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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Thursday Feel Bads...

In all our (35) years together, Bill has been "under the weather" maybe 2... 3 times.  Once he did break his leg and had to be in a cast for a while...  but he improvised the riding lawnmower with a trailer on the back and got around just fine.  Once he got part of a finger cut off because of a malfunction of a power mower...  had to be off work for over 2 months...  but... again...  did fine.  Early on, he had an upset stomach... (I'd probably have been in the ER)...  but a glass of wine and a couple hours of relaxation...  and he was tiptop shape again.  So...  today... early on, he said he didn't have any energy.  No big deal...  heck...  we really don't have to go, go, go... every day.  We even went for a noonday walk along the river.  But as the day went on, he ended up on the porch lounge...  and finally in bed.  Being the frugal person I am, I drank the wine he'd left on porch table...  But... I did lay cool wet washcloths on his head and give him a couple of aspirin.  Really, though...  it's so rare that he even has a hint of the "feel bads", that it's hard for me to know what to do.

So....  instead of providing a photo of him stretched out on the bed, I'll show you what else we did today...

We did walk down River Road to the ocean...  saw these Terns....
I think migration season is very much in progress now...
Our hummingbirds are few and far between....  the Painted Buntings are passing through...  even the seabirds dynamics have changed drastically...  Every day is a new experience.

I think this is a Tri-colored heron...  I finally learned that "Garza" is Spanish for heron or crane.  My little Angelina friend down the street is helping me learn from her own 9 years of experience.

This dove looks very much like it has Zebra stripes because of the shadows from the sun.  We see at least 3, probably 4 species of doves every time we walk to the river.

There were 2 Roseate Spoonbills in the river today.  But their diet must not be fortified with crustaceans these days...  they are barely pink, let alone ROSE.  Oh well, they are still a delight to come across.

We've seen a few horses in those "islands" beside the river, but never seen a herd of cows before.  This big girl, with the crooked horn, was with about 6 or 8 others.  There was a bull with them, but that's another story.  See the bird on the ground in front of the cow?  Well, that's a Groove billed Ani... and every cow had at least one Ani following it around.  I think that as the cow ate, it disturbed the vegetation and stirred up flying critters that the birds quickly snatched up.  Still... they were fun to watch.

As we got closer to home, we realized that school had just let out.  And... who should we see?
Yes...  that's Angelina...  riding her bike home...

We stopped to talk and saw that she had a gorgeous new hair-do...
Yes... her abuela (grandmother) had done some more magic!
My photos just don't do justice to the artistic talent that lady has!
I am always just amazed with her abilities!

The next 2  photos are from yesterday...
 When I was a kid and went to Rufus Putnam School in Athens, Ohio, I learned to play "Pick Up Sticks".  I saw this game for sale in Walmart and had to buy it.  Now the "sticks" are blunt edge plastic...  but that's okay... the rules are the same.  Here's Angelina, (who, by the way, is a quick learner!!!) using the black stick to wriggle out some other.  If you've ever played the game, you know the rules...  and it ain't easy!

The lower shelves on our bookcase now house games, crayons, chalk and other stuff for kids.  One of the favorites is a jigsaw puzzle...
Usually "our" kids are in age from 7 to 10
I try to buy stuff appropriate for those ages.  Today we had a 3 year old come to play with his primo  (cousin)....  I have some fat crayons and a coloring book that lines don't really matter.
What else is an abuela going to do?

As I write, Bill is laying down with a cool washcloth on his head.
Like I said, he is NEVER sick...  he's definitely one of those folks who will let mind conquer matter...  So... tomorrow should be fine.

But...  a shot I took of a Painted Bunting in our fountain this morning...
The End...

A Colorful Ending to a pretty good day... despite the "feel bads".

That's All For Today!



Saturday, February 11, 2017

A Typical Saturday....

One thing we really want to do with the small yard that is both in back and in front of our house here in Mexico is to make it attractive to birds and butterflies.  We are constantly buying flowers and sometimes trees to plant what they like.  Water is also important...  the small fountain we put in beside the front wall gurgles and bubbles all day long.
It took a while, but now several species of birds visit it off and on throughout the day.  Early evening seems to be their favorite time...

This pair of Painted Buntings are enjoying the water...

The male spent quite a while bathing...  splashing water everywhere!

He's beautiful at any time, but his bath made his feathers stand out in all their glory! 

 I'm not sure of this bird's species...  he/she flies down to the fountain...  will spend some time taking a bath.. fly into the nearby bush and preen...  then back to the fountain, back to the bush... back and forth several times before it's done for the day.  There are other birds... probably the females who come around the same time...  they are fairly nondescript, although they have yellowish bodies.

