Tag Archives: Amazing sunrise

Finding My Way

25 Apr

Swimming has now become a daily routine. I no longer have to brace myself for the plunge into chilly water, as days are creeping into the 90s (32c) on Laguna Bacalar in southern Mexico. The water is getting noticeably warmer and in a month or so, it will feel like stepping into a bath.

I have been working on my swimming stroke for years studying and practicing Total Immersion Swimming. I point my nose toward the bottom, keeping my neck and spine aligned. Catch and pull toward my thigh while cork screwing my body through the water. Pull, rotate, pull rotate, 1, 2, 3. Kicking is not the frantic churning of feet in an effort to propel oneself through the water. Stroke, kick, stroke, kick. It’s a beautiful dance gliding with the grace of a porpoise (at least I try) rather than laying flat like a squat tugboat. 163, 164, 165.

Sometimes I count, sometimes I sing, “Imagine all the people, living life in peace, you ooo may say I’m a dreamer….” I also like to float on my back watching the clouds and the birds. An occasional kayaker passes but for the most part the lake is all mine.

There is one thing, with all this pulling, and singing and counting, I am swimming all over the place. There are no lane lines as in a public pool and I’m not sure if it’s the currents, the wind or my uneven pull, but one minute I’m paralleling the coast and the next I’m heading for open water. I zig and zag and without repeatedly lifting my head, I never know where the heck I am.

My goal is to reach that point off in the distance.

I suppose it’s all a metaphor for life. Some days I certainly am going around in circles. Regardless, when I climb the ladder out of the water, I am flush with gratitude, a feeling of supreme accomplishment and a laugh at not knowing where I am or where I’m going, but so happy to be alive.


The Kayaker Or The Photographer

4 Dec

I knew a professional photographer who wanted to take his own fiftieth birthday portrait. He set the scene with a throne, crown and regal cape to mark his auspicious anniversary. Setting up to take the shot with his foot, he expressed frustration. When taking the picture, he became the photographer and was no longer the king. He had to get someone else to capture his royal essence.


This morning I set off early to enjoy the sunrise from one of my favorite places, my little blue kayak floating peacefully in the middle of Laguna Bacalar. The morning was cool. We had rain overnight and the sun was beginning to show on the horizon.


Love the clouds ☁️

I pushed off as quietly as possible. Sound carries and everyone was still asleep.


Our house as seen from Laguna Bacalar

As much as I wanted to capture the beauty that I was experiencing and share it with you, I had to put the camera down and simply be. We are so used to seeing the world through a lens and “sharing” it through any number of social media sites that it’s easy to miss the experience entirely.


I hope you enjoy the pictures I did take, but the seabirds soaring overhead, the changing colors and the breeze will be stored forever in my memory. Make your own memories today.



Sailing The Laguna

21 Aug

Living in the southernmost part of Mexico does not lend itself to many visitors. The little village of Bacalar where we live is a five-hour bus ride south of Cancun, nestled along the coast of one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Add to that the fear of Mexico that is actively promoted and it is no wonder why people choose to vacation in Costa Rica, the Bahamas or a cruise to anywhere.

This past week, our friend Karen who lives in Tulum, jumped on a bus to escape the deep jungle heat where monkeys fly through the trees, to hang out with Dos Tortas and enjoy lake breezes.


As always, having a guest is a good excuse to do something we’ve been putting off for forever…like going for a sail with our neighbors Teresa and Paul.


Climbing aboard the Gabriela.

It was the first time my MIL had ever sailed and she had a blast on our three-hour tour.


Lisa and her mom


Eco Lodge Kuunich Kaanil.

Kuunich Kaanil


It’s been on and off raining and threatening to rain. The weather cooperated to give us enough wind and not too much sun. A fabulous time was had by all.



On Laguna Bacalar starts the sky.


A Day In The Life

24 Jul

Living on Laguna Bacalar, three kilometers (2 miles) from the pueblo of Bacalar makes for a vida muy tranquilo


We didn’t know about the magnificent sunrises when we moved here.

Up with the sun about six thirty. Lisa starts the day making coffee while Luna and I walk down to the dock to photograph the sunrise. It’s been our ritual since she was a puppy. She waits at the back door impatiently every morning.


We watch the fish, listen to the birds and watch the day come alive.


Our rickety dock.

Meditation and exercise play a daily part of the routine. On this day it was an exercise video with Alice, Lisa’s mother. Luna likes to join in.


On alternative days we’re off to the gym. This week we had a visit with blog follower Heather and son Jonathan. What a treat when people travel to Bacalar after reading the blog.


A trip to the pirate fort and picture in front of the mural is a must when visiting Bacalar.

