Friday, June 22, 2007

So this is what's been going on

This is going to be just a long newsy all-purpose post, because I'm so far behind on my e-mails to everyone. Not everyone will be interested in all of it. Just skip through and find the stuff you want to know. Just because you haven't heard from me, doesn't mean I'm not thinking of you!

I now have AC in my office. It's wonderful. It was a long road getting here, but absolutely worth it. Kody and I are holed up in my "cave," and I'm finally sorting through all the stuff that's piled up on this desk, just because I couldn't bear to be in here for any length of time when it was like an oven. I am unapologetic about this. I don't WANT to be outside. I only get flashes of guilt because there are so many people around here without AC. But after twenty years in Southern California, I have turned into a weather wuss. This takes me back to the way I grew up in Texas -- hiding out in the summer time, away from the blinding sun.

But back to last Wednesday and the impending visit of Dee and Warren Gruenig.....

The concierge or whoever at their hotel gave them a bum steer about the bus connections. Long story short, they took a taxi -- with a driver who couldn't find our address. So he took them to the bus station "where all the buses go." Well, they don't. So about noon I get a call from Warren. He and Dee have been there over an hour. Larry's been gone about that long looking for them at the bus stations on the other side of the highway. I know they're all within a hundred yards of each other....La Penita is not that big....and this is ONE time I regret not having a cell phone down here. A few small confusions later, they finally hook up and get here about 1:00.

All the workers have gone. It's quiet. Everything is pristine. They say all the proper nice things about the house. We go out for lunch. And toward the end of lunch, Dee says they have to be back in PV no later than 5:30. It is at that moment 3:30, meaning that it is already 4:30 in PV. So we scramble into Hummercita and head south, getting them there at 5:45. Larry and I go shopping.

I love Dee. Three and a half hours! That's all we had. But being with her is like a planetary fly by. She's one of those creative people that bring out the best in everyone. Look for more about her at But what am I saying? I've got a lot of those friends down here. I just get greedy and want them all to know each other! (BTW, have a look at my friend Lin's house under "Susan's photo albums." Click the link over in the column on the left, and then go to the one labeled "Mexi-color!") So, thanks to Nina who helped me pick colors, and to Dee who said Wow! Go for it! I will be painting my kitchen soon: One wall and the archways deep raspberry, two butter yellow walls, and stripes and vines of Comex "salamandra green." I've got the paint. I'm waiting for the time and the ganas.

"So what do you do all day?" Warren asked while we were at lunch. Well, Thursday morning after they'd gone, we looked forward to not doing anything. I got up, stayed in my nightie, ready to graze on a bowl of cornflakes and call my mom. The door bell rang about that time. Surprise! Javier was here, ready to put down impermeablezante on our roof and the walkways down each side of the house. Which meant rushing out to find Leo the iron man to build a cage around the AC unit that just went in because you can't walk on the impermeablezante for a long time after it's put down....and....well you just don't want to know all the details. Workers yesterday. Workers today. And more that will be back tomorrow morning at six. Plus Chano and Hilda again....and the pool guy. Sunday, I hope, will be quiet, but Monday Fernando and his crew start building a shade structure up on the second floor. Larry and I are shoring up the local economy if nothing else.

In between I read.

The latest that I love and recommend is The Hummingbird's Daughter, about a young half-Indian girl, illegitimate daughter of a hacienda owner in Western Mexico back at the turn of the last century in pre-revolutionary times. She has the gift of healing through her great capacity to love. Pilgrims start coming to her at the hacienda, and her growing influence alarms the government of Porfirio Diaz. The story of Santa Teresa de Cabora is all true! I've added a link to author Luis Urrea's website over there under books.

Nina's husband Bob loaned me Acts of Faith by Philip Caputo -- about well-intentioned attempts to do good in the horn of Africa. I'm about a third of the way into it. It's riveting, but sort of a downer. Well, what book about Darfur isn't a downer??!!

So I may alternate reading it with the book Dee brought me: Left to Tell, by Immaculee Ilibagiza, a Rwandan woman whose family was slaughtered in the 1994 genocide, and who spent 91 days with seven other women hiding in a bathroom from the killers who were looking for them. It's a story of unconditional love and forgiveness. She's currently in the U.S. and a number of my friends heard her speak last weekend in North Tahoe.

I've also been reading Ann Lamott's latest, Grace, Eventually. Like in her other books of essays, Travelling Mercies and Plan B, she's edgy and down to earth, talking about heaven right here, despite all evidence to the contrary.

And this morning I cooked. I don't intend to make this a habit. We are now, however, stocked up with

  • lots of garlicky spaghetti sauce ready for all sorts of uses

  • taco filling simmered with oregano, cumin, garlic and raisins

  • roasted red peppers (for sandwiches made with feta cheese, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and oregano, drizzled with olive oil -- perfect on crusty rolls rubbed with...what else....roasted garlic)

  • pineapple from Maria's huerta, the best Larry and I have ever anywhere, sliced, peeled and de-eyed, chilling in a huge bowl in the fridge. We will not eat this with garlic. Chili, lime and salt maybe.
I think that's enough news for now. I've worked up an appetite, and now that the sun is heading downward, I'll wander into the kitchen and rustle up supper for Cobbo. Hasta la next time!

Oh, one more thing: Here are some driving instructions. Use them yourself, or give them to the cab driver. We want to see you when you make it down here!

North out of PV on 200. Cross big bridge to state of Nayarit and keep coming north. Pass Punta Mita, Sayulita, San Francisco, Lo de Marcos and El Monteon. When you see the sign "Playa Los Ayala 4 KM" you're practically here. The road will widen to four lanes and there will be several traffic signals. When you see the tall spire of a water tower, that's where you'll be coming in. DO NOT TURN LEFT AT THE FIRST LIGHT BY THE WATER TOWER. That's the exit. Turn left at the second signal, right by the police station. That's the entrance. Be very careful around this intersection. It's very confusing, and a lot of drivers just ignore the signals completely. They don't have ambulances parked there for nothing.

After you make that left, turn right toward the Zona Residencial. The main drag is called Sol Nuevo. Stay on it and keep going north. Pass the tennis courts on your right. Then there will be a large "ecological" park on your left. When you come to the end of that, turn left. The street is Pavo Real. Turn right at the end of the street onto Flamingos. Watch out for killer speed bumps. I'm bringing you the way where there are the LEAST amount of these. Turn left on Golondrinos Cross over a little bridge and enter our street! We're down at the end on the right -- Number 3. Get out, honk, yell, ring the plastic button, clang the regular bell. We'll greet you with open arms and lots of ice.

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