Senor and Linda Lou have been in Pueblo Alamos, Sonora, Mexico for 8 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.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

A Beautiful Project


Buenas tardes!
Just going to show you a few pictures and give you a quick update on the project.
First, is this what it has come to? To be called a project?
 I don't know why I said that.
A project, it sounds like something like something I should be doing for science class.

Well, it almost is just that, something for science class.
If you recall we made these huge concrete slabs and broke them apart and I have spent time acid staining the pieces, some of which are small and others medium and then, some are quite large.

If you have never acid stained, then you should. Everyone should, at least once in their lives.
It is an incredibly artistic and scientific process.

We buy our acid stain in Phoenix, several different colors and then we mix it according to a formula of colors that we have worked out.

I have a work area in the back yard, away from all the plants and with foam brushes, I coat the concrete pieces in layers and drops and streaks and rubs.

The acid stain bubbles and smokes and actually creates its own patterns.
Then the pieces all get layered with polyurethene.

It is pretty unique.
You just cannot drop it on your shoe or a shirt or get it on your fingers.
I have.
Believe me.
It really is acid.

So, finally we have begun to install the floor.
It is not grouted yet, and not cleaned so these pictures really are not showing you how beautiful this floor will look, but I thought you might like to see how it looks in its beginning stages.
Senor has chosen to mix his own grout using an almost black paint powder.

He will start the grouting next week.

The concrete slab beneath the window is where the counter and sink will go.
 He had to change all of the plumbing and the electricity after I decided to put this counter in a different location.
I think it will look really nice beneath the window, don't you?



Well, that is about it for now.
This is a beautiful project.
Que le vaya bien!
linda lou

Monday, April 18, 2016

Cute Niche Update



Buenas tardes!
A really quick update on the cute bathroom niches I wanted.

Senor decided to put his artistic touch on all of the little niches and has been working with a sander to round the tops out and it's looking very good.
Above, to the right of the wall you would find the beginnings of a shower.
The photo below is of the same wall.


Below, the wall in the background is the same shower wall. 
The wall in the foreground has the beginnings of a toilet area on the other side.


The large space on the right will hold a towel rack.
Looks a little medieval doesn't it?
I will need torches, not little candles.
Okay, that's the update.
Adios!
Linda Lou

Saturday, April 16, 2016

A Baby Without a Country


We are having beautiful weather in Alamos. 
Days start fresh and cool and warm up into the eighties and then, nights cool down again. 
Just perfect.
And perfect sunsets, too. 
Above, the first photo to the west and then north, over Mount Alamos.

I am going to tell you a story. 
You will not believe it.
However, I am not inclined to lie or make up things just to have something to blog about.
So, just read the story.........

I turned sixty-two last year and decided to take my social security early.
Senor and I were going to Tucson in June and while my birthday would not be until October, I decided to go to Tucson Social Security to get things started.

In Tucson I got all of the paperwork necessary and talked with an agent who told me what I needed to do and when I needed to do it.

I was able to get everything done, most of it online, pretty quick and easy.
Obviously I was eager and excited about finally receiving all this money.

In early October I received a phone call from the US Department of State.
...............is this linda adams....................yes, this is linda adams................we need to talk to you about the status of your united states citizenship....................uhm, sure, okay, what do you need to know................

Right away I started thinking this is a hoax but I went along because I was interested in knowing how it would play out.

She proceeded to question me about a number of things..............our records indicate that you were born in nuremberg, germany............
Okay, anyone could probably get that information.

Even when she told me the last four digits of my social security number, I still didn't believe she was for real. 
I kept thinking she is going to scam me any minute.

But she was for real and she was questioning my citizenship.
................our records also indicate that you do not have a birth certificate............well, I have papers for a child born abroad of american parents and a german birth certificate................yes, but you do not have a united states birth certificate and therefore you do not qualify to receive your social security benefits................

WHAT??????!!!!!!!!!!!
WAIT!
.........but i have a passport........i have a social security number.......i have paid into social security for years.............that is my money...........
...............in which hospital were you born in germany...............how did you get the passport................i don't know!............i was a baby...........

Well, I proceeded to understand this was no scam and it really was the US State Department calling to tell me I might not be a US citizen.  
She asked me a lot of other questions which eventually all became a blur, but she did have questions that she would expect me to answer in her next phone call to me in a week.

The last thing I wanted to do was involve my parents in this matter.
But I hoped for the best and called my mother.

...............mom, the State Department called and and they just have some questions about my birth certificate and passport.........could we talk about that for a couple of minutes.......

She proceeded to joyfully recall the day she and my father took the train to Munich to get my passport..............oh, it was such a beautiful clear, cold morning when we walked to the train............there was new snow and i can still see your father's footprints as we walked and he was so handsome in his uniform, and you had on the pretty blue outfit that our housekeeper, marie, knitted for you.............on the train, it was so cold.........

Now of course I like hearing these kinds of stories on a normal day, but this was anything but a normal day and I was screaming in my head................mom! help me here, they are saying I may not be a US citizen!

.............well dear, that german paper you think is a german birth certificate is just a souvenir........all the military wives were given one, but why don't you have a birth certificate............

i DON'T KNOW!..........you had me, don't you know why i don't have a birth certificate.............

............well the military told us they would take care of that.....but we never received anything other than your papers showing you were a child born abroad of american parents........

Okay, I could go on and on. 
When the state department called the following week, I told her what I knew and she gave me a list of new questions to answer. I had to call the hospital in Germany and try and find out more information, which I did do and found out there are no records from that time.

What I discovered was that passports were just automatically issued to babies of post war parents and the military was supposed to send my parents a US birth certificate, but either didn't or it was lost, or, who knows.

And one little additional problem: when I was eighteen it was necessary for me to go to court and declare my citizenship, which I did not do because I did not know it was a requirement and my parents, by then, with three other children after me, had forgotten it was a requirement.

Of course, my baby passport expired at some point but I was able to get a new passport in the seventies, which I also eventually let expire.

In 2007, I went to get a new passport.
 I recall the agent hesitated to give it to me based on the papers I had, but I think I got very lucky that day and I did receive a new passport.

The next time the State Department called me I was simply told that I could not get my social security because I have no proof that I am a US citizen, however, I can file onto my husband's social security and I can get half of what he receives monthly and he will continue to receive his full amount.

I reminded her I have a passport and a social security number..............so why can't you just issue me a birth certificate............i'm sorry we can not do that, you were not born in the usa............

 I immediately called Social Security and made a big complaint, but they didn't have too much to say about it. Evidently based on the paperwork I gave them in their office, they then let the State Department  know I was 'undocumented'.
 I ranted away to anyone would listen, but what were they going to do about it?

So here is the outcome.
I have no birth certificate and I cannot get one.
I could go to Germany and try and get a birth certificate, but it is possible they would consider me a German citizen because I have made no legal declaration to either country.
Each month I receive half of Senor's full benefits.
I am basically a baby without a country.

Now how crazy is that? 

And maybe I have been put on some kind of list. 
The last few times I have crossed the border, alone, going into the United States, I have been interrogated, frisked and detained (for only a short time) by US customs border agents and asked endless questions about my birthplace. 
One female custom agent took me from a long line of Mexicans waiting to have their documents checked and put me in a back room and asked me several times why I don't speak German.

I need to renew my passport next year.
 I am just a little nervous.

I told you you will not believe this story.
But it's true.

Que le vaya bien!
Linda Lou

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

So Bodacious!!


Buenas tardes!

It is cloudy here and the wind is picking up.
I asked Senor about that because he always seems glued to the weather radar screen.
He said he didn't know anything, so to be more clear about it, i said......is it going to rain..............no, i don't think so, there is no activity showing any rain...............
Maybe he just likes all those colors on the radar screen.
I don't know, but I know you have to ask the question just right or it was not a question in the first place.


Back in January it was freezing cold here forever. I don't mean like thirty-one, isn't that freezing?
Several times when I went for my fiveam walks it was around thirty-six.

Senor put this tower heater in our bedroom and he had it going all day and night.
 We have never had such cold days and nights.

But then one morning we woke  and the tops of the bouganvillea were crisp and brown and the baby leaves on the papayas were wilted.
The leaves of the figs had fallen off as had the beautiful green leaves of the red hibiscus.
The Tecoma bells were crisp brown and the fuego trees, usually lush and green, had turned dark and gray.

The tomatoes were all mushy, peas all squishy.

And all sixty-seven of Senor's sweet corn plants were wilted and lying on their sides.
They were...........'gone plants'.

We had a freeze.

That freeze was the talk of town and if you listened long enough, no matter the language, you could learn who lost what and how they were reacting to it.
Mexican gardeners told us to water, water, water, but do not cut anything.

So, this is what we did and as soon as he was able to Senor got his hands on new sweet corn seed, bodacious is his favorite.
And the other night he made his first foray into the 'corn field' so we could have sweet bodacious corn for dinner, 




It was worth every succulent bite!!!

We never did replant the tomatoes, it was just too late by then. 
Carrots, onions, peppers, lettuce and a large variety of herbs all survived.

And the brussel sprouts are just coming out on the huge stalks.
The papayas are bright and green, the bouganvillea is covered with flowers the fuegos are filling out and starting to flower and the Tecoma's are covered with their bright yellow flowers.
 Everything is coming back bright and green and colorful.

But, oh, the sweet corn!!!
So bodacious!!
Adios!
Linda Lou 

Friday, April 1, 2016

I Want Cute





Hola! Buen dia!
If you read my post about changing plans in the bathroom, then you know I just want the sink in a different place than we had planned.
Well, I don't see this as such a big deal, but the guys, all three of them did make a big deal out of it.

First, Senor and Rosario and Marcello discussed it together in Spanish. 
Then Rosario and Marcello discussed it.
 Then Marcello discussed it with himself.
 And Rosario just went out and took a walk around the yard because he figured, correctly, that he would be the one doing the work.

Then I discussed it in English and nobody paid any attention to me, so I basically discussed it with myself.
That's okay, no problem, I know how to talk to myself.

I just want the sink to be in a different place. No big deal. What do I care if the plumbing is already all put in for it to go in a different location. I don't want it there. I changed my mind.

So in the photo above, obeying my wishes, and two times referring to me as the jeffe (boss), Rosario is digging up the floor for the second time and getting ready to let Senor come in with his saws and blow torches and whatever else he needs to re do the plumbing.


The photo below is of the shower stall wall. 
Now I had to make some minor adjustments there as well.
Senor had Marcello making very large niches in the adobe. 

Well, I don't want that. I explained that I want cute little niches that will hold candles and other pretty things.

I don't want big openings that will hold towels and toiletries and stuff like that.
I want cute.
 They all three stood there and stared at me like I am absolutely crazy. 
So now I am jeffe loco.
But, see that candle burning in the niche?
Now is that cute or what?
Que le vaya bien!!!
Linda Lou

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Back of the Bus



Hola!
We have just returned from a lovely little beach excursion for the Easter holiday, Semana Santa.

Some friends invited us to come and stay at their beach house with them and their wild nephews and nieces, all of whom were in their early twenties and going in twenty directions and I'll tell you, I want to adopt all the nieces and nephews and have them come and live here with us.

Of course, it reminded me so much of the times that KD or Ian would have a gazillion of their crazed friends over for crazed times and I miss that, like most moms do. So, it was just great fun.
 Above, the beach house and below, the beach food on the grill and finally, Senor relaxing and reading in our upper story beach room.




But I am writing you to tell you about another recent trip I took.

KD called me back in February to tell me she got us two tickets to 'Lord of the Dance' in Colorado, in March.

