Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Walk to the Lake

Future Artist
I got into an argument last week with a friend over having my picture taken. She wanted to take it and I wouldn't let her. It was becoming very heated. I don't like my photos and therefore I don't like to have my picture taken. I decided to finally bite the bullet and take some myself to put on the blog. That way, if you are in town and you see me, you will recognize me and introduce yourself.

Street Dogs in Ajijic

Life is Good
I thought the the white dog in the above photo belonged to the man who was petting him but later on I saw them both go in different directions. Generally, street dogs have good lives here. When they get hungry all they have to do is wait at the butcher shop in the mornings for their bones......

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wednesday Market and the Boston Deli

Coconut Candy
I heard someone say that the market wasn't crowded today....
Fresh Coconut Juice
Boston Deli's Fish and Shrimp Plate, Delicious

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Hot Springs Spa at San Juan Cosala

Monday morning. I woke up early and immediately thought of what I was going to do today. I have been going to the spa at San Juan Cosala a couple of times a week, since I got my DIF card and can now get in for half price, 80 pesos. It is a great place to swim and enjoy the hot mineral water. I am hoping it will help heal my ankle faster.

But I was tired this morning and all of a sudden thinking about walking up to the bus stop and going to the spa felt like I was going to a JOB. Like it was Monday Morning Blues carried over from my working days. Now how in the world did I manage to turn ---going to the spa into going to work?  What could be less like work? Is making myself swim thirty laps a job???? I need to lighten up.  Maybe it is like that book I read on happiness. It said that if you repeat something often it isn't as much fun. Especially if the repetitions are close together in time.  So maybe today I won't go to the spa. What a life......  I don't know how I would manage if I  had to actually work again. If this is Monday Morning Beginning of the Work Week Blues then  I am a very lucky woman. And, if this is my job, what am I going to do on my day off? Work at McDonald's? Oh well, off to work now. Have to get there so I can swim before it gets crowded.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Another Special Event in the Ajijic Plaza

A woman was taking blood pressures today at the event. Dale was smiling. His blood pressure was good, even though he was drinking a beer.

Morning at the Lake Chapala Society

People are starting to leave the area for their homes up north. Today I ran into my friend Don. He said he leaves in a few days, along with half the table of other men who were sitting with him. Soon it will be very quiet in town. At least until the Pan Am Games which are in October. I will miss everyone but also I will enjoy the peace. No more huge traffic jams.......

I was at the Lake Chapala Society this morning and met three very interesting people. They are traveling all over the place, from L.A. to Maui, Belize, Spain and Bahamas. I met them because I asked if I could take a photo of the beautiful girl with the cat in her lap. Then I noticed her handsome brother next to her. She told me that she and her brother and father have been traveling all around the world and sometimes their mother takes time off from her work and meets them in various places. What a wonderful education for them.   They are from Conway Arkansas. What beautiful, delightful people. I am putting their blog address on my site. Check it out. 
Katie Hemphill
Ethan Hemphill
Joe Hemphill
Their mother, Rosi, must be a beautiful woman. Unfortunately, I didn't get her photo. She is working in the States at the moment. But with such a beautiful family, she couldn't be anything but beautiful too...... 

Stumbling on Happiness

I just finished reading an interesting book, Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert.  Mr. Gilbert is a Harvard psychologist. His book can get pretty technical as he writes about many different tests that were conducted, analyzing how people think and feel and predicting what makes them happy. The results were sometimes surprising and sometimes they made perfect sense from my own experiences.

We humans are irrational as is proven by the tests. Take this example: If a tremendous deal on a vacation package goes from 300 dollars up to 400 dollars and a not so great vacation package goes from 600 dollars down to 500 dollars, we are more likely to buy the more expensive vacation of less value just because it went down in price than the cheaper, better value, one that went up in price.

Most people would drive across town to save 50 dollars on a hundred dollar item but not think it was worth the effort on a much more expensive item, like a car. Why? It is saving the same amount of money. They are more likely to cut coupons to save a few pennies than save hundreds of dollars on what they are paying someone to handle their financial accounts. They don't want to make the effort to check those prices. Why? 

We want to have choices but if we have too many, we become overwhelmed and don't choose any of them. I have experienced that many times when I have gone to buy something, like a new camera.  We are happier after we make a choice and are committed to it than when we are able to return an object. Seems that after we have decided on something then we only see the good things about it. If we can still return it, then we keep seeing the bad things about it.   So, we want to have choices but they make us nervous and unsatisfied until we have actually made the choice.

Here is something I believe that we all know but tend to forget: After meeting your basic expenses, having more money doesn't necessarily make you happy. Money means a lot when you don't have any and can't meet your basic needs but after that, the value of it in your life goes down significantly. I can see that with the Mexican families here. I watch them having picnics by the lake and having fun. So, where are the wealthy expats? Are they having as much fun? I wonder......

Sometimes larger tragedies are easier to rationalize and make into positive experiences than the small things in life. The small problems aren't worth spending our brain power to try to rationalize and spin into positive experiences. The larger problems are worth the effort. So, as we all know, happiness is an inside job. Example: "I didn't appreciate others nearly as much as I do now." Said by Christopher Reeve after he became paralyzed from the neck down.

"It was a glorious experience." Said by Moreese Bickham, a former inmate, after being released from the Louisiana State Penitentiary where he'd served thirty-seven years for defending himself against the Ku Klux Klansmen who'd shot him.

"I am so much better off physically, financially, mentally, and in almost every other way." Said by Jim Wright, former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives after committing sixty-nine violations and being forced to resign in disgrace.

I could go into the many other observations he had but this post is getting too long. If you are interested, I recommend the book.  How do we predict what will make us happy in the future from what we know today? Interesting question and he tries to answer it in his book. One of the things he says is to look at someone who is living the life you want and use that person as an example of what your life might be like in the same circumstance.

Maybe that is where I come in for some people. If they read my blog and see that I can have a happy life here in Mexico, then maybe they can do it too. I hope especially to reach out to single older women who are on limited budgets. I want them to know that yes, this life can be for them too.......

Friday, March 25, 2011

My Day Trip to San Luis Soyatlan

I didn't write about my trip to the other side of the lake because I took so long to get the photos on that I was too tired to write. I went over in a car with some friends. It isn't very far.  It is just a few miles past Jocotopec. By car it only takes about forty five minutes from Ajijic to get there.  That area is far more typical of Mexico than this area. My friend from San Blas calls this side of the lake, "Mexico's Disneyland" because it is so unusual here, like a fantasy world.  If you want to live cheaply, then the small towns on the other side of the lake are the way to go. But there are very few expats living there and people don't speak English.

If you look closely at the photos I took, you will see that it is very poor over there. The man we visited with said that he can't even buy better cuts of meat there because people can't afford to buy them. He has to drive to Jocotopec to buy most of his groceries, including the more expensive meats.  It is a much simpler way of life over there. I wish I could live like but I know I can't. I have a tendency to get depressed when I get bored. I need more stimulation. Maybe if I were married and loved my husband deeply and was happy to just spend my days looking at his handsome face, I could do it. But not as a single person. 

It was good enough for Glenn Yarbrough over there. Maybe it had something to do with being so famous and easily recognized. Maybe he wanted to just have a quiet life. I may have said this before but I will say it once again, there are as many ways to live here as there are people to live them.   You are only limited by your imagination.