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.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Off to Texas en la Manana

We are going away for about ten days, to a family reunion in Texas. I am thrilled to get to see my parents and sister and one of my brothers. I am also very excited because our children, KD and Ian, are also going to be able to fly in from Denver and Seattle.

However, I must admit that each time we leave our new old town, I feel a little pang of emptiness. So, I usually take my camera and go for a walk. I know I will not forget what my new home looks like while I am gone, but getting photos just gives me a good feeling and makes it easier to leave.

The photo opportunity also gives me the chance to talk to the mail lady for awhile, to sit at the Plaza, to go in as many of the stores as possible, to get a limonada, or a latte in the Teracotta and to just simply soak it all in before we go.

So, yesterday I did that. Then I went and did it again today.
And these are some of the photos I took on yesterday's walk. The Oaxacans are having a street market around the Plaza. They have been here for a week now. On Sunday night we drove around part of the Plaza and it was very festive, alot of people walking around and the lights at the plaza were beautiful and bright. There was alot of promenading going on, although it is generally all in one direction now, and girls and boys hold hands.
I sat at the Plaza yesterday and since I had no mail, I just people watched.
I saw a tree growing out of the church tower.
I saw alot of Mexicanos I know. I saw a few foreigners that I don't know. There was a big bus parked on one side of the plaza and alot of college aged students walking around, buying ice cream and chips and taking pictures of each other in front of the church.

I went into one of my favorite stores, Bochoco.
The refrigerated and frozen food cases were bright and shiny. The bins on the floor contain chicken thighs, chicken breasts and pork products. To the right are all kinds of vegetables and fruits in bins on the floor.
I buy all my chicken this way. You insert your hand into a plastic baggie and search around in the bin for what you want, pull it out, put it into another baggie, get it weighed and you are good to go to the check out girl.

Eggs are not refrigerated in any Mexico stores I have been in, with the exception of Wal Mart in Obregon. Bochoco sells gigantic brown eggs and white eggs as well. I asked today to buy the brown ones, but they were already sold out.

More shiny food cases in the front of the store, where the room is only about twenty feet wide.

Today, I have chosen frozen chicken so I can take the long way home. The check out lady takes my 23 pesos for three frozen chicken breasts, bags it in pink plastic and I am on my way.

Next stop, the Alameda, where they have put some finishing touches on the walkway and added new benches and alot of cottonwood trees, (alamos means cottonwood), grass and bouganvilla. The fountain is full of rainwater, but one of these days I think it will be gurgling away.

On the way home, I stop and take a picture of this beautiful date palm and suddenly I am back at my own gate.

We will be gone a long time.
I can not wait to see my family, but I will most likely think about my home every day and wonder what is going on.....................does Alma have in the new orange and pink oilcloth I asked about..................she said it might come Friday.................the fabric store just got in a new batch of paints.................... some new colors this little shiny regalos boxes will come in over the weekend........................Rosie, a lady I worked with at DIF during Hurricane Norbert, wants to stop by week after next when we get back........................a friend and I are planning to put together a Christmas Bazaar in November at the Plaza and she wants to get together............she speaks not a word of English, but so far we are communicating it it tall will the grass be..................adios, we are off to Texas en la manana.......see you when we return.................linda lou

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Someone Explain That to Me..........

Hola, we continue to have some very good storms.
Senor took the photos above of what we thought would be a huge event last night, but it never really amounted to much more than light sprinkles and a whole lot of sheet lightning.

This afternoon the wind picked up and it got very dark. The clouds were just pouring over the tops of the mountains.
We secured everything and got prepared because Senor noticed on the weatherunderground that a huge storm was off the coast near Mazatlan and Mochis and heading north. The temperature dropped to a nice 75 degrees and it is breezy and dark, but nothing else is happening.......................

other than this................playlist removed my playlist!
Did you get to hear it at all? It was attached to the blog for about a month. Then, it was gone. Bleep! Just gone, vanished, off the radar................ the list is still on the blog, but no longer works.

Playlist attached a message stating that the songs I had chosen for my playlist were not licensed to be played in my country................okay, well, the songs were Mexican. I looked at the cd's, they were produced and copywritten in Mexico, I am in Mexico.............

Then I got a second notice about my other playlist, which is mostly USA music and the notice said the same thing.....................

Now, I am trying to figure this out. How does playlist know where I am?
My computer was bought in the states, but I am using it in Mexico. I do not understand.............

One day I was adding to my Mexico playlist and at the top of the screen about ten busty, unclothed Latino women started dancing around on a pop up. I was a little surprised...........

