Trailer Park Nirvana image created by Stefany Kleeschulte.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Porpita porpita, Portuguese Man o' War and Violet Snails

Nothing wakes me faster than the sound of no sound. It is the sound of no air conditioning, a silence that screams "get out of bed and turn the AC off before a power surge hits." Which is what I do. Then I do a systems check around the trailer - modem, direct tv receiver, laptop are all on. I switch on the fan. Nope. I look out at the ceiling fan on the porch - it's running at barely-turning speed. What we have here is a brown-out. It is only June 5th and a bad omen for what the summer will bring. I am relieved when I go outside and can barely see across the park because the air is so dense which means the brown-out occurred for a reason and not just because it felt like it.

Seems like a good time to go for a walk.

Areas of the beach are littered with clusters of Porpita porpitas known as blue button jellyfish (although not really jellyfish). I've never seen them here before. Oh, maybe one or two but nothing like this. Some of the Porpita porpitas are the size of centavos, smaller than a dime. This one was about the size of a nickel. The color is stunning, a dark cobalt blue.

Although the sting is not lethal - just mildly irritating - I resisted the urge to pick one up.

Biologists used to believe that Porpita porpitas were related to Portuguese Man of Wars but they're not. And, I've just learned, Portuguese Man o' Wars (or little blue fucks as I call them but maybe I'll stick with their other name - blue bottle) are not really jellyfish either but a siphonophore, a colonial organism, which is why biologists believed they were related to the blue buttons. Anyhow, I'd seen very few of these little blue...I mean blue bottles the past two summers but they're starting to show up, still in small numbers.

This one looks as though it's about to pop. And that's what the kids here do - stomp them and pop them, kind of like bubble wrap. It looks like it's filled with crystals, doesn't it?

Keeping with the blue theme, this is called a violet snail and it feeds upon Porpita porpitas and Portuguese Man o' Wars. Something else I'd not seen here before. (Check out this gorgeous website. My little point-and-shoot didn't do these shells justice.)

Flocks and flocks of cormorants are heading to the estuary.

Sadly, this one can only watch from the beach.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Border Crossings and Customs

A few days after that Phoenix housewife - Yanira Maldonado - got pulled off a bus and thrown in a Mexican prison because drugs were taped under her seat, I went through that same checkpoint on a shuttle from Hermosillo to Tucson. I was not surprised that we had to get off the shuttle and have our luggage x-rayed but I was surprised at how much time and effort the soldier boy put into going through the van, looking under seats, tapping here and there. He probably spent a good half hour. At the time I didn't know about Mrs. Maldonado. If I had, that would've added a little more stress to a situation I'm always anxious about.

Crossing the border is intimidating - both sides of the border, be it U.S. or Mexico or that military checkpoint. Even though nothing bad has happened to me, it's still stressful to have someone go through your stuff when you're sent over to secondary, or you get that red light in the "Nothing to Declare" lane. Especially that because we're always coming into Mexico with way more stuff than we're allowed. However, even when we've had the red light and our vehicles have been searched, nothing's come of it, not even the time I was with a friend who had a brand new tent, paddle board, between us 3 cases of wine, etc. etc. On that trip into Mexico we got two red lights, a rudimentary search both times and sent on our way.

Not this time. This time as Pam and I approached the first checkpoint, just after crossing the border and going through the first toll booth, we did our little "green light green light" mantra. Didn't work. Red light. We pulled over and a nice young woman with braces didn't even want to go through the truck; she just asked how much those tires were worth, that chain saw, all the other stuff we had. So we followed her into the office where Pam made up some figures and I handed over my $200 receipt from Target. She estimated the value of the stuff in the truck as $1,100 U.S. At 16% tax we owed about 2,200 pesos or $200. She sent us over to the bank to pay the tax where the crabby bank teller said she couldn't take a credit card. Was there an ATM? Of course not. We didn't have enough cash between us to pay the tax so we had to go back to the U.S. to the ATM at Bank of America in Nogales. At least the crabby bank teller said they'd take U.S. dollars.

Back through the toll booth where we forked over another 47 pesos, then a half hour wait to cross the border into the States. Pam was worried about this, about crossing into the States with a truck full of stuff but I figured if she just showed the customs agent the tax form we'd be okay. No problem there. I directed her to BofA, she got cash, we crossed the border into Mexico, back through that toll booth, and stopped at the customs office to pay the tax. Pam had a near nervous breakdown when she went into the bank and they told her it was too late in the day to pay in dollars. WTF?! But the nice new teller calmed her down and said she could pay in dollars in the office.

