200 Soccer Balls

200 Soccer Balls

We take a break from our regularly scheduled TB updates to discuss some actual work. This video is a thank you to a group of donors from the States and all the Peace Corps Volunteers that helped in a simple, fun project that I organized in Mexico over the course...
Camp Mariposas - the weekend finale

Camp Mariposas – the weekend finale

It’s time to wrap up the camp posts. I have to keep checking the calendar to convince myself that it has only been one week (tomorrow) since the end of the camp. What a week it has been. I’m so confused by what day it is and what is going...
Camp Mariposas - Day 5

Camp Mariposas – Day 5

I really need to finish posting about the camp, because it gets harder and harder to recall the details as the days go by. I guess that is because so much as been happening over the last week. Like finishing service and moving back to the US yesterday. Oh, but...
Camp Mariposas - Day 4

Camp Mariposas – Day 4

Health Day was a lot of fun, excluding the important the presentation about sexual health and contraception. It was interesting, and I was very happy that the girls were asking a lot of questions, but I’m not sure that fun is the right word. Taekwondo class was a blast though....
Camp Mariposas - Day 3

Camp Mariposas – Day 3

Well, as expected, I’m falling farther and farther behind in my efforts to edit and upload photos each day. The days are getting longer as we slowly pull out of winter and as each day’s activities and the evening drama of the camp extends into my sleep time. I’m actually...
Camp Mariposas - Day 1

Camp Mariposas – Day 1

I’m going to repeat some Facebook information here because not everyone uses, or needs to use, that particular site (or be connected to me on that site). However, I can give more background and information here. For this whole week, I’m helping at a friend’s leadership and empowerment camp for...
Take the good with the smoky

Take the good with the smoky

And other lessons being learned in the stove project. We are in the monitoring and evaluation phase doing a final round of surveys to try to quantify fuel savings after a few months with the efficient wood-burning stoves. Since the families typically only buy wood once or twice a year,...
Marvelous Mexican Mountains - Malinche

Marvelous Mexican Mountains – Malinche

If only that title was also a palindrome, that would be like infinity in word-nerd points. However, even without a perfect nerd score, it was wonderful to get back to the mountains with a little light mountaineering and an intense hiking day. We started a little after 9am and made...
Pinal de Amoles and one Puente de Dios

Pinal de Amoles and one Puente de Dios

It was really hard to narrow down the 200-odd pictures I took last weekend down to the just-under 40 that I am showing below. The Río Escanela near Pinal de Amoles in the Sierra Gorda de Querétaro turns out to be just as beautiful as the soon-to-be off-limits Huasteca region...
Day of the Dead 2012 - Marigolds and Altars

Day of the Dead 2012 – Marigolds and Altars

Walking around town this year, I think that the Day of the Dead altars are still beautiful and well-crafted, but they seem smaller or less elaborate. To separate this year’s photos from last year’s, I’m more focused on the marigolds. These are the traditional flowers use to honor the dead...
85,000 birds in the sky - the River of Raptors

85,000 birds in the sky – the River of Raptors

Or, more specifically, 85,591 including: 33,376 Turkey vultures 7 Swallow-tailed kites 1 Mississippi Kite 8 Norther Harriers 29 Sharp-shinned hawks 39 Cooper’s hawks 2 Gray hawks 5109 Broad-winged hawks 41,864 Swainson’s hawks 16 American kestrels 5 Peregrine falcons 5135 Unknown raptors Details here. See: All of this was in just...
How to build a combustion chamber

How to build a combustion chamber

The trickiest portion of the efficient cookstove construction process is assembling the internal combustion chamber. It isn’t difficult, but requires a few sets of hands and understanding how the interior pieces fit together. Two women hold the pieces in place while a third filled in around them with the sand/gravel...
Before and After

Before and After

The stove installations are actually almost all done. I saw 4 yesterday and 1 today, and I look forward to going back and taking all the “before” and “after” pictures. The installation is a quick process, except for configuring the chimney. The women typically have to drill holes in the...
Yucatan Peninsula - Day 7 - Cenotes

