Monday the 38th of Never

Day 38 (Monday, April 20, 2020): The title was supposed to be a riff on the 12th of Never, not sure it worked. But onward. It’s also 4/20 I realize, at least in the USA (Canada is 20/4). But it has been 4/20 all month in the US –  and Canada. If you’re not confused yet, celebrate 4/20 and call me. Of course, it’s the mm-dd-yy instead of dd-mm-yy is like the yards/meters thing. They don’t want to join the rest of the world. Which seems to be just fine with the rest of the world these days (a sentiment that grows stronger daily). But I get enough politics on Facebook.

Today, I will work on the new website for The Move to Mexico Bible – I’m moving servers so have to recreate the site. I have to do something to update this blog site also but I’m scared because as simple as this current layout it, it works, LOL. This one is a low priority. Not that I don’t care about the blog, I do – but I’m not overly unhappy with the layout at the moment. It is what it is. Once I get more comfortable with the new theme for WordPress, I’ll try – and I am nowhere near done learning it, it’s very hit and miss and I just keep trying things. I suppose I could read in some more. It’s very complex but I think it will be good for years once I grasp it.

But then I really screwed it up … sort of

One dog walk down, next one is likely any minute but he’s having a nap for now. The morning is his most lively time but when I’m done with two walks and the trainer has had him for an hour – he’s pretty tranquil. It’s not physically difficult to keep the two dogs separated but it’s tough emotionally. Of course, CW spends time in the office with Rosie and I’m out at the bar with PJ behind me in the kitchen and hallway with open door to half the yard (oh, the dog fences and gates we have bought … ). And I’m also realizing how much I worry about PJ – I think about him far too much. He seems to be turning into a perfectly normal bull terrier – as long as he doesn’t so much as smell her.

The old days …

Oh yes, if she touches my jeans when I am in the office, I do have to change or he will stop and sniff the air when I return and start to move around in short bursts (looking for her). It’s incredible.  Sometimes when she comes by the bar with CW to go out (he can’t see her, she is on the other side of the bar but there is the big open window between rooms) – he smells the air like that. But mostly it’s ok. Out of the perhaps four or five times a day she comes to the front of the house to get out — he will notice it once. We just tell him “tranquilo” and ignore him if he starts to micro-freak.

Maxi and PJ and Popo

It’s interesting because he goes walking with other dogs as you know. And is really friendly with Maxi (the trainer’s girlfriend’s dog). But the smell of her on my jeans will set him right off. The behaviourist called it. But all we can do is wait for her to die.  I don’t mean for that to sound cruel. She will be 13 years old in early October this year. I’ve never had one live past that. So, we’re prepared. But we’re hoping she hangs around as long as her life is good. And although she sleeps a tremendous amount of time every day, she also has the odd spurt (every few days) of lively, puppy-like fun — over a treat or a tennis ball. Or just rolling in the grass.

So here we are. Having decided that we really need to get on with it, because we’re not getting any younger, we are now basically in lockdown. Is that ironic? God is an iron. And now I have to go try and learn that website theme builder thingy. Later.

Ok, I have a good handle on the website. I may be in a position to start the transfer Thursday, which was the day I had on my calendar. I like that. And I can see how this theme builder could turn into something quite easy to use with a bit more practice.

I’ve had this plaque for a very long time – almost as long as Carpe Diem -it broke and I glued it

Day 39: Had a bitch of a night but no wonder. Our friend here, who I may have mentioned, who is barely in his 50s has had a cancer that he thought he was recovering from, was declared at his last check up to be a miracle, responding well – now he is told he has two months to live and that the tumors (on his liver, secondary tumors, the first are okay) are massive. So that got to me a lot. His attitude is good. He says he will do one more chemo in hopes of making it to his birthday on August 5 – and he wants to make every day count. FM.

And then, yesterday, for whatever reason, I read a horrible story on what Covid-19 does to your lungs and organs in severe cases. WHY the f-ck do they print stuff like that? Surely it was more detailed than anyone needed, it was certainly more detail than I needed. And now Canadians are being turned back at the Mexican/US border and not being allowed to drive home. “US citizens and legal residents only.” Great. This is not going to end well. I hope this blog doesn’t end up being the last thing I write.

Oh egads, I have to stop that. I’m losing my mind finally and it only took 38 days. I’m pretty good in the day. But last night was bad and it probably started around 3 am. Why do people do that to themselves? I did manage to circle around in my little pea brain and calm myself down and go to sleep until normal waking hours (5 am this morning but I was asleep at 9 pm).

I need to have another chat with my friend who is an infectious disease specialist (zoonotic) at one of the SL4 Biohazard labs in the USA (I think there are only 11). He’s working on a vaccine. And actually feels that the fear is overblown (while acknowledging that this virus is more contagious than others and more dangerous because of that). Also, some crossings are apparently allowing Canadians through, but just some.

If you have not yet seen this little kid from NJ, you must watch this. Cheers me up immensely. Only six. I think.

We’ve been for our dog walk and will have one more, then the trainer will take him for a lesson in the early afternoon. And in the meantime, I’ll do more work on the website. I’m getting the hang of this Divi Builder from Elegant Themes. I’m even starting to kind of like it. A few more days and I’ll be a pro 🙂

But I’m in a very odd mood today – a little distress mixed with WTF, I think. It’s a new moon tomorrow. I even wrote on my calendar “new moon – sudden opportunity”. We’ll see. It was also another possible date (on the calendar) for the movers to pick up our stuff and leave at midnight for La Paz (rather than leave in the day due to corrupt Federales on the highway who like to shake down movers during the day). I won’t tell you what this sentence almost said. God, I’m sick of living in this country. There, I said it – just a little more politely. Oh well, one foot in front of the other for now.

Okay, 6:23 and sanity restoring itself. It was a tough day, mostly because of the middle of the night monkey chatter. But, tomorrow CW starts on the DogStar edits, and I’ll take his chapters when he’s done and give them a second eye. So I don’t think we’re going to be too long before it’s done. Not the end of April by any means but maybe the end of May. Maybe. And we will be on our way.

La Paz is famous for whale sharks …

In addition, I signed up for a PADI course (Professional Association of Dive Instructors) – I had my license 40 years ago but need to refresh everything. If we’re going to La Paz, I’d be stupid not to dive. Cold water in the winter though, I bet it’s barely 80. Maybe not even close – I’m afraid to look it up but I’ll get a wetsuit somewhere. Maybe in one of the segundos. I’ll start that on Monday. There is a LOT of math involved. Plan your dive and dive your plan. You don’t ever want to get the bends. I’m guessing the La Paz diving is fairly shallow but a license is a license. When I was relatively young, I took my first “what career should you have?” questionnaire and analysis – very detailed and serious stuff. Underwater welder was my top recommendation. No one can look over my shoulder and no one can talk to me in that job, LOL. Maybe I could still be one.

Interesting dive spots around La Paz, lost of sunken ships … sunken treasure anyone?

I also bought another online subscription – – so I’ve got a lot of reading to do. I love their stuff and usually run out of free stories each month – and it’s not much. I guess it adds up but it’s worth it. Not only NYmag but The Intelligencer, Grub Street and more. Worth every penny (only $5 USD a month). I’m finding the WaPo and the NYT good for news through the pandemic, but they aren’t much on analytical or thoughtful pieces. In fact, they almost seem a little more on the shock side – I know they want to cover the “personal story” but it gets bloody depressing. I need to read about what’s going on, but I’d like some intelligent analysis along with it. Right about now anyway.

So, that’s it, I think I will sleep well tonight. A little Pinterest, maybe even some reading in bed. Another single beer night (last week I drank nothing). I only like beer when I’m happy. And I’m not there yet with this whole new normal. “Yet” – that’s the operative word. With Dylan on the radio, I think I will sign off. Manana!

Day 40: Waiting for the ‘sudden opportunity’ promised to me by Susan Miller on day 39, but overall having a good day. (And for the record, I do prefer Georgia Nicols. Just in case there was any doubt.) Spoiler: it doesn’t come.

I already started my PADI course and got through the first day which was just the introduction. I do like learning things. And it’s only 1 pm, lots of time to try and finish up the contacts on the new website and then I can move the name over. I think. I guess I will find out. So, two projects at the moment and once I start learning this Divi/Elegant Themes program I can continue that one for a long time, I’ve got lots of small websites to recreate. And the DogStar project will go on for a couple of months and then I can start to publicize it also. Amazon distributes through the big distributor, can’t recall the name right now, and we’ll have a wholesale/trade price so it can get to stores and libraries. The Mexico Bible is sold wholesale to stores – not that many copies and we make very little but it’s good exposure for people to see it on shelves.

Day 41: I am going to stop counting soon. I think I’d better back off – we will be here for a while. Through this year into 2021, it looks like. The new normal. Things will open back up bit by bit, maybe here starting in June/July. That seemed like such a far off date when we first started this isolation, now it seems like it’s around the corner. I guess it is.

Have a look at the charts below from this site. It is updated in real-time and worth bookmarking if you are concerned with what is happening in that country between Canada and Mexico. They are reinfection rates. The red is above 1 (bad) and the green is below 1 (good). It represents how many people one person infects. The first one is now (these are US states). The second is four weeks ago. They are doing a lot better. BUT it says that four weeks ago, they were in big trouble but trump was still shooting off his mouth. I’m glad they are coming out of it and feel horrible for anyone who changed planes in the US a month ago, thinking that they were safe (well, that was a pretty stupid assumption even without Covid).

This was four weeks ago:

They are doing much better, Ojala. But four weeks ago – they were in MUCH worse shape than anyone let on. But no wonder, if the first death was actually February 6. I don’t think trump even acknowledged it by then, I think the cases in the US were registered in the tens at that point. Yes, double digits for the whole country.

And now, because of mismanagement from the start (I won’t go into it here), the US really has a disproportionate number of infections (and deaths) compared to the rest of the world. And trump continues to pull his tricks – like threatening Iran with shooting down boats (?) to bump up the price of oil, which went down so low because he supported his Saudi friends’ plans (likely in order to secure another hotel location). You see, American friends? Sadly, this is the world’s default now. When trump (who represents the US on the world stage and is starting to feel synonymous with the country) does something, we know it’s because it makes him money. It’s the only reason he does anything. And we’re starting to feel like it’s the only reason America does anything – well, because he controls you so absolutely. You are his to do with as he pleases. That includes bankrupting you and letting you die from Covid-19. I’m still wondering what happened to all those “checks and balances” I heard about all my life.

Oh dear, and I wasn’t going to get political here. Haha, how’s that working for you? And speaking of that phrase, how about that Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz? I’d take medical advice from Dr. Pepper first. That was lifted from a meme but it’s true.

Ok, so it’s now 6 am. I know, right? First dog walk isn’t for an hour-and-a-half-ish. I have seen news already (probably enough for now until the markets open at 8:30 am my time) and it’s time to think about my day. Another PADI lesson is on the list as well as a few more web site tweeks. I started the domain move – it’s administrative BS and takes a few days. I need to get the cute little icon for up in the URL space – you know what I mean? I use our White Dog Creative logo for a lot of sites but this one will have the suitcase from the book cover (the site is for The Move to Mexico Bible).

This is what I mean – the little icon that helps you identify the site in your bookmarks …

And DogStar edits! I got the first three chapters from CW with his edits and he’s good – this will be a breeze. And a much tighter, shorter book. It was 23 years ago and it was a traditional publisher (before ebooks even existed … ). They had different rules back then. Now, we are the publisher and we have no rules – but we do pay attention to publishing conventions. We just do not have to do it like everyone else or like anyone says. The cover is a good example. Between the three, which would interest you more? I argued for the sillhouette cover back then but the publisher would have *none* of it, they were adamant the book look like it did. They updated a bit on one of the printings, the 4th or 5th, they did an updated cover (image 2 below) but it still wasn’t what we thought would work best on the shelf. Now, of course, there hardly are any shelves (real ones).

Three publishing updates of DogStar over the years …

Day 42: They do go on, don’t they? The days. Although, as noted, this is no different than my normal life except I’m already down two trips up north (missed one for other reasons then this happened). And we never have company now – that’s a big difference, normally people are over here every weekend. Now we’re just waiting. Trying to put my time to good use. Waiting for what isn’t certain. Not going there though. I’m going to keep believing that the scientists have this – and they are doing their best. No need to inject Lysol into your veins, as trump suggests we all do. Or drink it. I think he said we can drink it, too. What a leader. Trying hard to be Buddhist about his followers.

Ok, did some Padi, walked the dog, screwed up the website for the Mexico Bible (well, it’s fine but I screwed up my access to it somehow and can’t edit… but I can do a workaround when I need to I guess). Dinner is over too. Then, the dog gets his night pills and I’m gone to the office and maybe TV. I really don’t watch much TV these days. Hard to do when I go to bed before 8 pm (asleep around 9pm, up at 5am). That’s normal but boy, these are funny days.

I’m just on hold. Almost all of my life. Not quite, but almost. Until Rosie does die, we won’t really know if PJ will turn into a normal dog. He’s pretty normal now – until he smells her anyway. And no one knows when her cab will come.

And then there is La Paz. Clearly, the house needs to sell. But we’re almost ready to start showing again. Maybe let a couple of weeks go by so Mexico kind of peaks at least. Masks and gloves. If Rosie isn’t dead, CW and I drive her and we have to board PJ in that case until she does die. Or board him until we’re comfortable with some kind of major separation in the house. Or find a boarding facility in La Paz where I can visit and walk him daily. There’s an idea. But this is just horrible waiting for a dog to die, I mean, how unpleasant. We don’t want her to die, but realistically, she will soon.

I need to find some art for this post (art = photos). And publish again Sunday (it’s Friday). I sure manage to fill up a lot of space with a lot of nothing. I know people who do that talking – I don’t think this is that bad. You can always walk away and I won’t even know 🙂

I want a Zoltar machine when we sell the house. Screw the facelift (although this would have been a perfect time to recover), screw the hot tub (I’ll make sure the house we buy on Vancouver Island has one) – I want a Zoltar. I have to figure out where to put him. Well, first I have to figure out where to find him and what he will cost. Maybe not. I’ll consider that more seriously another day. Manana, folks. (Quick update, I still like the idea … )

Day 43: Seven weeks since CW went out yesterday (I went out the previous Wednesday, to Costco, social distancing but figure I have to count from CW’s timeline as we’re in this together). In retrospect, it hasn’t been so bad. I’ve certainly had terrified moments, mostly at 3 am, but for the most part (in retrospect, mind you) – this is doable. And that’s good because we’re not half done. My bet is 1/3 done, maybe a bit more but not half … and we have to suck it up.

I don’t see pleasure travel being possible until 2021. I mean, if it was essential, I could – at this point anyway. But it will be dangerous until we have a reliable treatment. We do hold a small amount of Air Canada stock (which I bought low, not at the bottom, but low). But we’re planning on keeping it at least five years. It’s all so mind-boggling when I think of how I used to book a flight, hop on a bus, hop on a plane like it was nothing. That was the only way I managed to stay sane in Mexico – getting out a lot … LOL. I’m starting to realize that.

I was thinking about SMA. My biggest disappointment in San Miguel was the dog rescue I got involved with and gringo bullshit politics that surrounded it. I had high hopes of doing something special with dog rescue. But the gringo dog rescue sector was full of ego. The smart ones just bought small ranches and had their own private rescues.

My favorite shot of SMA (by me)

For all I whined about it, it was a lot easier to live there. Cuernavaca is difficult. The city is ugly, so it’s not really nice to go outside the walls (moot point now), the gringos are few so the pool is smaller and seems to have a higher proportion of climate change deniers, flat-earthers (not kidding) and Republicans.

We do have a few of friends we’ve met here who we enjoy very much and expect to be FFL with and to visit once we leave, age and health allowing. We’d probably rather they visit us after we leave Cuernavaca, though. But I’d still go visit San Miguel – great food and great artisan shopping there.

It must be my year for books, even though I am a serious kindle girl – I’ve been buying hardbacks/paperbacks on Amazon that friends have authored. They are all old so they are cheap, cheap, cheap, plus some of them aren’t even on Kindle.

First there were Kiki’s books (on their way – I have to ship to TX and then it’s compiled and shipped together, they don’t ship to Mexico usually – her books are so old I had to buy used copies).

And I was just alerted to other books that an old acquaintance wrote – I was good friends with his wife, Gaby, and that’s a story for another day. What a fascinating woman. She highly recommended Cuernavaca to me 30 years ago (but I don’t hold that against her) and she told me a lot of stories that I expect to find in his books.

Hate the tag line but can’t wait to read the book …

He was a normal upper-middle class guy – who got into big-time cannabis smuggling in the 80s. He is a good writer – I reviewed a book he wrote while in jail called Smack Goddess (fiction, sorta, but loosely about his second wife, not the one I knew, but a NYC undercover cop who ended up busted for heroin, Kim someone).

Now he has several more – one about the hippie mafia and his dope days, one about coming out of jail to become showrunner on a series starring Rob Morrow in the 90s (Street Time for HBO – it was just before Numbers). I’ve always admired his ability to turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse. And enjoyed his voice. And I admit, I want to see what it says about his Canadian exposure in the hippie mafia book. I hate that description – the book is actually called Smugglers Blues – wasn’t that a Glen Frey song? I should see if I can find him online and say hi. Have looked for Gaby (his first wife) but she was older than me by a generation and him by at least 10 years and not really that technically savvy so chances of finding her are slim).

Well, I found her, or more acurately, her obit. Which doesn’t surprise me (2015 at age 94 and sounds like she was still quite mobile). She was in rehab due to a fall and caught an infection that proved to be drug-resistant. Rest in peace, Gaby. We lost touch when we moved to Texas (30 years ago) and then BC and she stayed in Ontario – this was just before the internet. As it turns out, she was older than him by 25 years – and older than me by 34 years. But I never noticed, in fact, her obit said she had many young friends. Not surprised. She and I had a good time on weekends at our house in Guelph, Ontario. I hope she’s alive again already, and raising hell. Here’s an excerpt from her obit, and I remember this about her past. No mention of her second husband (Stratton, above) but hardly surprising given all the horrors she went through with him (and some very good times, too):

Gaby escaped Belgium in 1940 just ahead of the Nazi invasion (note from me: my mother was seven years old then). Via Dunkirk, she made her way to England by a boat that was sunk on its return trip to Dunkirk. Soon after arriving in England, she joined the R.A.F stationed at Benson in Oxfordshire. There she became a crash ambulance driver and was decorated for bravery and Mentioned In Dispatches. While serving, she met her future husband, Geoffrey St. Quentin-Rennie, a Mosquito bomber pilot. After the war, Geoffrey embarked on a career as a commercial airline pilot. Together they enjoyed a life filled with adventure, living in several countries on four continents. Gaby was well known as a wonderful hostess. For a time they lived in Adis Ababa, where Geoffrey was the private pilot to H.R.H Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia.

I do wish we’d been able to connect again. But our time together was splendid and she had a long, interesting and mostly happy life. Such a great storyteller. She taught me that life can be tragic and magic at the same time, I think. Yeah, it’s a Buffett song, but she lived it. Hope to see you again, Gaby, somewhere, sometime. You were always so serene and full of grace, and I admired you (and I know you knew that).

Not that I’ve lacked spare time in the past, but I guess we are all getting an extended time to think. Old memories are coming to me more – I guess my head is empty of a lot of things it’s normally full of – hustling for work, setting goals (although I’m still setting some), planning – my mind isn’t as busy scheduling trips (and figuring out how to pay for them) these days so it is much more still. Even with projects like the PADI certification – it’s calmer as it’s not up to me, I’m just learning. I know that it’s good to be still. But hard for an A-type. I’m trying (very trying).

Ok, on to something that might be of interest. February 12, 2021 is the beginning of the Chinese New Year and is the Year of the Ox. The Ox was the second animal to reach the Buddha – the Rat was first but only because he cunningly hitched a ride the entire way on the Ox’s back and jumped off at the last minute and naturally outran him. The Ox is the dependable workhorse of the Zodiac, tireless and methodical. Which is how the vaccine will be created. Slowly and methodically.

But, there’s also this, “The Yin energy, specific to the Chinese zodiac sign of Ox, will be quite poignant. This is going to be a year when we will fully feel the weight of our responsibilities, a year when it is necessary to double our efforts to accomplish anything at all.” Source here. It makes sense – we’ll all be climbing back up from this still, I’m afraid. But the Ox will help us immensely. You may think that this is magical thinking. Maybe it is. But maybe I *am* magical. Ever think of that? Oh yeah, it’s a metal Ox.

There is also this (same source) for 2021 (February 12, on): “This year, no explosive or catastrophic events will occur, so it is a favourable year for economic recovery or consolidation, a year of long-term investments (especially for creating a reserve stock for the coming unproductive years).”

Interesting stuff. If you’d like to find out what Chinese Zodiac animal you are, there is a handy online calculator at Travel China Guide – easy to use.

Now I’m off to find more art. I might have something on my phone in those 4,000+ photos. Oy.

Day 44, Sunday, April 26, 2020: And publishing day. I’m kind of out of things to write about. Maybe I’ll think of something on my dog walk … I’m all out of things. I woke up thinking about Gaby early today and updated yesterday’s post this morning with the news of her death. I’m sad she’s gone but at 94, one can’t be too sad – I guess I’m sad we never reconnected but sometimes people drift in and out of your life and that’s just their time with you. I’m really glad she had a good long life, and I hope the last 30 years were exactly what she wanted and needed to close out her story.

It’s grey and cloudy out there today – CW says it rained last night but I didn’t hear it. Hopefully it happens again, the rains can’t come quickly enough. We’re getting new sod on all the lawns so the place looks good when we finally show again (June?). We hate grass (useless water-sucking plant) but it’s a Cuernavaca thing to have really green grass. Oy.

A totally random shot of the table on the terrace

Music, I need music. Haven’t hooked up to RadioPlayer Canada yet this morning, that’s what’s wrong. Alexa! You know the drill. That’s better. The next three weeks are critical here. We are isolated and don’t even hear a lot. Cuernavaca (big city) so far only has 50 odd reported cases. Supposedly. We don’t know anyone who has it here yet. Keeping an eye on it, online. And not going more than a few blocks around the neighbourhood. A friend sent us some face shields today, which we wear on top of our masks. With gloves, I think I could even fly. In a plane. My thinking’s not that magical 🙂

Ah, I think I’m done for today. Almost 1 pm here central time. Just made Raspberry Blueberry Buckle (never heard of it until now) and I’ll sign off with that. Ignore the mess on the baking dish.

Stay safe, stay informed, stay kind. Talk soon.


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