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.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Hey! That's My Bike!

Hola!
An enormous pink cloud came up in the east last night, over the Mirador. The wind roared and we thought something big would happen. The wind kept up, but the pink cloud stayed where it was and there was no storm. There was not really a sunset either. All the color was in this big pink cloud.
There was however, a rather large fiesta several blocks over: great bongos, tubas, clarinets, guitars...very nice stuff, but it when it stopped, the birds started chirping and the sun came up. So, at 5:15am, I got on my new old bike and left the building. I rode for an hour and forty-five minutes. I should have ridden for forty-five minutes. My legs are jello'd.

Below, I am parked alongside the barbed wire fence that surrounds the airport. The runway is directly behind the fence.


Last February, we had our garage sale back in the Snoqualmie Valley. I put my bike in the house, so I would not be tempted to sell it. I really liked that bike. It was very similar to the one above, but a twenty-two speed, big fat tires, a nice soft seat and I rode it all over the valley, stopping to pick blackberries, walk along the river, visit friends at the organic farm. I really wanted to take it to Mexico.
Day Two of the sale, it was slow and I started thinking about the six by twelve U-Haul we would be getting. We were giving up alot of things to make our move and by the end of the day I decided that the bike had to go. I would get a new one in Mexico.
It was almost dark when a Mexican family stopped by to see what we had left. We told them to take anything they wanted.............gratis. They said they could not do that....what did we want for the little table................nothing, take it........................no, please, a dollar.......................no, no, it is gratis.......................it is all gratis!....................call your friends..............
In the dark, we watched several familes load their trucks; the little table went, so did the big one covered with magic marker and easter egg dye, the odd sized leaded glass door went, the old computer went, the stereo with broken knobs went, the pingpong table that was never level went, a sturdy wood frame for a bed went, a few lamp shades followed, a good work bench was loaded up as was the big freezer, stocked full of food.
The mothers went downstairs with me and the rest of the size one prom dresses were packed in the front seat of several trucks, curtains and bedsheets were loaded. We let the men unscrew and load the shelves from the playroom wall, which we were planning to do ourselves, but toss in the junk pile. Pots and pans and dishes were placed along with detergents and half full cans of motor oil into the trucks. Finally they were ready to leave, in the dark, around ten o'clock, no tarps, no ropes holding anything in place and there, on the blue truck, was the cherry on top, my bike.
Those families could not stop saying................thank you, thank you, muchas gracias.........over and over again. They could hardly believe we had given them so many of our belongings for free. Of course, they also could not understand why in the world we wanted to move to Mexico...........



The biggest dilemna during this morning's ride was.................do I ride over the topes or try to go through the space between them. I almost crashed the first time I tried to go through and not over. I did not have my tires straight and the back one caught the tope and almost flipped me over.
I discovered that the topes are different in each barrio I rode through this morning. Some topes are a solid concrete line with no spaces between them, others are cobblestone. Some have spaces between them that not even a tricycle could get through. They are not always level. Sometimes they are cobblestone and concrete. Once in awhile there is a double tope. If the road is curving, the tope is curving.
In my barrio the topes are about four inches high and the spaces are about three inches wide. So, I decided to continue going over. But in Barrio de La Capilla, the topes are about six inches high and the cracks between them are about five inches wide. After going over a few of those, I chose the spaces. There are alot more topes over in La Capilla, too.
Fortunately topes do not come as a surprise, they are easy to see from a distance and after awhile, going over, in between them and even around them got easier.
Below, I am heading into Alexis's to look at bikes. The other day he only had guy bikes and as promised, Saturday, he had one for me. A quick test ride up to the soccer field and back and Hey! That's My Bike!

Alexis's is a huge complex of rooms. All kinds of bikes and tubes and wheels and frames hang from the walls and ceiling. It is nice and cool back here and I can tell it doubles as a good spot for a siesta. You can see the Sonoran cot on the right side of the photo below, folded up against a post. Many Mexicans do not sleep on beds, they sleep on the cot, which is generally covered with a fibre mulch and a blanket.






Farther back is the taller (workshop). Here I saw they not only work on bikes, they have a few remote airplanes and trucks and even farther back are some bigger trucks and ATV's and motorbikes.




So, it is Sunday afternoon now and time for my siesta. The weather underground says we will have a chance of thunderstorms this afternoon. I am watching, but have yet to see a cloud over Mt. Alamos......que tengas buen dia! linda lou





Saturday, May 30, 2009

Will the Real Mr. Dove Please Stand up?

Bill has a little thing about doves. He loves them. He has a few fake ones, dove decoys.

After loading the truck in Tucson, for the first border crossing, I became frantic when I looked through the truck canopy and there, pressed up against the dirty, bug-smudged glass was one of the fake doves.

I just knew we would be stopped and probably detained or even put in jail. I was already mad at him for taking all my shoes out of their bag in Tucson and shoving them far back into the canopy. I could not change shoes for days and had to go shoe shopping.

But the dove............ I tried sticking the end of a long pole inside there to either shove the dove farther back or to pull out something to cover it. That dove crossed the border in full view.

Now, as I have previously mentioned, Bill has placed those little fake doves securely on different branches throughout the yard. It is interesting conversation when guests are over.

Now it is mating season and the real doves just love the fake doves. They are always landing and skipping over to check out the fake ones. Sometimes, after a few nudges the real doves snuggle in and just sit there, against the fake doves. They will sit forever, or at least until one of the cats decides they have been there too long........

Friday, May 29, 2009

Senor Has a Good Book

Buen dia! Here is a photo looking north.

The tall, bare tree in the center is an Amapa. The bare branches on the right are our huge crimson bouganvilla which we are pretty sure is not coming back. We will take most of it down after the portal is finished. Its thick trunks are wrapped around the big mesquite tree.

You can get an idea of how huge our yard is. I am thinking squash or pickle ball court someday. I am sure Senor would know how to make one of those. Dig hole, pour in cement..........can't be difficult. Outside the present portal the concrete work is being done for the extension of the floor.
See the large PVC pipe inside the rebar to the left? That will take rain water runoff to the cistern that we will build below. Senor looks like a crew boss.......this is one of the few times I have ever seen him standing still on the job. You can also see in this photo there is a large empty field next to our property.


Inside, four rooms without roofs. We are getting good breezes from all this open air. Small aircraft seem to get their thrills by buzzing us once in awhile. If you are one of the folks flying overhead on Saturday morning to see the progress, would you just go ahead and take a photo and bring it over so we can see what you are looking at?


Below, I am headed to the ladder to climb up and take some photos of the roof.


This little area is beginning to look nice. On the left is a trumpet vine that is starting to trail over the wall onto the street side. Bouganvilla and leggy poinsettias are also here. The tall lush trees are fuego (fire) trees. Many of the fuegos in town are bursting with huge fiery orange-red blossoms, but I think ours are still too young to bloom. (Thanks Glenn Ian, for commenting last fall that these plants might look good here). They do.
There is something about this ladder that bugs me. First, it does not look real inviting. It is rickety. It moves a little when you first put your foot on it. It is made of pine. It is a little warped. It has splinters all over it.







I just cannot go to the top of this ladder. I can only get my feet to go to the sixth rung. I have to be able to hold onto the top rung with one hand and then I can hold the camera up higher with the other hand and snap a photo. So, I have not officially really seen how it looks up there lately. If you recall I tried going up for photos once before to show you the parapet roof. Senor had to help, but we did get some good photos.
Don't ask me how I will climb the other ladder to paint the beams. At least it is a traditional two-sided ladder made of aluminum. I will figure it out.





