Tag Archives: bagels

Post-bagel labor

MOST WORK around here gets done in the morning, and that would be after the bagels and cream cheese.

The labor this Good Friday morning included the yearly cleaning of the underground cistern.

Child bride descends to mop after I had descended to sweep.

Our concrete cistern holds 9,000 liters of water.

The reason you don’t want to drink tap water in Mexico is less because the water didn’t come from a clean source at the get-go. It may have. For instance, our municipal water comes from an underground spring. It is quite clear.

What happens is that almost everyone stores water in an underground cistern. From that cistern, water is delivered, one way or another, to a roof tank, and from there it’s dropped into the house faucets via gravity.

There are variations, but basically that’s how it works.

I have no statistics, but I’d bet a pocket of pesos that few homeowners ever clean their cisterns. I’ve peered into cisterns that you could use for a horror-movie scene.

But we are better than that.

Here’s how we clean ours. First, we turn off the incoming water. After that, it takes almost two weeks to empty as we use the water in the house. Finally, the cistern is empty, and we switch to a small backup tank for a day or two.

We leave the lid open overnight, and the cistern’s dry in the morning. I go down and sweep. She goes down and mops. We turn the water back on, and toss in half a liter of bleach.

Here comes fresh water into the clean tank! Yipee!

It takes three or four days to refill. The municipal water runs six days a week for six to eight hours daily.

* * * *

Other labor

Having finished that work, it was time to reassign cacti.

You’d think that after what happened with the monster nopal that I would have learned my lesson regarding prickly plants.

But I’m stupid that way.

I love deserts and the things that live in them. I used to plant cacti in my yard in Houston, and they never did squat.

The tall ones.

Next to the verandah, there’s this stand of pole cacti that I started years ago with one small one. The tallest now is six and a half feet high.

Another shorter — but not by much — stand nearby provided a cutting about 15 inches tall. It has been planted out by the property wall, and I anticipate a nice stand of pole cacti there in a few years —  if I live so long.

The little bugger.

Being a newbie, it needs a little support from string and a stick.

Following these two chores, I only had to water the potted plants on the verandah, dust the shelves and sweep the floor.

The only other labor for the day will be cooking pasta and broiling salmon. After that, it’s a café Americano negro on the downtown plaza, watching the beautiful tourist babes.

It will be a Good Friday. Even if I’m not a Christian.

Mountain autumn

far

SAY WHAT you will about spring. Fall is the best time. Of course, this depends on where you are.

If you live somewhere with sweltering summers, then spring is just an introduction to suffering. Autumn would be the door to pain closing behind you. Time to rejoice.

Most of my life was spent in zones with sweltering summers, so I’m an autumnal man. Falling leaves and shades of brown put a lively spring to my faltering steps.

If you can vision such a thing.

Eating a bagel this morning, I looked out the huge window to the right and noticed falling, yellow leaves from the peach tree. Ah, I thought, the feel and look of fall.

It’s cool out too.

Winter here is not too bad if you don’t mind coats and scarves inside the house in the morning, and I don’t mind.

new-image

Here I am drinking hot coffee on a winter morning years ago. My child bride knitted that wool scarf for me.

Another sweet aspect to fall here is that it stops raining. November is our best month. It’s not raining, and everything is still green, not the dusty brown of springtime.

November also brings the Day of the Dead.

But we’re not in November yet. It’s something I look forward to and, in the meantime, I eat my bagels, look out the window and smile at the leaves falling from the peach tree.

As I type this, there is lively music from the neighborhood plaza. It’s been going full-tilt boogy since dawn. I have no clue what we’re celebrating. Perhaps the falling leaves.

More likely some long-gone saint.

* * * *

(Note: That top photo was a zoom test on my new camera. I was a long way off. That arch and the carport roof are inside the Hacienda walls, and I was half a block away.)

Gray but cool

New Image

NAT KING COLE sings You Made Me Love You on the music machine as I sweep the veranda on this overcast day.

