desperately seeking warmth….

punta venado, playa del carmen

punta venado, playa del carmen

Chicago Tribune
Staff report
7:43 a.m. CDT, April 30, 2014

“Chicago has seen six straight months of below normal temperatures, and the beginning of May will not disappoint.”

I have to admit dear readers and fellow bloggers, I’m despondent. The weather here in Chicago is making me feel trapped, isolated, and restless. Hence, my inability to publish one blog post or even reblog last week.!! Deep sigh….

I long to go for leisurely walks along the water. I dream of sitting outside with a tasty beverage and great conversation. I yearn to expose my bare skin – shoulders, toes, the small of my back – to the elements.!

But alas, I am still bundled up. Chicago is still bundled up. And so we both saunter with an air of melancholy through the day straining for freedom. Freedom from the oppressive cold. Freedom from home captivity. Freedom from these dangnabit layers of clothing.!!

When I close my eyes at night, I fantasize about playa. The warm ocean breezes, the happy voices of people greeting each other, and the blue sky (always the sky) keep me sane.

But then I wake up… And I find myself still here in this grey, cold existence. And all I can think of is “no me gusta” and “how much does a plane ticket cost.?” Another deep sigh…

Dos Equis cuatro

courtesy of dosequis.com

courtesy of dosequis.com

Feliz Pascua.! Happy Easter.! I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend with family and friends.!! The weather has improved here in Chicago so it’s been lovely to get out and about 🙂

For your weekend celebrating, I offer you another installment of Dos Equis’ The Most Interesting Man in the World.! If only my life were this exciting.!! Enjoy.! Y salud.!

who needs an easy-bake oven..??

easy-bake oven courtesy of poprewind.com

easy-bake oven courtesy of poprewind.com

When I was a little girl, my parents bought me an Easy-Bake Oven. I thought it was the coolest gift ever. My mother was such a fantastic cook, but she never let us in the kitchen except to eat.! haha… Ok, I’m kidding, sometimes she let us snap green beans or use the mixer to mix the cake batter.!! But the Easy-Bake Oven was all mine. And I created many a chocolate brownie for me and my friends to enjoy 🙂

courtesy of playa.info

hot plate courtesy of playa.info

I have to admit that during my time in Mexico, I would have loved to still possess an Easy-Bake Oven.!! Most apartments in Playa del Carmen do not have a conventional oven or stove.! They typically only have a hot plate or double burner.!! As a girl who loves to cook, this proved problematic. I had to figure out what to cook only using the top part of a stove. I became very adept at making grilled cheese sandwiches, pasta, fish, and lots of chicken breasts.!! But, of course, that ruled out birthday cakes, brownies, cookies, turkeys, whole chickens. If we needed to bake a birthday cake, my roommate and I would go to one of our friends’ houses who had an oven. Typically, the newer housing units outside of Playa del Carmen proper had ovens.

me cutting the thanksgiving turkey in playa

me cutting the thanksgiving turkey in playa

Toward the end of my stay in playa, I rented a lovely condo unit which did have an oven. It was fantastic.!! I was able to host Thanksgiving and Christmas that year and cook my wonderful turkey for both occasions complete with stuffing and potatoes.!! One of my friends even came over to my house to bake a cake for her boyfriend while I lived there.! It was nice to be on the other side of the mix at last. Living in Mexico opened up my eyes to the very disparate ways different cultures operate in terms of housing, appliances, and even hot water as a necessity or not.! Since, I’ve returned to the states, I have never again taken an oven for granted. Now if I could only get my hands on a microwave my apartment here would be complete 🙂

oh rubber ducky…

courtesy of dobhran.com

courtesy of dobhran.com

“OH!
Rubber Ducky
Your the one
You make bath time
Lots of fun!
Rubber Ducky
I’m awfully fond of you! (bobobodeo)”

– by Sesame Street (as sung by Ernie)

I just took a bubble bath and it was divine.! I know, too much information right.? But in all seriousness, bubble baths were one of life’s pleasures that I missed while living in Mexico. There is something so wonderful and calming and relaxing about a bath filled with bubbles.! Add candles and a glass of bubbly (which I did not this time.!) and it becomes downright decadent.

courtesy of momamusings.com

courtesy of momamusings.com

For some reason, there are very few bathtubs in Playa del Carmen. Most apartments only come with a shower, a very nice shower, but still only a shower. Some of the newer homes have bathtubs. But even most hotel rooms only come with a shower. In some hotels, you can upgrade to a room with a tub, but not always. During my ruminations on the lack of bathtubs, some theories I have toyed with include lots of new construction or construction cost, or bathroom size or even the weather. It gets really hot in playa so much so that sometimes you have to take 2-3 showers a day to stay fresh.! It doesn’t make sense to take that many baths, I guess.

