Monday, June 30, 2008
It's not a big pool, but big enough. The morning sun comes up behind the hotel building so the water doesn't get direct sun on it until midmorning, and so it's cooler than it might be otherwise. And the setting is beautiful: there's the marina, and behind it, the Caracol (San Carlos' upscale neighborhood) and the Tetas.
There are two Spanish words for swimming pool, by the way: alberca or a piscina. I prefer alberca because the other one sounds a too much like the other thing some thoughtless people do in pools.
Today when the Capt came home from a morning's work on the Green Flash, soaked with sweat and looking a little...well, baked, I dragged him over to the pool and immersed him. We were only there for maybe fifteen minutes (three little girls kept floating into our path), but that was an hour ago and we still feel cooler.
Now that's what I call summer survival strategy.
And once in a while, I get a good laugh. This is a clothing store in The Dalles (which Sue says means "bend in the river.") I don't normally enter a state of bliss when shopping for clothes (especially in the fitting room!), but it's the thought that counts. Last year she sent me some shots of Bliss' Route 101 Restaurant in Florence, a 50s style diner with vintage 50's autos for décor. She says their burgers are great.
By the way, there's no exact translation for the name Bliss in Spanish. My dictionary gives 1. felicidad (which always makes me think of the name Felicity which is just too froufrou for me; 2. bienaventuranza (which is way too much of a mouthful) or 3. beatitud (which sounds like a good name for a nun). So when I'm asked "Como se llama?" I just say "Bleees" and get funny looks.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Right. Now the windows.
Flour tortillas (which the Capt prefers), on the other hand, are held together with shortening or, worse, lard. Here's a sample recipe. Okay, a quarter-cup of shortening isn't a big deal.
So it's probably what's traditionally put on the tortilla that makes it a little fat bomb.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Guaymas has a lot of fat policemen. On the first page of La Voz del Puerto recently, a lineup of policia obesos was pictured, arms defensively wrapped around their ample bellies, getting a lecture from a superior appropriately attired in workout gear, about the need to shed those pounds. They'll now be expected to adopt some form of workout, whether walking, swimming or attending the municipal gym for two hours of daily physical training--whatever it takes to show some results at their regular Monday morning weigh-in.
Similar programs have been in effect in Obregón and Navajoa, with good results, says the Comandante Oscar Villa Encinas. The weight-loss regimen is part of a general shapeup movement to prepare officers for the sharp increase in tourism expected when cruise ships begin landing in Guaymas harbor later this year, and to meet higher standards of job performance set by the Executive Secretary of Public Security for the state of Sonora. They'll also be learning some English, and getting a little primer on the cultural and historical aspects of the town. Oh, and some shooting lessons.
What I want to know is, are these guys going to be sent home with diets? A nutritionist is supposed to be on hand to advise them on weight loss techniques that won't endanger their health. Are their wives (who are likely to be as corpulent or more so than their husbands) going to be expected to learn "lite" cooking? Is there such a thing as low-calorie Mexican food? Sounds like an oxymoron to me.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
George Carlin died last Sunday, but I'm just getting around to sharing what has to be my favorite quote of George's.
"That's all you need in life, a little place for your stuff. That's all your house is: a place to keep your stuff. If you didn't have so much stuff, you wouldn't need a house. A house is just a pile of stuff with a cover on it. That's what your house is, it's a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff. Sometimes you gotta move, gotta get a bigger house. Why? No room for your stuff anymore. You've gotta move all your stuff, and maybe put some of your stuff in storage. Imagine that there's a whole industry based on keeping an eye on your stuff."
Well, that's something George won't need anymore. But if you'd like to have all George's stuff, it's available here.
Coincidentally, I've started yet another blog, this one about collecting old stuff. It's on our website, Cochran's Collector's Guide. In my other life, I co-publish a map guide to antique stores in the western US from Washington to Arizona, and we're celebrating our 20th year in publication. Prior to that, I published a monthly magazine about antiques, and what I enjoyed most was writing features about specific areas of collecting: jewelry, furniture, art, pottery, glass, telephones, etc. etc. Doing the research, interviewing people who know more about the stuff than I do, crafting the articles, taking the photos, that was what I liked to do. I live in a small house, travel on a small boat, so I'm not really a great collector myself, other than once in a great while a choice piece of jewelry.
