Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Enjoying all that Mother Nature provides.............

So many fun things happen when watching or just enjoying Mother Nature.

This past week was no exception.  A busy week, but it still left time to contemplate things going on through the open door.

The hummingbirds have been whizzing with purpose.  The other day I discovered why and where they had been zooming to by the front door.

 Of all the places to build a teeny tiny nest, they built it on the top of the wind chime!  Amazing.
 After watching them from time to time gathering dried bamboo leaves, stuffing from the wall baskets and grass, here is the finished product. 
 When the wind blows this chime really swings.  I so hope the nest is secure up there.  I'm afraid to get too close to it for fear there is an egg in it.  But, when the season is over, I'll attempt to get a shot from above it and the intricacy of their construction of their new home.

On Saturday morning about 10AM the doorbell rang.  Unless I know someone is coming, I ignore them as it usually never anyone I know.  But, this time the door also opened and it was the landlord and his brother!  They had come to trim the palm tree.  He had been saying for five months that they were going to come and voila!  here they were.  What a nice surprise.

They had a huge ladder but just a little, itty, bitty saw that in no way was going to cut those huge palms.  I did not say anything and they came to the same conclusion so left to get a bigger saw..........

Upon return, the younger brother went up the ladder and for the next three hours sawed and sawed and sawed.  Trimming those palm fronds was quite an ordeal.  I only looked out from time to time because of my fear that Luis would fall off the ladder as he climbed higher and higher.

 But, they had it under control and rested a bit when I took water and lemons out for them to drink and refresh themselves.
The difference now that the fronds are gone is amazing.  I now have more sky to see, at least six to eight feet more!  It also gives more of a view of the magnificent tree behind the palm.

However, I have not seen the red headed woodpecker now that the fronds are gone and some of the other birds who liked to hide under the fronds.  Hopefully they will return.  I heard the woodpecker just yesterday but he was about a block away!

It IS the little things that count!  Hummingbird nests, sky, views and sunsets.  Ahh, yes.

Thursday, April 04, 2019

Seventy-seven on the Seventh

I have argued with myself and, as usual, did not win.  I did not necessarily want to broadcast my age to the world, but on the other hand, when in the world would I ever have a chance to have a title of a blog like this, ever again?

Here it is.......somehow I have made it to this age.  Not by living a scripted life, but by reaching for the brass ring every chance that I have had to do so. 

As a small child in Chicago, Illinois, if I could have foreseen my life, it probably would have scared me to death.  The Universe is wise not to let us see our future!

I don't know what it is supposed to be like to be this age. Neither of my parents made it this far, or my grandparents!  I do have a sister who is eleven years older then I who lives in Illinois and she is still going strong.  But, we have not seen each other in many years, so I have not personally checked that out!

Anyway, at first, I thought of having a huge garden party now that I have a huge grass filled and flower filled yard.  But, then reality hit and I remembered the dinner party I planned for 55 people when I turned 65 and common sense said "Are you crazy?"  Thank goodness for common sense once in a while.

It is the truth that "Getting old is not for sissies", but I do not feel old, just a bit challenged.  But the challenges keep the mind alert to figure out how to handle them!

My life is full.  Family, friends, a great place to live, flowers, good books, Netflix and every day is a new day.  No more wild and hairy travel stories, at least at this point.  But, you never know what could be right around the bend.

Thanks for following along for the past eleven years (if you have been around that long).  And, thanks for enhancing my life with friendships from people that I would never have met any other way then through the blog.

Happy days.........

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Getting My Groove Back

It has been a busy time the last couple of weeks with friends from Texas visiting which always necessitates eating many grand meals, seeing the sites but most importantly catching up with them
on their news and a bit of mine.

First to arrive was my friend Kay who now lives in San Antonio so we have not seen each other in a couple of years.  Kay is an amazingly creative person who quilts, does ceramics, is an accomplished artist and a great friend to travel with, especially in Mexico.

If it had not been for Kay and several trips by us to San Miguel together, one for six weeks while she took art classes at Bellas Artes, it is very possible that I would never have ended up living in San Miguel.  While Kay was off accomplishing wonderful things, I was hanging around the jardin and meeting locals and finding out what San Miguel was all about.  Then I got it!  I truly did.......and the rest is history.

