Tag Archives: relationships

Last Post From Washington State

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Last Post From Washington State

Three days until I leave. I’m actually very organized, other than the last minute stuff that just can’t be done beforehand.

I’ve been here for almost a year and am more than ready to head south except for the fact that I’ll be missing fall here. I won’t see the leaves in their fall splendor as they change color. The view along Highway 2 in Leavenworth is spectacular. I also won’t be able to meander through Cashmere admiring the glorious fall colors, especially my favorite red maple.

Wednesday will be a busy day and I won’t be posting. I fly from Wenatchee to Seattle to Los Angeles. Then on Thursday I fly to Guadalajara and grab a bus to Aguascalientes. I’ve done it before but that was before Covid. My masks are ready.

I said goodbye to my life group on Wednesday at a barbecue. Last night I had intended to bid farewell to my friends at the Senior Center, but the activity was canceled due to the rising number of Covid cases here in Chelan County. On Friday Joyce and I had spent the day together in Wenatchee and had one last lunch at Olive Garden. Joyce and I also taught our last fitness class together on Tuesday.

This afternoon Linda and I will have one last movie afternoon. We’ve been hibernating indoors on Sundays due to the smoke. Her husband Gene is an amazing chef and pampers us with a variety of tantalizing dishes.

There will be more goodbyes to more friends in the next couple of days. Each fall it gets harder to leave here as relationships grow. And I have been especially blessed this year as Debbie and Paul have provided me with a wonderful home for the last few months.

Although I am excited about a winter without snow again this year, I do look forward to returning to the mountains in the spring. This prairie girl will always be enamored by the beauty of the Cascades.

I Don’t Usually

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I Don’t Usually

I don’t usually post on Mondays. But today is no ordinary Monday.

I got a phone call from my daughter in Kelowna late last night. She was calling from her car, crawling along a road where way too many people were fleeing fires. She had about an hour to pack up and get my granddaughter and the three cats into her car. Thankfully my son-in-law was there to help her. He is a helicopter pilot and has been spending his time fighting fires.

Two years ago I visited my daughter and admired the forested area across the street from her house. I’m not sure I feel the same way today. But they were able to get out safely and they do have a safe place to stay temporarily.

I thought 2020 was a bad year but 2021 is still in the competition. I feel like I should get some type of reward for successfully obtaining extended stays in two foreign countries during a pandemic. I’m trying to get back to Canada but it’s still a waiting game. I spoke to my attorney again this morning. I’m still exploring options.

My daughter works in an ICU and tells me it’s been necessary to open up a second unit because of all the Covid patients. ALL UNVACCINATED!!!!!! And she is scheduled to work tonight even with her own chaotic personal life at the moment.

As if COVID-19 and raging wildfires aren’t enough, now there are earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, and tsunami warnings around the world. What’s next???

I saw this post on Facebook today and thought it most appropriate for today’s world.

Prayer Request

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Prayer Request

In the fall of 2010 I arrived in Culiacan to teach English at a private school. I did not speak Spanish and knew absolutely no-one in Mexico.

I was in the library on my break when one of the other teachers approached me. Juan spoke some English and wanted to improve his skills. He was also eager to help me learn Spanish. An intercambio exchange turned into a friendship. His wife Lucila taught at a different school and would come to drive him home. She also began to drive me home.

At the time they had one child, Juan Carlos, just over a year old. Over the years, our friendship has grown, and so has their family. They now have four children, and I have four nietos (grandsons) who call me abuelita (grandma). They and their extended family have all adopted me.

Juan Carlos phones me and we do video calls on Tuesdays and Fridays. I am amazed at how well he speaks English and am so very proud of him. He just graduated primaria (elementary school) earlier this month.

Since Covid arrived back in March of 2020, classes have been on the internet. For the most part, Juan and Lucila have been able to work from home. They go out only when absolutely necessary, usually for groceries. They wear masks and avoid crowds whenever possible.

Juan and Lucila each had one dose of Astra Zeneca, a vaccine not approved for use here in the USA. Sadly, they have both come down with Covid despite their efforts to stay healthy. My grandsons are all sick now as well.

The photo above was taken in happier times, back in December of 2019 when I last visited them in Culiacan.

I am so blessed to have this beautiful family in my life. Please keep them in your prayers.

Hump Day Rant Day

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Hump Day Rant Day

Today is the last day in June. And I’m still in the USA and haven’t made it back to Canada yet. July 5th is on the horizon. Perhaps Canada’s stance on the border will be more clearly stated. Or not. It’s been pretty ambiguous up until now.

The way I see it Americans are being discriminated against. Fully vaccinated with Pfizer, as a Canadian I will finally be able to return without the ridiculous cash grab quarantine. However my friends here in the USA who have had the same vaccine are not extended that privilege.

While Covid had the potential to cause a world war, Trudeau’s stubbornness is inciting rebellions among Canadians as well as Americans. Never in history has Canada been so divided. Patriotism is all but dead.

When I finally do return to Canada I know that I will be sacrificing a lot. I will not have the freedom I have here in the USA. I will not enjoy the same quality of life I have here. And I will be counting the days until I can return to Aguascalientes for the winter.

But I want to hug my kids. I want my granddaughter to know that I am a real person and don’t just live in a phone where we see each other on video calls.

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!

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!

The 50 Plus Club

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The 50 Plus Club

We’ve all had a lot of friends over the years. As we grow older our friendships become even more important. But how many of these friendships have lasted five decades or more?

I think back to friends I went to school with, played sports with, went to ballet and choir with, belonged to various organizations with, and more. There are so many friends I’ve lost touch with over the years. I do have more than a handful of friendships that have lasted well over twenty or thirty years. But fifty years is special.

I was talking to my friend Carole last week. We first met back in 1964. I lived in Winnipeg and she lived in Minneapolis. There was no internet back then so we became penpals. We don’t see each other often. I last visited Carole on the July 4th weekend in 2011. I think we’re long overdue for a visit.

Sheila and I met back in 1965 in junior high school. We lost touch for a while after high school as I was going to university and she was busy having babies. But we found each other again on Facebook and we get together when I come back to Winnipeg to visit.

Rochelle and I met in 1971 when we were taking a course at university. While I remained in Winnipeg, she moved to Los Angeles when she got married. I did visit her in L.A. a few years ago. She has since moved to Arizona and I hope to visit her there once things settle down with Covid.

These are three friends in my 50 plus club. We’ve gone through marriages and divorces. We’ve supported each other in times of crisis. We’ve laughed and we’ve cried together. We don’t see each other nearly often enough as we live in different countries but thanks to technology we are able to keep in touch.

Here’s to many more years of friendship ahead!

Family

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Family

Snow has arrived in Leavenworth. I decided to escape to the warmth of California tonight and tuned in to YouTube to watch Season 1 Episode 3 of one of my favorite TV shows. Family aired in the 70s and 80s and featured Kristy McNichol as Buddy.

When my son Kyle was three years old, he enjoyed watching this series with me. In those days we had a VCR and the episode I watched tonight was Kyle’s favorite. He called it “the swimming Buddy.” He admired Buddy because she learned to dive by herself. His favorite expression back then was “self did it”, so he really identified with Buddy. He was always eager to do things on his own without any adult help.

That episode struck a chord with me because Willie was such an awesome older brother to Buddy. That’s an experience I never had growing up although I do now have a couple of close male friends who are like the brothers I never had before.

I also treasure a number of close female friends whom I consider to be more like sisters. Two of them even date back to middle school years. And have we ever changed since then!

My friends tell me I collect family. I don’t like the word “collect.” It’s true that my extended family continues to grow over the years with all the traveling I do. But these amazing people are much more than a collection. We’ve been there for each other through thick and thin. We’ve shared laughter and tears and it doesn’t matter where we live now. We are more than friends for life. We are family.

What’s Next

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What’s Next

The clock is ticking. I’ve been in the USA for over two months now and still don’t have a clue as to where I’ll go when my 180 days are up.

I know that I am not anxious to travel. If anything I’m anxious about travel, whether it be to Canada or to Mexico.

One thing I do know is that while Covid-19 is crazy everywhere, I am also determined not to live in fear. I’m not going to seek out crowds, but I do intend to continue to do my own shopping and to go out with friends. I was also pleasantly surprised to see that the library has reopened although the book club and craft activities are still cancelled.

By nature I am an extrovert. However after all the quarantining and closures, I believe I am now leaning towards being more of an introvert. I’m not sure I’m comfortable with that.

While it is nice to have a less hectic schedule, I miss my volunteer work in Leavenworth and in Cashmere. I miss my friends and the programs at the senior center. I miss the children’s ministry at church. And virtual Thanksgiving celebrations just don’t cut it.

It’s been well over a year since I last saw my daughter and granddaughter in Kelowna. I haven’t seen my son in Winnipeg in well over three years. And I haven’t seen my family in Culiacán in a year. Duo video calls are enjoyable, but they don’t take the place of in person interaction.

In one of my recent conversations with my son, he asked me what my long term plans were. He was adamant that 180 days in the USA is not a long term plan. I disagree. For me it’s as long term as I can fathom right now.

Before Covid I kind of had a long term plan. From Mexico I was planning to go to Winnipeg to see my son. I was planning on going to Kelowna to see my daughter and my granddaughter. I was also going to take some time to find a quaint little town somewhere in Canada where I might want to settle down in a couple of years. But now all of that is on hold.

I was also planning on doing a few months in Leavenworth again before heading back to Mexico for the winter. But it now appears that I am about to experience a Washington winter instead.

There always needs to be a Plan B or C or D because the only constant in life is change.