Las Posadas~Mexican Traditions for Christmas

December 24, 2008

Mexican Traditions for Christmas

Christmas for Mexicans, in traditional homes and rural areas, is a religious holiday.

It is a celebration of the Nativity. This means the birthday of Our Lord Jesus. In order to prepare for the day of symbolic commemoration, we have the "Posadas". These celebrations are a "Novena" or nine days before the 24 which is the "Noche Buena" or "Holy Night".

These Posadas are an enactment of looking for lodging of St. Joseph and Virgin Mary, called The Pilgrims going to Bethlehem for the Census according to the Scriptures. In Spanish we called them: "Los Peregrinos, San José y la Virgen María". Each family in a neighborhood, will schedule a night for the Posada to be held at their home, starting on the 16th of December and finishing on the 24th on Noche Buena.

Every home will have a Nativity scene. The hosts of the home are the innkeepers, and the neighborhood children and adults are Los Peregrinos, who have to request lodging through singing a simple chant. All carry small lit candles in their hands and four teenagers of about the same height are chosen to carry Los Peregrinos, which are two small statues of St. Joseph leading a donkey, which Virgen Mary is riding sidesaddle. The head of the procession will have a candle inside of a paper lamp shade that looks like an accordion but open at the top and it is called a "Farolito" or little lantern.

The Peregrinos will ask for lodging in three different houses but only the third one will allow them in. That will be the house that is supposed to have the Posada for that evening. Once the innkeepers let them in, the group of guests comes into the home and kneels around the Nativity scene to pray the Rosary. The Rosary is a traditional Catholic prayer, which consists of the following prayers: 50 Hail Mary, 5 Our Father , 5 Glory and the Litany, which is a series of Praises for the Virgin Mary, plus singing traditional songs like Holy Night in Spanish of course!

After all the prayer is done, then it comes the party for the children. There will be a Piñata, (pronounce Pignata, for it has an ñ instead of an n), filled with peanuts in the shell, oranges, tangerines, sugar canes, and seldom wrapped hard candy. Of course, there will be other types of chants the children will sing while the child in turn is trying to break the Piñata with a stick while he/she will be blindfolded.

Although the Piñata was originally from Italy, it has become a Mexican tradition for celebrations where there are children involved. The Piñata was made out of a clay pot and decorated with crepe paper in different colors. Today's piñatas are made out of cardboard and paper mache techniques and decorated with crepe paper. This change was made to prevent the children from cutting their hands when going for the fruit and candy when the Piñata was broken and the clay piece would become a hazard. They have all kinds of designs besides the traditional star.

For the adults there is always "Ponche con Piquete"(sting), which is a hot beverage or "Punch" made out of seasonal fruits and cinnamon sticks, with a shot of alcoholic spririt. A good substitute here in Ohio is hot apple cider with fruits, without the "spirits".

On Noche Buena, December 24, everybody goes to Misa de Noche Buena which is at midnight. After the Mass, everyone goes to their respective homes to have dinner with family and any friend who does not have a family is always welcome to be part of a family celebration, and most important of all to place the Baby Jesus in the manger in the Nativity scene.

The presents are not received on Christmas, for Christmas is a celebration of Life of Our Savior.

The New Year's Eve, there is a Misa de Gallo, (Rooster's Mass) that takes place at midnight also. Some families go to church earlies to give thanks for all the blessings received during the year.

The children's celebration of receiving presents is not until January 6th, "el día de Reyes", the day of the Kings, or the Wise Men Day. It is the Magi who brought the presents to the Baby Jesus, thus, they bring the toys to the boys and girls who have been good. The children place their shoes by the window, so the Magi place the present in the shoe. It the present is bigger than the shoe, it will be placed next to it. Many children, get a new pair of shoes for a present.

El dia de Reyes is celebrated with a "Merienda" consisting of hot chocolate and "The Rosca de Reyes". "La Merienda is the meal that takes. place any time between 5 P.M. and 7 P.M. it is not a heavy meal but the equivalent of "High Tea".