On that trip, we had come down in Kay's van which allowed us to travel to Patzcuaro and the villages around the lake.  By the time we headed back to Houston, that van was packed to the ceiling with all kinds of things.  It was amazing that Customs just waved us on through.

Kay and I met back in the 80's when she and her husband were remodeling a house in Seabrook.  A mutual friend suggested Kay call me for some design ideas and we hit it off.  Kay is truly a "hippie chick" and if any of you have seen the series on Netflix, Grace and Frankie - she is Frankie and I am Grace.  What fun we have had over the years.

It was no different when she came this time for a workshop in something related to art.  When we were together, it was non stop talking.  Never have we run out of subjects to discuss and laugh til our sides hurt.  Sure wish she lived closer.

Then, last Friday, I actually went out to lunch AND dinner, in one day!  Lunch was at the Louisiana Restaurant down a long, narrow, dusty road out in the country.  In fact, after turning off the highway onto the road, my friend and I drove for so long that I was looking for a wide enough place to turn around thinking we were on the wrong section of the road.  Then, voila, there was a handmade sign, Louisiana.  Down another bumpy, dirt road and there it was.

It was definitely worth the drive.  Even when we arrived and the door was closed, we hoped it was open for business.  Inside, Carla the owner, was in the kitchen just waiting for the first customers.  That was us.  I've known Carla's cooking for about fifteen years or more from when she had a restaurant in San Miguel on Cinco de Mayo.  Well, the term restaurant was more like a palapa with someone cooking, if I remember correctly, but oh can she cook.  Louisiana food, obviously.  Like gumbo, fried catfish, soups, and the best homemade potato salad and dirty rice that you have ever eaten.  Now her restaurant is next to a ring where they train horses for charreadas.

My friend and I ordered.  The door opened and old friends that I have not seen in years popped in for the same reason we were there.  Good food.  There were about ten of them so we were glad we had already ordered!  ha.

Then that night, I was at Don Lupe Grill which is located in the old Longhorn location on Ancha de San Antonio to meet a long time friend and two new friends who have been reading the blog since I began eleven years ago!  They have moved here from Ashland, Oregon.  All delightful people and great conversations ensued.  To be honest, I could not have eaten another meal after lunch so just had an order of guacamole and lemonade.  Being with friends was delightful - old and new.

On Saturday, another friend from Texas arrived.  She came from Dripping Springs.  I say we are sisters from another mother.  I met her a couple of years ago when my son sold a house to her.  Has it ever happened to you that you meet someone and there is an instant connection?  It happened with Nancy.  That night I realized that her maiden name was my grandmother's maiden name.  Nancy is into genealogy and between her research and all the information I have from family members who have done all kinds of research, we did discover that we are connected!  Small world, truly.

It has been a marathon of meals.  Sunday at Gayle's with Nancy, her brother-in-law and sister-in-law who now live in Alabama.  We all hit it off.  What fun and funny conversations we had not only during lunch but for hours afterwards.  I think I talked more on Sunday then I have in the last three weeks!  And laughed too.

Monday night was dinner at Firenze which has for many years  won the #1 restaurant designation by the local residents.  Great food in a teeny, tiny restaurant.  Always a delightful time.

Yesterday was a day trip to Atotonilco to show all of them the church and surrounding area.  I did not go into the church, but while sitting in the car waiting for them, I took a few photos.  I've been out there so many times, but always love to sit and observe........It is the second largest pilgrimage site ranked right behind the Virgen of Guadalupe in Mexico City.  Well over 100,000 pilgrims here in a year!

Of course, if I could have, I would have liked to walk down where the stalls were located.  They sell crown of thorns and whips for self-flagelation which was what the priest who built the church believed was necessary for redemption!  That's another story.

When we left, our intention was to go nearby for lunch, but road construction stopped us dead in our tracks and we then eventually headed back to San Miguel for lunch at Food Factory.  Always good!  Always.  The waiter took this great photo of Nancy and her family.

It has been a whirlwind, but a fun whirlwind.  Today the whirl has stopped, but will start back up tomorrow.  Another friend from Houston flew in yesterday.  Hope I have time to see him while he and his partner are in town.

Getting your groove back can be exhilarating but a bit tiring too.  Today is a "regroup" day!
I wonder if anyone else is heading this way any time soon!  Let me know...........

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...........