Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Welcome to Nahima world part II

Nahima likes to direct the world using the side view mirror like a TV monitor. I'm usually driving but here we were waiting for her brother at school.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Sink holes in the rain

This isn't exactly new around here because I've had small ones before. This is from the heavy rain we had last night that I slept through. Someone reported nearly 4" and my pool did overflow from 3" below the rim. I'm afraid the dirt is inside my little French Drain cistern that should have been surrounded by rocks and gravel but wasn't. Another reason the hole is here is it's right below a roof drain. So, I'm going to fill this hole with rocks as soon as it stops raining.

Invest 95E just came by and is now north of us. Dropped a lot of rain even though it never became a storm. Now we have Invest 96E following right behind to wet us some more. Turning out to be a wet year. I'm off to fill the wheelbarrow with some big rocks.

Nearly a meter deep

Invest 96E

Invest 95E and 96E

Sunday, August 25, 2013

What ever happened to the Multiplication Table


Has the US become as calculator dependent as Mexico?   I know I memorized  the Multiplication Table before computers and calculators but it seems such a basic part of math why would it be forgotten.   This came up helping Euriel with his math homework and both he and his mom wanted to use the calculator for some simple addition and multiplication.   Both amazed I could do it in my head.

The stuff he's working on now is addition and multiplication of positive and negative numbers and mixed numbers (fractions).   He's just not getting the Minus part of it or the rule for even and odd number of minuses when multiplying. Then I have to run to the computer to find that even and odd are pare y impare in Spanish.

I'm disappointed that mom and I did more of his homework than he did and this is not going to help at all when he has an in-class test.   I've pretty much decided not to be doing his homework but only telling him the rules and giving him exercises.   This morning I found a printable Multiplication Table and a site where you can make up math exercises .... with and without an answer page in various languages.

Dynamically Created Math Worksheets

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

It's homework time again


School started yesterday and the teachers aren't wasting any time passing out homework.  I usually help the kids do their homework if they need Internet information.   Well actually I do their homework because they really don't know how to search for things, copy and paste and print.   Gonna have to have some lessons before long.

I was a little more than unhappy when Euriel's sister came over at 10 this morning with geography homework that is due today.   Problem was neither she or I could read what he had written and she was unsure except that it included Mesopotamia, China and somewhere else. Maybe about rivers, the food they ate or migration.   Could have been anything so I sent her home for better instructions.

Of course all the homework has to be in Spanish so that slows me down and I really need to know exactly what we are looking for or it's hopeless.   Sometimes mom helps check the info while I'm searching but she's in a parent-teacher meeting.   I've told them before I need time and 3 hours before school starts is not time enough for me.   Sis has not been back so I guess it's not gonna get done.   Oh well!

With 20 minutes to go mom came with an explanation and we found this .....
¿Qué comían los neandertales?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Poinsettia or Noche Buena

Well it's both but known as La Flor de Noche Buena here in Mexico (Christmas flower). Mine was one of three plants in a pot that I bought for the Cissus vine. They were so entangled I planted them together as is. The third plant is long gone but the Noche Buena grew to about 2.5 feet last year and was very pretty but didn't look like the Poinsettias you see up north. They are considered annuals up north because they can't take the cold but are native to Mexico and are actually perennials.

So for some reason last winter the plant looked old and tired and nearly dried up - so I cut it back to nothing. Very surprised a few months ago to see a few popping up near the original and now coming up as much as 10 feet away. So many that I have been digging them up and putting them in pots. So the question is are these starting from seed as there is no sign of runners off the original. They have individual root systems. Noche Buena is classified as a shrub or tree and can grow to 10 feet so we'll see what happens to some of these this year with better care.

The Poinsettia got it's US name from Joel Poinsett who was the first ambassador to Mexico and he introduced it up north. Lots of legends in Mexico from Early Christian times back to the Aztecs which are fun to read but pretty typical legends.

What you´d expect to see up north around Christmas

Mine in the garden

A few I´ve put in pots



Saturday, August 17, 2013

Coconut Artesania

Fellow Melaque Blogger Steve advertised a garage sale today of some stuff from a woman that recently passed away here. I don't believe I knew her. Possibly it was her son was down taking care of the things and disposing of her belongings. We showed up and it looked like everything was given to a Mexican family and they were having the sale. Very nice gesture if that is how it happened.

Nothing much of value except a few nice paintings but they were expensive and I already have things I haven't hung on my walls. I did buy a set of sheets for Lorena, if a little over priced for used. What caught my eye were these coconut head dolls and the wall sconce that is a good match for the 3 I already have. I've never noticed this type of doll before .... or if I have they look like cheap Chinese knockoffs. These look like a whole lot of work went into them.  The best we could figure is they come from Guerrero.

I first took a group foto of them all but then decided each needed their own. Each has little spiny cones on their head in different configurations and Lorena says it from a bush or tree in the mountains I didn't see anything of equal quality on the Internet though I did see the same type of thing. Internet sale prices are high but quality is low.

They gave Lorena the mobile she was eyeing made of sea shells as we finished our purchase.





Wall sconce

Sconce I am using now

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

RIP Eydie Gormé

Eydie Gormé passes away at age 84.   She's been a favorite of mine since I heard her sing with Los Panchos though I do remember her from the '60's with Blame it on the Bossa Nova or "Culpa en la Bossa Nova" in Spanish.   I've got two of her Spanish albums and my neighbors think she is great but they are too young to remember the few popular here.   The NY Times article doesn't even mention Los Panchos which is a shame because I think it was some of her best stuff.  Sabor a Mi is one of my favorites.




Eydie Gorme, Voice of Sophisticated Pop, Dies at 84

Sunday, August 11, 2013

No water park today


Well that was our plan until the thunder, lightening and rain came about 9 this morning.  It was going to be a relief from the heat and a first time for the neighbor kids.   We have one more week of school vacation along with next weekend so we'll see.  The kids really should experience the water park La Aurora on the road to Barra de Navidad and any Sunday will work.

My dog was curled up outside my bedroom door and I remembered that the thunder scares her so I opened up the bodega where she spent the last couple  of hours.   It's calmed down now but still don't think we'll see the sun today with that big red blob on the weather radar.   Sure is fresh and cool after the rain.

I think it's a good day to cook something different

Friday, August 09, 2013

Expats and Obama Care


It's becoming a topic of conversation again on Expat message boards since the Open Enrollment medical care programs open October 1st.   It clearly says on the Healthcare.gov website that Expats are exempt but gives no details on how to prove you live outside the US.   I even did a Live Chat on that site and the question was beyond her ability to answer.   I offered my email for a reply from a specialist but they can only reply by phone.   I somehow don't expect to get that call.

Healthcare.gov is the National site but when you tell them what State you are "from" (IRS info) then you will most likely be sent to a State program site.  At least that's true for WA, OR and CA so I may have to deal with wahealthplanfinder.org.  I'm assuming these sites are only for people with no medical coverage or for those that want to shop for a cheaper solution.   People who are covered by an employer or have personal coverage probably shouldn't bother.

So we get back to how do your prove you live outside the US and to whom.   Since the only agency that can extract the penalty fees is the IRS then I guess we'll deal with them.   Problem there is to be an Expat the IRS says you should have a "Tax Home" other than the US or monthly proof you are outside the country.   The IRS site also says nothing about medical care penalties yet (I'll check further) so this is starting to sound what INM and Aduana went through when the Immigration laws changed.  Maybe they will work out something less convoluted in the future.

The enrollment period starts in October and ends in March and if you miss that period you have to wait for the 2015 signup.   The fee/fine for not having insurance in 2014 is 1% of your yearly income or $95 per person for the year, whichever is higher. The fee increases every year. In 2016 it is 2.5% of income or $695 per person, whichever is higher.   Pay that fee and you are still not covered.

What do I find searching for IRS and Obama Care but an article that last month The House passed a bill that blocks the IRS from enforcing Obama Care.   The plot thickens.

House votes 232-185 to block the IRS from enforcing ObamaCare

The House voted Friday to prevent the IRS from enforcing any aspect of ObamaCare, a bill meant to exact revenge against an agency that Republicans say is incapable of neutral enforcement of the law.

Members approved the Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act in a 232-185 vote. Four Democrats supported the bill along with every Republican.





Saturday, August 03, 2013

Coastal Avocado

Off and on I've been trying to find info about what the nursery guy told me was a "coastal avocado". My little tree is not yet a meter high so I haven't been real excited about it but it seems to be doing better with the rains. I also didn't include a foto but probably posted one in the past.

My interest peaked again when a neighbor said someone has a tree full and we're invited to pick a bunch. In the foto below of the tree you can't see an Avo but it is really full. We used what locals call a gancho to pull the fruit down. It's a long bamboo pole with a basket on the end, same tool that is used to pick mangoes. So we got about 10 with 4 for me. I've been using a gancho to get fruit from my roof off the two large mango trees in the lot next door.

So with all my Internet searching I find there are three basic avocado families; Mexican, Guatemalan and Antillean (West Indian). Antillean, which probably originated along the Pacific coast in Central America, yields well in lowland tropical situations and warm subtropical areas such as southern Florida. The Antillean also has smooth skin and is more pear shaped than round. The Mexican-Guatemalan hybrids originated around Atlixco in Puebla State where avocados have been traced back 7-8000 years. The Atlixco avocado was the one introduced into California as a 'Fuerte'.   Sounds to me like it's highlands vs. lowlands avocados.

Avocado tree

Our avocados

Many types of avocados

Gancho for mangoes and avocados

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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