Sunday, November 29, 2009

Some New Baubles!

I'm in trouble. I have another new obsession. Scratch the domino pendants. I'll come back to those later!

A few weeks ago, I goofed up and bought the wrong kind of wire. It turned out to be memory wire for making bracelets. I thought about taking it back, but it was so cheap, I decided not to bother. Save it for a rainy day! So last week, I was in a bead shop in Tempe that I'd heard about to look for some little charms and the right kind of wire. They had an unbelievable selection of beads, so I couldn't resist buying some and making something with my mistake!

This is just a small selection of the bracelets I've made. I guess my friends and relatives will be getting bracelets for Christmas! (I haven't come up with a man bracelet yet.)

My favorites ended up being the bracelets I made from the leftover beads. In other words, there's a pile of beads with no plan and can I make something with those! I love this little red, blue, and silver number.

This was another bracelet made from the leftover beads. I'm keeping this one for myself!

I made a few of these as little Christmas bracelets to give as gifts.

And here was the final leftover bracelet. Since I still have some memory wire and the beads are 40% off at Beads Galore this weekend -- hmmmmmmmm. May have to fire up my Beetle and get back there!

P.S. You wouldn't believe how crowded that place was yesterday at 3:00 p.m. I think I've joined a new cult!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Christmas Seaglass

I have all my seaglass haul from this trip in two big containers -- an old wicker tray in the living room and an old wooden bowl in the family room. I started getting out the Christmas decorations this weekend and discovered I could throw some old glass Christmas ornaments into the mix to dress the seaglass up for Christmas! I'm starting to get some Christmas spirit!

On a bummer note, I took my Bug in yesterday to get the back window fixed. The first place didn't want to do it, so we had to take it to the dealership. What a racket! Over $400 to fix the damn back window, and they've had it since yesterday afternoon. Not exactly prompt service for the price! I read that it was one of those little design flaws that never got recalled. And then they tried to scare us into a bunch of other overpriced services. Grrrrrrrrrrr. Bah Humbug! Won't be going back there!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Cheaper than K-Mart!

Thanksgiving was wonderful! The $5 turkey turned out beautifully. Really moist. I stuffed the cavity with chopped onions, apples, celery, rosemary, and sage, but I'm not sure if that had anything to do with the moistness. The potatoes, stuffing, and gravy were also a big hit. My son's always flabberghasted when I manage to turn out a good Thanksgiving meal because I had one huge fiasco when he was in high school and didn't cook turkey for five years after that! My friend brought over the best pies she had baked -- pumpkin and chocolate cream! Yummy!

Before I forget, there's a smashing deal on Isla on tequila. Cheaper than K-Mart! Or at least there was in late October. At the Navy store (you enter through the back gates off Juarez towards the top of the hill), they had the large bottle (NOT the small bottle in this photo) of Corralejo tequila for 190 pesos! I bought one for Michael and brought it home in my checked bag. I was also surprised that the Navy store is now air-conditioned. It used to be a trial going in there because it was so dang hot! I went in to buy Halloween candy and came out with a big bottle of tequila!

And the large bottle of tequila is now a goner. Michael went to the store last week and bought the small bottle. It was $26, so that shows you what a great deal that big bottle is at the Navy store. A lot cheaper than Covi!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Memories

I went looking for some old photos of family Thanksgiving's yesterday, but couldn't find any. Lots of Christmas dinner photos, but no Thanksgiving! Then I realized a lot of my childhood Thanksgiving's were spent in Kansas City at my aunt's. She lived in various locations around the city, but my favorite was definitely her house on the hill above the Country Club Plaza -- 5115 Sunset Drive! The house was so distinctive, I can still remember the address 45 years later! The house was one of the hottest locations in town because it was an easy walk to those fantastic Plaza Christmas lights that Kansas City's famous for!

The house was beautiful. I'd call it a mini-mansion. I googled it online to try and find a photo, but all I got were the facts. It was an old French tudor style three story home. All the windows on the front were French door balconies. It had a large center staircase in the large entry hall. It was a child's dream for hide and seek with all those rooms, nooks, and crannies. Not to mention the grounds and area. Usually our hide and seek game would start in the yard, and then extend all the way over to Loose Park.

After Thanksgiving dinner, my aunt would usually take me down to the Plaza. We'd window shop, and later stop someplace for another piece of pie. I guess she wanted a little escape from all the relatives. Later in the evening, my uncle would take the adults and all of us kids to the latest movie at the Plaza cinema. I distinctly remember seeing a Pink Panther movie one year.

Hope this Thanksgiving Day rekindles all those happy family memories for all of you! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gobble Gobble!

Gosh, it's that time of year again! Today I'm going to be busy cleaning and cooking getting ready for tomorrow. We're having friends over for Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, green beans, carrots, cranberry salad, pies -- a typical feast!

By the way, that makes me remember what I forgot! I was going to tell everyone about the best part of my trip to Isla this year. I met up with so many old and new friends on the island. And alll of them seem to have one thing in common -- very big hearts! Just good people! I really appreciated the concern and offers when Ida was headed towards Isla. I'd always wondered what I'd do if I got caught down there by myself in a storm, but I definitely wasn't alone. Lots of offers of help from old and new friends, so if Ida had turned out to be a big one, I would not have been by myself. And as it turned out, I was whisked over to Media Luna where they took very good care of me! That last week when the weather turned bad, the emphasis turned from the beach to hanging out talking with friends. So I'm thankful for all the great people I've met on Isla over the years!

The last two years have been pretty stressful in our household, so I'm really thankful it's almost 2010! We've been going through what everyone our age faces -- loss. Deaths of close family members and other big changes. If there's one thing we both learned this year, it's that life can change on a dime at any given time. So we've decided to get out there, travel, and have fun while we still can! I'm contemplating where that next trip will be! : )

Here's a funny Thanksgiving commercial! And that reminds me -- get that turkey out of the fridge for awhile so it will finish thawing! Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bistro Francais

The French Bistro is one of our favorite restaurants on Isla. The food is predictably wonderful, and that and Victor's excellent service keep us returning year after year. The restaurant is usually our choice for our first night on the island meal, and this last visit was no exception. We headed there shortly after dropping our bags.

I've always loved the Bistro's tile and shell mosaics.

And wall murals.

Seated at our usual table out by the street with a nice breeze, I ordered the shrimp kebabs. Craig chose the filet mignon in pepper sauce. The kebabs, as usual, were out of this world, and Craig's filet absolutely melted in the mouth. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm.

My shrimp kebabs.

And the filet mignon in pepper sauce.

Sometimes, if I'm not all that hungry, I'll opt for the portobello mushroom salad as my entree. I also love the French Bistro for breakfast. The French toast and tocino!

I didn't see Petey perched in the restaurant at either breakfast or dinner this trip, so I'm wondering if something's happened to him? I hesitated to ask Victor because I worried that maybe Petey was no longer of this earth. Anyone seen Petey lately?

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Sunday Outing

Sunday, we decided to take the day off and do something fun. My pick! I decided I'd like to visit a couple of my favorite antiques stores. We headed to downtown Mesa where there's an antique mall on Main Street. When we got there, it wasn't open and we were hungry. We just happened upon a cute little coffee shop/restaurant called The Bungalow.

We found out they were serving brunch, so we both ordered their scrambles, a scrambled egg concoction with veggies and sausage. This photo doesn't do the taste justice. Yummmmm. And the scramble came with a delicious side of cheesy potatoes! We found a great outdoor table right next to this fountain in the quaint courtyard.

After finishing our brunch, we headed back to the antique mall on Main. I found the cutest little white enamelware teapot and a little holiday Betty Crocker cookbook. I decided we should really visit the other big antique mall on McKellips in Mesa while we were in the neighborhood.

When we got to the other antique mall, I noticed a large sign on the door that said 'No Photographs'. I had to laugh. This is the same mall where the clerk followed me around a few months ago scowling at me taking photos. I don't think the sign was there then, so they must have had it made especially for me. Something just irritates me about the atomosphere when a store posts a list of rules on the front door. And this one has a list. No large purses, bags must be checked at front desk, no photographs, no food or drink, etc.... So I was in a bit of a mood and not inclined to buy. (I'd actually forgotten my camera anyway, so the 'no fotos' didn't matter.)

Suddenly I happened upon a booth where the dealer was just putting out the cutest old vintage snow globes. And then I found the funky old Santa with guitar and the vintage Mexican pottery nativity in one of the glass cases.
Overall, not a bad haul at all for one Sunday. I love vintage Christmas decorations, and the little teapot was an unusual find!

I love the little pottery nativity scene. The funny thing is I have a new version of this creche that I bought in Cabo on that strange company trip, so I was thrilled to find a vintage one!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunny Saturday

We're so bad. After a morning of trimming shrubs and getting the yard ready for winter, we ended up out at Joe's Farm Grill yesterday and ate those big tasty burgers and fries. It was a beautiful sunny day and we sat in the sun at a picnic table outside. The weather was just right. Temps in the lo 70's, and not a cloud in the sky.


It's scooter weather again! Saw this cute little Vespa in the parking lot.

We took a walk around after eating. I think these are grapevines?

And snapdragons, which reminded me it's time to get some annuals planted. On the way home, we visited Home Depot and picked up some geraniums, ferns, and petunias. It always seems so out of whack to me that I'm planting my annuals down here in Arizona when the snow's starting to fall in other places. I got some red petunias for Christmas!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Bon Voyage MD!

You're almost there! Bet you can't wait

to chill out on that balcony

catch a sunrise

relish in those beautiful sunsets

from high in the sky

plunder the seaglass bootie

drink a cold beer on the docks

taste the shrimp tacos at Mocambo

and just be!

Here's to a glorious vacation on Isla! Wish I was there!

Who's kidding? We ALL wish we were there!

Friday, November 20, 2009

I've Fallen Off the Wagon!

Wow, I'm up early this morning after having interactive dreams all night long. I was back on Isla with hurricane dreams brought on by acid reflux. Burp burp. The indigestion in turn was brought on by the late night chocolate I consumed last night. I kept dreaming I was back in that room at the Rocamar worrying those crashing waves were going to make it to the third floor balcony!

My fall off the proverbial wagon all started with the suggestion of an approaching storm. Not that I wasn't indulging a little bit on Isla before Ida came into my life, but she was the final blow to any semblance of a healthy diet. B.I. (Before Ida), I was up early each morning in a routine of a long walk looping El Centro and the malecon followed by a trip to the seaglass mine and a swing past the little shop on Juarez that sells fresh cut up fruit and bottles of orange juice.

But it was around the morning of Friday, November 6 that a little bit of panic set in. I think Wayne had posted that he was deciding whether to begin hurricane preparations, and I read on one of the weather sites that Ida had sped up and was headed on a bulls eye run towards the Yucatan Channel and Isla. Instead of a Tuesday arrival when I would be long gone, it was now slated for late Sunday. I suddenly realized that I had a chance of getting caught in a big storm on Isla! So I went into big storm mode -- a longstanding routine dating back to my life in Washington State. When a big snowstorm and/or big windstorm approached, I'd make a run on the grocery store. I was a little worried about locals making a run on the supermercado and depleting the shelves of the necessities, so I was up bright and early Friday morning to make a run on the supermercado and the ATM machine. (I didn't realize that the locals wait a little later to make the run on the store!)

Mary, forgive me, for I am about to sin big time. Turn around and look away! I'm headed for the snack aisle at the supermercado!

The Bimbo stand! Let's face it, if you're in a hotel room and they shut off the power, you don't want anything that needs preparation or might spoil! So by all means, buy something with an indefinite shelf life packaged to withstand the ages. Those little Bimbo donuts (the grande package!), lots of those little packages of cookies, a bag of limon Sabritas, a supply of my favorite B Light drinks, some M&M's and a Snicker bar -- you get the picture! A little package of graham crackers was the healthiest purchase on my list. And I threw in a large bottle of agua purificado for good measure. By the way, I bought double on the Bimbo donuts (I guess I thought I was in for a long siege) and the maid at Media Luna inherited an entire bag when I exited the island.

Anyway, I was down for the count. Lying on the street by the side of the wagon I'd fallen from. By Saturday evening, I had to make another run past a mini-mart on my way back to the Rocamar because I'd already eaten half my supply of panic snacks! LOL And here I am two weeks later, still indulging.

I'm a little worried since Thursday is Thanksgiving and that marks the big slide into Christmas binge eating. Crap!

What I really need right now is a wonderful place right down the street I can stroll to in the evenings for a nice salad -- already prepared for me!

I promise to eat all my salad, go light on the dressing, and just nibble on a few of those pieces of toasted bread with roasted garlic! And even if I succumb to a meal off the menu, I'd order the fish in Cuban sauce. Mmmmmmmmmm. Just beam me back to Isla!

I never can get the name right, but you know what/where I'm talkin' about! Victor's Viva con Cuba Libre!

P.S. Stayed tuned for more Isla food next week!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

In the Nooks and Crannies

Every visit to Isla, I notice things I've never photographed before. This year was no exception.

Miguel's cool gourd lights! Makes me want to buy one for my house!

This trip, all the trikes caught my attention.

Every sunset's different! This one was taken down by Aluxes (that dreadful place!).

Love the neon look of Miguel's new bar!

The candy store has an old bench out front. Those people have a green thumb! All their old cooking pots are filled with flowers and plants! I love antiques!

Never noticed this sign before. Licoreria? Kinky?

A pepto pink wall and gate!

The wall next to Vivian's Qubano. I could use a Cuban sandwich right now!

I'd never noticed this stick hut at the back of the NaBalam property! Reminds me of all the little villages we passed through on the way to Chichen Itza. I wonder if the Big Bad Wolf could huff and puff and blow it down!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pavo Wars

It's that time of year again. Starbuck's is serving pumpkin spice frappucinno's, Costco is baking the pumpkin pies, and the turkey price war is on!

Grocery chains in this area seem to use the pavo as a loss leader to get people into the store. But how low can they go! On Sunday, I just happened to notice an ad on the front of the paper for 37 cents a pound turkeys at Fry's. Oh my! Can't beat that with a stick! So tonight after Michael treated me to dinner at the Streets of New York, we stopped by Fry's. A 12 plus pound turkey for $4.51! Now that's a deal! And I thought my $8.00 turkey last year was a steal.

This year we won't be going over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house. After getting home last week from Isla, I decided the last thing in the world I want to do is travel. So we'll be home sweet home! I'm looking forward to roasting a turkey. Maybe we can eat it out on the patio! : )

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Shades of Blue

I've always loved everything blue. My aunt and I used to joke while antiquing that I'd buy a thunder pot if it was blue! I think that's one of the reasons I'm in love with Isla. From doors to houses to the turquoise colors of the Caribe -- blue is everywhere!

A multi-hued blue casa.

The blue Dorado.

A blue candy store -- priceless!

Blue map.

Blue doors.

And blue gates.

A blue Bug.

A blue grave.

Even the street signs are blue!

I'll just call this one a blue hurricane.

Another blue casa.

A pale blue door.

And the blue Susanita. Wonder if it's as good as La Lomita?

And what could be better than the blue Caribe right outside your door!

It's all Heaven!