Sunday, October 19, 2014

Smart, Beautiful and Role Models!

I would like to introduce you to two amazing women. 
Maria Jose Cardenas Novelo & Alicia Janet C├írdenas Novelo
Ed and I met these wonderful women soon after moving here. They are warm, loving and beautiful. 
They are also two of the hardest working and most intelligent ladies I have ever met.

When we first met they told us of a dream they had to start a cake business. 
Being that this was once a hobby of mine, I had several books and a bit of decorating supplies. 
I didn't need them anymore, so I gave it all to them to use.
AND did they ever!  They made my hobby work look like child's-play! Their business has grown a 
great deal, and now they have a facility they own away from their home.
I love them for their hearts but am so proud to know them for their spirit and determination!
If you have been one of my students (especially one of my female students)
You have probably heard me lecture about women in Mexico striving to be strong and 
Maria Jose and Alicia are role models for all, but most importantly, for women!
Not only do they demonstrate courage and determination, today I asked
for assistance with a few things for a cheesecake business I am starting. Some may be threatened and 
worry that in someway I may undermine their business, but in contrast, Maria Jose and Alicia 
opened their home and business to me to get whatever help I needed. I left with twice the supplies 
I originally asked for help with.
This is also something I preach to my female students. Not only must they strive to be educated, strong
and independent, they must also support other women in their endeavors. 
Please enjoy the pictures of just a handful of their many wonderful creations.
If you are in need of cakes, cupcakes, or goodies of all kind, please call them.
I know you will be over-joyed with the product you receive!

Cupcakes By MJ
You can also find them on Facebook under Cupcakes by MJ 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Welcome Cinco!

Losing Max was very difficult. It was hard waking up and not having him right next to my bed.

For 15 years Max was a constant companion.

It soon became clear that the adjustment was not only hard for Ed and I, but also, maybe even more so, for our little border collie mix, Rosie. She was depressed and not her normal perky self. We would have probably waited longer to add to our family but it became apparent that the gap in the family dynamics was not a healthy one for her.

If you are an animal lover, one of the first things you will notice coming to Merida, especially on the outskirts of the city like San Pedro Nohpat, is the abundance of stray animals. As I have mentioned before, it used to make me teary-eyed daily seeing animals, dogs in particular, in the horrendous conditions they were in out on the street.

I would try to put food out and help a few that were on my street but it rarely helped them more than a few months before they would disappear forever. I am sure victims to one of the many hazards they faced in the streets. I must admit I started purposely becoming blind to seeing them anymore. It was a measure for my own mental survival.

Then of course last year we added Picassa to the mix after she showed up as a starving kitten in our yard. She has been a wonderful addition to the family but since she grew out of kitten-hood, she now spends her days sunning herself in windows. She picks and chooses when YOU get affection. She is like the Soup-Nazi from Seinfeld "No Affection For You!"

Over the past few years I have also watched the activities of a few local animal rescue groups on Facebook. Seeing the pictures of all the pups and kitties that needed homes always tugged at my heart-strings, but now with the hole in our family unit I started looking more seriously at possible additions. I started communication with Patricia, a volunteer at Evolucion Animal Shelter. She was very helpful and guided me through the adoption process and filled me in on a few potential babies who needed homes. She then set us up to communicate with Sylvia Cortes, who runs the shelter. This woman is amazing! The closest person I have met to Mother Theresa for animals! She manages a no kill shelter and has dozens and dozens of animals that she tirelessly works to find homes for while simultaneously educating the public on animal rights and care, not to mention a constant need to raise funds to keep the animals fed and medically treated as needed.

I don't care where in this big world you live, if you want to put your money to good use and be sure every penny will go to the cause, please consider helping Sylvia and her babies!

Evolucion Website

After much debate we narrowed down our options to a few and ultimately chose our dear Cinco. Since we adopted Cinco I have also become friends on Facebook with another of the shelter volunteers, Godriick. He had found Cinco and his siblings in a pile of garbage.

It breaks my heart to see him in those conditions. 

But I am happy to say that he has been with us for a month and a half and he is doing very well! He like Rosie and Picassa now knows that he is a spoiled baby!
The Dynamic Duo

Daddy and Cinco take their daily afternoon siesta together

Cinco and Picassa getting used to each other, although daily she still bops him on the head and then he barks like crazy to "tell on her"

I love my family :)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

With a Heavy Heart I say Good-Bye

A week ago we lost our beloved friend and family member, Max. He was 15 years old. I have loved and owned many wonderful dogs. All were special and all were and are members of my family.

But Max was extra special. How to describe? He was to be my son, Zachary's, first dog. We had others, but this dog was all up to Zach to pick. We went to a home that had free puppies advertised. They were a litter of  mixed-breed black lab and shepherd. Most were your typical fat bellied bouncy pups. Max was the runt. He was nowhere near the size of his brothers and sisters but he had one white toe. Zach saw him and that was that! Max was the lucky pup.

Max had an endless amount of energy and exuberance! Instantly Zach and I fell head over heels for this dog with the big brown eyes and heart of gold. Truth be told though, as he grew, he did not win many more supporters. He was 80 pounds of high energy, shoe eating (well really for about 2 years he ate everything, I let him devour a rocking chair to keep him from eating my piano), and he had a greeting that usually ended with you holding a large black licking ball of Max in your lap.

My mother and aunt who both reached all of 4'11'' inches tall and tipped the scale at the same weight as Max eventually refused to enter our house if he wasn't stowed away in another room.

He routinely went under, over, and through fences to go out visiting neighbors. I would receive frequent phone calls from those he went to meet. I would leave work to retrieve him, only to find him sitting with his new friends (usually and older retired set who fell in love with him) holding a bone they gifted to him and wagging his tail happy to see me. Much like a child who had enjoyed their day at summer camp but was now ready to come home.

At one point I was worried that an impending move to a smaller place to live may require finding a home for Max, but Zach implored me not to. He told me of how when he would have a hard day at school Max would sit with him and Zach would tell him his woes. I remembered having that with my first dog Alfie. So we all squeezed in and lived the three of us cozy and comfy.

I then fell in love with Ed Redmond. I came home one day to a note saying "I have kidnapped Max, if you want to see him again you and Zach will need to move in with us!"

And so we did. Max's family grew. He now had two loving boys to spend time with.

As Max matured, he settled down a lot. He no longer sat on peoples heads to greet them. He still was a very spoiled boy, of course.

And what about his biggest critics, my mom and aunt? Well, my mother ended up with cancer and spent her last days with us in our home with the help of hospice. One day I heard my mother talking in her bedroom and to the best of my knowledge nobody was with her. So I peeked my head in and choked back tears as I saw.  There was Max sitting next to my mom's hospital bed. He had his head resting on the mattress listening as my mom stroked him and talked with him. When I came in she said "You were right, he is a wonderful dog."

As for my Aunt Mimi, we also moved her in her last few years because of her Alzheimers.  Quite honestly I think she preferred the company of the dogs over the rest of us :)
Max was a gentle dog who never once showed aggression. We used to laugh and say that he would show a burglar where the good stuff was if they rubbed his belly.

In 2010, Ed and I packed up with what belongings we could squeeze and the two dogs and moved to Merida, Mexico. This never phased Max or Rosie. They remained their happy go lucky selves.

Once when Max was around 8 years old our veterinarian told us that as he entered his senior years, we were going to have to watch him close. The reason? Because Max was such a sweet happy dog whose entire aim in life was to please us, he would never show us discomfort or a foul mood.

Truer words have never been spoken. Max wagged his tail, nudged his cold wet nose under my hand for a rub up to the day before he died. And the day he died, he laid quietly and moved on to hopefully a wonderful place where he chews pianos, jumps fences and gets belly rubs whenever he wishes.

Love You Always Mr. Moo 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Domingo, hermoso domingo

Since Ed and I work so much any more, we really love Sundays. Here is a pictorial of our Domingo, hermoso Domingo: