Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Today I'm Staying Indoors

Yesterday I went to my girlfriend's house to hang out by her pool, but first I took her on a couple errands since she doesn't have a car. The first stop was the laundromat across from the tourist grocery store (they have all the American brands, etc). The road is along the canal that runs through the city and is pretty narrow. I wasn't sure where it ended up and how long it'd be before we could turn around, so while she was inside I debated attempting a 20-point turn so we could backtrack the way we came in.

Just as I decided to try it a man appeared walking down the street. "Okay, I'll wait for him to pass," I thought, then checked the rear view mirror. A police truck was driving from the opposite direction so I figured I really better wait.

I waited for everyone to pass, my hand on the gear shift, when the police truck stopped next to my car. The man continued walking towards us and I turned to look as he passed the car. The police were frisking him! There was no confrontation, no raised voices - heck, I didn't even hear them talking and my windows were all down. I didn't want to draw attention to myself so I tried to watch what was going on in the side mirror. I couldn't see the man but the police all had their weapons ready (machine guns, mind you) and seemed very focused on what they were doing.

Images of a stray bullet entering the car were flying through my head when my friend came out of the laundromat. She walked past them, hopped in the car, and told me they were handcuffing the man. All we can figure is they were looking for him and he decided not to run when he saw them coming. THAT'S when it occurred to us that if he'd really been desperate he could've hijacked me and/or my car to try to escape! It was 10:30 in the morning and in a populated area, but you really can't be too careful.

I've already been to the market today and don't plan to leave again. I need a break from all this excitement!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Left Foot, Right Foot

I learned to walk when I was around a year old. My mother had gone to Spain to visit her youngest sister who was in the Navy and stationed there, so I was staying with my grandparents. The story goes they pushed me back and forth between them until I finally wobbled on my own, and I haven't looked back since.

Perhaps I should.

Yesterday I was running a few errands downtown, among them looking for new "everyday" flip flops. The ones I live in have no traction on the bottom and I've been slipping more and more. I didn't see anything I liked, plus my bags full of produce were getting a little heavy, so I turned back towards the car.

As I approached the curb I looked down to observe how pretty my pink toenails look when Wham! Down I went. It was actually more like wha... woah... hold on... waaaa... ahhh.... wham! Kind of a slow motion tumble. The curbs here are sloped - not the handicapped kind, you can't get a wheelchair up these - but a very steep, and slippery, curve.

My non-traction sandals hit the curb and the rest of me quickly followed. I almost caught myself so I didn't hit the ground as hard as I would've, but I still skinned half my leg and slammed my elbow onto the concrete. I popped up before anyone could ask if I was okay, then ran across the street and hopped into the car.

I'm fine, aside from a bruised elbow and a couple scratches, but I've learned a valuable lesson: next time I want to admire my pedicure, stop moving!

(There was ANOTHER boom followed by a fire, but it's becoming old news...)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

I Can't Make This Stuff Up

Sunday night Ibis got home from work without a newspaper so I sent him to one of the stores across the street to see if they had any left. He returned to tell me that apparently the paper doesn't come out on the weekends.

"Oh, I wanted to find out about the fight," he told the storeowner.

"I know. I heard they killed each other!" she replied.

"No. We saw them go with the police and it looked like they just beat each other up."

She shook her head. "Not those guys, the ones down the block. They killed each other."

*double checks locks on door*

Seems the second fight happened later Saturday night and the actually killed each other. I don't know if our neighbor who posed for the camera will be making the front page anymore.


Another thing I keep meaning to mention is that the city finally filled the potholes on our street. For the three of you who've seen them, you know they could swallow small children if you weren't careful. Now we can speed through the neighborhood without worrying about leaving half the car behind.

More on the Police

Yesterday I said there's been a lot of extra police around lately and I've been wondering if the reasoning is anything similar to what's going on in Chicago. For those not familiar, Chicago had almost 40 shootings last weekend. The rise coincided with the temperature spiking so now the city has put extra cops on patrol to prevent more bloodshed. Mayor Daly is even pushing to give regular cops automatic weapons, you know, so the gun battles will be extra fierce.

Anyway, aside from the fact that it doesn't get cold here and therefore the rise in temperature isn't really noticeable, I wondered if the same logic was behind the beefed-up patrols here in Zihua. Summer is approaching and that jump from 85 to 95 degrees can really bring out the crazy in people. (Trust me, I know from personal experience. Have you ever noticed your temper goes out the window when you're really, really hot?)

