Tag Archives: retire mexico

A Day To Celebrate Gratitude

27 Nov

My first favorite activity to celebrate the US holiday of Thanksgiving is watching the New York Macy’s Day Parade. I remember as a child, sitting with my dad, who loved parades. Every year we said we’d go and never did. At my brother’s house, the TV is so large you can see the performers’ nose hairs.

Turkey day tradition.
Santa closes the show.

A newer tradition that I enjoy is the Westminster dog show. I caught the end in time to watch Winston the Frenchy win best of show.

Miss my puppers.

Of course the day would not be complete without stories of Thanksgiving’s past. The family memories that we are making and passing down are what it’s all about. “Remember the time…”

We saw a dolphin off the back of my brother’s boat. Lisa got the money shot.
Walking the neighborhood.
What it’s all about. Family and food.

DOS TORTAS

Florida Same Only Different

19 Nov

After two days of intense travel that turned out to be even more difficult than I imagined, we are finally in Florida, USA. If you look on a globe, you’ll see that Bacalar and the Florida Keys are the same latitude more or less. I’m looking at the same swaying coconut palms from our Key Largo balcony.

Raining

There were some sweet moments over the last two days, like visiting with this child on the bus who was intensely studying my art journal. I love kids and am so happy that I have enough Spanish language skill to be able to talk to them.

She intently studied every sketch, turning the pages slowly.
Travel Art Journal
Adiós Mexico

Sunrise in our hotel room in Puerto Morelos, outside of Cancun.

Also the delightful couple who are minding our dogs while we are gone. Ben from Ireland and Katrin from Austria.

We will be enjoying my siblings and assorted nieces and nephews and a grand holiday meal. I’m sure all the crazy travel expenses and headaches will fade into the distance. Not!

DOS TORTAS

Family Reunion Time

13 Nov

Our family has been whittled down to four siblings, myself and three brothers. We are spread about and with the added delight of Covid, haven’t seen each other in six years. We will gather in a weeks time in Florida to reminisce, eat, swim, share, hangout and pass our family lore on to the next generation. I’m looking forward to it.

1981, my youngest brother Michael’s wedding. He died in 2000.

There is something about siblings. We have fought, resented, silenced, made up and reconnected as adults. I think we’ve finally made our peace and there should be no food fights.

2016 Nieces and nephews, spouses and my son at the far end. One brother missing.

So we’ll be packing up and making the trek to the US. House sitters arrive on Wednesday. Wish us safe travels.

Last picture before my mother died.
Mid 1950s

A Scary Close Call – Hurricane Lisa

5 Nov

Living in the tropics makes us vulnerable to hurricanes, plain and simple. Over the years we have taken measures to ensure our safety and ability to ride out whatever Mother Nature throws at us.

Facing the Laguna.

After several years of mopping up water on our screened porch, we added hurricane shutters. Our biggest threat is wind. I imagined a branch flying through our screens. Yikes.

“X” marks the spot. At the time this was posted, it wasn’t even raining at our house.
Bacalar waiting for the rain from Hurricane Lisa.

Lisa came ashore in Belize, which is south of us.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=-O11pydzb38&feature=share

Since we are not on the ocean, there is no fear of storm surge. We have built drainage both outside and in. At some point we’d like to add solar as back up. The other option is a generator. In the nine years we have lived here, we’ve been very very lucky.

The morning after.

We finally got some wind and a downpour during the night. My wife slept through it all.

DOS TORTAS

Too Old To Learn Spanish – Not

23 Oct

Some people have a knack for languages. Research shows that the earlier you start, the easier it is to learn. Rolling your r’s and softening your d’s is just some of the oral gymnastics required to speak Spanish.

We drove out of Texas on September 1, 2013. Lisa’s first foray into learning Spanish was translating highway signs. Many were self explanatory. Others not so much.

Si toma no maneja – If you drink don’t drive

No deje piedras sobre el pavamiento – Don’t leave rocks on the highway (sometimes a form of civil protest)

Más vale tarde que nunca – Better Late Than Never

Works for us and it’s free!

