Thank you Diana Peach, for this lovely post you wrote about me and my blog and books as a thank you for being a guest on my blog. It was an absolute pleasure to have you and your beautiful book here, and I was thrilled to be your last stop on your amazing blog tour. You have converted many non-fantasy readers, like myself. 🧡🦋
Welcome to Day 28 of The Necromancer’s Daughter’s Book Tour!
Thank you to everyone who stopped by along the way. I hope you’ve enjoyed:
~ My favorite books from my hosts’ lists, along with my reviews.
~ Something from or about The Necromancer’s Daughter.
~ Leave a comment on any of my hosts’ sites, and your name will be entered in a drawing for a $50 Amazon gift certificate. The more tour sites, the more entries!
Day 28, the End of the Line!
D. G. Kaye’s Blog: D. G. Kaye Writer
Debby’s blog is a writer’s resource that occasionally ventures into the happenings in her life. She shares reviews, writer interviews, links to writing tips from all over the blogosphere, and some of her own poetry. Debby is a regular contributor to Sally Cronin’s Smorgasbord Blog with a variety of features from travel tips to her more recent discussion of spiritual awareness and personal growth.
Debby writes memoirs about different aspects of her life. From the conflicted relationships she navigated as a child to her journey of self-discovery, to the challenges of aging with those we love. From travel tips to the trials of menopause. Some are hilarious and some are poignant, and all are rich with advice for others facing similar situations.
Since losing the love of her life, Debby’s begun a series of podcasts on the topic of grief. As a previous grief counselor, I can say without hesitation that her podcasts are insightful, honest, moving, and full of gentle wisdom. Anyone interested in learning more about the human journey through grief can start here: Grief, the Real Talk, Episode One.
I’ve read all of Debby’s books. Here’s one of my reviews:
Twenty Years: After “I Do.”
My Review: Twenty years after her vows, author D. G. Kaye, looks back at the lessons learned about love, commitment, and aging. Kaye married a man twenty years her senior, already 58 at the time, and asked him for twenty years (at least) – thus the title of the book.
In a way, this memoir is a tribute to the man she dearly loves, a fact that comes through loud and clear. But it’s also about her journey as a partner, about the hurdles, insights, and growth along the way.
“In sickness and in health” is a major theme as bodies bend to the inevitable challenges of aging. Kaye shares her emotions and thoughts regarding her husband’s illnesses, but also some wisdom about preventative care, advocacy, and the adjustments needed to continue living a full life.
This is a poignant read to be sure, but full of practical advice too about laughter, travel, sex, communication, and preparation for the end of life. Most of all, it’s a memoir about love. An evening’s read and highly recommended.
If you have a chance, head on over to join The Necromancer’s Daughter tour at Debby’s blog: D. G. Kaye Writer.
I was invited over to Judith Barrow’s blog as a guest in her Places in our Memories series. I’m sharing a simple moment in time.
There are places that remain in our memories, the details may become slightly blurred, nostalgia may colour our thoughts, but they don’t fade. And how those places made us feel at the time is the one thing that remains.
Today I’m welcomingDebby Kaye, one of my online friends whom I seem to have known forever, and who is going to tell us about one of her forever memories.
Thank you so much Judith for inviting me over today to share a fleeting memory so dear to my heart.
A memory is a snapshot in one moment of time that locks in a forever imprint engraved in our minds and hearts.
Forever moments are the forever memories that will continue to live with us long after they occurred. All memories aren’t always good ones, but they are there despite, to remind of places we have been to and mark events experienced in our lives. To live on peacefully, it’s the happy memories we choose to keep at the forefront of our minds.
Having recently lost the love of my life, my beloved husband, I’ve been working diligently to push the tragic moments of the last few months of his life from my forefront of videos playing on in my head, instead, trying hard to focus on the so very many good times in our life together. Besides the many milestones of beautiful events that stick out in my mind, sometimes it’s just the simple moments we remember most clearly that can warm our hearts.
Memories. As I sit here right now and think of him in this moment, I’m listening to the sound of a riding mower in the back park of my condo; it took me back to a simple moment of just one of our happiest times when life was good and simple where I’d drink my second cup of coffee on a Sunday morning after our breakfast together and my hubby would put on his big straw hat and Wellie boots, and hop on his big John Deere riding mower and circle the trees in our vast back yard, complete with one of his favorite Cuban cigars hanging from his mouth as he proudly trimmed his pride and joy, his green grass he laid, mostly by himself at our beautiful newly built home. He’d notice me watching as I sipped my coffee in front of the big kitchen patio window, and he’d give me his special wink full of love and acknowledgment of our perfect life. His smiling eyes could tell me so much.