Yesterday we went to Las Gatas, a small beach on Zihuatanejo Bay that is only accessible by boat. I'd only been there once before and I don't think it's that exciting, but the snorkeling is excellent and Ibis has been anxious to try my dad's gear. I read beneath an umbrella while he swam around the little bay and managed to get stung by a jellyfish. It wasn't bad but it was the most exciting thing that happened besides me stepping on a rock and dinging my head on the boat.

When we got home we were cleaning up from dinner when I noticed an ambulance in front of the neighbor's house (across the street from the people who keep setting fires). A crowd had gathered so Ibis and I leaned out the windows to watch. The houses are built up the hills so our fourth floor condo put us at the same level as all the commotion. About a dozen people were on the stairs, along with a couple paramedics. I thought maybe someone had died because they didn't seem to be in much of a hurry, but then two police trucks pulled up and six cops jumped out and ran up the stairs, automatic weapons drawn.

It'd been pretty quiet up till that point but once the police arrived a woman started screaming. Domestic abuse? I wondered. Just then a man emerged from one of the homes, blood streaming down his bare chest.

"Holy @#%!" I didn't expect that.

The man struggled so the cop pinned his arms behind his head and forced him down the stairs. By the time they reached the bottom a second man was escorted out, too. Then came the screaming woman. The police managed to get them down to the street and in the end, all three were put in the back of the truck. (I think that's an additional way to deter crime here; they place you in the bed of the pickup for the drive to the police station so the whole town can stare and laugh.)

Throughout the drama a photographer from the local newspaper was taking pictures and when the man with blood all over his chest realized he might be in the paper he jumped up and started posing like he was on the red carpet.

I'll have to make sure we get a paper today.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Speaking of Riot Gear

Turkey's comment in yesterday's post reminded me of something I keep meaning to mention: it's common here to see policemen armed with machine guns. My first several months in Mexico they made me very nervous. I was sure I'd get accidentally shot and heaven forbid I actually pass one on the sidewalk; I didn't know which way to divert my eyes.

Now I'm used to it. I know their very visible presence keeps crime away from my doorstep, and I pay them little attention when I'm in town. Here is Zihua we have local police, state police, federal police (those infamous federalies), and a special group called the tourist police. Tourism is big business here and the city wants to make sure nothing jeopardizes that income.

In the past couple weeks I've noticed a marked increase in the number of federalies patrolling the streets. They drive around in their gray or black trucks, the backs filled with helmeted men carrying automatic weapons. I was on the phone with a girlfriend a few days ago and while we talked she said a truck rolled by her house. She lives in a nice area so the fact that they're even patrolling in her neighborhood made me think something's up.

I haven't heard anything particular about an increase in crime, but we are part of Mexico's drug corridor so there could be something going on that we don't know about. I plan to stick to the touristy areas as much as possible to avoid any wrong place at the wrong time scenarios.

Today that means the beach!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Fuego: Part Deux

There was another fire this morning. I was washing dishes and I heard a crackling, which I mistook for running water, so I pulled back the curtains and saw flames leaping from the neighbor's trees. I called Ibis to the window, thinking we'd get our daily does of entertainment first thing in the morning.

"They must be clearing the land," he said.

No big excitement, just lawn maintenance. The flames were pretty high and, with the wind's help, were close to engulfing the entire block. I didn't see anyone standing nearby, but there's always people outside so I went back to cleaning and didn't worry about it.

Ten minutes later we left to bring Ibis to work and saw two armed policemen guarding the fire. Ibis' comment, "What, are they going to shoot the fire if it gets out of control?" made a good point. There didn't seem to be anyone with water ready in case the fire became an inferno. Just a couple cops with machine guns.

When I returned home ten minutes later the fire was out and two fire/water trucks were pulling away from the scene. I'm curious if people phone them before setting the fire, knowing they won't be able to control it. Then the responsibility is on the city.

*shakes head*

Another random thing happened in my bizarro-land last night. I joined Ibis for a work party and we stopped by our place between dinner and the beach. (Everyone goes there at night to celebrate whatever it is they have to celebrate. Last night was a birthday.) We turned onto our street and were stopped by a dozen men on horses.

Yes, horses. At eleven o'clock at night.

Most of them moved to the side to let us pass but one man refused to acknowledge our presence. I told Ibis not to honk - last thing we need is a horse hoof through our windshield - so he flashed his lights instead. For over five minutes. They tried to tell us we couldn't pass but we live there, not them, so we persisted. When we came back through they'd parked cars at each end of the block so no one could get through. (That's a common thing here. People have parties in the streets and just block off the road. No permits, nothing, and people accept it and just go around.)

Thankfully they were gone when we came home from the beach. I have no idea what they were doing there. Ibis said "practicing" but that worries me even more!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I Was Spit At!

*snicker* Not really. Colby from Spittin' Out Words Like a Llama tagged me with a meme and seeing how I never got around to the one Amy tagged me with a week or so ago, I figured I'd settle down and gitter done.

The rules are simple: Post six things about yourself (I'm assuming unknown or odd things or this wouldn't be a very interesting meme) then tag six more people. I may skip that last part because I hate chain letters and while I don't mind this, I choose to not perpetuate the madness.

Here goes!

1) Mexico has made me an angry person. I've always been optimistic and considered myself to have a sunny disposition, but after being here for a year my temper is right on the edge. I get road rage, sidewalk rage, grocery store rage, stupid person honking his horn for 20 minutes for no apparent reason rage, and on and on. I don't get angry at the beach so maybe I should go there more often.

2) I love pickles but any other pickled item makes me gag. I can't even have them near me or it ruins my entire meal. It's quite common for restaurants here to serve a side of pickled vegetables - carrots, radishes, jalapeƱos - with your meal and I can't even watch if someone decides to eat them. *shudder* Forget picking them out of food, I'd rather eat crackers.

3) I drink a lot of water. A LOT. Since we have to drink bottled water and I keep a pitcher in the fridge I can better track how much I drink in a day. I knew I was getting my eight 8 oz. glasses but turns out it's much more than that. At least a gallon, possibly a gallon and a half. Now I'm trying to force myself to drink other things from time to time so I don't get that weird problem marathoners get when they drink too much H2O and their sodium levels drop.

4) My sister's three children have all followed in my footsteps and play (or played) lacrosse. I was on the team in high school and before moving to the east coast I'd never even seen a game. It's still not very popular in the Midwest but apparently I was just so cool they all wanted to try. (Not really, but I can dream.)

5) When I'm out in public I like to imagine what's going on with everyone I see: where they're from, their relationship to the people they're with, what they're talking about, that sort of thing. It drives Ibis crazy but now that I've gotten more serious about this writing thing I just tell him it's all "research."


I'm not going to tag anyone but if you're in need of content, please join the fun! Let me know if you do the meme.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Four Years!

Today is our four year anniversary! Not for marriage, we're still approaching the two year mark for that, but it was four years ago today that Ibis and I went on our first date.


I never could've imagined where this relationship has taken me. Physically, emotionally, spiritually... I've changed so much since that Friday night in 2004. I know how to fight in a relationship and not come out swinging. I've learned it's okay to be really pissed off at someone you love and that telling them WHY you're mad often helps make things better. I've also learned that loving someone can make you do things you never in a million years dreamed you'd do. (Hello... walking out of a good job to live in another country without running water and where no one speaks your language.)

This day really isn't that momentous. We have nothing special planned, no fancy dinner but there is a little wine left, so maybe we'll finish that off. I do feel that our lives are still changing, moving forward, and I'm both excited and nervous for what's to come. Will we EVER get back to the US? Will we start making more money? We I master this language they call Spanish? Stay tuned.

Maybe I should look into writing for the telenovelas...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Second Step

I've done it. I've taken the second step. (The first step being writing my memoir). I've gone to AgentQuery and started researching agents.

You may be thinking this hardly qualifies as blog-worthy news, but it is. Today my blogging friend Spyscribbler asked what are our mental leg irons, the things that you find yourself struggling against and that ultimately threaten to keep you from reaching your goal.

I responded that my insecurities are my biggest challenge. They often present themselves as procrastination, but usually there's something about the task at hand that frightens me. Today I had to call a printer and ask if my project was ready but the thought of asking in Spanish has kept me from the phone. When it comes to writing my biggest hurdle is forcing myself to pick up the pen and write. Once I'm there, writing or stumbling through a conversation in Spanish, I'm fine. I feel relieved that I finally got over myself and just did it.

