We’ve recently packed up our house and moved to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.  Talk about an experience!  We are loving the new lifestyle so far.  So much to see, so much to do.  The weather is incredible.  The people are friendly.

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So, I’ve started a new blog in the process and invite you to follow along:  ColorAndCulture.com!

 

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When we lived in Mexico City many years ago, we fell in love with San Miguel, which was a weekend getaway for us then.  It’s changed a lot since then, but it still has all of the things we love.

We found our expat friends to be adventuresome and interesting and we expect to find the same in the people who have chosen to make San Miguel their home.

 

Here are some of the views from our rooftop terrace:

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Saturday morning. Ahh. There is definitely something special about a Saturday morning.

Our nest is empty (has always been empty, really), and work is a fluid, flexible thing. But Saturday morning still brings a special feeling about it.

It represents the end of a productive week. It seldom has appointments or specific time slots on the calendar. It gives us plenty of breathing room.

If I could construct a perfect Saturday morning, it would look something like this…

Sunrise

First of all, it would be in the summer, because it would include waking up early, with the sun. The first cup of coffee would be down by the pool, breathing in the fragrance of the roses outlining the deck.

This lovely prelude to the day would last as long as our Corgi dear could postpone his morning walk. But the walk itself would be refreshing, and we would return to another cup of coffee and some breakfast on the deck. The view of our garden and pool would be rivaled only by the horses in the neighboring yard.

Dylan by the Pool

There would be some reading involved. Some magazines, newspapers, emails, etc. But mostly, it would be the time that the three of us would hang out before going about our day – however that played out for each of us.

Grasses against the clouds

The best thing about this perfect Saturday morning? It is very close to my every morning. Whether it be summer of winter, the relaxed feel of morning routine is quite a luxury!

Good Friday…

I love this post in the Harvard Business Review:  Why Is it So Hard to Be Kind?  Bill Taylor tells a story about what makes business great.

Every so often, you have a small experience in business that teaches big lessons about what really separates winners from losers. I had one of those experiences a few weeks ago, and I think the story is worth telling, not because it is so exciting or dramatic, but because it is so true to how the world really works — and because it underscores how those of us who think about business often make things more complicated than they are.

But if you read beyond the customer service aspect of the article, you quickly see how it can be applied to life.

Why is it that a quick, witty response often escapes our lips before a kinder, more considered one?

After 18 months away from corporate life, I finally really experienced what it means to be ‘unleashed’.

This past year, I’ve done some independent work out of my home. Enough to satisfy my interest in new things. Enough to provide the opportunity to share with others. But not enough to tie me down.

But I didn’t really realize the beauty of that until this past December. We were fortunate to have a very mild winter in 2012. But this year, during the first week of December, it became apparent that 2013 would be very different. We were going to be affected by the same severe storms that 98% of the country were going to be experiencing.

We woke up 24 hours before the predicted storm was to hit, and we looked at each other and realized that there was no reason we needed to stay at home and endure this abomination.  A road trip was in order!

Dylan loves a road trip

Tom got online and did a little mapping and researching (of dog friendly hotels, of course). I cleaned out the fridge, wrapped up some immediate work and put together doggie meals. We both threw some clothes in a suitcase, and by the next morning, we were out of here.

Sunny and warm in southern Florida

Initially, we planned only as far as getting us to Florida, which appeared to be the only state that wouldn’t be snowed in. This was a drive of 2-3 days. In route, we heard from Terry and Mike that their home in a Fort Myers Beach would be empty while they were vacationing elsewhere and they encouraged us to stay there.

A tropical setting

So, we planted ourselves in these new and cozy surroundings. I did the same kind of work that I would have done here. But breakfast was outside under a palm tree instead on inside by the fire.

Dylan and me on the beach

In the evening we strolled the beach, instead of bundled up against the cold to walk Dylan. The climate made all the difference.

Mantees in Crystal River, FL

A leisurely route back home even took us to Crystal River and its protected reserve for the endangered manatees.  What amazing creatures they are.  And what a memorable experience it is to have them swim right up to your kayak.

Sunset behind the palms

In the end, we were away from home for for more than three weeks.  It was a lovely, warm, time… exploring new areas and seeing old friends.

And most importantly, realizing the potential of being unleashed… And opening our minds to all sorts of new adventures!

Good Friday…

girl hugging dog

There’s nothing like the unconditional love of a dog to warm your heart and bring a smile to your face.  I have only known the love of a dog for a few short years, but am a complete – maybe even over-the-top – dog person now.  In the blink of an eye, my car turned into a dogmobile.  My refrigerator is never without fresh, roasted chicken (Dylan’s favorite).  I earned elite status at La Quinta hotels.  Sigh.  But I love it.

This story was written in 2008 by Janine Allen - before we found Dylan.  It is sweet, and oh, so true…

I rescued a human

See the original article:
http://rescuemedog.org/dog-blog/i-rescued-a-human-today-by-janine-allen/
Written by Janine Allen CPDT, Rescue Me Dog’s professional dog trainer. Janine’s passion is working with people and their dogs. She provides demonstrations for those who have adopted shelter dogs, lends email support to adopted dog owners that need information beyond our Training Support Pages, and aids shelter staff and volunteers in understanding dog behavior to increase their adoptability. Copyright 2014 Rescue Me Dog; http://www.rescuemedog.org
- See more at: http://rescuemedog.org/dog-blog/i-rescued-a-human-today-by-janine-allen/#sthash.Rtqz7e7G.dpuf

This past year has been a pretty amazing year. One that has gone almost completely without documentation in my blog. With the next few posts, I’m going to try to alter that by taking a look back at the best parts of 2013.

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Long distance friends. Having moved 20+ hours away from people that we’ve known and loved for the past ten years, I wondered if I would be able to maintain the friendships that I formed in West Chester, PA.

As ridiculous as it seems writing this, I do give a lot of credit to Facebook for making me feel connected with many of those people. Witnessing the big moments – and many of the not so big moments – of their lives. Since Facebook wasn’t around when we moved away from Dallas, there is a marked difference I my ability to keep up with work friends from QVC as compared to JCPenney.  Once I truly appreciated this, I went back and connected with many more Dallas friends as well.

Good friends

But Facebook isn’t a substitute for seeing friends face to face, and I am so grateful for getting to see our dear friends, Pam and Jed twice this past year. They were the first friends to make the trek to visit us here in NW Arkansas. And we were lucky enough to spend some time with them at the beach this fall.

A glimmering ocean

Morning sun on the grasses

Sun rising over the pond

Here’s to good friends. May we never take them for granted.

Canoeing on Salt Pond

It’s so hard to believe that it has been nearly a year since my last blog post. Well, my last post to my blog, that is.

Despite my efforts to discipline myself with a serial kind of post to share good things that are happening around us, I got caught up instead in helping others get their own blogs up and going.

Upstream Matters Blog

UpstreamMatters.com

The blog I’ve been most involved with is called “Upstream Matters”. It is a blog for connecting the residents of the Illinois River Watershed, and sharing ways to cherish our rivers, lakes and streams and to protect and restore them for future generations.

One of the most amazing projects that they are undertaking is to create a preserve-like area on thirty plus acres. With its 6 acre lake, fresh springs, and natural woodlands, they can build a microcosm of sorts to help educate people about watershed management.

I had the opportunity to write a post for them this fall about this very special place… I’d like to share it here, so it can be a part of my history as well.

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A New Chapter for the Lake at a Cave Springs

Tucked away in the urban headwaters of the Illinois River Watershed in the middle of Cave Springs, Arkansas is a six-acre lake, nestled in 24 acres of woods and fed by a fresh spring. Today, most people know the Lake at Cave Springs only from the glimpse through a chain link fence that they drive past on their morning commute, or in their rush to the airport.

Morning sun on the lake at Cave Springs

But there is much more to the lake than the partial view from Highway 112 can reveal. The Lake at Cave Springs has both a rich history and an inspired future.

Water wheel and water flow

The Lake at Cave Springs held an important place in the history of this community and region. In years past, it housed a fish hatchery and the springs were the source of drinking water for the area. The cool springs provided a retreat from the summer heat.

It was place where families spent the day together as families. Teaching their kids to fish and swim, spreading out a picnic supper, taking a stroll, and catching up with the neighbors.

Fish Runs

The Illinois River Watershed Partnership and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission have a master plan to restore the lake to be a place where families and nature lovers can gather once again. To learn about with the wildlife, land and waters of our watershed. To fish and to canoe. To explore and to relax.

The Lake at Cave Springs

The transformation of the lake will begin over the coming months. Trails and nature walks will educate explorers about the natural wildlife and vegetation. Award winning architects will be constructing outdoor learning facilities, trails, a fishing boardwalk and pier.

Removal of the trout raceways to rehabilitate and restore that portion of the lake and the stream feeding the lake to a more natural state will utilize Low Impact Development (LID) methods and serve as a regional watershed education and demonstration project.

Experiential activities will engage participants in techniques to preserve, protect and restore this beautiful watershed in which we live.

Sun on the Lake

In a few weeks, the restoration process will begin with the draining of the lake. And in upcoming months, you’ll see the lake of the future unfolding. While we begin to see the vision for the lake take shape, we will also take a look at its rich history, though a series of “Throwback Thursdays” posts.

View of the Lake from Hwy 112

But just for now — in these few images — we can enjoy the lake as we know it today and appreciate the hidden beauty amongst us.

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Click here to view the post in its original setting, and to browse the many interesting posts that the IRWP has produced!

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