We have our dinner out on the patio each evening, then often just sit and enjoy the flowers, fountain...  and birds.

Several times each week we walk the River Road...  we're always interested in the progress being made on the bridge...
The workers have gotten used to me walking along...  and taking pictures of their progress.  Now some of them wave or shout a greeting.  There has never been a bridge at this location...  I just hope all this work holds up when the summer rains come and the river runs wild.

While the birding along the river doesn't seem as abundant as it did last year, we're never disappointed as we always see something... 
 Today this Black Hawk was perched on a branch hanging over the river....  watching for something below that might be dinner later.

 And this little Green Kingfisher stayed still long enough for me to snap this shot.
The kingfishers are very illusive... flying off when anyone walks by even hundreds of yards away.
This is a tiny little guy...  and look...  his head is almost as big as the rest of his body!

We walked along the river....
There was fog today...  it's hard to see the mountains...

To the ocean...  
So overcast you can barely see the shrimp boats...  out there past the rafts of sea gulls...
Then turned and headed towards the plaza.  We stopped and I checked on Pirate, my favorite dog, who was recently in a dog fight...  I'll write more about Pirate later....  From the plaza we headed to the Tianguis...  the outdoor market held in Lo de Marcos on Saturdays.
I've posted photos before of the various stalls...  all the artwork, jewelry, pottery, glasswear, clothing, food ...  and more....  in the past.  Today my favorite photo is of this group of kids (probably belong to various vendors) playing a game near one of the booths.  It was kind of chilly this morning so most of these kids have on long pants and sweaters.  When I say "chilly"... it was probably 80 degrees.

Bill & I had lunch at the tianguis...  stopped and bought some veggies from Letty's Market...  then headed on home...
Bill looks like a pack horse, doesn't he?
He's wearing one of the shirts sold at the tianguis....  
Bill is always looking for long-sleeved tee shirts, which are really hard to find here.  The folks in the tee shirt booth got some the next time they ordered.  How about that!  People here are just fantastic!

I've written about our little neighbor kids.  Well, the family with 3 kids moved to a nearby town last week.  Now we just have one little girl come to play.  I miss those other kids, but am glad we still have Angelina to work puzzles with or play tic-tac-toe or the like.  Maybe some others will move into the neighborhood....

It's not likely we'll head back into town this evening.  We're kind of homebodies...  even on a Saturday night.  There is always activity in the Plaza, but we are happy being on our patio... watching folks go by in the street...  or birds in the fountain.

It may be quiet, but it's never boring!

That's All For Today!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Day Trip to Puerto Vallarta....

I can't remember the year Bill & I first landed in Puerto Vallarta...  I say "landed" because we were on a cruise and that was one of the stops.  Then, and in the other times we've stopped there while on a cruise, we took excursion trips...  I'll never forget the Zip Line tour...  that's the one that Bill did the zip thing and I chickened out and waited in the bar....  And one trip we were both sick and all we managed to do was get off the ship, walk across the street to Walmart to buy some meds...  back to the ship and back to bed.  And then, of course, the times we've flown into PV...  to the airport and then got transportation to our final destination.  Even Home Depot and the airport, which we've been to many times are located just on the edge of the city.  So, in reality, we'd never really spent any time in Puerto Vallarta.

Our house has a ceramic plaque out on the wall, showing the house number and street where we live...
This is the plaque....
The former owner's name was "McBride" and most people still call it the "McBride" house.  It's time to change that...  We have named our house "Casa Colibri"....  "Hummingbird House"...  as we hope to attract birds, butterflies and other insects by planting colorful flowers and shrubs, and providing water and food for them.  Our friends Elaine and Don have a ceramic plaque on their front gate and we asked them where they had it made....  At the World of Tile, in Old Town, Puerto Vallarta.  Bill had already found this and a few other tile shops in the area and circled them on his map.

So Tuesday we set out on a mission....
We took the Compostela bus out of Lo de Marcos to the end of the line.  It dropped us off in PV in a really up-scale part of town.  Nothing like an hour bus ride to whet the appetite...
And nothing like a hearty desayuno of huevo divorciados (divorced eggs) and huevo poblano...  along with beans, rice and tortillas ....  to give us the energy to walk through PV.

Actually, we took a "blue bus" from the end of the Compostela line into the old section of PV...
Bill had printed a map off the internet so he knew exactly where to head...
 The outside of the World of Tiles....  displaying some of the beautiful work  inside...

The floor, as you walk in, has this mosaic tile entryway.
That's just the beginning of all types of colorful ceramic work within.  
A few years ago Bill & I lived in the section of Seville, Spain that is famous for ceramic tiles.  This store reminded me so much of that place.  In fact, many parts of this old section of PV, like the cobblestone streets, the flowerboxes on balconies, the narrow streets leading up hills from the sea, reminded me of cities we visited along the Mediterranean Sea.

The showrooms had displays of dishes, bowls, water jugs and works of art that are just to enjoy.


Next year we plan to have a 2nd floor added with a bedroom and bath.  I looked at all these basins....  it will be fun to pick out one for that upstairs bath!

The upstairs part of the store not only houses more ceramic displays, but also has an area you can watch the artists at work...  painting tiles with custom made designs.

We talked with the salesperson about what we wanted and when we got back home, I sent him some photos of hummingbirds that they could use.  It will be a couple of weeks before our plaque will be done, but I'll be sure to take photos of it to show you.

We continued wandering through the streets...  checking out various shops...
We came across this shoe store..
I cannot see huarache sandals without thinking of our friends Paul and Kathleen Smith.  Years ago, when we all were on an RV caravan traveling through Mexico, Paul bought a pair of huaraches....  he wore them only a few hours before they totally fell apart.  He got teased a lot...  and it's just one of those stories that make a trip memorable.

There is an island on a river that runs right through a main part of Puerta Vallarta 
There are restaurants, lots of shopping stalls, outdoor artwork, and even a tequilla tasting store.  It reminds me of Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas.  Not really in looks, but more because of the ambiance...  the quaintness...  the magical feel.

From that area we walked up some steps to the Malecon...
The walk alongside the ocean...
You can walk a long way...  stopping at shops and boutiques, looking at the artwork and outdoor sculptures...  have your hair braided (upper right)..  look down onto the beach and out into the ocean...  you can stroll or power walk...  you can stop and have a beer or tacos at an outdoor cafe...  Or...  like me...  you can just watch all the people who enjoy being there.

At one point, we left the malecon and headed onto a city street...
I wanted to see the cathedral...
It's beautiful inside and out...  A huge church with exquisite decor and artwork.  The altar was banked with flowers making it especially lovely.

There is an Information Center right across the street from the cathedral...
I hope these folks didn't ask the couple next to them for directions...
I'll write another post about the Catrina figures...
they are the skeletons especially popular around The Day of the Dead.

We wandered around the streets...
Admiring the architecture...  the balconies...  the colorful flowers and banners....  the cobblestone streets and the steep hills leading from the main street into the hills up from the ocean.

Eventually we caught a city bus and headed back into the more modern part of PV... back to the marina area....
And this Princess Ship... Ruby...  had docked in a slip in the cruise ship area while we were in town.

And across the street...
The Walmart that we stopped in to get some meds several years ago.  

This time we didn't need any medicine  and we didn't have to board that cruise ship.  We used the ATM then went back outside to the bus stop and caught a Compostela bus which took us back to Lo de Marcos...  home.

When we were here a few years ago I never would have dreamed that we'd be back here to live and have the life we have today.

That's All For Today!



Monday, February 6, 2017

More Amigos....

My last post was about a party we had to celebrate how happy we are in this town...  and the friends we've met and come to know and care about.

We have met some others as well...  very special friends....

Bill and I walk past their Grandmother's (Nena) house everyday.  We started out being friends with Citlali, who is Nena's daughter-in-law.  

Here's Citlali with Ruvi.  Ruvi was one in December and we've watched her learn to walk.  My favorite thing is when she sees us, she waves...  and blows kisses.  She's afraid of my camera here, so this isn't her best look.  

After Citlali, we met some of her nieces.  They'd run out and give us hugs as we walked past their house.  When they started visiting us at our house (just a block down the street), it was time to find ways to entertain them.  Actually, they do a fine job of taking care of themselves, but...
We almost always play "lotteria"....  
That's Melony on the left and Angelina in the middle...  and, of course, Bill on the right.
This is kind of like Bingo...  only now, when we each draw a card, the girls tell me the Spanish meaning and pronunciation, and I tell them the English.  
Frankly, they're learning a lot faster than me...

Drawing and coloring are favorite things to do.
Crayons, colored pencils, coloring books and those dry-erase boards have now taken over the lower shelves on our bookcase.  When Bill & I go to Walmart now I'm always looking for a game or puzzle I think "our kids" will like.

Sidewalk chalk is fun...  
The kids love to print out Bill and my names...
Hearts and Roses are favorite subjects, but Tic-Tac-Toe is always a given.

Bill's birthday was last week...  and darned if these kids didn't bring him a present.  They gave him a lovely picture frame.  So, of course, I quickly took this picture, printed it and put it in the frame.
Melony and Angelina have been visiting us for several weeks, and then David, Melony's little brother started coming with them.  He's 5, Melony's 7 and Angelina is 9.  
Melony and David's older sister, Bechi, is 10....  now she's joined the others, so we have a full house playing games or doing artwork.

Not to be outdone, I wanted my picture taken with the kids...
I just know that our own great-granddaughter, Evie, would love to be here playing with us.  Wouldn't that be fun!

Yesterday, as Bill & I were walking home, we passed Angelina's house...
She was outside... getting ready to go somewhere special.  Look at how lovely she is!  What a beautiful little lady!
And then...  she turned around...
Oh My!
Her grandmother created quite an artistic hairdo!  Isn't it beautiful!
I just wanted to keep looking at it and since I have no talent with hair at all, I was just amazed at how it was done.  
That's Nena, the kids' grandmother in the background.

The kids often draw pictures and write stuff on the "erase" boards...
Can you read it?
"Hello Grandparents... I love you a lot
But I also love my family...
Melony, David and Angelina
We love you so much"

And that's Bill and me...  holding heart balloons...

I mean, really...  could a person have better friends?

That's All For Today!










Sunday, February 5, 2017

Una Fiesta Para Nuestros Amigos....

Tradition has it that whoever finds the "Baby Jesus" in the Rosca cake (on Three King's Day) has to buy the tamales on Candlemas Day.   Candlemas Day is February 2....  that's also Groundhog Day in the United States, and Bill's birthday is February 3.  Many of our friends hadn't yet visited us here in our "new" house....  So what better reasons could there be to have a party?

And....  party we did!
Bill & I had fun decorating our patio and the driveway.  We expected about 40 guests so we rented extra tables and chairs. Our friend Nancy brought these strings of banners to add to the festivities.

This is Juan ...   Paisa
Juan can often be seen playing music...  entertaining folks on the beach.  He plays traditional Mexican songs, and just a few days ago he came to our Spanish class and we all sang the State song of Nayarit (the state we live in).  We asked him to play for an hour or so at our party...  I think he played non-stop for several hours!  We all loved it!

Tamales are traditional food on Candlemas day....  and tamales we had!
Here's Ari, a local caterer.  She not only served tamales but also chile rellenos, arroz, and frijoles....  along with Atole, a traditional flavored corn drink.  Ari set up her steam table at the end of the driveway...  she must have cooked for days to serve such a wonderful meal to us all!
That's Judy who's being served here.

Lots of beer and wine...  lots of food... 
But best of all...  lots of good friends to share a great evening!
That's Gunn, Elaine and Don, and Andreas

Petra, Don, Andreas, Rosa and Celia
I don't know why they all look so serious....

 That's Don in the background...  Kathryn and Sherry chatting before dinner.

 Many of the guests brought salads, snacks or deserts....  
We all enjoyed the "starters" before Ari arrived with the dinner.
That's Ed, Judy and Petra...

Armando's mother Norma had just gone back to Colima the day before, so she couldn't attend.  I think Robert is showing me how well he and Armando ate while Norma was here.  That's Nancy and Flacco (Skinny) in the foreground.  


My camera got passed around...  I know Bill had it for a while...  also our friend Pia....  So I'm not sure who to credit these with.  All I know is I'm glad they did.  Also, Santos (who has his back to the camera) took photos and videos.  He posted them on Facebook and I loved them!  I tried to post my videos, but haven't been able to so far.
Here's Rosa, her son, Carol and Patty with Celia and Santos on this side.

And we danced!
Juan (Piasa) played dancing music...  that's Juan, Patty, Nancy and Santos out there now.

We made a couple dozen copies of the State song of Nayarit...  and everyone sang that.  Makes me smile just to think of it!

 Pia pointing out something to Ed...

 Memo and Suzanne....

 Jim Juan, Bill and Kirk

 When Juan (Piaso) played at our Spanish class I recorded a video.  I played it for him at our party.  I just loved watching the expression on his face as he watched himself play.  Priceless!

 Gary, Suzanne, Juan, Pia, Armando, Robert and LeeAnn

 Ed, Jim, Don, Elaine, Kirk, Kathryn Chris...  and some others...

The evening turned into night...
We partied on....


 Okay... back to daylight...  Don and Elaine, and Gunn and Elaine's friend...

This is me... holding a birthday cake (with the candles burning brightly)...  Bill ready to blow them out...  Juan playing the birthday song and everyone singing.

One parting shot...
That's Chris...  waving to the camera...

We feel so fortunate to have made so many friends here in our "adopted" town.  And there are even more who aren't among these folks.  So, whether you celebrated Candlemas Day, Groundhog Day... or even someone's birthday, it would be hard to top the joy we had here.  It was a great fiesta with our friends!

That's All for Today!