Archive for the ‘Multi-cultural aspects’ Category
How on earth did I ever end up in, of all places, Tijuana? A question I ask myself all the time. But what else could I do? I can hardly walk except for a few steps, and this is the one place where I may find an inexpensive cure.
Before, I’d heard Tijuana described as “a hellhole” and “a den of vice,” a city of whores and drug dealers. Now, I’ve discovered the real Tijuana. Apart from being a tourist spot and red light border town, it also has a burgeoning middle-class with the same family values as any others. Just don’t get mixed up with shady characters and mind your own business. And better pretend not to know what your neighbors are up to.
In the afternoon, I rest on the balcony that runs around the building. On one side, shacks cover barren hills and, on the other, the elite inhabit white condos in a residential area way out of my league. Next to our building, a junkman has his yard piled with growing mounds of trash. I keep the window shut so that the giant cockroaches climbing up the wall don’t get in, but they drop off the roof at night onto my balcony and I have to sweep up their smashed corpses.
A burning odor from the mechanic’s shop hangs in the air adding to the stew of gasoline, tar, dirt, and fried food. In front, two neat little yellow middle-class homes stand side-by-side to the house where a drug dealer – a narco – plies his trade. I know because my neighbor overheard men knocking on the door and giving the password, “Es el mero-mero,” meaning, “It’s the big boss.”
I watch the goings-on in the drug dealer’s house below. It’s intriguing to have such a neighbor, almost as if I’ve become part of a secret and dangerous clan – if only by proximity. What does a Tijuana narco look like? A normal person? A gangster? A corrupt politico. No way to tell.
He’s had a busy afternoon; Friday is good for sales. By my count, the two men knocking on their door are numbers ten and eleven, and it’s only four p.m.
A car tears into the street and comes to a shrieking halt in front of his house. The driver jumps out and runs to the front door, making it inside just before another car zooms to a stop. Four men leap out brandishing shotguns and splatter the house with fire. Windows shatter behind iron bars. Someone inside retaliates and I hear bullets thunk the assailants’ car as they crouch behind it.
I have a balcony seat to the Wild West, Mexican style. A rival drug gang? No, probably cops. Maybe a raid. Like in a TV series.
“Salgan, hijos de la chingada!”
The men outside regroup and shred the door with gunfire, then use brute force to break it down. No more return fire from inside. From my vantage point, I see two narcos emerge behind the house. One jumps over a fence and disappears into the maze of backyards while another zigzaggs sideways and crosses into the junkman’s yard. Four attackers enter the house followed by shouts and gunshots.
Not a sound on the street and nobody sticks out a head to see what’s going on. Let the gangs kill each other or the cops catch the narcos; they don’t want to get involved.
I hear a scuffling sound at one side of the balcony. Next thing, a skinny young man is climbing over my railing; he’s managed to get up to my second floor. Looks like a teenager, trembling, tears in his eyes – one is bruised and half-closed, a finger across swollen lips for me to be quiet. Not scary enough for me to scream. Anyway, I’m not the screaming type. So I just watch as he crouches at the end of my balcony. A smell surrounds him in the dusty air, a smell of fear and sweat.
He looks too young to be a narco. But are they ever too young? Rather, he reminds me of those mangy curs that roam the city, stalking food, growling if you get too close or groveling if you give them something. He could be armed and dangerous, only he doesn’t look dangerous, more like vulnerable, standing in the shadowy part of my balcony so he can’t be seen from the street.
Maybe that’s why I don’t scream at him to go away or maybe it’s because I’m rarely afraid of anything. Not of bomb scares, or life-threatening accidents, or earthquakes, or machine gun assaults – I’ve experienced them all and more – and he’s just a narco teen on the run. Though for all I know, the young ones are the worst. Probably has a weapon tucked under his shirt.
He hangs back while two men from the car yell at each other, glancing up and down the street and no, please not at my building. Then their cohorts reappear dragging a couple of drug dealers. My mouth opens, in surprise that they caught them so fast.
The boy whispers, “Please, Señora, don’t you scream.”
I’m not about to. Those men are busy taking turns kicking the dealers though they are huddled over on the ground. Crunch, howl, crack, yelp. Cuss words. Screams, moans. I’ve seen scenes like this on TV, and they are bad men, but I scrunch up my body as if they were hitting me. When, finally, the men pull-drag the narcos into the car, I close my eyes and rub my head in relief. What will happen to them? Prison? Or bodies left in the desert for the vultures?
