Tag Archives: Austin

Go With God Sandy

23 Apr

The recent visit to our hometown of Austin, Texas included a drive through the old neighborhood. You could tell which houses had had a facelift or complete makeover and likely changed hands. One house stood out with its overgrown yard and clunker parked in the driveway. It looked absolutely the same as when we left almost four years ago. We laughed and wondered aloud how Sandy was doing.


Pulling out of our driveway August 2013

Leaving Austin after having lived there forty years for me and more than twenty for Lisa meant lots of goodbyes. We visited with friends, some of which we hadn’t seen in years, but who wanted to connect before we took off for the wilds of Southern Mexico. We even threw a party in our yard, complete with live music. There were many opportunities for folks who wanted it. But we never saw Sandy.

She was our neighbor a few doors down. She played softball with Lisa’s team for a few years. I remember hanging out in her hot tub with a group of women naked and laughing. It was a first for me but lots of fun.

Over the years, Sandy became more and more of a recluse. I stopped by her house more than once to invite her to some event and she was clearly uncomfortable and did not invite me in. The house reeked of cigarette smoke. She promised to show, but never did.


Sandy’s trusty little white truck.

I knew Sandy had retired from her job as a surgical assistant to an eye doctor. She also volunteered with children. I wonder what happened. Lisa and I had dinner last week with some mutual friends who informed us that Sandy had died. When she didn’t show for a cancer treatment, the clinic sent the police for a wellness checkup. They found her in her recliner.

I believe a lifelong struggle with depression and alcohol contributed. She only died the first of March and it makes me so sad. I just came from the grocery store and saw someone who looked like her and did a double take. Then I remembered.

Adiós means “go with God”, so adiós Sandy. I know that you are at peace. We just never know when we say goodbye if we’ll ever see anyone again. So hug them tight and tell them you love them, even if they’re your neighbor.



No Regrets – A Year Later

24 Aug

This week marks one year since we backed out of our driveway in Austin, Texas for a new life in southern Mexico. We pulled a cargo trailer loaded with all our worldly possessions. There were two kayaks, two bicycles, a rug, couch and lots of tools and yarn that we couldn’t live without, or knew we couldn’t replace.

Off we go!

Off we go!

We had gathered information, visited Bacalar, retired from our jobs, burned our bridges, and took a flying leap. For you who have been following us from the beginning, you know that we were so excited. We were off on Lisa and Alex’s big adventure.


Looking back over the last year, I would say unequivocally that I wouldn’t change a thing. We have had so much fun. For you who are considering your own adventure of any sort, I have a thought.


Has it been perfect? Not by a long shot. Have we had doubts, fears and disappointments? You betcha. Have we made mistakes? Tons of them.

A friend who I hadn’t seen in awhile and who knows me well commented on how peaceful and calm I have become. It’s true. We have a word here – tranquilo. (tran key low). It’s the only way to live.




Down to Our Skivvies

28 Jul

I have been down to my skivvies two other times in order to seek adventure. Yes, I was a baby Torta long before I knew it. Once I moved halfway across the country and another, halfway around the world. In 1974, I arrived in Austin via Southwest Airlines. They had just celebrated their third year in business. The plane left Love Field in Dallas, propellers spinning with a little curtain between the pilots and the rest of us. I carried two suitcases to start my life as a University of Texas student. Three months prior, I had been in school in Central Mexico and was bemoaning the fact that I had to return to NJ. One of my teachers said, I know just the place for you. The University of Texas at Austin. Me – “ok” and that was that. Long before the days of Google, I knew nothing about my chosen destination. A friend back home flashed this weird hand configuration when I told them my plans and exclaimed, hook ’em horns. Me – “ok”.

On the plane, I quizzed my seat mates as to how far it was to the University from the airport. They gave me a look and a ride to the housing office and bid me good luck. I had almost no money and no idea where I was going to sleep. Ah, those were the days. The sweet woman in the housing office found me a couch in a University co-op. I was a couch surfer before the term was coined. Half of the residents came in at 3am and the other half got up at 5am, but the price was right.

August will be 39 years since that adventurous arrival. The time has been peppered with a two-year stint in Japan and vacations to Belize, Mexico, Thailand, Greece and Turkey. Pulling up roots and moving on is long overdue. The closets are empty as is the attic. My final day at work is Wednesday. In another week we should have a departure date.

SW Airlines Ad 1974

SW Airlines Entices



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