Friday, October 31, 2008

A Halloween Bag of Tricks!

Trick or treat? Well I think these are the tricks. The first item I'll pull out of my bag is a little silliness from the presidential campaign! Some silliness at this point is a good thing! By the way, just remember it's FAKE!

I always get a lot of Halloween cartoons in my e-mail, so here are a couple of my favorites!

Okay -- THAT one was really scary!

I love all the pets in their Halloween outfits. I've always wanted to dress Saby up for the holiday, but my son has told me he'll sue me for custody if I do that. Ha!

Remember my comments yesterday about my mother always putting nylons over my head in place of a scary mask? This dog evidently has a mama cut from the same cloth!


This one's REALLY creepy!

Pug in tails!

And a Cat Witch!

Happy Halloween! Have a good one! :)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Halloweeners!

Click to play Halloweeners!

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Halloween always brings back memories of trick or treating as a child. I lived in a little town, so a friend and I would see how many doorbells we could manage to ring in our allotted amount of time. I never put much planning into Halloween outfits. Usually my mother would drag some stuff out of the closet and make us up at the last minute. No store bought outfits! Except now I'm looking at my brother in that one black and white picture and he's in a store bought outfit? No fair! I'm in a pair of old workman's coveralls with a nylon pulled over my head? I guess that was my mother's surefire fallback for making me look scary, but Craig wonders if she wasn't pointing me towards janitorial work. Ha! Maybe I didn't want to be a ballerina or Cinderella?

Anyway, my friend and I would run from one end of town to the other, always managing to call on some elderly folks who had no clue it was Halloween. They'd usually donate a rotten apple to each of our bags and we didn't appreciate that at the time. Now I feel bad that I took their food. A little lady across the street made her famous pecan pralines for Halloween, and another neighbor always gave popcorn balls. I really didn't have much appreciation for the homemade. I just wanted the real stuff! Candy bars!

Most of our son's trick-or-treating years were spent in the Seattle area. It usually rained on Halloween, so the designated parent had to walk along with a coat and umbrella. Kids were into the cheap vinyl superhero outfits at that time. That's him in the Batman, Spiderman, and Mr. T outfits in the slideshow.

We'll be hanging close to home this Halloween, manning the door and doling out treats to all the little ghouls!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Halloween Chili

Chili's a Halloween tradition at our house. I don't care if we ARE still running the A/C and it's 96 degrees outside -- we can still eat chili! My mom did almost all the cooking when we were kids, but my dad made a mean pot of chili! And it's a really easy recipe.

Kirwin's Chili

1 to 1 1/2 pounds hamburger
1 chopped onion
1 chopped green pepper
1/2 chili seasoning packet -- to taste
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
4 cans of chili beans
Grated sharp cheddar cheese

Brown the hamburger in a large pot. After de-greasing, add the chopped onions and green peppers and saute. Add half the chili seasoning packet or less (until you figure out the level of HEAT). After mixing the seasoning into the meat, add canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, and 4 cans of chili beans. You may need to add a little water to thin the consistency. Simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.

Spoon chili into bowls and top with sharp grated cheddar. A friend of ours also uses chopped onions and yellow mustard as a topper. That's way too gourmet for us. Ha! Corn bread makes an excellent addition to the meal, but we usually just add crackers.

Ready to simmer!

While you're waiting for the chili to cook, take a look at this little sightseeing tour with Luis Miguel. Love this song!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Move to Canada!

I've been steering clear of politics on the blog, but this is too funny to pass up! :)

Monday, October 27, 2008

More Retro Isla

For all you Islaholics, I know you'll be able to tell me what's great about these two photos. I found them yesterday in a grouping from our first trip to Isla. The photos were taken with my first digital camera, so they're all extremely lacking in megapixels. But I was thrilled with the non-claustrophobic view from the cemetery!

The rest of the pictures from that trip made me think about what Isla felt like when viewed for the first time. A slow carefree flip flop world. No phone calls. No newspapers. Very little television. No driving and little traffic except for golf carts, motos, scattered taxi's and delivery trucks. Friendly people, despite the fact that we didn't speak Spanish. It was the most relaxing place we'd ever visited. Very little polish or sophistication to the island then. It was just after Easter in 2002 and the pace was very slow. Most evenings, there were only a handful of people in any of the restaurants we chose. We'd stroll the streets watching locals going about their daily routine. A little friend with a red, green, and white collar found us on our morning walks and tagged along. We thought he was angling for a ride home with us, but I now realize he was just waiting to share our breakfast. He camped out under our table after the walk and dined on toast, omelet, and bacon scraps.

Remember all the hub-bub over the Convention Center dogs? I remember all the arguments on the old message board. Here they are on the beach out in front of Secreto.

We stayed at Secreto that trip and it had just opened. $75 a night including tax and continental breakfast. And I can also remember the rants on the old message board about Isla inflation and who the heck would pay $75 at the Secreto on Isla. That still makes me laugh. At the time, we couldn't have stayed at the Travelodge at the Seattle airport for $75 a night, so we were extremely happy with my find and hoped the price would never change! Secreto was beautiful, but probably a lot less polished than it is today.

Here are some other photos from around the island. I can't really put the exact words to my feelings when I look at these pics, but Isla just seemed a bit fresher and more innocent that first trip!

Hotel Garrafon dock was still straight and useable, especially for the birds!

Dinner at Caso O's. The waiter was beside himself because El Presidente was at a table on the lower deck. I'm thinking El Presidente was Paulino back then?

We were there on May 1, so we watched the workers parade.

Hugging the pyramid wall on top of El Castillo.

Since it was our first trip to the Yucatan, we wanted to see Chichen Itza. I'm allergic (seriously) to diesel fumes and have motion sickness issues with buses, so we found an agency on Isla (Prisma) that set us up with a private driver who met us at the Puerto Juarez ferry dock in Cancun and drove us to Chichen Itza and back. I referred to the driver as El Dangeroso because he sped down that humpback backroad at about 90 mph (not the toll road) all the way. He didn't speak much English, and we didn't speak Spanish. I felt like I was taking a big leap of faith (since I'm a bit of a control freak). Last year I realized El Dangeroso was Gaby at Sergio's Playa del Sol. Tee hee. He's a nice guy and his English has improved tremendously. Gaby also took us to a cenote, the square in Valladolid, and several other small towns on the way back. Here are some more photos from our off-island trip.

The Cenote

Cathedral in Valladolid

Not having traveled much outside the U.S., the Yucatan was a world away from anywhere we'd visited. I was amazed at the stick houses in the villages. It reminded me of the Three Pigs. It seemed a wolf could huff and puff and blow those stick/palapa huts down. I didn't take any pictures because Gaby was moving too fast and I also felt it would be ugly to jump out and take pictures of their humble dwellings. At one point during the trip, Craig needed a bathroom, so Gaby stopped and checked out several places looking for a bano for Craig. Craig said it was one of those hole in the floor setups, so I was glad I limited the fluids!

Another zocalo and old church in a small Yucatan town.

I have to say it was probably the best vacation we've had on so many levels. We were discovering a location and culture totally different than anyplace we'd been. And the turquoise clear waters of the Caribe made Isla more striking than any beach location we'd visited. And the place was so s-l-o-w at a time in our lives when we really needed it! And I never dreamed I'd end up being such a repeat visitor and making so many new friends. :)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday Mornings

Sunday mornings we like to hop on our bikes and ride over to the local supermarket and pick up a Sunday paper. Once home, I whip up my frozen coffee concoction. Grab your paper and favorite cup of Joe to go with this music! This is Cafe Mocha from Jesse Cook's album Frontiers. I wish I was sitting at Aluxes or Color de Verano or any morning place on Isla listening to this! :)

Speaking of Sunday mornings, here are a few photos I took one Sunday morning on Isla in May 2004! The island was so quiet back then and the sand on Playa Norte was beautiful!

Gateway to Paradise

Sunday Morning Solitude

Lots of sand and very few people in 2004!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Some Saturday Scribbles

I saw some funny (?) cartoons on the economy that I thought I'd post today. I just heard Friday on CNN that the U.S. government still worries we may be headed towards recession. Huh what?!!! I kind of assumed we were IN a recession and they were worried about a depression! At one point Friday, they said the stock market was down 50% from where it was one year ago.

You KNOW it's bad when some of the screaming heads on the financial networks are actually telling people to get their money out of the market. How the tune has changed! I actually heard that from Kramer (the yeller). I recently read a magazine article that said frugality is becoming the new 'cool' thing. Good to know in our current state of penny-pinching that we could end up 'cool.' Friends just told me that they put their current 401K stats into the retirement calculator and they now can retire at age 82? Two months ago they were slated for a normal retirement at age 66. And who will LET them work until age 82? Since most corporations start discarding people in their 50's for younger cheaper replacements, I guess Baby Boomers will either be self-employed or manning the door at Walmart. Repeat after me -- '"My, that's a purty baby!"

Anyway, here's some of the (not so) funny economic cartoons from October.

Okay, enough gloom and doom. On a lighter note, here's a slightly vile juvenile tune from the singing kitties. We're having friends over for dinner tonight, but I don't think we'll serve fish. :)

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I just want to say that I had one of the best birthdays ever! I heard from more friends this year than any year I can remember in the past. Thanks everyone! And I literally haven't cooked since Saturday night. I was treated to dinner on Sunday night, lunch on Monday, dinner on Tuesday, and dinner again on Wednesday night. Michael stopped in for two nights on his way from Texas to Nevada and treated us to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. It's a great moment when your child picks up the tab! :) Craig picked out the card above because the dog looks like Saby would have as a puppy. (We adopted her at age seven.) And I enjoyed all my birthday cards and gifts!

You know I love cake! The cake above was a gift from a friend. There's a little story about the bee on that cake. Only God knows what gets into kids' heads! When we were in early grade school (first grade?), we made a game out of sitting on bees on the way home from school. When done properly, the skirt is tucked underneath the bottom and legs to guard against stings, but Jenny forgot to tuck and ended up stung! Ha! I think our bee-sitting ended that day?

Anyway, I'm a lucky girl to have such great friends and family! Besos to everyone!

Here's one of my favorite songs.

Friends just like family!

When we lived in the Northwest, we were far from home. Distance, jobs, and time constraints kept us from seeing our real families on a frequent basis. So we ended up with a tight knit group of friends that we considered to be family. We all basically lived in the same area. If real family wasn't available, we would spend Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day -- any or all of these with friends. An occasional weekend trip, summer evenings picnicking at the lake, walks through the neighborhood, birthday parties, and a host of other occasions were just some of the times spent together. And what a support group through job loss, surgeries, sickness, death, and all the other junk in life! And boy do I miss them now! We had some crazy good times -- some nutty stuff that's not printable on the internet. One couple now lives fifteen minutes from us, so we still have 'family' close. Hey Rick and Gwennie! One of my best friends from childhood also just moved in four doors down. Hey Jenny and Bob! And another couple's moving to the Phoenix area at the end of this year. Hurry up Gloria and Dennis!

Anyway, we all need to get together soon to create some more memories! :) Maybe we'll come see another one of those Davis girls get married!

P.S. This is really a test to see if any of you ever look at this blog! HA! (But I mean every word of it!)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Gates of Isla

No, I'm not talking about rumors of Bill and the Microsoft millionaire's yacht on Isla! On my last few trips to Isla, I've begun to notice the distinct gates on the island. I love the rustic ones, but there are also some very artistic gates on the island. Here are a few of my favorites.

You can see the blue Caribe through the windows in this wooden gate on Juarez.

I loved the old wooden gates on the cemetery and was sorry to see them replaced.

I noticed this rustic wooden spool colonia gate on our trip in May. It has a lot of character!

This gate is so charming. The owner offers spa services on Juarez.

This older rustic blue gate is on the south end. I've always wondered what's back there?

This colonia gate allows a peek to the casa within.

This beautiful artistic gate secures a house in the Punta Sur area.

These little poodles guard this modest picket colonia gate.

This large wooden paned gate allows a peek to the yellow casa within.

Love this artistic colonia gate and the moto completes the look!

The colorful La Rinconada gate.

Rustic iron colonia gate.

Gate to Mundaca Zoo.

Rustic wooden gate in Playa Lancheros area.

New rustic wooden gate to estate next to Mar y Sol. Not sure what this property is, but they built a huge dock in May!