Tag Archives: retire mexico

Doing The Covid Two-Step

19 Sep

For those of you who aren’t familiar, the two-step is a dance frequently performed at a country western bar in boots and cowboy hat. Back in the day, it’s where I met my Sweetie, twenty-seven years ago this week. No one would have put money on us, yet here we are.

Gay bars in the 90s.

These days, the only dance we’re doing is to avoid Covid infection while traveling in the U.S. One, two cha cha cha.

Pharmacy shelves are empty.

Rapid home tests are as elusive as the proverbial needle in a haystack. I believe folks have boxes at home next to stockpiled toilet paper. My daughter orders rapid tests online at 4am when supplies come in and sell out quickly.

Last week we got news that my former sister-in-law succumbed to conspiracy theories and vaccine avoidance. There are so many sad stories of needless death, it’s difficult to turn on the news. RIP Val.

Fingers crossed that we get to talk to the surgeon this week and schedule Lisa’s spinal fusion. It’s been another one of those dances, slow, slow, quick, quick.

At least I can share photos of our pups who are doing well at home in Bacalar under the care of our house sitters. Enjoy.

Luna enjoying a hot stone bath.
Stela harassing my MILs cat.

DOS TORTAS

Get Vaccinated

Just Take The Next Step

5 Sep

We have been NOB (north of the Mexico/US border) for almost six weeks. It has been a full on vaca which includes dodging Covid, eating favorite foods and hanging with the grands.

Up very early for a flight out of Austin.

There’s nothing terribly profound to share. We’ve been enjoying the amazing produce that abounds in Northern California. Figs are in season and are able to be picked off a neighbor’s tree. Heavenly.

One of my favorite fruits.

Temps are a bit lower than Lisa likes, but I am quite content. I just didn’t bring enough warm clothes. Living in the tropics, our wardrobe is limited in that department.

The local farmers market is always a treat.
My art journaling continues. Produce inspires.
Stela has put yoga on hold. Rainy cool weather in Bacalar has her ready to snuggle.

It is such a strange time we’re living in. Lisa’s mom got very sick with the flu. Thank God she didn’t have Covid but there was certainly a lot of anxiety until test results came back. Hang in there. Somehow we’ll make it through.

DOS TORTAS

On To Another Adventure

29 Aug

Our time in Austin, Texas has been renewing for our spirit and relationship. Lisa and I haven’t spent time alone in several years. Do you believe it?! Between Covid, her mother, and the dogs, well, it’s probably a lot like your life.

Morning on the Sunset Valley Greenbelt.
One must be up early to beat the Texas heat.
I love the majestic trees of Central Texas.

With the help of family, friends and Uber, we had a comfortable place to stay and transportation. Our house sitters have taken care of hearth and home and the dogs.

Back in Bacalar, Stela has taken up yoga. Resting pensive pose.

We are very grateful as we move on to the next part of our adventure, visiting California.

Bald Cypress

I miss the trees when we are in Mexico. Then again, Austin doesn’t have Laguna Bacalar.

Thank you sitters Dino and Lei for the updates and photos.

Time to pack.

DOS TORTAS

Painted on the overpass along Ladybird Lake hike and bike trail.

Cloudburst

14 Aug

Whenever I come across something that gives me a good belly laugh, I have to share it with my partner. But when it’s a fall off the couch, tears and snot guffaw-fest, it has to go on the Dos Tortas blog.

This week we watched Cloudburst with Olympia Dukakis on Netflix. I began by not paying much attention but was soon completely riveted. I’ll surely go back and watch it again. The zingers were flying fast and furious and absolutely hilarious.

https://www.imdb.com/video/vi2691547161

The fact that this movie came out in 2002, before lesbians could legally marry in the US, means that I am waaaay behind the times in my movie watching. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Thirty-one years together.

DOS TORTAS

Mask Distance Vaccinate

8 Aug

As Austin, Texas moved into stage 5 this week, the highest Covid warnings were put back in place. People have been admonished to cease circulating and cover your face, even if you are vaccinated. And of course, get the vaccine.

