Giving thanks. 

There’s a quote out there that reads:

“Do not regret growing older. It’s a privilege denied to many”
– author unknown.

During my first year of college a kid from my High School class was walking home with his girlfriend after a trip to the corner store when he said his head suddenly started hurting. Before he could say anything else, he dropped dead. At age 18, an aneurysm took his life. I didn’t know him well, but he played basketball with my brother and he remembers him. A few of my college friends had been in his class. He was by all accounts a great guy with a promising future.

There are too many people in today’s society who have a psychotic fear of grey hairs and wrinkles. I actually had a coworker who, the second she found a gray hair, she would run to the nearest mirror and pull it out.

To me, age is a gift.

Older people are very respected in Mexico, where I grew up. As an adult, I first took care of my Grandmother in the U.S., then worked as a nurse aide at a couple nursing homes.

Age is beautiful. Yes, there’s wrinkles, grey hairs (or no hair at all), canes, walkers and extra paraphernalia. But there’s history. And good grief, history is gorgeous.

I had the chance of meeting a man who fought alongside Patton, a woman who worked with presidents, a 98 year-old female archeologist, men and women with wisdom beyond your wildest imagination, and often a mischievous mind to match. Learning about food from my Abuela was beautiful; learning about life at a time of war from my Grandmother was eye-opening.
Inevitably, I held the hands of people as they moved on from this world.

With Thanksgiving upon us, what am I grateful for?


I’m thankful for the grey hairs on my head. I’m grateful for having lived long enough to meet a great man, blessed with a son and had the chance to live and travel in different cultures. I hope to continue doing so for many more years, and collect more wrinkles and greys.

Out of 4 grandparents, one lived to his 70s, two lived to their 90s and one made it to her 100s. I’m not sure how long I’m destined to hang out in this world, but I hope it’s a while.

What are you thankful for?


The fabric of Mexican craftsmanship is an amalgamation of Native and European traditions that goes back centuries.

Paints, woven textiles, sculpture, jewelry, etc. They all bear the mark of the state that produced them and its people.

My sister has started importing Mexican crafts and just opened an online store where you can check them out.

Just head out to Huapangos.

Let it snow…..

We got a bit of snow last night. I don’t think I’ll be sitting out here to have coffee anytime soon…

I’ve never been the biggest fan of snow, but damn it if I’m not going to miss it once we move.  

Moving mountains

I love music.

Growing up, my Mom played piano a lot. Both my parents love a variety of music, so there was always something playing in the background. We three kids took piano lessons, but with short, stubby fingers and the attention span of ….*squirrel!*……where was I again? Ah yes, I didn’t move forward too well into becoming a musician myself. Theatre turned out to be more my thing.

But the love of music runs deep, even if I can’t play much of it. I started out making mix tapes of songs I liked – remember sitting by the radio with a tape waiting to record the song you’d been waiting for for ages, and not caring that there was a brief second of a radio commercial in your recording, because gosh darn it, you had finally recorded that song?!….those were the good days -. Anyway, I moved from mix tapes, to mix cds and now playlists.

Although I have playlists of songs with actual words, it’s the instrumentals that have always drawn me in, wether classical, modern, movie soundtracks, etc. I put them together so I can have a background sound to help me concentrate without having to bother trying to listen to, nor follow along lyrics. I have a growing playlist that I use when I write stories, some just aimed at attaining that concentration and some aimed at pacing specific scenes.

I was going to try my hand at NaNoWriMo again this year, but my brain had too many blips and I didn’t go beyond a briefly written idea.

This song by Two Steps from Hell has been lingering around my playlist for a while now. Every time I hear it, I want to write something. Maybe I don’t need to make the 50K. Maybe I just need to get this song out of my head and onto paper.

What sounds make you want to write?


It will remain a common denominator on this blog that I don’t have much free time. Between a toddler and an impending move, I will find myself running around like a chicken with its head cut off for the foreseeable future.

I do love to write, keep my mind moving. Unfortunately, my mind peeks out its sad, weary, lonely head randomly when I type on this blog or try to do some journaling. Some days, I can unwind on a page and some days I can barely form a coherent sentence.

Much like this post! :D (coffee and tea have been trying to kill me lately, so my brain is running on fumes).

Moving right along……

Not too long ago, this popped up on my IG feed:


I followed the link back to the blog post and found the concept of keeping a logbook interesting. The author also linked towards two more sources: Austin Kleon’s Blog (who seems to be the origin idea for many logbooks I found) and Mike Rohde’s blog.

Growing up a child of two countries (the U.S. and Mexico), meant that we travelled a lot to see family. We’d drive up to visit my grandparents in Colorado, or around Mexico. Old fashioned, get-in-the-car and drive adventures. The kind that drive you insane until you’re older and remember them fondly, hahahaha.

