About Barbara

in april of 2008, i moved from the united states to mexico. during my working days, i held lots and lots of jobs….almost all chosen because they were fun or interesting instead of how much they paid. when i started thinking about retirement (in my 40s), i realized that i would never be able to retire to a country where english was the native language. and although i had traveled to every state in the US — and lived in lots of them — i had never been outside the country with the exception of canada and mexico. and since you now know that i could never afford to retire in canada (even to the french-speaking area), mexico won by default. 

About Michael 

BEEN THERE:  Raised in a small mill town outside of Pittsburg, PA in a union supporting family.  Grew up—-loved Kennywood, disliked high school, disliked the church, disliked steel…………………..left town and became a LIBERAL.

Standin' on a corner in Wallace, Idaho.

DONE THAT:  Bank teller, payroll clerk, draftsman, commercial kitchen designer, toilet cleaner, bed maker, dorm mother, gate monkey, etc. etc.  Lived and worked in Yellowstone National Park ,  Everglades National Park and The South Seas Resort.

FUN STUFF: Photographer, wood carver, jewelry maker, grape grower, wine maker, beer maker, gardener, hiker, wanderer, limerick writer, humor writer, and more stuff as it happens.


About Karen

Chill'n out on a glacier!


23 Responses to About

  1. Ed says:

    I will follow you. . .

  2. Dominique says:

    I like it Barb!! It’s on top of my favorites…for now…hahahaha. I mean jajajjajajja.
    Keep up the great work. I’ve ALWAYS loved hearing or reading what you have to say!

  3. Barbara says:

    thanks for the support, you two!

  4. Joy and Pierce Thompson says:

    Believe it or not, we have never read a “blog” before and first became aware of the concept with the flick Julia and Julie (or is the order reversed?). Being rather fond of random thoughts — the kind of thoughts that trickle out when the second glass of brandy has been poured on a fine night in Zion sitting at the picnic table — we think we are going to enjoy reading this joint effort.
    We don’t understand the “RULES OF BLOG” — tried to find out — how do we comment on what seems to be a thread of conversation that we think we have a thought or just a fragment of a thought that seems to relate?
    As the readers of Barb’s blog know, we spent 9 years at Zion and left to go to Montana — Cooke City. Loved the slow trip through Yellowstone — bison on the road, Rosey the bear and her cubs doing the “show”. Then we became caretakers on an estate in PA. Now, as we put it, we are learning the language of geese — how the rich live, in other words.
    So, what are the rules? How do we comment? Would like to add to the discussion, but don’t want to break the rules — what ever they are.
    In short, how do we play?

    • Karen says:

      Welcome, Joy and Pierce! How exciting to have you here. We live just on the other side of Cooke City, in the valley between Red Lodge and Billings – so nice to have former “neighbors” on here. There are no rules to break (don’t think so ) – just enjoy, join the discussion, and play on! Karen & Michael

  5. Kim Tenzin says:

    Hi Barbara,
    To say the least, you have an interesting life, one that I really admire.
    I too, have been thinging about Mexico but have not making a “leap of faith ” yet.
    Wish to connect with you to learn more your experience.
    I thought I first step is to commit to Spanish course in Puebla for a few months so I can
    learn the culture, people and the ability to communicate.
    Any insight and advices are greatly appreciated.
    My email: lotuspond90@yahoo.com

  6. Deon says:

    I love it!

  7. Pete & Kerry says:

    Kerry and I sat with you at Molt for breakfast. Thank you for a great and interesting time. Thanks for putting us in your blog, we feel famous. I’d like to send you a pic, is there an e-mail address?
    Great blog, thanks.

    • Karen says:

      Pete & kerry,It was fun having breakfast with you guys also. Our email is lamarvalley@hotmail.comIt just started to snow here this morning–10.00amMichael

    • Karen says:

      Hi Peter, I didn’t even think to ask how to spell your names. My niece is “Kerry,” but I guess I was thinking of a co-worker, Carrie. Anyway, I’ll go in tonight when I’m at home (I’m on my lunch break now, using my little netbook at the Joliet library) and fix the spelling of Kerry’s name. It sure was a fun morning. We tried the Painted Gate pinot on Saturday night and enjoyed that. Thanks for the recommendation. I also picked up a Chocolate/Strawberry Valentine’s day wine that day, too. I don’t usually like a sweet wine, but this was good as a dessert wine, and not cloyingly sweet. Hope we’ll run into you again in Molt or Billings or Joliet or Red Lodge! KarenI think Michael sent you an email address. If not, we’re lamarvalley@hotmail.com

  8. vsvevg says:

    why could you not retire in a country where english was the native language?

