It has been a whirlwind of activities this month. Most importantly I’m back to a regular regimen of swimming. I swim 3 mornings a week at the lovely “Alberca de Olympica” the Olympic size community swimming pool in Zihuatanejo. And yes the water is on the cold side at 8:30 in the morning, but that is good for lap swimmers. I started off at 10 laps [this pool lanes are crossways], so a full crossways lap is 50 meters. Each week I’m adding a lap with my end goal being 16 laps which is about a half mile if my math is right. This week I’m up to 14 laps. That’s half of what I used to swim pre covid, but I’m not in training for anything and I’ll be quite happy with 16 laps. I’ve been taking a taxi to the pool and walking back and doing errands along the way as needed. I’m not the good walker I used to be, I find I’m not enjoying long walks, and I walk so much slower than I used to. I’m finding my friends walk much faster than I do and it’s a struggle to keep up with some, but I’m going to walk at my own pace and get to where I’m going at my own time.
What keeps me busy is groups of friends with some regular activities of weekly lunch gatherings, a biweekly dinner group with a goal of trying some of the “better” restaurants in the area. Beach time, pool parties just a lot of fun and frivolity. But now that I live here I need to do more that just play, so this week I am doing my first volunteer project of sorting and labeling seed for local folks to do future plantings and self sufficient gardening. With plans to do more of these types of projects.
A group of us, 9 ladies, chartered a sailing and snorkeling trip with a delightful young Mexican couple who not only took out sailing, whale watching, only saw one, snorkeling, saw lots of fish, and then served us lunch and cocktails. It was a great day even if I got a little sun burned.
On a sadder note, my only sister died this week. It was expected as Parkinson’s disease had rendered her helpless as a baby. She was ready, but I will miss her. We had been spending a lot of good phone time together recently. Signing off KO
Christmas Eve a large group of friends gathered at Rufo’s on Calle Adelita for an excellent dinner. Christmas Day was a smaller gathering at Ben and Lesley’s apartment where she prepared a delightful spread of ham and turkey and all the fixings.
As so many of my friends are Canadian I was invited to a “cold table” Boxing Day event. Everyone brought something cold to share. Turned out to be quite the spread and 13 of us enjoyed the hospitality of Anne’s balcony that evening.
For New Years’s Eve a group gathered at Daniels for lovely dinner and waited for the fire works to begin. They had to spray down the palapa roofs with water prior to the fire works. As usual the fire works were fantastic and it appeared that most of the town and all the visitors and tourists were along the beachfront to enjoy the spectacle.
On New Year’s Day the braver ones of us gathered for a Zihuatanejo take on a “Polar Bear” swim and hit the water at Playa La Madera at 11:00 AM. It was most delightful. Followed by mimosas at Vickie’s poolside.
I don’t do New Years resolutions, but I some times set some goals. Now that I have finally figured out the hours and the new entrance to the local community swimming pool, my goal is to resume lap swimming. I have hardly swam since covid closed the pools, and having spent the last summer on Mount Rainier with no where to swim I am really out of practice. I’ll start with 3 days a week and see how it goes. Signing off KO
I live at the corner of an alley and a very busy one way street which my balcony over looks. This is the polar opposite of the bucolic lake front view I had in Washington. Yet I enjoy it almost as much. Mexican street life is very vibrant, colorful and yes noisy. But I find it exciting, varied, interesting and amusing.
On my one way street cars park on both sides of the street and no one, except some of us gringos, find it odd that it is perfectly OK to double park. And not just for a minute or two. They will double park and go in to a store to pick up a couple of items, or wait for someone they are picking up no matter how long it takes. Mean time the traffic slows and snakes their way past the double parker, with surprising skill. I have yet to see a car sideswiped. It amazes me. Some prefer to park across the entrance to alley instead of double parking. I would prefer they double park as this is when it gets noisy. It seems like as soon as the mouth to the alley is blocked one or more of the alley residents wants go some where or will be trying to return home and they lay on the horn until some one comes and moves the offending vehicle. But no cross words are ever exchanged, it’s just how it is done. If the car is one that is trying to return he may have the street blocked back with up to ten cars behind him all waiting. Sooner or later someone in the line up gets impatient and starts honking his horn also, but oddly enough it’s usually someone who has just pulled up to the back of the line that honks his displeasure about being held up.
Impromptu parties happen frequently on my street, sometimes its pedestrians fueled by the large beer drinks the store down the block sells. And conveniently enough for them there are a couple of concrete benches right across the street from me where they can sit, drink, laugh, and sing until the wee hours of the day. Last week a newer pick up truck parked across the street, opened up the doors, turned the music up and 5 or six of them had a lovely tailgate party right there in the middle of this block.
A parking violation is cause for the local policia to remove your rear license plate. In order to retrieve it you must go to the local station and pay the fine. If you don’t do that and get a second violation the front plate is removed and another fine is levied. Of course driving with no plates is a separate violation and of course it will open you up to much policia attention. Gotta love Mexico!
Signing off KO
IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS
Tap the pictures below to see them full size
Friends are gathering to share food and drink
And to share the holiday spirit. Merry Christmas to all my friends and family, signing off KO
Last Saturday my sister had her 82 birthday. She did not celebrate. She is lying in a nursing home almost as helpless as a baby under hospice care while Parkinson’s disease racks her body. Most days she is mentally alert and we talk frequently. Something we haven’t done in years.
This is my only sibling who is 3 years older than me. I visited her in California, where she has lived the majority of her life, right before I moved to Zihuatanejo. She and I have never been close and at times our relationship has been quite contentious. But we have recently discussed this fact and analyzed it but we could not come to any conclusion except that even as children we weren’t close. So we have chalked it up to just very different personality types.
Since I am her only relative (other than my children) she has come to rely on me for some companionship even if it is long distance and we have both discovered how much we are enjoying this fleeting time together. Growing up I was often quite envious of her as she was the pretty one, the popular one who charmed everyone she met. As a young woman she had a glamorous life as a chorus girl dancing at Lake Tahoe, Reno, Florida and San Francisco, while i was busy becoming a fat housewife with 4 children under foot who’s thought a Cub Scout Blue and Gold Dinner was a big social event. I no longer envy her. And I am so sorry she has to suffer through this horrible disease that has twisted and tortured her body until she resembles an old crone. We both now wish we had been closer through our lives, but we are having to settle for some very high quality phone time.
Here in Zihuatanejo my calendar is quite full, with a couple of weekly lunch groups and now a dinner group. Zihuatanejo is a very supportive place for older single women who still have a zest for life. I not only have Christmas Day plans but plans for Christmas Eve and even Canadian Boxing Day. It is impossible to be lonely here, which was one of my main reasons for moving here. Of course I am well aware that “off season” the social life will not be a full whirlwind of events, but I have friends that do live here year round and maybe that will be time to resume Spanish lessons or take up some other new hobby.
Went to lunch with friends at El Manglar a week ago Sunday. The word Manglar means swamp which is part of the charm of this lovely restaurant that is located on La Ropa beach with a stream running beside complete with crocodrillo’s and trees full of Iguanas. It also has a lovely breeze that funnels through the restaurant making it a great place on hot days and very good food.
Dinners on the beach, fund raiser for the food bank, and pool parties have filled up the rest of the weeks entertainment.
I’ve been busy at home also, I hung and hemmed new curtains for my slider. They are sunblock curtains, I don’t need them so much now, but will come winter and the sun hits my balcony right full on. I also installed a great mirror on an expanding arm in my bathroom to give a full 360 view for primping. Took advantage of Buen Fin, Mexico’s answer to Black Friday and went shopping for a new TV that is fully Bluetooth capable. Actually I had a friend who is tech knowledgeable do the shopping for me and I just showed up with the card to make the purchase. That way I know I’m getting a good TV and a good deal. It’s nice to have good friends.
Last year I fed a trio of street/roof cats. I really didn’t expect that they would still be around. But not only did they survive, did they multiplied. Two of them have half grown kittens following them around. One of them wants to be a pet, well he is still skittish and I can’t pet him yet but he likes to sit and visit with me and he is a very good listener.
I hadn’t planned on feeding them this year as I was really thinking of getting a cat of my own, a strictly indoor cat. But them I discovered how thirsty these cats and kittens were as they were dipping a paw in the dish under one of my plants and then licking the paw. So out came the pan of water and I was amazed at how long they would drink and how quick they returned for more. So at least they have a source for good, clean water. The friendly one got dinner last night. We will see how that goes, maybe I am destined to just have outdoor cats. Signing off KO
I have never been a fan of tattoos. One of my sons has full arm tattoos on both arms, the other son has none. One daughter has a couple of small tattoos, the other daughter has none. That daughter sort of subscribes to the theory of “that butterfly on your back will turn into a crow in the crack” as you age. But I’ve always said “If I ever see a tattoo that will make me look better I will go for it”. And I did!
I have always been a makeup user since I was 12 and would sneak my moms lipstick out of the house. Mascara, eye shadow, eyeliners, blush, foundations, all became my friends. Loved experimenting with different techniques, trends, colors and applicators. Never would I leave the house with out make up on. It was like combing your hair you just don’t go out in public until it is done.
Tattoo’s have become very mainstream, not just for sailors on a drunken night out. They are quite popular here in Mexico with many good artists. And shortly after arriving in Mexico I ran into my friend Helen who was sporting tattooed eyeliner and it looked so lovely on her, I thought, hmmm maybe? A little more thought and it became a definite yes, I’m going to do this.
So three of us ladies made consecutive appointments. Now this in itself is a bit of a challenge as the tattoo artist we chose, the same one our friend Helen recommended, speaks no English, zero, nada none. And all we have is a smattering of Spanish, not enough for real communication. But we managed to make appointments and all showed up. And the rest was up to her.
She has a cute shop, very clean and nicely decorated in pink, black and white where she specializes in permanent make up. One by one we stretched out in a comfortable reclining lawn chair and we we entrusted our future beauty to her, We all agreed it was more of an irritating and annoying tickle rather than pain. It took about an hour’s time for each of us, longer for me as I was having my eyebrows micro-bladed also
A few hours later I was shocked to see that the process had given me two black eyes. Nobody had said anything about black eyes! But the bruising faded quickly. We knew we needed to stay out of the sun for a week and were given an ointment to put on the eyelids to keep the liner moist while it heals. Each of us went home to our computers for google to give us all the information we needed on how to care for our permanent make up. We knew that tattoos fade in time and might need retouching, at our age probably not an issue! Although I do know that the micro blading does need regular touch ups.
Jimi has always been a bit of a Zihuatanejo legend. Starting when he and wife Judy came to Zihuatanejo at the invitation of Guitarfest and never turned back. Jimi plays, blues, soul, and rock and role from it’s heydays of the 50’s and 60’s into the 2000’s and still draws a crowd. It’s the music we grew up with and many believe, as I do, we had the best music ever.
Wednesday night a film crew was here from California to complete a documentary about the music scene in the North Beach area of San Francisco which Jimi was a big part of.
North Beach was the “happening place” with great clubs that gave many a star their start. Places like The Hungry I, and the Purple Onion, Big Al’s and of course the Condor, famous for Carol Doda who originated topless dancing. It was also the home of the Keene Art Gallery among others. An exciting vibrant place during simpler times. My sister was a chorus girl, dancing at Bimbo’s 365 club the summer of 61.
I grew up in a small town 40 Miles north of San Francisco, and even though we were under age and couldn’t get in to many of the clubs it was still a thrill on a Saturday night to roam the streets of North Beach and listen from the sidewalks and alley ways.
I imagine only a small handfull of those musicians are still around and not many would still be playing. But here in Zihuatanejo we have had the pleasure of spending our winters listening and dancing to the music of our youth, with one of the greats, Jimi Mamou.
I would be remiss not to mention that not only has Jimi blessed this community with his music but he and Judy have been a vital part of the community, one of the original and continuing sponsors of Sailfest serving on boards and committees, working in the background helping to strengthen this community for all the citizens here.
One of my many pleasures I enjoy in Zihuatanejo, Mexico is the freedom to read. With so little responsibilities here I have no problem waking up in the morning rolling over and grabbing my book and laying there reading for a couple of hours before I get up. But then I am prone to waking up around 5 AM. At home I can’t do that, I have to get up as soon as I wake up. It seems like there is always something to do, places I must go, work to be done, schedules to be kept. At home in Washington I feel like I’m lazy if I just sit around reading. Like wise with the TV. It can’t be turned it on until the evening. Here I no longer feel compelled to be “doing something”. Here the living is easy!
Eating out and socializing friends has become one of my greatest pleasures. There are so many interesting people here from all walks of life and from all over the world who have done so many interesting things and traveled to interesting places. I’m finding I can do more of this since I now check out my books from my home library to down load to my kindle. I to purchase them of from Amazon. Sorry Amazon, but this has saved me a bundle as I read 5 or 6 books a month. And I love the dictionary feature that the kindle offers. I miss that when I do read a “book book”.
Swimming is one of my pleasures. I lap swim at the community pool where there is rarely more that a couple of other swimmers. It’s an Olympic size pool and because it is covered, it is cold in the morning at 9ish when I like to swim. I’m only doing about 10 laps which is about a third of what I used to swim and the pool is laned crosswise. Covid stopped me from being able to swim on a regular basis and now that I’m not training for anything I just swim for the pleasure of it. I also swim in the bay where the water is warm and salty. You just float like a cork.
I’ve spent the last 5 or 6 Thanksgivings here in Zihuatanejo and almost everyone has been different. I have done the local restaurants version of American Thanksgiving, not to be confused with the Canadians October 12th Thanksgiving. Since I am not a fan of turkey, potatoes and gravy it is pretty much a waste of money for me to eat out as that is what you get. I love the cranberry, the stuffing and the home made pumpkin pies and all the side dishes that you do not get in the restaurant meals.
I have cooked the turkey dinner for friends, I have gone to Playa Las Gatas for fish dinner just by myself. This year I was invited to join some other ladies for Thanksgiving dinner in one of their homes.
My contribution was a “snack box” of olives, nuts, cheese and salami’s and a bottle of wine. Thanksgiving dinners are notoriously late for many reasons due to turkey defrosting times , ovens temperature, potatoes taking much longer than expected and Aunt somebody being late arriving. This I knew would stave off hunger pangs.
Well none of the above happened except the one guest was almost late as her flight had just arrived as we gathered. Our host Jane, had everything so under control that we had just enough time to acquaint ourselves with one another and dinner was on the table.
We had a lovely traditional dinner complete with desert and then “LET THE GAMES BEGIN”. Jane’s goal was that we would have enough good spirited fun that our noise would be complained by her Mexican neighbors. Well I don’t think we quite succeeded in that but we did have a raucous good time. Good food and drink, great friendships, and fun in beautiful home with fantastic views of the city. Thank you so much for a memorable Thanksgiving 2021.