Sunday, November 30, 2008

2008 Toys Run

Thursday through Sunday the 2008 Toys Run was held in San Carlos and Guaymas. This annual event brings a variety of motorcycles and motorcycle riders to our area. The bikers come to town representing different bike clubs while working together to provide Christmas gifts for some of the less fortunate children in our area.

But the bikers also have their fun with live music, a parade through nearby Empalme, a parade through Guaymas, a bikini contest, a wet t-shirt contest, table dance night and of course, the requisite Motorcycles Washing (it seems that washing all vehicles is a sort of pastime in Mexico.)

Today was the parade to Guaymas and the delivering of the toys to the children on the malecon. Being former Harley Davidson owners we had to go! We hooked up with teacher Richard from Scotland and enjoyed the festivities. Here’s Richard with Mike.
There weren’t as many Harleys as we had expected, but there were lots of cool bikes.
Notice the guy doing the wheely?
This is John from Alaska. That box on the back of his bike holds his doggie who rides with him.
I think this is the President of Guaymas – the guy shaking hands.
These are police acrobats…although I don’t know when they have time to practice while patrolling Guaymas.
And yes, the Segway is alive and well in Guaymas!
Mike had a good day…even with Rice Rockets in the background…

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

We woke up this morning and watched a bit of CBS’ The Morning Show. It was hard to watch – nothing but food we will not have today – or possibly ever again. Canned sweet potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, turkey, tofurky (well, this wasn’t on TV, but it sounds good,) cranberries, and of course black olives to stick on the ends of your fingers.

Ah, but alas, we are in our little apartment and we are together. It’s a new Thanksgiving for us.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

If You Could Have Seen Me...

…driving a mini-van in downtown Guaymas, filled with six little Mexican children and one of the Spanish teachers from school! If you know me, you’ll understand how contrary that scene was...

We were headed to the Guaymas Civic Auditorium where the St. Mary’s Preschool students practiced for the annual Pastorela Navidena “gala” to be held on Sunday, Dec 14. I was impressed when we entered the Auditorium and walked down the stairs that lead to the stage. And the stage is HUGE! With layers and layers of stage curtains…

The Spanish, Music and Physical Education teachers have been working with the children on the Pastorela and today the whole bunch of them combined their efforts and did a run-through at the Auditorium. It was so funny to see a couple of the more subdued children “let loose” on stage, grabbing a microphone and belting out a number! I can only imagine how much pride the parents will embrace after seeing their babies up on that big stage.

On the big night my role will be that of a support person, helping to keep track of the children and get them ready for their part. Initially I was not so excited about “working” on a Sunday and setting up on the Saturday the day before Pastorela, but after seeing those children and the other teachers I realize this is my contribution and I want to be a part of it.

On another note, I slept in this morning. And it was a good sleep knowing that the Parent/Teacher Conferences are done! PLUS, I completed my Lesson Plans on Thursday evening!! The only thing that would make this morning perfect would be to have Sitka panting at my feet right now.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Report Cards

I guess I really am a teacher now! This week I completed 3 sets of Report Cards for my 3, 4 and 5 year olds.

And today we had the Parent/Teacher Conferences for the 3 year olds. The Spanish teacher, my Principal and I all met with parents (in the classroom for the 3 year olds) at the end of the school day.

Most of the conversation was in Spanish and I got bits and pieces. My Principal translated my info to the parents in English. All went well.

Tomorrow will be tougher. We will let the kids go home at noon and start the Conferences for the ten 4 year olds. Hopefully we'll be done around 3:00. Friday will be the longest day with Conferences for twelve 5 year olds. Again, we'll let the kids go home at noon.

But guess what? I'm following through with my idea of creating my Lesson Plans and Homework BEFORE the weekend. I'm almost done and should have them completed by tomorrow night!

I smell a BEACH PARTY this weekend!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Beach

First of all – we haven’t found Sitka yet. We hear so many dogs barking at night and we wonder if one of them is her. We only hope that she found a nice family that is taking good care of her. That’s all I can write without breaking down.

Secondly, we had a three-day weekend as Mexico celebrated Revolution Day yesterday (with the actual date being Nov 20.) Mexico has recently instigated the three-day weekend policy and I’m happy about that! I had completed my Lesson Plans last Friday night so I had THREE WHOLE DAYS that I didn’t even think about school!! Not that I don’t like it…it just is a lot of work.

Thirdly, there are just some things that we cannot find here in Guaymas. One is a replacement bulb for my desk lamp at home. I probably went to six stores looking for a replacement and there is not one in Guaymas. So Saturday morning we gassed up the truck and drove 85 miles to Hermosillo – the closest big city. I knew there was a Home Depot there and I found my replacement bulb! I was so excited I bought a “three pack.” Then we went to a Mega store that has just about everything. I almost cried when I found TOFU there! I’ll be making a stir fry later this evening…

Lastly, one reason Mike and I moved to Mexico was to enjoy the beach! And we haven’t done that lately. So Sunday we packed up the truck with our cooler, tuna sandwiches and apples, beach chairs, towels, teacher Richard from Scotland and teacher Crystal from Maine. We headed past San Carlos to Las Algodones (about 15 miles from here) – a beautiful white sand beach with very few people on it. We got in the water several times. The water wasn’t as warm as it was in the summer, but it was clean and it felt great!

So I am on a new mission to complete my Lesson Plans on weeknights waaaayyy before they are due. That way I can have my weekends to goof off. That said, I need to begin on my Lesson Plans for the week of Dec 1. More beach stories to follow…

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Thank you to everyone who has emailed and posted about Sitka - again.

We haven't heard a thing about her. But today our neighbor found her original collar with US tags. It was missing when she was returned to us the first time. I bought her a second collar and it has no tags.

But how weird is that? Finding her original collar two and a half weeks after she first went missing?

I look at it as a sign. A positive sign. A sign of hope. That's all we have.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Good News, Bad News

The Good News: On Friday St. Mary’s Preschool went on a field trip to the Guaymas Marina. Teachers, staff and parents helped to shuttle the kids from the Preschool to the Marina early that morning and we went on a walking tour of the Marina with the Harbormaster providing lots of information. (I was with an English speaking parent who runs a marina in San Carlos so he translated a lot of the info for me.)

After the tour we all boarded a large party boat and headed into the Sea of Cortez. I hadn’t seen Guaymas from the water yet and it was something! See the church steeples – the Marina is just to the right of them and our apartment is just a couple of blocks back from the water. I love that picture!Here is the new dock for the cruise ships (the first cruise ship came to Guaymas October 16) and see the battered (and sinking) shrimp boats in the following picture.The last pic is of the Resguardo Maritimo – the Mexican version of the US Coast Guard, I believe.The kids had a great time and behaved well. For privacy reasons I am not including any pictures of them, but if you could have seen them in the life jackets…the life jackets were adult size and the kids looked like little orange snowmen bumping into each other.

More Good News: For several months I have been emailing with a couple from Bothell, Washington (close to our former home), Roxanne and Ron. They have been preparing for their retirement move to Puerto Escondido and on Thursday they passed through Guaymas. We met them at their motel and spent several hours with them…come to find out Roxanne, Mike and I all worked for AT&T Wireless, at the same time, on the same campus! We really enjoyed seeing these people “in real life.” Best of luck in Puerto Escondido, Roxanne and Ron!
More Good News: When Sitka was missing, Alejandra and Ulisses, here in Guaymas, helped by putting out the word about Sitka and hanging flyers with her picture on them. We had never met them, but only knew of them via our friend Bliss in San Carlos. Yesterday Ale and Ulisses had Bliss, Brenda and us over to their home for a shrimp buffet. And what a buffet! Several varieties of shrimp prepared in very different ways. YUMMM!!! It was great to finally meet them. Thank you for your hospitality, Ale and Ulisses!
The Bad News: Friday morning Sitka ran out of our apartment and we have not seen her since. Mike was here, putting his shoes on to take Sitka out for a walk, a cat (the same little, white street cat that has been hanging around) poked her head in our door, the gate was not shut, Sitka bolted out toward the cat and ran so fast Mike could not catch her.

A full-blown search was instigated with Lolita’s son, Raphael, driving up and down every street with Mike. And with Lolita’s grandson, Francisco, searching on foot. Not too long after she initially ran, Mike had returned home and he saw a man walking with Sitka with a rope tied to her collar. Mike and Francisco ran after them, but they disappeared into who knows where.

When I got home on Friday afternoon I called a Guaymas policeman that I know, Martin…he rides a Segway in el Centro and he has met Sitka. He promised to keep an eye out for her and to ask around. Mike thought the man with Sitka on the rope looked like law enforcement or military – short sleeved navy t-shirt, navy pants tucked into boots. Martin had told us that local law enforcement is interested in a K-9 unit so maybe someone in law enforcement has Sitka.

It is sad. But for some reason I feel differently than last time she was missing. I am not as worried and I believe that 1) she will come home or 2) she is in a home with people that will take good care of her. But if you see her…please call 622.111.7973.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

One Year Blogging Anniversary

I can’t sleep tonight. How weird. I usually have no problem falling out as soon as I hit the proverbial hay.

My week was very stressful – worrying about Sitka, finding Sitka, getting behind on my Lesson Plans, needing to complete my end of month reports, worrying about Mike’s health, wondering how much more we have lost in our 401(k) and IRA accounts, guessing at the US Presidential election outcome (we sent our ballots in in October.) Even while in laid back Mexico there are many things to consider.

So here I am listening to Mike’s snoring and the barking street dogs.

We have been here in Guaymas since mid-June. We have celebrated the Fourth o’ July, Mexican Independence Day, Mike’s birthday, United Nations Day, Dia de los Muertos (no kids came to our door trick or treating) and we’re wondering what Thanksgiving will entail.

I started this blog one year ago, November 1, 2007. I just read some of the older posts. What a trip! How much more drama can there be? I hope our story has been interesting. Stay tuned…