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How very odd is life on this planet. I'm sitting here at the big terrace table across from Craig. The table is cluttered with notebooks and business cards, drawing tools, scissors, two phones, two computers, assorted paints and brushes, coffee cups and water bottles, and a tiny delicate green moth. Only moments ago, as I opened this web page to publish some photos for you, did I realize and share with Craig a rather amazing fact which I'm now going to share with you. If you've been reading this blog for a year, or for nearly five or somewhere in... Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2014 at San Pancho Vida
I'm not all that sure that absence makes the heart grow fonder, so just let me say that, all evidence aside, I'm still here...-ish. Today is Monday, the first of December. In two weeks from yesterday -- that is, on Sunday evening, the fourteenth of December -- Craig and I will be hosting a grand gala in order to inaugurate La Casita Mágica, our new art gallery. We are busy. You don't even want to see the lists I have surrounding my computer, some with half the items crossed off, others with circles and stars and exclamation points and looping... Continue reading
Posted Dec 1, 2014 at San Pancho Vida
I left you last week at City Museum, one of my new Favorite Places in All the World. Let's go back again today. I want to tell you more about its creator, Bob Cassilly, whose prodigious talent, energy and imagination made this place what it is. He was a hands-on kind of guy who helped his workers transport an entire Ferris wheel, made in 1940 and discovered in a barn, to the roof where it was reassembled. It works. I know because we rode it. Across from the Ferris wheel looms a giant praying mantis he sculpted of metal. We... Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2014 at San Pancho Vida
I've just returned from a whirlwind nine days in the city of Chuck Berry, Lewis & Clark, T.S. Eliot, cotton candy and the ice cream cone, all of which got their start in St. Louis. We went in order to see people and for me to meet the friends, family, and city of Craig Downs, who also got his start in St. Louis and was the best private tour guide imaginable. We had a fabulous time. I found St. Louis, despite its recent well-publicized troubles, to be vital and intelligent, an historical monument in itself, full of fine museums and... Continue reading
Posted Nov 14, 2014 at San Pancho Vida
On Halloween night, Craig and I went to Baja Taco and sat at a table on the sidewalk. The other tables outside were also filled with Halloween-loving candy-givers. It was Craig's first Halloween in Mexico. He went well supplied with two giant bags of candy. And of course, we wore costumes. Meet Morticia and Gomez. Craig had no idea what to expect of San Pancho's version of trick-or-treat. It was a little slow at first, as Mexican children, like Mexican adults, prefer waiting 'til just the right time to begin a party. As soon as it was really dark, out... Continue reading
Posted Nov 2, 2014 at San Pancho Vida
Yeah, I know it's October. Where you live, nights have cooled. Days, too. Perhaps you are watching leaves turn shades of vermilion and copper and the frost is on the pumpkin. Lucky you. According to Curt's weather page,, our heat index today reached 110 degrees Fahrenheit....again. This morning at 8:12 a.m., today's low was 79.6. I was at the little butcher shop down the street yesterday buying a chicken and talking with five Mexican women, all residents here, and believe me, they were not happy either. They eyed my sheer cotton top, which was the only thing I could... Continue reading
Posted Oct 17, 2014 at San Pancho Vida
On Friday the fourth of September, San Pancho began the nine-day festival that I've not seen for several years, having spent my Septembers in other places. The festival reaches its peak on October 4, the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of this pueblo. If you're here, you really can't miss it, even if you'd like to. The fireworks (cohetes, big bottle rockets) announce the dawn every morning at 4:45. They explode again at noon, then again around 6 in the evening when each colonia (neighborhood) has its own parade to the church, during which parade... Continue reading
Posted Oct 10, 2014 at San Pancho Vida
Last Sunday I was honored by an invitation from Lidia and Waldo, my two excellent friends who make my life in Mexico easier and sweeter and with whom I share the responsibility of caring for Casa Luz de Luna. They and their three children are a precious piece of my world. I feel always that we are family, so to be invited to a very special event at the home of Lidia's parents tickled me no end. Miguel Ponce Beltran, Lidia's papa, was having a birthday. Every week for the five previous months, each of his six children had contributed... Continue reading
Posted Oct 4, 2014 at San Pancho Vida
We are in Ajijic, Jalisco, beside Lake Chapala south of Guadalajara. It is the weekend of celebration for Día de Independencia. On Saturday, Ajijic opens the festivities with their festival of globos. Globos, as you may know, are un-personed hot air balloons made of tissue paper held together by tape and heated by flaming fuel. Small ones are marketed here in Mexico, three foot tall balloons which are glorious in their beauty and fragility. Even these take the cooperation of three or four people to launch, as all hands must pull aside the tissue during the lighting process to allow... Continue reading
Posted Sep 27, 2014 at San Pancho Vida
So as I was saying, Jalisco's high country is on the same planet as San Pancho, but it's a different world. We drove the long and winding road behind Puerto Vallarta and began our ascent, leaving behind glossy jungle and air the consistency of peanut butter. In less than two hours, we were in San Sebastián del Oeste and pine country, relishing the feel of coolness on bare arms. The following morning, after a night of cozy fleece blankets and mountain air, we drove the long and winding road down the other side of the Sierra Madre and into the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 21, 2014 at San Pancho Vida
Just back in San Pancho after a little road trip. Happily, it cooled down some while we were away, a result of the two hurricanes off the coast I suppose, which did no damage here. We went down to the beach in the early evening to see how it had changed with the recent wave action. Sure enough, the beach is flatter than it has been in many months, the dunes erased, the estuary water escaping directly out to the sea instead of languishing in front of the beach restaurants causing no end of problems. We ordered a couple of... Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2014 at San Pancho Vida
I write this at 9:20 pm from my favorite hotel, an old hacienda in San Sebastian del Oeste in the mountains east of Puerto Vallarta. It was a lovely drive with hardly any landslides, considering the humongous storm that hit Vallarta and San Pancho and the coast mountains last night. We are on our way to Ajijic tomorrow, down the curvy mountain road into the agricultural valley of Mascota then through sugar cane fields in a shortcut to Lake Chapala. On Saturday we will go to the festival of globos, weather permitting and I sure hope it does. You remember... Continue reading
Posted Sep 11, 2014 at San Pancho Vida
We'll start this one in a field of dreams. One thing I've noticed is that fields of dreams are all different. I think we all have them: that raw material from whence our dreams are born into reality. They can be about things we want to do or about how we want to be. They can be vague or precise visions of the future we desire, or treasure troves of collected wishes, ideas, inclinations, or stuff. They might lie fallow for long periods during which we either ignore them or step timidly around them, not bearing to look. Over time,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 5, 2014 at San Pancho Vida
I'm going to introduce you to three people in next few posts. I don't know them very well, but I know what they do, which is what I want to tell you about. High up on the east slopes of Mt. Rainier, where, at 6400 feet, the paved road that reaches the Sunrise Visitor Center is the highest paved road in Washington, I encountered Sierra Willoughby. It was serendipitous, as most good things are. Craig and I had taken our time down below in the Grove of the Patriarchs, which we visited in my last post. We drove leisurely up... Continue reading
Posted Aug 28, 2014 at San Pancho Vida
I didn't mean to. I had every intention of publishing another post right after that last one. Then my son came for a visit to the Northwest and so did Carol, after which packing happened, which believe me was a long-term project. Then there were all the last minute errands and shopping that are always necessary when leaving the States for an extended time in Mexico. And meanwhile there was the having fun part. We boarded an Alaska jet last Thursday morning. We had one of those dream pilots who fly the plane over the top of every magnificent mountain... Continue reading
Posted Aug 26, 2014 at San Pancho Vida
...Can a Person Take of One Frigging Mountain?? Let's find out, shall we? Last week, we spent five days in another perfect cabin, this one in Ashford, just outside the gates of Mt. Rainier National Park. We'd been gawking at the mountain for weeks, the Seattle area having enjoyed some of that crystalline summer weather that is the reason people stick around up here. These days are like the toy in the Cracker Jack box, the rainbow Easter egg in the spidery grass, the fat ripe blackberry hiding in the sticker bushes. And there was Rainier dominating the horizon, hovering... Continue reading
Posted Aug 9, 2014 at San Pancho Vida
We are on our way to Rainier, once known as Tahoma, "the mountain that was god". We will have no internet for five days. What we will have is more opportunity to explore this little blue planet and what it means to be riding along on it. In the meantime, the Perseid meteor shower approaches its peak. Here in northern Idaho, we've seen a dozen meteors in the past two nights, and we'll be stargazing as much as we can in the coming nights. The Perseids reach their peak this year around August 12, but now is the time to... Continue reading
