Friday, May 31, 2013

A Disappointment For The Media

And for many people who thought they knew what Mexico was all about.  I'm talking about the release of Yanira Maldonado the American returning on a bus from Hermosillo who was arrested for "supposed" transport of marijuana.   Everyone knew from the beginning it was a mistake and she would be released.  The news media went berzerk certain they would get a long, drawn out story about corruption in Mexico and drug running.  

I listen to U.S. news everyday for 30 minutes and then turn to news from Spain, BBC and PBS to get the real story.   Everyday this went on this week, U.S. news attempted to make a story out of it but each report always ended with a big fat "thud".

IMHO, her big mistake was taking the bait from the Mexican military.   They purposely told her she could bribe the judge for 5K.   If she took the bait it would show guilt.   It came close but again, Mexico is not living in the 19th century.   Cameras at the bus station proved she boarded the bus with only water and blankets.   The judge reviewed the info and then ordered her release.

The media doesn't give up though.  Now the news is playing up the story of "don't visit Mexico" the risk is too great based on this event.  


How many people use autobuses as transport throughout Mexico everyday for business and tourist travel?

How many Mexicans cross the U.S. border unknowingly carry drugs just like Yanira, are caught by U.S. border agents, and then released once they prove their innocence?

Do people really believe you could live in a country with 112 million people next to the U.S. and Canada and be able to have an overly corrupt justice system?   (befor answering this question think about the U.S. legal system; frivolous lawsuits, prisoners sitting on death row who are innocent, brokered deals to avoid international scandal)

In the end, this story fizzled out so now I predict numerous television programs and news companies with programming showing the dangers of traveling in Mexico.   Want to place a bet?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Did You Ever Wonder?

One thing we never knew the answer to on our rv trips in Mexico were the signs that said, "PIV" and "PSV".  This morning I drove to Saltillo to give a short workshop at the agricultural university, which is a city in itself.   The publisher pays my travel expenses so I took the autopista.   The price for a car is now 66 pesos, but it sure cuts out a lot of time and the drive is straight through.  I did this because when I went last week, there was a checkpoint in each direction on the "libre" that went on for over 3kms.   Go figure, I didn't see one today after getting on the toll highway.

piv= puente inferior vehicular  -   an overpass
psv=puente superior vehicular  -  an underpass
pipg=puente inferior paso de ganado -  an overhead cattle crossing
psfc=puente superior paso de ferrocaril  - a railroad underpass

An interesting event showing a sign of the times.   As I approached the toll booth, a trucker had pulled up to the prepay pass lane.   They usually have a sticker with a chip on their windshield.  This guy opened his window, stuck out his Iphone and waved it around setting off the computer and opening the gate.   I got a kick out of it.
The purpose of the survey that I mentioned is to gather information on Mexico rvers.  Feel free to send me a mail with your ideas.  I am thinking about origin, destination, rv type, length of stay, years visiting Mexico, use of toll or libre, etc.   This is a precursor to the survey I am also writing for ex-pats.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Two Things Burning On My Mind

A lot of Mexico stuff has gone on the last couple of months with both rvers and ex-pats.  Thanks to Juan and his doctorate research, we have learned some new ways of doing on-line surveys.  I hope to have at least one of them ready in the next week.  The easiest one to write is for rvers.   The ex-pat is a bit complicated as there have been many changes in immigration law.  I also have a lot questions concerning perspectives on living in Mexico.  Most ex-pats like rvers, are retired and their experiences are much much different versus someone who lives and works here, pays taxes, property, vehicle, salary, and so on.  

I am open to suggestions in terms of questions I should include.  I also ask that once I post the survey, that you pass it around to the different groups and forums you participate in to get the largest response.

My email is

Sunday, May 26, 2013

A CouchSurfer Comes To Visit

Our long awaited Couchsurfer, Angie, came to visit this weekend.  Angie was born in Mongolia and lived in the UK for many years.  She has lived in nine countries total in her short 25 years.  She teaches English at a school in Monterrey.   She had intended to run in a 10K this weekend but missed the registration.   We ended up going to the race anyway and that really worked up an appetite watching the runners cross the finish line.  Here is the first place winner as he crosses the "meta".

I took this panoramic shot of the town of Santiago, you should be able to click on it to enlarge the photo.  I love my town even though soon we may be moving,  in the next year.

