I'm a traveler, not as frequently as I would like , but I plan on doing more. After working full time at Mount Rainier National Park during the summer of 22 I have decided to retire completely and forever. Prior to that I was semi retired as a Wedding Officiant I officiated at about 20 weddings a season, and with my small delivery service I handled the distribution of a local high-quality Home and Garden magazine .
Prior to my "semi retirement" I was in corrections and before that I owned and operated a bail bond agency.
I now plan to travel to new places and exciting places, getting ready to do that as a solo as the Senior is no longer with me, his choice, and I am OK with that. For hobbies I'm a reader and love my kindle. And I enjoy writing.
It has been a whirlwind of activities this month. Most importantly I’m back to a regular regimen of swimming. I swim 3 mornings a week at the lovely “Alberca de Olympica” the Olympic size community swimming pool in Zihuatanejo. And yes the water is on the cold side at 8:30 in the morning, but that is good for lap swimmers. I started off at 10 laps [this pool lanes are crossways], so a full crossways lap is 50 meters. Each week I’m adding a lap with my end goal being 16 laps which is about a half mile if my math is right. This week I’m up to 14 laps. That’s half of what I used to swim pre covid, but I’m not in training for anything and I’ll be quite happy with 16 laps. I’ve been taking a taxi to the pool and walking back and doing errands along the way as needed. I’m not the good walker I used to be, I find I’m not enjoying long walks, and I walk so much slower than I used to. I’m finding my friends walk much faster than I do and it’s a struggle to keep up with some, but I’m going to walk at my own pace and get to where I’m going at my own time.
What keeps me busy is groups of friends with some regular activities of weekly lunch gatherings, a biweekly dinner group with a goal of trying some of the “better” restaurants in the area. Beach time, pool parties just a lot of fun and frivolity. But now that I live here I need to do more that just play, so this week I am doing my first volunteer project of sorting and labeling seed for local folks to do future plantings and self sufficient gardening. With plans to do more of these types of projects.
A group of us, 9 ladies, chartered a sailing and snorkeling trip with a delightful young Mexican couple who not only took out sailing, whale watching, only saw one, snorkeling, saw lots of fish, and then served us lunch and cocktails. It was a great day even if I got a little sun burned.
On a sadder note, my only sister died this week. It was expected as Parkinson’s disease had rendered her helpless as a baby. She was ready, but I will miss her. We had been spending a lot of good phone time together recently. Signing off KO
Christmas Eve a large group of friends gathered at Rufo’s on Calle Adelita for an excellent dinner. Christmas Day was a smaller gathering at Ben and Lesley’s apartment where she prepared a delightful spread of ham and turkey and all the fixings.
As so many of my friends are Canadian I was invited to a “cold table” Boxing Day event. Everyone brought something cold to share. Turned out to be quite the spread and 13 of us enjoyed the hospitality of Anne’s balcony that evening.
For New Years’s Eve a group gathered at Daniels for lovely dinner and waited for the fire works to begin. They had to spray down the palapa roofs with water prior to the fire works. As usual the fire works were fantastic and it appeared that most of the town and all the visitors and tourists were along the beachfront to enjoy the spectacle.
On New Year’s Day the braver ones of us gathered for a Zihuatanejo take on a “Polar Bear” swim and hit the water at Playa La Madera at 11:00 AM. It was most delightful. Followed by mimosas at Vickie’s poolside.
I don’t do New Years resolutions, but I some times set some goals. Now that I have finally figured out the hours and the new entrance to the local community swimming pool, my goal is to resume lap swimming. I have hardly swam since covid closed the pools, and having spent the last summer on Mount Rainier with no where to swim I am really out of practice. I’ll start with 3 days a week and see how it goes. Signing off KO
I live at the corner of an alley and a very busy one way street which my balcony over looks. This is the polar opposite of the bucolic lake front view I had in Washington. Yet I enjoy it almost as much. Mexican street life is very vibrant, colorful and yes noisy. But I find it exciting, varied, interesting and amusing.
On my one way street cars park on both sides of the street and no one, except some of us gringos, find it odd that it is perfectly OK to double park. And not just for a minute or two. They will double park and go in to a store to pick up a couple of items, or wait for someone they are picking up no matter how long it takes. Mean time the traffic slows and snakes their way past the double parker, with surprising skill. I have yet to see a car sideswiped. It amazes me. Some prefer to park across the entrance to alley instead of double parking. I would prefer they double park as this is when it gets noisy. It seems like as soon as the mouth to the alley is blocked one or more of the alley residents wants go some where or will be trying to return home and they lay on the horn until some one comes and moves the offending vehicle. But no cross words are ever exchanged, it’s just how it is done. If the car is one that is trying to return he may have the street blocked back with up to ten cars behind him all waiting. Sooner or later someone in the line up gets impatient and starts honking his horn also, but oddly enough it’s usually someone who has just pulled up to the back of the line that honks his displeasure about being held up.
Impromptu parties happen frequently on my street, sometimes its pedestrians fueled by the large beer drinks the store down the block sells. And conveniently enough for them there are a couple of concrete benches right across the street from me where they can sit, drink, laugh, and sing until the wee hours of the day. Last week a newer pick up truck parked across the street, opened up the doors, turned the music up and 5 or six of them had a lovely tailgate party right there in the middle of this block.
A parking violation is cause for the local policia to remove your rear license plate. In order to retrieve it you must go to the local station and pay the fine. If you don’t do that and get a second violation the front plate is removed and another fine is levied. Of course driving with no plates is a separate violation and of course it will open you up to much policia attention. Gotta love Mexico!
Signing off KO
IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS
Tap the pictures below to see them full size
Friends are gathering to share food and drink
And to share the holiday spirit. Merry Christmas to all my friends and family, signing off KO
Last Saturday my sister had her 82 birthday. She did not celebrate. She is lying in a nursing home almost as helpless as a baby under hospice care while Parkinson’s disease racks her body. Most days she is mentally alert and we talk frequently. Something we haven’t done in years.
This is my only sibling who is 3 years older than me. I visited her in California, where she has lived the majority of her life, right before I moved to Zihuatanejo. She and I have never been close and at times our relationship has been quite contentious. But we have recently discussed this fact and analyzed it but we could not come to any conclusion except that even as children we weren’t close. So we have chalked it up to just very different personality types.
Since I am her only relative (other than my children) she has come to rely on me for some companionship even if it is long distance and we have both discovered how much we are enjoying this fleeting time together. Growing up I was often quite envious of her as she was the pretty one, the popular one who charmed everyone she met. As a young woman she had a glamorous life as a chorus girl dancing at Lake Tahoe, Reno, Florida and San Francisco, while i was busy becoming a fat housewife with 4 children under foot who’s thought a Cub Scout Blue and Gold Dinner was a big social event. I no longer envy her. And I am so sorry she has to suffer through this horrible disease that has twisted and tortured her body until she resembles an old crone. We both now wish we had been closer through our lives, but we are having to settle for some very high quality phone time.
Here in Zihuatanejo my calendar is quite full, with a couple of weekly lunch groups and now a dinner group. Zihuatanejo is a very supportive place for older single women who still have a zest for life. I not only have Christmas Day plans but plans for Christmas Eve and even Canadian Boxing Day. It is impossible to be lonely here, which was one of my main reasons for moving here. Of course I am well aware that “off season” the social life will not be a full whirlwind of events, but I have friends that do live here year round and maybe that will be time to resume Spanish lessons or take up some other new hobby.
Went to lunch with friends at El Manglar a week ago Sunday. The word Manglar means swamp which is part of the charm of this lovely restaurant that is located on La Ropa beach with a stream running beside complete with crocodrillo’s and trees full of Iguanas. It also has a lovely breeze that funnels through the restaurant making it a great place on hot days and very good food.
Dinners on the beach, fund raiser for the food bank, and pool parties have filled up the rest of the weeks entertainment.
