Sunday, January 29, 2017



Watch for Chickens & Iguanas in the Road, Too!
     I usually focus on the positive aspects of our retirement in Mexico in my writing. But I'm feeling grumpy today and I want to tell you that it does not always feel like paradise once you've lived in Mexico for a while. It has been a little over a year since we moved into our cute little casita. The adventure has worn off and the reality of living in a Mexican neighborhood in a small town has set in. This life is not for everyone!
Hauling Our Laundry & Groceries in our Golf Cart is a Thing of the Past!
1. No More Golf Carts! There will be no more golf cart usage since the police came in and ticketed anyone driving one, then impounded the cart. We have to walk, ride our bikes, take a taxi, or take the bus to get anywhere. Our golf cart wasn't one of the unlucky ones that got loaded onto a giant tow truck and hauled away, fortunately. But unlicensed golf carts are no longer considered street-legal in the state of Nayarit, and there is no system for licensing them. So ours will just sit and rust away, I guess, along with the two sitting across the way that our Mexican neighbors own, and hundreds of others in the state. We have learned to expect the Mexican government to change the rules without notice.
How Will I Get My Fitbit Weekly Stats Report?

2. My Fitbit® pedometer is gone! The clasp on my four-year-old Fitbit finally gave out and I lost my handy pedometer sometime during Zumba class! Now I don't know when I hit my 10,000 steps for the day. I'm afraid to order another Fitbit while we are living in Mexico because it's a gamble whether the delivery service will find our Mexican home. How will I survive another 6 months without a Fitbit®?!!
A 4-Inch-Wide Moth Quivered on Our Outer Wall for Days, Soaking up the Sun

3. January weather has been COLD! It was only 63°F outside when I finally rolled out from under my 4 blankets on the bed at 8:30 this morning. There are no such thing as heaters in a Mexican house, only the brick and mortar to hold in the warmth, so it was only 68°F in the house in the morning. I had to dress in sweatpants, sweatshirt, and socks to get warm. My body is now acclimated to 80 to 85°F and anything below 74°F feels cold to me. I feel grumpy when I'm cold! I'm ready for spring.
Hanging My Zumba Banners Usually Makes Me Happy

4. Zumba class didn't even make me happy! No one came to my Zumba class one day last week. It was just Jon and me dancing and exercising together. Half of the students probably didn't want to leave their warm beds either. The other half, without golf carts, probably didn't want to walk a half-mile or mile to the Cultural Center. We swept the entire classroom, picked up trash, and put up our Zumba banners, but no one came to our party.
Paint Peeling Off the Base of our Outdoor Wall
5. Paint peels constantly in Mexico. The moisture causes the stucco to effervesce, lifting the surface and crumbling the paint. The walls with effervescence that I scraped and touched up with primer last year are crumbling again. Jon scraped one wall that needs repainting. How long will it sit like that before we get a painter here?
My Mexican Knick-Knacks Collect Dust & Look Dingy

6. Dust, dust, everywhere! My knick-knacks are dusty! Our bedroom light fixtures full of cobwebs--yuk! Our casita is all open to the yard when we throw the doors and windows open each morning once the outside temperature reaches that of the inside of our house. So, it's as though we live outdoors. Dust filters in from the dirt road we live on and from the yard, naturally, settling on everything indoors and out. Our maid is too short to see that the top of the refrigerator is covered with dust, cobwebs, and, yes, gecko poop. We live in a beach town so we track sand and dirt home every time we walk anywhere. Flip-flops must be taken off on the porch!
The Waves are too WILD this Week!!

7. The waves are TOO big and wild! The ocean surf was too high for us to boogie-board or swim this week. Only the hardiest, most skilled surfers are braving these wild waves and rip tides. Stand-Up Paddle Boarding is definitely out! We don't even have a way to haul the board to the beach now that our golf cart usage has been curtailed. No ocean time for us this week!
The Neighbor Boys "Making Music" in the Street was Cute at First...

8. The NOISE! The dogs barking at every unfamiliar passerby, the neighbor boys playing their homemade drum set and trumpets all afternoon until they are called in for dinner (whew!), the roosters crowing because the sun is getting ready to set (that can't be right, can it?), and the loudspeakers blaring from trucks selling everything from mattresses to shrimp. Didn't I recently call this the "music of Mexico" and say that I miss it when we aren't here? This week it just makes me grumpy to hear the boys play their drums for hours!
Fresh Strawberries for Breakfast Again?

9. Where are the mangoes? Why aren't there any mangoes or blueberries in the markets? I am tired of eating the same fresh fruit with my homemade yogurt and granola every morning: bananas, papaya, pineapple, strawberries, oranges, mandarins, grapes, and apples. OK, granted, all of the fruit we get here is picked ripe so everything is tastier and juicier than any we've had in the U.S. So what is my problem?
10. Donald Trump's crazy behavior! I blame all of my grumpiness this week on Donald Trump's behavior! How can this wall be for real? It is insane! The more I read about it, the more upset I become. The peaceful relationship between Mexico and the U.S. is being disrupted more each day. I worry for the Mexicans on both sides of the border. I wonder if the wall will disrupt our own travel between these two countries. Trump's insanity is making me feel crazy!





     Life anywhere, even in paradise, has it's downsides and bad days. For me, when I'm feeling grumpy, that means it's time to get out a post-it note and write myself a list of a minimum of three things I am going to accomplish today. This always gives me a feeling of purpose and gets me back on track, enjoying today for what it is, and appreciating the beauty of living in Mexico.
      Since I whined about ten "poor me" things, I guess I better get a larger piece of paper for my list and give myself a week to achieve these goals. It needs to include ten positive things I can do. I live in paradise after all. There are so many positives in Mexico, it's all in the attitude and what you see when you look around. Making my list of ten things I will accomplish in the coming week will be the start of my attitude adjustment!
Riding Our Bikes to Take 2 Loads of Laundry to the Lavandaria

1. Ride our bikes and walk more! We may not have a car or the use of our golf cart any longer, but that just means we will be getting more exercise. We retired in a small town for a reason--so we could walk almost anywhere we want to go. Now we'll just ride our bikes more, too. It's time to take two loads of dirty laundry to the lavanderia, each bike loaded with a bag. Riding home, uphill, each bike will be loaded with a bag of clean clothes. Plus, we can pick up a few heavy groceries while we have our wheels--a few bottles of wine, a carton of milk, and some fruit should fill the saddle bags. That sure gives our legs a good work-out! One thing we learned from that first trip to town on the rough cobblestone road: we now wear our bike helmets every time we ride!
Fitbit® Charge 2 Is Available in Mexico!

2. I can order a Fitbit® from Best Buy in Mexico and have FedEx deliver it! The Fitbit Charge 2 would be an upgraded model from the old one that I lost, tracking heart rate as well as distance walked and calories burned! Best Buy has it discounted this week to only $3299 pesos (about $157 US), so I can order it and have it delivered by FedEx in 3 to 5 days! I am ordering my new Fitbit® today!
Winter View from My Home Office

3. Winter days are so beautiful here in Mexico, I must take a photo of our yard this morning. Even in January, the view from my home office gives me the feeling that I am sitting in a tropical garden while I write. The morning sky is so blue and clear, an amazing contrast to the greens of the palm trees and the various pinks of the bougainvillea in our garden!
Zumba Is Not Only Fun & Good Exercise, It's a Social Event!

4. Send Facebook posts to my Zumba students and to "Sayulita People" groups, inviting them to join me for my next class. Six people came to my next Zumba class, including a nice man and woman from New Zealand who were trying Zumba for the first time! It was so much fun! A positive outlook makes everything more fun!
Tough Plaster and Paint Work Calls for an Expert!

5. Call the painter and get on his schedule! I asked Jon to call the painter since Jon speaks much more Spanish than I do, plus he's a retired building contractor and can "talk the talk". He wrote out our work list in Spanish so he could explain what we need painted. Painters are very busy during the dry season in Mexico so it is important to get on their schedule and then keep reminding them. Next week Jon will schedule some painting on our house. Fresh paint always makes me happy!
Clean, Sparkly Knick-Knacks Make Me Feel Better!

6. Wash the knick-knacks if the dust is bugging me so much! So I ran a sinkful of soapy water and got busy washing my pretty Mexican glasses and pottery and cleaning the unseen top of the refrigerator. First of all, polishing my treasures used up a good amount of my grumpy energy. Then I stood back and enjoyed their fresh, sparkly appearance. Ahhh, I felt my grumpiness leaving.
Time to Get Those Golf Clubs Out and Clean Them Up!

7. Get the golf clubs out and plan to play 9 holes at Field of Dreams golf course. The waves may be too wild right now, but the weather is perfect for golf! I got my golf clubs out to clean them and sent a facebook message to Campo de Ensueno Golf Club to ask if Tuesday was a good day for us to play and what the cost is. They messaged me back immediately that Tuesdays and Thursdays are men's days and the cost is 250 pesos (only about $12 US!). Thursday or Friday we can grab a cab and head out to hit some balls around the course. What a good way to lose some of my grumpy energy!
Turn on the Music & Practice Zumba at Home to Block Out the Noise

8. Turn on my Latin music and practice Zumba on our porch when the drumming starts. Not only does the lively music cover the noise of the drums, roosters, and barking dogs, the dancing and exercise helps my grumpiness disappear. I finish an hour of Zumba feeling rejuvenated and happy to live here! The barrio sounds have become the "music of Mexico" to my ears again.
Woody Woodpecker Came to Visit This Morning

9. Make a fruit smoothie of fresh, sweet pineapple cubes, bananas, and my homemade yogurt and sip it while sitting in the sun on our upstairs terrace. The sun warms us as we gently rock in our porch swing and watch the jungle trees for tropical birds. Woodie Woodpecker settled into the mango tree to peck a rotten limb for bugs. His incredibly red head flashed brilliantly scarlet when the sun danced off his feathers, making me smile and forget that I was grumpy about not having mangoes for breakfast. We'll walk to town later and buy something new and exotic for breakfast, maybe passion fruit or star fruit. Mangoes will be in season soon!
Gardening Eliminates my Grumpiness! (What is this Pretty Plant?)

10. Focus on the many enjoyable things available to us here in Mexico and quit reading about that maniac running the United States into the ground and his horrible wall. I will make plans this week to do fun things in the next month. I have no influence over the insane things Trump does that make me grumpy, so no more focusing on him. But I can plan activities that remind me how much I enjoy living in Mexico. Here are a few things I have planned that will eliminate any residual grumpiness I had from reading about "The Wall":

  • Make a Mexi-trek reservation for a hike to Monkey Mountain
  • Make a reservation to see the Brittany Kingery Show in Puerto Vallarta and go out for a nice dinner to celebrate our 23rd wedding anniversary and Valentine's Day.
  • Take a walk with our backpack chairs to the beach, sit in the sun, and let Bella dig in the sand while we watch the surfers.
  • Plant a new flower in the garden and appreciate the many beautiful colors that surround us, even in January.
  • Splurge on Sunday Brunch and watching a polo match at La Patrona Equestrian Center and Polo Club in San Pancho.
Lo de Marcos Beach is a Tranquil Place--A Little Piece of Paradise!
Mexico really is a little piece of paradise. We chose to retire in Sayulita, but enjoy visiting Puerto Vallarta and other small beach towns in the state of Nayarit. We are happy to have retired here.
"Retirement Before the Age of 59: Healthy Living in Mexico #2" eBook
To read more about our decision to retire in Mexico, take a look at my newest eBook, now available on Amazon worldwide! You, too, may find your little piece of paradise south of the border. Here is the link on

Sunday, January 22, 2017


When in México, Do as the Mexicans Do

Waiting in Line at WaKiKa Ice Cream Stand Requires Patience!
     By now, we have lived in México long enough that we have learned some important lessons from the locals about how to live here in harmony with their way of life. We don’t always get it right, but with a little more practice, we hope our behavior will help us blend in with the Mexican culture. The primary thing we try to keep in mind at all times is to remain calm, unhurried, tranquilo, as the Mexicans say. We have learned so much from the Mexicans about living a simpler, more peaceful life. Some things we have learned do not translate to the way things are done in the United States and seemed humorous or silly to us at first, until we slowly began to understand the Mexican way of thinking. Some foreigners say you will never truly understand the Mexican way of thinking. It’s best to simply accept the way things are in México, not to try to understand the reason. Trying to figure it out would only frustrate a person raised north of the border.

1. How to wait in line at the grocery store or WaKiKa ice cream stand in Sayulita like a local, patiently, without showing any annoyance about the long wait. Even better, wait calmly without feeling annoyance. The line may not even resemble a line, but rather a gathering of people around the cashier’s counter, but your turn will come eventually, when someone motions you forward. Delays may include a story that the cashier is telling a customer, a customer who leaves the line to go pick up another item or two in the store while the cashier is halfway finished ringing his order, a vendor who is delivering a tote of tortillas to the store and gives it to the busy cashier, or a bunch of kids who just popped in to buy their bags of chips and drinks after school and pushed to the front of the “line” to pay. No one says a word, sighs in exasperation, grumbles under their breath, or shows a sign of irritation on their face. Everyone is calm and patient, silently waiting their turn to pay for their groceries. What a peaceful way to go through the day.

This is just a taste of today's blog article. To continue reading this article, click the following link: 

Sunday, January 8, 2017


But Not by the UPS Man!

My Package From the United States Was Delivered!
     Not everything is easy, living in Mexico. Receiving mail, or not, while living in Mexico causes me to have mixed feelings. The mailman just doesn't come to our house in Sayulita, though I have seen a "Correos" (national mail service) delivery guy sitting on his motorcycle at the corner, shuffling through a stack of Telmex bills. The only reason we received our Telmex internet bill on that unusual day was that we happened to be walking by at the time and asked him for it. We do get our CFE (electric bill) every two months, on schedule, because a CFE employee walks to every house in town to deliver the bills. He wedges our bill in a slot of our gate or between the meter and the wall. Our house number is spray-painted above the meter, but it's hidden behind a tree and no one sees it but the CFE meter-reader.
It's a Wonder Anyone Can Find Our House Number

     Besides those two bills, we don't get ANY snail-mail! I love it that junk mail will never find us again, since we started using our mail forwarding service, They scan every envelope they receive, after it is forwarded from our U.S. post office box, and then email it to us. If we request to see the contents, they open, scan, and email each page to us. It's great!
     But what do we do if we want to order something from the United States to be shipped to our home? We have seen the UPS truck and the DHL van in Sayulita, so we know they deliver here. But, would they ever find our home, tucked away in the barrio, a Mexican neighborhood? The home addressing system in Mexico is hodge-podge with no logical order, so it's no wonder the mailman can't deliver mail. The numbers progress along our side of the street from our house at 29A to 31, 199, 40, 136, 124, No Number, 31A, 30 and on in this random fashion. I began to think UPS would never find 29A! Some people rent a P.O. Box at a company called "Mail Boxes Etc." in Bucerias, but we just don't receive enough mail to make it worth the trouble or the $30 US or so per month it costs.
     I really wanted to order a "Zumba Fitness" banner through, but would it ever make it through customs and find its way to my home? Vistaprint, the banner service, claimed to ship to Mexico. The banner was only about $30 US plus shipping, bringing the total to about $60 US. I decided it was worth a test run. Now to label our house with an address marker that UPS could find.
Someday We'll Have a Pretty Mexican Tile Address Marker Like This!
     After living in our house in Sayulita for a year-and-a-half, we still had not put up one of those cute little Mexican tile address markers like the one above, with the number "29A". We have looked in every tile shop and souvenir shop in Sayulita and the Bucerias market with no luck. We could find a "2" and a "9" but not a matching "A", or a "2" and an "A" but no "9" in the same pattern. So, I printed up a big "29A" with our names on a sheet of paper and taped it on the wall outside our house. Surely, the UPS driver would see that!
Hoping the UPS Driver Could Find Our House With This Sign
     One day this week there was a loud knock on our gate and someone calling my name. Bella jumped from her nap in the sun, barking furiously to let me know someone was here! I opened the gate, hoping to see the UPS man, but NO! It was a man I didn't know, holding a package, who said he lived two blocks down our street. The UPS man had stopped at his house and asked him to sign for the package--apparently the UPS delivery guy wasn't going to hunt for #29A any longer. This nice man not only signed for my package, he went to the trouble of googling our address to find our house, walked up the street and knocked on our gate to hand-deliver it! He said it was a good thing that I had hung the typed address sign on our wall or he would not have found our house. You know you live in a small town when neighbors take care of each other this way!
Bella Napping in the Sun, Until a Knock at the Gate
     I was excited to open my package and see if my Zumba poster had survived its journey, especially since the end of the box was a little scrunched. It was obvious that it had been opened and checked by Mexican Customs at the border, but it was nicely repackaged and unharmed. I hung it up in our yard for a while to let it uncurl, getting it ready to hang on the wall the next morning at the Sayulita Casa de la Cultura where I teach Zumba Class! Life is exciting living in small town, Mexico!
My Zumba fitness Banner Arrived Unscathed; Uncurling in Our Yard 
     To read more about our life-changing move to Mexico, check out my newest eBook available on Amazon at this link:
Retirement Before the Age of 59: Healthy Living in Mexico #2