Thursday, July 28, 2016

Kids Say the Darnest Things..........sometimes in Spanish!

I've been lucky enough to have Matilda and Sebastian here twice this week since they are on Summer
Vacation from school.

There are a few things they like to do when they are here. Play with the rackets and ball cocks, the bat and the ball with holes in it, the blocks, Chutes and Ladders a board game, EAT and watch cartoons.  We did all of that and more on Tuesday.

On Tuesday while eating spaghetti and meatballs, ice cream and Rice Krispy Treats, they informed me that I
was the best cook ever!  I replied that I bet they said that to everyone.  They agreed that, "Yes they did."  Made me chuckle!

On Tuesday they learned how to play the card game "Go Fish".  Seb had a hard time, if he did not win or was not first.  Today, Thursday, he was better about that and we had a much better time with playing three
games to see who won the most.  His excitement, was a joy to behold, when he won a game!  

Then, of course, they played their favorite "scam" on Grammy.  The scam goes something like, "Oh we're so hungry!  We haven't eaten since yesterday!  What do you have Grammy that we can eat?"  Then I reply with
the things I know they like.........and the feast begins.  

On Tuesday it was apples, plums, and the lunch mentioned above.  I'm amazed at how much food they can eat.  I know, for sure, that their dad feeds them before they get here.  But, it still is absolutely shocking that these little bitty people can eat so much~!  

Today, they tricked me by saying they had not had breakfast.  So I hastily made french toast and sausage links with big glasses of milk for them to drink.  Again, they ate way more then I did.  When their dad arrived, I began to question whether they had had breakfast.  "Of course" was his response - "cereal and pancakes."  Amazing!  Ha.

Their conversations make me giggle inside.  How true some of the things are that they say.  I was correcting them about sitting at the table and table manners, etc.  I commented that I might not want to take them to a restaurant until their manners were a bit better.  Sebastian, age 6, piped up with, "Oh Grammy, our manners are perfect at a restaurant because we like to go there.  At home we don't have to behave as much."
Out of the mouth of babes, for sure.  I'll file that away for future reference.........

Today when they came I was better prepared for play time.  First we played "Go Fish", then I had gotten out lots of art supplies with lots of paper for them to draw on.  They were thrilled.  It was fun for me to sit and watch how each decided what they would draw and then how they went about their drawings.

Matilda is all about mermaids with makeup, mascara, lipstick etc.  Very colorful.  Sebastian was so detailed and specific as he drew his "Wonderful World" as he called it.  It had a fence, blueberry grass, birds, fountains, butterflies, Scout the dog, a horse and grapevines painted purple, just to name a few of the many things in his drawing.  I was entranced as he came up with each item on his drawing.  Then Matilda surprised me by adding Japanese words to her drawing and tell me what it said! 

She shared with me that one of her best friends at the International School is from Japan.  How cool is that?







From time to time, when they forget I'm around, Matilda and Sebastian speak Spanish.  Or, it is when they don't want me to know what they are talking about..........they talk so fast.  But, what they don't know is that
I do know what they are saying most of the time.  I just love, though, hearing these sweet grandchildren speak Spanish!

The day ended way too quickly.  Here are a few photos from today as they were drawing and then showing their art to their dad when he arrived.

The joy of it all is listening and watching and talking with these precious grandchildren.  What a gift!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Time flies............in Mexico.........when you're living it!

Where the heck does the time go?  I received a couple of emails the other day inquiring as to whether I'm
okay or not as I have not posted in a couple of weeks.........Really?  That long?  Amazing.

All that has been going on is LIFE.  I have had a list of "To do's" and believe it or not, I'm getting caught up
on all those little piddly things that you hate to stop and do.  But, I have persevered.  I tell you about one
episode farther on down this post.  It's funny now, but not so much at the time.

Have had visitors in town.  One couple stayed in the guest house in 2004 and came back to visit.  In the intervening years they moved from Atlanta, Georgia to Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Quite a difference.  Lovely
people and it was really delightful to see them again.

Another couple from Texas who came down is an interesting story.  I met the woman in a Chico's in Kingwood, Texas where my daughter lives.  As our conversation continued in the store, somehow San Miguel came up.  That was about three years ago.  Now the couple has sold their home and is here looking
for a place to live to see if this is where they want to settle!  Amazing, isn't it?  Also another fascinating couple who have lived all over the world.