Now if you are unfamiliar with 'Lord of the Dance', the male Irish step dancer, Michael Flatley, who used to dance with Riverdance (and you must know what that is), broke off from Riverdance several years ago and began his own Irish theatrical production, 'Lord of the Dance', starring him, of course, because he is the Lord of the dance. 

'Lord of the Dance' is more choreographed and has a story as its theme, while Riverdance is a wide variety of Irish dancing.

Well, my first inclination was.............what!!! i can't come all the way to Denver just to see Michael Flatley dance.

But I went.............I would see KD and who can really pass up Michael Flatley without his shirt on no matter where your seats are.

We had a lovely time. Colorado weather was beautiful. Michael Flatley was beautiful. Just a great time.

I flew back to Phoenix and caught the midnight bus to Navajoa.

 I asked for a seat in the very back of the bus because I know seats don't exchange passengers very much and so it is easy to lay down over two seats and sleep. I was exhausted.

I slept through the night and woke when the sun crept up around 6am.

We got to Navajoa around two in the afternoon.

My luggage was not on the bus.

Finally the driver and I determined that I had slept through the border crossing in Nogales and that aduana (Mexican customs) had detained my bag.
The drivers had switched at the crossing and when the new one came on board he did his walk through of the bus but didn't see me in the last seat, sleeping.
Aduana always walks through the bus and collects money for voluntary tax claims on purchases, and I have no idea why they did not see me or wake me and ask me for my voluntary money.

The driver assured me he would contact aduana and they would send my luggage the next day.

Senor was not at the bus station.
We do not have cell phones and this is becoming a problem for us.
I waited and waited.

After two hours I decided to walk down to Albatross and take the bus into Alamos.
Right as I was going out the door someone brought my luggage to me.
 It had just come in on another bus.

So I went to Alamos and walked up the hill to our casa.

And it was nice and quiet there because it turns out that Senor was indeed in Navajoa. When my bus did not come in at the time expected, he was told to come back around four, which he did, most likely right after I walked out the door to the bus station for Alamos.
So he continued to wait at the bus station for a very long time and finally came home without me because I was already home wondering where he was.

Several lessons learned, OMG, we need cell phones
and
No more sitting in the back of the bus.

adios!
Que le vaya bien!!!
Linda Lou

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

A Little Change in Plans


Hola!
I just spent the morning moving everything out of what will be the master bathroom into the plaster finished laundry room.
It took three hours. 
I am pooped.
And Senor is perplexed and cranky with me.

Seven years ago when he put in the plumbing and electrical in this room he wanted to put the bathroom sink here, under this window.
I said.............no, i have to have a mirror over the sink.
 So all of his designs have been for an L shaped counter here in the corner with a sink and a mirror.

But, see, I have been thinking about this.
I think I want it under the window and today, after I cleared out the entire room so it can be plastered, I decided I definitely want it under the window.

So, first, he was a little annoyed when I interrupted his work.
Then when I told him why I was interrupting him he just stared at me.
Then he got up and walked off......................into the room where I could see he was noticing that he is going to have to re do all of the plumbing and the electrical in order to have that.

Well, I just stayed away from him for awhile and finally he came to me and said.........well, good, just how i told you it should be in the first place seven years ago.
He sure likes to be right, even if it takes seven years......
o

 So instead of having the sink to the right of the door and an L shaped counter top, it will now go under the window.
Below you can just see in to the laundry room which is completely plastered now. It and the master bath and bedroom had been plastered once, but it wasn't done correctly and it all peeled off in layers.
 So now we are getting it done right.


A room full of stuff. I do not know where this stuff came from.


Senor's new electrical panels he just completed. Before this I could not have the toaster oven and the hot plate on at the same time.
 Now, poof, it's all good. 
I am a happy cooker.
I am also happy to get all this plastering done. And soon, the floor. When? Don't ask me!!
Okay, so gotta go.
Adios!
Linda Lou