Monday, August 31, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
As I left I ran into other friends that I haven't even seen this whole year because they've been traveling. So, of course, one must stop to catch up.
The day ended when I finally got to bed at almost 11:30 that night. NOTHING boring around here!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Everyone else had booths in mauves, grays and boring colors....................and then there was my booth. It just made people happy. Originally this canvas mural was to have graced the walls of a Tex-Mex restaurant in The Woodlands, north of Houston. The owner didn't like it so it reposed in my garage for about ten years. For some reason I just couldn't throw it away. Then I used it for the shows . Perfect. But not as perfect as it is hanging on this wall...........Doesn't it make you smile?
AND, I can see forever. If you click on the photos above they will enlarge and you can see the mountains in the distance. I'm so lucky. Can you believe it? Cost to live here - less then $400 US a month. To me, it's priceless.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Tom Delay, once considered one of the most powerful men in Washington and the USA, has sunk to the level of being a contestant on "Dancing with the Stars". His nickname was "the Exterminator". It's appropriate on so many levels, but the funniest, which many people don't know, is that he started out with a bug control (think cockroaches) company in Sugar Land, Tx.
Obnoxious, arrogant and rude, he was deposed. I wondered what he was up to.......it makes me laugh. Maybe he, Karl Rove, Newt Gingrich, Lou Dobbs, Tricky Dick Cheney and a few others could get together and do a special dance.........possibly the Chorus Line. And, take their last bows.
I'm laughing so hard that even my black eye doesn't hurt. Laughter IS the best medicine.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
The water line should be up to the top of the presa (reservoir) walls. It should be midway up those trees seen in the photo below. It isn't.
Now, when I lived in Houston, it was nothing for us to get 7-10" of rain. Heck, sometimes in an afternoon. I remember distinctly in 1979, when a tropical depression sat over Houston, we had 42 inches of rain in 24 hours. Boats were floating down the streets of Nassau Bay, south of Houston near NASA. Among other things. I don't want that. But I sure do pray that we get the rest of the rain that the farmers in this area need for their crops.
The aquifers have dropped thirteen feet in the last ten years, I'm told. Eighty percent of the water taken from the aquifers is for irrigation. And, according to experts, the rainfall we get now takes about eighty years to replenish the aquifers. It's a dire mess both for residents and farmers.
I NEVER thought in my life, after living in the tropics of Houston, that I would indeed be praying for rain. We were then, usually praying for it to stop. Times are a changing.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
She loved the big horse that pulls the ice cream wagon into the jardin on the weekends. It is a big draft horse similar to a Clydesdale. Matilda was not the least intimidated by the size and I'm told she went right up to it. (I was not there to see this sight - luckily). So after seeing and greeting all that wanted to greet her we were off to Casa Milagros for lunch and presents. Can a Grammy have a grandchild come to town without presents? Not this Grammy!
Friday, August 21, 2009
I actually took a couple of photos of my right eye but it is so disgusting looking that I'm not willing to share. What started out as this massive egg at my hairline has slid down my face, is encircling my eye and it is one puffy mess. Amazing!
It looks like someone went crazy with purple and blue eyeshadow. The left side of my body looks the same way, but at least clothes cover up that mess. Like a bad scene out of a horror film. Obviously you can tell I've never had a black eye. I hope I never have another one. At least today my eyes are at the same level. Yesterday one was higher then the other. It was bizarre.
I'm so vain that I'm scurrying around town with BIG sunglasses on and not going anywhere where I would have to remove them. When I did this morning, I thought the maid was going to faint.
The "Gypsy Kids" arrive tonight. I forewarned them. I don't think they would have believed their eyes. Now, when they hear the story, they'll want to send me to a home for wayward women.........old wayward women. And I'm sure Matilda will NOT want to sit in Grammy's lap, under any circumstances.
What a mess! Anyone know the name of that painting? I think I need a copy again.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
In another blog I'll show you the gardens and the roof terrace. It's all delightful - at least to me.
