Archive for September, 2013

What Do San Miguel and San Diego Have in Common?

Posted in Uncategorized on September 25, 2013 by drycreekherbs

There is a certain scruffiness that San Miguel and San Diego have in common. On the surface, both seem dusty and needing a good vacuum. But, both also seem so different than dusty behind doors!

On traffic: There are no traffic lights in San Miguel according to the guide from the Biblioteca. Interestingly, cars simply stop at intersections and give on-coming cars the right of way…same with pedestrians. I like that.

8957408-toilet-sign-with-silhouettes-like-holding-pee.jpg Another thing I like is the generous attitude about restrooms. It seems to me that businesses are very tolerant about allowing non-customers to use facilities. I think that is very sensitive.

These are my notes from the Garden Club:

  • Dichondra (sp?) a weed used as ground cover helps the soil when needing beefed upindex.jpg
  • Cisterns 30000 gallon
  • Also cisterna for gray water.
  • Bee issues. Colony collapse disorder significant problem in North America
  • Hive culture. 3 typed. Workers, 1 queen, 300 drones. Hive can thrives at 93 f.
  • Female worker bees—-60,000-80,000 bees in hive.
  • Foraging bees feed the hive. Nectar for carbohydrates. Pollen too.
  • Can fly about 6 miles. Organic honey unlikely because distance bees fly
  • China Argentina & México 3largest exporters. Germany the strictest standards for organic honey.
  • Insecticides 1 problem. 2nd problem is the Africanization of bees. Nervous bees. All bees. Look same. Bee behavior defensive
  • Stings toothpaste strong deodorant. When bee stings injects a pheromone that tells other bees under attack so more bees stinging.
  • Insecticides used while plants are blooming r what kills hummingbirds, butterflies bees.
  • Buying honey. Flower fidelity. Honey should not be heated or strained.
  • Who gets to be queen? Hive decides who is queen
  • Queen never dies of old age
  • Worker bee flies around black and yellow
  • Queen surrounded by courtiers. Twice as big. Leathery monochromatic. Drones are thugs

Continue reading

Ooops, Feast ETC Did Not Print

Posted in Uncategorized on September 25, 2013 by drycreekherbs

The feast, on the other hand, is the rip-roaring cognitive/emotional/social stimulation. Yes, it does sound pretty manic and there I am. But I’ll say this, it can be quite a stretch on this continuum. There is soooooooooo much to see and to learn. Now during these high flying times, I am just twitchy with inspiration. I can hardly wait to write, to take a picture, to talk, to laugh—on and on. This is quasi-deep!IMG_7871.jpg IMG_7861.JPG IMG_7939.jpg

Camie is back in town and that may have led me back to the ‘what if?’ world. We ran some errands yesterday so I was able to check out the mall area while she did some banking. I am better off in El Cetro. She dropped me off down town where I wiled away a few hours at El Rincon de Tomas drinkin’ enough Coca Cola that I was bug eyed for hours. Then off to see Dr. Blanca E. Farias Hernandez, Camie’s dermatologist about THE rash! Hmmmmm. Now that I am thinking about this numbing zone, I realize it may be all the Benadryl I have been taking…..so much for contemplative metacognition! Annnnnny way, Dr. Blanca was very thorough. I am glad I my pharmacist gave me a print out of all my meds. She studied the list, used her iPad to determine some and took photos of my sjpotty haunches, chest, and back. I begged for NO prednisone, so I have some mega cortisone crème, Allegra, and Cetaphil soap. Also, instructions in Spanish for Martha about my laundry! All this and she speaks perfect English!

Camie met me at Dr. Blanca’s office then we walked to the Berlin for beet caprese salad, schnitzel, and mojitos (not as good as at Hecho en Mexico.) it POURED and POURED and POURED while we had dinner. And then—off to the PetitBar for wine and movie (www.petitbar.com.mx)—A Good Year with Russell Crowe. 100 pesos gets you the movie in a precious little 20 seat-theater, wine, and popcorn. It POURED again during and after the movie so we taxied home. Because of all that Coca Cola, I was fully energized until 2:00 am….I wonder if cortisone cream exacerbates the effect of caffeine. More to think about. I read internet information about all kinds of things including Hugh Grant, of all people. He has two children by an Asian woman and he is 52 now. I sure hope they do make another sequel to Bridget Jones’ Diary. Maybe. It might be like Andy Rooney playing a boy when he was 82 years-old.

Today was BIG. Leslie invited me to be her guest at the SMdA Garden Club. Camie said, it is high society. She cracks me up. And I think she is right on. So, I hadn’t heard from Leslie to tell me what time she wanted me at her house for sure. Yesterday IMG_7957.JPG she said 11:00. NOT. When I called her, just after getting out of bed, she said, she would pick me up in 45 minutes! Shazaam. I flew around that wonderful dressing area. But I did it. AND, thank goodness, Leslie gave me a nod of approval—I am glad I used my 45 minutes to shower, layer on paint, spike up my hair* and change clothes twice. The big hat worked too. Welllllllll, Nancy (hahaha inside joke with Stephanie), it was up on Atascadero in a beautiiiiiiiful house just before Suzann McKinney’s privada street. This was more than worth the 100 pesos. The business meeting was actually interesting to hear about the club projects, galas (one coming up at Gayle’s restaurant), fund raisers, and committees.

IMG_7955.jpg

IMG_7963.jpgMaybe there were about 50 women present all looking spiffy. Glad I had the hat! Present were at least 3 water aerobics gals and several more church acquaintances, as well as Gay. I have to put in photos. Linda and Graham come from New Zealand. Camie told me that Graham, the host, was a publisher for books in the aboriginal language. He was our speaker….about bees! Lucky me. I loved IMG_7956 (1).jpg

every minute and never blinked and took notes on my phone too. Here is what I liked about his remarks….they were concise, clear, not a bunch of show off Latin names, and funny. He knows his bees. He also told us about how they compost, recycle, xeriscape, etc. A family with money who are good stewards—environmentally and socially…also owners of street dogs who appear to be first cousins to Jake and Hector. They had attractive, free range chickens in their orchard and a chicken house that Belinda will covet. These chickens look like they would look good surrounded by dumplings! Big boobs.IMG_7951.JPG

Ok, so I am ‘home,’ as I call it until about 7:30 when I meet Camie and maybe Barbara Porter, owner of the two fastest-moving, spider monkeys I have ever seen (also free-range), at Mi Casa for dinner and flamenco**! OMG, I am so over-stimulated today.

Leslie doesn’t want to go to Leon on Friday and I think I may just save that outing to the leather district for another time. It will save some money that I can spend on something wonderful and non-essential. I am already starting to pack….Raul brought my suitcases down stairs and I will gradually fill them to capacity over the next six days. Home on Monday, the 30th and off to Mom’s on the 4th or 5th.

* The late, great Pam Hoelscher speaks through Camie! (Camie tells me this is called channeling!) mentioned getting a hair cut—without missing a beat, Camie says, “Do NOT cut your hair any shorter.” I liked that…straight and to the point and I trust her—–so I am going to try to let it grow….a little…I won’t ever be Rapunzel again but maybe Curlylocks.IMG_8004.jpg

Raul has been planing all the doors down…we have had so much rain that none of the wooden doors in the house close. I don’t know how much Diane pays him but I think he is worth every penny. Majordomo, chauffeur, translator, carpenter, and caretaker for Jake.

**Next day. IMG_7989.jpgIMG_8006.JPG   I met Camie at Mi Casa and it was a great evening…the restaurant has only about 10 tables IMG_7991.JPG and the dancers and music were really good in my unsophisticated judgement. Music reminiscent of the Gypsies Kings and I do love Gypsies. I used to think I wanted to take Flamenco lessons but then there is such a limited audience for 66-year old Flamenco dancers in Salado…but I figure I could just buy one of those spiffy dresses…I am sure I could find an occasion to wear that kind of costume. Maybe when I go visit Sally! She has come to expect that of me!

There is a fweaken’ mosquito buzzing me. I bet I get dengue fever. Now off for manicure and pedicure then dinner at Camie and Larry’s with Chris and Al and Community Church’s preacher and wife.

Damn .

Posted in Uncategorized on September 24, 2013 by drycreekherbs

I lost 2 Pages but at least they are saved in Word!

It Seems to be Feast or Famine

Posted in Uncategorized on September 24, 2013 by drycreekherbs

IMG_7934.jpg

There have been a few days here that I had absolutely nothing going on. I roamed the streets like one

of the street dogs but without their look of urgency. During these social famines, I am in a zone. I figured it out, I think. I am so 100% insulated and reeeeealllllly ‘ in the moment.’ I couldn’t snap out of it if I wanted to. In these lapses, I rarely have a reaction and not much curiosity. I pondered this novelty enough, that I finally Goggled ‘R Values.’ This is the degree that insulation is effective…..blah, blah, blah. What I conceived is while I am in SMdA, I often have a high R Value for (or is it of?) cognitive/affective performance. I am so immobile in the nicest possible way. Say an R Value of 50! This makes total sense to me but I better not try to explain it to anyone. Maybe it is like an opiate state….. total cognitive/emotional immobility. It is a very safe space. No response to anyone’s remarks, no wistfulness, no anxiety, no bitterness, no fears. De nada. So this is the famine.

What? So what? Now what?

Posted in Uncategorized on September 22, 2013 by drycreekherbs

I want to write, I want to walk. I want to see. I want to shop. I want to hear. I want to know. I want to laugh. I want impact. I want to love. I want to forgive. I want. Yes, Dr. West, you said it early on in graduate school. I am greedy. I also would like to write a short story in haiku.

Now that is out of my system. IMG_7797.jpg

So the girls came on the 11-18th and it seemed like they were here about an hour. Jackie and Barbara loooooooved the house—Babs said best house we have ever had here. Same comments from our little soiree last Tuesday night. I must share this with Diane as it will surely please her.

I really thought I would start writing the minute they left but because I was drugged with Benadryl, I said good-bye then went IMG_7745.JPG directly to the couch and slept 3 hours! I have had a weird rash starting on my chest, then moving to my shoulders, back, arms, then finally on the outside of my thighs! I thought it might be the detergent that Martha uses, so I bought Tide….didn’t help. Then I thought it might be tequila, or maybe guacamole, or insect repellant. I have no idea. I went through one entire tube of cortisone cream 2.5% and a box of Benadryl. It hasn’t been awful just inconvenient. I may go to Camie’s Mexican doctor tomorrow if it isn’t any better.IMG_7899.jpg

Back to the girls stay. We did lots and lots of walking, which has helped me with weight control, but we also ate and drank a good bit. I won’t remember the highlights so I might have to keep coming back as I remember. It rained nearly every day and was cool–say in the 70s. One day it rained so much the streets flooded. There were two hurricanes on either side of Mexico that converged right on top of us. We had reservations at Rosewood for a 5-course dinner with a Casa Dragones tequila tasting. A bottle costs $350.00—a shot costs $55.00! Jackie and I enjoyed the free one then purchased a shot….it is good, I guess, but I doubt I will buy any for the house! It was just in San Miguel. The dinner was creative and some courses superb. There was caramelized veal that I loved and the red snapper wrapped in palm leaves was nice too. After dinner we went up stairs to the Luna Bar for a few drinks and to see the fireworks. We had had a bountiful lunch at Gayle’s Sunday brunch so we were happy enough with the little dainty servings. I like eating at Gayle’s and the girls especially enjoy seeing her since they stayed with her years ago during the Day of the Dead tour.

I didn’t go to water aerobics at all while they were here because I didn’t want to miss a minute with them. The master bedroom is upstairs so I missed a lot of chit-chat and the last day or two I just sat in the guest room so I could be with them!

IMG_7665.jpgIMG_7675.JPGIMG_7719.jpg

One day we had Raul drive us to Queretaro to see the pyramid, lunch, and shopping. Another day we went down to the Jardin for Mexican Independence Day celebrations—with a lot of rich, young, Mexico City, Bad Boys. That is what Leslie calls them. They were sitting at a table nearby drinking shots of Petron Gold. Although they were rascals, they had good manners—or the King Pin did. He brought shots over to us…we were happy to enjoy the free shots. I don’t think I ever have had a shot of tequila before…that may have been the beginning of my

IMG_7928.jpg

Day Time Drinking!

IMG_7716.jpgWe also had a fantastic dinner at Calendula one night. We were the only diners in the lovely patio…delicious porcini (cep) mushroom risotto for me–and something else that I no longer remember. We declined desert but the chef brought us a complimentary pot of chocolate peppers! They were marvelous.

What else? Yes, we had a soiree. The Mayfields, Kokocourks, Gayle, Leslie, and Ron Scott and Fred York. Martha made fantastic potato pancakes, zucchini pancakes, and mushroom, cheese, spinach empanadas. The plan was to go for dinner after drinks but all tapas were consumed so we just partied oIMG_7741.JPGn. Interesting that so much of this is about food, huh?

They have been gone three days. The weather immediately cleared up. It rains every night and it is cool….it is usually about 75-80 degrees.

Last night Camie came over—Just what I needed! We had a couple of bottles of wine and lots of yummy cheese and bread. She and Larry have been in Paris and Madrid. She has given me some ideas of things to do—Raul said he would take me to Leon to the leather district and I think I might just do this….He is a good driver and interesting…maybe a purse is in my future!

Today I went to St. Paul’s 10:30 service—the interim priest, Lucie, is in my water aerobics class…very nice service and I saw John Herron, who was the Day of the Dead tour coordinator for a year or two. He didn’t recognize me at all….Once he knew who I was he was very sweet….He said the hair confused him! I also saw Bonnie who I think used to coordinate the catering for the Day of the Dead events. I am not sure about that. At any rate she was very nice about my ‘recovery.’IMG_7857.JPG

After church I took a taxi to the Biblioteca (library) for the Sunday house tour….I have done this before and seen some great houses…The guide told us that they have over 400 houses that they rotate showing….a ticket costs $18.00 and the funds are used for scholarship….San Miguel has the 2nd largest Spanish/English library in Mexico….that seems odd to me. Maybe public library. The two houses we saw today were ok. Nothing spectacular but it was a nice diversion…The guide talked about tequilas….he said the same thing every one has told us…Casa Dragones is all marketing. He recommends Julio 1912. The guide also told more about the current mayor who has done a lot to spruce up the buildings….specifically restoring statues and fountains and I think offering some incentives for home exteriors to be painted…the paint is made of lime, cactus, and water.

I am totally tired and dull tonight. I have observations that I want to write about but must prime myself for that.

IMG_7893.jpgIMG_7927.JPG

Just Some Photos–and Not Good Photos Either

Posted in Uncategorized on September 10, 2013 by drycreekherbs

When I get home, I am selling my ‘big’ camera. I didn’t take it on the cruise and I didn’t bring it here. In fact, I didn’t bring the snap and shoot either. If I take a photo, I use my phone. There is nothing to beat the convenience…consequently, the photos are just so so. There is something to be said about having pretty low standards. I am hardly ever stressed about outcome. Well, it depends. If I take the photo, I am pretty nonplussed. BUT, if Len takes a photo that I want and it doesn’t turn out, I can get pretty high-handed.

1236127_579366095452881_1350687725_n.jpg

I had a quiet day…no water aerobics so I slept in until 9:00 when the phone rang. Gay M. and I have tentatively planned to have a small group come over here next Tuesday. After some planning, I slipped on some clothes took poor old Jake on a quicky walk then came in for real make up and real costume for the day. I didn’t do a thing notable…I went to the Rosewood Hotel…one of the newest premier hotels here to get tickets for Jackie, Babs, and me for Sunday….We will get to taste the Casa Dragones tequila that is being promoted here, have a lovely dinner, then go upstairs to Luna, the roof top bar for a few drinks and hopefully watch the fireworks…provided that it isn’t raining. We are only a block away so no taxi will be necessary.

IMG_7651.JPG

I took Leslie’s advice and went for a manicure local to our neighborhood. Very, very relaxing and reasonable too. I love their color scheme.

After dinner at ‘home’, I walked down to the Santa Clara ice cream shop for one scoop of coconut. I IMG_7551.JPG am sorry I did because now I will want to go every night. I like living right in the midst of things and being to walk places quickly. I THINK I have lost some weight. If not, I am going to going on an eating binge starting with cream-based dishes!

Leslie went to a memorial service yesterday. Apparently this woman was very big on telling stories. She used to say, “People go to Boca Rotan to die. Other people go to San Miguel de Allende to live.” I get that.

IMG_7653.jpg If I lived here, what color would I paint my door? IMG_7646.jpg

The Revolution Must Have Started.

Posted in Uncategorized on September 9, 2013 by drycreekherbs

It has been very, very quiet up until today….Sunday, September 8, 2013. At noon, suddenly the big, big booms started. I know it is really just warming up. Camie, I think, told me that that during Mexican Independence MONTH it becomes progressively loud. San Miguel is fireworks city. We’ll see. I brought one pair of earplugs and may ask Barbara to bring more.

This morning I slept in until 9:30…very nice. It is coldish here and overcast and perfect weather to hunker down…I might even eat chicken soup that Martha made for me. So, this is day two of the Hummingbird Festival and I have opted not to go back up to the Festival International del Colibri. I was so cold yesterday and the program today is primarily in Spanish. Yesterday’s sessions were terrific. There were only about 100 people-half Spanish speakers and the other half English speakers. I attended Sherri Williamson’s ‘Hummingbird Banding Experiences.’ Williamson, author of Peterson’s Field Guide to Hummingbirds of North America, is a biologist and naturalist living in Arizona. Beth Kingsley’s did a sweet photo lecture called ‘Romancing the Hummingbird.’ She ended with a quotation from her poem, ‘When Women Were Birds.’ Damn, I can’t find it on the internet….I guess I could buy it…She is kind of a mystic I think. She writes about ‘God Laughing in Flowers’, ‘Word Pearls’, etc. She has an MA in Music Therapy…she also has a hypnotic voice and she is an amazing photographer. Oh, she lives in Sedona where it is politically correct to be a mystic. Finally, Susan Bonfield presented ‘Hummingbirds: Superheroes of the Bird World’. I learned that there are 340 species of hummingbirds….a tiny, tiny hummer called a bee hummingbird; that they have amazingly fast synaptic charges to tell their wings to maneuver around; their brain is 4% of their body size; their iridescence is to help them look meaner and bigger; there is an International Migrating Bird Day; Broad Tail hummers like the nectar from Ocatillo cactus; you can do a GYN exam on a hummer with a drinking straw to blow their feathers away from their tummy where you can see right through their skin; hummers can live 9-12 years; can migrate from FL to Alaska; etc. Here’s the thing. I can’t and won’t remember all that was said…I would like to visit one of the banding sites where a volunteer can use their hand as a launching pad for a hummer, etc. Very run on sentence. Oh, this is cool….Bed, Bath, and Beyond sells little lingerie bags that are used for holding bags for hummers before banding.

A new chum, Patrice was at the festival. She is in my water aerobics class. She is pretty darned interesting. She has lived here 1 year; she’s originally from Ontario, she has lost 60 pounds in the year she has been here; she worked the last 15 years in the Antarctic as a teacher, principal, and superintendent. I used to think I was interesting before this experience. More on the demographics later.

IMG_7590.jpgIMG_7627.jpgIMG_7628.jpgIMG_7598.jpg IMG_7629 (1).jpgJust a few interesting doors.

There were vendors and I was moved to buy a very peculiar looking shawl that is made of felted wood. It kinds of looks like a rag. I like it. I took a taxi home, which was double the price because of distance from El Centro and well worth it. I walked in the house feeling weakfish…took Jake on the fastest walk he may have ever been on….then I went upstairs and fell right into bed…I slept two hours and felt puny all through my nap.

I didn’t want to go to the Gala but Leslie and I previously agreed to go. Hmmmm, what to say about the gala? Well, it was a gala. It was POURING rain. I felt plain because I forgot to bring floozy clothes. Leslie came in a taxi to pick me up for quite a distant ride out of the El Centro. I haven’t seen decorations like that since my prom at Kaiserslautern American High School. I will give it to the husband and husband, Jim and Alfred, they know how to make the Z Club, a corrugated steel structure look great! Yards and yards of billowing fabric, huge cardboard silhouettes of hummers, and exotic candle arrangements available at their shop. I wanted it all. Leslie and I sat with nice people who were strangers to me….the dinner was good. Beef steak, a purposefully cold chili relleno, rice, a new age enchilada filled with who knows what, and a salsa that turned my stomach to jelly. We were served mojitos and wine. Dessert was a chocolate tart. Here’s how it went….everyone in every kind of dress….to the max and to the minimum. Big jewels. Lots and lots of smoozing. I am clearly an amateur. I must write precisely about my observations. There were folks I knew by sight, and naturally lots I had never seen. I saw Hope and Dirk, Rodrigo and his wife, Adrian (who is NOT Rodrigo’s wife ☺), and another couple from St. Paul’s. I guess I have been around enough that a few people said they knew me but couldn’t remember from where. I have a common face, I think. Eight paper maché masks, a huge (6 foot) Katrina, and a chandelier hummingbird feeder were raffled off. Big bucks. I sat quietly. I wanted that Katrina. Leslie and I looked at each other and mutually agreed it was time to go. I assumed we would take a taxi back but friends from her Shakespeare group offered her a ride and I was allowed to join them.

So, in the ride back I realize that this is a community of really interesting people. There aren’t any commoners to speak of. Everyone seems to have a story that’s at least twenty five standard deviations from the norm. These people had lived in Machala, Equador for 17 years. I guess it is the largest port for banana exportation in the world. Also Equador’s currency is the US dollars. Now, it would be dumb to get carried away and sound like I am ashamed of my history. I like it. But it does seem that everyone I have met has something sort of sensational in his or her history.

I took Jake for a 1.5 mile walk this morning and will do the same later. Right now I think I will go down to the Jardin and maybe get something to eat at Mesa Grande…I want green juice and a veggie omelet from El Café but it appears to be closed.

I’ve been watching the History channel on 911 as I write this. I cried to see it.

IMG_7441.JPG

This is a funny sign…I don’t know what it means.

The sun is sort of out so I think I will head out….maybe more later.

Next Day: Today I took Jake over to Leslie’s house for a playdate with Hector.

IMG_7641.JPG

Well, I thought I had more to write about but tonight I am blank.