Sunday, December 20, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Here's Lyle and his compadres enjoying and ice cream treat.
I have the official school calendar and the last day of school is supposed to be Dec 21st.
Not sure why we have this extended vacation but I am sure that Lyle’s class is supposed to have testing on the 2nd block of work in Jalisco educational system issued school books and that they are only 2/3 of the way through the 2nd block. I'm also sure that in the last 4 weeks we have not had one full week of school, either ending early of days completely off because the teachers have meetings they need to attend. I guess meetings after the 1:00 hour (when school gets out) is out of the question.
I’m completely baffled by the school system here in La Manzanilla. We will be working with Lyle over the holiday break to finish the block. I’m thinking this time next year we will be homeschooling.
Monday, December 7, 2009
Yesterday, Sunday, we decided since it was such an overcast and winter like day we should make cookies! I was all about sugar cookies, but Rick and Lyle turned up their noses and voted for chocolate chip. Ok, so we need 1 more stick of butter and some chocolate chips. Rick heads into town. He returns about 15 mins later with the news that there are no chocolate chips to be found in town. They still say, “no thanks” when I chime in about sugar cookies.
Not completely deterred the boys decide it would be fun to bake a cake, a cake from a box. Ok, so Rick and head down to our nearest corner store while Lyle is playing with the neighbor kids. No cake mixes. It’s now about 4:30 on Sunday afternoon and Rick is determined. He goes back into town. He returns 15 min later empty handed and bearing news that everything in the 3 block town is closed!
Guess baking wasn’t in the cards.
Monday, November 30, 2009
So, it's been a month (how did that happen) since my last post. We've been so busy, work, school, homework, sickness, bad renters..it all takes time.
One highlight I have to share, a week ago Friday was a national holiday- Revolution Day!
All the kids dressed in period clothing and paraded though town. Lyle loved his costume so much that he has been wearing it for the last week, I finally had to wash it and it shrunk 2 sizes! He's heart broken, as he thinks it's the appropriate attire for any dinner invitation or restaurant outing. I guess we'll have to buy him another one.
On the Saturday after the parade the mom's hosted a fundraiser in the jardin. The mama's love it when I work these events, I'm an endless source of amusement for them- they speak no English and I speak ok Spanish so I just do what they say. My duty was selling juice and taking orders from gringos!
Monday, October 26, 2009
Lyle had received this same note 3 weeks ago, I showed up at 5:00 and waited with 2 other mothers until 5:45 before we decided to leave. No one ever showed up to open the gate so we were locked out.
Rick and I get there at 5:00 to find one man with a machete and one other woman at the school. The man with the machete goes to the edge of the school and starts hacking down the grass. The other woman has a list of all the parents, she checks off our name from the list and tells us we need to clean the garden area. So Rick and I look around and ask if there are any tools and she tells us, "No, but you can put the grass, that you pull by hand, in the trash dumpster by the gate."
We brought gloves.
We started pulling grass and after about 5 minutes I say to the woman, “this would be a lot easier with a lawn mower.” To which she replies, “yes, the school has one, a push mower, but it’s locked in the bodega and I don’t have a key.” I'm thinking, "geez they can produce 147 slips of paper with the note to come to clean but no one can think to come and unlock the door of the bodega..."
We pull grass, by hand, for another hour and leave. No other parents show up, but at least our name is check-off as doing our cleaning duty.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
After we got settled in our beach chairs we spied a man out in the water with two kids, small kids, we estimated about 5 and 7 years old. We assumed he was an instructor. They kids were doing great, he gave a board a little push when the wave came in and up the kids jumped. We ventured out to have a chat with the man and come to find out he was the dad, was learning to surf himself, and had just rented the boards for the kids.
After a brief discussion with Lyle we decided to rent a board. Fifty peso’s an hour gets you a board, because I was renting for Lyle the guy gave us a few tips about holding the board and standing on it. Them he looked at me and said, “I’d try to sell you a lesson but kids learn so fast he probably won’t need one….now you on the other hand.” I laughed and declined the lesson for myself.
Kid’s learn fast is an understatement. He would have gotten up on the first wave, if Rick and I hadn’t pushed him so hard. This is a picture of him on the second wave, and the rest is history!
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Funny thing is he hops the fence at night and goes to roost with his buddies. But alas he hasn’t shared his good fortune with them, he comes alone every morning.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
A web search revels these little bastar#$%#@’s are nearly impossible to kill as they have several openings to a massive underground habitat. Some courses of action include 3 gallons of boiling water down the hole, followed by a pureed mixer of citrus peelings; flooding the highest opening (for up to an hour because the underground area is can be so vast) then putting a liquid herbicide down the hole and running around and capping all the exits, yeah like that is going to be easy to do. We’ve started with small caps of sugar mixed with borax and a nightly dose of a poison called Patron.
