Thursday, March 31, 2011

Just Chillaxin

Don't even ask me where I got that word! Chillaxin. Actually, it's slang acquired from the j.o.b. When I stumbled across it the first time, I wanted to take a red pen to it and mark away, but after seeing it repeatedly, I consulted the urban dictionary. Anyway, it's a good description of life in Arizona right now.

The weather's finally sterling with warm days and cool nights, mornings spent listening to the coos of morning doves and calls of songbirds through the open windows, and wildflower and jackrabbit sightings in the regional park across the road. For the past few years, I've missed the best time of year in Arizona because I've been cooped up in an office, so I'm loving this year's spring weather.

The view from the chillaxin chair. Craig replaced the pygmy palm in the background and I spent hours cutting the dead stems and leaves out of the frostbitten plants. We're finally seeing green, so the work paid off!

A pan of succulents.

We planted this new patio pot with an Indian laurel (a type of ficus) and impatiens.

The creamy white blossoms on the grapefruit tree smell amazing right now!

The birds of paradise were the first plants to bloom after the cold winter. Amazingly enough, they weren't damaged by all the frosts!

These bottlebrush plants made it through the cold winter and are loaded with blooms! They must have liked the chill.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm back to chillaxin!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Dorothy, we're not in Manitoba anymore!

Craig and I are starting to dream about two weeks on Isla towards the end of June. If only the airfares will come down a bit! I got a fare alert on Friday that PHX to CUN had increased by $200 to $800 something roundtrip. Seriously? I looked today and most fares are in the $700's with tax, so something has to give. I guess the airlines don't want the masses to head to Cancun in the summertime.

Most mornings when we were staying at Luna Turquesa and out for our morning stroll, we would run into a Canadian man headed south from the colonias to the beach. One day, he got chatty as we were also walking south. He was incensed that Casa Ixchel had a small sign blocking their sidewalk accessibility ramp. Craig and I looked at each other and scratched our heads. Number one -- the entire island's an obstacle course. Number two -- it's just as bad in Arizona. I know because we ride bikes. My assessment was that maybe the guy expected things in Mexico and on Isla to be exactly as they were at home. Dorothy, we're not in Manitoba anymore!

A few more photos of daily Isla life to prove we're not in Manitoba.

No houses built like seashells back home!

Villa la Bella warrior.

Rustic container garden.

Let's play Straddle. Only step on the blue!

On your way out, watch your step. Oops!

For all the procastinators of the world -- a lingering Christmas. Actually, I just like the pink house with the cool motorcycle in front.

Colorful fabrics amidst dirt tones.

A peak over cemetery walls.

Helados anyone?

Skeletal traffic monitors on Juarez.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Drudge Report

Almost two weeks down, only six to go? I wish I was sitting in one of these loungers with a laptop rather than on my sofa at home. Somehow, I thought working from home would be a beach, but it turns out to be the usual be-atch!

Not to whine and sound like a spoiled teenager, but the virtual workplace is boring. I underestimated the value of weirdo-watching on the job. No Elmer Fudds seated in front of me! Other than a few anonymous messages per week, there's no contact other than performance statistics. Unbelievably, I don't even know the name of my supervisor, if I actually have one? Weird!

Must keep my eye on the goal. Each week is one week closer to freedom and two tickets to Isla!

Monday, March 21, 2011

South End Stroll

Monday was 50's and dreary in Phoenix. Since I'm still working from the sofa, it didn't really matter to me, but the local news leapt on it for their headline story. Spring storm 2011! A quarter inch of rain and a dirtstorm and reporters are interviewing the locals to see how it's affected their lives? Traffic's slow, golfers are sad, and the lunch business is down at the local bakery. Ho hum.

And my thoughts turned to sunny tropical dreams and trying to find some decent airfares for June. Here are some January photos from the southend of Isla Mujeres.

Unik Concierge

In all these years, I've never seen this place!

Southend Gate

Margarita Sunset

Maze of Docks

Los Suenos Ixchel

The current state of the Guadalupana VW bus.

Boat moorage.

Warrior cloaked in vines.

South cemetery.

Iggy's Perch

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Some Photos Down Sac Bajo Way

We've never stayed on Sac Bajo because it feels like such a long way from town. That being said, we were staying at Villa la Joya in the Garrafon area, even further down island? On our last full day with the golfcart, we realized we'd overlooked the Sac Bajo tour, so we took a spin on our way back from lunch.

Sac Bajo, like the rest of the island, is an area in transition. Some of the older places, like Cristalmar, are closed in disrepair, while venues like Villa Rolandi and Zama Beach Club have invested big dollars in remodeling projects. Older beach cottage colonies line the road alongside newer homes and condo towers.

The end of the road remains a tranquil spot except for the occasional boat speeding around the little offshore island.

Richie Sowa was in the middle of giving a tour of the Floating Island as we passed.

We've never taken the tour of the island and home built from recyclables, but it looks amazing -- like a ramshackle modern day Robinson Crusoe creation. Next trip!

Beautiful landscaping lines the road!

