Monthly Archives: November 2016

Everything Shall Fade Away


How cruel of life at end of day
that all of us should fade away,
one head going hoary white,
ready to give up the fight
while all around it, fresher shoots
sturdier and less hirsute
push upward in the dawning morn,
the meadow to freshly adorn.

The prompt word today was “Faded.”

Musical Chairs

What can be more “Musical Chairs” than this horn-headed statute in the chair series by Alejandro Colunga? It can be found on the malecón in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and rarely is it unoccupied during daylight hours.


Stowaway: Flower of the Day, Nov 30, 2016


I can’t figure out what flower this is that has stowed away in my airplane plant plot and gone to seed, but she is a hoary beauty and it looks like in a few months there are bound to be more of her.  I should take better notes when I snap photos!

Asparagus Fern Berries: Flower of the Day, Nov 29,2016

I’ve been holding onto this, knowing it really wasn’t a flower, but now feel freed to answer your holly berries with asparagus fern berries!!  Not seasonal, but still red.


Vive la Cultura de México!!!!

Last night was Agustin’s “surprise” fiftieth birthday party that got so big that they had to tell him about it because we were holding it at his restaurant and the staff could no longer buy enough food for all the people who attended without his knowledge and help. I don’t know if he ever ate as he was running here and there in his spiffy new chef’s coat, but it was definitely the best party I’ve ever been to in terms of the entertainment. Two musical groups played, including the best 10-piece mariachi group I have ever heard (including the Mariachi Festival and world competition in Guadalajara.) There was simply no believing this local group, with their oldest member, who is 75, having fifty years experience as a mariachi.

No telling how much experience the younger members have, but judging from the performance, they must have started in the womb. It was simply incredible. After the classic fare of “Las Mananitas” and “Guadalajara” and “Coo Ca Roo Coo Coo,” they did classical, mazurkas, and other music more usually performed by an orchestra–all performed flawlessly and with such emotion and spirit that I was in tears at times. Agustin stepped in and eventually, most of the remaining audience (the original 150 or so had dwindled to 30 or fewer by then) was out center court, singing along with the lyrics in typical Mexican late-night-party style. A little boy came in from off the street, in his pajama bottoms, shirt and bare feet. People started sticking their name tags on him and soon his shirt front was covered. I stuck mine on his pajama bottom back and with great dignity, he removed it and placed it over his heart. He had some cake, then entered into the festivities with other kids, dancing and generally having a marvelous time. A tiny baby snoozed in its mother’s arms, totally covered with a blanket for privacy. Babies fast get accustomed to noise in Mexico and are never left home even when the festivities go deep into the night and out the other side into morning.

One incredible young violin player-singer was so majestic in his performance that I inquired of Agustin where he had gone to college to achieve such mastery, and Agustin, who knew or was related to all the members of the troupe, declared that he could not even read music. Hard to imagine because I have never heard his equal at the opera, on the stage, on radio or on The Voice!

Six birthday cakes, a money tree covered in envelopes given with the intention of sending Agustin to Cuba to go investigate the music he has loved and sung from the time he was a child, the wonderful cuisine of Viva Mexico and most of my favorite people from both Mexico as well as transplants from north of the border created the perfection of the evening. The dancing and foolishness with John Mistrik who turned into a kid again with balloon fights with the kids who were reeling with happiness over his antics and their own. The incredible ballet one young boy staged with a balloon long after the battery on my camera had gone. It was a memorable night.

Happy Birthday, Agustin, our beautiful and generous friend with the biggest heart in Mexico. Generations of kids as well as all of us who have met you at this later stage in our lives have benefited greatly from your actions.  We all hold you in our hearts.  But it takes all of our hearts to equal the size of  your own!!!!

(You can read a detailed article I wrote about Agustin HERE.)

(If you want to read captions and see the photos in a larger form, click on first photo.)

The prompt word today is “Culture.”

Always Behind Windows: Monday Windows Challenge

Always Behind Windows

Not only on a Monday, but every day this week,
we’ve been locked behind windows, through which we have to peek
to see what’s going on inside, where all the good things are.
Other times, we’ve been inside, but now we’re kept afar.
Our noses sticking through the bars, our breath fogging the glass,
as intriguing as we find it, we hope these times soon pass.
When all this tiling madness is done and gone away,
we’ll have more freedom to run free each and every day.
No more behind windows, no more behind bars.
We’ll wander boundless in our world, where we will be the stars.
But for a few more days now, we’re sticking here like glue,
so we can tell these workmen exactly what to do!

Almost a Flower: Flower of the Day, Nov 28, 2016


I love that in more northern climes, succulents give us the illusion that flowers are blooming all year long.  I love the subtle shades in this one.

Vigor Trigger

Version 3

Vigor Trigger

What once passed for vigor, I fear has turned into a case of fine acting. If I walk with energy, it is a forced energy expressed in spurts in situations where once I ran. I hope this can be attributed to the dignity of my age; but when I see others my age outpacing me, the jig is up and I am revealed for what I am—someone who, in spite of what I have always believed would happen, is wearing out and falling into that part of the life cycle that includes wrinkling up and slowing down. Ugh. I hate to admit it, but perhaps if I do it will be a type of therapy and in confronting it, it will go away—or at least it will lessen in its effect.

The truth is that I fear acting old more than I fear looking old. I hate it that I struggle to get up from a kneeling position and that I can in no way do it gracefully. I put both hands against the floor in front of me, raise my butt in the air and walk up to my hands—only way it seems possible without a lot of grunting and straining. In animal behavior, I would probably appear sexy as I do so, but I do not delude myself that any human being would find it so.

An additional truth to face now that I am 69 is that I am turning into my mother. Having to do more than one thing at once befuddles me and sometimes even one thing at a time is a bit confusing. Numbers don’t behave as they once did. I add and subtract and multiply and divide just fine. I grew up in a time before computers and handheld devices, so I’m used to doing functions mentally that youth finds better relegated to machines. The problem is in the interrelation of functions––just how to convert dimensions expressed in feet and tenths of feet to feet and inches, to enable me to equate it to the past when all dimensions were expressed as such. Why describe in tenths of feet which are traditionally divided into twelve parts, not ten? Why not just convert to a decimal system entirely, which I could then translate easily to inches and then to feet and inches?

The world is no longer my oyster. Devices get smaller and smaller as my eyes get worse and worse. I can’t wait for all of today’s young programmers and systems designers to get to be 60 and to try to make use of the apps they’ve designed primarily for phones so tiny that you can barely find the phone, let alone make out pages as small as playing cards. And don’t even get me started on the designers of medicine labels!!! If it isn’t bad enough that they are in size 2 font, they then make them white on yellow or gray on blue so it is impossible to read them no matter what size they are. What are they thinking? The clincher was my optometrist’s card that was primarily empty space with the writing squeezed into one corner, so small that I doubt it could be read by anyone­­–glasses or no glasses, and remember, people come to optometrists primarily because they can’t see in the first place! In addition, it was one of those cards impossible to look at because the two colors used not only made it difficult to read, but tended to affect one’s astigmatism, or at the very least one’s sense of good taste.

I must admit that I have never been an athletic person. Zumba, yoga and pool aerobics have been my most successful and enduring modes of exercise. But what I have done, I have always done with great vigor. I work hard, in the past did all my own housework and gardening and have been a bit of a workaholic. But very recently, I find myself wearing out faster, sneaking off to a hidden corner to huff and puff a bit or lie down for a ten-minute rest. I find myself getting a bit testier and less patient when things go wrong, but blessedly usually express my frustration (aloud) primarily to myself.

It occurred to me earlier this year, however, that passing neighbors can probably hear me when I shout “Idiot” to myself—or worse. Or, when I yell at the dogs to stop barking or stop jumping up. “Judy, you’re worse than the dogs!” a friend sputtered, shaking his head one day as I roared “Frida, Diego, Morrie–stop!!!” as they executed a deafening chorus of deep barks when I arrived home and opened the garage door. So I guess that is one place where my energy remains unabated. When it comes to expressing myself, I have great vocal cords. You could even say I’m still capable of a vigorous rejoinder!!!


The prompt word today is “vigor.”

Lantana Mandala: Flower of the Day, November 27, 2016


This lantana was so outrageous, I just had to make it more so.  More painting with flowers!


The original is no less outrageous.