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 observ­ing the...
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 ©xico, 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,...


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...


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 ©xico, 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



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

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 the arrival into Mex­i­co City.
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
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



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....
Turn the car around

Turn the car around

No seri­ous­ly, I swear there are zebras back there. Noth­ing like clas­sic week­end Amer­i­cana in Texas Hill Country. Best unex­pect­ed zebra detail: fuzzy ears I just hope they aren’t for sell­ing zebra meat.