About this blog:

A blog: drinking deeply from the cup of life!
All about clueless, freestyle parenting; raising a free-range child; building a house of mud in Mexico; living the simple life with exotic tastes; commentaries on politics, food, faith and social justice!
learning, loving, dreaming, exploring!

25 February 2011

I published a book!

I've published a book! I wanted to write something that was meant to be read out loud to kids, but also with a message that was important, yet simple. I also hope it is a book that will speak to the poor sod who has to read and reread and reread the same book to a toddler over and over and over again. And a book was born: it is all about different children all over the world who really are just like you and me, and how much we all love our kids!!

Furthermore, a portion of proceeds will go to the CORE Foundation, a non-profit that is committed to sustainable community development projects.

I so much appreciate all your support!

If you live in BC and want to order a book, click on this link:

If you live in Alberta and want to order a book, click on this link:

If you live in the US, click on this button to purchase a book. I will ship it to you from Mexico, but usually can find someone going to the States who can post it for me from there. So, it may take a little bit longer for it to arrive.

If you live somewhere else, let me know and I'll try find a way to get it to you!
Thanks everyone!

22 February 2011

Finances in Mexico, and Dos Equis

I don't have a computer program to draw pictures, so you'll have to imagine my cartoon strip:

Cartoon Lisa, hands pulling out empty pockets and a sad face, "sorry, I can't pay my rent because the guy who owes me hasn't paid me yet."

The next frame has a the guy who owes me, standing behind me, empty pockets and a sad face, "sorry, I can't pay you cause the guy who owes me hasn't paid me yet."

Then, there are three of us in a row, and the guy at the end has-- you guessed it--- empty pockets and a sad face, and "can't pay cause someone still owes me."

Then, in the next frame, there is a line to the end of the horizon of empty pockets and inability to pay rent. This is finances in Mexico.

It makes me wonder WHO is at the beginning of this and consequently causing our chain of miserable dominos???

Luis had some insight into this and said that it isn't a long line of not-paying, it is a circle.

So, final frame of the cartoon will be a big circle of people falling over like dominos, with empty pockets and sad faces.

I wish I was funny, cause then I could write more cartoon strips without pictures. And they'd be funny.

Perhaps I will take it one step further. It is a web of not paying. Perhaps here in Mexico it is still connected to Mr. H1N1 and Ms. Economic Crisis' refusals to pay their bills. However, on the up-side, the landlord totally understands; but there I am, paying forward on our domino chain of finances.

But here is something funny. I have to say that I laughed for at lot longer than might seem normal.

09 February 2011


Here are some photos from our 'hood!

Mateo and I went out for a walk around the neighbourhood yesterday afternoon. I zigzag along behind him, trying to keep him from playing with garbage that lines the street, brushing off the dust when he falls, pointing out the birds and plants, and making sure the hundreds of neighbourhood dogs don't get too frustrated with him. We passed by the local elementary school, which is always a good inspiration for why I don't think I'll ever send him to school in Mexico. The children were out for recess, and Mateo instantly climbed up to the fence so that he could get a better look. I thought that some of the little girls would instantly come over to talk to him, as his blonde hair, blue eyed charm is quite unique around here. Instead, it was a swarm of small boys came over to talk to us and to admire Mateo's blue eyes. The bell rang and we carried on our way.

Some neighbourhood parents were out front of the school, and everyone stopped to talk to Mateo, as always. He eats up the attention, and flirts and smiles and chatters in his baby language. One mother, who was there with her teenage daughter, started to chat with us.

The mother told me that the daughter has the power of malojo-the evil eye. As I understand it, people with these powers can often unintentionally cause harm, even to something they really like, mainly because they look with envy on something for too long. This is hardly the first time that people have warned us about the evil eye with regards to Mateo. He is blonde and cute, and children are particularly susceptible to getting the evil eye put on them, according to tradition. It is relatively easy to solve this problem here in Mexico: the person only has to come up and stroke his hair or pinch his cheeks-- in touching him, the power seems to dissolve and he isn't injured. We were also gifted twice with a little malojo charm (a special seed that is supposed to capture the bad energy and dissolve it, thus protecting the child) as friends and family are worried about this with Mateo.

In this case, they were quite specific, saying that Mateo might get a headache if the daughter wasn't able to touch him. I have never minded complete strangers coming up to talk to Mateo or pat his head, so of course I told her to touch him. Ever since he was born, it has been the way that he blesses the world. There is something so amazing and beautiful about a child, and he has brought smiles to so many people just by being himself. His light, his blessing the world, makes the darkness dissolve.

Evil eye was also a part of the culture where I lived in Southern Italy too. It seems to be quite a common phenomenon, yet something that isn't really addressed in places like Canada. I think I'm a rational sort of person, but I do believe in the spiritual forces-- just because we can't see something, does that mean it doesn't exist? Anyone else out there with evil eye experiences?

05 July 2010

my principles went up in smoke (literally)

The spring season in Mexico means that the leaves fall from the trees. The rainy season has arrived, and that will bring new leaves, but the fallen ones are one more item in the daily struggle to keep nature at a more comfortable distance. Life in the tropics really seems to be that constant battle of nature vs. humans: fighting back the dust and mud that threaten to overwhelm the house, keeping the streams of house ants at bay, preventing mold from consuming clothes and curtains, and trying to keep out the mosquitos, cockroaches, weird big things with wings, scorpions, and small biting/stinging/smelling things.
But the leaves: every day the neighbours are out raking leaves on the street. They rake big piles and every evening the air is heavy with smoke as they burn them. (I am stupefied that they generally burn them at the base of the mango trees. It seems like a good way to burn the trees down, but perhaps there is a reason behind what appears to be insanity.)
Anyhow, in my know-it-all way, I've been quite critical of the daily leaf burnings. I don't particularly like the smoke, but really, what amazing compost material that is going up in smoke!!
Determined to work on improving our soil quality at the property, I have been raking and preparing for compost making.
However, I have now lost count of the DAYS I have spent raking. The property is bigger than I originally thought. Like with the mangoes, the leaves threaten to overwhelm. There is no way to compost all of them!

(we burned some)

Sigh. Yet another moment of eating-my-words, hypocritical, having my principles smacked in the face of reality.

As I pointed out to Debbi later that week, parenting is really just the same. Nothing like having a live kid in front of you to challenge all your assumptions, and to trample your pre-arranged ideas and principles with the hard face of reality.

And fortunately, the rainy season has started so my principles are now too wet to burn.

29 June 2010

mangoes: the sweet itch

We have been overrun by mangoes.
Out at the property, the ripe mangoes fall to the ground and become smelly breeding grounds for flies and bugs. With just a few trees, the mangoes have actually become overwhelming! There is simply no way to eat all the mangoes that are there, and I love mangoes!
I decide on a two-pronged approach to beat back the mangoes. I pick up all the rotting, freshly fallen fruit, and Luis buries some of them and we make a pile to try composting the rest. Then, with a rake, I knock down all the green mangoes that I can reach, and get a crate-ful to bring to Luis' grandmother, who hopefully can help us cope with the overabundance.
What I painfully learned in the following three weeks was that mango sap is closely related to poison ivy. I noticed some stinging on my skin while harvesting the mangoes, but wrongly attributed it to insects. NOT SO! MANGOES ARE ACTUALLY POISON IVY!
The rather extensive and unattractive rash on my arms and stomach (how did it get there? It is not like I rolled in the piles of mangoes) STINGS! Sort of feels like being eaten by ants.
I bet you want to eat a mango now...