IT IS muy tranquilo.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Whooping cough, failed romances, attacking scorpions, 3600 mile road trips and NOW, NOW I have a dizzy spell, spin around and fall forehead first into the wall along the stairwell outside my bathroom. I realized I was feeling dizzy but the next thing I knew I heard a crack as my head and the wall collided. "How the heck did that happen?", I said to myself. I had just gotten out of the shower - was getting dressed to go to the gym and WHAM. I knew the first thing to do was to get ice on whatever had just happened. I traipsed upstairs grabbed one of those plastic glasses that freezes the water between two layers of plastic and gently, oh so gently laid it on my head. THEN I looked in the mirror. I shouldn't have.
The head had a golf ball size, and I do NOT exaggerate, raised place on it above the right eye. Then thinking it best to lie down, I did. Mental exercises came to mind to make sure that I hadn't knocked my brains out. Ok, I could do mathematical tables in my head. I knew my name and the day and date. Whew, my brains were still intact.
About an hour later, much to my surprise, out of the blue, my maid Josefina appeared. She is recuperating from cervical cancer surgery. I was shocked, really to see her. AND she was shocked to see me...........very. She said I had to go to the hospital. She went and got TM to come over from his casa and he agreed, "I needed to go to have my head examined.""
That brings up all the times that has been said to me too. Ok, ok, you have to see the humor here. Upon arrival at the hospital, the Doctor appeared. OMG was he good looking! Then I knew I hadn't lost my mind......ha.
X-rays, lab work and I'm fine. "Rest, liquids and, call if anything changes," were the admonitions after four hours of observation. Total cost for the emergency room, all the tests and the Dr's
fee 1678 pesos.
THIS was definitely NOT how I intended to spend today. I'm fine, I'm fine - no sympathies are needed. I can just hardly wait to see what is going to happen in the future. Thankfully we don't know, and it's a good thing!
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
The child was playing with a mixed breed dog that looked somewhat like a German Shepherd. I noticed her because she was close to the road and, at first, appeared to be alone.
I watched for a minute or two as she gently petted the dog and played with it. Then the dog went over to another tree for shade but the little girl stayed put. I then saw her. Her mother.
The mother had a big machete. Almost as long as she was tall. She was hacking at the dead tree for firewood. My heart seized up. I always think, "But for the grace of God, go I". Always.
I debated about getting out of the car, walking through the field and giving the woman some money to help she and the child. The dilemma always is: Will she be offended? Am I intruding? How can I do this in a diplomatic and gracious way? She wasn't begging. She was working.
So, I DIDN'T get out and I drove on to where I was going. Still with a knot in my stomach and my heart hurting. After about ten minutes, I turned around and drove back to the field. Determined to get out and to give assistance, in whatever way, to the mother and child.
They weren't there! I drove all around. I drove through the paths of the field. Nada. Oh my gosh, my heart sank. I never found them. I'm so ashamed I didn't just get out when I first saw them and go and give aid.
I know that mother and child will remain in my mind for a long, long time.
There was a teenage boy in a parking lot in Celaya last year who had ridden the rails from El Salvador and was trying to get to Detroit because he could get a job there, he hoped, with relatives. I've never forgotten that boy. He was the same age as my teenage granddaughter who lives in safety with family and plenty of food.
It reminds me to "be grateful for what I have" and "not to think about what I wish for that I don't have". I have so much.
Monday, August 17, 2009
All are former, or current hairdressers. Hairdressers are always fun. These women are not only in their sixties and sexy, in my humble opinion, they are successful business women and survivors. One has buried two husbands in great tragedy. Another recently buried her husband of eighteen years. Both Karen and Barbara lost their homes in Hurricane Ike at Bolivar. It just goes on and on.
They are women who appreciate every day of their lives. Maybe because of the hard times. Well, NO hard times while they were in San Miguel though. They shopped, ate, drank and generally had a great time.
I actually ventured out and met them at Harry's for drinks - something I hardly ever do. It probably has been at least a year, if not more, since I have been out for drinks at night. In fact, several people I haven't seen in a long, long time commented on seeing me. There is a whole other population at this time of the day...........
After drinks, I escorted the ladies to Bugambilla for Mexican food. Mercedes, the owner, does the best Chili en Nogada in this part of the world. They loved the restaurant, the music and especially the food.
It's fun to hear the impressions of people who have not been to San Miguel before. Here were some of the things they were amazed about: (1) the politeness and friendliness of everyone (2) that the taxis stop to let you cross the street (3) so many dishes made with pomegranate seeds (I explained that this is the season) (4) the number of stairs they had to ascend (77) from the street to their bedroom door and (5) the cleanliness of the town of San Miguel. Over and over, these were their comments.
