Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Weddings, Birthdays and Other Celebrations

In our last blog we sent you a photo of a very pretty flower that grows on the Frangipani tree in our back yard.  This is a photo of the whole tree.  Actually there are two of them.  We do like them but soon they will lose their flowers and leaves.  But they are lasting much longer this year than other years.
As in most cities and towns in North America, the town Christmas tree is a Christmas tradition.  This is the beginning of the one in the center of Tlaqupaque.
And this is how it looks after it is all decortated.
Last year, for the first time, the town fathers thought it would be a good idea to build an outdoor skating rink in the center of the central park.  The kids loved it but it did mess up the central park for a couple of months.  This year they are doing the same and this photo is the start of construction with the most necessary pieces of a skating rink, the compressors.
Last year it poured rain on the outdoor rink and you know what happened to the ice.  This year they are constructing a frame that will be covered as to protect the ice in case of rain.
They first covered the ice area with sand and you all know that sand needed tamping.  This photo shows how it was tamped.
I go every day to the café San Pedro for a cappuccino and this is my favorite barrista.
Karen, one of the girls who visited us this summer, celebrated her 19th birthday along with 22 year old cousin.  This is the birthday girl with one of her cousin's children.
The birthday girl, her sister Romina and her mother Teresa.  All visited us in Alberta this past summer.
The Herrera family is huge the they gather often, not only for birthdays but on most Sundays at their mother's home.  This is some of the men in  that family.  I am not one of them, but they wanted me to be in the photo.
And a few days later, Teresa, Karen's mother had a birthday and this is some of the women in that family.  The women at the end is the matriarch and a very proud one.
This is our dentist, Maria,, part of the Herrera family, doing karaoke.   Thank God she is dentist as she would never make a living as a singer.
The couple that sell us chicken and eggs in the market invited us to their wedding which we attended.  This is the groom's mom and dad, standing outside the church before the wedding.
The mom and dad and the bride and groom, Omar and Karla.
And one more photo of the bride and groom.
There are five bands that play at the Parian on a daily basis.  On Friday and Saturday and Sunday, one of the bands, along with two Mariachi singers give us one hour of free entertainment.  Nancy and I go often to listen.  One of the violin players in one of the bands, has befriended us and we visit with him often.  This is Manual, our friend,, playing his violin. He is not always so serious looking.
As in past years, Nancy and I host a celebration around American Thanksgiving and Mexican Independence.  Our party this year was on Dec 2nd, missing both holidays by a few days but it did not seem to bother anyone, as 28 or 29 showed up. A couple, we think, just walked in off the street as no one seemed to know who they were. It was a great party but a whole lot of work for Nancy.  She cooked ham and turkey with mashed potatoes and salads. We are debating on whether to continue with it another year as it keeps getting bigger and bigger.
The first to show were Karen and Romina.  This is Karen, ready to help us get ready.
Karen, Romina and Nancy, getting things set out for the other guests.
From left to right, John Lopez from California.  He is 85 years old and pretty healthy.  The next is Maria, our dentist, and then Teresa, the mother of Karen and Romina, and then, me.
A few of the many guests.
From left to right around the table, Stephen  from Vancouver Island, Paul from Toronto, Betty from Portland, Lori who lives here and Ron
Again from left to right around the table.  Richard from Queretaro Mexico, Maria and Teresa and finally John Lopez.
Two more have been added to the table, Nancy and Randall, who lives here full time,
Just a general view of the seating of the people
As you can tell this is towards the end of the party.  Too much beer, wine and Tequila.
Lori and Stephen,  Lori lives and works here, and Stephen spends half his year here.
A few of Olivia's sisters.
We did enjoy ourselves a whole lot and it will be hard to shut it down as people  expect it to happen.  We will see.
That's ALL for this blog.....and we'll see if we have more photos to share with you in our next few months.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Our First Three Weeks in Tlaqupaque

We arrived in Tlaqupaque on October 24th to warm and wonderful weather.  We had a few days of 25 degrees and clear skies but most of the days since then have been cloudy and cool and a bit of rain.  It is most unusual weather for this part of Mexico at this time of the year.  But there is hope as the weather map has us warm and clear for the next week.
We also arrived to an over grown garden as it had not been looked after since we left last April. 
The first photo are the flowers on a very beautiful Frangipani tree.  Usually when we arrive there is maybe one or two flowers left on it, but this year it is still blooming and looks as it will keep blooming for some time
Last year I had cut this bougainvillea to the ground and this is what happened after one year as what happens to most plants in Mexico.  Things just grow.  But it was a mess and I had to fix it.
And these are hibiscus that have not been cut for 7 months
We spent a week getting it all in order and this photo is what we did to the bougainvillea.  I put chicken wire on the wall, separated all the branches and hopefully it will fill in and cover the wall with the flowers of the bougainvillea.  That job was not fun as the bougainvillea has cm long thorns and my arms looked, I am sure, like the head of Jesus after he was crowned with thorns.
Last year someone gave Nancy a poinsettia for Christmas and after we had looked at enough in the house I planted it outside and in 7 months time this is what it looks like.  You cannot see them but it is getting red flowers as it should at this time of the year.

And just more of the garden after we had chopped it down and made it our garden again.

Since our arrival, the Herrera family (the family that visited us in Canada this summer, and our dentist is part of that family also), have invited us to a number of celebrations and we actually went to a couple of them.
The first was a 16th birthday party for Romina.  We thought there would be just a few family and friends there but there were more than a few.  Maybe 70+, all catered by an uncle who does catering for a living.
This is not Romina but Karen and her new boyfriend
But this is Romina and not with her new boyfriend.  They are the girls who stayed with us for 5 weeks this summer and are both very beautiful.
Time to eat with a buffet style serving.

The uncle, Benjamin and his wife, Elvira, who made the great tacos and salads and salsas.

Romina and cousins.
These are all Romina and Karen's aunts and uncles and grandmother.  The lady in the bottom row on the left in the red dress is our dentist.  Nancy has made a cheat sheet so we can keep all their names in order.
Romina and some of her many, many cousins.
Romina, Karen, their mother and relatives.
The next celebration we went to was at the grandma's house.  Every Sunday, starting in the morning and lasting till late night, the whole family shows up at some of that time for food and drink and talk.  Everybody body brings something to eat and drink.  Nancy brought home made cookies and they were a great hit.
One of the uncles and his wife [Beto and Fira] who runs a little store that is attached to the grandma's house.  The young man with the beer is a son of theirs, who is an architect.
But even when they are surround by cousins and aunts and uncles, there is homework that needs to be done.  Romina is in her first year of high school and this is her and her cousin, getting Romina's homework done..
Not only everyone brings food but everyone cooks.  A very nice picture of Teresa, the mother of Romina and Karen.  Her husband died about 8 years ago and she works 3 jobs to make a successful life for herself and her children.
And the dishes need doing.  Not many dishwashers in our circle of friends here in Tlaqupaque so are all done by hand.  This is Chela, a sister to Maria, our dentist, and Teresa in the preceding picture.
On November 2nd, all Mexicans celebrate the day of the dead and it is a huge celebration.  Alters are built and put up on the street and each one in in memory of a close relative.  Families also celebrate at the graveyard with food and drink and flowers and cleaning materials to clean the grave and cut the grass and weeds surrounding it. 
We did not go to the graveyard this year but the following 3 photos of alters that had been constructed on the streets of Tlaquepaque. 

Just a small celebration at our house.  Nancy hosted a supper for Frank and Christy who were living upstairs from us and Janet who still lives beside us and Carol who lives across the street.
This is Frank  and Janet having a pre supper drink on our patio.
From left to right around the table, Carol from Los Angeles, Janet from Fairbanks, Nancy from Lethbridge and then Christy and Frank from Seattle.
It was fun with great discussions and as you can see from the preceeding paragraph, the Canadians were greatly outnumber by the Americans.
And one last photo of Teresa and Romina at our house.
We do hope to get more blogs out this year than we did last year so until next time.
Nancy and Ron