The boy sits on his haunches, back against the wrought iron railing. “What’s happening?” he asks, in the jerky voice of a nervous teenager caught in the act.
“You heard.” Why should I play lookout for a narco? Because he’s young and scared or because, in a way, he threatens me and I can’t move to help myself. “Looks like those men are taking them away. Who are they?”
“Cops – drug squad,” he said. “Bad men, cruel. Find us, hurt us, our families. Say they know things about us. I don’t want to tell them, Señora, but they force me.” That explains his swollen lips, half-closed eye and bitter fear odor. “They tell me if I not help them, they kill my sister – rape her first, my little sister, she only twelve.”
“The cops would do that?”
No expression, and his eyes are so dark that they aren’t giving away anything. “The drug squad. They all threaten, make you do what they want. No choice. I must get to el otro lado, los Estados Unidos, and hope they never find me.”
“What about your sister?”
“To save her, I tell them what they want. If I go away, they not hurt my family. I will pray to la Virgencita every day that they will be safe.”
“What if you get caught as an illegal and sent back?”
“They will kill me.” He glances around, up and down, reminding me of a trapped animal. “Senora, how I get out from here and they no see me?”
“Only through the front gate. Or the way you got in.”
“Perhaps over the roof and across there.” He points to the junkman’s yard and beyond, the mechanic’s shop.
We watch for about twenty minutes while the cops probably tear apart the drug house, finding or not finding whatever they are looking for. Obviously, they do because they haul out another man, and at last, take off in a swirl of dust and screeching tires.
“They’re gone,” I tell him. “Now, you can leave.” If he wants money, I don’t have much. Nor much of value here.
He must sense my thoughts. “Don’t be concerned, Señora. You save me from those hijos de puta and for that, I am in your debt. Before they arrive, we have a good day. I have cash.” He shows me his wallet, stuffed with bills, and pulls out, counting them, five hundred dollar notes. “Here, for your trouble.”
I stare at the money, speechless, then shake my head. No way. It’s drug money, blood money. Don’t even want to touch it. “Thank you,” I say, “but I can’t,” wishing for all the world that I could accept them. Get another cartilage shot. And another pain relief one.
“Are you sure, Senora?”
I manage a smile. “When you get to the other side,” I tell him, “no more drug dealing. If they catch you, they will send you back here.”
“I promise,” he says. “My cousin will give me a job in construcción.”
Maybe he just tells me this to please me. I’ve heard that once a narco always a narco and, as he turns to leave, I notice the gun – tucked into the side of his pants.
“I speak of our public history, and of our secret history, yours and mine,
I speak of the forest of stone, the desert of the prophets, the ant-heap of souls, the congregation of tribes, the house of mirrors, the labyrinth of echoes.” Octavio Paz
The home where I’m staying in San Angel in Mexico City is filled with memorabilia and antiques – a blend that makes me feel as if it’s inhabited by figures of the past. I’m surrounded by colonial religious icons and antiques as well as a wall collage of photos of ancestors. Six generations of brides, from my great-great grandmother to my niece, gaze down at me. Proud mothers oversee small children long grown and gone.
The echoes of their lives seep into me and fill me with nostalgia for when they were here.
San Angel, a former colonial village in the southern part of Mexico City, is reminiscent of a bygone era, with narrow, cobbled streets lined with town house fronts that often disguise stately residences. However, modern day has leaped in with a vengeance on the main street, Altavista, dotted with exclusive restaurants and designer name boutiques. One jewelry store, in a mansion surrounded by a large garden, reeks of wealth and splendor. What kind of extraordinary jewelry is sold in such a setting?
“I speak of the markets with their pyramids of fruit, all of the flavors and colors, the smells, the tide of voices – water, metal, wood, clay – the bustle, the haggling, the conniving as old as time.”
The two sides of Mexico are evident where, just a few blocks further on, I walk into the San Angel market, selling everything from cheap clothing to stinky, highly flavored, cooked meat taco stands.
It took fifteen minutes on foot to scale the socio-economic ladder.
“I speak of the buildings of stone and marble, of cement, glass and steel.”
I walk along the 19th century boulevard, Paseo de la Reforma, towards downtown on a Saturday afternoon. Both sides are like small parks, tree-lined with spacious walking paths.
Some sights, such as the bicycle lane with families cycling down it, are new. (On Sundays, this main street is closed to all traffic except for cyclists.)
