Good Girls Don't Play Pool

In Country Girl at Heart, I mentioned that as a kid, I often went to work with my mom, who was a bartender.  In every bar that my mom worked, there were two constants: a jukebox and pool table.  I was fascinated by both.

I started playing pool at a very young age.  I could barely see over the top of the pool table, but that didn't stop me from playing.  From my earliest memories of playing pool at the age of four up until I was ten years old, there wasn't a day that I didn't play pool.

Just before my eleventh birthday, I went to live with my grandparents.  But my pool playing days didn't end there.  My grandparents had a membership to a campground in the mountains, where we spent every weekend camping.  The campgrounds had swimming pools, a play ground, miniature golf and a clubhouse/lodge.  My favorite of all was the clubhouse because there were two pool tables; one for the kiddies and another for the grown-ups.  I got to play on both.

When it came to playing pool, I was pretty good.  False modesty aside, I was really good.  I played both eight-ball and nine-ball.  I could call my shots, if that's what my opponent wanted.  I could shoot right-handed, left-handed and even behind my back.

In High School, my best guy friend and I would go shoot a couple of games of pool after school at the nearby bowling alley.  And my BFF (best friend forever) and I would play when I visited her at the community center where she worked.

There wasn't anything I loved as much as playing pool.

And then I grew up and got married.  The only time I got to play pool was when Hubby and I would visit my grandparents in the mountains.

One of my most memorable visits to the mountains was during my suegra's first trip to the U.S.  My grandparents really wanted my suegra to see their mountain getaway and since Hubby was stuck working that day, my suegra and I went with my brother-in-law, who was living with us at the time.  The five of us were chatting about how nice the weather was in the mile-high mountains, when my brother-in-law spotted the pool table.  Immediately he asked if I wanted to play and I happily accepted.

I've never been one to pretend I didn't know how to play, unless I was hustling someone, so I played to the best of my abilities for all four games.  All the while, my grandfather was making the weirdest of faces.  He looked like he was either going to sneeze or have a stroke.  When I asked him about it, he just mumbled and said that he was fine.  It wasn't until we were alone, sans mother-in-law and cuñado, that he told me I shouldn't have played so well.  Then, just as we were about to leave, Pappy hit me with a tidbit of information that left me anonadada (shocked, stunned and speechless).
"Mija, a los mexicanos no les gusta que las mujeres juegen billar.  No es un juego para mujeres decentes como tu."  (Translation: Mija, Mexicans don't think women should play pool.  It's not a game for decent women like you.)
WHAT?!  Are you kidding me?  It was 1995, hadn't they heard of the sexual revolution and equality of the sexes?  I couldn't believe what I was hearing.  My grandparents had raised me with their old-fashioned Mexican values, but not once did they ever say anything about playing pool.  They enjoyed playing almost as much as I did.

On the way home, I sat in the back of my brother-in-law's car wondering if my suegra thought less of me as a person because I could play pool.  And I worried about what she would think if she learned I was also a pro at card games.  (My mom worked as a card dealer at Circus Circus when I was 5.)

My suegra has never, to this day, said anything about that fateful day.  And I've never asked her about it.  But I have brought this subject up with Hubby on more than one occasion, especially since moving to Mexico.  (Note: Hubby doesn't have a problem with women playing pool.)  

Now, if you're wondering if after 15 years, people still think this way, the answer is YES!  Atleast in my pueblito

All over my small town, you can find little hole-in-the-wall pool halls.  Every time I walk by a billar, I wish I could shoot a game of pool.  But sadly, I can't.  These establishments are where "unsavory" characters hang out to drink, smoke and play pool.  No girls allowed.  Especially "decent" women such as myself.  Just to give you an idea of how bad of a reputation billares have, none of the men I know would be caught dead in one.  Billares are nothing like the honky-tonk bars I grew up in, nor are they anything like the trendy nightclubs in town, which cater to a younger and hipper crowd and don't have pool tables.

Sometimes I just can't believe that there isn't a place where I, a married mom of four, can go to shoot a game of pool here in town.  And that people think of pool as something so taboo.

What do you think? 


Mi Mexico Monday: La Presa

Last week, in It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, I gave you a glimpse of one of my favorite places to visit in our pueblito - La Presa del Estribon.  

La Presa is our reservoir.  (A large man made lake used to store water.)  

On a couple of rare occasions, we have seen jet skis and boats in the water, which was a real treat for all who were visiting La Presa.  But they were private owned.  Last week, we learned that there is now a small boat available to rent for those who aren't afraid of venturing out into a large body of water.  (Not that I have that fear.)

The stairs in the above picture aren't just a way to get to the rental boat. They also serve as a way to measure how much La Presa grows during rain season.  My suegro love to visit La Presa during rain season, just to count how many stairs are left uncovered.  The fewest amount of stairs I have counted is seven.  In the next photograph, what appears to be nothing but dry grass, completely disappears during rain season. 

One of my favorite things about La Presa is the view.

La Presa is also a large recreational park, with 8 palapas and a number of sombras for family gatherings, birthday parties, quinceañeras and wedding receptions.

And the view from the palapas isn't bad.

There are also scenic walking paths (great photo ops), lots of green areas for a picnic and a multitude of trees to hang your hammock.

There is also plenty of fun for the kiddies with two play areas and a basketball court.    

La Presa also has an on-site tiendita, where you can buy all kinds of snacks and beverages, including alcohol.  This general store is also where you can reserve a palapa for a special occasion or rent tables and chairs, for those occasions when you decide to throw an impromptu family get-together.

And coming soon to La Presa is a museo (museum). I for one am really looking forward to it.  And when it does open, you can bet that I will be there to check it out and of course, share the details with all of you.

I've shown you Mi Mexico, now it's time for you to show me yours. 


Sundays In My City: Spring Parade

Unknown Mami

Every year, my pueblito hosts El Desfile de la Primavera to welcome Spring.  It's mostly a parade for the younger kiddies, who love to dress up in Spring-themed costumes.  The best costumes win a cash prize.

This was one of the rare parades that my kiddies did not participate in.  Jack was asked to be a chambelan to one of the young Reynas de Primavera (Spring Queens), but he kindly declined, declaring that he has already participated in too many parades.

(The End)


Six Degrees of Elizabeth Taylor?

"Honey, que tienes?  You look sad."

"I am sad.  Elizabeth Taylor passed away."

"I'm sorry, honey!  You're going to miss your tia, aren't you?"

"What are you talking about?!  Liz Taylor was a big time movie star.  She wasn't my aunt."

"Sure she was.  Don't you see the family resemblance?"

"Honey, just because some guy at Blockbuster said I looked like her doesn't mean we're related.  Besides, I don't have her eyebrows."

"No me estas entendiendo.  How many times did Liz Taylor get married?"

"Eight.  I think."

"What about your grandma?  How many times did she get married?"


"Y tu 'step' grandpa?"


"What about your mom?"

"She was only married twice."

"Yeah, but who gave her away at her second wedding."

"My dad.  Where are you going with all of this?"

"Ay, ay, ay!  That cracks me up every time I hear it.  What about your uncles?  How many times have they been married?"

"Three or four.  I lost count."

"Cada uno?"


"What more family resemblance do you want?  Elizabeth Taylor was your long, lost tia!" 

Descanse en Paz, Liz.
All joking aside, Elizabeth Taylor was the epitome of glamour, beauty and talent.  My friend Steve, describes her best in his post Losing Liz.  She will be greatly missed.


My house hates me!

My house is at it once again.  I had hoped that after writing Leslie vs. The House, almost a year and a half ago, that my house and I had come to some kind of an understanding.  But now I see that was never the case.

Maybe it's last week's Super Moon.

Maybe it's Doña Chayo's ghost creating a little mischief.

Or maybe my house is in cahoots with Murphy's Law.
You be the judge.

About two weeks ago, my refrigerator started making funny noises.  You know when you're trying to start a car?  You put your key in the ignition, you turn it and the engine starts making that noise like it's going to turn over at any moment, but then it doesn't.  That's exactly what my refrigerator was doing.

The electricity in my kitchen hasn't been the greatest since a little neighbor boy knocked my meter off our outside wall.  So, I unplugged the fridge and tried a different socket, somehow hoping that the other sockets had more juice.  But they didn't.  If anything, they had less!  My fridge was now completely silent.

After talking to a repairman, we learned that it would be cheaper to buy a new fridge.  Okay, fine.  Not a problem.  We'll just buy a new one.  I've secretly wished for one since we moved into our house.

Oh, if only it were that easy!  You see, I want a bigger fridge with a big freezer that I don't have to defrost every month.  I mean, I have a lot to do as it is.  Why add more tedious work to my already long list of chores?  But Hubby wants a smaller fridge.  A much smaller fridge.  Like the kind you would keep in a dorm room.  His argument is that we rarely have leftovers and that we only need a fridge to keep milk and various condiments cold.

It's been two weeks and we still haven't come to an agreement.

Now you're all probably scratching your heads, wondering "What the heck does any of this have to do with your house hating you?"

Nothing.  YET!  My fridge dying was an isolated incident.  It could have happened at anytime.  And Hubby and I disagreeing on what kind of fridge to buy is just a difference of opinion.  (Which will soon be resolved, because I've called in an expert mediator - my suegra!)

Moving on....

Now that Spring has arrived and the weather has warmed and my health improved, I have been extremely busy attacking the never ending pile of dirty clothes.  It's a constant battle.  But for the first time in I don't know how long, I was finally conquering Mount Washmore.  Just yesterday morning, I was bragging to telling my suegra that all I had left to wash was our winter clothes and blankets, before putting them in storage. 

My washing machine has been a faithful servant for seven and a half years.  It was the first appliance we bought when we rented this house.  Occasionally it would act up, but never something a Fonzie fist tap couldn't fix.  (Eyyyy!) 

Yesterday afternoon, I thought I would get a head start on washing the kiddies' uniforms.  They get to wear normal clothes on Wednesdays, so us moms can wash the uniforms midweek, thus preventing the kiddies from smelling like sweat and dirt at the end of the week.

The washing machine filled itself with water.  I added soap, poured fabric softener into the little dispenser and closed the lid.  Nothing happened.  I checked the dial to make sure I had turned the washing machine on.  Nothing.  I gave it a Fonzie fist tap.  Still nothing.  I lifted the lid and was about to press the switch do-hickey that the latch on the lid presses into to start the wash cycle and it wasn't there.  It was nowhere to be found.  Without that do-hickey, my washing machine doesn't work.

I just about died.  Why was this happening to me?

I can survive without a fridge.  After all, suegra lives 3 doors down.  I can use hers.  But live without my "modern" washing machine?  I can't do it.  I refuse to do it.  We're a family of six, we produce massive amounts of dirty clothes.  Everyday.  Why now?  Why this week?  Why did it have to break just when I was a couple of loads shy of conquering Mount Washmore?  Why? 

And that's when it hit me.

It's the house!  My house hates me!  And it is slowly eliminating my allies.

My house may have won a couple of battles, but this war is far from over. 


It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

 Fall used to be my favorite time of the year.  That was before we moved to Mexico and before I learned that Otoño (Autumn) in Mexico was synonymous with asthma, allergies and illness.

Winter brings more of the same. 

But Spring is an entirely different story.  I love Spring!  It is my favorite time of the year.  Spring here is like early Summer in Southern California.  Sunny and very warm.  Perfect weather for this California girl. 

And best of all, no asthma.  (Knock on wood!) 

To celebrate Spring and the fact that the kiddies had yesterday off from school - (It was Benito Juarez's birthday.) - we decided to have a picnic.  (It was ALL my idea!)

We loaded the kiddies into the truck.

Picked up a couple of pollos rostizados (rotisserie chickens) and an extra kilo of tortillas for los patos (ducks).  (Bet ya didn't know that ducks in Mexico prefer corn tortillas.)   

And headed to La Presa (the resevoir) for a day of family fun in the park.

It's days like this that remind me why I think Spring is the most wonderful time of the year.