Sunday, July 3, 2022

Round Two

I wrote in an earlier post that last Thursday I had a yard sale, one of my first steps in preparing for a move to Mexico.  Everything was at bargain basement prices, and I made $164.  However, I still had a LOT of stuff left over.  I planned on a second day for the sale, but I waited until yesterday.  Friday was hot and muggy, and it rained in the late afternoon.  Yesterday the temperature was comfortable with sunny skies.  On Friday I did some more clearing out of cupboards, so I had even more stuff for "round two".  I hoped that on a weekend I would get more customers.

I was up early in the morning, and I was set-up and ready to go by 8:00.  I sat and waited.  Except for one woman who was walking by and took a brief look at some of my things, nobody showed up.  Four hours passed, and I was getting very discouraged.  Finally, after noon, some people started to show up, and some of them bought a number of things.  (One lady even bought a couple of my paintings!)  By 4:30 I decided to call it a day.  I had made only $66 dollars.  I was not going to put all this stuff back in the closets, cabinets and cupboards, so my garage is full, and my car is sitting in the driveway.  (I am temporarily one of those people whose garage is so full of junk that there is no room for a car!)

Today I am going to make a start in hauling everything away.  I will take my bags full of books to a store called "Half-Price Books".  I will probably get a few bucks for those.  The Goodwill store is open on Sunday, so I will make several trips over there with things to donate.  I hope that by the end of the day I will at least have enough room to put my car in the garage.

The two-day yard sale was really a lot of work.  I only made $230, and I still have most of the stuff I wanted to get rid of.  The things I cleared out were just the tip of the iceberg.  I am thinking that the sale wasn't worth the time and effort.  As I continue to clear things out, I think that I will just donate them to charity.  At the very end, when the house is sold and I am ready to move, a liquidator can empty out what's left.  

Saturday, July 2, 2022

July Has Arrived

It is hard to believe that 2022 is half over.  Yesterday it was time to turn the calendar to July.  The calendar that I made with my photos of parks and gardens around the world features someplace close to home this month.  Here we have our own Cleveland Botanical Gardens.

Friday, July 1, 2022

Priced to Sell

 I wrote earlier that I have decided to sell my house in Ohio and move permanently to Mexico.  The sale and final move probably won't occur until 2023 or 2024, but I am already taking steps to clear the house of decades of accumulated stuff.

I went through my clothes and filled six bags which I took to Goodwill earlier this week.  Then I started going through closets, cabinets and cupboards.  I have only scratched the surface but I quickly had enough things that to have a yard sale.  So that's what I did yesterday.  I was up at 5:30 in the morning.  I had breakfast and showered, and then, by 6:10 I had begun to haul everything outside.  My cousin Gail said that she come over at 8:00 to help, but by that time I had almost finished.  

Everything was priced to sell.  Most items were $1 or less, and nothing was over $20.  I would have just thrown everything out, but I figured I could probably earn a few bucks with a yard sale.

A driveway full of stuff I no longer want or need.
My cousin is in the background as we await our first customer.

There was a table full of board games, several tables of household items, and a table of books.

There were a couple tables full of Christmas items.  These sold quite well.
I used to participate in local art shows, and one of the things I used to sell were Christmas tree ornaments which I hand-painted.  I still had a cabinet filled with more than twenty boxes of plain ornaments that I had never touched.  My cousin called a friend who goes all-out on decorating for Christmas (six Christmas trees in her house!), and she said that she would buy them all!

From my days of participating in art shows, I had loads of paintings that I had never sold.  I put them out at a bargain price.  My cousin said that at that price people would probably buy them just for the frames.  However, a neighbor loved my paintings and bought three of them.  A couple of friends stopped by and bought four more.  So, I know that those paintings will have a good home.

In spite of how cheap all the prices were, by the end of the day, I still made $164.  There was still a lot of stuff left but hauling everything back in the garage definitely did not take as long as setting up.   

The forecast for today is hot with a high of 90 F and a chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon.  However, Saturday it is supposed to be cooler and sunny.  I have already found more stuff to put up for sale.  So, I will take a break today and have round two on Saturday.