They told me that their friends were in absolute panic that they were coming to Mexico because of the drug wars. Of course they felt totally safe here. I told them to go home and tell all those friends to come to see for themselves. Hopefully they will.
I ran into the woman who has been in charge of the Bibliotecha Home and Garden Tour forever. I asked how many tourists were on the tour yesterday. 78. This time of year it should be around 400. Oh my, less money for scholarships for the Mexican children in the coming year. So sad. I wonder if Lou Dobbs and his ilk understand what they do to the people of Mexico. I doubt it since their lives are so egocentric.
Hopefully this dynamic group of women will be back for a visit next year. That seems to be what happens - they get a taste of San Miguel and they always want to come back. They were all welcome additions.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Committees are forming in Alexandria, Louisiana and excitement is already in the air. Doug Ardoin and "The Boogie Kings" will play at the dance, it is rumored. Yee ha. It will be a fun weekend. None of us can wait to see how many show up. The last time (photo above) was our 40th in 2000 and out of a graduating class of 278, it appears there were close to 200 of us, if I remember correctly. A GREAT time was had by all.
There was a party out at a campsite and then a brunch the next morning, which is this photo above. The culmination was that Saturday night dance where most of us danced barefooted and danced EVERY dance. It was a blast, as we used to say.
I wasn't sure for that 40th reunion if I wanted to go. I'm SO GLAD that I did. I reconnected with old friends and have stayed in touch with many thanks to the internet.
We were a very close class. It was an innocent time. The most exciting trouble we could get into was either drag racing out in the country on a long stretch of road in our black leather jackets. Or climbing the water tower, which I never did. I was the lookout. Oh yes, and we skipped school to go to Valentine Lake. It WAS the age of innocence. 1960.
It was before Kennedy, assassinations, Vietnam, drugs or hippies. As you can see from the photo above it was the time of crinolines and "girly" dresses. Southern belles. I wouldn't take anything for the hayrides, the house parties (with parents always there) or sock hops.
Rebecca Wells wrote two books chronicling our lives in Alex back in those days. Both were hits and one was made into a movie. I read them and saw "our gang" in almost every page. I could identify Castor Plunge, Valentine Lake and the drive ins we used to go to. The books were, "Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood" and "Little Altars Everywhere".
So, May 2010 you can rest assured I'll be driving to Louisiana to reminesce with old friends and dance a LOT. I remember when my Mom went to Chicago for her 50th and I thought, "Why would all those old people want to get together?" NOW I know. It almost makes me cry.
This is "the gang". Hope they're all there!
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Well, Thursday night I had another episode. I had just gotten out of the shower and was going to get ready to go out to dinner with friends. I reached into the closet to grab a pair of jeans and this scorpion came out of the jeans pocket and stung me on my index finger.
I cannot even begin to tell you the level of pain. It was like having childbirth in my finger, if that gives you any idea. I mean I screamed and flung the jeans on the bed. Turned around and ran up the stairs butt naked and grabbed the meat tenderizer and rubbed it on the sting. Nothing. It still hurt like hell. I mean it hurt like hell! I danced around, cursed a little and then tried to calm down.
I have used meat tenderizer on bee stings, jelly fish stings, man of war stings and it has always worked. For it NOT to work to neutralize this sting astonished me. Zowee it hurt.
Oops, then it occurred to me that I had no idea where the scorpion was. So I flung the jeans on the floor and used my sandal to smash the pockets of the jeans just in case it went back in the pocket. Then I gingerly turned the jeans inside out - no scorpion. Damn, now what?
Anyone who knows me knows that my bed has a zillion pillows on it along with a coverlet and a quilt. All this decorative stuff. No way, while my finger, hand and now arm was throbbing, was I going to tackle all that stuff. The heck with it. I just determined I wouldn't sleep in that bed that night but rather on the couch upstairs.
Then it was suggested by someone who I talked to, to put toothpaste on it. So I slathered that on it and let it dry. Nada, no help. Ok, enough of that. I got dressed, went out to dinner.
