2007 Tercera Edad Blogs

Blogging from San Pancho/San Francisco, Mexico in the new decade. These are blogs from my first year in San Pancho after our move from San Miguel de Allende.

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A Hot Christmas Gift

A Hot Christmas Gift

The little boy next door gave Curt a lollipop yesterday.

Called elote, meaning corn, the sucker part was shaped like an ear of corn and covered with ... hot chili pepper! Inside was a strawberry sucker.

And, inside of that ... covering the stick ... more chili pepper.

We won't put one in our grand daughter's pinata. No, we'll stick to candy canes and Hershey kisses and some peppermints, too.

The pinata couldn't be better! Hand made just for us, it is a beautiful white burro, about three feet tall, with bright Christmas ribbons around its neck. Curt is hanging it over the hall where she can smash away with abandon until the donkey breaks open and the goodies fall out.

Christmas tree? No. A Christmas palm. Curt strung lights up the trunks of the five palms in the middle of the patio and the effect is beautiful!

Christmas gifts? For the grandchildren, sure. But our gift this year is having our son and his family travel to Mexico to celebrate with us.

Merry Christmas to all! Or, feliz navidad!

The Stove in the Hall

The Stove in the Hall

Update on blog dated November 17 ... this is stoves, part two. Estufas in Spanish. (I like the word).

The guys never came. 

So we went to the store and upgraded to an even bigger, brighter Bosch. It finally came, they took away the other stove, and we cooked a chicken in it. 

After 55 minutes, we couldn't touch the stove's door or handle or any of the burner controls. They were hot, hot, hot, burning hot, and this Bosch stove bragged about its triple panel, heat protective door.

We asked for our money back. And got it. Two weeks ago today. We promptly took our pesos to another store (Tio Sam, or Uncle Sam when translated) and bought a GE stove. 

Tio Sam's guys installed the stove and put the Bosch in the front hall. And there it remains, despite calls to the store for pickup.

Soon, I'll put a tablecloth over it and use it for a Christmas tree stand. And enjoy a Christmas turkey in my new GE.

Where is the darn stove?

Where is the darn stove?

We're supposed to get a new stove. Well, new, but a replacement for our new stove.

In March we bought a new, expensive, Bosch, 6 burners, beautiful silver and black. It was installed in April. And then, the problems started.

Servicemen replaced two thermostats, repaired the starter, and the stove was still a dud. Several calls got more service people, but no repairs.

Set the oven for 350 degrees (about 180 C) and the temperature could be 350 one minute, 150 ten minutes later, 500 in half an hour, back down to 300. So you either undercooked or overcooked everything. Plus staying in the kitchen to try to adjust the dial as the temperature moved up and down by itself.

Last straw. Three weeks ago the oven sent a huge fireball out into the kitchen. I am not exaggerating. HUGE! Last Sunday it tried to send another one, but the oven door was closed so we just heard a BOOM.

Don't even ask about the burners. 

After the several service calls, or non-service calls, and after the fireball, we said we wanted a replacement. Bosch and the store agreed and ... maybe stupidly, we paid extra for an even fancier Bosch.

Day of the Dead is Past, but ...

Day of the Dead is Past, but ...

... the memories linger on.

Cemeteries are still full of the good things delivered to graves for Day of the Dead (November 2).

You'll find cigarets, tequila bottles and remnants of the deceased's favorite foods. Even places where the living relatives and friends had barbecues or picnics. The souls of the dead arrived to join the celebrations, of course, by following the trail and the smell of marigolds.

But you'll also discover that florists and other stores must have sold thousands and thousands of bouquets of plastic flowers on a stick, each bouquet encased in see-through plastic bubbles of cellophane. 

I wonder if folks were really supposed to remove the plastic before putting the flowers on the graves? And if most were left on, kind of like the plastic people leave on their lampshades?

You even see these flowers along the roadsides, decorating crosses that mark where someone died on the road. 

The roadside markers are generally plain white or concrete crosses, sometimes telling you the person's name. One site near here has 6 or 7 crosses grouped together, with one flower balloon.

Cat Movies

Cat Movies

When we turn the outside lights on at night, the geckos come out.

Across the patio, where the light covers the whole wall, at least a half dozen come out to chase bugs. They're good to have around, these geckos, because they do eat bugs (cockroaches, mosquitoes and termites)!

They're rather small, measured in inches maybe two to five, and they change colors to blend in with the beige wall. Green when they're in the garden. Curt says they are transparent when they're dead. I don't look.

But, back to evening, the cats can see them on the wall, and line up on the patio to watch the geckos catch bugs. We call them cat movies. And as long as the light is on the geckos are out.

Cana has fished them out from behind a picture hanging on the way. Chica has caught them in the kitchen and the garden. But the cats favorite? Watching the nightly "cat movies."

Geckos can walk upside down on the ceiling, backwards up the wall, across desks and tables and chairs. Across palapas, or straw roofs, too. Magic feet let them walk wherever they want, upside down or right side up.



We have new neighbors. 

Two legged, but not people. 

The people will move in soon. But ... their pets are already here. And they aren't dogs, cats, parrots or fish.

Roosters, four of them, in gorgeous colors. And hens, two, I think, rather plain in basic tan and basic white.

The man obviously loves and cares for these birds. He trims them, feeds them, and actually pets them as though they were a cat or dog. He's building a large new cage for them in the backyard.

I don't know if they have names. But I do know they are time impaired. To them, the official wake up crow may come at 4:30 a.m. or 4:30 p.m. or any other hour. It's 3:07 p.m. right now and one is our there cockadoodledooing. Dawn, too, of course, but that's just one of the cockadoodledoos and they choose the hour.

The roosters in San Pancho talk to each other. You'll hear the neighbor's "cockadoodledoo" and then, in the distance, a reply from some unknown rooster here in the pueblo. Then another and another and another. A relay of cockadoodledoos.

Buns, Butts, Bellies

Buns, Butts, Bellies

Two bobcats fighting in a burlap bag.

That's what my father used to call large human rear ends stuffed into too small pants.

There are a lot of bobcats around these parts.

I don't know why, but people -- Mexicans and Americans -- around San Miguel de Allende were generally not fat. In fact, you seldom saw a really chunky person.

But here, is it the warm weather? the lazy life along the beach? is it too hot to cook so you just snack? I don't know why. But there are a lot of large people wearing clothes that they shouldn't. These clothes are tight. Seriously tight. Spandex tight.

I hesitate to say "fat" because the Society for the Protection of Fat People won't like it. But, damn, these people are fat.

Adult women, just like the slender female teens, jam themselves into stretch pants and jeans, as if they were a size six. I don't know how they get in, and I don't know how they get out.

The favorite tops are camisoles, or strapless tops, with bra straps showing, or tops that show off bare midriffs. Fat bare midriffs. Women who should know better, Mexicans and gringos alike, buy and wear the new fashion, low waist pants. Which leave major bulges above! And those bobcats with even less space to fight in.

Nine days for Saint Francis

Nine days for Saint Francis

Wear white, they said. And carry flowers. That's what Jorge and Margarita told us when they stopped by for our donation to the San Francisco Festival. 

Our neighborhood was assigned the first night, which would be followed by eight more nights of festivities. You see, San Pancho is divided into nine parts. For the nine day celebration honoring patron saint Saint Francis of Assisi.

Nine days for San Francisco, San Pancho, in a pueblo that doesn't do much to celebrate Independence Day!

Nine days. Fireworks exploding at 5 a.m. and at the end of the evening's celebrations. Fireworks announcing the arrival of the neighborhood parade at the church.

Let me start over. Our neighborhood, about a ninth of the pueblo, was assigned the first night. Neighbors gave varying amounts of money, according to what they could afford, to Jorge and Margarita. Other neighborhoods did the same with their leaders, as each of the nine sections is assigned a different night.

The money helped decorate the streets and paid for a float, a pickup with a beautiful woman (an angel? the virgin?) over the cab and Saint Francis in brown garb in the back of the pickup. Each had a mural behind them. And it paid for the band that marched with the candle-carrying neighbors to the church. 

Why tercera edad?

Why tercera edad?

Why Tercera edad for the title of this page? Because, it sounds better than saying "old people."

Tercera edad is the "third age," meaning those 60 or older. You can figure out the math, I hope ... 0 to 30, 30 to 60, then tercer edad. (I don't know about the fourth age.)

Sometimes, some places, you get special parking spaces. Among the spaces marked for the handicapped and the pregnant, you'll find spaces close to the door of a store marked for those of us in the third age. Tercer edad.

Sounds better than "old people," doesn't it!

As does jubilada, instead of "retired woman." Or, jubilado, for "retired man. Or, retirado, another option.

I once referred to someone as being viejo, or old, and was politely reminded that we don't use that word for people, only objects, if we want to be polite.

Ahhh, Spanish. It sounds good. And we're working on learning more.


Nothing died in the kitchen today

Nothing died in the kitchen today

No, nothing died in the kitchen today.

The bees seemed to have stopped for a day or two. How long do they live, anyway? And, why the kitchen? Why not the bedroom? dining room? Why are all the little bodies littering the kitchen counters?

I try to catch them by letting them climb onto the blade of a knife. Then, I flick them out the window. But I think the same ones keep coming back, just to die in the kitchen. 

Yesterday, it was a spider. Not just a spider, but a SPIDER. We found it in the sink, body bigger than a silver dollar. We drowned it. 

There are the tiny tiny ants that we have learned to just smash with a finger if they dare walk by. And we spray the garden for flies, ticks, whatever is out there.

Would living things in the kitchen be better? Like the frog? The jungle frog hiding behind the microwave? How did he get there? How does a frog jump onto a kitchen counter?

At least the crabs didn't get into the kitchen. One fell into the pool, poor fellow, and drowned. But nothing in the kitchen. Friends have them marching right in the front door and out the back. They're coming out of their holes, heading for the sea where they'll make more crabs. And nothing gets in their way.

Buying at the front door

Buying at the front door

You can buy almost anything here without leaving the house.

The ice cream guy, my favorite, with his car outfitted with coolers and a sound track running. Always a choice of three flavors ... maybe nut, vanilla and something for the kids, like bubblegum flavor.

Of course, all the peddlers have sound tracks running. Either you identify the music or the words tell you what's for sale.

The knife sharpener walks around, with a whistle to tell you he is near.

The garbage guys ring a cowbell to tell you to get the garbage to the curb now.

But everyone else seems to have a sound track.

At the front door, you can buy shrimp, beautiful plump giant shrimp. Fresh of course. Eighty pesos (less than eight USDollars) for a kilogram (2.2 pounds). Or, you can buy cerviche, a combination of raw, marinated seafood.

Or, furniture. Beds and dressers, chairs, tables.

Lots of vegetables. I think I've found two different men, always men selling it seems, driving by the house selling the freshest fruits and vegetables imaginable. At least one of them comes by twice a day, morning and night.

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