Tag Archives: Writing

Writing About Life

Writing About Life

As a young child, I delighted in writing short poems and creating birthday cards with rhyming verses. I even continued to write throughout my teens. I began a novel but somewhere along the line the magic vanished. When depression and anxiety entered my life as an adult, I began to journal. Next came the publication of two self-help books. I then discovered the art of blogging. Unfortunately the journaling has fallen by the wayside at the moment, but a new course in writing memoirs has taken its place.

This week’s homework entails finding a childhood photo and sharing a memory. This has proven to be quite a difficult feat as all the family photo albums are back in Canada and I am not. While I do have countless photos of my own children stored on my Seagate, I have only a handful of myself. I think my appearance as well as taste in clothing has changed significantly over the years. The bonnet and dress have been replaced by jeans and t-shirts.

Van Kirk

Another writing challenge that has occupied my time recently is an article to be published in Scoop, the newsletter at the Leavenworth Senior Center. I submitted two articles last summer about my life in Mexico. The article I’m going to share in this post was co-written with my friend Karen. We are two of the instructors in the S.A.I.L. program here in town and highly encourage seniors to attend these fitness classes. We both recognize how the exercises have enhanced our health and well-being, and are eager to share this experience with others.


Here is the article:

                                      STAY ACTIVE AND INDEPENDENT FOR LIFE


The Senior Falls Prevention Study was undertaken in 2003-2005 by the Washington State Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The WSDOH recognized the need for a program and sponsored research in social marketing in 2005-2006 aimed at how best to motivate seniors to participate. Also in 2006 S.A.I.L. instructor training was developed and funding provided by the WSDOH. In 2007 the results of a study of the participants showed improved balance, mobility skills and leg strength, as well as a reduction in fear of falling. Further research continues to support these findings.

S.A.I.L. is a strength, balance and fitness program geared towards adults 65 years and older. The activities have been designed to help seniors to stay independent and active as well as to prevent falls.

S.A.I.L. is evidence based as participants are assessed regularly by experienced and skilled instructors trained by professionals associated with Wellness Place in Wenatchee.

Classes follow a format of warm up exercises, aerobics and activities that promote balance, strength and flexibility.

Due to the nature of the program, a doctor’s consent is required prior to enrollment. Please drop by to observe a class and obtain the necessary forms.

The one hour classes are free of charge and are held on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 10:30 am at First Baptist Church, 429 Evans Street, here in Leavenworth.

We hope you will join us soon!



And now it is time for me to put the finishing touches on my submission for my writing class. I will leave adulthood for the present and delve back into my childhood.

Who Am I?

Who Am I?

I’ll be honest. I’m still trying to find myself. Yes, I know that this expression is decades old. But so am I, and I still crave adventure and who knows what else. I have been so many different people throughout the years. Baby to child to teenager to adult to wife to mother to name just a few. Babysitter to bookkeeper to manager to business owner to counselor to social worker to motivational consultant to teacher to writer to fitness instructor to name just a few. But who am I really?

Many followers of my blog know me personally. However there are others from around the world who read my posts and have never met me in person. So this post is dedicated to you. Here is a glimpse of who I am as I travel through this journey of life in an attempt to find myself.

My name is Karen and I was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Winnipeg is the capital city of the province and is smack dab in the middle of the prairies. It is infamous for the brutal winters and has justly earned the nickname of “Winterpeg.” Other than a brief few years in Oak Bluff, Manitoba I lived in Winnipeg all my life until November of 2010.


I still vividly recall the day I left. First stop was Grace Hospital to say goodbye to my daughter, who was a nurse there at the time. From there my son took me to the airport where another tearful goodbye transpired. I was on my way to my first ESL teaching job in Mexico. I had never been apart from my children for more than a couple of weeks at a time, and this was going to be a ten month separation. I cried all the way to Minneapolis and my first layover on the journey to Culiacan. And I must admit that I am still tearful as I don’t see my children often enough. I love them, I am so very proud of all their accomplishments and I miss them terribly. But we are all adults and we all have our own lives to lead. 

I returned to Winnipeg in July of 2011 and halfheartedly began looking around for a job and a place to live. I also had legal issues to deal with as my divorce decree was nowhere in sight although the marriage had ended in January of 2009. And then I received the phone call.

Are you interested in coming back to Mexico? We have a job opening in our private school here in Irapuato. Really? Hmmmm, teaching in Mexico was to be a one year plan. But the Skype interview went well and a couple of weeks later I was on my way back to Mexico.

It is now February of 2018. And I have retired from teaching. I’m into my third year here in Mazatlan after a few years in Guadalajara. I have also discovered a new summer home in Leavenworth, Washington where I lead an active life including a fair amount of volunteer work. Yes, summer home. Mazatlan is far too hot in the summer.

I have published two self-help books. “When Glad Becomes Sad” deals with depression and anxiety. “Alive Again” deals with separation and divorce. I am currently working on a book of fiction and enjoying writing it immensely. I have contributed articles to books published by other authors, and hope to publish more of my own poems and short stories in the future.

When I’m not writing, my favorite pastime here in Mexico is attending music and dance performances. I enjoy traveling and meeting new people. I belong to a Red Hat group and I play Hand and Foot regularly. I spend hours walking along the malecon. I love the ocean. That is what influenced my decision to leave Guadalajara. I like to watch movies and am hopelessly addicted to Candy Crush. I also take hundreds of pictures with my smart phone. And I have more recently begun volunteering at a Christian mission. And as an aside to my friends in Leavenworth, yes I am still coloring.


I am forever indebted to former Tlaquepaque housemates Omar and Sean who encouraged me to begin writing a blog on WordPress. And I am flattered that so many people take the time to read my posts. And I now have the time to read other writers’ blogs.

Now that I am retired, my focus will be on my writing, especially my current work in progress.  I have no idea what my next post will be about. I hadn’t anticipated this one until the words began to flow. So we’ll all be in suspense until the next one.

Sleepless in Los Pinos

Sleepless in Los Pinos

I make a point of walking approximately five miles a day to and from my destinations. All other walking is incidental. Amazing what a difference new knees have made in my life. Yesterday I unexpectedly by far exceeded the five miles and I was confident when I climbed into bed that sleep was imminent. I put on some classical music that almost immediately lulled me to sleep.

But it was not a restful sleep. Although I can’t recall the dreams I had, they must have been pretty strange and wild. I awoke with a start at 2:41 am. One of my characters in the book I’m writing was vying for my attention. I soon realized that Lorne was going to win this round.

Karen, you need to listen to me NOW! I have this situation with Misty. I know it should never have gone this way, but it did. I know this wasn’t what you had in mind for me when you first wrote me into your book.

Lorne, shut the F up! It’s the middle of the night and I need to sleep. Your crisis can wait. It hasn’t been put into writing yet.

Exactly Karen! You need to get it down now. While it’s going down. I know your laptop is just sitting there waiting to be booted up. And this is so incredibly important. You don’t want to miss out on this.

I left my cosy bed and plopped down in front of my laptop. It took only seconds to boot up and a minute or so to find my file.

Okay Lorne, let me have it. Just what is so traumatic that you disturbed my sleep?

I glanced down at the corner of the screen and was amazed to see that it was now 4:47 am. More than two hours had passed since I had been so rudely awoken by Lorne. Suddenly I was overwhelmed with fatigue.

I fell asleep to the sounds of roosters crowing outside my window. Yes, my neighbors have roosters. And they crow at all hours of the day and night. But alas they are camera shy.


My Imaginary Friends

My Imaginary Friends

It’s Thursday. I feel so lonely. I had all this time on my hands today and looked forward to doing some serious writing. Instead I wound up baking and cooking and going for a long walk to commune with nature. You see, my friends have deserted me today. Not all of my friends, it’s just my imaginary friends that aren’t talking to me today.  And I have been blessed with writer’s block instead.

Image result for images of writer's block

I love to write. I love to pour my feelings and emotions on paper using words. My characters have distinctive personalities and voices. But today they are silent. The drama is missing. And I am struggling to write anything meaningful today. I miss their lively chatter and wonder where my imaginary friends have been all day.

Living in Leavenworth has been very conducive to writing. The view from my window is greenery, and with the exception of the month of October, brilliant sunshine. It is peaceful and comfortable. Even all the rain in October was soothing as I sat at my keyboard. 

Image result for images of rain

It’s now Friday. This morning my imaginary friends were nowhere in sight. So off I went to Wenatchee to begin my last minute shopping before I head back to Mexico later this month. I then stopped in Cashmere for lunch. at my favorite Mexican restaurant. I also spent some time at the library before heading for home.

Inspired by a fairytale Christmas movie on the Hallmark Channel, my imaginary friends have finally decided to rejoin me. Perhaps they too were feeling lonely. Maybe they just needed a break. But they are back and they are talking to me again!  

I Swore I’d Never Do It Again, But……………………

I Swore I’d Never Do It Again, But……………………

I have quite a few letters after my name already. Throughout the years, depending on positions applied for, I’d selectively include those on a resume. Once I obtained my CTesl at University of Manitoba back in 2010, I swore I was done. No more courses, certificates or degrees! But I just started an online writing course this past week with Duke University.

Why do this now? I have already published two books. The answer to this question is simple. I have a thirst for knowledge and I love to learn. Although I have taken courses in a variety of subjects ranging from Psychology to Economics, this is the first time I am actually taking a course in writing. There is always room for improvement in my writing. Additionally, After focusing on self-help books, I am now eager to try my hand at fiction, a genre completely foreign to me. 

Almost a year ago I joined a group on Facebook called An Author’s Tale. Created by an enterprising young lady from Texas, Cayce R. Berryman, this group has now swelled in number to more than three hundred aspiring writers around the world. I tentatively began submitting short prose and poetry. And I began voraciously reading the contributions of other writers. And I became intrigued with fiction.

My dilemma right now is just where to begin. Characters and plots are making my head swim. I need to figure out a way to organize all this. And of course the most sensational ideas always seem to appear in my dreams or at other inappropriate times when I can’t put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard.

I enjoy writing posts here on WordPress and try to write about a variety of issues, experiences and adventures in my life. I am forever indebted to Sean Roberts and Omar Ramirez who introduced me to this site and encouraged me in my writing. I’d also like to thank all of my followers and readers for taking the time to read my posts here on WordPress.

Buenas Noches from Mazatlan……………