Tag Archives: coloring

A Rainy Day

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A Rainy Day

Yesterday was actually a very productive day thanks to the rain. I stayed in most of the day and successfully conquered some very tedious tasks.

First on the agenda was sorting through paperwork. How could so much have accumulated over the months I’ve spent here? Why on earth did I have so many photocopies and save so many receipts? They’re all in the trash now.

Next was books. Coloring books with only a handful of pages completed. Books I’ve read and reread so it’s time to pass them along.

Community Cupboard is a thrift store here in Leavenworth. I’d already begun to fill a box with clothes I no longer wear. The books will make a great addition.

Empty file folders and binders are now in the box as well, as are an assortment of rulers, reinforcements and other miscellaneous stationary supplies.

Lastly I had to sort through cards and photos. I’m definitely not as sentimental as I once was which is a good thing.

But I am keeping all of my completed artwork. I was delighted to find my pastels and hope to make use of them again soon. Thanks to Amazon I have a new set of gel pens and a Thomas Kinkade coloring book.

The forecast is for clearing skies and sun today. I’m more than ready for an adventure in Wenatchee after a day of tedious tasks.

Saturday Now

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Saturday Now

Saturday is a very different day than it used to be. One cup of coffee with yogurt and granola. Off in an Uber to teach English for a couple of hours.

Another Uber home and off to the carnicería. He grilled the chicken I bought for me. I’d take a walk to the bakery and do any other shopping and then return to pick up my chicken.

After lunch (yes lunchtime was at around 4 pm) I’d head to the church to teach for an hour.

In the evening I’d explore the Expoplaza area. There were always numerous food vendors. I’d watch the children ride around the square on a burro. I’d listen to music and walk through the San Marcos park.

I’d have interesting conversations with people. A handful understood minimal English but it was a great opportunity for me to practice my Spanish.

Occasionally I’d attend a birthday party or another fiesta on a Saturday evening. And there were concerts close by as well.

Saturday now is very different. Lots of time for that second cup of coffee. I can leisurely make an omelet. No rush to get dressed. No reason to call an Uber. No students to teach.

I take two walks a day. One is before it gets too hot and the other is after it cools off in the evening. Daytime highs are in the low 90s.

This is what Expoplaza area looks like now.

I color, I watch movies, I write, I phone friends and I listen to music.

Actually Saturday seems pretty much like every other weekday now.

Taking Care Of Me

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Taking Care Of Me

Taking care of me is a relatively new phenomena in my life. Until about ten years ago, I had spent decades putting other people first. Now it was finally time for me.

The downside is that I have spent the last ten years mostly traveling around. This is not exactly conducive with getting involved in a long term relationship. And I find myself alone now in a foreign country waiting out this pandemic.

Why didn’t I return to Canada when I had the chance? I haven’t had a home there in ten years. I had nowhere to go. Yes I have children and friends there. But it’s one thing to come back to visit for a week or two but quite another to come back for a longer period of time.

Where I really wanted to go was back to Leavenworth. I discovered this quaint village four years ago and I’ve put down roots there. But I’m Canadian not American so the border is closed to me.

I have been taking care of myself here in Aguascalientes. First and foremost is that I have a comfortable place to stay and a neighborhood where food and other supplies are readily available within walking distance.

While I am living alone I am definitely not lonely. I have a great phone plan and have unlimited international calls. My family and friends are very accessible.

The highlight is definitely the video calls to my daughter and granddaughter. The other day Madeline sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to me and my heart melted.

Then there are the texts and messaging on social media apps. I’m really limiting my time on Facebook as I’m tired of all the misinformation and inaccurate statistics. I know what I need to do to stay healthy and I’m doing my best.

I go out for two short walks daily. I usually pick up food at this time as well. My fridge may be small but it’s adequately stocked.

I join in discussion groups on the Mayo Clinic website. These are a great source of support at this time.

I’m really enjoying a course I’m taking from University of Toronto. The topic is dealing with anxiety in the face of COVID-19.

I color every day and I listen to music. I watch movies in Spanish. I’m participating in an online Bible study. I do online church services. And I still do the SAIL exercises.

