November 30, 2015

Thanksgiving in Mexico

I really enjoyed Thanksgiving this year.  We don't always celebrate, it sort of depends on whether I feel like cooking or not, since I don't really have any American friends here.  When we were newlyweds there was a huge Thanksgiving celebration that we'd attend but the families who hosted those moved back to the U.S. a long time ago.  So, since then I think I've hosted Thanksgiving five or six times.  This year was pretty low-key.  I cooked all the food and some friends brought dessert.  The menu inclued smoked turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet corn on the cob (yay Costco!), herbed carrots, stuffing and cranberry sauce.  Instead of green beans, I made poblano pepper rajas with cream and corn and a friend made two loaves of pumpkin bread (no one in my family likes the pie).  I used to make a basic bread stuffing but since I didn't want to spend a ton of money on gluten-free bread, I bought a stuffing mix at superama.  I couldn't believe they had stove-top stuffing or that it only cost 25 pesos!  I also found a can of cranberry sauce for 15 pesos there.  Everyone liked both the cranberry sauce and the stuffing and nobody cared that the stuffing wasn't homemade.   While reading other mex-pat blogs, I have realized how lucky I am to live in a larger city that has Costco and Sam's and stores that carry many American products.  I didn't know how difficult it could be to find a turkey or other traditonal Thanksgiving type foods.  

Really though, the food is secondary when I think about Thanksgiving.  It's always more about spending time with my family and friends and remembering all the blessings we have.  For me this day will always stand out in my memory because it's the day I found out I was pregnant with my first son.  We had been struggling to conceive for more than a year and I remember waking up that morning and just knowing I was pregnant.  That was an awesome day, twelve years ago.  This boy has blessed me more than I ever imagined.   He's got a sense of humor that cracks me up.  He's so talented in so many ways and I just enjoy spending time with him.  I love him so much!   I'm so thankful for him and his brother and their dad!  I'm truly bursting at the seams with thankfulness.

November 20, 2015

Friendship between women is an amazing thing.  We women care for each other so well, don't we? We listen to each other when our husbands haven't got a clue what to say, or just try to tell us how to fix things.  We lean on each other.  We care for one another's children.   We commiserate about our weight, our hair and much deeper issues, like fidelity (or the opposite).  So, I wonder, is there some switch that changes this deep communion between women to bitchy rivlaries?  What causes us as women to suddenly act like "mean girls" (like the ones from the movie)?  I asked my sister yesterday and she answered simply, "it's science." I actually spent some time reading a few articles that give her answer some credibility.  I'll post one at the end.

This week something untasteful happened.  Its something that I learned on Tuesday and really struggled over for a few days and still, I think, will have repercussions for many months, or maybe even years to come.  Remember the picture of friends I posted a few years back, from my friend's son's first communion party?  Well that group of friends is growing a bit . . . and shrinking too it seems.

I don't want to go into all the details of the situation, just that some things have come to light that remove the shine.  I liked to think of us as a group of women that would have each other's backs in any situations.  I thought we were above the gossip and bitchy interactions, at least between us. Yesterday I spent a few hours over coffee with two of the other affected people.  As we were expressing our disappointment and hurt over what had happened, we noticed something.  In that picture (that I mentioned before), one person was missing.  She is a newcomer to our group, maybe we've known her for a couple of years but not more.  I won't blame everything on her, but she seems to be sort of a switch in our group.    There is a bit more competition when she's around.  Her son is always #1 in the group.  (Nobody else cares.)  She makes comments about other's looks in backhanded derogatory ways.  She compares herself to some of us physically.  Now, I've been in other groups of women where that was the way women dealt with each other on a regular basis, but I've never dedicated any more time to them than necessary.  I used to sit with a group of women while waiting for my sons to finish soccer practice but I would always avoid invitations to meet outside soccer.  Why?  I could tell that these women were competing and I don't have time for bitchy competitions.  Its hard enough being all the things I'm required to be, let alone try to be things I'm not to impress people I don't care about or don't care about me.

In light of all the things happening in the world, I know this is so not important.  But it really bothers me.  What is important to me are the friendships I have worked so hard to build over so many years. I hate to see things fall apart.  I don't want it to come down to one group against the other.  I feel like I got sent back to middle school this week and it's been worse than when I was 12.  If I've learned one thing over the years, especially living away from my family and culture, its that I need to have good friends in this life.  I can't do this alone.  I need to vent and complain to someone who gets what I'm going through,  Don't we all need that?

November 11, 2015

Hi there!  I just dropped off my boys at school and the house is cool and quiet.   Its very peaceful this morning.  I love these moments of quiet in the morning.  I don't always get moving very quickly, sometimes I just like to sit and reflect and read a bit or write.  I can take the time to do that.  We have a retail business, have I mentioned this before?  Well, my husband runs a business he's owned since he was right out of college and that makes mornings a little less stressed.  It doesn't open until 10 a.m. It's nice to take mornings slow and enjoy a bit of breakfast together while chatting.  We have time for a second cup of coffee most days and I love it that we do.

Recently I've been thinking about our pace of life and the pace of life we might have if we lived in the U.S.  We have a unique situation, due to our business.  During busy seasons we are very busy and don't get to spend so much time together.  In December, my husband will be working a ton and usually even open the store on Christmas day.  It took me many years to get used to that.  The nice thing about our life is that he is normally with us for lunch at 2:30 p.m.  We have very reliable employees so he can be home with us and be present with the boys daily.  Of course his mind is always working and planning and many times he stays up late doing managment tasks, but he is here to kiss them goodnight and he is here for soccer games and homework and daily life as well.
I imagine that if we were living in the U.S., we'd both be working full-time and running the rat race. It's hard to say, since we've never lived there as a family.  I just know how tough it is to live on one salary there.  

Well, I hope you have a great day!  I'm going to go have breakfast with my husband :)

October 28, 2015


Hi!  I'm just stopping by to take a quick break.  I've been working on editing/correcting the English on a thesis that a friend has written for her Master's degree.  It has been daunting.  She told me that she wrote it by translating from Spanish to English.  That makes it very difficult to figure out at times.  So, I am hoping to be finished with it by Friday because she is going to have to make a ton of changes and her deadline for the final paper is Monday.

I've always loved editing really and I've sort of been reflecting on why these past two days.  I think it's because I know the rules and I love taking something messy and making it neat or taking something that's unclear and making sense out of it. That doesn't necessarily mean I'm a neat person, just that I'm a stickler for neat and clear writing.  But I've also been wondering if I like editing because I lack the courage to write something big that might need to be edited.  I have been asking myself that.  Its not that I feel the urge to write a book or even a thesis, its more that I'd like to take ideas and make something bigger out of them.  Maybe I'm not quite explaining myself.  That's ok.  I like this feeling because it gives me the sense that there are possibilities that I haven't explored.  And in this wonderful, crazy life of lunchboxes and soccer practices and homework and being absorbed into daily activities, it's nice to feel like there are some things I do well that have nothing to do with being a wife and mother.  

My break is over.  See you soon!

October 15, 2015

Gluten Free in Mexico

Hi again!

Back in February I was feeling a bit run down and depressed.  I had also gained some kilos over the holiday season and they weren't budging. I began to wonder if it had anything to do with my thyroid so I started researching a little online about Hashimoto's thyroiditis and ways to combat it besides using medicine.  One thing that kept popping up was the connection between gluten and a long list of auto-immune diseases, including Hashimoto's.  I spoke to my sister about it since she was diagnosed with gluten intolerance almost ten years back, and she started sending me specific articles with research linking gluten to Hashimoto's and other thyroid problems.  She'd been urging me for years to quit eating gluten but I never really gave it much thought until I started reading all the info.

Around the same time I ran into a friend who was doing a juice fast.  She talked me into doing one too. I still wasn't totally convinced about cutting out gluten but the juice fast helped eliminate it for a week anyway, since I could only have fruit and veggie juices.  After I finished the fast I stayed away from gluten for a second week until I acidentally got some.  I didn't realize that french fries could be cross contaminated with gluten in a fryer that also fries breaded products like chicken nuggets.  I had taken my kids to Carl's Jr to have a hamburger and I stole a fry. One fry.  My body started reacting almost immediately.  I got a rash on my neck and started feeling dizzy and then got a horrible migraine.  At that moment I knew I would never intentionally eat gluten again.

Its been a long and difficult process since February.  At times I have really hated not being able to eat pizza or tortas or any kind of bread, cookies or cake.  The list is very very long of things that have gluten in them.  I especially have to be careful with things like peanuts or chips or anything packaged, due to how they've been packaged and if there could've been products with gluten packaged nearby.   Mexico, at least in this region, has very few products that have the gluten-free symbol and also very few products that explain what possible allergens they may contain.

Little by little I've been figuring out what has gluten and what is safe.  I have seen the headaches diminish to almost zero.  I also know that when I've gotten some gluten by accident I will get a headache or rash.    I think the most difficult thing has been convincing my husband that this is really what is going on with me and I'm not being paranoid or exagerating the situation.  After eight months he finally doesn't suggest we go eat tortas or offer me a slice of pizza or invite me to eat pasta.  He finally gets it.  I told him, "You know me, you know that I love bread and pizza.  Would I really stop eating those things if I wasn't convinced they were harming me?"  He just laughs because he knows it's true.  The test to show a gluten intolerance or allergy is so hit and miss.  Even though I had an allergy test done, it didn't show up.  From what I've read, the only certain way to know is to eat about four slices of bread's worth of gluten a day for a month and then have an endoscopy to get a biopsy of the intestine.  I don't think I'll go that route.

So, I am gluten free now.  I can still have lots of yummy foods, thankfully and I think I'm finally past lamenting all the things I can't have.  Occasionally I will go to the expensive Mega and buy gluten free bread or pizza bases.  Well, I've really only bought bread and pizza bases once each.  They are super expensive and go bad very quickly.  Also, as my sister wisely advised me, "gluten free is never the same as gluten, just get used to it."

Well, I guess I will go have a tamal :)  Hope to post again soon!

October 12, 2015

Hi again.
Did I mention that I turned forty this past summer?  My husband and I both have birthdays in July only two days apart.  This is a picture of us on his birthday just before we went out for breakfast with the family.  Since I turned forty, we had a party!  We went to a bar that overlooks the zocalo and had a fun time with lots of friends.  I am not at all embarrassed to say that I sang and danced to "All about that bass".  Two friends were supposed to dance with me but one chickened out in the end.  I hear we bombed but it was really fun.  I'm glad there is no video clip as evidence.
I was sort of dreading the big FOUR OH, but it was a fun time and well, what can I do about it?  I'm forty.  Ni modo.  Life marches on, like Dolly Parton says in Steel Magnolias.  Then she says something about realizing that it has marched right on across your face.  That's also true. I told my husband, who is eight years older than I am, that I love the lines around his eyes because they show how much he laughs and smiles.  I love his lines but I don't reallly want any like them even though I've already got a few.
Party 40 (just getting started)

Well, I'm on a roll.  I hope to post again soon!

October 7, 2015

Still Here!

Hello!  I'm not sure anyone even looks at this blog anymore.  But I'm still here.  We still live in Mexico.  Life is busy.  These are a few pictures of my boys and me and hubby.  Its hard to get a picture of all four of us together.   Life is good.  There is always so much going on with these two boys.  I help out at their school when possible.   Now they are in fourth and sixth grade!  The sixth grader, Alex, is not so excited about me showing up at his school or anything to do with him being seen with me in front of his friends.  I hear that's normal :(  The fourth grader doesn't mind yet so I will keep hugging him and helping with his class until he asks me to stop!

I still have gripes with living in Mexico but there are so many good things too!  I will try not to complain about the things I don't like.  

Over the past year and a half or so we have been missing two of my closest friends and their families.  One got a job at a school in California and the other in Maryland!   These are families we have always spent time with and our kids are best friends.  That has been difficult.  Thankfully one of the families came to visit this summer and the other one will hopefully make it back for a visit in December.  It seems so ironic that my two closest Mexican friends both moved to the U.S. and we are still here!  I really can't see us leaving Mexico in the near future, though.  That desire is on the back burner for now, and we are content with our life here. 

Well, I hope to post again soon!