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Showing posts from March, 2008

Scary threat or stupid prank?

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The picture above is a copy of a "letter" received by my friend/boss last week. In fact, she received two of them. For those of you who are "Spanishly challenged", it says "This is your first and last warning, your family is also in the sights. Los Gruperos ("the groupies", but someone said it's a specific group) aren't believers....".

Both letters were sent to our work address though they each had a separate return address, one from the U.S., one from Tamaulipas (another state in Mexico). Neither of them were actually sent from the return address, they were both stamped as mailed in Chiapas, on the same day. The work address is typed exactly as it is listed on the company website (and yes, her name is on the website too). She has reported this to the owner of the company and asked other directors to watch their mail, so far no one else has reported receiving anything similar.

My friend/boss doesn't know anyone named Sofia and s…

Do Re Meme

Rivergirl (and others) have tagged me in this getting to know you meme, I know I am last on the bandwagon here, even Liz Miss Anti-Meme joined in! So, here I go.....


What are your top 3 favorite foods?
Steak, cheese and Coca Cola.

What was the last book you read and would you recommend it?
The last book I read was "Until I Find You" by John Irving. Yes, I would recommend it, anything by John Irving is good by me, his books are like cozy old comforters you can just wrap yourself in and snuggle down for the night.

What are your top 3 favorite places?
Caye Caulker Belize, New York City and any beach in the Caribbean.

What was the last lie you told?
I told Max there was no chocolate but when his back was turned I gobbled down a Bubu Lubu.
What are your favorite 3 sports (to watch or participate in)?
I am not much of a sports fan at all. My last few years in Toronto I did become an avid Raptors (basketball) fan. I despise hockey and don't like soccer much, any game that can last mo…

Never Trust a Three Year Old

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While writing my last blog post......

Me: Where are you going Max?
Max: To the bafroom.
Me: Do you need help?
Max: No, I do it.

(five minutes of silence later....)

Me: What are you doing Max?
Max: Nothing!
Me: Uh oh. (running downstairs)
Max: Look at me, I did it! Yay!
Me: **sigh** (grabs camera)



Lesson learned. Well, Mommy learned, not so sure Max won't try this one again if Mommy forgets lesson and trusts him to be alone for more than two minutes. At least the house has that new baby smell to it.

Learning Spanish

I've been following Brenda and Roy's adventures in learning Spanish and thought I would jump on the band wagon with my own experiences in the realm of language acquisition. When I first got to Mexico, I had no idea that I was going to end up living here, so I didn't even think about learning a whole new language. My first few weeks in Cozumel I picked up the essentials, "cerveza, una mas, otra ronda, cigaros, cenicero, el baƱo, vamos a la playa y la cuenta por favor". The boys in the bar were my first teachers, a word or two a day, lots of swear words to start with. Nothing funnier than the white girl from Canada saying "No manches, pinche turistas!" Little by little I was adding vocabulary, but I didn't have a clue about grammar or verbs.

When we moved from Cozumel to Cancun, I knew that I would need a whole lot more Spanish to survive. Living in Cozumel, everyone seemed to speak English. My landlord, my boss, store keepers, none of them req…

Give Me Subtitles or Give Me Death!

Ok, I don't rant or get negative here very often, forgive me for doing so now. I am having a $@#$#@$% day. Max is dying to see the Horton movie which has just opened up here, but as usual, all the theaters are showing it DUBBED. I despise dubbed movies! The actors were hired for their voice talent, I think it's a shame not to appreciate the movie as it was originally intended. When movies are dubbed, the voices are never as good as the original actors AND they change the jokes! Shrek is not Shrek without Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy. Finding Nemo is lame without Ellen Degeneres. And Daffy Duck should be called Daffy Duck, what's up with changing his name to Pato Lucas? The Addams Family loses Uncle Fester and gets Tio Lucas. Who decided that Lucas was the quintessential "Spanish" name of the foil? The dubbing never matches the animated lips, the funny stuff doesn't translate and it just rubs me all the wrong ways to suffer through a movie that is no…

Don't Go Into the Basement!

You know when you are watching a good old horror movie and you just know that something horrible is about to happen?  The tightening of the muscles, the roiling of the stomach, the racing heartbeat, the need to warn the characters in the movie that an axe murderer is in their basement?  That's the feeling I have right now.  I woke up with a horrible sense of anxiety, a fear for the day, a dread that something really bad is going to happen to me or someone I love.  Logically, everything in my life is just peachy right now, jobs are good, family is good, bills are paid, no money troubles, nothing hanging over my head that would make me feel this way.  Which makes it even scarier!  I am no stranger to anxiety, but I can usually put a name to it.  Right now there is no reason for me to feel this way and yet my tummy is in knots!


I drove with extra caution this morning.  I went to check on my car in the parking lot three times to make sure it was still there and still locked.  I held …

Teaching English in Cancun

Me gots good English.

I've received lots of emails lately asking for advice on getting a job teaching English in Cancun so I thought it was about time I just laid it all out in one concise post. Much easier to paste a link than to type and re-type the same information over and over. Not that I mind helping, I am just streamlining. So, here's Canucka's FAQ's on the world of ESL in Cancun (may also apply to other parts of Mexico).

1. Do I need a special teaching certificate to get a job?- No. It can help, but it is not a necessity. From what I have witnessed, people are hired based on their ability to speak English, general intelligence and personality. The willingness to work strange long hours also helps. Some teaching experience, even volunteer work can be an asset.

2. Is it hard to get a job teaching ESL?- Yes, it can be. Immigration imposes a limit to the amount of foreigners a school can employ at any one time. Best advice is to come down with enough mone…

Poll results- Do you believe in spanking or corporal punishment?

I have to admit I am a bit surprised by the results on this one. Here's what you had to say about spanking....

Do you believe in spanking or corporal punishment?
Yes- 15 (39%)
No- 8 (21%)
Depends- 15 (39%)

I guess I am in the minority of those polled. I do not believe in using any kind of physical punishment on my son. My personal feeling is that if I feel the need to hit my child, I am the one with the problem and need to get a hold of my anger. Sometimes I DO get the urge, but there is nothing he could do that deserves physical pain and humiliation. My frustrations are exactly that, MINE, he shouldn't suffer because I cannot use reason and intelligence to solve a problem. I've read a lot about the subject, and I believe that spanking has the potential to be very damaging to the psyche and it has not been proven to work as a deterrent. If it worked, you would only have to do it once, right? I do not want my son to live in fear of me, I want to show him respect for his…

Isla Blanca Revisited

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We returned to Isla Blanca yesterday to enjoy the relative peace and quiet. Cancun is a ZOO right now, last week was the peak tourist time of the year. Not only Spring Breakers, but Mexican Nationals come here to celebrate Semana Santa (Holy Week) jammed hotels, restaurants, beaches and bars. We knew the hotel zone beaches would be nutso, so we set out once again for our Pirate's Refuge. I was quite surprised to find even less people there than our last visit, I thought for sure that the last day of vacation would be reason enough for locals to pack the sunny shores. I'm not complaining, all the better for us! Once again the service of the beach club was slow, but it was a bit better than our last visit. The weather managed to stay ok for us, though there were some dark clouds threatening throughout the day. The water was gorgeous, not cold at all but cool enough to be refreshing in the heat of the day. There were lots of folks out on the pier fishing, they were kind …

Blogger Meeting stuff again- Important!

Time is fast approaching and our dear Wayne is working hard to get everything in line for the Latin American Blogger Meetup. He's got a request out for attendees to please contact him via email so he can start a mailing list for contact. islagringo@yahoo.com is his address, please see his post here for more info.

Big thanks again to Wayne for organizing all the details, good work amigo, much appreciated!

Alright, we're off to the beach today, hasta pronto!

Downtown Cancun Breakfast Hideaway

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Ahhh, what a gorgeous day we are having. It's sunny, breezy, about 29 C/84 F, not too hot, not too cold, just perfect. We got out of the house this morning to go for some brekkie and run some errands (bank, car wash, grocery store) and I treated myself to a couple of hours in the salon for a haircut, mani/pedi and waxing. I'm only inside now waiting for Max and Hubby to wake up from their nap then I am getting us all out of the house again, no use wasting this lovely day!

