Monday, March 20, 2017



Rufous-Bellied Chachalaca
     We enjoy birds: listening to them, looking at them, even trying to identify them, though we seldom remember their proper names. We watch for birds constantly, but we would never be called true 'Bird Watchers'. We have gone on one birding tour in Ecuador so we could see the pink flamingos and we have taken Luis Morales' birding class in San Pancho, but we aren't serious birders. We don't regularly go out in search of interesting birds, but we do enjoy seeing the pretty ones that come to visit us at our home in Sayulita.
Our Porch Swing Bird Watching Area
     "Wine-O'Clock" seems to be the most common time for us to see birds come to visit our yard. Maybe it's just that 6:00 in the evening is when we settle into our porch swing for the next hour with our glass of wine and we sit still long enough to see the birds come to our area. Our yard is surrounded by mango and palm trees that are favorite gathering places for many interesting species as the time of sunset approaches. So we sit in our porch swing, binoculars and camera handy just in case, and wait for the birds to come to us. It seems to be working just fine. 
Chachalacas Land in Our Palm Tree to Eat Red Berries 
     The hardest part about "porch swing bird watching" for us is keeping Bella, our dachshund, quiet long enough to enjoy a bird that comes to perch in our tree or on our garden wall. If I notice a chachalaca that has just landed and point it out to Jon, Bella becomes jealous and starts barking at it in hopes of scaring it away. By now, most of our local birds are used to her and just turn their eye down and look at her as if to say, "What is your problem?"
Juan the Crested Guan Visits Often
Bella Barks at Juan But He Doesn't Mind
     Occasionally we see morning birds as we settle into our porch swing with our bowls of tropical fruit, granola, shredded coconut, and almonds or pecans. Of course, we don't get around to eating our breakfast until 10:00 most mornings, so we probably miss most of the birds that sing at sunrise. That's okay, though, because our sunrise birds are mostly the raucous chachalacas and the neighborhood roosters.
This Rooster Made the Mistake of Landing in Our Yard Once

     This beautiful rooster tried to fly into one of our trees near sunset one day and miscalculated his landing. When he missed his intended branch, he flapped down into our yard, and Bella was right on his heels. (Or would that be "right on his tail"?) The rooster ran back and forth in our yard, attempting to fly up onto our wall but missing repeatedly, squawking and flapping, barely outrunning Bella. I was yelling at Bella to come, Bella was barking and running, the rooster was squawking and flapping, and the neighbors probably thought we were crazy. All I could think was, 'how much would we have to pay our Mexican neighbors if Bella killed their prize rooster?' Luckily the rooster ran/hopped up our exterior stairs toward his original roosting tree, flew onto the garden wall, and made it safely into the tree. Whew! When Bella wouldn't stop barking, the rooster moved on to a different tree for some peace and quiet. Bella does help keep our exterior stairs clean by encouraging the birds to find new overnight roosting trees. Never a dull moment, living in Sayulita, Mexico!
A Rooster Fanning His Wings for a Nearby Hen
A Ring-Necked Dove Croons to Us
Pale-Billed Woodpecker Works on the Old Mango Tree
     Two species of Woodpeckers entertain us while we lounge in our porch swing. Last spring, it was fun to watch Mama and Papa Red-headed woodpeckers teach Junior where to peck for bugs in the giant palm tree nearby. Three woodpeckers marching up the palm tree single-file was quite a sight!
Golden-Cheeked Woodpeckers Visit Our Yard Frequently

     The Yellow-Winged Caciques are beautiful when they fly, flashing slashes of bright yellow on their tails and wings. We are entertained by these pretty birds often when they come to eat the ripe purple fruit on our tree, which I call plums but the Mexican neighbors call almonds.
Yellow-Winged Cacique Eat the "Plums" in Our Trees

