SIDEBAR
»
S
I
D
E
B
A
R
«
The Chronicles of Adulthood – Phase III
Sep 13th, 2010 by Les

“Graduation day is tough for adults.  They go to the ceremony as parents.  They come home as contemporaries.  After twenty-two years of childrearing, they are unemployed.”  Erma Bombeck, American Writer and Humorist

“Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told, I am with you kid!  Let’s go!”  Maya Angelou, American Poetess, Novelist, Actor and Singer

Oh my gosh, here I am in Adulthood – Phase III.  How the heck did that happen?!  Forget childhood.  I have…for the most part.  Don’t get me wrong, I had a great childhood.  One of my many memories includes getting ready to take my afternoon nap.  My mother, a strange, wacky, wonderfully odd lady would put us down to sleep to the strains of “Der Tod und das Madchen” (Shubert’s “Death and the Maiden”) or some such classical/operatic piece.  For years I’d attend wonderful concerts given by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and couldn’t figure out why, moments after the concert began, I’d be sound asleep.

Gearing up or down to embrace our Mexican adventure has been somewhat of a challenge.  I acknowledge challenges are what make you discover things about yourself that you never really knew.  For that matter, and I’m assuming I’m like most people…which is probably my first mistake…certainly not my last…there’s a lot about myself I’ve been trying to ascertain since the get-go with little to no success.  Why?  Because I’ve been so darned busy simply living life, I’ve not had the time to sit and think about it.

Here in our lovely village of Ajijic, time appears to stand still.  Weather is great for walking, riding horseback, hiking up hill…or down, swimming, getting involved in the arts, volunteering, you name it, you can do it.  There is also oodles and oodles of time to think, reminisce, remember, etc.

Just the place to kick-start Adulthood Phase III.  The nine-to-five job routine or the constant daily exercise of preparing for a shoot or that celebrity function, a graduation, end-of-year report in the photography biz, opening or closing the shop, etc does not exist.  No more 45 minute hours with charting to follow.  Children grown and accomplished leading their own lives.

The first part of Phase III, I think, began when we moved to Mexico or, to be more specific, Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico.  Are you crazy?  Aren’t people getting killed in Mexico on a daily basis?  Isn’t there a drug war going on?  Aren’t people supposed to be coming FROM Mexico to the States or other parts of the world?

We were not then and are not now crazy…for the most part.  While a lot is going on near the border Ajijic and the Lake Chapala area of Mexico is very quiet.  We have heard other areas are, as well.  Yes, there is a drug war going on – just not here.  While some Mexicans are, in fact, hoping to migrate to other countries and, in particular the US, many love their home country, are proud of their heritage and want to see it grow and its people prosper.

Not that I’m the best bet when it comes to making solid, thought out decisions.  I am, after all, a child of the 60’s.  However, David and I both have made it through Phases I and II (Phase I being the amazing beginning of adulthood when heavy decisions like: how am I going to lead the rest of my life, what type of career do I want, do I want to marry and have kids, remain single, live a Bohemian lifestyle, settle in the suburbs…etc. Phase II is doing what you decided to do.  Taking the road at full throttle and making a living, raising those kids, accomplishing those dreams, growing that career, and so on).

Then there’s Phase III and, isn’t it wonderful folks, even though it seemed like years and years away when we first started our adult lives, we are still relatively young, in good health, sound of mind and body (for the most part) and saying, at least for me, what the heck do I do now?!

So, to kick start our adventure in adult living, Mexico was the perfect choice.  It is almost like being given the opportunity to ask the question, yet again – what do I want to be when I grow up – except now we can look at it with humor, experience, simple excitement and awe.  We’ve done a lot of the “other stuff”.  Each day holds possibilities.  There is a children’s song that goes something like: I am a person, I am a possibility, I am a great big bundle of potentiality.  Well folks…I may be a slightly bigger bundle of potentiality then I was in the late 60’s when Phase I of the adulthood chronicles began but I feel lucky to be in this charming welcoming country with new lands to see, new cultures to learn about and the time and inclination to do so.

