This and that

elyssum
Sweet allysum and wet stone.

LET’S LOOK AT a bit of this and a tad of that, if you please.

The monsoon began a bit late this year, and it’s still getting its sea legs, so to speak. We like it when the rain starts, even though we dislike it by September when it’s outlived its welcome, and the mud is growing old.

A quite noticeable result of rainfall is the blooming of sweet alyssum, a ground cover that looks like snowfall. From January to June, it’s brown and appears dead, but give it a couple of days of rain, and this is what happens. Sweet,  huh?

In other news, City Hall opened our two main plazas downtown a few weeks back because it thought the incidence of Kung Flu was winding down. That lasted about a week until the plazas were taped off again, and that’s how it remains today.

When will this end? I’ve not experienced such a lousy year since 1995 when my last wife dumped me, and then 1997 when a romance with a lovely Latina ended by mutual insanity. You can read about that here if you wish.

lampI enjoy décor, and I like to take photos. Here is one I took yesterday when I found myself in the bedroom, looking at the scene, and with camera in hand. I’m so good at décor that you’d think I’d be gay, but I’m not.

I bought this lamp in the first few months after I moved to the mountaintop from the nearby state capital almost 20 years ago. It’s made locally, woven from a reed found in the area, if memory serves.

The lamp is almost two feet high.

It’s one of the few pieces of furniture we brought to the Hacienda from the two-story rental closer to downtown where I lived previously, two and a half years — one and a half solo and one more with my child bride.

Speaking of the state capital, we’ll be driving there today for a shopping expedition, a weekly event that gets us out of the house, and we might even eat lasagna.

The sex-change fad

AT TIMES, I am so perceptive I stun myself.

Last week, I left a comment on someone else’s blog to the effect that sex change, or transgendering in NewSpeak, has become a fad. That inspired another reader to call me a rude word. I am unrepentant. I had no specific evidence, but I keep my ears to the ground on cultural issues, and the ground had told me that transgendering is now a fad.

New ImageAnd, by Jove, a few days later the New York Post published a piece on this very topic, that transgendering has skyrocketed in the Western world over the past 10 years, especially among teenage girls, that demographic most susceptible to fads.

And schools, radical as they now are, push this issue.

Public schools peddle gender ideology with a fervor that would make a preacher blush. — Abigail Shrier in the New York Post.

Did you know that some schools stage assemblies to celebrate “gender journeys”?

Good God Almighty!

Not just schools but social media “gurus” promote this. The teen years are difficult at best, and the considerable angst felt by adolescent girls hitting puberty is now being used by the nuttier elements of society, especially the LGBT people. Between 2016 and 2017, the number of gender surgeries for girls quadrupled in the United States. In the United Kingdom, “gender dysphoria” among teen girls increased 4,400 percent in a decade.

The girls are not coming up with this nincompoopery on their own.

You can read the disturbing piece in the New York Post right here.

The music man

New Image

ABEL THE deadpan yardman came right on time, 10 a.m., yesterday to execute the yard’s weekly trim, which started late this year because the rain started late.

I used to mow the yard myself. Then I mowed half, and my child bride did the other half. Then we abandoned the chore completely and hired Abel who lives on the other side of the sex motel, which is very convenient for all involved.

At first, he mowed, and I continued edging with my weedeater, and I also swept the trash tossed on the Romance Sidewalk by the mower and weedeater. Then one year, I decided to let Abel do the edging too. He has his own weedeater, but I provide the gas. And just last year, I turned over the sweeping to him too, taking myself entirely out of the process, which a fellow of my vintage deserves.

Over the years, I’ve gradually increased his pay, and I did that again this year. I give him 250 pesos for about 90 minutes of work, which ain’t bad down here. If he does more than the basic trim and sweep, which he often does, I pay more.

Abel, who has a wife and kids, does not have a normal, fulltime job. What he is primarily is a trumpet player. He’s part of a musical group that once had an old bus of the Greyhound variety, which was parked on the street outside his house. But they sold it a few years back, probably because they couldn’t cover the maintenance costs.

Abel says they’ll be getting another, but I think that’s wishful thinking. It does provide a certain panache for a band to pull up to a gig in its own bus.

When he leaves, I flip the mower on its side down by the front gate, and hose the undercarriage which is jammed with grass gunk. I still do that part.

I then sat yesterday on a web chair on the yard patio, put my feet up, removed the straw hat which protects my snow-white cranium and breathed in the lovely day, which it was. The air was cool. The sky was blue. The lawn looked great.

And from the neighbors’ yard, I heard a rooster crow and a horse neigh.

Then it was silent.

And later we ate roasted chicken from a place down the way.

The old man and Sammy

HE LIVED IN the original part of town, which is to say the neighborhood the conquistadors created after landing their boats on the beach. But that happened a long time ago.

french-bulldogHis home was on the second floor, which is actually the third floor the way the Spanish say it, and it was nothing to write home about as if he could write home, which was right there where he lived with a French bulldog named Sebastian or Sammy for short.

Once happily married, she had died 10 years back, and he’d sold that big home where they had lived and bought this apartment on Calle Mango downtown. There was a balcony overlooking the street. He’d paid extra for that, something he regretted due to the noise. It faced the second story of the building that housed the restaurant across the street, a ground-floor spot whose specialty was chicken and rice.

The restaurant was called El Pollo Gordo, and he ate there once a week, sometimes more, and he always ordered chicken and rice because he liked it, and he was a man of hard habits. If there were leftovers, he returned home across the street with a greasy paper bag which made Sammy smile. The dog liked chicken but not rice.

The old man’s days did not vary. He awoke at 7 without a clock, drank black coffee with honey and nibbled toast on the balcony because it was still quiet at that hour. Sammy ate dog food from a can. It never took long to make the bed and tidy the place — he was a neat man — and noon arrived soon enough and the need for lunch, which sometimes was chicken and rice, as mentioned, but often pork tortas he purchased on the street.

After the death of his wife, he’d taken to smoking again, cigarettes, cigars, a stained Meerschaum pipe he’d bought from a Swedish seaman who was short on cash four years back. The old man would sit in a coffee shop on Calle Calypso most afternoons, re-reading novels, biographies and histories he’d brought from the big house after his wife had died 10 years ago, as previously mentioned.

Sammy liked the coffee shop, so he sat at the old man’s feet. Sometimes he slept and snored. Other times, he watched the people, which is also what the old man did in those moments he looked up from a book to order another coffee or to rest his eyes.

About 8 or so, the two would walk the three blocks back to the apartment and climb the wooden steps and into the sitting room where they would listen to radio music from the Dominican Republic. The old man would think of “the old days,” and Sammy would think or not. Who knows what French bulldogs have in their heads?

This routine never varied. One warm morning, the old man did not get up for black coffee with honey and dry toast. He did not sit on the balcony, which no one noticed, and he did not open a can of dog food for Sammy. The old man had died in the night.

And Sammy was on his own.