I had to go shopping today

and if you are my friends you know how much I dislike shopping.

 

One of Tom's obsessions is shopping. Especially when he gets his teeth, claws, fangs on to something.

One of the first things Tom got excited about once we got here was motorcycles.

Although Tom has driven motorcycles since he was a kid, and we've both had motorcycle endorsements for years and years, we lost them when living out of country and our US drivers licenses expired.

So back in September Tom took a motorcycle safety course. Oddly, you need a motorcycle to take the exam at the DMV, however, if you take the motorcycle safety course you don't have to take the test. duh?

So now, armed with his motorcycle endorsement the scent was there.

Once Tom got the scent of the hunt, the search was on. And search he did, he found two great bikes, in great shape, and for great prices.

here is my bike –

So now the pressure is on. I just signed up for my motorcycle safety course … There are mandates for attire for these courses.

I had to buy jeans, long jeans. And boots, ankle boots with a short heel, and enough of a chunky grid on the bottom to prevent slipping. I also must wear a long sleeved shirt, gloves, and sunglasses, luckily I already have those. They provide the motorcycles and helmets.

here are my new boots –

no, those aren't my new 'long' jeans. They are leggins, one of my favorite leg covering.

AND, for the past week Tom has been adding a secondary shed to the shed he already built.

This secondary shed, is for the motorcycles, which are currently in a rented storage facility.

This burn is why you wear long, tough pants when riding a motorcycle. You don't anticipate this happening when all you are doing is allowing a motorcycle to run after sitting for 4 weeks. Lesson learned

 

Posted in motorcycles, shopping | Tagged | 7 Comments

pickled Hungarian Wax Peppers

We are coming up on 11 months since our return to the USofA. As stated before it has been quite the culture shock after having lived out of country for nearly 11 years.

One of the biggest shocks for me are grocery stores. Buying food…oh my frickin gosh the choices available, and OH MY FRICKIN GOSH the prices.

I have sort of reverted to some of the practices I used in the 70’s when we found ourselves unemployed and living on 100usd per month in food stamps.

Lots of carbs, potatoes, pasta, rice with a variety of vegetables added. We’ve also taken to eating more eggs. And as always, and my favorite food — beans. I do love beans.

The Super I use has one bonus section for me, a markdown produce area. It is amazing to me the bargains I find there. It is my first stop when I enter, and what I find there will determine the rest of my purchases.

so the other day there was a good size bag with 1 orange bell pepper, .89cents per pepper on the regular rack, and about 20 hungarian wax peppers, usually 1.49 per pound. All for .99cents. yep, I bought it.

so what to do with 20+ mildly spicy peppers??? why pickle them of course.

so first thing was to clean, seed, and slice them. I decided to do strips.

Then after determining I had enough for nearly 3 pints I added 3 c white vinegar and 1/2 c water to a non reactive saucepan and set a medium high flame. To the sauce pan I also added 1 tablespoon of pickling spice, 3/4 tablespoon yellow mustard seed, 3/4 tablespoon salt, and 1 tablespoon sugar. While all this came to a boil I finished prepping the peppers. I also rough chopped 4 cloves of garlic, and thin sliced 1/2 medium red onion.

I mix the peppers, onion, and garlic and loosely filled the 3 pint jars, now my preference would have been 1/2 pint jars, unfortunately I didn’t have any.

I then poured the vinegar mix in to each jar trying to get an even distribution of pickling spice and mustard seeds.

I wiped the rims, set the lids and placed them in a large pot of low boiling water for about 15 minutes.

 

we’ll know in about a week how they taste. I did taste the vinegar mix and they may be a bit salty for my preference.

 

Posted in Cooking, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

oh my Merida

Merida, Yucatan, MEXICO

is seriously, a very interesting place to live. Yes it is unspeakably hot at times, yes it is unspeakably humid at times yes it is dirty and littered most of the time, yes the streets are terrible, well if you live South of 59. Yes there is serious corruption, although things are changing. Yes there are things that someone will not like.

However, there is a beauty…the archtecture, the vignettes of life, the people, the flowers and plants, the pace of life.

One amazing thing are the artistic and cultural events that the local government sponsors for the people.

We have seen art exhibits by Dali, Rembrandt, Goya, Picasso, Russian Ballet, Cuban Ballet, light shows, floral displays, symphony in the park, music, dance, theatrical performances such a wide variety of cultural and educational events. And all free. Yes, free!

