June 28, 2008

Red letter day

Today the movers came and took away the 65 boxes of stuff for crating to Mexico. It was two young Mexican guys, and it frightened me to watch them haul the stuff into the truck. It only took about an hour. If any of it survives unbroken I will be amazed--especially the dishes!!! But its out of my house now and I was able to vacuum where a vacuum hadn't been for months now.

On a cheerier note (ha, ha) my tooth is starting to misbehave and I fear the dentist is in my imminent future. Oh ick, I'm sure he will drill. How can my tooth be so evil?

Esperando's project is fully funded now, so tonite we will go out to have a nice dinner and celebrate that and the arrival of our new as yet unnamed granddaughter who was born yesterday morning. What a little beauty she is from her photo. I am glad her mother has a lot of helping hands around.

This afternoon we have been mapping our drive down to Baja and figuring out places to stay. It is sort of a mini vacation with stops in Albuquerque, El Paso and San Diego. It looks ok as far as San Diego, then when we get to Baja the decision is between Ensenada or San Quintin. San Quintin is about 200 miles closer to Santa Rosalia so that part is good, we just have to find out if the hotel will take pets. The hotels in Ensenada that take pets sound like real dives but maybe San Quintin really isn't any better. I guess we won't really know until we get there. Ensenada has such an enchanting sounding name and sounds like it would have a little more action than the other, but then all we probably really will want is a nice bed, a decent meal and a chance to hit the sack early for a long day of driving.

June 24, 2008

The language of flowers

One of the things about publishing a blog is that Esperando daily asks me if I have updated it yet. I keep explaining to him that it isn't a daily thing, it is just a whenever I feel like it thing. Although some people NEVER update their blogs (you might know who I'm talking about, R.)--still you have to be in the mood for it.

Today I had a goat cheese, roasted eggplant and red pepper sandwich, which the dog elected to share with me, out in the backyard. Then I got inspired to put on my swimming suit to catch a little sun. Since I wouldn't play ball with the dog, he decided it was too hot outside and I had to get up and let him back into the air conditioned house. And then the cat decided if the dog wanted back in, he did too, so I got up again. By then it was getting hot, so I came in and started looking at 100 Old Roses for the American Garden, by Clair G. Martin. One thing lead to another and I ended up taking more pictures of the roses and other flowers in my yard. It struck me that is a good thing, I will be able to remember my summer garden once I move to Baja whenever I look at my flower pictures.

While my mother and sister were here we tried to figure out what kind of roses might grow where I will be, and the choices are few--the climate zone appears to the same as southern Florida, though quite frankly I would suspect its a little drier. Maybe we will be carting a rose or two down with us in the car!!

I am pretty sure I will be able to grow zinnias. They like really hot sun. What a pleasing flower. I have purchased a bunch of seeds to take along with me. And our new house, Casa Abeja, has a flame tree in the backyard (though it is still small). Esperando and I walked through a nursery in Loreto, and they did have a fairly decent amount of plants, unfortunately they were limited to about 15 different plants: bougainvillea, hibiscus, lemon and orange trees, a peach tree--well that's about all that comes to mind, but there were a few others.

June 21, 2008

The party's over

Well my sister and mother went back south this morning, but we took a quick tour of Target before they left town (just to squeeze in a wee bit more of shopping.) I bought some tasty looking jerk sauce for the bbq for when Esperando gets back next weekend and some other food items that probably weren't needed.

After they left I pulled most of the weeds in the front yard, then made a shopping list for groceries but am so uninspired that I'm sure it won't happen until tomorrow. It is quite warm outside now and I started up the air conditioner last night instead of opening a window, as it never cooled off quite enough.

The dog and I have been reviewing his new protocols. If he's lucky he gets 5 minutes of practicing stays. What a bad mother I am. He IS getting better at it, but we should be doing alot of it. It is just as exhausting for me to hammer him as it is for him to behave. I will say he didn't jump my guests like he used to, but he also seems to be slowing down with age so its hard to say if the dog lessons were the reason for it.

What a dull day and what a dull entry--well you just can't be scintillating all the time.

June 17, 2008

Bird Lessons

One of the things Esperando and I have always enjoyed in a sort of amateurish way is identifying the birds in the various countries where we have lived. We had a bit of discussion about spending $175 (choke) on a book exclusive to the birds of Baja (costly because it is out of print). At the urging of another bird focused colleague, we decided to bite the bullet and go for it. The book arrived a few days ago and never have I felt more cheated--lots of descriptions but not a single photo or drawing to identify anything.

I have been reviewing some of the bird photos we took on our last trip, and I keep coming to the picture of this big black guy who is famous in cartoons and images of the bleak Mexican desert. He has nothing to recommend him. He smells bad since he is fond of eating roadkill and other dead meat. But, he looks so great perched on the top of a cactus that it almost takes your breath away, especially when that image is something that is so typical of Mexico, yet when you see it you can't believe its real.

