Sleepless in Merida…

At 2 a.m. something startled me.  Music from a party somewhere? A dog barking? A car horn honking? My foggy mind couldn’t quite figure it out – I wanted so badly to roll over and go back to sleep.

This day will be a busy one, I told myself, and you need your rest.  

I forced my eyes shut.

Tick-tock, tick-tock…

Come on, come on –  let’s settle back down now.

I closed my eyes tight and wiggled my head into the soft pillows.


How soft my sheets are – how comfy I feel– I’m so ready to go back to dreamland.


One minute passed, two minutes. The self-motivational tactic was NOT working.  I tried counting backwards from 100 to 0 with no slip-ups.

 – Ninety-nine, ninety-eight, ninety-seven… ninety-eight…  

NO – O – O -O-O-O-O !

– Maybe some of that Sleepy-Time tea might help?  

I climbd out of bed and padded to the kitchen. Of course the tea was at the back of the cupboard. After groping around and locating the tin, I  dusted it off, filled the kettle, waited for the boil, and let the tea steep. Ugh! The hot raspberry, mint and licorice liquid tasted ghastly, and I was more awake than ever.

 – Well, maybe a little time with facebook might help?

Oh-oh – oh-oh

But after twenty minutes of scrolling through inane comments and out-of-focus photos, my eyes started feeling heavy.


I was just about ready to pack it in when this post caught my eye:


Social media is leading the way, and in just two days, 1,300,000 Mexicans have made their views known.

2018 will be an electoral year in Mexico and the political parties traditionally receive funds from the “government” (the money of course comes from taxes paid by all Mexicans). The amount is 12 billion pesos! The petition urges the parties to decline the 12 billion pesos slated for their electoral campaigns in 2018, which would free up the funds for use in earthquake relief and rebuilding efforts.

We don’t need to hear empty promises on TV and radio and see banners blowing in the wind. We want the parties to stand up for Mexico and be of some real use.

If they do, they will be acting like the LEADERS they claim to be – and God knows we desperately need some good leadership!


If you’d like to sign the petition, here’s the link:

It seems like TOO MUCH

Yesterday, Tuesday September 19th, the central region of Mexico was struck by a powerful earthquake. As I painfully type this post, the death toll stands at 241 – twenty one children are among them – they were crushed when their primary school collapsed.

It seems perverse that yesterday’s 7.1 magnitude earthquake came on the anniversary of the devastating 1985 quake that caused so many deaths in Mexico City. To compound the irony – the shaking started just after a citywide earthquake drill. No “plan” can possibly cope with such sudden destruction, but I wonder – I hope – the simulation exercise saved at least a few lives.

Since the last BIG one – 32 years have passed – and our world has changed. Mexico has suffered from countless natural and man-made disasters. Hurricanes, earthquakes, environmental catastrophes, a breakdown of traditional values, corruption, narcos, devaluations, one political mess after another, inflation, slander by the international media, bullying by neighboring countries – I did not think one more thing could possibly befall the country – and now this.

It seems like TOO MUCH.

And yet, the minute the shaking stopped yesterday, men and women ran through choking dust and began clawing at the rubble – moving anything they could lift. As others began hauling the rubble away – buckets, shovels, work gloves and masks materialized. TV footage showed bare-backed young men balancing on the top of twisted metal and broken concrete – swinging sledge hammers to loosen the girders and beams. The crowd raised their arms and passed the twisted steel over their heads to those who loaded it into the dump trucks that soon were on the scene.  All through the night, the makeshift rescue workers have continued working. They know that each passing minute reduces the chances of finding survivors.

They remember the horrors of 1985 and they remember the acts of heroism, like those of Los Topos—The Molesa group of young people who spontaneously grouped together and risked their lives by crawling into collapsed buildings to look for survivors. The Moles had no equipment, training, or knowledge of rescue tactics, but they were instrumental in saving countless people, including newborn babies from Hospital Juárez—the most heart-wrenching, heart-warming story to come after the earthquake.

That quake brought the citizens of México City solidly together and caravans arrived with relief supplies from Canada, the U.S., Central America, and from every state in México.

What will it be like this time? Will the world help?

The students at our college here in Merida are collecting baby supplies for needy families. You can help by bringing diapers, wet-wipes, talc, formula, new or used clothing, blankets, bottles, or whatever you think would be useful. On Friday morning (Sept 22) they will deliver the collected goods to the Red Cross , who will in turn distribute them. TTT’s address is:

Calle 57 No. 492, Between 56 & 58, Centro Histórico, Merida.

If you’d rather, the link provided below will direct you to a number of verified agencies who will make good use of anything you can give:

Mexico does not have the resources to get through this on its’ own. PLEASE do all you can.


*Photo credits: found on Google Images    /   /    AP Photo/Marco Ugarte



I went to a small gathering the other day and struck up a conversation with a woman I was meeting for the first time…

We exchanged the usual pleasantries and before long, she confided that she felt a bit out-of-place in Kamloops, but she figured this was because she’d lived most of her life in Vancouver, a much larger city with many more amenities and lots of “diversity”. She then asked me if I have ever lived anywhere else.

My new acquaintance was full of questions when I told her that indeed I had lived in another place – another country in fact – for most of my life. After a brief description of my lifestyle in Mexico, she threw her arms up in the air and shook her head back and forth. “I could never do anything so eccentric,” she said.

That rattled me a bit. I’ve always considered an artist like van Gogh, an actor like Robin Williams, an entertainer like Lady Gaga or those older ladies in purple hats to be eccentric – but me?

I decided to go on line to read some definitions and more opinions. I found psychiatrist David Weeks website – he has conducted a study called, “Eccentrics: A Study of Sanity and Strangeness”. The short video on the site )

intrigued me and I delved further. Bingo! I found Dr. Weeks’ inventory of the 25 descriptors of eccentricity. He lists them in descending order of importance – the first five being the most significant.

  • Enduring non-conformity
  • Creativity
  • Strongly motivated by an exceedingly powerful curiosity and related exploratory behavior
  • A constant and distinct feeling of differentness from others
  • Idealism
  • Happily obsessed with a number of long-lasting preoccupations (usually about five or six)
  • Intelligent, in the upper fifteen per cent of the population on tests of intelligence
  • Opinionated and outspoken, convinced of being right and that the rest of the of the world is out of step with them
  • Non-competitive
  • Not necessarily in need of reassurance or reinforcement from the rest of society
  • Unusual eating habits and living arrangements
  • Not particularly interested in the opinions or company of other people, except perhaps in order to persuade them to their contrary point of view
  • Possessed of a mischievous sense of humor, charm, whimsy, and wit
  • More frequently an eldest or an only child
  • Eccentricity observed in at least 36% of detailed family histories, usually a grandparent, aunt, or uncle. (It should be noted that the family history method of estimating hereditary similarities and resemblances usually provides rather conservative estimates.)
  • Eccentrics prefer to talk about their thoughts rather than their feelings. There is a frequent use of the psychological defense mechanisms of rationalization and intellectualization.
  • Slightly abrasive
  • Midlife changes in career or lifestyle
  • Feelings of “invisibility” which means that they believe other people did not seem to hear them or see them, or take their ideas seriously
  • Feel that others can only take them in small doses
  • Feel that others have stolen, or would like to steal, their ideas. In some cases, this is well-founded.
  • Dislike small talk or other apparently inconsequential conversation
  • A degree of social awkwardness
  • More likely to be single, separated, or divorced, or multiply separated or divorced
  • A poor speller, in relation to their above average general intellectual functioning

Hmm-m-m-m-m… I do fit a number of those descriptions, especially the last one… thought I. Maybe I’m a a bit unconventional, but I don’t think I’d go so far as to call myself eccentric.

What about you? Do you see yourself as someone who fits this profile?