Archive for March, 2015


Sunday, March 29th, 2015
Tapalpa Church

Tapalpa Church

John and I are trying to get out more and see the sites. Last Sunday, we went to Tlalaquepaque for lunch and poked around the shops there. It’s a lovely little town albeit touristy. It’s clean with nice shops (lots of Mexican glass and weavings) and loads of restaurants. The nice thing is that it’s less than half an hour to get there.

This morning we ventured out a bit farther, to Tapalpa. It’s a little town about two hours away, up in the mountains. The last 30 minutes are slow as you go through some hairpin turns. We had lunch at a little place with excellent queso fundido (melted cheese). It’s Palm Sunday, so the square in front of the church was packed. I think we had just missed a procession; tons of people had their palm fronds and were going into the church. Those that weren’t in the church were at the outdoor market where lots of pots, pans, dishes, and toys were being sold. The streets are all cobblestone – quite cute.

The draw about 10 minutes outside of town are the piedrotas, or really big rocks. You can ride horses around the field or take zip lines from rock to rock. Or, just admire them, like we did:

Tapalpa Rocks

Tapalpa Rocks










Yesterday I worked in the office all day, writing my annual employee evaluation. They’re the bane of our existence – all narrative. We all hate them but at least I pretty much have mine done! John treated me to a nice dinner afterward at a place up the street from us that we hadn’t been to before.

I’m super-happy because mangoes are officially in season now. When John and I don’t have time for lunch, I’ll grab a big fruit cup from the little cart across from the Consulate. For less than $2, I get a huge cup of mango, papaya, and watermelon – delish!

I’ve talked to Mom a few times this week and she seems to be doing fine. We had trouble with a couple of the temporary caregivers – they stole $300 worth of stuff on the Walmart card we use for them to buy Mom’s groceries. I spoke with the agency, and they won’t be back – obviously. But, geez, it’s always something! But I think Mom likes the ladies who alternate staying with her now, so hopefully we’re on a roll for a bit. I’m sad to hear that Aunt Bonnie is not doing well but is home from the hospital.

Here are a few more photos from Tapalpa.

Tapalpa Street

Tapalpa Street

My soup came out of this pot

My soup came out of this pot

Weaving palm fronds

Weaving palm fronds

Procession actor

Procession actor

Palm Sunday in Tapalpa

Palm Sunday in Tapalpa

March madness

Sunday, March 22nd, 2015

Monday was a Mexican holiday,so we were off work. We had a lovely, slow rain all day and we just stayed at home. I got Mom’s taxes done (thanks, free Turbo Tax on-line) and John worked on ours. We continued to put things away and tidy up the house. We went over out list of things in storage and decided to bring a few more things to post, like our reclining sofa and master bedroom furniture (can’t wait to get the king-sized bed back!). We topped off the day with an episode of “Justified,” and watched the last “Mad Men” episode to get ready for the new season.

Work was hectic when we got back on Tuesday – there never seems to be enough time in the day. I worked all day Saturday just to get some messy cases finally cleared off my desk. What makes a messy case? The ones I worked on yesterday were mostly about identity – adults who have never applied for a passport before, who show up with an old birth certificate and no ID, or ID that they just got recently. You have to figure out (or rather, they need to prove) that they really are the person named on the birth certificate. Sometimes they are, and sometimes they’re not. Sometimes the birth certificate belongs to a sibling or a cousin who has died, and this person is trying to take over their ID and American citizenship. We also see identify theft cases where someone else was issued a passport in “their” name, and we (with the help of our fraud department) have to figure out who’s who. It’s a bit like playing detective, and it’s fun!

Last night we went to a fun dance party that a co-worker threw – lots of fun – I hadn’t danced in a long time!

Mom seems to be doing OK when I’ve called this week, although it’s difficult to understand a lot over the phone. Several folks have gone by to visit her and I know she appreciated that (and the milkshakes and flowers!). The nurse called me to report she seems in good spirits and her general health is fine, so that’s welcome news.

I got a lovely Maira Kalman book in the mail this week – what a nice surprise from one of my favorite people!

Where did this rain come from?

Sunday, March 15th, 2015



It’s been rainy this week and it has continued into the weekend. I like it, actually, although it’s a little chilly and damp. The locals seem to think the rain is early this year – I don’t know since it’s our first spring, but I did buy some cute rain boots while I was in Arkansas, so I’m ready!

Monday night we hosted book club at our house. The electricity went out just before it started and it stayed off through most of the meeting. We moved it onto the balcony to take advantage of the last bit of sun, then we lit candles – it was actually kind of neat. I have to confess that I didn’t read the book, but we always enjoy hosting and I liked the discussion.

We tried a couple of new restaurants this weekend. Thursday we went to El Gordo Steaks – we had heard they had good steaks. We really enjoyed the ambiance but weren’t that crazy about the meat; we’ll go back, but will try some of their more traditional food instead. Last night, on our way home from a “pi” party (to celebrate pi=3.1415), we had a really nice dinner at Ofelia, a rather up-scale, quiet place. I had really good prime rib and John enjoyed his filet. We’ll definitely go back there.

Saturday John and I spent the morning at the office. He was watching some of the guys work on the air conditioner and I worked on insurance claim paperwork and the documentation I need to file with the government of Mexico to recoup the tax we pay on things we buy here. It’s tedious, but with 16% tax, it adds up and makes it worth your while.

Today we braved the rain and weekend crowd to go to Costco. We had gone to Sam’s a few months ago but were pretty disappointed. Costco was great, though. We loaded up on meat to put in the freezer, plus picked up a few other things we needed. It felt pretty much like being back in the U.S.

Mom had a really bad day on Tuesday. There was a fill-in caregiver; I’m not sure if she was the problem or if Mom just got depressed, but I called her around 11AM and she burst into tears and wouldn’t stop. It was horrible. I called later that evening and the new caregiver Suzie had arrived and Mom was doing much better. Suzie took her out on the back porch on Wednesday and I think Mom really enjoyed that. Caregiver Debbie arrived today; the plan is for her to be one of Mom’s “permanent” caregivers; ultimately there will be two of them that rotate four days on, four days off. I’m anxious to get them into a good routine so Mom can get used to them.

I’ve spent most of the afternoon today working on Mom’s bills, making sure everything is up to date, setting up on-line access, etc. I just don’t want anything to fall through the cracks.


Sunday, March 8th, 2015

It definitely feels like spring here. The high today will be around 80 degrees and the beautiful purple jacaranda trees are blooming.

We went out for a nice brunch this morning with our Canadian neighbors Mike and Ester – they are so nice and fun to be around. They introduced us to a hopping little Oaxacan place where I had a delicious omelette with poblano sauce and John had something with mole. We got there a little ahead of most Mexican families – by the time we left there was a long line waiting to get in.

We tried a new restaurant on Thursday with a large group of folks from the Consulate – the food was good, nice outdoor atmosphere, etc. And it was nice to socialize with everyone.

Saturday, John and I both went to the office to try to get a little caught up. I just needed to clean off my desk, and do general clean-up on my emails and electronic files – things that you can’t seem to get done during the day. In the evening, we went to a party to welcome a new officer and his partner – lots of yummy vegetarian dishes.

Mom seems to be doing OK at home. Her first caregiver, Carmen, quit the agency, so there are some other ladies filling in for a couple of weeks before things settle down again. I imagine this won’t be the first time that happens; I’m glad we have the agency to deal with it. I spoke with the hospice nurse one day, and she said Mom was doing alright. I really appreciate friends and family who have gone by to visit her – and thanks to Cousin David for getting a plumber out to install a handhand shower in the bathroom!

Back to Mexico

Sunday, March 1st, 2015

The last eight weeks have been such a blur. I left Guadalajara on January 4th and was working in Monterrey when Mom had her stroke. I left Monterrey and was in Hot Springs until this past Wednesday when I finally returned to Mexico.

Mom seems to be fairly well settled in her house, so I felt OK about leaving (as OK as I’ll ever feel). The caregiver tells me that Mom’s cat has started sleeping on her bed which makes me (and her) very happy.

My departure was hastened a bit by the threat of more snow and ice; I left Hot Springs the night before my flight and spent the night near the airport in Little Rock, then flew standby to be sure to get out before it all hit.

It’s so wonderful to be home again. For one thing, the weather is about as perfect as you can get – high 70s or so, sunny, and clear. I stayed home on Thursday to recuperate, then went back to the office on Friday – I’ve never been so glad to return to work!

John and I are spending a relaxing weekend at home. We went out for a nice alfresco lunch with margaritas and fresh guacamole yesterday. We watched “Birdman” and started getting caught up on “House of Cards.” Flavie is glued to my lap. Life’s good.