Thursday, December 31, 2015
We have a delightful friend from Milwaukee who has one of the apartments in the casa. In fact, the apartment he bought is the very one we used to stay in before he bought it and we bought the house. Each year when he comes down for his vacation we get together for a lunch or dinner to talk about old times and our mutual affection for Marie. This year we went out to El Real to the Crab on the Beach, a huge open air restaurant with fantastic views and pretty good food.
We got there around 1:30, a good hour before the usual crowds arrive for comida. Mr. C and I both had camerones al mojo de ajo and Al had filete al mojo de ajo ~ you know the rule; if anyone has garlic, EVERYONE has garlic.
There were about 20 shrimp swimming in garlic-infused butter that wafted around the table in the most wonderful aromatic cloud. The meal was very good and all of us enjoyed everything. NOTE: I always take a little plastic box with me to bring home leftovers, and this was no exception. Between the two of us we brought home enough shrimp for today's lunch.
This is the view from the dining room.
It was a lovely lunch with good food, good views, good talk.
It's the last night of the year and so far it has been quiet down here at our end of the malecón. I have no idea what's to come. But as we close down for the night, here's the last sunset until 2016.
Like the year almost past, it's not really a spectacular sunset, but it is colorful and satisfying. Some wonderful things happened; my trip to Europe with daughter Alex, a couple of great visits with g-kids and g-dogs (in Bozeman), good health news for both Mr. C (9 years since cancer treatment) and me (no cavities, low test numbers, and the surgical wound is healing nicely), some good books, some good movies, some good food and drink. All in all, it was a year worth living.
Happy New Year, dear readers, and I intend to recount new adventures in the coming year.
Good Night and Good Luck, as someone once said.
Wednesday, December 30, 2015
We came home this afternoon after a lovely lunch in El Real with our Pal Al (more on that tomorrow) to discover this pair of Guinea hens nestled under the palm tree in the back garden. I don't know where they came from, how they got into the garden or how long they are planning to stay. They didn't say. But they're quite beautiful and I'm happy to offer them shelter while they need it. I don't know if they're nesting, if they're a pair ~ boyfriend and girlfriend ~ or if they're just a couple of freeloaders, but it's nice to have something back there besides iguanas.
Monday, December 28, 2015
Well, dear readers, it happened again this year. The phone/internet line ended up lying in the street and we were completely cut off. No news. Nothing about the world, the homeland or even the Kardashians. It was hard being in the void. But today when we returned from our morning trip to the market, the lights were flashing and we had a dial tone. I figure that the reason it happened so quickly ~ last year we were without phone/internet for 2 weeks while the lines lay undisturbed where they had fallen ~ is that one of those affected is a legislator from Colima. It never hurts to have neighbors with influence in high places, aka Telmex.
To recap briefly. Christmas was quiet and very nice. Saturday night the influential Colima neighbors had a HUGE quinceanera party that went on until about 5:30 AM Sunday morning. Even though your faithful reporter was totally dragged out due to lack of sleep, we decided to keep our date with Colima on Sunday morning. Off we went to all the big box stores ~ Home Depot, Sam's Club, WalMart ~ with long lists and a fist of pesos. Four hours later we were back home with a car full of stuff we had decided we needed plus a couple of "finds" we hadn't planned on. Unpack, put away, regroup and it was off to Fernando's for comida. This has become another ritual puesto visit; Dago's on Friday, Fernando's on Sunday.
Up and out this morning after a very quiet night. The market was busy and full of it usual beautiful produce. I browsed the tables piled high with the usual wardrobe enhancement offerings but made no purchases this week. My last week's skirt will hold me for a couple of weeks.
It's actually a little cooler today which is greatly appreciated. I realize it's the tropics, but enough is enough already.
Thursday, December 24, 2015
It's Christmas Eve here in the humid tropics. Last evening was the season's first party down at Chuy's puesto. It was a "y'all come" hosted by one of the J Boys (Jordan) who bought a big mess of beef and beer and invited us all to come down and enjoy carne asada and cerveza. It was all wonderful and a fine way to kick off the season. Thank you Jordan!
If you are dreaming of a warm and wonderful Christmas, think about coming to Mexico and putting your fanny here and watching the sunset.
Right now it's time to go to sleep and dream of sugarplums and Santa and tomorrow's Cerdo con Salsa Verde that I cooked for our Christmas dinner. Can hardly wait.
I hope all your Christmas dreams come true, no matter what they are. You undoubtedly deserve them!
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
Here it is, almost Christmas, and we are wilting under really hot, humid days and nights. We have the fans going non-stop but it is very uncomfortable. I checked back in the blog over the past couple of years and at this time we were having cool, rainy days and nights. But this is ridiculous! I get out of the shower and, after drying off, I'm as wet as before. This, too, will pass but right now it's no fun.
We finally got our Christmas lights up (I'll take a pix tonight) and things are looking almost festive. I bought some noche buena plants at the Monday market to get myself in the mood. And some red/white flowers with lots of greenery for an added touch. Still, when it's 82º with 85% humidity it's hard to be very jolly.
Mr. C has gone off to Armeria for a hair cut and it's time for me to bustle around and red up the place. It's still quiet in town; crowds won't start until Thursday evening. I think there is a disco at the north end of the malecón (we're at the south end) for some entertainment over the weekend. The city fathers have encouraged everyone to clean up around properties (they do that twice a year; Christmas and Easter) so there's a lot of weed hacking and tree trimming going on. The beach is still a sorry sight; I played dominoes at Chuy's yesterday and took a good look at the destruction wrought on his puesto. Almost half of the front is completely gone. But little by little the owners are getting things back in order to welcome (they hope) next week's vacationers.
Other than the above mundane news, it's life as usual here at the beach.
Thursday, December 17, 2015
I don't know what happens to us nortes when we get down here in the tropics but it's utter ennui and sapping fatigue. Last Sunday and Monday, right after arrival, we were as busy and bustling as ever. But as of Tuesday, it's a huge chore just to roll over in bed. I rested Tuesday morning so I would be at least semi-conscious for the afternoon domino game. I was, but it was a true miracle. Here's the view from the domino table; you can see the ruination of the beach and the umbrellas, but the view is spectacular! Chuy suffered a lot of damage but has managed to put most of it all back together. We'll go to Dago's for dinner tomorrow night and see how he fared.
We learned from Omar the Gardener that the missing oleander was NOT, in fact, destroyed in the storm nor did it meet a "plant death" but instead was "liberated" from its place against the wall. Here's another picture of the wall, taken from the balcony.
Now I need to go inside the wall and paint it so I don't see ANY grey cement.
Friends Blanche and Bob arrived yesterday afternoon and unloaded our two big boxes of vital belongings. Thanks again, you two! Now Mr. C has his peanut butter and I have my Christmas lights. I'll put them up tomorrow (if I have the strength!!)
One other change this year. The owners of the house across the street planted a row of palm trees when they built their place. The trees obscured our view of the sea but I knew that eventually they would grow up and we'd be able to glimpse the surf again. Well, this year it has happened!
Tomorrow it's back to Tecoman to try to do the bank business again. I hope I have enough energy for this. I know the blahs will pass and I'll be my usual energetic self. I can hardly wait.
Monday, December 14, 2015
First time I've really looked at "the wall" since we arrived. We lost one oleander, which we will replace as soon as we get to the vivero. Part of the wall could probably use another coat of paint but otherwise, it looks quite good. I can tell you that it's a whole lot nicer to look out of the window and see a blue wall than a dull cement gray one.
NOTE: This one's for you, NPW. The house is available for you, the Mrs., and the girls any time!
Last night was the first evening sky of this trip. The angle is not good for seeing a real sunset but we get to see the glow nonetheless.
And this morning was the first tianguis of the year. Fruits and veggies at the usual spot, meat (castillos de cerdo (pork ribs) and colas de res (oxtails) at our wonderful butcher shop,
Then it was off to Tecoman to try to pay our annual property fees but the bank was jammed so we'll try again on Friday. To the Bodega for household necessities and then home. All this running around is not conducive to a relaxing day. I napped, Mr. C trolled the internet. Salsa, tostadas, left over chiles rellenos and now it's time to turn off the lights and declare this day's party over!
Sunday, December 13, 2015
We went from the sleek, streamlined terminal in Sacramento to the utter chaos of perpetually-under-construction LAX to the poster child of disorganization in Manzanillo, all in a matter of a few hours. A note about our final stop: it was pouring rain when we landed in ZLO. The plane parked out on the tarmac and passengers walked from there to the terminal. Once inside there was a lot of milling around that eventually ended up in a long line of tired travelers waiting to have papers and documents scrutinized, stamped, and approved. Then on to the chaos ~ and I mean CHAOS ~ of the baggage claim. In this hall there are sniffer dogs roaming around looking for any sort of contraband ~ one sniffed at my carry-on and I had to dig around to find the plastic bag of crackers/peanuts I had, but I didn't have to surrender them. I forgot about the coffee but so did the dog. Meanwhile, luggage is s-l-o-w-l-y being loaded from the plane onto baggage trolleys and ferried, in the pouring rain, to a carousel outside where more rain was dousing it while dogs walk on top of each bag, sniffing and barking. The bags wend their way through the hall and, if unclaimed, out into the rain again. We were among the first passengers off the plane and through the documents check and among the last to claim our bags. Then once you get your bags you get into one of two or three haphazard lines to have your bags screened once again. These various and several lines must eventually form into one line and there is a lot of jockeying and glaring along the way. Mr. C picked up his thrice x-rayed bags and made it outside. I got stopped at the door by another gentleman looking for food. Again I produced the bag of crackers and had it promptly snatched away. This guy evidently went to a training class with more stringent "dangerous food" training. By the time we were out, there were still many people waiting for their bags, especially those who had gate-checked. What that airport needs badly is an efficiency expert who has traveled enough to have some idea of how these things should work.
But we made it home, thanks to Fernando, by about 6 PM through a heavy rain most of the way. The house has withstood whatever Hurricane Patricia could throw at it and looks wonderful. No cracks or water stains on the beautiful sala walls. The garden is lush and green but we did lose our huge philodendron on the upstairs terrazzo in the Patricia winds. There was dinner on the stove, the furniture all arranged, chotskies on display, and the bed made. Chuy knows this house ~ and where everything goes ~ better than I do. A delicious dinner and so to bed. We could hear the rain in the palms trees outside the window and the sounds of the surf; lovely lullabies for our first night.
This morning is still grey and cool and, occasionally, showery. First glass of fresh orange juice, my usual Sunday treat; not as sweet as it will be in a month or so but still mighty good. Now it's time to unpack and get the kitchen organized ~ where ARE the knives?? ~ and start a list for tomorrow's street market and first foray to the super. I guess we're here.
Friday, December 11, 2015
The papers have been stopped, Netflix notified, the pool guy and the garden guy and the no-bug guy have all been paid for several months. We've almost eaten up all the left overs so the fridge will be empty. The cars have been plugged into the "battery minder" gizmos that prevent dead batteries from lack of use (a usual malady when we return). We'll see how that works. I've had a pedicure, seen the wound doc for the last time ~ healing nicely, thank you ~ and today I'll get my last massage. Our friends who are driving down to the beach from Canada arrived last night to pick up the boxes of our "essentials" that we MUST have, and they went on their way early this morning. And finally, I'm actually packed and ready for tomorrow's early departure. If everything is working as it should, I'll be able to send a post tomorrow evening or Sunday morning. So until then, bien viaje to us!
Saturday, December 5, 2015
It's pack-up-and-go time around here. We have one week to get it all done. The shuttle will come to fetch us at - GASP! - 3:30 AM for a 6 AM flight. It has several other stops along the way which is why it's so early. Flight leaves from LAX at 10:15 AM so we'll have plenty of time to schlep bags from one terminal to another and then sit and relax before flying on to Manzanillo. We should be sitting down for one of Mr. C's marvelous margaritas by around 6 PM. Chuy will fix our favorite chiles rellenos picadillo to get us in the mood for the next few months.
We've had beautiful weather up here in the valley; cold nights, bright days, a bit of rain with more expected on Sunday. Lots of snow up at Tahoe, a very good thing indeed. Erin and I have been walking when we can and most times, Daisy comes along. Here she is at 4 1/2 months.
She has lost her "foxy" face and is looking like a real Golden Retriever. Her coat is beginning to curl and wave and lose its downy softness. She is a very well behaved, smart, curious and friendly creature. Wow, by the time we get back she'll be at least double in size!
Put this one on your Flix® list:
It has a scene in it you'll want to watch twice; I did. You'll know it when you see it.
So now it's back to packing, sorting, tossing out. You'd think by now it would be the work of a moment. Apparently not.
Friday, November 27, 2015
|The table, set with my mother's wedding china|
|The bird. Diestel raised this tender, tasty beauty!|
|Sides; potatoes, brussels sprouts, roasted veggies, gravy, cranberry relish|
|Roasted celery root, turnips, parsnips, garlic, shallots, beets, carrots|
|Mr. C's rum pumpkin pie|
|The ice bucket for the prosecco and the Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc|
|Emily, a bit out of focus (sorry, Em!)|
|Andrew, Alex, Mr. C|
The red trees are our neighbor's Crepe Myrtles. Beneath them are the trumpet vines that have turned this bright chartreuse green that contrast with the dark green of the oleanders. A beautiful palate. The guests have all gone up to the Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Garden on the UCD campus. Mr. C is puttering around in HIS kitchen, dealing with left overs that will be dinner later on. Andrew returns one to SF on the the 7:25 train. Alex and Em leave tomorrow afternoon. And then it will all be over for another year. I must say that Thanksgiving 2015 was a very nice event. So until next year . . .
Thursday, November 26, 2015
It is a crisp, clear and sunny day here in the valley on this Thanksgiving day. The house is full of good smells and good cheer. Daughter Alex is here as are Andrew and Em. No Bozeman this year, although reports from that front are that it, too, is clear and bright but with the added treat of snow. on. I have been readying the house for this fine holiday for the past couple of weeks; beds have flannel sheets, silver all polished, firewood at the ready, prosecco chilling, festive breads made and in the freezer, and the cleaning ladies worked their magic on Monday. As I write this Mr. C is busy getting the cornbread/wild rice dressing ready and heating his famous tomato soup. I roasted the veggies earlier ~ I'll add the precooked beets and mushrooms at the end. The turkey has been moved from the indoor refrigerator to the cold outdoors and is now back indoors in preparation for cooking. Lordy! This is a lot of work but well worth it. I have so very much to be thankful for, not the least is that at least part of my family can be here today. I don't get to see those kiddies nearly enough so two or three days at once is such a treat. What would be perfect would be to have the Bozeman contingent, complete with granddogs, sharing our feast tonight. But I'll take what I can get! I hope for all of you, dear readers, a joyous joining of hands around your table, wherever you are.
THE BIG REVEAL
I've been asked about "the coat" that was my big splurge purchase in Paris last month. Here it is. I hope you like it.
|This coat is made of felted cashmere; so, so soft and warm.|
Our various and several medical issues have been attended to and we are now recovering. Mr. C had double cataract surgeries and can now see like a teenager. My leg is healing slowly but nicely. I think the wound will be closed by the time we head south. I have been diligent in my care taking and that's paying off. Dr. V the Dentist gave me a blue ribbon report so that little chore is out of the way. All in all, we are holding up just fine.
ON THE LIGHT SIDE
Two delightful amusements over the past weeks. First is a really terrific book that I can recommend without reservations!
Second is this delightful, heartwarming little movie.
(This title is not to be confused with the documentary about a hospital!) Produced in 2007, it's a sweet, mostly quiet story set in London, with an excellent cast. Throw a log on the fire and enjoy!
AND FINALLY, PARIS
There has been such an outpouring of both outrage and sentiment about the events of November 13, so many photos of both the carnage and the eternal glory and beauty of the city. I, too, am outraged that my beloved city has been so wounded and so viciously attacked. I think about the parents and spouses and friends who bid concert-goers and sporting fans a "S'amuse bien!" and never saw any of them again. But, beautiful Paris, like New York City, will recover although will be forever scarred by such a violent event. I will go back soon to see how she's doing. Meanwhile, Marchons! Marchons!
Friday, October 30, 2015
I heard from the surgeon this morning that whatever it was that she removed has come back from the lab totally negative for residual bad cells. That must mean she "got it all". What's now left is for the wound to heal. I have dutifully changed the dressings and everything looks pink and healthy. Enough said.
While I was recovering yesterday, leg elevated, I watched this movie.
It's heartbreaking but I recommend it. All those beautiful boys mowed down by war, leaving behind their grieving mothers, wives, lovers. The true story of Vera Brittain, poet, author, pacifist.
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
I was in and out in less than an hour. The procedure involved a little nip here and a tuck there to be sure all the cancerous cells were cut away. The wound is about the size of a penny, not very deep, not too much bleeding. Instructions include lying down or sitting with foot elevated, no walking (exercise type) until Sunday, go to the wound specialist next Thursday for a check up. Meanwhile I have to change the dressing once a day, can take a shower on Friday, take some antibiotics for three days and, if all tests come out as the doc expects, that's it. Not as bad as I feared. As a diabetic, if someone approaches my lower extremities with a knife I am filled with dread and foreboding. But the original biopsies healed up very nicely. I am confident this one will, too.
Tuesday, October 27, 2015
The doc was very pleased by his handiwork on Mr. C's eyes. The patch is gone and it is now just a matter of the fuzziness resolving itself. A trip to the market and the post office were in order for an o-say-can-you-see test drive this afternoon and since he made it home safely I guess all is well.
Tomorrow it's my turn to go under the knife. I trust it will all go well and that the surgeon will clean out all the nasty skin cancerous squamous cells and I'll be back in the bathing beauty and leg modeling business soon. I jest, of course. I'll let you know how it goes.
One more thing. Today here in the valley it was cold. Actually COLD. I actually put on my fleeces! So nothing would do but while I finished up "Being Mortal" Mr. C laid a lovely fire to celebrate the end of the heat wave and the beginning of Fall.
Monday, October 26, 2015
Mr. C had his surgery this morning ~ cataract removal ~ and it all went just perfectly. While he was being worked on I tore off to the CostCo nearby, did some essential shopping ~ coffee, shrimp, lamb shanks, Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand ~ and by the time I got back he was ready to come home. Tomorrow he goes back to see the doc and get his eye patch removed. Other eye gets done in a couple of weeks. I've had this same procedure done and it is an absolute miracle.
Sunday, October 25, 2015
First, for those of you who read about Mexico on this site, all is well at the beach. I talked to Fernando last night. He reported that the house, gardens, palapa, plate glass windows, in fact EVERYTHING made it through the storm safely. There was a lot of rain and wind, and the puestos and malecón are a mess but otherwise the town is OK. Very good news given the scenario that was painted by the media. We are extremely grateful that this storm spared us, Manzanillo, PV, and most villages along the northern coast.
Second, I finally got home from Paris Wednesday afternoon and, believe me, I was glad to finally be here. The saga goes like this.
Tuesday morning we got into the taxi at 6 AM sharp and headed through dark and deserted streets to CDG. The usual travel time is anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 1/2 hours (when I arrived it took that long), so we had allowed plenty of time ~ 4 hours start to finish, we decided. Well, we got to the airport, went through check-in, passport control, security and were IN OUR BOARDING LOUNGES by 7:04 AM; 1 hour and 4 minutes, start to finish.
|sunrise at Charles deGaulle airport|
|Arriving in Cincinnati|
Flying into Cincinnati was beautiful. The trees are beginning to turn red and golden and the Ohio River sparkled through the city. We arrived at noon, EDT and my next flight, to Salt Lake, was to leave at 3:30 PM. Plenty of time to get through passport and immigration. I rechecked my bag on to Sacramento and wandered through the very nice airport. I found the departure gate and sat to wait. Cait had sent a message that there were 40 available seats so I was a definite go. BUT, there's always the unexpected. Another flight to SLC was cancelled so ALL THOSE PASSENGERS who had actually PAID for a seat moved way up in the line and left me, and several other non-revs- behind in the dust. Alas, the flight was actually 5 seats overbooked so I didn't have a prayer. I got myself ASAP to the Delta "help" desk and a very efficient and delightful agent had me all set up in about half an hour. She gave me a new routing to Los Angeles and then on to Sacramento. She gave me a hotel voucher, a little goodie pouch with soap, shampoo, toothbrush and even a T-shirt that says Sky Team Delta on it. I was completely set! Next thing I knew I was here.
I called Mr. C to say I wouldn't be coming home until Wednesday afternoon. I ate a bit and went to bed with the alarm set for 6 AM. Since I was still operating in some other time zone, I was up and ready to do battle by 4:30. Caught the 7 AM jitney back to the airport, found the boarding area and waited. And waited. Oops! This flight had been delayed for mechanical reasons for almost 2 hours. I did the calculations and discovered that I would have about 20 minutes to make the Sact'o flight and I had to go from one terminal to another. Oh well, at least there are several flights to Sac from LAX and surely I would make one of them if we arrived too late. So I just sat back and waited to see if I would make this flight.
Yes, no, maybe. Flying non-rev is always a crap shoot unless you KNOW there are lots of seats. I saw a couple of other would-be passengers who had also lost out on the SLC flight yesterday. But we all made it on and off we went. I got seated in an EXIT row which meant more leg room but I had to sit bolt upright for 4 long hours. Please, no grousing allowed if you don't PAY for your ticket. Now my only thought was would I make it to LAX in time?
The plane landed at 12:10 and the Sac flight left at 12:40. The only dramatic thing that happened was tearing through the LAX airport through the A terminal to the B terminal, waving my boarding pass at the agent waiting at the door of the aircraft. I was the reason they were holding the flight ~ only about 5 minutes ~ and the other passengers glared at me as I took the last seat in the last row. But I made it and I say, "Glare all you want!"
I made it home safely, my bag made it home a day earlier, and Mr. C was there to fetch us both. All I wanted to do was lie flat for a few minutes to give my aching back a rest.
As promised, here are a few pix of the Paris apartment for your amusement. Would I stay there again? I might; it's quite space-agey but in such a wonderful area. On the other hand, it's not really comfortable; it's quite dark ~ needs several more lamps and someone needs to replace the burned-out bulbs in the kitchen ~ and cold ~ only two of the 7 heat registers worked. But it was only for a week and I can put up with almost anything for a week. As I said, it's in a fabulous location and I would stay in the 8eme anytime!
|TV, bookcase. Got the TV to work once. But it's Paris! Who needs TV?|
|Kitchen; check out Gagganau and check out the appliances in this apartment. You need a pilot's license.|
|Eating nook in kitchen. We ate, worked, read here; both heat and light in this spot.|
|Double shower with both overhead and hand-held nozzles. Wonderful!|
|Bedroom #1, twin beds. Comfy and warm.|
|Bedroom #2, double bed (maybe queen?) Very comfortable. Nice bedding.|
So that's where we were. I took these photos with all the lights on in the evening so you can't really tell how dim the rooms are.
So now I'm home and a whole new set of issues are presenting themselves. Tomorrow Mr. C goes to the hospital for cataract surgery. Wednesday I have surgery on the pesky skin cancer on my leg. But we both have every expectation that all will be well for both of us. Kaiser has never let us down in the past.
Happy 9th Anniversary to this blog, THE ALL OF ITI actually started it under the title THE TONSIL WAR on October 25, 2006 when Mr. C began treatment for tonsil cancer. I decided on June 6, 2009 that the war had been won and we could withdraw the troops and write about something other than illness. Eight and a half years later he he is alive and well and cancer free. We are very, very thankful.