It took two hours for the throbbing to stop. Holy moly. All the time I still had toothpaste slathered on my finger which caused weird looks. Who cares? I was in pain.
What a relief when the pain stopped. Upon returning home I decided to tackle the bed. Removing layer after layer of covers, pillows and what-have-you. No scorpion........Who knows where evil lurks? Geez. I gave up, went to bed and actually slept.
IF anyone ever tells me that a scorpion sting is like a bee sting, I'll know he is lying or has never been stung. Hope it never happens to you. I hate those sneaky little creatures.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
BEFORE I left on my trip and right after the "former" tenant moved out owing money, the sewer line backed up into my downstairs terrace.
The problem begins at the next door home of the family with more kids then I can count. In addition, I think she takes in laundry or else she just does laundry all day every day. In all the years I've been here, the owner of the next door house comes over when it is backing up in their house. He brings along this ancient man from SAPASMA which is the acronym for the water company. This ancient man always fixes the problem
Well this time the owner of the next door house, Jaime, was out of town and the woman of the house, Berta, didn't know what to do or how to get in touch with the old man. So, I prayed for a day or two that somehow the Universe would fix the problem. No such luck.......
As a last resort I called my landlord. Usually either he doesn't return the call or when he does show up it becomes a bigger problem then it was to begin with.........the latter is what happened.
Shockingly he came about an hour after I called after I told he and his wife that it was a "grande problema". When he arrived I showed him the problem and told him about the old man and how with this thing that looks like an umbrella without cloth, he fixes it every time.
Well, it was like talking to the wind. What did I know? So, landlord gets brother and about 15 other people over here and they do everything known to mankind besides digging up the gardens. Still no repair. I casually, after six hours, mentioned the "SAPASMA man" and about an hour later, somehow he appeared with his apparatus.
All these fifteen guys or more stood and watched in amazement. I watched through the bedroom window with glee. My hero, the SAPASMA Man!
Monday, August 10, 2009
No problem, except I had no idea what Tess looked like but was told she would come in an old blue station wagon or a red SUV. Ok.
Rather then take my car, after Felipe's warning, I took a taxi. I said "Hospital General por favor" and he said "Hospital DelaFe" and I said "No, Hospital General". He looked confused so I said, "Direccion Soriana". I figured if I got him going in the right direction I could make modifications when we got near Soriana, which was what I did.
I told him to go left around the glorieta, which he did. Whew. Then I told him to go left and backtrack and turn right. The lightbulb went off in his face when he realized Hospital General was where I wanted to go. Yikes.
So I got out and waited in front of the hospital at 9AM as I was told to do. I stuck out like a sore thumb. Reddish-blonde hair with blue eyes. Yup, I was noticeable. So, after about 15 minutes of waiting and watching, I started thinking about what I would do IF Tess didn't show up. She is a friend of a friend who helps people get their driver's licenses was what I had been told. Ahh, then she drove up in an old blue station wagon. A WELCOME sight.
Off we went to a tiny building with a bunch of police cars in front. In we went where she was greeted by all. I had all my papers in order and then the officer said I had to take a written test in Spanish. Oh Lord, my stomach got a knot. I know, I know, don't say anything about my Spanish, puhleez.
Anyway, with the help of Tess, I completed the test and only had two errors. And then, horror of horrors, the officer said I had to take a driving test. Good heavens I felt like that 14 year old girl in Alexandria, Louisiana who got her first license. I was nervous as a cat on a tin roof. First thing I did wrong was to NOT wear the seat belt. Now mind you, I NEVER get in my car that I don't put the seat belt on - NEVER. But I was driving the old blue station wagon and I wasn't even sure if it had seat belts. So, anyway, I drive off at the pace of a snail and I miss the first right turn which requires me to make an illegal left turn which brought me right back to the transito office. The officer, either out of fear or compassion said I was finished. I didn't know if he meant I was finished literally or just done with driving.
But, out we went and back into the transito office where they took my photo, asked some more questions, fingerprinted me and had me sign my name. Many times. By the way, a webcam is attached to a metal rod and that is the camera they use to take the photo. I was impressed with the whole operation. Why can't they be that efficient in the USA?
Then they gave me a printed form to take to centro to pay for the license which will be good to 2014, if I live that long. Next step was to return back to the transito office which is on the outskirts of town near the prison, whereupon I gave them the paid receipt and they gave me the license.
