Tag Archives: retire mexico

The Best Laid Plans

10 Jan

On Monday of this week, the cast came off my broken leg (Taking Staying Home To A Whole New Level). I had been counting the days, hours, minutes… I had it in my head that I would be able to start walking and getting my life back. How silly am I?

My passport (Living On Borrowed Time) had expired in mid-December and I admit to some anxiety about being without a valid passport while living in Mexico, in the time of Covid. My renewal appointment for April was canceled outright due to the shut down. Finally in December I got a date that I had to postpone after breaking my left fibula. It was only a small break, nothing dramatic. So why was I still in pain four weeks later and wanting to rip the cast off with my teeth!

No more pictures of my feet please.

I rescheduled with the US Consulate for January seventh. I would travel by bus to Playa del Carmen, a couple of hours away. I would spend the night and give myself plenty of time to take a taxi and be at the appointment by noon. Sounds like a plan, right? Crutches be damned.

Sometimes my life feels totally upside down.

Only I didn’t count on the level of discomfort I’d still be in when the cast came off. I must have sprained my ankle pretty badly on top of the fracture. It’s still swollen and bruised. No weight bearing for two more weeks. That didn’t keep me from plowing ahead with my plans. Hotel reserved, check. Bus ticket purchased, check.

https://youtu.be/BEyjS69ZEIQ Hotel Maria Bonita

On Wednesday morning my beloved spouse sat me down and informed me in her most loving, sincere tone, that I was out of my mind. I wanted to object, be right, and revolt, but that small voice that I so wanted to ignore, knew she was right.

How many times has this happened?

We’ve arrived at this place in our relationship after twenty-six years where we trust each other. She’s got my back. I also know that my stupid decisions aren’t without consequences to her. I know I’m selfish, but I try not to be insane. So the best laid plans were cancelled, again. The consulate will reschedule and I’ll have more time to heal. The blog I had hoped to write for today was postponed as well. Oh well, it’s not like any of us are going anywhere any time soon.

DOS TORTAS

This Time Last Year

3 Jan

The world was a very different place ringing in the New Year 2020. Lisa and I were on the trip of a lifetime, celebrating our 25th Anniversary and Lisa’s recovery from two surgeries (cervical and heart) in 2019.

Ringing in 2020, we were onboard the cruise ship Azamara fulfilling a lifelong dream of traveling through the Panama Canal. Little did we know until much later how we dodged the Covid bullet that stranded many people cruising all around the world. Luckily we disembarked January 5, just in time.

Should old acquaintance…🍾🎤🎼🎺
Conga line extraordinaire.

New Year’s Eve was spent positioned off the coast of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It was the most amazing blowout celebration we’ve ever been part of, fireworks and dancing, and the last time we dressed up for ANYTHING.

2020 was an opportunity to stay home, reconnect and remember what is important. We worked at not complaining and finding joy in the small things. There will always be ups and downs. Certainly a worldwide pandemic was not on anyone’s playlist. I appreciate seeing the optimism for 2021. Myself, I will continue to keep my expectations low. I’m not sure we’ll be cruising any time soon, or ever again, and that’s just fine.

DOS TORTAS

My art

Sometimes The Little Things Are The Big Things

27 Dec

Seven years ago before we retired and moved from Texas to Mexico, I used to crochet hats. They were one of a kind, artistic, colorful and sometimes a bit zany creations. I often sold them off my head or took special orders. One day, a woman from my yoga class asked me to make a hat for her elderly aunt who lived in a nursing home in South Texas. The hat wasn’t particularly for warmth but to cover her thinning hair. I remember my grandmother wearing a wig because her pink scalp and the loss of her precious mane caused her anxiety. I told Betsy I’d be glad to.

One of my more eclectic creations.

I wove my magic including bits of sparkly yarn. What white haired diva doesn’t love a purple hat. Mona was thrilled with her topper and promptly ordered two more! My guess is they got her compliments, started conversations and helped her make connections, something we all crave and comes less frequently as we age.

Mona had someone take her picture to send to me.

