Monday, March 24, 2014

Warming Up!

Mid-March and starting to warm up nicely. SO lovely to wear shorts and tank tops instead of sweatpants and hoodies again. Plus it's Flip-Flop weather! My toes can't breathe in shoes.

Most of our neighbors are packing up, taking off for the summer. Rumor has it that it gets hot here in the summer, this will be my first. We have two AC units in the casita, plus it stays cool in there (2 foot thick walls) if you don't shut them off and go north for a couple weeks all the time. May become a captive in here and develop cabin fever. And since I found out it costs the BOMB to keep the trailer AC on, I'll be moving Barbilou's Studio to the casita when it gets hot.

I had a stressful few weeks here in February due to dysfunctional neighbor issues*, and of course immediately had a Ramsay-Hunt relapse. The Bayonets, I call it, when it feels like a bayonet is thrust through my ear and comes out my eye. Happens with extreme fatigue or stress, and is treated with antivirals, steroids, and high-dose Neurontin. Which led to a horrible cold, the flying mucous kind. Not a fun month, and I missed a lot.

* One neighbor (the loony chanting religious zealot, a local) was trying to steal electrical wire up a tall ladder on a power pole. Electrocuted himself, fell and landed on spikes.
* Another one, depressed, nearly drank himself to death, and I made his Canadian family take him home.

It's been a fun winter none-the-less. None of us were sure how it would be with the RV park closed, but there are so many residents now on "the hill" (Dos Palmas neighborhood) that it was great. Really laid-back, much less scheduled-up-the-wazoo functions, and lots of Jammies Days. Love me my Jammies Days!

Still going up to Tucson for VA appointments every month, mostly Ron's. Able to get my fix of KFC and Jack-in-the-box tacos then, and stock up on stuff you can't get here: diet tonic water, good hot dogs, dill pickles, pastrami. Other than those, we've become accustomed to the food here and it's good. We eat at Pancho's every Friday.

I've kept busy in the trailer making stuff, and it's been selling. Keeps me in Gin and Tonic! This winter I've been doing a lot of clay stuff and glass assembly stuff. Love making the clay stuff, hate painting them because I'm so terrible at it. I sound like Homer Simpson the whole time "D'OH"! I need to buy clay in colors, I suppose, but it's too pricey.

Three glass Garden Totems/Bird-feeders. Plus Luther...
Three well-shod clay friends.
Ron's done some fishing, but his elderly boat keeps needing parts. Between that and the wind here, he gets pretty frustrated when he's off the water for so long. Here's the Yellowtail haul on one of their trips:

Cap'n Ron with Jim B and 4 of their Yellowtail
They got 12 of them,  200+ pounds total, which is Sushi grade and sells for $23/pound in the states. They gave most of it away to friends. Jim and his son Jimmy smoked a lot of it (FABULOUS!) and we eat it often. Mi favorito is when it's marinated in Teriyaki sauce.

Ron's boat, next to my tiny Nissan.

I do not miss Show Low or my mobile home whatsoever. Yet. (May change my mind when it gets hot.) We have a tiny bit more social interaction than I prefer despite fewer people here this year. "PLANS" are great until you actually have to put pants and a bra on and go somewhere. I mostly just let the cat/dog in/out, eat stuff that's too picante, drink gin and tonic, watch the birds, and make stuff. Throw in some beachcombing, ATVing, Ladies Who Lunch, and segunda shopping trips, and I'm good.

I had to make a new rule for myself: No gin before 11:30 AM. So, shortly after that I had to make another new rule: no beer before 9:30 AM. You need to recall that I'm always up before 3 AM, done with chores and errands by 9, and ready for relaxation. Have only had one "too much to drink" episode to date, a KLK lunch where wine was all they had to drink. Can't do wine.

I'll be doing the necessary watering for a few neighbors again this year, worrisome to me because I'm the worst gardener ever. I'll make them write down exactly what's expected and when. I can follow lists.

Here are some more of my latest listings in Barbilou's Studio:

Three clay pipes and a seashell one.

Hummingbird pendant

Mouse holding Teddy Bear pendant

So the summer promises to be a hot, casita-bound, reading and creating art, dorado-fishing, early morning beachcombing/clamming, evening sunset-watching, and lots of TV/internet sort of journey.

Can't wait!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Still putting one foot in front of the other...

I have not posted in a long time, but all's well here in paradise. Trying to adapt to retirement, and succeeding slowly. I think I was depressed for a while. After 38 years of being The Answer Man, saving lives, blahblah, it's a bit of a jolt to lose that portion of my identity. But my new identity (Contented Indolence) is making inroads, and I'm in a good place, as they say.

