Thursday, February 23, 2012

where am I?

Tonight I am in San Miguel de Allende, in a little apartment we have rented for three days. We'll do some dining, shopping, strolling and then head to Patzcuaro for a week. Shame on me for not writing about many things leading up to this vacation. More later.

Friday, February 17, 2012

a strange yellow light

When I woke up this morning there was an unfamiliar yellow light coming through the windows. What could it be? Oh! Sunshine! Hadn't seen any of that for at least a week. It flooded the living room and front balcony with cheery warmth. I quickly stripped the beds, gathered up all the dirty clothes and did two big loads of wash to get things hung out while the good weather holds. It's supposed to be partly sunny for the next couple of days. All this wet has brought out the best in the mosquitoes so we've had spray trucks in town twice; once yesterday in the early evening and again this morning at about 6 AM. We tear around the house shutting all the doors and windows to keep the stench out but that little inconvenience is well worth the bug-free results. According to Chuy there will be another couple of sprays as the town gets ready for carnivale next weekend.

Fernando came yesterday to finish up the painting in the living room. The paint on the "weather walls" bubbles up and peels off in great strips. The cement seems to absorb the moisture and the paint just won't adhere, even if we use every moisture-repelling product on the market. This time is was particularly bad on the NW wall.

Three coats later it looked good as new. In a couple of years we'll have all the walls scraped clean, smoothed, re-plastered and repainted. That's the only way to get an absolutely smooth and even finish. Patch, patch, patch is OK for now, tho.

Across the street from us is a walled lot, unbuilt upon and covered with spiny trees that gradually have grown up to swallow our electric lines and obscure our view. Last week, at our rrequest, Neno the gardener cut down the parts that seriously threatened the wires and that hung over the wall into the street. This caused a great kerfluffle to one of the neighbors who was sure he was breaking some law. After a brief chat this the local policia all was made right and in fact, later in the day a big city garbage truck hauled away all of the cuttings. This morning, Fernando and a mozo came over and went into the lot and cut down three big trees, including the one threatening the lines. He, Fernando, had gone to the presidencia, the local City Hall, to clear it with everyone.

Once the branches surrounding the electric wires were cut away they sagged precipitously. I thought we were going to lose power but the ever clever Fernando went up on our roof and tightened up the lines so they will no longer be a risk to any tall truck that comes up our street. The big improvement is the view. We can now see all the way to the sea (except for the palm trees which, in another couple of years, will be tall enough so we can see through their trunks).

Now some may think that we were better off looking at the trees instead of the wall, but I hardly even see it anymore. It's the glimpses of the blue Pacific I see, and love. Anyway, never fear, those trees will be back in another couple of years. Even if we burned off that lot they would come back. They are post-apocalypse survivors.

Tomorrow's opera: The Barber of Seville by Giocchino Rossini. Starts at noon, our time. That means Dago's tonight for shrimp for my weekly salad. This is going to be a social weekend. Dinner party tomorrow evening to celebrate the visit of our host's sister. Then Sunday afternoon cocktail party to celebrate the host's (a different one this time) birthday. Then next week we have to go to Manzanillo to start the renewal process on our FM3 immigration card. Why this takes more than 1/2 hour I have yet to figure out. But we have to go back in 30 days to pick it up. Est la vida loca aqui in Mexico.

In the time it has taken me to write this, we have lost our sunshine and I am left with 4 lines of wet laundry!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

winter rains

The winter rains have arrived. It started last night about 8 PM and rained both lightly and heavily until early this morning. It was even cold in the night; 2 blankets. Good for the garden, of course, and good for maintaining the standing water breeding grounds for the local mosquitoes. It let up through the morning, with only a brief shower or two. Mr. C became transfixed by the opera beginning at 11 o'clock; I kept to my bed and read. Before that, however, he busied himself in the kitchen making corn meal pancakes topped with yogurt and strawberries; this house does not subsist. Big shrimp salad for lunch, opera or no, from last night's llevar dinner from Dago's. Then a great game of dominoes. By that time, 2 PM, the rain had stopped and the breeze suddenly turned warm and sultry. I made a killing at the game table, celebrated with a glass of wine, then home for more reading. Forecast is for rain tonight and tomorrow. Not sure if we will go to Fernando's tomorrow for comida. We'll wait to see what the weather brings. It's supposed to be turbulent and wet until next Friday when the sun will return.

Friday, February 10, 2012

not a fan of Wagner

I know it's almost heresy to admit this but I am not a fan of Wagner. Therefore, I will probably not listen to the opera tomorrow, Götterdämmerung, even with Deborah Voigt as Brünnhilde. Yes, there is some glorious music but everything in between is too tiresome, and it is 6 hours long. Next week's offering, Il Barbiere di Siviglia is more my style. I will still have my "opera salad" ~ shrimp saved from my Friday night special at Dago's ~ but will cut my listening time short to either play dominoes or read. It's been raining here since midnight last night so we didn't go down to Dago's. Had take-out instead and enjoyed our dinner at home. It's supposed to be rainy and cool for the next few days with occasional thunderstorms. So far it's been a gentle, steady drizzle. I love the sound of the rain in the palm trees outside our bedroom windows. Almost as soothing as the surf.

