Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Adios to sweet May....

In the midst of much happiness and accomplishment, some sadness occurs. That is the full flavor of life, and we must taste it all. One of the goats who live next door to us has died.

If you read this blog, you already know that Jerry and I have a deep affection for the goats that share our world. They live in the vivero next to our house, and since their owner is absent most of the time, we care for them, i.e., feed them, make sure they have water, have conversations with them, take pictures of them, etc.

A few days ago, the pretty little goat we call "May" became ill. Over the period of just a few hours, she simply lay down and died. Her owner, Raul, did try to give her some medicine, but his attempt to make her better failed.

Her amigas miss her terribly. Poor June, the other grown goat, just stands and stares at the place where she died. She is not even interested in a tortilla snack. Her kid, Noelle, cried all night the first night. Virginia, the other kid, has been very kind and nurturing to Noelle, and she seems to be doing better.

Although Jerry's family kept goats when he was a child, I have never had any exposure to these sweet animals. They have such gentle spirits - who knew?

May was the most gregarious of the group - always the first to come over to be petted, always nudging her way to the front of the group when snacks were offered. We will all miss May.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


all this and Chinese take-out, too?

The gorgeous yellow-flowered bush (we don't know what it is called) pictured above is actually a pretty good metaphor for our experiences and attitudes toward our adopted country. About eight months ago, we admired a beautiful bush with abundant yellow flowers that was growing in a vacant lot a few blocks away from us. "Could we take a cutting?" we wondered. We finally decided that it would probably be OK, but when Jerry went down the street to get a cutting, the bush was gone. Not only had it been chopped down, the whole lot had been burned to clear all the vegetation. A tiny little blackened stump remained. Jerry dug it up and brought it home.

He planted it in our front yard and then we forgot about it. A month or so later, we were wondering what the new foliage in the front yard was - oh, could it be that poor dead bush? It grew and grew. It got REALLY tall and started crowding out the other plants, especially the bamboo. The bamboo fought back and also got bigger. But the bush still had no flowers. Then, a few days ago, they all seemed to appear at once.

Mexico is an amazing and magical place. Things are not always what they appear to be...there are hidden treasures and surprises waiting for us in unexpected places.

A month or so ago, we were visiting with our friend Jorge, who is one of the first people we met when we moved to Bucerias. He owns a lovely gallery, Casabor, that is full of wonderful paintings, sculptures and art objects. We drop in often to see what he has added to his inventory, and we have bought some very nice pieces from him to adorn our own little casa. I mentioned to him that "I (uh) have some (hmmm) paintings I've (uh) done," and asked if he would (hmmm) mind taking a look at them and giving me some (umm) advice on whether I could sell them, and if so, how could I best (hmmm) accomplish that. He generously agreed.

Yesterday, we picked up 16 paintings from the frame shop, and Jerry suggested that we stop by and show them to Jorge. I was a little reluctant - I did not want to presume on our friendship. But I thought they looked pretty good matted and framed, so I was feeling brave. As Jorge helped us unload them, he began to exclaim "I love them!" As he looked through them, he was full of encouraging comments. He liked the colors, the style, the clean lines. He began walking around the shop, planning where he would hang them. The bottom line? He took them all to hang in his gallery - minus one I had already sold and the mer-kitties, which I want to keep.

I was stunned (still am!). This is a dream come true for me. So much better than my original plan - a show in conjunction with the Bucerias Art Walk (which has now been postponed until November). I have been painting (almost) obsessively for several months and I am overwhelmed that someone besides Jerry and me and our family and friends thinks they are good. I am almost ready to call myself a real artist.

NOW - the icing on the cake:

We are very grateful for a growing circle of friends. Last night, we went to a party at a friend's house that was attended by about 25 other expats. All of them interesting and friendly people - some we have known almost since we arrived, others who are new acquaintances. The occasion? An expat couple who have lived here 18 years has decided that the thing Bucerias needs most is (drumroll)....Chinese takeout! YES!

Richard is Chinese, and he and Denise used to own a Chinese restaurant. He is a wonderful chef, and he brought dish after dish for us to sample. It was all delicious: dumplings, egg rolls, shrimp rolls, Kung Pao chicken, cashew chicken, beef and broccoli, on and on and on. Oh gosh - and THEY DELIVER. Wow.

PS - Oh (in case you are wondering) Oscar and the vanished workers have not returned. It looks like they probably won't. Not ever. Oscar has given up and is taking a job in a car wash in Vallarta. So we have hired our friend Jeno, who is a masonry "maestro" to finish the stucco. He is doing a beautiful job. Then we will ask our friend Alfredo to finish the plumbing and electrical work. And Pancho, a very talented metal worker, has already been here to measure for the gates and windows. Bit by bit (poco a poco). That is the way things happen here. And that is fine with me.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

What do I do all day?

Lately, I paint. The painting gets blurred sometimes because the sweat runs off my face into the paint, but I doggedly keep at it! This is a painting of our three cats as mer-kitties, done purely for fun.
The rest of my paintings will be part of a show the last Thursday of this month here in Bucerias, and I'll get a chance to see if anyone else likes them besides me and Jerry (and maybe even likes them enough to buy one!) Most of them are posted on our flickr site www.flickr.com/photos/casabucerias/
That's the good news. The bad news is that construction has come to an (almost) complete standstill on our upstairs addition. Two weeks ago, our workers were offered jobs at twice the pay, as well as mucha comida y mucha cervesa in Mascota, a town in the mountains about an hour's drive from here. That's the last we saw of them, and Oscar, the contractor, is still trying to hire a new crew. Hmmmm - we haven't actually seen or heard from Oscar in almost two weeks, so he may have joined his crew in Mascota. Doesn't answer his phone and his buzon (mailbox) is full - probably messages from lots of other customers wondering why the work they already paid for isn't done yet.
So, we continue to live and learn...we have our friend German helping us with the finishing stucco, and will continue to make a little progress daily. Jerry is learning how to be a Mexican plumber, and I can hear him chipping away cement upstairs to bury the sewer pipe for the toilet as I write this. The temp this afternoon is 90.5F with 90% humidity, and it is slow going!
We remain optimistic and happy despite the setbacks, and look forward to the day when we FINALLY have all the construction done on our little casa.