Half Time

Standard
Half Time

I just crossed the border at Nogales. What do you mean I’ve been back in the USA for three months already?

That got me thinking about all the changes since I first arrived in Leavenworth in July of 2016. I’ve always lived primarily in Leavenworth but I’m now living in East Wenatchee. But I still commute to Leavenworth to teach fitness classes.

Covid caused a lot of changes. The Senior Center in Leavenworth has yet to reopen. I went there often for lunch and I also volunteered in the kitchen. I played bridge there and went to craft afternoons.

Covid also affected the library programs which all switched over to Zoom. The rumor is that in person programs are starting again next month. And I am looking forward to those, including book club, craft programs and speakers.

I now attend a church in Wenatchee and have a new life group as well. It’s a much larger church than the one I used to go to in Leavenworth. It’s also a Free Methodist rather than a Nazarene church.

My attorney has told me he’s retiring at the end of the year and my doctor has told me she’s moving on to a different clinic. More changes.

Over the years I’ve met a lot of people and have developed close relationships with many who I now consider as part of my extended family. Friendships are especially important to me considering my nomadic lifestyle. And those constantly change depending upon where I happen to be living. But my extended family changes very little.

There are constants in my life here as well. This is my sixth year teaching fitness classes in the SAIL program. Next month I’ll be taking training in A Matter Of Balance. But more about that in a future blog post devoted to the program.

Another constant is the beauty of the mountains. I am as much in awe of it today as when I first came here six years. This is truly God’s country!

Kreplach or Perogies

Standard
Kreplach or Perogies

I can’t believe that it’s Sunday again already. I just wrote a Sunday blog post a few minutes ago. But wait. That was last week’s. And it was a week ago.

Tomorrow is my birthday and it’s one of those where you leave one decade behind and enter a new one. People often refer to them as milestone birthdays. But I call every birthday a milestone.

The weather here in Washington has been a lot cooler than usual as well as being rainy and windy. Well, it does beat snow and my friends back in Mexico tell me they’re roasting in the heat.

Yesterday was interesting. The clouds allowed some sunshine to peak through so Christina and I headed for the community wide yard sale in Cashmere. Our biggest find was an oak armoire with lovely shelves and drawers and not even a hint of particle board. $5 well spent.

Back at home in the afternoon the rain finally poured down. I decided to spend my time doing research for one of my characters in my WIP. What’s App was the medium I used to chat with a friend in Mexico, a doctor from Calgary originally from England where she received her medical training. The topics wavered between bipolar 1 and atrial fibrillation. Heavy stuff.

Now where was I going with this post? Oh yes! Kreplach or perogies. I guess it really doesn’t matter what you call them. They are delicious.

I grew up with a Jewish background and they were kreplach. My Bobba had Russian roots and I can still envision her in the kitchen making them from scratch. I did it that way exactly once. Much easier to buy them frozen from Naleway or to head down to the nearest Ukrainian church where the ladies there offer homemade ones for sale on Friday afternoons. I also recall driving out to restaurants in rural communities where the Mennonite version was available.

But I’m far away from Manitoba now and here in Washington I’ve introduced several people to the frozen perogies I’ve found at Safeway or Albertsons. This afternoon I’ll be frying up some onions and getting out the sour cream. And ketchup. You heard me right. That’s a new twist for me. My friend Clairesse is coming over and she is one of the rare Washingtonians I know who enjoys perogies. She grew up on Camino Island and ate them with ketchup.

So there you have it. Call them what you like. Kreplach or perogies. Happy Sunday!

After Plan B Comes C, D, Etc.

Standard
After Plan B Comes C, D, Etc.

Life. A sequence of events where unplanned by far outnumber the planned. And when you get to Plan Z, you start over with Plan AA, Plan BB, Etc.

March was when I arrived back in Washington. I expected to go to Kelowna in March but Canada still had too many Covid restrictions. The next plan was May but that isn’t working out either due to my daughter’s work schedule. Another plan was May in Winnipeg but a minor health issue got in the way. I thought maybe June but there’s some fitness training all month that I really want to do here in Wenatchee. So now it looks like July in Winnipeg. There is always another plan.

https://youtu.be/M7wYyVi1ugo

I hope you check out the above link. It’s an old John Denver song I came across the other night. And I can’t get it out of my head. It really takes me back in time and I realize now that none of my plans back then have ever come into fruition. And that’s okay because there is always another plan.

So…….why make plans at all if they never seem to work out? I’ve come to the conclusion that long range plans don’t work for me. Even short range plans don’t always come about. But I still continue to make plans because I have learned to become extremely flexible. I don’t stress out when plans fall through.

To quote John Lennon, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”

My plan for today is, hmmm, that isn’t going to work out either. Oh well!

Sleep

Standard
Sleep

I did a program the other night on Zoom. The topic was sleep. And I found out I’m doing everything wrong at night before I go to bed. Yet somehow I fall asleep easily and sleep through the night. Okay, the odd time I don’t. But usually sleep comes easily and is restful.

I’m not supposed to color at night. The lighting is supposed to be dim. I need light to color.

Reading is okay if it’s a book and not on a screen. Hmmm, I like to read on my Kindle. That doesn’t work for me.

Technology. Turn off your phone. Let your phone sleep too. I admit I do turn off my ringer. And I do try not to chat.

And now the tablet. I like to unwind playing Candy Crush and Word Connect at night. I don’t find it stimulating enough to prevent me from sleeping. So much for screen time.

The surprising one was to avoid sex. Apparently studies have found that there is too much pressure to perform and that is not considered conducive to getting a good night’s sleep.

Another hint was sitting in a chair to unwind before getting into bed. Bed should be for sleep only. Nope. I prefer to review my day while lying comfortably in bed.

Don’t meditate before going to sleep? Another one I totally disagree with. There’s nothing like doing a full body scan technique to relax at night.

Fresh air. Yes, that one I agree with. I always sleep with a window open. Of course I don’t do winter in a cold climate anymore.

Avoid caffeine and don’t eat a heavy meal prior to bedtime. I’ll go with that although I do indulge in chocolate from time to time.

Noise. Loud is not good. Some people find sound machines soothing. Personally, I love to hear waves lapping as I listen to Pachelbel.

Here’s one of my favorite strategies that wasn’t mentioned on the Zoom program. That one is prayer. If you don’t do that one already, then you really do need to try it. The religion you practice doesn’t matter. God hears it all.

If your sleep pattern goes wild and you feel out of sorts, you should get a referral to a specialist in the field of sleep medicine. Got to love all this new terminology.

Unfortunately far too many people rely on prescription medication or may self-medicate with the variety of available over-the-counter products. Sometimes these may mask physical conditions that are affecting sleep. Of course sleep deprivation itself causes a variety of problems such as depression. In a way, it’s kind of a vicious circle.

In conclusion, there is no generic cure for insomnia. Not everything works for everyone. I have my regimen and I’m sticking to it, whether recommended or not.

Guns and Pot

Standard
Guns and Pot

In Mexico when I watch TV the programs are all in Spanish. When I’m up here in Washington, not only do I watch TV in English, I enjoy watching old westerns. I’ve been watching episodes of The High Chapparal lately. Lots of guns and violence. The same is true of The Rifleman and Gunsmoke. We all grew up watching those shows back in the 60s. I even had a cap gun when I was a child and we all played Cowboys and Indians.

Back then school shootings were unheard of. We didn’t have guns or rifles in our homes. It was a safer time.

Living in the state of Washington it’s very different. Many people I know here have at least one gun or rifle in their homes. They’re not always secured in gun cabinets. They’re often loaded and kept in nightstands or other drawers. I have female friends who carry them in purses or in glove compartments of their vehicles. They marvel at the fact that I don’t have one of my own yet.

Apple Blossom Festival was held last weekend here in Wenatchee. Just before the Grand Parade, a somewhat enraged man opened fire resulting in an officer being shot before he himself was shot and killed. Shootings are becoming all too common.

Then there’s pot, something we used back in the 60s to enhance our enjoyment of everything from rock concerts to sex. But we’ve all aged and now use it more for pain control. My philosophy remains the same now as it was in the 60s—– everything in moderation.

I recall flying in to Kelowna, Canada from Seattle a couple of years ago. Going through Customs, I was asked if I was carrying guns or had any pot. When I replied in the negative, the officer’s comment was “Are you sure you’re coming from Washington?”

I spend six months of the year in Mexico. When my friends ask me why I want to live in such a dangerous country, I shake my head and tell them to look around at their own neighborhoods.

It was great being a teenager in the 60s. It was a unique decade of flower power and hippies promoting peace and love. What a contrast to the decade we are currently in!

Times have changed.

This Week In Writing Land

Standard
This Week In Writing Land

I was talking to one of my blogging friends the other day and somehow we got on the topic of why we blog. I originally started blogging as a way for my friends back home to come along with me on my travels and adventures. But it has evolved into more.

I write about whatever happens to come to mind, whatever I’m in the mood to write about. At the moment, mental health is very much on my mind. May is mental health awareness month. And one of the leading characters in my WIP is bipolar. I also have friends in Canada, Mexico and here in the USA who struggle with a bipolar disorder. Needless to say I’ve been doing a lot of research on the subject lately.

No idea why but I started thinking about Carl Rogers and encounter groups. Anyone else out there remember encounter groups? They were a part of my life back in the late 60s, early 70s when I was studying psychology in college. Ah, yes, my Canadian friends. I used the word college instead of university. Next you’re going to accuse me of spending too much time in the USA.