The new home below features gorgeous tropical plantings in an old boat hung on the side of the wall.

Luxurious new digs stand alongside older casas.

I have no idea what lurks behind this wall and fancy door at this property, but I'd love to catch a glimpse of Zaztun someday. Guess I need to take a boat ride or wade/walk the shoreline.

Here's my yearly photo of the Mayan face at Villa Makax. Seriously, I can't drive past this without snapping a photo.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Juarez Doors

It's only Day Four of this working from home stuff and I will tell you it's tougher than I thought it would be. I don't miss leaving the house by 7 a.m., packing a lunch, looking presentable, driving 30 minutes each way, and being part of the herd, but it's really hard to stay on task! A neighbor calls on the phone and I just monitor the machine, but then the doorbell rings and I end up spending 20 minutes with that. Then I need a drink and a little snack before I sit back down again, and a half hour has gone poof! Since I'm paid by logged on time, it's not like I can just walk away at 5:00 p.m. if the number's aren't there. Ugh.

All that being said, I did do the math this morning and figured out yesterday, on a day when I took three hours out in the middle to have lunch with friends, I did actually make a little more working from home. (But I got up at the crack of dawn to do that and worked an hour after dinner so I could put in the time!) I just need to learn to fine art of balance! And with that said, I'd better get busy. Once again, I'm off schedule.

Juarez is one of my favorite streets on Isla. This year, it was a traffic jam during the day, but I did manage to get some photos of doors without getting flattened by a vehicle.

This has always been my favorite house on Juarez, and it's probably the most photographed house on the island.

I think the name plate on this one says Magana, as in Puerto Juarez ferry.

This, of course, has to be the second most photographed dwelling on Juarez. I thought the motorcycle was a nice touch.

This house frequently changes colors. I love this new shade of blue.

Another beautiful shade of blue.

Have you ever heard the expression 'you could walk a dog under that door'? You could walk one under or through this one! I'm betting this casa is vacant!

Now quick like a bunny, I'm off to the shower so I can be perched on my sofa (my new office) by 8 a.m.! I tried working at a desk, but that was just way too uncomfortable and boring! : )

Monday, March 14, 2011

Another Bridge

It's time to cross another one of those big bridges in life. You know, one of those long high ones that leads from life as we know it to the ??? on the other side. I'm just hoping the girders and decking on this one are solid.

My usual style is to try and float from one stage to the next in life not obsessing over the what if's. Excessive drama doesn't really change anything, it just creates -- more drama! But I'll admit that I keep waking up in the middle of the night thinking about this movie! (It's a link -- you can click on it!) Didn't the wife DIE before Schmidt took off on his whirlwind retirement trip?!!!

Life is short, and I can't afford to waste another minute of it. I guess that's the tidbit of information to be gleaned from this movie. (I'm trying to ignore the Who is this old woman who lives in my house? line.)

Have you guessed it yet? Craig is retiring -- on Friday!

I just started my new project on Friday (timing is everything?), so the frivolity and our next beach trip will have to wait until May.

Meanwhile, if anyone sees Craig wandering around the R.V. lot, send him home!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Deep Friday Thoughts

Snapped this photo in the Isla Mujeres cemetery in January and it fits my mood today! It's the first day of another new project. I'm deeply submersed in qualification hell! It's a day when I always wish someone would just toss me a shovel so I could dig a hole and crawl in. My mantra for today is this too shall pass, this too shall pass, this too shall pass!

Hmmmmmm. Deep thoughts. What do you think? Perhaps the shovel was left in the cemetery in case someone buried alive needs to dig his way out? Or maybe the deceased was a laborer who dug up streets for a living and that shovel was placed there in memoriam?

And yes, I do realize why the shovel was left there. My brain's not that fried! LOL

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Some Boats

I thought about trying a wordless Wednesday pic today, but it's not in my nature to be wordless. Somehow, I always feel the need to explain.

I love to walk Medina south to take photos of the boats. Since I was staying at the south end of the airport strip, I tacked it onto my walk into El Centro one day. If only they'd just let me cut across the Navy airstrip! I'm kidding of course, but seriously, it'd create a great shortcut to Milagro's, the Soggy Peso, Chuuk Kay, and other points west!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Meatball Saturday

What to do on a Saturday afternoon when there's no beach? We could sit by the 50 degree pool basking in the Arizona sun working on our sun damage, but we'd spent the entire morning in the sun chopping back torched shrubs. We could take an antique mall trek in search of my mission oak library table, but that idea was vetoed by Craig. So we quickly decided on the obvious --lunch.

We settled on Rigatoni's, an Italian restaurant with a great outdoor dining area -- perfect for a sunny day with temps in the high 70's.

We ordered lunch specials that started with house salads and wonderful garlic bread.

Craig's lasagna definitely scored 9 out of 10 points. (I should know since I stuck my fork in first.)

Dat's a spicey meatball! I ordered the spaghetti with one mega meatball in marinara sauce and it was quite tastey! All my Italian friends who cook insist they never order spaghetti and meatballs in an Italian restaurant because theirs are better. I don't know about that. That dish was mighty fine!