It's raining cars!



My backyard!


"¡Se cayo un carro! ¡Se cayo un carro!", my mother-in-law shouted outside our bedroom window, startling both Hubby and I as we were waking up from our afternoon nap.  We stared at each other trying to make sense of what my suegra was saying.  No words were spoken, but it was obvious we were thinking the same thing.  A falling car?  From where?  How is that possible?  I know we had a pretty good rainstorm this afternoon and that car accidents are prone to happen, but a falling car?  

We jumped out of bed and hopped to the door, trying to put our shoes on at the same time and slipping on the rain water that made it's way under our front door and halfway down our saguan (entranceway).  As soon as Hubby opened the door, my suegra shouted, "¡Hubo un derrumbe y se cayo un carro!"  (There was a landslide and a car fell!)

"¿Dónde?", asked Hubby. (Where?)

"En el canal." (In the canal.)

"¿El de aquí atrás?"  (The one behind us?)

"¡Si!"  (Yes!)

Hubby and the kiddies raced out the front door to my suegra's house, up the stairs to my brother-in-law's dental office and  where we once lived, all to get a better look of the empty lot behind my house. 

In less than a minute, Hubby raced back to our house and opened the back, unused (and unfinished) portion of our house.  I followed Hubby up the stairs, curious as to what all of the commotion was about.  Hubby directed my attention to our back window, where I saw that part of the contention wall  - that is about 30 yards from my house - had crumbled, bringing with it a vehicle that was parked on the street above.  Thankfully, no one was injured. 

And now we wait to see if the rest of the wall doesn't come crumbling down as well. 

This is Leslie Limón, reporting live from my backyard.
 
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Dreaming of Summer

The end of the Mexican school year is so close, I can almost taste it.  While most kiddies in the U.S. are on their first or second week of vacation, and even though our calendars indicate that the Summer solstice began on Tuesday, my kiddies are still in school and will continue to be for another couple of weeks.

The school year here in Mexico runs a little long.  If you factor in all of the national, local and religious holidays and festivities, not to mention the numerous classes and meetings the teachers attend every month, the extended school year makes sense.  For example, this week Nick's class has the week off from school because his teacher is attending courses on how to be a better teacher.

Having one of the kiddies home from school, made this mamacita realize that she is in desperate need of a vacation from the hustle and bustle of all that is involved in getting four kiddies ready for school, picking them up and helping them with their homework.  

I long for those days when I'll be able to sleep in until 8 and do all of the things I dream of every summer.   Not that I'm one of those people that has to plan everything, but I do have a small list of things that I would like to do this summer.  Call it my Summer Bucket List.  Some of the activities on my list are things that we do every year, with a couple of new things thrown in as well.

My Summer Bucket List:
  • Family walks in the early evening, when the weather has cooled and Hubby has closed the shop,  walking hand in hand to no particular destination, stopping every once and a while to smell the flowers.
  • Picnic at La Presa:  A real picnic, with a checkered blanket laid out on the green grass and a picnic basket filled with goodies like fried chicken, potato salad and fresh-from-the-oven brownies.  None of that buying a pollo rostisado (rotisserie chicken) on the way and eating it while seated in plastic chairs at a matching plastic table.  
  • Camping indoors:  Nothing says summer fun like setting up camp in your living room! 
  • Trips to the Library:  Yes, my small town does have a library and each of the kiddies has their very own library card.  We don't visit the library much during the school year, because the schools also have a library where the kiddies get most of their books.  But this summer I would like to make visiting the library a weekly outing.  I remember how much I enjoyed walking to the library every week to check out a new stack of books to read during the summer.
  • Game Night:  Sounds kind of cheesy, I know.  But we love playing games like Turista (Mexican Monopoly), Loteria (Mexican Bingo), Uno, Old Maid and charades. 
  • Movie Night:  Perfect for those rainy summer nights, when the electricity doesn't go out.  Everyone curled up on the couch in their pj's, lots of popcorn and the latest family-friendly DVD.
  • Summer Home-Schooling:  Just because our summers are short, like only six or seven weeks long, doesn't mean that it's going to be all fun and games at the Limón house.  No, señor!  We wouldn't want them to forget all that they learned during the school year.  So, for an hour (or two) a day, the kiddies will work on their three R's: reading, 'riting and 'rithmetic. 
  • Romantic dinner:  The last item on my list is just for me and Hubby.  Our house has a back patio.  It's where I hang my laundry to dry on the clothesline and where the kiddies keep their bikes and toys that are too big to keep in the house.  It doesn't have much of a view because the sides are closed off by tall brick walls.  But we do have a spectacular view of the sky, perfect setting for enjoying a candlelit dinner under the starry sky.
    Sigh!  Summer....I can't wait!

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    *Linking up this week with Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writer's Workshop.

    Spanish Friday: El Dia E

    I'm blogging in Spanish today.  If you don't speak (or read) Spanish, scroll down to the English translation.

    Desde los primeros días de este blog, he jugado con la idea de hacer un vlog (un video blog).  Queria que fuera algo donde me podrían ver y escuchar mi voz, pero tambien queria mostrarles que tan bien hablo el español.  Nada mas que nunca pude decidir sobre que tema hacer el vlog.   

    El otro día unas amigas blogueras me platicaron de El Día E, que se celebrara este sábado 18 de junio.  El Día E fue creado por el Instituto Cervantes para celebrar la lengua española y todos los que hablamos español.  En honor a esta celebración, el Instituto Cervantes le pidió a personalidades como Antonio Banderas, Shakira y Gael Garcia Bernal que hicieran un video en donde comparten su palabra favorita.   

    Nos gusto tanto la idea que todas decidimos hacer lo mismo para Spanish Friday.  Y los invitamos a todos ustedes hacer lo mismo.  Suban su video a YouTube o a su blog y luego dejen el enlace en el Linky que encontraran al terminar este post

    Y ahora...damas y caballeros...les presento...mi primer vlog.  Espero que les guste.  



    ¿Cual es su palabra favorita?   


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    English Translation:
    From the very first days of this blog, I've toyed with the idea of doing a vlog (a video blog). I wanted it to be something where you could see me and hear my voice, but I also wanted to show you how well I speak Spanish.  But I could never decide what to vlog about.

    The other day a couple of my bloggy friends told me about El Dia E (Day of Spanish) which takes place this Saturday, June 18th. El Dia E was created by the Cervantes Institute to celebrate the Spanish language and all of us who speak Spanish.  In honor of this special celebration, The Cervantes Institute asked celebrities like Antonio Banderas, Shakira and Gael Garcia Bernal to make a video in which they share their favorite (Spanish) word.

    We liked the idea so much, that we've decided to do the same thing for Spanish Friday.  And we invite you to do the same.  Post your video on YouTube or your blog, then enter the link in the Linky located at the end of this post.

    And now...ladies and gentlemen...I present to you...My Very First Vlog.  I hope you like it.

    What's your favorite (Spanish) word? 







    .   

    Mi Mexico Monday: Block Party

    Templo de San Antonio

    Put on your Sunday best my friends, because for today's Mi Mexico Monday I'm inviting everyone to a party.  But not just any party, this party is for a Saint.

    Every year, the nearby barrio of San Antonio hosts a week long kermesse (block party) in honor of Saint Anthony.  Today (June 13th) is the most important and anticipated day of the festivities because it is Saint Anthony's feast day.

    Like any good party, there were games.
        


    Lots of delicious food Mexican food, like enchiladas, pozole, and tamales



    Tacos, prepared by the church's youth group known as La Pandilla del Señor (The Lord's Gang). 



    Hotdogs.

    Delicious bacon-wrapped hotdogs.  Yum!


    And elotes (corn).



    And of course, plenty of cake for everyone. 



    Along with empanadas and donas (donuts) to enjoy with your cafecito (coffee).  



    And no kermesse would be complete without a castillo (a castle-like contraption with lots of spinning and exploding fireworks). 
    Building the castillo

    Not only was the entire town celebrating Saint Anthony because of his feast day, but because El Dia de San Antonio is known in my small town as un dia llovedor (a rainy day).  With the exception of the last couple of years, it has ALWAYS rained on Saint Anthony's feast day.  I don't think there was a soul in town who wasn't hoping that the rains would start today..  Sadly, this is the third or fourth year that Saint Anthony hasn't blessed us with any rain.  I guess it's time to pull out the big  guns  saints, but that's a story for another day.

    Some interesting tidbits about San Antonio that I have learned over the years. He is the patron saint of animals.  He is THE saint to turn to when looking for lost items.  And he is the unofficial patron saint of las cotorras (spinsters/unmarried women).  For years, women have prayed, begged and pleaded with Saint Anthony to bring them a husband.  One common practice that was supposedly guaranteed to bring you a husband was to turn a figurine of Saint Anthony on his head.  In recent years it has been revealed that doing so only results in getting the wrong kind of husband.  

    Hasta la proxima!  (Until next time!)

    Weekend Wrap-Up

    Hubby surprised us for the second Saturday in a row by announcing that he was closing the shop for the day and taking us swimming.   Like any good mom/blogger I had my camera in hand at all times. 

    On our way to the albercas (swimming pools), we stopped at the gas station and saw this little trailer with about 3 horsepower.  (Hehehe! Sorry bad joke, I know.  I couldn't help myself.)



    This particular horse was pretty entertaining.  The kiddies would ask him questions like "Is that your girlfriend next to you?" and "Is that your mother-in-law behind you?" to which he would answer by nodding his head yes, giving us the evil eye or just flashing us a playful grin.



    Soon after we left the gas station, we caught up with this mano de chango.  Literally translated mano de chango means monkey's hand.  Now I'm not big on technical speak, but I'm pretty sure that's not the actual name of this tractor contraption, also known as a back hoe.
     


    During the drive, one can't help but see how dry everything is, including this charco (mini-reservoir) that always reminds me of a mini-Tenochtitlan when filled.



    I really hope the rains start soon.   I miss seeing my lush green mountainside.



    The Rio Verde bridge.  The sign that we've made it to our destination.  The turn off to the swimming pools is right after the bridge, so drive slowly or you'll miss it.




    Hubby cooling off in the kiddie pool.  Just kidding.  He's actually taking a shortcut to the "BIG" pool.  The cement was too hot to walk on in bare feet.  



    The kiddies taking the same short cut. 

     

    Hope was smart, she took her shoes with her to every pool.   No need for shortcuts.



    Yours truly and my favorite 6 year old chillin' poolside.


    I could end this post here, but I have a couple of more pics from this weekend that I want to share. 

    Today (Sunday), when we arrived at my suegra's for lunch, we were greeted by this lovely camisa de vibora (dried snake skin) that my brother-in-law found at El Rancho Ay, ay, ay!



    The rest of the day was pretty laid back.  An eating watermelon on the sidewalk kind of day.  



    I don't know why Jack looks so sad in this picture.



    Maybe it had something to do with the bee that landed on Hubby's watermelon.  We don't like bees at all, but I couldn't resist taking this little guy's picture.



    So, how was your weekend?


    Good Idea. Bad Idea.

    Good idea:
    Drawing tattoos on Hubby while he's sleeping.  (It's good wholesome fun for the entire family, as well as a creative outlet for the kiddies' artistic abilities.)

    Bad idea:
    Letting Hubby continue to sleep in our bed on freshly laundered white sheets on one of the hottest night of the year.

    My "new" tattoo motif sheets! :P

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    El Gringo

    There's another Gringo in town.

    He's been here about as long as I have.  Maybe even longer.  I'm not really sure. 

    Our paths have crossed on a couple of occasions, but we've only exchanged pleasantries.

    "Buenos dias."

    "Buenas tardes."

    "Adios."

    "Good Morning."

    Not to mention the occasional head nod from across the street.

    At each chance encounter, we've never spoken more than a few words.   

    But the other day, something changed.


    I ran into El Gringo on my way home from walking one of the kiddies to school.

    Hellos were said, as were good morning greetings.

    On any other day that would have been the extent of our exchange and we each would have continued on our merry way. 

    But this time was different.  I wanted something more. I needed more.

    And it wasn't because I felt the need to speak English to someone other than Hubby and my 20-something year old neighbors.

    It was more than that.

    So as we stood there under los portales, I asked him how he was and how the weather was treating him.  El Gringo was kind enough to answer my questions and in turn asked me a couple of questions as well.

    Small talk, I know.  But it was a start.  I did manage to learn a couple of things about him.  Maybe next time I might even learn his name.

    To quote Humphrey Bogart, " I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."
     


    Springing a leak

    Walking around my bedroom this afternoon, I felt something wet under my bare feet.  I figured that one of the kiddies had spilled some water, but as I continued around the room, I saw that it was a huge puddle that couldn't have been the kiddies' doing.  My first thought was that it was a leak.  But that really didn't make any sense, because it wasn't even raining.  I wish it were raining, but it's not.

    I glanced up anyway and saw that I had deduced correctly.  My bedroom ceiling had sprung a leak. 

    My leaky bedroom ceiling

    The kiddies ran to the shop to relay the news to Hubby, who came running to the bedroom accompanied by our two college student nephews.  I showed them the puddle in the middle of our bedroom and then I pointed to the leaky ceiling right above it.  Seeing as that it wasn't raining at the moment, the general consensus was that our tinaco (water storage thingamajig) that sits on the roof had sprung a leak. 

    Hubby and our nephews climbed onto the roof to get a closer look and to see if any major damage had been done to our roof.  I didn't want to have to worry about my roof collapsing in the middle of the night.  (Have I mentioned that my oldest nephew is studying to be an architect?)  


    Once on the roof, the men saw that there was no leak nor any danger of my roof caving in.  It was actually a minor malfunction.  The flotador (float doo-hickey) wasn't working, and since this particular tinaco is constantly being filled with water from our other tinaco, the water spilled onto the roof and into my bedroom.

    Hubby and my nephews removed a couple of buckets of water from the tinaco so that it wouldn't continue to spill water everywhere and then they repaired the flotador.  First thing tomorrow morning, Suegro (father-in-law) will patch the roof so the leaking doesn't continue during rain season and this entire problem will have been solved.  I hope.   

    Now about those buckets of water...

    The kiddies had been complaining all afternoon about the heat, so Hubby and the sobrinos (nephews) decided to help them cool off.


    Another fun day at the Limón household!

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    The Waiting Game

    One Month Ago:
    Nick came home from school with great news.  His teacher had submitted his name as a candidate for the school's escolta.

    Being part of the escolta is a huge honor.  Only six or seven of the smartest soon-to-be 6th graders are accepted.  It is their job to escort the flag during every school assembly, parade and almost every other civic ceremony held outside of school.  Nick has been wanting to be part of the escolta since 1st grade. 

    Three Weeks Ago:
    The Phys. Ed. teacher, who would have final say in who would be part of the escolta, informed the students that if they wanted to be part of the escolta, they had to know how to march.  Not content with just practicing at school, Nick practiced all through the house, on the sidewalk and even in Hubby's shop.  (He showed great improvement from this first rehearsal.) 



    Two Weeks Ago:
    The Phys. Ed. teacher sent home a note to inform an elite group of parents that there would be a meeting on May 31st to discuss the escolta.  Was this it?  Was this the note we had been waiting for, informing us that our son was one of the chosen few?  That's what many of us hoped for!

    Last Week:
    May 31st to be exact, I picked up Jack from kindergarten and went to Nick's school for "the meeting".  It was just me and three other moms.  We waited just outside el cancel (wrought iron gate) for the Phys. Ed. teacher   We peaked into la direccion (the principle's office) to see if el director knew anything, but the office was empty.  After about 5 minutes, Nick's teacher let us into the school, so we could sit and wait for el maestro.  We waited and waited and waited. Thirty minutes had passed and still no sign of el maestro.  It was then that the other 5th grade teacher informed us that el maestro only works on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and that maybe we got our dates confused.  We promptly showed him the note that clearly stated May 31st at 12 noon.  The teacher then suggested that it was el maestro who got the dates confused and that we should try again tomorrow at the same time.   A couple of the other moms argued that they wouldn't bother to show up, saying something about having a life and better things to do. 

    The next day was Hubby's turn to pick up Jack.  Before he left, I suggested that he stop by Nick's school on the way back, on the off chance that the meeting was being held.  I would've felt terrible if Nick had been excluded due to a lack of interest on the parents' behalf.

    Sure enough and just as I had suspected, the meeting was in session.  Turns out that the person who typed up the note was the one who mixed up the dates, not el maestro.  The Phys. Ed. teacher informed the parents that he wasn't even close to making a decision, because he was still in the process of testing the kids' marching abilities.  One mom argued that her daughter and Nick should be shoe-ins for the escolta since they are the 5th graders with the highest grade point average (GPA).  She also argued that it was common knowledge that only the smartest kids in school get to be part of the escolta, who are then taught how to march.  The Phys. Ed. teacher then informed the group of parents that if the school only chose the highest GPA's, then only the kids' in Nick's class would be in the escolta and that the school needed to be fair and include students from both 5th grade classes.  After almost an hour of back and forth arguments between the Phys. Ed. teacher and the parents, Hubby suggested that el maestro make his choice by Friday, that way he could focus his time on practicing marching drills with the escolta.

    For the rest of the week, I was a ball of nerves.  I wanted Nick to be part of the escolta because this is what he has wanted and worked very hard for since he was in 1st grade.  Thankfully I had two parent-teacher conferences with Hope and Ashley's teachers to keep my mind occupied on Thursday.  But by Friday, I couldn't think of anything else.  To make matters worse, it was a half day at school, so there was a small chance that el maestro wouldn't make a decision until the following week.  Ay Dios Mio!   

    Glass half-full kind of gal that I am, I tried to stay positive.  But there was a teeny, tiny part of me that wondered how I would console Nick if he weren't accepted.  Just when I felt like I couldn't wait another minute to find out, Nick walked in the upholstery shop, head down and shoulders drooping, looking like he had lost his best friend.  My heart broke into a thousand pieces at the sight of him.  I stood up to wrap my arms around him, but before I could, he looked up with those sad eyes that seemed to light up at the sight of me, he flashed me an ear to ear grin and said "Estoy en la escolta!" (I'm in the escolta!)

    My heart skipped a beat and my eyes filled with tears.  Tears of joy and happiness.

    Words can't express how proud I am of my son.  

    Felicidades, Nick!   


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