Saturday, November 28, 2009


Sorry, no pictures right now, just wanted to say again how thankful I am that my hubby has gotten to a doctor before some huge life altering event happened to him as well as the rest of his family and friends!

I am also thankful for my friends and family too. I am planning a trip North to visit family and friends in Dallas, Longview and Houston. I just wish I could stay longer -- it seems like a long time away from home when you're buying tickets, but when I get there I don't want to leave as quickly as the return home date arrives.

We had a nice thanksgiving dinner with friends from my Tuesday book group. We bought a pre-lit Christmas tree too which has been connected, plug in, fluffed, and is awaiting ornaments! I will take lots of pictures of the house once it's all decorated and will post them shortly.

Just wanted to say again home grateful I feel for my life here in Mexico and for my generous husband for providing me with a life of a princess! I have "heard" from many of you on Facebook that your thanksgivings were good too! I hope you have a fun time getting ready for the next big holiday -- Christmas! Be safe and well -- I am looking forward to seeing some of you in a short time!

Peace and love to you and yours...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mazatlan, October 2009

This is the beach on the hotel where we stayed in Mazatlan.

The cool Fowler Family, Joseph, Forrest (in the shades) and Lauren

The dudes on the beach. Forrest didn't like standing in the wet sand when the waves went back out. The mountain in the background is called Rock Island and you can tour it. It's very near the airport for the town -- which you can see is on the other end of town from our hotel.

I have no idea what I'm saying, but the hands are in motion -- must have been something good.

My sweet baby with the big, blue eyes.

Joseph took a surfing lesson and made quick friends with the instructor. After they were finished surfing, they headed into town and Joseph got a tour of all the GOOD places to eat fresh seafood.

Sunset off our balcony -- all the rooms have an ocean view -- amazing!

We stayed at the Rui Resort, Emerald Bay, Mazatlan. The hotel was just opened in March 2009 so it's very new and at the far end of the beach. All the rooms face the ocean so everyone has a view like this no matter what you pay. You could watch the cruise ships going out in the evenings on their way to Cabo San Lucas. I hope we go back again in May next spring.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

10 Reasons to forget last week!

I wanted to show you pictures of our trip to Mazatlan, but I can't -- no pictures on my computer.

Let's go back a few hard drive crashed again on this laptop for the 2nd time, so I lost all my bookmarked pages (again) and Roy had to reinstall Windows (again). I have no sound on my computer so I can't hear videos, or my aquarium or my farm animals (that's another story). Very frustrating.

So, just now, I was going to write about our trip to Mazatlan and add some of our beautiful pictures and now I find I am not connected to our home network and cannot access our shared pictures file. Another frustration. So I'll tell post pictures later.

First off, we were leaving on Sunday morning around 3:45 and Lupe was going to pick us up at 3:30 to take us to the bus. I waited until Saturday afternoon to do laundry and during this process the dryer decided to stop working (#1). Roy is a master fixer -- so he fooled around and it started again so I could finish doing laundry before we left on our trip.

On Tuesday, our trip coordinator Marta (Lupe is her husband), came to Roy and asked for a favor. He said, of course, which he always does. It seems the hotel where we were staying had gotten our reservations wrong and only had our group confirmed for 2 nights and not 3 so Roy whipped out his good 'ole AMEX (don't leave home without it) and he put 1 more night for our entire group (about 40 people) on his credit card $29,000 pesos (#2)!! We're going to get the money back, not a problem with that -- we were just the only ones there with a credit card with a large enough credit limit to help her out.

We were scheduled to leave on Wed afternoon around 1:00pm. At 2:30 am on Wed. Roy woke me up complaining (which he never does) about severe pain in his lower belly. We called for the hotel doctor who came to our room and by 3:30 am he was on his way, via ambulance, to the hospital in Mazatlan to figure out what was going on. He (we) stayed in the hospital for 2 nights and he was diagnosed with a kidney stone and had surgery to break up a 1cm stone in his kidney that would not pass! (#3). We have insurance here in Mexico, but there is a one year waiting period so this expense comes out of our pocket too (#4). The hospital, urologist, cardiologist, GM, hotel doctor, meds, nurses, etc was about $50,000 pesos.

We now have to get home another way because our return trip was to be by bus with our group. On to the Mazatlan airport and tickets on Mexicana Air (#5) for both of us -- $1500 pesos. After a 5 hour wait at the airport -- we arrive back at the Guadalajara airport and our friend, Tom Faloon, is waiting for us to bring us to Ajijic.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, that while Roy is in the hospital, we receive word from our friend, Tom, that Beau is near death (#6)! Beau has been Roy's big, black, dog for more than 16 years! He is part black lab, part chow and has the sweetest disposition and temperment of all our dogs combined. When we get back to the house, Beau is laying on a pallet outside our bedroom covered with blankets and not moving. Roy, who is just out of surgery and hospital, lies on the floor with Beau for several hours because we both think he won't be with us for much longer.

Monday, I have a dentist appointment at 9:30am. I go out to leave and the car won't start (#7). It's the battery, of course it is! So we call our mechanic and he buys and installs a new battery (#8) for $2000 pesos but it's not taking a charge when the car is running -- it's the alternator (#9). We give our mechanic $3000 pesos to buy parts in Guad so he can repair our alternator. No car Monday or Tuesday (#10).

Today is Tuesday. I am without a car and low on cash! LOL The total for our trip to Mazatlan and the car so far has been about including refills on prescriptions here $58,800

The good news is that we are home, Roy is healing, and the dogs got groomed this morning $350 pesos.

Our trip to the beach was not what we had planned for it to be. However, the hotel was wonderful, the weather was perfect, we had a balcony with a magnificent view of the ocean and sunsets. The food was good, the pools were beautiful and Lauren, Joseph and Forrest were a delight to spend time with. We all had fun (except maybe for Roy because he admitted to me this morning that he'd been feeling poorly and had back pains for 2 weeks before we left). That's my husband, suffer in silence. Very frustrating, but I think he's gotten the hint that he needs to take better care of himself -- if he wants to be around to take of all of us. Even while Roy was in the hospital he was worrying about Lauren, me, and Keith, his business partner! That's what I love about him the most -- and find it to be very frustrating too!

When I have access to our pictures I'll post some of them -- Mazatlan is a great place for a vacation.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I wanted some more yard

I wanted to remove the slate patio for more yard and a place for another tree. We had workers here repairing the leak in the roof of the covered patio so while they were already going to be here for that job we included a "re-working" of the large area surrounding the fountain that was slate. It was very "hard" looking and hot when the sun was beating on it, which most days here in Ajijic it is sunny.

Most work in Mexico is done by hand. A man and his pick axe hacking away at the slate. The picture above shows the beginning of the project.

This next picture shows what was revealed when the worker got under the slate. What we found was an entire other patio under the slate and concrete...a very common occurence here. You don't like your floor, we'll just lay a new one on top of the old one -- no one will ever know! The patio below the slate was laidout in a parquet design so obviously it was planned and designed that way.

Apparently the previous, previous owners had gone to a great deal of work to have this brick patio installed. However, the previous owners, from whom we bought the house, decided they wanted slate. It is handsome and elegant looking, but it doesn't wear well in the elements.

This picture shows how thick the concrete layer was they poured over the brick and then the cement layer for the slate to attached to...OMG how deep does this go down? I am going to guess about 6" deep. I was off a bit -- I just went out and measured and it's at least 5" thick. That's a lot of hacking and pounding.

This morning, I went out to take pictures and this is what was left of the "patio" before the guys came back to keep hacking and pounding and digging away. Magda had to come out and make her inspection prior to today's work beginning.

Well, as you can see in this picture, the one guy in the foreground seems to be leaning on, what's that, a machine of some kind. The Maestro decided to rent a jack hammer for the day so the work would go faster for the two fellows working here. Thank you Miguel! It's an electric jack hammer so not quite as loud as a pneumatic one -- thank goodness. The pounding will be done by this evening as well as the digging!

Magda is super angry she can't go outside and flirt with the trabadores. She's been whining for 2 days now. It's a really good thing Roy's working in Houston because between Magda's pathetic crying and scratching at the door and the pounding and noise -- he wouldn't be a happy man right now.

The next part is the fill dirt and some new flagstone steps to and from the house to the garage and grass! It will be much cooler and softer looking too. AND I have more areas to grow flowers, etc. I am hoping we put in a plumeria tree (that's the blossom the Hawaiian's use to make leis) and maybe even a little lime tree for fresh limonadas y margaritas!

I'll post the after pictures once the yard is in so you can see how much nicer it is and will become!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Facebook & Farm Town

Well, I've developed a new addiction friends, Facebook and Farm Town. OMG -- I can stay on Facebook all day and into the night. It is a wonderful way to keep up with the goings on in friends' and families' lives. AND, since joining Facebook I have found out about a game called "Farm Town".

