Joanna C. Cooke opens eyes and hearts in Puerto Morelos

ESPAÑOL

“Shipwrecked” by Joanna C. Cooke

Joanna C. Cooke says, “I am a passionate artist who believes in re-using and up-scaling outdated things people get rid of to create new and beautiful projects.”

Joanna is a Canadian artist who now makes her home in Puerto Morelos, Mexico. “Some challenging experiences gave me a greater knowledge of what life is about and taught me to follow my dreams and never give up,” she adds. Joanna describes her early life on Canada’s west coast in British Columbia as that of a “fairly untamed, creative beach baby.” She envisions making a more beautiful world, re-created in part from objects that people discard. She shares that vision in Puerto Morelos, Mexico, where for the past decade she says she has “found a place where her heart, soul, body and mind flourish and yearn to be.”

She continues, “My work with the Shamans as a Solar Initiate of the Itza Maya is very profound and has left an impact of the greater wisdom of the cosmic universe and knowledge of the ancients. My studies as a Mayan Day Keeper (keeping track of the days of the Maya calendar) for close to 15 years has gifted  me with a resonance to the stars, a deeper connection to all living beings, plant, mineral, human, animal, earth sky and water, and myself.” Sacred Geometry is a common thread of Joanna’s work in familiar forms like sunflowers, as well as abstract complex geometric designs. She finds inspiration in “the mystery of the ocean, the warmth of the sun, and the light of the stars and moon in the night skies.”

Her formal education includes Color Therapy and Crystal Therapy. She mentored with Canadian artists James Picard and Robert Genn, and studied at San Miguel de Allende and Langara College. At Vancouver Community College she learned jewelry design and goldsmithing.

Her paintings and art installations have been exhibited in Canada, Mexico, Japan, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the United States. Her labyrinth work was featured on HGTV’s “That’s Clever” and in an article in “Labyrinths of British Columbia–A Guide for Your Journey.”

I joined Joanna and an enthusiastic group of women one balmy Tuesday afternoon at La Sirena Restaurant. A long table, set with easels and canvases was ready for us on the restaurant balcony with a view of the turquoise water of the Caribbean. She provided brushes, paint, water and a painting for inspiration. The restaurant served cocktails and wine. With Joanna’s gentle encouragement and as much or little instruction as we wanted, each of us produced something that looked a little like her professional rendering of the lopsided lighthouse, icon of Puerto Morelos. The damaged lighthouse commemorates the fishing village’s “Never Give Up” spirit after Hurricane Beulah almost erased it from the map in 1967. We relaxed bodies, minds, and spirits, focusing on the magic of paint, brushes, canvases, and our own hands to create beautiful and satisfying shapes and colors.

Artsy Cocktails is just one of the many ways that Joanna C. Cooke shares her gifts and insights in the Riviera Maya. She offers classes, workshops, retreats, private sessions, 3D installations, and collaborative projects. Her long-term visions and goals include the creation of an Artists’ Retreat Center in Puerto Morelos with a focus on healing and learning to re-use resources. A limited number of her paintings are displayed and available for purchase at El Nicho and Chilpayas restaurants. Her future plans include creating functional and decorative home art from garbage and beach finds for a gallery space opening soon in Puerto Morelos. and leading a community project to create a house in the jungle using only garbage.

JEWEL OF THE MUDRA by Joanna C. Cooke

Joanna says she has been brought to Puerto Morelos “as if by a hand of fate over the past decade.” I wonder if that hand of fate brought me to the balcony of La Sirena Restaurant on a balmy Tuesday afternoon.


See more about Joanna C Cooke at

JOANNA C. COOKE

https://www.facebook.com/artfortheaestheticsoul/

https://www.facebook.com/zingarartexperience/

https://sites.google.com/site/joannaccooke/home

Gallery

Joanna C. Cooke abre ojos y corazones en Puerto Morelos

ENGLISH

“Soy una artista apasionada. Creo en el uso de objetos descartados para crear cosa nuevas y hermosas,” dice Joanna C. Cooke.

Joanna C. Cooke es una artista canadiense quien hoy en día vive en Puerto Morelos, México. “Algunos desafíos en la vida me hicieron ver con mas claridad el sentido de a vida y me ensenaron que debo seguir mis sueños y nunca rendirme.” Describe su infancia en la costa oeste de Canadá como la de “una niña de playa no muy domada.” Su visión es de un mundo más hermoso recreado en parte de cosas que la gente suele tirar a la basura. Comparte su visión en Puerto Morelos, México, donde por una década ella dice que ha “encontrado un lugar donde mi corazón, alma, cuerpo y mente florecen y añoran estar.”