Yucatan Peninsula – Day 7 – Cenotes

Woulda, shoulda, coulda. Along with everything else, the Yucatan peninsula is also known for its cenotes, or sort of sinkhole caves, resulting from the limestone geology. There are too many to visit, but we had a hard time picking even one to visit. We were driving by them in the...
Yucatan Peninsula - Day 5 - Rio Lagartos

Yucatan Peninsula – Day 5 – Rio Lagartos

Birds, birds, birds. Rio Lagartos is another town at the end of the road, but this time on a lagoon. The area is known for birdwatching, and it is another protected Mexican biosphere reserve. Along with Celestun, this is one of the places to find large flamingo colonies. We didn’t...
Yucatan Peninsula - Day 2 - Punta Allen

Yucatan Peninsula – Day 2 – Punta Allen

Step 1. Leave Tulum heading south. Stay on the coastal road. Step 2. Drive to end of road. Step 3. Once in town, drive to end of road. Step 4. Stay in beach cabana on practically private beach. Requirements: faith that the town really exists at the end of the...
More Acrobatics!

More Acrobatics!

Both a demand of life in general and an exclamation about the show Puntos Suspensivos by the Mermejita Circus last night. Wonderful, simply wonderful. Also, how I feel lately about the twists and turns in all my projects, and then the title is read as an exasperated sigh.
A large automobile and water flowing underground

A large automobile and water flowing underground

How did I get here? How do I work this? Where does this highway lead to? In my case, I was not behind the wheel of the large automobile, per Peace Corps regulations, but the questions still apply to a bit of a bizarre weekend. I can’t really say that...
Cañón del Sabino

Cañón del Sabino

No witty title, just pictures and more pictures from the canyon with the military macaw colony. I want to go back with a tripod and really get started at 5am to see the big movement of the birds first thing as they exit the canyon. And, yes, I know that...
After the Big Check... the Weighty Certificate

After the Big Check… the Weighty Certificate

I like coming up with witty titles too much to not in this case, but actually it was quite an honor to attend and receive a plaque in recognition of the work we having been doing with the solar ovens during the solar oven festival today. The real shame was...
Niños y Niñas BIG CHECK day

Niños y Niñas BIG CHECK day

Micha and I write emails back and forth in Spanish most often, but we kept referring to the BIG CHECK as just that. It doesn’t translate well into Spanish, and is more amusing this way. While neither of us are much for ceremony, it felt like the right thing to...
Planta Madre

Planta Madre

Planta Madre is a group committed the conservation, cultivation, replanting of cactus and medicinal plants in the Bernal area of the state of Querétaro. The work in the protected area of the Peña de Bernal and have a large production greenhouse in San Antonio de la Cal. The group has...
Semana Santa 2012 - talk about a good Friday.

Semana Santa 2012 – talk about a good Friday.

Last year’s Easter week was in town during training and I kept myself occupied exploring the cultural side of the festivities in a very Catholic country. So, I didn’t feel the need to do that again, and I was hoping for a climbing trip. I was feeling frustrated that everyone...
The steaming river, epiphytes, orchids, and bromeliads

The steaming river, epiphytes, orchids, and bromeliads

After my weekend in San Blas and Isla Isabel, I went to Guadalajara for “a series of work meetings.” Haha, a bit of a private joke there, but I did work some. I also had a really nice week relaxing and exploring a bit. The highlight of the week was...
San Blas and Isla Isabel

San Blas and Isla Isabel

I finally made it to the beach – the charming beach town of San Blas where two volunteers are stationed and the amazing migratory marine bird reserve at Isla Isabel, about 3 hours off the coast. I will write more later, but I’ve been working on the photos for days...
Sun Stripes = More Cake

Sun Stripes = More Cake

I generally find it better when people correct my Spanish mistakes, but I understand why someone would choose to let a repeated mistake pass. I have done the same in English many, many times because I understood what the person was saying and for a host of other reasons. So...
Not a bad way to start

Not a bad way to start

My visit to California is off to a beautiful start. Now, onwards to Bishop! Good thing  I brought the zoom lens back for a visit too.  
It's not ever really 3-dog night cold here...

It’s not ever really 3-dog night cold here…

…in Mexico, but it certainly has been 1-cat cold. So, I had to get a cat. Of course. Since meeting the effervescent Dulce, I had been considering getting a cat, but I was firm on wanting to rescue one. What was saving me was that I didn’t know the words in...
Fundraising for Child and Youth Scholarships at Niños y Niñas de México, A.C.

Fundraising for Child and Youth Scholarships at Niños y Niñas de México, A.C.

UPDATE: As of March 28, 2012, the grant is fully funded! Thank you to everyone who donated. If you still want to help in some way or learn more about this information, please contact me. Michaelene and I finally have our Peace Corps Partnership grant approved and ready for donations...
Surprised, Scraped, Smacked around, but still Smiling

Surprised, Scraped, Smacked around, but still Smiling

I was totally unprepared to be climbing well on the tufa-filled caves of Guadalcázar. I had either been avoiding or unable to join the group on the previous trips for the 3-hour drive up north into San Luis Potosí, but I’m very glad that I did join them this time....
Late night banana-cart chronicles

Late night banana-cart chronicles

It was late. Not so late that the streets were empty, but empty enough for a lone roasted banana-cart salesman. From outside my front window, I heard a screaming whistle that impelled me to the front window to investigate. Looking down to the street I immediately recognized the source, but...
Local Crag Sunday (Issue #4)

Local Crag Sunday (Issue #4)

In which Sarah and I get up early to meet our ride to the not-so-local, but very nice-for-a-change crag, Billie romps and holds her own with a host of other dogs and discovers the joy of tuna-water*, and Sarah and I rediscover our love for the pure and simple joy...
Return to the Winter Bouldering Grounds

Return to the Winter Bouldering Grounds

Just like the monarchs returning to Mexico in Winter, some things are seasonally determined, like a Ticino bouldering session if the weather allows in December. Until the clouds dissipated and the full sun came out there was less activity to be seen, but also like with the monarchs, the activity level really picked up once...
Monarchs: the rest of the story

Monarchs: the rest of the story

Although it is very nice to be back in Switzerland for the holidays, and the mountains are beautiful, I am still amazed as I edit the monarch pictures. Three of us went to one of the monarch winter nesting grounds near Valle de Bravo in central Mexico. We aren’t allowed...
Monarchs, the teaser

Monarchs, the teaser

Three of us spent a bit longer than a day in Valle de Bravo in the Estado de Mexico to go see the monarch butterflies in one of their winter homes in Piedra Herrada. Soooo many more pictures to come, but this is one of my favorites. Really no words...
Coming Soon...

Coming Soon…

…irresistibly cute children for whom I have a grant application pending. My friend Micha and I are going to be raising money for school scholarships through a Peace Corps Partnership grant. These kids from marginalized, indigenous families receive scholarships to attend school through the civil association Niños y Niñas de...
What's mine is yours

What’s mine is yours

Of course, I’m referring to the upcoming pictures in this post from the just-ended, and thanks to Aeromexico, extended visit by my guy. He arrived on Thanksgiving, and we had 5+ days together for his first visit to Mexico and our second visit since I arrived here in March. I...
Ingenuity inspiration

Ingenuity inspiration

I looked up the definition of ingenuity to make sure I was thinking about it properly. in·ge·nu·i·ty (n): the quality of being clever, original, and inventive. (from googling “definition ingenuity”) Turns out I knew the definition. Knowing the definition doesn’t change why I was thinking about it. I can believe...
They really are more cosmopolitan in the big city.

They really are more cosmopolitan in the big city.

Alternate titles considered: “Tongue-tied with awesomeness” (yellow one with 3 tongues) “Pure awesomeness” “Ever had one of those days” (for the green, googly-eyed one) Something to do with the injustice of Marie Curie’s head ending up on a float Although they are all true in their own way, I couldn’t...
Day of the Dead - Ofrendas

Day of the Dead – Ofrendas

It boggles the mind how much better sugar and chocolate can get, but make them into amazing skulls and other decorations and there you have it. The ofrendas, or offerings for the day of the dead altars can be pictures, food, flowers, and many symbolic items. The pictures that I...
Day of the Dead - El Panteón Municipal

Day of the Dead – El Panteón Municipal

On the morning of Dia de los Muertos, my mother (visit arranged to correspond with this fascinating holiday) and I went down the main cemetery in town. We had been told that it would be buzzing with activity, but I don’t think we were prepared for how active it was....
Day of the Dead - Altars

