Archive | April, 2023

Inspired By My MIL

29 Apr

Lisa’s mother Alice moved from Bakersfield to live with us in Mexico in 2015. It did not go well. She was scared and I was too. We had no real relationship prior to the move. Lisa’s interactions with her mom had only been brief visits and phone calls since she was nineteen years old. There was no one to take care of her in California and she was not doing well, so we invited her to live with us. What could go wrong?

The Queen’s Bath, Palenque on our trip from California.
Alice is not a fan of pyramids.

Upon arrival to Bacalar, Alice lived with us for a brief period in our very little house while her even littler house was being finished. Yes, we built her her own house. She wouldn’t eat anything that we prepared for dinner and almost never came out of her room. We were not off to a good start.

Alice’s little house that she loves.

As time went on, I knew that if things were to improve, it was on me. I began doing things with her, taking her out shopping and to dinner when Lisa was in the States. Things slowly began to improve.

Alice is fearless. Local kids rescued this snake from being caught in a fence.

Last July, Alice got Covid. After two hospital stays and seven months in bed, she began to improve. Our doctor had predicted that she wouldn’t make it a year, that’s how bad she was. I guess that looking death in the eye does something to a person. It sure did to Alice.

Today she goes to the gym and works out 4-5 days a week. Her drive keeps us going. She eats whatever we make her and never complains. She refers to me as her daughter-in-law and tells me she loves me. And more than anything, she’s happy and very grateful for her life. Lisa and I are inspired by her every day. At 79 she is a miracle and I am grateful to call her friend and Mom.


Sometimes You’re Just Tired

23 Apr

I’ve been MIA with no explanation. I’ve also been just plain tired, no reason, no apologies. Well, an hour a day at the gym might be to blame, but who knows?

One weekend we went climbing pyramids with our new friends from Portland, Oregon US.

Ancient ruins near Bacalar.

Today Lisa had surgery to ready her mouth for two dental implants. She’s in quite a bit of pain with stitches and such. So for now I’ll be keeping things simple. Maybe I’ll muster more energy by next weekend.

Last weekend we went to a wedding. It was a perfect blog subject. If only I felt like writing.

Alice loves a wedding.
❤️ mariachis


Easter Respite

8 Apr

Whether or not you celebrate Easter, Passover or Solstice as a spiritual practice, it’s a good time to take a break. Semana Santa or Holy Week is a widely celebrated national holiday in Mexico. Everyone gets a week off work, banks and businesses are closed and Bacalar is a vacation destination for many. Surprisingly the past week has been relatively quiet in our neck of the jungle, much to the chagrin I’m sure, of the million and one new hotels that have been popping up in anticipation of the Mayan Train.

Rooftop Easter sunrise.

I thought I’d share some of my latest artwork. Procreate is a drawing application that allows me to play with color, line and form on my iPad mini. I am totally a novice and use very few of the features it offers.

Let’s Dance
Find The Ice Cream Cone
Bacalar Sunrise
Best Friends

I hope you enjoy your week.


More Easter sunrise from our roof.


Let’s Wrap This Up – Acapulco 1973

2 Apr

The remote places of Mexico were easier to find in 1973. Three students, of which I was one, traveled down a beach road to a time forgotten. We spent a week with a family who was eeking out a living on the Pacific coast south of Acapulco.

This odd “parking space” was for drying coconuts! Taken on my old film camera.

Probably the most memorable activity of the week was drinking cold rum and coke. There were glass bottles of coca cola stacked against the house. One day, the fishermen were taking a run into town for supplies and asked if we wanted anything. Thinking we would provide a little fun for everyone, one of my fellow students gave them some pesos for a bottle of rum. When the rum arrived, we discovered to our surprise that none of the guys wanted any.

We bought our coke from Maria and proceeded to pour ourselves a drink. It was then that one of the fishermen casually asked us the most amazing question … “Quieres hielo?”

Old cases of coke,

It doesn’t take much Spanish language skill to know that hielo means ice. ICE? With no electricity and no running water, how could he be asking us if we wanted ice? My brain imploded with confusion.

Then this fellow proceeded to walk over to a large pile of wood chips that I hadn’t even noticed. And there, buried deep underneath was a block of ice. He pulled out an pick and hacked us off enough to fill our glasses. Voila! Cold rum and cokes. Talk about having to pinch yourself!

Cuba libre

I sat with my companions and watched the sunset, feet in the Pacific, miles from anywhere drinking cold rum and coke. We later realized that the ice was used to keep the fish cold for its trip to market in Acapulco. Wood chips provide adequate insulation. Who knew.

The boss showed up to haul the week’s catch to Acapulco. He is weighing the fish.

We three students from California, Connecticut and myself from New Jersey would never be the same. I think this is the first time I really talked about the experience in detail. The three of us went our separate ways after our adventure and never hung out again. For me, having met people with so few possessions who appeared so happy changed me. I realize that I was only there a week. I don’t want to glorify poverty as I’m sure they had their own problems. In the repaired van we said our goodbyes to return to classes having to force money on them to cover our stay. And like the 1954 musical Brigadoon, the veil closed and we went back to our student lives. Forever changed.


A Gene Kelly taps with men in kilts from the magical village of Brigadoon.

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