Monday, February 27, 2017

Landscaping...we are almost done!

We have been working most of this year on landscaping. We've chosen plants carefully and we think we are almost done. Most things grow quickly here so we are trying to keep it sparse so we see how it fills out. We used landscape cloth covered with large grave (as opposed to pea gravel) to cover most of the ground. No grass because we did not want to attract mosquitoes.
The portulaca blossom every day

Around the pool

The center courtyard

The front we kept very simple

cactus blossom

Friday, February 24, 2017

Learning New Things 2

The second class I signed up to take was a series of 4 hand loom weaving class 1 a week each class being 4 hours long, I will never be a weaver. However I did learn how to do some basic weaving and I loved the colors of the yarns. Our Czech instructor, Marketa, was very good and so very patient! As our class was both expat and Mexican nationals she was able to switch from English to Spanish with no problems. With one more class I am sure I will not go on to the next series of classes...Of the two friends I went with, I think one will be going on as she was very, very good at it.
Here I am working the small hand loom

I had a back ache from leaning forward!
Even though the I will not go forward on the hand loom weaving, it did bring me to the course at the same place of basket weaving, which is now my third learning experience. This is so enjoyed. I was able to use some of the weaving techniques I was taught in the hand loom course, but this was different. It uses more movement and I had no back ache and it was fun. 
We were introduced to the materials by our Maya teacher Pablo, who although he did not speak any English managed to get his ideas across. His wife prepared the vines that he has harvested out in the Yucatan jungle, They were a very pliant fresh vine so they were easy to use.
Pablo, our Maya instructor

His wife prepares the vines
My first basket was a very simple basket I made and designed to hold a special pot I use called a caldero...I use it to make arroz con pollo, a traditional Puerto Rican chicken and rice dish.

My first basket

Holding the caldero

But Kiwi thinks that it's for him
The next week I returned to take another 4 hour class. This time I decided to use other materials as well as the vines. The new materials were henniquin which is like a sisal fiber rope. 

I had a great time working on my basket. It ended up to be large and I was really pleased with look of it.
My large basket made with the additions of sisal accents
I even had a bit of time to knock out a small basket!

After the 4 hours I went home happy with my baskets!

I can't wait for next week. So there is so much to do here in Merida... and I'm just starting to experience them!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Learning new things!

I decided that I need to take the time to find activities that give me some satisfaction in a creative way. Searching I came across someone who has a studio and teaches the creative art of glass fusion. Having taken a one day seminar many years ago in Maryland, I remember how great it was and signed up. I also talked 2 of my friends (both from Canada) to sign up with me.
On our first class glass was discussed in a general way and we all decided to make a small 6X6 inch plate. We had come prepared with what we thought we would like to make. I decided on the basic colors and pattern and winged the rest. It was a very relaxing three hours... Learning how  to score and cut the glass was challenging, The differences in the glass types and how to put it all together was demonstrated. Here are our first ones getting ready to be fired for the first time. Mine is the one with the black background.
After the fusing they were fired again...this time for the shape:

I thought they were all just beautiful. So we decided to take a second class in which we would make a larger plate. I spend much time on the Internet looking for ideas and deciding what I wanted to try for my design.
Above is my second project.This time I was going for something that looked a bit like the 1960's.
Than for our third class I decided to try a branch bowl. This took a lot more time in cutting the glass as well as designing my project.

For the final result I decided to have the design on the outside of the bowl as I will be using it for a fruit bowl.
I have found that creating in glass gives me a feeling of satisfaction as well as makes me feel as if I am an artist...or at least have a little bit of artist in me... For those in Merida who want to know more information the studio and classes go to Facet of Synergy, Glass Fusion Design on Face book. 

Friday, September 9, 2016

Now it's quiet time!

Since our last guest left on Sept 3rd, we have just spent time on the house, together and have mostly done nothing....and it felt great! It was wonderful showing our extended family and friends the Yucatan.In July we started out with Mette and family from Denmark...than close behind them came Mike from Denmark. Mette was the first girl exchange student we hosted and she has a special place in our hearts. She was only 15 when she spent her year with us. We have visited her in Denmark several times in the past years. 
Mette and family

Cenote in the mangroves of Celestun

Mette and Carlos dancing to "Careless Whisper" .

Just before Mette and family left, Mike arrived. He was our third student, but just a half year as he was moved from a bad situation in Kansas City. He also did his college internship for Carlos later on. So we've been close to Mike for years.

Carlos and Mike enjoying the pool
Several days later our German student Andre arrived with his family. He overlapped with Mike as when Mike came to intern with Carlos, Andre was our student......Full HOUSE! And let me tell you I've forgotten what it was like with so many teens!
Andre and Eva

All (but me)

We embarrassed the kids by dancing to the music in Santiago park!
And finally came Anne-Marie, back to finish her dental work. Not quite a vacation, but needed and way, way less money than the states!
Now Carlos is preparing to head for the states for three weeks, I'll keep the home fires burning here and we have no guests except perhaps in December. But the snowbird season is gearing up and friends that head North to US and Canada will be returning and the Merida season will be starting. Si it's time to sit back and get some of the projects planned done and out of the way!

Friday, July 8, 2016

We debated about this, ad nauseam

We debated and debated and posted on this blog as well as ask for opinions about if we should build the casita in the back of our property. The answers were mostly, "we've been here for 5 (or 7 or 9) years and we've never had anyone visit and stay with us yet". But the answer that swayed us the most was, "build if for yourselves...not for guests" and we did just that. Of course we than changed the design to one large room and one bathroom, thinking that as we aged we would move down so we didn't have to climb stairs. Our bedroom is still upstairs and this year is going to be our years of guests! And that makes me pretty happy!
In January and February, we had friends come from Sweden...though they are Hungarians and some from California. It was great and we were able to do some touring about with them as well as to just hang out.

Than in March we had Pavlina and Steve as well as their two kids come from the Czech Republic and stay with us. It was such a treat to meet their kids....Pavlina was one of our exchange student back in the mid 1990's were she lived with us for a year and attended the local high school. We had a great time and was able to spend several days touring.

And now I am in the planning mode as the next two months will be chock full of guests and more touring around! Two different past students from Denmark as well as their families, My German student and his wife and three of his four kids, a friend from California and now still in the panning stages, two friends from Florida (Sept) 
I've got a big smile on my face just thinking of my visitors and I hope they all fall in love with the Yucatan as we have!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

I'm back in Merida and it's almost like I never left!

 After 17 fabulous days with the grand kids as well as my sis-in-law and her two, I traveled back to Merida via Cancun and than the 4 hour bus ride. I left the house in St Louis at 4:30 am and arrived in Merida at 8:30 pm....yes, it is a trek....yes, I could fly directly into Merida via American or United. However, the cost is twice as much and since I'm retired I'm not in much of a hurry! Much of that time was waiting...2 hours (TSA requirement) in St Louis, 3 hours connection in Chicago, 3 hours waiting for the direct bus to Merida  at Cancun airport. Once I was on the super comfortable ADO bus, I was able to lean back and snooze!
Carlos sent me photos while I was gone so that I could see that he was keeping up with the yard work that I usually do (not):

and that my cactus bloomed for the first time:

as well as showing me how great a job Lupita, our cleaning person was continuing to do:

and last but not least all of my cats had survived his care!

And I jumped right into being back. I was excited that the rainy season had begun. Merida looked cleaned and fresh!

Baseball was still happening and my favorite player from Jacksonville, Florida, Corey W was back!

My first morning back we headed out to our FAVORITE taco place for breakfast! (yes tacos are a breakfast food here):

and I have almost finished dealing with the home repairs/updates with items from my bulging suitcases I muled down! Like the new pendant lights that just screw into can fixtures ...who knew! Love how the kitchen looks now.

and the best of all...the cats have let bygones be bygones and are over their snit!

Now we are preparing for an influx of visitors most coming from Europe to stay with us...I'm always excited to share our Yucatan!