Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Eve treat

Neighbor Nelson is always looking out for others' welfare, mine included.  A couple of weeks ago he sent me an email extolling the virtues of a French bakery he discovered in Barra de Navidad, a resort town 70 miles north of here.  The implication was that I could just nip up any time and load up on croissants, baguettes, etc.  Ha!

So when he said, on Christmas evening, that he was heading up to Barra I asked him to make a bakery run.  And he did, or actually one of the J boys did (thanks, Jeff!).  So this morning we had croissants aux amandes and half of a pain chocolate.  A very yummy treat indeed.  Not Paris, but then nothing is Paris except Paris.

This evening we're heading out to Land's End to the last house in the colonia for a New Year's Eve gathering, early enough so the assembled guests can go on to whatever blowout fiesta they might find. and there are usually plenty of them.  We, on the other hand, will be tucked up by 10 PM, if history is any guide.

To all who may stop by these pages, and to those who don't, may 2015 be a year of good friends, good food, good books, good adventures, good laughs, good health and, above all, peace in our time.

Monday, December 29, 2014

day and night

We went to the street market this morning, of course, after replacing the tire that went flat.  Took about 1/2 an hour and cost $40 US.  Not bad.

The first time I ever went to the tianguis was in 1990 with a dear friend, Peg.  In fact she is the one who originally introduced us to Cuyutlán.  To get the full introduction to the market we stopped at this stall for breakfast.  It's located right in the middle of the market.  In fact, it's in the median of the street!

For your desayuno pleasure you can get tacos, rich and meaty pozole, huevos rancheros.quesdillas and other "street food."  Coffee and tea, soft drinks, fruit waters.  I haven't eaten there since but the smells are enough to make your mouth water.

Here's what the sky  looked like at our house last night.  Were you as lucky?

Sunday, December 28, 2014

what could go wrong?

This is the question Mr. C asks before almost any enterprise he enters into.  Normally, the answer is "nothing."  This morning, however, it wasn't.

I was scurrying around in preparation for our imminent departure to Colima.  The lists were made, our various chores were laid out ~ Sam's Club, WalMart, the equipal store to see if we can get the couch and loveseat recovered, lunch at Cronos, etc.  But it was not to be.  The car had a flat tire.  Llanta ponchada.  The spare is not usable.  Mr. C found a hand pump in the trunk and re-inflated  the tire but we decided it was just too risky to get caught out on the highway with a flat tire and no cell phone to call Fernando.  A complete change of plans.    So instead I unpacked more boxes, listened to my new book ~ The Woman Upstairs by Clair Messud ~ and generally puttered around.  The sun did come out today in earnest and the sea was a gorgeous, sparkling blue.  And there are quite a few visitors in town which is good for the puestos.

As I said I would, I went next door to check out the arrival of the Baby Jesus.  He's there alright.  By the size of him he's been there for about 6 months.

While I was taking these photos a fellow came over and added a lamb to the gathering.   You'll notice that it is just about as big as the baby.  Poor Mary must have had a rough time.

Tomorrow is tianguis and we're going to caravan into Armeria with Fernando, in case we run into trouble with the tire.  Mr. C will take the car to the llanta store and either fix the one that's on the car or buy a new one.  Meanwhile, I'll go off to shop.  We're looking at Tuesday for the next attempt at Colima.  What (else) could go wrong?

BTW, the pork loin was absolutely delicious.  Tender, moist, flavorful, the sauce just perfect.  I'll never cook loin any other way!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

the day after the day after

We got back on the internet yesterday afternoon. And the phone works, too. Both at the same time. What a deal. I missed posting yesterday as I was  playing dominoes with Charlotte, then I raced home to go to dinner at Dago's, then wanted to finish my book ~ TransAmerica by Colum McCann ~ and by then I was all worn out.  But today is another day and here I am. Weather is still crummy with overcast skies, cool temperatures. We have had only one shower since the big weather show on Christmas Eve but no sunny days. The little Christmas gathering at the casa was so delightful. Six or 7 of us, some tasty nibbles, a couple of nice bottles of wine (we took a 7 Deadly Zins to add to the festivities) and some good conversation. Here's a look at the evening sky looking through the arches on the upstairs terrazo toward the sea.

Today's opera was La Traviata and it was really splendid.  But before it started we had a visitor.

This beautiful little girl is the granddaughter of Fernando and Chuy, although they are raising her.   She is 15 months old, has a mop of curly black hair, eyelashes out to HERE, and the sweetest smile.  She's quite tall for her age; looks about 2 years old, has soccer-player's calves, and is very friendly though only at a distance.  She keeps very close to Chuy. 

