Senor and Linda Lou have been in Pueblo Alamos, Sonora, Mexico for 10 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.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

We are in Tucson

We are in Tucson.
We have met with the mover guys.
I am not happy.........................
They did not bring everything.
I am in contact with the antique store that had our furniture.
As of this Sunday afternoon..........they are looking for the two missing marble top carved wood night tables.
I am not happy.........................
I am trying to keep it under control.........................I went to Fry's Market to check my blood pressure.
I am not happy about those results either....................

Somehow, I knew when we started this whole furniture moving thing, something would go wrong.
I am a very positive, optimistic person, so I tried to brush the feeling off.

Do you ever get that kind of feeling? You just want to stay positive................quit worrying for nothing, but still the little feeling stays there in the back of your thoughts...............

This is my first ever post without a picture. I thought about taking a photo of the furniture in the storage unit, but it would not quite be complete. It is really beautiful so I will show it to you someday, maybe when we actually put it into the casa!!
Maybe I will go to Macy's and I will feel better..................

On a happy note, thank you to everyone who commented on the cake pan cover! I was so surprised that people were interested! Very soon, I will share with you my 2 favorite cake recipes. One I can bake in my little toaster oven and the other, I cook in my crock pot.
Adios, voy al Bon Marche Macy's to the Home Sale. Linda Lou

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cake Pan Cover

I will get right to the point because my mom called earlier and is very eager to see the cake pan cover. There it is.

So, now you have seen it. If you want to know how I did it, you can read on and there are also more photos of the finished product at the end of the post.

If you find this all rather boring and not your kind of thing, just log out and (to use a phrase our son Ian came up with) don't blame about it, which basically means, no worries, get on with stuff.......

Should you be sticking around for the details........HI MOM!!!!.......I will give you some history.
It was either a half of a fish that would hang on the wall or a cake pan cover. I decided the fish would be very complicated after looking at a website where a guy makes dragons out of papier mache'. So I went for the cake pan cover.

It took two tries.

The first try I used light weight screen for the form, and covered it with masking tape to give it some strength. I made a mixture of glue, flour and water, dunked the torn newspaper strips in the mixture and slapped them on the form.

this did not work.....................the torn pieces of paper were too big and they caused the screen to warp and then it got too heavy after it dried and then, it smelled terrible....................

So, I switched to Plan B...................... a new screen that I made into a circle and only masked off at the seam.
I omitted the flour and went with straight water and glue, used very small strips of paper and covered first the main body and then, the top, which I simply cut out of a piece of cardboard and slathered the glue and newspaper on.

I used masking tape to connect the top to the main body and added more newspaper to firm it all up and then painted it white.
After cutting two slits in the top, I inserted a wadded and rolled up piece that I shaped into a handle and covered that in newspaper and tape. I taped this handle where it met the top and added more newspaper and then painted that white as well.

I wanted to paint it in a talavera style, so I followed the design of a dish I have. I made a grid out of cardboard and penciled in all the little squares and other designs I wanted.
Below you can see the squares have been painted with blue acrylic and the other designs which were also penciled in using the cardboard grid, are painted in browns, yellows and orange acrylics. Later I went over that all again and put in alot of black details.

After I completed all this background work, I drew in the flowers and leaves and started painting them. I used blues, and greens, and yellow and orange and red and magenta (all acrylics I found here at the mercado, along with about six other paints I am saving for some other unknown project).
After it dried I put three coats of brilliant high gloss varnish on it and Voila! A cake pan cover!

Now, all I need is a cake!!
adios, linda lou

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Pantheon

Buen Dia.
It is very hot out, something over a hundred. We are now through working for the day and hibernating in the back room with the mini split.

Senor is getting very good lately about taking photos. I do have to delete some of them because they are out of focus. Sometimes he accidentally takes a video instead and it is usually of his shoes, but he really seems to enjoy looking for the camera and taking a picture now and then.

