Archive for March, 2013

I Like the Looks of Some Graffiti

Posted in Uncategorized on March 25, 2013 by drycreekherbs

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San Antonio, Festival Hill’s Herbal Forum & Belinda’s

Posted in Uncategorized on March 25, 2013 by drycreekherbs

I am sitting here in our bedroom looking out at the profusion of green leaves. IMG_5817.JPGSpring is inIMG_5855.JPG

IMG_5854.jpgthe air except now we are having a cold snap-and a freeze tonight. I have two new Zen-ish CDs playing so I am feeling pretty darn mellow—until Diego decides he can’t be trusted…he is at my feet momentarily sweet then in a fit of destruction. I am hoping the Zen music will soothe he ravaged spirit. He just walked himself into his crate and is napping. IMG_5508.JPG

It is really nice to be home for awhile. Just a few days after México I went to San Antonio to see Mom. If I have said before she is deaf, now she is about 98% deaf. For her to know what I am talking about the first thing I do is write the topic on her dry erase board…then proceed to yell. It must be hideous, hideous, hideous for her. You just can’t have a conversation—then the extreme guilt for being there but not talking. I just can’t stand it. I remember an old friend telling me that her greatest regret was that as close as she was to her father—as he grew older the inability to talk to him. That’s it. I should be there more and I should figure this out. I think I will copy part of this entry into another word document and send it to her as a letter. Just something to help break the monotony.

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Billy reins supreme for solving the ID issue. In Texas to buy a car you have to have a current drivers license. This is where the trouble started. Mother’s license had expired and of course she doesn’t drive. The tale is so frustrating even in the retelling. She couldn’t even get a government sponsored picture ID unless she had a current passport and a birth certificate. Did I write about this already? For some reason….I think it was because she lived so far out on the prairie—she only had a baptismal record. I can’t write another word about this, it was so daunting. I tried here in Bell County but Billy finally got someone in Bexar county to be willing to overlook their short-sighted policy. With her honorable discharge papers, deed to the house, social security card, paid utility bills, and expired photos they (DPS) agreed to give her a photo ID. Then they even came to her house to take the photo!!!! Billy is so good these days.

I was home a day then zipped off to Round Top for the Herb Festival at Festival Hill. That placeIMG_5876.JPG is so awesome. I have to take Foy there next year…it is so Gothic and spiffy. I know he will love it. I registered for two workshops on Friday: 1. Canning and Preserving Fruits and Vegetables and 2. Making French Beaded Lavender.

IMG_5873.jpgI have been canning pickled beets for some time, so I really didn’t expect to learn much….but of course, I did get lots of tips that I really want to use. That’s what happens when I get full of myself—being silly never gets you far. The French Beading was very interesting and I love beading but when it comes to manipulating the wires after beading—well my intentional tremors just knock me out of the game. And, for the record, I really think I am headed towards Parkinson’s…noticing occasional head nodding. Oh, God how I hate all this. Back to beading. There was an occupational therapist sitting across from me and she had some great tips for hand tremors: wear a magnet bracelet and put a dry erase board under my wrist when playing Mah Jongg or a bean bag. Will try both. And something else that I can’t recall.

I drove to Belinda’s just in time for us to head over to their nephew’s new ‘barnomenium’ for a Pustka fish fry! A VERY enormous and well-outfitted barn. Belinda said that this was hardly the entire family…but it was great. There were 4 brothers and two sisters with children and grandchildren and James’ Mom. The little tykes had unlimited opportunity to scoot around on hot wheels, mark the floor with chalk, etc. Oh, I can’t forget two of the best behaved Labs that never once stepped paw onto barn floor and allowed themselves to be teased and rode. It was good to put faces with names of the Pustkas. It was reality TV and I loved it. MOST significant—James fried up the BEST oysters, trout, catfish, and shrimp. I ate well and came away with a slab of poppy seed cake to go!

Belinda and I went back to her house for our after-action review and a few servings of prosecco. Next morning, at the crack of dawn, back to the Herbal Forum at top speed. Once inside the ornate auditorium, we discovered just how boring a power point presentation on the History and Uses of the Elder can be. We also observed just how herb humor is confined to the enthusiasts…so we went to Belinda’s car and spent an hour making out shore excursion reservations. I say our but it turned out that I was the only one who got the reservations. Belinda basically did all this work for me. Of course, since I am so needy, it was great to be well cared for.

We had a nice herby lunch then we split to shop in Round Top. Belinda found cute clothes but I only found a birdhouse! Must be losing my touch. I had an exceptional time and look forward to next year—Celebrating Artemisia.

Now back home and loving the time to downshift. I have two quotes I really like…learned from Lou Ann’s granddaughter, Heather and another from Ann. Heather Mitt, is retiring from soccer and going on to be a commentator. She is absolutely beautiful…anyway she wrote this about her retirement. “Don’t cry because it’s over, but smile because it happened.” I like it because it has so many applications…then the one Ann sent me from Sue Scott—“Context determines the manner in which we experience content.”

Finis. No time to edit.

Another Snap

Posted in Uncategorized on March 15, 2013 by drycreekherbs

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Just Happy Snaps

Posted in Uncategorized on March 15, 2013 by drycreekherbs

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Part II México 2013

Posted in Uncategorized on March 15, 2013 by drycreekherbs

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On Saturday afternoon Camie and I went to a concert fundraiser for Casita Linda on the grounds of Ranchito Cascabel aka Timmy Land. First things first. Casita Linda is a charity that builds one room, adobe casitas for poverty stricken families. It is a noble cause. Now about Timmy Land: This home belongs to Tim Sullivan from San Antonio, TX and is inspired by the architecture of Antoni Gaudi of Barcelona. Jumpin’ Jenny. No words to express the degree of peculiarity so I will just include a lot of photos of the house and some of the ‘yard art!’ My favorite parts of the event: Bill Bourne, one of the 6,012 Canadians who sings like Woodie Guthrie, Bob Dalyn, or Johnnie Cash; the food truck that served jambalaya; and watching old hippies bob their heads to the beat of the music. In terms of head bobbing, the group in mass appeared to have neurological issues. It was sooooooo much fun.IMG_5695.JPGIMG_5705.JPG  IMG_5701.JPG IMG_5692.jpg

Yikes, I have written four pages and I haven’t covered IMG_5709.JPG costumes/earrings, acne, puffy eyelids, immigration dog, house rental, or home sweet home. It is late and I want to get the text complete tonight. In a nutshell. I bought weird clothes even weird to me; I had teenaged acne related to fear of horses; altitude, and death; my eyelids were puffy like little sausages; and when I landed at DFW the immigration beagle alerted on my purse—a big orange brought me down. I had to stand in another loooooong line and be frisked and x-rayed to prove it was just the orange and not any drugs or uncooked meat. I kept saying, “Meat? Really?” I did like the Arranchera at Hecho in México but not enough to bring a slab of raw meat back.IMG_5696.jpg

Can I sing, “Will I See You in September?” Leslie introduced me to a friend of hers at the Saturday Organic Market where I saw Fred and Ron. Anyway, later Leslie said, that Diane had a house to rent/housesit available in September. The catch is the house isn’t even finished but according to Diane it will be by April. Leslie gave Diane a call–we met her at the building site on Aldama a block from Parque Juarez–just around the corner from Peter C’s house. Long story, shortened: She offered to let me have this house for September if I will take care of Jake (another street dog who moved up) must be Hector’s first cousin. I just mailed in my deposit! This is what the house looks like now…it is in a gated IMG_5733.jpg community 24/7.IMG_5729.JPG IMG_5716.JPG

“Six Days on the Road and I’m Gonna Make it Home Tonight”

Posted in Uncategorized on March 15, 2013 by drycreekherbs

I have been home for ten days and haven’t had one opportunity to write. When that happens it is like I have a physical longing to sort out my thoughts, to reconstruct, to write, to prioritize, to analyze, and to make new life adjustments. Well, at least that’s the way I see it today.

I am going to look at the last entry, which was a table of contents and may help me remember. Damn, that is quite a table of contents….hope I don’t skim over my topics.IMG_5548.JPG
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Soooo, nothing weird about the flight…BojioGo shuttle was right there to pick me up with another IMG_5591.JPG passenger….Ruth Salmon from Calgary…she was the first of 6,012 Canadians I saw in San Miguel. She’s an extensive traveler, self-proclaimed hippie–we enjoyed a great book club discussion….I think book clubs can be the great common denominator for women meeting for the first time. Anyway, it was a good start to my week. I stayed in Leslie’s home this time instead of the casita. The “Blue Room” is a large, twin bedroom on the second floor up steep steps…in addition, the bathroom is up another short staircase. Hector, former street dog, helped me settle in then Leslie and I made a spontaneous decision to eat Arranchera at Hecho en Mexico before going to the Rosewood Hotel for a Master Teacher Program-The Kings of Opera. It was an up-close, personal, live interview with Paul Plishka, the famous Metropolitan Opera

201303151047.jpgIMG_5527.jpg bass. I had never heard of him, of course. He retired in January 2012..after 45 years as the company’s leading bass—1644 performances. It was interesting, really. Leslie and I didn’t stay for the cocktail party afterward which was a BIG mistake…champagne and solos by the students. Apparently the cocktail party was awesome. Lost opportunity. Leslie had tickets because she was keeping two, student sopranos in her casita.MUSIC-OPERA-300x168.jpg

I am already mixed up on chronology. I hate this. Ok, so it won’t be accurate. I had time on my own to wander around and see Canadian and Mexico City tourists while I tried to whittle down my shopping list. I did very well, dropping the no-earring resolution. And of course, I purchased several outrageous costumes….Frieda IMG_5787.jpg Kahlo-inspired. On the days I was on my own I walked for hours, ate lunch at some of my favorite spots, watched people, etc.

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One evening was spent at La Sirena Gorda, aka Fat Mermaid for shrimp tacos and the best-ever, IMG_5712.JPG fresh ginger margaritas…best company too….Camie’s parents, Marilyn and Jerry, and the ever-precious, Larry, sister, Camie, and Leslie, of course! One night Leslie and her neighbor and I had dinner at a new restaurant in SM called Mi Vita where I slurped up a fine plate of spinach and Parmesan ravioli…the skin was so thin it was transparent. The last evening Camie and I ate at Berlin…and sat with a stranger. Camie is smart about keeping tables open for others….he was an odd man, I thought. He lived in SMdA and does music video for bands….this week he is working in the US with Fleetwood Mac. IMG_5736.JPG

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OK, this really is hit or miss and it is making me nuts because I can’t get it to flow in my memory sequentially. I have checked my Facebook and that helps. But now the highlight of the trip…the reason for the trip: the Sociedad Audubon de México’s tour to the Rosario Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve. It is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site—in the state of Michoacan—I think the nearest town would be either Angangueo or Ocampo. I went to bed anxious the night before—I had visions of the horse falling off a cliff or throwing me or maybe eating me, I don’t know. Then I also thought about altitude sickness. I don’t ever want to use my MedJet insurance nor do I want my only helicopter ride to be have me flying with a respirator….on and on.

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So, up at 4:45 so I could get my ‘day pack’ and overnighter ready for Larry’s pick up service so Camie and I would be at St. Paul’s for our van pick up. Seems like there were 20 of us…most of us rode in a super comfortable van with the remainder in an SUV….Rodrigo was our guide and I think he did an excellent job….he speaks better English than I do. We watched a movie on the 3-hour ride and we had lots of bathroom stops. The countryside was lovely, the roads quite ride-worthy, nothing untoward to tell.

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We spent the night a small inn, Agua Blanca, deep in a canyon…only 3,000 some feet high…so much for my theory that our layover was to acclimate us to higher altitude—we had nice meals and opportunities to prowl around and use their thermal pools. Stiiiiiinky…and according to the literature, full of carbonates, bicarbonates, chlorides, silicates, sodium, lithium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium….and iron but part of the adventure. A number of the group went on a hike—Camie and I took naps!IMG_5573.jpg
The next morning after breakfast we had about an hour and a half ride to the Biosphere after a little detour around group protesting work conditions at the local glue factory. Our ears popped all the way up to 9,000 feet more or less. Our driver stopped in a little village just a few miles from the park to pay a rangy, old man a toll of sorts. His job was to pull up a rope across the road…. pretty entrepreneurial. This collaborative endeavor brought the entire village funding – and you could tell because it was such a nice looking little place.

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Once we were out of the van most us sprinted the first 30 feet toward the restrooms…the remainder of the way up a small incline, I was gasping and I think turning blue. It was at this point that I knew I was riding a horse up the rest of the way for butterfly viewing. I am not sure why but I think I was either the last or one of the last to get a horse…it was a verrrrrrry tall horse. I am not exaggerating. The horse, Allison, came with a cute teenaged handler

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who wore hip-hop clothes. This didn’t inspire confidence, but at this point I was immersed in prayer. I described the ride to my Mah Jongg group this way. I may be the typical 911 Christian, but this time I was not praying for me so much, as I was praying for the horse. I wanted her to be safe and standing all the way up and down the next, 1,000 feet. I was seriously focused. Seriously. The path was steep and so dusty that the hooves of the horses were sunk into the dust. This is a good time to say, that I was not the driver of the horse. The cute hip-hopster led the horse around obstacles and removed rocks from the path. Turns out Camie really knows how to ride a horse so I didn’t want to embarrass myself by wetting all over me and Allison or screaming or fainting. I was brave and more to tell how this was an inspiration. I will tell that later. Ok, I will tell it now. Jackie and I who both are horse phobics have signed on to take at least one riding lesson from our friend Ralph B. I think he wants to teach us how to saddle up, feed, and groom too. We’ll see how this pans out. All because of the butterflies and Allison.IMG_5813.JPG

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Ok, so we made it up the mountain to where the butterflies were. We dismounted then walked another two blocks maybe. The staff of the park is made up of local residents because they own the land not the government. So I gather it is sort of a rotation. They keep tabs on where the butterflies are on the mountain and use nylon ropes on the footpaths to direct the way to go. I hope that makes sense. Camie was great…she stayed with me and pretended not to be young and capable as I gripped her arm. Obviously, I am in poor physical condition. One of the other tour members was 86 years old and used a cane. She never missed a beat. As we went up, about 50 school kids came down…I am glad to have missed sharing the sighting with them. So, at last we hit the spot….about 40 people were sitting on the side of the rise….all quietly watching. I know in my heart there were a million Monarchs covering the tree trunks and hanging in giant clusters. They aren’t single deep either…more like 50 deep on any surface. Part of my new learning is how since the 1970s the butterflies are drastically fewer in number. It used to be that they cove red over 50 acres…now fewer than 3! Since 2011, there are 59% fewer butterflies. It’s the milkweed….farmers are effectively killing it all=no butterflies. Back to the story, when the sun came out the butterflies darted about like bats. It was astonishing. I will never regret going. It was beautiful and Godly. I would recommend it to IMG_5640.jpg IMG_5612.jpg201303151952.jpg  anyone.IMG_5622.jpg
Only three of us rode horses down, the rest hiked. Show-offs. I cheerfully remounted Allison. I began to see her as a sofa. The ride down wasn’t hideous but I did have to lean backwards in attempt to use Physics to keep on the horse. Camie and I tipped our horses with apples and the teenagers with pesos. I would have bought my teenager a car I was so grateful to be alive and having never vomited. I know a lot about the Monarchs now and their beautiful, miraculous journey to winter in México. I had this wonderful adventure that was inspired by Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior.

My expensive lateral incisor implant came out, falling to the van floor. I thought I saw it roll into a hole. I tried to locate the darn thing but it seemed gone forever. I sat there for about an hour sulking until we had a pit stop. I told the folks behind me so they wouldn’t inadvertently trample on. Voila. Found. Now what to do? I sent Len a text; he called cute Dacien, our dentist at home. The advice: Fill the implant hole with Vaseline and stick it back on the stem! I did and it stayed for the next six days! Shaaaazam, I should have gone to dental school. End of tooth saga.
Because ecto is acting badly I am going to publish this page then finish in another entry and a separate entry for photos.

Grrrrrrr

Posted in Uncategorized on March 15, 2013 by drycreekherbs

Ecto is mean, unforgiving software. I lost half of my completed México entry. Now I have to have do-overs.