Tag Archives: retire mexico

It’s Good To Be Home

5 Dec

I left Austin via magic carpet this past Wednesday on the first flight out scheduled for 8:30 am departure. I had a rental car to gas up and return. International flights require arriving at the airport three hours ahead of time. My sleep was restless so I got up and was at the airport waaaaay too early. Oh well.

I arrived to a rainy Cancun which made locating the car a bit of a challenge. Our house sitter had left it for me ten days prior. I prayed it would start, and it did! Much gratitude.

There was bumper to bumper traffic leaving the airport and construction along the Playa del Carmen highway. My gas tank was getting low and I planned to stop on my way out of Tulum. Way too many travelers had the same idea. There were long lines at the gas pumps so I crossed my fingers and kept going. True to the season I hit a thunder storm which slowed my progress. By the time I made it to the next gas station, I was feeling nervous and coming up with contingency plans.

I made it home to Bacalar safely and spent the first few days putting out fires. One of them was no internet and thus the tardiness of the blog. I’m sitting here watching large, fat, black squirrels prance on our coconut palms. Their antics make me laugh, breathe, and relax. It’s good to laugh. Welcome home.

DOS TORTAS

https://youtu.be/zJ6VT7ciR1o

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. 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

Sometimes A Distraction Is What Is Needed

13 Nov

Life continues to be about healing from back surgery for Lisa. We are both spent from handling the daily basics. Our wonderful house sitter in Bacalar keeps us supplied with photos of the adventures of Stella and Luna. Maybe we should change the name of the blog.

Stella loves her pillow on our back porch. We are missing our pups.
We know who runs our house. Luna was never allowed on the furniture until a house sitter changed all that.
It’s hard to believe she is blind.

Off To See The Wizard

7 Nov

With Lisa showing progress and less pain after her recent back surgery, I thought a chance to tootle off to San Antonio for an art show might be possible.

The weather was predicted to be a perfect autumn Saturday and the Goddess did not disappoint. I decided to avoid the interstate and headed into the Texas Hill Country. Lovely vistas and rolling hills made for a far more beautiful drive between Austin and San Antonio, Texas, a two hour excursion.

I had to pull over to capture the predawn mist.
The day was off to a lovely start.

My dear friend of over 45 years was participating in the Art Stroll. She is a wizard of fiber arts.

A whimsical fish pen case, a little sketching in my journal and an inviting art space.
A fish theme perhaps?

My favorite part of the day was talking to fellow artists about their inspiration, materials and process. I have sold at similar events and understand the time consuming work that usually pays very little by the hour. Many shoppers seemed willing to pay for unique, one-of-a-kind items of jewelry, quilts, paintings, ceramics, etc. I certainly was.

I am always fascinated with impressionist/abstract work.

I also got to sit with Allison and catch up. She is the consummate fiber wizard and I love to she what she has created on her handy dandy sewing machine. I had such a good time ❤️.

DOS TORTAS

Everyday Miracles

31 Oct

Lisa’s surgery went well on Monday and she came home to where we are staying on Wednesday. Ever since we’ve been doing the pain management dance. Why is recovery always more challenging in the middle of the night? She’s experienced high fever, muscle spasms, leg weakness and pain at the surgical site. I’ve called the after hours service twice.

A Visit From Her Surgeon

As of today she is able to walk to the bathroom by herself (with a walker), her pain is better managed and she is sleeping less. We appreciate and give thanks for every little improvement.

First Walk Within Hours Of Surgery
Temporary Home In Austin

As for me, I think the doctor jumped the gun to diagnose a fractured pelvis. The X-ray was not very clear and there seemed to be no other explanation. However several days later, the pain miraculously disappeared! I am in no pain and went for a walk today. It truly is a miracle because I do not know how we would have managed otherwise.

DOS TORTAS

Living Life In A Soap Opera

24 Oct

In Mexico telenovelas (television novels) are quite popular, providing the excitement of rags-to-riches story lines, marrying your long lost sibling, narco kidnappings and medical miracles, to name a few genres. However, as Dos Tortas we do our best to avoid drama in our life, but sometimes the theatrics finds us. Sigh.

Life as a telenovela.

We left our lovely home in Bacalar, Mexico on Wednesday to catch an afternoon flight out of Cancun direct to Austin, Texas. All the signs were good, Lisa saw an illusive toucan on the ride up, which is always a good omen. The rainy dark grey sky broke over Tulum and the sun shone through making the ride much more pleasant. Looking out the plane window as we took off, I saw a beautiful rainbow and we landed in Austin under an enormous orange full moon. Little did I know what was to come.

Not the greatest picture but a dramatic rainbow.

The plan was to get all the pre-op out of the way and relax leading up to Lisa’s spinal fusion on Monday. Ah, the best laid plans.

Hunter’s moon over Austin.

