Wednesday, November 4, 2009

El Tiempo Teine Alas (Time Flies)

The last time I posted here it was June and I was in Guanajuato, Mexico. I was drinking a cinnamon-scented licuado de platano, attempting to stay cool in the before-the-rains dry heat of the central highlands of Mexico and fretting over the terrible state of tourism in Mexico due to the latest news attack (er...I mean report) from north of the border. It's now November in Santa Cruz, we've had or first big storm of the season, and the leaves are falling from the big oak tree outside my door in Happy Valley. Yes, it's been a long time since I've blogged.

It's not like there isn't plenty to write about. During my time in Guanajuato there were visits by dear friends from both California and Mexico, wonderful meals and celebrations cooked and shared, even a day of horseback riding. In the final days the flurry of oh-my-gosh-I'm really-leaving activity produced enough blog fodder for many a meaty post: learning about my neighbors in Marfil, watching Lulu make the most amazing gorditas ever; hangin' with Cuchis, the dueña of the little tiendita at which I spent many an afternoon over a cold beer learning the stories of Marfil while watching the world go by - in cars and buses, on foot, horses, and burros.

And I finally tracked down the answers to all but one of my questions about the Sounds of the 'Hood, meeting (and videoing) the guy screaming Arrozzzz!! outside my window each day, even climbing the bell tower and photographing the amazing timepiece (as well as the little muchachos) responsible for the church bells that perplexed me every fifteen minutes all day and night - every day and night - during my two-month stay.
Then there was the breathtaking birthday meal at The Most Unexpected Restaurant, Ik Etsnab in Santa Rosa, a little village in the hills above Guanajuato. Picture a sleepy village on a mountain road and then tuck an über-modern glass box into the trees, staff it with a young and talented Mexican couple, and celebrate with dishes like From the Sea, complete with toasted parmesan "sand" and salty "sea foam" topped with flowery flotsam and jetsam and you'll understand the "unexpected" part.

And the mad 4-day drive home deserves a post entitled Down to the Last Drop (due to the state of both my gas tank and wallet - over and over!) that produced a photo series I call 70 MPH, all shot driving down the highway staring straight ahead with my right arm stretched toward the open passenger-side window while I raced home in time for a yearly catering gig.

Yes, it's not like there hasn't been plenty to write about: The grim fog that settled in over me once I got home and unpacked and realized that tourism to Mexico had all but stopped. My ire at the media and the ache of sympathy I felt for my friends in Mexico that followed the realization. Days and days of through-the-eyes-of-a-child adventures with my darling 5-year-old housemate, and then while he summered with grandma and grandpa the month of cooking and entertaining that ensued in a child-free home, along with all the joy (and new recipes and friends) that brought me.
A couple of exciting My Mexico Tours events here in the Bay Area. The opening of Bonny Doon Winery's Cellar Door Cafe, the brightest star in Santa Cruz's restaurant sky since India Joze and Emmanuelle's closed, to which new friend Sonia (thank you, Facebook!) introduced me. An article in the local newspaper in which I participated that had the unexpected and delightful side effect of bringing me together with my food guru Jozseph...and the alchemy that continues to develop between us since then.
Yep, there've been plenty of adventures, opinions, tastes, and ideas to share; my iPhoto library bursting at the seams; all friends warned that everyone and everything in my BIG life is now fair game as blog fodder, yet the blog block continued.

And then my dear ol' dad got sick. On August 28 he was told it was fast moving small cell lung cancer and 39 days later he died. I spent 36 of those days with him 24/7.

And that, you see, opens the floodgates, trumps all the other stories, urges me to write again. About dad, and family, and loss, but most of all about the miraculous magical mystery tour we went on for those 36 days.

The title is clear: Way To Go, Dad. Coming soon, to a blog near you.

Robert A. McNair, surrounded by Paul, Mark, and Yers Truly
Lazarus Road Trip, Eastern Shore of Virginia, September 28, 2009