Back from L.A. What a whirlwind! It was wonderful to spend hours talking with my sister Wendy (especially given our mother’s slow, awful decline), touch base with my family again and to see old friends from my school days. And it is always the same going to the States and then coming back – with a jolt – to my reality at home. Where my sister lives there are those wide, clean, tree-lined streets, houses with immaculate gardens and clipped lawns; no discarded bags and bottles lying around, no stray dogs, and it is so quiet and peaceful at night that you can actually get some sleep. Then there is the astonishing variety of stuff in every market, with lots of stores open late for your shopping convenience. So tempting and I go nuts buying waaay too much stuff every time I cross the border. Of course it’s also retail therapy and there ARE things up there I can’t get down here…like petite sizes. Essential for five-foot-tall me. But I sort of go into a trance in those stores…Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Target, even the huge and well-stocked pharmacies with all that fun drugstore makeup and other items I am sure I must have. Then when it’s time to pay, when I’ve first arrived back in the U.S., I always forget the swiping the credit card part. I stand there fishing into my wallet for cash (in Mexico EVERYTHING is cash, which is actually a very good thing, for me, at least) and they look at me like I’m crazy. Then I get with the program and prepare to fork over my credit card to the cashier and they say “no, Ma’am, you have to swipe it – over here. Just put it through the slot on the side”. Of course I know how to do this but I always forget – this is the way the stripe goes, and all that. Half the time you don’t even have to sign the little screen any more. In and out of the store, in a split second, your wallet lighter by some amount that seems very abstract.
But all good things must come to an end, and I am back home in the land of magical evenings and the riot of every flower in town coming into bloom, so it seems. When I got back last night, Reina went nuts licking my face and Rosie and Missoni, the two kitties, purred and nuzzled and jumped on me and carried on, glad I was home. The carpenter delivered the new platform for our bed today and had a lot of fun playing with Reina, telling me his favorite show is “El Encantador de Perros” with Cesar Millan, dubbed into Spanish for Mexican television, naturalmente. I think how amazing it is that Cesar himself migrated to the U.S. to make his fortune training dogs, which he most assuredly has, (with his own foundation, even, not lost on me as a former foundation executive….) and how ironic that the Dog Whisperer show is now translated back to his native language for millions of his perro-loving Mexican compatriots. Carlos – the pool Carlos – wants to come over tomorrow and pick up the three months’ worth of payments we owe him. We keep telling him we would be happy to pay him every month if only he would drop off a bill once in a while. Gardener Carlos (we have many Carloses in our lives including Baby Carlos) worked for awhile this morning weeding and raking, but had to leave suddenly because his father-in-law Jorge called to say his truck broke down not too far from us and would he walk over and borrow our battery cables and try to get the engine started?
Rosa took very good care of Arnold while I was away, bringing fresh tamales for him to eat and not letting him lift a finger to do anything. Tomorrow she comes again to clean though everything is spotless from when she was here Monday. She left bouquets of fresh flowers all over the house to welcome me home. I know she will want to greet me and make sure nothing untoward has happened to the house in the past thirty-six hours….and I have to rig up how I am going to present the three little bathing suits I brought back for her grandchildren (America, Nicol, and Baby Carlos)…just hand them to her in a plastic bag? Get the kids to come over and have them unwrap each bathing suit and make more of a fuss? Not sure, depends on how busy I get later on in the week. We’ve been invited to a fiesta and I have to make dessert for seventeen people. I had assumed that the worst thing that had transpired in my absence was that Arnold found a half-dead alacran (scorpion) in the kitchen which he had to dispatch because the kitties were interested in playing with it. But before he took off to rescue Jorge, Carlos told me that there were four people shot and killed in town over the weekend – actually not too far from the famous donut shop — but no one seems to be all that concerned about it because it was “entre ellos” – “between them” – meaning rival drug factions or a drug deal gone wrong or something like that. Just glad I wasn’t here. Very glad indeed that while all that was going on I was otherwise occupied at the open-till-midnight CVS drugstore prowling the eye makeup with my sister.