Tag Archives: grandchildren

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.

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?

Last Post From Sacramento

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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.

Mother’s Day Memories

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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!

Only One Dream

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Only One Dream

The word “dream” usually conjures up images and sensations felt while sleeping. Good or bad, some of these dreams are more memorable than others. We often delve into them to find a deeper meaning in our lives.

Years ago I took courses in interpreting dreams. I recall vividly waking myself so that I could scribble down a few words in the middle of the night in the hope that I could achieve further vision into the somewhat meaningful experience of a particular dream.

But I stopped after several months. While it was interesting to reflect upon these nocturnal visitations in an attempt to analyze them, it was also detrimental to fully focusing on the present and appreciating what was right there in front of me. Another benefit was avoiding being stuck in the past. Memories triggered by dreams are not always pleasant.

The older I get, the more I prefer to focus on other dreams. By this, I refer to my wishes and hopes for the future. Combining these with my present circumstances provides for a fascinating and challenging walk through life.

Fifteen years ago I was trapped in a boring and unfulfilling life. Ten years ago I was just beginning to timidly crawl out of that mundane but comfortable life. Five years ago my confidence had grown substantially and this made pursuing new dreams more positive and exciting.

Today there are no end to the dreams that come to mind. But there is only one dream that truly stands out from all the others in this crazy Covid world we live in. I only hope that this dream will come true sooner than later. It’s been merely a virtual reality for far too long.

My dream is to hug my kids and grandkids again, in person.

I’m So Tired Of

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I’m So Tired Of

It seems like no matter where I go or who I’m with, the conversation always evolves into “I’m so tired of Covid.”

It’s been almost a year since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. We’ve endured months of lockdowns and closures. We’ve experienced openings that were short lived and retreated backwards into more restrictions.

I’m Canadian but am in no hurry to return to Canada. I just shake my head at all the disorganization and inconsistencies that have become the norm. Here in the USA I enjoy a lot more freedom. And I was also able to be vaccinated months ahead of my friends who are in Canada.

I had a video call with my granddaughter Madeline in Kelowna. She had her third birthday yesterday and excitedly showed me some of the gifts she received. She walks around with the phone from room to room in her house. Yes, she takes grandma to see her toys or into the kitchen to eat a snack. After all, grandma lives in the phone. While I enjoy the video calls, I’m so tired of being unable to hold her in my arms and read her a story. I’m so tired of the virtual hugs and kisses.

I’m so tired of all this physical distancing. Linda and I went out for coffee to O’Grady’s yesterday afternoon. While it was a beautiful sunny day and we enjoyed sitting outside, first there was the line to order and then the line to pick up before finding a table outside. I feel for all the restaurants who are able to open with only 25% occupancy.

I’m so tired of hearing about all the small businesses and restaurants who haven’t survived and have declared bankruptcy and are permanently closed.

I’m so tired of being unable to travel freely. While less than 2% of all spread can be attributed to travel, ridiculous restrictions are being enforced. The repercussions of reduced tourism have resulted in job losses and hotel closures. I want to be traveling around Mexico in the winter, not trudging through snow.

I’m so tired of wearing masks. The importance of body language cannot be overstated and being unable to observe facial expression is detrimental to good communication.

I’m so tired of exercising to videos. I want to attend classes again with my friends.

I’m so tired of watching Netflix. I want to go to a real movie theater.

I’m so tired of ranting in blog posts. That’s why my last post was about leprechauns, a frivolous topic far removed from real life.

Ok. I’m done. My goal for today is not to say “I’m so tired of” for the rest of the day.

Enjoy your Sunday!

This Week In February.

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This Week In February.

February is a short month, and this past week has not been the greatest. The groundhog saw his shadow back on February 2nd, so maybe that explains all the snow we’re getting now. It may also account for the temperatures that have plummeted from the forties down to the teens.

But I’m not complaining too loudly. When I talk to friends back in Winnipeg I hear stories of extreme windchills and cars not starting. That’s a typical winter on the Canadian prairies.

A friend in Winnipeg is back in the hospital as they still try to determine the cause of an infection. Another friend just lost her brother to cancer. More friends in Mexico are struggling with Covid and one has died.

While Canada is imposing even stricter restrictions, here in Washington state things are opening up. I must admit that I’m confused by church gatherings with no masks and dine-in restaurants open in some towns but not in others. So much for state mandated rules.

Today is Valentine’s Day. Last year on this day I was in Aguascalientes at the park coloring and visiting with a friend. Today I’m coloring inside at home, glancing out the window at the falling snow.

The highlight of this past week is undoubtedly the three video calls I received from my eleven-year-old grandson in Culiacan. He usually calls me twice a week, so the extra call was truly a blessing. He tells me what he is studying in his online classes. He reads me stories he’s written. He tells me about his favorite videogames. Occasionally we talk about Covid.

I hope next week will be a better one. I’m tired of hearing about illness and death and quarantine.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Time To Vent

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Time To Vent

Is it just me or is anyone else having trouble remembering things BC? Before Covid is starting to feel like a far away dream.

Why can’t the children play nicely in the sandbox? Democrats and Republicans need to put the people of the USA first instead of merely themselves.

Back in 1968 the downfall of Canada began with the election of Trudeau as prime minister. And now in 2021 Trudeaumania continues with the next generation in the form of the mishandling of the Covid situation and the latest ridiculous cash grab re quarantine.

COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. I expect that it will be around long after my lifetime comes to a close. It’s time to acknowledge this and learn to live with it.

Vaccines will not make Covid disappear. Travel is far from the leading cause of transmission of this virus. Rewarding people with more money to stay at home rather than work is disgusting.

Avoiding bankruptcies and lowering the suicide rate is where the focus should be.

That’s my rant for today.

Wear your mask, wash your hands often and do your best to maintain physical distance. Maybe then we stand a chance of opening up the world again. Maybe then we’ll be able to hug our kids and grandkids again instead of just blowing kisses on video calls.

Memoirs On My Mind

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Memoirs On My Mind

On February 9th, 1977 I lost my best friend, my hero, my father. More than 43 years have gone by but in some ways it seems like yesterday.

I was so young when he died and there is so much more that I wish I knew about him. Although we were very close, because he left me so long ago, there are questions that have surfaced over the years as I have grown.

My dad never met his grandchildren. They came along years later. It’s sad that he missed out on the opportunity to be a grandparent. And it’s also sad that my children never had a loving grandfather in their lives.

One of my writing projects involves writing my memoirs for my granddaughter. Madeline is 2-1/2 now and it will be years until she will read and understand the significance of these stories. Yet it is important to me that this history be recorded. Indeed my own daughter is not aware of some of these memories.

I must admit that compiling these memories at times is overwhelming. How much information is too much information? And wow is some of it emotionally draining for someone who practices mindfulness on a daily basis to avoid unnecessary sadness and anxiety.

I had hoped to attend another memoir writing class this year while in Leavenworth. Due to Covid-19 there is no class. And as I continue to work on my memoirs, I wonder just how much Covid-19 will impact my writing. Only time will tell.

I Still Collect Dolls

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I Still Collect Dolls

When I was a child I always loved playing with dolls. At night many of them shared my bed with me.I remember one rag doll I received from Kellogg’s. I vaguely recall saving up boxtops from cereal for her.My grandfather brought me a doll from New York. When you squeezed her hands together her lips puckered and she blew kisses.I had another doll that walked with me. She stood almost half my height and even had brown hair like mine.I also had a collection of Barbie, Ken and Midge dolls. My mother was an amazing seamstress and sewed beautiful clothes for them.My children had cabbage patch dolls. Other than that I don’t recall my daughter spending much time playing with dolls.When I was in Kelowna last summer I brought my granddaughter a Minnie Mouse doll. She really loved her and my daughter tells me she still plays with her.Four years ago I was in a thrift shop in Wenatchee and came across this precious little porcelain doll. Small enough to travel with me in my suitcase, I eagerly purchased her that day.A couple of years ago I found another porcelain doll even smaller than the first one. Perfect company for each other.Years ago when I was in Winnipeg, my friend Audrey gave me this little darling with a suitcase. She said she thought of me when she saw her as I’m always traveling and living out of suitcases.The other day I was out for lunch with my friend Sharon and she gave me this little treasure. More memories created.I wonder if I ever really settled down in one place how many more dolls would be in my collection.