of all the cheap meals...

Well, since becoming landowners, we have become to own nothing else. As a result, we have gotten very creative for meals. Now, I have not purchased ramen in many years, but it has become a staple in the house. The one thing that is very different then before, is that we do not have a ton on hand. Back in the states we had a pantry full of so many items that you could make in an instant... the difference was, we rarely made them. Many things sat in our pantry for too many months. Well, right now, we litterally have a bottle of oil (one evoo and one regular) a small bag of black beans, rice, flour, a little pancake mix and 1 box of cereal, oh, and a bag of bread and a ration of fresh tortillas, oh yeah.. and about 14 packs of ramen. Our fridge is a little better, it has a few chicken breasts, milk and eggs that have no purpose being in the fridge other then it makes me feel better. and a bunch of veggies.
but here are a few meals that we have managed to make on what can only be desctibed as a very tight budget...

last night we made a chicken chow main. Jamie Olover gets the most credit. visit him at http://www.jamieoliver.com/ and then the other day.. when we were truly iron chefing things... we made this take on pasta con carbonara. We used chrizo ( beacuse that is what we had) and the vegies on hand and ended up with... and our lazy version of chicken soup--- mostly something to get our kids to eat veggies ( increasingly rare since we have lived here) is the ramen chicken soup with veggies. ans then we made these great quesadilla/ tacos we threw a few tortilla a slice of cheese, left over meat, some tomatoes, and some letuce on the the stove and walked away with a great meal.
anyway... there is food to have... and that is good.

shell of a home

When I first moved here I focused so much on the negative. How things were not as nice, not as easy and my home was not as good as the home I had built and been forced to leave. and while non of that as changed... there are little things in me that have. now granted... this house, while built with less then wonderful construction... the things that are inside of it, my curtains, my family running around in their underare... (which is the only way to roll here) has become a home. MY home. and I have really grown to love it. Do I wish that I could transplant my old home here... YES!!! but, at the same time, my home is what is in it. and I really feel that lateley.

Life is Looking up!!

I was writting an email to my girlfriends tonight and I thought that it was a pretty appropriate post... there are some things that have happended that have made me very happy. so here is the jist...
things are going well. Ruben has gotten a job as a bartender at a beautiful all-inclusive hotel. http://www.mayapalacerivieramaya.com/ there is the link in case you wanted to see. he has had 3 jobs since we got here but the first few were total jokes. making 100 pesos ($10) a night but tipping out 80 pesos. the math did not work. Well, this one might just work. He made $18 USD his first night- which for here is very good, and we have all met Ruben and if you have had one of his drinks then you know why they tip, plus... I am not biased when I say that he has that... je n'se qua... well, I do know how to say.. he is charming and hot... so they tip. :) what every baby... just bring home the bacon (or pesos as it were) we have also found a new place to live. It is in the same area that we are in now but farther from the frech drain (which is very good) and a little cuter. Not much, but a little. In addition, our neighbor sold us their chair and love seat, coffee table and kitchen table and that makes our house more of a home. It actually looks pretty cute. Although I give more credit to Ross then anyone else. The kids and I were playing soccer outside yesterday (until the neighbors dog appropraitly names "cow" ate our ball) and I met the kids of the "hood". One of them named Jamie about 11 years old brought me a video "barbi" for Lena and then brought me some tamales his mom made. Some of the best I have EVER had. Things are simpler here. sometimes for the worse but like tonight... so much more for the better. life is simple. that is not always good in my mind but maybe good for me. when I went to thank Jamie's mom for the tamales she told me that they have a new kitten that Jamie had found some kids trying to bury alive and they were looking for a good home... well I ask you.... what kind of a person whould I be if I did not immediatly bring him in. So I have. I have a new chair and loveseat, a new table, new friends and new kitten whom I have names Hobbs. :) hehehe Calvin and Hobbs,. so far Calvin hates her, but she will come around. I think it is all the dog hair on the sofas more then the kitten. hehehe.

anyway.. I wanted to tell my dearest friends that things really are looking up. I really miss home but I am sure that things are going to be good for me here.

