November 29, 2008

We clicked like clockwork!

I am a fretful hostess. I always think people will be disappointed by life in la Gloria, as much as I love it. And expecting guests from Montreal was a nail biter. I just thought they'd hate it!
They love it. They love the neighborhood ambiance, the apartment, the amenities, the food and Lora! They loved the welcome mojitos.
She is a vegan and Raul made her some special sopes. Daisy just loved us all to death. I haven't spent any time with her since summer, but she's been monitoring the masonry project and knows its a lot of work for the recipeint.
I am taking this insomnia to cook up some beans for a bean and corn salad I make. It will be good for all of us through the day. They are divers. I will help them find a fit.
She has been on a yoga retreat in Tulum. This is his first time out of Canada. We laughed and laughed at El Charco, while Raul was cooking. He speaks little English and lost some hearing on the airplane. So listening to him speak SpanFran to Raul was a hoot.
A lot of things were misheard and misstated! We laughed! He agreed to take my heating pad so his ear can equalize so they can dive together.
When we came back from Daisy and Raul's, Lora no longer barked at them. She knows good people when she smells them! She went into submissive softie, where she acts like a kitten. Charming!
Tomorrow, duh today, big plan is hit the green grocer and juice stand. That is it! I love it when a plan comes together!

November 27, 2008

Dia acciones gracias....compartir!

The Spanish translation or Thanksgiving is acciones gracias, the act of thanks. To me, it is not about finding the biggest best traditional meal, but making the best traditional meal I can for the people who need it or who I need to thank. To share it, compartir, like it is OURS.
Yesterday, as Carmen was finishing up, Eriso was talking about today's work day and how he had to get done so I could go to town and eat. No, my Thanksgiving Day is here! With the Maya and other Indians who helped me survive another rainy season, who helped me pick up the pieces (make maintenance repairs, etc.) and who helped me earn my wings with the government.
Yesterday, as Carmen cleaned, I made roasted vegetables, beet salad and stuffing. When she left, I roasted two stuffed chickens and am almost done carving with the Black and Decker! yeah, yeah, cranberry sauce will be be out of the can. But there are cranberries in the dressing too!
My acciones of gracias will be to see that Amelia's family is fed, that she goes to sleep full, knowing no matter what happens, she made a difference in my life.
Carmen, the jefa of this household, is coming back today to tear apart the second apartment. She will make something fantastic out of it while cursing all those who came before her. She is definitely the head of housekeeping. She will be treated too.
Ricardo left me with enough hot water for a shower yesterday. This morning, he replaces some resistor in my water heater. He will get chicken with dressing and roasted vegetables, too.
Eriso, Deborah and their three children will also partake. This is Thanksgiving, the way I chose to celebrate it. I don't need a big, overpriced meal downtown. I need to see a big meal I made being enjoyed by my neighbors, who have never been invited to share an American Thanksgiving before.

November 26, 2008

Deadline pressure...I love it!

Nothing like a deadline to make my blood flow! I think that's why I chose the news biz. Now, Thanksgiving! And Amelia, and Eriso being behind, and guests arriving Friday. Yippee! We're working now!
I got stuff to finish off a Thanksgiving chicken with stuffing and all the fixin's to take to Amelia tomorrow. In the middle of the night, I went to the ATM. I like doing it then. The streets are nearly deserted, except for the routine cop patrols, the guys at Seven-11 are glad to see a soul. A Bimbo dog man was ready to feed the overnight crew on the Medina project, so a got a true Media Noche! And came home to a puzzled doggie dog.
Shopped the green grocers this morning and took the golf cart in for a wash 'n wax. It was about time. Coming back, I ran into Luci, who dropped off more rosemary and some bags of dirt. Stopped at Eriso's to impress that we have people coming the day after tomorrow, then called Ricardo about my water heater thermostat. Can't keep using the back apartment when the people are here! He'll buy it in Cancun today and replace it tomorrow. Allrighty!
So, now I'll peel carrots and potatoes, look for a chicken as I take Amelia her carrot juice and start to peel vegetables. Better drain the brine off the cabbage and start Kim Chee step two. Did I need to be starting that now? Oh well...

November 24, 2008

We're on our way!

