Friday, February 21, 2014

Artistic Talent


As most of you know, San Miguel de Allende is somewhat of an artist’s enclave. However art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder and I have beheld some fairly awful art in my time here. It seems to me that, in general, lack of artistic talent has not dissuaded the average artist here in San Miguel. Granted I am not a qualified critic by any stretch of the imagination but I do know what I like.

And what I like is the work of local artist, Suzy Taylor. She is the real deal. Last week I was accompanying Todd on one of his photographic pursuits when he stopped in an alley to show me the Arroyo Gallery and introduce me to Suzy Taylor. I was amazed and delighted! I had never seen a style quite like Suzy’s before and wasn’t even sure on first inspection what medium she was using.




Her paintings are soft and fluid, almost pastel in appearance, yet she paints in oil. After talking to Suzy about how she developed this unique style I discovered that her artistic talent doesn’t end there. She also designs beautiful clothing and even furniture which she sells in her gallery.


Shan and suz

My brush with greatness


3 piece


Suzy is not only talented on many levels, she is also prolific. Her gallery offers so many paintings in such a variety of colour and style that I experienced a bit of a sensory overload.




If you are decorating your home, would like to see some really unique clothing design or just like to view beautiful art I would recommend a visit to the Arroyo Gallery. The gallery is situated in an alley behind Café Monet in Colonia San Antonio. The address is Rinconada de la Aldea # 27. The phone number is (415) 152-5213 and Suzy can also be contacted at



Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The End Of An Era



Wake 002

Janice Rhinehart Wheatcroft Rothenbush


Last month my aunt Jan died. I am still trying to wrap my brain around that. She was 95 years old and the matriarch of our little clan. For a month now I have been wanting to write a post, a tribute really, but somehow I couldn’t find the words. When I tried to write down what I felt in my heart the words seemed insufficient, almost trite. So instead, I think I will just tell you all a little about this amazing woman who was such an important part of my life.

Jan was my mother’s sister. The two were only a year and a half apart in age and incredibly close until my mother developed Alzheimer’s in the late 1980’s. She had four daughters almost one after another so we were all very close in age and grew up together. The Princess Park and Lynn Valley areas where our families lived were pretty much wilderness in the latter half of the 1950’s and early 60’s and in retrospect, I marvel at how Jan and my mother took the antics of 5 little girls all racing in different directions through the woods in stride.



Jan, Mable and Helen; aunt grandmother and mom


My uncle David, Jan’s husband, was a big strapping fireman that adored his little gaggle of girls. David built a cabin on a small patch of land on Gambier Island, off the coast of Vancouver, and our summers there were full of swimming, hiking and fishing derbies. Sadly he died of a heart attack very young leaving Jan to raise four young girls alone.

The call came while we were at the cabin on Gambier. I was about nine or ten years old at the time with one cousin a year older and 3 younger. I can’t imagine the shock, grief and fear that Jan must have experienced then, but she rallied, got a job, maintained her house, looked after her aging mother and raised her children.

Jan became an accomplished business woman, working for the Citizen Newspaper in North Vancouver for many years. She was also an amazing seamstress and continued to create beautiful clothes and home décor almost until she died. It was easy to forget then that she had begun her career as dancer. When she was young she danced at The Cave in Vancouver with Yvonne De Carlo.

Heartbreakingly we lost my cousin Nancy to a car accident in the mid 90’s and my cousin Sally lives in Europe, Susan in Sechelt, Jannie in North Van and I’m in Mexico so our little family is scattered now. But for Jan’s 80th birthday we came together for a week of fun. It began with dinner on the old Royal Hudson Steam train and a ride up the coast. The picture below is in the train station with Sally, Jan, myself and Susan.



Then we took the 80 year old Jan rock climbing along the river near Pemberton to watch the salmon spawing.


Hiking around the lake near Pemberton.


And she still had energy for laughs and cocktails late into the night in the basement suite Susan was building in one of her townhouses in Pemberton.



I went to Vancouver last month for the first time in 8 years for Jan’s wake. It was wonderful. The only thing missing was Jan herself. She would have loved it! Susan’s stepson Joel made a video of Jan’s life which looped continually throughout the wake. We all watched and remembered and laughed and cried.


Wake 004

In a way she was with us

Wake 018


Even at 95 Jan still found wonder and joy in life every day. She was an inspiration to me and I will miss her.

Friday, February 7, 2014

A Wonderful Surprise



Beach 2013 105


I am still actually playing catch-up. In recent months my life has become much more complicated, and certainly busier. The last few months of last year had left us reeling, both emotionally and financially, with the last unexpected surgery, the hematoma and the resulting infection.

The surgery was expensive (again), and also an unbudgeted expenditure. Then came six weeks of weekly visits to the surgeon in Querétaro, with an additional financial outlay for treatment, medications, ex-rays and gas. Also, for the first time, we really feared that I might lose my leg. All in all by mid December we were pretty much emotionally and financially drained and faced with the need to put early retirement on the back burner.

About that time an angel in the form of my dear friend Leah, from Vancouver, offered us exactly what we needed. When we had last spoken in late November she had mentioned that she and her family were going to go to Bucerias, near Puerto Vallarta, for the week between Christmas and New Year. What she didn’t mention at the time is that she had booked a room for Todd and I as well, at an all-inclusive resort there, the Royal Decameron.

We were gobsmacked, to say the least, by this generous and timely gift! All we had to do was get ourselves there, which is an easy 7 or 8 hour drive, on the beautiful Mexican cuotas, toll roads, from San Miguel.


Beach 2013 079


We had been to the Royal Decameron a couple of times before, once to meet Leah and family and again a couple of years later, with our son and daughter-in-law when they were visiting from Australia. It is a really wonderful vacation with everything you could possibly want included with the price of the room.


Beach 2013 106


There are six colourful buildings, seven different restaurants, and at least five giant swimming pools in the complex, but if you prefer to have your toes in the sand the resort is right on the beach.


Beach 2013 076

Morning Yoga on the beach


There does always seem to be a lot of Canadians at the Royal Decameron. Actually the guests on this last visit seemed to be pretty much split between Canada and Mexico City. I’m not sure where the Americans go, LOL.


Beach 2013 100


The food is amazing, whether you are dining in one of the buffets, which have a different theme each evening, or one of the Japanese, Italian, Brazilian, Thai or Mexican Fusion restaurants.


Beach 2013 097


It’s not really necessary to leave the complex but we did go into Puerto Vallarta and Bucerias on a few occasions for sightseeing, and Leah’s high intensity shopping.


Beach 2013 139

Along the Malecon in PV

Beach 2013 143


Beach 2013 145


But after a day in the city it was nice to get back to the Royal Decameron.


Beach 2013 116


Beach 2013 131


Beach 2013 064

My friend Jorge, the iguana


Now much relaxed, we are once again ready to take on the world and facing the new year with a better outlook. Not to mention working our sorry little butts off!

Thank you Leah!