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.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Yes, Rain Contest, No, Rain Contest?

Buenas tardes.

I think today is the first day of summer.
And that means brilliant sunsets, more humidity, more crickets, new baby frogs, kittens over the wall, damn, more fiestas at Ivan's which used to be new old Jesus's tiny casa behind us, more fiestas in las calles, more Friday night weddings, less water from the city, but you could stick a popsicle stick in the ground and grow popsicles, the sweet delicate smell of the limon blossoms, billowing clouds in the east, blue streak lightning over the Copper Canyon and then, before we know it, Rain.

So, the point I am working up to is this, do we want to do the rain contest?
Just let me know and we will get it going.

hasta manana. Linda Lou

Friday, May 15, 2015

Who's Your Boss?


Aren't these pretty?
A friend brought them by the other day and I am so excited to have them. When he describes the flowers these cacti put out, I simply cannot wait to see them. But I also cannot decide where to plant them.
So, I am on the look out constantly in the jardin to find the right spot. 
Evidently they will trail and get pretty big.

Now there is some rumor going around this house that I am not the boss of much, but I do generally get my way when it comes to el jardin.
 I am also looking for a location for two beautiful pink mandevilla I have. I thought I had the perfect spot and I set them on the the ground in those places. I had not even stood up and Senor was right there..................there is a drain pipe under that one.........oh, i didn't know that...... so does that mean i can't plant it there............
He just gave me the look and walked off.
So, I am looking for a better spot. Do they need sun or shade?

Senor is doing a fine job around here because if I were the boss I would be doing just exactly what he is doing.
And that is putting in the rest of the portal sub floor in before I go crazy because of the dirt floor and the horrible rebar out there.

If he were not doing the floor I might have him deported, so it is a good thing he knows without even asking me what to do next.
And look, if you can see, there are only four more column sections to go and it will be done.
I love this story I am going to tell you now.
 Whenever things are not moving as fast I want them to or I think I should tell Senor that I should be the boss for awhile I think of this.
Once, a tourist from the states dropped by to say hello. I did not know her and we had only met that morning at one of the campgrounds where we both happened to be taking a walk. Well, I was actually there taking a hot shower. Remember those days, when I used to take my showers at the campground because we did not have hot water?
Well that afternoon she came to visit and she said,
"I am so sorry for you, that you have to live here like this."
This is royal camping at its best, I tried to explain to her.
She would have none of it.
 I thought she might cry, very emotional woman she was. 
But, she said she had to leave and go back to the campground and try and think of something to cook for her husband's dinner because he was sick and tired of tortillas and tacos and beans and what a shame that's all you can find to cook in this town.

Now, doesn't that just make you laugh? I am practically choking on my giggles!
Any minute I will be rolling on the floor. It is my favorite story in the whole wide world.

Okay now, so gotta go and make sure Senor is on track with the floor. 
Then I gotta find something besides tortillas and tacos and beans to cook for dinner.
we all know who the real boss around here is, don't we.......notice that is not even a question.
Linda Lou

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Creative Dreaming

Buen dia!
I cannot believe this weather. Never have we had an April or May like this since we have been here. When I go for my 5am walk, the temperature is hovering around 58 degrees. The days warm up into the 80's, there are steady breezes, often slightly overcast days. I should be sweating hot bullets by now and I should have been in my shorts back in April, very uncommon stuff going on. And it is not, I repeat, not humid, and that is probably the most unique aspect of this weather. 
We are enjoying it while we have it.

I have taken advantage of the cooler weather and fired my kiln over and over. I am supposed to be making the windows for our bedroom and bathroom. I am firing 8x10 fused glass transparent panels that will then go into iron frames. But I got distracted and decided to make wind chimes instead. 

Here are four of the wind chimes I put together in April and May. I have a total of eight now and made the mistake of using up too much glass.
 So, the window panes are on hold now until we go to the states in June and I can resupply.

I just have a terrible, terrible glass habit. 
I thought about firing the beer bottles that party people leave in the streets and I have done that before,the blue Sky vodka bottles fire really well, but instead I got out my lampworking boxes.
Lamp working, if you don't know, is basically heating glass rods in a hot torch and then hopefully turning the result into something that is either pretty to look at or useful in some way or other.

If you have been to FAOT, there is a sweet little man in a booth on the street who has a nice torch and he uses white glass rods, then paints them with acrylics and fires them in his torch, turning them into animals, birds, boats, all kinds of stuff. At the local mall in the states, you have probably seen it. Swans are big with those artisans.
So, I am kinda doing that, but with colored glass rods and no paint.
But I am not into swans or other creatures. I am not even into making glass beads which is what most lamp workers create.   I don't really know what I will be making. I spent 2 hours pulling what is called stringers, very thin, long pieces of glass that are used for decoration. I just do not know what I will decorate.

This lamp working requires equipment and tools. I brought to Alamos most of my stuff, regulators, flash arrestors, a minor Nortel torch, hundreds of glass rods and all kinds of cool tools to shape glass with.
 Getting an oxygen and propane tank proposed the biggest problem
A friend in Alamos gave me a small oxygen tank and Senor bought me a small propane tank and helped me set up everything. The oxygen tank actually had oxygen in it, so that's when I took advantage and pulled stringer. Then, poof, it was all used up.

There is a hardware store in Alamos that sells oxygen bottles and acetylene and propane, and other gasses, all used mostly by the hundreds of talented iron workers here in Alamos. I attempted to get the small tank filled and quickly discovered that the oxygen for an empty tank comes from Guaymas and can take a month to get here. I am not allowed to transport the tank inside a car. Imagine that! And they are very, very strict. And it was costly to buy a large filled oxygen tank.

I ended up asking an iron worker friend to go to the hardware store and buy it for me. It didn't cost him as much as it would cost a gringa and he had a truck in which to transport it.

So, here I am, at the end of the portal, with all this set up and no idea what I want to make.

This is not really any kind of dilemma.
 And I am in no hurry.
 I actually hoped that writing about it might suddenly give me a brain 'pop' and I would then say, oh, that's what I want to make. 
But, that did not happen. 
I am hoping to have a creative dream tonight. 
Sometimes, but not often, that happens to me and I can see what I will be making. 
It was in a dream that I saw our bedroom windows, with the early morning sunlight streaming through the colorful glass.
I also saw a wind chime in a dream, but it wasn't made out of glass. 
It was made out of copper nuts and bolts and hanging from a wooden toilet seat.
 Not too odd, because that dream came after hours of following Senor around Home Depot in Obregon.
 He bought a lot of copper nuts and bolts and tubing, but not a toilet seat.
 I hope you are having as great a day as I am, and as always,
Que le vaya bien!
Linda Lou

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Feliz Dia de Madre

Feliz Dia de Madre!
The serenading truck finally made it onto our street!
 I have been waiting for years for it to come up or down Calle Durango and finally it did........... this morning at 3am!

Each year, on Mother's Day, around midnight, a band loads up onto a flat bed and drives through the barrios, playing a variety of music to greet all the mothers of Alamos and wish them a happy day. 
There are a lot of drums, cymbals and cow bells and it is a huge loud fiesta on wheels.
  Each Mother's Day, I can hear the band as it moves with a caravan of trucks and people through the streets, but never our street.

I could hear them last night and I thought......maybe, maybe, maybe. And they did.
Of course I know they were not coming to just serenade me, but I was afraid they would just pass me by very quickly.
So I rushed out to the gate and saw them coming up the street and started waving frantically in the hopes they would stop and serenade me. And they did.
And it was very special.

The very first year we lived here, I was serenaded on Mother's Day by guitar players and singers, a very soft serenade, right outside the casa, on the street. At the time I did not know what it was and I laid in bed, listening to the music. 
The following morning I realized that this group of musicians went around town serenading mothers, who probably like me were laying in bed listening.
Traditionally, in the old days, the mothers would go to their windows and look out and give the young men smiles or roses.
Last year I talked to a few of my Mexicana friends about it and they said they usually sleep right through the music. How they can do that I don't know. It is very loud.

So, now that they have been on my street and have seen how I rush to the gate and jump up and down and wave like a totally insane gringa at something so simple, I hope they will remember me next year.