This morning, Eriso surprised me with a tamale. A few hours later, Carmen went home to check on the grand kids and came back with a bowl of white bean, vegetable and meat soup. Wow! I felt so special!
Carmen earlier agreed to stay on and be homemaker to the guests at Zina's Guest House. How wonderful! She lives nearby, has a son-in-law and daughter with interests in two downtown restaurants, and is a worker used to working without a real job since Karina rented her shop out rather than keep it in the family.
Carmen also brought word from the shop keeper running Karina's store that Amelia is failing fast and can't feed her kids. I had dropped her carrot juice off earlier this morning, but just stuck it inside the door.
So as she cleaned the fridge, I went through the "food for ten armies" aka Three Hurricane Wilmas and made a food basket for Amelia and the family. Her husband is failing too with some complications to his tongue cancer. So, it felt good.
My legs have been a bit weak during the last day or two, so Isabel, Eriso's daughter, took the foods over along with a navy blue sheet to dress up Amelia's hammock.
Isabel said Amelia was overcome. Good that I have food for a few more hurricanes like that. Pensions are a week away and I my just have to dress two chickens for Thanksgiving and take one over!
Carmen tasted my cookies and suggested they could have been baked more and might not be so crumblie. Hmmm. I'm thinking it's a sea level thing and just cheat and put an egg white in. We'll see.
After she finished washing personal clothing, Carmen dug in and washed all my shoes! Yes, all my shoes. Now that's a trooper and a clean freak. I like that in a head of housekeeping!

November 22, 2008

Who let the dog's word out?

I feel like the pied piper. It was a weird day for dogs yesterday.
First, around 6:30am, Lora and I visited the ATM. Outside, we met a nice black dog, spayed and with a collar. She and Lora hit if off and played.
When it was time to go, black dog got in the golf cart and wouldn't leave. Lora was irritated, like I was, and we couldn't get her to budge from the back seat. We rode up and down Medina, trying to get Black Dog out. Eventually, we did. And Black Dog ran the golf cart race at full speed until we got a little ahead of her and took the turn off at Salina Chica, on a road we need to take to jog over to the other side of the island to pay the electric bill. She had run a mile and a half at 25 miles an hour to try to be with us. At the electric company, Lora stayed outside, near Miguel's house, and played with a dog there. No problems.
She stayed home for the FM2 brindis and I went early since I hadn't eaten and I need to get some fat and protein into my belly (a drinking lesson my dad taught me, but it wouldn't be necessary. But I digress...)
My pork chops and baked potato with a virgin mojito arrived about the same time as Miguel and Sue and a look alike dog Miguel would call Lorenzo.
Sue said hi to Lora. No, it's not Lora. The pork chops were extremely tough and gistlyy and Lorenzo seemed hungry. He ate well.
As soon as the expendable food was gone, he left.
I came home around 8:30 after spending the evening with Marianne, Pony Tail Jim, Adrian, Sergio the Artist, and Sue and Miguel. Gregorio sang his heart out. Lorena stopped by briefly.
I had left Lora in her pet carrier. She wasn't barking when I got home, but there were two dogs waiting on the front step. I shooed them away and let Lora out the back door. What I want to know, did she let the word out? Woof woof.

November 20, 2008

A time to celebrate!

I can celebrate the progress around the house, that's for sure. But Friday afternoon, I will have an F-ing party! F for FM visa and a number!
I now have the best FM possible, a 2, and am listed as asimilada. Assimilated! The restrictions on me in Mexico are very few now. If I wanted to, I could just up and apply for a job! No extra permits needed. No hassles for the employer. Nada! But of course, with the multiple sclerosis, I wouldn't be a reliable employee. Hmmm...maybe that's what makes me fit in! Bad joke.
Anyway, I got the news Tuesday and after shopping in Walmart, the day I got chocolate chips - truly a stellar day - I went to Miguel's and we cooked up the idea of a brinda, a toast, to my new status of acceptance. A few people have been invited. Outside of that, I intend to buy a 2x1 cocktail for anyone who comes by.
Not that I will enter into it lightly. It'a full work day for me! I have to pay the electric bills, greet the aluminum guys again - daddy Hererra thought he was going to collect today but after looking at the folding door, agreed the boys did a bad job.
Today it was as much a job site as ever. I painted a window for privacy, to match the property colors, and hung a sea shell mobile over it with nylon net as a valance. Ricardo and I worked on the ceiling fan, I did laundry. A complete day! And Lora lost her fur-laden scab from the gaurd dog/taxi incident.
Carmen got the new huipil she was working for on credit and showed it off, saying she might want to work some tomorrow. And I can use her. Eriso will be here working, too, so it will be a job site again...still...maybe always? Ha!
Drew got his FM2 also and someone else got an FM3. All are welcome to the F-ing party! 4:30 to 8 tomorrow at Miguel's Moonlite!

November 18, 2008

Not a Mexican Tradition!

A highlight of my trip into Cancun yesterday was listening to and sharing in the rant of a cabbie from Walmart to Puerto Juarez. Mexico is in full Christmas mania. Things are flying off the shelves in Walmart. Acrylic drinking glasses for the apartments aren't there any more! The six I have will have to do.
I wanted a wreath frame I had seen two weeks ago. Gone! Guys on street corners are selling Santa Claus hats with antlers. It is truly nuts!
The cabbie's wife spend two years in the US and wants a Christmas tree. It's not a Mexican tradition! A wreathe, well, OK. It symbolizes the crown of thorns Jesus would wear before his crucifiction. But a Christmas tree, in what fairy tale, railed the cabbie!
And Halloween. Oh, he got me started! Not on my Christian calendar, or his! I told him about the school Halloween parade last week. On what calendar was that, he ranted.
Well, I just needed to vent. The morning was great in Cancun.
I got to Migracion early, saw Roger and Garnette waiting to deal with the aftermath of their FM3 renewal, they paid twice because the system cannot credit, and I got fingerprinted and offered my signature multiple times. Now, the document goes to Chetumal for a rubber stamp and I'll have it in hand within 10 days.
Only then will I be able to get a new and now more proper tax payer ID. Migracian seemed unconcerned with the casi. Casi Mexicana, is what Miguel is calling me. Casi Casi, almost almost.
But back to this Christmas business. The mania is way worse than that in the US. We have a major holiday in Thanksgiving to put on the brakes, or to open the gates. Here, folks start their Christmas shopping in August. The frenzy just builds and builds. Until the kids start whining for Christmas trees because of TV and cartoons. Listen up. It's not a Mexican tradition.
And me, I thump my chest with pride. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong: I think I may be the first person from Isla Mujeres to have ever bought Hershey's chocolate chips in Mexico. I am a good shopper, so I note what is available. The chips I got Tuesday have never been here before! Yes, two bags!
And I saw Marco in the store before that, so I couldn't pass the news on to Julie! But maybe a reader will. Julie, there's chocolate chips at Walmart. But look out. Stuff is flying off the shelves! That IS a Mexican tradition!
So in planning Friday's party, Miguel and I shared a tequilita. Casi casi boracho! But I could lie down until it passed. Poor Miguel, working under disability!

From ant to grasshopper!

After three months of property maintenance and upgrade, while working on imigracion and taxpayer issues, the light at the end of the tunnel is here!
This morning, I go to Inmigracion for an upgrade in my status, giving me more rights on Mexican soil. My house is clean, my downstairs suite is in perfect condition. Oh, OK,there's a squeak in the ceiling fan for Ricardo to take care of by Monday, when it becomes occupied, a new bodega door arrives Wednesday and through all this, it is time to rest!
Trip Advisor has updated its site to include a picture of the property, an agent has taken me on, and the "cannery" is full.
I have had two actual beach days since coming back from my Ohio home in July. Crisp weather that we are having, I don't miss it. But by weekend, when all the dust has settled and a toast has been drunk, I am a beach baby with few cares in the world!
The picture at the top of the page is from my kitchen looking back to the downstairs apartment. The crafting table is about to be set back up so the most difficult task for my coming weeks will be to decide which beads to nice with which shells in cafting necklaces, frames and other high art!
As Jimbo on Isla would say, disfrutes! Enjoy! I sure plan to. I think I'll book a massage!

November 17, 2008

Towards better order!

Today my friend Marta and I dig deep in the main house and back apartment. I now know what little things need corrected there...the squeak in the ceiling fan, rearranging the linens in the linen closet that served all the units, and a window washing so I can paint some acrylic shade producing designs.
It's always something! But I think this year, the linens won't all have to be laundered for mildew. We had good breaks in rainy season and I exercised better climate control.
Mary Ann dropped by yesterday with an wish for success with inmigracion tomorrow. The lawyer and I have a 10:45 appointment for my thumbprint and booklet. Then, I need to go to Cancun's Palacio Municipal to activate my CURP - short for unique personal ID - AND then to the Hacienda to activate my new taxpayer ID. Both numbers have already been assigned. Casi Mexicana!
The cold front continues. It's 66 degrees and wet outside. The trash men have just pulled up, a highlight of Lora's day. They yell, they whistle for the driver to move on, it's a big deal for doggy dog. Now it's over and she's back inside, content that another day has really started. Maybe mom will take me for a golf cart run today? Maybe indeed! We have lots of time before Marta gets here and need an avacado and some eggs.
Problem is, the veggie ladies aren't set up until later on Monday, the trucks come in on the car ferry, so it will be 8 or 9 before we see what they have. Then Marta comes at 10, when her own housework is done.
Even here, absent fluctuations in gasoline prices, groceries have been going up steadily in price. I did get a bag of red apples and two bags of ciruelas, a plum but not much like the rest of North American is accustomed to, for 10 pesos a bag from the fruit man yesterday. By the looks or his truck and knowing where I am on the route, SeptAmbre, a blend of September and hunger, has extended into November. That's local slang for the hunger of low season. Not much spendable cash. There just aren't the tourists one would expect this time of year. A fraction.
Ah, but Canadians are coming for Christmas, said Patricio Osorio at Miguel's the other afternoon. Well, in that case, all is well with the world!
Just last year, the Port Authority in Cancun was so proud of getting a direct flight from Tokyo. Now, Japan too, is in a recession. You can run, but you cannot hide from this one. It's big!
A reader wrote and asked if I had laid in a good amount of food. Now that Carmen has organized what were my hurricane provisions stored in water proof bins, I see that I could go on for three months without buying groceries. Survive three Wilmas, as Carmen put it. She called my kitchen a lataria, cannery, when she organized all my stuff, and I do mean order by categories and brands.
That's good. I can at least live with Mexican inflation by having the staples, buying other idemes on sale, and soon growing some veggies. And Erisos Sunday fish events are a bargain at twice the price, which would be the price in Centro. So, we will survive. With sun and gentle breeze, and no fuel oil costs, it might even be fun. Well, in a Survivor way. Ha!


November 16, 2008

We are all tenderfoots here!

Indians called those who lived an easy life but returned to the trail tenderfoot, because the callouses were gone. Those of us down here in the current cold and windy snap - not so cold now at 77 but really windy - are tenderfoots.
We bundle up, turn our water heaters back on, sleep under our emergency down comforter.
Yesterday, as the front approached, I was talking on the phone to Kimberly from Cancun and we both had the same kind headache. Eriso had kept urging me to take something, but I wasn't sure what it was. Kimberly had become sure it was sinus, so I took a sinus pill. It cleared it up.
Sinuses are great weather forecasters. A little inflammation and a drastic drop in barometric pressure, and one can't "equalize" to the new pressure. A front is on our doorstep.
Eating becomes a big part of coping with the chill. Add chilis to everything, for starters. And eat often! This is the time for comfort foods.
So far today, I've had an egg, some bacon - not even two slice by the time Lora was done doing tricks, and then a couple hours later, salmon and cream cheese spread spiked with Liquid Smoke a friend imported for me. Thank you!
I have a couple tubs of refrigerator pesto I am thinking of digging into with hot rotini. And salsa de chili arbol to kick it up a notch.
The TV is on in the back apartment, where my vacation ends tomorrow.
My bedroom in the main house doesn't have TV and I may have to reconsider that! TV and a hot bowl of pasta is what makes a norte more bearable!
At least I'll be well rested for my various meetings in Cancun Tuesday! Oh yes, I'll have to stop at Walmart for sure! Only to break even on ferry and taxis, of course.

November 15, 2008

Weekend reconciliation!

Like a book keeper, I feel obliged to let my readers know that most of the things I anticipated happening on any given day in the past week didn't happen. It's life in Mexico.
So, I will ask Eriso to plant the habaneros where they belong, kill the remaining bougenvilla, spread dirt into the new beds and mucho mas before he starts painting, side II.
I went to Miguel's last night after hitting the ATM, and giving Adrian money for the subcontractor who did soldering on the old laptop, and did not ask Miguel for the package I went to pick up. I guess I'll have to go back!
Now, back to helping Carmen make sense of my kitchen!

November 14, 2008

Major dig!

At the end of the day, Eriso and I made a pact that he would plant habanero peppers that have been sitting in their seeding cans for at least a couple weeks now and plant the chaya cuttings that give me no space in the not-s-great great room.
I need to get to Centro and my flu shot, assuming they got the vaccine in Monday, and to ask William at Ballyhoo if his mama still makes compost and track down Luci the plant lady for more bags of dirt.
While idling yesterday, waiting for the electric company to turn the power back on at the credit union, I bought some serano chilis and free range bacon. The beans are on!
I also started collecting small, sweet squashes to do some pilgrim thing with later this month, since we didn't get any pumpkins on the island.
This supermarket business on the island is really irritating. Locals have always referred to it as inferior. SuperExpress is a San Francisco de Assisi CV enterprise. I now just think it's their scratch and dent raise-the-price attic!
The veggies would not be offered for sale in Cancun. No way. The butcher shop gets de-boned meat. I wanted beef bones to clean up for Lora. No hay. The bones are in Cancun from the loins, etc. You can't even get a bone to scrub that would last forever for your dog. Forget about soup bones for humans!
If you read the papers, San Francisco has all sorts of items for sale, cheap. Here everything is 5 pesos more. I go to Cancun on Tuesday for an appointment my lawyer is taking me to. I will stop and get STUFF that will offset the ferry and cabs fares, if you could get it here!
Which brings me back to the dig. The whole project involved raising the flower beds and making a cement pole fence. With deeper beds, I can grow carrots, radishes, green onions, zuccini. All the stuff that looks like it failed the scratch and dent rack here. And of course, salad greens! Prettier flowers are a bonus.
Well, time to stir the beans and get doggie dog fed. And perhaps, dig a bit before I go!

November 12, 2008

No cash flow!

It's just around the corner - my pot of gold! I have a pension payment on Wednesday and two rental deposits in the mail, people checking in. BUT...
Zina's Guest House has had its gastos - expenses - for two months now. Lucky for the "food to feed an army" bought in anticipation of hurricanes and even more as Mexican pricing started going up with the value of the peso going down, racing the dollar. Enough economics, macro.
In my micro economy, Eriso is reeling from two sick toddlers and a pre-teen daughter as well. He needed cab fare (22 pesos RT) yesterday to go to her school and at the end of the day asked for 50 pesos. He just got paid Saturday! And by the "local" economy, he is well paid.
It's the world economy, he said. The cost of medication has skyrocketed at the hands of the multinationals.
He reads. He, who went to work at age 7 to help his dad raise 5 kids, reads and gets it. He does not think Barak Obama, brown as a Mexican, is going to fix this in 30 days. It can't be done, Eriso says.
He has been watching casual labor go through the job site, most making in 2-4 hours what he makes in a day. All let go when they reached the point of "abuso de confianza" abuse of trust, or simply not earning their wage and expecting more.
Mamita, good to see them go. It's the economy, worldwide, and she is ill, he says. A couple days ago, he met a mason in the park unloading several bags of cement. Got 100 pesos? That's 28 pesos less than Marma charges for a bag of cement. SURE! 28 pesos is a chicken, I replied.
Yes, Eriso. The economy, she is ill. And for another day, I have no cash flow. Caldo de pollo, anyone? My kitchen, she is not ill!

November 11, 2008

It's the stress!

I'm eating breakfast - two slices of toasted multigrain bread with flax seed - and pure Ms Stress is staring ate me, wondering if I will save that last bite and walk it over to her dog dish.
Her brow is furrowed, like this is the most stress she has encountered in weeks. Perhaps it is. But suddenly she has bolted out of the house, El Torro, and I have eaten the last bite. Now she is nudging me with her nose, like I might have hid it. No, you snooze, you lose!
But I hear the tamale guy. "Hay tamales, hay atole, hay masa!" Two, what I call "gorditos" - little fat ones, fat because the banana leaf envelope bulges from the shredded pork added to the top of the masa tamale under the wrapper. 7 pesos. I will give one to Lora for breakfast (cheaper than canned dog food) and save one for lunch, since I didn't snooze and got the last bite of multigrain toast! With flax and yes, butter!
In an hour or so, Carmen is coming by to reorganize and clean the kitchen. She is just the woman for the job.
Longtime guests at my property may remember Carmen. She worked at the tienda named after her daughter, Karina. Carmen charged my cell phone and laptop on a generator after Hurricane Wilma. She would sell me newspapers and tell me to ready page 13 or whatever. She always made sure I got accurate news, but didn't talk politics with me one bit, knowing I was not, as a foreigner, allowed to engage in political discourse.
When Carmen worked Karina's store, she would cook for Karina's family, launder and iron, all the while serving customers, slicing bacon and cheese, counting eggs, stacking soft drinks and beers.
One November she was really sad. She had to get her gall bladder removed. She was scheduled to be the first minimally invasive laproscopic gall bladder surgery on Isla.
Dr. Martinez was having one of the young docs in from Mexico City to do it. Did I know anything about it, because she wanted to be in shape to make Christmas Eve dinner.
I lifted up my shirt and showed her my three puncture scars and the tiny sutures in my belly button. "Can I really cook Christmas dinner one day later?" she asked.
No, they lie. Give yourself a week.
And so, she called Dr Martinez right then and there and moved up the surgical date. And made Christmas dinner for the family.
I saw her afterward. How did it go?
"Fine. But you were right, I needed a week to recover." Carmen, I look forward to working with you! And her days are full now. After she finishes here, she goes to Karina's to watch the toddlers. Mom and Wilmar will be going to work in the restaurants they have a stake in - Angelos and the new Brisas by the Contoy dock.

November 10, 2008

I want to move!

Two nights in the back apartment have me considering moving there next spring! Bigger bedroom space, nice dinette, good closets. I could reserve the kitchen in the main house for me and the guests of the complex and create space for a family of 5 in the main hose, or one bedroom and two daybeds and a trundle in the great room.
Well, it's a lot to think about. Would in effect be creating a true bed and breakfast. But I do love the back house!
Margarita didn't show up today and after her booster talked to me yesterday, I figured she might not.
Seems a bad man has her under his wing and in the sack! And he is a suspected house robber. She probably cased me as not having anything worth stealing.
Her sponsor was very apologetic. We both had the same rule: no lies, no theft.
Margarita told the lady and old man I only paid her 30 pesos. One lie. And that she left the job site because she was hungry. She told me she wasn't the multiple times I offered her food. Eveyone in the area knows I'm generous with food, so Elisa was here asking about that.
And no, she was not the one collecting a commission. The old man, who she first said was an uncle, is getting money from her and apparently she hid it from him.
So, I have a couple other options within the neighborhood for more mature women eager to work. You'd think it would be easier to find someone on an island tourists perceive as poor.

November 9, 2008

In the dark of the night came a knock

I was all ready to head to the rear apartment for the night, just short of hitting the mosquito and flea foggers in my bedroom and living room, when there was a knock on the door.
I turned the outdoor lights and saw men I didn't know. Who? Friends of Marta,they said. The said they had vedona, venison.
They had come from Sacalum bearing the venison that wasn't being slaughtered in torrential rains when I was there.
Venison is farm raised now in villages near Merida, its hunting outlawed to preserve the species.
If my house was being watched, it all looked so suspicious. Two men enter, open a canvas black duffle, not taking time to sit down. My reaching into various brown paper wrappers and taking a pinch to taste. The meat is precooked for preservation and if you've ever handled venison, you know it will be cooked for many more hours!
So, I settled on two have kilo wrappers.
So for one holiday, I'll make venison tacos, a Mexican tradition, and the other, venison chutney, a Zina invention.
And just before that, Adrian came with news about the old laptop - looks like I'll have one to rent out - and authorization to buy a wireless card. And then Adrian set my Dell laptop to feed the printer in the office. Very sweet. Also installed the ink cartridges that were confounding me. Bled them first, all the right stuff.
Earlier in the day, I took the ferry to Puerto Juarez to pick up my Christmas decoration, left behind in the bedlam when Sue and I got back from Cancun on Friday.
Got the three strips of bacon for beans at Mirtita had a mojito at Miguel's, where we traded some stories about Jose and his spendy appetites. He no longer works for either of us. We can't pay him what he thinks he is worth or feed him what he thinks he is entitled to: no ground meat or chicken!
Earlier in the day, I started training Margarita, a sweet young girl from Chiapas, not yet spoiled by the system or taught to steal. But the woman who referred her, a woman I only met twice and who couldn't produce her name, wants 20 pesos a day from Margarita for getting her the job. I might have to fire her and rehire her. She is being paid little because she knows little. And to have someone take 20 pesos from her is not just. It is a kickback! One she agreed to go along with because she knows no one here and has siblings working in Cancun.
She had never swept or washed a floor before, but she did both and she dusted. She did very well, but asked that I check every step of the way. Better that way!
It was time consuming, so I sent her home early so I could go for the Christmas hanging. She'll be back tomorrow and I will teach her over the next two weeks how to make beds and how to do laundry.
Then, she can do laundry for Zina's Guest House clients at the same prices the laundries charge, but it would never have to leave the property. And I would supply the washer and soap. She would have interaction with more foreigners, building her confidence. She has two rules for now: Never lie, never steal - or you are out!
And this morning, I read the fine print on the foggers. Seven months of no flea or mosquito infestation! Great, because while Lora was vaccinated against fleas and ticks, I was not and I think fleas got me. I have little blister-like itchies. Either that, or perhaps a side effect of antibiotics. Either way, with a house dog, it's good to have the house flea proofed!

November 8, 2008

From Dentro del Jardin to hambre!

The trip to Cancun had two agendas: get photos for our visas and shop for our rental properties. I had contracted a Cancun cabbie to take us to a studio, shop and return to pick up photos. It was power shopping to the ultimate degree.
First, the photo studio. Sue mumbled something about it being in a neighborhood that Miguel said wasn't safe. Carlos the cabbie said not to worry.
We posed, we left. On to Sam's Club, in and out in record time. But Sue was very happy she found a lamp set. I got HP printer cartridges, white towels and some foodstuffs.
On to Walmart, where I got a 1 pesos bottle of sweet low cal French. A whole lot more, but when you get something for a peso, it's news! Wayne had told us about a crazy sale earlier in the week and this must have been a leftover.
On to Costco, where Sue got cat food and I a lighted Christmas spray. And then our hambre kicked in. Gotta eat before we go. We asked Carlos to join us, but he had eaten in the Walmart cafeteria.
We had a discount pharmacy stop. And then, we learned the full worth of Carlos. It was drizzling and he went into the photo shop for us. Not done.
Cruising the block, he pointed to transvestite beauty salons. Good looking chics! And at an intersection, said this is where the pick pocketing and purse snatching happens. I said that guy over there looks like a suspect.
"He is working. See the guy on the other side of the street? He spots the easy victims and gives him signals. Necklaces, open purses, wallets inching out of pockets. It's over before the victim knows." And he pulled up in front of the studio and went in for us. Mission accomplished.
Carlos helped the baggage handler get our things sorted and packed on to a luggage dollie in the rain. Sue gave me her hombro again: Hombre, hombro, hambre. Work on theses words, folks!
Came the ferry, came to Isla, and when we got off, the baggage handlers were working about 4 shopper clients and we had to stay on the dock.
Sometime after coming home, Donna Jane came with a bag of tofu and condiments she got by mistake and later I notice the Christmas spray was missing.
A call to UltraMar settled found it and I pick it up in the afternoon. They also have a bag of someone's new clothes.
And Lora doggie dog, in the pet carrier - good for her as she had overworked her injured ankle - was so happy with a new flavor of dog food that she didn't notice a new bag of rawhide. She's a good, but stupid, doggie dog.
Eriso was upset at the rains pushing him behind schedule. To ease his angst a big, I gave him a jar of chili arbol and two cans of tomatoes. Chilis always ease his upsets!

November 6, 2008

It's a big island!

After two weeks couped up with construction work, I had a very social day! First, Gladys stopped by while having her car washed. It was nice for two landladies to compare notes and recessionary strategies.
Lora had been looking for trouble the last few days and encountered it when she tried to play with a guard dog while on muzzle. Gladys noticed her limp first. It got worse until I had to leave and put her in the pet carrier.
Stopped at Sue's looking for Pepe's number, then called him and Delfino, with no luck. Went around the corner from Sue and met Donna, once from Ohio. She and her husband share Negra with Sue.
Then onward. Got 3000 pesos without being pulled down by leash! Ran into the daughter of the man who had picked me up off the ATM room floor and she said he has my glasses! She'll leave them with Miguel. Quick visit with Miguel on the street and andale!
Jose Sosa had some new merchandise from Yucatan, incluidng a nicely decorated cotton dress, almost a huipil and a man from Muna was selling hammocks. I got him down two 300 pesos for a double. Then he said, how about 50 for my wife, who made it! It was still a good deal at 150 pesos less than I could get in nearby Sacalum.
Its a fine quality hammock, almost as nice at the ones coming out of the prison near Merida. I tried to joke with him, asking Miguel Medina if his wife was in prison. He didn't get it. Well, it is a men's prison. Still, I thought it was funny,
After a trip to Dr. Simi and a quick shop at the Super, I stopped at La Justicia for a seaside seafood cocktail. It was a glorious day.
Back at Sue's, Wayne (IslaGringo) stopped to introduce himself to us. Such a glorious sunny day. We kvetched about the plants we can't grow in strong salty winds and talked about nothing of consequence
Soon after I got home, the phone rang. It was Sue saying Delfino was on his way. And I looked out while she was still on the line and there he was.
He gave Lora a pain shot and came back in an hour to examine her, concluding no major bone of hip damaged. And based on her response to the anti-inflammatory with pain killer, said he'd be back in the morning to give her another shot. She looks like such a stoner now!
I reflected on this small island and how big it seems once you leave your neighborhood. It felt like a big city tour! Ah, training for what's to come today when I go get mug shots for my visa and visit Walmart and Costco!
Elisa stopped by in the evening again. She had come the night before since she heard I wanted a white huipil. But the one she had was huge and one she brought Wednesday was trimmed in mauve. I liked it! And she said there is a 15 year old girl from her Maya village looking for work. She can't use her because her math is bad and she is a merchant. But the gal is a hard worker.
She'll stop by with her early on Saturday so I can resume a beach life in the afternoon!

November 5, 2008


Barak Obama's victory will be talked about in historic superlatives for the next weeks. It is a feel good day.
Mexico, on the other hand, lost a huge amount of hope last night with the loss of Interior Minister Juan Carmilo Mourino, who was appointed in January.
Among his varied responsibilities: Waging the war on the drug cartels which are fighting for who "owns" Mexico.
He died in a plane crash in Mexico City. It appears to be a "natural" Lear jet crash. An investigation will determine the cause.
One can only hope that President Felipe Caulderon will find a strong replacement, or the country threatens to be owned by the cartels. With the execution style murders, message sending beheadings, huge monies involved, only the strongest will survive. Then, the nation will be lost to the world's stage without any influence of its destiny.
Happy for my first home, sad for my next one.

November 4, 2008

Facing time

Facebook ate too much of my day yesterday, what with getting caught up on Isla Mujeres's Halloween doings, and getting Fairy'd and Walled by my Friend's kid! I barely had time to Twitter!
But in my daily readings, I learned my former employer, The Plain Dealer, has added Twitter to it's election coverage. I guess you Twitter as you stuff the ballot box! No, I think folks are supposed to Twitter the newspaper if they wait too long for a ballot or something. You can Twitter from your cell or PDA.
At any rate, Eriso never came back after taking the kid to the Centro de Salud. He said the line was really long to be seen. I need to get a flu shot, so I think I'll wait til Thursday.
Lora and I both ate our chicken yesterday. Well, she still has some left. My breasts were so yummy I ate both by the time the day was over. Drunken chicken took one Stella Artois and one Sol. The broth was just too good. I used some chili max, a Maya wild chili, about the size of a pea. I used to just throw a handful in soups and stews. In Sacalum, I learned to pop them like popcorn on the skillet first. That makes them really potent!
Lora and I went out with the Gentle Leader head collar twice. It's making a difference! She is on a short leash, so to speak and there is no pulling!
I did not post last that she took me down twice on outings last week. The worst was at the ATM, when she pulled the leash so hard she just flipped me on to the floor of the bank!
A nice man helped me up and called her what Eriso and the neighbors have started calling her: El Torro.
The golf cart physical fitness program has developed her front body into a board shouldered physique and if she wants out, she just barrels though the screen door, Like a bull!
Last night, I took her running again. Without the head collar, naturally, which makes her really sense the freedom. Of course, with that, goes not listening. So doggy mommy has to stop the golf cart and yell, sometimes get out, to make her pay attention. I think it's her age. By people years, she approaching her teens now. If she had hormones, they'd be raging. It's all attitude!
As for Facebook, I think it's all attitude, too. My friend's daughter and I are friends now. Pretty amazing considering we never met. But like her mom, I promised I won't show Kelly's Facebook to her dad, so I guess I'm kewl or whatever 18 year olds say these days. Ugh.

November 2, 2008

Do you Twitter, etc?

I spent a good bit of Sunday not outdoors in the sun, but fooling around Twitter, Facebook and trying out various Google Gadgets. You can see I have either not taken them on or failed to code correctly go get them into the Blog.
Twitter won't be a problem, I reckon, since early Sunday morning it was embedded in this site, twice, which I tried to correct before Google lost control of the gadget.
Why, might you ask? In that case I think you are over 35 and probably can go on without them. Several of my "older friends," over 40, have nudged me toward Facebook and Twitter. They are following their kids, who think it's not kewl to have Mama on a wall, but Mama's got to go where the younger members of the Chamber of Commerce post and join along.
And a lot of my big city friends in the USA just Twitter. It requires less thought than actually blogging, although you are in and out of it several times a day to say what you are doing. Controlled exhibitionism, I guess. Sharing.
So, I am going to fool around with the gadgets some more, until I at least get Twitter on here and hopefully a couple useful travel tools.
But in the meantime, I'd like to ask, "Do you Twitter or are you intersted in my Twitter? I guess I'll leave the question active 'til Thursday and we'll see what you think. Maybe Google's Twitter tool for Blogs will be fixed in the interim.

Don't ya just love it?

The meteorologists can argue about the chances for one more Caribbean cyclone, but we think the season is clearly behind us. Ohio style September humidity levels. It feels like Indian summer here!
It's enough to put a big smile on Lora's face! But Eriso had to work through the spits and splatters that God dished out through yesterday. His fishing buddies had to have gone out this morning, though. So Lora and I think we are going to a fish fry! Woohoo! Doggie Dog loves fish. But of course, she'd rather have some off the street that ripened a bit. Ah, mi callejera!