We planned our trip from our jungle paradise to the US when conditions had vastly improved and we had gotten our vaccines. Having spent the quarantine to date in Mexico has gotten us used to masking up before going anywhere. Unlike Texas, Mexico has no problems requiring masks. We are hoping that wearing a mask and only hanging with vaccinated, careful people will get us through. Fingers crossed.

Our son building a climbing structure for his kids.

It has been wonderful to see family and a few friends. We had a small outdoor gathering of my former coworkers on Thursday. Many cancelled, however it was so good to see people whom I have known and worked with for over twenty years. Everyone is in various stages of retirement. One couple is visiting from Portugal where they recently relocated. What fun!

Please add us to your prayers as we navigate the crazy times we live in.

DOS TORTAS

Wake Me Up When We Get There

1 Aug

During my time working for the State of Texas, I flew frequently for my job. I arrived at the airport with just enough time to slip on board the plane to Houston, Corpus or El Paso. If meetings ended early, it was easy to jump on an earlier flight. And there was no additional charge!

Mexico City Airport

When 9-11 happened, the addition of a security line increased the amount of time necessary to arrive at the airport. An hour flight from Austin to Houston took so much additional time in a security line, that it was often easier to drive. Fees began to pile on for rescheduling flights. Flying became less fun.

We travel light. Unfortunately Stela had to stay home.

Our recent trip to the United States from Mexico, after a year and a half in quarantine has us thinking twice about the future of travel. Add to the experience is the fact that none of us is getting any younger. There are additional fees for everything, checked luggage, seat selection and even water on the plane. Each airline has different requirements for proof of health, an application to to be downloaded and filled out or paper to be signed. So much screening! To leave Mexico City we had to get up at two a.m. to be at our flight three hours ahead of time. We knew it would be different but nothing prepared us for the actual experience.

Lisa takes a snooze.
Fun times with the grands. Makes it all worth it.

At the same time, we are excited to see family and friends. We can no longer isolate in our jungle paradise, although I will be supremely happy to get back when our tasks are completed and we make our way home.

DOS TORTAS

When The Dog Ate Chocolate

24 Jul

Have you ever have a day that started off one way and ended up in quite an expected place? That was our Friday this week, in spades. We had an appointment for Covid tests in preparation for the trip Monday to the States. Off we went to Bacalar with our house sitters in tow. The plan was to drop them off at the mercado, get our tests and then meet up to show them our favorite shops and explain some of the unfamiliar fruits and vegetables. That was the only part of the day that went according to plan.

We returned home to a peculiar and unfamiliar sight. There were bits of foil wrapping torn up all over the living room. Mmmm. Had someone gotten in the trash?

It seems our house sitters had some lovely good quality chocolate, unopened and wrapped in plastic at the bottom of a backpack, a perfect treasure hunt for a highly food driven, blind pug with an exceptional nose for trouble.

Who knew such a little dog could get in so much trouble.

Poor Luna who we later surmised had nothing to do with the caper, but got caught up in the tsunami of activity that followed. A quick calculation of the amount of chocolate consumed, weight of a tiny pug and the possible consequences, had them both bundled into the car and off to the veterinary clinic.

Luna said she was innocent.

The doctor was in the middle of another emergency and had us leave the dogs for observation. What a crazy day.

Stella and Luna spent the next few hours crated at the clinic and then home, with Stella passing chocolate diarrhea and vomit for the next few hours. The worst part was her inability to settle down, wandering in circles, disoriented and running into things. (Reminder, she is blind). It took until far into the night for her to finally quiet enough to sleep. This from a dog that sleeps most of the time.

We are so grateful that it was not worse. Dogs can die from chocolate poisoning. With two days until we leave! At least our sitters were not trying to find a vet, handle a sick dog and google translate, “damn dog ingested chocolate” in Spanish.

The good news is that the Covid tests came back negative. And I thought I wasn’t going to have anything to blog about this week. A shout out to our sitter who acted quickly and insisted we go to the vet. Disaster averted and two very scared moms relieved.

DOS TORTAS

Breathe Relax Have Fun

18 Jul

This week we pack.

Unfortunately Stela will not be going on our trip to Austin, TX.

Our first trip north of the border in two and a half years has required much thought and planning. Beyond the usual acquisition and preparation of house sitters, the reservations for transportation (air and ground), arrangements for Lisa’s mom, housing and visiting family and friends, we have the fear of Covid swirling in the mix. How will things be different? God only knows.

Somehow lots of hearts have worked their way into our home.

A friend imparted wise words this week as I expressed my fear and anxiety. “If you are overly afraid of getting sick and dying, you will also not be living.” So we will be cautious and do our best to relax.

Our bathroom mural and outdoor reality.

Once the doors to the plane close, I will take a deep breath. Maybe I won’t wait until then. Breathe, relax, have fun.

DOS TORTAS

Your Life Has Meaning

4 Jul

I read those words this week by Father Richard Rohr, as part of his daily inspirational message. “Your life has meaning”. Some days it’s very hard for me to feel as if my life has had meaning, then I remember

Early 1990s. Weren’t we gorgeous?

I used to work for the City of Austin in the sexually transmitted disease clinic. I gave people the news that they had HIV or some other infection they picked up along the way. I interviewed them as to their sexual partners and who else needed to be tested to stem the spread. I jokingly called myself a sex detective. The official title was Disease Intervention Specialist.

Assured of anonymity, people still reluctantly gave over information. I frequently looked for contacts with very little to go on. No name, sketchy address, and sometimes not even that much. FYI, your neighbors will tell anyone your business, where you work, when you’ll be home, at least they did in the 90’s.

1996 Master’s of Education, University of Texas

I think the most amazing experience I had was finding a young girl. A guy came into the clinic with symptoms of gonorrhea or chlamydia, I don’t remember which. The problem is, men are way more likely to have symptoms (discharge, burning) and women can have a silent infection that is only uncovered in a routine physical.

He had gone to a party the previous Saturday with people he didn’t really know, in a part of town he wasn’t familiar with and had sex with a girl who’s name he couldn’t remember, Sara or Susan or something. Sigh. Finding her was a true needle in a haystack.

I asked him all the usual interview questions and was getting nowhere. He then remembered that she might have been a high school student in Georgetown, a community outside of Austin.

1993

His information didn’t really narrow the field much. What to do? My memory is a bit sketchy on the details, but I got the idea to call the school nurse at Georgetown High School. Those were the days when schools had their own nurses. I told her who I was and the oh so familiar story of the Saturday night party. And much to my amazement, a student who fit the description had been in her office that morning complaining of burning in her nether region. Bingo, mission accomplished.

My creation on Procreate.

I rarely saw clients more than once. I tried to convince them to be safe, selective and sober. Looking for contacts, I thought nothing of walking into a crack house, homeless camp or neighborhood that most folk didn’t know existed. I tried to treat everyone with respect. I really loved my job and felt like I was doing work that made a difference.

Today, living in the jungle in Mexico, I have my memories. Soon we will be heading north to see children and grandchildren. Just maybe I have made a difference there as well.

DOS TORTAS

Out And About

20 Jun

While our state of Quintana Roo in southern Mexico is at code orange for Covid risk, with red being the worst, we are all vaccinated and willing to venture out to try a new restaurant.

Mojito

New hotels and restaurants are popping up daily on every corner. We don’t eat out much, but I felt like the adventures of Dos Tortas needed a kick in the tuchus. So when a friend recommended Barbanegra Bacalar (Black Beard), a downtown eatery with vegan options, I said, why not. We can certainly use an excuse to take a shower and put on clean clothes.

My mother-in-law Alice is always happy to get out of the house.

I am bad about remembering to take pictures of our food. In this case, the service was so slow, we were lucky to be the only people eating. I had a cauliflower ceviche which was creative and I will make at home. Lisa and Alice were pleased with their selections. Mission accomplished.

Cauliflower Ceviche

Eating out supports the economy and gets us out of the house. Sometimes it’s the diversion that we all need.

DOS TORTAS

Emilie Vardaman

travel and random thoughts

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