Anyway, during those trips we kept a logbook of our traveling. As it were, I was in charge of keeping it: mileage, pit stops, hours, where we stayed for the night, random adventures on the way, the occasional flat tire, weather, etc. Over the years we accumulated a stack of little black notebooks with all our travel data, which my Dad used to do planning for further trips. Most importantly, they are good family memories.

So, while I’m not always up for trying to write down things on a journal in nice, flowing sentences, the notion of writing down daily family events for posterity, even if it’s in a log form does appeal to me greatly.

Additionally, following Mike Rohde’s blog link up there, had me reading on Sketchnotes. I’m not sure I’ll fork over the money for the books and videos, but it did make me think back on my high school and university notes.
You know how some children in school learn better when they’re allowed to work at a standing desk? I am unable to pay attention in a lecture unless my hands are occupied. And notes alone don’t fit the ‘occupied’ bill as often as I’d like. I spent most of my classes drawing and sometimes even knitting. My teachers were often confused by this, but they eventually figured out I could follow what they were saying when I was busy. I haven’t looked at many of those notebooks in years, but if I remember well, there were more doodles than actual notes on the pages. It made studying for finals very interesting! Ha!

I’d like to start journal/logging again, coupled up with doodling and sketching, and see if it helps with trying to keep a type of record for the coming year.

Do you write down your daily memories? Do you journal? Log?

Have a great day!



When you’re a military family (or a family who moves a lot), there is a moment in every tour of duty when you realize that the countdown has begun for your next move. 

If you’ve spent the last 3-4 years in an abysmal place, this countdown is exciting. 

If you’ve spent them in a place you love, there is a nostalgia that settles into your soul and tints everything around you. The last time you’ll see a specific sight, eat at a specific food, hang around specific friends. 
Sure, with the internet nowadays, you don’t have to say goodbye forever. 

But it’s still different. 

I was looking out the window and realized that this time next year, there will be another view. We don’t know where that view will be until next spring, though. 

So little time to get ready, so many preparations we should be doing already. 

A year might sound long, but it can be so short at the same time. 


Day of the Dead

A day late, but Feliz Dia de Muertos!

A lot of people look at the sugar skulls and the altars and they assume it’s a very creepy celebration. I guess looking at it from the outside, it might look strange.

A mixture of native traditions and Catholic ones, the Day of the Dead is celebrated on November 1st and 2nd, with preparations ongoing the days before. It is a day to remember those who have left us.

I find it interesting that there is more than one culture in the world who believed that between the end of October and the beginning of November, the veil between the land of the living and the land of the dead was thinner, and travelers could go between them.

The celebration usually involves families visiting graveyards and decorating the graves of their loved ones. Altars are built at home in honor of those departed.

Traditional decorations include papel picado, flowers (specially marigolds), candles, an assortment of candies and breads made specially for the occasion, pictures, music and food amongst other things. It is believed that when our loved ones visit us, they feast on the food left for them, so their favorite foods and drinks are often left out, as well as things that they enjoyed when they lived (a deck of cards, a pack of smokes, books, etc). Some altars are huge and elaborate. Some are very simple. During this time of year there are actually altar competitions around Mexico. Some within schools, some at regional levels.

This is this year’s altar at my old university, for example:

altar test 2015

But regardless of the amount of decoration you use, it is all about spending a few days remembering those who have left before us, remembering and honoring their memory. It is a celebration of family, music, color and great food.

I loved this little video someone put together about the Dia de los Muertos.

Have a great day!

Gummy bears…..

…..because I’m feeling cryptic, exhausted and overwhelmed. 

Happy Halloween to those who celebrate it, candy day, harvest day to those who prefer that term. 

I’m more of a Día de los Muertos person, but that candy sure is tasty!

Candy on!

Quick Charros

Frijoles Charros (Charro or Cowboy Beans) are a staple of Mexican cooking. They are to Mexican barbecues, what baked beans are to American ones. But, while baked beans have a tendency to be on the sweet side (at least the ones I’ve tasted), frijoles charros are on the spicy side.

There’s many recipes for making these, as everybody has their own palate. This is just a quick version.

I started out with dry beans, but if you don’t have the chance to get them cooked, a few cans of beans will work in a hurry. Pinto beans are the norm here.


  • About one pound of dry pinto beans.
  • 1 package of Mexican chorizo.
  • Half an onion, chopped.
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced.
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes with green chilies.
  • a good couple pinches of ground cumin.
  • Broth, as needed (chicken or pork, your choice).
  • Dry parsley.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • 1 tablespoon of oil.
  • Serving garnishes to taste: sour cream, crumbled queso fresco, lime juice, pico de gallo, avocado, tortilla chips.


