Monarch Expedition: Part One ~ Angangueo Michoacán, Mexico

Angangueo Mexico ©Kim Smith 2014After the four-hour drive from Mexico City, across a wide valley of rustic farmland and over and around volcanic mountains, we arrived in the early evening at the sleepy town of Angangueo. Pitched on a steep mountainside, the narrow streets and closely packed buildings with shared stucco walls immediately reminded me of southern European villages. Especially lovely were the modest and many handmade outdoor altars gracing townspeople’s homes and gardens.

Angangueo is located in the far eastern part of the state of Michoacán in the central region of Mexico within the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt. During the late 1700s minerals were discovered. Large deposits of silver, gold, copper, and iron ore brought a rush of people into the area. Today, Angangueo is noted as home to two of the most beautiful Monarch Butterfly Biospheres, El Rosario and Sierra Chincua.

Altar Angangueo mexico ©Kim Smith 2014 copy

Hotel Don Bruno Angangueo Mexico ©Kim Smith 2014Our guesthouse, the Hotel Don Bruno, was utterly charming. As with many of the buildings we passed on the way to Angangueo, a cheery row of glazed terra cotta pots brimming with red and pink geraniums lined the hotel entrance. Through the entryway door and past the front office, guests entered the beautiful inner courtyard garden. All the rooms faced into the courtyard and mine had a delightfully fragrant sunny yellow rose just outside the door. I quickly changed to meet my fellow travelers for dinner in the hotel’s second floor dining room. A long dining table arranged family style, running the length of the room, had been set up for our group, with a view onto the flowering courtyard below.

Chef Jean Gabriel Salazar López Hotel Don Bruno Angangueo © Kim Smith 2014.As he did that evening, and every dinner and breakfast, Chef Jean Gabriel Salazar López had prepared an elegant feast of many different entrees, mostly native Mexican dishes, and including and combining a fabulous array of local fruits and vegetables. The proprietors and hotel staff could not have been more friendly and accommodating.

Dinner was followed by a discussion led by Dr. Emmel. Tom Emmel is the Director of the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity, which is part of the University of Florida’s Museum of Natural History. He is also a professor of zoology and entomology and the author of 35 books (more about Dr. Emmel in the next installment). I recorded several of Dr. Emmel’s lectures and an interview atop the Sierra Chincua Biosphere and will be posting all on youtube.

Mural Angangueo Mexico ©Kim Smith 2014 copyMural in the center of town

At daybreak the following morning, I climbed the central outdoor stairwell to the top of the hotel to film the sleepy town awakening. Roosters crowed and the hotel’s freshly washed and drying sheets whipped to the wind in the crisp mountain air. The morning light did not disappoint. Kitty corner across from my rooftop vantage point was one of the small town’s several churches, with a walled courtyard and red and white banners fluttering in the breeze.  The village’s main road leads up to the mountains and is lined with red tiled roofed-homes and sidewalks swept immaculately clean. The sun was just beginning to peek through the mountains when I had to leave to hurry down to breakfast.

Continue reading “Monarch Expedition: Part One ~ Angangueo Michoacán, Mexico”


Step up ya sticka game folks! No more posing with the GMG stickas! STICK THEM WHERE IT COUNTS! I want to see folks leaving our mark, so stick em’ then pose or show us. Better yet, stick em’ and ask the FOB’s to guess where it’s at!

Game on.

Great fun at the boat show

Thank you to Voyager Marine Electronics in Essex for the tickets to the Boat Show. This year’s show was so much fun, with a Quad Ski, (it looks like an all terrain vehicle that can go from land to water, The Wicked Tuna crew signing autographs, the Tug Ranger boats, my favorite, Tobin from Cape Ann Marina, Manchester by the Sea Marina and boats that are electric and solar. Here is a couple of pictures from a fun day at the 2014 New England Boat Show.

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She Always Returns

better late than never

Normally winter is my time to be creative.  My life’s path took me on some unexpected twists and turns this fall and winter, which made it impossible for me to get into my creative space.  As I’m sure all creative people can attest, sometimes the muse goes away for a time.  I used to fret, believing she might never return; but in her own time, she always does.  She unexpectedly re-emerged a couple of weeks ago, and took me, as she always does, in a new direction.  These are a few new pieces I have completed.  This series is old and new.  It is a mixed media combination of my abstract photos of last year, coupled with the glass painting of the prior year.  While sorting things at my mother’s house, I came across a container of unused glass slides, which have and will make their way into many of these pieces.  I have never worked in a square format before, which I am really enjoying, having been inspired by my artist friend, Tom Nihan’s work.  All pieces are 8×8 multi-layered photos and glass paintings, and are whimsical and fun – just what I need now.  In addition to brushes, I am using rubber ducks and ear plugs to paint with.   Yes Paul, RD was instrumental in getting me going, although she has gotten a little messy with paint all over her bottom.

You can see some of my new work at the Spring Art Show at the Magnolia Historical Society Friday, April 11 from 6 till 9pm Opening, Saturday, April 12 2pm till 8pm and Sunday, April 13 Noon till 4pm.  More details coming soon.

E.J. Lefavour

Quarrying Walking So-So Today

A test walk on some quarry trails. Right now most trails are 60% covered with lumpy hard ice especially where feet have walked through it and it has a light coating of new snow. So unless you walk like a constipated penguin or you are wearing Korkers you may be sitting on your ass.


The frozen waterfalls are about a 3 on a scale of one to ten. Pretty cool and maybe if you got them in a nice morning light but right now so-so. In a week or so the trails will be impassable mud. A new layer of snow to ski on or another polar vortex would liven them up but who wants that? I might wait until there is witch hazel blooming. In fact there is some witch hazel blooming in the backyard and the forsythia I cut last week is blooming like crazy in the kitchen!

It would be jumping the gun to cut the wrap off the boat but a few weeks more and who knows? I still plan on planting  peas on Saint Patrick’s even if I have to shovel snow. As traditional as bootin’ green beer!

Send in your April 1 Restaurant openings. Publishing them is the only way to drive the evil polar vortex away.

VIDEO: Excellent songs up for Oscars tonight — and lots of great music in town too

OK, tonight most of us will be celebrating films, but Oscar night is also a perfect time celebrate great songs — and this is a particularly good year for song nominations.

Our two favorites are “Happy” by Pharrell Williams (the guy with the funny Smokey the Bear hat who won the Record of the Year Grammy with Daft Punk and Nile Rodgers) from the movie Despicable Me 2; and “Ordinary Love” by U2 from the movie Mandella: Long Walk to Freedom.  I particularly like Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” video (not from the movie).   Check out this dancing!

Among the Best Picture nominees is American Hustle, part of which was filmed down the road in Salem.

If you like to be out on Oscar night and just follow the events on your phone, there’s plenty of excellent music, starting with The Jazz Brewers at the Brew Pub at 5pm and one of our favorites, Inge Berge, at The Rhumb Line at 7:30.  See tonight’s full live music schedule here.

“Divorce Corp.” (Sun. Mar. 9 @ 4:00pm) At Cape Ann Community Cinema Followed By Discussion With David Calvo

SPECIAL SCREENING – “Divorce Corp.” (Sun. Mar. 9 @ 4:00pm)

By Robert Newton on January 15, 2014

For roughly 50% of American families divorce is an unpleasant fact of life. Dealing with divorce and its effects destroys lives and bankrupts individuals every day. Family law, which barely existed for most of our country’s history, has morphed into a gigantic industry over the past several decades. Learn first-hand about the excesses and injustices rampant in the U.S. family court system. Do not miss the riveting film that offers a spotless condemnation of family courts across America. In interviews with top insiders and an array of litigants, a place aptly termed “the last fiefdom of lawlessness and tyranny,” is uncovered.



Click to buy tickets to this event. Click to buy tickets to this event. Click to buy tickets to this event.

Sista’s Favorite Kitchen Gadget Of The Week


cutter 3I’m Loving this apple/fruit slicer  by Tagliamela. I purchased my newest slicing gadget last week at Marshalls for $4.99. It’s going to come in handy preparing for the feast of St. Joseph later this month! cutter1


Erich Archer from Cape Ann TV Writes

Hi Kim,

I hope you’re doing well.
Below is a link to our latest underwriter endorsement video. This one was created for Russell’s Florist. We produce these for our underwriters and air them on channels 12 and 20 all year long.
Would you mind posting this link to GMG for us?
Thanks very much,
Erich Archer
Executive Director
Cape Ann TV

Community Stuff 3/2/14

Cape Ann Women in Business

Need a new business hair and make-up look, professional head-shot and some free advertising?

I’m Co-hosting an awesome FREE event on Saturday, March 8, 2014 at Dolce Vita Salon in Rockport for local professional women!!

To schedule your FREE appointment today just call:

Dolce Vita Salon @ 978-546-9700.

See the picture below and attached. PLEASE SHARE with anyone who may be interested! Here is the FACEBOOK EVENT.

Also check out the facebook page that all these free headshots will be featured on:

What to do before the Academy Awards?
Get up and go to the
Gloucester Writers Center’s
5th 10-minute Playwriting
Workshop Staged Readings
Sunday, March 2nd, 4-6 pm Rocky Neck Cultural Center,
6 Wonson St. Rocky Neck

Event: Gloucester Writers Center 5th 10-minute Playwriting Workshop Staged
Readings. This fun event has been drawing crowds for the past few years, as
audiences get to watch and provide feedback for these new 10-minute plays in
progress, all written by our most talented local playwrights and performed by the
best of our local actors.
Who: Gloucester Writers Center 5th 10-Minute Play Workshop, taught by M.
Lynda Robinson, is presenting the new work of Carole Frohlich, Jeana Grady,
Barbara Harrison, Ann McArdle, M. Lynda Robinson and Constance Shute, in the
form of staged readings.
Donation suggested at door. No one turned away for lack of fun