Technology Today

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Technology Today

As a child technology consisted of occasionally answering a telephone or watching the odd television program on one of the three available channels. Cable didn’t arrive in Winnipeg until I was a teenager.

My children grew up with cell phones and computers. And let’s not forget all those videogames. Records? 8 Tracks? Cassettes? VCR? CD? DVD? All dinosaurs now.

My granddaughter was just over a year old when I bought her a tablet. Okay, admittedly it was Fisher Price, but a device nonetheless.

On Thursday I decided to track my device usage, just for fun. Although I do have a tablet, I have not yet replaced my laptop that died in Mexico back in April of 2020. So how much do I actually rely on technology? Apparently quite a bit more than I thought.

Alexa. Short conversations. Good morning. Weather. Tell me a joke. Trivia. Play music. Hmmm, it all adds up.

Actual tasks. Renewed travel health insurance. Updated info on WordPress. Paid credit card bills. Worked on a blog post. Emails. Revised SAIL exercise routine.

Stress relief time. Candy Crush and Word Cookies. Social media, although at times it seems to add to the stress. Playlist for meditation.

Only television time is maybe a half hour of Olympics. No Netflix today.

Phone calls. Voicemail. Texting, Messenger, Google Duo and thank you God I only use What’s App when I have my Mexican chip in my phone. And then there are all the photos I take with my phone.

Time to practice Spanish. Love my Duolingo! Average of 115 XP every day.

I haven’t tracked the time, only the activity. I don’t think I want to even know how many hours a day I am consumed by technology. But I’m sure it’s still much less than the younger generation whose ear buds are permanently attached to their bodies.

I’m done writing this post now. I’m going to read a book. And I’m not going to read it on my tablet. I’m going to read a real book with pages that you actually hold in your hands. And I can do that without even searching through a frustratingly long list of passwords!

Wednesday Humpday Again

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Wednesday Humpday Again

When I taught ESL in Mexico, days of the week was one of the first lessons in all curriculums. The students were always amused at the nickname of humpday for Wednesday. But they readily embraced this term when they understood the significance of the day. As for me, I still chuckle at the Spanish term for Wednesday. Miercoles is quite a mouthful.

It’s still hot and dry here in Washington state. There is no rain in sight although some clouds did tease us momentarily yesterday. The outdoor pool in Leavenworth is becoming very popular.

Almost eleven months since I arrived from Mexico and I’m still here. Physically so close to Canada yet it seems to be getting farther away. Biding my time and wondering what the next announcement will be regarding Covid tests and borders.

The Olympics are well underway in Tokyo. It seems strange to see the stands so empty. And the competitors and coaches with masks are just too surreal. The athletes will definitely have stories to tell for years to come.

I’ve been reading more than usual lately. I highly recommend the two books co-authored by Bill Clinton and James Patterson. Big, heavy books but great reads nonetheless.

Coffee is calling.

Happy Humpday!

Prayer Request

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Prayer Request

In the fall of 2010 I arrived in Culiacan to teach English at a private school. I did not speak Spanish and knew absolutely no-one in Mexico.

I was in the library on my break when one of the other teachers approached me. Juan spoke some English and wanted to improve his skills. He was also eager to help me learn Spanish. An intercambio exchange turned into a friendship. His wife Lucila taught at a different school and would come to drive him home. She also began to drive me home.

At the time they had one child, Juan Carlos, just over a year old. Over the years, our friendship has grown, and so has their family. They now have four children, and I have four nietos (grandsons) who call me abuelita (grandma). They and their extended family have all adopted me.

Juan Carlos phones me and we do video calls on Tuesdays and Fridays. I am amazed at how well he speaks English and am so very proud of him. He just graduated primaria (elementary school) earlier this month.

Since Covid arrived back in March of 2020, classes have been on the internet. For the most part, Juan and Lucila have been able to work from home. They go out only when absolutely necessary, usually for groceries. They wear masks and avoid crowds whenever possible.

Juan and Lucila each had one dose of Astra Zeneca, a vaccine not approved for use here in the USA. Sadly, they have both come down with Covid despite their efforts to stay healthy. My grandsons are all sick now as well.

