Tag Archives: beach vacation

Esther Williams

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MI am in Mexico.  All day I’ve sat under a turquoise umbrella next to the ocean, catching up on back issues of Esquire Magazine and watching the birds.  The osprey seems intimidated by the crowds on the beach, but must be really hungry since he swoops over us, clucking in an irritated manner, then dips his beak quickly into the sea for a fresh fish, flying away to his perch in the desert.

Much like the osprey, I get annoyed when the beach is too crowded.  We’re so often lucky to have this slice of paradise all to ourselves, and when we have to share, it isn’t easy. Today I stand on our condo patio and look to the left.  Then I look to the right. There are umbrellas and pop ups for as far as the eye can see!  Yet each group is quiet and peaceful and as happy as I am to be here.  Thank you, Universe!!!

Hubby and I almost didn’t come to the beach yesterday.  The last time we were here (just three weeks ago), the people on the beach were obnoxious.   I love when the ocean is as smooth as glass, yet that causes sound to travel too well.  Everybody was so loud! The three condos to the right of us housed a huge group of friends with sooooo many little boys running around unattended.  They ran through our yard and even stood on the beams of our stairs.  The parents (mid thirties to mid forties) played loud music all day and night.  To the right of us on the beach, a group of young people appeared each day. They were crass.  While swimming in the ocean, one very large girl (who needed a much larger suit) yelled, “I’m peeing!” to which her friend gladly yelled, “I’m peeing, too!” Every other word (always yelled) was a curse word.  They had loud music which competed with the loud music to the left of us. Let’s just say these folks were harshing my buzz.  Add to that a swarm of mosquitoes that tortured us while we were sleeping and a roach the size of a Buick who waved to me from the kitchen sink taunting, “Neener neener, neener!” as he ran into a crack between the cupboard and the dishwasher.  Oh, and I almost forgot the group of nude teenage girls we walked past on our morning walk. They were standing up (nude) taking selfies and didn’t even seem to notice us.  It wasn’t sexual, but there were families nearby and it just felt wrong.  Let’s just say I wasn’t in the mood to come back to the beach after all that crap.

BUT I’M SO GLAD WE DID!  The weather in Phoenix today:  100 degrees.  The weather at the beach today:  80 degrees.  The ocean is sooooo warm, and we are water logged from swimming so long.  The waves are medium-ish—not so big that it’s hard to get in, but big enough that they bounce you up and down in such a relaxing manner that you never want to get out.  The stronger tide brought in a bunch of seaweed, but we don’t mind and even had a little bit of a seaweed fight.  Which was fun for about one minute, and then I splashed and floated and swam, my body held up by the salty sea so light and buoyant and graceful that I felt like freakin’ Esther Williams.

And last night the full moon was AMAZING.  It looked red as it came up over the desert (it is the Strawberry Moon, you know) and then shone so brightly onto the beach that we took a walk, no flashlight required.  Tonight we will drive up Whale Hill to Casa Capitain where I will order my favorite shrimp tacos and a margarita as big as my head, and Hubby and I will admire the views of the sparkling Sea of Cortez and the twinkling lights on the malecon of this sweet little town.

La vida es buena.  Life is good.

Cheers,

Mary

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Waiting for the Mango Man

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I’m in Mexico.

All day I’ve been watching for the mango man.  He wears a huge straw hat and pulls a small cart through the sand. In his cart are ripe, juicy mangoes, which for only $3 he carves into a flower and hands it to you with a smile.  This treat is so pretty you almost don’t want to eat it . . . but you do, and soon your hands and chin are dripping with mango juice and sweet tamarind syrup.

Hubby and I had a smooth drive down to Puerto Penasco yesterday with only a short wait to enter Mexico.  We got the green light so got to drive on through without having our car searched or Ruby’s dog papers examined.  This was a HUGE relief, since I’d worked myself into a minor frenzy after reading tourists’ bad border experiences on FB pages devoted to tourism in Puerto Penasco.  I was believing every car was being searched from top to bottom.  I believed the line to get in was always two hours long, and that they were harassing people with dogs.  I heard the border guards were taking all meat, fruit, and vegetables.  I emptied a corn flakes box and stowed my tomatoes, oranges, and limes in it, then put the plastic sleeve with the cereal back on top.  I asked Hubby to pretend he was searching the car.  He picked up the now three-pound box and said, “Dios Mios, what heavy cornflakes!”  I’d frozen our deli meat and hidden it under the carpet in the trunk, along with Ruby’s prescription dog food.  The reason the Mexican people are not as welcoming to the American tourists as of late is quite obvious and will not be given any explanation here except to say these three words,  “Build a wall.”

So here we are, on a practically deserted stretch of beach, with the sun shining above us, a light breeze blowing over the blue ocean waves.  It is 75 degrees on our patio–just right not to be too cold or too hot in our swimsuits.  I’m reading the witty Lauren Graham’s book called Talking as Fast As I Can which, being a huge Gilmore Girls fan, is very enjoyable, but if you aren’t a Gilmore Girls fan, I can’t imagine finding it appealing.  I’ll be ready by tomorrow to finish Known and Strange Things by Teju Cole.  I’m reading it for my art book group, and I’m not yet seeing the connection to art.  Because the author is black, there may be a tie in with the Kehinde Wiley paintings we have at Phoenix Art Museum.  It’s a collection of 50 essays on politics, photography, travel, history, and while some of them are interesting, I’m glossing over some of the more ponderous essays.

But where is the mango man?  A few minutes ago I heard the tingaling of a bell and grabbed a of handful of pesos, but alas, it was only the helado guy.  I honestly don’t know how they pull that heavy cart through the sand.  I am not a popsicle person, though now I’m remembering the joy of hearing the ice cream truck when I was a young girl in Illinois.  A shiny dime could buy you almost anything on that little truck, and I always asked for a banana popsicle.

I packed for carefully for this three-day trip, which I usually don’t have time to do.  I brought cute hats and swim suit cover ups and actually held my swimsuits up to the light to make sure I didn’t pack any that had the derriere portion dissolved by pool chlorine–NOBODY wants to see that!  But there is nobody here except Hubby and me, so I’m still wearing leggings with a pair of Hubby’s socks and an old tshirt that used to be Patrick’s and is very soft for sleeping in which has these words on the front:

They lied to us.
This was supposed to be the future.
Where is my jetpack,
Where is my robotic companion
Where is my dinner in pill form, where is my hydrogen fueled automobile
Where is my nuclear powered house
Where is my cure for this disease?

Pretty dark right? (I love it.)  I look a mess.  I’d better change into my cute beach attire. Because the mango man might be here any minute.

Cheers,

Mary

Lazy as Pie

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I am in Mexico.

I have been lazy as pie since we arrived Friday night at 8:30pm.  Lazy as pie is sitting on the beach for hours reading a book, only getting up when your butt falls asleep and you need a cool swim in the ocean. Lazy as pie is taking a nap because you are too tired to get up and make the afternoon pot of coffee. Lazy as pie is eating a slice of ham and a slice of cheese standing at the fridge because making a sandwich seems way too ambitious.   (My brother once asked me if pie is lazy, what is cake?)

It was a stressful week.  On Monday I learned a boy from our neighborhood hung himself in his backyard, his parents finding him when they arrived home from work.  I didn’t know this young man, but am proud that our community came together at this tragic time and planned and prepared the food for yesterday’s funeral service.  Teen suicide rocks all of us parents to our very core; I know I wouldn’t want to live if it were my child who had taken their life. Wednesday brought bad news from two close friends with family members with serious health concerns, and from my Marcos de Niza high school friends, news that a boy from our youth had died.  Robby was the golden boy who was smart, funny, and good at sports.  I always assumed his life turned out as beautiful as he was, but apparently there were addiction issues.  Like I said, it was a hard week.

But here I am, watching the last of the sunset glow over the ocean, a wet spaniel at my feet licking her salty fur.  Ruby loves to wallow with me in the puddles at low tide, and I am happy for her company.  We examine the tiny hermit crabs and watch the small fish trapped until the tide returns for them.  Earlier Ruby howled as Hubby left her in the condo with me and went out into the big waves to snorkel.  “Those waves are bigger than the both of us,” I explained, gently kissing her speckled snout.

I tried to write a haiku this afternoon, and just could not pare my feelings down to the 5/7/5 form. (I am not sparse by nature–verbose is a more apt word for me.)  This is what I wanted to say in haiku, and after an hour of playing with the words in my head, gave up.

Bright Sunday morning.
Waves crashing loudly, my face tilts toward the sun with joy as
I watch birds flying swiftly through windy skies,
Swooping to dip their toes and beaks into the turquoise brew.
Suddenly they are gone, mere dots on the horizon.
I walk to the waters edge and dip my toes then hands, lifting the salty broth to my lips,
For soon I will be flying away, too.

Cheers,

Mary

On Mexican Time

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You know it’s time to come home from the beach when you’re out of dog kibble and clean undies (at least that’s how I know).  So we will head back to Tempe after lunch.

Nature called early this morning and since I was up, I stepped onto the patio to see the sunrise.  I love to sleep in, and feel a bit guilty that I always miss the sunrise over the ocean. My conclusion is it’s highly overrated; it looked EXACTLY like the sunset last night, except on the other side of the beach!

It’s been a lovely, perfect weekend.  Yesterday I spent hours in the warm ocean, the water so clear I could see all sorts of fish flitting around my legs. I felt like I was standing in an aquarium!  Jolly Sergeant Major fish the size of half dollars floated about my feet, kissing the bright blue polish on my toenails.  Chubby yellow-and-black striped, they are the most colorful fish you will find near the shore in Puerto Penasco.  I noticed many small bubbles on the water and Hooray! A school of small tube-shaped green fish had arrived!  They float just under the surface and are elegant in their shape and color.  (I have looked online and cannot find the name of these fish.)  I saw swarms of tiny brown fish, then larger trigger fish.  Hubby placed in the water the remains of his mango on a stick and the Sergeant Majors went crazy, taking small bites and swarming the fruit like bees.  (We love the mango man who brings us sticky treats of mango sprinkled with chili pepper and tamarindo syrup.)  Later in the day, we got the kayak to the beach just in time for Hubby to chase a large pod of dolphins moving quickly towards town.

Monday was a perfect day.  I walked the beach searching for shells and was lucky enough to find FOUR of my favorites, the trivia solandri, or “coffee bean” shells which resemble pink coffee beans and are quite rare.  Then I spent some time choosing which mansion I will buy with the profits from my latest invention, the square glue-stick.  After many recent classroom crafts where the rounded ones roll onto the floor, I’m certain my invention will be quite the success and we can upgrade to a beach home with a garage and an outside shower (don’t you love an outdoor shower?).  You may recall my best invention to date, the concert diaper, which alas never attracted interest from investors, but I’m sure would have had lots of takers at last week’s Lumineers concert where the line to the Ladies Room was a half hour long.

Thanks to the Universe for giving me this peaceful and restorative weekend with my best friend at one of my favorite places on Earth:  Puerto Penasco, Mexico.

Cheers,

Mary

 

 

Merdog

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I am in Mexico.

We always come to the beach for Fall Break, however, this year, it’s just Hubby and me. Our children were too busy to accompany us, and you know what?  We’re having a lovely time just the two of us . . . along with Ruby the Wonder Spaniel.  She is having the time of her life chasing bird shadows, digging in the sand, and knocking over our full beer bottles. She swims gracefully around us in the ocean, her ears floating so elegantly on the water that I’m sure she thinks she is a mermaid.  Mer-dog?  Mer-spaniel!  Today as I sat in a warm tide pool, she rhythmically wagged her wet tail toward me, sprinkling sea water on my sun glasses. Good dog!  Ruby has a new BFF named Barley. He is a one-year-old Cairn Terrier who touched noses with her and smelled her behind so sweetly that it made me smile.

We’ve traveled to this beach so many times that I go into autopilot as I pack for our long weekends away.  Saturday I had extra time to putter since Hubby had to answer a few work emails before we left town.  I actually remembered the binoculars, the mustard, my toothbrush, and the plastic bags for poop detail. (I have no idea why I forget these random four items 99% of the time.)  Finally we were on the road!  We were two hours into our four-hour journey when I yelled a very bad word followed by, “I FORGOT THE KEY!” Hubby voted we return home, but since I was behind the wheel, I had executive decision making power. I was just sure that one of the condo windows would be unlocked, or that our neighbor would be home with our spare key.  Nope.  Thank goodness for Pablo, who is our property manager.   He arrived in 15 minutes with a spare key—my hero!  Finally we could begin our vacation!  We threw back the curtains, and slid open the glass door to see a pod of dolphins swimming by.  HEAVEN.

Now about the beach:  There are seven or eight different family groups with small children playing ball, tossing Frisbees, paddle boarding, and frolicking in the ocean.  There are many cute dogs, and I am happy to report, everyone seems to be on top of poop duty. There’s nothing grosser than setting up your umbrella, laying out your beach towel just so, then settling in just to have the rich scent of fresh poo waft into your nostrils. Our next door neighbors this weekend own a gin distillery and bar on Congress Street in Tucson. They are very interesting, so polite, and have great taste in music.  My only complaint is Frank Sinatra singing Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas at 9 this morning as we were sipping our coffees and enjoying the ocean views.  So there you have it: I’ve heard my first Christmas song of the holiday season on a hot morning at the beach.

Cheers,

Mary

 

 

Lazy as Pie

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I am in Mexico.

Our journey here was an easy four-hour drive.  We set out early expecting crowds at the border due to the Roger Clyne concert happening in Rocky Point this weekend (which I’ve been referring to as Clynapalooza–I’m not a fan).   But the roads were empty and we rolled through the border, got the green light, and didn’t have even one angry truck trying to mow us over in their rush to get to the beach.

We’re feeling golden.

I’ve successfully completed my second  nap of the day, and for that I blame the unusually loud ocean and accompanying winds.  The waves are roiling and crashing and the resulting sound is so hypnotic that truly, the napping was out of my control.  In my swim suit with my feet up on the beach patio, I’m reading To Kill A Mockingbird for the second time (the first being 30 years ago) and am quickly being sucked into Scout and Jem’s world.  Hubby is working a Sudoku puzzle and helping me count pelicans (I believe they fly in odd-numbered groups and am constantly trying to prove this theory).  A cool breeze wafts over us, and I’m feeling glad I packed a pair of jeans and a jacket at the last minute.  At home, it is hot hot hot, but our favorite beach here in Mexico has not heated up yet.  The ocean is warm, though the huge waves prevented us from doing much more than “wallowing” in the low tide pools. I can’t wait to swim in the morning when the waves will be calm!

In other words, we are being lazy as pie.  (“If pie is lazy, then what is cake?” Hubby asks.)

We thought our children would join us here at our favorite place, but in the end, they did not want to.  This is the story of my life.  Fine.  I can wait patiently until there are grandchildren, when our offspring will be happy to join us so we can help watch their small children.  It truly seems like just last year that Patrick was a baby not wanting to put his feet in the sand, that Eve was afraid of the “big byack fyies” buzzing about, and William crawled down the hill to the ocean so quickly it scared me half to death.  We are so blessed.

Wednesday was my last day assisting in our Kindergarten class for the semester.  Job well done, all of us.  While my teacher friends at public school finished weeks ago,  I cannot complain about having to go two weeks longer since I simply love my new school, the teachers, the parents, and of course, the children.  I will miss everyone over the summer, but I plan to make the most of my six weeks off so I will be fresh and bright when the new semester begins.

Life is good.

Cheers,

Mary

 

 

 

 

Snapshot of a Day at the Beach

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I am in Mexico.

Hubby and I left for the beach Saturday morning.  I was packed and ready to go and (typical to form), Hubby was in no rush.  “A 90-year-old woman with no teeth could eat breakfast faster than that,” I barked at him. “I’ll go without you, you know I will!”

Five hours later, we were here at our favorite little beach, at our tiny little home away from home.  And everything was just as we’d left it.  There was the mango man, pushing his heavy cart through the sand (two please, extra chile powder por favor!).  The faint scent of marijuana drifted by (Jeannette says it helps her arthritis).   Just down the way, a large family group tossed a football, running and falling into the soft warm sand.  John Wayne, Rebecca’s friendly black German shepherd, chewed happily on a dead fish and smiled at us from his spot under the beach shade pop up.   A beautiful osprey hovered and dived into the ocean hunting for his lunch, then flew over us, a wriggling fish grasped in his talons.

And even though we swore we’d try a new restaurant . . . we did not.  And even though we said we’d walk around the neighborhood one day . . . we did not.  We did not visit the CEDO gift shop (they often have cool t-shirts and shell jewelry).  I did not begin the novel I’d brought, instead catching up on six months of Coastal Living magazine.  Just yesterday I was on a mission to get rid of all unnecessary things in my house, but after admiring the fresh, cheery, colorful beach-style furnishings in my glossy magazines, I’m just as eager to buy new pretty stuff.  (Be gone, Devil on my shoulder!)

We did try a new bar a friend has raved about for years  (Boo Bar) and felt silly drinking our beers at the bar while sitting on swings hung from the ceiling!  I couldn’t stop giggling, it was all so ridiculous.  We took moonlight walks both nights, Hubby pointing out the stars and planets to me.  We held hands and were quiet and slept too many hours and ate too much shrimp.

But now?  Now it is 11am. Soon we will leave.  The beach is so quiet.  Other than a man fishing from a yellow kayak, it appears we are the only people here.  I see Hubby floating about in the smooth-as-glass sea, diving down every once in awhile to examine a pretty shell or chase a school of black-and-yellow striped Sargent Majors.  The shush-shush of the incoming tide hypnotizes me, seeming to say, “Stay, stay.  Stay, stay.”

Cheers,

Mary