We are back on track, looking forward to the future
The long version
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We had a pretty nice year in 2011, the best in several. We've made
some new friends, maybe sold our house in Mazatlan, and our overall
health is getting better. I've discovered some secrets to getting
older while being happier, which I'll be sure to share with you all,
and Nadine (the moon of my life) has made our house a thing of beauty,
which we enjoy every day.
Naughty or Nice? You decide. This is one of those rare
occasions were we were actually awake after midnight. We spent New
Year's eve with Bruno and Jezebel at the wonderful Number Four
restaurant in Ajijic. We are planning a repeat performance this year
too. It's hard for me to pass up an opportunity to wear a tuxedo, so
this was a good excuse.
Part of recovering from staying up after midnight is going out for
breakfast the next day. Here we are at the Nuevo Posada, about to
indulge in our favorite high carb treats, ie waffles for Nadine and
chiliquiles for Henry. I think Bruno and Jezebel had something
disgustingly healthy, like a fruit plate.
Each year around Nadine's birthday, we make a shopping run to the USA.
Our new favorite hotel is the Phoenix Hilton, conveniently located just
across the street from a big mall, and only a couple of miles from
Costco. Of course we usually do our shopping online and have it
waiting for us us when we arrive. This years haul included a new network camera and weather station for
Henry, lots of snugly clothes for Nadine, and in the foreground you
can see some yummy treats for our doggie children.
Once again it was time for Nadine to become mi abuela. Each January
17th, she becomes the older woman, since she turns n+1 while I am
still n. This year we asked our friends and neighbors, Ed and Lori to
join us for this celebration of my continuing youth, and her quickly
arriving dotage, by having dinner at Tangos in Ajijic. You can tell
from Nadine's expression how pleased she is to mark the passage of
At the end of January, we had a pre tennis tournament party and John
and Mary Bragg's house. This is where I have the good fortune to play
tennis once or twice a week on their very gentle (on the old knees)
carpeted tennis court. Of course just because I get to play on a nice
court doesn't mean I play nice; ask any opponent. Carpeted courts
have a great way of absorbing not only the shock to your bones, but
also the shock of impact of the ball, which leads to the most nasty of
drop shots, always one of my favorites. Thank you, John and Mary, for
opening your house and your court to us.
This kickoff event for the Guadalajara Tennis Tournament is a formal dinner at the Guadalajara country club. Wow, this is quite a place. Immaculate tennis courts, manicured golf course, equestrian area, and old world charm. Anyone who thinks Mexico is nothing but burros and bandits needs to come here.
The tennis tournament followed over the next several days. My partner
John was expecting great things from me, but I'm afraid I disappointed
him. I got really nervous and either missed or didn't go for my
serves and shots. We lost every match except for the one where our
opponents didn't show up, which we almost lost. One of the highlights
of the trip was the wonderful hotel we stayed at, the NH
hotel in Guadalajara. The rooms were great, the food was great,
the service was great. If you ever need to Guadalajara, I doubt you
can do better than to stay there. We are looking forward to going
back next year.
While we were in "the big city," we also took a trip to the Andares
mall, a shopping mall for the rich and famous. Next door to the
mall is a high rise condo complex, where each unit starts at around 2M
USD. We had lunch at PF Changs, and not wanting to go home empty
handed, we bought a can of tuna for 20 bucks. You think I'm kidding
but I'm not. Nadine really loves her tuna.
Our year wouldn't be complete without at least one visit from our
friend Juan Antonio Barragan. Here we are enjoying a delicious
breakfast at delicious (the name of the restaurant.) Kinda like who's
on first. It is thanks to Juan this year that we watch the tv series,
The Game of
Thrones, where I stole my new favorite new endearment for my
sweet baboo, namely moon of my life. We always use Juan's visit
as an excuse to relax, go to the movies, drink Lemon Drops, and just
take a break from our day to day rushing around.
we had an extra special treat, namely a visit from our friends Mike
and Barbara Heffner, who were our next door neighbors and game night
nemesis when we lived in Reno. They visited us in April, and we made
sure they got the grand tour. In addition we had game and margarita
nights while they were here. While we don't really miss the USA, we
do miss our time together with Mike and Barbara, and we wish they
would give up skiing and spend their winters here. Maybe when the
next republican administration starts rounding up "enemy combatants"
and placing them in all those new shiny Haliburton detention
camps Mike and Barbara will seek a safe haven here with us in
Speaking of dangerous places, I'm sure you have all heard what a
lawless, drug infested, nightmarish place we live in here south of the
border. Well, I'm here to tell you that I think our biggest threat
comes from the little guys. I found this beauty hanging around upside
down on the wall of our house. We also take about one scorpion per
month to the afterlife. In Mazatlan, we were always in danger
from the timeshare salesman, but here it seems the racket is
windshield wipers. As soon as you park your car, the intrepid
windshield wiper salesman is ready to pounce on you and offer you a new
set, even though you may have bought one from him the day before.
The day is May 21st, 2011, and here helping us celebrate our 20th
wedding anniversary is Nadine's mom, Mary. We enjoyed a meal together
at a nice waterfront restaurant in Chapala. As you can see, we have
barely changed from our wedding day twenty years ago in Jamaica. I
know it sounds platitudinous, maybe even platypusinous, but these have
been the best twenty years of my life. Knowing I have Nadine with me
no matter what happens brings me comfort, peace, and joy every day of
my life. She is a wonderful lover, partner, and friend. I can't
imagine life without her. Above I mentioned that I have discovered
some secrets to getting older while being happier. Well let me share
them with you here. When we first got married, shortly after I
retired from Paradise systems at the ripe old age of thirty three, I
was always worried about money. I never wanted to be forced to go
back to work, and since we were in our thirties, my "worry horizon"
was pretty far out, namely thirty to forty years. If you try to cover
all of your financial bases with a forty year horizon, you can come up
with enough unlikely scenarios to keep you awake many nights. Well,
pretty much all of the things I feared never came to pass, so all that
angst was for nothing. We even survived the grand Nancy Chaffin
ripoff. So these days, I've decided to lower my worry
horizon, from thirty years to thirty days. Maybe two months at
the outside. I've even allowed myself to buy new toys, like an iPhone
4S and a new 8GB laptop. I've especially enjoyed being able to help
people financially, including our son Bruno, Nadine's sister Cindy,
and a bunch of people I
don't know. As we get more, we plan to give more too. We are
still hoping our house in Mazatlan will sell this year, and we would
also like to cash out of our Reno home, but even if we don't we'll
still be okay. I like our new thirty day horizon, I wish I had
thought of it years ago.
At the end of June, we finally received a visit from my best friend
and partner Alex Lushtak and his son Sammy. If it weren't for Alex,
I'd still be a wage slave, so I think of him and thank him every day
of my life. He hasn't visited us since we left Mazatlan, and I really
wanted him to see what a wonderful place we've discovered, and how
happy we were here. It was also great to get to know Sammy better.
He reminds me of myself a lot, only he is cuter and smarter. He is
almost ready to use the gift I bought him on the day he was born,
namely the commemorative edition of the Feynman Lectures on
Physics. I hope he comes back soon, and I will be sure to visit
him whenever we return to the bay area.
In August I made a trip to Mazatlan to take care of some business, and
while I was there had breakfast with our good friends Enrique and Ana,
and their two beautiful daughters, Ana Carolina and Monica Nadine
(named after the moon of my life). I also treated Bruno and his
daughter Arlet to a delicious Sam's club pizza. On that trip I made
the mistake of renting a car to get around. It took longer to deal
with the rental agency than the flight from Guadalajara to Mazatlan.
What a mistake. I could have taken taxis all day long for less than
the price of the rental car. So remember that if you ever decide to
visit Mexico. Leave the driving to them.
Bruno came down for several visits this year. On one of them we went
to the Guadalajara pet tiangi. There were lots of (mostly unhappy)
little pups for sale, along with baby chickens, fish, lizards, snakes,
and pretty much anything else. We were looking for some doberman
breeding bitches, to help Bruno get in the breeding business, but
didn't find any there. A month or so later, we noticed that Bruno was
being very cagey about his activities. Nadine's spider sense started
to tingle, and she discovered that he was training to become a boxer.
This upset both of us very much, and after a come to Jesus talk
with Bruno we convinced him (we think) that he should be a lover and
not a fighter. We signed him up for a photo shoot, and are going to
try to get him into modeling. So, if any of you need a handsome and
well built male model, please contact us or him. I have to tell you,
the camera just loves him.
What would a year be without a trip to the hospital. This year
Nadine's shoulder started bothering her, and it became so painful she
could hardly use it. After an x-ray and MRI, we discovered she had a
bone spur in her shoulder that was starting to impinge on her tendons,
as well as an extremely inflamed bursa. Our insurance approved the
procedure in less than a week, and she was off to the operating room
at the Hospital
Angeles del Carmen a few days later. This is a first class
hospital, with state of the art equipment, great doctors, and
wonderful private rooms for patients. Everything went well, and she
is now home recovering nicely. With any kind of luck, I'll have my
sweet baboo back in tip top shape next year.
Well, I guess that about wraps it up for another year. All of the
Laxen kids, past and present, wish you a very happy solstice. I like
the end these letters by giving you something to think about, but I've
been thinking about that for a few days now and haven't really come up
with anything. Maybe it is a sign of aging. Well, there is one
thing. I've been trying to understand why we feel happy. I think it
comes down to two factors. One, the most important one, is that we
are comfortable. Thanks to Alex Lushtak and
Paradise Systems, we've had all of our financial issues covered.
We haven't had to worry about where the next paycheck is coming from.
It is hard to imagine being happy and being worried at the same time.
Thank you Alex, for making this possible. The second ingredient is
psychological, namely a lack of greed. We are both very happy with
what we have, and don't covet more. I think this is where a lot of
people go wrong. Many people I've met have an attitude of never
enough. I think if we want to be happy, and perhaps even survive
as a species, we will need to overcome this feeling. There can never
be enough for all if some feel that they can never have
enough. I dream of a society of abundance, not scarcity, so we can
all have enough. Wouldn't that be a nice place to live?
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Quote of the day: You've got to be careful quoting
Ronald Reagan, because when you quote him accurately it's called
mudslinging. Walter Mondale