Senor and Linda Lou have been in Pueblo Alamos, Sonora, Mexico for 6 years. Every day brings a new discovery.
They are still working on the casa............Senor says, it won't be long.........but Linda Lou says, it won't be long until what..............stay tuned to find out what's next.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Down She Comes


 Hola.
 They say pictures are worth a thousand words.
 I have too much polvo (dust) in my throat to say anything.
 So, go for it. Gracias, adios................Linda Lou






Saturday, December 13, 2014

A Dead Man in the Arroyo

 Buenas tardes.

I still go for a walk each day, as early as possible. Usually I leave the house by 5:15. Yes, it is still very dark, the Big dipper is still spilling stars into the northern sky and only a few roosters are crowing.

Because it is so dark, I no longer walk out the highway to the arches. I stay close to town, on the streets or in the arroyo.

On Thursday, I saw a man laying in the dirt, under the walking bridge near the road that leads from the Alameda to the La Capilla barrio. He was very still. I knew he was dead.

Dawn was breaking and a policeman came walking toward me. He saw the man and used his cell phone to call for help and he said........muerte (dead).

I've seen dead people before, but they have always been in a coffin. And I was somehow prepared to see them. But I had a lot of sadness when I saw this man. He was very very old and very dark skinned and wrinkled. His arm was folded beneath his head and his knees were curled up toward his chest.
He looked like he had just laid down for a brief nap. Instead it became a very long nap.

So, I thought about this all day Thursday and then, I thought about it all day Friday. I thought about how lonely and sad he looked. Then I thought about it all night Friday and this morning I left the house around 5am. On the way down my street I picked several bunches of bouganvillea and I walked to the Alameda.

There were 4 policia at the Alameda, standing around, joking and laughing. I asked them if they knew about the old man who died in the arroyo Thursday and they said they did not.
 I asked them where old people like that get buried, people who might just lie down for a nap and not wake up, old men like that who might not have any family.

The policia said they get put in the Panteon. For a fact I know it cost money to be buried in the Panteon and there is hardly any room in the Panteon. I said................are you sure..........who pays for his grave............who pays for the diggers.
 One of the Policia said something I didn't understand, another shook his head and agreed and one said........no se. (I don't know).

I told them thanks and that I was going to go put my bouganvillea in the dirt where he died.
So I walked on across the cobblestone callejon that leads to the arroyo.

I knelt down in the dirt right where I had seen the old man. I stuck the ends of my flowers into the dirt.

Hola....................I looked up and one of the policia was standing there.....hola, he said again..........Triste, he said................Si, I answered. I was getting teary by now.
He just stood there, towering over me and I wasn't sure what I should do next. I looked out into the arroyo and my palms started to sweat.

Hmmm, puede usted hablar un palabras en espanol para el hombre.................can you say some words in Spanish for the man, I asked him.

 I was thinking maybe he could just stand there and say Vaya con Dios because trust me, the last thing I would ask for is to be seen with a cop, at 5am in the morning, in the dark, in the arroyo underneath a bridge.

 Lots of people use that callejon that time of the morning. I was a wreck when he said, Si and he knelt down beside me. And while I could not count the minutes I was worried I was going to get a 30 minute mass.

He did say a lot of words and I listened but kept sneaking my eyes to the callejon hoping no one would see us.

Finally he did say....................Vaya con Dios..................... and I said Vaya con Dios and then I said gracias to him and we both turned and went our separate ways.

I went further down the arroyo but when I turned around once I saw 4 figures standing there. My guess is they were the policia who knelt beside me and the other 3 policia from the Alameda, the other 3 having come to see what the 1st was up to.

So it was an emotional event in more ways than one.

 Of course, the death of the old man and my wanting to share something with him because I was so sure he was all alone was the heaviest emotion.

But there were also emotions so deep they made me shake, the fear of being seen under the bridge like that.
While what we shared was innocent and spiritual who could possibly know what the policia and I were sharing? What did they think if they saw me with him there in the dark?

I suppose I could say we were saying mass for a dead man.......................but people create their own versions of stories, especially when it is told by you.................okay, then where's the body......................why did policia give the rites....................where was the priest..................how do you even know he was dead, there's no body...............whose yard did you take those flowers from......................

Walking in the arroyo I started to shake and couldn't stop. Then for some reason I got real scared and I started running. I ran all the way home and tripped on a tope. Then I hurt my knee. And tomorrow I think I will just stay in bed...
Linda Lou


Friday, December 12, 2014

Dia de la Virgen de Guadalupe

http://glasspondstudio.blogspot.mx/2008/12/guadalupe-feast-photos.html

I hope the link will work for you when you click on it. If not, try and go back to the December 12, 2008, post. This particular day of celebration, in December of 2008, came on the heels of Hurricane Norbert and many festivities were canceled or minimized. But this is a religious celebration that could not be diminished, even after the deaths and destruction Norbert left behind.

The reason I am sharing this with you is today is the celebration of Our Virgen de Guadalupe. It is one of the biggest religious celebrations in Mexico. It is a very big celebration here in Alamos. The fireworks have been going off slowly for a few days, but there were some terrifically loud ones last night over Loma Guadalupe Hill. They lit the sky with their powerful orange sparks.


Here is a brief history.  Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Virgin Mary.
 According to the Catholic religion, on the morning of December 9, 1531, the Saint Juan Diego saw an apparition of a maiden on the Hill of Tepeyac in the village of Guadalupe. The apparition spoke to Juan Diego in her native Nahuatahl language, and asked that a church be built at that site in her honor.  Juan Diego recognized the maiden as the Virgin Mary. He then recounted the events to the Archbishop of Mexico City who told Diego to return to Tepeyac Hill. He was to ask the maiden for a sign to prove her identity. The first sign was the Virgin healing Juan's uncle. The Virgin then told Juan Diego to gather flowers from the top of Tepeyac Hill, where he found Castilian roses, not native to Mexico, blooming in December on the normally barren hilltop. The Virgin arranged the flowers in his tilma or cloak, and when Juan Diego opened his cloak before the Archbishop on December 12, the flowers fell to the floor, and on the fabric was the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

Senor and I have been honored to attend a number of celebrations on this day in the past. We have been to a ranch where the Priest blessed the animals. We have been to homes where the Priest blessed the household.

The post I am including is one of the most memorable that we were invited to. Our invitation, to a former Mayor's celebration on the outskirts of town, was extended to us by Louisa and Teresa, whom I had been working with at DIF, in the aftermath of Hurricane Norbert.

The fireworks at the Mayor's ranch were something we will most likely not see again because this kind of invitation only happens once in a lifetime, I think.
 The burning castille, the fireworks zipline, the Mayo deer dance, the entertainment and food were all spectacular.
I hope you'll enjoy reading this again, or for the first time, as much as we enjoy our memories.
Feliz Dia de Virgen de Guadalupe!
Linda Lou

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Water Hot

 Hola. So, I told you Senor has another new toy. A chili pepper. It is the white box looking thinkie in the photo above.

When we take a shower or use the hot water in the new new old kitchen we turn on the water and let it run for about 5 minutes and it finally becomes hot. The hot water heater is at one end of the casa and all the places we need hot water are at the other end. That is why there is such a delay.

But with Senor's new chili pepper we get hot water at the end of the casa where we need it very quickly.

The chili pepper is connected to the hot water heater. When we push the chili pepper button, the water in the water line pipes are instantly heated. Okay that sounds weird. I have to go ask Senor who just got back from helping someone cut down a tree.

 He says....................it is a hot water recirculation pump..................it makes the water hot right away and sends it to the other end of the house and when it senses the water is about 98 degrees it shuts down and the hot water heater does the rest.

Well, I think that's what he said, but if I go and ask him again he will have a fit.
 So, just take my word for it. It makes WATER HOT.


Okay, I can't stay. I am going to the English festival at one of the local schools. I had to bake 55 cookies and because new new old kitchen is so exposed I have to keep all breads, flours and stuff like that in the bedroom for us to smell all night long. Otherwise Blackie our pet mouse will eat it all for us. I accidentally left out a dozen of the cookies and he got those last night. So I had to bake another dozen this morning. 
Senor set a trap for him, but Blackie is smarter than Senor.
BAJAJAJAjajajajajaajaja.....
Someone smarter than Senor and it's a little mouse.
Hasta luego!
Linda Lou

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

New Toy For Senor

 Hola! Buenas tardes. Here is Senor's newest toy.
As you know he does not collect boats or cars or shoes or pants. His taste is somewhat more eclectic, possibly borderline weird. 
This is a grill cover.
Personally I think it looks like something you might find lying out in the Scottish moors and you would look at it, hesitate to touch it, but raise the lid, and then, well who knows what you might find inside.

Senor had this made specifically for Thanksgiving Day, although he is excited about using it again as soon as he can. The lid raises of course and its height is to accommodate the rotating spit he has.

The front swings up or it can also be removed. The iron worker wanted to paint it black and Senor nixed that real fast. He is a rustic guy, that Senor.


 In the photo below, which was taken on Thanksgiving Day, he is dressing up the first of two sixteen pound turkeys that he then put on the spit. I found the turkeys at Sam's Club in Navajoa, a store we were saying just a year ago, right before we paid for our membership there, that we would never ever go to shop.

With 24 guests coming for dinner, we figured two turkeys would be just fine. Senor spent most of the morning fixing his brine but after reading the turkey labels he discovered they were already brined. That would only be the first surprise.

The second came when he lifted the grill lid and, as happened to us seven years ago here for our first Thanksgiving, the spit had bent under the weight of the turkeys. So off they came and onto the grill they went to continue a slow cook.

And they were perfect.

