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.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Little Road Trip

Hola!

There is a flock of about forty little fat, fast flying green parakeets that make Alamos their home. I have always been envious when I hear people say...............oh, the parakeets were in my trees yesterday........or.................the parakeets flew over my house this morning.

I was fortunate to be at a friend's casa one afternoon, swimming with her in her huge pool which overlooks the town of Alamos and we could hear the parakeets coming. They are loud, raucous, unafraid to let their presence be known. They flew about very low right over the pool and my eyes were as big as dinner plates.

Well, they are now living in the empty field next to us, they are snoozing in our amapa, they are dining on the asador and we are not the only ones delighted. Cookies hears them flying and tweeting in the field next door and sits quietly, waiting for them to swoosh down for a bite of corn or a quick siesta in the trees. Of course, they are very, very fast, and there is absolutely no way a twenty-three pound Cookies could ever harm one. They fly much like a flock of teals, weaving in and out, turning upside down and rolling during flight. In the photo above I caught a few of them being still for about five seconds, then they were in flight again, back to the trees of new old Jesus' place, over to the grill, out into the field, up into the mesquite, a non stop blur of bright green feathers. Look closely and you may see at least three of them.

Who knows how long they will stay, but I consider them ours, for awhile.

Hopefully they will still be around in late December, when we return from our road trip.
Yes! Our road trip. We are going to Seattle to visit Ian for his birthday and Christmas. And there is no way to describe my feelings. We have not seen him in a year.

Yes, I think it will be a little strange, we might feel a little awkward on our first trip back to the land we came from three and a half years ago, the place where we lived for over thirty years, had our home, our jobs, raised KD and Ian, fished and played soccer, hunted for ducks, had our Christmas party, picked our strawberries and pumpkins. I expect to be somewhat melancholy, but not much. They are such wonderful memories, but we have moved on. And when we are done, I will look forward to coming home.

So, Senor and I will do this by car. A little road trip adventure, up into Arizona and then, we will head west to California and Highway 5, where we will continue north to visit what is one of the most beautiful places on earth, the Pacific Northwest.

In Phoenix, I will feel like Santa Claus as I rush to the post office to ship a lot of packages free for people who have been shopping with me at the Glasspondstudio. There is still time, if there is a beautiful glass jewel you want to purchase for yourself or as a last minute stocking stuffer for someone else. Just take the etsy link http://glasspondstudio.etsy.com/ and shop. Thank you to all of you who did purchase glass jewels from me this week for the holidays.

We are looking forward to this fun little road trip adventure and hopefully will find time to post about it as we go.
And while we are gone we will leave Cookies to babysit the little green parakeets.........
Que le vaya bien and Feliz Navidad! Linda lou

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Thank you, Trinidad

Hola. I went to the Post Office this morning.

There was a Christmas card in our box. It has made my day. If you recall, each year I ask people to send us a Christmas card. Perhaps I do this because Christmases have been tough. I miss the kids, I miss our tree, I miss our Christmas party, I could go on and on. Well I am not going to bore you with that now. I promise I will save it for another day.

But I have been working hard on new traditions. One has been asking for cards.
And people actually do send cards. I think we get most of them, but for some reason I never get my mother's.

For two years we have received a card from a lady we don't know, but she sends a long letter and photos of her family, very nice. I like that. Her son is trying to choose colleges in Georgia. She is worried, the family lives in Maine.

My friend, Anne, whom we have received a card from for over twenty years, will hopefully send her fourth card to Mexico this year. Her family is grown and I am jealous they still get together, with their animals, and take a family photo.
Last year someone sent a photo of a dog. Postmarked Pennsylvania, nothing but the photo, a chihuahua. That was nice. I am not particular. Just don't send me anything I would not want to see.

I have not even put out the call for cards this year. But there it was, the single envelope in our box. It comes from Trinidad, who blogs from Nayarit, where she lives with her husband, Beto. She remembered that I always ask for Christmas cards and sent one to us. Thank you, Trinidad! You can see her blog at www.livinginnayarit.blogspot.com/



We returned from our US Thanksgiving trip late Wednesday night, after fourteen hours on the return bus which was also not the express bus. Our seats were in the middle of the bus and around Hermosillo, I was wishing I had some dramamine. After a full recovery day I have concluded that I don't really like riding the bus. So, no need to do that again. Besides we like our little car. We like stopping when we want, turning right instead of left if it feels good and turning around if we think we missed something extraordinary.

While we were gone Humberto dug a trench in a half circle outside the portal. A little ladrillo retaining wall will be built here, just a small, low extension of the portal floor. It will be retaining all the adobe that will come down with this wall.

I am hoping this happens soon. I need to have this wall down.
Senor asks............where do you want the electrical plugs in here and for what......................i say............ i need the wall down so i can experience the vast roominess of the room in order to make those decisions.
So I am hoping Humberto takes a huge hammer to that wall very soon, then scoops the mess right off the floor and into the little half circle. Nice.

Tomorrow I am going to make a little card holder in expectations of all our Christmas cards. Thank you, Trinidad, for sending us our first Christmas card!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Hats and Hair





Hola! Buenas tardes!
Now, don't remind me if it is buenas or buenos. Regardless, I am never going to remember. What I do know is it is the afternoon............

And this morning was not quiet. Horses were going down our street before dawn and while it was a beautiful sound, that is what kept me awake.

The horses were coming down, with their riders, from the ranch country. Beyond the Chalaton barrio is ranch land and the campo, countryside. Many people in town keep their horses up there, so they spent a great deal of time getting up there and back down to town for the Dia de Revolucion parade.

I always enjoy going to this parade, and as I have said many times, it's the ninos who are the most fun to photograph. Since this will my be fourth time to post photos from the parade I have decide to just do something different. If you want to see every school banner and the children marching in their uniforms, every sports team, all the drill teams, the military, the bands, the cannon, all the pyramids, the dancing children, the karate wood block choppers, the cyclists AND the ten teams of cheerleaders, you can re visit the past posts from the Day of the Revolution, November twentieth, or look in the labels to the right where you should find them under events or celebrations, but today you will see.............................. hats and hair.

















and there was a lot of it..................
The hats, of course, that everyone goes to the parade to see are those of the vaqueros and their caballos. The photo above is only a small sampling of the sea of white hats that continues down the street. They always bring up the end of a parade with a dramatic entrance. This is what people go to the parade for. Well, aside from seeing their friends and being seen, this is what they go to see, the cowboys and their horses..

It was good to find out they were holding the celebration today. I was very afraid they would go US on us and have it tomorrow so they could have a three day weekend. It turns out tomorrow will be a holiday, so there will be a three day weekend after all. The Tecate store was stacking tables and chairs into trucks and beer cases were going out the door at a rapid speed. Fireworks are going off through out town and I expect a full blown fiesta night since many people will take tomorrow off.

We will also take tomorrow off and head north. Our first trip to the states in almost a year. We are going up by bus to Tucson and then flying to Dallas.

We went to Navajoa last week and got Senor a senior card. When you turn sixty in Mexico, you are considered a senior and a special card can get you a good discount on a bus ride.

Supposedly, the card is easy to get, maybe so if you are better prepared. We thought we had all the necessary items, but we forgot to make copies, so after several trips for copies, and lots of paper work, fingerprints, a break so the worker behind the desk could have lunch, Senor got his card.

A quick trip over to the TUFESA bus line to buy tickets for the express bus, reading the ticket closely on the way home, wishing we could return and exchange them for the express bus, well, it took all day.

So we are taking the not so express bus to Tucson and will probably have to wait at the border for all the folks who do not have any paperwork to be removed from the bus and told, no, you do not get to go to the United States today, but our flight does not leave Tucson until Tuesday, plenty of time to hang out at the border, no problema.

I am patiently waiting for Senor to get his laundry out of the washing machine so I can put mine in. Then I am going to pack. Bag packing will be done last minute by Senor, I am sure just right before the taxi pulls up at five thirty to take us down to the bus station.

So here is wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!
Que le vaya bien! Linda lou

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Bells and Roosters



Day is breaking around 6am now and most mornings the temperature is right below 50 at that time.
I am still an early riser, but not ready to go out into the cold morning at 4:30am.

So I stay in bed for awhile and listen to the sounds around me. Depending upon the day there may still be a party happening and the sounds of the music float across town on the breeze, or maybe the lone bongo is playing far away in the distance, a dog barks next door, someone whistles softly out on the street, a horse goes clopping by. And if it is Sunday, the church bells call for mass and the roosters send messages to one another across the barrios.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Long Walk


















Buen dia.

