Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Jerry the Goatherd!

Those of you who have visited know that we have four goats (chivos) living next door to our house among the palm trees in the vivero (nursery). Even if you haven't visited, you can probably guess that we've grown very attached to the chivos and hope daily that they will not end up in a stew pot as birria. They actually belong to a neighbor of ours named Raoul, but he has apparently figured out that we will take care of them, so we don't see much of him. Jerry makes sure they have water, and once a week, goes to the feed store to buy them alfalfa hay. They love it. You can see their reaction in the pictures above...

BTW, we have a new look - I was getting tired of the old layout, weren't you? And if you want to see what I have been up to (drawing and painting), I've posted some of my pictures on flickr, .

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Our Daily Life in Bucerias....

Pictures include two ambitious geckos doing their jobs: one in the living room

with a moth and one in the bathroom with a very big palmetto bug.

The bottom picture shows the fruit growing on our lychee tree in the patio.

Friends and family have asked us what our life is like here, i.e., "what do you do all day?" As our friend Patricia says, "I don't know, but it takes all day to do it!" Actually, we do stay pretty busy.

So, I'll give you a rundown on the last 24 hours: yesterday afternoon, Jerry worked on the addition to the bedroom and I worked on a picture I am drawing of the terra cotta warriors. In the evening, we met our friend Harold (his wife Sue is visiting Patzcuaro and Guanajuato with another friend) at a little restaurant we call "Tacos under the Trees". The real name is Tacoz Itzel, and it is really just a few plastic tables in someone's backyard. Chickens, dogs and half-naked children run underfoot. There are tarps strung from the trees overhead to protect us from the sun and the rain. The food is delicious - muy rico. Big fat enchiladas and burritos and tacos filled with carne asada (grilled beef cut into bits), puerca (seasoned pork) or pollo (chicken). Wonderful salsas come with your meal - avocado, ranchero (hot) or verde (green tomatillos and chiles). They also have tasty agua frescas, juice drinks. Sometimes pineapple, sometimes horchata ( a rice drink with spices), and last night they had jamaica, which is an iced tea brewed from hibiscus flowers. It is deep red and tastes like cranberry juice. We all had huge enchiladas and drinks, and the bill came to $120 pesos - less than $4 a piece. Yummy.

We came home and had coffee with Harold on the patio. Jerry spent some time on the computer and I did a little painting before we went to bed. This morning - a repeat of the coffee on the patio as we enjoyed the coolest part of the is getter hotter each day and is 93F right now as I write this. Then we went to a meeting of the Amigos de Bucerias, a nonprofit organization of Mexican and foreign community members that works to make our town a good place. The Amigos have distributed trash cans all over town, and have also started a very successful recycling program that Jerry volunteers for every Thursday. I am the secretary of this little group, so I was there to take minutes. If you want to know more about the group, go to There is a good newsletter to read....

Then we paid bills - to Telmex to pay the phone bill ($640 pesos - about $60 for phone and DSL) and to CFE to pay the electric bill ($604 pesos for three months' service). You don't mail your bills here - just pay them in person, in cash. We came home and I made a chicken pasta salad for our dinner tonight and put it in the refrigerator to cool. Then we had some lunch: toasted bagels with ham and cheese, delicious watermelon and limonada (limeade). Now, it is time for a little siesta.....Jerry is already snoozing away behind me.

Our life is calm, peaceful, productive and good. We have made some fine friends and feel very lucky. We are beginning to feel like a part of our community. The only thing missing is YOU - whoever you are, reading this. Come and visit!!! We miss you!!!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Rainy Season has Begun!

Jerry ties rebar for the bedroom addition!

Who ever thought, having come from the land of perpetual gray skies and rain, that we would long for precipitation? Well, we haven't had any real rain here since early October, so we are ready. Everything is dry and dusty, and we welcome the rainy season to turn our world fresh and lush and green again. I am hearing a "pitter-patter" as I write this...soon it will be a "gush". We had a mini-storm last night, with a bit of thunder and lightning - just a small taste of what is to come. Also a very short power outage...that will likely become more frequent. The temps go up, and the humidity too, so we power down into S-L-O-W M-O-T-I-O-N. Jerry is working on a small (80 sq. ft.) addition to our bedroom and our friends Cheto and Xenon have been helping him on their only day off. The walls are up; the arched door and window are roughed in and the cement slab has been poured. Geting a roof on it is an important next step...I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

I finally figured it out....

I finally figured out what I was doing wrong and have successfully loaded a picture at last! Here is a picture of Amelia, Josie, Kim, me and son Jeffrey at the Yellow Crane Tower gardens in Wuhan, Jeff and Kim's home town in China....more to come.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Karen goes to China!

Last month, I had the opportunity of a lifetime: to travel to China and visit my son and his family, who live in Wuhan, Hubei Province, a huge city of almost 10 million people. China is unlike any place I have ever seen. Some of the highlights of this amazing journey:
  • Seeing my son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren! I haven't seen them for nearly a year, and Amelia (10 years old) and Josie (8 years old) have changed so much. They are a lovely family, and they are having a grand adventure.
  • The 2,000 year-old terra cotta warriors at Xi'an. Any traveler to China should not miss this amazing sight. My first glimpse brought tears to my eyes. There are nearly 12,000 warriors and EACH IS UNIQUE. They are guarding the tomb of the first Emporer of China, along with their horses and chariots, and were excavated serendipitously by two farmers digging a well in 1974. Xi'an itself is a beautiful city of 3.2 million people, and is the only city in China with intact city walls. There is a very picturesque Muslim market (did you know that there is a substantial Muslim population in China? I didn't.)
  • The Great Wall of China. Wow. What can I say? I could hardly believe I was there. I will never forget the sensation. What a privilege.
  • The city of Wuhan, with its impressive Yellow Crane Tower and East Lake Gardens.
  • Riding on a sleeper train from Xi'an to many people!
  • The ultra-modern city of Beijing, with its towering buildings and stylishly dressed people. They are busy preparing for the 2008 Olympics. Jeff and I had Peking duck at a historic restaurant there - it was SO delicious. Which brings me to.....
  • the food! I ate spectacularly tasty food everywhere I went. (I had to learn to use chopsticks very quickly, and I was powerfully motivated to do it efficiently.) We ate Mongolian hotpot, wonderful noodles, dumplings, potstickers, lots of yummy chicken, rice, unusual vegetables....sometimes, I was not sure what I was eating, but it was ALL good.

This trip has provided me with so much material for drawing and painting; I am already at work on it. There are spots of breathtaking beauty and color, in the midst of enormously crowded and busy streets. The traffic is even worse than Mexico's - I would never attempt to drive there! Despite the setbacks under Mao, the country is lively and bustling. It was a wonderful adventure and I am so grateful for the opportunity.