Category Archives: Uncategorized

LEARNING SPANISH POCO A POQUITO

 

I’d like to report a success story (it’s a modest one). One day we saw part of a movie from a DVD. The story was, well, different, and the film featured Marianne Faithfull and a British cast. We only saw the beginning half-hour or so, and I wanted to see the rest.

So last night Chon put it on, from the beginning. About five minutes into the picture, Chon stopped it. I said, “Why are you stopping it? I wanted to see all of it.”

And HE said, “My Friend, (that’s what he’s called me for 25 years) you speak Spanish now! You didn’t even notice that they were speaking Spanish, did you? I’m just pausing it to switch to the original language.”

And I hadn’t noticed! I laughed and laughed.

JUST SOME RECENT PHOTOS

This was taken from a view-point about San Miguel De Allende when the jacarandas were blooming.
These two houses are right next to each other in a town called Manuel Doblado.

Blues are featured at the front entrance of the famous old templo in Jalpa De Canovas.

Blue is often used for door color in Mexico. Chon wanted to have the picture he had bought for his sister in this photo.

These friends are merchants in Paracho, Michoacan, in a place that sells different types of artensanias. That tall vase is probably from nearby Cocucho.


More jacarancas in San Miguel De Allende.

I like this photo of Chon’s mother (she’s 90) blessing a new pump we recently used for the first time to move water into tanks above the second floor. (It works great!)

This plant has been living in this pot in this patio for many, many years. I’d like to find a young one like it to live in the same pot, but – I haven’t seen one like it anywhere. I’m trying to propagate one from a leafless “trunk”. Know what it is, anyone?


Expat Blog, The Expatriate Community

I am a member of the Expat blog (http://www.expat-blog.com/).  Don’t go there right away unless you’d like to get seduced into spending a chunk of time there. If you’re like me, you may get interested in reading a blog about driving in Greece, or a family beginning a new chapter in their lives in India. Or California. Or China, or Canada, or ………. fill in the blank. You’ll have Julien to thank if you spend more time than you had planned.
Julien, the founder of the big site, says that he created it seven years ago during his first expat experience , to “gather on a unique platform all the expatriates’ blogs all over the world. Expatriates’ blogs are indeed a great way to get information about real life in a foreign country.”

There are recent new features – a forum (I subscribe to a couple of different topics, and any time someone posts new information, I receive an email – very handy!), guides, albums, a business directory. There are two brand new features, too, for the area where I live part of the year: Jobs and Housing. I expect that these topics will grow rapidly. And it is so helpful to have this information available if you are making a move, or just hoping to make a move. You can do some exploring right from your computer.

So if you are looking for some vicarious adventures in culture or language, or you’d like to research some hard information about a specific place or topic, check it out. And don’t get lost!

New Year’s Eve



COUNTDOWN TO NEW YEAR’S EVE
After our return from our annual gig on Olvera Street, we slept a lot on Christmas Day, then we began to gear up for playing on the roof.
Monday: we practiced four hours.
Tuesday: ditto
Wednesday: ditto
Thursday: Chon wired four lights in our tejaban as we will need them. We practiced only a couple of hours.
Firday: more wiring and more practicing.
Saturday: Chon got up at 5:15 a.m.!!! We moved speakers and cables and equipment from the ground level to the tejaban. It was a challenge because they had been stored for more than a year. Chon has an endearing habit of delicately and artistically making little humorous arrangements of small things on top of stacks of other large things. This makes for much tipping, replacing, falling and swearing when we are removing the large things. We hauled equipment, set some up, then hauled more equipment.

Morning

Afternoon
Afternoon

In the afternoon, Victor, a nephew, showed up to negotiate about music. He rents DJ services, and he had been hired to play five hours. WE had permission from the sheriff, and HE was being paid. All was settled amicably, and it was agreed that we would start from 9:30 to 11, then he would play until the midnight countdown, then we would play until two a.m.

Afternoon

And that’s pretty much how it went. Our first set was great. We were prepared for blank stares and nobody dancing – that happens every year. We play some familiar tunes, and sometimes people will dance to them. They do not seem to have the imagination to dance to similar songs. We had selected some very exciting cumbia covers. Anyway, the sound was very, very good – we could hear well, and I think the effect for the audience was good, too.
The DJ played for an hour, and nobody danced with his music, either.
Our next set, a long one, was not quite as good; I’m not quite sure why. The energy was good, but – we just didn’t play quite as well. That’s how it goes sometime.
It was a typical small-town night, and as the DJ was playing, around 3 a.m., a fight broke out somewhere up the street and the people all rushed to see. Victor was left there in the street, looking a bit shaken. We helped him tear down his equipment and drag it to his mother’s house close by. We ended up going to sleep at about 6 a.m.
All in all, our part of the celebration was satisfactory, and we are starting the new year with plans for recording and registering Chon’s songs, and accompanying the paperwork for the registration with videos. Where are we planning to video the performances? In our tejaban!!

Party time!

November Treat



Yesterday morning I picked a watermelon from our mostly-dried-up garden. Yes, really – just a few days away from Thanksgiving. Lest you think we have been enduring a long heat wave, well, the weather has been cold in the nights, but still quite warm in the afternoons.

I did not expect anything at all from the volunteer watermelon plants that came up in our garden, but we just let them stay, twining all around the garden. I thought the melons would be just – blah.

We had learned some lessons about pill-bugs and watermelons over the summer, and I had placed the baby watermelon on top of a ceramic bowl about a month ago to protect it. Its mother vine dried up a couple of weeks ago, but we left the melon sitting there on its little throne because it just didn’t have that hollow sound of a ripe melon. But I decided we had waited long enough for whatever was going to happen, and when I cut it open it made that crispy sound you like to hear as it split. And guess what? It was delicious! Really good! Who would’ve thought?

I cut it up in bite-sized pieces. That is a really good solution to an everyday problem of not-much-food-and-quite-a-few-people, a common practice with all kinds of food here. I didn’t do anything else to it, but usually people sprinkle the pieces with lemon and chili. Ten or twelve of us enjoyed eating it. Now I’m eyeing the next little watermelon for an autumn treat.

To quote my friend Michael, happy Thanksgiving, everybody. I do hope you all have a safe, happy and loving week. My thoughts, exactly!

THE TIMES, THEY ARE A’CHANGIN – LA CANICULA

La Canicula is a period of time during the year; June 20 through August 20. Historically, it is a period astrologically dominated by Sirius, the Dog Star. It is traditionally the hottest time of the year. Wikipedia says that the duration occilates between four and seven weeks, the “dog days”. In times past, this was an astologically beneficial time to begin to build a house or a church. 
If you talk to un anciano in Mexico, at least in this area, and you get around to talking about the weather (probably right away!), you will hear that the times are changing – “Como han cambiado los tiempos,” says Socorro. She doesn’t mean only that customs have changed, but that the weather is changing as well. El Tiempo De Los Aguas, the rainy season, used to be from some time in June through August, but now the rain comes later, (because of the greenhouse effect?), as well as the effects of La Canicula. It’s a rather ugly-sounding word to me, and some of its effects are ugly, as well.
One year when we visited here during La Canicula there were many little worms in the orange tree and the lime tree. Worms are a symptom of La Canicula. This year some baby swallows hatched in our portål were killed by small orange worms, only last week. Also last week, after the official end of La Canicula, we had to “treat” our fields for green worms that were eating the sworls of the milo.  This is very frustrating to see, and costly to treat. 
We have had several days of rain now, at the beginning of September. Oh, with what anxiety we awaited the rains, because of our “modest” investment in seed, weed killer and fertilizer of about $4,000 for our 26 acres. And now that the milo has passed its initial danger of not sprouting, or dying of lack of water, now the rainy season is here. 
Some days it is too wet to spray the weeds or the worms that are showing their destructive power in the fields. 

