How I Spent my Birthday: The Dog Almost Died, the Car Did Die, But I Had a Great Celebration

Birthday girl in the garden at Posada La Poza
To all of you that sent me birthday wishes, THANK YOU!
It is a wonderful feeling to have so many people send me messages of good will.
I was told to be pampered, be happy, to enjoy the day and to eat cake!
And I did it all.
But the day did not start like that.
We got up early on Saturday with the intention of making the bed, doing the breakfast dishes, delivering Jenny Penny ( our new doggie) to a friend , picking up the Kahlua chocolate cheese cake at Delikat and heading south to Todos Santos.

It all fell apart when Jennifer left her bed, sprawled on the cool tile floor, and then had a seizure.
It was awful. She is a rescue dog, and old, we did not know if she had a stroke, or a heart attack. She was non-responsive, her eyes were blinking wildly, then rolled back in her head and every breath looked like her last. We stroked her and cooed to her, and prepared for the worst. Then she sat up slowly, looked bewildered and stumbled to the door.

We called the vet at home, he told us to bring her in and he would keep her overnight.

We headed to town, the car started to overheat. So we pulled into the CCC grocery store lot. My beloved went to get water for the radiator, and to buy some coolant. But, as he was pouring the water in, it came out the bottom just as quickly. “We cannot drive the car to Todos Santos like thi.s” I said, or wailed, or whined.
“ I know” said my beloved.
“ So let’s rent a car” said I. We can leave Betty Blazer ( the Chevy) here for the weekend. Or we can call Oscar.
Oscar is our general saint on wheels. He built our pool, completed our HoneyMoon Hut, Keeps our 1998 Chevy Blazer roadworthy, and what he cannot invent or repair, well he knows someone that can do the job. We call him “ El Salvador” , The Savior.

I called Oscar , he came with his son Oscar “numero dos” and commenced to work on the car.
I called Dollar Rent a Car in town. We use them to reserve cars for our guests at the HoneyMoon Hut.
I told them my sad tale about it being my birthday, the sick dog, and the dead Chevy.
They said a client had just returned a VW Jetta, it was not cleaned, but they would have it ready full of gas for me. And my rate would be $700 pesos or $59.00 US.

“ Could you send someone to CCC and collect me?”
“Yes of course, Senora Susana.”
And so in a few minutes a smiling young man arrived to take me back to the Dollar office to arrange for the car.
We sped off. The paperwork was ready, in less than 10 minutes I had new wheels.
Meanwhile back at the scene of the Chevy the two Oscars were busy doing CPR on Betty Blazer.

Oscar said, “ It will be Ok, I’ll take the car home, work on it, oh and Jenny is in the car, where do you want me to take her?”
“ We are taking her to Dr. Tomas” I said.
“ Ok, have a happy birthday, if you need us we will be at our ranch in Todos Santos.”
With that we pushed off. Dr. Tomas was ready for us. His lovely wife, also a vet, gave Jenny some shots, and put her in a crate to be observed.

“ But we brought her big-girl bed, and her favorite towel, she cannot be in a wire crate.” I was distraught. She was our new princess, she deserved 5-star hotel treatment.
“ She will be ok, it’s Ok.” Soothed the vet.

“ We are off to Todos Santos for the rest of the weekend.” Said Dr. Tomas. “If you need us, call my cell. Otherwise call me when you get back we should be home by five we’ll meet you here.”
Vet bill $600 pesos about $45.00

Do you spy a trend? Where do we go when we want to get away? Well to Todos Santos of course. We go to see friends; we fail to see the “magic” in this supposed Puebla Magica. Others go for various reasons. But only tourists see it as a magical place.
I guess it is like saying we are going to Carmel for the weekend if you live in San Jose. Except that Carmel has a lot to recommend it.

So all that was left was the cake, and the drive south. “ Nice car” says my beloved. “ Yes “ I agreed.” Let’s buy a Jetta.”

Then, “Uh Oh, I see a cop with red and blue flashing lights.” Rental cars are great targets for unethical cops, they make up violations and try to get the nervous tourist to pay up. This usually happens in Cabo San Lucas not in our area.
So when the cop approached the car, I immediately told him in Spanish that we were not tourists, that we lived in La Paz, and it was my birthday.
He wished me Feliz Cumpleanos, and then admonished the driver ( my beloved) to use directionals and not to speed. Gave us a friendly salute and went back to his truck.
“You are one lucky guy” I said.
“Well I was speeding, and I did see him behind me.”
What can one say to this piece of illogical male commentary? I just sighed, and said ,” Let’s PLEASE get going to La Poza without another mishap, OK?”

And so we arrived.
It is always a wondrous site to see the gorgeous palm-crowded oasis as one enters the outskirts of Todos Santos.
And then there is the bumpy, rutted, winding, awful road to La Poza. And the dust, and travails are worth it, when you crest the hill the gorgeous orange buildings standout against the palms, and the azur Pacific. And this day we felt as if we had found the end of the rainbow.
The day and evening only got better.
We lounged au naturel on the terrace of our sumptuous room. Later I had a long, luscious bath and listened to the pounding waves.
My beloved realized that in the rush to get out the door, he had forgotten his dress shirt.
“Can I just wear this?”
“ No you cannot, this is my 60th birthday dinner!”
“This” was a faded navy polo shirt.
“Call Robert, I said, “ he should have a shirt to fit you.”
And so he did, he actually used the phone and made a request…it must have been my special birthday magic.

I went down to the bar to wait for Melanie and Gunter, I figured Robert would go directly to the room.
I was leafing through art books when Robert popped his head in and said “ Shirt delivery, I’ll go directly to the room.”
He was wearing a black shirt, and carrying a blue and white pin-striped. A few minutes later ( not enough for Robert to have gone to the room and back) my Beloved and Robert arrived , Robert in pin-strip and my Beloved in black.
“ Well “ he said, the black is what I was going to wear.”
They had met on the path in the garden and switched shirts there.
Melanie and Gunter arrived. We went back to the terrace of our room and had a pitcher of margaritas and some nibbles.
Then down to the dining room for a delicious dinner and cake.
We had a wonderful time recalling our adventures over the last ten years in Mexico.
Melanie gave me a lovely pair of silver and turquoise earrings.
Unbeknownst to us, Robert had arranged to pay for our dinner.

So what started as a disaster, ended as a lovely, enchanting way to ring in a new decade.
Jenny turned out to have an amoeba infection and had been in excruciating pain: prognosis fine!
Stay tuned and hear about the turkey that tried to hump me…really.

Happy Birthday to Me…At Posada La Poza

February…It is MY month! My birthday is February 21st. And I claim the entire month.

My friend Maria is a leap year baby so when February has 29 days in it, we celebrate big-time.
Otherwise she and I go to Hotel La Concha on the beach here in La Paz, and have a wonderful time.
We have massages. Then showers. Then a nap under a palapa. Then we have a margarita, a swim. Lunch with another margarita, then a swim, a nap, some coffee to wake us up for the drive home and then we go home. In 10 years we have missed only one or two of these days.

This year we may miss the actual day, but within a week we will have the full-on February birthday the way we like it.
The waiters know us, and when they see us coming they make sure that lounge chairs are under a palapa and the area around them has been raked.

Last year on my birthday, my home was invaded by a band of my friends . They came early on that Saturday morning with a plate of cupcakes each ablaze with a candle, golden balloons, Champaign and a wonderful l breakfast.
It was so much fun. I was totally surprised.

This year I turn 60. My kids and my sister got together and arranged the HoneyMoon suite at
Posada La Poza in Todos Santos for my beloved and me. The owners are our dear friends so it makes it even more special. And Roberto from Todos Santos and Melanie & Gunter from Rancho Nuevo will be joining us for dinner.

We’ll lounge around the painter- palette- shaped pool, and enjoy sunset drinks on the terrace with Roberto, Melanie & Guenter. And an exquisite diunner will be served including birthday cake. My daughter-in-law, Karri stuffed some candles in my Christmas stocking that say: ” It’s the Big 6-0 …Oh No”
They will travel down in my purse with us to adorn my cake.
In the morning, wrapped in my robe, I’ll saunter over to the table in the garden where “Early Riser” coffee, tea and cookies are ther to hold us over until breakfast!

Sunday we’ll take their row boat across the lagoon, and be on the ocean beach. We can watch whales from the shore and feel like we are swimming with them.

La Poza is a special place, I once wrote an article about it calling it a sanctuary, and it is. That the owners, Juerg and Libusche Wiesendanger are our special friends makes it more special. And we always go to La Poza for my birthday, sometime during MY MONTH. The gardens are lush, and diverse, and walking in them is calming, and truly takes you away from your cares. and yor eye is delighted by a special rock meticulously placed, or a scuplture, a colored bit of glass, a gazing ball. all subtle, but evident.

We have also been their guests when the hotel is closed, and have had time to talk and visit with them without interruption.

When we have guests from the US, we always bring them to La Poza for lunch, and they are al charmed , and hate to leave. We send our paying guests there for a day, and they return just as pleased.

Since I won’t be celebrating with my kids or sisters, being with all of these friends-our first friends in Baja- makes my day very special.
Oh, and it will be warm enough to swim…in February.

Planned Parenthood, Some Angry Grannies and the Superbowl

If you have been on Antarctica and somehow missed the controversy over the Focus on the Family anti-choice ad during the Super Bowl I will bring you up to date.

Some housekeeping first. To anti-choice and religious right folks:
I am not interested in what you has to say about this post, so save your breath. I will delete your comments. There is no debate about a woman’s right to a safe legal abortion: it is legal and it is HER choice, not yours.

CBS has the contract this year to air the SuperBowl. In the past when it was their turn to be the SuperBowl network, they refused ads by MoveOn that were critical of the first Bush “president”. They refused ads in the past and also this year about Gay and Lesbian dating. Their reason was that they do not run political or advocacy ads. That’s fine with me. As far as that statement goes.

However, this year they accepted an ad from the religious right from a group called Focus on Family and it is an anti-choice ad.

What was that CBS said about not accepting advocacy or political ads? Thou speakest with forked tongue, CBS.

And so some pissed off grannies made a funny, but truthful vidoe about CBS here it is. And below it is my letter to Cecile Richards , President of Planned Parenthood. They are running a soft (weak) ad that does nothing more than evade the issue, and seeminlgy support the Focus on Family.
So enjoy the video, and then keep reading.

Dear Ms. Richards,
PP has done it again. Taken a weak and middle of the road stand on an important issue.
There are three fundamental issues regarding CBS and this ad:

1. CBS has turned down ads from left leaning groups like MoveOn as well as ads about Gay and Lesbian life choices. They stated they do not run advocacy or political ads during the SuperBowl, yet they accepted the Focus on the Family anti-choice ad. This is censorship and manipulation of the message.
2. CBS has a history of being arch –conservative ( remember the Smother’s Brothers and other censorship?).
3. Access to abortion is the law of the land, and the majority of our population is Pro-Choice.

By failing to even use the word abortion, and by addressing MS Tebow as “MRS” you again weaken the message about women, abortion rights and the role of television in our lives. You had a chance to take a strong stand, you failed me, and all of the women and girls that depend on you and your voice.

The religious right has again co-opted the media, and PP has again gone along with them. The video by two seemingly Pro-Choice athletes is equally as weak. What are they saying? Are they saying that we must protect the reproductive rights of women and girls? Maybe I was able to ferret that out , but the masses will see two more athletes speaking in vague terms.
Will you soon have Sarah Palin as your spokesperson?

During the fight for the clinic door in the summer of 1992 in California, I was a media spokesperson, and activist with the BayAreaCoalition for Our Reproductive Rights. Time and again when faced with the opposition Planned Parenthood clinics knuckled under and closed for the day thereby aiding and abetting the bullies that had their goal of stopping women from access to safe legal abortions. And your m.o. has not changed.

I have sent money in the past to help keep the fights going, and to help keep abortion procedures as part of the Obama health care plan. I did this only to help the greater good.

But you, Planned Parenthood continue to let women down with your pandering to the religious right. You should be ashamed and I will not send you any more money.
Stand up and be a woman, Ms. Richards,
Susan A. Fogel