March 30, 2009

We were raised that way

My brother has not lost the touch and perhaps I have spent too much time in Mexico, where eating utensils don't seen so important. But this is my brother at the Soggy Peso yesterday tackling a plate of baby back ribs.
We recounted to each other what neat, mannered eaters we were in our youth(s). Dad took him to a dinner meeting once where cornish hens were served. Never once did he touch it. Every scrap of meat was removed by knife and fork.
I did pretty well with the baby back ribs yesterday, too. But hey, they were fork tender. I did have to goad my brother into picking up salbutes and some other foods considered finger foods. But our parents did in fact raise us to know that the only finger food is a canape.
Where have everyone else's manners gone?

March 26, 2009

Luv'd the breakers!

I broke my own rules this year when I rented to a couple spring breakers. Of course, I Googled them first and learned Kelsey is a dean's list student who runs track and specializes in the 10k!
But they were extraordinary and a bright spot amongst so-called adults!
They did not drink to excess. They did not pour bacon fat down the drains and then ask, "But what were we supposed to do with it?"
They brought a lap top and studied how to create an on line business and Tyler looked for "penny" houses and lands to buy. As soon as they arrived, they PayPal'ed me their balance.
Kelsey ran 5 times around the salina every day for the team. 10K. Tyler rode my bike along side until he was sure the area was safe.
She cooked when Tyler went into town to turn back a scooter. They walked to the zoo and played with the spider monkeys. They played with my dog Lora and I like that in a renter!
They turned the water heater off when they were gone to save energy. When the island water main broke on the Cancun side, they showered at Zama and used my larger reserve tank to clean up here. They were troopers.
They found a 25 peso chicken sandwich on Playa Norte and and 3 tacos for 25 pesos at a kiddie carnaval. They kept themselves hydrated.
From money they said from within their vacation budget, they did an AI day at Garrafon.
They did not stain thick towels with henna, nor steal them to wrap around Cuban rum in their luggage.
At their young age, they have been a couple for 3 years and obvious best friends. They treated me with respect, but not like a den mother. When I told them we don't flush toilet paper they thought it interesting and complied. No doors were kicked in!
If you study this page, you will see they wrote a nice Trip Advisor Review on the property! They are very responsible adults and welcome back here any time. So much for the spring breaker stereotype!
And as a plus - I have a couple more good Facebook friends!

March 23, 2009

The way we were

That's my brother with me last summer at a family function. We have a volatile relationship probably involving 13 years and 3 days separating us. Plus he's an engineer and I was a writer/reporter. He has half a brain, like I do. Both would benefit a bit from each other's half.
So he is on his way now, arriving shortly after noon. USA Transfers and he'll be here into to hit a beach club, or take inventory of my property's deficiencies.
Whatever happens, this is going to be life changing. The last time we spent a week together, I was 5 years old and he was going away to college. I was learning to read and write Russian and he was done with dad's curriculum. Now, he barely speaks Russian and I barely speak Lithuanian. Thank God for English, because we really are from two different planets!

March 18, 2009

Victory Garden update

Been harvesting spinach. Now this! And the zucchini are in full bloom! An inundation will soon follow! Today, carpentery and a roof for the pool.

March 16, 2009

Livin' la Vida Floja doggie style

Words fail me. How can a dog be so lazy? And she didn't even run today.

March 13, 2009

No, not a pic from the rear! Mom!

Adrian the dog groomer was back from showing his Rottweiler and his pug in Mexico city and ready to groom Lora.
Lora acted appropriately humiliated the whole time, but with clean ears and a neat pedicure and anti-tick shot, she's now styling and grateful to have her hair thinned out since we are definitely getting warm! Now, she's just another hot babe. A streetwalker. Callejera.
Since Adrian is next to Oaxaco, owner of the car wash, I call this the dog wash.

March 11, 2009

Room with a View, Part II

After some hours of sun, Janice and I returned to a stronger Barbara. Erik the nurse had been in and out, forcing her to take her Cipro and drink electolyte fluid made from a power the Centro de Salud forces on everyone here. She didn't like the taste. Oh well!
Erik then returned to change the dressing on Janice's foot, which had a plantar's wart removed while she was staying at Zina's Guest House. Erik works with my doctor, Dr. Salas, who also is in charge of medical emergencies at the Palace.
Erik's quite the pro at age 22!We then went to dinner downstairs. Barbara had chicken broth with some pieces of chicken in it and a fruit and vegetable salad, no dressing, following doctor's orders of no fats or oils...although she did have a spoonful of guacamole prepared at the table.
Janice and I had filet mignon surg and turf, the seafoood being shrimp. And I was the only one who had desert....Amaretto flan! It came on a plate I tought had a ceramic pattern in it. No, the kithcen painted the flowers with syrups and marmelades!
The cost of treating me to such luxury, including having the napkin unfolded and placed on my lap by waitstaff, was $80. It was wonderful. But to telll you the truth, the filet wasn't better than Ballyhoo's $10 filet mignon and aside from fruit and eggs, about $5.00 in the colonia, and a few glasses of wine and champagne, maybe an $8 of Chilean Brutt's worth over the day, well, it's just me, but I don't quite get why people pay this much to dine in Mexico.
Barb and Janice, Thank you. Without you, I would never have seen the inside!
And on my way out, I accelerated after the gate was opened, and I heard "Zina!" The guard motioned me over to take my bracelet off. As he did, do you know who I am? David. David?
"I was one of the youths, a carpenter, you hired after Hurricane Wilma. It is a great memory every time I see you drive by."
Now I'll know to wave at you, with the stylish haircut. David!

Room with a view, Part One

This is the view from Room 204 in Isla Mujeres Palace Resort. This is how the view was taken in by one of my hosts.
Barbara had gone late for dinner and the steam table was cold, or tepid. Note to others, do not eat tepid food in an all-inclusive or show up late for dinner!
While Eric the nurse consulted Dr Salas, got her on Cipro and electrolytes, Janice and I went to...the breakfast buffet!
We got the fruit, but ordered our eggs made on the grill while we watched. The poached eggs in cream in the buffet were cold!
Then we spent the afternoon at the pool and got pasta made to order. Champagne, well a Mexican Brut, was being served.
I swam laps withe fins in the pool and made fast friends with some Clevelanders on a day trip from the Moon Palace.

Tomorrow, Barbara's outcome and dinner!

March 10, 2009

Hard dog's life

Lora and I are enjoying Kelsey and Tyler a lot! The are atypical spring breakers! They are doggie dog people. Once Kelsey learns the path around the Salina, she's racing Lora. Ha! Lora did 40K per hour at dawn! Kelsey's specialty is 10k. Tyler is using the WiFi to create a business plan. He is against "spring break" behavior. He was born in Fort "Liquor"dale.
We went on a bit of an island tour yesterday, to Manana's and to a moped rental, where the mechanic took us to another for a better deal! Then they explored behind the golf cart, with me pointing out spots of interest and they were off, to report later that they had found a 25 pesos chicken sandwich on Playa Norte! Who knew.
Then I was off to Miguel's to meet up with Beth and Larry and receive their gracious gifts, including Liquid Smoke and Larry's cucumber habanero relish. Can't wait for my brother and me to taste that! He'll be here in less than two weeks! Thank you Larry and Beth!
Saturday night, Jimmy the Cop and his son Matt treated me to dinner at Daisy and Raul's and I I acted as chauffer. And after alambres, sopa de pollo and salbutes, Matt, studying to be a pilot at a private college, wanted to go to Miguel's Moon Lite and drink some beers with his dad. Another atypical spring breaker!
Miguel's has been hoppin'. The new location gives his oldie's band room to stretch out and crank it up. Miguel's wife and daughter and an occasional friend are kept running! Woo hoo.
Today I am headed for the Isla Mujeres Palace for 12 all-inclusive hours of fun in the sun and dining room! I'm taking pictures!

March 7, 2009

A quick update on "Baby"

You may recall the post a couple weeks ago, one titled She's not crying any more." Baby is a woman a few years younger than me back home near Minerva, OH. She's the sister of my best friend back there, a guy from my high school class, whose parents are my landlords.
Anyway... Baby had been living the life of a spousal abuse victim in this, her second marriage, a brief one of about three years with two teenage sons from her first marriage, where she was also beaten. None back home knew about this one's problems because it was mostly outside the house.
No one knew except for me and Barb Breckenridge. Barb got shoved by the guy a few times visiting. I caught Baby in short sleeves and she was vague about how it happened, saying at work. I started shooting pics to document what I suspected was a problem. I had her moving lie a runway model for the shoot!
And then my friend called one day and said into the voicemail, "She's in trouble and says you took pictures that might help her."
Since I saw her, her husband had retired from the job and really started working her over when she came home after her shift Then he locked her out of the house. So I produced them and email them to a mutual friend, Alan, who has a computer. He burned a disc of the pix.
She went to a lawyer who took them to the sheriff.
So, her old man was picked up on spousal abuse charges, served a restraining order, and she got her things out of the house. He also paid her back her tax refund and other money or hers he had taken. They went to court of the spousal abuse charge the lawyers produced my pics and email and Barb testified. They then verbally agreed to seek dissolusionment. She just wants what she took into the marriage.
She spent last night at Barb's with the boys, had a few glasses of wine over dinner and is getting ready ready for spring. She's got a new apartment to fix up and her life will soon be free and clear. She's over 30 years with a defense contractor, so she will be fine without a man.
My friend's got my Ohio handicapped card and sending it via a mule. All is well in my little world!
Today I clean and exercise in the pool and go downtown to meet friends. First, I have put a pot of vegetable soup on - fresh spinach from the garden, chopped yam, cabbage, tomato, etc. In a few minutes Carmen is due for the never ending work around here.
Tomorrow, I'll go see Fran and Shirley with Lora and greet new arrivals in the evening. Life is good!

March 6, 2009

Women on a mission

We could have been in a pick up truck for all the class we had. We had a mission, to get our teeth updated! Neither Fran nor I had had a cleaning and check up in the last year. Shirley lost a crown while packing in Chicago to meet up with Fran at Mar y Sol, where Lora has some friends among the regulars. They arrived at my house with their noisy golf cart, running rough, about 50 minutes before we were due at the dentist's office. Francisco J. Canales Dominguez is an oral surgeon with the Navy who has opened a private practice with a newly outfitted office. Very nice.
So I told him we'd be there at 5 pm. The girls come in as I'm wrapping things up and wait until I tell Lora to get in her carrier...zoom, she does. I picked up the wrong ATM card, and Fran went back inside to get it. Then we were off!
Their golf cart is a whole lot faster than mine because they got big tires put on it with a jacked up chassis. It also presents a problem for Shirley and me to get in and out of. The back is higher, so Shrley takes it, and as we are going against the wind, Shirley is saying she's gonna drive home because Fran is stalling out when she slows and then jackrabbiting! Hold on girls, Fran shouts, and Shirley holds on to her girls. Wink wink.
Along they way, against the wind, we shout to each other about how petrified we are. We all hate going to the dentist.
We arrive 5 minutes early, enough time to see the beautiful hotel lobby with a coffee shop that sells the kinds of things that dentists hate and the new setting for Cazuela M & J at the building's entrance. We sit down and the dentista opens his door. Shirley makes the sign of the cross and enters. Fran goes to the coffee shop, checks it out and brings me a bottled Starbucks cappucino.
I am called by Canales Dominguez to tell Shirley that he is going to clean the root canal, repost and build up and seat the crown. It will cost $90.
I return to the lobby and Fran and I yell to Shirley a few times over the space at the top of the wall. We could hear everything that was going on. Sheiza, she said. That's shit in German. Shirley is not German.
I am called back in to translate. It's going to take 45 minutes. Oi vey, she says as I leave. This is a woman who made the sign of the cross. I sit back down. 45 minutes later to the minute, exactly, Shirley walks out smiling. He's so gentle, she says, smiling. Fran goes in with me.
He says it will cost $40. We taunt Fran, too, a payback from Shirley! Mmyaumya, she responds with the dentist's hands in her mouth. Then it's my turn.
I only have pesos, I say. He quotes me 650 pesos. Ok, but I'm a resident. He smiles and tells me to sit down. The first time he told me to rinse, I just swallowed. Hey, I forgot to reach for the water cup. I was stressing. I heard the girls leave. No assuring taunting for me!
Soon I am done. He notes I have a small cavity that can wait. It has waited two years, really.
I'm done and don't have 50 pesos. He can't make change, so I get off for 500 pesos. The girls are back...they went to get a beer for Shirley's post dental nerves. They want to get out of there but the dentist calls me in to translate. A gringo woman broke a tooth badly. He examines. He tells me what needs to be done. She want so know how much. $300 route canal, post and build up, porcelain crown. She says she is leaving on the 14th, yadayada, the doc could get it done, the lab could be paid for a rush job, yadayada. The girls want to go. Shirley at the wheel, pulls up curbside so I don't have to step down, and repeats in front of the drug store for me.
And we're off into the night with the wind at our backs. I inside and let Lora out of her pet carrier. She sniffs my things, decides I haven't been near a dog or food, and goes to her bed in my bedroom. I join her but first brush my teeth. End of story!

March 1, 2009

Where has Zina been? Uh, eating....

First, it was the "Cleveland Delegation." First, me on the left, then Kristina Kuprevicius Dunn, Jules Belkin, Jb Dunn, Marci Belkin, Chris Hixson and Mitch. They wanted some authentic local food, so on Friday night, we went to Baltazar and Gloria and Loncheria La Gloria, who made coconut shrimp and garlic grouper with fantastic veggies: broccoli and zuccini pulled together by avacado! Who'd have thought...There were also baked potatoes. We ate family style, off the four orders of shrimp and three orders of fish.
I had a diet coke, everyone else had a beer and we had three orders of guacamole. Total bill, a tad over 1,000 pesos.
This morning, my guests of two weeks, Barbara and Janice were rousted out of bed to be at a conchinita pibil stand at 7:15 to meet the Cleveland Delegation, who wanted to be shown the ropes.
Kneeling is Kristina, and at the left is Jb and Marci with Barbara and Janice. Haven't heard back from the Cleveland Delegation abouth how they like Maya pulled pork, but Barbara said it was the best pork she ever had. Our amount cost 50 pesos and netted three tacos each. The Cleveland Delegation got a kilo for 250 pesos.
On Saturday night, the Cleveland delegation opted to break up and head different ways. Barbara and Janice and I went to La Bruja, where the seafood was fresh, nearly as fresh as my friend Daniel, who was there with his Atlanta Delegation.

Daniel wasn't sure how he like his new hairdo, a bedhead look Michelle styled for him! Muy hip! Barbara and Janice couldn't get over me eating octopus! Really yummy.