Who the hell am I?  I know who I was….not the best wife or mother though I gave it my best…career oriented…prone to doing absurd things…saying whatever popped into my mind…considered successful in my practice and my career…a little crazy …..a little wacky…. a little wild (thanks mom)…able to embrace the absurd…champion what I considered the “down trodden” and march for what I thought was right…at the time.  Born during the “me” generation…lived through the Vietnam war…burned my bra….got down, got funky….loved my kids…believed in or didn’t believe in this, that or the other thing.

Now I am here, that funny voice in my head keeps saying “what the heck do I do now”.  Endless opportunities open themselves to you when you move away from the every day life you’ve lived…well, every day.  Not that I’m recommending moving away from family and friends for they are the glue that holds our lives together.  Certainly keeping in touch and continuing to love, encourage, laugh and cry with those that have helped shape our lives is important.  However I believe is it now important to also seek new vistas?  The rocker on the porch is a good thing.  However, living life to its fullest as long as you possibly can is an absolutely wonderful choice as well.  I’ll continue to trip on cobblestones, wander down streets I’ve never seen before, find amazement in the beauty of a tropical flower, a child’s smile who can’t understand a word I say, a sunset that defies explanation, a photo that is still there for the taking…who knows what.  Mexico offers the opportunity to learn about new things, entrench myself in another’s heritage, experience music and songs that speak volumes…even if it is in a language I’m still learning.

I guess what I’m saying is, especially for those in the US and Canada, you don’t have to travel to a different continent – Mexico is relatively near.  Learning about another country’s history…from the source… experiencing a lifestyle so different from the known is an adventure in itself.  We have taken care of our health, our minds are still in what I call the “sponge stage” even if once I soak the new experiences up I also need to write them down so I don’t forget them (I carry a small notebook and pen with me everywhere including to bed).  We are a generation of people who “let it all hang out”, believed in “power to the people”, “rocked on”, “gave peace a chance”, “made love not war”, “gave a hoot and didn’t pollute”, “got a grip”, thought things were “far out” and “groovy” knew that you had to “be there or be square” “didn’t trust anyone over 30” ended or began conversations with “peace, brother”..  Well, you get my drift…we’ve come a long way baby!  Viva Mexico!

A mural done by our friend Victor Manuel Alcazar Hernandez.

A mural done by our friend Victor Manuel Alcazar Hernandez.

Saturday evening David and I spent a quiet dinner at this lovely restaurant on the plaza before attending a art opening next door.

Saturday evening David and I spent a quiet dinner at this lovely restaurant on the plaza before attending a art opening next door.

Tree filled street found on our walk to view Victor's mural.

Tree filled street found on our walk to view Victor's mural.

Original church in Ajijic's town square.

Original church in Ajijic's town square.

Another view of this beautiful ancient church.

Another view of this beautiful ancient church.

The interior of the ancient church in Ajijic's town square still used by the faithful of the village.

The interior of the ancient church in Ajijic's town square still used by the faithful of the village.

David has been asked to place one of his photographs in “Artistas del Lago” a calendar of local artist’s works.  Seventy-five percent of the artists in this calendar are of Mexican heritage.  David is one of three non-Mexicans to be included in this publication.  He will also be showing some of his works in several up-coming art shows and other venues in the Lake Chapala area.  We are excited about these opportunities.

Visit the BoomerstoMexico Photo Store at http://boomerstomexico.com/mexico-photos/ , to see more of the beauty of Ajijic Mexico in David’s photos.

Living Life Between the Raindrops
Sep 10th, 2010 by Les

William Jennings Bryan said: “The way to develop self confidence is to do the thing you fear and get a record of successful experiences behind you.  Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”

Or  you could go with a Zen saying (and one of my personal favorites)…..”Leap and the net will appear”.

The day dawned dark and dreary – well that’s not exactly correct.  Only half correct.  It was definitely much darker then it usually is when the sun comes over the mountains.  There was nary a sign of dreary, however. Dark and dreary reads better for some reason.  Rainy season had ended taking with it early morning showers.  Those showers were usually followed by the daily soaks, followed by the early evening showers, followed by the winds picking up with rain hitting the roof as if in cadence with some mystical drummer as darkness set in.

