Thursday, April 20, 2017

On a Roll!

 We've been on a roll up here on the hill!  Getting ready for Easter.  Looking for Easter basket stuff - baking, cooking and getting ready for a family affair.

Easter has always been a special holiday for my family.  We, for years, would rent a beach house in Galveston, have fun dyeing eggs, cooking and having lots of people to share that time with each year.

It has been trimmed back now.  It's not in Galveston, but here in San Miguel.  Since Mati and Sebastian
have never had Easter in Galveston, they are happy with the egg dyeing and cooking and baking here in San Miguel. The family in Houston has great memories.

This year everything was a bit different.  Since Easter came so late, it coincided with Spring Break.  The kids spent a week with their Dad in CDMX (Mexico City) and were not here for the prelude of dyeing eggs, baking or cooking.  Grammy got to do it all.  For Grammy it sure was not as much fun!

An Easter bunny named Dennis brought things for the baskets from Houston, as there is nary a thing to be found in San Miguel with the exception of special eggs made out of spun sugar with scenes inside.  Remember those from your childhood?

Prior to Easter morning, I was informed that Seb had informed his Dad that he no longer believed in the Easter bunny but sure hoped he would get an Easter basket anyway.  Of course, the person who hid the baskets and eggs made sure that the baskets would be really hard to find.  A perverse sense of humor, I guess.

Of course, as the kids came through the gate, it was like a human tsunami.  Matilda had a system that she wanted us to follow where we stood in line, filled out a form in order to get a ticket to participate in the Easter Egg hunt and finally got the ticket.  Sebastian was apoplectic. He had already scoped out a half dozen eggs that he had already spotted.  BUT, we all patiently waited and then the race was on.

It wasn't til later that I realized that Seb went for the plastic eggs because he knew they would have something inside - preferably a coin!  Matilda went for the hand dyed eggs.  This year I had carefully counted how many eggs had been hidden so the fiasco of last year, when we did not find all the eggs, would not reoccur.  It did not.

The squeals of delight each time they found an egg and then the real squeals when they found their Easter baskets was enough to warm the cockles of everyone's heart.

These kids are getting so big!  If you look at the little photo at the top of the blog that was taken five years ago, you can see for yourself that it is quite possible that both kids will not be able to fit in my lap by next year.  They barely did this year!  (Thanks Carmen for this photo)

What fun!  The kids went home with their baskets, plastic and real eggs, tons of goodies in their basket and
leftover food from the Easter dinner.

Grammy (me) sat and relished the silence for a while afterwards.  As the tsunami of humanity drove away.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Lovely House for Rent in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (HOUSE IS LEASED)

 A very unusual event has occurred.  The house in San Miguel was posted in a previous blog post on
April 6th and had no inquiries!  Over 700 people looked at the post.  I am befuddled as to why no one
has leased the house.  The date of occupancy now has been extended to the earliest being June 15th or
July 1st for a one year lease.   This is a full house - not an apartment.  Highly unusual at the rental rate.
 Extensive gardens and views to enjoy.  Plenty of outdoor space as well as light and airy indoor space.

The living room/dining room/kitchen is an open concept space as can be seen in these photos.  The suede covered sofa is a queen sleeper sofa.  The coffee table in front of the sofa is on wheels which makes it easy
to move if one has guests.
 The house includes landline phone, 120 channel satellite TV with all your favorite stations, including two PBS stations!  Wifi is included as is all utilities - electricity, gas, water and maid service once a week.  It is yours to come and enjoy all the wondrous adventures, great restaurants and joyful life of San Miguel while having a quiet, tranquil house to live in.

                        Another view of the living room looking out toward the gardens and seating area.
 This photo was taken from the stairwell going to the second floor where the bedroom and bathroom are located.
 As you can see, there is access to the outside on each floor.  This delightful French balcony off of the bedroom is a perfect escape to watch the birds, enjoy the views while reading a book or drinking a good cup of coffee or whatever.

 The extremely comfortable bed is a queen size.  The bedroom is 16 x 20 ft. so it has plenty of room to act as a home office or small den/seating area as well.
 Plenty of closet and storage space for all that you choose to bring with you.
 The bathroom has a good size shower and window to let in a breeze and sunshine.
 On the roof terrace on the third floor are exquisite views of the canyon, the horizons and the mountains in
the distance.  Large old trees fill the garden areas. 

