Wednesday, December 30, 2009

¡Three turkeys!

Feliz Navidad! Christmas was a busy time. I had Christmas Eve dinner with G&L in their gorgeous home with a dozen other merrimakers. As always, there was way too much food - delicious of course - followed by Carol singing, then dessert - wow, 4 kinds including Christmas pudding from Canada with rum sauce!.
I had a pretty busy Christmas day. I started the day with an 8:30 beach walk with my Friday walking buddy, Cathryn, then, being biz as usual in MX (regardless of the day), the tianguis sellers set up their wares in the square. I opened the used bookstore which is really close to the square for my Friday volunteer stint and sold quite a few books to tourists. I dropped by Pam & Greg's after I closed and was in time for a fruit and fritatta brunch there - lucky me, yum, then to the beach to touch base and say Merry Christmas, I didn't stay long as I had not thought to put on my bathing suit when I left the house at 8AM. Back home in mid afternoon, I made up a Mex chayote/corn dish to share when I joined friend, Marcia, at her beautiful year-round home with another group of pals for a champagne C dinner.
Boxing Day was a turkey free day (it was music night/open mic at Palapa Joe's - lasagna was on the menu). But the next day I stopped by Rose's to sample the peanut butter pie (yum) she had made for the Christmas Dinner which I didn't get to taste and came home with a plateful of her delicious left-overs. I have certainly had my fill of turkey for the month. Anyway, those were my Christmas dinners.
Brook and Terri rolled into town about 7:30 Wed night Dec 23 looking a bit road-weary but certainly in time for C dinner with Rose and her cast of thousands. I managed to not have my camera on hand for any of these occasions. Next time, for sure.

The run up to Christmas

Friends, Barb & Jack, rolled in off the bus from PV on Tues Dec 8th so we got to play and do things together. Barb helped me get my tree together for the Silent Auction, we made a couple runs to Melaque together (plus they did a couple on the bus - ever the explorers ). We had Sunday brunch and swims on the beach here at Quinta Valentina's, joined pals for an afternoon at Tenacatita Beach where the wave action is a bit lighter and the beach is just as good for walking. We sampled the tacos at Chop-chop's and cruised the square. It is our new habit to have bebidas a la playa (drinks at the beach) at Figaro's on Fridays and they joined in on two Fridays. On Sat, Dec 19, I delivered them to the bus stop in Melaque for the continuation of their trip. They overnighted in Colima, changed buses in Guadalajara and arrived at B's bro's in Patzcuaro in time for Sunday dinner. Barb reports that it is really cold in Patz (it's in the mountains of Michoacan) at nights and, in addition to her brother's fireplace, she's happy for her fleecy, long pants and socks!
For us in LM, the weather finally has cooled a bit - I've even put the duvet on the bed. Perhaps the end of dengue mosquitos for a while. I'm back to joining the gal pals for cocos and swims at Valentina's in the afternoons. The cocos, we're told are good for almost everything (has lots of electrolites) and with dengue so prevalent we are triyng to keep our immune systems at the ready. I guess it is working as (touch wood) I am still healthy.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Tree Fiesta

This was the brainchild of Kate and Mary three years ago. A fundraiser to benefit local schools, it consists of members of the ex-pat community signing up to design a Cristmas tree of whatever ilk - anything goes! and bringing it in to Cafe de Flores for a silent auction.
On Thursday, Dec 10, a crowd of eager locals arrived to sample the sumptuous creations of Alex while making choices and bidding on their favourite trees. Dennis was the busy mixologist and you can't not try a cup of Mary's rich and foamy Eggnog.
This year there were more than 30 trees on auction and while people fought to be the highest bidder, waitpersons strolled about offering tasty appies. After an hour or so, the bidding sheets were collected, winners were announced and folks happily paid up and went home with an 'interesting' tree for the season.
For my tree I used a small 24" pretend fir tree and decorated it with homemade chocolate rum balls and peanut-butter balls which with visiting friend, Barb's, help I wrapped in bright red and yellow cellophane. We added a bit of tinsel and there it was - done. It went for a good price and managed to survive the evening intact - not a ball missing.
I was the lucky winner of Rusty's copper coco palm with one lone coco (red marble) in the sand beneath it. At approx 1 foot in height, it is exactly the right size for my space and will certainly not blow over in the wind. The fundraiser met its $10,000 peso goal toward ceiling fans for the primary school which will be installed next week.