There was an x in a red box in the upper right hand corner, and I should have known better, but I clicked, thinking it would close the screen, and then, it got worse. A huge screen popped up telling me in Spanish that I could see more women if I called Telcel right now. I tried to click on the x again and then, I just shut off the computer.

Guess what......................TELCEL CALLED ME!

The woman asked if I wanted to open a Telcel account so I could make an online purchase..................I said no...................she asked if she could speak to my esposo so he could open an account..............i

She told me to tell my husband to try again if he was the one who wanted to open an account.
I really had to think about all of this for awhile.............

Now will somebody tell me, how did Telcel know that I had clicked on the naked women screen? How does Telcel even have our phone number? We don't even have a Telcel mobile phone or account................... so how is all of that explained?
Senor says maybe Telcel, the Mexico mobile cell phone company, can tap into Telmex, the Mexico landline telephone company (which supplies our internet) , but then still, how would they know there were naked women dancing on my screen?
By the way, Senor is innocent in all of this and I was on my screen name anyway.............he wants that made very clear..............

I am very confused about all of this. I thought about trying my playlist again. I thought it was pretty good................

I am also confused about this whole dvd business. I bought the rest of the seasons of '24' in the states. We put one in.
Our laptop, on which we play them, told us we had changed our region code too many times from One (USA) to Four (Mexico). So, now we can't watch '24'.
However we can watch dvd's from the video store allright. We can watch dvd's that have been brought from the states to Mexico, by other people, allright. None of those tell us we have changed region codes too many times.

Now someone explain that to me.......adios. linda lou

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Studio Tour for You

Hola! Buenas tardes! It is a gorgeous day here. Just in case you happen to be the curious is 85 degrees and the humidity is 65%. It has been slightly overcast all morning and just now, at 1:45, the sun has come out. So, things could change pretty quickly around here. In half an hour it might be 102 degrees.........

Below is this morning's sunrise, before the clouds came in. Today I got an awesome email from a lady named Linda Lee. She was googling herself and she found me.................!

She is a glass artist and lives on a lake in New Hampshire. Her shop is and her lampworked beads are gorgeous.

She also has an etsy shop and she is really a talented glassartist. I can't say so much for her blog, she has not posted since February, silly girl! But her glass beads are worth taking a trip to her studio to see. And her prices are very good.

There are many talented glass artists out there. I do not really consider myself to be a glass artist. I just call myself a glassworker.....or a glassmesser, maybe that is what I am.

Also, there are some very impressive glass studios out there. My studio in WA was sooooooooo impressive. It was so full of stuff and so fun to walk around in. I was also very, very organized.

If you have not seen the old studio, you can go to the website, and see my lovely old studio and read about the little shed in the woods. Eventually I outgrew the shed and took over half of the garage. You can see a photo of part of that studio at the bottom of this blog.

But, oh well, it could not exactly come to Mexico, could it?

While we are in this exciting stage of not really having anyplace to really put anything, I have made major compromises. I have not begged Senor to hurry up and roof this place in so I can have a decent studio in which to work. I have not bugged Senor about the fact that he even takes up more space around here than I do. I have not broken down once in tears because I do not have room to do anything around here. I have not complained at all...........

Really I am just doing what I can with what I have........ and it is working fine.

So! Just for Linda Lee of New Hampshire and anyone else out there who is interested........HI MOM.............I am going to take you on a tour of my studio today!!!

Aren't you excited? And it is a free tour!!!!! So, here we go!

In the photo below, we are entering the studio!

Try to ignore all the odd other stuff......this is the studio............
Now, let's get down to business. The table covered in orange and pink oil cloth as you enter the studio door is the main work table for beadworking.
Now, you will see other things on that table, like a papaya ripening, but that is unimportant.

The sewing maching is capable of sewing beaded tapestry hangings together when it feels like it.
The current project is a Hawaiian lei made of silver and amazonite from Brazil and opals from Africa and silver from Karen Hill tribe of Thailand.......notice the tools placed so neatly to the side of the work area..............very, very tidy.Now to the right of the work table is an area on top of a very old chest from Belgium. Alot of assorted craft and bead items are here. Note the cake pan cover at the end, bead boxes in the middle and a few photographs and things that are always getting in the way...........Against the window wall we have an area that thinks it is a kitchen, but really is not. See how the bead boxes control everything. They take over that piece of metal called a hot plate, they cover not just one table but two, including the area where the blender thinks it should be. Some old silver is drying out, competing with a few cups and glasses. But again, note how neat and tidy everything looks.
Until we get just because I am such a nice and sweet person, I allow Senor to store his tools in the studio. But, look how he takes advantage of this opportunity. His stuff is everywhere................. how he can find anything, I do not know................. so...we try not to hang out in this area of the studio for long.

