February 25th

February 25th

I know exactly what I was doing on February 25th, 1994. It was Koal’s first birthday and I was baking the first of many cakes for him.

The tradition was an uniced confetti cake. Icing was messy and made for sticky fur. You see Koal was a dog.

But Koal was much more than a dog. My kids referred to him as their baby brother. I called him mommy’s little sweetie. And we were all quite certain that Koal never realized he was a dog.

He was quite young when he declared himself a vegetarian. This resulted in numerous road trips to Grand Forks and Fargo to find vegetarian dog food. Amazon didn’t exist back then. I must admit we all enjoyed those trips down to the USA.

Koal was exceptionally intelligent and the kids delighted in teaching him new tricks. They had him running around furniture and rooms as well as jumping through hula hoops.

While my kids were never happy being carried around in snugglies when they were babies, Koal was quite content to be carried around in this way. I took him shopping and even to doctor appointments.

He also loved car rides. He sat in the front passenger seat next to his mommy. In the summer his nose was glued to the air conditioning vent.

When the kids moved out he really missed them. I’d tell him that his brother or sister was coming over and he would plant himself in front of the living room window watching for them.

The years went by and we were blessed with his presence in our lives until December 7th, 2008. He always slept in bed with me and that morning I was startled awake by Koal having a seizure. Hours later, I lovingly held him in my arms when the vet gave him the injection that would bring him peace.

We miss you and love you Koal and you are always in our hearts.

Happy Birthday in Heaven!

Museo Nacional De Las Muertes

Museo Nacional De Las Muertes

Last winter my time in Aguascalientes was filled with a flurry of visits to museums, art galleries and churches. This winter has been the opposite. I’ve been here for more than three months now and yesterday was the first time I ventured into a museum when I revisited the Museum of Death.

This museum is on three levels and features numerous fascinating displays as well as a spectacular collection of artifacts.

The descent to the lower level is on a steep, narrow and dark staircase. But it had its rewards.

I next explored the rooms on the main floor and upper levels. Unfortunately the lighting and the glare from the showcases made photography challenging. I still managed to get more than forty shots. I hope you enjoy the ones I’m sharing in this post.

Be sure to visit this museum if you find yourself in Aguascalientes City.

Different But Interesting

Different But Interesting

I walk a lot here in Aguascalientes. I go in and out of shops in Centro where I engage the locals in conversation to improve my Spanish speaking skills.

I also come across other nonverbal but interesting things in this quaint city.

Have a look at this poster I saw yesterday. Beer and yoga. Quite the combination. I can’t quite get my head around it but apparently many Mexicans can.

On my morning stroll through the Jardin San Marcos I encountered this colorful character. He was leading a walking tour in the area.

Preparing for the Ferria San Marcos is underway near the Expoplaza. The entire street is being redone as well as the path that goes by the park. I snagged this photo through a hole in the fence surrounding the construction site.

When you don’t have a yard for a birthday party the street will do nicely. Very different from the parties I made for my kids back in Canada. While bouncers were rare but parties in bowling alleys, roller rinks, mini golf centers and cinemas were common.

On my walk to the tienguis I passed by the junkyard. Look at all those plastic items on their way to be recycled.

Amidst the food vendors, used clothing, tools and miscellaneous hodge-podge I found this breath of fresh air at the tienguis.

Leavenworth is a Bavarian village and Las Flores is a quaint barrio. I am blessed to be able to enjoy both.



Three little letters but oh the conversations they initiate.

I was at the park yesterday coloring when a delightful child stopped by to talk to me. Oscar is in fifth grade primaria and had a day off school. He rode his bike to the park and it took him 20 minutes. He was quite envious when I told him I live a block away.

It was an interesting conversation. I spoke in Spanish and he spoke in English. We were both impressed that we could each speak and understand each other’s languages.

What had attracted him to come over and talk to me was that I was coloring. He told me that I was the only adult he had ever seen doing this. He called his sister over and she was in awe of my gel pens and markers.

And then came the why questions. Why do I color? Why did I come to Aguascalientes when my family is in Canada? Why do I only have two children? Why did I get a divorce? Why don’t I marry a Mexican and have more children?

The innocence of childhood. I smiled recalling myself at their age. I too was curious but probably not quite so bold in asking questions.

Oscar and his sister are only two of the people who constantly ask me these questions. Often it is adults who find it a novelty that I come to the park to color.

Just the other day a man asked me where I sell my art. When I told him I color to relax, he shook his head and told me it was a good career. He said I should give up teaching English and sell my art instead.

I must admit I spend considerably more time coloring than teaching English. And I enjoy them both.

Here is a sample of my artwork.

The Joys Of Writing

The Joys Of Writing

As a child and also as a teenager I enjoyed writing poetry. That came to a grinding halt when I got married and had children. I had no time for writing anymore.

