Curse of bougainvillea

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THE ABOVE SHOWS just a small portion of the fallen bougainvillea leaves I must remove on a regular basis. My patience is running short.

More than 15 years back I planted many things in our yard that I have grown mightily to regret. The nopal tree, now gone. Two pear trees, gone. Peach tree, gone. There are only two major nuisances left, the bougainvillea and a very large loquat.

Just this week, I noticed that a freaking, nasty pigeon is nesting deep in the bougainvillea, no doubt producing more of those large pests. I would remove the nest if I could see it or reach it, but the plant is so thick, that’s next to impossible.

I see her dive in there and disappear. Then there are maternal clucking sounds! If  I’m walking along our sidewalk, and she’s gliding toward the hidden nest, she abruptly detours on spotting me. She thinks I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m sharper than a pigeon.

The damnable pigeon occasionally sits and craps atop the steel superstructure where our upstairs terraza dome will be installed. (Glass is en route, by the way.) Pigeons are a relatively new element in my hardscrabble barrio. I only noticed the first one about a year ago, and now they’re making themselves at home.

If I only possessed a shotgun!

The large plaza downtown is overrun with pigeons now, and people feed them! Welcome! They roost in the attics of the old Colonial buildings surrounding the plaza, making a horrible mess. We wrote a letter to the mayor a few years back, suggesting he put signs on the plaza forbidding the feeding of pigeons.

He ignored us, and the pigeon population continues to swell.

On a positive note, the days now consist of blue skies and cool-enough temperatures. Not only are bougainvillea blooming all over town, but spectacular jacaranda trees too.

And the first flower of our golden datura appeared by the Alamo Wall this week.

Other current events: At this moment, just after High Noon, the folks who live in the hovel out back are blaring music to one and all. Luckily, that side of the Hacienda has no windows save a small one in the upstairs bathroom, so the noise is not a problem.

This afternoon we’ll be lunching at a health-food joint by the docks. Haven’t been there in many a month. Should arrive about 2 p.m. Come join us if you like. Dutch Treat, of course. We’re fixed-income pensioners.

Then later we’ll drive downtown for a stroll around the Semana Santa market that covers the plaza. Some interesting things on sale, but the Day of the Dead market is superior.

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Note: The horror story I mentioned about a week ago likely will appear here on Saturday. I’ve emerged from the grim tale intact. Stay tuned, as they say.

Barrio going gentry

casa 1
Before.
casa2
After.

WHEN WE moved here 15+ years ago, this house was not there, and neither was the one to the left that you can barely see. Neither was the sex motel next door.

About a decade back the one peeking from the left was built, and a man about my age and his wife moved in. The fellow owns a small clothing store downtown. He is really nice guy, and his wife is a sourpuss.

About the same time, construction began on the pale yellow house, and then it stopped and sat for years looking like it looks in the top photo, gray. I’m thinking it’s a retirement residence for the owners. Maybe they live in the United States and are returning to their Mexican roots.

That is quite common.

About two weeks ago, workmen appeared on a daily basis to finish the place and gussy it up, so now we have this view. I like it.

The house is still unoccupied.

A sharp eye will notice something in the top photo that is missing in the second photo. That’s right. The monster nopal, which I had removed recently.

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Día de la Raza

Yesterday we celebrated Día de la Raza, Race Day, which is when Mexicans celebrate their race. There was a long parade of mini-buses downtown, men on horseback, and the obligatory racket.

There is one problem with this scenario, however. Mexican is not a race. Neither is Latino.* No matter. Race is celebrated even when it makes no sense at all.

Any excuse for a party. ¡Viva la raza imaginaria!

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* Mexican is a nationality. Latino is an ethnicity based on commonalities like religion, language, culture, etc. Latinos come in all colors.

Watch out below!

nopal

OUR TOWERING nopal tree is no more.

A crew came this morning, chopped it down and hauled it away.

What’s next? The prolific pear? The dreadful peach? The horrendous bougainvillea? I want them all gone. I prefer a nice rock-and-concrete yard with ceramic decorations, nothing that grows to give me headaches.

tree1
Going …
tree2
Going …
3
Gone!

Early retirement is fun

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We bought that red, ceramic globe recently near Dolores Hidalgo.

I RETIRED QUITE early, age 55, and that means you potentially have lots of years ahead of you, years in which you must do something or other.

My plans were few. I knew I’d use the time to read books. I like to read books because it’s an interesting thing to do, plus it makes me even smarter than I already am.

Not on the plan was yard work, which I dislike. My distaste for yard work was one of the reasons I recently had part of the Hacienda lawn filled in with stone and cement. That’s the lighter part in the photo above. The darker is the sidewalk, which is 15 years old.

But I’ve discovered that I’ve simply substituted one form of yard work with another. The stone and concrete require sweeping. The primary reason is that there are plants, big ones. One is the towering nopal, and the other is the monster bougainvillea.

The nopal drops big, dead, prickly “paddles.” Ker-splat! The bougainvillea snows dead leaves and other miscellaneous crap.

I was out sweeping this morning when this realization came to me. It’s still yard work. However, sweeping stone and concrete is far more fun than fussing with grass.

I don’t regret the stonework. We intend to do more next year.

Back to the theme of retirement. Lots of folks dream of retiring early, which is a phrase open to interpretation. The standard “early retirement” is 55, and that’s what I did. Other people, mostly young ones, dream of leaving the work world even earlier. At 40, for example. Good luck with that, amigos.

Here’s what you usually have to do to retire early, say, at 55. Don’t go into debt. Save, save, save … and invest wisely. Being single can help. These are not difficult things to do, but few folks do them. It’s equally simple to lose weight. Eat less crap, and do regular moderate exercise. Again, easy, but few people can do it.

I’m having a fun time, and I’ve been having fun since 2000. Before that, not so much. One late afternoon recently, I was sitting here before the Hewlett Packard screen, and I looked out yon window. Below is what I saw.

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