On this Christmas Day I awoke and was surprised to find a message from Betsy. We’ve somehow managed to hold onto each other’s contact information. She had seen a recent holiday picture of Mona exchanging gifts with family.

And there she was, wearing one of my hats. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to receive that note. What made it especially endearing to me is that Mona is 102 years old. What a Christmas gift!

We never know when sometimes the little things are actually the big things. Wishing you lots of little joys when strung together create wonderful memories and a wonderful life. They certainly do for me.

DOS TORTAS

Dear Terry

20 Dec

Sitting on the couch this week with my broken leg propped, I have been thinking of you and remembering our family Christmas traditions.

1999 Our commitment ceremony with Terry and Steven.

Every holiday was defined by the menu and our mutual love of feeding our extended family. Seven layer bean dip was great finger food that we noshed on all Christmas Eve. Tamales with the green sauce that Lisa loves brought the kids to the table and home when they were older. We sat around your table eating, laughing and putting together an Italian feast for Christmas Day. What started out as spinach lasagna morphed into stuffed shells to save time. I can smell your spaghetti sauce bubbling on the stove. Everything was tucked into the refrigerator to be reheated on Christmas Day. It was a simple, elegant meal that we all loved.

2012 Dylan and wife Maria with their son Hunter, Grandpa Frank who turns 93 this month, son Cullen and daughter Felice, cousin Lincoln, Lisa and me, Terry and husband, my former and kid’s dad Steven.

Christmas morning was the best. Showing up at your house early to wrap my hands around a mug of coffee and peruse your beautifully decorated table of Christmas breads and homemade cookies. Nuts and dried fruit and your famous bourbon balls were displayed on festive plates. Thank you for all the hours you spent making them. Unfortunately the only pictures are in my head.

Thanksgiving but close enough.

We spent many years watching our children grow and eventually showing up with their children. I tear up now thinking of how we didn’t know about the twists and turns life would take, preventing us from experiencing that extraordinary time again. Life is like that, but doesn’t keep me from occasionally wishing I could have held on a little longer. I am supremely grateful for those memories and our relationship. You have been a blessing and the sister I never had, only better.

Stela wishes you happiest holidays.

DOS TORTAS

Lisa’s mom Alice joins Luna, Stela, Lisa and me to wish you a peaceful holiday.

Taking Stay At Home To A Whole New Level

6 Dec

The extent some bloggers will go for a story! Last week I got all kinds of sympathy and prayers for the discovery of three bulging disks in my neck and the resulting pain and crankiness. Then Monday afternoon while walking the dogs, I fractured my left fibula! I seriously could have found something else to write about, but nooooo.

My beautiful jungle walk.

While on my afternoon dog walk, I casually stepped and heard a distinctive crunching sound. Oh, that’s never a good thing. As a result, down I went, almost in slow motion. While laying on the ground with dogs freaking out around me, I watched a knot swell up on my ankle. Dear Lord, what have I done?

Inflammation, the body’s natural response.

My mind was going to worse case scenario, broken ankle, surgery, pins, hospital stay, yikes. As it turned out, it was a small fracture of my left fibula. The cast went on with instructions to put NO weight on my foot for four weeks. You never know how much a thing like this limits your activities until you’re trying to get to the bathroom on crutches. Not fun.

Sometimes a picture says it all.

Thank you to my wife (who’s birthday is today) for picking up the slack. The dogs are all confused as to why I am laying in bed, and what this wheeled, walker thingy is. My head is unfocused on pain medication. Christmas plans for a trip to the beach have been postponed. We have a whole new meaning for “Stay At Home!”

DOS TORTAS

Love to you all.

A Fun Week? Not So Much

6 Dec

In 2017 I wrote a blog entitled Rocks In My Head. I had been having migraines which were completely out of the norm, and went to the doctor. After a series of tests (don’t doctors love tests) I underwent an EEG.

I was diagnosed with small calcium deposits (rocks?) which were thought to have been there a long time. The funny thing is, I haven’t had a migraine since (knock on wood).

I had to stay awake all night prior to this test! Fun.

That said, I have had dull headaches that I tend to medicate and/or ignore. Recently I was diagnosed with three bulging disks in my neck. They are probably due to a combination of scoliosis and osteoporosis and just plain getting older.

The source of my headaches? Mmmm.

Anyone who has gone to physical therapy knows that it hurts like hell in the beginning until you retrain particular body parts to behave in a different way, take the strain off the offending muscle or tendon. Exercises can stir things up and cause more pain in the beginning.

That is where I’m at this week. It didn’t help that Stela, my blind pug head butted me while jumping onto the couch. She hit my chin as I bent over to pick her up and put my teeth into my lip.

So innocent.

A long story to explain why I’m not feeling all that great. Y’all hold things up while I take a rest. Hopefully next week I will have some inspiration to share.

DOS TORTAS

It takes us all.

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

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Life Markers

18 Oct

For most of us, we have life markers, events that forever changed us, our world and the way we look at things. Nine-eleven was a huge marker for many. It’s hard to find anyone in the world who wasn’t touched by it. I realized from visiting the book depository/museum in Dallas, TX that the assassination of President John Kennedy was a marker of my childhood, comparable to Nine-eleven. It too affected many people around the globe. Kennedy was a charismatic and beloved world leader.

November 22, 1963, fifty-seven years ago.

On a more personal level, the death of my youngest brother from glioblastoma/brain cancer in 2000 left a big gap in my life. Our parents get old and we know they will pass, but the death of a child or siblings can be extremely hard. It was for me. I can’t believe December will be twenty years.

On the left, Michael, older brother Ken on the right.
When we were lots younger. Michael on the right. I still tell folks that I have four brothers.

Covid is certainly an historic marker that we all share. There will be many stories of life before and after. And since we are still in the throws of it, it’s hard to imagine what the after will look like.

What are your life markers? This post started out with thoughts of how my life has changed after moving to Mexico seven years ago. It has turned out quite different from what I expected. However, clearly the blog took on a life of its own. Maybe another time.

DOS TORTAS

In Mexico Count on the Motociclistas

11 Oct

Thursday evening I got a call that no one wants to get. My phone said the call was from my wife, Lisa, so why was some guy speaking garbled English? He was telling me there had been an accident. It took my brain awhile to process.

The chariot that brought us to Mexico.

I jumped in the car heading to kilometer 51, about 15.5 miles away. I arrived on the scene to find a band of motociclistas directing traffic and surrounding Lisa who was sitting on the side of the highway holding her head. Her truck was off in the jungle. It was very dark by this time, and all I cared about was getting her to the hospital.

She is fine, a slight head injury and wearing a cervical collar. Her beloved truck is likely totaled. I didn’t get to thank those guys, not the guy who scooped her up and carried her to my car, or who went back to the truck to get her purse, nor the one who called me, or who stood on the highway slowing traffic keeping her safe. They were an incredibly sweet and caring group of men.

She had been side swiped while passing a car. Her truck went spinning off the road. The other driver did not stop. Thank you motociclistas. It could have been so much worse.

DOS TORTAS

Life Is Strange And Wonderful

20 Sep

Looking back over my previous blog posts, I see that I have three blogs devoted to my house full of statues, paintings and pictures of the Virgin of Guadalupe (I love looking around and seeing her). Of late I am reading a book that was recommended by a friend. It has definitely taken things up a notch.

It is written by a man who began having visions of a woman who told him to pray the rosary. Not being Catholic he was skeptical at the least.

From a church in Cartagena, Columbia.

The kicker for me is that in January we were in Cabo San Lucas during a layover from our cruise. It was a lovely evening, the sun was going down and I went for a walk by myself along the marina. A woman was there with her young son in tow. There were no other tourists about and she looked quite desperate to make a sale. For some unknown reason I bought a rosary from her. I have no idea why. I’d completely forgotten about it until I was introduced to this book.

Sharing this personal shift in my life feels very vulnerable. All I can say is that since I’ve begun praying the rosary I feel more at peace than I have for a long time time. The mantra-like prayers from my childhood soothe the daily stress with their repetitive cadence. Saying the rosary also reminds me to be grateful as I think of the many people who are having a hard time in the world. Life is strange and wonderful. Thanks for coming along for the ride.

DOS TORTAS

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