Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Reviews!

A delightful end-of-the-year review!  Mexconnect is one of the most widely used sites for Mexican travelers and residents.  It's very informative and well-written, and its reviewer has read Flirting in Spanish! 

Flirting in Spanish has also been reviewed lately on these blogs:

Lucky me!  Mil gracias to all who have read and reviewed Flirting in Spanish!  And a prosperous 2012 to all! 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What the Diplomat Told Me

Carlos' mantra these days is synchronicity, and here is how it showed up yesterday for me.  

An elegant 60-ish woman came in for a massage and facial yesterday.   She is a diplomat for Panama, and was once the Panamanian consul in Baltimore.  She is soon to publish a book, and we talked writing.  I told her about the paranormal tendencies in my family and how someone pinched my ankle while I slept, and that I didn’t know if it was my maestros or Mary.

“It was Mary,” she said. 
“How do you know?”
“I just feel strongly that it was your friend.  She hasn’t passed on.  She needs help.”
“But why would she come to me if she needs help?  I would think she would hang around her own house, with her husband.  Or at Warren and Tuli’s.  Mary and I were very good friends, but Tuli was clearly her BFF.”
“There is a spirituality at your house that is going to help her cross over, isn’t there?  Your daughter can detect spirits and your husband meditates at 5 every morning, right?”
“Oh, yeah,” I said. 

She went on to tell me of when her then 5-year old son, while vacationing at Disney World in Florida, said suddenly, “A tree has fallen onto our roof, and crashed into my room.”   Sure enough, when they returned to Panama, they found their home’s roof crushed by a tree.

“You can help Mary,” my client, Elvira said, as I massaged her neck.  “Find a priest to say 9 masses for her, and she will pass on.” 

Not an unheard of proposition.  My mother has paid for dozens of Masses in her lifetime.  Surely there are enough churches in San Miguel for that to be an easy task. But is that the end?  Is that all the spirit wanted from me?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Secret of Christmas

I just came across this wonderful site.  We have two horses and love animals. This is a terrific way to help others that really speaks to too, maybe.

Christmas morning and the teenagers are still asleep.  Different times.  It's all good, the growing up, the growing pains (conflicts with friends, conflicts resolved).  I told them Santa was traveling light this year and they are completely cool with that. I think they also see the abundance we enjoy that doesn't come under the tree - lovely get-togethers in friends' homes, cakes and dinners made by friends for their December birthdays, cookie-making hosted by friends, phone calls from faraway family, Christmas afternoon planned in one friend's house then dinner in the home of other long time San Miguel friends. 

Merry Christmas to all!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Bring It On, Maestros!

                So my maestros, as Carla says, or Mary - wait, maybe my recently deceased friend, Mary is now one of my maestros! - woke me at 5:15 the other morning by pinching my ankle, and today I paid attention to the message and woke at 5:15.  Not that I exactly got out of bed (oh toasty bed!) at tal hora.  Still, it’s still dark and starry out and here I am, once again at the task of figuring out what I must wake up from.  Or to. 
                One, I’m literally awake and I think this is half the battle.  I paid attention.  I got out of bed.  I’ve been thinking of getting up earlier to write for days, and here I am finally doing it. IS THIS WHAT YOU WANT, great masters?  I’ve been taking the steps that allow me to get up earlier too.  Last night, during A Charlie Brown Christmas, I whimpered and put my feet in my husband’s lap, and he gave me reflexology which knocked me into a deep sleep before 8 pm.
                My other creeping thought is that I should be meditating.  My husband turned off the Christmas lights around the chimney and is meditating in the dark to my left wrapped in the afghan my grandmother knitted about 50 years ago, like he does every morning.   But whoa, writing and meditating?  I’ve giving myself a big round of applause for sticking to this page and not jumping over to see what 500 of my friends have been posting about during the night. (I just looked – winter flu, tree decorating, college admission.)        
Next to me I have The Complete Idiot’s Guide Dream Dictionary.  Last night I looked up Tiger for Carlos.  He had a dream of some tigers running around his mother’s neighborhood.  He didn’t want them to be caught.  Tigers: Power, Nonconformity, and standing out from the crowd.  Sounds like the opposite of Carlos, although he is an insidious leader – quiet around gringos, but the acerbic joker, the one who makes his buddies laugh.  Yet, twist the glass a bit and we see Carlos the artist.  If you see a tiger in your dream, you can make a strong impression right now or strike out on your own and do just fine.   Carlos is doing some powerful paintings these days, and talking about taking them to a gallery which once displayed his earlier art.  Then he hesitates.  Grab that Tiger power and go, Big Guy!
                Suddenly I am remembering a dream I had frequently as a grade school kid.  I was in a car but there was no driver.  Driving: Driving symbolizes the direction you are going. Are you in control? Are you lost? Pay attention to how you drive and where you are going for clues about the path you are currently taking in your life. I was ten, eleven, twelve, when I dreamed about having no driver.  I was worried about my direction in life then? When are these Maestros going to give me some flippin' answers, I ask you.
                It’s clear outside now and my Tae Kwon Do class calls.  And the big questions remain: What if I am supposed to be waking up to Enlightment?  What is Enlightment?  Does Facebook or Charlie Brown bring me closer to Enlightment?  And also, when will I get my Christmas shopping done? 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

How To Keep San Miguel de Allende Crime Free - An Insider's Look

So Sunday on the homestead found us sharing a couple of caguamas with Carlos' brother, Hector, our sister-in-law Mari and a friend from the parque (that means he plays basketball) known as Toluco.  The evening mellowed, I made tacos de pollo, and then at 9:30, Toluco jumped up and raced out of the house.  His job is to ring the bells of La Parroquia in the center of San Miguel.  Sunday night was one of them most important nights of the year, the eve of the Fiesta de la Virgen de Guadalupe.  Go, Toluco!  Get there by ten and ring those bells.  Tell people (bong, bong!) to get to bed because the fireworks (bong!) begin at dawn and don't stop all December 12th! At 10 pm, I heard the bells, or conjured I did, imagining Toluco hanging on the end of the thick rope.