 Here we are with Angie at the mirador overlooking the plaza of Santiago.   BTW, today was an exceptional day for tourism, you would think it was Semana Santa all over again. 

 Angie posing for the camera as we wait for the first runner to come into the plaza.  She is a wonderful person and we have invited her to come out and stay whenever she wants.   She is a great conversationalist and that must be because of her travels.  As I said, she has lived in many countries including Nepal, China, Japan,  Thailand, Holland, well, you get the idea.

 We went up to the waterfalls and this May thanks to recent rains we have some pretty good falls.

 We drove up into the mountains about 15 kms.  This is the route Kevin and Ruth took on their way south last time via Las Boquillas.   I thought about taking the rv this route.  The truck has a Hemi engine and I am sure there would be no issues, but it is very steep in some parts.  It has been a great weekend.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Story of What Happened At Our House

We never mentioned anything to Croft and Norma about the minor incident at our house the week they spent with us at the resort in Montemorelos.  I thought it was better just to blow it off and not let it affect me.  It did a little I guess, there were a couple of moments when I was a bit quiet.

As you know the resort we stayed at is only about 45 minutes from our house.   I took the liberty stopping by the house to check on the cats once and then again Juan and I came to pick up some odds and ends.  That's when we had the unforunate incident.  Not really a big deal, but really a very big deal.

If I remember correctly, it had been raining and we all were pretty much just hanging around our rvs.  Juan and I hopped in the SUV and took off for the house.  He had some clothes he wanted and I think some kitchen stuff.   It was pretty wet out at the time and I got out to open the gate.   As I opened it, I noticed a beer can in the grass alongside of the driveway.   We thought the worker who helps take care of the grass had a beer or the neighbors had a party and one of the kids threw the can over the gate.

We got out of the truck and went into the house.  We had the blinds on the poolside closed to keep the heat out and it was dark in the house because of the cloud cover.   I opened the blinds and the next thing I saw was that the yard had been trashed.   Patio furniture everywhere, the cushions soaked from the rain, literally up to 100 beer cans littered the yard, the grill had been used and left covered with food and grease, and trash everywhere.   We were shocked.  Trying to think what had happened, my worst nightmare is some locals found out we were gone and scaled the wall and had a pool party.  We checked the perimeter, any places in the fence that might have been opened, footprints on the walls, and found nothing.  I did notice that one of the locks on the gate had not been put back on and tossed to the side.

Going through our minds, we went through a list of possibilities.  I had come up with some family members, gate crashers, etc.  Afterall, it was Spring break and we hadn't invited anyone out to swim or stay as we had made the decision to see Croft and Norma before they headed back to Canada.

We took photos, gathered our things and headed back to Montemorelos.   Never said a word about it but it grated on my mind for a couple of days.   In the end, our illustrious gardner and trusted watchman had thrown a big party with "some of the guys".   We found out later once we got home and found the place clean, that he had been the culprit.   He was very apologetic, said he would understand if we let him go and on and on.   I wanted so bad to tell him to never come back but I wasn't about to cut off my nose to spite my face.

The big question now is, and we will never know, did he use our place on previous occasions knowing we would be gone for a period of time?  I always like to call in advance to let him know we are returning so he has time to get things ready in case he slacks off knowing we will be gone (based on previous experience).  Then, did he rent out our place?  How many times?  I am sure the answer to these questions is a big fat "yes".

We will continue with him for the summer while we are gone.   We are considering installing cameras as a first measure, something we have talked about forever and have never done.  Second, we have a small room in the corner of the quinta in front, it has electric, a window, plastered walls and tiled floor.  It would require the addition of a small bathroom, hooking up the drainage and water would not be a big issue.  We could then hire someone who lives here full time (called a mozo), cleans the house and keeps the grounds maintained.  This person would receive a weekly salary with benefits, could come and go on days off and while we are gone as long as he lives here fulltime.

