Mexico January 2018

I have promised some photos and this is a fine way to get them out (to my parents especially – cause really, who else cares that much?)

January has been full of construction in my neighbourhood, flus and colds – but not without it’s share of parties and sunny days.

Lola was a great companion through my sick times. Thanks to Kevin for walking her for me and bringing me things I needed.

A packed “Viva Maria” on a Saturday night and a great birthday party for Sandra at El Farolito

El Farolito is  doing really well with lots of business and great reviews. This is a picture of the kitchen staff that night.

The community in Pinal Via  prepared a lovely baby shower for my friend’s daughter (15). Decorations, drinks, games and food. She is expecting any day now.


Dinner with friends at El Farolito. (Gail, Louise, Ella, Colleen and me- I don’t have many pictures of me so I’m throwing this one in).

Bike-athon Fundraiser for Pro-Animal from Melaque to Barra raised lots of money for animals in the area – including my newest foster puppy, Trixie.

Introducing Trixie from Cihuatlan.

Lola has been very gentle and patient with Trixie (most of the time). Lots of sleeping going on.

One of the highlights of this month has been having Karlita and Betel for sleepovers. One night I took them out dancing with a bunch of gringo’s.  A night to remember!

The month ends with a new beginning – Mike has arrived!

Thanks for checking in. I trust February will be healthier and equally happy. xox


Melaque again December 2017

Happy New Year to all!

My mom has asked for an update about my return to Melaque and so has inspired this photo blog entry.

We arrived safely to Puerto Vallarta on November 30th and enjoyed an uneventful drive to Melaque.

We spent the first week at Gail’s. By the second day I had found our new home – a two bedroom bungalow (Mike to join us in February) – the second floor of this building, just a block from Gail’s place.

Enjoyed my birthday at El Farolito restaurant (Chuy and Miriam’s new adventure) with lots of good friends.

Lola has made some new friends.

And some random pictures of good times (and my place coming along).


I’m currently in Puerto Vallarta with Kevin to celebrate New Year’s at a condo on the Malecon. Could be worse!

A healthy, happy year to all!

Jelly RIP

Our sweet cat’s life ended yesterday and we are left with wonderful memories. And some photos to share…


He came to us as a small kitten (pictured here with Mijin) and soon became Peanut’s best buddy, and of formidable girth!

Peanut and Jelly hanging out cheek to cheek…IMG_1552Jelly survived Peanut and 3 years later bravely welcomed Lola to our home.

Maybe Lola tired him out, maybe things turned after the operation to remove his big growth, or maybe it was just his time. Jelly slowed down on eating and eventually stopped eating much at all.

Our Jelly belly became very thin and weak, but until the last few days he continued to be active and maintain his unique and affectionate personality.


IMG_2183Loving Jelly Belly, you shall be missed and fondly remembered. Rest in Peace.IMG_3679

Lola in Canada

Here is the requested update on Lola. In a sentence, “She is doing great!”

After 3 long flights (Manzanillo-Mexico City- Houston – Toronto), we arrived home and happy to meet the rest of the immediate family – Neah and Jelly.

After a couple days, Lola and Jelly had become friends (though Lola plays a bit rough sometimes).


Climbing down the stairs was an adventure (she has it down pretty well now though she still can be heard growling at the bottom if she takes it too fast – I have a cute video but just learned that I can’t post videos – you can imagine).

IMG_1508Getting used to the cold has been a process, but luckily it is warming up around here. She refused to walk on bitter days, but she loves the dog park!


She continues to be deliciously cuddly and her training is going well. She has “sit, down and stay” and usually responds to come. We start “doggie training school” in two days. The book Dog Sense that Lisa sent me has been invaluable. Neah and Lola are in love.



IMG_1549I couldn’t be happier and she seems pretty content herself! She has doubled in size since I’ve known her and I anticipate she will likely double again!

Love to all who are reading this. We hope to spend more time in Mexico (maybe as of January 2018…?) xox

Tai Chi in Barra

Directions to Classes with Didi

Feb 5th 2017 –

I’m thrilled to be vacationing in Mexico for a month.

One mini-project is to offer tai chi classes twice a week –

Tuesday and Thursday’s at 9:30-10:30am. The first class is on Feb 7th.

Everyone is welcome. Join anytime. By donation.

Here are some direction details.

The classes will be held in a shady area in the Unidad Deportiva (Sports Park in Barra).

Turn onto Avenida Nueva España (to the “Barrio”) continue past the tower


The “Unidad” is 3 blocks after the tower on your left.


You can drive into the park- there are various courts for basketball, volleyball etc. We will practice in a shaded area near the children’s playground.


We can meet at the playground a few minutes before 9:30am.  Class will start at 9:30am sharp. Latecomers are welcome to join in.


Questions or comments?  contact me at

There will also be a workshop (for tai chi students and anyone else interesting in a good time learning about Yin/Yang through movement) at Kalina’s Yoga Studio – Buena Onda Centro de Yoga in Barra – 6-8pm on Tuesday February 21st.




Mount Madonna YSC1

I left Mount Madonna this morning. As I wait for my flight, I’m wishing I had taken more photographs. Here is a short explanation of what I have been up to for the past 2 1/2 months, and some of the photos I did take.

Mount Madonna is a conference, retreat and yoga centre in the heart of California, a half hour from Santa Cruz, on the top of a mountain, with 355 acres of open meadows and redwood forests.


I participated in the YSC Program – Yoga, Service and Community. My primary motivation for going was for the Yoga. I was looking for a healthy environment and lots of exercise. I quickly learned that “Yoga” on the mountain (that’s insider lingo)  refers to the 8 limbed system of Ashtanga yoga as taught by Baba Hari Das, and asana (what I meant when I thought yoga) was one of those limbs. Asana classes were offered daily, mainly in the mornings. I averaged about 4 classes a week. On many days, pranayama (breathing and meditation)  classes preceded these classes, and 2 of those classes were a mandatory part of our program.

Classes were held in the Redwood Room. You can almost see it in the back left side of the photograph.


Yoga at Mount Madonna is mainly gentle and slow. The instruction was good, but I sure missed classes with Blanca in Mexico. Though I thought I was coming for the classes, there are many other aspects to Mount Madonna that interested me more and that are pulling me to return for a second session in June.

Service, the second component of the program, included working to keep the centre running. Most of my work shifts were in the kitchen, dish room and dining hall. There were valuable presentations and discussions on the meanings and opportunities in the spirit of service. Here is a photo of some community members, Kelly and Vasudev (he’s an acupuncturist!), in the dish room.


Community, the C in YSC, took many forms. My immediate community consisted of the people who were taking YSC1 together.


KC, Chella, Grace, Ann, Me above. Sarah, Tatiana, Tiffany, Stephanie (Svapna missing- below)



We were each given a private room (some shared a bathroom, but somehow I lucked out and got the only room with a double bed and private bathroom) at Forest View.


We had work shifts together, took classes together, and had some fun times.


Svapna and I took some adventures to parks and beaches in the area.

IMG_0301 IMG_0336 IMG_0339The larger community (of approx. 50) includes people who have lived at Mount Madonna for up to 40 years. The centre was founded and built under the leadership of their Guru, Baba Hari Das. Babaji, as he is affectionately called, no longer comes to the centre, so I was not able to meet him (he is now in his 90’s) but his influence is felt around the place.

I watched some videos of the early years which were impressive. The community planned and built the entire centre under his direction.  One of the buildings, the CB for Community Building, is where the kitchen, dining room,meeting rooms offices and more bedrooms are located.

I got to know some of larger community at meals, at work shifts, and at classes and special events. I loved Tuesday and Thursday mornings because they were the days of the classes on the Gita and Yoga Sutras. I also enjoyed teaching a weekly tai chi class.


Fortunately, in addition to the deer and wild turkeys,


I had some very special visitors. Mijin came for the day with her beautiful family. They were so warm. When I first saw them, Mijin’s daughter, Mina,  ran towards me with her arms open wide saying “Nana” even though she had never met me.

IMG_0307 IMG_0310 IMG_0317

Len visited from San Diego and we spent a couple great days in Santa Cruz.


Mount Madonna hosts many retreats (the largest one was Adyashanti with over 200 participants) and some excellent people came through the centre while I was there. I had the opportunity to audit a course by Dr. Vasant Lad (a very respected Aruyvedic Medicine Dr. and teacher).

IMG_0417 IMG_0422

It was an honour.

After a short visit with Len in San Diego, I will be coming home to Toronto for a while. I am looking forward to seeing family and friends. My plan is to return to Mount Madonna in June for a three month program.

Please be in touch. If you are reading this, I would love to know how you are and what is happening in your world.  xoxoxo Dawn

Mexico Highlights 2015

Here are  photos that tell the story of some of my activities and friends over the last 8 months.  As I prepare to move to California for the winter, I have put together these photos as a tribute and thank you to the many that have loved and sustained me in Melaque this year.

My first “thank you’s” are  to Gail and Yoda for providing me with a lovely home which fortunately withstood the wrath of Hurricane Patricia remarkably well.




I enjoyed many, many hours at home alone, and the occasional company of friends.











Thanks to the tireless efforts of Pro-Animal, in addition to the puppies I wrote about in an earlier blog, it was an honour to love and fatten up rescue puppy, Lenteja, and find her a good home.


Yoda checks out the skinny pup the day she arrives. A month later she is looking much better and is ready to move on.

P1040156 - Version 2



I enjoyed teaching English and Tai Chi classes throughout the summer and fall.




It was a treat to watch “my kids” from the daycare perform the other night, including a Christmas song in English.




Here are a hodgepodge of more pictures of friends and good times. P1040133









20151127_153828 - Version 2












An important part of my time here was studying yoga with fabulous Blanca at Bios Yoga.




In September, I surprised my mom for her birthday as part of a wonderful visit to Toronto for the High Holy Days.




To my great fortune, Neah visited me twice this year, and Joy joined her in a fabulous visit in early December.











Thanks for making it through all these photos!

I wish you all a Happy and Healthy 2016!

The journey continues… xoxo Didi/Dawn

Puppy Love


One of my main activities for the last 4 months has been fostering puppies in Mexico. I am housesitting a great place (with a dog). My current lifestyle does not support adopting a dog of my own, so fostering allows me to love and care for various dogs without making a long term commitment. And there are lots of fantastic puppies around.



Silvio and Sissy found a cozy spot for a nap beside the fridge the day they arrived.


But there are other commitments. While puppies are adorable, they are also high maintenance. And more intense than constantly cleaning up after them, is the commitment to myself to “love without attachment”.

So far, it has been easy to pass the puppies on to their forever homes. I trust that they are going to a good place and as I pass the pup into another’s arms, I feel glad for the time I had with the little pisser and move on. Gratitude over grasping.

And then came Kanet.

And then came Kanet.

This fostering feels like training for wider interpersonal applications.


In service to the puppies’ needs, I am less self absorbed and less alone.


Feisty Kanet was adopted out the day after my daughter left.  Enter Orion.



Sweet Orion after a bath.

Sweet Orion after a bath.


Kudos to fabulous Yoda (the house dog) for putting up with all these babies.

I am particularly fond of Orion, or at least it seems so since he is currently with me. I’m happy to say that a friend in Toronto is eager to adopt him, so we are set to travel next week.

These puppies have extended me loyalty and unconditional love. And they are so darn cute and funny. Appreciation to my canine teachers.

Love to you all,



Marvellous Mexico

I am settling into a peaceful, heathy lifestyle in Melaque. Here are some pictures of my temporary home (thanks Gail!) and my immediate neighbourhood.

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Yoda, the house dog, is doing great and is a dedicated little companion.

P1030702I appreciate the colours and open concept of the house. And of course the pool!

There is a welding workshop across the street (yes, every fantastic situation has some compromise, no?). I almost don’t hear it anymore.


It is convenient to have a small store just steps away(its on the first floor of the building with the thatched roof)- it surprising how many things are on sale there, including vegetables, eggs, toilet paper, etc.

This picture also shows the way to town. I usually ride my bicycle (unfortunately the bike I bought was stolen. Fortunately, a friend lent me his second bike- and I like it better than the one I bought.) It’s a block down this road, then a left to cross a bridge and reach a “main” street.

P1030693Now heading in the other direction are some pictures from this morning. The horse inspired me, though I have been meaning to catch up on this blog.

A big apology (to myself mainly) that I did not take photos during the month that I was in Toronto.

P1030698 P1030696 P1030694Gail’s house is beside a canal (which has been known to overflow in rainy season – and this coming summer is expected to be wet!) though it sure looks lovely now…

P1030704and lastly, a picture of my bedroom. I chose the smallest room for simplicity sake and because it’s the least costly to air-condition. I am comfortable there.

P1030708I spend most of my time where I am sitting right now. At a big round table off the kitchen and beside the pool. There is a big strong fan overhead, a palapa roof and a strong internet connection. I’m listening to welding and the songs of birds.

Visitors welcome.







Dawn’s Last Leg in Thailand

I’m flying to Toronto tomorrow. I’m excited to see everyone there. It’s also hard to believe this adventure is coming to an end. I had a great time on Koh Phangan Island for a couple weeks. I went there for a silent meditation retreat but it was full so I went back to the north-west part of the island, Srithanu Bay area. P1030476

This part of the island is yoga central with a strong hippy and tantra vibe. I did a little yoga school shopping and found Samma Karuna, a yoga and awakening school that I completely enjoyed. P1030535P1030558

I intended to do lots of  yoga, but due to a fall (which with the exception of a very sad big left toe I am almost completely healed from) I ended up finding other activities, including an excellent Qi Gong class. For the first week I stayed in a funky cheap room near the school. The owner was nice (and invited me out to a fair one night which was a lot of fun) but the room and especially the bathroom were very dirty. Yes, disgustingly dirty. P1030524

I decided to splurge on resort on the beach where my friend Sue was staying for my last 3 nights on the island.

I had something to look forward to, and was happy with the choice. P1030492 P1030495 P1030497

Most evenings a French Canadian couple led a kirtan (singing/chanting) event on the beach.     P1030513

I made some new friends, notably another English woman named Sue, P1030517

and a Australian/German woman named Klaudia. P1030551

Just after taking this picture I commented to Klaudia that I liked her white top and she gave it to me! I left the island and travelled directly to Pop House just outside of Bangkok for a 3 day retreat to end my trip. It was a lovely place, but not what I had in mind. It turned out that Pop House is part of a huge, unorthodox Thai temple called Dhammakaya. We got a temple tour at the end of the retreat. One of the things we saw was a stadium constructed to seat a million people. Yikes! The participants were from all over and we had a good time. P1030600

My last adventure has been visiting temples in Ayuthuya- the ancient capital of Thailand, not far from Bangkok with a Sweedish woman on the retreat. We rented bikes yesterday and temple hopped.



Today we head back to Bangkok. I’m hoping to get some shopping in at “JJ market” before boarding a plane for Shanghai this evening. A 29 hour journey should land me in Toronto Sunday afternoon!

Thanks for joining me on this ride through sharing in my photos and stories.

Lots of love, Dawn