Tag Archives: live a great story

New Year

I say New Year, because I can’t quite give in fully to a Happy New Year. I’m not sure if I don’t want to acknowledge all of last year, if I want to hang on to the parts of last year that were good, or if I am just not ready to turn the page and see the new year as the blank page that many would have you think that it is.


What is ‘happy’ anyway? Right now, I feel like ‘happy’ is the glaze on a good cinnamon roll. It’s nice, but it isn’t the substance that makes the layers of sweet dough, butter, cinnamon and sugar come together to be the bit of heaven that a good cinnamon roll can be. I guess I feel like life is like that. If you roll up gratitude, adventure, love and connection, you have something that, like the cinnamon roll, is lovely on any day. And if you have all of those ingredients, then whether that day has the happy glaze or not, doesn’t really matter, as it is a good day none the less. (I probably should eat before writing so that my analogies are not food related. Fun fact: I don’t like alot of sweets, but a good cinnamon roll is my weakness – but please don’t send any as my comfort eating does not need the extra calories)


I guess that is how I am experiencing life right now – every day has the right ingredients, but it isn’t necessarily a happy day. People want to know every day how I am doing and there just isn’t one good answer to give. I am still sad alot some days. Not all the time, and not generally when I am with others, but there is just so much of everyday life that reminds me of what I have lost when Ted died, that sadness creeps in more than I ever thought that it could.


Yesterday, in preparation for the winter storm that they were predicting, I set about looking for the shovels, the windshield brushes, setting up the pallet and backstop so we could stack some wood up underneath the covered portion of the deck and trying to think of anything else that needed handled before the snows covered everything up . As I made my coffee – actually, I warmed up some coffee still in the pot from who knows when, but as I stood in the kitchen, I thought about how if Ted was here, he would already be outside doing all of those things. I would instead be making a full coarse breakfast while watering plants. I would feed him something like ham, potatoes, eggs and toast and he would go back out and continue to do all of the little things that I now must manage. Lucky for me, I have great neighbors and they said they were coming over to fix the gate by the garage (that wasn’t hanging quite right) and to make sure the snow blower would start. We needed some screws and they found them before I did – as I have said before, they have done many projects with Ted, so they know where Ted keeps lots of his extra pieces and parts. We got those projects done and they helped me secure the setup for the wood as well.

I was suppose to go to a New Year’s get together with my “Mom’s” group last night. The husbands were invited too. We will often include the husbands from time to time and the guys end up in one room and us Mom’s still get our time and hilarity together. I realized my perception has changed. All of a sudden, I was the single person coming to the couples gathering. I had to kick myself a bit and remind myself that it’s not like I haven’t gone to any of these functions without Ted before. He could totally decide an hour before we were to arrive that he just had too much to do and didn’t want to stop what he was doing, and so, off I would trot, without him, and never think another thing about it. I need to think of it like I’m just going without him, not that he will never be able to go again, or it is hard. Our gathering was cancelled due to the winter storm that had arrived and made the roads to hazardous to venture out on.

So this is a New Year, but really just another day. It won’t always be a Happy New Year, but it won’t always be a sad one either. I imagine it will be filled with many new and wonderous things and many memories. Every new turn might not lead in the direction I thought I was going, but I will trust that I am on the right road.

Love Sally

Tangled Lights

Last night, I was laying down to sleep and my mind was so lost that I couldn’t even pick out what it was even trying to focus on thinking about. Then, out of the blue, an exercise popped into my head. It was the one where you write yourself a note or letter. One where you are objective and look at yourself as an outsider and offer some kind words and understanding. I realized I was a jumble of tangled emotions and the picture of Christmas lights popped into my head. You know, the ones where in haste, the lights are thrown into a container and somehow during the storage period, they all get intertwined and when you reach in next time to use them, they are so tangled that it feels like it would be easier to pitch them and go buy new ones.

And so I wrote: Dear Sal, I know it hurts and you just don’t even know how to feel your way through all of the emotions. You feel sad, alone, unsure, doubting and like all of the emotions are wrapped in a knot that feels like it won’t ever be undone. You use to have this other person to love, to blame, to lean on, to have an excuse about and now you don’t. Now its just you and you’re not sure where yourself really starts and stops because it was always intertwined with Ted. Now there is this scary prospect of finding out who you really are, where you want to go with life, what you want to do. Take your time and think about that. Be honest with yourself. I know you are mad too. Mad that you have to deal with shit you don’t want to even look at. Tired of thinking about what needs to be done. tired of waking up and not getting back to sleep. So desperately not wanting to deal with bills and decisions even though you have been the only one to pay bills for 32 years.