Back to my character. At the moment he is in a psych ward, not the most pleasant place to be. After all the struggles he’s had throughout childhood and his early teenage years, the diagnosis has finally been made and I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing with him next.

My character has had issues with anger management all his life. It began with temper tantrums as a toddler. And then there was the stage where he held all his emotions bottled up inside. Then the volcano erupted. Mood swings became the norm. Is he headed toward full-blown narcissism and ultimately Alzheimers? Too predictable. A serial killer? Nope. Don’t like that one either. Oh well. I’m sure it will come to me eventually.

But I sure am enjoying writing fiction. It’s fun to let my imagination run wild. People beware. I’m finding inspiration in the most unlikely places.

Memories Of My Mom

Standard
Memories Of My Mom

It’s getting close to Mother’s Day so I thought I’d reminisce about my mom. In June it will be twenty-six years since she passed away. I spent days by her bedside in the weeks she lay in ICU fighting for her life. And I also made sure my kids had the opportunity to say goodbye, something I never had experienced when my grandparents died in hospitals.

I do not own a dress. Why not? Don’t all women love to wear dresses. Not this one! My mother always made me wear dresses, and I can still feel those scratchy crinolines more than six decades later.

My mother was an amazing seamstress. She was also talented when it came to knitting and crocheting. Somehow those genes were never passed down to me. And since the Brownie pack I belonged to focused on the above, I can’t say I have great memories of those days.

My mom was an artist when it came to baking. Not only did the cakes and cookies taste amazing; the decorating was astounding as well. Her shortbread and chocolate torte were famous and were always in demand. I have memories of birthday cakes that were envied by all my friends.

I learned the importance of volunteering from my mother. She served as president of the sisterhood at her synagogue and volunteered in other charitable organizations.

At her winter home in Port Charlotte, she persuaded a group of women to do water aerobics. Now that gene she passed down to me as I was certified as an instructor and taught classes at the YMCA in Winnipeg.

Other memorable feats were getting a driver’s license for the first time at age sixty-seven and winning the award for erasing the most movies by accident when she learned to use a VCR.

I know very little about her childhood and teenage years. She once told me she’d had a dog that had been run over by a car and that’s why I’d never been allowed to have a dog when I was growing up. She had also belonged to a group called Sunshine Girls, but I don’t know if that was when she lived in Boston or Winnipeg. I honestly don’t even know how she met my dad, although I have heard different stories from family members.

My mom adored her grandchildren. She was blessed to not only live in the same city as her children and grandchildren, but we all lived merely blocks away from each other. She proudly came to her grandchildren’s concerts plays, dance recitals, bowling tournaments and graduations.

We used to talk on the phone at least twice a day and twenty-six years later I still miss those conversations. We always had so much to talk about. If she were still here today I can literally think of a million questions I’d like to ask her. There is so much more I would like to know about her.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there, and especially to my mom in heaven.

What We Do

Standard
What We Do

Today is May 1st. Today marks two months since I arrived back in the USA. Then why does it feel like I just got here? And what have I been so busy doing? I think it’s called Life or Living. I’ve had my fill of traveling for a while after my trip to Seattle via Tucson and Los Angeles after leaving Mexico. And then there were the five moves until I settled down in East Wenatchee.

Last night I was talking to a friend in Toronto who is off to Bali in a few weeks. She isn’t looking forward to the 32 hours of travel time and the cost of flights is astronomical post Covid. But this has been her dream for quite some time now and I’m glad that she is finally doing it.

I was talking to another friend in Toronto earlier in the week. She is a travel guide and is happy that business is starting to pick up post Covid despite the escalating cost of travel.

I have a friend I met in Guadalajara a few years ago who is on a mission to check out every major league stadium in the USA as well as other historical areas throughout the country. Recently he has traveled throughout Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee.

I have other friends traveling through Central and South America right now. Several friends are still in Mexico and are on the move there as well, both within the country as well as those snowbirds who are returning home.

On a sad note, the USA just issued advisories against travel to Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta. I wonder what the situation will be like in the fall. Those cities have my two favorite airports in Mexico.

Okay. I admit it. I’ve been in East Wenatchee for over a month now and haven’t even made it out to Lake Chelan yet. The only commutes have been to Cashmere and Leavenworth. But I am beginning to think about traveling again. My eyes are set on Winnipeg in June.

But first I have to get through May. Fitness classes, library programs, plays, fitness training, medical appointments, a consult with my attorney, writers’ group, church, art and research regarding a character in my WIP. My visual voicemail still isn’t working and I haven’t even found time to go to AT&T yet. I’m staring at library books I checked out three weeks ago and still haven’t read.

I did find time to go shopping the other day to buy a much needed pair of New Balance. I discarded a pair in Mexico and the ones I brought with me are falling apart. I live in New Balance and sandals, and do not even own a pair of ‘shoe’ shoes.

But paramount is the time I spend with my friends here. This is my seventh year here, and although I only come for six months, I am blessed with more than a few close friends who I view as family.

I also keep in touch with friends by phone and Facebook. Many go back more than twenty or thirty years and a couple more than fifty. The older I get, the more important these friendships become.

This is what I do.

What do you do?

Cashmere WA

Standard
Cashmere WA

This quaint town captured my heart the first time I visited back in 2016. The primary reason for my trip to Cashmere was to view The Spirit of America, a moving tribute to the tragedy commonly referred to as 9/11. I come here often to just sit quietly and contemplate life. Every year on September 11th at 11 am, a memorial service is held. Hundreds of people come and there is never a dry eye anywhere.

Cashmere is also home to The Pioneer Museum. There is an interesting exhibit indoors and there are also replicas of old buildings outside in the village. These include an old schoolhouse, church, ticket office and more. In the fall during Apple Days, yours truly dresses up in pioneer garb and volunteers in the village.

My favorite Mexican restaurant, Agave Azul, is on Cottage Avenue as is my favorite bakery, Sure To Rise. There are several other restaurants ranging from barbecue to Asian, and I’ve been to most of them over the years.

Cashmere also has a delightful library that in non-Covid times offers programs for children and adults. I’ve attended art events such as pastels and acrylics and am looking forward to June when programs will finally resume.

Aplets and Cotlets is a candy factory that offers both samples and informative tours. There are also two antique malls in Cashmere.

A vintage car show on Founders Day and Scare-Crazy in October are two other events that attract tourists. I have yet to attend the Bluegrass Festival but I do enjoy taking in the County Fair.

Back in 2016 I discovered the most beautiful red maple tree in Cashmere and I visit it regularly to take photos from the time it buds in the spring until it sheds leaves in the fall. My friends even visit it for me and take photos in the months I’m back in Mexico. Here’s a photo I took yesterday.

One of my favorite pastimes is just strolling down the streets of this charming town, especially when the flowers are blooming. Halloween is also a great time to visit. People here really love to decorate!

There is a strip mall on the opposite side of the highway that always gets a lot of attention. The vehicle licensing office is sandwiched between the liquor store and the pot shop.

Yes, Cashmere has something for everyone.

All About Me

Standard
All About Me

I’ve written hundreds of blogs posts but have never done an “All About Me” post. I’m not sure just why I haven’t, but a friend called me on it the other day. So here goes.

I go by a variety of different names depending on which country I’m in or which website I’m on. I prefer to just stick to “Karen.” Here in Washington my friends have me in their contacts as “Karen Mexico” or “Karen Canada.”

I was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and lived there all my life until 2010. My son still lives there. My daughter and my four year old granddaughter live in Canada as well, in Kelowna, B.C.

In 2010 I went to Culiacan, Mexico to teach English. A family there adopted me and I am now abuelita to four nietos ranging in age from three to twelve years old.

After a year in Culiacan, I taught briefly in Irapuato before settling down in Guadalajara for four years. I called Mazatlan home for just over three years and then decided to explore more of central Mexico. After three months in San Ciro de Acosta I discovered Aguascalientes, which has been my Mexican home six months of the year since 2019.

In 2016 a friend I met in Mazatlan invited me to come visit him in Leavenworth, Washington. My two week visit turned into four months when the snow chased me back to Mexico. And that was when I turned into a snowbird, spending the other six months of the year in Washington state.

While there, I’ve lived mainly in Leavenworth with short stints in other towns. This year I’m living in East Wenatchee with my friends Christina and Danny, who tell me that this is now my “forever home.”

As far as teaching goes, I officially retired in 2016, although I had worked extremely very part-time since 2012. Occasionally I selectively take on private students, but have not taught at all since Covid arrived.

This is my sixth year as a volunteer in the SAIL program in Leavenworth where I teach fitness classes to seniors that geared towards fall prevention. Both church ministry and volunteering at the senior center ground to a halt during Covid and are just now starting up again.

I enjoy traveling both in Mexico and the USA. Last summer I took an Amtrak along the coast from Seattle to L.A. I loved it and can’t wait to plan another train trip.

I’m taking a break from Duolingo but I have my gel pens, pastels and water colors to amuse me. And I have been doing a lot of writing lately. Fiction is a new genre for me which I am enjoying immensely.

I am especially blessed to have family and a wide circle of friends in three countries. The time always fly by all too quickly before I find myself once again packing a suitcase. My days are filled with adventure and making memories.

Other trivia……I’m a Gemini, my favorite color is green, I’m a chocoholic as well as a coffeeholic and I love country music.

All About Me