And, yet, the sun always managed to shine if only for the shortest period of time each day.  I can honestly say I cannot remember ever having a day when the sun didn’t peak out just a little here in Ajijic.  Most days it bursts upon us reminding me of ballet dancers cresting a stage-set of steep steps and bouncing gaily down said steps in a swarm of chiffon and ballet slippers.

A lot may bounce when I get up in the a.m., however you’ve heard my parity of toe, door jam, kiester slam and noteworthy laughter – nothing is reminiscent of any type of dance whatsoever.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved to dance.  With the first notes of most any 60’s tune I am a blur of hands, feet and gyrating motions.  When at weddings, I join in the Chicken Dance, the Bunny Hop, the Hokey Pokey and, of course, the Macarena.  Quite honestly, one of the reasons I love living here is the music which accompanies almost all festivities.

And then there’s David, suffice it to say he has taken greeting the new day to a whole new level.  No one can look quite as disheveled and yet pull it off with panache and finesse, likened to Peter Sellers’ great potty emergency scene in the 1968 comedy The Party, then David.  It is a joy to behold – unless I’m drinking something, then it borders on a chocking/comedy debacle.

I digress yet again.  Any who the day did dawn dark…if not dreary.  All water from the rains lead to Lake Chapala.  Let’s face it you either live on the lake side of the carretera or the mountain side – either way, like all roads leading to Rome – all water leads to the lake.  Gushing over the cobblestones in a rather hectic manner the waters seem predestined to become a part of Lake Chapala.

Last year there wasn’t as much rain.  David visited in August, looking for a place for us to stay once we moved here, and he heard often how much they needed rain.  Not the case this year.  The lake has been well fed.  As an added bonus we’ve learned what fun it can be to live life between the raindrops.

The photographs below are of our surrounding mountains.  I call them the mountains of many moods as, like a child, I awake each morning excited to see what’s going on outside my window.  Will I be able to see the mountains?  Will the mountains be shrouded in white fluffy clouds or a mixture of gray and billowy white clouds?  Will the peaks and ridges, valleys and crests be hidden from view by a purple haze, or will they be breathtakingly contoured and stunningly shaped into peaks that simply take your breath away?  Will wispy gray clouds playfully slide down the mountain seemingly so close one has but to reach out and feel their mist?

Mexico has so much to offer.  Merely greeting each day can be an adventure of the truest and simplest form. Again I say Viva Mexico!

One of many moods of the mountains.

One of many moods of the mountains.

Another mood made even more beautiful by the church steeple.

Another mood made even more beautiful by the church steeple.

Just the right splash of color to augment this moody mountain.

Just the right splash of color to augment this moody mountain.

A glimpse of palms within the mist.

A glimpse of palms within the mist.

Isn't this a fabulous photo.  It conjures up so many thoughts.

Isn't this a fabulous photo. It conjures up so many thoughts.

Another shot showing how colorful the flowers are enhanced by the misty mountains.

Another shot showing how colorful the flowers are enhanced by the misty mountains.

We met these two amigos on a shopping adventure the other day. David took the photo and gave it an aged look I truly love.

We met these two amigos on a shopping adventure the other day. David took the photo and gave it an aged look I truly love.

Visit the BoomerstoMexico Photo Store at http://boomerstomexico.com/mexico-photos/ , to see more of the beauty of Ajijic Mexico in David’s photos.

Welcome to Cloud Eight
Sep 6th, 2010 by Les

“Cloud nine gets all the publicity, but cloud eight actually is cheaper, less crowded, and has a better view.”  George Carlin – Comedian


“The impossible often has a kind of integrity which merely improbable lacks.”  Douglas Adams, Author

We’ve met with several of our blog readers over the time we’ve been in Ajijic.  Each time I come away from one of these get-togethers with thoughts whirling about my head and my mind wandering back to the, without exception, delightful conversations we’ve had with each and every one of them.

How did they hear about Ajijic?  What brought them here in the first place and, more importantly – I think, what made them keep coming back?  Or, for that matter, take up residence in this quiet little burg?

Some stumbled, like David and I did, upon this area.  They were either taking a tour or set out on a drive to the Lake Chapala area…again, like we did.  Others had friends and family who had fallen in love with the place years and years ago and shared their love with others.  Still others, those certainly more organized then I, researched, read and devoured information about Mexico prior to stepping foot in this contradictory country.

Obviously, at least in my mind, the beauty of the area jumps out at you.  No matter what the season – whether during the dry times when there is little green to be seen on the mountains or after the rainy season, when all is lush and tropical, the place harbors beauty written about in novels, but rarely seen.

One of several sights that grabbed us when we first visited in April of 2009 was the simple tree-covered archway leading into Ajijic via the carretera with pristinely painted white bark trunks.  A natural covered bridge, if you will, giving shade and also a soft lighting that enhanced the area with an other-worldly glow.

You can’t beat the view of Lake Chapala from the homes located on the “mountain side” of the carretera. The views from “lake side” are just as breathtaking but of a different nature.  And, of course, making the choice to live in the village, on the lake or in a gated community gives a person many options.

Okay, we must admit there are a lot of reasons to VISIT the Lake Chapala area of Mexico and, in particular the village of Ajijic.  Good grief, it is still considered an artist’s colony and one needs merely to venture down any of the cobblestone streets where they will, without exception, be greeted by the shops of artisans of every make and kind.

What keeps a people here?  What keeps people coming back?  Are there not as beautiful and, in some cases, even more beautiful places throughout the world?

Richard Florida, in US News &World Report, says “The world is not flat, contrary to the best selling book by New York Times writer Thomas Friedman. Florida, author of his own bestselling book The Rise of the Creative Class, and a professor of business and creativity at the University of Toronto, argues that while Friedman is correct in saying that technology has reshaped the world, it has not created a level playing field.  With newly accumulated data to back him up, he goes on to say in his book Who’s Your City?, that the world is, in many ways, spiky – with population, opportunity, innovation, and money increasingly coalescing in metropolitan areas world wide.

With that in mind, what the heck would bring people from different age groups, different parts of the world, different life experiences to this small village, this small Lake Chapala area – in Mexico?  And, why pray tell, would anyone in their right mind even give a moments thought to moving here what with how the world media, for the most part, is portraying life in Mexico on a daily basis?

Quite honesty, and truly in my opinion only, having a sense of humor helps.  Humor is perhaps a sense of intellectual perspective, awareness some things might be important, others might not be important and the two are hilariously jumbled together in everyday affairs.  In other words…when you stick your toe out of bed in the morning are you inclined to yank it back in, throw the covers over your head and hunker down for the duration.   OR, regardless of what life has in store for you, do you hit the floor running, stub that very toe, bounce of the door jam and end up on your kiester laughing uproariously as your cat sits insanely still, staring at you through slowly blinking eyes and quite obviously thinking – stupid human tricks!

There are those who might say, good grief get me back to bed.  Others, like me, would find their mind racing trying to get a handle on just how exciting the remainder of the day will be….if I can survive getting up what adventure awaits me?

Add spice to life.  Try something different…perhaps odd…perhaps something that goes against every grain of intelligence you might have in your body…try Mexico.  What keeps us here….without a doubt it’s the people!  Welcome to cloud eight!! Viva Mexico!

Below are more photos of our trip to the malecon.

Another view of the pier jetting out into Lake Chapala, Ajijic, Mexico.

Another view of the pier jetting out into Lake Chapala, Ajijic, Mexico.

Sunset with a beautiful blue haze covering the lake.

Sunset with a beautiful blue haze covering the lake.

Another peaceful setting.

Another peaceful setting.

Houses on the mountain side.

Houses on the mountain side.

The sun sets on another beautiful day.

The sun sets on another beautiful day.

Visit the BoomerstoMexico Photo Store at http://boomerstomexico.com/mexico-photos/ , to see more of the beauty of Ajijic Mexico in David’s photos.

»  Substance:WordPress   »  Style:Ahren Ahimsa
© Copyright 2009-2011 David and Les Lawrence, Ajijic, Mexico