Monthly Archives: March 2012

Update on the visit with the doctor

Jorge is well on the way to renewed health. The doctor said he could live “vida normal.” He’s still on antibiotics but no longer contagious.

He is however getting pretty frustrated with his low energy level. People like him who are used to coming and going at will don’t deal too well with 10 days of inactivity. But I have faith that my sweet husband will soon be back among us… Enough said

I have a lung infection and am on a new antibiotic. I am still contagious and so cannot get out and about at all. The doc says, “Stay in bed…lots of fluids… take the meds…” which isn’t too much of a stretch because I too have very low energy. But again, I have faith that I’ll rally soon.

I’m frustrated to be missing out on my usual activities: hanging out with my daughter, writers’ group, seeing my friends, concerts, and entertaining visitors from San Miguel Allende… I even miss running errands!

When you are feeling well, you don’t even think about your health, but when you get hit with something like this bug I have… you realize what a blessing it is to wake up and feel ready to take on the day…

Blogging about my woes is a drag and I can’t imagine it is any fun to read either… so I’ll bid you Adios until I have something more interesting to write about.

Again, thanks to Google Images for the visuals



Filed under Vida Latina

News or telenovelas?

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, because I’m laid low with a cold I have been watching lots of TV. This is not a normal pastime for me, and doubtful that it will ever become one. But I must say I have seen a wide variety of programs…

There is music: MTV, Telehit, and the not-to-be-missed: Bandamex. The “cultural” channels offer classical music and concerts from time to time. Of course there are also a wide variety of “American Idol” – type talent search shows.

The telenovela channel is not the only place to see your favorite Spanish      language soap opera… they are on several stations, in some form or another 24-7. (By the way, watching these is an excellent way to learn Spanish , and I’m not kidding…)

Sit-coms are plentiful but the funny ones are pretty much all vintage

Sports, sports, sports – they are well represented. Personally I adhere to my friend Marianne’s philosophy and have no interest in any game that involves a ball.

Sometimes there are movies – mind you, not recently released ones. In fact on Sunday I watched “The Fugitive” with Harrison Ford…

Tons of randy doctors on medical shows, clairvoyant vampires teleporting through the Universe, and a guy who whispers to dogs are there for your viewing pleasure.

Religious channels are meant make you feel saintly, especially the program conducted by a nun (in full habit) who is the spitting image of Sister Constance, the principal at my parochial elementary school.

Then there are the News channels. Stay away from them! I warn you… They are way scarier than any of the Detectives vs. The Bad Guys shows or the gruesome horror flicks.

Last night CNN Español’s interviewer Carmen Arestegui had two guests who spoke about the alarming number of drug-related deaths on the American continent. Do you know that 150,000 people have been killed in the period of a year? That is just NOT possible you say. But in fact, it’s true. Corruption, greed, graft, coercion and other nasty business is blamed for the phenomena. But why isn’t anyone pointing a finger at the drug users? If they didn’t buy the stuff, there would be no market, and maybe some of the 150,000 would be alive today.

It is unfathomable to me that the governments of the major user nations are not doing more to stop the demand. I hear so much blah-blah-blah about how they can do very little to prosecute either buyers or sellers – there are too many and they clog up the courts, which need to be kept accessible for more serious cases.  I don’t know about you but I think it is pretty serious to be part of a collective act that contributes to 150,000 peoples’ deaths.

Last fall I had occasion to drive through Vancouver’s east end. The hundreds of stoners were a pitiful sight to see. But sorry, I didn’t feel pity. I wanted to get out of the car and ask them, “Do you know how many people died so that you could do this to yourself?”

Some feel drugs should be legalized and then there would be no drug cartels. I beg to differ… alcohol and cigarettes are legal but you can still buy them for a price at a clandestino – off hours illegal liquor “outlets.”

So, if these Catch-22 scenarios upset you as they do me… be smart and stay away from your TV news! Watch telenovels instead…

Thank you Google Images for the visuals…


Filed under Vida Latina

Jorge, Me and the TV

Wondering what this photo is doing here? Read on…

No word from me for the last while…  This cold has laid us flat for a week now… most of the time it’s been just Jorge, me and the TV. I fear this is affecting our brains…

Jorge has ventured down to the school twice; he lasted about half an hour. We both propped one another up and went to Mega for some groceries this afternoon but we struggled to actually finish the job.

Of course we haven’t let anyone get near us; we sure don’t want to pass this nasty thing on…

But I have not been completely inactive… I accomplished one thing today:  I cleaned up my spices and condiments counter. If you have an open shelved kitchen like I do, you know this is important to do every once in a while.

And what did I find that time forgot? Well… I knew it was there, but I finally tossed the cream of tartar with a 1999 expiry date. I’d never opened it (I don’t even know why I had it, because I whip my egg whites without…)  Anyway,  I finally tossed it.

I have more spices in the freezer compartment, and you becha’…  I sorted through all of them too.

I’m sure it is all too clear that I’m anxious to be healthy again and back to some more stimulating activities… I see the doc on Wednesday, let’s see what he says.


Filed under Vida Latina

I think the Fates are confused

All my life I have possessed excess energy, excellent health and a positive outlook. These blessings have served me well, and except for the odd bout of some short-run malady or another, I have woken up every day (after a great sleep) ready to take it on!

My eldest uncle used to tell me, “Just wait Girlie… your time will come.” He believed that we age in decades and that midway through each one we begin to notice changes in our physical prowess and mental dexterity. He grimly noted that the last year of each 10 year cycle is indicative of what the next decade will be like. It’s worth noting that Tio Doug took care of himself and he lived for 99 happy years…

I used to scoff at his theory, but I am beginning to suspect that the old boy was on to something… At 50, my hysterectomy took care of “The Curse” but introduced me to hot flashes, and believe me… in this climate that takes on a whole new dimension! Once I resorted to HRT, things straightened out, but high BP became the next thing to be concerned about. In 2008, I really messed up my right knee and the left soon decided that it would join its partner joint and become what I now call: “the flaw in the design.”

Those knees put a stop to my early morning 6 K walks. For nearly 20 years I had met my friend Kathy at the Parque de las Americas and we kept each other on the straight and narrow. Without the daily exercise, the pounds have piled on at a frightening rate.

And this morning, here I sit propped up with pillows, enduring what must be the worst cold I’ve ever had. But truth be known… 20 years ago even with such a cold, I would have probably put in a full day’s work …

And so I have decided that if this last year of my fifties is to be the herald of what’s coming down the pike, it will be “turnaround” one. I am going to find a trainer who will goose-step my knees into some semblance of their former agility. Healthy choices will replace the tasty entrees that have become regular features at lunch time.

I feel that through my 50s the Fates confused me with some other Joanna. It’s time to set things straight… as soon as I am over the beastly cold, of course!


Filed under Family and Friends, Vida Latina

Law or Justice

Florence Cassez… That name is causing strong opinion today. She is a French citizen who has been convicted of taking part in kidnappings in Mexico with the Zodiacs, a gang supposedly led by her boyfriend.  She has denied involvement in any crime.

But three of the Zodiacs’ victims who were liberated at the time of Cassez’ arrest: a mother, her child and another child testified that she was one of their captors. She was convicted and sentenced to 60 years.

Since her arrest in 2005 she has repeatedly demanded that she be repatriated to France on the grounds that her civil rights were violated  by the Mexican authorities. (PGR)  This is true, the authorities did everything wrong.

But contrast this with what victims endured: terror while they lay sequestered, mental and physical abuse, and for some – ultimately death.

Today the Supreme Court of Mexico voted to uphold her sentence. As things stand now, she will serve the remainder of her 60 year sentence in a Mexican federal penitentiary.

However, a new panel of judges will again assess the case because today, the Supreme Court admitted that Cassez was denied immediate access to an attorney, and was not presented before the prosecutors according to the established protocol.

Her lawyer, her father and the French consul expressed outrage because Cassez’ rights had not been upheld. They want the law to be respected.

The lobby for the victims and their families has a different take on the situation. They want the victims to receive justice.

Sadly, it looks like a case where either the law or justice will be respected. It can’t be both. It also seems to be a situation where international pressure could well prevail over national morality.


Filed under Vida Latina


Leaving San Cristobal de las Casas

Riding the all-night bus from San Cristobal de las Casas to Merida made me realize that there are some things I am no longer good at: 14 hours in a sitting position is one of them.

The person in front of me had her seat fully reclined so in fact, she was lying on my lap… Jorge did the gentlemanly thing and insisted on swapping seats with me. Then in Palenque, two people got off and you’d have been shocked at how fast I nipped into their row. With two seats each, we were indeed more comfortable for the rest of the journey…

Mind you, I still couldn’t sleep, and with my i-pod on (I made a great new play list before leaving on this sojourn…) I settled into the dim light and observed my fellow bus-mates. There were three young foreign couples, sporting Chiapas Fashion (Jackets made out of the material we use to mop our floors, embroidered tops and big wide colorfully-striped, wrap-around pants) A couple of the guys sported very long dreads, piercings and tattoos… Draped over one another like puppies, they slept soundly all the way to Mérida.

Contrast this with the Yucatecan mestiza (in her perfectly starched, white huipil) sitting stoically in the front row. It’s doubtful that she closed her eyes for the entire 14 hours. I’m sure she felt her vigilance was all that kept our vehicle from hurtling down over the steep cliffs.

There were a dozen or so young men from the mountains that I could only assume were headed to Yucatán as part of a work crew. Various middle class couples and singles filled up most of the other seats.

But the couple in the 4th right-hand row tore hard on my heartstrings. I judged the young woman to be no older than 15. Dressed in the typical highland heavy wool skirt and satin blouse, her waist-length black hair spilled over her brightly-colored rebozo… and tucked into that thick wool shawl I spied a newborn baby girl. Her partner did not look any older than she did. When morning came I saw how they looked out the window with puzzlement at the Yucatecan landscape… so different from the lush mountain terrain of their native Chiapas. What lay in store for them in this sweltering lowland peninsula?

The differences in my fellow passengers’ apparent attitudes and circumstances seemed to be as deep and wide as the Grand Canyon… We know that economic advantage affords the “luxury” of choice… but what a broadsided example I saw of that this morning.


Filed under Vida Latina, Writing

Life is full of surprises…

On Friday night I ate something that did NOT agree with me and spent the whole night “sicker than a dog.” Come Saturday morning… there was NO WAY I could get on the bus and head for Villahermosa with the rest of the group. Jorge stayed behind with me. He watched TV, walked about and I laid in bed all day.

Today I am feeling much better and we decided to spend this bonus morning walking the streets of San Cristobal de las Casas, one of our favorite cities in Mexico.  We’ll catch the 18:20 bus to Merida…

Life is full of surprises…

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Filed under Vida Latina