Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Date with the Virgen?

Filty. Take this picture and times it by a hundred. That's how the libre road looked for miles on the way from Guadalajara to Leon. Yup. It's manda time again. Every January, it's time for the Church. Where believers make their way, walking, jogging, carrying crosses, their children, from Mexico City, Leon, and other small towns, to the little town of San Juan de Los Lagos. A little church with the Virgen. These people had made mandas.... a promise to God that if He helps them out, cures their kids, gives them something... then they will make the journey by foot to come and see the Virgin. Thousands of people flock every January... some carrying crosses, their children; abuelitas with their walking cane and their nieto by their side to help them walk. For some, it's a good 18 straight walk through hills, rocks, etc.... For most, it's a good 3+ days. It's actually quite inspirational. These, mostly poor, faithful servants take a week off their work and devote their time to God. And the journey isn't without it's toll. Ambulances are on call. People pass out in the heat, muscles cramp, busses are needed to get people out. It's not an easy task.

While I appreciate and admire the faith that these people carry, I don't quite understand it. Maybe the mysteries of Mexico haven't quite unrolled themselves yet. Most of these people walk for opportunity. So that God can help them out a bit. Right? They take a week off work, some traveling a long distance take a month off, to see the Virgen... but they leave behind a week or so's pay, AND have to spend money for food, shelter, and gifts to leave behind. The cost is high for something not guaranteed. It saddens me. More is lost. And I feel like the poor, the sick, and the elderly are losing their chance to get ahead.

After the emotion wears off, and we're driving to Leon, I notice the MILES of trash covering the roads. A foot or so thick, those people who set up camp, leave all their trash behind. Not in a trash bag even. Out in the fields. And what sickens me are those people that see this as an opportunity. These people set up cheap, filthy stands, selling bottled water, food, etc.... They sell the product and when they've hoarded their money, they take off... leaving the miles of trash behind. Well, hell, it's not their mess... why should they clean it up?
Damn it. They make it. THey contributed. They made a profit. Shouldn't they bear some of the responsiblity? Nope, why should they? It's not their manda. And the walkers? They make this walk to better their lives.. but feel no shame in living in shit!!! Does this not go against the very idea?
Well, three days later, we did see some government workers clearing some of the mess. It irritated me nonetheless. The balance of religion and ethics. Or what would you call it? Old religion still has power over the old and uneducated. They don't understand the ideas of basic business, profit, and marketing. They open hole in the wall tienditas and don't put in light and wonder why they don't make enough to survive. Who is at fault? The simple minded man? The Church? The government? SOMETHING needs to change.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

In the Kitchen

It's kinda intimidating moving to another country with its own style of cuisine that blows your bland food away. My kids have gradually becomed accustomed to the spicier food here in Mexico and have a new taste for onions, tomatoes and those dark chilies. For us gringas however, whom have never really cooked traditional mexican food, it's daunting. I'm amazed at all simple flavors and natural ingredients used. I would love to try to make some of those recipes, but it's intimidating nonetheless.

My mom, who wanted to ease the transition to Mexico for us, bought me more than I needed here in Mexico. Two of my favorite things were the much needed water cooler (for all our drinking water) and a cookbook....well two. WOW. The books are phenomenal. Rich flavors, authentic recipes, AND my kids love them. Rick Bayless, in two of his books, "Salsas That Cook" and "Mexican Kitchen", are so freakin amazing and so EASY that I just had to write a blog about it. Last night I made a Red Chile Rice and Chicken and potato tinga. The best thing about these books are that after the recipe, there are ways to use the sauces and leftovers in AMERICAN style meals..... more comfortable for us foreigners. If you can, check them out. Well worth the investment.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Things here in Mexico are quite different than the states. Back home, pipes run underground,water is pumped into your home, and the water is clean. Mexico has a different theory. First, you have a big tinaco on the roof of your house. (a big rubber can that holds all your home's water), a water pump, lots of pipes running through your house. The water pump pumps the govt water to the tinaco....then, GRAVITY sends the water through your house....which is why we needed to buy an ADDITIONAL water pump for the wash machine.

The tank we had on the house when we moved in was incredibly old and small. We had various people come inspect the home for defects or just plain broken stuff. When we had it checked out, the water was dirty and the tank, being so old, had asbestos in it. The plumber said not to worry about it, threw in some tablets and off he went.Well, for the last six months, the tablets wore off. Being that I have psoriasis some parts of the year, began to burn my skin. It was irritating and after hearing all the horror stories of asbestos, we changed the tank.

