Saturday, July 26, 2014

Dos Palmas Update

It's been warm. Usually around 105-110, plus humidity. Mornings are abso-fucking-lutely gorgeous however, and by mornings I mean from daybreak (first light) to only 8 AM. PINK skies, breezes, 80-85-ish. I go up on the roof with my coffee (sometimes the coffee has a shot of Delfie's homemade Bailey's...) and sit there and peruse the hood. The dogs all join me there, 5 to 7 of them, plus Luther. I bring Milk-bones. It's magical, truly. Sometimes I'll drive around on the quad and check on mi amigas' plants, the watering having been delegated to Richard. He's doing a great job, but they're all struggling somewhat. Just too damn hot!

Then it's inside in the AC the rest of the day. Ron likes the evenings on the roof, sunset and after, but I go to bed around then. Lots of TV, googling stuff, books. I watch for bedsores.

We get visitors, often. Sometimes a stream. There've been water supply issues requiring much attention to levels in the cistern, breakages and repairs, and managing deliveries of water. There've been electrical outages, requiring attention to various freezers, fridges, and computers/satellite dish services. Birthdays, anniversaries. Not NEARLY as drama-free as I thought (hoped) it would be...

Just watched Jimmy Fallon from 7/24. Search for it on-line, you will NOT be disappointed. Morgan Freeman on helium. I was LOLing, which NEVER happens!

I see Patricia often, currently absent: in Hermo watching her mom's cats while mom's gallivanting. I see Richard and Jaq daily, and Eileen, Phil, and Enrique occasionally. Gary's been here, Tom and Helen dropped by for a few days, and Jill/Kim come out often. (She's the water MONEY person.)

So that's about it. Y'all hurry back.




Thursday, June 12, 2014

Father's Day



(This is a re-worked blog from a couple of years ago. Still holds.)

I wrote once before of the annoyance I feel when strangers "Merry Christmas!" me. (How Dare You Presume I'm Christian? ) I've begun to feel the same way about Father's Day. Why would anyone even say Happy Father's Day to a woman anyway? When the Walmart checker HFD'd me, I bit off a hurt reply as my eyes filled up.

I think "Happy Father's Day" is just not a very happy thing to hear for a whole lot of people, especially in my age bracket where we're losing our parents rapidly. I do wish a Happy Father's Day to people I know, who still have their fathers, and will presumably be celebrating that fact today.

My dad's been gone over 13 years, and Father's Day was a big deal for him and our family. It usually involved fishing, barbecueing, grandkids running around, sunshine, presents, and laughs.

They told me TIME heals, and it's true, I no longer have that ache in my chest, that fresh sense of loss and sadness that was there for so long. The thought of my dad now evokes a sweetness, an immediate enveloping warmth. Like he's hugging me. But not the phrase Happy Father's Day, not yet.

Here are a couple of fathers I DO wish a very Happy Father's Day to, though:
Ron with grandsons Eli and Dylan

Son Jon with  Dylan and Nora
Minnesota Barbecue, with dads Jon, Ron, Rene', and Brian.
Daddy Paul with Linny and our great grandbaby Oliver.
Son-in-law Don, with Caprice, Bryan, Max, and Linny.
Son-in-law Leben, dad to Ruby and Eli.

So I try to forget it's Father's Day. My favorite Dads are hopefully being feted and adored, even if from a distance, and my own Dad is hugging me once again.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Summer in Paradise



I've written before about my brown thumb, or inability to keep plants alive. Ron's quite talented in that regard, but my skills are being tested. My friends have me watering their plants for them in their absence, and I do become quite anxious because I can't tell if I'm doing it right or not, because I don't know what healthy looks like until they're not. It's getting very warm here, over 100 every day and closer to 110 often. Then there's the added concern everyone has over the cost of the water: we pay 7 cents a gallon for our water (I think, it may be 7 pesos, can't recall). Nevertheless, the overall goal (per mi amigas) is to just keep them alive, they don't need to be flourishing.

Yesterday, I accidently left Jan's drip system on for 11 hours instead of 1 hour. Forgot. That'll cost me...So her plants may be flourishing shortly.

Bette's drip system is getting an overhaul this weekend by Al and us. The timer doesn't work anymore, and several of the little dripper things need replacing.

Karen's plants are flourishing with only weekly watering. Go figure.

And MY plants! Here's my little brain cactus, producing it's SECOND flower! It sends out a long stalk, blooms one day, then nothing. But it's gorgeous and smells amazing!
Brain cactus flower. And Luther.
AND! One of the big Saguaros in the front has decided to blossom for the first time. The bees love it.


I've decided to water the blooming things in our own yard more often despite the cost because it's so fricking hot. If I'm drinking like a fish, I figure they need more also? And "flourishing" would be nice to see, for once. That Saguaro gets more water than the other Saguaros because it's next to our pitiful Bouganvilleas that I'm trying to coax into covering that low cactus-rail fence.

Then I'd been reading about some of the trees we have, and discovered the local Seri Indian tribe utilize their seed pods. I've asked Jack to make me a press (involves using a jack, like for changing a tire?) I found plans to make one online, a Mother Earth-type website. So I go around collecting seed pods into baggies, and hope to someday have Jojoba Oil for lotions and hair care, mesquite flour (yeah, right, like I don't even bake with regular flour), and Palo Verde sprouts and peas.
Jojoba nuts. Same size as and resemble acorns.


Palo Verde Seed Pods
Here's how Desert Harvesters CLICK says to do it:


EAT: Palo Verde flowers can be eaten raw in salads or candied for use in desserts.

Although they can be eaten raw, both green and dry/brown stages of seeds may be most easily digested when blanched, sprouted or cooked.

After blanching green pods, salt and eat the green Palo Verde seeds from the shell like edamame. Or use them in salads or soups, as garnish, or sauté or roast with seasoning.

Dry seeds are best eaten simply sprouted, or sprouted and then parched/roasted. To sprout: soak overnight and then rinse daily until seed coat splits open and sprout emerges. Remove sprouts by squeezing the split seed coat. Rinse with clean water and then use sprouts raw or lightly cooked. To parch/roast: Sprout seeds just until the tiny root emerges (1-2 days). Dry seeds in the sun, solar oven, or conventional oven set to 150 F. Once dry, put seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat to cook until seeds pop. Season with salt or other spices.


Ron grew this Palo Blanco from seed, so I've been harvesting it's pods to grow some more. The ones that grow naturally on the short cut road to Kino Nuevo are tall, willowy, feathery and graceful. So far ours is stunted and bizarre, sort of a Dr. Suess tree...
Palo Blanco Seed Pods

I moved the screen porch furniture around for better conversation areas and ocean/wildlife viewing. The futon usually has a dog sprawled across the whole thing, but the glider and rocking chairs are comfy too. And now I can fill that big dog water bowl from the hose outside.


That thing in the middle is the Dos Palmas First Aid station, with defibrillator and oxygen.

Hummer watch, and Bette's Mint plant, alive but not flourishing.

So that's what I've been up to. Plus a lot of Jammies days, TV, and googling stuff. Patricia's arrived, which livens things up a bit, and I do still go beachcombing/clamming early mornings on the ATV. That will probably have to stop as it gets hotter, but not yet. 

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

Jack

Sunrise
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.

Hookup!

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.