Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Holidays and All the Best For 2010 Dec 2009

Nochebuena (Poinsettia) Christmas Tree 
City Hall, Guadalajara.
 Isn't it beautiful!

The Nochebuena is native to Mexico and was taken 
to the US by Joel Robert Poinsett.
Poinsett was the first ambassador to Mexico (1825 - 1829)

If you had told me last Christmas, that by this Christmas,
I would be writing a blog, and LOVING it - I would have said you're nuts!
I don't even READ blogs, why would I want to write one!

Well, here we are and I would like to take this opportunity to
thank each and every one of you for reading my humble musings 
and for sending such nice emails and comments.  
I absolutely love doing this and sharing my Mexico with all of you.

Meeting and interacting with fellow Mexican bloggers
has been the icing on the cake!

A very special thank you to the people who have trusted me
and supported Cruz Roja Chapala and La Casa de la Sagrada Familia
with their donations.  
I am humbled by your generosity and kind words.

I was inspired by a blog post written some time ago 
by Sparks that told of being lost in Mexico on a road trip
and stumbling upon a town called Santa Maria del Oro.
(Read all about it by clicking on the above link.)

 This simple blog post, resulted in 64 joyful comments!
Most of which were written by Mexicans living in the US, 
who were born in Santa Maria or had family there, 
and resulted in the networking of many many
friends and family members through the miracle of cyberspace.

My goal for 2010 is to attract homesick Mexicans from small rural villages, 
who are now living in other parts of the world, and reconnect them 
with updated pictures and news of their hometowns here in Mexico.
If you know of anyone who fits that description,
please forward this blog to them. 

Don't forget to leave comments, I love to hear from you!
Bloggers love comments.  


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas To Everyone and Thank You From La Casa de la Sagrada Familia Dec 2009

Madre Mireya and La Casa

Just back from La Casa, Kathi and I brought them some holiday cheer - a big
pot of freshly made pozole and tamales for everyone.

Some teenagers from Jocotepec came and decorated La Casa 
for Christmas and the sisters put up the Nacimiento awaiting the 
arrival of the Baby Jesus.

The patients are cheerful, immaculately clean, safe, loved, and well cared for.
Who could ask for more.

This is the newest patient, she is shy and a little confused but seems to be 
responding well to her new environment.


 This patient needs a little more care.
She recently had surgery to relieve fluid on
her brain and currently has a shunt that
must be monitored by the nuns - who are also nurses.
 They were celebrating today, she ate her first real food since her surgery.


The woman who sells chickens at the Joco Mercado
has started making gift boxes for each patient,
but needs help completeing it.  
One of the boxes is completely empty. 

As you can see, each box will have something new and warm
to wear for each patient for Christmas.  
If you can help, it would be greatly appreciated.  

You might pick up a few warm things for these tiny elderly
women to fill out the boxes, or add something special of your choice.
Some ideas might be. . .warm socks, turtlenecks, booties, jackets, sweaters, sweatshirts, mufflers, knitted warm hats, sweat suits, or anything
you can think of that will help keep these tiny people warm.

In addition, they are having a diaper emergency!  
They had a diaper manufacturer who donated monthly, 
shipped them to La Bodega, and the nuns went to the Bodega to pick them up.
There has not been a shipment for 2 months.  
They need size Adult Med.  Each patient goes through 4 diapers daily = 28 per day.
It's not easy to keep up with that, they only have enough for the next 2 weeks.

If you'd like to help, you can shop for the patients and deliver the things yourself, 
or you can send me your donation through
(use my email: 
and I will buy the things and deliver them for you.

Thanks to everyone for caring about and helping La Casa de la Sagrada Familia.
The nuns and patients are overwhelmed by your generosity. 
You are the very BEST!

 ¡Feliz Navidad y Prospero Año Nuevo!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

ROAD TRIP - Amacueca Coffee Run Dec 2009

While exploring the backside of Cerro Garcia
and all the little towns around there,
we decided since we were half way there
we would make a run for Amacueca
where I could replenish my favorite coffee.

I love this town,
everything about it,
from the smiling friendly people
to the cleanliness and attractiveness of it all.

But most of all. . .I love their coffee!

Apparently it is a co-op affair.
The coffee is actually grown all over the place;
in a small grove a short hike from the church,
alongside the bridge on the main road into town,
and in individual family gardens as well.

We were told that the roaster belongs to an individual,
and there is only one in town.

I buy coffee from the Tienda La Canasta on the main road into town.
Once you enter the town and follow the road to the left,
you go up a little rise in the road,
then it will appear on the right.

Here is what to look for. . .

The nice woman who owns the tienda will measure out
exactly how much you want from a large bag of
freshly roasted beans.
You can get it ground or whole bean.

Then she takes it over to the scale to weigh
and package.


Now here comes the cool part.
No expensive Seal-A-Meal machines,
no expensive special Seal-A-Meal bags
for her.

She simply lights the candle that is melted on the counter,
folds over the top,
and runs the top along the flame
to seal it perfectly.
Stroke of genius. 


And there you have it!
A kilo of authentic, organic, Amacueca coffee.

Here is one of the places where the coffee is grown.
The little red dots are ripe beans ready to be picked.
The green dots are the immature beans.

Click on picture to enlarge and see the beans.

Here is the Amacueca main plaza.

This beautiful church has been going through an
extensive renovation.
According to the workmen,
the project should be done in February 2010.

Travel Tip:
There is a really good down-home Mexican food
restaurant across the street from the coffee tienda
and down the hill a few doors.
The name is Restaurante Cuca
and Cuca can really cook!

Several workmen had recommended this place to eat, 
but we knew we had made a good decision when we swung the
screen door open and 2 men looked up from their comida
to say "You've come to the right place!"
¡Buen provecho! 

Shopping Tip:
They also grow nuez (pecans) in Amacueca
and make Rompope - a Mexican eggnog-like drink .
The Nuez Rompope is to die for. . .
as they say.
Given the ingredients. . .it's probably true.

¡Buen Viaje!
Happy Trails!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Things That Make You Go Hmmmmm. . . Dec 2009


It's another pretty plaza and church, true.  
It's in the Estado de Jalisco, true.  


What's that in the background?   It looks familiar. . .

It's Cerro García.  From the backside!


Can you name this town?

Monday, December 14, 2009

ROAD TRIP - BEACHES Melaque Coastecomate Tenacatita Dec 2009

El Beecho

 Street scene Melaque

Just back from the beach, specifically;
Melaque, Coastecomate, and Tenacatita

It was HOT!  In December!  That's just wrong!
Got all the way down to a bone-chilling 70-something at night.  
Then it rained!

In spite of all that, it was a great week.  
A super-duper good time.
Way too much fun.  

The following is the evidence:

We did a lot of this. . .

Dora, Ron, Sparky, and Marcos

. . .while gazing out at a lot of this. . .

Playa Tenacatita 

. . .and this. . .

Playa Tenacatita

. . .and this. . .



. . .and this.


In addition, we did a whole lot of this. . .

Sparky perusing.

. . .which resulted in a lot of this. . .

Fresh fried whole Red Snappers  

. . .and this. . . 

 Sopa Mariscos  
(Seafood Soup)

 . . .and this. 

 Mariscos Rollo (Seafood Roll)

In spite of all that,  we still managed to 
cruise around a lot 
observing beach life.


Melaque Plaza

Merry Christmas Melaque


 Playa Coastecomate after light rain.


It all went by so fast,  
it's just a blur!

Jungle coast highway #200 Jalisco, Mexico

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Road and The Beach Dec. 2009

Have you read this?

When it was given to me, my friend Gigi said "Read this."
"Read this now!"  "Everyone in the world should read this."
If only. . .

Cormac McCarthey is one of my all-time most favorite writers,
he knows how to break the rules and magnificently make it work!

This is a powerful book that will stay with you forever!

Not only that, it won a Pulitzer Prize!!!

If you need more coaxing,
go to Amazon and read the first page.

The Beach

I will be out-of-pocket for a few days,
visiting friends, eating shrimp and ceviche on the beach,
and having an all 'round good time at
Playa Melaque!

More to follow when I get back.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Things That Make You Go Hmmmmm. . . Dec 2009

When I was in the process of moving to Mexico, many people asked me what my attraction to Mexico was.  I had a litany of reasons, and as I spouted them off one day, I stumped myself.  Until now, that is.

I said, Here in the US everything has to be perfect!  Perfect, perfect, perfect!  If it's not perfect, call the police!   If it's not perfect call a lawyer, it's gotta be someone's fault if it's not perfect.
Sue 'em.

Then I'd go on to say, I love Mexico.  Nothing has to be perfect.
In fact they celebrate imperfection!

Then someone called me on it.  What does that mean?  Well.
I dunno.
Let me think about that.

I was stumped, I knew it was true, I just couldn't think of a good illustration. 
Here is a perfect example:

The Mexican Art Of Celebrating Imperfection 

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Stevan For Dessert Nov 2009

I already told you about our Thanksgiving feast,
but now let me tell you about the
special treat we had for dessert!

We were told dessert would be at Stevan's house,
a mere stroll through the neighborhood and
we would be there.

What a treat that was!

Meet Stevan Cline. . .

Not only a fun friend,
but an extraordinarily talented guy.

Stevan is a painter and has a home and garden
on the south shore
created and maintained by Stevan.

I will share it with you! 

Everywhere you look in the house are
  artistic displays and paintings to admire.
Truly the home of an artist! 

The Living Room

Dining Room

The Kitchen

His Studio

The Gardens

Now, for a few of the paintings!





Current work-in-progress. . . 

Remember the Afghan woman National Geographic
did a story on, then a follow-up story some years later?
Here is Stevan's portrait of her along with the proud
man who purchased it.

For more information on Stevan and his paintings:

Isn't he talented?

What do you all think?