Back from the Yucatan

The trip started in the usual way:  I could neither open my car door nor roll down the window to pay at the toll booth on the highway between Cancun and Valladolid.  How to exit the vehicle wasn’t a question that was top of mind as we hopped into our rental car and sped off.

After discovering how to open the door, I was wedged tightly between the booth and my car as I’d been planning to hand the money out the window.  Somehow I was able to give the laughing man some bills, got change, and scraped my way back into the car and we drove off, shaken.

When we arrived at our little Air BNB house in Valladolid, we inspected the car and were able to locate the buttons that allow one to open and close windows, and exit the vehicle at will.

Margaret and I were in Valladolid for two nights last year, and this year we stayed for six.  We were lost walking every day, and one day lost the car and I was sure we’d never find it again.  Traipsing up and down streets in 30 degree heat and humidity is tiring.

But you know we love the heat and sun, especially in February, and the weather was great every day.  To get out of the heat, we toured a chocolate museum and an ancient convent, ate at nice restaurants, and wandered through a 16,000 square foot private home turned into a museum filled with Mexican folk art.

One day we drove all the way to Rio Lagartos which is on the Gulf of Mexico, thinking we might see flamingos.  Then we learned it’s another three-hour boat trip from there to the lake where one might see them, and due to the cold wind that day, we said no thanks.

By then we were already cornered by one of the tour operators, and so to placate everyone, we ate in their chilly restaurant.  It had a palapa roof, so it was in the shade with a whipping wind, and to make matters even worse, their margaritas stunk.  The final insult was a small white female dog being assaulted right beside us by a large brown male dog.

We took another road trip to the beach at Akumal, and had lunch at the Beached Bikini Bar which we both love so much.  If you like good food and drinks with your feet plunged deeply into white sad, this is the place for you.

On the way home we were hosed at the Pemex in downtown Tulum, then read about it on Trip Advisor, but too late.  If you’re ever in a rental car in Tulum, don’t stop for gas there, as they will cheat you.  That’s the only time in three years of visiting Mexico that we were ever fleeced.

We visited a beautiful cenote just outside Valladolid in the small village of Chichimila and were the only people there at first, then were joined by three young people and a dog, all of whom jumped right in.

After six days in the state of Yucatan, it was time for our next stint in Quintana Roo on the island of Holbox.  The island doesn’t permit vehicles so we drove to the ferry dock and parked in one of the many parking lots there.  This turned out to be very easy to do, the only handicap being the amount of luggage and bags.

Margaret and I enjoy shopping so we usually arrive home with extremely heavy suitcases.  But we’d read there’s not a lot of shopping on Holbox food-wise, so we also had groceries with us from the house in Valladolid.

We took the small ferry which came with live entertainment.  A nice Mexican fellow sang several songs, then came around with his hat.   After twenty minutes we arrived in Holbox, and hopped onto a golf cart taxi which drove us to our first Air BNB, a cute second-floor apartment very close to the little village.

The owner’s dad lives on the ground floor and feeds dry cat food to the raccoons.  We saw a lot of them prowling around the edge of the swimming pool in the evening.   I didn’t mind them as we live with raccoons around this house, but the people from Massachusetts renting a ground-floor suite weren’t all that thrilled with them.

It turns out if you want to cook you must buy most of your ingredients at the equivalent of a 7-11.  This is what led to the tostadas.  We found a package of those, and managed to find lettuce, an onion and some tomatoes, plus a can of refried beans.  I was therefore able to make some type of dinner with that.  Several dinners.

To get fresh fish from the fishermen, one must be at the dock at 8:00 AM, and despite always being awake at that hour, we were never in the mood to be dressed and downtown by then.

The little village is stocked to the brim with cute Mexican stuff, and Margaret finally bought a set of pillow cases after three days of haranguing around with the shop owner.  She’s a fierce tiny woman with a four year old girl and twin boys of about 18 months who she nurses on the couch in her store.

Besides being adorable, the town is filled with nice restaurants so we always had a delicious lunch out, and on our last night we tried the lobster pizza for dinner, and it was good.