  1. If using dry beans, pick them clean, rinse and cook them with a bit of salt, pepper and a bay leaf. I like to leave them cooking overnight in a crockpot. You can also cook them ahead and freeze them.
  2. If using canned beans, drain the liquid off and rinse them well.
  3. In a large pot, heat up a tablespoon of oil on medium heat and add the chorizo. Break it up as it cooks. Add the onion and garlic.
  4. Once the chorizo is starting to crisp, add your beans (and their cooking liquid if you made them fresh. If you used canned, add water or broth to compensate. Your ingredients should be covered). Add the can of tomatoes (with juices), your spices and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let them cook until all flavors are well combined and the beans are mushy soft.
  6. Serve in bowls, with your choice of garnishes.


  • Mexican chorizo is different from other sausages with the same name, which are cured. It is a loose, raw pork and spice mixture caracterized by red color. You can find it in casings (which you’ll have to remove before cooking), or in trays as you’d find ground beef. For the most part, they’re usually sold in the same amount (10-16 oz). You can also find beef and soy chorizo out there if you want to substitute.
  • Other things sometimes added to frijoles charros: bacon, sliced hot dogs/sausages. Sautee them separatedly before adding to the pot. Also, serrano or jalapeño chiles.
  • As with all soups/stews, this tastes amazing the next day.
  • Feel free to skim the fat off the top as it cooks.
  • Chorizo can be salty. Keep this in mind as you adjust your spices.
  • ENJOY!

Hobonichi 2016 haul. 

Disclaimer: Hobonichi is not sponsoring me. They don’t even know who I am. The views and blunders are my own. Thank you.

Good grief.

This was a tough decision.

On my last Hobonichi post, I mentioned that I was going to use September as a trial of sorts before making a final decision on which of the planners to get. Plans kind of backfired a little on me, but I’m still happy with what I got.

I can’t remember whose video I was watching on the Techo line, but I remember that they had gotten the original A6 size, because the Cousin seemed a little too much space to deal with. I pondered on that, and came to the conclusion that they had a very valid point. The Cousin might not be your standard letter size page, but sometimes it’s a little daunting to fill out a daily. At least for me. I have a considerably amount of empty space just hanging around.

So I started leaning heavily in the direction of the A6 Techo. At the same time, I had started looking up reviews and pictures on the Weeks planner.  These days, I don’t have much in the way of daily appointments, but more of a list of things I would like to accomplish by the end of the week.  So, a part of me started leaning heavily on the Weeks direction.

Split 50/50. What to do?

I went back to my initial points on planner choosing.

  • I needed a weekly to-do list.
  • I needed a monthly layout to do some forward planning.
  • I needed a daily food log.

Luckily for me, Hobonichi introduced a feature in their store, where after you hit purchase on your order, you can go back and place it on hold for up to 60 days. Gives you time to decide if you really really want the items, add things, remove things, etc.

Unfortunately for me, I’m brain dead. As soon as I realized that the Hobonichi store was open for business on launch day, I – along with a few thousand other people around the world – started hitting refresh on their page. And it took me about half a day to actually place my order: the A6 Techo with the Framboise Chocolat cover. I had planned to go back and place it on hold, but the site was so slow, that by the time I got to it, the order had been processed and I couldn’t.

As I waited for my order to ship, I spent a few days looking at other things offered in the site, and ended up ordering the Red Weeks.

So I had two orders on the way instead of waiting the whole month to ponder on what I really wanted. Ha! Mommy Brain attacks again (though let’s face it, I’d be a scatterbrain even without a kid).


Here’s the Techo and Weeks side by side for comparison. The Sharpie pen is there for size reference. I had heard that the original Techo was roughly about the size of a 4×6 postcard/photograph and I can attest to that. Both planners fit comfortably in your hand and are pretty light. The red in both covers is gorgeous.

I’ve linked their respective “Features” pages above, but I’ll share with you some things that I liked.

The inside of the Framboise Chocolat cover is a nice chocolate brown. The “Q” sticker is mine, not included with the set.

Both planners have a monthly section. The Weeks monthly squares are one grid taller, but they are narrower.

Both the Techo and the Cousin have received an update in the daily sections. Before every month begins, there’s a “Remember this” page for monthly goals. I like this a lot!

The Weeks has the whole year in a two page layout for easy viewing. As usual, Saturdays are in grey, Sundays in pink (the other pinks are Japanese holidays). The space on this layout is very small to try to write in it, but I think for someone who is tracking something specific (expenses, weight, AIC, etc), it could be very handy. I’m still planning what I’ll be tracking here.

As its name indicates, the Weeks has a weekly layout. Mon-Sun on one side, and grid on the other. The dated side has three nearly imperceptible dots along the division lines so you can section off each day into three parts if you need to. The grid page also has very slight delineations to help create sections as you see fit.

Both the Techo and the Weeks have a blank grid section at the back. On the Weeks, however, this section includes an index at the front of the section and all the blank grid pages (71 of them) are numbered.

And that’s it for my Hobonichi haul! I’m still deciding how I’m going to use both planners and I’ve found some very good ideas to proceed, but I’d like to refine them a little more before I post anything specific about it.

Do you use Hobonichi? Which one did you get for next year?