Category Archives: Uncategorized

Why?

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Why?

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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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….

Food Glorious Food

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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….

Propósitos

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Propósitos

2020 has arrived. A new year. A new decade. And a hot topic here in Mexico is “propósitos” or what we call in English “resolutions.”

When I lived in Canada, popular resolutions included losing weight, exercising regularly and working harder to earn more money. But what I’m hearing here in Mexico from friends and students is very different.

The common propósitos here are more spiritual in nature. Students tell me they want to study and be more successful at school. Friends tell me they want to spend more time with family and attend church more often.

As for me, I want to preserve that inner calm that I have worked so hard to find. Inevitably it will change some of the relationships I have with others in my life; some for the better and some for the worse. But that can’t be avoided.

I’m also determined to spend less time in front of a computer screen. I have bid farewell to many of the games I used to play online. I apologize to those I no longer send lives to. But I want to commune with nature a little more this year.

On that note, I went for a long walk this afternoon around my neighborhood. One of the first things I noticed was the oranges growing on a neighbor’s tree.

Further on down the street I noticed the beautiful red blossoms on a poinsettia tree.

I then meandered through the park where I regularly color. But this time I left my gel pens and coloring book at home.

I admired the blossoms emerging on bushes and trees.

I gazed solemnly at the lovely cacti.

And I felt at peace.

Adiós 2019 Bienvenida 2020

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Adiós 2019 Bienvenida 2020

I was in San Ciro de Acosta, San Luis Potosí when this year began. About two weeks later I traveled to Aguascalientes City, Aguascalientes.

A frenzy of visiting fourteen museums, countless churches and beautiful parks followed. I also went leather shopping in León, Guanajuato and visited the pueblo mágico of Calvillo.

Three months flew by and I found myself on a flight to Seattle from Puerto Vallarta. And shortly after I arrived in Leavenworth.

The months I spend in Washington state are filled with activity. I volunteer at church, teach fitness classes, belong to a book club, play bridge and am active at the senior center. But of most importance are the friendships I’ve made over the years and the time I spend with these special people.

This past summer I also took a side trip to Kelowna to see my granddaughter. Madeline was just a few weeks old the last time I saw her and at 17 months she was now an active toddler.

Other highlights of my time in Washington included Vacation Bible School at Leavenworth Church of the Nazarene, as well as attending the 9/11 service at Spirit of America in Cashmere.

All too soon fall arrived and I boarded a flight to Guadalajara. A short bus ride followed and I was back in Aguascalientes City.

I’m staying in the Las Flores area again. Last winter I found a church close by and it felt like returning home this winter. I truly am blessed to have a church family here in Mexico as well as in Leavenworth.

This winter has been very different. I am not running around playing tourist. I’m taking time for ME instead. I do have friends here and I am teaching English a few hours a week. But I find time to color and to go for long walks. I am really focusing on my Spanish language skills. Because I live in a very Mexican neighborhood where virtually no-one else speaks English, I am totally immersed both in the culture and in the Spanish language. I also watch movies in Spanish with no English subtitles.

Other than one trip to Culiacán, I haven’t traveled much this winter. However I do have some travel ideas for 2020.

I spent Christmas with friends and will be attending an event at my church on New Year’s Eve.

This is my last post for 2019. At this time I’d like to thank all my readers for taking the time to follow my blog posts. I wish you all a Happy and Healthy 2020. May it be another fabulous year for everyone!