Tuesday, April 29, 2014

remember Salt Water sandals?

Every summer my Mother would take my sister and me to a local shoe store in Los Angeles for our annual Salt Water sandals.  I would always get red; Vicky got blue.  Sandals, along with a bathing suit and we were set for our beach stay.  I bought them for my girls, too.  Now I've found them for adults.  On-line. Amazon. Where else?  (It won't be long before Amazon will be the ONLY on-line outlet anywhere for anything!)  They arrived today.  A little beach walking to stretch them out a bit and they'll be perfect.  Now for the bathing suit . . .

Saturday, April 26, 2014


We in the valley have been sorely shortchanged on the rain end of things.  But over the last couple of days we have had a lovely, cool, wet blessing

From early Friday morning ~ let's say 5 AM ~ until Friday evening 12 hours later, we had steady, cool, sweet showers.  Not strong, not heavy.  Just a gentle rain, soaking the dry and parched earth, washing leaves and plants clean.  Today was cool and moist, although no rain.  Tonight there is predicted to be another 12 hours of gentle rain through tomorrow afternoon.  After that, SUMMER and HOT.  But we usually get more rain mid-May.  Everything in the garden is clean, damp, happy.  In town, trees are refreshed and ready for bloom.  It's a good time here in the valley.

Friday, April 25, 2014

the celluloid glut

I haven't  watched a movie since  "Les Miserables" with Hugh Jackman on the flight from Atlanta to Rome back in October.  First movie since then was "The Grand Budapest Hotel" last Sunday.

It's a slapstick comedy with a rather fuzzy plot but with a big cast of famous actors playing cameo roles and having a fine time doing it.  Great scenery and settings.  Mr. C heard a rave review by one of his radio talk show hosts.  I'm not sure we and the host saw the same movie.  Yes, it was fun but deserving of a rave?  I don't think so.

Then I signed up again for the Flix® and have idled my time watching "Frozen" (loved the music, esp. "Fixer Upper" but was bored by everything else); "Philomena" (extraordinary performance by Judy Dench, lots of tissues); "Lagerfeld Confidential" (great clothes, wonderful to be in Paris again, but ZOWIE, what an incredible ego that man has, denying it all the way.  Don't bother.); and for today, "12 Years a Slave" to be followed by "Nebraska" then "Dallas Buyer's Club" and  "The Book Thief."   You can see how far behind I am.  Another couple of weeks at this rate and I'll be au courant, movie-wise.

Tomorrow's opera is "Cosi Fan Tutte" on in the valley at 10 AM, in case you're interested.  No opera salad in this time zone; perhaps an opera brunch?

Monday, April 21, 2014

the DMV and me

Because of  eye issue I have to get a new driver's license every two years, including a drive test.  Today was the day.  The day after we got home from MX I went to the DMV, filled out all the forms and got my picture taken.  Then I had to go to see my eye doc, get forms filled out, returned to the DMV and get my appointment with the driving tester.  This morning, Dorothy and I went to the office.  The tester folded himself into Dorothy's passenger seat and we were off on the great adventure of "what minor infractions can I check on this driver's test?"  Driving too close to another car?  One point.  Parking too far from the curb?  One point.  (Not taking note of the fact that my car is so tiny it can park half-way into the street and still be within the allowable parking area.)  Not turning 180º to look out the back window when reversing?  One point.  (Not remembering that the last time I did this test this same tester told me I didn't have to physically turn around to look out the back window but could use the rear view mirror and side mirrors for reversing.  Oh well . . .)  So a half hour later I was back in the DMV getting my "interim" license, awaiting my permanent one that will be good for only two years.

Check this blog in two years.  This same story will be posted.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Eastertide

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough.
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more. 

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

A.E. Houseman
A Shropshire Lad

Saturday, April 19, 2014

mussels in Brussels . . .

and lamb in the valley.

Daughter Cait sent mussels pix from some undoubtedly wonderful restaurant in Brussels.  She also went to Bruges where, looking at the photo she sent, it was cold and overcast.

Tonight we had a little dinner party and served a splendid spring lamb.

Ready to go into the oven with room for the potatoes.  (I always seem to photograph food before it it cooked.  Afterwards, it's eaten before I get the camera out.)  It was just OK; cooked a little long so was a bit tough and dry.  But everything else was delicious!  And we had lively conversation around the table for a really enjoyable evening.

Along with roasted potatoes, sautéed peppers and mushrooms, steamed asparagus and some deliciously tart lemon sorbet, we welcomed Spring and Easter.  Leg of lamb was the traditional Easter dinner in my family, along with lemon meringue pie made by my grandmother ~ when I was very young ~ and then my mother.  I haven't made one in years so thought it best not to inflict such a chancy dessert on guests.

I dusted off my mother's wedding china for the occasion and actually polished the silver, also known as "the good stuff."  It is my parents' wonderful Alan Adler silver that I inherited from them.  I really need to use it more often.

Tomorrow afternoon we are going to see "The Grand Budapest Hotel" and I'll give a report.  It's gotten excellent reviews, has a wonderfully eclectic cast.  What could go wrong?

Friday, April 18, 2014

my fortune cookie message

Tonight's dinner came from our local favorite Chinese restaurant.  My fortune cookie message said:

Even though it's fuzzy, it must refer to tomorrow's opera, Arabella by Richard Strauss.  A very tuneful offering.  Enjoy! (10 AM PDT on Capital Radio in Sacramento.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Dutch treat

Daughter Caitlin is in Amsterdam for a few days before going on to Bruges and Brussels.  She sent these gorgeous pictures.

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.