This morning, I could not stop myself…


This morning, I could not stop myslf…  I read an excellent (make that, THE BEST) description of the Orange Windbag who is the President of the United States of America.  Donald Trump even has the nerve to call himself, “a wartime president”. Churchill must be steaming from his grave!

My utter distaste and distain for this orange menace knows no bounds. If you disagree with me… I regret offending you and I am frightfully sorry for the fact that you have been sucked-in by this parasite who makes Corona virus look benign.

The brilliant author is Nate White, and this is the link to the site where I read the article:

And it begins…

“Why do some British people not like Donald Trump?”

A few things spring to mind. Trump lacks certain qualities which the British traditionally esteem. For instance, he has no class, no charm, no coolness, no credibility, no compassion, no wit, no warmth, no wisdom, no subtlety, no sensitivity, no self-awareness, no humility, no honour and no grace – all qualities, funnily enough, with which his predecessor Mr. Obama was generously blessed. So for us, the stark contrast does rather throw Trump’s limitations into embarrassingly sharp relief.

Plus, we like a laugh. And while Trump may be laughable, he has never once said anything wry, witty or even faintly amusing – not once, ever. I don’t say that rhetorically, I mean it quite literally: not once, not ever. And that fact is particularly disturbing to the British sensibility – for us, to lack humour is almost inhuman. But with Trump, it’s a fact. He doesn’t even seem to understand what a joke is – his idea of a joke is a crass comment, an illiterate insult, a casual act of cruelty.

Trump is a troll. And like all trolls, he is never funny and he never laughs; he only crows or jeers. And scarily, he doesn’t just talk in crude, witless insults – he actually thinks in them. His mind is a simple bot-like algorithm of petty prejudices and knee-jerk nastiness.

There is never any under-layer of irony, complexity, nuance or depth. It’s all surface. Some Americans might see this as refreshingly upfront. Well, we don’t. We see it as having no inner world, no soul. And in Britain we traditionally side with David, not Goliath. All our heroes are plucky underdogs: Robin Hood, Dick Whittington, Oliver Twist. Trump is neither plucky, nor an underdog. He is the exact opposite of that. He’s not even a spoiled rich-boy, or a greedy fat-cat. He’s more a fat white slug. A Jabba the Hutt of privilege.

And worse, he is that most unforgivable of all things to the British: a bully. That is, except when he is among bullies; then he suddenly transforms into a snivelling sidekick instead. There are unspoken rules to this stuff – the Queensberry rules of basic decency – and he breaks them all. He punches downwards – which a gentleman should, would, could never do – and every blow he aims is below the belt. He particularly likes to kick the vulnerable or voiceless – and he kicks them when they are down.

So the fact that a significant minority – perhaps a third – of Americans look at what he does, listen to what he says, and then think ‘Yeah, he seems like my kind of guy’ is a matter of some confusion and no little distress to British people, given that:
• Americans are supposed to be nicer than us, and mostly are.
• You don’t need a particularly keen eye for detail to spot a few flaws in the man.

This last point is what especially confuses and dismays British people, and many other people too; his faults seem pretty bloody hard to miss. After all, it’s impossible to read a single tweet, or hear him speak a sentence or two, without staring deep into the abyss. He turns being artless into an art form; he is a Picasso of pettiness; a Shakespeare of shit. His faults are fractal: even his flaws have flaws, and so on ad infinitum. God knows there have always been stupid people in the world, and plenty of nasty people too. But rarely has stupidity been so nasty, or nastiness so stupid. He makes Nixon look trustworthy and George W look smart. In fact, if Frankenstein decided to make a monster assembled entirely from human flaws – he would make a Trump.

And a remorseful Doctor Frankenstein would clutch out big clumpfuls of hair and scream in anguish: ‘My God… what… have… I… created?’ If being a twat was a TV show, Trump would be the boxed set.



The Perfect Storm

Waiting for The Perfect Storm to let up…

This post may be too much information for some; I actually thought it would be a journal entry. But for reasons I can’t explain, I feel the need to share.