He took the beautiful sunset below and the first lily bloom. I cannot recall the name of our lilies, but they are night blooming only and live just through the dark. Most are pale white with maroon centers and light streaks of pink on the petals.
Year of the Gun was a bust. The dvd would not even load. Nothing. Nada. Zip.
So we sat out in the dark, in the garden room and listened to the crickets chirp.
This morning I was up at five and on new old bike for a ride out to the Pantheon, which is the cemetery. I detoured through town to check the water level in La Aduana Arroyo and there was a little trickle. The ride took about half an hour because of the detour.
Below are the gates to the main entrance of the Pantheon. I rode all around the cemetery until I found a smaller open gate and went in with new old bike. It became crowded very quickly and as I turned to go put new old bike outside, the caretaker came up to me.
He said something very quickly in Spanish and I said I did not understand and could he speak more slowly. He pantomimed a scene about my bike by shoving something imaginary way above his head and pretending to walk off. I finally realized he was telling me to leave my bike with him to watch because otherwise someone would lift it up and walk away with it.
I shook my head and he followed me outside, where I locked up my bike to the lamp post. He stood over me and watched what I was doing. When I was done he said........tiene usted you have the key..............i said, si, senor, tengo llave.....yes, sir, i have the key....................bueno, he replied.
I followed him back through the gate and he started talking and waving his hand through the air. I think he was telling me something about the graves, but I am not sure. He may have been inviting me to sit down for desayuna (breakfast) because he sat down on a grave where he had earlier laid out his tortillas and a little plastic baggie of salsa. He also had a bottle of juice which he offered to me. I do not generally like to decline gifts, but I did.
I said gracias and started walking around the Pantheon.

After a while of looking at graves and names and dates, I came around a rather large stone grave and he was standing right there. I just about jumped out of my skin. It scared me to death. I was already scared because I had seen two large gravesite holes about eight feet deep with nothing in them.
He smiled and asked me something. It was difficult to understand him. He didn't have any teeth, but I think he was asking me who I was looking for. I asked him where the foreign graves were located. He walked ahead of me, through alot of tall grass, to the opposite side of the Pantheon. We went up a slight incline and near the top he turned and smiled a very toothless smile and said................aqui. Then he turned and left me alone.

I was fascinated by what I saw and read. I counted at least fifteen gravesites with what I will call American names since I don't know the true heritage of any of the names. Even more fascinating were the dates of birth. Many of those birthdates were from the late 1800's and the deaths ranged from the 1960's to the 1980's.
Some of the graves had names that are still familiar here in Alamos, where relatives still live. And there are probably even more gravesites of foreigners that I did not see.
A very popular club here in Alamos, is the History Club. I believe I have read that they have all of the facts for all of the graves. I think it would be very interesting to know more. While looking at some of the graves, I could only imagine what it must have been like here in Alamos, when they were alive. There are a number of books on life as it was here years ago. I will definately have to read some of those.

I brushed against a tree branch while I was walking and a swarm of little honey bees came out of the branch. I scooted away as fast as I could, waved goodbye to the caretaker and went and unlocked new old bike.
When I rode away I couldn't help but think about the graves in the Pantheon. Last year's Day of the Dead came on the heels of Hurricane Norbert. We went to the Pantheon for a short while one night. Very few people were sitting with their departed loved ones. There was very little celebration.
I think people were still in shock and in awe of what Norbert had done. Maybe this year's Day of the Dead will be a merrier, happier time for the town and the Pantheon residents as well.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Should I ask or Should I not ask?

Hey, on Saturday night we were minding our own business, typical night, planning to grill, watch a movie on the laptop.
A cool exception to this typical evening was Senor finally has replaced his old rotisserie with a new heavy duty fandangled thing that actually holds weight and works.

If you recall, we put two turkeys on the old skinny rotiserrie last Thanksgiving and the turkeys first bent and then broke it.

So, Saturday night, Senor put a nice size chicken on the new spit that he and his iron worker friend created and it turned perfectly.
So, as the chicken spun around over the coals, we walked around the yard, looked at the new fence posts, removed a few brown leaves from plants, watched the grass grow.
We commented how still and hot it was and how we wished it would rain.

