Friday, December 30, 2005

While my Cavalier gently sleeps

We invited Allison's new friend, J., over today. They played fairly well together until the Treasure Hunt game which is basically another version of an Easter egg hunt, except I hid poker chips around the yard. This is when things fell apart. I made the mistake of setting a mood of competition when I commented to Allison, "look, J. knows how to tie his shoes." (she's only worn velcro-tie shoes all her life) She cut an evil sideways glance at me. Then we began the hunt. Allison's technique of careful scanning did not match J.'s physical approach which involved more speed and a willingness to push and dive for a chip. So, after coming up short in three rounds Allison grew pretty testy. I gently scolded her rudeness and off she stormed to her bedroom, slamming the door. Poor loser. In typical clueless male reaction, J asked innocently, "what's the matter with her?"

When J.'s mother came for him she suggested taking Allison back to their house in Loreto for awhile. Robert and I would pick her up later. But when we did go for her we were unable to find the house since there are no house numbers and we were looking for a white house with a palapa off the Malecon, near the giant "M" arch entrance to the La Pinta Hotel. We drove up and down for over a half-hour before giving up and driving to where J's father works to ask him. We half-joked that we'd had better luck just rolling down the car windows and hollering her name through the neighborhood. When we found her she was in their living room a fair distance from three little boys watching a video and eagerly awaiting her departure. I felt disappointed that she did not take to her new friends as I hoped. On the way home she said, "I want a girl friend." (translated to mean,"I don't like playing with trucks in the dirt.") Although I feel for her unhappiness, I understand that a little discomfort will only make the discovery of new "girl" friends a real treasure.

Tonight, Robert, Beau and I took a walk to the Camino Real Hotel with our dog friends, Larry and Curly. Darryl was absent. They remember us from the two days we attempted to become their new guardians. Better now, that we are just friends--they visit and then go home to eat. We all walked or trotted up the boulevard startling an owl out of a tree and stirring up barking from desert dogs hidden in the brush. When we arrived two miles later to the hotel, the two stopped obediently at the entrance and bid us goodbye. They know their place which I find respectful. Meanwhile, our cavalier spaniel has taken to the Mexico lifestyle. Here's a photo of her adapting to her new environment.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

In Espanol it's "nunca"

Finally, Allison is feeling better, although she hasn't much of an appetite. I think she lost a few pounds too, which is noticeable on her little frame. During her food poisoning ordeal I channeled my anger into cursing the evil turkey and to regaining her trust in me. My only power I decided was the power of future control: I promised her in Mexico, we'll never eat turkey.

Tonight we were guests for dinner at the home of a new acquaintance. We'd met her a previous evening at another get-together. Our hostess was a lovely woman, a former college professor, who's made Nopolo her home for quite a few years. She was born in Kansas so I'd like to think she feels protective of us displaced midwesterners.

To enter her house we walked through a large courtyard. Handsome pickled wooden front doors opened to a wide stairway laid with verde-colored tile. Large works of art hung from the stairwell. As we climbed the stairs toward the soft lights of the upper living area I knew I was going to like what lie at the top. Her home was beautiful in the modern Mexican design. Lots of arches and rounded edges in walls painted in the warm Mexican palette. A large iron chandelier hung from a circular vaulted brick ceiling (a boveda) over a huge round dining table. It's ladderback side chairs were painted in the traditional Mexican palette; the armchairs in a soft robin's egg blue that so immediately appealed to my senses that I mentally appointed one for myself, "That's the chair I will sit in." (silly, does anyone else do this?) Large wooden screens separated a kitchen I would have been tempted to show-off, from the rest of the area. The living room consisted of a huge seating area placed on an oversized oriental rug. In the center, an oversized Guatemalean coffee table, all before a terra-cotta painted stucco fireplace flanked by bookcases. Of course I snooped at the books, (probably as rude as spying in someone's medicine cabinet--she likes mysteries and best-sellers.)

A buffet counter ran the entire length of the living room. In its center our new friend had placed a large blue ceramic bowl filled with lit white candles and an unusual fruit that looked like lemons morphing into bananas. The food was laid out in beautiful serving pieces and utensils that I had to examine and admire. Her dishes were works of art, some sort of painted ceramic, not Talavera but something I know has a Mexican origin. In procession, the food: a bowl of mixed nuts, a bowl of olives, a tray of tortilla chips, a bowl of salsa, a platter of chili rellenos, a dark green salad, mashed potatoes, a tureen of mole-flavored gravy, stuffing, and--- TURKEY.

Allison and I conferred. We decided #1: we were hungry, and #2 what's a promise when you're hungry and everything looks so appealing? So we ate. I should know better than to put so much stock in promises made regarding food. I only know of one other human being and I'll name her--Debi McWilliams--who made good on a promise concerning food. She hasn't touched chocolate after once gorging herself into illness on it years ago, a vow I believed was inhumanly impossible. And truthfully, even Allison broke a recent promise to herself after a choking episode with a butterscotch. She was in near panic when it lodged in her esophogus and later vowed through tears, "I will never (sob, sob) eat hard candy (sob, sob) again!" She's had a few hard candies since then. So never say never, especially when you're only six for there's a lot of never ahead for you.

Monday, December 26, 2005

The other side of Christmas

Christmas evening turned out to be the worst night ever. Something Allison and Ryan ate did not settle well with them and they were up vomiting through the night and into today. I was up with Allison all night, up and down, dashing to the toilet. It was clear to me that the cause was food poisoning and the likely culprit: the turkey. Poor Allison. She was in misery. It was difficult to soothe her and explain that it was only temporary; she felt like dying I'm certain. She was begging me to make the pain stop, but every attempt I made to get Pepto-Bismol or a sip of soda down her was met with immediate vomiting. Of course I was miserable in my ineffectiveness. Finally, around five p.m. today she drifted off to sleep. She is resting quietly on the sofa now with her brothers while they watch Indiana Jones and hasn't vomited in several hours. I assume we are past the worst.

Now I know this is a Christmas she will never forget.

Oh, and to top everything off, this afternoon Robert called me to the carport to see a giant scorpion. He and Beau poked at it with a stick and turned out it was dead. Good thing because if it had bit one of us, that would have pushed my already exhausted self over the edge.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Boys are from Mars

We had dinner with a group of neighbors and visitors. I met a couple who have been here nearly two years and their son has been attending the Catholic school. Finally, I got a chance to have a lengthy discussion about the schools with a parent who has a child there. I came away reassured that putting Allison in school here is the right decision.

I couldn't help watching these two interact. Little boys are like aliens to Allison, she knows so few. When I look at this photo I see her sitting politely, touching her new gold locket necklace. I know she wants to show it to him or have him notice but something prevents her from showing him and I know it is the potential for embarrassment. She knows he's a boy and won't be impressed with a necklace. So she sits quietly watching him play with the Christmas toys he's brought; some sort of monsters and a set of walkie-talkies. She made a good attempt to play along with the monsters, but whispered to me she was just being nice, which I appreciated. I watched him try to include her in his play and when he pulled out the walkie-talkies he found something that interested her. Then the real fun began and they became buddies in spying.

I feel so relieved to know she'll have at least one english-speaking friend when she starts school. We parents plan to get them together this week to play. I'll be curious to see, if he comes to our house, what the two will play with: Allison's Barbie software? Her scrapbook kit? I know the answer since I've raised two sons. Whatever they do it will be physical and involve chasing, hiding, climbing, throwing. This I look forward to because Allison could benefit from a little rough-housing.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

New friends for Christmas

It is the night before Christmas. We just returned from an evening visiting new neighbors whose family is visiting from California. They have grandsons the same age as our sons, a fact that made me eager to accept the invitation. Our sons are still there visiting with their new friends, three "cool guys," so this new association should prove beneficial to our sons' enjoyment here. I worried a bit that they would grow restless with the slow pace.

Our neighbors, a couple in their 80's are long-time residents of the area. We first met the woman when we were gathering sea shells on the quiet beachfront tucked behind our neighborhood. She was walking with her little white dog and waved to us. I remember how eager she was to make our acquaintance and how gentle and serene her manner. The other thing I remember is 1: that she was originally from Chile which made her exotic, and 2: she was wearing bright red lipstick under her straw hat which I thought was charming somehow and made me like her instantly. I reflected on this later, her lipstick, and the many reasons this intrigues me as to the motivations behind its application, such as generational ideals or personal attitudes on femininity. I subconsciously narrowed it down to something simplier: she cares. It was a gloriously sunny and gently breezy day and she was alone walking in its beauty and she wanted to feel beautiful too. I just know it because I have felt it.

Tonight when we were getting acquainted she commented to me on her recollections of meeting us on the beach that day. I understood her to have formed a similar, instant connection with my daughter and me. Her vision of me gathering shells with my little girl must have harkened some gentle memory to her and she decided then and there to bring us into her life. It wasn't much later that I spotted her at the grocery market and made a point to speak to her. She seemed so delighted to see me and insisted we come over for Christmas Eve. To ensure we did she appeared this morning with a "calling card" reminding us of the time to arrive. In neighborly fashion I brought a bag of Starbucks coffee and a package of double chocolate Milano cookies wrapped with a tulle ribbon I brought from home and embellished with a seashell ornament Allison and I created from the shells we gathered that day on the beach. She sent me home with a homemade fruitcake that I must confess on tasting turned around my opinion on the dreaded holiday brick. She also makes Paella I heard which I hope I get to experience. It's fun to me to indulge in the etiquitte of neighborly customs. Maybe that's why older people always like me-- I'm a throw-back to an older generation, maybe even that neurotic Victorian one.

Tomorrow we are invited to dinner with the couple that oversees the Loreto Bay development. They have lived here for nearly two years and have two sons the same age as our boys (another stroke of good fortune) that are here for the holidays. I really like this feeling of embrace we are getting from our neighbors. I think it is natural to seek it here when we are the foreigners. At home in America we find our groups or cliques but it doesn't have the same feeling or importance or even value that it has here where we Americans (and Canadians) are the minority. In some ways being a minority simplifies the relationships we have with other "minorities." There is less division or classification--we are thrown together and value our common origin above all. This is very interesting and new to me and something I'll be paying attention to.

So now I'll head off to bed all warm and satisfied that I have a "Christmas" tree and all my kids at hand and tomorrow we go somewhere to commune with our own kind where the guys will watch a football game (satellite tv) and the rest of us will gather around the kitchen grazing just like we do at home.

A Christmas card to my mom

My mother, after a long hard effort, recently passed her certifications to become a private pilot. I was not around to celebrate with her and what was such a major acheivement did not get its due respect. I want to take a moment to say congratulations

Merry Christmas Mom...see you in the new year.

Bringing home the Christmas Tree

Mom and Allison scouted something to stand in for a Christmas tree in the property around our house. We found a pretty white bark tree, rare amongst the cactus and palms, which we instructed the men to go fetch a limb.

Dragged it home

stood it upright in an old wood bin, piled on river rock

had our engineers okay it

hung red bulbs and called it
a Loreto Bay Christmas Tree

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

the sights around Casa Grande

a few sights in downtown Loreto

A side-serving of school

Since we've been on a seemingly perpetual vacation Allison's needs as a young student have been glaringly ignored. Unless you count her Daddy insisting she read every restaurant bill to him as a lesson in math. His eyesight is not the best so he's enlisting her help more frequently. Yesterday after a long day where she was left to her own amusements or expected to follow ours, she came to me and asked, "can we do some schoolwork?" again reaffirming my belief that children want to learn. It reminds me of that experiment years ago where toddlers were left a long period of time in a setting where they could forage for their food. I forget all the details but the point was, in the end, they ate a balanced diet.

