Saturday, November 30, 2019

Thanksgiving Dinner San Miguel de Allende 2019

Like all good holiday events, Thanksgiving came and went with a bang.  We decided quite a while ago to have Thanksgiving at Barbara's house.  She has a beautiful home that is filled with very positive energy that you can feel walking in.  You're always at home there so it made the celebration even better.  We all have lots to be thankful for and this isn't the only day to be thankful.   This morning (Saturday), I went for my brisk walk and I was just happy.  The town has grown but it still won't change what is here.  No trash, no horn honking and there seems to be quite a bit of order.  We can walk everywhere and today I did a walk to the Jardin.  It's nice here, and I really think we would be happy living here, at least part-time.

This is Barbara's living room.  Such a beautiful place.  

You would think by the picture I was the chef in charge.  Hardly!  I did make the dressing, mashed potatoes, and gravy and I have to admit they were pretty good.  The dressing was especially delicious because we used fresh herbs from the garden.  Barb did the turkey, whiskey glazed carrots and Juan made his delicious green bean cassarole.

When I was a kid I used to watch Graham Kerr on his "Galloping Gourmet" cooking show.  He always had a glass of wine on the counter.   Now I know why.  Wine is good for you!

They were not cooking, just horsing around and making me take pictures.

They insisted that I serve myself first, so I did what I was told!  This was a really enjoyable dinner and the food was excellent.  A beautiful turkey with everything else you could want.

This is Pea.  Her first owner passed away.  That's when she was adopted.  A good girl.

We've been given charge of these two good lookers.  Rufus is on the left and the right is Adie.  Adie is a charm.  She's on top of me all the time.  They both miss their mom.

I guess like all of us, we have good memories of family gatherings and some of you still have them.  My family is very spread out and they all have their own kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids.  I have good memories though of Thanksgivings past and it seems like yesterday.  We're hoping for a family reunion in Cincinnati this next year with everyone.  I sure miss them all and look forward to seeing them.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Thanksgiving and Christmas In SMA

We're preparing for Thanksgiving dinner at Barbara's this week.  Yesterday Barbara and I did a little shopping and picked up a 10 lb turkey.   I'm in charge of dressing, mashed potatoes, and gravy.  Juan has the green bean casserole which is always really good.  Barbara is doing the turkey, whiskey glazed carrots and many other goodies as well. 

Today we picked up a couple of extra veggies and checked the wine selections.  While we were there the Christmas spirit parked in front.  We've seen this guy for years.  His car is covered with stuffed animals, Christmas lights and music.  This morning I was on the treadmill at the gym.  It's on the second floor with an all-glass front.  I like watching the construction across the street, the dump trucks coming and going, etc.  There he was, driving by with all his glory, white beard and Santa hat.   That's what makes the season special.

After our shopping spree yesterday, Barbara came over for happy hour.  Never empty-handed whether here or at her house.  She prepared her famous cheese bread.   Out of the oven, it was better than any pizza I've ever had.  Lots of talk, laughing and overall good fun.

Here we are in the dining room tonight writing the blog and checking the internet.  This is what we see in the living room in front of us.  The television is on YouTube piano Christmas music.  Might as well get a head start.  It only lasts six weeks.  Every room in the house has a fireplace, each a unique style.

Adi is on the left.  She's a lover and follows us around the house.  Rufus is more subdued and is slowly warming up to us.  We love having the furkids around.  

We didn't bring much with us in terms of clothes as we weren't sure how long we would be here.  Juan is going home on Saturday for two days to go to a meeting, sign some papers and bring back a small list of things we need here.  Our housesit's niece will be coming on Saturday from Queretaro to visit friends and to see how things are going.  

Sunday, November 24, 2019

San Miguel Keeps Growing

We've been here for three weeks now and we've seen and done quite a bit.  Most of the things we have done before but they continue to change and improve.  Some people say SMA is a small town.  That may be true but it continues to grow.  

What makes it nice here is that the city government does an excellent job of maintaining the city streets, lighting and water system.   There are constant projects to update avenues, sidewalks, and it appears that when they do updates on a street they are burying the cables as well.  Little by little.  New monuments are going up.  A statue of Ignacio Allende was moved to the glorieta that is on the exit to Dolores Hidalgo.

The majority of new development is taking place on the outskirts of the city.  For example, the area around El Charco, the botanical gardens, homes from $150,000 U.S, and condos are springing up everywhere.  We have visited several of these gated communities during the week.  Most are sold out or nearly sold out.   The real estate agents in these complexes assure us that the homes are being purchased by people mostly from Mexico City and Queretaro that use them on weekends.  So far, we see that the developments are quiet and without cars or people.  

We have had a visitor in town, our friend Darren from Mexico City.   This morning we picked Darren up and went to the Sunday market on the exit to Queretaro.  His first comment, "the town is quiet and full of gringos during the day.  At night, it comes alive with Mexican tourists that hit the bars and restaurants".  When I use the word "bars", I'm not referring to cantinas but semi-nightclub/restaurant bars where people go for appies and drinks.  I'm sure it can get crazy at times.

We went to the Saturday gringo market.  Most products are organic (?) and all-natural.  We eat at this place all the time.  Quesadillas with any guisado (topping) are 17 pesos.  Other places have gourmet burgers for 120 pesos, no thanks.   The sign says, "Huevo En Su Nido", that's "Egg In Its Nest".  It's a quesadilla with your choice of guisado and a fried egg on top.  Yummy!

This is a huarache (sandal) with beans and toppings and a quesadilla. 

This stand is called "Moles Galdi".  They have the best mole we have ever tasted.  Fresh, clean and well-prepared.  Last week we bought "mole almendra" which is an almond mole.  I used it to prepare a spicy curry chicken peanut sauce over angel hair pasta.  It was a hit.  A bit on the sweet side but using tahini will cure that next time.

There are household duties to take care of here at home.  Feeding the cats, cleaning the cat boxes daily, a little housekeeping even though a maid comes once a week.  Like at home, if we put things back where they belong, minor dusting and cleaning, the house stays in order.   Plants need constant attention and watering as the air is dry and the beats down hard in the afternoons because of the elevation  We enjoying our time here and providing service to others.  That said, I am watching more YouTube videos of rvs on the road and their adventures.  

Friday, November 22, 2019

Blog Post Correction

Some of you read my blog post last night titled, "They Wanted Me Out, Yesterday". 

It was meant tongue in cheek and was still in the writing and editing stage.  I hadn't intended to post it, at least not yet but I must have hit the "Publish" button and not the "Save As Draft" button. 

Anyway, it has nothing to do with our housesits.  It was about an article I posted in a local forum.  They wanted me out 😉

More later. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Pics of Our New Housesit - Relieving Pain

I haven't blogged as I don't want to bore people with everyday activities.  You can only do so much in one town although we keep going every day.  I'm not the type to sit around the house all day.  It's got to start with some exercise which I have been doing until today when we started with a gym.  The gym is nice and has a special promotion of 2 X 1.  It's cheaper than at home and has all the equipment we normally use plus 20 treadmills, ellipticals, yoga, and jazz classes.  I have to admit, I enjoy my speed walking through the town for an hour and a half and might just do that in the evenings as well.  Juan has had issues with his knees and that limits his walking.

Here are some pics of our current housesit and I will post more later.  We have the upstairs although we have access and use the whole hose.  There are two cats and lots of plants to take care of so that keeps us busy at home.

Every room has a gas log fireplace. 
 The terrace has a view of the Jardin.  We had drinks up there last night.  It was great!

Preparing to close up the house at home, I decided to clean out the gutters on the palapa.  Well, I did a good job until the end.  The ladder wasn't set just right and my shoe got caught on one of the rungs.  Off I went, 10 feet down hitting my head and my back on the column of the palapa.  I landed on my right hip and the palms of my hands.  I messed up my shoulder.  I went to the chiropractor before leaving town and it did wonders although I needed to follow up.  You know me, I didn't follow up.  Today, I went for a deep-tissue massage and it helped immensely.  Who can turn down an hour of massage for 250 pesos.  I have another next Tuesday.  I have to lay off of weight lifting using my arms for a week or two but I can still do cardio and lots of leg.

The weather has been the best.  Warm days and very cool nights.  In fact, we put the electric blanket on the other night.  That thing is like a drug and as I have said before, it uses next to nothing in electricity and works great off of solar and battery

The last few days we have been to a museum, the Sunday and Tuesday market, a hike around the botanical gardens, folkloric dance, and a nice dinner out.  With some almond curry we bought, I made a great spicy curry peanut chicken sauce over angel hair pasta.  I may do a couple of breads in the next few days.

Have to say though, I'd rather be parked behind some truck stop out in the desert in the middle of Coahuila with the rv.  That's life! 

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Made A New Friend And Gave Her A Tour

Our final happy hour at the last housesit on the balcony overlooking San Miguel.

And the last sunset there. 

First off, it looks like we may be here until the end of the year.  Our housesit will be in the U.S. receiving long-term treatment.  We will know for sure in about a week.  If so, one of us will need to go home to get some more and warmer clothes.  

On Sunday we went out for an inexpensive breakfast.  We had eaten at La Fondita before.  Strange little place with just a few tables up front and pictures of wrestlers.  The food is really the best breakfast we have ever had and the price is right.  So we're sitting there and this tall woman walks in with a backpack and asks the waiter if there is wifi.  He says no and she like, "well now what do I do?"  She looked at us and we told her how good the food was and she decided to stay.  We started chatting and come to find out Holly is from Wisconsin and is here to find out if she likes the town.  We ended up taking her to Atotonilco and Dolores Hidalgo one day, happy hour the next and so on.  She's a lot of fun and we know she'll love Mexico.

Holly is a wine expert and works for the country's largest distributor.  Part of her visit is to see if there is work for her in the Mexican wine industry.  We stopped at the Tres Raices vineyard.  They are closed on Mondays but they did let us in to take a picture or two.  Looks like a nice place and they also have a restaurant we would want to try.

We then headed to Atotonilco, which is mostly the church which is known as the Mexican Sistine Chapel.  The interior was hand-painted and is comprised of religious figures, scenes, and scripture.  There is a side altar covered in gold and the opposing altar is hand-carved wood. 

Dolores Hidalgo is only a short 30-minute drive with good scenery.  

There is a museum in Dolores but we think the municipal building has a better museum and is great for just mozying around.  The center courtyard is filled with the colorful "papel picado".

Dolores is known for its multiple flavors of ice cream such as avocado, shrimp, octopus, chorizo, ros petal, and even chicharron or fried pork skins.

The new house we are in is well-located.  A nice walk into the centro area and there is a gym right up the street.  We will go tomorrow and see what they charge and what they have to offer.  I've been doing my one hour and 20 minute speed walk and am finding that with the cobblestone streets it gives your ankles a good workout and will probably strengthen them a bit.

I haven't mapped out my route but I am figuring that my morning workout is in the neighborhood of 8 to 10 kms.  Not bad.  

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Shopping In Queretaro - Dinner Out With Friends

It was a long weekend starting on Friday.  Barbara, Juan and I took a drive to Queretaro.  Barbara had wanted to go to Costco, the new HEB and we wanted to see how much the city had changed.  Well, it has changed and is growing.  Queretaro is known becoming the next major industrial, financial and educational hub in Mexico.  The nouveau riche has moved in and as much as I don't care for big cities, this is turning out quite nicely.  Unfortunately, it is becoming very unpopular in Mexico to be upper-middle-class and that's a bad thing. 

Soriana or La Comer has opened a very high-end supermarket called City Market.  We didn't buy anything but the place definitely shows how the Mexican economy has grown.  This picture is the seafood department where you can sit down at the bar and have a nice seafood lunch with cocktails and finish with expresso and fresh baked French goods from their bakery.

We ate at the gourmet bar.  Pricey for a supermarket lunch but very good.  Barbara had a glass of wine with her lunch I passed as I was the designated driver.  We had fish and chips and Juan had tacos Gobernador, that were super gourmet and probably the best we have ever tasted in any Mexican restaurant.  The service was truly the best.

Not something we'd do everyday but when you have such good company you can't help but spurge.  We're back in SMA with our 35 peso breakfasts.  😅

On the highway, to Queretaro, we passed a "cabalgata" which is a horseback ride.  Literally hundreds of horses and riders for miles and miles.  They eventually made their way to SMA and we saw them all day Saturday riding around town.

This is a seafood restaurant on the highway just outside of Queretaro.  That would be interesting to see the interior.

We returned late to SMA, around 5 p.m. just hitting traffic.  Wow, SMA, some traffic.  It took us all of a couple of minutes to get down the hill from the highway.  Beautiful views though.

After dropping off Barbara, we were lucky to have caught this beautiful sunset.  

Les had emailed me to say that Mike and Terri were in SMA and if we wanted to get together.  He arranged a wonderful dinner Saturday night at Hechos.  While there, we talked up the night about Mike and Terri's adventures through Alaska, their new book, and now their South American adventures.  They have a new to them Airstream class B that would be just the fit for us.  We're still looking.  Thanks Les for getting us all together, it was a lot of fun. 

 We ended the evening with a drink out on the terrace.  We've had a good stay at this house, loved the cats, but now it is time to move on.  We will Airbnb for three days before moving to the next house and a whole new adventure.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

SMA - Starting Off Our First Housesit

Monday came and we moved to our new digs for the week.  We had met the owner on Sunday and then had a down day.  We don't take a lot of things with us; 2 carryons, pillows and blanket throws, coffeemaker, two small boxes of supplies and vitamins.  It took only a few hours for Diego and Lucy to warm up to us.  We have an upstairs bedroom studio with a sitting room, private bath and balcony that overlooks the Parroquia.  

This condo sits in a gated community and is just a stone's throw from just about everything.  You're hard-pressed to have to take a car anywhere.   I spent a couple of hours on the terrace reading the newspaper and taking in the sun.  I have no color anymore.  Some sunning will do me good. Last evening I walked from the condo to the Jardin in about 20 minutes.   While I was there, a woman sitting a bench looked at me and said, "I know you".  I wondered if we had met before and we began to chat.  She reads the blog, so a big hello to you.  

This is the living room on the first floor.  The furniture was made in Thailand.  

This is the living area in our bedroom.  Safe to say, we are comfortable and never ask for more than we have at home.

 This is Lucy.  She is still lurking around the corner wondering what we are up to and when it is safe to jump up on the bed.  "Anytime Lucy",  you are always welcome.  Diego was hiding in the chimney.  They have both come out of their shell and are really warming up to us.

Today we had lunch at Hecho En Mexico meeting our housesit for next February.  A wonderful couple with cats and dogs and a beautiful house in the country.   I think we hit it off.

The weather is cooling down, 24C during the day and a chilly but welcomed 11C at night.  Makes for a good sleep and waking to the view with coffee is even better.  We are looking to get out and do some hiking.  My morning 10k a real joy with the cool air.  I know at home it is cooling down as well but the sites just aren't the same.  Yep, the city is changing and there is talk of a Walmart.  That's progress.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Visit To The Cemetery - San Miguel de Allende

Saturday we were up early and off to the panteon (cemetery) for Día de los Muertos.  A rush of excitement, color, and aromas.  We walked down to San Antonio and behind the Canadian bakery lies the cemetery.  Along the back street were vendors selling fresh-cut flowers, tacos, sopes, tortas, vases, just to name a few things.

The man visiting this tomb was celebrating the death of his parents and his brother.  He encouraged us to visit, look around and take pictures.  You can see that he put a lot of detail into decorating as well as providing the things that they enjoyed in life.  He even had incense burning.

I know everyone here is familiar with the Mexican custom of Day of the Dead.  So families go to the cemetery to visit their loved ones, clean the stone or monument, adorn it with flowers, fresh baked goods, the deceased favorite drinks and food.  There is a bit of everything to be seen there.  

The event is very organized compared to other places.  The cemetery has an entrance that is separated by a temporary divider to keep people from running into each other.  Youngsters are waiting at the entrance with buckets, water, brushes and some even with paint offering to help prepare the grave for a few pesos.  

Tourists love this day and the cemetery is filled with people taking pictures, reading the stones looking for some expats that have died in SMA and are buried there.  

Hmm,  a little fuzzy or was that just the result of the great martini that Barbara always prepares!

After, we took the obligatory nap later headed over to friend Barbara´s house to visit, have happy hour and then head out for dinner.  We drove out on the highway towards Atotonilco to an Italian restaurant behind La Burger. Ristorante Italiano Yoalli.  It has been very good to us but this time the food was above average but not my five-star fantastic.  

Outside Ristorante Italiano Yoalli.

Apart from the food, wine and conversation were great as always.  Back at Barbara's, we went up to the terrace to build a fire in the chimney but it wasn't wanting to light and it was getting cold so we called it a night.

Sunday (yesterday), we went to the market up on the hill and were looking for a camera connector and some other odds and ends.  More on that in the next post.