My Values: A Challenge

I’m taking a course online presently, and one of the challenges today was to consider what My Values are in life and then share them publicly.  So without further ado, here’s my list….


Creativity: I come alive when I am free to create thru ideas, writing, brainstorming, visual art, etc. and display/share in appropriate ways.

Intelligence & Wisdom: I value education in various forms and am at my best when I am learning new skills and gathering information.  I love to share in a casual setting with others, often one-on-one.

Simplicity & Freedom: I enjoy the simple things in life where stresses are minimal and relationships are major.  I feel best when finances are used to facilitate building memories and benefiting the lives of others more than collecting ‘stuff’ in my own life.  “Live simply so that others may simply live!”  This is a major component to the freedom of our large family traveling; a break-away from the prescribed North American lifestyle.

Balance: I am at my best when I can bring/maintain balance in my life so that I feel at peace with my lifestyle.  My family benefits most when I am well-balanced :)

Integrity: I feel best when I know that I am trustworthy and truthful, and am confident that others can rely on my words and actions, knowing that I value my relationship with them and don’t want to jeopardize it.

Spirituality & Consciousness:  I am healthiest when I live in the Now, aware of my environment and how I fit in the world and relate to those around me.  I notice the small things in life and give them significance.  I have a grateful heart.

Forgiveness : I am good with the world and those in it when I choose not to be offended by others.  I seek to bestow love & peace in all my relationships.

Spontaneity: I feel playful & brave (although vulnerable at times) when I jump at opportunities that present themselves.  I feel alive to passions within me, and I can set an example for others to ‘live dangerously’ with excitement, embracing adventures.  Seize the Opportunity!

Me, checking out the view from our kitchen

Where have I come from?  Where am I going??  Hmmm!


Jelly Bean Day…Today

It’s TODAY!!

What is Jelly Bean Day?  I don’t know and none of us care…but its an excuse for the kids to bring back jelly beans from the Ajijic market this morning.

Collage jellybeans

Somebody always comes up with ways to celebrate a special day but I lack good planning skills which, since we have lots of family members to ‘manage’, would have been a great skill for me to foster.  However, I go-with-the-flow and by-the-seat-of-my-pants which seems to have helped our children grow up with little expectations of how it should be done.  That makes it easy to celebrate spur of the moment…like today’s Jelly Bean Day.  We’ll probably just see who can toss ‘n catch the most in their mouth…and hope they don’t choke on them.

We’ll eat a small dish of them today and make the celebration last a few days so we can nibble a few each day.  Until its Zucchini Bread Day or Pretzel Day.  Then we have a bit of a wait until Nat’l Coconut Cream Pie Day.  Mmmm!



Guadalajara Wholesaler

We love to go to the local markets here.

Mondays there’s the street market in Chapala which is heavy on produce and some meats along with some kitchen wares and clothes.  There’s also an indoor market of predominantly prepared foods (lasagne, cakes, salads, etc) in San Antonio.

Tuesdays its the Organic Market in west Ajijic with super foods, organic produce, gluten-free and other baked goods.

Wednesdays its the street market in Ajijic where there are vendors of produce, fish, jewelry, pottery, leather, under garments, etc.

Where does a lot of these products come from?  Other than the locally-made things and pre-pared foods, the produce comes from the wholesalers in Guadalajara.  Conveniently not too far from the Canada Consulate we had to visit recently, so we ventured bravely into the congested streets to see what we could find.  Police patrolling on bicycles might give an indication of how congested it can be!

Collage Guad market

This is totally unlike going to a grocery store.  This is like shopping warehouse-to-warehouse.  One houses watermelon…rows and rows of stacked watermelon.  Another one has pineapple.  Another has sacks of potatoes.  Sacks and sacks and more sacks.

Everette parked awkwardly on a street corner and perused a few ‘stores’ to get a crate of mangos for $160MX.  There were at least 40+ mangos in there, for about $13CDN.  Strawberries were $60MX ($5CDN).  A sack of 8 pina (pineapples).  Right beside us was a man named Joaquin who sold only cucumbers and limes, so we stocked up on limes.  Across the street from us we discovered a Spice Shop that also sold (in scoopable-bulk bins) legumes (nuts and beans/lentils) along with dog food and bird feed (interesting combination).  We bought tamarinds, pecans, sesame seeds & peanuts.

We drove up and down a few streets, spotted what we wanted and pulled over, collecting carrots for $50MX ($4CDN).   We spotted stores that sold Tupperware-like containers, another selling styrofoam plates, party supplies, kitchen knick-knacks.  It’s like 5 city blocks squared of warehouses selling wholesale.  A buyer’s delight!!  A large family’s treasure!!

All of this for under $60CDN.


Collage Produce

When You Have a Huge Amount of Peanuts and are Stuck in Traffic

Squashed between tractor trailers because of an accident, what do you do when trying to squeeze into the one open lane?  Give a handful of peanuts to the driver of one of those big trucks, and while he’s dealing with them, duck in front of him!

Collage Peanuts

Yes, that’s what Everette did on our return from Guadalajara!  He says, “Here, Karen, give these to that truck driver!!  Take them!!”  He hands me a scoop of peanuts and yells across me “Hey, Amigo!!!” and I sheepishly hold out my handful of peanuts as Everette pulls the van closer to the delivery truck so I can accomplish the pass-off.  The guy smiles, and Everette makes the maneuver!  I chuckle.

We are stopped again, and Everette scoops again and runs behind us to deliver more nuts to the driver/passenger (bottom left pic was from my side mirror).  Another scoop and he hands out peanuts to the men that were part of the actual accident.

Everette is Santa Cacahuate (Peanut Saint), giving gifts to those around him.  Nobody has ever rejected his offer of peanuts in Mexico.


Crashed the Wedding Reception

Smart people invite potentially-irritated people to their loud party to stave off complaints!!

As you know we are part of a hotel-community here outside Chapala where more and more of us long-termers fill up the hotel!  So when somebody reserved the hotel grounds for a lively Mexican Wedding Reception they were warned that there were a lot of us ‘permanent’ renters here, and it would be appreciated if the loud music would cease no later than 2am.  The best plan of action….we were all invited to join them at the reception for dancing and free drinks!!  Less complaints would incur.

Our morning coffee found the soccer field beginning to transpire.  Just the beginning…Collage Set Up

When Everette recorded this in early afternoon from WITHIN our suite, feeling the beat within our bones 

we decided to pack up the family and have an impromptu party of our own down at my sisters place in town.  (Good thing she moved here from Ecuador…now we have family to pester!)

But when it was time to return home we knew we’d be in for some more noise.  Viva Mexico!!

Certainly not in anything like the suits and ball gowns donned by many of the attendees, we used the shadows to join our friends for drinks.

Collage partiers


We watched the boisterous 2-step dancers swirl and twirl to the live music, met cousins (& in-laws) of the bride from USA and Venezuela, and checked out the displays and decorations trying to (unsuccessfully) be somewhat discreet.

Collage Band

Collage CoupleCollage Cake


Everybody seemed to have a great time.  Beautiful bride, handsome groom…festivities until….only MIDNIGHT!

What?  Only midnight?  We discovered that the grooms family owns a baseball team in Guadalajara and they were in the semi-finals the following afternoon.  To be somewhat prepared for the games…they called it an early night!  We were all pleasantly relieved!!



Floating Water Balloons

Laars is the curious kind.  And he already knows what can happen when you throw a water balloon at a hard-enough object…including another human being.  That’s a great activity for a hot day!

But he was curious what a balloon weighted down with water would do when put in the swimming pool.

Of course, it floats since there is a trapped air bubble within the balloon.  Then he discovered that it didn’t so much matter the size of the balloon…it mattered the size of the air bubble that would determine which balloon rose to the surface fastest!

Collage Laars water balloons

Laars enjoyed his little experiment while I delighted in our son’s inquisitive mind.