We moved to the point called Punta Coca for our last three nights, and stayed in a solar-powdered free-standing little house just a stone’s throw from the white-sand covered beach.  Of course it has a solid, wooden roof, but on top of that they’ve added the cute palapa for appearances.

An iguana family lives up there, and so Margaret couldn’t sleep the first night, I guess imagining them busting through the wooden roof into the loft bedroom and going for the jugular.  We switched rooms and I then slept like a log up there for the last two nights.

The three days on beautiful Punta Coco flew by with days of collecting shells on the beach, swimming, having lunch at Frida’s Restaurant and drinks at the beautiful beach bar.

Then I was home, and surprise! Became a gramma so now have a grandson.

I’m Off to Mexico Tomorrow

I’m all packed, ready to go, with three alarm clocks set for four AM.  I hope knowing that will assist in my ability to sleep for several hours.  Or not, and then I’ll have to try to sleep on the plane, sitting up, missing my bed.

Nick and his partner are in the basement so they’ll babysit the house, dog, cats and birds.  Can you believe those jays now demand peanuts?  I put out bird seed but they now just leave it and call to remind me of the nuts.

Margaret and I’ve been twice before so were not at all confused or upset by the mystical directions sent from the first Air BNB host.  We know with the Mayan spirit infusing all things, we may be within metres of the house, but to actually get to it might take quite a bit of time and effort.

We’ve had things to get through here, such as Margaret’s car needing a new alternator, the basement plumbing was backed up and a plumber had to lift the toilet to snake it out, and my overhead lights in the kitchen died suddenly yesterday.

I now have a standing lamp plugged in, as well as various other small lamps on the counter so will have to deal with that upon our return mid February.  Right now, I could give a rat’s ass about something like that.

I set a goal of writing a story in order to submit it to the Okanagan College Short Story Contest, and I just sent it in along with my $15.00 fee.  Besides daily yoga I now realize I do have time to write.  Retirement messes with your head, though.

You get up and think I have all day to do whatever I want, and by two PM I’m looking at the clock thinking why start something now?  But I’ve found I’m able to fit in yoga by convincing myself it’s good for me, and I bought a package of dog-themed stickers and I get one every day that I write.

It’ll be a nice break to be away from CNN and MSNBC as I have an addictive personality and need to have that spell broken.  I’m amazed it’s okay for the American president to do whatever they want, whenever they want, as long as they truly believe it’s to the benefit of the American people.

If you’re as old as me you’ll recall the Conservative leader Kim Campbell’s ads about Jean Chretien’s face caused the party to be reduced to two seats.  Now that’s a sensitive populace.

I’ve got five books and two magazines for the trip as I see there could be thunderstorms when we’re on the tiny island of Holbox where there aren’t any paved roads.  We may be stuck inside for a while.

Margaret wants to take a boat trip to a couple of nearby islands, and I said sure, no problem, unless the weather’s bad.  I said I don’t want to be reminiscent of Gilligan’s Island, you know, “the weather started getting rough, the tiny ship was tossed, if not for the courage of the fearless crew the Minnow would be lost.  The Minnow would be lost.”

Home Sweet Home

I’ve resumed weekly tap dance classes at a place called Luki Dance Studio, and I just love them.  It’s Saturdays at 9:00 so it gets me out of the house early which is nice, and quite rare these days.

It’s amazing how wonderful and relaxing retirement is.  If I don’t feel like doing something, I don’t do it.  How great is that?  Because as I’m sure I’ve said in the past, I wasn’t one of those people who was crazy with joy to be heading to work every day.

I liked all of my careers, and it was fine as I never had to tar roofs or lay asphalt on a July day, but I still had to get up at a set time and be somewhere for a fixed amount of hours.  I chafed against that.

And so on a daily basis I find myself thanking God with gratitude at being in my own home, dog and cats inches away.  I get the odd sewing project going, and enjoy the company of a You Tube video on UFO’s at the same time.