Of course we all know my solution to this dilemma.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Needle Scratching The Record

What an interesting day.  Busy in fact.   Apart from the continuing humidity and heat, I ran into a real dilemma today.  I was asked to interview some possible candidates for a teaching position in a private Catholic school.  I interviewed two candidates and was not impressed.  Then came a guy who met all the requirements;  education, knowledge, level of English, excellent work background and presentation.   Remember I said it is a private Catholic school.   He then told me he was a Witness.   (now add the sound of a needle moving across a vinyl LP).  Not my decision, but that was the end of that.  Kind of like a Republican applying for a job working on a Dem's campaign trail.    Too bad.  I kind of wish he wouldn't have mentioned it and had known better.

I have a plan to get the rv ready for our trip.  It needs a good wax still, and believe it or not, I have found a place here in Monterrey to buy the charge controller for the solar.  I hope to visit them on Monday and see if they have what I am looking for. 

I am still debating on whether or not to install a camera system here at home so we can monitor the house while we are gone to avoid any problems like we had while we were in Montemorelos.  Not sure if I wrote about it.  If I didn't, remind me to tell the story.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Playaboy Makes A Stop In Monterrey

Barry, better known as Playaboy (on Rv.Net) from Playa del Carmen (just moving to Ajijic area), stopped through Monterrey on his way home today.   Barry had some business at the border last week and contacted me to ask about the best way to get from the border to the airport in Monterrey.   I told him to take the bus out to Monterrey and I would pick him up at the bus station and take him to the airport.

His flight left at 8:45 this evening and he arrived at the bus station around 4:30 and we headed out to the airport stopping for a late lunch on the way.   We talked up a storm about Mexico, living here and a lot about ex-pats and all the new changes going.

I think we hit it off pretty good.  Barry likes Mexico a lot and looks at it from a much different perspective than ex-pats living in ex-pat communities.   We arrived to the airport, had a coffee and talked some more before I decided it was time for me to go home and he needed to catch his flight.

Made for a fun afternoon.

Tomorrow I'm off for Saltillo for my talk to the graduating class of 2013.  I will present a talk on personal finance called, "Como Puedo Vivir Con Lo Que Tengo" (How can I live on what I make).

Summer Plans Are Set

We kicked around a lot of ideas for summer.  As I said the other day, the heat is upon us and we are now turning on the A/C from about 5 to 10 p.m.   After that, we keep the bedroom closed and turn on the ceiling fan and that keeps us cool through the night.   Boy this reminds me of living in Kansas City.  We didn't have A/C then and did everything we could think of to keep cool.  

I really want to spend time in New Mexico.  We know some of the state and their state park system is one of the best in the U.S.  We found a small list of parks above 5,000 feet but after investigating it appears daytime temps are very high.   I hate our air conditioner in the rv, it is so noisy it drives me nuts.  So we finally scratched that idea.

There is Chihuahua which still has a maybe 5% chance of still being the destination.   I have made a great boondocking list and a group of campgrounds that are under 80 pesos a day.  We've been to Chihuahua several times and we love it there too.   Again, daytime temps are my biggest concern.

We have decided 95% on Jalisco and going to Hacienda Contreras.   We love the area, Valle de Juarez fits our needs for shopping at the Saturday market and the wonderful gym they have.   People seem to like us there and we like them too.   Lots of hiking and we like to spend time in Mazamitla.   The cats came roam the rv park without any worries.  The biggest plus of HC is the weather.   Summers are sunny and warm during the day, but the nights are cool and perfect for sleeping.   Afternoon rains or should I say thunderstorms cool things down.   

Nearby we can visit other towns for a couple of days and on our way down stop at San Miguel de Allende and tool around there as well as Queretaro.   I can say that we will be gone for July and August and then heading back down in November to Queretaro for the annual teachers convention staying at the rv section in the Flamingo Hotel downtown.   After we will probably continue southwest to spend winter at the beach for a change.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

End To A Great Weekend

Finished my workshop yesterday at 2:00 p.m.   The teachers were a great group and surprisingly very happy with what they learned.   Usually, U.S. teachers think they are a notch above the rest and kind of think we here in Mexico are behind.   I was a bit concerned about that in the beginning but as the morning went by we seemed to really hit it off.  One thing that really bothers me though is the ideas that people have just miles from the Mexican border.  All of the the teachers asked me if I was afraid to live in Mexico and that it was a dangerous place.  They said I was the first person they knew who said it was a beautiful and fun place to live.   BTW, all of these teachers were either Hispanic or born in Mexico.   
I got home right around six in the evening.   I had stopped at the bank first to make a deposit before crossing the border.  No hassle or questions going home although this time it was really hot outside and I don't have any tinting on the VW windows.   I may do that this month but I want the clearest tint availabe.

Got up at 6:30 this morning.  Right, I overslept quite a bit!   We had a wonderful homemade breakfast, quesadillas, eggs with salsa, potatoes and beans.    Delicious.

This afternoon one of Juan's brothers stopped by with his wife and kids.   The boys took advantage of the pool but only after I coaxed their mother into letting them swim.   She doesn't like for them to ask for anything when they are here so I always push the issue.  They're kids and I like to feed them stuff that we don't eat.  I loaned them a couple of swim trunks and off they went for a couple of hours.

I think I have pinned you know who down to some dates for summer.   We have to wait for a permit from the education department in June and then we can take off.   So now I am pushing for a date.  The heat is already upon us and we (I) and suffering from the dreaded humidity mix.  Awful.  Next weekend we will be hosting a couch surfer from England who lives in Monterrey and will be running in a 10K here in Santiago.   We are excited to meet her and it is always fun to show people around.

This week I will be volunteering at the school in Allende on Monday and Tuesday in the morning.  Wednesday I am giving a talk to seniors graduating from the agricultural university in Saltillo.   A busy week but lots to keep me busy.

Friday, May 17, 2013

We Sadly Lost A Piece of History

I'm here in McAllen until tomorrow.  The company got me a nice room at the Pear Tree Inn.   I had a meeting at 1 p.m. and then got materials from the office.  Tomorrow I give a presentation to district supervisors here.  It  will be a tough group but I think it will go well.   

I am very happy today, I had my blood pressure taken.   119/83!  The best it has been in a few years.  No bread, no cheese, no red meat and no alcohol.    Seems to be working.  None of the previous are 100% with the exception of the red meat. 

The picture above is the textile factory that has been in Santiago for almost 200 years.  The factory was abandoned in the 1980s.   They were planning a museum.  Sad news, it burned down this morning as I was leaving town.   I don't think I showed anyone who has come to visit but I am sure Bill and Mo know of the place as they have friends in Santiago.  A piece of history up in smoke.  The saved the tower and the date marker plate so I guess the museum will be built around it now.    We are going there on Sunday and I will take some pictures.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Getting A Little Moldy

We've had rain now for four days straight.  Not a complaint either.   We really need it, the whole state including most of northern Mexico is in a severe drought.   Maybe we have enough to spare us more time before it is all over.   They say it could be two more years.   I need to run by the lake and see what the level is now.

Mostly stayed inside yesterday and so far today except for the gym and the grocery store.   Food prices seem to have gone up a bit.   Apples, avocados, and chicken.   Roasted chicken here runs about 59 pesos but at HEB and Soriana the other day it was 80 pesos.   I bought one today for 64 pesos so I thought I would check out whole raw chicken and roast a couple myself in the oven since it is cool out.  Wow, 70 pesos.  Something must be going on with the hen houses.

Not much else going on other than planning for my McAllen trip on Friday and Saturday.   The following week I will be working for two hours in Saltillo and helping out teachers in our local school in Allende.  The kids really like me, I think it is a change of pace from the ordinary grind of doing things the same way everyday.   I get them working in groups and give them expressions to use, no hand raising here.   I find a victim and make them speak.  They have a lot of fun with it and it really does help them to learn.   Breaking that old paradigm of ask and answer takes a long time.   Afterall, we have only be doing it for over 300 years.  

Have a great day!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Relaxing Sunday - Rain - Family Visit

First things first.  Happy Mother's Day!

The love of my life with the love of her life! She made me butter and sugar sandwiches, jelly rolls, always had cracklin's when I came home from school on cold days, sang Que Sera Sera whenever someone had picked on me or I was sad. She told me I was special and that someday I would grow up like everyone else. Well, she was right and I did. Everything I am I owe to her. She left me in 1997 and I have never ever gotten over her. Happy Mother's mom!

Last night I was coerced into staying up until almost midnight watching SNL.  The guest host was Kristen Wiig who is a favorite of mine.  Sick minds think alike.  It was worth it but left me a bit tired this morning.   Afterall, I woke up at 5:45.  No matter what time I go to bed, I wake up early.   I checked arious blogs, read the RvTravel website and had my coffee.

About 9:30 the phone rang and family were willing to brave the thunderstorms to come out and visit.   Sounded good to me.   We had a light breakfast and then I went out into the rain to get the paper and some sodas for our guests.

Later on in the morning here came the troops.   They were armed with barbacoa, tortillas, milk, and coca cola.  So we had an early lunch.  I didn't have any barbacoa but ate a couple of tamales.  They are so good, light, thin, not a lot of masa, and were made with jalapeƱo and a sliver of cheese inside.  Top that off with Juan's salsa, man oh man were they good.

We looked at family photos, reminisced about our mothers, and chatted the rest of the afternoon.  Around 4 p.m. it was obvious I wasn't going to get my nap but by that time it didn't seem to matter.   Well worth it and fun to boot.  Always good to have company.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Got Off Easy This Time

This week the air conditioning went out in the Volkswagen.   On Wednesday I took it to Monterrey where we have been going for a/c work since 1990 or maybe before.   It is a long drive from here and it took me about an hour.  I got there and the owner's son was alone.   He took a look at it and said it had enough freon so it must be something electrical.   He said I would have to take it back and leave it.  Yesterday I worked in a school in the morning and then I had a conference call from Dallas later in the morning.   I decided to wait until today to take it in.

I got up early and headed to the gym.  The instructor asked me why I wanted to drive all the way to Monterrey when there are several talleres here in Cercado and Santiago.  I told him I knew the guy for years and I trusted him.  While I was working out I started thinking how much time I could save if I did go to a local shop.  

As I left the gym I decided to head to Monterrey.   Traffic was still thick as today is Mother's Day and it is really a big event here.  People driving here and there buying flowers and gifts.   In fact, all the intersections had flower venders selling roses and balloons.   There is a huge street market on Fridays where I was headed and that was another road block.  

I pulled into the taller and the owner was there.  I haven't been there for at least three years and when he say me he said, "whatever it is guero, it will cost you 10,000 pesos".  I asked him if I could make 100 peso weekly payments and he said he would think about it.  I opened the hood and he looked around as I turned on motor and the compressor.   I could see him shaking his head and he asked if I could leave it.  Oh brother I thought and I then asked if he could check some basic things because it would take me a long time to get home on the bus and come back.  He went for his meters and gadgets and started working.  He pulled an electrical plug and did something to it with a meter and a tool.   He asked me to try the a/c again.   I stuck my hand in the dash and sure enough it was blowing cold.   Total price, 100 pesos.   We chatted for a bit and off I went a happy man.

Juan is recovering nicely from his knee surgery.  Torn meniscus and I have to tie him down or he is all over the place.  That's what the doctor wanted.  Guess he'll be as good as new in a week or two.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A Day At The Hospital

We got an early start this morning leaving the house around 6:45.   Apparently, many people sign up for surgery and then change their minds.  Juan's was scheduled for 10 a.m. but told us to be there before 8 in case that person didn't show up.  Wierd isn't it?  The doctor said one day he had three surgeries in a row and they didn't show up or call and cancel.   Social medicine, if you're not paying I guess it doesn't matter.

Well, the 8 a.m. showed up.  She hurt her knee wearing those new high heeled shoes with the short ball of the foot on a thick sole.   She didn't fall but doubled her ankle tearing the meniscus in the knee.  

The social system farms out the work to a private hospital.   It is in Monterrey by our old house.  Nice neighborhood and wonderful facilities as you can see below.   

Anyway, he went it at 8:30 and surgery started at 10 a.m. on the button.   Once he got started I went to the HEB down the street for breakfast.   Came back and chatted up a storm with the other three people in the waiting room.  The staff is fantastic, very professional.  
Juan finished just before noon and went to recovery.   I was listed as a friend and they led me back to recovery to see him.  He was in good spirits and in very good hands.   He complained about being hungry but had to wait until he was out.   He asked for a torta from La Purisima which is near downtown and about 10 minutes from where the hospital is.   I took off and picked up lunch so we wouldn't have to stop on the way home.

Here is where I waited

Got  home and put him down after he ate.  It's 6:30 and he's still out like a light.  He starts walking and driving tomorrow as much as he can and then goes back in two weeks to have the bandages removed.  All's well that end's well.

Monday, May 6, 2013

This Is The Part I Hate

Doing a little updating here at home.  I am changing out some things in the kitchen, we are preparing to have  either laminate or wood flooring put in the living room, entry and hallway, and new tile in the bedrooms and kitchen.   Before doing that we need to fix some cracks in the walls.

Cement houses have their benefits.   The big one is fire, it just doesn't happen very often.  Things inside may catch fire and if it doesn't get too hot the block is not affected, you repaint and you're ready.  Because the threat of fire is so low, we don't fear having bars on the windows unlike in stick built homes.   Did you know that there is a robbery in the U.S. every 15 seconds.   We don't have as much of that because if you can't break the lock on the door the only other way to get in is with a sledge hammer (mazo) to break through a wall.  Just hope nobody hears you.   That has been done before though, trust me.

Out here where we live is pretty much farm land and the ground is very soft.  Also an aquifer runs below us which also affects the stability.   We have some cracks in the walls in the entry way and the bedroom that need to be fixed.  What a mess.  They take a chisel and small sledge hammer and knock it out.  Then they insert reebar (varilla) in the walls with staples (grapas).   After, this area is filled in with solid cement, left to dry and then plastered over.   The house can move all it wants but the cracks won't reappear.  Having this done will keep from damaging the new flooring.

Here is a picture of why I don't like cement houses.   You can see there is no insulation.  Sure, you could inject foam in the walls, pour in cement between the holes in the block, and of course there are newer types of block that have thermal properties.    Very few homes use any of that.   You can even cover the outside of the house with foam panels and then cement over them.   Our roof is mostly styrofoam though.  First they make a lattice of cement beams and then fill the openings with foam blocks.  Cement is poured over the top, waterproofing, and then the clay tiles.   The roof helps quite a bit to keep in the cool or the heat, the walls suck.   That is the downside of a cement house.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

A Bunch Of Nuts!
News has it that a major developer is going to create a retirement community in San Miguel de Allende.  All of a sudden everyone is up in arms.  Why?  No public poll has been taken.  Wow, when was the last time in your home community they took a poll to see if you would mind a strip mall going in, a new convenience store or an office building?  Puhleeze!

Granted, it sounds a bit expensive.  The apartments would be renting for around 3000 dollars a month and the construction would include 400 units.  Why the opposition?  You think they would encourage new development seeing that they are always whining about how poor Mexicans are in SMA and they need help and if it weren't for them the city would wither and die.  Another, Ghaad!

Things change, and we hope Mexico changes too!  Throw a few bread crumbs to the folks who need work and want the same things that everyone else has.  After all, on one of the most popular "lists" for SMA, people are always searching for pesto, breadmakers, cappuchino machines, hoof di do and all the rest.  Why not let the locals get some of that.

I love SMA, but it won't remain the same forever.  Change is inevitable.   I guess some ex-pats long to see a woman lugging a jug of water on her shoulder, a baby strapped to her back, or a basket on her head filled with 10 kilos of empenadas.   Great, I'd like to see one of them do any of those tasks and then tell me how great it is to see "ole Mexico", Ole Ole, and cha cha cha!

Today's San Miguelenses want cell phones, flat screen televisions, air conditioning and more.  They're not going to sit around forever kissing some ex-pat's behind making a few pesos a week cleaning houses and washing cars.  Get with it people, Mexico is changing.

And to think that most of the ex-pats are complaining about the new immigration rules that require much higher retirement incomes to live in this great country.  Well of course, we have enough poverty around here, we don't need someone else's.   If the U.S. can't provide for their people well don't send them over here because we have cheap heathcare, rent, and groderies.   

As always, my post doesn't apply to the masses, but it does apply to those chosen few described above.

Friday, May 3, 2013

End Of A Season

I guess it has pretty much come to an end  and the winter season here in Mexico is over.  Croft and Norma, Kevin and Ruth, Jerry and Paula, and all the others like David and Marina, have all headed back to Canada.  They say Canadians are a hardy group of people and it seems justly so.   More Canadians than any other nationality make the trek every year to Mexico.   We hope they all come back again soon!  We miss all of you already.

Croft sent these pictures to me.  These were our last days together from the 2012/2013 season.  It was a fun one.  Thanks to all!