Saturday, August 30, 2008


We made it home about an hour ago. The car decided we should stay in Acapulco but we coaxed it along. I have a feeling we'll be getting rid of it very soon - most likely trading for an old school Beetle.

I'll post more tomorrow. I hope everyone had a great week!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Happy Anniversary (from Acapulco)

We're here in Acapulco and having a wonderful time. Aside from one litle incident when the battery had to be jumped, the car made it in one piece. We're bringing my sister-in-law and her son to the bus station this morning, then we plan to do very little the rest of the week.

The hotel is beautiful! It boasts a 1 kilometer long pool and so far I've (tried) to swim the whole thing twice. Our room is gorgeous & even has a small private pool on our balcony. Very nice.

Here are some pics. Please don't hate me. ;)

Friday, August 22, 2008

So It's Come to This?

I watched the men's 50k speed walking event last night. An Italian man won and he was so far ahead that he crossed the finish line before the second place walker (*snicker*) even entered the stadium. As soon as he was in the home stretch, his face contorted and he burst into tears.

Which meant I burst into tears.

I can't believe I cried over speed walking! He crossed the finish line, then sought out his coach or father (I'm not sure which it was), and still no sign of the other walkers. When the #2 guy finally appeared, I started worrying that he would think he was in the first place. The real winner was over in the stands celebrating with the Italians and I couldn't help but wondering if #2 KNEW he wasn't the winner. He didn't seem "gold medal" happy, so I suppose he saw the rankings somewhere along the way, but still. Could you imagine not knowing?

Anyways, we leave for Acapulco tomorrow. I'll probably squeak out a post before we leave, but I'm not sure how often I'll make it online while we're there. The car is running - at the moment - so we're hoping we'll be able to drive there.

Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Not Yet Illegal

This may be my last writing post for a bit. We leave for Acapulco Saturday morning and Ibis's sister and her son arrive here tomorrow. Our car died a couple days ago so there's a chance we'll be taking the bus there, joy. Figures nothing can go smoothly. Anyways, on to todays post.

I finished my first draft last weekend, as you all know, but I'm still struggling with what to call my main character. Not his name - that's Mateo - I mean, how do I label him? He's a Mexican trying to sneak across the border into the US and he encounters others in the same position along the way.

We've all heard derogatory terms for people who've already made it across, the most common being wetback. I'm not opposed to using a slang or offensive term, but that particular word doesn't apply in this situation. For most of the story he's still in Mexico. You could say he aspires to be a wetback, or a wannabe wetback as Ibis so graciously suggested, but again, that doesn't really fit.

I posted this question on Absolute Write and I'm hoping to get more input here. For those of you who already commented there, I apologize for the redundancy, but I have a couple readers here that aren't on AW.

Some people questioned whether I even need to label them. I think I do because it starts to get confusing without a specific term. At one point I have several groups hiding in the desert. One starts running, then the other group jumps up, and I feel like it's nothing but "this man" then "that man" and "the woman."

Here are the suggestions I've received so far:



a term Ibis heard in songs, etc, as a kid

yes, it means chicken, but is also spanglish for people being smuggled across


particularly around the Rio Grande and Rio Bravo area since the boats used to cross are called "pato"

not sure what this means; help from my spanish-speaking readers?

There were a few suggestions that would be something border control uses, not what the people in question would call themselves, but I'll include those, too:

short for mercancia or merchandise



Spanish for "wetback"

I'd prefer a Spanish term, but I'm open to suggestions. So far I'm leaning towards migrant, pollo, and brasero. I'd love to hear your thoughts.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Mexico has won a gold medal! Guillermo Perez won gold in Tae Kwon Do (58 kg). He's from Uruapan, Michoacan, which is just a couple hours away from here.

Ibis tells me this is only Mexico's eleventh gold medal EVER and the first in eight years. The ceremony was very emotional and I felt very proud for my transplant country. During the national anthem you could actually hear people singing. It seems like athletes don't always sing along, and you rarely hear the crowd, but this group showed their national pride.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Turtles at Playa Madera

The phone rang last night as we were watching the Olympics. Ibis talked to someone for a minute, hung up, then jumped to his feet.

"The turtles are at the beach!" He ran to the bedroom to get dressed, me close on his heels.

"I'm coming, too!"

Ten minutes later we pulled up to the hotel where he works, sprinted down the 60+ stairs, and ran onto the beach. His co-worker, the one who called, was standing fifty feet from the hotel so we headed towards him. I knew turtles lay eggs in this area and thought the eggs were hatching, so as I ran beneath the palapas (thatch umbrellas), I kept my eyes open for teeny baby turtles. Instead I nearly ran straight into this:

This isn't the first one I saw - that one swam away before we could get a picture. This one was busy digging holes for her eggs. She crawled around the chairs and umbrellas, occasionally getting stuck beneath a beach chair, looking for the perfect spot. She dug two holes that we counted but apparently wasn't happy with them and didn't lay any. We watched her for almost an hour before she headed for the ocean.

There were two other men with us, the night receptionist and a worker from another hotel. In case anyone thinks we got too close or were harming the turtle in any way, we weren't. One of the men was manhandling the poor thing, turning it around so he could get a good picture. We had to practically chase him away to get any pictures without him crowding her. We probably should have said something to him, but this was one of those situations where us speaking up wouldn't change anything. The turtles come to the beach fairly often, and he'll just do what he wants the next time.

That being said, here are more pictures. The lights are downtown Zihua.

Safe at last.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Ya Terminé

First, here's a shout out to Robin for knowing who said the quote from yesterday's post. Check out her blog, Shrink Rap.


I've picked up lots of Spanish phrases since living here. Things that aren't in the phrase books but I use all the time. The following are a few examples, plus my definition as I understand them:

¿Mande? - come again?
said when you don't hear/understand another person

Que vaya bien - have a safe trip
said to a person who's leaving, whether it's a store, restaurant, or home

Andele pues - come on then
a way of saying goodbye when you're trying to cut off the conversation

Ya terminé - I'm finished
said when you've finished eating and the server can take away your plate


when you finish your novel. :)


Saturday, August 16, 2008

These Hips are Made for Walking Really, Really Fast

We've been watching the Olympics every night and I've been as sucked into the drama and emotion as much as everyone else. But last night I discovered an event that brought out a different emotion: giggling like a schoolgirl.

The event: speed walking.

I know, I know. It's a sport. Athletes train just as hard as anyone else. It's a grueling race. But have you watched it? Particularly the men, which is what made me giggle every time the picture-in-picture popped up and showed those swiveling hips.

Ibis said Mexico used to be a powerhouse in speed walking and rattled off all the years they won the gold. To be honest, I tuned him out when he started listing Olympics before I was born. Clearly this is a source of national pride, but I didn't realize this was even a sport in the 60s.

I give the walkers a lot of credit. If I tried walking that fast, I'm sure I'd fall flat on my face. But the whole time we were watching I couldn't get this quote out of my head:

"His legs flail about as if independent from his body!"

Name the speaker for bonus points. :)

Images from

Friday, August 15, 2008

I've Conquered the Chihuahuas

As I've mentioned before, I've been going to my friend's house every other day to play with her dogs while she's out of town. I bring my notebook with me every time, but never manage to pull it out. They're just so cute!

Well, yesterday I finally did some writing while over there. I'd worn out the animals by running them all over the house and yard, so when they finally settled down to nap, I started writing. I haven't had a pet as an adult and there's something very soothing about having a puppy curl up against your leg while you write. He popped his little head up every time I turned the page, but after a couple strokes he went back to sleep.

The best part is I have arrived at my final scene. I'm so close! (Oddly, that's the last line I wrote yesterday.) Another day or two and I will be finished with the first draft.


(btw, there is no sarcasm present in this post)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

When Sarcasm Bites You on the...

I'm running around like a mad woman today so I don't have much time to post, but I do want to get something off my chest. I've said it once before: I'm very sarcastic. Sometimes the thought in my head gets a little garbled on its way out my fingers and into the computer and I spend the rest of the day fighting the urge come back and edit my post.

No one's ever said anything to me about it. Never accused me of being mean, rude, or a beeyoch, but I still feel that way sometimes. Add to that a cranky mood and I feel like I shouldn't even be posting (that would be yesterday). I think it's obvious when I'm in a good mood - which is most of the time - but I've always hated that my bad moods are so transparent.

Anyways, I just had to say that. I hope you're all having a lovely day. I'm off to play with the dogs. :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Olympics: Mexico Style

Did you know there are lots and lots of events in the Olympics? Gymnastics, swimming, boxing... oh! And diving! There's diving! I don't know how I forgot that one because it's all... they... are... showing... here.

Mexico won the bronze for synchronized diving, oh, three days ago and I believe I've seen the replay about a hundred times. Sure, they mention Michael Phelps here and there, but Paola Espinosa and Tatiana Ortiz are stars! There isn't as much live coverage as there seems to be in the US, and every segment starts with another replay of one of the winning dives.

I don't mean to sound negative. I really am happy for them. I think I'm so used to the US winning medal after medal that I forgot what an accomplishment it is to win one of those bad boys. Even if it isn't gold. Ibis pointed out that this could be the only medal Mexico wins and that those women really ARE stars.

¡Viva Mexico!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I Once Was Lost...

I would like to take this moment to thank Zoe. The other day on her blog we were discussing TV shows and I mentioned that I haven't been able to see Lost - one of my favorite shows - since Feb '07. They do show it here but I'm so far behind I wouldn't know what's going on.

She suggested I watch them online. I've had many people suggest this and in this day and age it's a very logical idea, what with the internet taking over and all, but the network sites don't allow you to view if you're outside of the US. Stupid IP addresses. I've even had people send me links to sites that supposedly go around that rule, but they never work either.

Well, Zoe is my savior. She knows of a site that lets me watch Lost! (and many other shows) I'm not going to tell you the name because I'm afraid it will disappear if "they" catch on, but if you need to know, drop me an email.

Yesterday I watched the first seven episodes of season three - to catch up - and I'm sure I'll finish that season in the next couple days. This probably won't help my writing, but I did get more done yesterday. I even worked in an amazing detail I discovered during my research.

Eleven more days!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Two Weeks!

Actually, more like twelve days. We leave for Acapulco on the 23rd and I'd like to finish my first draft before the trip. Ibis' sister and her little boy are joining us for the first couple days and will most likely stay at our place for a day or two before we leave. Which means I might have a full house when I'm trying to crank out the ending. I'm sure my sister in law will let me write, but somehow I'm thinking the hyper three year old will not.

So, I'm looking at ten days. Whew.

This migraine isn't helping matters - thanks for the well wishes yesterday - but I think I can force my way through it. More scenes ran through my head last night so I just need to get them down on paper.

If only the banging outside would stop.

The workmen keep saying they'll be done in "one week," but they're still here. Today it sounds like they're practicing for Battle of the Bucket-Drum All Stars. I'm sure whatever is making that racket is very important and will improve the aesthetics of the complex. :)

How about you? How is your writing coming along?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Migraine Day

Can someone please remove the steel spike that's going through my jaw, up into my eye, and out my forehead?


Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Ending

I figured it out! I haven't written it yet, but I know how my current book will end.

*big sigh of relief*

I've had some ideas, but my original plan hasn't felt right. Initially I wanted my main character to die, but I keep hearing how readers don't like that and my stubborn side wanted to kill him for that reason. But it got me thinking that maybe he should survive. He can almost die, but then I'm facing the generic "hero almost dies but makes it at the end, possibly waking up in a brightly lit hospital room surrounded by loved ones." I do NOT want to write that kind of book.

Yesterday I didn't do any actual writing, but I did take a page worth of notes and I figured it all out. My ending will wrap up a lose end without turning it into a cliché, and someone will still die.


Friday, August 8, 2008

Ay Carumba

Our car has been side swiped several times since we've moved here, but never when we're nearby. There was one time (no, not at band camp) that we valeted at an expensive hotel and the valet drove it into a post, leaving an orange streak across the bumper. We saw him stopped in the middle of the lot but didn't think anything of it until we got home and saw the damage. By then it was too late to do anything.

Yesterday Ibis called to ask if I could bring him the car. He needed it "right away" so I rushed out the door, hair still wet from my shower. When I arrived at the hotel there were several cars trying to navigate the narrow street so I parked at one end, out of the way.

Or so I thought.

I'd just locked the door when I saw a delivery truck backing up towards me. I waited next to my car so he could pass, but instead he hit the rear bumper. Not badly, but enough that the car lurched forward. He stopped - too late - and his window lined up with where I was standing.

"You're hitting my car!" I screamed, in English.

He tried pulling forward but the over-sized tire was wedged against the bumper. Not sure if he planned to take off as soon as he disentangled himself, I ran to the hotel and yelled for Ibis.

And yelled. And yelled.

I finally ran down the stairs, where one of the cleaning women was standing. She pointed to the bathroom so I screamed, "Someone's hitting our car and I'm afraid he's going to take off!"

He flew out of the bathroom (pants fastened, btw) and raced up the stairs. Now, I hadn't actually seen the back of the car so I had no idea what kind of damage there was. For a moment I actually hoped it was fairly significant so I could justify freaking out the hotel guests with my hollering.

The truck driver was still there and he explained to Ibis what happened. He seemed like an honest guy, but Ibis yelled for the cleaning woman to call the police anyways. Less than five minutes later a police car came racing around the corner and up the hill, straight at us. Several cops jumped out, machine guns drawn.

"No, no." Ibis said. "Transito."

The transit police. They have separate divisions here and we needed the others. The policeman radioed to the transit police, and we waited some more. I went down to the office to cover for Ibis, and while I was gone the man offered to call his employer and have them pay for the damage. They didn't offer money upfront, but said if we had it fixed, they'd reimburse us.

We'll get this in writing or make sure there's some way to guarantee payment. I'm excited to get the bumper repainted, but it's too bad he didn't hit the same corner as the valet.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?

"Hola, güera!"

I hear this a lot. It's not offensive but it gets annoying. Let's look at the definitions:

Hola - hello, hi
güera - 1) blond, fair-haired; yellow; 2) blond or fair-haired man or woman

Why am I bringing this up? Because someone down the street yelled this at Ibis when he was driving home from work. Apparently they recognized the car and since he's not usually around in the middle of the afternoon, they assumed it was me.

I tell him whenever the neighbors yell things at me, but he doesn't seem to care when "hola, güera" is what they say. But NOW he cares. I believe "that's so annoying!" were his words. It won't change things but it makes me feel a little better that he understands.


This morning we returned from our run to find a huge military truck parked in our lot. We had to park on the street and as we approached we saw several men in camouflage and at least a couple weapons (or maybe that was my imagination). Everything in the loaded truck was wrapped with cardboard, and at least six military men were running these packages up the stairs of the building opposite ours.

"Looks like someone's moving in."

I joked with Ibis that he should join the military so the next time we move, we can have our minions do all the heavy lifting.

After Ibis left for work, the truck drove away, empty. Within ten minutes another truck arrived, just as full as the first, and more men ran the things upstairs. The condos aren't very big so I'm a little curious how they're fitting everything inside, but more importantly, my overly active imagination has come up with all kinds of things that could happen once the new neighbors move in.

Because paranoia is more fun when it's shared, here's a couple of the scenarios I've come up with:

(Oh, before I continue I should point out that we have drug dealers living on the first floor of our building. I mention them here and there and lest anyone think I'm kidding, they really are dealers. They don't look scary or anything and we sometimes say hello when we see them, but still, drug dealers. Ok, carry on.)

1) At some point in the near future there will be a shoot out between the newly arrived military neighbors and the dealers. When I shared this idea with Ibis, I said it's a good thing our building is concrete.

His response: "Bazookas can shoot through concrete."

Mine: "Then it's a good thing we live on the fourth floor."

Which leads to scenario number...

2) The dealers will put out a hit on the new neighbors in the top floor condo facing downtown, but will neglect to mention which building. Yes, that would be us.


3) The newly arrived military people will scare away the drug dealers and there will be peace on earth.

I know which one I should focus on, but really, I'm a writer with a crazy imagination. What else am I supposed to think?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Eat, Pray, Love: The Movie

I found this on a gossip blog so there's a chance it's not true, but I just read that Elizabeth Gilbert's bestseller Eat, Pray, Love will be made into a movie. Starring Julia Roberts!



Slow Day

I have nothing exciting to post about, so here's a hilarious video.

It'll be much funnier if you're a graphic designer, or anyone affiliated with fonts.

Enjoy. :)

Oh, for a cookie update, see yesterday's comments.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Writing, Cookies, and Lightning

My plan didn't work so well yesterday. The dogs were very excited to see me and I couldn't resist playing with them for over an hour. Seriously, Coco was smiling at me. :) Plus another neighbor stopped by for the same reason I was there. By the time she left I was hot from sitting outside and went swimming instead. Perhaps I'll have to plan to write before going over there.

I'm feeling a little underenthused about writing today, but I know I can reach this goal. My biggest problem is I don't think I'll nail the ending on the first try. I know I keep saying I've let myself write crap throughout this process, but that doesn't mean I don't fight with myself now and then. I'll force myself through it. I have a couple ideas of what should come next, I just hope I can do the ideas in my head justice on paper.


