there goes the neighborhood

My kind of bathroom. Shower on left. 
Priced at half a million dollars.
The atrium
This house has been a building for at least a year, that I can remember. It is on the corner of my mother's block, and the workers let us in to look at it. It has a carpeted garage, two rooftop gardens with a view of the Paroquia, bedrooms with balconies and extreme architecting. Pretty nice. Wonder what it does to mom's property values.


market day

I have other pix of the market, don't doubt it. But I can't give them all to you at once. Chris and I went up the hill to the Tuesday market yesterday, which is huge. People come from all over to eat and see their neighbors, barter and buy everything from belts to berries to breakfronts. It's pretty great.
   Meanwhile mom had two very bad days with pain in her stomach, confusion, trouble breathing and fear thereof. But last night she had a new med and a great, seven-hour sleep. Today she was with the program and happy until afternoon.


up on the roof

 I spend a lot of time on the roof, always, when I am here. I like to look at the Jardin in the distance, at the mountains and the neighborhood—and of course to take my PTH. (Any of you who don't know what this is feel free to inquire.) My other siblings appear to like it as a smoking porch.
  Mon is hanging in, but not happily. Apnea, pain, etc. Changing medications again.
Night blooming cereus, I'm told, though haven't seen it at night.

Have become fond of those unsightly wires. And what is that cupelo, skylight thingy called. For a moment I thought it was a clerestory, but then I looked it up. Must have a name!


the skeleton and the senorita

 Thank you all for your support. No news here, except that Erin left for home today, and Chris leaves on Saturday. Mom's apnea seems to be getting worse, and it scares her into wakefulness and fear. We try to get out for a walk if Rosio has someone with her. These weird puppets haunt the place, especially during fiestas, of which there appear to be a couple a week.


 Needless to say, there are many churches in San Miguel. And a lot of action at all of them. (And a lot of bells, which tend to ring much of the night.) (But then you don't come here for peace and quiet.) (Not what with firecrackers and dogs barking and bands playing all night.)
   As for mom, we wait with her. Kind, gentle, full-time caregivers make this possible.


heaven and earth

The Paroquia is a beautiful cathedral that presides over the Jardin, where the more mundane business of selling things to tourists takes place. I am not sure what the thing on the left is (a Chewbacca mask?), but I rather like it.
  As for my mother, she is stuck between heaven and earth. Not an easy place to be or witness.


san miguel scene

There's always action in the Jardin. Venders selling balloons and toys and snacks and drinks. Street hawkers piled with towers of hats and armloads of beads. Children selling gum and sunflower seeds. And tourists, lots of them. Villagers from the campos around town to the weathy chilangos—a pejorative term for people from Mexico City. Fiestas and parades and dancers. People headed for the churches and the market. Gringas going to their yoga classes and AA meetings and art lessons and tennis dates.
  Inside the walls and courtyards of the houses and hotels, there are fountains and greenery and a modicum of quiet. You can still hear the firecrackers and music.


the view from her

Hospital bed in the living room with view of the cupelo.
 Some years ago, mom wrote a poem called "Sick of Waiting." It's very depressing and maybe not even a poem but a plaint. Anyway it seems apropos now.

Forever in my bedroom
outlining with my eyes
window frames
shadows on the curtains
taking pills, painkillers
heat and ice packs
when finally it dawns
that no one knows
how long it's going to be.
Only time will tell.


the parade passes by

The parade is passing by, as it will for all of us.

   We don't know when the last dancers in their death's head masks will pass, only that it will be soon.

   And so we watch and wait.


room with a view

Starting to feel a little enclosed, despite—or maybe because of—the lovely views. Mom did not sleep last night. She was wakeful but happy. She seems to be making up for lost sleep during the day. I am going to take a walk presently, while Chris and Ben are here,  to shake the cobwebs from my brain and enjoy the outside world.


the scene at casa mama

Revisiting the card games of our youth, Chris and Ben and I have been playing 500 rummy, crazy eights, gin rummy and many different kinds of solitaire. 

Max has been moping under mom's bed, but he perked up after his beauty parlor appointment and with attention from Sara, Ben's daughter. She leaves today for LA and work.
Mom is hanging in. He has had two solid nights of sleep—the first in three weeks since she fell. And this morning Rosio managed to feed her a bit of papaya. Rosio has been trying to give her strengthening broths (chicken soup and a corn soup) and water with syringes. She has moments of clarity, especially when each of us arrived to see her. Rosio has been caring for her and also for us, cooking for the masses. 


missouri to mexico

Just after leaving Missouri, I found out that my mother was going downhill. A shift of plans brought me to Mexico, where I am ensconced for the near future. She gave me a big smile and a "Hi, Sweetie." But she can't fall asleep for more than a few seconds and is fearful of the dark. She must know that the big dark approaches. But Rosio and her other caregivers say she has been much calmer since I got here, The doctor said, "Love is better than medications."


scoff away

I did not like having a view of the beer store when I bought the Goose. So I transplanted privet from around the yard next to the road. (I like the view of the beer store even less now. It looks like a bomb went off in it. ) Yes, I know, privet is invasive. But it sure grows fast here.
Fast forward eight years. Despite my attempts at pruning, it was catching up to the maple tree at right.
So Dave hacked it back with a chain saw. Now it's only about seven feet tall, and will bush out next year and have to be chopped back again.


hellos and goodbyes

Yesterday Dave finished all the odds and ends left for this year, and his wife, Char, and daughter Cydnee took a last dip in the Eleven Point River. Note the Goose's dirt yard (next year!) and newly functioning heat pump. Hot and cold running air as well as water!
Bill and Carla, home again from Prescott, Ariz., stopped in to bring me lunch and mow the yard at their river cabin. Nice T-shirt, Carla!

Denise stopped in after having a 30-year anniversary dinner with her soon-to-be-divorced husband and stayed the night. We yakked about journalism, politics, polyamory and circumcision.


all systems

Just as everything is working—bathroom, kitchen and even ac/heat—it's time to leave. Place was filled with workers today, and next few days filled with engagements, so no time to settle into writing, solitude and entertainments. Well, there's always next year, barring another flood!


Bear, in car, has a powwow with the folks who live where he used to.
"Hi! Do you want some tomatoes? I bought too many."
It was my new across the street neighbor. Her name is Brandy, and her boyfriend, Mike, is Bear's nephew. It turned out that when she tried to give the tomatoes to Bear, he told her to offer them to me. So I guess that's rapprochement of a kind.
   It should be no surprise that I have been spying on my neighbors—they're in my face, after all. I know they bathe in the river (as I used to). I know they have no electricity or bathroom. I know they arrange their lawn chairs meticulously every time they leave. I know they have friends who stop by to chat. Including Bear when he picks up his mail. And I know they are nice to their dogs, making sure to leave them in shade with water and walking them on leash now and then.



Turns out Virginia had rescued a lot of my dishes and silverware, so now I have dishware in abundanza. She and her daughter Nikki and her daughter Lulu brought it back down the hill in the ATV.
  Sorry if I have been MIA, but my mother is declining after a fall.  She cracked her pelvis and, after a brief hospital stay, is at home, though she doesn't know it. She has good, 24-hour care, but we have to wait to see if she snaps out of the fog.


ideal guests

I am fortunate in my friends. Last night, five of us had supper together. Two of them brought silverware and serving dishes and pots and pans. Two others brought the table and chairs and plates and glasses. Everybody brought desert. And today, my houseguests (who brought their own house!) are trimming trees, shoveling gravel and cooking supper. My word! And a couple days ago, the Welcome Wagon arrived with a  gourmet dinner and fine wines (David) and tomatoes (the new folks). More about the latter later.


goose: the reveal

 It has been a very long July, but yesterday, the last day of the month, everything came together. It is amazing to me that the same fundamentals—power, wiring, well and pump, plumbing for kitchen and bathroom, doors, windows—require the same amount of work for  a 16- by 22-foot room as for a three-bedroom house.
   I moved in Saturday. Yesterday, Monday, Dave finished the final projects and he and his wife and I moved in the fridge. (I bought it at Sears on the Internet and it turned out to be black on the sides!) We moved in the old tin counter and hutch that Virginia had saved and washed, and I rewashed and painted. I just found out that she also has many of my pots and pans and dishes. Now I can pay bills and clean and shop, and tomorrow friends arrive.
 Just to refresh your memory, here's what the place looked like, gutted, when I got here. Sans power or water
 And here's what it looked like when the flood waters receded. Virginia and Randy and the Christian Aid ministries cleaned it out and power washed it.
 And here's what it looked like last year, before the flood.