By the time we finished there, stopped at kilometer 21 in order for me to get my visa, it was 4:15. Way later than we like because that meant we'd be making that drive from Hermosillo to Kino in the dark. Always a scary thing to do.

As I type this, four days later, it dawns on me that we could've just driven into Nogales, Sonora, and hit a Banco Santander there - not even messed with that toll booth and the U.S. border. For a couple of smart women we were not thinking very clearly. Idiotas!

So, here's what we learned:

1) Pam will definitely cut down on the big items she brings in, making sure people know up front that she will be declaring those items and they will have to pay the import tax. Of course, people were very understanding  and forked over their share of the tax. The chainsaw owner did grouse a bit, saying tools are exempt.

2) In my research on what you can bring into Mexico duty free, tools are not exempt. Nowhere does it say that. Here's what it says: If crossing by land you are allowed whatever can fit in your suitcase and $75 worth of goods above that (per person). If it's Easter week or summer (which starts in July) you are allowed $300 per person. That's it. There are no exemptions. Now I guess if you have a tool box of used tools, they'd let that fly but a brand new chainsaw in a box? No way. Who needs a chainsaw here anyway? There aren't any trees.

3) We got off easy. If you do what we did - get in the nothing to declare lane with items that should be declared - they can double the tax. Depending on the value of the items you're trying to sneak in, they can also make you pay the actual cost of those items on top of the 33% tax. And if you're really bad, they will confiscate all that stuff and your vehicle. (Supposedly your vehicle will also be confiscated if you have an accident and you don't have insurance and a visa, which is why I made the trip north in the first place, to get that visa.)

The new state government is making an effort to collect all taxes owed - like that beach front property tax the people here are having to pay. I think more and more people crossing into Mexico will be given the red light. I think if you have more than $75 worth of personal items - clothes and groceries - they're not going to do much about that but big ticket items - tires, appliances - you'll get nailed.

There was a strange incident on that shuttle ride. As we got close to the border the shuttle driver and a motorcycle guy who was stopped on the side of the road exchanged honks and waves. The shuttle pulled into the Pemex station, at a pump behind the building, and the motorcycle guy pulled up next to us. The driver got out of the van. He and the motorcycle guy walked away for a brief exchange, then the driver got back in the van and we drove away without getting gas. Given that recent story about Mrs. Maldonado, it kinda makes you wonder....

Thursday, May 23, 2013

We're sorry, this content cannot be viewed outside the United States

One of the more frustrating things about living here has been the limited access to movies and music on the internet. No free Hulu movies, no renting Amazon movies, no watching full episodes of Criminal Minds, no buying mp3s. I guess if I were an i-thingy kind of person - iPad or iPod or iWhatever - I could take advantage of iTunes but I'm not. Besides, I'm not sure how much iTunes' content is available outside of the U.S.

There is now Netflix Mexico but I couldn't get that to work. I don't want to use any of those download sites like Pirate Bay because I'm paranoid about viruses.

So one of the things that saved me from feeling culturally deprived was my Kindle e-reader. As least I could feed my need for instant gratification with books from Amazon.

Then suddenly one day I could purchase mp3s from Amazon. A friend was visiting last fall and she tried it on her Kindle Fire and was able to successfully buy an mp3. What the hell? So I tried it from my computer and tada! it worked. With no hoopla or notice, people outside the U.S. (at least here in Mexico) were able to buy mp3s.

Books and music. That's a start.

I gave my mom my Kindle when I upgraded to a Kindle Fire.

One night I was roaming around on the Kindle Fire and just for the hell of it I clicked the rent button for "Silver Linings Notebook" and voila, there it was. I was so shocked that I couldn't concentrate on the movie. I figured it was a fluke so the next night I tried it again. Bingo! "The Promised Land" with Matt Damon and Frances McDormand.

Free Prime instant videos are still holding out, expressing their condolences that because I'm out of the U.S. I can't view them. But I keep trying, knowing that it's only a matter of time until they cave.

