Train of thoughts


CARNIVAL JUST ended. Bring out the ashes. My hardscrabble neighborhood, more than any other here on the mountaintop, goes bananas for Mardi Gras.

Living just a block and a half from the plaza presents problems. The worst are the monster concerts that blare for four nights straight. We sleep with silicone earplugs.

Having lived 18 years in New Orleans, I know Carnival. What passes for Carnival here pales in comparison, but I think my neighborhood excels in noise, a Mexican specialty.

Roundabouts August, I am weary of rain, every year. Roundabouts February, I am weary of cold, every year. Walking through the living room this morning, it was, I’m guessing, about 50 degrees at most.

We have no climate control in the house. Our electricity bills are constant all year long. Constantly cheap.  I have not been in the United States in seven years and was there only sporadically, briefly, the nine years before that.

Most Americans live in sealed houses, which is great where temps vary wildly, but it’s pretty even here with the exception of January and February when it can freeze at night.

There’s no playing with a dial on the wall to make life sweet. The temperature just is. Here are a couple of other things. No junk mail in my post office box. No sales calls as we sit down to supper. Is that still common in America? Bet so.

My wife is the most important thing in my life. A close second is my Kindle. Departing a restaurant yesterday alone in the state capital, I left it unseen on a chair. The waiter chased me down outside to return it. Bless him.

That was very unlike me. Long ago, I formulated what we’ll call Felipe’s First Law of Placement, which is that you never put something important out of sight in, say, a restaurant unless you literally cannot leave without it.

Car keys or an umbrella during a downpour.

I abide religiously by the law, usually. Why did I break it yesterday? No clue. Got me to thinking. While I do not have a backup wife, I need a backup Kindle, so I ordered one today, a newer version, the Paperwhite.

A backup wife has appeal, but I don’t think I could get away with it, nor should I. Too old for that anyway.

I’ll close with that. We’re going to take our exercise walk around the plaza. Wonder what we’ll see this morning. Unconscious bodies? Blood stains on the cement?

We’ve seen both in the past.

27 thoughts on “Train of thoughts

  1. I fondly recall the days of yore when I was your number one :-). Alas, amigo, you certainly took a big step up with the guapa señora. Glad to know I have a thermostat, and outside of the yapping of neighborly dogs, pretty quiet out here in the desert. I feel at home out here.


      1. The desert? This is distressing to read. I’ve always believed that you loved living on your Mexican mountaintop.

        Central heating, controlled by a thermostat is nice, although some homes in the U.S. are overheated. Our Mexican home, like yours, has no central heat, but I say that dealing with this helps build character.

        Don Cuevas


        1. Don Cuevas: I very much like the mountaintop for two reasons: 1. I like the look of mountains. 2. It’s cool up here. But I love desert environments even more. Some deserts are high altitude, so you can get cool some of the time. No matter. I’m not going anywhere.

          I too think our no-AC/heater world builds character. We should have lots of character by now.


  2. Mardi Gras came and went. Yawn. I live in the country. But, today starts Lent. Some churches are doing a bang-up job with ashes. It’s cold this week so many churches are offering drive-by ashes, wherein as the words imply, parishioners drive through the church parking lot to get a stain on the forehead. I wish I had time to write a post. Maybe I will in a few minutes. Drive-by ashes are UNLIKE drive-by shootings although both are very common in New Orleans neighborhoods.


    1. Lauie: Due to Mardi Gras, I thought about you yesterday, but I think of you on other days too, not just one day a year.

      Drive-by ashes. Well, if that ain’t a hoot and a sad commentary on the American lifestyle. As for drive-by shootings, it’s not very common here on the mountaintop, just another good reason to live here.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Glad to read your Kindle is second to your wife. But that you actually left it in the restaurant!!!!!!!!!!!!! That would do me in. I just started using my husband’s iPad after Number 1 son refurbished it and brought it back to new for me. I have a Kindle app on it now, and I am in love. The iPad has become my backup husband (I can joke now, and I’d use a smiley face, but we are both in the no-emoji club, I believe). Stay warm.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Angeline: Yes, my temporarily abandoning my Kindle was very odd. Maybe I’m getting senile. As for using a Kindle app on an iPad, I’d have to see that in person. I never have. I imagine Kindle books work best on an actual Kindle and while they may travel to other devices, I bet it’s not an ideal voyage. I could be wrong.

      As for being warm, now at 11 a.m., it’s very comfortable. The cold burns off fast here in the mornings and everything settles into loveliness.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m personally no longer allowed to put anything, even temporarily, into an airplane seatback pocket. Too many things left behind in the rush to get off.


  4. Mostly I lose things in the house. It gets desperate, though, when there’s a possibility whatever is lost was accidentally put in the trash with a pile of papers or something. Sometimes things are lost for a long time and when the season changes, I’ll find the thing in the pocket of a piece of clothing in the out-of-season closet.


  5. Today’s post reminded me of something that happened to us in Guayabitos, Nayarit. My bride and I were shopping along the main drag in town and somewhere along the way she put her glasses down and walked away from them. Oh well, Jimmy Crack Corn, they were just cheap magnifiers worth maybe $8. Two years pass, and again we are in Guayabitos walking down the same main drag of the town when a lady came running out of her little shop with my wife’s glasses and returned them to her. We were blown away.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey, Rob, haven’t heard from you in a long time. Welcome back. And that’s quite an amazing story. One week maybe, but two years?! Wonders never cease, as they say.


  6. Spent a winter one year when the heater was broken and my dad just didn’t have the money to replace it. We got by on a wood stove and extra quilts on the bed.

    Best winter of my life.


    1. Ray: There is a certain back-to-nature feel to it. We get by every winter not with extra quilts but with a goose-down comforter. It’s like an electric blanket without all the spooky rays and stuff that alter your cell structure while you sleep.

      And there are three portable propane heaters that work pretty well, but we don’t have them lit when we sleep.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. At our age we have earned the right to start doing little things like that. A good excuse to get a spare, why not!
    I purchase a propane heater about 5 years ago and had it finally installed about 3 months ago. Now the bathroom is nice and toasty. I just need to train the wife to keep the dial down below 75. This has been a cold winter, but still not as bad as I have felt it here before.
    Having a couple of hot wiener dogs warming your feet also helps.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tancho: Our propane heaters are portable and roll on little wheels. No installation to be done. Yes, this winter has been colder than last year, but not as cold as some years. Here at the Hacienda it has frozen overnight twice. I know by my birdbath. Last year, it did not freeze even once. That’s how I prefer it, but Mother Nature ignores my druthers.


  8. I was surprised you have such mild winters. I have a little summer house up on the Mogollon Rim. It is about the same elevation as your town, but we have real cold winters. I have seen it at 20 below there. We get lots of snow.

    I used to keep it heated all winter, but that got to be real expensive. Worse, all of God’s little creatures thought they should live under my house.

    So now, we just have the plumber drain down the system and blow out the pipes. Antifreeze goes into the drains and toilet. Then we abandon the place until spring.

    And by the way, I liked the banana trees.


    1. Señor Gill: I had to look up the Mogollon Rim, and I see it’s there in Arizona. Obviously, altitude is not always the most important factor. You’re a lot farther north than I am. When it freezes here, and some winters it does not freeze at all, it’s a light freeze. But enough to kill those bananas, which I also like — mostly — and when they are zapped by cold they turn into a very ugly proposition. I still have one batch, and we’ll see how long it takes before I get rid of that one too. Not this year though.

      We’re at 7,200 feet ASL. Very nice.


      1. I have noticed that in countries where they produce bananas, they cut down the plants after the harvest. They always grow back from the roots. You may see them come back.


  9. It’s been chilly here too in CDMX. I miss my thermostatically-controlled, central heat. Fortunately, I can cheat by using the oven as a heater.

    And I’m still not shoveling snow, so not really complaining.


    Kim G
    CDMX, México
    Where there are plenty of married (to women) men with “backup boyfriends.”


    1. Kim: We’re at about the same altitude as Mexico City, and it’s been a so-so winter so far, temp-wise, and that’s fine with me. As for married men with backup boyfriends, well, to each his own. Not my cup of tea.

      Liked by 1 person

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