Tag Archives: Yolanda

Leslie’s Flowers

My friend Leslie gave me a huge gorgeous bouquet when she left to go back to the States. When Yolanda came to work the next day, she was admiring it. I asked what her favorite flowers were and she said the lilies, so I split the bouquet in two. Here she is with her half. I’ll show you mine tomorrow.


For Cee’s flower of the day.

Birthday Reflections

What person doesn’t, as they approach and then enter the year in their life that marks the year a parent died, feel some trepidation? My father, my grandfather and even my husband died at the age of 70, and some little perversity of my mind has feared all year long that I would join them.  All my life, I have avoided black cats who crossed my path and walking under ladders. When I spill salt, I throw a bit over my left shoulder, just in case. It is not that I believe, necessarily , in these superstitions, but nonetheless, I avoid them. So it is with dangers in my seventieth year.  I stayed home more.  Avoided crowds and travel. I wrote more. Got my house in order—to a degree. I lavished attention on my animals, hoping they would remember me fondly, found surrogate parents for all but the cats. 

Poor cats.  I think those cats, however, represented that sane part of me who knew I would survive this milestone. I would be here to care for them for a good many years.  Perhaps twenty-one. Perhaps twenty-six.  My mother died at the age of 91, my paternal grandmother at 96. Perhaps it would be their genetic makeup in me that would determine my lifespan.  All ridiculous meanderings of a mind left too much in solitude, by choice.  Today I turned 71, riddled by amoebas as I was last year in the week approaching my birthday, but battling back.

Last night one of my best and oldest friends called to talk me into my birthday.  As we talked, Forgottenman sent a Happy Birthday message precisely at Midnight. I opened the cards sent by my sister.  She said they were pre-birthday cards. I await the official one. 

When my alarm went off at 8 this morning to awaken me for my morning dose of antibiotics, dogs and cats remained silent. A strange occurrence.  Usually, at the first signs of my stirring, they set up their morning cacophony. This morning, however, all remained silent.  It was fifteen minutes later, after I’d read Facebook greetings and checked blog statistics, that they set up a terrific clamor.  I heard a gate creak open, although no one was scheduled for work this morning.  A key turned in the front lock. My bedroom door opened.  It was Yolanda and family: Juan Pablo, Oscar, and Yoli, with chihuahua Bryan in arms. Oscar carried flowers. Juan Pablo a gift. It was a surprise early-morning birthday visit before they all drove Yolanda to work in La Ribera. I made coffee, poured fruit juice for the kids and small shots of a special pistachio mescal for the adults. Not me, as I’m on antibiotics. We took photos, tried to introduce Bryan the dog to my dogs.  Oscar cracked open the door to the doggie domain just a bit. My dogs, sniffing and curious, were friendly.  Bryan, the runt, snarled to assert his authority, there in the arms of Oscar, his protector.

We took photos and they departed. The amoebas that seemed to be in abeyance yesterday have returned full-fold.  The late afternoon lunch I had planned with friends, (a tentative appointment since they all, too, are suffering from amoebas) will probably not happen after all. My appointment with a doctor will. I’ll see her for relief from this yearly visitor that, when it departs, always leaves me with an increased enjoyment of life and health. A profound appreciation of just feeling normal. 

As I looked for something to remove from my laptop so I could move the photos you’ll see below there to work with them, I found this poem written a few months ago.  I’ve printed it before and then forgotten it, but reading it today as a stranger might, I realized that it encapsulates a lot of what I’ve been feeling this past year; so here it is again, read with a new appreciation of what it means. 

Swimming to Sandy Bottom

Working my way to sandy bottom,
through murky waters growing clear.
Through all the things I daily think of
down to the plain facts that I fear.

Swimming down to sandy bottoms,
down to past truths and future fears.
The daily details float behind as
I face old matters in arrears.

If my whole life should tell a story,
how do the details all add up?
I’ve always thought time was a sieve, but
perhaps I’ll find it was a cup.

Working my way to sandy bottom,
the flotsam of my years floats near.
All the past terrors and past glories,
and future truths I’ve come to fear.

Working my way to sandy bottom,
no oxygen to draw my breath.
Working our ways to sandy bottom,
we spend our lives to buy our death.

All the glories and the triumphs.
All the failures and the fears.
All the trophies we’ve collected,
and all the tattered, used-up years.

Working our ways to sandy bottoms,
will there be gold grains in the sands?
Too late to spend discovered riches,
they slip like lives right through our hands.

Working our ways to sandy bottoms,
our lives lift up as we swim down,
As we leave the past behind us,
we find our future all around.

Click on first photo and then on right arrows to enlarge all.

Wednesday with Yolanda and Yoli


Wednesday with Y & Y

I usually get in a good conversation with Yolanda when she is here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but I haven’t spent time with her aside from those days when she’s here to clean since Christmas, when her family joined me for Christmas Eve.  I had noticed earlier that I’d overlooked her birthday on June 3, so when I asked her if she had any other jobs after she left my house on Wednesday and she said no, I asked if she’d like to go on a shopping trip with me to get a belated birthday present and then out for lunch and a good talk.  Happily, she said yes and we decided to ask her daughter Yoli, 6 years old, to go with us since she’s presently on school vacation.

Off we went to pick up Yoli in the village and then off to Walmart, where Yolanda decided she’d like a pair of shoes. I persuaded her to get a cooler pair that the first pair she picked, which looked pretty unappealing.  Yoli was next.  She picked out a ballerina Barbie, clad in her signature pink. She had no need for new shoes, since she already had on the coolest shoes I’ve every seen, complete with bunny ears and tail.

We were then off to the food court at the mall.  Yolanda and I had Trips famous burgers and fries, but Yoli had this rather overwhelming dish of Chinese food.  She ate all the noodles, which she called “Espagetti.”  The rest of the meal went home for her dad to consume, I imagine.

Fun day–away from the computer!  I love talking to Yolanda, who has known me long enough to know how to speak to me according to my limited Spanish vocabulary.  Yoli was much quieter than the last time I’d taken them out to dinner for a celebration.  On that occasion, she sang for most of the meal. When she ran out of songs she knew, she just made up new ones.  I’m sure I have photos of that occasion on my blog.  I’ll see if I can find a link.

The day before I’d planned a different spontaneous outing with my friend Glen.  I’ll tell you all about it in another post. (Yes, I’m trying hard to encourage myself to “step away from the computer!”)

Please click on the photos to enlarge them.

Frannie and the New Toy

I bought Yolanda one of those new (rather expensive) self- wringing mops at Costco.  It is  microfiber and the strings were looped at the end with a twist handle so you could just circulate the handle and the mop would wring itself without having to put your hands on the wet part.  The other day I asked how she liked it and she said it was fine, but she had cut the ends off so it was like her old mop.  Oy vey!!! At any rate, it is just as good a toy for the cats either way.  Here Frannie does a little dance with Yolanda. Usually, she puts them out when she mops, but thought you’d like to see the fun.

(Click on first photo for larger views of all.)

El Sapo

El Sapo

It was about time for Yolanda to leave today when she came into the sala, where I was working on my blog. “¿Senora,quieres tomar una pictura?” she enquired. I wasn’t listening closely, so at first I thought she was saying she’d found the picture my friend Betty had painted that I had purchased at a show months ago and put away for safe keeping until I could figure out where to hang it and had never found again. “Pintura de Betty?” I inquired, and she said no, and motioned for me to follow her. “Un foto!” she directed, pointing at my camera that is always at the ready. I realized then that she had originally used my imagined Spanish word for photograph by adding an “a” to picture, whereas in reality, the correct word was “foto.” In fifteen years, we had developed this pidgin Spanish between the two of us comprised of real Spanish vocabulary I had learned in addition to the made up words of Spanish that she had adopted as a means of not humiliating me when I made mistakes. Over the years, they had become real words to both of us and we did all right, although anyone else listening to us might have wondered just what language we were speaking.

She was grinning as she led me through the bedroom and the back door, out to the patio. The always-curious dogs joined our convoy and when she motioned to a drooping leaf in one of the large pots around the corner of the house, Morrie and Diego moved in to investigate. She motioned, but I saw nothing.

“Una rana!” she said, motioning towards a tiny slit of beige between one leaf and an overhanging one. There on the leaf I could make out not a frog, but rather a tiny beige toad, no bigger than one inch across, only it’s eyes and mouth visible in its hiding place between the two leaves. Yolanda quickly took the dogs away to put inside as I clicked photo after photo, most of them so close up that the toad looked huge, whereas in reality it was tiny. I was amazed that Yolanda had seen it but so glad she had.

It was the same variety of toad that had taken up residence in our guest toilet on the second floor a few years before. Since this room was sometimes unused for more than a year at a time, the toad had moved in, storing it’s upcoming insect meals on the porcelain toilet rim under the seat, now and then dipping into its private lake for a little swim. It was so tiny that it could sit on the porcelain under the toilet seat, which we had lifted to clean. When we removed it because company was coming, it remained below in the backyard for the weeks our guest was here, but once she left, it reinstalled itself, somehow hopping up the flight of stairs and getting through the locked gate and screen and sliding glass doors, hopping across the bedroom and into the bathroom and up to the toilet. I have no idea how it found its way here from the garden far below in the first place, let alone a second time, but now here was the descendant of that toad, perhaps, taking a little nap in the plant nursery I’d established tucked around the corner from the normal traffic area of my house.

It silently bore my many clicks, the lens coming closer and closer until they nearly touched. Only when I lifted the overhanging leaf did the toad shift a bit. An hour later, when I went out to measure it, not trusting my poor talents at estimating distances and measurements, the toad was still there, facing in a different direction, but still in the shade of the same leaf.