Located a ten minute walk or five minute taxi ride from the house, it feels as though you are in the country when, in fact, you are in the middle of the town!

The house rents for $850.00USD inclusive of everything except your bottled water and your laundry which is picked up and returned within a day, fluffy and clean.  Priced below market, this house is a place you'll
love and not want to leave.

To secure the house, the first and last month rent is required along with a security deposit of $850.00USD.

Come live la vida loca in San Miguel de Allende!  I'll be waiting to hear from you and meet you.

Gracias for taking time to read this.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Waiting A Long Time For IT To Happen!

This car brought me to Mexico almost seventeen years ago.  It has been a trusty steed.  With close to 200,000 miles on it, the Pathfinder still hits the road like a young kid.  Amazingly so.

When NAFTA went into effect about eight or ten years ago requiring that all vehicles be nationalized, if
possible, it was not possible for me to do so with this car because it was made in Japan.  Only cars
made in Canada or the USA could be nationalized.

If I had had a permanent visa, it would have been illegal for me to keep my import sticker on the car so for
the last sixteen years, I had a temporal visa.  As of November, I have had a permanent visa.  For one reason,  in order to keep a temporal visa, I would have had to go back to the USA, to the Mexican Consulate and reapplied all over again as though I had never had a visa.  With that, one must prove income of $2400USD per month or an exceedingly high number in savings or investments.  Rather then go through
that, I opted to roll over to a permanent.  This means that I never have to apply again for a visa.  It also means that my car is no longer legal, although I do have Mexican car insurance on it here in Mexico.

I drove the car to the beach in January wondering if I would get stopped.  One police officer did raise his
hand as I started to leave a toll booth, but he just wanted to talk.  And, then he waved me on. 

However, I headed out the other day to Celaya, which is about 45 minutes from here, to Costco in search of a spiral ham.  There is always a roadblock to check papers etc. of Mexican vehicles, but in the past they have just waved me on.  Not Tuesday.

A young, sharp eyed officer noticed that my Temporary Import Permit was expired on the windshield.  Now if I still had a temporal visa it would automatically renew with my visa.  He did not ask for my visa, but my
driver's license.  Stupidly I gave it to him - lesson learned.  He would say that my permit was expired and I would say no it was not that my visa automatically renewed it.

But, he was sharp, in a polite way.  He had a smart phone.  He would write in his comment in Spanish and translate it to English.  Well, we both know that the translation sometimes makes no sense, so I would shake
my head and in English tell him I did not understand.  This went back and forth for about ten minutes - me in English - him in Spanish.  I just wanted to see what would happen.

Ultimately, he said he would have to give me a ticket.  I said, "OK".  Then he asked where I was going and I said "Celaya".  Then I asked how much the ticket would be and where would I go to pay it?  On his phone he wrote 1100 pesos and I laughed and shook my head "No".  He then quickly changed it to 600 pesos.
That is about $30USD.  I asked him again where I would go to pay it and he said "Aqui".  Then I got it!

For the first time in over forty years of driving in Mexico, I was asked for MORDIDA.  I was astounded.
So, I gave it to him in order to get my Mexican drivers license returned.  Never did I get the ticket.......or his name.  With that I drove off and no further problems.

Several people had told me that if I got caught, that my car would be confiscated and I would go to jail.
Nothing even remotely close to that happened.  Every time I have ever been stopped by the Federales or in this case, local police from Celaya, the officers have always been very polite and not threatening at all.

So, now I know.  It was an interesting experience.  One I will chalk up to another adventure on the roads of Mexico.  By the way, no spiral hams at Costco for Easter dinner.  No hams at all!  That's life.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Halleluia...............I have overcome!

Probably for at least a year, I have agonized over the fact that I was going to be seventy-five years old last
Friday.  It caused me to reflect, panic and go into a slight depression for a little bit of the time.  Life

About four months ago it seemed that a BIG party would be the answer. Like the one that I threw for my sixty-fifth.  Hmmm, there is a pattern here when they end in a five.  I had fifty-five people here for a sit down dinner in the gardens.  It was delightful except for the fact that I was so busy that I hardly had time to visit with anyone.  So, that idea went away.

Then I thought well maybe ten or twelve people at a restaurant.  But, as the time drew nigh, I decided not to do anything and just make it through the day.

I guess having a BIG birthday is good for reflection and remembrance.  It certainly has been what I've done
for the last year, off and on.

Somehow, when the day arrived, it was a no-brainer.  Actually all of last week was really fun!  An impromptu invitation to brunch at a friend's house on Monday; lunch with two blog readers on Wednesday; a program by the International School and Matilda's dance performance on Thursday;and then lunch on Friday with two dear friends as well as the piece de resistance on Friday evening. Dinner with my son, John, his girlfriend Carmen and Matilda and Sebastian.  What fun!  Presents too.

                                       Nine year old Matilda in her costume from the annual school program.

                                          John and Sebastian waiting for dinner on my birthday
 The kids, happy.  They had their first Shirley Temple cocktail with two cherries as part of the celebration!
I LOVE this photo.  The frown on Seb's face is because he had to wait to dig into the birthday brownie and ice cream while the photo was taken.  Hilarious.

Then the best part of all was that Matilda and Sebastian came home with me.  The three of us slept together in my big kingsize bed.  Ahh, the memories.  Conversations.  Comments.  And things I noticed.

Matilda came into the kitchen on Saturday morning to help me make homemade biscuits.  As she sidled up to the counter, her comment, "Grammy I don't need the step ladder anymore to help you", stopped me dead in my tracks.  Where has the time gone?  How have they grown up so fast?  And, then my next thought was
I want to be around to see them grow ALL the way up.  The grandkids in Houston too.

The end result was I dreaded being 75.  Now I'm hoping I make it to 90, at least.  All because of  the love from family and friends reminded me that life is worth living.  Onward.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Casa Tranquila Available for Rent - Long Term (House is leased)

 Casa Tranquila is available as early as May 1st if someone needs a long term rental immediately. A long term is a minimum of one year.
It is a one bedroom (16 x 20ft) one bath, two story home located in Col. Azteca.  Besides the
lovely gardens there are breathtaking views of the canyon and mountains.  The sunsets are magnificent.
The house is well maintained with everything you need to move in.  All you have to do is bring your clothes
and personal items.  Everything else is provided.
 The first floor is open concept with a living/dining/kitchen area.  Light and airy due to many windows
that look out onto the gardens, it is an uplifting place to live.  The suede covered sofa is a queen sleeper
sofa. The large coffee table is on rollers so it can be moved if you have company and want to open out
the sofa to make a bed.
 Dishes, pots and pans, mixer, toaster, microwave etc etc etc is provided.  Ready for you to prepare a meal or to quickly heat something up.

The house comes with TV with satellite (120 channels), wifi, and plenty of storage.  There are two gas propane heaters for the two relatively cold months of December and January.  
 As you can see from the photos, there is lots of light plus drapes, if you want darkness.
 The house rents for $850USD a month which includes landline telephone, electricity, gas, water, maid service once a week.  Your only expense is to buy your bottled water(20 pesos) and to pay for your laundry which is sent out and returned folded.  The house rents quickly as it is priced  below market.
 This is a view from the stairs that lead to the second floor and third floor large roof terrace.  The house is approximately 1100 square feet.  The windows make it feel much larger.
 On the second floor is the large bedroom which many have used as a den/bedroom or office/bedroom
due to its large size.  It too has many windows for cross ventilation and sunlight.  The bed is a very comfortable queen size bed.  All linens are provided.  There are two closets.  The one in this photo and
another large one tucked around the corner next to the bathroom.
 There is a dresser and chest of drawers and another chest of drawers in the closet near the bathroom  along with a small desk.  A lovely place to sit and write or check emails, while gazing out the open doors to the French Balcony and the large jacaranda tree.

 The bathroom provides a large shower, commode and sink.  Along with another window with views to the West.
 Here is the view from the bedroom toward the jacaranda tree.  Out on the balcony is a lovely
place to enjoy a cup of coffee, a good book or a glass of wine to watch the sunset.