I didn't realize how high up these beams are until I just posted this photo. I will need to paint the sides and the bottom.
I just went and looked at the beams. There is no way I can paint those beams while standing on the ladder!
The portal beams are over the ground. The ground is not level, so the ladder will not be level. They are at least eight feet high. I agreed to do this. But I think I need a roller and a long extension pole. I can't do that standing on a ladder, holding a paint brush. Nope. That will not work for me.
Okay, I have to go. I need to have a discussion with Senor. It is almost early afternoon and he has already called it quits for the hot hours of the day. He and the cats are in the bedroom, a/c is going, he has a good book.........he will not want to be bothered with this silliness of the ladder and rollers and extensions..........but I feel this may be critical.
adios..................... linda lou







Thursday, May 28, 2009

Last Glass

Hola, these are the latest and last tiles turned pendants. I am closing the shower door on the kilns for awhile.
These are from my collection: Las Puertas de Santa Fe. They are all for sale on the website http://www.glasspondstudio.com/

It is amazing how many I have sold to people who read the blog, so if you are interested, you can see them there. Thank you.
I expect these to be the last I will make for awhile. Once we are closer to even constructing the bathroom and needing the tiles we will use there, I will make a few more and I will make the sconces for the wall.


BUT, I am soon going to begin painting the concrete beams that will hold the roof. I will keep you up to date on that. Acrylic or oil seems to be the question?

Tonight I plan to climb the ladder and get some photos of the roofless rooms from the top.

The weather forces us inside around 1pm, so things are slow going here.
We have not had any more rain so I'm not sure if the monsoon season actually started or not. Some people say it has while others still say...........no, not till June 24th. Okay.




























This morning I skipped the track and walked up to the mirador. What a hike, all uphill and over cobblestoned streets. I could not take my eyes off the road. From there, I can see all of the little roads I plan to ride and explore once I get a bicycle. There is a bike shop, Alexis's, in town, but a quick look inside showed me they only have guy bikes. He said he will find a girl bike for me and to return Saturday.
Manana, back to posting on the house. adios.






Saturday, May 23, 2009

Up and Running

Storm photos........clouds roll in from the east........ rain pours...........

wind blows.......

yard fills with water...............


everything is wet...............




sky turns blue...................for two minutes.................



clouds come back, this time from the west.................





computer is up and running. a young man from navajoa who visits his inlaws on the weekends in alamos came by and worked on it for about 45 minutes. 150 pesos. i am thrilled. but no time to chat because we are going to watch 24. woohoo! partee!
adios, linda lou





Friday, May 22, 2009

Sick Computer

I cannot believe it. Our laptop has a virus. I was working online yesterday morning and what I thought was our computer security system, began scanning. I thought it was odd but maybe Senor has scheduled a scan?

Well I should have looked a little closer because when I clicked remove, everything went goodbye. The program wants our credit card, which it won´t get, of course.

I am miserable about it. I was putting my new collection, Las Puertas de Santa Fe (the doors of Santa Fe) online. I managed to get a few on etsy (go to etsy.com, type in glasspondstudio in sellers). Senor is miserable because we are on episode 4 of season 2 of 24.
Quickplay is frozen, aol radio is frozen, email is frozen, internet is frozen..........DO YOU WANT TO PAY WITH VISA OR MASTERCARD.....................that is what we get...................my big bad.


So, I am down at the internet cafe on the oldest computer I have ever seen in my life, trying to keep it from switching back and forth from language to language. One second I am typing in English and another I am typing in Spanish.
At least there is an internet cafe. I am tempted to get in the car and drive to Tucson. First I will check for help in Navajoa.....


I have already discovered that I cannot put any pictures up for you.

So you will have to close your eyes after you read this and you will see it...............yesterday............very strong winds.........palm tree branches blowing sideways................ dark purple and black clouds swirling from both the east and west...........lightning across the sky...........thunder shaking the casa...........rain begins to fall.......rain fills up all rooms with no roofs...........rain floods the garden room.........all furniture in the garden room has to be picked up off the floor......2 tarantulas climb up out of the dirt and onto the floor of the garden room...............cats are hiding under the bed...............canalis are pouring out water...................cistern overflows...................little gardenia tree uproots....................piece of old tin roof flies off into the empty field next door...................hurricane norbert crosses both our minds, but we don´t say so..............senor does say...........did you close the window in the kitchen (not a kitchen, but we call it that because the fridge is in there).........no!..........i run in and water is pouring in through the window..........the floor in there is covered with water.......can´t get the window to close right away.......................after i am covered in rain that is coming through the window, i am able to get it closed............i return to the now flooded garden room..........we won´t have to water, says senor.

I did get some great photos but will save them for a rainy day.....adios, linda lou......................ps hope this posts in english.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Another Roof Bites the Dust

buen dia!
ahh, the sound of an old roof crashing to the ground, music to my ears, because it means we are that much closer to a new roof going on.

If you recall, this is the room that will become the master bath. It has the little fireplace in it and it was once the old kitchen. Somehow, when the roof fell, it knocked out some of the electricity. Once it cooled off late yesterday, Senor spent about an hour repairing it until the thunder and lightning and rain knocked out all of our electricity. Oddly enough, this morning, everything he thought still needed repair is working again.

So, we now have created three roofless rooms. When the rain came last night, we scrambled to cover up everything that needs to stay dry.
Monsoon season starts June 24th. That is the official date, I have no idea who chose it. It is on my calendar, maybe it is a holiday?
Several mexican men we know say that June 24th means nothing, the monsoon season starts as soon as there is a big cloud over Mt. Alamos. Well, the cloud was huge yesterday. And it is there today as well. The weatherground forecast says there could be rain here for several days.

I want to tell you about our border crossing and FM3 renewals. I will make it quick and orderly because I have to go refire my glass. Senor accidentally pulled the plug on the kiln last night. Now if you asked him?...............he would say he did not do it. And I would say.......well, think about it, would I do it?
Then he would make up something about the electrical repair, the power outage and blah, blah, maybe one of the cats did it and the story would sound really good.
But if there is a power outage the kiln restarts automatically once the power comes back on and the kiln is nowhere near all his electrical stuff that went out when the roof came down. So I would see right through that tale....................

Border crossing.......going north there is a new military checkpoint..............it is huge, south of Santa Ana. There has always been a small military checkpoint in this area, but there is now a very large structure with a number of large and small covered bays.
We happened to go through a small bay the day the facility opened. Where are you going, they asked and where do you live...............then we were waved through. There are always miles and miles of trucks lined up in this area, waiting to get through the checkpoint, often waiting to get all the way up to aduana at kilometer 21.
On this day, there were absolutely no lines and we thought wow! they have solved the truck problems. And we were excited to get through so quickly, until we reached the old military checkpoint a few miles further up the road. We sat at the old checkpoint for an hour. Then, they did not even wave at us when it was finally our turn to pass.
When we came back south last week, we noticed all the trucks were lined up for miles and miles, again, just like old times. Maybe they have some kinks to work out of the new facility............
FM3 Renewal
On our way south we stopped at immigration in Hermosillo to renew our FM3 visas. We were about a week outside of the 30 day renewal time, but had been told on a previous stop at immigration, that did not matter. We were sure we had everything we needed with the exception of the SAT form, which we hoped she would have or that we could get nearby.
She asked for two copies of our passports and visas. I only had one. She said......... okay, es bueno.............and took those.
She took copies of our telephone and water bills.
She glanced at our passports and took our visas.
She took our letters that requested the renewal.
We had heard grand stories of people getting their renewals in Hermosillo in one day. We had high hopes.
She did not ask to see anything else. She asked if we came across the border by plane or car.
She sent us to the bank to pay for the visas. We picked number 37, waited 30 minutes for the light to tell us which bank window to go to, and paid one lump amount for both of us.
We took the receipt back to immigration.
No, no, no, no.................she smiled and said..............cada persona pagar seperatado (each person pay seperate).
We drove 20 minutes back to the bank, walked up to the window where we had been helped before and waited behind the person who was there. Two different people told us in spanish to pick a number. The lighted board said they were serving number 149 and the machine told us the next number pulled would be 201. We did not budge.
After three women came and keyed in numbers on his computer, we got two seperate receipts and drove back to immigration. By now the place was filled with people trying to renew visas.
She waved to us and called us to the counter right away, smiled and took our receipts and told us to come back in thirty days.............

Monday, May 18, 2009

Back Home from Colorado

Hola!

We returned home last Thursday........to mucho calor (heat). I had to fire some custom glass orders Saturday and Sunday, both at midnight, to avoid adding 1,550 degrees of calor to the calor.




Yesterday we packed up and went to the beach, where it was very windy and twenty degrees cooler. Maybe I will adjust by Wednesday or Thursday.





Colorado weather was cool and cloudy.
By Friday afternoon, graduating students began receiving emails telling them and their families to dress warmly, prepare for thunder and lightning and that while there was not an inside facility large enough to accommodate the expected crowd, graduation would proceed. KD said last year's weather was so bad, the university cancelled graduation and there were some very unhappy parents. So, they were not about to cancel this year just because the forecast called for a huge storm and 57 degree temperatures.





At 10:30pm on Friday, Bill and I were scrambling around town, looking for a couple of travel size blankets and umbrellas. I found some ugly, but heavy, black tights at the supermarket.



At 8am on Saturday, we were at the stadium, which was already half filled for the 10am ceremony.



We had on our fleece jackets, and our blankets were wrapped around us. Most of the parents looked just like us. But as I watched the stands fill up, I saw alot of young ladies wearing sleeveless sundresses and young guys in polo shirts and shorts..........it was freezing.
Bill went and bought a cup of coffee at the concession stand, he hates coffee.



Graduation lasted four hours.....four really long hours because by 10am, the clouds went away.
The sun came out.
The wind died.
It was mucho calor.
I wanted to rip those ugly heavy black tights off and about 11am I went to the restroom, did that and threw them in the garbage....................

Above, Hour One, a sea of blue, about 2,000 graduates.

Below, Hour Two, our daughter stands, facing right in the lower right of the photo, with her college, to line up for the podium.
Below, Hour Three, our daughter and two of her friends have had enough of the gown, off with it, they say!Finally, Hour Four, some can no longer tolerate the heat and the stands empty a little and the tassles are turned and the caps are tossed. We are done.



Proud father and daughter..............
Let the parties begin.



At 10pm, we have made it through all the parties and events we have the energy for and beg to go back to the hotel so we can watch the food channel.
KD continues through the night and we pick her up at her apartment at 9am for our Mothers' Day trip to Estes Park. She sleeps in the back seat of the car as we drive through the steep canyons and along the rushing Big Thompson. Slowly, on the twisting, winding road we ascend to a cool weather elevation, and when we get out of the car at the Stanley Hotel, I think for a second about those ugly, heavy black tights.
Below, proud mother and daughter.............
After brunch, we take a very scenic drive through Estes Park.................
The following day we fit in a last round of frisbee golf on campus, taking KD's dog, Tulo, and her roommate's dog, Brodie, along to chase lost frisbees and squirrels.





below, frisbees make great water dishes for tired dogs..............


we had a great trip...........tomorrow i want to tell you about our border crossing and our fm3 renewal.....adios..............linda lou







Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Cinco de Mayo

Today is Cinco de Mayo, the Mexican holiday that is probably more celebrated in the USA because most Americans seem to think this is Mexico's Independence Day and that it should be celebrated with guacamole and chips and margaritas.


Cinco de Mayo is not Independence Day for Mexico, that is in November.
Today is the commemoration of the famous battle in the town of Puebla, where the little Mexican army defeated the French who had twice as many men and artillery and had not lost a single battle in over fifty years.

So, in Puebla, it is huge. In the rest of Mexico, it is celebrated perhaps on a smaller scale, but still, with great enthusiasm.
the plaza was awash in pretty colors of cotton candy and balloons this morning.

the horses and riders were ready to march.
while other horses and riders were dancing to the music of the 14 piece maraiachi band.
the dancing was spectacular and so was the music.








this afternoon the arroyo will be filled with more horses and riders and competitions and food and drink and dancing and socializing until wee hours of the morning.
we have our own celebration going on. tomorrow we go to the states and our daughter's graduation from college on Saturday. this is very big, big, big stuff.
senor is a little concerned about losing so many days of work before the rains come, but of course, eager to go. we hope colorado will have nice weather.
on our way back south we will be going to Hermosillio to renew our FM3's. we also need to renew our Mexican car insurance.
i am sure there will be a story to tell.................
the little guy below is waiting patiently for his rider...............