Time to pucker up!

My patch of parasitic mistletoe.

A couple of months ago when we were still in winter and the bush — hibiscus, I think — in which this thing resides was still lacking its leaves, I noticed a patch of something green sitting there alone. Looks like mistletoe, I muttered as I continued on with life.

This morning, I took a photo using a plant-identification app and, sure enough, it’s mistletoe. I mentioned this to my child bride and, after the appropriate smootch below the mistletoe, she said she’d never heard of it. It must not be “a thing” in Mexico.

Hibiscus, I think.

The plant on which the mistletoe lives — mistletoe is a parasite — is, I believe, a form of hibiscus. The plant-ID app was unsure. When we moved into the Hacienda 18 years ago, it was living cheek-to-jowl against a loquat tree where some nincompoop had planted it. I uprooted it and planted it over thataway a bit, giving it space.

The hibiscus — and let’s assume that’s what it is — flowers now and then, kinda pretty, and it does not toss trash all over the place, so I’ve left it in peace. Longtime readers here know that I am a plant predator, quite the killer when it suits me, and it suits me when a plant becomes a nuisance, mostly by tossing trash.

When we moved here, there was a fig bush where one of the carports now sits, so it was removed, which is a shame because I like figs.

The skeletal loquat.

Not far off is the loquat tree which grew like mad, tossing loquats all over the place where they rotted on the ground. Tossed big, ugly leaves too, much like those of a magnolia, which is a yucky tree, I think, in spite of my being a son of the Old South.

Rhett Butler and all that.

Alas, my child bride is excessively fond of loquats and the tree on which they grew maniacally. But she didn’t have to deal with the constant mess and work, so her vote was of less value than mine.

I am a kind husband, however, so I did not remove it. I only cut it back, way, way back, and I maintain it as you see in the photo, a half-alive zombie.

When I die, she can let it go whole hog again and, believe me, it will.

It needs a trellis.

Let us further milk the gardening topic today. While the Hacienda was under construction in 2003, I planted five bougainvillea bushes along the property wall you see in these photos. Two promptly died. Of the remainers, one was very different. It does not go berserk, and at times during the year it’s all flowers. It’s my best bougainvillea buddy.

But the best gardening news of the day is that we have mistletoe, which gives my child bride another reason to kiss me, even though she’d never heard of mistletoe. You get your kisses where you can. That’s always been my philosophy.

Votes, death, spiders, mail & flu

I sent my vote for the Blond Bomber toward Houston on October 1, registered mail, figuring it would have plenty of time. This was assuming registered mail here moves at least a bit faster than unregistered mail, a dicey assumption.

It arrived at the Mexico City airport 27 days later. I could have driven there in five hours, give or take. Registered and express mail from here can be tracked on the Mexican postal system’s website, and then it can be tracked on the USPS website using the same number.

It has been visible on the USPS website for a couple of days, so I’m assuming it made it over the Rio Bravo, but there is no further info. I have found the Mexican tracking system better than the USPS. Once I sent a Social Security form, registered mail, and it crossed the border and vanished. Yes, the Gringos lost it.


The Honda was in the shop this week due to a suspension problem. I got it back yesterday and immediately noticed one tire was very low on air, so I drove a couple of blocks today to my tire-repair man who found the leak and fixed it on the spot for $2.50 U.S.


The Night/Day of the Dead arrives Sunday. Both state and city governments have tried to discourage it due to the Kung Flu, so I suspect we’ll see fewer tourists jamming our highways and streets. How much fewer is questionable.


We’re considering a trip to the beach, Zihuatanejo, soon where we have not been in about three years. Probably be a good time due to more folks staying home. Our favorite hotel is the Casa Sun & Moon. We always get a big suite facing the ocean.

It’s time to stop talking about going and actually go.


And she came screaming!

Well, not screaming, but my child bride ran rapid and distressed. There was a big, black spider in the bathtub. I won’t say he was as big as my fist, but he was huge, the second big spider here in the last three days. I trapped him, escorted him to the yard where I smashed him flat. She said it was a brown recluse, but it wasn’t. It did look scary though.


We get a flu shot every October at the Star Medica hospital in the nearby state capital. Alas, the vaccine has yet to arrive there. Next week, we’re always told on the phone. Next week! It costs 800 pesos each at Star Medica, but it’s available free here on the mountaintop at a government clinic. I’ve only gone to a government clinic for a vaccine once, and I received the wrong vaccine. I now look askance at government clinics.

Socialized, government medical care!

But that may be where we get it this year.


The high point of today is that my child bride made a huge pot of green pozole, and no one does it better than her. We’ll enjoy that for lunch, then head down to the government clinic to see if the flu shot is available and, even more important, if there’s a line to stand in. If so, we’ll just keep on trucking. Life’s too short to stand in lines.

Might not get the correct vaccine anyway.


Vaccine update! We went to the government hospital and got the vaccine quicker than we’ve ever done it at Star Medica, and it was free, closer to being actually free than the stuff the leftists promise you above the Rio Bravo. (That free means your neighbors are paying for it.) There was no wait. We were told there’s a shortage of shots, and only certain people get it. Being over 60 did it for us.

By the way, what’s up with the anti-vaccine hysteria? Appears to be something embraced by conservatives more than anyone. I don’t get it. I like vaccines.

Downtown life

Rained cats and dogs downtown yesterday. I was sitting at one of these tables when it started, and we had to move the table a bit back from the street. This rainy season — normally June through October — has been the lightest in all the years I’ve lived here, and I like it. There is more than enough rain, but not too much.

Usually, it’s way too much. Yesterday was way too much.

That’s my sister-in-law’s coffee shop to the left. Business has fallen off due to the Kung Flu, but she’s doing okay. A couple of months ago, the city tore up the sidewalk on this block, dropped new drainage pipes into the ground, laid a level of concrete atop it all, and then ran out of money before laying the sidewalk tiles. They say it will be done in November. The unfinished work is why you see that mound of gravel to the right.

The mayor announced this week that our mountaintop town has become the first plastic-free municipality in the state, a bit of an overstatement because there’s still plastic all over the place. However, our few supermarkets have mostly quit supplying plastic bags, which leads to amusing scenes when customers stumble out the door trying to balance their purchases in their open arms. We bring reusable cloth bags. Duh!

We’re still commanded to stay home due to the Kung Flu, but most people ignore it. I do. You can only stay home so long. I stopped on May 10. We’ve also been threatened by the governor that if we don’t use masks we face 36 hours in the slammer. If that’s been enforced anywhere, I’ve not heard about it. Rules in Mexico are issued to be ignored.

It’s a great nation for a libertarian.

For over a year, the mayor has closed streets around the main plaza to vehicles on Sundays, making it pedestrian-friendly, a move designed to attract tourists. A few months ago, due to the Kung Flu “threat,” the plaza itself was closed to pedestrians to discourage tourists. But the traffic closure continues, so we have two contradictory policies on Sunday. Actual plaza shut to discourage tourists. Street circling plaza shut to encourage tourists.

To paraphrase Gen. Anthony McAuliffe, “It’s nuts!”

I pointed out the contradiction to our mayor on his Facebook page a couple of months ago. He responded that he would think about it. I guess he’s still thinking.

About the only good thing about this year is that we’re spending less money.

And there’s less rain.


In other Hacienda news, my child bride turns 60 next week, raising the question of whether I can continue referring to her as my child bride. It’s always been a matter of perspective. When we wed, she was 41, and I was 57.

¡Mama mia!

My gut feeling is that she still qualifies. In part because she does not look like a woman of 60 summers in the slightest.

Plus, on the day she was born at home in the city of Uruapan, Michoacán, I was a high school junior. When she was 3, I was in the Air Force. When she was 6, I was married with a child of my own and living in New Orleans, never dreaming that my third wife was in First Grade way south of the border.

Life takes unusual twists at times. I like it.

Road to Los Corrales

MY LAST DAY as a working stiff, December 19, 1999, I came to the newsroom in Houston with Happy Faces of all sizes that I had cut from yellow poster paper the previous day. I tacked and taped them to my cubicle. Yes, a cubicle, I never had an office.

That evening about midnight — I worked the swing shift — almost all my coworkers had gone home. I stood up, waved to the few remaining folks, and walked out the door for good, having no clue what I’d be doing even a year later.

Twenty-plus years later, I’m hanging loose.

It was a lazy Saturday today, so the two of us took a ride into the countryside. We went to the tiny town of Los Corrales and turned around.

road
The road to Los Corrales.

mount
Corn beyond an old stone wall.

green
The green fields of home. Somebody’s.

It’s been said repeatedly that our state resembles Hawaii during the green months. Never having been to Hawaii, I cannot vouch for that, but it’s darn nice here.

Half a century ago, when I was visiting my maternal grandmother in the summertime, after dinner at noon, my grandmother and I would take the Ford for a ride down the red-clay roads. Usually, we would stop half a mile away at her sister’s place — her name was Bubba, and she was rail thin and chain-smoked — so she could come along for the ride.

I was too young for a driver’s license, but nobody gave a hoot.

I often think of those Sunday drives through the fields and woods of southwest Georgia when my child bride and I do pretty much the same thing on weekends. The two-lane, rural roads here are not red clay, of course, just your garden-variety asphalt at best. I always wanted to live in the mountains.

In the video, which I made in the morning, the music you hear is coming from the neighbors out back. They are sharing sorts.