Oh, what I wouldn’t give to be able to transport back to one of those what seemed ordinary Sundays that turned out to be not so ordinary, but a beautiful reminder of love and joy in simplicity. Those were the days most of us think were unremarkable, but just another day. Looking back at that snapshot of bliss taken for granted, I can see how those were far from ordinary days, but a culmination of days that were part of a patched quilt of days which became the pattern of a happy life together.
In memorium to my brother-in-law ‘Bill’ – William Gies who left a void September 13, 2022 – a legend in his time. ❣
Rest in peace my lovely brother-in-law. I will miss our conversations, and your checking up on me every few weeks as a dutiful brother-in-law and friend, and all the laughter we shared for years in our monthly card club get togethers, parties, picnics, and Christmases in those so very golden days.
On my weekly visit to my husband’s (our) grave last week, I saw something I’d never seen before. Oh sure I’ve seen the odd dragonfly in my lifetime, but this time I saw five of them.
Whenever I visit my husband, I plant myself down on our grave to have a chat with him, or read to him. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t actually feel him there as much as I do when at home, but there is usually always a sign he gives me that he hears me and knows I’m there. Every time I talk to him while there, a light, or sometimes gusty wind will blow. I know this is how he communicates with me while outside.
Once, when I had gone there to visit, shortly after his funeral and the snow had melted, I couldn’t find his grave. I drove over to the office so they could pinpoint it for me. I was all flustered in my already anxiety and still shocked state when I couldn’t find him, and when I finally did, I sat down on his holy ground and cried.
Another time I visited, it was a rather calm day weather-wise, but a huge wind picked up when I looked up at the sky, as though the wind was a messenger, letting me know, he knows I was there. After the visit when I got back into my car, I turned on the radio that had been off during the drive there. The channel switched to the 50s station on Sirius XM on its own – his favorite, and one that I never appreciated listening to. The song playing was Johnny Cash – I Walk the Line. My husband loved Johnny Cash. I stopped the car and from my tears, broke out in laughter and said out loud, “You little bugger, I know that was you.” And my heart felt at peace in that moment as I drove off.
I have experienced this wind or breeze many times in many different places outside when I speak out to him. I also find various feathers on my path when walking outside and various coins show up at home when I’m looking for something else . But last week was something different. As I cleaned up the dead flowers I’d laid there two weeks before, I looked up at the sky, and for a good ten to fifteen minutes, I watched in splendor, as five large dragonflies circled back and forth and round in circles way above my head. Their beautiful gossamer wings sparkled through the sunlight. It was mesmorizing. They kept flying, but never left my orbit. I’ve always been drawn to dragonfly symbols, knowing they have a magical connotation, but not knowing exactly what they represent. So of course, I had to look it up:
Most definitions will tell us that the dragonfly symbolizes spring, rebirth and renewal. And different countries around the world seem to have their own specific definitions. The Celts relate them to fairies, in Japan they represent transition from summer to winter, in China they represent good luck and love. In Vietnam they say dragonflies are weather predictors. But collectively, most people deem them a spiritual symbol of rebirth and transformation, not unlike the butterfly, that emerge from larvae and turns into something beautiful.
Dragonflies only live for a short time once they are transformed, signaling, life is short so live it up. With their near 360 degree vision, they see all around them, offering the ability to see beyond what any human can. Ultimately, all interpretations will tell us that when we see a dragonfly, it’s a reminder to break free, reinvent, transform into what we want to be, reminding there is beauty in freedom, and freedom is short-lived so live in the now. That is my interpretation from all the information I’ve taken in.
Seeing five of these beautiful creatures way above my head circling around for all those minutes felt like, once again, my Puppy was sending these messengers to let me know it’s okay to go forth and transform. I know this in my soul. I just feel stuck still in my heart.
One more sign: As I mentioned earlier, I believe my husband announces his presence to me through wind. Another day last week while at the pool, surrounded by nature, he greeted me with a very welcome breeze on a steaming hot summer day. I thanked him for the beautiful, much needed breeze, and asked him to let me know it’s really him communicating with wind by sending me a butterfly. An hour later a baby Monarch butterfly flew right onto my left arm close to my shoulder. I sat there for a few minutes while my heart felt joy as we communed together, knowing very well that my husband answered my call.
Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. As many of you know, I share a book I’ve read here weekly with my review. I always like to share a good book, paying it forward, and give the author some recognition. For this week’s review, I’m going to take the liberty to share some new-ish reviews I’ve been meaning to share, for my own books. As we all know, reviews are both golden currency for an author, plus, sharing them is a shoutout thank- you to the readers who take the time out to review our books.
I found this lovely review at Mark Bierman’s blog below.
If there was ever a story that gives a perfect example of peeling away the protective layers in which many of us enshroud ourselves, you’ve just found it.
D.G. courageously shares her story of being raised by an emotionally, and often physically, distant mother and the damaging consequences. I think most of us read stories to connect with the characters, and I found myself highly engaged with the younger D.G., as she tries to navigate through the emotional turmoil of her mother’s rejection; no child should ever have to go through that.
In spite of her mother’s alienation, D.G. does find strong supporters, within her family and in romantic partners. The reader cannot help but feel relief and joy every time these people turn up in her life.
I grew to admire D.G.’s resilience, kind heart, and appreciated her brutal honesty. The pages are choc full of valuable life lessons.
Life is rarely fair, but there are bright spots that we can soak up, and D.G. is certainly one who has learned to do just that. No one is spared from disappointment and varying degrees of trauma. We all need to find our ‘people’ who will support us.
I recommend this book to anyone with a pulse.
I’m giving this book, FOUR STARS!
Martha Perez, thank you for sharing your reviews on your many social platforms. This one is on Goodreads.
Twenty years started with a promise. D.G. Kaye had no limits for the love of her life. A heartfelt personal memoir is written beautifully by the author D.G. Kaye. This story is my favorite book by far this year. She shares taking the plunge and commenting on the love of her life, and truth be told, we never could predict the future. Gorden is a lot older than D.G. Kaye. I could feel her worrisome mind. She did take the chance.
The way she talked about her husband and the unconditional love between them is beautiful, even though a marriage is a lot of work. Each chapter of her words was the good, the bad, and the ugly, but her life with Gorden was a lovely daily sprinkle of glitter with love, laughter, stability, health-giving and age differences, respect, and lots of honey past, today, and future.
The author talks about the strength of the struggles they both endured, yet they embrace handling life together with love, kindness, and creative planning.
Kaye is Awe-inspiring with her sincere overpowering words that touch my heart and soul. Life is not perfect; by reading her love story, I could honestly say she came close to the happiness that people wait for a lifetime with faithfulness, honoring their vows to smile and laugh at the end of the day.
The simple things in life are watching the sunset, having morning coffee together, hugs, and making love are a lot more than the little things in a couple’s life. I truly loved reading this book. I learned from others and my own mistakes. The author’s story is a touching and beautiful tribute to her marriage.
Keeping a marriage together and having compassion in everyday life is an emotional task; they choose to handle their day-to-day lives gracefully and in harmony. I highly recommend the extraordinary book.
D.G. Kaye is back, and as she reflects on some of her more memorable vacations and travel snags, she finds herself constantly struggling to keep one step ahead of the ever-changing guidelines of the airlines—with her overweight luggage in tow.
I have to say I enjoyed reading this book. When I traveled had the same dilemma overweight luggage baggage charges have become an excess headache. I was glad to know I wasn’t the only one going through this madness.
And when travelers are compulsive shoppers, when nothing fits in our suitcases, that could become a problem. Read and learn. The author gives you an insight into her own experience and shares with us the stratagem of how to fit everything in a suitcase and much more; those tips will be with me for the next vacation.
Each word is beautifully written for awareness and to educate the people who travel and make it as easy as possible. I appreciate the knowledge that will help me shortly. I highly recommend this fantastic book to mostly those who love to travel.
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Toni Pike recently shared a new review on her blog for Have Bags Will Travel. This was a lovely post Toni put up at her blog to share my book. I hope you’ll pop over there. Her review is below.
5 stars – a delightfully nostalgic travel memoir
D.G. Kaye’s delightful travel memoir is an enjoyable page-turner, and essential reading for anyone wanting to travel overseas. It would be a perfect beach read, or a great book to take with you on vacation – something, perhaps, to keep you entertained while lining up at airports.
The author confesses to being a shopaholic who always travels with too much luggage – a problem shared by so many other travellers, including myself. She had me in stitches with her stories of trying to comply with the ever-varying luggage limits, and her constant struggles to deal with Canadian customs authorities on her trips home.
Kaye has many useful tips and tricks for the unsuspecting traveller. I couldn’t stop laughing at her description of how to maintain perfect sterilisation and not touch anything inside those tiny airplane toilets.
She has fond memories to share about trips to places like London, Paris and Las Vegas – and some fun times in Venezuela. I could relate to how much she loved Las Vegas in the past, when there were less crowds, much higher dress standards, and the restaurants and hotels offered much better service and value.
A few months in Greece in her youth became a constant struggle with too much luggage and then an accident. At Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, she managed to get from one terminal to another in record time with her elderly father in tow.
The author manages to include all sorts of luggage disasters – a topic very relevant at the moment. Shoes also play a big part, but you’ll have to read for yourself to find out more.
The book is written in an easy-to-read style and it moves quickly, so I kept eagerly turning the pages and was very sorry to reach the end. I hope the author writes another travel book one day – and I give this a very well-deserved 5 stars.
When I started to read this astonishing true story, I have to say I was very proud of D.G. Kaye; this is a heart-wrenching story with so many emotions about a mother and daughter relationship having a narcissistic mother and being so selfish and damaging her child.
A mother is supposed to love and treasure the gift God gave her; instead, she gave her pain and sorrow. I honestly relate to this story. D. G. Kaye is a fantastic woman. It is vital to tell such a heartrending and emotional story; she has so much courage to heal herself and others.
You live with this all your life wondering why? What did I do wrong? You start to question and blame yourself. It’s living with a dysfunctional family; it’s never your fault; it’s all we know until you’re an adult that you realize how messy life is. She has to decide to forgive her mother. I think it’s up to the person that was hurt to make such a tough choice—a page-turner.
Many of us came from a flawed family. Unfortunately, we can’t choose our parents, and when a child is abused, they will carry the pain throughout their lives. It’s an emotional roller coaster; the author speaks from her heart and soul. You will have tears flow down your cheeks. It’s not easy to forgive, but I am glad she has written this book.
A mother’s love should be unconditional, but when they have gambling and other problems, they exercise control over their children by being selfish and not loving. It’s a recipe for disaster. Why her mother wasn’t happy reflects on her daughter’s hurt she carries throughout her life and the neglect and abuse of the family.
I understand why writing her journey was so important. It’s like letting go of a butterfly jarred to be free to fly away from the Suffocation from her past.
I don’t think we can ever understand why some parents do what they do. We must heal from the bad and be grateful for the good. I could relate with D.G. Kaye. My parents were alcoholics and gave us away. It’s important to forgive, but you never forget. I highly recommend this fantastic book.
I found this beautiful review from Harmony’s posting on Goodreads.
As soon as I saw what this book was about, I had to read it, and I am so pleased I did.
Because of the difficult subject matter, and my own history, I had to take a deep breath before I plunged in. Not only has this writer’s honesty and bravery helped me to understand my parents a little better, it has also shown me precisely what my sister has become. I’d missed that, and this explains so very much.
It is a sad fact of life that, all too often, the victim becomes the perpertrator, unless we have the insight and strength to do something about it. I have long joked that I’m the reverse ‘black sheep’ of my family, and it seems to me that Debby is too. For all our successes, and the miracle of growing into well-adjusted adults in spite of it all, we will never be accepted by a parent who demands that we live their lies, manipulations, and abuses. The same with any sibling who demands the same.
Some lines that resonated with me in particular:
‘A narcissistic mother doesn’t have to be in one’s presence. She can still demand and demean no matter how far away.’
‘It is my decision to banish my mother from my life and a resolution to find peace within myself with my decision.’
‘[…] if we’re lucky enough to realize the bad, we have the opportunity to steer ourselves in a better direction.’
For a while now, I have struggled to think of what I will do when one or the other of my parents dies. I’m not even sure they would let me know, at this stage. And reading this honest and brave account from D G Kaye has helped me immensely. It has also helped to explain the till-now inexplicable behaviour of my twin sister. She has grown up with emotional neglect, as did I, and has now become a narcissist. This book has helped me to identify why she lives and behaves the way she does.
From my own life, I know how hard it is to go against the grain to become your own person despite your upbringing. It takes work, day by day, to resist some of those unhealthy habits instilled in us as children and to trust our judgements and motives. It takes courage to not give in to the insidious lack of self-esteem with which such adults are often left. The author has overcome much, and I admire her deeply both for her acheivements and for putting her journey into words so that others of us can also be helped.
PS I Forgive You: A Broken Legacy gets a solid and resounding 5 stars from me. A difficult read, but a book everybody should read.
I want to thank Mark, Toni, Harmony, for taking the time and interest to read my books and review. I’d also like to thank Martha Perez for her interest and time for reading three of my books. I am elated that all of you took so much from my words. Author’s gold. 💜💚🧡
I was recently invited over to Marcia Meara’s – The Write Stuff blog, where she’s been running a fantastic summer series, Ten Things You May Not Know About Me. So many authors and bloggers were featured in this series where we get to know some personal things about each one that we’d never otherwise know. Today I’m sharing my feature, but I also encourage you to visit some other entries in this wonderful series.
#TenThingsYouMayNotKnowAbout – #D.G.Kaye
I’m sure today’s author needs no introduction for most of you, but just in case there are some new folks reading along, I’m delighted to say that author D. G. Kaye is with us today. Debby is widely known in the blogging/writing world as a memoirist and a writer who generously spreads humor wherever she goes. Please help me give Debby a big welcome this morning. Debby? You’re on!
Thank you so much Marcia, for inviting me to share some of myself here today in your wonderful series – #TenThingsYouMayNotKnowAboutMe.
1. In high school, I always managed to maintain an over 80 average – despite my one year failing art and gym! Yes, art and gym! How do you fail art and gym? Well, I did. I was the girl in the Janis Ian song – At Seventeen – when choosing sides of basketball, I’d be last pick. I was nowhere near athletic, nor was I interested in sports. My only saving grace was dance segment and health classes which helped bring up my saggy average in that class. I remember getting booted for a class or two when I was caught cutting across the track field instead of running the length of it, hoping I wouldn’t be discovered doing so, to no avail. And don’t even get me started with those ugly blue rompers, sack-like outfits we had to wear. Art was a whole ‘nother thing. I still cannot color in the lines! Even when it comes to my book covers, I have the vision of what I want, but cannot express with drawing anything with my own hands – okay, maybe stick people.
2. Ambidextrous, I am, sort of. A weird mixture of one who writes with her right hand yet does most other things with the left. I also sucked at baseball because I have to wear a glove on my left hand for catching, and must take it off to throw the ball back with my same left, leaving a runner too much time before I could throw back the ball. I have no sports coordination with my right hand. When I attempted in my younger years, to play guitar, that was also strumming with the left hand. It’s complicated.
3. Before I met my husband, I was in an abusive relationship with someone for seven years. I realized it after the first year of living together, but by then I was trapped. I have written much on the subject, but to this day am still petrified of publishing anything about those years, for fears of being sued by my vindictive stalker and abuser.
4. I had many jobs and careers in my younger years. I was never fired, always left on my own volition. My earlier days were working in the fashion industry – selling clothes and doing the buying for some of those stores. I did a lot of temp secretarial in between jobs, and I was an executive secretary to the general manager of one of our downtown hotels for a few years. Before that, I worked for a photography company doing company sales for family portraits. My job took me all over the province of Ontario – with me as the driver. Those were my fearless days. I also became a certified travel agent, not because I wanted to work in an agency, but I’d struck a deal with an agency owner, I’d bring him clients on the side so I could keep my regular job and get my travel perks, commissions and benefits from the agency. I became office manager for an architectural firm, and later for a construction company, and then a real estate company. In my 30s, I went to ‘dealer’ school and became a certified casino dealer for blackjack and poker, then ultimately, became a pit boss. After a few years doing that, I got scouted out to work for a private company doing private parties. I only worked two or three nights a week and made more money (in tips) than I did all week working in a casino. I ultimately met my husband who was a guest of someone I knew at one of those parties. Once my husband moved in with me, he didn’t want me to work anymore. I must admit, it felt weird not working when I’d worked since a teenager.
5. I am an empath and very spiritual and sense when spirits are around me. As of yet, I have not directly sensed my own husband directly around me, but, I have definitely received many signs. I am an empath who can sense spirit by smell and touch and an inner knowing, this makes me clairsentient, clairalient, and claircognizant. I also read souls through looking into eyes, sort of like a human lie and empathy detector. This has never failed to be an alert system for me. Except when I was younger and dismissed what I thought I saw. I rely on my instincts to guide me. My father and my dear aunt come to visit me sometimes. I know when they are around, my body starts to shiver, and I can smell my aunt’s perfume or my father’s cigarette smoke when they appear.
I live in a condo complex owned and run by a Property Management company, not by individual owners. When hubby and I sold our last home in a hot market, the last thing we wanted was to rent someone else’s condo so we’d be at their mercy about if they decided to sell and we’d have to move, or that they could raise rents till their heart’s content. This complex was erected, some time in the early 1970s, and back in the day, this complex was touted as a luxury property, where most renters came as empty nesters after their homes were emptied and became too big for them, as well as a lot of divorcees.
The complex is well known in the northern part of my city, and although there are some quite large units, comparably to today’s ‘closets’ passing for condos here in my city of Toronto, these three buildings were never particularly promoted as a place for children. Many mid-life people moving here from their homes liked that aspect.
Through the years and decades, the buildings were always well kept with lots of amenities at our doorsteps without having to walk outside. These features obviously became draws for seniors to move here. And for many that have moved here from their previous homes – they never leave. I have to say that this gives me the creeps when I think about the reality that for many, it becomes the last stop before the final stop. My own father moved into the complex in the mid 70s after he FINALLY divorced my mother. He lived here for approximately fifteen years before his untimely death – his last stop before the final stop.
The grounds are vast and beautifully manicured with gazebos, fountains, and walking trails. I am literally a three to five minute drive to three major highways. Within our complex we have a convenience plus store, a dry cleaners, a library, tennis court, pool table room, swimming pool, sauna, gym and security at the gates. The biggest bonus of all is that they don’t build condos like these anymore, tight building budgets and cheap materials preferred over better now, the golden days are gone. These buildings also have what we call ‘rent control’ on them too, as our government deems any buildings built before 1990, eligible for rent control, meaning the rent can only go up so much annually without gauging, as dictated by governmental rate increases. These units are practically soundproof because the walls are made of plaster. In fact, anything heavy to hang on the walls must be drilled with a cement drill just to get the screws in. But the size of these units are often the sizes of some people’s houses. My husband and I moved here after selling our last home, for the same reasons many seniors do – let go of the home responsibilities and be able to travel through winter without house worries. For six years we lived in a 2000 square foot three bedroom unit. I recently moved to a one bedroom in the same building with 1200 square feet. The smallest place I’ve lived in since leaving home for the first time, but still, huge comparatively to today’s builds where a brand new condo penthouse will typically get you at most 1200 square feet, and the average one bedroom around 500-600 square feet.
At first when my husband approached me to move here I didn’t want to. I think it was the stigma I had set in my mind – the last stop thing I told him I couldn’t shake from my mind, but eventually, I succumbed. Admittedly, I feel like a ‘baby’ in this building because it is predominantly seniors who live here, most of them living here for years and decades. But I have made friends with several older folks here who always have advice to offer and helpful tips. And because I’ve been here a few years myself, already comfortable with my surroundings, and knowing anywhere else I’d move, I’d be living in a shoebox, I decided to stay here and move to another unit after my husband passed, instead of looking elsewhere.
But there are more perks. Besides all of the above, the management looks after the building well. Throughout the year we get notices to enter to fulfill each unit’s maintenance such as: drain cleaning, checking air vents, fire alarm testing, and we make maintenace requests for anything requiring fixing. Each unit is renovated before new tenancy – including wood floor resurfacing, new floor tiles and cabinets, new appliances and painting. When we first moved here we had put in granite counters in the kitchen and bathrooms, new light fixtures and draperies, and paid the painter to paint colors of my choice. I did the same when I moved into this unit. My friend Vinnie was our longtime real estate agent and a builder, so he got me a great builder’s deal on granite, and he switched out all my light fixtures and draperies from my other unit and installed them where I am now. What a good friend!
And still there are perks! What I love about living among so many seniors (besides the peace and quiet), is that we have a great guy as our member of parliament who looks after the district I live in. That would be the equivalent to an American person’s Congressman. Because there are three buildings to the complex with approximately two hundred units in each, we have a sizeable senior community right here. Because of this, many government programs are brought right to our doorstep! First and foremost luxury – a voting station is set up in our library for our elections. We don’t even have to step outside! Typically, when we have our elections, one can find a place to vote, virtually, almost anywhere near where everyone lives, most within walking distance in Canada, but having one right in the building is so convenient. We also had Covid vaccinations, boosters and flu shots organized to have done here too. We received emails inviting anyone to come down to the library last fall to have our QR codes validated for our vaccine passport, made into a business card size code and laminated so that seniors who weren’t familiar with digital would be able to carry the card in their wallets. Of course I went down to get one!
Why not? Yes, people who use phones as appendages may not be interested, but I can tell you that last fall, while my bestie was visiting from UK, we went out to restaurants quite a few times and had to show our QR codes in order to enter. I can say with certainty, when it comes to my phone that feels as though it’s been possessed by Google and Microsoft with the shenanigans going on with it, it takes me a moment to first dig up my phone out of my bottomless purse, punch in my password code, then go looking for the icon where I downloaded the code to, only to find once again, my icons have been moved around, it is literally faster for me to grab my wallet (so large and easy to spot) and pull out my QR code card! Okay, I know not everyone is thrilled about vaccines, but for me, it’s been a thrill not to have to drive far in my congested city and stand in lines to get vaxxed.
For now, it doesn’t look like I’m moving anywhere soon. But in my head and my heart, I feel I have more living to do and it isn’t here in my city. My bucket list is long, and before my husband took ill, we were considering moving to Mexico. Now alone, I don’t have quite the courage to continue that plan without my husband, but if I keep putting it out into the universe, I believe something is going to give. For right now, the grass isn’t looking too much greener anywhere else.
It’s The Small Things That Matter that form the biggest memories.
Things I love about being in Mexico – Friends, sun and ocean. The technology break is – to be cliché – heavenly, and a little bit back in time – pre-distracted times. Nobody is attached to their phones. Conversations are meaningful. Minutia can become an engaging conversation when we aren’t ruled by the clock. Nobody is in a hurry. I can watch the dolphins and whales from my beach chair or balcony, many times a day there’ll be one in view. The whales come to the Bay every February to birth the babies in a safe, shark-free environment.
What’s so great about Puerto Vallarta? It’s sunshine, ocean, books and of course, Margaritas. It’s true relaxation, an escape from life. It’s a fantastic venue for the growing art scene with a whole lot of talent from painters and sculptors to music and plays. It’s a wonderful community of kind people. It’s watching the sunset on my balcony with a Margarita, and waking up to sunrise above mountains from my bedroom window. Massages to grind the stress from my body. Admittedly, it took two or three until the pleasure part came through.
Traveling during Covid, and alone, walking for miles, with much too much carryon stuff was how it began. For the first two weeks I was taking in the beautiful sun and re-acclimatizing myself into the word, relax. I knew a few people there, quite a few other regulars didn’t come back this year, still afraid of Covid. Most of the ones there that I knew, somehow became strangers.
With the exception of our Dakota friends there til mid February, I felt like a newcomer at a place that used to feel so familiar. I’d make small talk with whomever may have been sitting beside me at the pool, had enjoyable days, but I became concerned about being home by myself every night and wondered if I’d be less lonely at home. I wasn’t looking to fit in but rather, some human beings I could connect with enough to want to have in my circle and form a friendship with. And that happened, it seemed, shortly after Valentines Day.
I met Shawn and Bobbie from Ontario as they ventured down to the pool on their first day in PV, and saw me wearing a Canadian hat, which inspired them to come talk to me. I met Jerry and Wendy from Winnipeg, Manitoba, and affectionately renamed them Je and Wen. I automatically shorten people’s names. I started calling Jerry, Jer and he laughed, telling me only his ex wife ever called him that. I apologized, he laughed and said he liked it then proceeded to call me De. Tit for tat, I took off the ‘R’ and began calling him Je. Wendy became Wen.
When I connect with people, it’s an instant feeling when I know I’m with ‘my people’. Wen is a sweetheart and Je is equally lovely with a great sense of humor. Jerry is also an artist who I will be featuring in a few weeks at one of my Q & A interviews, so stay tuned for that. I met them in the pool and we all three instantly connected and laughed a lot. Through Wen and Je, I met a friend of theirs, Saul, also in the pool. Then eventually, a week or so later, I met Saul’s wife, Brenda, who I kept calling Wendy, mixing up her name with Jerry’s Wendy, until Brenda had had enough and began calling me Sheila. Sheila Tequila that was. We went out quite a few times for dinner after we became fast friends.
One of a few things I noticed that’s changed with the times there was that many restaurants didn’t have some of the older waiters that knew ‘old school’ waitering. Many restaurants had young staff – some quite young, who couldn’t even speak English. I discussed this with Jerry one day in the pool after a dinner night out we shared as a group at Tosca. Jerry told me he’d heard many waiters died from the Covid, hence, the rush on inexperienced waiters as tourism opened up. There, Jerry ordered an Olive Martini, a ‘nouveau’ restaurant in the new up and coming area of Versailles, which is literally a ten minute walk from our condo. The restaurant was nicely tucked under an open air – garage door-like open rooftop on a residential street. The place was recommended, so we thought we’d check it out. Besides the fact that it took an hour to bring us a drink, not comprehend menus without English speaking waiters, then another hour wait for what came, cold food, it was Jerry’s martini story that had us laughing the most.
I know my friend Jerry isn’t one to make waves. But when we finallyyyy got our drinks, Jerry commented that he was sure they forgot the Vodka in his martini. He was so perturbed he began passing around his drink around the table to Wendy, me, Brenda and Saul, and polled us all, asking if anyone smelled alcohol. After a unanimous vote ‘no’, a few began the taste test. It was still a resounding no. Jerry tried to communicate his concern to the young waiter, who had no clue what the issue was. The waiter went to another waiter to confer, with no results. Jerry called another who looked higher in command to express his complaint. That person went to consult with the bartender before coming back with a shot glass with Vodka in it. Gone was all the ‘Sorry Sir, let us make you another drink.’ Or, the customer is right and unhappy. We all had to laugh at the circus of confering going on before someone would believe him. It became ‘one of our’ standard jokes. After all that, the food was good. The service was lacking, the time it took to receive drinks and food were very long, and naturally, most food came cold. But in all fairness, the left overs were even better for next day lunch once heated up.
We had quite a few fun nights out together and other than one more crappy dining experience with Jerry, Wendy, Wendy’s sister, and my other new pals, Shelley and John at another ‘recommended’ restaurant in the same area, we were done with recommends. The still up and coming restaurant row had a long way to go before warranting the higher restaurant prices there. We were told there was a great Greek/Mediterranean restaurant in the same area. The food was average and below, my Margarita tasted like grapefruit and something. I know grapefruit. I don’t like grapefruit. But the stern, rude waiter insisted it wasn’t. Half the stuff on the menu wasn’t available. Jerry again, got a crappy fake martini. Anything Wendy wanted wasn’t available. My food was tasteless. We watched several tables who came when we did, eat and leave before we ever saw food. I asked the waiter if I could ask a question about something on the menu and he replied: “Hurry up, I’m busy.” We were all stunned at his brazen rudeness. When it was time for the bill we waited another hour. I kept asking Jerry and John to say something to our terrible waiter. Finally, the bills came – most wrong, especially Wendy’s charged for things she never ate or ordered. Wrong drinks on wrong bills and tempers flaring. We all paid without leaving a tip. Not surprisingly, I cannot find any photos from that crazy night.
I had planned on checking out a dentist while in PV. Many people I’ve heard from go there for cleanings, implants, root canals, etc. First, it’s much cheaper for dental work in Mexico than it is in Canada or U.S. There are many state of the art clinics with doctors and dentists from around the world in PV. I have my own dentist, but I’m concerned about some things I wanted a second opinion on and I was long overdue for a new nightguard, as the old one no longer fits my bite, my grinding is out of control, and they aren’t cheap. So I thought I’d check around for recommendations, and I didn’t even have to ask, when Wendy shared a story with me about dental work she’d been having in PV with an amazing dentist. Jerry went for a whitening there too and couldn’t say enough about this mother/daughter dynamic dentist duo – Drs. Lourdes Flores times two. A.K.A as Lulu Flores – both them.
The daughter is a dental surgeon. They work together, no hygenists, no secretaries, they do it all, and me and Mama Flores hit it off instantly. Like we knew each other from another life, it was uncanny. She too was a younger widow and my appointment took three hours because there was a lot of talking going on between both us! I had one of the best cleanings I could ever remember (and my gums reminded me for three days), but then they felt so much better. I got fitted for a new nightguard and had it three days later. Best nightguard! No hassle, just put it in, unlike my old one which required a hot water ritual. If anyone may be going to Puerto Vallarta and considering a dentist visit, or requires expensive dental work, I high recommend my new dental amigas, Drs. Flores and Flores.
Soon after meeting the Winnipeg friends – Wendy, Jerry, Brenda and Saul. I met John from my own province of Ontario, in the pool. We started yapping about everything and anything, and the next day, he introduced me to his wife Shelley. We became the three amigos and Shelley and I laughed and laughed all day long at the pool, and on our many outings together. Shelley was just a person I automatically clicked with and felt like I knew her for years. We spent every afternoon in the pool together, never running out of things to talk about. We shopped downtown together many times, sometimes with and without John, stopping for a meal and the odd Margarita for me and Sangria for Shel. There may have been many outings and drinks:
Shelley and I met a couple of girls from Edmonton, Alberta, at the pool. We had a couple of fun times with these girls, Carol and Sharon, who of course, were also dubbed nicknames, as it seems I had a new name for everyone. The four of us went downtown one afternoon and walked the Malecon, stopping along the way for some happy hour drinks and more laughter. At one of our stops, the tag in my dress was scratching the heck out of me. Carol to the rescue asked a waiter for scissors. No such thing, but he gave her his Swiss army knife. Below is Carol doing surgery on my tag at the bar. After that set of drinks we wandered down to Los Muertos Pub for some burgers.
And finally, to round off my new circle of wonderful friends, came Pat (Patty girl) and Jamie from Vancouver, B.C. I met this fun couple seperately at the pool and was delighted to find they belonged to each other. Pat and I began chatting in the pool and I met Jamie around the pool. And it didn’t take long before I renamed him Ukranie from Jamie.
Jamie was very engaged with the Ukraine situation and has relatives stuck back there. He had passed a Tshirt making place along one of his many investigative shopping travels and ordered himself a shirt, “I stand with Ukraine” was the intended slogan, but as he modelled his shirt at the pool, my editor’s eye caught a typo on his shirt. It said, “I stand with Ukranie.”
I laughed out loud and shouted across the pool, “Spell check much?” Jamie took another look at his shirt and came back telling me he showed the printer a picture of the shirt off the internet on his phone. Again, I asked if he believed everything he saw on the internet. The damage was done. He couldn’t wangle out of that one and now he’s forever known to me as Ukranie. A week later, he ordered some new solidarity shirts and below, we are modelling them:
The month of March seemed to pass a lot faster than the month of February. With all my new friends and my introducing them all to each other, there was never a dull moment between pool gatherings, shopping and dining, drinks, and laughter.
One day, Ukranie rented a car for the day and drove me, Pat, Shelley and John up to a fantastic market about 45 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta, up to La Cruz. We spent half the day up there at the beautiful Marina market, then stopped at some other smaller popular towns on the way back – Punta de Mita, Bucerias, Sayulita and Nuevo Vallarta.
Next week I’ll continue on about that crazy, fun trip with the five us, as well as some other jaunts, shopping trips, sightings, and, of course, more Margaritas!
I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know a little about my wonderful friends and just a taste of some of our good times.