Saturday, January 27, 2018

What day is this?

Waiting on the activities director to tell them what's next, campsite view, sunset on the Salton Sea (lasts forever), daily morning walk in the desert.

"It's important to remember when you're traveling in your motor home that life doesn't stop. You are still shopping, meal planning, cooking and cleaning. It's necessary to schedule occasional days to give yourself permission to just do nothing and enjoy the scenery." Advice from an RV Blogger.

Um, no problem. We've pretty much gone from hot tub to patio to pool and back again. Meals are  whatever we feel like grabbing out of the stash I brought. My most stressful thought has been, "where are we going next?" rivaled only with "what day is this?" 

Sunday, January 21, 2018

My Spirit is Greige

What we said we were going to do was rent an RV, go to the Tucson Rock show and then head out to California to Fountain of Youth to spend a couple of days with our good friends Debbie and Jesus Prada. What we did was cruise Craig's List and buy a little greige rig called an Itasca Spirit. After two nights, I can say it's a pretty cool little deal.

The stays:
Night 1: NM state campground City of Rocks. $18 bucks a night, tables, water electric and group dump. Beautiful group area available. Dry camp available, too. Dark dark skies.
Night 2, 3: Prince of Tucson Commercial Park $42 a night. Kind of awful: on the freeway, choc-a-block full because of the rock show but has showers, a laundry, pool and hot tub.

Evidently, we've had a government shut down so national parks are unavailable at the moment making commercial parks crowded.

The driving: Evdad is obsessed with "squeezing 10mpg out of this bitch" so we're drving 55 mph. Just shoot me now. Wind was howling yesterday on I-10 so he worked really hard keeping our high profile from buffeting too much (beer for you, honey as soon as you back in to our spot successfully). We only had shit go flying once-we were clambering up a mountain that he usually does on his motorcycle and he forgot he was on 6 wheels instead of two. It was the silverware drawer. Ooops.

Wallmart: I guess if you have an RV, you're doomed to go to Wallmart every day for the rest of your fucking life.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

July 2017 Slices of Quince

Our village, Ixtlahuacan de los Membrillos, is named for the quince we grow and sell here. As far as I can tell, it's mainly used to make cajeta-a local sweet. Cajeta has the consistency of canned cranberry sauce only with a little more fiber. You remember, it came out in a slab and your mom cut it into perfect 1/2 in slices. Cajeta's taste is reminiscent of apple sauce. A slice is eaten before bed with a glass of full-fat milk, or with sharp cheese and a shot of tequila. The bravest eat membrillo raw, off the tree, with Tajin and lime. Owl and Pussycat eat it with a runcible spoon.

We sell the membrillo from our yard or trade it for cajeta that we give away to Lupe and Jose. Today was harvest day, we all agreed we had fewer fruit than last year but they were bigger and less blemished. It's so satisfying to pick a crop you've nurtured and see it sold to become what it's meant to be. I loved working with Jose today-we chatted about cock fights, moving to the USA, his girls and the general state of the world. Ev went with Jose to sell them, where we discovered our former gardener was getting a much better price per kilo than he was passing on to us!

About two weeks ago, Kino was attacked by a pack of street dogs during our morning walk. Hilde was with us, I don't even remember getting home with them after it happened. Ev got him in the car and we took him to the vet immediately. She had to put him to sleep to evaluate his wounds and stitch him up. Physically he is recovering, emotionally I'm struggling-which means he is struggling. We went on a long migratory walk together as a pack yesterday. Everyone is more at ease when daddy goes.
This beautiful butt is scarred forever.

Feeling confident with Evdad.
As we made our way home I looked up and every hot cowboy in this town that owns a horse was riding towards us.

Our Fiestas Patronales, celebrating San Santiago, coincide with the membrillo harvest and start Sunday. The festival ends on July 25, his feast day. It's a big deal.  Our village bought a new effigy this year, he arrived and was installed today. We happened to be coming home during the installation, a big crowd was gathered. He's gorgeous, with extra long false eyelashes and silver stirrups. The crowd gasped with pleasure as he was raised on to the platform-there are so many things to cherish about Mexico. (not the M80's that go with the fiestas)

Is the spectator with his head on his arms, underwhelmed or overwhelmed?

The smaller version of Santiago lives in our church. During the Fiestas Patronales, he is taken out and paraded each evening through a different bario or neighborhood. That day, your 'hood is decorated with papel picado and is treated to all day fireworks. It pretty much sucks if you're a dog or if you startle easily. Everyone sits out on their stoop to watch the parade. As the parade passes an elder, the men who are carrying him ease him down off of their head and bring him over so the elder can touch him and whisper a prayer. It is the sweetest thing ever to behold.

This year, I sat with Catalina and Elario for the parade. The look on Catalina's face as she got to touch San Santiago's hem was reverent, hopeful and all other good things. I felt lucky to get to witness it. The festival is drawing to a close, our village has had enough hoopla to last us a year.

Monday, May 1, 2017

May Day 2017

May in Ixtlahuacan, how I love to complain about you. It's throat searingly dry. Everything is brown outside our walls. It's the month we have to hand water. Mexicans are burning shit. And this year, to add insult to injury, the beautiful mountain behind our house has been on fire for a week. Dusty doesn't even begin to describe what's happening on the surfaces inside my house. Last night, the breeze was just right and I kid you not, it was raining ash all around us when Ev was on the mirador with binoculars looking at the fire. The first fly of the season usually appears in late May making some of us act like crazy people with the tennis racket bug zapper. Our foothills are so dry they open cracks 3+ inches wide, Hilde has to pick her way even more slowly on our walks.

And yet...May holds much promise. There is evidence we'll have lemons, limes, oranges, avocado and mango later in the year. On our walk this morning I found the eucalyptus tree demolished last fall by the local curandera is growing shiny tender new leaves. The quince are so fat and juicy we know we'll have a crop that will pay for our water and taxes for the year. And sometime in May come the "rainbirds" with their deafening din, promising rain will be here in 6 weeks or less. There is goodness in May, too. Ripe avocados fall from the tree outside our bedroom window, waking us at 2a.m. The pool is a delicious 85 degrees. Hummers are vocal,street hens scuttle low, shepherding too many chicks to count. The plumeria and ginger scent the air like nobody's business.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Bobbing along the dusty trail, The Year is Round, and Jesus is still scowling.

We walk in our village almost every day on one of a half-dozen favorite routes. Hilde tore two ligaments in her left rear before Christmas, so these days when she musters the energy to go, we go slow and are choosing paths with fewer cobbles and more flat surfaces.

We see neighbors who tend cows and greet us warmly. Ibis, pelicans and egrets from Lake Chapala visit our little reservoir. Street dogs follow along for most or part of our walks. Sometimes we stop and eat a taco on the square, sometimes we stop and do our fruit and vegetable shopping. When the hot pink sign advertising ice and charcoal is taped to our corner store we now know it's fiesta time in the village or somebody died in the hood. Either way, we know there will be fireworks and Kino will need his bed moved to the bathroom..

Alvaro missed Ev while he was in the states for over a month.
Asked after him every. single. time. I saw him.

If Ev isn't with me, I dawdle more, sitting for long stretches on a rock under the eucalyptus trees. I hope the dogs will run and play but they don't. They lay at my feet.

After a couple of years here I'm beginning to recognize patterns. I know in winter the sun will be low enough to blind me in the kitchen in the late afternoons. I know when we break out long pants OR long sleeves, my neighbors will be bundled up in layers of fleece. I know when the streams will run, and when the dogs will be needing a hose down when we get home. I know now when bougainvillea will be at its prime, when the dry corn stalks will rustle so loud it sounds like water. We're coming in now to the dusty part of the year. MBS (Mexicans Burning Shit as Evboy says) fills the air with smoke and makes for stupendous sunsets. Bricks are being made.  Bedding is being washed because we can count on it being dry in a day. I have to dig out my chapstick.

The black one wants to
kick Kino's ass.

Kino, Lame Boy and Hilde.

New additions to the family.

Kino and Lame Boy giving 'em hell
because they can. And they're behind the fence.

I was excited to discover the woman who owns this store
also works at the bakery. So NOW, I know
where to get the good bread if the bakery is closed.

It's not a coconut, not a date, not an
acacia-but it is prolific.

Bricks drying.

Home again, home again, jiggety jog.