At 3:30 a.m., I woke up to the sound of rain. More rain, I thought. For a few moments, I stayed put and tried to sort out my emotions. It didn’t take long for me to identify the one whimpering for my undivided attention … emptiness …

It seems that my world has somehow escaped from my grasp and what has taken its place is scary. I did not want to get up. Better to stay in bed. But by 4 o’clock, I felt sure I’d not be able to sleep any more, so I moved over to the computer. I could see my fingers moving desultorily over the keys, so I knew I was physically present in the room. But my mind was not.

In fact, my mind had decided to go “on strike” and it summoned my stubbornness. That in turn summoned my pride. Then my pride summoned my sense of outrage, and I could feel my anger growing and growing. I feel so much anger towards the chain of events and circumstances … “the perfect storm” that has taken over my life.

The perfect storm is destroying the life I have known up until now. I can’t say what I had was perfect, but it was the life I built for myself. Each time I faced a challenge … each time I forced myself to do the “right thing”… each time I fuelled myself with patience, understanding or empathy … I strengthened my life and my world … I made “me” stronger.

But now, all that energy seems depleted and I feel like a deflated balloon.

I decided to make a coffee and it felt comforting as it slid down my throat, washing away my swampy morning mouth. The slightly metallic aftertaste is not offensive and it is familiar.

I can hear Jorge stirring. He always senses when I’ve given up the idea of sleeping any longer, and lunges out from under the covers to look for me. I bless him for this because I know his first thought every morning is of me. The familiar is my proverbial yardstick, and today it seems to be the glue that is keeping me from falling apart.

Depression. Is this the name of the dark fog that has settled into me? Freudian therapists believe that depression is anger turned inward. I think this is true.  When I feel unable to cope, I tend to blame myself and then try to “whip myself into shape”. But there are times when the honest truth is quite different. There are situations that are more difficult than I can cope with. I did not create the instability we live with constantly in Mexico. I did not bring the Narcos, Corruption, nor the Coronavirus to this country. Nor is the looming financial disaster my doing. I have been avoiding newspapers lately so the torrential rain arrived without much warning at all. None the less, I have to find the resources to deal with the perfect storm …

The anger I try to stamp out cuts my feet like sharp barbs.  None of this is my fault, I wail.

Most of the women I know who came to Mexico several decades ago will say they are glad they have lived here and that they had “different” experiences. I know that as sad as I am,  I am still happy this is my home. Jorge and I raised two great kids, and we built a college that made a difference in many people’s lives. We have acted with responsibility and high standards. We made friends from all over the world. We invested and saved money, and we thought we were sitting pretty for retirement. Well, think again Bubba…

The perfect storm has turned everything upside down. Our two adult children will be living abroad, Like most businesses in Mexico, our college is in a precarious position. We can’t even see our friends, and it looks as though this will go on for a long time. And that money we saved? Well it won’t be providing the easy life style we thought we’d get pleasure from in our “golden years”, it will be used for damage control.

I think I am justified in feeling anger and frustration. BUT, BUT, BUT my negative feelings will not help me. Only my attitude can turn this around for me.

If I bang my head against the wall, it will shatter before the wall breaks.

An attitude of gratitude will make me realise what I do have

When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

This mess is not fair. It is not right. And you know what; sometimes we don’t get either fair or right. We just don’t. But Jorge and I agree the time has come for us to accept the things we cannot change. We are facing a challenge that we feel unequipped to deal with. In fact, we are totally daunted by it. This will definitely NOT be… “Magic Made in Mexico”.

However, Jorge and I have no choice but pull together and make the best of this perfect storm. And if we manage to crawl up on the other side, THAT will be called… “A Bloody Battle, Fought As-Well-As Possible, by Joanna and Jorge”.


Yesterday I posted this photo of our latest batch of Limoncello. (thank you Charlie for the encement by way of your miraculous app) Many asked for the recipe, and here it is… along with a little story… of course!

In 2007, Jorge and I took “the grand tour”… a 6 week trip to Europe. Before we knew each other, we had both been on our own, but I had only seen northern countries. Jorge had been to France and Italy, and he assured me, this is where we should go. We had so much fun planning our itinerary, and Florence was to be the “grand finale”, the last stop on our adventure.

Prior to leaving Mexico, I read so much about this splendorous city of the Medici. It seemed to offer everything I love… clear light, sepia-coloured buildings, fashionable people, an abundance of art, the best food in the world, romantic music, and fabulous shopping. And after a harrowing transfer at Termini, Rome’s main train station, we checked into our hotel, in the Santa Croce district of Florence. We looked out of our room’s floor-to-ceiling window and saw Il Duomo. Sigh-igh-igh…

The view from our hotel window

I remember that the hotel staff couldn’t do enough for us… And our accommodation had two additional features we had not planned on. First off, the bathroom was HUGE. The sparkling white tub, shower stall, bidet, toilet and basin were set into blue, white and yellow Florentine tiles… in the afternoon after a long day of sight-seeing, we could soak in the tub and watch the street traffic, 5 floors below. What luxury after the 1 meter-square “water closets” we had encountered in our hotels everywhere else on our trip. I fell totally in love with Florence; Jorge also delighted in everything about the city.

That first night, we eventually tore ourselves away from the hotel, and found a tratoria, located just one block away . Absolutely satiated and totally happy after finishing our first meal in the capital of the Renascence…

Cozze e Vongole

Pasta con Cozze e Vongole… the waiter brought a sunshine yellow digestif to our table. Jorge looked most excited. “Is it Pernod?” I asked. “We are in Italia,” my husband reminded me, “Not France.” He picked up the bottle and poured us both a short glass. “THIS is Limoncello!” His eyes closed as he savoured the first chilled sip and I figured I’d give it a try. Instantly, I became even more of a fan than Jorge and asked for a second sample. “I’d wait until tomorrow,” he said, “it packs a punch, especially after a whole litre of wine.” Good advice! Limoncello can sneak up on you…

I discovered that nearly every restaurant makes its own, as do individual families… I wondered how I could manage to carry back a huge supply of this golden nectar. Out strolling one afternoon, I spotted an apron with the Limoncello recipe embossed on the front – very touristy – but so what! 10 Euros exchanged hands and I hurried back to the hotel with my prize. “Look Jorge, we can now make this at home,” I cried happily.
Well, since then, we have done so MANY times, and today we bottled yet another batch.
Here’s our recipe:

Joanna & Jorge , tasting limoncello after our first meal in Florence, 2007

Peel the rind from 12 yellow lemons (limon italiano – available at Costco) Try not to have any of the pith attached … you want just the thin yellow part.

Put the peelings into a large glass jar and then add 1 – 1750 ml. bottle of Vodka (any brand will do but we also use “Kirkland”, the one available at Costco)

*If you can get your hands on some grappa, that will be even better*
Close the jar tightly, and store it in a dark place for 2 months (we put ours on a shelf in the clothes closet)
When you finally bring the jar into the light, you’ll see that the vodka has turned bright yellow. It is time to bottle…

Boil 1 ½ kilos of sugar with 1 ½ litres of water, until the mixture is about to boil and the sugar is completely dissolved (this is called simple syrup) Allow it to completely cool…

Strain the vodka-lemon peel and set aside the peelings. Add 1.750 (1 3/4 litres) of the cooled syrup to the vodka, stir and then pour the dreamy liquid into 6 sterilized bottles. Cork them and store in the fridge until you wish to use them.
Now what to do with the vodka-infused peel…

Let the peelings dry, and then place them in a large frying pan and sprinkle with ½ cup of sugar. Place the skillet over medium heat and let the sugar caramelize (you need to lift and turn the peel while this is happening or it will burn) When the mixture has a golden brown color and you can smell the cooked sugar, remove the pan from the heat, and using two forks, separate the pieces of peel as best you can (they will be sticky) When they have cooled and dried, store them in a container with a tight lid. You can use this in any recipe that calls for candied citrus peel. This is the “not-at-all-secret” ingredient in my version of Chiles en Nogada.

Many of my friends now make Limoncello from this recipe and no one has felt disappointed… you won’t either.