After nine years of using the application Duolingo, Lisa can hold her own in most conversations. I joke that I can’t talk about her behind her back any more because she understands almost everything. Her main skill is not being afraid of sounding foolish. I remember overhearing her tell a friend’s Mexican parents to “talk to me like a two year old “. She is not afraid of making mistakes. Locals really appreciate her effort.

Lisa at the pyramids of Teotihuacan 2017.

For me, I lived in Mexico and learned Spanish in my twenties. In the beginning of our time in Mexico, I was doing all the translating. Today Lisa thinks nothing of heading to the hardware store, pharmacy or market by herself. I’m still in charge of phone calls, government documents and doctor’s appointments, although I sometimes need help with technical language. God bless Google Translate.

Living with a Mexican family in 1974.

Living in the country who’s language you are trying to learn helps, but so does determination and perseverance. It is said that learning a second, or third language helps keep your brain sharp and “young”. I guess for us, we’re getting younger every day.

DOS TORTAS

Slow Slow Quick Quick

16 Oct

This week I was working in the kitchen and listening to 90’s Country Music. I was dancing around by myself, two stepping, spinning. Slow slow quick quick. So many of the songs brought to mind individual friends, Harper, Jean, Cori, Denise, Cindy, Trish, Betty. We danced two or three nights a week, two stepping, waltz, and line dancing. It’s where I met my wife.

That’s me, second from the left.

I came out in 1990’s in Austin, Texas. The country bar was the place to see and be seen. I quickly figured out taking dance lessons and learning to lead got the attention and the girls. I’d always been a dancer so it wasn’t that difficult. So many memories.

We had so much fun. Happy Halloween

I remember being much younger and having a neighbor in the duplex next door who listened to 60s music all day. I rolled my eyes. Ah the judgements of youth. While I don’t listen to Garth, Travis, Willie, George, Dolly or Shania all day, for an hour this week I was transported to a simpler time. Good times for this old gal.

DOS TORTAS

Finding Your People

9 Oct

You’ve probably read about “Blue Zones”. They are areas of the planet where people live longer, healthier and happier. Studies have identified commonalities that we all can incorporate into life to improve health and longevity.

The one important area of the circle that has eluded us has been having a community of friends and family that we socialize with and depend on. When we first explored moving to Bacalar, we found what appeared to be a vibrant social community. There were parties and the potential for numerous friendships, or so we thought. In the nine years we have lived here, much has changed. People moved on, Covid hit and we have grown more and more isolated in our beautiful jungle home.

The view from our porch.

This week the proverbial shit hit the fan. Lisa’s mom has not been doing well since her bout with Covid. There have been multiple doctor visits as we attempted to figure out and give her some relief from symptoms that have put a halt her day to day activities.

Last photo before Covid.

Also this week, Lisa and I both broke out in some jungle crud rash that is itchy, and causing small, burning blisters. I will not post any pictures.

I had a molar pulled due to a broken root. Hopefully I am a candidate for an implant down the road. Again, no pictures.

On top of all of this and more that I won’t go into, the car broke down. Weird smells and even weirder noises is enough to stress us out big time which I’m sure is a no-no for Blue Zone living.

When I woke today my game plan was clear, ask for help. As a USer, lesbian and overall pain in the ass, my modus operandi is, figure it out, do it myself, “I’ve got this”. Well, not today folks.

David, the general contractor who built our house took Alice to her doctor appointment and provided translation ❤️

I had made a friend at the gym who mentioned that he had an auto mechanic. We have found it so important to know people who know people. I called Rod and his mechanic is at our house right now working on the car. We have been loosing sleep over all this drama, which is never a good thing.

A burned out alternator is not in our wheelhouse
My hunky gym rat. Thank you Rod for sending your mechanic.

