Thursday, 15 October 2009

Down Time

So this morning I packed up the husband and sent him off to Mexico City for a 10 day visit with his family. I’m actually rather proud of this decision on my part, since I highly encouraged this visit. My Mother in law had been making “I want to come and visit you” sounds for some time, and I could feel the weight of an impending arrival.

I’m not going to delve into the depths of my relationship with the MIL, since translation programs have come such a long way, but safe to say after 10 years, she and I have reached an uneasy agreement. Ironically enough, our big issue is that we both love the Fabster so much. He’s her (self admitted) favorite son and, well, he’s my only husband. So we tug o’ war over him when we’re together.

I won’t go into how she rearranged my kitchen to cook him his favorite dishes, or how she rooted though our hamper to wash his clothes daily, or how she massages his feet while he plays the playstation, because that would be petty, and, like I said, we’ve come a long way. In fact, I now answer the telephone when the caller ID tells me it’s from DF and she doesn’t hang up in my ear anymore! The Fab-man denies any knowledge of this rivalry , but secretly, I think he enjoys it a little bit and have even seem him “up the anty” a little bit.

I’m actually looking forward to this little respite. Being an only child, and an avid reader, I really like being alone. Secretly I sometimes even miss being single. I’m looking forward to a fat glass of wine in the backyard later, and then eating dinner over the sink, before climbing into bed and sleeping like a starfish. This single, John Belushi-like lifestyle will probably continue until at least Monday!

Friday, 9 October 2009

Riddle me this..

Why in Mexico do they have a word for puppies, cachoro, but no word for kitten? you have to use little cat, or gatito?

Why are Halls cough drops considered candy here, and not the medicine for a sore throat they are in the States?

Why here do they play "Crazy 7s?"

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

spanglish lesson number 105

Me: Honey, do you want some of this soda?

Adorable husband: No, I can't drink that stuff! It's got too much gas in it and makes me bark.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Viva el payback!

Today is Mexican Independence Day! Viva Mexico! Although the parade and the official holiday is today, all the fun took place last night.

This is one of my very favorite holidays here in Cozumel. First of all, all the streets around the town hall are blocked off, and open to pedestrians and you get to be naughty and walk in the middle of the street.

Secondly, the park in front of the town hall is literally overflowing with food vendors selling the most amazing fat laden, carbohydrate ridden, artery-blocking food (churros, fried bananas, elote on a stick, pozole, chilis enogadas).

Thirdly, as our local paper called it, it’s “the island’s largest cantina” (again, what’s better than walking down the middle of the street with a beverage in your hand?)

Most importantly, there are fireworks. Really good fireworks. I’m not talking about, watching from a safe distance, seat belt wearing fireworks. What we have here in Cozumel are explosions going on right over your head, with hot sparks raining down on parts of the crowd. One year, the best year ever, my shirt actually got singed.
So, yesterday afternoon, I’m “working” and FB messengering with friends discussing what fun we shall all have later, when the husband, way way, too casually mentions that he’s going to be taking his scooter to the mechanic. That right there set my spider-sense tingling, because if there’s one thing the Fab-man does not excel at; it’s preventative maintenance. Plus, after 10 years together, I know that sometimes, my husband starts training early for the really special events.

My suspicions were confirmed early in the evening when he called me to tell me that he’d be home in about an hour, and that we’d go downtown together. At least that’s what I was able to make out of the conversation with the loud cantina music in the background.
I finished some projects, watered the garden, and had just opened a bottle of wine, when I received the following text message from the Fabster:

“Senores! Viva Mexico! Viva el Cura Hidalgo! Viva Dona Josefina Ortiz, Viva Morleos! Viva Las Pumas!” which translates as: Gentleman! Hurrah for Mexico! Hurrah for manyFamous patriots! Hurrah for my favorite football team!

Again, a smarter woman would have accepted the various invites to parties or downtown locations but not I. As I’m walking out the door with my keys in hand, up walks the Fabster, with my least favorite friend of his.

I don’t care who you are, or where you live, everyone who is married or in a committed relationship, has one friend of their significant other’s that they purely cannot stand. You might hide it, or fake it, but deep down inside, we all know this is gospel truth. Enter Fab-man and the Napoleonic Anti-Christ.

Now, fireworks are slated for 11. The Fabster, who now is looking remarkably like “Frank the tank” in the movie Old School, convinces me to stay, have a drink, chat with the Napoleonic Anti-Christ, and we’ll all head downtown together. By the time, I finally bin the 2 stooges into the car, I have just enough time to sit on the hood, and watch the top 1/3 of the fireworks through the trees, standing in the middle of my street.
We were like salmon swimming upstream, as we maneuvered our way into the park, since most people had eaten, watched the fireworks and were now headed home. Luckily, the husband is a tall man, as am I and there’s a large Mayan population here, so it’s generally easy to follow him as he darts through a crowd. As for the Napoleonic Anti-Christ, who cares?

Instead of perusing the various food vendors and making some choice selection, we flop ourselves down at the first available table, which happens to be serving tamales and black beans and pork, not my first choices. Dinner conversation consisted of me and Napoleonic Anti-Christ discussing who hates the other more. I won.

It sounds kind of strange, but neither one of us has ever made any sort of attempt to hide our mutual loathing for each other. Sometimes, it’s actually fun to say things like “You know just how much I hate you, right? Well…” I haven’t really figured out if the Fabster thinks this is jovial fun, or one day we’ll just bury our picks and axes and make nice, but he genuinely likes to put us together and hope for the best, which, generally speaking is bloodshed, usually at his expense.

End of the story, no fireworks, no good food, major letdown, however, still entertainly humorous, in a sick Tom Leherer sort of way.

Oh, and just as the epilogue, Fabian has promised to find me chilis enogadas before arriving home, and , although he doesn’t know it yet, he’s helping Lisa move her refrigerator down 2 flights of stairs later this afternoon. Sucker! Viva Revenge!

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Cue the Twilight Zone Music Now....

I know that yesterday was a full moon, and things are supposed to get kinda flukey when there’s a full moon, however, they’ve been rod sterling-twilight zone strange. Allow me to elaborate:

Yesterday I saw a family of 5 and a dog on a scooter. That’s a record.

I had two separate conversations with a man from Nigeria and a man from Turkey in Spanish, because both of them were more comfortable in that language then English.

I witnessed an ambulance, with it’s siren going, get into an accident. This Jetta saw the ambulance coming, and still decided to shoot the gap and pull out in front of it. To the ambulance diver’s credit, once he clipped the tail end of the jetta, he just kept going. He did have the siren going on, after all.

Yesterday I witnessed 3 separate drunks laying passed out on the sidewalk. Again, another record.

The Fab husband was kind enough to surprise me with some super nice silver hoop earrings, which I now covet. I wore them out last night. No less than six people literally said “hey, Laura, nice earrings. Dude, what DID you do wrong?’

I’m now paranoid that it was some sort of “pay it forward” karma thing, and that the Fab man is planning do to something really wrong…..

Currently, I am also afraid of my cat. Oddly enough, Orca the cat loves this repulsive plastic-strawberry yogurt drink the Fabster insists upon having every morning. That in itself is strange, however, Orca got a little over excited and batted it out of the husband’s hand, so it crashed to the floor, spilling neon pink slop everywhere. Husband’s response- he let the cat clean it up. Orca’s belly is now distended and I can hear the sounds that it makes.

And I haven’t even gotten out of bed yet!

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Dale Carnegie and Adam Sandler, not such a good match

I’m thinking of getting an intervention for my Cozumel roadrage. I understand that some of you may live in large cities with bumper-to-bumper traffic that lasts for hours. Frankly, you couldn’t pay me to live there, I’m happy with my country mouse island deal. What I’m referring to are my frequent outbursts while in a car that make me sound as if I’m doing an Adam Sandler impersonation.

Take today for example, I’m driving and paying attention (key words here, people) when out of no where this heavy-set woman on an overburdened scooter, who does not have the right of way, nor is she paying attention, zips out in front of me, only to drive in the middle of the road. She actually had the audacity to pull the ostrich-thing (if I’m not looking at you, you can’t see me deal).

“Nice driving there, Porky McBackfat!” I holler.

I’m a reasonably intelligent person. My parents paid for me to attend a four year institution of higher learning, however, in this particular issue, I am simply a moron. First of all, Porky McBackfat, probably has no idea what I’m saying, in English, inside the car. Secondly, I’m alone.
See, I live in a town that only recently removed the “whoever gets here first has the right of way” stop signs at the end of my “hill,” however that’s still how the traffic flows, in spite of repeated accidents.

I live somewhere where the turn signal is a completely optional courtesy. (in fact, the fab-man’s VW thing employs a toggle switch to activate the turn signal)
Today I was in the “right hand turn on red lane” when Sleepy the dwarf, blocked the lane with his giant SUV, while texting on his cell phone.

I’m not one of those people who thinks they can single-handedly change the driving habits of an entire island. I understand that it is, and always has been, my issue.

What bothers me is that recently things have escalated to the point where I now have the compulsion to say the same snarky things while a passenger. Which, if you can image, is not exactly in the Dale Carnegie handbook.

So I’m thinking, muzzle, duct tape or blindfold. Any ideas?

Monday, 17 August 2009

Septi-hambre comes full circle

We’re rapidly approaching Septi-hambre here on the rock. For the uninitiated, it’s a combination of the word Septiembre (September) and hambre (hungry) Which basically means that none of us have any work and all tighten a notch or two on our belts.

Septihambre comes every single year with alarming regularity. Now, I’m no math whiz, but after 12 years here, I can pretty much predict it arriving, right at the end of August. Frankly, it’s all I can do to keep my big fat yap shut when people exclaim how broke they are this time of year and what a surprise it is.

I was sitting in this temezcal (mayan sweat lodge thingy) and we were tying knots on this string about all of our worries, doubts, fears, etc. last week, when I had an epiphany of monumental proportions.

We’re talking Blue Brothers, “The band!” level of brainstorm. Septihambre for me is going to be a totally planned event of rest, exercise and care.

The husband and I are going to take the dogs to the beach in the early afternoons, when he gets home from work early. I won’t be missing yoga due to work constraints. I’m actually seriously considering playing squash a few times a week. I’ll have more time to create fantastic culinary delights using farm fresh ingredients! I’ll blog more, I’ll read books!

And thusly, we’ve just come full circle, no? I mean isn’t that why people move to tropical Caribbean islands… slow down and enjoy life a little more?

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Looks like someone just missed the entire concept there,captain obvious

Yesterday I was read on the internet a post that someone had written about how they couldn’t possibly come to Cozumel because we don’t flush the toilet paper, and that they thought that was really icky and prolly smelled kinda gross, eww!

I had to laugh out loud. First of all Cozumel is an island and we don’t have any water pressure at all to speak of. Second of all, have you ever been anywhere, restaurant, hotel, public place, that didn’t clean their restrooms at least once a day? that remained in business?

Seriously, what exactly is this person envisioning?? Calcutta? I’m thinking they might have missed the whole Caribbean island kinda vibe. That’s ok, more boat drinks for the rest of us!!

Monday, 3 August 2009

It's a small world after all....

Words are different here in Mexico, and maybe it’s my synapse-deficient brain, but sometimes I get confused when switching back and forth, especially if I’m translating something right away. The other day, I spent way too much time trying to think of the English word for “lima” (nail file).

I’m not bi-lingual, since I actually took Latin as a foreign language in school (only benefit: I’m pretty good at crossword puzzles). I can follow and understand a movie in Spanish, and, unfortunately I do understand my Mother In Law, way, way too well. I have a pretty good vocabulary and aside from my strange New England pronunciation most people, with a little patience, can understand me quite well.

Since I subscribe to the “living it and learning it school of Spanish” I oftentimes encounter words that are really weird and confuse me. For example, the other day in my yoga class, we were supposed to do small circles with our “munecas”. Now, I knew that “muneca” meant doll, and in all the years I’ve been doing yoga I’ve never brought a doll to class, so I watched surreptitiously as everyone else spun their wrists around.

So I get home, and I ask the Fabster, “You have the same word for doll and wrist? That’s weird.”
“Yeah, almost as weird as having the same word for the lower back of your leg and a baby cow,” he replied.

There’s also words in Spanish, that simply don’t exist in English. For example, Tocayo (or Tocaya if you’re a female) which means “person with the same name as me.” Think about it, the best we English speakers can do in this situation is high five each other and say “Same name guy!!.”

Another great example is “Provecho” which means “Enjoy your food.’ The best we can do with that sentiment is ‘Bon Appétit, which is, in fact, French, and defeats the entire purpose.

Last week, in the Cozumel 4 You Newsletter, I featured this really cute one-eyed terrier up for adoption. (He’s cute, and still up for grabs, if you’re interested) and when the wonderful Rodrigo Rodriguez translated as “tuerto” so, essentially again, there exists in Spanish one word for a whole concept we don’t have.

Further investigation, again, via the Fab-man, reveals that there also exists “cojo” (one-leg guy) and “manco’ (the proverbial one armed man)

These little differences fascinate me. For example, here they play “Crazy 7s” and not “Crazy 8s” Turkeys do not say “gobble, gobble” but rather “gordo,gordo” (fat, fat!)
However, my all time favorite is the noise that roosters make. In English, there’s the “cock-a-doodle-do” of Farmer Brown fame. Here barnyard fowl say “Ki-ki-Ri-Ki”

Try it sometime, it makes for good cocktail party conversations!!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

What is it with me and birds??

Seriously, is this the Chinese year of the bird? Am I working out some bad karma from a past lifetime? Is Alfred Hitchcock attempting to communicate with me from the grave?

First there was the drive-by vulture wrestling of last month, where me and the minion of death collided on a bicycle (well, I was on the bicycle, the vulture was flying obviously..).

This traumatic event has become such instant Cozumel legends that Rodrigo Rodriquez, who does the Living Legends on the Cozumel 4 You webletter wrote a poem about it!! (no, I didn’t publish it, it’s embarrassing!)

The other day, I was at Blu Bambu getting my haircolor totally changed (bye bye blondie!) and I’m standing over by the window, and I look up and screamed like a 12 year old girl. Literally about 2 feet away from me, and at eye level was this enormous albino peacock.

“oh, peacock, pretty..” you think. Not so. This was the nasty version of peacock. First of all it was hyperventilating (I didn’t even know that birds DO that) and it’s creepy forked beak-colored tongue was hanging out, and it was pecking at the window, like it wanted to come in and peck out my eye.

Katie (witness) who was with me tentatively tapped the window in a gentle attempt to encourage this freak of nature to perhaps pant elsewhere. No such luck, what the gentle tapping did, in fact do, was convince the disgusting thing to turn around.

Now, you’ve seen how distorted people’s faces are when they squish them into a pane of glass and make funny faces, right? Well, let’s just say that Katie and I got a birds-eye view of everything you ever wanted to know about peacock hiney. The worst part about it, because of the damn tail, the bird kinda got stuck, and the twist/mooning took place in slow motion.

“Eeewwww,” Katie actually said out loud. Unbelievably enough she actually had her camera with her and managed to snap a photo! The photo became incredibly important since as soon as the monstrosity tottered off I called the Fab husband, and told him the whole story, and he did not believe me.

It seems that there are some people out there who think that I have a tendency to exaggerate in order to make a story better, and the Fabster thought it was perhaps a large chicken or maybe a dove. And to all you naysayers out there, you know what I say? POPPYCOCK!

Monday, 20 July 2009

Highlights of last week's breakage, apparently...

I’ve literally been waiting to blog for days now. What I mean is, I must have hit the summer doldrums since literally nothing of note happened to me this past week. It might be a good thing, since I oftentimes feel like Alan Funt is hiding somewhere with a hidden camera as I carry on with the business of my life, crashing into vultures, beating people with sports equipment, etc.

On the TV show front, we’re getting better. We have an official set now, which consists of two chairs, and a coffee table topped by a conch shell and a melon sized crystal rock. Honestly, I have seen better stuff at yard sales, but it’s a big improvement after the bar stools. Apparently while holding up a menu, containing a panoramic photo of the Puerto de Abrigo marina, I also forced the camera person to do a close up of my cleavage, thusly inflicting “the sisters” into the TVs and homes of the innocent Cozumel population.

I continue to say stupid things on live TV, as in last week’s sign off, after interviewing Rita from Albatros Charters, when I said:

“Thank you everyone for joining us, I’m Rita and this is Laura..” People have been calling me Rita all week, which, in case you don't know her, is not such a bad thing, she's a super funny person and makes a mean margarita..but still, identity crisis much?

And for all of you who are waiting to see the trainwreck on YouTube, you might have to wait a little longer…..we asked what we had to do to obtain copies and were told by the station people that their DVD burner had broken some 2 weeks ago, and hasn’t been fixed, so they haven’t been taping any of our shows, and to the best of my knowledge, no one else has bothered either. Frankly, that might be a blessing in disguise. Did I mention that Katie has agreed to learn salsa on next week’s live show?

The Fab-ster had a tamale-lady intervention last week. Don’t get me wrong, I love the tamale-lady, and admire her business dedication, however, we are a home of 2 adult humans, how many of those things can you expect us to snarf down weekly? She obviously saw a soft touch in the Fabster, and was coming by every other day, so we literally always had a multitude of tamales in the fridge, not conducive to dieting, since I have a pretty good idea of who much LARD goes into making them. I finally saw no other alternative but to intervene, when she expanded her services to include Chicken Mole as well, increasing her visits to daily. I felt really bad, as I peered through the window, watching Fabs explain to the tamale-lady that he only had “permission” to purchase her wares once a week, for about 5 minutes or so. Sorry tamale-lady.

Today has also been deemed “Repair everything that is broken day” here at our house. This means essentially we both sit down with our cell phones and “remind” (aka harass) every repair technician, mechanic, and fumigator what they have promised to fix.

Here’s the list in no particular order: the AC in the bedroom (it’s not cooling as efficiently as it should) the washing machine (discussed ad nauseum here last week) the auto-start button on the scooter, the windshield frame in the VW thing (decapitation anyone?) the white fly infestation in my pride-and-joy jasmine bushes, and lastly, the microwave (only half of the buttons now work).

Come to think of it, perhaps last week should be dubbed, “The week that everything broke”..

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

A selfless shout out...

I'm taking a break from my usual snark and carrying on, to tell you all about my friend Henry, who owns a B&B here on the island. Henry has taken it upon himself, to gather together volunteers and go over and clean the beaches of Cozumel, as well as other areas that don't get picked up by the city.

In the month of June, they removed over 1,500 KILOS of garbage! They don't get any government support or funding, and they're just doing it because it's the right thing to do....

Please go over and give Yo Limpio Cozumel a shout out, the site is in spanish, but once you see all those jumbo black garbage bags you'll get the idea. Feel free to follow the blog, leave a comment, or if you're here on island, get involved!! I know I will be!

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Reflections from under the mountain of dirty clothes...

The washing machine saga continues. Our technician had called the parts distributor in Playa del Carmen who supposedly was going to order the part and have it ready Monday. Since it’s now Tuesday, the Fab-man called Carlos (of underpants fame) who said that he had a friend who could probably dismantle the part and re-build it. Um, why didn’t we do that in the first place?

The amount of dirty clothes that two people have amassed in such a short time is staggering. There’s sheets, towels, beach towels, and mounds and mounds of clothing.

Upon reflection I discovered that the Fab-man goes through about 3-4 fashion changes a day. First there are the tennis clothes, consisting of name brand, high tech, drip-dry fabrics, then there is the work polos and rash guards, followed by the relax-around-the-house cotton type stuff, which is sometimes even topped off by the going-out wear consisting of a Columbia shirt (in white or blue)and large oversize shorts with many pockets in which to stash napkins and beer tops (which is what broke the washing machine in the first place).

I, on the other hand, especially since I started working from this office (aka the back bedroom) can tell you that my clothes are broken down into two categories,; Pajamas, and outside clothes. Pass by my home any morning or evening and you’ll find me comfortable in PJs. In the afternoon, when I go and visit clients and generally make a public nuisance of myself, I’ll be “properly attired” (as possible for someone who hasn’t been able to wash anything in over a week).

It’s interesting that between the two of us, we’re going through about 5 outfits a day, and yet, none of them are especially state-side office wear appropriate, in spite of the fact that my flip flops are always color coordinated to my outfits….

Monday, 6 July 2009

Of undergarments and Television shows..

As I whined about last post, I was attempting to convince plumber/electrican guy to fix our dead washing machine. I had actually joked to the Fab man that when Carlos opened the back of the washer that all of the socks we had lost over the years would come tumbling out. What actually happened was way, way worse.

When the back of the washing machine came off, a blue and black striped Victoria’s Secret thong came tumbling out and landed on Carlos’ shoe. That in itself is mortifying, however; this particular thong had obviously been there for years, since, it was one of those ridiculously high-cut, 1980’s, purchased at the semi-annual sale, 5 for $40 bucks ones. In fact, it was so stiff with dust, large holes and grease stains that when it tumbled out and came to it’s resting place on Carlos’ foot that it retained the same mangled shape in which it had been lodged all these years.

I gingerly lifted them off his shoe, he attempted some semblance of composure and we carried on, obviously with the skanky panties forefront, yet unspoken in our minds, he replaced a belt, and the machine still doesn’t work. I’ve called him three times today and he won’t answer, I’m assuming that he’s experiencing some sort of mental trauma, and am thankful there’s no sexual harassment lawsuits here.

We did the TV show, and in accordance with Murphy’s law, everything went wrong, from start to finish. I collected our cute matching tank tops the day of the show, only to discover that they had placed the logo directly under our left breasts, not in the center as directed. As a result, not only was Cozumel 4 You not visible, however the cute tropical fish showed up on camera as some sort of displaced yellow nipple staring downward.

We also discovered 2 hours prior to showtime that we had no one to interview. Luckily enough they did score someone, however, they weren’t really relevant to the theme of the show, still they saved our butts and for that I’m grateful.

The TV station had a fair number of issues, including, they hadn’t finished our set, and made do with a slide projector and some bar stools. Have you ever seen anyone on TV sitting in a bar stool? That’s because they’re not flattering and produce all manners of slouching, muffin tops and other physical horrors. Also, slide projectors and TV lights are not friends. The General Manager/Show Tech was 20 minutes late, so our 7 pm TV show actually started at 7:38, during which time they ran Ricky Martin videos, so people just assumed they had missed us. Mics, batteries, and other electrical devices weren’t checked and sound and audio came and went throughout the show. It actually became so ludicrous that I actually laughed out loud. Ernesto from the Thai place was cooking on TV and got zapped my his hotplate, and HE swore on TV. After that it was a free for all and Katie, Ernesto and I hammed it up for the rest of the show. We didn’t get to the news portion, but we survived, and lived to tell about it, and there's no where to go now but up.

Lastly, today I stopped by a business who had enquired about advertising. I was announced by the receptionist, and told to go to the room at the end of the hall, which turned out to be the Manager’s personal living quarters. She called, “come in, hunny..” in a super friendly way and proceeded to greet me in her nightgown. It seems her close friend has the same name as me, she wasn’t paying attention and was now speaking to a total stranger in her undergarments. She carried it off with aplomb, and invited me to sit on her couch, and I went through my entire speel, all the while looking at her from the neck up, knowing this is how Carlos probably felt.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Stuff I don't wanna do..

I spend entirely way too much time doing stuff I don't wanna do. I like to kid myself that since I live here, on an island, hang out at the beach, have fun, irresponsible friends, that makes me hip, and cool, but the facts are, I still spend way too much time doing stuff I don't wanna do...

This week life got in the way of my life, meaning that I had to do alot of the stupid grown-up stuff, that made me feel irresponsible, selfish, dumb, and re-think the whole Peter Pan state in which I seem to dwell.

Sunday the Fab man went fishing, and came back with 3 tunas, my absolute favorite. When he arrived home, I immediately headed out for a torrential downpour. The Fabster, who is a reasonable adult, warned me about flooded streets, while I nodded vacantly and relentlessly carried on with my selfish mission. Did I mention that I had to walk my narcissistic self to Rita's house? to call for a ride? while clutching a sodden tube of wasabi?

That stupid little jaunt into arrested adolescence cost us $150 USD since apparently I didn’t get the amphibian option when I purchased the Mimi-mobile. Long suffering husband, again, just gazed at me plaintively as he shelled out the cash.

The washing machine, after years of mistreatment and faithful service on it’s part, also chose Monday to crap out. Trying to get someone to repair something here, is about as easy as milking a cat. It might be possible, however at the end of the day, the repair guy is pissed off, since the Fabster has gone to his shop 90 bazillion times and bothered him, the husband and I have already had a tiff about the associated frustration, and at the end of the day, we’re still drowning in dirty clothes. Today I’m calling a new guy, so the entire cycle can begin anew.

I’ve also got a new cleaning lady starting today. This, is, actually harder than dating, and I didn’t enjoy that and wasn’t very good at it either. I got the new maid from the Jehovah Witness Maid pimp, who’s the connection here on the island to good, reliable help. The Maid pimp is a necessary evil, since it’s really hard to find someone who won’t drink out your liquor cabinet, rob you blind, hit you up for a loan, or bring friends and family members for a visit while cleaning your house. Go ahead, laugh, I’m not exaggerating, I’ve had all of these things happen to me. I’ve also been forced to purchase Tupperware, Amway, and Avon. I’ve discovered broken keepsakes stuffed in sock drawers, mummified lizards under the sofa that the cat brought in, and even found a bottle of salad dressing mixed into the products in our bathroom.

The husband has been shockingly responsible. I have not. I’ve flown off the handle, yelled, screamed and made bad decisions, almost on an hourly basis. I really truly hate it, when he comes off as the mature, responsible one. Then, to make matters even worse, he indulgently pats me on the head, and claims he understands all the stress that that I’m under. Again, somewhere I don’t wanna bee, shew-vllle.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Alfred Hitchcock ain't got nuthin' on this.....

Yesterday morning I was riding my bicycle up on the north side of the island. I've got the Ipod on super loud, listening to some Linkin Park,rocking out, in the zone, doing the exercise thing.

As I'm riding, a garbage truck pulls out, and as they swung to turn, something icky fell out of the back of the truck and lands on the street.

This giant vulture swoops down and starts ripping into it,as I'm approaching. I see the icky giant bird and hook left. The bird, who is facing me, takes off inflight and dodges right.

We collide mid chest. I've got a wing in my face and I'm batting wildly at the damn thing while attempting to remain upright on the bike, all the whiie shreaking like a little girl. We're talking screams here, where it's just sounds, ACK, ACK, ACK, since I'm not even capable of forming a sentence.

I managed to remain upright while beating off the messenger of death, although I did susain a minor injury to my private parts as I jammed the handbars into my pubic bone.

It was one of the most repugnant things that has ever occured to me. Have you ever smelled those things! Aside frrom being literally butt ugly, they stink. Really badly.

You know as soon as I got the bicycle under contol I started looking around to see who actually saw that. The You Tube video is probably worth some serious cash.

I showered with bleach, and did some serious exfoliation.

I think this is a sign from God that exercise is bad for you.

Friday, 26 June 2009

The Video...again

Iknow that I posted this yesterday, but I just wanted to give kudos to the staff at Canal5, they did a super job with the video, and I'm really looking forward to the show. The first episode is this Thrusday from 7 to 8 pm. We'll have the videos on you tube too, in case you can't see it. This is a super opportunity for Cozumel and for "gringos" who live here. We've never had our own news venue here.

We're working on topics,for the show, what would you like to see?

Thursday, 25 June 2009

My first day of filming..

Yesterday was my day to shoot the promo video for my upcoming cable show. Luckily, I had the foresight to rope my friend Katie of Blu Bambu into my nefarious scheme. Katie spent over a hour doing my hair and make-up, and I have to admit it, I looked great. She used some voodoo magic,since I actually had an upper lip and more than 5 eyebrow hairs.

Anyhow, we arrive at the TV station, and the camera crew consists of one, very nice, very nervous 20 year old boy, who I later found out, had only worked there for a month, which probably explains why he was more nervous than I was.

The station manager had left instructions, that he wanted the shoot to be outside on the waterfront… July….in the sun… 1 pm. The one block walk, toting all the camera stuff, already started the sweat running down all of our faces.

Then, embarrassed camera man has to wire me for sound, which involves clipping a microphone to my chest, slipping the wire under my shirt and leading it out the back. Doesn’t sound too hard, does it? Well it is, if you refuse to touch me. Katie finally had to come and help him because he was bright red and flustered, and just sort of flapping his hands around in front of me uselessly.

We were forced to move further downtown, after the CB radios of the taxis interfered with the audio of the tape. This involved us walking about 3 blocks, in the sweltering unshaded sun; me leading, still wired for sound, Katie carrying the cable, and the camera guy taking up the slack.

After blotting off the rivulets of flesh colored sweat, and unpeeling the hair matted in my lip gloss, we’re ready to shoot. Camera guy asks me to remove my sunglasses. Um, blinding sun! People with corneal transplants are very photo sensitive! As a result, I have to close my eyes, until taping actually starts and rush through my speel as quickly as possible before my eyes get all squinty, like Morocco Mole.

I am now slimmingly positioned, sucking in the gut, shoulders firmly unpinned from my ears while wearing my “go to” photo face the second I open my eyes.

“Hi I’m Laura, join me this Thursday for Cozumel 4 You, a brand new program of news, events and island happenings all in English, right here on Channel 5 from 5 to 7 pm,”

“How’d I do?” I ask camera man

“I don’t know, I don’t speak English so I didn’t understand it,” he shugs, but helpfully adds “you didn’t stutter or slur or anything.”

Essentially I could have recited Mary Poppin’s Supercalafragjalistic and as long as I didn’t drool or fall over, it would have been ok in his book.
We shoot a few more, just in case, repeating the closed eye game, and we’re packing up, and camera boy DROPS the camera. On the STAIRS. Made of CEMENT.

We then got to wait around in the square (aka Wet Wendy’s Bar slipping something cold) while he checked to make sure “he had what he needed. “ (AKA: found someone who spoke English to see what I said on the tape, and also to check if the camera was still in working condition after the stair tumble)

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Why I love living here in Cozumel....

Yesterday it was oppressively hot. Just sitting outside, and losing three games of backgammon in a row to the Fab Husband, had made sweat run down my face and show through my shirt. So when Fab suggested the beach with the dogs I was all over it.
The beach in Cozumel with my family is my most favorite thing to do in this world. Hands down. I adore everything about it, literally from start to finish.

Starting a trip to the beach involves the application of sunscreen in the upstairs bathroom. Mar, our extremely intelligent black Lab, can Identify the smell of sunscreen, regardless of the brand, and begins barking excitedly from outside. Sol, our adorable, happy, “special needs” dog has no idea what’s going on, but takes her cues from Mar and starts barking and running in circles. And so it begins….
Meanwhile the Fab-man is packing a mini-cooler with a couple of beers, ice and some cozies. Frankly, I don’t know why we bother, it’s so hot that it’s impossible to keep them cold, so we wind up sharing one and passing it back and forth.
Then the dogs pile into the back of the VW Thing, stick their heads out the windows and commence smiling. Sol actually smiles so much that her cheeks flap in the wind. Mar, on the other hand, needs to see everything, and races from left window, to right window, to the pile of towels between our seats, facing forward, urging the car on.
I like to take my dogs to the north beaches up past the Country Club. First of all, it’s only about 10 minutes away from the house, and secondly, it gives Sol a chance to swim, since she’s our “special” girl, she won’t swim if there are large waves, like on the windward side of the island.
Sol adopted us shortly after Hurricane Roxanne. When I say, she adopted us, I mean that she literally started showing up outside our gate, in the exact place where another street dog I had taken care of used to wait for us. Sol is a yellow Lab, however, at the time I honestly thought she was beige, she was that dirty. Our vet now tells us that Solita was probably hit by a car, or kicked by a carriage horse (Fab’s theory, since she has a pathological hatred of horses) which never got treated properly, as a result Sol is gimpy. She’s very adjusted to it now, however, when she first came to us, she would fall over while peeing, and I have literally seen her get herself running so fast she has no control and crash into things, like parked cars. Anyhow, she’s the Gracie Allen of the dog world, and if her gimpy leg is happier without fighting big waves, to the North we go!

When we cross over from the paved road to the dirt path, the dogs get really excited. Mar starts whining, Sol starts barking. Fab and I just look at each other and smile. Their joy is that contagious. We pull the car to a stop, and Mar begins her Jack Russell imitation, hopping up and down, let me out! let me out! In spite of the fact that our car, does, in fact, have no windows and she can easily jump out on her own, however, Mar is our princess dog, and we can’t deny her a regal entrance.

Unfortunately I don’t have children, however, opening the door after a beach arrival is what I’m assuming it’s like to watch your kids race downstairs Christmas morning. They’re bounding up and down the beach. Mar is looking for a stick, for her never ending game of fetch, while Sol charges into the water, only to run back out and start all over again. The Fab-man and I are holding hands, walking down the beach, exchanging amused glances. This is one of the moments, when I love my husband best. One of those special snapshots that you mentally take out and look at when you’re far away or apart.

If it was up to Mar, the next hour and a half would be spent throwing a stick as far as you possibly can into the water. Not to brag here, but my black dog is an amazing swimmer. She has no fear of leaping into the giant waves on the windward side of the island. She times the waves, so she can actually surf back into shore. When the love of her life, her daddy, takes his surf board out, we have to physically restrain her from swimming all the way out to the surf zone, to stand on his board. The most amazing thing Mar does, in my opinion, is that she can actually dive for sunken objects. If you throw a stick that happens to sink, she can actually feel around with her paws, and when she’s located it, she’ll stick her head completely underwater, for a long period of time and come back with a stick, a rock, whatever.

Sol will swim but not as far, oftentimes turning around pretty quickly. She also tires quickly and has intelligently discovered that if she waits, until Mar returns to shore she can grab the stick and run off with it. Of course she looses interest in the stick 5 paces away, but the actual theft part is pretty interesting in her mind. I like to take Sol into the water, give her some dog massage on her bad leg and have her swim around; cozumel improvised aquatic therapy.

Eventually the dogs are tired, we’re out of beer, and it’s time to go home. If the ride is more than 10 minutes, they’re generally crashed out in the back seat. Sol has to first express her gratitude by licking your hand and lookking earnestly into your eyes. The whole car, in spite of being convertible and having no windows, smells like wet sandy dog, which is actually a nice smell. The Fabster and I are still holding hands, passing the last beer back and forth, and we’re both radiating contentment and satisfaction, as we drive slowly home.

This post is a little different, than my normal short, funny ( i think)ones. It was inspired by posts from Ms. Moon over at Bless Our Hearts. Cozumel is her favorite place to be, and I really enjoyed reading about it, and wanted to convey one of the things that I really love about being here, and choosing to make this my home.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Cozumel Surfing now up

Just to let all my peeps know that I've got the super rough draft of up and am working on finishing it now, so all of you who've been stalking the surf photos and googling "Nacho the surfer Cozumel" can check it out.

Aren't web stats great? It's so cool to have the IP address too!!

Stop over at Cozumel surfing and give it a give shout out!

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Snippets O mirth, or I don't have enough for a full blog post...

The intersection of Calle 10 with Av. 15 has always been high traffic, and, apparently the zipper heads in the Cozumel planning department have been dwelling on the issue. First the rocket scientists attempted to correct this issue by placing the largest stop sign I've seen in my life on 10th. Apparently, this sun-eclipsing sized sign didn't work, since a few days later they sent a road crew in, who worked diligently for about 3 days installing large, scrape the belly-offa-your-car speedbumps (topes) on 15th, effectively creating a 4 way stop.

Three days later the topes were completely removed and the holes patched. Island legend has it that the topes were supposed to be installed on 10, and no one was there to supervise. They did leave the signs announcing the topes, though. sigh.

The new neighbors, with the strip mine in their backyard, spent the first night in their new home. This morning, while the Fab-man was walking the dogs, he noticed the back seat all messed up on their rental VW Bug. Someone has stolen their car battery. Welcome to our neighborhood, we're really glad you're here! sigh.

It's rained for 3 or 4 straight days now, and directly in front of our house the street is blocked by a puddle of green stinky water, that, if expereince proves correct, will soon start breeding frogs. These frogs, asside from being large and disgusting party all night en masse and can literally keep us awake with the noise. sigh.

I think the weather has sucked out my motivation. sigh.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

In which some home projects are clearly not DIY

We finally met the new neighbors, who bought the house to the north of us. After the Fab man made the initial contact, I went over to check out the house, and convince them that horns were, in fact, not growing out of my head, contrary to popular belief.

I was really curious to see this house since the prior owners were, well....a little unusual. We're on the tour, looking out at the backyard, and I said, "oh, is that an outdoor kitchen, what a great idea!" Turns out it's a bathroom for the swimming pool.

Let me tell you about the "swimming pool." The two children of the previous owners, ages 12 and 16, got the idea into their head that they really wanted a pool, so they decided to dig their own pool. Now, anyone who lives here knows that Cozumel is a limestone island, with about 2 feet of rocky, poor quality top soil. In fact, people I know who actually have completed (keyword) swimming pools have to hire people with pneumatic drills to bust up the rock to actually get more than ankle-deep.

So these whacky kids get this idea into their head, the parents indulge them, and where is their next stop? Our house. Yes, here. Why? Because they want to borrow our pick and shovel. Seriously, they were invested enough to attempt to dig their own pool, but didn't want to spring for the tools??

This went on for a least a week. Boy would arrive in the morning, borrow our tools, and attempt to dig to China, only to return our shovel at the end of the work day. Frankly, I was beyond amused. As the healthy-sized pool progressed, the inevitable happened, they hit rock, we didn't own a pneumatic drill they could borrow, and the project was abandoned.

Fast forward to the present day with the new owners. I'm looking out their backyard and it either looks like it's been strip-mined or been used for some sort of mass burial, unmarked grave, kinda deal.

So I'm explaining to the new neighbors, that, in fact, our pick and shovel are responsible for the destruction of their backyard, and they're looking at me in open-mouthed disbelief. See, they're new to the island, and have not yet learned the system of dispended-disbelief that we long-timers exist in, and, to be honest, they probably heard about the horns that grow out of my head already.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

I'm going to be on TV - meh

This is from my recent Cozumel 4 You newsletter:

Cozumel 4 You is going multi-media! Starting on Thursday June 25, Cozumel 4 You, hosted by Laura Wilkinson, will present a weekly, hour long, magazine style show, along with Canal 5! We’ve been collecting your comments and suggestions off of the chatboard and your emails, so we’ve got some great ideas! Canal 5 can be found on Channel 25 for those of you with Cable Mas, here on the island, and we’ll have a video link, on the chatboard for those of you who don’t have access.

Before you start patting me on the back (which is very nice, btw, keep it up!) and bask in my glory, keep in mind that I'm really, really freaked out about the whole thing.

First of all, I hate having my picture taken. Totally 100% loathing, white hot intensity of a thousand suns. Allow me to illustrate:

This is a photo of myself and two other (normal) women. See how they're relaxed and smiling in an attractive fashion? They're pleased to have their photo taken (maybe posted on my blog here, not so much, but..)

Look at me. My shoulders are hiked up to my ears, I'm slouched over, creating a tent'like effect from the dress (I'm not THAT fat) and then there's the totally awkward, "I have to go to the bathroom" kinda stance thing going on.

I know you're thinking, "wow, what an unfortuate photo of my dear friend Laura." However, let me assure you. This is one of the better ones.

Friends and family have hundreds of photos of me with the same hiked shoulders and uncomfortable smile, throughout the years. I remember one particularily bad school photo (4 grade maybe) in which I am rocking the same pained expression in a Winne the Poo dress. That photo actually made relatives laugh out loud.

Photo Phobia runs in my family. My cousin is one of my dearest friends in the world. My husband used to wonder why I have not a single photo of her in the house, until she came to visit. Fab-man just doesn't get photo phobia and just started snapping away, my shoulders went up, and Cousin took on her "thousand yard stare" look. Seriously, she could intimidate the bartender in a biker bar with her photo-face, and that's if you're brave enough to take the photo!

Another reason why I'm freaked out about being on TV is my potty mouth. Those of you who know me, and continue to speak to me, know that I drop the F-bomb as an adjective. I enjoy expanding my vocabulary with words like "f*ck-tard" and things like "put your big girl panties on and get over it," drop out of my mouth with alarming frequency.

They originally wanted to do the show LIVE, however, I think I've convinced them otherwise. In short, to sum it all up, this is going to be a whole lot of 'company-behavior" mixed with a never ending photo.

In all seriousness, it's a super opportunity. Cozumel never has had a televised news in english program, and I'm super flattered to be in on the first one. What an asset to the community.

I'm really looking forward to it, since that which does not kill me makes me stronger. I've been watching Dr. Phil and Rachel Ray, to study their facial expressions and postures, and I'm working on my company behavior. This weekend I plan on spending alot of time around children.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Cozumel Surf

I've just started working on a webpage for my friend, Nacho, called cozumel surfing. Nacho, who is probably the most universally known and liked guy on the island has been surfing for years, and now wants to start teaching it.

He's really good with kids, and he just looks like a surfer. I don't have the page done yet (since I'm blogging...) but I wanted to post some of these for you. Here's Nacho, doing his surf god imitation. Kids stop him in the street all the time and call him Capt. Jack Sparrow.

And here he is showing off.

Here's the Fab Man getting his surf on! (Note the Guido arms!)

Lastly, I'm calling this one, Nacho and his surf bunnies. That's Malin from Sweden (right) and Katie (left), who owns the new salon in town.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

A photo says 1,000 palabras....

I'm fully convinced we've hit the dog days of summer, even though it's only June, and August is traditionally the hottest month. It's been super hot and humid, but no rain. I thought I'd do a photo essay of some of the recent events here.

First of all, look who's back. It's the Snoopymobile. For those of you who don't already know, this is the Fab-man's very cool island style car. Like a phoenix, Snoopymobile has been rebuilt from the ground up, yet again. It's a 1972 VW Thing (here in Mexico, it's called a Safari) This time it's been reincarnated white, since someone else on the island, also has a red Thing. It's been 11 months in the rebuilding, and the final details, like the brakes, should be done by the end of this week!! Hopefully in time for happy hour !
(it's at this week, fyi, 6- 9pm)

We also got the large screen on our sliding glass door repaired. Our "cat" (who is convinced he's the third dog) took it upon himself to create his own cat door, basically by head-butting the screen until the corner ripped. We knew it was time to get it fixed when a three-year old child could also walk through. We had the screen team in, and showed them what the cat had done, and showed them the damage, explaining that we wanted a cat door in the left corner. We were thrilled when they returned at the end of the day, with this elaborate set-up featuring a clear plastic cat door, until we installed it and realized that the cat door is now on the right corner, so unless the door is fully open, it's useless.

Lastly, I've been spending tons of time watering the garden. This jasmine bush, about a year ago, was the pride of my garden, and made the entire downstairs smell fantastic with constant flowers (Fabs actually once accused me of using an overpowering air freshener, when, in fact, it was the bush). That was before the ants, the white fly and the fungus arrived. My friend Rosalie hacked jasmine down to mere stalks back in April, in a last ditch effort to save the poor thing. Jasmine finally put out shoots and green leaves, which is apparently very appealing if you are a giant red ant. I watched helplessly one night as these horrible insects carried off entire leaves. The next morning, we painted the base of the plant white with chalk, like they do with all the palm trees downtown. It apparently works since the remaining 2/3 of the plant has yet to be carried off. Sometimes you just have to be happy for the little things, no?

Monday, 25 May 2009

Maybe I just don't get it.

I know that I'm a gringa, and here in my adpoted country, we have different customs, holidays and traditions. I can really get behind alot of them (hello, pozole!) and some of them, well, I think I'm missing the whole point.

Let's talk about pinatas. Saturday was Braden's 3rd birthday party. I went with his mom, and my partner in crime, Nancy, from, to go and order the cake, the pinata, etc. a few days prior to the event. Now, Nancy chose one of the coolest lion pinatas I've ever seen, and it had to be, because she made me to to THREE different pinata stores to find it. Yes, three. I live on a small island, where you can't always find fresh milk, but apparently anyone can find a pinata a mile away from their house.

Now, this lion pinata was BIG, and Nancy had no where to hide it from a active 3 year old, so lion came to live with us for a few days. I had to put the thing on the dining room table, since that's essentially the only place we've been able to convince the cat to NEVER go, (which is ironic, since we actually eat at the thing about 4 times a year, but I digress..)

So here's where you pinata affictionados lose me. It's your kid's birthday. You have a theme for it, in this case, lions. So you go and buy your child's favorite character and then encourage them to beat the crap out of it with a stick? Seriously, if that's not years of therapy, I don't know what is.

Then, the pinatas almost never break. Seriously, all of my firend's kids are under 5 years old, meaning they're not that strong, and they have a three minute attention span, tops. There's always the excitement at the beginning, when the kids all have their first turn, and we all sing the silly song loudly, and nothing happens, because the people that make these things make them super, super thick. Can't they make special, easy to break ones for the young and the elderly?

So what generally happens is the adults stop paying attention, and only sing when it's actually their kid, and the children start wandering off to discover other shiny objects. Then some well meaning adult steps up, with a determined look in their eye. In all the years I've lived here, I have never seen a child break a pinata, it's always the desperate parent, who realizes they're losing the audience. (In one notable occasion, I actually saw a granmother take a kitchen knife to a particularly durable pinata).

I won't even get into the whole concept of arming children with sticks. Someone once told me they wen't to a party and the host used a broom handle made out of metal, and one of the kids got a little swing happy and broke someone's arm.

How about the moron who pulls the rope to make the pinata move around? First of all, it's always the wise-guy of the group, since no one else wants the job. Secondly, when you're swinging, and just want to get this whole pinata/stick thing over with, the last thing you want is some yahoo, jerking the pinata around making it harder!

So finally, the whole pinata thing comes to it's happy end, the thing breaks and candy and other edible stuff falls to the ground?? Not one of my friends would let their kid eat off the floor (that I know of..) but if it comes out of a pinata it's ok. And, generally speaking, the stuff they fill those things with is horrble. Waxy chocolate, peanuts, oranges and even toothpicks. You've gotta be kidding me here!

Again, maybe I just don't get it! Maybe I'm just missing the joy. I know Fabs has never really been able to embrace the whole concept of Groundhog Day.

Here's the pinata in the store, in happier days, prior to it's unwarranted beating.

Friday, 22 May 2009

A Slight Digression Rant, NCR

A new friend of mine is opening a salon here on the island. I'm always thrilled about new salons since it gives me a chance to wreck my hair all over again.

Seriously, I can't even keep count of the variety of hair colors I've rocked throughout the years. They're generally some variety of blonde, ranging from baby chick yellow, to, in one case, an unfortuante shade of green (thank you, Victor!) There was even the year of RED, which I'd rather not talk about....

Anyhow, here's my beef with hairdressers. The first thing they always say to you is "So what are we going to do with your hair today?"

"Um, you tell me, YOU went to beauty school!" Seriously, when I drop the car off at the mechanic, it would never occur to me to give him pointers, tips or any sort of direction. Same for the guys who paint my house. Why do hairdressers always ask that question?

It puts pressure on me, to have some limited knowlege, and frankly, I never read all those articles in "Glamour" and "Vogue" like 7 hairstyles for every face shape.

If I possessed these facts (and the skill set) would I still even need you?

Let's hope today hair wrecking goes a little different.

Oh, and for those of you who don't lurk all day and every day on Cozumel Chat boards, NCR, means Non-Cozumel Related. That's your nugget of knowledge for the day!

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

I'm pretty sure the CSI Crime Lab is on it's way

Does anyone know how to get rust stains out of cement? I've always said; Here, if it doesn't mold it rusts, and, as our BBQ did the slow walk of death, it left rust marks all over our patio. It looks as if we've been conducting mayan sacrifices.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Game night - painful and not to be repeated

The Fab-man has had a long standing poker engagment every Wednesday. It's a floating game, moving from house, to villa, to apartment at the host's whim. Yesterday's host encouraged spouses, who could play board games in the other room. A good idea, in theory.

I didn't really want to go; however, my friend Rosalie (of was already roped into going. I owe her, big time, plus I thought it might not be that bad. I was very wrong.

Picture the scene: there's a really fun poker game with the jokes and trash talk going on in the other room. Rosalie, I and the hostess are awkwardly gathered around a dining room table. Yes, that's right, just me and Rosalie, since other people were either smart enough to feign an interest in poker or just stay home. Rosalie's brought along some really good games, and I never really thought of it before, but I guess we're just "game people."

Our hostess was not a "game person." She was gracious and put on a good front, but it was very obvious that the first game we played was like water table torture to her. She admitted that she almost never played games, and in fact, really enjoyed watching TV much better.

The first game was punctuated by awkward pauses and long silences, as we taught hostess how to play. As I said, she was well mannered and polite, but it was obviously not how she envisioned her Wednesday night. Finally, when she got up, I said to Rosalie, "she hates this, let's switch games.."

"Good idea, thank you so much for coming so it wouldn't be just me!," replies my trusty companion in the social quagmire.

We switch games, with marginal success, our hostess seems to be better at faking interest, or maybe she was just hitting the rum bottle every time she got up. I know I wanted to.

At last it's break time, and we meet the rolicking, fun-loving, zany bunch who've been playing poker out on the terrace. We're noshing and mingling, and I'm staring off into space, recovering from the mindless social platitudes, when I spot host and hostess in front of the frige.

"Honey, are you having a nice time,? queries host

"No, dear, not really.." she musters (putting on her stalwart, "I will brave this thing through" face.)

Needless to say, that gave me a "get out of jail pass" (since I'm apparently a game person) to get out of there as soon as I could. Rosalie was forced to stick it out until the fun poker game broke up, apparently discussing aquariums in depth with our hostess. There's only so much I'm willing to take for a friend.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Beach Camping!

We just got back from beach camping on the other side of the island. Frankly, I've never understood why we call it beachcamping, since we actually stay in the wind powered hotel, and pitch the tent, just for the kids.

This is generally how it works, Lisa from Rock n Java, ( calls us all and we pack up, dogs, kids, bedding, coolers, ice and way more food than any of us can possibly eat. We then agree that this time we're getting there early, as opposed to all the other times when we skated in just before dark and had to pitch the tent with flashlights.