Home Depot has really brought alot to Mexico. We were able to find a safe, thick, and affordable tank WITH the pump and an additional filter for the water. Are we able to drink it directly from the faucet? nope. but i can wash vegetables, and the water no longer smells like chlorine.

I still have to wait for the water delivery guy.

At it again...

moms-pics-009Today was Hubby's and my four year anniversary. We decided to lay low tonight and cook up some Thai food with the kids, and enjoy a bottle of wine. Today was pretty calm... EXCEPT that Hubby let me start another tattoo on him... my third one....3 times as complicated as the last. My painting ==============>>> on the left, of the skull with the rose, is what he wanted. kinda difficult for uh.. a beginner. But he was confident that it could be done. I talked him down to just the roses. He bought me some beer, again to calm my nerves, and off we went!!!

So, we started with the line work. Yup, pretty solid and clean. Then, for the first time, I did a little bit of shading. He called it quits. The tattoo was on his inner thigh and it is a painful area. We called it quits for today... but it came out great. We'll start the overlay of color as soon as it heals. He was surprised to see that i picked up the flow of shading pretty quick. In fact, two other tattoo artists happened to come in right after he told me to start shading. They were impressed... even more so after they found out that it was my third tattoo. Then the excuses started...."Well, I was self taught..." I got a little nervous when one stood right over my shoulder while I was still shading and watched my "technique" intensely. While I wanted to wet my pants, my self confidence overcomed and I just kept going. I was pretty proud of myself. I'm excited for the next session. We'll fill color and line the skull. and did I get paid? he'll pay me tonight. ;)

Morality begins at the point of a gun.

Mao Zedong, Chinese revolutionary and national leader


.... Or at least thats how it appears to be in Mexico.

Before we arrived here, I asked my hubby why he liked Mexico and why he didn't. It's beautiful, he said, more free than the US. What didn't he like? Everyone is out to get you.... for their opportunity. They don't think about each other....only themselves.

Well, six months later, we've found that true. We tried avoiding every conflict when we moved down here. Ethics, in the tattoo industry, believe it or not, is very important in the States. Stealing clients, replicating other's tattoos, location of tattoo shops etc... is taboo. If you open next door to another tattoo shop, you better bet that your windows will be broken, your shit stolen, and maybe even get your ass kicked. There is a unspoken respect for person, work and property. but not here in Mexico.

We put all our money into our shop in Mexico. We were planning on opening a Sex Shop and Tattoo Shop, but there was a sex shop two doors down. Out of respect for THEIR business, we decided to only open the Tattoo Shop. Before we came down, we went to all the shops and introduced ourselves. We built our shop more than a fair distance away, invited all the shops for a party, and built from scratch. Now that we built up a little clientel, a weasel sneaks his way in.

One of hubby's first clients was a kid who wanted to open a tagging store. Now, our neighbors in the same building, moved out... so DH said, let me introduce you to our landlord. Landlord asked us what we thought... cool people. Done. They were in....selling t shirts in front and spray paint in the back... not really what we're into, but hey, maybe we can help each other out. Next thing you know... they need drawings for their own shirts... hubby gives some ideas from his work. Next, they need internet. We let them tap into our line. Now, we come to find out that they are not making any money... and they've hired three tattoo artists to come work for them... and decide to pierce. WTF?

Hubby gets a little upset. They refuse to take it down. hmmm.... There was no traffic on that block before, now there is, and they don't understand why DH is upset. Maybe that they're trying to steal clientel. The problem is, they are right next door. Not a block. Not even a building. And they don't understand WHY it's morally wrong. That's like a lingerie store opening up next to Victoria Secret... or an Honda dealer moving in right next to another freaking Honda dealer. Shit. but apparently there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, i think we even got a lecture that we're new here and we don't understand how this whole thing works and this is NORMAL in Mexico.

If Mexicans keep cutthroating other Mexicans without regard for any benefit other than their own, Mexico as country will never progress.

Without civic morality communities perish; without personal morality their survival has no value ~ Bertrand Russell

INK for sale!!!

