Thursday, December 31, 2015

My Home

This is my living room/extra bedroom. The first room in my house.

I only have ONE window. That is it. I also have doors that open up in the back bedroom.

Chico's favorite spot is on my front room bed. He likes to look out the window.

This is the arch from my front room to my kitchen.

This is my kitchen. Yes, After eight years and three different places, I FINALLY have a kitchen.

My back bedroom and patio.

My patio.

I am going to put more flowers in my little garden.

Not to forget. These are my curtains that I bought at the second hand store and hemmed up.

So this is my place. I live in a Mexican neighborhood, surrounded by others and some of them are very loud. But my rent is only 2500 pesos a month. Whenever I get irritated at the noise, I think of the cheap rent. I hope all of you have a Happy New Year..... I am going to a friend's house to get away from the parties in this neighborhood. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christmas Eve in Ajijic 2015

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Morning Thoughts

Just a few more days until Christmas. I am glad I am living here instead of north of the border where the preChristmas insanity gets intense this last week. Since I am such a loner, I wasn't invited to Christmas parties. So far, I have avoided Christmas but I know that when Christmas Eve comes around I will be feeling sad, missing my family in Portland.  Being so far from family is one of the heavy prices of living in Mexico, unless a person has enough money and energy to travel north or pay for relatives to come here. This year I don't have the energy or the money. 

 Yesterday I went to the show and saw Star Wars. I thought it would have been packed and almost didn't go. I don't like crowds. But I counted only fifteen people in the theater. That was a crowd. Usually I am the only one in the theater. I heard someone talking about his relative standing in a long line in the States and paying 27 dollars for the ticket to see Star Wars. I recently bought my next year's pass for 24 dollars. I can go to the show as often as I want for free for an entire year. That is what I call a good deal, especially since I like seeing movies and I only live a block and a half away from the theater. 

I enjoyed seeing it but it wasn't like the first one thirty years ago. Now almost all the movies are as intense as the Star Wars movie. Young people seem to love the drama of space wars. Maybe one day that will be their futures. I hope not to be alive if it ever happens. But the first Star Wars started a trend that escalates with each new movie. Usually I can't sit through them because they are too loud. A sure sign that I am now old, not liking crowds, or parties or loud, violent movies.......

So what do I like? See photos on the previous post of the peaceful swimming pool. I like to swim. I like to read. I like to write on this blog. I appreciate people writing back to me. Simple pleasures. That is my theme these days. I hope you all take time to stop and smell roses during this last frantic preChristmas week. 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays everyone. I have been spending my days at the San Juan Cosala hot springs pool. Not a bad way to spend the winter. Here are some photos. You can see that it is practically empty. Next week may be a different story because the children are out of school now. But I hope I can still do my laps. Since I fell down the stairs three months ago, I haven't been swimming much. I saw the doctor last week and he wanted me to have x rays and an MRI. Possibly an operation. 

 I didn't get the x rays or MRI and I canceled my next appointment. I decided to try swimming instead for a few weeks. It seems to be working.  So far, no more knee pain. The cost of a twenty ticket pass is far cheaper than an operation and a lot more fun!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Morning Thoughts

I wrote too soon about the celebrations being over and the quiet here. This morning I woke up at four to the sound of the fireworks going off. Another ten day celebration is starting up for the next town and people here also celebrating. No end to the noise. Here are a few photos I took recently. Of my street and the plaza. The first one is of my house. I live downstairs. The last two were taken in my house. My patio and of course the famous Chico.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Morning thoughts

It is seven in the morning and starting to get light out. A Dove is cooing in my garden. I love that sound. Roosters are crowing in the distance. Someone just shot off a small rocket. The kitty is purring on my lap. Chico is watching us from the bed. It is a peaceful morning. No more marching bands walking past my door at seven a.m. now that the ten day festival is over. 

We are in the midst of the high season. Friends are returning. More people are hanging out at the Lake Chapala Society. Restaurants are busy and there is a lot of traffic on the main road. 

Yesterday I went to a consignment store and bought beautiful curtains for my patio door. I now have to hem them. I am terrible at sewing. I don't have enough patience. Everything I sew comes unsewn right away. 

Christmas decorations are up in many stores. Wal Mart is packed with winter clothes, jackets, hats, boots and gloves. And toys and other gifts. In the winter here I always get a kick out of seeing the expats wearing shorts and thin tops while the Mexicans are wearing warm jackets, hats and gloves. 

There are many evening performances here this time of the year. My friend went to see the Nutcracker the other night. The theater isn't far from my house but I don't have patience to sit through performances either. Especially the Nutcracker. 

Moby Dick is playing at the local theater and that is another thing I never had patience for, reading Moby Dick. But I may go see the movie. If I get bored I can always walk out. I still have my year pass and can see any movie for free. What a deal. It only cost me 500 pesos, about what it costs to go to the movies in the United States one time with one friend. 

The exchange rate for Americans is still great. Somewhere between 16 and a half and 17 pesos to the dollar. For the Canadians, not so good. This would be a great time to open a checking account and deposit an American check. If only the local banks would accept them, and if I weren't too impatient to do that. There are too many more interesting things to do than sit in a bank. 

This is also the time of the year when expats living here year around go back to the States or Canada to be with their families. And when the ones who stay here start missing theirs. If you want to be a house sitter, now is the time. I did that for the first few years after I came here but got tired of moving from place to place. And now with my own animals, I would need a house sitter . Chico is mine now and there is Olive, the wild cat who adopted me. I didn't want any animals. Now I have two and I don't know what I would do without them. Everyone deserves to be loved and animals are great at giving love. And receiving love. They never tire of being petted. (Olive is still sitting in my lap and enjoying my pets.) So if you are living away from your loved ones and are feeling lonely, pet an animal. Guaranteed to lower your blood pressure and take away the blues.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Morning Thoughts

It has been fairly quiet here now that the ten day holiday is over, if you don't count the man playing the tuba and the man playing the drums and the man playing some kind of game where they screamed at the top of their lungs every few minutes and the crying puppies and the barking dogs and the radio music. And this was all just what I heard from my back door. 

I would consider moving to someplace quiet but that would either mean out to the country or out of the Country. How much you pay in rent or to buy makes no difference. I have friends living in a five hundred thousand dollar mansion who are being driven out by all the noise in their neighborhood. That is close to where I first  lived, near the soccer field. They now have huge new speakers that blow the sounds throughout the neighborhood. I can hear them from here, many blocks away. Late Sunday night when the announcers are drunk and yelling into the microphones and the music is blasting, my friends cannot sleep. Their neighbors also let a pack of big dogs that they own out to roam around in the streets and they get into fights. So, you see, you never know when you rent or buy here, what the neighbors are like. 

You could play it safe and live in a gated expat community. I spent a few weeks in El Parque. During the high season there are lots of parties and it is noisy. But why move to Mexico if you are going to live in an expat community? They are not cheap and when you are in them you can't tell that you are in Mexico. So why bother to move down here?

The trick is to learn how to put up with the noise.  How to hear it without hearing it, if you know what I mean. That is what the Mexicans do. Noise doesn't seem to bother them. It gives people more freedom. You never have to think about how your noise affects people around you. 

One day my friend was exhausted from not sleeping at night because her neighbor was playing loud music every night, all night long. So she went to this woman's house and as politely as she could explained that she needed to sleep and would she please turn her radio down late at night. 

The woman's angry response was,"I am a Mexican. I can do anything I want."

I believe that Mexicans have a lot more freedom than people have in the United States but at what price? Not much if you can learn not to hear noise. My friend Nicks wears hearing aids. He takes them out at night and he sleeps peacefully.  But I wouldn't want to have to lose my hearing just so I can sleep at night. The next option is to learn to live with it. Like I wrote already, hear it but not hear it. 

I am enjoying not hearing all those fireworks day and night but this respite is temporary. Christmas holidays will be here soon and more fireworks. You cannot change Mexico. You can only change yourself and sometimes even that is impossible. So my friends living in the big house near the soccer fields are getting ready to put their house on the market and move back to Portland. For now, I am staying here and working on my ability of not hearing or reacting to noise. Crying children, crying babies and crying dogs and crying puppies are the hardest sounds for me to ignore. That must be in the advanced lesson. I am still a beginner.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Morning Thoughts

The pool at the Montecarlo hotel. I am hoping to make it back to the pool soon. It is always so peaceful there. The ten day celebration is finally over, no more fireworks for awhile. The animals can relax. I still haven't fixed my photo problem. Too much going on here. Today I am getting a stacker washer/dryer. For the first time since moving to Mexico I will have my own washer and dryer. I feel wealthy. The weather here has been perfect. No humidity. Sunny days. Warm nights. We are in the high season. Lots of traffic in town. People in restaurants and stores. 

If you ever need someone to do wood work for you, I will give you the information on the man who cut my wooden closet in half so it would fit through my front door. He took it one day, cut it and made it look good and brought it back the next day. He was very reasonably priced and he even kissed me on the cheek when he left. He also speaks English. So now I am going to have a washer and dryer and a nice closet to put clothes in, wow what a treat.