     Species that we see but haven't captured in photos yet include Magpie Jay with their long, elegant blue and black tails, the Yellow Warbler, the Orange-Fronted Parakeet, the Mexican Parrotlet, the Cinnamon Hummingbird, the Black Vulture, and some kind of Hawk. Yesterday we spotted a bright orange male and his mate in the mango tree for the first time, but didn't get a close enough look to identify them, though we are pretty sure they weren't Orioles. When we take Wine:O'Clock chairs and refreshments to the beach, we see a completely different group of water birds. That's a story for another day.
     If I have misidentified any of these birds, please feel free to email me with the information at Also, if you are interested in seeing the short video of Bella and Juan the Guan "visiting" at our gate, email me and I will post it again on Facebook. Thank you for reading my blog.
     I hope you will take a look at my newest eBook now available at Amazon. A recent review from Andrew Hallam, author, gives a concise and positive summary on "...This story is personal. It shows how one couple tossed conventional wisdom to the wind. They de-cluttered their lives, sold what they didn't need and bought a RV to travel the U.S. and Mexico. Their personal account of Mexico is fascinating. Eventually they decided to retire there. Their account of why they chose Sayulita over a series of other popular retirement locations is both personal and fascinating. They retired early and built a far healthier lifestyle. I kept thinking of the great book, Younger Next Year.'s a couple that I think epitomises that message. Terry's story is an inspiration that's also filled with wisdom."
     Take a look at the eBook "Retirement Before the Age of 59: Healthy Living in Mexico #2" by clicking HERE
eBook Now Available on Amazon

Thursday, March 9, 2017

ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT: 10 Ways We Reduced Ours When We Retired in Mexico

Feedback from the Ecological Footprint Quiz!

Damage to Our Earth by Copper Mining is Huge! 

     Since we retired in Mexico, we have had more time to focus on living simpler and reducing our impact on the earth, reducing our Ecological Footprint, also referred to as 'carbon footprint' or simply 'footprint'. Living in a warm climate helps in many ways, as you'll see in my examples below. Retirement gives us time to be more careful about shopping selectively, repairing items rather than replacing them, preparing food at home rather than buying packaged food, and thinking about how our choices impact the earth. In retirement, we aren't in a hurry to rush off to work, so we have time to walk where we need to go in our village of Sayulita. Once or twice a week we drive our electric golf cart to town to buy groceries or take laundry to the lavandaria to be washed. Our recreation is simple and easy on the earth. We boogie-board, golf on a course that is only green when it has rained recently, do Stand Up Paddleboard in the bay, walk and hike, do Zumba, and occasionally take a bus ride to Puerto Vallarta for entertainment. Life is simple but fun.
     I felt that we had reduced our carbon footprint, but I wanted to evaluate how well we were really doing and how we could improve. I took the Ecological Footprint Quiz online created by (I used Ecuador as our place of residence since Mexico was not an option. Living in Ecuador is similar to living in Mexico from our experience). We scored very well on the Ecological Footprint Quiz! You can take the Ecological Footprint Quiz and see how you score at:

     Our low Ecological Footprint is partly due to living simply, partly due to living in Mexico, and partly due to being retired and having the time to apply the principles needed. Here are 10 ways that we have reduced our Ecological (Carbon) Footprint:
Crockpot Cooking Uses Very Little Electricity

1. Reduced our use of electricity (Average bill of $60 US per month)
  • No dishwasher, an electricity and water hog.
  • No clothes washer or dryer, which are electricity hogs. I hand-wash delicates and line-dry. Most of our laundry is done at the lavandaria. 
  • Seldom use the vacuum cleaner. Our maid says it uses too much electricity. She only sweeps, mops, and shakes out our few small rugs. 
  • LED light bulbs. We switched all light bulbs from 60 Watt incandescents to LEDs that give the equivalent light but only use 9 Watts.  This reduced our monthly electric bill by almost half!
  • No heater in the home. Winters are mildly warm and our concrete block home holds the warmth in during the cooler nights.
  • A mini-split air conditioner in our master bedroom is used very little, mostly at night for sleep, starting in late spring. Our electric usage is highest in June and July when daytime temperatures are high and we choose to air condition the main three rooms of living space in the afternoon as well as at night, but no usage in the winter offsets this.
  • Cooking in a Crockpot uses very little electricity
  • Hang our towels outside to line-dry after a shower and reuse them for 3 or 4 showers, reducing the use of electricity and water by washing them less often.
Our Simple Gas Range Top Uses Very Little Propane

2. Reduced our use of natural gas (Propane) (Average bill of $16 US per month)
  • Cook on a simple gas range top
  • Heat water in a 6-gallon gas hot water heater for showers and washing dishes

Refillable 5-Gallon Plastic Water Bottles Reduce Plastic Usage

3. Reduced our use of plastic and styrofoam
  • Refillable 5-gallon water plastic bottles and a kitchen dispenser. We exchange the empty bottles for full ones from a purified water company that delivers to our door each week. Sayulita has its own water purification plant, using reverse osmosis.
  • Reuseable water cups and bottles rather than individual plastic water bottles.
    Reusable Water Cups & Bottles Reduce Use of Disposable Plastic Bottles
  • We only buy milk and juice packaged in paper cartons rather than plastic containers. If a store only stocks milk in plastic jugs, we say "no plastico, por favor" and we go to another store to find milk packaged in paper cartons.
    We Only Buy Milk & Juice Packaged in Paper Cartons, Not Plastic!
  • Reuseable Shopping Bags rather than accepting plastic bags at the stores.
  • Reuseable Mesh Laundry Bags rather than plastic bags to take our dirty laundry to the lavandaria.
    I Make Yogurt in Reusable Glass Jars to Avoid Buying it in Plastic Cartons
  • Make yogurt at home in reusable glass jars rather than buy yogurt in plastic containers.
  • "No Straw Please" at restaurants. We are still working on remembering to do this.
  • Take our own bowls with lids to a restaurant when we order food "to go".
    Biodegradable Trash Bags Available in 3 Sizes at Home Depot
  • Use biodegradable trash bags (we use "Verde" brand from Home Depot).
  • We don't buy movies on DVDs or music on CD's any longer. We loaded our old CD music onto our i-Pods and then sold the CD's in a garage sale, passing their use on. We still enjoy listening to our old tunes though many are over fifteen years old. We download new music online through I-Tunes or We use Netflix Mexico to watch movies. Spotify is available in Mexico for music, but it isn't in our budget.
    Our Electric Golf Cart is Perfect for Hauling Our Paddleboard to the Beach
4. No car! Sayulita is a small pueblo (village) so we walk to town for dinner, Zumba class, dentist appointments, haircuts, etc. We use our electric golf cart once or twice a week to drive to town for groceries and laundry and to haul our Stand Up Paddleboard to the beach.
Our Simple Casita's Front Porch & Kitchen Window 

5. We purchased a small, simple Mexican-style home (casita), about 800 square feet, and we don't remodel. This reduces the use of our earth's resources.
Jon Installed a New Ceiling Fan When the 8-Year-Old One Failed

6. We only replace appliances, computers, Kindles, and televisions when they become unusable. We replaced the old, motel-style refrigerator with a medium size energy-efficient Whirlpool model when we moved into our casita, reducing the use of electricity. When one of our 8-year-old ceiling fans finally quits working, we replace it. 

7. We rarely purchase new clothing, shoes, or jewelry. In the moderate, warm climate of Nayarit, we wear shorts, sleeveless shirts, bathing suits, and flip-flops. Once a year, we replace a pair of flip-flops and Zumba shoes because they just plain wear out. Minimal purchasing of new clothing and jewelry reduces the use of the earth's resources.
We Ride the Sayulita Bus to Bucerias, Puerto Vallarta, and Lo de Marcos
8. We use public transportation, the bus, when we travel out of town to shop or pay bills in Bucerias and Puerto Vallarta. Big points on the Ecological Footprint Quiz when you use public transportation, plus it's relaxing to let someone else do the driving! Once a month or so we take a taxi for excursions when the bus doesn't suit our needs.
We Shop Locally at a Sayulita Produce Stand

9. Most of the food we eat is produced in Mexico. This reduces shipping of product which reduces the use of fossil fuels to move the product.
I Publish My Books Only as eBooks, Reducing the Use of Earth's Resources

10. We rarely buy paper books, magazines, or newspapers for our home, reducing the amount of paper and wood that is used. I also publish my books only in eBook format, avoiding the destruction of trees to print my books. We read books that we download onto our Kindles. We read magazines and news online, saving on the use of the earth's resources.

     Our score on the Ecological Footprint Quiz reinforced my feeling that Jon and I are having a small impact on the planet. I also learned that, although we are helping by separating our recyclables from our trash and hauling them to the Recycle Center in Sayulita, it is far better to avoid using single-use plastic and glass items when possible. According to, "the largest reductions in Ecological Footprint can most commonly be achieved by reducing the total amount of matierials consumed, rather than attempting to recycle them afterwards."

     I also learned from our quiz results that the ways Jon and I could improve our Ecological Footprint Quiz score revolve around what we eat. Things we could do to reduce our Ecological Footprint include:

1. Eat less meat. We eat beef about once a week, but we could eat it less often, reducing our impact on the planet. explains the reason this way: "A cow grazing on one hectare of pasture has a Fooprint of one hectare for both creating its biological food products and absorbing its biological waste products. This single hectare provides both services, thus counting the Fooprint of the cow twice...results in double counting the actual area necessary to support the cow." Now I understand one reason people become vegetarians.

2. Buy fewer items that are shipped into Mexico, such as Triscuits, Atlantic Salmon we buy at Costco, Hershey's Chocolate Chips, Ghirardeli Brownie Mix, and Nalley's pickles. We do have a few weaknesses. After living in Mexico for almost two years, we do crave a few comfort foods from the United States. We give in and shop at Costco once every two months so we can enjoy these things occasionally as special treats.
Our Motorhome is a Gas-Guzzler, But it is our Home for 3 Months a Year

3. Drive our gas-guzzling motorhome fewer miles each year or purchase a smaller, more fuel-efficient motorhome for our trips to and from Oregon. This is a subject of debate by us and many others. We only get 8 miles per gallon and drive it about 5000 miles each year. This includes a few trips within Mexico such as to Puerto Vallarta for a long weekend, a week at Club Roca Azul on Lake Chapala in Jocotepec, Jalisco, and a few days in Mazatlan on our way north and south to the U.S. That means we use 625 gallons of gasoline per year to move our "home" from Mexico to the United States and back again, a figure we could reduce by half with a smaller, newer model. But, this is hugely offset by the amount of the earth's resources it requires to produce that new motorhome. Or, we could fly back and forth to Puerto Vallarta, storing our motorhome in Oregon, reducing the miles we drive it by about 4000 each year. But, each person who flies that far is responsible for the use of a huge amount of jet fuel burned to move bodies and their supplies back and forth. Last year we evaluated selling our motorhome, possibly buying a new motorhome, and we decided it is more efficient to continue driving our older model until it won't run any longer. I'm glad. I love our motorhome trips through Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and Oregon!
     I encourage you to read more about our adventures and decision to retire in Mexico. My two eBooks are available on Amazon. If you enjoy them, please take a few minutes to leave a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. I would appreciate it very much!
'Look Inside' on Amazon by Clicking HERE

'Look Inside' on Amazon by Clicking HERE

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

7 Reason I'm Charged About Buying and Using My New Fitbit® 'Charge 2' in Mexico

I Lost My Fitbit 'One' While Living in Mexico!

Fitbit® 'Charge 2' Heart Rate and Fitness Wristband

My 4-Year-Old Fitbit 'One' was Battered & Dusty, But Still Worked!

     Losing an item like my Fitbit® 'One' while living in Mexico can be a very upsetting experience. Some may smirk at this remark, especially if they live in a country where they can simply log in to Amazon and order anything they need, finding it delivered to their doorstep in two days. But, replacing my Fitbit was not going to be that easy while living in Mexico. I had to find a way to purchase a new one! I rely on by Fitbit to get me moving in the morning and keep me moving until, hopefully, I reach my 10,000 steps for the day. After retirement, with no job to get me going, it has become important to have another motivator that keeps me from becoming too sedentary.
In 2016 My Weekly Stat Reports Kept Me Motivated