Dia de la Virgen de Guadalupe is a national holiday in Mexico. Banks and schools were closed.  We ate breakfast at Cafe Contento with Hector, Mari and our girls' cousin, Anibal. Mascando (chewing on a topic), Hector and Carlos decide it must be safe to go to the United States.
           "Mira, in Miami, you have Horacio."
           "Horacio is one smart guey.  He always has the answers."
           "Plus he has some boss sunglasses."
           "In New York, you've got that other dude.  What's his name?"
           "Nobody knows."
           "Wait.  They call him, Mac.  Sue, has anyone ever called you Mac?"
           "No, but they used to call me Skinny McKinney."
           "Then, they've got that whole team in Las Vegas.
           "Right!  Now they've got that dude who used to run that bar."
           "There's a guy you can trust right there."
           "What about those Criminal Minds guys? What are they covering?"
           "Hijole, they're everywhere.  What's an unsub anyway?"
           "We should do a CSI San Miguel."
           "El Dandy, El Waca and El Toluco are not the lottery ticket seller, the drunk with the roses in his lapel and the bell-ringer that everyone thinks.  They're investigators!"        
            "Out to uncover why gringos think they can take their dogs everywhere with them, and how the cops are always asleep in their patrullas at the end of my street!"
             "We'd be safer, you know, with a CSI show of our own."
             "Yeah, I'm going to contact Telerisa. Manana."

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Heel, Heal, Does it have appeal?

Last night I dined with my favorite author friend (apart from you, Bev) Sandra Gulland at La Brasserie (apologies to Valeria if I butchered the restaurant name - I know no French).  Her book, my book - so much to catch up on! Sandra summers in Canada and I haven't seen her since last May.  The latest draft of her latest book is in to her editor - whew! I told her about my ankle being pinched by Who Knows Who With What Message. She agrees it's a good topic to pursue.

Today a spa client say, Oh, you were grabbed on your heel.  Heal?

Another spa client told about visiting a shaman near Cuernavaca some 20 years ago for the "chicken treatment."  I've heard of curanderos using eggs and fire and gladiolas but not live chickens.  This New York gal says she was having trouble with a "friend" who owed her money.  So another American friend in Cuernevaca took her to see Don Lucio who had her stand over a burning something and let the smoke go up her skirt.  Then Don Lucio and the friend, who in fact was apprenticing with the Don, beat her lightly with live chickens.  Then the chickens were sacrificed and thrown off the mountain. Ya.  Then leaving the mountain the friend's car broke down and the friend accused her of causing the disrepair with the release of all her bad energy.

Were things fixed with your friend at home? I asked.

Not really, the client said. But I had been out of work for quite some time and I DID get a job immediately upon my return to New York.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Close Encounters of the Mexican Kind: Was Mary Visiting Me or Another Spirit?

Carlos talks about synchronicity.  That if we are aware, we'll notice it happens all the time.  Friday morning last week, somebody pinched my ankle three times and woke me from a deep sleep.  But nobody was in the bedroom with me.  (See my previous post.)  By 11 that day, I was guesting in Michelle Garrison's Spanish grammar class where the topic of the day was brujeria and santeria and Catholicism in Mexico. I told the students at Cafe Contento, in Spanish, about my experience and that I was still trying to figure out what I had to wake up to. Mouths dropped open; their attention was complete.  "Were you scared?" one woman asked.
         "Were you able to sleep after that?" wondered another.
         "Actually, I told the spirit I was going back to sleep and to please wake me up at 6:15.  When I woke and looked at the clock, it was 6:13."

          Mexicans had a whole different take on a spirit visitation.  By the end of the day, we were in my brother-in-law Hector's car on our way to a teacher party with him. "So, somebody tugged on my ankle early this morning," I told him. "Carlos was in the living room - it wasn't him."
          "Ha, you got off easy," Hector said. "Once the lady who hangs around my mother's house gave me a cachetada!"
          I brought it up again at the party.  Everybody at the table had a story.  The spirit in fulano's house.  The shaman who worked in the pueblo near Celaya who died but is kept by the villagers, embalmed and hidden in someone's house. Those pueblos around Celaya, si, hombre.  Todos tienen sus brujos.

          My 16-year old sees spirits all over the place. Once we went into a downtown store in San Miguel that sells householdy things like hand-blown glass pitchers and glasses, tablecloths, antique tables.  "There's a dead person here," she said, as we ascended to the second floor.
          "What's he doing?" I asked.
          "Watching us," she said, picking up a silver plated spoon.
          Carla had promised early in the day to check our bedroom and see if it was our recently deceased friend Mary hanging around.  When we got home from the teacher party, I called her in.
           "Oh, yeah, there's someone here," she said.
           "It is Mary?"
           "No, it's one of your maestros, here to give you some conocimiento."
           "What's the knowledge I need?  What am I supposed to know?!"
           Carla shrugged, and ran out of the room.  There was a song on YouTube her sister wanted her to hear.
           So now I have more questions than answers.  Coine on, Gringo Nation, help me out!  This is my moment and I don't know how to grab it! Who was in my room and what am I supposed to be learning?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Ghost in the Machine

THE FOLLOWING IS FACTUAL AND NOT EXAGGERATED.  This morning, I was woken by someone pressing on my ankle three times. I looked at the clock - 5:15 - and looked around for my husband. Usually he wakes me at 6:15, sometimes by turning on the light, sometimes by passing the cup of coffee he's made me near my nose, sometimes by pressing on my ankle.  But this morning at 5:15, he was not in the room.

Carlos routinely wakes at 5 AM and goes into the living room to meditate, so I was not surprised when I called his name twice and he didn't answer.  But someone had clearly pressed on my ankle and woken me from a deep sleep.

My friend Mary died two months ago, on October 1, of cancer that attacked various organs including her lungs, and finally moved to her brain. She was a non-smoking vegan. She ran the independent book store Libros El Tecolote in San Miguel for 17 years.  I worked there when my Sean, now 14, was born.  Mary was my first friend in San Miguel.  We were artists' models, sometimes working together, like I detail in my memoir, Flirting in Spanish (  She was older than me by 5 weeks.  Tomorrow is my birthday.  Did Mary try to wake me up to say Happy Birthday?  Did Mary try to WAKE ME UP?

And what am I supposed to be woken up TO?  I'm thinking it was Mary in my bedroom this morning because I think she has visited before. A couple of weeks ago I woke at around 1 am to voices, the kind you might hear on speeded up recording - human but unintelligible. I went into the living room to tell Carla to quit Skyping her friend Weasel in Texas and go to bed.  But the living room was dark.  I walked upstairs to tell my two daughters to quiet down.  But they were asleep.

Days later, I lay on the couch moaning from intestinal pain. My husband put his hands over me to see if he could move the energy around to give me relief.  "Huh," he said after a few minutes.
          "Huh, what?" I demanded.
          "You have a great deal of cold around you."
          "And that's making me sick?"
          "No, there's a dead person here."
          "Doing what?"
          "Who could it be?" I asked.  Mary hadn't occurred to me just yet.
          "Who is it who just passed and might want to visit?"
          Now he was annoying me with his riddles.
          "Well, what does she want?"
          "Ask her."
          Aaargh! I wanted to yell.  You're the one with the extra perceptions!  Can't you just give me the message?

           My psychic 16-year old is going to check the house for Mary when we get home.  Meantime, WAKE UP is still rocking through my head.  Maybe if I say Pretty Please, Mary will crash my bedroom again soon and tell me what I have to wake up to, or from.

Friday, November 25, 2011

How to Spend Holidays in a Foreign Country

First: - Thanksgiving:

Order, and do not bake, because your oven kicked with a gas leak about two years ago, pies from La Buena Vida bakery.  Pick them up from the window from the gal in the white baker's hat.  Jockey to pay with the lady receiving two dozen dinner rolls into her over-the-river-and-through-the-woods basket.

Step out of the way of the city employee on Hernandez Macias shouting up to the guy in the cherry picker to adjust the giant tinsel mistletoe he is hanging over the street to the left.

Elbow a Philadelphia buddy and remind him of standing in the cold at the Thanksgiving parade in the shadow of Billy Penn. Grumble at your kids, who are on Facebook, that they should be watching a parade.

Every once in awhile, throw your hands up and yell, Touchdown!

Tell yourself you won't have seconds, and then ignore yourself.

Giggle when all the kids (yours are teenagers now, and too sophisticated for such nonsense, you see) squirt whipped cream moustaches on each other.

Love that after dinner, your kids, along with new and old friends, go outside to watch the stars from the lienzo charro - the rodeo ring on the property.  

Thank you Karla and Kayla Lorch, fantastic mother/daughter cook and hostess team!
Look for South of the Border Holidays, Part II.  Coming soon...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Reasons to Feel Optimistic

Was visited yesterday by two friends who live in a town near Monterrey.  Juan is researching why Mexican teens don't continue their schooling for his PhD.  During their travels this past August, they returned to their hometown the day a fire was started in a Monterrey casino that killed 53 people.  The fire was atrributed to clashing cartel members.  In communication in the days following, my friends were frightened, laying low, hearing of people disappearing and worse.  How are things now, I asked them yesterday.

I ask because fortunately, in San Miguel, we have not experienced drug violence.

Both friends brightened at the question.  Things are better, they said. Those responsible for the casino fire have been arrested, they reported.  Lots of the cartel commanders have been jailed too. What's left are ragtag street criminals without organization.  The military is keeping up a presence, and establishing little posts in neighborhoods to keep the streets safe.  Visitors are returning to tourist sites in the area.  Residents are returning to towns that had been evacuated when cartel members threatened to move in.  Order and peace are returning.

I've been praying for some Mexican healing, and my heart sings to hear it.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

An Unexpected Turnaround

Yesterday, Mexican news reports said that tourism was up around 2% in 2011.  That's good news, and surprisingly, it just might be true.  Last month, for the first time in three years, the numbers in our business, Jasmine Spa, went up.  That is, after a steady three-year slide in earnings, October 2011 was better than October 2010. 
Why?  I have absolutely no idea.  There were times during the past three years when Carlos and I considered closing Jasmine Spa.  There was the swine flu, blamed on Mexico even though I personally knew of NOBODY in the state of Guanajuato who had the illness. Then, on top of the bugs: drugs.  Escalating power fights between the cartels on the coasts and on the border, but NOT here in our town, and relentless media coverage of it, had some people believing Mexico was a war zone.  The sluggish economic recovery in the United States didn´t help. The landlord would come around and we'd have nothing to offer but empty pockets.

But we kept on.  A base of local clients kept us paying the phone and light bills.  We struck deals with our kids' schools.  We stayed home, or went to the presa (lake) and watched the water and the sun.  I worked on my writing, not memoir this time but a Young Adult novel.  And now, a good month.  Rental people say THanksgiving weekend will bring tourists as well. 

All I can say is Viva Mexico.

Hey, a really cool site called spanglishbaby reviewed my travel/romance memoir, Flirting in Spanish.  Check it out!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Been Scrapbooked!

Since my travel and romance memoir is, in fact, a love story, I´ve been snooping around on some romance sites and blogs.  That's how I ended up being the guest author SCRAPBOOKED by romance reader and blogger Nat at Reading Romances -
It was way fun to put together!  Go over to the Reading Romances blog and see what my favorite hobby is, what my secret wish is and who my favorite authors are.  It's such a cool presentation! Thanks, Nat! 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Guest post by "I Love San Miguel" Hal Schade

Texan Hal Schade has visited San Miguel several times, but its colors, festivals and street life never fail to captivate him.  In my romance and travel memoir, Flirting in Spanish, I wrote about watching the Festival de San Miguel from the balcony of one of the town´s stucco houses.  Hal stayed on Calle Sollano for nine weeks, exiting the country at the beginning of this month with a promise to come back.  During his last week in San Miguel, the festival of San Miguel Arcangél took place. He told me personally, Nothing beats Mexican chocolate, and Nothing beats a Mexican fiesta.  Here are his thoughts in text, and his photos.

I had some photos from what turned out to be the final "event" of the celebrations of Arcangel San was much like the others, yet very moving...
...a figure of San Miguel was brought into the Jardin directly in front of La Parroquia...his cape was then pulled out behind, and everyone passed under the cape touching the fabric as they went through... can't see it, but the mantón this woman is wearing is soaked with tears from the experience...she told me I should go through, so I did...

...of course, there were all the are a couple of diablos "before and after" the passing...and a lady burning incense at the door of La Parroquia...
...the mix of rituals for the whole celebration period was amazing...pagan, pre-Hispanic, Christian...but they all blend into one very memorable experience...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Vendors in my Life

I guess I better clear things up.  I´m speaking of the taco ladies.  The Hands of Steel lady flips tortillas and gorditas with her bare hands.  She uses cheap stainless steel spoons to serve the guisados (fillings like shredded chicken, mushrooms in cream, chicharón and nopales) into the tortillas to make tacos. Me...I´d be burning my fingers and yelling, Ouch!  Not this lady though.  Her outdoor stand is on Calle Nueva.  She has a nice smile accentuated by some tall white teeth that probably cost her some.

