Wednesday, April 23, 2014

ALL is Quiet on the Home Front!

With school still closed, my neighbor next door gone, Griffen the dog gone, and all the company gone from the neighboring houses,  it is SO quiet up here that the birds sound loud!

However, earlier today there was a whiny motor sound going back and forth over the house so I went out and snapped this photo from the downstairs' terrace.  I did not enhance the color of the sky.  It is actually that blue here.  With no industry, we are blessed with healthy air.  The noise from whatever that kind of plane is called, a glider I guess, sure was loud for something so small.  Noise pollution.

Then, to add to it, a bulldozer came around the corner.  Painted a white stripe down the middle of the dirt path beside my house.  That signifies something.  I probably don't want to know what!  He then drove down by the motorcycle shop, which is the bane of my existence, and dug a big deep hole.  Surprisingly, within 1 1/2 hours whatever all those men were doing down there was done, the hole was filled and the bulldozer left.
The white line remains.........just to add mystery to the day.

Quiet reigns.  The birds are doing whatever birds do mid-afternoon.  Velcro has gone out to check on the wildlife, just in case.  And, I'm just loving today.  Hope you're loving your day as well!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The "Rented Chicken" Saga

Back in the 90's I had a group of friends who were so darn much fun to hang out with and create events out of almost nothing.

I was dating someone who thought "outside the box".  One year he planned a one person scavenger hunt for me, that took me all over Houston from the tattoo parlor on Westheimer to Neiman Marcus for a day of pampering.  Oh, and I forgot to mention that I had to walk into NM with a goldfish in a goldfish bowl.  It was hilarious how much fun that was that day.

When his birthday came around, I gathered my wacky friends and we thought of ""how to top that".  So I rented a stretch limo with a large blowup godzilla standing up through the sunroof.  I had told him to pack his suitcase for either very cold weather or very hot.  We rode around Houston and stopped at Magic Island for a surprise dinner where lots and lots of his friends were assembled.  It was a hit.  No flying to a hot or cold weather place was necessary.  It was a fun, but expensive party!

Fast forward to the next year.  My "partners in crime" - Amanda and Patrick, and I decided we didn't need to spend all that money for another grand birthday party.  Rather we would keep it in the area around Clear Lake near NASA where we all lived.  My friend loved to tell silly jokes.  One was about a chicken named "Monique".  Amanda decided to go to a feed store and see if she could rent-a-chicken and name it Monique for the night to take with us wherever we went. Patrick had an old rattle-trap pickup truck.  We put bales of hay in the back and had BIG signs that said "Happy Birthday Old Fart" that were attached on both sides of the truck.  We arrived at my friend's house in the truck and dragged him, reluctantly into the back of the truck where he was given Monique as his first birthday present.  Funny, is an understatement.

Off we went to Carlos' Ice House in Webster Texas.  IF you don't know what an ice house is, well you're not from the South or Texas.  It's a relaxed pool hall kinda place with inexpensive food and a giant bar.  Picnic tables are the main sitting venue and music is usually blaring.  Monique was the hit at Carlos. Carlos was in rare form and didn't throw us out with a live animal.  Eventually we left there and stopped at 7 Eleven for dessert.  An ice cream cone wrapped in paper, not fancy creme brule like the previous year.  Monique did not get out of the truck.

Maribelle's in Seabrook, our next destination, used to be the infamous hangout for the astronauts and NASA personnel, especially back in the heyday of the space program.  A polite way of putting it would be to say this is where the guys went to let off steam. The Tuesday lingerie shows were legendary.  BTW, I never saw one.  The night we were there was very quiet, luckily.  Chairs were around what used to be cable spools made into tables to set drinks on.  However, Amanda or Patrick or everyone had the idea to see if Monique would strut her stuff on the table as some women had been known to do during the heydays.  Did she ever!  Music played and Monique danced.  A few people stopped by to see the silliness and to ask what the heck was going on.  We were laughing so hard we could hardly explain.

So eventually the successful birthday evening ended.  Amanda mentioned to my friend that she would be by his house the next day to take Monique back to the feed store.  Fast forward, my friend enjoyed the chicken so much that I think it was a week before he reluctantly let Monique return to the fold.

What brings up this story and the photo?  CBS Sunday Morning had a segment on this past Sunday about a rent-a-coop and chicken business.  They acted like this was a new idea. I laughed so hard my  coffee cup was shaking.  It was too early to call Amanda and Patrick to tell them to watch it, but, it was very business like and not nearly as much fun as we had.  I later talked to Amanda and they had seen the Rent a coop and chicken story!

This is just ONE of many shenanigans that we got into that were so much fun, cost little and have lasted down the years.  That episode and the flamingos and the pickle one all have stood the test of time.  It makes me laugh to just remember them.