The roof terrace on the third floor provides unparalleled views in all directions and is furnished with a table and four chairs plus some additional seating to enjoy life.

The house is a five minute walk down hill toward the large fruit and vegetable mercado with another five minute walk to the main jardin and the Parroquia. There are two little tiendas within a block or two of the house. Cab service is available by either calling for a cab or walking to the corner and waiting for a taxi to pass by. A taxi costs 30 pesos ($1.50USD) Life is easy here.

It is a quiet colonia.  Very little traffic except early in the morning when the children across the road arrive
for school and at noon when they go home for the day.  Other then that, the only sounds are the birds, someone occasionally playing music and the church bells down in the jardin.

To secure the home, a lease is required along with the first, and last month's rent plus a security deposit of $850USD.

Sorry, no smokers or pets.

Monday, April 03, 2017

A sleepless, restless Night

Indeed, it started out all right.  I crawled under  the covers and then heard noises out on the patio right outside my bedroom. 

I have succumbed to feeding a feral cat for the last week or so.  The feral cat has been around for a couple of years.  Here even before Velcro the cat died!  But, I have not fed it until last week when I noticed that she was VERY pregnant.  I had to feed her.   Even though I've been told not to feed feral, I thought it was her except for the fact that she eats quietly and whatever this was was not quiet at all but moving the bowl around and making weird noises.

A couple of days later, while sitting with the doors and windows open, I heard little mews and crying from baby kittens!  I walked all over the garden and decided that they are in a clump of aloe vera that is six feet tall and about six to ten feet wide and six feet deep.  If they are in there, I cannot get to them without a pith helmet and a suit of armor.  That aloe vera has thorns about an inch long.  Mama cat would be smart to have
had them somewhere inside there.  At least they  would be safe, I thought. 

Then I never heard the kittens again.  I have continued to feed the Mama cat.  I thought it strange if she had already moved them, but you never know.

Last night I found out why she might have moved them or that they have met their demise.  ANÖTHER possum was trying to eat the left over food that I put out for the Mama cat!  I heard the bowl moving at about 11PM, got the flashlight to see if it was the Mama, but instead it was a big brown possum. 

The one who died a couple of weeks ago that I wrote about was grey and white.  I went out to retrieve the bowl, after I had put on running shoes and a big heavy fluffy robe as armor.  Heck, you never know if a wild animal is going to run away from you or at you.  This one just stood and watched me.  I could not have been more then three feet from it.  You can rest assured that I never took my eyes off of it as I picked up the bowl and backed up into the house.........

I turned out the lights.  Got back in bed and then my mind went crazy thinking about it out there and had it eaten the kittens.  I also wondered why in the world I have had three possums here in the last couple of months.  (You can rest assured there will be no more cat food outside)  Then I wondered how to get rid of
this possum!

I don't mind having created a nature sanctuary here, sort of, but couldn't it be sweet bunnies or something docile with no big teeth and claws that decides to take up residency?  So far it has been a coatamundi, a skunk, squirrels, feral cats and the good creatures - the hummingbirds, the red headed woodpecker, the vermilion flycatchers and the chartreuse birds that I have no idea what they are - oh and the gazillion of bats on my roof who decimate the mosquito population so that I can sit outside all year and never have any problems.

Anyone have any ideas how to get ride of possums?  I had the brainstorm in my foggy brain this morning to call Ecologia and see if they have a trap or something that they could come set and that they could come get when there is something inside of it.  I am going to check to see if that is a possibility.  Then they can take it
farther into the campo to release and let it live.

Stay tuned for the continuing saga of the possum.  Hopefully with no food other then berries in the trees and natural food, it will go away on its own.  Wishful thinking?

Friday, March 31, 2017

Purple Rain

With the bougainvillea blooming and dropping leaves in fuscia colors along with the jacaranda tree
 tree blooming and dropping purple blossoms, it is quite beautiful even on the ground without even
looking at the tree!  Although the tree is quite spectacular this year. The jardin is in its finery, although no jacarandas.
 But the photo below, with a view of the Parroquia church through the branches of the jacaranda is one of my favorite photos.  All in all, it is a perfect day - every day!