Tag Archives: Rocky Point

Beach Butterfly Parade


Monday, October 9, 2017

I am in Mexico.

This morning, I awoke to the most amazing sight:  Thousands of Monarch butterflies floating over our patio!  Hubby and I sipped our coffee and laughed out loud at the amazing amount of them flying by, admiring their beauty and feeling so fortunate to be here during the migration.  I tried to video the butterflies, but alas, my camera phone is no good.  Picture this:  One small orange butterfly would flitter by on the breeze just above my head, then a few seconds later two or three would come by.  We watched them float upwards and over the buildings, only to see when we later took a walk that they were flying over the roof top to have a snack on the neighbor’s bougainvillea.  Walking down the beach road with butterflies flying all about us was so beautiful and so strange,  it actually occurred to me I might be dreaming. A good pinch dispelled me of that notion. It’s late afternoon now, and there are still a few lone butterflies floating about, all of them flying west towards town.

We saw so many beautiful things at the beach this weekend.  I love teasing the hand-sized crabs who think they are hiding so well in the sand, but when gently prodded with a toe, quickly scuttle away sideways. (The crab is my astrological sign which I do not think fits in any way; the Cancers who I know are not crabby at all, but are very happy, thoughtful people.)  I spent time sitting in a warm tide pool and was happy to see small Sergeant Major fish floating in the same pool as I was.  The majestic Osprey stood stoically on his man-made perch just east of our place. The nest is overly huge, so I’m thinking he must have eggs or babies he is protecting. Twice a day we see the man with his horses for rent walking down the beach.   All of them are tethered except for one young dark-brown foal who hangs back, testing the caballero who leads them, then when they get too far ahead, the young horse begins to feel worried and gallops to join the rest of the group.  It makes me laugh every time. We’ve tried to identify the many birds we see on the beach, but our bird guide is for California and is of no use.

As we swam in the warm water yesterday afternoon, we were enveloped by huge clouds of tiny silver fish.  Two-inches long and completely metallic silver, we “think” they are sardines, but neither of the two zoology books in the condo have info on them. We’ve certainly seen them before.  The birds loved the great fishing; we loved the feeling of being in a huge school of tiny sparkly fish (I’m talking thousands of fish swimming densely together) tickling our legs and toes.

Today the pelicans returned to their mostly odd-numbered flocks, allowing me to stand by my completely unscientific analysis of coastal bird behaviors.  In that same vein, Hubby shared with me that he’s noticed when the tide is all the way in, it is flat at the shore, and when it’s coming in, the tide is angled toward the west . . . and when the tide is going out, it’s angled to the east.  I narrowed my eyes and said, “I’ve never heard of such a thing.”  He shrugged and said this scientific finding was in direct correlation to how many beers he’d consumed at that time.

There is magic in this place. I can feel it as soon as my bare toes hit the warm sand and I inhale all the rich ocean smells. Maybe all beaches are like this: full of surprises, unexpected beauty, and interactions with nature that leave one full of questions. I fell in love with this place when I was here for the first time at age 13; at 53 I’m still in love with this gentle Sea of Cortez, our little neighborhood called Las Conchas, and this small town of Puerto Penasco, Mexico.

It’s finally happy hour, and there’s a cold bottle of Pacifico waiting for me in the fridge. Tonight Hubby and I will watch the bright stars twinkle in the dark sky over the ocean, and we’ll wait for the waning full moon to slowly climb up the eastern horizon.  We’ll feel grateful for this beautiful day, along with a hint of regret at having to return home tomorrow.





Esther Williams


MI am in Mexico.  All day I’ve sat under a turquoise umbrella next to the ocean, catching up on back issues of Esquire Magazine and watching the birds.  The osprey seems intimidated by the crowds on the beach, but must be really hungry since he swoops over us, clucking in an irritated manner, then dips his beak quickly into the sea for a fresh fish, flying away to his perch in the desert.

Much like the osprey, I get annoyed when the beach is too crowded.  We’re so often lucky to have this slice of paradise all to ourselves, and when we have to share, it isn’t easy. Today I stand on our condo patio and look to the left.  Then I look to the right. There are umbrellas and pop ups for as far as the eye can see!  Yet each group is quiet and peaceful and as happy as I am to be here.  Thank you, Universe!!!

Hubby and I almost didn’t come to the beach yesterday.  The last time we were here (just three weeks ago), the people on the beach were obnoxious.   I love when the ocean is as smooth as glass, yet that causes sound to travel too well.  Everybody was so loud! The three condos to the right of us housed a huge group of friends with sooooo many little boys running around unattended.  They ran through our yard and even stood on the beams of our stairs.  The parents (mid thirties to mid forties) played loud music all day and night.  To the right of us on the beach, a group of young people appeared each day. They were crass.  While swimming in the ocean, one very large girl (who needed a much larger suit) yelled, “I’m peeing!” to which her friend gladly yelled, “I’m peeing, too!” Every other word (always yelled) was a curse word.  They had loud music which competed with the loud music to the left of us. Let’s just say these folks were harshing my buzz.  Add to that a swarm of mosquitoes that tortured us while we were sleeping and a roach the size of a Buick who waved to me from the kitchen sink taunting, “Neener neener, neener!” as he ran into a crack between the cupboard and the dishwasher.  Oh, and I almost forgot the group of nude teenage girls we walked past on our morning walk. They were standing up (nude) taking selfies and didn’t even seem to notice us.  It wasn’t sexual, but there were families nearby and it just felt wrong.  Let’s just say I wasn’t in the mood to come back to the beach after all that crap.

BUT I’M SO GLAD WE DID!  The weather in Phoenix today:  100 degrees.  The weather at the beach today:  80 degrees.  The ocean is sooooo warm, and we are water logged from swimming so long.  The waves are medium-ish—not so big that it’s hard to get in, but big enough that they bounce you up and down in such a relaxing manner that you never want to get out.  The stronger tide brought in a bunch of seaweed, but we don’t mind and even had a little bit of a seaweed fight.  Which was fun for about one minute, and then I splashed and floated and swam, my body held up by the salty sea so light and buoyant and graceful that I felt like freakin’ Esther Williams.

And last night the full moon was AMAZING.  It looked red as it came up over the desert (it is the Strawberry Moon, you know) and then shone so brightly onto the beach that we took a walk, no flashlight required.  Tonight we will drive up Whale Hill to Casa Capitain where I will order my favorite shrimp tacos and a margarita as big as my head, and Hubby and I will admire the views of the sparkling Sea of Cortez and the twinkling lights on the malecon of this sweet little town.

La vida es buena.  Life is good.



On Mexican Time


You know it’s time to come home from the beach when you’re out of dog kibble and clean undies (at least that’s how I know).  So we will head back to Tempe after lunch.

Nature called early this morning and since I was up, I stepped onto the patio to see the sunrise.  I love to sleep in, and feel a bit guilty that I always miss the sunrise over the ocean. My conclusion is it’s highly overrated; it looked EXACTLY like the sunset last night, except on the other side of the beach!

It’s been a lovely, perfect weekend.  Yesterday I spent hours in the warm ocean, the water so clear I could see all sorts of fish flitting around my legs. I felt like I was standing in an aquarium!  Jolly Sergeant Major fish the size of half dollars floated about my feet, kissing the bright blue polish on my toenails.  Chubby yellow-and-black striped, they are the most colorful fish you will find near the shore in Puerto Penasco.  I noticed many small bubbles on the water and Hooray! A school of small tube-shaped green fish had arrived!  They float just under the surface and are elegant in their shape and color.  (I have looked online and cannot find the name of these fish.)  I saw swarms of tiny brown fish, then larger trigger fish.  Hubby placed in the water the remains of his mango on a stick and the Sergeant Majors went crazy, taking small bites and swarming the fruit like bees.  (We love the mango man who brings us sticky treats of mango sprinkled with chili pepper and tamarindo syrup.)  Later in the day, we got the kayak to the beach just in time for Hubby to chase a large pod of dolphins moving quickly towards town.

Monday was a perfect day.  I walked the beach searching for shells and was lucky enough to find FOUR of my favorites, the trivia solandri, or “coffee bean” shells which resemble pink coffee beans and are quite rare.  Then I spent some time choosing which mansion I will buy with the profits from my latest invention, the square glue-stick.  After many recent classroom crafts where the rounded ones roll onto the floor, I’m certain my invention will be quite the success and we can upgrade to a beach home with a garage and an outside shower (don’t you love an outdoor shower?).  You may recall my best invention to date, the concert diaper, which alas never attracted interest from investors, but I’m sure would have had lots of takers at last week’s Lumineers concert where the line to the Ladies Room was a half hour long.

Thanks to the Universe for giving me this peaceful and restorative weekend with my best friend at one of my favorite places on Earth:  Puerto Penasco, Mexico.







It is Spring Break, and I am in Mexico.

We left Tempe at the crack of 8 o’clock because all week we’d heard about HUGE lines of cars waiting to enter Mexico, some people waiting four hours to cross the border.  I’m patting myself on the back for choosing less sleep—we only waited 20 minutes and had an easy ride through the beautiful desert, which is currently showing off wildflowers and fiery-red Ocotillo flowers.

Huge were the crowds of teenage spring breakers in town. We patiently waited through traffic and were rewarded with a good parking spot near our favorite wharf restaurant, Aqui Es Con Flavio.  We sat on  the sunny patio sipping Dos XX lagers with lime, tasty shrimp tacos dripping over our fingers.  What a HUGE relief to have arrived at our favorite beach town safe and  sound.

We had to rent a condo this weekend since it was not our turn at our multi-owner condo just a few doors down. This place is clean and charming, with rustic chandeliers in every room and a grassy palapa umbrella shading the patio. After a few hours, we had ten new friends (tourists at neighboring condos) all of us happy to share beach stories while watching the sea.  Yesterday afternoon two HUGE sea lions cavorted near enough to the shore line that we could see them without binoculars. Everyone stopped what they were doing to enjoy the show, then again to watch the sun set  (Hubby and I swear we saw a green flash).

I’m thinking this condo must be owned by Giants.  The bathroom counter tops begin just under by breasts and the mirror is so high that I can only see my face if I stand on tip toe (I am 5’5″). The step down into the tile showers is an entire foot!  The beach stairs are fine excepting they end about two feet above the sand where one has to bravely jump (or just use the neighbor’s stairs, as I have done.)  And the bed?  The bed has such a HUGE dent in the middle that I’m convinced a 500-pound person slept alone on it for 20 years. All night long, Hubby and I were rolled into the pit, and on top of that, the sheets are not big enough and pulled off the corners of the mattress.  But overall, I am HUGELY happy to ahe found a place to rent on this very busy weekend here in Rocky Point (and HUGELY surprised to see the place has high-speed internet.  Sorry, Ianet, for asking you to create the Powerpoint for the band meeting—who knew?).

Tonight Hubby and I will drive to the top of Whale Hill to Casa Capitain. Their views of the ocean and the town are incredible, and they make delicious margaritas as HUGE as your head.  I don’t know the magic recipe, but never, EVER, order two.  The first one is just right, but after the second one, you will begin speaking in tongues and feel a pressing urge to dance. At least that’s what happens to me . . . and the next morning, I have a HUGE headache!

Though I wish our children would have chosen to come with us, this weekend is as perfect as one could ask for.  Watching the sunlight make diamonds on the ocean yesterday afternoon and listening to the ocean sounds, I was filled with peace and gratitude for the chance to get away to this perfect beach with my sweetie.  And that’s HUGE.







Slow West


So here it is the first morning of a three-day weekend.  I jumped for joy just a little bit after my first cup of coffee.  I love my job but working in a classroom with 18 Kindergartners is not only physically demanding but is very overstimulating.  I’m completely worthless on weeknights.  So on my days off, I relish that energy being directed toward myself and my family.

One night this week I found my tired self in my friend Fran’s kitchen sipping a yummy red wine and enjoying a raclette happy hour.  If you’ve never heard of raclette, it’s a Swiss dish of melted cheese, typically eaten with potatoes.  In the center of the table is a small heating element on which you melt your personal small pan of raclette cheese.  Then you eat the cheese with small toasts, pickles, veg, and/or cold cuts.   The cheese is seasonal, but gruyere will work at other times of the year.  What a treat to be with good friends but still, I yawned approximately one hundred times.  I’m so tired of being tired all the time! I’m starting to eye those suspicious little bottles of “Five Hour Energy” potion they sell at the grocery at check out.

We were supposed have a beach weekend in Rocky Point (Mexico) this weekend but it’s just too danged cold.  The main purpose of our trip was to see the whales.  Last January my sister and I stayed an entire week at our little beach condo and had excellent whale sightings.  But the whales have not yet reached our little Sea of Cortez; it’s too cold even for them!  So we decided to enjoy our long weekend here at home and hope to drive south to see the whales next month.

Hubby and I watched a fabulous movie last night called Slow West.  It stars the actor Michael Fassbender and was filmed in New Zealand.  The story is riviting and so visually arresting that I kept gasping, “You could put a frame around this shot and hang it in a museum!”  Which was probably really annoying to Hubby, who was watching the movie with me.  Anyway, it takes place in the American West and in Scotland, and somehow  the colors have been altered which gives the landscape a glowing, vivid quality.  Oh, and the music is hauntingly beautiful.  The plot is slow and simmering.  I love a Western, but I promise you it’s character driven, not “actioney.”  My sons love the “actioney” movies, and I can’t stand them.  This is hands down the best movie I’ve seen in AGES!

We finished the movie and hit the hay.  Lately I’ve had such vivid dreams.  Last night I dreamed I had my old rolltop oak desk and when you rolled it open, there was a kitten on every shelf.  CUTE!  In my dream I was having great fun choosing names for all of them.  The only names I can remember this morning are Lyle (for Lyle Lovett), Fassbender, Slick, and Potluck.   I also dreamed I cleaned the inside of my fridge.  What a disappointment to open it today and find crumbs, smudges of sticky jam, a spilled milk puddle, and cat hair.  Yes, that’s right:  cat hair.  UGH. Perhaps I will do a little drunk cleaning later this afternoon.  Pour a cocktail, crank the tunes, and tackle my worst household jobs. Hubby is working on the design for my latest invention:  a cup holder for my vacuum.

So here I am at the end of my news and it is only 9:41.  I’m starving since all I ate for dinner was ruffled potato chips with onion dip, and an orangarita (OJ and tequila).  My diet is terrible, which explains not only my fatigue but also my robust physique.  For lunch I will most definitely eat a salad.







Fly in My Nose


I am in Mexico.

There is a very small fly in my nose. More precisely, I’m quite certain the fly who flew into my nose a few minutes ago is now flying about in my nasal passage. I wonder how long he can survive in there? I mean, obviously, there’s air in there. Will he journey to my lungs? Will he fly out of my mouth at dinner?

I’m thinking these brilliant (ha) thoughts while gazing at the ocean. There’s always so much to see: Hubby and Ruby the Wonder Spaniel swimming just a few feet from shore. Large jumping fish. So many pelicans flying over head, and a long line of dolphins swimming by. The small brown terns pecking at the tide line. A green crab the size of my fist who gave me a small pinch when I stepped on him, then skittered away. And the beautiful diamonds of sunshine shimmering on the ocean’s surface. Small red-legged hermit crabs busily doing their work in the shallow puddles, and the sea eagle hunting for lunch.

We have been here less than 24 hours and already so much has happened. We took a long walk and met so many beach neighbors. Especially funny were three tipsy retired teachers who, when they the found out I worked in a classroom, had so much to tell me. They said many nice things about my school, and when I told the retired middle- school music teacher that all three of our children had been in marching band, she gave me a huge hug. Ruby has a new friend named Molly, a waggy-tailed Welsh Springer Spaniel from Tucson, and of course, it was nice catch up with some folks we see here quite regularly.

We swam in the calm, warm ocean, then took tons of photos of the colorful, constantly-changing sunset. We opened fresh beers and watched the afterglow for an hour before heading to town for dinner. The town was hopping, and we had a delicious fish dinner at Senior Amigos overlooking the ocean. Then we walked all the way to the end of the malecon, weaving in and out of the vendor carts selling cotton candy, flavored crushed ice, helados, and all manner of trinkets. Local families congregated happily together, enjoying the cool ocean breezes on this October evening. So many different musicians wandered through the crowd, their songs drowning each other out. Several bandas with large, dented tubas blatted out flat notes, while strolling guitarists sang off key. So much NOISE! “How is it one city can be so devoid of any musical talent?” I asked Hubby. This has always been true, but I’m assuming it’s a lack of music education in this fiscally deprived town. Most of them, literally, have probably never had one lesson.

I am in love with this weekend. I am in love with this beach. Everyone is where they are supposed to be . . . with all three of our kids accounted for and having a happy weekend. Hubby and I are so enjoying having quiet time together swimming, reading, and doing crossword puzzles. The beach is perfect with polite neighbors and all manner of happy pups trotting along, stopping to sniff the line of shells and seaweed at the ocean’s edge. Today, I truly feel like the luckiest girl in the world.


Beach Rumpus


Come here. Yeah, you.

I want to whisper in your ear. I’m dying to tell someone my news . . . but I’m afraid if I announce my news too loudly, I’ll be jinxed. Things will fall apart. It’s happened before. It could happen again.

Okay, are you ready? (stage whisper): I’m going to the beach on Sunday!!!

Yep, it’s true. Not only do I get to go to my FAVORITE Mexican beach, I also get to go with some of my FAVORITE people. Hubby, William, Eve, Ruby the Wonder Spaniel, and I will pile into our tiny Prius and head south toward the border early Sunday morning. I’m looking forward to packing light, like I did in the old days. In my pre-marriage days, I’d pack a backpack with a swimsuit, a towel, a pair of jeans, a tshirt, a jacket, a pack of gum, and a toothbrush. What more could a girl need? I’m aiming for that + food + soap + my laptop + books. Alas, we will only be there for a few days, but we all have school or work and besides that, our cats miss us if we are gone too long.

I have so many things to do before we leave on Sunday:

Clean my house (my super-clean neighbor is going to cat sit for us and I don’t want her to be disgusted, AND my sister is staying here one night while we are away).
Buy groceries.
Pack sheets and towels.
Bake cookies (my people enjoy their sweets).
Lose 20 pounds (I am too fat for the beach).
Buy tequila (saves time on errands once we have arrived).
Buy a cute new swimsuit.
Stop by the library to pick up a good book.

And then, in the morning, my family and I will pile into our private boat, and we will sail off through night and day and in and out of weeks and almost over a year to where the wild things are. Let the wild rumpus begin!