I’m not sure what’s with us and hunky guys but we are so grateful for the help. The car is fixed and Alice has an inner ear infection which is highly treatable. Breathe, relax. I guess you never know where your people will come from. Relationships of all sorts are worth nurturing and sometimes you do that by being vulnerable and asking for help. Friends can always say no, but sometimes they surprise you.

DOS TORTAS

Happy Anniversary – 28 Years

2 Oct

Twenty-eight years for a lesbian relationship is like a hundred years for everyone else. The bookies taking bets on us would have lost money big time.

Lisa – twelve years my junior. Former smoker, drinker, X-military. She just started college in 1994.

Me – mom to three children, still sharing a house and co-parenting with my X-husband. I just started graduate school in 1994.

Our first Valentine’s. We were so young! 1997

We met at “the bar”. For you younger folks, back in the day, gay bars were how we all met. At one time there were actually three lesbian bars in Austin, Chances, Nexus and About Time! Unfortunately they have gone the way of the very extinct dodo bird.

In 1999, we had a backyard commitment ceremony after five years and the purchase of a house. Nothing says commitment like buying a house together.

It’s all about the cake!
Sharing a private moment.

In 2015 marriage became legal in all 50 US states. We had a small ceremony and made it legal in California. In case you lost count, that gives us three anniversary dates (and two honeymoons).

Our daughter planned and executed this memorable event.

As we can barely remember what day it is, we have always celebrated the day we met, September 16, 1994. It’s been a wild ride and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Our recent visit to Austin. Our eldest son. 2022

DOS TORTAS

Life Is Just A Box Of Chocolates

25 Sep

We got home Wednesday from a two-week toodle to the US. I went for my annual physical and a mammogram. We also got ANOTHER Covid booster. The main reason for the visit however was for Lisa to see the orthopedic surgeon for follow-up and release of care. She had a spinal fusion one year ago. We had the appointment booked months out. The doctor’s office cancelled the day before.

Up and at ‘em within hours of surgery 2021.

Trips to the US are quite involved. First there’s the flight. We buy more expensive tickets in order to fly direct, no layovers. Sitting for hours on planes, shuffling through security, waiting in line in airports, taxis and buses, all takes its toll on our bodies. It’s a twelve hour return travel day and that’s only to an hotel in Puerto Morelos. There’s another four hour bus ride to Bacalar the following day. It takes two days of travel to and from Austin.

Puerto Morelos 30 minutos from Cancun airport.

The Veterans Administration picked up the tab for Lisa’s original surgery. There is insurance for procedures that the VA hospitals aren’t equipped to perform. Silly us, we assumed that approving the surgery would include the final release of care appointment. Sigh.

We did manage to visit family and friends, eat some good food and celebrate Mexican Independence Day – Texas style.

A lovely day hanging out poolside.
Dos Tortas with our eldest son.

We are so glad to be home.

DOS TORTAS

Thailand Part Four

4 Sep

Our trip to Thailand in 2005 was one of the most memorable experiences of our lives. However, those memories will have to live in our mind because we cannot locate any of our photos. I have searched everywhere.

While staying in northern Thailand we went on a three-day guided hike through a national park that is home to indigenous tribes. Locals housed and fed us as we explored a waterfall, enormous cave, and giant bamboo forest. The Hmong tribal villages survive by allowing foreigners to traipse through their world, sleeping on bamboo cots and waking with the roosters.

We left the mountains and high altitude to explore the coast. You can’t go to Thailand without going to the beach. Since we only had ten days total vacation, we hopped a flight to the coast. Our amazing vacation continued with kayaking in an ancient cave, wandering into another monastery and visiting some of the area devastated by the tsunami. There were families sitting in doorways of concrete box houses slapped together to provide a modicum of shelter. Everyone did their best to welcome back tourists but there was still a long way back to recovery at that time.

I understand why expats from all over the world move to Thailand. The people are kind and generous. The food is to die for and there are monks and temples on every corner. It truly should be on every world traveler’s bucket list.

DOS TORTAS

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