Beyond Senor's tool area is the refrigerator which Senor is extremely unhappy with. I wanted a small refrigerator and I will admit this one is too small for our family of two.
The importance however, of this area is not the refrigerator which has made its way into the studio, it is the glassmessing station located on the table to the left.
All of the glassmessing is done here. When the glass is in full operation, the grinder is pulled out from under the table and set up outside in the Hilton Garden Room. Since it is a job that requires using a face mask, the circulation is better outside. Note the mangos in a bowl which have been placed out to ripen by someone we won't mention.......................
To the left of the glass is the art easel which gets used when there is no energy remaining for glassmessing or beading.......................this is a nopale cactus drawing done in aquarelle, or watercolor pencil..................don't worry, it is not finished.................
If you will follow me we will go into the bathroom. Right outside the door are more boxes of crafts and glass and beads......alot of fabric is kept here for use in Christmas cards and wall hangings ...................

In the bathroom, under the triptic daffodil painting is the current fire book, the third one. Inside the fire books are records of every firing ever done in the kilns.................
In the shower is the big computerized kiln. It is temporarily on sabbatical as it heats to 1600 degrees and it is already hot enough in there.

Someone thinks it is also a fine place to store fertilzer and other assorted items...............

As we leave the bathroom you can see the smaller hot box kiln sits on the floor and doubles as a vase for paper flowers........................

We are going to now leave the studio and head for the showroom. I am serious. I have had four shows in there.....................
and, of course, the blog................

When it is showtime, the books go under the bed or in the bathroom attached to this room, the lights go down, the red carpet comes out, well sort of..............

and the glass and the beads come out of their hiding places to say hello.................

Who knows what this little studio will be in the future? I am not sure. I would like to see it out in the stable, but I will patiently wait, until after the roof is on, to see the possibilities...........

hey, if you have a little studio............... glass, beads, painting, sewing, woodworking, metal, it doesn't matter what you do in it...............well, please, nothing we would not want to see.................... send me a picture of it and I will have a studio posting day. I would love to see other people's studios and workshops.

You have always had access to my email on the website, so I will just go ahead and give it to you here. Be sure and tell me it is a studio or workshop picture or I won't open it................

Send me your studio picture, Linda Lee.

Cookies, the fat cat says it is siesta time. adios, linda lou.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Just Another Sunday Afternoon

Yesterday's very tropical scene..................................... Sunday I went to a shower de regalos..............a shower of gifts for a baby.
It was in a barrio, some distance from town and one that I am unfamiliar with. So Senor and I did a trial run in the morning, out to the barrio, but could not find any street signs. I am still not driving the big truck through little streets of little barrios, so I decided to ride new old bike to the shower that afternoon.

At the Navajoa mercado last week I purchased a Mexico soccer outfit that would fit a one year old and to the box I added some sparkly earrings for mom.

Around 4pm, I loaded the wrapped gift, a bag filled with a topochico mineral water bottle, 20 pesos, my house keys, my cell phone and my umbrella in the bike basket and started out for the shower. The girl who invited me is eight months pregnant and speaks no english at all. I had no idea what to expect.

The printed shower invitation stated that the event started at 1600 hours. I guessed about 20 minutes bike time and I would be a little late, but not first to arrive, which I thought might be awkward.

The ride was super hot, no wind, no clouds, just alot of blazing sol and sweat.
It took me much longer than I thought. I got to the barrio, but got lost in all the cross streets. I asked for directions from all the wrong people.
The twenty year old mama to be has a nice job in town. I thought alot of people would know her
but no one could help me with the street names and no one seemed to recognize her name.

I heard a Jimmy Buffet song and rode to the sound thinking maybe a gringo could help me find the right street. But when I got there, four tables were filled with Mexicanos playing cards.

A group of Tecate drinking old men followed me for awhile after I asked them for directions. They planned to help me find the street. They offered me a beer and I said no gracias. Eventually they got bored and walked off. I asked a group of younger men if they knew my friend or the street, but they said no. Inside an aborretes, which is a small grocery store, I asked the lady if she knew where my street was. She said no. I asked her what street was outside her store, she did not know that either. But she smiled at me alot and her children were frozen to their chairs, staring at me.

Almost every casa I passed had a fiesta going on in the yard. Every fiesta played different music. Children laughed and ran in circles, chasing dogs. Men lounged in hammocks and women sat and talked. It was a noisy happy afternoon in the barrio.

