On top of the rock

On top of the rock
Our Cliff

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas everyone!

It is 5am Christmas morning. I have been awake since 3:30 so I decided to just get up. I am curled up on the sofa in our bodega covered with Maurice’s sweatshirts. It is cold here in the mornings! Gees! I thought this was Mexico! Well, I guess it beats 2 feet of snow so I should not complain.

Yes we are still sleeping in the bodega. I know most of you think we have moved up already, but no, we have not. Maurice now has half of the solar panels installed so we are getting close. The electricians and plumbers have a couple more days of work left. They just do not seem to want to finish. They are so close, yet we are having a hard time getting them to show up to finish. You would think they would want their final payment, wouldn’t you? The wrought iron guys are another group that still has to finish their work here. They have to install the gates and finish painting the railings that are already installed. They are also making some headboards for Laguna and Boca that we have not seen yet. The landscaping is coming along amazingly well! Everything looks so good with palms and cactus around. It really brings the place to life. Then there is the big clean-up needed; both inside and out. Last week Jesus (pronounced hey-soos) came to us looking for work as his job in Todos Santos ended. We were thrilled! If you remember we had wanted to hire him a month and a half ago. He will begin with us Monday. We promised him a couple of months work but if things go well we hope we can keep him here. He will be a big help to us. His first job will be to clean up what still remains of the construction…..stray re-bar, some concrete chunks, things like that.

So today is Christmas and we actually celebrated Christmas Eve last night. This was a last minute decision for us. The bodega is a mess since we are in transition and the top is a mess since we are trying to get unpacked. I finally got most of the things for the kitchen put away, at least what we moved here from the storage unit. The thing is we have no counter tops or sink yet so nothing could be washed. I will have to empty all the cupboards to wash everything when the sink goes in but at least I can do that gradually. Anyway, two days ago I said to Maurice, “Do you think we can have Christmas Ever here?” We decided all our efforts would go to make that happen. While I emptied the remaining boxes and tried to get everything put “somewhere” he hung lights and ceiling fans. We pulled it off. Last night we had Keith and Sharon over for our first Christmas Eve at Arriba de la Roca. We grilled steaks on the BBQ and I even found some boxes with Christmas decorations that we had scattered around. We even had a small tree. So even though there were displaced things sitting around, and furniture with no place to call home yet in the middle of the room we enjoyed Christmas dinner with our good friends.

Today we are invited to some Italians that Maurice met a couple of years ago. He ate with them a few times when I was still in Canada and really enjoys them. He is excited to have an Italian Christmas dinner!

For now I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, or Happy Chanukah. May the year 2011 be one filled with blessings for you and your loved ones and hopefully it will include a trip to Arriba de la Roca.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A New Life

NOTE: Please read the posting marked 6,737 miles or 10,799 kilometers before you read this. It was posted December 12th

Saturday December 11th marked one year since I quit my career and my life at CHFI. The year has flown by! I can not believe how much has happened and changed in the past 12 months. My “Dream a little dream” bracelet, that was my departing gift, has still not left my wrist. I think of my friends at work almost daily. Thoughts of them run through my mind about a joke we may have shared between us, or an idea, an opinion, or I may just think about people that I truly miss.

Ironically, I spent my one year anniversary, Saturday, December 11th, at a place called La Canada. (Get it?? We moved here from Canada.) This is a local business that holds our storage unit but also is a huge fabulous furniture store. I have dreamt of owning many things under Pedro and Barbara’s roof…they are the owners there. December 11th they had their annual rummage sale. They open up their huge parking lot to anyone who wants to sell anything. There were vendors selling sausages, jellies, pottery, hummus, tortillas, salsas, donuts, clothing….well you can imagine. There were also people like me and Maurice. Too much stuff!! (BTW that is a great Delbert McClinton song…Thanks Maxine!) Since we had “too much stuff” we spent a couple of days going through our storage units and pulling things out for the sale that we knew for sure we could get rid of.

Saturday was a really really busy day. There were hundreds of people who came out for the event. Probably 60% were Mexican locals, and the rest gringos. My friend Sharon came to help me as Maurice was at our house working. We sold so much stuff that we made $12,000 pesos! THAT IS A THOUSAND DOLLARS!!!! In Toronto we had rummage sales that we planned and worked on for weeks and made only $200!!!! I WAS SO EXCITED!! $1,000!!!! COOL!!

Also, I had this rule. If any Mexican came and asked about the price on something that was under 200 pesos I would give it to them. Some of them could not believe it! They would ask again, “Cuanto es?? “And I would say, “Nada...por ustedes, por favor” (Nothing...for you, please) I got so many hugs! The one price exception was a clock that we had 300 pesos on. A guy with one arm kept talking to his sister about it and rubbing his hand on it. He wanted it so bad, I could tell. I figure that some people work a whole day for 300 pesos and I am guessing he did not have that opportunity. I told him “Feliz Navidad!!” He was so happy!!! It was the best day ever.

As a side bar here...I tell you these things not to make myself look like a good person. Trust me, giving away something that I could pocket under $20 does not make me a good person. I tell you these things to give you a better idea of the Mexican people. They have so little and appreciate everything! It may not have even been the gift...it is the unexpected act of kindness that turned out to be the best gift of all.

...Back to the sale....

The highlight of the day though, was the selling of the pink couch. (I am sure you knew that was coming, right??) We kept it wrapped in the plastic it was moved in, but took off the brown paper. So many people wanted it. It was such a gem to everyone. It was also $2,500 pesos which is a lot of money to most here. There was this woman; I am guessing a 65 year old that appeared to be closer to 75. She wanted it so bad and wanted to know the cheapest I would sell it for. I told her $2,000 pesos. She asked if it included both pieces, since it was a sectional. I told her yes, but she still kept asking, like she could not believe it. She left and came back a few times in a matter of 10 minutes and she finally handed me $2,000 pesos and asked if she could come back later to get it. Of course, I said. I now know it was so she could get large men to carry it for her.

During the next 2 hours she brought a parade of people by to show them her new sofa. They were of all ages. The kids jumped on it and the adults smiled at her. She hugged me.

When the time came for her to take it away I hugged her...All I can think of is that now, our pink sofa that traveled over 6,700 miles in its life is starting another journey. It will start to support new people, and new families. It will be loved and taken care of and cherished. It is being given a new life, here in Mexico. Kind of like Maurice and me.

Where’s a live mouse when you really need one!

When Maurice phoned me today while I was in Cabo and asked me to pick something up for him I was not surprised. This often happens as he thinks of an item he needs while I am in town. His request today though, was a little unusual.

“Where are you?” he asked. “Costco” I responded. “GREAT!” he exclaimed! “Can you pick me up a large glass container??” “What kind of glass container?” I asked. “A big one with a cover. Kind of like an aquarium.” “Should I ask why?” I say. “We have a new pet,” he says. “You found a fish??” “No….a rattlesnake.”

Well, as you can imagine that did not excite me as much as it excited Maurice. “A RATTLESNAKE!!! WHAT THE HECK IS THE MATTER WITH YOU!!!???” “It is only a baby” he says, “not more than a foot long. “

“Does it have a rattler???”


“Can it still bite??”


“And you want to keep it in a glass container??”

“Yes, one that is big enough for me to put rocks, sand and live mice in,” he says.


“Yes, please.”

Well Costco had no rattlesnake houses but I did find a large clear plastic box in Wal-Mart. So now we have a rattlesnake in a box. Maurice frantically looked for live mice in some storage boxes we had. Of course he had no luck. He did find out that the snake can live for a month without food. He says that if he can not find live mice for him he will le it go. Gees, that is reassuring!

BTW Retro is not a fan of the snake. I have to agree with him…but I do have to say I peak a look way too often into his plastic habitat! Maurice enjoys that! He giggles and says, “YOU LIKE IT!!!” I guess for our first pet snake it is kind of cute...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

6,737 miles or 10,779 kilometers

Back in 1987 my friend Nancy and I moved from downtown Minneapolis to Lake Independence. We rented a fabulous house there, on the lake, with two large living rooms, both overlooking the water. Since we had never lived in a place with two living rooms before, we needed to get some additional furniture. Lucky for us that Nancy worked at a home furnishings store at the time and got us some great bargains. One of the first things we did was buy matching sectional sofas for our two living rooms. One was a kind of pastel stripe and the other a kind of pink color. This pink sofa was mine. I chose the color because it matched a beautiful antique rug that my mother had given me. The rug had this color of “pink” along with taupe and black and shades of blues and maroon.

During the 4 years that Nancy and I lived in that house we survived many changes. There was an apartment down below that she eventually moved into with her boyfriend (now husband) Wade. Her sofa was too large for the space so she sold it to me and my new roommate, our friend “Hogger”. (Either that or I begged so much that the matching sofas not be separated she left it for us...the truth escapes me!!)

In 1991 I left Minneapolis to move to Clearwater, Florida to finally be with the love of my life, Maurice. Our friend Jack moved in with Hogger and I took all my things with me. Hogger kept Nancy’s sofa...but my pink sofa came with me to Clearwater.

My life in Clearwater was not for long. Suffice to say that in January of 1992 I re-packed all my things and moved to Toronto; Palgrave, Ontario to be exact. Again, all my worldly possessions came with me, including my pink sofa. From there Maurice and I bought our house in Tottenham, Ontario. Again, another big move including the pink sofa.

Over the years we added and changed so many things in our ever growing home. One constant was the pink sofa that sat on top of the beautiful antique rug in our living room. We finally had new pillows made to kind-of update the look since the sofa was still great, but the color "pink" that was rather passé.

When we started clearing out our house for our move to Mexico we got rid of lots of things. We had auctions and rummage sales and I do have to say that the Salvation Army Thrift Stores and Goodwill were the recipients of many things I would have NEVER believed we would have just given away...but we did.

The pink sofa was going to go to Rocco and Donna as they had gutted their basement and were remodeling it. Although we knew they would not keep it there for a long time we were excited they were taking our fabulous, albeit pink, sofa.

Just before we were to move Rocco and Donna found out that the sofa would not make it down and around their steps. O.K. Now what. It was way to good to just give away to Goodwill, and Maurice’s kids could not use it. There was only one choice. The pink sofa was loaded into our 40 ft moving container and it came with us to Mexico in December of 2009.

Minneapolis to Clearwater on a moving truck. Clearwater to Palgrave on a U-Haul. Palgrave to Tottenham in another U-Haul. Tottenham to Halifax Nova Scotia on a train. Halifax to Vera Cruz Mexico, on an ocean liner. From Vera Cruz, on a truck, over the Sea of Cortez on a ferry, to our storage unit in Todos Sanots, Baja Sur Mexico.

That couch was a real trouper. Following me wherever I went. Always there to support and hold me up. There to hold up friends, family, grandchildren. It was always there for me.

It was there to pose for family Christmas pictures on

It was there for kids and grandkids to play on

It was there the "night of"

.....and the "morning after"

It supported "Mexican" costumes....

....and new families

We moved it from room to room...depending on how many people we needed to seat for Christmas dinner

And we held new...

And growing grandbabies on it

But what are we going to do with this integral-part-of-our-life-pink-sofa in Mexico?

Stay tuned.....

P.S. If you think that on December 13th....12 days before our first Christmas without family....that me going through pictures to find ones with the pink sofa on it make me cry, than you are right.......That part of this posting REALLY sucked!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tis the season

OH MY WORD!!! Jingle Bells, We wish you a Merry Christmas, The First Noel...all songs we know by heart. We know the melodies; we know each and every word. So how crazy is it to be in a store and hear these songs, with a little Mexican musical flare to them, and being sung in Spanish. Of course Christmas carols would be in Mexico‘s native tongue....I just never thought about it! It makes me smile! The Season is in full swing here. There are poinsettias everywhere. Fake trees, even some real ones that cost a small fortune and I am sure have a very short “shelf life”. There are inflatable Santas everywhere. There are displays of children’s gifts, Christmas towels and decorations. Oh, the decorations!!! I will take a picture for you...certainly not things you would find in Macy’s, or The Bay. They are very Mexican, which to me makes them very special.