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.

Quiet on the mountaintop

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Looking up thataway.
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Looking down thataway too. Very few folks.
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Cops keeping the peace, but it’s very peaceful already.
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Kid I know, 17 years old, who’s a high school dropout. Sad.

WENT DOWNTOWN yesterday afternoon to sit a spell with my Kindle and a hot café Americano negro. There were parking spots all over the place, which is not common, but it’s becoming more common now in the Plague Year.

Usually, I sit alone and read, but yesterday I shared a table with my child bride and her sister who were talking nonstop because that’s what they do. It’s a marvel. Hours can pass, and they never fall silent. It’s a woman thing. Talk or die.

The streets were far less congested than usual due to folks staying home. I do enjoy easy access to parking places. All clouds have silver linings.

Our mountaintop town has officially canceled Easter Week, known hereabouts as Semana Santa, and it’s a huge input of tourist cash.


Let’s move on now to bashing the Democrat Party. As you may know, Democrats blocked financial relief legislation from the White House because it came from Trump. Pelosi has a “better” solution, which is stuffed with unrelated pork.

Below is an interesting video from the ever-sharp libertarian John Stossel. It shows why there is a shortage of coronavirus tests in the United States.

Rules and regulations! President Trump promised to reduce rules and regulations, and he’s delivered in that department. But there is much more to be done, if something can be done, which I doubt. This is the problem with Big Government. The Democrat Party is the party of Big Government, of course. And “democratic” socialism!

Why anyone continues to support the Democrat Party, my former party, is beyond me. Their goofy, handsy, sniffy presidential candidate, for example, likely will not remember what position he’s running for when November rolls around. Sad.

Now roll it, Stossel!

UPDATE: China says it’s going to lift its quarantine on April 8 due to the situation stabilizing there. While I am skeptical of anything the Chinese government says, I would like to think this is the beginning of the end of the global scare. Let us pray so.

Events of the day

MONDAY DAWNED chill, gray and ugly. And in the afternoon, it started to rain, which is blasphemy here in February. Climate change. We should do something!

People wonder about folks who retire to Mexico. They ask, “What do you do all day?” The first thing to remember is that chores take longer here than they do above the border. This was very true years ago, but it’s becoming less so now, due to the internet.

After whole-wheat biscuits covered with honey at 8 a.m., I sat before the H-P All-in-One and loaded the website for the state government, specifically the page dealing with car taxes. Dial in the serial numbers and print out the page you take to the bank to pay.

The fee for each of the cars, 926 pesos or about $50 U.S., was the same even though one is a 2009 model and the other is 2014. Twenty years ago, it was necessary to stand in a long line to pay at a government office. Now you take the printed form and go to the bank. Much easier. The bank also has the sticker for the car window.

But the bank visit was for the afternoon. The morning still required other activities like the exercise walk around the neighborhood plaza. Just as we were heading out afoot at 10, José Sosa drove up. He’s the guy who did lots of painting here a few weeks ago.

Now he’s painting my sister-in-law’s coffee shop downtown, and he wanted to borrow one of my ladders. You’d think a painter would have ladders. He has plenty of other gear, but not the ladder he needed, so off he went with my ladder.

I have lots of ladders.

After the second breakfast at 11 a.m., I entertained myself with YouTube videos, and my child bride knitted. Lunch happened at 2 p.m., as always. We had meat pies she made on Saturday plus minestrone I made last week. Mexico life is thrilling.

Then we killed 90 minutes watching a show on Netflix. At 4 we headed downtown in the two cars. She had to pass by a cousin’s house to pick up rent for our Mexico City condo. The cousin is footing that bill for a nephew attending a university in the capital.

I parked on the plaza and walked to the bank to pay the car taxes only to find the bank closed due to a national holiday I had neglected to notice. We have so many holidays, it’s tough to keep up. They usually entail a long weekend no matter the day on which the holiday falls. The holiday weekend is called a puente, a bridge.

It bridges from the weekend to the holiday, and you get more days off. We embrace reasons not to work.

The puente also caused my Social Security payment not to arrive at the bank. It’ll arrive mañana, I suppose. My car tax errand stymied, I headed to the coffee shop, sat at a sidewalk table, ordered a café Americano negro, pulled my Kindle from my man bag, and tugged a scarf tight around my neck. It was raining, cold and nasty.

There were wool gloves on my hands with the fingertips missing. My child bride knitted the gloves. You must have skin showing to flip pages on the Kindle.

crawdadI’m reading a book titled Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, her first novel. It’s very good and, at one point, gave me a chuckle. I knew something Delia did not because I am old, and she is younger. In referring to a school lunch served to one of the characters, she mentioned a “carton of milk.” This was 1952.

There were no cartons of milk in 1952, neither in schools nor delivered at dawn to your front door. Just bottles. Cartons came years later. I miss the bottles.

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Tomorrow we’re off to the nearby state capital for our weekly shopping trip, but we’ll have a passenger, our nephew, the kid once known as the Little Vaquero, whom we are taking to an ophthalmologist. He’s not a Little Vaquero anymore. He’ll be 17 next month.

His eyesight is extremely bad and has been for years. His glasses are old, and so are his contacts, which he prefers because he thinks he looks dorky in glasses. His mother’s approach to this situation is: mañana. She does nada. So we’re stepping in.

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As I left the coffee shop this afternoon and walked through a light rain to the Honda, I stopped at pastry shop to buy a brownie. It was not as good as my child bride makes — few things are — but it was darn tasty. These were the events of the day.

Now, at almost 7 p.m., it’s still raining and ugly. I blame Greta.