Monday, November 26, 2007

Mexico On My Mind

Everyone knows the game plan. We plan on spending 3 months of the winter in Mexico this year.

My kids are starting to be less surprised at my crazy adventures; my grandkids think I’m pretty cool and my husband is always tolerant (Thank God!!) and he may be just a little crazy too, because he always seems to go along with most of my crazy ideas.

I love Mexico and travel there as often as I can. So when people ask me “Why Mexico?”, I am never sure what to say. The “snowbirds” from the northeast generally go to Florida for the winter, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone ask them “Why Florida?”

I know that the ones that have to ask “Why Mexico?“ only know the border towns like Tijuana and Nogales or they are too familiar with resorts like the concrete jungle of Cancun and other resort areas; where the only Mexicans that they come in contact with are the maids that clean their rooms or those serving their food.
It’s another Mexico that I love so much. The wonderful colonial cities with their wide boulevards, central plazas and huge churches, the little fishing villages with their gravel streets and deserted beaches, the beautiful countryside, the majestic mountains.

But mostly the reason I keep going back is the Mexican people. They are so warm and friendly and family orientated. It’s a common every day sight to see 3 or sometimes 4 generations of a family strolling together or sitting together; just being together and enjoying each other’s company. They are a happy people, always smiling and laughing. And once you get to know them, you have a friend for life. Their loving ways and simplistic lifestyle is something that has been lost in America.

Even though I live in a small town in the country, the America that I grew up in is gone. It feels shameful to feel it and even more so to say it, but today, in America, we live a shallow life of materialism and junk food. We’ve lost sight of thinking for ourselves; our knowledge, our information and how we see world is limited to 15 second bytes on the nightly news. We are a warrior nation who has become disconnected with the simple value of just how precious life is. I have to wonder, where are we going from here? Have we lost our way? Will we survive…find our way back to some semblance of values? I hope so.

So when I am asked “Why Mexico?” , I just smile, shrug my shoulders, and say “Why not?”… all the while I’m dreaming of sitting in a tree lined plaza, listening to Mariachi music and watching the simple lifestyle of the Mexican people play itself out.
Gypsy Girl

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Pamper Yourself

Some days my yoga practice leaves me with a few aches and kinks here and there, especially if I’ve pushed a little harder than I should have.
I’ve just discovered a simple and enjoyable, self indulging “treatment”, that is great after a good yoga practice or just about anytime you want to pamper yourself.

It’s a hot salt and soda aromatherapy bath that I found in the book Ultra-Prevention by Mark Liponis, MD and Mark Hyman, MD

Add one half to one cup of Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) and one half to one cup of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) to a hot bath. Add 10 drops of essential oil such as lavender, sandalwood or vanilla.

I added a few bubbles and wallah…a heavenly way to relax for 20 minutes while having the added benefits of relaxing your muscles, reducing tension, detoxing your body and sleeping much better.

Magnesium is often called the relaxation or anti-stress mineral because of it’s calming effect. It’s soothing properties, along with the alkaline-balancing effects of the baking soda, induce restful sleep.

Magnesium is also known to combat acids, toxins, gases and impurities in the body. The hot water draws the toxins out of the body to the skin’s surface and the magnesium sulfate absorbs through the skin and helps draw the toxins from the body.

Aromatherapy can induce relaxation hormones in the brain. The bubbles...well...they just add a little luxury.

Add a glass of heart healthy red wine, a few candles and soft music for ambience and you’ve got yourself a mini retreat. (And one that costs only pennies at that!!!)

I wish you peace, love and laughter,

Gypsy Girl

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Skinny Bitch

My daughter passed this book on to me this week knowing that I read everything I can get my hands on about health and nutrition.

It is not a book I would have picked up myself to read, but I am sure glad that I read it.

It is written in a bit of an off the wall, unorthodox style for my taste, yet I found it very entertaining, as well as informative. They use a “bad girl, skinny bitch” approach and some very strong and expressive language to get their point across.

And they do get their point across. The book really hits the nail on the head when it comes to exposing the food industry in the good old U S of A. And it has no mercy on the government agencies that are suppose to be protecting us from all the crap that is put in our food.

A very quick read and well worth it. That is if you have the stomach for reading about the cruelty to animals that takes place (trust me, it is very graphic), the horrific harmful additives to our foods, and all the evil doing of our lovely government agencies and the food industry that they are in bed with. The authors even go as far as to name names on who is taking pay offs in the form of campaign contributions, jobs, perks…you name it…they stop at nothing.

The book is informative about life style changes and making healthy choices and gives good information about eating the right stuff. They touch upon nutrition, vitamins, fasting and exercise. But mostly they tell us to WAKE UP and take the initiative of being responsible for our own health and well being. And to OPEN OUR EYES and see for ourselves what is going on with what we call food.

They list several great websites and there is an extensive list of books on health, well being and nutrition.

But mainly both authors are vegans and do a wonderful number on how the American public is being duped by the meat and dairy industries that are poisoning us while our government sits back and enjoys the perks and pay-offs.

Even if you are not vegetarian and have no desire to give up meat, it is definitely worth reading just to be informed on what’s really going on out there.

Gypsy Girl

Friday, November 2, 2007

Day of The Dead

My soul is full of whispered song;
My blindness is my sight;
The shadows that I feared so long
Are all alive with light.

~Alice Cary, Dying Hymn

The day which we fear as our last is but the birthday of eternity.


Today, November 2, is my birthday. On my Catholic calendar it is All Soul’s Day.

In Mexico it marks one of the most anticipated and lively celebrations of the year…. El Día De Los Muertos or the Day of The Dead.

People have likened it to our Halloween. But it is entirely different. Halloween is meant to be scary and spooky. Although the name "Day of The Dead" sounds morbid and somber, it's purpose is to celebrate and rejoice and honor departed loved ones. And all across Mexico it is celebrated by fireworks, altar building, native dance, religious processions and all night cemetery vigils.

The Day of the Dead observances began in pre-Hispanic Mexico, and stemmed from the indigenous beliefs shared by the Aztecs, Mayans, and other ancient cultures. According to their ancient beliefs the souls of the deceased return to earth annually to visit living relatives and eat and drink with them. These ancient cultures all celebrated the return of the departed with festivals and fanfare.

Unlike the Spaniards, who viewed death as the end of life, the natives viewed it as a continuation. They embraced death. Today the Day of The Dead represents a blending of ancient pre Hispanic indigenous and Roman Catholic traditions and beliefs.

Families make special altars in their homes, as well as decorate the graves to honor the deceased loved ones. The altars and graves are elaborately decorated with all manner of offerings including: fresh marigolds, photos of the deceased, statues of saints, favorite foods of the deceased, special Day of the Dead bread, candles, and belongings of the deceased.

November 1, is the day to honor the deceased children, whose altars and gravesites include gifts of candies and toys.

Then on November 2 families gather at gravesites for an all night candle light vigil. They sit on picnic blankets and eat the favorite foods of loved ones. Some play music, some dance and sing, some don wooden skull masks called “calacas”. All to call home and honor the loved ones.

I’ve read a great deal about this special holiday. And, although I have not yet had the opportunity to experience this beautiful tradition in person, I get the feeling that the Mexicans may possibly have lifted a corner of the veil of death and glimpsed eternity.

Peace and Love
Gypsy Girl