Tag Archives: COVID-19

New Normal Not Normal

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New Normal Not Normal

A few friends getting together to exercise. That was my experience this morning. Very different from teaching structured fitness classes, but wonderful just the same.

Last night my small group from church got together to converse and pray. It’s my fifth year with this group and I think of them all as family.

I get together with other friends and we go for walks or go to restaurants. In downtown Leavenworth Front Street is closed to vehicular traffic. Tables for outdoor dining line the street instead.

The library is reopening in a couple of weeks. I’ve missed book club and craft activities and wonder when these will resume.

The senior center is still closed. I miss lunches with friends and volunteering in the kitchen. I miss our bridge games and our music nights.

Church has now gone back to two services instead of one to accommodate more people. Masks and physical distancing are mandatory. Seats must be reserved online.

Tree lighting event has been cancelled although the trees will be lit up as usual during the holiday season. Village Voices will not be performing at any concerts.

With Octoberfest cancelled the last few weekends have been relatively quiet here in Leavenworth. There are also no big events planned for Halloween.

The new normal does not feel normal at all.

Ghosts And Goats

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Ghosts And Goats

We are more than halfway through October and I’ve been back almost a month. The days are cooler now, the trees are losing their leaves and Halloween ­čÄâ is only a couple of weeks away.

Scare-Crazy in Cashmere has always been a favorite. Scarecrows are on display for the entire month. I found this one the other day that is decked out in Halloween attire.

While Walmart in Wenatchee already has a Christmas display inside, Halloween is still the theme outside.

My tree in Cashmere is not nearly as resplendent as it has been in past years. Some wicked winds have done their damage and the rain didn’t help matters either.

And now to the goats. These guys were out for a ride the other day when I was walking along Highway 2 in Leavenworth.

I wonder what Halloween will be like this year in view of the Covid situation. There will be no Light The Night at the Leavenworth Church of the Nazarene, an event the whole town looks forward to every year. I imagine that the number of trick or treaters on the streets will be significantly lower as well. Halloween will certainly be different this year.

Open And Closed

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Open And Closed

I’ve been back in Leavenworth now for two weeks and it’s a very different town than when I left 11 months ago.

Shops have closed and others have closing sale signs or for sale signs in the window. Restaurants such as Gustav’s, Good Mood Food and Wok About are closed with no intention of reopening.

We went to Visconti’s the other night for dinner. Reservations are recommended due to the limited number of tables available due to physical distancing. Fewer choices appear on the menu but the food was amazing as usual.

In Cashmere the 59er Diner closed its doors this week. Thankfully the owner has kept the other location at Coles Corner open. We ventured out there for lunch one day and I thoroughly enjoyed my very favorite chocolate milkshake with my meal.

Several restaurants offer takeout and curbside only. They are unable to comply with the necessary restrictions that have come into place regarding physical distancing. But at least they are still open.

In Wenatchee we went to Walmart and it was a very different experience than in Mexico. In Aguascalientes, masks required, my temperature was taken, staff disinfected the shopping cart and there was the ever present antibacterial gel. In Wenatchee I wiped down my cart myself and masks required. I prefer the self-checkout and was happy that it was still available.

There is one thing that has not been affected by Covid-19 and is far removed from the threat of being forced to close. Mother Nature will always remain open. The leaves are truly a sight to behold in all their autumn splendor.

Traveling During A Pandemic

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Traveling During A Pandemic

Two weeks ago yesterday I had resigned myself to the fact that I wasn’t leaving Mexico anytime soon. Two weeks ago today I found out I could get travel health insurance from the company I usually use that covered COVID-19 if I traveled to the USA. Two weeks ago today my flight was booked. I purchased the health insurance and reserved the Wenatchee Valley Shuttle. Talk about things changing overnight……

My adventure began at 4 am on Monday when Ra├║l came by to drive me to the airport. After weeks of sanitizing mats, having my temperature checked everywhere and drowning in antibacterial gel, I was surprised that none of these measures were being taken at the airport. There was no physical distancing either. In the waiting area at the gate, there were seats blocked off for physical distancing. However people merely sat down in them anyways despite the clearly labelled tape on them.

My favorite airline is Alaska but that would mean traveling to Guadalajara or Puerto Vallarta first. That would also mean an extra airport. I opted for American Airlines that flies out of Aguascalientes and has a decent connection to get me to Seattle. This airline does not block off middle seats and the flight was completely full. Thankfully everyone wore masks without complaint.

When we landed in Dallas it was business as usual. No health questionnaire. Other than people wearing masks, there was no physical distancing or antibacterial gel anywhere. Once again a completely full flight to Seattle. No objections to the masks either.

When I arrived at SeaTac, the airport was much quieter than usual. When I took the Wenatchee Valley Shuttle to Peshastin, there were only two of us although it was the last shuttle of the day.

This was my experience traveling during a pandemic. I’m thankful that my flights weren’t cancelled or delayed. But I must admit that I’m not looking forward to traveling again in the near future.

Like most people, I want things to revert to the way they were before COVID-19. I want my beach days in Puerto Vallarta back before heading up north in the spring. I want to divide my time equally between Leavenworth and Mexico with side trips to Canada to see my children and my granddaughter. But right now that is only a dream.

Nomad On The Move Again

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Nomad On The Move Again

I’ve enjoyed my time in Aguascalientes. But 6 months became 11. I’m not used to staying in one place for such a long period of time without traveling. But now that travel health insurance has become available again and covers COVID-19 it’s time to move on.

My destination is Leavenworth and I leave tomorrow. I’ve missed my friends and my church family. I can’t wait to see the trees and the mountains again. Autumn is my favorite time of the year.

My major regret is that I haven’t been in Culiac├ín with my family since December and won’t see my grandsons before heading up north. I’ve never gone so long without seeing them in the last ten years since I’ve been coming to Mexico. And I always squeeze in one last visit before I head north. Leaving feels really strange this year.

The worst part of leaving is always saying goodbye to people. It’s especially hard this year because I don’t know when I’ll be coming back. My familiar pattern of six months here and six months up north has been disrupted by the virus.

In the meantime, let’s take care of each other. Wear your masks, use lots of soap and antibacterial gel and practice physical distancing whenever possible. Above all, avoid crowds.

Stay safe!

Are We There Yet?

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Are We There Yet?

No we’re not. There are still four more months left before the year from hell is over.

Topping the list of disasters is COVID-19. It’s closely followed by race riots, typhoons, cyclones hurricanes and wildfires.

Politics? I usually shy away but today feel the need to rant. The United States will soon have to change its name to The Divided States as both parties are intent on ridiculing and condemning the tactics of each other. And as if Canada has not attempted to control our lives enough they are now issuing directives about how to conduct our sex lives. And I’m still here in Mexico where conflicting reports as to the status of the virus have become the norm.

All three countries have totally lost sight of the true concept of democracy and keeping the best interests of the people in mind. Instead they have succeeded in creating a world filled with panic and anxiety.

The effects of this trauma on children will be huge in the future. While the younger ones think internet classes and masks are part of an interesting game, older children are fearful of all the uncertainty in their lives today.

Children today are already too addicted to technology. Interpersonal communication is a skill that is seriously in jeopardy more today than ever before.

Can Zoom or FaceTime ever replace in person contact?

Can a virtual hug replace a physical hug in terms of nourishing feelings of love and security?

I highly doubt it.

Try To Remember The Kind Of September

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Try To Remember The Kind Of September

Try To Remember The Kind Of September

This song captured my heart when I heard it live for the first time decades ago at a performance of The Fantasticks at the old Playhouse Theater in Winnipeg. I love live performances and much prefer them to movies.

With September’s arrival this year it reminded me of this song. Then other September memories resurfaced.

September was synonymous with going back to school after summer holidays. It was never a favorite time when I was going back to school myself, but once I had children it sure became one. I was exhausted from juggling year end at work and chauffeuring my kids around all summer to their many activities and play dates.

The past few years I’ve really enjoyed the month of September. In Washington state the leaves on the trees begin to change color. The temperature cools down. I look forward to Autumn Leaf Festival, Chelan County Fair, Apple Days and Scarecrow Days. But this September I’m still in Mexico.

September 16th is Independence Day. And I wonder what type of celebrations will be held here in Aguascalientes. Will crowds of people gather to hear the gritto? Will there be fireworks? That has been my experience in the past in other areas of the country. Of course COVID-19 wasn’t around back then.

I’ll have to find a more patriotic-looking mask than the one in the above photo.

When Are You Coming Home?

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When Are You Coming Home?

I’ve just begun to research travel health insurance in the hope that I might still get home to Leavenworth this fall. But for the time being I’m staying here in Aguascalientes, even though our state went from orange to red this past week. I don’t believe any of the statistics we are fed down here and have little faith in the ones up north. COVID-19 has invaded our world and we need to learn to live with our despicable new neighbor.

So other than the question of where to go when my FMM expires for a second time, I’ve been trying to figure out why the time is going by so quickly even though I seem to be doing so little.

I have an extremely laid back life here. My big dilemma yesterday was should I pick up chicken for dinner or try out the new Argentinian takeout place. Big decision.

The calendar on my wall seems to fill up with video calls and phone calls. I go out with friends here occasionally and I take courses and do church online.

There is no such thing as a typical day. My blog posts are up on Wednesdays and Sundays. That’s about the only routine in my life. Even my daily walks are not consistent in terms of time of day or distance.

