Friday, March 15, 2019

Dining in the Campo Around San Miguel de Allende

With well over three hundred restaurants now in San Miguel and the countryside, options are limitless.  Truly. 

When I came here for the first time twenty-one years ago, I think, and I might be exaggerating,
that there were about fifty restaurants at that time! 

Now there is everything from Sri Lanka to Lebanese to Japanese to international cuisines.  You name a major country and probably there is a restaurant with some dishes from that country.  We even have
a long-time restaurant called Berlin!

But, the latest trend has been the dining and vineyards, many of them, in the countryside.  Head toward Queretaro, Celaya or Delores Hidalgo and there is a lovely vineyard with the ability to dine there!  No, I have not explored that option as yet, but hope to in the next few months.

However, I do have a few "go to" places when I want to head out and enjoy the horizons, the river or just a different view without traffic.

On the road to Delores Hidalgo are some of the places that I like.  They are all only about ten minutes away, but worlds away in ambiance.  The latest discovery is the cornerstone restaurant that has been in SMA for a very long time on Umauran.  Mama Mia's has opened a place in the country on the road
to Atotonilco.  It is an experience.  Not a place to go for an hour, but a place to go to dine, unwind, enjoy the breezes and the beauty.  Let me add, the food the seven of us had was all delicious. They even have a micro brewery which my son and others enjoyed immensely with tastings of flights.

The true test was having two grandchildren with us who had plenty to do while waiting for food or waiting for us to be ready to leave.  They have a tree house, big swings tied to tree limbs and horses to ride with a cowboy to lead the kids on each horse around the property.  Of course, Mati and Seb discovered the "restaurant dog and cat", made friends and enjoyed them as well.

How delightful it was to sit back, relax, have a drink, eventually order food and eat and then relax afterwards.  This was on a Sunday.  A busy day.  To be honest, I know it is also open on Saturday but not sure about during the week.......

Other dining experiences out near Atotnilco that are my favorites are Nirvana, which was pretty much the first one to go to the "country".  It still is a delight to dine there and enjoy the river and the views, not to mention the great food.  La Burger is just that, a burger place, but with a great twist.  They have big grills and all hamburgers and other food are grilled.  On the weekends, getting in there to eat is a test because it is packed!

And, last, but not least is El Vergel.  It is overseen by a French chef and part of the Donnie Masterton group of restaurants in and around San Miguel.  Everything I and my friends have eaten there has been superb and unique.  Better then anything is that on Friday evenings from 6-8PM, a Jazz Trio plays under the direction of Azande "Drummin" Cummings.  Mr. Cummings came to San Miguel from New York City where he was a professor of music and played individually and with groups along with being on Broadway in productions.  Great Jazz to put it mildly.  Can't wait to return!

Oops, and I almost forgot Bastide which is a relative newcomer on the road to Delores Hidalgo.  It is in the location of a former pizza restaurant, Pizza Pig,  and the dining room looks lovely.  It too is French cuisine and again, a unique menu. 

It certainly is a delight to have so many options.  I have in no way covered all the "hidden gems" out of town but this is a start.  There is another place that I want to find out about that is a Chef from Italy and who has a place somewhere out there.  If I find it, I'll let you know.  I've heard raves about it as well.

Mexican food?  Of course, but one cannot live on tacos or enchiladas alone.  Well, I can't nor do I want to do so.  And having all these options makes life an adventure!

Monday, March 11, 2019

Doctor Google

Over the years, the internist that I go to, Dr. Barrera, has referred to me as Dr. Google.  It makes both of us laugh.  He knows that I read symptoms before coming to him, but, more importantly I read
about prescribed drugs as well.

Thankfully I do. 

Week before last when I went to the orthopedic doctor to get the cockscomb shot in my left knee, he was embarrassed.  He had initially told me the previous week that he did not have the materials for the injection but to come back after Wednesday.  I waited until the following Monday.  He was
embarrassed as I had sat and waited an hour to see him last week and he had not been able to get
the stuff for the knee injection.  It is worth waiting for - it has stopped the pain for seven months!

Things like that do not upset me.  If there is anything I have learned in Mexico is patience and understanding that things happen.  So I told him "no problem" and would come back when someone
called me to let me know to come again.  Then he told me that he has my card in his car and the minute he has the cockscomb that he will personally call.  Wow. 

As I was leaving, he asked what I was taking for pain and I answered ibuprofen.  He walked over
to a credenza behind his desk and pulled out salesman's samples.  Three boxes were handed to me
with the instructions to take one at night and one in the morning. That was it.

