Sunday, December 8, 2019

A Tree of Many Nations

Today I was invited by my cousin Gail and her husband Wes to their annual Christmas brunch.  As always it was a delightful afternoon with good company and good food.

Their home is beautifully decorated for the holidays.  In the living room the Christmas tree represents the many nations that they have visited on their travels.  Gail has collected dolls from each country as well as the national flags.  It is a colorful and unique tree.


A new country represented on the tree this year is Iceland.

Their travels this year also included Austria...

… and of course Switzerland where I joined them in a visit to our ancestral village and introduced them to our Swiss cousins.

Mexico is well represented.  There is a doll in the traditional attire of Yucatán from a trip which Gail and Wes took with me to Mérida a few years ago.  There is a corn husk doll which I bought for her on one of my trips, and from Gail's recent visit to Mexico City a "catrina" figure which she bought at a handicraft market.

Our menu was also international with dishes representing each of the countries that they had visited this year.  There were Norwegian meatballs, Austrian schnitzel, a Swiss casserole, and a cake from an Icelandic recipe that Gail found.  (They were generally not impressed with Icelandic cuisine.)  And to represent Mexico, I brought guacamole.

It was a fun day!  Thank you, Gail and Wes for your hospitality!

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Unveiling the Christmas Card

If you have read this blog over the years, you know that each year I do a small painting which I then use to create my Christmas card.  It is always a secret what the painting will be until the cards are sent.  I sent my cards the day before Thanksgiving, so I think that it is safe to say that everyone has received their card.  I can now share that picture with you.

My cards are usually based on a photo taken during my travels.  This picture is of Coyoacán, a very historic district within Mexico City.  Coyoacán, which in the Aztec language of Nahuatl means "Place of the Coyotes", dates back to pre-Hispanic times, and was once a separate town from Mexico City.  When the Spanish conqueror Hernán Cortés defeated the Aztecs, he used Coyoacán as his headquarters while Mexico City was being built from the rubble of the Aztec capital.  For many years it remained a rural town on the outskirts of the city.  By the 20th century it became absorbed within the urban sprawl of Mexico City, but its historic center remains one of the most  picturesque parts of the capital.  
I took a photo of this quiet side street lined with colorful, colonial houses last spring.  The street was decorated with paper banners (known as "papel picado"... cut paper) that are used for holidays.  (I believe that they were hanging in celebration of the saint's day for the local parish.)  Alejandro saw the photo and said that it would make a good subject for my Christmas card.  And so, I chose that picture for this year's card.

I believe that by now even my European cousins have all received their card.  My cousin in England wrote to me and thanked me for their card, and my Swiss cousin Brigitta even sent me a photo of the card sitting on the counter in their home.

So now I share my painting with you, my readers, with my best wishes for a very happy holiday season!

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Winter Is Coming

This was the view that greeted me when I woke up this morning.

It was not the first measurable snow that we have had this season.  That was in early November, but I was in Mexico at the time.  The last couple of days there have been some snowflakes in the air, but this was the first time since returning that I have seen snow on the ground.

It makes me glad that I will be headed back to Mexico after the holidays!

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Getting Together with Meredith and Chuck

If you follow this blog, you may remember that last January Meredith, a former student of mine, and her husband Chuck spent several days with me in Mérida, Yucatán.

The two of them were in Ohio last week spending Thanksgiving with her family.  On Sunday, we got together for lunch before they returned home to Wisconsin yesterday.  We met at a Salvadorian restaurant in suburban Cleveland.  The food was good, and the company was even better.  

(photo taken by Chuck)

It was great to see Meredith and Chuck again, and I hope that in the future I can give them another tour in Mexico.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Christmas in the Park

While I was in Columbus visiting family over Thanksgiving, we went to Franklin Park and its Conservatory to see the Christmas displays.

The area surrounding the Conservatory was festively decorated with lights.

A waterfall and a stream as well as elephants all done in lights.

Both outside and inside the conservatory, there were numerous glass sculptures by the artist Dale Chihuly.

Inside the conservatory there was an impressive display of poinsettias. 

It is a beautiful display to put everyone in the holiday spirit!

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving

(image taken from the web)
Tomorrow morning I will drive down to Columbus (a two hour drive from Cleveland) to spend the holiday with family down there.

Best wishes to all my readers (or at least the ones in the U.S.) for a very happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Mexico City's Version of the Macy's Parade

Macy's Thanksgiving Parade in New York City is a tradition that has been going on for decades.  Of course it really has nothing to do with Thanksgiving; it's about the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.

Mexico City has its own version of the parade sponsored by Liverpool, a department store chain that might be compared to Macy's (neither the most expensive nor the cheapest of Mexico's retailers).  This is the 5th year for Liverpool's Christmas parade, which is called Bolo Fest.  Just like the Macy's Parade, the Bolo Fest features big balloons, mostly of popular cartoon show characters.  

The Bolo Fest 2019 was held yesterday along Mexico City's main boulevard, the Paseo de la Reforma.  There were 19 giant balloons.  This year at the conclusion of the parade there was a concert with popular performers by the Monument to the Revolution.

Alejandro's sister and her 9 year old son attended the parade, and here are a few photos and a video that she took of that event...

By the way, if you are wondering why the parade is called Bolo Fest...
Alejandro just explained to me that Bolo is the name of the bear that is Liverpool´s Christmas mascot.

(image taken from the web)