My Blog List

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Melo Out With Me

Hi everyone!  Just a quick post, in case any of you are still interested in following along in our journey. You can find out more about us at my new blog: http://melooutwithme.blogspot.com.  I hope to see you there!  Feel free to share my blog with others.  Thanks for reading.....

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Hello?! Is anybody in there?

Forgive me readers, for I have slacked (BIG TIME).  It has been 2 years and almost 3 months since my last confession, er....I mean, blog entry.

There was a crisis, of the mid-life variety, to be had.  Since I started this blog until now, there have been arguments, tears, revelations, months of excessive wine consumption, the trying on of several career hats, the purging of excess material items and the moving of what was left, the loss of a private yard and the gain of an apartment courtyard, drama with family, and drama with schools (both my son's and mine - by the way, I was an elementary teacher for two years between the last post and this one).

I am awake now.  WE, as a family, are awake now.  We're wasting no more time.  We're setting out on an amazing new adventure.

We've learned so much along this journey during the past few years. Writing about all of our growing pains in one blog post would be ridiculous.  I mean, yes, I'm a Leo, but I learned long ago that my problems don't need to become everyone else's, and in that spirit I want to refrain from treating this blog as a place to bitch and wine (or whine), lest I bore you to tears and beyond.

Therefore, I've created a list, and a "blog plan."

The LIST consists of things we've learned and decisions we've made, and I've numbered it, so as to appeal to other list maker types and to give myself the appearance of being an organized person.

1.  We want to do all we can to avoid having a mortgage, ever again.  Therefore, we will build our own eco-friendly, adobe home,  with our very own, 40-something-year-old bare hands.  We may enlist in the help of friends and do-gooders when the time comes.

2.  We are no longer moving to Mexico, for a few reasons that I don't care to expand on at this time.

3.  We are moving to Almost Mexico.  In ONE WEEK we will be driving a trailer to San Antonio, TX, where we will be housesitting for a short time (1-3 months).

4.  I am homeschooling our son.  I could write volumes about the reasons for this, but I'll skip the fury fed typing for now.

5.  We are ready to be the people that we are meant to be.  We are ready to actually live our lives the way that we want to live them and not care about American Dreams and peoples' judgements and scrutiny.  We hope we can help others to wake up and pay more attention to what's going on inside their hearts and heads and less to what's happening in Hollywood and Washington DC.

BLOG PLAN:  I'm going to change it up to include a wide spectrum of topics.  I'll give more news on this and will provide a link when the ducks are quacking in a row.  :)

What a ride this life is turning out to be!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

From Here to There and THEN to There

Aaaaand, exhale.  

The last 6 weeks have been a whirlwind with a new job, a new daycare for our son, and now..............the ax is coming down.  After almost a year of waiting and wondering when the final countdown would begin, we got the letter in the mail.

Our mortgage company has restarted  the foreclosure process, according to the letter from the lawyers. 

Last fall after filing for bankruptcy I flailed my arms for a bit, in a vain but valiant attempt to regain the bank's trust and redeem our mortgage.  After awhile I lost my steam and we began to look at this whole experience as a learning one, and one that would give us the push we need to finally leave this tundra we know as Minnesota. 

We are tired of living half a year, every year.  What I mean is, we feel dead every year when the snow is here and the temp is low and we're enclosed in our house like animals in a zoo.  We are not winter people.  I used to be, as a child.  Now? Um....not so much.

We haven't made our final decision on location, but it looks like sometime next spring or early summer we will be headed toward warmer climates, most likely in the Southwest. 

Mexico is not out of the picture by any means.  It is still what we consider to be our ultimate goal.  But we have decided that we don't want to land there with empty pockets.  So, for now, we will go to "Almost Mexico."

Maybe I should change the name of this blog.  Or maybe "From Here to There" is just going to have an extra detour along the way. 

We're excited.  Never thought a foreclosure letter would make me smile, or give us such inspiration. 

It's all in the way you look at it.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Lo Que Pasa........

Disculpenme, mis amigos!  Please excuse my absence, my friends.  There is a reason for my silence.

You see, a few weeks ago I received a phone call from an employment agency.  When I glanced at the caller ID I thought, "Ho hum.  Another call from this agency, probably to offer me an ill-fitting job which I'll have to politely decline."  Nope.  This was a job offer alright, but it was from them, directly.  An in-house position.

