Meet the Experts
Your Living at Lake Chapala writing team is dedicated to a single
goal—helping to make your visit or move to Lake Chapala stress-free,
fun-filled and with as few surprises and disappointments as possible.
We remember what it was like to be new here. We understand the concerns
and questions you may have about visiting another country and about building
your own new life at Lakeside. We have the expertise and experience; we're
ready to pass along what we've learned to help you avoid our mistakes
and learn from our triumphs.
We love living in Mexico and we know that living in the Chapala and Ajijic
area can be a viable option for those of you who are looking for adventure
in a great climate with great people.
Judy King, Editor in Chief
My passion is studying Mexico's people, cuisine, places and cultural events
and then sharing that information, and the adventure of life in Mexico
through newcomer talks and articles. While some of my articles have been
published in El Ojo del Lago, the Lake Chapala Review and
in the electronic magazine Mexico Connect, most of my best efforts
are contained right here, in the issues of Living at Lake Chapala.
I have been dubbed "The Ajijic Storyteller" by Focus on Mexico.
My writing is all part of my new life in Mexico. When I was an Iowa farmwife
and mother of three, I thought my life was set in stone, that I would
always lead that role. Then, the thought of living in Mexico would never
have occurred to me, yet here I am.
I suffered extreme culture shock when I moved to Southern California from
rural Iowa. Seven years later, my 1990 vacation to Guadalajara and Lake
Chapala seemed easy; I felt like I had come home. I knew I had to live
in Mexico—to learn, to teach, and to be complete.
A surprise benefit of moving to Mexico was the remission of the Fibromyalgia
that debilitated me in California. Within weeks of my arrival, I was able
to resume many favorite activities: entertaining, reading, sewing and
painting. After a couple of years, I was designing clay, glass and iron
accessory pieces that were produced here for export.
During my first 11 years, I sold real estate here at Lake Chapala, and
was responsible for agent training and testing. Eventually I discovered
that I am better at helping newcomers find the information and skills
they need to move to and live in Mexico than I was at selling houses.
My desire to convey information to newcomers has been the driving force
that led to founding Living at Lake Chapala—the magazine and the
weekly informative newcomer seminars.
The Living at Lake Chapala Writing Team
Jim Tipton was a beekeeper and poet in his former Frutis,
Colorado, home. His work, poetry and prose, is widely published, including
credits in The Nation, South Dakota Review, Southern Humanities Review,
The Greensboro Review, Esquire, Field, and American Literary Review
as well as various anthologies and other works.
His most recent collection of poems,
Letters from a Stranger, with a Foreword by Isabel Allende
(Conundrum Press, 1998), won the 1999 Colorado Book Award in Poetry. He
is currently working on a new collection of poetry in the ecstatic tradition,
The King of Ajijic.
Zofia Barisas was born in Montreal, Canada. She attended
the School of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts before moving to Toronto
where she studied Interior Design at Ryerson. She has done house renovations
and landscaped gardens in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. She has traveled
through the Americas, Europe and part of North Africa. She is fluent in
four languages. She lives at the foot of the mountain in Jocotepec, Mexico,
where she writes, paints, reads, bakes bread and enjoys walking up the
mountainside along goat paths. You can read some of her work in the new
anthology, Agave Marias, published last year by the members of
a Lake Chapala writers' group.
Karen Blue, Co-Founder
Karen Blue escaped the corporate jungle of Silicon Valley
in 1997 to search for balance in the cobblestone streets of the village
of Ajijic. It was a simple comment at the Ajijic Writers Group that guided
Blue to write and publish her first book, Midlife Mavericks: Women Reinventing
Their Lives in Mexico.
Blue also authored five years of monthly columns titled "Living in Mexico—From
a Woman's Perspective" for the electronic magazine, Mexico Connect before
she joined forces with Judy King to co-found Living at Lake Chapala.
About two years into the production of this electronic magazine, Blue
decided to take retirement more seriously, in order to travel more and
spend more time with her grandson. She's been doing an admirable job accomplishing
these goals, and yet still occasionally finds time to write a new article
for our pages.
Carol Bowman and husband, Ernie Sowers moved to Lake Chapala from
PA in Nov. 2006. A social worker and Director of Admissions at a PA Psychiatric
Hospital for 35 years, Carol's outlet of travel writing helped preserve
her sanity over the years. Visiting 55 countries before retirement, Carol's
early articles appeared regularly in Latin American publications Honduras
This Week, Tico Times and Belize First Magazine. Since arriving at Lakeside,
Carol has been a frequent contributor to El Ojo del Lago, Lake Chapala
Review and is proud to now add Living at Lake Chapala to the list. She
teaches English at Wilkes Education Center through LCS and became Co-ordinator
of that English as a Second Language program in January 2008. Her husband,
Ernie, photographer for Carol's articles, is an avid golfer and serves
on the Board of Directors of Chapala Country Club.
Jeanne Miriam Breen
Jeanne Miriam Breen is from New York City originally, then spent 24 years in San Francisco,
and came to Mexico five years ago. She now lives in Chapala and loves it there.
She has written articles for a number of magazines, including Parenting, Natural Health
and The Whole Earth Review. A long time ago, she wrote a monthly column in English for
a Hispanic magazine in the United States.
Not Content to be a map maker and author of the highly acclaimed book,
Western Mexico—A Traveller's Treasury, Tony Burton
is also a writer, educator and naturalist who has lived most of his adult
life in Mexico—including ten years on the shores of Lake Chapala.
Tony revels in leading annual excursions to Mexican places of ecological
interest such as the Copper Canyon and especially to Michoacán:
the areas around the volcano near Paricutín and the winter home
sites of the migratory Monarch butterflies.
Marianne Carlson founded the annual Lakeside event
Feria Maestros del Artes in 2002 in an attempt to provide Mexico's
struggling artists and artisans with an active venue in which to sell
their wares. Marianne, who is an expert in the arts and artisans of
Mexico displays and sells many examples of the country's work in her
Ajijic gallery, Galería Maestros del Arte, Colon #13.
After 15 years of making her living by creating art and three years as
the curator of an art center near Santa Cruz, California, Judy Dykstra-Brown
moved to San Juan Cosalá in 2001, determined to spend her time
writing. Old habits die hard and she spends an increasing amount of time
supporting and publicizing artistic events, particularly those that involve
San Juan Cosalá artists.
When Judy lived in South Dakota, Wyoming, Australia, Ethiopia and California
she taught English and creative writing, worked for a television production
company, was a jewelry maker, metal smith and maker of shadow box scenes.
Her writings are found in Agave Marias, a new anthology recently
published by 10 Lakeside women writers as well as New Poets In Los Angeles
and a number of poetry journals. In 2002, her poetry won first place in
the Tennessee Writer's Guild national poetry competition.
Steven A. Frowine
Active garden writer and speaker Steven A. Frowine now resides
in Ajijic where he continues to write gardening books and serves as a
horticultural consultant for various estates in the Lake Chapala area.
He holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in horticulture, managed one of the largest
orchid collections in the United States and has worked professionally
in premier botanical gardens and horticultural businesses throughout the
US. Steve has written Gardening Basics for Dummies, Orchids for Dummies,
Fragrant Orchids, Miniature Orchids and another orchid book that will
be released in August 2008: Phalaenopsis, the Complete Guide to Growing
Diane Goldstein and her life partner Ellen Wicker began
their new life at Lake Chapala in early June of 2006. Diane's first Living
at Lake Chapala article ran in the magazine months earlier and
recorded the pair's first impressions of the area. Now that they are here,
you can expect to hear more from this expressive and lively pair. Diane
has been keeping careful notes about the entire process of moving here,
and boy does she have stories to tell! Diane and Ellen were both once
social workers in Northern California, but Diane is no newcomer to writing
as you'll soon discover.
Former Canadian Snowbird Harriet Hart has graduated from wintering
in an Ajijic village home with summers at Kakagi Lake in north-western
Ontario. In 2008, she and husband Paul have sold the lake cabin and bought
a full-time home at Lakeside. Harriet has been writing for Living at Lake
Chapala since early 2004. Prior to her retirement, Harriet was Director
of Rehabilitation for the Manitoba division of the Canadian Paraplegic
Association, where (for 16 years) she wrote a column in the agency newsletter
and then edited it the last two years of her work life. In addition to
work-related pieces, she completed two creative writing courses at the
University of Winnipeg. She reports that husband Paul and grown son Nathaniel
provide her with plenty of great material for her favorite field, creative
Janet Holt is a native Texan who has had a lifelong love affair with Mexico.
