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Friends of a Long Year is a private mailing list bringing stories to your inbox like it's still 1995. It's written in the spirit of Mary Austin. It was originally called Place Without a Postcard, which does a better job of summarizing what I like to write about. Friends is delivered roughly twice a month.


Old Growth

Watson Mill State Park, Georgia, U.S. Reconnecting the dots under the forest canopy. We talk about the world as if it were some separate thing. We say "ecosystem" as if this were something other than the world we live in.

Hanging Around Town

Athens, Georgia, U.S. An opportunity came up to hang around Athens GA for a while and we thought, why not? But Athens has changed a lot in three years. Things are always changing, but this time things changed more than usual. The California disease came to Athens.

Road Trip

Athens, Georgia, U.S. The America family road trip is a pretty miserable experience in my view. Pack the kids in the car to drive all day and half the night to Disney World? No thanks. Still, it was time to get out of Texas, a road trip to Athens, GA fit the bill.

Summertime Rolls

Tool, Texas, U.S. Summer in Texas, what could go wrong? Thanks to friends and family, we had plenty of fun and beat the heat by staying in the water most of the summer.


Tool, Texas, U.S. Birthday! We were stuck in Texas this year, but we managed to get a piƱata. We found some papel picado at the bottom of a bag. We bought way too many balloons. As you do. We made do with what we had, where we were.

Hasta Luego

Plano, Texas, U.S. We came to Mexico planning hang out, visit family, live cheap, save money, get some projects done. But sawdust in a hurricane has more permanence than our plans, so none of that actually happened.


Around San Miguel de Allende, Mexico There's horses everywhere in San Miguel, but finding one the kids could ride was a little challenging. In the end, as always, it was all about finding people.

Semana Santa

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Semana Santa, holy week, is the roughly two week period leading up to and just after Easter. If you want to pin it down more than that you're not Mexican.


Around San Miguel de Allende, Mexico The midday Mexican sun has become more intense lately. The dry season stretches its legs and lays down across the land, pulling a blanket of dusty haze over it. I don't know where it comes from, I don't even know what it is, perhaps it's the wind out on the plains kicking up dust. Perhaps it's smog drifting up from Mexico City.

Visa Run

Plano, Texas, U.S. It was time to renew our Mexican visas and move the bus to a new (temporary) home.

Around San Miguel

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico I was walking up from the bus station when I happened across my favorite of the indigenous dance groups that come into town. There's no machetes but they have the best drummers, best costumes, and best dancing in my opinion.

Cascarones and Machete Dancing

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Cascarones are eggs that have been drained and filled with confetti. Or glitter or flour. They're colorfully painted, cost less than 50 cents a dozen and exist primarily to smash on someone's head. What's not to love?

Rite of Spring

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico San Miguel celebrates Candelaria with an indigenous ceremony at the park, with a blessing of the seeds and a huge plant sale.

Sounds of San Miguel

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico San Miguel has a reputation for being a bright and colorful colonial town, with good reason. Still, what I end up noticing when I walk around is the kaleidoscope of sound that bounces around amidst all those colors.

These Walls Around Me

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico We moved at the beginning of the year. I miss swinging open the big windows of our house on Canal, watching the life of the street below, but our new place has a courtyard and a roof top deck, pretty fancy for us. Haven't been able to find the engine though.

Sparkle City

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Three foot long sparklers and no stockings to be found, Christmas in Mexico. When in Rome, adapt.


San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Those of us with birthdays in December generally do not get to spend them at the beach. Not unless we go to Australia. Neither, it seems do we get to spend them in the bus. One day, but not this year.

Mary of the Wild Moor

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Monotheistic religions that want sole claim to the capital T truth have a hard time accepting this, but religions are always changing, always in flux. Gods and goddesses come and go throughout time. Whatever essential mystery is behind them seems to remain. One of the advantages of polytheism is that this truth can be easily accepted.

There’ll be Food on the Table Tonight

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Food powers economies, shapes ecology, dictates religious rituals, causes wars, drives the explorations of the unknown, determines the size and shape of our bodies, and, to an extent we are only beginning to realize, shapes how we act, how we think, and even how we see the world.

Let’s Go For a Ride

Around San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Exploring the country side around San Miguel de Allende on 4x4 ATVs.


San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Halloween in Mexico, expats behaving badly, Dia de Muertes is different than you think, and at long last have you left no sense of decency sir?


San Miguel de Allende, Mexico San Miguel de Allende's Alborada festival begins at 4 AM. Actually it was closer to 2 AM. The Jardin was packed, there was plenty of music and then thousands and thousands of fireworks. Not that we saw it, but we did periodically wake up to volleys of fireworks between 3 and 5 AM.

Big Exit

Cuidad Mexico, Mexico We explored Mexico City for a few days, adjusted to city life as opposed to roaming the wilds of the United States, and then we jumped a bus for San Miguel de Allende.