Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Fork in the Trail Jan 2011

It's Christmas Day.

I have four invitations to share sumptuous feasts with four different groups of friends.
I will not be able to eat at any of them.
I can't take the chance.

But I will visit, hang out, laugh, have fun, and deliver presents.
And eat later.

I'm barely 4 months into a gluten-free life (Celiac Disease) and the doctor
says not to eat anything that was not prepared by me
in my own gluten-clean kitchen for the first YEAR!

The Mexican Trailrunner has come to a fork in the trail!

It's been nearly 7 years since I crossed the US - Mexican border to
live out the rest of my life in the warmth of the Mexican sun
and its people.

I've never looked back.

But, things have changed, I've changed, life paths have changed!

I no longer hit the brakes and stare stunned every time
I pass a burro with a load of firewood on it's back
led by an ancient man chatting on his cell phone.

Know why?
It's now just everyday life.

Twelve people on one scooter?
Nothing new.  So what?  I didn't even notice.
Well, except to try not to run 'em over!

I've been thinking I would shut down the blog at the first of the year.

Time to move on.
The Mexican Trailrunner has become stale.
Quit while I'm ahead.

I don't want to write about narcos and Mexican politics,
you can read that on the news - just don't believe everything you read.
I am safe here.
We are safe here. 

Blogging is too demanding to keep up!
Who cares anyway . . .

Then I thought. . .wait!   I'll miss it!
I'll  miss you readers and your comments and emails.
And I'm addicted to my fellow bloggers.
I'll feel left-out when I read their blogs with my morning coffee.
 This won't work! 

So, the Mexican Trailrunner will continue to meander.

But, like life, the Mexican Trailrunner will take some new paths.
A twist here, a turn there, an unexpected detour, who knows what we'll find.

I will write about what it's like to explore, shop, prepare, cook, and eat
glorious gluten-free foods in Mexico!
Did you know there are an estimated 2 million Mexicans
with Celiac Disease?

I'll tell you about the small - but growing! - Buddhist
meditation sangha I've joined in Ajijic!

And I will continue to tell you stories about exploring, living in
- and loving -
this wondrous, magical country.

We will have fun, we will laugh, and WE WILL EAT!

¡Buen Provecho Amigos!  
¡Prospero Año Nuevo!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy Holidays And Peace On Earth Dec 2010

I like this picture of the Noche Buena Christmas tree in
Guadalajara so much, I'm using it again this year!

  Stay tuned for changes in the path of the 
Mexican Trailrunner.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Done! Dec 2010

Big kids like 'em too!
Ok, now we can put these puppies to bed!
Aren't they cool.
¡Gracias, Presidente!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Jocotepec Gran Fiesta Schedule - El Señor del Monte Dec 2010

Come to Jocotepec and enjoy our famous
El Señor del Monte Fiesta!

Jan 3rd 2011 to Jan 16th 2011

If you can only come for one day
be sure and come for Sunday the 16th - the final day.
At around 4PM the huge splendorous statue of El Señor, 
depicted on this poster,
will be taken down from above the altar and carried in a procession
through town with thousands of faithful pilgrims leading the way.
Many pilgrims march on their knees, some are blindfolded
and carry candles.
Indian dancers and other acts will fill out the parade.
It's extremely moving and beautiful to witness.


Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Hundreds of puestos and impromptu restaurants will fill the town
and plaza of Jocotepec.
 Great shopping and great eating.
See you there!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Ajijic Quilt Guild Heats Up La Casa Nov 2010

Networking!  It works.

Sheila met Betty.  Betty had quilts.  
Sheila said she knew some cold little old folks on the south shore
who could really use some quilts.
Betty said - Let's go!

Jim and Betty Parker of the Ajijic Quilt Guild
display the 8 quilts they brought and donated
to the patients at La Casa -
a quilt for each patient.

Each one of these beautiful quilts were made by
Kit and Bill Vincent of the AQG.
Thank you Kit and Bill, how generous of you.

This group of very energetic quilters have made quilts
for the kids at Shriners Hospital in Mexico City,
25 quilts for the Chapala orphanage The Hope House,
and 20 quilts for the kids at La Ola in Ixlahuacan.
And these are just the ones I know about!

Take a look at some of their work. . .
Check out the quilters and their amazing quilts
And yet MORE amazing quilts

What do you think?  Pretty impressive, huh?

And if that wasn't enough,
Jim and Betty kept going back to their car
for yet more stuff.
This time, wonderful dolls donated by Arlene Warmoski!
Each patient got a doll.
Thank you Arlene, muy amable.

Think they liked them?

A besito!

Madre Mireya, beaming behind the mask.

Thank you, Sheila!

Think they stopped there?
Not a chance.

I just got this email from Betty:

"We took two more dolls out there today, plus 5 walker bags, another quilt, some staples and some homemade Christmas ornaments.  Made arrangements to go next Monday to paint and provide soup for comida.  I figure 4 hours max  11-2 there.  We can bring the ladder, t-square, paint brushes, roller, drop cloths, and soup, plastic soup bowls and spoons.
White paint  (small amt to do over the burns first) then if there is a nice blue or green (can be mixed with white if it is dark) will then give a border to the doors."
Anyone in the area who would like to come out and
help, meet everyone and visit, or bring things to go with what we're doing. . .
But please, don't come empty handed. 
Madre Mireya and Hermana Miriam scrape and stretch pesos
to feed, diaper, clothe, medicate, and shelter
every one of these very needy patients.
A bag of fruit, a couple of kilos of tortillas, tomatoes, a chicken, milk,
yogurt, tp, diapers (adult med), cleaning supplies,
well, you get the idea.
If you are not in our area and would like to donate to help the
nuns at La Casa,
just click on the Buy Now/PayPal button on the right side of this blog
and leave a note that you would
like your donation to go to La Casa.  
I will take the money over for you.
Looking forward to seeing you!

Monday, Dec 6, 2010
11 - 2
La Casa Sagrada Familia 
Rancho el Salitre
Carretera Mazamitla - 7 km from Jocotepec
Phone: 34 81 06 92 71

Jim and Betty Parker can often be found
at the Upscale Resale Bazaar in Riberas
or email them at:

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving One and All! Nov 2010

¡Feliz Dia de Gracias!

Guatemalan artists association.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Things That Make You Go YAYYYYYYY!!! Nov 2010

Back story:  Things That Make You Go Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr. . .

Things That Make You Go YAYYYYYYY!!!

Las Pescando Sillas (The Fishing Chairs)
are coming back! 
Good news for the people of Jocotepec!

The Presidente has commisioned the same artists
to recreate their sculptures, bigger and better,
in the same location on the malecón.

Artist apprentice, José, prepares the wire frame
and plaster that will hold the little tiles.

 Julio Martinez, famous for his Tlaquepaque
murals and sculptures, oversees the project.
Julio says he is second-in-command to
Camilo Ramirez who headed up the original project.

We're so happy they're back to do it again!

 The original plaque commemorating the original

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Dia de los Muertos Ajijic 2010 Nov 2010

Mexico's Day of the Dead
A Celebration of Life
Ajijic Style

Today Mexico celebrates the lives of friends
and family members who have passed from this earth.
By no stretch of the imagination is it a day of mourning,
or sadness.

Instead, it is clearly a celebration of life as 
they stream in to decorate the graves, share a meal,
and spend another night with their departed loved ones.

I'll leave Wikipedia to fill you in on the history
and details, in case you are not familiar with this tradition.

Instead, I'll provide a pictorial of the scene at the
Ajijic panteón (graveyard) as the hustle and bustle
began in preparation for the evenings festivities.

As soon as night falls, tables and chairs are set up, 
Mariachis tune up, grills fire up,
candles light up, and the super grand fiesta begins!

You have to experience it to believe it!

Witness a little of the joy. . .

Vendors begin to set up in the streets and at the entrances
to feed the hundreds of people
who will attend this 2010 Dia de los Muertos.

Riots of color in all directions!

And the graves!  Oh, the graves!

 Sometimes it looks like the families may have moved on
or become too elderly to participate.
Or perhaps, there just wasn't the pesos for it this year.
Note, however,  that it is spotless.

 Descanse en paz.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Drama In The Barrio Oct 2010

Culture Clash

Today's post will have no pictures.
No video.  No graphic description.

It's just too sad.

One of my neighbors, a family around the corner from me,
has a small rag-tag band of horses.

Every morning the chico (young man) rides one and leads the others
the 3 short blocks to their milpa (corn field)
where the horses can munch the dry grasses and corn husks.

And every evening he does the same in reverse to secure
them overnight close to the house.

Bringing up the rear, and a block or 2 behind,
is a young colt of about 6 months.
He cannot keep up.  He hobbles on 3 legs.
His right front leg is broken.

He shrieks for his mother who is a member of the band
the young man is trotting off with and she shrieks back.

I cannot stand to watch it and flee behind my walls,
plugging my ears, when I hear them approach.

Once, I shouted to the chico as they passed. . .
¡Oye, joven, que necesita veterinario!
(Hey, young man, you need the vet!)
He said. . .Ehhhhhhhh. . .without pausing.
(Colloquial affirmative response.)
I said. . .¡Está sufriendo!
(It's suffering!)

Ok, what can be the problem, I thought.
Must be the family doesn't have enough money
to pay the vet to put the colt down.
No problem!  I'll offer to pay.  How much could it cost?
I would then be the 'go to' gringa for everyone's
pathetic dying pet or livestock.
Bad idea.