Then I got a text from a friend who’s sister also just lost her husband. She said that she was thinking of me and her sister and that today would have been their 33rd anniversary. She also included the photo below. (it wasn’t the first time someone sent it to me, but I’ll include it because it is a good one and one I agree with)

I tried to think of a response, but was feeling so raw in connecting my pain and her sister’s pain and knowing that while similar, we are also different, that again, my emotional christmas lights were too jumbled to untangle so as to even write a message in response.

I simply fell asleep and actually slept till around 4 in the morning. I awoke thinking about my friend and her sister and how to formulate a response. I finally responded to the anniversary reference.

“Thirty three years. My Ted and I just celebrated 32 in August – a few days after Koo’s birthday. I hope it has been a good day for her. One where she picked a few things to do or eat that she knew they both would have loved to do together. I hope this one day was free of the mess of emotions that follows the death of a long time love and spouse. I cry for her or maybe I’m just crying for me. Or both. I hope she is able to look in wonder at what must be rushing in from all corners of her life to fill the void of the loss of a great one. It’s hard to not just get stuck in feeling the void. I know, as I feel her void and mine so deeply right now. For me, it is like looking at the Grand Canyon. It is beautiful and daunting and you can’t ever see or capture all of it in one look or picture, so you feel like you can’t really ever describe it fully. Hugs to Julia and to you both for your friendship.”

I thought I had felt through enough emotions in the past many hours, but when I got to work, I remembered that our owner and one of the sales guys had gone to visit another of our sales guys who has declined in health rather rapidly and was just put onto hospice. In recounting their stories of their visit, it brought me back to Ted in the hospital and his last decline. It was relayed that if I wanted to visit, that I should get to his home soon, as it wasn’t looking good. I had to admit that it might be cowardice, but I wasn’t feeling like I could face that situation right now. Seeing him in near coma and having to look at his wife in her desperate need to keep him alive felt like I’d be standing in front of a mirror that was on magnification and in that moment of contemplation, just didn’t want to see myself in his wife’s eyes.

The decision was not necessary, as he passed away before we even made it to the lunch hour. I thought about his wife and family again and how they will now have to work through having such a void in their lives and learn how to live in a space without his body but still so full of his spirit. Our entire office was sad and quiet for most of the remainder of the day.

Through all of this onslaught of events that were thrown at me today, through trying to convey responses and basic communications, I felt the tangle of emotions loosen. It felt like a few bulbs made their way out of the mess and more were readily available to lay out for use as well. I know there are still more tangles in there, but to get half a string free feels better.

And to balance out the heaviness of the past 20 hours or so, I received a message that my pregnant friend was heading to the hospital to have her baby. As I write, they are sending me photos from the hospital sharing their story of the birth of their first child. Happy hospital drama this time around. I’ll be glad to shed some tears for joy later when baby Rio arrives.

Love, Sally

Mexico Log Day 9

The four of us awoke early so that we could go find the famous waterfalls of Xico. I was dressed first, so I went on a walk around the grounds as Beth, Lalo and Sydney got ready. I ended up walking the outer perimeter of the resort checking out the cows and farmland as I went. I found myself by the barns and stables and in behind where guests are normally allowed to go. Luckily, there was a short gate that was easy to climb over to get myself out from the forbidden area.

Just as I entered the far end of the parking lot, a truck pulled up and dropped some workers off at the main entrance to the resort and continued onto the grounds with several workers to the entrance through the private gate to the house and barn area I had just come from. I was glad to have not been confronted for being in the wrong area – especially since we wouldn’t have been able to communicate.

We then jumped in the car and headed to the town. We found the smaller cascades just outside of town, but were not sure how to locate the larger falls we had seen photos of. After two times of asking the locals for directions, we figured out the way. The road to the parking lot for the falls, travels thru many fields filled with rows and rows of coffee plants growing among huge plantains. We finally were able to really see how the plantain stalks create the flower and then grow the bananas on each plant.

The streets were stone. There seemed to be quite a few men going to work with shovels and machetes. Handsome cowboys on foot, four wheelers, horses and mules. One could swear we were straight out of a National Geographic with the beauty and character of the place. These photos don’t show it, but most all those that we came across were free with their smiles as we would pass by.

We were the only car to park in the lot and we started the descent to the falls. The path down to the falls was well maintained and with a steady descent. The amount of flowers, lush plants and trees everywhere we looked just filled me with the calm and joy that resides in all nature, -but was more plentiful than I had ever experienced.

I could have stayed in the mist of this falls all day.

Back to resort for brunch with entire family.

We stopped back Into Xico so that I could visit the main cathedral on our way out.

We went to the next magic town of Cuatepec. We did some shopping at some artisan shops in town. I finally found a few post cards and a few blank cards as well. The central square was closed off for some work, but we we walked around the block and bought some ice cream for the kids and I got some of the favorite street treats of fresh churros.

Drove back to Veracruz, and finished off our wonderful day with a seafood meal at one of their favorite restaurants and then some time out on the malecon.

Mexico Log Day 8

The days of Magical towns.

The Pueblo Mágico (Magical Town) designation is awarded to those communities that over time have maintained their original architecture, traditions, history and culture. As well as to those that have been of great relevance to the country’s history.

This was the day that we were going with the family to Xico (pronounced Hico). We began our day with a stop at the cafe de la parroquia and had cafe lechero and ordered a bombas and enchilada suizas. I had previously had this dish on Isla Mujeres and it was one of my favorite dishes there. Sadly, these were nothing close to what I had on the island. Still, we had a blast as there was a gal ahead of us in line that we thought might be a model as she was tall, thin, had perfect posture. A young guy met up with her and the two more older gents met up with them at the table next to ours. We made up stories of who and what they were doing. People watching and devising stories of others lives is fun anywhere. This town has some of the largest espresso machines I have ever seen.

We went to the house and Syd and I went up on the roof for the view. We could see the pools in the yards, the park across the street and the skyline with the crazy building that looked like someone had fashioned it after a half played Jenga Game.

The road trip to Xico had us passing through Xalapa and Cuatepec – which is another magic town and deserves some time to see. We decided then that we needed another trip just to spend some time in this part of the state and explore. We did drive down some of the side streets to get a taste of the town, but alas, we had a destiny and needed to motor on. The region is very lush and beautiful.

We made it to Xico and it is the most magical of the towns. We drove through the streets a bit and then headed to the place we were staying at. It is a beautiful resort with farm grounds surrounding the well groomed multi palmed area. This area is abundant with cattle ranches and coffee/plantain plantations. The resort is called Agua Bendita. The plant life there was just amazing. The leaves on many of the plants and trees were larger than I had ever experienced.

We then went into town to have dinner at the Campanario restaurant. I was filled with wonder ever since entering this town. Combine the beauty of the land with the old world cobblestone streets and the historic buildings and streets, and this is a town that feels like it is a treasure from another time. One that the inhabitants know they are blessed to know and live within.

The restaurant had it’s own internal wall of lush plants, historic photos on the walls and as like everywhere in the state of Veracruze, a gal making the fresh home made corn tortillas. Most of our table had some form of steak after the standard appetizers and I had rellenos. We had a dessert tamal that like a sponge cake with light filling in it wrapped in corn husk.

It rained off and on during dinner and was sprinkling when we left. We drove a few streets over and walked up one of the main streets toward one of the churches of the town. We stopped and purchased coffee and mole and Paola bought us each a Chile sec

I went to a honey shop and bought some pollen stuff for Ted

We went into another coffee shop where they were roasting the beans and bought more coffee.

It was getting late and dark and the church at the top of the street was closed, so we made it back down to the cars and made our way back to where we were staying. We joined up with the family in their bungalow – which was really a bit more like small two bedroom house. They had a jacuzzi in their place which they filled for the kids to enjoy as some of us watched Thursday night football of NY Giants and Washington Redskins. Lalo’s father was once a professional soccer player, so sports was always available to watch with Don Lalo.

Enjoying the foliage at night was just another lens to see the beauty.

We then went back to our one bedroom two bed bungalow that the four of us shared like the one big travel family that we are.

Mexico Log – Day 4

Day 4 was a a restful and beautiful river boat ride day.

Lalo had showed us how to use the coffee grinder in the hotel so that if we were the first ones up, we could go ahead and make coffee. This is the hotel that has been in the family for a few generations and they only use the kitchen for family and some staff meals. Lalo actually grew up in this hotel in one of the rooms with his parents. His Aunt and Uncle currently live in a few of the rooms. Rosaura (Chagua) , Lalo’s Tia (aunt) and younger sister of Luzma, was up and made traditional Veracruz style enchiladas with eggs and beans, salsa, and queso. Enchiladas Veracruz style are the ever present home made corn tortillas but instead of being filled and rolled and covered, they just fold them over, the sauce on top, then whatever fillings and cheese are thrown on top or off to the side. It was delicious.

We walked down the beach for a quick morning look and ended up walking all the way down to the breaker where the river meets the ocean. Not thinking that we were going to be out so long, we of coarse forgot to put on sunscreen and since this was not tourist season, there were none of the carts trolling the beach with all kinds of inflatable toys, sand buckets or sunscreen. We walked on beach and out on the first sandbar – there are generally three sandbars along each portion of this beach. We found some shells and three complete sand dollars.

We ended up leaving the sand dollars at the end of the beach for someone else to find. We then walked up the river side of town and saw hurricane destruction that was more prevalent or just hadn’t had the time to be completely repaired or cleaned up. Most buildings are concrete, so it is in the roofs, windows and downed trees that you notice the damage. I can see why some of the poorer sections of town have makeshift roofs and do without windows. It must be hard to try to replace them after every bad storm.

We Walked back thru town, stopping to see a few of Lalo’s friends along the way. Walking through town with Lalo feels like you are walking with the mayor. He stops to shake hands/fist bump or just greet just about everyone. Even when he isn’t stopping on his own, someone will see him and pull over their car to talk, or run out from nowhere and greet him.

Lalo’s cousin had been in town with his girlfriend, so we headed back to spend a bit more time with them before they were to leave that day.

To cool off, we sat with our feet in pool for a bit. I had been watching the kids nanny braiding and caring for Meranda’s hair every day, so I asked if she wouldn’t mind braiding mine for something different and to keep it out of the gulf breeze as we took the river boat ride later. Breeza (sp?) who is just sixteen or so and lives with the family, made quick work with my hair and had it complete in no time. Paola’s husband died a few years back and so live in help became a must so that she could continue to work. Anyone would want Breeza in their home though as she is a lovely hard working young lady who, much like most people I met on this trip, would brighten any room.

After saying goodbye to Lalo’s cousin and his lovely girlfriend, we then walked to the malecon on the river side. This is where we met Lalo’s friend Luis Eduardo (el gordo) and took a boat ride on the river with Ricky (Rickytin). We learned about the three types of mangroves (manglares) – red (roots anchored from top to bottom, closest to the water), white (roots from bottom to top, middle) and black (roots from bottom to top, farthest from water) and the conservation efforts of certain groups in the area. We saw a spotted turtle (tortuga pinta), five crocodiles (cocodrilos), spider crabs, red crabs, black crowned/white crowned/yellow-bellied egrets, vultures, an eagle and a royal duck. We got 32 oz micheladas from the party boat and would troll up to the tourist boats to provide refreshments and treats.

We came back to the hotel and ate pozole and talked with Luis Eduardo. I took a nap while the others talked politics, then came back and we played Unstable Unicorns which is a card style game that is a fun way to end any day.

Mexico Log Day 7

Beth, Syd and I arrose for sunrise on the roof of the hotel. It was a beautiful spot and just seeing the town as it was waking up and the small fisherman boats coming and going was serene and lovely. Very few seemed to be up in the town except for the roosters we could hear in the quiet of the dawn.

We then went on a walk thru town thinking we might find the coffee and bake shops open. Neither were open, but wanting to walk some of the side streets, we traversed down to the river side and back up other streets to the ocean side and back to the hotel. We saw more beautiful flowers, boats parked in and out of the water – and what happens when someone has seen English language use contraction of n’t and didn’t get it right, shouldn’t have tried, and now I don’t know if you actually eat there or it’s not really a restaurant since it is spelled restauran’t.

I missed buying some cinnamon bread from one of the street vendors, so when we saw a dude selling bread, we stopped him to see what he had. He didn’t have my cinnamon bread, but he did have rolls that were like our Hawaiian bread we get. We purchased one of his rolls and walked in the surf back toward the hotel’s street.

As we got back to the hotel, the night shift guy was just receiving a delivery from someone. It turned out that it was zacahuil for us for breakfast. It is like a tamale stew in a banana leaf. It included a bag of the pickled onions, japs and carrots. We had some of that with our Hawaiian roll and coffee.

It was getting hot again, so we then headed with our coffees to the pool to hang out with out feet in the cool water.

