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.
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.
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.
Here in Mexico, La Buenanoche (Christmas Eve) is the time for celebration. It is very family as well as church oriented.
This year I was truly blessed to spend the night with a Mexican family. I was invited by my friend Gloria to attend church and then have dinner with her family.
We started off at Templo de la Salud to attend La Misa (Mass). There was a beautiful choir and guitarist and the sanctuary was packed, with the overflow standing behind the pews and outside the church. I enjoyed the service and was pleased that I understood so much of the Spanish.
After the service, fireworks lit up the sky as we walked over to Gloria’s brother’s home for dinner. In addition to the traditional ponche and tamales, turkey and vegetables were also on the menu.
Gloria is one of nine siblings. All were present except for one sister in Chiapas, who delighted us all with a video call. The adorable little girl in the photo is Romena, Gloria’s daughter.
Spending time with this amazing family made La Buenanoche even more special for me.
I’ve spent Christmas with a variety of different people in numerous places in Mexico and the USA. But one of my favorite memories dates back to the 90s, when I lived in Canada and my kids were still young and living at home. And Koal was still with us too.
My friend Lesley had invited us over on Christmas Eve. When I had a thyroidectomy, my vocal folds were nicked during surgery. Lesley was my speech therapist who worked with me to get my voice back, and we became good friends as the months went by. My kids were delighted to meet other kids at this Christmas Eve gathering, and it was a most enjoyable evening.
On Christmas Day I prepared my usual bacon and eggs breakfast, and then took my coffee into the living room where we opened presents. Of course Koal got the most gifts. That dog was spoiled rotten by all of us, and was always given way too many treats, toys and t-shirts to add to his wardrobe.
A lazy afternoon included card games and siestas, although I did spend a fair amount of time in the kitchen preparing a traditional turkey dinner.
After dinner we watched Christmas Vacation and laughed ourselves silly at the antics of Chevy Chase. I also remember the first time we saw that movie. We were in Phoenix, Arizona.
The last time I had Christmas dinner with my kids was in 2009. And I often wonder if we’ll ever do it again. We live in different countries. With the world crazy with Covid, nothing is certain anymore.
Now, more than ever before, it’s important to practice mindfulness. If you are fortunate to have family and good friends, celebrate with them NOW. A year from now, we may not all be around to get together. Nothing is promised.
Merry Christmas to all my readers and followers. May you and your families enjoy great times together, in good health, over this holiday season.
A year ago I was wandering around downtown Leavenworth taking photos of the brightly colored trees. I was also wearing a ski jacket and boots. It was a pleasure to take photos of the lights in Centro Aguascalientes wearing only a light sweatshirt and tennis shoes.
On my way home I walked through the Jardin de San Marcos where a Christmas market was in full swing.
My last stop was a stroll through Expoplaza where a children’s fair was happening.
We’re almost halfway through December and Christmas is in the air here in Aguascalientes. After all, who needs snow when sunshine and seventies prevail?
Yesterday I checked out the Christmas market at the Jardin de San Marcos. Jewelry, clothing, crafts, food and Christmas baking, pet supplies, perfumes, oils, toys and more.
I continued my walk along Carranzas and was delighted to see several horseback riders, although the traffic jam they caused along this main downtown street was something else.
When I reached Plaza Patria I was amazed at all the decorations in addition to the obligatory Coke tree. I intend to return at night when it’s all lit up.
The shrill of sirens and the honking of horns signaled the start of the parade of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Dancers, mariachi and a multitude of decorated transit buses with the Virgin prominently displayed on the windshields.
All of the above was on my walk yesterday. I wonder what awaits me on my walk today.
Have I really been back in Mexico for three months already? I wonder where I’ll be three months from today. I’m not even sure which country I’ll be in. The travel restrictions appear to change daily, with Canada winning the gong show hands down.
So much for the future. The past came to me in the form of Facebook memories. Twelve years ago today, with Kyle and Kimmy beside me, I held Koal in my arms as he began his journey to heaven. There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t miss that little guy and long for one last cuddle.
And now for the present. Today Joanne and I began our search for Santa. Apparently the jolly old man doesn’t arrive in Aguascalientes for at least another week. This is what we found at Liverpool.
Next we headed for Altaria. While the mall was decorated, still no sign of Santa.
But we did enjoy a delicious lunch of enchiladas suizas! And there is still lots of time before Christmas to continue the search.
I have this annual tradition when I’m in Mexico over the winter. I head to Waldo’s and buy a small tree which I decorate and then leave behind when I head up north in the spring. And of course there is also the obligatory tin of butter cookies to nibble on while I adorn the tree.
Another annual tradition is spending Christmas in a different place with different people.
My first Christmas in Mexico was in Culiacan. I quickly learned that Christmas Eve is the big event and the menu was tamales and ponche.
Other holidays were in Tlaquepaque, Tototlan, Mazatlan, San Ciro de Acosta, Puerto Vallarta, Lake Chapala and Aguascalientes. Last year was really different. I was living in Wenatchee, Washington.
Christmas is only twenty-two days away and I haven’t finalized my plans yet. I’ve been busy with other plans involving traveling somewhere new to ring in 2022. But more about that in a future blog post.
I woke up in Culiacan this morning and, to my delight, found this pic on my Messenger from my daughter. My granddaughter Madeline had a visit with Santa in Kelowna.
I only wish it was as easy to get to Kelowna as it was to get to Culiacan.
This weekend I’m with my Mexican family. Some of the things we’ve done have included a picnic in Sanalona, raspados in Imala, going to church and watching a movie together. But most of all I’ve marveled at how my grandsons have grown since I saw them last about two years ago. Here we are two years ago.
And here they are today with Juan.
Before I came to Culiacan I was in Mazatlan for Thanksgiving, another whirlwind visit. Day of the Dead at Plaza Machado and Christmas at Galarias.
Tonight I’m heading back to Aguascalientes. It’s been a fabulous week.