Our Beautiful San Felipe

This month we are promoting a photo contest sponsored by the Reluctant Fundraiser (guess who?).  Here’s just a small taste of the fabulous photos that have been submitted.  You can click on the “Like” button and go view the whole album on Facebook but I warn you, there are over three hundred submissions.



New body, new lifestyle!

New body, new lifestyle!

With our 115 pound weigh loss between us, Chuck and I are looking to add some new activities to our life. Kayaking is something I have always wanted to do. Now is the time!



Here’s some before and after pics.

That’s Our Girl!

Thank God for the wonder of the internet and videos! Missing this little one and her Mom!

Back Home Again….

After four months of pretending we were snowbirds, we finally have returned to our home in San Felipe just in time for the fabulous fall weather. Temperatures in the 80s, nights in the 60s. Just right. We missed all the rain storms but I’m running a photo competition here in San Felipe so I am blessed with scads of beautiful pictures of the desert blooms that I missed. You can check them out yourself at my other blog: Reluctant Fundraiser or you can “Like” the photo below and it will take you back to our Facebook album and you can see the photos for yourself.

Of course this tail about our lives would not be complete without a picture or two of our lovely Georgia.

and maybe a video……

People Ask About Cost of Living Here

Here’s some stats from a recent article about fuel costs.  A few years ago, prices were considerably lower.  Enough so that folks use to cross the border to fuel up.  The difference isn’t so great now and would not be worth the time and effort of waiting in line to come back into the States but certainly enough to wait until you cross over before refueling to head south.

Fuel prices in Baja are slightly less than the rest of Mexico. IVA (value added tax) is 11% in Baja and 16% on the mainland.

Price of Gasoline & Diesel in Baja as of 08-04-13

Baja California &
Baja California Sur
US Cost~
Per Liter
in Pesos
Per Liter
in Pesos
Per Gallon
in USD
Per Gallon
in USD
Per Gallon
in USD
Magna (regular unleaded) – Verde $11.69 $11.38 $3.41 $3.58 $3.93
Premium – Rojo $12.25 $11.86 $3.56 $3.92 $4.13
Diesel $11.78 $11.78 $3.53 $3.88 $4.14
* calculated at the rate of 12.6 pesos per dollar
~ US Prices from AAA 08/08/13

Although prices are set nationwide what you actually PAY for gas may vary, not on the price, but by the size of the liter you receive. Arguing the point with an attendant by the way will usually prove fruitless. Taken to an extreme, an owner once produced a measured 20 liter can and very slowly put in exactly 20 liters. The old trick here was to drill holes in the pump impeller. The pump delivers accurate slow dispensing but when the pump runs full speed a relative fraction of the gas is actually delivered. I have been told that today, with electronic pumps, the process of ‘chiseling’ is even easier. I once was able to put an alleged 24 liters in a 20 liter measured can, that is a 20% shortfall!

In January a new Director Of PROFECO was installed in Baja California Sur. One of his stated mandates in taking office was to take on the problem of ‘short liters’ being sold by so many stations. Profeco is Mexico’s consumer protection department and also in charge of what we up north call weights and measures. If you feel you have been shorted report the station online, email or telephone. The contact information is here: PROFECO Baja California or Baja California Sur)

Pemex Oil of Mexico

Remember tipping your Pump Jockey is customary in Mexico. $5-10 Pesos makes their day! (less than a dollar)

Just so you know the Magna which is the regular gas is green (verde) and the Premium is red (rojo) and many people just say the color and fill it up (llenarlo or lleno por favor) please!   Read more here…

Something a little different…

by Susan Young, Volunteers Without Limits

So this month I am participating in a study on the topic of aging. Let’s face it, there are only two possible roads to travel in life, dying young or getting old and for the most part the which road we travel is not ours to make. We do however have choices to make each day that will affect how fast we age and what kind of health we will have in our last trimester of life. I hold fast to the assumption that I’ll live to the age of 90 so 60-90 is what I call my third trimester in life. My justification for this assumption is the longevity of my parents and a multiple of maternal aunts. Whether there is any truth in this premise, only time will tell.