“Mi trabajo con los Samanes como Iniciada Solar de los Maya Itzá es muy profundo,” sigue, “y ha dejado un impacto de la sabiduría mayor del universo cósmico y de conocimiento de los antepasados. Mis estudios como Guardadora de Días Maya (siguiendo los días del calendario maya) durante casi 15 anos me ha otorgado resonancia a las estrellas y un nexo más profundo a todos los seres vivientes, plantas, minerales, humanos, animales, tierra, cielo, agua, y a mi misma.” La Geometría Sagrada es un hilo común en el trabajo de Joanna, manifestándose tanto en formas conocidas como el girasol como en diseños geométricos complejos. Joanna se inspira en “el misterio del mar, el calor del sol, y la luz de las estrellas y la luna en el cielo nocturno.”

Sus estudios formales incluyen Terapia de Color y Terapia de Cristales. Sus mentores son James Picard y Robert Genn, artistas canadienses. También estudio en San Miguel de Allende y Langara College. Aprendió diseño de joyería y orfebrería en Vancouver Community College.

Sus pinturas y construcciones artísticos se han exhibido en Canadá, México, Japón, Holanda, Suiza, y los Estados Unidos. Sus laberintos se presentaron en el programa “That’s Clever” de HGTV y en un artículo en “Labyrinths of British Columbia–A Guide for Your Journey.”

Me reuní con Joanna y un grupo entusiasta de mujeres en La Sirena Restaurante un martes tropical. Ya estaba preparada una mesa larga con caballetes y lonas en el balcón del restaurante con vista de las aguas turquesas del Caribe. Joanna nos proporcionaba pintura, pinceles, agua, y una pintura para copiar o para inspiración. Nos sirvieron vino y cocteles. Con la mano suave de nuestra maestra y cuanta instrucción deseábamos, todas terminamos con algo que parecía cuando menos un poco al imagen profesional del faro chueco, símbolo de Puerto Morelos. El faro dañado conmemora el espíritu de “Nunca rendirse” del pueblo de pescadores cuando el Huracán Beulah casi lo borra del mapa en 1967. Las participantes nos relajamos en cuerpo, mente, y espíritu, enfocándonos en la magia de pintura, pinceles, lonas, y nuestras propias manos para crear formas y colores hermosos y satisfactorios.

Artsy Cocktails (Cocteles Artísticos) es solamente una de las muchas maneras en que Joanna C. Cooke comparte sus dones y sabiduría en la Riviera Maya. Ofrece clases, talleres, retiros, sesiones particulares, instalaciones de tres dimensiones, y proyectos colaborativos. Su visión y sus metas a largo plazo incluyen la creación de un Centro de Retiro para Artistas en Puerto Morelos con un enfoque en salud y en usar cosas descartadas en nuevas formas. Un numero limitado de sus pinturas se exhiben y se pueden comprar en los restaurantes El Nicho y Chilpayas. Sus planes para el futuro incluyen la creación de arte funcional y decorativo para el hogar, utilizando basura y cosas encontradas en la playa. Este arte se podrá ver en una galería que está próxima a abrir en Puerto Morelos. También tiene en la mira un proyecto comunitario para crear una casa en la selva utilizando basura solamente.

Joanna dice que una mano del destino la ha traído a Puerto Morelos durante la década pasada. Yo me pregunto si esa mano del destino fue la que me trajo al balcón de La Sirena un martes cálido por la tarde.


JEWEL OF THE MUDRA por Joanna C. Cooke


Mas acerca de Joanna C Cooke

JOANNA C. COOKE

https://www.facebook.com/artfortheaestheticsoul/

https://www.facebook.com/zingarartexperience/

https://sites.google.com/site/joannaccooke/home

Galeria

Fending off Moctezuma and other biotic avengers

If it happens in the country where you live, you have an upset stomach. If you are in Mexico, it is Moctezuma’s Revenge, also known as turista. Experiencing new foods, some of them grown with classic compost (aka “caca”), travel nerves and excitement, and adjustments in your normal intestinal flora and fauna can leave you vulnerable to bacteria that are everywhere, especially on fresh fruits and vegetables.