The Rosca de Reyes is a big oval wreath made out of egg bread (like an egg bagel, but huge) with dry fruit decorations and sprinkled sugar on top, but inside, there is a little ceramic doll which represents the Baby Jesus. The person who gets the piece of bread with the Baby, must be the Godparent of the Baby Jesus in the celebration of the Candelaria, on February 2nd..

"El dia de la Candelaria" is the day of the Candle or Light, known as the Day of Purification. That day, the Nativity scene is put away with a party given by the person who got the Baby Jesus in his/her piece of bread during the Rosca de Reyes celebration. He or she will be responsible for making a "Ropon" or christening gown for Baby Jesus. Generally, they have a Dinner with Tamales (Tamales are corn bread filled with meats in a sauce or raisins wrapped in corn husks).

Lately, these traditions have been modified. For example, the Posadas are now nine parties that are celebrated in differentes friends homes before Christmas. Also, with the North American Free Treaty Agreement, known as NAFTA, Christmas is now celebrated the American style, with Santa Claus, the meals and presentes, mostly among the afluent people. Others take trips to sky resorts in the United States or Europe, or travel to turistic places within Mexico.

All the education institutions are on vacation during the holidays, they do not get back to school until after January 6th. Also, the government offices and the other institutions connected with the government close during those two weeks.
We did an abbreviated enactment of Noche Buena

We stayed on property and went to various windows.....I carried a candle while the teens and a few adults did the chants in Spanish. Couldn't take pictures of that but have included some of the people, the pinata and the party later. We didn't eat until around 11 PM. All the guests but me, were Canadian and they loved learning about this tradition, as well. It was quite special and I danced up a storm. Hope you enjoy reading about this and the pictures.


















loving the baja

November 2008

As I enter into my 3rd week in Mexico, I'm still in awe.......of the warmth of the people, of the  fact that I still can't speak Spanish, of the reality that I'm still functioning and getting things done.....i.e., my laundry.......I left it at Neptune in Todos Santos yesterday.....today I picked up 4 pretty big loads (including bedding) $9.00 (their soap) American dollars....I left a $2.00 tip to the giggling girls who spoke absolutely as much English as I spoke Spanish.  Giggles are universal.  I thought I was playing charades and it worked.....I got my laundry.  They had folded meticulously my clothing, my bedding, towels, and they were clean beyond what I expected.  Some of my things were permanently stained (I thought)......but no longer.

Some days I go to the beach





sometimes I read most of the day.....currently reading and loving "Three Cups of Tea" and completing "From Beirut to Jerusalem"......I haven't seen TV since I've been here.....other than re watching on DVD "No Country for Old Men" and when I'm missing family, put in home movies of my grand kids...I'm considering getting satellite radio......right now the only news from the states I get is 1/2 hour in English Monday through Friday of world news.  Oh, and I also play a lot of solitaire on my laptop and last night I won.....first time ever in my life!   At least the first real time I won.....before computer, I could cheat and say I won but think I lied.  Oh, I also do yoga on Monday, Wednesday, & Friday.  The location is where I stay just a few yards in a palapas and Myra, the owner of the park teaches it.  I hope I keep it up cuz Lord knows my body needs to move and stretch....and Yoga is definitely a workout!

Today the illegal catching fisherman & his lady pulled in my RV Park with tons of just caught (mostly Mahi Mahi.....)  Guess what I had for dinner......yes.....pan fried Mahi Mahi with 6 different sauces that Madison aka Lori (my niece) and her partner, Michael, brought me from Belize a few months ago.  Each bite was different ..... as I added "Marie Sharps" (Beware comatose heat level Habanero pepper sauces-4 kinds) and ended with papaya and pineapple jam.  I fried it outside in the dark around 6 PM where it was still in the 80's......and now my small kitchen doesn't smell of "fish".....

