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Friday, August 30, 2013


A couple of days ago, when I was thoroughly fed up with them, I thought I would do a post on the necessity and the danger of making to do lists.  I didn't get around to it but then on two successive days, two of the bloggers that I follow both complained about the anxiety that lists can cause, but also that they can't live without them.  And so it is.

I have a master yearly list, a monthly list, a weekly list and a daily list.  I read somewhere that you should always be striving to do more than what you think you can accomplish in a day, otherwise it is cheating to just put on the list the things you know you can cross off at the end of the day.  So I follow that advice and most of the time it works.  I do push to go that extra mile, and even if I don't scratch off all the items at the end of the day, at least I did something on each one that pushes me forward.  My problem is that by following that advice, I put too many things on each list and as I refer to the lists during the day, week, month, year to see how I'm doing, well, I'm always way behind schedule.  And that makes me a bit crazy.

Like now.  I made a list when we arrived in Mexico that covered everything I wanted to do during the six months we are here.  We are down to the last three weeks and I don't even have half of the list completed.  The crazy part of me says that if I don't sleep for the next three weeks I can cross off a lot of those unfinished projects.  But that's insane and I know it.  (One item was pushed off to Arturo who is now painting our bathroom.  I'm going to take credit for it though because I had to work a bit to get him to do it. Or better stated, to do it using the color that I picked out. That counts).

My solution?  I've started a list of projects I want to do while we are in Chicago. I feel better now.

Here is a project that Arturo has pretty much finished.  This is the before picture - I should have taken it with the tree still there.  (I'll show you my half-finished projects before we leave on Sept. 21st.  Gives me a bit more time).

 And this is the now picture.  He still has some grass to plant but it looks much better!
Of course he doesn't have to make dinner everyday.  (Those of us who can't finish our to-do lists have to make excuses for ourselves!)

Have a great Labor Day weekend!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Los Remedios - National Park and the Virgen

Close to our home, nestled in the mountains, you will find Los Remedios National Park.  This is still a gorgeous setting despite all the houses sprouting all over the mountains.  It is the place where a colonial church was built on a spot where the Spanish supposedly fought the Aztecs in the 1500s, and perhaps more importantly, it is the residence of the Virgen of Los Remedios.  This Virgen is a small statute of the Virgen Mary that is believed to have been brought to Mexico by the Spanish Conquistadores in the 1500s.  It was kept in the Mexico City Cathedral until the outbreak of the War of Independence.  At that time the Spanish moved it to its current location and proclaimed her the "guardian of the Spanish Army."  This move was done to counter Miguel Hidalgo's use of the Virgen of Guadalupe as the symbol of the movement for independence.  We know how that turned out.

We went there yesterday with my mother-in-law and here are some of the photos:
The Archangel Michael at the entrance

Here is the Virgen of Los Remedios

Arturo and my mother-in-law in the patio

There are walls filled with these "retablos'

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Are you a worrier?

Do you have the problem that your mind is never still and is rarely at peace with itself and with you?  If you once felt that way but have since found a way to live life in tranquility even though you have problems and responsibilities, please let me know!  I think one way to achieve that elusive peace is to stop the incessant worrying.  It's not liking worrying will change any outcome, and instead all it does is destroy your enjoyment of the present.  The thing is that it is easy to diagnose worrying as being a useless, stupid use of your life, but the hard part is the cure.  I know it's out there though because I am fortunate to know people who are able to take life as it comes, deal with it, and not worry about what may or may not happen next.  So my quest will not end.  And I have to say that knitting helps!

I know I've posted pictures from our balcony before, but I love the way each one is different.  This would be more impressive if I took exactly the same shot every time but that just isn't the way my mind works.  I always think of things like that after I'm done taking all the pictures.

And here are a couple of pictures that just make me smile.

I have reserved our return tickets home for September 21st.  One month from today.  In the meantime I'll try to take some new pictures!


Friday, August 16, 2013

Starting to think of home

Now that we have about a month left of our current stay here in Mexico City, my thoughts are turning to going home to Chicago.  I have started the airline tickets search as well as making a partial list of what will go back to Chicago with us and what will stay here for when we return next year.  I'm planning where I want to eat with my family when we get back, and I can't wait to visit Barnes and Noble and Joann Fabrics.  I want to have a backyard bbq with friends and family and I want to take long walka with the dogs through our neighborhood.  My limit for a stay here in Mexico seems to be five months.  Longer than that and I get too lonely for Chicago and especially for my family.  By the time we leave in September we will have been here for almost six months.

And our time here in Mexico City has been good.  We've traveled with friends to Patzcuaro, visited so many beautiful and fun neighborhoods in Mexico City, and we have visited with our family here.  We have had backyard bbqs with family and friends and have thoroughly enjoyed the garden that Arturo has worked so hard on, as well as the glorious view of the mountains from our bedroom balcony.  We have created a daily routine here that I will miss when we are back in Chicago.  Mexico has been good to us during these months. If my family lived here with us it would be close to perfect.  But they don't, and that is why my heart can never be completely content when we are in Mexico.

The last two weeks we have been so lucky to have our good friends from Chicago, Tom and Goya, here in Mexico.  They have been staying in the Condesa neighborhood in a super lovely condo.  We have spent good days and evenings with them going through Mexico City's neighborhoods and eating at fun places.  They leave tomorrow and we will miss them very much but it is easier because we will see them again in a month.  Next week I'll post a blog about one of the visits we made with Tom and Goya to see the great Mexican artists Rina Lazo and Arturo Garcia Bustos.  That was a super day!

In the meantime, here are a few photos but I have to say that I have not taken many pictures at all during the last two weeks.  Instead, I've been too busy talking with Goya.  I'm hoping Tom can send me some of the ones he has taken when they get back to Chicago!

Have a great weekend!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Simple Things

I can't remember for sure from which book I copied these words, "Simplicity, serenity and spirituality" but I try to think of each one everyday and practice them.  I know some people who actively live the concept behind each of those words and I have to say that they are happy, content people.  At least from what I can see.  So I will keep working on it.

So here are some of yesterday's some simple pleasures:

We spent yesterday walking around the park at Polanco.
Fifteen years ago today my dad died.  He had lung cancer but it wasn't diagnosed until ten days before he died.  He had just turned 67 and I was totally unprepared to live the rest of my life without him.  I thought we still had a lot of time to spend together.  So, hug your loved ones and don't take them for granted!