I while away the time with things like baking, either for the young couple downstairs, or for my mom, and making various food items they like. Then there’s my own keto brownies, fudge and other strange items to make for my low-carb life.

Now that I’ve discovered Yoga With Adrienne on You Tube, I choose one of her videos every single day.  I do it like brushing my teeth.  It took a full month of writing ‘yoga’ on my calendar after doing it until I was able to trust myself without the visual reinforcement.  Now I just do it.

I’m also working on a short story that I want to submit to the Okanagan Short Story Contest which is due January 31st.  I tried to write in the past without an end-goal and found my lazy ass prevented me from completing any to my satisfaction.  With a deadline I’m hoping I’m able to complete it and submit.

As I’m writing this there’s the most wonderful blizzard going on.  Tree branches and roofs are heavy with snow from days ago, and now more is falling so it’ll be hell shoveling our way out of here tomorrow.

We have arctic flow warnings of extreme cold for the next three days as well, so I wonder how my dahlia bulbs and fig trees will survive in my garage.  It’s insulated, but at minus 25 I wonder how cold it’ll get in there.

It’s probably appropriate at this time to make myself a keto cocoa, which is almond milk, cocoa powder and stevia.  It’s really quite good, you should try it.

As extraordinary and beautiful the heavy falling snow is, I have to admit I’m pretty excited about our impending trip back to the wonderful Yucatan.  For the life of us Margaret and I cannot get the Mayan spirit out of our systems.

We leave January 31 and I’m hoping for a heat wave between now and then as our first house comes with a pool, and from past experience, the water in them is mighty cold.  However cold is a relative term as I look out into my wintry world.

Don’t Forget to Look for Miracles

Here it is, the last blog of the year, and I wanted to remind all of you to look for miracles.  Don’t just hope for stuff, but actively look and you’ll be amazed at the miracles around us all of the time.

Here are some recent ones I’ve experienced.  A couple of days after the anniversary of my granny’s death, my pet golden orb spider came out, looked right at me, and disappeared never to be seen again.  It came out to say thanks, pal, we had a great run together.

Then there are the blue jays who recently decided to hang around, and so I buy peanuts in the shell for them.  In the mornings as I’m cleaning the kitchen I hear them call, and I race out and pour peanuts on an inverted bee hive lid.

The bastard cat caught one of the blue jays when I began to feed them, as I was putting the peanuts on top of a round cedar bush.  I had no idea the cat would have the temerity to jump straight up through sharp, dead sticks to grab a bird, but of course. I went out at that very moment, which startled the cat, so the bird flew off.

I then decided feeding birds in order to lure them into the yard for the cats would be bad karma, so now I have the peanuts in the lid on top of a large green recycling bin.  I pushed it into the middle of the yard so the birds can see a predator, AKA a tuxedo cat, approaching.

I saw more miracles in the drama and beauty of the way the clouds billowed upward toward the full moon the other week.  Then one morning while it was still dark I saw the oddest lights around a solitary star and thought wow, aliens!  Or a miracle, take your pick.

I listened to an interesting TED talk about reality, and some of those people can really help you see things in a new light.  Since we manifest so much anyway, and find it normal, I think we may as well go into full-on miracle manifestation.  There’s no reason for them not to be as real as those things we’ve constructed and call reality.

However it has its limits as we all know it’d take the miracle of all miracles to get that conman out of the White House.  Maybe my hero Nancy Pelosi has something up her sleeve, given her strong belief in the power of prayer.  You go girl.

Due to my penchant for thrift store shopping there are about a hundred presents under the tree, so it’ll take a couple of hours to open them all tomorrow evening.  This will be followed by coq au vin for dinner and chocolate mousse for dessert, all thanks to another hero, Julia Child.

I got a gift for the dog as last year Louie was given one and freaked everyone out by picking the right gift to open.  He’s brilliant, let’s face it, so this year we’ll see if he can do that adorable trick again.  If he can, hey! Another miracle.

It sure makes life a lot more fun to witness miracles every which way you look and in everything you do.  May this be the season miracles start occurring for all of you!

Corpse Pose

I’m happy to report I’ve been able to maintain at least thirty minutes a day of yoga practice, and sometimes I do the full hour class.  All this on-line at home, which is so nice because I can do it whenever I feel like it.  I often have at least one cat and the dog within inches of me, observing.

Sometimes I do one of the power yoga classes, wherein we do ghastly things like do a downward dog, then stand on one leg and bring in the other to hover, with the leg tucked in to the knee, holding, then returning out, then back to the knee, holding.  At times like this I visualize how I won’t be decrepit with back problems when old.

We also do painful stretches, and my stiff hips are now complaining at night.  But I think nuh-uh, you are going to be supple into your old age.  Anyway, for a reward, at the very end of these classes, the best part is called the corpse pose.  As it sounds, you lie down on your back, arms comfortably at your sides, palms up, breathing deeply.  Ahhhhh.

And as it’s hatha yoga there’s a lot of meditative thoughts and relaxation to begin and end with, so it’s all to the good.  It’s helped while I watched the highlights of the impeachment hearings on You Tube and wondered why proven facts were being called “fake news”.  I found all of that really stressful as no one likes gaslighting.

I made the first two German Christmas stollen of the season and also homemade marzipan to go into the middle of them and they were absolutely fantastic.  Now watch, I’ll make the recipe again and it’ll stink.  Baking’s funny that way.

I was just in Osoyoos to help mom with her dental appointment.  She was getting two teeth implants, and had a complicated medical regime to follow. So I said I’d come down and figure it all out which I did.  Mom had to take four Amoxicillin, one steroid and two pain killers 90 minutes prior, which she took.

The implants went smoothly and in three months she’ll get a bridge stuck to them, and then have teeth on the upper left side of her mouth again.  Isn’t that great, to be nearly 95 years old, and decide dentures are never going to happen?  Of course it takes tremendous tenacity to go through all of the prep whereby they drill these ghastly looking metal posts into your gums in preparation.

The next day I asked mom how she was feeling, and she said fine.  No effects whatsoever from the meds, or the implant operation itself, so mom’s pretty much a medical miracle.  The night before, after the procedure, I gave her two ounces of brandy in warm water and she happily drank that to help the meds.

I went to Rona and got two rolls of Christmas lights because tomorrow’s December 1st and Denis is due to come over and put them up.  I want to have lots this year, and they’re all LED so hopefully not too crazy with the energy consumption.  I got a red and white set and one all-blue, so that’ll keep him and Nicky busy for a couple of hours.

We’re also going to Grumpy’s Tree Farm here in East Kelowna for my tree, so I’ll get that set up and decorated, and then do the house’s decorations as well.  By late afternoon it’ll be time for everyone’s favourite, the corpse pose.

I’m a Fan of Standard Time

Is it just me, or does Standard Time give everyone the illusion of endless time in a day?  Today I got up at 5:00 AM feeling fantastic, and so by around noon I was sure the day was over, but no.  An immense amount of time was still just sitting there, waiting.  I don’t know why I feel that way on Standard Time.

Hence I decided to put my extra time to good use, and now do twenty to thirty minutes of yoga a day following Yoga with Adrienne on You Tube.  It seems to go well with my regime of the healthy smoothie in the morning, and juicing vegetables at lunch.  Sadly, everything outside of that is basically my lifestyle going to hell in a hand basket.

Though I have to say following the keto diet is an easy way to lose weight and it’s not all that unpleasant because you’re not counting calories so can eat immense amounts of food.  It’s strange because you can eat all manner of fat, and still lose weight.

The good thing about it, too, is that you can drink hard liquor so I make myself a diet faux Margarita with tequila, lime juice, stevia and club soda.  At Happy Hour at a restaurant I just tough it out with tequila and club soda with a wedge of lime, and forgo the sweetener.

I never eschew the fries and burger though.  That’s how far keto goes: to the door of Happy Hour.  The crones and I are becoming quite experienced at where to go for decent drinks and food.  I could order the prawns, or something else keto, but I don’t.  I want carbs carbs carbs when I’m out, and my eating habits provide general amusement as well.

That tedious and annoying Golden Orb spider that’s taken up residence on my kitchen window is still there and now the window is filthy.  Research I did on the web state they live for about one year, but “die in late summer or autumn.”  So I’m looking at it going, um, isn’t it time you shuffled off to Valhalla there, Mr. or Mrs. Spider?

I learned a great lesson at thrift yesterday, and it’s one I actually know, and which my very experienced pal Elsa has explained to me as well.  When I was at the Mission Thrift Store yesterday, I saw a Cuisinart on the shelf and as I broke mine, I thought hey, I should get that.

But then it didn’t have a price on it, and I couldn’t see any volunteer around to ask, so thought I probably don’t need it.  Then I changed my mind, returned to the shelf, and it was gone.  I looked at the till, and there was a woman my age talking to the cashier about the price.  I think it was around $20.00 which annoyed me no end, and again, I know not to leave an item on the shelf

I made the same mistake while shopping with Elsa a while ago.  She said you should always take the item and carry it around, if you change your mind, you can always put it back.

For some unknown reason the Rotary Centre for the Arts hasn’t offered tap dance again, so I’m going to be taking it from the instructor’s own dance studio, which is fine with me.  Now that I’ve spent a hundred bucks on tap shoes, I’m damn well using them.  Plus I’m no longer taking singing lessons so I have to fill these hours of Standard Time.

Spider as Pet

A couple of months ago I noticed another Orb spider had taken up residence, this time in my kitchen window.  The last one lived on the French doors in the dining room.  This spider (she?) has made a web that goes from top to bottom and ends on the ornaments on the shelf, taking up about a third of the window.

I certainly couldn’t kill it, so at first just left it alone, careful not to touch anything on the shelf in order to leave the web undisturbed.  However lately I’ve started to worry about the spider’s lack of food, and so have taken to catching small moths and planting them on the web.  Sometimes the spider races straight down and grabs it, and other times the carcass can hang there for half a day or more.

This confirms my reluctance to own chickens is well-founded, as when I had the bees I’d be worried sick that they might be too cold, wet or hungry.  So chickens are out.

I guess once the last of the moths has shown itself the spider will die a natural death and I can clean the window and ledge.  It’s amazing the amount of fly blood she’s dropped on the sill.

I didn’t name the spider and it’s just as well as I have to think of a puppy name for next year.  God willing, I’ll be receiving a standard dachshund puppy and I find it very hard to find the right name for a pet or child.

I harvested the last of the dahlia blooms just in time as the next day frost had killed the plants.  I’ve dug out all of the tubers and put them in tubs filled with peat moss and stored them in the insulated but unheated garage.  The fig has to be moved in there, too.

Margaret and I went on the Kettle Valley Steam train at the end of September on a lovely sunny day and it was a great experience.  You have great views of Summerland but sadly they were only able to preserve 10 miles of track so you return the same way you came.

After having been to Mexico where every ruin has hawkers by the hundreds we were quite surprised at the one train stop where everyone can get off for photos.  There was a lone person selling baskets of raspberries for $5.  We were a captive bunch of tourists wanting to spend and buy but there was nothing to buy other than the berries.

Both of us love entrepreneurship so imagined the types of articles that could be produced and sold at this kind of a stop.  We said you could do replica trains, or else something fruit-industry themed, or some Native souvenirs.  Anything would sell there.

I’m now busy door-knocking and phoning for the Liberals so can’t do a single thing until after the election.  I watched the debates the other night but find bickering nerve-wracking so I think I’ll give the French language debate a miss.

But honest, don’t you find it hard to stay off CNN these days?  With that little stinker Donald Trump shooting his mouth off daily mom is having a total ball.  She has no time to phone or visit with anyone because she says as soon as she leaves Trump alone for five minutes he’s done another stupid thing.  Hard to disagree with her.