Tag Archives: COVID-19

Three Wonderful Things

Standard
Three Wonderful Things

Yesterday was a great day. The 100 degree temperature didn’t even phase me. And three wonderful things happened that day. You may not consider them so wonderful, but to me they were.

I was delighted to find the absolutely perfect backpack I’ve been looking for. I use a backpack as carry-on when I travel as it leaves my hands free. Because I travel internationally often, I carry way too many documents with me, many in three languages. Over the years, this collection has grown, most recently due to the extended stays in two foreign countries as a result of the pandemic. Throw in a laptop, jewelry, medication and a few books and it fills up quickly. I have outgrown my old backpack.

Wonderful thing number two was going to a theater to see a movie rather than watching a movie on Netflix. The big screen, the suuround sound and no masks! Just like BC….Before Covid. In The Heights is a movie I would highly recommend if you enjoy music and dancing.

Wonderful thing number three was the most incredible of the day. Back in March I had retained an attorney to apply for an extended stay due to the Covid situation. My attorney advised that he had received the official approval from Immigration. What a relief!

My mom always used to say that good things happened in threes. That sure was true yesterday.

Last Post From Sacramento

Standard
Last Post From Sacramento

I’m sipping a last cappuccino at Old Soul as I write this post. This quaint coffee shop not only has amazing coffee, but the food I’ve had here has been delicious as well. The air conditioning and WiFi are added bonuses.

This is my last day in Sacramento and I’m reflecting on my life. I am thoroughly enjoying my travels on Amtrak. The view out the window more than makes up for the lack of WiFi. I’ve seen towering trees, humongous mountains, tranquil lakes and charming small towns.

When this is posted, I will be on amazing train ride along the coast to LA. Can’t wait for those ocean views! I read about this particular train ride a couple of years ago when I was in Mexico. I need to pinch myself that I am actually taking this trip now. When Covid reared its ugly head I doubted I’d ever be able to do this. But here I am, on a train headed down the coast.

This has been an amazing and much-needed trip. I’m just not used to spending 11 months in one place in Mexico without traveling and then eight months in Leavenworth without traveling either. Covid has really slowed this nomad down.

I am determined to seek more adventures for as long as I can. I’m not getting any younger but I must admit that the knee replacements and the cataract surgery have definitely enabled me to do what I do. Life is just too damned short and the days fly by even faster as we age.

June 19th marked 25 years since my mom passed away. I wonder what she’d think about my lifestyle. She lived within 10 minutes of her kids and grandkids, and hated going away for the winter without seeing us for a few months, although we did visit her in Palm Springs or in Port Charlotte. I’ve been living in different countries from my kids for the last 11 years and only see my kids if I travel to them.

I think my kids want me to settle down somewhere. Maybe someday I will. I’m just not ready yet.

Just A Number

Standard
Just A Number

Last weekend I celebrated another birthday. At this stage of the game, age is just a number. It does not dictate what you should or should not be doing. It also should not rule your life.

I live a very unconventional life. It’s never what I envisioned my life to be at this age. In fact, four years ago I was living a more conservative life. I was living and teaching in Mazatlan. I had been there for four years.

The fall of 2018 brought many changes. I flew from Seattle to Guadalajara, where I extended my stay to two weeks. Then it was off to Mazatlan for a long weekend. Next came a week in Culiacan with my family.

I wound up in San Ciro de Acosta and somehow extended that stay to just under three months. I then discovered Aguascalientes and stayed there for three months.

Covid curtailed my travels. Eleven months in Aguascalientes and eight months here in Washington state and the travel bug has hit. I’ve been vaccinated and things are opening up in America and this nomad will finally once again be on the move next weekend.

I get really mixed reactions from my friends. I have encouraging friends who say “Go for it! Live your dream!” Many of these friends envy what I’m doing as they aren’t able to.

And then there are the friends who say “I could never do what you’re doing. Isn’t it about time you settled down? You’re not getting any younger.”

EXACTLY! I’m not getting any younger! So while my health permits, I intend to keep traveling. There are so many amazing new people to meet and incredible new adventures to be had.

Age is just a number.

Taking A Break

Standard
Taking A Break

Courtesy of The Winnipeg Free Press I am sent daily emails updating the status of Covid statistics and restrictions in the province of Manitoba as well as across Canada. I’m done. I’m not reading this garbage anymore. It’s too depressing and it makes me angry. Here in the USA 50% of all adults have been vaccinated while Canada lags far behind. The USA has a much higher population than Canada and a federal election was held at the peak of the pandemic. Canadians are reluctant to hold an election. And as for living in a police state, I think this Canadian is in no hurry to return home when I can enjoy the freedom I have here in the USA.

As I’m writing this, I’m looking out at the river and notice the growing Canada Goose population on the lawn. Even the geese are quite content to stay here and not fly farther north up into Canada.

I celebrated another birthday on the weekend. While I had a wonderful day with friends, I had hoped to be with my kids. However they are in Canada. Maybe next year.

I downloaded the Amtrak app on my phone last night. I’m planning on taking off for a while and doing some traveling in June. While I’ve taken Via Rail in Canada, I’m a rookie with Amtrak. But I am definitely looking forward to it. The mountains and the ocean will provide some fabulous views.

As far as flying goes, the attraction was lost long before Covid. Airports the size of small cities and long lineups in security have become my norm. Did you know that the airport in Dallas has its own zip code? No, I don’t plan on flying anywhere for a while yet.

Then there are the ferries. I’ve taken a few of those in Washington state. I find looking out at the water quite relaxing. The shorelines are also interesting. I’ve taken ferries around the San Juan islands, to the peninsulas as well as to Stehekin. And I’ve enjoyed all of those rides.

The Memorial Day weekend is coming up. Attending a barbecue as well as a maskless church service are only two of the activities already lined up. Hopefully the forecast of 80s and sunshine will be accurate.

Time to practice my Spanish with Duolingo. Hasta luego!

Reflections

Standard
Reflections

July marks five years since I retired from teaching ESL in Mexico and first came to Leavenworth. The routine of six months in Mexico and six months in Leavenworth with side trips to Canada to see my kids was comfortable. Until the advent of Covid. Eleven months in Mexico has been followed by eight months in Leavenworth with no side trips to Canada.

When I first arrived in Washington State, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the mountains. I still am. Names such as Peshastin and Wenatchee roll off my tongue easily now, as do expressions such as “the other side” and “up the Icicle.” Maifest, Apple Blossom, Autumn Leaf and Octoberfest are just a few of the many festivals I’ve celebrated here when there is no Covid.

I have memories of attending a homecoming football game and racing at the oval track. Events at Snowy Owl Theater as well as Leavenworth Summer Theater productions were most enjoyable. I dressed up in pioneer costume to volunteer at Apple Days in Cashmere. And the 9/11 memorial services at Spirit of America always bring tears to my eyes.

I have memories of volunteering at the senior center, having lunch with friends, craft afternoons and music nights. I miss the entertainment at the gazebo on the weekends. While I did enjoy seeing the colorful trees this year, there was no tree lighting ceremony or ice festival.

While the library has reopened, book club has not yet resumed and neither have the craft activities. There is still some speculation as to whether the pool will open. And just this past week we were given the go ahead to start teaching fitness classes again.

It’s Faith Promise weekend at Leavenworth Church of the Nazarene (LCN). On Friday night we headed out to the orchards at McDivitt’s and had dinner with some eighty other people. I remember the first time I went out there almost five years ago for another church barbecue. I didn’t know a soul back then. And now I know so many people.

Five years ago today, May 23rd, I was living and teaching ESL in Mazatlan. Retiring and becoming a snowbird were never on the radar. Yet now I can’t imagine any other way of life.

J’ai Fait Une Erreur

Standard
J’ai Fait Une Erreur

I usually publish a post on Wednesdays and Sundays. This past week I woke up extremely very early on Tuesday, hadn’t had my morning coffee yet, and for some absurd reason I published a post, thinking it was Wednesday.

But today really is Sunday, so we’re back on schedule. Today I’ve decided to write about an afternoon I spent in Waterville this week. A half hour away from the hustle and bustle of Wenatchee, this quaint little town is quiet and peaceful.

First stop was the museum. Although the website stated it was open, the sign said closed.

The last time I was there we spent several hours there with a very personalized tour given by a local. I enjoy conversations with locals when exploring new towns. And on this visit we had two really interesting ones with locals.

We were walking toward the Douglas County Courthouse when we met a retired couple who were eager to strike up a conversation with tourists.

They were preparing for a community wide garage sale taking place this weekend. They have lived in Waterville forever and had a small art gallery with a cafe and bakery. They have now converted this into their residence. This is one of the artistic pieces still adorning the entrance.

On our walk past Pioneer Park we saw the remains of a business destroyed by fire. In the antique store one of the staff provided us with the details. It had been a car repair garage. A car being worked on backfired, resulting in a fire. The owner went back into the building in an attempt to get the sprinkler system activated. Unfortunately he died and the building burned to the ground.

We were also brought us up to date on the historic Waterville Hotel. The only way to see the inside is to actually book a room and stay there. Unfortunately it closed last season due to Covid and there are no plans to open it this season.

Here are pics of the thrift shop and the antique store.

I also had to add these pics of the lilacs. Note the two colors.

I hope to return to Waterville again and find the museum open. And I’d also like to book a room at the hotel and see if it is indeed haunted!

Mother’s Day Memories

Standard
Mother’s Day Memories

My earliest memories of Mother’s Day date back to my childhood in the form of handcrafted cards created in the classroom. Friday afternoon after recess out came brightly colored craft paper and crayons. Of course there was the obligatory verse to copy from the blackboard.

I also recall getting together throughout the years with grandparents and other extended family members to celebrate this special day. But then things got complicated. I got married and now there were two sides to the family. Naturally I wound up hosting these holiday dinners to keep the peace in the family.

I never really felt special on Mother’s Day until my son Kyle was born. He was just over five months old and I was now actually a mother. Here is a four generation photo taken with Kyle, my mother and my grandmother.

In 2021 I had hoped to be with one of my kids on Mother’s Day. But somehow plans just never seem to work out, which is why I despise making long range plans.

I’ve spent Mother’s Day in several different places in the last decade……Culiacan, Tlaquepaque, Tototlan, Mazatlan, Puerta Vallarta, Aguascalientes, Winnipeg, Leavenworth, Cashmere and Wenatchee. This year I’ll add Dryden to the list.

Four years ago I was still in Mexico and had this really deep gut feeling that I should go back to Winnipeg and be with my son on Mother’s Day. And I’m glad I did. I haven’t seen him since then and I am long overdue for a visit. My alternating visits to my kids were thrown out of sync when my daughter had a baby. But even now with Covid it’s been almost two years since I’ve seen them either.

My laptop packed it in last spring in Mexico and I still haven’t replaced it, but thankfully I do have access to some of my photos on my phone. Here is one of my daughter and I on her wedding day.

Here is my favorite photo of my mom and I on my wedding day.

The featured photo on this post is my kids on Mother’s Day in 2016. They were at a Blue Jays game in Toronto and texted it to me in Mexico. It was a beautiful gift knowing that they were together that day. My son lives in Winnipeg and my daughter lives in Kelowna so it’s quite difficult to get us all together. But I can always hope that maybe next year we may have a family reunion. Maybe it won’t be on Mother’s Day……but it will certainly make this mother’s day.

Happy Mother’s Day everyone! Enjoy your day!

Open? Closed?

Standard
Open? Closed?

When I talk to my friends in Canada I feel like I live in a completely different world. Yes we still have Covid here but we have a lot more freedom. I enjoy a quality of life far superior to what I’d experience if I were back in Winnipeg.

I know we’re far from out of the woods yet. However it is encouraging to hear that 80% of seniors in the USA have been vaccinated. And almost 30% of Americans have been vaccinated. Perhaps herd immunity is on the horizon.

Traveling is once again on my mind. In April I enjoyed a couple of short trips in Washington state. And I’m planning two more short trips within the state in May.

But my plans do not include travel to Canada at this time.

My American friends are appalled at what they read about forced hotel quarantines. “Just let them try that here” they tell me.

I’m not a big fan of FOX News, but I have to agree when they refer to the hotel quarantines as forced internment camps. There is no excuse for this violation of human rights and the deplorable conditions Canadian citizens are forced to endure.

Canadians were quick to condemn Trump for the mishandling of the Covid crisis. I think it’s time Canadians took a long, hard look at their own country and the disaster that has been created by Trudeau.

I not only worry about my family and friends in Canada, but I actually fear for them. There is something very wrong when sufficient vaccines are unavailable by appointment in Winnipeg, and here in Washington state people are encouraged to come by clinics as drop-ins to be vaccinated.

As much as I long to see my children and my granddaughter, I won’t be traveling to Canada under the current circumstances.

Rant Rant Rant

Standard
Rant Rant Rant

These are my golden years. These are my retirement years. These are times meant to be spent with family. These are times meant to be spent pursuing interests that never fit in with working years. The reality is that these are now Covid years instead.

A year ago the madness had just begun. There was a frenzy of tourists flocking back to their native countries. There was fear among those who found themselves stranded in foreign countries. Cancelled flights and border closings became the norm.

I was in Mexico when all this started. And I still haven’t made it back to Canada yet. I wonder if I ever will. I never thought I’d say that I feel safer in the USA but I feel that way now. I also enjoy a lot more freedom and have a better quality of life.

Canada can best be described as a complete gong show in terms of the mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the inefficiency of the distribution of vaccines. The ambiguities surrounding the quarantine and subsequent restrictions serve to only increase confusion and promote unnecessary fear. And don’t even get me started on the mental health issues associated with all the negativity resulting from shutting the economy down.

The CDC issued a Level 4 travel advisory this week. DO NOT TRAVEL TO CANADA. Is this merely a retaliatory tactic against Trudeau’s policy of protecting Canadians from being infected by their southern neighbors by keeping the land borders closed?

The way things are right now, the Americans are doing amazingly better in terms of vaccinations. Perhaps the Americans should be concerned that the Canadians are the ones who pose the real danger until Canada gets its act together.

If it were up to me, I’d open up the borders and eliminate the quarantine. I want to travel to Canada to see my family who live in two different provinces. My Canadian friends accuse me of becoming a rebel like the Americans. But this Canadian prefers to be a rebel living in the USA right now rather than a sheep up in Canada.

Still Searching

Standard
Still Searching

Nestled in the Cascade Mountains, Leavenworth has captured my heart. Plop it down in Mexico and it would be called a pueblo magico, a magic town.

The downtown area along Front Street is especially charming. It’s easy to forget you’re in the USA. Instead it’s like being transported to a quaint Bavarian village with an incredible mountain view as a backdrop.

The gazebo. Fond memories of hearing amazing musicians such as Alpenfolk. During the accordion festival the parade of accordionists ended here with a gala performance. Maifest and Octoberfest celebrations. And so much more. But it now stands eerily quiet as though it too were infected with Covid.

Bears are everywhere here. I admit I prefer these ones to the real ones whose favorite pastimes seem to be coming into the town to raid the trash cans.

This sign in front of one of the many restaurants caught my eye.

What appeals most to me is small town life. It’s more relaxing and people are friendlier. If Leavenworth were in Canada this nomad would seriously consider settling down permanently.