So, I asked around the neighborhood for a solution.
Pobrecito (poor thing), my neighbors all cried.
Maybe I'll take up a collection and hire the vet anonymously.
That might work.
While chewing on that idea,
and not wanting to waste time,
I asked around a little more for the right way to handle this.

I stopped at Guillermo's carneceria in the mercado,
and told him the sad story.
Guillermo said he knew the family and would stop
and have a chat with them asap.
Don't worry, Guillermo said, I'm an animal lover too,
I'll take care of it!

I returned to Guillermo's carneceria and asked
what he found out.

Did you have a chat with the family with the little colt?
Si.  I told them they needed to put the horse down.
What did they say?
They said it's not big enough yet.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Searching For Cancer Oct 2010

A Mexican Medical Experience

It's been a month since my Celiac Disease diagnosis
and the only thing left to do now
is to stick to a gluten-free diet
and search for cancer from Celiac damage.

The morning of the dreaded colonoscopy
we met my doctor, Juan Pablo Loza Méndez,
at his office in Chapala at 7:30AM.

 Dr. Juan Pablo Loza Méndez
Calle Guerrero #141
Cel  333 141 3364

He drove us to the hospital in Guadalajara
for the procedure, where he would also assist.

Hospital Dr. Ángel Leaño is the teaching hospital
for the Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara A.C. (UAG),
the premier medical school in Guadalajara.
 It was impressive.

I was taken into the procedure room
and the first thing I saw when I walked in was this painting.

Although I am a spiritual person,
and not particularly a religious person,
I have to say I found this painting
very moving.

Maybe the fact that they were going to stick
instruments a loooong way up into my body
had something to do with it.

They prepared to sedate me and the
Chief of Staff of Gastroenterology came in and introduced himself.
He was a kind, confident, warm, and intelligent looking
man and I liked him instantly.
His name is Dr. J Martín García González

He explained everything he was going to do
and asked a lot of appropriate questions.
The nurse started the IV, put on a relaxing DVD of waves and beaches,
loaded a blank DVD into their recorder,
and pushed the sedation.

I awoke to Dr. Juan Pablo and the nurse saying
"No cancer!!!"  "No cancer!!!"  "No cancer!!!"

After that we went to Dr. García's handsome office
for the results and a consultation.

 He gave me a bound booklet of the results with photos
and a DVD of the procedure.

The rest of the story is:
Procedure/Dr./Hospital - $5000 pesos (about $400US)
Dr. Juan Pablo's services - $1000 pesos (about $80US) 



Sunday, October 10, 2010

We Have A Diagnosis! Oct 2010

Twenty three days gluten-free
and I am a new person!
Well, I should say, I am back to my old person.

Something was very wrong!
There were hints, there were clues,
there were multiple bad symptoms,
all missed by the many docs I'd seen
with their useless treatment plans over the last few months.
Not one of them actually worked me up,
they only prescribed medications for the symptoms.
Until. . .

Finally, I found the right doctor
and my life and health changed for the better.

Since Celiac Disease is one of the least understood
and most under-diagnosed illnesses around today,
I'll use this blog post to educate my readers
in the event there is someone out there reading this
who says. . .that could be me!

Here is a little information from the
National Foundation for Celiac Awareness.

Celiac Disease Facts & Figures

Here are some of the most staggering facts about celiac disease and the gluten-free marketplace. Each statement highlights the need for education and awareness amongst the medical and culinary communities as well as the general public.
  • Celiac disease is an autoimmune digestive disease that damages the villi of the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food.
  • One in 133 Americans have celiac disease.
  • Three million Americans across all races, ages and genders suffer from celiac.
  • 95% of celiacs are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with other conditions.
  • 10 years is the average time a person waits to be correctly diagnosed.
  • 17% of celiac patients have an immediate family member who also has celiac.
  • Celiac disease can lead to a number of other disorders including infertility, reduced bone density, neurological disorders, some cancers, and other autoimmune diseases.
  • $5,000-$12,000 is the average cost of misdiagnosis per person/per year of celiac, not including lost work time.
  • There are NO pharmaceutical cures for celiac disease.
  • A 100% gluten-free diet is the only existing treatment for celiac today. 
  • A positive attitude, 100% of the time, helps celiacs create a gluten-free lifestyle for themselves and their affected family members.
  • 500,000 new celiac diagnoses are expected to occur in the next 5 years thanks to efforts to raise public awareness of celiac disease.
  • The gluten-free marketplace is expected to reach $1.7 billion by 2010 thanks to new vendors manufacturing better tasting and more affordable products.
Could you have celiac disease?
Want to know more?  Think you might have this?
Here is a nice little succinct site with good graphics.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Things That Make You Go Hmmmmm. . . Oct 2010

I know the price of land has increased lately,
but . . .