The DIY Project from Hell

I’ve always been a “do it your self person”, partly out of necessity and partly for self satisfaction.  I’ve been sewing clothing since I was 12 a skill that served me well since I had 4 children to dress for school. I sewed the boys t-shirts, the girls dresses and party dresses, one wedding gown and one sport coat.  I don’t say this to brag just to demonstrated I really do have some skill. So you would think making curtains for this apartments three windows in the living room area would be a fairly simple task.  Well it wasn’t.

It may have been partly the very light weight sheer fabric I chose, or the inexpensive singer sewing machine I picked up here, or may be it wasn’t the best thread for the fabric and it may have been just me!  Anyway to make a long story short I was just making panels that were 60 inches wide with a heading at the top and a hem at the bottom and there were to be 4 panels in each of the curtains for the 2 short windows and 8 panels for the slider door as the fabric was shear I wanted volume so you couldn’t see right through from the outside, but wouldn’t feel closed in inside.

img_2219Well the seams puckered and as the fabric frayed it had to be double seamed which seemed to make it worse and the full length of the slider made it difficult to manage sewing on that much slippery fabric and as I kept adding panels, even though the fabric itself was lightweight, the bulk of it became heavy and pulled as I sewed.  But I finally got the curtains constructed and it was time to hang them.

I had bought new curtain rods and needed to take down the old ones which had probable been used over the last century and the walls have had many coats of paint which made it difficult to get them down.  I finally had to get help from my upstairs neighbor to get the screw out on the two small windows.  Then I was able to put up the new ones.  When it got time to do the slider door, thankfully I had a friend who was willing come over and remove the old rod and hang the new rod since  it was going in a slightly different place. So the rod is up, curtains are all done except for sewing the rings on that I  had brought from home.  What a mistake that was, first of all my math skills are legendary and I was short 15 rings. Then I had planned to sew them on with the sewing machine.  Well I couldn’t do it with this machine, mine at home would have, but not this one so it was all done by hand.  Then as I couldn’t match  the missing  rings I ended up using plastic electric tie loops  for the missing rings and the damn things are hung.  But I like them, they do exactly what I wanted, the side short ones give just img_2197enough privacy with out blocking light the slider door ones pull clear off the door for the day time, and a quick pull at night and they give just enough privacy at night that we are not visible from the street.  I happy, the project is done, I will never, ever, ever make curtains again and probably only use this machine for mending,

I only have one more DYI project and that is recovering the couch.  I’ll let you know how that goes. Signing off KO

Woke Up Feeling Great

I woke up this morning feeling great, it’s the first time in 2-3 weeks I can honestly say that. I have had a cough and a bowel disturbance for the past few weeks, but I didn’t consider myself sick.  I feel so good today I now realize, I was sick.  Guess I was in denial.  I think it’s the first time I’ve been sick in 10 years or so.  Glad it’s over,  time to get on with life and do a little catch up here.

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Chile Gato

About a week ago I went on a nature hike guided by Elizabeth Brady, a local gal with an  abundance of knowledge of the local natural plant life. We walked through an area  that was completely wild, meaning nothing there had been planted it was all natural plant life. I learned about toxic plants, for one the “chile gato” plant that has a quite attractive flower and a small fuzzy  tail that is some what a cross between a cat’s tail and the marsh plant referred to as “cat tails”.  I’m glad I’m aware it’s toxic as other wise I would be drawn to it to either pick or touch.    There were many lovely

blooms and interesting trees.  One the fruit grows on the trunk of the tree rather than the branches and another was a parasitic tree, but it also can live independently of its host.

One plant produces a fruit that can be used to launder your clothes with.  Saw a couple img_2133of beautiful spider webs complete with occupants and caught a glimpse of a small herd of cattle who are lucky enough to reside there.img_2146-1   All in all it was an interesting morning.  Signing off KO

Dia de la Revolucion Parade

Mexico’s Revolution Day (Dia de la Revolucion) is a national public holiday that celebrates a 10-year revolution that began in 1910 to end the struggle against dictator José de la Cruz Porfirio Diaz Mori. It is on the third Monday in November, near the official day of November 20. In Zihuatanejo it is celebrated with a huge parade with most of the schools participating. It was a perfect day for the parade, Zihuatanejo gave her brightest  blue skies for the event, temps in the low to mid 80’s.  The parade route goes down my street, so we watched the parade with our morning coffee from the balcony.

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Parade start

The parade was scheduled to start at 9.  Nothing starts on time in Mexico but at 8:40 the parade was coming down my street.  Never heard of anything ever happening early than the announced time, usually an hour late, but the parade was here and we watched all 4 hours of kids dressed up as revolutionary characters in traditional dress, drum and  bugle groups, dancers in beautiful costumes. Teen age students building human pyramids, others somersaulting through  hoops of fire.  Like everything in Mexico, it was loud, colorful, beautiful and very  interesting.

After a morning of no internet, signing off KO

Every day I learn something new

img_1151Yesterday I finally made it to the swimming pool, now I am talking about the Zihuatanejo’s Olympic size Alberca de Olympica at the sports complex.  I have been swimming there for years, quite frequently I would be one of two or three people in the pool at 8 AM,  nice for lap swimming.  A few years ago they covered the pool with a Quonset hut type roof and it kept the pool cool as the sun didn’t beat on it, but it was ice cold in the morning.  The locker room was a disaster,  gang showers that didn’t work, toilets that flushed with a bucket, doors missing and no running water.  Few gringos would venture forth, but I am dedicated lap swimmer and you would find me there most mornings at 8.  I knew they had remodeled and I hoped it would be nice and and is it ever nice.  Stall showers with actual running water, new flush toilets, sink with running water.  It is  beautiful, they did an amazing job

My next surprise was when I went to get in the pool, it wasn’t ice cold. Very pleasant to  jump right in, none of that shock of taking your breath away as you hit the water.  Now that may be just because the temperature has been so hot, or possible a heating system, time will tell.

So today my second pool day I carefully read the new signs posted where you pay at the entrance and between the sign and my conversation with the attendant in my fractured Spanish I learned I can buy a month log pass for $150 pesos.  I can swim as much as I want for 30 calendar days for that price, twice a day if I like, ( but that’s not going to happen) or I can pay 15 pesos every time I go  Even if I only swim 3 times a week I’m ahead!  I like this new system.  But the down fall is so does everyone else in town!  The pool is busy with both lap swimmers and classes.  But that’s OK, I’m up before the crack of dawn and I will just start swimming a little earlier in the morning and maybe avoid the class of 10 or so young boys racing across the pool. If you haven’t ever tried the pool or if you have and were turned off by the experience give it a chance. You should like it.

From the pool I walked over to the Megga. There is a real bad intersection to cross near the new Waldos where another lady and I stood there for an eternity kind of shaking our heads wondering if we would ever cross.  She saw a break in the traffic, grabbed my hand and we ran across the street together, safety in numbers. People here are so helpful, how can one not love Mexico.

At the Megga I discovered how to sign up for a “frequent flyer card” so maybe by the end of the season I will have enough points to save a few bucks on something special. And I bought packages of grated cheddar cheese, nothing in a block, but cheddar none the less.  Signing off KO

 

 

 

 

Zihuatanejo, How I Will Miss You

Dear Zihuatanejo,

I will miss your lovely, warm weather. I will miss your colorful sights and sounds.  I will miss your parades, my early mornings and late nights on the balcony. I will miss all the good fish at the restaurants, and drinks and socializing at Brenda’s bar and Jimmi Mamou playing rhythm and blues. I will miss being called Catalina and attempting to inflict my newly learned Spanish on the local people.

It will be good to get home, we have a cat that has been lovingly cared for by my son Shawn and I miss him.  Well I actually miss both of them, not just the cat. I have missed all my kids, but cheap cell phone service here has kept us all in touch.

Of course I already have plans for next year.  The list of things we need to bring is growing. There is room in the entry way to our apartment that with 2 good hooks on the wall I could store a small kayak and then strap a small wheel to it to pull it the block and a half to the bay. I don’t need a sit inside one like I have at home, just a little 8 or 10 ft. sit on top plastic job.  Something to think about.

We are packed, traveling a lot lighter going home than when we came and if it wasn’t for gifts and such we are bringing home it would be lighter yet.

So Adios Zihuatanejo until late October and Hello Washington.  Signing off KO

 

The Vernal Equinox at La Chole

La Chole is a small community about 20 miles out of Zihuatanejo where an ongoing archaeological site is still being studied.  They have a pyramid, and a ball court and many artifacts from the Aztec era that can be seen in the small museum. As an event was

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Ceremony viewed from top of  pyramid

planned there I decided it would be an excellent location to experience the celebration of the first day of spring with some ancient history.

Six of us set out in the pre-dawn light to catch the bus to LaChole, well as close as the bus goes which is dropping you off in the middle of nowhere just off the highway where we planned to catch the local passajara.  But a car stopped and offered us a ride into the pyramid.  We cheerfully accepted. Saving us much hot waiting time. As we arrived at the pyramid the ceremonies had already started and they were bringing folks to the top of the pyramid in

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Local people performing regional dances

groups of 20. Once on top we were told of the significance of the different areas. As my friend Brenda is Mexican she could translate for us.  We were about the only gringos there. As we came down the pyramid there wre more ceremonies, with smudging and storytelling done with great pride and emotion.

We then moved on to the town for food drink and to watch traditional dancers. I could IMG_1888 (2)have had Iguana stew, but knowing it is illegal to kill Iguanas I opted not to.  The dancers performed regional dances from different eras. It was very colorful and beautiful to watch.  Brenda opted to be blessed

and energized in a smudging ceremony, and both she and I posed with the authentic headdresses of the Aztec dancers.  All in all it was a great day a wonderful way to celebrate spring. Signing off KO

 

 

Valentines Day and The Street Fair On Calle Adelita

This should have poste on February 15, but for some reason didn’t.

In Zihuatanejo there is so much to celebrate.  Valentines Day is huge among the Mexican population. Temporary Bazaars are set up all along the main street hawking all sorts of IMG_1573of gifts. There are little booths with purses, shoes, lingerie and the more traditional gifts of flowers, sweets and stuffed animals and beautiful wrappings and boxes for the gifts. The restaurants are full that evening, we went out that night with 2 other couples and while enjoying an after dinner we were serenaded by a wandering mariachi band.

The next day was the annual street fair on Calle Adelita, a street well-known for its many IMG_1598little restaurants and Boutique Hotels. This fair is a fund-raiser for the local Bomberos, which translates to: firefighters, EMT personnel and crocodile wranglers when one encroaches into areas where they could become a danger to folks.  Twice over the years I have watched the Bomberos, rope, wrangle and tie up a croc then transport him to a preserve.  This year they were raising money for a defibrillator, a worthy cause. Food and drink was available, as was a silent auction and a 50/50 raffle. Couple of different

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This pair of cuties were some of the dancers

bands played and groups of Mexican dancers performed. Always a fun evening and I bid and won a certificate for a “Tres Leches Cake” which is quite appropriate as my birthday is later this week

I have been attending Spanish classes twice a week and really working at it. I’m not going to be “bi-lingual” but I certainly have improved my confidence in attempting to speak with shop keeper and such, can read menus, signs.  My ability to read it is far superior to my speaking ability.  I’m not finding it easy, but quite a challenge.  I think when I’m back home I will once again audit a basic Spanish Class at our local college just to keep my skills up. Not so much to progress but to keep from regressing. Signing off KO