Allison hangs on

Applause for our daughter, Allison, who persevered the long car journey from our home in middle America to Loreto, Mexico. She's a trooper

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Staying inside the lines


After leaving Los Angeles we headed to south San Diego to prepare for our trip over the border the next morning. The closer we got to the border the more uneasy I became. I had prepared the best I could, reading advice on crossing into Mexico. I had the pertinent paperwork including passports, vehicle documents, proof of Mexican auto insurance, dog health certification, serial numbers of the electronics we were carrying. Our last stop was the Sam's Club in San Diego to stock up on food. We were advised that meat and produce were not allowed which was nearly unbearable passing by salmon and rib-eyes and the holiday ham and turkey. I cheated a little (I thought) by plucking up three huge slabs of cheese. Robert had six or more cases of assorted beer in his cart ("great gifts for Christmas") which I scolded him, "How will we fit all that in?" All in all we had two carts and a flat bed full of goods we had to load into our small, already stuffed trailer and vehicle. Somehow we did it and then prayed we would not have to unload anything for inspection.

From the relative darkness of San Ysidro, the endless lights of Tijuana shone menacingly. The city sits lower then San Ysidro in what appeared to be an enormous basin. It looked like something sinister gathering energy, ready to pounce. This was the dreaded border town swarming with Mexicans maneuvering into position to bombard lower California. My nerves were on edge from the uncertainty of what lay ahead, remembering every horror story I'd heard about gringos being mistreated, shook-down, kidnapped, jailed, murdered. Someone told us of somebody's girlfriend being incarcerated for two years for carrying across one too many bottles of prescription painkillers. I worried my unlucky choice of Parmesan cheese would be the thing to do us in. Robert keep reassuring me, recalling the experiences of acquaintances who said the crossing is no big deal, nothing to worry about. In my defense, I never came across any information that made me feel assured the event would be safe. There seems to be no definitive answers to anything; even information direct from the Mexican consulate proved to be in error when it came to Baja Calilfornia.

As it turned out in the two days is took to travel down to Loreto not one official or authority asked us a thing, except one. We passed through a half dozen stops where armed soldiers not so much as blinked at us. At the crossing into South Baja from North, a young soldier asked if we were carrying any produce. "No," we cheerfully answered. He motioned for us to proceed forward where another young man wielding a fumigation device sprayed our tires and off we went. The rest of the trip we marveled at the ease of the passage and the incredible fact that no one asked for a passport, for an identity. Where we illegal aliens? Then we reflected on the ridiculousness of our over-cautiousness. I felt a little guilty about all my early anxiousness. Poor maligned Mexicans. This experience was a small lesson in the power of the unknown to breed fear. As the hours and miles passed my mind fell into ease and we became cheerful and jubilant about our plans ahead.

The landscape improved once out of Ensenada and especially in the area of Catavina where it looked like the sky rained boulders. The highway was the one thing that landscape that remained constant: incredulously unacceptable. Rarely was there more than 8 inches of pavement beyond the white side line. And past that either gravel ravines or huge boulders or some such obstacle that would have prevented a successful recovery from an accidental wandering over the line. Robert insisted on driving the whole trip and soon discovered he could not allow his eyes to wander off the road for one instant. Ironically, when the road did improve in texture and quality after hitting the Baja California Sur region, the geography became deathly treacherous through mountain passes and cliffs. I lost count of the memorial shrines along the roadside. So badly I wanted to photograph these curiosities, but like Robert said, we didn't want to join them, so stay focused. Many were located in spots where one had to construct the possible cause of the fatal accident. Did the motorist hit something, fall asleep at the wheel? But one shrine in particular was self explanatory and I'll never forget it. We all gasped together at the sight of this small marker at the bend of a curving cliff (curva peligrosa--a sign we saw as frequently as the no-passing signs) as we could imagine ourselves going over this cliff ala Thelma and Louise. Robert's focus intensified and Allison and I obediently drew silent.

Our return to our house in Loreto was like a sweet homecoming. Our sons were there to greet us having just flown in from school break. We all unloaded our bounty cheering over having a television to watch, comfortable linens, pillows from home, canned chili, boxes and boxes of food, drink, candy. It would be embarrassing to say it felt like we were the blessed wagon train bringing provisions to camp, but that's pretty close to the feeling. In my recollections it ranks way up there for pure satisfaction. We breathed life back into the house and snuggled into beautiful comfort. The boys put in a DVD and I went to work setting up house for the winter.

Except this winter there is no snow to shovel and we left everything thermal and down-filled behind.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Post-disney blues

We joked today that we were suffering Disney withdrawl. After days of pure indulgence in a magical environment where we were led to believe our wishes were oh so important, we feel sort of dropped into the street. We're on our own again.

We slummed it at a dumpy hotel in Long Beach before checking in today to a grander one in Marina Del Mar. Our room looks out over a channel rimmed with boats. The plan was to give Robert the day to wander through the harbor inquiring about sailboats. Allison and I spent the afternoon lounging in our room until he returned. Instead of cartoons she watched the cooking channel which I thought was unusual for a 6 year old. But then I thought about it: Who doesn't like watching food prepared? We sat on the bed side-by-side through two programs critiquing food. When Robert returned he found two very hungry people.

We drove to Santa Monica and walked the pier and the promenade. The last time I did that was 14 years ago. We ate at a great deli and strolled what was basically an outdoor shopping mall watching street performers and artists. We saw a Chinese man throw dishes from his foot onto the top of his head--7 in all. Some of the performers are so skilled you feel guilty not rewarding them with a little something. Later, when a young boy approached me with a coffee can asking for money for some cause I felt inclined to demand a demonstration of talent.

Tomorrow, my indulgence: a drive up Santa Monica Boulevard through to the canyons and the Hollywood Hills where the lucky few live. From there we will head to San Diego for the night before beginning our trek down Baja California to "home."

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

From small beginnings

I think we've covered every acre and a majority of the rides. The hit of the day was Toontown which really looks like a living cartoon. It is the home of Minnie and Mickey Mouse. Their cottages are side by side. (They're not married; maybe you didn't know.) My favorite ride was the Indiana Jones attraction. But, the highlight of the day was "Disney on Parade" where characters ride down Main Street on floats. It takes place at sunset and serves as a memorable send-off to the thousands of tired visitors. Children become frantic with celebrity fever waiting to spot Mickey or Cinderella or Pumba come down the street. Allison begged to be lifted onto her daddy's shoulders for a better view and a hope for eye contact with the passing characters. "Tinkerbelle looked at me!" I would be content to call it a wrap and say goodbye, but Robert bought the 3-day package and we have yet to see the Disney California Adventure Park.

Disneyland has done a lot of growing since I visited as a kid. Disney Downtown is an enormous new element. We are staying there at the Grand Californian, an arts and crafts styled hotel. From there it's a quick walk past the shops and restaurants to the entrance to Disneyland which maintains the original Disney features--Main Street leading to the Fantasyland Castle, the Matterhorn to the right. The place is spotless and I can imagine employees are well-trained in Disney philosophy as they are all so curteous and cheerful. Of course nearly everybody (except an occasional frazzled mother slapping a kid's butt) is happy, even giddy. I noticed a lot of parents kissing and tousling their children's hair. Disneyland is the gift every parent wants to give their kid. I've thought often today about Walt Disney and what an amazing legacy he has left. What possibly compares? Sam Walton or Bill Gates can never lay claim to creating the joy that Disney's legacy makes.

Disneyland is celebrating its 50 year anniversary while we are here. People keep coming. Their children will one day bring their own children. It is an amazing success story with no apparent ending in sight. And it all started with a man and a little mouse.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Hello from Disneyland!

Just a quick update:

Allison, the puppy, and I drove nearly 14 hours to Albuquerque Sunday where we picked up Robert at the airport and finished our drive into California the next day. We drove straight into the Disneyland Hotel parking lot. The porter warned that there were no available rooms. I smiled at Robert who has never not got us in somewhere. I always just sit back and let him do his magic. We are on the 6th floor. He is so proud and delighted to give us this treat. It is our Christmas present to our daughter. This is where we will be for the next few days. I remember visiting the park when I was little, though I'm certain a lot has changed. Now it's Allison's turn. She can't stop smiling. I'm still in a fog from the relentless driving.

We are waiting right now for Robert to return from taking Betsy Mayflower to doggy day care. Then we begin our day with Mickey and the cast.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Pixie sticks

In ten days I've gone from removing a lawn full of fallen leaves to arranging for a snow plow to remove a foot of snow from my driveway. Welcome winter. This is the time everyone starts complaining about the weather. When they learn of our plans to be away in Mexico for the whole winter they remark on how fortunate we are to get away from this.

But knowing I'm going for so long a period softens my outlook on my dreary, climate-challenged town. I'm noticing its charms. I know it's on the dull side. It lacks beauty and inspiration but it is well-intentioned. I like that somebody somewhere in town is trying hard to fill a particular need. I get in my car and within a 1-mile radius somebody is ready to provide a service that makes my life managable and comfortable.

I like that the tellers at my little neighborhood bank let my daughter sit up on the counter when we dump our coins out for deposit and that sometimes they waive the charge for a cashier's check with a wink. I like that we have a real shoe cobbler on Main street, (I think he's an immigrant from Eastern Europe) who charges me five dollars to repair the buckle my puppy chewed off a shoe while I wait. I like that Hobby Lobby is next door to Office Depot which is across from Einstein Brothers so that I can buy photo frames and Christmas ornaments then walk next door for printer ink and photo paper before I buzz across for a cappuccino.

I like that when it snows the city sends out a brigade of snowplows that come rumbling one after another like Sherman tanks. I like that our homespun mayor, a former electrician, has for years faithfully lit up nearly every yard in his neighborhood at Christmas. The display is of legendary proportion that brings carloads of onlookers every December.

I like that we have a yoga studio across from a chiropractor's office: somebody's looking out for my back. I think it's cute that we have an old establishment named the Cake Pan, a small shop that stocks all the goods needed to make and decorate cakes. Even though the hobby doesn't interest me I can respect a small business that has survived two decades serving a single purpose--bringing cake to the world.

I think it's interesting how the components are all here in my little town, excuse me, city, it calls itself. I like to imagine an organizational meeting years ago where everyone assigned themselves tasks: "Okay, me and Bob will be the bankers, you girls can run the hair salons, you guys open a grocery market, you two--we need veterinarians, some of you, police... the rest of you, school teachers!" Somehow (okay, it's market forces, I know) everything falls into place. But if you think about it for more than a minute you have to marvel at the levels at work here. Just go somewhere like where I'm headed. There when a manhole cover goes missing somebody just props a painted tire over the hole to warn people not to fall in. Okay, well somebody did paint the tire. There's some level of cooperation at work there.

So goodbye for now my little city. I don't imagine my absense will alter the balance in any way. Kind of like removing one pixie stick from the pile--the rest still hold position. But I'll miss my place just a little.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Necessary provisions

I can't say that all of my time has been spent working to get out of town: I've spent time visiting friends and today having my hair highlighted at Ginger's Hair Shanty. I've been eating plenty; everything from donuts to onion rings to Hostess snowballs and Jif's extra crunchy peanut butter (killed two mice in the pantry with Jif's this week) Today I made a trip to the Sunglass Hut at our local mall. I actually said to the clerk. "I need good sunglasses because I'm going away for awhile." She looked at me inquisitively. "Oh, no, not jail. Just out of the country. Never mind."

Yesterday I was driving into the city listening to country music. God, I love the stories in country music. Some are designed to make you cry. They are blatant manipulations of our emotions, but we fall for it anyway. So, this guy loses his girl who he suspects has moved to Austin, Texas. After a year she finally phones and gets his answering machine on which he's recorded a message just for her. She hears that he still loves her. So she leaves a message for him to phone her and when he does she pretends that she is a recording telling him that she loves him too. Aaagggghhhh! I am sobbing in the passing lane and it feels good to be home in the good old midwest.

Since I decided I will pull our small trailer behind our SUV to Mexico my whole attitude toward provisions has altered. Suddenly anything and everything goes. I keep thinking about Karen Blixen and all her lovelies she toted to Africa. I feel like I know her. When she was packing she must have gone through exactly the same mental process as I. Let's see--I might really need these forged iron napkin rings. What if I have friends over? We might need wine charms so no one mistakes their glass for anothers. A badminton set might be fun, and a frisbee. But I'm practical too: I packed duct tape, twine, nylon rope, a saw, in addition to the kitchen-ware, electronics, a favorite painting by one of my best friends, books, books, books, candles, poker chips, Risk (Robert's favorite game,) specialty papers to make greeting cards, 3 bottles of Marsala, grape jelly, a small tin of anchovies ( what if I want to make Caesar salad.) I also hunted around for things that would make good gifts. We'll be making new friends. Nice to have something special.

I thought I might need a good windbreaker but instead I visited my good friend, Kim, at the clothing boutique where she works at part-time. Thanks, Kim, for your help selecting that Johnny Was jacket and the black velvet three-quarter length coat with the fushcia mongolian lamb fur boa that goes over the lacy purple camisole. I'll be the most styling gringo chick in Mexico. I love you for helping me remember to have fun.

Has anyone else heard Stephen Colbert interview Tim Robbins? I heard excerpts today on Terry Gross's Fresh Air and it was hysterical. "So, Tim, What is it like working with Clint Eastman--and why do you hate America?"

That's all for tonight. I have to sleep some. Countdown: three days till departure.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

I had too much to dream last night

I just like that phrase. I heard it today on Radio Paradise. It is the title of someone's new album.

Every day pulls me farther away from the good dream I was having. If I spend much more time here I'll become fully conscious again and unable to pick it up where I left off. I have been home five days organizing details for the trip back to Loreto. I've had to prepare our vehicle for travel, have the puppy spayed, build a system for paying our household bills, bring our office up to date and ready to run without me, shop for items we need in Mexico, shop for supplies we need at work, think about Christmas gifts, leaf removal, cable cut-off, cell-phone plans, travel itineraries, pack up the computer, modem, speakers, printer, television, satellite dish, telescope, golf clubs, tennis racquets, toys, books, kitchen-ware. We're bringing all our stuff we can't live without to Mexico. I know it sounds overbearing, but it is a long time we'll be away. We need our stuff to stay in touch a little with the rest of the world and to provide a little entertainment.

Meanwhile, Allison caught up with friends and cousins and aunts. The boys came back from college to visit and to celebrate Ryan's birthday bringing our house back to life again with boys coming and going and lots of laughter and noise. The house was fully illuminated again, every lamp and recessed light burning away the earth's resources. The furnace roared and water surged almost continously though the pipes while the laundry room vibrated with the washer and dryer working overtime. Ryan played his guitar with his friends in the family room, and I buzzed about to Radio Paradise in the kitchen preparing a dinner as far removed from Mexican cuisine as possible followed by a store-bought sugar-laden sheet cake iced in chocolate with the phrase, "Happy Birthday Ryan" in blue goo. This evening brought me such a sense of well-being, that all is right in my little world. I'm happiest when my house is buzzing with the energy of people I love, all together, laughing. I know when it's good.

Robert is on his own in Loreto. He says after a lull there's now progress on our house (the house we are building there.) He walked through it yesterday. I don't want to leave him too long so I'll start driving next Sunday and meet up with him in Albuquerque to finish the drive to Los Angeles then to Disneyland for a few days then the tedious drive down the Baja with a stop at Sam's Club in Tijuana for food and goods. It sounds so crazy, but that's the plan. Our biggest concern is getting through the border with our vehicle loaded with goods. I can't find a definitive answer about any detail of the crossing. We'll just do our best to have paperwork in order.

I have not even turned on the television nor read a newspaper in a month. I did notice the cover of a Time magazine in my mail pile that read in bold red letters: "AMBITION" which provoked in me an instant surge of anxiety as if I'd suddenly remembered something critically important. The printed word, ambition, is anxiety-provoking enough without it having to be printed in bright blood red. "Do I have enough?" "Does somebody have more?" Some scientists have studied and separated the alphas from the betas in American society. The alphas gobble up more than their share of available resources. Everybody knows the rest of the story. On the way out the door Ryan asked me for an idea for a persuasive topic for his speech class. I tossed him the magazine. He can argue that it's my motherly instinct to impress ambition upon my offspring to ensure their climb to elevated status. The scientists said so. Actually, they say that mothers who devote their lives to their children are the most ambitious creatures of all because their ambition is far-reaching. They work for the future of their lineage. So I can relax again knowing that as an ambitious American I rank at the top.