Monday, April 27, 2009

Curtain Sew-a-thon

My current sewing machine.

At the age of ten, I was allowed to sign up for Singer sewing lessons at a department store in Toledo. I wanted to take ballet and be a Girl Scout, but my Mom said, "I've already been through all that with your brothers, and they always lost interest halfway NO!"

She never learned how to sew and wanted me to have skills. I made my first dress in teh fifth grade, and I continued to make many of my own clothes throughout high school. Oh, she sent me to charm school too, but its results, as you may know, are questionable.

Since then, however, I have only sewn by hand. I´ve repaired thick sailcloth while underway at sea on our South Pacific Adventures. I´ve made all kinds of curtains with needle and thread. But when I had to make ten pair for the "cuartos" we built off on the Periférico that are almost ready for habitation, I decided to break out the old machine.

I bought one of the old Singer machines that has been motorized. It is a very popular machine in these parts, but most of the locals use the basic foot pedal. My machine hadn't been used since Lynne came from Alaska and made me curtains, back in October of 2007. I called in a home service mechanic, and 140 pesos (ten bucks) and an hour later I was ready to roll.

I went down to Parisina, one of many mind-boggling fabric stores in el centro to seek out fabric. I dove into the giant pile of remnants on the floor, which all happened to be the size I needed for panels. I was pushed around and whacked in the head with purses, knocked to the floor a couple of times. But I knew that would happen so I went prepared mentally. I got them back by smiling and laughing as if they were all accidental hits, and before I knew it the same women were helping me find matches to the fabrics I had in hand. All in all it was not a bad fabric store experience, and I had enough fabric to make ten sets PLUS new curtains upstairs and in my office.
New sheer curtains in upstairs guest room.

Of course I can do no project without the help of the commando. You can see how helpful they are. One more project finished, now we wait for the workers on the construction project who have a mysterious FLU to finish the last details, and voilá! We will be slum lords!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Guest Room Renovated

It has been nearly two years since my Mérida home found and captivated me. I remember walking through this massive all-white house taking tons of photos; my head swimming with ideas. When I returned to Kona to close out my house and affairs, I spent those three months with gel pens in hand dreaming about how I'd work with color in the new place.

I was starving for color. In Hawaii both men and women wear bright and often flowery clothing, but their homes are typically boring beige, white, or some other neutral shade. Inside and out. Our house in Kona was barely yellow outside and icy ice blue inside. The house was small and wouldn't have handled midnight blue, orange or gold walls.

By the time the albaniles handed me swatches of paint options I went completely wild. In my state of overwhelm, I had the upstairs guest room painted bright aqua. I think I forgot to actually go upstairs with the swatches, because the aqua clashed with the sage green tiles in the bathroom. It was fun for a while, but it eventually was too much to look at. I posted photos of the guest room back in Nov'08, if you'd like to compare the changes it underwent this past week.

Last week I painted the room white. It is now the ONLY room inside or outside the house that is white. And it seems larger, fresh, and refreshing. Here is what you see when you walk in the door.

I decided the cubby hole of a closet could remain aqua as a memorial to the room, and it alone in the corner is enough aqua for anyone. You can see why it took four coats of paint to cover.

The new curtains I made are quite sheer but I liked the fabric. If we need privacy or to avoid the sun, we'll have to use the venetian blinds.

And although it took a year and a half, I finally replaced the medicine cabinet that had no mirror. My sister-in-law felt that was the only thing the room was missing.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Mermaid

This year my birthday fell on Easter Sunday. It brought back memories of Catholic Mass, which we attended daily at St. Hedwig's Elementary School in Toledo, Ohio. We kids got bored going to church every day, so we'd read the indexes in prayer books and find other ways to occupy our minds. I noticed then that my birthday would not fall on Easter Sunday until I was 45 years old. I could not imagine ever being 45 years old. Well, in 1998 my birthday fell on Easter. And 11 years later, on my birthday, Easter Sunday 2009, I realize I'd be quite happy celebrating my 45th birthday, but instead.....

I have learned that I like to celebrate my birthday for about a week before the actual date. I used to have panic attacks right before my birthday. I am not sure what that was about, I guess just the getting old factor and not having achieved all I want to do with my life. Now that I have accepted this aging process, I don't panic, instead I like to do things for something I have been thinking about, go somewhere I have wanted to go, etc. I have trouble with the concept of putting ME first........but around my birthday I am pretty bold about it.

By the time my birthday arrives, I am done celebrating. The pre-birthday anxiety is gone and I can relax. Sunday I was doing just that. Relaxing in the hammock watching a little morning TV. The doorbell rang and my three women friends here, Jill, Theresa and Julia surprised me with a drop in visit. They sang to me and brought me a beautiful mermaid piñata. I have never had a piñata before. I don't plan to destroy it with a bat, instead I want to hang it on the wall.

The mermaid piñata.

Backing up a bit, on Friday Pablo and I went out to accomplish two things: obtain pool chemicals and have lunch. Everyone was out of pool chemicals, but we shopped our way through several places to find that out. I bought a jigsaw puzzle, new pants, picture frames, a raft to float in the pool, a little bambu fountain to zen up my office, another fan to keep the hot air circulating, etc. We looked for a place to have lunch all along the way. It was Good Friday and everything was closed. Everyone had gone to the beach. We then decided seafood sounded good and headed up to Progreso.

I know better than to go to Progreso on a holiday weekend. But we were just cruisin' so we went for it. It took us 20 minutes to get there, and 45 minutes to get through town traffic to Eladio's Restaurant on the waterfront.

Cars cruisin' the malecón and thousands of people enjoying the beach. (By Sunday there were over 100,000 visitors there!)

By the time we got to Eladio's, most of the lunch crowd was leaving. It was 4pm. We enjoyed a couple of tequilas, delicious fresh shrimp and octopus. It was at least 10° cooler at the beach, and we ate our lunch watching people play in the water. While at the restaurant, we bought a pile of pirated movies so we would have entertainment for the weekend. They sell movies that are currently showing at theaters, however they are pirated and you never know about the quality. Sometimes the recordings are bad, made in theaters with people's heads in the forefront, or the movies are in Russian with Spanish subtitles. But at $1.50 US each, it is worth the gamble.

On Sunday, after chatting with my visitors, Pablo got the new grill going. We decided to have carne asada and bbq'd vegetables poolside. He treated me like a queen all day. He got the fire going, seasoned and cooked the food, and brought me tequila and Coca Cola. I was in the swimming pool most of the afternoon. Pablo and I had lunch IN the pool. It was a very relaxing day. Later we watched two movies and went for a little drive around the ghost town Mérida.

All in all it was a good week and weekend. I allowed myself many liberties, including an occasional shot of tequila. This week I am seriously down to the grind, writing in the morning and working on repainting the upstairs room in the afternoon and sewing curtains in the evening. I have ten sets of curtains to make for the rooms out at the property, which should be completed this week (mañana). I have a function here on Friday. Our students are back this week, and life is back to normal.

This is the new keg style bbq. It reminds me of the giant kegger bbq we had on the sail trip from Hawaii to Samoa, Tonga and Fiji that our friend Homer made especially for the trip. We not only prepared some great meals on that grill, but we made lots of friends at anchorages. Above, I took the photo too late to show our beautiful grilled meat and veggies so all you see are a few overcooked tortillas.

Easter dinner in the pool....the only way to beat the heat.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Miscellaneous Ramblings

It is the second week of April. I've been concentrating on the book project, but I forgot to post any news or items of interest here. I promised no more cat photos, but I am indulging myself since my birthday is Sunday. Mokito is sitting behind the basil bush in the ground cover that looks great thanks to Pablo's diligent watering and constant care of the entire patio area. He is so cute I can't stop photographing him.

I was inspired to do some gardening on Sunday. It was still very hot this past weekend, and I spent three hours in the pool. As I read my book, drank my Gatorade, etc, I felt cooled off enough to plant some flower seeds, the new jasmine plant, prune the papaya tree out front, and generally do more work in the yard than I usually enjoy or tolerate. (Gardening is NOT my thing!) When sweat rolled into my eyes I decided to jump back into the pool.

Here is what is new.

Yep! Another kitty. I have a sinking feeling this is the fourth kitten from the litter that Momcat had....the ones we took out to the property. He is desperately seeking residence here. He made friends with Mokito, who loves everyone. Of course Moka wanted no part of him in her pride, but he is sweet talking even her into accepting him. He is a talker. Not a screamer like Sak Boox, but sort of an out loud purrer. Above he is wondering if he can come in to eat or if he should hit the high road.

Here he is wondering if he needs to scurry up the tree and vacate the premises. He is very cute. I imagine we will have him fixed and take him in, since we sent away his mom and siblings. We haven't named him because we are trying to avoid adopting another cat. I have to admit if I were a cat, I would want to weasel my way into this cathouse too. Even when it is over 100° outside, the cats find places to stay cool. They particularly like to sit poolside. Maybe we'll name him Weasel.

There are lots of flowers blooming in the patio. I wish I could remember the name of this mini tree, but I am brain dead and energyless today. They say it's the cold. Last week they said it was the heat. The real problem is that I am getting old. I have this love/hate relationship with my birthdays. I generally get stressed out about having one, but I always want to celebrate it anyhow. We didn't make plans to go anywhere for my birthday since it falls on Easter. The local people all head to the beaches and ruins and cenotes over Easter week, so if we go somewhere it will be after the holiday.

This is how I work at the computer. I have to set up chairs next to me for the cats. Moka prefers sleeping on top of the printer because she can attack it if it acts up. The others stay away from the desk and keyboard if I keep them close by and pet them enough. People who think cats are not loving must have weird cats. My cats require lovin' every day. They demand it. I work in some head scratching and sweet talking to allow me to take little mind breaks while struggling to think through this enormous project of writing a book. I think I have a name for it, and the project seems to be leading me in a specific direction now, which I see as a good sign.

Sak Boox drinks more water than any cat I've ever seen. They all drink from the swimming pool, and though we thought it wasn't good for them with chemicals and all, it sounds better than any standing water they might find in the bush. What Sak Boox prefers is to drink straight from the faucet or the 5 gallon jug spout. She will position herself and tell me, "I am ready!" Although I prefer to NOT allow cats on the kitchen counter, I usually let her come up and have a drink.

There are other things going on. The construction at the property is almost finished. I will post on it once we have it done. We have the bloggers Meet and Greet next week, and I look forward to meeting the other bloggers. An old friend of mine will be in Cancún next week and I would like to visit him and his family. I have known Lothar since I was about 12 years old. He is one of my oldest friends. Unfortunately, of all the cool places there are around here, the place I least enjoy driving to is Cancún. The toll road is hypnotizing as well as expensive, not to mention four hours of driving with nothing to see but road. So I am working that in my brain.
My pool exercisers are back. Once we topped the 100° mark last week, interest was peaked again. Now they are talking about evening swims in addition to morning swims. If we have the hot summer they are threatening, we will all have to live in the pool. The weather is confused right now. I may be brain dead today because of dehydration....again. Last week I was suckin' down all the liquid in sight, and this week I am not thirsty again. It was only 68° this morning. How's that for extremes? Anyhow, when it is cool outside we don't feel the thirst sensation but we still need to drink three times our weight in liquid every day.
This is all the rambling I will subject you to today. Mostly I wanted to say hi, I am still here plugging away, stumbling through life. Happy Easter to all of you from the Conejita de Pascua (the little easter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am searching for my brain cells and when I locate them will post a bitchin' story. Adios.
I tried four times to separate the paragraphs, so if they are still all stuck together, it must be a sign that this really was meant to be just a ramble!