Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Walking down the Path of Life!

It is more like "stumbling" down the path of life!  The above photo was the path at the house on the hill.  The round stepping stones are the grandchildren's hand prints or foot prints made for me by the children and my daughter Julie many years ago.  Of course, I treasure them.

There has been some construction going on this property with the owners putting in a ground level cistern with a wall around it.  They removed a gorgeous stand of bamboo to accomplish their goal and now I'm trying to figure out how to camouflage another white wall!  The stepping stones used to be in front of the stand of bamboo but are now stacked up waiting for the coast to clear before I decide to relocate them someplace else.

As I mentioned in the last post, I offered three large oleanders to help hide the white wall.  One got planted two weeks ago but no one has returned to plant the other two or to put in grass where they dug holes.  I just try not to look that way, ha.

Invitations have started coming via email for birthdays and other activities.  The first arrival stopped me dead in my tracks.  I was touched that I would be thought of and invited but there are so many considerations now to going some place socially.  Things like, is everyone going to wear masks?  Is it going to be inside or out?  How many people are going to be there?  And, I'm probably not thinking of everything!  I did not want to offend the hostess but I needed an answer to the above before I would consider attending.  A quick email and a quick reply put my questions to rest.  This first event is not until July so hopefully by then, maybe, just maybe, the "peak" will have been reached in San Miguel. 

I have now left the house a couple of times, cautiously.  The first time was to have lunch with two friends at an outdoor restaurant in the country where we all knew there would not be any tables within twenty feet or so.

When we arrived they took our temperature, asked us to sign a register with name and phone number, use hand sanitizer and then seated us where we asked to sit.  Instead of the prior leather covered menus, now they are vinyl that can be easily cleaned before and after using.  The menu had been reduced significantly.  The owner said that after he sees how things are going he will add back to the menu some of our favorite items. 

It was a delightful two hours of dining and wearing our masks when not eating, along with sitting almost six feet apart at a large table.

Afterwards we drove through town and centro.  I had not seen or been anywhere.  All I had seen was photos and the webcam of empty streets.  Well, it was solemn and strange in the middle of the day to see very few people (most masked) and also few cars.  It was like the olden days.  Actually amazing and wonderful if it didn't mean the loss of income for so many. 

My second foray out was to get my hair cut!  It was so darn long that all I could do was wear it on top of my head.........Again, it was a unique and different experience.  Jose Marin met me at the parking lot where I park my car and walked me to the salon.  We were the only two people inside and we both had masks on the whole time.  Inside the door he had a box of water of some sort and wanted me to step in and out of it to enter.  I did, very carefully. Then we both used hand sanitizer. Even the woman who in the past has done the shampoos was not there!  So, Jose did everything.  I left, with less hair and felt comfortable that there had been no exposure to the virus.

Probably if you are out a lot, all of this becomes second nature.  I hope so. 

Baby steps in the next few weeks and then eventually getting out more are my goal.  We'll see if it happens. 

In the meantime, I am content to be home where somehow the days seem to zip by.  How can that be?

Today is Day 96!  WHAT is happening in your world?

Monday, June 01, 2020

COVID 19 in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico: Day 80 of Stay at Home. Hard to believe!

These hand made faces from Tzinzunzan make me smile each day as I walk past them in the garden.
I have had each and every one of those expressions on my face in the last eighty days including horror, sadness and disbelief.  I have not reached resignation, yet.

Although I haven't been anywhere, there has been lots going on here on the homefront.  None of it at
my instigation, but by the person that I rent my first floor house from here in SMA.

Since the upstairs tenant returned to Minneapolis after twenty-four years here in Mexico, the owner decided this was the time not only to paint and fix things, but to remodel the kitchen and bath!  In
Mexico, remodel is synonymous with the sound "chip, chip, chip".  As they chip plaster, tile and heaven only knows what else, my ideal quiet abode has been accosted by workers, people in and out, and the noise of construction.

I did not handle it well the first couple of days.  Waking to loud noise is something I haven't experienced since I moved two years ago.  No kid noise, no traffic noise, no loud radio noise
and no kids practicing their bugle playing noise.  I miss the kid noise.  Not the other, at all.

For those of you who have read the blog for quite a while, prior to my moving two years ago, there was construction about ten feet from the wall of my house for two years as they decimated the hill side to create a park and structure for who knows what.  So I had continual bulldozer, dumptruck and every other kind of noise.  No, the park was never finished nor was the two story structure that was for "who knows what".  The beautiful natural hillside where nature abounded looks like a dump now.

But I digress.

The work upstairs is almost finished and is very quiet.  They even brought in a new cistern and installed it at ground level where a beautiful stand of bamboo lived with a flock of small yellow birds living inside.  Once they got the gigantic cistern in, they discovered they needed a concrete wall around it (thank goodness), and that has been built and painted.  Finally finished that part on Friday!
Left to do is to plant something in front of the wall to hide all the white.

I offered three very large, ten year old oleanders to soften the sight and they were gladly accepted by the owner.  I had moved them here from the house on the hill.

It's amazing that here I am, at home, and still, all kinds of things have been going on within the walls.....and outside the walls.  Repairs to the cobblestoned roads at the end of my street are going on as well.  Hopefully they will be finished before the rainy season starts in about ten days.

Today is the designated day for many business establishments to reopen that have been closed since around the first of April.  Restaurants are one of the types of businesses to open. Each establishment must apply for a certification proving that safety issues have been addressed and  partitions, etc are in place.

The Mayor has been very emphatic that what is opening is only for the "locals" and that hotels and rentals for tourists will not open until August!  There are checkpoints now set up at the entry points into SMA for officials to check temperatures and paperwork to prove that someone entering either lives here or has essential business in town.

To say that I have been impressed with the attention to the needs of the community and the steps to take for reopening would be an understatement.  We have had, at this point, 23 cases and 0 deaths.
There is a website which was set up by a group of health professionals.  It is amazing how thorough the articles are on a daily basis.  Also questions are answered in a timely and precise manner.  I check the site each morning as part of my routine.

It is truly hard to believe that 80 days have gone by.  I seem to stay busy enough with reading, writing, cooking, watching TV some, and whatever pops up that is unplanned.

The ability to have meals, groceries, medications and even my favorite Chiapas coffee delivered to the house has made me realize that STAYING HOME is not all that bad.

I hope you have found your life to be adapting as well.  Stay Safe!  Stay Home!

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

An Endurance Test

Don't laugh.  I give up!  I have tried for days to figure out how the changes that Adobe Photoshop have made prevent me from enlarging this photo. Jennifer is left, me in the middle and Jewels to the right.  Maybe it was Mother's Day.

It's a photo that I found recently attached to something else!  It is one of the few photos of my two daughters and I together!  It was taken in the 80's at Applebee's where Julie worked on the weekends while going to college in Nacogdoches at Stephen F. Austin.  Yes, she would drive all the way home because the tips were good, food at home was good, and she got to see her friends.  Jennifer lived in Houston at the time and we tried to get together as often as possible. Heaven only knows where John was at that time!

I want to have this photo restored, enlarged and framed.  It reminds me of good times!  You see, today is the 16th anniversary of Jennifer's passing.  Not a day goes by that something or someone reminds me of a memory that makes me smile or chokes me up.  Rainbows, butterflies are very significant for all of us in the family.

Going through the Covid 19 thing reminds me of the five and a half years that my whole family lived "one day at a time".  Both to care for Jennifer but also to take care of Christopher her son who is now 21!  He was born at seven months after the diagnosis and Jen starting chemo the next day.  It was a time that things could change minute by minute not only just day by day.

Jennifer's passing was a benchmark for me.  Nothing could ever be worse.  Therefore, I wish none of us were going through the staying home, worrying about getting sick or the financial aspect of this virus, but seriously, things could be much worse.

Life IS an endurance test.  The good and the bad.  Luckily the Universe doesn't let us foresee the future or, in some cases, we would give up.  I choose to enjoy the day and let tomorrow take care
of itself.  Pollyanna, no.  Just my method of coping.

As I sit and write this, I can look out the window at the gazillions of hummingbirds and butterflies in the flamboyant tree and be grateful for that beauty.

Hopefully you too can find something to be grateful for as well.  Think of ya'll often!


Wednesday, May 06, 2020

DAY 54..........But, who is counting?

I'm amazed to write that it has been fifty-four days since I have left my home!  Some days it seems like forever and other days seem to pass quickly.  On Friday it will be eight weeks since I made the
decision, based on all I was reading, to STAY HOME!

Stocking up on essentials was done on the morning of Day 1 with the idea it might be for three weeks.  Au contraire, it has been much longer, as we all know.

The Universe doesn't let us see the future, thankfully.  If it did and I had known that I wouldn't be
leaving for eight weeks, it may have caused a mini meltdown.  But, taking it "one day at a time", for me, has been the best way to press on.

Now there is a rhythm, sort of.  Lots has happened that was unexpected in the previous eight weeks.
My upstairs neighbor, A Vietnam Vet has moved back to be with family in Minnesota.  He had lived in San Miguel for twenty-four years so it was quite a surprise.  He left a week ago with his worldly possessions.  I wish him well. 

We have had baby kittens born about the third week of March.  They are so cute and Matilda helped
Corazon, the Mama with the births.  I'm hoping to bring one of them over here to live soon.  We'll see!

Easter came.  The kids dyed eggs at their house.  Matilda attempted to bake an Easter cake but used a bundt pan at her house and it was a funny Bunny cake this year.  Usually we have an Easter egg hunt and all the fun times, but this year was completely different.  Instead the kids brought the dyed eggs over so I could make deviled eggs and I handed over the Easter baskets filled with goodies that many others helped to bring from Texas to make it a fun experience.  We had a picnic outside on the grass. With the three of them on the blanket and me on the porch, about ten feet away.  Instead of a fancy Easter meal, we ordered fried chicken from Crunchy Chicken.  That plus the goodies in their baskets seemed to be enough.  Nope, no hugs or getting close.  Wow, that is so hard.

Yes, there are photos but for some reason, I cannot get the photos that are in Google photos to post on the blog right now!  I have tried every way I can think aggravating. 

San Miguel has been SHUT DOWN since the end of March!  No Semana Santa events.  All hotels, businesses and B&B's were closed to prevent the usual 250,000 tourists that come for Easter.  It is truly weird to see photos of all the streets devoid not only of vehicular traffic but even people walking.  We ARE a ghost town.

But, due to all the restrictions and closings there has not been a death in San Miguel.  In fact, at present, we have eight cases here of which four have recovered.  Amazing and hats off to everyone
for doing their part to "flatten" the curve.  

What has worked best for me, since I'm not leaving the house because I have damaged lungs, is to have food delivered or to have my son John go to the store for his family and me about every two weeks or so.  The kids have not been anywhere but here on Easter!  Somehow it is all working out.

I have found all kinds of things as I have straightened and cleaned this and that!  Yesterday I found an entire box of Miracle Gro in the space under the sink where all the cleaning supplies are located.  You would have thought I had found the "golden egg" or something.  I had thought I was out and had no way to get to the hardware store to get plant food, unless I broke the quarantine.  Needless to say, the plants will be happy and look better in a week or two.

April was hotter then Hades.  Unusual.  No rain of course and little watering.  It will take a while to
get things back ship shape.  Hopefully Josefina, who has been at her home for eight weeks, will be
able to return next week to help.  She has been sorely missed!  We are family and darn, that is the hardest part of this is not being able to be with family and friends.

Yet, I admit I am grateful every single day for having this wonderful little place to live. For having a bed to sleep in, a TV to  watch, music to hear and food to eat!  Add to that the fact that the birds, butterflies, squirrels (there are now three) and one possum add to my enjoyment.  The antics of the squirrels cause me to laugh out loud once in a while.

I try not to watch but thirty minutes of news at 5:30PM but read many things on the internet about COVID 19.  A group of health professionals here in SMA, post a daily digest with all kinds of succinct and helpful information both from the government of Mexico, the state and city  government as well.  Otherwise I'm watching other things that don't impact my blood pressure or mental health.  It seems to work better that way.

There is no talk of anything opening up here any time soon.  They even didn't allow alcohol sales last weekend which was a big Mexican holiday weekend.  Now they have announced that the cemetery will be closed on Sunday, May 10th which is Mother's Day in Mexico as well as the USA!  Shocking as many families go there to decorate the graves of the deceased.

Who knows what will happen next?  I try not to try to figure it out but to have my "ducks in a row", if possible.  I hope the same for all of you and that in the last eight weeks, you too, have figured out a
way to live in this strange and startling time.


Sunday, March 22, 2020

Batten Down The Hatches!

This photo of the jacaranda and other flowers blooming denotes a time of calm and serenity. Spring. On the outside, and if walking the streets, it seems that way.  But, inside, in our hearts and minds, we all are slightly tied in knots wondering what is coming next.

The only thing I can equate this to is when living on the Gulf Coast for close to fifty years, hurricane season came.  First they would announce that "maybe" something was going to come into the Gulf.  My ears would perk up for further details and listening carefully was always important if it was heading our way.

Often, however, there wasn't great forewarning and once, one morning there was nothing but a little tropical depression but by the next day, in the Bay area south of Houston, we had had 42 inches of rain in 24 hours.  No planning for that other then trying to get everything off the floors in case there was flooding.  For me and my children, there was not, but, for others who lived right on the shore lines, their homes were inundated.

If I learned anything from those years was to be prepared as much as possible.  I had all "important" papers in one carryout container to be sure to take.  I always had huge bottles of water stored in the garage on high shelves, just in case along with canned goods and food that could be eaten without cooking.......

Often we were the first car out of town, sort of, making the trek to Lufkin where my big brother lived.

The station wagon would have kids, animals, cages, food and as many clothes and board games as we could cram in.  Those were the days of no cell phones or that kind of thing.  We could get to Lufkin in a little more then 3 hours while those that waited suffered through anywhere from 10 to 24 hours to go the same distance.  So glad there are not hurricanes in San Miguel or tornadoes!

One never knew what one would come home to - total destruction, flooded houses, downed trees or who knew what.  Certainly, always, no electricity. Sometimes for up to three weeks.  Since most storms hit in the summertime, that meant no air conditioning  The kids and I learned that sleeping on the marble floors in the foyer were the coolest place to be.  Cooking on a grill outside was another.

So being prepared was one important ingredient.  The other was "taking it one day at a time".  As I just said, you never knew what you would go through or come home to but, somehow, we all got through it!

Of course "Batten Down the Hatches" refers to sailboats and boats.  The loss often was complete in Galveston Bay and Clear Lake, but that too, eventually was overcome, one way or the other. 

This virus that is barreling toward us or around us, to me, is similar.  At first there was a week of semi-panic, then the second week was having a plan and implementing it after lots of reading of what to do.

Now we wait and STAY HOME.  I have found all kinds of things to do.  Slowing down is one of them now that I realize that I don't have many, many things to accomplish but possibly a few each day!  A BIG surprise.

Some of the things I'm doing is cooking, listening to CDs that I haven't listened to in years, watched movies that I have stored in the drawer, working in the garden, rearranging the closets and setting aside clothes to sell or donate, reading new books and thinking about reading a few of my favorites again.  That's a start.  There are a couple of big projects of going through old photos that I have not felt like doing yet.

I'm trying to stay on a schedule by getting up at the same time and going to bed at the same time.  It helps.  There was an urge at the beginning to go around in pajamas but I feel better getting dressed, fixing my hair and sometimes putting on though I'm going somewhere or company is coming.  Neither of which is going to happen until we get the "all clear" signal, whenever that might be.

By using the webcams of San Miguel, I can see that most everywhere is empty of pedestrians.  Unlike anything I have ever seen.  That is a good thing as we are sheltering in place!

I think of all of you so often and wonder how many of you are in the USA, France, Spain, Italy
and other countries who read this blog.  We are ALL in this together and somehow we will all get
through this eventually.  Hopefully we will be stronger when this is over.  Knowing there are others who care and who will help if and when needed.

Be Safe!  Stay Home! And, please write and tell me how you are doing and what you are doing in these days of quiet.  I care!

Sunday, March 01, 2020

Frontier Airlines - Great Customer Service

Something happened way back around the holidays.  I am finally getting around to writing about it.

Frontier Airlines went above and beyond to find something very special for my granddaughter, Hannah who lives in Colorado.

Here is the backstory.  Hannah had her 22nd birthday in November.  Her parents, my daughter Julie and son--in-law Rich gave her a ticket to fly to Houston during the holidays to spend time with family and friends.  Hannah was so excited as she had only flown alone one time previously.

