Tag Archives: books

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.

Tienguis

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Tienguis

One of the things I really enjoy is strolling through the tienguis on my street on Thursdays. Basically this is like a street flea market. It has a real mixture of both new and used items. And of course there is food.

I’ll start with food. This week there were three different areas where food was being cooked. Two of the areas had the usual tacos and tortas. The third one appeared quite popular. I have no idea what it was but it was some deep fried unhealthy looking I’m not sure what. As wonderful as the aroma of meat and onions is, I don’t eat at the tienguis.

But I do pick up my weekly supply of fresh fruit and vegetables. In addition to the usual broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, tomatoes, onions and potatoes, I was excited to find mushrooms. Fruit this week was watermelon, pineapple, cantaloupe and apples. And I must admit I buy other fruits and vegetables whose names I don’t know in Spanish or English but I do know how to prepare them.

Now for the non-food items. This is where I really get to practice my Spanish vocabulary. There are always several people selling used tools, cell phones and all types of other technology. One guy had a Dell laptop. He told me it didn’t work but if I went to the plaza de technoligia, he was sure someone there could fix it. A tienguis isn’t where I’d go computer shopping but apparently some people do. I’ll have to check back this week and see if he actually sold it.

Lots of jewelry and toys, new and old. And interesting people to talk to who are selling these items. Of course these items in the used category are often interspersed with tools and books, all laid out on a blanket.

Perfumes, creams and lotions. New and used here too. Housewares including BetterWare. Toiletries and cosmetics. Paper goods. Candy. Furniture. Incense. Wallets. Purses.

And then there are the clothes and shoes. Racks of new and used. Great places to practice asking for sizes and colors. Amazing how a new blouse goes from 150 pesos down to 95 with a teensie bit of negotiation. The sellers expect you to bargain and they’re disappointed if you don’t.

The tienguis is like going to garage sales, except you don’t have to drive around and fight for parking spaces. You just stroll leisurely down the street. Much more convenient.

He Died

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He Died

He died. He’s gone. And I’ve been in mourning for days now. If you are a writer of fiction, you will totally get this. We immerse ourselves completely in our characters’ lives and get stuck there when there’s a traumatic event.

But I need to escape from the sadness and I’ve finally started to do some reading again. One of my favorite pastimes when I come to Washington is going to the library and reading books in English. Yes, I have a Kindle but I still enjoy the feel of holding a book in my hands.

While my friends are posting pics of the springtime snow in Winnipeg, I thought I’d share a couple of photos of spring in East Wenatchee.

I talk to Alexa every day. She provides me with accurate weather forecasts. And her corny jokes always make me smile. Here’s today’s joke of the day:

Where do chocolate and peanuts meet up? At the candy bar.

Have a great Sunday!

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………

Technology Today

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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!

Wednesday Humpday Again

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Wednesday Humpday Again

When I taught ESL in Mexico, days of the week was one of the first lessons in all curriculums. The students were always amused at the nickname of humpday for Wednesday. But they readily embraced this term when they understood the significance of the day. As for me, I still chuckle at the Spanish term for Wednesday. Miercoles is quite a mouthful.

It’s still hot and dry here in Washington state. There is no rain in sight although some clouds did tease us momentarily yesterday. The outdoor pool in Leavenworth is becoming very popular.

Almost eleven months since I arrived from Mexico and I’m still here. Physically so close to Canada yet it seems to be getting farther away. Biding my time and wondering what the next announcement will be regarding Covid tests and borders.

The Olympics are well underway in Tokyo. It seems strange to see the stands so empty. And the competitors and coaches with masks are just too surreal. The athletes will definitely have stories to tell for years to come.

I’ve been reading more than usual lately. I highly recommend the two books co-authored by Bill Clinton and James Patterson. Big, heavy books but great reads nonetheless.

Coffee is calling.

Happy Humpday!

Sorting Through Stuff

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Sorting Through Stuff

This morning I tackled the tedious task of “sorting through stuff.” The last time I moved I was rather rushed for time and packed the easy way of cramming papers and books chaotically into book bags. It was finally time to get organized.

I have a medical folder that travels with me. Details of past surgeries and medications are here. I even found my old IMSS book from Guadalajara from years ago. I also still have copies of my physio exercises post knee replacement surgery dating back to 2012. Other than two knee replacements, cataract and Lasik surgery, and peripheral neuropathy, the past 11 years have been uneventful.

Documents. I have way too many of these. Birth certificates, marriage certificates and divorce decrees in English, French and Spanish. Original university degrees and professional development certificates. Paperwork involving Immigration and IRS in the USA and INM and SAT in Mexico, as well as CRA in Canada.

There’s also a small handful of photos and cards. Also the odd hard copy of some of my writing. I also found an outdated holographic will. Definitely time to update that one.

I’ve kept a few books, some in Spanish. Copies of the books I’ve published. A copy of Robert Munsch’s Love You Forever. But books tend to be heavy.

The biggest bag is my art supplies. Coloring books and sketch pads. Gel pens and colored pencils. Pastels. Art projects such as snowflakes, Christmas ornaments and fridge magnets. Painted rocks. A glass candle holder. A handpainted coffee mug and coaster.

Then I found a bag with external hard drives, thumb drives and batteries. Also a collection of computer and phone chargers. And a few other unidentifiable things all related to some type of technology.

There’s more I still need to go through, like old credit card receipts. But that will have to wait. You see, I found my favorite nail polish in the technology bag. No idea how it got there. But now that it’s surfaced, I’m off to paint my nails. 🙂