Monday, October 31, 2016

oct 31

h  a  p  p  y       h  a  l  l  o  w  e  e  n


Sunday, October 30, 2016

Paseo de las Ánimas

As part of the Día de Muertos events,  Friday was the Paseo de las Animas (Passage of the Souls) procession.  (

George and I walked up to the cemetery to see the beginning of the Maya Ceremony X’Men, and the
procession. It was nice to experience a little bit of this grand event, though we did not walk the procession to San Juan plaza. Below are a few photos of our views. I love the painted faces in the skull-like designs.

The cemetery is a beautiful place at night with the old mausoleums and angel sculptures, with its reminder of that fine line, between life and death.

Monday, October 24, 2016

f y i

I am not sure how common this is, but I am sharing  because it happened to me twice now.

If you ever cook with chayote squash or the dark green flat-round squash, (and possibly other varieties?) be careful handling them. I cut up the dark green squash last night and it has a residue that can irritate your skin. On my hand that was holding the squash, the skin on my fingers became a little shiny and felt sticky sort of like a thin film of glue.

I don't remember exactly what I did when it happened before with the chayote, but I googled it and found it is recommended to wear gloves when handling. However, if you get the irritated skin to try using a scrubber sponge over it, rub some baking soda with water to scrub/exfoliate, put some coconut or olive oil on it, or use packing tape.

I tried them all but sticking a piece of duct tape to the finger and then pulling it off, actually removed the sticky substance best! (The way you would use tape to remove lint.) Then I just rubbed some coconut oil on my hands and it was much better. It eventually wears off and goes away, but I found this to be the most effective approach. For what it's worth.


In a recent conversation with my amigo, Mario, and I mentioned the Persian (Sufi mystic) poets, Rumi (13th centry) and Hafiz (14th century). So I searched around and found a few Rumi poems to share, and ruminate on.  :)

Andrea's 'art star' coloring


Soul Receives From Soul

Soul receives from soul that knowledge,
therefore not by book nor from tongue.
If knowledge of mysteries come after
emptiness of mind, that is illumination of heart.

The Intellectual Quest

The intellectual quest is exquisite like pearls and coral,
But it is not the same as the spiritual quest.
The spiritual quest is on another level altogether,
Spiritual wine has a subtler taste.
The intellect and the senses investigate cause and effect.
The spiritual seeker surrenders to the wonder.

What Is Inside The Ground  

Whatever gives pleasure is the fragrance of the friend.
Whatever makes us wonder comes from that light.
What is inside the ground begins to sprout
because you spilled wine there.
What dies in autumn comes up in spring
because this way of saying no
becomes in spring your praise song yes.

(source: Rumi The Big Red Book - Coleman Barks)

Two Kinds Of Intelligence

There are two kinds of intelligence: one acquired,
as a child in school memorizes facts and concepts
from books and from what the teacher says,
collecting information from the traditional sciences
as well as from the new sciences.

With such intelligence you rise in the world.
You get ranked ahead or behind others
in regard to your competence in retaining
information. You stroll with this intelligence
in and out of fields of knowledge, getting always more
marks on your preserving tablets.

There is another kind of tablet, one
already completed and preserved inside you.
A spring overflowing its spring-box. A freshness
in the center of the chest. This other intelligence
does not turn yellow or stagnate. It's fluid,
and it doesn't move from outside to inside
through conduits of plumbing-learning.

This second knowing is a fountainhead
from within you, moving out.

Let Go Of Your Worries [I love the wisdom]

Let go of your worries
and be completely clear-hearted,
like the face of a mirror
that contains no images.
If you want a clear mirror,
behold yourself
and see the shameless truth,
which the mirror reflects.
If metal can be polished
to a mirror-like finish,
what polishing might the mirror
of the heart require?
Between the mirror and the heart
is this single difference:
the heart conceals secrets,
while the mirror does not.

Zero Circle  [ this is one of George's favorites]

Be helpless, dumbfounded,
Unable to say yes or no.
Then a stretcher will come from grace
To gather us up.

We are too dull-eyed to see that beauty
If we say we can, we’re lying.
If we say No, we don’t see it,
That No will behead us
And shut tight our window onto spirit.

So let us rather not be sure of anything,
Besides ourselves, and only that, so
Miraculous beings come running to help.
Crazed, lying in a zero circle, mute,
We shall be saying finally,
With tremendous eloquence, Lead us.
When we have totally surrendered to that beauty,
We shall be a mighty kindness.