What I really enjoy are the conversations I have with the locals when I’m out and about. Being the only gringa does have its advantages. ( Even though I’m Canadian I’m still labeled a gringa.) People are always curious as to why I’m here in Ags rather than basking on a beach in Puerto Vallarta. And when they hear I’m a retired teacher, they seem to forget the word ‘retired‘ and want to know where I teach English classes. So a five minute trip to the pharmacy for toothpaste often takes close to an hour. And my Spanish gets a workout!

I do video calls with my daughter in Kelowna. I get to watch my granddaughter Madeline do such things as eat olives and decorate cupcakes. She’s almost 2-1/2 now and no longer a baby. Vocabulary and dexterity are growing right along with her. And I hope she doesn’t think that I live in a phone!

I am now doing regular video calls with one of my grandsons in Culiac├ín. These calls are in English! I am really proud of the progress he’s made in learning a second language. Schools are still closed here in Mexico, so I’m delighted that I have the opportunity to help him with his English online.

Some of this month’s news from friends……..Audrey became a grandma for the first time! She has a beautiful new granddaughter. Rita’s son and family moved back to Winnipeg from Montreal. Joan is adjusting to life in a personal care home but is disappointed that she is unable to go out due to COVID-19 restrictions. Deborah in Toronto is enjoying going out cruising on a new boat her partner just bought. Becky in Indiana is starting a new job this month. David is still in Winnipeg separated from his wife in Cuba due to COVID-19. Lise has been back at the office in Winnipeg working for quite a while now. Cheryl is disappointed that cases are rising in Manitoba and is staying home mostly as she has COPD and is awaiting a transplant. Carolyn is delighted that visitors are now allowed to come to the personal care home where she lives in Winnipeg. Carole in Minneapolis is working from home and is quite concerned about the race riots that all started where she lives. And on a sad note my condolences to Rochelle in Arizona who lost her father recently.

I talk to my friends in Leavenworth regularly and hear all about life there pretty well on a daily basis. I only wish I could be there with them as they struggle with health issues and other concerns. Of course we always talk about COVID-19 and how life has changed, and the conversation often drifts to politics and the upcoming election. But the following question is a constant.

When are you coming home?

Writing An Obituary 101

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Writing An Obituary 101

On Saturdays I read the obituaries section in The Winnipeg Free Press, my hometown newspaper in Canada. I often recognize familiar names of people in my past, many of whom I’ve lost touch with over the years.

Decades ago I took a Creative Writing class in college. One of our assignments was to write our own obituary. At the time my children were young and I recall struggling with this concept.

Eight years ago I actually did write my own obituary. It was just before I had my first knee replacement. My mother had died from complications after having that surgery, and I was terrified that the same fate awaited me.

Well, I survived that first surgery and the following year I had my other knee replaced. That obituary was tossed long ago.

My children and I live thousands of miles apart in different countries. They know very little about my life, other than that I divide my time between somewhere in Mexico and Leavenworth, Washington. They have never visited me in either place and have not met many of my closest friends, nor have they seen the places where I’ve lived. I don’t think either of them can quite understand why I chose to stay in Mexico rather than return to Canada during a pandemic. And they have voiced the idea that I must have a death wish if I want to go back to Leavenworth rather than return to Canada.

Recently the topic of obituaries has arisen when I talked with friends who also live far away from their families and have similar circumstances. Perhaps a bit on the morbid side, but we wonder what our children would say about us if they had to write our obituaries today.

In all honesty, I have trouble just keeping up with holographic wills because I move around so much. Writing an obituary is the last thing on my mind right now.

Pachelbel

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Pachelbel

Pachelbel’s Canon In D is one of my favorite classics to listen to when I meditate. This afternoon I was listening to Pachelbel with ocean sounds and it got me thinking of all the different places I’ve been when I’ve meditated with this particular version of the Canon.

One of my earliest memories dates back to when my son Kyle was a baby. He would nap beside me in bed while I meditated. I never fell asleep although Pachelbel always lulled Kyle to sleep.

Kelsey was my first dog and he often cuddled in bed with me while I meditated. Of course he would frequently bring squeak toys with him and become quite annoyed when I didn’t want to play.

Koal was the last dog I had and I can still feel him snuggled up against me on the bed. This was before knee surgery and he just seemed to zero in on which knee would benefit the most from the warmth of his body.

Pachelbel has also accompanied me on my travels in Mexico for the past several years, as well as in Washington.

For those of you who are into mindfulness and meditation, I highly recommend Pachelbel. There are numerous versions available online with a variety of musical instruments and other sounds.

If you are not into meditation, I highly recommend that you try it. I find it especially helpful in coping with the stress added to our lives by the advent of COVID-19.