I am feeling somewhat better today. Good night's sleep, not too much coughing. Better tomorrow.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

cough, blow, sneeze, snooze

You get the idea. Still sick. Spent the day in bed, engaged in the above activities, plus reading and slurping cough medicine. I'll be better tomorrow, I hope. It's Dago night so I have to be well!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

the cough is back

I thought I was getting better but, alas, the cough is back and I am miserable. I managed to finish David Copperfield today (he gets the right girl, Uriah Heep is punished, Mr. Macawber finally has success in Australia after being subjected to "transportation" to escape prosecution for a variety of petty crimes, and "all's well that ends well" (see Shakespeare, Wm.). One quick game of dominoes this afternoon (I won) which I probably should have missed as it didn't do my cough any good.

Beginning the third installment of Daniel Silva's Gabriel Allon books; he's an Israeli agent undercover as an art restorer. Good stuff. Now for a big dose of cough suppressant that will probably put me to sleep in no time.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tuesday events

My cold is much better after treatment with an assortment of OTC and homeopathic remedies. And, of course, a stay in bed while resting and reading. Latest endeavor is "David Copperfield"; almost done and it's as delicious as I remember when the redoubtable Mrs. Howe was teaching me in the 8th grade. She was probably about 50 but seemed to me to be older than Methuselah, with her piled-up and pinned gray hair, cantilevered bosom, lace-up shoes, dark flowered dress and cardigan sweater. "Flush" by Virginia Wolfe was her favorite book and we read that, too. That kind of 50 just doesn't exist anymore.

This evening at about 7:30 we had another quick earthquake jolt. Probably lasted about 5 seconds. Loud noise but not enough of a shake to make anything sway. I wasn't sure we had actually felt it so called Neighbor Nelson. "Yes," assured Ms. Neighbor Nelson, it was a quake. We couldn't find anything on the internet to confirm this except that there had been a quake in Chiapas earlier in the afternoon. This event has stirred us into making arrangements for emergency provisions in the car ~ full tank of gas, garafon of water, flashlights, candles, lighter, batteries, meds. This, of course, is predicated on the idea that in the event of a "big" one our garage doors won't cave in or the roads won't be impassible. I always think of these things when I hear that towns are having a "disaster preparedness drill" involving hospitals, fire departments, etc. How might such "drills" have prepared New Yorkers for 9/11? When disaster strikes it strikes everyone! There's no telling what will be left standing to respond. But it makes me feel better to know that my meds are close at hand and I can take care of my needs while buried under the rubble.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Yes, I have indeed caught a cold and am feeling quite miserable. I had a world-class sore throat when I woke up this morning. I spent the entire day in bed reading "David Copperfield" and dozing, coughing, sipping chicken broth and trying to drown the germs. By tonight I am feeling somewhat better but have decided not to do the Monday tianguis or to venture out for any domino games. In fact, Mr. C and I were going to go to Fernando's puesto today for comida and had to call that off, too.

Lest you think all the news is bad, we were entertained for dinner last night by a delightful Canadian couple and didn't drag home until about 1:30 this morning. Might that have something to do with my condition today? Quite possibly.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Happy Birthday, Vicky

1947 - 2009

She was the best friend I'll ever have. She was my confidant, my co-conspiritor, my foil, my front man. At one time in her life she was my complete and total nemesis. Then she grew up and really wasn't so bad after all. She was smart ~ really smart ~ funny, clever, endlessly inventive, deeply kind and loving. She was also the most disorganized and the messiest person I've ever met. She started dozens of projects and never finished most of them. But her delight in the undertaking of the project was total. She couldn't wait until the blanket or sweater or needlework piece was finished and given as a gift or used at home! When prodded about progress, she would just shrug and murmur something about buying something instead. She loved books, movies, staying in bed all day to read, orange juice, ice cream, beautiful stationery ~ although she never wrote to anyone ~ and ink pens, her family, her friends, her animals. She was uncommonly brave, or perhaps intrepid is a better word. She had a job with the Connecticut Department of Health as an STD counselor which meant she had to go into some less desirable neighborhoods of New Haven looking for possibly infected citizens. (Our mother never knew the exact nature of her job. She thought Vic worked in a doctor's office as a receptionist. It would have been too indelicate to explain to her what STD's were.). She was also brave about her deteriorating health right up to the end. She loved to shop. She didn't care what it was for; clothes, groceries, light bulbs, shoe laces, garden plants, gasoline, plastic household goods. Let's just get in the car and go see what's out there. She loved going to museums, movies, operas, out to breakfast, out to lunch, out to dinner, even out to tea. Other people intrigued her; their stories, their lives, their choices. She was a person of deep sympathy for others, deep empathy. She loved, loved, LOVED to laugh. The longer and harder, the better. She was a woman of strong convictions, a deep moral and ethical streak that gave her some trouble from time to time, but not much. Mostly she knew who she was, and most of the time she liked what she knew. She was always up for mischief. That's what I miss most; the mischief.

She was my sister.

Goodnight, Mrs. Roosevelt, wherever you are.