Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Another side trip....

Hi Everyone, I need to apologize for once again not writing about our move.  I have been part of a support group for Goldenhar Syndrome.  I want to share a story with them that I wrote for my children when they were young so I am posting it here.  I was so irritated that in most of the fairy tales before we ever knew who Shrek was, all of the toads, beasts, poor guys, etc. changed at the first kiss into Prince Charmings with good hair, fortunes, etc.  So, I wrote this story...it is heavy handed in its message but here it is....and I promise I will be getting back to our moving events....

Once upon a time a little girl was born.

Her family loved stories.  They loved to read them and to tell them to each other.

Little Cindy grew up hearing many of the fairy tales that people have told each other for hundreds of years.  She knew how all of the wonderful, beautiful girls always found their Prince Charmings so that they could live happily everafter.

Cindy would occasionally let her mind wonder to the future, her future. Would her Prince Charming be a real “hunk”? Would he be fun to be with or just good to look at? Would he be intelligent, sincere, kind and, most importantly, madly, deeply in love with her.  He had to be if he was her Prince Charming! But how would she know him? How  could she recognize him? 

The years passed by quickly and before she knew it, Cindy was grown up. She had finished her schooling.  Her life was busy with a job, volunteering, spending time with family and friends.  Sometimes she would think about the stories that her family loved. The stories might explain why some of her closest friends were willing to date men who were like the toads, and beasts of the stories.  Maybe they were under an evil spell….maybe.

When her friends kissed these men did they expect that when their lips met that it would be a magical moment when this guy would turn into a handsome Prince Charming; would there be fireworks? Would soft music start to play in the background? Would they know for sure that they were meant to be together for ever? Cindy was sure that none of that had ever happened to her friends.  And she personally had never seen a toad become a Prince, Charming or otherwise…

One day Cindy met Robin.  She knew right away that Robin was no Prince Charming.  His car was super ugly…Volvos are fine cars but Robin’s 1966 Volvo had survived a rollover and had the dents to show for it.  Robin didn’t much care about what clothes he wore… For Robin his clothes were just fine if they were his size and kept him warm. 

Cindy knew that Robin was not a “boyfriend” type. Robin would just be a friend.

He was a wonderful friend! Robin knew more jokes, riddles and stories than anyone she had ever met.  He was quick-witted and funny.  He made Cindy laugh. Robin saw humor in almost any situation.  He taught Cindy how to play tennis, and that mint jelly goes well with lamb and applesauce tastes good with pork chops. Robin loved flowers and he would often take some to Cindy to decorate her office.

Cindy, Robin and their friends did many things together.  They liked to play tennis in the early morning, go to restaurants, hike in the mountains, walk on the wharf, go to the movies and much more.  Things friends like to do together.

Many of their friends were getting married.  How could they be sure that they had found the right one? True love? Their Prince Charming? Cindy hoped that they would live “happily everafter.”

Who would her Prince Charming turn out to be? Had she already met him? She had a list of things he had to be….he had to be fun to be with, intelligent, sincere, kind…he would have to be a lot like her best friend Robin.  But he would be different than Robin because Robin was different from most people.  Robin had been born with only one ear  He had had lots of surgeries to “fix” things that didn’t develop like they should have before he was born.  His face had had some reconstructive surgery on the right side.  You might be wondering if he was ugly, no he wasn’t.  He had beautiful green eyes and a goofy smile that made you smile too.  He was not the handsome guy you think Prince Charming should be but Cindy knew that she was not as beautiful as the Princesses in all of the stories.

Cindy loved Robin’s smile, his laughter..especially when he giggled.  Robin was so kind.  He was her best friend and Cindy knew in her heart that she loved Robin.

Robin told Cindy that he had loved her for a while but that he wasn’t sure that she would love him back. He wasn’t sure if she knew that not all Prince Charmings are perfectly handsome, or even perfectly intelligent but all Prince Charmings should be kind, caring and perfectly in love with the Princess of their choice and Robin was.

When Cindy first kissed Robin she may have heard music, she wasn’t sure.  But when Cindy opened her eyes she knew that Robin was her Prince Charming.  He looked the same as he ever had and that was just the way she wanted it to be. Cindy loved Robin.

They had a beautiful summer garden wedding with family and friends.

As the years passed Robin and Cindy faced all of the problems life threw their way, together as a team.  Best of all they had two beautiful baby girls and one handsome baby boy.  Robin and Cindy knew that their children would grow up to be kind, gentle, intelligent people with a wonderful sense of humor.  The kind of people who know that you shouldn’t kiss toads or beasts in hope of them becoming something different….you should only kiss them if you love toads and some people do…

Yes, Robin and Cindy knew that they would love each other---forever.

Friday, November 5, 2010

A Sad Anniversary....