Speaking of good places, when my Dad died from pancreatic cancer (I fucking hate you, cancer) I heard ”he's gone to a better place” and ”it's god's plan” so many times I wanted to punch people. Um, no, he's just gone. And was god's plan truly to make this delightful, noble man waste away in tremendous pain for two years before dying in a hospital? Never getting to see his grandkids get married or enjoy his great-grandchildren? Man, what a jerk your god must be. Maybe say something instead about his love for his family, or his sense of whimsey, or what a mensch he was. 

Sorry for that segue...

So life in beautiful Dos Palmas after retirement? This year's quite different because the RV park we belonged to has been sold and is empty. Some of the RVers that used to come every winter have found spots up here in Dos Palmas, but lots more are simply not coming any more. There are only 7 full-time residents here, but this winter there are maybe 20 more, plus a few in Kino. We get together often for holiday and birthday celebrations or happy hours. There's a twice-weekly poker game, some of the women go in to town for exercise sessions, and the men stay busy repairing water line leaks and wiring thefts. And there's always the beach.

Christmas Day lobster dinner at Marlin restaurant
Luis, our local builder,  came to cook chicken over an open fire,
 a thank you to the neighbors who threw work at him this year.

Bette's birthday lunch at Marisco's

My classy friends, Friday night dinner at Pancho's, best restaurant in town.

I've been spending large blocks of time in My Studio (the trailer) with painting, sculpting, and assemblage. Turns out there's quite a bit of satisfaction in creating art. Who knew? My "canvases" are old, weathered boards, discarded tiles, even rocks, which requires scavenging for them on the beach or construction sites. Or the dump. Also all great fun. You may click on the link below to view my collection.

 Products from Barbilou's Studio

Coffee Cups painting, a gift for Karen-the-caffeine-addict,
copied from one seen on Pinterest.
Polar Bear (with hiney) pendant!

There have been a couple of craft sales, one which had very few shoppers and was a huge disappointment, and one we organized ourselves and was terrific! But apparently nobody had a camera that day. I've also been making these bird feeders from vintage glassware found in thrift stores. They're selling well:

Aside from my studio time, my days somehow fill up with mostly idle pursuits: ATV rides on the beach, trips to town for alcohol and cigarettes, browsing Pinterest (huge time suck, SO addicting) and letting the dog and cat in and out 23 million times a day. Ron and I go to the VA in Tucson once a month for healthcare and to stock up on pet food and good hot dogs. Mexican hot dogs suck. We get to Skype with son Jon Mark, Nora and Dylan often, always a joy. I miss them all so much! Here are their screen shots:

Aside from Jon Mark and sometimes daughter Sandi, we rarely or never hear from the rest of the family or friends, although they all know our Skype service here (a Minnesota number) accepts regular cell phone calls, which are usually perfectly satisfactory. (The VA in Tucson calls a LOT.) We are reaping what we have sown: moving to Mexico and abandoning them all must still rankle. Fair warning to anyone considering retiring here... So if anyone has lost that number I emailed to you all, just email and ask, I'll reply with alacrity.

Here's what I made Ron for Christmas: all our progeny in one place. Great-grandchild, children, and grandchildren. On my antique rod and reel. I sit and stare at it often. Saw it on Pinterest.
Pinterest Picture. They only had 4 to deal with, in fairness...

Mine. Nailed it!

Coming up in February: another Tucson trip this week.This time I'll stay a few days with mi ailing amiga Jan (sidelined with a compressed nerve in her spine and doped up with pain pills) while Ron returns here with Jan's esposo John so John can acquire more stuff. Then our anniversary on the 14th (numero 32). There's a Senior Prom (I kid you not) at Club Deportivo for Valentine's Day. The weather's warmed up beautifully, the sunsets are amazing, and life is good.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Mal de Mer

I get seasick. Even wearing a Scopalomine patch, I get seasick. Even on a day when the sea is flat, I get seasick. I knew all this, and until yesterday have mostly succeeded in avoiding going fishing with Ron on the Sea of Cortez. He wore me down, and I went, just to get it over with. Possibly never again. I hate nausea worse than I hate pain and spiders.

We took our neighbor Jack with us, too. Our boat has had more than its share of mechanical breakdowns this year, and I prefer Ron has a second set of knowledgeable hands on board. Plus I love Jack.

Left home at 5:30 AM, were launched and at Ron's "spot" at Isla Estaban at 7:30 AM. So far so good.

Cap'n Ron


The first hour or so of slow trolling for Yellowtail (tuna) was fine. We were surrounded many times by huge schools of leaping, cavorting Dolphins, SO much fun to watch but difficult to capture with the camera. And I finally learned the difference between a Dolphin and a Porpoise: Dolphins have that curved dorsal fin and a definite beak. Porpoises are smaller, have a triangular fin and a rounded snout, no beak.

See the curved fin?

See the beak?

At 9:00,  Jack hooked and landed a Yellowtail, maybe 10-15pounds. I had begun to feel a tad queasy at this point, but not too bad. Yet.


Ready to net it.

Nice fish, Jack!

I decided to go lay down in the tiny "cabin" for a while, try to feel better.

Dozed off for over an hour. When I woke up, I felt worse, but apparently the patch was keeping me just shy of actually vomiting. I went to sit in the back of the boat, and suddenly the rod in the holder next to me jumped, whirred, and nearly caused an accident in my pants.

Fish On! At 11:00, Ron landed his Yellowtail, maybe 15-20 or more pounds.

Nice fish, Ron!
There was just one more fish, a small skipjack or bonito or something (which they kept to use for bait for bottom fishing), and I'm feeling worse and worse. Convinced them to cut the day short, and they were both OK with it. Trolled a bit on the way back near Isla Turner, then back on the trailer by 2:15 PM.

It took a while to gas up, wash down the boat and wait for the workers to clean our fish, but just being on land again, I felt a bit better.Was home at 3:30, and my friend Jan had arrived! We had large Gin and Tonics to celebrate, and by bedtime, I felt OK.

Never again.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

This is what it's all about!

Beginning to get used to this retired thing. A few days a week I don't even shower or get dressed. Eat when I'm hungry. TiVo everything and watch them when I want. (I hate that zombie commercial from Sprint that airs 50 times a day.) Beachcomb for treasures on my ATV: found a hand-made slingshot yesterday! And am happily, almost giddily anticipating the arrival of some of my friends this week!

I've kept sort of busy stressing over the responsibility of watering plants for my neighbors. I actually have a brown thumb, no clue whatsoever what plants need, so was thrilled when Al and Sal arrived yesterday, gardeners extraordinaire.

The football season affords me ample crafting time. I go over to the trailer (Craft Central) and create. Made curtains for three trailer windows out of a khaki twin bedsheet. Lots of photos, you can click on them to enlarge for details...

Plus I've been churning out these Jellyfish, made from Sea Urchins.They'll sell at the local craft fairs.

Also have been rearranging furniture. Sold the small futon to Ann G., and decided I wanted the large wicker one in my screen porch. We use that porch a lot because the weather has turned BEAUTIFUL, PERFECT!
Also moved my best finds in years to the porch: two orange wrought iron rocking chairs. Had seen them in a yard in Old Kino, and kept going back there til I found someone home to sell them to me. 300 pesos for both! They're getting a fresh coat of Rustoleum Orange paint when Jan arrives tomorrow with the paint!

The table and chairs were moved out to the RV pad. Eventually there'll be a palm-thatched cover over that and the trailer.

And my new red quilt arrived, looks good in my red and turquoise bedroom.

I love my new casita living room with my Show Low furniture in it. Spend a lot of time moving shit around. Still awfully crowded.

That's not a stain on the carpet, just the nap askew. Have removed the hand-painted "awning" that was over the sofa, hope to put it up over the desk if the hay bale walls will hold it.

Have been attending the Friday night Happy Hours at Club Deportivo, but they're quite a snooze so far. Should improve after some of our neighbors arrive.

Loving life here. My cat Luther follows me around like a shadow, loves going with me on my plant-watering rounds. The dog Sofia discovered she's better off on the sofa at night with TWO people in the bed, which is great because she has ticks. Am using Cedar Oil in the casita and on her, seems to help. Plus Frontline and a flea/tick collar.  Going out on the boat with Ron in the morning, my first time. Will apply a Scopolamine patch tonight to prevent seasickness, supposed to be calm tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Here it is, all moved in!

Facebook Friends, you've seen these.

Non-essential boxes and excess furniture all stacked in the garage. Since these photos were taken, Ron installed a second air conditioner in the bedroom: I'd been sleeping in the trailer because the bedroom was too hot. It got to 115 IN THE SHADE here yesterday!

Living room with my Show Low Furniture. Note Sofia on sofa...

Trunk at foot of bed, holds sheets, and my stuffed cat. There's a red bedspread coming!

Ron's gigantic TV in a small room...

Looking toward kitchen, Knickelbein;s old recliner.
Our trailer, AKA Craft Central.

Trailer interior

Trailer interior

Need to find a TV for there. That's my Amigas with Cocktails picture!
The cat Luther is getting used to it all, and the dogs know he's mean. It's incredibly hot here: did I mention it was 115 in the shade yesterday? The AC's in the casita keep it between 80 and 85, but the trailer AC is frigid! Haven't been back to the beach because of the No-See-Ums. I read, watch TV, nap, repeat. Jaq, Larry, and Eileen visit, and I go check on the absent neighbors' plants periodically.

Just waiting, biding my time until mi amigas come home.