I love the Kindle Fire. The Dolby sound is terrific. I've enjoyed watching movies in bed and last Sunday I sat outside beading with the Kindle propped up on the table, watching some lame chick flick. The battery life of the Fire is good and can be extended by keeping the wireless signal off. Setting up my email account was super easy. And I can even download transcription jobs on the Kindle to be uploaded to my laptop which is what I plan on doing when I'm on this road this summer. (When did we get to the point where laptops are considered big and cumbersome?)

Finally I'll get caught up on movies! I don't mind paying a rental fee - to me it's worth it. And when I'm in the States I plan on taking advantage of the free Prime movies as often as possible. I'm not sure if I'll regret not getting the 4g version. If so some day my mom will be getting this Kindle Fire HD 8.9"....

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Beach and Taxes

The federal government here in Mexico decided to start collecting on a beachfront owner's tax that was apparently established in 2008 only no one knew anything about it. A couple months ago people with homes on the beach received notices tucked into their doors and gates about this tax but most people just kind of ignored the notice, waiting for some other official word which never came. Finally some people took it upon themselves to go to the tax office and sure enough, if your home sat along the blue line on the map you were on federal property and had to pay the tax. However, home owners were told the back tax penalty would be waived if people came in before the first of June.

This was the purpose for our trip to Hermosillo. My friend who will be gone for the summer needed to see how much in taxes she owed. So along with another friend and our trusted Romanian chauffeur, we went to Hermosillo for the day. No movie plans, no big shopping plans; just hit steaming pile of poop bank
(really, doesn't the logo look like that?), go to the tax office then fine dine.

Our driver found the tax building with no problem and we found the correct office also with no problem. There was no line and we were immediately ushered into the tax lady's office. She showed us the map of Kino. My friend's house sat behind the blue line meaning she didn't owe the tax and woohoo! drinks would be on her. But it was amazing how many of the homes did sit on federal land - way on federal land. Why were they allowed to build there in the first place? Who knows. This is Mexico.

The restaurant we chose was Mochomos on Morelos over by San Jose Hospital. It's a lovely restaurant with a great wine list and a varied menu with enough meat to satisfy our meat-loving chauffeur. We had two bottles of a white French wine, chef's salad to share, a wonderful queso fundido (a melted cheese dish with green chiles and chorizo) and, of course, our four main dishes which included pork, beef, duck tacos and chicken and asparagus. The prices were terrific - our whole meal including tip came to about $40 a person.

That will be my last trip to Hermosillo with my girlfriends for the next few months because they're all leaving for the summer. Will I leave, too? Fingers crossed that the answer is yes.

~ ~ ~ ~

Back at the trailer park I pulled my chair over to the seawall. The kitten followed. He always does. We spied some kids digging in the sand.

peeing in the Sea of Cortez

plastic glimmering in the setting sun

Blue's feeling a little jealous of the kitten and joined us, too

Monday, May 13, 2013

Stolen Sand Chair

It only took five minutes - the time it took for me to go to the trailer and make a gin and tonic - for someone to steal my beach chair.

On Sunday (Mother's Day in the U.S.) the biggest Mother of all mothers - Mother Nature - switched on the summer heat. Fortunately it was a dry desert heat and not humid sea heat so it was kind of nice, especially sitting at the water's edge in the sand chair, the water lapping at my feet, a cold Negra Modelo in hand. No book, no camera - I just sat and watched the terns, pelicans and gulls dive for fish. The wings of the Ibises absolutely glimmered as they soared by.

A man with a chocolate-colored pit bull/boxer mix walked by. When the dog strained at the leash to come see me the man said in English that the dog only wanted to say "hi" and I commented on how beautiful it was. Then the man's wife/girlfriend joined him with another dog and I watched them play ball in the water.

Mother's Day. It was hot. I had no work to do. So I decided it was time for a gin and tonic. I left shells and the worm tubes I'd been collecting for a friend on the chair as a sign that the chair was occupied. I was gone five minutes at the most. Before I even noticed that the chair was missing the man with the dog yelled that someone had taken my chair. My first thought was why didn't you sic your dogs on him? I asked where the thief had gone and he said "On the other side of the wall."

I headed to the road that runs along the back side of the trailer park, the road behind my trailer. I'd heard from Flo that someone was squatting in the lot behind the white party house (she goes there daily to water two puppies). I saw where the chain link fence was down and stepped through, careful not to spill my g&t. It really stunk back there of shit - hopefully from the puppies and not the human. I walked around trash and plastic sandals and empty bottles of booze. There was an unfinished bodega - four walls but no windows or doors. As I got closer a man's head appeared in one of the windows.

