Monday, April 27, 2009

The "F" word

Is it just me, or do the last few months seem to be like a Hollywood production? Come on? A newly elected bi-racial President takes his place in Washington and in the history books. Mexico fights a civil-like war with a snarling group of heavily armed drug thugs? Americas Midwest is flooded and their liquor stores cannot keep up with the demand? Swine Flu is suspected of killing hundreds and sickening thousands more? And now an earthquake near Acapulco? Killer Bees in Scottsdale....

I wondered what makes people cynical and paranoid. Well, I think it is a four letter “F” word. Fear. Fear will do wacky stuff to your head and to a society. Already one of the gals that I work with forwarded me an email she received from her sons school saying that over 100 kids had stayed home sick today with reported flu like symptom. There are only 400 kids in the entire school. I really wonder if the kids are sick or are the parents paranoid. Which brings me back to the possibility that I fear may be cynical. I really don’t think I am as per se, but I do think I am cynical to situations. The timing for this virus and the fact that it looks designer in nature has me putting my hand on my chin, squinting and saying hmmm.

Dang, where did I put my hand sanitizer…

Saturday, April 25, 2009

How many gringo's does it take?

To lay a flagstone patio? Apparently only 2. We did a lousy job compared to the one we had done a few years ago by some delightful Mexican men. What took us several hours to do, these guys could have done it in 1 hour and would have had time for lunch. We still have some clean up to do and we didn't set them in concrete because we didn't want to spend the money (we had the stone left over from another project) I got to hang my hammock I got a couple of years ago in San Patricio, Jalisco. Ah, now all I have to do is wait until the sun goes down and I can lounge in my Mexican hammock in my American back yard. A bitter/sweet luxury. Oh, and if anyone wants to know. Cats do not like hammocks.

Friday, April 24, 2009

US Dollars being refused in Guayabitos?

Our friends living in Rincon de Guaybitos report that Banks are refusing to exchange US Dollars. Is anyone else experiencing this?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Cookbook or Travel Book?

"You could be a foodie if… you read cookbooks like novels." Ya, well so what! This one is actually written like a novel. Now, I like a juicy fiction book just as much as the next girl, but this cookbook was a journey that I can only dream of. Diana Kennedy has a passion for what she writes and I bet even more passion for things she does not. I have learned a ton about Mexico from this cookbook. I highly recommend it to everyone who is a foodie or a Mexicophile like me.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Pack "rats!"

We are pack rats. Not in the sense that we hoard stuff, just the opposite I got the nick name "Toss and Pitch" from my Dad. As pack rats I mean we enjoy thinking about packing our bags for Mexico. For some time now we both travel to Mexico with only one carry on each. But that all changed when we learned that our friends have been adopted by a kitten.
Maddie "Marmalade" is 5 months old and deserves all the kitten privileges available. To that end I have managed to purchase a bed, toys, collar and a bling bling engraved tag. So as long as we are now hauling all that down to Guayabitos, I may as well take provisions to restock the Wilkerson pantry. A trip to the Asian market produced 6 cans of wasabi. Wasabi must be a controlled substance in Mexico because if Bill cannot find a food item, then it must be restricted. I had envisioned stepping on the plane with just my travel purse but I see that is just a fleeting vision. Now our friend has ordered a bug fogging machine for us to cart down there. I doubt US Air is going to allow is to haul an airborne poisoning machine as a carry on? You think? I doubt it. We are bound to check a bag and pray for a "green light" at customs in PV.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


OK, this photo is actually a knock off brand Festival, but it smells and works the same. Have you ever wondered what makes some side walks of small Mexican towns smells so great? It is this stuff. They use it for cleaning everything. In a country where there are lots of pleasant and unpleasant aromas, this and the smell of bleach permeate your olfactory senses forever. Once I smelled it I was hooked. 15 years ago when we started our journeys (and the airlines where not high security transporters) I would bring this stuff back with us to Alaska. Then I was able to go to my neighborhood Mexican grocery store here in Arizona pay for it with US Dollars. I really felt like I was getting away with something. The clerks must have thought I was "special" as I would have this glowing grin on my face while clutching a gallon jug of purple cleaner to my chest like a newborn. Anyway, it is just one more way to bring Mexico to me when we are not able to be there.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Hair she goes again...

So, you are thinking, how is she going to tie a new hair do into moving to Mexico? Simple. The easier it is the better. Just 10 years ago I had long brown curly hair. This lighter/shorter version will allow me to consider growing out my silver along with being cooler in the heat.

I like it. But more importantly, Keith likes it. Tango (our parrot) screamed at me when I first got home. But he is over the shock now.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Peruana Beans

These beans are kinda yellow when they are dry and uncooked. Once cooked properly they are pale and creamy. You might balk at the adding of lard, but trust me. The texture and taste will far out weigh the calories, which by the way are not as bad as you think. 1 tablespoon of lard is 115 calories compared to 1 tablespoon of olive oil which is 200 calories. Yeah! For pork fat!!!

