Photos for January Stones and April PAD 2012 property of M J Dills (exception 1/16)

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Life is Short

I didn’t have a valentine yesterday. I was married on Valentine’s Day 33 years ago but my life has changed drastically. Since that time, I've been single for one year less than I was legally wed, though our courtship started a few years prior to the day we tied the knot. We were inspired to make our relationship legal by a near death experience; mine. Life is short, we concurred, and we could never be sure that time was truly on our side. We grew fat and lazy in our complacency; we became comfortable in our ability to overcome first world problems. When disaster struck, we were as unprepared as waltzing partners on the ballroom floor of the Titanic. It took years for me to recover from the avalanche of shocks and revelations. I was often mistaken for a nurse because for over a year, I was an instinctive caregiver, learning more about the foibles of the human body than I’d ever cared to know about. But I rolled with the punches and I am good now. I live a solo life, involved in extended family, and with no desire to find a partner. That phase of my life is over. But it doesn't give me any more time than I was allowed before. I'm still running circles around myself.

Currently, I'm witnessing a dear friend go through similar motions as I did twenty years ago. Her husband’s illness is completely self-inflicted but the end results are similar. I can reach out and lend support but more than anything, I’m here, for venting, ranting, weeping, hugging, listening. I know the importance of having people shut up and simply BE THERE. Bottom line, that’s what friends really are for. It’s also nice to have someone to go with to movies, shopping at Nordstrom, and splitting a bottle of wine or two. 

However, I’ve found the most important part of a friend is his or her ears. And sometimes… shoulder. Many of us find that making time to lend an ear isn’t always easy. We all have busy lives, but to hear a friend say they’re too busy; don’t have enough time can be like a blunt needle in your side; it hurts. If we have time for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, we have time for a phone call, or a lunch date.

In the past year I've lost some friends and we all witnessed shocking deaths of famous people we admired and loved, many gone far too soon. Let’s make time for one another until the day comes when all we have left are memories.

Thanks for reading. 


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Puerto Vallarta - Never Enough Time

Ahhhh, Mexico. How does the song go? Many songs about Mexico and they are all about wanting to go.

Shopper's Paradise
Colorful Bracelets
Los Arcos

Two weeks is just not enough, but I did have a chance to see some of my good friends; missed some who are always too busy in high season, making enough money to get them through low season; met some very likeable dogs; got a chance to spend a day at the Botanical Gardens; and visited one place I’d never been, Litibu. Though I'd driven by Litibu, this was my first time stopping.

Music - Lots and lots of music

Two events for the benefit of the animals had some great music, company (familiar faces, some I hadn’t seen in over a decade), and great food (the SPCA event was catered entirely vegan.)

Mi casa es su casa
Got my taxes paid and hired José, our wonderful Mozo at the condo complex, to do some painting and repairs. The place is ready to rent now at approx $7000 pesos/month. 

Master Bedroom

My dear longtime friends Michael and Greg took me to lunch at El Patron, a place I highly recommend for food, service, and atmosphere; dedicated Mexican environment. So good to see old friends and catch up.

Guacamole at El Patron

June and I had as many tête-à-têtes as we could fit in, everywhere from the beach at Cuates y Cuetes to my neighborhood’s Lukumbe. I sadly didn’t get to see her granddaughter Luna, a precious baby girl with a big personality, according to photos and her doting grandmother. 


Fit in one card game at the beach where Cassandra and I partnered up to whip Candace and Savannah in a round of Canasta. Candace got me back later. Attended a gathering of Women and Friends of Women, the same day a global march took place on January 21. Walked one day from the Sheraton to Zona Romantica.

Women's Gathering

One great day spent riding out to Sayulita with Candace Shaw. We had a lovely visit with Tracie Willis and saw the new work/second story addition to ChocoBanana. Then we trundled off down the back way towards Punta de Mita. Got off road and raised dust looking for the Litibu Grill. The waves at the beach were impressive, and we were told they’d been up to 18 feet the day before. Had more guacamole (I ate a lot this trip because when Twit calls for his stupid tariffs on Mexican goods, my avocado intake is going to be limited.) 

Grilled Veggies at Litibu
More Guac - Litibu

Candace and I had a sweet little rescue with us, Odie, on his way to Vancouver that evening and his furever home. Candace needed copies of his papers and on a Sunday there were no copy shops open so we stopped in Bucerias at Casa Tranquila to see if the ladies had a copier we could borrow. Joann and Patricia are really good for the ego. I was overwhelmingly welcomed, hugged and helloed. I love those two, and they were able to accommodate our paper needs, as well.

Odie and Me
Odie on his way............

The Botanical Gardens with Kathy was a perfect day. We spent hours and trotted all over the grounds, making a special visit to the chapel, having lunch in the restaurant and taking copious photos of flowers and birds. Kathy’s attempt to film a flock of green parakeets with her phone camera kept us busy. 

Here's my Heart in Puerto Vallarta
View from the Chapel
Chapel at the Gardens
Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens

Got my teeth cleaned, at $500 pesos. That’s $24 US dollars. And just as good a job as you will get anywhere north of the border. Teeth-cleaning is done by the dentist, so you’re with a highly qualified person. Had a pedicure/manicure at Toya’s that took over an hour; you cannot find the likes of this service anywhere in Seattle, no matter how much you pay.

I’m grateful for help from Kathy Lowther, who was my voice getting some things done that would have been more complicated with my limited Spanish; Kathy was also a great nurse when my clingy cough persisted and very generous with her Bio-magnetism, which could have been the right amount of healing I needed; Lety Benitez, who is an invaluable amiga; Jamie Coates and Saskia Guel, who have taken care of important issues in my absence; Chantel for fixing my bracelet…I love it, Chantel, thank you!

Thanks for reading.........


Me, at 17

Printed recently in Silver Birch
A Poem about 
Me, at 17


Me, at 17 (link to original)

Images like LSD trips we took fifty years ago, though far less burdened as current baggage.
Visualizing me, at 17 is laden with sentiment, old passion and a melancholy for revolution.
A child in turmoil, I learned to sit and stand and speak and live and march and sing and write and burn and ride and chant and wave and not give up.
Beyond Dylan, I was 17 and found Dave Van Ronk, Lead Belly, Mose Allison and a bit of Purple Haze.
Read José Martí, Ché, Anaïs Nin, Ferlinghetti, Ginsberg. Trekked to City Light Books. Hung out at Suzzallo and The Last Exit. Drank tea. Hitchhiked. Dreamed of extended backpacking.
There were songs of protest, love, naked guns and sheltered corporations. Lending a hand seemed like our very own idea. The Heat were the enemy; pigs.
17, a mystifying time; secrets, discoveries, experimentation, rejection, revolution, cults.
UFOs, missiles launching, southern lynching, LBJ, harm in harm’s way. Passing pipes.
Loose in the park after midnight, misunderstanding sex. Light my fire.
Driving cars while under the influence of lust.
Determining with certainty that white children and black children were treated differently, taught differently, schooled differently, ate differently, loved differently, died differently.
MLK and RFK shot. dead.
Boys I knew… supplied with guns and bewilderment, sent to a land we’d never heard of; came back in pieces, if at all.
There were undoubtedly sock hops and VWs and miniskirts and forced church attendance. There were grade-point-averages, college entrance exams and for some, there was birth control. 
And then I was 18.
AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This ancient photo was taken in the journalism classroom when I was 17, an aspiring writer, journalist, photojournalist, artist, and poet. I’ve managed to fulfill some of those dreams, in spite of getting pregnant, raising three kids, often on my own, battling nightmares, and putting dreams on hold.  (Enumclaw High School, 1966 — Enumclaw, Washington).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Margo Jodyne Dills is an active member of PNWA and Hugo House in Seattle, former staff writer for Banderas News, Puerto Vallarta; writes as a guest blogger under the names of Jake Diego and Adam Garcia in Panama, Colombia, and Mexico; works as an editor, web script and travel writer on both sides of the border. She keeps busy writing poetry and excited for her soon-to-be-published novel THE BOYS. Seattle, Washington, is her permanent home but she keeps her condo in Mexico and runs there to hide when the weather gets too unbearable up north. Her friends call her Jodi. Visit her at

Thanks for reading...