Teaching iPhone/iPad and iPhone Photography Classes in Ajijic Mexico

I am a recently retired Creative Trainer at Apple, Inc. I was trained at Apple not only about hardware and software but also how to teach. My commitment to you is that you will learn a lot and have fun doing it. Click on the class names to register. It’s only $500 pesos for four weeks of classes. What a deal. Tell a friend – or two. We are going to laugh a lot, learn a lot and have a great time. There will also be coffee, tea and cookies.


iPhone/iPad Class 
Whether you are new to the iPhone and iPad or just need to brush up and learn more, this is a perfect class for you.
$500 pesos for four hours of classes, one hour per week
10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Tuesdays Sept 5, 12, 19, 26
Space is limited.

iPhone Photography Class 
The iPhone is the most popular camera in the world – for a good reason. It’s a great camera. Learn how you can take better pictures, edit them and organize them.
$500 pesos for four hours of classes, one hour per week 1
0:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Wednesdays, Sept 6, 13, 20, 27
Space is limited.

You can pay through PayPal without joining. Just click on pay with credit or debit card and then put in your billing information.

Ajijic and Capturing Unexpected Moments with Your iPhone Camera

Mexico holds surprises around every corner. In San Miguel it was often a parade suddenly appearing. In Ajijic it is horses and ponies. On my morning walk I saw a rider on a horse turn the corner, shortly followed by this pony. So sweet. I barely got my iPhone camera up fast enough.

That reminds me. Did you know that if you are in a hurry to take a picture with your iPhone Camera and your iPhone is asleep, just swipe right to left. You then will be in your camera without having to put in a password or fingerprint first. It's a perfect iPhone feature for catching unexpected moments.

First Impressions of Lake Chapala

San Miguel de Allende reminded me of San Francisco. Ajijic on Lake Chapala reminds me of Santa Cruz California. Lola and I have only been here a few days but we have managed to find...
•good coffee
•delicious flan
•a couple of small grocery stores
•the local farmacia (pharmacy)
•delightful neighborhoods for Lola's and my daily walks
•the "malecon" walkway along the shore
•a yummy ice cream place that serves cappuccino with your choice of ice cream
•the Lake Chapala Society where expats linger over breakfast, lunch, wine and beer
•several used furniture places where many treasures are waiting for me to set up a home

I have a politically like-minded friend who also yells at television news and talks to herself and pets. It gets a bit confusing, but we have decided as long as I am staying with her we will begin each sentence with each other's names so we both can stop saying "what?"

Today I met a couple who have invited me out to dinner. She is the first cousin of Richard Nixon and has some fascinating stories about their family's history.

Lola has two new kitty companions - one who likes her and one who avoids her. Lola has already sniffed ½ of downtown Ajijic and has discovered that stretched out on Mexican tile floors is the perfect place to be on a warm day.

And so the next part of our adventure begins...

Heading to Lake Chapala

The only part of Mexico I know is San Miguel de Allende (except for a brief stay in Cancun on the way to Cuba). I decided that Lola and I should do some more exploring before landing long term in one place. So we are off to Lake Chapala...

The Fun Side of the Wall

Top Ten Reasons I Love San Miguel de Allende Mexico

It is hard to believe that I have been in San Miguel de Allende for nine months. I have made some new friends, improved my Spanish (poco a poco) and have taken a lot of photographs with my iPhone.

This is a wonderful place. I slid into this world so much easier than I ever imagined. There are so many things to love in this magical town. Here are ten of my favorites.

1.  The climate is pretty close to perfect. The weather is quite lovely from October - April. May is a bit warmer with highs about 88 degrees. June is the beginning of the rainy season, but I am finding out that on most days storms don't roll in until about 4:00 in the afternoon. And at 6400 feet the thunder/lightning storms are impressive.

2.  Color - It's everywhere. It's on the buildings, in the decor, the art, the clothing, in the gardens. If you asked me for one word to describe San Miguel de Allende I would use the word "colorful."

3.  The Light - The light is different here. I am not sure exactly how to describe it. Maybe it's because of the altitude... or maybe the latitude. All I know is that some days it takes my breath away.

4.  Texture - San Miguel de Allende is a town of texture, from the cement walls, to the tile floors and embroidered textiles.

5.  Architecture - The architecture in SMA is Spanish Colonial and it is gorgeous.

6.  Coffee and Food - SMA is a "foodie's" delight. Some of the best chefs in Mexico have opened restaurants. Here is a link to some of the most popular.

7.  Art - Ever since American Stirling Dickinson arrived in 1937, SMA has drawn artists to its schools and galleries from all over the world. One of my favorite galleries is Fabrica la Aurora, where there are also three restaurants and little shops.

8.  Live Music is everywhere -  in cafes, nightclubs and theaters. You can be walking down the street and suddenly a marching band will come around the corner. I recently saw Lila Downs in the new large outdoor venue at the edge of town. The crowd sang along to all the Mexican favorites. There was wine, beer, snacks and even fireworks.

9. Festivals and Fiestas - SMA is festival central. There are parades, saint day celebrations, wedding processions. The streets are decorated and are full of tradition, music, dancing, colorful costumes and food. Here is a calendar of the most popular.

10.People - People in SMA are very friendly. Locals have been helpful with my Spanish, kindly correcting my grammar and pronunciation. Like most large towns and cities, if you are looking for trouble you can find it. But, as one older gentleman told me, if you are not looking, it is unlikely to find you. I was careful about walking alone on empty streets at night, but I was careful about that in the U.S. as well. 

There is a reason that Travel and Leisure just named San Miguel de Allende the number one city in the world to visit. It's a gem.

Hammocks and Swinging Chairs

I bought the hammock in the picture above years ago while traveling in Brazil. I went to the factory where they were made and watched as the men wove the body of the hammock on huge wooden looms. The women sat on the floor and crocheted the valences. This hammock has moved with me from home to home. Most of the time I have hung it inside filled with pillows. It's my favorite place to take a nap.

I recently ran across an article in Apartment Therapy that is about hammocks and swinging chairs used indoors. It has some great ideas.

Top Ten Tips From My Favorite Magazines - July 2017

1.  I saw these gingham capris in this month's English Chatelaine. They take me back to the 1960's -  from Topshop. $80

2.  When I moved to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico I gave away my Apple Watch. I was retired. Why did I need a watch? Wrong! I found this Hybrid Fossil Smartwatch in this month's Domino Magazine. Think it might just work quite well as a replacement.

3.  I do love this print over the bright blue dresser. In high school I swam with the Santa Clara Aquamaids and this image brings back memories of hours of swimming laps (not so great memories) and the comradery with my teammates (good memories). I saw the Beach Ball Glam Print in the July issue of Good Housekeeping. $249

4.  I only photograph with my iPhone 7 plus these days. Sometimes I miss the feel of a camera's grip. I saw this case from Miggo Pictar in this month's MacWorld. $99 and $109

5.  I have grown a bit tired of denim skirts. However when I saw this white denim pencil skirt in Redbook Magazine, I thought I just might have to buy it. The skirt is by Earl Jean and have not been able to find it. However I found quite a few similar skirts at Macy's.

6.  I am kind of having a thing with checks lately. I saw these Hound's Tooth Mules in Living Etc. They are available at net-a-porter.

7.  If I remember correctly, I saw this idea of "Eating one meal a day outside," in the July Issue of Martha Stewart Living. Sounds great to me.

8.  Every time I look at this picture of Maple Cherry S'mores, my mouth starts to water. These were on the cover of the English issue of Chatelaine. Here is the recipe.

9.  The title under the picture of the striped sandals was "Live In Sassy Slides." I could definitely live in these and the price is so reasonable at $24.99. The only question is would I survive on San Miguel de Allende's cobblestone streets?

10. Number ten is my favorite tip of the month. I had never red the Rachel Ray Magazine and found if full of fun tips. But this one was definitely the best. You place a fresh cherry on the top of a water bottle. While steadying the fruit with one hand, push a straw or chop stick through the cherry into the water bottle. The cherry seed will pop out into the bottom of the water bottle. How cool is that?

Fourth of July Playlist

1.  Back in the USA - Linda Rondstadt 

2.  Born in the USA - Bruce Springsteen 

3.  Surfin' USAThe Beach Boys 

4.  America - Neil Diamond

5.  American Woman - The Guess Who

6.  American Pie - Don McLean

7.  America the Beautiful - Ray Charles

8.  America - Simon and Garfunkle .

9.  A Change is Gonna Come - Sam Cooke

10. Fortunate Son - Creedence Clearwater Revival

Book Review - Magpie Murders

When three people in one week mention a book to me, I take notice. That was the case with Magpie Murders. 

Author Anthony Horowitz was the screen writer for one of my all time favorite English mystery series - Foyle's War. So I had confidence I would enjoy Magpie Murders. It is a story within a story, a mystery within a mystery.

Book editor, Susan Ryland pours herself a glass of wine and begins to read the latest manuscript from her most popular author, Alan Conway. I was actually on page 205 when I remembered I was still reading Conway's manuscript - the mystery within the mystery

The story returns to Susan as she comes to the end of the manuscript to discover that the last few chapters are missing. (Quite a WTF? for both Susan and me.) There were many puzzles and clues along the way... but it is still unclear which of the five suspects committed the murder. The following Monday, she attempts to contact the author to get the last few chapters, only to discover he has died. The police call it a suicide, but Susan is quite sure it was murder. Now she has two murders to solve. Who was the murderer in the manuscript and what happened to the last chapters and who murdered her author, Alan Conway.

I found the manuscript mystery to be more intriguing than the mystery surrounding the murder of the author. However I was not disappointed. I had a long to do list for Sunday, but instead snuggled in with my dog, numerous cups of tea and spent most of the day reading Magpie Murders.

If you like puzzles, you will like this book. It is a fun read with eccentric English characters, a determined protagonist, country villages, twists and turns and even a bit of a love story.

What's in my iPhone Camera Bag?

Years ago I carried around huge camera bags filled with lenses, filters, multiple camera backs, film. In 2016 I got rid of all my old film and digital cameras. I now only use my iPhone 7Plus. My photo accessories bag is an old makeup bag that is faded canvas, from being put into the washing machine so many times. But it is the perfect size, is soft from the many washings and easily fits in my purse.

1. My iKlip selfie stick. I was never very big on selfie sticks. I thought they were kind of silly until a baby boomer customer showed me two recent photos of her and her college roommates. The first one was taken by her husband and it was a nice picture. The second photo was taken with a selfie stick a couple of minutes after the first. They were standing the same way. They had on the same clothes. They used the same iPhone. The lighting was the same. The only difference was the use of a selfie stick with the iPhone higher so the women had to slightly tilt up their heads. They all looked 10 years younger. I went right out and bought a selfie stick! I like the iKlip because it comes apart and fits easily in my iPhone camera bag. It also works as a tripod. It's $39 on Amazon.

2. I have loved polaroids since I was a kid. I no longer have the camera, but I do have a small Polaroid Zip Printer . It still feels like magic. The prints are small, just 2x3 inches but fun while traveling or at a party. Printer is $123.88 on Amazon 30 Pack Paper is $14.99, 50 Pack Paper is $24.88.

3. I keep a set of Apple Earpods in my bag, mostly in case I am shooting in low light and want to use the volume button as a remote shutter.

4. I keep one or two of my
 10 Pack Colorful Cleaning Cloths in my bag to clean my iPhone’s front screen and my camera lenses. They are pretty inexpensive and it’s good to have extras. Amazon $8.99.

5. I am not a big stylus fan, however when retouching an image it is sometimes difficult to see what is happening under my finger.
Jot Pro 2 Stylus by Adonit has a clear plastic disk at the point of the stylus so you can clearly see your retouching. On Amazon for $21.49.

6. The Nova Off Camera Wireless Flash is my “go to” flash for my iPhone. It has 40 tiny LED lights that are softly diffused. Nova works with an app and is small enough to fit into your wallet. On Amazon for $59.

7. To charge all the gadgets in my camera bag, I use the 
Zilu Desktop Charger Amazon for $17.99.

8. Charge cables for my Nova Flash and Polaroid Printer.

9. Charging Cable for my iPhone and iPad. To keep people from picking up my cables by mistake, I put colorful little beads on them from ID Beads. They also have family packs and beads for earphones.

10. Never forget your Apple Wall Charger. I usually carry the smaller 5W charger and the 12W charger because I most always have both my iPhone and iPad with me. They are $19 each at Apple.

Church Bells and Firecreackers

I live towards the top of a steep hill. Around me are several ancient churches. I get to hear their bells calling the neighborhood to mass. This happens often, all around San Miguel de Allende. It's definitely part of SMA's charm.

Less charming are the loud firecrackers. This morning they woke me at 6:00 a.m. Now I get fireworks, which are also very common here and are magnificent as they explode above the center of town. I imagined that the firecrackers where being set off at night by spirited pre-teen boys. But I have never heard of pre-teens getting up at 5:30 a.m.

I finally asked my hairdresser about them. He said that no - those were not kids setting off firecrackers but the churches. They are calls to god. I have to admit there have been a few times when  I thought early in the morning, "Okay, already. God heard you."

Bells and firecrackers are such a part of everyday life here, I needed a way (since I am not Catholic and heading to mass), to make them useful in my life. A few weeks ago I decided whenever I hear the bells I will pay attention to my breath as long as they ring. I now get a mini meditation multiple times a day.

The firecrackers are so loud, that I found myself being irritated by them. I certainly do not want to be irritable several times a day. So I decided I would be grateful for something every time they explode. Surprisingly that has completely changed my relationship to the firecrackers.

I hope my Mom who taught me to meditate in 1971, and was the most grateful person I've ever known, is smiling in whatever heaven she is in.