On Thursday, Thanksgiving, I will go to my friend, Janet's top-of-the-hill home (Palapas).  Since I've been here, I've only been up there one time and it was dark.  Janet, her friend, Mary Jane from San Diego, and I went out to dinner then went up there and chatted outside under the stars and it was pretty close to heaven.  I last saw her property 11 years ago when it was just an RV and a small palapas.....with everything outside.....It is now a home with a sand floor and some sides....lovely.


I continue to meet and socialize with wonderful other gringos/gringas and some are true "characters" with fun names.......like ... Doomsday Charlie, Crazy Bob, Alley Cat, Sorry Dave.....I'm now waiting for Joe the Plumber...don't know what he's up to now......no one has a last name but they aren't necessary.  I don't know if I have a name yet here but I do know that as I drive my RV (Phoebe McGee) through Todos Santos, the regulars there wave and smile at TaZzi and me.  There are no other rigs here that look like mine and when I stop, they want to see it, to know how much it cost and to hear all about my travels......and I tell them in English......and they get it!  At least I think they do. Here's Don cooking dinner for a few friends. He and his wife Joyce now live in the Baja full-time.


More later & Happy Thanksgiving........love peace and fish tacos

...finally here in Mexico.... Baja

November 2008

I'm here in Todos Santos (near Cabo)....arrived Tuesday...very tired .... Wednesday ... a day of rest.....today Thursday....I'm in town really beating myself up because I didn't learn any Spanish before I came.  Now, I must learn at least some phrases.....I'm getting ready to go into the bank and get my American $$'s turned into Pesos.....also gotta learn to count....anyway, I found a place where I can get free Internet by a hotel....which is where I'm parked right now. 
If I sound depressed...I'm not....just looking forward to the adventure....it's very different being right in Cabo at a luxury hotel than it is here in the small town of Todos Santos.  Although they do have quite a few Gringos.  The RV park where I'm staying has a Canadian couple .... very nice.  Palapa & car of Althea & Brian.....
The owner's of the park also have a store on the premises and Hector is a local doctor.....very nice family......many of the roads were difficult.....staying right on the Sea of Cortez was incredible.....parked right by the water on the beach....lovely sunsets and daybreaks....heavenly

"twas the night before election...."

November 4, 2008 - Tuesday 

In thinking about what all of us go through tonight (no matter our political  convictions) I wrote this in hopes we can all come together believing we are all one America and we will do what is necessary to continue to make our country great....no matter what!

~~~~~~~~~~
"Twas the night before election, when all through the states
All the creatures were restless, and none without aches
Our thoughts and our longings, we believe with our hearts
In hopes that our ballots soon will be "sparks"

We've researched, we've listened, we've argued, we've prayed
We must be ready to go with what's made
We continue debate, dissent, and fear
And gather in party with lots of beer

Knowing our people will always be proud
We have all the rights to be loud
So, we'll know soon what's in store for 4 years
And continue our mission without tears

Our 2 party system changes and swings
Only to always come back with wings
Our cages may rattle; our eyes will know lies
In the end, we'll prevail because we are wise..."
~~~~~~~~~

"fixin’ ta git my zin on....."

October 3, 2008 - Friday 

As of today....the day of America's vice presidential debate....
 
          ....the day of the "ear-marked bail-out" aka "the rescue" of America will happen....or NOT...
 
...the day I bought my Mexican insurance....it was expensive....so I will go....
 
               ...a good time to leave the states for a while....my absentee ballot will get to me soon.....I'll vote...
 
......then head to the Baja for a few months...
so on November 4....I'll be celebrating or NOT.  For sure I will have a Mexican Christmas.....and I will also celebrate Thanksgiving with the Gringos....& my Mexican friends. 
 
I will fill my days with snorkelling, fishing, swimming, ski-do-ing, quading, dancing, eating fabulous food, drinking beer and margarita's, meeting new friends and hanging with old friends, bird watching, overlooking and playing on white sandy beaches.....
 
The area is blessed with great climate, natural beauty, rich history, centuries' old traditions and the warmest hospitality.  Blended with the old are modern conveniences...some Internet cafes...very fine dining....
 
I won't be staying right in Cabo.....I'll be in the magical "Pueblo Magíco" community of Todos Santos.  It is home of renowned art galleries (a haven for artists, craftsmen, surfers, divers, and travellers seeking adventure). 
 
 
It was 1998 when I first visited this incredible area with family.  It was quite a memorable vacation....we snorkelled, we went ski-do-ing, ate tons of shrimp, we swam in the ocean and the pools, some surfed, some bought jewelry from the ever-so bargaining Mexican's selling on the beaches, we dodged cows on the tiny roads......
 
I leave in 2-3 weeks...I'm at the mercy of my friend, Bob.  He and his wife, Janet, live here in Santa Cruz for a few months and the rest of the year in Todos Santos.....she is an artist and teacher and Bob is a lifeguard, runs the summer program for junior lifeguards, surfs, dives.....in fact it is up to the surf as to when we will leave.    
 
So you can see how I'm 'getting ready to get my Zen on'.........and I will keep you posted on my adventures......
 
Adiós....Pat (ty) aka Gypsy Mama

Mount St. Helens...politics...emotions...

Marilyn & Jim (great hosts)
October 2, 2008

Not much news of late; hence no travelogues.......however....I just took a little trip up the coast...Pacific Northwest...I got as far as Mount St. Helens in Washington.  TaZzi and I stayed in the driveway (plugged in) of a high school friend (hadn't seen her in 50 years).  Marilyn was a great tour guide and knows the area well and a wonderful host for several days.   Lots of memories...year books....great food.  Silver Lake is the front yard for Marilyn and Jim and it is spectacular.




They do know how to entertain....good thing too, since it was their week + for lots of company. Mount Saint Helens






Unfortunately, I wasn't such good company .... for over a month now, I've had some lung issues....first a bronchial infection for which I was on antibiotics...got ok for a couple days....then....wham!@@!!?  coughing (uncontrollably at times)...wheezing, congestion....and other adjectives you don't want to hear about.  My trip up north was cut short but glad I went.  Drove the coast on the way up, staying at some ocean-side resorts....on the way home took a shorter route...stopping in Sacramento to see my daughter and granddaughter for a few hours.....then stayed for 3 days on the Delta (Mokolumne River) at a resort and marina.  A great place to relax before driving back to Santa Cruz to my Redwood Forest.....still recuperating...by doing nothing but resting....eager to get well before heading to Mexico.  Must be 100% before leaving the country and I only have about a month to get better.  I'm on my way.

I also want to be better by the 25th....why?  I have a cabin out here at River Grove Resort

for 2 weeks and hope some of you locals (and beyond) will be able to come out and say good bye to me....when I leave this time, I will be gone at least a year.  After Mexico, New Orleans Mardi Gras, Florida, then to Michigan by April?.....& a bunch of other states while en route.   2009 is my 50th high school reunion and I want to get there early so I can help work on it.  You never know....could be the last....lol!

Another reason (and a touchy subject) I want to be better by the 25th is.....the Dem Convention begins that week.  Call me silly, but I love those conventions......both Dem & Rep.... I live and breathe politics and have for as long as I can remember.  First as a  Republican and since the mid 70's as a centrist Democrat.  I voted for Ford ... not Carter.  I've  never voted a straight ticket....I always vote for the person and the issue.  

If you were on my email list in 2002, you may remember the posting where I wrote about my thoughts on the Iraqi war.  I only wrote it because I received so  much mail about getting on the band-wagon of going to war.  I felt like a hypocrite by not saying anything...It wasn't mean and disrespectful of anyone's views.  I don't send out emails trying to convert anyone.  I believe (100%) in a 2-party system and don't want to change anyone's mind.  We all come to believe.... what we believe.... through our own research, our personal experiences, our observations......perceptions......

For the past 2 years, especially, I have received so much harmful, fearful (I'll stop there).....emails....I love the non-partisan stuff...the equal opportunity and the jib jab stuff is funny.....but not the destructive  malicious jabbings (on either side)...

We can choose to NOT live in a time when friendships are ended over how we each vote our conscience, when family members no longer speak because of political and philosophical differences.

Far too many of us from all segments of the political spectrum seem to have an attitude of "You're either with me or you're against me.  We're not about that, are we?


In the end we are all separate:  our stories, no matter how similar, come to a fork and diverge.  We may be drawn to each other because of our similarities, but it is our differences we must learn to respect.

Love to you all.....

Existential bs

August 21, 2008

Existential bs.....Perhaps I  have too much time on my hands ...thinking lots...writing some of it down....could be an age thing or just being nestled in the redwoods as I listen to the bubbling creek that runs by me. 


Do you ever think that all you've ever done, however beautiful or  repulsive...you did IT just for the sake of knowing....??

Guess I'll continue writing in  the first person....don't want to lay this on you.....

Only by doing whatever I did, I did IT to learn from IT....

That's why I'm here......to learn that wherever I am, I am there for no other reason than I want to be there.

For as long as I can remember I have thought and said the words "this lifetime"....which can only mean this one ... not the last one ... or the future one.

So I am here this lifetime because I wish to be.....to play out this illusion....to experience all that my soul needs in order to fulfill in wisdom ....the pain, the sorrow, the joy, the peace....to rescue myself from dogmatic beliefs, ritualistic practices, laws...anything that can limit my thought process.

My granddaughter at the age of 4 or 5 informed me of this....."there are no mistakes", she said.... without one act another would not have happened...her example....she tells my ex-husband, her maternal grandfather this "I'm so happy you and gramma Pat got divorced".  Surprised, he asked "Why?"  She replied matter-of-factly- "Well, if you didn't, I wouldn't have my gramma Ruth."  Ruthie is her grandpa's 2nd wife.

If I love myself, I will listen to myself.....to see what IT needs to feel....then pursue IT til I'm bored with IT....when boredom sets in, it is a sign that I have learned all there is to learn from that experience ...... then.... it is time to move on to another adventure....the one calling my name....the one that lies only in me...not another.

When I judge others for doing what I think is weird , silly or stupid...I want to remember..it's their path...when boredom sets in, they will get to another adventure....I hope others will know the same about me when I do the silly, the weird, the stupid.......yadayadayada!!!!!

now....remember....I said in the beginning....this was bs.....
~~~~~~~
"If you can see your path laid out
in front of you step by step, you know
it's not your path. Your own path you
make with every step you take. That's
why it's your path."
~ Joseph Campbell

My Time in San Quentin

July 18, 2008 - Friday 

Scott Peterson has a blog.....from his entin jail cell.  When I read that, it reminded me of my time at San Quentin.  The date was October 3, 1996.

That was the day the verdict came back....I'll never forget the words, "We the jury find the defendant, Orenthal James Simpson, not guilty."

Where were you that day? 

A friend was a prison guard at San Quentin.  My niece and I had remarked that it would be interesting to be inside... not realizing it would be possible.  He got it approved rather quickly and suggested our attire should not be provocative........that sounded easy enough!

After we signed our lives away....literally.......if we are held hostage...absolutely no negotiations, no exchanges, no bargaining.....and.....something about...if the SWAT team is called, we are automatically considered a prisoner and are treated as such........that should have been enough for reasonable ladies to change their minds.....

For me, angst entered my body and mind as we were led through the huge iron creaking door....you know that door we've seen so often in movies.....when that door shut, my legs began to wobble and the sick feeling I had at that moment I can recall immediately....at the thought..  Now, I was old enough to know better....my niece may not have been. 

We saw the huge library (mostly law books), met the librarian and saw some inmates.  We chatted with the chaplain in the chapel.  He invited us to return on a day there was a service as he praised the talent of some inmates.  I fully intended to return...We passed the cafeteria (the deadliest area of the prison)...I found that out years later from LockUp on MSNBC ...a show about prisons.

We were taken to the floor where the inmates lived and the floor where our friend was a guard.  A few rules....not many....."don't ask what they're in for and for how long".....sounded reasonable.  I don't know where my niece was but I was being shown around a tiny cell with 4 beds by 3 inmates...don't know where the guard was either.  They couldn't tell me fast enough why they were there, what they were accused of, and that they were 'lifers'.  I did ask them about rape issues in prisons......they assured me it didn't happen on their floor and they sounded truthful.....they also told me they didn't kill their ladies...just convicted of the crime....and that sounded truthful......I am not gullible!

The television was blarring, an announcement was made that the jury was returning with a verdict.  My new friends were very interested.  I was as well. 

Some were standing, some sitting on the bed glarring at the TV......and then...... "We the jury find the defendant, Orenthal James Simpson, not guilty." .....

To say jubilance filled the room would be understated.....and you'd better believe I was expressing a bit of joy myself!  I would not debate these men today! 

I hadn't missed a word of the entire trial and wasn't surprised at the verdict.  The prosecution did not prove its case....my opinion.  So the verdict did not strike me with wonder and astonishment.

On the way out we were treated to beautiful murals that adorned the walls painted by the inmates...heard and saw a pack of the prisoners coming in from work or play?.....It seemed like 100 men and 1 guard.  My perception only....I didn't inquire as to the ratio.  Viewed cases of weapons conviscated from cells....what ingenious and creative prisoners!

On the outside, I remember being shown the top floor....that floor that housed some pretty famous people waiting to die.  As some of the names were mentioned, I felt relief to be leaving.....the stalker, the hillside murderer, the CRIP co-founder, the Polly killer.................now there is.........

Scott Peterson...the wife killer...oh sorry....he says he's innocent!  Some people are looking for the real killers....meanwhile Scott can get in some great blogging ...as he waits....

Then there is OJ on the outside looking for the murderers and in his own prison.....

Where were you that day? 

WWS = Writing While Sick

July 11, 2008 - Friday
 
Rhetorical Randomness
 
I know it's time to go
Where this time
Is it important to know now
 
Pacific Coast Highway
Not too hot this July
Diesel prices high
This summer of 08
 
Mexico feels nice
Snorkel, Margaritas, Friends
New Orleans in February
Mardi Gras, Masks, and Friends
 
Cannot decide
Is it important to know now
 
Is this about travel
And where I'll go
Is this about Longings
Memories Heartbreak
 
Pain Denial Deceit Chaos Ache
Joy Adventure Rainbows Music
Squirm in my head and toes
Petals fall leaving ripples in the ocean
 
I know it's time to go
It doesn't matter where
It is not important to know now
 
These rhetorical random thoughts
Tantalize me when I'm sick....
 
I am now feeling better.....

Fires & Festivals

7/3/08

An update on the Cal eee fooooor neeee ahhhhh fires aka California fires.... &
tentative plans, etc...

Some of you are asking about the many fires in our state.....they are everywhere around me but not right in my face. Phoebe McGee (my RV) has much ash on her, TaZzi & I are coughing more than usual (had to bring out the inhaler for me - TaZ doesn't know how to use it...yet)! My redwood forest is not burning...TG.....no fires allowed here at the resort....

Just returned from a 3-day music festival Welcome to the 2009 Kate Wolf Memorial Music Festival, in Mendocino County (very near fires) and it was wonderful....my friend, Helen, went with me and, although very hot, we had a memorable time. Here are some of the pic.

Cooling off in the nearby river.

Our very nice, lovely, & photogenic neighbors that shared our space for 3 days on the ground.









Some of the performers..










and Helen and I






There's a good chance that I'll travel to Cabo San Lucas, MX area for a few months....working out plans for that now.....if I do that, will leave September or October. Will caravan....so don't worry about me traveling alone......!! Also may head north (Oregon, Washington, Vancouver) for a few weeks. Was planning a Big Sur stay but only fires and fire-fighters live there now.......

Gotta go now.....woke up with an idea I must begin planning...lots of kids out here at the resort this week.....so am going to get them together for a lemon-aid stand and hot dog sale for tomorrow with funds for our fire-fighters....hope it works.

Happy Safe 4th....Pat...

from Poet's Heart by Kate Wolf......

"And you in your elegance and humor
fill the room
your love and your concern
Your anger at the injustice of man's
narrowness and fear
I thank you for being here"

...death...life...

May 27, 2008 - Tuesday 

My sweet, and one of my favorite cousins, died today.  She was my flower girl in my wedding in 1960 and about 5 years old.  We had lost touch for a few years.  While traveling last year in my RV I went to see her in Dallas.  We had so much fun teasing each other, reminiscing, eating, laughing....how much sadder I would  be if I hadn't gone to see her .... 
 
It was just a few short months ago when she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer & was told she just had a few months...that was so....
 
My Mother and Judy's father were siblings....she is survived by her husband Steve, 2 sons, her Mother (almost 90) and 3 brothers.  Another brother died several years ago much too early....
 
I will miss you my sweet beautiful Judy....brown eyes!
~~~~~~~~
We are but tenants and shortly the great landlord will give us notice that our lease has expired.

Joseph Jefferson
1829-1905, American Comic Actor

"on account of the feud"

April 14, 2008 - Monday 

~from the Adventures
of Huckleberry Finn~Mark Twain




"Did you want to kill him, Buck?"
    "Well, I bet I did."
    "What did he do to you?"
    "Him?  He never done nothing to me."
    "Well, then, what did you want to kill him for?"
    "Why, nothing---only it's on account of the feud."
    "What's a feud?"
    "Why, where was you raised?  Don't you know what a feud is?"
    "Never heard of it before---tell me about it."
    "Well," says Buck, "a feud is this way:  A man has a quarrel with another man, and kills him; then that other man's brother kills him; then the other brothers, on both sides, goes for one another; then the cousins chip in----and by and by everybody's killed off, and there ain't no more feud.  But it's kind of slow, and takes a long time."
    "Has this one been going on long, Buck?"
    "Well, I should reckon!  It started thirty years ago, or som'ers along there.  There was trouble 'bout something, and then a lawsuit to settle it; and the suit went agin one of the men, and so he up and shot the man that won the suit---which he would naturally do, of course.  Anybody would."
    "What was the trouble about, Buck?---land?
    "I reckon maybe---I don't know."
    ""Well, who done the shooting?  Was it a Grangerford or a Shepherdson?"
    "Laws, how do I know?  It was so long ago."
    "Don't anybody know?"
    "Oh, yes, pa knows, I reckon and some of the other old people; but they don't know now what the row was about in the first place."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Does this explain why violence of any kind continues anywhere....from  gangs to the mafia to the Middle East....?  The human mind is complicated and mostly predictable. 

Must this be our plight....our status quo?  It is the stuff of books, for sure.  Can the chains of our pasts be liberated, can our neighbors not be the enemy,  can we build bridges by asking the right questions? 

We must keep discussions of all subjects alive.....our pasts are essential to our identity....our tomorrows can be different from our yesterdays... 

from Gypsy Mama....the idealist...the dreamer

travel rants & glorious reunion

4/2/08

I've discovered my addiction! Suspecting before it had to do with my computer...am now diagnosing it after 4 days with no connections....no wi-fi...no hot spot. My phone is also weak and rarely works.

Not that I complain. Could not do that after an absolutely fabulous week south of Tucson....in Benson. A reunion with a couple I met last year there and adding 3 more couples. Quite a diverse group representing .... Texas ... California .... and our new friends from Canada....Quebec and Ottawa. We blended perfectly with our food, our happy hour, our interests in travel & different cultures.....our pets....Rving.....etc. Now I know I must learn Spanish & French. They spoke so many languages & I didn't. Gotta get that Rosetta Stone program.

















You may remember from my last email I was going to spend 2 weeks here in Yuma, then go to El Golfo, Sonora, Mexico. Didn't do enough research on that plan. Not a good time of year, no snorkeling, water (Sea of Cortez) not good for swimming, no escort to get there....so change in plans. Just don't know what they are yet. Will be back in Santa Cruz for a few weeks in May/June.