Out Beyond Ideas  [I'd like to go rest in this field for bit.]

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right-doing,
there is a field. I'll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn't make any sense


Saturday, October 15, 2016

Sotuta De Peón

This week we took a wonderful tour with our friends Jim and Jackie to Sotuta De Peón located in Tecoh, Yucatan. It's a fully operational Henequen Hacienda that was built in the late 1800's. The tour was thoroughly engaging (we had an excellent guide), historical, educational, and fun!

We toured the main house furnished to that time, in all its elegance.

Me and Jackie

There is a green cross at the main house which represents Mayan influence on religion

We strolled through the history of the Henequen process with antique tools and machinery, and rode on a mule-drawn-trolley (the trucks of that day) passing by fields of the 'green gold' agave plants.

Agave Sisal plants

Jim and Jackie on the 'truck'.

We stopped at the house of Don Antonio, an 83-year-old Mayan who worked on the Hacienda, and still lives there. 
He was a sweet man who apparently loves to welcome all the tour guests to his house and share a little about his life experience. At the end, he had a greeting/salutation in numerous languages which was impressive and sweet. He ended with namaste :)

 The last hour of the tour, we spent at the on-site cenote.  Then relaxed in hammocks.

Jim and George relaxing with a Henequen Margarita

We highly recommend this tour if you visit the Yucatan. More info here -

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

New Article

I recently did some self-inquiry about my reactions to seeing travel photos of some friends on instagram, and finding ways to infuse 'travel' in your life when actual travel is not in the cards right now.

This latest article was published today - -

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Religion and Politics, What?

I usually don't write about religion or politics; however, I was moved at the church service this morning to write a post. I was born/brought up Jewish, but not very observant. My sister and I went to Sunday School for a short while, and on high holidays we went to my grandparents orthodox shul in the Fairfax district in Los Angeles, we celebrated Hanukkah, and attended our cousins bar/bat mitzvahs.

Then half-my-life ago, I did something unexpected. I believed Jesus is the promised Messiah. This created an interest in reading and learning the bible, understanding my Jewish roots, and I loved going to church. My family did not disown me but they weren't thrilled about my zeal. Over the past 25 years, I went to various non-denomination city churches, Calvary Chapels, and Presbyterian churches. During our travel year I went to a service at a Calvary in Santa Fe, NM, and a Presbyterian church in Dublin, Ireland, where I met this interesting woman Frida Wolfe, who created her own line of tea. (

Now I attend Calvary Centro in Santiago Plaza, because they have an English service at 9am (and a Spanish service at 11am). Pastor Robert and his family came here from Calvary Ft. Lauderdale. I really like his teaching, and being part of this small faith community. Today we studied the story in John 11, about when Lazarus was sick and died. Jesus allowed this so the glory of God would be seen and consequently, for the believer's growth. Jesus felt deeply moved and troubled. And of course the shortest verse 11:35, Jesus wept.

God loves us, and is with us in all tragedies and difficulties, no matter what we feel. We are in His hands and by faith, we can trust what He allows into our lives will ultimately be for His glory, and our good. I don't know why bad things happen to good people. I am just sharing a little bit of my experience, and I choose to do the best I can. I hope I can remember this if a big trial hits my life. In the meantime, smaller challenges and emotional frustrations could be met with less defensiveness on my part.

Awareness is the first step, right? So I catch myself in these situations quicker and TRY to respond more favorably, whatever that means at the time. Yet, I mess up plenty which makes me grateful for God's grace. So, my short sermon, if you will, is just sharing a bit of my faith story. No matter the state of this world, I believe God is love, and God is good.

My mini pumpkin...<3

On to politics, briefly, I consider my views to be somewhat liberal (like pro-choice), but not extreme. Well, we got our voting-abroad information in order and plan to send our ballots in early. It's so important to vote in this election! Honestly, I still cannot fathom how Donald Trump became a presidential candidate. I don't keep up with all the daily press or it would make me a crazy person. I do think Hillary Clinton is a qualified, and mature candidate. I'll leave it at that for now.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Dear October

 Dear October,
You round and orange month
you are beautiful,
though you look different in the Yucatan.

I don't see your vibrant changing leaves
but the morning light arrives a bit later now.
The air does not feel crisp and cool
but the heat has begun to slightly wane.

Halloween appears in the stores
(and so does Christmas?!)

There is
fall foliage
cozy sweaters
and pumpkins in my mind.
But there are pink bougainvillea petals
and yellow blooms in my view. ~ a.a. 10/1/16