It is 4 in the morning here in Alamos, Mexico, and after a late night with friends and fellow musicians, I am dragging myself from the warmth of a pile of quilts to go on a pilgrimage with my Mexicana amigas.

I was awake most of last night in fear of missing the meeting spot. Eager anticipation and fond memories of last year's walk also kept me from sleep.

The bells of our own Alamos church woke me at 3:00, calling to me slowly, beckoning me out into the cold.

The walk to the old silver mining town of La Aduana to visit the church there, begins a week of holy vows for some people who walk from all corners of Sonora to arrive by dawn on this morning. For others it means party for three days straight, with no work and no vows, punctuated with a lot of tequila.


It is the long walk that keeps me coming back.

Under a moon struck sky, my friends and I link arms as we make our way across the rock studded dirt arroyo. One of us will trip and fall, and arms will reach out to help. The language barrier is no longer noticeable as we attempt to converse in Spanish about children, parents, siblings and inevitably, our husbands. For much of the time we will walk quietly, thinking and wondering to ourselves, solving problems, not solving problems, and then, not thinking at all.

The air around us breathes with shooting stars and mysterious shadows dance across the sand. Along the way, several small fires light the path, their embers fleeing the heat, reaching out to the velvet sky.

For two hours we follow this seemingly never ending path, a path that has been followed before by many steps. We will breathe in a bountiful supply of cold air and relish this time of being together and yet, being alone.

At La Aduana, our faces glowing in the pink and golden sunrise, we sit in the church. Open to the elements of nature, Nuestra Senora de la Balvanera, is small and the wind gathers inside, bringing with it the tantalizing smells from the vendor's pots outside.

We sit quietly, nodding and then standing to kiss the cheeks of friends we see. We watch the long procession of people lay their flowers at the altar, cross themselves and kiss the statues of the Lady of Balvanera.

Back outside, on cobblestone streets we pause to watch La Danza del Venado, the Dance of the Deer, and listen to the mystifying notes of the rattles, flutes and guitars that accompany this ancient Yaqui Indian ritual.

Finally, after warming ourselves with cups of creamed corn, laden with butter and lime juice and hot sauce, we will slowly give up this magic, each of us returning to our homes, leaving a small, but significant amount of ourselves in La Aduana until next year.

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Different Little Panteon


Buen dia.
Finally got Senor to the IMSS clinic yesterday, after listening to him cough all night long.
Like a good little boy, he took his note with him, translated into Spanish in case he got sent to the doctor who speaks Spanish only..........ant bite, swollen foot, closed throat, fever, sweats, sleeping lots, not eating, no voice, coughing.

His little translation got him ten minutes in the Room with the Spanish speaking doctor, five boxes of medicine and a jar of liquid. After taking all of this twice yesterday and once this morning he is a new person. I am a happy person. And next time we will not wait so long for me to get happy.

Above is a photo of Levant Alcorn, the man the History Club altar was dedicated to this year. I won't repeat how the altar comes about. You can read that in the post before this one. However, below is a link to a marvelous interview that was done with him in 1989. It is really fascinating to learn how he ended up in Alamos.

And below is the altar. I meant for it to be very educational and included a lot of information about him that I had translated into Spanish. The Catrina was not part of the altar, but she adds a little more interest.

http://www.alamosportfolio.com/historyclub/Interviews_Conversations_Levant_Alcorn.htm




I went to the Panteon around 3pm on Wednesday and lit the candles on the graves we have adopted. The Panteon was just packed with people and I limited my picture taking. I seemed to know so many of the people sitting with their graves that I was not comfortable photographing anyone or any graves.

So I am going to show you photographs of different type of Panteon instead.

The local primary school children were asked to make small scale graves of their deceased relatives. They did this and I happened to be setting up the History Club altar on Tuesday, as the children brought in their altars to the museum. Several large groups of children each walked in over the course of an hour and each child took a turn placing their altar on the courtyard floor of the museum. They were so quiet, I could hear them breathing and the starched skirts of the little girls rustled as they walked. After the altars were placed they were given time to walk around and look at them and other than an occasional ooh and ahh, or other intake of breath, they were silent. It was obviously a moving experience for them.........










Equally as moving for me....................adios, linda lou

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Jitomates!




Buen dia.

It is Senor's birthday and this afternoon we will make a trip into Navajoa. I hope to sneak a little cake into the shopping cart. I also hope he will feel well enough to grill a steak tonight.

He is still sleeping a lot and coughing, but his voice is stronger.
A friend in town gave him some tablets and told him that this is what he should take if he gets an ant bite. It is called Virlix. I researched it and it is just an antihistamine. Senor is not taking it, but something tells me Virlix is not what he would need if he ever gets another bite like that one.

Several months ago we found a jitomate (tomato) plant growing in a concrete crack outside the bedroom. Senor then found another and planted that one in a pot. Now we have two big leggy tomato plants that are already putting out. I hope these are heirloom tomatoes. The fruit has ruffled bottoms and tops. Aren't heirloom tomatoes usually ruffly?

The pop bottles are over the rebar because the water spigot for the house is right behind the plant. Did I remember to tell you we have a water leak somewhere under the concrete outside the fake kitchen and our current bedroom? So we have to keep the water turned off all the time. When we want water we have to reach in behind the jitomate and turn it on. I kept cutting myself on the rebar that Senor staked the plant with, so enter pop bottles on the tops of the rebar.


Below is the second plant.See the ruffles? maybe that's not what they are called. Ridges? Swirly things?
This morning I will be setting up the History Club altar for the Day of the Dead. Each year we dedicate a decorated altar to a foreigner who made a strong impact on the community and has since passed away.

This year's altar is dedicated to Levant Alcorn. He is the American who rediscovered Alamos, in the fifties, as it was in its ghost town stages. He was so enamored with this beautiful old colonial town even though it was practically deserted, that he decided to buy an old 'ruin' and repair it and make it livable. At that time few people were living in the community, but those who did had clear land and home titles to properties. Alcorn gave two thousand dollars to a Mexican family for his first ruin.

Before long, friends of Alcorn's and friends of friends came to do the same thing. Word began to spread in the United States about this quaint old cobblestone place up in the mountains, a place that was not very easy to get to, but one that was filled with mystery, charm and almost full abandon of glorious old colonial homes. As foreigners began to purchase ruins, Mexicano workers returned with their families and Alamos became a thriving community, much as it had been in the 1800's when it was one of the largest silver mining towns in the world. Old historical homes were restored to their original conditions and Mexican families with strong heritage began to return.

Today Alamos is a strong Mexican community with almost ten thousand residents. There are over four hundred foreign landowners here, although some never come to town, it is the winter season when many homeowners do return to enjoy the charm, the beauty and romance of the town. The forty or so of us who live here year round feel very fortunate to call this community our home.

So thanks to Mr. Alcorn, who in search of a little adventure, decided to travel into the mountains of Sonora so long ago, we are really able to be here.

When the altar is done, I will share the photos of Levant with you.

First, I am off on new old bike to the Panteon to finish painting one headstone. The cemetery has been filled with people working on grave sites, repairing them, painting them. They are very proud here in Alamos, of their ancestry.
Que le vaya bien! linda lou

Thursday, October 27, 2011

King Ant Killer

Hola.

There is good news. Senor feels better.

Now here is the bad news story. He was stung by a nasty red and black ant one morning. In the beginning, after he depleted a vocabulary that should not be heard by any ears other than his own, it just hurt. He iced it immediately and I made him a baking soda paste.

Then it turned bright red. Then it swelled.
Then he went to sleep for hours and hours and I began to worry. He slept through dinner. He did not feel like getting up the next morning. But he did stay awake and said he was fine, just tired. He went back to sleep.

That afternoon he read for awhile. Then he went back to sleep and slept again through dinner. He did not have any interest in watching Monday Night Football on the computer.

The following day, he was very tired, but able to eat something and complain that the ant bite really did hurt, and he thought he was probably having a slight reaction to it. He ignored all my pleas to go over to the hospital to get checked out. He went to sleep again. In the afternoon he asked for a thermometer. One hundred and two....................... hospital, i said................no, he said...............yes, i said. Well, you know what happened. We did not go. But he agreed that if he still felt bad and had a temperature the following day, yes, he would go. He went back to sleep.

In the morning he could barely talk. Raspy and quiet, but temperature was gone.................... what's wrong with your voice, i asked.......................my throat swelled up during the night and now i can't speak, he whispered back.................good, lord, hospital, i said.....................no!....but if it is not better later today then i will go...........
It got better. Last night he ate well, but he lost a few pounds during this five day ordeal. Today he still has a raspy voice but he had a good lunch and it's Thursday, so he is over with the ladies playing bridge.