The Gates of Hell taco lady has a little fonda (traditional Mexican food sold out of a small kitchen or stand) at the back of a corner store jam-packed with every snack beverage ever invented by Coke, Pepsi or Lipton.  It´s hard to tell how she cooks because her back is to you when she is at the stove and, like the name implies, she cooks in the dark, as the lights went off in the back of the store about two months ago and have not been repaired.  This gal is probably not even 30.  She rarely smiles.  She does, however, serve her tacos with lovely, crinkled slightly blackened grilled and salted jalapeños.  In both places, you can get a fill-you-up plate of tacos for about one dollar.

Josefina is the owner of La Ventana, where I get my yummy organic Chiapas coffee.  Being in the coffee business, a cold day makes her do a happy dance.  She and I trade service for product.  The other day her two daughters, who've been in school with my girls, came in to my business, Jasmine Spa with a friend for massages and facials.  All on credit.  This means I can think, a latte would be great right now, or Frappucino! and just cruise on over and pick one up.  Sometimes when I don´t have small change the Hands of Steel taco lady will tell me to pay tomorrow.  It´s one of the nice things about living in San Miguel de Allende, which even though it´s a World Heritage Site, is still a small town.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Gates of Hell Tacos

My theory for living in Mexico is: Suspend Logic. 
For instance, the corner store on Sollano where we buy tacos in the morning for 12 pesos.  These days, that´s less than a dollar for 4 tacos (a taco, by the way, in Mexico, is ANYTHING stuffed into a warmed-up, folded-over tortilla). The tacos come with shredded lettuce, tomato and salsa.  Quite the bargain.  Quite a convenient little stop for the thrifty. 
The gal who runs the little kitchen even put in a couple of tables.  On any morning, you´d find cops with their walkie-talkies occassionally crackling, moms who´ve just dropped kids off at school, area workers, delivery guys who stop for a bite before resuming their routes.  And THEN, about 3 weeks ago, the lights went out. 
The taco gal now cooks to the light of the flame on her gas stove.  The tables sit in darkness. 
The store in the front still sells bread, milk and Cokes under fluorescent
lighting, so you can easily make selections and pay for your tacos in the front of the store.  But step carefully once you show up at the kitchen window and be prepared to pick up your meal in the black.
The Taco Gal can´t change a light bulb?
She lost the number for the electrician?
She meditates while making tacos and prefers the dark?
It all doesn´t matter, because business has not slowed at the Gates of Hell Taco Window.  The taco gal is busy as ever.  People even sit at the tables, hunched closer to their plates to see where their taco is. 
Not me, though.  I like seeing what I eat.  That´s not to say I´ve found another breakfast nook.  A twelve peso plate of tacos de pollo o frijoles can´t be beat. 
I take mine wrapped in tin foil, however, to go. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Indigo Children

Carla is excited that there is another Indigo in her school.  She has never met another kid like her before.  This kid is new in the school, new in San Miguel.  Carla sees auras, can move energy and sees or senses the dead. New Kid can take your hand and give you a reading...tell you how you are.  One of my English class students blogged about it last week (scroll through this week´s unedited entries).

Carla and New Kid walked through town talking the other day. He pointed out an energy spot, in the chapel next to La Parroquia. She talked about the ghosts that inhabit the centuries old parrish church.
She came home talking about meeting another kid (finally) like her.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Literary Sala reading tonight!

If you are in San Miguel, please come to the Posada de San Francisco tonight at 5 pm for a reading by Alice Deham and me!  Since my memoir Flirting in Spanish was "in-progress" for about a hundred years, and I´ve read from it several dozen times, it seems, I´m trying to present something different tonight.  Like maybe a little video presentation where you´ll see lots of the actual characters in the book, including some of San Miguel´s literary luminaries from the early 90s.  Should be fun.

Alice Denham´s most recent book Sleeping with Bad Boys was reviewed by the NT Times (in case you don't, those NY Times folks are a pretty busy lot and getting them to pay attention to your book is a big coup).  Alice was one of the first writers to give me advice as I slogged away at memoir-writing; plus she was at my wedding. 

Hope to see you all!  Signed copies of Flirting in Spanish will be on sale!

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

How El Negrito is not a matter of Political Correctness in Mexico

Bimbo in Mexico is like Wonder.  Bimbo produces white sandwich bread, promoted by a little white osito (bear cub) in a chef´s hat, and now, 2011, it also offers scores of whole wheat and multigrain options.
Bimbo sells packaged sweet cakes, too, kind of like Hostess selections in the US. One of its most popular is the Negrito. The Little Black One.
The Negrito is a white cake (it was once compared to a hot dog roll) both filled and topped with chocolate.  On its package is a black boy with a huge Afro and big stepping Keep on Truckin' feet.  He has a Negrito in his hand and a smile on his face, happy presumably to have his yummy snack.

If you are chubby in Mexico, you are probably nicknamed Gorda.  If you are skinny, you are Flaca, unless someone in your life has a wry sense of humor, and you are called Gorda.  Sean as a toddler was called Tortuga because, naked, we imagined her a turtle without its shell.  If you are light, you are called Guera.  If you are dark, you are Negro, or Negra, like my sister-in-law.  So a black boy or a chocolate snack is El Negrito.  Here in Mexico, it´s all good.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Flor de calabaza and a roof

It´s almost September, the time when rancho folks come into town with buckets of flor de calabaza for sale.  That´s the yellow zuchini flower that many Mexicans sautee and tuck into quesadillas.  The taco lady with hands of steel declined to buy the offered flor de calabaza this morning, but gave the boy selling them a couple of tacos.  After, he insisted she accept a bunch of the edible flowers anyway.

End of the summer also, in our case, means that my brother-in-law, a labor lawyer in León, just won a big case he´d been working on. What that means is that he came to visit his mom in San Miguel yesterday with an overloaded wallet. 

There is a chapter in my memoir, Flirting in Spanish, entitled The Lamina Roofed House.  It told how Carlos took me to his parents´ house for the first time.  Approaching his house, I could see that part of the roof was lamina - corrugated plastic.  There was another chapter that I decided not to include.  It detailed how some drunk soccer boys, sitting on a hill above my mother-in-law´s house began to throw bottles at the house while I sat outside nursing infant Carla one Sunday.  When they ran out of beer bottles, they threw rocks.  My five foot tall mother-in-law ran outside with a machete raised over her head.  The nonsensical attack was over as soon as it started, and the boys came to the house the next day to apologize, and promise to buy another piece of lamina, as they´d torn a hole in the roof.  That was nineteen years ago.  For 19 years - more actually - the family sweated under that roof during hot months and shivered in the cold.  Now, with big brother´s success, the family will get a proper poured-cement roof.  And the lamina roof that my chapter details will be a thing of the past.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Never a Normal Day in San Miguel

First, a couple of days ago, I asked for the usual - two egg and frijol quesadillas (with salsa, got all the food groups covered) from the friendly lady with hands of iron - she turns tortillas, lifts metal spoons from bubbling pots of guisados, shuffles gorditas with her bare, unblistered hands - on Calle Nueva.  On my side of the food cart, I spooned on salsa.  I oversalted (in Mexico nobody glares at you if you do.)  I bit my torta staring at the taco stuffings I could have ordered...liver, chicken in tomato, papas in chile pasilla, mushrooms in cream, when a paper was thrust in front of my face.

"Dibujo del dragon," offered a man who looked like he hadn´t slept much in past hours.  He wore a shirt over a shirt, warmup pants over jeans, had a rather trim moustache.  The drawing was done in black and purple crayon. "Me lo compras?"

"No, gracias."  I didn´t want to buy a dragon drawing.  The man moved on to the next taco stand, and then the next offering his drawing to those breakfasting on tacos.  At the final stand, the guy gave him a taco de cabeza.  The artist tucked his drawing under his arm, and ate.

Then, yesterday, I finished my Mega shopping, and found, when I tried to pull out, the parking lot exit blocked by thousands of frenzied teens.  A huge line of them walking toward the center of town.  First came the green team.  Green t-shirts, sweatshirts and shoelaces, chanting something.  Fist pumping.  What could have them so stirred?  Then came a white-faced clown, riling them up even further.  By now, the blue group was passing.  Then purple, then yellow.  Thousands of teens, hollering and cheering.  There was a banner.  A God banner!  Along came some kids with the head of Jesus on their bags.  Someone yelled something.  The crowd answered, "Si, Cristo vive!"  They were deliriously happy about it.  I thought of those Baptists who sing and whoop and swoon.  I've never seen Catholicism expressed in such a whoop-de-do way before.
Today, officials say the teens numbered 7,000 and came from towns outside San Miguel.  I´m still trying to figure out what their final destination was.
I got out of the Mega parking lot after 25 minutes.  

Friday, August 5, 2011

San Miguel reading for Flirting in Spanish

So a lady I think I have never met (or maybe I have...has she come into my spa before?) is hosting a Flirting in Spanish reading at her home on Aldama 15 this coming Tuesday, August 9 at 7 pm.  Isn´t that the most fabulous thing?  She´s providing botanas and wine and told me to announce it in the newspaper, which I´ve done.
"You really want a pile of people in your house?" I emailed.
Turns out she likes literature and entertaining and is happy to combine the two, so I say happily, bring on the fiesta!  Anyone who is in San Miguel is invited.
I´ll read, sign, answer questions, eat cheese, drink wine with my pinky extended! 
I love this week´s host.  She read a previous blog post here, and emailed me, "Don´t let Sean (age 14) go to the Mint!)"

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Interviewed by the Wisconsin State Journal!

I am so happy to be with Antaeus Books.  The publisher, Jayne Navarre is the genius who thought of adding a glossary of words to use when "flirting in Spanish" at the back of my book, Flirting in Spanish. 

Antaeus is not a big Random House, so lots of the publicity effort falls to me.  This past week, I contacted a writer acquaintance named Doug Moe, who has written for Madison, Wisconsin newspapers since I used to work in news there in the 80s.  Hey, I said, Maybe you remember me?  Wanna take a look at my new book?

Fortunately he did.  He is a wonderful writer who I remember for writing a long magazine piece on the sensational 1980s murder of a police officer´s ex-wife by hired assassin Joseph Hecht.  The fascinating trial came with hints of gay activity on Hecht´s part, a glamorous and sullen girlfriend who was put on the stand, and the defendant himself.  Dressed in an Izod shirt, he looked like someone I might have chatted with in a bar.  My part in the coverage came when Hecht complained of headaches, got himself transported to University hospital, pulled a gun while there, and escaped.  I, traveling in the News 3 car with videographer, Mike Van Susteren that day happened upon Joey Hecht in his getaway car before the police found of the biggest adreneline rushes of my life.  Within the hour, the police had located and captured him.

I´ve always admired Doug, and now he has written an article about me and Flirting in Spanish. My mother was thrilled about the article and wants to know if Doug Moe the writer is related to Doug Moe the former NBA coach...a comment that would only come out of a family like ours. 

Here´s the article:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

All Things Texas

My teenaged girls were fascinated by everything in Texas.  "Hey, Jeff," Carla said when we went to a Sisterdale restaurant for take-out Texas barbecue.  "Hold up the paper sacks!  We don´t have paper sacks in San Miguel!"
This is Jeff, our host in beautiful Sisterdale, Texas.  His house is a getaway hunting lodge that has been in the family for years, a beautiful tree-shrouded dwelling with a wide wooden porch complete with wooden rockers made by Jeff´s grandfather. That´s the girls and I at the family gate above.
The house is a quintessential 1960s Hill Country hunting lodge complete a mounted and framed Indian arrowheads display on the wall and and a pushbutton wall phone and bedstands adorned with American Hunter magazine.  The girls rested on the sleeping porch under a couple of the dozen mounted deer and antelope heads the line the paneled walls. 
We returned to San Atonio in time for my kids, who are full citizens of both Mexico AND the United States, to participate in the Los Olmos Park July 4th parade.  They marched with their friend, Anna Louise.  Carla was amazed at all the red, white and blue, and Sean awed by the free food in the town green later. 

The following photos were taken by Carla.  These are the things about Texas that caught the attention of a 16-year old girl who lives in Mexico.

Photos of San Antonio reading

I think giving readings in homes is the way to go.  The chairs are comfy and the food can´t be beat.
Allow me to present some of the coolest gals in San Antonio.  Roane was so happy to have her daughter back from Madrid, where she was studying Spanish.  That´s Avery and Roane in the middle.  And Jill on the left is married to a Mexican fellow and KNOWS WHAT IT'S LIKE!
Most of these gals are in book clubs and want me to come back and talk to their groups.  I´m cooking up a San Antonio Book Club Tour for the week going into Mexican Independence Day, September 16. 
Book clubbers of San Antonio - contact me if you want me to visit!
This is my friend, Margaret. She made yummy guacamole, a red, white and green (colors of the Mexican flag) cheese dish and sangria, and lent her lovely home for the event.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Texas Book Reading

I'm in San Antonio, Texas and yesterday received an overnighted envelope of Flirting in Spanish trade paperbacks in time for a reading held last night in the home of my good friends, the Judsons. 

