My Sunday Book Review is for Danny Kemp’s novella – Why?: A Complicared Love. Complicated love is an understatement in this fast paced and sometimes raunchy story of love and consequences.
Why? Is a story set in a web of despair, sex, unreachable emotion and love. One man’s crippling injuries, caused by an unprovoked, vicious attack, ruins the lives of everyone around him. This includes Terry Meadows, a nineteen-year-old boy who falls in love with the main character’s daughter Laura, twenty-seven years before the opening of the story.The twisted, interconnecting matrix in which Francis, Laura’s father, lives, destroys and distorts his daughter’s image of life beyond repair. It is a sad tragedy with an unexpected ending.
My 5 Star Review:
This novella is a story about sex, corruption, and despite the goings on in this criminal telling, love and a tragic love story.
The book begins at the end of the tragedy and goes into the story leading up to that end. Terry is a nineteen year old who wound up in the wrong place looking for sex. When he meets Sammy, a woman who could have been his mother, and she entices him to come back to her place for some raunchy rock and rolling sex, Terry had no idea that his life would take a 180 that day.
We’ll learn that Sammy is always being watched by her criminal, impotent, perverted, almost invalid husband Francis. They live separately, but he controls her life – and his own voyeur sexual fantasies. After a lengthy session up in Sammy’s bedroom, Terry meets her daughter Laura and an instant spark is shared between the two. But Terry is just learning that he is now under the power of Francis, anyone who tangles with Sammy is open target to become one of Francis’ criminal accomplices and if they don’t comply, is threatened with torture and a fiery end. Laura is well aware of her father’s twisted life and knows well he doesn’t make idle threats.
Francis is happy that Terry is servicing his wife and lets him know that if Terry can keep her happy sexually, and supply some other people to do the same, Francis will elevate Terry’s life in status and money. Terry really has no choice once he’s now in Francis’ world. The only caveat is that Terry cannot touch Laura, and herein lies the conflict, Francis has made clear to Terry the consequences of ever touching Laura.
Laura is well aware of the dangers of her father’s wrath, yet secretly harbored an attraction toward Terry for years. Years later, Terry is financially set and ordered to fly to Rome with Laura, by Francis. Francis sent Laura in charge of the papers to have Francis and Sammy’s marriage annulled. Francis felt after so many years he should set his wife free. At the same time he was setting up Terry to see if he’d be faithful to his promise to Francis of never touching Laura. Epic fail.
The Why? A Complicated Love is just that, and not just for one, but for Francis, Sammy, Laura, Terry, and quite frankly, anyone else who becomes part of any of their lives. Love is complicated, and often misconstrued, and for some, even fatal.
Note: Although the subject matter evolves around sex, it is not explicit.
Okay, this could be another shameless promotion for my latest book, Fifteen First Times, but what it really is, is a humbling share for the many of you who had the interest to read, and read and reviewed my latest tellings. I have caught up with some lovely new reviews that came in while I was on winter break, and I am thrilled to share them here with you today. Thanks again so much for reading and reviewing, and I’m so glad that many of you could relate to my stories with some of your own experiences.
This book is a collection of stories about some of Kaye’s first-time experiences with life’s most natural events. Told through the intimate conversational writing we’ve come to know from this author, poignant personal steppingstones to learning moments are revealed. She encompasses the heart of each matter with sincerity and sprinkled inflections of humor.
From first kiss to first car to walking in the desert with four-inch heels, Kaye’s short coming-of-age stories take us through her awakenings and important moments of growth, often without warning. Some good and some not, life lessons are learned through trial and error, winging it, and navigating by the seat of her pants.
I might be in my sixth decade of life, but DG Kaye’s memoir, Fifteen First Times, brings me blissfully back in time as if I were reliving my youth. She includes tender moments, budding independence, and painful firsts. I felt as if I were sitting across the couch from Kaye, sipping crisp white wine and exchanging stories of our beloved but challenging past.
She draws you in with our commonalities as women, from our first love to menstruation, a hysterical shoe obsession, bad hair decisions, first apartments, and broken hearts. As I read through each story, I laughed, cried, and empathized with Kaye’s Fifteen Firsts. It is a bold, funny, and touching read about life’s endearing moments. An enchanting novel for fans of delightful memoirs.
