Tag Archives: Inspiration

I Hate Scary

17 Jul

My mother-in-law loves scary movies. If you walk past her house in the afternoon, it sounds like someone is being murdered. Well, they are, only on Netflix.

Alice’s little house.

First off, the volume is so loud, due to her hearing, or lack thereof. It’s a good thing we live out in the jungle. Mexicans really crank their music anyway so I think most of the country is already deaf. She fits right in.

Stop in and sit a spell.

We have headphones for Alice when she comes down the hill to watch movies with us. She can adjust her personal volume so our ears don’t bleed.

Alice on her way to vacation in California June 29. Puerto Morelos, Mx.

This week Alice almost died of Covid. She is in California with Lisa. She contracted the virus after a family 4th of July (American Independence Day) picnic. The doctor at Urgent Care declined to prescribe antivirals for this petite seventy-eight year old. Why? We have no idea.

Alice and me during lockdown.

Alice had severe diarrhea which shut down her kidneys. She became septic and critical. I’ve always said that medicine in the US is crappy at prevention but at its best in an emergency. She went from critical to discharged in two days. She is up and able to walk unassisted with a walker and feeling much better.

Lisa cheerleading her mom.

Alice is an amazing, resilient woman. All those trips to the gym paid off! I look forward to hearing screaming coming from her house again soon. Gratitude gratitude gratitude.

DOS TORTAS

Please, please WEAR A MASK

Taking Cold Showers

10 Jul

“Cold showers are any showers with a water temperature below 70°F (21.1C). They may have health benefits. Water therapy (also called hydrotherapy) has been used for centuries to take advantage of our body’s tendency to adapt to harsher conditions. As a result, our bodies become more resistant to stress.” (Google)

I’m not sure the water temperature coming out of our shower is below 70 degrees, but compared to the sweaty jungle temps of Bacalar, Mexico, it definitely feels cold.

Danskin sprint distance triathlon back in the day.

When I was training to run the Austin marathon, our coach suggested sitting in an ice bath. First sit in enough water to cover the legs, then have someone slowly add ice. Amazingly, the process helps tremendously with recuperating from muscle soreness and strain, and wasn’t as painful as it sounds.

Capital of Texas Triathlon May 2003

I recently watched this Netflix documentary called The Ice Dive. A fascinating world record that I have no wish to challenge.

https://youtu.be/0_QWamRowc0

Laguna Bacalar never really gets cold, in spite of what the locals think. Winter is actually my favorite time to swim, as the water feels too much like soup most of the year.

Preparing for the Bacalar open water competition.

Weird as I am, I’ve come to like my “cold” showers. Give it a try. I think the benefits will amaze you. Let me know how it goes.

DOS TORTAS

Checking Privilege At The Door

12 Jun

Life is slowly returning to pre-Covid days which for me includes Thursday night drawing class. This week we had a group of about eight meeting on the second floor over the Pirate bar. We draw with our non-dominant hand, left handed for me, which helps to develop hand/eye coordination.

Left handed drawing.

The evening started out delightfully with a shapely model. All too often we have young, skinny models with no hips or butt. During a break someone turned on music that was louder than I liked. Then the model, while posing for a longer sketching period, began reading aloud in Spanish. With the reading and the music, it was hard for me to concentrate. Then someone lit a cigarette! Yikes.

My head began to spin. Needless to say I’m the oldest artist in the room. I know how old people are labeled cranky or finicky. While I didn’t want to come across that way, it was exactly how I felt!

An enjoyable evening turned into an internal dialogue with the teacher, requesting that the class suit my needs, turn down the music, and NO smoking. I was clearly no longer having fun. So I gathered my things and left.

During the days that followed, I have realized that it is not the responsibility of the group to meet my needs. If someone smokes, I am quite capable of asking them to go outside. I will also bring my earplugs, as I do in the gym, to protect my hearing.

I am so privileged in many ways here in Mexico. An older, white (from the US) educated, wealthyish woman is pretty much at the top of the heap. Time to check my privilege at the door.

Naked reading.

So I give myself permission to leave the class if I need to, without the angst and self recrimination, and I realize that privilege means that something that is a problem for me is not necessarily a problem for anyone else.

DOS TORTAS

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

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