A few weeks ago I said that while I'm waiting to get feedback on my memoir I'll start researching agents. I have one, Nathan Bransford, that I definitely plan to contact, but there's a saying ringing in the back of my head about putting all my eggs in one basket that tells me that isn't the best plan.

Today I entered the words I've heard tossed around the writing forum and began my hunt. The first agent I reviewed, Kristin Nelson, is another who's blog I read, but while she represents memoir she does NOT represent mystery or thriller. My new wip is too young to have a clear genre but I think it might lean that direction and I'd hate to start off with someone who has no interest in that area.

I've barely begun my search but I already feel more confident having taken this step. Query letters can't be far behind...

Monday, April 21, 2008

It's About Time

I believe in karma, or at least my idea of it. The theory that whatever good or bad things you do in life will eventually work their way back to you. If someone wrongs me I'm able to put aside my urge for revenge with the belief that they will eventually get what's coming to them. I've had personal experiences that back that up, but mostly it involved things happening to other people.

If you believe in my version of karma it would seem likely that at some point, something should be working its way back to me. I've often joked that with all the crap I've had to deal with in the past fifteen months I've got some serious good karma coming my way. I realize if I'm counting on it nothing good will likely happen so I try not to dwell on it, it's just something in the back of my mind.

I haven't gone into a lot of detail here but I've had various health problems that started three days before I moved to Mexico. Well, they didn't start that day but that's when the lab results came in. So on top of all the immigration BS we've had on our minds I've had monthly doctor's visits with a non-English speaking MD. Every time we thought I was fine, something new would turn up.

Well, I finally have been given the green light to move forward with my life (read that how you will). All my problems seem to be under control. The best part - I didn't have to make an appointment before I left. Every single time I've been in there I've had to schedule my next visit but not today! I do have to return at the end of August but that feels like an eternity away.

And best of all she gave me a prescription for some real migraine medicine! Thanks, mom, for suggesting the research ahead of time.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Hitting the Links

I discovered two interesting things today.

First, Danica Patrick finally won an Indy race on her 50th attempt. While I hate that the reporter (or more likely the captioner) couldn't resist noting her looks, this is a huge accomplishment.

Second, a post on Absolute Write directed me towards a new blog, Query Shark. I'm being a poor researcher because I forget who's doing the work, but I believe it's an agent and he/she critiques queries! You just send yours in and it may or may not appear. Either way I think it's a wonderful tool for writers looking to find an agent.

On a side note, my headache has finally gone away. Now we can crack open the bottle of wine we've been saving for a special occasion. Since we didn't get approval in Juarez we'll just celebrate Ibis returning home safely.

That is all. :)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Fire Down Below

(Ibis arrived safely last night, we stopped by a bar to watch some hockey, then went to bed early.)

This morning I was checking emails when a loud boom rang out across the neighborhood. That's not uncommon in the land of fireworks and guns for all, but this was much louder than normal. I looked towards the window in time to see birds flying every which way. Then a plume of smoke caught my eye.

I decided I wasn't in danger of getting shot and approached the window. Fire engulfed a yard on the next block and was quickly climbing the trees. People were stopped in the street, staring at the burning garbage. (At least I assume that's what it was. There is garbage pick-up here but people still burn a lot.)

Despite its growing size, I figured they had it under control and returned to my email. A few minutes later a police siren drew me back to the window. This neighborhood is rougher than most but sirens are still a rare sound. No one seemed to know what to do. The flames covered nearly 20 square feet of the yard and black smoke filled the air as more people gathered to watch.

I returned, again, to my email until I heard a fire truck approaching. This must be serious! The sirens were clearly those of a fire truck but the vehicle that arrived was a pipa, a large truck that delivers water. Within minutes the flames were gone and white smoke replaced the black.

By the time Ibis returned from his run all had returned to normal. Thank god we're in a concrete building - it'd take a lot for the fire to get to us.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

And Exhale

Well. They didn't approve us but they didn't deny us. They need to review the case further and there are more legal details I don't have the energy to get into right now. We'll find out for sure (I think) in another month.

Please exhale. I'd hate to have any injuries on my conscience.

I Give You Permission to Inhale

Altogether now....