I was surprised to see a man I knew and asked him if he knew my friend. He said si.................and pointed to the casa next door. It was her casa and the narrow dirt yard was filled with white tables and chairs, but no people. My cell phone told me it was 5pm.

There were two doors at the casa. The first one was slightly ajar. I knocked. Inside was a table and two chairs. I knocked on the door to the second room and there was the mama to be and about six other young ladies and four children.................all in a 10x10' bedroom, doing their hair and make up. They greeted me, took the package and pointed to the bed where I sat down. I was so hot from my ride, and now................. in the room, were blow dryers and curling irons and hot curlers and so many people. The kids were watching a video, but that got turned off real quickly and they started watching me instead.

I asked if I was too early, but no, no, they all said. The girls continued to get ready for the party
while the children kept asking me if I was hot.

Finally a few more young girls came, but they could not fit in the bedroom so I offered to go outside and sit. A young lady pinned a blue ribbon and a plastic blue binkie on my shirt and I went outside. The children came with me and sat at the table and stared at me. One of the young boys kept repeating good morning. I tried to explain the difference between good morning and good afternoon.

Some other guests arrived and once the girls came out of the bedroom, there were about twenty of us sitting around the tables. The mother to be played mexican cd's on her boom box and organized all of her presents on a table. The outside wall of her little casa was covered in blue and white balloons and a paper stork. Across the street a church sermon was going on in a two story house. They were playing alot of music there as well.

The children finally got bored with me and were put to work passing out plates of japones, peanut snacks and blue gumdrops and blue sugar candies and coke and sprite. People came and went. Young girls about eighteen or twenty came with a baby in their arm and one or two following behind. A huge wind whipped up the hill and through the street and all the snack plates
and pop drinks were blown off the tables. The children went inside and came back out with new plates of snacks and new drinks and a little puppy dog ate everything on the ground.

Not too long after that, it began to thunder and lightning and rain. The children rushed out and took everything off the tables. Everything went into the bedroom. The guests went into the bedroom. The presents went in the bedroom. The boom box went in the bedroom. The paper stork went in the bedroom. It was very crowded............... then the rain stopped.

The children took the tablecloths and wiped down all the tables and chairs and laid the tablecloths back on the table. They put the table decorations back in the center of the tables. They carried out all the gifts and started the music again. The church service across the street ended with many people screaming hallelujah over and over for about ten minutes.

My friend's mother made 380 tamales and a huge pot of frijoles. The children served us.
It was beginning to get dark. The young men I had asked for directions earlier pulled their car up into the drive of the house next door. I was wondering which way town would be. I only knew it was downhill, but I thought if I could ride to the casa playing Jimmy Buffet music, I would find my way out of the barrio. I knew also that if I did not get going soon, Senor would worry and possibly come looking for me.

I tried to say my goodbyes and was politely pushed back down in a chair each time.

We played several games. In one, we had to wrap toilet paper around our own waist and then go to the young mother to be, and wrap our strip around her waist. The person whose strip was the closest to the size of her waist was a winner.

The children came and sat with me. My friend's mother and father sat with me. Other girls and ladies sat with me. Babies were passed around. More tamales and frijoles were passed around.

Finally, with the party still going, I convinced everyone I needed to leave so I could find my house. I said my goodbyes, and took off in the dark on new old bike. I hit potholes, I hit the curb, I almost hit a little dog, children scattered in the streets. I asked everyone I saw how to get to Alamos. There were alot of people out walking. Every single person answered something different, but pointed in the same direction. I finally found a road I was familiar with and went flying down the paved street and saw senor and the truck just making a turn onto the carreterra....................................

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Very Friendly People


We went to Hotel Rio in Navajoa just to watch the Mexico team beat the US team......not a good game for the US, but Mexico played very well.

The big screen tv was on in the hotel lobby. So we sat down at a front row table, ordered lunch and limonadas, and watched the entire game without having to rent a room and stay the night. There were several tables crowded with Mexicans watching the game, they laughed and joked with us and we all had a good time..............

Above Senor is outside the Rio and to his left is the pool that made us almost want to stay the night.............

On the way home our four wheel drive light came on and we ended up returning to Navajoa again the next day to the Chevy dealership.

There was no way I was going to sit at the dealership for four hours, so while Senor dealt with that, I walked to the Caffeineto down the street. While I was there, a local lady who spoke a little english, came and sat with me and we had a lively conversation about soccer and the game the day before. She asked me if I saw how the Mexican tv cameras kept showing all the sad American fans in the stands. We ended up exchanging emails and she promised to take the bus someday to come and see me in Alamos.