Today I deviate and make this post very personal. It is the second anniversary of my Dad's death and my heart aches to hug him and see his beautiful smile. Death is never our friend.  I long for the day when I hope that I will be one of the ones present to welcome him back to life on a wonderful, peaceful earth.  Until then I will let the passing of time heal this tremendous void in my heart.  I have to admit that during his life I never realized what a Daddy's girl I am.  It may also have been that his death marked the end of me having any parent alive.  No one to pick up the phone and call  No one to share dumb stuff that happens in life and that no one else would be interested in knowing.  I miss them so.  So love your family while you have them.  Let them know how much they are loved and appreciated.  Tonight I will allow myself to be sad and feel the pain.... I will watch the slideshow shown after his services and I will remember the great Dad he was to me and how much he loved his family.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Did you know that Craigslist is international? I didn't until while reading about Mexico rentals the suggestion was made to keep checking with craigslist and to contact the ones who had posted even if the post is an old one because they may have other rentals and you could let them know what you looking for.  So, I checked out Mexico and what was being offered.  Very interesting.  Lots of potential.  Prices vary considerably.  Rob and I talked about keeping in mind what is included with the "rent." Some rentals include utilities others include wifi but the question is---is wifi service included or do they mean that it is available if you buy the service?... Questions that need answering. 

What is called a "kitchen" in Mexico can vary from just providing a microwave to a regular American type kitchen with the stove, refrigerator, dishwasher etc.  (A minor sidepoint is why do people living in the United States own the title to being called "Americans" when in reality shouldn't everybody living in either North, South or Central America also be "Americans?") So the type of "kitchen" that is included in the rental is important.

There seems to be more rentals available with just showers.  I lived for 5 years without a tub and I really did miss it...but it is not absolutely necessary.

Apparently electricity is a owned by one company in Mexico.  It is a certain price per kilowatt up to a certain usage level and then the price goes up.  But if you use so much over the allotted amount the kilowatt cost under the set mark also goes up.  So is having a huge kitchen with all of the bells and whistles worth it? The other important thing to find out about an area is if electricity is available 24/7.  In some areas it is not.  I actually would not mind it if for so many hours each day I knew that we would not have electricity.  I like when the power goes out and you realize how quiet the neighborhood is....

Water pressure is another consideration.  Sometimes water is available but not all of the time.  That could get tricky.  Often water tanks are on the roof so that they can be filling slowly with the lousy water pressure but when you need to use it in your house you get pressure because of gravity...it would be coming down from the roof.

We want to take our dogs with us so we would like a place with an enclosed yard.  Although I would not be against apartment living close to a city hub in a smaller village, I think that having dogs will cancel that out.

The next item up on our to do list is to write the branch telling of our desire to help out in the english speaking congregations.  It will be interesting to see where they would like us to consider moving to.  We will mention in our letter that we would like to relocate to Oaxaca but will consider any other area where there is a need.

Next week I will check out Clifton for a possible interim housing while we work on our move to Mexico. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Visas, Tipping and Trash

Rob and I have been reading up on Mexico.  We need to get Visas.  It is almost like a Starbucks experience...making a choice about which one to apply for. One has to be renewed at the end of 180 days, one at year's end, one at the end of 5 years but then request for permanent status....some can be renewed more than once, others cannot...and on it goes.  Some Visas are for those who enter the country with an income from abroad...Mexico asks for $1,000 per month per person or proof of $12,000 per person in the bank.  Other Visas are for those who will work, some Visas are for those who are students, researchers or special guests of the government.  The costs of the Visa itself seems reasonable...all are less than $500 but we may find hidden costs.  I think we will first apply for the 6 month tourist Visa which will allow us to enter the country to check out the suggested areas that need help in the English speaking ministry.

We came across a section on tipping in Mexico.  Seems that there are many opportunities to tip and that because of this "tipping" should be part of your household budget.  Guidelines were given as to the appropriate amount to tip.  While traveling if someone helps with carrying your luggage tip should be $1 per item.  If a parking attendant in the free parking lot helps direct you to a parking spot the tip should be 50 cents, that also applies to the impromptu windshield cleaning at intersections and if some one juggles or otherwise entertains you at any public area.  Hotel maids can be tipped $1-$5 per day depending if it is a Motel 6 type of place or a fancy resort.  Bars/Cantinas should be about 10% tip. Have you ever been faced with that unanswered question of should you tip the grocery bagger? In Mexico the answer is always yes...and it is usually in the 50 cent group but in all of these tipping situations if there is additional services rendered then that would be reflected in the tip. Car valets are about $1 but I would imagine that it could be reflected in what kind of car you drive... Taxi charges should rounded up to the next $5 pesos or $10 pesos depending on how the ride was. Gas station attendants also are tipped depending on how much they do for you...rule of thumb is to ask for less then a rounded amount such as asking for $195 pesos worth of fuel and paying $200 pesos with the "keep the change" phrase on the end...actually we might get to liking using that phrase throughout the day!! Should you find yourself broken down on the highway--we are referring to your car...there are government helpers that come by to supply gas or the needed car part.  You must pay for the parts and gas but what you tip the helper is dependent on how helpful they were to you. On a happier note, should you find yourself at a spa the suggested tipping is 10-15% of the charge for the service. And then there is the odd person who may come to your home and collect your trash to take to a neighborhood/block collection place, or wants to sell you hot food or baked goods...and it goes on.  Right now I am thinking that those bars/rails that you see on city homes in Mexico, that stop you from entering their plazas/patios might be a very good thing on many levels.

I am actually impressed with what I have been reading about their garbage service.  Anything appliance/electronic picked up will be looked at to see if it is repairable, if it is then it will be repaired and sold but if it isn't then it will be taken apart and the different metals/parts will be sold off.  So there is little that actually makes it to a "landfill" type situation.  Very green of them!! I keep imagining those little brown hooded guys in Star Wars that came out of the mountains to check out things.....

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Life is getting bogged down right now.  Moving to Mexico is going to be soon...even if it is not for 2 years. We need to start taking trips to areas that may be our new home. We need to start spending time with Americans living in Mexico and hear their stories.  What were their personal challenges? What gold nuggets of advice can they give us? Today we were offered another choice...to move to the small town where my grandchildren live, Clifton, Arizona.  Robin hates small towns.  He loves living in cities with restaurants, movie theaters, exhibits, etc.. My argument for moving is this---if we are moving out of the country eventually, why not move closer to the grandkids now so that we can spend our remaining time in the states closer to them? (and their parents!)  It does costs to move but wouldn't it be worth it? This choice will require some prayerful consideration. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Why Wait?!

Why wait until you move to a third world country to try new and exciting culinary treats?! I could not come up with a good reason either...sooo.....I accepted the offer on Monday to try toasted grasshoppers with lemon/lime, salt and chile. The crunchy part was actually pretty good...very flavorful with a crunch...but the soft middle was a little disgusting...since it is not a piece of chocolate with a gooey inside I would have preferred the crunch to apply to all parts of the body. The point is that I met the challenge and ate it. The little critter stayed down and I was proud of my bravery. Now to face more moving challenges....

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Hello, I can't believe how long it has been since I have written on this blog!! But that is changing...I am going to keep you updated on our moving plans just in case any of you would like to join and could learn from our experiences as to what to do and what not to do. The scary thing is that moving is becoming a reality. We need to start making trips to Mexico to familiarize ourselves with the country. Thankfully many affordable buses leave from Tucson. I have looked into the cost and it is quite affordable...about $100 per person round trip from Tucson to Mazatlan...much better than flying and you get to see the country!
So come back and see what we are up to,

Friday, March 26, 2010

It's That Special Time of Year Again!

Where has the last year gone? Anyway, next Tuesday, March 30, 2010 will be the anniversary of Christ's death. As Christians we realize the importance/significance of that momentous event. Without Christ's sacrifice we would have no basis for the Kingdom that will bring peace to the entire planet. As we remember the past year's events it is readily evident that there is much suffering on a global scale. The human family clearly needs help. So, as a showing of our respect and appreciation for all that Jehovah and Jesus have done for us and yet will do, let's plan to be present at a Memorial service in your neighborhood.

Today starts the very special Bible reading that goes along with what Jesus did during the days leading up to his death.

Memorial Bible reading: (Events on Nisan 9)

John 12:12-19

12 The next day the great crowd that had come to the festival, on hearing that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13 took the branches of palm trees and went out to meet him. And they began to shout: “Save, we pray you! Blessed is he that comes in Jehovah’s name, even the king of Israel!” 14 But when Jesus had found a young ass, he sat on it, just as it is written: 15 “Have no fear, daughter of Zion. Look! Your king is coming, seated upon an ass’s colt.” 16 These things his disciples took no note of at first, but when Jesus became glorified, then they called to mind that these things were written respecting him and that they did these things to him.
17 Accordingly the crowd that was with him when he called Laz′a·rus out of the memorial tomb and raised him up from the dead kept bearing witness. 18 On this account the crowd, because they heard he had performed this sign, also met him. 19 Therefore the Pharisees said among themselves: “YOU observe YOU are getting absolutely nowhere. See! The world has gone after him.”

Mark 11:1-11

11 Now when they were getting near to Jerusalem, to Beth′pha·ge and Beth′a·ny at the Mount of Olives, he dispatched two of his disciples 2 and told them: “Go into the village that is within sight of YOU, and as soon as YOU pass into it YOU will find a colt tied, on which none of mankind has yet sat; loose it and bring it. 3 And if anyone says to YOU, ‘Why are YOU doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it, and will at once send it off back here.’” 4 So they went away and found the colt tied at the door, outside on the side street, and they loosed it. 5 But some of those standing there began to say to them: “What are YOU doing loosing the colt?” 6 They said to these just as Jesus had said; and they let them go.
7 And they brought the colt to Jesus, and they put their outer garments upon it, and he sat on it. 8 Also, many spread their outer garments on the road, but others cut down foliage from the fields. 9 And those going in front and those coming behind kept crying out: “Save, we pray! Blessed is he that comes in Jehovah’s name! 10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Save, we pray, in the heights above!” 11 And he entered into Jerusalem, into the temple; and he looked around upon all things, and, as the hour was already late, he went out to Beth′a·ny with the twelve.

As always, feel free to read it in your copy of the Bible.