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.