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.
The spring solstice was on March 21st. But I think winter has returned to tease us. Here in East Wenatchee we had daytime highs approaching 70 F for a couple of days. But now we’re back to 30s at night and 50s during the day. And there has been snow up on the mountains.
The above photo was yesterday in Leavenworth. The photo below was yesterday in East Wenatchee where it’s quite a bit warmer.
There is far less snow on the mountains and the trees are blooming more and more everyday.
Yesterday Joyce and I went out for lunch and wound up at the Wenatchee Valley Mall. We had a great time at Macy’s and Ross. Amazing how quickly two hours can go by at those two stores. And those sacks can get heavy too!
I’m still thinking about a couple of trips to Canada. Possibly next month if I can pin down some dates with my daughter in Kelowna. And, yes Winnipeg, you are also in the running. But I’ve just settled in here in East Wenatchee and am not overly anxious to pack up another suitcase and head out so fast.
Once in a while I like to embarrass my kids. I guess today is the day. This photo came up as a Facebook memory from 2010 before I left for Mexico. The occasion was Kimmy’s birthday.
Let’s talk time zones. For my friends reading this, Culiacan is now one hour ahead, Winnipeg and Aguascalientes you are two hours ahead, Indiana, Alabama, Maine and Toronto you are three hours ahead. Times like this I wish it was the same time everywhere. At least Kelowna is the same as Washington. I’m not sure what’s happening next year everywhere, but in Washington they’re doing away with the time change in the spring and fall.
Look what the chocoholic found at Costco the other day!
On January 1st I was in Jilotzingo. Not sure exactly what time I fell asleep after the New Years celebrations, but I do recall sleeping most of the day. Even the coffee refused to perform its magic to revive me.
On January 2nd Angie and I arrived at her home in Pachuca. After being with a house full of people all weekend, I really appreciated the tranquility, especially the garden.
Angie celebrated a birthday on the 4th.
On the 5th it was time for Rosca de Reyes.
I arrived back in Aguascalientes on the 7th.
While I was enjoying the beautiful sunny weather here in Mexico, it was a very different situation in Leavenworth, Washington. My quaint Bavarian village was labeled a disaster area as a snowfall of over four feet crippled the area. Mountain passes were closed and the National Guard was brought in to help dig out the town.
I’m so thankful I’m back in Mexico this winter. Last winter I stayed in Leavenworth due to Covid, and I can count the times I wore boots on one hand. Very different this year.
We were all eager to slam the door on 2021. Between global warming and the virus mutations, I wonder what’s in store for us this year. Only time will tell.
Today is November 17th and it’s also my Dad’s birthday. The last time I celebrated this day with him was in 1976, a few months before he died.
My dad was my hero, my best friend, my rock. There has never been anyone in my life who has ever been able to provide the unconditional love and security that I felt when my dad was alive.
Among many other things, my dad taught me to ride a bike and to drive a car. But what I remember most was the hours we spent together just talking. He was always there to listen and offer advice. Precious memories I cherish in my heart.
Back in 1980 I was pregnant with Kyle and was hoping he would be born on my dad’s birthday. But that didn’t happen. Instead he was born a week later on my parents’ anniversary, November 24th. And that made that date special again.
This will be an interesting addition to Memoirs ForMadeline, a written compilation of memories to share with my granddaughter when she is older. Celebrating my birthday quarantined in a foreign country during a pandemic is not exactly what I had in mind for this year.
I envisioned a leisurely dinner with friends at Visconti’s in Leavenworth. I’m not sure what I’ll be having for dinner this year but it will be some kind of takeout and will be eaten in my room with the TV as company.
My birthday cake this year will probably be a pingüino, Mexico’s version of a Hostess cupcake. And yes it is chocolate, my favorite. Visions of cakes from Eiffel Tower, Jeannie’s and other pastelerías float through my head. Maybe someday again.
I have wonderful memories of celebrating other birthdays in the past in various places with family and friends. And I look forward to celebrating many more birthdays in the future with others. I actually wonder just where I will be next year at this time, as this nomad is just itching to be on the move again. I’ve been in Aguascalientes for seven months now, and in all likelihood I will be here for another two months. That’s the longest stretch I’ve stayed anywhere in years since I’ve retired. Even when I was teaching full-time I traveled on weekends and holidays. But not this year.
In the meantime, I will continue to enjoy the culture and the beauty of this country.
I decided to take a break from COVID-19 and publish this post I’ve had sitting in draft form for almost a month.
Thank you Facebook for reminding me where I’ve been on February 29th in the past decade.
Today I am in Aguascalientes. Four years ago I was in Mazatlan. Eight years ago I was in Guadalajara.
But the most memorable February 29th of my life was back in 1984, long before Facebook was established.
I was eight months pregnant with Kimmy. I awoke that morning in incredible pain. Somehow I managed to drive Kyle to nursery school and then myself to the hospital.
Upon my arrival, hospital staff were smiling and reassuring me that giving birth a month early was no problem. I kept telling them that this pain was different from labor pain, but they admitted me and hooked me up to all the monitors.
That’s when the smiles disappeared and were replaced with frowns. I was right. Not in labor. A specialist arrived immediately and diagnosed torn ligaments in the uterus. Yet another hospital stay and more bed rest.
I was worried about Kyle. This wouldn’t be the first time I wasn’t there to pick him up from nursery school due to a hospital stay. It hadn’t been the greatest pregnancy and Kyle was such a trooper.
One month later on March 29th I arrived at the hospital and this time I was in labor. I’m glad Kimmy was born then and not on February 29th. I can’t imagine celebrating a birthday on the exact date only once every four years.
Grey Cup Sunday. If you are Canadian, then this day is a tradition. Even if your home team isn’t competing, there is always a team from the west or east that you can cheer on.
This year, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers from my hometown, made it to the Grey Cup. They are actually playing right now, as I write this. But I’m not watching the game this year. I’ll check Facebook periodically as my Canadian friends are sure to be posting updates.
My mind is elsewhere today. 39 years ago today on Grey Cup Sunday, I spent the entire day in labor with my first child, my son Kyle. It seems like just yesterday and it’s incredible that the years have flown by so quickly.
The family photos are all stored at his home seeing as I’ve been traveling for the last decade. But I do have some on my Seagate.
Here is Kyle at about age 2.
Here he is almost 10 years ago at his CA grad.
Here he is when I was last in Winnipeg for Mother’s Day a few years ago.
My friends up north are always asking what a typical week down here looks like. My challenge is that there is no such thing as a typical week. The only routine things carved in stone on my calendar are teaching English two hours a week, volunteer work and going to church. No bridge games or fitness classes. No regular activities at a senior center. The pace of life is slower but somehow the time passes by quickly. I’ve been back in Aguascalientes for 4 weeks already!
Last weekend here in Mexico we experienced the equivalent of Black Friday. Buen Fin began early Friday morning and continued until midnight Monday night.
Monday was a holiday as Revolution Day is celebrated this week. So the sales continued. Even fast food places such as Burger King and Carl’s Jr featured Buen Fin specials on their menus.
My Uber passed by Walmart last Saturday. The parking lot was packed and cars were lined up on the street in the hopes of finding a parking spot later in the day.
As for me, I avoided shopping. Crowds of people have no appeal. I prefer to leisurely stroll through the shops without hoards of people surrounding me.
I walk a lot. I enjoy the nearby parks. The central historical area is 20 minutes away. Everyday I notice different things. On Wednesday I walked down to the bus station to get my ticket for Culiacán and encountered this new friend.
Last night was the first time I ever experienced a surprise birthday party in a church. It was the pastor’s birthday and he was scheduled to arrive late as someone else had volunteered to preach. As we sat through the service, a taquiza was set up right in the sanctuary. The aroma of the meat cooking filled the air. The menu was tacos al pastor and quesadillas.
After the service balloons were blown up. These were then tossed at the pastor when he arrived.
Lines formed at the taquiza. The food was delicious. We sat around eating and visiting.
The lights were dimmed, noisemakers became active, and it was time for cake. I snagged this photo of the pastor blowing out the candles.
And now it’s Friday and I wonder what this weekend has in store for me.
I believe that every birthday is a milestone. Birthday milestones shouldn’t be measured only in terms of getting drivers licenses, reaching legal age or even decades. In fact, every single day of our life provides a milestone.
As a young child, I recall many a birthday party celebrated at my home on Brock Street. A half dozen or so friends would come over. We’d play pin the tail on the donkey, the lifesaver game and lotto. We’d sing songs and play with dolls. My mom was an excellent baker and a creative cake decorator. Homemade zoo animal cookies would often adorn these cakes and I always looked forward to these treats.
I have vivid memories of my sweet sixteen. My mother made an afternoon tea for me, complete with party sandwiches and two cakes…………one cake the number one and one the number six. This time it was a Jeannie’s cake as approximately fifty friends filled the house.
And then there was a blur of birthdays until the one in 1981. That was my first birthday as a mother. And it was awesome having my baby accompany us on the traditional dinner out.
Unfortunately not all birthday memories were happy ones. In 1996 my mom had gone in for knee replacement surgery. She was supposed to come home on my birthday. Instead, she wound up in ICU that day and passed away five weeks later.
For several years after, it was a struggle to celebrate my birthday. We’d go out for dinner, but I always felt that cloud hanging over me. Over time that cloud began to lift and I found myself in cities such as Culiacan, Guadalajara and Mazatlan on my birthday.
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine celebrating my 65th in a small town in Washington. But here I am, far away from the flat prairies of Manitoba. And I wonder where I will be next year at this time, because every birthday is a milestone.
Thirty-four years ago today I was in the early stages of labor with my first child. Although physically I was in agony, emotionally I was excited. All these months of carrying this baby in utero were about to end. I was finally going to meet this tiny creature who had caused me so much nausea and discomfort. My sleepless nights were over, or so I mistakenly thought. In actuality, they would continue for several more weeks.
My bag had been packed for weeks in anticipation of this event. Gleefully I grabbed it and headed for the car. A short fifteen minute drive later, I was at the hospital and was escorted via a wheelchair to the maternity ward. Thankfully I had already completed the pre-admission process.
Misericordia Hospital in Winnipeg was an old building with standard delivery rooms. Birthing rooms had not yet been invented, at least not in this hospital. The room I was in contained little more than a bed and some monitoring equipment. And of course there were the obligatory crucifixes adorning the wall as a group of nuns had originally founded this facility. And indeed several were still on staff the day I delivered.
I arrived at the hospital that morning, anticipating an experience similar to the one that had been described in pre-natal classes. However it soon became evident that this was not to be. Each shift of nurses assured me that I was fully dilated and that nature would take its course. The doctor advised that the next procedure was to break my waters as time had passed and this hadn’t happened. That was fine with me. I was growing impatient.
But hours later I was still having very regular and extremely painful contractions. I was nauseous and exhausted. While my husband was comfortably seated in a waiting room watching The Grey Cup (Canada’s version of The Superbowl), I was in hell. To his credit he did come in to sit with me occasionally to coach me in my breathing, but no way was he suffering like I was.
At around midnight my doctor started talking C-Section. I was not impressed. I wanted a natural childbirth as I had prepared for in the pre-natal classes. By some miracle, (possibly my baby realized my exasperation), my son turned and moments later the head crowned. My son Kyle Isaac entered the world at 12:25 am on November 24th.
Rooming in was not an option in those days. Every few hours a nurse would bring my baby into my room for me to nurse. And those quiet times were treasures. He would look up at me with his gorgeous brown eyes that spoke volumes. “You brought me into this scary world so please take care of me.”
And I have done my best to care for him and help him grow over the years. Nursing him, hearing his first words and watching his first steps were only the beginning. He started school and then took skating, swimming and piano lessons. He joined Beavers and then Cub Scouts. And he discovered five-pin bowling which became his focus for many years. He learned to play the clarinet and then became a sensational drummer. Riding his first bike all too soon began driving his first car. After several graduations, he has settled comfortably into a career as a Chartered Accountant. And just over two years ago he had his first house built.
Kyle, I am so very proud of you and all that you have accomplished. The difficult pregnancy and painful labor were well worth it. I couldn’t ask for a better and more loving son.
We may live thousands of miles apart but when I talk to you on the phone tomorrow, the distance will vanish. I love you and I hope that all your wishes and dreams come true next year and always.