Archive for January, 2012

My daughter, María, made gorditas for the first time and sent me an email about them. This prompts another food post. It’s wonderful how food can reawaken memories. The smell, the taste, even the names of foods bring a flood of memorias connected with that food.

My grandmother, Mama Teresita, made the best gorditas! She used masa she bought at Xochihua’s tortilleria. She was well-known for those gorditas and when my mom had to have several surgeries, Mama Teresita made hundreds of them and we, her grandkids, would deliver the orders all over Morenci. It was a delicious fundraiser! We got paid by getting to eat gorditas and Mama Teresita contributed her earnings to my mom’s operations. Mama had to have 6 surgeries to repair a bile duct that was cut by an inexperienced Phelps Dodge doctor when she had gall bladder surgery. Mama Teresita equipped each of us with a cardboard box covered with a flour sack dish towel and filled with paper bags containing a dozen gorditas in each. It was all I could do not to eat any because they smelled so delicious but I knew Mama Teresita would have fresh cooked gorditas waiting for me after I delivered my orders.

An aside about my mother’s operations: the subsequent surgeries were not done at the PD Hospital and my father had to pay for specialists in Tucson. A visiting surgeon from the Mayo Clinic performed the final operation that healed her. My mother hung his photo on the living room wall behind the sofa along with FDR and La Virgin Guadalupe. To pay for the large hospital bills, my dad  would take us to Mimbres Valley in New Mexico once a month and buy a truckload of apples. We drove around Morenci, Plantsite, and Stargo peddling those apples by the bushel basket.

Gorditas and apples and my mother’s life saving surgeries are all connected in my mind!


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Yesterday, my Sowing the Seeds Comadres were commenting on my memoir story “Holy Mole” in our anthology, Our Spirit, Our Reality. We all started craving mole and today I gave into the craving and made a batch from scratch. I’m lucky to have a Vita-Mix  blender that grinds the chile pods entirely so there’s no need for straining it. At my daughter’s house a few weeks ago, I had to use a regular blender and go through the tedious straining process.

My grandmother, Mama Teresita, made chicken mole every Sunday for her children and grandchildren to eat when we  came to visit her after mass. She did it without a blender. Two questions remain in my mind of those days: How did she always have enough to feed over 40 people and still have left-overs? and How did my grandparents fit so many people into their small two bedroom house in Morenci?

Mole exemplifies love for me. Love of family, love of food, and love of Morenci. I can’t make it or eat it without thinking about all three things. My story “Holy Mole” goes into depth about my mole memories. Read it  in Our Spirit, Our Reality.

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I don’t know how many times I’ve had physical therapy for my back and neck. This time is different. I’m having therapy for my shoulder. It seems that I have tendonitis of the shoulder probably caused by spending too many hours at the computer. I’m grateful that it turned out to be tendonitis and not a rotator cuff problem.

Ultra sound therapy and massage are good and the exercises are simple. I should have beautiful posture in a month! Being more aware of my posture is helping. Since my back surgery in August, I was tending to sit slumped over my keyboard with my shoulders near my ears. Now it’s shoulders back, chest up!

Interesting approach at this PT place. Instead of printed generic handouts of the exercises, the therapist takes a photo of me doing the exercise and gives it to me with his notes. So much better because I’ve done the exercise and the photo reviews it for me.

I had a steroid shot in the shoulder a week ago so that plus PT, I’m hoping will take care of the pain.

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The local gas company is digging up the sides of our country road to do who knows what with a gas line. It’s usually so quiet out here that people who visit always comment on how can we stand the silence.

The silence is a blessing I didn’t fully appreciate until now. There are no birds singing or even flying around, no rabbits, no ground squirrels, no road runners. I think even the spiders and scorpions are hiding.

The incessant beeping of heavy machinery backing up has taken the place of the road runner who beeps as he peers into my studio. The workers have taken the place of the animals and their loud voices carry as they call out directions to each other. Tito and Lalo, our dogs bark more because they have to protect us from the monsters they’re sure will soon invade us.

My tranquility is disrupted. I’m doing my best but it’s hard when I’m not used to so much noise.

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