#smwc2020, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Page turner: 18th annual SMA Writers Conference will be last for founder

Founder and executive director of the San Miguel Writers Conference & Literary Festival Susan Page steps down this year.

It seems hard to imagine, but there was a time when writers in San Miguel de Allende had no platform on which to read their works and no outlet to sell their books. 

The “dark ages” were barely two decades ago.

Two women – one who is strong on organizing and one who has the vision – noticed the void and decided to do something about it. 

And so, in 2004, Susan Page and Jody Feagan (now of Santa Fe) organized a modest literary sala where local writers could come and read from their works and talk about their craft.

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Colonia San Antonio, photography, San Miguel de Allende, Uncategorized

Candelaria! Candelaria! Candelaria!

The 67th feast of flowers, new seeds, fertility, fertilizers, plants, and pots — La Feria de la Candelaria — has begun in Parque Juarez. The event continues through February 15.

A walk through the park this morning was truly transformative — for the park, and for me. How can you not be moved by the sheer enormity of gorgeous vegetation on display throughout every pathway, corner, and roundabout in the park?

While some of the 40-plus nursery exhibitors were still populating their corrals this morning, this is clearly the biggest Feria De La Candelaria to date.

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San Miguel de Allende, Uncategorized

Biblioteca panel promises some heart-felt information on keeping your ticker ticking — Jan. 31, at 2 p.m.

The Biblioteca resumes its series of medical discussions on Tuesday, January 31, with a topic that is near and dear to my heart:

My heart.

And I hope your heart, too.

No kidding, if it weren’t for one of these panelists, I would not be writing this today. 

The 2 p.m. program in the Biblioteca Plaza is titled, “Mexico, Medicine, and Me: Cardiac Care.” And while it is free to the public, it is expected to be another full house, as we all hunger for the highest quality medical information we can find.

The panel consists of four local cardiac specialists Dr. Jorge Alvarez de la Cadena Sillas, a founding member of the Instituto de Corazon de Queretaro and in private practice here in San Miguel de Allende; Dr. Santiago Casal Alonso, with offices in MAC Hospital; Dr. Juan Francisco Melendez Alhambra, performed SMA’s first open heart surgery at MAC Hospital; and Dr. Jose Luis Romero Ibarra, a cardiac interventionist.

The moderator for the panel will be Dr. Grace Lim.

I am especially keen to have you attend, and here is why:

I was barely residing six months in San Miguel when my wife convinced me to meet with a cardiologist. I agreed although I couldn’t see the point. I was hitting the gym regularly, eating well, and feeling on top of my game physically. (As top as you can get at 66 years old.)

I did have one stent in my heart, inserted two years earlier. On a recommendation, I made an appointment with Dr. Jorge Alvarez, one of today’s panelists. We talked, a lot. He ran some in-office tests, then he convinced me to visit the Heart Institute in Queretaro for more testing.

Naturally, I thought this was all way too much attention to a guy who was feeling terrific,

Then I saw the images of my clogged-up left-ventricular artery (aka “The Widowmaker”). Even with the old stent, that thing was in bad shape. It took three more stents to re-open it. Thanks to my wife and Dr. Alvarez, I’m still around.

Yes, I was feeling just fine. Probably would have been out for a run or hiking in some canyon when the clogging hit 100 percent. Who knows? 

What I know is that these folks will have some very important things to say about your hearts, and mine. Take an hour or so to go and listen. Don’t be like me and wait until everything turns critical.

Listen to your heart, but also listen to your head. If you think you ought to get a checkup … get a checkup.

You can go to this link to unload a ticket to today’s free event: https://teatrosantaana.org/tc-events/mexico-medicine-and-me-cardiac-care/

The library’s first panel brought together four general practitioners, family doctors, and internists to talk about local medical care and preparations you can take ahead of an emergency. They offered some terrific advice. You can read about it here.

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photography, San Miguel de Allende

Happy birthday, Ignacio Allende!

Happy 254th birthday, Don Ignacio de Allende y Unzaga, Lieutenant Colonel of the Insurgent Army and hero of the revolution.

San Miguel de Allende, named in part after its favorite son, has been celebrating all week with music, cultural dances, and more — and today, the annual parade which is a most interesting merger of military might and marching school children. The parade also celebrates first responders, marching bands, the conservation corps, civic leaders, beauty queens, and equestrians.

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Colonia San Antonio, photography, San Miguel de Allende

Howl’s Moving Castle it isn’t

Tried a CBD oil concoction for enabling sleep last night, then I ended up on the roof, mesmerized by the lighting around Parroquia San Antonio de Padua. I couldn’t stop staring at it, so I took this photograph.

The church is about a block away. When celebrations call for fireworks, as they often do, this is a great rooftop patio on which to be.

If the church looks other-worldly, it may be because my head was in an other-worldly place.

My sleep didn’t improve. Not yet anyway.

Though my dreams were weirder than normal, which, if you know my dreams, is saying a lot.

We’ll see what tonight brings.

Or doesn’t bring.

Meanwhile, sleep well. Embrace the new day. Do good works. Think kindly of others. Embrace second chances. Never shirk from responsibilities. Choose the right outfit for the occasion. Never take the last of the yogurt, even the store-bought kind. Don’t second-guess motivations in people who seem meaner than you. Smile and make eye contact with everyone. Frequent more than one bakery. When you tip someone, surprise yourself and go big. Try to remember the name of at least one person you meet this week.

Now, say good night.

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photography, San Miguel de Allende

Sunset: Fire in the sky

Well, the first day of 2023 ended quite nicely here in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

We had the pleasure of joining some of our Belize Diaspora pals for Sunday dinner and this was the view from their patio, looking west toward Pressa Ignacio Allende.

At first, I was quite taken with the “God rays” on the horizon, streaming down from the heavens. Mike, who has been admiring sunsets from his patio on the outer fringes of the city for several years now, nodded appreciatively. “Just wait a little bit,” he said. “You haven’t seen anything yet.”

He wasn’t kidding.

My own sunset view is pretty cluttered with tall buildings, church steeples, and gobs of spaghetti cable strung from street poles. Wide open vistas, it ain’t. That’s just life in the city. It has plenty of other benefits, however. I’ll take the tradeoff.

But being out in the unobstructed country was a real treat and the heavens accommodated us.

I’ll just take this sunset as a harbinger of good things to come for all of us in 2023.

I mean, just today I learned that Season 3 of “Ted Lasso” drops in 10 weeks.

Already, the year is looking up!

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San Miguel de Allende, Writings

For 2023, I wish you a thousand little milagros

This cross sits to the right of my desk, on an empty chair. It is one of many crosses that we have inherited. Our home in San Miguel de Allende comes with crosses, cow skulls, pottery and milagros pegged to doors here and there.

Milagros are those little tin objects you see on the cross that look as though they might be Monopoly board pieces.

While I have always been aware of the cross — lord knows I’ve moved it around often enough — I never really paid close attention to it.

Until this morning.

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San Miguel de Allende

Give us this day our daily mariachis

Not every procession in Parque Juarez has to do with a wedding. Tonight an exuberant crowd of teens, parents, and friends followed a donkey, two mojigangas, and the Amistad band through the park and eventually back to the gazebo.

A lot of the processioners were carrying paper mariposas on sticks. At least, I don’t think it was a wedding.

I can’t begin to explain the purpose of the procession but it seemed quite life-affirming and the enthusiasm of the group was contagious.

Certainly, the Amistad band’s infectious rhythms and glittery-pink jackets helped spread the joy.

Here’s a sample of the music.

Enjoy.

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photography, Reviews, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

It’s Tuesday: To market, to market to buy a blue suit; home again, home again, jiggety-scoot

I do not shop. I do not wander into stores and glide up and down aisles looking for just the right … thing. I don’t compare prices. I don’t compare similar products. I don’t read labels. I don’t calculate the savings between the Jumbo and Family sizes. I don’t clip coupons.

I buy local because I’m too lazy to walk to a cheaper store. I shop to survive, not to find pleasure.

But you don’t have to twist my arm to get me up the hill to the Tuesday Market.

I love the hustle and bustle. I love the jockeying for position at a tabletop clothing dump. I love to hear the shouts of “Barata! Barata! Barato!” and “Venta! Venta! Venta!” I love the smell of the food, the fish on ice, the produce, the fresh piles of strawberries. The piles of hardware and kitchenware and racks of hats, and row upon row of shoes, and … well, just name it, there’s a pile of it somewhere.

And such a deal I have for you.

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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Christmas Eve, 1967–Hunting for Perry Como

To understand the significance of Perry Como passing through our town on Christmas Eve in 1967 – no, not just passing but actually stopping – you have to understand the insignificance of Brookville, Pennsylvania. 

The town that I fondly, though inaccurately, call my hometown, was in the middle of nowhere until the honking huge Interstate-80 was laid north of town and sucked up all traffic and little remaining interest in Brookville. Though you could see and hear thousands of cars and trucks pass by daily, Brookville was deeper into nowhere than ever before.

And, I think, most people seemed OK with that.

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