Sunday, January 1, 2023

The New Year

 I am still grieving for my animals so I am not writing much. I just wanted to wish all of you a Happy New Year. I hope it brings you everything you want and more. I may write when I feel better. I had no idea this would hit me so hard. Chico and Olive were with me all the time I have been in Mexico. Maybe seventeen years. I have lost track of time. let's just say it has been many years.

. A part of me thought that maybe it would be good to finally be free. that I could travel without searching for a house sitter and worrying about them while I went somewhere. But now I have no desire to go on any trips. I don't have anything exciting or wonderful to share with you on the blog. Maybe it was a mistake to try to revive it. As we get old, we slowly fade away from society and the world. I am thinking about all the people who have died this year and at one time played a big part of our lives. And how they faded away and then died. That is the natural order of things, if we are lucky.

Often in my mind I would call Chico by my son's name, David, because I was a single mother and David was by my side for many years. It was just us.  But he is a grown man now with his own life and I am happy that he is independent. That makes me feel like I was a success in part because he has gone out on his own and is making his way without me. 

But our animals never grow away from us. They are with us until they die or we die. I have to stop putting Chico in my mind as David. That makes it much harder. I wish my son lived closer so I could see him at this awful time but he can't come now. I have to go through this grieving and get to the other side before I think of doing anything else. So I won't be writing for awhile. Love to you all. p 

Thursday, December 29, 2022

New Year Holiday Sadness

 Yesterday I went to the plaza to take photos of the beautiful Christmas decorations and I was planning on uploading them on the blog. I also met another woman who is also a blogger. I took her photos and was going to put that on too. I was thinking I wouldn't write on the blog at all after I decided what needed to be done but I promised to keep it going. So here I am but just to keep the blog going.

This afternoon I have to put down my dog down and possibly my cat. I have had Chico and Olive for probably fifteen years. They have moved with me several times and kept me company. I don't know what I would have done without them and their love. But they both are old and sick and I feel selfish keeping them alive when I can see that they are suffering with their various illnesses. Even this morning Chico got up and went right back to bed and Olive has quickly disappeared somewhere in the house to hide out.

It is going to be a hard afternoon for all of us. So, I am not up to putting those photos on my computer. It may be a few more days before I write again. I don't want to put sad or negative things on here. But I have just done that. I apologize for bringing anyone down. I am sure many of you have had to go through the same thing with a loved animal. At this point, I never want to have another animal because this part of it is too painful. 

Many people are going through far worse things than I am this time of year. I watch the news every morning and see some of it.  I send everyone my good wishes and hopes that the new year will bring happiness if you are suffering now for one reason or another. Loving is so painful at the end. Right now, I am wondering if it is worth it to love another animal because they die so soon.  I will write here after all of this is over. Thank you for encouraging me to write on here again. I will do my best in a few days to get those photos on. Thanks, p

Friday, December 23, 2022


 Just for fun, I decided to see what was happening with my blog. I thought maybe someone else had taken it over, like advertisers. I don't know much about computers. 

What a surprise to see that after all these months, it is still there. I guess it will always be there. How strange. It is like finding an old friend that I thought I would never see again. Familiar, yet unfamiliar.  I quit writing for a long time. Have been consumed with other things and a bit bored with the blog. Mostly because I now live in an area that is not a tourist spot. San Antonio Tlayacapan is a quiet little Mexican town. It is just a five-minute bus ride from Ajijic but I rarely go there anymore. I mostly hang out in my neighborhood. 

 The holidays are still celebrated here but on a much smaller scale. Not a great place for taking travel photos. But a great place to live. I would never want to move back to Ajijic.  It is too busy for me these days.

Here is a recent photo of me as I am in the garden and trying to get rid of all the bugs.

In the photo above, I am trying to protect my face from the poison I just put on those stinging caterpillars in my garden. Their stings hurt for days. 

In the photo above, my kitty, Olive is sleeping soundly. That is what she does these days, sleep.

I seem to have lost a lot of photos when I got this new computer. So far, I haven't found Chico's, but I will keep looking. Maybe I will find the thousands of photos that are missing. 

I would like to start writing on the blog again and I hope I will do just that. I need the outlet. I miss writing.  The holidays seem like a good time to start up, but this season is a bad one for me. Maybe that is why I decided to write again, to connect with people out in the world. I am very isolated at the moment because both of my animals are sick. I feel that I need to stay home as much as possible to be with them.

Olive, my cat, has breathing problems and this cold weather has been hard on her. Chico, my dog has an enlarged heart and has been having seizures. I have him on medication and most of the time he just stands around looking stunned. I know I should have them both put down, but I still have hope that when it warms up again, maybe they will recover. At least, I hope I can keep them with me through this holiday season. I will have to relook at that in a week or so. I may be being very selfish to try to keep them alive and with me. Yes, a selfish wish and a case of loving them too much. They have been my family here for many years. My joy and my comfort. 

They both came to me when they were fully grown and I do not know their ages.  They are over fifteen years old because they have been with me that long.  We are all three old now. I am 78 years old, but I still don't believe it.

This morning I was dreaming that I was talking to someone, and I said, "I am only 20 years old. Why am I living with all these old people?"  And then I woke up as an old woman.  I was disoriented at first. It feels like only a few days ago I WAS only 20. And just a few days ago my two animals WERE running around the house with lots of energy. And my cat could even climb walls.  Those days are over for all three of us.  I am not 20. They are not young and spry. My question now is, why are we all still here? 

The only answer I can find is just to accept the slowing down and getting old and closer to death. Love the sunshine in the afternoons. Love being alive still. Love each other and anyone we meet. So, this is why I decided to write again. To reach out to others, just in case someone decides to check my blog again. I am still here. Happy Holidays again. I hope we all can see the good in our lives and all the reasons for us to still be alive in this cold holiday season.

 I must go now; Chico is needing me now. I hope to start writing here again. I miss all the loving responses from readers. 

Sunday, March 13, 2022

A Little Story about my Mother's Irish side of my family

 I am writing this because it is almost St. Patrick's Day and what I am going to tell you is about my great grandmother and what happened to her and how it filtered down through the family to affect all the other women in our family, even if these women, including myself, did not know consciously why we were affected so strongly. 

It has to do with the potato famine in Ireland. I don't know much except some things I have read in novels. I like novels. They can be very informative if well documented.

During the famine, the potatoes rotted in the ground. The big farms were owned by the British from England. They had built small houses on their large properties for the Irish families to live in while they worked the fields. But when the potatoes rotted, the Irish were starving. Dead bodies were seen along the roadsides. People who could flee, did. And sometimes the farm owners would pay for their passage out of the country. Often they just forced the Irish to move out of their little homes and then they went back to England or else hired people from other countries to come in and work for nothing and have free housing where the Irish had once lived.  While the poor Irish just wandered the Irish countryside, starving. Sleeping along the sides of the road and finally dying.

I am not educated enough about this time and place to tell you more except the story than I was told the other day by my cousin, about how my great grandmother ended up in Arkansas. 

There was a man named Mr, Vardell. I do not know his first name. He lived in Arkansas and had twelve children from three different women. Each of the three wives died and he was stuck trying to raise these twelve children alone. He couldn't do it and no other woman around where he lived was willing to take on that heavy task. Plus he was old by then and no great catch. So, he ordered a young girl from Ireland to come and be his wife. 

Her family must have been desperate to have agreed to this arrangement. I don't know any of those details. Except that she traveled to Arkansas and married this man and essentially became like a slave, taking care of him and his twelve children. Also, She was Catholic. The Irish were discriminated against in Arkansas, as in most of America at the time. There were were signs on business windows saying no dogs. No Irish. 

 The Catholics were also discriminated against in Arkansas. Catholics didn't live in that state. It was just the bible belt Christians.  Plus, all the children hated this young girl because she was a stranger taking the place of their three different mothers.  When she had a daughter by Mr. Vardell, the children hated and teased her too and made her life miserable. I imagine she was already miserable because of having to help her mother do all the washing and cooking and everything else involved with taking care of all those children and an old man. 

The children refused to call this young girl who had become their mother anything but Mrs. Billingsley. That was her maiden name. They didn't want to accept her into the family enough to call her by her new last married name of Vardell.  Imagine the shame her daughter must have felt as the youngest, the outsider, Irish, and Catholic. So she too rejected her mother. She also refused to call her mother anything but Mrs. Billingsley. She never called her mother for the rest of her life. Only Mrs Billingsley. She hated her mother. She hated being Irish and would never admit that she was half Irish. 

When her mother died, the churches wouldn't allow her to be buried in their grave yards because she was Catholic. So my grandma who was an adult by that time, sent her to be buried in a Catholic cemetery. Maybe my grandma wanted to give her mother the final respect of being buried in a Catholic cemetery. And maybe she wanted her mother to be buried far from where she lived at the time. So she is buried somewhere in Kansas City. Strange that my son and his wife live there now. But no one in the family knows where this grave is located. She just was an outcast all her life. Of course that extended to her daughter, my grandmother. And on down the line. I have always felt like an outcast, that I didn't belong, even within my family. Plus all those other shadow emotions we try to hide, shame, fear, low self esteem, depression. I bet you can add to that list.

And so my grandmother, her only child, grew up with a lot of emotional problems which she took out on just about everyone in the family. She especially hated the girls in our family.(My cousin just read this and wrote back that maybe she didn't hate her mother. Maybe it was more that she was ashamed of her mother. So she denied her mother. Never calling her anything but  Mrs Billingsley. Never talking about her. And seemingly disowning her. 

Life is so much more complicated than just a few words of description. She must have struggled with many different feelings about her mother. Maybe we all struggle like that too. Relationships are rarely pure. They are tangled and filled with conflicting emotions. Especially within families.

 I didn't grow up around my grandmother.. That gave me the disadvantage of only seeing a small part of her personality and focusing on just a few of her qualities. Since she always seemed to hate me, I hated her too. My cousin believes she didn't hate women but was afraid of them. Afraid of not measuring up and of being shamed like what happened while she was growing up.

 A few days ago when my cousin told me about my grandmother's past and why she was so distrusting and bitter, I had to change my way of looking at her. She was no longer like a cardboard cut out. She was much more complicated. More human. Just like me and everyone else .   Filled with conflicting emotions about people we love.

 She became a strong woman and acted very proud. Sitting ramrod straight. She always wore a hat and white gloves into town. Maybe pride hides shame.  I think everyone in the family was afraid of her. She had a  will of steel and after she married she brought herself and her family of five children out of poverty by being the strength behind my Grandpa.  But she never talked about her past or her mother or any of those children she grew up hating and maybe fearing. She had no contact with any of them.

Side note here: This is how my grandmother and grandfather met. She was at the stream collecting water in a bucket. A group of young men were there too and started harassing her. My Grandpa was with them. My Grandma looked up and threw the bucket of cold water directly onto my Grandpa. And she ran home. He looked at his friends and said," I'm going to marry that girl some day." The boys all laughed but he did marry her and they were together many years until he died of a heart attack. She never married again.

I guess the point of this story for me is to finally have some compassion for my grandmother. To also see her as a human being and not just the angry old woman that I barely knew.  And to have compassion for all the people who are suffering in this world. Suffering never goes away. It just travels and transfers from one country to another or one group or individual to the next and on down through the generations. 

So, HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY MUDDY,, wherever you are now. Muddy is what we called my grandmother because one of her kids couldn't say Mother. And the name stuck.

 I can finally feel love for her and that gives me the freedom to feel more love for myself. Because you know how hating others causes self hate and low self esteem and fear and shame. It all gets passed down through generations along with eye color and skin color and all the other parts of being human. 

This little story grew to be a big story. Hope you could make it all the way to here. And if so, when the 17th rolls around,  HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY TO YOU TOO. Now being Irish is a source of pride, not shame. Maybe one day no one will be shamed for just being him or herself. wouldn't that be great?