Scooting Around

It’s not ours but we dream of having one.  BIGGER!!

BMW maybe.

We aren’t quite there in our lives yet.  In the meantime, Everette borrows Tom’s scooter for cheaper trips into town.  Each of the kids that have jumped on the back have LOVED it.  Nothing like Matt-the-Frenchman’s bike but nonetheless its enjoyable.

Collage Scooting

Some afternoons when we need a break we jump on and head to Chapala or along the lake just to feel the wind on our faces.  Perspective is different on here than it is from the comfy seat of the van.  I see so much more even though hubby blocks much of the forward view.

We feel FREE.

Even if its just for an hour.

One of our favorite places to go is a new restaurant in Chapala that we refer to as The Patio although its really called il Giardino.

There are four levels (patios) to this restaurant tucked discretely off the sidewalk of the main street.  We can sit up at the highest level amongst the palm trees and fountain like we did with Dee and Gerry, or on the first level (as in pic below) where we can people-watch on the sidewalk.

Twice now we’ve gone for drinks and were given soup ‘on the house’ along with savory buns….I think they are looking to expand their menu.  This day we were treated to very tasty carrot soup.  All the food we’ve experienced here has been great.

Collage il GiardinoWe understand that this is one of the few restaurants open late at night, tip 1am or something like that.  A great place for after an evening show.

The biggest challenge would be the four flights of stairs if one has had too many drinks.  But go ahead, try it out….I dare you!


The 1 Night Restaurant

We were away for Mother’s Day, amazingly without the bulk of the kids.  I was in the presence of only 2 kids for the majority of the day and we didn’t do anything special since we were stationary at a hotel, laying low.  Nice day but certainly quiet.

But when we got home I (we) was treated to a surprise Mother’s Day dinner…candles, quiet table for 2 tucked away in our bedroom for some privacy.

Collage Mother's Day

Not an extensive menu but they certainly were confident in what we should ‘order’…so we did as we were prompted (pick this one ….and this one) and did enjoy a tasty Chicken Caesar Salad alongside a noodle dish with homemade Alfredo Sauce….Layne, watch out!  Serious competition!!  I think we’ll have to have an Alfredo Cook-Off the next time you visit.

Collage Menu

The bill was a bit over-the-top pricey… even in pesos.  But the company was delightful, the atmosphere relaxing, and we were totally stuffed with delicious food.  I would highly recommend this Johnson Kids 1 Night Restaurant…but then again, snooze ya loose.  Was only open last week for one night.  Sorry!

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!


Auditioning & Trios

Singing.  Its the one thing Gaelyn wants to do this year, besides get over stage fright which is intimately connected to singing (for anybody other than herself!)

Gaelyn & Dee had attended a local choir’s finale this spring and the two of them made a point of meeting Tim, the choir director.  An audition was booked and somehow 3 people went for auditions at Tim’s house the following week, and 4 new choir members for autumn exited his house.  I had gone as moral support for our daughter and this happened:

Gaelyn was able to take some singing lessons from Dee before her and Gerry headed back up to the Great White North.  Toveli and E joined in the lessons (total of about 4 or 5).  But in that short amount of time Dee helped the girls gain confidence, control breathing, locate and use their diaphragm, achieve better tone and volume.

And at a Send Off for Dee and Gerry the girls sang 3 songs for the Desserts with Live Entertainment.

My Fiftieth WooHoot!!

I’ve never been bothered by getting older.  One of my inlaws wasn’t bothered by turning 30, but turning 31 was an issue as now she was Thirty-something!!  Actually, I like getting older….I guess I’m hoping to get wiser in the process but I’m not convinced its working and neither is anybody else.  Nevertheless, every year I keep trying!!

So I was looking foward to turning 50, the half-century.  Ok, so for a moment the realization that I am likely now more than half-ways done my life did hit me.  My heart fluttered…what the heck have I done with my life?  But the heart calmed and I went on enjoying the realization that I’ve worked 50 years to get to this moment, and I was going to enjoy it.

I had dreams of grandeur, of a smattering of spoiling, of doing something extravagant and memorable.  I had hoped we would be in Guanajauto or San Miguel de Allende, or climbing the Pyramids of the Sun or Moon.  But reality set in and the costs associated with that and….well, we stayed put.  And let Layne catch up with us here to spend her one week vacation time with us here in Mexico (for her third year!).

Collage Karen

Before we set out for the day we had a little gift-giving time where I opened gifts from our eldest daughters.  Our family tends to shun ornate and go for the earthy, natural products, so Layne picked out a beautiful leather journal for my writings.

Rauchelle had given me a deer jaw-bone carved into a snake pendant for Mother’s Day last year (you can see me wearing it in the above photo), and knowing that I adore turtles she took an elk jawbone and whittled out this for….. “Mommy Mother Dearest of Mine”

Collage Elk jawbone turtle

Rauchelle also packaged up some coffee syrups. Took me until the evening Tamale Party for me to realize why the label said JOKES but I got it.  I might be fifty but I’m no dim-whit.  (JOhnson+burKES=JOKES)

Off some of us went to take in the savoury tastes/smells and colourful delights of the street markets in Tonala, a suburb of Guadalajara.  We poked our noses in stalls looking for gifts Layne could take back to Canada.  Juan Ramon delighted us with his personality & frivolity and soothed us with his solar-heated black rocks as he massaged each of us.  We dug through his pile trying to identify both raw and polished stones, and we bought rocks from him for birthday gifts and keepsakes.  Layne is currently taking a Geology course which has revived her childhood fascination with rocks so she was quite in her glory rummaging thru Juan Ramon’s stall.

Collage Rocks

We treated ourselves to shaved ice (like a slushie but waaaay better) topped with kiwi, fresa (strawberries) and pina (pineapple) but oh where, oh where did that cute snapshot of me and my girls disappear to?  Then we stopped for late lunch….I don’t know what they were called and no photo again.  Argh, I’ve got to have smoother transition between that new iPhone6 and blogging.  Between adjusting to a new tool and the fact that our camera is failing us already, this is frustrating, the main culprit behind why I have been so slow to post on the blog.  Argh!

Collage Market

It was a great day spent in the market,  loving the hubbub, the dickering, the colours and variety….the overall aura of the place.  And as we drove down the main street heading for the highway back to Chapala we bought some shades for the van with the traffic urging us on from the intersection while the saleslady hustled down the road to give us the change…quite a Mexican experience.  Oh, I love Mexico!!

In January our community had a King’s Cake and Anders ‘won’ a baby Jesus (we discovered its also referred to as a ‘monkey’ but I can’t really figure the connection out??) so we were to help put on a party for everybody else with tamales.  Normally it would be on Feb 2nd but it had to be postponed until my birthday.  With full tummies we went over to socialize with our community, and somehow most of my family managed to stuff in a tamale wrapped in banana leaves and a Mexican hot chocolate made by Suzanna, with the touch of cinnamon I so enjoy.

Collage tamales

An already full day we finished it with a viewing of Selma.  We are working thru the list of Academy Awards nominations before the Awards are issued on Feb 22nd.  We’re running out of time 🙂  Get the popcorn popping, Mark D!!