Friday, April 02, 2021

A New Chapter of Life

 It has happened!  The Gypsy Kids, Matilda and Sebastian along with their Dad, John are now in

 Colorado!  They were so thrilled at the first big snow right after they arrived that I received videos

of snow ball fights, sledding and snowboarding.  What fun!  The kids were ecstatic as were my 

daughter and son-in-law along with the kids' cousins, Hannah and Andrew!

 To say it is very quiet around here would be an understatement.  What has thrilled 

me is to hear from the kids about their new school, going to the zoo, and seeing a 

black bear in the yard next store!  Oh my...........The slight giggle in their voices tells me

how happy they are to be there.  Relief!


Typically this time of year I would be busy gathering all the necessary ingredients for Easter

baskets, dyeing eggs and decorating the house.  None of that is happening which has thrown

me into a sort of funk this week.  I'm not usually grumpy but woke up that way Tuesday. It

took me a day or two to figure out why I was out of sorts and, of course, it is because I miss

the fun of the surprise of Easter and the fun with the kids of dyeing and baking a bunny cake.


Matilda sweetly told me on the phone that they are going to "face time" me so I can watch

them doing this this weekend with the whole family in Colorado.  It will be a new way of

participating without having to spend time cajoling friends to bring Easter items for their 

baskets or trying to figure out how to get enough jelly beans for the decorations.  I purposely

have not decorated the house this year.  In fact, it is probably time to pass on the Easter decorations

to whichever grandperson expresses interest in having these things.

                           Easter 2020 when we did not dye eggs in the house or bake the bunny cake!

Since Covid is still around there are NO processions, church bells or activities going on in the jardin 

this year again.  Hopefully next year all will return.  What is returning this year, however, even though 

there are no religious celebrations are the visitors to town.  Surprisingly they are expecting at least 

40,000 people here and they have already begun to arrive.  

The city in an attempt to keep the number of covid cases low as they are now,  is requiring that each 

car entering town must have a QR code to show they have either a hotel or restaurant reservation for

the weekend.  The roads from Queretaro, Celaya and Delores Hidalgo will have guards at each point 

to check for these codes and also to check temperatures.  Can you imagine how far back the traffic will

be stalled?  Upon arriving, each person, at each public establishment will have their temps checked, 

be required to use hand sanitizer, wear a mask and will be expected to social distance.


Of course, I am home and won't be in any of that.   I remember  previous years, even prior to covid, 

and the hordes of people descending on the town.  I am surprised that that many are coming this year!


I hope to receive my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine this month.  They are already giving it out in 

villages where those people received their first dose a month ago.  Once I have the second dose, then

I will be ready and feel comfortable to begin to make some plans to do "something" and go 

"somewhere".  Heck, something and somewhere have not been on the agenda for over a year.


Woohoo!  Just thinking about that might lift this funk I've been in this week!


The jacarandas are blooming!  The monarchs are coming through on their flight north and the 

hummingbirds are zooming from one flower to the other.  NO reason to be in a funk!


                                                     Feliz Pascua.   Happy Easter to all.


Monday, February 01, 2021


 I have already ordered Girl Scout cookies for this year from a delightful granddaughter of a friend.

I had done this long before I found my daughter Jennifer's sash from back in the 70's yesterday.  It was just a serendipitous experience.  I went in the container that holds all her treasures to fine her tiara from being Homecoming Queen.  I wanted to give it to Matilda for her 13th birthday which is coming up soon but, alas, it was not in there.

Imagine my surprise when this was in the container!  I had been thinking about Girl Scouts for about a week since I had ordered the cookies! I had thought about how I hoped Hanna would sell enough to be able to go to camp.  In the box with the sash were the letters sent home from GS camp from Jennifer!I laughed at the letters and the questions on how to do laundry.  Aah, those were the days.

Being a leader and the mother of two Brownies who became Scouts was such a delight for me as I had never camped in my whole life until that experience.  Imagine camping with about twenty young girls!

A friend convinced me to be Girl Scout Cookie Chairman back at the end of the 1960's.  I had no idea what I had signed up for until the 18 wheeler pulled up in front of our small apartment at the time and began to unload hundreds of boxes, which ended up filling our small dining room from one end to the other and to the ceiling.  I still can't get over the visual image.

That was the beginning!  But it never really ended because my youngest daughter Julie was a leader for her daughters, all three of them, when they were growing up.  She was an incredible leader for more years then I.

It is such a great program for girls.......and boys, I guess now.  The skills they learn and the fun they have not to mention the friends they make is a life long memory to cherish.  

I giggle remembering some of the experiences!  And I'm amazed at some of the others.  About ten years ago I was in Houston at the Galleria and this gorgeous, dignified woman came quickly up to me!  I had no idea who she was but she enveloped me in her arms and said, "Mrs. Eckrote, I'm Nedra Simpson"

Oh my, the Olympic runner who when she was in the fifth grade outran the entire football team who was at the same dude ranch as the troop was in Bandera, Texas!  What a wonderful reunion.  Today Nedra would be 59 years old!  Wow.

I could go on and on.  But, I digress.  Here's the information for you to order Girl Scout cookies to help Hanna to sell enough to be able to go to camp this summer or whenever it is possible for free! I don't know why this is not printing out as blue but hopefully this will work.


It is the easiest ordering form that I have ever used.  I know it would be more fun to have Hanna coming to your  door with her uniform on and wearing her sash proudly.  But, in this time of covid that is not possible, so, go for it.  Get those Thin Mints or any of the others that you love.  Buy  lots because you can freeze them!  

Munch, munch, munch!

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Sweet life with little DRAMA!

 The changing of the guard in Washington has led many to admit they can sleep soundly now without worrying if someone might accidentally push the nuclear button, went to war with North Korea or Iran or whoever, and had not fired Fauci!

Of all the emotions that went through me this past week, relief was the number one emotion.  

Today I realized that this time last week we didn't know if the inauguration would go off without a hitch or a bomb or an assassination or who knows what.  

Thankfully none of those things happened on the sunny, snowy day other then the beautiful rituals that we have enjoyed for as long as we have been alive.

My first inauguration that I watched was Eisenhower!  We were living with my grandparents in Chicago while our new house was being built.  ALL of us, my grandfather, grandmother and I watched it in their little library/TV room.  Since I remembered that my grandfather was there I wonder if he was off work from RCA Victor because of the inauguration.  Usually he left home before I even got up in the morning and came home late.  Anyway, it is a memory of togetherness and pride in our country.

It felt good to watch and have a general idea of what was going to come in the rituals.  

Nothing prepared me for the Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman.  She was like golden sunshine in her yellow coat and red Prada headband.  Then when her mouth opened and the most exquisite poem was told to us by her in her eloquent voice, I literally had tears in my eyes!  Wow, the gift of the day! Truly.

I have since seen an interview with Anderson Cooper and Amanda.  Her eloquence and her incredible intellect came though leaving Anderson almost speechless.  She is a Harvard graduate.  Not only was her poem beautiful but the lasting image of her self assured behavior was refreshing.

What a lovely day and evening.  One that will hopefully erase the horrible and shocking images of January 6th eventually.

It is also refreshing to see that actions are being taken to bring the covid crisis into the forefront with an attempt to get more equipment and vaccines.  Let's hope that happens quickly although it seems that it will take time.  If we have some sense of normalcy by next Fall, to me that will be success.  Sooner would be better but realistically it doesn't seem possible. I SO hope I am wrong.

On to other subjects!  The weather here has been extremely mild this winter.  Skies blue, temperatures usually in mid 40's at night with highs in the mid 70's to low 80's.  Ojala!  In another four weeks it is doubtful we will still have 40's at night as our spring begins usually by the end of February.

One of the milestones of this time of year is Candelaria.  Hundreds of plant vendors come from all over Mexico with every plant imaginable.  Gorgeous orchids, bromeliads, tulips, hyacinths, bourganvillas. The market is set up in a park setting and is usually here for two weeks.  Sadly NOT this year!  Oh my what a disappointment.  I understand because no events have happened since last March which would cause groups of people to congregate.  Sad but true.  

We are still in the "red" zone which means there are still many closures and people are not supposed to leave home except for essential activities.  Oy vey. Most are complying as we hear of friends and family members of friends dying.  It is very sobering.  In San Miguel we now have had 118 deaths with two more in the last day.  Shocking.

Turning inward to continue reading, talking on the phone to friends and family, gardening and cooking along with watching TV is the daily regime.  Oh and sitting in the garden in the beautiful sunny, warm weather.

Hopefully you are finding ways to move forward daily!  Sometimes it does feel like a slog.......

If I could be somewhere else, this is where I would like to be.  On this little bay in the tiny village of La Manzanilla on the Pacific Ocean.  Maybe next year!



Monday, January 11, 2021


 No, it is not me moving but my son John.  

If you are looking for unique, well made and fine furniture and accesories, please look at the photos attached which is just SOME of all that is for sale.  

To see and purchase, please send message to WHAT'S App 415 124-4755.

I don't have the information on appointments or pricing so please call the above phone number for

appointment.  Everything must sell!

Saturday, January 02, 2021

The Roller Coaster of Life!

 Hopefully this will post!  Obviously in the last three months, Google has decided to fool around 

with changing Blogpost and the format is completely different

Well we'll see what happens - it is the fitting end to 2020 where nothing was the same, Ha.

Wowza, it has been quite a while since I sat here.  Composed my thought for ya'll and hoped you

would enjoy reading my ramblings.  Again, it has been a good thing that we can't see the future

and have to take it "one day at a time".  Cause otherwise, I would have said, "Stop, I want off of

this roller coaster ride!"

When I last wrote I had reached acceptance that it was going to be a long haul and so best to

enjoy the ride by being patient, finding things that enhanced life and staying in touch with those

I care about via electronic means.  All of that was done.........

Festivities were all virtual!  But, better then nothing.....This was the Independence Day celebration with the iconic symbol of San Miguel, the Parroquia church and the main jardin.

Not even Day of the Dead festivities were held.  In fact, the cemeteries were closed so that there was not a large gathering of people.  Someone caught this man who worked at a vivero (nursery) delivery flowers to someone's house.  Life has its beautiful simplistic moments here.

One day when I was getting cabin fever because I had not been out for months, I got in the car and drove around San Miguel!  When what to my wondering eyes appeared these wonderful fantastical creatures in a row up on the road to  Queretaro.  No, I didn't get out and take these photos but someone did and I'm sure they brought as many smiles as possible to many, many people.  My self included.

On December 18th, two days after my friend Ann Criswell passed from covid, one of my best friends died from a long, long life at 93.  Martha Taylor was like a sister to me and in the last twenty years that I have lived in Mexico, that friendship continued to grow.  In fact any time I went to Houston, I stayed with her.  

We had met in the mid 1990's through the Houston Culinary Guild.  I remember the day we met at a luncheon.  Martha was a quiet woman who only spoke when she had something to say.  Someone was asking her about her latest sojourn to some foreign country and how the culinary world was in this place.  She and this person continued to discuss her adventures.  At that moment I thought, "I don't know this woman but I sure do want to get to know her!"  And I did.  She was a Food Historian, had owned a travel business at some point and grown up in Houston but had the most wonderful open mind about cultures, people and countries that I had never heard of until she told me about them.

She kept a separate apartment at Bayou Bend High Rise so when visiting dignitaries such as writers, other food historians or anyone that she knew in her wide circle came into town, she hosted them.  

On the Acquisitions Committee for the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, I was privileged to go with her several times to their sessions on acquisitions.  It was always an inspiring learning experience. 

I could go on and on.  Never did I show up in Houston that Martha didn't have articles for me to read, a list of restaurants for us to visit that were new in town or an exhibit at one of the many museums for us to peruse.  As I said previously, Martha had a huge curiosity about life and everything in it.

To say I will miss her would be the biggest understatement of my life.  I'm so devastated by the loss of this dear friend two weeks ago that today is the first time I have even been able to write about her.

To be sure, there will never be another person in my life who exposed me to so many avenues of life that I had never contemplated.  Martha was family to me and my family was important to her as well.

In late October I heard from the daughter of my dear friend Ann Criswell, that she had been diagnosed with Covid on her birthday.  Ann was living at a retirement home in College Station, Texas where many  people who had lived there passed on.  Ann fought the good fight but succumbed in mid December to covid.  So tragic.  The outpouring of love for this former editor of the Food Section of the Houston Chronicle was befitting all that she did in the thirty-four years as that editor.  Her many, many kindnesses and accomplishments were written about by many many many famous and every day citizens.  She was one in a million. I was devastated to lose this cool woman friend.

Here's a fun, happy photo of myself, Ann, Martha and my dear sister-in-law, Annette having lunch at a relatively new restaurant in The Heights in Houston over two years ago.  It was the last time I was in Houston.  Having this photo of this sweet memory is a gift of the many times we explored new restaurants while in town.

Moving on to what goes on here at Christmas, I am going to leave you with a couple of fun photos.

Until recently, literally in the last month or so, we have had no traffic lights in San Miguel!  BUT, at Christmas last year, due to tourist traffic, the transitos got creative with an extension cord and a lantern to direct traffic.  This photo makes me smile at the ingenuity and ability to solve a problem, Mexican style.  What doesn't show is that when the transitos at Christmas do direct traffic, people usually bring wrapped gifts and prop them up on the sides of their little step stool.  Don't you just love it?

And, last but not least, a Brit or Canadian who lives here part time, started driving his pink VW a few years ago with a few stuffed animals on it at Christmas.  Obviously, from this photo this year, he has expanded the assortment of paraphernalia that the car is covered with.  Everyone, and especially the kids, get a real smile from this!  Christmas is magical and thanks to Colin, it travels around town for everyone to see and enjoy.

                                                         FELIZ ANO NUEVO - 2021


Saturday, October 03, 2020

Rounding the Corner of Covid

Acceptance has finally arrived!  Lethargy has finally gone!  Thankful for both.  It seems I have accomplished more in the last two weeks then I have in the last six months.  It is astonishing.

Tackling projects like going through business files and discarding 80% of things that I moved down here twenty years ago.  I have a two drawer lateral file that was crammed full.  As I discarded items like the sale of my businesses and my home twenty years ago, I wondered why I had not discarded them earlier.  Obviously I did not have as much time on my hands and so now was a perfect time to do so.

I also discovered my little pocket calendars for all the past twenty years.  It was shocking to see each day had something to do or a place to go or someone to join for lunch.  No wonder the last six months have been a shock to the system.  Life may not be as exciting but it sure is relaxing.

An entire trash bag went out the door!  It was a sense of accomplishment.  As well, as I was accomplishing this task, I realized that it will not be me who will be going through these folders again but obviously a family member after I'm gone, whenever that is.  So, for the fun of it, I have started putting funny post it note messages in various files just to let whoever it is, have a fun moment.

In addition to the above task, something that is distasteful to me is paperwork.  But, I did update and reprint lists that I use if and when I travel.  A US phone list, a Mexico phone list and an Account information list.  The last time I was in the USA and my computer would not "open" for me to check these lists on the computer, it was a wake up call.  Now I have hard copies as well as updated lists on the computer.

Yes, it has been two and a half years since the above happened, but "better late then never".

Along with the dastardly tasks, some fun things have been done as well.  Reading Ken Follett's new book which is part of the group "Pillars of the Earth" and working in the gardens. Yes, this book was as long as all the others but it was as delightful as always.  His research and writing, to me, is extraordinary.

Cold weather zapped in at the beginning of last week.  Surprise!  39F one morning.  Yikes!  Luckily winter clothes had been retrieved and the closets are ready to keep me warm.  It does get in the low 70's during the day but the house inside doesn't warm up until later in the day.  YUK!

As a means of self-preservation, besides still staying home, wearing a mask and self distancing, I am watching less and less of news and instead watching lovely shows on Netflix that are not stressful.

I have also voted by sending my ballot via DHL to the correct agency in Houston and receiving acknowledgement that it was received.  Whew!  A big accomplishment.

It seems from what I have read in the last few weeks that patience is what is required to survive this experience with covid.  Luckily we did not know last March of the expected longevity of the virus or when a vaccine would be ready.  Learning gradually has helped me to acceptance.  What about you?

The hardest thing to accept is not being able to travel to see family in Texas and Colorado.  Yes, we facetime and talk on the phone often but it is not the same as all being together. The photos that I see of friends and family members without masks at events concern me greatly in the USA.  Not to mention the large gatherings of people at various political events.  

It seems it is best to stay here in San Miguel where, to date, we have had 32 deaths and around five hundred cases in over six months.  Now everyone is wearing masks and carefully social distancing.  The municipality continues to do an extremely good job of overseeing the checkpoints coming into town and deciding when to open activities.  On the first of October the parks were finally reopened. In addition, the bibliotecha (library) has reopened which has many, many activities in addition to providing reading materials.  

While checking the webcam of the jardin by the Parroquia church this week, there are more people, but while looking at the people it is obvious that there are hardly any ex-pats wandering around.  A quick count looked like there were about forty people milling around on Friday night.  No mariachis, no mojigangas and  no small children to purchase from the balloon seller because there is no balloon seller either!

The other amazing thing is that NONE of the gazillion of festivities that we enjoy here from Easter to the Alborada to the parades in honor of St. Michael the Archangel were only held "virtually" this year! It appears that Dia de Muertos will not be allowed as well.  All of these activities have had thousands of people in the past and the deciders have decided to be very, very careful.  Even Air B&B's have not been allowed to reopen.

Thankfully with "acceptance" it seems I'm just hunkering down and enjoying those things that are not a health risk.  

Hopefully you are at the same place and taking care.  It has been wonderful to receive emails and messages from so many of you telling me how you are coping and what you are doing.

Hang in there!