Archives for March 2015

Zihuatanejo, Mexico Adventure

Z2 Bomberos
Arriving in Zihuatanejo on March 1, 2015 was memorable because my little street, Rio Balsas, was so obscure that even the taxi driver did not know where it was. I learned to tell everyone I lived a block from the Estacion de Bomberos (the fire station). I watched the Bomberos do their morning workout on la playa Madera on my morning walk. What a job the Bomberos have!


QC6Quinta Camelinas  is in the perfect location, a five minute walk to town, a 10 minute walk to La Ropa  (a beautiful beach with rolling waves) and located in a real Mexican neighborhood with a cacophony of roosters to waken me and a fully stocked tienda ½ a block away. The tienda is like an old style general store with everything, and I mean everything, you could possibly need. At Quinta, Natasha has created a most wonderful combination of authentic Mexican experience and lovely oasis. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed the little pool when I arrived home soaked to the skin from my latest adventure.  The fully equipped kitchen and the daily maid service combine to make everything stress free. I have rented the top floor for February and March 2016. It has an extra room which I will be subletting- ask me for details.  See Pictures of Quinta Camelinas here.    View a video of our resident Iguanas here. Please recommend names for them.

My Sunflower Project  Hiku for Zihua

A refuge from Life
Global insights at dinner
Me gusta Zihua

Are you “From Away” as we call it in Maine?
Zihuatanejo is a real working Mexican town of 200,000 + people who seem to have a very easy relationship with the many visitors and expats. There is a very active message board managed by ZihuaRob  which functions as a quick way to find goods, services and friends!

Z5 MAcarelThere are many wonderful people from around the world here fleeing the weather and looking for the relaxed and affordable Mexican lifestyle. We all seem to bond quite quickly. I also had the opportunity to spend time with my friend, colleague and beloved DLiTE art methods teacher, Sally Gibson and her husband Jeff who writes a blog on Wonder  We hardly have time to see each other in Minneapolis but I was honored to be with Sally on her birthday and share her fabulous view and a Mackerel Sky sunset!

Las Gatas Video-Ellen from Canada   Ellen wrote a haiku for the Sunflower Project . Please send me your Hiku.  How will YOU be growing old?

QC EAt Down


I met many Duluthians here this winter. We organized an “eating down the food” fiesta at Quinta Camelinas before we left and traded Minnesota stories. Marcy owns a unique massage facility in Duluth.



Erandi 2I have a very firm commitment to learning to speak Spanish. It is about basic respect. That being said… this goal is more difficult for me than earning my PhD. I studied with Erandi Blanco at the Adventure of Learning Spanish  owned by Yadira Ríos Torres. I am a particularly difficult challenge as a linguistic student because I am almost exclusively a visual learner.  Erandi did an admirable job developing strategies for me and  I was able to have one of my first meaningful conversation in Spanish, my second goal met for learning Spanish! We talked about feminista issues in Mexico and the United States!  I would recommend Yadira’s school without reservation!

KEY FEATURE: Most of the downtown sidewalks are covered so you can run your errands in the shade. This is major.

Must sees and dos:

LG4Las Gatas is a little beach at the mouth of Zihuatanejo bay. You can walk there (do not let people tell you it is not walkable!) or you can take a water taxi for 40 pesos (about $3.00). I enjoyed seeing them que up like land taxis to come in for their people. There are lovely restaurants and a calm Caribbean style beach. Las Gatas has a very rich history which includes Owen Lee (associate of Jaques Cousteau and aqua lung pioneer) and Timothy Leary. Read “Prisoner in Paradise” for a peek behind the curtain of buying land in Mexico. See Owen Here  I read the book and acquired it free from Amazon (Kindle Unlimited). Steel yourself for creative editing!


                                                                           Ixtapa Island
IXISgatorsI found this island to be very similar in all ways to Las Gatas but you need to take a bus and then a water taxi to go there.  The bus only costs about a $1.00 and you also have a nice tour of the Ixtapa road and fabulous bike path. When you arrive at the water taxi landing you walk down through an alligator sanctuary. They were big girls-we left them behind on the mainland!!


TallaThere are several beaches over there. Playa Coral attracts swimmers, snorkelers and divers who want to explore coral reefs teeming with tropical fish but I own a house on the Atlantic ocean and swim there and I would not go in at Coral without a life jacket.  For calmer waters, follow the footpath to Playa Varadero. Again…a nice little Caribbean style beach with the FABOULUS la talla barbequed fish on all the menus. Pescado a la talla is a fish dish where a whole fish is butterflied and basted with a sauce of chilies before being grilled over an open flame.

IXIS musicianThe most interesting sight for me was a one-man band who I interviewed. He told me he makes about $50 a day.  I have seen many of these orchestras and this was one of the most creative.   Hear an Interview with the One Man Band Please ignore my bad Spanish!


Volunteering in Barra de Potosi. There are several wonderful projects in La Barra. Contact the folks below and contribute your passion. I met two amazing women (and I hear there are many more) who have played a leadership role in several projects.  Not just vacationing! I plan/hope to work with several local cooperatives helping develop ideas for gringo/a friendly products for purchase and find my way back to teaching art and English at the elementary schools.

Cooking Class
I reached out to ZihuRob’s message Board looking for information  on Health Care. Linda Leonard was gracious enough to meet with me and was a plethora of information.  She recommends Clinica Maciel and Hospital De Especialdaes. It is also important to note that every Farmicia has a doctor on staff  who can write script and charges 50 pesos (about $4.00)!
Linda wrote a lovely book about her RV experiences in Mexico which is full of first account tips and information.   Living the Dream in Mexico
Want to have an insider tour of the market and then a personally guided trip to his home an Los Achotes (where the bus drops you off to go to La Barra) and where you can enjoy  a cooking lesson with his wife Claudia?  Click below for all the information.
Cooking with Claudia    Alberto’s Services at

Bridges, B Masacara de Aguacate Uno detailMaking Art in Zihua
I created several Body Art works and as often happens in Mexico, stumbled across an astonishing full circle experience. I found these masterfully carved avocado pit masks many years ago and I was recently told there was one man in Mexico City who created them in the 1980’s.  I have been trying to carve the pits and it is VERY difficult!! See my pitiful attempt.  I am thinking this might be a possible cottage industry for future development.   Mascara Uno. Do not faint when you see how much the necklace costs. pits

It has an irreplaceable Mexican antiquity in it. BTW Check out the Victorinox  SwissCARD here. It has a knife, scissors and much more and I have successfully traveled with it for 7 years with having the TSA seize it.




Merida, Mexico Adventure

Being a scholar by trade and all, I am supposed to be skilled at identifying emerging trends. As I ramble around the Keys and Mexico completing my Sunflower Project, I want to share that I have met many, MANY 60 something women searching for a way to grow old alone (without a named partner). Laura (in La Barra) suggested we call this the search for Tercera Vida (Third Life). I embrace this concept and also invite men to join our quest of growing old with grace, style and joy and making a commitment to be considered and deliberate.  Please go to Sunflower Project and add your tips for geezer friendly venues and must visits!

Merida, Mexico
I arrived In Merida on February 15. I stayed overnight in Miami on the 14th since I thought it would be quite rude to arrive at Katherine’s on Valentines Day. This is my second Valentine with no Valentine but my daughter has no sympathy since she believes it is a fabrication of those who rule commerce.  The origins of Valentines Day are downright creepy.

K Hs 2Katherine and I met at a Miami sculpture symposium in 2013. She and sculptor from Guatemala, Keith Andrews, traveled to me for a retreat in Maine  and then Katherine graciously invited me to her  FABULOUS la casa  in Merida. She does not know it, but I planted a sunflower seed for her:



My Haiku for Katherine:
Without Valentine
Arriving in Mexico
This country heals me




Katherine helped my buy my first Mexican phone.
American phone on the left… my new Mexican phone on the right.  There must be a metaphor in there someplace!!

Kegro 2

The experience in Merida was a life memory and the traditional lunches will be joining my cooking lexicon.

My favorite recipe enjoyed at her 2:30 daily comida which was followed by a nap. This is the way to live.  Relleno Negro from  Katherine

Katherine and  I attended a sculpture class with resin artist Manolo Niembro.  We made our own Styrofoam, we wore gas masks and we became chemists. Manolo spoke little English and I experienced  the immersion model of language learning. I almost took a swig of the turpentine, thinking it was water and occasionally  needed Katherine to translate but I would agree that immersion improves comprehension in a hurry!

bestia final

During my short/long life I have been disappointed that there seems to be a scarcity of people who try to develop both the head and the heart. As I say to my students who are obsessed with earning a 100 on every assignment, Smarty with no Hearty will not serve you well in this world. La Bestia displays an exposed brain and a heart stylized tail.  My somewhat blatant metaphor is my belief that Mexico and the feathered serpent have both the head and the heart. Click here to see the evolution of La Besta. Studying with Manolo – a resin sculptor



