October in Tropica


Q: How can you tell it’s fall in Tropica?

A: The beaches are empty.

Fall in Tropica.  The tourists are gone.  Kids are in school.  The hotels on the Riviera Maya are empty and prices are the lowest they’ll be all year.  The snowbirds haven’t arrived yet.  The air has finally cooled down to 80F/26C.  The Tropicans are in bliss.

I’m filled with nostalgia for crisp air, sweaters, and the flaming colors of leaves. How I miss the autumn of my childhood in the U.S. Palm trees are always green. Halloween, which isn’t a Mexican custom, has drifted in nonetheless and is fighting with Christmas for floor space in Costco. Not a pretty sight.

The Tropicans are looking forward to Day of the Dead, a four day holiday beginning Nov. 1, that is much like American Thanksgiving in that families gather and eat mucbipollo.  They dream about this dish all year long.  It is essentially a lasagna sized tamale, wrapped in banana leaves and cooked underground, clambake style, with coals, wood and dirt piled on top.


I don’t make my own mucbipollo.  Even though I’m a great cook, it’s simply: too much work.  I order one from wonderful Tropican women who bake in batches.

It’s Sunday as I write this, and here’s my fall Tropican day. Yesterday I completed my annual October two-day garage sale, so I’m a bit spent today.  This morning, I cleaned the pool, then did my annual pumpkin project. Because I can’t buy canned pumpkin here, I cut up a Mexican calabaza — it’s a beige colored pumpkin– and steamed it in batches. Then I scooped it out and pureed it.  I measured two cup servings into baggies and arranged them in the freezer.  I’m set for what I need for my fall:  pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin risotto, pumpkin gnocchi.mexcala

I gave myself a pedicure — I have one of those professional, bubbling, water tubs with the blue light.  As we wear sandals here year round, I’m dedicated to beautiful toes. I wrote blog posts.  I watched “Love and Friendship” on Apple TV whilst sipping a cup of milky tea. I practiced yoga and then settled down with a book and a glass of wine.  I’m presently reading “Killing Lincoln” by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard.

My big project that I’m planning for next year, and that I’ll tell you more about in the near future, is that I’m going to assemble a cookbook of family favorites.  My life in food. The recipes — mine, from friends, and from the cookbooks of famous chefs — have brought my family pleasure over the years.  It’s time to have it all in a collection instead of on splattered, hand written cards slipped here and there. It’s a gift for my children, my nephews and nieces, and friends who have sat at my table.

So, as ever, trying to live in the present and not let the encroaching holidays, encroach.  You know what I mean.

xo Liza

Hello my lovelies!  What’s going on in your corner of the world this autumn? Tell all, and I mean, all! Do share this post via the clever buttons, and comment in the boxes below. Comments are the best compliment, but mostly your comments are devoured by readers. And if you haven’t already, add your email in the box on the right so you won’t miss a thing.


7 thoughts on “October in Tropica

  1. At the other side of the world near Cape Town, we are having quite a cold Spring. Every time I think that tomorrow will be the day on which I’ll replace our winter duvet with our light weight summer quilt, the weather cools down into winter again. Despite the cooler weather, my feet have leapt thankfully into sandals; so tired of wearing winter boots. Thanks for the interesting snippets about your life, I had never heard of Tropica until I found your blog.

  2. Hi Gail! Thanks for writing and telling us what’s going on near Cape Town….so far away! Just so you know, Tropica is my fictional name for the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, where I live. I use Tropica because it is more fantasy lie, as is the life here, it seems! Carry on and enjoy your spring!

  3. Hi my Liza!!!
    I’m still in the throes of unpacking after moving to New Haven, CT 16 months ago! The post-divorce, house full of stuff to condo without storage move! After a tough emotional feeling of being stripped of every aspect of my sense of self, my being and view of the present and future!… let alone what I wanted to make where I lived “mine”!
    Happily I am happily finding stuff that I’m so happy to see and remember and try to incorporate or find a suitable, appreciative recipient (I.e., special collection of hand-made, fully jointed bears from various bear artists all over the world, but mostly the US and U.K. (Is there still a U.K.?).

    Arggh (as Snoopy would say!!!
    We are experiencing Indian Summer right now which is especially beautiful since I live in the Quinnipiac River and get to enjoy beautiful reflections of the New England colors along the river’s edge!
    I’m celebrating life once more! My sister and I were talking about you when we would visit when we all were growing up! You were alway energetic, happily sharing something new you had discovered to create and always engaging me in giving it a whirl and truly interested in what I was all about! You were a wonderfully special person to me even then! I wish we could meet up somewhere beautiful and interesting and chat and knit…maybe along the banks of the Seine or in a Parisian sidewalk cafe, people watching, drawing and knitting! Shopping for wool… anything with wool…I am a Yarn Pig!!!
    Lots of love to you!!

    1. Hi MaryW! So nice to hear from you. You sound great, putting it all back together again. I love the idea of Fall in New Haven. I like the energy and intellectualism of New Haven. Lots of interesting activities going on. Yes, let’s meet in Paris. Let’s shop for wool! Yes to it all. Be well and Happy Fall! Carry on! xo

  4. SEATTLE..soggy golden maple float down among the pine, fir and cedar needles
    We are hunkering down for five months of rain, really more like seven or eight. But, have lived here most of my life so I make plans!
    Off to Cuba in two weeks , then home for the holidays. I am a potter so will fill my time with making wonderful pottery. Next off for a road trip south for some friend time and sun. What’s next?..maybe a trip to India
    Life is good

  5. Oh Karen, such an evocative message to share. You write beautifully! Your fall sounds like something I would love Look forward to hearing about Cuba. And, do you have a website where we can see your wonderful pottery? Yes to India too! Life is good.

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