Flash ahead two decades and I enrolled in a creative writing class at Red River College in Winnipeg. “Write about what you know.” This is what our instructor advised.

When I was studying for my counseling certification, I was introduced to the concept of journaling. This correlated really well with what I had learned in the creative writing class.

Journaling became a part of my daily routine. It also was a major influence in my decision to write my first book, When Glad Becomes Sad, which was published back in 2009.


That was also the year my marriage ended. My ex got custody of the computer we had shared and I bought a new laptop. Sadly my journals were never transferred to my laptop along with numerous other files. I was so upset and angry about this that I stopped journaling altogether.

Until December of 2013. I was living in Guadalajara and two of my housemates were computer gurus. One was also a web developer and he introduced me to the world of blogging.

I began publishing posts and also got back to daily journaling. And in 2015 my second book, Alive Again, was published.



Next I decided to try my hand at writing fiction, a huge change from the two self-help books I had published previously.

At first I had a blast creating characters and devising scenarios. I had an outline and I believed my plot and sequence were solid.

But the more I wrote, the more complicated it all became. On occasion the frustration would overcome the fun, and my work in progress would be set aside.

Image result for cartoon images of writer's block when your imaginary friends stop speaking to you

Yes that has been my experience for a while now. But…..the other day my characters once again began speaking to me!

Maybe there’s hope for publishing a third book.

San Marcos

San Marcos

On my walk to Centro, I often pass by the Templo San Marcos.I then enjoy a leisurely stroll through the park. Occasionally I come across a Zumba class or encounter fencers, but this morning it was quiet by the gazebo. In the evenings there are sometimes salsa dancers or musicians.There are a number of statues throughout the park. Here are just a few.
This morning I met a man from San Luis Potosí who lives close to San Ciro where I spent two months last winter. I’ve had several interesting conversations with people in the park and find it a great opportunity to practice my Spanish. But no matter how hard I try to strike up a conversation, these two never speak to me.

It still seems strange to me that the trees are beginning to bloom although it’s the middle of winter.

On the weekends there are numerous vendors displaying their wares on the sidewalks. Of course there are always the food vendors as well. But my favorite time to come to this park is on weekdays in the morning.

Food Glorious Food

Food Glorious Food

I seldom write about food. I have mentioned traditional foods associated with holidays such as Christmas and Easter. Years ago I wrote posts about the cooking classes I took in Mazatlan. I may have also referred to the odd restaurant here and there.

Food in Mexico varies in nature from place to place. A torta is very different in Guadalajara from a torta in Mazatlan. My vote for the best tamales still goes to Culiacán. Gorditas in San Luis Potosí are not as tasty as the ones in Aguascalientes. So far Mazatlan is winning when it comes to sopa de tortilla. Hands down the best pizza is in Tlaquepaque.

I will begin by writing about the Cocinas Economicas I frequent here in Las Flores. These are basically places where you buy prepared foods. There is always a variety of cooked food available and the menu changes daily. One that I go to has tables and you can eat there. I did that often last year when I didn’t have a fridge or microwave. 55 pesos buys you soup, a main course, two sides, salad, a generous portion of agua fresca and of course, tortillas. This translates to US $2.91.

Yesterday I picked up chicken milanesa (3 large portions), chicken stew, beef stew, California style mixed veggies, salad, spaghetti, 3 chili rillenos and vegetable soup. Yes, that will easily feed me for the week. Total cost 265 pesos or US $14.04.

All ingredients are fresh. There is not a can or a frozen product used in the preparation of these foods.

Needless to say I do eat out as well. Because I am allergic to fish and seafood, I am unable to give you an idea of the cost.

A cheeseburger with fries and a soda averages 85 pesos or US $4.50. A large pizza averages 110 pesos or US $5.83. A quesadilla averages 25 pesos or US $1.32. I could go on and on but you get the picture. It is inexpensive to eat out.

I must admit that in the morning I prefer to have yogurt and granola for breakfast. But I do go out occasionally for gorditas.

Chicken rosticerias are high on my list as well. I picked up a whole roasted chicken for 70 pesos the other day or US $3.70. In the grocery section Walmart sells a half of a roasted chicken with salad for 35 pesos or US $1.85.

A friend who owned a cafe last year also cooks for me often. A delicious home-cooked meal is delivered to my door for 60 pesos or US $ 3.19.

Food prices vary from place to place as well. When I lived in Mazatlan I found the cost of food to be almost double, but it is a big tourist area. When I lived in Guadalajara the cost was about the same as here. In San Luis Potosí It was lower.

Wherever I have lived the fruit and vegetables have been fresher and cheaper than in Canada or the USA. What better way than to start your day off with a half litre of fresh squeezed orange juice for 20 pesos or just over US $1?

Many restaurants deliver and there is also the option of Uber Eats. But I have yet to use these services.

Now if only I could find some moussaka here in Aguascalientes….