a hundred, but not in a good way.

I fell to the left of the kayak.

On Tuesday, our housekeeper of six years announced that she is pregnant with baby number five and could no longer work for us. While we completely understand it is the loss of a relationship that we were totally unprepared for. As much as I think that the people who work for us are not friends, the flood of tears said something different.

The husband of a friend and former neighbor from Texas lost his battle with cancer on top of the loss of our dear friend Suze the week before (Death Knocks) also to cancer.

On Sunday Lisa went to a celebration of life for her dear poker buddy Steve who died suddenly from Hepatitis C two years ago. He was a good guy.

Steve, Lisa’s Bacalar poker buddy and our friend.

I guess the only way we can be prepared for loss is to live every day fully. Many people don’t make it to seventy. I have a feeling that sadness and gratitude are a part of the aging process no one much talks about. I think fondly of Delmy, Troy, Suze and Steve as I grieve their loss. As for me, I think youth is vastly overrated. My bruised body will heal. None of us will ever be younger than we are right this minute, so enjoy today, live life to the fullest and above all be grateful.

DOS TORTAS

AFTER YOU DIE
Just so you know
after you die
I will not wonder
why you didn’t do
your dishes or
how long it’s been
since you
cleaned your
oven or microwave or
mopped your floors
or why there were
dust bunnies under
the bed and
behind the door

After you’re gone
I will not wonder
how you could
have allowed the
piles of old mail to
accumulate or
why you saved so
many bits and pieces
of this and that or
why you weren’t
more goal-oriented and
well-organized or
why your refrigerator
contained so many
expired condiments

When you are
absent from all your
familiar places
I vow to avoid wondering
why you didn’t
eat less and
exercise more or
why you waited so
long to stop smoking
or drinking or
whatever else was
simultaneously
soothing and
deadly or
why you took
whatever risk may
seem to have hastened
your exit or why
you left so much unsaid
unfinished or
unresolved

I will only wonder
if you knew how much
you mattered to me
just as you are
as you were when we
met in our temporary
human disguises and
laughed in the
dressing room of the
world at how funkily
our skin suits fit
at times

I will wonder and
hope you knew
you were beloved

I will wonder when
we last hugged
and whether you
felt how our
heartbeats
converged
and our bellies
bumped like boats
and then we
both sighed

Marva Lee Weigelt


The Four Pillars

9 Jan

I read on CNN that Hillary Clinton had co-written a mystery book with a famous Canadian author I had never heard of, Louise Penny. Hillary’s book got mixed reviews, but the first of many books by Ms. Penny was exalted.

I have taken to audiobooks to encourage me to spend more time in the kitchen cooking, baking and cleaning up. With my chief dish washer still in Texas for a few more weeks, I need all the encouragement I can get. Cleaning up is not my forte.

I have not finished Still Life, but I’m enjoying it immensely. A few days ago, the main protagonists said something I had to replay several times. It was one of those lessons I needed to hear.

Of these four noteworthy statements, “I need help” seems to be the most difficult for me, followed in close second by, “I don’t know”. I freely admit that if we know everything, we learn nothing. I grew up in the time of women’s liberation and as a lesbian, asking for help, especially from men, was frowned upon.

Since taking note of this foible of mine, I have caught myself several times saying, “yes” to offers of help. The roof did not cave in, no one thought me less capable and I didn’t spend a lot of time trying to figure out something that was outside my realm of expertise. It also felt good to be vulnerable.

So which is your Achilles’ heel? They’re pretty easy to remember,

<I need help,

<I don’t know,

<I’m sorry,

<I was wrong.

DOS TORTAS

Every day,

What A Year What A Year Adiós 2021

2 Jan

I fell into 2021 which required a cast and a lot of inactivity. An indication of what was in store perhaps?

Some of my blog posts for the year included among other things, recipes for garlic soup, spaghetti sauce, broccoli slaw, and dog food.

I renewed my passport in an adventure to Playa del Carmen.

Taking the bus and being careful.

Shared my quilts and my art.

Lone Star

Had dog adventures which included a trip to the vet after much chocolate consumption.

They look so innocent. I think Luna was, but not the evil pug.

Reviewed a few Netflix movies.

Provided some tips for dealing with emotional trials and tribulations.

And documented two trips to the States which included Lisa’s back surgery.

What a year, what a year! Here’s to 2022!

Much love from DOS TORTAS.

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