Having spent my first 30 years in youthful dreams and pursuits, my second in child rearing and establishing my career and future financial security, my last 30 I have committed to fulfilling a higher purpose. Exploring the ‘big’ questions like why am I here and what am I supposed to be doing with all blessings that have been bestowed on me.

One of the first choices we made several years before retiring was to purchase a house in Baja. Having visited Rosarito annually for several years, I had become enamored with the possibility of living in a temperate climate somewhere near the beach. I’m not a cold weather fan. Snow is pretty when you can observe it from inside a warm abode but there is nothing pretty about shoveling your way out of the drive or crawling around on ice to put on tire chains.

Convincing my husband, Chuck, of this move took a bit more effort. It wasn’t until I could show him that he would be able to retire 3-5 years earlier if we lived in Mexico did he come around. So step one in the process was to simplify which meant reducing the years of accumulated stuff that we filled every nook and cranny of house and garage with. Admittedly, Chuck had the most to eliminate. He sorted through his extra large shop and gave the kids each part of the his fishing gear that would not be appropriate for deep sea fishing. My job was a lot easier as I was leaving my daughter in residence of our house so any dishes and furniture I didn’t bring could remain there.

So now that we are hear in a smaller house with less stuff, what do we do? During my years of child rearing and career building I had little time to become involved with my community. One of things that drew us to buy a house in town was a desire to be part of the local community and have a chance to give back. One look around San Felipe made it evident that there were many great groups and organizations that devote both time and money to improve the lives of our neighbors and alleviate some of the hardships they endure. The hard part is picking which of these to get involved with and how to divide up our time and resources in a way to do the most good and least harm.

Our beliefs are guided by the Bible so we took the words “feed the hungry”, “see to the widows and orphans” to heart and in doing so became “facilitators” of Volunteers Without Limits. We didn’t start it or nor are we officially part of the the organization. We are just helpers. We help with some of the food delivery, shopping and picking up donations. Sometimes we help with fund-raising events. But the heart of the organization is the Director, Paty Orozco. She is the one who oversees the distribution. She also screens all applications and visits the homes of the clients. Paty came to the food bank one day in the early days and offered to work as volunteer and run the thrift store if in exchange she could set up a space to help the parents of children with severe disabilities by teaching them about resources available for their children’s care. She also petitioned to get help supplying nutritional supplements and disposable diapers for these children.

When the founders of the original food bank needed to leave town due to health reasons, Paty jumped in and formed a new non-profit association under the name of Voluntarios sin Limites which means Volunteers Withou Limits. She picked this name with the forward thinking that someday the work may expand to help more than the hungry and disabled children. Now three years later that dream is growing and VSL is supporting the efforts of the drug rehab facility by promoting the sale of their crafts. We are also reaching out help people of all ages who face major medical needs. Last month VSL help an eleven year old boy (who is being raised by his older brother) get an MRI and CAT scan that determined he had tumor on his spine and we are purchasing the necessary corset for him to wear following his surgery. Paty has also lobbied for and obtained additional help from other agencies to fund renting the traction apparatus he will need in the hospital following surgery. Interest grew and before we knew a musical event was created by Martin and some of the local musicians which raise money to help the family with the rest of their portion of the medical expenses. The last word was that Eli had gone to Mexicali for his surgery but it had been rescheduled for the 28th o f May. In the meantime, Eli has been given a walker to help him get around safely.

We’ve been in San Felipe full-time for four years but this summer we are sojourning back to Northern California for the summer to be present for Chuck’s mom’s 80th birthday party and the birth of our third grandchild.  We have decided to leave our big dog at home with a house-sitter.  Chuck and I are busy preparing for our trip north and getting the house ready for it’s summer occupants.  This includes having a new roof built with has been a challenge.

We found a delightful couple who were looking for a place to spend the hot summer months and they and their dog will be joining our big dog Russo at the casa in our absence. But it’s a big job getting your home ready for guests. Hopefully the new mini-splits will be up and running this week and none too late at the thermometer is peaking in the mid 90s today already. Fortunately, the new insulation is doing it’s job and the house is tolerable even without the air conditioning.

So back to work I go. Hope you all are having a great spring. Looking forward to catching up with many of you this summer.


Resolutions Anyone?

the lighthouseIt’s a new day and a new year.  We haven’t participated in the New Year’s Eve festivities in years, preferring to retire early and leave the new year to find it’s own way in.  However, San Felipe brings the new year in with a multitude of fireworks so sleep was evasive last night.  Our little dog is freaked out at the noise and could find a place to settle.  I finally closed off his door to at least keep him indoors.  He doesn’t generally leave the yard but I know he can get out if he is determine too and too many dogs have been lost lately due the fireworks.

Today is traditionally a day to start over, to make ourselves a bunch of promises or renew commitments to change.  I started over a couple of days ago.  I started back through the 12 Steps program for Overeaters.  Last year I made it to Step 4.  A couple of days ago I reread Steps 1 through 3, wrote about my feelings and chatted with my sponsor.  Steps 1 through 3 are simple, the can be summed in a few words: “I can’t, God can, let God”  They apply no matter what the problem or addiction.  For me it is mindless eating, leading a Bible study, conducting a fund raiser. To each problem the answer is the same.  When I try to handle it on my own I mess it up.  When I turn it over to God it works.


About the Hype

One of the best articles I’ve read on the subject.  Just had to share ….

Safety in Mexico: Reality vs. Sensationalist Media Hype

By Cathy Brown / Dec 12 • Categorized as Living Overseas

In the last few months, I have had the good fortune to visit Mexico a couple of times. For a single mom whose family and friends have no problem with me romping around Buenos Aires, taking my young kids to the Amazon, or climbing mountains in Africa, I cannot say that I was sufficiently prepared for the distinct reaction I got when people heard I was going to Mexico:

“You are going where? But what about the cartels?”

“Wow. I wouldn’t go there even if someone paid me”.

“Pretty irresponsible to be going there.You’ re a mother – you shouldn’t be putting yourself into situations like that…”

To which my response was:  “Have you ever been to Mexico?Oh, you haven’t… Well then, please at least tell me specifics as to what this violence is where I am going. What area is it in, and what specifically should I be on the lookout for?”

And, shocker…they have no idea. They just know it’s for sure really, really bad and I am totally going to get kidnapped/raped/shot/then probably beheaded for good measure.

Let’s work off facts here….  read the rest of the article here

My Step in Faith

In the home I grew up in there was a common saying: Don’t talk politics or religion.  I always figure this was because my mother hated confrontations and discussions of either of these topics was sure stir up the pot and cause it to boil over.  So I was taught that we kept the important things to ourselves and didn’t talk about them.  This article goes completely against that teaching but my mother is long gone and will no longer be disturbed by this transgression.  But rest assured that I am not going to talk politics as we have all had our fill of that topic in these last months and the election is over and the outcome settled.  What will come from the results remains to be seen.  With the population so closely divided on the outcome there is sure to be plenty of room for heated discourse on the topic in other venues.

My topic, today is on the other forbidden topic of polite society, although not technically on ‘religion’ because religion to me carries a connotation of buildings and organizations and my personal beliefs have little to do with either of these.  My subject today is faith.  Merriam-Webster defines faith as: a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion.  When I use the word faith I am referring to the first meaning.  My trust and loyalty is solely to God and when I use the word “God” I am referring specifically to God as He reveals himself in the Bible.

I am not a theologian or Bible scholar so I don’t intend on getting into debates over doctrines or interpretations.  In this article and the ones that follow in this section of my blog I  will be merely sharing what God is teaching me today.  Since I believe God calls each of us to know him personally, I share this with the hope that you will not take what I learned as your own but will instead seek to get to know God better yourself  and see what he wants to say to you personally today.

Today I am reading Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer  and we (the group of ladies I am currently getting together with) are in the fourth week of that workbook. Day 1 of Week  4 suggested we study the names of God.  A Google search lead me to an article called The Names of God by J. Hampton Keathley, III.  The particular section that caught my attention was

Yahweh Maccaddeshcem: “The Lord your Sanctifier.” Portrays the Lord as our means of sanctification or as the one who sets believers apart for His purposes (Ex. 31:13).

This speaks to me because the one thing I am very sure about is my own inability to be holy.  My life has been filled with failures to be what I knew I should be.  I have fallen far short of being good in all that I have endeavored to do.  Yet, in spite of my shortcomings I know that God has called me to be his own and by his gift of faith I have given a purpose in this life.