Now for a brief word about "where in the world is the family."  Alex is in Buenos Aires visiting Emily.  So are Andrew and Arielle.  Em finished her semester abroad program and  will all come home together on the 29th.   They are, according to all received messages, having a very fine time.  One post talked about going out to dinner at a puerta cerrada.  I know what that means but I didn't know what it had to do with going out to dinner.   You can read all about it HERE  Sounds like a great idea.  Of course in the USA you'd get cited, fined, shut-down in about 15 seconds.  What!  No Health Inspection certificate?  No Small Business license?  No kitchen union  protest, no waiters' union shutdown threats?  No local, state or federal what evers?  And so on . . .

Caitlin sent along this photo that best describes Christmas in Bozeman.

Tonight we're feasting on the pork loin I bought at Pina's a couple of days ago.  First I made a mirepoix then snuggled the meat into it, poured over some wine and broth, threw in some herbs, and it's been simmering in the oven for about 4 hours.  That should make it tender enough to eat.  We'll see.  

Tomorrow we are going up to Colima for a mega shopping excursion followed by lunch at, where else, Cronos.  Always a favorite.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Have yourself a cloudy little Christmas Day

 NOTE:  This is being written on Christmas Day.  We have no internet or phone service today so I don’t know when I’ll be able to post it.

After I signed off last night all hell broke loose around here, weather-wise.  The rain started in earnest; we raced through the house shutting windows and doors, hauling furniture out of harm’s way, took down the twinkle lights and got ready for a good storm.  And come it did!  It poured down for about an hour, then backed off a bit for a while, then started again.  Lightening, thunder, wind.  Around 11 PM the wind died down but it continued to thunder and rain.  We went to bed listening to the rain running off the roof into the front garden (gutters?  What’s that?) and onto the sidewalk below the front balcony.  Around 2 AM I woke up and saw ~ but didn’t hear ~ lightening.  It went on for a couple of hours; no rain, no thunder.  At 4 AM, a tremendous clap of thunder shook the house and woke me with a jolt.  Then the rains started again, heavy and continuous until about 5:30.  They slackened off, the thunder rumbled and growled in the distance.  The worst of it was over.  I went back to sleep safe in the knowledge that the house was NOT going to be washed away.

The report this morning is that we got 2 ½ inches of rain, bringing the seasonal total to 74”.  Imagine that, California!  It was still not clear and sunny this morning and we were anticipating more rain this afternoon.  So far it hasn’t happened, although we had thunder in the distance and some heavy dark clouds.  It may be over for the day.  Everything looks so clean and sparkling and refreshed that a little night music is worth it.

We didn’t venture out to Rick’s street party although it did happen, despite the rain.  This evening we’re going to a little Christmas gathering over at the casa co-hosted by Al from Milwaukee and Neighbor Nelson (who is currently staying over there as is house is chock full of his sons and grandkids for the next couple of weeks.  Ms. Neighbor Nelson has wisely stayed at home in the US until things quiet down.)

PS:  I was sure I couldn't post tonight so no photos.  Tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve 2014

There has been a vacant lot next to us, to the northeast, that we have kept our eyes on over the years.  We have feared it would be bought by someone and developed to ruin our view and privacy.  Well, I don't know exactly what has happened but there has been a fkurry of activity over the last weeks.  We think the hotel, El Oasis (across the street to the southwest) has either purchased it outright or is leasing it.  The word is it's going to be a SPA.  A spa in Cuyutlán?  This is absurd.  But small spa-sized pool has been built, some little palapas, and today there are tables, chairs and umbrellas waiting for clients.

From our third floor

Ready for the spa clients; note the threatening sky
 There is also a crêche in the corner of the lot. This is the "before" shot on Christmas Eve.  Tomorrow the baby Jesus will arrive be  in the little manger.  I'll post the "after" pix after the "delivery".

The other issue is the weather.  For the last two years we have had rain storms on Christmas Eve that drenched up through Christmas and for a few days after.  This is what it looked like at about 5 PM tonight.  We'll drag in the furniture from the terrazo just in case.  If you weren't paying attention last year, here's how it lookeed.

Once again I send you the Christmas Eve story of The Shepherd by Frederick Forsythe a beautiful story for the season.

Oops!  It's just started to rain a bit; in come the balcony Christmas lights.   This is going to put a crimp in Rick's street party!

Tomorrow, some beautiful Christmas music from King's College, Cambridge.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

a bit of festive

We've made the first stab at some sort of festive decorations.  Next up will be the 3rd floor lights.  Stay tuned.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Lunes? ¡Tianguis!

This morning's visit to the street market yielded these various and sundry pleasures.

A huge pile of strawberries.  They look better than they are at this time of year.  Too early.  But I bought some anyway.  Churn them up into a smoothie.  In about two weeks they'll be a lot sweeter.  But they smelled so good I couldn't resist.

Green beans (delicious; we had some for dinner), white chayote, eggplant, yellow bells, cauliflower.  The only thing slightly exotic is the eggplant but we're finding more often here.

On the frutas end of things we have cantaloupes, limes, apples, mandarinas, kumquats, and watermelons.  I think it's too early for watermelons, and he didn't have any of these cut so I could look at the flesh.  But soon the little sweet ones will be on the back of some truck for sale at a ridiculous price.

A selection of pan dulces from a bakery a block way.  I tasted the brownie-looking pastry on the right and it was quite good, not too sweet, like a kind of fruit cake.   It's a variety of capirotada, usually so sweet I can't eat it.  It's usually available only during Lent, but this might be a Christmas variety.  Most of the pastries all taste alike, even though there are many different varieties; dry, sweet, lard-y.  But pretty!

This is the display of one of four or five DVD sellers in the market.  These movies are all pirated, frequently recorded on someone's iPhone or videocam, then burned onto a CD and sold in the markets.  The covers are downloaded, printed and slapped on a CD box.  I've seen some; terrible.  Sometimes you can hear the audience reaacting, applauding, laughing, etc.  They sell for  maybe 15 pesos ($1.00) and are hugely popular.

Here is where you can buy your makeup!  They have all sorts of things; lipstick, eye shadow, pencils, powders, rouge, blush, foundation, brushes to apply it all, nail polish, files, buffers.  It's all laid out in perfect rows, grouped together by categories.  There is nothing haphazard about this display.  It's neat and orderly and very up-to-date.  If you want something like hand cream or, in fact, nail polish remover, you'll have to walk down to the end of the line of stalls to the place that sells that sort of thing, along with shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, Kleenex®, etc.  Every stall has its specialty.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sunday on the malecón

Since today is the shortest day of the year I decided to get busy early.  But first, my traditional Sunday morning glass of sweet, fresh orange juice.  Sunshine in a glass.

Next it was another load of laundry in the new machine.  Perfect again.

Finally it was time to stroll down to the malecón to check out  the rumors of destruction and ruin.  They have been highly exaggerated.  I say that now, in mid-December but I imagine it was far worse right after the heavy storms in August.  As for the issues with the feds, that too is hard to detect. 

At 10:30 this morning the place was virtually deserted.

It's a few days before Christmas and the place is empty.  Maybe visitors will start arriving sometime today, or maybe they're going to stay away in droves as they have in the past.  We'll see in the next few days.

This is Dago's without its roof.   He still has a few chairs, umbrellas and tables on the beach but not as many.  But that may also be seasonal.

There was a stand here but it's gone and it doesn't look like it's coming back.

This is the  "formal" entrance to the malecón at the end of the main street into town.  There were two puestos on either side (that's the owner on the bicycle on the right).  Both are greatly reduced in size and it looks like the kitchen of the one on the left has disappeared.  BUT, Ramon (aka Excellente) is not to be defeated by either Mother Nature or the feds.

He has taken over a much larger, grander site right next door.  A two story job that must have had a boat-load of permits to get away with such a structure.  It was originally built by the owners of El Bucanero Hotel across the walkway.  It really never thrived but apparently Excellente thinks it's a good bet so here he is.  It has a large palapa-covered upstairs area that probably gets dynamite sunset views.  Marie and I went upstairs once years ago and decided it was waaay too unstable for our liking.

Opposite the sea side I noticed that the old Hotel Colima had disappeared.  It has been falling down for years.  In fact, I don't think in all the years we've been coming here, beginning in 1983, it has ever been open.  I wouldn't be surprised if the big storm finished it off.  It would be nice if someone would build a pretty new hotel with a (gasp!) good dining room.  But I think that's probably too much to hope for.

Down at our end of the malecón we lost two puestos.  They weren't old established outfits.  In fact, I think they had just sprung up for the Easter crowd but they were still operating when we left last April.  Whatever they were, they're gone.  (Fernando's old place, still up and running with all its permits in fine order, is out of this picture to the right.)