I miss you guys very much and I can assure you that as soon as you are ready to take a break from hell and join me in paradise... I will be waiting with a plate full of tamales and kitten. I miss you guys. and I love you all very much. Please write soon. My computer, and my cats, are my only solitide. ( I have finished all of the DVDs of the West Wing) hehehe

The gecko in my tree

Okay, so even as i sit here writting my friends there is a little (al be it tiny) but there just the same ... gecko that lives in the tree that sits in my living room. The item that is here for my decoritve pleasure is the home to an animal that i would much prefer not be here at all. But that is just one of the things that I have to live with. But the good news is that with all of the new develpments with technology... I get to listen to my favorite radio station... 99.5 the wolf. And there is nothing that makes you feel quite like home as listening to the traffic in an area that has more cars then my whole town. But... life is good, it is happy and healthy and full of days at the beach and great tacos. Ruben made my all time favorite meal... most likely my favorite because I do not make it. I can but choose not to. Fried chicken tacos. nothing magic, or special just my favorite.
Today was a good day. The weather was overcast, lots of rain, but we sat uner a makeshift palapa on the beach, built our version of chitzenitza and played in the waves. it was a good day. I miss my family and wish they were here. More so I wish they knew what I had here. Why I am ot in a rush to get back to the USA. Even in its worst mometns (and ther are plenty) life is good. It is simple, and that is good. I am not living the life, but I am living a good one.

30 Oranges for 20 pesos!!!

At the current exchange rate that is about $1.55!!!! That really made my day. It is just like my friend Jordan said... if we forcus fo the things that have been hard about making this transition, then all we think about are the things that are hard. But if youfocus on that parts that are great, wonderful, beyond what you could have hoped... then that is what you will think about. My walk home for the store with that days groceries was no exception. I could have been thinking about how much I hate to walk to the store in 95 degree heat everytime I need something, or I can be thrilled about the fact that (driving by my house, of course) was a couple of guys in a truck selling 30 oranges for 20 pesos. They were much greener then I am used to seeing oranges but they had their knifes out ready to sample and they were wonderful. As I started to buy my massive bag of oranges, Ruben yelled down the street (as is also trandition in our new home) and signaled to me that he had already bought a bag of oranges and although a great deal, 60 oranges is just too many oranges. I must say that our snacks these past few days have been really good.

Home Sweet Home

Well, I have finally come back from my trip. And I have to say i am so glad to be home. It was a great trip in that I got to see my family and I got to Andi and Melissa which is always good. I did however infect my loved ones with what has now been dubbed MARS (Mexican Acquired Respiratory Syndrome) hehehe. I was able to get a lot of what I needed done done so that was good. And I got out with some things that are going to make life so much easier. Like towels. I love towels. Once I landed it was so good to see Ruben again. I could actually feel myself getting happier as I neared Cancun.

Ruben and I celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary in the best way. We stayed home and cleaned the house. setting up the thing I brought from our old house and Ruben building more shelves.

The house is now some place that Ruben and I can relax a little in. And luckily- finding house plants is not the hardest thing to in the jungle.

My Birthday

I am not flying out until Monday which means I got to spend today with Ruben and the kids. We woke up and had margaritas in bed while we watched The West Wing and headed off to breakfast. The kids had some really good spaghetti and Ruben and I shared fish platter. Then I went home and took a nap and Ruben and the kids went to town to get the car for the airport. They gave me a beautiful white skirt and white top and a beautiful necklace. Once we were all dressed we were off to the beach for dinner. Most of the restaurants down in this area by the beach have sand walkways and in a small deck with tables but then many tables are in the sand. We ate out on the beach until it started to rain and then moved inside. As we were getting into our car, we were showing the kids the crabs in front of the car, and that is when Ruben saw it. We thought that it was a crab at first but it was a tarantula I tried to get the camera but by the time I got it out of the bar it was gone. Oh well. Next time.