I went in search of a post card in the shops in Tecalutla. None were to be found. It would seem that no one sends post cards or letters much in Mexico these days. Not sure if that is due to instant communication through phones or what.

We went into Gutirriez Zamora looking for the cueritos tortas (pig skin sandwich) that Lalo loves and wanted me to try. This is again a city built with hills and countryside to one side and the river to the other. Some hills were so steep that the photos we took make us look gravity defying.

The places he knew that sold the sought after sandwich, were all closed, so we went back home. As we passed through another street in the town, I recognized that it was where the cemetery was, so they stopped so that I could have a visit. I find the history in cemeteries fascinating in any town. We also visited another of the family hotels and some fun spots around the town.

We got home in time for the family big meal. Today it was tortilla soup. Followed by plain and adobo thin pork chops with beans and rice with carrots and potatoes. One of my favorite meals. So good, I forgot to take any photos.

We were heading back to the city of Veracruz for the night and everyone was anxious to get us on the road so the we wouldn’t be driving on the “scary highway” at night. We said goodbye and gave hugs to the Aunties and Willie with promises to return to see them again sometime.

This highway is the one with all the little towns/stands/little farmers markets along the road. This highway also has long stretches of countryside where people speed along as fast as they can. It also has it’s share of potholes and it is a route for seemingly every double tandem tractor trailer rig in the state. So, picture a two lane highway curving up and down the countryside, people going at various speeds along the way and everyone passing even when the views of oncoming traffic cannot be seen. It was a bit like a roller coaster ride that sounds and feels unsafe and you wonder if you should have gotten on that ride. Actually, I always felt safe with Lalo driving. It was seeing the acts of the other drivers that was astounding. I mean. I might have held my breath a few times when we were overtaking a tandom trailered semi that was weaving all over the road ahead of us. It was definitely not the all day site seeing non-hurried drive that characterized our drive to Tecalutla.

It was dark by the time we made it into the city. We checked into our hotel and dropped off our bags and headed over to the family house there.

It was Mexican Independence Day. We watched the speech and toasted with a lovely tequila. I had looked up a bit about their Independence Day and unlike ours, where we celebrate when we signed the documents as a done deal, in Mexico, the day is the beginning of the struggle for independence. It is the day of determination, hope, and togetherness.

Miranda went and put on her Independence Day dress she wore to school that day. So cute.

The Plans for the next day is onto some of the Pueblos Mágicos (Magical Towns)

Mexico Log Day 6

Lalo went out first thing and brought back Atole morado (it was a purple drink) and mixed it with a horchata he also brought -the mixture called campechana. I prefer the straight horchata, but I do always appreciate his desire to show and share the tastes that he grew up with.

Today for breakfast, we were fixed Infladetas (inflated tortillas) mole. Onions, Queso fresco, and eggs with chorizo. Delicious as always.

We sat around the family table and talked. Lalo went and got out family photo albums. It was fun to see the aunts and his mom chiming in on some of the pics. Lalo’s other aunt showed up today. She is other sister to Luzma, Chagua and Willie. She is Estela. Watching and listening to them all recalling certain photos and talking about the locations, antics, making fun of some and seeing the closed eyed remembrance of being in a time and place of others was so fun. There are no cultural differences when sitting with families as they look at family albums.

We sat by the pool and talked there for a while and threw in a load of laundry. Once the load was complete, we hung the clothes on the line on the roof of the house to dry.

Beth and I were headed up to the room to chill out for a bit as it was hot and humid again and we thought we could rest and make notes of our travels in the comfort of the air conditioned room, but the hotel staff was cleaning our room. Beth headed back downstairs and I headed up the stairs to see what the other floors were like and to see if I could find the roof access – as Lalo and Sys had said it had a great 360 view of the town. I found the access and indeed you can see the ocean to one side and the river to the other side.

After a quick nap, we hung out in our room for a bit and then went downstairs to sit with the family as they had their main meal -3:45 pm lunch meal. We didn’t eat with them as we were going to a friends auntie’s restaurant for the shrimp and seafood cocktails.

I had the everything seafood cocktail with shrimp, conch, octopus, crab and oysters. Vuelve A La Vida (bring back to life) it was called. All very fresh and delicious but the sauce was on the sweet side for my tastes.

The place was not air conditioned, so I was sticking to the table and chair and feeling quite uncomfortable by the end of the meal.

Welcoming a walk and the gulf breeze through the streets, we went looking for some zero beer for Sydney to make a michelada for herself later. Watching us have those big ones from our river boat ride the prior day with the tamarind around the top had given her a craving for one.

We all went to the beach for an evening swim – super fun and refreshing. Syd, Beth and I went out to the first sand bar and bobbed in the waves. The first sand bar was about chest high today. The current would quickly transport us down the beach and we would fight the waves and current to try to stay near/even to where we had left our belongings on the beach. We were sucked under by a few waves and came up laughing and waiting for the next. Lalo was out on the second sand bar and body surfed like a pro out there for a while.

We then slogged back to the pool in the hotel and hung out there for a while before heading to bed. Luzma went with us to the beach and in the pool and it was great.

I showered in the shower by the pool with my suit on. Beth waited to shower in our room. When she got her suit off, she found that there were strategic pockets of sand plastered to her body like someone had slapped mud pies to her (sand pies in this case). I guess she had taken more tumbles and had gotten really blasted by the ocean waves earlier and the pool water only seemed to solidify it. It was pretty hilarious looking and left us giggling in our own beds as we said goodnight. I drifted off with another appreciation of a great day.

Give to others to improve your wellbeing | Mental health

Mexico Log Day 5

“The release of Fred”

The Aunties had said that we could go release baby turtles into the ocean as part of a conservation project if we got up early enough.

Beth and I arose early and went to the beach and listened to the talk of saving the turtles. It is said that this area would now be devoid of a few of the species had one man not started this project nearly fifty years ago. Lalo and Syd awoke and joined us just as we were getting some baby turtles to release. They said we could name our turtle, send them good wishes and let it go at the edge of the beach. I named mine Fred and while he got washed back into shore with a few of the first waves, he finally made it out far enough to begin his grand journey in life. I hoped for a long one for him/her.

We came back and went and got coffee and then jumped into car and went to check out El Tajin which is an important archeological site. It was closed, but we got to see the Tajin Fliers – Voladores de Tajin. They perform an amazing ceremony atop a 100 foot pole. The ritual consists of dance and the climbing of a 30-meter (98 ft 5 in) pole from which four of the five participants then launch themselves tied with ropes to descend to the ground. The fifth remains on top of the pole, dancing and playing a flute and drum. This is an ancient ritual that was created to ask the gods to provide rain and protect their crops. It was amazing to watch and while I have a video of the ceremony, it doesn’t seem to be loading well and so you may just have to google it to see the entire thing.

Back thru the countryside we drove to the nearby city of Papantla which is big cityfounded in the thirteenth century built up and down the cerros – steep hills – it resides within. It is also considered the heart of Mexico’s vanilla growing region.

We circled up and down the streets of the hillsides trying to find the route to get up to the statue of the indigenous guy that was the flute/drummer in the Tajin fliers. The streets are so narrow and even when sometimes designated as two way, you needed to just approach it as a one way street.

We found a parking space one hill over and walked up and down and up to where the statue resides. It gives a great view of the city. We could see the main square and all of the other hills that make up the city.

After walking back to the car, we stopped for lunch at the restaurant called El Pardo. If you go, know that there is a parking lot behind the restaurant accessible through a small opening between the buildings. It cost us 40 pesos for our parking – two dollars very well spent in a town with little extra space. Beth and I split the Molcajete de Mar Y Tierra – chicken, pork, chorizo, queso asada, nopales (cactus), tortillas and salsa. I tried the local brew cerveza Totonaca – a porter and then tried the ale. I had tried my first Molcajete in Denver not that long ago and was blown away with how good it was. This one also did not dissapoint.

We then drove to the vanilla factory and took the tour and learned of the vanilla species and propagation and process. It hotter than hot and we were all feeling as if we might just melt into the walkways as we walked along.

We purchased some vanilla and I also got some honey. I mistakenly bought all vanilla paste instead of extract but luckily we hadn’t left yet and Lalo and Syd went back in and got it exchanged out for me.

We then were just happy to jump in the car for some welcome air conditioning and the beautiful ride back to Tecalutla.

The family had already eaten their main meal when we returned, but the food was still out, so I had a tamale and a relleno which was stuffed with cheese and chicken. I never wanted to miss the opportunity to try the foods as they were prepared by the family or in terms of the regional influence.

We talked for a bit then went down to the main zocolo (town square). Lalo got a jobo (sounds like Hobo) water, another new type of fruit for me. It was good.

We sat in the park talking and the birds were just wildly active in the nearby tree. Beth and Syd were sitting on a bench near, but not quite under this tree with all of the birds. As fate would have it, one bird still managed to get above Beth and defecate on her head. I assured her that is was a sign of good luck. At least that is what I have always told myself since I had the same thing happen to me one year while camping.

We laughed and Lalo cleaned it up and we moved to a safer bench on the other side of the park. I was somewhat uncomfortable from the meal and decided to head back to our room. Rosaura and Luzma were sitting at the table when I returned and invited me to join them. I sat but wondered how the heck we could have a conversation without my interpreters. It is amazing what can be given and gotten with hand gestures, a bit of google help and trial and error. I shared what happened to Beth in the park and we talked of some of our travels that day with the help of some pictures, a bit of google and Uncle Willie doing some translation as needed as he had come in and sat down to eat during our conversation. Rosaura began teaching me the feminine and masculine of some of the words (Rica and Rico). It was a fun exchange to be taught some basics and with several examples, I finally started understanding. I had mostly felt my way through many of the conversations between the family members, as many times, there were multiple conversations happening when everyone was gathered around the table. It always amazes me how much you can gain from a discussion by the movements, tone and expressions of the speaker and audience.

Lalo, Sydney and Beth arrived back and we talked some more and then headed to bed. It was another great day.

Getting my hug ticket

I will freely admit that when the Covid vaccine came out, I was skeptic and not thinking that I would be one to jump in and get one. I am not one to get an influenza shot – I probably haven’t had one of those in 15 years. I’ve been healthy, so I never felt the need to get a flu shot. I was feeling the same way about the Covid vaccine until it became apparent that I have people in my life that should I wish to spend time with them, I need to make sure that I protect myself from getting something that could adversely affect them.
The exact moment that this kicked in for me was seeing a post from a friends daughter – the daughter is a yoga teacher and very healthy wholistic person. Her mom, my friend, has had a heart transplant about three years ago now. The virus that she caught that killed her heart was actually a covid strain that had already been around. Anyway, when the daughter posted on Instagram that she had gotten her shot, my friend had typed in a comment of how pleased she was that they would be able to hug again. I smiled as I read that and said to myself, if getting a shot will allow me to hug my friend again, then, sign me up for the shot.

Problem was, I wasn’t in the current list of those that qualified. It’s been a long long time since I wasn’t old enough for something that had an age requirement.

Well, my age group finally made it to the inclusion list, but all of a sudden, there were no openings for an appointment to get the shot. I’d log in at 2:00 am when I’d wake up in the middle of the night and check, but nothing in my area. I’d log in at lunch and check. I found a couple, but by the time I clicked on them, they were already taken.

Yesterday, I decided that I would just keep checking to see if anything came up, and lo and behold, an appointment opened up at the pharmacy just 8 blocks from my office for today. I was even able to make the second appointment.

I was surprised at how happy I was to actually be signed up to get a shot. I think back to being in grade school and there being a day when we all stood in line at school to get the smallpox shot or was it polio, I can’t quite recall. Everyone got it, so that no one would get the disease. I’m hoping that enough people now also cut down the number of people who are apt to get the covid virus.

For me, covid feels like the bully in the neighborhood, you may fly under the radar and not be effected, but there are those we see getting pummeled and even killed. So, if I can help get the bully out of my neighborhood by getting a couple of jabs, then I’ll do it.

So far, I’ll be the only one in my household getting the shots, but that’s ok. Everyone has to do what is right for them, and this is what is right for me.

Wish me luck.

Sally

Where the stories began to be shared

This weeks story

I think it is ironic most days, that I actually own a website where I can write and post anything that I wish. It is ironic because It is a potentially very public platform for something I hold quite private. I mean, I love to write personal notes or even stories to people, but having it be public is a different beast than an individual note, card or text. I think that the reason that I can write something and allow it to be read by multiple people at all, stems from one moment in high school.

Some background first:

I was a bit of a mess as for that last year of high school. I’ll say it all started when my mother and father had gone to visit friends in Xenia Ohio for a weekend. It was memorable for several reasons. One, my parents rarely went anywhere – we were dairy farmers, so you don’t get to leave, as cows always need fed and milked. Two, Xenia was the location of one of the largest most powerful tornados ever to hit the state of Ohio just several years prior and we were curious to have eyes on the changes to the town.

Three, our world changed forever that weekend. While staying in their friends home, my Mom had what they thought was a stroke. After a night of fun, games and conversations, they went to the guest bedroom and she later awoke and could not speak or move properly. They called an ambulance and took her for medical attention. I don’t recall them being gone for any longer than they had scheduled to be away, so she must have recovered in the hospital fairly quickly to be sent home. The directive was that she was to see her local doctors as soon as possible once back at our house. It shook my Mom for that to have occurred. She had felt embarrassed to have had it happen in someone’s home when all was to have been a joyous time. It also scared her – that her always reliable body – had failed her without reason. The reason came not too long and several tests later when they diagnosed her with a mass in her brain. They then cut open her skull to look and see what type of mass it was. It was not a hard definable mass that they could cut out, it was a soft tumor that grew onto her brain and they could not really take more than a sample out as to do otherwise would have caused more brain damage than what the tumor was already doing.

So, all of this was going on, and I guess that I handled all of those emotions of what was happening better some days than others. I’m sure that I was way more sullen some days than I thought I was showing. It’s funny how when you shut down your emotions thinking that it will hide them from view, it instead acts more like a billboard stating there’s a problem.

Back to that one memorable day. I was in an advanced math class and instead of my normal rapt attention, was lost in the fearful thoughts of not knowing what was going to happen with Mom. Towards the end of the class, the teacher, irritated with my non-engagement in a problem, asked if I was ok and could I join the rest in paying attention. I honestly don’t exactly recall what my reply was, but I was feeling so fragile at that moment that having someone direct any attention at me was more than I could handle. I stood up and said no I wasn’t fine and asked if I could please be excused as I started to cry and headed for the door. Not a known cryer, she nodded approval and I left for the restroom. Problem was, I was in near full bawling mode and knew that I couldn’t regain composure by the start of next class as the bell was about to ring for change just a few minutes after I left. Never one to just ditch a class, I decided to reach my upcoming English class early and ask to be excused until I could get it together once again. She said sure, take what you need, she would be reading stories to the class that we had all been writing recently. We had been directed to write short stories. I think it was maybe a mythology unit that we were studying and we were all to create mythological creatures of our own.

So, I made my way back to the girls bathroom trying to make myself invisible to everyone now flooding the halls in the change of classes. I cried out of frustration, fear and now embarrassment that I had had a public breakdown. My face was red, my eyes puffy, my nose running and while the cold water I was using to try to calm these manifestations, felt good and calming, it did little to hide the obvious results of a really good cry.

When I could again breath in a normal rhythm and felt I wouldn’t relapse and loose composure if someone looked or spoke to me, I ploddingly made it to the English class. I had missed most of the class by then and was relieved that she just let me get to my desk without a word or reference to my sad state or length of delay in showing up. She merely continued reading the current story.

My relief was short lived as the very next story she began was mine. First of all, I had hoped my story wouldn’t have been read at all – even if she didn’t tell the class what stories were by whom, I still felt that my horror of having it read aloud would give me away. The thing of it was, it may have been the first real creative writing story that I ever did and I found that it was fun. For me, it was like making mud pies and structures as a kid, as long as no one was critiquing your creation, you could make anything and just enjoy the process.

So there I was, just fresh from crying my eyes out, feeling I had maybe dodged too much humiliation of self exposure and now all of a sudden, I was again feeling exposed as she was starting to read my story. If I could have made myself disappear, I absolutely would have. I’m sure I must have looked up and given her a “Please No, please don’t do it” look, but in her ever confident, melodic reading voice, she read.

I remember initially thinking that this was perhaps a betrayal or assault to purposefully now bring attention to me (even if it was only she and I who knew it was my story) when I was already beaten down for the day. But, beneath the panic of the moment, I felt her support, her purposeful act of holding onto my story until I was in the room to hear it read. Her allowing me to absorb bits of appreciation and plant that seed that stories can be shared and the world doesn’t stop when you do so even when you feel it might.

It was also a lesson on how hiding your fears gives them power, while shining a light on them gives you power.

So, if you like that I write a note, story or blog to share every now and then, you just might want to send a thank you to my English teacher turned advisor, friend and pal. She doesn’t grade my output any longer -although my sentence structures, punctuation and grammar probably make her wish she could – she does still fully support me in sharing some stories.

Acknowledgement: my memories of this time period may differ from others around for those same times. We all see the world from our own lens and this was mine alone.

Love, Sally