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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
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

James Tipton
James Tipton

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
Zofia Barisas

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, 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
Carol Bowman

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

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.

Tony Burton
Tony Burton

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
Marianne Carlson

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.

Judy Dykstra-Brown
Judy Dykstra-Brown

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
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 Moth Orchids.

Diane Goldstein
Diane Goldstein

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.

Harriet Hart
Harriet Hart

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 non-fiction.

Janet Holt
Janet Holt

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.

Sandy Jeronimo
Sandy Jeronimo

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.

Teresa Kendrick
Teresa Kendrick

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
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
Bill Mesusan

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.

Dale Palfrey
Dale Palfrey

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 venues.

Phyllis Rauch
Phyllis Rauch

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 to Mexico.

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.

Lorraine Russo,
Executive Chef
Mexican Kitchen Advisor

Lorraine Russo,<br />Executive Chef<br />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 &
Clay Swinburn

Joan Alita Ray &<br />Clay Swinburn

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
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.

Alison Solomon
Alison Solomon

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.

Tom Stephenson
Tom Stephenson

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
Shirley Thayer

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 Chapala.

Elsa Wasserman
Elsa Wasserman

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
Marvin West

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?

Christena Wiseman
Christena Wiseman

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

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

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.

Sandy Bell

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

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.

David Buchen

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

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.

Michael Carmona

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.

Joseph Dispenza

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.

Karen Greenbury

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.

Sheila Gutman

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

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 in Oaxaca.

Brad Henderson

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

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.

Ilse Hoffmann

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 with Guadalajara.

Ann Lewis

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.

Barbara Madren

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 Club functions.

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.

Karen McConnaughey

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 Chapala.

Judy Parker

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

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.

Lawson Phaby

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

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.

Julie Ray

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."

Fred Reed

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

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.

Sheila Ruof

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 ideas.

Linda Samuels

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.

Linda Sanders

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.

Denny Strole

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.

Jack Wolfe

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.


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