Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Yesterday was Fat Tuesday and the annual Carnival parade in Ajijic.  There is definitely a transvestite theme in this parade, along with kids dressed up in carnival masks throwing flour at everyone.  There was lots of beer consumed, little kids  along with their caballero dads on horses, and generally a good excuse to have a good time.  Here are several photo of the parade:

Other than the Carnival, things are pretty much the same here.  The cold rainy weather is finally over, after two weeks, and we are back to warm sunny weather.  We are busy doing what we need to do before we leave.  We finished our car work, after numerous trips back to the body shop.  We're selling or giving away much of what we can't bring with us.  We're having to buy US auto insurance.  And have made arrangements to buy a major medical health policy for Pixie until she's eligible for Medicare.  (Of course we're planning to stay as healthy as possible with our vegan diet and lots of walking). 

We've been enjoying some more meals with friends and other social activities.  Here are photos of a few:
Our friends Bob and Kathy had us over for Bob's delicious vegetable stew..
Joan and John, friends form our UU Fellowship had us over to see their newly redesigned kitchen and enjoy a delicious meal...

Margaret and Lech, from Ottawa,who we haven't seen for two years are back for the winter.  We enjoyed dinner with them this week...
    Karen Blue, a friend from the Ajijic Writers' Group, is writing another book about Baby Boomers reinventing retirement in Mexico and interviewed us last week about our decision, after five years, to only be here seasonally.  

And so, our countdown to our March 6 departure is  continuing  with many mixed feelings.  We are busy with social events in addition to packing and making arrangements for mail forwarding, etc.  This pace will continue for another week and a half; then our life will enter a transition period, once again.  

I'll end this post with a photo taken at the parade of Fred and Mardele's family who are visiting this week.  From left: Ryan, Matt, Mardele, Jacob, and Fred and Mardele's daughter Renatta. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Stuck in the Rain!

We arrived back last week to an unusual weather pattern: rain.  Normally, this area receives little to no rain between October and June.  Everything is dry and dusty during this period.  But something's up this year because we've been having rain, at least a little rain, each day since we returned over a week ago.  And it's quite cool, in the 50's.  Today seems like a complete washout.  

Normally the rain does not present much of a problem.  For us, this week, it's a little different.  We brought our car to have a thorough check-up before our 3200 mile trip back to Maine.  After our mechanic finished checking it, he brought it next door to the body shop where we're having numerous dings and scratches fixed.  So we've been without our car for the last 4 days and we're hoping they can finish it today in spite of the rain! Body work is extremely cheap here.  We're having the entire rear end of our RAV4 fixed and repainted for about $300US.  Needless to say, we won't be getting much body work done when we move north!

We've been extremely busy socially the last week or so.  Many of our friends want to spend some time with us since we won't be here again until January.  So we've been busy almost every night!  One of our writer friends, Jim Tipton, threw himself a birthday party and invited many in the writing community here.  Jim is married to a Mexican woman who, with a couple of her friends, created an amazing Mexican buffet.  Here are some photos of the party at Jim's house in Chapala:

Here Jim (left) sits with Kahlid:

 Lise and Ken Clarke from Quebec.  Ken was a merchant marine for many years and has written extensively about his seafaring adventures:
 Mel Goldberg is the poet who shared the book signing event with me in January:  
 Jim shares a dance with poet, Margaret Van Every:
A couple of days ago, we went to Tlaquepaque (te-lak-a-PA-ke) in Guadalajara with our friends George and Kenya Cardis and his daughter, Celia, to dine at a wonderful restaurant and celebrate George's birthday.  It was a wonderful day, and I enjoyed, of all things, a cucumber margarita.  It was good.

Last night we went with some other friends to have dinner and dance to a local band, The Tall Boys.  All the expats here love the Tall Boys, because they play songs by the bands we all remember: Stones, Beatles, Creedence, Grateful Dead, Alabama, etc.  
 Gloria and David...
 Carol and Jacques, from Maine...
 Patricia, from our writing group, and her friend Kat...

 So, as our time here in Mexico, for this year, is winding down, we are busy sorting, packing, and giving away stuff.  I am giving the presentation at our Unitarian Fellowship arguing that rationality will be more likely to improve our life here than faith.  (I think I'm always singing the same song!) And we're enjoying spending time with all our expat friends.  

We will be leaving on March 6 and taking about six weeks visiting and driving before we arrive back in Maine sometime in mid-April, we estimate.  

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Back Home from Philadelphia

We arrived back in Ajijic last night from our trip north to gather with our family and celebrate the life of my dad. Wendy and Cassie took the bus down from Maine to join us. Here they are with Pixie after we came back from interring Dad's ashes in the cemetery on Sunday.

The memorial service on Saturday was attended by about 200 people, including former patients of Dad's, doctors and staff from the Scheie Eye Institute at the University of Pennsylvania where Dad had been an Emeritus Professor of Ophthalmology, painting friends from Maine, fellow members of their book club, and, of course, friends and family. It was held in a beautiful hall at the American College of Physicians in Philadelphia.

I have two brothers, Brackley and Fred, and two step sisters, Beth and Joanne. I read a poem which had appeared in my first volume of poems which I had dedicated to Dad. All the children spoke, and it was very moving. Here are photos of me with my two brothers, from left, Brackley and Fred.

One of the nicest parts of the weekend was being able to get together with members of Joy's family for an extended period of time. Here are photos of Joy's daughters, Beth with her husband Brian, and Joanne with her husband, Brent.

We children spoke at the memorial service. On Sunday we went to the cemetery to inter the ashes in a memorial wall. There, each of the grandchildren spoke eloquently; there were no dry eyes there. Here are two photos of the grandchildren at the luncheon we had after the interment: In the top photo (sitting) Beth's son Mark, Kelly (Eric's girlfriend), Joanne's son Eric, Brackley's daughter, Ariana, (standing) Pixie, Fred's son Alex, and Joanne's daughter Alissa.

And below, Wendy, Cassie, Beth's daughter Melissa, Beth's son Matt with his girlfriend, Stephanie, and Mark again.

My cousins Lee, Sally, and Jim (Dad's sister Mary's children), and Rod (Dad's other sister Alice's son) all came for the service. Rod stayed for two days, and he is the only one I took a photo of:

And finally, my stepmom, Joy. She will now be living alone, without Dad. She was great all weekend, arranged for food so we could all concentrate on spending time with each other. We will stop to visit her in Philadelphia as we make our way back to Maine in March:

So, now we're back, and we need to continue our preparations to head north starting the first week in March. I'll be posting while we're here and on our trip until we arrive and get settled in Maine.