Calvin is HOME!!!!

I am sooo happy. My baby has come home. For anyone who knows me, they know how much this cat means to me. I have had her since she was 5 weeks old. And she will be 11 this April. She is a HUGE cat. Garfieldesque if you will. After combing the streets for hours shaking a bag of cat food and calling her name I was really upset that she did not come running to me. But then I read online that sometimes it helps to leave a shirt or something that smells like you outside. I could not leave food out because we would be covered in cats but I did leave a shirt on my fence post and left our light on outside. About 2 hours after I had gone to sleep I heard this frantic scratching at the door. I ran out to see it was her and it was. I was so happy. She came in ate 2 helping of food and the immediately came and snuggled with me on the bed. She was totally fine - but I was shaken.

I am just so happy to have her home again.

Great Christmas- Bad Homecoming

Well, first let me just say that I have been so happy to have Mom and Neal here for the week. It was great to just sit back with them and relax and really not do much at all. We hung out, ate, cooked, played with the kids. We had a great Christmas with them staying at their resort which was very cool. The kids woke up- well, more accurately they were woken up by a giddy and supper excited Grandpa. Once we let them into the room we set their presents in, they played in the outdoor jacuzzi while we ordered food and just hung out. Ruben had to work a lot but hey... what are you going to do. Here are a bunch of really cute pics.

Now for the bad news. When I got home Ruben told me that he had not seen Calvin (my 11 year old Tabby cat) anywhere in the house. Now, it has been 2 almost 3 days and there is no sign of her. Some of my neighbors are like..."yeah, don't worry- cat's like to rome, she probably chased a bird up a tree or something." Not this cat- This cat is well over 20 lbs and 11 years old. She has a hard time getting into the bed let alone up a tree. I am trying not to get ahead of myself but it is getting really hard. I went through some serious work to get this cat down here from the states and she really means a lot to me. I am sure she is fine but I just want her home.

Vonage!!!! Thank you Mom and Neal!

I am soooooo happy today. For 1) it was just amazing to have my Mom and Neal here at my house and best of all.... doing nothing. Just sitting at the house watching the kids run all over, cooking, the inevitable picking up broken glass. I swear, I think my kids get some secret kick back from the people who make glassware! Actually that is not tooo fair. They are pretty good. The problem is that when we were back home, if something fell on the ground, it was usually fine. Well, here... not so much. If something falls of that table... there is NO hope at all. It is a goner. Oh well, they are just glasses. Yesterday I made my spaghetti with veggies and chorizo. The recipe is on my cooking blog. It is really really good. They really liked it which always makes me happy. It is nice when anyone likes your food but when it was these guys... that meant the world to me. I have realized how my emotion I have started to put into my cooking. It hurts so much to do anything that I have to fight through it. And I have realized while some things get lost in that... cooking gets pushed through and I really invest a lot of my energy in it. I think that is coming through in my cooking.

the 2nd reason I am so happy to have a phone. My mom and Neal brought us a phone from the states and we have our vonage box... so now... I can use my phone as if I were back home. This is a very cool thing for me.

The last reason I am really happy is that one of the gifts that my mom brought for me is all our home videos. A few years back mom had gone through all of our home movies and edited them and made a little collection. I had left mine up in States with all of my other things. Well, this year, she had them all transferred to DVD. A good thing since we do not have a vcr. I was watching some of them last night and it was sooooo cute. I have recently gotten in touch with some old family friends that used to watch me when I was 3-5 years old. (Gotta love facebook) :) And here they were on these videos. It was very cool.

Today we are off to Playa del Carmen for the day.