I though I would share with you our new favourite breakfast place downtown, our BritFriends introduced it to us a couple of weeks ago and we liked it enough to go back again today, with camera in hand. It's called "La Playa" and is located on Acanceh, about a block down from Sport City. It is such a beautiful little spot, well maintained palapas on the outdoor terrace and a huge gorgeous garden with big climby toys for Max. He went crazy running around! The service has been excellent both …

A Life of Privilege- I've been tagged

Miss Mexpat tagged me with a meme about how you were raised. The premise is that you "bold" all the statements that are true. The more bold lines one has, the more privileged one's formative years were.

Please note: The list is based on an exercise developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University. The exercise developers ask that if you participate in this blog game, you acknowledge their copyright.

***

Father went to college

Father finished college- A couple of times, he went back to get his Masters when I was a kid

Mother went to college

Mother finished college

Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor -

Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers (I think they mean social class)

Had more than 50 books in your childhood home

Had more than 500 books in your childhood home - I was a book fiend, it was the one thing that was always on my Christmas list and books w…

Latin American Bloggers Unite!

Ok gang, the time is fast approaching for our weekend of kicking back on Isla Mujeres! Our fine Isla blogger Wayne has made arrangements for the group at the Hotel Carmelina. Great deal, $27.50 USD a night, yahoo, more money for beer! Please don't book the hotel on your own, contact Wayne and he's going to do all the dirty work for us. (Thanks Wayne!)

See Wayne's post here for details and pictures of the Hotel Carmelina.

Can't wait to meet you all, invitations are still open for those who haven't made up their mind yet!

And for your viewing pleasure, my oldest Isla Mujeres video taken two years ago when Max was ten months old and learning how to walk. Yes, he learned how to walk on the beach, he is Cancunense after all! Sigh....look how grand Playa Norte was, I sure hope it comes back! (No, your speakers aren't broken, no sound on this one, sorry!)


Musings on Merida

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Sunday morning we woke up with our nice champagne hangovers and for some reason we were feeling adventurous and said "Let's go to Merida!". Hubby went to pick up Max from the Nanny (of course crossing paths with the Nanny who was bringing Max here, haha). I took Max and ordered Hubby to buy a DVD player for the car, no way were we making this trip with a hyperactive almost three year old in the car with nothing to do. The prize winning purchase made, we hit the road about 11 am excited about our upcoming adventure. I had never been to Merida, but Hubby had lived there a few years back. Hubby was so adventurous he didn't pack a thing, not a pair of underwear or a toothbrush, he just said we would buy everything there. Ooook Mr. Big Spender I Just Got a New Job. We basically had two nights and one day in Merida so it was a really quick trip, here's just a few of my thoughts, reflections and musings on the whole experience.

- The toll highway is one of the mos…

Champagne Wishes....

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Alright, this is a few days late but here it is. Saturday March 15th was my birthday, yay, I'm older. I had to work in the morning but I knew there would be cake so it wasn't such a bad idea, plus it was my last day before a week's vacation so the mood was good. I also knew that Hubby would be going in to sign a contract for a new job, the day was shaping up nicely. I had received a text Friday afternoon from my dear friend informing me that she and her hubby had arranged for me to swim with the dolphins on Saturday afternoon. If you can stand the positivity, we also had plans to send Max off with the beloved Nanny for an overnight while we adults went on the famoso lobster dinner cruise. I performed many a happy dance on Saturday morning while teaching.

I finished work at one o'clock, did a little "Yabba dabba doooo" Fred Flintstone style while running down the stairs and headed home. I sneakily changed into my bikini trying not to let Max see, but al…

Watch This Space

I've been out of town for a few days, just got in and am swamped with emails and a messy house. When I get settled I promise to fill you all in on the details of the following:

1. Birthday celebrations including swimming with the dolphins, a lobster dinner cruise and salsa dancing at Azucar!

2. A spur of the moment, hungover decision to just get in the car and drive to Merida.

Ok, the list is shorter than I expected, but the details will flesh that out some. Hopefully I'll get down to business soon, sorry to be away so long! (I'll be getting to your emails and comments soon too, pinky swear).

An Easy Guessing Game

Based on these videos can you guess what today is?


I highly recommend watching this one, I find it hysterical what someone chose to do to a Beatles song.

Poll results- Which deadly sin are you?

Oh you sinners you (it's why I love you!). Here's what my readers had to say about sin:

Lust- 8 (19%)
Gluttony- 9 (21%)
Greed- 3 (7%)
Sloth- 1 (2%)
Wrath- 1 (2%)
Envy- 1 (2%)
Pride- 1 (2%)
Sin? I never, ever sin, see my halo?- 3 (7%)
All of the above, see my horns?- 14 (34%)

Well, that was honest, 34% of us are big giant sinners! Life is more fun that way, isn't it? My top two would have to be sloth and lust, I can be L-A-Z-Y if left to my own devices and lust, well, must I explain? Wrath and greed are my bottom two, it takes a lot to make me angry and I am not a person who needs a lot of "stuff" to be happy.

So dish, fess up, let's here it, what's your weakness?

A Rather Cheesy Post

I've been stewing all day. Gnashing my teeth and stewing. The whole morning was filled with bad news. Not personal bad news, just bad news in the world around me. Friends of friends who have recently been victimized either by criminals or the police or personal tragedy and losses. Newspapers all around me with gruesome photos of crime scenes and grisly accidents. Friends and family with health problems. With all this stewing I was still drawing a blank on how to blog my feelings of the day. I don't really want to get into all the negativity, so I will tell you about the thing that is making me happy today.

CHEESE.

And lots of it. I realize that lately I will eat anything as long as it is cheesy. Mac N Cheese, crackers and cheese, tortillas slathered in cream cheese, cheesy dips for my Ruffles including Herb flavoured, pepper flavoured and garlic, even processed cheese slices. Cheese flavoured chips, spicy cheesy Doritos, those little packages of pretzels with nacho …

I Don't Wanna Grow Up

The continuing adventures of a boy and his tricycle.  I posted this a couple of months ago when Max first got his Apache tricycle.  Now watch today's video and measure his amazing progress, he actually uses his pedals, TA DA!  Rock and roll baby!  

Oh the Antici-pa-pa-pa-ation

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And the nausea and the heart palpitations. I woke up this morning thinking (obsessively) about my FM3. The FM3 is the visa issued by Mexican immigration that allows me to live and work here. Mine expires April 21 and I am already stressing out about it. The whole procedure should be so simple but of course it never is, we are dealing with a government agency here.

Last year was the worst experience I've had yet with the whole process. Two months to complete everything, something like 14 or 16 visits to the immigration office and more tears than I care to tell you about. Having done this a few times now, I have files of my past applications so I figure what was good last year is good for this year. Not! They always seem to find one more piece of paper (in triplicate) that they need. The rules and requirements change from week to week. They LOSE whole applications or parts of applications. I have learned to bring an extra copy of everything and have them stamp it as receiv…

Deadline for Blogger Meeting RSVP

Wayne and I are getting excited about the upcoming "Latin American Bloggers" meet up set for April 18, 19 and 20th and we hope you are too! We'll be meeting up on Isla Mujeres for socializing with our compatriots, fellow bloggers in Mexico and parts south (if y'all can make it). If you are looking to be in the same hotel as the rest of the gang, please contact Wayne or myself by March 14th so we can secure some rooms. Anyone who makes a late decision will not be guaranteed a room in the same party palace as the rest of us.

We'll be nailing down the agenda within the next couple of weeks, though it looks like Friday will be meet and greet dinner and drinks and whatever normally follows dinner and drinks (more drinks?). Saturday we'll be having a golf cart caravan around the island and more dinner and drinks and some beachy time. It's pretty loose, we're not out to change the world, just meet face to face and have some fun. If you can't RSVP, d…

A Canuck in Mexican Jail Hospitalized

Back in January I wrote about the case of Brenda Martin, a Canadian woman in jail in Guadalajara, Mexico. Ms. Martin has been in prison for over two years, without being convicted of a crime. I have read more and more and I am convinced that this is an innocent woman languishing in jail and she needs more help than the Canadian government seems to be giving her. I have said in the past that I am wary of blogging about political matters, but I just can't sit on my hands on this one (though I will try to phrase my post in a very general, informational way).

A few weeks ago her Canadian attorney was told by the Mexican Foreign Affairs minister that the court would finally convene this past Friday to determine if her rights have been violated. When she was arrested, she was not provided any kind of translation service and was processed in Spanish without understanding what was going on. There is no evidence to suggest that she was a participant in the crime she is accused of. Th…

If I Had Four Million Dollars

In my daily surfing of the net I sometimes go off into "Fantasy Land" and pretend that one day we might actually be able to afford to buy a house. I start off somewhere close to reality, looking at houses like this. Reasonable price, less than $100 000 USD. (Still fantasy, but not too far off). Then I start to get a little crazy, moving up to places like this. I know, big jump from $100 000 to over a million, but remember, this is Dreamland. Then, I discover this. Private ranch on Isla Blanca, five bedrooms, swimming pool, private cenote and Mayan ruins on site, pretty cool. Then I notice the one line that makes me go "Huh???".

"Laboratory for scientific investigations".

Just what I was looking for! Isn't every house hunter seeking that hideaway ranch/secret scientific lair? Perfect for curing cancer or taking over the world! Who lives in this house? A modern day Einstein, Dr. Emmett Brown or the world's latest version of Mengele? I'…

The Canucka Revealed!

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Alright, this may appear to be self indulgent but really it's at the request of some of my readers! I've had a few people email me to ask why I never post any pics of myself. No, I am not an enigma, I have nothing to hide nor do I have any kind of freaky deformities (yet). The reality is that the camera is almost always in my hands, there are very few pics of me in my files of thousands and thousands of photos! So, to appease my gentle readers (enquiring minds want to know, ya know) here are a few pics of Da Canucka. (I promise not to impose too many of me, the beaches and Max are far more interesting subjects).




Alright, that's enough. Hope that satisfies everyone's curiosity, it might be another year before someone catches me on camera again!

Poll results- What are you afraid of?

Here are the results from the latest poll, "What are you afraid of?"

Spiders/insects- 19 (48%)
Snakes- 10 (25%)
Dogs- 4 (10%)
Failure- 5 (12%)
Enclosed spaces- 5 (12%)
Pauly Shore- 1 (2%)
Heights- 12 (30%)
Flying- 2 (5%)
Clowns- 2 (5%)
Using public restrooms- 3 (7%)
Another republican in the White House- 13 (33%)
Other, come on, surprise me- 9 (23%)

I'll admit to having a fear of insects, with spiders being the biggest baddest yuckiest most fear-inducing creature of all for me! Whenever I see a spider I always flash back to being eight years old at Gesstwood Camp. I was having a great time out in the forest, sleeping in a cabin and getting my first "kiss" from a boy. Ok, the "boy" was a counselor named "Moose" (isn't there always a counselor named Moose?) and he gave me a good night kiss on the forehead. When I woke up in the morning post-kiss, I couldn't open my eyes. My whole face had swollen up like a watermelon! I thought for sure it …

Isla Blanca- A Pirate's Refuge

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Once again, yes, we went to the beach on Sunday. Now that we've got the car, we have soooo much freedom to explore Quintana Roo and get out and see some new things instead of the same old boring beaches (haha, like a beach could ever be boring). This week we decided to check out Isla Blanca, a small peninsula located about 25 minutes away from Cancun.
Driving past Puerto Juarez, you'll find yourself on a beautiful street lined on both sides by lush plants and flowers, great to see undisturbed nature only a couple of kilometers outside of downtown cement Cancun. For the first part of the trip it is a paved road. When you reach the entrance to Isla Blanca, you are in for some off-roading fun on a sand road full of potholes! We bounced around and got very dusty, wheeee! (Though on our return, we did get stuck and needed the assistance of four burly men to dig us out of the sand).

The Road Out of Puerto Juarez
(technically in an area called Playa Mujeres)
The Sandy Road of Is…