Monday, February 28, 2011

Wearing Crochet Sells Itself!

Monday February 28, 2011
Tomorrow is March 1 and it doesn't seem possible that we've been in our little Mexican abode for two months!

This past Saturday seemed to be the day for art shows; we took in three! The first one featured a new friend who was in my bead crochet class this week. She happens also to be from Chicago but lives here full time. She said she learned to drive and to paint since she came here. I was very impressed by her paintings.

I always try to put on some crochet or some interesting jewelry when I am among an artsy crowd. My choice this time proved to be potentially fruitful. I wore an incredible necklace of unusual beads made in Taxco that I have had since we lived in Mexico City in the early nineties.

I know the artist who created my necklace is dead now, but lo and behold, an artist, Andrea, at the second show we went to had a necklace for sale with the same unique beads. She hails from Augusta, GA, but spent a little time in Cuernavaca where I bought my necklaces!

Copyright laws are not really respected here. It is highly possible that the Taxco artisans who executed the silver beads for the artist who I bought my necklace from have continued making what he taught them, even after his death. It would make sense!

Anyway, since I've been here, I've sold two of the same necklaces that I invested in over 20 years ago and I have just one ring made with the same type of bead left. Andrea said she would be very interested in seeing it and maybe doing a trade.

That would be fun; she had lovely silver rings and said she used to own a "very exclusive" gallery in Augusta. She dropped the name, "Bill Gates." :)

My necklaces brought me into discussions with some other crafters and one in particular is very interested in private crochet lessons. I started talking to her because she was wearing earrings just like I have. Turns out I bought those earrings from HER in the weekly market several years ago!

The 3rd art exhibit we went to was in a very lovely setting

and I was really taken by the orchids that were growing so profusely!

My bead crochet last Wed. was a success, I would say. I had eight students who left happy with their newly acquired skills. For the majority, it was a bit of a struggle to get the hang of it. Here, apparently, not too many crochet with fine threads and steel hooks. That in itself, is an adjustment. Add the beads to the mix and as one put it, "you start seeing double."

They all had good attitudes which is always a relief-no whining which I really appreciate!
One of the women was very inspired by my Frida cabochon brooch which was in the display I showed all this students. She talked me into selling her my precious Frida pin from the Famous Faces Series!
I can and I will make another one!

A woman from my hometown, Ft. Wayne, IN, lives here full time now. She was an aquaintance of my brother and small world as it is, we met up here this week and had lunch to catch up on her learning curve since moving here lock, stock and barrel back in October. She has educated herself well and is rolling with the punches. It's Mexico; not everything goes as planned.

Some views from our walk on Saturday-we trekked up about 500-600 feet above our house:
View of the lake from above.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Monday, February 21, 2011
The other day we were walking the long way back from a moving sale (more on that below) and passing through an area we usually don't trek to. We stopped at a little store called something like Fred's Deli, obviously designed for the Gringos, just to see what it might offer. Well,a pickle pimento loaf jumped out and grabbed me! Now, normally at home I avoid such things as that; you know non-nutritious stuff. Don't get me wrong, I love a good baloney sandwich once in a while, but you won't find a loaf of white bread or lunch meat in my frig as a rule!

Anyhow, I indulged in a quarter kilo of pickle pimento loaf and we made sandwiches out of some nice whole wheat bread we had. Yum, yum, that was good! Alan said we needed potato chips to go along with the sandwich! So, next trip to the grocery, that's what we got. Chips is another thing I don't keep on hand. If you have 'em ya eat 'em! But boy, they tasted good. It must be that we've been here for seven weeks now and are starting to miss things that remind us of home.

A lady who is moving out of country and has lived in many countries including Thailand and China had the garage sale we went to. I was not really in buying mode, but was interested in seeing the Catrinas that were advertised as signed by the artist.

Jose Guadalupe Posada was the first to depict Catrina as a "dapper skeleton" in his 1910 engraving.
Artists have been inspired since by this mix of typical Mexican sources: Indian Heritage (skulls, death goddesses) and Spanish Heritage (death orientation of manastic orders and dances of death)blended with the Mexicans' far from humorless view of death. They can be anything from brides to musicians to a group playing cards!

I did come away with a little treasure, however, a bag of "milagros" (tiny charms that are used in the Catholic Church with prayers). A special little silver Virgin charm was a surprised tucked in the bag that I didn't know about. It still had the price tag on which was more than I had paid for the lot. Yay, sweet success!

The 37th Annual Chill Cook-off happened this past weekend. Proceeds benefit Ninos Incapacitados (handicapped children) and other charities. Beginning with a parade starting from Six Corners,

it is a very festive event held at the water park on the edge of time and boy, it brings out the people. Kind of like a county fair or tiny Taste of Chicago, many of the local organizations promote themeselves and there is an art show along with food from many restaurants and tasting-to-vote for the chilli winners.
The best part for me was seeing a silver jeweler from Argentina who did exquisite and artistic work, for a price! Having lived in Mexico for two years in the late 80s and basically having spent my time on a shopping spree, I am pretty much done with buying small souveniers.

The Huichol Indians still hold a fascination with me,though, partly due to their shyness and reticence to be photographed. These pics cost me a dollar!
The man in teal color appears to have a better haircut than my husband! Go figure!

Oh, and the fact that our precious granddaughter, Chloe, began to walk over the weekend could be the absence that promted the theme this week! Thank goodness for our hi-tech daughter and the adorable video she sent us of the moment!

Each seed bead is painstakingly placed with tweezers onto wax to hold it.
I love their unique attire and they do incredible art. Their traders are known for their colorful yarn paintings and beadwork. You know how I like beads!

There are still some 50,000 Huichol Indians living in small villages in the Sierra Madre Occidental. They are known also for their secret religious rites which involves the hallucinogenic peyote cactus!

Monday, February 14, 2011

In Search of Virgins

Monday, February 14 HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!!

How ironic that I'm writing about Virgins on Valentine's day!

For a few years I have made a photo book commenorating
our visit to Ajijic. One year it was "The Doors of Ajijic" and this year it is "The Virgins of Ajijic." One day last week, we had some free time and it was another beautiful day so we went out on a walk in search of them. They are common decorations on homes, over doors, or on the walls. Here are a few that we found.
A gaggle of virgins we saw in a store!

Some other interesting sights we saw on our walk.
Color, color everywhere!

We celebrated Valentine's Day on the weekend. Sat. night we went to Manix, a popular restaurant with the Gringos. They had a special typical Mexican meal for less that $10.00 each including dessert: chile relleno, beans,tacos, ribs, guacamole, and flan. A fun duo was playing very dancable gringo music too. It was a festive and fun group and I felt a little out of place because we didn't know anyone, but we did dance one slow dance!

Yesterday we went to the Lake Chapala Society (the local gathering place for Gringos and Canadians) for Souper Sunday sponsored by the Rotary. Yes, there's Rotary here and just about every other organization you can think of: Democrats, republican, Animal Shelter, etc.etc. A long time resident (and I will have to research her name) left the lovely hacienda to the Society. It has a video library, book library and it is where the many, many groups have their meetings.

There were supposed to be 17 soups provided by local restaurants for the $10.00 ticket, along with a cash bar for drinks and dessert between 12 and 3. We normally eat lunch around 2 PM so we planned to get there at 1:30. By that time they had run out of soup because they had over-sold tickets! We had the choice of just one, cream of poblano chile, but it was delicious! A little later another soup was delivered, vegetable pasta, so we did get enough to eat with the dessert we bought.

It was the first time for this event and I am sure they will do some tweaking for next year. There was an arts and craft show and music that added to the ambience of the festivity. All and all, I would say it was a big success because over 300 people attended. A nice couple from California sat at our table and they had been Rotarians there for thirty years and continue their volunteerism here.

The weekly open-air market. I am buying fresh coconut. I crave coconut!!
This one's for Doris Chan!

Today I had my first massage of the season and it was sensational. The nice part about it also was that I just had to walk a block to my neighbor's house where she has the whole set-up and supports a Mexican woman who comes there to do the massages. I described this house and its lovely garden in my post on 1/17/11. Surrounded by the incredible garden in full bloom is the small massage room which is right off the porch so it feels like it is open air. Rather than soothing music, I let my mind wander and was soothed by sounds of birds outside. The masseuse was very good. In fact, it might have been my best massage ever, especially since it only cost $24.00!!!! (including tip) I'll be going back in a month or so to fit one more in before we have to think about getting ready to leave here.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Caught in the Holiday Fray!!!

December 4, 2010
Caught in the Holiday Fray!!!
Where did last Monday go? Can anyone tell me? Not only am I trying to keep up with the ideas for designs that keep popping in my head, but I am also trying to get some handmade gifts done for the holidays. Then there is the matter of preparing for Thanksgiving, but that's not so bad as dear daughter, Nicole is hosting. Throw in a pre-Thanksgiving visit to dear Dad and a surprise birthday party for cousin Alan while we were there. Good news is that we were already there so didn't have to make a special visit for the birthday party.

Throw in another week in MI to babysit sweet baby Chloe while her parents fly off to Miami for a well-deserved get-away to somewhere warm. I am thrilled to have the opportunity and maybe I will get some crocheting done while she naps if I am not too exhausted from chasing a one-year old around the house! Getting a Chloe-fix will be good since we will be away from her for three months this winter while in Mexico.

I was reminded this past weekend that two of my niece's daughters LOVE rocks. I decided I must cover a couple of rocks for them for a present and got started on one today. What fun! I think they will be thrilled and it will be a special rock in each of their collections.

"Never too old to earn a buck," I say, and last week that proved true for me. As with most things in my life, there is a connection to yarn. A while ago one of my crochet students and I had a conversation about speaking Spanish and she works for a lawyer. Her office was in need of an interpreter and I told her I could do it. Miraculously, when the person was served her summons, she began to speak English! Anyway, Rosemary remembered me when another lawyer in her building needed an interpreter last week. This one worked out and I went to Court and interpreted for a divorce case. I'm more experienced in medical interpreting and this was my first time with legal interpreting. I was a bit nervous. It wasn't 100% perfect, but we got through it just fine. Hopefully, this lawyer will call me next time she needs help.

I also went to a craft fair over the weekend with my sister-in-law and same niece and that gave me dozens of more ideas!!! My fingers just can't craft fast enough. Isn't crafting supposed to be enjoyable and relaxing?? I always seems to be behind the eight ball and rushing to get a project done so I can start another and I always have at least four started and laying in wait. I am not complaining, I am having a blast and will enjoy sending off each and every gift.

The festivities start tonight when I join Las Chicas (my Spanish coversation group) for dinner at Tacos Al Norte, a new palce for us. Sadly, Barbarita will be missing as she had to fly out to CO. Her son was hurt in a skiing accident and was to have surgery on his back. Our thoughts will be with her tonight.

What We Like and Dislike!

Monday, February 7, 2011
We've kept busy since I last reported in. Friday evening we walked to the home of artist, Javier Zaragoza, to see an exhibit of his works. The notice in the paper promoted his garden as an attraction and that drew my interest. It was well worth the walk to the far west end of town to see his lovely garden setting.
Snuck a picture of Alan (wink, wink)

Zaragoza himself dancing!

Things are beginning to come together for us after being here for 5 weeks. We are beginning to see familiar faces now. Javier was one of the judges in the walking cane decorating contest last weekend. He is reknown for his mural painting in Chapala. The band we enjoyed at the Tarahumara fundraising event was at Javier's providing lovely music and even got some to jump in and dance. We ran into Donna bead-crochet student)and her husband at the exhibit also. After enjoying the pleasant evening and atmosphere and some simple appetizers, we headed home.

Saturday found us doing some transplanting in the yard. Things grow so profusely here that sometimes different plants get all entangled! I hate that! I have been watching gorgeous lily flowers peeking out from under the geraniums for long enough! I dug up the bulbs and moved them forward in front of the geraniums so they can breathe and flourish! Same thing happened with the star jasmine. It was being smothered by the honeysuckle. So, I cut out all the honeysuckle and moved the roots. Now the star jasmine is flourishing and new blooms are appearing daily.

Its heavenly scent blows onto the patio and that's just what I had in mind!
A vibrant lily.
I've been neglectful of the lowly geraniums. They are really quite nice and bloom profusely.

We walked down to the pier and had It was really tasty and I had chilaquiles which is grilled chicken on top of crispy tortillas then covered in green sauce and melted cheese. Yum. We particularly enjoyed the robust coffee and great strawberry jam on fresh bread.
A HUGE eucalyptus tree we passed on our walk.

Alan spent the afternoon trimming the orange tree and harvesting over 200 oranges.

We've been giving them away and I think I'll try to freeze some. The gardener says he wants to spray the trees and that's why we had to pick all of the fruit.

Today we had hoped to go to the movies and walked there, but there was nothing on that we wanted to see. This is the third time we've gone there to try and see TRON! It is a new complex and they haven't started putting ads in the paper yet. Go figure? No problem, we just considered it our daily walk and swung by Walmart for a few necessities!

As my title says, I am going to list of few of the quirky things here in Ajijic that we like and dislike after being here for 5 weeks.

-missing the kids and grandbaby. Thank goodness for video chat!
-mashing potatoes with a potato masher (non-electric)
-feeling like we "should" get up before the maid arrives on M-W-F. I have stopped worrying about what she thinks of seeing me in pajamas!
-the small TV is not so bad, but I do wish we had DVR. If I miss a favorite show, I miss it! Ah, but I set my DVR back at home to record all my favs; so I will have some catching up to do if I miss something here!
-no rain and dusty shoes

Ya know, as I started the list of things I don't like, I realized that there is always a solution. Even if something isn't solvable, there is probably something different that can take its place in the "like" column. Maybe its best to just have a likes column.

-the view from my kitchen window
-no rain
-long walks
-the hummingbird showing up twice a day to re-fill at the flower station!
-the local artisans
We passed this man standing on the corner weaving a fishing net. He allowed me to take a few shots of the proces

-warm sun on the patio and following its path as the day goes on.
-frequently being in awe!
-having DSL internet in the house; it is our connection to family and life back home
-watching flowers bloom each day in my yard.
-having so many fruit trees in the yard and fresh orange juice daily
-weekly open-air fresh vegetable and fruit market
-buying prepared Mexican-style foods at Walmart and not having to cook
-really inexpensive meals when we go out to eat. It has gotten more and more expensive here, though, over the years that we have been coming.
-weekly crochet and knit group-it's called "A String Thing" here
-enjoying the slow pace here; lots of spare time to read and crochet!
-I actually enjoy hanging clothes out to dry on the line in the sun.