Updates – What’s New in my World? And, Oye, Another Birthday?

So, I often write about some of the goings on in my life and in my head/heart. Last Thursday was probably the best day I’ve had since I was in Mexico with my new wonderful friends.

Today, (the post goes live) is my ‘something’th’ birthday, and I probably won’t be answering your comments till much later tonight, because it will be my new best day because I’ll be spending it with my bestie, Banan, known as Bri in my books.

But getting back to Thursday – weeks previous to Thursday, I’d come up with the decision that I have to start expanding my horizons and decide what kind of group activity I’d like to join. The time is long overdue.

I’d thought about joining a grief group where I could be among ‘my people’, or joining a gym, women’s fitness – no men as I’m not interested in getting hit on. I couldn’t find anywhere close that had an actual, non online grief group. I’m at the point where I need to be around way more people, to find new friends that don’t live far away and whom I have things in common with – not necessarily grief – but a human or two I can connect with, someone who I can look into their eyes when speaking as opposed to chatting on a computer screen.

I talk to my friends online often in chat boxes, but there’s nothing better than real talk with humans face to face. I’m a people person and feel myself shrinking by spending too much time left to my own devices. I promised my two besties I was seriously going to join something when I decided where I’d feel most comfortable, and I decided to email a contact form for a Goodlife Fitness Women’s Gym, only ten minutes away, and went for the tour last Thursday.

Asal showed me around with a guided tour for over an hour. She was a sweet young girl. It felt great just to get out and talk to Asal (whose name that took me three tries to pronounce, and we laughed together). She asked me a short questionnaire – my goals, what I was wanting out of joining, any classes I’d be interested in. I told her my husband died a year ago and I’m taking my first steps in trying to rejoin civilization, mainly joining to take part in some classes for social interaction – Zumba and Yoga.

I’ve pushed myself to commitment and went back yesterday, to use the free pass to try out whatever equipment I wanted in the gym for however long I wanted, and they had great special plans to choose from at reasonable prices, and Asal was dropping the ‘joinup’ fee of $100, if I signed up then. I figured I’d try the two classes a week and use the treadmill and some of the weights, before I dived into machines. So I told Asal I’d like to use my free pass day Monday, (yesterday), and that I’d come while she’s on shift so I could sign up with her. So now I’m a member. For approximately $20 a week I can go whenever I want and to however many classes I want. I liked midday because there were people but not so many. I figured I’d eventually strike up a friendship with someone, it’s close to home, it’s only women, so what do I have to lose. And who knows, in the process, I could get in good shape. Sounds like a win/win. So this is my progress.

So, getting back to Thursday, before I got to the gym. I was on my way to the gym waiting for the elevator on my floor, where this attractive older woman was standing. I’d never seen her before, but then again, I’m picky who I want in my close circles in the building where I live, lol. I have a few friends from upstairs on my old condo floor, neighborly friends, but not real close. And there were many lovely greetings from what seemed the, ‘widow’s floor’ I’d moved on to, but nobody I felt a connection with. But today, there was ‘Marsha’.

My condo is, unfortunately, close to the elevator. I came out, locked my door, turned around and walked ten steps to the elevator. I saw the back of her and her pretty blonde bob before she turned around and asked, ‘Does it bother you living close to the elevators?’ I replied, not really. There’s no noise. I just feel like my door is vulnerable for quick break-in getaways if there were any, and have to remember not to talk on the phone near the door for fearing of being overheard.

We laughed while waiting for the usual long elevator wait. She told me she just moved in last month and gave me a short synopsis of her being twice a widow. She’s very attractive, and we shared a similar humor. I took her for her early 70s. I gave her my short synopsis, and after we got off on the lower level together, while I was going to the parking lot and she, to vote in our library, we both finally took a breath and were about to go our parting ways, when she told me her apartment number and added, ‘knock on my door around 645, I’ll show you my place then we’ll go sit outside in our park.

After I got back from the gym, my new good friend from Mexico, Shelley, Whatsapp video called, and we had a two hour catch-up and planning when I’m going to visit her and stay at her place for a few days. She lives in Brighton, Ontario, about a two-hour highway drive east of me. Me, anxiety highway driving woman. But, I made up my mind. I am driving to Shel’s. I’m not taking the train. That, my friends, will be an adventure.

We laughed about all our antics this past winter, and the things we’re going to do together next winter in Puerto Vallarta- definitely heading up to the best market in Bucerias. And we’re looking at late June for my first summer visit, as soon as it warms up to swimming weather again, as typically, our hot summer is now feeling like the cool of spring, and it looks that way on the weathermap for the next few.

My Bestie, Banan called while I was talking to Shel. I declined her call, texted her that I was on the phone with Shelley. I did call her back much later, almost dinnertime, of course no answer. I left her a text to listen to my long message about my surprising day. I told her to call me tomorrow because I had to make some dinner and I was rushing to meet Marsha. Banan was thrilled.

We caught up the next day. And I will end this here, and then I will reveal more about my outdoor meeting with Marsha and our walk to the coffee shop on Sunday, in next week’s episode.

I’m being bold and stepping back into civilization – baby steps, but it’s happening!

TBC….

©DGKaye2022

How Am I Doing? Too Much Solitude isn’t Healthy – #Procrastination and #Grief

It was a year April 7th that I lost the love of my life, my husband, Puppy. And today is his birthday. I’ve been busy painting new rocks to place around his gravestone for his birthday visit. And went over to the garden center to pick up a lovely spring planter.

The sun’s rays were shining brightly in this photo

This past year has been one of The most difficult time of my life. Many days I find myself not coming to grips with anything. When you love deeply, you will grieve deeply. I am on my own way too much it seems and I know with certainty getting away for the winter was my saving grace, being around people – company, always someone to talk to.

Most of my days are spent reading, researching various things from the spiritual to online grief groups, and writing. It may seem I haven’t published anything for quite some time, but the writing has been plentiful and has given me much material to work with from my journaling and the many poems I have written. My procrastination, because of my newly acquired short attention span hasn’t permitted me to do anything concrete with any of it yet, but I’m slowly working on that as I struggle through each day with what feels like a never-ending grief who is my constant companion. I know though, that one day soon I will have much of my writing to share. My grief doesn’t just pop up randomly, but walks with me every minute of the day. Some days I can deflect it off ’till later’ and some days it just gets the best of me. So I continue to live in my mantra of ‘One Day at a Time.”

In my moments of distraction, I find myself running to Youtube listening to angel messages, Mediums, poets, from inspirational things to talks on the afterlife. I’ve been watching a lot of Youtube videos, getting lost in the 70s and 80s lately too. I can listen to that music because it takes me back to some of my most happiest times – the times before I met my husband, so those songs couldn’t set off yet another fresh round of grief. Somedays I find myself having to do anything to distract myself from doing anything productive as my grief is a staunch companion. I find myself always trying to gauge my emotions and watch where my mind goes. If I feel the need to abandon doing something constructive (like writing and getting back to edits so I can publish I book I wrote two years ago), when the weight of my grief reminds its presence, I need to do that in that moment. This is my coping mechanism taking over, and I must listen.

If my soul craves the need to jump over to Youtube to watch a video on the Afterlife, or a music video to take me back to a happier time, I do it. I’m alone much of the time and I thank goodness I’m resourceful because let me tell you, I loved living on my own when I was younger. I had the time of my life in those days with a very active social life. But this time ’round, both the calendar and the couch are equally empty.

I’m okay with music prior to knowing my Puppy, but not yet ready for hearing ‘our’ songs. I passed on the Luther Vandross video – So Amazing, that popped up on the playlist, the one I walked down the aisle to when we married.

I’m getting acquainted with, but not quite used to living alone. Being single in grief at a certain age is nothing like being single in my 20s and 30s, especially when you’re still trying to digest being in the digit ‘six’ club. If I didn’t have my writing to keep me sane, who knows where I’d be. Writing is my sanity, as it seems to have been my ‘go to’ since I was a child. I feel like I’m in a new learning phase of my life where I allow myself to follow my whims instead of putting them on the back burner for tomorrows – those tomorrows that sometimes never come.

But I’m always writing. I probably have enough writing for three new books. The only thing I haven’t yet got back to is my desire to do something with my words. So in the meantime, I keep writing. And I’m actually considering putting some of my writing in podcast that will eventually become part of the book on grief that I’ve been journaling about. The universe will guide me when the time is right. My heart is far from ready yet to reread the thousands of words I have written in these past two years.

My circles in life are considerably smaller. I am grateful for the friends in my life, especially those who’ve ‘stayed’. And equally grateful for my online writing friends here who keep check on me and keep me motivated, informed and entertained. I feel as though I haven’t found a direction yet, so I remain coasting along to whatever the days ask of me without putting pressure on myself. Grief is a strange animal that takes hold of me in a moment’s notice. It distracts, it chokes, it hinders, and somedays it’s just emotionally crippling for me, and it works on its own schedule. Too much alone time is not healthy for a griever. I am trying to work on that too.

I will finish off by saying that procrastination is a well known thing for writers as we often will look for a distraction when the muse isn’t fulfilling. But sometimes, in other aspects of life, procrastination is the very thing that soothes our insanity, and a diversion is just what the doctor ordered.

Happy Birthday to my Heavenly Husband 🧡💔💘

Last of the diehard Toronto Maple Leaf fans – who may just make it this year!

Mexican memories

Love of my life

©DGKaye2022

Puerto Vallarta, #Mexico Part 3, Fun, Sun, Shopping and Friends

Welcome to Part 3 of my winter away in Puerto Vallarta. Today I’m going to share more photos and a few video clips to give you the vibe and describe a bit more about interesting facts and observations about vacationing in PV.

Bartering

I’ll start with shopping. In stores, the price is the price. But when visiting outdoor markets or buying from beach vendors, don’t forget to bargain or I promise you’ll be paying too much. Typically, when a beach or market vendor offers you prices for their wares, I’ve discovered that they will usually double the actual price of what they will eventually accept. They are crafty sellers and they know there are many new tourists who they can snag in at too high prices, often not taking into account the many repeat visitors who know the game.

Often the vendors that peddle their wares along the beach aren’t always selling their own hand-crafted goods, but they are selling for other people’s stores. They have a price they must get to both, pay for those goods and make a small profit. I know this game well, especially as a seasoned shopper. I may not always be buying, but I look and always check prices. Let’s say someone is selling beach covers on the beach. Typically, if you go downtown to markets and such you will see these same covers going for $250 to $400 Pesos (range of $12-$25 US dollars) but you can be sure if you ask ‘Pedro’ on the beach, how much, he’ll ask you for $800 Pesos. That’s when I laugh and joke around and say things like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ And I’d say I can get the same thing downtown for ‘x’ amount. Then the negotiations begin as ‘Pedro’ will rebutt with asking how much would I be willing to pay. It’s just the way the game goes. I know that if they are asking $800, it’s really valued around half. If I want the item I’ll offer $400, usually never accepted right away. He’ll come back at around $600 and I’ll say I don’t need it that bad for $600 but I’ll take it for $400. After all is said and bartered, I’ll walk away with the item for $450, $500 max. I get what I want, and I know he got to make some profit without ripping me off.

Le hat

Above is the perfect demonstration of waiting for the right price. I saw this unique hat downtown in an over-priced store near the beginning of my trip and fell in love with it. It came in various colors and the brim was all hand embroidered. When I first saw this hat, the store wanted $60 US dollars for it! And they didn’t even care to bargain so I left it and kept my eye out for it in my many travels, but everywhere I did manage to find this style I found it too over-priced. Until I went out for the day with my friends Jamie and Pat to Bucerias and we walked through the market, and there they were again. The goods were cheaper up there than downtown PV. I didn’t even bargain when I found this beauty, the young girl was so sweet sitting outside her little kiosk in the sun. I asked how much and she told me $380 Pesos – equivalent of about $25 Canadian dollars. Sold!

My friend Shelley and I went on a few shopping jaunts together, but we also went grocery shopping together a few times too. I can tell you that grocery prices have gone up there like everywhere else. The food in PV is delicious and freshly made in restaurants, and to my knowledge and taste buds – without preservatives, a refreshing change from North America. I felt my grocery bill had gone up about ten percent since 2020, and definitely noticed the upcharges in restaurants and bar drinks. I used to be able to eat a dinner out for $12 that became $15, and sometimes upwards of $20, depending on where I went out to eat at. Fish is relatively cheap in PV and brought in fresh daily to many restaurants. Shrimps are cheap and plentiful on every menu and marlin, mahi mahi and snapper are always on menus.

Shelley took this at the upscale supermarket – La Comer. In this section they make fresh tortillas daily

This is a glimpse of this huge, well appointed supermarket, fresh meat and fish section

The bar drinks went up quite a bit too, considering alcohol is relatively cheap to buy there. Drink prices almost doubled for the most part in most restaurants and at the pool. Beers were typically a dollar, now three dollars. Mixed drinks that used to cost about three dollars became six, seven and eight, depending where you went. I used to like to order the odd Pina Colada at the pool in the afternoon (a little easier to handle during the day than margaritas), until they doubled the price while I was there. Instead of paying eight dollars for a drink I decided to replenish my own bar in my condo and bought a bottle of rum, crema de coconut and pineapple juice, all for under $18 and made myself many afternoon drinks for less than a dollar.

Best Pina Colada with authentic recipe. Malibu Rum, Crema de Coconut, Pineapple Juice and a splash of lime

Shelley and I went downtown to the factory where they sell all the beautiful blown drinking glasses and accessories. I wanted to buy so many things but wound up only buying two giant martini glasses and two shot glasses because the glass is heavy and I had no room to spare in my carryon bag. The margarita glasses weighed more than the martini glasses. They do the safe wrapping there too. The only danger were the rows and rows of shelving full of glassware we’d walk up and down through the aisles looking at. I had my big beach shopping bag slung over my shoulder and had to hold it close to avoid being a bull in a china shop.

Beautiful blown glass

Of course we had to stop for a libation in between shopping.

Me and Shelley (Shelster) stopping in a watering hole

This a photo of the famous ‘Our Lady Of Guadalupe’ church near the center square down by the boardwalk/malecon. Many church-going folk tourists go there for Sunday morning service, and it is often referred to as a meeting point when people make plans to meet downtown.

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Below is a short veryyy amateur video I took of me, Shelley and our new girlfriends from Alberta, Carol and Sharon. The four of us were crazy together and somehow we had created alias names for ourselves. Carol became Pat McGuilicutty, Sharon was Marge Simpson (because she piled her massive hair two feet high on her head most days at pool, except it wasn’t blue. I dubbed Shelley, Shirley Shelster, and I was named Sheila Tequila. We went downtown for Happy Hour and a pub crawl.

Pub crawl in PV

Here’s a small sampling of downtown Malecon. Me, Shelley and John spent the day downtown one day, walking, shopping and of course a few drink pit stops.

Downtown boardwalk

Here’s an interesting picture I took while we were at a red light on the way back from downtown. You never know what you will see in PV for a hand out.

Guy on a unicycle right in front of our cab

They come in all shapes and sizes there, geckos, lizards and salamanders

This guy was hanging out near the pool steps to lobby

On my last night in PV, Shelley and John, Wendy and Jerry, had already left the day before. Brenda and Saul were already home. Thankfully, Jamie (Ukranie) and Pat were leaving the next day also, we were the last of the diehards left and we went downtown for dinner. Jamie left early because he had to attend to a Zoom conference, leaving me and Patty Girl to our own devices. So we walked over to the Margarita Grill our favorite landing spot when going downtown for a good margarita.

Margarita Grill

Last night in PV drinking our medium sized margaritas

After margaritas and a tequila shot, Patty and I walked across the street to the always busy Dolce Vita restaurant and sat down at the bar and finished off our night with Spanish Coffees before heading home.

This vacation started off as a slow burn as I was apprehensive in going solo, discovered friends who I thought were friends, weren’t really, then ultimately, meeting some fantastic new friends who made my time in PV very special. These are not just PV friends, these are all new good friends that I keep in touch with and will not only be meeting up with again next winter, but I plan on taking Patty and Jamie up on their offer to visit them in Vancouver this summer, as well as my pals Shel, and John because they live right here in Ontario about an hour and half away. I will also be visiting them this summer. A great gang of people and blessed to make all their acquaintenances.

My Winnipeg girls, Wendy and Brenda

Dakotas
My North Dakota Girls Jackie and Kathie

Sharon, me, Carol and Shel

Wendy and Jerry (the artist)

Shelley and John

Bobbie and Shawn also from Ontario

Me, Patty, Jamie, Shelley and John

Thank you all my new wonderful friends for making my trip so much fun!

I hope you all enjoyed reading and watching slices of my winter escape to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico!

©DGKaye2022

The Trip – Part 2, Puerto Vallarta

Welcome back to Part 2 of my fun trip to Puerto Vallarta. In the first part, I gave a brief introduction to some of the new wonderful friends I met while there. I left off in Part 1 with our day trip to various small towns we visited north of Puerto Vallarta.

Jaimie (Ukranie) rented a car and the five us squashed in for a fun-filled ride. Our road trip barely started before we were all in search of a bank machine to get some shopping Pesos. Some of us had been having problems with certain bank machines that kept spitting out our cards and wouldn’t give us money. Finally we were all set. We piled back into the car and Jamie announced, “Everyone in?” Before he heard me say that Shelley was only half in, the car jerked in forward motion. I screamed stop as Shelley hobbled to keep up with the car. Thankfully, she was fine, but we did laugh our heads off after the moment.

We headed north to La Cruz where it’s been touted to be one of the biggest and best markets in Puerto Vallarta. It was located around a marina where all kinds of things were sold from home made goods to eco-friendly goods, to leather, hats, dresses, art, food and more.

Marina surrounding market
Market kiosks surround the marina
Musical entertainment and a shelter from the sun
Seems like miles of market kiosks
A monument to a musical philanthropist community leader whose ashes were spread in front in the Bay
A glorious hot day walking the market
Me and Pat
Watching a man blow glass at his booth

After spending around four hours at this fun market, Jamie chauffered us to nearby Punta de Mita, a quiet gem about 45 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta where there are many hidden getaway spots for the rich and famous, spectacular golf, and so quiet as though nobody knows it’s there. We stopped into a little area for a pitstop Margarita and beers.

Marg and beers at Punta de Mita
Punta de Mita

After that pitstop, we drove over to Sayulita, an old fishing village turned into a surfer paradise, big gay community and artist hangout.

A bar sign in a local bar
Outside view from the bar with outdoor seating

Shelley me and Pat headed to have a look at the beach, and laughed as we saw people wearing the dreaded ‘Speedo’ bathing suits. As we were entering the beach, it seemed someone parked their horse there. The town is very small and narrow roads so not surprising to find horse transporation along with many driving golf carts. When we came back off the beach it seemed when I took that photo, I stepped in horse shyte. I got off the beach and was puzzled at what on earth is stuck to my sandal – stinky black and full of straw. Pat offered to take a closer look and announced it was horse shyte. And the good friend she was, proceeded to clean it off my shoe as I remained laughing out loud and ultimately grossed out. In the end, when I got back to the condo, I just threw out my shoes.

Shelley and the dirty horse

After leaving Sayulita, Jamie gave us a quick driveby tour on the way back to Puerto Vallarta, to Bucerias, another small, yet, bustling tourist town. Then we drove by Nuevo Vallarta, Paradise Village where there are many all inclusive resorts and time share rentals. We had the day together, lots of laughter, a few drinks, good sightseeing and of course, shopping.

I hoped you enjoyed reading about out little daytrip. Next time I’m going finish with Part 3, which will include more stories, random photos, trip to Bucerias and a few video captures.

©DGKaye2022

I’m Back! Puerto Vallarta – The Trip

Hello Everyone! I’ve recently returned from my two-month getaway to sunny Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It was a whirlwind trip to say the least, as usual – beginning and ending with horrendous travel day experiences to both start off and finish off my vacation.

I’ll just mention the day before and travel day home. My province conveniently lifted Covid airline testing – the day after my return. I had to pay $40 Canadian to have a rapid test I was already doing free, myself, a few times a month. I had to fill out an ArrivCan app with Covid vax info, etc., that nobody even checked for. I went to check in online and discovered the upgrade seat I’d paid $54 for last May when I booked the trip wasn’t showing and proceeded to award me some new random seat and auto sent me the boarding pass. There was no way to contact them. I’d already been warned to get to airport now 4 hours early instead of 3. I knew I’d have a problem at checkin. Online didn’t even let me fill out how many bags I was checking. I knew I had to pay $50 for the 2nd bag. Somewhere in the kerfuffle, they did forget to charge me.

The airline wasn’t lined up yet but the airport was packed. Thanks to only having two days a week our airlines fly out on, instead of the old daily flights. The agent apologized, even with the confirmation email I showed her on my phone, for my paid seat. Plane was full, nowhere else to sit, and take it up with Air Canada for my refund was all the sympathy I got. Which of course, I am currently waiting for some response from them before I have to go on another Air Canada rant. This flight wasn’t assigned a gate – the only flight in the whole airport which NEVER got a gate listed on the board. There are two floors in PV airport. I dragged my carryons up and down and back again, and I was far from feeling friendly. Finally, after inquiring for the umpteenth time, I was told a gate – back downstairs, and boarding in 20 minutes! I stood in line to get the bus that would take us to the plane. I stood in front of a lovely family of three, who happily told me they all had the Covid two weeks ago. I was glad to be wearing TWO masks. Naturally, the plane was late forty minutes. I landed into an absolute craziness and archaic system at customs, after walking about another mile from the hangar to customs. Seriously, there was a moment I thought I was going to pass right out as I trudged along with two carry bags. I can’t imagine older people with mobility problems being able to travel the unbelievable distance, only to arrive at zigzag lines set up to wait in for the automated kiosk to fill out life story, then to join a smiliar set up in new lines to actually pass through a customs officer. WHY the 90 minute lineup crap twice? Then, finally off to get baggage (porter -$15, limo $72 to get home.)

I’ve taken many photos on this trip which I’ll be sharing here in various posts of highlighted moments of my trip, but since my SIM card holder in my phone cracked while replacing the Mexican one with my home card, and my storage card full of pictures included, I’m now awaiting a new one that apparently, will take a week delivery from Amazon, I’ve been busy trying to fish out copies from the cloud download. It seems technical woes are like a magnet with me. So I can presently only be contacted by Whatsapp call and texting, while home on my wifi, until I can get my SIM card working

~ ~ ~

About the beginning… I was very apprehensive about even taking this ‘solo’ trip, and for the first two weeks of it, I was contemplating coming home early as I learned old friends really weren’t, until I met some new, ‘real’ friends.

Travel day was hard. Of course I had to play, the ‘weighing the suitcases’ game. Without my husband, this was a whole new travel experience in many ways. I had a lot of things to bring along and with 50 pound max per bag, I had to do some fancy footwork, as well as ultimately, having to leave some gluten-free food items behind because there was no way I could pack it all. I had finally opted for a carryon bag WITHOUT WHEELS, because it was a good size bigger than the one with wheels, and that became an albatross on my back.

As usual, the gate to my boarding upon departure was the furthest gate. After all the checkin and security longggggggggg lines, I must have walked a good mile, plus. Wearing a mask and gasping for air, about halfway, I’d finally decided to drag the carry on by it’s shoulder strap, like a leash on a dog as I could barely walk anymore. I was running out of steam. No sooner did I sit down at the gate, they announced GATE CHANGE….the complete opposite end of all the gates. After two flight delays, I finally landed.

The driver I’d hired to pick me up at airport was long gone and/or nowhere to be found. No surprise as I’d spent two and a half hours in Puerto Vallarta airport between immigration lines, then customs. Who would have even thought there was a pandemic going on with soooooooo many people. I must have landed along with ten other flights! Hence, my driver had vanished and I was standing in the hot sun, new lineup for a taxi. Thankfully, the agent was at my condo rental when I finally got there.

The condo: Up very high, 25th floor, beautiful view, could tell a man owned it, kitchen supplies were sparse. Grateful for the height when it came to not having to hear the crazy music on weekends from the ‘shady’ club the next building over.

Long elevator waits, especially when one is constantly out of service and never anything being done. Rinse, repeat, at least three times a week. But was happy to see mask protocol signs on the elevators. The Mexicans are mask abiding citizens, which made me feel that much more comfortable.

I came back from my first massage in two years, to a flooded front hall. Had to call manager to get maintenance up there pronto, but pronto is the complete opposite of manana time.

The condo door swelled on humid days, requiring a tug upon closing…only there was no outdoor handle on the door. The door lock is automated and won’t sense the door closed. The first episode had me standing in a hot outdoor hallway trying to devise ways to tug on a handleless door. After wasting two of my precious sun hours, waiting for assistance, it was a temporary remedy. The second time it happened, I thankfully, already had friends. I called my friend Shelley and she sent her husband John with mini tools. He took the handle off the inside of the door and put it outside the door – where it belonged! No more problems with that.

Wifi is always wonky in that building, this time, no exception. I magically managed to lose the capability to connect to the bedroom TV, after being able to for the first week. Thank goodness the TV connection worked in the living room, as I needed my night time Netflix. The Wifi sucked when it came to video calls on Whatsapp, but at least worked without video.

The view from my living room/balcony with a cruise ship coming in

My apprehnsion about even going on the trip was a mixed bag of emotions. I was going somewhere familiar where I thought I’d had friends I’d spend time with, but I quickly found out, once I had become a single from a couple, there was no room for me.

People my husband and I knew previously acknowledged condolences and then pretty much disappeared. I became nothing more than someone you’d casually pass on a lounger and say a quick hello to. Sure I talked to people. Everyday I’d sit at the pool and chat with whomever was sitting beside me. Casual chat and company to pass the day with until lonely nights came along and I had nobody to pal around with except one funtastic night with our old ‘Dakota’ friends, Kathy and Fred, and Jackie and Paul. We’d known them for a few years and the guys were pals with my husband. They had a lot going on and visitors at different times and I was never one to impose on other people’s vacation. But they had kindly invited me out with them for an evening of dinner and a tribute live show to Gladys Knight. We had a blast! We also drank too many Margaritas that night and were all a bit hung over the next day. That was week one.

Jackie, me, Kathy
Fred and Paul

We laughed a ton and enjoyed ourselves at the pool together.

A few more days rolled by and suddenly it was Valentine’s Day. The girls were out shopping when I noticed Fred (Kathy’s husband), walking across the length of the pool carrying roses in a vase. I shouted out to Fred about how beautiful the roses were as he seemed to be making his way over to me, and he then handed them to me, gave me a hug, and he whispered, “George asked me to give you these.” I had never felt so touched by someone’s kindness as in that moment as tears welled. It seemed the whole pool of people were watching where those roses were going, and once Fred presented them to me, there was applause from the spectators. It was quite a moment.

My Valentine’s flowers

That day will stay in my heart forever. And not long after that day, the universe had sent me some new wonderful friends – Canadian friends, it turned out, who I laughed with all the rest of my vacation days. My social life picked up big time and some great friendships were made. And soon enough the days were turning into nights. Up early daily by 7am, outside all day, back up for quick showers and out again, that’s how my days began to pass. I made great friends with 5 different groups of people, and before long I’d introduced them all to one another and let’s just say, there were plenty of Margaritas to be had – some better than others.

On the malecon boardwalk, margariting with a galpal

Next time, I’ll be sharing stories about my other new friends, places we went to, and observations about what had changed there since my last visit in 2020. Needless to say, my writing time evaporated, condensed to journal notes, and not nearly enough books read when busy blabbing all day and night.

In the meantime, I’ll share a few more photos:

Sunset from my balcony
Sunset taken down along the boardwalk
Stellar sky at sunset from my balcony
Another beautiful sunset
Sunrise capture from my bedroom balcony – mountain view

Stay tuned for next week’s continuation of friends and fun!

©DGKaye2022

#Bloganuary – Living Boldly

WordPress has started #bloganuary, prompting writers with a different question daily, and reminds to tag the post Bloganuary in your tag section so it shows up in the reader with other Bloganuary posts. Also, don’t forget to share these posts on social media using the hashtag #Bloganuary.

Today’s a great day to blog, and the Bloganuary prompt is:

What does it mean to live boldly?

The rules:

Remember these two things:

  1. Add the bloganuary tag to your post.
  2. Promote your blog post on social media, using the hashtag #bloganuary.

What Does It Mean to Live Boldly?

I hopped on to this prompt because it felt appropriate as I’ve been struggling with my decision about going on my long awaited winter escape to Mexico. I’ve eagerly been awaiting this much needed escape, despite my being a Covid hermit for much of the last two years. I avidly follow news reports, Covid reports, country alerts etc. and even though my airline has canceled my flight a few times and my managing to book new flights, the apprehension looms with my anxiety of braving the elements while also hoping my new flight will remain.

I’ve spent a lot of time battling my two minds, or my mind and my heart, and after all I’m seeing and hearing with Covid reports, it appears as of now, Mexico is doing better than my own country! So I’ve decided, Covid here, Covid there, minus 20 here with grey skies and seclusion, sunshine and 88 degrees and several of my friends have already arrived there, what am I fussing about?

With all my weighing out, and despite my biggest fear of passing my Covid test to get back to Canada when the trip is done, I can mask up there as well as I mask up here. So yes, I’ve decided that I’m going to live boldly and go ahead with my travel plans. If I spent the rest of my life worrying about what could happen, I’d never do anything. This virus is heading into its third year. Nothing is going to change for a very long time as long as the world doesn’t reach herd immunity. It’s every man for himself to stay protected no matter where we go. If we wait to get back to living, when will that actually be? Years more, no doubt and more spikes and mutations to be had. Another day of living life is no guarantee. Every day is a gift. If we keep pushing off plans for living, who knows if we’ll be capable of traveling next year or the next year. Tomorrows are never guaranteed.

So yes, I’m going to live boldly instead of cowering behind my fears. I’m going to head for sun and sea with best efforts and begin to loosen the load of worry and act like the excited going away person that I should be savoring at this time instead of dreading. Ole!

©DGKaye2022

*Don’t forget to sign up for the daily prompt if you feel like jumping into one for the month of January. If you missed or deleted the signup invite post from WordPress, you can sign up from the original post page.

Time for an Update – U.K. Plans and Mexico

Like many things, our intentions don’t always come to fruition.

 

I know for months now I’ve been talking about my plans to go the U.K. as I anxiously awaited the arrival of my bestie to get here for a visit and my plans to fly back to the U.K. with her after. But sometimes plans change, and in my case, I’ve rearranged my plans and wanted to update you here, especially since I’ve chatted about my plans with several of my British and European friends in anticipation of meeting up with some of you.

 

So why the change of heart?

 

After losing my husband in April then moving in June, exhausted both mentally and physically, and full of grief, the only thing I wanted to do was to jump on a plane and get the hell out of Dodge. But Covid restrictions hampered those plans. Our airports didn’t open up to foreign travelers until early fall, and that kept my friend from getting here until late October.  She will be leaving back for the U.K. without me, later this week. Besides the fact that U.K. is experiencing higher Covid numbers again, and that my intentions of staying in U.K/Europe for a good month or two would have had to have been cut shorter because it’s so late in the year already, the upcoming holidays, and my having to prepare for my winter vacation in Mexico beginning late January, my husband’s gravestone is not yet erected and I’ve been anxiously awaiting that to happen so I can plan a celebration of life gathering for him with our friends because he was ripped off of a proper large funeral gathering at the time of his passing.

 

I’m feeling very unsettled about the headstone going up without my being around to acknowledge it and my plans for a small gathering to honor my husband’s life once the stone goes up. It seems that even headstones are in delay due to the Covid. So with all those factors rolled into one, I decided it’s best for me not to take off right now. I can’t even believe that in two months I’ll be on my way back to Puerto Vallarta!

 

I’m already dreading the holidays here and wishing away December. But I’m very much looking forward to a winter escape to a familiar place where I can somehow still feel like my husband’s spirit will be with me. As a newly minted widow, the thought of going anywhere else this winter gave me anxiety with first time being alone again traveling after a quarter century of traveling as a couple. But I decided to go back to PV and stay at the same location as we always did because we have many Canadian snowbird friends who stay at the same location annually, and at this time in my life I’m grateful for the familiarity I will be in and I won’t be alone there. I’ll have friends to gab with at the pool and to join up with for outings. I’ll also be having a few of my friends from home come down for a stay, so I should be quite comfortable back in PV in the land of wonderful people, sunshine, the ocean and beautiful sunsets. And I will have new plans come next spring for visiting both the U.K. and Europe. So just know my friends, I will get there. And hopefully by then, the Covid will be less of a worry, and I’ll be traveling in a warmer season.

 

©DGKaye2021

 

 

Sunday Book Review – On Grief & Grieving – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross & David Kessler

My Sunday Book Review is for Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler’s, On Grief & Grieving – Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five stages of Loss.

As many of you know, after losing my husband three months ago and moving very recently, I haven’t had a lot of time to read, and when I do read it’s comfort and information I crave to learn in this new journey of onehalfness I’m wading through. I know these books I’m trying to read right now may not be everyone’s genre, but it’s a bridge that we’ll all have to cross at some points of our lives, if we haven’t already, and it’s good for people to learn what to expect, find that you are not crazy, and even if you aren’t a griever, will learn what goes on with a loved one when they grieve.

 

 

Blurb:

Shortly before her death in 2004, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and David Kessler, her collaborator, completed the manuscript for this, her final book. On Grief and Grieving is a fitting completion to her work. Thirty-six years and sixteen books ago, Kübler-Ross’s groundbreaking On Death and Dying changed the way we talk about the end of life. Now On Grief and Grieving will profoundly influence the way we experience the process of grief.
On Death and Dying began as a theoretical book, an interdisciplinary study of our fear of death and our inevitable acceptance of it. It introduced the world to the now-famous five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. On Grief and Grieving applies these stages to the process of grieving and weaves together theory, inspiration, and practical advice, all based on Kübler-Ross’s and Kessler’s professional and personal experiences, and is filled with brief, topic-driven stories. It includes sections on sadness, hauntings, dreams, coping, children, healing, isolation, and even the subject of sex during grief.
“I know death is close,” Kübler-Ross says at the end of the book, “but not quite yet. I lie here like so many people over the years, in a bed surrounded by flowers and looking out a big window….I now know that the purpose of my life is more than these stages….It is not just about the life lost but also the life lived.”
In one of their final writing sessions, Kübler-Ross told Kessler, “The last nine years have taught me patience, and the weaker and more bed-bound I become, the more I’m learning about receiving love.”
On Grief and Grieving is Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s final legacy, one that brings her life’s work profoundly full circle.

 

My 5 Star Review:

Anticipatory grief – knowing your loved one is going to die, and fearing in silence without wanting to talk to anyone in this mode.

I learned this ‘pre-grief’ grieving before I learned about the mourning grief aftermath. Kubler-Ross calls it anticipatory grief – “When a loved one has to go through anticipatory grief in order to prepare for the final separation from this world, we have to go through it too.” Only, we, the ones left behind have to live it twice. There is no one response to loss and grief that two people will share. Every grief is unique as the relationship the griever shared with their lost loved one.

This book was confirming as it goes through the stages of grieving, and more about grief, and how it forever changes us.

Maria Shriver wrote a most beautiful Foreword for the anniversary edition of this book. She states that in her lifetime she has come to know grief only too well coming from the Kennedy family, and says, “We are a grief-illiterate nation.” She continues by saying that Dr. Ross and Kessler teach us how to grieve in this book and goes on to tell us that where she came from, nobody outwardly showed or talked about their grief. She attests to Dr. Ross’s book helping her through, stating, “When you’re grieving, sometimes your only constant companion is a book.” Shriver continues to say, “We live in a society where everyone wants us to get back to normal as soon as possible. . . but it doesn’t work that way.” “We find hope in other people’s journeys.”

This book is a great companion to grief. In it, Dr. Ross shares her stories and stages of grief and goes into them with her own experiences and sharing stories of others she witnessed as she studied many people on their last journey before death. She takes us into specific losses and incidence and how the left loved ones endured the stages of grief. In working with the dying, Ross gave voice to all who couldn’t speak for themselves. But from this book, I choose to share a list of poignant sentences that rang true and comforting to me as I proceed through my own grief for the recent loss of my husband.

“There is a saying that if your writing doesn’t keep you up at night, it will never keep anyone else up at night either. In creating this book I often felt that if it didn’t make us cry, if it didn’t help us heal our own grief, it would never help anyone else.” ~ Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Elisabeth always said, “Listen to the dying. They will tell you everything you need to know about when they are dying.”

“Denial and shock help us to cope and make survival possible. . . it’s nature’s way of letting in only as much as we can handle.” “These feelings are important; they are the psyche’s protective mechanisms.”

“The will to save a life is not the power to stop a death.”

Dr. Ross takes us through the five stages of grief: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

Loss: “An unimaginable, indescribable loss has taken place. It has inficted a wound so deep that numbness and excruciating pain are the material of which it is made.”

She goes on to talk about how grief overtakes us at a moment’s notice – and will continue to. And tells us that after our loss, the need to feel our loved one around is important. And the need to be able to talk about the lost loved one becomes dire for the one(s) left behind. Our stories of grief contain an enormous amount of pain, often too much for one person to carry. By sharing our stories, we ease the pain – just a little. Survivor’s guilt kicks in for many, (I can attest to this). Elisabeth tells us, once you have loved and lost, you will never be the same. I’m already there.

On Isolation: “You were with someone, now you’re not.”

“The only way out is through it.”

“The trouble is that in grief, a moment feels like a year, and a year feels like an eternity.”

“Why do we find nothing unusual about talking to an unborn child in utero, but if we talk to the deceased, people might think we’re crazy?”

The most difficult job of all was packing up my beloved’s belongings.

Dr. Ross goes into how difficult holidays become for mourners. Birthdays, anniversaries, death anniversaries, Christmas, and the like will never be the same and are often marked with sorrow instead.

She offers ideas to comfort, such as writing our feelings, writing to our loved one to express what’s left inside us. Writing is a therapy for many.

“You don’t ever bring the grief over a loved one to a close.”

“There is no better or worse death. Loss is loss and the grief that follows is a subjective pain that only we will know.”

“To avoid the pain and the loss would be to avoid the love and life we shared.”

“Death is a line, a heartbreaking dividing line between the world we and our loved one lived in and the world where they now are.”

“Grief is the intense emotional response to the pain of a loss. It is the reflection of a connection that has been broken. Most important, grief is an emotional, spiritual, and psychological journey to healing.”

“The reality is you will grieve forever.You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal, and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you you have suffered.”

This book has been a comfort to many, as the almost 2000 reviews will state. Dr. Ross breaks down the process in bite-sized and life altering moments and helps us grasp all that’s involved in this grueling journey of grief in efforts to lay out what we can expect to endure, why, and how going through the stages take us into an eventual path to ‘healing’, which will never be a complete healing journey, but more about how to learn to live through and navigate the waves of grief that will continue to swell as long as we remain on this earth.

 

©DGKaye2021