I am a Canadian writer currently living in Leavenworth, Washington. I published When Glad Becomes Sad in 2009. My second book, Alive Again, was published in March of 2015. Both are self-help books. I am currently working on a third book, this time a work of fiction.
My friend Mitch commented on my wall the other day that it has been just over ten years since the auction closed down. Auctions were a big part of our lives back then. Mitch worked at Wachniak’s in Winnipeg. And my friends and I went to these auctions hunting for treasures for our E-Bay businesses as well as for ourselves. We’ve all had so many changes in our lives since then. Partners, occupations and residences have all changed. All that is left are the memories of another lifetime.
Today my friend Kathy posted that her dog is still enjoying the many toys I gave her when Koal left us. And that was just over nine years ago, although sometimes my heart aches like it was just yesterday. My life has changed so much since then. Travels and people and adventures have made the time pass by way too quickly.
The last time I had Christmas dinner with my children was eight years ago. We actually enjoyed it together a week early, as a friend and I were off to Cuba for Christmas. I envy my friends who are able to celebrate the holidays with their families back home. For me it has just become an impossible dream at this point in my life.
Just over seven years ago I arrived in Culiacan to teach English. Juan was a colleague eager to improve his English, and my Spanish was non-existent. We became great friends and he and his wife adopted me into their family. Indeed their entire extended family has welcomed me. Over time, Juan and Lucila’s family has grown and I now have three precious nietos (grandsons). I am off to Culiacan in two weeks to ring in 2018 with my family. I can’t wait to see how much the kids have grown since I last saw them in April before I headed up north for the summer.
Do you recall that proverbial question that was asked at all job interviews……Where do you see yourself five years from now? Well, five years ago I never would have predicted that I’d be dividing my time between Mazatlan, Sinaloa and Leavenworth, Washington. Five years ago I was living in Guadalajara and had never even heard of Leavenworth.
So now I cannot fathom where I will be five years from now. Can you? But I am enjoying where I am right now………………
The weather reports are starting to filter in from my friends up north. Snow and cold are the predominant comments. I won’t complain too loudly then that my stroll along the malecon last night found me sporting jeans and a long sleeve top. After all, it is winter.
But the cooler temperatures don’t scare me. This evening I’m joining friends up at the top of The Freeman Hotel to view the sunset and sip a margarita. However I will take a light jacket with me. The last time we met there the temperature outside was quite a bit higher.
The temperatures are predicted to rise tomorrow so a friend and I are going out to Playa Brujas. This will be the first beach day and I’ve been here a month already. I have this rather unusual tan on my feet from wearing sandals so something needs to be done about that.
It’s December and Christmas decorations are beginning to appear. I was at the Playa Mazatlan the other day and snagged these photos.
I visited The Cathedral the other day and took some photos. I’ve been there several times, but somehow never took any pictures before.
In sharp contrast was a rock concert happening at Plazuela Republica right across the street from The Cathedral.
As I continued my stroll through Centro I came upon this beautiful display of winter foliage.
And I will leave you with photos of the lobby at Teatro Angela Peralta the evening I attended The Nutcracker Suite.
I’m often asked what I miss about living in Winnipeg. I’ve had many curious Mexican students over the years with aspirations of going to Canada. My friends in Leavenworth want to know what the big attraction is other than the bitterly cold winters. Other people I have met on my travels are from all over the world and know very little about the prairies or even Canada in general. So aside from the obvious of missing my children and my friends, here are a few things I do miss about living in Winnipeg.
I’ll begin with the change in seasons. Although frost often occurs as early as August, and it has been known to snow in June, the transition from summer to fall is resplendent with colorful leaves and Indian summer days. The slushy streets in the spring, although quite dirty and messy, were always a sign of warmer weather to come. Cracking thin ice on sidewalks to reveal puddles was always a favorite pastime. And that first sprinkling of snowfall was magical.
Assiniboine Park has a zoo, a conservatory, The English Garden and the Leo Mol sculpture garden. Lyric Theater is an outdoor theater featuring a variety of performances from ballet to rock concerts. The Pavilion hosts an art gallery. It is possible to take a ride on a miniature railroad. There are cricket fields and barbecues. There are bike trails and picnic areas and a duck pond. And in recent years restaurants have been added.
The Fringe Festival in The Exchange District featured a variety of entertainment on the open stage. Delightful children’s programs were held in the daytime. Different venues offered plays and concerts. Needless to say the beer tent was always extremely popular.
The Forks holds a lot of memories for me as well. When my children were young we attended several events and ate at the restaurants. When I come back to visit I often meet friends there for lunch and then we sit by the river and visit. It’s always fun to browse through the shops and of course pick up cinnamon buns and fudge to take home.
There are amazing performances at Rainbow Stage in Kildonan Park. The Concert Hall is home to The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and The Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Manitoba Theater Center offers interesting productions. There are also a handful of smaller theater companies. And Folklorama was an annual event not to be missed.
As you have gleaned by now, the bar scene was not my thing although there are an abundance of them in Winnipeg. While I did enjoy the Winnipeg Goldeyes baseball games, I was never a big Winnipeg Jets fan nor a Blue Bomber fan. But I always enjoyed watching my own kids play baseball and soccer!
I enjoyed checking out thrift stores and tea houses in the neighboring small towns in Manitoba. Flea markets and antique auctions were also favorites. And the fall suppers were awesome.
Occasionally I have a craving for the moussaka at Nikos or a salad at Sorrentos or a burger at VJs or a steak at Hy’s or the butter chicken at Clay Oven. But those cravings are satisfied when I come back for visits.
So there you have it. There are things I do miss. But it’s also a trade-off, as I have traveled and discovered new places and developed new interests. I now have new favorites. And I will definitely take the mountains in Washington and the ocean in Mazatlan any day over the snow in Winnipeg.
The older I get, the faster time flies by. I’ve been back in Mazatlan for over three weeks now yet it feels like just yesterday I was in Leavenworth. I am also living in a completely different area now so there is a lot of exploring that needs to be done. I still marvel that there is so much within walking distance, a feature I enjoyed about living in Tlaquepaque.
I must admit that my favorite pastime is still my strolls along the malecon. I haven’t been up early enough to see sunrise, but I have seen many a sunset. The lapping of the waves against the shore is calming. Every day at 6 pm the malecon in Olas Altas is closed to vehicular traffic, an added bonus to the peace and tranquility of the ocean.
I’m going to see The Nutcracker at the Angela Peralta Theater tonight. I’m sure that the experience will be quite different from that in Canada. The theater itself is historic and takes you back in time. I’m certain that the children performing will be a delight.
Yesterday was Art Walk. We only went to one of the venues, but were entranced with the art and the jewelry on display. There are some 30 venues scattered throughout Centro so there will be more to see in future exhibits.
El Recreo features a variety of events in addition to the movies each week. Last night there was a play reading and the other night I attended an evening of poetry and music where the participants were all associated with a Christian mission here in Mazatlan.
Macaws had a great singer last night which added to the enjoyment of sitting outside with friends sipping a cold beer on a warm evening. Music fills the air in Centro and it is all within walking distance of where I’m staying.
Wednesday was cruise ship day and my friends from Winnipeg were here. It was lovely having lunch with them at a restaurant in the Plaza Machado. Now if only more of my friends from Winnipeg would come here.
I’ve been out to lunch and dinner with old friends and new. Red Hat group has started getting together again. Weekly card games are back in progress. And I will be doing some new volunteer work beginning in January.
This winter the plan is to focus more on my writing. I’m currently taking a course from Weslayan University that focuses on Plot. My current WIP is fiction, very different from the two self-help books I published in the past. It’s fun to juggle around characters and scenarios.
Now that Thanksgiving is over, Christmas decorating is underway. I will be sure to have a post with some of the highlights. In the meantime, this is my creation atop my dresser in my room.
Today is Sunday November 26th. Grey Cup Sunday in Canada. I have plans to do something I haven’t done in decades. Yes, I am actually going to watch the game. I’m meeting some Canadian friends at Macaws and we will watch the football game together. Who will I cheer for? Let’s see, Manitoba is in the middle of the country and once again the Bombers bombed out. Calgary in the west? Toronto in the east? Hmmmmmmm…………
Thirty-seven years ago today I spent the day at Misericordia Hospital in Winnipeg in labor with my son Kyle. Not that he was actually born that day. Instead he chose to arrive the following day shortly after midnight. While I hung out in the delivery room, my ex was in the lounge area watching the game. No comfy birthing rooms back then.
Growing up, Kyle was more of a NFL fan than a CFL fan. So the focus was on Super Bowl and real football. In all honesty I don’t recall much about Grey Cup although the Bombers did win once when Kyle was quite young as he had a t-shirt proclaiming this. I snagged this photo off the internet as I don’t have the family photo albums with me here in Mexico.
My most poignant memory of Grey Cup……….being in labor for hours with my first child. Do you have a Grey Cup memory?
I am back in Mazatlan. Winter has arrived and Leavenworth had its first snowfall. I admit that it does look kind of pretty, but I haven’t seen snow like that in 8 years.
I took the Wenatchee Valley Shuttle to Sea-Tac and had a layover at LAX. When I arrived in Mazatlan this was the view at sunset just a block and a half from my house.
Of course the price one pays for leaving snow behind is sweltering temperatures in the 90s along with high humidity. But it’s been a week and a half now and I am acclimatizing nicely.
The area I’m staying in this winter is called Los Pintos and is close to the Centro Historico. Everything is within walking distance as opposed to last year where buses were the norm.
Zaragoza Park is about a ten minute walk. Saturday mornings an organic market is popular and on Thursday evenings dancing and music prevail. I stopped by the park this afternoon and met these little guys. Unfortunately the iguana was camera shy and hid in the shadows.
I’ve seen two excellent movies at El Recreo this past week. This coming Tuesday evening I plan on attending an art and music event there. Last weekend I met some friends atop the Freeman Hotel for drinks at sunset. And I’ve also found a new card group here in Centro. Our Red Hat group had its first luncheon last week and it was nice to see so many return this winter.
But what convinced me to move here two and a half years ago was the ocean. And I certainly am enjoying my long walks along the malecon.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.