Tuesday, October 25, 2016

San Carlos to Hermosillo to home

Back home in beautiful Green Valley Lake, CA

Well, we hauled out Espiritu in San Carlos, Mexico and stuck her in the yard on the hard
 for a little vacation from Chris and I. 

We were only in San Carlos for a few days before returning to The Other World (the states)
 to make sure our home was still standing,  but we 
did get to see a bit of the area before heading out: 

Mount Tetakawi towers over the San Carlos anchorage

I took this photo of the water's surface from Espiritu's cockpit in the San Carlos anchorage. 
What you're seeing is the morning clouds reflecting off of the surface.

A cactus grows through the roof of an abandoned San Carlos building

Our friend Bret of s/v LeaHona shows off his "Captain's Cockpit Pee Cup." 

 Guys use these while sailing on night watch so they don't have to hang 
over the side in adverse weather to "take care of bidniz." Countless men have fallen to their deaths this way (they fall in, the boat goes on without them, nobody notices...).

Chris helps protect a caterpillar crossing a San Carlos street 

Lovely hotel and restaurant at the San Carlos anchorage

It was time to fly home for a short spell.  Mexico now requires foreign cruisers to leave the country every 6 months to renew our visas. Of course we hate this inconvenience, but I gotta say I understand why they do it.

Cruising Mexico is so beautiful, comfortable and inexpensive that if they didn't have this rule, many/most of us sailing gringos would simply never leave, and the gorgeous anchorages with 3 or 4 boats in them would look like this:

What Mexico's anchorages would look like if they didn't get rid of the riff-raff

We took the bus from San Carlos north to Hermosillo, home of the nearest international airport.

We tucked into a little hotel in Hermosillo as we would be flying north early the next morning.

Our hotel in Hermosillo near the airport

The hotel had a nice, all you can eat buffet. We decided to splurge and
 pop in for a nice dinner before hitting the racks early.

These signs were on the outside of the restaurant. I get "no weapons," and "shoes required," but...



When I'm sailing/cruising in a tropical locale, you will nearly always find me wearing shorts and a tank top with my bathing suit on underneath.

It's my UNIFORM. 

Chris and me (wearing a tank-top) crewing aboard s/v Callisto in Portugal, 2002

So, I was a bit insulted by the "no tank tops" sign at the restaurant. When we saw the price of the buffet (180 pesos each -- about $9.00 per plate), that was the deal breaker. We walked out.

I know, in the states, $9.00 for a nice dinner is a deal, especially for a buffet.

But what people don't realize about the cruising lifestyle is this:

 People assume we cruisers are independently wealthy.
 But the truth is, most of us are living on a budget below the poverty line.

Being consistently frugal is the answer to the question:

How can you afford to quit your jobs and do this?

By walking away from $9.00 buffets, that's how.

We headed up the street and started exploring this part of Hermosillo on foot. 
                 A few blocks away, we found an adorable little taco stand that sold us healthy 
servings of shrimp tacos for a little more than a buck.

We found our little outdoor Hermosillo taco stand.
#Happy.  :-) 

The next morning we arrived at the Hermosillo airport for our flight to Tijuana.

Boarding the jet, we saw what appeared to be a crashed airliner in the bushes off the runway.

Crashed airliner off the end of the runway?

I dunno. Crashed jetliner? Maybe this is where they were hiding the missing Malasia Airline flight 370 airliner? Who knows...we boarded our jet and took off.

We arrived in Tijuana and then walked across the border lugging our stuff.

I had to laugh sympathetically at the "Tijuana Duty Free" shop (actually, there's an "e" missing here, so it's "Duty Fre_"). No $100 bottles of scotch here, no way, boys. That's the Geneva Duty Free. Here in TJ, it's just really really cheap looking plastic flower headbands. Not sure how the "Duty Free" aspect is much help with this merchandise.

We hucked across the border, and just like that we were in The Other World:

The San Diego train station

After visiting with family in the OC, we made our way up to our cabin in the San Bernardino Mountains to make sure she's still standing. She is! :-) 

We took a long walk around the lake and visited with locals we hadn't seen for more than a year.

Autumn leaves float on the surface of Green Valley Lake

We were thrilled to see the town has added an adorable
 little teeny-tiny book exchange in the town garden!

We went down the hill to a pumpkin carving party at my sister JoAnna's house.

As is the tradition in our family, there would be a pumpkin competition -- with prizes such as the prettiest, most original, scariest, etc.  After much thought I 
decided I would do a Donald Trump jack-o-lantern. 

My niece Lindsay thought it sounded like a good idea. "And besides," 
she added, "he's already orange!"

First I drew the plans for my pumpkin:

My plan for my Donald Trump pumpkin carving

And without further adieu, here it is, the final product:

My Donald Trump jack-o-lantern. 

It won the prize for the "weirdest" pumpkin. I'd say there's a certain synchronicity to that.

Happy Halloween, everybody!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The 40 Greatest Chick-Flicks You've Quite Possibly Never Seen

Ah...chick flicks. They are to us ladies what The Three Stooges and any movie with the word "Bourne" or "Bond" in the title are for the guys.

Problem is, many (most?) of them out there are pretty darn bad.

This post is for my nieces -- lovely young adult women who are already making the world a better place. You're all smart and informed. But with such a dizzying array of entertainment/diversion choices available these days, the simple act of choosing a movie to watch can be overwhelming!

So. Aunt Liz to the rescue! I've been watching and enjoying chick-flicks since WAY before you kids were born.

Yes, we ladies have got our own TV networks now with Lifetime and Oxygen, but even those tend to show the same movies year after year (Sleepless in Seattle, Bridesmaids, You've Got Mail, The Notebook, etc.).

So, young ladies, in order of general relevance down to the ten best, here is my list of the 40 greatest chick-flicks you've quite possibly never seen. In my opinion each of these is not too dated and holds up well with time. The soundtracks are classic.  As a group they are hilarious, smart, romantic, heartfelt and beautiful. Seek them out on Netflix or Amazon and let me know how you like them!

And P.S. Guys -- these are all amazing, entertaining films that work for anyone with a heart and a brain -- that means you.

                                                                                     40)   Boys on the Side (1995) 

Three young women meet and bond on a cross-country drive trip. Starring Drew Barrymore,
 Mary Louise-Parker and Whoopi Goldberg. Directed by Herbert Ross.


                                                                            39) Stanley and Iris (1989)

A struggling widow falls in love with an illiterate short order cook and teaches him to read.
 Starring Jane Fonda and Robert DeNiro. Directed by Martin Ritt. 

                                                                                 38) Love Affair (1994)

A man and a woman, both engaged to others, meet and fall in love when their plane makes an 
              emergency landing in an exotic locale. Starring Annette Bening and Warren Beatty. 
Directed by Glenn Gordon Caron. 

                                                             37) How Stella Got Her Groove Back  (1998)

A San Francisco stock broker meets a very young man on vacation in Jamaica. Starring 
Angela Bassett and Whoopi Goldberg. Directed by Kevin Sullivan.

                                                                            36) Crimes of the Heart (1986)

Three very different southern sisters reunite when the youngest has shot her husband. Starring Sissy Spacek, Diane Keaton and Jessica Lange. Directed by Bruce Beresford.

                                                                                                  35) IQ (1994)

A beautiful young mathematician (who also happens to be Albert Einstein's niece) finds love with
        a brilliant but uneducated auto mechanic. Starring Meg Ryan and Tim Robbins. Directed by Fred Schepesi.

                                                                              34) Hope Floats (1998)

A broken hearted young single mother returns to her home town and finds love. 
Starring Sandra Bullock and Harry Connick, Jr. Directed by Forest Whitaker.

                                                                             33)    Falling in Love (1984)

Two married commuters inadvertently fall in love on the train to Manhattan.
 Starring Meryl Streep and Robert DeNiro. Directed by Ulu Grosbard. 

32) Impromptu  (1991)

The true story of the female writer George Sand and her pursuit of the reclusive composer
 Frederick Chopin. Starring Judy Davis and Bernadette Peters. 

                                                                           31)    Lovely and Amazing (2001)

A mother and her three daughters deal with love and family in Los Angeles. Starring 
Catherine Keener and Jake Guillenhall. Written and directed by Nicole Holofcener. 

                                                                                30)         Lorenzo's Oil (1992)

The true story of a husband and wife who work together to find a cure for their
 son's terminal disease. Starring Susan Sarandon and Nick Nolte. Directed by George Miller. 

                                                                         29)   Murphy's Romance (1985)

A young horse rancher and an older pharmacist find love in a small western town. 
Starring Sally Field and James Garner. Directed by Martin Ritt.

                                                                                       28)      Bounce (2000)

A young mother tries to find love after her husband dies in a plane crash. 
Starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Ben Affleck. Directed by Don Roos. 

                                                                                 27)    Little Women (1994)

The March sisters live and grow together in post-Civil war America. Starring Susan Sarandon 
and Winona Ryder. Directed by Gillian Armstrong.

                                                          26) How to Make an American Quilt (1995)

A young woman hears tales of love and loss from her elders as they construct a quilt.
 Starring Winona Ryder. Directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse.


25)  Coming Home (1978)

A young woman whose husband is away fighting in Vietnam falls in love with a paralyzed vet. 
Starring Jane Fonda, Bruce Dern and Jon Voight. Directed by Hal Ashby.

                                                                                24)   The Turning Point (1977)

When her daughter joins a ballet company, a former dancer is forced to confront her long-ago decision to
 give up the stage and have a family. Starring Anne Bancroft and Shirley Maclaine. Directed by Herbert Ross.

23)  She's The One  (1996)

Two Manhattan brothers struggle with love and marriage. Starring Jennifer Aniston, Cameron Diaz 
and Ed Burns, who also directed and wrote the screenplay. 

22) Message in a Bottle (1999) 

A young reporter finds a tragic love letter in a bottle, and goes on a mission to find its writer. 
Starring Robin Wright and Kevin Costner. Directed by Luis Mandoki.

                                                                                    21)  The Muse  (1999)

A struggling screenwriter enlists the aide of a modern-day muse, who may or may not have mystical powers.
 Starring Sharon Stone and Albert Brooks, who also directed and wrote the screenplay.

                                                                            20)    Life or Something Like It  (2002)

A reporter on the rise has a breakdown when a psychic tells her when and where she will die.
 Starring Angelina Jolie and Edward Burns. Directed by Stephen Herek. 

                                                                        19)  The Upside of Anger (2005)

A wife and her 3 daughters juggle life and love when her husband suddenly disappears. 
Starring Joan Allen and Kevin Costner. Directed by Mike Binder.

                                                                        18) Indecent Proposal (1993)

A billionaire offers $1,000,000 to a happily married but financially struggling young couple for one night with his wife. Starring Demi Moore, Woody Harrelson and Robert Redford. Directed by Adrian Lyne.

                                                                          17) Intersection (1994)

A successful architect has to choose between his wife of 16 years and his new love. Starring Sharon Stone
 and Richard Gere. Directed by Mark Rydell.

16) Brothers McMullan  (1995)

Three brothers deal with love, marriage and infidelity. Starring Edward Burns and Maxine Bahs.
 Written and directed by Edward Burns.

                                                             15) When A Man Loves A Woman (1994)

A happily married San Francisco teacher goes to rehab. Starring Meg Ryan and Andy Garcia. 
Directed by Luis Mandoki. Trivia: written by Minnesota Senator and SNL alum Al Franken.

14) Home for the Holidays (1995)

After losing her job, a young woman goes home for Thanksgiving. Starring Holly Hunter 
and Robert Downey Jr. Directed by Jodie Foster.

13) Dying Young  (1991)

Poor young nurse loves rich young leukemia victim. Starring Julia Roberts and 
Campbell Scott. Directed by Joel Schumacher.

12) Steel Magnolias  (1989)

A group of Southern women deal with life, love and loss. Starring Julia Roberts and
 Sally Field. Directed by Herbert Ross. 

11) What's Up, Doc?   (1972)

A free spirit inserts herself into the controlled life of an engaged geologist, and hilarity ensues. 
Starring Barbra Streisand and Ryan O'Neal. Directed by Peter Bogdanovich.

10) Irreconcilable Differences (1984)

The courtship and marriage of a young Hollywood couple. Starring Shelly Long, Ryan O'Neal
 and Drew Barrymore. Directed by Charles Shyer

9) Heartburn (1986) 

The true story of the courtship, marriage and divorce of writers Nora Ephron
 and Carl Bernstein. Directed by Mike Nichols.

8) Next Stop, Wonderland (1998)

An unlucky in love nurse seeks her soul mate on the subways of Boston. Starring Hope Davis and
 Philip Seymour Hoffman. Directed by Brad Anderson.

7) In Her Shoes (2005)

A serious attorney and her party-girl sister meet the grandmother they never knew they had. Starring
 Cameron Diaz, Toni Collette and Shirley Maclaine. Directed by Curtis Hanson. 

6) Terms of Endearment (1983)

A mother and daughter fight while dealing with love and family. Starring Debra Winger, 
Shirley Maclaine and Jack Nicholson. Directed by James L. Brooks

5)  Out of Africa (1985)

The true story of writer Isak Denisen who falls in love with dashing game hunter Denis Finch-Hatton.
Starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford. Directed by Sydney Pollack.

4) Shadowlands (1993)

The true story a spirited American woman who steals the heart of British writer C.S. Lewis.
Starring Debra Winger and Anthony Hopkins, directed by Richard Attenborough

3) Contact  (1997)

A brilliant young scientist struggles to find a balance between the heart and the mind as she makes
 a world-changing scientific discovery. Starring Jodie 
Foster and Matthew McConnaghey. Directed by Robert Zebecks.

2) The Way We Were (1973)

Two desperate people have a wonderful romance, but their political views and convictions drive them apart.
Starring Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford. Directed by Sydney Pollack.

1) Thelma and Louise (1991)

Two young women on the run find love and adventure. Starring Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis.
 Directed by Ridley Scott. 

Let me know what you think of the list. Is there anything I missed?