My Mexican mother-in-law taught me how to clean fruits and vegetables to cut down on some of that bacteria. The truth is, even if you’re not vacationing or adjusting to life in a foreign country, you should be careful with all food, especially if it’s fresh. From time to time, there are warnings in the United States about contaminated foods, with accompanying admonitions to be sure to wash your lettuce, strawberries, or whatever. That admonition should not be necessary. Purifying your fruits and vegetables should be as habitual as brushing your teeth–maybe more so.

In addition to the age-old germs, modern agriculture has further contaminated our foods with pesticides and waxy enhancers. A healthy immune system is the best defense against all kinds of illnesses, but some germs and chemicals are strong enough to break through even a healthy system, so it is wise to do what you can to keep them at bay.

  1. Wash your hands often, but certainly before you handle food.
  2. If you are going to eat raw fruit or vegetables like apples, pears, or cucumbers, peeling and all, rinse in lukewarm water to soften up wax enhancers, then scrub well with a vegetable brush and rinse again in tap water. It is usually not necessary to use detergent or other cleaning agents. If I’m very concerned about contaminants, I just peel them. Some good fiber and nutrients are lost, so it’s a toss-up.
  3. If you are going to peel or cook fruits and vegetables, a good rinse is enough to get rid of surface dirt. If you are peeling a banana or a tangerine, remember that you can contaminate the edible part with your hands. Using a brush for gritty foods like potatoes or carrots is a good idea to get rid of plain old dirt that might cling to them. Cooking will kill the bacteria.
  4. If you are cutting something with a knife, like an avocado, cantaloupe or watermelon, rinse the outside well, and be sure the knife and cutting board are clean.
  5. Opinions vary about the best way to purify porous foods that are eaten as they are: lettuce, celery, all kinds of berries, especially strawberries, and so on. My choice is this: rinse, soak for at least five minutes in a solution of water with a tablespoon or two of white vinegar or lemon juice, rinse again, preferably with bottled water if you don’t drink water from the tap. I have seen recommendations for baking soda as well as salt for the soaking process, but I haven’t tried them. Vinegar has worked well for me for a long time.
  6. Always be careful to clean and sterilize surfaces and utensils that have been in contact with raw meat of any kind before cleaning or peeling fruits and vegetables with them.

No one wants to live in a sterile bubble, avoid travel, and never taste anything new or different, so you are sure to have a tummy ache once in awhile, but if you live healthily and take these precautions, you can keep sick days at a minimum.

The magic of homemade bread

Five simple ingredients—flour, yeast, salt, sugar, and water. With strong hands, a little patience, and some heat, your life is full of a wonderful, magical aroma for awhile. Here are a few basic recipes for small quantities of yeasty delights made from scratch and by hand–one loaf or enough rolls for a small family. It’s a perfect way to revive an ancient tradition on a lazy, rainy afternoon.

Experiment with kneading time and technique, amount of flour, and shaping until it turns out like you want it. If you want a bigger batch, you can double or triple the amounts.

BASIC BREAD:

Mix 1 T (OR 1 PACKAGE) DRY YEAST with 1 c LUKEWARM WATER and 1 T SUGAR. Let it set for 10-15 minutes until bubbles form all over the surface. Add 1 t salt and approximately 2 c flour, enough to make a sticky dough. Knead until smooth and elastic. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in size, about 1 hour. Punch down and shape into loaf, baguette or rolls. Cover and let rise again until double, about 30 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees F until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

TRADITIONAL WHITE BREAD:

Add 1 T OIL or 1 T SOFTENED BUTTER and 1 T SUGAR before adding the flour.

ROLLS:

Add 2 T SOFTENED BUTTER and 2 T SUGAR to Basic Bread recipe.

ITALIAN HERB BREAD:

Add 1 T OLIVE OIL and 1/3 t each of DRIED BASIL, DRIED OREGANO, GARLIC POWDER, and GARLIC SALT, plus 2 T GRATED ROMANO CHEESE.

maggie and milly and molly and may

maggie and milly and molly and may

went down to the beach (to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang

so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles, and

milly befriended a stranded star

whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing

which raced sideways while blowing bubbles: and

may came home with a smooth round stone

as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)

it’s always ourselves we find in the sea

e. e. cummings (1894-1962)

The love story of Alma Reed and Felipe Carrillo Puerto

She was beautiful and intelligent, a reporter for the New York Times Magazine on assignment in Mexico. He was handsome and dynamic, the beloved Governor of Yucatan. It was Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1923.