 This is NOT a worm, but a friendly praying mantis (you may call it a preying mantis).

There were several local Catholic masses pleading for rain, and now that it is here, some of the old people are tired of it. We supersticiously try not to send the rains away with our wishes or curses.  Because of our construction efforts, we seem to spend an inordinate amount of time sweeping water off the roof, and wishing that our workers could move just a little faster.

PEOPLE



 Most of the people in our town range from lower middle class to very poor. They are all working-level people with well-proportioned bodies perfectly fit for labor. In general they are smaller and shorter than us gringos (Anglos), as I like to call us. I often wonder at comments made in the US about hispanics being “lazy”, and even “dirty”. I have not observed any lazy people. Everyone works, with the possible exception of teenagers who don’t attend school, and old, old people. And the only “dirty” people I have seen are homeless. The most humble clothing is usually immaculate.

Their skin is brown, shading from pale to very, very dark. Children here are generally quite beautiful, and tend to be at their most attractive, in my opinion, until around age fourteen or fifteen. Their bodies are mostly bone and muscle into middle age.

Women do the bulk of the housework, which in many Mexican homes is extensive. From the early-morning sweeping and mopping to hand-washing many pounds of family clothes and blankets to cooking and cleaning for large families, it’s heavy work. Free time is often spent repairing clothing and doing fine handiwork (mostly crochet around here).

Many men work outdoors, doing the kind of work that  machines do in California. When doing manual labor, men often sensibly break up the work day into two periods. At our house the two men who are building with bricks begin at about 7:30 a.m. as a kind of warm-up. At 10:30 a.m. they stop for breakfast. After that they work until about 4 p.m. They make building plans, carry cement, lay bricks, and dig and pry large stones out of the dirt. They have cut dowm trees, chopped them up and carried them in a wheelbarrow. They work very steadily. In the fields, teenagers are often hired to spray herbicides and insecticides, walking down planted rows. The men who work for the water company do heavy manual labor, providing new connections for the water that comes from the main, chopping through asphalt and concrete. Some men cut and sell firewood. Others work long hours irrigating or herding cattle.

On the street we often see women passing with very small children. “Pre-kinder” boys and girls are often sent to the small stores to bring home  purchases for their mothers. From pre-kinder to “secondary” school, all students wear school uniforms. There is, by the way, no separation here of church and state – during school hours there are unison prayers, and there are many references to God in the school and  of course in everyday conversation. The schools are quite good, and the  level of education is  high. Students from Mexico who transfered to the local California high desert high schools invariably entered higher levels than the ones they left. Education in Mexico is “free”, although there are costs involved – there are inscription fees, and book purchases, and families are asked to co-operate for building improvements and other costs.

The levels are Kinder (ages 4 and 5), Primaria (6 – 11), Secundaria (12 – 14, Preparatoria (15 – 17),  University (18 and up).

Most clothing here would not be noticably different from what is seen in most communities in the US to the casual observer. Colors and textures may be different, but many brands or knock-offs of recognizable names are very popular here. Mature women here usually wear dresses or skirts and blouses with sweaters or jackets, depending on the season. Many grandma-age women cover their heads and shoulders with long shawls or rebozos, usually in dark colors. It is not considered appropriate for mature women to wear white or light colors . Common color choices are black or navy blue. Curiously, I don’t see much brown.

Teenagers tend to stay in gender-selected groups. Boys stand in the street, sometimes drinking, mostly always laughing amongst themselves, showing off, and waiting for the girls to pass by. And of course, the girls do pass by, by twos and threes, talking seriously or giggling, usually On Their Way to somewhere – a friend’s house, or to mass.

There is a tendency to marry young here. Many families seem to force their female children out of the house, and this naturally is hurtful to the daughters, who at one time were cherished and cooed over. The anger the girls must feel gets channeled into the new relationship.

If the parents of the young couple don’t approve of the union, the boy will often “steal” his girlfriend. In years past, the stealing was real – a kidnapping that may or may have not been consentual. The couple would stay together for a night or a week, and when they returned, the parents would hastily arrange their marriage. Soon the married girls lose their shiny attractiveness and they become subdued, squarish and very much like the very mothers they rebelled against. Their lives become nearly the same as their parents’, and not the glamorous, appreciated roll they dreamed of playing.

In our little town there are two girls that I knew when they were girls; just little girls, with little girls’ adorable sweetness and curiosity. They came here to our portål to see me, the exotic outsider; to read or listen to books I had brought with me. They are still girls in one sense of the word. Barely adults, they were “stolen” at the ages of twelve and thirteen, and although I see them occasionally, I strain to see the sweet, giggling personalities behind the dull eyes and  slack bodies. They have their own babies now.

One of Chon’s aunts was stolen; truly stolen long ago, by her boyfriend’s best friend. Her life “turned out” well, and her marriage was probably at least as good as many.

Recently, during the same weekend, two girls were “stolen” here in our town. They showed up a few weeks later, with their husbands. Parents of these couples generally hurry to get the youngsters married in the church whenever possible.

Returning To Mexico After A Trip

We recently returned after a fast trip to California. (Not extremely fast, as we traveled by car – almost exactly 1,800 miles. Each way.) 
We had an Agenda:
we needed to renew our car registration (smog check) so we could renew our six-month permit to have the car in Mexico 
we needed to see our import agent for some important business and
we needed to sign papers on our house sale escrow (fingers still crossed)
The drive north was mostly unremarkable, though enjoyable. In Santa Ana, Sonora, we saw our import agent, who still has several pallets of our things he hasn’t shipped yet. We reminded him that the weather has changed, and if he doesn’t ship the few remaining guitars ASAP, they will arrive in the form of firewood. He was amiable as usual, if often difficult to contact, and took us to breakfast one morning – machaca and eggs at Elba Restaurant, a very “northern” style place, rather like Denny’s or Howard Johnson’s. The prices were higher than at regular Mexican restaurants, but the servings were simple, excellent, enormous. 
That night we stayed in one of “those” motels that rents by the hour, Aqua Inn Motel, and it was wonderful. The individual garages (one reason we like that kind of motel) are directly under each room. 
The room was large, with an enormous bed, a pretty sink, and a wonderful shower. 
The lighting was interesting – there was not a lamp or lightbulb  visible. The light came from artfully designed slashes in the ceiling.  We had been having mysterious problems with our PT Cruiser, involving, we thought, the battery,and in the morning it wouldn’t start. After an extended conversation with a friendly maid and handy-man, a pick-up truck arrived and got us jump-started. We knew we needed to keep the car running, and we decided to cross the border at nearby Otay crossing. We followed directions from two helpful (?) men, and found ourselves – don’t EVER, EVER DO THIS – in a Linea Sentri, where a special card is required. It is designed for locals who cross the border often. We were detained there for two hours by vaguely pleasant USA border agents. There is a possible $5,000 fine for frequent violators. They gave us a warning and sent us along. We drove straight to a AAA and got the registration, insurance, and a two-day permit for the smog check. That night, in Santa Clarita, we got a new battery, and (so far, at least), that has put an end to the strange warning lights and other inexplicable problems.
In Lake Elizabeth, we saw our agent and did some minor repairs to the house. We were quite industrious each day, occupying ourselves with that and doctor/dentist appointments. Our agent was waiting for the ground to dry a bit for our septic test, the last hurdle in our escrow. We were quite confident about it, as our tank had been checked and OK’ed a few years back, and had always drained better than any of our neighbors’ tanks. We signed the papers and left, then received a call as we were entering Arizona. The septic tank was completely, utterly ruined and crumbling, and there was no remedy but to get a new one, and have our leach lines extended. Five days later we have not gotten an update, and we are still hoping that our buyer has not changed his mind.
The trip back to Mexico was just as fast and pleasant. There was a very pleasant meal in Santa Ana, as we were waiting to meet with our agent. We stopped at a place called Carne Asada With Chano. It was Easter week, and many places were closed, and the ones that were open were not serving meat. But at Chano’s, that’s all they serve. You order carne asada for one, or for two. It comes to your table on cunning little asaderos with charcoal in them, three huge (really! almost as big as a – well, a pancho!) flour tortillas, and lettuce,  onions, and salsa. It was excellent! 
Sometimes the sleeping arrangements aren’t quite what you would wish. But this one was inexpensive, colorful, and 
adequate . It cost about $28 for the night. The Apolo, in Santa Ana.
A little funky, but kind of cute! Like tiny little houses.
Sonora is known for its good meats, and flour tortillas. And coyotas, the two-layered tortillas with good things between the layers. Check out the online site Coyotas Malu if you like. That’s where we bought coyotas for the trip north, and the trip back to our house. In the small shop in Santa Ana, they have literally hundreds of bags of coyotas of all flavors. There was also, I noticed, a small selection of home-canned goods – salsa, apricots, peppers.
One thing I had hoped to accomplish in California was to get an “apostille” birth certificate, a sort of doubly-guaranteed birth certificate, necessary in Mexico for legal doings. That was not to occur, and it was just as frustrating as the many trips sometimes needed to accomplish things here in Mexico. We went in person to the correct place in Los Angeles – one of the “area” spots to get this done. My birth certificate was too many years ago for them to be able to certify it, and they sent us to a county building in Norwalk. There I learned that the Norwalk office only has information on birth certificates from Los Angeles County. It seems that the first guy should have noticed or informed me (wouldn’t ya think?) Anyway, I got a notarized statement from my realtor saying I was really me, and sent a request for the first step of the process to Stanislaus County, where I was born. This morning I received a call from the county recorder there, saying that my check was written for two dollars less than the fee. But they helpfully changed the amount for me so I didn’t have to start over.  Thank you, Stanislaus County!
We were very happy to arrive back at our house, and have been taking afternoon siestas to catch up on our rest. A couple of days of driving were at least twelve hours each.
I liked this local bus from Mazatlan, in the state of Sinaloa, The Tomato State. A note: you can take your car on a ferry from Baja, California to Mazatlan!
We are still catching up on the family happenings while we were gone – it was a two-week trip. More later. I am nearly finished with an entry about Music On The Radio In Mexico. 