Day of the Dead – Altars

The Day of the Dead altars around town were beautiful and impressive in the amount of work that went into them. Each was dedicated to several people with varying levels of historical significance. Photographing the altars presented some challenges to my panorama-editing abilities, but I’m definitely learning a lot about...
Day of the Dead — La Catrina(s)

Day of the Dead — La Catrina(s)

Many of these photos are among my favorites that I shot over the holiday. I thought about keeping these for the last Dia de los Muertos post, but then I was motivated to edit them first. So, here they are, from two events. The first was a La Catrina contest...
The last was the best

The last was the best

I have sought out and photographed so many La Catrinas during this Day of the Dead, but the last was the best. Better yet, I’m still editing the 200 or so photos I took during the show of the 4 Catrinas. I’m down to about 95 photos, and editing further....
To Remember: next year buy tickets.

To Remember: next year buy tickets.

Just like everyone warned me, it is best to have tickets to some actual shows during the Festival Cervantino in Guanajuato. However, I still wanted to check out the scene. The arts festivals here in my town have been so amazing, and this Cervantes festival is much more famous. So,...
Just hanging around...

Just hanging around…

…getting ready for Day of the Dead, and I am excited. I rereading that and I don’t know if it sounds wrong or insensitive, but I really enjoy the art and learning about this aspect of the Mexican culture. It is going to be a couple of crazy weeks, and...
(tee hee) I found some sustainable development at the office.

(tee hee) I found some sustainable development at the office.

I’ve been meaning to take my new, big zoom lens to work for a while to capture the amazing insect world out there. Finally I remembered this week, and then the problem was that I had a lot of work to do. I kept trying to leave the office a...
My resolve is wavering.

My resolve is wavering.

And there is only a cat named Dulce to blame. She’s not mine, but I’m not sure that I can resist. I was going to hold fast to being a volunteer without a pet, but what am I supposed to do? I’ve got all this space and it would be...
First marathon, check. Next day hobbled, check. Worth it, check.

First marathon, check. Next day hobbled, check. Worth it, check.

I was too tired yesterday afternoon to post about my first marathon success. I should start with the good news that I finished, without stopping or walking at all, with a time of 4h27m  for 42.195km/26.2miles. I’m really proud of the fact that I finished without walking at all, even...
So, it's kiss a pig for luck right?

So, it’s kiss a pig for luck right?

So I’ve got this right? The night before a big race it’s: drink plenty of water, eat pasta, and kiss a pig for luck?
Visit to Oaxaca - Puppies and Tlayudas, but separate.

Visit to Oaxaca – Puppies and Tlayudas, but separate.

When I received a last-minute invitation to Oaxaca last week, it took me a few hours to accept, because I was supposed to go work with the bees on Saturday. However, it was a long weekend because of the independence day holiday on Friday, and this was too good of...
Vacation: up the coast to the boulders and forest we go

Vacation: up the coast to the boulders and forest we go

I’m just back from an amazing, and as-warned much to short visit to California to see my novio. Sigh. And the Mexican customs confiscated the delicious salami that I was bringing back. I’m grumpy to be back. I’m sure my mood will improve once I go for a run. Except...
Take 2: Camping and Climbing

Take 2: Camping and Climbing

This time the plan was camp, climb, fiesta, maybe more climbing. However, looking back to Friday, my stomach was already a bit off. The (nearly) 3-hour run on Friday probably didn’t help. In fact, it kind of destroyed me. Maybe an ominous portent for Saturday, I had no energy to...
Are there circus groupies?

Are there circus groupies?

The 4th annual festival of alternative arts (Festival Siguientescena 2011) in town did not disappoint last week. Consisting of “unconventional theater, dance, and circus” performances, the general quality of the talent was extremely high. Full of great music, dance, and people doing generally crazy things with their bodies, these types of...
The bee's knees

The bee’s knees

Apiculture has been a dream hobby of mine now for many years. I’m just fascinated by it. As far as dream hobbies go, I always felt that this one was rather realistic. However, still a little tricky to get into – not the type of thing I wanted to just read...
The idea was climb, camp, climb...