We visited shops featuring local art and sampled snow cones shaved from a block of ice right before our eyes. We had our choice of homemade tropical fruit toppings, pineapple, lime, tamarind, nance and more.


Light and refreshing, not like the syrupy sweet snow cones we’re used to.

What day would be complete without a parade!

I’m not sure what the parade was for, but we never need a special reason to celebrate life in Bacalar. DOS TORTAS

Be sure to follow us on Pinterest and Instagram at dos_tortas.


We Plan God Laughs

4 Oct

We planned one back surgery and ended up with two! After days of severe pain and numbness, following spinal fusion, the doctor reopened the surgical site to clean out the wound and remove the spacer he had inserted five days prior.

We stayed in the hospital a few more days. Any plans of returning to Bacalar over the weekend were shot to hell. While Lisa was in surgery, I got a clear-sky hospital view of the lunar eclipse.

Forgive my goofy photo. It's what happens with no sleep and high stress.

Forgive my goofy photo. It’s what happens with no sleep and high stress.

We had so much unexpected support during our eleven days in Merida. Our Airbnb hosts visited the hospital with flowers and food. Our friends Gabriel and Monica left a family reunion to be with us in the hospital. The love was overwhelming. The owner of a little hotel we’d stayed at showed at the hospital and took me to dinner. I can’t even describe what it was like to be so cared for.

Now here’s the kicker. I’m sick. I came down with a mosquito born illness called chikengunya. The main symptom at the moment is fatigue. It’s taken me hours to write this blog. So I will post a few exterior house photos and call it quits.


Our lovely entrance. I looking for a bench.

Our lovely entrance. I’m looking for the perfect bench.

The path around the front.

The path around the front.

North side with our little stand of bamboo.

North side with our little stand of bamboo.


Life Returning to Normal – Whatever That Means

8 Mar

The Tortas have returned to Bacalar after two weeks in cold, drizzle and fog. We loved visiting with friends and family, but we didn’t get the usual lovely Austin early spring. The day after we left, the city was shut down with freezing temperatures and ice. Whew!

Travel is tiring no matter how well the trip goes. Even the young adults sitting behind us on the plane chanting “Cancun, Cancun!” didn’t put a damper on our mood. Earplugs helped.

The sunset leaving Tulum heading home to Bacalar.

The sunset leaving Tulum heading home to Bacalar.

Returning to our paradise means kicking our house construction into high gear. We have met with our architect and a three week deadline is ticking to complete the structural plans. It was fun to talk sky lights, niches and ceiling fan placement. We will walk the property on Tuesday with our builder to discuss house placement tweaks to optimize the view and air flow. While it seems that it has taken an inordinately long time to build this house, blessings can come in disguise. We are finally clear on what we want and the universe is getting onboard.

A built-in cabinet that we will incorporate into the house design.

A built-in cabinet that we will incorporate into the house design.

A huge blessing is the current dollar to peso exchange rate. As we prepare to transfer money to our Mexican bank account, the dollar is the strongest it’s been in 22 years. It means  that our cost to build will be less than when we arrived in 2013. Another blessing being showered on The Tortas.

Sunday morning sunrise over Laguna Bacalar.

Sunday morning sunrise over Laguna Bacalar.

We are happy to be settling back into our routine of exercise, meditation and our daily to-do list…make a dentist appointment, schedule maintenance on the truck, clean out the refrigerator, etc. It’s a simple life and extremely satisfying.


OK I Quit!

4 Jan

All this week I’ve been waiting for that still small voice that tells me what this week’s blog will be. My muse is clearly on vacation. When I started blogging in 2013, I told myself that if it’s no longer fun, I will quit. This week it wasn’t fun. I tossed in my sleep, came up with multiple ideas and threw them out, and yes stressed about it! Then I decided to repost an older blog, and even that process was more than I could deal with, even though I’ve done it before. No, I’m not shutting down the blog, just taking a break. Happy New Year.

Time for a trim.

Time for a haircut.

Meet Mary. She did a great job.

Meet Mary. She did a great job.

Silly selfie. $6.00 haircut.

Silly selfie. $6.00 haircut.

I hope your transition into 2015 was what you hoped for. I have two announcements. Our friend Kathe is selling a lovely home not far from here:
Another friend Carolyn is selling a wonderful business:

If you ever thought of a life away, here are two opportunities. A few more pictures for your pleasure. You can also find us on Instagram at dos_tortas.

Blue morning.

Blue morning.