About halfway into the grill, without any warning, a very heavy rain began to fall. We had a few brownouts, but by using the flashlight and an umbrella, Senor was able to finish dinner.
By then, the whole town was out of power and the thunder and lightning arrived and we had to skip the movie, but ate a tasty chicken out in the garden room, in the dark. There was so much lightning we did not even need any candles.

That Saturday morning, some very lovely ladies asked me to go on a road trip with them. We went to Navajoa.
I know, that is not really very far, but we went in a cadillac!
And we had lunch and went to Sorianna Market, which is where I bought the movie we planned to watch that evening before the power went out.
I bought Arizona Dream for twenty-six pesos. We did finally watch the movie, Arizona Dream, with Johnny Depp, Faye Dunaway and Jerry Lewis, on Sunday night. Senor said it was a ridiculous waste of time and a very ridiculous movie and it was ridiculous that he even bothered to sit through the whole ridiculous thing.
I didn't think it was toooooo bad...............I might even watch it again. If you have seen it, the very youthful Johnny Depp already has developed a playfulness that makes the 'Pirates' movies, in my opinion, such a hit.
Also, in Arizona Dream, he is just beginning to make a hair statement, as his hair sticks up through out the entire movie, as if he just got out of bed. Does this qualify me as a movie blogger?
There was a huge selection of movies at Sorianna. They are all in English with spanish subtitles. I saw holiday movies, kid movies, an old PT boat movie, some black and white movies. The best thing is they are all cheap.
So, I also bought Year of the Gun, with Sharon Stone, for twenty-two pesos. Stone, on the cover, looks like she is about twenty years old. So, the movies are old and if you were to ask Senor, he would say..................probably all ridiculous.
At Sorianna I also bought some very familiar looking fruit. You can see it in the photo below. Here in Alamos, we have mexican apples, but the big town of Navajoa imports their galas, pink ladies and goldens from Washington.

Outside our door this morning I was greeted by another old familiar Washington sight, the slug. This was not the big juicy three incher from the northwest, but definitely, a slug.

While I was in town this morning getting some black paint for the cake pan cover, Umberto came by to tell us he needed to get his tooth pulled and could not work. So Senor went by himself to pick up another truckload of barro blanco wood.
Then he got the photo below, looking through the portal of the little casa behind us. You can see the little old senor has put his sonoran cot out under the portal.

It is late in the day now. I called the moving company. They say the truck is leaving Seattle tomorrow and our stuff is in the very front of the truck and will be the first stop. Notice I did not say they called me. I wonder how this will all turn out.
The sky is turning dark purple to the east. But there is absolutely no wind.
I have pablano peppers, potatoes, carrots, meat and epazote in the crock pot.
Should I ask Senor if he wants to watch Year of the Gun?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Golden Glow Light

We had some beautiful light the other night.
We also had a huge windstorm and thought we would get rain, but didn't. The light was a very pretty yellow. It was just like the golden glow of a fall day.
The hillsides are rolling green carpets.

Senor has been out alot lately with the camera and caught the cats in the following situation.
Ashes had a friend over for a play day........................

Soon, she got bored and fell asleep......................

And, while she was sleeping, Cookies snuck up and took her friend........................
They played for awhile ...................
Eventually, Cookies went to sleep also, and the lizard ran away, so if you are a lizard worries, he is safe and sound somewhere, hiding out, hoping to skip the next play date.

Well, we have the fence posts and the barro blanco, finally. Here you can see the posts are on the ground. Our stable is in the background. Umberto has been given the job of digging the post holes. I am so glad Senor wasn't thinking I could do that. But, I will be making the fence.

The first portion of the fence will begin where the screened gate is below and will go north-south.
To the right of the little screen gate there is an old adobe wall, which we will keep.
The fence will travel all the way to the edge of the property line between us and the little house you see in the second photo below.
A little old senor lives in that little casa. During the daytime, he stays in his sister's house, which is also on the property and in the early evenings, around 5pm, he comes to his casa, where he has a tv.
He watches telenovas for hours and hours. If I walk back there I can hear the television and I can also see his outdoor toilet........once, he was on his toilet, which is actually a real toilet, over a hole in the ground. I do not think he saw me, but I don't plan to see him there again. So, we are starting back here with the fence.

Someone is building a new casa right behind his casa. But he will not be boxed in. He will be able to get to his sister's casa and from there, out to the street.
A few times Senor has been driving past the sister's house and the old senor will be standing on the street. The cranky old senor yells at the sweet younger Senor.......................ALTO!!
He wants Senor to give him a ride to town and Senor does. When the old senor gets out of the truck, he slams the door and walks off.

Soon the weeds between the little senor's casa and his sister's casa will be over his head. Last year he got very mad about that and once I saw him beating the weeds with a stick and could hear him yelling at his sister.
The sister's son came with a weed eater and cut a pathway for him between the two casas.
Sometimes, he will yell at us to bring him water. If we don't respond, he yells at his sister to bring water.

This morning was very overcast and cool, a good day for me to have a project.
I began taking the old yellow paint off the fireplace stones. Underneath the old yellow paint, I found old turquoise, old red, old orange and old light blue paint.

Most of the homes in Alamos are white on the outside. Inside is where you can find all kinds of color. We can tell that the old section of our casa (maybe 100 years old), went through quite a color scheme.
There is turquoise paint on some of the walls, a bright pink on others, a section where a wall was orange and alot of yellow. So, over the years someone certainly had the insides of this casa looking very bright and cheery.
In the photo below, you can see some of the turquoise on the front of the fireplace.
We have decided we like the colors of the stone and will be keeping it the way it is.

It has been kind of a lazy day since the unveiling of the stone. I painted my cake pan cover white. So, I am preparing to paint it now in a talavera style. Even if this does not look good when I am done, I promise I will show it to you. I will even tell you how I did it.....just in case you want to make one. You just never know when you might need a cake pan cover...................

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Early Morning Rain

Buenos tardes.

For the past two evenings, we have had lots of dark clouds and tiny sprinkles here and there. The wind has been very still and then, suddenly a rainbow has come out. That was the first clue that we would not get a storm. One night we even had a double rainbow. It has been hot and quiet........ and the mosquitoes and gnats have come to town.
Well, that all changed with an early morning rain.
A strong cool wind began around 5:30am, right as the bells were ringing for 6am mass. Both bells were clanging hard and the wind brought their music right to the garden room where I was sitting with a cup of coffee.
Thunder, lightning and a real quick flooding of the Hilton garden room followed. It stormed for about three hours. The thermometer read eighty, but I had to put on a light jacket, the wind was so cold.
I wondered about the tiangus.
I wondered about mass.
Around 11:30am I walked to town because I needed more glue for my cake pan cover.
The sun was out by then and a cool breeze was blowing.
Town was a mad scene, people were everywhere. Every radio was on a different station. Two policias were directing traffic. The tiangus was filled with crowds. The fish lady had a line of about five people. A little water was running through the arroyo, but as I have shown you, the new walkways are up, so it's easy to get across. I bought some lettuce and cilantro and then, walked to the mercado. Inside, I found a different tienda selling a different brand of glue. Same amount for diez y ocho pesos. Hmmmmm..........
Back home I opened the jar of glue and it smelled like rotten eggs. I threw it out.
I am working hard on this cake pan cover. I do not want it to smell like rotten eggs.
I thought about asking Senor to drive me back to town so I could go in the other tienda and pay more money for good smelling glue, but he has figured out how to watch golf and soccer on the laptop, so he was busy.
I remembered my jeweler's glue, diluted it with warm water and finished the handle on the cake pan cover.
While I was waiting for it to dry so I can paint it, I noticed Ashes making a mad sprint up the tree beside the asadero. When she got to the top whatever was up there must have scared her. She practically lept off the tree.

This little guy was to be her reward, but she didn't make it.........
The sky is full of small orange and yellow butterflies. Thousands of them are flying east to west, going somewhere important. They are in a hurry and refuse to be photographed.
Senor is going to drive us downtown to Super Tito's.
The grandchildren of some friends will be coming over tomorrow night. They were here last week and we played Badmitton, Monopoly, Sorry, Dodge Ball and Bocce Ball. We climbed the plumeria trees. We took a walk. We took pictures and developed them in the printer.
I'm sure we will do those things again tomorrow night. We only need Rosarita hot dogs, buns and chips and peach smoothies to make the visit complete.
As much as I love rain and storms, hopefully today's early morning rain will bring a rainbow tomorrow night, maybe even two.

Friday, July 10, 2009

And there has been a recount......

Hola, hola, hola.

I went to town yesterday, paid the water bill, checked the mail, and had a nice conversation with the mail lady about how hot it was. At the mercado a small bottle of glue was $48 pesos (around $3.50 US) and I balked, but bought it anyway. I have to get on with the cake cover project and need glue. I could get a huge bottle of glue for about .89 cents, if it was on sale at Target, if I were north of the border..............

Back at the plaza I stopped at the raspado truck and got my favorite limonada (lime) raspado, with the center filled with salt and two fresh lime halves. I need to stop getting the salt.

I sat on a bench at the plaza and it was very quiet and then, all of a sudden, trucks and cars were going around the plaza, and kids were running in and around the benches and two old senors came and sat right beside me.

The senors asked me how I was and I asked them how they were and then, two little boys came by selling pan, and the senors bought some to eat with their habaneros and I could just feel the heat and noise getting to me.

So, I decided it was time to leave.
Right alongside the Palacio is a nice shaded stairway that leads up to the Casa de la Cultura. From the top of the stairs I took the photos of the emerald green hills and the restoration of the church. In the middle of the big rocks in the third photo there is a small dot, it almost looks like it has a dark center. It is a goat. I could see it through my camera lense, but it just will look like a circle to you. We have friends who live at the base of those rocky hills and from their portal we can watch both brown and white goats up on the cliffs.

At the cultural center I talked to my friend who oversees the events there. She said she has a project for me, but could not tell me more until next week. So she will come by next week and we will eat and talk. I told her to call first. If the furniture comes, we may be north of the border.........
I have about 6 projects going on right now; my cake cover (which I will tell you more about later, so far it has been a ridiculous mess, but I am working on changing that), I am sewing a skirt (it took me three days to remember how to thread the machine), I am linseed oiling all the tables and chairs (I have a funny smell about me), I am scotchguarding all the fabric cushions I have (I have two funny smells about me), I did an inventory of my acrylic and watercolor paints and found paper and canvass (I plan to do the same flower in both paints and I am absolutely not an artist at all, I just like to mess with paint).
The man with the barro blancos is still not back from California and Senor says he needs the ladder, so I cannot work on making the fence or stand on a crooked ladder painting the cement vigas. Instead I have been filling my days with other projects.
Another project from the culture center will certainly not get in the way.

Today I had a fun little project to add to my list. A friend gave me one hundred and twenty-six little naranjitas from her tree. Naranjitas means little orange. These are actually kumquats and as you may know, there is nothing sweet about them. There is a tree down the street. On the way back from the track, I frequently pick the naranjitas and eat them because I am usually dying of thirst by then.

I have an electric juicer, but it is not the kind that will seperate the juice from the peel, so using the hand squeezer, I squished one hundred and twenty-six (kept count as I squished) little naranjitas and got one cup of juice.

I added three scant tablespoons of sugar, one cup of water and poured it into an ice cube tray. Does this qualify me as a food blogger?

Now senor can add cute little ice cubes to his water during the day.

Speaking of projects, I do not want to leave senor and his projects out of the picture. He is working way too long in the heat, but getting so much done.
Today he did stop at noon and is lounging now with his book. The ground that will be below the concrete floor of the portal is being leveled and a few more support beams have been poured.
I think this is looking great. This portal will be beautiful. It has been our intention all along to do alot of our daily living on the portal. Remember, everything to the right will be enclosed. The new kitchen will eventually be about where the higher stacks of wood are located.

AND, before I go, I want to inform you, there has been a recount. I am happy to announce that we have only been north of the border seven times in the last year............adios! linda lou