I held the book in my hands for the first time!  I rubbed it on my cheeks.  "Sean, come here.  Touch the book!"  Right, Mom.  She put a finger on it.  Carla is more one for rituals.  She ran her hand over the book reverently. 

Later, by the end of the evening, I had met some wonderful women from different areas of my friend, Margaret's life.  And sold 25 books to 15 women!  They bought books for themselves, books for their sisters, their friends.  It was incredible.

I am seeing Texas on this trip in a new way.  Later, I'll write about why I can now put Texas and beautiful in the same sentence.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Being A Mom in Mexico

Sean, age 14, wants to go to the Mint, which is a night club/disco in downtown San Miguel de Allende. When I used to go, in the early 90s, it was called Pancho and Lefty´s.  Yes, you read right.  Sean is FOURTEEN!  The trouble is a lot of her friends go.  The club doesn´t card underagers and the parents let them.  So she thinks that means she should be allowed to go. 

"Nothing will happen."  "I just want to go and dance with my friends."  Among other arguments.

Our firm stance is "You don´t go to bars."  

Yesterday, Sean went to the Tutti Frutti on Mesones and got an ice cream and then stopped in the Jardín after school and bought helium balloons with her friends. They of course unknotted them and sucked helium and walked around talking like cartoon characters.  She came into our spa minutes later telling me and Carlos how hysterical it was. 

A few days ago, when we drove to Parque Bicentenario, Sean and her friends opened Cokes in a cans.  They moved the pull tab back and forth, reciting for each pull, A-B-C-D...   Sean got as far as G.
"Gonzalo!" Ana shrieked. 
"Giovani!" Jerusa yelled.
"Gerardo!" said Sofi.  
The boys who are thinking of them at that moment, or who they are supposed to marry or some such ritual.

I love it when she acts her age.  I hope Sean will stop and realize how much fun she has BEING FOURTEEN, and stop trying to be twenty years old.  There are actually moments, I believe, when she does.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Here ´tis!  The cover of Flirting in Spanish.  Thanks for all who weighed in on the design.  Look for an early July release.  Details to come!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Final final fun fun

Last...huff, puff, pant, pant...edits are in on Flirting in Spanish.  The book is now in galley form, ready to send to reviewers.  Publishers Weekly wants to see it!  El Sol (, an online magazine based here in San Miguel, wants to run an excerpt. 
Big wheel keep on turning...
Things are happening!

Back in Momlandia, I woke up crabby yesterday that I had to drive to Queretaro for a school trip.  I don´t like to drive!  I didn´t want to leave my cozy little business ( where I sit with my computer when I am not doing massages!  But there I was at 10 A.M.  passing the new Presidencia and the glorieta and heading toward Highway 57 on our way to Santa Rosa Juaregui with, why, five laughing teenagers in my car.  What a nifty day it was 14 year old and her friends squished in, talking about school and friends and boys, music playing, elbows out the window in the sun!
Parque Bicentenario is the deal of the century.  (
You pay a 35 peso (about 3 dollars) entrance fee and then everything except the paddle boats is free.  A giant tiled pool with skyscraper slides.  Roller coasters, bumper cars and more rides.  Tubing down a river that goes through a dripping tunnel.  A skateboard park, green areas, kiddie rides.  By the end of the day, I had exhausted, happy teens.  But not exhausted enough.  Later, with all the money they saved by going to Parque Bicentenario, they gathered at my spa at around 6 pm, and headed up to the movies.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

12 Reasons the 9-Hour Trip to the Beach Is Worth It

In random order:
1.  Roads lined with mango trees
2.  Waking to the sound of waves
3.  Main means of transportation is the bicycle
4.  Your waitress is barefoot
5.  Snorkling the unspoiled coral reef
6.  My anxiety burning off like the morning mist
7.  Our girls getting along
8.  The absence of Sean´s "you´re so annoying" face
9.  The girls still body-surfing at 9 pm
10. Shrimp botana in Cuastecomate
11. Sea Kayaking with the chance some dolphins will join you
12. Going down to sea level means your blood fills with oxygen which   
       means the Pacifico beer you drink has little effect.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Life in La Manz

The first day we saw a giant orange coin of a sunset.  Monday we saw about two dozen iguanas, from baby green ones scurrying around in the grass to giant grey/green daddies blocking our path over at Warren and Tuli´s place at, where else, Boca de Iguana, an understated resort-and-condo development with one of the most fabulous infinity pools we've ever seen and also one of the coolest bathroom's like flora and fauna and water, but it's a sink.  Also Carlos and Sean took off for the little palapa-roofed store and had to skirt a crocodile.  Oh yes, every day we see crocodiles.  The crocodiles live in the manglar (mangrove) at the end of our street.  There are dozens of them dozing in the mixture of fresh and salt water, where the river dumps into the sea.  When we first came to La Manzanilla, about six years ago, there was a little rail separating the street from the crocs, only centimeters away.  Now there is a real chain-link fence.

La Manzanilla is truly is one of the earth's most beautiful spots.  Now, of course as soon as I say that, I have to modify it to tell you that yesterday and today again we went down to the road to an even more glorious de Tenacatita.  When I came back yesterday and told the folks in Santana Real Estate office that we had gained accerss to Tenacatita, they were left speechless.   Nine months ago, government soldiers forcibly tossed out of the town the fishermen, restaurant owners and vendors who had made their home there for years.  They bulldozed businesses and palapa shacks, having been petitioned by the real owner of the beachfront land to do so, I'm told.  The folks making their living there were in effect squatters.  Apparently they had been asked to leave several times over the past 20 years, and didn-t.  I have to say all my reporting comes from hearsay. I haven't journalistically backed any of it up on my own.  I do know, because we were there over the last two days, that the entrance to town is now guarded by 6 to 8 armed state guards and two barking German Shepherds in cages.  Once we showed some ID though, we were told we could enjoy the beaches but not take photos of anything BUT beach and sea, and we were waved through. 

I know people lost their locations and their means to make a living (but not really, most of the vendors have relocated to La Manzanilla), and I feel for the upheaval in their lives, but as a tourist, I have to say the beach, without gals in folkloric dresses hawking necklaces, is breathtaking.  We visited Tenacatita two days in a row for its major attraction - an unspoiled coral reef, through which we delightedly snorkled, spotting several species of colorful little fish.  

This morning, I was about two minutes into meditation up on our palapa porch when Carlos said, "Dolphins!"  He ran in and woke the girls and we watched half a dozen dolphins romp through our bay, often doing full-body leaps from the water. 