Yup, that's mine. I finally got to tattoo! That's after I had three beers and my hubby yell at me to calm down. I think i was hyperventilating!!! But, there it is. The beginning of a new career!

It was extremely difficult to sit down and tattoo the one person that you admire the most... and someone who is such a perfectionist in everything he does and tattoos. It was a little intimidating. Nonetheless, my hubby walked me through the process and not once, made me feel less. Since then, he's been planning his next tattoo. In fact, he's given me a portion of his leg!!! So anyhoo, I'm dedicated to making the next one even better..... and I've taken his machines, and tried tattooing everything I can....



Back to School

YIPPEEE!!!! We finally found a school for the kids..... and they're not too thrilled. They've been on vacation for the past year, it seems. Who knew that even in Mexico, all the private schools would cost a fortune.... especially for us, just starting out. We did check out quite a few schools, and either they were outdated, too strict, too Catholic, too "free" and without rules, or way to expensive. After checking out the last one, we turned the wrong way and found a school that was close to our shop, clean, Catholic, but not over Catholic, spacious, strict.. but tolerant, and the teachers were more than helpful with our kids.

Moosecake is going to be held back a year, which we decided is fine because their programs here in private schools, are more advanced than our schools in the States. She will be focusing more on understanding the language and making friends. Her schoolwork can be taken home so we can help her with it and translate it with her. Little One will go right into Kindergarten... he can handle it, I'm sure. After we get all their paperwork together, we get to buyu the oh so wonderful uniforms!!! Moosecake isn't thrilled with that one, but I told her that she could start wearing nylons or thigh highs with them.... and that was a fair comprimise. I'm so excited. Finally, Hubby and I got time to ourselves..and they get to make some friends!!!

Change for the Better


During the week, the kiddos get pretty restless. A monotonous routine of waking up & going to the shop. Twelve hours a day, they stay at the shop, bored out of their minds with homework and movies.... so on Sunday, it's THEIR day.

Last Sunday, we set out on a quest for chicken wings.

This Sunday, we visite Adventure park; a smaller than we expected Amusement Park for kids. It costs us about $340 pesos with two wristbands for the kids. Not too bad.

The second we got in, I wanted to leave. The kids started fighting. They didn't want to go on anything!!! and just when I had it.. "WAAAAAAHHHH!!!!!" Little One gets stung by a bee. Perfect. *sarcasm. This lady runs over and starts talking to him in Spanish and he's still crying. She switches to english and he stops and stares in awe. She sprayed an antibiotic on his hand and showed the kids how they could get rid of the bees by clapping. hmmm.... not a bad idea.

Well, that changed the tune real quick. Little One, my 5 year old, wimped out on just about everything... so next time, it's the 50 peso band for him. Normally, Moosecake, my 10 year old, (who picked that name out herself) wimps out on everything too. Today was different. I don't know if she's influenced by all the change this last year or so, but she went on EVERYTHING!!!


The park had extreme trampolines, Spiderwebs (which Little One loved), Go Karts (big and small), and an Extreme Zip Line high above the ground. It was like flying through the canopies... in te middle of Guadalajara, of course. She loved it! It was liberating!!!



We enjoyed our recoup day. Tomorrow we're going to check out two more schools for the kids. They will finish out the year in a Spanish speaking school. Moosecake isn't that thrilled about it though. The schools want to hold her back a year. She was honors in the States... and she doesn't think that she should be held back despite the fact that she has been out of school on homestudies for 6 months.... oh yeah... and SHE DOESN"T SPEAK THE LANGUAGE!!!!! Moosecake said I sold her out. I hope she'll have fun and make friends soon because I think she needs it more than anyone. Anywhoo.... wish us luck!!!




**Personal Year in Review **This years highlights were….being able to hug my hubby after a very difficult journey, graduating from cosmotology school, working at Tres Image Salon with fabulous people, my hubby beating the odds in his court case, having the unrelentless support from my parents, wife beater+bottle of wine+good friends, the many drives to Mexico, spending my anniversary in Puerto Vallarta, partying with awesome people in Guanajuato for Cervantino, starting a new shop in a new country, listening to my kids speak spanish,piercing my hubby's chest, supporting myself, my family, and my hubby through a difficult time, making the decision to follow my hubby and start again.<3Last year, I gained……insight into my true abilities and calling,self confidence, a new friend that really embodies the meaning of friendship through thick and thin, a few extra pounds after all that much needed drinking and therapy.I lost…… a relationship with my sister, and a so-called “friend”, my naivety, my life in the States.span style="color:#99cc00;">I stopped…… being afraid of trying new things,eating bad shit for my body(except wine &tequila),making excuses for other people and myself, allowing others to tell me whats “right” or “wrong”, giving a shit what others think.span style="color:#99cc00;">I started…..being more open to change whether i like it or not, realizing my full potential, playing more with my kids. doing what is important to me regardless of how others in my life feel about it.span style="color:#99cc00;">I was hugely satisfied by….. how hard i pushed myself and all that i had accomplished with family and life.span style="color:#99cc00;">I was embarrassed that.... I got tipsy and hubby had to come rescue me in the bathroom, after moving to Mexico and eating the salsas that i went to the bathroom like my hubby did, people that i considered friends didn't want to talk to us because of what happened to my hubby.And frustrated by….. the games people play, immaturity, my intolerance of other people and their shit in general, thinking that i have to please everyone, and that I can get very mean when I argue with my husband.Once again, I…… pissed many people off , still swear like a damn sailor, failed to discover a way to handle someone who continually pissed me off, battled my 10 year old for who's boss.Once again, I did not…..wear a bikini, or even a bathing suit at the beach,feel sexy, really try to excercise, give everyone my all, tell my mom how much i appreciate all that she has done for me.The biggest physical difference between me last December and me this January is…not much really, longer hair, more tattoos, increasing self confidenceThe biggest psychological/emotional difference…..the knowledge I do have the ability to get what I want.... watch out!!!I loved spending time…with my husband and kids, drinking and laughing with friends, seeing my family (i miss them already!!!), working at Tres Image, laughing and joking with everyone there, cutting and styling hair, spending those much needed nights partying at Vino's and dancing to 80's classics.....Why did I spend even two minutes…….worrying about what others say or think about me, wishing I was or looked like someone else,being angry over things out of my control.I should have spent more time……enjoying the little things I take for granted. My biggest regret from 2008 is……. not making up with my sister before i left.Next year I am going to………attempt to do everything that i've ever wanted., tattoo someone, pierce , truly live every day in expectation that it could be the last, be more tolerant of others limitations .... some people are just slow..., wear a bathing suit at the beach and like how I look,expose some wrongs in the pursuit of justice, help others who are going through the same journey that i am, weight loss and lifestyle, and get my kids more involved here in Mexico.... and speak Spanish.
This last year was a difficult one. Good times and Bad, I spent it with people who I will remember a life time. Some of us got closer, others, not so. In the end, I found out how strong i can be and what i can accomplish, and how much i really do need my family and friends. i couldn't have got through this year without them. It's kinda nice to look at my life in retrospect... with the idea that I also have the opportunity to leave it all behind. In 2009, I have the opportunity to start again and create my life how I want it, how it should have been. I get to help my kids start a new life and change the things that need to be fixed. We get to change our priorities and become closer as a family.I wish everyone success, love and happiness this new year....img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-27" title="me n my baby" height="382" alt="me n my baby" src="http://brinkofinsanity.wordpress.com/files/2009/01/anthonys-pics-2141.jpg" width="510" />

An Introduction

I'm staring at a blank screen, trying to think of the best way to explain my life. An introduction to why at 28 years old, i'm living in Mexico with my two kids, away from my family,friends, and the life that i had built. My hubby was deported in January 2008 and six months later, we decided to make the move and join him. My hubby isn't a criminal, or a bad person... but was a kid who made wrong decisions and paid the price. Ten years later, it haunted him and finally, after trying diligently to rectify the situation, he was put on a bus and left at the border. So now, a year later, my kids and I, who speak little Spanish, or at least butcher it, are living in an outdated house in the center of Mexico.
I'm on the brink of insanity.........

About Me

My photo
I've been living in Mexico now for about a two years with my hubby and 2 kids. Not exactly by choice, but we're here nonetheless. Luckily, I live with quite a few of the accomodations that i was used to in the states. In spite of those convienences, we also have a water tank with asbestos, outdated electricity, massive amounts of dust, caterpillars that burn your skin, and thousands of windshield washers on every street corner. My kiddos and I are learning to speak spanish and adjust to life away from our family and friends in the States.


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