Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Our Mexico Vacation-Part 1

Everything about our trip to Mexico has gone smooth as silk despite swine flu alerts and a 5.3 earthquake in Mexico City on the day we landed for a 3 hour layover.

See me below pictured wearing a blue mask in the airport. 75% of travelers and all airport staff were wearing them. Folks had masks on in San Jose del Cabo airport too. And we've seen a few in Todos Santos. Schools are closed but airports remain open, so far.

Next picture is Cindy in front of our casita at El Delfin Blanco in Playitas, east of Cabo San Lucas. We spent a wonderful evening and morning there before driving to Todos Santos. The third picture is of the Delfin grounds, a quaint stopover right by the ocean.

We have no pictures as yet of Andy and Connie's place, but it is simply gorgeous!!! Look for pictures and updates the next time we make to D'Licia's which has free wireless Internet and cinnamon rolls to die for. Cindy is in heaven.

We have some funny stories, mostly related to our almost non-existent Spanish and total confusion about pesos and one crazy car story from which muchos hombres offered to rescue us!! Don't know if I have the spelling or the choice of words correct but we are trying our best to use the language frequently.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Change of Plans

On Mondays, I go to homeschool at my daughter's and my son's, but this week, one family had two sick kids and the other family was exhausted from a weekend of service. The cancellations were timely as I was over-tired and had a strained muscle in my neck from shoveling dirt on Saturday.

Last October, Cindy gave me a gift certificate for a pedicure in acknowledgment of an accomplishment that neither one of us can recall. Every few weeks since she gave me the gift, I have scheduled an appointment, only to have either me or the manicurist cancel. Once again this month, I was playing phone tag with this gal, juggling potential appointment times. Then she called on Monday morning and said, "Can you come today at 1pm?"

"Yes, indeed, I can," said I.

So now I have sparkly red toes for Mexico. AND the sudden change of plans resulted in the pleasure of a soothing foot and leg massage on a day when I really needed it!

Monday, April 20, 2009


This is a post that I've been writing in my head for a couple of weeks . . . and it's a follow-up on my three pronged "Lenten" self-improvement experience. Remember I did the Maker's Diet (fasting), a prayer study, and a generosity practice during the six weeks of the Christian Lent.

Coincidentally (or perhaps not so), the lay Buddhist monk with whom I study (Nancy) was here during the last week of my commitment to this practice (during what is Holy Week in the Christian tradition). I wasn't able to participate in all of the services and workshops held that week, but I did meet with Nancy in Dokusan (which means going alone to the teacher). It brought my six weeks of committed practice to a satisfying close as I reviewed the experience and the outcome with my teacher.

Of course, the work never ends, but this exploratory phase has reached it's conclusion and Dokusan led me to the next door.

In review, on a practical level, I learned
1) how to eat so I never have heart burn, never feel nauseated, never fill stuffed;
2) how sugar affects me and how it's elimination has such incredibly positive effects;
3) I learned that my metta practice is a prayer of asking;
4) I learned that practicing generosity extends to myself and that opportunities to be generous abound EVERY DAY! (How did I miss this for 61 years?)

More importantly, Dokusan with Nancy renewed my effort to practice faithfully and diligently and deepened my understanding of walking a spiritual path. I recognized the next step and have already opened the way and set off . . .

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Yard Work

My yard is too big and my dreams far outreach my abilities. That's why I'm grateful for grandson Cody who is both smart and strong. Add to the mix Culley's 1/2 ton diesel truck, and I got a lot of yard work done this weekend.

Cody and I, along with neighbor Becky, hauled and shoveled a truckload of fill dirt. Then we picked up a load of railroad ties and dropped half in my yard and half in Becky's yard. Then Cody replaced the spark plug in my lawn mower and coaxed the machine to life after its winter in the shed. He mowed upper and lower lawns and also helped me replace hoses and plan and measure for the retaining wall project.

I love working outside, but it's always more fun with good-natured assistance. (I still needed a 2 hour nap when we were finished. All the help in the world can't compensate for 60 years of living.)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I have eaten salad everyday for lunch for more than 15 years. I've always intended to grow lettuce in my garden, but for some reason this intention never became a reality. I started one lettuce patch a few years back, but temperatures were already in the 90s and I had no shade cloth, so the lettuce didn't do well. Then I bought a big planter at a yard sale with the intention of growing lettuce on the patio. That planter is filled with flowers now.

In late winter, Raymond asked if I wanted some lettuce starts, but I whined that I didn't have a bed ready and even if I did, it would need a cover for frost in the winter and baking sun in the summer. So he offered to do the work and plant the lettuce starts as a birthday gift.

Now I have a sweet little lettuce patch that makes me smile EVERY time I drive in the drive way and when I stand at the kitchen window washing dishes. The plants are growing fast despite the unsettled spring weather that has included wind, rain, and hail as well as a few cool sunny days. Thanks Raymond! This was a great birthday gift.

Here is my picture of my lettuce bed. Notice the nifty shade structure with ample room to care for and harvest the plants.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Cindy and I took Huck and Nell to Mariposa for Easter. Here are 5 of the more than 200 pictures we took. In additon to egg coloring and hunting, we played 3 games of volley ball and did a lot of visiting with Cindy's family.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Mackenzie & Erik

For the next few days, I'm going to catch up on week's worth of blogging with some belated posts.]

First, my brother recently walked his daughter down the aisle toward marriage. A big contingency of family sat in a lucious garden on a ranch in Petaluma to watch Mackenzie and Erik exchange vows. The beautiful spring day was a happy, happy occasion!


Saturday, April 4, 2009

ER is over

When I met Cindy, she was an ER fan. We didn't have a TV when we first moved to Jamestown, so her mom used to tape it for us, and we would watch 2 or 3 episodes at once. It wasn't long before I was hooked too.

Our favorite character was Abby Lockhart. Her humanity touched us: her struggle with addictions, her complicated relationship with her mother (played by Sally Fields, one of Cindy's all time favorite actors), her difficulty deciding to marry Luka, and her overwhelming experience when becoming a mother. WHEW! We dripped tears when she was one of the first to depart at the start of the season. How could we watch ER without Abby???

What were we going to do when ER ended? The 3 hour programming of the last night was filled with reunions (Kerry, Susan, Elizabeth, Peter Benton, Rachel Green) and hope (Sam and Tony, Neela and Ray, Archie and Claudia--and even Simon's possibilities). The program theme was definitely about death in its many manifestations, tragic and bittersweet, a fitting end to a terrific show.

We are going to try SouthLAnd, the next program by ER producers, but we will miss ER. In fact, we've decided to get the first season from Netflix for our summer viewing pleasure. We just aren't ready to let ER go yet . . .

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


When Mary Autumn had to be in Modesto at 8am for a dental procedure, the family infrastructure kicked in. By 6:45, Gianna and Athan were at Aunt Jenny's. Dearma met Mama at the Whistlestop at 7am to collect Leon and Aliou, and when she went to work at 8:30, Cindy took over their care. Anna Mae went to Modesto to watch Clare in the waiting room while Mama stayed with Mary Autumn during her procedure.

Meanwhile, August was back at home working independently on course work for his first year of high school and Papa was elbow deep in the mud of a new job which would presumable pay the non-insured expense of Mary Autumn's procedure.

While their sister was sedated at the dentist, Leon and Aliou crafted cars from Play Doh and had a morning snack of chicken/cheese casa dia. (Notice the detail on their creations below.)

Mary Autum's first words after her dental work: "Did I take a nap at the dentist?"