Friday, December 19, 2014

a better laundromat

We drove over to Tecoman to pick up the new washing machine this morning.  Fernando hauled it home in his little truck and, together, he and Mr. C got it all hooked up and, we hope, working.

This is the old one.  It gave us 13 years of hard work.  Adios, amigo
I hope this new, bigger one does as well.

First, though, we have to figure out how to actually operate it.

This could take awhile since Mr. C neither speaks nor reads Spanish.  But I have come to the rescue and think I know what to do next.  In the process of reading the manual I have learned two wonderful new words:  un chasquido (click) and un zumbido (buzz).  We'll try it out tomorrow as see what happens.

Speaking of "buzz" here's a local critter report.  Mr. C  saw a lone wasp starting a nest on the ceiling of  the balcony.  So he armed himself and went after it. 

When the spray wafted over to the lantern, a whole colony of wasps took off.  Well, they didn't all make it to safety.  Many of their brethren were left behind, victims of wasp hutzpah at trying to squat on our balcony.

There are also many on the floor.  Before too long, scouts who had been out doing whatever wasp scouts do, returned to find the condo empty, their neighbors dead or gone, the light bell saturated with poison.  No place to land.  (Like the Japanese who flew off their aircraft carrier to conduct a raid on troops on Midway while their ship was being sunk.  They returned to find no carrier, just an oil slick.  Now what???)  In the cool of the morning Mr C. will give the place another dose to fend off another settlement.

It's Friday so it's Dago's.  Shrimp, of course.  Report on that tomorrow.

Don't forget that the Met Opera's Saturday radio broadcasts live from NYC have started.  Tomorrow is "The Marriage of Figaro" at noon our time.   Enjoy!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

9 ways to spend your time (and money)

Today was all about getting business taken care of.  Stops as discussed below all involved the exchange of pesos and were either in Tecoman or here.  No matter; it all worked.

First:  the Bodega to look at washing machines.  Several types.  Let's make it real easy both for us and for the inevitable repair man.  We liked the Whirpool; no computer components.   Just put in the dirty clothes, wash, take out.  But I wanted to check others so we moved on.  Shopped for some aceitunas (olives) so I can make focaccia.

Second:  Bancomer to pay the feidecomisario to the bank for the privilege of using the land our house sits on.  Now this is always an adventure because (a) the person who did it last year is now a teller someplace else and that instant of history is lost or (b) the bank is chock full because of the holidays.  We lucked out this year (sort of).  It wasn't jammed up and, best of all, the woman who has helped us in the past was there, although she wasn't at the window.  The (very) young woman recognized Marie's signature and went into the back and brought her out.  We were delighted to see her.  She walked the newbie through it, we paid and were out of there in about 20 minutes.

Third:  the other bank to get another load of pesos.

Fourth:  the bacon and cheese store to pick up the Parmesan we ordered and get another slab of cheddar.

Fifth:  the vivero to buy a new, huge flower pot to accommodate a plant that had blown over and broken its original container.  Throw in three poinsettia's and we moved on.

Sixth:  Back to the Bodega to pay for the washing machine we liked.  Fernando, Mr. C and I will go back tomorrow to pick it up and hope that between the three of us we can get it connected.  If not, call Elias!

Seventh:  Raul came back this afternoon to repair our screen sliders.  New screens in two of them, new rollers on all.  Smooth!

Eighth:  the beer man stopped to see if we wantd to get on his delivery route.  Absolutely.

Ninth:  the Telmex engineer came by and fixed the phone and the internet.  We've been without the phone since we got here and the internet has been very sporadic.  Works fine now.

Heard that daughter Alex arrived safely in Buenos Aires.  You know how mothers are;  they worry.  All is right in our world tonight.  Hope you can say the same for yours.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wednesday already

Where does the time go?  It's Wednesday already and it seems like we just got here.  I'll take the update one day at a time and see if I can remember what's happened.

Up at 2 AM, into the van at 3:55, at the airport at 4:30, in the waiting area by 5:10, on the plane at 5:45, airborne at 6:15 on our way to Los Angeles.  It was raining heavily when we walked out the door and we were greeted with more rain in LA.  Out of one terminal and into another to check in for the flight to Manzanillo.  Flight delayed one hour while we awaited the passengers from another flight that had been delayed.  We finally got out at 11:45 (1:45 here).  Arrived to the utter chaos that is the ZLO airport.  It took about 1 1/2 hrs. to get through passport control, recover our luggage, navigate the swarm of sniffer dogs ~ they discovered carrots, celery and cherry tomatoes in our luggage and confiscated them.  Carrots, for God's sake!).  One more inspection of the baggage, turn in the declaration papers and we finally pushed through the doors into the airport at almost 6 PM.  The first thing I saw was Fernando's beaming smile, a mighty welcome sight.  Home by 7:30 to a wonderful dinner prepared by Chuy.  First thing we did was hook  up the modem and try to log on.  It worked, but only long enough to send out one message, then it died.  No phone, no internet.  A couple of Indio's, hot chiles rellenos and we fell into bed, lulled by the soft sounds of the ocean.

Now came the daunting task of getting things cleaned up, arranged, stowed, etc.  The kitchen was the first project and it was a mess, mainly because of the awful mold that had accumulated in the drawers and cupboards during the hot, humid summer.  Everything that we left behind had to be inspected, cleaned or tossed.   I graciously left Senor C. to do that while I unpacked, looked out to the sea and marveled at how in 12 hours I had gone from a dark, rainy, cold place to this warm, sunny spot.  Que milagro.

our first sunset of the season
Early trip to Tecoman to lay in stores.  We filled up the cart and were back home in an hour.  I decided to do some laundry but the washing machine had other ideas.  No go.  No sierve.  OK, so put "new washing machine" on the next shopping list.  But, after all it's 13 years old, sits unused for 7 months a year, wasn't very expensive in the first place, so what can you expect?  We'll look Thursday when we go into Tecoman again.  The rest of the day was spent with more cleaning, unpacking, searching out stuff I know I left but can't find!  No phone, no internet.

Off to tianguis.  Nothing has changed except perhaps even more clothing stalls.  My vegetable man greeted me with a big smile and a handshake.  Again I marveled at the abundance of beautiful, cheap produce, bought enough to fill my two bags, gave everything the once-over, and came home.

Oranges anyone?
 Aside:  I am currently reading Michael Pollan's "Cooked."  I can't recommend it hightly enough. 

In one chapter he details the making of a mirepoix as a flavoring agent.  So I bought enough of its ingredients ~ onions, carrots, celery ~ to make it.  Right after lunch I launched into this project.  I chopped and diced, and re-diced, sweated and sauteed and ended up  super delighted with the outcome.  My veggie man was selling big bags of small Roma tomatoes so I bought one, ground them up and added them to the mirepoix, added garlic, a jalapeño and some cilantro and ended up with a fabulously rich and tasty sauce.  It's to go with an eggplant/zucchini/cheese dish. 

Senor C. has come down with a cold so things slowed way down.  Even so, he went off to Tecoman to visit his money and bring some home ~ the ATM's were not working when we were there on Sunday ~ and eyeball the washing machines at the Bodega, a sort of mini-WalMart.  We have to go back on Thursday and will do some comparative shopping there and at a couple of other appliance stores.  Raul the window man showed up to fix some of the screen sliders that have frozen in place.  I have an old equipal table that needs to be fixed; the top is very badly weathered so I think I'l get Pedro, the carpenter, to build me a round top that will seat 6 and we'll put it up on the 3rd floor under the palapa.  I've wanted a better table up there for years and now's my chance.

On the family front, Alex left today for a visit with Emily in Buenos Aires.  Andrew and Ariel follow next week for a big family Christmas.  Then they all return home the end of December.  Bien viaje to all.

That's today.  So there you have it, more or less.  Senor C. is NOT feeling any better but insists on soldiering on.  I'm going out this afternoon for a domino game and to check out doings on the malecón.  I hear that there was a lot of damage done to the puestos both by the big storm earlier in the summer and by the federales who tore down several  that didn't have the proper permits.  Dago's was one that got razed.  I'll take pictures.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

estamos aqui

 Yes, we're here but we have had no internet until this morning.  Don't know how long it will last so this has to be fast.  All well.  Actually, Mr. C has turned up with the beginnings of a nasty cold so we're in for it for a couple of weeks.  House still standing but needs work.  Weather gorgeous.  More later, with picture.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

off to the hot

We've been getting serious rain all day here in the thirsty valley.  Anyone listening to the radio or watching TV over the past couple of days has heard all about the disaster that's about to befall Northern California and the west coast of Oregon.  Yes, it's wet and windy but as of right now what we've had is a steady downpour, not a deluge.  We, of course, are keeping an eye on the weather map since we  have to be out of the house by 3:45 AM tomorrow morning.  I was quite concerned yesterday, thinking about having to cancel reservations, rebook, etc.  But as of now it all looks like a "go" from here to LA.  It's raining there, too, but not enough to cancel the flight to Mexico.  At least not now.

Moving on from the weather front to the entertainment front, I heard an interview with Alan Cumming conducted by Terry Gross a few days ago.  I am a huge Cumming fan.  He's like Meryl Streep in his gift of linguistic imitation.  His "real" accent is very Scottish, but he does the flat, affect-less accent of the American mid-west just perfectly, as in Eli Gold on The Good Wife.  His German accent in Cabaret is. as it is meant to be, sharp and very guttural and just perfect.  So anyway, in this interview, Terry asked him about this movies and he mentioned The Anniversary Party.  The Flix® had it, I asked for it, I watched it yesterday.  Great cast; Cumming, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kevin Kline, Gwyneth Paltrow to name a few.  Cumming as a younger man (he was 36 in the film) is interesting to watch especially in light of his later work.  It starts as a fairly innocuous story that gradually devolves into utter chaos.  It was fun watching these actors in their younger days.  Written and directed by Cumming and Leigh.

It's adios from the wet and soggy valley.  Tomorrow it will be ¡Hola! from the beach.  I don't know what I've done to deserve such a gift, but I'll take it and not ask too many questions.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

lights, camera, not a lot of action

Last night I had a splendid Thai dinner with Erin, then we drove through parts of town looking at the lights displays.  Since we have all been warned about the coming BIG storm I think many people have delayed their decorations.  Or at least that's how I would interpret the appalling lack of same.  But here are a few that were quite bright and cheery.

The owner of this house does a bang-up job of decorating every year.  Erin knows him and told me that he actually makes all of them from odds and ends of parts he finds.  It's quite a show that includes Santa, Snoopy, rockets, reindeer, wreathes, stockings, and much, much more, all of it in lights.

We walk by this house every morning and have been looking forward to seeing it at night.  So here it is in all its electrical glory.  It's a bit hard to see but on the right side of the picture in the back is a big inflatable Santa.  This place also had music playing.

If you stand real still you can almost hear the spinning of the electric meter!

I look forward to this display every year.  It's next door to us on a flag lot and it's a group effort.  The arches span the driveway and at the end is the Abominable Snowman.  So bright and cheery on a dark and stormy night!

I wish I were going to be here next week and could see now things fared in the coming wind and rain!

One more photo from the Thanksgiving trip to Bozeman.  I took this on Friday, looking from Cait's house across the city to the Bridgers.  The sun was setting and the snowy peaks gleamed.  Nice.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

another winner from the Flix®

 I got everything on my list taken care of yesterday so I rewarded myself with this movie from instant watch:  Le Week-End starring two of Britain's finest actors (and one of our just OK actors).  Jim Broadbent (Nick) and Lindsay Duncan (Meg) play a married couple who go off to Paris to celebrate (I use that word advisedly) their 30th wedding anniversary.  They run in to an American friend of Nick's, Morgan (played by Jeff Goldblum).  At a dinner party held at Morgan's apartment, the couple comes to an unexpected view of their rather tepid life together.  It is quite a splendid story photographed in the most beautiful city in the world by a cinematographer who obviously loves the place as much as I do.

Today I checked off the list a trip to the city offices to suspend our garbage pick-up; anyone staying here carries out whatever they carried in!  I suspended the Flix® service; since I would see instant watch via a Mexican server movies will all be in Spanish and (a) I just don't want to work that hard and (b) the selection of titles is not very good.

Tonight it's out to dinner with friend Erin and a drive through town to look at the Christmas lights.  I'm hoping people have not decided to take decorations down based on the dire warnings of local weather forecasters.  We're due a huge storm starting sometime tomorrow, lasting through Thursday and into early Friday.  Not good news for us travelers.