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Monday, December 12, 2016

Oh, Tijuana… Tijuana…

On a recent trip to Tijuana, my first trip ever to Mexico, I was followed by the Mexican police, stopped by the Mexican police, and accused by the Mexican police of smuggling pills.

Let me tell you what happened…

My heart was overflowing with excitement to visit Tijuana. Sure, I was warned by some people about the downside of Tijuana but, not being one to listen to other people’s opinions, I decided to see Tijuana for myself.


Two friends and I drove from Los Angeles to San Diego to catch the train to the Mexican border. While waiting for the train we befriended a man from Vancouver who was also making the journey into Tijuana. He joined us and spent the day with us.

We spent the afternoon wandering, talking to people, eating a nice meal, enjoying Mexican coffee, listening to live music, and as evening descended upon us, we went shopping for coffee beans (Veracruz coffee…. Delicious!), and then jumped into a taxi for the ride to the border. What we didn’t know is that the police were following us.

Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

We hadn’t driven more than half a mile when we were stopped by the police. I assumed the taxi driver was getting a speeding ticket. He stepped out the taxi and talked to one of the officers.

Seconds later there was a tap at the window. I rolled it down. The other officer asked me if I spoke Spanish and I said no. I rolled up my window. I thought nothing of it…

The officer tapped on the other window and my friend who speaks Spanish spoke with him. Because I was in the front seat and my friend behind me, the officer positioned himself so his hip was in my window where I could prominently see his gun.

Then I heard my friend telling the officer what we all did for a living. Then I heard the word “farmacia” which I knew meant pharmacy. This was followed by questions about what we bought and where we went. 

About 20 minutes later, the driver got in the taxi and we sped away.  He drove us directly to the border and walked us to the gate. I said, “muchas gracias.”

It wasn’t until we were at the gate that my friend said the cops accused us of embezzling pills from the farmacia and said they had video to prove it. What?!?

It was a shakedown for money, but somehow, and we don’t know why, the police let us go. No bribes were paid.

I can only imagine what would have happened if the police pursued their false claim… Would they have planted pills in my backpack? In my coffee beans? Would we have been sent to jail? Prison? Would I have become the bitch of Cell Block 7?

It was quite the (scary) adventure and one that I will remember forever.

And yes, I still love Tijuana.


Saturday, December 10, 2016

Fox Eyes and a Whale Heart

I love all types music and because of social media I’m able to discover new artists I would never have discovered otherwise. 

As 2016 comes to a close, I keep thinking about some of my favorite music this year and the one CD I keep coming back to for repeated listens. It’s Fox Eyes, Whale Heart from indie singer/songwriter Bobby Jo Valentine.

I first came across Valentine through social media. A link to one of his videos popped up and I clicked on it. It was the song “Fly” and it hooked me with its powerful message.


I ended up buying his first few CDs.

From the CD Home came the delightful “A Hand to Hold” and my favorite “Come Back to Bed” which is pop music at its very best, and should have been a radio hit.


His latest CD Fox Eyes, Whale Heart is chock full of beautifully crafted songs.

I could go on and on about my favorite ones… the title track, Carry Me Away, Lion in the Summer, Sing Along, but I won’t. Instead, I’m posting videos for you to see and listen to for yourself.


It’s fun to watch new favorite artists continue on their musical journey. They become “ours” and we watch them develop and grow and we listen to them and we share their music for everyone to hear…


Keep your fox eyes focused on the beauty underneath
Keep your whale heart open
That is all you really need
To love life…
To love life…  

It’s one of my favorite CDs of the year.

http://www.bobbyjovalentine.com/

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Dog Squatting on the Boulevard

Sometimes I wish I was being followed by an overhead camera so I could share my experiences while I roam the neighborhood.  

As I walked along the boulevard today, I noticed a rather stately woman walking towards me with her little leashed dog trotting beside her. They looked so happy together that it made me fantasize about having a dog of my own. (Mine would be a corgi named Evelyn.) 

The closer we got the stronger the I-want-a-dog pang… my heart was swollen with doggie joy…

When we were less than ten feet apart I readied myself to squat down and pet her little pooch and compliment her on its cuteness.

And just as I was about to squat, so did the dog… and so did the woman….

The dog was squatting to take a shit.

The woman was squatting behind the dog with an opened plastic bag ready to catch the shit before it hit the ground.

I, in the first phase squatting, quickly stood. I wanted to laugh at the absurdity and at the woman concentrating on catching the shit in her plastic bag, but the poor dog noticed me and, by the look on his face, I knew he was mortified.

How would that woman like someone holding a bag under her ass to catch her shit?

I wanted to tell the dog to wiggle its ass so the shit would miss the bag and hit the woman’s hand, but I didn’t.

My doggie joy moment was dumped on. All I could do was walk away, though I kept looking back to see if she got it all…

And she did…

I’ve decided my dog fantasy was a fleeting fantasy. I just know I could never walk the boulevard holding a plastic bag of dog shit.

Instead, I’ll just get one of those 2017 calendars that features cute dogs in cute poses.

Bow-wow.