A day in the life, etc.

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The only rose here that does anything interesting.

IT’S FUN TO WATCH the plants in our yard. It’s even more fun now that I have eliminated the beasts that tossed trash everywhere, primarily fruit trees.

We still have no gardener — no maid either — if you don’t count Abel the Deadpan Yardman who cuts the lawn every summer and autumn. I get him to do other chores on occasion, but once the monsoon stops, I’m mostly on my own.

We’ll likely get a maid before we get a gardener. It’s a question of how much longer it will be before my child bride runs out of steam. One reason she has not run out of steam so far is that she has ants in her pants. Relax is not a word she’s familiar with.

I, on the other hand, am very familiar with it.

But, like me, she’s not getting any younger. And the house is very large. She does most of the housework, and I do all of the yard when Abel’s not around.

I had an encounter with what seemed a good maid option about a week ago. I was out on the street sidewalk one morning, picking up trash that had been dumped by ill-bred locals when a woman approached and asked if we needed a maid.

I told her no, but I was taken by how exceptionally nice she seemed. Good vibes. She then crossed the street, walked one house down and knocked on that door. I figured she was going to ask them the same thing, but no. The door opened, and in she went. So she works there. It’s likely a part-time gig, and she’s looking to fill out her schedule.

I should have requested her phone number. But it was 10 a.m., and perhaps I can see her again if I go out there and wait at 10 a.m. some other day as she arrives for work with the neighbors. The housewife there is something of a grump, so perhaps that’s the problem, the reason she’s looking to make a change.

This plant is huge, far bigger than the photo indicates.

Returning to the gardening theme, the plant just above is a philodendron that lives in a corner of the yard. Like most all overgrown things here, I planted it when it was an itty-bitty baby. One day, perhaps I will learn. Quit planting stuff.

I had to shove aside its monster leaves to poke the camera closer to the meat of the matter. I also planted the same thing in the small carport green space of our downtown casita years ago. That too has attained Godzilla proportions.

I always thought philodendrons were smallish, potted plants. Maybe at times they are. We also have rose bushes. Years ago, I planted four. With one exception, they’ve done squat, and I’ve dug up two. Of the remaining, only that top one shows pride in itself. I’ll soon dig up the other, I imagine. It looks so lame it should be embarrassed.

Tomorrow will be a busy Monday. We’ll head out early to drop off the Nissan March at a tire place for a new set of Uniroyal Tiger Paws. That’s on the ring road. Then we go downtown in the Honda to pay and leave paperwork for another year of the P.O. Box. Then to the bank to add my wife’s name to a new account and ask about credit cards.

If the line’s not too long at City Hall, we might pay property taxes too.

Somewhere in there, we’ll walk laps around the big plaza to maintain our physiques, and then we’ll visit a restaurant facing the plaza for a yummy dish called Huevos Tarasca.

We’ll be home shortly after noon. Normally, we never leave home before noon, so this switch will rock our world. We’ll return to normal on Tuesday.

Let’s have a chat!

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Motion-sensor light that was poorly aimed.

A CANADIAN who goes by Kris because that’s his name mentioned on another blog today that he does not have a blog because his life lacks events that are sufficiently interesting to merit a write-up. Truth is, you can write about anything.

It’s often not so much the topic but how you present it.

Steve Cotton who lives inexplicably in Casa Cotton in the sweltering, insect-infested, Mexican beach town of Melaque often writes on potentially boring subjects, but his manner of writing makes it interesting. I’ll return to this theme down the way.

* * * *

Steve’s latest post was not on a boring topic. It was a death.

Yesterday, Steve wrote about Ken Kushnir, a first-generation American whose family hailed from Russia and who retired to Mexico many years ago from California with his Honduran wife. Ken died a few weeks ago.

I knew Ken, and I liked him. He was always smiling.

Ken, like Steve, like me, wrote a blog. His nom de internet was Tancho. His is the latest death among a group of Gringo bloggers who moved to Mexico in the last 20 or so years.

Another went by Sparks, but his real last name was Parks. And there was John Calypso who wrote an interesting blog dubbed Viva Veracruz which has been taken offline. Also, not long ago, Michael Warshauer died of cancer. The focus of his blog, My Mexican Kitchen, was, not surprisingly, on cooking and eating. He was a retired baker.

It seems we’re dropping like those proverbial flies.

Ken Kushnir, R.I.P. And, a tad tardy, Michael Warshauer too. Another good guy gone.

* * * *

But back to the topic of blog-writing and how having an interesting life is not required, though it surely helps. A bit of imagination can put, with luck, a fairly engaging spin on most dreary doings. Let’s look briefly at my fascinating day so far.

A neatly trimmed bougainvillea!

I noticed recently that the motion-sensor light attached to the outside of our bedroom was not coming on when I walked up the Romance Sidewalk from the most critical direction at night. I climbed a ladder to adjust it this morning. Can’t test it till tonight.

I do incredible things.

(Update: The adjustment worked! Just so you know.)

Also today, I stopped procrastinating about trimming the bougainvillea you see in the photo. It’s one of four bougainvilleas in the Hacienda yard, plants I wish I’d never installed here way back when, about 16 years ago.

I went so far as to skip my customary exercise walk around the plaza this morning in order to adjust the light, trim the bougainvillea and write this blather for you. I did complete my gym routine at 7:30, however. I have a gym set here upstairs, and I use it.

The Canadian Kris (see first paragraph) used to leave good comments fairly frequently here, but he decided to stop when I took issue with a positive comment he made about the communist dictatorship of Cuba. Quite a few Canadians seem to have a positive view of Cuba, incredibly. Commenters come and go. It’s an interesting phenomenon.

Kris is welcome to come back. But Canadians are oddballs.

You never know who is reading your stuff. I recently heard from my daughter after a very long absence. She used to read my website years ago, and maybe still does. And she’d leave comments on rare occasion, sometimes to cuss me out.

Yes, I am a defective dad. As was my father before me.

She said that she’d uncovered some of her paternal grandfather’s artwork tucked away in her home. My father liked to paint. And she noticed for the first time some were reproductions of famous artists. Like my father, I also was an artist of sorts.

My father’s copy of a Winslow Homer piece from 1899.
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Here is how Homer did it.

About the same time, I received an unexpected email from my last ex-wife. Aside from the occasional birthday greeting, I never hear anything from her, so this was a surprise. She wanted to know why I am a Trump fan. She seemed genuinely mystified, and she asked politely, as most Trump foes do not, so I sent her a reply that went something like this:

  1. Trump thumbs his nose daily at Political Correctness, a movement that is quite literally destroying Western Civilization.
  2. He knows the need for borders, and is doing what he can about it.
  3. He’s fighting the Regulatory State and making headway. I don’t recall any other president even mentioning the growing threat of the Regulatory State. Do you?

My response to her was a bit more detailed on those three points. Of course, there are numerous excellent reasons to be a Trump fan, but those are the three I mentioned.

I also mentioned to her the #WalkAway campaign, a movement of former Democrats like me who have abandoned that nefarious party. It’s most visible on YouTube.

Here’s a thoughtful video by a woman who worked in the Clinton Administration. She states why she’s abandoned the Democrat Party and is now a Trump supporter.

I’ve long wondered if my ex-wife reads my website, so she does. I’ve never mentioned my Trump love directly to her. I invited her to join me on the Trump Train because there is room for her. We do not discriminate. We’re a diverse bunch of cheerful folks.

Some of us make moonshine and marry our cousins, but most do not.

It was strange that I received communication from both my daughter and my last ex-wife in the same week. It’s always nice to hear from them, rare as it is.

I think our chat has come to an end. I probably should pack my bag for Guadalajara.

The last man standing

Before: The loquat sagging with its little fruities.

FREQUENT VISITORS here will know of my campaign to eliminate plants in the Hacienda yard, those that toss trash, causing me effort and headache.

There was the giant nopal, the towering pear and, of course, the monster bougainvillea. All gone now, thank the Goddess, and my life is better for it.

During: The guys butcher the bush with chainsaw and machetes.

There was just one more major trash-tosser, the loquat which was here before we built the hacienda 16 years ago. It was one of a few fruiting nuisances on the property when we took possession. Another was a big fig, but that was removed to build the second carport.

The towering pear was here too. Before I learned my lesson I also planted an orange, but it’s still fairly small. I planted another pear, which was removed before the older, towering one was eliminated. I stupidly planted the nopal, letting it grow into a giant hell-raiser.

I also planted magueys that grew like mad. They’ve all been removed except a couple in planters. You can control greenery in planters. My two aloe veras have also reached massive proportions, but they throw little trash, which is sweet of them, and they’re good for burns, of course. But my child bride wants one of them gone. We’ll see.

After: Not much left, but it will revive.

I’m leaving the base of the loquat, mostly to appease my child bride who did not know of my hiring the guys who came today and wreaked havoc. I caught her by surprise.

She is not happy.

I leave you with this last photo, which is the sort of plant I prefer around here. The rainy season will be ending soon, two weeks or less, with luck. November is the nicest month in these parts, neither wet nor dusty, just sunny and mild and beautiful.

Birds of paradise. Photo shot before the gutting of the loquat back there.

Passing the torch

The final red-hot of this year … I suspect.

EVERY SUMMERTIME, our cigarro plants erupt with flowers. In Mexico it’s called the cigarro, but above the border it’s called the red-hot poker, which is more fun, I think.

By the way, cigarro does not mean cigar. It means cigarette. Puro means cigar. I used to smoke both and pipes too. Now I smoke nothing.

Starting in September or late August, the aloe vera monstrosities begin to bloom, so the two overlap a bit. Then the pokers quiet down, and toss the torch to the aloe veras.

Oddly, the aloe vera blooms are almost identical to the pokers.

All of these things keep it quite colorful here at the Hacienda, which is always a hoot.