SIDEBAR
»
S
I
D
E
B
A
R
«
If It Quacks Like A Duck
Jan 30th, 2010 by Les

“If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands.”  Douglas Adams – British comic, writer, author of A Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

I know what a duck looks like.  I know what a robin looks like.  That’s about as far as it goes.

David and I keep binoculars on one of the tables on our porch because the birds in Mexico are fascinating (you’ve seen the Spanish speaking parrot’s photos).  We find them to be both colorful and boisterous.  I ask you, would it be any other way here?  These two-legged, warm blooded animals with wings, a beak and bodies covered with feathers have to compete with all the other larger then life activity here.

David knows more about birds then I do – which isn’t hard since I know nothing.  He also has a tipster in that his brother is an avid birdwatcher and he can enlist his aid should we be stumped as to what type of winged creature might be sharing our garden at any given moment.

Below are some pictures David took of a beautiful fellow that has exhibited signs of male dominance which is also part of every day life in Mexico.

He is beautiful, proud, passionately sings at the top of his lungs each morning and seems to be king of the roost in our garden, as well.  You cannot take him for granted.  He makes his presence known by loudly declaring what I believe is his ownership of this tree, that branch, that flower, that palm or where ever else he may alight.

He is quite animated. If you are quietly reading, he will take ownership of the sound barrier and break same until you set the book down and pay attention to him.  He does not simply enter our garden; his fight is like a highly choreographed dance with graceful and rhythmical movements that crescendo in a gentle landing on the tiniest of limbs.  As is the case with most birds, from what I am told, his coloring is much more vibrant then his female companion.  She seems content to simply stand by and watch the performance as we do.

There are many other birds we have not as yet been able to catch on film.  In particular our little humming bird friend with her red beak, hyper wings and angelic face who is a mainstay as she zooms from one place to the other making our hearts leap and smiles descend upon our faces.  We’ve noticed more and more birds coming to visit each day.  The brightest of reds, yellows and oranges flitting from flower to flower or gently sitting upon the end of a palm branch and swaying in the breeze.

“I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment, while I was hoeing in a village garden, and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance that I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn.”  Henry David Thoreau

Oh, and by the way, I do think I’ve seen ducks on Lake Chapala – but don’t quote me on that.  Pictures are below.  They do not, however, remind me of ducks I’m seen prior to this – like the Mallard for instance or Loons which, I believe are members of the duck family.  I’m adding some of the photographs David took during our walk this past week.  Enjoy

The Male of the Species

The Male of the Species

I Am Bird, Hear Me Roar

I Am Bird, Hear Me Roar

The Mexican Duck in Relevant Surroundings

The Mexican Duck in Relevant Surroundings

A Bevy of Ducks

A Bevy of Ducks

An Angel Way Up High

An Angel Way Up High

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Artistry of the Door

Artistry of the Door

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Does this door give a glimpse of the personalities within?

Does this door give a glimpse of the personalities within?

The Bird Speaks Better Spanish than I Do
Jan 28th, 2010 by Les

“Remember what Bilbo used to say: It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door.  You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”  J.R.R. Tolkien, English Writer – The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings

It was a day like any other day.  Birds singing, as if on stage, with heart held open and voices rising to the rafters trying to out do each other in jest and merriment.

The “gas guy” (Beano has nothing to do with it) letting everyone know he has tanks for purchase.  Kids heading off to school laughing, kidding, teasing and running – like any other town across the world.

Only this day had another unplanned, unexpected adventure in store for David and me.  After doing the necessary things each day demands…like getting out of bed, visiting the loo, starting the coffee, David suggested we take a walk up to the Chapala/Jocotepec Carretera corridor and visit the artist shop, a frame shop and Farmacia Guadalajara.  We set out.

Since we have arrived in Ajijic, our waking skills have vastly improved.  Though we still need to learn to stop walking when we see something – lest we end up on our respective cans, our leg muscles are stronger then ever (thank you cobblestones) and both of us have lost significant weight (another good reason for retirement in the Chapala region!). To be honest, we haven’t quite mastered the “stop, look, continue walking” thingy yet as there is just so much to see our minds have trouble taking it all in and our feet don’t readily respond to this type of stimuli.  Walking into walls, branches, taking sudden dips into holes from missing cobblestones or trying to get out the way of errant taxi drivers is part and parcel of the walking experience.

Heck, we find ourselves stumbling up the steps to our own mirador frequently because our minds have been distracted by something or the other.  Ain’t life grand?!

As we walked further down the road we were stopped by a gentleman handing out enticements to eat at a café.  The lure – a free beverage with purchase of lunch.  Needless to say, we stopped and enjoyed the busy scenery and a great meal.

Heading off again we decided to take the road toward the lake which led to La Nueva Posada (The New Inn) http://hotelnuevaposada-ajijic.com/.  David has joined the artist club which meets on the first Monday of the month at La Nueva Posada and he wanted me to see it first hand. 

The inn is lovely, old, set right on the lake with elegant stairway, beautiful architecture and exquisite gardens and attractive in-house and café style restaurants.  As we wondered out into the garden area we came upon a huge cage with two of the most gorgeous parrots either of us had ever seen (pictures below).

David began taking pictures and our two friends began posing for the camera.  Both of us, like we do with dogs, cats and children, began saying “hola” to these lovely creatures.  When, suddenly, out of the blue, the character closest to his camera says “Buenos tardes” in a voice so low it reminded us of Jeff Dunham’s Senior Jose Jalapeño on a Stick.  He had this look of….oh for goodness sake, I’d better set these people straight or there’s no telling how long they’ll keep up the photo session.  It was fantastically funny, endearing and totally unexpected.  David took a few quick pictures of the Bird of Paradise blossoms and we were off.

As we headed home, believe me a long way off, we kept laughing about the delightful parrots at La Nueva Posada.  We passed the “Hotel Casa Blanca” …picture necessary because Casablanca is one of my favorite movies.  Many more photographs will follow in future blogs.

One aside, as we neared the turn off for our street, after winding through wonderful new neighborhoods, sites and sounds – like the xylophone street musician (I didn’t even know xylophones made good street instruments, one would think they’d be hard to carry), David hit a “bump”.  He was in front of me one moment and then spiraling down the street, heading straight for an electric pole at warp speed.  I ran after him thinking, oh my gosh, what happens if he hits the pole?  The next thing I knew he had wrapped his arm around the pole, spun as if in a choreographed dance movement and ended up facing me with a big grin on his face.  

William James, pioneering American psychologist once said to change one’s life:  Start immediately.  Do it flamboyantly.  No exceptions.  I can state unequivocally – David has commandeered flamboyant and immediately.  Viva Mexico!

A character and a half!

A character and a half!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maybe if I ignore them they'll go away.

Maybe if I ignore them they'll go away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breathtakingly beautiful

Breathtakingly beautiful

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another view of the Bird of Paradise

Another view of the Bird of Paradise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Xylophone Street Musician

Xylophone Street Musician

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sign is cool.

The sign is cool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think you can pick out Senior Jose Jalapeño on a Stick

I think you can pick out Senior Jose Jalapeño on a Stick

Methinks, Scary Though it May Be
Jan 27th, 2010 by Les

“Methinks it is a token of healthy and gentle characteristics, when women of high thoughts and accomplishments love to sew; especially as they are never more at home with their own hearts than while so occupied.”  ~Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Marble Faun, 1859

Veni, Vidi, Velcro.  I came, I saw, I stuck around.  ~Author Unknown

Methinks the first quote above is a bunch of hooey – at least as far as I’m concerned.  The curtains I was sewing for our studio are now hung.  They look good from a distance.

Let me make it perfectly clear (yes, I’m channeling Dick Nixon!), at no time during the sewing process was I “at home with my own heart while so occupied”.  If I’d have been able to figure out a way to Velcro the hems on the curtains, I would have done so.

I threaded the needle on the sewing machine so many times you’d have thought I was going for a hand-eye coordination award.  The mere fact that I could see the needle hole to thread it was some type of miracle.  The bobbin was another thing.  Good heavens, who knew it would take spools (yes in the plural) to accomplish 24 curtain panels.

When I first learned to sew, I believe it was in 7th grade Home Economics class, an inkling of just how domestic I was to become surfaced.  At that time every item meant to be sewn was basted (not like a roast or chicken – big long hand sewn strokes to hold the material in place) prior to actually sewing it.  Come to think of it, I’m pretty good at basting poultry and, as if it matters, aced that class.

I diligently sat basting a hem on the apron I was supposed to be making for this particular class.  It took me most of the 45 minute “hour” of class to get the work done.  The five minute dismissal bell rang.  I stood up to put my sewing kit away and low and behold I had basted the apron to my skirt.  This was 7th grade – no tact involved here – any classmates within eyesight cracked up laughing.  Needless to say, but I shall anyway, I did not ace this class!

For some reason the teacher saw no humor in the situation simply grabbing this little “cutty” tool and excising the garment from my skirt while letting me know in no uncertain terms I’d better start taking this class seriously if I ever expected to have a husband and family in my future.  Gees, lighten up – I know a lot of women who don’t even know what a sewing machine looks like!

There are many fabric shops in Guadalajara and a few in the Lake Chapala region (I’ve written about them in past blogs).  The shops are generally airy and display their many bolts of material in such a way that the colors “pop” and even the most novice of future seamstress  people are drawn in.  The next time I’m tempted to wonder into this world of domesticity, I shall repeat the mantra “go to someone who knows what they are doing” (this has worked well for me in the past, on many other levels, and I have every belief it will continue to do so into the unseen future).  You have but to look at all of the hand-stitched Mexican clothing that one sees in the town square marketplaces and the signs that say “seamstress here” or “upholstery done to order” in our very own village.

David and I met a lovely couple while strolling the village on Sunday who invited us in to see what an absolutely spectacular job they have done on the home they purchased just up the block from ours.  During the course of our conversation and comparing of notes on where we were in the process of setting our homes up the lady asked if we had to pay duty on the sewing machine when we brought it in?  To which I replied that it was older then Methuselah and no one bothered even looking at it.  She then commented she had purchased a sewing machine here, for fear the duty would be high if she bought it in from the states.  The sewing machine was about the size of a loaf of bread and was just about as useful as a loaf of bread.  I just loved that comment and it gave me hope as I can do a lot of things with a loaf of bread that would amaze and astonish you. (As an aside, if the item you plan on bringing in is over a year old – keep the receipts – you do not have to pay duty on it.) 

Some times the better part of valor is to recognize one’s inabilities and become one with them.

Bear in mind...nice at a distance

Bear in mind...nice at a distance

Circling the studio...again at a distance

Circling the studio...again at a distance

David's domain - we went with burgandy tiebacks

David's domain - we went with burgandy tiebacks

An outside view

An outside view

Close up view over rooftop

Close up view over rooftop

»  Substance:WordPress   »  Style:Ahren Ahimsa
© Copyright 2009-2011 David and Les Lawrence, Ajijic, Mexico