Tag Archives: memories

Always A Mom

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Always A Mom

I worked remotely from home decades before Covid arrived. I wanted to be with my kids when they spoke that first word and took that first step.

I was an active volunteer in their schools and also in their extracurricular activities. Akela of a Cub pack, music librarian for ASYC and organizer of buses for a YBC provincial bowling tournament were some of the more memorable times.

The time flew by and my daughter moved to Ontario and I moved to Mexico, leaving only my son behind in Winnipeg. Then I started dividing my time between Mexico and Washington and my daughter moved to Kelowna.

When Covid arrived in March of 2020, I was in Mexico and was interviewed by a Winnipeg Free Press reporter. One of the more pointed questions he asked was how I felt about my decision not to return to Canada although my family was there.

While I’ve enjoyed the last ten plus years of traveling and living in other countries, it is hard living far away from my kids, and it has been even more so during the pandemic.

I still feel the sadness when I phoned my son from Culiacan on his birthday in 2010. He turned thirty and it was the first time in his life I wasn’t with him on his birthday. Over the years, the pain lessens, but there’s always a tugging at the heartstrings.

I did come back for their university convocations and I went to Punta Cana for my daughter’s wedding. And I do go back to visit as neither of my kids come to Mexico or Washington. And I have a three-year-old granddaughter who thinks I live in a phone.

Earlier in the week my daughter was evacuated due to wildfires. Last night she told me that they are able to return home but they are still on alert. I always have a TO GO bag packed in my closet due to all the fires around here. But I felt so helpless when she called me the night they were evacuated as she hurriedly packed up my granddaughter and the three cats.

Texts and video calls are great. But what I want more than anything are REAL hugs, not virtual ones. That day can’t come soon enough for this mom.

Musical Memories

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Musical Memories

My housemate Clairesse is a very talented violinist and vocalist. She also comes from a very musical family where jam sessions were common.

Tonight she was playing a variety of music that triggered some memories. I’ll begin with the ones pertaining to the violin.

I had an uncle who played in The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra back when I was really young. Then there was the other extreme. I had an older brother who attempted to play but I used to run outside to play when he practiced because I couldn’t stand the screeching sound. And I put my foot down when it was suggested that I learn to play the violin. No way!

Clairesse played everything from Home On The Range to The Battle Hymn Of The Republic to the Wabash Cannonball. She plays jigs, waltzes and hymns.

Home On The Range reminded me of a high school boyfriend who played guitar. We used to hang out with friends at a park and this song was always a favorite.

Battle Hymn reminds me of attending 9/11 memorial services. And then a swarm of other songs such as The Marine’s Hymn and God Bless America filled my head.

It’s interesting how I seem to associate music with the events in my life. My teenage years in the 60s were filled with the British Invasion. I attended tons of concerts back then. Some of the most memorable were The Rolling Stones, Herman’s Hermits, The Who, The Hollies, Peter and Gordon, Chad and Jeremy and The Dave Clark Five. Unfortunately The Beatles never came to Winnipeg.

Lots of American talent came to Winnipeg too. Other memorable concerts I attended included The Beach Boys, Paul Revere And The Raiders, Sonny and Cher, Carly Simon, Neil Diamond, and The Monkees.

Yes, the 60s was one of my favorite decades. Was it one of yours?

Reflections

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Reflections

July marks five years since I retired from teaching ESL in Mexico and first came to Leavenworth. The routine of six months in Mexico and six months in Leavenworth with side trips to Canada to see my kids was comfortable. Until the advent of Covid. Eleven months in Mexico has been followed by eight months in Leavenworth with no side trips to Canada.

When I first arrived in Washington State, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the mountains. I still am. Names such as Peshastin and Wenatchee roll off my tongue easily now, as do expressions such as “the other side” and “up the Icicle.” Maifest, Apple Blossom, Autumn Leaf and Octoberfest are just a few of the many festivals I’ve celebrated here when there is no Covid.

I have memories of attending a homecoming football game and racing at the oval track. Events at Snowy Owl Theater as well as Leavenworth Summer Theater productions were most enjoyable. I dressed up in pioneer costume to volunteer at Apple Days in Cashmere. And the 9/11 memorial services at Spirit of America always bring tears to my eyes.

I have memories of volunteering at the senior center, having lunch with friends, craft afternoons and music nights. I miss the entertainment at the gazebo on the weekends. While I did enjoy seeing the colorful trees this year, there was no tree lighting ceremony or ice festival.

While the library has reopened, book club has not yet resumed and neither have the craft activities. There is still some speculation as to whether the pool will open. And just this past week we were given the go ahead to start teaching fitness classes again.

It’s Faith Promise weekend at Leavenworth Church of the Nazarene (LCN). On Friday night we headed out to the orchards at McDivitt’s and had dinner with some eighty other people. I remember the first time I went out there almost five years ago for another church barbecue. I didn’t know a soul back then. And now I know so many people.

Five years ago today, May 23rd, I was living and teaching ESL in Mazatlan. Retiring and becoming a snowbird were never on the radar. Yet now I can’t imagine any other way of life.

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!

Thanks For The Memories

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Thanks For The Memories

Every day on Facebook I check out the Memories section. And I reflect on my life and all the different places I’ve been. I also can’t believe how fast the time has gone by and how much I’ve changed throughout the years.

Two years ago I was volunteering at Camp Heartbeat in Peshastin. It was the beginning of my annual children’s ministry experience at LCN.

Three years ago I was in Toronto visiting my friend Deborah. I recall long walks along the lake and the beautiful view of the water from her backyard.

Four years ago I was in Puerto Vallarta enjoying walks along the malecon and gazing out at the ocean from my lounger on the beach.

I found another memory where I was actually in Winnipeg at this time six years ago. That was a year before I discovered Leavenworth.

And then I found a memory from ten years ago. On my way back from a visit to my friend Rochelle in Los Angeles, I had stopped for some beach time in Mazatlan before returning to Culiacan.

Today I’m moving from Leavenworth to Dryden, a town about 10 minutes away. Not quite as exotic as other places I’ve been, but it will be a memory nonetheless to look back on one day.

Remember When

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Remember When

I was out for a walk on a rather gray and foggy day. I heard geese honking! Sure enough in a field across the way there were hundreds of them. Canada Geese. On their way down south for the winter.

In another lifetime I’d head out to Fort Whyte Center in Winnipeg to see them take off at sunset. Occasionally flocks of them would appear overhead as I drove down McGillivray.

I was at Walmart and picked up a gingerbread house kit. It seems like just yesterday when my kids used to make them. This year my friend Ida and I are going to make one.

I move around a lot and usually spend Christmas in different places. I always buy a small tree and decorate it. I keep some of the handmade ornaments but the tree and the balls are always given away to someone when I leave. This is my 2020 tree although I will probably add more ornaments.

Places I’ve been in the last ten years include Culiac├ín, Tlaquepaque, Guadalajara, Tototl├ín, Mazatlan, San Ciro de Acosta and Aguascalientes. This is the first time I’ve ever been in the USA for Christmas.

The temperature is dropping and snow is in the forecast for next week. That will definitely bring back memories of life before Mexico when Winnipeg winters were my norm.

Sitting By The Fire

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Sitting By The Fire

I was out this morning and am quite content to stay in this afternoon. It’s a dreary, rainy day and a perfect time to sit by the fire as I wait for the dryer to do its magic. Oh how I miss my lavenderia in Las Flores! It was so nice to drop off the dirty clothes in the morning and pick up neatly folded and freshly laundered clothes later in the day.

But back to the fire. Have you ever done a flame meditation? Very relaxing. And I find my mind wandering to fire pits and other fireplaces and conjuring up memories of happy times.

As a young child I have vivid recollections of cooking hot dogs over a fire. The venue was a fireplace in the rec room. I can still envision my Uncle Sam presiding to ensure that no-one burned themselves or burned the house down for that matter.

I remember campfires at Bnai Brith Camp and Camp Kinnaird in Lake of the Woods. Amazing that we never burned the woods down although sparks from the flames often attacked us.

When my kids were young we had a wood burning fireplace in the family room. They delighted in blackening hot dogs and toasting marshmallows. The challenge was keeping the dog away from the flames. No need to have his fur singed.

Of course there was that one time when the fireplace backed up and thick, black smoke quickly filled the house. But the fire department had those amazing fans that blew it all out in minutes.

We had a fire pit in our backyard in Oak Bluff. It was a popular place for my kids and their friends. I especially liked to sit by the fire in the fall. Once winter set in it was just too bitterly cold.

The gas fireplace soon became a favorite of mine. Flip a switch, no mess and no sparks. Instant ambience!

The featured photo in this post is an electric fireplace in the living room in Leavenworth. It doesn’t throw off heat like the gas one, but it’s instant on with the press of a button.

Sitting by the fire……..

9/11

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9/11

We all have memories of 9/11. I was watching the news on TV before heading to work that day. What I initially thought was a replay of the first plane crashing into the towers was actually a live version of the second aircraft hitting the building.

Disbelief. Shock. Confusion. Fear. Anxiety. Anger. Overwhelming sadness. These were a few of the emotions I struggled with that day.

Back then I managed a group home for mentally challenged adults. I was riveted to the TV set until they returned from their day programs. I delegated staff to take them out for dinner so that I could continue watching the coverage.

When I got home that night my kids wanted to talk. They were young and their experience of the day’s events was quite different from mine. That made it even more complicated as I didn’t want my fears transferred on to them, especially seeing as I was scheduled to fly to the USA on a business trip less than two weeks later.

For the past four years I have been in Washington state on September 11th. A highlight of my time there is attending a memorial service at Spirit of America in Cashmere. This year the memorial service has been cancelled because of Covid-19. But I know in my heart that when I am finally able to return to Washington state, Spirit of America is one of the first places I will visit.

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.

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.