Documents, letters, newspaper clippings, and her autobiography, Peregrina, Love and Death in Mexico, give testimony of their passionate love, their high ideals, their good deeds, and their plans to be protagonists in a glorious future for Yucatan and for Mexico. The mutual attraction was powerful. On Valentine’s Day, 1923, the same day that the governor welcomed her party from the Carnegie Institute to Yucatan to begin extended studies of the recently discovered Mayan ruins, he called on her and invited her to go for a walk, see one of his administration’s model socialist villages, and “enjoy the unusually beautiful sunset.”

That was the first of some three hundred fifty days that would be engraved on Alma Reed’s heart, days that inspired and haunted her until the end of her life–three hundred fifty days of intense research and writing, trips, elegant luncheons, dinners, parties, impressive personalities, incredible adventures in the Mayan jungle, vows of undying love, flowers, gifts, passionate letters, and plans for a San Francisco wedding and life as First Lady of Yucatan in Felipe’s Villa Aurora. These days and her plans were cut short when the governor was assassinated on January 3, 1924, just a week and a half before their scheduled wedding.

The melancholy ballad “Peregrina” had been composed and dedicated to Alma at Felipe’s request, immortalizing their brief, passionate love affair, and Alma’s unforgettable beauty. It makes me cry whenever I hear it.

There is little doubt that what Alma Reed and Felipe Carrillo Puerto experienced during those three hundred fifty days was profound and real. Why, then, can’t I simply tell the tale and enjoy a good love story, like Pride and Prejudice, The Notebook, or Romeo and Juliet? I can’t, because, unlike fictional characters, the protagonists of this tragic love story lived real lives, and their lives were intertwined with other lives and other stories that should be told.

Some of those other stories are of the legacies of the lovers themselves, independent of their passionate affair. Felipe’s story goes back thirty years before that fateful St. Valentine’s Day to his youth in Motul, his participation in the Mexican Revolution that overthrew the dictator Porfirio Diaz, his overwhelming mandate for the governorship, and his leadership for reforms in education, women’s rights, prisons, labor rights. To this day, his accomplishments reverberate in the Yucatan Peninsula and beyond.

Alma had already been honored by Mexican President Alvaro Obregon for her successful intervention in the unjust execution of a sixteen-year-old Mexican who had been unjustly tried and condemned to death in California. Because of a barrage of articles by Alma Reed, not only was the execution stopped, but a law was passed prohibiting the execution of anyone under the age of eighteen. Her story reaches forward more than forty years after Felipe’s death. Contributions to history, art, and culture were recognized by the governments of Mexico and Greece in her lifetime. She was part of a lively movement of artists and writers in New York City. She wrote books and articles. She played a significant role in bringing muralist Jose Clemente Orozco to international attention, sponsoring shows of his work, publishing a book about him, and helping him economically as he struggled to remain true to his vision. Later in life, she returned to Mexico, where she wrote for the English-language Mexico City News. These stories are sometimes overshadowed by their compelling controversial love story.

The force of the attraction between the lovers is not diminished by the fact that they were a worldly-wise man almost fifty and a well-traveled divorcee of thirty-three, not an awkward youth and a virginal maiden, but that fact does raise questions about the years leading up to February 14, 1923.

There is the story of Isabel Palma. She and Felipe had been married on February 18, 1898, almost twenty-five years before his legendary first encounter with Alma Reed. In her autobiography, Alma recounts how he spoke candidly about his estranged wife, who was living in Cuba at the time, and his four children, including a married daughter. Alma in turn told him of her brief marriage to businessman Samuel Payne Reed in San Francisco.

When Felipe Carrillo Puerto and Alma Reed met, this charming man of “rare physical beauty,” already had a long-standing reputation as a womanizer. He had very likely moved far beyond the limited world of his distinguished but provincial Isabel when he frequented Mexico City night spots with the well-known American writer Katherine Anne Porter. She describes “dancing the tango and all the latest dance steps” with Felipe in 1921 and 1922.

A philanderer’s love can be very real. He is addicted to the hormonal high that accompanies “falling in love,” a high that fades with familiarity. Falling hopelessly in love makes a good story, and many of us believe in it when we are watching a movie or reading a novel, but love is not something you fall into. It is something you commit to, and when being there for the beloved calls for more than flowers, poems, and moonlight walks, a philanderer often scrambles to escape from the love-pit that he has fallen into. The person who is loved by a philanderer may eventually find herself forced out of the role of Dearly Beloved and into the role of Wronged Wife.

Alma Reed was not a home-wrecker. Third parties can get into a marriage only after it is already wrecked. Felipe and Isabel knew the reasons for their separation. We can speculate.

Alma kept those three hundred fifty fantastic days close to her heart. Felipe’s sudden death freed her to dream forever of an idyllic life at Villa Aurora. She would never know, and we can never know, how her love story might have turned out if Felipe Carrillo Puerto had survived.

Isabel knew.

Felpe Carrillo Puerto with his wife Isabel and their children, about 1922.



How to be on time all the time

Making a habit of punctuality is one of the easy things you can do to give yourself time and tranquility to meet more complex skill-intensive challenges. There are a couple of facts that can’t be changed, so facing them is the best way to start dealing with them.


Fact #1: Getting out of bed is hard.

It is harder for some people than for others. It is harder at some hours than at others, but five, ten, fifteen, twenty, or thirty extra minutes in bed will not make it easier. Those extra minutes will, however, take a heavy toll on your peace of mind and effectiveness for the rest of the day. Getting enough sleep the night before goes a long way toward taking the edge off, but even if you’ve had a short and unsatisfactory night, you still must do what you have to do.


Fact #2: If you can get to where you need to be at any certain time, you can get there at another, earlier time.


Once you have faced and accepted those facts, here are some simple steps to take that will get you almost anywhere you need to be at a time that will help you accomplish everything else you want to do with a minimum amount of stress.


  1. Plan to get there a half-hour before the appointed time. If your check-in time is 8:00, tell yourself it is 7:30. If you must be at the airport at 4:00 for a 6:00 am flight, plan to be there at 3:30. (For me, 3:30, 4:00, and 6:00 are all dreadful times to be anywhere except in my warm bed, but the earlier hour gives me the advantage of peace of mind.)
  2. Be honest about how much time it takes you to feel comfortably and peacefully ready for the task ahead. Some people like to get up slowly, drink their coffee, have a leisurely shower and take their time getting groomed and dressed for every occasion. Others are crisp and quick and just as happy to take a five-minute shower and get breakfast on the way. My personal get-ready time is two hours. I like to enter the day slowly and take my time about everything. Plan for whatever feels better for you, and be honest with yourself.
  3. Plan your time on the road. Be realistic and even pessimistic about things like traffic jams or extra time that might be spent waiting for public transportation. Add fifteen minutes or more for unexpected complications such as a flat tire.
  4. Focus on the time you need to leave your starting point, NOT on the time you are supposed to be at your destination. Set your alarm accordingly, allowing yourself a generous amount of time to get ready and get there.

Getting out of bed at 3:00 am to board a 7:00 am flight or setting my alarm for 5:00 am so I can get ready to teach a 7:30 am class is hard, and I don’t like it one bit. However, choosing an On-Time Schedule makes it much easier than dealing with a Will-I-Make-It Schedule whenever I have a deadline to meet.

Being punctual won’t guarantee success, but it will enhance your reputation and free you from mishaps like discovering you left an important paper at home or, like a friend of mine, seeing too late that your shoes don’t match. (Fortunately, my friend was blessed with a great sense of humor.) With less stress about getting to work on time, you can focus on more challenging things.


Championship chili

This chili recipe is adapted from traditional birria, popular in the state of Jalisco and the city of Guadalajara. Birria is usually made with goat meat, but I used ground beef in this one. This chili won first prize in a chili cook-off at Bells High School in Bells, Texas, where I taught Spanish for ten years.

  1. (REMOVE seeds and stems from the chiles and chop them coarsely.)
  2. SAUTÉ 1 GARLIC CLOVE, 1/4 MEDIUM SLICED ONION, 50 g (1.76 oz) PASILLA* CHILE, 25 g (0.88 oz) ANCHO* CHILE in 1 1/2 T OIL
  3. ADD 1 c WATER, 2 cubes MAGGI TOMATO BOUILLION, and 1 1/2 t CUMIN
  4. BRING mixture to a boil, then cool and process in blender
  5. STRAIN and return the strained mixture to heat
  6. ADD 1/4 c WATER and 1 cube MAGGI TOMATO BOUILLION
  7. STIR IN 3 1/2 lbs GROUND BEEF
  8. COOK over medium heat until the meat is done
  9. SERVE with LIME JUICE, OREGANO, and CHOPPED ONION on top.

*Chiles have different names, depending on whether they are fresh or dried. On the left, the fresh version. On the right, what it’s called after it’s dried. If you are cooking outside of Mexico, this guide will help if the names are different. You can see what they look like.

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