Afterward, I went to the mercado and got lost inside there for about two hours. It is just a huge five or six block maze. Below is the yarn, ribbon and craft store.
I bought some Virgin de Guadalupe charms and a few glass crystal beads and had a very nice conversation with the owner about how much he and his wife like to go and look at yarn and ribbons and lace in Tucson. He said he could not afford to buy any of it, but he likes to look. He told me he has been planning to visit his cousin in Alamos and he will come to visit Senor and me.

Then I walked to the church. The church was very quiet. A nice little old lady came and sat in front of me. She turned around and asked if I wanted to buy some embroidery. I smiled and said no.
On my way out the door she followed me and asked if I wanted to buy some papayas. I smiled and said no.
She followed me across the street and asked me if I wanted to buy a turtle. I smiled and said no. She smiled and said..............adios.

You know what I really like about Sonora, especially Alamos and Navajoa? Everyone is very friendly.
In Alamos, when I walk or bike, every single person I pass greets me. Every shop owner is friendly, everyone smiles at everyone. Every kid says hola or hi. Every teenager makes eye contact and greets me. The old Senoras and Senors smile and say a greeting.
I do not know if I have experienced this in the states. People in the states often ignore each other when they pass on the streets. Usually they have their heads down and they avoid eye contact.
Several months ago, when we went to file our taxes with SAT, the Mexican IRS, we entered the building and sat in one of ten chairs lined against the wall. When we walked in, every single person in a chair said Buenos Dias to us. Then a SAT employee stuck her head around a partition and called, Buenos Dias, to us.
We took our seats and every time someone came in the door, that person was acknowledged by each person in a chair and then, by the lady behind the partition.
The people of Mexico are the friendliest people I have ever been around.
It certainly makes a person want to stick around here.

This morning I went and got my hair cut. The lady I see lives in Barrio de Guayaparines and she speaks absolutely no English at all. But she talks muy rapido alot and gestures alot and smiles alot. That's good with me. She always makes me want to go back.
Tomorrow I have been invited to a shower de regalos, a baby shower for a friend.
I don't know her that well and she speaks no english, but she smiles alot and always wants to know how we are doing.

Speaking of friendly people, take a look at my friend Jimena's blog. Look to the right on my 'check it out' list. Her blog is Panoptica. She is a fabulous artist, jewelry designer and a great photographer as well. She is also a student in Mexico City and the coordinator of the Etsy Mexico Team.
Once you are on her blog, you can click (in the first paragraph) on our Etsy Mexico Team blog and see some of the wonderful talent of the team members. They are from all over Mexico and
their creations are very exciting. There will be interviews with each of the team members. So far there have been two interviews! Go and take a look!

And, start a new trend the next time you are out for a walk............................... smile and then say.......hi.................... to every single person you pass by.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Rain Storms for Six Days and Nights

Buen Dia! Woooohoooo! We have had some huge storms. Beginning last Wednesday night, with the one exception of this Monday, we have had rain and thunder and lightning every day or night.

I am attempting to show you my first video. I just discovered that I can actually make little videos with sound on my camera. This is a camera I have had for about seven years.
I love little surprises like that.........

Isn't that great? They are really ringing the church bells because it is still important to attend mass even in a huge rain storm.

The photo below is out of focus, but ignore that because it is critical to the information.

This is the hole that Senor and Umberto were working on in one of the last posts. They then installed a pipe that connects the sewer line to what will be the new fixtures in the new bathroom. Now you can see the hole as it is on the inside of what will be our bedroom. The pipe has already been laid and covered up.

In the photo below, the pipe leads from the bedroom into the bathroom. Now the little pipe goes to what will become the sink..............

and to the shower.................................(see cookies, just like Senor, he likes to get in the photos)............

and to the toilet..............................

Isn't all that interesting?
Even more interesting is the mess this is after last night's rain.
I had planned to show you more, but senor is ready to go.
We are going to Navajoa to stay overnight at the Rio just so we can watch the US vs MX soccer match in Mexico City at Azteca Stadium.
This game is so huge. I have been waiting months to see it. I even checked into going to Mexico City to watch it, but we could not get tickets.
The cantina here, across from the mercado is showing it and a friend of mine whose relative owns the cantina said it would be fine for us to come there. Somehow, it just does not seem like the place to go. First of all, women are not supposed to even go into the cantina and secondly, I know who everyone in there will be rooting for. So, I told my friend thanks, but we are going to the hotel in Navajoa.......