Archive | February, 2013

Rancho Paradiso

25 Feb

I have lived in Texas almost 40 years. It’s one of the few places you hear of people going to their “ranch” on the weekend or for a vacation. I always wanted a ranch. In Mexico, people name their homes or property. I always wanted a home with a name. So when we found our dream property in Bacalar, Mexico, I immediately began searching my imagination for the perfect name for our future home. Rancho Paradiso (Paradise Ranch), the perfect blend of Tejas y Mexico.

Of course the first time we walked the half acre on beautiful Laguna de Bacalar, we didn’t realize that, “this was it”. Visiting the property of a fellow ex-pat (Canadian) and seeing the layout of his home and gardens gave us the vision of what we could accomplish and thus created la idea of Rancho Paradiso. My inexperienced videography doesn’t exactly show off the property in it’s best light. It’s a narrow, sloping, lake property that will need terracing. We will build a small house with lots of outdoor living and a star-gazing roof. I have hand drawn plans that are similar to the ones I was drawing at 21 when I lived in Cholula, MX. We have miles to go before we get to the building phase but for now, it’s fun to troll pintrest looking for gardening and decorating ideas. Stay tuned.


18 Feb

Over the years we have gathered memories in the form of photos, journals, high school year books, etc. Some of the photos are in albums but most are totally disorganized in boxes. And in the tradition of my mother, there are no dates, names or identifying information. I stare at the pictures and try to determine the age of my children or siblings and what we were doing. I have pretty much divided the pictures between my three children, with some that I wish to keep. It has been a slow process and I want to stop strangers on the street and tell them to START ORGANIZING YOUR PICTURES NOW, before it’s too late! Or maybe I’m the only person who keeps photos in boxes in the top of my closet, but I don’t think so. I once went to a party and met guys with book shelves full of travel photos, organized in three ring binders by trip, year and clearly labeled. I’m afraid I never got that gene. Sure, I should scan them to CDs or the Cloud, but that’s not gonna happen. I also have a box of hand written journals that I started keeping about age 14 after reading The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. I have made my daughter swear that she will not read them until I am dead. They are boxed and ready for shipment. Pulling up roots has certainly been more of a self discovery process than I imagined. But truthfully, it’s one of the reasons we’re doing it.

Dos Tortas do San Francisco 1996

Dos Tortas do San Francisco 2006


Turkey 2010

The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

13 Feb

I have always been a fan of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe. I have several statues and framed pictures of her gracing our home in Austin. I also know that I want to participate in the traditions of our new community. She is very important in Mexico and when I saw the announcement for the procession and mass, I was in. The evening of December 12 we waited in the zocalo for the parade that was winding it’s way through Bacalar. The sky was menacing and we were hoping the rain would hold. After a half hour the procession rounded la esquina. The statue was beautiful with 20-30 people following. As soon as they passed, we ran toward the church as the sky opened and it POURED! We ended up sitting in the most beautiful candle-lit church with windows and doors open to the elements. I wish I’d taken a picture. It was so serene. We lit candles giving thanks for finding this most beautiful home.

Procession Quadalupe 2012

Procession 2012

Day Three – Waterskiing

8 Feb

The “carrot” for Lisa to move to Bacalar with me was that she could have a boat. For almost 20 years I have know that her dream is to own property on water that is home to a ski boat. I am not a fan of things that go vroom, so I have been less than supportive of the idea. I’m more of a kayak, sail boat, bicycle kinda gal. When Steven (our realtor) rounded up some friends to take us out on the lake, the water was “like glass”, which is perfect for water skiing, or so I am told. The guys were a lot of fun and watching Jimmy (boat owner) get up on skis for the first time was a blast. But the significant thing that happened for us was that we stopped at David’s house. He is a part-time resident with a lot that is approximately the same size and slope as the one we considered. His property provided us with a vision of what we could do with the lot we visited, where we would put the house, etc. All of a sudden, the pieces fell into place. I will post pictures of the property next time.


Lisa having the time of her life.


Clouds reflected in the Laguna de Siete Colores


David’s dock and terraced property.


The perfect reflection.


Sometimes You Need a Little Inspiration

7 Feb

The master key to your success is to keep moving in the direction of your dream. Things are going to happen to trip you up. There will be long dry spells where nothing appears to be taking place. Stay focused on your dream ~ even in the midst of all of the disappointments, setbacks, and rejections. Keep falling for…ward. The universe will align itself and respond to your efforts and your energy.

There will be times when you may feel…”I just can’t do anything else…I’m tired and exhausted.” Stay focused on your dream. Dig down deep, and know that you will get a second wind. Doors will open you did not see. Keep the faith. Believe in yourself, and hold on to your dream!!! ~Les Brown


Mexican ER (I think)

3 Feb

I have never had a urinary track infection (UTI) in my life, but by lunchtime on day one in Bacalar, I knew something was very wrong. I was peeing frequently and it hurt and was getting worse. We had seen what appeared to be a clinic not far from our casita. The red cross and ambulance parked outside were the clue. So off we went to experience first hand the Mexican health-care system. Going up to a window, I announced, “quiero ver un doctor“, and they handed me the usual clipboard. Not being Mexican, having a local address or phone did not seem to be a problemo. We sat in a waiting room filled mostly with moms and little ones. It could have been a pediatric clinic for all I knew. After about 20 minutes I saw a doctor who asked me all the questions you would expect, symptoms, how long, etc. while he poked and prodded my abdomen. Since I understood him and responded in Spanish, he did not speak to me in English so I don’t know his English-speaking abilities. He prescribed antibiotics and looked at me curiously when I suggested that maybe I should, “pee in a cup?” His response was a bit of a chuckle and “why? it’s obviously an infection,” shook my hand and moved on. I couldn’t argue with his logic, especially when I had almost total relief in less than 24 hours. The entire experience lasted about 45 minutes and cost me $15 which included two medications they handed me before I left. The encounter was very different from any ER visit I’ve been subject to in the US. While basic, it did not feel like, “cover your butt” medicine that tests for every possible ill. I left feeling confident that I’ll get adequate health care at the hands of the Mexican medical system.


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