It’s cool, but it’s ever cool in our mornings.

After the brief trip to Mexico City, it’s nice to fall back into a routine, which is a very relaxed one. At least mine is. My child bride doesn’t understand relaxation.

I understand it all too well — and always have.

Check news on internet. Drink coffee, eat bagels — or sometimes croissants like today — chores, shower, dress — and, in the case of my child bride, wrestle with curly long hair forever — and on Sunday go somewhere, do something.

That something today will be a ride down the mountain to the state capital for shopping and eating. Sunday’s a good day to do this because perpetually unsettled socialist “teachers” normally take that day off. No highway obstructions.

With luck the overcast will clear soon, introducing blue skies. As I head to the shower, Julie London has replaced Nat King Cole on the music machine.

Chet Baker’s warming up in the bull pen.

I hear a train in the distance. And I think I spot the sun.

Carnival leftovers

morn

SEE THOSE hanging flags? They were placed there for our Mardi Gras festivities —  in February.

Folks put them up, but nobody ever takes them down. Eventually, the lines break, and they fall, little by little over months. But the banners keep us ever in a party mood.

The photo was taken about 7:30 a.m. Monday. Though it’s mid-April, it was just above 50 degrees, bracing, especially for an old coot in a black T-shirt. There was a bit of morning fog.

I came back in from that terraza, developed the photo and deposited it here. The sun rose more, the flags grew more colorful, a train passed, and another day began.

Bagels were served, and birds sang.

Mixed signals

snow
View Thursday from our upstairs terraza.

TUESDAY AND Wednesday got really weird here on the mountaintop. It rained and it blew, blowing so hard that a 20-foot sheet of metal roofing separated from our neighbors’ backyard shed and sailed over into our yard.

Apart from breaking a few clay tiles atop the wall that separates our yard from the Garden Patio, no damage was done. The two of us donned gloves and toted it out the gate and left it on the street behind the neighbors’ house.

Later it was gone. They are not nice people.

Someone posted on a Yahoo forum that focuses on our area that this is the first time that snow’s been visible here in 54 years. I feel like I’m in Colorado.

New ImageBut it’s almost springtime! For the past few days, while sitting in the dining room with bagels, we watched through the window a visitor drinking from the ceramic birdbath, an Altamira oriole.

So while winter makes what I pray is its final punch, signs of springtime frolic in the yard simultaneously.

Mixed signals from the Goddess.

The long table

kitchenBW

SEE THAT CHAIR down there, just opposite? That’s my chair, and it’s where I sit when I eat a morning bagel or an afternoon pozole. The King’s Chair, and I’m the King.

The Queen sits to my right. The Princess and her Prince by marriage live in Georgia and have yet to visit the castle.

Perhaps one day.

Nobody sits at this table for the evening meal, which at the Hacienda is always a green salad with diced chicken on top. I make that, and we go upstairs and watch something on Mexican Netflix, a great service.

We have side-by-side recliners separated by a tiny table.

But this is a view I rarely see, which is why I photographed it. What I always see is what’s behind the photographer’s back. That would be me at this moment.

There’s a big window to the left, and another behind, both of which provide great outdoor views.

But it’s uplifting to view life from a different perspective now and then. I think so, and I want to stay uplifted.

Music and bread

torture

PACHELBEL’S CANON played as we ate bagels and Philly cheese lite this morning. The dining room window to the terraza was open to enjoy the 58-degree air in almost-August under blue skies at 8 a.m.

I took the photo with my new camera yesterday. It’s a 16th-century church on the outskirts of town, little visited and usually locked. I have read that Spaniards tortured an influential Indian chief in there. Racist Latinos!*

I’ve been inching through the manual of my new Canon SX520 and, as usual, sighing and rolling my eyeballs at how much technology can be crammed into a small space these days. Whereas I am in favor of high technology, my enthusiasm wanes when I have to deal with its innards personally.

The first day after the camera’s arrival discouraged me. I only wanted a far better zoom, and simpler cameras with great zooms are available. I began to wonder why I had not purchased one of those simpler options.

I woke up for a spell in the middle of Thursday night, thinking: I’m gonna sell that thing and buy something easier.  I have pulled similar stunts.

About three years ago, I bought a Samsung Smartphone. I sold it at a significant loss within the week. Didn’t care for it. My main objection was the ringtone, which was too pissant for my tastes. Didn’t ring long enough. Yeah, I know. You can add others. Learned that later.

I returned to my previous, ancient, Nokia phone. You would laugh at it. It does two things only. It makes calls. It sends messages. Period. It does have powerful ringtones that would startle the dead.

Back to the camera. So I woke up yesterday and continued reading the Canon manual (online) while fiddling with the camera. I began to like stuff more and more. It’s pretty incredible, things it does. I stood on the upstairs terraza and took a closeup of the chimney on a house down the street, crystal clear. No wobble at all. How’s that possible?

I also removed the neck strap, which was a colossal annoyance. I went back to Amazon, the U.S. version this time, and ordered a perfect wrist strap and a beefier memory card. They are en route, no import tax due, I’m told.

Looks like I’ll keep the camera. I took it downtown yesterday afternoon for my daily coffee siesta at a sidewalk table facing the beautiful plaza with towering trees. I snapped a few shots, but nothing notable. Then I got in the Honda and drove home, passing the small church above.

* * * *

We finished the bagels and Philly cheese lite. I watered the plants on the downstairs terraza. It’s a lovely day. I wonder what kind of day it was when the Spaniards tortured the Indian chief in the church.

Maybe there are still blood stains on the stone floor. Maybe that’s why the church is usually locked. Catholic shame.

* * * *

* Don’t they know that #indianlivesmatter?

Bat neighbors

MOST EVERY morning, after café, bagels and Philly cream cheese, lite, I wash the dishes and step out to the downstairs terraza to sweep. This is especially necessary in Springtime because the season creates plenty of dust.

broomIn July or August the terraza may be awash with blown-in rainwater, but that’s not an issue in Springtime, which is a time of dust. And bats.

This morning I arrived out on the terraza, took a look to my right and there on one of the wooden shelves was an ample supply of dry bat shit, guano they call it.

My gaze traveled upward to the red clay roof tiles, which is where the bats hang out during the day in Springtime but summer too.

I know they’re up there, but I’ve never seen them up there, just the proof — there on the shelf — of their presence. And if you’re on the terraza around dusk, you’ll spot them flying out and high on their nightly dining expeditions. However, they do it so quickly you can’t see where they start from, specifically, their hangar. No matter. The guano spills the beans.

Getting a brush, I flipped the little turds to the floor where they were included in the sweep.

We once found a bat hanging from the ceiling fixture in the downtown Casita’s back bedroom, just above the bed. He couldn’t have been there long because the bed was still unsullied by, well, you know. My lovely wife had gone to the Casita alone, and I quickly received a phone call informing me, hysterically, that “something” was hanging from the light fixture.

What is it? I inquired. She did not know, she responded. Some sort of beast.

I hurried to the Casita — about 15 minutes from the Hacienda — and immediately saw what it was. Nothing confusing about it. Women are funny.

I got a shoe box, donned a pair of leather gloves, and “encouraged” the little bugger to move into the box, which he did with little fuss. For lack of any other solution, I tossed him into a grassy area nearby. I hope everything turned out well for him, though I doubt it did.

How did he get into the Casita? I scratched my noodle, figuratively speaking, for the next few hours. It’s a modern construction, well sealed, and I was puzzled. Later, downtown on the plaza, sitting at a sidewalk table with a hot espresso, it hit me. The chimney! Well, duh.

There’s a small, non-functioning fireplace in the living room.

The next morning, I went to the roof and closed the opening with screen.

Problem solved.