Bada bing, bada boom. Total time - dos horas. I wasn't sure what was going to happen but I got through it all. It just goes to show you that my favorite saying "God protects fools and idiots - so I have double protection" still stands true.
Now I"m thinking where can I go now that I have a Mexican driver's license? Watch out everyone, I might show up in your neighborhood!
Sunday, August 09, 2009
Up the stairs I trudged of a clinic next to the farmacia. The painted sign on the outside of the building simply said Medico. Upstairs there was some residential furniture and four closed doors. Hmmmmm. What to do? After a soft knock, a Dr. opened the door and he was a pediatrician and said "Uno momento." When he finished with his patient, he walked over to another door and knocked and another Dr. came out and said the same thing, "Cinco minutos".
He did come out eventually and a complete physical - height, weight, blood pressure, temperature, reflexes, eye exam all were completed in about ten minutes time. He asked my blood type and then typed on his computer a certificate of health that will allow me to go on Monday morning at 9AM, hopefully, to get a driver's license.
Cost for the physical - cien pesos - about $8 US. Such a deal. But, as I sat there I did think about what a hassle this would be if everyone in the USA had to have a physical to drive. Can you imagine? The medical system would be in a bigger mess then it already is and I can hardly imagine what it would cost for that same piece of paper.
Saturday, August 08, 2009
So, I'm going to get a Mexican Driver's License. I've wanted to do it for years but just procrastinated. I'm good at that.
Here's what you have to have: A copy of your passport. A copy of your FM-3. A bill with your name on it to prove that you are a resident. AND, a certificate from a Dr. that you are healthy enough to drive!
Wow, if they required that in the USA just think how empty the streets and roads would be.
I'll keep you posted on how this goes. I'm off to find the farmacia over near the General Hopsital where there is a Dr. on the premises to do this "physical" for the certificate. I'm sure it will be a mini-adventure. Of course, I'm driving without a license.............oy vey. And I have only a vague idea of where the new General Hospital is located........someone said near the prison.......hope I go to the right place.
Friday, August 07, 2009
This trip I was ready to get out and kiss the ground. The cool air was a miracle after the heat all the way from Canada.
IF I even mention another trip in the next two or three months - remind me of all of this, ok? I've been gone waaay too much this year.
Home is where my heart is!
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
In the interest of your sanity, I decided NOT to post the photos of the drive of the rocks, dirt and straight road from Albuquerque through Las Cruces, bypassing El Paso and ending up in Fort Stockton. It was a "breathtakingly" boring drive. EXCEPT near Las Cruces where the air conditioning had stopped working and I started getting sick - we later determined probably from dehydration. We stopped in Las Cruces and I was feeling so ill that I couldn't eat lunch. I hadn't had breakfast either. BUT two glasses of lemonade got me back on my feet.
I had a slight panic attack when the air conditioning wasn't working because I knew we were going into the hottest part of the trip. There were some frazzled nerves on TM's part, but miraculously after NOT checking the a/c anyway, it started cooling again. Whew.
Sooo we did make it to Fort Stockton, late. And the first photo is our leaving Fort Stockton the next morning at sunrise because we wanted to get to the Columbia Bridge at the border to "do" car paperwork and a visa for TM. Onward we went.......hauling, you know what, as fast as we could drive......sometimes 85. Did you know the speed limit in Texas is now 80 MPH or was it 85? Yeah.
As we headed out at 7AM, it was cool and the sky was so beautiful. I LOVE vistas. Even the vistas of the wind power for electricity that we saw all over West Texas. I realize it is very controversial with the ranchers and naturalists but it sure is a sight! We DID make it to the Columbia Bridge - in 107 degree heat with heat index making it feel like 112. I walked as fast as humanly possible from the parking lot to the Immigration building. A $10 bill flew out of my purse and we decided it was a gift to whoever found it some day. I was heading for air conditioning, not the fence or field nearby.
As usual, only two other people in there to get paperwork. We were in and out in no time at all. Headed into Laredo for last minute shopping - a good night's sleep and to cross the border next morning for home - blessed home. This was Tuesday night. We had left Richmond BC the previous Wednesday morning. Enough was enough.