Senor and Linda Lou have been in Pueblo Alamos, Sonora, Mexico for 8 years. Okay, okay, now it's been 9 years.
Every day brings a new discovery.
They are still working on the casa............Senor says, it won't be long.........but Linda Lou says, it won't be long until what..............stay tuned to find out what's next.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I Need Help with Blogger

Buenos tardes. A very cool and mysterious morning. Shrouded in fog, none of the mountains were visible. A little breeze for my walk and by the time I got back home at six thirty, I was highly motivated to weed the lily garden. It remained cloudy most of the morning and I was further motivated to mow and weed around some of the palm trees.
Now, late in the day, the sun is out and as it stretches across the sky, the mountains are green and bright as sparkling emeralds.

I put turkey tom on top of the dead eucalyptus trunk that sits in the lily garden. I know he will rust, but it is much better to have him here than inside the West Wing where I have received a fair number of cuts by backing up into his sharp tin feathers.

The lilies are night bloomers, pink and white with speckled rosy centers, on long thick stalks that fall over first thing in the morning. They are also very fragrant, but you have to be out at midnight to catch the scent.



Senor and Humberto switched gears this morning and began working on the columns again for the portal. The wood form is filled with cement. They need to do four more of these and the portal columns will be done.

I am very frustrated with blogger, again. I posted on this once before and I am hoping someone has discovered a solution to the problem by now and can fill me in. Blogger simply will not let me move my photos around. It makes it difficult to connect word content with the photos. Even when I try to upload them in precisely the correct sequence I need, blogger changes it on its own.
The last time I brought this up almost all the comments were from folks who said they had given up on blogger and were switching to wordpress. I am not sure I could move this whole blog to wordpress. I would be pressed for the knowledge to do it and I am not sure my mom, HI MOM! would ever find me again.
So I hope someone has found a solution and can tell me about it so I can stay here with blogger. I have tried accessing the blog through numerous browsers and same problem each time.

So, Help is what I need! All information received will be considered.

I am off to the fake kitchen. I cooked a mango meatloaf this morning, just a regular old meatloaf with a cup of chopped mango added. I will slice it for dinner and top it with a cold sauce of brown sugar, ketchup and one minced habanero chili and another half a cup of mango. I think Barcelona is playing tonight and we might sit in the bedroom, in the Pier One chairs and watch a little soccer.
Que le vaya bien! linda lou






Wednesday, August 24, 2011

It Will Still be There Tomorrow

Hola. Days are getting shorter here already and the sun has taken a swift dip to the south bringing small shadows to areas of the casa where the sun has beaten now for months. Days are almost unbearably hot this past week as the humidity rises and we are spending longer hours in the bedroom with air conditioning and piles of unread books and magazines.

Often we hear the 'chute, chute' and short whistle of the mama quail outside our window. She paces the top of the ladrillo wall and looks cautiously down the other side and into the field. Over the spinning of the ceiling fan and the soft whir of the mini split, we hear little 'chute, chute's' and peeps from the other side of the wall, as the babies follow on the ground in the field. Often she hides herself in the lacy green branches of the fuego tree and calls to them. We wonder what she must be teaching them.

The rains continue to make gardening a chore and I tend to only mow what is in the shade in the morning and then, yet another section later in the day when it is shaded. The result is a very lop sided looking lawn with huge sections of closely mowed grass next to patches of weed that are two feet tall because there is never shade there. I spend a great deal of time visualizing how the lawn will look when it is covered with flagstone.

It is too hot for anything to bloom but the pink vine. It covers the stable and thrives in the heat. The ground below it is dusted with tiny pink petals.

I do most of my cooking early in the morning, creating all kinds of interesting meals that we will then eat cold later in the evening after it has cooled off. We will sit under the portal, watching the lightning in the east and eat cold chayotes, a Mexican squash, that I have baked with garlic and butter. Sometimes a little smoked chuleta, pork, will get sprinkled on top with onion and black olives and capers. If it is too hot outside, we might watch a soccer match inside on the computer and feast on sliced cold chicken dipped in sour cream mixed with a little sugar and hot sauce. Ancho chili marinated cold meats with sharp cheeses. Barbequed oysters and buttered toast. Jicama and beet salads. I am becoming an expert at preparing food that will be eaten cold.