Version 2

Version 4

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IMG_8509IMG_8519Please enlarge these photos as much as you can on your viewer. The texture and coloration of this little creature’s skin is so amazing.

Collaborative Collage

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A year or so ago, I began sticking the labels from bananas up on the blank ugly white side of the cupboard near my sink.  Over the past year, I’ve added interesting liquor bottle tops with their sides  cut to sunburst out around them, beer bottle caps  and a little virgin plaque my friend Judy gave me.  Imagine my surprise when I looked up yesterday and saw that Yolanda had decided to cut out a cane of Caffeine Free Diet Coke from the side the the carton of it I had in  the fridge!  A friend I told about it didn’t see the humor of it but I loved it.  She certainly knows me, and all those rum bottle caps just didn’t cut it without a bit of Caffeine Free Diet Coke to add to the mix!  At $2 a can (if and when it is even available in Mexico) the Caffeine Free Diet Coke is by far the most expensive thing up there per serving, which certainly adds an air of the exotic.

My World and Welcome to It!


In her Share Your World Challenge, Cee asks questions and we answer. I don’t usually do it because I reveal so much of my world in my blog that it doesn’t seem necessary, but I was so intrigued by the picture of the monkey that she used in the prompt this time  that I decided to answer her questions this week. (I gave a link to that money picture at the end of this post, by the way.  You must see it.)

Here are this week’s questions:

  1. You win a pet monkey but this isn’t just any old monkey. It can do one trick for you whenever you want from getting a pop out of the fridge to washing your hair. What would be the trick?
  2. What caring thing are you going to do for yourself today?
  3. What color do you feel most comfortable wearing?
  4. Complete this sentence:  When I travel I love to….

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

If I were to win a trick monkey, the trick I would love to have it do is to have it house train itself to use the potty so I could let it roam free without worrying about having to clean up after it.  Such a boring, practical answer, that I’m going to give another one as well.  I think I would train it to sit on the backs of my dogs and remove fleas from their coats.  The very expensive formula I applied seemed not to work, so perhaps the monkey could be a system of earth-friendly flea removal!!

The caring thing I did for myself today was to make a smoothie out of homegrown papaya, organic blueberries, 1/2 of a frozen banana, mango juice, lactose free skim milk and ice.  It was delicious.  Ooops.  I forgot the bran.  Well, tomorrow.

I most often wear black, but I love wearing vivid green and hot rose/pink as well.  I can’t wear subtle colors like white, tan, gray or pastels.

When I travel I love to have no set agenda.  I like to wander, both down roads and through the day, not knowing what will come next.  I like to stop whenever my curiosity is piqued and stay for as long as I wish without meeting a schedule.

I am grateful that our fundraisers raised enough money to send a music student from San Juan Cosala to music camp in Huntsville, Alabama.  Within the next few days I look forward to starting the fund drive for our summer camp for kids in our pueblo.

I’m also grateful for Yolanda, who comes to help me out three times a  week and who today found all my extra hangers, which had mysteriously migrated  to my upstairs casita!!

Now, go HERE to see that monkey!  You won’t be sorry.

We Fill in the Blanks

I write notes three times weekly in my limping Spanish for Yolanda, not because I won’t see her, but because I probably won’t remember by then what  I need to tell her. She has asked me to order more vacuum cleaner bags from the states. I use the words I know, and tonight the word for vacuum has escaped my memory. So I leave this note on the kitchen island, taped to a filter I’ve found in the laundry room:

“Is this the bag for the machine for clean the floor?”
Es este la bolsa para la machina para limpiar el piso?

Then, taped to the stove top:

I’m sorry, Yolanda, but a potato broke in my oven  and it is very bad! I worked for one hour and a  half but it is still bad now.”
Lo siento, Yolanda, pero una papa romper in me estufa y es mui malo!  Trabajo por una hora media pero es malo ahora.

A potato broke in my oven?  I don’t know the word for exploded, but I think it must put a bit of levity into her morning to try to interpret what I have said.

Later, she will go home and report today’s pleasure.  “The senora?  Today she broke a potato in the oven. She tried to clean it for awhile, then went to write another poem.”

There will be no rancor in her statement, for the humor of the unlearned words that still stand between our total comprehension of each other will be gentled by the total understanding that compensates for those lost words.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Handwritten.” When was the last time you wrote something by hand? What was it?

Now, go HERE to read the poem based on this essay that I have written for dVerse Poets on Sept. 11, 2018!

A Special Start to My Day

When I came into the kitchen to make our smoothies this morning, I noticed there was a candle burning next to the virgin of Guadalupe statue on the island divider between my kitchen and dining room.  I didn’t say anything about it, but later, Yolanda said, “I lit a candle for your mother today.”  Today is mother’s day in Mexico.  So sweet.  I went and got a pic of my mom to put next to it. This is one of the things I would miss so much if I ever left Mexico.  What would replace this special sweetness in the States?  My life is so enriched by it.