She and her husband, Mike, have been south of the border many times over
the years and one day soon she hopes they can call Lakeside home.
Janet is a gerontologist and licensed professional counselor from Houston
whose specialty is helping people through life transitions. In addition
to workshops on aging, she has developed a series of continuing education
seminars for other counselors related to aging Baby Boomers.
Janet also loves writing. She is nearing completion of her first book
about financial literacy, An Investment Guide That Starts from Scratch.
She has written extensively for a travel newsletter and will see her essay
in print in an anthology titled, I Didn't Get Old Being Stupid
due to be released in January.
Typical of many Lakeside residents, Sandy Jeronimo's
life North of the border was filled with adventures and travel. Her several
careers included stints as a toy buyer and free lance writer for magazines
such as Women's Day and Family Circle. Now in her second year at Lakeside,
Sandy is continuing her artistic and journalistic interests.
A regular contributor to Living at Lake Chapala, Teresa Kendrick
is a professional journalist, writer and press consultant. Teresa recently
published a second edition of her extremely popular guide book to Lakeside,
Mexico's Lake Chapala and Ajijic: The Insider's Guide. She edited
Don Adams' well-known book, Head for Mexico: The Renegade Guide.
You'll find more of her work in The Agave Marias. Her other recent
project is Tales from La Maracuyá.
Before Teresa moved to Mexico in 1994, she was involved with the arts,
public relations and publicity for galleries, museums and other events.
Michael G. McLaughlin
In 2005, Michael G. McLaughlin sold most of his worldly belongings in
Sacramento, moved to Lake Chapala, and never looked back. His days are
now filled with perfect weather, time to write and Spanish language lessons.
OK, and maybe a margarita or two.
His short stories have appeared in the Orlando Sentinel newspaper, Aphelion
(Australia), La Fenetre (French), Prose Toad, The Piker Press, Long Short
Story, Turbular, Gold Dust (United Kingdom) Taj Mahal (India) Searchlights/Landing
Lights, Barfing Frog Press, Piker Press, The Harrow, Write Side Up, Pens
on Fire, New Graffiti, Shine and Sun Dog.
While a captive in the United States he founded, directed and performed
with a small comedy theater, appeared in television commercials and worked
in many lackluster jobs to pay the bills. Presently he performs with an
improvisational comedy troupe in Mexico called Spanglish Imposition—the
only English speaking troupe between Tijuana and Terra del Fuego.
Bill Mesusan and his wife Julie Mesusan came to Lakeside in October
2005; they bought a house in Villa Nova just in time to celebrate their
29th wedding anniversary in Ajijic. Bill retired in 2004 after a successful
23-year career in local (California) government. His last position was
as a Senior Management Analyst for Santa Clara County (Silicon Valley
in California) Roads and Airports Department. In additional to the articles
he is currently writing, Bill is researching and writing a nonfiction
novel, Still Waiting for Justice: A Journey into the Legend of Joaquin
Murrieta which relates the true story of California's most famous outlaw.
When the Mesusans received an enticing offer on their Villa Nova home,
they accepted it and returned to California where they can be closer to
their daughters and grand-cats. They now enjoy extended Lakeside vacations
while Bill researches upcoming articles for Living at Lake Chapala and
area print magazines.
One of the long-time residents of Lakeside, Dale Palfrey has experienced
it all. Her husband was owner and head-master of one of the area's private
schools for many years, Dale and Wayne's children are now in their teens
and have grown up here at Lakeside, and all the while Dale has been studying
the culture, customs and traditions of Mexico to share in her free-lance
articles in the Guadalajara Reporter, Mexico Connect and many other
When Phyllis Rauch and her Austrian husband Georg drove
from the U.S. to Mexico in 1967, it was a two-month journey that changed
the lives of this talented and artistic couple. Phyllis and Georg ended
up living in Guadalajara for three years while Phyllis was a tri-lingual
guide for the 1968 cultural Olympics. Although they spent the next seven
years in Laguna Beach, California, where Phyllis was branch librarian
at the San Clemente library (during the Nixon years) they yearned to return
When the couple returned to Mexico in 1976 it was to build their dream
home on a hillside overlooking Lake Chapala near the village of Jocotepec.
There Georg has continued creating fabulous works of art, Phyllis has
grown to love art, gardening and writing and the couple has also managed
Los Dos Bed and Breakfast on their one-acre property. Recently Phyllis
edited and translated the book The Jew with the Silver Star which
Georg wrote about his life in the Austrian army during WWII.
Mexican Kitchen Advisor
Lorraine Russo was on hand, as Executive Chef, to open the new
kitchen and the La Ruso dining room of when Ajijic's La Nueva Posada opened
their doors in August 2000. Commenting on her life and experiences, Lorraine
said, "It's been a wild and exiting journey traveling from my Italian
grandmothers' New Jersey kitchens to my position and life here at Lake
Chapala. "Along the way I studied interior design in Greenwich Village
in New York City and then attended the Culinary Institute of America in
New York. Over the years, I've had a booking company and managed musicians
and night clubs, had my own antiques business, gourmet restaurant (Lorraine's),
barbeque place and a steak house, most in Austin, Texas."
Joan Alita Ray &
The talented couple of Joan Alita Ray and Clay Swinburn
moved to Mexico just a few years ago. Joan Alita Ray retired from a career
as a newspaper and magazine publisher in Alaska and Portland, Oregon.
During her 50 years in Alaska, she also wrote articles for print and electronic
media about that state's unique people and culture. Clay Swinburn enjoyed
teaching history and currently is working on a pair of books that share
his interest in Mexican and Texas history. Joan and Clay have lived in
their Ajijic home long enough to have become embroiled in interesting
remodeling projects during the spring and summer of 2006, and then undaunted
have undertaken the construction of a granny flat back in Portland. When
they get the cement debris and saw dust out of their hair they'll be back
with more articles.
Jeanne M. Scoville
Sometimes a very special story brings a writer to our pages. Jeanne
M. Scoville is a Registered Nurse with a B.S. specializing
in wellness, preventive medicine and social gerontology (the study of
aging) and a special miracle to share with our readers. We've presented
it as a holiday gift in the December 2006 issue. Jeanne is a world traveler
who has studied natural medicine and healing with the indigenous elders
and curanderos (healers) of many different cultures and many
lands. Another of her careers had her producing documentary films, including
"Nine Initiations On The Nile." This film is an initiation journey conducted
by Barbara Hand Clow, a Cherokee Medicine Woman with Hakkim, an indigenous
Egyptian tribal leader and archaeologist who has lectured at the University
of Chicago. They travel with a group of students to the Great Pyramid
in Egypt as well as to various temple sites along the Nile. Jeanne now
lives in Jocotepec where she feels she has come home.
A social worker and psychotherapist by profession, Alison Solomon
has taught graduate psychology in several universities and been published
in newspapers, magazines and anthologies. She has written advice columns
for several publications and has chapters in numerous professional texts.
Here at Lakeside she has jumped right into local activities, lending her
expertise to the planning committee of the annual writers conference and
serving as lay leader for the Lake Chapala Jewish community.
It's never too late to take the plunge and move to Lake Chapala. Writing
team member Tom Stephenson made the move he'd been dreaming about
for years in August 2006 when he arrived from San Juan Capistrano, California
with a pair of suitcases at the age of 88. Tom has an fascinating resume
of achievements, experiences and former homes around the world. He was
a weekly newspaper columnist back in California and jumped right into
the mainstream of Lake Chapala activities and wrote his first article
for Living at Lake Chapala before most folks have their bags unpacked.
After living most of his life out of the U.S., Tom is adjusting quickly
to life in Mexico, and has much wisdom to share with other expats. These
days he's publishing his own delightful bits of wisdom from his view point
in the Lake Chapala Review.
Shirley Thayer worked for 25 years in the non- and for-profit sectors
in the fields of communication, administration and fund raising. She wrote
hard news, features and a thrice-weekly column for a Southern California
daily newspaper where she also coordinated community news coverage. She
went on to have her own communications business providing writing, editing,
advertising, marketing and fund raising services for non-profits. She
briefly published her own weekly newspaper with a focus on positive, community
coverage and co-authored a book published by Prentice Hall.
Shirley grew up in Connecticut and lived in Southern California and Central
Oregon before moving to Chapala in early 2008. She has long loved the
Mexican culture and life style and finds herself very much at home in
Elsa Wasserman was formerly a school psychologist, high school
principal, national school improvement consultant, and mental health counselor,
to name a few highlights in a multi-faceted career. "Right now," she says,
"I'm in my seventh iteration as a non-fiction writer here at Lakeside
writing "personal essays" to which readers can relate. My other big interests
are my three children, their spouses, and my grandchildren. I am taking
my six grandchildren on a cruise to Alaska in June. That should provide
the stuff for a great and funny article.
Marvin West, mostly retired after just 42 years with Scripps Howard
newspapers, is senior partner in an international communications consulting
company. His regular columns entitled "Westwords" have appeared in Mexico
Connect's e-magazine. Eventually he plans these articles will become his
fourth book, Mexico? What you doing in Mexico?
Christy Wiseman visited Lakeside in 1960 during the summer
trip to Guadalajara with two college friends and the Mexican aunt of her
friend, Susanna Delgado. That trip was a life-changing experience for
Christy who discovered her passion in learning cultural differences and
studying language. Christy taught French and English at the high school
and community college levels for 33 years while raising three sons and
taking more than 25 tour groups to France and to England. Christy and
husband Beau moved to Lakeside after a two-week trip. Beau has rekindled
his interest in music and plays with a local group while Christy writes,
quilts, enjoys music, auctions and expos and eating out.
Travis M. Whitehead
Travis M. Whitehead is currently researching and writing a book
about the artisans of Michoacán. Travis moved to Morelia in March
2008 and has spent his time exploring the villages of the state, visiting
the artisans in their workshops and learning about their techniques and
daily lives. His book seeks to reveal similarities between the artisans
and readers in the United States while telling the "story behind the story"
of their crafts.
Travis became interested in the artisans during a 9-year stint as a reporter
for The Monitor newspaper in McAllen, Texas, where he wrote three packages
of articles about the craftsmen of Michoacán: the Day of the Dead
crafts festivities in Patzcuaro, the Domingo de Ramos crafts fair and
competition in Uruapan, and the guitar festival in Paracho. Those experiences
captivated his heart and compelled him to write a full length book.
Travis worked as a US Army photo-journalist in Panama, and in Iraq after
the first Gulf War in 1991 where he managed the civilian press during
the Kurdish refugee operation.
Meet Some of Our Other Favorite Contributors
Don Adams retired from teaching and moved to Lakeside from Texas during
the summer of 2000. Don is well known for his contributions on Mexico Connect
and Living at Lake Chapala and for his first book, Head for Mexico:
The Renegade Guide. Accredited to teach English as a second language,
Adams taught in San Luís Potosí and several coastal areas
before his move to Lakeside. During his time at Lake Chapala, Don worked
to help create a children's library in San Antonio Tlayacapan and was
a hit sensation in his portrayal as "God" (gowned in purple satin and
complete with cotton and construction paper beard.) These days Don is
back in Texas, supervising the construction of a new home on another lake.
In Florida, Sandy Bell was an award winning marketing manager, but once
she and husband Larry arrived on the scene at Lake Chapala, Sandy began
writing professionally. Her travel articles have also appeared in International
Living, CLUBMEX, El Ojo Del Lago, and Today's Arizona Woman.
Ann Brandt began writing when she lived in Chapala from 1988 to 1993.
She returned to the United States in search of an editor and agent. HarperCollins
published her first novel Crowfoot Ridge in 1998. She toured with
the book and spoke at many writers' conferences. Finally she was free
to return to this little corner of Mexico, and shared with our readers
two articles, one an excerpt from her book in progress, Down to Your Skivvies.
We met David Buchen at a Living at Lake Chapala seminar. David,
who is a former professor at the University of Wisconsin, lived at Lakeside
for about three years before moving to New Mexico for another reincarnation
and life, this time coordinating college classes on the internet and tour
groups to Mexico and other areas. While at Lake Chapala, he enjoyed his
volunteer position to help support and educate the children in one of
the area orphanages.
Ed Burton and his wife, Anne, have been full-time residents of Ajijic
for over a dozen years. Ed spent 21 years in Canada as a corporate pilot,
senior airline manager and aviation accident investigator. He has extensive
knowledge of the Lakeside area and enjoys guest writing for us on occasion—especially
articles that match his areas of interest—home handyman projects,
traveling the Lakeside area on area buses, and comparative shopping.
Guest contributor Michael R. Carmona lives in Austin, Texas. His work
life is all about computer programming, but his great loves include Mexican
folkloric dancing, all kinds of music, cooking, baking, gardening, photography—the
list is really long! We think Michael would fit right in here at Lakeside,
especially since his first language is Spanish. Michael gave us special
permission to share his article about the traditional Christmas morality
plays, Las Pastorelas from his personal website.
Linda and Wayne Conklin
When Wayne and Linda Conklin opened their home to Lucero, a Mexican Exchange
Student, they had no idea they would come to love their adopted daughter's
country so that they would end up living in Mexico for several years.
This enthusiastic couple took the town by storm, and shared their considerable
talents in many groups and activites. The local chapter of Rotary Club
International, the Irish Club, the Chili Cook-Off, The Needle Pushers,
and the Open Circle members enjoyed the dedicated organization and contributions
of this pair, as well as their music on hammered dulcimer and autoharp.
The Conklins returned to Michigan in time to greet their first grandchild.
Marilyn P. Davis
Marilyn Davis was an anthropologist who studied the indigenous people
of a small, remote village of Mexico for 28 years. She divided her time
between the US, her studies in Mexico, and her 27 Mexican godchildren
and their families. She was the author of Mexican Voices, American Dreams,
a book which is now out-of-print, but sometimes found with an Internet
search. Marilyn died less than a year after we printed her thoughts on
Mother's Day in Mexico.
Heading up a center for renewal in San Miguel Allende is only the tip
of the iceberg of the talents and projects of writer and guide Joseph
Dispenza, who has also written an article for our pages. For more information
about the spiritual adventure in San Miguel Allende, contact Joseph at
Joy Birnbach Dunstan
When Joy Birnback Dunstan first appeared in our pages it was to write
about her move to Mexico. Entitled "Everything by Locusts," it helped
a number of new residents to realize even Joy, a trained mental health
worker and therapist, experienced the same pangs and problems as they
had. Now four years later, Joy is back in our pages, this time she is
the topic of an interview article about her life here, and how she has
developed a practice, a safe place for others to come and talk, to work
out these difficult times of life.
One of the first rules for writers is to write what you know, and Karen
did just that for Living at Lake Chapala readers when she reported on
the RV parks available in the area during our first year of publication.
Unfortunately one of the biggest and best of those spots has since closed
and is now a housing development and Karen has returned to the United
States after her brief sojourn here.
How does a nice Jewish girl from the Bronx end up living in a small Mexican
fishing village? You have to meet Sheila Gutman who moved to Lakeside
in 2003 with her just-as-interesting husband Leo. Both of the Gutmans
are former teachers, and although they "retired" they continue to teach:
Leo at a local private school and Sheila through an internet college course,
and summer classes for the children in one of the area orphanages.
Paul Heller is a travel writer with a mission—he wants to travel
the world and report his experiences of all the world has to offer. We
met Paul during his sojourn to Lake Chapala last fall. His view of Lakeside,
superimposed on a lifetime of travel that began 25 years ago with a student
jaunt to Asia, is different from that of most Lakeside visitors. Paul
didn't come to audition Lakeside as a retirement location; this was but
one stop he made on an extended Mexican adventure that also took him to
an indigenous medicine course in Cuernavaca and additional Spanish classes
Brad Henderson and Debbie Falk, a husband and wife from central Canada,
have lived in Latin American countries for many years while working for
Habitat for Humanity. With their much-loved dogs they recently moved from
Santiago, Chile to Ajijic and shared their very real impressions with
Living at Lake Chapala readers.
Jerry Hesser and his wife, Dana, have traveled throughout Mexico since
1979, and have lived in Ajijic for eight winters. Jerry says he travels
to delight his senses, broaden his experiences and develop new relationships.
The Minnesotan writer has published a book of stories discovered along
these byroads. It is entitled Las Cucarachas' Tails: A Storyteller's Travel
Escapades Along the Ways of Mexico.
Born in a small mining town in the Mexican state of Durango to a German
father and Mexican mother, Ilse Hoffmann worked for many years with people
in the Northern deserts of Mexico and still assists two Guadalajara programs
for disadvantaged and disabled children.
She has written non-stop ever since 1975 for various publications in Torreon
and Guadalajara, and El Ojo del Lago. Most recently, Ilse became
a licensed tourist guide, using her English and social work abilities
to help newcomers, future retirees and business people get acquainted
Another of Lakeside's movers and shakers moved to the area from New Jersey
in 2000. Here Ann has been instrumental in organizing the Jewish Community,
an Atkins Diet Group, Niños Incapacidados, other charity projects
and many of the facets of the Lake Chapala Society. Since she's now given
up riding her bright red scooter, you'll have to spot Ann walking her
beloved dog, Shira, on the beach every morning.
Scott Michael Long
Scott Michael Long has lived in Mexico for eleven years. His first home
was in Ajijic and he now resides in nearby Guadalajara. In his North of
the border incarnation he was involved in entertainment marketing. In
his South-of-the-border life he writes articles about life and living
in Mexico and his preference, long form fiction. One book, Burning Roses,
has been published, with (he reports) precious few copies sold.
Barbara Lotito, PhD
A former professor of Spanish at the University of Conn. Barbara Lotito
has tp dedicate her life to teaching since her retirement to Lake Chapala
in 1999. Here Barbara continues to teach Spanish, as well as many types
of water exercise, Watsu, a form of massage in water and other alternative
methods of returning to health.
After spending much of her career in newspaper and radio advertising,
and as a consumer commentator on CBC-TV, Barbara moved to Mexico in 1998
from Toronto. She was introduced to Mexico as a child and lived in Monterrey
in the 1950s. Barbara is active in many fund-raising events for local
charities, writes articles for several local publications and often is
at the Lake Chapala Society's information desk, enjoying the conversation
at the Wednesday evening meetings of Los Amigos, the welcoming committee
at Sunday morning Open Circle meetings, and selling tickets at Canadian
Donna Mansfield, LCSW
Donna has eased into life at Lake Chapala, returning to her home in Chapala
for part of each year, but returning to her life and practice in the states
for several months. This talented woman gives quietly and unselfishly
to those less fortunate during her sojourns in Mexico.
Although Karen McConnaughey and husband Bill moved to Mexico for retirement,
once they'd moved into their home in Ixtlauhuacan de los Membrillos, they
found they had energy left at the end of the day. Now Bill is back teaching
T'ai Chi and Karen is proofing a local print publication, working in a
local real estate office and dashing off great articles for Living at Lake
With her husband Philip, Judy Parker moved to Lakeside about five years
ago and plunged headfirst into the area's activities. With a particular
passion and interest in the Jewish community, Judy was an obvious choice
to write our first article about this rapidly growing and changing group.
With a lifetime of experience in the travel industry, Judy is a perfect
compliment to the area.
Cindy Paul was involved in the advertising business—until she closed
her agency to move to Lakeside 28 years ago. Now a freelance writer, she
remains very involved in all the live arts with her New Circle Productions—offering
events from musicals to variety shows. Her script Mindkill won
Best Screenplay in the Ajijic International Film Festival, which also
named her video documentary They Call Me Vida the best special
documentary. Cindy has also been a columnist for El Ojo de Lago
and Lake Chapala Review.
Richard D. Perry
Artist and writer Richard Perry has a long-time interest in Hispanic art
and architecture. A native of England, he became fascinated with Mexico
while a student here and during later travels. With his wife Rosalind,
he has published several regional guidebooks to Colonial Mexico's villages
and buildings. He maintains an active web site that focuses on the lesser
known treasures and pleasures of the country. Blue Lakes and Silver Cities,
is Perry's guide book to the missions and churches of Michoacán
and Jalisco which is published by Espadaña Press.
After a lifetime in newspapers, publishing and journalism and with a passion
for musicals and singing, Lawson Phaby retired to Lake Chapala where he
has become has been a popular addition to Lakeside's live entertainment
scene. The former Missouri resident frequently appears in stage and choral
productions, but he also wrote the stage play for an original musical
production for the Lakeside Little Theater.
Bruce Pinder and his wife raised three daughters in southern Ontario,
where he worked 27 years in the administration side of the University
of Waterloo before retirement in 1996. During the last four years, the
Pinders have lived up to six months per year in Chapala, hiking, mountain
biking, playing tennis and volleyball and enjoying the good life of Lakeside.
Christine E. Potters, Former Co-Editor
Christine Potters fell in love with Mexico in the 1980s, when she lived
and worked as a social worker in Tijuana, Baja California. In the ensuing
years she made deep friendships in many parts of Mexico, visited for extended
stays several times a year, and thought of Mexico as home, even though
during much of that time she wasn't able to live here full time. When
the opportunity to move to Lake Chapala presented itself, she made the
move as quickly as possible and with great joy.
Christine's early delight in living South of the Border only intensified
during the years she lived at Lake Chapala. where she reports having made
close friends in the Mexican community, as well as in the expatriate community.
Now Christine is experiencing another new beginning, and is finding more
new friends in Guadalajara.
Rev. Susan Osborn
It's a long, long way from Maui to Mexico, but Suzi Osborn has made that
grand trek. This delightful minister left an active wedding business in
Hawaii for retirement in Mexico. She's toyed with both the communities
of Ajijic and San Miguel de Allende, in her search for the perfect place
for the next time of her life.
A native of Arizona and longtime resident of California, Peru and Argentina,
Julie Ray moved to Lakeside in January, 2002. Although she thought she
had retired from the travel industry after 15 years as a travel specialist
in the US, Julie has eased back into the business, developing popular
tours for Lakeside residents who want to visit Argentina and Peru and
other exotic destinations. About life at Lakeside, Julie says, "It's very
close to paradise."
This self-proclaimed "a keyboard mercenary with a disorganized past,"
worked on staff for Army Times, The Washingtonian, Soldier of Fortune,
Federal Computer Week and The Washington Times. Fred Reed
has also been published in Playboy, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington
Post, Harper's, National Review, Signal, Air & Space. "Having
found burros preferable to bureaucrats," Reed moved to Mexico a few years
ago. We thank him for his succinct quote, "If you are looking for a quiet
place to retire, find another country," and for permission to reprint
his account of Ajijic's November Patron Saint Fiesta.
Marlene Robertson relocated in stages from Canada to Lake Chapala. She
opted to shorten the snowbird phase and decided to live at Lakeside full
time about eight years ago. Back in Canada, Marlene wrote radio commercials
for over 25 years, worked for newspapers, spent several years as secretary
to the dean at a western Canadian university, and is the world's best
"letter writer," something she still loves to do. At Lake Chapala,
Marlene enjoyed a stint working for an area company involved in the self-publishing
field. Recently remarried, she now writes occasional articles for El Ojo
del Lago, enjoys travel and helps promote the popular mystery
novels written by her daughter Deborah.
After being immersed in the U.S. business world for much of her life,
Sheila Ruof left the offices a few years ago to pursue her first love,
textile art. Once settled in Ajijic, she created a warm and friendly meeting
place where other lovers of knitting and crocheting and other yarn arts
can gather over coffee to compare stitches. She still loves traveling
to trade shows and around the world, in search of perfect yarns and new
After a lifetime of teaching New York school pupils to speak and read
Spanish, it was no surprise when Linda Samuels decided to retire to Lake
Chapala. The surprises came later, and were on herself when this city
apartment-dweller purchased her first ever home, car and found her first
pets. She's loved adapting to all of these new experiences and the others
in her Lakeside life.
When subscriber Linda Sanders emailed a comment about a Living At Lake
Chapala article, we noted with interest her fresh, engaging and
honest sense of humor, we began exchanging emails. When we found out about
her special 20-year relationship with Mexico and five of the country's
very special children, we asked her to tell us her story— appropriately
enough, for a Mother's Day issue.
When long-time Lakeside resident Denny Strole joins an organization, you
can bet he'll be one of the most active participants. Some of the groups
in which he plays very visible roles are the Hash House Harriers, the
Axixic Masonic Lodge and Shrine groups and the Lake Chapala Society. Most
recently, with wife Dagmar, he has become the driving force behind the
local annual Toys for Tots drive. The collection of gifts for area children
is so close to his heart that his response to our request for an interview
was to write the whole article—that's involvement.
After a lifetime on the other side of a television news camera,
Jack Wolfe retired to Lakeside in 2002 with his wife Patty. His dry wit
and carefully selected comments has made him a popular regular on several
Lakeside message boards. Following the death of his beloved "Miss Patty",
Jack decided to return to Montana to live near his daughter. Both "Miss
Patty" and Uncle Jack are well missed at Lakeside.