House of horrors

phil
Seven feet high! Doesn’t look it. I just finished whacking it back.

I DON’T WANT this to become a gardening website, but awful things merit mention.

The plant in the photo, a philodendron, is about seven feet tall.  Before moving to Mexico, I thought philodendrons were little, potted plants for the home. Only sometimes.

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Better Homes & Gardens says this about philodendrons:

(It’s) one of the toughest houseplants you can possibly grow. Whether you choose upright or trailing/climbing types, they are perfectly happy in a home setting. Even people with so-called “black thumbs” are usually successful at growing these plants. Philodendrons are very low maintenance and can sit idle for long periods. You can train them up a trellis or simply leave them to their own devices — philodendrons will survive no matter what.

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By toughest houseplants, they don’t mean tough to grow. Quite the contrary. It’s a tough customer. Very low maintenance? Will survive no matter what? No joke!

Not only does this grow easily. It multiplies. It started with one little stalk about a decade ago. Now it has many and continues to add more. And the plant is creepy. As it grows, it tosses “stuff” below. It’s the sort of stuff you’d expect to see in a werewolf movie, the scene in which the villagers discover what happened in the forest overnight. Oh, gross!

But this is one plant I do not plan to remove because it doesn’t toss trash over a wide area, just at its base. I do wish it would stop the proliferation of stalks, however.

I foolishly planted another in the small, carport, garden area of the Downtown Casita. It too is beefing up at a remarkable pace. I never seem to learn.

trash
The wheelbarrow contains just a bit of the gooey, grim material found at the plant’s base. The photo does not do justice to the miserable stuff.

Bull dick taco

IMAGINE MY horror.

But first, let’s back up a bit.

It was just two weeks ago roundabouts that I was standing beside my favorite fast-food stand on our small plaza downtown, eating a shrimp cocktail.

The proprietress with the bleach-blonde tresses tossed a meat cylinder of some questionable appearance on the chopping block and proceeded to dice it with a cleaver.

What is that? I inquired, foolishly. She was chopping a cooked bull penis. Again, imagine my horror.

Part of said material landed atop a tostada with all the trimmings and served to a customer. My mind reeled.

You run into some pretty weird stuff living down here, but this one had passed me by. In the 17 years since I crossed the Rio Bravo, that was the first I’d heard of this, uh, delicacy.

I finished my shrimp cocktail and walked away.

Then yesterday I was on the big plaza. There’s a new taco restaurant near my sister-in-law’s coffee shop. I was hungry, so I stepped in and stood by the stove.

While waiting to order, there it was, a familiar sight. The cook dropped a bull penis on the grill. I knew it by sight because it’s not something you easily forget. He diced it and served it on tacos to the customers ahead of me.

Returning to the coffee shop with a couple of normal tacos — they weren’t very good, by the way — I asked my child bride and her sister if they had eaten bull dick tacos. My sister-in-law said yes and that they were quite tasty.

My wife said no, thank God. I can still kiss her.

Embrace the misery

porch
Sitting still.

BEEN A LOUSY week because I’ve had a cold. I loathe colds. When my child bride gets one, which she rarely does, she pretends it’s not there, ignoring it.

She even works out at the gym, which is nuts.

I don’t ignore it. I embrace the misery, and misery there is in spades. I sit still until the cold goes away.

It’s been a full week so far.

Mexicans, at least the ones I know — mostly relatives — ignore contagion. Not even the most horrific affliction — leprosy, you name it — will prevent the social smootching.

It’s appalling.

But they’ve learned not to come my way with their hugging and kissing if they’ve got a cold. I bolt like lightning.

The photo is not recent. Actually, it’s seven or eight years old, but it captures my mood this lamentable week.

If the Goddess smiles upon me, perhaps I’ll be back to normal mañana. Jeez, I sure do hope so.

Christmas horror

THIS TALE OF terror is true. It was posted by me almost a decade ago on another edge of Mexican cyberspace.

But due to the passage of time, plus the fact that the audience has changed — new people have come in, and others have stormed out — I feel justified in repeating this Christmas grotesquerie.

We were newly arrived here at the Hacienda. If memory serves, it was our first holiday in the new home. We put up a huge Yuletide tree and invited a horde of Mexican relatives, which is the only kind of relative I have now, which saddens me deeply, but that’s another story.

A brother-in-law whom I dubbed the Eggman in those distant days (yet another unrelated yarn) was in charge of the festive meal. Mexicans do their Yuletide dining late on Christmas Eve, not on Christmas Day.

Due to the many people on the guest list, the Eggman purchased an entire sheep and ordered it catered and cooked.

headThis main dish arrived on the afternoon of the 24th. It looked like a brown meaty stew in a massive tub, and it required two people to tote it into the kitchen, placing it on the floor.

Flash forward a few hours, to 10 p.m. or so, music was playing, people were eating here, there, everywhere, because there were more folks than suitable seating.

I had ladled one serving of the stew into a bowl, and found it tasty. It went down nicely with Coca-Cola.

Returning to the  kitchen, bowl in hand, I bent down to the tub and submerged the ladle. At that moment, he rose to the surface from the murky depths. The sheep’s entire head, its dead eyes staring me squarely in the face.

I froze in place, dropped the ladle, turned quickly and decided I had eaten enough for one Holy Night.