In the meantime, since I last wrote, school is on vacation.  Graduation for the sixth graders was last Friday.
Graduation from kinder or primary and secondary is a BIG deal in Mexico, just like the USA.  Believe it
or not, education is important not only to the kids, but to the parents as well.   I watch them daily coming up
the hill or at recess or after school.  A beautiful sight to see.
Photographs of each of the graduates were hanging on the gate of the primary school.  Parents came for the ceremony.  What a joyful day.

Back to my household projects..........and a mini fiasco.

I decided it was time to put up house numbers for the guest house and my house besides the large plaque on the outside wall that says Casa Tranquila.  Last Sunday morning was the day.  Out I went with the two tile
plaques and the gorilla glue. 
I spread the gorilla glue, liberally, on the back of the top one and with my fingers held it as hard against the wall as I could until it would adhere to it.  About two minutes, minimum.  As I was doing this I realized I might have used a bit too much glue as it was coming over the top of the tile and oozing down the wall from
the bottom.  However, I did not want to move my fingers.  It was imperative, I thought to keep on pressing
the tile against the wall...........even if glue was on my fingers.......

It stuck all right, the first tile.  Then since I already had glue on my fingers anyway and as yet they were not stuck together, I went ahead and did the bottom tile.  Again, the two minute press.  By now, my four fingers on the right and the four fingers on the left were stuck to each other!  It was a shocking sight.   BUT the tiles
were still on the wall.  Whew.

A three hour episode ensued of HOT soapy water, and peeling glue off the skin.  More hot soapy water, acetone, which is a nail polish remover and finally an emery board.  All of the dried glue was not off of my hands and wrists by bedtime, but at least my fingers were no longer stuck together.  The following morning with one more soapy soak, I was glue free.

There is still one more tile to adhere to the wall.  Each time I look at it, I wonder if I want to go through that again.  Someone suggested I wear rubber gloves.  Now wouldn't that have looked cute on the outside wall?
Two house numbers and two rubber gloves dangling and stuck to the house numbers?  No, I think the suffering was best.

I have checked daily - the house numbers are STILL on the wall!  I'm so thrilled, ha.

Yesterday I was off to go by the mechanic's shop to see if he was there and to schedule repair time for the 1997 Nissan Pathfinder which is my mode of transportation.  It is up to THREE major things that need to
be repaired.  The "rocking" that happens at 50 mph which has been happening for about a year.  Now, also
the tailpipe and muffler are hanging lower and need to be reattached to whatever it is usually attached to.  Those high topes (speed bumps) play havoc on the underside of cars here.  Luckily my Pathfinder is higher then most cars.  So that needs to be fixed.  Then, last but not least, a cover for my front headlight needs to be purchased and attached.  If you read the blog regularly, you know that last February the light fell out and was secured with electrical tape for the journey back from the beach.  Then duct tape in silver replaced the black electrical tape.  Can you tell I've become a procrastinator in the last few years?

But, here is my philosophy.  Why take a car to be repaired when there is only one thing that needs fixing.  Why not wait til there is enough stuff to make it worthwhile?  Luis, the mechanic, just shakes his head at me
and as he turns away, I do see a little smile.  I'm sure he is thinking "loco gringa".  He's too nice though to ever say that and is always happy to see me.  I asked him the cost of labor to fix all this and he said "Not much" which usually means about 400 to 700 pesos at most.  In US dollars that is about $20 to $35 USD!
Luis has kept this car running so well for all these years.  In fact, after I get all this fixed, I might take off for
the border in the fall.  Haven't made that road trip in a few years........We'll see.

Here is a mural painted on a shop's door across from the mechanic's work space.  In person it is amazing.  About twenty feet high.  Quite extraordinary.  My camera does not do it justice.

Speaking of extraordinary,  I was gifted with this sight this morning as I came upstairs to get my coffee.
I immediately headed back downstairs to get the camera to take a photo to share with you.  FIVE night
blooming cereus blooming all at once!  Never have had that many blooms on one plant all open at the same time.  The fragrance was exquisite as well as the sight.

Life is good.........here in Mexico!





Thursday, July 07, 2016

The "Lady in the Garden" Needs a Trim

While working in the garden early this morning, I noticed that the "Lady in the Garden" needed a trim!
The amount of rain that we have had since the first part of June has caused everything to grow at a rapid rate.  The ferns and mandevilla vines are taking over.  It's a jungle out there - here, in the semi-arid desert.

I grabbed my clippers and now "The Lady" can see again and I can see her.

Given to me about twenty years ago for my birthday, this lady and I have traveled many miles together.  She has always been somewhere in the various gardens that I have created.  Somewhere where I can see her daily.  She presently resides out the wall of windows of my bedroom.  Not only do I see her daily, but every time I walk into that room, she is straight ahead.  Obviously she is a treasure.

She was created for me by a dear friend and extremely talented concrete artist, Hayes Parker.

Unfortunately, since moving to Mexico, I have lost touch with him.  We were friends starting in the 70's when I used to sell in craft shows in the USA.  I remember, particularly, a show at Westbury Square in Houston where the temps soared to the 100's.  It was my decision to never to do a show outside again.  I never did.

Hayes did not either, I don't think.  Once I helped him in a show at the Astrodome for the preview party for the Nutcracker Market benefiting the Houston Ballet.  I have never, before or since, seen such a frenzy of women buying as fast as they could write a check or get their money out.  Exhausted that night after the show, all I could do was limp on sore feet to my car and dread the fact that I had a few more days to help in the booth.  It was absolutely a mind blowing experience - another thing I never did again.  Ha.

Hayes' work was always distinctive, beautifully made and a treasure.  In my house are many other pieces that he gave me over the years.  I sure wish I knew where he is and how he is.

Thankfully he gave me "The Lady" so many years ago.  I wonder if he has any idea how much joy and beauty she has brought to my life for all of these years.  Life is good.


Monday, July 04, 2016

Happy Fourth of July from San Miguel de Allende

There is a group of us who meet every Monday morning at Don Tomas, adjacent to the jardin, for coffee, conversation and silliness.

We are a group of eleven.  However, the size expands and contracts depending on the weather, the time of year, and visitors from the USA who have joined us in the past.

When a holiday comes up it is common for the number to expand, which was what happened today.

I had purchased eleven Fourth of July headbands for our eleven "members" - a term I use very loosely, because there is no membership.  Rather, these are the "regulars" who are here mostly each week.

At Christmas I buy headbands with Santa Claus, snowflakes and whatever else will make us all look silly, have fun and giggle.

Today was the first time that we have had Fourth of July headbands with stars and glitter.  The reaction from
people walking by was priceless.  Truly.

Many citizens of Mexico came up and wished us "Happy Birthday"!  Some came up and said "Happy Fourth of July".  So many asked if they could take photos of us, that we kiddingly repeated, "Yes for pesos" and we all laughed.

Tourists came up with their cell phones and wanted to photograph us to send photos back to the USA to
friends and family.  MANY great conversations ensued.  I met a girl who recently graduated from the University of North Carolina.  In addition, a couple from Orange County California stopped by and we
talked for quite a while.  She is an art historian and teaches at a university.  Her husband is an attorney
in California.  I would say they were in their mid 30's and trying to figure out how they could come to San Miguel with their two children, live and make a living.  Delightful.

None of this would have happened if we had not had the silly headbands on.   Here are a few photos to bring a smile to your face.




Needless to say, since there were 16 of us, it is obvious that I could never get the group to all look one way and smile to get a group photo today.

Happy Fourth of July to all of you from all of us in San Miguel.  And, "No""to the question from someone on the street which was, "Are there fireworks tonight?"

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Shaking my head..........in disbelief and wonder!

The saga has been going on for about six weeks.  The "water man" from Aqua Bell has stopped coming on Tuesday and Thursday to deliver large five gallon jugs of water for both houses.  I really like Aqua Bell because they creatively have put a spigot in the bottle so one does not have to flip the bottle over and use a pump for fresh drinking water.  The bottles are very heavy and it takes all my strength to pick them up from where they are stored to the top of the counter for every day use.

Usually I use the water only for coffee and drinking water.  Therefore, each large bottle lasts about one and a half weeks.  I keep two so if I run out before the man comes there is always the backup.  Circumstances were this week that there was barely any backup left to use.

Always, for people who deliver to the house, the laundry lady, the water man and others, I always ask for their cell phone number rather then calling a general number which may nor may not pass on the message.

Josefina, the housekeeper, called the "water man""on Wednesday and expressed my distress over the aqua
situation.  I've learned if there is a lot to say with a back and forth conversation, it is better to have Josefina to call.  The water man told Josefina that he no longer delivers water!  We tried calling the general office number with the end result being, no answer!  Of course, neither she nor I thought to ask if there was another man delivering water..........

I found the phone number of the company who I used when I first moved here eons ago and had planned to have Josefina call them on Monday to set up a new account to have water delivered.

Much to my amazement, this morning, I heard the doorbell ring and "AQUA" being shouted.  To say that I ran up the stairs heading for the door, would be an understatement.  I did not want him to leave before I
could get to the gate.

There stood, not the former driver who no longer delivers, but his former helper with an Aqua Bell truck and water!  He brought the big jug in and put it where it goes, I paid him and he left.  All the time I was grinning inside about the whole thing.

We conversed and settled on the fact that he will come on Saturday each week rather then twice a week.
Now we'll see if that happens.  No, I did not get his cell phone number, darn.

But truly, since this happened about an hour a go, I've been shaking my head and smiling at the fact that just when you think you have figured things out in Mexico, have established "fail safe" measures, it is all for naught.  Then things like this happen and one just sighs and smiles.

Viva Mexico!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Living in the Moment in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico!

It happened the first day I was back in the jardin after being away for three weeks.  I no sooner sat down on the bench and I began to hear that off tune horn blaring that I often hear in the distance up on the hill by my house.

Then I heard drums.  What the heck?  I wracked my brain for the date.  It was Friday June 18th.  No, I could not think of any special reason to have a marching band, but indeed, that is what it was - sort of.

 Of course, after coming to the conclusion that it was not a special day, I decided it was a band leader training his little group by having them play in the jardin in front of whoever happened to be around the area.
 One never knows what to expect.  The kid in the front with the horn never played, he just shook the horn around in his best imitation of Bruno Mars. 
 And, it appeared, that this little guy with his ice cream bar was looking longingly at the kids and hoping to be older then he is at present.  Someday............
The lead kid, with his trumpet in hand, was so darn serious, with his sunglasses on, that I was chuckling inside myself at his actions.

Why?  Where are they going?  What is the occasion? And, who are they often, comes to mind since there are so many experiences like this.  But, one quickly learns that there are no answers, so to sit back and just enjoy it all.

This thought again was brought to mind today as I headed up one of the main streets of San Miguel  after having brunch with a friend.  Luckily my camera was nearby even though I was driving.  The traffic was
at a standstill as a group of young women on beautiful horses came riding by in the lane going the opposite
direction.

It's always fascinating that it can be something like this, or a funeral procession walking down the street or revelers cavorting down the street sipping tequila with a group of mariachis.  Traffic stops.  No one gets mad
or honks.  Everyone just "lives in the moment".

Viva Mexico!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico - THE place to be in the summer

For all of those of you simmering in the Southwest or drowning in sweat in the South, pay attention to this message.  There IS a better way.

Come to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico to escape the summer heat.  Located at 6400 ft. elevation (that's about 1000 ft. above Denver give or take a few), the humidity is low and the temps are moderate.  To be
more specific the humidity hovers in the twenty percentile, even though this is our rainy season.  The temperatures are in the low 80's during the day and mid 50's at night.  How long has it been since you've been able to sleep with windows and doors open at night to feel a cool breeze?  It is possible here.  I know because I do so every night.

How do you get here?  Most fly on the many airlines who fly into Leon (BJX) or Queretaro (QRO).  Those airports are about a 45 minute drive from San Miguel which does not have an airport.    There is a shuttle service that charges about $29USD to be picked up at the airport and delivered to your door in San Miguel.  Bajiogo Shuttle is the name.

Where to stay?  There are many hotels, b&bs, private homes to rent, both short term or long term and now AirBnB places.  A website to see all hotels is www.allmexicohotels.com.  Private homes would be www.vrbo.com.  And whatever Airbnb's site is.  Rentals can also be found on Craigslist under the state of Guanajuato.

What to do?  As much or as little as you want.  There are the pyramids outside of town,  thermal baths,
horseback riding, hiking, but more then any of that, San Miguel is about "being".  About slowing down and taking time to talk with people that you see in a cafe or on the bench in the jardin.  It's about walking the streets and popping in and out of the over three hundred restaurants in town or the many shops.  The mercado which hosts many artisans and is a few  blocks long is a delight to walk through as well.

There is always music, either in the restaurants, in the theaters, or in the jardin on the weekends.  It is easy to get swept up into the casual, relaxing and comfortable lifestyle.

In fact, and I'm not kidding, so many people end up buying a home here the first week they are in town that when we meet a newbie, we ask how long they've been in town and then we ask, "Have you bought a home yet?"  I'm always, always astonished at how many answer in the affirmative.

San Miguel was named the #1 Destination by Conde Nast a few years ago.  In addition, it received UN World Heritage site designation status in 2008.  The architecture both in San Miguel and in the nearby village of Atotonilco are from the 17th and 18th century!

Come on down.  We'd love to welcome you.  If anyone asks how you heard about it, say you read it on Babsblog.   Here are a few photos of this lovely walking village.





Hope to see you on the bench in the jardin or in a coffee shop or on the street.  If so, say hi or just wave.

Viva Mexico!