1-2 cups of dry Peruana beans
Rinse beans several times to remove dirt and debris.
Cover beans with 5-6 inches of water
Bring to a boil then turn down to simmer for 3 hours (DO NOT SALT OR SEASON) You may need to add more water. Keep an eye on them from time to time.
Once the beans are tender, you can now add salt. Salting beans before they are cooked will make them hard and dry.
Simmer out most of the water and mash beans into a creamy paste.

Sauté in a separate pan 1 cup of finely diced onion in 1 tablespoon of lard. Add to beans and season with pepper.

Spoon out and sprinkle Cotija cheese.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Chili or Chile?

OK, I am an idiot and I cannot remember which is which. So being a bad speller with excellent coping skills I have figured out a good way to correctly describe the tiny little hot seed pods that give Mexican food so much flavor and culture. Here it is.... are you ready???? Both Mexico and Chile have an "e" and and 'i" in them. From now on, I wont screw it up.

FM3 Permit

I am very excited to learn that we can apply for our FM3 Permits here in Phoenix at the Mexican Consulate. An FM3 allows us to live in Mexico and have a one time duty free import of all our household goods. We will need to prove $1,000.00 per month per person income and show an electric bill in our name. FM3 needs to be applied for annually.
I have been to this Consulate a few times. We got our FMT and Vehicle Permit there in 2008 when we did that drive between Scottsdale and Puerto Vallarta. The place is generally packed with Mexican nationals getting their Passports updated and such. Being a blond Gringa, I am generally approached by an English speaking person who sees the confusion in my eyes. The wait is not usually long, maybe 10 minutes or so. There is some language barriers, but politeness and flexible time schedules bares good fruit.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Tularosa, New Mexico

Interstate Highway 10 must have more billboards than any other highway in the Nation. If we ever run out of building materials in this Country, we could always dismantle all that and build another space shuttle.
We had a lots of first yesterday. First time we had ever cross the Continental divide and something that really touched me. We crossed the Rio Grande.
We drove 588 miles yesterday and had a fantastic visit with our oldest daughters in laws. Marge and Joel Mitchell have a 40 acre ranch in the small ranching town of Tularosa. They have 7 horses, 4 llamas, several rabbits, 9 cats and 4 dogs.
We spent the night in the 300+ old town of La Mesilla. A lovely meal at the La Posta restaurant is a must if you visit this place. Here is the recipe for the steak I enjoyed last night.

Green Chile Beef Tenderloin

Char broil over a mesquite wood the tenderloin to your liking.
Cover with fresh roasted green chili and Monterrey cheese.


More later, right now there are free biscuits and gravy waiting for me down stairs.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Rice and &*^%girlfriend %&**$life

So, I listen to Mexican radio when I commute. I figure it is a great way to learn some spanish. What I hear are bits and pieces of communication. I can generally figure out the gest of the conversation. Songs are pretty simple. Most Mexican songs are about love, life and struggle. Some even poke fun at being burracho (drunk) and tanto (stupid). Regardless. I feel happy while listening. Heck, I can rarely figure out what they are saying in english language songs anymore.

Anyway, about rice. I have come to learn that Mexicans cook rice way more different than we do. It takes about the same amount of time, but it is more flavorful, colorful and hardy. Here is a recipe that I did last night. It could have cooked longer, but I was anxiuos to get going to a birthday party as we had the Pinata...

1 cup of uncooked rice, rinsed and water shaken off.
1/4 cup of vegetable oil
2 small tomatoes
1 1/2 cups of chicken broth or water
A roast chili if you have one. Membrane and seeds removed
1-2 cloves of Garlic.

In a skillet, saute rice in oil until golden brown and brittle.
While you are doing this, roast the tomatoes over a flame until the skin blisters and you can remove the skin without removing your own. Crap...thats hot.
Use 1/4 cup of stock and the garlic and blend that up in a blender or small food processor.
Pour that into the golden brittle rice, careful, it is going to steam like crazy and burn you. CRAP, thats hot! Cover skillet and simmer.
Throw the tomatoes, chili, cilantro and rest of chicken broth into the blender and blend up until smooth.
Stir rice and add the pink and green stuff you just blended. Cover and simmer.
Stir occasationally so that the rice does not stick tothe bottom. It will stick a bit, but scape it off as that is the good stuff.

This is my own version. You can add or subtract what you like. Just adjust the liquid if you have dont use the juicy tomatoes.

So, I have given Keety a list of snacks we will take on the road trip. I dont know why he even asks me for a list any more. It is always the same. Chicharrones, Iced Starbucks, Green tea Ice tea, beef jerky and fruit. If we were actually crossing the border into Mexico, there would be beer on the list as well. But, alas we are staying El norte this trip.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

trying to figure this out!

So, today I decided to take the first step in actually doing something that would feel like I was moving towards going2mexico! This blog site will keep me accountable and possibly get my creative juices flowing. Keith has always says "Hey why not get your nose out of a book and start getting your head into writing one" well, having been a lousy english student and an even worse speller, I think it is a streatch that I could ever write a book. A blog sounds pretty simple, so I will start with that and see where it leads.