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Articles written by Sondra Ashton

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 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    June 21, 2018

Looking out my backdoor: Just blindly bumping along

Went to the artisans' tianguis (street fair) in Tonala and got me a man. Yep, brought home a genuine Mexican man. Next I wrote to my women friends and you should have heard the response. Oh, my. I...

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    June 14, 2018

I love a rainy night

By the time I got from beneath my covered patio to my front door, a few steps, I was drenched and dripping rain. Already the floor filled with standing water, a shallow lake, half-way across the...

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    June 7, 2018

Looking out my backdoor - As the worm turns

Paradise. Yes, I live in a garden of Paradise. I suppose there is a snake in every garden. My snake is gray. Pure deep gray with diamond shaped markings like fish scales. I’m told he is harmless. Ev...

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    May 31, 2018

Looking out my Backdoor: A pig in a poke

We didn’t exactly buy it sight unseen. Well, I suppose I did. My half. Unseen. Last winter, Jim, a neighbor here on the rancho, and I began hankering (that word generally precedes a pig in a poke)...

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    May 24, 2018

Looking out my Backdoor: Looking for wormy apples

Have you ever woken up with a sense of impending doom — for no apparent reason? That’s my story today. Could be I’m asking for trouble. Could be the shadows I sense hovering around the edges of...

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    May 17, 2018

'I Love You - You're Perfect - Now Change'

The delightful musical comedy by the above name is about people in love. It’s not quite the same thing, but my perfect love is my garden. Not a month ago, I said to Leo, my garden helper, “I’ve...

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    May 10, 2018

Looking out my Backdoor: My romance with trains

I’m angry. It’s selfish of me, but I worked myself up into a right little snit when I heard Amtrak is cutting service in Havre. Please, no, not an unmanned station. Selfish, I admit. In my...

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    May 3, 2018

Looking out my Backdoor: Out behind the barn

Broken bones. Missing parts. Titanium joints. Scraped eyeballs. A gimp, a limp and a cane. Moving more slowly every day. “Pain is a brute dictator,” said Dr. Backman, the quiropractico I saw this...

 

Looking out my Backdoor: Simply life and the little things

My friend Dick is gone from our lives. We feel sad. We feel relieved he no longer suffers. We feel guilty we couldn’t take away his pain and confusion. We will miss him, his kindness, his...

 

Looking out my Backdoor: Seeing through other eyes

We don’t see ourselves. We aren’t able. Even surrounded by walls of mirrors, we only see glimpses and reflections. And I’m talking broad scope here. Not just the outside package of who I am....

 

Looking out my Backdoor: It's my party and I'll cry if I want to

Setenta tres. Seventy-three. I bought a fancy chocolate cake yesterday at my favorite pasteleria. I’m invited to dinner at John and Carol’s house tonight. Nobody knows it’s my birthday and I...

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    April 5, 2018

Looking out my Backdoor: Iguanas and other sentient life

That iguana spit on me today. I stood below him, next to the wall in my front-patio courtyard, watching him soak up the sun. He turned his head, looked me in the eye, and spit. Well, that’s a fine...

 

Looking out my Backdoor: My simple life in purple contemplation

This morning after Qi Gong, I told Jim, “I write my column today and my mind is blank. ” “Easy,” his reply. “Write about purple.” We were beneath the Jacaranda, which this week is a purple...

 

Looking out my Backdoor: Spring blooms, breathes and blows recklessly

Two weeks ago the neighboring trees out my east window were naked sticks. Today the same sticks are tricked out in every shade of leaf, heavy with green. Most trees here shed their leaves in spring;...

 

Looking out my Backdoor: Dona Mary

I feel sad. This morning I made a list of things I wanted to buy in Etzatlan. Since I don’t have a car, I rely on taxi service or a friend or one of the workers here on the ranch to take me around....

 
 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion    March 8, 2018

Looking out my Backdoor: Symptoms of being human

Several of us here on Rancho Esperanza begin our days with Qi Gong, a Chinese energy-movement routine; good for balance, stretching and breathing. Breathing is a good thing. We have learned the form,...

 

Looking out my Backdoor: Sometimes life - Soup or salad?

First serving: soup. When I hug friends goodbye, friends whom I see once a year or less frequently, I go into a three-day funk. My life feels like metaphorical soup, seasoned with a dollop of...

 

Looking out my Backdoor: The flamenco and the bulls

Ai-yi-yi, what a week this has been. A few days ago, tongue in cheek, I mentioned to my friend Dan in Fort Worth that I would be returning to my “quiet and uneventful life.” Dan thought I was...

 

Looking out my Backdoor: A simple phone, please

Last night, Don and Dorothy, former neighbors, made arrangements to meet me to go to Loony Beans in Cerritos for breakfast. I went to the lobby at 8:50. I like to be prompt. I waited until 9:45...

 

Looking out my Backdoor: Piggy, selfish me

This afternoon I waved goodbye to Don and Denise, with hugs and kisses and tears, as they got into the taxi to carry them to the airport. Now I’ll feel an empty place inside me for the next couple...

 

Looking out my Backdoor: Hit the ground running

After a week on the beach, my guests, Don and Denise, and I, boarded the Primera Plus Autobus in Mazatlan, and climbed across the Sierras to my home in Etzatlan. In a country where not everyone has...

 

Looking out my Backdoor: Mazatlan on the Pacific

Greetings from Mazatlan. Every morning I sit on my balcony and watch the waves sloppy kiss the sand. Bird Island sits directly across a narrow stretch of water. Condors, vultures by any other name,...

 

Looking out my Backdoor: A fiesta on the Rancho

We gringos were all invited to attend a double christening for a great-granddaughter and a great-grandson of Delia, the Rancho owner. In preparation, Jim and I went into town to get gifts the day...

 

Looking out my Backdoor: It's a lot like life

I had to decide. She’d had a reaction to the anesthetic which left symptoms similar to epilepsy. Convulsions. Starvation. A rack of bones loosely held in rags of fur. Put her down. A euphemism by...

 

Looking out my Backdoor: Turning pages

“Sure wish I’d known 40, 50, years ago what I know today. I might have done some things differently,” I told my daughter. I was bemoaning my financial status, not for the first time, more like...

 

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