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A Time For Reflection

23 Sep

It’s Sunday (my usual day of blogging) and nothing has been posted, written or is even dancing around in my head. I am in Bacalar, Mexico to handle an immigration deadline and I will be going back to California in a week to finish the commitment to our daughter and her family. 

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Our beautiful granddaughters.

I think I really want to spend some time this week listening. Our home in Bacalar is such a place of peace and quiet. California with our twin granddaughters and two year old grandson has been a challenge to my sense of calm. I believe that peace is not a matter of circumstances but a choice. My listening is about what I need to consistently make that choice.

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A lovely little shower moving across the Laguna. Can you hear the thunder?

I know this is out of the norm for my blog. It’s where I’ve been lately and trying to decide whether or not to share it. So here goes. What do you do when you need guidance that talking and thinking does not provide?

DOS TORTAS 

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Just Maybe There Are No Coincidences

16 Sep

Before retiring, I traveled a fair amount for my job. I’ve always wished I had kept a photojournal of the interesting people who sat next to me on airplanes and made the time literally fly by. There was a man who allowed my toddler to gnaw on his diamond watch as we were delayed landing in Newark airport. An animal trainer with scarred arms who was traveling with a lion cub in the belly of the plane on his way to Austin to shoot a movie. Once a man slipped into the seat next to me at the last minute, in shorts and carrying a large camera. He captained sailboats for the rich and famous and in his spare time shot pictures for National Geographic. I wish I’d thought to keep their names and pictures (this was a time before selfies).

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The marvelous Chihuly Glass Museum in Seattle.

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This week I took a break from caring for our twin granddaughters to visit friends in Seattle for a few days. It was lovely weather and I had a wonderful time. On my flight back to Santa Rosa I met a very special woman. But let me set the stage…

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No trip to Seattle is complete without a visit to the Space Needle

I am an avid Instagram follower of a dog photographer who calls himself The Dogist. His expressive photos make me smile and lift my day. Recently he’d been posting pictures and promoting the organization Canine Companions in Santa Rosa, Ca., about twenty minutes from where we are staying. I even told Lisa that it would be fun to visit them. They provide highly trained assistance dogs for veterans and anyone who needs them. A worthy cause indeed.

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Much to my delight I sat on the return flight from Seattle next to Ester Molina, the Director of Breeding and Puppy Program for Canine Companions. We had a wonderful conversation about so many things. We truly are kindred souls. We even discovered that she was born on my birthday! It’s so lovely to make a connection with a seeming stranger. It reminds me that there really are no strangers, only friends we haven’t met yet. So my recommendation to you is go out there and connect with someone new. It’s so much fun. Please comment, share and follow.

DOS TORTAS
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Today’s Spanish Lesson ¿Dónde está el baño?

9 Sep

This lovely little post reminds me of our early days living in Mexico. September first was five years since our arrival. Enjoy,

DOS TORTAS

via Today’s Spanish Lesson ¿Dónde está el baño?

A Walk Through Wine Country

2 Sep

If you have found your way to this blog looking for tales of retirement adventures in Mexico, you’ve come to the right place. However our adventures of late have taken a detour and are temporarily located in Northern California caring for our children and premature twin granddaughters.

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A tired and happy dad.

Life is good and shaken us out of our retirement routine. Nothing is predictable with newborns and their two and a half year old brother. There are middle of the night diaper changes, keeping the house in order and making sure our little team is hydrated and fed. A nursing mother consumes an extra thousand calories a day with twins!

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A trip to the children’s museum with Max.

My morning walk through neighboring wine country has been saving grace. The temperature is a far cry from tropical Bacalar.

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Hot air balloons overhead most weekend mornings.

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Front yard orchard.

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The smell of lavender everywhere.

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Country roads delight the senses.

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Early morning grape harvesting.

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Wild geese.

We will be in California until the first of November. Please comment and share. Until next time.

DOS TORTAS

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Fear vs Adventure

26 Aug

I consciously avoid most news these days as it is too depressing. Somehow this week I began to follow the disappearance of Mollie Tibbetts, a young woman out jogging in Iowa who seemingly disappeared. After endlessly reviewing security camera footage, the police reported what happened to her and what might have been her final words. After her abductor approached on the street, she clutched her cell phone telling him to leave her alone or she would call the police. She was too late I’m afraid.

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Life is blooming in Northern Cali. Loving the morning walks.

It reminds me of something that happened to me, at exactly her age. I was walking early one morning to my first college summer job. I cut across a neighborhood park. It was barely light, but how dangerous could it be with all those houses just across the street? I heard footsteps behind me, but did not run, nor scream or even turn to face the intruder. Of course there was no cell phone to clutch. A man walked up behind me and thrust his hand between my legs and turned and hurried away. I was stunned. I did not think to report it, after all he didn’t “hurt” me. Calling it sexual assault was unthinkable at that time. I’m not sure I ever told anyone. I also don’t remember how I got to work from then on.

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A woman and her dog.

All this was streaming through my mind as I was again on a morning walk, in another park with few people in site. A woman was walking her dog ahead of me and I motioned to the dog who happily made a beeline to have his ears scratched and his rump tickled. She laughed and said, “so much for my protector.” I struck up a conversation with her and we talked briefly about how we must be constantly vigilant. It’s exhausting in ways we’re not even aware.

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If you’ve followed this blog, you know that I talk frequently about living fearlessly. After all, adventure is the antithesis of fear and safety has a high price. But what about Mollie? Was she like me, pretending there was no threat? She was 20 years old with the world by the tail. We must not let it scare us. Please, please don’t quit having adventures. It would make your life very small. Just be careful. Adiós Mollie. Go with God.

DOS TORTAS
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Off The Beaten Path – Ticul

19 Aug

For the next two months we will be visiting our children in Northern California, helping with the integration of two new family members.

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Our newborn twin granddaughters Analise and Sara.

Please enjoy his earlier blog post from May 2015. September begins our sixth year of retirement in Bacalar. Life is good and we are so grateful for these babies and the chance to support their parents in getting them off to a good start. What are you grateful for?

DOS TORTAS 

via Off The Beaten Path – Ticul

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A Car Chase in Bacalar Taxista #29

12 Aug

While we are preparing for the twins to come home from the hospital and chasing down a two year old, The TORTAS have been busy. Please enjoy a look back into our adventurous life in Mexico. DOS TORTAS 

via A Car Chase in Bacalar Taxista #29 

What You Won’t Find In Bacalar

5 Aug

I have spent over five years describing retirement life in the far reaches of the Mexican jungle. There are blog posts on murals, mercado’s, pyramids, dogs and small town living. For the next few months we are in Northern California, USA taking care of our daughter’s family as they integrate two new members. 

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Our granddaughters born July 11, Sara and Analise

Some things I’ve noticed that we DON’T have in Bacalar:
Hot Air Balloons

There is a local festival here every June so it’s no surprise that we’ve seen balloons overhead the last few mornings. What better way to see the wine country? Unfortunately the sky has been hazy due to the fires burning north of here. Maybe we could get some balloons over Laguna Bacalar. I’d be up for a ride. How about you? https://youtu.be/C6-mO46u9hc

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Wild Geese

I’ve been seeing geese overhead and grazing on the lawns of the high school when out for an early walk. They’re so majestic and noisy.

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Cherries

We might occasionally get cherries at the grocery store in Chetumal, but not like those that are available in Northern California. We’re going to the farmer’s market later today. Cherries are number one on my shopping list.

Our Kids

It’s wonderful to be retired and able to help our daughter and her family. It really does take a village.

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Enjoy your life today. It’s the only day you get.
DOS TORTAS
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Go For A Walk?

29 Jul

I was raised in rural New Jersey. For the most people, the Garden State evokes images of spaghetti bowl freeways, Atlantic City and miles upon miles of town after town. It’s hard to tell where one ends and another begins. (Rocks In My Head)

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Our three hundred year old farmhouse. My mother wanted it because it had three fireplaces. It burned to the ground shortly after my father died and she had sold it.

When I was in fifth grade we moved “out in the country”. The road was paved from our little town of a thousand people to my family’s driveway. From there a dirt road continued a mile or so to a working dairy farm. Today those small farms are long gone and housing developments take their place.

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Fourth and fifth grade in the same classroom.

It was a common occurrence, on a balmy summer’s evening for my father to stand and declare, “Go for a walk?”. It wasn’t really a question. The TV was turned off and five kids, dogs and even the cat ambled across the lawn and up the road. The best times were when there were fat juicy wild blackberries ready for picking along the way.

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The trout stream that flowed behind our property.

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The view from the bridge on the corner of our property the last time I visited.

These sweet memories came flooding in as the dogs and I stepped out of our gate this week and walked along our jungle road. Five years ago when we first arrived in Bacalar, there was no road. Now there are two houses that we pass on our daily jaunt. Land is being cleared all around for god knows what. The only thing we can really count on is change. Our hearts break to see the jungle cut down and the animals disappear.

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Out the front gate.

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We leave in the morning for California. Off to care for my daughter and her family which includes newborn twins Sara and Ana. Another summer in Bacalar will be gone when Lisa and I return. I won’t miss the mosquitoes but I do love it here.

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The babies are thriving.

DOS TORTAS
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Grocery Shopping in Mexico–a bit of a quest

22 Jul

I hope you enjoy this blog from a woman I follow in northern Mexico. I am preparing my immigration papers and leaving for California soon to be with my daughter. Pictures of the twins next week. 👶🏼👶🏼😁

Surviving Mexico

You can get groceries at a variety of stores. In fact, depending on what you need, you may need to stop at several stores to find all the items on your list.

The smallest corner store is usually called abarrotes or tiendita or miscelanea. There’s typically a small selection of necessities including soap, canned goods, and chips. Usually, there’s quite a large selection of chips and soda. Even with the sugar tax, these items remain best sellers and are what probably keep these little stores in business.

If it’s a store you frequent, you may be able to request certain items. For instance, peanut butter is available at some stores but not part of the Mexican diet. If you let the store owner know you’ll be buying it regularly, it just might appear on the shelves.

The next size up is the mini-super. There’s a little more selection…

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