Monthly Archives: August 2021

In Case You’re Wondering

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In Case You’re Wondering

I’m into the home stretch. Saying goodbye to people and places.

My Tree. This spectacular red maple captured my heart back in 2016. Right now it’s still very green and I will miss the vibrant red leaves this year. I’m counting on my friends to send me pics. I know they will. After all, they visit my tree when I’m away for the winter.

Something else I will miss is the 9/11 service at Spirit of America. This is always a highlight of my time in Washington and sadly I will be far away in another country on September 11th.

The Chelan County Fair in Cashmere and the Autumn Leaf Festival in Leavenworth are two more favorite events I will miss this year.

Yes I will be thousands of miles away but I will be in time for Independence Day celebrations.

So now have you guessed where I’m going?

Made It To Humpday

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Made It To Humpday

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

I wonder if Charles Dickens was forecasting the year 2021 when he wrote those opening words in A Tale Of Two Cities.”

My first winter in snow in eleven years was actually quite enjoyable. It’s much milder here than in Winnipeg.

In March the USA issued a Level 4 travel advisory not to go to Canada. I retained an attorney and began the process of obtaining an extended stay. Documents, documents and more documents. In April I provided the requested biometrics. But it wasn’t until July when USCIS officially notified me that the stay had been granted.

In June I went on my first Amtrak trip and visited with friends in Portland and Sacramento. The scenery along the coast was breathtaking and it felt so good to travel again.

Once again I’m thinking about travel. I’ve spent the past two days exploring options. It’s been nerve-wracking to say the least. And I’ve finally made a decision. And I’ve booked flights. But that will be discussed in another post at a later date.

Speaking of dates, September 20th is the date of the federal election in 🇨🇦, if the wildfires don’t burn the country down first.

Good Riddance To Last Week

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Good Riddance To Last Week

Last week’s emotional rollercoaster ride was far too intense. Glad it’s over.

In addition to the ever-present stressful dilemma of figuring out travel plans, my daughter was evacuated from her home in Kelowna. Thankfully she is back at home, albeit still on an alert.

I really need to stop following the news. Earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, wildfires….those are merely the natural disasters.

COVID-19. The Delta variant. The other variants. To mask or not to mask. To mandate vaccination in the workplace. This virus isn’t going anywhere in my lifetime. Traumatized children…..what is their destiny? I can only pray for my grandchildren.

Afghanistan. It was wrong to send troops there in the first place. Apparently nothing was learned from the fiasco in Vietnam. And now thousands of innocent people will die yet again.

The above song was released back in 1965. I guess not much has changed.

Always A Mom

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Always A Mom

I worked remotely from home decades before Covid arrived. I wanted to be with my kids when they spoke that first word and took that first step.

I was an active volunteer in their schools and also in their extracurricular activities. Akela of a Cub pack, music librarian for ASYC and organizer of buses for a YBC provincial bowling tournament were some of the more memorable times.

The time flew by and my daughter moved to Ontario and I moved to Mexico, leaving only my son behind in Winnipeg. Then I started dividing my time between Mexico and Washington and my daughter moved to Kelowna.

When Covid arrived in March of 2020, I was in Mexico and was interviewed by a Winnipeg Free Press reporter. One of the more pointed questions he asked was how I felt about my decision not to return to Canada although my family was there.

While I’ve enjoyed the last ten plus years of traveling and living in other countries, it is hard living far away from my kids, and it has been even more so during the pandemic.

I still feel the sadness when I phoned my son from Culiacan on his birthday in 2010. He turned thirty and it was the first time in his life I wasn’t with him on his birthday. Over the years, the pain lessens, but there’s always a tugging at the heartstrings.

I did come back for their university convocations and I went to Punta Cana for my daughter’s wedding. And I do go back to visit as neither of my kids come to Mexico or Washington. And I have a three-year-old granddaughter who thinks I live in a phone.

Earlier in the week my daughter was evacuated due to wildfires. Last night she told me that they are able to return home but they are still on alert. I always have a TO GO bag packed in my closet due to all the fires around here. But I felt so helpless when she called me the night they were evacuated as she hurriedly packed up my granddaughter and the three cats.

Texts and video calls are great. But what I want more than anything are REAL hugs, not virtual ones. That day can’t come soon enough for this mom.

I Don’t Usually

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I Don’t Usually

I don’t usually post on Mondays. But today is no ordinary Monday.

I got a phone call from my daughter in Kelowna late last night. She was calling from her car, crawling along a road where way too many people were fleeing fires. She had about an hour to pack up and get my granddaughter and the three cats into her car. Thankfully my son-in-law was there to help her. He is a helicopter pilot and has been spending his time fighting fires.

Two years ago I visited my daughter and admired the forested area across the street from her house. I’m not sure I feel the same way today. But they were able to get out safely and they do have a safe place to stay temporarily.

I thought 2020 was a bad year but 2021 is still in the competition. I feel like I should get some type of reward for successfully obtaining extended stays in two foreign countries during a pandemic. I’m trying to get back to Canada but it’s still a waiting game. I spoke to my attorney again this morning. I’m still exploring options.

My daughter works in an ICU and tells me it’s been necessary to open up a second unit because of all the Covid patients. ALL UNVACCINATED!!!!!! And she is scheduled to work tonight even with her own chaotic personal life at the moment.

As if COVID-19 and raging wildfires aren’t enough, now there are earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, and tsunami warnings around the world. What’s next???

