On top of the rock

On top of the rock
Our Cliff

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Last night, just before sunset I saw my first whales of the season. Last year I saw my first one on November 1st, so this is 9 days earlier.

Since whales are mammals they breath air and so must return to the surface at regular intervals to get a breath. This is waht I saw last night....their breathing and blowing out of air. There appeared to be 3 of them as there were 3 spouts moving south. Once in the Sea of Cortez they give birth. These babies will stay with their mothers for over a year and feed on her milk. They begin their migration back to Alaska shortly after they are born.

Friends saw a school of porpoise yesrday, too. I figured since whales belong to the group of mammals called Cetaceans, along with dolphins and porpoises, then they all must be coming back. The waters are getting cool enough for them now. Love this time of year!!!

Ocotber 21st. My first whale sighting of the year. January and February are really the best months to observe the largest number of whales in migration. We have rooms available. Come and see nature at its best!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Old home week

Ever wonder what that expression means? No, me neither. It is an expression people use when they refer to an experience from the past...I assume. They use it whether that experience involves a day, a night, or an actual week.

I guess my reference to “old home week” should actually be called “old home month”. Maurice and I decided we needed to have an additional pool patio. The one we have is not big enough when we have many guests, and seriously a little too intimate to put 6 strangers together on their pool loungers. We have learned everyone likes to be around the pool so the other areas we have set up for lounging are never used...thus, the need for more space.

Last week some of our original building crew began the month long project. “Here they go again”...schlepping re-bar, bags of cement, concrete blocks, wheel barrels of sand and gravel, all the way to the top of the cliff. Here I go again, reveling in their strength and hard work, especially in the heat! Gees, they are amazing.

Senor Backhoe Retro is back, delivering the sand and gravel, as is Jose. Since these guys built, Arriba de la Roca, they deservedly have some type of “mental” ownership. Walking around, checking everything out, getting water, hooking up electric, looking in the windows. Gone are the days when they would never think of walking into our kitchen...cucina, to them. In they come. They use the bano and laugh and smile all the time. They call our dog Retro “loco” since he barks at them endlessly, and they always wave goodbye when they leave.

I am happy. This whole thing, besides being a smart business decision, is fun for me. I love having them around again. I enjoy their singing, their spirit and their dedication...but I guess I could say that about almost every local I have met here. Mexicans here are good!

Two weeks ago a couple that was staying here drove north of La Paz to a place called Pichilinqua. They were on an isolated area of beach road when their axel broke and their tire fell off. Some local guys came by and not only offered to help to move the car, but they leant them their phone so they could make all the calls needed to remedy the situation; which in their case meant a new rental car. The guys then stayed with them, just in case they may have the need for the phone again. Our guests were blown away!!

Afraid of coming to Mexico?? I promise you that you will never have one second of concern when you are in our area of the world. Besides the incomparable beauty, the people here are kind and good. You will love it, as well as our new pool deck...I guarantee it!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Read and Read some more..

It has been over two weeks since I did a posting. The heat of summer has been upon us, forcing us to make good use of our pool. I can not imagine being here without one. In the beginning it seemed like such an indulgence. We have learned it is a “must” during this time of the year. Many days I just stand in it and read; Slathered in sunscreen, with a big straw hat on my head.

So what have I done for the past couple of weeks beside swim? I have read. A few weeks I started re-reading Michael Connelly’s “Harry Bosch” books. We have most of them and it had been numerous years since I had read them so I began again. Incredible what you forget! I would think to myself, this sounds familiar but I do not have a clue what is going to happen in this book!! I do not think it is because of “age” as some people say. It is because I have so much inside my brain that some things get shoved to the back and I have to bring them forward again. I tell Maurice this is because I am SOOOO brilliant!!! I think he doubts me.

I have also been introduced to a series called “The Zion Chronicles”. There are five books in this series and I am now on number 4. Set in Israel, right after WWII, these books document the struggle between the Palestinians, the Jews, and the governing British, after the United Nations decided to give the Jews back their homeland. Historical fiction, they are thought provoking and a great series.

Now I just finished the sequel to “Pillars of the Earth”, by Ken Follett. “The World Without End” I have had for a few years. Since it is over 1000 pages I never wanted to commit to the time it would take to read it. Last week I said to myself, you are reading 5 books a week…oh brilliant one…Read this one!!! Stupid logic left it on the shelf for a long time!!! Again, it was another great book!

Since I did not want to turn my blog into a “book club” meeting I have not done any postings. Rest assured Maurice and I are great and really enjoying these lazy days of summer. It is quiet here and many folks are gone until October. We are getting reservations for the upcoming season and are looking forward to welcoming new guests here. If you have no plans come join us at Arriba de la Roca this American Thanksgiving. I am cooking a turkey and we are offering every third night of your stay at no charge.

We even have a great book library for you to delve into while you are here!!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I think your pants are on fire


Hurricane Greg, bearing 80 mph winds, is 340 miles south of the tip of Baja California, the Miami-based center said earlier. The hurricane, rated Category 1 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, is moving west-northwest at 21 mph and may strengthen further without endangering land, before weakening tomorrow


Greg, which formed as a tropical storm Wednesday, was located in the eastern Pacific Ocean about 340 miles (545km) south of Baja, California, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said .

And from 2pm today from WEATHERUNDERGROUND, which tracks storms minute to minute....

The intensity of Greg has likely plateaued and is not expected to change much in the next 12hours. Beyond 12 hours...Greg is forecast to move over increasingly cooler waters which will cause steady weakening.


Today at 2pm when this news above was posted on Weatherunderground Maurice and I were cleaning the pool. It was hot and not much wind. We are expecting some guests here tomorrow so I had already watered the plants and swept the terraces. Maurice was busy down below. We had really wanted to get the pool done so this was the last thing we were going to do today, before we had lunch and relaxed. Well about 3 o’clock it started getting windy and Maurice moved the plants around the pool inside our great room. He said that soil was blowing in the clean water. O.K. About 30 minutes later it was getting windier and windier and I asked Maurice to check the computer to see if we had missed some weather report. He checked and told me no...we had not missed anything. Well, as the wind intensified and the cushions started blowing, and the umbrellas blew over, and the leather deck chairs also blew over, we figured something WAS going on.

From all we read apparently Hurricane Greg is far from us…no need to worry about any effects here. I THINK NOT!!! All these weather reporters need to be here in the southern Baja. We actually had two of our lights blow right off the outside walls…and they were screwed on. The pool water is blowing all over and it sprays you as you walk by. The ocean is in so much turmoil that there is not a speck of it that is not blowing, heaving and moving...there is no calm. The windows, shut so we are baking inside, are shaking and wobbling. I am imagining that man, you remember him from your childhood, you know the one with those big cheeks?? He is up there somewhere blowing down at us so hard that his face is beat red!!

I just walked out to check on things, even though most of what we have has already been tucked away, and I felt like my face was getting sandblasted! Maurice is huffing and puffing with Retro following him around…neither one of them has “happy heads”. Maurice is checking and re-checking every little thing.

So much for Hurricane Greg not effecting land! I am so glad I swept and cleaned everything up today!! Glad we cleaned the pool!! Gees what a mess!! I think I will take some pictures and send them to those weather guys. You know, the ones with their pants on fire!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Why everyone loves this guy!!

Thanks to one of our guests, Jacob, for capturing Retro's personality in this photo.

With his "happy head" who could NOT love him!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Pacific

We live on the ocean. I have never lived on the ocean before and many of the things that I now associate with the Pacific came as a surprise to me.

The never ending ebbing beach. Yes, we have tides and undertows and natural breakwaters, but what I have seen in my year and half by the sea is that the beach changes and morphs daily. I tell our guests to be aware of the sand and the beach. Notice where the surf hits and how high the beach is from the waves….because tomorrow it will be different. Between June and November we loose about half the beach’s sand...it is pulled out to sea. From November until the following June, it all comes back.

Seashells. No, not the seashells surprise me; it is the lack of seashells that surprise me. You have to search long and far to come up with a pocket full of shells...no matter what time of year. The good thing about this is that the sand is fine, smooth and easy to walk on.

The color of the water changes as much as the ebb and flow of the beach’s sand. One day it is brilliant turquoise and the next it is dark navy. I am learning the color is dependent upon the weather. Be it here or 300 miles from us, all weather effects the colors we see when we look at the ocean. The colors can change from hour to hour also, depending upon the strength and the position of the sun.

The sea creatures and fish are miraculous. Of course when the whales are migrating it is a sight like no other. But when we see a school of dolphins playing down below, or hear sea-rays flapping and flying through the air it is dreamlike. Sometimes there are 100’s of silver fish that take turns leaping out of the water while they travel north of south. Maurice tells me there is a predator in the water and they are leaping out to try to avoid being eaten.

Rainbows. Sometimes, when the sun is just right, and the waves are breaking, just before they hit shore, you can see rainbows in the tide. Vibrant colors dancing on top of the surf.

Salt. Every single things is covered in salt. ALWAYS!! I have sanded metal objects that sit in our house and sprayed them with lacquer to keep them from rusting. There is a salt film on everything we own. To keep the windows clear is a constant battle. The mist from the sea is invisible, but always there. We are 50 meters above the sea. I cannot imagine how much worse it would be if we were at sea level.

The waves never end. The intensity changes, but they never stop. I know this is a given, but to watch them is almost hypnotic. Sometimes gentle and subtle and other times they hit the beach and the cliff below us so strongly that our windows…bathed in salt...actually shake.

The crabs on the beach are Retro’s toys. He chases them and plays with them. I revel in their numbers. It is not that I view the crabs themselves but when the surfs recedes there are 100’s of bubbles in the wet sand, at the base of which is a buried crab.

The sunsets. No matter what time of year the sun sets right in front of us, into the oean. The ocean swallows it up and you can almost hear the water sizzle as it goes down.

All these things now define “seaside” to me. The surf, the sand, the salt, the fish, the crabs, the waves, the colors. BUT, think...what is missing? Really think about the times you have been to the ocean, or by the sea, what is missing in my observations?

I did not realize the answer either until about two weeks ago. When you are at the ocean there are always seagulls. Have you ever been by the sea and not had sea gulls squawking and flying above you? Of course not.


We never had seagulls here, so to me I never thought about them NOT being here. Then two weeks ago, when Mary was here, they just came. I am not sure from where?? I am not sure how long they will be here, but here they are. They fly above us and squawk. This makes me smile! NOW...I truly do believe we live by sea.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The storm before the wind...or the storm that made the wind…Or Dora Dora Dora.

On Friday of last week, we had rain. It was amazing! A good 45 minutes of solid, warm, refreshing rain. The rain is rare right now as it is still a little early in the season. We figured it was probably the result of Hurricane Dora that was down on the west coast of the mainland.

After the rain stopped the sun came out and that night we experienced some of the most spectacular sunset colors we had seen here. The reflection of the already set sun onto the shifting clouds that were still in the sky was a photographers dream. I, not being a photographer, did my best...

Saturday, after a colorful sunrise, I drove to the airport in Cabo.
Sharon rode with me as she has a flight to the U.S. and I was going to pick up my friend Mary who was arriving from Minneapolis. (To learn about Mary read “Mexico 1982” posted July 2nd, 2010) I was excited that Mary was coming to see us! She had not been here for a year and we were VERY far from done last time. I swept, and vacuumed, and “poofed and floofed” the house. I was ready!!!!

After I picked up Mary we did the normal Costco and Wal-Mart stops, calling Maurice along the way to see if he needed anything. He appeared to be getting more stressed each time we spoke. He explained it was getting really windy and that there were lots of flies in the house. He said we should pick up some fly strips; you know those obnoxious gold colored sticky strips that you may see hanging in old restaurants or hardware stores. He said the fly spray we had was not working. The thought of hanging these ugly, gross strips in our house horrified me, but I looked for them anyway cause he sounded in such “need“. Happily, I could not find them.

Maurice called again saying he was bringing in plants because the wind was really picking up. He said a pool chair blew in the pool. He was very frantic sounding. We didn‘t really concern ourselves as there was no weather at all in Cabo. It was sunny and warm…no wind.

On his third call he said the flies were carpeting our bedroom floor. Did we get the fly strips?? How close were we to home? I told him no, we did not find them and that we would be home in about 20 minutes. We still could see or feel any wind….of course he must be exaggerating, right?

Finally, about 10 minutes away from our place we noticed the ocean was filled with white caps. The sand from the road that was under construction was blowing all around us. The truck was shaking slightly from the winds. WOW!!!

What was going on!!!

Finally, I get Mary to the gate of Arriba de la Roca. I had been so excited to show her everything. We were having grilled salmon for dinner……

But oh my!!! Opening up the iron gate was such an effort! It seemed that the winds were blowing about 100 mph!! It was insane!!! How were we going to bring the luggage and supplies up the cliff???? What was happening??

Maurice had gone on line and found out that hurricane Dora was about 200 miles directly west of us. Hurricanes are graded by their wind speeds and categorized accordingly. Dora had dipped under 74 mph so it had been downgraded to a tropical storm, he said. So it was no longer “Hurricane Dora” only “Tropical Storm Dora”. I cannot even imagine if it would have been a full-fledged hurricane! No wonder Maurice “sounded frantic”!! I would have been screaming like crazy!!!! GET HOME!!! Or…Aunty Emm…TOTO!!!!

When we finally got up on top I found our main room is open and it was filled with plants leaves, stems, and dirt that had flown in, and yes, flies. I have never in my life seen so many flies in one place. It was creepy and totally gross. They were everywhere!!! To open windows and doors meant more flies and wind. To close the windows meant being jailed in a hot room with 100’s and 100’s of flies.

Maurice had been busy!!! All the lawn furniture, umbrellas, decorative planters, was either laid down either flat or inside our house. Sadly, we lost two cushions down the cliff! There they were perched in the abyss, never to be touched again.


We got stuff put away as much as we could. Then we decided to set up lawn chairs in the doorway of our main room and watch the wind. We pushed the doors open as far as possible and we sat there drinking margaritas and trying not to freak out.
After a couple of hours we decided that Dora was not as bad as we thought it was and that we could still dance a little. The wind was not strong enough to blow us off the balcony so we danced up a storm...so to speak!!!!! By then we were drinking wine and decided there was no way I was making salmon!! The flies were crawling everywhere!! The thought was absurd!!! I threw a quick snack together, flapping my arms about me like a crazy kook, and we kept on drinking and dancing!!

I had told Maurice there was not a chance we were sleeping in our room. Thank heavens Mary’s had been totally closed up, but ours had been open in the beginning and Maurice was not exaggerating when he said the floor was a carpet of flies. So he closed it all up and sprayed a can of fly killer inside. By the time we went to bed, I vacuumed up 860 dead flies, with only 100 remaining. EEWW!!! Nevertheless, we did sleep in there. I guess by staying up until one in the morning and sampling most of the alcohol we had in our bar we were actually able to sleep.

On Sunday we all woke up to a calm, lovely day here at Arriba de la Roca. We had lost some plants, destroyed by the winds, but really we were otherwise fine. A few hours of clean-up and it was like Dora was never here. Except for our headaches, and the pictures we have of our palms laying perpendicular to their planters, our first Tropical Storm was almost like a dream.

So much for giving Mary a lovely welcome to Arriba de la Roca. So much for the poofing and floofing!!! Well, for sure, it will be a trip that none of us will forget!

P.S. Maurice actually climbed down the cliff the next day and rescued our cushions! Can you see him down there??? Seriously, I was so nervous that I thought I was going to puke just looking at him!!

Or maybe that was the cocktails form the night before!! :)

Monday, July 18, 2011


I have been hopeful the last few days that the crazy heat spell had broken. The air has actually been rather fresh, and there have been some soft clouds in the sky. Today when the pool water was so cool that we had to go into the "hot tub" to get warm, I knew I was right!

The nights are now back to a nice 70 degrees and the days are a perfect 80.

On Retro's walks on the beach he is back to careening from side to side, frantically running from the surf, up the beach, and back. All the sand crabs are back on alert, fearful of his wacky, happy flinging of their bodies from his mouth. I am sure they do not experience the same joy that he does with his "toss the sand crab as high into the air as I can" game.

At night, our ceiling fan has gone from a wobbling "high" to a gentle "low". The bed sheet no longer has to be dug out, off the floor, from the foot of the bed in the morning. It lays on us softly, all night long. (Well, except when I get a hot flash and kick that seemingly 100 pound weight off of me!!!)

We still need rain as the desert is in need of a nice bloom. It is dry and drab, compared to November through May, when the earth is still living off the few days of rain we will get in the next couple of months. For three or four months the mountains are actually green and there is grass!! It amazes me how so much life can go dormant for months as a time, and then burst forth with such vibrant colors and flowers! If you want to pick a great time to come here choose the end of November. I saw the first whale heading to the Sea of Cortez in November. No more threat of rain. The nights are geting nice and cool, the days are warm and sunny and the Baja's plant life is alive! There are even waterfalls in the mountains!

Hope to see you then.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Our Reality

Our Reality

A month ago I did a blog posting called Hotel Casting (June 7th). It was a copy of a letter that we had sent to an e-mail address submitting some info about our business in hopes to be included in a documentary on small hotels and B&B’s….whew, that was what Mrs. Schmidt would call a run-on-sentence!! Anyway, even though I submitted the e-mail every day for a month (just kidding) we never heard from them.

On July 9th, through our web site’s “Contact us” page we received a request from a different company. This time the request was to see if we may be interested in being part of a reality TV show. Here are some highlights of the e-mail.

A casting director based in Los Angeles.
We work for a production company that is currently in pre-production for a reality show that will follow the ins and outs of running a tropical resort/hotel and its employees.
The network wants to shine a spotlight on a well-run, small (preferably family owned) resort.

Maurice and I giggled and we agreed I would SKYPE her to see what the deal was. What we learned is that they were preparing a new show for “a major cable network.” They were talking to resorts and hotels throughout the world. I also found out they discovered our place on a travel web site. We had a nice conversation and I ended up telling her we may be interested so she sent me a questionnaire to be filled out. This was the next step. I was to return it with pictures of Maurice and me. Not Arriba de la Roca, as they had seen our web site, just us two.

I did as requested and then they told us the next step would be to do a video for them. The video was to highlight Maurice and me, as much as our place. They wanted to see interaction between us and they wanted to meet some of our employees. Through all this we were dealing with the casting director and his assistant. They explained to us that on Friday the 16th, they were to present to the executive producers these videos for consideration.

We had a blast putting this together. Sharon helped us with some of the filming and it was about 100 degrees the day we did it!!! They had a deadline, so we had no choice! In the end Maurice and I re-shot the beginning using a tripod. This is how the video you will see begins. This is a legit beginning, not staged. The only thing is we cut out the first 2 or 3 minutes of Maurice not being able to say where we lived!! If you want to check it out it is on youtube, under Arriba de la Roca. Here is the link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QKxkd9C0Lk

This is what we have been told now. First their comments were they loved the views and our place. They said that the executive producers were hurry hurry hurry...to now wait wait wait. They will not know anything for a couple of weeks and if we get antsy to feel free to contact them...or they will get back to us when they know something.

Will Maurice and I be reality TV stars??? I don’t think so, but we sure had fun doing this, and dreaming about it! We still are not sure how this would affect our business. They said if we were chosen they would be here for a month, or so. I guess we will have lots of questions if they decide to come here for a site inspection, which would be the next step in the process.

We will let you know how it goes, obviously. Maybe you can book your trip here to coincide with the taping. Interested in being a star? Then a trip to Arriba de la Roca may be in your future!

Saturday, July 9, 2011


OH MY!!! There is nothing like the Mexican sun!! It follows you around, almost laughing at the way it makes you try to hide from it!!

Maurice and I have been trying to find a cool spot for days now. I really feel sometimes like I am melting! Even the temperature in the pool is over 90 degrees!! You try to keep it hot all winter and now what do we do??!! Not enough ice cubes in the world to cool that thing off!!!At least it is still below 98.6 degrees so that is something.

Even Retro feels the heat and he is FROM here!! He has not stopped panting for four days! When we do our walk in the morning, earlier and earlier these days, he just walks along beside me...no running, no jumping, no digging up sand crabs. Today we got half way and I looked at him and said, "Retro, you wanna go on or should we go home?" Honest to God he stopped, looked at me and slowly turned around, back toward home.

This heat spell will break....we know. We lived through a couple last year, too. At least this year we have the hot tub, we call our swimming pool.

Ceiling fans on high, lots of ice water and cold cervezas, and we will get through this. I love the sun!!!

Just not this week!

Sunday, July 3, 2011


When I was younger, like in 7th grade onward, I was so embarrassed by my Mom. She was so funny, and always goofing around. My friends loved her!! I just wanted a quiet Mom, one who kind of stayed in the background, like most of my other friends Mom’s. But alas, I did not get this...I was the lucky one.

By the time I was 18 she was so much a part of my friendships that when I celebrated my 18th birthday, with my friends, in Madison Wisconsin, my Mom was invited. When the only cute, young guy at the Holiday Inn bar approached our table we were all anxious to see which one of us he would choose to dance with. Would it be me??? Or maybe Cheryl, or Debbie or Sheila...Well, we were all wrong. He chose my Mom!!!! She is always the one people gravitate to. She is happy and loves to laugh.

Being raised by her I am SO used to her sense of humor. She jokes around and plays tricks. She hides notes and leaves gifts. One year the post office was on strike so she flew to Toronto to deliver my birthday present to me in person!...AS A SURPRISE!! Anyway....

She was here last week. Every morning after coffee we would walk the beach. I would scoot ahead of her to get my long walk in with Retro, while she poked around looking for sea shells and other treasures. Whenever I came back to her she would have a pocket full of things she had found. She loved showing me.

One night she, Maurice, and I are having dinner. She exclaims!!! “Oh my!! I forgot my seahorse on the beach!!” I laugh. She says, “No really, I left it in the sand.” I do not believe her and tell her she is joking with us!. She does not let it rest and goes so far as to want Maurice to drive her down in our Kawasaki Mule to find it. He complies.

I tell them they are crazy, but if they want to go for a ride I would do dishes. Of course they come back without a seahorse.

She keeps asking, “Why don’t you believe me??” I tell her number one, because it is her!! Secondly, I say, IF she would have found a seahorse it would have been the first thing she would have showed me. She explained, with a guilty kind of sly smile, that it was dirty so she wrapped it in a piece of toilet paper. Of course she did!!…NOT!!

The next day her charade continues. She keeps talking about needing to find her seahorse. I walk around naying, like a horse, and making clippity-clop galloping sounds by slapping both hands on my thigh.

When we separate on the beach she says she is going to look for her seahorse. I laugh and head for my walk. Shock of shocks, when I come back she has not found it. What she has found, she points out, is the piece of toilet paper on the beach, surrounded by little tiny foot prints. She had figured out that a small child had found her seahorse. I have figured out she is going to keep this farce going!!!

THEN I thought, maybe she BROUGHT a seahorse with her, one that she bought in some store and is going to plant it on the beach for me to find. This is why she keeps talking about finding the seahorse. This is something she would do. But as the days pass by there is no seahorse. She keeps asking me WHY I do not believe her??? I keep answering that I have NEVER seen a seahorse on the beach EVER!! And, if she had found one that day I know she would have showed me right away!! A seahorse!! Come on! Of course she would have.

Now she is gone. Retro and I walk the beach all alone. He still runs ahead looking for her on our way back, but sadly, she is back in Wisconsin...sans seahorse.

Today Retro and I head down to Keith and Sharon’s house so he can run around for a while with their dog, Dusty. The dogs frolic on the beach. We watch and smile. It is nice. As I say it is time to head back, Keith says, “I am going to walk down to the surf and look for seahorses.” MY MOUTH DROPS OPEN!! I say, “WHAT??!!” He says, “I am going to go look for seahorses.” I ask, “Did my mother put you up to this??” Well, Keith and Sharon both look at me like I have two heads!! “Your mother??!!” “Yes,” I say. “I think she must have told you that a few days after she was gone to bring up a seahorse that you found on the beach or something like that.” Now, I am being looked at like I have three heads! I then explain the story.

Next they explain to me that their neighbors had found two seahorses on the beach the week before. They know it was an anomaly, something to do with the tides, but this is why Keith wanted to see if he could find another one.

I really doubted them. It is too bizarre. I really think they are “in on it.” I let it go…hug them good-bye, thinking of how I am going to present this development to mom…knowing they are all pulling my leg.

I walk up the beach about 300 feet and look down and what do I see. A syngnathidae, more commonly know as a SEAHORSE!!!!!! It does not have a head, it has been broken off, but there is no doubt; It is a seahorse!! OMG!! THIS IS CRAZY!! I turn around to take it back to Keith and Sharon, who are a little surprised at my find. Gees, they exclaim, we were just talking about these silly crooked little guys!!!

I can’t believe I found a seahorse!!!

I am sorry I doubted you, Mom. I am sorry I “nayed” around the house for three days making clippity-clop sounds on my thighs. I am sorry I laughed at you. I am sorry I did not help you look for your elusive seahorse. One thing I am NOT sorry about..is that you are my Mom.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Our Wednesday Nights

Many of our guests make sure their trip here includes a Wednesday night. Why you ask??

OF COURSE!!!! It's because every Wednesday it is "all you can eat pizza" at The Sand Bar.

Not only is it all you can eat...it is good!!!

When traveling into Pescadero look for this sign.

We arrived this past Wednesday, with my mom, and like the other weeks we have gone there we are one of the early birds...but not as early as our Policia! They LOVE the for-them-totally-free-pizza. Knowing them all by now, we gladly pull up next to their car and pose for this photo.

What awaits us when we arrive is a freshly baked pizza! What they do is make them all from scratch, one at a time....and they keep coming as long as someone is there eating them. Our favorite is pepperoni and jalapenos. They made shrimp and pesto, vegetarian, sausage, cheese, pineapple and bacon....pretty much anything you want. For an Italian like Maurice to love the pizza, you know it HAS to be good.

I took this shot of Keith, Sharon, Maurice and mom, at our table, on the sand floor, under the gigantic mango tree. We have to beware of falling magos at The Sand Bar.

The crowd is sparse as we always arrive early since they have two for one drinks until the sun sets. We LOVE June...not so happy in December.

A few other regulars are here early to take advantage of the 2-4-1 and to beat the rush of pizza eaters that arrive later in the evening.

Soon the rest of the regulars arrive. We know most of the people here, at least by sight. Most of the people here on Wednesdays are gringos, just like us.

Gabe, our fabulous bartender always takes good care of us, often times sending us home with a plastic cup! Can't do that too many places! Here is tries to control the pizza crowd!!!

One guy is really sad when we leave. Who will drop their crust on the floor for him when we are gone??!!

So there you have a quick re-cap of our Wednesday nights. Two more sleeps and we will be pulling in their parking lot at 5:30. We will see you there!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


For the last year I have heard about Marcos. He is a potter that lives in the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains and sells his wares to many of the gringos here. Our friends Keith and Sharon have tried to get us to head up there to see his goods on many occasions but it never worked out until yesterday. My mom is here so we thought it would be a great opportunity to drive up, meet Marcos and contract him do some work for us.

Marcos’ place is only 11 miles into the mountains, but these 11 miles take about an hour to get through as the dirt road is very rustic, even though it is one of the better ones we have found. Just to be safe, Keith called ahead to make sure Marcos would be there for us.

We arrived to find a very charming, only Spanish speaking Marcos, his brother, his brother’s wife and his sister there waiting for us. His home was typical in many ways except he had hide drying on the fence and pounds of meat drying all around the kitchen area. This we had not seen before. The place was spotless, albeit rustic. My mother asked him now long he had lived there and he looked rather shocked. In his 60 plus years this is the only place he has lived. When Keith asked him how often he “heads down” to get supplies, he answered hardly ever. Why would he?.. he asked, when everything he needed was there.

Maurice figured he would last about a week!!

Our intention was to have Marcos make 110 pottered light holders, or sconces, for the lights on our terracing. When Maurice showed him the cardboard prototype of the sconce we wanted made, Marcos said it may be difficult because there were "esquinas" which are corners. He explained, of course in Spanish, that the curve of the things he makes is what gives them the strength they have. We know people here that have ALL of their dishes made by Marcos. They are STRONG and very durable. Anyway, he asked how many sconces we needed and Maurice told him 100.

100!!! He LAUGHED!! His brother laughed. His brother's wife laughed. He sister laughed!! 100!!! This guy makes each piece by hand. He makes each piece of pottery by digging the clay from the earth, mixing this with hay and the other things you need to make pottery, then he molds each piece by hand. No wheel. No equipment. Only a container of water and his hands! I am guessing 100 light sconces sounded absurd to them all. I can not even imagine how long that would take this one, single guy, to do them. How would we have known!! What stupid gringos, huh??!!!

Oh well, our trip was not lost. I finally got my first "Marcos pot". It is a lovely casserole. Sharon also added to her already established collection.

Now the bad part!! I do not know where my head was at cause I did not even think to take pictures while we were with him!! I AM SO UPSET ABOUT THAT. No pictures of the hides, or his “studio”. NOTHING!!!

When we stopped for our picnic, the realization hit me!! NO PHOTOS FOR THE BLOG!!! GEES!!!
Well, here is one of me on our picnic, with my pot. At least you can see how beautiful it is.

Our day ended here.

Eating egg salad sandwiches and drinking beer. We found Keith and Sharon's perfect picnic spot a wonderful way to end our first, of hopefully many trips to see Marcos, the famous potter.

When you plan a trip here make sure to bring some bubble wrap cause you also may want to pack a lunch and head up to meet Marcos. For $50 you can go home with a spectacular memory of your trip to the Baja.

P.S. You may even see bees the size of humming birds!!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

It’s all about the "fight"

Over the weekend we had a lovely couple here. What we learned from them is that they are working on their relationship. They have agreed to make a commitment, and are now trying to see if they can create a future together. They are slightly older than some couples attempting this and find they are having challenges as both of them are rather set-in-their ways. They have both been single all their lives.

Looking to me and Maurice for conversation, not advice, they shared some details about some the things they have encountered with each other. One of the hardest things that have had to deal with is arguing. They seem to be constantly “at each other”. They do not think that couples should NOT argue...and of course, nor do I. I think it is virtually impossible to really love someone and not argue with each other at some time. Emotions are always high when you love and sometimes these emotions burst open and there is conflict. What I tried to explain to them is it is not the arguing that is the issue; it is HOW you argue.

I really think that when a couple starts learning about each other one of the most important things they need to learn is “how” each other argues. What do I mean by “how”? There are many ways to disagree and some of them do not have to be destructive. If you can leanr to "fight" constructively, then the rest of things fall into place. These are my rules.

Do not try to hurt the other person. Do not use words like, “You are....” These words place blame on the other person and immediate makes them defensive. I have seen people fight and their only goal is to hurt the other person. This only creates bad feelings without resolution.

Do not throw up things from the past. When someone trusts you with their secrets the worst thing you can do is use them against them in a fight. Talk about a quick way to dissolve trust! Would you confide in someone, no matter how much you love them, if they throw these confidences in your face during an argument?

Be respectful. I guess this goes along with the first two things I said. If you do not try to hurt your partner and have respect for who they are and their thoughts and wishes you can disagree without consequence.

Do not think about winning. Whenever you argue with ANYONE and your goal is to win or to change their mind so they are “right” like you are, you will never be happy unless the other person looses to you. How healthy is that?? If you care about someone enough to be friends or partners with them make sure you care enough to not have to change them into who you want them to be. Equal partners’ means you both are entitled to be right..and no one needs to win.

YA YA….I know what all of you who know me are thinking!! ME GIVING UP WINNING!!!! Yes, I love to argue and discuss and REALLY want everyone to be as smart as me, but alas, I have learned this is not possible. So I graciously try to let others FEEL they know something, when I know they really don’t have a clue. O.K. JUST KIDDING. It is a blast to argue politics, religion etc...but my rules are not about these things. They are about making sure that when you commit to someone you do as little as possible to undermine a relationship that will always need effort. Positive and supportive effort. Not destructive, hurtful efforts.

Why am I writing this? I don’t know except that is was an interesting discussion with them and I really think it was enlightening. All these rules are things that I, too, need to be reminded of so I thought I would write them all out so I can refer to them mentally when Maurice is driving me crazy! O.K. JUST KIDDING, again..kind of. Really, if one person reading this gets just one point off of what I have written then I am glad I took the time.

Now go hug the one you love.

P.S. Retro is running around like the puppy he is! All better...AGAIN!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Many more than 9 lives...I hope

We have the best dog! Retro is so playful, sweet and such a smart animal. He understands every word we say to him...whether he chooses to listen and accommodate our requests is still really up to him. I guess that is just the puppy in him...time will tell. You would think for an animal that is so smart that he would not be so dumb!!

Since we have had him, which is 14 months now, he has seriously hurt himself 6 times.

Remember this little guy (O.K. maybe not so little...he weighs 70 pounds and stands over 3 feet tall) was rescued from the streets so I am sure his first two or three months gave him a resilience that most animals and even some people do not have. The first injury he experienced with us was a large cut/bite on his back leg. We did not see it happen, but we think he got into a fight with another dog. Well you can imagine how I reacted. AHHHH....poor Retro. I rubbed peroxide on it...I kept awwwing and oohing while I rubbed his poor little tummy. He eventually healed of course, but a nice scar mars his lovely leg.

Next he took after a rabbit that he saw running by our place. Did he exit through a gate? Of course not, he took off through the newly installed barbed wire fence (Barbed wire to keep cows and burrows from eating our plants) I happened to see it happen. He screamed and dropped down on the ground...rabbit be gone....and when I ran over, yelling for Maurice, I saw blood. His underbelly and chest was cut open and on the fence were remnants of his fur and skin. IT WAS HORRIBLE. More peroxide, more petting, and a trip to the vet. There was nothing he could do, really. We were told to keep him clean. Thank heavens he could not lick it or it may not have healed, but heal it did. He now had more scares to add to his leg bite.

Often he would come around with cactus spines stuck in his feet. He would try to get them out with his mouth and on occasion the spike would get stuck in his tongue. Now that is interesting. Every try to get a cactus spike out of a dog’s tongue? You cannot use your fingers…THEY HURT. Often it is a two man job…Jesus and Maurice. Jesus to hold him, and Maurice, using a rag, to pull them out. I would just cringe yelling DON’T HURT HIM!!! Of course they are not going to hurt him!! He also often comes with new cuts and scrapes. Whether they were from the fence, or cactus, we do not really know. Slowly we have watched more scars on his lovely body. One of the scariest for us was when he cut his eye. Again...a trip to the vet. I was not here so Maurice took him. Luckily it did not "take out" his eye but whatever it was it cut his eyelid and under his eye. The effect is kind of like permanent tear drops. The vet gave him drops to stop infection in the eye, and this too has healed.

Next there is his broken toe. How do we know it was broken? Because when he was running after an unknown animal I heard him scream and fall down. His third toe on his back left foot was perpendicular to his others; clearly broken to us. The vet is now supporting his cousins and brothers children with our visits, but off to the vet we go. Again...there is really nothing he can do. He can cast it; if we wish, and take X-Rays, but he does not suggest it. It is broken and will heal. He gave him a shot for pain and home we head.

Now we have a problem. Retro runs all the time. His favorite thing to do is chase our Kawasaki Mule up and down the cliff. Of course you cannot have him doing this while limping on three legs so Maurice taught him to ride on the seat, like a passenger. He loved to leap up there, sit down, and watch as he was driven up and down the cliff....the King of his domain. After about a month his toe got better and then we had to BREAK him of the habit of riding in the Mule. Guests would be shoved aside so he could have his seat. He is a big guy so he can shove pretty well when he wants to.

Just a couple of weeks ago he showed up with fresh slices all down the back of his front right leg and under his neck and the top of his chest. O.K.....no peroxide...no oohs and awwws...just a quick look, a quick pat, and a "ARE YOU STUPID OR WHAT!!!" comment. I told Maurice that we may not have this guy long the way he keeps hurting himself, but he will sure have a good life while we do.

Then yesterday he gets his back left leg...the one of broken toe fame...ran over by the Kawasaki Mule. GEES!!! Back to OOHHHING AND AWWWING!!!! He chases that stupid Mule all the time and somehow he got his leg under it. It is cut and bleeding but we can hardly believe it....it appears it is not broken! He is limping around here on three legs..again! He is not eating. His nose is dry. He looks at us with sad eyes. But...we do not think it is broken. We may take him to the vet tomorrow but he is back riding on the Mule. Today we took him down, and up. I think this is the best part for him. He is back being the King of the hill....now this King has a swollen leg/foot, but Maurice thinks the accident re-set his broken toe as it does not stick up quite so much!!

Talk about 9 lives!!! This is really a lucky pup....or unlucky and stupid...either way, we love the guy!! He is a real gift to us...and to our vet!!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Hotel Casting 2011

We heard that there is an American company looking for B&B's or small hotels to highlite in an upcoming program. Here is what we were sent:

An award-winning television production company is searching for charismatic individuals behind America's small hotels, inns, and bed & breakfasts. Whether you've left a high-powered career to pursue your dreams, or you're taking over a decrepit property and turning it into a five-star operation, if you have an interesting story and a big personality, they want to hear from you! To be considered, please provide:

•Your name, occupation, and name of your hotel/inn
•A brief bio
•A few [non-returnable] photographs
•Your best contact phone number

Here is our request.....wish us luck...after all, Mexico is in North America, right??!!

Six years ago my husband and I bought 2 1/2 acres of land, on a cliff perched above the Pacific Ocean, in Baja California Sur, Mexico. Our dream was to build a small boutique hotel/B&B. We wanted to create a place, like no other. One that our guests would come to and find beauty and peace. Over the next 5 years we built a road and had an environmental impact study done to see if we could in fact even develop the already purchased land. We built pilas for water storage, as we had no access to water. We put in solar, since there was no electricity, We dealt with many bureaucrats along the way, all who spoke Spanish. We both quit our careers, sold everything we owned and moved to Mexico. We spent all of 2010 building a property that everyone said could not be built. "There was no way to bring materials up to the top of the cliff". "It is not possible to put in a road with such steep curves and switchbacks and through all the granite and limestone". "We would not be able to have a pool because the property sat on granite". " Are you people crazy?" Even our realtor told us not to buy that land since it could never be developed. We heard endless reasons WHY we would not be able to pull this off. But, pull it off we did. We have created a spectacular place. One that can not truly be appreciated unless you are sitting here, on top of the world and looking out over the 360 degree vistas. To the east are the Sierra de la Laguna mountains and to the north, south and west is the Pacific Ocean.

We are the owners and sole proprietors of Arriba de la Roca, officially opened in February 2011, with a ribbon cutting ceremony, by the mayor of Todos Santos. Todos Santos is famous for Hotel California, which the Eagles sang of.

I have been writing a blog about our adventures here, since I left my advertising career, in Toronto Canada, back in December 2009.


My husband who is a pilot, an electrical engineer and also taught dance, came to Mexico a year before me to get our life here established.

Our business web site is www.arribadelaroca.com I am attaching some pictures of our place, as well as of my husband and me. Since we live full time in Mexico you would need to dial our number using the country code. Please dial 011 52 1612 149 2639. An alternative number is 011 52 1612 139 1624

I am excited about this opportunity and also excited to introduce new people to our dream...Arriba de la Roca.

Thank you for your time and consideration. Shelby Branzanti

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Becoming “Franks”

After two wonderful weeks visiting family and friends, I arrived back at Arriba de la Roca yesterday...just in time for pizza night at the Sand Bar. No, I did not cut my trip short so I could be there; in fact I ended up staying longer than I first thought, just so I could fit everything in. I could not have added one more thing to my time away. I certainly “packed in some life” while I was gone.

My friend Maxine wrote that to me before I left Mexico. She said, “We are going to be packin’ in some life while you are here, so you better rest up.” Those words made me think about how many days and weeks go by that we do not really live, or pack in any life at all. We only just exist. Between work, family, and other obligations I know that sometimes it is all we can do just to get through an entire day; and then hope that we get enough sleep to make it through the next one.

You may think it is easy for me to say but I think we should all try to do what Maxine suggests. If we can look at each day as a chance to “live” instead of just needing to get through it and “exist”, our life will become fuller and more satisfying.

My friend Jackie gave me a book called “God Never Blinks”. The book’s title is in reference to the author’s life. Regina Brett had such a bad life before she hit her 40’s she thought God had blinked when she was born, thus missing her existence. This book was put together from her weekly newspaper column which talks about 50 of life’s most important lessons. Lessons she learned in her 4th and 5th decade of life. One thing that really stuck in mind was a lesson she learned from a housepainter named Frank.

Whenever Frank thought, or spoke, he replaced the words “have to” with the words “get to.” This reminds Frank to enjoy and appreciate his life.

I think we should all become “Franks.” Tomorrow when you wake up and think about that ½ hour or hour drive to work do not think “I have to drive to work.” Instead think, “I GET TO DRIVE TO WORK!!”

When you have to pick up groceries before you rush home to cook dinner before you take your son to soccer practice, have a paradigm shift. Think to yourself how lucky you are to be able to be there and consider the fact that you GET TO shop and GET TO cook for your family and you GET TO take your son to soccer.

This works for everything. Absolutely everything.

Try it tomorrow and I think it may lighten your load a little bit. Maybe this will give you a chance to “pack in some life“, instead of just existing in it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Chicago, Chicago, that toddlin town

Today is the day I leave the U.S. of A for Canada. I arrived in Wisconsin last Wednesday and have enjoyed a week filled with lots of family time. It flew by way too quickly and I feel like I just arrived....and now I am gone. Last night my sister Barbara and I spent the evening in Chicago at my sister Lynda and her husband Scott’s house. This morning they dropped me off at O'Hare for my flight to Toronto. Lynda works for United Airlines so I am catching the flight using something they call “companion tickets”. These tickets are great! You pay a fraction of the normal ticket price with the stipulation you have to fly stand-by.

Today, Chicago to Toronto, no problem. There are seven flights and this many flights are a big benefit when flying stand-by.

Our day begins at 6:45 am, when we leave for the airport to catch the 9am flight to Toronto. Oops…I learn it is overbooked. No problem I can catch the 11:48.

I hang around for another 2 ½ hours enjoying free internet access, and a great cappuccino. Time has come for boarding the flight. No, wait, why does it say there are 10 people “waitlisted” and no seats available for these 10...including S REDDICK. Why are people crying? Why do they keep announcing that they will pay big bucks for anyone willing to give up their seat? Why? Because United cancelled an earlier flight and so there are many people waiting to get to Toronto. I am number 10. Oh, Oh….now they will have to move me forward with the other “waitlisters” for the next flight. This one also comes and goes without me on board. “Sorry“, the guy says. Maybe tomorrow. MAYBE TOMORROW??!! Not good to loose a day if you only have a week to begin with. It’s not as if I need to have a good excuse not to go to work! This is vacation time I am loosing out on!!!

Now I sit here waiting for the “next available flight”. GOOD NEWS!! I am told there are 15 people on another flight that are supposed to be here but their flight is delayed. Looking good!!! YEEHAA!!!! I am ready to go. Oh Oh…they just delayed my potential flight by 15 minutes. Delayed long enough to get the 15 missing passengers on board??!!! Is that why? They are blaming air traffic control. HUH?? That is strange. Oh Boy.

I love Chicago. I really do. I love flying more, though.

A very good priced ticket vs. a confirmed seat? I guess next time I will choose a confirmed seat!

Now we hear the delay has been expanded to 45 minutes. 30 minutes into this people begin rushing to the counter to get their seats….ahhh……please please please

No luck. They filled the flight. I have another 2 ½ hour wait. They tell me the next flight is booked. I am third on the wait list. Some guy named Bruce told me if I prayed with him I would get on that flight. He said it worked for C.SHAW who got the last seat on the just-departed-delayed flight. He said he could create a miracle. Thanks, Bruce, really. Sorry, but I have to head to the bar. A nice glass of Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc? Yes, right now THAT seems like a small miracle in my already very long day.

Wish me luck…..

P.S. What does “toddling” mean, anyway?? Really?!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The most common thing we hear…

We have lots of visitors here on our cliff. Some are our guests and others are just “checking us out“. Without fail the thing we always hear is that the web site does not REALLY show how beautiful Arriba de la Roca is. It is impossible to capture the 360 degree views and the impact of the ocean. Whether it is the views of the Pacific up the north coast, or looking down the south beach, or most impressively, the expansive view of waves, and rocks from our fire pit, a camera can not capture the beauty here. When you add the Sierra de la Laguna mountain range that covers our entire east vista, you have heaven on earth.

Please come visit us and share in our dream. I promise you will be as pleased as everyone else who has climbed inside our Kawasaki Mule and ascended to Arriba de la Roca.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


It has been almost two months since I have done a post! Seriously, where does the time go? I have been deficient with my blog, as well as our Arriba de la Roca FB page. We have been really busy, but that is no excuse. We have been enjoying a nice number of guests and have been joyously sharing Arriba de la Roca with all who search us out.

In about 15 minutes I am taking our first European guests to the airport. They have been here for 6 days and I have experienced many "firsts" with them that I have not with other guests.

First of all they do not have a car so I have gotten a wonderful chance to bond with them as I have spent time in the truck with them, talking, while I take them to places. It was lovely.

Secondly, Maurice is gone. He is in Canada so I have been on my own. I really realize how much he does around here!! I miss him!!! Well...for more reasons than that!

Thirdly, I had a dinner catered for our guests. Since they did not have a car they were not able to dine out, like our other guests. The dinner was a huge success and I am going to post a picture on our Arriba de la Roca FB page. The food was very well prepared and the couple who did the catering were personable and our guests really enjoyed the experience. This pleases me so much as it opens up a great option for others who want to sit on our patio and watch the sun set, while enjoying a superb meal.

I will do better at keeping in touch on the blog. I think of things to write daily, but then never have the time to actually do it. You may only get a quick couple of sentences, but you will hear from me again....

Off to the airport and I will do a FB update later today.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Tsunami

I am not proud to tell you that we live in a cocoon here, on Arriba de la Roca. Most of what goes on in the world remains a mystery to us, unless we are told by someone, or if it pops up on the internet. So last Friday at 6:30 in the morning we were a little surprised to receive a “wake-up” call from the man who owns the yoga center next to us. He asked if we heard about the Tsunami. Of course we hadn't. So he fills us in on the earthquake and the potential Tsunami that is heading towards us. He asks if he can bring his 30 yoga students to our house for safety. My first thought is OH MY GOD!! THE KIDS JUST LEFT LAST NIGHT AND THE PLACE IS A MESS!!!

Yes, I realize I am a sick puppy, but some cleaning-obsessed people may understand my concern. But of course I say, yes, and ask when they will be coming up?? He says The Tsunami is supposed to hit here about 10am and he will get back to me in an hour...that’s 7:30. Up I jump...grab the vacuum cleaner and start to clean. I am in a panic!!! We just had 6 people..two of them a 2 and 5 year old, here for a week!!! I let the whole place go, because it was easier and less stressful for them. I did not want them to worry about picking up or cleaning...although they still did SO much of that! Anyway, I am vacuuming, washing dishes, cleaning bathrooms and I go into our bedroom. I am thinking Maurice is upstairs cleaning his office. WRONG, he was playing Sudoku. Did I over react? Did I raise my voice? Did I beg him to HELP ME!!!! Yes, all of the above. Maurice jumps into cleaning mode!...shaking his head the whole time.

So Craig, that is his name, calls us back and says they will all be here in 30 minutes. This means they would be here about 8. I say, as calmly as possible...."But Craig, I thought the Tsunami, the affect of one of the worst earthquake in the past 100 years does not hit here until 10am??? You see, kind sir, I am busy vacuuming and cleaning our house for our "guests", and there is no way you can come here in 30 minutes.”

Seriously WHAT THE HECK IS THE MATTER WITH ME!!!. He then tells me no worries; they had adjusted the potential time for hitting here to close to noon. COOL!!! I told him I would call him back in an hour and give him a time that was “safe” for him to come up with his 30 students. He then offered to pay. He probably thought no one in their right mind would seriously NOT want to save 30 people from a Tsunami because their house was not vacuumed!!! I told him he did not have to pay...NO WAY...they were totally welcome, but I was just a little fussy!

So I call him back at 8:45 and tell him it is all clear. Maurice helped me lots and he convinced me NOT to clean the two casitas where the kids stayed. Of course, he said, no one would go in them. When I call him now, Craig tells me they will not come up until 10. Whew! I can clean more!! Close to ten he calls me and says that it appears the Tsunami has lost a lot of its steam. We were far enough south that it will not be a threat to us, except in a minor way, if at all.

So our day goes on. The electricians come to finally hang the light in our bedroom, our worker Jesus is here doing some things and Maurice tells me all the yoga people are on the adjacent cliff looking out to the ocean. OH, I think, I bet they are watching for the Tsunami; as minor as it may be. I grab the binoculars and camera and go to watch, too. I figure there will be some type of wave that comes that is bigger then the others. Nope. Not a one! At least from our vantage we could see nothing. Suffice to say I was disappointed. Yes, I have to admit the idea of a tsunami hitting here excited me....in an I-know-we-are-really-not-in-danger kind of way.!! So I felt let down!!

Weird though, if we had not gotten the many e-mails we did, or if Craig had not called we would not have had a clue about this terrible disaster.

So after the "risk" of the Tsunami had passed, and the house is clean, and I am sitting behind the bar on the computer reading about the earthquake etc. I see yoga people filtering through in front of our house. They sit at the fire pit, go to the outdoor kitchen, and are taking pictures everywhere. They had walked over from the cliff and, knowing they were going to seek refuge here earlier, came for a tour. They were all lovely and very complimentary of our place and YES they did tour Pacifica and Boca, the un-cleaned units...with me tailing behind saying, "Sorry I have not cleaned these yet, we just had guests that left." Yes, I know...seek help!! LOL!!

That is the story of how one of the worst tragedies in the past 100 years affected us on Arriba de la Roca.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


The sun is shining.

It is warm and breezy.

The sun will soon set magnificently over the ocean; right in front of our bedroom windows, no less.

At this time of month the moon is now a sliver and barely lights up the sky at night, but I see it in the mornings when I get up...still over the Sierra da la Laguna mountains.

Retro broke his toe, or foot today. Very sad as he limps around holding his rear leg up.

Today there are no clouds in the sky...again.

Tomorrow the vet is in town. We will take Retro in the morning.

Been watching 24 on DVD. Into the 21st hour. AND I THOUGHT WE DID NOT MISS TV!!! What a great show!

Scanning the best and worst dressed at Oscar night on my computer. AND I THOUGHT I DID NOT MISS PEOPLE MAGAZINE!!!

Sipping a rum and coke...yummy

Putting the finishing touches on our web site!

Had many guests...all people we love. Kids coming in two sleeps!

The whales are finishing their migration. Been a busy year for them and a great year for us whale watchers.

Are we happy we missed the worst winter in 35 years? Yes we are.

The days still fly by. Tomorrow is pizza night. Weren’t we just there??

Went to Cabo yesterday to buy “supplies”.

Retro is licking his back paw. His nose is getting dry. Ahhhhhh

Watered all the plants below today. Will do up on top tomorrow.

How can I walk the beach without Retro? The guilt will kill me.

We are going to have to put Jesus (pronounced HEY SEUS) down to two days a week. Now that is HARD!!! I am sure harder for him. Even though he knows the "end is near" we will tell him “soon”.

Maurice installed bars in our closets today. I can finally hang up clothes!! Helpful, since we do not iron.

Got our weekly water delivery today, too. Who else gets their watered delivered to them??...not many reading this blog I am sure.

Want to plant more plants, but will need to order more water. More plants vs. more water? Plants will win.

Yes, Maurice still has his snake.

My word the ocean is crazy blue this time of day.

Has anyone really ever seen a “green flash”??? We look every night...no luck. 30 minutes to sun set.

Retro is looking at me with furrowed brow. He sighs. Sorry, guy, can not help this time. The cactus we can pull out of your foot or mouth; the burrs we can remove...we can put iodine on your cuts from the barbed wire..the fleas we can get rid of. This time...only time will help.

There are two hikers on the cliff next to me. It appears they are settling in to watch the sun set. Think I will settle in, too.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Mayor of Todos Santos

I had downloaded these pictures and never got around to posting them so here I go...
sorry there will not be much verbiage as we have our friends here from Toronto and as they shower I will do this posting.

The mayor of Todos Santos was invited to come to Arriba de la Roca and do the ribbon cutting. He would also draw our winner, from the 300+ entries we had on line for a two night stay here. We assume he may have thought this was an event with many people attending since he called when he was to be here to inform us he was 15 minutes late. He and he companion-worker-constituent arrived to find Keith and Sharon, me and Maurice and the photgrapher, patiently waiting for him.


He graciously cut the ribbon with scissors I had just cleaned the shrimp with...they were a little dull for the event and the ribbon would not cut! I laughed so hard!!!

After he pulled the winner of our draw and Rosalba Miranda of Chicago was the lucky winner.

When we finished we asked him and his friend if hey would like something to drink. They got wine, toured around the place and ended up spending 4 hours here! We had a ball!!

It was a magical night! I even taught him how to steal someone's nose with your hand and put your thumb through your first two fingers to show you have stolen it. (Much to Maurice's dismay!!)

I guarantee you that he will remember this night as long as we will!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Not a typical few days

All of our work in the past month has been towards two goals. The first was moving up, which we did almost two weeks ago; in fact two weeks tomorrow. The next goal was to prepare “Arriba de la Roca” for our photo shoot.

Monday afternoon, amidst hoses for watering, towels drying on the backs of pool chairs, all our furniture in the great room outside while the floors were drying, boxes of garbage sitting outside, paint drying, 24 packs of water, tea, coke, soda, piled up to be put away, anything we did not know what to do with being temporarily thrown into our bedroom, cushions being Velcroed to our outside concrete benches, and Maurice and I un-showered and puffing around, our friends Keith and Sharon arrive for day one of the photo shoot. Calmly they asked how they could help. O.K. They have already done our complete web site for us, searched for, and hired the photographer, created a detailed photo shoot strategy including how many pictures, and where they will be taken for each of the rooms and areas of the house, written copy, brainstormed with us, AND managed to get the mayor of Todos Santos here for our grand prize draw...the list in endless...and yet they still ask, how they can help. I tell ya, I would be running the other way by now if I was them!!!!

The photographer is due in one hour and the mayor is due in two!! Oh my...

Well as any of you who really know us well have already figured out, yes, we pulled it together.

The first day of the shoot was great! Ariel the photographer is a calm, creative guy, and very good at what he does. He is sleeping in Pacifica for two nights while he is shooting here. He wanted two nights of sunsets to capture the best light. That first night of the shoot the mayor came, which will be another posting so I can show pictures, and last night was the final shooting. I am guessing he took over 700 pictures. We even had some people we know over so they could stand around like guests! It was fun and exhilarating and exhausting. Now it is 4:43am and of course I have been awake for two hours. The surf is pounding, Ariel is sleeping, and Maurice and Retro are in bed, too. My mind keeps racing thinking of so many things.

We are so blessed.

We have such an amazing place here...the mayor said it is the best location in the Baja.

What will happen when we have guests here; can we really do this? Are we in over our head??

We still have so much to do...all the Mesquite doors were not sealed and need to be done...the plants are dying from the wind and the sea air, do we replace them or let them look sad for a few months??

How do I get more counter space in the kitchen?? Dumb! Dumb! Dumb!

Poor Maurice is struggling with how to heat the pool. The pool guy is really sucky and not a help all. We still have no way to even turn on the jets in the Jacuzzi without going underground! He wants to charge us another $3000 to fix that problem.

The closet/door man has stopped returning our calls and still has to replace a set of doors and bring us wooden bars so we can hang our clothes.

Jesus (pronounced HEY SEUS) will come to work in the morning and I have to have things for him to do...where to begin!!...

Seriously, I could write so many things that still need to be worked out and finished here...yet, I say to you that “we are done“.

I guess I mean that the photo shoot is finished. We are living in our amazing place, and we have friends and family coming to visit us.

Life is good...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ya, I know...

It has been 26 days since I posted anything. Sorry, but I have been busy! Right now I am watching dawn brightening the sky. It is 6:38 and I have been up since 1:45. HATE THAT!! The good part is that I am looking at 3 shrimping boats right off our cliff. I have watched them all night, with their subtle lighting; floating, seemingly causually, through the sea. They are not supposed to be so close to the shore but I am sure no one will stop them. The sounds of the ocean are never ending. It is windy here most of the time as we are up so high, and the waves smash against the clif in a hypnotic rythmn...O.K. not THAT hypnotic or I would be sleeping!! Yes, we moved up! Still not fully functioning, but here is a quick overview of the last 26days....

Jan 1st Posted pictures on my blog
Jan 2nd Walked and "organized"
Jan 3rd Went to the storage unit and got a trailer full of things..Jesus started with us full time today
Jan 4th Went to Cabo to buy stuff for landscaping
Jan 5th Pizza night at the Sand Bar but not before Jesus and I planted some pots and did some garden areas
Jan 6th Started cleaning mom's room on top. She comes on Saturday and we want to move up there for her
Jan 7th Connected the frig and found it that is does not cool....and there is no connector for the stove. How come that did not come with it??!! DUH!?
Jan 8th Cleaned the bodega ...my Mom flies in tomorrow
Jan 9th Picked up my mom at the airport and Chinese food on the way home
Jan 10th Listened to jazz at Cerritos Beach and celebrated our friend Sharon's birthday
Jan 11th Walked the beach and had dinner at friend's for Sharon's birthday
Jan 12th Went to Cabo to try and get a new frig and a part for the stove. NO LUCK. Home Depot will have the company send a technician which Maurice has tried to do since last week. At least it is pizza night!
Jan 13th Cleaned the bodega and unpacked some boxes
Jan 14th Can not swim in the pool since the heater we bought was not installed properly. Trying to fix that
Jan 15th Never ending watering and landscaping
Jan 16th Keith and Sharon came and with mom and Maurice we cleaned the kitchen and tried to get stuff put away "arriba".
Jan 17th Cleaned and prepared as we had 6 people for dinner! Grilled in the outdoor kitchen and ate in our dining room
Jan 18th Technician came and said our frig was "toast".
Jan 19th Pizza night...after a day of watering and cleaning our bedroom so we can move up!
Jan 20th Where is our frig? We decided to move up anyway!! No frig, no stove but who cares
Jan 21st Went out to dinner in Todos Santos. Poor Mom, her first night out other than pizza night!
Jan 22nd Shopped on Todos Santos, cleaned and organized "arriba". Cooked and showered in the bodega and ate up on top!
Jan 23rd Watched the Packers beat the Bears! Off to the Superbowl! Go Pack!
Jan 24th Went to Cabo to beg for a new frig and to try to find some rugs and a part for our stove
Jan 25th Finally got some pictures hung and some towel bars up!! Home Depot brought us a new frig! So excitng..cross your fingers

Tonight is pizza night!

See, not thiat exciting is it? Photographer here on Monday to shoot for the web site. THAT is exciting!