On top of the rock

On top of the rock
Our Cliff

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

RETRO...written by Maurice

Now we have a dog. A houndish looking thing about 4 month old. We rescued it from the streets of Todos Santos. I don’t know if rescued is the right word, after all I’m sure all his ancestors were street dogs and most likely did just fine. Ok, so street dogs don’t eat all the time and when they do it’s just about every thing they can find - from fish carcasses, to rotten meat, bugs, dead or alive. Even dirty toilet paper, to them, tastes just fine. But freedom is wonderful and free they are. When they finally die it is not because of disease or starvation, they just get hit by a car and there they lie, on the side of the road their flesh ripening in the hot sun, food for flies, vulture and yes...other dogs. (NOTE FROM SHELBY....ICK!!!)

But Retro, yes that’s his name, probably had had enough of the street life and settled in with us and our way of life very nicely, thank you very much.

Food is plentiful and very tasty, drinking water is clean, there is a soft and cozy bed at night, lots of patting, ear and belly scratching...“that feels gooood”, there are lots of dog treats throughout the day, chewing sticks, and of course dog toys to play with...or NOT.

But what about us? Have we, Shelby and I, settled in into this new way of life? Sure Retro is cute, Retro can be funny at times, Retro is a joy to look at, but Retro can also be a “large” pain in the butt. Retro demands constant attention, Retro likes to nibble on you, sharp teeth and all, and Retro has even started humping your leg. Don’t know where he learned that. He is certainly too young to know the purpose of that motion and where that motion can land him into; for sure a place he won't find on my leg. He has been fixed, shouldn’t that, or so I thought, take the urge away? But...hump he does. He constantly gets into things he is not supposed to and by doing so he gets into lots of trouble, but trouble in a dog’s world must mean fun. Retro stop...Retro don’t do that...Retro don’t chew me...Retro down...Retro, are you out of your mind? Retro this, Retro that.

I know that when Retro is quietly lying, chewing on something he has found, he is probably destroying something that we really need; like the internet stick, the cell phone case, a pencil, the corner of the carpet, the handle on a bucket, a sock, a shoe, the computer cord, a garden hose, a book, my wallet, etc. etc.

Retro was given a nice and expensive rubber chewing toy. A green, boned shaped thing about 6 inches long. Certainly something every dog would like to have and chew on, especially an underprivileged street dog. Do you think he plays with the darn thing, or chews on it? Not a chance. He sniffed at it the first time we so proudly showed it to him. ”Retro look what we’ve got for you…” and that was that. Now he doesn’t even look at it. I even tried hanging it on a string, but that I think is a cat thing.

Retro has found, buried in a box in my workshop, a water sprayer nozzle, the kind that fits at the end of a garden hose. He dug it out, carried it right in front of us and started chewing on it. That he loves. Retro now spends hours chewing on that thing, gradually destroying it. I laugh and let him have it; the bugger does not know that it was a piece junk, made in Taiwan, that never worked anyway.

But the question remains: Why is the sprayer so much more interesting and appealing then the stupid bone? It just happens that the sprayer is colored green just like the bone, so we can’t blame the color for turning him off the bone. Who knows, you have got to be a dog to understand that one.

This makes me wonder about dog toys and that idiotic bone shape they usually come in. What does that shape mean to a dog anyway?...Oh, excuse me a minute: “ RETRO GET OFF THAT SCREEN”… Sorry about that... anyway, why dog’s toys do not work? Do dog toy’s designers even own a dog? What are the requirements in order to be hired as a dog's toy designer by a dog toy manufacturing company? I mean, do they go to school for it? Are there yearly conventions to go to? If so, I would like to attend one and show up with my water sprayer....”hey guys, take a look at this, this really works”.

Here is another one: Try to put, let say, a simple TV remote control on the coffee table, just within his reach. Within minutes all the pretty buttons will be scattered about the floor. The batteries will lyeing somewhere waiting for their turn, and your TV will be permanently stuck on those annoying infomercial-channels, probably one that’s selling you those stupid green dog bones.

Auuuuu….Wooff, Wooff,

Monday, April 26, 2010

My last vision

Tomorrow I leave for Toronto. Vanessa and Jay are getting married on the 14th and I am heading back a week earlier than Maurice. Here are the most recent photos. You can see the view from the bottom, which includes the bodega....and some of the road.
In our main room you can see the blocked in fireplace
....there is one of our engineer and landscape architect (WHO I LOVE!!! WHERE WAS SHE BEFORE!!!)outside our main room.
There is also one of the three buildings they have been working on. On the right is casita number 1, the main room is on the left and casita number two is in the middle.
I will be gone for 5 weeks; Maurice for two. I am driving to Wisconsin after a few weeks in Toronto. Can not even imagine the changes when I get back....so I will hold these visions until then..... P.S. Laurie and Claus, I promise you Maurice has more clothes than Claus' company shirt!!! Really! This is his favorite....

Friday, April 23, 2010

An e-mail from Maurice sent at midnight

It’s Wednesday night, Pizza night at the “Sandbar”, I’m alone, Shelby’s gone on a shopping extravaganza in Guadalajara. I’m scared, in the sense of the shopping extravaganza, not being alone, I’m sitting at the bar looking around.

Only about a dozen and a half regulars are there, most around the bar. People we see all the time: the serious drinkers, they are not here for pizza night, they are here every night. The long haired hippies, a few locals, meaning Mexicans, and across the bar from where I’m sitting, the three blond witches: mother and two daughters. I exchange a few meaningless words with the “souls” next to me. Pizza is slow in coming. I haven’t eaten all day so I grab two slices as soon as I can. Gabe, the friendly bartender, tells me he cannot serve me my usual drink, Gin ‘n tonic, he has run out of tonic. I say no problems, “just pour the Gin, screw the tonic”. So he does, the drink comes and the glass is just as full, I don’t complain, I guess that’s how I’ll order from now on.

I eat the pizza, down the drinks, miss my wife and feel lonely. Another look around tells me that I don’t belong, I’m a being from out of space, a different planet. I don’t have the southern drawl or the Californian twang, and I don’t have the long unkempt dirty blond hair, in fact I don’t have that much hair at all, and the little I’ve got is well cut and trimmed, my wife made sure of that just before she left. I also don’t wear a baseball cap nor a straw hat, I’ve no tattoos and no pierced ears. I feel different.

So with nothing to do or someone to talk to, my mind wonders and when it does it usually goes to numbers. I love numbers, numbers are everything. Numbers speak the truth, they are what they are. So with number in my head, and drinks and Pizza slices, here is a quiz:

1 - It is February 1st and it’s pizza night. It is also a non leap year. I decide to have as many pizza slices as the days to take me to my next “Pizza Night”. I’ll do the same with my drinks but add one extra drink. How many slices and drinks I would have consumed at the end of the month?

2 - Also How many if it was a leap year?

3 – Do you think I miss my wife?

Hurry back.

Love you


Thursday, April 22, 2010


Shopping in Guadalajara is something I have wanted to do for a couple of years. It seems that every time I ask someone where they purchased a particular item they told me Guadalajara; Thus my desire to go. I knew things were less expensive there. I knew that it was not uncommon for Americans or Canadians to travel there for shopping. I knew it was cheap to fly there and that shipping was not an issue. Of course all I heard from Maurice is “DO NOT GET CROWN FOR SHIPPING!!!“ O.K. That one is easy!!

Now when I say “shopping” I do not mean clothes shopping or jewelry shopping, I mean household item shopping. Tlaquepaque, a suburb of Guadalajara, which is where we stayed, is known for pottery and blown glass. Most people come here for things made by the local factories. This could be pots, lights, furniture, glassware..the list is endless. Since I was not sure what we were getting into I had a priority list. We need doors. Actually on our main room we will have sliders made of glass but we still need another 11 wood doors. Some for inside and some for out. Did you know that doors in Mexico can be made of caoba, cedro, enzio, maple, alder selecto or superior or even alder para escoger, or pino? Then there is mesquite, parota, rosewood and ash.

Decision number one. The wood. Now you try to Google the benefit or rosewood vs. alder para escoger and see what happens!! Of course the prices vary unbelievably…depending upon the wood, and the manufacturer. Our price quotes were as high as $9770pesos (about $800 per door) down to about $6000 pesos or $480 per door. Two of the quotes are from door factories here in Guadalajara.

Visit to door factory number one. We were met outside a lovely antique store in downtown Tlaquepaque by two men in a car. This meeting took place because we asked about some beautiful doors this store had on display and they told us about Hecht Brothers and their factory. We could not quite figure out their directions to the place (yes we rented a car which is a whole other story) so they phoned Hecht, and Domingo and his dad Enrique agreed to meet us at 3:30 and take us to their factory. We followed them out of the downtown area, through a parking lot to a backstreet to a building surrounded by barbed wire and broken bottles on the top of the fence. Of course I am happily parking the car while Barbara is telling me that her husband would kill her if he knew that she followed two strange men to a factory out of town with barbed wire on the top. Funny, the thought never entered my mind! Really! How did I live so long!!!
Well in we go. It is a large, wonderfully smelling place. There are probably 20 workers doing different things to wood products. Some are sanding, some are cutting, others are gluing. This is obviously a place where they know what they are doing. We spend an hour or so learning about what they do and exchange information. They promise to e-mail a quote to us by Wednesday afternoon. I almost beg them to get it earlier. It is Monday and we leave on Thursday. The most important thing we have to buy here are the doors. When we decide on the doors then we can arrange to have everything else shipped with the doors in one container. (Shared with other people like us) We found it is common for contracted companies to handle all the gathering of goods, paperwork and shipments for the buyer. We wanted to buy other things but I just did not want to send them without the doors. We had to buy the doors above all. He said he would get us the quote by Wednesday morning as he was heading to a show in Puerta Vallarta.

On Tuesday we go to Tonala. This is kind of the LA to Beverly Hills comparison. Tlaquepaque is higher end. The shops are lovely, quaint, neat and higher priced. (Even though the prices are still very cheap) Tlaquepaque has a huge area where cars are not allowed. Pedestrians wander around, shopping and stopping at the cafes. Tonala is busy. Lots of cars and 1000’s of small shops selling crap. There are also 1000’s of small shops selling un-crap. You really have to scrounge around to find things. It is so totally overwhelming that I was almost ready to turn around and go back to Tlaquepaque. Luckily someone had given us Oscar’s business card. Oscar makes doors. Oscar arranges shipping. Oscar speaks English! Off we go to find Oscar. When we do get to his teeny tiny little shop we find his wife. She tells us he is at their factory and she directs us there. After getting lost we finally end up at Oscar’s factory, three blocks away. He has two men working there. One is pounding nails and gluing wood together trying to replicate a picture of a headboard that is taped in front of him. The other guy is welding large spheres of metal, which Oscar tells me are going to be lights. Hmmm...dirt floor, two guys, open air concept...why do I like this set up better!!??
After we talk about our needs we give Oscar a ride back to his teeny tiny little store and provide him with a list of doors we need. He tells us to come back in an hour and he and his wife will have prices for us.

We return in an hour and hand written on a piece of paper is each door, the size and the number of pesos it will cost us. To be honest I was surprise how expensive they were. Not that we had much to compare it to but I thought we would pay $200 a door, not $800 a door! Now Oscar uses Mesquite from the forests of Mexico. This is the best wood. We need to keep that in mind. That is Barbara talking, not Oscar. Oscar does zero selling. He smiles, gives us the quote and says he really wants the job and to tell him if it is too much money for us. Off we go.

As of this morning Barbara is on a plane back to Madison. I fly out in 4 hours. We finally got the quote from Hecht Brothers late yesterday afternoon. It was in an e-mail, on a form that they use. It was very detailed and provided us with all the information we would need. They are cheaper than Oscar by about $1000, but they used rosewood. Is this good or bad??? Who knows. Their finishes are machine sleek and smooth. Oscar’s are hand done. They do large orders for hotels. Our order for Oscar is large for him. Hmm.....

Suffice to say we do not have a clue what we are doing. What I do know is that I will be back here. Our 4 days here were filled with so many experiences. I loved the area. It was safe and we had a great time. The shopping is fabulous. We scoped out some great places to buy furniture and wrought iron and metal pots etc. My next trip will be for those things when we are closer to completion.

Right now we have orders sitting in three places. We picked some great light fixtures. Found some of our flooring, and are having two special windows made by a stained glass maker. They are all waiting for the “go ahead” and of course for some pesos. So when Maurice decides on the doors, when I get back today, I will follow-up and confirm the orders in waiting. So all in all it was a successful trip. If it wouldn’t have been for Barbara, though, pushing me along I would have done nothing. It was all very overwhelming for me. I am sorry but 10 blocks of endless ceramica stores is just a little much! I don’t care how much you like shopping!!

The swimming pool was much more inviting!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

More pictures

Barbara and I are in Guadalajara trying to figure out what we should purchase from an overwhelming number of options! It is amazing here. Fabulous artisans, great stores, nice, English speaking people. Will write more on our time here later but wanted to post some of the pictures I took before we left. The workers have started retaining walls for the path up from the parking lot. They got visited by an ice cream truck while they were working there. Amazingly he drove right up. We have delivery people fearful of the road, but the little white truck, music blaring, shoots right up the road, not a care in the world!

Monday, April 19, 2010

My sister

Barbara arrived here a couple of days ago for an adventure. I invited her to go to Guadalajara with me so we could shop for Arriba de la Roca. I was thrilled when she said “yes” and she arrived on Wednesday, just in time for pizza night at the Sand Bar. As my friend Megan can tell you, Gabe, the bartender at the Sand Bar, makes a killer margarita. AND to make it worse, or better, depending upon your perspective, they have 2 for 1 if you arrive before the sun sets, which we did. During 2 for 1 you can have 2, or you can have 4, or I guess 6 or 8 as well. We had 4, each. Yummy margaritas with lots of fresh lime.

Day one of Barbara’s adventure began with a rather large headache. Nausea also was part of her morning experience. She is a trooper though. Even with the terrible cold she arrived in Mexico with, she did not complain. Here she is...sneezing, coughing, headachy, heartburn from the limes and...vertigo. She discovered she had vertigo when we walked up to the top of Arriba de la Roca and she had to walk on some rather precarious planks to get into the casitas. We held on to each other for stability. I, too, was a little “foggy”. After the tour of our project we had to walk down again. The problem is that the “road” we were to walk on had been traveled so many times by Senor Backhoe Retro, in his retro, that the sand was very soft, dusty and slippery. We tried to work our way down a path that had not been traveled by our Senor, but eventually we had to cross onto the “road”. The first foot that Barbara placed on the sand slid out from under her and she fell; Twisting her ankle. After a few minutes of her saying “I am O.K.” and her not moving, a couple of the workers came down to help her. She was limping and in pain.

So now not only has she a cold, she has a headache. She has heartburn. She has vertigo, and she has sprained her ankle. We did not know if it was sprained or not, but when it started swelling and turning black and blue we figured there was some sort of major damage done.

It is now 9am on her first day.

Our plan was to walk to the beach. Since she really had wanted to do this, in spite of the fall, we decided we would start out and see how far she could get. We had iced her foot and she did great and made it to the water. There we sat, on the sand (since we did not really think we would make it that far and brought no chairs) for a couple of hours. We watched her foot swell with the rise and fall of the tide. We watched her nose get sun burned, without sunscreen. When we decided to head back I told her I would go ahead and get the truck. At least this way she would only have to walk through the beach, and not all the way back to the bodega. I walked ahead, knowing I could get back before she made it to where I would pick here up; She was slow and limping, favoring her good foot. All of a sudden I hear her moaning screams as she is trying to get through the hot sand that is burning her feet. I turn to see her limping, screaming and not knowing whether to continue or bury herself in the sand. Nice sister that I am I start laughing so hard that I have to cross my legs for security. The whole thing struck me so humorously that even now I am laughing when I write it. I was trying to tell her to get past the black sand and it would not be hot. I was laughing too hard and could not get the words out.

We now add burnt feet to the list.

The evening comes. She still is coughing and sneezing. I think her headache had waned, but the heartburn is still going strong. She is icing her swollen ankle and complaining about her burnt feet and saying I must have "leather soles" to be able to walk in the sand.

Thank heavens it is finally time for this day to end! We make her little nest on our sofa. I bought her special Egyptian cotton sheets, new pillows and a comfy down comforter. We get her bed all made, and she is so excited. She can finally go to sleep and put this day behind her. She is thrilled with her sheets and she is rubbing them, telling me how comfortable the bed is. When we awake in the morning all will be good. AHHHHHCHOO!....Well maybe not “all”.

Now ready for bed I go to bring in Retro’s dog house. He sleeps in it in the living room at night. During the day it stays open, outside and he comes and goes as he pleases. He loves the cage. It must give him a sense of security. So I bring it in the house and like always open the door for him. He always runs right in the cage, all happy, knowing he will get a treat. This particular time he comes in, spies the freshly made bed and he runs and jumps on it! I start freaking out, knowing Barbara is not a huge “dog fan”. I am yelling “RETRO GET DOWN!!! DOWN RETRO!!!!” The frightened little guy gets down but not before leaking urine all over the comforter, the sheets, the rug and onto the floor as he ran into his cage.

The coupe de gras??? Our dog pees on Barbara’s bed. OMG!!! Could this day get any worse?? Yes, we have no extra sheets. All our stuff is still in storage. I knew we had another blanket but no sheets. She tells me that is "O.K." in the saddest little voice on earth. We strip the sheets and blanket (pillows still good) and I go on a search. I remembered we had a bottom sheet somewhere. I just had to find it. After lots of searching I found the old, not Egyptian cotton sheet, and we re-made her bed, sans top sheet.

Can I tell you Retro was a much better dog the first week we had him than he is now!!!

So right now we are at the airport heading to Guadalajara on our shopping trip. Her ankle is wrapped. She even made it up the cliff one last time yesterday, using Maurice as a crutch. She is a trooper!! Now she is sipping a cup of vanilla chai tea and even her sneezing is better. I think she will be limping through the streets of Guadalajara but at least she will not be hung-over with vertigo. Well, unless we can find a great restaurant for dinner that makes yummy margaritas during happy hour!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Update photos

Here are a few photos. It is hard to capture all the work they are doing, but here you go...more later..story to involve:

Pizza night
Acid Indigestion
Burnt feet
Sprained ankle
Down comforter
Retro...bad bad Retro

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Land Ownership

Yesterday we woke to four strangers entering our “area” and walking up our road with a can of paint. “HOLA, BUENOS DIAS”, Maurice yells. One of them waves, and not with a very friendly face. Maurice walks over to them and they stop and tell him that they own the land next to ours and they are just going up there to see where we are building. To insure we do not infringe on their space they want to mark their property line with paint. Funny thing is that the property line has already been marked with paint, at least three times. Red, white and brown. It seems that at least every other day someone comes to our bodega claiming ownership of the land next to us. Today was just earlier than usual, 6:50am.

We have found that there are 35 people fighting over this land. No one really knows who owns it. The problem is they all want to come up on top to the “property line” and measure and make sure we are not building on “their” land. Each time someone comes to do this, they tell us their story. Well, not “us” they tell Maurice, the “Spanish speaker” of us.

We have always been concerned about “land ownership” in Mexico. We have heard horror stories of people who thought they bought land only to find out that it is not really theirs. We did all we could before we bought our property to insure it would really be ours. Then, the first trip we made back here, after we paid for the land, we drive to the site of our future dream home and found a huge FOR SALE sign on our fence. Hyperventilating is too gentle of word to describe what we were doing when we saw the sign.

Eventually we found out, through a series of phone calls and visits to real estate offices, that the sign was put on the wrong fence. EEGADS!! Talk about heart failure! Anyway, land ownership issues here are not uncommon.

A couple of hours after our morning visitors left Maurice and I are outside burning garbage. (Not the normal garbage but old wood, and palms etc) and this young guy stops. He asks Maurice if he can take some particular stones that are next to our place. Maurice tells him that they are not ours but belong to the people that own the land next to us. And, of course, he starts telling Maurice it is his grandfather’s land and the others claim it but it is really HIS families. No one else’s.

The government gave this land away 130 years ago and now, that we are building next to it, everyone seems to want it. I don’t blame them, but they had better stay away from Arriba de la Roca!! We are waiting for the day someone pulls up and tells us their great grandfather was given OUR land back in 1882 and thanks us for building them their dream home!!!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Wasted days and.....

Today we lost half a days work from half of our crew.

As has become our routine, when Don Jose arrives, we give him a ride up to the parking lot. He drives a car that would never make it up the road so he parks at our bodega when he gets here. The workers all arrive about 2 hours before he does. He appears to be old, although he is probably 15 years younger than we think. The thought of him walking up that steep, long road, though, is too much for us so we give him a ride. Than we look at the work that had been done, and talk about what will be done in the afternoon.

This morning all was good. We made some decisions about lights and a few minor things and we looked over what the guys had already done. No discussion about what they were going to be doing the rest of the day. Down we go. We were waiting for our engineer, Valente, to arrive and he finally got here about 1 o’clock. He drove up the road right away and did not stop at the bodega. We kept asking each other, “Should we go up?” We vacillated, more to see if Valente would stop here when he was leaving. We have been having some issues with him. Issues involving our unfinished road, and him cashing all the checks to complete the work. Anyway, soon we get a phone call from him. He has three questions for us. Are we having TV’s in the casitas? NO. Are we having air conditioners? NO. Where do we want the hot water heaters placed? Hmmm...good question. We decide we better head up.

When we got up there, a mere 4 hours after we had just been up there, we found that they were putting up the walls and the supports for the roofs on the casitas. On each casita these roofs would apparently slope. The slope meant on one side of the casita they built up above the top of the windows by using an additional 3 blocks. That is a lot of height. The other side there was an additional 8 blocks. These walls were mucho alto! They dwarfed the windows. They would remove the views from the main house, and the other areas. We were so unhappy. We asked why??? They answer was because I had not wanted flats roof since they would be visible from the house. I mentioned weeks ago that the rounded terracotta roof tiles would look nice. Well I’ll be damned! They listened! They were making me a visually pretty roof top, which totally destroyed everything else.

Well after much conversation and walking around and looking from every possible angle we had them remove all the blocks. They removed the walls block by block, and scraped the still un-hardened cement, from each piece to take down all the work that 10 men had spent 4 hours doing. We felt really bad, but thank God we went up there!! Tomorrow it would have been really hard to “undo” after the cement had dried. Now they left 2 blocks on top of the windows and we will have flat roofs. I will stick something up there on the roofs to make it look O.K. but it is a far cry better than 5 foot slanted roofs!

Maurice asked Valente what would be happening if we were not here, and still in Canada. Seriously, we change things every day. And major things! He said he would be there everyday with a video camera and each night send us a video of what they did that day.

Ya, like that would work!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I know I need an update but I fear I am becoming repetitive. The sun is shining. It is hot. I just got back from my two miles on the beach with Retro, and no… I have not lost a pound! Explain that! Two miles a day, through the sand on the beach and not losing a pound. What the heck!! Maurice’s loses weight in his sleep!! Oh well...I am chubby and happy.

Tonight is pizza night, although we can not really believe that. We just went two nights ago, or so it seems. The time flies by here like crazy!!!! The workers are still moving at warp speed; although we hear this will really slow down when they start the detail work. It is getting hotter here and I can not imagine doing what they are doing. They still seem happy and prideful of their accomplishments.

I do not think they are really happy with us right now because we are making changes to “the plan“. We did not realize how bad of an architect we had until we started dealing with details. Things like window placement and size. Areas of seemingly unusable space. No plans to connect all the buildings together with use of patios and lighting. Yes, he showed them on a drawing, but it is not realistic when we are standing up there figuring it out. We now have another architect, which we found through our pool man, who is doing some adjustments for us. When she brought us her first rendition it was all in color and 3D, from different angles. Our architect did our whole house in black and white using auto cad! No dimensions or design. I guess that is why we are up there twice a day, saying, “no, not there….how about here.” Now they want to know door sizes. Hmm….good question. I actually have a meeting on Saturday with two people who deal in old doors and architectural artifacts. I asked them to wait to put in the door “frames” until then. Nothing is really standard here, unless you go to Home Depot, and I do not want Home Depot doors….well maybe for the bathrooms, but not the outside doors. So, they will wait. We also stopped them from starting our main bedroom area. We originally wanted two floors…one on top for an office-no-TV-room. Now we are thinking of maybe doing everything on one level. The views are so beautiful, why cover them anymore than you have to. I know we are slowing them down, but we need to make the right decisions. The casitas are spectacular, as in our main room. We want every detail perfect.

See totally repetitive. I am going to the dump again today. Where does all the dump stuff come from? There are 20 guys working here and lots of cement bags, etc. We are living in a construction zone. I am trying to keep it as tidy as possible...not happening BTW!!! There are still broken blocks and wood all over everywhere...BUT, the sun is shining, it is hot, the beach is beautiful, and tonight is pizza night. If I can get Maurice to dance naked on the bar tonight then tomorrow I will really have something to tell you!!

Monday, April 5, 2010


Just a quick update. The earthquake was about 900 miles north of us so we felt nothing. In fact we did not even know it happened until I opened my e-mails this morning and received the inquiries as to our status here. Not having a TV is wonderfully liberating. We do not have a clue about what is going on around us!! We are still talking about whether or not we will even have one in our house on top. I do miss American Idol and 24, but who knows, they could be off-air by next year.

Anyway. We are fine. Heading to LaPaz today. We decided to get a couple of sky lights to put the in the toilet part of the casista's bathroom. That was Maurice's unique idea. We are really stepping "outside the box" on this one!! Will be cool. We keep changing and morphing things as we got along....very exciting for us.

Have a great day my friends. Retro says "arf".

Saturday, April 3, 2010

My first sorrow

Easter has always been my family’s biggest holiday. It seemed to be the easiest for everyone to come home for Easter, so we were all there. This get together began about 23 or 24 years ago, and involved a place called Rabbit Rock, hidden Easter gifts, a bar called Ranks, (in Adams Friendship, Wisconsin) for ham sandwiches and a pool game or two; all this for a family of adults. Then my niece Jennifer started coming with her two little ones, who are now totally grown adults, and slowly our celebration has changed. More children were born into the family so now our Easter is one of baskets for kids, Easter egg hunts, a picnic at my sister Barbara and her husband John’s cottage, and Friday night pizza at Pasquale’s, with the kids swimming next door. On a good year there are 11 children, all running around playing the games we organize for them. Weather permitting; there is usually a soft ball game in Barbara and John’s yard. It is really a great time of year for all of us.

Well last night was Pasquale night. This year was a strange year for everyone, and the number of my family members in attendance was much smaller than normal, but I still missed it; and it still made me sad. Today they are all at the cottage. It is supposed to rain there so they may take the kids swimming. They will still find a way to hide baskets, and eggs, and play the games. There are only 6 kids there this year and 10 adults. 16 is small for an Easter celebration with my family. But imagine 16 of your family together, and you are not there. This makes me lonesome. I have put in the request for Easter in the Baja next year. We will see who takes me up on that!!!!

We are going to try and re-do this celebration over Memorial Day at the cottage this year. I will be in Wisconsin for a week, after celebrating Vanessa and Jay’s wedding in Toronto. Maurice will come back to Mexico after the wedding to continue with our project, but I will sneak home for some family time.

So Happy Easter to everyone. Enjoy your families and your loved ones. Do not take anything or anyone for granted. Life changes and you can never get these days back again.

P S. Don’t feel too sorry for me. We are off to the beach. It is a glorious day here. Maurice and me and our dog. We have a cooler of beer, some cheese, crackers and smoked oysters...And a dish of water for our dog, Retro.