     My Fitbit ‘One’ has been my motivator for over four years and I depend on it! It motivates me to teach my Zumba class with energy and enthusiasm, dancing and exercising the best I can for a 60-year-old woman, and then announces to me after class that I have reached at least 5500 steps, giving me a great sense of accomplishment. It encourages me to go for a walk on the beach with Bella and my husband, Jon, stretching our walk from the south end to the north end of the Sayulita Beach if we feel up to it, giving us at least 4000 steps. When we walk to town for dinner, cruise around the plaza in downtown Sayulita to see what festivities are going on, and then stroll back home, my Fitbit gives me a figurative pat on the back for a healthy, active day by reporting that I exceeded 10,000 step for the day. 
    Recently, the well-used clasp on my Fitbit ‘One’ gave out and I had to begin wearing it in my pocket or tied tightly to my shoelaces. One morning, as I prepared to teach Zumba class, I couldn’t find it! I searched every pair of jeans, my Zumba bag, my nightstand, the recharging plug on my desk… it had disappeared. What was I going to do? I had to teach Zumba without a Fitbit, and it was very disappointing to be without feedback about how energetic I had been during class.
No Feedback from a Fitbit During Zumba was Disappointing

     I needed a new motivator. So I started to research how I could purchase a Fitbit while living in Mexico. I became excited with what I found out. Here are 7 Reasons I am Charged About Buying my New Fitbit ‘Charge 2’ in Mexico:

     1. I am charged to find that Fitbit has a newer version of their wristband device called 'Charge 2' and it not only tracks steps and miles walked, as well as flights of stairs climbed, it also tracks heart rate continuously. The heart rate monitor is what sold me on buying a “Charge 2”. I especially like seeing what my maximum pulse is when I have been working out aerobically for an hour, how long I am in “Fat Burn” mode as my pulse slows, and how long it takes for my heart rate to return to normal. When I am sitting at my desk writing, it gives me my current heart rate and my Resting Heart Rate.
'Charge 2' Bands Can be Changed to Black,Teal & More

     2. I am charged that I could buy a Fitbit 'Charge 2' while living in Mexico! I discovered from the website that I could order a Fitbit from Best Buy Mexico and have it delivered to the nearest FedEx office. I got on , found that they offered the “Charge 2” in my size and the color I wanted, purple! It was even on sale for $162.72 U.S. (3299 pesos) and that included shipping! I input my order information, selected the FedEx office in Puerto Vallarta closest to the RV park where we would be staying the next week and paid for it through PayPal. The Best Buy website informed me that my item would be delivered in 5 to 7 business days. I printed my receipt and held my breath that it would really arrive as promised.
Best Buy Mexico's Website Challenged my Spanish Reading Ability

     3. My Fitbit 'Charge 2' was delivered to the FedEx office that I selected and arrived on time as promised! I was so charged when I showed my Best Buy receipt to the FedEx office worker and she immediately found my package. Ordering from Best Buy in Mexico does work! (No, Best Buy didn’t pay me to say that, and neither did Fitbit®). I am excited, and very thankful, that we now have purchasing options and delivery methods in Mexico that work, such as, Best Buy,, Home Depot with their own delivery drivers, and others!
Wearing my 'Charge 2' All Day Motivates Me to Control My Weight

     4. I am charged that I have lost four stubborn pounds since I started using my “Charge 2” and it will help me with my goal of losing two more pounds. Teaching Zumba certainly helps with my weight control, but my Fitbit 'Charge 2' is a great motivator to burn those calories! It shows me how many calories I’ve burned during the day and gives me a weekly report, helping me gauge what kinds of foods and how much I can eat. If I’ve burned enough calories for the day, Jon and I go out for pizza or share a dessert after dinner. Little rewards are motivators, too!

The Fitbit App Dashboard Tracks Daily Results

     5. I am charged about the many features that my new Fitbit “Charge 2” has, even more than I realized when I bought it. It will motivate me in more ways than my Fitbit “One” did! Throughout the day I receive readings on these activities:
Continuous Active Minutes

BPM (Heart Rate) While Active and Resting

Buzzes Me to Achieve 250 steps Each Hour

     6. I am charged that I can put my ‘Charge 2’ in bicycling mode when I hop on my bike to ride into town. It also tracks other exercise modes such as weight lifting, running, bicycling, treadmill, workout, elliptical, and an interval timer. I now get “credit” for burning calories in more ways than just the number of steps I take in a day.
Fitbit App Provides Graphs to Compare Steps Taken Each Day of the Week

     7. I am so charged that one day this week I found my old Fitbit “One” in a pocket of a pair of my jeans (I guess I hadn’t looked in all of my pants pockets). Now Jon is using it and we can compare our activity for the day, challenging each other. He is motivated throughout the day by the readout on the Fitbit “One” he carries in his pocket.
With my Fitbit 'Charge 2' I'll know Why I Feel Tired After Zumba!

     When my 'Charge 2' vibrates on my wrist to report that I only have “62 steps to go” to reach my 250 steps for that hour, I can remind Jon it is time to put down the Western novel he’s engrossed in and take a little walk. Or we each do a chore: take the trash out, play with Bella, take down the Christmas lights, wash the dishes, prune some garden plants—they all count toward reaching our hourly steps goal. I add an hour of aerobic exercise such as practicing a few Zumba songs in preparation for teaching class the next day, and then walk to town for lunch or shopping. By day’s end, I’ve reached my 10,000 steps goal and I feel like I’ve accomplished something beneficial for my body and mind. My weekly Fitbit Report confirms my accomplishments and further motivates me to stay active during the following week.
     To read about our other adventures in early retirement and moving to Mexico, I encourage you take a look at my eBook, "RETIREMENT BEFORE THE AGE OF 59: Healthy Living in Mexico #2" on Amazon by clicking this link:

Saturday, February 18, 2017

ZUMBA WITH TERRY IN SAYULITA, MEXICO: Teaching Fitness After Retirement

Healthy Living After Retirement

I'm Teaching Zumba® Class Two Days per Week

      After years of traveling throughout Mexico, attending Zumba classes in small towns and big cities, I fell in love with Zumba. I found out it's true, Zumba is so much fun that it is addictive! The Zumba Fitness company philosophy is simple: “Pretty much the most awesome workout ever! ...great music, great people, and burn a ton of calories without even realizing it”. While traveling throughout Mexico, I wrote many blog articles about Zumba classes I attended and the wonderful instructors that I met. You can read more about the classes I attended in Mexico at Retirement has allowed me to have the time to do so much more of the things I love, including Zumba three or four times each week!

Look for my Zumba® Fitness Class Banner in Sayulita!
     Now I teach my own Zumba classes! "Zumba with Terry" is a fun, affordable fitness class incorporating Latin dance music and steps with other great tunes and exercise. The class is easy to follow and it’s fun for everyone. Zumba with Terry in Sayulita welcomes women and men, girls and boys of all ages and levels. “Ditch the Workout & Join the Party!”
All Ages and Levels Welcome! Men, Women, & Children!
     "Zumba with Terry" classes are Mondays and Wednesdays at 9:00AM. They are held at the Casa de La Cultura (Sayulita Cultural House) on Calle Manuel Navarrete in downtown Sayulita (see map and photo below). Keeping it affordable for Sayulita residents and visitors alike, the cost is only 30 pesos (about $1.50 US) per class.
Ditch the Workout...Join the Party!
     I am a Licensed Zumba Instructor trained by the Zumba® Fitness company. Sayulita is my home, so Zumba classes will continue the majority of the year. I am a ZIN member (Zumba Instructor Network), giving me the most current music and choreography from Zumba® Fitness. For further information, see my website: or my ad on Sayulita Life:

"Zumba with Terry" at Casa de La Cultura in Sayulita

Map to Casa de La Cultura in Sayulita

Read more about our travels around Mexico and our decision to retire in Sayulita in my newest eBook "Retirement Before the Age of 59: Healthy Living in Mexico #2" available on Amazon worldwide. Click to view it.
"Retirement Before the Age of 59" eBook on Amazon Worldwide