Home Sweet Bacalar

23 Oct img_4812

Returning to Bacalar, the Laguna of Seven Colors, along the Costa Maya of southern Mexico after two and a half weeks in Northern California has been bittersweet. I loved seeing our grandson daily. His eyes lighting up when he saw me was wonderful beyond words. We read books, went for walks and ate Nana-made concoctions for lunch. It is a grandparents’ lament whether you live in the States, Mexico or anywhere the young ones are not.


Blueberry smoothie for breakfast, yum. Even this picky eater couldn’t resist. Score one for Nana.

Returning to Bacalar has been noticeably quieter than a home with an eleven month old. Residents have a reprieve before high season brings tourists and snow birds. There is less income for locals, restaurants and hotels, but more peace.


Favorite restaurant El Manatí got a facelift while I was gone.

Weather is divine, upper 60’s (20C) at night and 80’s (31C) during the day with an afternoon shower to keep the garden green with splashes of color.


Blooms start out white and actually turn pink! Amazing.

Cutting from a cactus that will get very tall.


Bird of paradise in bloom.

September completed our first year living in our lovely home. We are enjoying the tranquility and continue to marvel at the life we have created. What is in our crystal ball? A family reunion in November and trip to Texas in the spring. For now we are loving everyday from striking sunrise to breathtaking sunset.



The Joy of Spanglish

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While I journey back to Bacalar on this lovely Sunday, please enjoy this creative blog on the joys of living in Mexico.

Mexico Retold

I love speaking Spanglish. Actually, I am not sure if that is true because most of the time I don’t even realise that I am speaking Spanglish, so can I  really say that I love it? I find it very helpful to be able to speak Spanglish with friends because some words are simply better for explaining things than others and I want to use those. If these words happen to be in Spanish when I am speaking English then I want to use them, and vice versa. The problem comes when I am around people who are not bilingual. I find myself starting to struggle, I have to think more, I pause more as I speak, mainly because I am searching through my brain for words and phrases that I have stopped using. They are resting far at the back of my brain, taking a siesta if you will.



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Last Day In California

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Enjoy photos from the art crawl I attended with my kids and grandson on my last day in California. It was a rainy day so we didn’t get to many studios in Sebastopol. Time to get home to Bacalar. The blog will be back to normal, whatever that is, next week. 


A neighborhood of yard art. Tail made of can lids.

Patrick Amiot artist


I want the taco truck!


Surf’s up.


Ready for the Day of the Dead.


Love this one.


This acrylic artist sure captures dogs.

Mylette Welch artist.


So sweet.


The dog on the bottom left reminds me of Luna.


Baby Max.



Nana’s Visit To California

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Visiting friends, children and grandchildren in the States is a bittersweet part of retirement life in Mexico. Please enjoy a few pictures while I head out this morning to car shop with my daughter and her husband during my vacation to Northern California.


Taking selfies with dear friends.


Riding in the back seat with Maxwell.


A fun time taking pictures at the pumpkin patch.


The children’s museum.

Max is a great one handed walker who took seven steps to Grandma Lisa on Skype last night. Lisa is holding down the fort in Bacalar. We have a new fence going up while I’m gone.


A grainy photo of the new privacy fence between us and the neighbors.

In an effort to settle the ongoing conflict with our neighbors, we have put up a fence to keep Luna in and curious eyes out. We now have a small stretch of privacy fence that will have a planter with lovely vines along it. (See Standoff With The Neighbors-How It’s Done In Mexico)





A Mural As Political Statement

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The murals in Mexico and specifically Bacalar bring art to the streets and into every day life. (The Artistry of Bacalar). The newest mural graces the wall of restaurant El Manatí, owned by our friends Isa and Abram. You may remember them from a previous post (The Artist Next Door).

Danae Brissonnet,  a visiting muralist captures the political tension of the developing Bacalar and the ramifications for people and environment. Families are being pushed from their homes to make way for hotels, restaurants and stores selling to tourists. The fragile ecosystem of the Laguna is threatened by motor boats, pesticides and fertilizers all used to support growth.


