The Accident Prone World of the Gardener

I believe I’ve fallen either four or five times in this yard.  The other day I was going to weed whack the lawn’s edges, and had on runners and not the usual flip flops, so you’d think I’d be extra safe.  However mom always called me a bull in a China shop, and it’s quite true, I do seem to be good at ramming into things.

Luke was getting his useless car ready for sale, and I was shouting over my shoulder at him I wanted that thing out of the garage as soon as possible.  In this moment of ire I tumbled over my own feet and fell right down, slamming my knee, hand and chin into the ground.

Luke ran over saying “mom are you okay?” and I stood up, bleeding from three areas, and said “yeah, I’m fine, but can you continue the weed whacking?” and went into the house to bandage the various areas.  Soon after I was back out, killing myself working in the yard.

It’s a strange obsession, and I’m quite surprised at the hours per day I put into it now that I’m retired.  I suppose I’m still getting the hang of being retired, too, so can’t believe my good fortune in having all of every minute of every day to myself.

Well nearly.  I do have to tend to mom who had a terrible cold but was given antibiotics by the doctor to ward off pneumonia.  She’s now okay, and I went to Osoyoos for Mother’s Day and made a nice lunch for us.  A family friend came too, and I made chocolate bread pudding for dessert which we all wolfed with manic delight.

And I did spend time with helping Jan look for a new job, but luckily she’s very employable and it took less than three days for her to find one.  She’s been cooking for a very long time and wanted to get into a new line of work, and has just been hired by the Coast Capri as a room attendant.

I took her to the interview, and the head housekeeper said as much as she appreciated me coming along, she wanted to see if she could understand Jan, and if Jan could understand her.  I said “consider me invisible.  I won’t speak.”  I then proceeded to observe the interview which was going along quite well.

Then the woman said to Jan, “would you mind being cross trained in both laundry and house keeping?”  I saw the wheels turning in Jan’s head.  She must’ve wondered what a lot of that meant, and hesitated, but finally said wherever they want her to work, that’s where she’ll work.

I’m often reminded of Manuel, the waiter in the old British TV show called Fawlty Towers.  He couldn’t understand a word of English and it was hilarious.  Please Google it and watch a few episodes if you’ve never seen it.

When Beverly was here for her recent visit with her pug she kindly helped me weed some of the so-called gout weed out of my beds.  We decided if I do this for one hour each day, someday I’ll be rid of that menace.

I foolishly planted it 20 years ago when it looked so nice around the base of a neighbour’s tree.  Little did I know it’d escape and take over every single square inch of my flower beds.  So it’s a good thing I’m now retired, isn’t it?

I May Have Started a New Bee Hive

As you may know, my smaller bee hive didn’t make it through the winter.  I did some research on dividing a hive, and it all sounded kind of complicated.  One needs to find frames with brood and nurse bees and then somehow acquire a queen.  I thought it seemed awfully complicated an antithetical to bees in the wild.

My old hive is going great guns, and constantly makes queen cells just because they always want to swarm.  It’s a very full hive, so I went down the other day and decided to reverse the frames, and see if I could start a new hive using queen cells.

This hive is mean and aggressive, and I had to suit up entirely.  I went down with my smoker lit, took off the lid, and began to remove the frames.  Many were coated in capped brood and bees, and I placed them down on the ground.

I got an empty box and returned all of the frames, then got the other hive box and placed it on top.  To my annoyance and dismay, I noticed I had forgotten one frame, and it was filled with brood and bees.

So I thought oh why not, and got a new hive box, put in the frame of brood, and then added some frames for them to fill.  The lid from the old hive box contained a queen cell, so I stuck it on top, thinking good luck, bees.

I don’t know what’s going to happen, and so it’s kind of exciting.  Will there be another airplane engine noise in my yard, signalling another swarm?  Will they actually make a queen in my new hive?  To be continued.

I transplanted my fig, which has been in the greenhouse for about a month and already has pea-sized baby figs.  It’s now so heavy I had to go and buy a dolly as there’s no way I can lift it into the wheel barrow.  But it’s worth it as I’m crazy over that tree.

My niece Julie and her family came to Osoyoos to visit mom, so I arrived on Friday with a cooler filled with food for the event.  They have a 4 year old girl and 18 month old boy who are both adorable, so I tried to think of kid-friendly food.

On Friday I made lasagne, and Saturday chicken with vegetables in a white sauce over spaghetti.  I’d made a chocolate zucchini and a banana loaf, so we had that on had for dessert, though on Saturday I made bread pudding which everyone loved.

Let’s just say it wasn’t a weekend suitable for celiacs.  We had friends Stu and Martha for lunch on Saturday and I made a potato salad, devilled eggs, ham, salami, homemade chicken pate and sliced bread.  A lot of carbs were consumed over the nearly 48 hours.

Back to a tiny steak and a large amount of vegetables for dinner in the hopes of undoing some of the caloric ravages.  My stomach once again resembles that of the American president.

And tomorrow Beverly, my friend of 40 years, is coming with her pug for a couple of days of R and R, which will involve thrift store shopping.  I very much doubt I’ll be on any kind of a restricted food program, so I remain fascinated at where all this will end.

Autopsies can be Motivating

The other week I saw a show on Netflix called Post Mortem, which was an autopsy of an obese woman in her early sixties.  It helped me visualise the thick rind of fat that lies just under my skin and grows thick on my belly area.  I can grab and shake the gut, so you just know what’s inside there.

So this has helped me moderate my food intake somewhat, and I also started doing 30 minutes of any old weight training show that pops up when I Google that topic.  I have a mat and weights, so can easily do this at home and it’s very convenient as I can do it whenever the urge hits.

I’ve been walking Louie daily for the past five years, and now adding the home exercise program is another good thing to fit into my retired person’s regime.  There’s nothing better for the nerves than to wake up in the morning and think what do I have to do today and answer “nothing!”

Well nothing I don’t want to do, but I seem to be awfully busy with things like baking and cooking as I take stuff to mom when I visit.  Mom’s a hound for muffins, so last week I baked blueberry, oatmeal and applesauce and your standard bran and raisin.

This mercury retrograde has brought all sorts of malevolence, as poor old Mango died.  He was missing for a day, then showed up making a terrible yowling cry.  It came deep from inside the cat and scared the hell out of the other two cats and the dog.

I called the nice mobile vet, and she came at 10:30 AM and immediately determined something horribly painful was going on in the cat’s abdomen.  He was covered in urine.  She said it could be so many things, though she ruled out being hit by a car.  She said she’d have to sedate him and take him in to do tests.  Even then she said she couldn’t guarantee she could fix the cat.

So I said no, Mango wouldn’t like that at all, and as he was almost 14 I said just sedate the cat and put him down.  He was very strong and she said it took three times the sedative to calm the cat.  I was then able to put him on my lap and he started to purr.

The vet put in the needle and I scratched his head, saying good bye, good bye, good bye, and then he was gone.  I held him for a moment then the vet took him and wrapped him up to be taken away for cremation.  We hugged as I cried and she said it’s the worst part of her job.

I recently noticed my smaller bee hive perished over the winter, so that’s $170 down the drain.  I said to Lorraine perhaps she and I can find a queen cell and move that frame over to the hive and start a new colony.  That’d be fab as I really don’t want to buy another queen and colony and have them die too.

Old Syl showed up with my honey extractor and said it’s all fixed so I hope to get some honey from the big hive this summer and test it out.  It’s sunny but cold and the other day I put a pollen patty on the hive to get the queen laying like mad.  I hope I don’t get another swarm though.

Now here it is April 1, Easter Sunday and Louie’s 5th birthday.  I’ve walked him and did my obligatory weights, and thanks to the visuals I carry from the autopsy, I won’t be eating any Easter chocolates this year.

Locked in the Car Wash

You know when you’re in the car wash, and you see the sign that says if there’s a problem honk your horn?  For years and years I wondered what it’d be like to be stuck in the car wash and actually need to do that.  So imagine my surprise when it turned out to be me the other day.

I was happily sitting in the car, watching the big round brushes soap up and then rinse off the car, and then it was time to move forward to the dryer.  I did that and was kind of annoyed as the bay door remained closed so I couldn’t inch my way out and allow all sides of the car to get hit by the hot air.

Finally the clock had ticked down to zero, the door remained closed and I could see a car waiting to come in, however thankfully that door didn’t open either.  I got out of my car and was wondering what to do, and was starting to imagine myself standing there receiving the brushes full of soapy water if the other door did open.

I got back into my car and honked.  Waited and honked, and wondered what on Earth was going to happen next.  I got back out of the car and the nice East Indian man who runs the garage came in and asked, “what do you have a problem with?” and I explained I couldn’t get out.

He simply reached under the bay door and forced it open and I drove out, heart pounding from the experience.  Now I know what happens if there’s a problem in the car wash, though I imagined it more along the lines of the soapy stuff not turning off and being there for hours.

Here’s some excellent news.  Even though it’s still very cold, I noticed there’s life in both of my bee hives.  The large, older hive has quite a bit of activity, and the small, new hive has just a few bees buzzing around.  I have the pollen patties all ready to put inside, but it has to be at least 10 degrees C or they’ll hate the cold air.

Syl the elderly handyman never did return my honey extractor, so not sure if he’ll turn up with it one of these days or not.  If he doesn’t, I’ll be just as glad as I think I might bite the bullet and buy an automatic one.  God knows, if both hives do well I should have quite a bit of honey this year.

And the extractor I have is almost completely useless as one can only spin two frames at a time, and then it’s a helluva mess getting the honey out of the bottom of that drum.  Whoever designed that thing should be hunted down and shot.

Last year I ordered dahlias from Connie’s Dahlias in Nanoose Bay, so I’m looking forward to seeing what they do.  I dug through the snow in early November to dig out mine but there’s always some that don’t make it through the winter.  They’re my favourite flower so I’m going to go big with them.

My dear old cat Mango, aged 14 in two weeks, hasn’t showed up and it’s a bit of a worry given he’s almost always around due to his age.  Wednesday the marauding tuxedo cats have their spaying and neutering.  I don’t need to be locked in a car wash as I find I can have nervous breakdowns all on my own, just from pet ownership.

Mayan Adventure Part 2

We got up on the morning of Wednesday February 7th, and had to pack and make our way to Playa del Carmen to drop the rental car.  Due to the margarita to go the night before, then beer at the condo, Margaret woke up hungover, and despite a couple of Gravol, continued to feel bad.

Again, just for the hell of it I suppose, we drove off with the gas tank near E, then had anxious minutes as we prayed for a gas station on our way north.  We managed to find one just prior to getting into Playa del Carmen, and then using Margaret’s phones’ GPS we found our way to the car rental place and dropped the car.

Now we were on foot with our suitcases, carry-on bags, bag of leftover food from the condo, stinking humid and hot weather, an awful lot of tourists, and Margaret swearing she was going to puke at any moment.  Somehow we dragged all of our stuff to the ferry and paid a very cheap $20 round trip to Cozumel.

We’d been advised the half-hour crossing could be rough, and to sit below deck if that was the case.  It was fairly calm, but it was much nicer to be inside anyway, and in the air conditioned cabin rather than being wind-whipped and sun-beaten on the upper deck.

We were happy to see Avis car rental was right at the ferry dock so I signed the agreement and we were lead to our rental which was parked right on the main drag with the hazard lights on.  Another standard, and this one had one of those freaky fobs wherein one just presses a button to start the car.

There’s only one main road that goes around Cozumel, so the first thing we did was take off in the wrong direction.  Once turned around, we decided to stop at a Chaudraui, our grocery store of choice, and get whatever we’d need for the rest of the day.

We left there, went in the wrong direction, turned around, and then found our road to the second condo we’d rented, this one from VRBO.  It was easy to find, and we parked right in front and went in to find the manager.  His name was Paul, he’s from the US but said he renounced his citizenship 11 years earlier and was married to a Mexican.

As we hadn’t eaten a lot, he pointed out the restaurant which he said is part of Mima’s Village, the name of the condo, and for us to tell the cook we’re staying here and we’d get a discount.

We headed right down, and while very nice to sit across the road from the ocean, we were somewhat frightened by the prices, which were all in US dollars.  On the mainland everything’s in pesos, so we were kind of dismayed at the implications, which turned out to be true: Cozumel is a very chi chi expensive place.

Margaret and I had a nice dinner and a drink each, but for $80 US we felt as though we’d been punched and vowed never to eat there again, and never did.

We had trouble with the TV, and Paul came to help us hook up the laptop so we could watch whatever we wanted.  An early night, as Margaret was exhausted from all she had to do despite being hungover.

The next day was hot and sunny, as usual, and so we decided to drive around the whole island to figure out what things we might like to do.  We started out by looking at a place called Chankanaab, which is a world heritage site.  However it’s also an “adventure park” and looked like a tourist trap to us.

We drove further and stopped at one of the adorable stands along the wild shores on the way south.  The reefs are craggy and the waves crash against them spraying sea water into the air.  We walked along for awhile and then returned and went into the stand where we had our first taste of bartering.

I saw an abalone shell I liked, and said “how much is this?”  The vendor said “How much you wanna pay me?”  I, being a Canadian, said, “I don’t know.  What do you want for this?”  Let’s just skip to the end where I’m leaving the stand with an abalone shell and minus the equivalent of $23.

We continued along and all of a sudden came upon the sign for San Gervasio, the ruins on Cozumel.  As we were right there we thought let’s do it, and drove in.  There were masses of tour buses, and the place bustled with shops and vendors calling to people to come in.

At first we were hungry and thirsty so had some water and chicken tacos, then went on the walk for the ruins.  They’re very far apart, and once again I felt like I could easily perish from the heat.

On our way back a beautiful large orange, fancy-looking iguana crossed our path.  We felt really lucky to have seen one that decorative.

And then of course once we got back to the town of San Miguel, where we’re staying, we knew the only antidote to that kind of jungle heat was tequila.  We stopped at a place called the Monkey Bar and sat right at the ocean’s edge, thankful for fermented cactus juice.

Fortified we decided to snorkel in front of our place and that was the first time I’ve seen fan coral which is beautifully coloured, mostly mauves.  It was really lovely and convenient to be able to cross the road, get into the warm Caribbean and see beautiful things.  Not a lot of fish that day though.

On Friday we thought it’d be fun to explore the town of San Miguel as it’s absolutely adorable.  We drove in and parked and started down a street and looked at stuff in the stores.  You’d think the abalone shell experience would’ve forewarned us, but no.

I made the mistake of saying “this top is cute” and owned it within about five minutes.  If you read my blog you’ll know I have 77 tops so this seemed like a needless purchase.  Margaret also walked away with a top she didn’t want.  I said let’s get the hell out of here, so we got into the car and slunk right to the grocery store where we’re left alone.

On the way we passed a stand filled with the leather bags we’d both dreamed of owning, but we knew we’d be leaving there with a huge sombrero, no bag, and less about fifty dollars.

We decided to spend the afternoon at the beach in front of our place, snorkelling and reading.  Imagine our surprise, as it was just the two of us reading away, when suddenly a monkey-like screech was made a foot behind us.  Surprise!  It was the funny little man who cooks at the restaurant attached to the condo.

One time might have been funny, but when he did it the second time Margaret said to him you really have to stop doing that!  Finally he understood our nerves couldn’t’ take his sense of humour.

That was the night we began making our own delicious margaritas in the blender provided by the condo, and was one of the best ideas we had on the whole trip.

On Saturday we spent most of the day at the Punta Sur Eco Park, which seemed to us far more sensible than the “adventure park” idea.  Once we arrived we were in awe, and so glad we’d come.  You need a vehicle, as it’s huge, and takes the day to get to all areas and see everything.

