Monday, December 30, 2013

Direction change - Like it or not

A few intentional and unintentional derailments in the last month with interesting results for each.

The most current one is this weather. We´re into the 4th day of unexpected rain, and not a light rain.   At least an inch a day so far and the forecast says it may ruin the New Year´s Eve party tomorrow night. At least I have no school bus driving responsibilities until about the 7th of January. I just turned on the pilot light on my water heater as cold showers are no longer refreshing.

The second was the second death of my PC. After thinking about it for about 5 in days I decided to buy a small Samsung laptop just to stay in touch and what ever else I might manage with it.  So far it´s working out fine although I really don´t like Windows 7, it´s in Spanish and Windows 7 does not support my 2 older (not that old) Lexmark printers. Gonna have to look at new printers and or building another Windows XP machine.  I just bought 2 new printer cartridges which we all know cost almost as much as the printer and hopefully are not outdated.

The real change that we are not supposed to talk about until much further into the process for fear of looking either real weak or real stupid or both .... is dumping the tobacco.   I have no idea why I´ve allowed myself to smoke up to age 70 or why I was willing to pay $1600 pesos ($125us) a month to do it (probably 3 times that in the US).   Anyway we are 3 weeks into the "process" and I´m a physical and psychological mess .... but I still suggest cold turkey.    Just don´t do it is the only way for me. Vamos a ver !!

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Wanna give me a push?

Sunday was a beach day and we heard some complaints about street conditions from the Saturday Open Mic crowd at Sirenitas. That's our favorite place and figured we'd just walk a ways if it was bad. We were going to meet Glen and Marcos and I brought Lorena and the kids.

As we drove up I saw a car in the middle of the street and figured they were just parking that way because the street was closed. As we got closer I realized it was Glen's car bottomed out in the sand. First thing he said was "Wanna give me a push?"   I don't think 5 big guys could have budged it ... well maybe but where were the big guys.

I remembered I carry this long tow strap so I turned around, let everybody out of the car and we hooked up the strap.  Lorena and the kids were watching from the sidewalk and she took some videos of our adventure on her cel phone. Went well but didn't realize he came out that far. Looks like he was going to rear end me in the video.

Nahima conked out after 2 hours in the ocean

Friday, November 29, 2013

Mom's want Lullabies

I put some kids video songs and some goofy ones on my IPhone and Nahima, the 3 year old, likes to listen to them in the car.   Problem is she can listen to them over and over and was driving her mom and I crazy.  I went looking for some that were a little calmer and just to give us some variety. I ran across a bunch on YouTube that are nursery rhymes. Some you recognize from the English equivalent and some not.

Everyone around here has smart phones* so after figuring out what format* the phone used to play video I put a few on Nahima's mom's phone. Now the neighbor mom's are hearing these and they have helped a few babies fall asleep. I have two video requests pending when they bring the phones over and may get more. Lots of babies in the neighborhood.

*smart phones -- They don't have Internet because they can't afford it .... but the phones have video and still camera, play video and music, have a radio and TV reception ... and are cheap.

*format -- My IPhone plays .MPG,  MPG4, etc.   Their phones need .AVI for the video or all they get is audio.   I use YTD Video Downloader to convert to many different formats.  YTD also downloads the videos.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving without the history

I guess this comes from my bah-humbug feeling about most USofA celebrations like Easter, Christmas and even Veterans Day.   The fantasy becomes overwhelming leaving me to believe it contributes to the naivete of so many Americans.   Not that other cultures don't do the same thing in their regional way but I'm talking Thanksgiving.

I Googled "Thanksgiving history" and found more sad stories than the idyllic ones we remember from childhood.  Even, which is usually middle of the road in it's information started off with this.
Thanksgiving has become synonymous with family, food and football over the years. But this unassuming American holiday is not without controversy. Schools still teach children that Thanksgiving marks the day that Pilgrims met helpful Indians who gave them food, farming techniques and more to overcome the bitter New England cold. The children color cutouts of happy Pilgrims and happy Indians which ignore that contact between the two led to the decimation of millions of Native peoples.
Looking around at a few other Ex-Pat blogs gave me hope that not all is lost .... with advise that we can focus on the present.   Yes, family, food and even football (no Seahawks today) ... but also thankful for what we have, are living in Mexico and even that we have survived this long in a rather crazy world.  I guess I'll drop my objection, let others do their thing and be grateful more than one day of the year. All the best to you.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A beach road trip

Glen wanted to go to Tenacatita to see what was up with the snorkeling and access to Playa Mora. I suggested we checkout Playa La Boca while we were up there since neither of us had been. Playa La Boca was promoted as a Tenacatita replacement when Tena was closed down but sad to say it does not come close. The promotion was more to help the 2 Rebalsito families that had started restaurants there. We found one restaurant left after a long bumpy ride. To get there take just about any street to the right in Rebalsito and follow your nose past the cemetery on the beach.

The beach and river mouth are pretty but no swimming in the open ocean. The river, Purificación, divides the beaches of Tecuan and Playa La Boca. Rio Purificación is open to the ocean after the rains but closes up in the winter and wanders through the Tenacatita lagoon and eventually coming out at La Vena near Los Angeles Locos.  The grounds of Shangri La on the Tecuan side over look the river and the ocean.

After some fotos we were off to Tenacatita and a swim - pretty as ever. The police are more relaxed, you can bring in beer now and more shade is available compared to last year. Not like it used to be but it's open. No restaurants or bathrooms.

Made a quick stop at Boca de Iguanas and then on to La Manzanilla for a lunch on the beach at Pedro's Tacos. The old Taco truck is parked inside and now it's a real restaurant with tables and shade on the beach. Food is good as ever.

Walking out to the point at La Boca

Ocean on one side and river on the other

Shangri La

Pedro's tacos - order two next time

Monday, November 25, 2013

Love Hate my computer and all things connected

I just spent the last 10 days wondering why Java was not working in Google Chrome but worked with Firefox and IE.   Worked fine for over a month after the new system was installed.  The guys in the repair shop installed Avast for the virus program and it seemed to work so I left it alone.

Installed and uninstalled plugins and extensions.  Installed and uninstalled Java, finally with the special Chrome install.   Nothing worked.  Finally read that Avast was troublesome but in a different situation.  Had to give it a try so as soon as it was disabled I had Java back.   The main reason I needed Java is Disqus that runs comments on my Blog and many others uses Java.   I couldn't comment or even read them.

So now Avast is gone and I've installed AVG which I had for years and don't remember any issues.  I also scan manually with MalwareBytes at least once a week.   Hopefully everything will be cool for a little while.

The next issue was neither ITunes or my PC could read my IPhone like it was a hard drive.  Had worked that way for the 2 years that I've had it. That meant I couldn't access pictures I'd taken or upload music or videos to the phone.   That sent me on a search for some second party software and what I found was Syncios.   Sync-IOS (sync operating systems) works perfectly and is free.

When you download Syncios it asks you if you also want to download Mobogenie and for some reason I said yes when I usually say no to all the extras offered.  I had no idea what it was.  Mobogenie turned out to be essentially the same as Syncios but was for Android devices.   Install it on your PC and it installs on the Android at the same time.  That means I can download from the PC and it goes to the Android or if the Android has it's own Internet connection it can be stand alone.   It goes to a site very much like Google Play and we only downloaded a few games for my neighbors Tablet but I'm sure there are other apps.

Suddenly this morning I'm able to read my Iphone like always. Mystery or another Avast issue? All's well that ends well but I somehow think my computing future will not be trouble free.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

First Carambola

Just had to brag about my first and only Carambola. I thought I saw a few more flowers about a month ago but this turned out to be the only fruit. Strange things happen with the first crop of many trees. Also because it's my first, I picked too soon and it's quite bitter. Will wait longer next time and try to improve it with limon (lime) and salt in the meantime.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Refrigerate Eggs - What?

Ever heard another Gringo ask why Mexico does not refrigerate eggs or has it crossed your mind.  It crossed mine but I think I accepted it as just the way it's done here and people don't get sick.   There's not much that doesn't get me searching the Internet if I don't understand but this one just didn't catch my attention. To my surprise I run across this article that generally explains the views of the rest of the world.  It seems the the USofA is one of the few countries that does refrigerate. I assume Mexico follows the principles of the rest of the world.

Partial article excerpt ....

The U.S. is one of the only countries on Earth that keeps chicken eggs in cold storage. But why?
In an elaborate automated process involving in-line conveyor belts, massive egg-scrubbing machinery, high-volume air-filtration systems and – last but not least – chlorine misters, American eggs are washed, rinsed, dried, and sanitized in an effort to remove as much dirt, poop and bacteria as possible, all while leaving the shells intact.
Or rather, almost intact. When a hen lays an egg, she coats it in a layer of liquid called the cuticle. It dries in just a few minutes, and is incredibly effective at protecting the egg from contamination, providing what European egg marketing regulations describe as "an effective barrier to bacterial ingress with an array of antimicrobial properties." America's egg-washing systems strip eggs of this natural protection. "Such damage," the EU guidelines note, "may favour trans-shell contamination with bacteria and moisture loss and thereby increase the risk to consumers, particularly if subsequent drying and storage conditions are not optimal."
Americans – why do you keep refrigerating your eggs? 

Invest in Buen Fin

Neighbors are all excited about Buen Fin, the Mexican equivalent of Black Friday. It started yesterday and goes through Sunday. They double checked their Elektra credit cards yesterday and are ready to spend. I don't blame them as Christmas is coming up and there may be some actual bargains out there. The problem is their list is long -- a bike for the daughter, a Tablet for the son, a dolls playhouse for the 3 year old .... and maybe, just maybe a flat screen TV.

Even though our little town try's to participate in Buen Fin it's more often a table out front with used clothing or the pawn shop that advertise. The only REAL stores are in Cihuatlan or Manzanillo. Yesterday it was decided that Cihuatlan was far enough.

I was dreading the crowds, doubted there were many real bargains and I don't really need anything. Now I'm dreading Invest 98E that has been dumping heavy rain on us since early this morning and don't want to drive in the rain except locally. Guess we'll have to see what it's like in an hour or two ... or maybe put it off until tomorrow.

Invest 98E

Friday, November 15, 2013

Bed, Bath and a Blonde

Well I can't say I'm blonde any more, not since I was about 10 years old. Now it's white but with the same problem as before, it grows.   I used to go to barbers but because I would move or the barber changed shops I could never get anything consistent or what I wanted.   There were a few years of relief back in the '60's when we hippies let our hair grow but then came the era of having to get a real job.   

That's about when I decided to cut my own hair and have been doing it for at least the last 30 years. Took some practice doing it with scissors but eventually graduated to electric clippers. Very easy really when you cut it short and don't have bristle brush hair.  Here I cut it short every few weeks to stay cool.

Then on to a bath/shower brush which I have been unable to find in Mexico. I brought a plastic one down from the States about 4 years ago but I guess the plastic gets brittle with age.  Dropped it one day and goodbye handle.  Been considering screwing a piece of PCV pipe to it but keep forgetting.  Gonna have to try, maybe tomorrow. Please don't suggest a Loofa which can be found growing in this area.

Now the bath itself.  All summer I had my water heater turned off because either street water or water from the tinaco was warm enough.   Even if a little cool it felt good with the heat.   With the drop in temperatures the last few days the water is getting cooler as well.   Only the pilot light is enough for a 5 minute shower and that's what I did last winter.  Not quite yet .... but thinking about it

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

No work today

Don't expect good services or much work done this afternoon.   Every Mexican I know, at least males, will be glued to the nearest television.  Wonder how many kids will skip school or will they have a TV in the classrooms.   Maybe doesn't mean a lot to you if you're not a soccer fan but high energy games like this are always good.   I know where I'll be.

MEXICO CITY - The time has come, the moment of truth is here. Only two games, 180 minutes to find out if Mexico will participate in next summer’s FIFA World Cup. El Tri begins their last chance playoff against New Zealand.

The first leg match between Mexico and New Zealand is scheduled for tomorrow Wednesday November 13 at 2:30PM local time (12:30PM pacific time) from the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. With the return leg scheduled for one week later in Wellington, New Zealand.

Mexico find themselves in this position after having failed to finish in the top three of the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying Hexagonal. United States, Costa Rica, and Honduras all finished better than El Tri and have their World Cup ticket in hand. As fourth place finishers Mexico are allowed to advance to a last chance playoff series to for one of the few remaining tickets to Brazil 2014.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Green Papaya Soup

I lifted an old branch on the tree to remove it not realizing a papaya was supported by it. The next day found a green papaya on the ground. Not wanting to throw it away I hit the Internet and just about all I found for recipes was an Asian Raw Salad.  I didn't have all the spices they use and definitely no Fish Sauce.   I even asked on a Mexican food forum and the only answer was use it as a meat tenderizer.  I did know that about Papaya but not that only green ones are used.

So I gave making soup a try by cutting it up in little spaghetti sized strips in a  chicken broth, some chicken pieces and lots of other veggies.   Spices and Nori to make it as Asian as possible and some angel hair noodles.  Actually came out very good but I'm still without any Mexican-ish recipes.  My neighbor likes it with lime and salt but she likes everything that way.

From Wikipedia
The unripe green fruit can be eaten cooked, usually in curries, salads, and stews. Green papaya is used in Southeast Asian cooking, both raw and cooked.[14] In Thai cuisine, papaya is used to make Thai salads such as som tam and Thai curries such as kaeng som when still not fully ripe. In Indonesian cuisine, the unripe green fruits and young leaves are boiled for use as part of lalab salad, while the flower buds are sautéed and stir-fried with chillies and green tomatoes as Minahasan papaya flower vegetable dish.

And from Dr Leslie Korn
Papaya is rich in iron and calcium; a good source of vitamins A, B and G and an excellent source of vitamin C (ascorbic acid). The extracts of unripe C. papaya contain terpenoids, alkaloids, flavonoids, carbohydrates, glycosides, saponins, and steroids. Extracts of ripe and unripe papaya fruits and seeds are active against bacteria, which is why many women on the west coast dry the bitter seeds to prepare them as a tea. Fresh or dry crushed seeds are bacteriostatic, bactericidal and fungicidal.  
 Papaya / Paw Paw / Carica papaya

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Blogger Archive List - Double Arrow

Just about a week ago my Archive List started showing a double Arrow on each entry.  Looking around I saw others weren't having the same problem so I assumed it was my Template that was the problem. Standard Blogger templates seem to be fine but mine is an older third party template.  Searching for the double arrow problem I found someone with the same issue on the Google Help forums and it was only a day or two old.  I assume this is something new for anyone with a non-standard Blogger Template..

The screen shot above was his and mine looked the same.   Someone on the Forum gave him the answer but instructions on where to paste the code was very vague and I wasn't able to follow his directions.   The add CSS option I never found.   So I opened up one of my more obscure Blogs and tried pasting into the Archive section - nope, wrong area.   Then I just used Edit HTML and at the top of the template below the header info is style type='text/css' section.    I pasted it into that section and it worked.

style type='text/css'
#navbar-iframe {
#ArchiveList .toggle .zippy{ 
font-size: 0px !important; 
#ArchiveList .toggle .zippy:after{
font-size: 12px !important; 

This is the code that I added

#ArchiveList .toggle .zippy{
font-size: 0px !important;
#ArchiveList .toggle .zippy:after{
font-size: 12px !important;

Saturday, November 02, 2013

El Panteon

A Panteon is the local graveyard and we placed two wreaths on family graves today. The local Panteon for Melaque, Jaluco and Ranchito is out highway 80 not quite to the new bypass highway. Hugo didn't want to go because it's crazy busy with people but Lorena and the 3 kids and I went. Surprisingly there were very few people but many of the graves had been cleaned up and adorned with flowers, candles and wreaths. Then again at least a third of the sites looked like they had not been visited in years. There were a few guys cleaning around the entrance but by the overall look of the place no one is paid to do general maintenance during the year. Kind of on the depressing side.

The last photo is Lorena's aunt's grave. Like many they are deep and the next person in the family to pass will be placed above. Some covered and some not. The degree of ornateness depends on the wealth of the family and they range from covered in dirt to almost the Lincoln memorial in DC.   Lorena made a large wreath for Hugo's mom on my patio last night and a smaller one for her aunt this morning.

We've been taking specimens into Cihuatlan the last three days and pass the Panteon there. Euriel has a lung infection and is being tested for TB before he can take some drugs to help his immune system. The lab in Cihuatlan is where we take them. Anyway, the Panteon in Cihuatlan is 3-4 times larger than our local one so the Transito Police are in the street slowing drivers and giving parking tickets. Literally 100's of people there. A Misa (mass) will be held tonight about 5PM.

Panteon entrance

Flowers and food sold in front

Above average graves

Looking toward Melaque

Hugo's mom's grave with wreath Lorena made

Lorena's aunt's grave

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Trick or treat

Well tonight's the night. Haven't seen any neighbors preparing or even talking about it except that Lorena and I bought some candy and masks. We ate all the good chocolate so will pick up some more on our trip to Bodega today. Gonna put some candles in my kitchen windows that face the street and that's about it. Will be more fun if Hugo and family come over.  No fruit and nuts this year.  Queremos Halloween

Las calaveras: tumbas por aqui, tumbas por alla

Monday, October 28, 2013

Another English speaker

I am no longer the only English speaker in Pinal Villa. Jimmy and Sandy just arrived from BC Canada for their winter 5-6 months. Well there is Paca who hides in her little house on the other end of town but I'm lucky to see her once a month. Danny and Linda were going to come down earlier but looks like they won't be here until January. I have most of Danny and Linda's stuff we brought over here after a breakin.

So the foto below is what Jimmy and Sandy are coming back to. I'm sure Jimmy would like to continue working on his house but that yard looks like a month long project. That's what you get in the tropics and don't pay anyone to care take your place.   You can't even walk into the back part of the lot it's so overgrown and no other area is clean enough to relax in.   I'm here all year and am constantly cutting things back in the summer.

The bottom foto is one of Ron's 3 lot's in West Melaque that you can't even see. They are for sale so better to be able to see them. My neighbor Hugo will start cleaning them tomorrow. Realtor said he cut a bunch of brush but I saw no evidence of it.

Jimmy and Sandy's yard

Ron's lot

Friday, October 25, 2013


The revolution itself may not be televised, but on last night's edition of the BBC's Newsnight, viewers may have witnessed the start of one.

Actor-slash-comedian-slash-Messiah Russell Brand, in his capacity as guest editor of the New Statesman's just-published revolution-themed issue, was invited to explain to Jeremy Paxman why anyone should listen to a man who has never voted in his life.

Wake up

Thursday, October 24, 2013


The group, Calle 13, is Puerto Rican but they're popular throughout Latin America. The name of the song is "Latinoamerica".

The translation of the chorus is: 
You cannot buy the wind.
You cannot buy the sun.
You cannot buy the rain.
You cannot buy the heat.
You cannot buy the clouds.
You cannot buy the colors.
You cannot buy my happiness.
You cannot buy my pain. 

 Where was I last night ..... but the Dia de los Muestos is worth keeping

Hormones and Halloween

It was finally time for Lorena to visit Dr. Rosa so we dropped by after leaving Euriel at school yesterday.  She's been having headaches, feeling the heat a little more than she should, gaining weight and has been tired (tho you can hardly tell it).   Combine that with deciding how to wean Nahima who is still breast feeding at age 3.

Dr. Rosa says her hormones are out of balance and gave her an injection along with a 3 month prescription for some pills.  Also something to help her milk dry up but it's very mild and she suggests the only real way to wean is to insist Nahima eat more food and less breast feeding.   Breast feeding can also contribute to a hormone imbalance.   Lorena is the heart of that family and the last thing needed is her getting sick.

Dr. Rosa's office is right near the Tianguis so we went to see what they might have for Halloween or Dia de Los Muertos.   The only things we found were the 3 masks below and a bunch of fireworks which are really aimed at Christmas holidays and not the ones coming up.   We bought some fireworks and I tried 2 of the "bottle rockets" last night.   They were duds as far as rockets but did sparkle and bang.

Today we went into Cihuatlan for our weekly shopping and Bodega had it all so we didn't go any further in search of Halloween.   A bunch of bags of candy, a few masks (who will wear them?) and a very large purple witches hat for Yari (no foto).   Yes kids come around on Halloween asking for "Queremos Halloween" (we want Halloween) but you never know how many.   Better to be over prepared than under but the kids here don't know about the Trick part of Trick-or-Treat.   Should be some fun.

Tianguis masks

Tianguis fireworks

Tianguis fireworks

Halloween candy and dud rockets

Halloween masks for somebody?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The garden is producing

I'll start with the papaya since, except for the limones, is the most prolific. It's another volunteer like many things in the garden. The first foto is now and the other two are from a few weeks ago. The one delicious one had a bad spot that Hugo said was caused by a bug of unknown type. I cut out that section and all else inside was well. Seeds went to the compost pile for maybe another volunteer.

My Carambola has it's first fruit if a little odd shaped and more flowers for fruit to come. The Chico Zapote has a bunch of flowers and I'm still uncertain what this fruit will turn out to be. At least the Zapote is only head high while the Carambola is 3 meters. I topped both of them awhile back because they wanted to be tall and skinny. The Albahaca or Basil that was in a planter next to the house left tons of seeds behind but they are coming up in the gravel. I let them grow a bit to make sure they were not just weeds. Little tiny plants will be very hard to transplant but I have a large bag of seeds for when I find a better place.

Papaya today

The delicious one

Ready to eat

Albahaca or Basil that outgrew itself

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Throw, Row, Tow, Go

At least that was our motto when I became a Senior Lifeguard at our Mercer Island Beach Club. It only came to mind but in this case none of it applied. The La Aurora Water Park is a great place to spend the day except that they have absolutely no security. No one to calm the teenagers down when they start acting crazy and no one to watch small kids that can't touch bottom.

I had just walked up to the Tobogan pool where all the bodies get dumped from two large slides and at the far end noticed a very young girl, maybe 4, swimming with water wings. That was amazing enough but the next thing I know she took off the wings and pushed off the ladder to the middle of the pool. She soon discovered she could kinda stay afloat but couldn't move back to the ladder. Just as she started to panic I jumped in and walked her over to the ladder. Nobody noticed including the 6 year boy she was playing with. Of course you don't get a thank you from a 4 year old and I'm not sure she even fully realized what just happened. Back on went the water wings and she was in again. I explained the situation to an older sister who was sitting at the "family" table but I never saw their parents.

Our story for the day was we found a nice place in the shade, a big bowl of ceviche de camaron, cubeta of Estrella and lots of playing with the kids. Nahima (3 years) was first afraid of the kiddy pool but an hour later was in every pool with help of sister or mom. Yari (10 years) is very cautious and couldn't be talked into going down the big water slides even when some girl friends were doing it. First time for them and I haven't been in a few years. Nahima's comment at the end of the day was -- "No mas playa, toboganes mejor".

Kiddy pool from our table

Kids and new found friends

Kids water slides

Pool at the bottom of the big slides

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A Saturday BBQ

Another day reaching 90 degrees but with a good breeze, a fan under the palapa, shade and the pool we had a comfortable day. Hugo and Lorena scored some tilapia and wanted to cook on my grill. Marinated in a chile sauce she made, covered in butter on the grill and a little mayonnaise. No problem with it being too dry. A perfect day and a meal to die for.

Nahima had her kiddie pool which ended up to be her clothes washing station more than a pool. Euriel stayed home because he's allergic to seafood. Really a shame for him because we all like fish and shrimp but Euriel has many allergies. Yari, the family "gofer", made her usual many trips to the store, a plate of fish to grandma's house and took some salad to Euriel while we relaxed. She never complains and even volunteers to go for me. The three dogs were well fed including Nahima's new puppy. None had any problems with fish bones which surprised me.

Hugo firing up the grill and Nahima in her pool

Smaller talapia

A bigger one

Ready to eat

The construction of the house finished in April 2011 and I'm pretty much settled in. As of March 2014 I'm in preparation for rain mode for this coming summer. That includes sealing and painting things and dealing with drainage issues from last year.

Sparks Mexico Web
Manzanillo Information
House building in Pinal Villa

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