Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Photographs in the Yucatan, 1946 and the 1990's

This week I stopped at Banamex on Canal and looked at the current photography exhibition, Armando Salas Portugal, Chronicle of a Trip to the Yucatan, 1946. The photographs stopped me in my tracks because I spent so much time in the Yucatan during the 1990's while I was photographing the 16th century churches spread across the peninsula. Some of Armando's images showed the thatched roof houses and churches that I, too, photographed. Not a lot happened between 1946 and 1993 except that doors were put back on the churches, fences were repaired and painted and the road was paved. I say paved in a most general sense. At least they were no longer sand and dirt but they still had pot holes and lots of topes. Our car moved at a slow place.
The church above is in Hoctun where we met people who had tiendas around the square. We returned many times and I took photographs back to the people we met the first time.
The image below is of a family in another little village. Actually I doubt that it could even be called a village. They lived in the small settlement of a ruined hacienda. The last time Ned and I went to the Yucatan in 2008, we tried and tried to find their house but a new road had been cut through the area and I'm afraid that it wiped out the little settlement.

I walked out of Banamex wanting to go back to the Yucatan and follow the maps in the guidebook that I used while I was working on the 16th Century photography project. What has happened to the old two-lane road that connected many of these churches now that everyone travels the toll road between Cancun and Merida? What do the churches look like today? Could I find some of the people that we met back in the 1990's? Could I find a driver? How long would it take?
Mmmm.....can you tell that a seed has been planted?
Back to Armando Salas Portugal and his trip in the Yucatan in 1946. This exhibition covers much more of the Yucatan than just the churches. It covers the beaches, Mayan sites just being uncovered, villages and people. Although I don't think that these are vintage prints, they are beautiful prints and definitely worth a stop in Banamex.


Monday, September 12, 2016

Protest Age-ism

A couple of things have happened recently which make me think that because of my "maturity" I'm being treated differently and I don't like it!

First of all, I'm going overseas to a workshop. The workshop requires that participants have International Travel Insurance. So, I went on line to buy it and I found out that in another three months when I am 80 it becomes almost impossible to buy it and if you can buy it, it is very limited in the total coverage offered. I know some people in their 80's may not be in good health but what about those of us who are still on the move? <sigh> I guess I'll figure out what to do when the situation comes up after my birthday.

One of my credit cards furnishes my credit score periodically. Today I got a notice that I could go on line and get mine. I've done it before and it stays about the same all of the time. But this time it had dropped 50 points. Whoa! What happened? I'll tell you what happened. My credit score dropped because I do not have a mortgage, car payment or some kind of loan so that how I pay that type of debt can be evaluated. Credit card payments are evaluated separately. Can you believe that? Because I don't have debt I'm less credit worthy. I would think that a lot of mature, retired people do not have a mortgage or a car payment. Does that make us less credit worthy than younger people who have credit card debts, two car payments, college loans and a mortgage?

Have any things like this happened to you? Who wants to join my protest movement?

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Mercado de las Orquideas

What a weekend! It has been the San Miguel Mercado de las Orquideas which was sponsored by the San Miguel Orchid Lovers. The Orchid Lovers are a group of people in San Miguel who DO love orchids and want to share their love of orchids with other people in San Miguel. It was just one year ago when my friend Mary invited me to join them at their annual dinner. I had grown or maybe I should say I maintained some Phalaenopsis in the past but really didn't know much about orchids. And growing orchids here is complicated by the low humidity. Some orchids require more humidity than others but it is somewhere in the 30-70% range. Some need cooler weather and others warmer. My beginner list was for orchids that looked like they had a fighting change in SMA. I joined the group and I've learned a lot but I think raising orchids could be a life long learning process even if you are starting at a much younger age than I.

This past Friday night was the 2016  dinner and Saturday morning the expo opened with 24 vendors. I wish you could have seen the venue. It is a wide space, kind of a wide alley and both sides were lines with gorgeous, gorgeous orchids. People came, both Mexicans and gringos, and I think all of the vendors did well. At least when I went back this afternoon, the tables still had orchids but they were spaced out a bit. 

I had my list of "Beginner" orchids so I thought I knew what I was looking for but I have to tell you that it was so, so easy to be seduced by orchids that were not on the list. I think I did pretty well although I did not stick strictly to the list.

I wanted a cattleya because I didn't have one and they are so beautiful. I have heard that they are harder to grow than Palaenopsis ( you know the one you always see in the grocery store) so I thought I would start with just one.

The tag on this orchid is Lysudamuloa (Lys) Red Jewel. I think it might be some kind of cross between Lycaste and something. I liked the flowers and I like the leaves that are large, long and kind of soft.
As you can see I have a lot to learn.

I already have several Paphiopedilum or slipper orchids but I could not resist this one with its variegated leaves. It's tag calls it a Paphio Coloralum. Can't wait for the bloom to open.


If you saw this in the jungle, would you think it was an orchid? It is a Bulbophyllum, Lion King x Annandalei. It wasn't on my list but it was the only one I saw in the whole show so I had to have it.


Somehow this orchid got to my house without a tag. It is a big plant, about 2.5feet tall and just about as wide and it was heavy. I carried it home from out past the instituto along with a heavy bag with a pot and potting medium. I don't know if the plant had a tag or if it was lost but it is a Cymbidium of some type. Another orchid lover told me that they had Cymbidiums in a pot and it sat outside all year long. There are two other shoots on it with blooms so it should be spectacular for a while yet.

It has been a great weekend but my purse is much lighter than it was on Saturday morning.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Muy Contento

I've have spent this Sunday gardening. First it was on the patio working on my orchids and taking care of the new plants in the beds. And while I was working on what was there I was thinking about what next. How are the plants doing and if they don't adapt what I might try next. What I might buy at the San Miguel Orchid show. Under the tree, what I might plant that needs some shade but really good drainage.

Next I went up to the terrace carrying the box of plants and succulents that Ed brought me. Last year I bought a wrought iron baker's rack from and Karen and Jim planning to use it to plant succulents but I didn't have the right soil or pots for succulents so it was just a kind of messy place to put leftover pots and plants. Now it was refitted with the right pots and the right soil and I had a few succulents so I started filling the pots with the them.

Then I sat down in a chair on the terrace and relaxed. I could hear a lot of fireworks. Too many fireworks for Carly. She stayed with me on the terrace for a bit but then she went downstairs to the studio to her bed. She does not like the big boomers and these were big boomers and they seemed fairly close by.  I don't know what the occasion was today but I could also hear drum and bugles and a Mexican band playing for the Dancers.

There was a hummingbird attacking the blooming firecracker plant. A big lime hanging from the lime tree, A huge, beautiful yellow hibiscus bloom. A cool breeze. A blue sky with fluffy white clouds.  The sounds of Mexico. And so the time flew by with me just sitting in the chair looking and listening and thinking about what an amazing life I am living. I have so many blessings everyday.

It is hard from me to write about what I was feeling but I'm sure you have felt moments like this also. I was in a bubble of contentment and peace and thankfulness. No amount of money could have made this day any better.

Muy Contento

Monday, August 1, 2016

Weekend Getaway

Me:   I'd like to go see this Annie Leibovitz exhibition in Mexico City. You interested?
My Friends: You bet. Let's go!
And so 12 days later we were in Casa Gonzalez which is just a couple of blocks from the US Embassy and the Paseo de la Reforma in the heart of Mexico City. It had been about 25 years since I had stayed in the Casa Gonzalez guest house so it was such a treat to go back and see how it had changed. There are more rooms, wifi, better, much better mattresses, more gardens and outdoor tables and chairs but still the same charm and intimacy. The breakfast is fabulous although now you pay for it separately, the cost is quite reasonable. In fact the cost per night is more than 25 years ago but still unbelievable reasonable.
We dumped our luggage and went off to find something to eat but finding something to eat in the area around Casa Gonzalez is not difficult. There must be at least three restaurants in every block. Everything from a taco stand to an elegant restaurant.
In addition to the Annie Leibovitz exhibition we had made reservations for the Jessica Lang Dance Performance at Palacio de Bellas Artes on Friday night. We had great seats in about the third row center. The production was beautiful and the performance was amazing. Lithe, beautiful bodies that seemed to hang in the air or carry another person across the stage as if they were light as a feather.
Saturday morning we walked across the Reforma and into the Colonia Juarez to the building housing Leibovitz's exhibition, Women: New Portraits. The exhibition wasn't hung on the wall but was more of an installation on big banks of LCD screens showing one portrait at a time. This reminded me of a recent talk with a Gallery Owner who told me that she expected to see more and more photographs shown as an installation. Hard for me to believe because I still want to see a print but maybe that is just my age showing.
A nice comida and then back to Casa Gonzalez just before the afternoon rain.
I always want to try new restaurants and this time we headed out in the rain and back across Reforma to Havre 77 that has been open for about six months. The food was delicious and we got to talk to the chef-in-charge Gerado Ramos who previously worked here in San Miguel.
The next morning after another wonderful breakfast we were in the van and headed back to San Miguel. It seems like I always leave Mexico City before I'm ready to leave. So I'll go back again soon, even if only for a quick weekend getaway.  

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Universe Is Speaking To ME!

I had three of the weirdest things happen this week within about 36 hours. I wrote an inquiry about a workshop last March. I knew a couple of people who had gone to the workshop last year and it really sounded interesting to me. I didn't hear back and actually I was busy and I forgot about it. This week I received a reply from them and my inquiry was attached but it didn't show a date in March. Instead it indicated that they had received the inquiry on June 18th. I have no idea where it has been. I guess floating somewhere in cyberspace.

Okay, so that is one of the three things. The second one was that I happened to hear that Keith Carter was in SMA and I contacted him and I had lunch with him and some of his friends. Keith will be one of the instructors at the workshop. I've always wanted to take a workshop with him but it has never worked out.

And the third one is that I had been thinking about maybe taking a photography workshop but one with more of a retreat atmosphere so I'd been looking on line the day before I received the reply from the workshop to see if anything interested me. Nothing did. They all seemed too structured. Too much travel from place to place. I wanted something that gave me time to stay put in one place and dig deeper. Something that gave me time to work with images that I made. Something that gave me time to play with some ideas and techniques. Something more hands on.

The workshop is Spirit into Matter. The whole workshop takes place in a small village near Florence, Italy in a renovated Villa. The instructors are Keith Carter, Kate Breakey and Jace Graf--all people whose work I know and admire. The other thing that some people might not like but I love the idea is that participants are assigned some times to help out in the kitchen. I hear the meals are made with local produce and that they are fabulous. So in addition to photography I'll get to enjoy a "cooking lesson" or two.

When the Universe speaks to me, I listen. I'm going!

The photograph was taken in Italy when I was in Sicily in 2015.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Father's Day

I wanted to post some pictures of my sons and their boys so I started looking at old photographs. It took a long time because looking took me on a trip down Memory Lane.

This picture is from July, 2003 when Mike and his family came to visit us in San Miguel. It was a giggling wrestling match on the couch. 

This is Doug and his boys and it was made on June 17, 2006, ten years ago. June 17th is Doug's birthday and the picture was made in the morning.

Good Fathers. Wonderful Grandsons. I'm a lucky woman.

Happy Father's Day to Mike and Doug.