There will probably be more sales in my future.  I haven't even gone up into the attic!

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

The "Alebrijes" Are Returning!

If you have been reading this blog for a while you already know what "alebrijes" are, and you probably remember that one of the events of the Day of the Dead season in Mexico City is the "Desfile de Alebrijes Monumentales" (The Parade of Monumental "Alebrijes").

For any newcomers, an "alebrije" is a figure of a colorful, fantastical creature.  In Mexico City, where they originated, they are made of cardboard or papier-mache.  Later, artisans in the state of Oaxaca started carving them from wood.  They have become one of Mexico's best-known forms of popular art.

Mexico City's "alebrije" parade had been sponsored by the Museum of Popular Arts since 2007... long before the city started holding other parades and events designed to make Day of the Dead in Mexico City a tourist draw comparable to Mardi Gras in New Orleans or Carnaval in Rio.  The "alebrije" parade was usually held in October, two weekends before Day of the Dead (November 2nd).  It grew in size until more than two hundred entries, created by individual artists, workshops, or local organizations, were in the parade.  These "alebrijes" were large creatures, some as tall as thirteen feet high.  They were wheeled down the streets of downtown Mexico City.  After the parade, they were all displayed along the Paseo de la Reforma.  Cash prizes were given to the best entries.

Alejandro and I went to several of the parades.  Unlike the big Day of the Dead Parade, which was started in 2016 and which attracts more than a million spectators, the "alebrije parade" was relatively low-key.  We could go to the parade route less than an hour beforehand, find a good spot, and not be crushed by crowds.  

Then the pandemic hit... and the season's events were all cancelled.  In 2021, even though the city resumed the big parade, there was no "alebrije parade".  

A couple of "alebrijes" from the last pre-pandemic parade, on display in the courtyard of the Museum of Popular Arts.

Then a few days ago, Alejandro told me that he had heard that the parade would be held again this year.   I went on the internet and found a couple of new articles confirming what he had heard.  And now the museum's website has the announcement.

(from the museum's website)

The parade will be held on Saturday, October 22nd.  It will leave the Zócalo at noon, head through the Historic Center of the city and make its way down the Paseo de la Reforma to the Independence Monument.  The "alebrijes" will be on display along the boulevard until November 6th.  

I am very pleased that this delightful event is returning, and I intend to be along the parade route on October 22nd!

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

A Life-Changing Decision

For years I have considered moving to Mexico.  For a while I wanted to live in Mérida, the capital of the state of Yucatán.  It is a delightful city, but it is TOO darn hot, muggy and buggy in the summer.  When Herr Pendejo was elected, I said that I did not want to live in the U.S. anymore.  As it turned out I chickened out, but I did start spending almost half the year in Mexico City.  

Now I am very fearful for the future of the U.S.  I fear that Herr Pendejo will be elected again, or the Florida Pendejo, who could prove to be even more dangerous to our constitutional republic.  Even if the Democrats win in the next Presidential election (they REALLY need to come up with a younger candidate), we will still be under an ultra-right-wing Supreme Court whose influence will probably be felt for several more decades.

I came to a decision that it was time for me to get the heck out of here and finally make the move to Mexico. Besides, I am reaching the age where it is time to downsize, and I am beginning to feel like a slave to my garden.  Life is so hectic during the months that I am in Ohio.   My calendar is full, and I find myself constantly looking forward to being able to slow down and relax on my next trip south of the border. 

The prospect of moving is very daunting to me.  I have lived in the same house since my parents bought this place when I was three years old.  I have NEVER in my adult life experienced moving.  It is, quite frankly, frightening.  But I figure, most people in the U.S. move several times during their lifetime, and they survive the ordeal.  Moving to another country is even more challenging.  However, there are around one million U.S. ex-pats living in Mexico, and, again, they have survived those challenges.  Many of them are not as familiar with the country, its culture, idiosyncrasies, and language as I am.  So, even though I am afraid, I keep telling myself that this is a move that I can and must make. 

A few weeks ago, when I had basically decided to make the move, I ordered several books about retirement in Mexico.

I garnered some useful information from the books, but, in general, they were disappointing.  Half of the pages were devoted to where in Mexico one should retire, and I already know where I want to be... Mexico City.

If you have followed this blog for a while, you know that I was extremely fortunate in finding the apartment that I have been renting down there.  Someone that I know, was friends with a couple that lives in Chicago, but has a condo in Mexico City.  The husband is Mexican and used to be a pilot with Mexicana Airlines.  After Mexicana Airlines went bankrupt in 2010, the condo sat empty most of the time for years.  They were reluctant to rent out the condo, but I was highly recommended.  They were, I think, a bit hesitant, but they agreed to let me rent their Mexico City place.  They were also willing to charge me only for the months that I am there.  It was an ideal situation for us both.  They know now that they have a very responsible tenant who takes good care of the apartment.  I make life easier for them by paying the condo fees and real estate taxes which they then deduct from my rent.  The apartment is very comfortable and attractive, fully furnished, and located in a great part of the city.  I have truly grown to think of it as my other home.

Of course, I knew that sooner or later they would decide to sell the condo.  Before the pandemic they mentioned that they would sell it when the husband retired.  They asked me if I would be interested in buying it.  At that point I said "no".  The pandemic put their plans on hold for a while, but the husband will retire at the end of this year.  I talked to the wife on the phone the other day and told her that I would be interested in buying the condo.  She said that they would be delighted to sell it to me at a good price.  I don't know yet what they will ask for it.  I hope that it will be a price that I can afford.  I also asked her if they plan on leaving the furniture there.  She said everything, right down to the bed linens and dinnerware would be left in place.  Wonderful!  That means I don't have to worry about moving all my furniture down there.  I can simply ship the items I really want to keep and liquidate the rest of the contents of my house up here. 

This is not going to happen overnight.  I figure that it will be a year or two before I have everything squared away, and I am ready to make the move.  Until then, I will continue to split my time between Mexico City and Ohio, as I have done for the last several years.

I really can't believe that I am doing this.  It's probably the most daring thing that I have done in my safe, predictable life.  I am nervous, but I am also excited!


Monday, June 27, 2022

Boston... Not the One in Massachusetts

After a detour into the current political climate, we will now return to the day last week that I spent in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  I ended my day at one of the park's visitor centers in what was once the village of Boston.

When the Ohio & Erie Canal was opened in 1827, the village of Boston flourished with boatyards and businesses serving the canal traffic.  Even after the end of the canal era, Boston continued to prosper with the construction of the Valley Railroad in 1880 and the establishment of the now defunct Cleveland-Akron Bag Company.   The company factory stood next to the railway and company houses for the workers were built.  Today, the factory is gone, and Boston consists of a handful of buildings, many of them owned by the park service.

What was once the Boston Mill General Store is now the Boston Mill Visitor Center.  

Inside there are displays pertaining to the park.  Rangers answer questions on hiking trails and things to see.  There are also park souvenirs for sale, and I bought a few items to take to Mexico.

The building to the left used to be the Boston Land and Manufacturing Company Store.  It too now sells local souvenirs.  Profits go to benefit the park.  (I do not know if the old gas station is still a functioning business.  It appeared to be closed while I was there.)

A short drive beyond the center of the village took me to the Stanford House.

James Stanford claimed this land in 1806.  He was a surveyor with the Connecticut Land Company.  (After the Revolutionary War, the state of Connecticut claimed the northeast corner of Ohio... an area known as the Western Reserve.)  His son George built this house in 1843 and operated a prosperous farm and lumber yard.  Today the park offers accommodations to individuals and groups in this restored house.

A view of the Cuyahoga River at Boston as it flows northward toward Cleveland where it empties into Lake Erie.

 At this point I was considering taking a hike to Blue Hen Falls.  However, it was mid-afternoon, and the temperature was up to 90 F.  I thought it best that I save that hike for a cooler day, and I headed back home.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Political Cartoons

These political cartoons mirror my opinion on the current investigation of the January 6th insurrection.


"Stop the Steal"???  "The Steal" fortunately WAS stopped, and the would-be thieves were Herr Pendejo and his minions.  It is time for the traitors to be punished for their treason!