We saw crocodiles, swam in the ocean and lounged on their chairs on the white sand, drank margaritas (natch) at a cute bar there.  We went on a lagoon boat tour, went up to the top of a lighthouse, and saw incredible shells on the beach.

Because in this old condo the top floor’s doors all open onto a common deck, we got to know our nice neighbours, Mark and Rhonda from Oklahoma and Clint and Fran from Saskatchewan.  You know how I love meeting new people.

On Sunday we had the most interesting trip to the tiny town of El Cedrale, which has about 100 inhabitants and is far inland, in the jungle.  During the native uprising in the 1840’s when all nuns and priests were being killed, apparently some hid here and were never found, so they considered it a miracle and built a church.

As we walked through the streets it suddenly began to pour rain, and we took refuge under an old cow or horse feeding station.  It had a tin roof so the sound was deafening.  Ten minutes later it stopped, the sun came out, and we returned to stinking heat.

We snorkelled right in front of our place again, and it was a much better day for fish.  I saw all kinds and one that was about two feet by one foot, one of biggest fish I’ve ever seen snorkelling.  At the shore the water was the temperature of bath water.

Then it was Monday and time to return the car, get on the ferry, find the bus from Playa del Carmen to the airport and make our way home.

We arrived at the Cancun Airport to the happy news from Westjet that our plane was delayed for two hours, so they immediately handed me a new boarding pass for a plane the following morning, meaning I’d be spending the night in Richmond.

But at that point I didn’t even care.  I’d been infected by the Mayan spirit, and that was good enough for me.

Mayan Adventure Part 1

You know how I like a bit of excitement, so I flew out of here directly to Cancun to meet Margaret, and have no cell phone.  She was flying direct from Vancouver and wondering how on Earth we were to meet at the airport.  After doing some research I said just go to the Coconuts Bar.  If you do that, I’ll be sitting there.

Margaret’s plane was due about 90 minutes after mine and she worried I’d be bored waiting that long to which I replied, “Don’t worry, I’ll likely have a new best friend by the time you arrive.”

I arrived exhausted in Cancun and found my way through security to the Coconuts Bar and sat on one of their stools, and said sorry but I can only drink water as I have to rent a car, and I have to sit here for one and a half hours.  The waiters were good with that, as it certainly wasn’t crowded.

First a nice Mexican man sat down and had a beer.  Turns out he was waiting for his wife, and has a sister who lives in Vancouver.  As he was very pleasant I said the usual, “oh, um, I don’t have a cell phone and I wonder if I can text my friend who should be landing any minute?”

He said sure, and sent a text to Margaret saying I’m sitting here in the Coconuts Bar.  The nice man left, and an older woman came and sat at the other end of the bar.  I turned to her and we began to chat, and that took a good 45 minutes as she told me all about the princess her stepson was married to.  She kept saying “I never talk like this to strangers.”

Her husband arrived, as did their son and his princess of a wife, and my friend waved and off they went.  A minute later a nice American woman my age named Marie sat down right beside me, and we had a lovely conversation as she’s a left-leaning Democrat.  She’s married to a Mexican who was undocumented for 11 years until they were married so she said it was always very tense.

She was sad to see Margaret arrive, though Margaret and I were thrilled as now our adventure could properly begin.  We left the terminal and were taken to Easyway Car Rental where a little Fiat Mobi standard shift was waiting for me.

At first I couldn’t even turn off the music and went oh my, this should be a challenge on the Mexican highway we’re taking to Akumal.  However Margaret managed to do that, and I got the car into gear and we lurched off into the night, as by now it was around 8:00 PM and dark.

An important part of this story is how neither Margaret nor I know where north, south, east or west are, even at home.  We’d been given directions to the nearest grocery store and drove past it, and soon the new word ‘retorno,’ entered our Spanish vocabulary.

Hence any time one is on the 307, to go in the opposite direction there are no lights, but regularly spaced U turn areas.  However one has to stop fully and then quickly shift from first, to second to third, to fourth, to fifth bracing bracing bracing for the rear-ender as both lanes go like stink.

Through some miracle, we found our way to the resort called Bahia Principe though we weren’t staying there, but in a condo deep inside the complex, rented via Air B and B.

We drove around for quite a while, returned to the gate, and said um, can you help us find this building?  A kind Mexican guard named Fernando hopped onto a motorcycle and lead us straight to the place and showed us where to park.

Exhausted, we fell into a deep sleep.  Margaret’s room was adjacent to the balcony where jungle birds awakened her and she said she felt so happy here.  It was wonderful to wake up to blue sky and full sunshine.

That day we drove deep into the jungle just for the hell of it.  We thought we were looking for the beach, which we felt certain must be on our right.  However after driving on a pot holed road for half an hour, we thought huh!  I wonder where that damned ocean is.

However while completely lost we came upon a hand painted sign that said Cenote Xunaan – Ha.  So we parked right there and walked along a path until we came upon a Mexican in a hut with a fire going outside in the little yard.  He said 70 pesos, or around $5 so we said sure, and walked the path to the cenote.

We were all alone except for a nice couple from Nebraska.  Most of the billboards showing cenote tours are appalling as it appears there are several busloads of people at some of them.  Not here, where an iguana came by to watch us as dipped our feet into the clear, turquoise water.

At the entrance a trio of backpackers had given us a tip that Xca- Cel beach was lovely, and vaguely explained where to find it.  Hell-bound, we got back onto the 307 and went hey you know what, that damned ocean is on this side.  So now we were on the ocean side, and suddenly saw the hand-painted sign for Xca-Cel beach.

This is a beautiful, secluded beach, mostly inhabited by locals, with miles of white sand and gorgeous warm water.  We snorkelled, but didn’t see any fish.  There was another cenote there, which we visited.  It was another quiet one with no tourists, only locals.

By now we were very hungry and got back onto the 307 hoping for food.  Suddenly we saw a sign BAR, and I swerved off the highway and we headed down a long road, all the way to an absolutely darling bar and restaurant right on the sandy beach called the Bikini Beach Bar.

This became one of our favourite hangouts as Carlos made us the most wonderful huge pina coladas and margaritas ever seen.  On our last night we needed a margarita to go, and so on the morning we left we dropped by with their glass and a fond farewell.

Day two saw us heading to Tulum to tour the ruins.  Little did we know we’d be lining up in full sun for half an hour to get through the admission gates, but it was well worth it.  I don’t think I’ve ever been that hot in my life, and I’m from Osoyoos, so that’s hot.

We cracked up some locals at a restaurant as we’d ordered burritos.  They came wrapped in some green leaves which we thought hmm, these are tough but whatever, and tried to eat them.  A nice Mexican mimed no, and we said no?  and then realized oh I see the banana leaves come off, and the burrito is inside.  We were thrilled to be of such entertainment for the locals.

We then decided to drive off into the jungle to the Coba ruins after our lunch.  Our days always included tequila because we’d discovered it’s the only antidote for the sun, so we’d had drinks with our lunch and felt fortified for the trip.

The Coba ruins are quite spread out so at one point we hired a young kid named Jose Luis to pedal us on a tricycle.  He was a dear Mayan kid who explained he’d worked cleaning rooms at the Bahia Principe resort for 70 pesos a day.  We said that is one terrible place, and later I said to Margaret we should’ve made it clear to him we weren’t staying inside the resort itself as he must’ve hated us.

When we left the ruins one highway sign said Tulum and the other Cancun and as Akumal is north of Tulum we agreed we didn’t want to go south, just to have to head north, so would take the route for Cancun.  Surely there would be exits along the way.

This was one of the more interesting drives of our whole trip as we were on a small paved road, thick jungle on each side, the gas tank near E, Margaret’s cell phone out of power, and vultures circling along the way.

The road took us through the tiniest of settlements, just a few thatched roof huts, with some chickens milling about, but no signs for how long this road would go on.  After quite a bit of prayer, we came to civilization and realized we’d made a wide bow and were coming into Playa del Carmen where we got gas.