Right now Ruben is at a job interview. This is his 2nd one so I think that he will get it. And we are just waiting for him to come and get us and take us to the airport. I will be in Portland for only a few days to get a bunch of stuff that I need.

The ups and downs are killing me…

Okay our venture to get some land has been much harder then we thought. A lot of this is just the nightmare that comes to moving anywhere new but especially to a new country. And it is just missing one little piece of one of the 3 possible scenarios to fix something... but when you are missing the stupid little piece to all 3 even though they are themselves all different… that is when you what to throw your face into a mocojete. So now, after all of our hunting, we have found some great land. Since the man would not take a deposit to hold the land for a few days, Ruben and I ran around trying to secure tickets to the United States. And this is already bumming us out because now I have to spend my whole birthday on and airplane by myself and Ruben has to cancel the reservations he had made for us all at this place he has heard me comment on. And no sooner then when we finished our plans did we get the call that the land had been sold.
So down we go again….
But then, the man told us about another seller in the area. It is the same measurements and same price, and the real birthday gift… she is willing to take the deposit. So Ruben has wondered off to see if this might work. I hope so. We have planned a great little house that is going to become very valuable soon. Ruben just got home and told me that we got the land, but I need to bring the rest of the money on Friday. So I am off to the States. This actually works out really well. I need to get so many things from up in Oregon that will make our lives so much easier. The biggest thing… our Vonage box. Our phone line works through the internet so I can use it like I am making a local any where in the US for only $15 a month. Very Cool. We are also desperate for a blender, pot holders, and 2 more towels. So. It looks like my blog is about to get a HUGE update. Sorry for all of the pics. Once I get internet at home I can play around more with all of the cool stuff on our computer.

Seeing our beach for the 1st time

We took a cab out to the beach and saw it for the first time. We had seen a different area but it was really untouched. A lot of sea weed and a lot of rocks. But this… this was clear and beautiful there were very few people. Palapas fill the beach side and there are a few very nice cool beach clubs and bars. Very different from Playa Del Carmen. It is very peaceful and quiet.

A date in Playa Del Carmen

Well, Ruben needs to go pick up his glasses in Playa Del Carmen so we are making a trip of it. We rented a car for the day and headed up to Playa. Ruben got his glasses and we were off to the beach. The beach here is so beautiful and over the past 5-8 years the area has grown to house stunning hotels and beach clubs. The water is perfect. And you can walk on soft clear sand for 30 meters.
Then it was off to play in the sand. Akilean was cold so he got a blanket… And then Ruben thought that he needed some protection, so he built his latest creation around him

Then we took in a game, had a bite to eat, listened to some music and headed home.

Ups and downs

Man, this change has been really hard in some ways and so pleasant in others. This has been broken into a few key categories. The first is just changing to a totally new environment. With all of the beauty and horror that come with it. One the one hand I live in a town that is surrounded by tropical rain forest which is incredible and has even cooler animals. My kids are determined to own a monkey and an iguana. Pets I welcome especially since they eat the down side of this area… the bugs. There are literally spiders 7’’ in diameter. Not all that scary except for the fact that they are tarantulas. The mosquitoes are everywhere and geckos are simply a part of the kitchen décor. And even when you think that this place just sucks you have a day like today…
Today… today stated like so many others. All of us curled up in the room with air conditioning, Ruben and I waking up the second we hear the gas truck honking its horn announcing its arrival on our street. We ran in a hurry because we bought a stove over a week ago but had to wait till we caught the gas truck so we could use it. And like so many things in life… It needed some tweaking before it could work. It always seems like when you are rebuilding your house… for everything that you buy you need to buy 4 things more. Well, this was no exception. So while… Okay.. little interjection. Here is adown side. The ants here are so so tiny that you can hardly see them. I had to stop just then to shake my keyboard because they are in the keys. AHHHHH. But anyway, back to why I love it here. While Ruben was looking at some property, since we could not use the stove and I am sick of being electrocuted by the hot plate (a bad side effect of being in a very humid climate… if your skin is wet and you are bear foot… you will be electrocuted. J ) so I took the kids into town. Something that has been great for our figures, well will be anyway, and I took them to breakfast. We ate at this really cute place in town. And there are so many in this town now. To see all of the cool things that are coming in is so cool. We had a wonderful breakfast, we walked all over town (which at this point takes only an hour) and then we finally caught up with daddy.

