Monday, July 29, 2019

Cleaning out the Septic System - Mexican Style!

We knew this day would come! Since we are all on our very own septic systems in Merida, we knew sooner than later we would have to face getting the honey truck here to empty us out! And it would be sooner rather than later because we flush our toilet paper unlike many whom do not!

However our architect did us a favor and when he redesigned the simple Mexican style home to something more up to date, he put a new septic system right in the front yard where the previous owners parked but we wanted a front yard buffer from the street. It is placed inside the gate, to the left of this photo and is approx right in front of the doors. Thank you Roger for thinking of this. It means that I don't have nasty dirty hoses going through my house! Stinky ones at that!

Our toilet flushing slowed down, the showers drained slow, so we knew the time was quickly approaching to handle this situation. Today the workers showed up and here are some of the photos!

This is the waste chamber where the solids remain, than the grey water goes to the second chamber where it slowly leaches into ground.

Both chamber were opened and the workers sucked out all the solid waste as well as all of the grey water. They hosed both chamber with clean water than continued to remove all of the stinky stuff.
They than recapped the chambers and marked them to find the covers easier. (we figure in 2024)

Now it's up to Carlos and I to get some landscape cloth and re spread  the gravel. All of this was 3,000 mxp or the equivalent of about $150 US. Since there are no waste treatment plants we asked were they emptied the tanks and we were told that the city of Merida does have a plant and they charge them 750 mxp to empty their trunk, I feel better knowing that!

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Adding a Puppy to Our Yucatan Household

Just give Clementina an ice cube!

When we first arrived in Merida 5 years ago we brought with us our 4 rescue cats. Of course the least expensive way was to drive them down in our van. 6 days later we had arrived in Merida, intact but never wanting to drive 4 cats thousands of miles again! Border crossing was easy, although we had spent more than 800 US dollars on health certificates, no one was even interested in looking to see what we had in our van. 
The cats settled in quickly. They found that the pool was wet and luckily the two that fell (or were pushed in by our grump Maine Coon Gustavo) were able to swim out with no problems. They all found new places to explore and to nap and just were happy as can be. Sadly our blue Tonkinese who our house and blog was named for passed away two years later at 18 years old.  

Kiwi, Gus and Persimmon the night we arrived

Gustavo had his first experience with locust swarms!

And Gus found a great napping placed

Kiwi making himself at home

BleuBeri after his first accidental swim...

Another napping place

A safer napping place

Watching the sun rise
Now 5 years later it was time to shake up their lives with the addition of A PUPPY! And it has shaken up our lives too. We have not had a dog for almost 25 years and the last puppy was more than 35 years ago. As Carlos has been back and forth to the states quite often this year, I felt a dog would not only be company for me, but also be an alarm system if someone/something was entering our territory. So after much research and 8 months of watching dogs for adoption. I found a good match for us from a breeder of Havanese pups. (Here in Mexico they are called Bichon Habanero) As my husband, son and grandson are all allergic to dogs, I just needed to find one that would not cause an asthma attack and I never did find one for adoption. Havanese are hypoallergetic and do not shed. Also I felt that I needed a puppy to minimize the stress for the remaining 3 cats.Who had never been around dogs...ever!

The day she arrived (8 wks)

Clementina at 10 wks

It's a face that's easy to love
She learning how to be safe in the pool

When she knows she's been bad!


Sleeping together in the heat of the day

Patrolling her property keeping us safe!

So here we are now with a 5 month old puppy. I love her to death BUT it is so much housebreak, to train, to wear them out so they sleep all night, to feed, shots, etc etc etc. But rewarding also...I am secure in the knowledge that she will alert us to anything that is different, after all she barked like crazy at a Costco size package of toilet paper had snuck in the house and it did not belong!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Living With Dietary Restrictions In the Yucatan...

A Mexican made gluten free beer....

When we first purchased our home here in Mexico in 2007 we had to mule down anything gluten free that we needed in our suitcases. It wasn't too bad because we were usually only staying for a week or two. Fast forward to us moving here full time in 2014 and suddenly it was much more difficult to cook and make foods that were our comfort foods. So we were still bringing down a suitcase full of pasta, breads, mixes etc. Soon after we found a health food store that had corn pasta. Not our favorite but it did in a pinch. Than Costco started stocking a few items. A Mexican firm distributed a gluten free bread that was OK toasted. And now 5 years later the only thing we mule down in our suitcases are gluten free bagels from Trader Joe's. However sometimes when you find a gluten free food that you like...stock up because it may not be seen again...ever or a year or more!
Back in the early days, I was making from scratch a cauliflower I can get it frozen at Costco way better than I ever made it! Currently I have 6 in the freezer just in case!
My pizza

In the Freezer at Costco!

One of the disappeared products! (a favorite!)

What I am seeing here in the Yucatan is the availability of products in the groceries are reflecting a sophistication of palate of the population! So if you are gluten intolerant, lactose intolerant or diabetic there are many more choices for you. Each time I go to one of the grocery stores I am discovering new products from around the world as well as from Mexico. 
Here is a look at what's in my pantry!

Don't let dietary restrictions hold you back! It gets easier and better every day. Remember that vegetables and meat are plentiful and relatively inexpensive here in the Yucatan! If you are a vegetarian or vegan there are many more products available for you too!

Monday, June 10, 2019

Here comes the rainy season!

Merida has hot and humid conditions almost all year long. However the official rainy season is June through October. The rain is usually in the afternoon as it can build to a storm all day long, but it's usually over after a brief but heavy rain. The street can look very much like the photo I took above as there are not many storm drains in Merida's infrastructure. The water does absorb into the ground quickly because of the limestone and underground rivers. 
I love sitting on my terrace and watching the approaching storms. There is not always thunder and lightening...but sometimes it does and it can also get very windy. I like the gentle storms the best! Today about 4 in the afternoon, one of the gentle storms rolled in. 

The storm cooled down the temperatures by about 10 degrees. Making it into a just lovely evening!


Friday, June 7, 2019

Almost Coming Up To the 5 Year Mark!

We are coming up on our 5 year anniversary of living in Merida. I am sitting here on my terrace, already sweating at 8 am in the morning thinking of all that has happened in these 5 years. Do I like living here? YES! Even though it can be hotter than I have ever experienced, the good far out weights the bad. The weather for the most part is just learn to deal with it and change your lifestyle a take a siesta, slow down and savor the days of October through March! The social pace slows down during the hot months anyway. Most of the snowbirds are gone by April 1st and it's just us year around folks and of course people who are searching to see if this is the right place for them.

There have been several organization that have formed and/or expanded in the 5 years I have been here. Several of them have become a good part of my time. I am a volunteer at two or the organizations and I really get a good amount of personal satisfaction working with them.  Fundaciion BAI is one such organization. I am on the social committee and we plan most of the fund raising activities. This organization does such important work in the Yucatan with HIV as well as sex education with teens. You can find out more information here:

I have participated in several activities with Yucatan Giving Outreach. We made more than 100 sundresses for needy girls and more than 500 knitted hats for the elderly in nursing home or in the pueblas. The organization does much more than that, art programs, support of soup kitchen, teaching English and so much more! Information :

A great group has formed in the last year and 1/2 and is the Merida Coffee Club. It's a great group of people who just gather to chat and drink coffee type beverages. Though sometimes they do other activities like eating shrimp tacos or go bowling. There are many days that they sponsor pop up activities in different sections of the city. Very inclusive it's a great place to meet like minded or just get further info about Merida. Information:

Another group is the First Tuesday Artist of Merida. This group of about 140 artists meets the first Tuesday of each month at a members home. After sharing a pot luck the artists share projects they have been working on. Sometimes there is a theme, and sometimes not. At any time there are oil and watercolor painters, puppet makers, glass artists, weavers, print makers, potters, sculptors, photographers, leather artisans....and we all share our works!

So much more is going on in our life...I am hoping to rekindle my blog and to write more often so I can tell you just how great Mexico is treating us! 

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

And this is how I'm filling all the hours....

There is so much to do in Merida that it easy to fill all the hours in a day. However, I am not one to sit in front of the TV, or to shop...except for groceries. We also do not eat out much because of some dietary restrictions. I have filled many hours taking classes and learning some new skills. I also garden, cook, and sew! I find that doing some volunteer work is a satisfying way of giving back to the wonderful community of Merida.
Art (and music) is in the air in Merida. The artist community here is extensive and the artists are from all over the world. I have the pleasure of knowing a weaver from Czech Republic, A textile artist from New York City,  a glass artist from Iowa, a sculpture from Indianapolis, painters from Canada, painters from Holland, a German ceramicist, a potter from Atlanta, a water colorist from England and many more! Each one adds to the atmosphere of Merida. Added to this international artist colony is the many great artists from the Yucatan as well as other states in Mexico. I have been lucky to not only take some classes from the international artists but from the craftspeople of Merida too!
I started out my class taking with glass fusion classes taught by Randa from Iowa, Super talented and always willing to share her art I have taken several classes from her as well as arranged some for my international visitors.

Another class that I love was basket weaving. Taught at Louise's textile center, the Maya fellow who taught it did not speak any English but with his hands and patient way, he had all of his students weaving beautiful baskets in no time! 

Maestro helping me with my edge work.

My finished basket

And another one!

Sometimes the baskets are useful!
One self-learned craft has been hat making....strange yes, but fun. I first was invited to a Kentucky Derby party and a hat was required. Hmmmm, I thought and I went hunting for some material. Found some and made a hat. I won the contest...I didn't even know there was a contest! Than there was a polo game for charity...some friends wanted I made more! Really fun! Here are some of the results:
My first hat!

And than there were more! (The women look so beautiful!)

For me, just a small hat this time!

Stay tuned for Part II of And this is how I am filling all the hours.......