2022 Part 2

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2022 Part 2

I spent the entire month of July in Winnipeg. I’ve written about it in other blog posts so I’ll just touch on this month briefly. July 4th I found myself out at a cabin rather than celebrating with parades or fireworks as I usually do in the USA. It was nice to get out of the city. I enjoyed spending time with my son and my friends but on a more sad note I attended a funeral. I also replaced my laptop finally. The old one had died during Covid back in 2020 and my tablet had become my best friend.

The first week in August I was back out at the cabin and the following week I flew back to Washington. Leavenworth Summer Theater was in full swing and I enjoyed The Music Man and The Sound of Music. The latter production is a favorite and I try to see it every year. The mountain setting makes this show even more spectacular. I also began teaching four SAIL classes a week instead of the usual two in Leavenworth. The two new ones were in East Wenatchee.

The September long weekend this year was really special as my daughter and granddaughter came from Kelowna. I enjoyed showing them some of my favorite places in Leavenworth and Cashmere. The County Fair began right after they left and I hadn’t been to one in three years due to Covid. September was also the 9/11 Ceremony in Cashmere and Autumn Leaf Festival in Leavenworth. Sadly it was also time to start thinking about returning to Mexico for the winter. Every year it gets harder to say goodbye to friends for six months of the year.

Three flights and a short bus trip and I was back in Aguascalientes. I love my neighborhood. Las Flores doesn’t change much even though I leave for several months every year. It was nice seeing friends again and catching up. I really dived into my writing too. The lure of the new laptop was definitely a factor. My characters were also quite talkative and that certainly helped as well. The internet has also been much better this year too.

November began with the celebration of Day of the Dead. This is one of my favorite holidays in Mexico. The catrinas are always outstanding and even the tiniest shops have colorful decorations. The alters in remembrance of loved ones are also prominent. This year I opted not to go to a cemetery but merely admired everything as I strolled through the streets. The entertainment was amazing and venues were set up throughout the city.

Suddenly it was December and the last month of the year. Festivities were now geared towards Christmas and the Centro area turned into a magical fairyland of colorful lights. Music was an integral part of this celebration and I saw dancers, heard bands and watched children performing. The tienguis was larger than usual with more vendors. I didn’t trim a tree this year. Just didn’t get around to it. Writing occupied much of my time instead. I went to Christmas posadas and Christmas Eve was spent in church. The inevitable fireworks lit up the sky in Mexico as well.

A new year is just around the corner. Here’s to a fabulous one filled with Health and Happiness for all.

HAPPY 2023!

2022 Part 1

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2022 Part 1

I have decided to divide the year end review into two parts. Part 1 will cover the first six months of the year.

I woke up January 1st in Jilotsingo where I had celebrated New Years Eve with fifty-nine others. The next day I went back to Angie’s home in Pachuca. I returned to Aguascalientes after King’s Day. The rest of the month was spent getting together with friends and writing blog posts. I also had a SAIL training session on Zoom.

February was an exciting month. My characters started talking to me again and I was finally inspired to continue working on my book of fiction. My granddaughter in Kelowna also celebrated her fourth birthday. And I went to Culiacan to spend time with my Mexican family before heading back up north for the warmer months.

On March 1st I crossed the border at Nogales and headed for Tucson, where I spent a few relaxing days by a pool at a hotel. Then came the rather unusual but interesting Greyhound bus trip to Seattle where I was finally able to pick up an Amtrak into Leavenworth. One of the first things I did was get a Covid booster. I moved around a lot staying in Leavenworth and Dryden and did some pet sitting before finally settling down in East Wenatchee. It was wonderful to be at Sage Hills in person again and to resume teaching SAIL classes.

April was a fun month of garage sales, different from the usual tienguis in Mexico. Life Group resumed and a series of library programs began on Zoom. My characters continued to chatter so it was also a great writing month.

May was a little on the stressful side. The results of a biopsy were not what I’d hoped for and I needed to have a growth removed. On a more positive note I celebrated a birthday and had a delightful day in Lake Chelan. And I also received great news that while the growth indeed had been malignant, there was only healthy tissue left and no further sign of cancer. So no need for more treatment.

I had training in the A Matter Of Balance program during the month of June and I’m looking forward to coaching it when I return to Washington in the spring. And towards the end of the month I found myself on a plane headed for Winnipeg for the first time in five years.

I’m taking a break from blogging so no post this coming Sunday. 2022 Part 2 will be on December 28th.

Merry Christmas!

Posada And More

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Posada And More

Today’s WordPress prompt asked about cities that I want to visit. Nope. I’m not writing about that. I’d rather write about other things today.

Friday night I went to a Posada (Christmas party) at La Bella Vita, an amazing Italian restaurant. There were eight of us from one of the local groups I belong to here in Aguascalientes. Our gift exchange was a blast! The idea was that we had to bring seven of the same item for the others in the group. So I came home with seven different gifts ranging from stainless steel chopsticks to butter cookies and everything in between. Needless to say we had a great time.

I found another English speaker in my neighborhood. Jerry is Mexican but lived in San Francisco for five years. He and his Mexican wife have a small cenaduria not too far from where I live. Their salads are amazing and so are their pastas. They make all of their food at home and bring it to the cenaduria. I have a small fridge and it is now full of healthy food.

The other night Charlotte and I went to El Centro to look at the lights. To our delight there was an amazing band playing. They were all alumni of UAA here in Aguascalientes. Their medley of Christmas music was most enjoyable and the air was festive with all the colorful lights surrounding us. Last night Carole and I went to El Centro and the entertainment included dancers and a band. The dancers weren’t all that entertaining but the band that followed was fabulous.

For the past several years I had a tradition of buying a small Christmas tree and decorating it. I would then give it to a friend when I’d head back up north in the spring. This year I decided to change things up. When I was at the tienguis the other day, I picked up some handmade Christmas decorations and these are now hanging on my walls.

Christmas is less than a week away. Here in Mexico the big celebration is La Buenanoche (Christmas Eve). December 25th is just a regular day, not a holiday. I miss the candle light services I went to back in the USA and Canada. The only time I found one here in Mexico was when I was living in Mazatlan. I intend to look for one of those on the internet this year.

My project for this week is to catch up on phone calls. I have not been good about those and I have friends back in the USA and Canada who have been complaining. With Christmas coming up fast, I need to get my act together and make those calls.

Have a great Sunday!

Another Writing Prompt From WordPress

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Another Writing Prompt From WordPress

Have you ever performed on stage or given a speech?

That was yesterday’s prompt and I decided to go with it. So here goes……………..

As a child, the only acting I ever did was plays in class. I was never into drama or musicals or anything like that. There was the odd ballet or piano recital but that’s about it. In junior high I sang in the choir and we performed at a music festival. But a few years ago I did something completely different that was totally out of my element.

I was living in Mazatlan at the time and saw an ad for auditions for a dinner theater at one of the local hotels. It was a murder mystery and it sounded intriguing. And the pesos were also a lot higher than they were teaching English. So I went for an audition. Brace yourselves………….I got a leading role! It was different and it was fun. But it was also short-lived. The audience wasn’t overly impressed with the plot or the food at the hotel. Oh well! It was great while it lasted.

Now we come to speeches. I guess I’ve done a few of those as a teacher. And then there were the more tedious ones when I conducted staff meetings while managing group homes. But there is one speech I gave that stands out in my mind.

I was still living in Winnipeg at the time and delivered a speech at the annual Manitoba Hospice and Palliative Care Conference. It was quite the challenge as I hadn’t really expected my proposal to be accepted by the committee. But it was and I was allotted a half hour plus additional time for questions. Thirty minutes. I had never given a speech that long before and it was quite a challenge, especially when you’re talking about caring for people who are dying.

So there you have it. I wonder what the next writing prompt will be.

Happy Humpday!

WordPress Prompt Of The Day

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WordPress Prompt Of The Day

I don’t usually do the prompt that WordPress puts up daily. But today I decided to do it. The prompt is “What’s your favorite cartoon?”

I have always loved cartoons. There’s nothing better than laughter to get your serotonin levels boosted. As children we smiled and laughed way more than we do as adults. Of course back then we were carefree with few responsibilities. However, smiling and laughing are important. And yes, I still do watch cartoons quite regularly.

My favorite cartoon has always been Beep Beep The Roadrunner, ever since I was a child. The antics of Beep Beep and Wile E Coyote amuse me to no end. Apparently this cartoon debuted back in 1949 before I was born. I love watching boulders crush Wile E and seeing him blasted by dynamite. He’s always trying to catch Beep Beep, but that roadrunner constantly outsmarts him.

I do watch other cartoons from Disney such as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. The other day I was surfing the net and found vintage cartoons of Mighty Mouse. That brought back memories of Friday afternoons after school when my cousins and I would munch on challah and watch this cartoon series. I also watch The Muppets, and this brings back memories of when my son was young and this was one of his favorite shows.

I like to watch cartoons at night after I’ve put away my writing for the night. It’s a great way to relax before heading for dreamland, especially when it’s far too late to begin watching a two hour movie.

I sometimes watch cartoons on TV in Spanish. Two of my favorites here are Peppa the Pig and Dora the Explorer.

So if you’re looking for some great stress relief, I highly recommend Beep Beep and Wile E. This characters are sure to give you a chuckle.

Why Write?

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Why Write?

I’m often asked why I write. There is no simple answer to that. I enjoy writing. I never had the time to write before. I can choose the topic unlike when I was back in school in English class. I don’t have to count words although I do have to be cautious when it comes to spelling and grammar. I’m retired so I can write at any time I want, day or night. I choose the background music, something I never got to do back in school either. But mostly, I find writing relaxing, almost a meditation.

Writing is challenging. Although I’m currently writing fiction, I’ve still had to do considerable research along the way. While the story primarily takes place in some small, fictitious town in California, my main character is struggling with a health issue. And that requires research. And then there are issues in the legal system that need to be considered. These tend to vary from state to state. Of course I’m drawing on psychology when it comes to family dynamics and resolving conflict.

There are days when my characters don’t talk to me. That is quite discouraging. I’ve had days where I’ve totally erased every single word I’ve written. And yes I still find that relaxing as well as frustrating. After all, the reality is that life is like that. The road is not a straight one and it’s often necessary to meander here and there. So why shouldn’t writing be like that?

Why do I write a blog? That started when I was living in Guadalajara years ago. I was sharing a house with two guys who were computer geeks. One was a web designer and the other was running a business in the USA while living in Mexico. They got me going on WordPress. At first it was mainly to let my friends back home know what I was up to. And I must admit that I could be doing a lot more on this site. But I’m content with what I’m currently doing. It serves the purpose. And I’m flattered that I now have followers from all over the world.

However there are always things I will not write about. I tend to shy away from religion and politics. These are very controversial topics and I don’t want to offend my readers. I also have friends who tell me things in confidence. While these would make great material for blog posts, it’s not my story to tell.

I have my own story to tell. I’m not as forthcoming as some writers about my more personal life. My reasons for that have changed over the years. There are details that I care to share only with my closest friends. That may change someday, but write now I’m comfortable with the way it is. And I respect and admire writers who are able to put everything out there for everyone in the world to read. I have writer friends in Missouri and Illinois who bravely do this and I always look forward to their blog posts.

Remembering you today as always, Koal. I can’t believe it’s fourteen years since you left us. Sending lots of love to doggie heaven.

This Week In Weather

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This Week In Weather

December. Winter. The end of the year 2022.

My friend Ann in Leavenworth texted me a photo of the snow the other day. Quite a heavy blanket covered her car. Reports of two feet of snow. Chains needed to head over the mountain passes.

It’s very different here in Aguascalientes. Sunny and warm with temperatures hovering near 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It does cool off in the evenings. When I go out for my walks I need a light sweatshirt.

I was talking to David yesterday. It’s cold in Winnipeg. Temperatures are in the minus 20s Celsius. Not sure how to convert that. I’m still in American Fahrenheit mode.

My featured photo is one I took in Leavenworth two years ago when I spent a Covid winter there instead of returning to Mexico. I miss those gorgeous trees. That Bavarian village is a spectacular winter wonderland.

I remember my first December in Mexico back in 2010. I was living in Culiacan and it was extremely hot. My students didn’t like the air conditioning in my classroom and started wearing hats and gloves to class. I took the hint. Off went the air conditioning. The teacher got to roast so the students didn’t have to freeze. As soon as class was over I ripped off my uniform and changed into shorts and a tank top. I stopped at the first tienda and bought an ice cold Coke to put up against my cheeks to cool me down. It was much hotter in Culiacan than in Aguascalientes with temperatures soaring around the 100 degree Fahrenheit mark.

When I lived in Guadalajara the temperatures in winter were much cooler. Yes, there were nights when it dropped down to the freezing mark and we actually used the fireplace in our house. And I wore gloves and a hat. Atole was always welcome. And then there was one year when it actually got so warm that we had a thunderstorm on Christmas Eve.

I must say I enjoy seeing all my friends’ posts on Facebook with the photos and videos of snowfalls. They’re beautiful to look at from here in Mexico. But I sure don’t miss shoveling snow or driving in it. When I lived in rural Manitoba I rolled two cars off the highway due to black ice and totaled them both. I also do not miss the treacherously icy sidewalks.

So wherever you live, readers, be cautious and aware of inclement weather. Be prepared and stay safe.

Have a great Sunday!

And Another Month Comes To An End

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And Another Month Comes To An End

November ends today. That means there’s only one month left in 2022. I need to start working on my year end blog post. This past year was packed with activity.

Here in Mexico Christmas decorations are already visible. Displays in department stores and shopping malls are being set up. Santa is on his way too.

My friend Karen posted a beautiful video of the snowfall in Leavenworth. Almost makes me wish I was back there right now. Almost.

On a sad note, I had two friends pass away in November: Joan in Winnipeg and Adele in Leavenworth.

On a much happier note, my son Kyle celebrated his 42nd birthday in November. And I actually spoke to him rather than just leaving the usual voicemail.

I’m enjoying my courses online and have a new one this month. It’s an Advent bible study with Church of the Rock in Winnipeg.

I’ve been the world’s worst correspondent lately. While I do have a long distance plan, I’ve been using What’s App and Messenger a lot and texting instead of talking. I encourage people to read my blog and check my Facebook posts instead.

I’ve been spending most of my time writing. The perfect ending as well as an amazing title for my book are what’s occupied my time lately. And that’s all you get for now.

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

10 Things About Winnipeg

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10 Things About Winnipeg

The other day one of my friends challenged me to write a blog post about 10 things I miss about my hometown. So here goes.

Number 1 is definitely my son Kyle. It’s been over a decade since we’ve even lived in the same country, never mind the same city.

Number 2 is my friends. One of my friends dates all the way back to middle school and the others are friends for twenty years plus.

Number 3 is the Shaarey Zedek Cemetery. I like to go there in person rather than virtually.

Number 4 is West Portage Y. Lots of good times with friends in aquafit classes.

Number 5 is The English Garden at Assiniboine Park.

Number 6 is food. Moussaka at Niko’s, Sorrento’s Salad and burgers at V J’s.

Number 7 is going to fall suppers in the rural areas.

Number 8 is the Mennonite thrift stores, auctions and flea markets I used to frequent when I had my EBay business.

Number 9 is The Winnipeg Fringe Festival.

I really tried to think of one more but honestly couldn’t. There are other restaurants and parks but I really wouldn’t put them in my top ten. I was especially disappointed at how The Forks has deteriorated and has become such a dangerous place. I prefer to do my shopping in the USA and have no favorite places to shop left in Winnipeg. I guess I’ve been traveling too much and have been to so many new and exciting places.

So there you have it——nine things but not quite ten.

Happy Birthday Kyle

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Happy Birthday Kyle

I haven’t embarrassed any of my kids in a blog post in quite a while so I think I’m due. Tomorrow is my son Kyle’s birthday.

It’s also Thanksgiving Day tomorrow. He used to ask me to write him notes to school to get out early so he could watch football. Keep in mind that although we lived in Canada, he seriously followed the NFL in the USA.

His team? The San Francisco 49ers. His hero? Joe Montana. I think he was 11 or 12 when he blew an entire declaration on a Joe Montana rookie card. Over the years he has added to his collection and his man cave is resplendent in 49er colors from the carpeting to the furniture, much of it authentic and licensed.

No idea where the years have gone. It seems like just yesterday he was a two year old proclaiming “Self Did It.” He was always very independent even back then. Then came the bowling years and the drummer years. And now Kyle is a CPA and a partner in his firm. Needless to say, I am extremely proud of my son.

The usual phone call from Mexico tomorrow will have to suffice. I miss the days when we both lived in the same home or city and I could give him a birthday greeting in person.

Happy Birthday Kyle! Love you lots!