We know him in the US as the Turkey Vulture or buzzard, but in Mexico he is called a zopilote or buitre. He ranges from southern Canada to the southernmost tip of South America. With a wingspan of 68–72 inches, the buzzard has dark brown to black plumage; a featherless, purplish-red head and neck; and a short, hooked, ivory-colored beak. It finds its meals using its sense of smell, flying low enough to detect the gases produced by the beginnings of the process of decay in dead animals. Lacking a syrinx—the vocal organ of birds—its only vocalizations are grunts or low hisses. In the US the vulture receives legal protection under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.

Now watch out for the hissing! Don't you feel smarter?

June 15, 2008

Monday morning

After a very pleasant sunny weekend spent walking around an antique car show, buying roasted green chiles at the farmers market and giving the dog private lessons to become better behaved, Esperando has quit this joint and has winged his way back to Vancouver. We had two really nice evenings sitting late into the night in front of our chimenea burning scrap lumber and listening to our favorite songs.

I finally finished packing and numbering all the boxes, figuring what country stuff came from, making a valued inventory for shipping. All I have left to do is wait for the curtains ordered online and the desk from Office Depot to show up. The movers will come June 30 and send our 65 boxes down to Baja. Best deal was finding Ken Edwards (a great Mexican potter making hand decorated ironstone) salt and pepper shakers on ebay for the total price of $10 including mailing! Unfortunately I am still haunted by the untouched boxes in the basement, but fortunately I don't have to deal with them for a couple of months yet.

My sister and mother come on Tuesday and we will go paint the town red. In the meantime I have a few small errands to run, some weeding to do, etc. The dog is acting quite strange after dog training class. I guess he realizes the game of jumping on visitors is over and being a better dog is not his desire.

The garbage man finally came 3 days late after I called to complain, but after all cheese and fish sitting out in the hot sun gets REALLY smelly.

June 10, 2008

An uninspired day

Packed Esperando off on the airplane to NYC this morning after cutting his hair. His hotel room is $700 a night. Outrageous! I told him he has to take photos of it. I'll bet he goes some place really fantastic for dinner too.

Yesterday we had great weather and the opportunity to hangout and barbecue, and sit into the night in front of our chiminea. Esperando discovered that the paper from our shredder makes great starter fuel, except now there are little white shreds of paper blown all over the lawn. Today it is back to being cold and windy, the house needs cleaning and the laundry done. The wind keeps knocking my poor little tree rose in its pot over which is really cruel. My mind is racing with a million things I need to do.

The gardener is out in back mowing the lawn. Our yard has finally greened up from the winter and looks good now. The hum of the mower would be more annoying if I didn't realize that the yard will look the nicer for it.

June 9, 2008

The whirlwind tour

So to our trip—we landed at Loreto on Sunday and went to check the dining table and chairs shipped from Monterrey to Conchita’s Curios. Although we were told the shop owner Conchita would be there, we found the shop shut up tight as a drum—she had gone to La Paz and no one could tell us when she would return. Cruised by the shop Bazar Loreto that sells Ken Edwards pottery, and it was also shut. This is the touchy one as that owner is an elderly lady who shuts down the shop for 3 months during the hottest part of the summer. Her health is not good and I am afraid she will croak off before I can buy pottery. So then we got on the road to Santa Rosalia earlier than anticipated. The 2 ½ drive did not seem so long this time.

We spent the next 3 days in Santa Rosalia walking through the guesthouse (Casa Boleo); taking measures and seeing what had been done; interviewing guesthouse staff; putting a down payment on our house (Casa Abeja) and measuring it. We found a cook and housekeeper out of 4 applicants. I am excited about the staff, I hope they work out well. Interviewing in Spanish was difficult for me not so much the speaking but remembering what I had said. After the third interview I could no longer remember which applicant I had told what to. I started out pretty well but dissolved into Spanglish as the interviews proceeded—the worst moment was when I said “week-o” instead of “semana.” Esperando Esposo also interviewed a couple of people for mine positions and tried to get REAL work done sandwiched around that and immigration issues. He has to get a his FM3 (like a Mexican green card) stamped with a domicilio or next time he goes into Mexico they will not let him leave the country—so he has been told. It is a complex issue requiring a lot of paperwork and 2-4 days to process. Fun, huh?

Then we drove back on Thursday to Loreto for the flight to La Paz for the furniture and appliance purchases. We probably chose appliances in about 15 minutes and spent another 40 minutes trying to organize the payment. Then on to Ramos, the furniture store where we purchased living room furniture. We stopped at Galeria de la Paz whose American owner is a red-headed wonder woman: she has great taste in furnishings and gets great stuff from all over Mexico. We bought a few pieces for Casa Abeja. After that, a night of great margaritas and food at Las Tres Virgenes and then back to Loreto for a day of R&R. Conchita is open and we check out her bedroom stuff and make another attempt at Bazar Loreto, still barred and chained. I will keep my fingers crossed that she opens her shop again in September.

Conchita gave us great pointers on a local restaurant supply distributor, Dali. We are so lucky! It is the answer to my prayers for how we are going to find the good food we will want to feed people. And it may be they will even deliver to Santa Rosalia if we order enough quantity.