Cafe de Flores Artist Show Opening

Cafe de Flores opened for the season on December 1st and had their first monthly artist opening from 5 -7 pm on Sunday Dec 6th. FIve artists showed at least three pieces each and these will be on display for the month. Alex, daughter owners, Mary and Dennis, is the chef at Cafe de Flores and as always created some delicious appies to add a party atmosphere. Some of my work can be seen here. It is great to have a venuwe like this to showcase budding (we hope) talent. Anyway, we are not bad for oldsters.

Oh, swell!!

...and swell it did! Wow, it was a week ago - time flies. I slipped on the stairs and mashed the outside of my right foot on the step below. Ouch! I was hurrying to get to the beach for a morning walk. Well, I got there with my rapidly swelling foot to find (fortunately, I guess) there was no beach. It was a very high tide so my friend and I went back to her casa for coffee and a bag of ice for my foot. Her hasband did his Boy Scout best and suggested getting an x-ray - it looked like I'd broken something, so I did what I was told. The only x-ray machine in this little town is at the vet's and that's where I went, mewing piteously. Happily, the xrays showed nothing broken and now, a week later, I am limping, the purple is still there but the swelling has mostly gone down. My best solution for icing the foot comes courtesy of my sister who had way back given me this nifty wine chiller. Turns out it works as well for wounded feet as it does for white wines!
At least I don't have dengue like half the town! Yet.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

No Rain Here - Wrong!!

Well, who knew?! On the last official day of the hurricane season, last night was a very soggy one. rain on and off until about 6 :30 AM when it was definitely 'on' = .5" total. Happily, my road, Calle Frida Kahlo, is still passable so I was able to drive down to a planning meeting for Art Walk 2010, and take a couple more pieces of my art to the walls at Cafe de Flores. There will be a showing of several local artists on Dec 6th (yours truly included) for the month. More on that later. The rain set in again on the weekend and by Sunday morning we'd had another 1.5 inches. Yikes, in December! Those dengue carrying mosquitoes will be all over us in time for Christmas, I fear.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Well, Happy Birthday to me!!

It was another gorgeous day in Paradise and fun was had by all. Actually it has been a B'day party week for us starting with Pam's birthday last Monday, TG turkey dinner in the middle and finishing with Cynthia's this coming Tuesday. We went to Careyes to watch two polo matches in the afternoon. We packed a picnic which included champagne and tasty snacks. G brought along a bottle of Tres Mujeres tequila which was perfect as there were three B'day gals. I have some special photos to share. Click here. Between the two games we were treated to a shot of tequila by a sponsor and with shot in hand we headed out to the fields to stomp divots kicked up by the horses' hooves. Not many as it was dry so divots turned into dust. Grant and I spotted some likely ones but it turned out to be 'road apples' and we thought better of stomping those!
Back in La Manzanilla after dark it was time to stop in at Palapa Joe's where there was live music with Willy, the owner, and Scottie, from Powell River BC, both on guitar, Dan from Cal on harmonica and Danko from ? on bongos. Good dancing blues music.
So today - another sterling sunshiny day and the Grey Cup game to look forward to this evening. I am going for a swim with the gals around 3 pm.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tortilleria Robbed

Yesterday morning some bads guys with a gun (apparently) robbed the tortilleria. Normally this wouldn't make much sense as tortillas are subsidized and cost practically nothing so everyone can afford them. However, since everyone needs tortillas, the place is also the spot to pay your electric bill which arrives every other month. The bills came in last week, so folks have been anteing up mucho dinero. Anyway, our tortilleria was one of three different hits in the area (Melaque, too) so I guess we can expect some police presence in future. Like elsewhere, there's not a lot of work and times are tough this year for everyone.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

No Rain here

Just a quick note to say the sun still shines and sets somewhere in the world and here is the view from my patio. The sun disappeared behind the mountain on Nov 5th and won't be back to setting in the ocean until Feb 3rd. I still, however , get great skies to watch.
I'm adding this bit, too, though some have seen/heard it before:
If I ever complained about the afternoon winds up on this hillside, I take back every grumble. There is hardly any wind to speak of most days and, boy, that means it's hot and steamy. Cool showers are the order of the day and I don't have to worry about the umbrella blowing off the patio.
The casa was in very good condition upon my return. The usual measuring stick for that is how musty, moldy and mildewed everything smells. Well, lucky me, the clothes hanging in the closet smelled like ... clothes!. The clothes left in the drawers smelled like... cloves (cause that's what I threw in with the duds) - that and bay leaves - I guess it worked. The sheets smelled fresh and so did the towels. It was easy to get the bedroom
enough back to normal for my first night's sleep. Drop cloths are a good answer.
Had a bit of a prob with lighting the stove and the HWtank but after 2 or 3 days the gas finally filled the lines and the stove is on the go. The hwt was not so compliant but thankfully it is so hot a cool shower works just fine! I thought it needed a new thermocouple(?) but today I gave it one more chance to stay lit and low and behold...I have hot water! and a pilot light still on the go.
No putty coloured doughball frogs 'chilling out' in the bathroom sink drain this year but I did have a bit of a scare while brushing my teeth the first morning when there was this rush of red ants galloping out of the sink vent lugging eggs behind them. I sent them down the drain then got out the Raid!
Mago, my gardener, has the gardens and the potted plants looking just wonderful. It's like I never left. Well, except that the cutter ants came through a week or so ago and demolished several tasty flowering shrubs - like every single leaf is gone. Good thing they don't like every plant They'll take some time to recover but I can see wee green buds. Basil is growing like crazy and great big Cosmos with rose-red and white flowers are volunteering everywhere, ditto marigolds and zinnias. Sadly not a single lime on my lime tree this year.

Start the day with Passion

... fruit that is. I have a very healthy vine winding along my chainlink fence and fighting for space with the letitia vine - big glorious lavender blossoms. I have to check regularly because if they fall, they roll a long way down hill into jungly overgrowth and I don't go there looking for them. Anyway, they are juicy and delish. Today I am going to make syrup for agua fresca(think Kool-aid) with them. Pour a bit of syrup into water or soda water and add ice for a cool refreshing drink on a hot day. We have lots of those sorts of days here. We were swimming the other day with Grant's thermometer and it registered 30°C(86°F). I am still the only one being stung by ??? out there but the days demand a swim anyway.
It is hard to believe that the end of Nov is just around the corner. I am joining my American friends for a full fledged TG turkey dinner at Palapa Joe's on Thursday. Saturday marks the opening of the Polo season at Careyes (and my B'day) so I hope to be there for the opening game and the half time tequila divot stomp! Those horse's hooves kick up a lot of turf!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sunny and warm with jellyfish

Well, what a long time since I put words on this site. I guess there is too much to be done in the sun here in Mexico. Everyone has settled down now from the rejoicing over Obama's Inaug. I have many a happy American friend in this dusty little town. We are all keen to see what good things come of this.
I'll include a little photo of a treasure I found washed up on the beach a while back. I'm sure it is good luck as this is the first one I've spied in all my years here. I can't believe I did not walk right by - it is so tiny. Tomorrow I am off to La Huerta to pay my taxes with a carload of friends. Then, in the late afternoon, it is time to stop at Figaro's for Bebidas a la Playa. Figaro's is a delightful Italian palapa restaurant on the beach with Corona cervesa - dark and light - on tap. I am totally in love with their Pasta Alfredo con Gambieri. Tomorrow night however many of us are going to Cafe Risa to take part in a benefit for chef Linda's sister who has a disease which requires very expensive meds.
This week, Sat is my day to volunteer at the Libreria, (bookstore) another fundraising activity where the sales of used books go to assist programs and/or needy folks in town.