Monday, September 15, 2008

Water World....with fur

"So, whatcha been doing?" friends ask. And I hesitate to say, 'cause it sounds like whining. Truth is, we've been cleaning up. It seems like it's something we do every fifteen minutes or less. Between constant rain and an enthusiastic, ravenous puppy, there's always a task at hand. If I could locate my camera, I'd give you evidence. Zack is brilliant. . .or determined. He knows where the food is stored, and he's figured out a way to bounce the pantry door open if it's not shut completely. Barring that, if there's a scrap of food left within paw-range, it's scarfed up. Made the mistake of leaving four formerly-frozen graham cracker pie crusts on the kitchen table the other night when we went out. Zack didn't exactly eat the aluminum and plastic, but he shredded them nicely. Every buttery crumb though was cleaned away!

Cleaning up after puppies is compounded by the weather. I know that with the devastation reeked by Ike, and before that Hanna and Gustav, what I have to complain about is pretty puny papas. But over here on the Pacific side of the continent, it's been wet, wet, wet, as well. Our sun sightings are few and far between. Keeps things relatively cool, but sodden. Everything grows. The weeds on the lot next door have become trees. The tennis courts have become a swamp. The streets are green carpets studded with shiny black cobblestones. Our neighbor down the street reports the rainfall to us each morning -- one inch, three inches. The other night we had five. It came down for hours and hours. Does anyone know how to toilet train doggies? They look so pathetic out there in the courtyard, legs dutifully hitched up, fur getting all wet and droopy. We have a pile of old beach towels by the front door -- along with piles of sandy, wet shoes. Would almost rather have the rain come in one big deluge, like it did a week ago -- along with sustained winds of about 65 mph. We really need to get a back door.

The limbs on the guayaba tree next to our house are laden with ripe fruit that's knocked off by the rains each night. Leave them lying on the courtyard bricks even for a day and the fermentation smell is overwhelming. So far I've been successful in sharing the bounty with neighbors and passersby. They are a real delicacy, rarely sold in markets -- BECAUSE THE SHELF LIFE IS TOO GUAVA-PICKIN' SHORT!!!

So Larry is poking his head in the door, wondering if I'm going to join him and the furry guys for a morning walk. This is the coolest and dryest part of the day, and I'm outta here to take advantage. Yours from the sodden south.....

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sharing a short film

My friend Evan shared this short film on his blog. It not only gives the flavor of Mexico, but a potent lesson in how we present ourselves, no matter what our situation. It's about five minutes long. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! (I keep watching it).... click HERE!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Home again, home again

Not exactly dancing a jig! That last 1515 miles from Lubbock to Guayabitos seemed to stretch on and on and on. Especially driving about 50 miles an hour. Hooray for a two night layover in a good bed in San Antonio. Thanks, Mark and Susie! And it was great getting a last visit with Larry's family there. Adios, Jim and Rhoda! We're home and happy.

Little to complain about on the trip south. Larry drove the open unairconditioned black Jeep that we picked up out in California (the one he traded his OLD Harley for about a year and a half ago). I followed behind in Hummercita carrying two dogs and dragging an overloaded trailer behind. Inside the trailer was Larry's NEW Harley -- or the one he bought last summer. Object of this trip was to get all his toys in one place, Mexico. Mission accomplished!

No inspections, no military stops, and only two flats on the trailer. One was coming through Guadalajara, and I was able to pull into a Pemex station with a llantera attached. Not too many of those around! Twenty pesos to fix the flat and we were back on the road. The next flat happened somewhere just outside of Guayabitos. We didn't discover it until we turned into our town. I was passing Larry, thinking he was letting me go ahead of him. But actually the Jeep had quit running. Wet distributor cap. Larry was towed the last mile to our house. And as I write, the trailer sits empty, tilted and with a crumpled fender at the curb in front of our house. I don't know WHAT I hit! But we're home.....sigh.

It was a summer full of adventure -- making new friends and seeing old ones. I can't begin to thank everyone through this blog. And there were so many people we didn't see this trip. I guess we'll just have to go back! Sometime.... and I think we'll fly.

For a while we were separated. From June 30 to July 8, Larry took a 3,000 mile motorcycle trip through the Midwest with his old high school buddy, Ken Pierce. From July 10 - July 22, I was in California by myself, mainly travelling around in the mid-section. The rental car I picked up in San Jose and dropped off there a week later said I covered 876 miles. That was catching up with friends and family in Pacific Grove, Danville, Roseville/Sacramento, Truckee, Reno, Santa Rosa, Petaluma, and San Francisco. A lot of them seemed to live WAY off the beaten path.

"Turn right at the pigs," was the final step in Dave's instructions on how to find him and his wife Laura outside of Petaluma. It was worth the trip. They fixed lunch -- Chicken Caesar salad, raspberry lemonade, a phenomenal chocolate cake -- and we ate it outside in their garden. The air was heavy with roses and sunshine.

"I'll come meet you," said Pam. Which she did, in St. Helena. After we raided a local grocery store, I followed her up Spring Mountain Road toward Santa Rosa and then somewhere she turned off onto a little asphalt lane. Ten (I counted on the way back down the next day) switchbacks later we came to where she and Gene hang out. Heavy smooth sheets, good smelling soap and absolute silence high in a live oak forest. I slept like a baby. But "remote" doesn't begin to describe it.

Well, it wasn't as remote as the commitment ceremony Larry attended for Theora and Colin. They live in a tent -- a geodesic dome -- which they've erected on land outside of Alpine, Texas. Theora is our niece, and she made all the arrangements for their celebration down at Chinati Hot Springs -- a 1930's style resort two or more hours drive south of Alpine, down near the Rio Grande River. Actually it was built in 1934, so the style is authentic. Larry attended along with our dog Cody and about 35 other guests before he headed out to California to meet me. The four inch layer of mud all over the Hummer spoke volumes as to what "remote" really means. I think he left it on until he got to Orange County as some sort of statement: Ours is not an urban assault vehicle. It really gets used off road!

Larry and I had a week together in Orange County, spent mainly with his surfing buddies, and our good friends. This is the "old time" beach crowd. Four couples one night celebrated our annual wedding anniversary dinner. It was at Cannon's above Dana Point Harbor. All of us together had 153 years of experience -- with the original partners! Thanks to the cachet of Infinity Surf Boards, we got special treatment. In turn, we sent our regards down to the bride and groom who were having their reception on the patio below us. In the dark the bride's teeth were as white as her gown.

Larry and I headed back to Texas the last day of July. On the way we managed to burn up the transmission in the Jeep we were dragging. Somehow it slipped into gear somewhere in Utah. That was between visiting Penelope and Tim in St. George and Danny and Nancy in Lake City, Colorado. Pioneers all of them. Penelope and Tim (who met on an Indian reservation) live about twenty miles outside St. George in the adobe house they built themselves on land purchased 23 years ago. Danny and Nancy remember the "old" days (post-mining, pre-tourist) when Lake City was a hippy hangout and everyone gathered in one big house to share food and warmth. I have never seen such starry, starry nights as in those two places. The moon was absent, or only a sliver, and the Milky Way was a broad white swath across the sky. Both these couples appreciate remote.

"Remote" seems to be a keynote of this blog. Our friend Todd had us meet him in Salida, rather than our driving sixteen or more miles out to the lodge he bought a few years ago. He moved there from hectic, fast-paced Orange County, and hasn't looked back. But he tells us he's looking to move into town. "Town" is big by Lake City standards. Lake City has 375 people. Salida has 5,000. But everyone keeps each other good company in the wintertime.

Our friends Chris and Ken had just sold their house in Santa Fe. It's up a dirt road and felt remote when we had dinner out on the deck in the evening. But the glow of the city lit up sky beyond the pines. There were stars, but the Milky Way was much paler. So they're moving....HERE! Well to San Pancho, just south of us. We had to agree with them. The Santa Fe of Larry's and my college days is long gone. Gentrification has taken over the central square. But our friend and neighbor down here, Roque Garcia, is still selling carnitas on the corner. We stopped for lunch, and he told us all about his new Guayabitos restaurant project. Yummm!

From Santa Fe to Lubbock was a day's drive. And it was in Lubbock we spent the last three weeks of our time north of the border. Larry had lots to occupy him getting all his toys in order and ready to travel. Ahem, a new transmission in the Jeep.

And I spent the time hangin' with Mom and going to see Dad. Speaking of remote, that seems to be Dad these days. He still has a sense of humor though. Or a sense of something. I showed him the photo Nancy took of Larry and me near Lake City -- the one you see at the top of this blog. I asked him if he knew who it was. "This," he said pointing to Larry, "is Harley Davidson. It says so right on his shirt. And, this one," he said pointing to me in the picture, "this one, I think, is writing her own script." He smiled at me.

Well, Daddy, I guess that pretty well describes it. If you wonder who I am these days, I guess I'm wondering, too. But I'll keep writing, and try to figure it out.

Love to you, Dad, and love to all. We're home!