Fifteen First Times was such a comfortable and almost conversational read that I cranked it out in one setting. While a few of the memorable firsts involved topics that pertained more to women (period, menopause, shoes), there were plenty of other subjects that involved either gender. Written in her usual honest style with moments of sadness and humor embedded, Kaye will connect with most readers. While reading about a young woman finding her way, I found myself reminiscing about my first kiss, car, heartbreak, cigarette, and many other subjects.
Most subjects were pretty light until the author shared some poignant and touching memories about experiencing the death of a close friend and then, later, her husband. Those chapters will stay with me the most as Kaye openly shares her private thoughts. I felt like I was listening in on a phone call with someone sharing their feelings with a close friend.
This recollection of fifteen events in the author’s life that shaped her entire future is an entertaining and relatable memoir. We’ve all had those first moments of an experience we could never forget. In a personal and conversational style of writing, Ms. Kaye shares fifteen of her firsts, from a fascination with shoes to getting her period, her first car, heartbreak, apartment, learning to drive, and to her first experience with grief. When we are kids, we have so many questions and search for answers. And while this author had an insatiable curiosity, sadly, she had no one in which to confide when she first got her period, and she had no idea what was happening to her. Thank goodness we have come forward in a time where these things are more openly talked about. I love the humor the author interjected into the stories, and many made me chuckle. The last entry in the book gripped my heart as she shared the loss of her husband, her one true love. The anguish comes across in her words. I highly recommend this personal memoir to women of all ages. There is a sprinkling of sage advice that would benefit younger women, and a feeling of camaraderie older women can experience when reading this book.
4.0 out of 5 stars A quick and easy readReviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on January 19, 2023
I have read and enjoyed books by this author previously. So when Fifteen First Times released, I grabbed a copy right away. At 92 Kindle pages, this is a quick and easy read.
‘We live, we experience, we learn, we become, and we overcome.’ I loved this quote in the opening pages, which spoke to my own life truths.
In this book, the writer shares fifteen firsts–or, in some cases, almost or kind-of firsts–with the reader, along with what she learnt from each experience. Many of these, I couldn’t connect with so easily, as I didn’t need to diet as a child but, rather, struggled to get enough to eat. The same with the shoe fetish, where I used to stuff the soles with cardboard as new shoes were nowhere near my horizon. Neither did I have my father buy a new car for me or have an aunt and father who could rent me a flat. What I did connect with was the narcissistic mother, who had more concern for her own life than that of her daughter. The lack of knowledge of that first period, I could relate to strongly, as my mother failed to mention this major event completely, and I had many of the same fears and shame as did D G Kaye, which she expressed wonderfully.
While I might not have connected fully with each experience, I loved the raw honesty of this short memoir, told in a slice-of-life fashion. And the final chapter, where the author shares her utter anguish at the loss of her husband–lifelong partner and best friend–moved me deeply. The author’s outgoing personality shone through in this small book, as did her ability to make friends easily, which came through in her chatty, easy-to-relate-to style of writing. I believe that this little memoir will appeal to women of all ages–both as a cautionary tale and as inducing poignant memories of ‘the good old days’.
5.0 out of 5 stars Open, honest, poignant, and funny all in oneReviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on February 8, 2023
‘Fifteen First Times’ fully describes this short, entertaining read in D G Kaye’s inimitable open and honest style – no subject is too difficult to approach or describe. As with some other reviewers, there were several experiences I didn’t relate to, but found Kaye’s explanations of them engaging and sometimes eye-opening. The one that amused me most was ‘From Blonde to Wrong’. I began experimenting with dying my own hair quite early in my teens, and also chose to go red – a colour that both my cousins have by nature, and I coveted. Unlike Kaye, my first foray into hair colouring was using henna, and I was pleased with the results, so I have continued to dye my own hair, and the only time I ever got it done at a salon was the one time it turned out so dark it was almost black and I hated it – just as happened to Kaye with her first home effort! No matter how painful the memories of some of these ‘firsts’, Kaye does not shy away from sharing the depths of feelings she experienced, and still manages to highlight the humour that characterises her welcome positive approach to life. I’m sure everyone will find some ‘firsts’ applicable to them – well worth the read.