Now please hold it until we hear from Ibis. Thanks for your support. :)

ETA: It's 3:30pm by my clock so he should be in there. They said there are several people scheduled for the same time so he might not be seen immediately. I'll post more when I hear from him.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Eagle Has Taken Flight

I was going to respond to the meme Amy Mullis tagged me with but I'm far too distracted. I'll try to get to it later this week.

I dropped Ibis off at the airport at 10am this morning and he's been sitting at the Mexico City airport for the past four hours. He might be boarding by now but either way, he started his journey with more waiting. His appointment isn't until 3:30pm Central Time so that means even more waiting.

My body is not responding well to the stress. My migraine has cleared up but shortly after posting yesterday my stomach decided to join the fun. I've developed a heat rash on my chest/collarbone area, and my face has completely broken out. I stopped by the grocery store after leaving him and was tempted to load up on junk food, but I was good & only left with a small pizza and peanuts.

Thanks to everyone who has sent us their well-wishes. It really does mean a lot to us.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Migraine Day

It's been awhile, I know. I didn't get a migraine last month but this one is certainly making up for it. My one friend has already left and the other leaves later this afternoon - he's doing his best to crispify what little white skin he has left before he has to go home.

We've had a fun visit, hit a lot of beaches and had several good meals. My migraine struck Sunday night after two solid days of intense sunbathing. I've tried to lay low but that's hard when you also want to show people the town. Mexico didn't listen when I put in a request for a cloudy day.

Ibis leaves tomorrow for Ciudad Juarez so I plan to enjoy the peace and quiet after so many busy days.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Quick Update

My friends arrived without incident on Friday and we've been going strong ever since. Yesterday we spent the day at La Ropa beach and today we're going to Carlos & Charlies in Ixtapa. Sunday night the locals all go to the plaza to watch performances and eat lots of food so we'll most likely hang out there and sample the tacos and corn. Yum. You can also get a burger with ham, avocado & chili for 30 pesos, so I think I might force that on them before they leave.

Thanks for the encouragement about the appointment. I do have a little paperwork to do before Ibis leaves on Wednesday but it's more or less ready. I hope you're all having a great weekend!

Friday, April 11, 2008

It's Party Time!

My friends arrive in a couple hours, I just finished scrubbing the house, and two different projects are ready to be picked up from the printers. Whew! And, no angry people yelled at me today.

I may not post over the weekend since my friends will be here until Tuesday, but I'll try to update once or twice. Less than one week till the immigration appointment!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Close Encounter With an Angry Mexican

So I was driving along this morning, minding my own business and doing my best to navigate the crazy streets here. Ibis had forgotten his lunch so I was bringing my beloved his chopped fruit before he starved.

As I approached the traffic circle you need to go through to get to his street, a car insisted on driving in my blind spot. Mind you, there wasn't room for him to be there and I was already in that lane, but he apparently wanted to be there more. I sped up to get in front of him but he stayed right next to me. Then I slowed down to let him past but same thing. Frustrated I stopped in the middle of the road and honked my horn so he'd pass me. He did and I merged behind him so I could make my turn.

Well, this is Mexico so of course it's not that easy. He stopped at the tope (speed bump) before entering the traffic circle and I pulled to a stop behind him. I waited for him to pull forward but instead he backed up until he was nearly on my bumper. THEN he got out of the car and came at me, waving his arms over his head.


I checked my rearview mirror, saw that it was clear, and threw it into reverse. He was still walking towards me so I zipped around him and floored it to the hotel. I kept looking to see if he followed me but there was nothing but cabs.

I told Ibis what happened as soon as I entered the hotel and he grabbed a machete (yes, a machete) and ran out to the car. No one was there, thank god.

We've lived to see another day.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

How Does That Cucaracha Song Go?

Good lord, I was singing it this morning. Ibis went digging under the sink for caulk to seal the AC unit and found a cockroach nest instead. They'd taken over the box full of caulk and other home-type things, He doesn't normally react when surprising a bug so when he threw the box onto the patio I knew it was trouble.

We counted half a dozen squirmy beasts mixed in among the varnish, thinner and sandpaper. I say we like I was anywhere near him; my support came from atop a chair in the other room. He used half a can of garden-scent spray then watched as they lay on their backs, gasping for air.

By the time he finished sealing the AC unit, they had passed.

