Tag Archives: Family

Half Time

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Half Time

I just crossed the border at Nogales. What do you mean I’ve been back in the USA for three months already?

That got me thinking about all the changes since I first arrived in Leavenworth in July of 2016. I’ve always lived primarily in Leavenworth but I’m now living in East Wenatchee. But I still commute to Leavenworth to teach fitness classes.

Covid caused a lot of changes. The Senior Center in Leavenworth has yet to reopen. I went there often for lunch and I also volunteered in the kitchen. I played bridge there and went to craft afternoons.

Covid also affected the library programs which all switched over to Zoom. The rumor is that in person programs are starting again next month. And I am looking forward to those, including book club, craft programs and speakers.

I now attend a church in Wenatchee and have a new life group as well. It’s a much larger church than the one I used to go to in Leavenworth. It’s also a Free Methodist rather than a Nazarene church.

My attorney has told me he’s retiring at the end of the year and my doctor has told me she’s moving on to a different clinic. More changes.

Over the years I’ve met a lot of people and have developed close relationships with many who I now consider as part of my extended family. Friendships are especially important to me considering my nomadic lifestyle. And those constantly change depending upon where I happen to be living. But my extended family changes very little.

There are constants in my life here as well. This is my sixth year teaching fitness classes in the SAIL program. Next month I’ll be taking training in A Matter Of Balance. But more about that in a future blog post devoted to the program.

Another constant is the beauty of the mountains. I am as much in awe of it today as when I first came here six years. This is truly God’s country!

Memories Of My Mom

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Memories Of My Mom

It’s getting close to Mother’s Day so I thought I’d reminisce about my mom. In June it will be twenty-six years since she passed away. I spent days by her bedside in the weeks she lay in ICU fighting for her life. And I also made sure my kids had the opportunity to say goodbye, something I never had experienced when my grandparents died in hospitals.

I do not own a dress. Why not? Don’t all women love to wear dresses. Not this one! My mother always made me wear dresses, and I can still feel those scratchy crinolines more than six decades later.

My mother was an amazing seamstress. She was also talented when it came to knitting and crocheting. Somehow those genes were never passed down to me. And since the Brownie pack I belonged to focused on the above, I can’t say I have great memories of those days.

My mom was an artist when it came to baking. Not only did the cakes and cookies taste amazing; the decorating was astounding as well. Her shortbread and chocolate torte were famous and were always in demand. I have memories of birthday cakes that were envied by all my friends.

I learned the importance of volunteering from my mother. She served as president of the sisterhood at her synagogue and volunteered in other charitable organizations.

At her winter home in Port Charlotte, she persuaded a group of women to do water aerobics. Now that gene she passed down to me as I was certified as an instructor and taught classes at the YMCA in Winnipeg.

Other memorable feats were getting a driver’s license for the first time at age sixty-seven and winning the award for erasing the most movies by accident when she learned to use a VCR.

I know very little about her childhood and teenage years. She once told me she’d had a dog that had been run over by a car and that’s why I’d never been allowed to have a dog when I was growing up. She had also belonged to a group called Sunshine Girls, but I don’t know if that was when she lived in Boston or Winnipeg. I honestly don’t even know how she met my dad, although I have heard different stories from family members.

My mom adored her grandchildren. She was blessed to not only live in the same city as her children and grandchildren, but we all lived merely blocks away from each other. She proudly came to her grandchildren’s concerts plays, dance recitals, bowling tournaments and graduations.

We used to talk on the phone at least twice a day and twenty-six years later I still miss those conversations. We always had so much to talk about. If she were still here today I can literally think of a million questions I’d like to ask her. There is so much more I would like to know about her.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there, and especially to my mom in heaven.

All About Me

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All About Me

I’ve written hundreds of blogs posts but have never done an “All About Me” post. I’m not sure just why I haven’t, but a friend called me on it the other day. So here goes.

I go by a variety of different names depending on which country I’m in or which website I’m on. I prefer to just stick to “Karen.” Here in Washington my friends have me in their contacts as “Karen Mexico” or “Karen Canada.”

I was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and lived there all my life until 2010. My son still lives there. My daughter and my four year old granddaughter live in Canada as well, in Kelowna, B.C.

In 2010 I went to Culiacan, Mexico to teach English. A family there adopted me and I am now abuelita to four nietos ranging in age from three to twelve years old.

After a year in Culiacan, I taught briefly in Irapuato before settling down in Guadalajara for four years. I called Mazatlan home for just over three years and then decided to explore more of central Mexico. After three months in San Ciro de Acosta I discovered Aguascalientes, which has been my Mexican home six months of the year since 2019.

In 2016 a friend I met in Mazatlan invited me to come visit him in Leavenworth, Washington. My two week visit turned into four months when the snow chased me back to Mexico. And that was when I turned into a snowbird, spending the other six months of the year in Washington state.

While there, I’ve lived mainly in Leavenworth with short stints in other towns. This year I’m living in East Wenatchee with my friends Christina and Danny, who tell me that this is now my “forever home.”

As far as teaching goes, I officially retired in 2016, although I had worked extremely very part-time since 2012. Occasionally I selectively take on private students, but have not taught at all since Covid arrived.

This is my sixth year as a volunteer in the SAIL program in Leavenworth where I teach fitness classes to seniors that geared towards fall prevention. Both church ministry and volunteering at the senior center ground to a halt during Covid and are just now starting up again.

I enjoy traveling both in Mexico and the USA. Last summer I took an Amtrak along the coast from Seattle to L.A. I loved it and can’t wait to plan another train trip.

I’m taking a break from Duolingo but I have my gel pens, pastels and water colors to amuse me. And I have been doing a lot of writing lately. Fiction is a new genre for me which I am enjoying immensely.

I am especially blessed to have family and a wide circle of friends in three countries. The time always fly by all too quickly before I find myself once again packing a suitcase. My days are filled with adventure and making memories.

Other trivia……I’m a Gemini, my favorite color is green, I’m a chocoholic as well as a coffeeholic and I love country music.

All About Me

Snow Kids Chocolate

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Snow Kids Chocolate

The spring solstice was on March 21st. But I think winter has returned to tease us. Here in East Wenatchee we had daytime highs approaching 70 F for a couple of days. But now we’re back to 30s at night and 50s during the day. And there has been snow up on the mountains.

The above photo was yesterday in Leavenworth. The photo below was yesterday in East Wenatchee where it’s quite a bit warmer.

There is far less snow on the mountains and the trees are blooming more and more everyday.

Yesterday Joyce and I went out for lunch and wound up at the Wenatchee Valley Mall. We had a great time at Macy’s and Ross. Amazing how quickly two hours can go by at those two stores. And those sacks can get heavy too!

I’m still thinking about a couple of trips to Canada. Possibly next month if I can pin down some dates with my daughter in Kelowna. And, yes Winnipeg, you are also in the running. But I’ve just settled in here in East Wenatchee and am not overly anxious to pack up another suitcase and head out so fast.

Once in a while I like to embarrass my kids. I guess today is the day. This photo came up as a Facebook memory from 2010 before I left for Mexico. The occasion was Kimmy’s birthday.

Let’s talk time zones. For my friends reading this, Culiacan is now one hour ahead, Winnipeg and Aguascalientes you are two hours ahead, Indiana, Alabama, Maine and Toronto you are three hours ahead. Times like this I wish it was the same time everywhere. At least Kelowna is the same as Washington. I’m not sure what’s happening next year everywhere, but in Washington they’re doing away with the time change in the spring and fall.

Look what the chocoholic found at Costco the other day!

Today Is Wednesday

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Today Is Wednesday

Four weeks ago yesterday I crossed the border at Nogales. I’m only allowed 180 days in this country and already 30 precious days have flown by.

I was talking to a friend in Winnipeg last night who asked me what I was planning to do when I got to Canada and how long I was going to stay. The painful truth is that I don’t even want to come to Canada. I come back to see my kids, my granddaughter, and the handful of close friends I keep in touch with. And of course I want to go to the cemetery in Winnipeg. But my life is here in Washington as well as in Mexico.

I’m settling in to life in East Wenatchee. I’ve never lived in Douglas County before. Always in Chelan County. The big difference I’ve noticed is that each county has its own judicial buildings.

While I still teach fitness classes in Leavenworth, I found a new life group from Sage Hills Church just down the street from where I live. And on April 1 the senior center in Wenatchee reopens so that will be an opportunity to meet people and perhaps even play bridge again.

I’m off shortly for a walk. I love watching the trees come to life in the spring. I took this photo of a tree down the street a couple of days ago when it was just beginning to bud.

I peeked out my window a few minutes ago and it’s now in full bloom. A new photo is definitely in order.

Have a great Wednesday!

Que tengas un buen miercoles!

Why Am I Here?

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Why Am I Here?

I was sitting outside the other day enjoying the warm Washington sunshine and wondering why it is that I’m meant to be here. Have you ever done that? Wondered why you found yourself in a certain place or in a particular situation? I mean, you know how you physically got there, but it’s the why you came to be there that is so totally fascinating.

I vividly remember sitting in a bar one night in Guadalajara with my then boyfriend more than one decade younger, listening to a Mexican band playing music from the British invasion. As a teenager back in the 60s listening to the same music while living in Canada, never in my wildest dreams did I envision myself ever having this experience. It’s now several years later and I still wonder why I was meant to be there at that time, other than the obvious reason that I was teaching ESL in Guadalajara.

Just last month I was in Culiacan with my Mexican family. Although I am not Catholic, I always go to mass with them when I visit. My nine-year-old grandson did a reading and I was so very proud of him. The service was outdoors in the evening and I found myself distracted from the priest’s sermon by the stars twinkling above. It was as though they were smiling down at me and telling me that I was meant to be there and there was no need to even ponder the why.

I’m having great difficulty putting the finishing touches on this post as I have an Australian sheepdog and a cuddly cat vying for my attention. Thank goodness the fish are in their own tank. I wonder why I’m pet sitting in a home along the river in Peshastin, Washington aside from the obvious reasons that my friend needed a pet sitter and I needed somewhere to stay. Six years ago I’d never even heard of Peshastin, Washington.

I guess I’m always going to wonder why I’m meant to be where I am.

And that’s okay.

Because I have complete faith in The One who does know.

Thoughts

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Thoughts

I’m now in Culiacan. Gracias ETN for yet another smooth journey across this beautiful country.

I usually head to the USA at the end of April, not the beginning of March. But Covid threw everything out of whack. So the Jacaranda trees aren’t blooming yet.

Aguascalientes is home to me here in Mexico. My third time and it has really grown on me. I was here for the Ferria three years ago and will miss it this year. Covid affected that too. There was no celebration in 2020 or 2021.

I’m having a wonderful visit with my Mexican family. My grandsons have all shot up in height since I was here three months ago and the youngest turns three on Friday. I absolutely adore the curls!

My granddaughter in Kelowna turned four yesterday and we had a video call. She went swimming and then out for sushi. Today she’s having a party with her friends.

I spoke to my son in Winnipeg yesterday and was totally devastated to hear that he tested positive for Covid. He says he feels fine but I’m  thousands of miles away, feeling helpless and concerned. A peril of living in different countries than your kids.

And now Russia has invaded the Ukraine. Why can’t we live in peace?

Writing In 2022

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Most of what I write about in this blog are stories of my travels and my life while living in numerous different places. Occasionally I write about my family and friends. I also tend to shy away from politics and religion. And I also try to leave Covid on the sidelines.

In 2022, I’ve decided to write a little more introspectively. Is that even a word? I’m not sure just what that means at the moment. But it will be interesting to find out.

After having published two self-help books, I’m currently writing fiction. Imagination rules where fact once presided. A very different style, both enjoyable and frustrating at the same time.

For the time-being, I’ve shelved the idea of writing memoirs for my granddaughter. She turns four next month, so she won’t be ready to read them anytime soon. Thanks to Covid she believes I live in a cellphone. But videocalls are the best way available to maintain contact because we live in different countries.

Years ago I wrote poetry. However I don’t feel quite as creative these days. The idea of deciding if words should or shouldn’t rhyme has lost its appeal.

While I will still write about my travels and my life, in 2022 these posts will be interspersed with topics of a more serious nature. When the mood hits.

Perhaps this post is one of them.

Happy New Year!

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This year I’m writing my last post of the year from Mexico City. It’s been quite a year and I must say I’m looking forward to 2022.

Back in December of 2010 I took a train trip in the Copper Canyon and met this amazing family. Nine years ago I came to Mexico City for New Years and although we’ve kept in touch, we haven’t seen each other at all. And it’s been a fabulous reunion!

Angie and I are about the same age. When we met, we were both teaching English here in Mexico. Her son Ventura and his wife were also on that train trip, along with her daughter Kamira. Ventura spoke some English, but Liliana and Kamira spoke only Spanish. I had only been in Mexico for three months, so my Spanish was extremely very limited.

Today I can hold my own and converse fluently in Spanish with everyone. However they are all learning English now and are interested in practicing this language as well. So it’s been great talking in both languages.

I arrived in Mexico City yesterday and am staying at Ventura’s. Tomorrow we are going to Jilotzingo where we will spend New Years Eve with Liliana’s family.

On Sunday we return to Mexico City. Angie and I will then travel to Pachuca, where Angie lives now. So my first post of 2022 will be from Pachuca.

To all my readers and followers, best wishes for a Healthy and Happy New Year. May all your dreams come true in 2022.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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I think back to November a year ago when I was living in Leavenworth. Covid was rampant and dinners with large groups of people were merely a dream. Even football was affected to the dismay of many.

I’m in Mazatlan right now and am looking forward to spending the holiday with friends. We’re going to Twisted Mama’s for dinner along with who knows how many other people.

I have fond memories of other holiday dinners at this restaurant when I lived in Mazatlan a few years ago. It is nice to be back and to be able to celebrate with friends again.

But let’s not get sidetracked with turkey or with football. Let’s instead delve into the true meaning of this holiday. Our ancestors years ago were thankful for a bountiful harvest, a healthy life and shelter from the inclement weather.

I know I have a lot to be thankful for in my life this year. But I think it’s also important to be thankful for the many blessings in our lives every single day, and not just once a year on Thanksgiving Day. Imagine how different our world would be if we all put this into practice.

Happy Thanksgiving!