courtesy of thorntonconstruction.net

courtesy of thorntonconstruction.net

But I believe there’s a time and place for a shower and bathtub. And I guess I kinda felt deprived of that choice while living in Mexico. During my almost three years there, the only time I took a bubble bath was when I visited in the states.! Now that’s a long time between bubble baths for a girl who really enjoys them. Plus it’s really hard to bring your rubber ducky into the shower with you 🙂

Dos Equis tres

courtesy of dosequis.com

courtesy of dosequis.com

Feliz lunes.!! Happy Monday.!! I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend.! I know I did.! I went to Coffee-Con 2014 which is an annual coffee convention held here in Chicago. I tasted different coffees from around the world and met fellow coffee lovers.! Plus, I made a few new coffee connections which is always awesome 🙂

I also got to re-connect with some friends from my graduate program this weekend.!! There was a time when I ate, studied, drank, and traveled with those folks. We were inseparable. Now life has placed on us different paths, so it’s always lovely when we are able to bask in each others presence once again.! This week’s Dos Equis’ commercial once again features The Most Interesting Man in the World. And once more he is traveling the world, making friends, and enjoying a tasty beverage. Some of my most favorite pasttimes.! Enjoy.!! Y salud.!!

a rose by any other name…

courtesy of floresallium.com

courtesy of floresallium.com

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” is an oft quoted line in William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet. In that scene, Juliet argues that the names of things do not matter, only what things “are”. And I would have to agree with her as a person who has a variety of nicknames. It’s not even that I have the same nickname among varied people. I actually have multiple nicknames among many people.! And I am still who I am even if you call me Rose, Rosita, Rosalinda or Rosalina 🙂

Every nickname reminds me of a time, a place or person. Some even remind me of Mexico. The other day I was driving home from work and in front of me was a car with a vanity plate. I love vanity plates as I usually take them to be signs from the universe. Except for the vanity plate SPINSTER I saw frequently in my old neighborhood before I moved to Mexico. That was just cruel and probably the real reason I moved to Mexico was to get away from that pinche plate.!! jajaja

courtesy of xochitlphilly.com

courtesy of xochitlphilly.com

But I digress…. The license plate in front of me the other day had XOCHITL on it. Xochitl means flower in the Aztec language of Nahuatl.!! How cool is that.!?! In downtown Chicago even.! When I lived in playa, I met several women with the name Xochitl. I think it’s a really unusual and beautiful name. It’s pronounced ‘Soh cheel’ or ‘Soh cheet’ depending on whom you ask.

The reason this name resonates with me is because there is no way to say Rose (name) or rose (flower) in Aztec Nahuatl. Roses, flowers and apparently girls with that name, were not native to Mexico and so the original inhabitants of that land did not need a word for Rose/rose. Therefore, Xochitl embodies every flower name including mine.!

courtesy of loltun.net

courtesy of loltun.net

The Mayans in the Yucatan also did not have a word for Rose/rose for the very same reason. In Yucatecan Mayan, flower is translated as lol.! Yes, lol.! Isn’t that fantastic.!! A Mayan guy who was flirting with me one day at a bar decided he was going to call me lol.! Seriously, I’m not making this up… My friend K. liked it so much, she called me lol for almost a whole year.! So for example, if you find yourself in the Riviera Maya and you go to visit Lol-Tun cave, you are visiting Flower Stone cave.

Even in Spanish, my name is interesting and so a whole other nickname was born. Rose/rose translates to Rosa/rosa. But Rosa/rosa is also used to express the color pink.! Or the rockstar.! My ex-novio used to call me Rosa even though most of my other Mexican friends just called me Rose.!! They thought it was hilarious that he called me ‘pink’.! I just thought it was cute. And yet even with all of these monikers, epithets, pet names and terms of endearments, I am still me. And just like Juliet said, I smell pretty good too.!!

Uxmal

I, myself, have never been to the ruins at Uxmal.!! It’s still on my list. But, Mexico: Live it, Love It has and they have a lovely post about it.! Enjoy.!!

México: Live it, Love it

OK, I just have to give a shout out for Uxmal as it is overseen many times by tourists by the “golden child” of the Maya ruin family, Chichén Itzá.  I’m not knocking Uxmal’s cousin that lies to the east, but I am tired of Chichén Itzá getting placed on a pedestal when there are many impressive sites out there in the Yucatan Peninsula and outside of Mexico. Granted, I am easily impressed by the Maya history and even a small pile of Maya stones will impress me. The Yucatan Peninsula is dotted with ruin sites that are worthy of visits. However, our “golden child” is always at the top of the list and sometimes the only ruin on the list for tourists. Yes, Chichen is impressive. Yes, it’s a “wonder of the world”.  Yes, it is worthy of a visit.   However, Uxmal has stolen my heart and has become my favorite…

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