BIG COLADO

The botereros arrived at six a.m., in the dark, as they had been asked. Many of the dozen men brought their own botes – square buckets that  previously held paint or adhesives, with a short board nailed along the edge of one side, for a handle. The early hour was necessary because it was a Sunday – and they needed to finish their work in time to go to mass.
In the dark they groused and complained, waiting for the maestro to give the word. But the maestro wasn’t ready; a lack of planning, perhaps, or maybe he hadn’t arrived as early in the morning as he had planned. The men joked, teasing each other with insulting, sly, and lewd jokes, getting louder and louder, letting the maestro know that they were ready to begin.
It was a big colado (usually pronounced “kolau”, to rhyme with cow). A colado is the cement roof on most brick houses. The concrete is poured into wooden frames over bricks that have been placed in the frames. The dozen men were doing the job that in the US would be done by a big cement truck. First they would mix the cement with sand and gravel, in the street. They made two big circles right there in front of our house. When the maestro gave the sign, they carried their botes full of water to the chosen circle, and a couple of them began to mix the diferent elements for the colado. When it was ready, each man approached the mixed concrete and filled his bote, then hurried over to the wall, and heaved his bote up to the one man who would handle each one for the duration of the pouring. He handed each bote to another man, who either handed it to a second man on the roof, or poured it in the right spot.
A colado is a pretty exciting event. It requires plenty of workers so that the concrete gets where it needs to go; and not through the long chute of a cement truck, either. The word gets out, and days before the colado is to happen, men stop by, asking when it will be, and they let the maestro know that they will come to help. Each man earns a set amount for the colado – here in El Pedernal, each worker earns 200 pesos (less than $20) for the job. It’s fun to watch, and, I think, fun for the men. It is not easy work, and each one gets to show off a little (or a lot). There is lots of laughter and good-natured (?) teasing. Even the town drunk worked on this colado. An unimaginable force of will got him to the job on time, and he worked the whole time; exhibiting an exaggerated politeness as he helped inside our yard. 
Because we ran out of water. We had five barrels of water; two were obtained rather hastily the day before. The morning of the colado, the water arrived at the same time as usual, about 7:45 a.m. We had hoped that Durango, the man in charge of turning on the water, would turn it on a little early to speed through the pipes to our house so that we would have plenty. But that didn’t happen. The barrels were emptied rapidly, and then a teenaged boy and I filled buckets with an alarmingly weak trickle, and they were hauled off by Quin (sounds like Keen), our neighborhood drunk. He is usually to be found passed out on the street, or, if awake, with a bottle or two of straight alcohol. There’s no telling how much longer this guy will be around, but surely it is too late for him to stop drinking. He worked for the entire duration of the colado. When he received his 200 pesos at the end, he went straight to the window of the little store across the street, where, I surmise, he must have owed a debt. (Marielena doesn’t sell alcohol).
The whole job yesterday lasted over three hours, with a pause in the middle to mix another circle of concrete on the street. Today began with some strong winds, (they say Febrero Loco, Marzo Otro Poco; or, February crazy, and March a little more) (February noticeably arrived one day early) and Chon and I were asked to tend to the colado by dampening it with buckets of water. A good colado doesn’t develope cracks. This one (and the last one, too) was pronounced a success by Nacho, the maestro, and his chalan, Sabino.
The important moments of follow-up came. First, there was a general clean-up. Then came the moment of payment, and each worker received his 200-peso bill, carefully planned for and gathered beforehand. Then Chon, having previously supplied several large bottles of beer, provided a large bottle of mezcal (very strong agave alcohol – some people call it rat-killer), and bought a couple of kilos of carnitas from a passing pickup, for the men who remained. They had to use their fingers, but I didn’t hear anyone complaining.

We Arrive At Home Again

When we arrived at the house Elena seemed very happy to see us, and bustled us into the kitchen to eat a good caldo de res. We really needed its good, warming, invigorating effect. We felt very cared for – a good bowl of soup can do that for you!
We went to Purisima to ask about the permit to remove the tree, and – surprise! it was ready! We went, too, to SAPAP, the water company, to arrange to get the water source for Victoria’s house moved, because it is right in the way of the new gate. We found it, and made arrangements. They told us there that the two-man crew would arrive at ten the next day.
We also went to the place wehere they asked for Chon’s ID to re-enroll to receive the government assistance, procampo , for his two fields. We even stopped by the pharmacy to ask if I can get my two prescriptions here. I will need one in a couple of weeks. In an hour or so, we accomplished all that!
In the evening we went to Jalpa to liquidate the bill at the building supply place. The manager accepts dollars there, at a favorable rate.
When we woke up the next morning, Sabino had already cut the limbs of the tree that is in the way of the new gate.  We took the large branches to the back, and passed them across the rock fence to Chon, who stacked them for Dona Elena’s use. She has a fogon in her kitchen, a hornilla, where she cooks with wood. It is something like a tiny fireplace with a grill above the coals, especially for cooking.
Chavela arrived early on Tuesday to give Elena a day off. In short order, she had cleaned both bathrooms, and started on the kitchen. There were a lot of mouse droppings there, although everyone has been saying there are no mice in the kitchen anymore.
The men arrived to change the water, right at ten o’clock, as scheduled! That might have been the very fist time a professional appointment happened as scheduled! Chon, Pepe and Gordo had to move a lot of the gravel (bigger rocks than gravel, really), so that the water guys could move the water. (I forget what that is called, if I ever knew – it’s the place the water gets to the house from the main. Here it’s called a “toma”.) The rest of the pile of gravel will be used when they make the concrete roof for the new construction. Chon said he was out of shape for shoveling gravel, but I noticed that he shoveled more than the other two during his turns.
In the evening Isabel and I made a plan to attempt to manage mornings. We decided to fix breakfast, as a trial run. We decided to get up at 7:15 and fix breakfast for ourselves, the people who live here. We decided to cook scrambled eggs, because someone gave Elena a dozen eggs from their chickens. 
Here’s what happened: we decided that the dozen eggs would be enough for the 6 of us who are here right now, and in the morning little Ana Cristina cut up (she’s only 5!) onions, tomatoes and green chiles. We cooked them a little bit, then added the eggs, and four of us ate (Chon was upstairs, practicing). Then I found out that Brisa was still here, not having gone to school because her “nose hurt a lot”. Then Chayo, the mother, showed up. Isabel and I planned to give breakfast to Chon’s mother, but Elena came back from her house and did that. Then she heated up “sopa”, what some people call “Spanish rice” for Brisa, who complained that there wasn’t any lemon. Then the kitchen felt too crowded for me, and I moved out to the portal to write this. (Chon hasn’t eaten breakfast yet, but there are probably enough eggs left). Like my Swedish Grandpa A used to say with a twinkle in his eye “Too many cooks in the kitchen!”
The result of the breakfast experiment? I’d give it about a C-. There is not much order here, and one never knows exactly how many people might be here at eating time, although today, at least, everything is sparkling clean because of Chavela’s work yesterday. We are going to keep trying. I need to go back to my self-appointed sweeping job, because Elena has been doing it, and it’s really not good for her asthma. 
Today we need to go back to San Pancho, for several reasons:
1. We are going to visit the doctor, to see what he found out about the availability of the two medicines that I need. We will also ask him his opinion about the big lump that remains on Chons’s mother’s cheek after her fall on the 31st.
2. We will check to see the availability and prices of flights to Los Mochis (to retrieve the legalized Foxy).
We did those things. The doctor sold us two remdies for the hematoma on Dona Coco’s face. Since then we have returned to the doctor/pharmacist, and so far he hasn’t been able to  locate either of the things I need. After calling four laboratories, he said, he found Synthroid in 100 mg and 125 mg. I take 112 mg.  I also take a hormone replacement, and he says that only injections are available. Soon we’ll take a trip to a Sam’s Club we saw in Leon as we approached the end of our bus trip from Nogales.
The plane tickets from Leon to Los Mochis cost about $240 apiece! We will go back on the bus!
The construction continues – the project this week is to replace the big gate in my earlier photo; the change I said was making people mad. But now that the old gate is gone, and the new, wide pasada is visible, people are starting to get it. Lots of folks don’t seem to have the imagination to picture how it will be, but now it is clear. The sister-in-law’s family is still mad, but I figure that will last a long, long time.
We received a call from Chon’s nephew in Florida, demanding that we tear down the new construction. We didn’t. 
It’s been one of those weeks when nearly everything you plan gets done – we really have been chopping wood and carrying water. That is to say we burned the dry weeds and grass in the lot next door, we removed the brush that was there, we took the PT Cruiser to nearby Jalpa to get the hood painted, and many other small, necessary things.
The breakfast plan went into its second day, and it worked a little better. We waited until everybody else (all the extra people who seem to show up) had eaten, then we made pancakes. The kids were dubious that pancakes made from a recipe would be as good as pancakes from a mix, but they quickly changed their minds. So that was satisfying.
I wanted this entry to be informative, and a good reminder for me later when I want to remember How Things Happened. It ended up being a bit gossipy. Sorry (to all of my faithful readers) (haha).