Sunday, January 19, 2020

Whiplash Politics

These innocent faces on the wall pots from a village in Michoacan are preferable to the hostile faces of the politicians these days.

It seems I get up each day with a bit of dread waiting to see if we are going to war somewhere or to hearing more information about illegal acts of this administration.

It is with dread that I remember my feelings during the Nixon fiasco and wondered what the ultimate end would be back then.  Those same feelings manifest now!

Yearning for days of quietude again such as we had for eight years recently is my hope.  Days when good things were done for people and there was hope for movement forward, not movement to punish and ignore or hurt people, our country, our climate and our national parks.

This too will end, hopefully, but what will be the repercussions?

Whiplash is an understatement.

Friday, January 03, 2020

Happy Birthday Sebastian Woodrow...........A Tornado of Joy!

Ten years ago tonight, I was on the beach of Calachosa, a little known spot in the road, on the Bay of Cuestacomate overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  Sunsets are my thing and very few are ever missed.

Little did I know that in less then twenty-four hours, a new person, a precious baby, was coming into the world who would be my seventh grandchild along with being a very unique and special human being.

Born in Ft. Collins, Colorado, the picture below was taken there.  It is among hundreds that I have, but has always been a favorite.  Sebastian and Matilda........

It is hard to believe that time has passed so fast.  The joy of the family moving back to San Miguel and having time to watch both Seb and Mati grow up has been quite an unexpected gift. All the other
grand kids in the USA are in their 20's.  Never did I expect to have a chance to have little ones around again.

Seb surprises me all the time with his wicked sense of humor, his kindness, and especially his knowledge of things that I have never heard of.  Get him to talk about astrophysics or anything technical and he blows my mind at the broad knowledge he has at this young age. The galaxies
are another favorite topic!

In addition to all that, he, Mati and I love our sessions of either baking Christmas cookies or our "infamous" Easter bunny cakes among other creations.  Great fun.

His silliness and wicked sense of humor makes me laugh a lot.........and he knows it!
That smile lights up the world.  It causes conversations and fun a lot.

He loves little children and the above photo was when he and Mati were at a friend's birthday party.  There was a little boy that he was reaching out to touch.   The look of softness and kindness on his
face tells a beautiful story.

Tomorrow Sebastian will turn 10 years old.  He is growing up faster then a blink of an eye.  It
is exciting for all of us to watch him grow, learn, expand and continue to provide us with eventful
and interesting occurrences on a regular basis.  What a wonder he is.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SEB!   Happy Trails..............

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Life is Like a Box of Chocolates..........

"You never know what you're gonna get."  Forrest Gump

Prior to Christmas, Sebastian asked me what I wanted for Christmas.  I said "You"!  He laughed and said, "No really Grammy".  So I answered that anything chocolate, like Hershey kisses or something, would be just fine.  I saw his eyes light up and I knew he was thinking of something.

Christmas morning, before the kids had even opened all their gifts, they wanted their Dad and I
to open one present each.  Mine was, of course, from Sebastian.  It is a box of Ferrero chocolates.
The headquarter factory for these candies is about 1 1/2 hours from here but I had never eaten them before, much to Seb's shocked expression.

So, I said to him, "You know life is like a box of chocolates."  To which he asked what does that mean? And I answered.  He contemplated that for quite a while.

Package opening resumed and the kids began to play with their gifts.  Legos, jewelry making kits, new boots, etc.  A fun time!

The night before we had "Face Timed" with my daughter and her family in Colorado. Such a huge
gift for me and all of us.  I did not know I could do that on my phone.  But now I do!

We didn't have Christmas dinner til the following evening.  The kids wanted to play with their things and also planned to go to their mother's house at 4PM for "another" Christmas.

Sadly, that never happened.  We found out later that day that their mother had passed away Christmas Eve night or Christmas morning from a brain anyuerism.  She went to sleep and did not wake up.
It has been a huge shock.

We are holding the children close to us and taking life one day at a time.

I know that many of you have read this blog from the beginning of 2008 when I first started writing and that you have gone through the joy of the births of Matilda that year and Sebastian in 2010.  Many of you write and ask me about the children or even stop me on the street and ask about the chldren.  We are all Family.

Therefore I felt that I should write this sad news to all of you so that you can keep my son John and the children in your thoughts and prayers.

"Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get" is so true.

Sunday, December 08, 2019

Reminiscing in December

Yesterday was the day to start getting the decorations out to put up around my little house.  In the past, it was a weeklong escapade.  Now it will take this afternoon for a couple of hours.  Life changes.

We always started putting our decorations up at this time of December in the past.  Right around the
Feast of the Immaculate Conception.  Having been raised Catholic, now a former Catholic, I never
forget this date.

You see, not only was it a Holy Day in the Catholic church and a day off from school, but it was my
Mother's birthday.  She was a "converted" Catholic.  This happened after she married my Dad.  "Converted" Catholics are very strict about following the teachings of the church.  Hence, we said the Rosary every night, on our knees,  to pray for people we knew but mostly for those we didn't.  I often thought as a child that surely some day this would not be needed anymore.  Oh, the innocence of youth.

Growing up in Chicago until I was 10, we would always, on this school holiday, go on the L train into downtown Chicago to see the Christmas decorations at Marshall Fields.  When I say "we", I mean me, my cousins Carol, Jack, Jimmy, Sandy and Bonnie, who wasn't a cousin.  We would go to Marshall Fields and ride the escalator up all the floors to see all the beautiful things.  Can you imagine six kids around like that?  Often it was my grandmother, who, of course, I thought was ancient, but was probably in her fifties!  A lot younger then I am now.......

Then we would have lunch in the restaurant in Marshall Field's.  It was a BIG deal because back in those days people did not go to restaurants very often.  Especially kids.

One time my grandmother even made arrangements to take us to the Don McNeil Breakfast Hour show.  What a surprise!  I don't know what we expected, probably a big table with people eating pancakes and drinking coffee.  But, in fact, it was a small studio with three people and then an audience of about 25 or so.  We did march around at one point when Don McNeil said it was time to "march around the breakfast table".  Even though it was non-existent.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  And, yet, it was well over sixty years ago.  Amazing.

My Mom was with us that day and Don McNeil made a big deal about the fact that it was my Mother's birthday!  Today she would be 107 if she were still alive.

This morning at 6AM the fireworks began in San Miguel in honor of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.  I lay in bed with a grin on my face thinking how my Mom would have loved the way
saints and feast days are honored here in Mexico.  Our buses are now decorated for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe later this week and of course, there will be festivals, fireworks and heaven only knows what else.  Hardly a day goes by that someone or something isn't being honored.

Happy Birthday MOM!

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Notes from November

 It IS the middle of November already and two weeks since I last posted!  How can that be?  I actually got the calendar out of the drawer to see what I have been doing this past two weeks to see
what has made the time go by so fast and there is nothing to report, other then daily life!  How can that be?  Well it just is.

The first week of November was all the festivities of Dia de los Muertos.  What once was simply families going to the cemetery and cleaning and decorating graves, has now turned into a major
commercial enterprise with catrina parades, parties and at least one hundred (I'm not exaggerating)
other activities going on during that time.  It draws tens of thousands of people into our little town.
Our population here in SMA, not the municipality, is a little over 60,000 but surges amazingly during activities like this.  Needless to say, participating is no longer something that I do.  Even trying to get to the little cemetery in San Juan de Dios is overwhelming with tourists, so I live on all the memories
from the last twenty years and let others deal with the traffic and people.

One of the festivities was the Art Walk at La Aurora which is the first Saturday of the month.  All the art galleries put up altars and decorate their showrooms beautifully but this year there were 4400! people there on that Saturday night.  Incredible.  Luckily, I cancelled going and my son and grand kids said that thankfully I did not go as it was so crowded that they could hardly walk. 

Something happened which happens often for John, Matilda and Sebastian.  Readers of the blog recognize them and come up to them, introduce themselves, talk about the blog and themselves and how much they enjoy reading about my family.  The kids are thrilled when this happens.  I heard all
about their conversations when I saw them.  Thanks to the woman from Austin who previously was
with Threadgill's and the woman with "dark hair" who knows me and reads the blog.  Who can that be?

 There is always, always, something blooming in San Miguel!  Fall is always heralded by the blooming of the agaves as these were for many years in my garden "up on the hill".  I don't have
them to see now in that garden, but they are blooming in yards and gardens all over town.  I remember how the white and yellow butterflies loved the blooms as well as the hummingbirds. 
Maybe I'll have to get a few plants to add to the flower beds here just for the glory of Fall.

This last photo is one I took a couple of years ago in the parking lot where I used to park when I went to centro.  It is, without a doubt, one of my favorites!  The dog lives at the parking lot with the owner or operator of the lot.  The man is such a good person who has done so many kind things for me over the years from changing a flat tire to picking me up once when I tripped!  And, if there was not room in the lot, he always made room for me.  In response, I baked cookies and goodies for him a couple of times a year.  Most recently, when I was at the H+ Hospital waiting for an appointment, he came in with his whole family.  In typical Mexican manners of gentility, he brought his whole family over to my seat to introduce me to them.  I was so touched! 

The day I turned around and saw the parking lot dog with a cut off sweatshirt on, also touched my heart and brought a smile to my face.  It still does.  Hope it does the same for you!

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Riding High

She's eleven years old now.  Forming her own interests.  Two of them are dressage and high wire trapeze and other activities like Cirque de Soleil performs.

Yes, Matilda is becoming her own person.  It is a joy to observe.

A few weeks ago we all went out to watch her practice somewhere near Cineaguita, outside of San Miguel at an amazing training facility.  Here are the photos from the hour long practice.

It is fascinating to see what children become interested in doing as they mature. I wish I knew how to attach the video of her in Ixtapa on a high trapese.  But, I don't, and you will just have to take my word for it that it was amazing to see her let go of the bar and then grab the arms of her partner waaaaay up there.  I'm glad it was a video and that I wasn't there to witness it because I would have been terrified watching her go up that high.  Yes, there was a net below, but still!

Life continues to be full of surprises.  Not daily as it used to be, but that is truly okay.  It is always fun to wait and see what is going to happen next!

One of the surprises this day was that those huge trees that Seb and John are walking under are pecan trees!  I had no idea that pecans grew in this area.  Brought back lots of memories of growing up in central Louisiana where pecans were an industry.  In fact, my little brother and I each year would pick up pecans to sell to get money to buy Christmas presents.  I have always loved to bake with pecans, especially during the holidays.  All year, however, when I bake banana bread, I think some pecans add to the deliciousness.  The pecans on these trees were small and didn't have much meat.  Not something I would spend time picking up.  But, I bet someone does!

After all, this is Mexico! Nothing goes to waste.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Surprises Abound!

Surprise, surprise.  An orchid that I bought at Home Depot or Costco has rebloomed!  When they are bare sticks, I put them outside with hope.  In all the years that I have had orchids, NEVER, have I had one rebloom.  I truly was shocked and did not believe my eyes.

When I brought this in from outside last Saturday it had one pod with a bloom about to open.  This bloom is what opened.  Now there are many pods and many blooms.
Each time I walk by this little nook at the entrance to the kitchen and see it, I mentally shake my head in surprise and delight.  What a gift!

As if that wasn't enough, yesterday the dove who lives in the garden and who sits on the branch of the tree when I am watching me in the evening when I am watching TV was acting quite strange.  I stopped whatever I was doing, sat down, propped my feet up and watched.

It appears that this bird, male or female - who knows, is building a nest up in the big palm tree behind the dried out fronds.  It walks around look for thin branches, picks them up, checks them out and if they are too long or too thick to carry in its beak up to the nest that is being built, it drops it and continues to look for the perfect piece for the nest.

Here are a few photos that I took today.  Now this series was taken in about six minutes, but the bird is spending, literally, hours combing the grass for the "right" stick for the nest.  It has been three and a half hours since I took these photographs and the dove is still out there scouring around for more fill for the nest!
I would say this bird has more patience then I.  I only lasted a few minutes of photographing it.

I, of course wonder, is it the female or male who is so specific in making this nest.  And, I also wonder how long it takes to build the whole thing. 

Earlier this summer, I watched a hummingbird building a nest at the end of the walkway.  What a magnificent structure of twigs, leaves and grasses.  A true thing of beauty............and another gift to enjoy seeing, even now, many months later.

The weather is getting a little gusty and a tad cooler.  My presumption is that nature knows more then we do and hence, the hectic pace of this bird to get this nest ready!

How sweet it is!