Sunday, January 27, 2008

The June event plan

Well really not much of a plan but a start. The basics are:
June 14 (a Saturday)
In Spokane, WA
Potluck with a focus on desserts

Actual location (I need to investigate park permits)
What we will do.
There is some talk of dedicating a tree

What I need from you all is some numbers. Send me an email with "Invite" as the subject and the names a count people coming.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

It's about time for some pictures I think

Andee at her finest. Expressing her opinions about pictures of her.
Photo by: Allen Hardman

Photo by: Robert Quallie

Photo by

Roger G. Iverson

"This picture was from Feb. 2005 one evening waiting for the sunset. As she refused to have her picture taken, I had to sneak this shot."

Photo by: Diana & David
Photo by: Diana & David

Taken March 2006
Photo by: Daly Mike

As I have been collecting these pictures of her I frequently hear how many were sneaked or the result of her being cornered and unable to disappear. I do not think she every saw the light and life that shown through these pictures. I have older pictures, I think, of her in the things she gave be when she left for Mexico. Unless she removed her self for those also. I will post what I can fine this week.

Thank you

I would like to publicly thank all those that have helped me in the last week. I will miss some of you that helpd and some of you I will never know that you did help. Some of you I did not know your names or they have disappeared in to the fog. Know that your actions are appreciated.

There is no order to this list. Each and everyone has been important to me getting through this.

Tom for with out a thought on hearing said get us tickets. For doing the hard work of cleaning out Andee's home and distributing her things. I know this must have been hard for because he needs to grieve to. His support made it possible for me to get things done. He is still grieving and one of my great regrets is that I do not really know how to help him do this.

Russ and Dee for there support when I called them. I am sorry to say that I will be leaning on them once again come June.

Bill and family for being to one to call me with the news. That it came from a voice that recognized meant so much. I have always feared getting that call. For picking up and dropping us of at the airport so that there was never a worry about how we were going to get there.

The man at the funeral home that delivered her ashes to me at 11pm when I go to Chacala. For driving me to all the places that I needed to go and get the magic stamps and signatures so that I could get Andee's ashes back out here.

They the man who explained that the town was not used to cremation and that they need some sort physical presence of her. This lead to my spreading some of her ashed in the water off of the beach that she loved. Now they can always she her there.

Kate for keeping me updated on that monday about what was going on down there. For taking it in stride when I asked about funeral issues and understanding what I needed done. Most of all for translating for me so that I could tell those that I could otherwise only communicated with via tears the deepness on my thanks.

Sandy for responding to Andee's call for help and getting her where she needed to be and staying with her a the hospital. It says something about each of them that they had only know each other for 11 days.

Concha and Aurora because of them Andee did not die alone. She died with friends. For this alone I am in their debt. They also helped the town grieve for her by organizing a service for her. This was something that I was worried that I did know how to do.

There are many other's some who lent me a shoulder to cry on, some who helped me take care of electronic details and other things. Those that have written to me about Andee and those that have posted wonderful stories about her. I have only begun to read these as it is hard for me.

After I had got the call and had made the arrangements to get down to Chacala I had to leave the house to get keys made so that someone could come and take care of my cat. I leave the stereo on when I am gone to keep the cat company ( it's warm, she sits on it, it is her friend) a song by an Artist called Piney Gir came on called "Little Doggie". The artists has a link on her site where you can hear the song at Piney Gir. If you click the play link next to the track about half way down the page you can hear the song. I lay on the floor crying with my cat for quite a while after that. Yet another stranger who's kindness carries me though this even now.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Thank for all the notes

I have replied to some but it burning me out. I can only cry so much. If you do not hear back from be please know that I am reading everything but that I probably will not reply.

Just to let you know

For probably some of the same reasons that Andee posted I feel the need to keep everyone updated about what is going on at day +3. As I write this it is about 72 hours since Andee's end.

When she moved down to Chacala we knew that this is where her last moments would be. We did not know when it would be or what they would be like but this is where it would happen. The people that were with her in the end were friends both that had know her for years and some that she had meet days before. I am grateful that they were there and have told them so. They have told me directly and through my father of her last moments. As described I can only think that in the end she first fought the darkness and then choose to except on her on terms in the end. Accepting on her terms sound a lot like my Mother.

After she died, as is traditional here, her friends stayed with the body till she was taken to the crematorium. Some one has commented that it seemed like the entire town of Chacala showed un Las Varas where she was. That would not would not surprise she was truly love here in her adopted home. They then held a church service for her. I am told it was beautiful but there are no pictures as everyone was so used to Andee being there for every important moment to take the picture that no one thought bring a camera. This is yet another whole that Andee will leave in the world. Andee would have loved the service were she not the focus of it. When I arrived I went to see the flowers and it was beautiful.

Andee had left it to me what was to happen after her death. At that point she would not need her body any more and it was more important to take care of those that were still alive. I had discussed with her my plans for her the last time I was down here in October. My plan is/was to spread some of her ashes in the water at places that were significant to her in mine and others opinions. It is to my great embarrassment that Chacala it's was not initially one of those places. I can not imagine how I could do that. This is the most significant place in her life. This is where I think that she came closest to be at peace with herself.

This morning I will go out on fishing boat and place some of the ashes in the water were they will continue to traveling on. Later in the afternoon I walk into the water at the beach and at some of her to the beach so that those that live here have a place stand and look and know that some part of her is still here. After that that want can sit around a have coke or a beer and eat chips and salsa.

The rest of her ashes will be spread by myself and Tom in various other locations in the states. Sometimes after a gathering and sometimes just one or both of us. When there is an event I will post and let others know.

Right now the stars are fading and and sun is casting it's light from behind me as I look out over the town and to the beach. The roosters have been crowing for a few hours and the town is slowly waking up. I know Andee will be missed by the people here and everywhere. I am sad that everyone did not have the chance to say good by to her that I did. Every time I came was just one more chance to say to say goodbye knowing that this could be the last time. Each was an extra visit that was precious because she could have easily already been gone. In October it was that last time. I will miss her. We will miss her.

Remember this was her paradise and she got spend here last days, years. finding peace and happiness in herself. As I have said before what more could we wish for our self.

Take care of yourself and in the mean time I would ask you all to do something good for the kid, cat or plant closest to you and have Coke. I think that she would like that.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Sad News about Andee Carlsson

Hi I am Erik Ordway, Andee's son. This Sunday Andee passed away, most likely from a stroke. There, the easy part is over.

I sent this out as an email this on Monday after I personally notified a the people that I could. I will try to find others to send this too but I would ask you to send it on to anyone that you think I missed.

We should not feel to much sadness at this ending. We should fell happiness that Andee got to spend extra years, that she did not expect to be living, in what was to her a little paradise. She had many friends in the town, Chacala, and meet and gained friends for all over the world. Over the years Andee has touched and helped many of us in our lives. As I said to her more that once "I am who I am because of you and I am pretty happy with that." She tried to do good things to the world whether that was the glorious plants, the work she did with those that needed help, and just the people around her.

Andee was a private person about her difficulties but I think that at this point she would want it known why she moved down to Mexico, if she did not well I am sure she would have forgiven me. For a few years before she left, to Mexico, she was having issues with her memory and this drove her find a place that she could live and not be to burdened by this. Chacala provided this place for her and allowed her to live her last years as had she wanted. We should all be so lucky.

I will be traveling down to Mexico tomorrow (Tuesday) to take care of things. Tom my father and her ex-husband will be traveling with me. Andee largely left it up to me with what to do with her remains and I had discussed my plans with her on my trips down there. She will be cremated and we will spread some of the ashes there in Chacala. I also plan to spread some in a few locations in eastern Washington in the spring, some time around late June.

As to celebrations we all know Andee would not want a big fuss to be made, we had to sneak birthdays parties on her after all. I do hope to arrange something for June when I spread the last of her ashes. I do not know what this will be or where but I will let people know. In the mean time I would ask you all to do something good for the kid, cat or plant closest to you and have Coke. I think that she would like that.

To all of her blogger friends I will be updating her blogs in the next few days to let every one know. I plan to leave most of them online.

I can be reached at

Monday, January 07, 2008

Renting in Chacala: Vacation and Long-term

If you are thinking about coming to Chacala, you can check out these websites for rental info:
Chacala Rentals
Chacala Escape
Casa Monarca
Villa Celeste
Casa Chacala.
There are other rentals with websites in Chacala.
Just Google "Chacala" "Rentals".
And this one for info about getting from the P.V. airport to Chacala. Chacala Nayarit.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Latin American Bloggers Get Together

The authors of two gringo in Mexico type blogs,
Isla Guy, ( )
and Canuck in Cancun (
posted this announcement today:

Announcing the first ever Latin America Blogger Meeting!

My friend and fellow blogger, CancunCanuck, and I (Isla Guy)invite all of you bloggers in Latin America to join us for a weekend of fun and chat here on Isla Mujeres! (yes, this does include Caye Caulkerr and a certain La Gringa in Honduras!)

We are in the beginning planning stages but right now we think there will be a meet and greet reception on Friday, sightseeing, time at the beach, dinner and drinks (and maybe dancing!) on Saturday. There would be a farewell breakfast on Sunday for those of you that can bear to leave the island!

The proposed dates are April 17 - 19, 2008.

If anybody needs help with booking hotel rooms, just let me know. I will be glad to provide information on various hotels in all price ranges. I might even be able to swing a group discount if you all decide to stay at the same place.

So shoot me an email if you are interested and I will keep you advised as to further details. As the RSVP’s come in, I will list on the sidebar who will be attending.

If you know of any bloggers who do not read one of our blogs, please pass the word on to them.

Although this is more for we bloggers to get to know each other, lurkers are welcome too!

sounds like fun to me.

Sand Castles in Chacala

Tonight an old Chacala friend arrived late in the evening. Via Trini & Cundo’s airport pickup. I wasn’t sure what time she was arriving, so I spent the early evening hanging around with some of the folks staying the Nueva Espana, watching for her arrival. Nueva Espana is a nice rental right across the way from Mirador, where my friend will be staying for two months.“Chacala friend” means someone I only know in Chacala. This woman has been here two years previously, but this is her first time solo, and I wanted to welcome her. So I hung around the pool at Nueva Espana with a nice group of people. Two of the couples have been here before. And are here again for long stays. Two months or so.The conversation was interesting. But I am kind of embarrassed and uncomfortable about part of it. There were some kind of semi-racist comments, or at least extreme stereotyping.And I think I started the conversation when I mentioned how surprised I was when I first came to Chacala, and found that one group (nationality) of gringos have a kind of bad reputation here. I am embarrassed that I helped start the conversation, and that I seem to have absorbed, or accepted, this kind of stereotypical thinking about any group of people.It feels kind of crummy and I am surprised at myself.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Around Sunset in Chacala

My goal for today is to notice when I am making a leap from my assumptions into action. Usually verbal, sometimes actual actions. It's easy for me to see other people making wild-a..... assumptions, thinking there know what's going on, but not really having a clue.

It's harder for me to see that quality in myself. But I know I do it all the time. Chacala is good for me in two ways.One, I can see that old truism that what you can often see in others what you don't like in yourself. I have lots of opportunities here to experience myself identfying the qualities I don't like in myself in other people.

I have a great object lesson about making assumptions and acting on them, right here in Chacala. There is someone who comes down to Chacala in the winter who's assumption-to-action stuff just annoys me to death. Well, I hope not to death. But I really have a hard time with the stories she makes up about me, and spreads around. After four years of this sh.... it's getting really old. Another good thing about Chacala, for me, is there isn't much going on and it's harder to distract myself from my everyday experiences. No movies. TV, newspaper, driving around somewhere, shopping for more than four or five items (milk, rolls, fruit, tortillas and toilet paper mostly.

The pace is slow here, and there's more time to reflect on my interactions with other people, and their impact on me. And how about how my daily life fits into the life of Chacala. It's obvious immediately if I skip a day of picking up trash on the road in front of my place. Or on the little section of the beach I have adopted for trash pickup. I used to work most of the beach. But no more. Partly because more people are doing it now.One of the downsides of living in a small town is that sometimes it's hard to avoid people I don't want to deal with. But usually I manage to do it without much effort. There are a few winter people around here who I haven't actually interacted with in many months, or even years.

I usually do regular life stuff most of the day ( ooking, dishes, laundry, a little house cleaning, gardening, email, helping renters find a place, reading, drawing, and so on).
After a late lunch and a nap and checking emails, I usually do errands around town: visiting, doing reservations, shopping, take photos, visiting some more, walking on the beach, hanging around and so on.
So I am usually on the beach around sunset. I get to practice sunset photos a lot. Lately I have mostly been noticing how the light of the sunset shines of people and things. I don't really know how to take good photos of this phenomena, but I really enjoy how it looks.
Especially when the sun is shining on kids and on people faces.
I think kids get a burst of energy right at sunset, playing harder and wilder than ever.
And concentrating harder on their projects. Hoping the sun will stay up a little longer, I think.
I love sunsets in Chacala. Almost every night there is a beautiful, glowing sunset.
Most of the time people are swimming in the water until dark. Or after dark.

I usually take my camera with me when I go down to the beach in the late afternoon.
I still haven't figured out about shooting sunsets, but I am having lots of fun learning.

There are still lots of visitors here, mostly families who have driven here or taken one of the tourist buses. Often they travel in the bus all night, arriving at dawn from a cities in Central Mexico.
The kids are out playing in the sand until it's too dark to see.After four or five days of temperatures in the70's it's a relief to be back in the mid 80F again. At 3pm it was 88F here. That will warm up the water again too, I assume.

Boy in Chacala

Many of the children in Chacala are amazingly gifted at making toys out of almost anything. And creating games with natural objects.But sometimes the kids play with "real " toys. This bowling set was at the Biblioteca, at the after-school program. This sweet boy spent more than an hour playing with this "official toy", made of plastic. He arranged and rearranged the pins. Never actually used them for bowling.
I think he liked the colors and the order of the placing the pins in different patterns.
There were kids running all around him and he never lost his focus on his project, even for a minute.
I feel to lucky to be around so many kids, and to watch them grow from infants to Kindergarten and from Primary to teenagers, and from teenagers to young adults.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Views From the Hill at the South End of Chacala Bay

Christmas Day I took a walk up the hill at the south end of Chacala. A couple of the gates that are normally closed were open, so it was an easy walk. I have already written about my walk, but I wanted to show some photos, now that I am back in the photo posting business.A view of Playa Chacala from the hillside.
These are shots of partially completed buildings partway up the hillside at the south end of the beach. There are two other buildings along the hillside. Two different owners.
This is a view from the hillside into the area above the paved road.

Wandering Around Chacala, Showing Rentals

I had a kind of nice morning, walking around Chacala with a friend who was looking at long-term rental possibilities here. I met the out-of-town owner of one of the new, but not completed rentals in town. It will probably be ready next Fall, according to the owner. It looks like it's almost completed, except for doors, windows, and, apparently, air conditioning, and some finish work.The owner started talking about a building that is being constructed behind his place. Mostly about what he was going do to gain needed privacy on his building. With screens made of thing branches and other natural looking sceens. The new building has glass windows and doors that look right into his place.
We spent some time at Nueva Espana (above) too, which seems to be especially pleasant this year. Six rental units with kitchens and three double beds. The water in the pool was perfectly clean and clear. And the palms are big enough now to shade the seating area, at least part of the time. I don't like the concept of swimming pools in general, but this one looked pretty inviting. One thing that trouble me about pools is how owners seems to drain the chemical laden water from their pools right out onto the street. There are six pools in Chacala now, plus 13 million pools (slight exaggeration) in the development.

We went by Pablo's rental and vacation home below the Bibliotecha. A second story is being constructed. I have somone who was interested in renting the house. We had a plan to meet with Pablo at 9am but he wasn't there.
This is a new underground water storage tank at a construction site. One side is for clean water and the other for sewage. Whatever.

Elezar's White House is looking very nice these days. Elezar is down in Chacala for several months and taking care of things. And making some cosmetic improvements.

A family from Quebec rented one of the upstairs rooms at Elezar's for a few days. And a gringo couple is arriving in a few days for a two month stay. The view has been kind of blocked by some fast growing trees, but it's still has a nice big shady patio. It's an odd setup. The two large bedroom/bath units share the patio. There's a stove and fridge and large table with chairs on the patio, with dishwashing "facilities" downstairs in the front "yard".

I got to see the inside of the little red cottage right above the Malecon this morning. It's wonderful, but apparently it's never rented. It has real furniture and a nice tiled kitchen and bath. Bedroom and living room. The bedroom has a lovely ocean view. But the main eating area is outside, up a few steps, where there's a big table and a nice outdoor kitchen. Really cool. In my next life I am going to buy it. Just kidding.

I think the water is warming up again. The water is clear and lovely, and there are still a lot of families in town, camping and staying in the rentals. This week after New Year's is pretty popular with folks from Guadalajara and other towns within about four hours driving distance.
The hotel next door had an incredibly loud band with singer-gone-crazy with a microphone last night. From 9pm until 3am. I don't know how the guests stood it. I think it's the first time the place looked pretty busy. I hope guests knew what they were letting themselves in for. The cement wall of my room, which faces the hotel (80 feet away), was sort of vibrating. The sound (notice I didn't say music) was sooo loud.

Lots of fireworks too. Luckily I brought some earplugs down with me when I first came to Chacala. And my son recently brought me some new ones, so I could sleep. Of course, I was up half the night playing with my new computer. And then awake at 5am. Back to the internet. What an addict. Got all my photos downloaded from my camera. Now I have to delete all the crummy ones. About 85% probably.
I never got a chance to post photos of this year's Christmas Eve Posada. It ended at Casa Monarca, with two lovely pinatas. Sarai had made both of them, and they were really beautiful. She sells that at her porch store next door to Trini's. In case you are looking for a pinata.