Once in awhile Senor will cook at the asador. This always seems to happen when rain is not expected but comes anyway. A few nights ago, I thought the scene looked suspicious and worthy of being investigated. I saw him fanning the dying coals................that is my new hair dryer, i said, what are you doing.............. He tried to explain that there is so much humidity in the air he can't get the flames going. I unplugged the dryer, took it from him and put it back inside in a new hiding place. I have not even used it yet. I have an old hair dryer. I gave him that one to put in his asador cooking collection.

The vigas continue to go up outside the West Wing, on both sides of the big beam. Senor claims that the roof will be up there by October.


The days are so hot, I cannot imagine he will be able to continue working at this pace to have eight feet of roof on by then. I am not pushing it. They start at seven. Senor works for an hour and takes a break, puts in more time, another short break. Humberto starts and does not stop. Senor says Humberto is used to the heat, used to working in it. I watch Humberto's water pitcher and fill it at least twice every morning.


I am watching the grass grow in the driveway. One day soon I will get out the weed eater and take care of it. I am too busy cooking to do it this week.
These grasshoppers are all over the yard. This is one of the smaller ones. If I could keep the grass down I think there would be less of them. There are crickets all over the place. They love the grass. Walking sticks are on the screen doors. Scorpions and tarantulas on the portal highway. Eerie iridescent green frogs lumber through the rain when it falls, their slow long legs shovel their bodies along. Bats fly low, under the portal, scooping up mosquitoes and fireflies light up like Christmas lights in the plumerias.

There is a snake in here. I like to think it spends more time at Iban's new old Jesus's casa than in our yard. There are caterpillars on the yellow belled tecoma trees, a dirty white and gray cat under the fig tree in the mornings watching the cardinals peck at the seed on the asador.I want to go out and mow this now. It is going into the shade and even though it is hot out, I think I could get most of it. I will think it over.

Last night we went to a party, and after an hour or so, the wind suddenly picked up and the thunder hit and the lightning struck and we scrambled home to find the power was out. We are ill prepared for power outages here. We have no batteries, no lanterns, few candles. We sat in the dark, under the portal and watched the storm. I left my lawn mowing sneakers out in the storm. They are still wet, too much humidity in the air for them to dry. I suppose I could go and get the new old hair dryer I gave Senor and try and dry them out. But there is that new book I picked up at the youth hostel the other day. I need to add all this new fired glass to my online Etsy shop. I talavera'd some wooden napkin ring holders and they need one clear coat of varnish. I still have my on going embroidery projects. I can think of a lot of reasons reason to let the grass have its way today. It will still be there tomorrow.




Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Speechless in Alamos




Hola!

Waiting for rain here. The rain count for our yard is around 17 1/2 inches for the season and we expect a lot more. A good 4 month season should get us close to 40.



I suggested to Senor that we leave open the lid to the cistern and collect all this rain water. He said, no need, the drainage system off the roof is working great. I said.........what drainage system, we don't have a system, yet...............he laughed, sure we do, the one that has been there for two years, you have a terrible memory!..................haha, i said, we have not had a system working there for 2 years...............we have a system, he said....................but, it doesn't work, i said...................does, too, he said.................does not.........does, too.



Well this went on and on for about 10 minutes and finally, I got him to admit the system has been there for 2 years and he just got it all hooked up the other day and it is now catching rain water. With the sloping roof completed over the south west end of the casa, the rain water now runs down the slope, into the big pvc pipes that are inside the wall, down through the outside pipe and into the cistern. Then he just sighed and said....... okay, i guess you will want to blog that, but try and be nice about it. I was speechless. I just frowned at him.


Below you can see the big pipe the rain water comes down.


Now Senor is probably the smartest person I know, but Senor is not always consistently smart. He was so proud of himself and the fact that the water run off was being collected, he announced he was going to turn off the city water. Ah, ha! You know where I am going with this one! After all of our water problems in June and July, I was speechless when I opened the lid to the cistern. Water off, no rain for a few days, no water in the cistern............see what I mean, it's the consistency part I am worried about........do you have to blog that............he asked.



Recently I have had the good luck to get caught out in the rain and even better luck finding interesting places to get out of it. I love being in the museum when it rains. There is a huge screen covered portal in the center of the building. The screen shields the portal from the sun, but when it rains, the portal fills with water very quickly. Of course, there is drainage that filters to the street, but it is really something to see as it pours into the courtyard.

Below is the entrance to the museum.

Here is the open portal. The art celebration was on this day and everyone was hoping it would not rain. Eventually the mueum was so packed with people I was hoping for rain just to cool off.

Below are my 2 maskaras. The first one broke in the firing, thank goodness. It looks better broken than it did when it was in one piece. I might convince Senor to hang that one on the front door when we get a front door.


The second one fired with permanent wood ash and I think it is an improvement as well.


Last week I got caught in the rain near the library. It is the first door on the left, next to the post office. The motorcycle is how mail is delivered in Sonora. Every town has one.





They were having a kids' art camp that day. The rain had stopped and the air was fresh and cool.






The pretty little girl in the left foreground is in a lot of my photos. I don't see her when I am taking the photo. It is later when I look through the shots, I see her. The little boys below got into a pencil fight which resulted in silence. None of them would speak to each other.



The inside of the library is bright and smells like freshly polished wood and old books. All the classics are there, in Spanish, of course. In addition, there are huge numbers of books on biology, mathematics and the theories of the old astronomers. There are some old 'National Geographics' from the eighties and they are the only English reading materials in the library, with the exception of 'Learning English' workbooks and dictionaries.


While I was reading about the possibilty of zebras becoming extinct by the year 2001, a huge clap of thunder made every kid jump and scream and a heavy rainfall filled the library portal with streaming water. Then everyone was up against the long wall and speechless as the water streamed into the courtyard.


Later, back home, right before the next storm hit, Senor and I took a little walk back to the Chalaton Arroyo.

Senor saw these little guys up on the bridge.




Senor yelled.........hola, my amigos!.............Then he started beating his chest like a wild man.................what are you doing, i asked.....................hey! You are my Zapata friends, he yelled to them..................what Zapata friends, i asked...................By now Senor is really drumming on his chest and the small boy has a wooden stick gun pointed down at Senor's head..................you know, the kids that sold me the little bottle that belonged to Pancho Villa, oh yea!........guys, I mean Pancho Villa...............And he starts beating his chest again......................bring me more bottles that belonged to Pancho Villa, bring me the rusted chain, he yelled. By now the big kid has the wooden stick gun pointed at Senor...............hmmm, maybe they want their bottle back, i said to Senor.


The kids just stared at Senor. Now that's an honest, common mistake I am sure many people would make, calling Pancho Villa, Zapata. We can only hope the young boys understood his English words and they were simply so surprised that Senor wanted more of their merchandise, they were speechless.


Senor looked and me and winced................well, i suppose you are going to want to blog that, too.............I just stared at him, speechless. It started to rain and we went home......................

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Senor Goes Poking

Buenos tardes. It is raining, nice and gentle, just a little chipichipi.


Good grief, have you wondered where we were? where we are? why we have not posted?

Very simple, very busy.

Senor has been up on the roof. And last week he hired two additional workers to help out. Imagine that!

Humberto got to stand around and mix concrete and get it into the wheelbarrow, while the other two workers got it from the wheelbarrow into buckets and carted it up to the portal roof, where they poured it and Senor smoothed it out. Fortunately, it was somewhat overcast those days. I have been in the laundry room/work room. In the last two weeks I received several custom glass orders. I cannot just fire five pieces of glass. I have to cut, grind, cold work, and file and prepare enough to fill the kiln. I have mentioned this before, so in order to get the custom orders done in as short amount of time as possible, I have been going pretty much non stop.



The little thermometer in there has been reading around one hundred, so I had to set up a couple of portable fans in order to work.

So, now the kiln is full and it is firing as I write. And it will fire for twelve hours each day for five days. HOT in that room. I will not even go in there but to peek around the corner so I can read the digital screen and make sure everything is on schedule.

So, we took a little break a few days ago and left town for the day. The roadsides are covered with wildflowers, yellow and orange buttercups and the pink vine the bees love so much.









The hills are jungly and emerald green. Someday I will learn how to photo shop telephone cables out of the photos, but you should get all fuzzy just looking at the green hillsides.


And we ended up here.

I am a shell collector. There were very few shells this trip.

Senor is a poker. There was a lot to poke this trip.

If I get too near and in his way or ask him about what it is he is poking at, he will poke at me.
Above, he is poking at the blue eyed crab in the photo below. That crab kept flipping over, trying to scurry away from the poker.

Here Senor is poking at a dead seahorse. I wanted to pick it up and keep it. He poked it and smelled it and said............no.

Here he is just fixing to poke something else. He needs to study it for awhile before he pokes it though. It was just a little blue jelly fish that he flipped back into the waves before I could get close enough for a photo.

Then he poked at a dead fish he called a rooster fish. He poked at a bottle filled with sand. He poked at some ring pop tops from a can. He poked at sea weed. He poked at a broken beer bottle. He poked at a buried rope. Then he walked on down the beach.......walked on down the beach looking for more things to poke. He is such an easy person to go to the beach with.


What a lovely day at the beach.

adios, linda lou

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

No Cool Title, Just Stuff..............

Buen dia! We are seeing brilliant sunsets at night. After the sunsets and late into the evening we have been getting chipichipi rains and bright displays of lightning.

And we are paying dearly now during the day. The humidity this week has been hovering around eighty to ninety percent and the temperatures have been well over a hundred. Now this would not be so bad if we only had some wind, but there is not any at all.



I have received a number of custom glass orders and as soon as I return from my walk or ride in the morning, I have been retreating to the laundry room to cut glass. It is stifling in there and we are down to one small working fan. There are no ceiling fans in that room. I have been working with a wet rag around my head, but I don't think that helps at all. When I cold work, or grind glass, I use a face mask and goggles, now that is suffocating as well. I look like the creature from the black lagoon with a towel around its head.



Both Senor and Humberto continue to put in a good four hours and Senor retreats to the bedroom and the mini split for short little breaks while Humberto hides briefly under the mesquite.



Below you can see Senor up on the roof where the beams are now in and ready for the vigas. The first section of vigas will come out above the door for about eight feet.


In the second photo, from last year, you can see how far the original roof extended and then, you can see the Hilton Garden Room, which was under the old roof. I am hoping to recreate the garden room, temporarily of course, once the vigas and the roof are in. Oh, you know, Senor may have other plans, but I hope to win out.In addition to cutting glass, I did make it to the clay sculpting class at the museum. There were only a handful of us for the four day class. The fellow in the blue and white shirt is the instructor. This class was the mask sculpting class and the calaca katrina class will be in the fall.
The instructor, Jorge Mendevil, is a very talented sculptor and Ana, next to him, is a clay artist as well.


Across from our class, young teens were sculpting clay jewelry.


And down the hall, the violin class was being held. A little screechy, but some very determined kids were there every day.







In the mornings, the kids come for clay class and their work is spread out to dry on the museum floor. This will all be fired soon out at the Uvalama kiln and I believe you can look back through my labels to see the actual firing we did last year.






Here is my first mask below. I put it on the floor in the kids' section, had a look around and realized that most of their work was so much better than mine. So I picked it up again and moved it away from all that professional looking stuff. Then the ears fell off my guy and I wondered why in the world I even put ears on him to begin with. Maybe I can glue them back on after the fire or maybe they will get lost in the kiln, which might be a good thing.


Well, the rest of the mascaras I made were really no better. I hope they will look better after they are fired, so I will show them to you at a later date. However, Jorge did say all my eyes have good, soulful expressions. Do you see that? A soulful expression? I studied it for quite a while, but I don't see it.


I am just glad the kids are not in my class. Their work is incredibly creative and mine is just well, created.


Okie dokie, I am off to Navajoa to buy a new floor fan for the laundry room work shop. The problem with custom orders is I cannot just put six or seven pieces in the kiln. I have to keep cutting and cutting to get around sixty items, which is what fits in the kiln and justifies a fire. So, a new fan will help cool down the room a little. Maybe a pretty head towel, too, something with flowers on it.


Air conditioning in new old car, a K freeze for the drive, a lovely morning.

Que tengas buen dia! linda lou