Tag Archives: Ajijic

A Healthy and Delicious Breakfast!

A Healthy and Delicious Breakfast!

We are so fortunate to have access to the freshest and BEST produce here. Our breakfast yesterday consisted of blackberries and blueberries grown on the mainland (near where Ron’s sister, Mary, lives at Ajijic, beside Lake Chapala and half an hour from Guadalajara), fresh organic papaya from our friend, Alberto, who lives and has his organic farm just outside of San José del Cabo, fresh whole walnuts from Ron’s Mom that are grown near Santa Clara, CA, and fresh pomegranate, picked in our garden the day before. Add some yogurt and some homemade granola – an explosion of flavor and goodness to start the day!


Mother Mary

Ron and I are both so fortunate to still have our amazing mothers. My sparkplug of a Mom is 85 years young and living independently on our family farm east of Innisfail, Alberta. Ron’s Mom, Mary, turned 97 this past December and still lives in their family home of over 65 years in Santa Clara, CA and still takes total care of her home, herself and everyone in her life.

Mother Mary is an inspiration to all who know her. She’s an excellent driver and cruises all over Silicon Valley for her medical appointments and to pick up the organic groceries she prepares her legendary food with. An example of her eternal optimism, she bought a new car after an accident shortly after her 96th birthday (which was NOT her fault, by the way). She is still traveling every February to visit her oldest daughter and son-in-law, Mary and John, in Ajijic, just outside of Guadalajara, Mexico.  She brings her youngest daughter, Claire, with her now and Ron and I try to get over to the mainland to share some precious time with Mother Mary and some of the family.

Mother Mary in Ajijic

Mother Mary in Ajijic

Mary and Jake raised six children in their modest bungalow. Their home was filled not only with their own children, but with all the kids’ friends. Everyone was welcome and still is in Mother Mary’s home.

Mary made my Mom welcome back in early March. Our Moms got on the phone and conspired to meet, so Ron and I picked Mom up in San José, they spent a couple of days together, then we took my Mom down to Palm Springs with us for the Indian Wells BNP Tennis Tournament. It was very special to see these girls together, forming a new friendship, and learning that their lives shared many parallels that had much in common.

My Mom and Mother Mary

My Mom and Mother Mary

Neither of these women had easy lives and both started with extremely difficult childhoods. What could have made both of these women bitter had the complete opposite effect. Both chose to not be victims but rather the victors in their own lives. These women are my heroines.

I’ve been learning some of Mother Mary’s recipes over the years, watching her make them and listening to her explain, writing some of them down, taking photos of others so that her food will live on. It’s embarrassing when we visit twice a year because she won’t let us do ANYTHING for her, from food prep to even the dishes after one of her sumptuous meals. We spent almost a week with Mary and she treated us to a couple of her famous dishes and our favorites: Portuguese Omelet (with carmelized onions and flat leaf parsley), French Toast (with Trader Joe’s Cracked Wheat Sourdough Bread), Lamb Stew and her “Boiled Dinner” of corned beef, potatoes, cabbage, onions and carrots. The leftover corned beef made of the best road food sandwiches ever – we enjoyed them for days after we left Mother Mary’s.

Lamb Stew

Lamb Stew

Corned Beef "Boiled Dinner"

Corned Beef “Boiled Dinner”

The last thing I wanted to do was bring illness into her home, but I succumbed to a bad flu/cold while we were visiting this last trip. Mother Mary immediately made a pot of chicken soup for me, which I feasted on every few hours for three days. I absolutely attribute her soup to my quick recovery. It was so delicious that I hated for it to end. She uses her Aunt May’s recipe which is filled with goodness. She started with three pounds of organic chicken legs that she cleans with salt before cooking. She covers with water and boils for one hour. Remove the chicken and set aside. Add celery, onion, carrots and, five minutes before serving, add some white rice and chopped parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve. Mary maintains that you need to sip on a small cup of this broth every few hours for the soup to work it’s best magic. Heat it up, with or without chicken taken off the bone, in the microwave to reheat. Mother Mary’s penicillin – it really works!

One of the things that Mary requested of us was to take a trip to Grass Valley to see her younger sister, Rosalie, who recently broke her leg and is scheduled for surgery in the near future. Rosalie is over 90 years old, as is their brother, Tony, and all of them are bright and in amazingly good health. A special cousin of theirs, affectionately known as “Little Mary” accompanied us that day and she is unbelievably healthy and beautiful – believe me, it’s shocking when you learn that she’s 84 years-old! Each and every one of these Portuguese seniors looks at least 20 years younger than their actual age indicates – they share some very special “fountain of youth” DNA!

Mother Mary, "Little Mary" and Aunt Rosalie

Mother Mary, “Little Mary” and Aunt Rosalie

Never does a birthday or special occasion go by with Mary not sending a card and letter to acknowledge people and let them know she’s thinking of them. She demonstrates kindness, generosity and tremendous thoughtfulness to everyone who knows her. She is grateful for her extraordinary health and her ability to share with others and does so every single day. WE are incredibly grateful for both of our beautiful and precious Moms. We love them both with all our hearts and always will. xox

At Long Last!

I’d never played tennis until I met Ron just over three years ago.  He’s been very patiently teaching me proper technique and fundamentals – I’ve had the benefit of the greatest instruction from the BEST teacher and I was starting to wonder (and I’m sure he was!) if I was ever going to attain a reasonable level of competence.


I’ve felt a self-imposed pressure to play well so that it reflects well on Ron, who is truly a great instructor.  Ron’s motive has been to get me to a level of proficiency so that I enjoy the game, am able to play with him or anyone else, to play well and to be able to hold my own in both singles and doubles matches.


At the end of February, we spent just over a week at Ron’s sister and brother-in-law’s magnificent home in Ajijic where they have a beautiful tennis court (thank you so much Mary and John for everything!), followed by ten days in Palm Desert where we played most days at our friend’s club (sincere thanks, Pete!) where he is the Director of Tennis.  After many hours of concentrated tennis on this trip, I finally “got it” and began playing with much greater consistency and competence.  All of those hours that Ron has invested in me are finally starting to pay off.


I have a long way to go to be a consistently strong player, but I feel that I’m on the road and so much closer.  Thank you, Ron, for not giving up on me.  I love the game and am very excited to continue to progress and become a player that Ron can be proud of and that I now know I can be.