Sunday, January 30, 2011

Old Buzzards - Roosting Jan 2011

Every morning  this group - or a reasonable facsimile -
meet in the Portales off the plaza in Jocotepec for coffee.

They , ok, ok, WE never lie or tell stories out-of-school.
Nor engage in simpy gossip.

Only the good slimy stuff!

Some of the pals. . .

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Dreaded Dry Season Jan 2011

This is NOT my favorite time of year.
Dirty brown mountains, lawns, and cars.
 And, it will get progressively dustier and hotter 
until, at wits end, the rains come in June.

Chaac, have mercy on our souls!

 It's so dry I've become a potato chip, salty and crispy even,
like I would shatter if I fell.

Painful skin cracks on my fingers.
Sinusitis and Claritin.
And locals wearing masks on the streets. 

Keeping the garden watered is becoming a monumental task.
Low water pressure in the hose.

Dust everywhere, rolling over the mountains from the
dry lake beds; like fog does in Pacifica.

 FINE dust.  The kind you find embedded in your keyboard
and inside the drawers.

Even the scorpions come in looking for moisture!

You know what I mean.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Path With Heart Jan 2011

When I was in the fourth grade Joanne Goto died.

She was my classmate in our Catholic school
and she had developed a brain tumor at the
unbearable age of 11.

Joanne and her family were Buddhist.
The nuns told us — and the Goto family —
that Joanne's soul would "burn in almighty hell for all eternity".
 How comforting for the Goto family that must have been.

From that event forward,
the faith, grace, and dignity of the Goto family
ignited a Buddhism pilot light deep within my soul
that has flickered and flamed for 50 some odd years.

As a child in Hawaii, I learned diversity and appreciation for people who were
different from me from my parents.
We had friends of all cultures, racial backgrounds, and beliefs.
Many were Buddhists and we attended ceremonies and celebrations
with them.
I remained interested.

In school I read as much as I could find about the life of the Buddha
and once wrote a paper that was well received by my instructors.

I veered off of this path in my youth,
favoring the philosophy of
live fast, die young, and have a good looking corpse.

From there I went directly to sex, drugs, and rock and roll.

I was a spiritual loss in my 40s.
Adrift in a stew of dysfunction, confusion,
and not being able to make anything in my life work right.
Not much of a stretch as to why. . .

But that Buddhism pilot light roared to life in my 50s!

While living in northern California, I stumbled upon
a place called Spirit Rock Meditation Center,
five minutes from my home. 
All were welcome.

I began a meditation practice and went on
Monday nights, along with 50 plus other kind people,
for Dharma talks and 30 minute meditation sitting.
I meditated with the monks at the San Francisco Zen Center
and celebrated the earth at their Green Gulch Farm.

I read more books, like A Path With Heart by Jack Kornfield
— one of the founders of Spirit Rock —
and an eloquent, humorous, and articulate Dharma speaker
at Monday night meditation.

When I moved to Mexico 
I found myself on my own again in terms of spirituality.
I continued to read but rarely meditated.

A few months ago a friend mentioned she was enjoying
a small meditation sangha that met on Tuesday evenings
in Ajijic for Buddhist discussion and 30 minutes
of meditation facilitated by the knowledgeable and articulate 
Kevin Knox.

I have found another home.

We are currently reading and discussing another
Jack Kornfield book The Wise Heart.

Email me for more information on the Tuesday night
Ajijic sangha and sit if you are interested in adding compassion,
mindfulness, and loving-kindness to your path.

All are welcome!

Some basic information:
What is Buddhism?
Who was the Buddha?
What do Buddhists believe?
Buddhism - religion or philosophy?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Laaaaaaaaalo! Jan 2011

Every Thursday is tianguis (tee yan' gees) day in Jocotepec
and I go almost every week since it comes to within
two blocks of my house.

I have my favorite vendors, oh yes I do!
Allow me to introduce you to one of them.

Here's Lalo. . .

This picture was  taken a few months ago, a sunny day,
Lalo in great form, enjoying the company of his kids.

Lalo is a payaso (clown)!
He sings, he dances, and sometimes I go to the tianguis just to see Lalo.

He knows four words in English and the minute he sees me coming
he shouts them out for all the world to hear.
That's it.
He never fails to reduce me to a pile of giggles.

Today, Lalo wasn't so happy.
It's winter and he was cold and people aren't spending like usual.
Everybody, actually, is a little worried about the lack of spending.
Money is tight right now.

Here's what he has to offer. . .

Yogurt, yogurt tubes, gorditas, queso fresco, queso panela,
and queso Oaxaca.  Three types of Mexican cheese.

Those cups and pint containers are called 'chongo'
or something like that.  Chongo means monkey
and I am completely and utterly confused about this product.
I have tasted it and am not so enthused about it,
maybe that's why I haven't bothered to learn more about it.
Help me out here, guys. . .Leslie!!!

Crackers and cheese to taste and homemade, delicious,
(and not very greasy) chorizo. 

The green tortillas are made of Nopal and are yummy
and VERY good for our health.
The tub of cheese is Requesón, much like Ricotta.

More yogurt, yummy flavors but pretty sweet,
and 2 kinds of very tasty whole-grain breakfast rolls.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Things That Make You Go Hmmmmm. . . Jan 2011

What is this thing?
Anybody know?

I found this in the street, in el centro, in the middle
of the El Señor del Monte Fiesta.

Is it a hoof pick?  A weapon?
It's nasty looking, sharp, and with a very sharp hook.
It's hand forged and heavy metal.


Here is another shot of it:


Monday, January 10, 2011

Of Celiac, Survival, and Super Lake Jan 2011




"Every time you eat gluten, said Dr. Juan Pablo,
you do damage to your intestines.
You can never eat gluten again."
With these words I started researching
gluten-free foods on the internet, cleaned out the fridge and
cupboards, changed the dogs food to a rice based kibble,
and ate nothing but eggs, bananas, and peanut butter.

After a week of this, it was time to try to find something to eat!
Over by Ajijic there is a market that carries literally tons of
imported foods and a small health food store
specializing mostly in vitamins and supplements.

I figured the best bet was the imported foods emporium, Super Lake.

I poured over the ingredients list on every product that interested me -
in Spanish!
Everything was expensive.

In the narrow aisles, I was in everyone's way.
Completely overwhelmed, I left,
buying nothing but more eggs and some rice pasta.
(The rice pasta was an expensive disaster.)

More research.
I found I could google 'is Heinz ketchup gluten-free'
and get pages and pages of information.

I went back to Super Lake.
I was STARVING for real food. . .bread, pasta etc.
Starting with the bread, I found only one.
(67 pesos - about $5.58US).
Made of amaranth and flax with sunflower seeds,
it makes unbelievably delicious toast.
Ok, at least now I had a bread.

Super Lake has a complete aisle of them,
right side and left side, endless choices. . .
for most people.

I have two choices.  (89.90 pesos - about $7.49US)

Let me just say, I am THRILLED to have these
two cereals - at any price!

Again, endless choices for most people.

My choice.

I prefer the Ancient Harvest Quinoa.
(61.50 pesos - about $5.12US)
(8 oz.)

Flours and baking mixes fill another whole row.
My choices are the gluten-free options of the Bob's Red Mill line
and over the holidays I even found gluten-free Bisquick.
(107 pesos - about $8.90US)

So, you get the picture, it's not easy.
Of course, all natural foods, fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, and poultry
are safe, as long as they are not marinated, spice-rubbed,
or otherwise altered with a substance containing gluten.
Every time I shop Super Lake I find more and more
gluten-free products.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Broom Man of San Luis Soyatlan Jan 2011

His tiny shop is right on the careterra,
you will pass it as you drive through town.
Prices are good.

He's cute, he's charming, he has lots of cool brooms
and baskets and stuff just inside his little doorway.

One caveat . . . ladies, stay out of arms reach!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Quiz Jan 2011

A few months ago there was an accident here at the lake
involving a construction project, an overloaded truck,
and the tragic death of a young mother.

The open top truck was hauling large rocks from one
location to be dumped at another.

As it passed along the highway, one of the rocks dislodged
and fell onto another vehicle also traveling on the highway.
The woman, who was a passenger in the back of a pickup,
was struck by the rock and killed.

A mandate was then ordered that trucks hauling these
rocks had to be covered.
The trucks loads were then covered with tarps.

What was used to secure the tarps in place on the trucks?
And why?

In no way is this meant to be humorous or to diminish the loss
of life of this young mother and wife - rather to foster an
understanding of Mexico and how she operates. 

So, can you guess?
Leave your answers below in the comments section
and I will give you the answer after sufficient responses have
been left.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

12:01 Jan 1, 2011 Jan 2011

Two bonfires light up my block,
one on each end.
The air is pungent with wood smoke.

Nary a cohete (bottle rocket) to be heard -
instead, the peppering of small firecrackers.

Soft music from a distance.
A pulsing beat and muffled vocals
punctuated by laughter, hoots and hollers.
¡Ai yi yi yi yi!

The church bells peal, first slowly and rhythmically,
building, then frantically calling the faithful
to Midnight Mass.
Don't be late!

Then the gunfire,
Mexicans love to shoot off their guns into the sky
at the stroke of midnight.
Not caring that what goes up will, 
eventually, come back down!
First some pop, pop, pops,
then the unmistakable rat-a-tat-tat
of an automatic weapon from the hillside.

We shelter in place.