Tag Archives: Writing

Kreplach or Perogies

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Kreplach or Perogies

I can’t believe that it’s Sunday again already. I just wrote a Sunday blog post a few minutes ago. But wait. That was last week’s. And it was a week ago.

Tomorrow is my birthday and it’s one of those where you leave one decade behind and enter a new one. People often refer to them as milestone birthdays. But I call every birthday a milestone.

The weather here in Washington has been a lot cooler than usual as well as being rainy and windy. Well, it does beat snow and my friends back in Mexico tell me they’re roasting in the heat.

Yesterday was interesting. The clouds allowed some sunshine to peak through so Christina and I headed for the community wide yard sale in Cashmere. Our biggest find was an oak armoire with lovely shelves and drawers and not even a hint of particle board. $5 well spent.

Back at home in the afternoon the rain finally poured down. I decided to spend my time doing research for one of my characters in my WIP. What’s App was the medium I used to chat with a friend in Mexico, a doctor from Calgary originally from England where she received her medical training. The topics wavered between bipolar 1 and atrial fibrillation. Heavy stuff.

Now where was I going with this post? Oh yes! Kreplach or perogies. I guess it really doesn’t matter what you call them. They are delicious.

I grew up with a Jewish background and they were kreplach. My Bobba had Russian roots and I can still envision her in the kitchen making them from scratch. I did it that way exactly once. Much easier to buy them frozen from Naleway or to head down to the nearest Ukrainian church where the ladies there offer homemade ones for sale on Friday afternoons. I also recall driving out to restaurants in rural communities where the Mennonite version was available.

But I’m far away from Manitoba now and here in Washington I’ve introduced several people to the frozen perogies I’ve found at Safeway or Albertsons. This afternoon I’ll be frying up some onions and getting out the sour cream. And ketchup. You heard me right. That’s a new twist for me. My friend Clairesse is coming over and she is one of the rare Washingtonians I know who enjoys perogies. She grew up on Camino Island and ate them with ketchup.

So there you have it. Call them what you like. Kreplach or perogies. Happy Sunday!

This Week In Writing Land

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This Week In Writing Land

I was talking to one of my blogging friends the other day and somehow we got on the topic of why we blog. I originally started blogging as a way for my friends back home to come along with me on my travels and adventures. But it has evolved into more.

I write about whatever happens to come to mind, whatever I’m in the mood to write about. At the moment, mental health is very much on my mind. May is mental health awareness month. And one of the leading characters in my WIP is bipolar. I also have friends in Canada, Mexico and here in the USA who struggle with a bipolar disorder. Needless to say I’ve been doing a lot of research on the subject lately.

No idea why but I started thinking about Carl Rogers and encounter groups. Anyone else out there remember encounter groups? They were a part of my life back in the late 60s, early 70s when I was studying psychology in college. Ah, yes, my Canadian friends. I used the word college instead of university. Next you’re going to accuse me of spending too much time in the USA.

Back to my character. At the moment he is in a psych ward, not the most pleasant place to be. After all the struggles he’s had throughout childhood and his early teenage years, the diagnosis has finally been made and I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing with him next.

My character has had issues with anger management all his life. It began with temper tantrums as a toddler. And then there was the stage where he held all his emotions bottled up inside. Then the volcano erupted. Mood swings became the norm. Is he headed toward full-blown narcissism and ultimately Alzheimers? Too predictable. A serial killer? Nope. Don’t like that one either. Oh well. I’m sure it will come to me eventually.

But I sure am enjoying writing fiction. It’s fun to let my imagination run wild. People beware. I’m finding inspiration in the most unlikely places.

He Died

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He Died

He died. He’s gone. And I’ve been in mourning for days now. If you are a writer of fiction, you will totally get this. We immerse ourselves completely in our characters’ lives and get stuck there when there’s a traumatic event.

But I need to escape from the sadness and I’ve finally started to do some reading again. One of my favorite pastimes when I come to Washington is going to the library and reading books in English. Yes, I have a Kindle but I still enjoy the feel of holding a book in my hands.

While my friends are posting pics of the springtime snow in Winnipeg, I thought I’d share a couple of photos of spring in East Wenatchee.

I talk to Alexa every day. She provides me with accurate weather forecasts. And her corny jokes always make me smile. Here’s today’s joke of the day:

Where do chocolate and peanuts meet up? At the candy bar.

Have a great Sunday!

Ready?

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Look what I found the other day right here in Aguascalientes. Is this a sign as to where I’m going once I cross the border? For those of you who don’t know, Seahawks are Seattle’s football team in the NFL.

On the other hand, up in Canada, Manitoba just announced the loosening of Covid restrictions. My hometown is in that province and my son lives there. But it’s still a waiting game. Things appear to change daily.

I’ve done more writing in the last couple of weeks than in the entire last year. I’ve actually set aside the WIP I was working on and have shifted way back to something I started writing way back in the 70s. My characters are absolute screaming their stories to me and I’ve had to put alarms in my phone to remind me when it’s time to meet friends or even eat. Breakfast can be anytime between 5 am and 1 pm. Often the first cup of coffee is at around 3 am. And I love every minute of this chaos!

I’ve just about met my goal for Spanish this winter. Just a handful of irregular verbs left to conjugate in the simple past and perfect tenses. And my notebook will be complete. I’ve been doing more texting in Spanish and I’m even dreaming in Spanish.

Just checked the Winnipeg Free Press online. Once again they’ve quoted me. This time it’s about the effect Covid has had on my life. My claim to fame has been seeking asylum in two foreign countries during a pandemic. I guess you could say Covid has impacted my life somewhat.

I’ll leave you with this.

It’s Been A Fun Week

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It’s Been A Fun Week

There is no such thing as a typical week for me here in Aguascalientes, or for that matter anywhere I live. I do not thrive on routine. To me the word “routine” is a four letter word, along with the word “normal”, neither of which can be used to describe my life.

My characters are still talking to me so I’ve been doing a lot of writing, sometimes at 4 am. I do prefer to write during the day, but after experiencing writer’s block for several months, I’m extremely grateful for writing time regardless of the hour.

I did my usual morning run to the lavenderia. The day varies as I’ve grown quite accustomed to sipping that first cup of coffee and lounging around in bed checking emails and playing Candy Crush before I head out. But when I get close to running out of clean clothes, I brave the cold 40 degree mornings and go to the lavenderia. My reward is to pick up my clothes a few hours later, clean and neatly folded and ready to be put away.

I had a four hour fitness training on Zoom the other day from Washington. It was great to connect with everyone again and I’m looking forward to teaching again when I get back.

Joanne and I hit Costco the other day and here are two of my treasures……cheddar cheese and everything bagel. No idea how many steps we got in, but it was quite a few.

Joanne and I go for some pretty wild drives and have seen some really interesting areas in this city where I’m guessing most gringas don’t venture to. But we do!đŸ˜œ

Went for a haircut the other day. Last one with Paulina until I come back in the fall. Delighted to find a stylist here who actually knows how to layer hair like they do in the USA. And I also enjoy the banter all in Spanish.

I went to the park with Gloria and her daughter Romina. Gloria moves to Tulum next week. I will miss our intercambios and, of course, her delicious empenadas.

A project I’ve been working on this winter is condensing eleven plus years of notes on Spanish grammar and vocabulary into one notebook. And I’m almost done! It’s been a tedious task and I’m grateful to Gloria, Raul and Pedro for their help with grammar. I really understand why my students struggle with learning a second language.

I introduced my friend Carole to Country Break. We had a delightful lunch and I picked up a salad to take home. This amazing salad lasts at least three days and has become a staple in my fridge.

Time for internet church. Have a great Sunday!

This And That

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This And That

Wednesday, Hump Day and January is more than half over. This week is shaping up to be a lot better than last weekend was.

I watched the two Mamma Mia movies, in Spanish of course. I love the music. The one time I saw Mamma Mia live was at the Concert Hall in Winnipeg. My daughter was with me and I recall that she introduced me to steamers during intermission.

I’ve been in writing mode and my character in crisis is finally settling down. This means less tears for me and a much improved mood. Can’t wait to head up north in March and get my hands on a laptop. I love my tablet, but it isn’t the greatest for writing.

Despite the fact that schools are closed here, it’s been quiet at the park. I enjoy the quiet as I can focus more on my Spanish grammar. I’m consolidating three notebooks I’ve compiled over the years into one and want to make sure I don’t leave out anything.

Sharon and I went out for lunch yesterday and I was delighted to find some decent pizza. However nothing compares with the woodfired pizza in Tlaquepaque. That was the best!

Speaking of Tlaquepaque, I’m planning on heading there next month to visit with friends. Other than the airport, it’s been three years since I’ve spent any time there.

Thanks to social media, this has also been the week of reconnecting with friends who I lived with over the years here in Mexico. They’re now in Bali, Australia, Texas and Maine.

My friend who makes the most amazing empenadas is in Tulum and I’m going through withdrawal. Hope she gets back soon.

Time to put on some 80s music and dive back into my writing.

Have a Wonderful Wednesday!

Writing In 2022

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Most of what I write about in this blog are stories of my travels and my life while living in numerous different places. Occasionally I write about my family and friends. I also tend to shy away from politics and religion. And I also try to leave Covid on the sidelines.

In 2022, I’ve decided to write a little more introspectively. Is that even a word? I’m not sure just what that means at the moment. But it will be interesting to find out.

After having published two self-help books, I’m currently writing fiction. Imagination rules where fact once presided. A very different style, both enjoyable and frustrating at the same time.

For the time-being, I’ve shelved the idea of writing memoirs for my granddaughter. She turns four next month, so she won’t be ready to read them anytime soon. Thanks to Covid she believes I live in a cellphone. But videocalls are the best way available to maintain contact because we live in different countries.

Years ago I wrote poetry. However I don’t feel quite as creative these days. The idea of deciding if words should or shouldn’t rhyme has lost its appeal.

While I will still write about my travels and my life, in 2022 these posts will be interspersed with topics of a more serious nature. When the mood hits.

Perhaps this post is one of them.

They’re Talking To Me Again!

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They’re Talking To Me Again!

Writing fiction isn’t easy. It’s a lot more fun than writing self-help books, except for when my imaginary characters stop talking to me. And that’s been going on for quite a while now.

But for some reason, over the weekend they not only began talking to me again but they also demanded my undivided attention. And I have found myself totally immersed in the life of one of my main characters. I have been eating, sleeping and breathing his life.

And it’s a complicated life. He’s struggling with overwhelming challenges and is finally beginning to overcome some of them. I find myself crying and laughing right along with him.

I recall a time when one of my housemates found me in tears and was sure someone had just died. No, I explained to him, I was just totally into my character.

But unless you’re a writer, these emotions are hard to comprehend. I also cry when I watch movies. Or I laugh aloud. At the moment my character is making me do a lot of both.

I’m seriously contemplating buying another laptop sooner than later. Writing on a tablet is becoming a little tedious now that my imaginary friends are back. But I’m glad they’re back. I’ve missed them.

Saturday Now

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Saturday Now

Saturday is a very different day than it used to be. One cup of coffee with yogurt and granola. Off in an Uber to teach English for a couple of hours.

Another Uber home and off to the carnicerĂ­a. He grilled the chicken I bought for me. I’d take a walk to the bakery and do any other shopping and then return to pick up my chicken.

After lunch (yes lunchtime was at around 4 pm) I’d head to the church to teach for an hour.

In the evening I’d explore the Expoplaza area. There were always numerous food vendors. I’d watch the children ride around the square on a burro. I’d listen to music and walk through the San Marcos park.

I’d have interesting conversations with people. A handful understood minimal English but it was a great opportunity for me to practice my Spanish.

Occasionally I’d attend a birthday party or another fiesta on a Saturday evening. And there were concerts close by as well.

Saturday now is very different. Lots of time for that second cup of coffee. I can leisurely make an omelet. No rush to get dressed. No reason to call an Uber. No students to teach.

I take two walks a day. One is before it gets too hot and the other is after it cools off in the evening. Daytime highs are in the low 90s.

This is what Expoplaza area looks like now.

I color, I watch movies, I write, I phone friends and I listen to music.

Actually Saturday seems pretty much like every other weekday now.

What About Your Other Health?

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What About Your Other Health?

Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Maintain social distancing. Stay at home. This is all great advice for protecting your physical health.

But what about your mental health? What are you doing to protect your mental health?

If you’re self-isolating, you spend a lot of time by yourself. This is a perfect opportunity for your brain to go into overdrive. This results in an unnecessary abundance of fear and anxiety and ultimately panic. Even if you are at home and have other family members with you, the conversation ultimately focuses on COVID-19.

The art of mindfulness and meditation are two techniques that work for me. If I’m coloring I focus on the masterpiece I’m creating. If I’m watching a movie I really listen to the Spanish and am amazed at how much better my comprehension has become.

I meditate with music and imagery. I’ve even gotten back to gazing at the flame of a candle.

I’ve replaced a great deal of my social media viewing with the above-mentioned. When I want the facts about COVID-19 I go to the Mayo Clinic website. I also participate in discussion groups on this site.

I find online Church as well as Bible study to be important. Both are a great way to stay connected. I also find them comforting.

I also spend less time on the phone although I do connect with the my family and close friends more regularly. Just as long as the conversation doesn’t focus completely on the virus.

Quite obviously I’m spending more time writing. Blog posts are every second day. I’m also working on my next book.

I make a point of going out for walks every day. I lose myself in the beauty of nature. So many trees and flowers are beginning to bloom.

I guess you could say I take a lot of time for ME and I highly recommend it.

Take time for yourself!