Senor and Linda Lou have been in Pueblo Alamos, Sonora, Mexico for 8 years. Okay, okay, now it's been 9 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, December 31, 2009

Quiet Hardworking Creatures




There are some sneaky, tricky little quiet things out there. They are everywhere. They do not make any noise. You never know when they will just be right in the yard where you just walked and didn't see them. You never know if there will be just one or a hundred. Then, suddenly they are everywhere.


There is a product sold at the local feed store. I call it food. It is for the big ones and it looks like rabbit pellets.


I put my hand inside a baggie and push the pellets down into the hole. If they are on top of things, which they generally are, they will begin pushing the pellets right back out. It then becomes a type of war between us.


A manufactured powder is helpful, it is meant to be spread around plants you do not want devoured. But I spread it around the holes, and then they will not come out. They just move a little farther out into the yard. I feel that if I can just keep pushing them back to new old Jesus' little casa, I will be successful.


Senor says.......don't you know, all of Mexico is probably built on top of one big connected underground tunnel .....there are little condos here in Sonora and when they want, they travel cross country to visit friends and so on and so on.


This is just not a good vision to me.........the thought of Mexico collapsing into a big hole. So, I keep fighting the quiet little things and trying to push them at least, out of our yard and into the next. When they come back, I start all over again. Who knows, if they get tired of my endless activity against them, maybe they will go and visit their cousins in Arizona.


So, Wednesday night Senor told me to come and look at something. He said I would probably like it very much and should bring my camera. It was a very quiet evening and the moon had just come up over the hill. There were no tuba notes drifting through the streets, no accordians playing in the wind and no bongo drums in the distance, no cars , horses or skateboards going up or down the street, just some very, very quiet hardworking creatures..................................



video

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Color Blue

Buen dia. Here is a pretty pink cloud that Senor found hovering in the northeastern blue horizon last night.We are approaching Christmas week. I will not be boring you with how I am handling the season because I am doing better than I thought, especially after breaking down one night and Senor said.........you just have to move on. So, now it is all good. Both kids are taken care of on Christmas Day and yes, I think it will be a wonderful Christmas Day.

I have to show you the photo below. It is typical of the lovely tree we had for over twenty years up in the northwest, over sixteen feet, skinny noble fir, cut up in the mountains, with over one thousand decorations bestowed upon its strong branches. This was, in fact, the last tree we had in the northwest. Last year, we had the four foot norfolk pine. This year, we have this little tree below.


It is amazing how many ornaments one can hang on a one foot tall fake Christmas tree. They are all from the Alamos Navaidad bazaar, dough ornaments made lovingly by several young girls who live down the street, animals woven by a local group of Indian women and horsetail trinkets made in another Indian village and brought to the bazaar.
These are very special ornaments and while our other thousands, most of which are handmade by family, lie in boxes, stored on shelves here in the casa, these are certainly spectacular on our little tree.
Senor and I have both commented that it is nice to have a little tree and none of the stress that goes with putting up the larger one.







Below is the tree inside the Palacio. It is blue and white, as you can see.
All of the columns are wrapped in blue and white. The huge palms in the Plaza are wrapped with blue lights. A number of homes have outdoor blue lighting.
Last year I seem to recall that everything was red.


I was walking recently with a friend. I said.........................my water bill is blue now. She said.....that means you're delinquent.
I stared at her................I am NOT delinquent on my water bill....................... i think the bills are blue now because the PAN political party colors are blue..............................no, you are delinquent....she said.


We walked on down and down the road and then after awhile we came to her house. Her water bill was folded up and pushed into the gate. You are delinquent............i said.


Later at the Mercado, I saw a few businesses who had received their water bills, all blue.
I also have noticed a few newly painted policia vehicles, white with blue lettering. The pantsuits worn by some of the women who work in the Palacio are blue with white ticking.
Even nature seems to wash things with that color, as the daytime sky is a brilliant robins egg blue and the new moon is ringed in a blazing blue.


It is a party issue.


Speaking of parties, there have been quite a few here lately! We can hear them as they last late into the night. There is also a circus in town. I feel the Navidad spirit. It is very festive.


Tonight will walk to the museum where we will watch the Christmas classic, 'Holiday Inn'.
Afterward, we will stroll around the Plaza, with teenagers and children, and mothers and fathers, while grandmothers and grandfathers sit on iron park benches, watching with wisened old eyes.
Eventually Senor will say it is cold and way past his bedtime, and we will say goodnight to the blue colored palm trees and walk back home, under the new blue moon.


adios................linda lou







Thursday, December 17, 2009

Pretty Brief

Buenos tardes, it is getting dark here so early, around five-forty. We are managing to get jackets on, a meal cooked and after eating outside, we are falling into bed after the last dying ember from the little fire pit goes out.
We are warm and toasty throughout the night, adobe is a remarkable insulator, which is good after discovering the mini split is only an air conditioner. Daylight is not coming until six-twenty, so it is a long night.

But, the days have been just perfect and we are getting alot of work done, so much, in fact, that it I cannot seem to find time to post to the blog. But, as I have said before, the real problem is, that I cannot seem to just write a short post. It has to be more like a mini novel.............Well, there is always so much to tell. But, this afternoon I am going to see how brief I can be.

Senor got a shot of a cute bird up in the mesquite tree. He either has a berry or a lime in his beak. I have finished the second set of Christmas cards. I make these every year for both my and Senor's families. The first batch sold out on Etsy, then I took a second batch to the Alamos Navidad Bazaar last Sunday, sold two, and so, this has become the family batch.

HI FAMILIES!! You might get these by mid January......................there are hundreds of cards, no two are the same!







The roof is going up in the master bedroom to be. I have painted the vigas, Senor and Umberto are laying the varro blancas.






I have sold over fifty pendants which were really supposed to be tiles for the shower. Many of them sold on etsy at http://glasspondstudio.etsy.com/
A wonderful friend sponsored a show of my work a few weeks ago, at her home, and many of the pendants sold there. You can to the etsy site and see what is left.
I have quite a few custom orders to get out now. So the kitchen/tool room looks like a workshop. Orders from the states will make their destinations some time in January and will most be likely become Valentine's Day gifts. Orders here in Alamos will be ready next Tuesday and Wednesday.
Then I need to start on the tiles. Senor asked me the other day exactly how many we have. I think I have ten. I think I promised him one hundred.
Glass cutting below.........................
Piecing together pendants and earrings.................................
This morning I was doing some last minute online shopping for KD and Ian and suddenly, standing in the doorway to the bedroom were two little boys, around eight, each holding pails of tamales. The truck was gone. I think they came in to see what they could see.............and they saw me. They looked as surprised to see me as I was to see them. I bought three tamales and shooed them back out the gate.
Senor may have to start locking the gate all the time whenever he leaves, even if I am here.
Maybe tomorrow I will show you the Christmas tree.
I need to start the fire in the little pit and Senor will start up the grill and we will have some steaks.
Now, that is pretty brief, I think.
Adios, Linda Lou

Monday, December 7, 2009

Cold Weather Plants

Buen Dia!

Some very beautiful flowering shrubs and vines are cascading over high adobe walls throughout Alamos.
The plants here seem to like the cold much better than we do.

Last year, when we were planning the little strip of yard between the new wall and the casa, several people made some great suggestions about what to plant there.
One suggestion from a good friend in Carnation, was poinsettias.
I have always been fond of the plant at Christmas, inside the house, on the top of the buffet or in the window in the corner. But, once they are leggy, they are in the compost and gone as far as I am concerned.

But, there is a tree poinsettia here which is wild and leggy and I thought I would like that alot. Our neighbor's gardener gave us several cuttings, but I could not get them to start. After Christmas last year, I went ahead and planted our store bought poinsettias, not knowing if I would like them or not.

Now, that they are in bloom, I like them alot. I did not know that the top leaves would actually become the flower. We have four of these and they are all in brilliant bloom.


Our bouganvilla is now beginning to go over the adobe wall.
These plants below attract the hummingbirds and have been in bloom since August.
Below, the trumpet vine flowers are beginning to come out. Our vines are now cascading over the wall to the street.
You can see how much the trumpet vine has spread and how full it is.
We are in the thick of the Festival of the Patronales. This festival which centers around the Plaza de las Armas, gives tribute to the patron saints with non stop activity. Amusement park rides fill the four streets that surround the Plaza and food stalls and gift stalls are jammed in among them. At night, there are fashion shows on the huge stage and dance shows and musical events.



Each Sunday evening, the Museum, which is on the Plaza, hosts an American film in its small auditorium. Last week we walked down and saw 'The Buena Vista Social Club', which we had seen before and love so much.
Last night we saw Candice Bergen and Sean Connery in John Huston's 'The Wind and the Lion'.

When we came out of the Museum there was little walking or standing room. There were lines of people waiting for tamales, waiting for rides, waiting for butter slathered corn and tres leche cakes. It was very festive.


Today I am off on new old bike to the RV park, where I think they will let me pay for a super hot shower. Then I am off to a watercolor presentation by a local artist, up at Casa de la Cultura. Then I am supposed to go back to the office of El Presidente to meet with the Event Director. I would really like to skip that one................


I hope everyone is having fun shopping and enjoying the Christmas decorations in your home town. Are you having a cookie exchange this year? Are you handing out food at the local food bank? Northwest Harvest must be gearing up for its annual food drive in Seattle.
I am sure there are all kinds of events going on in your town. I would love to hear about them!


And if you are sending us a Christmas card, please put it in the mail now! Last year we got cards from folks we did not even know. What fun to make new connections, country to country at Christmas time!
New old bike is calling me................
que tengas buen dia........................linda lou

Saturday, December 5, 2009

El Presidente

Hola!
We are caught inside a cold front. The cold air has also brought us some rain, always needed here......................but the temperatures have been around forty in the early morning light and not gone above sixty five for the day.

I have been cold for days, even when the sun is finally higher in the sky.
Senor took the shot below before one of the rains. Wow, I loved all the convection oven comments. What great information.
I put off cooking in it. I don't really know why, but it was a little intimidating.
Then the other night, I baked enchiladas. Someone gave me a package of really fresh tortillas, so it seemed like the thing to do. I filled them with chuleta, which is a smoked pork, onions, cheese, sweet potatos, peppers and cilantro. They were very good.

I have been hard at work this week.
A friend decided to revive an old tradition here, a Christmas Bazaar. I agreed to help her. The keyword here is help. Somehow, I was chosen to do all the running around.

My friend sent me to the Mayor's secretary, who had been authorized to print a flier for us.
The secretary was not at his desk, so another person told me to wait.

I waited two hours for the secretary, only to be told I had to see the Mayor first.
I really did not want to see the Mayor, or El Presidente as he is called.

After another hour, I saw the El Presidente.

El Presidente, who speaks very good English told me I would need to see the Event Director to get the flier printed.
Then he told me he lived once in Washington State's Snohomish County, in the town of Sultan.
He worked on a tree farm, painting creosote on trees. I did not ask him why he painted trees with creosote.

He said the creosote and the cold were too much for him. He moved back to Mexico.....................

Do you want coffee....he asked.......................no thank you, I said.........................
He did not say anything for a long time and just stared off into the distance and tapped his fingers on a tablet of paper.

Should I go and find the event director...........i asked.........................no, he will come here........................he said.
Then, he left the room.

I just sat there and looked around the room. I mean, really, how many people get to sit in a Mexican Mayor's office, for petes sake.....................

Lots of framed photographs, piles of paper, a boxed bottle of tequila, some books, a large oval table for ten, a tea service, a telephone.

The best thing was the music. Kenny G and his oboe from the Greatest Hits of Kenny G.

I was alone in there for around half an hour. I could have memorized all of his to do list had it been in English.

Finally, the Event Director came. He, too, spoke very good English.

You cannot have the event where you want to have it............said El Presidente....................you have to have it at Casa de la Cultura........................

Now that is a tough place to get to, so right away, the red flags and bells and whistles are filling my head, but a foreigner sitting in a Mexican Mayor's office does not exactly have a say in these things.

El Presidente said goodbye and the Event Director took the fliers and told me to return the following day, again to the Mayor's secretary, to get them.

The next morning I went back to the Mayor's secretary. They were playing classical music. I waited two hours and the secretary told me to go to the Event Director's office on the lower level. I did that and received the fliers.

Now, if you are not as tired from reading about this, as I was tired from going through it all......you have a problem...................

At the end of the second day, I took a three hour nap.

I am supposed to return to see the Event Director on Monday. I am trying to think of ways to get out of it. I think my friend should go.



Somehow, I found the time to decorate two more trees with lights.

And, I read that the Mayor is having a Christmas lighting competition. But, it is for the front of your house, not the back. The best lights get a prize. I figure I know him well enough now, I should be able to go over and tell him to be sure and look in my back yard.
Senor turned on our mini split the other afternoon, while I was putting up more lights, so I would be warm when I came back inside.
Our mini split has deceived us. It is supposed to be both an air conditioner and a heater. It is just an air conditioner.
People are always giving us or loaning us things. They do not feel sorry for us. It is just that they have been in the same position of doing with less during a remodeling project. They know what it is like.
So, we have yet another new toy, on loan.........................
We rearranged the Hilton Garden Room to accommodate the fire pit. The view is not as nice, but we use the fire in the evenings, so there really is not much to see by then. We started with our chairs three feet away and this little guy puts out so much heat, that we had to slide back another three feet.
Fortunately, we have lots of wood and I have lots of colored Christmas lights from the mercado.
Later in the day, I will light the fire and go a-stringing.
On, Monday, I will ask the mayor to consider my backyard for the competition.
adios, linda lou











Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Best Toy Ever

Hola! Hola!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I was so happy with the little pine tree that I decorated in the yard a few days ago that I decided to do another one. This one is a little larger. You can see the little tree in the back, to the right. I know it just looks like a blob of light, but that is the little tree. The new tree is well over 5 feet tall and while I am not sure what kind of tree it is, it is very lacy leafed and does not appear to be losing any leaves with the cold weather.




When Senor came home from bridge, he said.....................oh, that's cute.

Later, in the dark he said.......................that's very pretty. And wow, he did not say anything about Thanksgiving.

KD called on her way to have Thanksgiving with friends in Boulder. Ian called to say he was going up to the Pass to snowboard. They seem happy on Thanksgiving Day and able to take care of themselves just fine.

Senor and I will be going to have dinner with friends later today. KD said...........oh, how nice, mom, a new tradition for you.................

Now, this will be the first year of many that I have not cooked a turkey, but next year might just be a little different story, because, look what I have!

That is a GE Profile Convection/Microwave/Combination oven.

Can you believe this? A couple we know brought it over to our casa several days ago. She said................i don't need this thing right now....................do you?

HAHAHA!!

He said...................well, if you break it, don't give it back.

Really, can you believe this?

I am estactic. I don't know, is that how you even spell that word? I don't care, it really doesn't even describe how I feel. I tell you I am doing cartwheels and flips over here.

I just reheated my coffee in the microwave!!

I offered to cook my friends' turkey for them. Of course, they said..........no.

That is good though, because I have never used a convection oven and although I have the manual, I have been researching that type of cooking all morning.

My little 9x9 toaster has been good even though the temperature in it will not go over 300. I just found this out when I tried to bake some lemon bars for an event. They would not bake, even after an hour. I finally put a thermometer inside and discovered the problem.

But, now I have a real oven to bake in and Senor can buy some bagged popcorn.

This is good stuff.

This is the best toy I have ever had in my life!

So, for all of you folks who are waiting for your succulent turkeys to come out of your own oven, do something for me. When you sit down for dinner this afternoon, ask everyone to gather hands and give thanks to your oven. Be grateful that you have it, clean it carefully, take good care of it.

I know I will, and someday I will return it to our friends. I will not break it and it will probably be with great sadness that we part, but in the meantime, gotta go bake some cookies!

adios! linda lou

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Miracle of Sorts

Buenas dias!

I never imagined that not posting for almost two weeks would generate such a stir. I have received quite a few emails from people wanting to make sure we are safe and sound here in Mexico.

Believe me, we are fine.

We have been very busy..............that is all.

So, it will take some time for me to bring you up to date and I promise, I will post again soon. I do not want anyone worrying needlessly about us!



Now, take a look below at that beautiful sunrise, layers and layers of pretty colors!

It is colder here at night and harder to get up in the mornings. Daylight is peeking through around six twenty, right about the time Cookies starts licking my face........................ he is a wonderful alarm clock.

Ian has come and gone.....when he came back with us last week, Cookies ran right to him and tried to climb up his legs and into his arms. Ian enjoyed his little room and Cookies slept with him every night and followed him around the casa and yard. He really did not let him out of his sight.


We had to lock Cookies inside the first few days when we left the house because he wanted to follow Ian right out the gate.


When Ian and KD were here in August last year it was so hot we did very little. So we made up for it while Ian was here. Walks to and around town, shopping in the Mercado, eating out at some new sidewalk vendors we had not tried before, a trip to the Tiangus, to La Aduana, the beach at Huatabampito, the parade for the Dia de la Revolution.....................and on and on.




Take a look at some of the photos.

Below, we are eating barbacoa ( barbequed beef) soup with a friend at a stall near the arroyo.






Ian and Senor are watching Yolanda weigh shrimp. We want two kilos, about four pounds.

Yolanda gets her grande camarones from the Sea of Cortez. Senor could eat them every night.





Now, Ian and Senor appear to be reading the local paper, El Imparcial, while waiting for Huevos Rancheros at Cocina Economica. This is a wonderful little cafe at the bottom of our street. The white board on the wall tells what is available for the morning.





Below, vendors line the alameda on the day of the Revolution. Vendors are there every day, but for this celebration, a few more have set up tables and tarps. One vendor is even trying to make cotton candy.


We are waiting with the rest of the crowd for the parade to begin.

Here is the fruit cocktail stand. You can buy a large cup of fruit and if you want, the vendor will sprinkle it with salt and salsa. I always have both on mine. Senor won't even have the fruit.


Finally, after a very long wait, the mayor, in the blue shirt and tie, with his wife to his right and over one hundred municipal workers behind him starts the parade.



The focus of all parades here are the children. Many of them were dressed in native costumes, or like Spanish aristocrats, or mustachioed Pancho Villas. Still many were in their school uniforms.

The girls below are nurses and carried small clear doctor bags.



These are the young aristocrats.













These are the older aristocrats.



Lots of cheerleaders and pom pom shakers were in this parade. They danced to the Mexican version of 'Hey, Mickey", my favorite song from Bring it On. Surely you saw that movie, it's about a bunch of cheerleaders who have competitions and of course, their egos get in the way and then, there are boys, they get in the way, too.

The boys are always the buglers and the girls are the drummers. They have been practicing for three weeks now, the same song, over and over. You can hear them all over town as the wind carries their notes.










We saw in this parade many sporting activities. We did not realize how many teams there are for different sports. The biggest sport in Alamos appears to be gymnastics. There were probably ten different groups performing flips and jumps and cartwheels and as many putting together pyramids.


The pyramid below is being formed by one of the COBASH (high school) teams. There probably were seven different teams.












Lots of clowns and dolls on stilts.

Below the bomaderos (fire department) begin to put together their pyramid as the fire truck keeps moving. We saw volleyball teams, boxing teams, baseball teams, basketball teams and soccer teams. Many of these teams also constructed pyramids. We saw so many pyramids I might rename this parade......Dia de La Pyramid.


Ian and Senor pooped out and walked home after the parade, but I followed the crowd to the Palacio, where each group in the parade then performed on stage for the mayor and his wife, who sat at a wooden table to the side of the stage. It was like seeing the parade again, but in slow motion.

I have many more photos and will try to get them on flikr one of these days.


The following day we took a long trip to the Tiangus (Sunday morning market) and in the afternoon Ismael came and repaired Ian's computer which had a virus. In the states, Ian had been told to dish out three hundred dollars for the repair. Ismael repaired it for under twenty and as he was leaving Senor mentioned we do not have wireless. Ismael was astonished, especially when we told him why. If you recall..................Senor forgot our password.

Ismael walked back to the bedroom and did something for less than a minute on our laptop........................now we have wireless.


On Tuesday, we went to Yvarros, a small fishing town on the sea and bought some perch from one of the bodegas. We took the back road out of Alamos, toward El Fuerte and went to the town of Masiaca and then, to the sea. If you are one of those persons who still insists the back road out of Alamos is paved all the way to Highway Fifteen, or even to El Fuerte, believe me, it is not........................dream on...........................


Shrimp and ponga boats in the bay at Yvarros.




The perch lady below, in her bodega. Senor is trying to strike a deal. He gets three kilos of perch for eighty pesos. That is good, but that is alot of perch.


Then, on to the beach at Huatabampito, where Ian stands out at the water's edge. What is he thinking, I wonder.............where are the girls in bikinis, where are the palapa huts, the pineapple drinks..............................

Later he commented to Senor how nice it was to not have any vendors coming around selling jewelry or ironwood dolphins.


We added to the seashell collection.



Then, Ian said it was too hot for him.



Back at the casa, Ian rode new old bike around the yard, afraid to go out in the street because I refused to take off the pink flowers. Cookies followed him like a dog.


The nearby town of La Aduana hosts a huge three day celebration beginning on Friday, the twentieth. We went out on Thursday to check out the preparations.



Cookware and dishes seem to be a big hit here. There were at least ten stalls with this stuff.
Everyone walks to La Aduana for this festival. They walk for miles, they come from Navajoa, which is fifty kilometers away. How in the world do they carry all this stuff back home, I wonder.


Lots of fancy bread in this stall.

Lots of pretty sweets in this one.


This is the church at Las Aduana. On November twelfth, there is a procession from Alamos, that begins at four in the morning. People walk to the church, Nuestra Senora de la Balvanera. After arriving at the church around seven pm, a religious ceremony is held and the traditional deer dance is performed. Throughout the following week, pilgrimage is made from all over Southern Sonora, by foot, by thousands of people to the church, and of course, the three day festival which includes alot of Tecate.



It is the cactus below that makes La Aduana so popular. Legend says that Mayo Indians saw a woman on top of the cactus. They tried to reach her and help her down, but suddenly she was gone, and in her place, was a huge vein of silver. It was a miracle.
I guess the miracle was that a mine was created and silver came from it and thousands of people flocked to both La Aduana and Alamos, making it a very wealthy area.Of course, later Aduana and Alamos both became ghost towns.
Below are a few photos of the old silver mine.







And the rolling, velvet hills that surround this small town of four hundred people.

So, of course I cannot list all of the things we did with Ian. It was a wonderful time.
Cookies was a basket case when we returned home from the airport, without Ian in tow.
He meowed for days. He still goes in during the day and sleeps on Ian's bed. We have to pry him away at night and force him to come into our room. It would be too easy for him to get trapped in that room. But time will help him feel better.
Me?
I miss Ian terribly, but again time will work wonders................
Senor?
He is busy working on the casa, but I saw how hard he hugged Ian when they said their goodbyes.
Tomorrow will be a new tradition of sorts, for us............... Our first Thanksgiving, without KD or Ian. If you remember, last Thanksgiving Senor and I flew to Colorado, where both kids were in the same college. That was convenient and it was wonderful. Now, even they are far apart, one in Colorado and one in Washington. But they have good friends to spend the holidays with. They will be happy.
Fortunately, we have very good friends here who have asked us to spend Thanksgiving with their family. We are lucky. We will be happy.
After Christmas last year, we planted our little Christmas pine in the back yard. Last night I decorated it with little tiny lights.
Senor said..........................that is illegal................ we have not even had Thanksgiving yet.
I said.........................does not matter...............they don't celebrate Thanksgiving here.
Then I put on a Christmas cd, much to his chagrin..........................
Last year, I could hardly listen to a Christmas song. I really had a hard time not getting to spend Christmas together as a family.

So, maybe this is a good sign, a miracle of sorts, that I have already listened to a Christmas cd and have already decorated a little Christmas tree.






Say goodnight, little Christmas tree in the yard.................................adios, Linda Lou