I’ve been busy at home also, I hung and hemmed new curtains for my slider. They are sunblock curtains, I don’t need them so much now, but will come winter and the sun hits my balcony right full on. I also installed a great mirror on an expanding arm in my bathroom to give a full 360 view for primping. Took advantage of Buen Fin, Mexico’s answer to Black Friday and went shopping for a new TV that is fully Bluetooth capable. Actually I had a friend who is tech knowledgeable do the shopping for me and I just showed up with the card to make the purchase. That way I know I’m getting a good TV and a good deal. It’s nice to have good friends.
Last year I fed a trio of street/roof cats. I really didn’t expect that they would still be around. But not only did they survive, did they multiplied. Two of them have half grown kittens following them around. One of them wants to be a pet, well he is still skittish and I can’t pet him yet but he likes to sit and visit with me and he is a very good listener.
I hadn’t planned on feeding them this year as I was really thinking of getting a cat of my own, a strictly indoor cat. But them I discovered how thirsty these cats and kittens were as they were dipping a paw in the dish under one of my plants and then licking the paw. So out came the pan of water and I was amazed at how long they would drink and how quick they returned for more. So at least they have a source for good, clean water. The friendly one got dinner last night. We will see how that goes, maybe I am destined to just have outdoor cats. Signing off KO
I have been here almost three weeks. Fairly well organized after dragging 5 suitcases of all my worldly belongings here. I’ve been very busy culling things I am doubled up on, and those rarely to never used items. It’s not quite as easy to cull here as I have to haul them off to a donation location/person on foot vs loading the car and a quick drive to ST Vinnies but equally satisfying. I find the first week or two I’m here I nap a lot. I think it is the adjustment to the weather and time change. Or maybe just relief that I am finally settled in my “forever home”.
Before coming to Zihuatanejo I was able to visit my daughter and grandchildren in Wyoming, my sister who is terminally ill in California and my friend in West Vancouver, who probably won’t be returning to Zihuatanejo again. Bittersweet visits, but good visits. I was able to spend lots of time with my sons before I leaving Port Orchard, WA behind after 42 years.
I really did enjoy my Summer working on Mount Rainier. I advise anyone who is a all interested in living and working in any National or State Park to go for it. While living and working in the park you have the opportunity explore all corners of the park, meet wonderful people from all over the world.
Last year I fed 3 street cats on a daily basis, upon my return each one of them has paid me a visit, one with a kitten in tow. They all look healthy and have obviously found another place to dine, I don’t plan to resume feeding them as I’m really looking to find a cat of my own a strictly indoor cat.
Still wondering why the community pool is closed It’s not easy to swim laps in the ocean If anyone knows when it will reopen please let me know.
I’m so happy to be in Zihuatanejo in this lovely warm friendly place, I will miss waking up to my view of Mt Rainier every morning, I’m sure there will be times when I will miss my view of the lovely lake I lived on in Port Orchard. My view from my balcony is a fairly busy street, but it an interesting view non the less. I am just so happy to now call Zihuatanejo my home. I will continue to blog as the mood strikes me, no set schedule. Signing off KO
I’ve been wanting to do the Narmada Falls hike since I first got to Paradise way back in June. You start at the falls and hike to Longmire where the National Park Inn is located. It’s a 4.3 down hill hike. The down hill appealed to me plus you see 3 water falls.
The falls are a stunning cascade of water, the trail has many stone and rock steps, not the easiest for me to handle especially as there are lots of hikers and falls looky-loos from the top to the bottom of Narmada falls
As I proceed on down the trail it became latticed with tree roots, making it difficult for big, clumsy feet but at this point the crowd thinned out, and a quarter mile down the trail I was all alone. Alone enough that I thought I really should have been more specific as to what time I started and what time I expected to return and will do so on future hikes. For the next two miles I only saw 2-3 groups of hikers, visited with a nice group of ladies from Puget Sound and one is now living in Port Orchard where I have been living.
More water falls are down the trail
Crossed a half dozen bridges like this, but this was the only one with a railing
Along the way I came across this old wooden water supply pipe line made of cedar and steel support rings
This was the hard part, rocks, rock and more rocks. I couldn’t even see where the trail was and a kind man offered to lend me a hand getting down the rocks to this narrow bridge with water rushing under it. I crossed the log bridge successfully and had just 1.7 miles to go to Longmire where the National Park Inn is located and where I could catch the employee’s shuttle back to the top of the falls where my car was parked.
After a lovely trout dinner at the 1/2 off employee discount I found I wasn’t going to wait the hour for the shuttle after all, as one of the maintenance crew was headed to Paradise and offered to give me a lift back to my car. All in all a great day off. Signing off KO
I’ve been returning to Port Orchard to empty out my house every time I get days off. This Wednesday and Thursday I chose to stay on the mountain and enjoy it’s beauty. I selected the trail I was going to take as there was a good chance of seeing mountain goats from the “Fremont Lookout” The trail is a five mile trip and and a 900 ft climb in elevation. I knew it might be difficult for me but I was up for the challenge. After .5 of a mile straight up I knew I was going to have difficulties as I was gasping for air and having some second thoughts. Then nature threw me a curve, well maybe it was a life line, But my body said you need a rest room now, I mean RIGHT-NOW, and of course on these fragile meadows you just can’t duck behind a tree as you are not to be off the trail EVER! Of course I didn’t want to embarrass my self and be shunned by every hiking coming up. And there are lots of hikers, truly no privacy. So I almost ran back down the trail to the rest rooms in the parking lot, just making it in time.
I was determine to go hiking so I picked a short 1 mile trail, only 150 ft in elevation to deal with and hiked thru beautiful early wildflowers. Of course by this time it was noon and very hot, well into the 80’s and not much shade. So I have learned some very valuable lessons. If I am to do a “strenuous for me” climb. I need to start at daybreak, no later than 5 AM. I should have remembered this from the walk from Zihuatanejo to Ixtapa which is 6 miles, where we started at 6AM. And it’s OK to turn back if you are not comfortable, anytime you feel you have bit off more than you can chew, stop and go back
I love the wildflowers, they are abundant here and in a week or two should be at their peak. So many are tiny and delicate that it is hard for me to photograph with my cell phone. There are flowers everywhere you look. I am so fortunate to have this experience. Signing off KO
The original challenge in this job has been standing a full 8-hour shift. I haven’t stood an 8-hour shift in more years than I can remember. Most recently I have been working for myself. That allows you to set your own hours. Start and stop when you want, if you have problems, you can just bag it for the day and start fresh tomorrow. It also means that to meet deadlines you may have to work extra hours at a different time, but you are the one making those decisions.
So here I am 78 years old, low man on the totem pole, doing what I am told, when I am told, and it is OK, not only OK but super OK. I bear no responsibility for any poor decision making. I managed to finagle myself into the position of “stocker of gift shop items”, and my coworker does all the food and drink items. This seems to work good for us both. I like stocking, it’s not complicated, hard to screw up and it keeps me super busy. As fast as they buy those sweatshirts I have more on hangers and on the racks. I average between 3.5 and 6 miles a day just walking in the store. I’m getting paid to exercise!
I actually enjoy breaking down the cardboard boxes, it’s like meditation. Mindless work that needs to be done, but you can think about anything you want to while doing it and there is great satisfaction when it is all done and fits into the bins neatly. Same thing with sweeping the shop at the end of the day. No brainwork in doing it, your mind can be a million miles away, but great satisfaction when you sweep it all into a dustpan and to the garbage. I guess this comes from a lifetime of my primary job as a wife and mother was to keep things clean and tidy and orderly. I like clean, neat, and orderly!
But even in this ideal setting problems happen. Our general manager has not been a good manager since day one and with a personality that set off my BS barometer big time. Well it turns out he was a creep and a creep of the worst kind. He took off leaving everything behind except the last deposit and screwed with the Wi-Fi rendering it useless and us with no means of communication and also higher than a kite. He has a ton of charges against him and will get caught sooner or later. The company sent in some of their higher ups and we are back running smoother than ever.
All I have to do to release any stress is just look out the window, the mountain is so white and appears so smooth, reminds me of a freshly opened can of Crisco. Going hiking tomorrow.