I take time to meditate. And I take time to contemplate life. I’m pretty sure there will be some big changes in my life when this pandemic is no longer a threat and becomes treatable instead.

I live in the present. Mindfulness is key. I want to avoid any unnecessary PTSD in the aftermath.

Last but definitely not least, prayer has been an important part of my life for some time. But it is even more meaningful now.

What are you doing for yourself?

What About Your Other Health?

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What About Your Other Health?

Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Maintain social distancing. Stay at home. This is all great advice for protecting your physical health.

But what about your mental health? What are you doing to protect your mental health?

If you’re self-isolating, you spend a lot of time by yourself. This is a perfect opportunity for your brain to go into overdrive. This results in an unnecessary abundance of fear and anxiety and ultimately panic. Even if you are at home and have other family members with you, the conversation ultimately focuses on COVID-19.

The art of mindfulness and meditation are two techniques that work for me. If I’m coloring I focus on the masterpiece I’m creating. If I’m watching a movie I really listen to the Spanish and am amazed at how much better my comprehension has become.

I meditate with music and imagery. I’ve even gotten back to gazing at the flame of a candle.

I’ve replaced a great deal of my social media viewing with the above-mentioned. When I want the facts about COVID-19 I go to the Mayo Clinic website. I also participate in discussion groups on this site.

I find online Church as well as Bible study to be important. Both are a great way to stay connected. I also find them comforting.

I also spend less time on the phone although I do connect with the my family and close friends more regularly. Just as long as the conversation doesn’t focus completely on the virus.

Quite obviously I’m spending more time writing. Blog posts are every second day. I’m also working on my next book.

I make a point of going out for walks every day. I lose myself in the beauty of nature. So many trees and flowers are beginning to bloom.

I guess you could say I take a lot of time for ME and I highly recommend it.

Take time for yourself!

TV Time

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TV Time

I don’t usually watch TV often. I much prefer spending time with people. However, seeing as I’m stuck in the twilight zone, I have added TV to the list of my current best friends.

Friday marks the end of my first two weeks self-isolating. Writing and coloring occupy a great deal of my time, but TV is right in there now as well.

Primarily I watch movies in Spanish. But I find the selection here quite heavy in sci-fi, fantasy and horror which I do not enjoy. Martial arts movies are also popular and not my preference either.

As I write this I’m watching Moana. I enjoy the music. My favorite movies are dramas and comedies. But I have also found other interesting programs to watch.

I saw a documentary the other day on ocean life. I went on safari in Africa another time. I learned how not to smuggle cocaine out of Brazil. And I am mastering the art of cooking such delights as swordfish and octopus, not that I will actually prepare either of those dishes LOL.

I’ve always loved cartoons and the Disney channels keep me entertained. And then there is Los Simpsons.

I haven’t yet resorted to watching movies in English on YouTube. But the crystal ball tells me this is definitely a future possibility.

Stay at home and stay safe!

48 Hours

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48 Hours

I used to journal on a daily basis. It’s been quite some time since I last journaled. I thought it might be fun right now as I have a lot of time on my hands. I challenged myself to write a two day journal. After all, my friends up north keep asking me what I do all day, now that I’m self-isolating.Sunday March 29thI woke up feeling very refreshed…..until I looked at the clock. 6:42? Who in their right mind gets up at 6:42 on a Sunday? But I was wide awake.That first cup of coffee sure came early. A cinnamon bun and some cheese and I was revived.I checked out Facebook and left a birthday greeting for my daughter. I then shared a blog post. Next came What’s App and email. Finally it was time to relax and play Candy Crush Friends.Then out I went for my morning walk. The jacaranda trees are in bloom and they are my favorites.Social distancing is easy now. The streets are deserted and I believe I only encountered 3 people as I walked through the neighborhood.Back at home I tuned in to Church of the Rock in Winnipeg. The service is broadcast through Facebook as well as on the website. Shortly after I next went to Leavenworth Church of the Nazarene’s website where I listened to Pastor Andy’s final sermon before moving back home to Indiana.Time to color. I tuned in to Fred Penner’s concert using the Facebook link. Great music to color by. I lose myself in the moment when I color and two hours passed by quickly.Lunchtime. My diet has been mainly vegetarian and chicken. Today I had delicious veggies (high in protein) and rice. This was followed by a cup of herbal tea and a pan dulce. I should add that I usually eat my lunch at around 3:30 pm.Seeing as my lavenderia has closed, I now do my own laundry. That was my next task. I had just finished when I got a beep on my phone. My lives on Candy Crush had been refilled!Soon it had cooled off sufficiently to go on my second walk of the day. Once again I saw empty streets.I returned home and my phone calls began. First up was my friend Becky in Shipshewana. We’re Bible study buddies as well as great friends. We had a lot to talk about last night.The next phone call was to my friend Ann in Leavenworth. We reminisced about our dinners on her deck overlooking the river as well as other times spent together. I wonder how long it will be before I can return to Leavenworth.One last check on Facebook for the night where I found a link from Becky. I then spent the next forty minutes watching the church service that her church in Shipshewana had put on the internet.Time to put my phone on the charger for the night. I realized I hadn’t eaten dinner yet. Oh well, a bowl of cereal would have to do LOL.Monday March 30I slept a little later this morning so my first cup of coffee wasn’t until 8 am followed by breakfast. I then spent the morning writing and coloring, aside from a short walk outside.In the afternoon I watched a couple of movies. When the beep on my phone announced that my lives had been refilled, there was also an announcement that I had unlimited lives for the entire week. Perfect timing with this self-isolation going on.Then it was time for phone calls. First up was Cheryl in Winnipeg. Cheryl is awaiting a lung transplant and is totally housebound. No visitors allowed. That means no visits from kids or grandkids.I had a fast salad for lunch.Next was a video call to my daughter Kimmy and granddaughter Maddie in Kelowna. Definitely the highlight of my day to see that little munchkin laughing and playing. I wonder how long it will be before I can hold her in my arms again.Time for a walk around the block again. When I got back I was pleasantly surprised to find a movie on TV in English. So I had that on in the background while I colored.A few more games of Candy Crush Friends and time to call it a night.Today was a quieter day but the time still passed quickly. I think I’m adjusting well to this self-isolation.I also think I made the right choice to stay safe here in Mexico. I don’t think there is a country anywhere in the world today that is fully prepared for this pandemic. Mexico is as good a place as any to hunker down and weather the storm.May God help us all.

My New Virtual World

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My New Virtual World

Social distancing. Physical distancing. Self-isolating. Self-quarantine. Common buzz words we all live with today.

I’m a people person. I like to be with people. I like to do things with people. I like to go places with people. I like to wander in and out of shops conversing with the locals.

Here I am in Mexico in the mist of this COVID-19 madness where I spend most of the time by myself. And my virtual world has become more important lately.

I confess I spend much less time on Facebook. Too much negativity and misinformation. However I do share my blog posts every other day. And I respond to private messages. But when I want the facts about the virus I check the Mayo Clinic website. I also participate in discussion groups on this site too.

On Sundays I no longer go to church. Instead I tune in online to Church of the Rock in Winnipeg.

And new this past week…. Pastor Kent of Leavenworth Church of the Nazarene is offering an online Bible study on Wednesdays. And I have partnered with my friend Becky in Indiana to further discuss what is presented each week.

And then there is What’s App, Instagram and Twitter. But I refuse to Zoom.

I do try to limit my time in this virtual world. I have my writing, coloring and daily walks to occupy my time. I also spend much more time on the phone with friends. I was even interviewed by a Winnipeg Free Press journalist on the phone a couple of weeks back.

But I miss the in-person contact. I wonder how much longer I will have to just be content with only my virtual world.

My New Daily Routine

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My New Daily Routine

Since I’ve been retired I haven’t really had much of a daily routine. Basically it’s been traveling around Mexico six months of the year and doing a lot of volunteering and socializing in Leavenworth the other six months, with an occasional side trip to Canada.

This winter I returned to Aguascalientes City with the intent to focus on my Spanish skills. I returned to the same neighborhood where I am the only gringa.

I used to savor my first cup of coffee at 8 am. I’d often go to my favorite gordita stand for breakfast. And then it was off to the shops to engage people in conversation. Now many shops look like this.

In the afternoon I’d go to the park to color. Sometimes I’d meet friends there.

I also used to attend church services on Thursday and Sunday. Saturday was my one teaching day.

And then COVID-19 entered our lives.

I now have breakfast in my hotel room. And some days I don’t even get dressed until around noon. I watch movies in Spanish to improve my comprehension but it doesn’t do much for conversation or pronunciation.

I still color every day but not in the park. The park is closed.

I go for shorter walks. I spend more time on the phone with friends. I do on-line church and I’m going to sign up for another course on Coursera.

That leaves me with lots of time for writing. I now do blog posts every second day. And I’m hoping my imaginary friends keep talking to me so that my work in progress does indeed continue to progress.

Phase 2 has begun in Ags. People around here seem to be taking COVID-19 very seriously and the streets are quieter than usual. No problem with social distancing.

Stay home and stay safe!

Why?

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Why?

Three little letters but oh the conversations they initiate.

I was at the park yesterday coloring when a delightful child stopped by to talk to me. Oscar is in fifth grade primaria and had a day off school. He rode his bike to the park and it took him 20 minutes. He was quite envious when I told him I live a block away.

It was an interesting conversation. I spoke in Spanish and he spoke in English. We were both impressed that we could each speak and understand each other’s languages.

What had attracted him to come over and talk to me was that I was coloring. He told me that I was the only adult he had ever seen doing this. He called his sister over and she was in awe of my gel pens and markers.

And then came the why questions. Why do I color? Why did I come to Aguascalientes when my family is in Canada? Why do I only have two children? Why did I get a divorce? Why don’t I marry a Mexican and have more children?

The innocence of childhood. I smiled recalling myself at their age. I too was curious but probably not quite so bold in asking questions.

Oscar and his sister are only two of the people who constantly ask me these questions. Often it is adults who find it a novelty that I come to the park to color.

Just the other day a man asked me where I sell my art. When I told him I color to relax, he shook his head and told me it was a good career. He said I should give up teaching English and sell my art instead.

I must admit I spend considerably more time coloring than teaching English. And I enjoy them both.

Here is a sample of my artwork.

Karen The Artist

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Karen The Artist

As a young child I loved to finger paint. I used to make my own paper dolls. I even colored strings of lights to cut out and hang on my dollhouses. But once kindergarten was done, things changed.

In elementary school we were given coloring sheets for holidays. Color between the lines. We would listen to radio broadcasts of a story and told to draw something based on the story. But what if I wanted to draw something different?

In middle school art class meant drawing the spectrum. Or drawing a three dimensional object. Or drawing a vase of flowers set on the teacher’s desk. Or some other such dreary project. But what if I wanted to draw something different? Needless to say, I switched to a music option as soon as it was available and art was quickly dismissed from my mind.

We had an art gallery in Winnipeg. While certain exhibits were interesting, art just was not my thing. Only one exhibit stands out in my mind and that was a Van Gogh exhibit I went to with my dad. I was about eight years old and I think it meant more to me because I was with my dad.

I attended a Norman Rockwell exhibit in Honolulu and was totally enthralled with The Toymaker.

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Years later I discovered Thomas Kinkade and was especially captivated by his prints and tapestries of lighthouses. I had a beautiful one on my living room wall years ago when I lived in Canada.

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I also attempted glass painting for a short while.

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In Mexico I enjoyed visiting several art galleries in Culiacan, Guadalajara and Aguascalientes. I especially enjoyed the works of art involving vivid, bright colors.

Two years ago in Leavenworth I was introduced to adult coloring books. And I was hooked. I find it a very relaxing activity, even more so when paired up with music.

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Last night I discovered something new. I went to a program at the Cashmere Library where I created four pieces of art with pastels. These were not the pastel crayons I was familiar with back in Canada. These were chalky and could be smudged with your fingertips. It brought back happy times of finger painting as a child, but this time it was pastels and not paint. I think of it as adult finger painting.

While my creative talents in the past have been mostly in writing and in music, perhaps there is hope for me as an artist.