On Thursday I woke with an odd pain in my crotch. It stabbed at me when I walked to perform morning ablutions, how odd. As the day progressed it was clear that the pain was not going away nor would it be ignored, but I tried. By Friday I surmised that I had a stress fracture in my pelvis. I have osteoporosis and this is not my first dog and pony show with broken bones. Miracle of miracles we got in quickly at a local sports medicine clinic. An X-ray confirmed my self-diagnosis. Not one of those times I wanted to be right.

There are not enough curse words in the dictionary for how I felt. The doctor recommended follow-up with an endocrinologist, pain management and rest (about two months to heal). I cannot ignore treatment for my osteoporosis any longer. It seems I am a ticking time bomb.

Thanks to a friend, we have a loaner.

My plans to care for Lisa through her spinal surgery just got more complicated. Good thing we went grocery shopping right off the bat. The friends we are staying with are a great help and it looks like Lisa and I will be sharing a walker. This is NOT how I thought it would go. As with all telenovelas there is always an unexpected plot twist. Stay tuned.

DOS TORTAS

Could You Lend A Hand?

16 Oct

I think we are not good at asking for help. Is it women? Men? US’ers or everyone? It is certainly not just me. In a recent conversation with my daughter, she mentioned an App for organizing meals for anyone who needs help. Her aunt and uncle were recently in a car accident, and a friend stepped up to organize meal delivery. MEAL TRAIN is quite popular, especially for moms with new babies. What a fabulous idea!

What struck me right between the eyes is that it never occurred to me to ask for help. My partner is scheduled for major surgery in less than two weeks and I am the chief cook and bottle washer. While I would love someone to step in and organize the whole thing for me, it hadn’t occurred to me until this minute that I could even ask someone to do that!

This week the sunrises were amazing in Bacalar.

I remember when my now 38 year old son was born. Two friends brought food for which I was supremely grateful. We visited for awhile as I sat on the couch nursing my newborn. After some time they made moves to leave, putting on their coats and standing at the front door. Before exiting one woman casually said, “is there anything else you need?” The dishes piled in the sink flashed before my eyes and I took a deep breath. “Could you do the dishes?” They looked at each other, took off their coats and a few minutes later, the kitchen was spotless. It was a tiny kitchen and they had four hands. It meant so much to me, and all I had to do was ask.

Perfect swimming days.

It has been eight years since we left Austin to retire to Mexico, yet I had no trouble listing twenty people who would probably be quite willing to lend a hand. I need to look into the whole thing and see how it works. One thing for certain is that I can use the help and if I don’t ask, I certainly won’t get it.

DOS TORTAS

It Pays To Have A Daughter

9 Oct

I read recently that having a daughter adds years to your life. Having one who is a social worker by trade is undoubtedly another bonus.

2015

While visiting California this summer, my eldest initiated the uncomfortable conversation, “Mom, what do you want at the end of your life?”. I, who am rarely at a loss for words didn’t have an answer. I guess somehow I imagined living into old age with my faculties in tact and one day just not waking up? Ha, a fantasy at best, although I imagine it could happen. Truth be told, I hadn’t imagined anything.

Reading stories.

My daughter used to work in an emergency room where families brought in their elders after a fall, stroke or other catastrophic event. When asked how they and their loved one would like to proceed, she was met with blank stares. We are all woefully unprepared. There are so many things our society ignores. We will all be there someday. Best get on it. We need to have a plan, at least a conversation.

This book should be required reading by all humans.

I have on occasion suggested books on Dos Tortas. One that addresses this sticky topic and should be required reading for everyone is, BEING MORTAL by Atul Gawande. Whether you need a framework to talk to a parent, family member or significant other, this is it. Do it now.

DOS TORTAS

My Life Goes Better With Yoga

2 Oct

I was first introduced to yoga about 1972. I was studying at The University of The America’s in Cholula, Mexico where there was a young teacher who did asanas (yoga postures) out on the commons. He piqued my curiosity and I joined his weekly class.

1973 That’s me on the right celebrating my 21st birthday in Mexico.

Over the years, yoga has come in and out of my life. Before we left Austin for the wilds of Southern Mexico, I paid $99 a month and walked daily to the Yoga Yoga Studio for unlimited classes.

Downward Facing Dog variation with bone. Stela supervises.

Having scoliosis, the bones in my spine have realigned themselves and moved internal organs to places they wouldn’t ordinarily be. I am blessed to have been able to carry and birth three babies and live most of my life pain free. I believe that yoga has helped.

Stela waits for class to start.

I have lately returned to morning yoga practice. My body feels better for it. I’ve long given up having to prove anything. While structured class with a teacher would challenge and improve my flexibility, the times we live in don’t lend themselves to group practice. Online classes require watching a small screen and interferes with my peace. Since I am not a newbie I have a routine that works for me.

Stela masters child’s pose.

Yoga keeps my body flexible, relaxed and focused. It is something that makes a difference in my day to day life. I can see and feel the benefits which is motivation enough.

OMmmmmm. *dog yoga pictures taken by our lovely house sitter Lei Chen

Yoga is not for everyone but if you are so inclined I recommend it as a gift to your body and soul that will last a lifetime.

DOS TORTAS

Emilie Vardaman

travel and random thoughts

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