During our little jaunt through town, it did what it does a lot this time of year, rained. And I am not talking about a little rain. Sheets of warm water pouring like buckets out of the sky. At one point we ducked in somewhere for cover, by the time we walked out we were walking 7 feet behind a sheet of rain. The kids had a wonderful time. Ruben and I picked up our food for the week and decided that our meat of choice this week was fish. So we were off to the pescadero. (fish market) That day catch had red snapper and lobster tails. The fisherman were ready to head home and gave us 4 lbs of lobster tails, caught 6 hours earlier for 350 pesos (abt $34 us) It fit perfectly into our budget for the weeks food. Needless to say our dinners these past few nights have been amazing.

And this is just one nights dinner.

Living with out the basics

The house that we moved into while, built like a rental and a total detour from what I am used to, is not bad at all. The hard about this move has been living without things that are so needed. Not having a fridge, in this heat has been almost impossible. Cooking on a hot plate is driving us both crazy the kids are going to be blind and dumb if they watch one more video on that tiny DVD player. We have parts of all of the things that we need, but not the parts that they need to work. We have a fridge finally J We have a stove but no filled gas can, a washing machine, but no hose long enough to put it any where. And I am sure once we get internet and cable things will get better. On the plus side while looking closely at my cds I noticed one I did not recognize. It was the first disc to the first season of the West Wing. Sorry dad. But I have to tell you it has been more comforting then your pillow at outdoor school. To finally watch something, and something Ruben and I both like, in English J Yeah!!!!

Looking for a house

Well after 2 weeks of great vacationing it was time to start to get down to business and find a place. We spent the last week at the Royal Hacienda. I must say after staying at the all inclusive, this was a real disappointment. But the rooms were beautiful and huge and we not there during the day much anyway. But trying to find a house has been much harder then we thought. Things sell and rent so fast around here. And we are looking to buy some land and build our own house. But in the mean time, we finally found a place and confirmed that Ruben and I need to start building houses here. We just need to find some investors to help us with the start up. Any way. Here are some pics of the house.

What a Dream

The Dreams Tulum resort is as stunning as the Princess. This one is more subtle and elegant and classically stunning. Every single person is so nice. We have spent most of our time at the beach, in the pool and at the bar. The nice thing about this hotel is that room service is even included. And that was very nice when we were staving at 11:30 at night or did not want to get out to eat breakfast. We easily ate and drank our hotel price worth and with the kids club and all of the activities it was amazing. We are hoping that Ruben is able to get a job here. Ruben and I went snorkeling for about 2.5 hours one day. This is incredible considering that the 2nd largest off shore reef (after the great barrier) is just about 100 meters away. We were circled by huge schools of fish, saw amazing coral reef and Ruben almost hyperventilated when he swam directly over a sting ray and then without realizing swam back over it again about 5 minutes later. He said it was one of the scariest things he has ever seen. We had one of our best meals at a little French restaurant and had a great bottle of wine made by the most famous wine maker in Mexico. It was great. And we are really tan to say the least. There have been so many wonderful activities and things to do. There was a great Mexican Fiesta night with a fire show, and the kids broke a piñata. And Ruben went up to do a contest of doing the Mexican scream. “Ahhhhhayhayhayhay!!” etc. It was very funny. And he got up and danced with Lena in the show.

Talk about feeling like a Princess

Arriving at the Grand Princess was --- there are no words. I have never stayed at an all-inclusive before. This was one of the coolest sites I have ever seen. We got up into this stunning resort, bright, sunny, and absolutely beautiful. Once we got to the room, Ruben had a cheese plate, chocolate strawberries and champagne up in the room and all set up and there with beautiful purple flowers all over the bed. It was amazing. Everywhere in the hotel that you go there are pools, places to eat or drink, palapas for relaxing and sunning and beautiful landscaping.

The kids went to the kids club, which at first we were really nervous for. You know, “how many people, how many kids, what do you do???” all of those normal questions. So after quizzing them we said that we would be back to get them around 3:30. Their response was…”well, at 3:30 we are going to heading over to the beach, so that might not be a good time.” US: “okay how about 5:00” THEM: “well, at that point we are going to be preparing for the big show tonight, then we are going to dinner and then we will be getting ready to perform the show. Why don’t you guys go have a nice dinner and then come to the show” (a cool Broadway review and the kids are in CATS) A number of hours to swim and lay on the beach together followed by getting dressed up and going to a nice dinner by ourselves? We were sold.
Thrilled that the kids were going to have so much fun and that Ruben and I got some alone time we went off. We got to float around the pool, relax in the sun, and lay on the beach. At one point the kids even saw us, ran up and gave us a kiss, and said “see you later mommy and daddy.” It was amazing. The people who ran the kids club were wonderful, full of energy, really attentive and really enjoyed what they were doing. And it was typically the same people so the kids really got to know them and like them. We had a great dinner at the French restaurant, sat and drank wine, and headed off to see the show. The show was so much fun and to see the kids come out on the last song and be totally into it was the best.

Landing in Cancun

Now being that Ruben was already at the all-inclusive hotel- he had already had quite a few beers by the time he finally got a hold of me. I told him that our flight had gotten all changed around but that did not stick in his brain. So the next day while waiting at the airport at 10:30 waiting for me to get off the plane, standing with a huge bouquet for flowers, 11:00 came and went, then 11:30. At this point Ruben starts to get really worried. Mexicana could not find any of our names on the flight that we should have been on. They say that they cannot find me on any flight. So at this point Ruben starts to get really scared and by now is working with the top people for Mexicana Airlines in the Cancun airport, back in the back offices. By 3:00 they finally find my flight, I was coming off the airplane. I have to say, the first time you hit the heat it is so intense. And everyone was commenting on how cute Akilean was – he had like 3 or 4 women waiting on him hand and foot. It was really cute. And then…. I saw Ruben. I have never had so much stress and so much worry escape my mind so fast. It was so great. Of course it was a little bitter sweet because they would not let me go over to him. The kids were not supposed to go either, but there was absolutely no stopping them. They all swelled up with tears and hugged and kissed while I continued the sage of checking and stamping and forms and getting the papers for the cat. I finally got out to Ruben and it was incredible. It confirmed that no matter what, we need to be together. That if we were together, every other problem is only half as big.

Getting out.

This was a nightmare. My day of beauty was thwarted by the fact that I was totally thrown off by the fact that it was Labor Day and almost everywhere was closed which meant that Calvin could not get the docs that he needed to go on the plane. Something that because of the time frame – could only have been done on Monday. (It has to be issued within 72 hours from departure.) Anyway, I was able to get a lot done at the salon which was really good because for the 6 weeks that Ruben was gone- I had totally fallen apart. Communication with Ruben was going horrible and the only thing that kept me sane on this day was the fact that I was Tara and Heidi. People it is easy to laugh with. After I finally got Ruben all set up in Mexico – this was NO EASY TASK… there is a whole fun story but I do not want to relive it. I will say however…if you ever take a trip book at www.Bookit.com. Let’s just say UNREAL SERVICE.
So after painful and long beauty appointments, dealing with Ruben, freaking out about everything that I still had to do, repacking all of my carry-on bags- because of new airline regulations, and on top of everything just being really sad that I was leaving my life here for a whole a new chapter. I was finally off for the airport. Okay imagine this.

Me, all of 5’ with 6 very full black trunks, 3 rolling carry on suitcases, 3 carry on “personal items” – not small in our case, a very fat cat in a carry on with a 3 year old and a 4 year old—sitting in a line for over 45 minutes waiting for the counter to open. It was such a site. Our flight was changed, adding a leg, and was leaving an hour later. This made our wait time at SFO over 5 hours. The cat escaped in 2 airports and the kids were solidly asleep as I boarded. As I was boarding the plan, the ladies on the plane knew I could not handle everything, so they asked me to check a few of my carry ons. Not a problem except that they took my passports with them. So I got to hang out in the immigration area at 5:30 a.m. waiting for them to find my bag and when they did, oh yeah you guessed it, they brought my suitcase in stead of the black duffle bag. Let’s just say that the rest of the trip matched this whole day. But then… It finally happened!!!!! We landed in CANCUN!!!!!.

Visit to SF

With all of this, the babies well… absolutely crashed out. J We woke up early and headed off the other direction and shared an ice cream sunday at Ghirardelli Square. So now, the weekend is over, and we leave at 11:30 tonight. I am off to get beautiful to Ruben later today.

The drive was no problem to San Francisco. I got to spend some time in Fresno and see Grandma Pusey. It was such a treat to spend some time with her. Seeing Brad and Nancy are always a kick in the pants and I saw my Great Uncle Buck for a few minutes. And the visit here in SF has been great. There has been such a crazy amount to get done. I had to go to 3 offices and get stamps and extra letters and all sorts of stuff to get all of docs Apostled. (Sp???) This is basically and International Notary. It is a stamp that only the State can give and is recognized by international governments. Anyway. The visit with the family has been great. We had a great BBQ and some of Ruben’s Aunts and Uncles were there. I have not seen some of the kids in so long. I got to see Jordan just a few days before she headed off to Mexico, and seeing her always rests my mind and gives me such confidence. And I got to hang out with Heidi. And as always with Heidi- I always end up trying some great new place and great vegetarian food. This trip was no exception. But I must say that the absolute best part about my trip thus far has been the date that I had with my kids …. Here is the scoop.
I had run all of SF to get all of the stupid stamps and gold stars that I could for all of docs. When I was finished I had lunch at the restaurant that has my favorite dish in SF (tortellini gorgonzolaJ) The Mona Lisa, in North Beach. Which is also a great location for people watching on when sitting outside. And it was one of those perfect San Francisco days. So after a great meal and a little soaking of all of my favorite things about SF, I headed off to get the kids and start our SF date. We booked a hotel at the Best Western in Fisherman’s Warf and set off for Pier 39.
We took in a show and walked away with some very cool balloon animals. She got a very big flower and he got an airplane. Very cool. And then it was off to see the Sea Lions. This was a very fun time. The impressions that these kids do of a sea lion is quite impressive. As soon as I learn how to actually use my computer, I will show some video clip. As we walked around a little bit, stopping off to try on funny hats and play with puppets, we got hungry. We ate at the beautiful restaurant right above the sea lions. And there were very few people there. It was a really great meal. I have defiantly been eating all of the things that I love!!! After this we headed off to drive Akilean’s airplane into as many people as possible. Not our actual plan but what occurred just the same. Then we stopped off to see Ruben’s little sister Iran at work. And the kids, now armed with French fries and a milk shake, set off for the next part of the night.

Leaving Portland

Well what can I say? I have never up and left a place so fast in my life. My life is usually a mix of various degrees of chaos but it always seems pretty well organized. I do not know if that makes any kind of sense at all. But this time, there were so many things left hanging. My life is scattered in all sorts of piles while I try to categorize the importance of each thing. And meanwhile trying to inventory every single little item that will go down to Mexico… some day. It is so hard to leave this house. While there was no doubt in my mind from the moment the reality became set that I was leaving, but it did not really hit me how hard I was taking all of this until the time really came to it. I love this house. It hurts me to know that Ruben will probably never see it again. And we were involved from the beginning of construction. There are so many things that in this house that are there because of us.
It is almost impossible to deal with the time frame under which I can talk to and see Ruben. It is so hard to want to say so much and to just hear his voice, and that stupid voice comes on. I have come to hate the woman who did the recording that announces that you have 60 seconds left. Once I am with Ruben everything will be perfect.

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