Tamales

On a Sunday morning, my landlady opened the foyer door and called out, "Miss?" She does this sometimes because it's easier than tapping on the door and waiting from me to run downstairs and unlock it. Usually, she is bringing me food. On this particular weekend, she and the family had been to a party…

Sleep Schedules

The karaoke party started at three a.m. Maybe it's my Northern European genes, but my body thinks--nay, truly believes--that it should be resting when it's dark outside.  I go to bed too early and wake up too early for a part of the continent where people don't eat dinner until ten o'clock at night. So…

La Plaza de Armas

"The Plaza de Armas (literally Weapons Square, but better translated as Parade Square or parade ground) is the name for the main square in many Hispanic American cities. .  . While some large cities have both a Plaza de Armas and a Plaza Mayor, in most cities those are two names for the same place."…

January

January is a miserable month in Louisiana. In the first place, there's the big let-down because all the excitement of Christmas is over. The tree comes down January 7 (if not a lot sooner), there's a depressing can or box of crumbly fudge or cookies still lingering on the table, and there's no money left.…

King Cake

I was feeling a little bummed on the morning of January 6. I remembered it was Twelfth Night, and I wanted King Cake. While I was in Louisiana for Christmas, I considered bringing the King Cake recipe with me back to Mexico. I found it YEARS ago in a book in the Calcasieu Parish Public…

Holiday Travel

Unexpected events make me very uncomfortable. So I'm trying, with moderate success, to teach myself to expect the unexpected. Lucky for me, there is a Facebook page for the school, and since a number of my coworkers left for Christmas vacation a day ahead of me, I saw numerous photos and comments about airport delays.…

stress relief

The week before Thanksgiving I wrote: I appreciate my former coworkers.  I didn't understand, really, why they would be so relieved, and vocal about their relief, when a long weekend or holiday approached. I would get anxious because a day off just meant that things would be tougher when we came back. A day off…

Flowers

There aren't many flower beds here in this desert town. The centers of the main avenues are mostly bare dirt littered with trash and lined with diseased palm trees. But the walled streets, no matter how poor and dirty, have bougainvillea blooming all over them, and flowering trees. There are flowers everywhere here; they just…