OK, some think it comes at the expense of other things…fixing a pothole, replacing a streetlight, etc. But what is life without art, beauty, and diversion?

 

While in Merida the past few weeks we took advantage of several such free cultural events.

One was a light show, http://www.filux.info/. It was amazing, the number and variety of people in attendance was astronomical, the displays went from simplistic to mind staggering.

Another was the Camino de flores. https://youtu.be/tirQ9jjGyTA One block long street next to a park was blocked, an elevated walkway was established and the street below was designed to display a variety of very beautiful and interesting floral/plant arrangements. And again, the attendance has been staggering. I love seeing the people, all types of people enjoying such events.

 

 

 

Today Tom and I walked about the plaza grande, or main square. It felt touristy, I usually just pass through getting from one place to another. Bittersweet, leaving a place I enjoy so much.

 

But I must admit I have been enjoying Richmond very much, I am sure you will see and hear more about it, especially now that it is warming up. I do hate cold weather.

 

Posted in mer, Merida | 12 Comments

Untitled

I am having a bit of an emotional day.


We have been back in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico for 16 days. It's been a fun whirlwind 16 days. We had the closing and sold our house here, have visited with many many friends, not done much touristy stuff, but have eaten out quite a bit. We also sold my car, and even looked at smaller houses that would be easier to pack up and leave for long periods of time.


I am one of those personalities that needs down time, alone time, to recharge. Tom is recharged by people, and activity. So amazingly he is really enjoying himself, and I am feeling a bit drained, strained.

 

We spent some time in our old neighborhood last night. Ate at the corner cocina, saw some neighbors, walked by my 'former' house. I had to run my hand along the walls and door frames. Very emotional.

Now I am thrilled with the lady that bought my house. She loves my house, and garden, and I know she is going to take care of it, love it, enjoy it, and make it her own. I also now consider her a friend. Still, it was/is emotional. I had created my sanctuary in that house and garden.

you can visit our (Sherry's and mine) house at http://www.dreamhousemerida.com



Although I have returned every few months since moving to the USofA, I feel a bit distanced this time. As if I am cutting ties. Not with the friends, but with the place. This is no longer 'home'.


I now need to create my sanctuary there. The place I run to for emotional calm.


Of course the current political system is not helping. I am very concerned about the direction and leadership of the USofA. I continue to hope for the best, but am consistently confounded, and bewildered.


We will be home Monday. I am looking forward to it. Although there are worries about the transit through TSA, Customs, Immigration etc. Gads, the stories you read about.


oh how I will miss this glorious heat.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

my Merida

Once again I am in Merida, this time Tom is along. It is always amazing to get back, I do love it here. And as in most things, there is a love/hate relationship.

We have many friends here so trying to see as many as possible in a short period of time is exhausting, but we can rest when we're old.

 

Oh, just for those interested, my brother is doing much better, the cancer has stopped growing, seems to be in check, again, and the every 3 week treatment regime seems to be doing the trick. Unfortunately it is a 9 hour drive each way to the treatment facility.

Our mom continues to deteriorate, and is now living with youngest brother and wife. Wife quit her job to become fulltime caregiver.

Back to Merida, my oh my how quickly things are changing here now. Things change, and they stay the same.

The questions about trump never stop. Friends and acquaintances who used to travel to the USofA for shopping, vacation, professional conventions etc will not return after many recent experiences where they were treated poorly and felt fear and intimidation by immigration and customs officers. It is a sad era when good people refuse to enter, visit, enjoy, travel, and spend money in your country.

In fact some people are going to rather extreme lengths, and expense to keep from even traveling where there is just a stopover in the USofA.

2018 is Mexico's next General Election. Andrés Manuel López Obrador, aka amlo, is thought to have a very strong lead as the next pres. He is about as anti usa as trump is anti everyone else, well except russia it seems.

amlo's anti-america stance has been a huge reason for his previous defeat. usa and mexico are/were allies. check out this search link for many stories on the upcoming election prognostications – https://www.google.com.mx/search?q=mexican+presidential+election+2018&rlz=1C9BKJA_enUS711US711&oq=mexican+presedential+election&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j0l3.16517j0j7&hl=en-US&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8

Well anyway, back to our current time in Merida. We have a few appointments to look at houses. I am thinking a smaller house, with less garden and maintenance will make traveling much easier. As much as I love my house and garden, and you know I do, it is a big commitment.

