Wednesday, April 16, 2014

reading progress

As many of you faithful readers are aware, I use a reading machine supplied by a program through the Library of Congress (LOC).  This service has provided me with various reading machines on which I can listen to either tapes or digital recordings also provided by the LOC.  For an avid reader such as myself, this is truly a God send since without it I would be stranded; only my left eye "reads" although, for those of you who might find yourselves as a passenger in a car I am driving, I can actually see just fine for all other purposes.  It's just reading that's a problem.

This is the first reading machine I received, probably seven years ago.  It plays double-sided tapes that I either listen to through earphones or through the machine's own speakers. It is portable; the batteries last about 18 hours.  Then it has to be plugged in again and recharged.  When it won't hold a charge any longer, back it goes for a replacement.  All of the equipment, tapes, postage is free. I lugged it everywhere but thought it was such a great addition to my life.

After a few years of having this type, the LOC service began recording (and re-recording) books in a digital format on small cartridges.  I was asked if I wanted to try this new format and, of course, I did.  Here is what they sent as the latest iteration for listening to books.

Size-wise, it was like going from a big dictionary to a medium size novel.  The cartridges came in the mail, one book to a cartridge.  The cartridge is about the size of a credit card; I can also download books onto a flash drive.  The machine holds a charge for about 30 hours; then you plug it in, recharge it, and carry on.  I download books from the LOC site onto my computer, then dragged them onto a cartridge, which will hold as many as 10 books.  Now when I traveled, I could take a month's worth of reading along with me.  And if I wanted something else, I could go on to the LOC site and download a new title.

Then the service jumped miles ahead and announced that members could download books onto an iPhone, iPad or iPod.  Here's my new reader.  It fits in my pocket!

I went to the Apple store in Sacramento on Monday and purchased this little beauty.  Let me say first that it hasn't been easy to figure this thing out, but I finally was able to download the right App, get on to the site and download ONE book ~ Diane Johnson's L'Affaire, which I've already read but I was getting so frustrated I just downloaded the first book I found.  (For the sake of full disclosure I must add that I had to call Andrew for help!)  But practice will make perfect, I hope.  After watching the people in the Apple store ~ no one over 25, I'm sure ~ I've decided this tech stuff is for kids with really good eyesight (it's all so tiny even though I bumped up the font size) and tiny little fingers!  But I will persevere and, believe me, it's going to be worth it.

Here are all three machines.  Which would you choose?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

up and away

We're off to the airport in a couple of hours for the long trip home.  Everything is packed up, stowed in big plastic bags, stacked up on the sofa or the beds.  Fernando will be here at 1:30 to pick us up and that will be it for anotheer season.  So here are a couple of last glimpses of life in this seedy little Mexican beach town.

The last night of lights for our beautiful hacienda by the sea.  This is a good shot of the second floor terrazza looking from the sea side all the way through to the mountains.

Our last sunset of the season.  Adios, y hasta Diciembre.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Papalotes in last night's sky.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

the week of lasts

This was to be the week of "lasts" such as "last evening at Dago's" and "last tinaguis" and, today, "last trip to Tecoman, to La Bodega and crazy Carmelita's for hair cut".  Instead, it appears we have the "last gasp" of Jack's car.  We got ready to go to Tecoman but, alas, the car decided to die in the garage.  So instead, while awaiting a house call from Felipe, the mechanic par excellence over in Armeria (imagine!  a mechanic who makes house calls and isn't part of AAA) I am doing the last load of darks in our ancient washing machine, finishing the pack-up of the closet ~ these T-shirts stay, these go home ~ while listening to "A Hologram for the King" by Dave Eggers.  So as far as future auto trips to finish out the visit, maybe yes, maybe no.  I was hoping to have one last 50 peso hair cut before I have to segue into the $50 kind.  We'll see what Felipe has to say.

Last Sunday we had our last   ~ our ONLY ~ brunch party with two of our favorite guests.

It was warm and quiet so we ate out on the 2nd floor terrazza with the sun pouring in on one end and a light sea breeze wafting through from the other.  Perfect Sunday brunch weather.

I made a quiche (Mr. C made his perfect-every-time crust) and with a crispy salad it was a lovely meal.  And we had plenty of time to get caught up on, among other items, village gossip of which there is hardly any!

Monday was, indeed, my last tinaguis.  I thought it might also be the last domino game but we all agreed to meet again next Monday for the true last game.  Almost all the players have gone; two of us leave next week and those still here are  hearty souls who live here year around.

Tuesday was an out-to-breakfast date with friends at the ever-lovely Morelos Hotel in the village center.  Yesterday was more packing, cleaning, tossing, arranging and list-making.  Today, see above.  Tomorrow will, in fact, be the last Dago's.  Saturday will be the last beach opera of the season, La Boheme (a wonderful send-off).  The next one I hear will be from my own radio in my own house.

So that's how it's going from here, where the sun is shining, the sea is sparkling and rolling in and out gently, and the laundry dries in half an hour.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Saturday night lights

Saturday night at the beach.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Another gripping tale of life at the beach.

At about 1:30 AM Mr. C got up and walked out onto the upstairs terrazzo.  What caught his eye was a flickering glow coming from the housing for the hot water heater.  He opened the little door and there were flames shooting up the side of the house wall.  Always thinking fast, he first tried to smother the flames with . . .flour.  That didn't work so he raced downstairs and turned off the main gas valve.  When he got back, following in his flour-y footsteps, the fire was out.  There was apparently a leak between the hose and the regulator.  I slept on soundly.  I knew nothing until about 7 AM this morning when he said, "Come and get a cup of coffee and I'll tell you something to shock and amaze."  I must have looked stricken, because he added, "Nobody died."

This is the hot water heater (el boiler) in its little closet

Here are the controls, covered in baked-on flour

Scorched wall
Fernando was here by 8:30, checking it all out.  He turned off the water, took off some of the parts and went off to Armeria to buy new ones.  We should be back in business by this afternoon.

Never a dull moment . . .

Alex takes off for home this afternoon after 10 days of R & R, along with some dominoes, beach walks, good reads.  Kids went back last Sunday.  We head home two weeks from today.  Much to soon.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Dago's in black and white . . .

Dinner last night at Dago's, as usual.  The host and hostess in black and white.

The whole crowd in living color.  It was a lovely evening!  That's Em off in the blaze of shadow in the right.

Today I did not listen to the opera ~ Wozzeck by Berg ~ but instead played a fast game of dominoes, took a swim and got ready for comida prepared by Chuy but served at home.  This evening there was a little margarita party down at El Chino's to say adios to S and P who leave on Thursday to return to the US.  Now we're home to have a light supper of salad and whatever else we find.  Tomorrow we'll stroll over to the Siete Mares for desayuno and then Andrew and Em head off to the airport for an afternoon flight to Los Angeles.  It's been an awfully fast week!