The medication is Valgion CLT.  The CLT stands for clonixinato de lisina/tramadol. 

When returning home, I sat the three boxes down and went about my business.  Then later, I decided to check out the medications.  Oh my, am I glad I did!  For one thing, this med is a synthetic opioid in the Class 4 of restricted meds such as Ambien, Xanax, and others that are addictive.  Shocked, is an
understatement of what I felt when I read this initial information.  Searching further I found out the side effects are dizziness, vertigo and a myriad of others.  Needless to say, the three boxes are in a drawer to return to the doctor with a polite explanation.

Why do I check things?  It goes back to when my daughter was diagnosed in 1998 with acute myologenous leukemia.  She had been a premed student with a degree in biology.  She was always
proactive about her health and especially when this diagnosis happened while she was seven months pregnant with Christopher.

Fast forward to when she went into anaphylactic shock for a med that had not been double checked and she almost died.  From then on, she steadfastly refused to take any new meds until she had sheets of information on the med before taking or having it administered.  Boy, did this upset some medical people.  Watching Jennifer for five and a half years be her own advocate about her treatment as she went through a bone marrow transplant and other things taught me that if WE don't advocate for ourselves, with the help of doctors and nurses, no one will. 

This latest incident is a perfect example of why you have to ask questions and then double check things before going forward with whatever it is that you are facing or taking...........

I now proudly wear, in my mind, the label of Dr. Google!  It sure saved me from a mess last week.
I can just imagine, after getting over the dizziness and vertigo, how upset and challenged I would have been if I had taken those meds not knowing the side effects.

Hope this story helps you, if it is ever necessary for your health.

Friday, March 08, 2019

Monarchs and Jacarandas - The Perfect Combination in San Miguel de Allende

It is THAT time of year.   The time when the jacaranda trees bloom profusely with lavender blooms that provide nectar for the monarchs as they migrate north.

This is the jacaranda tree in front of my previous home.  Living there for many, many years
was a joy because the wildlife was profuse.  So were the views and the plantings as they grew!

Many, many years ago I was sitting on the rooftop reading and for some reason looked up.
Coming down the street to the side of the house was a ribbon of color.  It was at about second
story height.  I knew immediately what it was, as one time when I was near Ciudad de Victoria
in the mountains, I saw a similar ribbon of all kinds of butterflies.  I pulled over and stopped so
I could stare in awe.

I was awed this day that the monarchs were coming down the street as well.  I assumed they were
heading for the water in the reservoir in the canyon.  But they were not.  They were heading for
the jacaranda tree.  Truly the tree was covered with monarch for quite a while.  Many minutes.  I did not move as I did not want them to leave or be frightened.  IF only I could have had my camera to capture this, but alas, it was three stories down the steep stairs and I did not want to miss a second of
this magnificent phenomena. 

I no longer have the pleasure of watching this tree bloom or waiting for the ribbon of monarchs, but the town is abloom in glorious, expansive blooming trees.  From up on the ridge of the road around town, one can look down at a lovely shade of lavender.  A favorite sight to see.

But, in this garden where I presently live, there are still birds and wildlife.  Just not as wild and wooly as the opossum, coatamundi, skunk and feral cats that used to pass through my nature sanctuary.

While reading on the chaise a couple of days ago I heard and saw a red headed woodpecker just pecking away at the huge palm tree directly in front of the house.  Wow, was it loud!  Then there are doves, of course, and a red bird with a black mask on its face.  I call it Zorro.  THEN the piece de resistance is the number of hummingbirds that zip around while making a clicking sound.  As I was on the chaise, one came within 18 inches of my face and just stayed there staring at me as I stared at it wondering what it was going to do or go next.

Here's what it was busy retrieving, the fluff from the seed of the oleanders nearby.  It came many times to just get enough to carry and then it got some of the coco palm from the wall baskets nearby as well.  A busy little bird! 

Yes, I saw where the nest is being made.  In the stand of bamboo right by the kitchen window. 

The fragrance of the orange blossoms and the peach blossoms from the nearby trees along with the
antics of the birds made for a perfectly lovely afternoon.  Life is good.

Viva Mexico!

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Reasons Help with Resolution!

It was not a "fun filled" week last week, but it certainly was one full of activity as I read and acted on your advice, suggestions and personal experiences.

Truly, you gave me the key to resolving the balance issue!  I immediately made an appointment with an ENT doctor. 

I also made an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon and he had some startling information that helped to explain my frequent falling!

Here's the scoop.
                     The peach tree is literally covered with blossoms.  The hummingbirds are in ecstasy.

The scoop is this:  The orthopedic doctor showed me on my x-rays that my two knee bones are not
aligned from the major fall right after my arm episode.  Hence when I take a step, the two bones minus cartilage are not connecting as they should.  Yikes.

Of course he says I need surgery which opens a whole other saga that I do not want to talk or think
about right now.  Mainly, spending six months in the USA to have the surgery and recuperate.

So, at least I know one REASON.

Then  the dizzyness continued all week.  I could not wait to get to the ENT doctor about the vertigo.
Again, I'm not going into the details, but suffice to say, when the doctor finally got to the part of doing the movement necessary to put the "crystals" back in position in my ear or ears, I was no longer dizzy!  Who would have known if ya'll had not told me about this?  Not me.  Now it did not
happen instantly, but by the time I awakened the next morning and turned over to see if the room was
spinning, it no longer was spinning.  Ojala.  Thank goodness.

So, at least I know the second REASON! 

The suggestions for a exercises I can do from the computer, the easy yoga dvd I can order from PBS and the idea of getting a physical therapist who will come to the house, are all in motion!
I received not only the comments on the blog, but many personal emails with pep talks, more suggestions and thoughts. 

There is no way to express my gratitude to each and everyone of you.  You got me over the hump of despair...........

Here is a little humor to end this post.  It was the headline of our local paper, Atencion, which is published once a week.

The headline and then the correction on the first page just made me chuckle.  Hope it does the same for you.

Let the good times roll..........Happy Mardi Gras...........

Monday, February 25, 2019

A Challenge in Life

This post is written to ask for information.  Information about how others have handled the situation when their life begins to get smaller.

                                                   Photos taken by Matilda - maybe gazing into
                                                     the silver ball will provide answers?

It has been almost two years since I had the accident when my arm went through the glass door.  For some reason, that accident affected my balance.  Something that I have never been able to recapture.
Have you had this issue and if so, how did you resolve it?

Since I seem to be falling more and more now - eight times in four weeks - I am fearful of falling and so not leaving the house very much.  With no depth perception due to my right eye not having any sight, I think this is now, for some reason, contributing more to this.

It was most helpful last week when I went to visit a friend who had both knees replaced last August, then got an infection in one and had to have additional surgery.  She is house bound for about a month.  When I took food to her, we sat and talked for about an hour.  She told me how, since the operation, she has hardly left the house because of her fear of falling.  OMgosh, I was so relieved as we sat and talked about this as I thought I was the only one.  No, we did not come up with a solution, but at least, somehow, knowing that I'm not the only one had a somewhat calming effect on me.

Since my friend and I have always been independent "go getters" not being able to go and do has had
a psychological effect on us.  For me it is frustrating to have to be concerned about each and every step I take and, IF I am going someplace, the question of "Will there be stairs?" is a never ending first question.  Or, will there be crowds.  Hence, I don't go!  Has anyone out there experienced this, and if so, how did you overcome it?

Thankfully, I have a car, so I plan where I am going based on being able to park near where I am going.  That does help.

I have tried physical therapy, walking as much as I can here at home in hopes of strengthening my legs, but it does not seem to be working.  I've even stopped going to my beloved "coffee klatch" group because of the fear of the cobblestones and how difficult it is to get there now that the city has closed off those streets to vehicular traffic!


It is embarrassing for  me, the "Mighty One" (ha), to admit these issues and to ask for help.  Truly,
but I am at the point that I do not know what else to do.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

I count my blessings every day that I am in a one story house.  Also, that I have Josefina two mornings a week to help with cleaning and laundry.  And, that I have my wonderful son and grandchildren near by.  But, I need to take action to resolve this issue.

Onward, slowly but surely with your advice, if possible.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

A Rite of Passage

All little girls that I have ever known, at some point around eight to ten years old love to play "dress up". 

Back in the day when my daughter, Jennifer,  was in drill team at League City High School in Texas, she gave her drill team arm cuffs and outfits to the little girls across the street when her time in the group was over.  Oh my, I could see those girls out on their bikes riding with sequined cuffs on their arms.  It  used to make me smile.  It still does.  They were thrilled.

Fast forward to Matilda, my granddaughter who had her eleventh birthday yesterday.  WHERE does the time go? 

Recently a search of drawers and storage boxes turned up quite a lovely group of things that I thought she would enjoy having.  Many of the things were previous treasures for me and had been kept for over forty years.  Time to let go........

Out came the fuscia caftan that I wore at Club Med in 1978.  Also a red boa that I wore as I strolled the aisles of a performance of Ray Charles in Galveston, Texas, eons ago, with my friend Amanda.

Then there were a few other things, a cute, colorful red shoulder purse, some silk high heels and a red flower to wear in her hair.

Was she thrilled, I would say so.  At one point she had EVERYTHING on all at once.  Here are a few
photos of our afternoon of her modeling and me photographing.

It was not long, however, before the "phone" took priority and this is taken out in the garden with a sweatshirt on and she was twirling and cartwheeling. 

Here is a photo of her probably eight years ago.  My how time flies........
It is a wonder to be able to experience seeing Matilda and Sebastian grow up.  To be able to share in so many memories is a true "joy of life". 

They never leave that I don't chuckle over some comment made by one or the other.........children have great insight into things and dust off the fluff and say the truth.  Have you ever noticed that?

What a treasure!

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Oscar, Escobedo and Merida

All of a sudden the pace of life in San Miguel is picking back up.  For the next three weeks, the
calendar is full of all kinds of interesting and fun things that I will be doing.

Friends are in town who I have not seen in quite a while along with new friends, who are blog
readers and are visiting SMA who I look forward to meeting.

A few weeks ago, at lunch on a Friday, it was with three people who are blog readers.  Two have
been reading it since I started in 2006!  It is a surreal feeling to be with people who know way more
about me then I know about them.  But, it is such great fun to meet and get to know them.  The couple who have been reading the blog since 2006 have moved to SMA with ONE suitcase and are
planning on being here permanently.  Right now they are looking for a house.  A delightful couple! The third person has been a friend here in SMA for many years but she had initially been a blog reader too.  As a part time resident, she spends time here and in Austin.

I tried last weekend to watch the Oscar nominated movies.  My "once a year" time to watch movies that I have gotten from Juan's.  Left to watch are Favorites and At Eternity's Gate with William Defoe.

Of the movies I have watched and there were a few I chose not to watch - BlackKKlansman, Vice or Black Panther, I have to say I enjoyed The Green Book the most.  I even watched a movie that was not nominated but which I thought I wanted to see with Robert Redford. A true story of a bank robber.  Sissy Spacek was in the movie as well. It was okay but sure glad I did not pay a lot to see it at the movies. 

Then a trip to Comonfort, a town about 20 miles from here and then on to Escobedo, a village where the French cashmere factory is located was on the agenda.  There is a great restaurant on a hillside with a cantera shop next to it.  I had not been there in at least fifteen or sixteen years, but the food and the views are still lovely.  Here's a couple of photos while sitting on the terrace for lunch.

It was fun to get out with friends into the countryside.  Plus, while in Comonfort, I purchased two big baskets to use for some plants in the house.  Comonfort is THE place to go for some of the same things that you can find in SMA but for a lot less pesos.  A four hour excursion reset my mind to want to do more excursions out of town...........soon.

Then at the beginning of this week, a friend who I met through blogging, brought forty people from Merida to San Miguel on a tour.  My friend and her husband own a tourism school in Merida.  Very interesting people.  Her idea to have a "cultural" exchange was fun.  It was set up to have a couple of speakers, with my son included to discuss real estate, and a couple of speakers from Merida.  Casual and interesting.  Joanna had refreshments set up for everyone at the Aldea Hotel and the room was full. 

Two people who read the blog came up to introduced themselves to me.  One had even tried in the past to rent the guest house, but, at the time it was occupied.  It was fun to meet all the people and to have some very interesting conversations.

Maia Williams, from SMA and very involved in the Literary Conference and the group in San Miguel who is involved in writing and poetry spoke. John spoke and the two people from the Merida area.

My favorite photos to share with ya'll, however, are the two below.  On the way to the Aldea Hotel, with my son driving, in front of us was a truckload of boys.  I noticed them because all of their shirts said "Fly Emirates"!  My first thought was, "Do they know what that means?" And, since I have never seen an Emirates plane in Mexico, it was a curious sight.  So, I decided to take a photo since I was a passenger and not driving.

The boy in the middle immediately noticed I was taking the photo.  I waved to him and he gave me the peace sign.  He was smiling and then his friends looked up and some of them smiled as well.  They got to their destination before we did.  As they got out of the back of the truck, all turned and waved to us! 

I LOVE living in Mexico!  You just never know what kind of sights or adventures are going to happen............

Another trip out of town is planned for tomorrow.  Woohoo, life is ALWAYS an adventure!