Tag Archives: Family

Whirlwind Weekend

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Whirlwind Weekend

I just returned from a fabulous weekend in Culiacan with my family. And I’ll add that it’s the highlight of my winter in Mexico this year.

Culiacan. This is the city where my Mexican adventure began back in 2010. When I first arrived, my Spanish vocabulary was extremely very limited to Cerveza fria por favor. Juan wanted to improve his English and I desperately needed to learn some Spanish. We both taught at Senda and would meet in the library where Juan patiently helped me read children’s books.

At the time he and his wife Lucila had one child. Juan Carlos had just turned one. The family has grown and they now have four boys. And I have four nietos.

On Saturday night my granddaughter Madeline called me from Kelowna. This was a really special video call because she got to meet my Mexican family. She was a tad overwhelmed as the boys were eager to talk in English to her and one even showed her a picture he had colored. Madeline commented that it was a little crowded with everyone in the room. She is an only child so it is very different.

The boys were all excited to see her and commented on her blond hair. I have always talked about Madeline to them and it was nice that they all had a chance to meet. We’ll have to do it again the next time I go to Culiacan.

One of our favorite pastimes is playing board games. This weekend we played Uno and Scrabble. We play in Spanish and English.

The boys are learning English at school. Juan Carlos received a certificate from Cambridge recently. I helped Jose Agustin with his homework over the weekend, another of my favorite things to do when I visit.

Although I’m not Catholic, I always go to mass with my family. Sunday evening we were at La Lomita. My ten year old grandson was sitting beside me with his arm around me and his head resting on my shoulder. He looked up at me and said “Grandma I love you” and gave me a kiss on the cheek. Life just doesn’t get any better than that.

Bienvenido 2023

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Bienvenido 2023

Happy New Year! I hope you had an enjoyable holiday and are now embracing the new year with open arms. I know I am and can’t wait to see what’s in store for me in 2023.

Have you thought about new year’s resolutions? I have and am sure not going to make any. I’ve talked to friends who are eagerly writing some down. The way I see it, no matter how realistic they look on paper, they never seem to pan out the way they were planned.

The only resolution that makes any sense to me is to be a better person than I was last year. And that is something I need to keep in my heart rather than write down on a piece of paper.

I keep seeing on Facebook pics of all the snow in Washington state. The mountain passes seem to be closed more often than they’re open. Keep safe up there people!

I’m headed for the bus station later today to buy tickets. I’m planning on going to Culiacan to visit my family later this month. I can’t wait to hug my grandkids! I saw them last February before I headed back to the USA. I’m sure that two of my four grandsons are now taller than me.

Friday is King’s Day. My Mexican friend Angie told me the story behind it. There’s a lot more to this day than looking for the baby Jesus hidden in the bread. Catholics believe that the Three Wise Men were looking for the baby Jesus to protect him. Pilate was afraid that Jesus would take over his kingdom so he ordered that all children under the age of two were to be killed.

That’s it for week one in January.

Have a great Wednesday!

2022 Part 2

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2022 Part 2

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.

HAPPY 2023!

2022 Part 1

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2022 Part 1

I have decided to divide the year end review into two parts. Part 1 will cover the first six months of the year.

I woke up January 1st in Jilotsingo where I had celebrated New Years Eve with fifty-nine others. The next day I went back to Angie’s home in Pachuca. I returned to Aguascalientes after King’s Day. The rest of the month was spent getting together with friends and writing blog posts. I also had a SAIL training session on Zoom.

February was an exciting month. My characters started talking to me again and I was finally inspired to continue working on my book of fiction. My granddaughter in Kelowna also celebrated her fourth birthday. And I went to Culiacan to spend time with my Mexican family before heading back up north for the warmer months.

On March 1st I crossed the border at Nogales and headed for Tucson, where I spent a few relaxing days by a pool at a hotel. Then came the rather unusual but interesting Greyhound bus trip to Seattle where I was finally able to pick up an Amtrak into Leavenworth. One of the first things I did was get a Covid booster. I moved around a lot staying in Leavenworth and Dryden and did some pet sitting before finally settling down in East Wenatchee. It was wonderful to be at Sage Hills in person again and to resume teaching SAIL classes.

April was a fun month of garage sales, different from the usual tienguis in Mexico. Life Group resumed and a series of library programs began on Zoom. My characters continued to chatter so it was also a great writing month.

May was a little on the stressful side. The results of a biopsy were not what I’d hoped for and I needed to have a growth removed. On a more positive note I celebrated a birthday and had a delightful day in Lake Chelan. And I also received great news that while the growth indeed had been malignant, there was only healthy tissue left and no further sign of cancer. So no need for more treatment.

I had training in the A Matter Of Balance program during the month of June and I’m looking forward to coaching it when I return to Washington in the spring. And towards the end of the month I found myself on a plane headed for Winnipeg for the first time in five years.

I’m taking a break from blogging so no post this coming Sunday. 2022 Part 2 will be on December 28th.

Merry Christmas!

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.

And Another Month Comes To An End

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And Another Month Comes To An End

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.

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

10 Things About Winnipeg

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10 Things About Winnipeg

The other day one of my friends challenged me to write a blog post about 10 things I miss about my hometown. So here goes.

Number 1 is definitely my son Kyle. It’s been over a decade since we’ve even lived in the same country, never mind the same city.

Number 2 is my friends. One of my friends dates all the way back to middle school and the others are friends for twenty years plus.

Number 3 is the Shaarey Zedek Cemetery. I like to go there in person rather than virtually.

Number 4 is West Portage Y. Lots of good times with friends in aquafit classes.

Number 5 is The English Garden at Assiniboine Park.

Number 6 is food. Moussaka at Niko’s, Sorrento’s Salad and burgers at V J’s.

Number 7 is going to fall suppers in the rural areas.

Number 8 is the Mennonite thrift stores, auctions and flea markets I used to frequent when I had my EBay business.

Number 9 is The Winnipeg Fringe Festival.

I really tried to think of one more but honestly couldn’t. There are other restaurants and parks but I really wouldn’t put them in my top ten. I was especially disappointed at how The Forks has deteriorated and has become such a dangerous place. I prefer to do my shopping in the USA and have no favorite places to shop left in Winnipeg. I guess I’ve been traveling too much and have been to so many new and exciting places.

So there you have it——nine things but not quite ten.

Happy Birthday Kyle

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Happy Birthday Kyle

I haven’t embarrassed any of my kids in a blog post in quite a while so I think I’m due. Tomorrow is my son Kyle’s birthday.

It’s also Thanksgiving Day tomorrow. He used to ask me to write him notes to school to get out early so he could watch football. Keep in mind that although we lived in Canada, he seriously followed the NFL in the USA.

His team? The San Francisco 49ers. His hero? Joe Montana. I think he was 11 or 12 when he blew an entire declaration on a Joe Montana rookie card. Over the years he has added to his collection and his man cave is resplendent in 49er colors from the carpeting to the furniture, much of it authentic and licensed.

No idea where the years have gone. It seems like just yesterday he was a two year old proclaiming “Self Did It.” He was always very independent even back then. Then came the bowling years and the drummer years. And now Kyle is a CPA and a partner in his firm. Needless to say, I am extremely proud of my son.

The usual phone call from Mexico tomorrow will have to suffice. I miss the days when we both lived in the same home or city and I could give him a birthday greeting in person.

Happy Birthday Kyle! Love you lots!

The Dream And The Usual

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The Dream And The Usual

The weekend was a dream that ended far too quickly. I got to hug my granddaughter live and in person. No more blowing kisses on a video call. Grandma is a real person who doesn’t live in a phone. And Maddie is no longer the baby she was when I last saw her.

It was exciting to see Leavenworth through the eyes of a child. I never realized how many “no touch” shops there are in town. Or how many candy and fudge shops there are. Or how much fun it is to run around in the gazebo or up the grassy hill. Or how a simple gingerbread butterfly could light up a child’s face so brightly.

Picnics. Maddie is a big fan of these. We had three of them on Sunday. The first was a snack picnic at Walla Walla Park in Wenatchee. The second was lunch in Cashmere at a playground. The third was dinner in my backyard at home in East Wenatchee.

I was determined not to cry when we said goodbye. But I did anyways. Maddie is four years old and I’ve only seen her three times. The first time she was only a few weeks old. The second time she was still a baby. Barring another crazy pandemic, I hope to be able to see Maddie more often.

But the weekend came and went. Labor Day found Maddie and Kimmy on their way home to Kelowna.

Back to the usual. Teaching a SAIL class in Leavenworth Tuesday morning followed by lunch at the golf club with Linda. Next was another afternoon bingeing Virgin River on Netflix. Then it was time to head back to East Wenatchee.

And now it’s another Wednesday, another humpday. The week is half over and I need to start researching flights back to Mexico. It’s almost October. The temperature is starting to drop and that means the leaves will soon begin to change color. Fall is my favorite time of year here in Washington state.

Finally!!!!!

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Finally!!!!!

I finally got to hug my granddaughter for the first time since before Covid. This has been the best long weekend ever!

Kimmy and Maddie came from Kelowna for the weekend. On Friday they picked me up at Bonaventure after I was finished teaching. Maddie wanted to see where Grandma lived so that was our first stop.

I’ve mentioned before that the friends I live with have seven chihuahuas. At first Maddie was a little overwhelmed but it didn’t take long before she was petting and cuddling with them. Christina had kept them outside when we first arrived as Maddie was a little tentative. But she was enchanted with them and it was hard to convince her that we had other places to go.

On Saturday we headed into Leavenworth. We walked in and out of almost every store on Front Street. And there were treasures to be found in all of them, especially the candy and fudge shops. Maddie was absolutely delighted with a jar of lemon stuffed olives. Neither Kimmy nor I will even touch olives.

After a delicious lunch at Soup Cellar, we stopped at Gingerbread Factory and got her a butterfly cookie. She loved Kris Kringle, the most amazing Christmas store ever. This has always been one of my favorites and it was interesting to view it through my granddaughter’s eyes.

We were in a shop where one of the sales clerks and Maddie really hit it off. Maddie was delighted when she got to sit on Sydney’s knee and help her at the cash register. Maddie got to use the tablet, ask people if it was cash or card, as well as if they wanted a receipt. She had a wonderful time!

We found a playground where Maddie liked the slide and swings. She’s a climber so monkey bars and other structures appealed to her.

Then it was off to Ann’s to have a short nap. After we sat out on the deck overlooking the river. Rafters and kayakers came by. Maddie went down to the beach and had fun throwing sticks in the water for Mitzi, Ann’s dog, to retrieve. And of course Mitzi was excited to have someone play with her.

Off we went back to Leavenworth to visit Linda and Gene. Maddie is inquisitive and insisted on exploring the whole house. She enjoyed watching Dora the Explorer for a while and challenged Gene to a game of chess, Maddie’s rules of course.

On the drive back to Wenatchee, Maddie decided that we should get some take out rather than eat in a restaurant. Visconti’s came through with delicious lasagna, chicken parmigiana and salad.

Today Maddie wants to go swimming and have a picnic. And I’m sure we will find other things to do as well.

This magical weekend ends tomorrow when Maddie and Kimmy go back to Kelowna. Grandma has had an amazing time and will miss them dearly. Hopefully Grandma will come to visit them in Kelowna next spring when she returns from Mexico.