Summer has arrived in Puerto Vallarta…with 2 to 4 showers-a-day heat and glorious evening thunderstorms. Plants are in an explosion of growth and fresh green color with the combination of sun and cleansing rain. We, however, may be wilting unless we follow local customs and stop for an afternoon siesta, dress in cool, light cottons, take in an air conditioned afternoon movie now and then, walk on the shady side of the street, and slow down in general. I love being here in the summer.

The operative word this spring has been “garbage.” What to do with it and how to make less of it. It became law in PV that we must all recycle as of January, but the city had no plan for the implementation…only for the penalties! I wasn’t too concerned about that part, but I really wanted to participate. The law says we must all start composting. I couldn’t imagine how all the high rise condos with little or no green space would accomplish this, or how I would in my small apartment. Eventually I found cloth bags for my groceries and began setting aside my plastic items for recycling. It seems that on our nightly (imagine this!!!!) garbage pickup…yes the entire city has service every single night…they are collecting plastics to turn in for money. I’m still working on paper and glass disposal, but already filling containers.

But back to the compost…I was in Santa Cruz in June to celebrate the graduation of my granddaughter Kira. With countless, delicious meals from Tamara’s garden I finally began to notice all this bounty she raises every year…fruits, veggies, and nuts. How fresh and sweet it tasted. My last day in town I had lunch with an old friend, Michael Siegel, and he was so excited to share the news that he had a new garden at his mobile home! He was rapturous about the huge radishes and the crisp lettuce he was growing in a large box. I came home with a book on urban homesteading and my mouth watering. I will have a long wait for my new compost project to “mature,” and the garden box to be built and functioning on my roof, but I have already started little seedlings of herbs and am researching the next steps.

I could pick out Kira and her friends in the lineup of new grads by their unique wild-animal-patterned caps. With her brother Shawn in town, too, we celebrated for several days with family meals, sushi, hikes in the woods, sharing music, ideas, and dreams. I’m waiting to see who will graduate next from a busy list of family students…Shawn, Kira, or their mother with a masters. My trip ended with a visit with my friend Kitty (of Grace… fame) back from Hawaii. We squeezed three years of visiting into a few hours and once again promised not to wait so long next time.

In April, I drove up the coast to Mazatlan for a terrific 5-day monotype workshop with the very accomplished Glen Rogers. Her studio, in Mazatlan’s historic center, was alive with action as we explored the possibilities of this exciting medium. Each monotype is an original, unique piece of art. Glen nudged and encouraged each of us in our individual visions. I left with seven pieces destined for my upcoming show.

Mazatlan was a wonderful surprise brought to life by my lovely hostess and friend Stella Bell…I can’t resist rolling that name around on the end of my tongue! She escorted us to the main plaza where charming restaurants line the edges and live jazz abounds. I was amazed and impressed with the commitment of the city to restore and maintain the old center of the city. The only construction allowed must be in the character of the original. It is inviting and humane, offering a classic theater from the 1800s and a city art museum plus numerous art studios, restaurants, a real central mercado, small hotels and fine shops, as well as private homes…a very livable central district. In Puerto Vallarta, we could learn from their model.

All spring my studio has been a whirlwind of activity as I leapt into a totally new form in my art…pure abstract form and color. I decided not to be nervous whether or not it would work and whether or not it would sell, but just to enjoy the process and explore the edges. On a drizzly evening in early June, I invited the community to an opening of my show New Directions 2008. Nearly 100 passed through my small gallery to see what I had been up to. It seemed they enjoyed it as the comments drifted back to me.

Annual visitor to PV, artist/author/educator, Ann Sayre Wiseman nominated me for membership in The Society of Women Geographers, and the Society voted and extended their invitation. I am very honored to be included in this prestigious group who represent many fields of expertise and a wide range of accomplishments…from astronauts to anthropologists, geologists, journalists, biologists, archaeologists, oceanographers, geographers, economists, diplomats, explorers and ecologists…expanding our knowledge of the earth and its inhabitants.

Updates on two amazing women on the sea…I have written before about Roz Savage who rowed across the Atlantic a few years ago and then set out in 2007 to tackle the Pacific…a pretty daunting thing under sail, but rowing! She had to give up due to heavy weather and problems with her boat. But this summer, she is back out and well on her way!! Congratulations and buena suerte, Roz.

I met Jeanne Socrates a few years ago when she was planning the solo around-the-world voyage, on board her Nereida, that just ended…less than 200 miles from her target at Zihuatenejo, Mexico. What could be more devastating that to circle the globe, round difficult capes, survive and wind up losing your boat (due to a malfunction of the autopilot) a day or two from success. My heartfelt condolences and a wish that life will provide the healing for her loss. Jeanne is a strong, capable woman and will, I am sure, find her way to the next challenging adventure.

Wishing you a beautiful, relaxing, rejuvenating summer with fun, family and friends,


Kira celebrating with her family

Tamara's garden ready for the party

Gourmet cook niece Jude ready to cook a family dinner

Teacher Glen Rogers pulls a tango shoe monoprint
Courtesy of Helen MacKinlay

June 6, waiting for my opening guests to arrive

Glen Rogers makes a surprise appearance at the opening
Courtesy of BoatMexico




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