*moment of silence*

Now I get to clean up the results of throwing a box full of junk across the house. Two more days till my friends arrive so I better have things back in order by then!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Twiddling My Thumbs

It's started. The anxiety before the appointment next week. Yesterday I received the package from our lawyer with all the paperwork Ibis will need to take along, so today I've been busy gathering last minute things. It's amazing how even though we've been talking about this for months I still keep thinking of new things to add to the list. The latest: our monthly phone/internet bill is one quarter of Ibis' monthly income. Yeah.

I'm doing my best to keep busy, dragging out household chores so they'll occupy me until my friends arrive this Friday. Did I mention that? My former roommate is coming and bringing along another friend. They'll be here until Tuesday, then Ibis leaves Wednesday.

Yesterday Ibis cut a hole in our cement wall, shoved in the AC unit, then left for work. I spent the rest of the morning cleaning up the broken concrete but I don't mind because as soon as we connect a drainage pipe we'll have non-85+ degree air!

The entire condo needs a good scrubbing, I'm doing a little freelance work, and yes, I'm still writing. I'd also like to get started researching agents. I don't have my MS back but that doesn't mean I can't work on other parts of the process. Queries and synopses (how IS that spelled plural?) can be as difficult as writing the actual book.

I also just found out my dad narrowly avoided being aboard a tug boat that sank in Florida. Crazy!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Snubbing Paradise

"What do you mean you don't want to live here?"

That's something Ibis and I hear quite frequently, especially once we start telling people about our immigration woes.

"This place is perfect. I'd love to live here!"

Yes, yes, it is beautiful and sunny and on the Pacific and cheap and tropical and not the US and the people are friendly and I could go on... but we don't want to be here. We were happy in Chicago and chose to live in Zihua because it seemed the best of our options. Aside from the fact that we didn't want to move in the first place and we have very little money despite my husband working 60 hours per week, it is very nice here.

It's been difficult getting people, especially tourists, to understand our point of view. People commonly extend their vacations when they realize one measly week is not nearly enough in this tropical paradise. So to hear us say how we long to return to the Midwest makes no sense to them.

Today I finished Eat, Pray, Love (which means I promise I'll stop talking about it soon). Elizabeth Gilbert said something about Bali, where she spent the final four months of her year-long travels, that could easily be said about Zihua:

I've been watching the expatriate society in Ubud, and I know for a stone-cold fact this is not the life for me. Everywhere in this town you see the same kind of character — Westerners who have been so ill-treated and badly worn by life that they've dropped the whole struggle and decided to camp out here in Bali indefinitely, where they can live in a gorgeous house for $200 a month, perhaps taking a young Balinese man or woman as a companion, where they can drink before noon without getting any static about it, where they can make a bit of money exporting a bit of furniture for somebody. But generally, all they are doing here is seeing to it that nothing serious will ever be asked of them again. These are not bums, mind you.... But it seems to me that everyone I meet here used to be something once (generally "married" or "employed"); now they are all united by the absence of the one thing they seem to have surrendered completely and forever: ambition.

We do like Zihua and will someday look back on this time of our life with happiness, but this isn't what we want for ourselves now. We still have lives to live and we'd like to get on with it.

Saturday, April 5, 2008


The car is working again so now I can stop walking all over town. That also means my day is starting sooner than I'd planned and I won't be around the rest of the day.

Have a great Saturday!

Friday, April 4, 2008


Over the past several weeks I've been feeling an energy within me, a yearning of some sort for a stronger purpose in my life. I don't consider myself a particularly religious person but I feel like this is the type of situation that would drive others back to God. I don't know if that's what I'm looking for but I do feel like I'm searching for something. (perhaps a green card?)

I don't want to get into this too much here - I'm not comfortable discussing my religious beliefs publicly - but suffice it to say I think I'm feeling all the prayers being directed our way. We've had so many people tell us that they're praying for us - both loved ones and people we barely know from Ibis' hotel - that I think that energy has found its way to me. If you are one of those praying for us, thank you.

I think I mentioned I'm reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I'm almost two-thirds of the way through it and it's continuing to affect me. Reading about her search for enlightenment is only adding to this feeling I'm already experiencing.

Right now she's just wrapping up her several month long stay at an Ashram in India and her attempt to take an oath of silence failed when she was assigned the hostess of incoming retreats. Following is a passage I have to share because it describes my thoughts exactly:

This doesn't mean I cannot be devout. It doesn't mean I can't be thoroughly tumbled and humbled with God's love. This does not mean I cannot serve humanity. It doesn't mean I can't improve myself as a human being, honing my virtues and working daily to minimize my vices. For instance, I'm never going to be a wallflower, but that doesn't mean I can't take a serious look at my talking habits and alter some aspects for the better – working within my personality. Yes, I like talking, but perhaps I don't have to curse so much, and perhaps I don't always have to go for the cheap laugh, and maybe I don't need to talk about myself quite so constantly. Or here's a radical concept – maybe I can stop interrupting others when they are speaking. Because no matter how creatively I try to look at my habit of interrupting, I can't find another way to see it than this: "I believe that what I am saying is more important than what you are saying." And I can't find another way to see that than: "I believe that I am more important than you." And that must end.

I know that if I can get through these next two weeks and keep my sanity a lot of these questions will answer themselves. I think I'm purposely taking my time with this book because I don't want it to end; I want it to hold my hand until we get the verdict on our future.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Rocky Road

Our place sits on a hill and we're on the fourth floor so we get a nice breeze. With a nice breeze comes slamming doors that scare the bejeezus out of you if you don't see it coming. Throughout the day you can hear doors slamming in the other units.

Since we moved in I've wanted some kind of decorative door stop. For the past nine months we've used a red brick for the patio door, a chair for the guest room, and the battery from Ibis' drill for our bedroom. The front door is a crap-shoot. Recently I discovered the lower half of our beach umbrella wedges quite nicely between the door and entertainment center so that's become a permanent fixture.

I haven't been able to convince Ibis that it's worth buying something just to hold the door open, but we recently found a solution we both like. My friend uses large rocks. You know, the kind you find outdoors, for free. We run along the ocean most mornings and there are LOTS of rocks there so I got the brilliant idea that we could look for the perfect rocks during our run.

This morning was the first time I actually remembered the plan while we were still near the water and I forced Ibis to climb over the railing to get the one I spotted. "How many can you carry?" he asked.

I looked at the water bottle in my hand. "One. Can you carry one, too?"

He looked at the iPod in one hand and house keys in the other. "No, but I'll carry one if I see one I like." He searched for a few more minutes but didn't see anything that caught his eye. We continued running.

Have you ever run with a large rock in your hand? It's one thing to walk with it cradled against your side but you can't run like that. It's only six inches in diameter (about the width of my hand) but it got heavy fast. Fortunately my hubby was nice and traded the keys for the rock when we were halfway home.

Only two more to go!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Nine Out of Ten Ain't Bad

Remember a while back I was complaining about my toe? The nail still hasn't grown back but it's doing very well. Even better - the other four toes on my right foot are doing fabulous!

I finally removed the polish that's been on for the past month and to my surprise the nails on my right foot look just like the nails on my left foot! Except, of course, for Mr. Baldy. There's a little nail on the edges and it kind of reminds me of a balding man who just has those patches of hair above his ears. Be glad I'm not posting a picture. When my nails were bright red he really stuck out like a sore... toe. Now I'm tempted to paint the little sides. Don't want to leave him out!

Having nine matching toenails may not seem like a big deal to you, but I've had problems with them for eight or nine years. Trust me, this is a HUGE deal. I've long-since mastered the subtle "tuck the ugly foot underneath the other leg" move and very few people ever knew I had an infection. Now I'm so excited I want to show everyone.

To celebrate I bought a new pair of shoes yesterday. Nothing fancy. Well, by Mexican standards anyway. Everything here is a little showy. They're flip-flops and have lots of silver and white leather and other fun goodness. Great for evening. ;)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A Lot on My Mind

Our second immigration appointment is sixteen days away and I'm doing my best not to think of it. I've spent a lot of time pondering the changes that will take place in our lives in the next several months. We plan to move whether we're approved or not, it's just a matter of where.

I've been feeling very restless, like I'm searching for some sort of peace in my life. I recently started Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and it's already had a deep affect on me. It follows a year of her life when she lived in Italy, India and Indonesia in search of inner peace after a tumultuous divorce. I clearly haven't had the divorce but my life has been tumultuous nonetheless. Knowing more change is on the way makes my already scattered thoughts bounce all over the place.

I feel like I need something in my life to keep me grounded so that I'll be ready for our next upheaval. Focusing more on writing, both in my journal and on my wip, has helped, but I haven't found the secret just yet.

What do you do to prepare yourself when big news is just around the corner?