Meting Dannae and hearing her talk about her amazing mural was a real treat.

The giant piñata is swallowing up the people and spitting them out into new housing.


The scary face of development swallowing the poor.


People displaced from their homes.


I loved the colors and detail.

The giant piñata rests on the fragile stromatolites that are Bacalar’s equivalent to coral reefs and are a Mexican national treasure. While the piñata is big and scary, it is itself fragile. The choices of the people of Bacalar, the tourist industry and the visitors to this Pueblo Majico will determine its future. DOS TORTAS


Sacred Icon- The Virgin of Guadalupe

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The Virgin of Guadalupe (Mary, Mother of Jesus) is the most revered and familiar image in Mexico. She may be single-handedly responsible for the conversion of Mexico to Catholicism. Devotion to Guadalupe is widespread and overshadows all other saints and even Jesus. So how did she come to grace the walls of our home? (House Full Of Goddesses)


Brought with us from Texas, this statue replaced a gift from my mother that was stolen out of our yard on Mother’s Day, no lie. The grotto is at the head of the stairs to our front entrance.

As my interest in the sacred feminine unfolded in the nineties, it was not a stretch to see Mary as the modern-day Goddess. My Catholic roots played a significant influence and somehow (to my mother’s delight) this wayward church going girl began acquiring images of the Virgin of Guadalupe.


My sister-in-law, hearing of the theft of our statue, sent this Guadalupe. She has her own niche in our living room. Hindu goddess touch mine.

Things snowballed from there and Guadalupe moved in.


I found this print at a thrift store in Texas. She graces our bedroom.


Painted by my friend Cat Thompson and badly needing a frame.

There are numerous smaller images throughout the house, each with its own story. The most spectacular is the carved, wooden relief that we found in a bazaar in Villadolid during our travels prior to the completion of the house. (Show And Tell Art Purchases)


All the seller could tell us was that the piece had hung in his home many years and was carved by a man from northern Yucatan.

She was purchased without thought as to where she would hang or if the colors would match, etc. It was purely a gut, “gotta have it” response. The carving was wrapped in newspaper and cardboard and stored until the house was complete.


She clearly needed a place of prominence.

When we brought the relief out of storage and placed her on the wall, it was an emotional moment. It appeared as if the room were designed for her by her. I believe Spirit moves in many ways. Our home is holy ground on the shore of a sacred lake. We are so blessed. DOS TORTAS



A House Full Of Goddesses

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After spending my junior year attending college in Mexico (In The Beginning), I became enamored of goddesses. It was clear that they played an important role in Mesoamerica. They were the bringers of rain, corn and yes, babies.


Coatlique – Aztec mother of the gods. (Stock foto) This is an immense statue I visited in 1973 at the Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City.

In the nineties  Lisa and I visited Isla Mujeres, the Island of Women, off the coast of Cancun and the site of worship to the goddess Ixcel (E shell). Young Mayan women travelled by canoe to ask for her blessing in pregnancy and childbirth.


The site of the temple on a great cliff overlooking the Caribbean.

In 2014, while on our honeymoon, we went to Cozumel and the temple of Ixcel to petition on behalf of our daughter, who now has a beautiful son. The temple was a pilgrimage site, sanctuary, and school of midwifery for the ancients. (Home Sweet Home Bacalar MX)


Our lovely daughter carries son Max on a trip to New Orleans


The goddess Ixcel carrying her youngster sits on our kitchen counter in Bacalar.

Our art collection has grown during our travels (Show And Tell Art Purchases) and filled our house with goddesses.


A high born Mayan woman holding an obsidian mirror. The original is quite diminutive.


You needed a goddess on your side when birthing in ancient times.


The goddess of sexual indiscretions. And I thought she was the goddess of weaving haha.

Painted by our friend Jo Mann.

Our history rarely includes herstory. Goddess images are labeled fertility icons, as if that is all women are concerned with. On every continent, strong, powerful images of women have been uncovered. It’s fun to invite some of them to share our home.



In The Beginning

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Arriving in Mexico in September 1973, forty-three years ago, as an international student, was an exciting time for this budding Torta. My first three weeks of class at the Universidad de las Américas in Central Mexico were terrifying, exciting and overwhelming all wrapped into one. We found housing and went to work in a three-week immersion program to learn about our new digs. 


Students from all over the country arrived in Mexico City and headed for the green university bus.

Week One was the study of ancient Mexico, art, people and history. Field trips to pyramids, museums and names like Aztec, Olmec, Toltec and Mayan filled my head and dreams. It was a lot to take in.


Giant Olmec head. Vera Cruz.



Teotihuacan outside Mexico City September 1973

Week Two was Colonial Mexico. We visited churches, talked revolution and looked at the impact of Catholicism on the Mexican people. Having been raised Catholic, I was intrigued by the devout faith and religious iconography, especially the Virgin of Guadalupe. (More about that in a future blog).


The pyramid of Cholula with a church on top.


The same church today. (Stock photo)

Week Three covered modern day Mexico, government, political system and recent history. We were busy from morning until night visiting mercados, villages and of course drinking cerveza.


The Cholula market.

It was an exciting time. I fell totally, madly in love with Mexico and its people. It’s why we live here today. DOS TORTAS



Don’t Battle The Ants

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If you have never read 100 Years of Solitude (Cien Años de Soledad) by Colombian Nobel Prize winning author Gabriel García Márquez (1967), you have missed a magical story that takes place in the remote village of Macondo, in the jungle of the Columbian rainforest. It is one of the best books ever written. Seriously.


I first read 100 Years of Solitude as an international student in Mexico in the seventies. It had just been translated into English. It is a tale of seven generations of the Buendía family who among other things, have the habit of naming their children variations of the same names. It’s enough to make your head spin trying to keep track of the various players.


Hibiscus also known here as tulipani.

Eventually I gave up trying to follow who’s who and found that it made little difference. I would never give away the ending other than to say it involves ants.


The video would not upload.

In the jungle a battle with the ants is a battle you will loose. There’s more of them than us and they never quit. No matter how clean your house, they will scurry across the kitchen counter looking for a nibble or a bug to carry off.


Volunteer papaya tree growing out of the compost pile.

This week I was sitting on the couch and twice found an ant on my leg. I looked up to see a highway of ants coming from under the dog crate. What the…!!


Bird of paradise blooming this morning.

They show up quickly having decided that something I thought was mine is really theirs. It’s a wonder they haven’t made off with the dog! Time to get out the trusty vacuum cleaner. The best I can hope for is to discourage them. So far, it’s not working.



Bark Sniff Poo Repeat

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The exercise, entertainment and care of Princesa Luna requires daily forays into the mosquitoey jungle. We clothe our bodies head to foot and douse in repellant, especially at dawn and dusk. I don’t think she appreciates us.


The lane in front of our property.

This week I brought my camera along. Taking a picture with a dog dragging me along does not lend itself to the best shots.


There are always flowers blooming. Watch the sharp points on the leaves. Ouch.


Luna knows the way.

The path is surprisingly refreshing as the hot sun does not penetrate the jungle canopy.


Why did the tarantula cross the road?

Luna is so curious about everything. This tarantula would not hang around to play.


Lovely green wall.

There is an open property up the way where Luna and I run and play. I lust after cuttings of this cactus. I must return with my machete, gloves and NO dog.


The jungle is also home to these amazing blue butterflies. They are the size of your palm and impossible to photograph.


She doesn’t look one bit guilty. Maybe a little.

If it weren’t for Luna insisting that we go for a walk, several times a day, we would miss so many amazing things. We have seen fox, coatis, parrots and more. I guess life  in the jungle is a dog’s paradise. Ours’ too. DOS TORTAS


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