Her time in the Houston area was wonderful.  Along with all the fun times, her BFF, Haley, gave her an FFA jacket.  FFA had been a very important part of Hannah's life while in high school.  She had raised two pigs that were prize winners and which she was able to sell after all the showings and competitions.  The jacket meant a lot to Hannah.

Fast forward to heading back to Colorado.  Landing in Denver.  With all the hullabaloo of getting off the plane, Hannah did not remember that she had the jacket and some other things that did not fit in her suitcase or backpack in a Target bag which she had stowed in the overhead compartment.  In all the rush, she did not even think about it until she reached home. Colorado Springs.

A suitcase is one thing.  Even a backpack usually is tagged with a name and other information.  But, this Target bag had nothing but stuff in it.  It was the first week of January or thereabouts.  You can imagine how busy the airlines were with handling all the passengers and luggage.

The airline was contacted immediately.  All the information of flight number etc. was provided along with the items in the bag along with the precious jacket.  The people at Frontier were very patient and
thoughtful.  Follow up calls were made for several weeks.

The delay led us all to wondering if ever that Target bag could posssibly be found!  Voila, it was!

About the first week of February, Hannah was notified that the bag had been found and that it was on its way to her at her home.

Hannah called me the day the bag arrived!  I was astounded that it had actually been found.  This saga was repeated by me to friends who had retired from various airlines.  They all just shook their heads in wonderment.

But, Hannah had faith that they would find her new navy blue FFA jacket.  And they did!

Congratulations and many thanks to all the people at Frontier Airlines who looked and found and followed up to get this precious package back to Hannah.  Airline Customer Service is alive and well!

Viva Frontier Airlines!

Saturday, February 29, 2020

REEL DOCS - An experience not to be missed in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

For someone like me who doesn't even go to the movie theater to see movies, it was quite an interesting experience to head to the Bibliotecha two weeks ago to see RAISE HELL.

At the time, it could only be seen through Reel Docs which is a group who present diverse documentaries concerning people and places from around the world. 

What a delightful experience it was to sit in the theater and be surrounded by people who were laughing and giggling and thoroughly enjoying a documentary about Molly and politics!  Indeed.

Both showings were sold out so the producers granted permission for it to be shown a third time - on March 17th at 2PM.  Get thee online or go to the ticket office at the Bibliotecha, quickly and get a
ticket.  WHAT FUN it was to see Molly as only Molly could be.  Witty, precise, and a great journalist who took no guff from anyone.  She was and is much loved and missed.

Since that was so enjoyable, tickets were purchased online to see Moving, which was about dance.
That was just about all I knew at the time.

It was so much more then dance!  It was about a group from New York who send out  one person to a country where a NGO has requested that they come in connection with  the US State Department to work with marginalized kids.  It was emotional, eye opening, touching, beautiful and sad all at the same time.  You could hear sniffles in the audience.  Me being one of them. 

The segment that really struck me was a group in South Korea along with refugees from North Korea and China who had successfully escaped.  Some of the footage was shocking, especially about North Korea.  It was on my mind for days after seeing it. 

Up coming is Renegade Dreamers about musicians in the 1950's and 1960's.  Then there is Incarcerated Rhythm about a dance group in a men's prison.  Both sound intriguing.

These documentaries are all award winners.  The other interesting fact is that no documentaries are shown unless the producers agree to come to San Miguel for the screening to discuss their process and the film.  They speak after the film and then have a brief question and answer session.

Of course, since this is Mexico, margaritas and/or lemonade are offered gratis at the conclusion of the filmings.  Viva Mexico!

For further information, please go to where you can read much more about the beginning of this group and more information as well about each presentation this season. New this year, is that you can order tickets online which is a wonderful service.

All proceeds from these films goes back to the Bibliotecha for all the programs for the Mexican children and residents of San Miguel! 

Oh, and by the way, I received word yesterday that if you have Amazon Prime, which I don't, you can see the above two documentaries on their site on your TV.  I sure want to see both of them again!

Thanks to Jennifer Posner and Caren Cross who as visionaries started this program. With Caren's passing, Jennifer has carried on  to improve upon it year after year after year.

Remember  See you there.