Sunday, May 23, 2010

Meditation and Vegetables

I can't say that we meditate on a regular basis but we have moments while in quiet surroundings that are special. Here I am in a canyon in the botanical garden. Every other Saturday I walk with my friend Agnes and we take two stops along the way for quiet meditation. It is a very special time for me. My other moments of such focus are at yoga classes and while doing artwork. I would like to get the same focus on my spanish vocabulary words!

Here is Richard in his meditation mode - at the Parque Juarez where he takes a half hour of juggling while I do my speedwalking with Marcia. Richard is also able to focus in this way at meditation class as well as yoga class. I have much to learn from him about focus and meditation.

Have you ever seen an artichoke growing? They are in the thistle family. This week I walked to the organic garden and bought an amazing pile of beautiful vegetables - all for under $5.00. Included were artichokes, beets, beet greens, fennel, dill, basil, lettuce, leeks, broccoli and cauliflower. We also bought purslane which I have eaten cooked and raw. It is a weed in the US but seems to be a veggie with one of the highest amounts of omega 3 fatty acids - something new for our repetoire.

Yesterday at the Botanical Garden there was a Nopal Festival - the main cactus of the area. There were loads of items, all made from nopal. I bought nopal pasta and small breads made of nopal. I had a delicious salad of nopal and potato served in a blue corn tortilla. Agnes had a cake and pizza made with nopal. There were so many more items. I never realized the variety of ways it can be used.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Jardin Botanico and the colorful life

Now we have been here for one month. It seems amazing to me that we still have most of a year to go. Our lives are full of daily and weekly activity. The first picture is a collage postcard that I just sent to NC. I belong (have for close to 5 years) to a postcard group and each month I send one postcard and receive one. The only requirement is that they be hand made. For me it is a good chance to do some artwork each month. In this case, I painted a piece of paper and then cut it up and glued it on a card that I painted.Then I outlined the buildings and sidewalk with a black pen. It is very much like the typical street seen we see around every corner. Next is the street outside a shop that sells wool rugs and the colorful yarns caught my eye.

The Botanical Garden (Jardin Botanico) is right in town - high up along a canyon. We have been there many times but just recently discovered that we could walk across the dam to the otherside and have a completely different view and experience. The colors of green in the fields were amazing. A good friend Agnes goes every Saturday and I will join her every other week. (The opposite Saturdays I will go to Zumba in the park).
A cactus heart wishing you LOVE.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

La Gruta - Hot Springs

One of our weekly entertainments is heading to La Gruta - the hot springs on the outskirts of town. These are natural mineral springs that are in pools. There are several places taping into these underground springs and our favorite is La Gruta. Here you will see pictures of the long tunnel that goes between the hot and very hot inner cave where several times each day there is a hot shower that we take turns standing under which creates a massage feeling as it hits the body - great for after one of our intense yoga classes. So....remember when you come and visit that you must bring your swim suits.

I am now winding down from my 3 weeks of intense spanish in the past tense. I am making progress and next will be a 3 week private conversation class with the same teacher. I figure if she makes me talk I will do it and get used to trying to speak. Writing is much easier than speaking but as they remind me it is "poco a poco".
These other pictures are of dancing in the park one afternoon and one of several walls of sun in one of the local hotel/apartment complexes.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Vounteering in San Miguel

Richard and I have found some wonderful opportunities for volunteering now that we are here for an extended period of time. We are working with an organization called "Ojala" ( This is an after school program and Richard goes on Monday afternoons to teach the children English.He is having wonderful success using his juggling balls as a way to engage the children and have them learn words, body parts, action verbs, etc. Next week he will bring some magic tricks to show them as well. They are happy to be learning and having fun at the same time.
I go on Wednesdays to help with the art classes. Here are pictures from last Wednesday when I worked with the kids on collage cards for Dia de la Madre (Mother's Day). There has been an ongoing project that just finished after one year working on miniatures. These are minatures of Casa de las Flores - a flower store. I am not able to speak very well with the kids but with a bit of sign language and some encouraging words to the kids I am really enjoying this opportunity. This program is in Viejo San Miguel which is a small part of the old town which is about 15 minutes outside the city in the countryside. The younger kids (eating their oranges for snacktime) are in a different area but meet up with all of us at the end.

My other volunteer activity is with Mujeres en Cambio - an organization that raises money for women in the countryside to attend school. After primary school the families have to pay for books, uniforms and other fees so often it is only the young boys who go to school. Right now we have 150 girls who are going to HS or university through this scholarship program. Here is the website for more information: ( I am working on a cookbook that they are putting together for fundraising based on the recipes from the guest chefs and members over one year of their fundraising luncheons.

I know that these are important opportunities for helping others but I find that it helps me in many ways as well - giving is receiving - we meet new friends, see happy people, and live on in the tradition of our families of helping others.

If anyone wants more information or wants to contribute money to any of these worthwhile organizations - please let me know.