But now I am thinking we should wait till after the election. I mean if amlo does win, and if trump has done even more damage to this fragile relationship, what will become of all the expats living here? Their homes? Their investments? Will we be treated as badly as we are treating immigrants in our country?

Back to lighter subjects, we have been going to lots of favorite restaurants, a few events, and sitting and visiting with as many friends as we can. And one lovely side effect of eating out so much is we frequently run into people we know.

Yesterday we stopped in at the graphic bakery for some fresh loaves, and a visit with baker/graphic artist/printmaker Manolo Taure, and ran in to galería la escalera owners, Gerardo and Janet, lovely surprise. and that is Merida, a lovely surprise around each corner.


well time is running out, as I have running out to do, so more later.

besitos a todos!

 

Posted in Everyday Stuff | 14 Comments

my left toe

My trip to Merida was fabulous, and heart wrenching, and heart warming, and heart breaking, and as you can guess – it was an emotional roller coaster.

My return was a bit different. I tend to pack light, however, this time I had a few bulky gift purchase requests, plus I was gifted an amazing, and huge, oaxacan bedspread, and Tom was gifted 4 bottles of wine. As you can imagine my suitcase, which should have left me handsfree was bulging, and overweight.

So Wednesday afternoon I decided to head to the mercado and purchase a sabucan to hand carry the big bedspread, and a collapsible roller bag that will be great for future trips but had been left behind when we moved. This was about 4:30 in the afternoon, the mercado at Santiago was closed up, I tried Centro Historico, but none there, so continued on to Galvez.

I was successful, and got an adorable plastic, and stylish strawberry shortcake bag with a zipper top for 35mxp. Please let it hold up through three airplane transfers, and two security checks.

Somewhere along the way I also bunged up my left big toe. Right in the outside corner. It broke the nail, into the meat. Ouch!

So Thursday am, I jam that sucker into my shoes, not sandals, but shoes. The sandals stay behind, shoes are for ice cold planes and returning to frigid VA.

Long story short, it was a miserable day, three plane/airport changes, bunged up toe, large sabucan that needs to go in and out of the overhead. Personal bag with my purse and electronics, as well as a few breakables I am bringing home. Travelling just the way I hate, burdened with bags.

So upon arrival at home in Virginia I pull out a tub and the epsom salts and soak that poor bunged up toe which is now infected, guess I didn't clean it well enough the night before. Tom got the magnifying glass and tweezers and pulled out another chunk of broken nail and trimmed loose skin. Peroxide wash and antibiotic cream and I thought ok, this will be cleared up in no time. WRONG!

Yesterday was 1 week post travel day. Daily, and sometimes twice daily hot saltsoaks, lots of antibiotic cream, and no shoes! I wore runners the day we did a bus and walking tour. Ouch! mostly I was in sandals, my feet were always cold.

Two days ago, after a soak I went to work on it, cleared out more dead skin and found a little sliver of something… this is not easy for a girl with a pot belly to do.

Anyway, today, hallelujah, ojala, only the tiniest of discomfort. Unfortunately I must wait one more day before I resume my walks with the dogs.

so rather than gruesome infected toe shots, now that you've read the gore, I will share a few photos from dog walks before I left on my trip.

 
Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

fasces

Tom and I did a bus and walking tour in Richmond yesterday.

We are interested in the history of Richmond.

One part of the tour included a short tour of the Capital building.

Fascinating, we had an interesting guide, with lots of interesting tidbits of info.

The favored part for me was learning about the fasces. In the Capital rotunda is a statue of George Washington. The guide gave us lots of info on the symbolism of the statue.

The statue depicts Washington transitioning from General, President, and Statesman to, well, just a regular guy.

Washington is show in incomplete military uniform, sword sheated, using a walking stick, there is a plowblade behind him to symbolize his return to farming. My favorite bit is he is leaning on a bundle of 13 rods, known as fasces. Fasce date back to the Etruscans. The use of 13 in this presentation represents the original colonies, and the fasce themself represent strength in unity. Where one rod is strong, thirteen are stronger. I really like this, and it resonates with me right now.

The fasce are repeated all around the Capital, the most obvious being the fence surrounding the grounds.

It was a pretty good tour, with insights in to several bits of Richmond.

The Capital Guide was great, with lots of information and history.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments