Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Earthquake Flu

We were away from Loreto Bay when Hurricane John blew through in September flooding the arroyos and causing some minor damage to the homes in the village. However, we did get to experience a work of nature of another sort: an earthquake. Robert felt the first one last Thursday night. Then we all felt the bigger one early Sunday morning. It was a 5.0. The epicenter was somewhere out in the Sea of Cortez. Had we not been still in our beds we might not have felt it. Nothing else in the house shook or rattled; only the beds seemed to vibrate. Contrary to canine folklore, no dogs, including our own, barked in warning. I had to do an online search to determine if we'd really had an earthquake. Amazing, how many earthquakes occur on a regular basis. The website I found was peppered with recent tremor hits. The earth below us is an active little bugger.

My friend Sarah said her family ran to the window to watch the sea for a tsunami wave. Yikes! I believe a tsunami in the Sea of Cortez is a geological impossibility, but what do I know? Robert and I speculated on why this is so--the sea is too small, the islands protect the peninsula, but we really don't know why. Then we discussed, or rather I discussed, the best action to take in view of an oncoming tsunami. "How long would it take to make a run for the hills?" "If you can actually see the wave coming how much time would you have?" "Do you think our house would withstand the force of a wave?" "Shouldn't we head to the highest spot--our viewing tower?" Of course, Robert laughed at me, but every good mother needs to pre-think these things. We've felt a few after-shocks, or tremors since. The last one was yesterday afternoon.

Sunday was also the day I came down with a horrible flu--fever, chills, painful coughing. On day two I worried that it might be serious, which is rare for me since I'm never sick. Robert crossed the street to the Loreto Bay offices to ask someone for advice on medical care. Everyone jumped to his aide making calls to find Dr. Green. Within an hour Dr. Green was at my bed; my first home visit ever from a physician. He wrote out a prescription for some antibiotics and took 40 dollars payment for his services. Robert and I are still in amazement. It's like the country doctors of old days. Despite his anglo name, Dr. Oscar Green is actually a Mexican who greeted me with "Hola, Senora". There are several founding families in Loreto with names like Davis, Cunningham, Green, and everyone seems to be related.

Today I am still pretty weak. I would sit out in the sunshine on the terrace, but the working crews are right outside our house this week preparing the ground for hardscaping. So now that the winds finally died down, the machinery is stirring up even more dust. And all day I get to hear the scraping of shovels against gravel. It's like nails on a chalkboard. But then, I'm a little hyper-sensitive at the moment. It seems like the best place for me is bed with the drapes pulled and the doors shut. It's also the best place to detect earthquakes.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Law of Attraction ...or...Getting the Taco you Want

Finally, we've been introduced to The Secret. A neighbor insisted we watch his copy of this film that is sweeping through America claiming to reveal the secret of the universe. Dozens of metaphysical teachers, healers, and authors are ready to let us in on the secret, a secret that has been known to only a few through the ages. The time has come to let the rest of us in on it. Now that Dan Brown went and revealed the DaVinci code, are we now ready for The Secret? Sure, I'm curious; pop it in. Robert and Allison and I cuddle up to watch what in the beginning looks like a scary movie. Medieval-looking graphics, ominous music and whispering voices sent Allison under the covers and me wondering if the secret lies in the supernatural world of the Exorcist. But when the dramatic introduction dissolves to a head shot of success coach Bob Proctor's doughy mug, I suddenly remember what all this is about. I'd seen him with several other healers and motivational speakers on Larry King Live months ago. Indeed, they had a beautiful message: If you send out positive thoughts, you receive back positive energy and you will get the things you want. So this is that movie!

Outside of a presentation that presses hard to emphasize mystery, the message and the messengers are straight-forward: Ask the universe for what you want and you'll get it. In this presentation the power of positive thinking is re-packaged as "The Law of Attraction." The Law of Attraction insists that our thoughts are energy that attracts similar energy: Therefore if we think positive thoughts we attract positive energy. And positive energy is good; it brings us good things. With positive energy we have more to give, more to offer; we are better people for it. This message itself is inspiring and uplifting and would be enough, but the film pushes further to give the message a new purpose. The secret becomes a tool for acquisition. Now, the law of intention/manifestation gets a modern day interpretation: It says, "Go ahead, be specific. How many zeros do you want to see on that check?

If you want something like a mansion in Beverly Hills you should draw up a vision board with photos or sketches and then ask the universe to deliver. A fun thought, maybe worth a try. Hard for me though, since I'm conditioned to cloak my desires for opulent things and try not to want them. But in the film the sky's the limit. Ask away, the world is your smorgasbord , gobble it up because there's plenty more where that came from. I know I'm making fun, but I wonder if some of the presenters on the film, good people that they are, are not a little perturbed by the marketing twist of what is essentially a beautiful message. It can be put a hundred ways, this message: You get what you give. You are what you think. The world is abundant and overflowing if you have the correct perspective.

A boy wants a bike. He envisions himself on that bike. He doesn't have to worry how it will materialize or what steps he might take to procure it, but merely keep wishing. Eventually, his positive thoughts will align with real matter and one day a bike appears on his footstep. Wah-lah! We're told that, we too, can wish for material things and make them appear if we only concentrate on the getting it. It reminds me of the "ask and ye shall receive" verse I learned in Sunday school, but even that I accepted with a sly grin knowing full well God gives only what he decides to give. And why is God going to give me a pony when some poor kid in Mississippi is praying for shoes?

In spite of my criticism, the movie did have its positive affect on me, on all of us. We felt a little nicer and wiser having listened to the timeless wisdom of the ages. Robert and I nodded in agreement that the world is a good place and we have benefited greatly from positive thinking. Allison went to work on a wish list of her own that included a new hamster. This morning we were still in the mood of positive thinking when we headed into town even though our plans to spend the day on the beach were ruined by the heavy winds and subsequent dust storm. Robert saw that El Rey del Taco was miraculously open and felt happy that a beef taco would soon materialize for him. Everybody was in line for their tacos which put a chink in our immediate gratification, but we waited against the wall for a seat to become available. When it did another group of Mexicans stole our seats and for some reason Robert lost his patience with Mexico altogether and we left with him vowing he'd never eat at the King of Tacos again primarily for the humiliation he's suffered due to the arrogance of an owner who keeps irregular and unposted hours which forces Robert into a habitual surveillance over when the place might happen to be open and then rewards him with neglect when he finally gets in the door. Allison didn't get her hamster and I thanked God I hadn't asked the universe for anything this particular morning because from the looks of it the universe wasn't planning on delivering much to the Mc__ family today.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

...And I was so worried.

Found this basket of bracelets in a tourist shop in Loreto. The sign reads:
"Made From Dead Trees Fallen By Natural Causes."

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Goodbye, Mr. Nibbles

Robert is here, finally. He drove all the way here with our friends from home, Danny and Lindsay. They made the 2300-mile trip in 3 days. I greeted them with joy mixed with extreme guilt that our friends, in their excitement to escape the Midwest freeze, did not fully consider the brutal drive time. Robert promised he'd be here for Valentine's Day even if that meant 14-hour days on the road. On the evening of the third day Allison and I gave up hope and went to bed only to be awakened at 11:00 pm by Robert's knocking. Forget that he drove the last four hours on the ragged Transpeninsular Highway in the dark, he was here on time as promised.

Our friends, who are much younger than us, were surprisingly cheerful. We stayed up late laughing over their recollections of the drive's highlights and hardships. Poor Lindsay, who spent most of the drive in the back seat surrounded by items crammed into every spare space, had to endure the constant commotion of Allison's hamster, Mr. Nibbles, as he raced on his wheel. She took responsibility for Mr. Nibbles' comfort even while her own suffered; gingerly rearranging his cage when she shifted positions or tried to recline for a nap using a roll of paper towels as her pillow. Imagine her shock when upon unloading the cargo we discovered Mr. Nibbles was not in his cage. Some point on the last few hours on the road, Mr. Nibbles gnawed his way out of his prison and probably leapt into the dark Baja night at the first opportunity, something the rest of the abused passengers probably wished they could have done. But, like I said, our friends are still very young and haven't adopted the inflexibility that age and experience bring. To them the trip was an adventure to laugh about.

We took them to Magdalena Bay on the Pacific to see the whales. Thankfully, the day was sunny and pleasant enough. We followed one mother and her calf for nearly an hour hoping for that elusive surfacing beside the boat which both delights and startles everyone. The prize is getting to pet the rubbery skin of the gigantic mammal before it re submerges. Second place is getting sprayed when the whale blows. For me, the goal is getting a good photo which is harder than you think. Everyone new to whale-watching asks the same question: "Will a whale try to tip over a boat?" To which they are always reassured that whales are the most intelligent and docile sea creatures and have no evil intentions of knocking you out of your vessel and then swallowing you. But, Robert, of course, has a story for us. He's been told of an incident where a boat bumped into a calf who then squealed for its mama who in anger or defense dove to a certain depth and shot up directly under the boat sending it airborne and tossing its passengers into the sea. Gratefully, he refrained from sharing this story until after the ride.

