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Love, Mexico

Long live the land of tequila, tacos and sombreros!

Mexico will always have a special place in my heart because of my grandparents. They had two trailer homes. One in Wisconsin and one in Texas and they would spend the summers in Wisconsin and the winters in Texas. Not a bad idea I always thought. Their home in Texas was in Brownsville, which is smack dab on the Mexico – US border. Many times we visited them we would go to Mexico. We would park and walk over a bridge to Matamoros, Mexico, the bridge was of course over the Rio Grande which separates the countries. There were always adorable, laughing and VERY tan children below on the bank yelling at us to throw money. I believe sometimes my grandpa would give me some coins to throw down to them. My grandpa knew where to go and we’d usually stop for lunch at one of his favorite haunts, where huevos rancheros, enchiladas and tacos were always part of our orders. And this was TRUE mexican food. No Taco Bell here, no siree. Much better than Chi-Chi’s, Taco Bueno, “insert mexican restaurant here”. I do miss my BoBo’s Cantina though – do you hear me Stillwater folks?! And then we’d wander around the marketplace. I bought too many maracas to count but my parents scored a fancy marble chessboard with marble chess pieces that has been well loved.

So I was really looking forward to the beautiful and sweet Amy marrying the talented chef Kary in ….. MEXICO! Flying into Cancun from Miami was a breeze (no pun intended). I ordered a Dos Equis from the steward and settled in my window seat glued to the scene below.

I booked Cancun Cheap Transfers to pick me up from the airport to take me to the hotel. They had already sent me a message they would be waiting for me by the Margaritaville stand just exiting the airport. And they were! I booked a private van so there were no other stops to get to the hotel as quickly as possible. It was $55 for a one-way private trip. And they were great! I used them on the way back too and the driver even carried my bags into the airport and helped me check in. I can highly recommend!

Hotel Occidental Xcaret Riviera Maya was where we all stayed. Upon arrival I was offered an ice cold beer while waiting to check in. It’s a very big resort and after check in someone walked me to my room where I had chocolate covered strawberries and a stocked mini bar waiting for me. The luggage guy arrived quickly so I could get settled in. I gulped down all of those strawberries in a matter of minutes and popped open a cold beer while unpacking and sending “where are you” messages to all my friends that were already there. One thing, you must pay for Wi-Fi. The price was about $45 for four days if I remember correctly, it is not included with the room.

Soon I met the fabulous Bess in the lobby and we grabbed a margarita before finding the others. The resort is all-inclusive so grabbing a drink or two or three is easy and you don’t need to worry about keeping track of how much you’ve spent! Or even how much you drink! 😉 We met most of the gang at the seafood restaurant – there are eleven restaurants to choose from and I enjoyed the Paco’s Tacos the best (pizza AND tacos), because you really can’t go wrong with either of those. But there is also a huge buffet restaurant with so many options of salads, fruit, breads, pasta, main courses, desserts …. more more more. And there you can wear what you want because some restaurants have a dress code. And breakfast every morning for me was the buffet by the lagoon. My morning view was this. Gorgeous, right?!

There are so many different and fun things to do at the resort and around the resort. At the resort itself are many swimming pools, a beach lagoon, a private adults only area with ocean access, many ruins around the grounds that you can even go into and I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to mention this but ANIMALS!!!! Iguanas are EVERYWHERE but there are monkeys (!!!!) which most people saw every morning on their balconies but my area didn’t have monkeys – because I was told there are snakes (!) there and monkeys don’t like snakes (well, me neither). I also saw this weird small pig animal, a deer(!), a huge ass scorpion, birds and of course fish fish fish. I apologize for all the exclamation marks but animals y’all!

And part of the resort is their Eco-archeological Xcaret Park. I didn’t do this because it was a bit expensive but everyone who had kids did go and enjoyed it. There is a lazy river (which I heard is not that lazy), swim with the dolphins, cultural attractions and more. Besides the park, people went to Cozumel, went snorkeling with whale sharks (they are huge!) and a day trip to visit Tulum. Of course, you can always just be really lazy and relax with a rum runner on the beach.

Then it was wedding day!!! Yippee!!! It was pretty chill to start with and we hung out around the lagoon. Some of us got up early to save the big beach lounge beds and some lounge chairs down by the water. We soaked up the sun and worked on the song list and had a Rum Runner or two and then it was time for the nuptials. It was perfect, between the ocean and one of the bigger ruins on the grounds. The ceremony was simple and beautiful – that must make it simply beautiful. Then off for an hour reception to have a snack, a cocktail, take some photos, sign the wedding book and watch the bride seriously think about shoving a handful of cake in her husband’s mouth. A very lovely evening with many people I have known for most of my life and getting to see and meet their children. A time never to be forgotten with many lovely and funny memories made. Let the tears commence!

There was even a full moon that night.

Congratulations you love birds! So happy for you. xxoo -k

WUV. Twue wuv.

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animals · cats · happy happy joy joy · hi there · love love love · Majorca · she's crafty

Kitten Development Stages

Welcome to adorableness!

I’m not sure if it’s the same where you live, but here in Mallorca we have many feral cats. And feral cats mean pregnant cats and pregnant cats mean kittens. Recently we had a little grey cat show up and I tried to catch her in time to get her spayed but ehem, nope. And now we have some kittens!

While they are so stinkin’ cute I needed to refrain myself the first week or so to not touch them and just let them be with mama (aka Carla)

Week ONE:

Kittens are born with their eyes and ear canals closed. They do not have any sight or hearing and will most likely stay close to the mother. Their main activities will include eating, sleeping and passing waste. The mother cleans the kitten regularly, and this also helps stimulate the newborn.

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We weren’t sure exactly where Carla had the babies. We thought it was in the abandoned lot across the street but at about day three we found her with FOUR(!!) babies on our old lounge chair on the back upstairs patio. We had a bike on the lounge chair with a cover over it and she had made a little nest in there. Hi Carla!! Shhhhh kittens sleeping.

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And then about five days later she brought her babies down and placed them on our couch!!! Sadly, one had fallen off the lounge chair and died. 😦 So we are down to three kittens. But she carried them down one by one, each time nursing them and getting them quiet before going to get their sibling. But when they were all on the couch mama really settled in with them. And now we were getting close to week two.

Week TWO:

The eyes will begin to open, but vision will be blurry. The kitten will start to develop its sense of smell.

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Isn’t that just the sweetest.

Well, that couch is THE main couch and Carla and the kittens couldn’t stay there. We fixed up a nice box with a blanket Carla had been using before the birth. And then we moved the kittens over to the box. Well, sadly Carla did not like that and she took the babies away. This time to the lot where we thought they were born.

And then came the rain. Mallorca was cold and had a lot of rain for several days. I was hoping she would come back with them because it was so cold and wet. Finally a few days later she did. Three kittens and Carla were in the cat basket upstairs one morning. And I was so relieved! They were all good.

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Their eyes were open (all blue at the moment) and kind  of stumbling around a bit. We have been giving them lots of time with mama but also picking them up a bit and petting them to get them slowly used to humans. I need them to be sweeties and not wild, feral cats! We are looking for homes for them but who knows, maybe we’ll end up keeping them.

Week THREE:

The kitten may have blue eyes at birth, but this will change as the kitten ages. You may start to see this change in the third week. Hearing begins and starts to improve, and you may notice that loud or abrupt noises scare the kitten. Because of the change in hearing, the kitten’s ears will begin to stand up.

The sense of smell continues to improve, and the kitten will begin to pass waste without prodding from the mother. Teeth may start coming in this week, and purring might commence. Your kitten may also go mobile and start walking this week!

And they have slowing started trying to walk with mama’s encouragement. I seriously can’t get over the amount of cuteness.

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Can you handle it!? We are almost to the fourth week. Where they really start to get their own personality and getting a bit bolder. This is where I leave you but I will be back with updates as we get into the next weeks.

Week FOUR:

The kitten will start working on balance and will walk more. The head is usually large compared to body size, so your kitten may be wobbly while moving around. The kitten will begin to explore the surroundings, and you may find yourself on the hunt!

Evaluate any harmful items, chemicals, plants or small openings to minimize risk to the kitten. The kitten will still be nursing at this time, and you can start the introduction to the litter box. Don’t be afraid if the kitten tries to eat the litter; this is normal.

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Fritz’s Jazz Bar – NOLA

Hello there.

Just sitting here in Phoenix, AZ sweating my face off in lovely 100° weather, trying to recover from my weekend in New Orleans. We pretty much hit every spot to be hit so keep tuned. But wanted to share this video of Mike Fulton & John Royen from Fritzel’s Jazz Club on Bourbon St. It’s always a favorite place of mine for some most excellent jazz.

You know what I say – Turn it up!

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Books of the Summer

I was able to read a lot of books this summer. I loooooove to read. All kinds of books – thrillers, crime, romance, biographies – whatever as long as it’s good. Here are my top five from the summer.

THE NIGHTINGALE by Kristin Hannah – Set in France, 1939, it captures WWII and shows that the war isn’t fought by only the men. Women have a part too – usually behind the scenes or not discussed because it is always thought that men are the fighters of war. But it is more than war – there is a lovely but sad love story, a family torn apart through death, being frightened to be strong enough for each other and true friendships. A great read. Don’t miss this one but be prepared to grab a Kleenex for the end.

BE FRANK WITH ME by Julia Claiborne Johnson – An eccentric little boy, his reclusive literary legend mother and the assistant (Alice) sent by the publishing company try to work together living under one roof. Frank, the boy, is a bundle of knowledge with a true flair for 1930s fashion, but has rules that people need to follow or possible screaming or becoming a comatose statue on the floor will happen. Alice is Frank’s full-time companion and becomes consumed to find out who Frank’s father is, who is this “Xander” and if his mother will ever finish that book.

JUST KIDS by Patti Smith – I LOVE Patti Smith. She can do no wrong. I have been meaning to read her books (she’s written at least ten books – mostly poetry) and I finally had a chance. In Just Kids she tells us a never seen before glimpse of her relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe during the coolest days of New York City and the Chelsea Hotel during the sixties and seventies.

THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY by Erik Larson – This one was really good. I love non-fiction stories. It intertwines the true tale of the 1893 World’s Fair and a serial killer who lured victims during the same time. A combination of architecture, history and haunted stories.

GIRL IN A BAND by Kim Gordon – I guess I was into Rock n Roll this summer. Girl In A Band is a memoir by Kim Gordon, founding member of Sonic Youth, fashion icon, and role model for a generation of women. A fascinating chronicle of the band that helped pave the way for Nirvana, Hole, Smashing Pumpkins and others. All bands I still love. Read it and rock out.

Start reading up, yo! What books can you recommend? Would love to hear.