Feliz Ano Nuevo!

May yours be healthy, happy and wise!

If I could give my readers one gift with which to start the new year it would be this book:

love letterDuring the last few months this work single-handedly shifted my philosophical perspective from a long-held atheism to full blown animism ala The Dancing Wu-li Masters. I now whole-heartedly worship the ground I walk on!

And all the critters who walk it with me.  Let’s start 2013’s countdown:

During the fall my San Miguel de Allende foster girl Mia went to her forever home in Calgary, Canada. Here she is with Mom Lynn in her festive new home:

mia christmas 2013While I was in San Miguel my black miniture-schnauzer Asher stayed in Louisville with my friend Peggy and his one-true-love Foosie Mae Belle from the holler. We are all together again.

Here’s Peggy with Foosie looking beautiful in her sparkly pink and Asher looking miffed in his Santa hat.

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In the “Who Knew?” department, I’ve been turning in to a baker and a cook. As readers know, I’m in Wait Mode for my low-income senior apartment, it’s cold, and without a car (lower carbon footprint!) I have few places to go.  Thus that old thudding feeling of eating too much processed food [isn’t it all!] grew louder and suddently I’m baking quiche, meatloaf, apple cider beef stew and making cookies, pies, and fruit loaves. Today I’ll start on a pear-cranberry crostada –

Oh, yum!

Oh, yum!

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Louisville Pride

Peggy’s 20 y.o. niece Elizabeth is writing for a local web site and getting paid for it. Liz, who grew up here, wrote a good piece on some of Louisville’s charms.  As I read it I realized that I’m living in an incredible little city which is to Kentucky, culturally speaking, what San Franciso is to California, or Miami is to Florida – diverse, artistically alive, foodie-ville, and celebratory with the fabulous Kentucky Derby.

KentuckyDerbyRace

People are friendly. The park system spreads out before us. There’s a roaring local music scene.

Yes, the Ville has the same ills as other U.S. cities its size: a lackluster public transportation system, strip-mall-itis in the burbs, a disappearing tree canopy, and unsafe neighborhoods, but there’s nothing to single it out as being boring, intellectually retrograde, or rigidly conservative.  It’s a surprising place and, while it may not be my end-game (who can ever tell?), I’m proud to be a booster while I’m here.

Y’all come down, now.

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During Wait Mode I’ve mentally redecorated my upcoming 526 sqf apartment in several color schemes. Initially I promised myself I’d go with a pared down, simple Zen environment. Upon returning and looking at the few pieces of furniture I have to move it was obvious that wouldn’t work. The stuff is all consignment and it has scrolling legs and sleighbed looks. Hmmmm.

I’ve decided to let my inner glam loose.

Small interiors cry out for reflective surfaces.  Mirrors work to enlarge a space but I’ll be painting my black 4-drawer dresser SILVER. Here’s a photo from a blog titled “My Champagne Tastes Beer Budget” and she actually used faux silver leaf.

MY CHAMPAGNE TASTE

Martha Stewart [yes, that madwoman!] has a line of paints titled Precious Metals. I’m going to go for a more dialed-back look ala this example from a blog titled Petticoat Junction.

mixed-metallic-pic-monkey_thumbHa ha! And I just treated myself to 2 years of DIY Magazine. Whee ha!

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Cooking, mentally painting furniture, playing with the dogs.  Nothing earth-shattering here as I fold myself back into an American city after nearly a year and a half in Mexico. My fall health visits put me as healthy as a 67 year old woman who still smokes could be, give or take the cartilage that’s failing in my knees, the fact that I need new glasses again, or that my hair grows alarmingly thin. Like most people my age who tell the truth I am a failing wreck, trust my self-wisdom very little, and muddle through old age a little bit dotty and many times surprisingly happy. I don’t expect this will change, even in a “new” year.

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Now if you’re determined to have new revelations in the year to come, then –

happy new year 2014

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Days of lint and kleenex

Winter goddess by Gargantine at deviantart.com

Winter goddess by Gargantine at deviantart.com

Although she won’t be officially welcomed until December 21st, Winter has come. She is young and lean, almost surprised that once again she must hunt.  Last week she threw an inch of ice down in Louisville gilding every tree and sidewalk, then added a fillip of four inches of snow. It’s made for treacherous walking. But, the girl can’t help it.

Often pictured as an old woman, I envision Winter as sinewy, athletic, and hungry.

In Scandinavia she is Skadi, queen of winter, mountains and the hunt.

In Scandinavia she is Skadi, queen of winter, mountains and the hunt.

But then I’m Celtic by descent and we have rough winter in the bone.

The air is so dry her voice is a rasp. Thus when she speaks she leaves lint. To her its a downy echo, but I am now single-handedly supporting the pet roller industry trying to keep corduroy and wool from the minutely tarred and feather look.

God knows she’s the Queen of wet. One minute the world is an icy diorama, the next it’s slush. True to form, whenever I go outside my nose runs. The vast sums I have left after pet rollers are supporting the pocketbook packs of Kleenex industry.  Sometimes I can’t reach them in time so it’s good to have washable gloves.

Yet, I adore her.

Admire might be more accurate. In all that ice and woe, she brings gifts!

The Christmas tree is strung.  Asher and Foosie have posed for their portraits.

CIMG2388And I have the Blind Boys of Alabama singing “Go Tell It On the Mountain.”

Wheee!

During these cabin-fever months I’ve discovered a penchant for baking. I admit I was defeated by my first pumpkin pie, a tasteless sad affair, but I recovered and am turning out spiced pumpkin pie to die for. I’m mistress of quiches. I’m making a wild crazy pfeffernusse.

I’m watching the scale with trepidation.

And, I wait. Who knows when my new (to me) low-income senior apartment will come available? I have redecorated every square inch several times in my mind, which shows you how little of importance I actually think about. A blue of course.  But which blue? Oh, the challenges.

Of course I do think of other things. But right now I’m thinking of whoever is reading this. To you and yours in the northern hemisphere I offer winter greetings. If you’re in the southern hemisphere, could I come visit around mid-February?

I’ll bring Pfeffernusse.

pfeffernusse2

 

 

 

 

 

 

All Hallows Eve

As we crest into Halloween and my friends in San Miguel gear up for Day of the Dead, I’m pet sitting today with Peggy and my dogs, Foosie and Asher, and Sophie, a black lab or lives with our friend Joanie.

Sophie, Asher & Foosie

Sophie, Asher & Foosie

My kinda rainy day!

While on the subject of dogs, let’s honor Mia, my Mexican sweetheart, who is soon traveling to Calgary to her forever home where, I believe, she will LOVE new mom Lynn and the cold climate!

Mia at Mary's house. Picture by Mary. I miss this goofy girl!

Mia at Mary’s house. Picture by Mary. I miss this goofy girl!

Then there’s Bobby/Lincoln, who now lives in Austin with Bella, the love of his life.  An unforgettable pooch!

CIMG1983

And who can forget Cuyo, now all grown up, twice as big, and in the arms of his forever Mom & Dad, Julie and Cliff?

Coyo

Yes, you do see the devil in those eyes

Between us all – Julie, Mary, Jill, Kelly, Gabrielle, Bella, and Lynn – we’ve done well by my Mexican darlings. Hugs, kisses, pats on backs ladies!

Now one more view of my one true love, Asher of Treetop Kennels. Asher is father to 106 progeny during his working life.  He came to me when he retired at 5 and is now chewing 8.5 on the chin.  And it’s not just me. Everybody loves Asher.

Smooch.

Smooch.

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If it’s late October then it’s time to get ready for winter here in da’ Ville. Since I’m on the wait list for Richmond Drive, I’m sprucing up some of the items I have here at Peggy’s.  For a black metal oh-so-boring floor & reading lamp, that means gold spray paint.

CIMG2348

Much better, don’t you agree?

This table is next.

Soon, just as golden!

Soon, just as golden!

I told you how desirable our neighborhood is, and that means people tend to decorate outside too.  Since we have slum lords and live in the most embarrassing building on the street our only solace is that it’s Halloween. Perfectly unkempt and shabby, we look like the block’s haunted house – for free.

Currently living on the second floor

Currently living on the second floor

Lest you think I’m not being as bourgeois in my current incarnation as possible, here’s a house two-doors down that gives tribute to the Highlands’ neighborhood.

CIMG2350

Don’t you love gardens in the front of homes? I think of them as public art, or a gift the homeowners have given both themselves and passers by. Usually I transform wherever I live with a garden. But. I won’t be here long enough to put out that kind of effort.

Which brings me to vertical gardens:

vertical vegetable garden

I’ve come to think that vertical vegetable gardens are part of the solution to healthy living in cities, so I’m looking for a green group in Louisville with whom I can volunteer. I’m gifted as a public presenter and would love to travel around the city with a how-to slide show and/or raise some money. Talk about food security … wheeehaaa!

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If it doesn’t rain like hell tomorrow night Peggy, Joanie and I will make ourselves up as a Katrina and venture out in the city.

We'll look something like this - only MUCH older.

We’ll look something like this – only MUCH older.

Boo!

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BTW, the state of Kentucky is now picking up my Medicare Part B premium ($104.00 monthly) and providing “Extra Help” with medications. Yippie Kay Yay.

So, while Fukushima sizzles, the US economy goes further south, and Winter bears down on us, I wait for my new (to me) place and take it at the usual one-day-at-a-time.

Boo redux!

When it’s good, it’s very, very good

San Miguel rooftopLiving in San Miguel de Allende in December reminds me of living in California. Even on a cloudy day like today [which means it won’t go up to 80 degrees under El Sol] I can find a snug corner in my garden or put a sweater on in the house. Of course, like winter in California, the best of all possible worlds would be to have a roaring fireplace for what I’m told can be frigid nights.

For the most part though, San Miguel has constant blue skies,

CIMG1917

a moving sun that throws shadows in the streets,

san miguel shadows

and twilights to sigh for.

twilight in san miguel

This morning I read a breathless review on San Miguel titled “The Most Interesting Town in the World”. This is the San Miguel de Allende of the prosperous visitor. Lunches are had on rooftop gardens, afternoons are spent exploring “stone streets that rival the most enchanting parts of Spain and Italy”, and nights are a whirl of  wine, fireworks, and music.

I see this San Miguel too.  And I see what can be exciting and beautiful here [though I don’t consider the narrow, uneven sidewalks in the central historic district part of the charm.] There is an  enchanting light bathing this town in winter. It gilds everything, making magic wherever it falls.

sunlight on cactus

And, like the good life in parts of California where on a chilly morning one can tuck away in the corner of the patio, drink coffee, and listen to the birds, the light brings a peace that is difficult to measure.

It continues at night.  There’s so much less light pollution here that you can see the stars through the trees.

stars through the trees Justin Ackerman

Some nights they can pull you right up.

Thus, what is good is very, very good indeed!

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For you style mavens, here’s the link to “The Most Interesting Town in the World”

http://treatsmagazine.com/articles/san-miguel-de-allende/