LA Bestia was finished and  left at Quinta Camelias in Zihuatanejo where I will be all of February and March next year. Certainly not my best work but created with enthusiasm.

mex4On February 23, I moved to Casa Mexcilio, a 200 plus year old hotel owned by Roger and Jorge.  This hotel had  period antiquities and a kitchen which was as it would have been 200 years ago and which I could not pass on the way to my room without standing and gawking for five minutes. I stayed in the Frida Kalo room and enjoyed a cenote swimming hole right outside my door.  On the night I left, Roger opened a bar in his breakfast room and I was honored to drink the first gin and tonic. Roger indicated I was the last guest for the season and maybe forever. There seems to be a trend emerging. Contact Roger at Roger and Jorge also have a sunflower seed on their property:  My Haiku to Hotel Mexcilio:

Pain sister Frida
The Ancient artifacts speak
They tell me secrets

More pictures of Mexcilio

IncidentsI really enjoyed the Santiago neighborhood.  Everything you need is right on the square. I especially enjoyed the Stephens and Catherwood exhibition.  is a must read.  Incidents of Travel in Yucatan is a must read.  They were the first in to the Yucatan and made etchings of sites and artifacts later destroyed by the Catholic friars.


Spanish Language Study
Learning to speak Spanish at 60+ is worse than earning that PhD.   I attended Habla, a Spanish language school. It was one more “you just do not fit in” experience for me. I knew too much for beginner but not enough for the intermediate class.  I enjoyed a small group of self-taught expats. We read a children’s book about Frida.  Right on my linguistic level. Our final project was the creation of an exvoto- like Frida Kalo used to make. Here is mine.

More Fabulous pictures of Merida

merid4 manolos dog


Last but not least, Manolo’s dog. In Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs,  a xōlōitzcuintli is breed which was an ancient Mayan hairless dog and is still seen today!

Volunteering in Barra de Potosi

MArch 13 FLyerThere are several wonderful projects in La Barra. Contact the folks below and contribute your passion. I met two amazing women (and I hear there are many more) who have played a leadership role in several projects. Double click on flyer to read.

View the children at the March 13 La Bara Workshop

Art Made in Zihua

Local Schools  and other projects. I bought a very unique place mat which was actually a lovely acrylic painting. : Barbara Erickson and more Barbaras (that was a popular name about 50 or 60 years ago!)  have been active with these projects.  Barbara also rents a casita on her magnificent and elegant property in  Barra.  Click here

LABArra MArcy
LABArra MicelaneaThere are wonderful restaurants along the beach and opportunities to kayak in the mangrove shoreline.
When you are full of LA TAlla you can hop into a hammock for your siesta. We have so much to learn.

Teaching Human  Relations for the last 15 years has made me insatiably curious regarding cultural differences and I was struck with the name of the local miscelanea (means corner store).  You can not get much more credible than this… and supported by Coca Cola!   I will leave the deconstruction of this to others.

LaBArra LAura

Laura Kelly is Coordinator of the Children’s Library Project of Barra de Potosi.   La Biblioteca de los Ninos de la Barra de Potosi.   For more than 15 years this has been a fantastic thriving program based entirely on volunteer participation and entirely free for the community of  Barra de Potosi. They are a legally constituted civil association (private non-profit ngo). They have provided after school homework support, classes and fun activities plus other community services such as distribution of school supplies and community garden space. Their volunteers have traditionally also provided assistance to our local teachers in the kindergarden and secondary school programs during the morning hours, usually English classes but also other activities with the students. Laura has made the difficult decision to pass the leadership. She seeks funding to support a new coordinator which she hopes will be a Mexican national. Help her take the library to its the next evolution!

Laura also shares her most fabulous and typical Mexican La Casa with visitors. Click here for details.  Casa del Encanto  B&B  Barra de Potosi
011 (52)(755)124-6122

Laura has joined the Sunflower Project: Her haiku about the third state of life!!

Laura, from Barra de Potosi, Mexico suggests we think of this next phase of our life as….

Tercera Vida  Third Life

Your thoughts?

Haiku Poems from Todo Mundo
January 2015 Melbourne, Florida
Conch Key  February 2015
Merida, Mexico February 2015
Zihuatanejo, Mexico March 2015

‘Once thought this was sad end time.
Turns out it’s treasure time.
How’s that for a nice surprise?’

Hasta pronto,
Casa del Encanto 

LABArra Bob


La Barra 027




Contrary to popular rumor. La Barra has EXCELLENT high speed internet!!

I have been playing around with possible products local folks could make for sale with gringo/a appeal.

What do you think of these?

Avocate pit carvings

CArved avocato pit masks

Bridges, B Masacara de Aguacate UnoArte1 Arte2




Sunflower Cards



January  Winter  2015 pg 1d

Double click to Read


January Winter pg 2b  2015

Conch Key

6conch key point from high way
Conch Key is one of the last unspoiled Keys in the Keys. Positioned between Long and Marathon Keys, it reminded me of a Maine fishing village as I approached on the Overseas Highway. No condos, no hotels, just folks, boating, fishing and living.

First, I stayed in the blue cottage. You can see the wharf WAY to the right in the picture of the gulf side of the island. I was the last rental, the new owners of the cottage, who also own  LaTeDa in Key West, indicated to me that they would no longer be renting..  My great good fortune.

6Blue cottage from water

View of Blue cottage from water


Barbara’s Blue Shack Haiku Sunflower Poem

*At Barco Azul
*Kitchen floor views fish and me
*Growing Old Is Fine

More Blue Cottage Pictures

Next, I moved across the cove to Linda’s compound.  I really enjoyed this location.  The crab fisher folk went to sea 5 feet (well…maybe 10 feet) off my dock.  You decide. Crab Boat:

conch key 099

Three bedrooms for about $1,000 per week

conch key 100

My haiku poem for Linda’s cottage which has no name. Remember: 5, then 7, then 5 syllables. *The no-name cottage *Has the hammock for dreaming *It whispers its name


More No-Name Cottage Pictures

Do NOT miss Ligumvitae and Indian Key day trip

6Sunset in the palapa







In Linda’s village, everyone gathers under the palapa for sunset drinks. I heard many tall fish stories. The tradition was especially appreciated by me since I am generally traveling solo. I felt like I was part of a community.

8On the tableI finished the Sunflower Cards at the No-Name Cottage. December 2015 was the first step into my new life. The Sunflower project could not have had a more powerful role in moderating my main concern- isolation. Gail and I created the cards and mailed them at the Long Key post office. It was a process. As many of you noticed,  I had painstakingly attached beads to each card. I planned to pay a hand cancel fee. The post lady looked at me like I was a dinosaur- which I was.  “When was the last time you did that?”, she asked. “It was terminated about 20 years ago”.  I searched far and wide for  bubble envelopes and managed to find a solution.  I think MOST of you received the card. Only a few empty envelopes.  Please write your haiku poem and send it to me! Reflect on how to grow old! Plant the seed! If you did not receive the card but would LIKE to….please email me at More Card Pictures       Read the Card


6cardsKathleen helping me mail in corona boxesBy  The Way… no mailing anything in liqueur boxes.  I covered all the words but did you know that people recognize logos and might rip into your package after the liqueur?  Kathleen helped me grease out all the logos. TEACHERS UNITE!
Kathleen and her husband regaled me with insider data on Chicago politics which made me wide eyed. Retired public employees  were just notified that the state did not contribute to the retirement fund over the last 20 years so… whooops… 1/2 of their current check may disappear soon!! CAll your retirement funders!

conch key cottage 1

Denise and Joanie’s cottageContact to rent the fabulous No-Name  Cottage on Conch Key.

My haiku poem for Linda’s cottage which has no name. Remember- Haiku is  5, then 7, then 5 syllables.

*The no-name cottage

*Has the hammock for dreaming

*It whispers its name


More Conch Key Cottages

6Heron on PostI made my first little movie with Primere Elements 13.  It was more intuitive than I expected. Teachers could use this software in their classes!


 6Bridges, B FT and C D 8 bestAnd Finally!!!

FishTales and Corona Caps

Neck piece 12″ X 5″  X  front and back. $200.00

Sculptural Home 24″ Tall X 8 ” W X 2 ” D when not being worn.

Double Click to enlarge pictures

6bBridges, B FT and C D 5

Conch Key is one of the last unspoiled islands in the Florida Keys.  As I walked on the bridge to Long Key every morning, I saw many fisher people.  Many walked a 1/2 mile out onto the bridge to set up their fishing station. Some were elaborate, on wheeled carts, with refrigerated bait coolers, seats and, of course beverages.  I saw many fish tails from the bait and many rusted Corona caps, walked on and flattened in delightfully symmetrical shapes.   These two found objects represented the bridge to me.

I combined these items with Swarovski crystals to set up a dynamic dialogue with those caps and tails-each which hols a singular story of the person who left them on the bridge.  Click Here for more info: FishTales and Corona Caps