If you recall, I am the ant killer. I am the one who searches high and low for the nest, for the leaf cutter path, for the sugar ant hill, for the parasol hole. I am the one that goes out in the middle of the night with the powder and the flashlight because earlier I saw signs of something chomping on the lime tree. I am the executioner of any ant I see.

This morning Senor was out early copy catting me, looking for ant holes, hills, nest, pathways, any signs he could find. When he found them he poured the borax and water mixture on or into their home. This is a mixture he keeps for an occasional spray on the varro blancos. Little critters get their feet in it and then rub it on their face and then, they fall over dead. Senor decided that if it could work on little winged critters, then why wouldn't it work on ants. So far he is working on two nests and he hopes it will at least drive them farther out into the yard and hopefully, out of the yard. He is a dedicated man.

I am happy that he is well enough to begin such a crusade. I think I should have called the clinic and asked them to send a doctor over and now that we know Senor obviously has had an allergic reaction to an ant bite, should it happen again, that is exactly what I will be doing. House calls are a highly accepted practice here in Alamos and I will not hesitate.

Before the ant attack, lights went in under the portal roof and they glow in the evening with soft yellow bulbs. This beautiful iron one which is larger and different from the others marks the center of the portal. There will be four more lights going to the north once that end of the portal is completed.






We also took the tarps off the couches and are now able to sit out and enjoy the evenings again. It looks pretty primitive, but one of these days I will dress it up and do a photo shoot. The roof does not completely cover the sitting area, so it is almost impossible to keep the area clean. I need to add a rug, some flowers, a table runner. You get the picture. The important thing is Cookies like it.............



So I am thinking that I have been dethroned and am no longer the Queen Ant Killer. There is now a King Ant Killer who is convinced he can and will do away with them.
And all it took was one little bite.
Oh, me, oh, my, siesta calls my name......linda lou.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

GEM, Gringo in Mexico

Buenas tardes!

We returned home on Tuesday and are settling back in to some gorgeous autumn weather and the golden glow of the afternoon sun as it falls even farther to the south.

For those of you who might recall that we would then be making a second turn around trip from Mazatlan to Alamos and back with our son, Ian, he was not able to make it. This works fine because one round trip here and back was enough. I am not sure we could have done two. We hope to see him in the new year, maybe for FAOT.

We did so many wonderful things with KD and the novio. It was great fun. One of the special events that occurred during the week was meeting GEM, Gringo in Mexico, and attending a callejoneada led by La Estudiantina.

If you are not familiar with GEM, he is a fun loving gringo who travels around Mexico, enjoying himself immensely as he fights bulls, eats grasshoppers and bares his body on nude beaches. He does a terrific job of promoting all the wonderful and exciting things this country has to offer, all the while being filmed by Televista, the Mexico television company. GEM is then seen in over forty countries by satellite.

KD and novio and I were walking near our street and suddenly, there was GEM, whose real name is Robert. We received an introduction from the promotional assistant and a personal invitation to a callejoneada the following night.

A callejoneada is a street procession that winds its way through narrow streets and alleyways while being led by La Estudiantina. A group of students dressed in thirteenth century Spanish costume, La Estuduantina plays a variety of musical instruments and sings traditional songs.
They are very dramatic, mysterious and extremely good musicians and singers. Usually when they arrive, it is from a dark alley and their entrance can be breath taking, their cloaks swaying in the breeze, the serious looks upon their faces.

In the photo below I managed to walk behind them on their entrance from a narrow street near the church. The ribbons signify their order in the troupe.




Below is GEM.



The curator of the museum introduced him and the crowd went wild. In the you tube clip below you can see that evening's event. There are several times where KD and I are in the clip, especially around the three minute mark. I don't know Robert Kalish who made the you tube, but he did a great job of capturing the excitement of the crowd.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vUcMZrCBZA

The burro follows the callejoneada and carries bottles of red wine in the plastic bins.





I think seeing La Estudiantina perform is one of my favorite events in Alamos, and I hope you enjoy seeing the photos and the Kalish you tube. I don't know what satellite network GEM comes on in the states but I am sure if you want to see the episode of his visit to Alamos, you can find it.

Senor is playing bridge and talkzone cut off my twilight zone. They said either pay up for new episodes or you can just listen to ring a ding girl over and over again. I thought, okay, looking for something new to do now on bridge day.....................siesta is my answer.