Thursday, May 07, 2015

A Hop, Skip and Jump

Flying from Leon, Guanajuato, to Houston was a two hour flight. Truly a hop, skip and jump in comparison to my usual fourteen hour drive - nine hours to the border and an overnight stay and then five hours into Houston. Woo hoo. Of course the whole trip isn't two hours. The shuttle picked me up at 5:30AM, then waiting at the airport (thank heavens for a kindle) and then the flight, US Customs and then a shuttle to the final destination. About nine hours total. An odd experience happened at the Houston airport. I had asked for a wheelchair since it is a LONG LONG walk from getting off the plane through Customs to the shuttle. It's a darn big airport. I did that once before when I flew up for the gallbladder surgery. A piece of cake, to put it mildly. Not this time. No wheelchair waiting for me, but, finally they came, they took me around the corner into a hallway and sat me there with 22 other women from Latin America who needed assistance to go through Customs etc. Only two attendents to help 23 of us did not add up to me. I sat there for a while pondering the situation. Hmmm. None of the women spoke English, so I went up to the person in charge and said that with the current ratio it seemed to me like it would be several hours before the 23 women, myself included, would be helped. Her response, "They can wait!" I waved goodbye, said "Adios" and off I went slowly but surely working my way through the airport to the shuttle service. I was so irritated by the response as it related to the women, but, had no idea what I could do to help. I mentioned it to a Customs guy but he didn't seem to care either....... The rest of the journey was upbeat by the time I got in the shuttle with a man from Monroe, La. who was talking about going home to spend Mother's Day with his Mom and couldn't wait for the homecooking she would shower upon him. Okra, yellow squash, butter beans, purple hull peas and cornbread. By the time I got out of the shuttle from laughing and talking with him, I wanted Southern home cooked food so so bad. Settling for seafood was NOT settling. My friends Sue and Vandy picked me up on Clear Lake and we made a beeline for a great restaurant on the Seabrook Channel. We could eat, drink and watch the sailboats going out into Galveston Bay and coming back in. Brought back many years of memories. Seafood had been the goal. Seeing the water has been another. Spending time with friends and family has been the crown jewel. I'm writing this as I sit looking out at the canals in Omega Bay. The tide is going out and will be coming in later today. Weather has been amazingly perfect. Low humidity, cool temps, sometimes overcast but always, amazing sunsets. What's not to love? I was so shocked at the coolness of the weather that I think that was all I could comment about for about four hours. What a pleasant surprise. I've been whittling the "Houston list" down little by little. Yesterday I found an almost brand new Samsonite suitcase at Goodwill for $5USD to take all these purchases back to San Miguel! Such a deal. I've seen a Mafioso's home, laughed til my sides hurt, hugged my grandson Christopher and I'm ready to see what surprises the rest of the trip will bring. Stay tuned.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

I'm Up, Up and Away

But, not in a hot air balloon.   This photo was taken one Sunday morning.  It is highly unusual to see this many hot air balloons at one time.  It was around Easter.  Many tourists willing to pay the bucks to have
this experience.  For me, just photographing it is enough.

However, I am going up,  up and away on Wednesday but, in the blue skies of United.  Instead of driving the fourteen hours, it seemed way more sensible this trip to use Frequent Flyer miles and be there in two.

Off  I go for several weeks.  Returning just in time for the arrival of new tenants for the guest house and the rainy season.  Two good things.

The weather here has been magnificent.  Yesterday it barely hit 80F and is in the low 50's at night.  Sleeping with the doors open and having them open all day to enjoy the fresh air and breezes is a delight.

So, the guest house is rented.  All the projects are over.  I've had a couple additions of some new furnishings in my house and all is well with the world.  The gardens are a profusion of flowers, to put it mildly.

Now, off to Texas to enjoy walking the beach in Galveston.  Eating yummy seafood.  Visiting with dear friends and family in Galveston and Houston.  Experiencing my first granddaughter's graduation from college along with my youngest daughter Julie graduating from college as well!  It is going to be a rip roaring good time.  Old friends I haven't seen since the 80's have contacted me and while I'm in Kingwood, we hope to gather together with other friends to catch up on the last 30 years.  OH MY.

I'll need to return to San Miguel to rest up from all the fun and frivolity.  As I sit here writing, the church bells are pealing.  One of my favorite sounds on this peaceful day.

Hope wherever you are and whatever you are doing, it is peaceful, beautiful weather and happiness in your life as well.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Life Passed in the Flicker of an Eye

This past week was so busy it seems like it was over in a day!  The pace was schizophrenic.

First of all, a woman from Davis, California had flown in for a week to stay in the guest house to see if she wanted to live here full time.  For health reasons, it does not seem possible.  I did not know until this week that we, at 6400 ft elevation, are 1200 ft above Denver's elevation.  People with breathing problems have a really hard time here.  Many must leave later on in life when it becomes a major issue.

Then, in the throes of showing the house, with the woman's permission, I also worked
on the epic courtyard sale of the century.........well, maybe the year.  Hopefully my last, forever.

It was a sale in centro, near the jardin, with no parking.  That added to the intrigue of how to shlep  all my stuff down there, first of all.  Then setting up, selling and being there for a couple of days.  It was an adventure.

Here are some of the things you missed.
     Gourds, camera items (a collection of 40 years) and Eskimo prints are gone.  But beautifully framed     artwork in front of table is still available.
    Textiles, ice cream maker, pennants from the 40's and 50's all gone.   Bisque head dolls are still available.
                                                  Many First Edition books still available.
                                         Everything on this table sold - except the scissors, ha.

                                         Nothing left on these two tables above or the table below..
First edition books.  Even a Hemingway among others.  Bisque head dolls from Germany.  Tarahumara baskets from Copper Canyon.  A beautiful lithograph, framed and decorative house hold items galore.

But, wait, not EVERYTHING sold, so if you see something that tickles your fancy, just ask, it might still be

A couple of funny things happened during the two days.  One woman came up to my table where I had costume jewelry along with a few expensive things.  I had a bracelet for 50 pesos, $3.50USD.  She wanted to know if the emeralds and diamonds were real!  I was speechless and chuckled.  It never sold and it was good costume jewelry. 

The other funny thing was when a woman came in with her chihuahua and schnauzer.  We had a man posted at the door to keep things running smoothly.  She handed him her leashes and proceeded to shop.  He was
startled a bit. 

The sweetest thing that happened was two little girls came up to me where I had the stickers in all colors that we used for pricing items.  They wanted a sticker so I put them on the tips of their fingers and they walked around that way behind their parents.  They still had their fingers in the air as they left the sale with a smile on their faces.  Precious.

For me, I have a new respect for people who handle estate sales.  This whole thing took several weeks of planning, gathering items, marketing, pricing, displaying and selling.  I think I must be out of practice because I didn't used to think anything of having four or five sales a year.  I used to go to auctions in Houston and surrounding areas.  Then when I had a garage full of armoires or some such items, voila, a sale would ensue.
What fun, I thought at the time.  Not so much any more.

Hopefully when I go to the "great cloud in the sky", my kids will have fun having the last grand sale.  I'll chuckle as I dangle my toes over the edge of the cloud knowing I'm not down there shlepping stuff around!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The personification of JOY!

 On Saturday the kids arrived to dye Easter eggs and make a bunny cake.  The cake was so funny with a lopsided ear and frosting that stuck to the cake.   BUT, we got it done.  Of course, the conversation was about how the Easter Bunny carries all the eggs to hide along with various other topics that made me bite the inside of my mouth to keep from laughing.  Like, "What happens if the Bunny sees Velcro the cat?" 
 It was chilly Easter morning as they arrived about 10AM.  Matilda had on her pink furry coat.
 But Sebastian had eggs on his mind and being the person who found the most!  It was a race.
 Dad was trying to film it from one side.  I was trying to stay out of the way, but to get a few shots for posterity.
 After they thought they had found all the eggs, it was determined they had more to find.  Matilda had the most, of course!
 This photo was taken the instant Matilda found her Easter basket.  Joy and surprise should be the title of this!
 Then there was a little dance as Sebastian found his basket as well.  Don't you love all the petals from the jacaranda tree for them to dance on? And their exhuberance?
     Wow, were these kids happy with their baskets that had bubbles and some candy in them.
I don't know if they were more excited about that or when they found coins inside the plastic eggs.  Above is Sebastian trying to barter with his sister for something different!  Interestingly, instead of eating candy, the kids peeled the hard boiled eggs and ate those............What a fun, fun time~. 

Thursday, April 02, 2015

A Gift from Zinacantan - A Beautiful Rebozo

A lovely couple who recently moved to San Miguel gifted me with this magnificent rebozo a couple of days ago.

It all started about three years ago while they lived in Playa del Carmen.  She of French-Italian descent and he from New Jersey.  After having lived there for many, many years,  it seemed to them it was time to move

Hence, they began reading Babsblog which often has some tidbit or the other about living in San Miguel de Allende.   The wife contacted me quite a while ago with various questions.  Then she wrote and said they were moving to San Miguel.  They did, right before the winter season.  Can you imagine coming from the tropical coast to San Miguel, in the bajio to live?  Especially as the winter season began?  What a shock for
them.  Heck, this winter was a shock for all of us.

In addition, the husband after arriving here had a severe heart issue that caused him to be hospitalized after being cared for by more then one doctor here in town.  It was a bad scene, although he is recuperating and his health is much better now.

I was not aware of any of this. In fact, I wasn't sure they had actually come to San Miguel to live until I recently received an email saying that "Yes indeed they are here and wanted to meet".  That they were leaving San Miguel to return to the USA and were going to live in Florida.

We set up to meet this week.  What an interesting couple.  They have been living about five minutes away from me and I didn't even know it.  We talked for almost two hours.  Her lilting accent was a delight.  Her zest for life was apparent.  He, it was obvious, adores her.

Having read the post I had written last month about my previous visit to Zinacantan, they gifted me with this magnificent rebozo.  To say I was surprised and overwhelmed would be an understatement.

What a generous gift.   It is not the first gift I've received  from a reader, but certainly a lovely remembrance of Mexico and Chiapas.

Thanks to Evelyne and Joe for their spirit, their kindness and, of course, their generosity!

What a lucky lady I am to have the opportunity to meet such lovely people because of writing these posts.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Found on Facebook

Haven't ever found anyone that I wanted to find on Facebook.  However, in the last few months two people have found me!

The first is an old sailing buddy, Mike.  He had a sailboat that he kept docked at Lakewood Yacht Club.

We would go out into the middle of Clear Lake, , anchor, and sing Jimmy Buffet songs at the top of our lungs while we were drinking Capt Morgan's spiced run, ginger ale and limes.  We never dated but we sure had silly fun together.  Mardi Gras in Galveston, nights dancing at Louie's Le Club on Clear Lake which was the hangout for our group.  Mike was good friends with a man I was dating at the time.

A month or two ago I got a friend request on Facebook.  I was thrilled.  Mike had left the Bay Area, which the area south of Houston, on Galveston Bay is known as.  Not the California Bay Area.  Last I had heard he had moved to Fairhope, Alabama.  Once or twice I asked people from Fairhope if they knew him and I think once I tried to find him on Facebook, but, no luck.

It was absolutely delightful to reconnect.  To find out he is now married and living in snow country!  He has had an amazing life in the intervening years.  He called one day and we caught up  on all the news!  What fun.

Then just a couple of weeks ago I got a friend request from someone else that I lost touch with in the 90's as well.  Someone I worked with on a charity.  Imagine my shock when I found out that Bob is teaching in Leon at the University.  He is teaching social entrepreneurship for a year.

 Bob and some friends from Mazatlan drove over from Leon to spend some time reconnecting.  The people from Mazatlan are new friends! 
But Bob and I had time to catch up from the days when he was Executive Director of the Texas Neurofibromatosis Foundation.  I was very active in this organization from 1982 til the mid 1990's and served on the board for a number of years.
Bob left and founded a magazine focusing on philanthropy.  If I'm not mistaken, the publication was
in existence for twelve years.  A very long time for a magazine.

It certainly was a surprise to reconnect.  To hear about his life since we last saw each other in the 90's.
When Bob tried to connect with me on Facebook, he thought I was still in Houston.  Can't you just imagine his surprise when he discovered I was an hour away?  We had a good laugh about that.
All of us had brunch at Antigua Villa Santa Monica, a boutique hotel and restaurant in San Miguel the Sunday that they drove over here.  It may not be a gourmet experience, but the ambiance and the attentive staff make it, for me, my favorite brunch place.   Especially when you're with good friends!

Of course, if there is water, kids will come.  And, this Sunday was no different.  I had to turn around and take this photo, just for the fun of it.

I think I'm going to see if I can find some of those people I've been thinking about on Facebook, just for the heck of it.

Have you had this experience?

Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Few Days of Photos

No, these aren't photos of all of the altars of the Virgen of Sorrow.  Nor are these photos of the Palm Sunday Processions.  They are always magnificent, but, this weekend was different.  I just didn't make it down to them.

I've been on the sidelines of those activities with other, more family oriented things, going on.

Friday, as I entered the jardin under ominous, cloudy skies, three children were playing.  Their parents have a food cart.  Instead of day care in Mexico, usually the kids go to work with their parents.  I like that idea.

They somehow had commandeered a little plastic bike.  For hours they played on this thing, all three of them.
The big brother bringing it back up the incline for the little sister and then the little brother.

Taking turns was the name of the game.  I just sat on the wall and watched them for quite a while marveling at how much fun they were having.

On Saturday, I used my favorite "off the beaten path" road to go to Pemex to get gas in the car. On Friday when I had tried to get gas, the lines were long everywhere so home I went, almost on empty!  The road
I take winds and curves through undeveloped land.  There is a giant yucca tree with a trunk that is about five feet in diameter.  I treasure that tree.  In all my travels in Mexico, never have I seen such an ancient yucca tree.   I stopped the car in the middle of the road, put my blinkers on, got out and took a photo of it blooming.

In its magnificent splendor it took my breath away, truly.  The original attached yucca tree does not show in
this photo but it is the mother plant for the blooming one you see.  That is where the five foot diameter trunk is - on the other side of the road.
Then today, using the back roads due to all the processions and tourists to go to get the grand kids, we passed the little church in Col. Obraje.  Decorations everywhere.  Food booths set up along the road.
Sebastian said with great enthusiasm, "There is going to be a fiesta!".  No truer words were ever spoken
With the doors and windows open now at my house, we  can hear the drums beating and the dancing and celebration all the way on the other side of the mountain! No celebrants were there yet as we passed. 

Here we are at the house.  One of the favorite things the kids enjoy doing here is cooking.....and eating, of course.
A great invention of the culinary world is fat-free, sugar-free pudding, especially chocolate pudding according to Sebastian and Matilda.  On went the aprons, up came the step ladder for one and then the other to stand on to pour and stir.  No matter how many times they do this, there are ALWAYS big smiles.

 The crescendo today was each kid with a spatula getting to eat the little bit that Grammy left in the bowl, intentionally, just for them   Seeing this scene I ran and found my camera for this precious photo.
Moments to savor and remember.  Every one of them.