Saturday, August 12, 2006


The federal judiciary recounting just nine percent of the votes from the July second presidential election continues to do so today, with little noticed shifting of the nearly-half-percent lead for Felipe Calderón. ALMO, still staking out México City (and supplying the New York Times with this essay--needs free registration) continues to blast the tribunal's decision for a merely partial recount, going so far as to say any outcome, even in his favor, without a full recount is without merit. In Oaxaca, the political protest née teachers' union strike is reaching the boiling point: in two separate but possibly unrelated incidents since Wednesday armed gunmen have attacked and killed protestors. Wednesday, three people of indigenous descent were killed en route to the city; then late yesterday, armed gunmen fired into a crowd, killing one man and injuring others. The gunmen then fled to a house, which protestors surrounded and set on fire. Or maybe protestors held the alleged gunmen hostage until late today when they were released to authorities to be charged in the homicides. I read both things, so both may be true. Fires were also set outside the clinic where the injured and dead were admitted. This after hooded gunmen broke into an opposition radio station on Tuesday, pouring acid on broadcast equipment, and then proceeded to invade an opposition newspaper later that afternoon and shoot the place up, injuring two reporters. Oaxacan protestors blame the Governor for all of these attacks, natch. That may also be true. Here in Monterrey, things were pretty sedate today, and I made soup for Sunshine tonight because she had a headache. It was the least I could do after three days of being a pain-in-the-ass sick baby. The soup was tomato based, and incorporated little pasta stars. [Cavin]

Friday, August 11, 2006


The added work effect: just one time--once--I am too throwing up on Tuesday night to do all the dishes and clean up the kitchen because the maid is coming the next morning, and now the woman has rearranged my whole kitchen. The knives are in the bread cupboard, the bread plates are under the company bowls, and every single shard of pottery Sunshine likes to eat out of teeters at the tops of the cabinets where our dear Rosy has taken care to employ the ladder in placing them. These are the easy examples. I am still only eighty, maybe eighty-five percent well, and I have been spending my day hunting down the things I use to make and eat my feel-better soup with. A lot of added work to get me over the last fifteen percent sick hump. Oh, on soup: I am charmed by the Campbell's flavors in Mexico. Sunshine is a big fan of this brand back at home, where I am not, so she is never completely satisfied unless she eats import soup. On the other hand, I think there is something comforting about digging into Cream of Chili Poblano when I am ill. It has pieces of corn and nopalito, and is head-clearingly peppery. It's the little things that mean a lot. Tonight with my new eighty-five percent-ness I accompanied Sunshine and a coworker to the Barrio for Greek food, most of which I even ate. Nga is Vietnamese-American so we riddled her with questions and a good time was had by all. I still don't feel like pouring over the news for anything interesting, although I am pretty sure that there is plenty of interesting going on out there. It just might have to wait another ten percent or so. [Cavin]

Thursday, August 10, 2006


Monday night, during the hour it took to research and then write this update by midnight, I got sick. I am not sure what the best cliché to use is: a ton of bricks, a Mack truck? Basically, it seemed very much like exploding, sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly, over a twenty-four hour period, which is probably all of the detail you’ll want to know. All I know, really, is that I have never suffered so much with such miniscule preamble. I went from typing merrily along to not being able to sit up (in a chair) in such a small interval. Was it the grey salmon in the refrigerator? It tasted just fine. Was it the Red Spot pizza we ate because Big Slice was closed? It tasted fine, too. Was it the plunge I took under a mossy rock in a high mountain river in Xilitla, after which I walked around wet for the next six hours? The whole thing had the character of a food poisoning, but there are so many options. For the concerned: I feel much better now; and I can not tell, forty hours later, whether I feel under the weather because I am still dazed from laying down for forty hours straight. In any event most outward manifestations of illness have slacked off, and I am left to pick up my exploded self. I stopped barfing at six am yesterday morning, and I tried eating again about thirteen hours ago, to no great ill effect. I am eating a little now. I am even sitting here, merrily typing this in a sitting position, in a chair. Keeping my fingers crossed here: maybe by tomorrow at this time I will be all better and eating up the strange things in the fridge again. [Cavin]

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Say, did everyone know that the US Border Patrol used unmanned blimps to watch over the line between the US and México? Sure, they use dogs and cameras and sensors and corrugated steel walls, but it is the blimps I find particularly absurd. How about fourteen year old girls? Heading on through absurd and coming out on the side of creepy in a totalitarian regime kind of a way: it seems the US Border Patrol is turning out a youth organization versed in undocumented people detection and detention. This article makes nimble gravitas over a borderland of children raised with any cultural awareness or interest taught right out of them. But, oh, can they shout arrest instructions into the back of a stifling pitch-dark U-Haul. One the one side of the fence, US school kids wax bored about the nightly line of Mexicans filing through the checkpoints, cool about getting to play police, and put out by the whole idea of it all. On the other side, bright Mexican teens discuss how they will shrivel up and die if they don't flee the increasingly lawless dead-end they were born into. What did I do today? Caught up on all the stuff that built up in just two days of being away on vacation; caught up on Ellie, still in her hospital bed with her daughter and suffering from pressure, and uploaded a lot of old photographs to my new Flickr account, which is nothing much yet, but growing. Maybe tomorrow I will do something more interesting to read about. [Cavin]

Monday, August 07, 2006


We are home safely again. First of all: happy birthday BB Todd, as of Saturday afternoon. You were very much a part of our celebration of Sunshine's birthday this weekend. Xilitla was great, and it rained nearly the whole time we were there. Beautiful long immediate rains that only let up exactly when we needed them to (and really cooled everything nicely when we needed that). I'll talk about this more in the future. Right now, here is a warm detail: in the little concrete bus station at the edge of town--where we waited a half hour for a ride to Ciudad Valles earlier today--there hangs a loving chalk drawing of one of the line's green-striped busses. It's a loving ode to this brand-ex public transport system, hopefully done by someone's kid. In the picture, the gleaming bus is careening down the mountain, straddling the yellow lane marker as it veers violently close to the sheer rock wall with the front tires, and dangerously close to tipping into the verdant precipice with the back ones. It was actually pretty accurate. Over this weekend across Mexico, the torrential rains that we saw in San Luis Potosi state were also seen everywhere else, causing flooding and massive hardship in Mexico City, Oaxaca, and Ciudad Juarez. In the first two of these, ongoing protests were dampened but not abated: teachers in Oaxaca have begun hijacking government cars and relocating them in the occupied zócalo, and AMLO's camp in the streets of Mexico City had to relocate some of their own tents because of accumulating water. On the AMLO front, the federal judiciary charged with the outcome of this year's presidential election voted unanimously not to allow a full-vote recount. Predictably, AMLO vows to escalate his present foot stamping, which he refers to as "civil disobedience." [Cavin]