05 January 2010

2009 ¡A la Fregada!

The artist J.C. Leyendecker is credited with inventing the tradition of depicting the New Year as a baby with his Saturday Evening Post cover of December 28th, 1907 , a little over one hundred years ago. Before this 2010 New Year Baby has taken a few steps I decided that it was time to send the ghost of the old year "a la fregada" or "the hell out of here" in order to make room for the new one. Yesterday I was watching some talking heads on the telly and they were discussing different ways to leave the emotional baggage of 2009 behind. There were a number of steps involved and it seemed a bit complicated. I have found a much easier way to erase the slate and I have been practicing it for a number of years. Sunday, Gina and I went to our favorite place to bathe in hot spring water at "Los Baños de Aguas Buenas" which is about halfway up Mount Cubilete near Silao. There is nothing like a hot soak in a big tub to wash away your troubles and wipe the slate clean. We brought along a big pink bar of "Zote" soap and had a good scrub down. We emptied and filled the big tub three times and each time we lathered up with mountains of suds until we looked like the NewYear Baby (only in my case it was an enormous baby). We scrubbed and scrubbed until every bit of 2009 was gone. When we were done our skin was so clean that when we rubbed it we got the same "ee-oo, ee-oo" sound that you get when rubbing a window pane with warm water, vinegar, and a paper towel. When we finished our bath we sallied forth like new people and we felt so light that we walked with a small bounce to each step like the astronauts did when they walked on the moon. Right outside the front gate there was a lady selling "elotes" (corn on the cob) that had been steamed over a mesquite fire so we each bought one for lunch. They were covered with the traditional mayonnaise, chile powder and grated cheese and the smell of the elote combined with the smell of the burning mesquite was like special incense made in Heaven. The taste was heavenly too.

While we were relaxing in our new found squeaky cleanness I did a sketch of the of old ex-hacienda chapel there which you can see below. I decided that this year I am going to learn how to make sketch drawings. I have always wanted to do that and sketches are so much less intrusive than taking pictures with a camera. It isn't as easy as I thought, however. It is like learning a new language. At first one must take small steps and learn the rules and in this case there is a lot to learn about perspective as you can see from my very humble beginning. As time goes on I will present more sketches in this blog as a record of my progress. It looks like I have a long way to go, doesn't it?. That's okay, as long as I'm having fun. I challenge all my blogger friends to do the same. Buy yourself a new box of crayolas and let's get some action going here!


YayaOrchid said...

I guess we both decided to start with a clean slate to the New Year! Your hot springs bath sounds so refreshing! Bob, one day I would like to travel to your neck of the woods with my Sweetie. You and Gina could show us all the neat spots. Someday....someday. :)

YayaOrchid said...

P.S. I forgot to add that your sketch is really quite nice! See? There really is an artist in each of us waiting to emerge!

Suzanne said...

Nice sketch bob, you've been practicing. It's fun isn't it? Puts you in a nice space to have to look at something so carefully, which you obviously did.

Did you and John talk about the book he is practicing from? if not, you might want to ask him about it as he is re-learning everything and really loving what it is teaching him. Plus if you are interested, he is going to the states next week and can bring one back if you want.

Hi to Gina

Gloria said...

Bob, I remember last year you did say something about the baths and how great they were. In fact I think you said it would do good for my knees. How wonderful that you and Gina do that together. Now you both are clean as clean can be and the year awaits you. I gotta tell you, that is a great sketch. I can't do scenery or buildings. The lay of the land is just not in my easy zone. Good job bob, with the sketch and with the baths. I applaud you. ::clap::clap:::)

Gloria said...

I forgot, my regards to the wonderful Gina. ::waving:: Hi Gina!

Chrissy y Keith said...

nice art Bob. I used our ZOTE bar yesterday for our white laundry.

Tancho said...

Pretty soon you will be sitting with an easel and sketching tourists in your plaza for some extra pesos.....
Just don't forget to skew that beret a little to the side.....

Julz of the World said...

Found your blog while surfing for sayings to put on a t-shirt and found Pues, ni modo, aquí nos tocó vivir. This is perfect for a friend (gringo) we'll be visiting soon for his 70th birthday in Colima. The saying will go under the image of a ferocious bull dog team mascot but I can't think of what to put over the image as a lead in to Pues, ni modo, aquí nos tocó vivir. Can you think of something (in spanish, por supuesto) that would be ironic for someone who really loves living in Mexico? I'm kinda stumped for now. Sounds like you're in Gto, verdad? I lived in SMA back in the '60's.

Bob Mrotek said...

Thanks for the nice comments Yaya, Suzanne, Gloria, Chrissy & Keith, and Tancho.

I really can't think of anything except "No hay nada mas" (there is nothing else) which is a line from a popular song of the same name by rapper Mos Def.

If I was making a "t" shirt and I wanted everyone who looked at it to chuckle I would put:

Mucho trabajo,
Poco dinero,
No hay frijoles,
¡Viva Madero!

Much work
Little money
There are no beans
Long live Madero

The phrase "mucho trabajo, poco dinero" is a classic complaint. No hay frijoles es la verdad, and Francisco I. Madero began the Revolution of 1910. This is a bicentennial year and also the centennial of the Revolution so everyone will get the gist.

Anyway, good luck!


P.S. I live in Irapuato.

Anonymous said...

Personally.. I'd rather be intrusive with a camera...specially if you're skinny dippin' in the pool.
ZOTE is like Grandma's Lye Soap
Little Herman and Brother Thurman
Had an aversion to washing their ears
Grandma scrubbed them with the LyeSoap
And they haven't heard a word in years.

So sing right out for Grandma's LyeSoap
Good for everything in the home
And the secret was in the scrubbin'
'Cause it didn't suds or foam.

So sing right out for Grandma's LyeSoap
(Sing it loud and clear)
Good for everything, everything in the place
The pots and kettles, the dirty dishes
And for the hands and for the face.

John Ward said...

Hey Bob,
I'm glad you picked up a pencil and started drawing. You did a great job on the old hacienda. Don't worry about perspective, if you draw a lot and keep your eyes and mind open it will just get better and better. Forget the rules! It's a new year.

Calypso said...

Amigo - I remember your affection for ZOTE soap - you got me into it (haven't tried pink however, will have to get a 'real man' perspective on that one.

Enjoyed your drawing a lot - but would like to see some photos of your hot springs tub scene - not necessarily you in the tub but the scene ;-)

Bob Mrotek said...


Aguas buenas:


There is a blue link to it in the post above. Just click on it.

Send me an e-mail. My address is on my Blog :)

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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.