Pirate Murder Mystery: The Birthday Boy Must Have Done It!

Birthday Boy

An advantage (among many) of having a big family is you have an instant party, an instant baseball team, an instant cast for a theatrical.  Its all dependent on the willingness of participation.

Our Bonnie Lad turned 17 and became a suspect in our family’s first ever Murder Mystery Party. It was a ton of fun had by all, both those involved and the spectators–some of us started as spectators but then got cast into roles on the spot.  Best to Roll with the Punches!Mitchell-17

 

Birthday Tradition

Usually for our family members’ birthdays they get to choose what the main meal is for the day, and what type of dessert they want.  Sometimes they pick an activity, like going to the Guadalajara Zoo.

Mitchell rolled it all into one, wanting Make-Your-Own-Parfaits….meal and dessert all in one dish.  So that’s what we planned, and made Tapioca Pudding since his birthday happened to also be the National Tapioca Pudding Day.

The Murder Mystery

Costumes

The kids worked for days on creating costumes.  Toveli worked tirelessly on a gown for Gaelyn…the base of which was a down quilt with strips of fabric stitched onto it.  Such creative minds.

Somebody ‘gave’ Anders a black eye but when Danaka added some purple eyeshadow it was a great improvement.  She’s thankful Tina has taken her to hang out at Live Theatre with her sometimes, picking up little tips here and there.  Coming in handy.

The Spectators

It’s always nice to have somebody available to watch us makes fools of ourselves!  So we had a willing audience….and even several last minute actors.  Like Bob, who willingly became Captain Hook the Third.

The Plot

Captain Jack Parrot went missing over night and was discovered chained and drowned beneath the boat, a big smile on his face.  Who done it?

The Setting

Amongst creepy crawlies and half-drunk bottles.  We’re introduced to the characters and realize everybody had a reason to wish Captain Jack Parrot dead.

Pirate-Murder-Mystery-Capt-Morgans

 The Characters

Blackbeard was an irritating character who habitually tapped his foot to some unheard music.  He and Jack Parrot were rivals, after the same treasure.  Parrot had taken possession of the treasure and hidden it, infuriating Blackbeard.

Captain William Kidd (who needed a translator, Aunt Jo, to tell his story) was the son of Jack Parrot.  We aren’t sure what his issue was against Jack, but probably some family dysfunction going on there.

Nell, as the wife of Jack Parrot, was the beneficiary of his Last Will and Testament, so she had lots to gain by his death.  Besides the fact that she had a rival in the love-department.

Ben Gone was the only one alive now who knew where the treasure was hidden.  He obviously could claim the whole treasure for himself now.

Captain Hook lost both his hand and some money because of Jack Parrot.  Revenge ran deep with him.

I was Kim Hawkins, a young girl disguised and working as a cabin boy.  Jack knew of my identity and threatened to expose me, but I both needed and wanted this way of life.  Under no circumstances could I let him betray me.  (I was the one with the camera, so no picts of me.)

Elizabeth Goose had fallen off a gang-plank and was saved from drowning by Jack Parrot.  Her admiration for him turned to love, and when he was imprisoned, she visited him and swapped clothes so he could escape (as a lady).  Still married to Nell Bird, Jack didn’t commit to Elizabeth as she had desired and she felt betrayed.

Girl Friday (aka Antonia Da Ville) had been abandoned on an island for 5 years by Jack Parrot.  Obviously she had reason to want that man dead.

Ann Bonny had just recently discovered who her father was, and she was furious of Jack impregnating her mother and abandoning them.

Blackbeard-Accuses-Ben-Gone

WHO DONE IT???

And the verdict is…..well, you’ll have to watch the video to find out!

 

Should the guilty one have to walk the plank?  Or are we thankful for the  contribution of bettering our lives?

 

 

**The whole idea behind doing a Murder Mystery is Thanks to the lovely Teresa Leonard who initiated this whole thing.  I have yet to introduce you to “Tree”.  I’ll have to do a post featuring her before she leaves the end of this month.

Beautiful British Columbia on Caffeine

Everette and Mitchell are once again in BC working their buns off….and try and take time to visit family and a few friends.  Driving up island Everette got a visit in with his sister+  and then yesterday he was able to meet his mom and niece, Tasha….and if I say so myself, Grandma J looks happy to have some of her Boys around!  Everette is her only son; Mitchell, her eldest grandson….actually, our 3 boys are her only grandsons!

Johnsons

They picked a picture perfect day today for traveling BC Ferries to the mainland.  Work, and more work.  And then off to Portland and back to us.  Busy week for the guys.  But an hour+ of quiet on the lazy ferry, Everette gets his Canadian/ferry treat…..a Coffee Crisp.  However, I have a suspicion he’ll be a bit too jittery to just sit and read that Branson book!!!

ferry

Have I told you recently, Everette and Mitchell, how much we appreciate ALL you do for us?  All of your hard work  (and God-awful hours) to provide for us…..a Life We Enjoy!!  THANKS!!!!

Renewing Our Canadian Passports Abroad: A Mexican Version

With such a large family it can really hurt the pocket book to have all passports applied for at one time…so an option is to have them staggered, but not too much so that keeping on top of them becomes a nightmare.  We had 11 of ours limited to just 2 different expiry dates, but now the eldest two girls have flown the coop and so it is not my concern when they expire, or even if they have them!  (well, actually that isn’t true since they need them to come visit us!)

Everette was heading back to Canada so he just did his Renewal back in BC.  Straight forward and simple…and cheaper!  Well, the same cost as other Canadians would be paying if applying for renewal while on Canadian soil.  The savings, however, didn’t warrant a trip back to Canada so the youngest 3 kids and I did ours here in Mexico.

First step was to get our passport photos taken.

We stopped at a photo shop in Chapala where we met the delightful and talented Paulette.  She made the kids comfortable and welcome, making the photo-shoot easy.

Collage Passport Photos

Although a man at the Cdn Passport office in Victoria raised questions about Everette’s photo being taken in Mexico, he was just an uninformed employee who pre-views to make sure you have all the pertinent paperwork before you enter the actual line-up.  When Everette presented all his paperwork to the actual person that accepts the application or renewal, having the photo taken in Mexico seemed of no concern.  It was signed and labeled by a professional photographer as required and that’s all that seemed to matter.

Since it was years since the last time we had to apply for the kids’ passports I had forgotten that both parents needed to be involved in the paperwork, so I neglected to get Everette to fill in the papers before he headed back to Canada.  So off he went to BC, applied for his renewal.  Weeks later I thought I should get our 4 applications sent in only to (re)discover that I needed his signatures on original papers.  So I waited for his return.

Weeks passed and when he received his new passport in Canada he booked a flight back and we ventured into the big city to have everything looked over.  We had to make an appointment for that.  At the Canadian Consulate located on the 8th floor of one of the World Trade Centers.

Collage Maria Bistro

Arriving early for our appointment we checked out Maria Bistro

Collage WTC

Everything seemed in order; we paid mucho dinero and made a stop at a DHL to have our package couriered off to the Cdn Consolate in Mexico City.

Collage DHL

We couriered them out on April 6/15.  One day to get to Mexico City, one day to return to us at Chapala, the rest was time spent at the consulate.  We received them May 21/15.  Thirty-nine days!! 6 1/2 weeks.

And I’d like to point out that the one Canadian brochure we received about our passports….was in French!!  I got a chuckle out of that.  I guess I need to brush up on my French.

passports

We are thrilled that they were all approved and finally received.  These ones at least are good for another 5 years (mine is good for 10 years) and we only have a few others to worry about I think in year 2017.  All the adult kids can worry about their own.

Because our passports didn’t arrive before our T.I.P. was to run out on our van, our border-run was only partially successful.  Some of us couldn’t cross the border so Everette (& Danaka) did the van business and applied for their own tourist visas*.

By the way, for those that are curious, our T.I.P. costs about $42US (the actual permit) with a deposit of $300USD (either cash or credit card).  Prices are dependent on the age of the vehicle, so I don’t know how the deposit varies.

 

* Every time Everette (and Mitchell) fly back from Canada, included in their airfare is a new tourist visa for 180 days.  In essence, Everette didn’t need a new tourist visa as he had only been in Mexico 5 weeks.  But as the driver bringing the vehicle into the country (since I couldn’t cross) he needed a visa for the duration of the permit of the van.  A tourist visa costs approx $25US so it isn’t a biggie, but a necessity.

 

Face Painting and the Sillies of Portland

On their way back to British Columbia to work (so we can continue to live an adventurous life!!) Everette and Mitchell often stop in Portland to see our 2nd eldest daughter Rauchelle and her family….including our 2 little granddaughters (and their daddy, Seth).

Why he does this...nobody knows.

Why he does this…nobody knows.

Sometimes Everette & Mitch fly in late at night and have to head north early in the morning to catch the Black Ball that only sails twice a day between Port Angeles, WA and Victoria, BC.  So sometimes they don’t even get a chance to see any of the girls.

This time they struck it rich….precious times together, hanging out and swinging…

Collage Blue Star Donuts + CoffeeRauchelle, always the artistic one, has gotten serious about face painting, and has been doing her art at the Portland Market on weekends.  She had amples of practice on Mitch, herself, and her darling Marin.

Little Bat Girl, Marin

Little Bat Girl, Marin

Something a Little Fishy

Something a Little Celtic

Rauchelle did her own face.  Good job.

Rauchelle did her own face. Good job.

A break at the food court that Marin enjoys eating at.

A break at the food court that Marin enjoys eating at. Opportunity to sport her art.

But Grampa didn't!!

But Grampa didn’t!!

Another day, ‘nother type of animal….

Kitty Cat

Kitty Cat

Happy Mitch-enstein

Happy Mitch-enstein

Collage Rauchelle narwahl facepainting

There’s a big city park nearby where Rauchelle lives, and she set up ‘shop’ to do a little practicing.  Photos ended because Grampa and Mitchell played with the girls at the playground while Mama worked.

Collage Rauchelle face painting Laurelhurst

Welcome Home, Guys

catherine-emma.tumblr.com

catherine-emma.tumblr.com

We enjoy the freedom of going where we want and not having a structure that constantly calls us back to for maintenance and sucks in our money.  This certainly isn’t the life for everybody.  But for us Johnsons and many more families, its the lifestyle we choose for the Here and Now.  Tomorrow may bring something else;  it truly is Life on the Whim.

Anyways, its always worth celebrating when family members  are safely returned to us. And this time around was special and different because my sister (Joanne) and her hubby (Kevin) were actually here to welcome Everette and Mitchell back to Mexico.  Its nice to have the family here enlarged!  Its fantastic to have my only-sister here, indefinitely.