Sunday, July 14, 2019

SUMMER is Here!

When the summer rains come and school is out, SUMMER is here!
The kids got to swim in a lovely, heated pool with their new friend Clark this week. 
 The rains cause the grass to turn green, the birdbath to be full all the time for the birds, the possum, and the butterflies.  The flowers are blooming in profusion which makes all right with the world.
Here are pink geraniums and lavender blooming around this awesome tree that I don't know its name.
 Add to that, if you look at this limb of the peach tree, there are enough peaches for a gazillion cobblers and pies.  Anyone have a ladder?  You are welcome to come and get some before the birds
have eaten them all.  There are two peach trees. The other one is so full of peaches the limb is leaning toward the ground!  Yes, they are ripe and ready.
Even, the hibiscus, with blooms the size of a salad plate, are graciously blooming.  Took this photo from inside the house and even then, the size of the bloom is not diminished.

It is fun to spend my first summer in this new house and the joy of watching the transformation of the surroundings from the rain storms has been a delight. Especially since there are no leaks in this house.  The great thing is the rains come in the evening and night, so we have sunshine during the day and then the sound of raindrops to sleep.

The only creatures not happy about the rain, the hail and the winds, are the thousands of egrets now roosting in the trees across the street and throughout this area.  I heard them squawking last night as
the winds picked up before the rain.  Temps this morning were 52F with a predicted high of 79.

How sweet it is!

Sunday, July 07, 2019

Fourth of July Family Fun

It was a harrowing week!  Truly. I won't bore you with all the details as it was enough to just get through it.  The BEST part of the week was spending the 4th of July with John, Mati and Seb in
their backyard.  Two additions to the family, Corazon and Simba joined us as well.
 John had cooked yummy things like arrachera, Eckrich sausage, both on the grill, along with grilled onions and mushrooms.  I had cooked the ever favorite mac and cheese along with a cherry cobbler.
A real feast!  Not a typical 4th of July feast of hot dogs and hamburgers but really special grilled items.  Did I mention we even had ice cream to go on the warm cobbler?  The kids want the recipe so they can make it at their house all the time. 
 I'm astounded, often, at how much the kids are changing.  Seb is into astro physics! and Mati still loves her "cirque de soleil" trapeze and gymnastic routines.  The above photo makes me giggle a lot.
I remember seeing that look on my girls when looking at their brother, more then once!  But, they all
grow up to absolutely adore and love each other, so I just see the humor in it.
The above photo was my second attempt at another selfie. At my age, I don't need these close up shots of me anymore!  ha.......no truer words have ever been spoken!
And, John, has his father's sense of humor.  He says, but I don't remember, that I always had headbands for them to wear when they were little and they hated them then.  THIS photo is a
message and photo for his sister and my daughter, Julie, who lives in Colorado!
Seb always asks to take photos with my camera.  This time it was all about the new additions to their family.  Corazon on the left and Simba on the right.  Sweet and funny.  The kids are thrilled to have pets again.  Scout died several months ago and they have really missed not having pets.  In fact, I hear that Matilda goes around looking for injured birds so she can nurse them back to health.  Possibly a future vetenarian in the family?

Reminiscing about many of the past 4th of July celebrations always makes me grin.........especially the family events with swimming, lots of food, music and fireworks.  Ooops, THAT is what was
missing - NO fireworks!  Darn...........

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

HAIL to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico!

Not only hail, but deluges of rain, mud and signs floating by down the streets!  It all happened Sunday night/early Monday morning while I blissfully slept through the whole thing.

Imagine my surprise when I picked up my phone about 9:15AM and had a Private Message on FBook from a friend wanting to know if I had any damage!  Damage from what, I asked?  The hail and storm............Nope, nada.

So, I got up, went out on the front porch, looked in all directions and all I could see was that the serpentine walkway from the gate to the house was wet.  Not a bloom was blown off the flamboyant tree and no lemons or peaches from their trees were on the ground.  Nope, nada.

Came back in and answered my friend that obviously we had not had the same storm although we are only ten minutes apart from our respective homes, depending on traffic.

Then, AFTER I had my first cup of coffee, I looked at Facebook and all the posts and videos.  Absolutely amazing.  Destroyed gardens and rooftop terraces, fallen roofs, caved in streets and piles of ice that was formerly hail, had hardened into what looked like snow.  Nothing like anything I had
ever seen.

Later, about 11:30AM, Josefina and I moseyed up the libramento (the ring road around town) to the mall as I had an appointment for a mani/pedi.  Since my fall about 10 weeks ago when the grocery cart ended up on top of me, I do not go long walking distances without an arm to hold onto.   Hence, Josefina was with me.

It was a darn good thing.  As we approached the mall, on the hillside, it was covered with white stuff.
Then as we attempted to walk on the sidewalk into the interior of the outdoor mall, there were buckets, danger tape and all kinds of markers showing where to and not to walk due to piles of slush, ice and water.  What a mess!  And dangerous.  A quick way for a cane to slip and then, well you know........me to go with it.

When we arrived at the nail salon, it was more of "I can't believe my eyes".  The interior had men everywhere trying to repair the sagging roof.  All the comfy, nice furniture was outside and everything in the main room was covered with huge sheets of plastic.  Luckily, their two ancillary rooms were not damaged and that is where people went for manicures and pedicures. 

As I sat looking out the big plate glass windows, there was a pile of ice near the consulate office, that, of course, every little boy had to dip into in an attempt to make an ice ball.  One little boy would gather a hand full, throw it up in the air and then run under it.  Grinning from ear to ear.  Delightful.
Not one little girl touched that icy, cold stuff.

As I left the mall at 2:30, I was astounded to see banks of white "stuff" still frozen in the parking lot near Soriana.  Piled on top of this white bank of ice were kids and adults galore trying to have an ice ball fight.  Hilarious.

Later, after returning home, I saw photos and videos from Mexico City of the city, in some parts, covered with about five feet of the same white stuff!  Guadalajara had similar photos.

Truly, even though I grew up in Chicago and have seen snow as high as the top of a doorway, I have never seen a hail storm of such a magnitude.  And, all of this occurred on July 1st!

What's next?  I'm afraid to wonder............


Monday, June 24, 2019

Rainy Days and Sundays

 Even though we had rain on May 3rd this year, it was not "officially" the rainy season as yet.  Usually that starts around the second week of June. 

What is so funny about this is that when I lived in hot, humid and tropical Houston, rain was ever present.  The only thing we thought about it was "Gosh I hope it doesn't flood!"  Which it did often since Houston is on flat land with drainage issues since as long as I can remember.  Last year Hurricane Harvey was a slam dunk for the whole city. It was horrible.

Luckily here in San Miguel, since we are definitely in a hilly and mountainous area, when it rains, it goes downhill in a torrent.  Well, it always did in the past, but now since I've moved off the top of the hill overlooking the canyon, it will be interesting to see if the gently sloping streets in Los Frailes slope enough to carry the water to the huge reservoir at the bottom of this area. 

So far so good!  Once it starts raining, we typically get rain about 5:15 every night and it either rains for a couple of hours, or sometimes all night.  It is lovely. It is lovely because as in this year, we had
not had rain since September 26th of last year!  Hard to believe, isn't it? 

The above photo was taken around the 10th of June or so.  Since then we have had numerous rains.

More then amazing is the fact that none of that rain has entered this house.  Holy moly, up on the hill, the amount of rain was determined by the number of towels that went on windowsills, doorways and anywhere else that sprung a leak.  It is a joy now.  Believe me, at the beginning of the first few rains, I automatically walked around checking windows, doors, skylights.  Nothing, nada.  A great relief to put it mildly.
 With the rain come the blossoms.  The flamboyant tree is aptly named.  This clump of blooms is a joy to behold.  In the morning I have seen as many as seven hummingbirds going from bloom to bloom.  Then around 2PM in the afternoon, all kinds of butterflies come and go bloom to bloom.
I find that fascinating........
Inbetween the rain storms, friends and I ventured to El Vergel last weekend to hear jazz and have delicious food.  With a slight French flair, nothing I have ever had at this place in the campo has not
been superb. 
 Dining outside, sometimes under cover, if necessary is lovely as the big old trees give off a delicious feeling of permanence and beauty.   The trees remind me of all the big Texas oaks that are a joy to behold when I'm in Texas.  These particular trees are old growth for sure.

I like to arrive a little before the music begins as it gives me time to get to a table and be out of the way when everyone starts arriving.  I'm moving much slower nowadays, so I don't want to be rushed
or be in someone's way.  Even though everyone is so so gracious here in San Miguel.  It is not unusual for someone to walk up and offer their arm to assist me up a curb or stairs or whatever.

Anyway, the food and the delightful jazz of Azande Drummin Cummings trio, makes it a memorable evening each and every time.  This time I had the trout almondine with fresh vegetables and my friends split a very large steak with a beet salad and other vegetables.  No meal is complete without dessert........mine, creme brulee. 
Last night the thunder began at 5:15 and went on and on and then a major downpour
for about an hour or so.  The sky from my bedroom window took on a lovely mauve
shade.
 It became more intense and then............
THIS was the final photo at about 8:30PM.  The surrounding environment had this amazing hue of pink.  What a lovely end to a perfect day and weekend.

Viva Mexico!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Romantic and Historical Villa Glenville - San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

This magnificent villa located on over an acre of land right in the Centro of San Miguel, is truly a place that one would think only the "rich and famous" could be accomodated.

However, that is not the case!  The owners, who have been friends of mine for over thirty years,
have decided to discount the house and grounds until November of 2019.  An unheard of thing
to have happen.

To see photos, please go to www.san-miguel-house-rentals.com/Search/profile.php?ID=154.  You can also  Google Villa Glenville to see extensive photos. 

I apologize for the fact that you have to go somewhere else to see the photos, but somehow the ones that were sent by the owners cannot be opened by me to put on this post. 

Believe me, it is worth seeing the exquisite gardens, pools, pool house, main house and all the accomodations.

The villa was originally owned by Peter Glenville  who passed in 1996 at age 82.  Peter was an English film and stage actor. Plus an accomplished Film and Stage Director who worked with the
"Who's who" of stage and screen during his most illustrious period.  Google him to read about his
amazing accomplishments and career.  The home was acquired directly from him by the current owners.

The house is four bedrooms and five baths.  Renowned people have stayed here in the past but now it is your opportunity to enjoy the grand lifestyle. It has been kept in pristine condition with many upgrades appropriate to the architecture and decor.

There is a full staff for your stay and many other amenities that you will discover when you go to look at the photos.

IF you are interested, please contact one of the owners, Dennis at dennisraywright@aol.com
  
Please let him know that you read about it on this post so the discounts will apply to you.

Hope you come to San Miguel de Allende and stay at Villa Glenville.  It will be a magnificent time and wonderful memory.


Monday, June 10, 2019

Just When You Think Nothing New Can Happen........It Does!

After living in San Miguel for almost nineteen years, it would seem that dealing with electricity, gas and water delivery would be down to a science.  Yes, I know how to call the gas company for propane, although I no longer have to do that, as my landlord does!  But, I do call for the large water
bottles when I'm almost out.  Electricity either works or not.  When not, one dials 071 and reports the address and issue to CFE and then you wait.




 But, yesterday morning about 9:30AM, I heard strange sounds.  Beeps, whistles and more beeps.
The beeps were my microwave making a sound and the electric fence box that is stored in the laundry building on the property was beeping AND whistling.  The ceiling fans started going slower and the lights were dimmer when I checked them.  Uh oh!  In addition, my computer was on but would not go through the whole process to connect with Firefox.  Double uh oh.

Then there was a slight boom and I knew that a transformer had gone.  First, I turned off the computer and unplugged it.  Then I dialed 071 rather then call the landlord and reported the issue to CFE.

I really don't use that much electricity except for the computer and a lamp at night but what I had
forgotten was that the pilot light on the stove does not work when there is not electricity.  Although
I still had a bit, I did not want to tempt fate.  Instead of cooking a Sunday dinner, which I usually do,
I had a cold chicken sandwich with lettuce and avocado from chicken breasts cooked earlier in the week.  Delish.

At some point, I called my son to see if he had electricity since he lives only a block away and they
had nothing, not even a bit. 

Out came my Kindle and I spent the afternoon reading a tantalizing novel about New Zealand.  At this point, I think reading books about foreign countries has become a favorite thing.  Korea, Japan, New Zealand and the areas around Mongolia are my favorites.  They can be historical or current.  All are fascinating to me.

Anyway, I digress.  About 5:30 my son called to report that they had electricity.  Aha, I checked the fans, the microwave and I no longer heard strange sounds when I plugged in the microwave - no beeping.  All was well with my world.

Having electricity allowed me to watch the boring Tony Awards.  Well, I lasted maybe an hour and then searched out something more interesting.  I have no idea which play got "the best" or who got "the best".  Musicals have never been my thing and it seemed that was pretty much what they were honoring.

In case you can't figure out what was "new" in all this, it was the beeping and whistling sounds I heard from the microwave and the electric fence monitor.  Good to know if the electrical current isn't up to par, that somehow a sound is made to prevent things from being used and ruined from low current.  I learned long ago if there is any question about current to turn off and unplug the computer.

Other then that, it was a very quiet Sunday and left me time to enjoy reading which is one of my "favorite" things.  How was your Sunday?

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Living WITH Wildlife!

Since living on level ground surrounded by a tall white, impenetrable wall, I have felt cosseted from the many creatures of nature who used to traverse through the lush grounds of the house on the hill.

As far as I can remember during those eighteen years, the variety of creatures included coyotes, a black and white skunk, coatamundis, possums and their babies,  feral cats, birds of a feather, cutter ants, scorpions.  Well, you get the drift.  It was a feast of wildlife.  Some of which was NOT welcome.

In fact the only way I could get rid of the coatamundis coming down the fireplace was to cut the limb off the big lush china berry tree.  Voila, no more noises in the night.  The only way to deal with the cutter ants was poison, much to my distress.  It never worked anyway as they made mounds on the street that were, in some instances, half a foot high! 

Fast forward to the calming influence of this house.  Secure, airtight, and not a bug in sight.  Only the angry bird, which I have written about previously.  Nope, no scorpions even.......What a gift after living here now for eight months to not see a bug in the house!Not even a fly or mosquito........

                                                     The flamboyant tree in bloom now.

 That all changed last week!  In the middle of the night, I headed to the bathroom at about midnight.
As I walked in, there on the wall, was the biggest roach I've seen in at least twenty years.  Yup, I've
never seen a roach in Mexico, anywhere.  Geez, and there it was ON THE WALL.  My first thought was, "Does it fly?"  Some in Texas and Louisiana do and if that thing had flown at me, I would have been screaming at the top of my lungs.  I quickly left the bathroom and slammed the door. I also checked to see if it could get out under the door.  Made a beeline for my bedroom and closed both doors there. 

Of course, I had to lay there and try to figure out, (a) how did it get in? (b) would it come in the bedroom, and (c) if it was still there in the morning, then what was I going to do.  Needless to say, I do not like cockroaches and have inordinate fear of those that fly.  Cockroaches and scorpions go together on my fear list.  

So, what did I do? I sent a What's App message to my son at midnight telling him I might need his help in the morning.........well, sometimes one does not use common sense, ha.

Yes, in the morning, it was still there, but not on the wall, but on the tile floor in the shower stall.  Oy vey.  They move so fast, I was afraid I would not be able to get to it fast enough.  Long story short, by the time my son came, we could not find it!  That posed another conundrum.  WHERE is it?

I had put the rubber cover over the drain in the shower just in case that was how it got in...only place that I could think of that had access to the outside............

THEN, a few days later, I passed another one headed TO the bathroom on the floor.  I could hardly believe my eyes.  It was daylight though and I was relatively calm.  I got the Raid and took care of that guy, immediately.  Still not knowing where the other one was...........FOUND it the next day when I moved the shower bench and it was in the "dying cockroach" position.  Whew, another crisis averted!

Of course, now there was the question, "If the drain in the shower is covered, and there is a trap on the bathroom sink, how the heck did the second cockroach get in?"  It dawned on me, belatedly, that the kitchen sink could be another source.  So, now, there is a cover on that drain as well.

As if this fiasco wasn't enough.............as I was sitting at midnight the other night waiting for cool air to come so I could go to bed and sleep (this is our hot time of the year), a giant possum walked right passed the front doors!  The porch lights were on so I could see it mosey by slowly.  I think it was a possum because it had a very long hairless tail.  It walked by and then came back by going the other way.  Now I know what has been digging in the flower pots all this time!.  But, this begs the question, how is this possum getting in since there are no holes to fit through and there is an electrical fence on
top of the wall.......................



The only wildlife that I had seen for all this time has been the various birds enjoying the bird bath.

Things have changed though and look what is nesting across the street in the big eucalyptus trees.



Egrets or herons.  They are the same, I have read.  These nested here last year to have a bazillion babies and will be nesting til September when they leave.   What has amazed me is there size in
comparison to the birds that flit around in the garden.  Not only are they huge, when they light on those delicate branches (in this photo this one is in a pine tree), they must not weigh much as they land on the tips of the branches and the branches don't seem to drop much from their weight. 

The sounds the egret/herons make sounds like a cross between a turkey and a duck!  Strange.  So
far they only seem to make that noise at about 6:30AM!  Time will tell how this will all play out.
As they fly, they don't come over this yard. Something else I think is strange.  They have not attempted to land in the  giant Norfolk pine or the blooming Flamboyant tree. 

If you think I am bored being at home and have nothing to do, I guess this post will assuage your concerns.

I  get up every day waiting to see what else is going to happen  among the "wildlife" that surrounds me.  It is interesting, usually, and fun, most of the time.

Stay tuned.