I commit to no stress for 2015. No telling where the new year will take us. The adventure continues…


It’s Kind Of Like Camping Only Better – My Dad Would Have Been So Proud

17 Aug

Five children, a dog, occasionally my grandmother and a cousin or two joined our childhood camping vacations. It was partly economical but also for the love of being outdoors. My father grew up as a Boy Scout and loved all things merit badge. I learned to build and cook on a campfire, make a sling for a broken arm and identify constellations.  His rule was to leave the campsite cleaner than you found it. My father’s admonitions live in my heart to this day.

Being my father’s daughter has served me well for living in Bacalar in the southern Yucatan. It’s a lot like camping, only better. The windows to our home are persianas which do not seal out the world.

Our alarm clock.

Our alarm clock.

We hear birds squawking, dogs barking, the roosters greeting the sunrise and an occasional goat braying. It’s not all at the same time, usually.

We choose not to use air conditioning even in the heat and humidity of the summer. We cope as do most people here by keeping activity to a minimum during the heat of the day, jumping in the lake in the afternoon and if necessary, taking a shower before bed. The night seems to cool down just enough and we are up with the sunrise.


 With the windows always open, you can feel the shift in the wind which indicates a possible shower rolling in.


 My dad would have loved Bacalar. This past week was twenty-eight years since his death. I still see his gait in my son, and his stewardship of the earth in myself and my children. I hope my children and grandchildren will someday share stories of their crazy grandmothers who lived in the jungle in Mexico with their windows open.



Inicios Nuevos

29 Sep

New beginnings – We marked one month of living in Mexico this week. It still feels like one big vacation. We’re incredibly grateful to have a beautiful home to live in while waiting for our house to sell in Texas and eventually build our home here. Days begin with taking photos of the latest amazing sunrise, yoga, and meditation. Lisa has been working diligently on learning Spanish. She listens to a CD for thirty minutes and has conversations with anyone she comes into contact with. Local folks seemed pleased with her effort and are more than willing to enunciate and use simple language. I am all too familiar with the sensation of one’s head exploding in the effort to learn a second language. It is a necessary part of the process.

We made a new friend, Kathe who lives in Chetumal, about a half hour drive from us. Several years ago, Kathe and her partner traveled from Canada to Panama and back in an RV. She kept a blog which I include here. On her blog she shared a story, “Loose Chickens” by Nancy Vineski. The story was included in Chicken Soup for the RVer’s Soul and made me laugh and think about the choices we have made to live in Bacalar, MX. I include it here. As always, comments and suggestions for future blogs are appreciated. What do you do to rattle your cage? Please share.

Sep 8, 2007
Loose Chickens

By Nancy Vineski

It all started with a few loose chickens. . . .

I was a real estate agent and had gone to check out one of our listed
properties. It was an egg-laying operation, a commercial facility involving
thousands of caged chickens. The warehouse-like building held hundreds and
hundreds of small cages, each containing two hens. The cages were so small
that the chickens were unable to turn around. In front of the chickens, one
conveyor belt brought feed and behind them was another belt that carried
their eggs away. While the plant manager was briefing us, I noticed a dozen
loose chickens and an employee following them and scattering grain.

“Do you need help catching them?” I asked.

“I’m not trying to catch these birds” he replied. “Oh no, we let these
wander around. If the caged ones can’t see a few chickens living a free
life, they’ll lose hope and stop laying their eggs. Without these loose
chickens, the rest will just give up and die.”

Instantly, it struck me how similar our lifestyle was to these caged birds.
How many of us live our lives in cages, looking out and seeing others having
the adventures, living their dreams, being free? I realized that there are
two kinds of chickens: those who live in cages and those who roam freely. I
wanted to be one of those loose chickens!

Within a couple of months, we wangled a year’s unpaid leave of absence from
my husband Tom’s university employers, closed my small business, found
someone to house sit our home, took $10000 out of our retirement savings,
bought an old VW camper-van and set off to explore Mexico and Central

That year stretched into two and we decided not to return to our old jobs.

It’s been nine years now of full-time RVing full-time, exploring full-time
living. The house-sitter became a tenant who became the guy who bought our
house. The camper-van turned into a twenty-five-foot trailer, which turned
into a thirty-seven-foot motor home. And a few years ago our son Bill also
became a full-time RVer – a family of loose chickens roaming free.

Reprinted by permission of Nancy Vineski (c) 2000 from Chicken Soup for the
Traveler’s Soul by Jack Canfield Mark Victor Hansen and Steve Zikman.


Peaceful Beginning to the Day on Lake Bacalar

Some Days Just Amaze

Some Days Just Amaze

With a Good Book

With a Good Book

Loose Chickens

Loose Chickens

The Think You Think You Cannot Do

The Thing You Think You Cannot Do


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