Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fire Assistant AG Andrew Shirvell

Mike Cox must fire cyberbully Assistant AG Andrew Shirvell.  He is an immature homophobic jerk.  What an embarrassment for the State of Michigan.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


There are folks like these in every state...... be afraid.  Hat tip:  Daily Kos

Taliban Dan

Friday, September 24, 2010

Photo of the Day

Location.  Location.  Location.  And, money.  It seems that this particular block of buildings has been plagued with poor luck in maintaining tenants.  The cost of rent?  Or, more likely, the loss of our traditional sources of income -- Sunbirds and Snowbirds.  This photograph shows a boutique where the photography studio had been.  Next door, and not shown, is an empty store that just two months ago sold generic drugs.  I'm told that a Chinese or Japanese restaurant will soon open at this location.  The dragon painting is just the beginning.....

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Republicans in the US Senate

Obstructionist Republicans in the US Senate blocked a vote on the Defense Appropriations bill with a filibuster.  They did not want to vote for the repeal of DADT.  They did not want to vote for the Dream Act.  Hypocrites and cowards all.

Dan Savage said it best.  So, I must reprise this message to all the bigots out there ----  NSFW

Photos of the Day

On my walk today, these flowers caught my attention.  Enjoy.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Photo of the Day

The celebration of the bicentennial of México continues.  Evidence of the festivities remains behind no matter how much sweeping is done.  Confetti filled eggs are sold by many vendors around Ajijic's central Plaza during every national holiday and religious festival.  Lots and lots and lots of eggs.

You crack them on a loved one's head, of course.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Photo of the Day

This is the balcony of the municipal building in Ajijic.  There at 11 pm tonight the "Grito de Dolores" will be reenacted.  This cry was the call to arms that sparked a revolution.

My children: a new dispensation comes to us today. Will you receive it? Will you free yourselves? Will you recover the lands stolen by three hundred years ago from your forefathers by the hated Spaniards? We must act at once… Will you defend your religion and your rights as true patriots? Long live our Lady of Guadalupe! Death to bad government! Death to the gachupines!

-----  Father Miguel Hidalgo

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Prudential Financial: War Profiteers

Prudential Financial had a secret agreement with the Veterans Administration allowing them to make a profit off the deaths of America's heroes.  Grieving families were not given lump sum death benefits, but were given "check books" to use in drawing out funds.  Prudential profited from the monies being held for the beneficiaries in violation of the provisions of the actual insurance contract published.

Disgusting.  All war profiteering must end or we will always have wars of choice -- ask George Bush........

Photo of the Day

This critter was pretty brave.  He let me take several photographs of him.  If I got too close he just walked away a little distance.  This part of the boardwalk always has these lake birds nearby.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


To understand a little bit more about me -- a story.  Once upon a free ticket for being bumped off a flight from a convention and 21 years ago, I traveled to México.  Alone.  One day, I decided to snorkel in a National Park.  It was my first time.  And, the first time a school of awe inspiring exotic fish came swimming by me, I screamed.  Underwater.  Not from fear, mind you, I was praising a Creator for that wonder, those tiny swimming miracles.  True story.

For the last three years, the townsfolk have watched two youngish retired Americans walking the streets -- living among them.  And, from time-to-time one or the other of us, or both, would whip out our cameras and photograph something that struck our fancy.  Yes, for three years, we both "religiously" carried a camera.  And, occasionally, we even had a spare set of AA batteries.

Living in México is a dream come true.  And, each and every day I nearly have to pinch myself to be convinced that I actually live here.  It's real.  And, it is beautiful beyond words.  Really.  Hence, the camera and an occasional muttering of gratitude and wonder.

-----------  The first photograph was taken with Billy's Nikon CoolPix lenses wide open.  The shrine on Loma Ancha in just visible above the stone column on the left --- just right of center.  The second shot is full mechanical and digital zoom.  The shrine is centered.

Photos of the Day

I took these photographs on my journey to the shrine on Loma Ancha today.  I spotted these flowers on the path.  And, we encountered these roosters on the road we walked down from on our way to the car.  We actually took a wrong path on the way down from the shrine and we were deposited a few blocks from where we started.

Loma Ancha

I have the rest of my life to see that.....  So, glib.  So, disengaged.  And, so wrong.  Yep, that was my answer to everyone's inquiry as to whether or not I have seen this or that around Ajijic and the Lake Chapala region.  I especially gave my standard "some day" answer when asked about trekking up Loma Ancha to see the shrine.  Many added that the path continues to the top of the mountain and over and down to another village.

The Catholic shrine above Ajijic looks out upon Lake Chapala and the villages below.  It is something that for the last three years I took for granted. The shrine can be seen from most any point in Ajijic and, from below, it looks to be about three quarters of the way up the mountain from Upper Ajijic.  I promised Billy that someday we would journey to the shrine.  This morning as the sun was rising, Christian and I made our way to the foot of the pilgrim's path.  We climbed Loma Ancha to the shrine.  And, we carried with us a portion of Billy ashes, messages, and flower seeds to cast "on the wind".

 Billy wanted his ashes spread around the places that he loved.  In addition to our pilgrimage to the shrine, we also spread some of Billy in Lake Chapala and a wee bit next to our mango tree and amongst the banana trees.  Billy's brother said that he would have some of Billy spread in the Saint Clair River back in Michigan.  We loved living just blocks away from the bottom of Lake Huron and the mouth of the Saint Clair River.  We used to walk and ride bikes along the Thomas Edison Parkway -- one of the most beautiful places in the world -- in my hometown of Port Huron, Michigan.

  I kept my promise to Billy.  And, we made it to the shrine on Loma Ancha.....

In This Shirt

I am lost
In our rainbow
Now our rainbow
Has gone

By your shadow
As our worlds move on

But in this shirt,
I can be you.
To be near you
For awhile.

But in this shirt,
I can be you.
To be near you
For awhile.

There's a crane
Knocking down
All those things
That we were.

I awake
In the night
To hear the engines purr.

There's a pain
It does ripple
Through my frame
Makes me lame.

There's a thorn
In my side.
It's the shame, it's the pride
Of you and me -- ever changing.

Moving on now.
Moving fast.

And his touch
Must be wanted.
Must become
Through your ask.

But I need,
Jake, to tell you,
That I love you -- it never rests.

And I've bled
Every day now
For a year,
For a year.

I did send
You a note
On the wind
For to read

Our names,
There together,
Must have fallen,
Like a seed.

To the depths
Of the soil
Buried deep
In the ground

On the wind
I could hear you
Call my name
Held the sounds.

I am lost.

I am lost
In our rainbow
Now our rainbow
Has gone

I am lost
In our rainbow
Now our rainbow
Has gone

I am lost.

I am lost.

I am lost.

----------- The Irrepressibles - In This Shirt

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Photos of the Day

 On the way to the central plaza in Ajijic from Calle Guadalupe Victoria you may now pass by the newest mural being painted.  It is "in progress" -- all seems to be going well for México's bicentennial celebrations.  We are painting the town....

Friday, September 10, 2010

Photo of the Day (Friday)

It is a bit cool and the rains have stuck around all morning.  On the way to breakfast this morning, I passed this "new" store and its mural.  The reflection in the glass door is from across the street.  I have no idea what is opening in this location.  Stay tuned.

Photo of the Day (Thursday)

We had great weather yesterday.  The rains ended early and the remainder of the day was sunny and warm.  The banana tree on the right finally toppled as the bunch of bananas that had been growing reached maturity.  Now, we just have to wait for them to ripen.  Note the other trees growing.  It takes about two years for this variety of the tree to grow, fruit, and die.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Photo of the Day

It seems to have rained most of the day today.  Before a long afternoon nap, I snapped this photograph of some blossoms soaked in rain.  The blooms in Ajijic are awe inspiring.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Ohne Dich (Without You)

I'll be back to writing sometime soon.  Right now, I am content to walk about the village and along the shore of our lake taking photographs.  I love Ajijic.  God has blessed me with this opportunity to live in a place of life, healing, loss, and love.

Photos of the Day

Did I mention that we are in the middle of the rainy season?  It rained late into the morning today.  These photographs were taken today from the boardwalk facing north into the mountains.  It was still raining high up in the mountains.

BTW.  Lake Chapala is about a mile above sea level.  Think Denver.  The lake is a "high mountain lake" and I live on the mountainside above it.  And, the mountains reach even higher behind Ajijic.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Photo of the Day

As I walked home from the Plaza after a brief visit with Doctor Polo, I came upon this horse parked between two cars.  It is not an unusual sight.  And, the sounds of horses in the streets are common.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Photo of the Day

I was at the end of the boardwalk again today.  I sat under a tree near the lapping waves of Lake Chapala.  Lake birds, mountains, and old fishing boats -- classic Ajijic scene.  Paradise is just so ..... photogenic.  Je Je Je Je

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Photo of the Day

Photographs and paintings of fishermen in Lake Chapala are as common as those of the Cerro de Garcia and lake birds.  The fisherman in this photograph was casting a net to catch fish.  I took this photograph at the west end of the boardwalk.  I sat near the water under a tree.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Without You

Photo of the Day

The boardwalk along the north shore of Lake Chapala in Ajijic is absolutely beautiful.  As I walked today, I found myself exclaiming aloud, "Oh, God!  I love this place!"  And, I do.  Adding to yesterday's theme, photographs and paintings of this lake bird are everywhere.  This photograph was taken today near the basketball court.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Photo of the Day

The subject of my photograph, taken this afternoon, is probably the most photographed by the town folk, visitors, and tourists in Ajijic.  The Cerro de Garcia is on the south shore of Lake Chapala.  Numerous paintings and murals abound......

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Lake Chapala Society

My family, my friends, and my government have been kind and supportive throughout the ordeal of the last week.  Hearing an officer from the American consulate express condolences on behalf of "my government" has particularly and deeply touched my heart.  Nearly everyone I have encountered this week has given me great comfort.

Unfortunately, I had to go to the The Lake Chapala Society in Ajijic to retrieve copies of the official consular report of Billy's death.  It was supposed to be a simple thing.  A final act in the legal process.  I was only going out to pick up an envelope of documents.

Upon arrival, the information and welcoming center failed to both welcome me and give me the information I needed.  I was berated not just once, but twice, by two brusque and impatient volunteers for not having made an appointment.  The second person that I approached for assistance was visibly upset when I explained that I didn't know where to go and that her directions were unclear.  As she proceeded to give me more difficulty, I could only throw up my hands to express my frustration at being given so so much grief.  I only wanted to pick up Billy's "death certificate" and leave.  I didn't require an appointment.  And, I certainly didn't need to meet these two self-important "gatekeepers".

I held back my tears, managed to find the consulate officers, took possession of my documents, and left.  I do not care to ever return to the Lake Chapala Society.  If "serving the Lake Chapala community" is their goal, they failed miserably today.


The following is an excerpt from a letter sent to me by a friend via this blog's comment section.  I "rejected" the original because of the personal information being supplied.

Oh Lee, I'm just SO sorry that all this grief has been heaped on top of the inconsolable emptiness you must be feeling.

I was so sorry to hear about Billy, and I'm glad to see here that you are talking to him. Keep it up, he'll help you and he needs to know that you haven't forgotten, nor have your friends.

I haven't been over, I thought I'd see you on Saturday morning, but you all were still at breakfast when we broke up our weekly "session."

While I can't know how you feel, nor do I think your life will ever be "normal" again, I have been through a grave loss and I can tell you that with time, and hope and sleepless nights and gritted teeth we do make it through and the lucky ones of us find a "new" normal.

The best thing someone told me was that they promised that while it would never hurt less, it would eventually hurt less often. And this I have found to be true. This year (the 22nd) I forgot to grieve on our anniversary, I didn't cry on his birthday and I made it to noon on the anniversary of his death.

There will be better days, there will come a time when you can breathe again, and talk to people, and cope with rude people -- even is that means telling exactly what you think, in words of one syllable or less.

But that is someday...for now, know that for a year you aren't going to be fully functional. For six months you can barely be trusted to turn on a stove or handle money or try to buy groceries or ..... or ...... or ....

It doesn't mean you've lost your mind, or are into early Alzeimer's. It just means you are grieving -- and the brain shuts down to the degree it needs to to be sure that you can survive this time...for some of us that means bursting into tears in the grocery store because I left the list at home. OR getting to the store with the list and walking around and around the aisles without buying anything.

Meanwhile, IF you need to talk, or if it's 2:30 a.m. and you can't sleep or know how you'll make it through the night, or if there is something I can do for you to make the day easier, get the idea, you know where I am. My phone number is XXX-XXXX. Use it.

Wow --  Thank you, Judy.