Tag Archives: toronto

Adios 2018!

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Adios 2018!

The older we get the faster the time flies by. 2019 is fast approaching and promises to be another exciting fun-filled year with more amazing adventures. As I reflect on 2018,  I see a strengthening of several relationships as well as a fair amount of travel.

I rang in the New Year in Culiacan with my family. I returned to Mazatlan in January and soon got caught up in art walks, concerts, movies and luncheons.

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February is synonymous with Carnaval where parades and music abound. I also managed a quick weekend trip to Culiacan as there was an event at my grandson’s school. I took a day trip to with the Solo Snowbirds to El Qelite, a pueblos magico. But the true highlight of the month was the birth of my granddaughter, Madeline Annette, in Canada.

March was dominated with music and ballet performances. My friends Elly and Dwayne from Leavenworth were visiting Mazatlan and we had a delightful Sunday brunch together along with an afternoon by the pool at their hotel.

On April 1st, Easter dinner was at Al Chile with my friends Peggy, Delmar and Barry. Motorcycle Week roared in and I had a whirlwind trip to Culiacan to see my family before heading to Ontario. It was exciting to finally meet Maddie and my week with her flew by all too quickly.

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Then I was off to Toronto to spend time with Deborah, one of my best friends who also used to live in Winnipeg. On April 30th I was up in the air again on my way to Leavenworth via Seattle.

May was a busy month with activities at the Senior Center, SAIL classes, Church, book club and of course renewing the friendships I had made during the previous two summers I’d been in Leavenworth. The music and dancing at Maifest was most enjoyable. Laurel and I bravely hiked the difficult trails at Ohme Gardens as we had misread the signs. Knee replacements work!

Things got even busier in June as Linda and I prepared our classroom for VBS (Vacation Bible School.) Perfecting the crafts provided a bit of a challenge. Decorating the room was really a blast as well. The Accordion Festival in Leavenworth and Founders Day in Cashmere were held on the same weekend, and that made it rather hectic. I also started a course in memoir writing at the end of the month.

July 4th is synonymous with Kinderfest in Leavenworth. More preparing for VBS and then an amazing week with the kids at VBS, truly the highlight of my stay in Leavenworth. I also attended two performances of Leavenworth Summer Theater……Sound of Music and My Fair Lady. Christmas in July was held at Upper Valley Museum as well.

In August Ann and I did a whirlwind trip through the San Juan Islands and Whidbey Island. I attended another production of Leavenworth Summer Theater…Little Women. Next came Midsummer Night’s Dream in Wenatchee, Bell Ringers, and the Village Voices Picnic at Lions Park that was moved indoors due to the smoke.

September began with the County Fair in Cashmere where friends introduced me to funnel cake. I also went to Elder Speak at Snowy Owl. Ann and I took a day trip to Ellensburg and Cle Ulm. Wednesday night children’s ministry at LCN started again. I went to a children’s ministry workshop in Auburn and went to a meeting of the Autoimmune Society in Wenatchee. But the highlight of this month was the 9/11 ceremony held in Cashmere at Spirit of America.

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October was a bittersweet month. The leaves were in their glory but it was time for me to prepare to leave. Fond farewells filled the month and I was soon up in the air again headed for Guadalajara via L.A. I had a wonderful time revisiting San Pedro, an area I lived in for almost four years. It was nice to see old friends again, and to sit in the Jardin Hidalgo and stroll down Calle Independencia. Naturally I had to trek out to my favorite place via the Macrobus…..Parque Mirador.

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November was an interesting month. Day of the Dead in Tlaquepaque was spectacular. I enjoyed viewing the altars along Juarez as well as visiting the cemetery. Then I was off to Culiacan to spend a week with my family. My grandsons have all grown so much since I last saw them in April.

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Next I found myself on a bus headed for San Luis Potosi. I met Bonnie on a Facebook group and decided to check out San Ciro de Acosta. This pueblo is everything she said it would be and more. I had intended to stay for one month, but I am now into my second month. As well as exploring the town itself, I went out to Aquismon with Bonnie and her family for Thanksgiving.

In December I went out to Jalpan, Queratero for the day. This is another of the magical towns here in Mexico and it did not disappoint. I also discovered two museums in Rio Verde. I went with Bonnie up to the chapel of the Virgin of Guadalupe. There was a Christmas Posada at the Club de Leones and then on December 20th in the evening was the Migrant Parade. Mexicans returning home from working up north came ina caravan from Laredo. They tossed candies to the children and the locals brough tamales and atole to them in their vehicles. There was a huge Christmas posada in the plaza for the children that went on for hours. It began with the traditional procession through the town with Joseph and Mary seeking shelter and culminated with music, games and dancing for all the children. The fare for Christmas Eve was tostadas and ponche along with Christmas movies on Netflix. Connie and I also baked some cookies for the kids.

Adios 2018! It’s been another great year.

I wish all my readers a fantastic 2019 filled with love, peace and good health.

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Ontario

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Ontario

I arrived in Toronto around 6 am on April 11th. With the time change I lost 3 hours and felt completely disoriented as it felt like 3 am to me. My Interjet flights were wonderful and my bag was one of the first off the carousel. Customs and Immigration was a breeze and a half hour later I was at Tim Horton’s sipping a much needed coffee.

My daughter picked me up and the gloom of a rainy day was brightened as I saw my granddaughter for the first time. Soother firmly gripped in her tiny mouth, Maddie was half asleep in her car seat. Such a sweetheart!

We headed for a mall and I finally got to see Maddie and hold her. I had hoped to wheel her around in her stroller, but the trunk space was needed for my suitcase. Kimmy had a type of shawl she wrapped the baby in but Maddie was a little fussy being carried around in this manner.

We had lunch at Moxie’s and Maddie slept through the entire meal. This was very different from my experience when Kimmy was a baby. It seemed like wherever I was and whenever food was put in front of me, my baby always wanted to nurse.

Our next stop was to pick up my son-in-law who had been writing an exam for his pilot license. We then headed for the 401 and the drive to Frankford. The dreary rain continued and a couple of hours later we were home.

The days flew by. I held Maddie as often as I could despite my daughter insisting that Maddie could sleep very well in her crib. When I wasn’t holding her I watched her in her swing when we ate, or sat with her in the back seat of the car when we drove.

When it was time for me to leave, I totally fell apart at the train station. Maddie had a firm grip with her tiny hand on my finger, and it was just too hard to tear myself away from her, not knowing when I would see her again.

My daughter has requested that I not post any photos of Maddie on my blog posts, so you will have to take my word for it that she is the most beautiful baby in the whole wide world.

This is a photo I took out of the living room window. Rain had turned to an ice storm and then snow. How I missed Mexico!

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The weather did not deter us from going out. One afternoon we checked out a couple of wineries.

 

 

By the time I got to Toronto, there was no evidence of ice or snow. I stayed with my friend Deborah whom I hadn’t seen in almost three years. We had a lot of catching up to do. She lived right on the lake and there was a beautiful trail close by that ran along the water.

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One afternoon I wandered around downtown and visited Queen’s Park.

 

 

We also went out to Woodbine to see the races one day, and of course we headed for a shopping mall.

 

 

It was now time for the final leg of my journey to Leavenworth, Washington. 

I’m Back!!!!!

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I’m Back!!!!!

It’s been over a month since I’ve written a post. That’s what happens when you travel and are distracted by things to do and limited internet access. But at least I remembered to take photos, and I am now in the process of organizing hundreds of them.

Here is a Coles Notes version of the past month. In future blog posts I will expand upon my adventures. But I did want to assure my readers that I have not merely dropped off the face of the earth.

I left Mazatlan on April 8th, the final day of Moto Week. The night before I had been hanging out with friends watching the motorcycle parade. Thousands of cyclists converge upon Mazatlan annually and the roar of engines is constant.

I arrived in Culiacan and spent a couple of days with my Mexican family. I enjoyed watching the kids frolic in a wading pool that first afternoon. The following day spring break was over and everyone was back at school. On Tuesday evening I found myself at the airport and boarded a flight for Mexico City.

I had a two hour layover before boarding the next flight to Toronto. I arrived in Toronto at 6 am to gloomy, cloudy skies. By the time my daughter came to get me at the airport, the rain had started. But my spirits brightened when I caught my first glimpse of my new granddaughter asleep in her car seat.

We headed to a mall for a while before heading out on the highway to Frankford. Once at my daughter’s home, I finally got to hold my granddaughter for the first time. It was amazing! This sweet little face gazed up at me with questioning eyes. Who are you? Why are you holding me?

After that any opportunity I had I held her in my arms, whether she was awake or asleep. My daughter is nursing and had expressed milk, so I even found myself giving Madeline a bottle in the aisle of Home Depot one afternoon.

The week I spent with them was a fleeting dream, and I soon found myself on a train heading back to Toronto. The hustle and bustle at Union Station at 5 pm was a tad overwhelming, but I found the next train that took me to a station close to where my friend Deborah lives.

My visit with Deborah was round three of an emotional journey. The first part was leaving my Culiacan family and the second was leaving my daughter and granddaughter. My friend Deborah almost lost her life last year to an infection last year and defied all odds by surviving emergency surgery and then learning to walk again. The time we spent together was special, but I soon found myself back at the airport.

I flew to Vancouver and then on to Seattle. It was a short two hour drive to Leavenworth. The three hour time change took its toll. I crashed for a few hours and then dove right into my usual routine. Exercise class, lunch at the senior center and then a craft afternoon.

Suddenly it’s Saturday and my first week back has flown by all too quickly. Only one photo for this post but many more to come in future posts. So stay tuned.

Autumn in Washington

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Autumn in Washington

Autumn has long been my favorite season of the year. Trees and bushes show their glorious fall foliage. Once they fall to the ground they make a crunching sound under my feet as I walk along the street.

When my son was a toddler, we would head for Assiniboine Park in Winnipeg where we would collect leaves. He would squeal gleefully as he darted about  looking for different colors and shapes. We would take our treasures home, wrap them in saran, and place them carefully in one of my heaviest cookbooks to preserve them. I actually saved that one cookbook with the last leaves we collected and it’s hidden beneath some photo albums in a bin stored at my son’s house. A beautiful memory.

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Two years ago I spent a couple of days in Toronto. My friend Deborah lived by the lake and I recall our wonderful walk among the colorful trees in the neighborhood. I hadn’t experienced fall in a while as Mexico has a totally different climate and vegetation.

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Last summer I discovered Washington state and I returned again this year to enjoy the summer and fall. Busloads of tourists come to Leavenworth to admire the amazing display of color at this time of year. The Autumn Leaf Festival held two weekends ago attracted hundreds of tourists. The Salmon Festival also happened recently. But we are now in the midst of three weekends of Oktoberfest, which means thousands of people flocking to Leavenworth.

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Oktoberfest! This quaint Bavarian village is synonymous with the Oktoberfest celebration. Lederhosen and dirndls are worn by many. Entertainment abounds at three different venues. Bratwurst on a bun is just one of the many items on the menu. And of course there are numerous types of beer to choose from. Hotels and campgrounds are booked solid. Driving through town is more like a congested parking lot.

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This weekend Apple Days was held at the Pioneer Museum in Cashmere. Yours truly got caught up in the spirit and volunteered in the vintage railroad ticket station. Entertainment varied from gymnasts to mariachi and more. Shoot outs were held on the hour. And of course an apple pie baking contest was featured. This gentleman was serving up sarsaparilla in the bar.

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A wind blew in yesterday and a shower of pine needles has covered the ground. The aroma is heavenly. And my favorite tree in Cashmere has begun to change color.

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2015 The Year in Review

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2015 The Year in Review

I can’t believe it’s December already.  The months have flown by quickly and 2015 has been quite a hectic year filled with activity. In reality, the older I get the faster the time flies by.

In January I was living in Tlaquepaque and teaching at Avery Franz De Witt. I was working on the final edit of my second book, Alive Again. And I bought a pair of mitts and a headband because it got so cold at night in Guadalajara with lows of zero degrees. But the fountains still flowed with water in the daytime.

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February was another busy month of teaching and writing. I celebrated Valentine’s Day with Carlos. Then I found myself traveling to Manzanillo for a few days by the beach.

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When I returned to Guadalajara I began the arduous process of preparing for a book launch in Winnipeg. March was the first of many stressful months. I had to book flights to Winnipeg and arrange a variety of appointments while I was there. I had medical matters and financial issues to deal with in addition to the book launch. I had to sort out accommodations and ensure that I had time to see my friends.

April was insane. Right after Easter, I headed to Culiacan for a visit with my family. Off to Mazatlan next where I reunited with Larysa whom I hadn’t seen in over twenty years. I also accepted a teaching position at a language institute. I headed south to Sayulita to visit with Debbie who now owns a bed and breakfast there. We also spent a day in Bucerias before I headed back down to Puerto Vallarta to catch my flight to Canada. Yes, four different beaches in just one week!

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I flew to Winnipeg via Calgary. David met me at the airport and I moved in with Donna and Loris for a few days. Next it was Audrey, Nancy, Kyle, Carolyn, Kyle, Donna and Loris, then back to Mexico. I had my book launch at McNally Robinson, spent time with my friends and had a myriad of medical and other appointments.

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I flew back to Mexico at the end of May and rented a room with a Mexican family in a working-class Mexican neighborhood. It was a fabulous opportunity to get immersed in the culture and practice my Spanish skills.  

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In June I taught staff English at Hotel Torres. July was a holiday month from teaching and left me time to explore Mazatlan and do quite  bit of writing. I also volunteered at The Vineyard Church making sandwiches to distribute to the poor people out near the dump.

The months flew by and I was soon on my way to Toronto. I spent a couple of days with my friend Deb whom I hadn’t seen in years. I then joined my daughter Kimmy and the rest of the group at the airport and was on a flight bound for Punta Cana, the destination for her wedding.

What an amazing week that was! I spent many happy hours by the pool with my daughter and her friends and new family. Kimmy had organized a fabulous group event that included everything from cigar-making displays to horseback riding and everything in between. There were also family dinners, a bachelorette party and then finally it was the wedding day.

A friend of Kimmy’s performed the ceremony on the beach Thankfully the rain held off until after the big event, but the dinner on the terrace was moved indoors. And then it was off to the disco for dancing.  

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One more day of relaxing by the pool and then we were heading back to Toronto. Except that WestJet had mechanical problems so our return flight was delayed by a day.

I returned to Mexico and had a very busy November. I started teaching again and then made plans to move into a condo with another woman from Canada. But the condo wasn’t available until early December, so I wound up moving in with another friend for three weeks.

December was another busy month. I moved into the condo and began to settle in. There is a pool so it has been nice to get back into the water again. And of course there is another new neighborhood to explore. Christmas was approaching and I found myself traveling again, to Guadalajara and Tototlan.

I am now back in Mazatlan and happy to be home. I’d like to wish everyone all the best for an amazing 2016, a year filled with peace, happiness and good health. 

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Reunion in Toronto

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Reunion in Toronto

On my way to my daughter’s wedding in Punta Cana last month, my travels found me in Toronto. It’s been decades since I’ve been there. As a teenager I always loved this city and even at one point had aspirations of moving there, until a boyfriend and marriage intervened.

My friend Deb lives in Toronto and we hadn’t seen each other in almost ten years. Deb was my supervisor for a few months when we worked together at Hope Centre in Winnipeg. She left and pursued another career in a different city. We emailed and sent messages on Facebook, but it was great to finally get together again.

Deb and her boyfriend live in a charming apartment in Long Branch. They are only three blocks away from the lake in a a quaint neighborhood. We went for a walk and I realized just how much I miss autumn in Canada. The leaves were turning brilliant colors while others already fallen and crunched beneath our feet. That night we all enjoyed a wonderful dinner at The Keg Mansion. An additional treat was watching the Blue Jays win their game.

Deb and I sat up into the wee hours of the night, sipping wine and talking. Our lives had both changed so much since we worked together in Winnipeg. We had both pursued new careers. Deb had broken off an engagement and my marriage had come to an end. She had settled down in Toronto and I had moved to Mexico. We talked about our kids and how they had grown up, become independent and were now leading lives of their own.  And of course we talked about the many adventures we’d had throughout the years.

The next day we went to a delightful Greek restaurant for lunch. We did a little shopping and then it was time for me to move to the hotel to be with my daughter. I was supposed to spend another night with Deb on the way back from the wedding, but Westjet had another idea when the plane had mechanical problems and our flight back to Toronto was delayed by a day. I arrived back in Toronto just in time to get my flight to Puerto Vallarta via Regina.

Deb and I never did around to taking a selfie together, and my purchases from shopping that day are still at her apartment in Toronto. But here are some photos and memories.

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My Last Post For A While

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My Last Post For A While

My daughter is getting married this month and I start my travels tomorrow night. When she got engaged and mentioned destination wedding, I was hoping it would be in Mexico where I live. But she has her heart set on Punta Cana in The Dominican Republic, so that is where I am heading. Tomorrow night I take an overnight bus to Puerto Vallarta. Saturday night I have booked a hotel room in Puerto Vallarta. Late Sunday afternoon I fly to Calgary. After a four hour layover I board a flight to Toronto. With the many time changes I arrive in Toronto at 6:45 am on Monday. I am looking forward to spending Monday with a friend and Tuesday with a cousin. Then early Wednesday morning I join the group and we all fly to Punta Cana together.

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Then I can relax. Seeing as I live in Mazatlan which boasts one of the most beautiful beaches in the world (pictured below), the beach in Punta Cana does not have the same lure as it does for the other guests from Canada attending the wedding. But I do intend to unwind for a week.

My daughter has requested that we all abstain from using the internet for the week that we are there. However I doubt that this is really possible. We have all become far too reliant on the internet. I check the weather and news daily and chat with friends on What’s App and Messenger. I submit contributions to writing groups. And of course I have my blog posts. I also practice my Spanish on Duolingo daily.

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I have developed a strategy that I feel is a fair compromise. I will limit my time on Facebook and ignore Candy Crush. I will not submit any contributions to writing groups or write any blog posts. I seldom check email as to me it’s snail mail. But for my friends on What’s App and Messenger, I will be there both in English and in Spanish. And I will use Duolingo.

I vaguely recall vacations before internet. In many ways they were more relaxing because I could distance myself from the stresses back home. But I live in Mazatlan now and it’s paradise. And I don’t feel the need or have the desire to distance myself. I will be watching to see what others are doing, and I guarantee you that forty-three wedding guests will not be turning off their phones and tablets for a week. While it is an interesting concept, I highly doubt its practicality.

To all my readers and followers out there, have a great couple of weeks!

Adios y hasta luego!

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