When I'm pissed my Spanish improves. "Tienes mi silla?" To my surprise the man came out of the bodega and said "Si. Disculpe!" He said he was sorry, he was sorry, yes, he had my chair. He would go get it - it was on the roof. It was on the roof? Wouldn't you think that a homeless guy living in an unfinished storage room would be sitting on a newly-stolen chair? No. It was on the roof. What did he have up there? A sundeck? A beach umbrella? A tiki bar? He scrambled up on the roof and brought down my chair.

When I had the chair back I asked him if he was the thief who had stolen my beads and things and he said no, that he had a job in Punta Chueca diving for scallops. I said good because I didn't want to have to call the police.

When I came around the seawall with my chair, the couple with the dogs gave me big thumbs ups.

Sitting in my sand chair with my now lukewarm g&t I remembered that I'd bought that chair in Calle Doce for just a few pesos. Then I remembered I'd bought that chair because my other one had been stolen.

kitten photo bomb

Friday, May 10, 2013

No Mas Hora Feliz?

From 2010 a smaller happy hour group
A few years back - before all the scares about Mexico - our happy hour group here at the trailer park would number somewhere around thirty. People gathered in a circle by the seawall, or if it was too windy they'd set up between the first and second rows of RVs. Often there'd be two separate groups - the Canadians in one and the Californians in the other although the lines weren't that clearly drawn; the Canadians included New Mexicans and the Californians included Oregonians. But the two groups represented a sort of changing demographic where the California group were the older people who'd been coming to Islandia for years and the Canadian group represented the more recent arrivals. Then the Canadians left. Because Mexico was too dangerous. Because there were too many dogs. Because it was too noisy. Because it was too cold. Because of whatever. The Californians - the old-timers - they just got old (and beyond old if you get my drift).

Now, no matter the state- or country-hood or size of the group, happy hour happens every night at the patio table at S's place on the front row. If S isn't there for some reason, happy hour happens anyway (we don't need no stinkin' host). A couple summers back when I returned to Mexico after a month or so in Bisbee I was surprised to see that happy hour was in full swing with Islandia's three full-time residents. Senior Citizens and Happy Hours go hand-in-hand come hell, high water, humidity or hurricanes.

But a change is comin'. S may be moving out of the park to a place he's built a few blocks away. He has a buyer for his RV but the sale is contingent on whether he not he's going to like living in town, whether or not he'll be happy giving up his ocean view, and whether or not he'll be lonely at happy hour. He's got a couple buddies who I'm sure will go to his new place but will they go every night? Will the rest of us want to walk over with our snacks and beverages? If I need to refill my gin and tonic I won't be able to just wander back over to my trailer; I'll have to arrive at happy hour with all the fixings. And do I want to sit on someone's patio inside a walled compound and not be able to see the sea, to watch the sunset? Isn't that one of the reasons I'm here?

This summer will be much like my first summer here when there were so few people in the trailer park and I had no friends outside the park. I was pretty creative that summer. I spent a lot of time in the water. I read and drank beers under the palapas watching the pelicans and gulls do battle. It wasn't as hot that summer and I spent a lot of time walking the beach, taking photos. I'm kind of looking forward to my own private happy hours.

The current happy hour spot - soon to become a thing of the past?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spanish Word of the Day - Muro

The latest trailer park skirmish involves....yes, you guessed it, Flo. Oh, thank the goddesses for Flo or this would've been one boring snowbird year. Plus she's responsible for our very own bingo parlor which has been quite a hit - the last Bingo Wednesday is today and I hate to see it go.

So back to the skirmish which involves Flo's new neighbors and the wall (muro) they're building. The new neighbors aren't new to the park - they already have another place here - but they bought the trailer next to Flo's. These are prime trailer spots, right atop the seawall, nothing blocking their views of the sea, wonderful happy hour gathering places of which we had a few while they were deciding whether to buy that particular space. Although you don't really buy a space here; you rent the space and buy the trailer that's on the space if there is one. Flo and these people were friends and all was right with the world.

Until the wall. The man part of the couple wanted a wall for privacy so he began building a cement block wall and when Flo saw it she went over and said he needed to delete the top row and he complied. But then he started building the wall between his space and Flo's and he built it about 2 inches onto her property making it impossible for her to get behind her trailer. She said he had to move it; he said tough shit, you're too big to fit behind the trailer anyway.

Let the battle begin!

Back and forth the parties went to the office to complain, no one getting an answer because the park owners  want to stay out of it which is par for the course.

Finally the man neighbor said he'd move the wall but that it was going to be eight feet high so there! The day came for the wall to be moved - yesterday - and it wasn't. So Flo went to the hardware store and bought a sledgehammer. Flo doesn't speak Spanish so how did she convey what she wanted? Did she mime busting up a wall? Maybe she saw one hanging on a hook. Flo then came home and tore down that wall!

More running back to the office where the owner said "leave me out of it, get along" which is pretty much what you would say to grown-ups and not ten-year-olds.

There is a little bit of karma involved here. When Flo first moved into that spot she put up a fence way over on the neighbor's property and not only that, she had a cement slab built for her washing machine. Problem was the slab and washing machine were up against the sun room door so when those neighbors arrived for the season, they couldn't get the door open. Flo had to move both the fence and the washing machine and to make further retribution, she let the woman do laundry at her place.

I know how stubborn Flo and that man are but especially the man. When he first talked about the wall both his wife and I said "that will block the view of the sunset" and he said who cares, privacy is more important. I spent three weeks with them in New Mexico - I know there's no changing his mind once it's set.

I'm not sure what's next. Hopefully the new wall won't be eight feet high. Hopefully eventually this will pass and they'll be friends again. That happens here a lot - one year someone's not speaking to you, the next they are.

Flo's new neighbors moved out the trailer that was on that spot and are building a house of some sort. Hopefully that sinkhole the previous owner fell into won't reappear. Just sayin'.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Parade of Putas

Sometime this afternoon the owner returns and I will be officially released from my house-sitting duties. Even though I've been in the trailer for three weeks, I do go to the house twice each day to check on it - in the morning to raise the hurricane shades and water the plants, in the evening to lower the shades and turn on the lights. A couple days ago the cops were at the neighbor's house - someone broke into the storage shed - and that made me nervous and made me wonder if I shouldn't spend the nights at the house. But the neighbor's shed was broken into even though the house was occupied so I doubt if my presence would've been much of a deterrence. Besides, I'm pretty convinced that the break-in was done by friends of one of the many putas who frequented that house.

Man, you should've seen the parade of putas when the gringo first moved in for the winter months. I had no idea so many Ladies of the Night lived in this town. I wondered if some of them maybe didn't come all the way from Calle Doce. One of the women I'd seen many times before around town, skinny and tweaker-ish. Some of the women were very beautiful - especially one woman who seemed a little older than the rest with her hair done in a beautiful thick braid. She wore the prostitute uniform of skin-tight low-slung pants (all the better for showing off the Sonoran Belly), tight blouse with not a lot of cleavage, jean jacket, jewelry. Some of the women even brought their babies with them.

I know all this because to get the old gringo's attention the women (and one or two girls) had to walk past the windows of my house and then call his name at the gate of his house. One time the tweaker-ish one asked me where the gringo was and when I said I didn't know, she asked me for money.

Suddenly the parade stopped. I speculated that either the gringo's supply of little blue pills had run out or his funds had. But I did notice that as the trickle slowed, one woman would hang out across the road/alley and stare at the windows of the house I was staying in. The windows are reflective so it could've been that she was merely staring at her image in the windows. It felt more like she was scoping the place out. A year or two ago, after the gringo went north, there were a lot of break-ins along this stretch of beach. That doesn't seem coincidental.

Having that gringo as a neighbor is one of the things I will not miss. I will miss the kitchen counters and the speedy DSL. I'll miss the privacy and the view. Oops, time to walk over and water the plants, raise the shades on a whole new season...summer is coming to Kino.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Winter Recap

Bingo room with a view
On November 19 when I ended that blog post with "I'm out of here," I didn't mean for four fucking months (which may turn into forever...I don't know, we'll see how this goes). It was kind of a hellish holiday/birthday season and I'd rather not talk about it. I did spend hours watching Criminal Minds' marathons which at least made me grateful some maniac wasn't harvesting my organs (while I was still alive) or a crazy woman hadn't paralyzed me and turned me into a living doll.

That last post was about how slow the snowbirds were in returning to the trailer park and already most of them are gone. Of those eleven full-timers I mentioned, well most of them have plans to be gone for the summer, some leaving as early April, so it will be down to about six of us. Five of "them" if I get my act together and get the van turned into a camper and head out of here for at least a couple months.

