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Friday, October 26, 2012

To Our Beloved Maxwell

If you are fortunate, God gives you one nearly perfect dog during your lifetime.  Non dog lovers may not understand this, but a dog truly can be your best friend.  My family has been a fortunate one.  We had our beloved Maxwell, aka Maximilliano, Maximus, Maxie, Maxer Pracsir (we totally made that one up), in our lives for 14 wonderful years until he died one year ago today.  Max was unique because he somehow managed to be the best friend to five people without ever making any of those five jealous of the attention he bestowed on the others.  Maxwell had a sixth sense of when we were feeling down and he would do his best to spend time with us to lift us back up.  And of course he loved it when we were happy and would join in with our fun in a second's notice.

He had so many funny traits.  He was a big dog and he adored to help us carry things in his mouth when we took him for walks.  He was happiest carrying a bag of something and would wag his tail and wiggle his butt as he walked - as if he was telling the world "Look at me.  I can help too!"  Or when we would come home at night he just had to take our purses and run through the house with them, often dumping the contents as he went.  But we never ever minded.  We loved it.

There are so many Max stories to tell.  And we will tell them as the my daughters and I have a plan for doing just that.  But for today, we celebrate Max's life and we want him to know how much we miss him!  We will forever miss him.  In the tradition of the Mexican celebration for the Dia de los Muertos, we too believe that Max somehow is still with us.  We love you Max!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Be Kind to Black Cats

I've had many cats during my lifetime (we once had two litters totaling 11 kittens at the same time but that's a story for another day) and two of my favorite three were black cats.  The first one came from one of those litters and Arturo named him "Cadillac".  I wish I had a picture here of him but he was the most beautiful and loving cat!  His only fault was that he loved being outdoors and unfortunately, at the young age of seven, he met his end during one of his nightly treks through the neighborhood.  I think of that cat almost daily and still miss him.  When he died I didn't have the heart to tell my youngest daughter, Sonia, that he was gone so I simply told her he hadn't come home but maybe someone had him.  She found out the truth a couple of years later and I don't think she has forgiven me yet.

From the Gayana shop
The second black cat was one of a pair of kittens that Arturo rescued from a car engine.  They were a brother and sister and the male was black.  I named him "Midnight Louie" and his sister, who we still have, is called "Lola".  She is a calico.  Anyway, poor Louie had burned paws from the car engine being turned on while he was simply in the engine trying to warm up on a cold winter day.  We nursed him back to health and he repaid us by making us laugh at his funny little face for the next three years.  Sadly, he shared Cadillac's passion for the outdoors (I know - it's our fault for letting them out although in our defense they were pretty good at escaping on their own) and one morning he didn't return home.  My hope is that someone found him and he is living a good life.

Halloween is coming up and black cats still seem to have a bad reputation.  Don't believe the bad things you hear about them though!  And if you ever have the opportunity to adopt a cat, you can't go wrong with a black cat!

Here are a couple of more Etsy shops that share my and my family's love of black cats.

They are beautiful!  BlackCatPhotographs
This one looks like Midnight Louie.  Wool-In-Legends Shop

Monday, October 8, 2012

Autumn Treasures and Condesa, Mexico City

First, I want to share beautiful handcrafted items, paintings and other treasures from the "The Art of Autumn" treasury list that I curated today.  I have such fun doing these treasuries (I just wish I could get the hang of pasting the list here instead of a link)!  Autumn Treasures.

Yesterday we went to a great Mexico City neighborhood called Condesa.  I love it there and it is my fervent hope that we will sell or rent our house in the suburb Satelite and go rent an apartment in Condesa.  It has gorgeous parks that are super dog friendly, the kind of 1940's Mexican architecture that I love, tons of cafes and small ethnic restaurants, bookstores, small shops, and this is very important - no shopping malls!  You can walk and walk there and not get bored.  It's the kind of neighborhood where you meet people from all over the world and can get together for book clubs or just to chat at one of the local coffee shops.  I really want to move there right now!  I didn't take many pictures while we there because I was too busy looking for "Apartment for Rent" signs.  Here is one picture though of Arturo and the dogs while we took a rest in one of the parks:
I almost got Arturo to smile!

We had lunch is an extremely popular Korean owned restaurant and the kudo soup was to die for!  I could eat it everyday - it had those thick noodles that are so good!  To walk off all the food we went to another nearby neighborhood called San Angel.  On Saturdays they have a huge marketplace with every sort of hand made item you could ever want.  On Saturdays and Sundays artists set up their paintings in the park.  I found a couple paintings that I wouldn't mind owning!

My brother-in-law, Alfonso, is in the plaid shirt

Right alongside the park you can buy any type of art supply - canvases, frames, paint brushes, oils, acrylics, pastels or watercolors.  Seeing all those supplies made me wish I could paint or draw but no such luck.
By the time we got home the dogs were exhausted.  Poukie barked at maybe a thousand dogs after Lali alerted him to each and everyone.  She barks once when she sees one to let him know and then he goes nuts.  Fun.  Lali was so tired last night that she fell asleep with the tip of her tongue hanging out.  In all of her 13 years I've never seen her do that!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Author Kathy Reichs - How does she do it all?

I just finished reading a rather dated article about Kathy Reichs that was published in The Strand Magazine.  I love mysteries and that is one of my favorite magazines that helps me keep up with authors, new books, new themes, etc.  Anyway, the article on Kathy makes me a bit nuts and makes me feel like a huge slug.  She is originally from Chicago (one of the greatest cities in the world by the way!) and she received her MA and PhD in physical anthropology from Northwestern University in Chicago.

What amazes me is that she does all of the following:  1) she writes one best seller after another involving her now well known character, forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance Brennan; 2) she continues to work as a forensic anthropologist for both the state of North Carolina's Chief Medical Examiner and for the province of Quebec's Laboratoire des Sciences Judiciaires et de Medecine Legale (I'm assuming that she also speaks perfect French); 3) she writes and publishes hundreds of professional academic papers as a world authority on forensic anthropology; 4) she has testified as an expert witness in the United Nation's genocide trial in Rwanda and has been part of the team of forensic anthropologists who have exhumed the remains of many who were killed during Guatemala's civil war, and 5) she has been the co-producer of the popular TV series "Bones" that is based on her novels.


Unfortunately the article doesn't explain how she does all of this.  And by the way, she has a daughter who is a writer.  Reichs is under contract for a total of 16 books and she writes one book per year.  I think she is pretty close to the 16th book now as she was working on number 12 when this article was published a couple of years ago.  See?  I can't even stay current on reading my magazines, let alone accomplish a fraction of what she does!  Oh well, she can serve as an inspiration!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Chicago and Boston!

I spent the best two weeks in Chicago and Boston with my girls!  I love Mexico but it was so good to be back with family, friends and familiar surroundings for a couple of weeks.  It was sunny and warm the whole time and I soaked it up after having such a rainy, cool summer in Mexico.  The good news is that since I returned on Tuesday to Mexico City the weather has been gorgeous - sunny and warmer.  So I consider myself very fortunate.

After spending the first two days in Chicago catching up with my daughters Laura and Sonia, and son-in-law Patrick, as well as working on listing lots of new aprons, I flew to Boston to visit my oldest daughter, Diana, and her fiance, Reid, for a weekend.  They are living in Marblehead, MA.  Until a year ago I hadn't heard of Marblehead (shame on me!) and now that I've been there I am totally enchanted and want to return again very soon.  It is one of the oldest towns in the United States and just one block from where Diana lives is a cemetery that dates back to the early 1600's.   Many of those who fought in the American Revolution are buried there and the town recently received federal funds to preserve the tombstones.

I love colonial American history through the early 1800's so I was in my glory in both Marblehead and Boston.  The below photos are from downtown Boston which I love not only for its charm and architecture, but also because as you are walking down a modern street, you suddenly run into the very spot where the Boston Massacre took place.  Unfortunately I didn't have time to visit the museum that is on that spot but I did stop into the gift shop to buy a book on the Revolution.

These are some of the house in Marblehead.  Many were built in the 1700's and have signs stating who built the house along with his profession.

And then there is the beautiful harbor and ocean practically on Diana and Reid's doorstep.  We spent a morning out on their family boat and I felt so free and happy!  Pearl, Diana and Reid's American Bulldog, is quite the little sailor!

Pearl and I having a good time!
Diana, Reid, and Pearl's rear end

When I returned to Chicago I still had a surprise birthday party to look forward to.  My son-in-law Pat turned 30 on September 29th so my daughter Laura and Pat's mom Kathy planned a surprise party for him.  We are pretty sure he was indeed taken by surprise but even if he wasn't, he would never let on because that is the kind of good guy that he is.  Happy Birthday Pat!!

Pat walking in the door

Pat and my daughter Sonia

The sweets and photo table that Laura and Kathy put together
So you can see how blessed I have been and I am truly thankful for my wonderful family and my friends!