Painting the House

Finally, after 15 years living in this house, it was time to paint the front. What, in theory, should have been done in two days took three weeks. But is anyone surprised?

First, we found that the tan paint we chose seemed very yellow when applied. Mixing some dark brown took it to a peachy hue that looked great with both the tejas (tiles) and brown doors. The second bucket ended up slightly darker when the brown paint was added, but not enough for anyone but me to notice.

My husband trimmed out the windows and doors with a stripe of brown. We talked about adding another stripe to the base, but in the end, we decided against it. However, the wall on the far side of the animal gate needed a little something extra. My husband wanted a picture of a horse and two horseshoes. I found some images on the internet that I submitted to my artist friend Claudia and the end result was even better than I had hoped.

Of course, getting it on the wall was a challenge. We rented an andamio (scaffolding) for 6 days. My husband needed it for the second-floor painting, and Claudia needed it for the upper part of the mural. For three days, it sat there. No one used it. Since the price was a daily charge, I wasn’t too happy about that. The painter and artist were “too busy.”  

When Claudia finally came, she didn’t bring her chalk line to mark the sections. She has recently moved, and it didn’t turn up in her boxes she had unpacked. So my son, Claudia, and I attempted to mark the perimeter with burnt sticks, a measuring tape, and string. It didn’t advance much at all. She arrived too late in the day to continue after we boxed the frame in anyway. The front of the house is hot as hades after 1 pm. 

The next day, I sent my husband to buy a chalk line before Claudia arrived. By now, we were at day 5 of the 6-day rental. She had a rough start to her morning since she was responsible for feeding someone’s pets while they were on vacation, delivered a contribution to a kermes (charity meal) for medical expenses of a family member, and then had to go back home because she’d left something there. She finally arrived around 10 am. With the chalk line, things progressed faster. She managed to outline the full mural and paint the upper half before she called it a day.

Then we had our own crisis or two going on. The doorknob between the garage and the kitchen broke, leaving us all locked out of the house. Having been locked out a time or two before in my life, I grabbed a screwdriver and lifted the pins from the hinges. That did the trick. Of course, putting the pins back in took longer.

Jolina also decided she needed to give birth right then. Being one of our most frustrating goats, she decided that she would do so under the food trough. My son had a hard time getting the two little ones out. They are fit and healthy, but Jolina isn’t interested in being their mother. She did fine last year with the circus twins. But with these two, she hides under the trough most of the day so the kids can’t get anything to eat. We’ve tried locking her in with her kids in a separate stall, but that doesn’t work either. So my husband and son take turns forcing Jolina to hold still so her kids can eat. 

Back to the painting…since Claudia worked past the 1 pm shadow, the next morning she had a terrible headache, so no work was done that day. When she recovered and returned, the painting was done in about 2 hours. 

While Claudia was working, the men of La Yacata mosied by. There isn’t a lot of entertainment in these parts, and a pretty girl creating art is one of the seven wonders, apparently. I sent my son out periodically to run interference. He’d glare at the gawkers until they mosied away. 

My husband didn’t finish painting the upper story when the scaffolding was here either. He had to drag the extension ladder to finish up. He said that he wanted to ask for another day. I said only if he were paying for the additional day. The guy came to pick up the scaffolding when agreed upon originally. He also didn’t think to ask for the cash before I started teaching for the day. Mid-class, my husband burst into the computer room and asked for the money for the rental fee. 

Just as Claudia was finishing up, my husband got a bee in his bonnet about adding a nostril and eye to the horse shadow. Claudia tried to talk him out of it, but he insisted. So now, the horse is sort of a zombie horse–since the “light” is coming through at those parts. I might just go and dab some brown paint one of these days. 

Anyway, the front of the house is painted now. So there’s that.

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What is Buy Me A Coffee?

Although I joined the Buy Me A Coffee platform some time ago, I recently sprinkled additional buttons on my website. 

Buy Me a Coffee is used by more than 200,000. It’s a Patreon alternative for writers, artists, and bloggers. Fans can support their favorite creative by buying virtual “coffees” (which is a small cash donation to further creative endeavors). 

In addition, you can find “extras” on my Buy Me a Coffee page. Those of you that have been faithful followers for a while now, probably already have these ebooks, which are no longer available on my site, but exclusively at Buy Me a Coffee. I hope to have more of these extras later this year. I’ll keep you posted!