This morning the men are fishing after yesterday's aborted attempt due to heavy winds. They are out with an experienced Mexican fisherman from Juncilito, near Port Escondido. Hopefully, they will return with some Yellowtail. They've managed to fit in a few rounds of golf on the Loreto Bay course which is torn up due to remodeling but still, according to them, very promising. We plan to spend this morning poolside at the Inn and walk the beach. The wind which has been brutal the past several days seems to have died down giving us a spectacular sunny warm day. I feel satisfied that our friends are having a good time so far. As they put it, anything beats the dull bleakness of a Midwestern winter day. As for Mr. Nibbles, we hope he's alive and well somewhere, having abandoned forever his post on the wheel, a feat many people would like to attain.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Goat Crossing

Sometimes it's horses and donkeys. Sometimes it's cows. Today it was goats that brought me to a stop on the highway.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Not your average worm in the bottle

What's in the bottle? It's a live sea horse that Sarah found on the beach. Anyone for a swig?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

For your amusement

Norma took my blond away. I sat in her chair and said, "Do whatever you want." So she darkened my hair a few shades and gave me caramel highlights. Looks so better with your skin, she said, and maybe I agree, or, why not, I think, maybe I'll blend in better. It's something different. Norma runs the best hair salon in town, the one that caters to the norteamericanas. Old issues of In Style and Vanity Fair lie in the magazine rack next to displays of OPI nail polish (pricey even in America.) The young girls that work there are slim and pretty, girls I imagine being candidates for Loreto Carnaval Queen when they were in high school. Norma is pretty too and extremely talkative and lively. I sit in her chair captive to the chatter and continual laughter. They tell stories in rapid-fire Spanish that I can never keep up with. I only catch words and phrases that I work like clues to piece together a scenario. Novio, ha-ha-ha (Boyfriend is clueless.) Compromiso, frown (Boyfriends are trouble.) I imagine I get the meat of the tale and that it's universal girl-talk, but for all I know they could be talking about the global economy.

Their gaiety was so mesmerizing that I was somewhat non-attentive to the inconvenience of having my hair shampooed with a bucket and a bowl. Apparently, the water tank was empty or malfunctioning. A carafe of water heated on the coffee maker was added to the gallon bucket and my hair was washed and rinsed scoopful by scoopful. I think I was too amused to get bent out of shape or maybe it was the extreme delicacy and carefulness of the sweet girl assigned to this impossible task that kept me humble and patient. I'd look up now and then to see Norma's big grin and hear laughter, then I'd close my eyes again giving in to the delicate fingers rubbing my scalp and think, what's really so bad about this? Four hours later I emerged to the outside, lost of any sense of what was next in my day.

I walked to Dali's to pick up some food items. I bought ricotta cheese in industrial size, (most things there come in restaurant size) lasagna noodles, and some Italian sausages. A real score that boosted my mood further and got me enthusiastic thinking about inviting people for dinner. I picked up Allie and her friend, Gloria, from school and we ate fish tacos at Pangalangas till Gloria's mother came to take them to play. I rushed back to Loreto Bay to fetch Dee's collie, Laddie. I'd promised to take him on a walk while she was whale watching with friends. I walked the Marmaduke-sized Laddie along with our pedigree spaniel lapdog on the Paseo looking like the most idiotic gringo caricature possible to the Mexican obras as the dogs continually entangled me. What they think of me I'm afraid to guess. Some days I stroll by toting a tennis racquet, some days I'm power-walking. In the mornings I'm loading up my daughter and her things to school. Some days I'm unloading purchases or hauling water or trash. Some days I'm in skirt and heels. "Hey, beautiful lady" one says to me one morning reminding me that for some I'm an object of interest--foreign interest, and they're watching me like someone watches a serial show. What thing will I do next? Thing is, I feel like everything I do amuses them.

There's no blending in, blond hair or not. I'll just be happy for the construction in my cluster to finish up and move out. This is no resort. Not yet. Not by a long shot. It seems every day a big machine moves dirt and gravel around the my calle (street.) One day it's leveled, the next there's a trench, the next there's huge piles of gravel. Nothing makes any sense. Like a hair salon with no water. Like being able to make lasagna, but not being able to find dishwashing detergent anywhere in town. Tonight I did a stupid thing. I'd done it once before with the same sorry results, but something reckless in me decided to hope for a different outcome. I used laundry detergent in the dishwasher. I spent a half hour on my knees wiping up foam and water. I felt pretty foolish for sure, but there was no one to see me, thank goodness.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Make mine pink

I've been pretty-ing up the place. Gustavo brought over a lot of pots and a rustic bench. He had his handy man install our outdoor shades on the pergola outside our bedroom. Now I need plants to fill all those pots.

Our terrace is extra large due to the commercial space attached to us below. We also have a viewing tower. Overall, we have a great space for entertaining. We overlook the Paseo with the mountains behind, and are connected to only one other home so there's a real openess to our patio. I'm trying to get it ready for the parties I envision us having when Robert finally gets here, which hopefully, is Valentine's Day. Yes, I'm seeing a party for that day...maybe a sweethearts dance? No, better not emphasize sweethearts, since 90 percent of the people we see here are separated from their significant others either through work or vacation. Better not encourage hook-ups. However, we could go with the usual, generic "who-needs-a-reason?" party. Roch's little brother could sing and play guitar. I could make the Margaritas pink.