Friday, October 29, 2010

Muchas Verduras!

Now that we have been experimenting with our vegetarian diet for about five weeks, we are learning a few things.  Some of the vegetarian recipes are wonderful, but they often take considerable planning.  The other thing we’re noticing is that when we make a batch of vegetable curry or cabbage tomato soup, for example, we end up with a ton of food, often enough to last for two or even three days.  We’ve been talking so some other friends who happen to be in our New England group which meets for dinner once a month.  Brian and Evelyn have been vegetarians for many years.  Brian is a vegan; he eats no dairy or eggs either.  When they re out, Evelyn will eat cheese and sometimes fish.  When they’re at home, they chop up a bunch of vegetables at the beginning of the week, and they cook a big pot of dried beans.  Then, they do a lot of stir fries or other recipes, using these pre-prepared veggies.

Brian and Evelyn invited us to dinner recently along with a couple who arrived here within the last year, Karl and Janet.  They made a wonderful vegetarian chili; we contributed a salad.  We spent  good deal of time picking their brains about their diet and how they manage it.  It was interesting and fun.  Below are Evelyn and Brian with their dog (left) and Karl and Janet.  

One issue for us was that we weren’t sure how to get enough protein.  Most vegetarian literature says that as long as you eat a well balanced vegetarian diet, you don’t really have to worry about so much protein.  Many plants have protein, especially legumes, and if you eat a variety of whole grains as well, you can get complete protein.  The only vitamin that you can only get from animal products is B12.  We both eat yogurt, and I eat cheese and eggs too.  Pixie is trying to avoid them. 


At any rate, our commitment to this diet is strong.  We both feel good and have lost a bit of weight in the process. 

The big news of the week is probably that we finally officially put our house on the market.  We’re now listed with International Realty, a Mexican-owned company with a number of North American agents.  Our agent is Lynda MacMahon, a Canadian with many years of experience selling real estate here.  We’ve finished our extra painting and fixing things and have had two couples come to look at the house so far.  We are prepared for the long haul, though.  There are a lot of properties on the market now (of course ours is superior to most!) but it could take a while to sell.  We’re happy here in the meantime.

Chuy is almost a year old now, and he’s calming down and developing his adult personality.  One thing he loves to do is dig in the garden, which I am trying to discourage.  Even when he doesn’t dig, he gets filthy.  He loves to stick his head into whatever smells good to him.  We decided to give him a shorter haircut to minimize his grubby look.  Here are before and after photos.

The local Democrats Abroad group has been busy organizing phone banks and volunteering to help states with their get-out-the-vote efforts.  Since many people like us have internet phones to call back to the US (Vonage, Skype, Magic Jack), it’s easy for people to do political calling for elections.  We are not active in Democrats Abroad, but we are interested in the election.  We watched Barack Obama on John Stewart’s show last night on our Canadian satellite TV system.  Doesn’t look good for our team this year, but we’re hoping for some surprises.

I have a few more photos of Ajijic to share.  Chapala and the Ajijic area has been a popular site for expatriates from the US, Canada and Europe since the early 20th century, and it has a tradition of Mexicans and Gringos coexisting here by Lake Chapala.  In the early days it was a well-known place for authors to congregate.  At the time, the place to be and to meet was what we now call the old Posada, or Hotel.  This is where author like Tennessee Williams, Somerset Maughm, and DH Lawrence often met for drinks, according to legend.  Today, it’s still a popular bar and eating place, though far from its glory days. 

Here are a few more street scenes showing  the colorful village this time of year.  We are now seeing the return of many “snowbirds,” many form Canada, who flock down every winter season, making the traffic worse, but filling the restaurants and bringing more prosperity to the area.  We are counting on some snowbirds to arrive with the idea of buying a home here.  We have just what they’re looking for! 

Finally, as we are getting close to El Dia de Los Muertos, Day of the Dead, celebrations on November 1 and 2, it is also Halloween season.  There is a sense of Halloween here; you do see some Halloween decorations and costumes in the stores, but it is really eclipsed by the Day of the Dead.  Yesterday, Pixie and Evelyn (who is now working with Pixie at the orphanage) taught the children about Halloween. They dressed them up in costumes and showed them how to cut a Jack-O-lantern.  They were very excited; these underprivileged children had never seen how one could carve a squash into a face. They were delighted.  Of course they also got candy!  Here are some photos. 

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