I am now a staffing consultant at an employment agency.  A very exhausted and overwhelmed staffing consultant.  I arranged for daycare for my son at a Spanish immersion daycare only 1 minute from my office, and every morning and evening this week we made the commute together.  This is to be our routine until kindergarten starts, when we will make only a short commute together, since school is closer to home than my work.

What does this mean for our Mexico plans?  Nothing, yet.  We are taking it one step at a time.

We are grateful for this new opportunity, since we desperately need to save money, no matter where we choose to live.  It fell onto our laps, and we're goin' with the flow, waiting to see where it takes us.

Apart from my new job, we have also had a few very delicate conversations with my mom and dad about our Mexico plans.  There is still a slight possibility that we could end up moving to what I am starting to think of as "Almost Mexico", which would include Texas, New Mexico, or Nevada.

No matter what, we WILL be leaving Minnesota within the next 18 months or so.

As for now, I am trying to keep a career woman mindset, so that I can help bring in the dough for our family.  Who knows, maybe I'll love it, make lots of moolah (there's a lot of potential for commission), and we'll end up in our dream adobe home in the Southwest, just one short nonstop flight from my in-laws............

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Winds of Change

Tonight, while sitting at a food court in a Twin Cities mall, while bags of merchandise bounced hurriedly by, possessively toted by the American Dreamer after a hard day's work, I caught a glimpse into a simpler life.

One of my Spanish tutees was using his laptop to show me photos of his trip to Paraguay.  His 30-year-old nephew lives there, in a tiny room which used to be used for storage.  He is a street musician and a friend to many.  He has no kitchen, so each day he heads out to the local market and buys fresh food to eat.  Whenever he has leftovers he gives them to other people or to a dog who lives in the neighborhood.  He lives day-to-day, has lots of artist friends and acquaintances who seem to be passionate about environmentalism, and at the moment he has no plans to move on to what some may consider to be "greener pastures."

What do you make of this?

In some ways, it sounds like heaven to me.  Yet there is another part of me who knows I'd miss computers and TVs, couches and a refrigerator and pantry........... the list could go on.  But I'd still love to spend a year in his shoes.

It would be a bit impractical to choose this sort of life with a family in tow.  So instead I dream of an existence which is sort of half-way there, with an energy efficient adobe style home and buying locally-grown food as well as having a year-round garden of my own.  An income that comes from our own business, which either doesn't feel like work or it takes up only 25 hours a week, or both.  Days well spent, with time for meditation, exercise, laughter, conversation, and good food.

A simpler life.  That seems to be a strong theme these days, what with economic crises, wars, global warming, and pursuits of more fulfillment from life.  What do you think?  I think there's a change brewing in the air.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Ah, But the Food..........

Flashback to 15 years ago:  I'm sitting at a plastic table with a Corona napkin holder in the middle and some empty plates with limones and napkins scattered about.  We are in an outdoor, tent-covered dining area of the Inmaculada, where food is cooked outdoors and sold most every night to raise money for the Catholic church and it's surrounding community.  My then-boyfriend, now-husband is sitting beside me, and our friend Wicho, across from me.  They are discussing a subject so sacred to Mexican culture that an interruption would be considered a grotesque misdemeanor on my part.  They are discussing the passion-inducing topic of food.  I have long since passed the point of feigning interest.  They are oohing and ahhing over an endless amount of dishes and the subtle nuances brought to each masterpiece by different relatives and neighbors throughout their lives.

I am simultaneously bored to tears and on the brink of despair.

You see, at this time, I am 23 years old, I'm new to the Mexican culture, and I barely know how to make spaghetti, out of a box and a jar.  I am witnessing my boyfriend showing extraordinary interest in something which I know absolutely nothing about.  Cooking.  And not just "cooking", but cooking Mexican food.  What the heck am I going to do?  He's obviously extremely entranced with the complexities of Mexican cuisine.  I know nothing of this art.  Never in my life have I heard a man discuss at such great detail the taste and technique of such a variety of culinary offerings.   How will he ever want to be with a Gringa as clueless as I?  He and Wicho have been going on about this topic for well over an hour and a half.  I'm teetering between being pissed and bursting out in tears.

On our walk home I am quiet.  After a time my then-boyfriend dares to inquire about the elephant who had hitched a ride on our date.  He asks the obvious question.  What is wrong?  The tears come.  Readily.  I blubber that I would never be able to compete with Tia or Abuelita in creating whatever dish he had been worshipping with such reverence and revelry.  I don't know a chile de arbol from a bowl of chilli. 

That evening he said all the right things.  Years later, convinced that my lack of cooking skills were not going to deter him from smiling at our wedding, I accepted his hand in marriage and we've spent the last 8 years in the peaks and valleys of sazon and the lack thereof.

FAST FORWARD to about 6 years ago.  Our friend Wicho, is visiting us here in Minnesota.  We are in our apartment sitting at our kitchen table late at night with Halloween party makeup still applied, and with an unprecedented amount of food set before us.  My husband has prepared a multitude of delicacies, anticipating the healthy palette and appreciative Mexican appetite that our friend would bring with him.

In semi-drunken conversation, I declare, "One day I am going to make a really, really great Mole."

I will never, ever, be able to convey to you the amount of laughter that spewed forth from my husband in the moments and HOURS that followed.  Tears, rolling around on the floor, side aches, begging for mercy, hilarity to the point of a near breakdown; it all came gushing forth from Mr. Husband.  I laughed along with him, for awhile.  Then Wicho and I each took turns getting ready for bed, and actually had turned the lights off in effort to gather some restful shuteye, all the while Mr. Husband rolled around and pleaded for someone to relieve him from the painfully funny thought of his wife actually making a delicious Mole.

Hmmf.  I'd show him.

Nope.  Still haven't shown him.  Turns out that a really, genuinely wonderful Mole takes over 24 hours to prepare, and a real knowledge of chiles as well as great sazon.  I will need to do my homework, and then some.

Tonight we watched a show from a series called "No Reservations" where a talented  chef and lover of world cultures tours around and enjoys food from different countries.  As we watched the episode about Mexico, I reminded Mr. Husband of the time we hashed out the importance of cooking that night after eating at the Inmaculada.  "After all these years, I get it now,"  I told him, "and I wouldn't be nearly as bored or upset with the conversation if it took place today.  But I'm still going to make that Mole someday."  He begged me to not continue, lest a laugh attack overcome him once more.

For now, I have learned to tell the difference between about 4 or 5 chiles.  I can make a mean refried beans and few great sopas, rivaling those of my talented chef of a husband.  I'm almost to the point of making a good and flavorful arroz.  When my mother-in-law was here for 2 months, I cooked 9/10 of the time and drew little to no embarrassment from the experience.  I'll get there.

I'll have the last laugh, even if it takes me another 15 years.

In the meantime, I am grateful for Mr. Husband's willingness to keep a sense of humor.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Talkin' Bout the Weather

I grew up in a town with a population of 571 in rural Minnesota.  As you can imagine, everyone knew everyone.  Going to "the" grocery store, "the" bank, or "the" post office (one of each existed in my little town) was not merely a task to check off the to-do list.  It was a social call.  My eyes would glaze over as conversations of crops and church events and new babies and so-and-so's new pickup seemed to drone on and on in my childhood ears.  If the adults did not consider one another to be more than distant acquaintances they could always agree to chat about one thing:  The Weather.

This is a universal conversational meeting place.  I have traveled to numerous countries, lived in various cities, worked at an international airport, and there is no doubt in my mind that The Weather can always save us when in a conversational quandary.  You can use it as an opener, a filler, or a closer.  Thank you, Weather.

I can't wait to live in a place where The Weather does not include the words and phrases "snow, blizzard, freezing rain, tornado season, below-freezing temps, and wind chill" on a regular basis. Notice the little BlogFrog picture up in the right-hand corner.  That is a picture of my back yard, taken about one month ago.  It looked like that for 5 months.  I went outside to shovel, go to and from the car, and a few obligatory sledding outings with my son, who clearly is not being raised to be a lover of winter. 

Today is April 15th.  Pictures of Easter bunnies sitting in green grass don the windows of local stores.  Summer clothing and bathing suits seem to proclaim hope and mercy from winter blues just by hanging on the sale racks. 

Current Temp in Minneapolis is 39 degrees Fahrenheit.  The forecast for tonight includes rain and snow.  Tomorrow?  Snow. 

Good riddance, Minnesota.  May God open our path to a warm destination and speed up our journey.........