Plague year pleasures

ENOUGH OF GLOOM and doom. Let’s focus on pleasures, which we have quite a few here at the Hacienda on a daily basis.

They start at dawn. The window is open for the cool night air, and when the sun rises, the birds start to sing. Neighborhood chickens too, but the birds are nearer, sweeter.

And waking at age 75 with a sleek, smooth child bride at your side on the king bed is quite the pleasure, believe me. Were I still with wives No. 1 or No. 2, I’d been waking with crones. Let’s not underestimate the pleasure of this.

Then there is food. Neither of us is a foodie, but that doesn’t mean one doesn’t find pleasure in eating. This morning was special in that we had waffles, which we rarely do because we like to remain svelte and healthy.

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Aunt Jemima mix makes the best waffles.

Atop the waffles we pour real Canadian maple syrup from Costco.

To burn off the waffle calories, we did the usual morning exercise walk around the neighborhood plaza. We normally don’t encounter many people, but during these trying times we find even fewer folks. The plaza is ours, a pleasure.

A hot shower is great too. That happens later so we smell nice, a pleasure to others.

For lunch today, it’s minestrone, which I tossed together from a very simple recipe I’ve used for decades. It’s a healthy, low-cal version, which was the reason we ate syrup-drenched waffles earlier. We deserved it.

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Old Felipe makes the best minestrone.

In the afternoon, I make coffee at home, pour it into a thermos, and off we go to the big plaza downtown where we sit at a sidewalk table. I, of course, read my Kindle, and my child bride gossips with her sister. Bringing our own coffee negates the need to have the coffee house employees involved in the process during this plague year.

The less touchy-touchy you do improves your survival chances, it’s said.

That’s the primary period each day in which we escape the confines of the Hacienda to avoid going stir-crazy. Then it’s home for salads and Netflix before beddy-bye and pleasurably slipping into a world of dreams till it starts over the next day.

Plenty of pleasures available during the Plague Year.

The morning light

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DEPENDING ON the season, sometimes I begin the day in the dark and sometimes not. I prefer starting with light. For instance, this is the scene that faced me this morning as I walked from the bedroom through the living room headed to the kitchen.

The hour will change, alas, next weekend, and I will be plunged back into darkness when I hop from the king bed about 7 or so. This is not good, but there’s nothing to be done about. It is ongoing foolishness that I do not control.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Reinhold Niebuhr

Here at the Hacienda, we’ll be initiating changes for the upcoming month due to the Kung Flu.  We will eat in restaurants less. We will still drive once a week to the nearby state capital but earlier, getting to Costco and Chedraui just after they open.

There will be fewer pesky people.

There is also the matter of my afternoon visits to the big downtown plaza where I sit at a coffee shop table, admiring the passing babes and reading my Kindle. It gets me out of the house. One element of that routine that has bugged me is being served café in questionable ceramic cups by the hodgepodge of employees.

Solution: Take my own coffee in a thermos. And tote my cup from home.

Of course, this would be discouraged in any other coffee shop, but this is a family establishment, so I can implement my plan easily.

Sadly, there are far fewer passing babes now.

Speaking of the Kindle, I’m now reading the second of two books about the White House permanent staff. Few people think about the White House’s employees, many of whom work there for decades, passing through many presidencies. Interesting stuff.

The first was Upstairs at the White House: My Life with the First Ladies by J.B. West, who was a head usher. Don’t be fooled by the movie-theater job title. It’s akin to being a hotel manager. The second, which I’m still reading, is The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House by Kate Brower.

I was surprised to read that it was not Hillary Clinton who was the biggest First Lady harridan in White House memory. It was Nancy Reagan. I wager that Hillary came in a close second.

Jackie Kennedy, Betty Ford and Barbara Bush were good guys, especially Barbara Bush. Did you know Jackie was just 34 when Kennedy was killed?

This afternoon I’ll be at the coffee house. Come join me. I have java to share, but you’ll need your own cup. And sit over there at the next table, please.

Moments in Mexican time

HERE WE SIT, self-quarantining on the mountaintop this morning with time to kill. We’ll be self-quarantining for a couple hours more till we get into the Honda and head to a German-style restaurant that abuts the big lake nearby. With luck, it will be open. If not, we’ll continue down the old, curvy highway till we find an eatery that is open.

You gotta eat.

Meanwhile, for your entertainment because I know you too are self-quarantined, here are a few videos that I’ve taken over the years.

Sometimes we get hot-air balloons high in the sky.

There was also that day when we were driving the twisty two-laner with a great view of the lake near Ucazanastacua. Can you say Ucazanastacua? I know you can say Bob Dylan and Mr. Tambourine Man. There was lots of wind.

Every year during Easter Week, we get these people making tamales on one of the downtown plazas. It gets really smoky, and at night it looks spooky, the fires and all. But it won’t happen this year. It’s been canceled due to the Kung Flu hysteria. Sad.

A train passes just past dawn five years ago near the Hacienda. Trains rumble by six or seven times every 24 hours, day and night. You get used to it. Some are noisier than others. It depends on the engineers and their desire to honk the horn.

If the German restaurant is open, and I’m guessing it will be, I’ll order Bratwurst and sauerkraut. After packing it all in, we’ll return to the Hacienda to start that self-quarantine thing again with Netflix’s help. At least till tomorrow when we’ll likely drive to the nearby state capital to stock up on goods. Get some toilet paper and lettuce.

The sweet thing about self-quarantining is that you can decide when and if to do it. There’s a freedom about it, which I embrace. Stay clean.

Kung Flu vs. Normal flu

AS OF YESTERDAY, the Kung Flu had allegedly* killed 1, 814 people in the United States.

The seasonal flu, on the other hand, has killed over 23,000 this season.

In the United States alone. And it hasn’t ended.

New ImageWhich one is sending us into paroxysms of hysteria? Which one is causing us to hunker down at home behind barred doors, close businesses, lay off employees and inflict serious damage on the economy? Yes, the teeny-tiny flu.

This is nuts.

But I have good news from China. Starbucks is reopening 95 percent of its shops in the communist country. While honest information about the Kung Flu is questionable from the Chinese government, the Starbucks reopenings are important.

Starbucks is not a government propaganda outlet. Their reopenings indicate the Kung Flu is winding down in China after a three-month surge.

As of two days ago, if one is to believe China, 3,292 people had died there from the Kung Flu, which is still far less than the seasonal flu in the United States alone.

Yes, the commies will soon be able to order a smoked butterscotch frappuccino with a sprouted grain vegan bagel and avocado spread. Or most any of the trendily named offerings from the Seattle corporate behemoth. Cause for joy.

Now let’s all head outside. Hold hands, kiss and hug.

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* Read this. Interesting take on things.