It is an amazing waste of time and I can't stop thinking about my farm! When I first went on and started my farm I didn't get it -- what's the purpose of this silliness? You get 570 coins when you start and you buy and plow some fields and plant a couple of crops, have no more money left, and THEN WHAT? What's the fun in this silly game. I don't get the point of it. Roy googled strategies and chat forums about Farm Town for me so we could figure out HOW to play and how to advance.

A couple of my friends invited me to be their neighbors at Farm Town. They started explaining what you do to "grow" your farm. I started working on their farms making more coins by harvesting and plowing for them. I went from level 1 to level 24 in about 2 weeks -- that's obsessive behavior! I have withdrawal when I can't get into my farm, when the server for Farm Town bumps me out, or when my computer internet is slow or down all together. I plan my crops around when my friends and I will be available to harvest for each other.

I wake up in the morning and immediately log onto Farm Town to see what's going on and what is ready to harvest. If none of my "neighbors" are home, I go to the marketplace and wait to be hired to work on some stranger's farm so I can get more coins and more points to get more stuff to plant and decorate my farm. It's crazy and I love it! It's one of the only addictions I've had that's not shortening my life or costing me money -- at least as far as I know!

If you want to be my Farm Town neighbor, let me know. With more neighbors I get to do buy more stuff like streams, lakes, big houses, and expensive crops that make more coins!!!!!!! See what I mean -- I've lost my mind.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Posting pictures, wierd celebrity obsession, whinning

As I am not a very techie person it seems to take me a long time to 1) remember how to post pictures on my blog, facebook, ravelry, etc. and 2) to then get them where I want them in the damn blog, facebook, ravelry, etc. I refer to Roy as "Help Desk"! We even have friends here in Mexico that call on Roy now when they need something figured out!

Do I sound like I'm whinning -- You betcha!

I am so sick of Michael Jackson, his family, his legal issues, his drug use, his beatification yesterday, etc. There was nothing else on TV yesterday except that crap -- I use TV to entertain and sometimes inform myself and there was none of that to be found leading up to and including yesterday. As someone said -- there are real issues to be talking about in the world now -- NOT MJ! WOW where did that come from....

Thank you I needed to get that off my chest.

Back to my original post title: posting pictures. I want to post pics on my ravelry page, but it's a pain in my a** to do it.

Can someone please let me know if there's an easy way to download just some pictures off your camera, put them someplace logical and push a button to then "paste" them where you would like to view them and let others view them as well??? Probably not -- too logical.

Enough whinning for today (maybe, not promising). Hope your day is turning out better than mine.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Visit to Texas

I was back in Texas for a couple of weeks and saw lots of family and friends. My Dad was in hospice in Longview, and is in good spirits and still smiling! Love you Spence and JoAnn. It was hard to see him immobile in a hospital bed but I'm so glad I was able to go and see him. My brother Mike went with me on the drive from Dallas. We had a good visit and did lots of reminiscing!

While in Dallas a tornado went over my brother's house -- pretty scary! Mike and Marisa were there for dinner and when they finally got home (which isn't too far) all their pool furniture was in the pool -- but the old fence was still standing pooooh! I enjoyed the time we all had to just be together and eat, talk, and watch some TV. Amy, David, William and Kathryn came up from Richards for a big garage sale at Mike and Willa's church. Even Carolyn got to come up for a night. We had a pool/BBQ party at Mike and Marisa's on Thurs so I got to see almost everyone expect Daniel (Carolyn's hubby) who had to work in Waco.

Went to Houston for my grandson, Forrest's, first birthday party. So much fun -- lots of little children and noise! Lauren and Forrest go to Gymboree and many of their friends came. It was so wonderful to see Dad's holding their babies and being involved with the party. Not like when I was little. Moms did the children stuff and the Dad's smoked and drank cocktails and talked about sports or business. Very refreshing to see fathers eager to participate! What a blessing for them and their children. Forrest wasn't having any of the cupcake with bright green icing though. He smeared off the icing and rubbed it on his ears, and hair, and face -- great pics. The little man was coming down with a cold so by that night he wasn't feeling too well along with his Daddy, Joseph. Roy came down with it by Monday -- so far Lauren and I have dodged the bullet!

Roy and I got to see Forrest's day care school too. It's really nice. Great security and the teacher/child ratio for his group is great. He's happy and has fun -- that's all you want for the little man! They read, dance, eat lunch together and learn something everyday. I'm so proud!

We also were there to close on the sale of our Bellaire house. There were many, many, many, many glitches in this process (as of today we still don't have our money). The buyer has no shame! Lauren's going to go to closing for us on Monday and hopefully call us with good news! We think things are all okay -- but with this guy it ain't over til they slide the check across the table! If for some reason he blows it Monday -- he ain't getting our house. We'd rather leave it empty then screw around with him any more -- he's used up all our patience.

I got to spend a lot of time with some friends too while in Houston. Some I haven't seen in a couple of years. I even met some new friends -- hi Pam and Lizzy! This, for me, is one of the hard parts about leaving Houston -- I miss my knittin' buddies! When we left Houston on Friday it was 98 degrees -- even hotter and more humid when I was in Dallas if you can believe that! When we landed in Guadalajara is was 78 degrees and raining. It was 68 when we got to our house! At 2:00 this afternoon it was 77 degrees and the mountains are turning velvet green! Muy bonita!

I am happy to be home with my dogs and hubby! I love it here, but I do miss my friends and the kids so very much. We all have to make trade offs though and thank God for email, facebook, Ravelry, VOIP phones, and blogs!


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Knitting with Friends

Yesterday I had 4 friends over to knit. It was soooo much fun. They looked through my library and borrowed some books and Roy even served us cool drinks. Having a group here to knit with on a regular basis has been something I've missed from Houston. There was a group that I used to go to but the makeup of the group changed and there was lots of drama associated with who was there and who wasn't wanted -- so I stopped going.

This group is small and they have been getting together once a week for some time so I'm happy to have found them. We also have several alternatives for purchasing yarn here now too. Another couple of crafters who go back and forth to the US monthly have opened a yarn shop with mostly acrylic, but they will bring back special order stuff too -- like Lion Brand naturals, Vanna White yarn, etc. Still no Malabrigo though! -- I am dying to see this stuff. Got plans to visit several stores in Texas while I'm there to check out what's up!

Also, I've found a couple of people on Ravelry that live here lakeside. I've got plans to hook up with one of them later this month. Ravelry is truly amazing.

Well, sitting in my bedroom with 2 fans going and getting ready to break out the wet washcloths -- it's really freakin' hot today -- 93 on the patio -- and no A/C! This will be over soon, but OMG while we go through these dog days of spring here in Mexico it's pretty brutal!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day

Memorial Day for me is not just remembering and giving thanks for those citizens and friends of the USA who have given the ultimate sacrifice for me, but remembering and giving thanks for all my friends and family who have sacrificed and loved me during my journey here on this plain!

I am feeling sentimental today and missing people that I don't get to see anymore on a regular basis. Thank GOD for the internet, facebook, blogs, email, Ravelry, and the phone. I don't think I would have been able to move to Mexico without being able to stay in touch with my extended family.

I recently have reconnected with friends from Dallas through facebook. What a gift! I spent many, many hours, days, weeks, months, and years with these people. They had quite a positive impact on my life in forming how I think about myself, life, the world, spirit!

I love you this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!much!

Please know that you are often in my thoughts even though I'm over 1000 miles away. Hope everyone reading has a wonderful, grateful, reflective Memorial Day weekend!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Orenburg progress report

These balls of yarn are the three colors I'm using in the project. This is the first section of the right edge then you pick up stitches along the straight edge being created and use the copper color. The main triangle will be the sable color in the middle -- perrty huh?!

detail of the tooth edge

I've gotton some knitting done on the Orenburg lace and wanted to share some pictures of my progress. Once I wrote out the repeat lines from the chart I started enjoying the knitting more and making progress. However, it's getting a bit redundant.

Russian knitters primarily use k2tog or k3tog for decrease no matter which side you're on. I like that!

Anyway, I don't have a good book to read this weekend so most of my time will be knitting -- hopefully I can make good progress.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Orenburg Lace

I have started a shawl that I bought at a knitting conference in Sugarland, TX several years ago. It's a russian lace shawl that was featured in Piecework, Sept/Oct 2002, pg 51; "Triangular Warm Shawl" designed by Galina Khmeleva. It is all charted. I use to be able to do charts, even liked working from them--no sweat! My eyes are older now and my glasses aren't that great so words are better.

Roy scanned and enlarged the first chart for me, but it was taking me forever, knit one row, rip rip rip, knit it again, rip rip rip. So today I took the time to write out each row of the repeat section and away I went. Much more fun now and quicker. Actually making some progress.

By the way, I LOVE RAVELRY ! I found someone there who has made this same shawl and she (Karen from Bethesda, MD) has already helped me with my first "problem" in reading the chart. Knitters are the friendliest people.

Small world, Karen's husband used to live in San Miguel de Allende a while ago! I'll get a picture soon so you can see the progress I'm making.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Feather & Fan

too close and I can't get it in focus!

I have knitted many feather & fan shawls, baby blankets and samplers, but when I received this pattern (as a surprise) in the mail from my buddy Virginia Martinez I was looking for something to knit. This fit the bill.

I had previously gotten two different colorways of the new Noro Silk Garden sock yarn and so was ready to go. If I had gotten the pattern and then gone out to find yarn for the project I would not have used these two colorways -- one was for socks for Roy and the other was going to be a pair of bright socks for me. When I was working on the shawl, I wasn't sure I liked how it was turning out, but Roy kept telling me it was pretty.

One of the things I learned early on is that when you're the knitter you are sometimes too close to the project to see it the way others will. This is one of those projects. I think it turned out really well because of the light/dark effect of the two yarns -- two rows with one ball and two rows with the other.

I wish I cold take better pictures of my knitting, cause I think it's much prettier in person than in these pictures. Anyway...

Thursday, April 30, 2009

SF Update

Roy and I went out to the grocery store today because I wanted to stock up on bottled water, fruits and veggies, soda, snacks, etc. As I mentioned in my previous post, we were told restaurants were going to be closed, but that seems not to be the case. Almost all of our favorites are open and have dine-in service available. We are guessing that the suggestion to close is more for big places in Guad where many millions of people live. Here, at this time of year, if a restaurant has more than 10 people at a time that's a good night. But now, I have lots of food in the house and I'll need to cook it up to make room in the refrigerator again. I did cook Steak Diane tonight from Paula Deen's cookbook and made a side salad. It was real good!!!! Roy was sweet and cleaned up the kitchen for me. That's the part you don't see on the Food Network cooking shows. The people cooking are not doing any of the cleaning up -- and when you cook there's lots to clean up! Some of those guys don't even do all their own cooking -- it's not as easy as it looks on the TV.

The village is very quiet except for a few boys in our neighborhood who are playing in the street. Not many delivery trucks or even traffic for that matter. Still no confirmed cases of the flu here in Jalisco. Thanks to everyone who's written to me on my blog with your kind thoughts.

BUT OMG is it ever getting warm! This month is going to be a long one. It's in the high 80's (that means it's almost 90) on our terraza by late afternoon and tonight there's no breeze except for the fans -- thank god for electricity! Some of you may not realize there is not A/C here -- way toooo expensive, but our house is an old adobe construction so the walls are about 16" thick and that helps keep the inside cooler between 6-10 degrees. Even still, when it's 90 outside it's about 79-80 inside and it makes it hard for me to cool off enough to fall asleep easily. But one month out of 12 isn't a bad trade off for almost perfect weather for the other 11 months.

I'll keep you posted and thanks for following my blog! It's really nice to know people are reading.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Swine Flu

Well, as of today at 5:30pm there are no confirmed cases of swine flu in Jalisco, which is the state I live in here in Mexico, however the Governor of Jalisco has ordered all restaurants here closed except for take out food until May 6th. That's pretty alarming to me. I'm gonna have to cook more and I worry for the restaurants here at Lake Chapala who depend on tourists and/or gringos for their main customer base.

Roy, who is the quintessential under reactor, is not worried at all. I, of the get more nervous and lean towards panic group, am a bit more concerned. I'm hoping that the W.H.O. is being diligent about their reporting so they get everyone's attention and possibly more funding for vaccines and this is not going to be a black plague event in the 21st century.

When you live in a foreign country maybe you feel more vulnerable. I wish I was in the US right now, but don't want to get on an airplane which is the 3rd rail in spreading germs.

A very few people here lakeside are wearing face covers, which the CDC and WHO say doesn't do anything except keep your germs off someone else. But if it makes you feel better -- go for it!

I want to go out and stock pile water, canned foods, soda, vodka...

Keep you posted...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I miss Texas and Bluebonnets

I just started adding my knitting and crocheting books to my Ravelry site -- that place is awesome. I also found a blog of another Houston knitter in Ravelry and she'd posted pictures of the bluebonnets blooming. If you've ever seen a field of bluebonnet in the Spring then you know how I'm feeling right now -- they are incredible. Thank you again so much Lady Bird Johnson!

This isn't a picture of bluebonnets -- but I guess you can figure that out on your own -- but it is a picture from the pier in Ajijic of a sunset in April on the lake -- pretty cool huh!

I miss Texas sometimes , but there is something special about Lake Chapala too. Happy Spring my friends and family back "home".

Sunday, April 5, 2009


This was taken in a shop in the town of Santa Clara de Cobre (copper) near Patzcuaro. These are samples of bathroom and kitchen sinks. The town plaza's park benches are all copper, the light fixtures on the plaza are copper too. Anything and everything that you could want made in copper someone in this town can do it.

I am standing in the middle of an olive tree that was brought from Spain to the town of Tzintzuntzan, by Fransican monks in the 16th century. The trees are still alive but looking like they could use some help.

This one of the island in Lake Patzcuaro

This is an island in the middle of Lake Patzcuaro. Isla Janitzio, is the largest of three islands and people get to and from them by boat.

This is the interior courtyard of Casa Encantada, the B&B where we stayed.

This is the Grand Plaza in the center of town. It is one of several plazas in Patzcuaro. Our B&B was just around the corner from this plaza within walking distance.

This is part of the open kitchen where we ate breakfast everyday The dishes are native to Michoacan and are painted a beautiful green glaze on clay pottery.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Are We Safe Here?

I've had lots of friends and family asking me if I feel safe here in Mexico -- what with all the negative press you're getting in the US on CNN (Catastrophe News Network) and the traditional big 3 networks. In a word...YES!

We live in the western central highlands of Mexico in the State of Guadalajara. Most of what you hear and see on the news in the US is about what is happening on the border states. We are far, far away from the "gangland" stuff and it seems that you're safe in Mexico as long as you are not living close to the US!

Roy and I have often said that we feel as safe here in Ajijic as we did in Bellaire. We were in Patzcuaro, Morelia last weekend for our 10th anniversary watching CNN on TV and watching Anderson Cooper reporting from Ciudad Juarez and El Paso, Texas on the other side of the border. WE WERE IN MEXICO and hearing how unsafe it was and how Mexico was near a failed state! It's hard to equate walking around a beautiful plaza with Mexican families and young people walking around, eating dinner, taking pictures, selling "stuff", and hearing that this country has failed and everyone should run for their lives!

I'm not denying what is happening in the border cities. It is very scary and sad -- but mostly, I think, for those involved in the illegal activities both here in Mexico and in the US. I don't assume to know what the answers are, but I am very happy and proud that President Calderon has been so committed to trying to solve this enormous problem.

Don't worry about us. We are very happy here and feel so very safe in our little neighborhood. I don't know all my neighbors' names, but I say hello every day and waive to those I see when I'm out in the village. We are not isolated here. Like any neighborhood, we know who belongs and who's "new in town".

Sunday, March 29, 2009


It's been way, way too long since I've posted. Lauren, Joseph and Forrest have been here and are back in Texas and Roy and I just got back from Patzcuaro, Michoacan where we went for our 10th wedding anniversary. We said when we got back from our honeymoon in Maui that we'd go back to Hawaii for our 10th, but it snuck up on us and we've been waiting for Roy to retire so we could start traveling aroung our new country.

I promise there will be pictures coming, but for now let me just say that we had a wonderful trip, and loved the state of Michoacan. It's about 2000 feet higher than Lake Chapala and it's got many more trees than here -- I said many times while we were in the car that I felt like I was driving in the mountains of Colorado or northern California. Eucalyptus trees, pine trees, lots of evergreen trees so it's much greener there now than here even though the rainy season hasn't started yet. AND the temps are much lower there too. Great for me being the hottie that I am. I even turned on the electric blanket one night!

Back home now and it's definitely warmer here. This morning when we left Patzcuaro at 10:30am it was 61 and when we got home at 5:00pm it was 84. Remember we don't have AC. But Roy says it's a dry heat so it's not so bad!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Things

Yes, this is the same plant that you see in a box at Christmas time. I have about half a dozen blooming right now in the yard! They are sooo beautiful.

This poinsettia was a pot plant we bought a couple of Christmases ago! Put it in the garden, cut it way back and voila! In a couple of years it'll be 3 feet tall!

I've taken some pictures of some of my favorite flowers blooming now. Bougainvilleas, amaryllis, hibiscus, and a poinsettia! Enjoy

Late Winter here at Lakeside is the prettiest time of the year. The avocado is blooming, along with the orange tree, birds of paradise, lantana, various succulents, etc. If you ever want to come for a visit, just let me know! I highly recommend February and March.

He's Here

Friday Jan 20th Roy arrived in Ajijic to begin his new full-time life here in Mexico. It was not without lots of mixed feelings. He turned off the cable and cancelled the phone -- a number we've had for 35+ years. The notice from the post office that our mail will be forwarded came in the mail this week. No turning back. Lauren and Forrest took Roy to the airport and I think there were some tears shed too.

Here he is on his first full day of retirement. He said he was going to take lots of siestas and he wasn't kidding. That's Rey Rey and Magda with him keeping daddie company! I think that after 3 or 4 months of this he'll be ready to find something to do that's meaningful and fun, but he said he's looking forward to the down time for right now!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Mexico Blogs

I have links on my blog to too different blogs about living in Mexico. One is a daily blog by a lady (I don't know her personally -- actually through her blog I may, but have not met her in person yet), the other is written by a couple who live here (don't know them either).

If you want to see pictures of what my life looks like here in Mexico, I recommend you check out these two blogs. Jim and Carol's blog is well written and there are lots of beautiful pictures of things like Manzanillo, Colima, and The Lake Chapala Society here in Ajijic. LCS is a expat organization here in the village. It's an amazing place, beautiful gardens, lots of services for gringos and close to my house. The other blog is written by a single woman living here. She writes daily and is sharing what her experience is like living here.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Roy's on his way

Roy's making the final trek to Ajijic in Joseph's truck with most all of the stuff that didn't get moved down a year and a half ago on the "big" truck. He should be arriving here this evening after a long 12+ hour day of driving. Good news, the weather across Mexico today is clear and beautiful. He got books on tape from some of our Christmas gift cards so he's got something to keep him awake and not so lonely.

Parts of the drive are really beautiful and some parts are like driving across West Texas, flat and boring! I'll be happy once he's here and safe.

Paid taxes today

I went to Chapala today to pay our annual house taxes. There was an increase from last year of, wait for it, .07% -- that's right you read that correctly -- less than 1% increase. The entire bill was less than $900 pesos which in today's dollars is about $65.00 US. Again, you read that correctly, we paid $65.00 today for our annual taxes for a 3 bedroom, 3 bath house plus a one bedroom, one bath casita -- approximately 3500 sq. ft in total.

It's this place grand!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Something cool

I just logged onto to Ravelry and had a message in my mailbox asking if they could use one of my pictures on the pattern page for the Cascade Ripples Throw. Check it out!!!!!

This is really cool. I'm almost as famous as my friend Kenny -- who's going to have a pattern published in Interweave Knits next month!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

My Brother Don

I just got back from Fort Worth a few days ago after returning to Texas for my older brother's funeral. WOW, not what I thought I'd be doing a few weeks after Christmas.

It was very sudden and unexpected. He was driving home from picking up take-out Chinese food when he had a massive heart attack and died instantly, and after hitting 7 cars and running up a very steep embankment from Bryant Irvin Rd to SH 183 and jumping the guard rail, his car stopped on SH 183 heading east. No one, thank God, was hurt in the accident that followed his heart attack.

I went back to Texas immediately and got to spend some great time with my family and meet some of his friends and co-workers. It's not the way I'd have preferred we got together, but it was wonderful to see, hug, laugh, cry, and reminisce with everyone. My how the family has expanded over the years.

There's so much to say...The funeral was very subdued and emotional. I hadn't really had much of an emotional reaction to his death prior. But when Jim, Mary, Susie, and Ann got up for Jim to read what they had all written about their dad I fell apart. I realized then, Don was really more like a dad to me too, in so many ways, then a brother, especially after our Dad and Mom both died in 1974 and 1975 respectively.

Don was 20 years old when I was born. He and Pattie Ann were married in 1953 and started having their own family. Mary and I are only 13 months apart. Mary, Susie, Jim, and Ann are more like my siblings then nieces and nephew. But they still introduce me as "Aunt Donna" which always get a funny response!

Don was a pilot in the US Air Force and retired as a Colonel. He majored in dairy husbandry at the University of Maryland thinking he was going to come back to the farm and be a dairyman. Our family had a large dairy farm in Howard County Maryland, very close to the Howard County Fair Grounds.

While in the Air Force they lived in Carlisle, PA; Austin and Lubbock, TX; Hampton, VA; Montgomery, AL and Japan. He did 2 tours of duty in Viet Nam and I found out a couple of days before the funeral that he was awarded The Bronze Star. NO ONE KNEW ABOUT THIS. HE HADN'T EVEN TOLD HIS WIFE. That's my brother Don. He was the Dean of the Army War College in Pennsylvania. He wrote one of the first books on the lessons of Viet Nam. After he retired from his military career, he moved to Fort Worth, Texas and started an investment company for military personnel and worked there for 20+ years. THEN he decided it was time to really retire, and get serious about his golf game. His favorite place on earth was Hawaii.

He is buried at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery. Not exactly Maui, but it is a very beautiful place with rolling hills and lakes and fountains and birds!

My brother was a serious, introspective man when I was a young girl growing up. I never really knew him. In fact, I could probably say he scared me a bit. I was more comfortable with my sister-in-law Pattie Ann and she was the one who hugged me and made me feel a part of their family after our Mom died. As I got older Don and I became better friends. I wasn't so needy and he didn't feel so much responsibility for me and my brother Mike who was younger then he too. The last time I saw Don was 2 years ago at my niece Carolyn's wedding in Dallas. The four of us, Don, Joy, Mike and me have had several occasions over the years to all be together as adults and I am grateful for those events.

I remember he had an awesome, distinctive laugh and he could tell you something funny and make himself crack up laughing to the point he'd cry. He was happy and content in his life. I believe he died with no regrets or unfinished business. For that I truly grateful. He was a much loved and respected man. He will be sorely missed by Pattie, his children and their families, his brother and sisters, and friends.

Good-bye my brother/dad! I love you and will miss you too.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Happy Retirement

Well, it's finally here. He said he was going to do it, but being the skeptic I am I said I wouldn't believe it until I saw it. We've been talking about this day coming for several years and it has happened. We may yet be living again in the same country, state, town, and even same house!

ROY IS RETIRED! Well, he's retired from Aon, that is. After spending Christmas in Dallas, Roy had to drive back on Monday Dec 29th cause he had to be in the office on his last day, Dec 31, 2008 -- that apparently was really not necessary after all.

Now his job is taking lots of naps and hanging out at the Fowler's house -- at least until he makes the drive down with our last bits of stuff from the Bellaire house to the Ajijic house.

We thought we had a builder interested in buying our lot, but that fell through so now the plan is to get the house inspection ready to put on the market to sell. Wish us luck!

My Christmas in Texas -- 2008

Just got back to Mexico from my 2 week trip to visit my brother Mike and his growing family in Richardson, Texas; my Dad and JoAnn in Longview, Cassie and Lauren, Joseph, Forrest and friends in Houston.

The time always goes by too fast. I can't fit in everyone I'd love to see and hope that friends will understand.

I got back to Texas on Monday night 12/22 and quickly shopped til I dropped for 2 days to get all the Christmas shopping finished. We spent Christmas eve with the Fowlers (Lauren, Joseph and Forrest) and I got to see Forrest for the 1st time (in person) since he was a week old. My goodness he's changed! He's crawling now (5 1/2 months) and sitting up alone and we all predict he'll be walking soon. Roy and I have discussed setting up an education fund for him -- but now agree that we should put an orthopedic surgeon on retainer cause there will be broken bones and stitches in the little man's future. He does not like to stay still!

Christmas Day we drove to Dallas to visit my brother Mike and his wife Willa and my nieces and nephews, their spouses, and children. Sergei and Max got a Wii for Christmas as we had a ball playing golf, tennis, bowling, soccer, dodging the soccer balls and panda heads, hula-hoops, aerobics, etc. It was a great Christmas! And of course, Willa fed us all with wonderful dinners and lunches! Thank you Willa for all your service to us to make our Christmases so wonderful.

On Saturday Roy, Mike and I drove to Longview to see Spence and JoAnn. He's 81 now and looks great. He's a bit weak, but much happier and hopeful. He's decided that he's not ready to die just yet (what a blessing -- cause he's been waiting for God for 11 years). We played a game together and Spence even tried to sort of cheat, kind of. He just withheld all the rules until after he'd played his hand! Gotta watch this guy. JoAnn is an angel on earth and I am and will always be so grateful that she came into our lives. She takes great care of Spence and all has a smile on her lips and in her heart.

On Sunday Roy drove back to Houston* and I stayed over a couple more days to visit my long-time friend, Cassie. We drove to Nocona (near Wichita Falls) to visit her Mom who had hip replacement surgery. She's home now and doing great. Cassie and I drank lots of coffee -- YEAH Tassimo! What an amazing appliance that thing is. Knitted, ate wonder food full of memories for me from my many years living in Dallas, shopped, drove around Dallas, and talked for endless hours. Of lest I forget -- I got to play with her new puppy Tipsy. What a cutie and such a mess! Love you Tips!

I flew back to Houston on Southwest (what a great organization that airline continues to be) on New Year's Eve and was in bed and asleep long before midnight. New Year's Day we went to the Fowlers and I cooked black-eyed pea soup (it's a southern tradition to have black-eyed peas on New Year's Day) and we watched football and played with the baby. I got to spend some time with my wonderful knitting family in Houston at Nancy's Knits and enjoyed our special day on Sunday Jan 4th. Thanks everyone for coming -- it was wonderful to see you all. I made a new friend (Maxine) and got to be with old friends too.

* This is another story I'll share in another post. Happy Retirement