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 of 2012 basi­cally. We received...
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 on. So, the...
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 enough...
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. A teacher from a local school...
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 young women...
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, we switched to...
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 it to the top...
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 in San...
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 and...
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 one day...
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 mix­ture. This...
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 walls of their kitchens or...
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 mid­dle...
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 see...
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 road and bug...
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 much, except inter­est­ing times as usual. Oh,...
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 a tri­pod won’t really...
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 that...
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 do...
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 been in...
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 seemed to have excit­ing plans and...
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 the visit to the Bosque la Pri­mav­era....
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 and want...
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 these days, I try to just...
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 Span­ish for “ani­mal shel­ter”.  Then, a few...
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 at: (linked...
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. It is...
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 it was still a strange...
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 of top-roping ....
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 things...
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 into the...
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 to describe...
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 Méx­ico, A.C. These kids would...
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 am so...
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 that some­times I am each...
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 find the per­fect...
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 took,...
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. It seemed...
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 the...
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 with large paper mache...
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. Many, many...
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, while...
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 actu­ally I had a great, but busy...
(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 bit early in the evening to...
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 pretty great to have a cat to...
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 though I was slower than...
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 an oppor­tu­nity to pass up....
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 for the fact...
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 post about...
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 about and then buy...
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 then whiskey....
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 most of the exhibit,...
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 morn­ing (appar­ently some­what des­per­ately)...
(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. A few...
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 to go buy another pil­low...
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 ticket online the day before,...
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 can bring...
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, and I’m...
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 they...
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 heard some­thing about the...
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 crag. It was...
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 time. How­ever, a lot of these...
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 tried in a cou­ple of attempts, except for...
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 train­ing “this isn’t a pro­fes­sional envi­ron­ment,...
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 today is mov­ing...
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 to start iron­ing...
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 for...
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 can’t wait to...
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 in the...
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 cen­ter. There are...
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 we...
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 go out and start...
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 are fair...
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 is still fan­tas­tic....
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 time in the beau­ti­ful...
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 green bak­ery,...
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 can­celed. the trou­ble...
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 from the arena....
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 build­ings,...
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 dis­ap­pointed...
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 group les­son to those...
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 what level of...
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 a week delayed, but here is...
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 to go in....
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 recon­sider what I am try­ing to take...
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 up my “Peace...
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 test will be when I can work...
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 full list, I’m embar­rassed by a few of...
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 in “stor­age”...
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 the snow­shoes, but...
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 film­maker...
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 some decent pic­tures. No more bad cell...
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. After an errant...
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 well it works.  
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 instead....