Other sights such as the high-backed, carved stone seats, have been there over a hundred years. My great-grandparents would have passed them in their carriage. My grandparents probably sat on them, as did my mother, and my younger self as a child.
Sadly, one by one, the gracious Victorian mansions on this avenue have succumbed, and been turned into 30-50 story financial and bank buildings. I count seven – maybe a couple more – of what I think of as the “old ladies” left, and these have been turned into banks, real estate offices and – horrors – an Oxxo store (similar to a 7-11).
Echoes follow my steps. Mine – as a child, an adolescent, a young woman walking along this avenue.
All the streets on one side of Reforma are named after rivers. I lived in four: Rio de la Plata, Rio Nilo, Rio Tigris, and Rio Guadalquivir.
My mother’s friend, a former Italian countess, owned the red, Moorish style house on the corner of Rio Nilo. A gracious house with marble floors, intricate curves and steps, and sudden specks of sunlight darting across mosaic walls, it was hushed and gloomy except for the garden, a place of enchantment out of the Alhambra.
Now it’s a Uruguayan restaurant, confirmed by boisterous voices and the smell of roasting meat. This former residential street is also home to restaurants of all types and ethnicity, even a Bread & Cie.
I glance at my former apartment across the street. What used to be the bedroom that I shared with my new baby is now a candy and soda pop store.
Echoes of our laughter follow me as I walk away.
On the corner of Rio Guadalquivir street is a slightly shabby building, a remnant of the 1950s.
The first condominium in Mexico.
How my great aunt sniffed at the idea that her close friends, Mexican film director Fernando de Fuentes and his wife, Elena, had bought one. “They won’t even own the ground they live on.” There, I gave my first English lessons to their granddaughters. It was two-floor splendor with all the latest in architectural advances. Today, it’s been divided into offices.
Further along this street is the ground floor apartment where I lived as a young married woman. The door is open so I glance inside. A real estate office.
Flashes of faces. Newborn baby. Little boys. Working mother. Days of wine and roses. All of us feasting on our youth. Where are they/we now?
All echoes of this city.
I have become the past, a walking relic of this city’s history.
Or have I?
On to Sanborns at Reforma and La Fragua, the second in this restaurant chain to be built after the traditional “House of Tiles” (1903) downtown. A hangout for young people in the 1950s and 60s. It always reminded me of my secret dates here with my first husband, Mr. Blue Eyes. I used to know my way around it, blind. Now, the whole layout has changed and I scramble to locate my friends. They, like me, are former high-flying professionals. Now in their sixties, they have found new opportunities in Mexico. They tell me what I’ve heard from others: there’s a big demand for bilingual, bi-cultural people like us with our skills and experience.
“Come back, Pennie. This is where you belong,” they say.
Do I want to become part of this city’s present and then of its past, again?
What do you think? Would you return to your past to make a new start?
“Is that music coming closer or receding, are those pale lights just lit or going out? Space is singing, time has vanished: it is the gasp, it is the glance that slips through the blank wall, it is the wall that stays silent, the wall.”
Excerpts from “I Speak of the City” by Octavio Paz
A honk, a shout, and I turn to see a car hurtling straight at me. One second and two steps back, and the car brushes by me.
What the hell? The light was in my favor. That car ran a red light and didn’t even slow down when I stepped off the curb.
I stumble across the street, thinking in Spanish, “No me tocó” – “It’s not my turn.”
A few more paces and I stop, tears in my eyes.
God, I’m angry, but at myself.
Here I am in Mexico City, where I lived for most of my life, acting like a blind tourist.
I’ve been away too long and become used to American ways.
Before, I knew drivers here don’t give a damn about pedestrians. People on foot, considered the lower order of beings, are the ones supposed to watch out. In those days, I always had a car. The only place I ever walked was to the supermarket two blocks away, and my high heels were a major impediment.
These days, I don’t wear heels, and I walk everywhere I can. For me, walking in Mexico City is both entertaining and a chance to revisit old haunts and renew memories.
I look up and see that I’m standing in front of a house that I once knew well. There, I met my first husband, an American who looked like a young Clint Eastwood with startling blue eyes. At seventeen, I was no match for his brash come on. We were married and I went to live in the U.S.
Then I found out his export business was not Mexican curios.
Bye, bye youthful dreams, but at least I’d got away from Mexico City, a place I’d wanted to leave almost from the day I arrived.
I first came – or was brought – to live in Mexico City when I was ten years old. Even in the fifties, this overcrowded metropolis was a shocking contrast to my seaside village in England. An ocean away, another continent, another culture. From a cool, clean climate to a hot, smelly one.
That move cost me my home, my father, my school, my friends, and my cultural identity. Letters from England took three weeks to a month to arrive, phone calls were too expensive to consider, and a trip “home” cost a small fortune.
I hated the food, the dusty odor that hung over the city, my grandparents’ home with its marble floors and high ceilings – the complete opposite of our comfy abode in England. I hated the kids at school, and the school, and Spanish – those yammering sounds – so much that I refused to utter more than the most basic words for one year.
If I didn’t learn to speak Spanish, for certain I’d be sent back to England.
All that happened was I got poor grades in school and nobody wanted to be my friend. Not that I cared. I didn’t want to make friends anyway.
After a year, my mother divorced my father and found a poor choice as a replacement.
Mexico became the home that I couldn’t wait to get away from.
After discovering Mr. Blue Eyes’ true occupation, I returned to England to find myself a foreigner in my own country. But I regained my father, my British accent, and even a former school friend, and in time, became a true Londoner of the sixties.
I’d have remained in England all my life, but circumstances drew me back to Mexico City. I meant to stay for two years, make a lot of money (in dollars vs. a low wage in English pounds), and get ahead in my chosen career – international advertising. Instead, I met my second husband, had two kids, and stayed another thirty years. While my kids grew up, I had a wonderful life, a high-flying career in a top ad agency, a beautiful home full of laughter, and many enduring friendships.
In those years, Mexico City became “home” for me.
Despite this, I missed the English-speaking world, one where I’d not be a foreigner.
So, in my fifties, after a forced early career retirement, I moved to San Diego, California. Ten years later, I had a comfortable existence with plenty of freelance work and time between jobs to pursue my writing.
To my surprise, I was homesick for Mexico. I missed my many friends, my Mexican family, the food, and even its craziness. Then I’d come to Mexico City to visit and I’d miss my easy going lifestyle, newfound friends, and my family in the U.S.
“You can never go home again, but the truth is you can never leave home, so it’s all right.” Maya Angelou
Am I like my half-American mother who grew up in Mexico, went to college and lived in New York until she met my father who took her to live in England? She was always saying how much she missed Mexico. After she returned, she hankered for anything English, missing everything except for the weather. For the rest of her life in Mexico City, she complained about “this country” and how much she wanted to return to “her” country, the U.S.
Mexico contains many of my memories, and much of my past.
In the U.S., I’ve carved out a new life, I’m forging new memories, and a future – but I miss the warmth of the familiar.
Or is home wherever I am?
What do you think?
I’d love for you to give me your opinion in the Comments section below.
From experience, I knew a move would disrupt my life and change my lifestyle, especially since I was going to live in a completely different area. I dwelled on all the negative aspects – how it would affect my sleeping, eating, and working habits.
Until I remembered…
I’d had much worse moves than that one.
These days, most of my possessions fit in a 10 X 10 foot storage unit.
Very different from when I lost my five-bedroom home in suburban Mexico City and had to dismantle it.
The following is an excerpt from my book, “Don’t Hang Up!”
A MEXICAN YARD SALE
At seven-thirty a.m., I open my curtains to see about twenty seedy-looking individuals lined up outside my front door. Battered vehicles with signs on them proclaim their owners to be flea market merchants.
What was I thinking when I put that yard sale ad in the Classifieds section of a popular newspaper? I never expected this kind of potential buyer to troop across the city to my exclusive residential area.
At the door, I face a combo of low-class macho and a slimy thief. Macho leers at me with obvious intent. He has hot eyes, a bushy mustache, and thick curled lips. “Come on, Seňora, let me in. I took the trouble to get here early before all this riff-raff,” and he waves at the others.
I back away from his incinerator breath. “Not until eight.”
Slimy, slicked-back hair, leather jacket, and the sallow, foxy features of a down-at-heels thug, whines that he was the first to arrive and therefore, deserves to have first go at everything.
“You’ll have to wait,” I say, and flee back inside my house.
What have I got myself into?
Hortencia, one of my cooks from my failed food business, arrives with her army sergeant husband, here to give me moral support. They have to push their way through the throng at the door. At eight, she opens the door. The merchants swarm in, almost knocking her over, and shoving each other in a free-for-all to get at the items for sale. Whoever reaches the tables and shelves first grabs whatever he or she can before someone else does.
One wizened little woman who, in her old gray shawl, looks like a beggar, time after time disappears under the throng only to emerge with yet another object. She’s the first to come up to me, not five minutes later, holding an American toaster oven, a top-of-the-line blender, and a food processor, all balanced on an electric frying pan.
“I’ll give you,” she offers the peso equivalent of $3.00, “for everything.”
Lo and behold, the price tags I affixed last night are gone.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t let you have all these items for so little,” I tell her.
She scrunches up her face and pleads with me. She is the sole support of her daughter’s five children. The few pesitos she can make from resale is all that keeps them from being thrown out on the street. With her tattered dress and bony little arms sticking out from under the shawl, she is so pitiful that how can I turn her down?
“$5.00?” Her eyes fill with the kind of hope of someone lighting a candle in a church.
“Okay,” I say. Poor woman. I’m sure she will make a good profit off those pieces.
“May God bless you, Señora,” she says, and slinging the goods into her shawl, tosses it like a sack over her shoulder, and walks away with a spring in her step.
“She always pulls that act to get the best bargains,” someone grumbles. “Her son’s waiting at the corner in a new Ford station wagon.”
Slimy has oozed his way to the head of the line.
“Watch him,” Hortencia says, nudging me. “Check the price tags.”
I do. “Hey, this silver platter is $10.00, not $2.00.”
Slimy stabs me with a finger. “Señora, it’s not my fault you made a mistake.”
“I didn’t, and I’m not selling it for that amount. I’d be giving it away.”
He turns to the people behind who are making noises for him to hurry up. “You’ll have to wait. She’s trying to change the prices on me.”
“I can’t let you have it for less,” I say, despite his threatening expression. I wouldn’t put it past this human eel to be carrying a knife inside his leather jacket.
He comes back with a rapid sally of how rich people diddle the poor, thus whipping up the others to cries of, “Fair’s fair!”
If we don’t settle, I’ll have an uprising on my hands. I name a ridiculously low amount.
In triumph, Slimy brandishes the silver platter on high to show what he achieved by calling on social injustice. I have the feeling that from now on, I’m well and truly screwed.
Next, Macho plunks down an engraved colonial chest filled to the brim with items. “$25 for everything,” he says in a contemptuous voice even while giving me a mental poke with his eyes.
“The chest alone is worth that,” I say.
He waves bills at me; he will pay $30 for everything. His breath has me reeling and I nod. He leans over to inform me in a hot whisper that if I’m interested in selling more than what is on display – wink – to let him know. Leer. Here’s his card. “At your service, Señora.” With a knowing glance, he struts away.
Within forty-five minutes, almost everything has been cleared off shelves and perches. My head rattles while hands and voices assail me on all sides. What the hell? I’ve had enough of these ravenous merchants.
I explode. “Get out! All of you. Get out of here! The sale has ended.”
The place is a mess of rejected pieces. No one wanted the larger or more expensive ones. Furniture merchants and private individuals come for those later. Kitchen equipment goes in a trice for less than half its worth, the same as my new dining room set and living room furniture.
What about the paintings? Those side tables? The church bell lamps?
I hadn’t intended to sell them. But why keep exotic designer furniture and good paintings when I need the money now? Anyway, there’s nowhere to put them in the bungalow – former servants’ quarters – where I’m going to live.
The buyers are gone at last, and I’m left alone with my memories.
Forget them. This day is all that matters. I count my earnings, roughly a sixth of what I expected.
The shambles of my fortunes.
Dear Readers, I’d love to hear from you and what thought about this piece. You can also find me on Facebook, donthangupbook.com and on Twitter.
A Unique Dish
I started my food business with a splash, preparing traditional chiles en nogada – chilies in white walnut sauce – for a reunion of former co-workers. I had organized the event and volunteered to do the catering. My first foray into the food business.
A chile en nogada is a jewel in the Mexican culinary crown. A large green poblano chili stuffed with meat, fruits, nuts, and spices, partly covered with a pure white walnut sauce, and decorated with ruby red pomegranate seeds and sprinkles of green parsley. This mixture encloses a treasure trove of intermingled flavors – tart, sweet, hot, sour, nutty – that seduce the senses and transport the consumer into an era of rich and sensuous appetites.
The story goes that colonial nuns were asked to prepare a dish for the Emperor Iturbide that would both symbolize Mexico’s independence from Spain celebrated in September and simulate the colors of the red, white, and green flag. Not an easy task, but those resourceful nuns came up with a dish that, because of its seasonal ingredients, was almost exclusive to the month of September. They chose freshly peeled walnuts to make the whitest of sauces and represent purity. Red pomegranate seeds for the blood and sacrifice of the battle for independence. And the poblano chili, child of the fertile Mexican soil, stuffed with fruits and nuts to represent the rewards that add flavor to life.
Sounds complicated? Well, it is. A seasonal autumn dish. Around thirty ingredients (though some recipes use less). Fresh walnuts, peeled individually. But I loved culinary challenges and this was a big one.
Starting in the Food Business
Spoiler: A couple of decades before, I had learned how to prepare chiles en nogada in a traditional Mexican cookery class. Then, I was fortunate enough to hire a cook who had worked in a top restaurant and had filched their recipe for fifty chilies. However, I didn’t out and out plagiarize their recipe; rather, I made it my own by adding a couple of ingredients, and leaving out the egg batter most cooks use to coat the chilies. A good move. A lot of people preferred them with the green showing under the pure white sauce.
For this, my first event, my cook and I prepared one hundred and twenty five chiles en nogada. I should have left it at that.
On this occasion, apart from the substantial chilies, to show a range of what we could make, we also prepared nine other dishes. The regal chile en nogada dominated the buffet table. People just tasted the rest or served themselves minute portions. Sure, my chilies were a great success, but how could I base my business on a seasonal dish that only lasted from August through mid-October when the season for fresh walnuts and pomegranates ended?
What did I do with all the food left over? Gave away most of it. This would happen time and again when I got excited about a new recipe and made too much food. Eventually, I learned to measure amounts though this became harder when I offered ready-made food in my restaurant-deli.
Success with Chiles en Nogada
Every season for years, I prepared hundreds of chiles en nogada. On one occasion, I was asked to make two hundred and fifty for a wedding attended by four hundred people. Since the menu also included a veal dish and there were dozens of American guests, the bride’s mother didn’t consider it necessary to order four hundred chilies. Unfortunately, most people preferred my chilies to the veal with the result that I delivered an additional one hundred and fifty to send to guests who hadn’t partaken of them.
People still ask me if I make chiles en nogada. Quite a compliment. Living in the U.S., it’s difficult mainly because the seasonal ingredients are hard to come by: the type of walnuts required are typical to central Mexico – Puebla area and pomegranates are in season later in the year. The other problem is the time-consuming peeled walnuts. On a couple of occasions when I was able to get hold of the right ingredients, I prepared several dozen chilies. Somehow, they didn’t taste as good. Perhaps being in another country made a difference. I have heard that certain Mexican dishes don’t travel well and the chile en nogada flavor seems to change when they cross the border.
In autumn, you can find chiles en nogada, varying from excellent to mediocre to poor imitations, in many restaurants in Mexico. In lesser establishments, to lower the price as they tend to be expensive, cooks take short cuts, use fewer ingredients or unpeeled walnuts – resulting in the dead giveway of a beige or gray sauce – or bits of cherry instead of pomegranate seeds.
The funny thing is that almost everyone who prepares this dish will assert that their chiles en nogada are the best ones ever. Just Google them and you’ll find several personal recipes with blurbs extolling their marvelous taste. Truth is that with such a gorgeous presentation and incredible mix of ingredients, it’s hard to go wrong – as long as you’re willing to take the time to prepare them correctly. And it helps to be a really good cook.
However, there’s a difference between good and excellent. What those show-offs don’t know is that my chiles en nogada were the best. I’m absolutely certain because that’s what my many satisfied customers told me and keep on telling me to this day.
Sorry, but I’m not going to give away my secret ingredients. Suffice it to say that one of them was my own particular flavor. Nobody can duplicate that.
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- A Writer's Life
- Challenges & opportunities after professional job loss
- Discovering a different America
- Don't Hang Up!
- Don't Hang Up! series
- Excerpts from Don't Hang Up!
- Facing Obstacles in Life
- Growing old
- Guest Posts
- Life Challenges
- Mexico City
- Mid life motivations
- Midlife professional challenges
- Multi-cultural aspects
- never give up
- On the U.S.-Mexican Border
- Overcoming Setbacks or Failures
- Phone room
- Power of Memories
- San Diego
- Writers and Writing
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