5.0 out of 5 stars Another lovingly observed collection of stories from Kaye’s gifted writing talent …Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on March 16, 2023
I love Kaye’s books and this one does not disappoint. A loving collection of ‘firsts’ and the stories are all warm, witty and keenly observed by a writer who writes from a wise viewpoint. I was right there with her on First Broken Heart, From Blond to Wrong, First Loss Of A Friend, through to the heartbreaking tribute to her beloved G. We will all find a part of our history in her stories as they help us to feel seen and understood. Please keep writing!
In her opening thoughts, Ms Kaye writes “We live, we write, we experience, we become, and we overcome.” It’s this acceptance of what life throws at us, and using it as a way to move forwards, that gave me huge respect for the author. Her candour, her vivid recollections of these first landmarks in her life, and her bubbly nature offset with a deprecating humour, all contribute to the magic, poignancy and heartbreak of these revelations. The book is written in a conversational style that brought the experiences closer to home for me. Her first kiss (“Yuck!”) and her first broken heart were so natural and relatable, and I could picture them so clearly, sympathizing with her sadness whilst smiling at her recollections. The story of her first period, though, was shocking. As she says, she was “sheltered and uninformed” and dealt with the worry and practical problems on her own until others realized what was going on. Her mother’s brutal humiliation was painful to read about. There’s a wit and wisdom about all of these pieces. During her time on a kibbutz, she refers to herself as ‘a spoiled brat’ but her good-natured responses and ability to laugh at herself completely took the sting out of the situation and earned my admiration. The last ‘time’ is entitled When Friends Die and was the most poignant and moving of these for me. She writes “Death doesn’t bypass the kindhearted”. There is a tribute to her beloved husband who died recently and I found it incredibly touching. In the epilogue she concludes that we have to experience these things for ourselves and that they provide the ‘compass’ for life. Without these incidents we would never learn or have anything for comparison. I think it’s inevitable that we remember our own encounters when we read this book and this does add to the overall appeal of the book for me. It made me reflect on my own life whilst providing an entertaining, humorous and emotional read.
Reviewed by Toni Pike
5 Stars – a pleasure to read
I loved D.G. Kaye’s new book and it even exceeded my high expectations. I’ve enjoyed books by this author before – she has a great talent for writing highly entertaining stories. This is a heart-warming collection of fifteen stories about significant firsts in her life, mainly from her early years. Kaye regarded these as “her compass for life, setting up the direction for whom and how I’d become me.”
Every story was so easy to relate to and touched a chord with me, bringing back memories of my own life. They all tugged at the heart-strings and were told with a great deal of humour and common sense, showing a wonderful zest for life. The author is not afraid to shy away from some very difficult subjects, such as her first, very traumatic experiences with menstruation.
I enjoyed all of the stories, but my special favourites were:
My First Kiss – Yuck!
First Broken Heart
My First Apartment.
Most touching of all was the final story – a heartbreaking tribute to her beloved husband.
This was a joy to read, and I give it a resounding five stars.
xThank you again for the lovely welcome back and for reading!
Thanks so much for reading and your lovely reviews 💜💙
Today I’m wrapping up my Mexican tales. Our La Cruz group – Patty, Jamie, Shelley, John, Lucie, and me headed up one Sunday to La Cruz Sunday market located about forty minutes north of Puerto Vallarta. We did this last year too, only Lucie wasn’t there with us. Jamie rented a SUV for the day, we all pitched in and he drove. Last year we did this day trip and had lots of adventures, laughs, and mishaps. This time, never a dull moment either.
We all met in the lobby at 930am and piled in with our beach bags, water and snacks. Shelley and me were in the very back row – barely enough head room, but we fit. It was a super hot day. We drove up and this time we found the Marina/Market parking lot which we hadn’t seen last year, cutting a twenty minute walk to get to the kiosks, the booths lined up along the peninsula, surrounded by water.
La Cruz Market walk up Marina. This market must be a mile long as the lined up booths align the marina sidewalk.
Artist at work with many variations of Frida Kahlo, one of Mexico’s most iconic artists and empowering women.
The market is known for its handmade artifacts, art, clothing, shoes, gadgets, jewelry, and food. It’s only opened on Sundays and it’s always busy with people. But this time I saw a woman with her pet pig strolling along. Only later to be sighted at Punta Mita beach where we went to for lunch.
After a few hours we decided to go back to the smaller market before you reach the Marina market. We all got in the car to go back to the other part when I heard a grinding noise as we drove up the sandy parking lot. I shouted out to Jamie to stop the car, something weird was going on – and it was. Thank goodness Jamie kept driving until we all got out at a spot just before approaching the small market. There was a HUGE spike stuck in between the tire and the rim. Oye! Thank goodness we had two men with us who knew how to change a tire, Jamie the structural engineer and John, retired military. Us girls walked up to the small market and left the guys to put on a spare tire – that was thankfully, in the trunk. It took the guys about an hour to get everything sorted and in the meantime, Shelley and me did some walking around.
This booth caught my eye, I loved the name – Not Made in China. Beautiful cotton dresses and jumpsuits, surprisingly more expensive than in my favorite cotton store – Luisa’s, where I ultimately bought a turquoise jumpsuit like the pink one hanging here.
After the market we got back in the car and headed out for our lunch reservation to Punta Mita beach, ten minutes away. Before heading to there, we stopped at the tiny town shops and beach bars to look around town.
Jesus Rays pouring in sunlight
Quaint garden restaurant
Hotel spa outdoor lobby
Outside lanai of a hotel spa room rental
Our beach/lunch at El Barracuda restaurant. I found it a bit pricey, but the Margs were delish! As we were sitting down and getting comfy for our three-hour beach lunch and swim, the pig from the La Cruz market seemed to be enjoying the festivities as its owner wound up at the same restaurant. What are the odds? How did I know? Because it wound up off leash and snorting around our table. No thanks, I didn’t sign up for the zoo. I had the waiter return frilly dressed pig to where it belonged.
Our Beach table with two umbrellas kept the blazing sun off us and the ocean breeze was divine
Hungry traveler friends studying the menu
A fun time was had by all!
It appears like everywhere else in the world, everything is changing. Inflation is getting us globally, condo prices are quickly escalating now in Puerto Vallarta. Many locals are finding any way they can to make a buck. Tips, tips, tips, everyone wants a piece of us. Even some of the grocery stores will have a young boy pop out of nowhere to get you a cab for your groceries – even when the cab is right there in front of our eyes. The young boys will grab at your bags to put them in the trunk (that’s what the cab driver usually does), so he can get a coin off tourists. And speaking of cabs, just beware of prices. Before you enter a cab, always ask for the ride fare before getting comfortable. Even though I know the rates I always ask, there are some cabs out there who think you are a newbie and will try and charge more. I’ve surely got in and out of a few cabs myself while there because of crazy fares quoted. Also, if you ever come to Puerto Vallarta on a cruiseship and wish to go downtown where all the action is, do yourself a favor and walk out of the port to catch a cab. It should only cost MAX $10 (130-150 Pesos), and I know for a fact cabs are charging tourists $25 US for rides. Greed is still everywhere.
When travel day to home came around, I was ready. Many of my friends had left a day or two before me. Shelley and Patty were staying til April 6th. I was apprehensive about the travel home – as always. I was worried about leaving on a Saturday, usually PV airport’s worst crazy busy day, and end of March break. But the ‘travel gods’ were relatively kind to me. My flight was to leave at 1130am, so I was in a cab to the airport at 8am. I’d heard nightmares from others nearly missing their planes because of long checkin lines and then security lines.
I arrived at the airport within ten minutes and the checkin wasn’t open yet. A lovely teacher with a group of young teens were the only ones ahead of me traveling to Toronto for a school trip. Because checkin wasn’t yet opened I was confused as to where to tell the porter to drop my heavy bags. The teacher told me which gate would open for us, so I parked myself and luggage down to wait half hour. The line changed three times! I could not move lanes with my two big bags and equally heavy carryon, plus a huge carry bag. The teacher asked her boys to help me move the three times the checkin line changed. And because there were more than a dozen of them, they let me go ahead of them.
By 845am, the lineups were growing huge, but I was on my way up to the gates and security. I whizzed through with barely anyone in line. I had to toss my water bottle and as always, went to buy another once I crossed security. What? Twelve Canadian dollars for a bottle of water??? I went to four different kiosks and as though they all planned their ripoff price together, there was nothing cheaper. I settled for a $7 SMALL bottle of diet Pepsi. The flight was ON TIME! Another rare occurrence for me. The plane flew home making excellent time.
One hilarious moment on the plane. I had my nose deep in a book when a stewardess came on speaker with a note of caution warning people emphatically that “This is not 1976,” she elaborated her statement by sharing that someone had been caught SMOKING in the bathroom. Fines will be in enforcement. In all my years of flying since smoking was banned on planes, I couldn’t believe in 2023 somebody actually smoked in the bathroom thinking they wouldn’t be caught.
I dreaded the mile walk from the plane to Canada Customs, but was again, pleasantly surprised to find we were the only plane that had landed, and zipped right through customs to baggage, where my bags were out in a jiff. The only problem was, I realized my superpowers had limits. My first bag came around the carousel and for the life of me, I could not lift that bag off. I looked around at the waiting crowd, hoping a gentleman would offer me a hand. No such thing left anymore. My bag was coming around again, a lovely athletic looking woman beside me, maybe a few years younger than me, bent down to help me pull off my bag. As I was thanking her, my other bag was coming. I asked her if she’d help me again, she told me not to worry, she’s got it. And she did! I sailed out the exit doors, hopped in a limo and stunningly, I was home in my apartment a mere 45 minutes after landing! The travel gods were very kind to me.
For your viewing pleasure, if you’d like to see a mini tour of Puerto Vallarta highlights, I found this fanastic 20 minute video of beautiful Puerto Vallarta to give you a toured sense of the town.
Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. Today I am thrilled to be sharing my review for Miriam Hurdle’s – The Winding Road: A Journey of Survival – surviving near fatal cancer. This book is both, a heartfelt and heart-wrenching journey, bravely told by Miriam, and miraculously she was gifted the opportunity to live. Not only is this book a tale of Miriam’s diagnosis and her physical fight for survival, but a testament to her diligence and being her own advocate to push through the medical system.
In the summer of 2008, Miriam Hurdle was diagnosed with melanoma-an aggressive and invasive cancer in her internal organs. The survival rate before 2008 was low. Besides risking harsh treatments for a slim chance of survival, Miriam had hoops to jump through. By the time she received treatment at the beginning of 2009, her cancer had progressed from stage II to stage IV. It was a rough and uphill winding road. But alongside her was support and encouragement. Accompanied by the love of her family and community, this is Miriam’s journey of faith and miracle. It is a heartwarming story of resilience, courage, and the will to live.
My Five Star Review:
A courageous journey defying all odds, Miriam Hurdle is a true warrior woman.
Hurdle takes us through her journey of discovering an almost always fatal cancer. She’d already soldiered through several operations to remove fibroids and ultimately, a hysterectomy, when she thought she was moving on, only to be told they found a rare melanoma growing within her internal organs. It wasn’t enough what she’d already endured and her frightening future, but this woman fought all the way through the medical system just to get the experimental and low odds of life saving treatment she would need to live.
This book is a raw accounting with pure honesty and love, of the author’s journey and her unrelenting spirit to get the help she needed for just a chance to live longer. She fought the red tape of the system as her cancer was quickly progressing and her request for treatments remained in a pile of other requests, and her faith and love for her family and determination to live no matter how small the chances were of the horrid experimental treatments and their proposed side effects alone that could have killed her, did not deter her from.
Her story is not only about the journey through hell, but her thoughts and feelings as she approached each hurdle and roadblock along the way, as well as the financial burdens involved and finding willing and compassionate people in her field of teaching who aided in helping to fund her journey. Written with extreme courage and offering anyone hope to know that persistence is always worth it, despite the odds.
This book is not only about Miriam’s journey through cancer, but also, the importance of faith, family and community who came to the her aid and cheered her along, and the miracle that she is still here with us today.
My new podcast is out this week for my Grief the Real Talk series. In this episode I’m discussing scammers who prey on the bereaved and how to dodge them.
Also available on Soundcloud
This grief business is eternal because the more you loved, the more you will grieve, a simple formula. The trick is learning to live with it differently and adjusting to daily life completely different from the one you were previously living. It's a life adjustment in a thousand different ways.
I came across this picture of us recently and it made me smile remembering that very fun time in our marriage when life was carefree and happy for us with no medical issues.
This photo I took when I visited our grave on my husband’s death anniversary on April 7th. I was blown away when I looked at it because there were, what a friend in Mexico had deemed, ‘Jesus Rays’ coming from the sky. Look at the rainbow rays over the gravestone. If you can enlarge this photo by pinching it, you can almost make out a figure in front through the rainbow colors. Perhaps an angel?
Jesus Rays are a real thing. If you want to know more about Jesus Rays:
Welcome to my April best curated Writer’s Tips. This edition is chock full of goodies. Learn how to avoid and fix 10 website mistakes by Nate Hoffelder, how to embed a Canva video into your blog by Natalie Ducey and how to create a QR code for our blogs, Hugh Roberts is showing us to find and remove broken links in our blogs, Sally Cronin with advice on polishing our public image, D.L. Finn on the importance and value of using Beta Readers, David Chesson (the Kindlepreneur) on what to do if your books have been pirated, and Deborah Jay shares her experience with paid book promotions. Something for everyone!
10 Website Mistakes New Authors Make–and How to Fix Them by Nate Hoffelder at the blog of Anne R. Allen
Welcome back to more Mexican Tales from my winter vacation in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. As I’ve shared in earlier posts, I have quite a few wonderful friends in PV, and I had numerous outings with all of them – some group outings and some with smaller crowds. I love that I introduced all the friends I made to each other and we became a group of friends.
I did a few shopping trips with the girls. Usually, other than Mexican artifacts, beach coverups, and silver jewellry stores, and tequila, of course, there isn’t much to shop for there. I was never one to do any real clothes shopping while there. But last year I discovered a wonderful island cotton store, and then Patty introduced me to another she’d found. All the clothing is made in Mexico, and there’s an array of styles and colors from pants to tops to dresses and more. I happen to love real cotton, and it seems harder and harder to find here at home, and more expensive. Not to mention, the price of island cotton if bought in the islands, can be quite expensive. But we found some great and reasonable stores.
One day, Lucie and I went downtown to shop at Maria of Guadalajara’s cotton store. We both bought the same dress (in different colors) and Lucie did some power shopping. Another time, Shelley and I went down there and decided to walk all the way downtown and grab some dinner. On our way we discovered another cotton store that caught both of our eyes. Luisa’s was a smaller store, but packed with beautiful things. And the best part was if she didn’t have your size, she’d have one for you in a few days. Needless to say, I went to Luisa’s a few times, and the other girls were probably there more than me, for other orders and a few alterations. Yes! No charge for the alterations, and seamstress on site while you wait. Let’s just say, my summer wardrobe is topped up.
After cotton shopping, Pat, Shelley, me and Lucie walked up to one of our favorite pitstops, El Patron, a great stop for before or after shopping. You have to walk up a lot of narrow stairs, but you can’t beat the view and the breeze in this section. And the Margs are always good there. It was about 2pm and we were surprisingly, the only ones there. It’s always busy later, especially at sunset.
The first weekend I arrived, it was the last NFL playoff game of the season before the Superbowl. Brenda and Saul had a nice big 2 bedroom condo on the ground floor with a comfy patio and a small backyard. Everyone’s internet and cable seemed different. Some people could only get the game in Spanish. Some like me didn’t have any cable, but with my VPN I could watch most anything on my laptop. Saul had the game on his huge TV but only in Spanish. I brought my laptop and we used the sound from my computer. It worked. Oh, and we also had many drinks. I think that was when I took a break from Margs to Bloody Caesars. Shelley and John came over and we had a ton of fun. We of course, repeated the even two weeks later for Superbowl.
Me with Brenda and Shelley
The clan came out for a sun break. It didn’t last long because it was hottt!!! But we were always laughing.
Valentine’s Day came while my girlfriend Alyson was down visiting me. We spent a lot of time gabbing with Brenda. The three of us decided to go downtown the day before Valentine’s Day, before it was over-crowded and over-priced, and make that ‘Galentine’s Day’. We laughed a lot. As usual, we began at a bar and we walked much further downtown and had dinner in a little charming Mexican place Brenda had suggested. The place was tiny, on the second floor of crickety stairs; the drinks were cheap and the balcony view was fun. After, we walked back to the top of the boardwalk and grabbed a cab back. We’d left around 3pm and it was 945pm when simultaneously, the taxi was pulling into our complex, and Saul texted me asking if we’re okay because he’s worried about us not being home yet. “Brenda isn’t used to staying out that late,” Saul texted me. I showed Bren the text and we burst out laughing. Of course Brenda asked him if she had a curfew. The jokes about that one went on for awhile. Saul is a sweetie and a good sport.
Brenda, Alyson and me at first bar pitstop, La Terraza di Roma
Brenda gave me a plastic flower on Valentines Day. There was a little cub below the flower.
One late afternoon, Lucie and I headed downtown to Luisa’s to pick up some things we’d asked her to order for us. Then we walked downtown to one of my favorite restaurants, La Dolce Vita down in the Romantic Zone. We finished our delicious drinks and meals after getting there early enough to get a good table outside without a reservation. It was only after 7pm and still early, so we crossed the street to go for a drink or two at the Margarita Grill – a popular outdoor bar downtown. We were surprised it wasn’t crazy packed, but not surprised being near end of March and many tourists had left. We decided to sit at the bar instead of a table. We ordered the ‘small’ chalice sized Marg and Daquiri. We had the sweetest young bartender who graciously offered to take a selfie of the three of us (and my shopping bag from Luisa’s). The house band is really good there, especially when they play oldies hits of some of the best bands.
We laughed there for hours. We met some interesting people as the bar filled up. We talked to a few people, drank, and sang to the band. It was getting loud in there – even though the place is open air. A new young French/Canadian couple sat down beside Lucie. The band played ‘Take on Me’ by Aha. Lucie and I were singing along, pretty loud, when the guy beside her got up and switched seats with his wife. Luce and I burst out laughing. She asked the guy if her singing chased him away and he said his wife was singing too in his other ear so he thought it best if she sat beside us. LOL.
The Sunday before I returned home, Shelley and I spent the day and most of the evening together. She came over to my pool then we got changed and went back downtown. We thought we may pop our heads into the cotton store again then go for dinner. When we got downtown it wasn’t so busy, especially for a Mexican long weekend. We also noticed none of our favorite stores were open. That was fine. We’d already done enough damage, lol. So we walked down to the Dolce Vita and sat in the bar with the open patio doors and had a few drinks. Had we known how crazy downtown traffic got and that the restaurant we specifically wanted to eat dinner at, was also closed, we wouldn’t have gone that day. We decided to keep walking down the main beach street and ended up where Brenda, me and Alyson ate on Galentine’s Day. We had another drink and Mexican food. After we finished we walked up the mid of the malecon to grab a cab, when we saw so much traffic and cabs weren’t stopping – or moving. This I’d never experienced. Sunday night around 730pm. The main drag that runs parallel in front of the malecon/boardwalk and ocean is a one way south street. You’d have to go over a block to catch the northbound street. I told Shel we’ll walk over to the next one since we’re going north anyway. It was gridlock! WTH? We couldn’t figure out why the streets were jammed, blocked off, and a parade coming down could be heard. It was exceedingly hot that particular day, and still at 730pm. Shelley was sweating up a storm. I told her we’ll take our time but we had to just keep walking till we got out of the Malecon zones. Along the way I must have approached seven cabs, stuck in gridlock, not even taking passengers. We kept walking, and about half hour later of walking north, we FINALLY got a cab when we were literally a twenty minute more walk to home if we’d kept walking. That journey that’s usually a ten minute cab ride took us over two hours to get back. It was a Sunday night on President’s Day long weekend. Who knew?
I’d be remiss if I left out my venture back to my wonderful Mexican denist duo, mom and daughter Lourdes and Lourdes Flores. For those who didn’t read last year’s adventure, my friends Jerry and Wendy (who weren’t in PV this vacation) recommended their dentist to me. I went for a cleaning last year and paid $40 Canadian dollars for the best cleaning I ever had, instead of the $280 I pay at home. I’d also had a nightguard made for $90 CAD dollars, which was way better than the $500 one I have from my dentist at home. And I’d made instant friends with mamma and daughter. Mamma is the dentist and daughter is the surgeon.
This year I went back for another great cleaning, plus I wanted advice about my bite that seemed to shift. We had a fun half hour visit with the three of us before I even sat in the chair. Daughter said she wanted xray to see what was going on below the gumline. These were special xrays that weren’t done in her office. She gave me a slip of paper to take over to the xray building, which was a five minute walk down the street. I was taken within five minutes of arriving and taken in a room with high-tech gadgetry. Five minutes after I finished, they handed me a large manilla envelope with the xray film to take home to my dentist, and told me they’d send one to my dentist duo. The cost? Fifteen little Canadian dollars (equivalent to pesos). I also ordered another new nightguard for my bottom teeth while I was there. When I went back to pick it up three days later, daughter looked at the xrays and reminded me how important it is I wear it at night and gave me a prescription for some fancy toothpaste and mouthwash, made in Spain, to use for my gums. Both coming in at the hefty price of $25 CAD for a tube of toothpaste and $30 for a small bottle of mouthwash. When I saw the prices I decided not to stock up. I bought one of each. Once again I didn’t get to go for a drink with those women because they were taking vacays soon after – mamma was going home to visit back to her second home in Vancouver, Canada, and daughter to her other home in Guadalajara.
The Marina area is a five minute cab ride north of where I stayed. Every Thursday night there is a big market there set up along the Marina, about a mile long. Restaurants and bars are very busy by 7pm those nights, and the sidewalks are crowded. For me, once a vacation is enough to visit that market. I went with Patty and Jamie, who invited a few more of their friends, and Shelley, John and Brenda. We ate early to avoid the big crowds, at Route 66, usually a good burger and Marg place, but it was a bad night in the kitchen as all orders were mixed up. The Marina has some great restaurants, but much quieter when not on a Thursday Market night. I went back another night with Alyson, Brenda and Saul and their daughter and son-in-law who’d come to visit for a week. We went to Bacha’s, Mexican Seafood. As usual we had lots of laughs and I snapped a very short video there so I can give you a glimpse of part of the Marina, the noisy restaurant, and the musicians who travel around to your tables.
Shelley, John, Brenda, me, the others at another table at Route 66
Here’s a few seconds of video of Bacha’s at the Marina with Alyson, Brenda, and her family.
I hope you enjoyed snippets of my Mexican tales and outings. Next episode I’ll share my day at La Cruz Sunday Market and Punta Mita in part 2 after last year’s visit there with the same crew, Jamie, Patty, Shelley, John, and this year Lucie joined us.
My Sunday Book Review is for Frank Prem’s moving new release, freeverse poetry with his interpretation of the war in Ukraine – From Volyn to Kherson. This is a most moving collection of tellings from the vision of Prem based on some of the many articles written about the heinous war in Ukraine.
From Volyn To Kherson, tells the stories of hardship and suffering and bewilderment experienced by the people of Ukraine in the early weeks of the 2022 Russian invasion and war.
The collection draws on news reports and social media postings during the most un-curated war the world has ever witnessed, interpreting and translating the raw emotion of this wartime experience.
There is no part of Ukraine that has been left untouched by this war, and no part of the poet left untouched by these stories of the Ukraine.
This book will be part of a series.
My 5 Star Review:
This book is a deeply emotional read as told through the vision of author Frank Prem in his style for which he’s known – freeverse poetry in his deep observational writing. In these stories, the author has taken from what he’s seen on the news, and from headlines and stories across the globe reported by brave journalists, and evokes his own heart and compassion in his tellings and interpretations, leaving us, the readers, to absorb the enormity of the effects on human life and the human condition.
Prem introduces his stories with a question at the beginning – ‘Which of us will be Ukraine, tomorrow?’
“People used to think about new car or IPhone, but nobody was thinking about peace. Now, we are dreaming of it. When old people used to wish each other peace, we didn’t understand what they meant. Now we do.”
Every one of Prem’s poems pierced through my heart. I will share here just two of many heartwrenching tellings: