It seems like I just did my first post from Ags. But this is my last one. I’m traveling next weekend and won’t post on Sunday. So I’ll be back a week from today.
By the way, no one has correctly guessed the place from my last post. No, it’s not my tree either.
The April calendar is already filling up with activities. I’m looking forward to getting back into SAIL classes and training for A Matter Of Balance. I’m also in an awesome group from The Ripple Foundation and can’t wait to meet everyone in person instead of on Zoom.
My friends here are teasing me because I have not really been a morning person this winter. My first morning back in Wenatchee church is at 9 am and then Monday morning I have a hair appointment in Leavenworth at 9 am. And then there are those morning SAIL classes too. Just for fun we’ll throw in the time change too. Washington moved their clocks and Mexico didn’t.
Yesterday was more goodbyes with friends; today too. Two of my friends are moving over to the Yucatan so that means more places to visit. The other day it was the taco stand and the hamburger stand. I’ll miss my chip guy two doors down. And I still have to stop in at the tienda to say goodbye as well as the bakery.
I decided to tune in to something in English on YouTube and found an old Guiding Light from 1980. Yep. A friend got me hooked on this soap. I was pregnant and needed an excessive amount of bedrest according to my doctor so I needed something to entertain me. Interesting. It’s now 2023 and I’m still using Dawn dishwashing liquid and baking Duncan Hines brownies, two of the too many commercials back then.
So far the snow is staying up in the mountains and it better stay that way. I do have boots and a ski jacket in my closet back home but I sure don’t want to have to use them. I’m traveling back in the warmest thing I have – a light hoodie. I will wear tennis shoes instead of sandals.
I’m listening to Blue Rodeo and am going to switch back to working on my book.
Have a great Wednesday, a great week and I’ll see you back here next Wednesday.
It’s crunch time. I’m into my last week here this winter. And it’s the time I like the least. One last taco here, one last churro there, one last lunch with friends, one last walk around the park. I think you get the gist. Even though I am planning on coming back next winter, it gets harder every year to say goodbye to friends and familiar places.
No matter how organized I am, there’s always last minute things to do that can’t be done ahead of time. Like packing. I should be the master of this by now but I’m not. I must admit that the packing cubes help and I’m glad I’m using those now. Years ago I used to leave a suitcase in Mexico but I don’t do that anymore. No heavy books and teaching materials necessary now.
Apparently I am now coming home to seven chihuahuas and a golden retriever. Christina has been telling me for a long time that she wants a golden retriever. And she just got one yesterday that is only eight weeks old. I wonder if the puppy will be at the airport to greet me along with Christina and Danny next Saturday.
I’ve been watching the weather closely this past week. It looks like I’ll be flying over the California snow en route to Sea-Tac from Guadalajara. Hopefully the weather will cooperate between Sea-Tac and Wenatchee and the plane will fly barring any fog or blizzard conditions.
I’ve also been reading the news. Disintegrating Chinese rockets, unauthorized aircraft flying over Canada and the USA, drones being shot down and North Korea preparing for war…………………. no World War 3 next weekend while I’m traveling please. And aggressive passengers please stay off my flights. Too much garbage going on there too.
Friends here are asking me what the first shop I will hit in Washington is. If you’re guessing Bath and Body Works or Victoria’s Secret you’re wrong. Not Marshall’s or Ross or Burlington Coat. Hint and smile…….it’s in Cashmere and it’s not Sure To Rise or Agave Azul either.
Have A Great Sunday!
I always hear people complain about scams. Usually it’s on their cellphones. I solve that problem by never answering a call from someone who isn’t in my contacts. If it is a legitimate caller and they’re not in my contacts, they’ll leave a voicemail.
I get bombarded with other scams by email. I’ve published two books and I’m always getting emails from supposed publishers who want to promote my books and promise higher royalties. I get at least one of these a week. Occasionally I glance at them out of curiosity. Their command of the English language is seriously lacking. And the names of the representatives are quite comical. Somehow a name like Jose Shakespeare or Mahalia Dickens don’t exactly inspire much trust. Neither does Bill Jones or Jack Smith. And the same representative will contact me claiming to be affiliated with two or three different publishers.
And then there are the testimonies published on their websites by authors they claim to represent. Unknown authors, books that have never been published. It’s easy to create a website these days. No. It’s necessary to do your homework when choosing a publisher.
I used the same publisher for my first two books. The jury is still out on whether or not I will use them for my third book. The genre is different and I’m exploring other options for this book. In the meantime, I’m enjoying writing fiction. No need for the disclaimers used in the first two books. No need to change names of people and places. Fiction is fun!
In other news, I’m in one of the rare states in Mexico that isn’t red. The USA seems to get their warnings out a lot sooner than Canada these days. I guess Trudeau isn’t as concerned about the safety of the citizens of his country.
It’s almost thirteen years ago since I arrived in Culiacan. Back then I made a point of proudly telling people I was Canadian. A year later I moved to Guadalajara. Still proud to be a Canadian. I didn’t want to be mistaken for an American. But it’s 2023 now and I stopped bragging that I was a Canadian long ago. Here in Aguascalientes I call myself a gringa and my neighbors know I live in the USA when I’m not in Mexico.
When Covid was declared a pandemic back in March of 2020, I sought asylum here in Mexico. I was given another six month tourist visa. In September 2020 I got as far as Leavenworth, Washington. USCIS said as long as I flew in I could come although I am not an American citizen. That was also the earliest I could obtain travel health insurance during the pandemic that would cover me for Covid.
In March of 2021 it was decision time. Return to Mexico? Hot summer weather coming up and no vaccines available. My 180 was almost up. I wasn’t keen on returning to Canada to quarantine. And I also had nowhere to live there either. The CDC came to my rescue and issued a Level 4 Do Not Travel To Canada Advisory. Once again I successfully sought asylum in a foreign country during the pandemic.
Here we are in 2023. I watch what is going on in Canada with Trudeau and the Liberals. I watch a country falling apart at the seams. Of course, that all began when Justin Trudeau’s father first took office back in the 60s. He has merely taken over where his father left off. Trudeau makes Trump look like an angel.
What is going on now in Canada scares me. I believe it’s every bit as dangerous as Covid. And I wonder what my chances are of once again seeking asylum in the USA. Awfully tempting to try. Define “refugee.” Lots of connotations there.
Where does chocolate milk come from? A dairy cacao! Thank you Alexa.
Have a great Sunday!
I’ve been working on the third part of my book. And I’m struggling with how to get to the ending. I’ve tried four or five different sequences of events and I’m not satisfied with any of them. I get these crazy ideas in the middle of the night and it’s wreaking havoc with my sleep pattern. I seem to do my best writing in the wee hours of the night.
I’ve been checking out the time changes. Here in Aguascalientes we are not springing ahead. But they are in Washington. Not sure what’s going on up in Canada. I’ll have to check because one of the Zoom groups I’m on is in Canada. Wouldn’t it be nice if the whole world was on the same time zone?
I was talking to one of my friends in Leavenworth last night. She’s moving to Wenatchee at the end of the month. We teach SAIL classes together and it will be nice to have her close by. I don’t really know many people in Wenatchee yet. Most of my friends are in Leavenworth, Dryden and Cashmere.
The weather has become incredibly hot here. Ninety degrees. The sun feels a lot stronger here too. Yesterday I met friends at a restaurant three blocks away from where I live. While I was able to walk mainly in the shade it was still hot, hot, hot! Then I see the photos of all the snow in California. I hope it’s gone by the time I get to Washington.
I need to get back to my writing. I just got another brilliant? idea. I’m listening to Eric Burdon and The Animals from back in the 60s. I wonder if that’s what inspired me.
By the way, I don’t live anywhere near Matamoros, although I have been there. It’s not one of my favorite border towns and what happened there this week doesn’t surprise me.
Another week has flown by. As I’ve been adding things to the calendar I noticed that three weeks from today I’ll be back in East Wenatchee. This past week I finished a five week bible study. Five weeks has gone by? We just started! And I started a new discussion group with the Ripple Foundation in Leavenworth. I also got a notice about an upcoming SAIL activity in Wenatchee. Winter is definitely coming to a close.
As I look around my room, I see that I still have some organizing to do before I’m ready to leave. The countdown is on and the last days before I leave go by all too quickly. I hear you people. The snow is mainly up in the mountains and not in the town. But it isn’t the 85 degree weather I’ve grown accustomed to here. At least all my warmer clothes are waiting for me when I get back to Washington.
I had a delightful lunch with Alethia and Raul yesterday. Alethia made the most delicious pozole, one of my favorite Mexican dishes. She sent me a video, in Spanish, and I’m going to attempt to prepare this when I’m in Washington. Hopefully I’ll be able to find the ingredients.
Mysteries? I just registered for a program offered by NCW Libraries. It’s called A Nicer Kind Of Murder: The Evolution Of Crime Fiction. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? I’ll be doing it online but can’t wait to get back and go to some programs in person. I’ve heard some great speakers and done some fun crafts in the past and am looking forward to doing more. NCW has a wonderful variety of programs for adults as well as kids.
My TV remote doesn’t always recognize my gringa accent so I’m back to manually selecting channels. I even got Alexa to talk in Spanish to it but the remote didn’t like her accent either. Sigh………………….
Have A Great Sunday!
When I was a child growing up in River Heights, there were no large grocery stores in our neighborhood. The big chain stores were all located a car ride away and didn’t arrive in our area until the 60s. Until then there was a small grocery store a couple of blocks away on Grant that my mom went to occasionally. I don’t recall the name of the store but I remember going in there often just to buy popsicles or dixie cups. The owner knew just about everyone in the neighborhood.
Up in Washington, I frequent Costco, Safeway, Winnco and Walmart. I’ve been back in Mexico for almost six months and haven’t been to Walmart yet and only went to Costco once to renew my membership and buy cheddar cheese. There’s this tiny store on the corner of my street where I can buy everything from nail polish remover to onions to beer and everything in between.
And I don’t have to buy in quantity either. If I crave a bigger breakfast, I can buy one egg, two strips of bacon and a bolillo. I don’t have to buy a dozen eggs, a package of bacon and a loaf of bread. I’ve seen people go in there and buy one Tylenol or one tea bag. Even that River Heights grocery store wasn’t this convenient back in the 60s.
The interesting thing is that there are at least a half dozen more tiendas within a three block radius of where I live. They all carry an incredible amount of inventory. None of them had toilet paper shortages during Covid. My neighbors tell me they’ve all been around for years.
Later this month I’m going back to Washington and I won’t have the luxury of a corner grocery store. Instead it will be a full shopping cart. Reverse culture shock means I’ll also actually have to plan menus. No more satisfying my cravings on a whim by a few short steps to the corner.
On that note, I think I’ll head out and pick up an apple and a couple of slices of cheese for a snack.
A month from today I’ll be back in East Wenatchee. I’ve warned everyone that they snow better be gone. I don’t expect it to be 85 like it is here, but I don’t want to see any of that white stuff either.
Charlotte arrived in Calgary the other day to -37 and her car buried under snow. Sharon arrived in Portland after a detour to Seattle because there was too much snow in Portland and the runways were a mess. In the news all I read about is the cold and snow up north and as ready as I am to head home, I don’t want to experience another winter up there.
Yesterday was Koal’s birthday. It’s hard to believe he’s been gone for over fourteen years. I would love to have a dog again but it’s bad enough that I deal with three different Immigrations every year and I can’t fathom doing it with an animal. Of course I do have seven chihuahuas waiting for me in Washington lol.
Today is Madeline’s fifth birthday. It seems like yesterday that I flew to Ontario when she was born. As I recall an ice storm greeted me there. Happy Birthday Madeline! Grandma loves you and we’ll party when I come to visit you in Kelowna this summer.
I’ve been on Zoom a lot this week. The Writer’s Workshop was most informative. The bible study I do with Church of the Rock focused on forgiveness this week, very thought provoking.
Of course in person is still better. I’m looking forward to the next SAIL training in April in Wenatchee. I really miss teaching those classes when I’m here in Mexico for the winter. It’s much more enjoyable to be with other people.
I’ve been listening to a lot of country music while I’ve been writing this week, mainly from the 60s and 70s. I alternate between Spotify, You Tube and of course Alexa. That genre seems to go well with the stage of my main character’s life right now. Of course it also inspired me to revamp the chapter I’m working on.
Have A Great Sunday!
I was looking over some older blog posts. I used to share tons of photos which I don’t do anymore. That’s because I used to take tons of photos which I also don’t do anymore. Photos require time, time that I’d rather spend with people or writing. And writing has been my focus this winter. I don’t have the patience to sort through photos, edit them and store them in files. I really admire my friend Ann who has literally gone through thousands of photos and is organizing them all in files. They’re family photos that span a period of decades. My family photos are haphazardly stored in cyberspace as they haven’t really made it out of the ancient photo albums in any type of order at all. But the albums are safely stored in waterproof bins in my son’s basement. I wonder if he even looks at them or if they just come out of hiding when I’m in Winnipeg which has only been a handful of times over the last almost thirteen years.
Yes. This fall it will be thirteen years since I first arrived in Culiacan. I know. The news reports tend to focus on all the violence in that city, but Culiacan will always have a special place in my heart. I have wonderful memories of the year I lived there and I always look forward to going back to visit my family there. When I arrive at the bus station I still have a feeling of coming home although I moved away from there twelve years ago.
Coming home. When I visit Winnipeg it no longer feels like home. I’ve been away too long and the city has changed. Of course I’ve changed too. I feel like I have two homes. One is where I am right now in Aguascalientes. I’ve lived in the same neighborhood now for four years. Not much has changed despite Covid. I no longer do a marathon of museums and art galleries as I did the first couple of years. My Spanish has improved and I now am more comfortable talking with neighbors or people who work in the tiendas and restaurants here. I don’t feel like a tourist anymore.
My second home is Washington state. I lived predominantly in Leavenworth the first few years. But last spring I moved to my forever home in East Wenatchee with Christina, Danny and seven chihuahuas. I was talking to Christina last night and she’s excited that I’m coming back in a month. I think she missed me. Okay, I missed her too. It’s been a great winter but it’s time to return to family.
Of course it would be nice if the snow would be gone. But that’s out of my hands. On Monday it even snowed in Tucson. It’s been a crazy winter for weather everywhere except here. I found it quite warm in Mexico this year. Last winter I needed an extra blanket and was glad I’d brought my lined quilted vest with me. But this year I haven’t even needed a light jacket. It did snow up in Durango about a month ago, but that’s miles away from where I am.
Time for my writer’s workshop on Zoom. Fingers crossed that the Internet cooperates today.
I’m not sure if it’s because I listened to the song or if it was just my turn to have a strange dream. But Thursday night was the night for more than one strange dream. As I whizzed through different decades in my life, the imagery was distinct and clear. I don’t recall all the details. But I went from nineteen to four to thirty-seven and a variety of other memorable ages. The people in my dreams seemed so real although many have not been a part of my life in years, either by choice or in some cases death. But they were all there and alive in my dreams.
Friday night I was surfing through Spotify and came across some old Perry Como songs. Yes I am that ancient. When I awoke the next morning I felt more than a little disoriented. I expected to see my childhood rocking chair and my record player. Those songs really got to me. They were favorites when I was a child. Middle of the House, Mi Casa Su Casa, Catch a Falling Star. I wonder if my readers remember any of those.
But when I opened my eyes I was here in Mexico, not in my childhood bedroom. Yet it had all seemed so real. For a few fleeting moments I was transported back to the safety of my childhood, a very comfortable place. At that age I didn’t watch the news on TV so I had no idea how chaotic the rest of the world was. My parents did a good job of sheltering me back then. Of course there was no Internet or Facebook in the olden days either.
I wonder if my own children ever have similar experiences. Of course they probably remember Madonna or Michael Jackson rather than Perry Como. The 80s were definitely different than the 50s.
This afternoon as I work on my novel, I’ve decided to listen to 60s country in the background. Can’t wait to find out what the dreams will be about tonight!