The photo above was taken in happier times, back in December of 2019 when I last visited them in Culiacan.

I am so blessed to have this beautiful family in my life. Please keep them in your prayers.

Musical Memories

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Musical Memories

My housemate Clairesse is a very talented violinist and vocalist. She also comes from a very musical family where jam sessions were common.

Tonight she was playing a variety of music that triggered some memories. I’ll begin with the ones pertaining to the violin.

I had an uncle who played in The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra back when I was really young. Then there was the other extreme. I had an older brother who attempted to play but I used to run outside to play when he practiced because I couldn’t stand the screeching sound. And I put my foot down when it was suggested that I learn to play the violin. No way!

Clairesse played everything from Home On The Range to The Battle Hymn Of The Republic to the Wabash Cannonball. She plays jigs, waltzes and hymns.

Home On The Range reminded me of a high school boyfriend who played guitar. We used to hang out with friends at a park and this song was always a favorite.

Battle Hymn reminds me of attending 9/11 memorial services. And then a swarm of other songs such as The Marine’s Hymn and God Bless America filled my head.

It’s interesting how I seem to associate music with the events in my life. My teenage years in the 60s were filled with the British Invasion. I attended tons of concerts back then. Some of the most memorable were The Rolling Stones, Herman’s Hermits, The Who, The Hollies, Peter and Gordon, Chad and Jeremy and The Dave Clark Five. Unfortunately The Beatles never came to Winnipeg.

Lots of American talent came to Winnipeg too. Other memorable concerts I attended included The Beach Boys, Paul Revere And The Raiders, Sonny and Cher, Carly Simon, Neil Diamond, and The Monkees.

Yes, the 60s was one of my favorite decades. Was it one of yours?

Calmer Now

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Calmer Now

The Red Apple Fire was brought under control. But it’s sad to see the blackened hillsides.

We drove to Entiat the other night when the highway reopened. The fires had burned right down to the road and it was all black.

I opted to take more peaceful photos when we got to the camp. This tree was heavy with apricots just begging to be picked.

I also enjoyed some quiet time by the water.

One of the highlights of my summers here is the Leavenworth Summer Theater production of The Sound of Music. The venue is the amphitheater up in the hills. Maria actually walks through the surrounding woods in the opening scene. The Von Trapp family is up on a precipice in the final scene. The performance on Friday night was amazing and I’m so incredibly happy that I was still here to see it.

Yes, I’m planning to leave here shortly. I wish I could stay longer but it’s been ten months already and I’m anxious to see my family in Canada now that the ridiculous hotel quarantine has been lifted for fully vaccinated Canadians.

July 21 is the day when Canada will make an official statement regarding reopening borders. I’m also waiting to hear if Winnipeg will once again be an international airport. Too many rumors out there and I want to read it in black and white.

Wildfire Level 3 Evacuate Now

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Wildfire Level 3 Evacuate Now

As I mentioned in my last post, wildfire season is well underway here in Washington state. And a brush fire has escalated to a Level 3 Evacuate Now two towns over in Monitor.

The alert came over my phone last night. The winds are blowing the fire towards Wenatchee. It’s a pretty scarey situation.

Around here being prepared is always a good idea. My to go bag is always packed in my closet. Important documents, passport, jewelry, medication, devices and other valuables that will be difficult to replace. I always have a similar bag packed when I’m in Mexico. When I lived in Tlaquepaque we were evacuated once in the middle of the night due to a gas leak.

Friends on Facebook reported power outages near Monitor. This is one nasty fire. I pray that the firefighters are able to get it under control and that no one will be hurt.

Today’s lunch plans in Cashmere may have to be relocated to Leavenworth. It depends on what the smoke level is like. Cashmere is quite close to Monitor.

My friends in Mexico are posting videos of the torrential rains they are experiencing. I wish some of that moisture could be sent up here. Dry, hot temperatures in the 100s lost their charm quite a while ago.

We need rain. No lightning to cause more fires, just rain.

Wildfires and Crashes

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Wildfires and Crashes

It’s been a hot and dry July so far. Wildfire season is upon us here in Washington state. There isn’t much smoke blowing in to Leavenworth, but a fire near the airport in Wenatchee caused some people to be evacuated.

In Manitoba I enjoyed the thunderstorms at night after the heat during the day. But here the lightning is often responsible for sparking fires. Thunderstorms are dreaded.

Chelan County has a fireworks ban in place. Over in Wenatchee fireworks were set off on the 4th but no-one was allowed into the park. Watching from a distance was the norm this year.

Two car crashes in the news this weekend. One near Tumwater resulted in a fatality. The other near Stevens Pass tied up traffic for hours. Too many reckless drivers out there in a hurry to get through the mountain passes.

On the prairies in Canada it’s a different story. A flat terrain and straight roads often lull drivers to sleep. Of course speed and intoxicated drivers just add to the mix, regardless of where you live.

Wildfire and crash season is well underway.

Three Wonderful Things

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Three Wonderful Things

Yesterday was a great day. The 100 degree temperature didn’t even phase me. And three wonderful things happened that day. You may not consider them so wonderful, but to me they were.

I was delighted to find the absolutely perfect backpack I’ve been looking for. I use a backpack as carry-on when I travel as it leaves my hands free. Because I travel internationally often, I carry way too many documents with me, many in three languages. Over the years, this collection has grown, most recently due to the extended stays in two foreign countries as a result of the pandemic. Throw in a laptop, jewelry, medication and a few books and it fills up quickly. I have outgrown my old backpack.

Wonderful thing number two was going to a theater to see a movie rather than watching a movie on Netflix. The big screen, the suuround sound and no masks! Just like BC….Before Covid. In The Heights is a movie I would highly recommend if you enjoy music and dancing.

Wonderful thing number three was the most incredible of the day. Back in March I had retained an attorney to apply for an extended stay due to the Covid situation. My attorney advised that he had received the official approval from Immigration. What a relief!

My mom always used to say that good things happened in threes. That sure was true yesterday.

Wenatchee Valley Museum

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Wenatchee Valley Museum

With temperatures in the 100s the past few days, indoor activities have been the norm. Walmart and Apple Annie’s Antiques were a welcome respite earlier in the week, but Friday appealed as a museum day.

Although I’ve been here several times over the years, on this visit my friend Joyce was with me and she had never been to this museum before. So I got to play tour guide.

We went up to the second floor and began in the train area. I never tire of watching the model train traverse over the bridges and through the tunnels.

The room honoring Pangborn has always been one of my favorites. The history of his overseas flights is depicted on the walls and I adore the pilot upside-down in his aircraft mounted on the ceiling.

Here are a few pics I took in some of the other display rooms. It was interesting to read the descriptions posted on the walls with details of the first inhabitants and artifacts that had been unearthed.

We also explored another area where unfortunately photography is prohibited. Displays here included an old nurse’s uniform, a medical examing room, a general store and information about the history of East Wenatchee.

We then headed down to the main floor. To my delight pieces of the Chihuly glass were on display.

The current feature on the main floor was the toy theme.

Children’s summer programs were underway making the apple area unavailable. Another time.

We also checked out the gift shop. A wide variety of items including jewelry, books, paper dolls and so much more can be found here.

BTW…..If you’re vaccinated you don’t need masks!

Hump Day Rant Day

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Hump Day Rant Day

Today is the last day in June. And I’m still in the USA and haven’t made it back to Canada yet. July 5th is on the horizon. Perhaps Canada’s stance on the border will be more clearly stated. Or not. It’s been pretty ambiguous up until now.

The way I see it Americans are being discriminated against. Fully vaccinated with Pfizer, as a Canadian I will finally be able to return without the ridiculous cash grab quarantine. However my friends here in the USA who have had the same vaccine are not extended that privilege.

While Covid had the potential to cause a world war, Trudeau’s stubbornness is inciting rebellions among Canadians as well as Americans. Never in history has Canada been so divided. Patriotism is all but dead.

When I finally do return to Canada I know that I will be sacrificing a lot. I will not have the freedom I have here in the USA. I will not enjoy the same quality of life I have here. And I will be counting the days until I can return to Aguascalientes for the winter.

But I want to hug my kids. I want my granddaughter to know that I am a real person and don’t just live in a phone where we see each other on video calls.