Saturday, September 26, 2009

Things That Make You Go Hmmmmm. . . Sept 2009


What kind of a bleeping bleep would design

a bleeping parking lot with a

bleeping light pole right in the

bleeping middle of it?

Apparently I'm in good company!

Walmart Mexico! That's who.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Jocotepec - Mi Pueblito Sept 2009

Jocotepec's beautiful church.

Lake Chapala in front of the Joco malecón.

City Hall

The Plaza

A country road between the raspberry fields.

Our famous weaver of wool wall hangings, rugs, and serapes.

The Panteón (cemetery)

New kid in town.
Meeting Jesus on the highway.

¡Viva Mexico!

Reliable transportation.

How much is that doggy in the window.

Tacos al Pastor to die for!

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Dog Sack and The Rose Sept 2009

One sensational San Francisco Bay Area summer afternoon, in 1999, I was cleaning the sand and seaweed out of my car following a day at the beach with Rosie, my Puli X rescue dog -- and best friend.

As I sweated and contorted, an idea exploded in my mind. I thought I'd go over to the Coroner's office and ask if they had an old body bag to give away.

I wanted to put impossibly long-haired and double-coated Rosie in it and zip it up to her chin after a day at the beach, dog park, or hiking when she was embedded with mud and fun-souvenirs.

I climbed over the seats and into the back pulling the uncooperative hose. I vacuumed. I cursed. I designed. I cursed. I planned.

After a grueling and EXPENSIVE 6 months of veterinarian consults, website building, business classes, business plans, accountants, patent lawyers, meetings with Chinese garment manufacturers in the San Francisco garment industry and their frustrated pattern makers -- the Dog Sack was born.

I proudly had them manufactured by a company that employed 400 disabled people in northern California.

I sent one to everyone. . . Oprah, Martha, Bill, and heard back from all of them.

Oprah thought I should have been channeling my energy into something more globally worthwhile, The White House sent glossy 8 X 10s of Buddy the Chocolate Lab and a signed thank you note from Bill and Hill, and Martha sent a personal letter thanking me for her Dog Sacks, saying that she used them on her Chows to keep her airplane clean. Okay. There's a need that had never crossed my mind.

One day I gathered up all my courage and went into the city to This was - drum roll - the BIG TIME. We made our well-rehearsed presentation. The guy LOVED it!

I either got that reaction -- or the other one where they said it was the dumbest thing they'd ever seen and they were thinking of turning me in to the Humane Society. There was no in between.

The guy said he'd order a thousand if I got UPC codes (bar codes), and to let him know when I did, so he could write the purchase order.

I drove home on cloud 9, the Rose and I floated over the Golden Gate Bridge.

I did it and called him back. He's not here! I'll have him call you when he gets back in! They said. Over and over.

That went on for 3 weeks. I was devastated. I had alerted the manufacturer but had not yet bought the fabric when one night the Breaking News in SF was that Pets.Com, and it's smarmy sock puppet, had gone belly-up.

Through it all, my Rosie was a star. Her demonstrations and modeling were Academy Award performances. She never complained and enjoyed the attention. She liked her Dog Sack.

About that time, Judi Dash called. Judi was a writer with a string of 21 syndicated papers and she wanted to do a spread on the Dog Sack. You better prepare your manufacturer, she said, and raved about the product.

Two weeks later was September 11, 2001. Everything changed. The dot com bubble began to implode. Nobody cared about a silly dog product.

Nor would editors print the story. I waited awhile, waited some more, then gave up and went back to work. Sob.

Three years later, while in the middle of packing to move to Mexico, Judi called and wanted to know if I was still in business and could she run the article. I thought about it for a nano-second but me and the Rose voted to take off for Lake Chapala with our worldly possessions instead.

This summer Rosie passed away, in my lap, on my patio, in Jocotepec, and I lost my show biz star and my best pal. She's buried under the guava tree.

RIP Rose Bud.
We had great times!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Food, Food, Glorious Food! Sept 2009

When I was 11, and living in Hawaii, we had a Japanese woman, by the name of Toki Yamaguchi, who came on Wednesdays to clean and do the washing and ironing for my mother. When Toki took her lunch break she would sit down at our 1954 chrome and swirly gray Formica kitchen table with her Bento Box and chopsticks. I was fascinated.

I peeked over her shoulder while she poked around in her mysterious meal. Soon she was bringing extras and offering me tastes from her exotic looking lacquer and mother-of-pearl lunch box on the days she knew I would not be in school. I got to try rice balls with ume (pickled plum) tucked inside, various kinds of sushi, steamed fish, pickled vegetables, toasted seaweed, sashimi, teriyaki beef and chicken, Udon noodles and so many other assorted goodies that I've been hooked on Japanese food ever since.

Imagine my surprise last week when surfing the internet, I ran across an article in the NY Times on Bento Boxes! What a huge craze they have become. Admittedly, this interest has been mostly spawned by mothers trying to pack healthy and affordable lunches for their kids so they don't have to participate in the school lunch programs. . .where catsup is considered a vegetable. . . but the whole concept of multiple small portions of many different colorful fruits and vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds and proteins makes sense for everyone who is looking to eat a healthy diet.

The more I clicked, the more inspired I became.

The concept of smaller portions of fresh foods, creatively prepared, and utilizing a greater variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy proteins happens to be directly up my alley. I am a foodie, and am most happy eating a fresh, primarily vegetarian, diet which I've seemed to veer away from since moving to Mexico.

But it was this site Laptop Lunches and their Photo Gallery that sent me rushing down to the Joco mercado. I bought blackberries, peaches, papaya, apples, carrots, zukes, lettuce, cukes, radishes, mushrooms, avocados, spinach, celery, chopped mixed veges, bagels, whole grain rice and tortillas, multi-grain crackers, tostadas, nuts, raisins, yogurt, cottage cheese - both non-fat and non-sugared, and fresh fish.

That night I made my first 'Bento Plate' and have been eating like this ever since. I feel better, am more satisfied after meals, am having more fun making meals, and am throwing away way less leftovers - since a tiny bit of leftover can be a portion for the next Bento Plate.

Last night I made these vege patties from a package of fresh chopped assorted vegetables that we can buy at the tianguis here in Mexico, and they were delicious.

Next up will be this zucchini saute and whatever else is lying around.


Every one of these pictures are from the Laptop Lunch Photo Gallery site

and all the recipes are available on their Menu Library.

-A very special thank you to the ladies from Laptop Lunch
and their inspirational concept of healthy eating-

Monday, September 14, 2009

Things That Make You Go Hmmmmm. . . Sept 2009

I used to think this pole was funny. . .

until I realized my house was connected to it!

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Thoughtfulness Of One Sept 2009

What can one say about the generosity and thoughtfulness of the people who live here?

Here are a couple of pictures that illustrate it profoundly.

A woman by the name of Sandy, who goes by Sandy Kayak locally, wrote me from Florida saying she was returning soon and would stop by Costco and bring down some of the medicines on the Wish List for the nuns and patients at La Casa de la Sagrada Familia.

On a whim, she stopped at her local 'Dollar Store' and picked up a handful of 'Dean Edell eyeglasses' of varying strengths and threw them in the bag with the OTC medicines.

I'm sure she had no idea how this last minute thought would change the lives of the people at La Casa.

Yesterday I went over to La Casa to visit with the nuns and to drop off Sandy's bags. The medicines were oohed and aawed over by the nurses, but when they opened the bag of glasses there was real excitement. Madre Rosa found a pair that improved her vision immediately, then we started trying the glasses on the patients.

My back was turned when the nurse tried a pair on the patient whose hair she had been styling. . .I heard her gasp "¡Yo veo!" - I see!

Here she is with the wonderment of renewed vision. . .

¡Yo veo tambien!

How cool is that!

¡Gracias a Sandy Kayak!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Is This All There Is? Sept 2009

It's been sad around here lately.

It all started a couple of months ago when a friend in Ajijic died. It was expected, she had been ill for some time.

But then, her widower was diagnosed with cancer and left Mexico to be with family and to have his treatment in the states.

Shortly after, a beloved elderly friend became ill suddenly and died. She begged her doctor to just let her go. He did.
I want him to be my doctor at the end too.

Then another friend succumbed to cancer. She had been suffering too.

Two weeks ago another friend died suddenly one night of a heart attack. She was only 54.

This week I have 2 Celebrations of Life to attend. I hope it's that last of them for awhile.

I guess this is to be expected when one lives near a retirement community. . . but I'm having trouble shaking the 'Is this all there is?' feeling.

I love the way Mexicans view death and the grieving process. I suppose being deeply religious has something to do with it, but they do not seem to cry and be devastated.

When someone passes, scores of white chairs magically appear in front of the home of the departed. A canopy is erected to shelter everyone from the sun and for 24 hours family, neighbors, and friends drop by to pay respects and participate in the vigil. The dearly departed lies in state inside the home where flowers and food are abundant. People come and go.

When I lived at the beach, my old neighbor on the corner passed and the white chairs appeared. The occupants of the chairs partied for 2 full days! Cases of cerveza were delivered, discarded beer bottles were scattered everywhere, kids ran about playing, plates of food were devoured, and the event went on nonstop for the whole 2 days.

The highlight of the mourning was a group of elderly caballeros (cowboys) who pranced in late the second afternoon mounted on magnificent horses with tooled leather tack studded in silver. They put on a show of dancing horses better than any parade I've ever ever seen. One particularly jubilant fellow was passing around shots of Tequila in a hollowed out cow's hoof! Bleeegghh.

Directly after the 'white chair' visitation day, there is a funeral mass, followed by a procession on foot with the casket, flowers, and mourners trekking to the panteón (cemetery) where there can be either a great celebration or just a burial.

Recently a young man in Jocotepec was buried with mariachis to send him off to heaven.

Here is a recent procession to the panteón in Jocotepec,
casket in the back of white truck with family following close behind.

The mourners, young, old, and very old, walk the long hot walk from the funeral
mass to the panteón in Jocotepec.

More folks. . .

. . .and still more folks.

Then the trucks with the coronas (flower wreaths).

This person had so many coronas that it took 2 trucks to carry them all.

Stay tuned for November 5th, Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)
when those who have departed are celebrated. I will write about that then.

Maybe by then I'll know the answer to the question: Is this all there is?

For now, off to celebrate Val's life.

Monday, September 7, 2009

To Report An Emergency In Mexico Sept 2009

The following is from my book

Emergency Medical Spanish

To Report An Emergency

Call Cruz Roja


Lake Chapala call:

065 or dial locally

765-2308 or 765-2553



Dispatcher will say:


¿Cuál es su nombre?

What is your name?

¿Cuál es su dirección?

What is your address?

¿Cuál es su numero de teléfono?

What is your phone number?

¿Cuál es su emergencia?

What is your emergency?


Dolor en el Pecho


Problemas de Respiración


Alteraciónes en Conciencia


Reacción de alergias


Estoy muy enfermo


Me caí / Estoy herido


Accidente automóvil


Dispatcher asks:

¿Qué enfermedad padece?

What kind of illness are you suffering from?

(See phrases above or try it in English some dispatchers understand some English)

¿Es usted diabetico/a?

Are you a diabetic?

¿Tiene Usted hipertensión?

Do you have high blood pressure?

¿Es usted propenso/a a un infarcto cardiaco?

Could you be having a heart attack?

¿Cómo se siente en éste momento?

How do you feel right now?


Dispatcher asks:

¿Donde está el accidente?

Where is the accident? (include cross street)

¿Cuántos vehículos están en el accidente?

How many vehicles are in the accident?

¿Cuántas personas lesionadas ve usted?

How many injured do you see?

¿Puede usted identificar se hay niños, adultos, ancianos?

Can you identify children, adults, or elderly?


Dispatcher asks:

¿De qué altura se cayó?

From what height did you fall?

¿De donde se cayó?

Where did you fall?

¿Donde le duele?

Where do you hurt?

¿Qué edad tiene usted?

How old are you?

Information for the paramedics:

(Please fill out and leave in a prominent place)


(Your name)


(Your address)



(Your telephone)

Problemas de medico:___________________________

(Medical problems you have or have had in the past)




(Medicines you take on a regular basis)



(Allergies to medicines)

Contacto de emergencia y teléfono:___________________

(Emergency contact and phone number)




Consider printing this information and leaving it

on the fridge or by the phone.

TO ORDER THE E-BOOK Emergency Medical Spanish: Email:

Friday, September 4, 2009

Things That Make You Go Hmmmmm. . . August 2009

The only thing more amusing than the sign

was the silence that fell over the ladies room chatter

when the flash went off in my stall. . .

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Letters From Home - Second Letter - Honolulu 1937 Sept 2009

My parents were very active during the war.
Mom was a nurse and my father was a reserve police officer.
Schnapps was a dog.

My parents moved to the island of Oahu in 1937, this is my mother's second letter home after leaving Los Angeles for her new life with her new husband in paradise. Here in her second letter she describes what living in Hawaii was like in 1937.

Here is the link to the first letter. . .

Postmarked March 20, 1937

Mrs. Larry Moss

200 F Dewey Way

Honolulu T. H.

Dear Betty,

I suppose the 1st thing I guess you want to know is if I’m happy,. Yes, I am even more happy than I thought I could be.

I suppose the 2nd thing you want to know is all about the island. Well kids if there are any English words in our language that would describe the beauty of this place I don’t know them. The flowers are exquisite and plentiful. The water is sixteen shades of blue and green right in front of our house. The coconut, papayas, palm, and shower trees are so thick that even on the hottest days you can always find plenty of shade. I love every inch of this island. Even the ground itself is a different color than on the mainland, it’s bright red or sort of an orange red caused from the volcanic substance in the earth. The only way you can appreciate it without seeing with your own eyes is by pictures. And remember that everything is just as pretty or prettier than the picture.

Our house is not large and not real modern but it is more than comfortable. The houses here are 2/3 screened with no walls and no windows. Our living room faces the ocean and is screened across the front. I moved our little breakfast table in and when we eat dinner at night we watch the sun set over the water through the leaves of coconut trees. Does that sound beautiful, well its twice as beautiful as that.

Now about our friends and what we do. Larry has certainly made friends in this short time he’s been here and they have all heard about me for so long that they took me right in. Nearly every day someone comes down to spend the day with me on the beach or some girl drives over and takes me downtown, or for a ride. So you see, that’s why I haven’t written. Everyone is so hospitable that you can’t get anything done.

No one does much cooking or laundry or house work. We spend most of your time out of doors. Almost every evening we are invited to someone’s house or if we happen to stay home someone drops in. In the five weeks I have been here we haven’t been home alone in the evening more than three times.

Now I’ll tell you about something that I enjoy on the island and I know you would too and that’s real Hawaiian music. They have what they call Beach Boys. They are Hawaiian boys who are hired by all the large beach hotels to show the tourists a good time. So during the day they give swimming lessons or take the guests out surfboarding or in an outrigger canoe. If they ask them, and pay them, they will sit on the beach and play string instruments. I have yet to see a Hawaiian boy who can‘t sing, play and dance the hula—all three. They are all very talented.

Well, at night these boys pick up extra money by going around in groups of 3, 4 or 5’s serenading outside peoples houses and every one gives them money and invites them in for a drink. Well, if these boys like you, they will come and serenade you for nothing. The other night I heard “ Here Comes The Bride” outside and looked out and here were 3 or 4 of Larry’s boy friends, beach boys that he has made friends of. So we called out and told them to come up and there were 4 of them that sat on the floor for 3 hours and played and sang.

This music does the funniest thing to you, it gives you the saddest feeling and makes you happy all at the once. One of these boys gave Larry a ukulele and Larry and I are both trying to learn it. You kids would sure razz me if you could hear me. Larry can play it well. This same beach boy also taught Larry how to ride a surf board and you should see him standing up riding in on the waves!

I have only been to two shows since I have been here. We haven’t had time to go to any more. The Waikiki Theater is the most beautiful here. It is a few blocks from us and it is on the order of the Chinese at home. It sets way back off the street but instead of shops all along the forefront it is lined with coconut trees, plants and flowers and right in the center is a beautiful fountain with lilies all around. Inside is exquisite. All along both sides are coconut trees, banana trees, flowers, and shrubbery. The ceiling is blue and high and before the show the organ plays and the lights go out and they make a rainbow and have clouds rolling all across the ceiling. It is just one floor and holds a lot of people. They charge 65 cents admission.

Another thing about this place I like is the informality. You can walk in anyone’s house any time of the day or night. No one ever locks their doors and you just walk right in. A couple of Saturdays nights ago we were invited to a lovely dance on the other side of the island. Coming home at 4 in the morning, we passed the house of friends of ours so we dropped in. They got up our of bed, mixed a drink, talked awhile, and then we went on.. Imagine me coming over to your house at 4 in the morning!

Another thing here that is funny is the law about serving drinks. After 12 o’clock you can’t buy a drink, and after 11:30 you can’t get into a night club, they close at 12:00. So the other night, after all the plays closed and put us out on the street, Larry took us to a speakeasy. Imagine, speakeasies, in this day and age.

It was in the country and a real old-fashioned 2 story house. It was real dark outside and I insisted it couldn’t be the place but there were about 8 or so of us so I wasn’t afraid to go in. Hahaha. We knocked and a Chinese fellow came to the door and looked us all over and spoke to Larry – he remembered him so let us in. It was the spookiest place, no lights, and we walked through 2 or 3 rooms to a room way in the back and there were tables all around and people sitting and talking sort of in whispers. No lights but a little candle on each table. It sure gave me the creeps at first but next to our table were 10 Hawaiian boys and one was playing the uke and the all were singing softly so it was beautiful after all.

I like the lazy atmosphere of this place. I would, I can just hear you saying. We are about 15 minutes from down town and it is very quiet around here. There are no street cars, no sirens, and the landlady is the only one around here with even a phone so all I hear is the sound of water and rustle of trees. What a life.

People drive very screwy here. No signals down town and the pedestrian has right of way. I always did walk out in the street and then look, so it’s swell for me. Cars can only park on the one side of the street and at night you have to leave your lights on even if you stay home.

This is my last sheet of paper so I’ll have to quit. Will have to stop as I haven’t any more room, so goodbye.

Aloha and Love to all,

Mrs. Larry Moss

2007 F Dewey Way

Honolulu T. H.