Posted Jul 31, 2014 at San Pancho Vida
We took a little break from trailer park life this week and went on an overnight road trip. From Sooke to our destination--Tofino, on the west coast of Vancouver Island--is a four hour drive. It took Craig and me seven. Oh, those side trips and side roads. Our first one was a shortcut to Hiway #1 that Glenn told us about. Humpback Road, it's called. He gave us a briefing on it, but even so the reality was a hoot. The little road, one lane wide (and occasionally one and a half), snakes through trees and over hills in the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 23, 2014 at San Pancho Vida
I have two weeks to catch up on, don't I? And truth be told, there's just no way to tell it all. I'm writing this from a trailer in a seaside trailer park on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. There's a gale blowing up at the moment. Barbeque is scrapped; we'd blow away before the burgers were medium rare. Another adventure. If I were to try to describe this traveling and this traveling companion, the joy of it all, the sidetrips and the keeping still, the romance and the conversations, the awe and the hilarity, the learning, delicious minutes... Continue reading
Posted Jul 18, 2014 at San Pancho Vida
Come on. Take a walk down this path with me. Watch the steps. Now have a seat on this bench and enjoy the view while I tell you a tale. I brought you here to Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, in last week's post. Here, from our little forest cabin, we have been enjoying day trips and back road explorations for the past week. Salt Spring caresses and inspires. We eat farm stand food, we breathe the oxygen exhaled by the forest, we walk. We nap when we want to, paint for hours on the back porch, stay up late... Continue reading
Posted Jul 3, 2014 at San Pancho Vida
I woke this morning wrapped in green. It's the first rainy morning we've had in many days. Nature has been good to us on our tour of the grand Pacific Northwest, with many blue-sky mountain-out days. Even today, the rain and sky are soft, the sky white and luminescent, the patter of the raindrops on the leaves of the giant maples as soothing and cozy as rain on the roof of a tent. Craig and I are in the heart of the forest, in a perfect cabin on Salt Spring Island, which snuggles up to Vancouver Island on its east... Continue reading
Posted Jun 27, 2014 at San Pancho Vida
I'm sleeping in a tent. It's a nice tent, all outfitted specially for me by my sister. It has rugs and tables, a lamp, a chair, a big cushy new air mattress with lots of woodsy-looking covers (and an electric blanket after I nearly turned into a popsicle the first night), two feather pillows and one of those chair thingies for reading in bed. My sis is a miracle. I fall asleep to the sound of Barred Owls hooting their strange calls through the forest and awaken to the chatter of dozens of different birds announcing the dawn. In this... Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2014 at San Pancho Vida
Oh my. I've been receiving a number of emails asking "Where are you?" and "Why no posts?" and "Are you okay?". Thanks for your concern and persistence. What happened was, Typepad was down again when I attempted to post two weeks ago, after which I was caught up in the whirlwind of preparing for my sojourn to the north. But I'm fine. Finer than fine. I'm in the Pacific Northwest, enjoying the cool temps, the vistas, and the luscious aromas of cedar and fir and wood fires. It took a while to get here, as Carol and I drove from... Continue reading
Posted Jun 6, 2014 at San Pancho Vida
I was running an errand the other day, dropping off a bag of clothes from my now somewhat more organized closet to Michel at the Lloyd's property management and real estate office. Michel will take them to the hospital here in San Pancho, where she is helping out hugely by purchasing and collecting supplies for the 1400 babies who are born there every year, and for their families who travel from all over this area for their new baby's arrival. Some of them come in threadbare clothing, thus my donation of women's things. She says she has enough now for... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2014 at San Pancho Vida
We had our eyes on the weather satellites this week as the first big storm of the season approached the coast of Mexico. It came ashore far south of us with rain and wind, and somehow managed to fling a big rainstorm into Chacala and La Peñita just north of us, but San Pancho escaped with only a cloudy sky, fresh breezes, and beautiful sunsets. Carol and I took a walk tonight to feel the air and see the beach. The sea was choppy with a surface the color of stainless steel when we first arrived. As the sun slipped... Continue reading
Posted May 9, 2014 at San Pancho Vida