Tag Archives: friends

Finally!!!!!

Standard
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.

What Plan Are We On Now?

Standard
What Plan Are We On Now?

Change. Change. Change. Adapt. Adapt. Adapt. When you go from Plan A to Z and need another…..then just keep on going.

I left downtown on Thursday and am now out in the burbs in St. Vital with my friend Rita. Until Tuesday Iwhen we head out to the lake again. Another new plan.

I’m determined to tough it out here in the Peg until I can get that photo taken for my driver’s license. In all likelihood I will hightail it back to Washington and I won’t get out west to Calgary or Kelowna. I’m homesick! I don’t care if it’s 111 degrees and threat of wildfires. I want to go home.

Of course there’s lots here to do to stay amused. Rita has had some shopping to do and it’s been fun checking out Jysk and Giant Tiger as well as Canadian grocery stores and Walmart. But I’ll save my shopping for when I’m back in the USA.

I finally got to VJ’s for a gut bomb the other day. This stand is home to the best chili burgers and fries in the province. And they actually have plastic tablecloths on the picnic tables, a slight change that’s easy to deal with.

A friend from Regina called me yesterday. We met at the YMCA about fifteen years ago in water aerobics classes. She moved away from Winnipeg around the same time I did. Kim is hoping to come to Mexico this winter and we are hoping to get together for the first time in way too many years. Another new plan.

And yet another plan. I need to get back to my son’s to deal with one more bin full of slides. My dad took slides, not photos. And I am gladly passing them on to my brother. Hopefully he will do something with them. They’ve been stagnating way too long in a Rubbermaid bin.

I won’t be posting again until next Sunday. I’m not sure if I’ll have Wi-Fi out at the lake.

By next weekend I’ll have another plan. Stay tuned.

Amigos in Winnipeg

Standard
Amigos in Winnipeg

I’ve been away from Winnipeg for years and this city sure has changed. What has not changed is my close friends whom I’ve kept in touch with over the years. Yes, our lives and circumstances have changed. But our friendship remains strong.

In my last post I told you all about my friend Lise. Today I’m going to tell you about some of my other friends.

Sheila and I met back in middle school. We took very different paths in life. Back in our teens we hung out a lot together. Although we found ourselves in different high schools, we often went bar hopping on weekends. Of course back then there was no computer chip photo ID. Life was so simple. I moved away twelve years ago and we’ve kept in touch. I came back to Winnipeg for two knee surgeries and Sheila patiently transported me around juggling my walker and my cane. We went out for coffee the other day and it’s like we’d never been apart. We updated each other on our kids and grandkids. Sheila is lucky. Her kids all live in Winnipeg, most within a one mile radius, whereas I don’t even live in the same country as my kids.

I met Audrey when Kimmy was in sixth grade. Kimmy and her son Billy were best friends. At the time Audrey was going through a divorce and my mother was dying in the hospital. So we used to trade off kids to help each other out. Our kids grew up and their friendship waned. But Audrey and I have remained close over the years. When I come back to visit, one of our traditions is to go to Nikos, one of my favorite Greek restaurants. And we did that yesterday. Then we went for gelato further down on Corydon.

David and I first met in Edmonton at YBC Nationals. He was coaching a team from Village Inn and Kimmy was bowling on a team from Academy. When we got back to Winnipeg Kimmy started going to David’s clinics. Then Kyle did as well. My kids were both bowling out of Windsor at that point, but then switched over to Village Inn. David is the closest thing to an uncle my kids have ever known. He even came to Kimmy’s wedding in Punta Cana a few years ago. David was one of my rocks when I was going through my divorce. We’ve gone to flea markets and auctions together, made wine, I’ve helped him in his garden and we even bowled on the same team once. But I’m convinced he wanted me for the handicap as my average was more than 150 pins below his. We went out for brunch last weekend and spent the day together catching up.

Rita and I met at auctions years ago. We’re both divorced now but our friendship has remained strong. When I come back to visit I always enjoy spending time out at her cabin at Lester Beach. I remember hobbling around out there after my knee surgeries and am thankful that I’m a lot more mobile now. I spent a relaxing few days out there earlier this month. And I’m hoping to do it again before I head back to Washington.

Natasha is another one of my auction friends. We went out for lunch to Saffron’s last week and reminisced. Back then there was a group of us who socialized regularly as well as went out for drinks or coffee after the auctions. Natasha lives out in Rosenort and we once had a party out there where we shot off a whole bunch of fireworks. Lots of great memories.

Now I don’t just eat my way through Winnipeg restaurants as it might appear. I do other things too.

Donna and I met when I taught water aerobics at the YMCA. One summer the Y closed down for repairs and I taught classes in the pool in Donna’s backyard. When I was living in Mazatlan, Donna and her husband were on a cruise and their shipped docked for the day and we had lunch together. The other day we went for a drive through Assiniboine Park. And on Friday night we went to a fabulous concert featuring a young and extremely talented pianist.

Laura is my computer guru. We met at University of Manitoba when we were getting our certifications in teaching ESL. Laura knows anything and everything about computers which is greatly appreciated by yours truly who is technologically challenged. Perhaps impaired is a better word. So Laura and I got together last week and next week we’re going computer shopping. Yes, I’m finally replacing my laptop that died sometime during Covid. I love my tablet, but writing will sure be easier with a laptop again.

I still have a few friends I haven’t seen yet. But I plan on being in Canada for at least another couple of weeks.

So I Went To A Funeral

Standard
So I Went To A Funeral

On Saturdays I generally check out the obituaries in The Winnipeg Free Press. Last week I didn’t have to wait until Saturday. It hit a lot closer to home.

While I’m in Winnipeg I’m staying with my friend Lise. When we first met, I was living in Oak Bluff and Lise was living in Fannystelle, about twenty minutes away on Highway 2. She and her husband Bob used to come in to Winnipeg for auctions, and that’s where we first met.

Both Lise and I had businesses on Ebay and would regularly check out estate sales and auctions in the rural areas. We also sold in rural flea markets together.

Years ago when Lorazepam was my best friend, Lise was one of my biggest sources of support. And she was also a rock when I was going through an ugly divorce.

I moved away twelve years ago but our friendship has remained strong. Throughout the years Lise has visited my parents regularly in a Jewish cemetery here in Winnipeg and even sends me photos. By the way, Lise is Catholic.

Bob has been in a personal care home since April. His condition deteriorated quickly in the two weeks since I had arrived in Winnipeg. And yesterday the funeral was held in Fannystelle.

Returning to Fannystelle brought back a flood of memories. I visited with people I hadn’t seen in years. And I heard of others who are no longer with us.

While I like to think that I am the one who makes the decisions, there is someone else who has a plan for me and leads me to exactly where I’m supposed to be as well as when I’m supposed to be there. I often ponder the reason, but right now it’s quite clear in this case.

Rest in peace, Bob. You’re in heaven now with Jesus.

Back in the Peg

Standard
Back in the Peg

It’s been an interesting week. Haven’t quite decided which is worse….no phone or no Wi-Fi.

I spent a relaxing few days out at Rita’s cabin. No Wi-Fi but I had a phone. Visited, watched movies and vegged. The weather cooperated but the mosquitos were maneaters.

Returned to Winnipeg and had both a phone and Wi-Fi. But it was short-lived. AT&T switches over to Rogers and Rogers went down all over Canada. Very frustrating considering the time constraints I have here and the planning needed to organize my time in order to see my friends.

The highlight of the week was the time spent with my son. Please congratulate me. I cried before and after the visit, not during. First time we were together in five years. We had a wonderful visit and he barbecued a delicious dinner. We’ll be getting together again soon and I am looking forward to it.

On a sad note, I’m staying with my friend Lise and her husband passed away in a personal care home this week. Please keep them in your prayers.

It’s Sunday again and it’s strange not to be at Sage Hills. But I will enjoy having brunch and spending the day with David.

Will check in again on Wednesday.

Happy Sunday!

Coming Home?????

Standard
Coming Home?????

Winnipeg has changed. This is not the city I remember growing up in and raising my children in. This is not the city I would ever care to live in again. There is such a cold feel to it. Winnipeg may be my hometown, but it definitely is not nor ever will be home to me again.

When I think home, I think Washington State and I think Aguascalientes.

It is nice to see my friends again. It’s been a few years. We have lots to catch up on. It’s interesting to see where we have moved to and what we are all doing now as we’ve grown older. Retirement has meant different things to different people. And let’s not even contemplate all the compromises we’ve made that have been impacted by health issues.

We’ve gone for drives through neighborhoods from my past. New roadways and buildings. A multitude of new apartments and condos. Even the trees look different, and not because they’ve grown taller over the years. They’re new too.

I met a friend for brunch on Friday and wandered over to look at the high school I graduated from back in 1969. University of Winnipeg Collegiate still looks pretty much the same. That’s my feature pic for this blog post.

We drove by my old elementary school and middle school. We drove by the house I grew up in as well as the house I lived in when my two kids were born. And of course the cemetery was one of the first places I wanted to go to as well.

The Forks has seen a few changes. Many of the restaurants have changed. Shops are not the same. But the river is still there.

I’m currently staying in the downtown area. It’s sad to see the empty Bay building. Taller skyscrapers also dot the downtown area and many buildings have changed names.

Tomorrow I’m headed to a cabin with a friend for a few days so I won’t be posting on Wednesday. Looking forward to the peace and quiet possible with No Wi-Fi!

Happy Fourth of July to all my friends out there!

Half Time

Standard
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!

What We Do

Standard
What We Do

Today is May 1st. Today marks two months since I arrived back in the USA. Then why does it feel like I just got here? And what have I been so busy doing? I think it’s called Life or Living. I’ve had my fill of traveling for a while after my trip to Seattle via Tucson and Los Angeles after leaving Mexico. And then there were the five moves until I settled down in East Wenatchee.

Last night I was talking to a friend in Toronto who is off to Bali in a few weeks. She isn’t looking forward to the 32 hours of travel time and the cost of flights is astronomical post Covid. But this has been her dream for quite some time now and I’m glad that she is finally doing it.

I was talking to another friend in Toronto earlier in the week. She is a travel guide and is happy that business is starting to pick up post Covid despite the escalating cost of travel.

I have a friend I met in Guadalajara a few years ago who is on a mission to check out every major league stadium in the USA as well as other historical areas throughout the country. Recently he has traveled throughout Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee.

I have other friends traveling through Central and South America right now. Several friends are still in Mexico and are on the move there as well, both within the country as well as those snowbirds who are returning home.

On a sad note, the USA just issued advisories against travel to Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta. I wonder what the situation will be like in the fall. Those cities have my two favorite airports in Mexico.

Okay. I admit it. I’ve been in East Wenatchee for over a month now and haven’t even made it out to Lake Chelan yet. The only commutes have been to Cashmere and Leavenworth. But I am beginning to think about traveling again. My eyes are set on Winnipeg in June.

But first I have to get through May. Fitness classes, library programs, plays, fitness training, medical appointments, a consult with my attorney, writers’ group, church, art and research regarding a character in my WIP. My visual voicemail still isn’t working and I haven’t even found time to go to AT&T yet. I’m staring at library books I checked out three weeks ago and still haven’t read.

I did find time to go shopping the other day to buy a much needed pair of New Balance. I discarded a pair in Mexico and the ones I brought with me are falling apart. I live in New Balance and sandals, and do not even own a pair of ‘shoe’ shoes.

But paramount is the time I spend with my friends here. This is my seventh year here, and although I only come for six months, I am blessed with more than a few close friends who I view as family.

I also keep in touch with friends by phone and Facebook. Many go back more than twenty or thirty years and a couple more than fifty. The older I get, the more important these friendships become.

This is what I do.

What do you do?

All About Me

Standard
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

It’s That Time Again

Standard
It’s That Time Again

Spring. Primavera. And the nomad is on the move again. I usually fly up north from either Aguascalientes, Puerto Vallarta or Mazatlan. This year was different. I took a bus across the border at Nogales. I don’t have a bucket list, but if you read my last blog post, you know that for some strange reason I’ve always wanted to go there.

I hate saying goodbye to people. You think I’d be used to it by now. But I’m not. I’ve been wandering around for the last twelve plus years. I’ve lived in numerous places in Mexico and the USA. And I’ve added to my extended family.

When I wrote this post, I was in Tucson, Arizona. I had hoped to plop down there for a month and just work on my book. But that isn’t going to happen. And that’s okay. One of the habits I’ve formed in the lifestyle I lead is always having a Plan B or Plan C all the way to Plan Z.

Whatever direction I wind up going, I’m comfortable with it. Why? Because there are always new people to meet and new places to see. So although it’s often difficult to move on, new adventures always lie ahead. And I continue to grow.