What a winter!

I am happily visiting my grandson Michael and his new baby daughter, my FIRST great-granddaughter, Ava Rose. In mid-January I was delighted to learn that my first baby great-grandchild was born in Southern California and by March it’s time to go to see her. I was rightly hoping she’d be old enough to focus and start smiling. It’s been a wonderful time with my grandson Mikey and his girlfriend Charlene. In the next post I will put photos of the baby and her happy family. But to go back — I didn’t write in this online journal since January, but have taken lots of pictures and had many adventures. It’s been a wonderful winter on the beach, and I need to share pictures of my dear San Carlos neighbors and friends.

It was fun to make new friends and spend time with old friends again. The weather was absolutely perfect, with only a couple days with rain in December. The mud then is hard to describe: sticky, thick and tenacious, and we were all relieved when it finally dried up! My neighbors on the beach were absolutely great, and we enjoyed many happy hours with all sorts of snacks, group potluck meals, long walks, and discussions that were both deep and hilarious. In February I took a remarkable cooking class that included traditional Mexican ingredients and techniques. I joined the San Carlos Rotary Club and hope to spend some time with them every winter as long as I’m able to do it. They are a very active club with a great reputation for doing good throughout the community, and I’m proud to be a member of the group. One day I volunteered as a hostess for the annual Rotary Tour of Homes and got to see many beautiful houses around the area. Getting water and propane services out on the beach and living off the grid in Mexico were a real education and I became an expert. Finally, a lovely woman who is a talented artist making stained glass created panels of my favorite water birds for my motor home, blue heron and great egret. I loved my special RV already, but now it is even more enjoyable with the panels mounted on the upper cabinet doors. Overall it was a restful, peaceful, happy and fun winter and I enjoyed every minute of it. Living beside our little pond was heavenly, with many birds, small fish, visiting local families, little daily adventures, and fabulous sunshine during the daytime and glorious sunrises and sunsets in the mornings and evenings.

This is the life I adore! Camping potlucks have lots of good food, and often a long sharing of hysterical jokes. I’m always surprised how some people collect many jokes and perfectly present them! I love laughing, but can rarely repeat jokes later. I especially enjoy watching long-time couples who have clearly heard the same jokes dozens of times, but both still giggle and laugh together replaying them another time. Usually the husband is the joke-teller while the wife is smiling and laughing, but once in a while it’s the other way around. I believe this is one of the signs of a healthy marriage. My own parents did the same thing, and even now when things happen to me, I hear in my head the punch line to one of my dad’s dry jokes and laugh like a crazy woman, or even say the line out loud, making no sense at all to anyone who overhears me.

Fun and yummy group potlucks at our beach –

P1070948 Potluck Jan30 P1070962 Potluck jokes P1070959 Bob and Jan P1070957 Ron and Rhea Dawn P1080567 Donn and Ethel P1070963 Melinda

Rotary Tour of Homes gallery –

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And my sister hostesses for the Home on the tour where we were stationed –

P1080286 Four Hostesses

With a new friend Carole from Bellingham, Washington, we visited the big Sunday “mercado” in nearby Empalme –

P1080404 Kristin in Empalme (Large) P1080372 Carole (Large) P1080368 Empalme mercado - baby moustache (Large) P1080397 Carole with accordion (Large)

Near the public square was a remarkable kiddie train, hand-built from 55-gallon drums cut in half.  Great job and a money-maker for an enterprising fellow!  Fun for kids and their mommies too!

P1080426 (Large) P1080435 Kiddie Train (Large)
I attended a cooking class in Mexico! This was a fun class which lasted 4 1/2 hours every Thursday, and at the end we all sat down together to enjoy the meal. It’s great to make new friends and to learn about Mexican history and culture, getting specific details about the cuisine, especially the unusual cooking ingredients and utensils. Our teacher Ruth is a German woman who has lived here for over 30 years, she’s married to a sweet Mexican man and both are obviously happy. They own a popular European bakery where the classes are held. I’ll insert a snapshot of the class program for anyone who is curious about what we’ll be cooking and eating. Some of the more traditional dishes are extremely complicated and take more than one day to fix, also use supplies that aren’t available in the U.S., so it’s unlikely that we’ll be making them often in the future. Others dishes are more familiar or so delicious that any extra effort is worth it. I always enjoy taking cooking classes wherever I travel, and always learn something new. I loved this! It was educational, a lot of laughs, and a great way to meet other people who like to cook!

Photos from the class – our teacher Ruth is in the back row, far right, and the next photo is of Ana her wonderful hard-working sou chef –

P1080620 Cooking class

P1080311 Ana P1080042 cooking class (Large) P1080024 Cooking Class (Large)P1080003 Cooking Class sm

Another Rotary activity was making and selling hamburgers at the Rescate Emergency Services annual bazaar.  It was a colorful and terrific event! –

P1080522 (Large) P1080528 (Large) P1080530 (Large) P1080540 (Large) P1080500 Rescate Bazaar (Large) P1080512 Carole

During the Walk for Life, Cheyenne and I did the 5K Caminata por la Vida.  I think my dog was much more tired than I was! –

Caminata por la Vida San Carlos 2016 lg P1080560 Kristin walks

One of the highlights for me was to meet Lisa Rowe and her husband Todd.  She is a talented stained glass artist who created two panels for the overhead cabinet doors of my motor home.  They are beautiful and uplifting and are a constant reminder of the gorgeous water birds that I live with in the winters. –

P1080699 Lisa and Todd Rowe P1080698 Stained Glass installed P1080710 MH FrontP1080752 jump small

Here are a couple final shots of my beautiful campsite at my pond beside the beach at the Sea of Cortez, San Carlos Bay –

P1080908 camp home orig P1080842 estuary camp

I can’t forget my friends who lived along the beach near me, and made the experience so rich and fantastic! –

P1080624 Jimmy and Melinda P1080635 Hans P1080648 Ethel ad Donn best P1080680 Rhea Dawn and Ron P1080682 Libor and Marquitta P1080694 Bill and WendyP1080658 Lash and Suzanne P1080819 MaryLynn-Roy (Large)

And a special thank you and goodbye to Wendy! –

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Our final goodbye night for dear friends Jan and Bob, Wendy and Bill –

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Finally, I must add some pictures of the birds who were my closest neighbors at the beach –

P1070562 Hooded Oriole P1070664 new hummer P1070743 night hunting P1070744 bird council P1070866 Brandt's Cormorant P1070921 Bufflehead

… and especially my blue heron, always entertaining and amazing! –

P1080760 heron reflection P1080754 hunt P1080927 (Large) P1080773 (Large) P1080952 (Large)P1080947

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