Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Official Senior

Receiving my first Social Security check today! We're having a big bonfire tonight to celebrate, all the neighbors and friends will  BBCS (bring bottle, chair, snack).

Kind of cool to have the occasional perk of getting old. My leaky bladder requires incontinence pads, my hip is unreliable and needs a cane at times, deaf in one ear, blind in one eye, blood pressure in the stratosphere, but they pay me now.

Haven't blogged because nothing's new or different. Weather's perfect. Social opportunities to avoid abound. Making art from trash. Going to Tucson every couple of weeks. Ron doesn't drive any more, he's being worked up for dizzy/falling episodes, so I'm the chauffeur.

Some photos

I grew this Amaryllis from a kit I got for Christmas.

Our Valentine's Day Wedding Anniversary. I wore those shoes pictured at the top...

My Sofia with Jack's puppy Lily
Fridays we eat here, Pancho's.

This is Pancho.

Garden totems, glass and china glued together, then add little clay figures I make.

Dragonfly, from turtle bones. Has a real Pelican beak.

I believe I'm emerging from whatever that was, depression? Wanting to go to the beach more, ride the ATV, shop the Segundas. I'm drinking less, but still watch more TV than my grandkids. Oh well, it's better anyway.

Friday, December 12, 2014

On Turning 62

THIS birthday is a welcome one, as I have been missing my salary post-retirement and will receive my first Social Security check on February 18.

As my blog header says, life has continued to throw it's curves. I just spent my first entire summer in Kino: too hot, too humid, too many bugs, hurricane.  I think I became so depressed this summer that it's been slow to dissipate with the return of great weather and my snowbird friends. And even THAT is different, as some of them aren't going to be here until after New Years, and one isn't coming at all this year. 

Events in the states have me sad and disgusted as well:the bigotry and racism actually make me ill.
Am almost ready to give up. Throw in the towel and move to another country. Oh, wait, already did...

I fail to understand. Ferguson. Bullying-caused suicide. Anti-Immigration. I don't even understand looting: where in one's background can a child ever hear/see that looting is OK?

I grew up in Minnesota, never really even met anyone of color until high school. Despite my mother having been raised by a racist, she knew not to "let it out", and it actually stayed hidden until her dementia hit hard. So it never occurred to me to judge and find wanting. There was only mild curiosity and an eagerness to learn about someone different from me. Children learn bigotry early. I guess I thought once my parents' generation were dead that we'd be home-free. Unfortunately, the kids are still learning it, and I think it's being beaten into them now. Here's a quote that appeared on my OWN Facebook page, a relative, a young adult with a child that will also someday disseminate the fear, hatred, judging, bigotry, racism, and venom.

"Hey Mr. Obama I hope slip an fall on 2 aids dicks while ur n China for vets day...."

Nice, huh? Mighty Christian. Racial prejudice AND homophobia all in one sentence. I suppose the good news is this one only has one child of his own (so far) so perhaps in time, HER children will not inherit the bigotry gene...

Sorry, long segue.

SO! 62. Sure does show. The bladder can't be trusted, the knees can't tolerate extra weight, the loose flesh actually is quite distracting while reading in bed (jiggles on the periphery of my visual field), and for the first time since I was 10, I can't drink coffee any more without horrific heartburn. Trying to switch to herbal tea, lest I begin drinking gin and tonic too early in the day. Find myself wanting my supper before 5 PM sometimes...

I watch for signs of dementia, as the females in my family were rife with it, but so far I think I'm OK. And to those who believe my recently-acquired intolerance of poor behavior in anyone is the onset of dementia? My new mantra is:

I just really wish I'd learned that at 9 years old instead of in my 60s. 

My days are tranquil for the most part. I do see friends and neighbors some, I learn stuff (internet), I watch a good bit of TV, I watch the hummingbirds. They go through a quart of nectar in 24 hours, counted 20 at one time, at the feeder that only has 12 holes. Stacked up like planes at LAX. And I look for properties to buy in Minnesota.

No more summers in Kino for me. We intend to maybe drag our lemon of a travel trailer to Minnesota this June and buy a small cabin somewhere. My caveat is it must have water to look at: lake, river, pond, I don't care. Any water will have ducks and geese. Ron's caveat: as much hunting land as possible, and preferably adjacent to state or county land. I have 75 or so properties "saved" on various websites, not that any of them will still be available when we get there, but there'll be fresh ones by then. Here's my current favorite:

Sebeka MN Cabin on the Crow River
followed by this one:
Cook MN Cabin on the Sturgeon River

So that keeps me occupied also, scoping out our future summer home. I've been more sedentary, perhaps a bit agoraphobic, staying inside and avoiding contact with people somewhat. Not sure what that's all about, but not going to worry or apologize for it. It is what it is.

Lots to look forward to: More friends here soon. Social Security checks! Minnesota and grandbabies! And tomorrow night is dinner out at one of my favorite restaurants with our friends to celebrate my turning 62. Life is good!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

I can see the light!

At the end of the tunnel. Summer in Kino Bay seemed interminable. I see I haven't blogged since July 26th. Well, really there wasn't very much of note to record.

Here's what happened in August.

Hot with Hurricane

Less hot, with bugs

And I have now had the AC OFF for large blocks of the day! We put it back on late afternoons, as the sun heats up the front of the house then, but I leave the bedroom AC on most of the time. The concrete blocks of the bedroom addition are warm to touch ON THE INSIDE!

While it may be cooler, there's of course a downside: those effing NoSeeUms. Swarms, hordes, blankets of them. So I am still a casita captive. This is my new remedy for the bites, only one that's ever worked, from Pinterest:

But I use a lighter to heat my spoon, people think I'm about to get high. This stops the itch for several hours minimum, sometimes completely.

So, the Hurricane Odile blew through here a few weeks ago, but damage was minimal. Torrential rainfall though, and yes, we had leaks: the water came up over the front door sill and into the kitchen. The trailer roof is just one big sieve, had 8 pots catching water. Probably dumped 60 gallons from those pots, had to run over there every 1/2 hour. (That trailer, what a lemon!) A couple of neighbors had water damage inside, one had a broken window. And the dirt/sand roads were gone. Could barely tell the roads from the rest of the landscape. They've since been dragged, and are now deep soft sand. Need a grader out here, between $300 and $400 I'm told. Everybody pony up, it's not like the OWNER of Dos Palmas is gonna pay, you know...
Ron resealing trailer roof, wearing headnet for NoSeeUms.

Everything is green and lush now, looks weirdly tropical, Cactus-Chic. And we all have "lawns".

Derrick's lawn

Our yard
I had a recurrence of my Ramsay-Hunt syndrome this week, a bad one, with the Bayonet-through-the ear-and-coming-out-my eye. Underlying burning pain over entire face. Blisters in the ear.Unbalanced, twitchy. Fatigue. Getting better (steroids, antivirals, Neurontin, hot pack for the ear.) Need lots of rest, but I then pulled something in my back and can't get comfortable. I'm a mess! My friend Patricia actually washed my dishes for me yesterday, unasked. She and Jack bring us stuff we need (Ron's back's been bad all summer). Good friends.

Grande camarones now 160p/kg. And fabulous, except last night's batch had some not-so-grandes in with the grandes...

We're starting to eagerly anticipate the return of our snowbirds. Bring 100% DEET. I prefer the Sawyer Maxi-Deet (low-odor) but Repel-100 works too.

Also, there's a nice house for rent for the season, contact me for contact info.

OK, to the roof for the sunrise. After DEETing, of course!

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!