After going to the tiangus for my traditional Mother's Day mango and papaya, I spent the day bird watching and that did not disappoint me. Our portal has become a flyway that goes from our large mesquite tree to the big mesquite in Minnie's yard. The orioles have built their 'sock' nest over there, but spend much of their time in our yard.  They seem to love wind chimes as much as I do.
Feliz Dia de Madre to everyone out there and que le vaya bien!
Linda Lou

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Getting on With stuff

One nice breezy day today. I tried to sweep the portal this morning and it did not happen, all came right back in my face. We are having guests for dinner. So, I tried to remove the layer of dust that has covered the couches and chairs. That's not happening either. I got out the shop vac. I could not conquer anything with that either.

So many nice reasons we chose this home. And one is because we are a little higher up we do get some great steady breezes. I have discovered the clean up is just a little harder. But everyone gets the polvo, the dust. I like to think because we are under construction we might get a little more, probably not though.

For the past year, the pueblo has been paving many barrio streets with funds designated by the federal government. I can only imagine how it has been for so many women in those barrios who for years have been trying to sweep layers of polvo off their chairs. What a change it must be for them.

Not too long ago a truck came. You can just barely see it in the first photo, but it left what you see in the second photo.
Varro blancos, a white tree trunk. If you recall it is what our roof is made of. 
So, yes! Senor is working on the second and last section of roof and hoping to have it completed before the rainy season starts.  In this photo you can also see the acid stained concrete pieces I have finished for the portal floor.
 You can see all the beams and vigas are in place and he is cutting the trunks to the right size and the guys are laying the varro blancos. It is hard for him to give up the work to someone else. We often go round and round over this issue for about ten seconds and I wisely shut up. He laid all the varro for the first section of the roof by himself, so it's good to see him give up that job. Of course the guys do a lot of different things and obviously I need them or this house would never get done.

 But there seem to be certain things that Senor is just very stubborn about. Take the painting.............but what if you let Rosario paint the vigas.................i want to do it...............okay, what if Marcello learns to cut the varro blanco..................nope, he can't do that.
 See, me? I am always thinking of ways to make this all go a little faster, but the fact doesn't really need to go any faster.
 The truth is we are having fun.
 Looking back to the wall, behind the ladder, is the door leading to the game room. To the right of that is the cut out in the wall for the refrigerator. Below you can see that more closely and the kitchen window area. The sink will be below the windows. The bucket on the floor covers the copper tubing that will go the stove in the island.
 In the photo below, the white space on the left will be a door leading to a bath and the library/guest room. Marcello awled the wood header above the door.
Actually Marcello did all of this work and Rosario mixed concrete and brought it to him in buckets. There will be a fireplace where the ladders are stacked against the wall and bookshelves on either side. All of that orange tubing is for the electrical stuff Senor has planned: phone, tv, and music.
 There will be a sitting area in front of the fireplace. 
On the right side of the big column there will be a recessed pantry.
 And below, the sala, in case you have forgotten what it looks like.
 COZY, for sure. Even when it's 80 degrees outside I want to light a fire.
And,last, but certainly NOT least, because it is where we spend a lot of time......... the portal.

We have not had a truly HOT day. 
We have actually had almost 2 1/2 inches of rain this late winter and spring and as we go in to summer, we are hoping to have a really wet one.
 So, for all the rain and good weather we have had, for the life of me, I cannot figure out why we are on such heavy water rationing.
I am not saying the rationing is a bad idea, better that than everybody just wasting water away.
But you really have to stay on top of it.
In our barrio we get water once a day for an hour.
 That would be okay except several days ago Rosario decided we needed to water the lime tree which is on a timer and gets plenty of water. He just doesn't understand that a timer can take care of that.
Now it might not have been so bad but he did not ask or tell us he was going to water it, and Senor discovered it later in the afternoon, the trunk surrounded by a swimming pool and minus eighteen inches in the el jibe, or cistern. 

I know he was trying to help me out, he knows I am the gardener around here, well, except for the timer stuff.
 I don't know NADA about the timer and how it works. I guess I am like Rosario, I don't understand it, but I know it works so I don't ever water the lime tree.
So now, getting water for only an hour a day, the cistern is under heavy guard and Rosario does not get to go near the hose. We laugh about it since he is not getting much water at his house either and he sure would never water his own lime tree.
I watch it every day and we have not been able to build up the water supply above half.
but, you know what, it's nice to have little problems.
Que le vaya bien!!!
Linda Lou