Our guests did not seem to mind a lot of tables pushed together in a very long line, under the portal and over the dirt floor. A mix of family china and portmeirion dishes and tarnished silver and colorful napkins seemed to set a good table mood.
It was a great day.


This is not the only toy Senor has recently acquired. But you'll have to wait for another day to see it. There is a lot happening around here and that means another day also.
Que le vaya bien!
Linda Lou

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Doors

 Hola! I have finally finished the first set of doors. You saw a photo of these a few years back when I started them. These doors and cupboards will go into the closet that will be in the bedroom. Below is a photo of what they looked like. I am still working on the tops and will finish those sometime in the future after Senor moves them to the closet which is also sometime in the future. He's going to need to cut the upper cupboards apart when he moves them. I don't know how that will work out so I decided to save them and finish them later after they are moved.
There is one more set just like this and I am slowly working on those.


 The inside of each door is a different color since I had a little extra paint. The paint is acrylic and most of it, with the exception of Pthalo Blue and Alizarin Crimson, I bought in town from the Comex Store. I distressed the borders using a candle and painted on a light Pthalo Blue wash. Then I used paste wax over the wash. I painted polycrylic over the backgrounds and the insides of the doors.
Just thought you might like to see what I'm up to.....

It's a holiday weekend, even though the Dia de La Revolucion is not until Thursday, our town is going to celebrate it on Monday. Most workers only worked a few hours this Saturday morning and will now have a 3 day weekend. Of course, they will still take Thursday off anyway because that is, after all, the real holiday.............................adios, Linda Lou

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Walking to La Aduana

Hola, you know I love it, walking to La Aduana.

 The night, the stars, the cool air, my Mexican girlfriends prattling off 60 words a minute and walking a pace as fast if not faster than 60 steps a minute. I love the Dads coming down the arroyo carrying their babies in their arms, I love the abuelitas, on bent knees, leaning on their canes, scarves woven tightly around their heads. I love the madrugada dawn as we break through it and onto the narrow path that leads to the church, the sound of the deer dancers bells jingling in front of the church, the buen dias from all the people I know inside the church.

The smell of elote and tamales simmering in huge pots, churros, turning and twisting, barely skimming the hot surfaces of oil, champurada, hot and thick, carne asada on the asador at 6am. It's a unique experience.
Along the highway at 4 in the morning.
The walkway into the town of La Aduana, the church lit in the background.



Inside the church




video

The cactus growing in the church wall.

And so, once again, this year was a unique experience.

 My Mexican girlfriend did not come to the house. I was worried about her so I went to her house, where she was suffering on Day 15 from denque fever. After spending some time with her and making certain she would survive, I went home................Plan A........... my walks to La Aduana are over. I had enjoyed them all. I will not have a sleepless night and then get up in the dark and be on the highway at 4:30am.

An American friend emailed me..............was I walking to La Aduana and if so, could she go with me................Plan B...............I will have a sleepless night and then get up in the dark and be on the highway at 4:00am because I am walking with my American friend who will walk slower than my other friends.

My friend takes small, but swift steps. She is as fast as the other girls. I remind her that I am older than she is and we are going to slow down.......NOW.................she says fine, no problem, you set the pace and I go..............SLOW. With the other girls we go 6 miles in one hour and 20 minutes and it takes me 4 days to recover.

I am a little apprehensive when we get to the arroyo. My Mexican friends lead and I just go. I look at the sky, look at the sand, look at the brush and pay no attention whatsoever to where we are.

But it all looks different this morning. Now I see there are roads that lead off the arroyo to the left, to the right, to the left again. Which way do we go............. we hang out at a crossroads like we are busy watching the night stars and wait for someone to come along so we can follow them. We do this several times, but decide not to follow 4 young men off to the left and that's good because here comes a family and they go to the right. But before too long the young men come up on the left and I realize there is probably only one way and you really can't get lost after all. But it's really dark and still easy to feel very disoriented.

Finally after my ankles tell me they cannot go anymore and my left knee will not straighten out I see the first lights of La Aduana and just beg my body to last a little longer.

Over 2 hours and we are in.
Some one has forgotten to tell the Deer Dancers that it is time to be there. So there is no Pascola, no deer dancers. No bells, no whistles, no deer or wolf masks, no music, nothing. We go sit in the church. I only see a few people I know. We visit Our Lady of Balvanera in her wooden box at the altar. We go outside where there is a lot of socializing going on. We learn that there was no money for the Pascola. The dancers do not get paid, but there are transportation costs, food costs, accommodations to be paid for. How much can that cost................

We have elote and churros and wait for the Priest and the procession. When it comes, it is a large crowd. They are all slow and sleepy looking. Maybe they are surprised because the deer dancers always lead the procession into the church.

We have a good time.
We have seen the Lady, the candles, the cactus, the food and drink, we have seen our neighbors. We are sad about the Pascola, but happy we made it there.
I have to think for awhile about it all.
Maybe next year I will drive new old car...................................
que le vaya bien............manana.......linda lou