Here is the top of our almond tree after 1 night.
Friday, September 18, 2009
His teacher Adele handed me a sheet of paper with the vowels both capital and lower case and in various groupings of two… A-E-I-O-U Ae-Ei-aU you get the idea.
Each child must stand at her desk, while the other children look on, and respond appropriately when she points of one of the vowels. Talk about pressure.
I watched as several children took there turn, some laughed and giggled when it was their turn. Some needed to be reassured and have their back’s rubbed by maestra Adele before they could speak. Today as class is ending Lyle will have to take his turn. He’s great at the kitchen table but I’m not sure how he will be at the front of the class. Here’s wishing him success!
Thursday, September 10, 2009
We made great time, arriving in Tonala in the evening of our first night in Mexico. We’ve been through Guadalajara 3 previous times and we’ve gotten lost every time. We thought this time would be different; we’d leave Tonala, stay to the right and get that dang airport exit to the south perifico so we could bypass the heart of the city.
Traffic was a nightmare as we edged onto the highway. We saw the sign for Chapala and knew that was the same exit for the airport. We headed for the exit, a motorcycle went down in front of us, no one would let us over and there were 4 lanes of traffic where there are only 3 lanes. We missed the turn.
We decide to try it again so we took another exit and circled back around, got on the highway again and slowly edged for the exit. As we approached the correct exit, traffic got more fierce, a bus came so close to us it scraped along the side of our truck and nearly took our mirror off. By then we were both sweating and trying to remain calm, we were about 25 ft from the exit when we saw the sign for the airport, the small airplane indicating airport was almost completely covered by graffiti and we had 3 lanes of traffic to cross. I could see it in my husband’s eyes, he was going for it. I started yelling, “we can’t make it, go straight, we can’t make it!”
At the last minute he came to his senses and we stayed on the main road and went through the heart of the city, no perifico for us.
Guadalajara 4, June and Rick ZERO!
Friday, August 28, 2009
We are driving our 2004 Toyota truck- no extended cab and there are 3 of us, but that will be another blog post.
So we have the truck with a topper on it and we’ve availed ourselves of the opportunity to go crazy filling it up! Grill, rugs, cookware, blender, knives, printer, toiletries all this stuff! I was trying to get to a point where I could say, “if you have to store it, you don’t need it.” Boy have I fallen off that wagon!
Goals for next year- don’t spend so much time thinking about what’s coming next and let go of this ridiculous idea that life in Mexico is made better by bringing my life (stuff) from Denver with me.
Monday, August 10, 2009
I have, on a few occasions, seen my copy on other people's sites and those people never offer to link back to my site or to give me credit, can you believe it?
Once again, someone has pilfered my work. They have set-up a website using a URL that is so close to mine I'm sure it was done purposefully to take advantage of the brand I’ve promoted. Wonder if they will contact me and ask permission before they borrow my copy. I’m guessing not. What do you think?
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
I have to expand because my favorite blog- Moving the Kids to Mexico- is coming to end. American Mommy, is moving back to the States. They were in Mexico for only a year. She is a remarkable writer, so engaging and open; it’s been a pleasure reading of her family's adventures in a small town on the Pacific coast of Mexico.
So I’m expanding – there’s Que Madre!- a new mother, married to a Mexican and living in Sayulita. Her writing is passionate and quirky.
Then there is One Mexican Time- she’s young (27)- no children and lives the young newly wed life.
Limon Family Blog and The Rosas-Standring Family- through another blog I just found these two. I’ll try them on and see if they can match up to Moving the Kids to Mexico….
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
I’m so organized that I thought he might enjoy a couple of weeks of day camp as well so I booked a week of “mad science” and a week of “adventure quest.” I forgot that he is used to the La Manzanilla school day, 9-12, 3 hours a day 4 or 5 days a week.
US day camp starts at 8:30 and ends at 3:30 and then heap on top of that karate and gymnastics.
We made it through the first week of camp but the weekend was all about banking sleep. Lyle rarely naps but Saturday and Sunday saw afternoon naps close to 4 hours each.
Second week of camp- forget it. He was too tired for karate and gymnastics and by Thursday so grumpy that we had a skip day the last day of camp, opting for an Avatar marathon on the couch.
Poor kid. I wanted to try to fit in lots of experiences he won't get in Mexico, but all I did was wear him out.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
After the storm passes we’ll just have to rely on the kindness of others to go over and check on the house and report back to us. I’ve received emails telling me the electricity is currently out….old time year-rounder’s have generators for these types of occasions.
Next year we need to stay through at least part of a rainy season.
Signed, Nervously awaiting news….
Friday, June 5, 2009
I'm just now recovering from the whole thing and getting my US legs.
Lyle, after begging for months, is enrolled in a karate class. He also has gymnastics once a week, nice activities for an energetic 5-year-old.
We left La Manzanilla two months before school is due to end. Not sure if Lyle is actually going to “graduate” from Kindergarten but we ran out of time at the end and will have to deal with it in September when we get back.
I think I’m going to go ahead and keep blogging over the summer, what started as a promotional thing for La Manzanilla has turned into blogging about being a mom. So I guess it doesn’t matter where we are living, I’m always a mom.
Next week- Sea World- that's right on a plane taking a trip!
Friday, May 15, 2009
Thank goodness we live across the street from a family that has lots of kids coming and going. Lyle spends a good part of his school-free day playing with the neighbor kids.
I spend a good part of my day refereeing fighting- “No pelando!” (no fighting) is something I yell out more than a few times a day.
I’ve also discovered that it’s important to always have jicama and cucumbers on hand and a bag of corn for popcorn. You have no idea how much Mexican kids love jicama and cumbers with lime and chili and/or popcorn. Around 3 pm everyday they start asking for “comida?” “do you have anything to eat?” I take out a pitcher of water, glasses and some slices of cucumber and jicama or a big bowl of popcorn and all is good.
Yesterday they were playing “shoveling” and they played for nearly an hour. That's a big pile of sand they are rearranging. Ah, to be a kid again.
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Because we all blog about our lives and families and felt like these were old friends. Such a strange thing to have happen over the internet….although now that I think about it isn’t that how it works for Match.com?
American Mommy’s youngest son and Lyle are really two peas in a pod and they hit it off immediately, when I saw the box of army figurines and the Star Wars Clones Wars movie belonging to AM’s youngest I knew they would be fast friends.
Yesterday, in the afternoon we went over to have a playdate. The boys headed off to watch a movie, I pulled out a book and sat down on the couch, American Mommy’s hubby offered me a glass wine, American Mommy had a conference call after which we chatted about travel adventures with kids in Mexico. Pretty darn similar to our playdates in Denver with parents I’ve know for years.
Tonight we are going a jungle tour together….If you don’t hear from me again it’s because I fell overboard and have been devoured by a Croc!
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Yeah, happy dance.
Only problem, when we started the process we lived at one address, we’ve since moved. Supposedly you have to notify the office within 30 days of a move and show them the last bill from your old address and the new bill from you new address. If the two bills are more then 30 days apart they can fine you up to 50 pesos a day per person.
We are still thinking about how to handle this issue. For now we are just celebrating our new status!
Friday, April 10, 2009
This is our first Holy Week and I have to admit given what we've heard about it (from the gringos who all left last week) we've been expecting the worse, loud music, drunks and noise.
It hasn't been bad at all, I like the music and it stops by 11:00. It's nice to see so many Mexican families here having a good time.
Top photo is regular day at the beach. Bottom photo is yesterday.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Lyle: “Mom, can I take the plastic bottles to recycling, by myself- (two blocks)”
Lyle: “Mom, can I ride my bike to Juan’s house”- (two-blocks including a street to cross)
Me: “No, but you can walk”
Lyle: “Ahhh, why can’t I ride my bike?”
Me: “Because you still don’t get the hang of stopping and if a car was coming you might be able to stop or get out of the way.”
Lyle: “Ahhh, I’ll stop, I promise.”
Me: “You can walk or you can stay home.”
Lyle: Just a little petulant. “Fine, I’ll walk.”
Lyle: “Mom, can I go to Chona’s and by a bag of Doritos?” (5 blocks)
Me: “No, that’s too far to go by yourself.”
Lyle: “Ahhh, no it isn’t.” Explaining in detail the route.
Both: “Discussion” ensues ending with Lyle not going to the store by himself.
Freedom is limited to 2 blocks, by foot.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
They have a conversion van that they shipped from Europe to the East coast of Canada. Then they drove across Canada to Vancouver, up to Alaska, back down through the Rocky Mountains and are now in La Manzanilla.
Next stop, the port of Manzanillo where they will put the van on a ship and send it to Santiago, Chile. They will travel overland to Venezuela and then fly to pick up the van and continue to the southern tip of Chile, back up through Argentina and Brazil and then put the van on another boat back to Europe.
Wow, what an adventure! I wish they had a blog.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
It was a beautiful morning although I spent most of it on my back at the front of the boat trying not to “toss my cookies.”
The boys, on the other hand, had a marvelous time reeling in fish. They caught about 25 Spanish Mackerels and I was well enough to snap a few photos but not well enough to capture the event on video.
I did end up hurling over the side, which made me feel better and I even managed to bring in one fish myself. We’ve been back for 5 hours and I still feel like I’m on the boat.
Next time I’ll take the Dramamine before I start feeling queasy!
Monday, March 9, 2009
Monday, March 2, 2009
Rick and Lyle have been at least twice since we moved here in September.
I started covering my grey hair about 3 years ago. I have a friend who has an Aveda salon and every time I leave her salon I’m $120 poorer but my hair looks so natural and wonderful that it’s worth every penny!
Recently a friend here remarked, “wow, I love that you let your hair look so natural, the grey looks great.” At that point I was so obsessed about my hair I didn’t hear another word she said.
I’m just too afraid to try the local salon. I don’t want to be red or blond!
So the last time I was in Manzanillo I bought a package of hair color that seemed to close to my non-grey color…..and I waited.
My good friend Connie was here last week to visit and I mentioned the grey hair dilemma. “June, back in the day when I had no money I did my own hair.” That was
all I needed. Connie did a great job with my box of color from Walmart!
Photos for your amusement. That’s wine I’m drinking. Last pic sin grey!
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
When we in the US pass each other on the street we smile and say, “hello.”
Here in La Manzanilla when you pass someone they say, “Adios” or “goodbye.”
I think it has to do with the eternal optimism of the Americans. Where as Mexican history is not one of optimism but more of oppression.
“Hello” or “goodbye” as a greeting. What’s the significance?
Sunday, February 15, 2009
The phone company called to tell us the repair guy wanted to meet us at our new house to transfer the line.
We were expecting appliances delivered around the same time so I had to quickly call the appliance company and tell them we were heading over to the new house, if they called and no one answers the phone come anyway that means we are there already.
After the two phone calls I was running out the apartment door when I realized that both conversations happened in Spanish and I didn't start out by saying, "lo siento, pero no puedo hablar muy bien Espanol."
Saturday, February 7, 2009
We've done Spaghetti- big hit.
Chicken and rice- not such a big hit-we didn't cook the rice correctly and is was mushy.
This time my husband and I thought we'd do PB&J sandwiches on whole wheat, apple slices and carrot sticks. Yes, before you gasp about the peanuts, I talked with the teacher peanut allergies, she'd never heard of such a thing as an allergy to peanuts.
We show up with our lunch and served it up. Only 2 of the 24 kids opted for the carrot sticks and one was our kid!
Conclusion- Kinder kids in La Manzanilla don't like carrots and you are not going to make any friends by serving them.
When I shared this story with a client, her advice, "Twinkies, baby!"
Saturday, January 31, 2009
The other day we were walking through town and we stopped to chat with some friends. I was explaining that we had all been sick and how Lyle had a bad cough and we hadn't been to the beach in a few days. She said something to me and I didn't quiet get it so I responded, "como?" Lyle turned to me and said, "Mom, she said it's ok if I go to the beach but I should not get in the water."
Rick and I are coming along nicely, but Lyle is rocketing along.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
The kinder hosted a futbol turny today at the campo and about fifty 4-6 year-olds took part in the national sport, soccer or futbol.
Lyle had a grand time first running after the ball and second as the goalie. I have no idea where he learned the rules of soccer but he knew not to pick up the ball, when the tall guy with the whistle blew the whistle it was time to stop kicking the ball and the point was to kick the ball between the goals.
His team managed to score and as goalie he blocked a dozen goal attempts.
All in all very cute to watch.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Around 6:45 am the music starts, usually not very loud, and I find it pleasant.
We return from dropping Lyle at school around 9:15 am. That’s when the pet bird starts doing its thing. The parrot whistles, like the whistle steelworkers give to passing women. Then when he’s bored of that he switches to his cat imitation and begins meowing loudly.
Around 10:00 am the family leaves the house for the day….but they leave a big black dog tied on very short rope in the backyard. Our bedroom/office window looks down into their backyard. 10:10 am the dog starts barking.
My husband and then spend the next two hours taking turns going over to the window and yelling, “callete perro!” in between conference calls and emails, that is.
12:00 we pick Lyle up from school, neighbors come home for the afternoon meal, dog stops barking and music comes back on.
Oh- it’s 9:15 pm and all is quiet.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
If you get a chance go to San Miguel and Guanajuato, both lovely colonial cities with lots to see and do, churches, artisans, museums and Mexican history.
Want stress? Buy a house in Mexico.
Want to get to know the locals? Take Spanish, oh but I forgot about the studying part. So and hour class and 2 hours of studying- I’ll keep you posted about how it goes.
Want to get to know the gringa locals? Work on the Art Walk- Talk about personalities and opinions. Good grief, it’s an afternoon of walking around and looking at art. Let’s not take ourselves too seriously.
Ok- I have to go and help cook dinner!