    • Barbara says:

      because i couldn’t have afforded it! all the native english speaking countries that i knew/know about are far out of my price range. living on $750US a month would have been impossible, i think.

  9. Toby says:

    Do you write to long lost friends anymore?

  10. Heidi Propp says:

    Hello from Montana. We are looking at moving to Mexico and trying our hand at possibly running a B&B there. My husband is 53 and I am 37, while not necessarily of retirement age, we work too hard here to be “barely making it”. He works almost 18 hours a day @ 2 jobs and I work full time, and we just cannot get ahead, or even comfortable. We need to slow down, and I love the times we have travelled in Mexico. As well, when he is in that climate, his skin calms down and he can function! LOL! Anyway, I am interested in your blog, and would love to follow you.

    • Karen says:

      Hello Heidi. Thanks for looking around here. We (Karen and Michael) still live in Montana, but Barbara has retired to Mexico (we all used to work together in the Everglades). Check out all of her great blogs about living/retiring in Mexico. With our high of minus 8 right now, Mexico seems mighty appealing!

  11. Hello! I too am looking at possibly moving to Mexico and I’ve come across this somewhat unique blog (because there are 3 writers instead of one) and enjoy reading the posts. There haven’t been updates for several months though and I hope everyone is okay and that the writing will resume.

  12. Karen says:

    Hello Scott. Thanks for your comment! I think we’ve all been busy having so much fun that we haven’t been reporting about it. I’m sure we’ll get back to it soon.

  13. Hi Mike, Barbara and Karen,

    My wife and I just arrived in Chapala after quitting our teaching jobs in Singapore. I’m a personal finance teacher (at least I was) and a personal finance columnist. I write a column for the Globe and Mail (Canada’s national paper) and AssetBuilder, as well as a variety of financial magazines. I’ve just written my second book, The Global Expatriate’s Guide To Investing. And I would love to send a copy to one of you for review on this blog. I think many of your readers would find it helpful, fun and quirky. John Wiley & Sons is the publisher.

    If interested, please let me know. I think you’ll like it!


  14. Joyce says:

    Dear bigskysouthernsky,

    My name is Joyce and I work for ExpatFinder.com.
    ExpatFinder.com is a free one stop website for people preparing to move or working and living overseas. We provide a myriad of services for expatriates and we have over 2,000 articles to help and support the people moving around the world and we are now creating an interview section to help the expats with real life experiences!
    We quite enjoy your blog about living in Mexico, it is very interesting and informative. Would it be possible to interview you to further share some of your tips and feature some of your first hand experience as an Expat and your interview will be published on our Expat Interview section as a guide for our expat readers. The questions are mainly about the day to day lifestyle of an expat. If it would be possible, could you also send some photographs that we can use?
    Of course, if you accept, we can add a link to your blog or some of your website.
    The questions are enclosed, feel free to respond freely. You can return the doc with your answers if you accept this invitation.
    Thanks in advance and do let me know if you prefer other means to conduct this interview and we would be happy to accommodate your terms.

    Best regards,

    • Jennifer says:

      Hello! My name is Jennifer Wolfe and I work on a very popular international travel series that documents adventurous individuals’, couples’ and families’ experiences as they make the decision to move abroad. This series is a great opportunity to tell your story and share more about what you like/dislike about your new home. If you think that you or someone you know could be a fit for the show, or if you’d like to get more information, please contact me at JenniferWolfe@LeopardUSA.com. Thanks!

  15. Joyce says:


    My name is Joyce, I am a marketing executive at expatfinder.com which is a leading expat information and services website.

    I saw on your blog that you are and expat. I wish to interview you to further share some of your tips. The questions are mainly about the housing, the daily life etc.

    It just takes 5 minutes (or more depending if you have lots to say 🙂

    Of course, if you accept we can add a link to your blog or some of your website.

    If you are interested to participate at this project, please send me an email at interview@expatfinder.com.

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