Monday, January 23, 2012

Watch at your own risk…


Just discovered this video… and I can’t even figure out how I got to it. But I did. And like most people in the panel and in the audience, ended up with tears streaming down my face. Then, because I had a hard time believing, I watched it again. And cried again.

So you’ve been warned. Watch at your own risk!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Loveliness of Tequisquiapan

Sometimes I miss some of the comments posted by readers. I wish that there was a way to be advised of a new comment. New readers go back to early posts and leave comments that I get to read sometimes months or even years later. I do my best.

Today I noticed a comment by Eileen White about how pretty the street Guillermo Prieto is and wondering if it is really so. By going to it is possible to have a tour of Tequisquiapan and see how lovely so many parts are. And yes, it is that pretty. The bougainvilleas, here often called camelinas, drape tall stone fences in colours that often take your breath away. There are trees with a trunk so wide that they must be a century or two old.  There is a tree called pirule that grows very tall and wide with small leaves and branches that hang down and sway gently in the breeze. It's also called pepper tree. What is most striking, besides the colonial style of many houses and buildings, is the profusion of colours, both in buildings and foliage.

So take a tour via - type Tequisquiapan, Queretaro, Mexico and you'll be right here. You'll see our taxivans, a mode of public transportation, that crisscrosses the whole area, old cobble stone streets, the park La Pila, the church in the centre of Tequis, the artisans market, just to quote a few.

I revel in the trees and flowering plants all over the city when I recall how grey and drab winter transforms everything up north. Of course the sun shining on fresh snow can also be breathtaking. And blinding. Let me sum it up. I do not regret making this part of the world my home. And if you can't travel physically, at least you can get the little yellow man in google maps take you here, free.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Finally … News


These past two weeks have been full of too much happening. That is why I stayed away from my blog. Too much to do!

First of course, was the awful pain of losing Queenie. When I was younger, I used to think that old people cried way to easily. Now I know why. It’s not that pain is cumulative, even though a lot of it can accumulate in one’s life. Perhaps it is that our shell becomes thinner with time? All I know is that tears flow a lot more easily than when I was younger… and tougher! Or is it that so many losses erode our capacity to suffer yet one more… I have no answer for this.

Luis and Jesus were here for the first week of January. They built the cadena over the walls. But it was a lot of work and didn’t get finished. I’ll have photos and costs in another post.

I had to renew my FM3 visa which entailed two days away in Querétaro. It all went very smoothly and the cost was just a tad higher than last year from $1,294. to $1,451. pesos.

Also, I discovered that my to-me-normal blood pressure at 159/80 was actually high, causing a lot of dizziness, headache, and nausea. Not pleasant. I’m cutting off even the chicken and trying to copy Bill Clinton into becoming vegan. I’m starting with vegetarianism, which I followed for 9 years.

And now a big unplanned decision. I’ll relate what happened. On Friday the 6th, I went to Bodega Aurrera for my grocery shopping and ended up with a full cart. As I was waiting for a taxi to take me back home, I noticed a dog that was watching the store doors. Twice it almost got run over. I tried to coax it to remain safe at the entrance by offering some of the kibble I had just bought and saw that it was a female.

A while later, a woman and four young boys came out of the store and the dog went immediately towards the little group (looking very very poor) but with some anxiety, trembling while trying to get closer, then retreating, all of this very hesitatingly. I asked the mother if it was hers. Yes and no she said; it was her neighbour’s and her boys played with it; she was afraid that the dog would get killed as it was very neglected, her neighbour already had another one; it was only 6 months old and was living in the street. Instant decision. I offered to adopt it. She said ok because the dog was surely going to die. I thought that I’d take the dog to the veterinarian’s just a few doors down.

The boys got into it, offering kibble all the way to the vet’s clinic then went out the moment she was in. She was ridden with fleas; had to be given 3 baths to get rid of them and dewormed. The vet said that she had a small tumour on her right eye, probably a congenital defect. I’ll have it checked later. Meanwhile, I’d dropped my groceries home then went to pick her up. I installed her in the bodega and thought that I’d introduce her very slowly to Tina and Tasha. It took a week. Now they all play and run together, sharing the bed at night. I changed her name from Paloma to Kayleigh.

Here is Kayleigh:-

Jan.2012 dogs 015-1Jan.2012 dogs 016-1

I have never thought that anyone or any dog or cat could be replaced by another. However, having a new animal helps take the brunt off the pain of losing one.

And keeps one very busy.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Queenie–Her Story and a Gallery


Let me first thank all who expressed sympathy at my Queenie passing away. I miss her so much. Tina and Tasha went on sniffing where she had left her scent and just lay down curled into a little ball, their mien obviously one of sadness. However much she leaves a great emptiness in our lives though, I want to hold back the tears and instead celebrate her time with us.

She was born in Wisconsin and as puppy was bought by a breeder in Manitoba. This part of her story was related to me by a veterinarian’s assistant who had known her and the breeder. His purchase was clearly for monetary gain. He bred her intensely in the first 5 years of her life to the point of having 7 litters. Her puppies sold at anything from $1,000. to $1,500. each. She must have had many to a litter as her tummy showed one or more incisions characteristic of caesarean intervention. Mastiffs, like some other giant breeds, often have 12 to a litter. After 5 years of being used as a breeding machine, she was spayed and passed on to a couple near Banff, Alberta who kept her for some 8 or 9 months. When the woman found herself pregnant, she asked that Queenie be adopted by others.

Another couple brought her to their home in Calgary. The woman was also pregnant. The husband was a trainer who really took to Queenie and began training her to voice signals. He told me that she was a quick study. By then, she was short a couple of months from her 6th birthday on April the 15th. Luck was not to be with her. Barely one month after adopting “his big girl” as he called her, the couple was advised that lodging for which they had been waiting for the past year was becoming available. Pets not allowed. He put an ad on Kijiji and when I saw her photo, I immediately fell in love. But we were in February and I wasn’t leaving the seniors apartment until March end. No pets allowed at the seniors lodging. In the third week of March, I began checking the ads for a “Free to Good Home” and to my surprise and delight, found that she hadn’t been adopted. We met, I loved her immediately, and with 5 more days left to live in the apartment, I brought her home anyway! And… surprise! Everybody who met her just smiled from ear to ear, including some tiny Chinese women who could have been scared by her big size. And throughout her life with me, she never failed to bring a smile to all who met her.

Less than a week later, I had moved my stuff to a storage locker and Queenie and I began our adventures together in the RV. She was a natural for the road. A willing co-pilot, she delighted in going and stopping to discover new places. Like my two other dogs before, she became fascinated with gopher holes. There were fields galore and when she’d find an interesting one in which she could insert her whole head, all that you could see was her rump and a wagging tail in the middle of the field. Then she became inventive and would enlarge the interesting holes by digging furiously until her head would fit in. As ardently as she sought gophers, she never managed to catch one, to my relief.

Was there a caveat? Unfortunately yes. Her brain had been hard-wired to protect her puppies and herself from being forcibly mounted and, true to her race, would be fierce when meeting adult dogs that hadn’t grown up with. Her strength was immense. At over 55 kilos, she broke many a collar and retaining rope; I’m totally averse to chains. So a young friend of mine, Goldina, who is a horse trainer, put together a halter to fit Queenie. That ended my worries about Queenie breaking loose and encountering dangers or causing ones.

We enjoyed more than 3 years together. She would have turned 10 on April 15 next. I changed her official registered name from “Venus Queen of Blue Grass” to her middle name transformed into Queenie. I spent the last hours of her life holding her and petting her. Her breath became increasingly more laboured until she drew her last one, her head nestled in my arms. Nobody who met her ever forgot her. Although her body is now resting home on the lot, her spirit will remain with all those who knew her and will remain in my heart forever; my big girl Queenie.


The photo on the right was taken shortly after Queenie came to live with me. Taken at Zoeteman Park, Fort MacLeod, Alberta.

Queenie - At Peace






In the fall, we headed out to Imperial Dam, a BLM Long Term Visitor Area, close to Yuma, AZ. We usually parked for the whole winter at Fish Tail Flats where we enjoyed plenty of space. Queenie liked to sit in my chair and check out burros, birds, coyotes; she was a people watcher.


Queenie lording it in my chairQueenie in the WashQueenie in the wash checking on coyotes that left a trace. We were parked up on a tongue of land above a wash that extended quite a bit. One day I got confused as to which tongue was above the wash. Fortunately Queenie led the way back around many contours.

Regal Queenie

Queenie in a pensive mood.






My beautiful big girl in profile.

Roadside flora2 023

Foster mom Queenie with sisters Mindy and Tina, two puppies abandoned close to the lot. Thesleepofthejust_thumb

Door, saguan, Tisha 012_thumb[1]Tasha, on the left, also abandoned. She was in the last stages of starvation, looking as if about 5 to 6 weeks when in fact, she was already over 3 months old…

Bodega, dogs, lavadero, flowers 012_thumb[3]

The three ladies sleeping the sleep of the just, insisting on fitting on their “bed”… They made it work, somehow.




By the time the photo below centre was taken, Mindy had passed away. Tasha was already taller than Tina and Queenie had seen her paws, muzzle and chin turning white.

Walls going up, Tasha 002_thumb[1]

It is said that when we die, we are met on the other side by passed relatives. In my case, I imagine that countless dogs, cats, birds, and other assorted critters will be the first ones to greet me. They showed me what unconditional love is all about.

Mis angeles de cuatro patas… Queenie la reina de todos.

(My four-legged angels… Queenie the queen of all.)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Very Sad News…


So sad to let everyone know that my sweet giant of a dog, Queenie, died this morning in my arms. Her generous heart gave up on her. She would have been 10 years old on April 15th.

She will remain here. Her burial will take place later today.

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