Calling it "stuff" sort of takes some of the cachet and glamor out of the idea of antiques, which is fine by me. That $120,000 chair, the early Connecticut phone book now auctioned for $107,000... it's all stuff. Interesting stuff, nonetheless. An antique dealer in Petaluma put it even more succinctly in the name of a store she owned for a while: Dead People's Stuff.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Afterward Brenda and I spent yet another hour chatting with Cynthia's landlady, who happens to be our Spanish teacher, so we spoke Spanish for the entire time. It seems to be getting easier. Every couple of minutes Lolita would use a word we weren't familiar with, I'd throw up a hand, "Halt!" and ask her to repeat it, write it down, show it to her for spelling, "Como esta?" and we'd carry on. A funny way to hold a conversation, and perhaps it seems strange to pay a lady five bucks each to charlar with us for an hour, but only if you haven't had the pleasure of talking with Lolita. She has a great sense of humor, a lot of compassion and patience, and I've never found her boring. The hour flies by, we take our notes and go home hoping maybe we're a tiny bit more fluent.
On my way home, I noticed that the big building under construction a block from Ley Plaza is going to be a Burger King. Now Guaymas will have McDonald's, Blockbuster Video, Dairy Queen, Subway, Pizza Hut, Domino's Pizza and Burger King all within a block of one another, a world-recognized mark of a progressive city, like it or not. Guaymas folk can satisfy all their gringo-centric fast-food and entertainment needs in a few blocks. One could almost forget one was in Mexico, if one wanted to do so. Which I, for one, don't.
And there's a Subway opening Saturday in San Carlos, too. What next?
I've added another ex-pat to my blogs of interest, Debi who lives with her two cats (one's 23 years old!) and husband in Mérida, one of those places I'm hankering to visit.
Monday, June 23, 2008
A couple of friends videotaped two of our songs, and we spent this morning trying to learn how to use iMovie to upload "I Don't Worry About a Thing" onto YouTube for your viewing -- uh -- pleasure. Ended up going back to the old version of iMovie, much more user-friendly, to put it together. Here's the YouTube clip, too slow on the download, but it is what it is. I learned to ignore it on the first download, then hit it again and it plays through without a pause.
Watching the clips, I relived every moment of humiliation and flash of ...well, if not brilliance then satisfaction, and at the same time saw us from different viewpoints. One voice in my brain was squawking, 'Who do these geezers (66 next month! 55 and 62 as of yesterday) think they are, getting up in front of all these people, exposing all their flaws like this? Wrinkles! Wattles! Omigod, she looks like her mother!' while another voice is musing, 'Hey, they look like they're having a pretty good time!' Besides, I'm the same age as Mick Jagger and he hasn't quit yet either.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
I spent the time doing my handwashing, which consisted of my entire wardrobe of Indonesian rayon beach dresses, acquired here and there along our travels the past couple of years. There are a dozen of them now, in every color, printed with dragonflies, shells, hibiscus, geckos, images from Diego Rivera and silly tropical fish, all hemmed in fringe. This particular rayon is thin, light and somewhat fragile but it's the only thing cool enough to wear in a Mexican midsummer.
Then the Capt called me in to sing backup on "Mustang Sally," a rock song I wasn't sure I wanted anything to do with. Rock 'n' Roll, moi? But it was enormous fun, and for the first time I seemed to come to terms with my tambourine. I've been assigned percussion duty, a major responsibility and a challenge since I've never used a tambourine before while singing. Now I have to focus on keeping the rhythm on the tambourine (varying it here and there where required), remembering my lyrics (without my lead sheets), listening to the two other instruments and, oh yes! smiling while I sing (a must, according to my former singing coach). Talk about multi-tasking! There were times I forgot words to songs I've done hundreds of times.
Later we worked on "Solamente Una Vez," one of my favorite Spanish songs, in hopes that Elba, a Mexican singer we met Wednesday night (we did "Quien Sera" together in harmony) will show up again. So that makes two Spanish songs we have ready for prime time, más o menos.
As for the Capt, he got a new Captain's Club T-shirt and a slice of his traditional favorite, cheesecake, to celebrate. In all, a good day.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
The Bikram Yoga Institute website lists names of the poses with photos. This one's the Eagle or Garurasana. Notice these people don't look particularly sweaty. Are they cheating?
There were only four participants plus the teacher, who doesn't charge because she doesn't consider herself a professional. The exercise room is well set up with mats and mirrors all around, plus air conditioning and big fans. Before class I reached over and turned on a fan, only to be told, "Uh-uh, no fans. This is Bikram yoga!" Hmmmm, was I ready for this?
Bikram Yoga, otherwise known as Hot Yoga, is designed to encourage you to sweat out all the toxins and more easily do the stretches and poses. So no air cooling, and if the room is already cool the heat is turned up. The idea was cooked up (pardon the pun) by Bikram Chadhoury, founder of the Bikram Yoga Institute. See their website for their full routine including photos of the poses. (They're all so smugly buff, I just want to puke.) I once saw an article reporting some classes are held in 105-degree heat--supposedly the heat helps burn off more calories. Maybe a good idea in concept, but the idea of all that sweat (with no towel, I left home without one) almost made me slink away in failure. But no, I had two friends there nudging me on, so I stayed. And sweated.
Unlike the Capt, stewing in my own juices is not my idea of a good time. So what, you may ask, am I doing living in Mexico? Good question.
The poses were all familiar: the triangle series, the balancing series, the dog series, and so on, 28 in all done twice each. The atmosphere was relaxed, almost jovial, as we went through the motions, perspiration dripping in puddles around us. The room is completely enclosed with no open windows, only an open door, and the entire hour I felt one little errant breeze for which I was almost pathetically grateful.
I've done Bickram yoga once before in Northern California, in a cabin heated by a wood stove. I noticed when I entered the room that everyone was staying well back from the stove though it was a chilly day, and the only space left was right in front of it. The heat seemed to consume most of the oxygen in the room and before the session was over I was gasping.
For this class, no artificial heat was required. The ambient temp was already in the nineties, and our efforts did the rest. Whew!
My neighbor Joanne was there, and she mentioned that she's learned not to wear mascara on the days she goes to yoga class or she'll just get raccoon eyes. "I'm testing a waterproof mascara today," I told her. "I'll let you know how it works." Actually, it did pretty well.
Will I go again? Obviously I need to get over this paralyzing phobia of sweat, if I'm going to survive the Mexican summers. Too often I let whole days go by without going outdoors, as though the sun was the devil's invention, waiting out there to do me in. When it's hot I lose interest in doing anything that would require walking, bicycling or even getting into a hot car. It feels almost like a case of agoraphobia.
It did seem that once I got over the feeling that I was melting faster than the Wicked Witch of the East, I was able to stretch a little further than usual. Next time I'll remember to wear fewer clothes and bring my towel.
Anyway, there's always a shower waiting for me at home.
Among the cruisers I'm keeping track of is Jason Rose, who sailed his boat "Bohdran" on the Pacific Puddle Jump from Mexico and last Saturday posted from Tahiti. He described the bustle of Papeete, the surprising ease of checking in and getting around in the local buses, the prices (two beers for $7 is considered a big bargain!) and most interesting of all, busking in Papeete. Jason and the friends he's traveling with are musicians, and they set up next to the food carts in the central square and played for the passersby, collecting about $60US for their efforts.
After a week in Tahiti, Jason met his two brothers at the airport and they sailed for Moorea where they struggled to anchor in 60-knot gusts, but apparently the snorkeling was worth it. Presently they're safely settled in a comfortable anchorage with five other boats, enjoying potlucks and exploring the island.
I was pleased with the macro lens and the speed of the shot (there was a breeze and the branches were in motion). I was just going to post a closeup of the flowers and see if anybody could ID them, and then I had a lightbulb moment: could they possibly be poinciana?
Naaah, that would be just too much of a coincidence, because the Capt. and I are in the process of learning Ahmad Jamal's song "Poinciana," which has a lovely exotic tune, and somewhat flamboyant lyrics. An example:
Somehow I feel the jungle heat
Within me, there grows a rhythmic, savage beat.
Somebody mentioned that the poinciana is a tree with red flowers, and I began putting clues together with the help of Google Images (which indicates the flowers may also be palest pink). Mira! What we have here is a young poinciana tree! The trees Brenda and I have both been admiring all over Guaymas and San Carlos are poinciana.
Other songs I have committed to memory: Steve Miller's "Mercury Blues" and Janis Joplin's version of "Hesitation Blues." No, I'm not channeling Janis.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
I also sang three Spanish songs with Omar the pianist, though apparently he's not accustomed to singing in dos voces (harmony) so we'll have to work on it a bit. Now that's the kind of work I like.
I'm getting over my shyness about jumping up, grabbing the mike and joining in when I know a song or remember a harmony line. Having done this three Sundays now, we're all a lot more relaxed.
After a three-hour session, we'd come home and had a nap, and the Capt was busy making chocolate chip raisin oatmeal cookies when Gary showed up, all purposeful and said, "I've got another new song!" So it looks like another three or four hours of music tonight. As I write this, the Capt is growling his best Tom Waits impression.
In honor of Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, La Gringa's Blogocito's latest post has some gorgeous photos of her plants, a must-see.
I, on the other hand, have one plant that I'm actively cultivating in my usual haphazard way. Nancy in Mazatlan gave me a couple of cuttings from the basil growing in her courtyard, and so far I've managed to keep it alive and see it double in height. Not width, though. Plant enthusiasts would say it's "leggy" and while it may be an asset for a chorus girl, in a plant that's not a good thing. I had a fair-size pot to transplant it into, so I added a cutting from a different variety of basil, one with tiny leaves. So far they seem to coexist nicely. The soil was rather dense, so I worked in gourmet coffee grounds, which the basils seem to like. And today I placed it outside my kitchen window for more sun, hoping the feral cats don't knock it over, or that I don't forget to water it. Out of sight, out of mind, you know...Then this evening I checked on it, and five leaves had suddenly gone brown!
The only other plant in my vicinity is a plumeria which I didn't plant and don't take care of because I think it's in the neighbors purview and I wouldn't want to over-water it. (I suppose that sounds like an excuse.) When we moved here in 2006 it was about two feet high, but it has also doubled in size and girth, and when the breeze is right its perfume can reach me at my front door. Our friend in the Ranchitos has a plumeria TREE, and I dearly hope I will still be here when ours gets to that point.
My house is surrounded with concrete, so my plants would have to live in containers and I don't have a lot of luck with them. How, for instance, do you keep a bouganvillea in a container? I'd love to have two or three colors growing up the front porch posts. And maybe a palm tree for shade.
Or...There's a tree Brenda in Guaymas calls a Flamboyance, blooming thickly with spectacular red flowers at the corner of our street, and I've been wondering if such a tree could be started with a cutting. More shade than a palm.
I wish I had consulted my friend Andee in Chacala when I started thinking about all this. Too late now.
De-insurance is a method of temporarily not maintaining the required insurance on the vehicle until it is ready to be driven or placed on the road again. A de-insured vehicle will not be suspended due to lack of insurance unless it is driven on the roadways of this state. To de-insure your vehicle, complete the on-line De-Insured Certificate . (Note: you don't have to print and mail it, just fill it out online and send it.) Once you have submitted the form, the information will be entered onto the vehicle record, within 2 business days.
...By completing this information, you are certifying that the vehicle described was not and/or will not be operated on the highways of Arizona, and that the vehicle will not again be operated on the highways of Arizona until proof of insurance is on file with the Motor Vehicle Division. You must still pay any registration fees and taxes that are required.
Look for the De-Insured Certificate link under Forms & Publications on the left side of the MVD home page. It's also the form used for non-operational vehicles.Now, the tricky part is finding an insurance agent that will give you a short-term policy, so you can visit the States for a few days without having to pay for six months of insurance. The best option I could find was Interstate Insurance Agency in Phoenix, 602-264-2131, which will issue a one-month policy.
Sorry, the MVD link above may not work for you, it didn't for me even after I re-linked it a half-dozen times. You may have to resort to Google.
The employee we talked to in 2006 at MVD knew nothing about de-insurance. Cherie, the manager we spoke to this time around, mentioned it but didn't say how to go about it. What I've learned:
"Si quieres ser bien servido, sírvate a ti mismo"...If you want something done right, do it yourself.
Song I've memorized today: "I Don't Worry About a Thing" by Mose Allison.
The Capt surfs. Internet access at the RV Park has been frustrating, but now they've installed wifi!
Now we have to look into something called "de-insurance" which would allow us to maintain US policies without having to pay monthly premiums for coverage we only need, say, twice a year at most. See the next post for results of my research.
Bronze statues of Mexican heroes are everywhere in Hermosillo, but I thought this was the most interesting one. Let's see now...if the horse has one foot off the ground, that's supposed to mean the rider was wounded in battle, right?
Thursday, June 12, 2008
At the moment, though, we're in our disabled but still comfortable RV in Arizona for a couple of days, and the kitchen here doesn't lend itself to a lot of experimenting. We made the five-hour drive north late yesterday, to do some banking, some car-related paperwork and to have an ailing Mac Mini repaired. This morning we set off fully convinced we could carry it all off in one day and be on our way home tomorrow..."barring," I joked as we headed up the freeway, "any unforeseen disaster..." And within minutes, disaster struck!
While in AZ I wanted to get my Nissan registration straightened out. My US insurance lapsed for about three months in 2006 while the car was in Mexico, covered only by Mexican insurance. I got a notice our registration had been suspended due to lack of US insurance, so I immediately reinstated the US policy and traveled up to AZ to try to reinstate the registration. But the clerk at the Motor Vehicle Dept. office in Green Valley said no, even though the car hadn't been in the States in months, no lapse in the US policy would be allowed. We'd have to get something called an RS-122 from the US insurance company and buy a three-year policy to show our commitment to maintaining insurance. I wouldn't hesitate if it were a newer car, but it's a 1991 with almost 250,000 miles on it.
Still, we decided to see if there were any other options to get the Nissan street-legal, so we were driving it today when we were pulled over by a huge and very gung ho young policeman who spotted my expired plates.
Decades ago in California I had allowed a registration to lapse, for which I was issued a warning ticket and directed to take care of it asap or else. But in AZ you don't get a warning ticket, you get evicted from your vehicle with whatever stuff you have in it, and the car is impounded.
We sat alongside the freeway for almost an hour, running the motor so we could have air conditioning in the 100-degree heat, while the policeman did a background check on us that must have traced us back to our ancestors. Then he turned us over to a tow truck driver, who assured us that, although he'd have to tow the car away, we could get it back if we could acquire at least a temporary registration. He had to pull off and destroy our license plate, so we had to get some new proof of registration or we could go through all this again just trying to get back to the border. The Capt decided we'd rent a car to drive to the motor vehicle office, so we got a ride in the tow truck to the local car agency where we rented a 2008 Nissan Pathfinder.
At the MVD (Motor Vehicle Department), we waited a couple of hours shivering in their 50-degree air conditioning. Finally Cherie, a manager, listened to our predicament and said if we could prove the car was covered by Mexican insurance during the period in question, she could register us and provide us with a new license plate. Our Mexican insurance agent faxed Cherie proof of our coverage, and after paying $99 for a year's registration, we were free to get our car out of hock. Ka-ching!
The sympathetic towtruck driver charged us $90 to bail out our car which had sat in his yard for three hours. Ka-ching!
We returned to the car rental agent and turned in the Pathfinder rental we'd been driving for less than three hours, paying $70 even after the sympathetic agent reduced her charges by half. Ka-ching!
With most of our errands yet to be accomplished and the entire day blown, we gave up on heading home tomorrow.
What we learned:
1. Get a second opinion. If we had asked the fellow we talked to at MVD last year to call in his supervisor, she'd have contradicted him and confirmed that our Mexican insurance was sufficient as long as we didn't drive the car in the States.
2. We could have saved a lot of time and money by taking a taxi directly from the spot on the freeway where we were pulled over to the MVD office, instead of renting a car. Or maybe if we'd asked, the tow truck driver would have taken us there.
3. We do have a legally registered Ford we could have driven, but although newer it's in need of a tuneup and might have brought on another set of problems.
4. We like Nissans, but the 2008 Pathfinder chassis seems to almost wobble on the wheels. In comparison, our old 1991 Nissan Maxima is a dream ride.
As you can imagine, I can't wait to get home. And the song I memorized today was "They All Went to Mexico" by Carlos Santana for Willie Nelson.
"Where's my luck and where's my grace?
Has it all been just a foolish chase?"
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Walking toward the beach, I stopped to get a photo of my favorite kind of cactus, whose name I've yet to learn. One of those things I've learned to appreciate about the desert. Set like a jewel among other cacti, desert plants and rocks, with beach palapas and the sea in the background, it was purple and its blooms had already developed into pink buds.
We've spent quite a lot of time with them this year, getting our boats ready for cruising, traveling together and exploring various ports all the way to Barra de Navidad. We've come together and parted a number of times, always glad to see each other again, always a little sad to say goodbye. In a few days they'll be headed back to Vancouver and we won't see them again until the fall. I'm hoping they'll keep up their blog, and that they'll check in now and then with mine, so we can pick up the threads of conversation when they come back again.
Wendy from Sol Mate and I stopped by their new place to introduce ourselves and drop off a map of Guaymas and San Carlos. Surrounded with packing boxes and possessions, we heard just a little of their exploits on the roundabout expedition they made across Mexico...Seattle to Laredo to Monterrey to Mexico City to Morelos to Guaymas. A good way to see a lot of the country, an adventure made even more exciting and dangerous by towing a trailer loaded with everything they owned. They'll be talking about it for years!
Plaza at the San Fernando church, about a block from the new home of fellow bloggers Cynthia and Mike
Anyway, they seem pleased with their spacious apartment and regard Guaymas as a much better destination than Mexico City...cleaner, safer, more welcoming and affordable. Tune in on their channel for more news once they find an internet connection.
Note: this makes seven (7) bloggers in the San Carlos/Guaymas area all at one time! Cindy, Wendy, Mark, Brenda, Ale, the Capt and me! Bloggers rule!
Today my friend Wendy from "Sol Mate" needs to take her car to Guaymas to get the AC working, since she and Mark will be driving across the US to Canada in the summer heat. She's wearing her raspberry-colored beach dress. I put on my identical dress, except I have tropical fish and she has turtles. Here's our "twinsie" shot.
We bought them about ten minutes after coming ashore at Barra de Navidad, when we buddy-boated south with them this spring, and Wendy's mom Lorraine bought one, too! They're sooooo cool and light, and such a tasty color!
Do we look like sisters? Well, maybe a little...
We're going to meet fellow blogger Cynthia who's moving with her husband Mike into the apartment behind my Spanish teacher Lolita's house. Soon they have an interview for English teacher jobs and hopefully they'll be all set.
The song I've memorized today (hey, I'm serious about this memorizing business): "To Be Alone With You" by Bob Dylan.
Monday, June 09, 2008
I've also heard from Ralph and Glenda the S/V "Our Country Home," last posted from Hanamenu in the Marquesas, where they're experimenting with cooking breadfruit and trading with the locals for exotic foods. When they had nothing to offer, Ralph traded the shirt off his back, which was very well received!
Then there's the S/V "Argo" which went through the Panama Canal last week, having survived their first engine failure in 17 years during their approach to the locks (yikes!) The photo, taken from a camera at the site which was accessed on the Internet by my friend Phyllis in Seattle, shows them being towed by a tugboat through the Miraflora locks. One of those unforgettable (and costly!) experiences in a cruiser's life.
We were back at the Captain's Club yesterday for another open mike. This one was well-attended, with numerous friends coming in all afternoon, and four other performers (all more experienced and advanced than our fledgling combo). My new friend and fellow blogger Ale brought her husband Ulisses and we were able to get acquainted despite the noise -- the CC is a long narrow room and sound bounces off the walls.
Omar, an accomplished young pianist and guitarist who plays several venues around San Carlos, showed up and put the Capt's piano through a rigorous workout. Then I had a chance to do a few Spanish songs with him, even got to harmonize with him on one...what a thrill! Also harmonized with Kak on one of her favorite tunes by The Waifs. I love harmonizing, even more than singing solo. When it's done right, it sweetens a song, and something about the dynamics of it gives me a rush I can feel to my toes. My maestra Lolita calls it endorphins. We made music all afternoon and I went home a tired and happy girl.
Friday, June 06, 2008
"The trouble with white dogs is they're hard to keep clean," remarked our friend Gary the other day when Sofia and Chica both came in looking grungier than usual.
So I give them baths about once every two weeks, and when they're soaked, they look like this. The humiliation of it all!
Thursday, June 05, 2008
We're not the only ones changing plans. Just heard from fellow bloggers Cynthia and Mike who have left Mexico City where the cost of living and the English teaching jobs they'd signed up for turned out to be not what they'd hoped for, and are on their way here! to Guaymas, actually, to apply at a local school. Fellow blogger Brenda is already looking for an apartment for them. Considering Guaymas was Mike's first choice (he fell in like with the town years ago), this is serendipitous indeed. Of course, they could always fall in like or get hired someplace else on their way here. They're having quite an exciting odyssey, getting lost trying to read Mexican road signs and turning up dead-end one-way streets (with their trailer!) Today they're in Morelia, which I hear from many gringo travelers is a marvelous historical city.
Following Cynthia and Mike through Mexico: Mexico City, aka DF, is marked by a red square. Just a little to the left is Morelia, where they are today.
Another of my wishes is coming true: I've found somebody to sing with. She likes doing harmonies, knows some of the songs I do, and we found we worked well together last night at the Captain's Club, singing "Angel From Montgomery." I love harmonizing and get my biggest rushes when the harmony's just right. One thing she has mastered that I need to work on: all her songs are in her head. I've been using lead sheets, and I want to get away from that. Maybe if I totally memorize a song a day...
This morning was overcast with a delicious cool breeze, but the summer heat is definitely settling in, and I've decided this year I'm going to have my own oasis. I'm getting a six-month pass for the Hotel Marina Terra swimming pool, just a couple blocks' short stroll away (or a bike ride if I'm feeling ambitious). With the pass, I can invite five guests and I can take advantage of a water aerobics class taught by a fellow boater. Maybe I can even drag the Capt over and dunk him when he overheats!
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
What's cool is she's moving to Guaymas in August, to teach English. I've already predicted that she and Ale and Brenda and I will meet at Keops coffeehouse in Ley Plaza for a f2f.
Anyway, it's time to start contacting people who want to be in our 20th annual Guide. I've had annual conversations with some of these folks for more than 20 years, having originally met them when I published a monthly antique magazine in the late 80s and used to visit their stores to take photos. It's always bittersweet to talk with them again and catch up on the changes in their lives. The news can be wonderful ("I got married this year, you need to change my last name on the database!") or sad ("My husband passed away a few weeks ago, and I'm going to close the shop..."). Some people I've known a long time will have gone out of business, retired and disappeared. Others will have opened second locations, or will be excited about several new shops in town. I know I'm going to hear a lot about gas prices and how that will affect the stores, and ultimately us since our book is a resource for travelers.
We never know whether we'll have much of an internet connection when we're in AZ, so I might be offline or I might be churning out blogs (and comments) half the day.
Monday, June 02, 2008
But lest my valued readers feel slighted, I'm willing to take the time to make a brief reply, having been made aware of its importance. Blogging is an ongoing learning experience for me, and has enriched my life so much. Even when something ugly happens in my life, I can be comforted with the knowledge that it'll make a good blog.
So if you've ever commented on my blog and I didn't reply, please accept my apology, and give me another chance.
Sunday, June 01, 2008
When we started at two there was only one couple in the Captain's Club, and they were friends. This gave us a chance to warm up, make and recover from a few mistakes, and then others drifted in after we got started. They were still arriving when we did our last song! Guess this means we need a longer songlist. They gave us valuable feedback on sound balance, said lovely things about the singing and song choice, and actually listened! It may be the best audience we've ever had, even though it was only about eight or twelve people.
We had a good time, and might do it again next Sunday.
Many of our sailor friends were there, and I did some boat songs just for them. Mark (fiddling with camera at left) says I sound like Maria Muldaur.
Don't be so surprised if your friends come through for you in a way you don't expect. It might bother you at first that they can recognize your vulnerable spot, but your negative reaction changes when you accept that they are on your side. Look at this as a chance to get closer to someone you love.
I've invited every friend I know in town to the Captain's Club today at two. It's going to be like a party, with the Capt and me and Gary doing the entertainment. I'm stoked! Got to get batteries for my camera...
No matter how it turns out today, I'm grateful because I've already gotten what I wished for, a houseful of music for the entire month of May. And although Gary will be moving from next door in a few days, he was asked to housesit here in San Carlos in June, so we get a whole extra month of music. We could learn a lot more songs and have a lot more good times.