Three hours after leaving Coba we arrived home in the dark where Margaret said stop at the resort hotel as I need a margarita to go.  She went in and demanded two, they handed them over with some confusion, and we drove to the condo, thanking God.

The next day we snorkelled in a lagoon called Yal Ku, and went for a nice lunch in a giant thatched roofed restaurant in Akumal Bay.  We’d parked in a public lot, and as we’d snorkelled we didn’t bring a lot of money.  We ate and drank and when the bill came I said to Margaret oh dear God I don’t think we have enough money.

We panicked, counted carefully, and saw we could pay the bill.  When we left we realized we had no money to get the car out of the lot.  We’d browsed in a small store before lunch, and sheepishly had to go in and beg them for a return so we could get our car back, which they kindly did.

On our last day in Akumal we thought we should go and check out the beach at the Bahia Principe resort.  We had to pay $15 US to partake in their buffet which wasn’t all that great.  However it’s a lovely resort so it was interesting to walk the grounds and sit by the ocean.

The downside was the ugly fat old half naked people who were staying at the resort.  One grossly overweight couple sat down, ate two big plates of food, and left before we’d even finished our pre-lunch margaritas.  Those were included so we tried to drink as much as we possibly could.

Then sadly it was time to pack and figure out how to drop the car and catch the ferry to Cozumel.  Stayed tuned for Part 2.

I’m off to the Mayan Riviera next Week

Margaret and are going to meet at the Cancun airport, rent a car, and then drive to Akumal, which is about an hour south.  She’s flying from Vancouver, and we have direct flights from Kelowna, so I’ll be there about 90 minutes prior to her arrival.  God willing, of course, given winter travel in Canada.

Nicky’ll stay here with his filthy dog Fuji so that the cats and Louie are properly taken care of.  The little female cat, Iris, now knows how to use the cat door, so all three cats are fairly self-sufficient.  One thing I have to warn Nicky about is if the tuxedos run out of food they swipe the dishes off the shelf, crashing them onto the tile floor.

Here’s something disturbing.  I went to Value Village as it was 50% off and bought some tops, and then I decided to count how many tops I have.  Just on hangers, I have 77!  Add the folded tops in drawers and I must own 100.  This was very upsetting, even at $5 each top, it’s the insane volume that kills me.

So now there are many sections of thrift stores in which I can’t allow myself.  Besides women’s tops, I eschew the nick nacks as I can now shop in my own house for gifts for people.  However I’ve been looking for a small French press to take on my trip, and somehow came home with stone horse head book ends.

Because I don’t have a cell phone Margaret and I have to make concrete plans for meeting in Mexico.  I’m not really worried about it, as I know in the past whenever I’ve urgently needed a phone, I’ve been able to rely on the kindness of strangers.  Most people are so perplexed by the request they just hand me their phones. Of course then I hand it right back saying how do you dial this thing, and making them do it.

We in the Interior of BC are grateful for things such as direct flights to Cancun, however the departure time is a brutal 7:00 AM.  It means I have to get up at 4:00 because I want to leave here at 5:30.  With Nicky driving, and at that hour, I’ll be there in 15 minutes, and will have my boarding pass in hand.

As I’ve just counted my tops I can just imagine the volume of pants, capris, shoes, etc., however I’m already salivating for things I want to buy in Mexico.  One very useful thing is a litre of vanilla extract as it’s cheap there.   I hope that’s not some kind of nightmare at customs.

When I was in Mazatlan several decades ago I bought some leather goods which I hope to be able to buy this time too.  One was an adorable pair of leather sandals and the other a handbag.  Surely just one pair of shoes and one purse will be okay.

The worst of it is having to put on a bathing suit at this gargantuan weight.  However I plan to do as much snorkelling as I can, so I’ll just have to keep the cover-up on right to water’s edge.  I sure hope there are still a few colourful fish left in the world’s reefs.

I see it’s sunny and 28 degrees C in Akumal today, but then some rainy days are coming so one wonders what sorts of clothes to take.  However if out of 100 tops I can’t find a few suitable outfits then I should certainly pack in my shopping addiction entirely.