There were no big dramas at the trailer park this year. No one: died; had a psychotic break and had to leave the country; suffered a stroke; tried to kill their wife and neighbor. There was a mini-drama involving Flo's dog who bit someone. Nothing unusual there except that the dog bit Flo's friend and the friend's husband dragged the cops over to Flo's place. The cops sided with Flo who said, "hey, the woman was in my house; it was her fault." Twisted logic if you ask me but that's how the cops saw it, too. Somehow things always work out in Flo's favor. I almost typed "flavor." Maybe I'm suffering mini-strokes.

Bingo was a big deal at the trailer park. In the old days only people from the park were there and pots were around 30 pesos. Now all these ladies from New Kino come down and bingo has turned into a big event with regular bingo wins about 400+ pesos and blackouts over 1,000. The Frenchie sells fresh-baked breads before the game - baguettes, kalamata olive loaves, even bagels. Our table's turned into a potluck feast with all kinds of food, not to mention a few bottles of wine, and other tables are beginning to follow suit. Sadly there are only two more Wednesday bingo games left which signals the true end of the snowbird season, at least here at Islandia.

Of course a lot of other events happened in Kino this winter but I stuck close to home, watching the sea (and  TV) from the wicker chair in the house. Now I'm back at the trailer, finished with my nine-month house-sitting gig and so happy to be home in my tin can, vowing to get things organized and to try to revive at least a little creativity. Besides, I'm now caught up on all of the Criminal Minds' episodes. However, someone just gave me the first four seasons of Sons of Anarchy. And there's always The Walking Dead to look forward to. Not to mention Dexter....The Following...

Monday, November 19, 2012

The beginning of another year

It's been strange, waking to this run of cloudy days in pretty much always-sunny Kino Bay. No rain yet, but  last Thanksgiving it rained hard and constant. It was cold. This year I'm heading to New Mexico to hang out with friends. We plan on spending hours in the jacuzzi with lots of wine. Maybe we'll hit Santa Fe for a day and that little town New Madrid where Wild Hogs was filmed. It's been a long time since I've expanded my life outside of Kino and southern Arizona.

It's also been strange how slow it's been for the snowbirds to return to the trailer park. Usually by this time Flo is planning the Thanksgiving potluck, walking around with a sign-up sheet for mashed potatoes and other side dishes, and there are so many people she's always worried there won't be enough food. So far only one snowbird couple has returned. What's going on? Well, on my row alone one couple sold their place, one man died (and his wife won't be returning), and then next door to me the wifebeater is still in prison in Hermosillo and his wife won't be returning either. A couple years ago the Canadians stopped coming to Mexico, only going as far as Yuma or some place. The Californians who'd been coming for years got too old to make the trip. As of yet, no youngens have cropped up to take their place.

However, an interesting demographic shift has occurred at the trailer park: Full-timers. There are eleven of us now. One couple, three single men and seven single women. The man in the couple said now that they're here full year, they feel territorial about the park and are happy that the snowbirds are slow to arrive. I can so relate! I always dreaded the snowbird return to MY park. The lack of privacy mostly, but the dramas, the petty arguments, the who's not speaking to who, grown-ups indulging in summer camp behavior.

November has always been a month of change for me, way more a beginning than an end, and today is one of my biggest anniversaries - eight years since leaving Portland. As with last year and the year before and the five before that, I am grateful I made that change. But as with previous years, I wonder what's next. So far the what's next has remained the same - entrenched in Kino. Itching to leave, not knowing where to go, making new friends which makes it fine to stay put, waiting for the right time to make a move.

I'll be away for the next two, maybe three weeks. I'm not taking the laptop (this is when I wish I had a Kindle Fire or an Ipad or something). To all you Americans out there, have a great Thanksgiving. As Barbara Bush says, "People spoke. Move on, get on with it." For my Mexican friends, celebrate your hearts out on Dia del Revolucion! For all of you shop local, support your friendly neighborhood artists. (But if ever I can get movies in Mexico on a Kindle Fire, that's going on my Christmas wish list.) I'd send up a prayer for peace in the Middle East but that don't look like it's gonna happen any time soon. To my daughter, I'll be looking for you on t.v. at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. And for the rest of my family, you have no idea how much you are in my heart and thoughts right now.

On that note...I'm out of here.