Loteria – Mario Alberto Zambrano

I was drawn to this book by the cover as the lottery cards I’ve seen in Mexico are so intriguing.

In Loteria , Zambrano  has woven the story of one family’s dysfunction through the Loteria cards. Told through the eyes of the 11 year-old daughter, the story of their ruin is all the move harrowing. Sad as it is, the reader is compelled, by the format and the writing, to finish the novel.


In Lotería, the spellbinding literary debut by Mario Alberto Zambrano, a young girl tells the story of her family’s tragic demise using a deck of cards of the eponymous Latin American game of chance.

With her older sister Estrella in the ICU and her father in jail, eleven-year-old Luz Castillo has been taken into the custody of the state. Alone in her room, she retreats behind a wall of silence, writing in her journal and shuffling through a deck of lotería cards. Each of the cards’ colorful images—mermaids, bottles, spiders, death, and stars—sparks a random memory.

Pieced together, these snapshots bring into focus the joy and pain of the young girl’s life, and the events that led to her present situation. But just as the story becomes clear, a breathtaking twist changes everything.

Beautiful full-color images of lotería cards are featured throughout this intricate and haunting novel.



Churros on the street corner – Mexico

On our way home from dinner, we stop at the corner for churros. Our timing is perfect as the chef is just starting to heat the oil.

The batter:

I won’t presume to recommend a recipe. There are many on the Internet, but I have no idea which might be close to this original.


Using the pastry funnel to put the batter into the oil. :




The finished product: To be dipped in a large shallow bowl holding a mixture of sugar, cinnamon, and (the chef’s secret ingredient) chocolate powder.


By the time the chef wraps our churros in a large sheet of brown paper a long line up has formed behind us.

These treats are definitely worth the wait.





Tinacos – aka water tanks – Mexico

Virtually every building in our area of Mexico has a Tinaco or water tank on the roof. Water is pumped up to the Tinaco and gravity feeds the water to your taps. If you want more than a drizzle in your shower, you add a water pressure tank to the system.

Modern tinacos look like this.



You sometimes see a cement tinaco on the roof of an old building. They can be as much as 100 years old.

I wonder if the modern ones will last as long?



11 easy steps to organize a birthday party in Mexico

  • Choose a theme – the munchkin says, “We’re at the beach so ocean theme.”
  • Google party cakes and find one that fits your theme.
  • Download the picture to your phone.
  • Visit the bakery and show them the picture. “I can do the icing,” says the young baker, “but not the starfish or the seahorse. My mother could do them, but she’s away.”
  • Go to the candy store, show the picture and buy appropriate beads and stars to decorate the cake.
  • Go to the craft store, show the picture and ask the lady to make a starfish and seahorse.
  • Go to the piñata store, show the picture and order a seahorse piñata.
  • While at the piñata store, buy the party bags and the candy to fill the bags and the piñata.



















  • Three days later pick up the starfish and seahorse. Take them to the cake baker girl.
  • That same day, pick up the piñata.



















  • On the day of the party, pick up the cake, hang the piñata, order the pizza.

Happy Birthday, my darling girl. Feliz Cumpleanos!



No parade is complete without horses. Mexico’s Revolution Day

Revolution Day is an official Mexican government holiday, celebrated annually iRevolution Day is an official Mexican government holiday, celebrated annually in Mexico on November 20th. On this date, in the year 1910 the revolutionary war to overthrow the dictator Porfirio Díaz, began. http://www.darlenejonesauthor.com




The Flood — Part 2

The flood waters have receded, the streets are more or less dry and we are–dare I say it?– almost finished the cleanup.

BUT take a look at this.



Yep, that’s the drainage canal. Just how much water can it hold? Enough to prevent another flood during the next one or two or ten storms predicted for the area in the coming weeks?

NO, there are no signs of backhoes or excavators coming to the rescue.

So we wait with fingers crossed for the end of hurricane season.