Finally, this is the last Guadalupe shrine I have seen in town.  We got here on the 12th, the last day of the 12-day Guadalupe Festival.  She's watching over the doings on the malecon and from the looks of her, gets all lit up at night.

So that's how it looks today.  One last picture of the beach, a few umbrellas, a few waders, some nice surf.  A very quiet Sunday here.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

in the dark at Dago's

Dago's puesto has endured two insults over the past few months.  The first was the big storm that pretty well wrecked the beach and destroyed the structures of several other establishments on the beach.  The second was the decision of the federales to enforce building "codes" (I use that word very carefully) that govern how permanent the puestos can be, if they can build a solid structure, a floor, etc.  Dago had built a flat roof, had some overhead lighting (read: bare bulbs on wires), and had siding to protect from the wind.  Any puesto that didn't conform OR have special permits to allow some sort of permanency got razed.  So Dago's is now a mere shadow of its former self.  It has a much smaller kitchen ~ but still manages to put out the best shrimp on the malecón ~ has umbrellas only up in the central restaurant area, and of course no lighting.  By 6 PM it's pitch black in the place except for one light bulb hanging over the now tiny cooking area.  But you know, Dago is still as laid back, cheerful and happy as ever.  I think this man, who has a degree in Electrical Engineering from a university of Mexico City, just wants to hang out at the beach, cook delicious food, schmooze with friends and visitors and lead a basically stress-free life.

It was too dark to take photos last night so after the opera is over and I fold up the fresh laundry ~ YES, new machine did a bang-up job ~ I'll stroll down to the beach and have a look see.

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.

Monday, December 8, 2014

don't miss this (ahem!) gem

I watched this delightful movie yesterday and give it two thumbs up for sure.  It's on instant watch thanks to the Flix®.

It's the true story of four Aboriginal girls who form a singing group and are a huge success, despite all the hurdles thrown in front of them.  These actresses have astonishing voices, too.  Only one tissue needed.

Today's "to do" list; go to the bank, pick up a couple of beach dresses I had made, pedicure, manicure, go to Davis Waste Removal to get put on the basic rate with no pick-up for the next few months, buy a couple of pairs of rubber gloves here because the ones I buy there are so flimsy they rip and tear and leak after a week of use.  If I can get all that done today I'll be right on schedule.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

getting ready

While the lively strains of Rossini's "The Barber of Seville" fill the house ~ first opera of the 2014-15 radio season, live from New York ~ I am starting to pack up for the fun-in-the-sun in Mexico.  Let's see; among my T-shirts and shorts is a 1-lb. box of MSG for Jack (for his kim-chee); four strands of twinkle lights; a pkg. of dried porcini mushrooms; 7 vials of insulin; and perhaps one more jar of peanut butter.  The TSA has a field day with our luggage!  We leave next Friday and although I am very much looking forward to it, there's much to be done before we turn the key in the lock.  But first, a backward look at Thanksgiving.  Let me say that a fine time was had by all, people and animals alike.  The snow was so beautiful to see.  Being a Southern Californian, born and raised, I still get all excited at this weather phenom, although I can certainly see that months on end of grey skies and dirty slush would get boring.  But at first sight, it's dazzling.

before the snow storm hit

during the storm
and after
The feast was overwhelming, as usual.  The Hutterite turkey did not disappoint.

The hostess set a beautiful table, with flowers and candles and a view out of the new window of the snowy meadow.   Picture perfect.

And of course, one of the boys.

Huck (l) and Zeke (r).  Actually taken while Cait and Mike were on a camping trip to Canada but I love it and thought you should see it.

Now it's on to getting out of here and into the warm, tropical winter instead of the cold, snowy one.  We will be picked up by the shuttle at, gasp!, 3:45 on Friday morning for a 6 AM flight to LAX.  Then a 10:30 flight to Manzanillo.  Fernando will pick us up and Chuy will have prepared our dinner ~ chiles rellenos.  Let the season begin.

While in Bozeman g'son Andrew helped me program a web site to advertise the sale of the house.  As soon as I finish a bit more editing I will put it up and you can peruse it at your leisure.  We are getting serious about this sale!

Meanwhile, here in the valley we have had several days of wonderful rain to slake the overwhelming thirst of field and stream.  And there's more to come later in the week.  But after I get my pedicure (Monday), massage (Tuesday), and hair cut (Thursday), I'm outta here in into the warm so let it rain.

FYI:  If you read the previous post and the video was not there, it's there now, at the top of the page.