Last updateFri, 07 Feb 2014 11am

Back You are here: Home Columns Columns Jeanne Chaussee

Signs of the season

We’re told by the Red Cross that certain pests get more active during the rainy season.  We’re talking chiefly about scorpions, spiders, flying insects and snakes (never seen one here).

Cleaning up

A program recently sputtering to a start up in a nearby village went looking for folks interested in picking up trash thrown hither and yon.

Pant, pant

Wow! You guys are really keeping me busy! I sometimes wonder if any of you ever take the time to sit down and watch the sunset or smell the roses (definitely don’t stop to smell the jacarandas unless you own the patent to sinus medication).

Who are you, really?

It’s amazing how we can know someone for years without asking or knowing any of the pertinent questions that would belong in an obituary.

Good friends

There’s nothing like being down a bit or (as my father used to say) “off your feed” to find out about friends. Those of us lucky enough to have spent years in an expat community often form amazingly close bonds, probably due to the shared experience of living outside of one’s original comfort zone. In any case, don’t forget to thank those folks who step up when the going is tough.

Down time

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there are fewer people here now than there were several weeks ago.

In the rear

Just a reminder to all of you (us) old farts about the rear view mirrors in your cars.

Patch of paradise

For decades, foreigners have visited Lakeside and fallen in love with it. They go home with glowing descriptions of the place, using words like “paradise” and “heaven.” Next, they decide that they need to own a piece of this paradise and move, lock, stock and SUV to these shores. Lately, after searching for and finding the “perfect house,” they tear it down and build one that looks very much like the one they left, without regard to the climate, neighbors or anything but the new water pressure system. The next step, of course, is that they discover that the house is too hot in the summer months, so they need air conditioning. “I don’t understand,” says Mr. Just off the Boat, “it wasn’t this hot when we were here last summer.”


Strange how time lags when the weather is droopy and cold and we think we’ll never see an end to winter (this year it lasted all of four weeks). Time just flies once the sun is out, the flowers are blooming, festivals are in full swing and the parrots are back in my garden.

It’s called respect

Recently some newbie (at least I hope he was a newbie) stopped in at a local business and complained that the neighbors had apparently had a big party last night because they still had the streets blocked off with chairs and such. As a result he couldn’t drive through the street. He also mentioned that there were still people sitting around.

Worth it

No one can deny my bitching about the rotten weather (for us) a few weeks ago. The drippy, droopy and downright cold doesn’t do a lot for my personality (too many years growing up in it) but apparently it does a lot for bringing on spring with a vengeance.

They’re here!

Granted, it’s a little early but that particular croaking-screeching call of the wild that you’re hearing in your garden really is that of the “rain bird.”


A foreign, English-speaking idiot was standing in front of a local barber’s shop and bragging about how he could probably get his haircut and shave even “cheaper” than the prices listed because “that Mexican barber” was probably destitute and would jump at the chance to make even a few pesos. Though the Mexican barber pretended not to hear the booming, coarse comment (Mexicans are masters at politeness) he would have to have been deaf not to. As it happens, he speaks English.


A string of seven days to do nothing but relax and enjoy mindless television is rare for anyone in the newspaper business – at last it came during Holy Week.

Your panties are showing

When you stand at the meat counter screaming at the clerk that she’s too lazy to find the kind of bacon you want and belittling her for not speaking your language, your ignorance is hanging out like a little girl’s panties when she’s dangling by her knees on the monkey bars. Get some manners and if you think you’re so smart, at least learn how to be polite in Spanish.

Happy Easter

Even if it isn’t paper grass and tiny marshmallow chicks in a basket with ribbons, Easter is a wonderful gift upon which to ponder renewal. Use it to take in a deep breath, enjoy the days you are given and smile.


Just when the days begin to grow a little longer, we’re faced with cold drizzly rain, just like they have in the place that I escaped from. You can tell me that it’s “good for the lake,” or make up any other excuse you like but I didn’t sign on for this weather and after living in this climate for more than 30 years, my comfort zone only spans about seven degrees F … and that goes for my cats, too.

Spring is here

There’s no denying spring has sprung. The jacarandas are in full bloom, the butterflies are frolicking among the bougainvillea, kitties (and possums) are calling to each other for a little lovin’.


The sky is blue, the roses are blooming (and so is a really dumb azalea in my garden that doesn’t know it’s in the wrong country), the poinsettias are two stories tall, humming birds are swarming around any blossoms they can find and thousands of birds are itching to be counted in the Audubon Society’s Christmas Count.

The ramps

Life gets exciting around here after local elections. The winners are always quick to get their pet projects underway.

Keep on keepin’ on

The big push is here. You really do need to do all of those chores you were going to do before the big day. I know it isn’t easy with no sleep due to the celebratory sky rockets 24 hours a day, crowded stores and crazy traffic but I’m telling you like I’m telling myself – it’ll all be worth it when you can settle down, sit back and just enjoy the season.
Take your vitamins.