As one friend said to me once, she is a therapist, "Barbara you do not need to take a course on "Releasing your inner child, you're doing it daily".  Well, I used my 40's, well 50's too, and oh some in my 60's.  Geez life is just too short not to have fun!  Don't you agree?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

"Oh, this is because I had a CANDY DREAM last night"

 I opened the gate yesterday afternoon to welcome Matilda, Sebastian and their dad, my son, John.  It was as though two rockets flew through the door.  After giving them little bags to collect their eggs in, they were off to the various gardens to look for real eggs and a dozen plastic ones.  The top photo shows Sebastian with his first egg.  Notice Matilda is not stopping for anything!  She is finding eggs - lots of them.
 They did stop for a second to see if there was anything in the plastic eggs.  There wasn't because I had so little candy that it was in their Easter baskets.  AND, it was so warm that whatever would have been put in there would either have melted or the cutter ants would have been carrying it off.

Dashing and dancing, they found all twenty-eight eggs in less then a half hour.  During that time, Matilda found their Easter baskets.  Sebastian came running over.  When he saw a giant Easter Bunny made out of marshmallow, he exclaimed, "Oh, this is because I had a candy dream last night".  He was so gleeful and happy that it just made my heart soar.  He then proceeded to tell me the whole dream.  Precious.

When the fun of all that was over, we had lunch.  I always like to listen to the conversations between the two children.  The subject of the Easter Bunny came up. " Was he magic?"  "Yes indeed, answered Matilda.  "Just like Santa Claus".  She said it was easier to be the Easter bunny cause he could jump and run. 

Worn out by this time with all the excitement and also having taken time to ride their bikes in the garden, the idea to climb up on Grammy's bed to watch cartoons sounded great to all!  They always want to get up on my bed for a while - each and every visit.  They love the bunny soft blanket which they pull up on themselves whether it's hot or cold outside.  On this day, Dad joined them as well.  They love to look at all their cousins photos behind the pillow on the shelf and to count how many photos there are of themselves.  Each and every time!
I like to be over on the side watching their faces and their little eyes start to close when they are so sleepy.  We only watch the sweet cartoons on TV on Tree house.  The ones with the blue elephant and the living flowers and things.  Reminiscent of all the millions of times I watched Barney with the other grandchildren,  lo those many years ago.

What wonderful memories children and grandchildren provide to enrich our lives.  The big kiss and hug when they arrive and leave always leaves me with a lump in my throat.......Every time!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Dieing to Dye ...........Easter Eggs Of Course!

 Matilda and Sebastian arrived yesterday afternoon so excited to dye eggs.  We had not done this in a few years, so I was out of practice.  First I realized that I bought brown eggs.  I always buy brown eggs to eat but NOT to dye eggs.  Oy vey.  Then I didn't have regular vinegar.  Didn't even think to check.  I ALWAYS have vinegar.  Not yesterday.  I did have apple cider vinegar or some such thing.  We used it.  Holding our collective breaths to see if the dye would work or not.  Luckily it did.  What fun.
We had eighteen eggs to dye.  It took quite a while. Matilda was soooo patient.  Sebastian not so much as you can see that his chair is empty.  I think he dyed a few eggs.  The bulk was Matilda.  In the above photo she is patiently waiting.  At one point, since it was taking so long she doubled up and put two eggs in each color.  
Usually the eggs come out pastel colors.  Not this year.  This year they are rich earthy colors.  We might be on to a new technique.  I wish I had had some waxed paper to shine the eggs but here they are as they are drying.

The Easter Bunny is getting ready to hide the eggs in the gardens along with some plastic ones just for the joy of hearing little squealing kids as they find the eggs.............and their Easter baskets.

More on that saga manana.  Stay tuned.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Feeling lackadaisical!

These are a couple of photos that I took a week ago on the Day of Sorrows!  As I was driving down Cinco de Mayo, a booth was set up  next to a curb, selling flowers to decorate altars and fountains all around town.  That's about all the festivities of this Semana Santa season that I have seen.

The other photo is of a the little "volunteer" jacaranda tree that has grown in a pot on the roof terrace.  It is still blooming.  However the huge tree between the two houses now has nary a bloom after the awesome strong winds we had for two days this past week.

I have, even though I said I wasn't, attempted to skulk the back streets to run errands and get places without getting caught in a traffic jam,  procession, parade, band practice or whatever.  I have succeeded for the most part.  I actually went out yesterday to pay a bill and the office was closed.  You see, here in Mexico, very few things can be paid by internet.  In fact, in this particular case, Megacable, you don't even receive a bill  You just have to remember when it is due and go pay it.  If not, your service is turned off.  I always pay several days in advance to avoid any aggravations.  I was foiled yesterday.  It is due on Easter.  We'll see what happens when I attempt to pay it first thing on Monday morning.  One of those minor Mexican adventures........

So, this week, I've been so lazy and lackadaisical that it's been amazing.  Maybe it's a reaction to all the hoopla from my birthday that I am now calming down.  Or, maybe it is the fact that school is out and it is so quiet up here that I"m luxuriating in the silence.

Even Velcro, the cat, has been taking longer then usual siestas.  Like, all day naps.  I think she likes to have me around from time to time.  She follows me from room to room.  AND if I go out to work in the gardens, which I've done a LOT of this week, there she is, laying near my work area.  Such an odd cat or as I say, "my dog/cat"

I've baked cupcakes and made lunch for this afternoon.  Matilda and Sebastian are supposed to come to dye Easter eggs so the Easter Bunny can come tonight and hide them for an Easter Egg hunt in the garden tomorrow.  Looking forward to all of this.  I made cupcakes early this morning in my little oven.  Something that usually takes about 20 minutes in a regular oven takes me over an hour in my little toaster oven as I can only do six cupcakes at a time.  Oh well, I just do other things while I wait to race to the kitchen every 15 minutes for four times.  Again, it's all about the adventure.

Hope this post finds all of you having a wonderful, blessed Easter season.  That the bunny gives you Easter eggs to make deviled eggs along with a delicious chocolate Easter bunny to eat.  We don't have the chocolate bunnies here in Mexico, hence, the mention.  It never mattered when I was in the USA because I knew all I had to do was go to the store.  I'm here to tell you after going to every store imaginable in San Miguel, nary a chocolate bunny was to be found.  IT IS rather frustrating trying to make Easter baskets for Mati and Sebastian.

Ive rambled on in a lackadaisical manner.  Just exactly how I feel, languid.

Monday, April 14, 2014

"Under House Arrest"

I can't take credit for the title phrase.  Someone commented over at Steve Cotton's blog, Mexpatriate in the Key of Steve, that with all the people on the beaches for Semana Santa, that they felt they were "under house arrest".  It's a perfect description.

On Friday, our weekly newspaper had an article on the upcoming two weeks.  It explained that an anticipated 60,000 visitors would be here and therefore those of us who live here might need to make some adjustments.  The amount of parking places is not enough for all the cars, hence, could we either use the local taxis and buses, walk but please not to use our cars - especially as this week proceeds.

The hotels ALL have been fully booked for these two weeks as well, not to mention the people who are coming home from the USA who will be staying with family. Get the picture?  People and vehicle gridlock.

My idea - DON'T LEAVE THE HOUSE. It's kind of the mentality when the weather in the USA is going to be bad.  DON'T LEAVE THE HOUSE.

So, Sunday I HAD to leave the house to do some things for others that I had promised to do.  How to get there?  One road has been closed for months that caused all traffic to have to go right through the middle of centro - where the processions of several Jesus were taking place.  Nope, not going that way.  I tried a back road that if you saw a photo of it, you would swear there was no way a car could make that turn and survive.  Yup, that's the way I went.  I didn't see another car......

Just as I thought I had survived NOT getting caught in any Jesus parades on Palm Sunday, uh oh, there was one at the bottom of the steep hill, just between me and where I was going!  Oy vey.  I crept along, in the car, and managed to get to my destination before Jesus on his donkey got there.  AND I managed to get out of there before he got there!  I hightailed it home after that thanking my lucky stars that the donkey and I, along with all the people parading, had not tangled in any way.

Today, I decided to stock up on the essentials in order to NOT leave the house for several days.  First off a stop at the Blue Door Bakery for cinnamon rolls, just in case. (That is the photo at the top)  A stop in the beauty shop to get a little beauty. Then a stop at Bonanza for bread and ginger ale to go with my Capt Morgan's rum, just in case I want to toast the sunset or the birds or the flowers.  Well, you get my drift.  They did NOT have ginger ale.....darn. I wonder how it would taste with mango juice........ewwww.

It doesn't take much for me to be able to hunker down "under house arrest".  I'll let you know, in a few days, how long I've lasted.  Feliz Semana Santa.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Seen From a Different Angle

Someone posted this photo the other day on Facebook.  I clicked on it and realized it is a different angle of a view of my house!  If you click on the photo it will enlarge.

Then, if you look above the photographer's name, directly above it you will see a rust colored wall with a one story and two story house as part of the long wall.  THAT is my property.  The wall looks orange in the photo.  No matter.

I've never seen the property from this direction.  It shows me how many trees and greenery there is between the cliff and the reservoir which is called a presa in Mexico.  My view toward the presa includes the bluffs on the right side of the photo and if I turn left and look West, I see the mountain ranges to Guanajuato.  I probably look that way daily.  It's so, so beautiful

Anyway, I just thought it would be fun to share this beautiful photo that was taken in the Botanical Gardens of San Miguel.  That's something else that is so wonderful.  All the land I see that is undeveloped will remain that way since it is all reserved as part of El Charco Botanical Gardens.

I'm one lucky lady!