Momma & Neal are here

I do not think, since the moment I landed in Cancun and saw Ruben that I have been this happy. My mother and my step father are here. Their airplane was very late and it looked like I was not going to be able to see them until the next day. I had taken a shower (with hot water no less) and come to terms with the idea that I was going to have to wait till morning. In order to control my anxiety I had to do something. I chose to make tamales. This although the meat and salsa were KILLER!!!!! My masa was not great. Oh well. I was at the point of burning ,y banana leaves and stuffing the meat when I get a call from a Cancun number. Now, I almost did not take the call thinking it was my landlord... but I did... it was the driver trying t find my house. He had been asking the whole neighborhood.... "donda esta the casa de whieta con dos ninos." Even though not spelt right, they all pointed in my general direction. I was so surprised to see them. I cannot explain my happines. My momma, my Neal. here, at my house in Villas Tulum. I wanted to blog last night but my hands were shaking. Today... usually in the am I wake up and turn on my computer so I can talk to my mom via IM. But today... I woke up , grabbed my book and had coffee. In my backyard that was cleaner and neater then it had EVER been. !!! Mom and Neal came over and we did nothing. Just ate and talked and hung out and ate tamales, and tacos, and read books with the kids. Everything was perfect. I had all of these plans to show them so much and do so much. And it was perfect. We did nothing. We just hung out and talked and ate and played with the kids. It was so amazing. Over the many hours, our conversation went over every subject you could think of. It was perfect.

One thing Ruben and I noticed... there is almost no one, esp. in my family that we could have sat and been that comfortable with... that accepted by. They love us, we love them,,, and all of that was there. In moments that were filled with nothing, but my little house, my kids, good food, and love. It was amazing. I cannot wait to see them in the morning.

Basic services!!!!

Well, after almost 4 months of living in Mexico I have 2 things that I have not had before...1) a bed. This is a very cool development because anyone who lives here knows... you try to keep everything off the floors in order to clear away all of the nasty little- and not so little bugs that share our house with us. And Ruben and I sleeping in a double bed- some of us is bound to hang over somewhere. I hate laying in bed and wondering what little creature might be right next to my hand or foot, and face really. So tonight should be interesting. In a very good way. I must say it does look totally different with the mattress on a bed frame. 2) Hot water!!! I am so happy. It is usually not a huge deal not to have hot water for the showers. It is so frickin hot that the cold shower is awesome. However, there are times that it sucks. I would feel like I was torturing my kids. Forcing them to wash down with what at times was really cold water when the outside temp had more then cooled enough that it was awful.

But not to worry. More and more, day after day we are getting back to normal. I love it. Now as soon as we add a car to the mix life will be just about grand. !!!

The count down for Mom and Neal is getting detailed at this point. 17 hours until they leave San Diego - 24.5 hours till the land in Cancun - 29 hours till I get to see them. I cannot wait. As I am sure you may have noticed from my blog entries.

A lot of the little projects that I was hoping to have done are no where near it, but I do not care. My momma is coming to see me and we are going to have soooo much fun.

I met the most amazing woman tonight

Today I went to town to pick up a wire from my renter. Or former renter... but as I was in town, I decided to stop off for a coffee, call my grandma, and just sit and relax. Every time I go to town, I have the kids. In fact... I ALWAYS have the kids. So today... I did not, they were at home with their Dad. So I decided to enjoy a cup of coffee, and just relax. Watch the tourist go by. It was really nice. I ran into a older guy that I have met before, but only in passing. He asked if I wanted to join his group for a moment and i said yes. This guy, almost 70 by now, moved to this town over 35 years ago. It was like talking to a history book. We had a great conversation and they I realized... oh shit... I am late. Ruben has to be at work. And my husband is not the kind who does well when I am not accounted for. At this point I started to panic and raced home. When I got there, I was too late. He needed to go to work and took our kids over to our friends house. As soon as I got home I ran over there, got my kids and started to cry. I was, and still am sure that he is going to be so mad at me for not being at home.

I was in front of Gabby's house. This is the woman who made the tamales that I wrote about in an earlier post. I went inside and talked to her. More like poured my soul. And she was so calming. My faith is one that is very different then any of the people that I know. And she is a woman who really gets it. It was amazing to talk to her. Just to listen to her stories. And when I told her my concerns. How mad I thought Ruben might be when he got home. She made an excellent point. For one she is not Mexican. She is from Africa, raised in Austria, married to a Mexican and living the cultures of all. Being married to a Mexican man is an educational experience. One of patience, ultimate sacrifice, love and devotion. They have passion. With that comes stubbornness, stupidity and... well, anyway. It is a learning experience. I sat at her table so upset. "Ruben is going to be so mad." etc. etc. and by the end of talking to her. ( and half way through another friend came in and hung with us. An Argentinian woman who is also wonderful, totally out of her element and living here with nothing... just trying to make it and make it better then she had. Now granted I am here against my initial will. But through my... I would call it faith but it feels false. .. my learning.. (maybe that is exactly what faith is) I am learning that here is exactly where I am supposed to be. I do not know... I cannot blog about this yet. I have not worked it out in my head.

My mom made an interesting comment to me... she said.. in regards to my last post... maybe these are thing better left for a journal.. I realized something... this is my journal. And the thought that I have in my head are okay to say out loud. There are very few things in my life that I try to hide. I am not ashamed. I have even smoked weed in front of people that traditionally speaking... I should not have. But I am not ashamed. There is nothing that I do that I am ashamed of. maybe that is why I get so angry when my husband gets mad at me. I just think... "you know what... there is nothing that I have ever done that you would be ashamed of."

maybe I am crazy. Well, to be fair.. I am sure that I am crazy. but maybe this is one of those reason why its true. :) I don't know. I just thin that I am pretty proud of who I am. I do nothing to hurt others. If I do I work really hard to make it right. I am true to who I am, and happy to learn more about who I could be. Why should I be ashamed. ... Maybe there is a good reason but today... I feel like I am in a good place. We will see when Ruben gets home if he agrees. :(

It is getting closer

It is getting hard to control my excitement with my mom and Neal coming. IT is now down to 77 Hours!!!!! I cannot wait. It has totally changed our Christmas. We are going to be around family. It is going to be incredible. I cannot wait to show them my town and all of the cool things here. I know they are going to love it. And the weather is going to be great. I love my momma and I have not seen her in a really long time. I cannot wait to just sit and talk and hang out. The kids are really excited to see Neal too. They always make this funny voice that Neal makes. Sort of a Donald Duck thing. It is really funny. they always associate that and fishing with him. I cannot wait. It is going to be great. And they will land in Cancun in 77 hours!!!! YEAH!!!!!!


Just a warning... this is more pg13...

I must say that after more then a several conversations with various friends I have come to realize what an incredible life, sex and other wise Ruben and I have. Luckily for me, almost no one in my family, other then my mother... reads this blog. And she knows when to say LaLaLA LaLaLa good for you honey La La LALALALA!!! Sort of a strange place to reach with your Mom. But anyone with a relationship as open and honest as the one my Mom and I are lucky enough to have... you know.

There have been many times in my relationship that I thought that I was being crazy, that i did not have my head on my shoulders... many of those moments were after incredible experiences with Ruben. Then I realized something.... you cannot have true intimacy... true love... true acceptance without those moments.

I am sure there are many people who would sit back and chalk this up to solely sexual moments. And while this and almost every morning are fabulous!!! There are others. Ruben showed a picture of me today of Akilean being taken out of my stomach.... feet still in my ribs but there to show the world. And he talked about it with such passion. there is no other word. Lust, love, obedience, respect, love, admiration.... everything was in his words. "Look what my love did and endured for me... and look at how beautiful she is... and how beautiful they are... how lucky am I." He said so much while saying so little.

That is what makes me so crazy when people tell me to live in the states in order to make it easier on us. Could I make more money... yeah in a day the a would in a week. Would it be worth it... not in a million years. And while I will always love the 2 men that prepared me for my eternal fate... Brian who brought me to the faith and reality of life that I needed and he was so proud of. And Chris, the man that showed me that family is everything. And that families love being that for each other.

I found him. I know it is stupid to say so cheesy... the moment I saw him. But it was. The moment that I saw him, the world ended.

I remember a table sitting there from about noon- in another servers section... that server, Tio as we called him at Chevy's, was an older man with a family, out of place with the young 20 somethings that rome. At shifts end he handed his table to Ruben whom, like me, had worked a double shift. That table, determind to take home his number, which was a common goal, I mean he is..."that hot waiter at Chevy's" asked him... Even 7 Years later I remember the day... They asked him "What kind of girl do you want to marry? " He (I'm sure) gave him the look that drove and does drive me wild... pointed at me and said... "one just like that." It was that night he told me he loved me and hoped that this was more to me then some restaurant fling.

I was almost mad.. ow could he think I would throw away all that I had. And I had a terrific man. One that to this day has mine and Ruben's respect. How could he not mean the world.

And tonight, listening to friends bitch about their lives, their sex lives, their partners honesty. And while I, like all other men and women have plenty to bitch about.... nothing that will ever last 12 hours. Every argument is easy to over come. Even when you sure you never want to speak again... you fight. It is the only thing worth fighting for.

I just feel so lucky. While Ruben and I have had some good ones... I mean some really good fights. Our passion is the issue. It is what gets us through, it is what takes us there in the first place. And it is what we we will tell our grandchildren about in our 80's.

I remember my great grandfather back in Provo Utah, telling me about his wife. All the good and bad that he remembered. And you know what sticks out to me. He loved it all. The Good, the bad, the ugly, the true, the love of his life. Life mine. I love him, even for all the bad, but more for all the good and bad that has not happened yet.

I love him. More the I have ever loved anyone. I am so lucky. He is the one who cements my faith as it is based in love.

138 Hours and counting till Mom and Neal get here.

It is getting so close. I can hardly wait to see my Mom and Neal. It seems so strange how close I feel to them as if we talk all the time and she is right here. I mean, I have lived away from home for a very long time now and I have always been close to my mom. But since my move to southern Mexico we talk via computer pretty much every day.

It feels almost strange that the woman that I have such... meaningless is not the right word ... insignificant chit chat with on a daily basis could mean the world to me to see soon. I mean, when I lived in the United States, even though I was away in Spokane or San Francisco or any of the places in between, it was always just a plane ride away to see them. But now? Even though I know that if I needed to I could hop on a plane but it is not that easy anymore. For one thing, before I left we made enough money to pay for a plane ticket in a matter of a few days. Now, even if we paid no bills, rent or even ate, it would take months to earn up enough money to go back to visit. Everyone asks me.."so when are you going to come to visit?" I just want to respond... " well, when are you going to pay the almost $2,000 that it costs to get me and the kids there and back?" I mean, Ruben's base salary is 2000 pesos a month. At the current exchange rate that is about $167. And what is worse is that people have no understanding that everything in Mexico costs the same as in the USA. A soda is the same price here as there. toys for the kids... just as much. It really helped me to understand why all of my friends that are Latino lived the ways that they did. I mean, to me it was insane the idea of sharing a room with 1-2 3 or more people and I have a lot of friends who have more then that in their room. If they even have a room, one that does not get changed back to the living room in the morning.

Needless to say I cannot imagine when I will be back in the states. I mean, If I had $2,000, even if I was dying to see me friends and family- I would never spend it on plane tickets. I would clear my land, start to build my house, or buy a car so we do not have to walk the 20 minutes to town every day in what is going to be steadily increasingly hot weather.

Missing the snow

I must say that it is hard to imagine a Christmas in 80 degree weather. back home everyone is dealing with snow and wind and as one of my best friends, Josh, put it... "great snuggling weather" Ruben and I have had some days here that were so hot and humid (even in December when it was like..."oh, honey I love you but please do not touch me. It is too hot." Oh well. At least it is nice weather. I bet people back home wish they had a little 85 degree day. Oh well. We are getting very close to Mom and Neal coming and then right after that Barb and Shannon will be here.

You know I just realized something... Ruben may never see his parents again. He will be out of the United States for the next 20 years. Unless there is some miracle. It sort of makes me angry that here is my husband and his family that would do just about anything to see each other and that is an option that does not exist. And then there are members of my family that have well beyond the means to visit and they do not. I guess that says more about me then anything. And one thing I do not get is how worried people can claim to be and yet show absolutely no interest or effort in having knowledge about the situation. I mean. It is not like a daily account is not here in my blog. That seems strange to me. Or that they do not seem to pay attention to the things that are going on. Oh well.

I guess everyone's lives are busy.

Lots of sleep- but no power

Well, the past 2 nights have been filled with many hours of sleep. Each of the past 2 nights have been a 10 hour event. This is a very welcome change as the kids are typically up very early. Last night- more like 4:00 this morning... there was a sudden storm (I think they are called Nortes) came through town. It brought rain that was so powerful it sounded like hail. Not that it could get cold enough here to actually be hail but it sounded like from the bed... then suddenly... a HUGE crash. It sounded like thunder that was literally on top of the house. We all just fell back asleep. When we all got out of bed at 10:00 a.m. rather then the typical 7:00 - we noticed that the light in the fridge was fading. that is strange we thought, it is a new fridge so the light should not be burnt already. And then we realized that everything was fading. the computer turned off, the coffee would not brew... our house is possessed. Now I have been warned that sometimes the water will not flow, or that things that you feel entitled to back home just do not work. And that is just the way that it is. So we sort of just waited to see what the deal was. The answer came shortly. That crash we heard was not thunder, but a transformer blowing up. Fun stuff. But, even though it is Sunday, they are working on it. If it was not the power- they probably would have left it until Monday. But here we are, power flowing to the house. :)

On a much happier note... 147 hours till Mom and Neal get to Mexico!!!!

Grand Cenote foiled!!!

Man, after the typical Mexican 6 day work week my husband was finally off for a day. After living here as long as we have we finally headed off to a cenote. We went to Grand Cenote which is definitely one of the more popular ones. It was very beautiful and we did love going to see it. One thing that sort of surprised me what there was no discount for locals. Almost every where you go, even restaurants, you usually get a local discount. When I am with my husband there is no issue. If I am by myself some people try to charge me so much more. I had a cab driver try to tell me that my ride from the beach to my house was 20 pesos more then it was. I did not have the energy to argue with him. I just told him that he was a liar and got out of the taxi. I did see him another time and refused to take his cab even though he was rightfully next in line. I mean, it was not like he dropped me off at a hotel in town. He dropped me off in a neighborhood that is not for people who are visiting. Oh well, that is his karmic problem not mine.

So anyway, after getting to the cenote- which was stunning, we had a hard time keeping the kids in the water. It has been soooo hot here and so humid all week but today???? Nope, not today. Today was overcast and cold. we finally stopped torturing the kids and headed home. But I cannot wait to go back on a warm day. I would have taken pictures if my camera worked but here are some images from the internet.

The difference a year makes

Okay...this will be short blog entry but I just have to say... to any of my friends with kids close in age.... There is soooo much difference between the kids with even a year apart. My kids are almost as close as you can get without being twins... yet, tonight, my kids for whatever reason, wanted to sleep in my bed... okay.... when I went to move them I was struck. My little girl is not a little girl anymore but not yet a young little lady. Compared to my boy... she is a ...??? Maybe as a mom I am entering uncharted territory.... but she is huge. She is so articulate. she has opinions, and thought and wishes and dreams. Much more so then my almost 4 year old son. She is such... I don't know the term. Maybe there is none. But my little girl is turning before my eyes. It is so special. Having my daughter has opened my eyes to the relationship that I had as a child with my own mother. You view it with different eyes as a kid. When you are a mom and a mother of child that age things are so different. Even when I talk to friends who have kids...although not her age, they understand but are not there yet. I just realized how I am embarking on that ... I do not know the term... prepubescent seems way too soon. Maybe that is my own ignorance or denial. But my little girl is growing.

One thing I am very proud of... as a cancer survivor, and one of a very young age, it has been very important to teach the kids about the risk of cancer. I was lucky I was taught to look out. Had I not, Ruben I would have learned of my lump about 5 years later then I had. It would have been a very different fight. I found it, I beat it and I am fine. But I was lucky. Lena is being taught that it is a very serious risk for her and something that she needs to be aware of from a young age.

Even now people laugh at me for having Akiean's hair so long, and Lena's too but that is not as strange. But they are donating their hair to Locks for Love. This is an organization that makes hair pieces for kids with illnesses that cause them to loose their hair. Anyone who knew me in college might remember my fight with this. I won because I was educated. I cannot believe that my little girl is so young and yet she is having to address this. But here we are.

My message is this... check. check yourselves, check your family and check your men. I was so lucky to know that this was in my family and therefore was prepared. And it can happen to men and even more so.. it can happen to boys... my little girl who should not have to worry about anything... is learning about cancer. Because, she will very possibly have to deal with it. I did... she might, he might. Be prepared. Be educated. And be ready and you will be fine.

Okay... so maybe that was not a short entry.

Exactly 9 days to the hour till I see my Mom & Step Dad

Words, and certainly not a blog entry could begin to capture the pure joy I feel at the idea of my Mom and Step-Dad coming to see me. Not to mention that their trip will be over Christmas. Since leaving the states there has been a real sense of disconnect from my family. I mean, how could their not be? Communication was very difficult at first, if it even happened at all. And now life relies on emails and instant messages. I have never really been an IMer but now I IM with my mother usually every day if not several times a day. If a a day or 2 go by when we do not IM it feels like we have not talked for weeks. And it is not like we really have anything to really talk about. But maybe that is what makes it so nice. It is just all the normal chit chat. Every time I talk to some of my other family member it is straight to business and a quick "how is it all" I mean... my Mom and Neal know everything that I did today and what we made for dinner and what funny thing the kids did that week. It makes me so happy to think that they will be sitting at a table across from me and the kids literally in exactly 216 hours that is 12,960 minutes. My Rent fan readers will love this... that is 512,640 minutes less then the 525,600 minutes that are in my year. And we will be in Mexico for at least 2,628,000 minutes and probably much more. I am soooo happy I can hardly contain myself. Even the kids have a count down. Only 777600 seconds to go!!!!!

Mom and Akilean!!!
Neal and Lena

Life without a camera

I am having a really hard time with out my camera. There have been so many times that I have reached to take a picture and it will not work. It is a real bummer because Christmas is coming up and I want to be able to take pictures of the kids. Today they were running around the house dancing and just being the cutest little things in the whole world. They usually are the cutes things in the whole world. Just about every time we are in a restaurant or the park or even just walking down the street, people are always talking about them. I think Akilean gets a lot of attention because he has such a different look. We keep his hair pulled back and in a braid and he is just a darling and Lena is is usually in one f her little dress and usually dancing. They do get quite the audience. I wish I had a camera... I would show you!!! :(

I had to take a break just then to take a phone call. This has made me very happy because it was my Tara. I am sure her husband would have something to say about that but I think she is mine. She is one of those people that you know will always be there and will always tell you the truth, will make you laugh and will kick you in the ass when you need it. I love her so much and just the idea of her makes me happy. But talking to her, chatting, laughing... this thrills me. She is one of those friends that fills you with a sense of peace when you are having a hard time and they just .. I do not know how to explain it. Any one who is lucky enough to have one of these friends knows what I mean. I miss her and I love her and cannot wait to see her again. Hopefully I will see her soon.

Here she is with her son Jameson. Aren't they cute.

My brother the Sargent

I cannot believe that my little brother Kevin is a Sargent in the army. That seems so crazy. Little Kevin, skinny little Kevin. Not that I tower over a lot of people my self but still. He is on his 3rd tour in Iraq. I am very happy that he will be able to be home on his leave over the holidays. He got really lucky on the timing of his leave. So strange... I remember Kevin running all over my parents huge house getting anything and everything that my friends could possibly want. It was a pitiful but very funny site. I miss him very much.

I remember when I took him to Europe with me when I first went. It was strange because people would come up and think he was Eminem. Now, at the time I had no idea who Eminem was so it threw me way off. But I have to say... he looked just like the young, newly discovered Eminem. I remember we would be at a cafe in Rome or in the Hofbruhaus near my job in Munich, Germany and you could hear people whispering to eachother trying to figure out if it was him or not. It was pretty funny.

But now he is all grown up and carries the big boy guns. (Which look really funny in his hands just because of how huge they are compared to his body) But there he is... keeping us safe. Very strange.

I also cannot believe that this is Lena holding this sign when he came home on one of his early tours. The kids look so little.

I got to talk to my grandma today too. That always makes me happy. She has not been doing great and has been in and out of the hospital. She sounds really good. And I love that when I call her she immediatly knows its me. All I have to do is say "grandma" and she knows. It is nice being the only grand-daghter. I cannot wait to see her.

The local advantage

Well, today we were off to town to change some dollars into pesos and get our basitos de helado, :) There is this one spot in town that we pass all the time. And since the town is so small the guys that ask you to come in and eat finally realize that I live here and let me pass without asking. Maybe that was why when the kids were hungry we stopped off to eat there. It was wonderful. Mario, the waiter was so nice to the kids and to me. We had a great plate of nachos and some Sprites. Then, of course, since it is always hora feliz he brought me a margarita. And not in a glass that I could sink my head into but in a proper short glass that carried in it a "for the local" treat... Don Julio inside. I would never order Don Julio in a margarita, mostly because I cannot afford it but also because it is sooooo good that I would not want to waste it in a margarita. But there it was. A beautiful little glass of heaven, and during happy hour there were 2 (the 2nd followed a little later.) well, after we were sitting a while, in no hurry to go any where because 1) we have no where else to go and it was in the shade and 2) it always helps to get more people in the place when there are some tourist looking folks sitting at the curb side tables, Lena ran off to the rest room. Not a big deal but after a while I started to get nervous. She was taking along time. Now, I am not worried about crime here and every one has been wonderful, however, being American and a woman I am always aware of the risks of kidnapping. I mean, it is a fair concern here in Mexico and one you always have to be aware of. So when Lena was taking more time that she should of I got up to go check on her. The poor little thing started to cry when she heard my voice because she had locked the door (and it was one of the old school slide locks that are really hard to open.) And it was on a door that she did not need and would normally not be locked by someone going to the bathroom. But there she was crying because she thought that she would not get out. She was easily calmed when i told her that there was nothing to worry about and that mommy would get her out in just a moment. The cook was up on the fence with a broom poking through the "window" which is to say the bars that a window might have been in at some time. She was out in a flash, once she was calm and confident that everything would be fine, she had little trouble opening the door. But it did scare her. After she was out she gave me a big hug and disclosed the whole ordeal with tears flowing as if she had just overcome a huge ordeal. But even better... sitting at the table when we got back was a small plate of tuna salad with pico, a fresh Sprite for the kids and a margarita for me. It made for a very nice afternoon.

And Don Julio, you gotta love that local treat!!!

Christmas tree- but no Proof

As, well, anyone who I have written an email to since I moved to Mexico knows... there has been some rough times heading into this month. I miss home. It does not feel like Christmas at all. I really wish I could see my friends and family and listen to KUPL Christmas music--- in English. So- even though we are broke- I absolutely had to buy a tree. Yes it is fake- which goes against everything in my Oregonian body- but what are you going to do. The kids really wanted a tree and I really wanted one too. Christmas has always been a holiday that I have gotten very into - esp. the decorating. It makes me happy to sit in a room filled with red and gold and lights and little santa's. And Ruben and I have collected some great decorations. But this year, there is nothing. So we bought the last little crappy fake tree at the super and came home to set it up and decorate. Now here is where I get really depressed. My camera will not stay on. It was working just fine and now- Nothing. I spent some time on a chat with tech support and they basically said oh well. I take soooo many pictures. And now I can't. We were watching "the Grinch that stole Christmas"- 1st the old animated one and then the new live action one. ate tamales and decorated our tree. But there is no proof. I cannot take pictures of it. And i made the most amazing chicken stock the other day and then made some great soup for my cooking blog--- again - no proof. And when it comes to food- I always like seeing pictures. Anyway. we do have a "tree" but you cannot see it. I might bite the bullet and buy a new camera. I need pictures, esp. at Christmas.


Okay, walmart in the USA is where people go to find a crazy good deal. You know that you are not getting the best quality and that a 4 year old probably made it, but, with the economy the way it is- people are hunting to save every penny. Well, we are no exception. We took the collectivo to Playa del Carmen the other day to pick up something that Ruben needed. Well, while we were there we picked up a few little things that we needed. Now, many things in Mexico, at least in the Rivera Maya, costs the same as it does in the states. Okay fine. But More????? why are all electronics and toys almost 2 times as expensive? We let each of the kids pick out one toy for an early Christmas gift. They have almost nothing and they never complain. So we really wanted to get them something. Well, as we were leaving Ruben had a puzzled look on his face and stopped at the door for a moment. He could not figure out why our stuff cost so much. He looked over the receipt and almost passed out when he saw that Akilean's "Cars" toy (literally 3 2" cars from the Disney movie and the MAC truck that they can ride in) - something that would have cost us maybe $15 in the US- even at a big store- not the Ross bargain shopping but at Toys R Us. This was 400 pesos. I about fell over. $40 for a damn toy. And not a toy worth $40. And Lena got a barbie like doll. That in the USA would cost $15-18 but here... 288 pesos. That is CRAZY!!!! I was pissed - I really wanted to take the toys back and get something else. 1 look at the kids and I knew I could not do that to them. They did deserve these toys. They have no friends, no toys, no bed, no furniture, all of their movies are scratched and they do not complain. For Lena's b-day we simply gave her a 50 peso little almost token of a gift and she was so grateful and happy and kept saying thank you to us and ran over and showed Akilean. But I will NEVER shop at Walmart again. I could not believe it. I would much rather go to one of the Mexican chain stores and pay a real price. Anyway. Had to vent.

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