I saw this post on Facebook today and thought it most appropriate for today’s world.

It’s Smokey Here

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It’s Smokey Here

Washington state is on fire. Oregon is on fire. California is on fire. British Columbia is on fire. The smoke was really bad in Wenatchee this week. Here in Dryden the smoke has started to blow away.

It’s summer and we all want to be outdoors. But when the smoke is so bad we’re back to hibernating indoors. And we find other things to do.

It’s hard to believe that my post earlier in the week had pics of clear skies with no smoke in Lake Chelan. The smoke rolled in the day after.

Fitness classes I teach are indoors. However the windows were closed as there was no fresh air to ventilate the room.

Movies. Yes it’s been a good time to catch up on Netflix. And I’ve also been watching season two of The Chosen.

Going out for lunch with friends in air-conditioned restaurants. No outdoor patios in the past few days.

We saw a production of Shakespeare’s As You Like It at Riverside Playhouse in Wenatchee. Excellent show featuring very talented kids and teens.

I’ve been reading quite a bit as well. Always looking for new authors and have found some great books this summer.

And then there’s researching future travel plans………

Lake Chelan

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Lake Chelan

On Monday Joyce and I went out to Lake Chelan for the day. Located about 30 miles out of Wenatchee, we enjoyed a scenic drive with beautiful views of the river and the mountains.

I’ve taken numerous photos of the town in the past, so I didn’t take many on this trip. I really love the grounds of this quaint church with these colorful flowers.

These guys always amuse me.

The water is what I find so calming and peaceful.

On past trips I’ve been out on a boat, basked on the beach and taken a ferry out to Stehekin. I also prefer the quieter weekdays as opposed to the weekends crowded with tourist traffic, although quite a few people were out on the water on Monday.

The Best Laid Plans

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The Best Laid Plans

Plans. We all make them. We try to follow them. More often than not, things don’t always go as planned.

I look at my life and wonder how everything got so convoluted. One year in Mexico has turned into more than a decade. But oh the incredible adventures I’ve had. I’ve met amazing people and traveled to fascinating places.

I had just settled in to a comfortable routine of six months in Mexico and six months in Leavenworth, with side trips to Canada to see my kids. When I headed south in the fall of 2019, I was returning to Aguascalientes. Yes I’d visited the museums and art galleries the previous winter, but I’d also made friendships and I had volunteer work planned. Needless to say traveling was also on the agenda.

The six months became eleven when Covid arrived. I watched way too many movies in Spanish on TV, colored for hours on end and found games to play on my phone that were quite addictive.

I used up all my gel pens and markers. I colored every single page, including the title page, of a book I’d brought with me. I headed for the nearest papeleria and bought crayons and children’s coloring books, all that was available in my area.

I spent hours in meditation and prayer, a most welcome respite especially after dealing with INM and obtaining an extended stay when my visa expired. I must admit it was a much easier process getting that extended stay in the USA a few months later.

I arrived in Leavenworth in late September with the idea that I’d pick up my warmer clothes and head up to Canada. These plans changed when numerous restrictions regarding travel and quarantine were enforced. I must admit I quite enjoyed the mild winter here as compared with the brutal winters on the Canadian prairies I had experienced in the past.

It’s now August and I haven’t made it back to Canada yet. Yep, eleven months and counting. But a very different life than I had in Mexico. I can’t remember the last time I colored, although I did take out my acrylics and paint yesterday. Movies are now in English and I’m usually with friends when watching. No games on my phone anymore. They’ve all been moved onto my tablet lol.

Of course it’s also been a very different experience here in the USA this year. I used to wear a mask because of smoke from fires, not because of COVID-19. My volunteer work has dwindled down to teaching fitness classes. Lunches and activities at the Senior Center are mere memories, as are book club and programs at the library.

I’m constantly being asked when and where I’ll travel to next. My answer remains the same. I don’t know. Rules regarding travel change every day. I’ve given up making plans as they keep changing as well.

There is only one constant in my life right now. As the deadline of September 20th approaches, I will be en route to Canada or Mexico. If it’s Canada I don’t know where my destination will be. I have kids in two different provinces. If it’s Mexico I will definitely be on my way to Aguascalientes. To me these are all long range plans and I have more than enough trouble making even short range plans now.

For now, my plans are merely whatever happens to fall together. Extreme mindfulness.

Maybe I’ll Paint Today

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Maybe I’ll Paint Today

I’ve been running around a lot in the past few days so I thought I’d just take a day and stay at home. It’s a much needed day of catching up on emails, phone calls and even laundry. But as I sit here sipping my coffee I’m seriously considering getting out my acrylics and playing with colors.

I spoke to Juan in Mexico last night and my family are all on the mend. Thank you everyone for your messages and prayers. Your thoughtfulness is very comforting.

Wildfires are burning like crazy everywhere. The smoke was so thick in Wenatchee the other day that we couldn’t even see the mountains.

I recall a time when we would all don masks when the smoke got bad. Not this year!!!

I finally did it. The heat got to me and when I was at the hair stylist’s yesterday I told her the short bob I’ve been wearing was just too long. So off came the hair.

We had an incredible storm last night. It finally rained. It didn’t last long but people were concerned that lightning may have sparked more fires. The wind was pretty wicked too. But it sure didn’t phase these guys who sat placidly out on the lawn.

Oh oh. Canadian Border Patrol are threatening to strike later this week. Will they?

Happy Wednesday!

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!