As you all know, diesel has gotten so expensive, I'm having to be quite conservative in spending. Am trying to do a new budget and rethink the way I travel....pray that I don't have to go back to work!!!!! That will be my last choice.

Hope you all are doing well....I am.....and am catching up on my reading...

Peace & Joy......pat

Southern California...Arizona

3/2/08

By now you know the story....when you haven't heard from me for this long.....I must be in some beautiful but remote place....YUP!

For a few days I spent time with friends in Niland, CA (Saltan Sea area...near the Mexican border & the Chocolate Mountains). The Fountain of Youth Spa & Hot Springs Resort.... is a very active community of about 800 energizer-wound-up bunnies....I wonder, no longer, how they stay so young; hence the name of their community. Unfortunately, I had a bit of a fever and couldn't participate actively while there...but had a great time. Thanks...Susan, Hugh, Charlie!







I'm now at K.Q. Ranch Resort in historical Julian, CA.....known originally for gold strikes ... now it's about the "apples" baby! Better apple pie than my aunt Pearl's! This area is also called "The Imperial Valley" and is near the Mexican border.







On Monday, I'm off to Desert Hot Springs, then on to Arizona.....will see an old friend in Phoenix, then to Benson (Tombstone Territory) for a reunion with friends I met last year at a resort there.... can't wait Susan & Mike!

Don't know when I can send this out but am writing Saturday. March 1st.....my beautiful granddaughter's 15th birthday...say it isn't so ....


Ciao for now.....& remember.....

a piece of the peace I have in this gypsy life-style I've chosen, depends on you.....hearing from you and knowing what's up with you.

Hold up in Santa Cruz

January 22, 2008

I know it's time to update you all when I begin getting emails saying "where are you?" I'm missing the road a bit but I am really enjoying being at home seeing friends, spending time with relatives, and kicking back (more than usual). It has been very cold and I'm not used to that. It even snowed a bit up here yesterday in the Santa Cruz mountains, where I'm staying. I've handled most of my appointments....still have to get my teeth cleaned and get my taxes done and figure out who I'm voting for (that's the hard task) and see a few more friends.

For those of you in the Santa Cruz area who still want to see me.....email me and let me know what a good time will be. My phone is weak and I don't always get messages (too many redwood trees?)

Last year, I put 30,000 miles on Phoebe McGee. In 2008, I will not do that. When I leave here, I will head for warmth... the desert (Palm Springs area), Arizona, and Mexico (Sea of Cortez) until it begins to get really hot. Then may head to Pacific Northwest and more of Canada. Have friends up there and it's a beautiful area. I've been there before but not when I could stay a while.

TaZzi is getting lots of walks and is loving that....good for me too. However, she does not like the rain and sleet and does her business rather quickly on those days.

Hope you all are doing well. Write and let me know what you're up to. For those of you retired.....isn't it the absolute best!? For those of you not retired; your day will come!

Love and Peace and Joy to you all.... Pat

...Post Holiday Ponderings.......

January 2008

Relaxed...peaceful.....awaiting "a storm"....

Entertaining....cooking.....eating....libation....

Friends...Family...

Hiking, Walking TaZzi....

Listening to the River flow close by....

 Briefly thinking beyond NOW!

Will leave my beautiful Redwood Grove home soon...

Heading to the desert...

 Warm weather....

Remembering for now....

 Words of Emily Dickinson...

"We turn not older with years, but newer every day"

...Political Considerations.....

01/08


again the time...for

sound bites....

kissing babies....

partial truths....

media hype.....

surprises....

"change"...

inspiration.....

 listen~watch~hope

something different may happen....

this time, better than last.....?

perhaps....yes, definitely....

what if we allowed the truth

what if....

we voted for the person we really

believed in....

there's that

electoral process....

there's that

way funds are raised...

there are those delegates...

super delegates....

"is there.....

no more independence in politics than there is in jail -- as Will Rogers said?"