My Sunday Book Review is for Elizabeth Gauffreau’s beautiful picture and poetry in memoir- Grief Songs – Poems of Love and Remembrance. The author generously sent me a paperback copy of this beautiful poetic memoir. Inscribed in handwritten words at the front page, Liz writes: “I hope Grief Songs will resonate with you. Living with grief is a very hard road to travel, as you know all too well.”Thank you Liz.
“Poetry readers willing to walk the road of grief and family connections will find Grief Songs: Poems of Love & Remembrance a psychological treasure trove. It’s a very accessible poetic tribute that brings with it something to hold onto–the memories and foundations of past family joys, large and small.” ~Diane Donovan, Midwest Book Review
“Grief Songs: Poems of Love & Remembrance is a passionate ode to loved ones lost and an intimate portrayal of one family’s shared grief. It holds the key to solace in home photographs and illustrates just how special our singular moments can be. ~Toni Woodruff, Independent Book Review
“A beautiful, personal collection of family photos and poems that express the author’s most inner feelings. Nostalgic and heartfelt, Gauffreau’s poems are written in the Japanese style of tanka, simple, thoughtful, and full of love. Filled with wonderful memories of the past.” ~Kristi Elizabeth, Manhattan Book Review
My 5 Star Review:
The author brings us this heartfelt little book of poetic memoirs inspired by snippets of her life with poignant memories wrapped up in poetic telling, accompanied by nostalgic photo imagery. The theme throughout the poems and photos is love, loss and remembrance, shared in vignettes.
This is a short book that packs a punch of life through the pages. A lovely tribute to Gauffreau’s lost loved ones, mother, father, brother, expressed through Tanka poetry. Stories you can read over again and again, leaving us to conjure our own nostalgia about people from our own past lives, depicting moments in time through snapshots of life.
One of the author’s heartfelt Tanka’s in remembrance of her brother George:
For a Crooked Smile (accompanied by a photo of smiling brother George)
Welcome back to my Spiritual Awareness series. Today I’m going to talk about opening our sub-conscience and experimenting with Automatic Writing.
Are You Familiar with Automatic Writing?
When I was younger and I’d first heard of Automatic Writing from reading books about metaphysical, angels, and spirit guides, I was intrigued to learn that some people could have the ability to write from the sub-conscience, and/or guided by spirit or a higher power.
So, what is automatic writing?
The formal name for automatic writing is psychography – the ability to produce writing from the sub-conscience through divine guidance, and spiritual or supernatural source while under a calm, trance-like or alert state. This isn’t to be misconstrued with ‘free writing’. Spirit is invited in with an unconscious mind – a gateway to our higher selves.
When finished writing, you may be left with isolated words and phrases and most likely, no cohesiveness, but that’s when it’s time to reread and ponder. It may be easier if you write down a question on a piece of paper so you can focus on the question. It’s best if you can keep your eyes closed to focus on intent or question, but if you can’t, or if you peek in and out, just remember to keep writing, don’t look back on what you’ve written. No stopping the thought process. Your conscience and/or concentration may get in the way in the beginning of the process, but you must keep writing, no matter what comes out, even if totally off topic, or random and nonsensical words come out.
How to prepare for automatic writing:
First, we must decide on a medium. Most people prefer freehand writing and most automatic writing is done freehand, but if you can type as fast as you think, feel free to use the computer. Then, clear your minds. Sit in a place free from distraction and focus on your thought or question. You can use meditation to obtain this calm, or whatever method most comfortable to bring yourselves into a calmed mode to enable receiving the messaging. Focus on a topic or question you’d like to write about.
Next, call on an entity, higher power, your spirit guide, or an angel to help you channel whatever it is you are focusing on in your thoughts that you hope to write answers or stories about. You may feel free to ask, “Who is here?” You can acknowledge a higher power in spoken word or by thought. When you are seeking guidance from higher powers it’s always advised to invite them in with a pure heart to also make sure you aren’t inviting in any dark entities.
Close your eyes, breathe deep till you feel relaxed (or meditate to get there) then think about a topic or question you hope to be given divine guidance to write about. Have a notebook in front of you and pen in hand. Focus on your topic, put pen to paper, and let your hand guide the pen – almost in a similar way a Ouija board works.
What do you want to write about? Maybe it’s a problem that’s been on your mind, a recurring dream you’ve been having and wanting to make some sense of, even a story-line idea you may be wanting to write about can be your focused writing intention.
Preparing for the writing:
You should set a timer for this exercise for anywhere from 10 minutes (recommended minimum) to a half an hour. This helps with not being distracted by wondering how long you may have been writing, because with closed eyes to keep from distraction, you won’t be checking your watches.
Closing our eyes helps to keep the focus on our intent so the mind doesn’t get caught up in what is actually being written. This prevents edits or cross-outs from diverting our train of thoughts. Remember, if your mind does drift off topic, keep writing whatever it is that comes to mind – even if it’s whatever thought came to mind that threw off your original thoughts. Our minds entered this state with a clear mind, if jungled thoughts should interrupt the stream of consciousness, then perhaps that’s what was needed to be written.
After the timer goes off, relax for a few moments. You should close the session with thanking the spirit who guided your writing. Then go ahead and read what you’ve written. What you wrote may not make immediate sense and you can highlight thoughts and words from the writing that may potentially lead to further writing once you’ve spent some time analyzing what you wrote. . . Please continue reading atSally’s Smorgasbord.
I was thrilled to be invited over to Melanie’s blog at Leaving The Door Open. After Melanie had read my article I’d written on Intuition for Sally Cronin’s Smorgasbord Blog Magazine in my #Spiritual Awareness column, Melanie emailed me and asked if I’d come over to her blog for a little Q and A to learn more about intuition.
Talking Intuition with D.G. Kaye
I just finished a book where one detective asks another about a suspect. “What does your gut tell you?”
A few days later, I watched a show where a woman is upset when she hears her friend’s boyfriend stole some jewelry. “I knew something was off with him all along.”
They are both referring to intuition and it’s very real; even if people don’t always recognize it.
I recently read a thought-provoking post on this topic written by D.G. Kaye. She is the author of seven books and is also a popular blogger. Her biography and links are at the end of the post. I encourage you to check them out.
I knew that I wanted to explore this topic further with her and reached out. She graciously agreed.
Hi Debby! Thanks for sharing your wisdom here today.
Hi Melanie. Thanks so much for inviting me over to talk about intuition. I hope I can help.
How do you define intuition?
Intuition is an inner knowing. It’s like a nudge from within, like not knowing how you know something, but you do. Inner guidance from within, a pang, a gut feeling. It’s the ability to know something without proof. It can be referred to as a gut feeling, instinct or a sixth sense. Intuition is connected to our soul, which is connected to a higher intelligence. Our egos come from the brain, where intuition comes through our heart center. Hence, the old saying – follow your heart, not your head.
Do you think that there are intuitive and non-intuitive people?
I’d classify intuition as a sixth sense. We all have the ability to recognize our intuition, but we all haven’t learned to develop it. Meditation can help if you ground yourself and clear and quiet your mind to get in tune with your inner calm. Be more aware of people and circumstances around you, a higher sense of awareness will open up within when we clear and calm the ‘white noise’ within.
Can you explain a bit about the “brain-gut” connection as it relates to intuition?
I’m glad you mentioned the ‘brain-gut’ relationship. In my article you read a few months ago for my bi-monthly Spiritual Awareness series at Sally Cronin’s Smorgasbord Blog Magazine, there is a gut reaction dubbed, the little brain (in the stomach) that sends signal to the big brain, the enteric nervous system (ENS) communicates with our brains. I shared the link about this discussion in a Johns Hopkins article by Dr. Jay Pasricha, neuro-gastroenterologist.
Did you know that the gut and the brain have a direct relation to stress and worry? It’s not a myth that emotions we experience are linked to the stomach – hence, that butterfly feeling we get in our stomachs when we feel scared, worried, or excited. These are good indicators of the ‘gut instincts’ we receive when something is off or in contrast, when something feels great. When things are feeling off it’s a warning sign to investigate our feelings to help us decide whether they are temporary moments or warning signals.
As I was reading your information on intuition, it clarified something for me. There are two categories of intuition. There is the application of it in the everyday, in making decisions. There is also the feeling of immediate apprehension, a warning like the prickly feeling at the back of your neck which is often labeled a “sixth sense.”
Do you have a personal example of either (or both) type of intuition when “listening to your gut” was extremely helpful?
My alert system seems to be finely tuned. Let me just preface this and say that when I get the warning feeling, I may not always know where the trouble is, but often I do, and even when I don’t, I’ll still feel there’s trouble somewhere. Like the time I was putting on my makeup getting ready for work when I was in my early twenties, when suddenly, a sadness came over me and tears welled up in my eyes and a feeling came over me that something happened to my father. I couldn’t shake the feeling. Within minutes, my sister called me to let me know my father had a heart attack and she was one her way to pick me up on the way down to the hospital. Some things just stick.
In other more everyday living, when something bad is coming, a cold chill runs through my body, to the extent that my teeth start chattering, despite warm surroundings. I don’t necessarily know what it portends, but it’s never steered me wrong, so I get feeling quite uncomfortable when that happens.
And when having to make a decision about something, I’ll get a little caution pang in my stomach if I’m choosing wrong. To me those warnings feel like a little tug on my intestines. Alternatively, sweaty palms, heart racing and/or a ‘butterfly’ fluttering within are also common gut reaction signs.
Do you have any thoughts regarding the term “female intuition?”
Both males and females undoubtedly can have fine tuned intuitions. However, typically women often have the innate ability to focus on tuning into self, because we are the nurturers and are well acquainted with tuning into the needs of our offspring. Women are said to possess a more intrinsic intuition and more in tune with their emotions. Experts say this is because women are stronger at reading body language and facial expressions.
A thought comes to mind here Debby. Almost 30 years ago, I was heading to a very large women’s formal lunch to kick-off the school year. My son was in kindergarten which meant he was home by lunch time.
I hired a sitter from a service because it was hard to find one as most sitters were in school. She arrived, we discussed necessary details and I left. I made it around the corner, turned into a drugstore parking lot and headed back home. My sixth sense was screaming not to leave him with her. Of course, she was very surprised. I paid her the full amount for the day and she left. I don’t regret that for a second. I “read” something about her I did not like.
Is Déjà vu connected to intuition?
Déjà vu comes from the French phrase – already seen.
Déjà vu is a triggered moment that reminds us of something we’ve already seen, done, or been, whereas intuition is an inner alert system that usually indicates something we feel should be done in the now or future. Déjà vu is a feeling of familiarity. It is said that those who’ve experienced déjà vu are intuitive. Experts have also said that déjà vu could mean a feeling of already lived the moment – possibly from another life. That explains when we meet someone we’ve never met, yet feel we’ve met before. Most likely because we knew them in a past life.
Your post on intuition is part of a broader Spirituality series. What draws you to this topic?
I have been fascinated by spirit, afterlife, psychic phenomena, and white witchcraft since as far back as I can remember. I began reading psychology, self-help, witchcraft, and spiritual books ever since my curiosities in those realms flourished in my late teens. My mother, one of her sisters, and my maternal grandmother all had strongly developed psychic intuitions. I had always felt I had a sense of inner knowing, but nobody in my family talked about it much, and definitely, never helped me develop mine. But it was when I was sixteen years old that I had my own first encounter with spirit that fueled my curiosity about there being more than just this physical world we live in.
I read a quote online which states “intuition is a wise part of you operating on your behalf.” It sounds so reassuring that we have this internal guidance system and yet, many of us don’t trust it or diminish it. You have said this is because our ego is getting in the way. What do you mean?
Ego is our fears, doubts, overriding our inner boss that directs us to do something, something like the devil in our ear telling us to do or say something that is done with impulse instead of stopping and questioning our soul for an intuitive response. Ego is self-talk. We tell ourselves something and we act on whatever we talked ourselves into. Whereas intuition is our inner guidance from a higher power where we know what we know, we don’t have to talk ourselves into making an ego decision.
The voices in our heads are ego, whereas intuition is our instinctual voice, more like an emotional intelligence. Intuition is our instinctual voice of reason, ego is the one that causes us to second-guess our decisions, which usually causes over analyzing and ultimately, creates the confusion in us when we are making decisions.
I just want to pause here because your comment about going to that place “where we know what we know” ties into a thought I had as I was thinking about the decision-making component of intuition. First, Steve Jobs shared how he often leaned on his intuition to get to that place of new ideas.Clearly, it served him well!
I also found a quote from famed scientist Jonas Salk who said “intuition will tell the thinking mind where to look next.” And that’s interesting because scientists live in a world of “proof”, but it took intuitive thinking to get there! I just thought that was an interesting dichotomy.
So, intuitive thinking is an incredible asset. Can you share any tips for strengthening someone’s intuition?
My Sunday Book Review is for Danny Kemp’s novella – Why?: A Complicared Love. Complicated love is an understatement in this fast paced and sometimes raunchy story of love and consequences.
Why? Is a story set in a web of despair, sex, unreachable emotion and love. One man’s crippling injuries, caused by an unprovoked, vicious attack, ruins the lives of everyone around him. This includes Terry Meadows, a nineteen-year-old boy who falls in love with the main character’s daughter Laura, twenty-seven years before the opening of the story.The twisted, interconnecting matrix in which Francis, Laura’s father, lives, destroys and distorts his daughter’s image of life beyond repair. It is a sad tragedy with an unexpected ending.
My 5 Star Review:
This novella is a story about sex, corruption, and despite the goings on in this criminal telling, love and a tragic love story.
The book begins at the end of the tragedy and goes into the story leading up to that end. Terry is a nineteen year old who wound up in the wrong place looking for sex. When he meets Sammy, a woman who could have been his mother, and she entices him to come back to her place for some raunchy rock and rolling sex, Terry had no idea that his life would take a 180 that day.
We’ll learn that Sammy is always being watched by her criminal, impotent, perverted, almost invalid husband Francis. They live separately, but he controls her life – and his own voyeur sexual fantasies. After a lengthy session up in Sammy’s bedroom, Terry meets her daughter Laura and an instant spark is shared between the two. But Terry is just learning that he is now under the power of Francis, anyone who tangles with Sammy is open target to become one of Francis’ criminal accomplices and if they don’t comply, is threatened with torture and a fiery end. Laura is well aware of her father’s twisted life and knows well he doesn’t make idle threats.
Francis is happy that Terry is servicing his wife and lets him know that if Terry can keep her happy sexually, and supply some other people to do the same, Francis will elevate Terry’s life in status and money. Terry really has no choice once he’s now in Francis’ world. The only caveat is that Terry cannot touch Laura, and herein lies the conflict, Francis has made clear to Terry the consequences of ever touching Laura.
Laura is well aware of the dangers of her father’s wrath, yet secretly harbored an attraction toward Terry for years. Years later, Terry is financially set and ordered to fly to Rome with Laura, by Francis. Francis sent Laura in charge of the papers to have Francis and Sammy’s marriage annulled. Francis felt after so many years he should set his wife free. At the same time he was setting up Terry to see if he’d be faithful to his promise to Francis of never touching Laura. Epic fail.
The Why? A Complicated Love is just that, and not just for one, but for Francis, Sammy, Laura, Terry, and quite frankly, anyone else who becomes part of any of their lives. Love is complicated, and often misconstrued, and for some, even fatal.
Note: Although the subject matter evolves around sex, it is not explicit.
Okay, this could be another shameless promotion for my latest book, Fifteen First Times, but what it really is, is a humbling share for the many of you who had the interest to read, and read and reviewed my latest tellings. I have caught up with some lovely new reviews that came in while I was on winter break, and I am thrilled to share them here with you today. Thanks again so much for reading and reviewing, and I’m so glad that many of you could relate to my stories with some of your own experiences.
This book is a collection of stories about some of Kaye’s first-time experiences with life’s most natural events. Told through the intimate conversational writing we’ve come to know from this author, poignant personal steppingstones to learning moments are revealed. She encompasses the heart of each matter with sincerity and sprinkled inflections of humor.
From first kiss to first car to walking in the desert with four-inch heels, Kaye’s short coming-of-age stories take us through her awakenings and important moments of growth, often without warning. Some good and some not, life lessons are learned through trial and error, winging it, and navigating by the seat of her pants.
I might be in my sixth decade of life, but DG Kaye’s memoir, Fifteen First Times, brings me blissfully back in time as if I were reliving my youth. She includes tender moments, budding independence, and painful firsts. I felt as if I were sitting across the couch from Kaye, sipping crisp white wine and exchanging stories of our beloved but challenging past.
She draws you in with our commonalities as women, from our first love to menstruation, a hysterical shoe obsession, bad hair decisions, first apartments, and broken hearts. As I read through each story, I laughed, cried, and empathized with Kaye’s Fifteen Firsts. It is a bold, funny, and touching read about life’s endearing moments. An enchanting novel for fans of delightful memoirs.
Fifteen First Times was such a comfortable and almost conversational read that I cranked it out in one setting. While a few of the memorable firsts involved topics that pertained more to women (period, menopause, shoes), there were plenty of other subjects that involved either gender. Written in her usual honest style with moments of sadness and humor embedded, Kaye will connect with most readers. While reading about a young woman finding her way, I found myself reminiscing about my first kiss, car, heartbreak, cigarette, and many other subjects.
Most subjects were pretty light until the author shared some poignant and touching memories about experiencing the death of a close friend and then, later, her husband. Those chapters will stay with me the most as Kaye openly shares her private thoughts. I felt like I was listening in on a phone call with someone sharing their feelings with a close friend.
This recollection of fifteen events in the author’s life that shaped her entire future is an entertaining and relatable memoir. We’ve all had those first moments of an experience we could never forget. In a personal and conversational style of writing, Ms. Kaye shares fifteen of her firsts, from a fascination with shoes to getting her period, her first car, heartbreak, apartment, learning to drive, and to her first experience with grief. When we are kids, we have so many questions and search for answers. And while this author had an insatiable curiosity, sadly, she had no one in which to confide when she first got her period, and she had no idea what was happening to her. Thank goodness we have come forward in a time where these things are more openly talked about. I love the humor the author interjected into the stories, and many made me chuckle. The last entry in the book gripped my heart as she shared the loss of her husband, her one true love. The anguish comes across in her words. I highly recommend this personal memoir to women of all ages. There is a sprinkling of sage advice that would benefit younger women, and a feeling of camaraderie older women can experience when reading this book.
4.0 out of 5 stars A quick and easy readReviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on January 19, 2023
I have read and enjoyed books by this author previously. So when Fifteen First Times released, I grabbed a copy right away. At 92 Kindle pages, this is a quick and easy read.
‘We live, we experience, we learn, we become, and we overcome.’ I loved this quote in the opening pages, which spoke to my own life truths.
In this book, the writer shares fifteen firsts–or, in some cases, almost or kind-of firsts–with the reader, along with what she learnt from each experience. Many of these, I couldn’t connect with so easily, as I didn’t need to diet as a child but, rather, struggled to get enough to eat. The same with the shoe fetish, where I used to stuff the soles with cardboard as new shoes were nowhere near my horizon. Neither did I have my father buy a new car for me or have an aunt and father who could rent me a flat. What I did connect with was the narcissistic mother, who had more concern for her own life than that of her daughter. The lack of knowledge of that first period, I could relate to strongly, as my mother failed to mention this major event completely, and I had many of the same fears and shame as did D G Kaye, which she expressed wonderfully.
While I might not have connected fully with each experience, I loved the raw honesty of this short memoir, told in a slice-of-life fashion. And the final chapter, where the author shares her utter anguish at the loss of her husband–lifelong partner and best friend–moved me deeply. The author’s outgoing personality shone through in this small book, as did her ability to make friends easily, which came through in her chatty, easy-to-relate-to style of writing. I believe that this little memoir will appeal to women of all ages–both as a cautionary tale and as inducing poignant memories of ‘the good old days’.
5.0 out of 5 stars Open, honest, poignant, and funny all in oneReviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on February 8, 2023
‘Fifteen First Times’ fully describes this short, entertaining read in D G Kaye’s inimitable open and honest style – no subject is too difficult to approach or describe. As with some other reviewers, there were several experiences I didn’t relate to, but found Kaye’s explanations of them engaging and sometimes eye-opening. The one that amused me most was ‘From Blonde to Wrong’. I began experimenting with dying my own hair quite early in my teens, and also chose to go red – a colour that both my cousins have by nature, and I coveted. Unlike Kaye, my first foray into hair colouring was using henna, and I was pleased with the results, so I have continued to dye my own hair, and the only time I ever got it done at a salon was the one time it turned out so dark it was almost black and I hated it – just as happened to Kaye with her first home effort! No matter how painful the memories of some of these ‘firsts’, Kaye does not shy away from sharing the depths of feelings she experienced, and still manages to highlight the humour that characterises her welcome positive approach to life. I’m sure everyone will find some ‘firsts’ applicable to them – well worth the read.
5.0 out of 5 stars Another lovingly observed collection of stories from Kaye’s gifted writing talent …Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on March 16, 2023
I love Kaye’s books and this one does not disappoint. A loving collection of ‘firsts’ and the stories are all warm, witty and keenly observed by a writer who writes from a wise viewpoint. I was right there with her on First Broken Heart, From Blond to Wrong, First Loss Of A Friend, through to the heartbreaking tribute to her beloved G. We will all find a part of our history in her stories as they help us to feel seen and understood. Please keep writing!
In her opening thoughts, Ms Kaye writes “We live, we write, we experience, we become, and we overcome.” It’s this acceptance of what life throws at us, and using it as a way to move forwards, that gave me huge respect for the author. Her candour, her vivid recollections of these first landmarks in her life, and her bubbly nature offset with a deprecating humour, all contribute to the magic, poignancy and heartbreak of these revelations. The book is written in a conversational style that brought the experiences closer to home for me. Her first kiss (“Yuck!”) and her first broken heart were so natural and relatable, and I could picture them so clearly, sympathizing with her sadness whilst smiling at her recollections. The story of her first period, though, was shocking. As she says, she was “sheltered and uninformed” and dealt with the worry and practical problems on her own until others realized what was going on. Her mother’s brutal humiliation was painful to read about. There’s a wit and wisdom about all of these pieces. During her time on a kibbutz, she refers to herself as ‘a spoiled brat’ but her good-natured responses and ability to laugh at herself completely took the sting out of the situation and earned my admiration. The last ‘time’ is entitled When Friends Die and was the most poignant and moving of these for me. She writes “Death doesn’t bypass the kindhearted”. There is a tribute to her beloved husband who died recently and I found it incredibly touching. In the epilogue she concludes that we have to experience these things for ourselves and that they provide the ‘compass’ for life. Without these incidents we would never learn or have anything for comparison. I think it’s inevitable that we remember our own encounters when we read this book and this does add to the overall appeal of the book for me. It made me reflect on my own life whilst providing an entertaining, humorous and emotional read.
Reviewed by Toni Pike
5 Stars – a pleasure to read
I loved D.G. Kaye’s new book and it even exceeded my high expectations. I’ve enjoyed books by this author before – she has a great talent for writing highly entertaining stories. This is a heart-warming collection of fifteen stories about significant firsts in her life, mainly from her early years. Kaye regarded these as “her compass for life, setting up the direction for whom and how I’d become me.”
Every story was so easy to relate to and touched a chord with me, bringing back memories of my own life. They all tugged at the heart-strings and were told with a great deal of humour and common sense, showing a wonderful zest for life. The author is not afraid to shy away from some very difficult subjects, such as her first, very traumatic experiences with menstruation.
I enjoyed all of the stories, but my special favourites were:
My First Kiss – Yuck!
First Broken Heart
My First Apartment.
Most touching of all was the final story – a heartbreaking tribute to her beloved husband.
This was a joy to read, and I give it a resounding five stars.
xThank you again for the lovely welcome back and for reading!
Thanks so much for reading and your lovely reviews 💜💙
Today I’m wrapping up my Mexican tales. Our La Cruz group – Patty, Jamie, Shelley, John, Lucie, and me headed up one Sunday to La Cruz Sunday market located about forty minutes north of Puerto Vallarta. We did this last year too, only Lucie wasn’t there with us. Jamie rented a SUV for the day, we all pitched in and he drove. Last year we did this day trip and had lots of adventures, laughs, and mishaps. This time, never a dull moment either.
We all met in the lobby at 930am and piled in with our beach bags, water and snacks. Shelley and me were in the very back row – barely enough head room, but we fit. It was a super hot day. We drove up and this time we found the Marina/Market parking lot which we hadn’t seen last year, cutting a twenty minute walk to get to the kiosks, the booths lined up along the peninsula, surrounded by water.
La Cruz Market walk up Marina. This market must be a mile long as the lined up booths align the marina sidewalk.
Artist at work with many variations of Frida Kahlo, one of Mexico’s most iconic artists and empowering women.
The market is known for its handmade artifacts, art, clothing, shoes, gadgets, jewelry, and food. It’s only opened on Sundays and it’s always busy with people. But this time I saw a woman with her pet pig strolling along. Only later to be sighted at Punta Mita beach where we went to for lunch.
After a few hours we decided to go back to the smaller market before you reach the Marina market. We all got in the car to go back to the other part when I heard a grinding noise as we drove up the sandy parking lot. I shouted out to Jamie to stop the car, something weird was going on – and it was. Thank goodness Jamie kept driving until we all got out at a spot just before approaching the small market. There was a HUGE spike stuck in between the tire and the rim. Oye! Thank goodness we had two men with us who knew how to change a tire, Jamie the structural engineer and John, retired military. Us girls walked up to the small market and left the guys to put on a spare tire – that was thankfully, in the trunk. It took the guys about an hour to get everything sorted and in the meantime, Shelley and me did some walking around.
This booth caught my eye, I loved the name – Not Made in China. Beautiful cotton dresses and jumpsuits, surprisingly more expensive than in my favorite cotton store – Luisa’s, where I ultimately bought a turquoise jumpsuit like the pink one hanging here.
After the market we got back in the car and headed out for our lunch reservation to Punta Mita beach, ten minutes away. Before heading to there, we stopped at the tiny town shops and beach bars to look around town.
Jesus Rays pouring in sunlight
Quaint garden restaurant
Hotel spa outdoor lobby
Outside lanai of a hotel spa room rental
Our beach/lunch at El Barracuda restaurant. I found it a bit pricey, but the Margs were delish! As we were sitting down and getting comfy for our three-hour beach lunch and swim, the pig from the La Cruz market seemed to be enjoying the festivities as its owner wound up at the same restaurant. What are the odds? How did I know? Because it wound up off leash and snorting around our table. No thanks, I didn’t sign up for the zoo. I had the waiter return frilly dressed pig to where it belonged.
Our Beach table with two umbrellas kept the blazing sun off us and the ocean breeze was divine
Hungry traveler friends studying the menu
A fun time was had by all!
It appears like everywhere else in the world, everything is changing. Inflation is getting us globally, condo prices are quickly escalating now in Puerto Vallarta. Many locals are finding any way they can to make a buck. Tips, tips, tips, everyone wants a piece of us. Even some of the grocery stores will have a young boy pop out of nowhere to get you a cab for your groceries – even when the cab is right there in front of our eyes. The young boys will grab at your bags to put them in the trunk (that’s what the cab driver usually does), so he can get a coin off tourists. And speaking of cabs, just beware of prices. Before you enter a cab, always ask for the ride fare before getting comfortable. Even though I know the rates I always ask, there are some cabs out there who think you are a newbie and will try and charge more. I’ve surely got in and out of a few cabs myself while there because of crazy fares quoted. Also, if you ever come to Puerto Vallarta on a cruiseship and wish to go downtown where all the action is, do yourself a favor and walk out of the port to catch a cab. It should only cost MAX $10 (130-150 Pesos), and I know for a fact cabs are charging tourists $25 US for rides. Greed is still everywhere.
When travel day to home came around, I was ready. Many of my friends had left a day or two before me. Shelley and Patty were staying til April 6th. I was apprehensive about the travel home – as always. I was worried about leaving on a Saturday, usually PV airport’s worst crazy busy day, and end of March break. But the ‘travel gods’ were relatively kind to me. My flight was to leave at 1130am, so I was in a cab to the airport at 8am. I’d heard nightmares from others nearly missing their planes because of long checkin lines and then security lines.
I arrived at the airport within ten minutes and the checkin wasn’t open yet. A lovely teacher with a group of young teens were the only ones ahead of me traveling to Toronto for a school trip. Because checkin wasn’t yet opened I was confused as to where to tell the porter to drop my heavy bags. The teacher told me which gate would open for us, so I parked myself and luggage down to wait half hour. The line changed three times! I could not move lanes with my two big bags and equally heavy carryon, plus a huge carry bag. The teacher asked her boys to help me move the three times the checkin line changed. And because there were more than a dozen of them, they let me go ahead of them.
By 845am, the lineups were growing huge, but I was on my way up to the gates and security. I whizzed through with barely anyone in line. I had to toss my water bottle and as always, went to buy another once I crossed security. What? Twelve Canadian dollars for a bottle of water??? I went to four different kiosks and as though they all planned their ripoff price together, there was nothing cheaper. I settled for a $7 SMALL bottle of diet Pepsi. The flight was ON TIME! Another rare occurrence for me. The plane flew home making excellent time.
One hilarious moment on the plane. I had my nose deep in a book when a stewardess came on speaker with a note of caution warning people emphatically that “This is not 1976,” she elaborated her statement by sharing that someone had been caught SMOKING in the bathroom. Fines will be in enforcement. In all my years of flying since smoking was banned on planes, I couldn’t believe in 2023 somebody actually smoked in the bathroom thinking they wouldn’t be caught.
I dreaded the mile walk from the plane to Canada Customs, but was again, pleasantly surprised to find we were the only plane that had landed, and zipped right through customs to baggage, where my bags were out in a jiff. The only problem was, I realized my superpowers had limits. My first bag came around the carousel and for the life of me, I could not lift that bag off. I looked around at the waiting crowd, hoping a gentleman would offer me a hand. No such thing left anymore. My bag was coming around again, a lovely athletic looking woman beside me, maybe a few years younger than me, bent down to help me pull off my bag. As I was thanking her, my other bag was coming. I asked her if she’d help me again, she told me not to worry, she’s got it. And she did! I sailed out the exit doors, hopped in a limo and stunningly, I was home in my apartment a mere 45 minutes after landing! The travel gods were very kind to me.
For your viewing pleasure, if you’d like to see a mini tour of Puerto Vallarta highlights, I found this fanastic 20 minute video of beautiful Puerto Vallarta to give you a toured sense of the town.
Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. Today I am thrilled to be sharing my review for Miriam Hurdle’s – The Winding Road: A Journey of Survival – surviving near fatal cancer. This book is both, a heartfelt and heart-wrenching journey, bravely told by Miriam, and miraculously she was gifted the opportunity to live. Not only is this book a tale of Miriam’s diagnosis and her physical fight for survival, but a testament to her diligence and being her own advocate to push through the medical system.
In the summer of 2008, Miriam Hurdle was diagnosed with melanoma-an aggressive and invasive cancer in her internal organs. The survival rate before 2008 was low. Besides risking harsh treatments for a slim chance of survival, Miriam had hoops to jump through. By the time she received treatment at the beginning of 2009, her cancer had progressed from stage II to stage IV. It was a rough and uphill winding road. But alongside her was support and encouragement. Accompanied by the love of her family and community, this is Miriam’s journey of faith and miracle. It is a heartwarming story of resilience, courage, and the will to live.
My Five Star Review:
A courageous journey defying all odds, Miriam Hurdle is a true warrior woman.
Hurdle takes us through her journey of discovering an almost always fatal cancer. She’d already soldiered through several operations to remove fibroids and ultimately, a hysterectomy, when she thought she was moving on, only to be told they found a rare melanoma growing within her internal organs. It wasn’t enough what she’d already endured and her frightening future, but this woman fought all the way through the medical system just to get the experimental and low odds of life saving treatment she would need to live.
This book is a raw accounting with pure honesty and love, of the author’s journey and her unrelenting spirit to get the help she needed for just a chance to live longer. She fought the red tape of the system as her cancer was quickly progressing and her request for treatments remained in a pile of other requests, and her faith and love for her family and determination to live no matter how small the chances were of the horrid experimental treatments and their proposed side effects alone that could have killed her, did not deter her from.
Her story is not only about the journey through hell, but her thoughts and feelings as she approached each hurdle and roadblock along the way, as well as the financial burdens involved and finding willing and compassionate people in her field of teaching who aided in helping to fund her journey. Written with extreme courage and offering anyone hope to know that persistence is always worth it, despite the odds.
This book is not only about Miriam’s journey through cancer, but also, the importance of faith, family and community who came to the her aid and cheered her along, and the miracle that she is still here with us today.
My new podcast is out this week for my Grief the Real Talk series. In this episode I’m discussing scammers who prey on the bereaved and how to dodge them.
Also available on Soundcloud
This grief business is eternal because the more you loved, the more you will grieve, a simple formula. The trick is learning to live with it differently and adjusting to daily life completely different from the one you were previously living. It's a life adjustment in a thousand different ways.
I came across this picture of us recently and it made me smile remembering that very fun time in our marriage when life was carefree and happy for us with no medical issues.
This photo I took when I visited our grave on my husband’s death anniversary on April 7th. I was blown away when I looked at it because there were, what a friend in Mexico had deemed, ‘Jesus Rays’ coming from the sky. Look at the rainbow rays over the gravestone. If you can enlarge this photo by pinching it, you can almost make out a figure in front through the rainbow colors. Perhaps an angel?
Jesus Rays are a real thing. If you want to know more about Jesus Rays: