Sunday, November 30, 2008

The most wonderful time.

Everything is as we left it here -- except the dogs are being extra affectionate. (They like us, the really like us!)

We missed them an awful lot, too.

By the way, the rest of our time in Ajijic was really nice. We went to a matinee one day for The Last Legion. I'd never heard of it. I don't know if it's still playing here. It started out pretty bad, but I liked it by the end.

We went to Pedro's Gourmet for Thanksgiving dinner with our new neighbors, Ron and Kathy. On Friday we went out with our good friend, Claudette. She keeps us updated on all the local news.

It's now officially time to start thinking about Christmas. We're going to a Christmas concert at Benaroya Hall tonight. It's the choir from Seattle Pacific University. I'm very excited about it. It reminds me of going to hear my sisters sing in the Park High School choir. Best memories ever.

So, now that it's the season, do you have any Christmas wishes I should know about?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

What's different this time.

Every time we come to Ajijic, we go through a mental list of what's changed and what hasn't.

This time, it seems quieter -- even though it's festival time. St. Andrew is the patron saint of Ajijic and his feast day is November 30. The festival leads up to the big day. The fireworks at 5:30 a.m. don't even wake me. The ones at night go off for maybe two minutes. The mariachis parade past -- they don't set up camp nearby for an all-nighter like they have in the past. The action seems much more focused on the plaza this year.

Part of it is that it's chillier than it was the last few times we were here for Thanksgiving -- so all our windows are closed. At least the ones that can close.

The egrets are gone! No jub-jub birds discussing politics all day long -- at first I thought the Obama win must have left them speechless.

The real reason is that "they" destroyed the neighborhood trees the birds hung out in. I honestly don't know who "they" are. It was two trees on two different properties. The one we can see wasn't cut down -- just de-limbed. So it's quite ugly. If you want to cut down a tree, you need to pay for a permit, even if it's in your yard. I think "they" thought they could get away with not getting a permit this way.

I'm sure the birds just moved someplace else, but I imagine they were stressed out by it. Even though they bothered me, I feel bad for them. I also feel bad about the trees.

The lake has gotten very full. VERY full. If you've been here, you might remember the park with all the picnic tables to the west of the Ajijic dock. It's now flooded up to the top of the benches. They have sand bags placed around the park . . . but they haven't quite done the trick. On the other side of the dock, the water comes pretty close to the doorways of the houses and businesses. You used to be able to park there.

We walked along the lake for several blocks west of the dock. The soccer field is complete drowned -- you can only see the top couple of feet of the fence behind the goals. A tennis court looks more like a fence around a fish farm.

I'm reading a history of Lake Chapala -- and apparently up until the 1950s it flooded fairly regularly. So I guess this is a sign of returning health. I'm just glad our house is a block or two away from the beach.

This afternoon, we're planning to take a walk to the lake near our house. I'll try to take some pictures and upload them when we get back to Seattle.

Monday, November 24, 2008

That was a heavy toothbrush!

I didn't need much more than a toothbrush.

But (as you can tell) I brought a computer . . . and my e-book reader . . . and my iPod . . . and a couple of books . . . and some magazines. Heaven forbid that I get bored! My backpack probably weighed 30 pounds, but it was all I needed to bring.

Just about everything here at Casa Gecko was in working order, except we were out of gas (so no hot water and no oven or stove) and our satellite TV wasn't functioning. That's really not much, considering the usual running around it takes to get the Internet going or the phones working or fix a crack in a ceiling or whatever we find. The place was clean, too, since Ana has been continuing to come here every week.

Of course, we haven't been gone that long.

No mangoes on the tree yet. The bananas are gone. The limones are still coming. They are a year-round treat.

Ajijic has its own Walmart now. We had to go check it out. It's not that big a deal, really. I was expecting something outrageously big, but it's about the same as the average Fred Meyer in Seattle. Which is big. And it's about the same size (I think) as Soriana -- the Mexican Fred Meyer -- just down the road. They've had a recent facelift and it's much more attractive than Walmart. Walmart is probably three or four kilometers closer to us.

I don't shop at Walmart in the States, because they have such a bad reputation in their dealings with labor. But (totally hypocritically) I shop at Sam's Club because they have really great stuff and it's cheap. And I'm afraid if Walmart were more convenient than the places I normally go to, I'd probably be tempted. It's easy to be a Walmart snob when they're out in the middle of nowhere.

To balance out our Walmart trip, we stopped at a little store on our street yesterday to buy some onions, potatoes, chiles, etc. We spent $1.35 there.

I've spent more for a replacement brush for my fancy electric toothbrush!

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Ross called me at work today to ask whether I'd be checking any bags at the airport tomorrow.

No. I figured I could get everything in my carry-on and backpack.

Then, for the rest of the day, during free moments (usually in the ladies' room), I'd think . . . what do I need to pack?

Finally, it occurred to me that I had brought my electric toothbrush back to Seattle from Casa Gecko in August. Yep. That's what I need to pack.

I used to obnoxiously remind people about my upcoming vacations, just to make them jealous. That got a little old. Now I can brag that I don't even have to pack!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Travel plans.

Haven't gone away in awhile. Ross went to Sacramento last week. But I've stayed home for months now.

Next week Friday, we return to Mexico. I wonder why I've thought not at all of Casa Gecko since we left. How completely it has left my mind. I focused hard on being here in Seattle with all my heart. And it worked. Now I feel a little guilty -- like I have mistreated a friend.

We'll be there for a week. We've been in touch with one or two people who will be there at the same time. We have reservations at Pedro's Gourmet Restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner. Just $15 per person -- beat that!

Then, the first week of December, I'll be attending a conference in Chicago.

Yeah. That's cool.

But better than that, I'll be spending the weekend in Racine! I haven't been back there by myself since well before I got marrried. I'm thinking the summer of 1993. Maybe. I'll miss Ross, natch, but I'm kind of excited about the chance to relax with Mom and Dad and visit with my sibs.

Those are the plans. What about you?

What's new with you?

I haven't had much to say . . . but some people have been saying they're a little tired of coming here and seeing sweet potato chips. I have to admit it was quite some time ago that I devoured the last chip.

I just don't have much to say.

We elected a new president since then. But I'm pretty sure you knew that.

Things got very busy at work. Now it's slowed back down to a reasonable speed. But that's not terribly interesting.

Da boyz got excited yesterday morning when two off-leash dogs came running down the street. Slick got so riled, in fact, that he slipped out of his harness and attacked the small dog. I'm pretty sure the little dog is okay. She managed to get her teeth into Slick's paw -- and he totally deserved that and worse. The owner was apologetic that his dogs were off leash. But the whole story is just embarrassing and I don't want to talk about it.

I participated in an all-day paddling clinic for dragon boating a week or so ago. Ross bought me a really cool new paddle -- just in time for the clinic. So that was cool.

Ross is finishing up a series of Sunday School classes on "Signs, Symbols and Mysteries of the Church" this coming Sunday. And that's awesome.

Oh . . . and I was a guest speaker at a UW Executive MBA class on direct marketing on Friday. I enjoyed it immensely. It's a lot easier holding the attention of a class full of people who are getting graded than conference attenders.