Some of you read the same blogs as me and may have picked up on my quest for home-baked chocolate chip cookies. See, we don't have an oven and the baked goods here just aren't the same as back home. Janna convinced me to try them on the stovetop, and yesterday I had a timely conversation with my former roommate Jen. She's a genius in the kitchen, especially with baked goods - lord, her cream puffs - and she suggested placing tin foil over the pan to trap the air beneath, creating a more even cooking surface. Then I just plop the dough on top of the foil. I know I'll end up eating half the dough because you can't fit very many cookies on a skillet (even if I use two) but I've gone without for a year and a half!


Finally, it seems Chicago had a wicked storm last night and I found this picture on the Chicago Tribune website. Amazing!

Monday, August 4, 2008

A Blessing in Disguise

My one girlfriend here went home to Canada for a few weeks and I've promised to look in on her pets while she's gone. There is someone staying there, but he works during the day and these animals require a lot of attention.

This is Lucky (previously seen on this blog):

And Coco:

I plan to go over there every other day for a couple hours in the afternoon. Since no one else will be there, I figure this will be a perfect time for me to write. I'm getting very close to the end - closer than I thought I was - and several hours of uninterrupted quality time with my pen and notebook is just what I need. No internet to lure me away.

Although I might have a hard time resisting these two:

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Faster Than a Four Day Road Trip

I knew the internet was fast, but this is crazy. My books have already arrived! Yesterday. It seems like just three days ago I was trying to decide which ones made the final cut, and now they're mine! Unfortunately, they're at my parents' house in Michigan, but I'll be there in one month.

In other internet news, I've reached the 10,000 mark for blog hits. *little dance*

Thank you all for your support!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Notebook

I'm getting close to finishing my book. Not my current wip - my actual notebook in which I'm writing it. My friend Kris gave me this last Christmas:

I thought it was perfect for my first attempt at hand-writing a novel. It has famous writers and their oh-so-inspirational quotes all over it, and despite its name, I really haven't had writer's block while using it. Aside from the big spiral that goes a little wonky at times, it's been great. It's sturdy enough that I can write with it in my lap, but not too bulky.

I'm this close to the end:

Yesterday I decided it was time to buy another notebook. I didn't want anything too big - I don't think I have THAT much left in this story - but I didn't want to buy something too small and wind up buying a third notebook.

It's back-to-school season so I knew there'd be a good selection, but I didn't realize that the majority of notebooks in Mexico are not lined, they have grids. Now I'm sure some of you might think that's not a big deal, but I'm so obsessive I know I'd end up putting a letter in each box. Or, as an extra challenge, two letters. I don't need that distraction.

I hoped to get one that has a sturdy cover for the same reasons mentioned above. There were a couple that were hard-covered and lined, but the covers left something to be desired. After much hemming and hawing, I passed on the big cherries and purchased this:

Yes, that's an alligator. (Or crocodile, I can never tell the difference.) I figure it's related to lizards, which are found in the desert, which is where my book concludes. Plus, red = sunburn = desert. Am I stretching it? Perhaps.

Really, I just thought the little guy was cute. :)

Friday, August 1, 2008

My Other Project

As most of you know, I'm a graphic designer by day, or at least I was before we moved to Mexico. I haven't done much actual designing since we've been here, but it's what I know and I don't plan to abandon it just because I'm writing.

Last winter I bought Adobe's Creative Suite 3 (CS3) because I needed to upgrade my Photoshop and Illustrator. Since these programs are quite expensive, I went ahead and bought a package that includes web software, figuring I'd want them eventually and it would be twice as expensive if I bought them individually.

I loaded up the programs in February and went to town with Photoshop and Illustrator, but never opened Dreamweaver or Flash, the two web design programs. Well, this week I finally got off my butt and started Dreamweaver tutorials. I didn't actually get off my butt, I just opened new programs, but you know what I mean.

I had some web training several years ago at my old job, but never did anything with the information and quickly forgot most of it. Fortunately the software has become more user friendly with each successive version, and bits of my old training are still clinging to my noggin. The information is pretty dense, but so far it's making sense and I'm hopeful I can turn this into one more way to pick up freelance work.

Ibis is already excited to go out and drum up business. I hate marketing myself so I'm very lucky to have such an enthusiastic husband. I have no problem closing the deal once I'm talking to a potential client; it's getting myself in front of that client that's hard for me.

I'll keep you posted on my progress!