My Mexican Moments: Epilogue

Epilogue, July 2013

Cover art: This is an original painting by a young Mazatleca artist, Rosangela Osuna Meza. She named it “Tan sol oro,” or it’s a very exciting hair day for Marie Antoinette. I saw this painting in a group show in the upstairs gallery of the Angela Peralta Theatre. In a typical Mexican fashion it took 13 e mails to agree upon a price. This delightful painting has been hanging on our wall since February 2013.

Alfredo Herrera Martinez has fully recovered and has never smoked again. His wife, Miriam, was diagnosed with breast cancer but for the last year she’s had a clean medical report. Our fingers are crossed. We’ve been to two weddings, Paloma, and Paula, and attended a third wedding on July 6th of their only son, Alfredo. There’s another big fiesta on September 7; Alfredo’s 70th birthday party. He didn’t want it, but the children did. He still comes to our condo every Monday and Thursday – for coffee, cookies and conversation.

Warren Holder has now retired from University of Toronto. He’s surrounded by friends and women eager to spend time with him. He’s also happy on his own. Juan is thinking about spending more weeks in Mazatlan; I await his decision.

Jesus Lizarraga sold his taxi permit, his van and his son graduated from the Naval Academy this month. He does the occasional private tour, but is now busy making dough in his pizza restaurant, Mi Casita Pizza on Melchor Ocampo, 910 1158. Jesus and his wife, Letty, have given me a real gift – they’ve perfected a gluten- free pizza crust.

Rosemary continues to experience medical problems with her knee and travels between Mazatlan and Toronto. I didn’t know her very well in Toronto and we embraced different routes in Mazatlan. For a small town, we never run into each other.

Gina and Patricia never returned to Mazatlan.

Jackie Peterson, A&E writer for Pacific Pearl was tragically killed in the Tucson, Arizona on March 20, 2012. In September of 2012, MazatlanLife supplied its A&E calendar to Pacific Pearl, free of charge. Pacific Pearl sends their readers (in print and online) to MazatlanLife. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship and it exists today.

Rick and Joan are wonderful friends. Joan doesn’t like to e mail, but we do catch up every November when they return to Mazatlan from Austin and New Hampshire.

Kevin and Linda are wonderful friends too. They’ve built an extension on their Stone Island casita. Window companies researched, problem not resolved, glass still not included. We are meeting them for three weeks in August 2013, in Mexico City. Kevin won’t be playing the blues, nor supervising any construction projects; we may actually have more time with them in DF. Kevin has stopped smoking cigars.

Rita Markland and Allen Coombs are excellent neighbours. Rita is a woman of style and many talents. I always look forward to their return from Kingston in October.

G1, the developer, has turned his energy to The Culinary Market. The baker, Héctor Peniche moved his ovens from his restaurant, Molika, to the larger space at The Culinary Market. Krema opened July 4, 2013. More expansion plans are on the drawing board. This will absolutely become a destination.

Our condo, Vue Centro Historico. I have no facts, but the rumour is “there are very few condos left.” The person to ask is Shaun Klynstra,; he manages all the rentals and sales. There are two developers and they’ve traded properties like a monopoly game. I do not know the arrangements, or who owns what units. Five years ago this was to be a boutique condo. Today it’s full of renters and one of the partners installed a bed and breakfast on the first floor. The summer and fall of 2012 was once again filled with dust and construction noise. Five cans of paint – green, orange, blue, white, and red were opened in November, walls painted but the project has never been completed in the lobby. Or has it? Three “photo art” four- foot paints are stacked against a wall; it appears no one wishes to hang them. A bookcase was made and installed. There’s a large pool table resting in the centre of the common room like a giant whale, 13 chairs, four tables and a large-screen tv that no longer works. One of the partners terminated the cable service. The cleaning staff is diligent and we couldn’t ask for a better admin person, Rodolfo Kelly. Should we have bought in December of 2008? Even with hindsight I can’t answer that question. If another condo pops up in Centro with a fabulous view, we’d take a serious look. Would we get our money back on our one bedroom? Have no idea.

G2, project manager on Vue Centro Historico, has returned to Vancouver and is selling real estate.

Dr. Juan Jamie Diaz Rivas is still our dentist. He moved offices and the deer and the antelope and the guns did not make the move. I never did have a conversation about his “art.”

Pepe’s Pedregoso Palace only grows. He’s converted his sister’s house into rental units. I hear nothing but praise. His fishing business is growing too, so the pesos are flowing and all renters seemed pleased with his response time.

Silvia Vega’s, the seamstress in the peppermint green house, business is booming. She just stopped by the condo and picked up eight pair of pants to be shortened. Silvia likes to get away from Pedregoso and make house calls.

Jaziel from the laundry is at university training to be a helicopter technician. When he can’t pick up our laundry, José does, and when he can’t Alberto does. It’s a cast of thousands but Machado lavanderia y planchaduria never let us down. Here are the variations of my name, literally a laundry list: Cheyla, Sheyla, Cheila, Chyla, Sheula and Cheula. Mexicans like the name Sheila, as it’s easy for them to say and shout; it’s just difficult to spell.

Ligia, our cleaning person for five years, had to go. While honest, she kept taking advantage of us, asking for money, dropping by in tears. There was always a family crisis, a reason she was late, a this or a that. Her stress was stressing me out; I couldn’t fix her life, and we gave her a generous severance. We now have a smiley, quiet woman who I hope will not bring her family problems into our small condo. This is a drama-free zone!

Nan and David Robb: David continues to design logos, two spring to mind: El Recreo and Mercado Orgánico, and he’s probably done more, but I’m just not aware of them. Nan is an equally talented artist and they both show their artwork in their house during ArtWalk or you can find them in Luna Gallery.

Dra. Ma. Adriana Montes Barrera is my doctor. I have tremendous confidence in her. Soren still has Dr. Levid. I still want the hands of a woman.

Hospice Mazatlan: continues to do an amazing job in the most trying circumstances. Just because they didn’t like our advertising approach, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t donate. You can find them at:, or call (in Mazatlan) 182 1486.

The Balboa Beach Club closed. It’s being renovated. We have no idea of who owns it, or what the plans are.

The Belmar Hotel goes through spurts of renovations. Cash flow continues to prevent it from being finished.

First Friday ArtWalk is heading into its eighth year, all under the direction of Glen Rogers. She takes time out from her print making career and her gallery, Luna, to organize this popular event — it goes from November to May.

McDonald’s restaurant closed in Golden Zone. Unheard of! It’s now rented out for private events.

Axtel, the internet and phone provider, turned out to be lousy. We’ve switched to TELMEX.

We never returned to San Miguel de Allende. We are star struck with Mexico City.

Ritchies Auction House is back in business! They send me regular e mails. I called the CEO. No need to tell him the thieving history; he blamed it on previous owners. New owners, clean slate, just many customers who were robbed. You’d think it would be a problem for the brand, but apparently it isn’t.

AMJ Campbell (international movers) is still in business. They did indeed send a refund cheque to Warren for all our breakages. Handled very professionally. I think they could teach Ritchies Auction House a thing or two.

My ceramic wall planters went the way of the teak chairs. The containers were too small – can’t hold enough soil to keep plants alive. The landscaper, Renato, managed to rip me off twice. The plants all died and he replaced them again for a large fee. They died too. Rita, my neighbour in 802, replaced them for a third time. They did last a year and half but with no soil they were gasping away. I hauled the planters to the garage and let the workers have them for their casitas. The annoying part is Soren was right about the teak chairs and the planters.

A word about our Spanish. I’m long on nouns and short on verbs. My report card would be: “Sheila speaks too much English in class. If she studied more, she’d really benefit. Reading comprehension, 55%, verbal skills 20%.” Soren’s report card would score much higher on the verbal skills. I think we’ve accepted that we try hard, we both love the language, but we will never be fluent. Our big test was the summer of 2012 in Mexico City. Not a single person spoke English. We passed the basic travelling test! From February 2011 until July 2013 there have been approximately 41 panic attacks and at least 15 shouting matches. Working in the new software isn’t difficult, but it is a learning curve. HTML codes lurk behind and often there is nothing I can do but call TechRescue. Power surges, not pressing “update” cause rapid heart rates. Robots try to hack the site every single day. TechRescue says that’s normal but firewalls have been strengthened. The purchase of a new MacBook Air improved my speed and mood. I hate it when the software company decides to send me an update. I was fine with the old version. Another learning curve. According to our daily Piwik reports our numbers are off the charts. They are beyond our wildest dreams. That’s the real, tangible reward; we can see what you read, what you want, and what you don’t want. And then there are the hundreds of personal e mails —I answer them all, connecting readers to various people who do have the answers. MazatlanLife has given Soren, TechRescue, a reason to buy oodles of toys for his videos. More toys always make for a happier marriage. We’ve met interesting, funny, talented people in the arts, music and the rich cultural world of Mazatlan. Having the site has enriched our life in ways we could not have predicted. We wake up every morning wanting to do a new project, a new series. We are alive with ideas, dreams, and hopes. It’s a fabulous hobby, it’s a wonderful way to retire.

On April 17, 2012, my only sibling, my brother, Brian D’Arcy Proctor died of ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease. Diagnosed at 67, dead at 69. His deterioration and death have taught me to celebrate choice. So far, I have not been dealt that deadly random gene. Every day, to the best of my ability, I will try to do what’s right for me, and in the process I hope show decency and respect for others. It’s no secret I have zero tolerance for chronic complainers; one life, one body, now’s the time for kick-ass choices. Because, there may not be a mañana.

Last chapterTable of contents