The idea was climb, camp, climb…

It started with a afternoon of climbing on Saturday. I lead three really nice routes and had no falls. The camping followed on Saturday evening, and was going very well with one of my favorite combos: red wine, cheese, and bread. There was no rain, no mosquitos, a nice fire, and...
Cultural Event - Ya ximhai xa nsu (Territorios de lo Sagrado)

Cultural Event – Ya ximhai xa nsu (Territorios de lo Sagrado)

On Sunday, I went to the closing day of a cultural exhibition on the indigenous people Otomi-Chichimecas or Hñahñu. The exhibition was highlighting the yearly pilgrimage of the Otomi-Chichimecas, Ya ximhai xa nsu, which translates to “Territories of the sacred or precious land”. I did not actually get a chance to see...
mmm...cerebros...

mmm…cerebros…

It was quite a weekend, which started on Thursday. By Saturday afternoon I felt like a zombie, which coincided perfectly with the Zombie Walk 2011 through the center of town. I was missing the obvious blood, but my hands were fairly scraped up on close inspection after having spend the...
(More than a few) Thoughts on teaching my first English Conversation Class

(More than a few) Thoughts on teaching my first English Conversation Class

One of the most obvious benefits that we can provide as Peace Corps volunteers is English teaching. This is also clearly an emphasis for the organization, and that is no exception here in Mexico, even though in Tech Transfer, we are almost exclusively “specialists” with a variety of technical assignments....
Bienvenidos a mi casa - Welcoming my first guests

Bienvenidos a mi casa – Welcoming my first guests

I’m not doing anything fancy, but having my first guests has motivated me to finish a few of the home-improvement projects that I had started – mainly getting plants and straightening up. So now I have a few plants, but they aren’t completely potted into good receptacles.  I still have...
Self-Medicating

Self-Medicating

I could get used to this. I’m just glad that I have two more.
My first real use of incidental leave - visit to Puebla

My first real use of incidental leave – visit to Puebla

I got back late last night from a great weekend in Puebla visiting my best girlfriend and co-volunteer. We didn’t even really do anything except catch up, and that was perfect. I only messed up a little on the way back, because I thought that I had bought my bus...
Secondary Project activity at Niños y Niñas de México, A.C.

Secondary Project activity at Niños y Niñas de México, A.C.

I joined another volunteer in one of her secondary project activities yesterday helping Otomi women at the Niños y Niñas de México organization work on they gift-card making project. They make cards that have an embroidered cover with a large variety of designs. The women do the embroidery work then they...
Posh Core

Posh Core

Everything was delivered today, even though I just ordered internet yesterday. So, now I can work and blog from my couch and get focused on other projects, which will hopefully keep me out of the house. Still, it is feeling very nice to have this place to come home to,...
Furniture delivered...with style

Furniture delivered…with style

I would like to say that this is the last post about moving in, but I’m very excited about my futon delivery on Thursday, so there will probably be a picture of that as well. These moving-in pictures and posts are what is happening in my life right now, but...
Where I'm at (no turntables nor microphones)

Where I’m at (no turntables nor microphones)

With much trepidation and frustration I went to look at my apartment last night. I was supposed to move in on the 20th, but the repairs to the kitchen sink are taking longer than expected.  I didn’t know what to expect with my limited understanding of the problem, but I...
Sunday in Las Tepuzas (I think)

Sunday in Las Tepuzas (I think)

I had another great climbing day this Sunday. We drove just into Guanajuato state, and I think I’ve found the location on the map which indicates that the climbing is actually in Queretaro state: And you can start your day with quesadillas and pulque at the turn off to the...
Market bounty

Market bounty

Leftovers

Leftovers

I’ve been working on a personal presentation to give to people at my site as a way of introducing myself, my background, and more former work. So, I’ve been going through a lot of pictures, and I found a bunch of stragglers that didn’t quite make the cut the first...
Sigh of relief, it was about time

Sigh of relief, it was about time

It was fantastically great to get back on real rock this weekend. With the group from the local climbing gym, I went bouldering in Aculco, basically here: The rock was nice and I did a variety of problems. I wasn’t working on anything too hard, but I sent everything I...
First day on the job

First day on the job

I’m sitting in my new office with a few minutes to breathe. I always forget how much paperwork can be involved when starting a new job, especially when the approach to this new endeavor isn’t like any other job or even really a job. As a good friend said about...
Sworn-in and now presenting the volunteers of PCMexico-10

Sworn-in and now presenting the volunteers of PCMexico-10

We were officially sworn-in yesterday in a very nice ceremony held at the PC headquarters office here in Mexico. The ceremony and apero afterwards were a satisfying way to end the stressful training time, and then we, the new volunteers, basically just celebrated for the rest of the day. So...
Swearing-in Day

Swearing-in Day

Headed to the office soon for our swearing-in ceremony. Actually turning out to be rather exciting. Had a nice run this morning, and still plenty of time to iron my shirt and write a quick post. Not a bad way to start any day – not that I’m ever going...
Last week of training

Last week of training

I’m sitting in my last “Program and week-end processing” session still not knowing where I’m moving to in 3 days, but trying desperately to get information. The last few days of training contain lots of reviews, evaluations, and feedback sessions. At least my talent show presentation is done – except...
Mexico City - Context Visit

Mexico City – Context Visit

We are just back from our final field trip for PST – our “Context Visit” to Mexico City. It was a quick trip to a bunch of headquarters – CONACYT, UNAM, IMPI, and several embassy resources. Even with only two nights free in D.F., I’m smitten with the city. I...
Nothing like a circus

Nothing like a circus

especially on a Saturday night after a hard week
My (first) award-winning photographs

My (first) award-winning photographs

I’m happy that I overcame my procrastination and entered the PC Mexico 50th Anniversary Photo Contest celebrating 50 years of Peace Corps. I won the “Faces of Mexico” category with the first photo below, taken during the silent procession during Semana Santa. The second photo, ¡Lucha Libre!, garnered an honorable mention...
Tech Transfer in Mexico, or my visiting professorship after PST

Tech Transfer in Mexico, or my visiting professorship after PST

We started out the week with the Counterpart Workshop, and then I spent the day yesterday at my new workplace, where I will be starting in June. Another trainee (very soon-to-be volunteer) and I are going to the same site, and we are the first volunteers to be at this...
Day trip - San Miguel de Allende

Day trip – San Miguel de Allende

Only one thing is missing, the pictures of the best part – La Gruta. However, I’ve been light on posting pictures of old churches. So, here you go.
Week 8, for the win!

Week 8, for the win!

Because we are all “primeros respondientes” now after our day of first aid training, of course. Or, because we got our site assignments, and I didn’t end up on the floor as in the above picture. We may have been able to skip the balloons-and-darts portion of the presentation, but...
Hogar del Joven/Día del Niño

Hogar del Joven/Día del Niño

I backed into the perfect activity for Children’s Day this past weekend. A current volunteer brought to our attention a sort of a halfway house for children in one of the northern colonias of the city that desperately needs repairs. She organized a group of current volunteers and trainees to...
Nortec Collective - great show

Nortec Collective – great show

The annual Festival de Santiago started in Querétaro on Wednesday. There are simultaneous performances on-going during the evenings in many of the gardens around town. We went to see the Nortec Collective show at the recommendation of our Spanish teachers, who were excited all day. To introduce us to the...
Semana Santa - Day 4

Semana Santa – Day 4

In which things are blown up… representing la Quema de Judas
Semana Santa - Day 3

Semana Santa – Day 3

In which delicious tortas were had by all…
Semana Santa - Day 2

Semana Santa – Day 2

The silent procession is one of the main events for Semana Santa here in Querétaro. The large procession of mostly hooded penitents walks through the city in silence. Most of the men walk barefoot, carrying large crosses, and with chains around their ankles. We were told to be prepared for...
Semana Santa - Day 1

Semana Santa – Day 1

For the first vacation day of Semana Santa, a group of us made a day trip out to the town of Bernal so we could walk part of the way up the third largest monolith in the world. It made me want my climbing stuff, soon. It looked like there...
Mid-Training/Evening Explorations 3

Mid-Training/Evening Explorations 3

We have been informed that we are mid-training, and we are therefore taking part in all sorts of evaluative processes to determine how things are progressing. I wasn’t feeling burnt out at all until I was told that I should be feeling stressed and tired of all this. Spanish class...
Return from Volunteer Visit

Return from Volunteer Visit

I’m back from a few days in the campo. Great trip. Only time for a few pictures right now. Starting with the most important – the food. Had delicious huaraches in the mercado, and definitely not the shoe variety – blue corn, nopales, potato, and mucho queso. Also had some...
Volunteer Visit

Volunteer Visit

I’m headed out for my Volunteer Visit tomorrow. I’ll be traveling into the campo to see three current volunteers in the environment program. I’m very excited to see what they are doing, and since these are some of the other PC climbing chicas. I’ll most likely be without internet until...
Market Day

Market Day

Another trip to an amazing market.
Guanajuato, Mexico

Guanajuato, Mexico

There was no doubt that everyone was enchanted by Guanajuato. The most common lament was that no one would be stationed there. While we had another meeting canceled here, the frustration was tempered by the extra time for our cultural activities. Even though I wasn’t really eating, I loved the...
León, Mexico

León, Mexico

As I look over the pictures from León, taken during our Field Based Training, I think that I’m not giving the city enough credit. It certainly looks like we had some fun. The experience was a bit tainted, figuratively and literally, by the frustration of having one of our meetings...
Just your typical Tuesday night

Just your typical Tuesday night

I have been wanting to go to a real ¡Lucha Libre! match since I was introduced to the movies of Santo back in the late 90’s/early 2000’s. It also happens to be an activity in our cultural passport, and it turns out that I’m living about a 10 minute walk...
Too amazing to go in order

Too amazing to go in order

Perhaps the highlight of the cultural side of the field-based training was the mummy museum in Guanajuato. So, I had to edit and post these photos first, even though they are from the last activity of the trip. I’m still working on the galleries for Léon and Guanajuato. Mummies trump...
Return from FBT

Return from FBT

I’m back from my mostly interesting trip to Léon and Guanajuato. The highlight was definitely Guanajuato. Not only is the city just beautiful, but the mummy museum is also amazing. I’m working on editing the pictures, but here is a panorama of Guanajuato to get started. I think everyone was...
Fiesta de Olé

Fiesta de Olé

Our Spanish school hosted a party for us and our host families last Friday. The highlight was definitely the dancing. There were demonstrations of 3 styles of traditional Mexican dancing – from the northern, central, and southern regions. After the demonstration, the dance teachers were giving a bit of a...
flores de bienvenida

flores de bienvenida

The end of week one: arrival at my host family’s home where I will be living for the next 11 weeks. Training begins in full force on Monday. They are a lovely family – very warm, generous, and patient. I am their second Peace Corps trainee, but I’m not sure...
Arrival in Mexico

Arrival in Mexico

I have many new photos to upload, but I am still trying to get my internet routine back to a regular schedule, in addition to learning Spanish for something like 6 hours a day and absorbing all the other information of a new Peace Corps Trainee. So, it is about...
Are these the mountains to climb?

Are these the mountains to climb?

Spotted while flying south over Mexico
Headed to Mexico tomorrow

Headed to Mexico tomorrow

Officially a trainee for the next 11 weeks.
Good party

Good party

I’m definitely a bit sad today, and saying goodbye to people at the party was tough. It’s going about as well as it can though, since it’s turning out to be a nice, calm day.
Going-away Party Day

Going-away Party Day

Two more days in Switzerland, and I’m not sleeping so well as a result. The stress isn’t too bad though, or else this flu would have hit me much worse. After M ruthlessly helped me go through my suitcases last night, they are under-weight with only a few things still...
Packing is the worst

Packing is the worst

I can’t do it. Two suitcases and my backpack just aren’t quite enough. I’m going to have to check a third bag. If I could sneak past check in with a carry-on suitcase, a briefcase, and a purse then I will technically be within the limits. Or, I’m going to...
One week

One week

Packed up the kitchen today and showed the apartment. Just over 40 people showed up in the hour we had it open. Not too bad for Zurich, but still stressful.
Birthday flowers/Centerpiece

Birthday flowers/Centerpiece

I had to leave them at M’s parent’s, since we are packing up the kitchen tomorrow, but they were great.
Application Timeline

Application Timeline

I saw this type of post on another blog (http://mobleyfamily.info/), and thought it was at least good for myself to have the timeline documented. Then I found it on many other Peace Corps experience blogs, but most of the other are unreadable. It has been a long process. I pulled...
What moving looks like in Zurich

What moving looks like in Zurich

Bulk, household garbage tram one day   Electronics waste tram the next Best part was when one of the guys at the electronics waste tram rescued a stack of VHS tapes for himself.
What I used to do

What I used to do

  and summarized:  
Awesome Chameleon

Awesome Chameleon

from the Zurich zoo  
Favorite pictures of myself

Favorite pictures of myself

It makes me smile to try this. My guy is a good photographer, and since we do a lot of activities conducive to photos, I’ve had to get a lot better about being photographed, and I think I’ve done a splendid job, for something I hate so much. The real...
The full list

The full list

I have a thing with podcasts. I listen to a lot of them, for years now. I never tell people about all of the shows, even though I will always share recommendations. Once I get started talking about them, I probably usually overwhelm people. However, when it comes to the...
Contraction, yet again

Contraction, yet again

I’m having on-and-off productive days as I try to get rid of stuff – contract my possessions. This is my second overseas move, and I’m feeling fine about the amount of stuff that I have and getting rid of much of it. I’m going to end up with more stuff...
March and Procrastination

March and Procrastination

  I still don’t have a plane ticket, but I received another letter which said that I will start my Peace Corps stuff on March 14th in D.C. before heading to Mexico. Starting to feel the moving stress, but that is the motivator. Posted the plants online for sale, and...
Latest entries
Calling all filmmakers!

Calling all filmmakers!

What does the forest mean to you? Submissions have just opened for Rainforest Partnership’s annual environmental film showcase at SXSW Film’s Community Screenings. An amazing opportunity to see your film on the big screen! For more information visit filmsfortheforest.org. Information on how to submit your short (<40 min) or short-short (<4 min) film. For any...
I'm just going to sit here

I’m just going to sit here

Don’t make me decide. It’s too hot to do anything but swim. Really  too hot to swim, so I’m just going to sit here.
When nature color-blocks

When nature color-blocks

Summertime

Summertime

Yep, that’s pretty much it.
Let it out

Let it out

It wasn’t the most amazing sunset ever, but it still makes me take a deep breath, let it out, and feel more relaxed. Michigan in the summer is so amazingly beautiful. I had no idea.
Brand Spankin' New

Brand Spankin’ New

I’m at an age where I seem to consistently have 3 or 4 pregnant friends at any time. At least this time it was a local friend so I can at least take some pictures now that the baby is here. I wanted to meet the baby primarily, but I also wanted to give them...
End of day monarchy

End of day monarchy

I’m not even sure what the title means, that is how fried I am. However, a quick photography stop for sunflowers became even more glorious with my lepidopterous friend here. Again, unabashed word abuse, but I like the way it sounds.
TB Chronicles - curious compatriots

TB Chronicles – curious compatriots

As the days speed by towards half-way through my INH treatment, I have been feeling that it is time for an update. However, I have nothing to report for myself. I have no isoniazid side effects and my monthly refill visits to the Texas Health Department have been so easy as to be near delightful....
My what big eyes you have

My what big eyes you have

I needed a goal before I began tackling some photo library organization and clean-up this evening. It only took me 4 days to actually start after thinking up the idea. Tedious but necessary. Finding interesting eyes makes it a bit more bearable.
Hopefully "Pardon Our Dust" Coming Soon

Hopefully “Pardon Our Dust” Coming Soon

Can’t you just see it? Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? I’m a rockstar at mind-mapping. Definitely need to add that to the résumé. Now I have to find the time to sit down and actually do the redesign. The idea is that by posting this, I have to hold myself accountable to it. We’ll see how...
A plumed thistle for your thoughts?

A plumed thistle for your thoughts?

Found on a pleasant evening dog-walk. It is either a Wavyleaf thistle or a Texas thistle – still investigating the subtle differences between Cirsium undulatum and Cirsium texanum. Any botanists want to chime in? Both are plumed thistles, I believe.
Local Flavor

Local Flavor

Also known as Eeyore’s Birthday Party. Not that the name makes any more sense, but this year was the 50th annual celebration. Oh Austin. You can google the actual event and read the history. I tried to mostly stay away from just taking pictures of wacky people, so I focused on wacky animals and their people...