We still arrive just before sunset on Saturday. Since the other side of the island is completely undeveloped, the hotel is windpowered and cell reception is non-existant, it's a chance to completely get away from everything. There are crashing waves, starry skies, beaches to walk and that's about it.

Activities during beach camping generally consist of building a fire (for the BBQ) using the fire later to make s'mores for the kids (yum) and then telling them creepy ghost stories (with the flashlight under your chin) to scare the crap outta them. One time, Fabs told them all about the "pez roncador"(snoring fish) who only came out at night. It was his turn to sleep in the tent with them, and they were all a little frightened when they heard the noises, though the Pez was coming to carry them into the sea, until they realized it was him snoring!

Sunday you're up with the sunrise, since it's so beautiful and it takes place about 4 feet from your head. I've actually worn sunglasses while in bed. Yesteday, after a yummy breakfast, Nacho loaded up all the kids and his surf boards and took off to Playa Bonita. Nacho, who is the surf champion for many years here on Cozumel, can spot the best place for kids with one eye shut. I chose to remain behind, since I'm a total slacker, and I wanted to finish my book, however, Gary has the photos to prove how much fun it was.

All of the kids, including the 5 year old, got up on the board, and there's even photos of Nacho doing handstands on his short board. Nacho is super good with kids, and not too hard on the eyes, since he literally looks like a pirate. We've been pushing him for years to run a day tour teaching people to surf and I think he's about ready to actually do it.

Sunday generally solely consisits of lounge chairs, beach, water and eating, repeated throughout the day, until it's time to leave. No matter how many times I re-apply the sunscreen, I always come home pink, tired, salt crusted and covered in sand. After taking a shower, washing the dogs, unpacking, and cleaning out the cooler, I always realize what a fantastic time I had "away from it all."

I'm ready to start the week, renewed and refreshed.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Yet another reason (no. 451) why I love living here

Last night after we got home from a great dinner (thank you Don and Rosalie!) the husband and I were vegging in front of the TV, when we heard the Cheese-Man come by. For those of you who don't know, this is a gentleman who walks the streets of Cozumel with a giant cardboard box balanced on his head. The box is filled with cheese, and he sings as he walks.

"Queso Oaxaca, Queso Oaxaca!"

In addition to being the yummiest cheese in the world, I just love the whole concept! I've lived here for over 10 years now, so when I hear the chant, I start digging out my wallet.

Where else in the world can one get home cheese delivery? If one were even to attempt duplicating this at home, in say Georgia, and walked the streets with a big cardboard box on your head, chanting "I got Cheddar, Cheddar Cheese!" wouldn't the neighbors call the cops and try to have you committed?

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Deep Sea Fishing with animals

This happened a while back, however, it still makes me smile, and that's what I really wanted to do today.

So the Fab-man and his buddy, Pato, decide to go fishing in Pato's boat. They invite their friends, Don and Guido (seriously, they're from New York) to come too. At the time, Brisa, Pato's boat was kept up by Isla de Pasion, very north.

Anyone who'w ever been that far up north, can attest, that it's very pretty, very rustic and completely overrun with racoons. They're actually rather cute, and in my opinion, harmless, and will come out and beg shamelessly for a handout. I have even seen them storm into rental jeeps in search of unattended snacks, sort of along the same line as animal time-share salesmen.

Anyhow, boat is loaded, mostly with beer, and the boys cast off. According to the Fab-man, after the first 3 beers or so (yes, that's a measure of time, here) they start hearing this unidentified squeeking sound.

They're looking around, checking cell phones, boat motors, and, of course, the cooler, for the sound, when they are finally able to tell that it's coming from the front hatch of the boat. Guido, who was closest opens the front hatch only to discover that they have, indeed, invited a raccoon along with them. Raccoons apparently don't like boating, hence the sounds.

Pato's boat isn't very big, so there's no way to get away from the raccoon, and the boys have gone too far along to turn back now just because of a seasick raccoon. Don and Guido decide to toss a ham sandwich into the hatch, and lock the hasp. (Did I mention that they're from New York?)

The afternoon carrys on. The fish are biting and the beer is cold. The raccoon, either placated by the sandwich or too seasick to care, is not heard from again.

Our heros return, close to sunset, unload the boat, and as the final act of the day, open the hatch with the trapped raccoon. Fab-man tells me that they're last sight was the raccoon drunkenly staggering down the wooden pier toward land. Imagine the story he had for his buds...

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Check out the bobble-head!

I've been foster-caring this adorable bobble-headed kitten since last Saturday. The Queen of the street, dropped it off at my neighbor's house, where I happend to be drinking beer at the time, so my defenses were down, and we agreed to foster-care bobble until he was either adopted (or non-infectious) and could be taken to the Humane Society.

Bobble head arrived in a plastic bag (reason number 42 why I bear the Queen of the Street ill will) and had such a bad eye infection that his little (grey) eyes were stuck shut. 3 days later and the infection is almost gone. Dr. Ivan gave me medicine for the de-worming (thanx, Ivan!) andthe little guy is on the road to recovery.

Now that he's not miserable his personality is really coming out. He follows me around and tries to always be touching me, and is purr is as big as his head. My cat, Orca, was hand raised, and adopted from the Humane Society, and I can tell you that these make the best pets ever!

Please drop me a note if you're looking for a little bundle of head to brighten your day!

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Misinformation the biggest source of mass hysteria regarding Swine Flu in Cozumel Quintana Roo

I realize that, oftentimes, modern media likes to keep the public complacent with scare tactics, however, I am urging you, not to buy into the media hype of the Swine Flu. Confirmed cases here in Mexico are very far away from Quintana Roo, Cancun and Cozumel. I can only liken this to hearing of a mine collapse in Kentucky and phoning my New England relatives to check on their safety.

I don’t want to downplay all of the news coverage of the recent outbreaks of Swine Flu here in Mexico, and no one more than me has more sympathy for the families of those affected, however; I think it’s time we set the record straight here.
As of me writing this, there are NO cases in the entire state of Quintana Roo. Look at the following real-time map.

This is a severe flu, and those that wait a very long time to seek medical treatment are often dehydrated, have pneumonia or other complications related to the swine flu. This has a 6% fatality rate. Just as a basis for comparison, look at the following facts:

According to MADD and the NHTSA, "In 2007, an estimated 12,998 people died in alcohol-impaired traffic crashes involving a driver with an illegal BAC (.08 or greater). These deaths constitute 31.7 percent of the 41,059 total traffic fatalities in 2007." I don't recall any bars being closed because of DWI concerns.

In a single year, 2008, 3,012 children and teens were killed by gunfire in the United States. Swine Flu Deaths: 0

As an inhabitant of the small island of Cozumel, I am dismayed to hear from fellow small business owners of cancellations in JUNE, due to concerns of infection. Our island has always been a peaceful, safe, Caribbean refuge from the hustles and bustles of metropolitan life, and it continues to be to this day.

Yes, schools are closed. It is correct that we have cancelled the Feria de Cedral. Allow this to illustrate to you, that we are just as concerned as anyone out there, that this will be contained and eliminated as quickly as possible. Our government is on top of this, and appropriate steps are being taken.

No, Geraldo Rivera is not coming down here with a camera crew, to compile a series of “in the trenches” broadcasts. Nor are we being shipped out clandestinely via medical helicopter.
Frankly, we’re looking forward to an end of the hype, trumped up media concerns and hoping that our 15 minutes of fame is soon over, and we can return to business as usual.

Remain calm,all is well!

Monday, 27 April 2009

Upcoming Cozumel Fishing Tournament

The annual "Rodeo de Lanchas," or the Cozumel Fishing Tournment is fast approaching. If you're participating, you know you want to, or just watching, it's a Cozumel event not tobe missed. I love going down to the downtown pier and watching the boats weigh in. Just to whet your appetite here's some photos, mostly from last year's tournament, that my friend, Rita, from, sent to me! As they say, tight lines, and screaming reels...

Friday, 24 April 2009

Cozumel Diet

My very dear friend, Rosalie, who has a posh, yet affordable, beachfront rental villa,, deserves credit for this series of photos. This is what happens when you leave a trail of hibiscus flowers on your patio.

If we could all only eat so healthy!!

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Great Article about travelling to Mexico

This is by emmy award winning writer Linda Ellerbee, and I have to credit for posting it originally....

Sometimes I’ve been called a maverick because I don’t always agree with my colleagues, but then, only dead fish swim with the stream all the time. The stream here is Mexico.
You would have to be living on another planet to avoid hearing how dangerous Mexico has become, and, yes, it’s true drug wars have escalated violence in Mexico, causing collateral damage, a phrase I hate. Collateral damage is a cheap way of saying that innocent people, some of them tourists, have been robbed, hurt or killed.
But that’s not the whole story. Neither is this. This is my story.
I’m a journalist who lives in New York City, but has spent considerable time in Mexico, specifically Puerto Vallarta, for the last four years. I’m in Vallarta now. And despite what I’m getting from the U.S. media, the 24-hour news networks in particular, I feel as safe here as I do at home in New York, possibly safer.
I walk the streets of my Vallarta neighborhood alone day or night. And I don’t live in a gated community, or any other All-Gringo neighborhood. I live in Mexico. Among Mexicans. I go where I want (which does not happen to include bars where prostitution and drugs are the basic products), and take no more precautions than I would at home in New York; which is to say I don’t wave money around, I don’t act the Ugly American, I do keep my eyes open, I’m aware of my surroundings, and I try not to behave like a fool.
I’ve not always been successful at that last one. One evening a friend left the house I was renting in Vallarta at that time, and, unbeknownst to me, did not slam the automatically-locking door on her way out. Sure enough, less than an hour later a stranger did come into my house. A burglar? Robber? Kidnapper? Killer? Drug lord?
No, it was a local police officer, the “beat cop” for our neighborhood, who, on seeing my unlatched door, entered to make sure everything (including me) was okay. He insisted on walking with me around the house, opening closets, looking behind doors and, yes, even under beds, to be certain no one else had wandered in, and that nothing was missing. He was polite, smart and kind, but before he left, he lectured me on having not checked to see that my friend had locked the door behind her. In other words, he told me to use my common sense.
Do bad things happen here? Of course they do. Bad things happen everywhere, but the murder rate here is much lower than, say, New Orleans, and if there are bars on many of the ground floor windows of houses here, well, the same is true where I live, in Greenwich Village, which is considered a swell neighborhood — house prices start at about $4 million (including the bars on the ground floor windows.)
There are good reasons thousands of people from the United States are moving to Mexico every month, and it’s not just the lower cost of living, a hefty tax break and less snow to shovel. Mexico is a beautiful country, a special place.
The climate varies, but is plentifully mild, the culture is ancient and revered, the young are loved unconditionally, the old are respected, and I have yet to hear anyone mention Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, or Madonna’s attempt to adopt a second African child, even though, with such a late start, she cannot possibly begin to keep up with Angelina Jolie.
And then there are the people. Generalization is risky, but— in general — Mexicans are warm, friendly, generous and welcoming. If you smile at them, they smile back. If you greet a passing stranger on the street, they greet you back. If you try to speak even a little Spanish, they tend to treat you as though you were fluent. Or at least not an idiot.
I have had taxi drivers track me down after leaving my wallet or cell phone in their cab. I have had someone run out of a store to catch me because I have overpaid by twenty cents. I have been introduced to and come to love a people who celebrate a day dedicated to the dead as a recognition of the cycles of birth and death and birth — and the 15th birthday of a girl, an important rite in becoming a woman — with the same joy.
Too much of the noise you’re hearing about how dangerous it is to come to Mexico is just that — noise. But the media love noise, and too many journalists currently making it don’t live here. Some have never even been here. They just like to be photographed at night, standing near a spotlighted border crossing, pointing across the line to some imaginary country from hell. It looks good on TV.
Another thing. The U.S. media tend to lump all of Mexico into one big bad bowl. Talking about drug violence in Mexico without naming a state or city where this is taking place is rather like looking at the horror of Katrina and saying, “Damn. Did you know the U.S. is under water?” or reporting on the shootings at Columbine or the bombing of the Federal building in Oklahoma City by saying that kids all over the U.S. are shooting their classmates and all the grownups are blowing up buildings. The recent rise in violence in Mexico has mostly occurred in a few states, and especially along the border. It is real, but it does not describe an entire country.
It would be nice if we could put what’s going on in Mexico in perspective, geographically and emotionally. It would be nice if we could remember that, as has been noted more than once, these drug wars wouldn’t be going on if people in the United States didn’t want the drugs, or if other people in the United States weren’t selling Mexican drug lords the guns.
Most of all, it would be nice if more people in the United States actually came to this part of America (Mexico is also America, you will recall) to see for themselves what a fine place Mexico really is, and how good a vacation (or a life) here can be.
So come on down and get to know your southern neighbors. I think you’ll like it here. Especially the people.

Monday, 20 April 2009

This is what happens when you let 12 year olds paint your toes....

I actually like having every toe different, and I'm planning on rocking them for a few days at least, thanks Bianca!

My neighbor

I've been so busy, getting my new webletter out, that I haven't had time to post. However, I know that some of you (Dad) really look forwward to my musings, so I thought I'd go visual this time, and let the pictures do the work for me. This is the iguana that lives in the dividing wall between me and my neighbors. This is his standard pose when I pull my car in.

Monday, 13 April 2009

The Luckiest Man Alive

For those of you who do not already know it. I am married to the luckiest man alive. That’s right, not only did he manage to convince me to marry him but he is truly lucky. If there’s a raffle, he wins it. A prize to be had, it’s his. The blinking yellow traffic light waits for him to pass. I’ve been unsuccessfully trying to convince him for years to purchase lottery tickets. Seriously, he’s just that lucky.

Yesterday being Easter and all, I wanted to go to church. See, I go to church on Christmas and Easter. Yes, I’m one of those people. Now before you send me all kinds of flame mail about how hypocritical and offensive that is, please keep in mind that, I probably remembered your birthday too!

Anyhow, so the Fab-man and I are tossing around the church options. There’s the Roman Catholic church, which last year was so crammed to the gills with overheated and unsupervised children running down the aisles, that we were forced to listen to the sermon from the park across the street. Our other option was a Christian service in English, which started in about 15 minutes.

We hightail it over to the service, and we’re getting out of the car, as a very nice lady asks us

“Are you here for the service?” (which is blatantly obvious since I’m wearing a dress on a Sunday ) “Our pastor and his wife are sick and I’m afraid they had to cancel services today, we’re very sorry.”

My husband actually had the grace to turn beet red, as the nice lady and I looked on him incredulously after he said “SCORE!”

See I told you he was lucky.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Friday Happy Hour

We're going to the Caribe Blu Hotel today for Sunset Happy Hour, y'all! They have a gorgous deck and the view is fabulous! I'm hoping it becomes a new Friday tradition (since I don't have enough ADD rituals in my life already!)

Thursday, 2 April 2009

New Grocery options!!

Cozumel is really getting developed in a big way. Recently we got a giant new grocery store, that has actually made shopping for food less gruesome. I can’t tell you how much I hated to go to the grocery store. I’m not a squeamish person, really! However, the other grocery store, where I used to shop, was often frightening and frustrating.

There was no consistency. Just because you had seen a particular item on your last visit is not an indicator that you will ever see that item again. I’ve coasted in there, shopping list in hand only to find out that key essential ingredients for Thursday’s pot luck were unavailable, forcing me to mentally recreate recipes in my head. “Ok, so the pasta salad is out, but perhaps I can work these beans into something nice..”

Once upon a brief time they had veggie burgers, and Oh how I loved them. I would race expectantly over to the refrigerated section searching for my beloved veggie burgers. First they were there consistently, then sometimes and then, never to be seen again. I finally asked one of the clerks, and she told me they were no longer carrying them “They were really popular, see? And we couldn’t keep them in stock all the time, so we got complaints, so, no, we’re not going to sell them anymore.”

Like I said, I’m not a super girly girl, but even the vegetable section grossed me out. There were fruit flies, and it smelled. There was half rotten produce that had been fondled by multitudes of strangers, trying to see if they could salvage enough for a meal.
Most importantly, the roof leaked. Dripping water would mix with the rotten vegetable pulp, creating a slick area of spooge. Rather than clean this spooge up, what the staff would do was place flattened cardboard boxes over them. That way you were cross the sea o spooge on your cardboard surfboard.

One particular incident stands out clearly in my mind. I was shopping and had a full cart of selections. I stopped in the veggie section, hit one of the cardboard flats just right and landed IN the spooge. I was literally covered from hip to ankle in sludge. It was probably one of the most disgusting things that had ever happened to me. Fellow shoppers looked on in both revulsion and sympathy. I stood up, wiped my hands on my pants, collected my purse and headed directly for the door, leaving the full cart. I drove directly home, with only one cheek touching the seat. I arrived home, and as I went up the stairs stripped off my clothes, in route to the sanitizing bath. I considered bleach. I mean, isn’t that where polio comes from?

This new grocery store, smells nice, and the floors aren’t slippery, and they seem to have things consistently. Looks like progress has finally hit the island.