Buy Me a Coffee also has a membership option. This would be for people who would like to become a “patron of the arts” and provide regular support for creatives. Some artists and bloggers provide exclusive content for their patrons, but I’m not going to do at this time. My goal in blogging and writing is to share useful information that helps people without a fee, not make a profit from it (although a coffee now and then is never remiss).

WAAAAY down at the bottom of the page.

There is also a “share” option at the very bottom of the page. Since the more readers I reach, the more people have access to the useful content I create, this is a nice way to increase exposure and doesn’t cost a cent.  

So there you have it. You’ll see green Buy Me a Coffee buttons on Surviving Mexico and blue on Content Creative, in case you are have a mind to provide a little “coffee” motivation! 

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Natural Healing — Canela

Although there are several types of cinnamon available commercially, Mexican recipes and remedies call for cinnamomum zeylanicum otherwise known as Ceylon cinnamon. These light brown sticks are made up of many thin layers and are easily ground with a metate (grinding stone). 

This spice was brought to Mexico in 1690 by Juan de Esteyneffer, a Jesuit physician from Germany. He combined remedies and treatments he learned in New Spain (Mexico) with the European knowledge he had as a pharmacist in his work Florilegio Medicinal, published in 1712. Juan de Esteyneffer had a powerful belief in the healing properties of cinnamon or rather canela from the Latin word cannella meaning “little tube” referring to the way the bark curls as it dries. He prescribed it as a cure for sudden blindness and deafness indicating that the physician should chew on a stick and then blow the pieces into the eyes or ears of the afflicted. 

While that particular remedy didn’t catch on, canela is used to treat stomach issues, fever, cough, colds, rheumatism, regulate menstruation, teething issues, motion sickness, and hangovers in Mexico. It also is considered an aphrodisiac. 

Canela essential oil is used as a rub for rheumatism. Cinnamomum zeylanicum has wound healing properties, being both anti-inflammatory and anti-nociceptive (reducing the sensation of pain). 

For cough, 1 section of canela, gordolobo (mullein), ajo (garlic), is boiled in ¼ liter of water and drunk as needed, sweetened with honey and flavored with limón (lime). Cinnamomum zeylanicum is an effective fungicide and can be used to treat a variety of fungi that cause respiratory infections. 

It has antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antiparasitic properties as well as anti-gastric ulcer and anti-secretagogue effects, supporting its use as a stomach ailment remedy. It has also shown to be effective against Porphyromonas gingivalis, a bacteria found in the upper gastrointestinal tract, the respiratory tract and the colon. Both rheumatoid arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease have been associated with this periodontal infection. 

Motion sickness calls for canela tea. Teething issues are treated with a decoction of canela, mejorana (marjoram), butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii), menta (peppermint) and cempasuchil (marigold) is administered. 

Cinnamomum zeylanicum has hepato-protective effects, making it a beneficial addition to those that drink just a bit too much alcohol by reducing the effects on the liver. It also lowers the serum cholesterol levels. 

Studies have shown that canela is useful in the treatment of PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome) and helps regulate menstrual cycles among women with this condition. It has also shown to be effective in reducing menopausal symptoms. For cramps, a decoction made with the flowers from la barra de San Jose (Joseph’s staff) and cinnamon is the recommended remedy. A postpartum treatment calls for ajo (garlic), ruda (rue), laurel, romero (rosemary), orange peel, clavo (clove), canela, and alum is added to a small brazier of coals and burned. The new mother stands over the brazier as it smokes. This treatment is done every other day until the 40-day postpartum period is over. 

Canela has anti-cancer properties and has been useful in treating leukemia. It has been shown to have antioxidant properties and be useful in reducing damage to the pancreas often experienced by those with diabetes as well as being antidiabetic in nature. Studies suggest that regular ingestion may halt or delay Alzheimer’s disease. It has also been shown to be effective in reducing the progression of multiple sclerosis. The combination of cinnamon bark extract and honey has potential activity against acne-causing bacteria.

Although tea is the typical method of preparation as an herbal remedy, canela is also a staple in many other traditional beverages. Mexican chocolate, horchata (rice milk) and cafe de olla (coffee) are always made with a dash of canela. Mole, the thick chocolate sauce served with meat and rice, also uses canela, both when it is in broth form and then added again when ground. Tepache, an alcoholic beverage made from pineapple is seasoned with cinnamon. One of the most common atole (a thick corn drink) flavors is canela. And finally Ponche Navideño (Christmas punch) would not taste the same without this little twig. 

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