Dolphin watching and coral reef snorkling before the day's first meal.  Can you beat it?  I need a nap.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Vote Now!

Hey all!

First I don´t know why this is centered and not left flush and I can´t correct it.  Next, two possible designs are in for the cover of my memoir, Flirting in Spanish to be released July 1, 2011, and I like them both!  I need help!
If you would kindly comment me your favorite, I´d have an easier time deciding.  Thank you, genuis readers!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


I´m thinking micheladas.  You can have your margaritas, I´ll take a michelada any day of the week.  There are michelada places popping up all over in San Miguel, mirroring how popular the beer drink has become with me!  The Sinola pescado place that just opened up this week by the family of one of my students shouts from its window Micheladas Frias!  Other friends opened up Wakaglu Micheladas and Guacamayas over on the Calzada de Aurora. A guacamaya is a torta, or sandwich on a roll featuring chicharón, or fried, puffed-up pig skin that is so crunchy is crackles, plus some vinegary coleslaw and aguacate (avocado) and salsa - nutty, huh?  My girls love them.  I go for the MICHELADA! 
Anyway I promised myself a michelada today after writing at least one page and I wrote THREE so I guess I have the right to drink 3 micheladas. 
I think I´ll make a couple at home (one for Husband too).  A large jar, preferably big as a kitchen sink.  A caguama (liter) of beer.  (Caguama is not the Spanish word for liter. It means giant turtle actually.)  Worchestershire sauce, tabasco, lime, salted rim, ice.  Michelada!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Student Bloggers!

Here are my students blogging on Thursday of last week, in the outside hall because the internet connection is better than inside.  The walls of the school building are big and old and thick.  That´s (from the left) Abish, my daughter Sean, Farid and Ana around the corner.
You can check out their postings about their trip to Six Flags and about what they'll do for vacation at

News of border violence has really affected our peaceful little town.  I have a tourist-based business - Jasmine Spa - and our revenues are way down.  I think lots of people in the States think, "Mexico" and just shudder.  But the cartels are not active and not fighting in the central states for the most part.  The trouble is happening about 800 miles away.  Plus they just caught one of the baddies. 

Think of it like this: Would you say, Whoa, they´re rioting in Watts.  Let´s cancel our trip to Chicago!  In other words, come visit San Miguel de Allende!  It´s beautiful and magical and the weather is perfect!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Lost in Internetlandia

Somehow this photo of me disappeared into internetlandia.  I put it on this blog a few days ago to show off my Annette Benning haircut and then couldn´t find it.  Mysterious!  It was taken by my photo-fantastic friend JJ Anderson, who also took the Mexican couch photo.  The above is on my web, which is not entirely finished yet, but check it out anyway:

July 1! July 1! July 1!  Release date for Flirting in Spanish!  I´m still struggling with a subtitle.  Soon to be resolved and revealed here...

Friday, April 8, 2011

Mexican Couch

Look at this wacky concrete Mexican couch!  It looks like it´s out in the middle of the wilderness but it´s really in a park in Colonia Mirador, overlooking the dressage arena.  Mirador is down by the lake, and a lot of people in the area have horses.  That´s me watching my daughter, Carla and her friend Melissa ride one day.   Wouldn´t that couch be a great place to stretch out with a book?

Ssh!  There is a famous Mexican actor in town.  I see him a lot.  He picks up his laundry at the dry cleaner near our spa; he drinks coffee at La Ventana on Sollano in the mornings.  I´m told he keeps a very humble apartment and comes to town often.  He walks around town, and nobody fusses, so I´m going to protect his right to enjoy San Miguel undisturbed, and not say his name, but I will tell you that he´s had parts in many acclaimed Mexican films, and he was a baddie as well in the second installment of the Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. 

Speaking of Famous People, once I modeled for Michelle Pfieffer, back when I was modeling in art classes.  Once my husband gave a massage to the actor who played the father on the TV show Clarissa Knows It All.  And I massaged the actor who played the filmmaker in the movie, Pancho Villa.  I also gave a massage to Salma Hayek´s stunt double when El Mariachi 2 was being filmed in San Miguel!  Yeah, that's me, rubbing shoulders with the hoi polloi (which can be taken to mean the common people or the society set.) 

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Bookstore Baby

Fun News about San Miguel--Xote, the ever-expanding water slide park, has new pools and new bathrooms and a first aid station.  It is a fabulous and well-kept place to spend a Sunday afternoon, which I did with my daughter Carla and her cousins yesterday.

Bad News--Entrance to Xote is up to $100 pesos!  Still, the place was packed yesterday.  If so many Mexican parents can take their whole families to Xote for an afteroon, it seems to speak well for the economy.

Sad News--Libros El Tecolote on Calle Jesus in San Miguel is closing at the end of April after 17 years.  Sad face.  I think, maybe I should go talk to Mary Marsh, the sole owner all these years, about taking on the store myself.  I could do it!  But truthfully, I don´t have a clear idea of how to sell real books in a world where more and more people are buying downloadable books.  What would the future of a small bookstore in a small town in Mexico be? 

I worked at Libros El Tecolote 14 years ago.  I was pregnant during that time and then, a new mother.  Mary in fact was at Sean´s birth, which happened in a small apartment, with a midwife.  And then I had Baby Sean in a cradle in the bookstore for her first couple of months.  Sean is in eighth grade now, and has about 5 inches on me.  Every once in awhile, someone will still ask me about the "bookstore baby".  

Friday, April 1, 2011

Happy to report another incident-free trip from SMA to Laredo. Lots of military convoys and Federales, but smooth-sailing door-to-door.

Hasta proximo enero ...
Rex y Gail

The above is an entry from today´s San Miguel Civil List, a group where SMA residents post notes about everything having to do with living in San Miguel, from where to get your dog groomed, to where to find a US tax attorney to what is the correct wage for your maid. 
Sprinkled in with the posts are a couple of reports a week about people´s travel experiences in Mexico.  About two months ago, a guy reported that he was dogged by two menacing-looking trucks on the road to the Columbia bridge crossing into Texas, and that they veered off after he joined himself up with a tractor-trailer, but lately all posts have looked like the above. 

I´m always happy to see the good news.  Especially now.  Carlos, the girls and I plan to travel to our favorite beach town in the state of Jalisco - La Manzanilla - later this month. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Mexican Wonders

I just discovered another great and wonderous thing about Mexico - generic Fosomax in Farmacia Ahorro on Calle San Francisco for $235 pesos!  That´s like 20 US bucks!  Fosomax is a medicamento that strengthens bones.  Important for slightly built, British Isle-descended white girls like me.  Getting a bone density test and then buying Fosomax has been on my to-do list for awhile but I've been put off by the price.  It´s about $100 US a month to take the bugging little pills.  Or it is if you buy it by its brand name. 

My eighth and ninth graders blogged again on Thursday.  About what they like about themselves and what they´d change about their school.  WARNING:  Unedited version posted!  That means lots of spelling mistakes.  We´ll edit on Monday.  I probably need to take down mention of a particular teacher they say they´d have removed. Doesn´t anyone want to give my students a thrill and follow the blog?  (encouraging grin)

I have a website in the works.  So far my photo is up.  It´s very exciting.

Monday, March 21, 2011

spring equinox

Carla wants to go to the newly opened Cañada de la Virgen, San Miguel´s own pyramid, for today--the spring equinox.  She wants to take advantage of the powerful energy that will be attracted to the pyramid on this day. 
We took a trail ride on Lucky and Brandy (our friend, Rosendo´s horse) yesterday.  Riding to the presa on a tree-lined path, monarch butterflies flitted and flew around us.  Hundreds of them, on their way back north.  It felt magical.
My eighth and ninth graders blogged again on Thursday.  Read what they said about themselves and about how to stay healthy.   Remember, editing happens THIS Thursday coming up.
Back to editing Flirting in Spanish!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Release date

The release date for Flirting in Spanish is Cinco de Mayo!  I´ve been reluctant to publish it out of some crazy fear that something would go wrong, but I´m feeling more confident as I edit along.  I´ve also lined up a date for a Literary Sala reading to "introduce" Flirting in Spanish in San Miguel, even though I´ve read from it several times over the past years.  September 8, Posada de San Francisco.  All are invited.
We are working on a book and an author webpage.  OK OK.  I´m believing it!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

meditating for Japan

Both my husband and my daughter, Carla, who I´ve mentioned before, have degrees of "seeing" abilities, had premonitions of the disaster in Japan.  Carla, age 16, said one evening about a week before the earthquake, as we prepared dinner, "Something big is coming."   And Carlos, about 2 months ago, dreamed of an earthquake in an Asian country.  Deepak Chopra is inviting people to a global meditation for those in Japan on Monday, I believe.  We, as a family, will participate.  

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Photo with my Annette Benning haircut

I tried to upload this photo the other day and it didn´t want to be uploaded.  No quiso subir.  That´s how Mexicans express things that don´t go quite right.  It just, all by itself, happened or didn´t happen.  Nobody is to blame!  Isn´t that a polite and guilt-relieving aspect of the lovely Spanish language?

The above is to show you how great my photog friend JJ Anderson is.  I´m really not that good-looking! 

Editing...what a chore!  I´ve always used double spaces after sentences and am told now I need only one space after each sentence in my manuscript.  How many sentences do you think there are in 213 pages??  I know.  There´s auto-this and auto-that on computers.  I just don´t know how to work anything.

Twitter is an interesting phenomena.  I only pop over there ever couple of days. Meantime all kinds of people "follow" me.  I guess I show up on their suggestion list.  I heard Steve Martin on Letterman last night say he joined Twitter. I saw him on his King Tut tour at Lake Geneva, Illinois years ago. He was hysterical.  And I saw that Kareem Abdul Jabbar twittered, as I looked him up yesterday to make sure I was spelling his name right in my manuscript.  (My dad coached him.)  He was checked for cancer and now says he is clean and doesn´t have it! The things you find out.  Anyway, there´s two people who are way more interesting than Charlie Sheen to follow.  I´m going to pop over to Twitter right now and click their names.  You can follow me by the way. 
mckinneyortega.  I should have a button here.  I´ll figure out how to do that after I finish editing my manuscript....

Saturday, March 12, 2011


We love to make up words in our house, mostly have a -ation ending.  Like our friend Carolita is Carolation.  Sean´s horse, Andale is Andalation.  You get the picture.  Italicization.  Is it a word or did I make it up?

Italicizing is the question of the day.  I´m reviewing my manuscript.  Do I italicize words in Spanish or not?  Anyone?

Friday, March 11, 2011

hey hey hey

Thursday is blog day for my Advanced English students.  If you look, and please do! keep in mind that we will edit what they wrote yesterday next week.  So you might run into some funny spellings, as these kids are Mexican and writing in their second language.

Meantime, I´m getting together all kinds of stuff to get my book out.  A head shot for one.  My fabulous and talented friend JJ Anderson took a bunch of photos of me last week, and just sent them.  When JJ said, "Smile," I said, "I want botox."   Wrinkles and all (Hey, I live in a high altitude and don´t drink enough water!) JJ made me look pretty good. 

Next...a subtitle to Flirting in Spanish!  I´ll be thinking, thinking this weekend.

Friday, March 4, 2011

My Book

So every year I go to the San Miguel Writers Conference and get frustrated because I get busy organizing the Teen Writers Workshop, and busy in my business, Jasmine Spa, and can´t attend everything I want to, but I always get something out of it.  This year I met a publisher!  Two, actually.  Two small publishers who were interested in my book, Flirting in Spanish. One was Editorial Matzatlan from Mazatlan, Sinoloa, and the other is Antaeus Books of Miami, and I have just signed a contract with Antaeus!

The publisher, Jayne is smaaaart...she´s already come up with this great idea already...that I add a English/Spanish glossary of words of love.  Boyfriend - novio.  Kiss - beso.  Words like that. 

I´m over the moon about this!  I´m copy editing presently, as I get a pedicure.  I will soon have a real hold-in-your-hand book.   I bow down to glorious small publishing!  

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hello again

Yeah, yeah, I´ve been away.  I´ll skip all the excuses and get to this: Sandra Cisneros at the San Miguel Writers Conference.  Sandra solved the problem of crime in Mexico!  She says for those citizens of Los Asustados Unidos who are afraid to come to Mexico, don´t worry.  She, Sandra is going to tell the government to put all the abuelas of Mexico to work.  The abuelitas and their chanclas.  They need to go around behind the bad guys giving chanclasos until they shape up.  You know, the grandmothers and their raised, threatening slippers. 
Whew.  I feel better knowing there´s a plan. 

Meantime, ín Advanced English/Secundaria at Colegio Siglo XXI, there are eight shiny new Dell laptops.  They are blue and pink and purple and so pretty!
So my students are blogging again.  This past week, in honor of Valentine´s Day, the kids wrote about love.  Check is out: