Alone, lonely?

Just started watching a movie, a young single person in New York, getting a bowl of soup at a restaurant, and then feeling a bit uncomfortable, and asking them to package it up to go. Being single, and not necessarily young, this had me reflect. Does she feel more alone, eating in a restaurant by herself than she will when she goes home to her empty apartment?

I’ve been living on my own for over 10 years ( for a brief time there was someone else but that is another very long story). In general I am very comfortable living on my own. I am very comfortable with myself for company, yes, on occasion I may answer a question I have, lol, but not often. The truth is we all have a pretty continual inner dialogue, often very hard to turn off, and I just hope that most people are kinder on themselves than they probably are. We do often seem to be more critical of ourselves than others.

Back to the soup. I also love to cook, I actually have in the past read recipe books, and I still enjoy searching the web for recipes. Finding ones that use combinations of ingredients differently than I would expect but that sound intriguing enough that I want to try this new adventure in taste and smell. Sometimes it may all be about the visual senses as well, a pretty swirly bread with Chocolate and hazelnuts, how can you go wrong with that? I love travelling, always an adventure and learning opportunity. Taken out of your normal, meeting strangers, exploring a new city, town, village, nature, tasting different foods, spices invigorating. When my children were young and if we were in the city I liked to take them to Superstore, and more specifically the ethnic aisle. We could travel down the aisle, check out foods we had never come across before and take some home and try them. Some we maybe only bought once, but always they were an adventure and a way of expanding our universe.

Why do I like to cook? A good part I imagine is that it is comforting, making something for yourself, and others that isn’t just about fuelling your body but about actually enjoying the experience. Not just eating because you have to but because it is such a sensual experience, the flavours, the texture, the scent, how you might actually physically have to approach it. It is great if you can share the experience with someone, which is why I love cooking up a storm for special occasions. A celebration just isn’t a celebration if there isn’t great food to go with it. Do I need great food to enjoy a concert or a play, no, but it certainly rounds out the evening.

Someone once told me they admired that I would go to an event on my own, take myself out for supper or to a movie, didn’t that feel strange? From my point of view, why would I not go or do something just because I didn’t have someone to go with? We are responsible for our own happiness, and if all that means is getting up off the couch and doing what brings you joy, that sounds pretty easy, vs sitting at home and wishing you had gone. There is so much living to do. I had a relationship once where I would ask him if he would like to go someplace and the answer was “Maybe” he would never commit and it always got too close to the time to make a decision that in the end we wouldn’t go. I smartened up and instead started letting him know that I was going incase he was interested in coming along, if he wasn’t fine, I wasn’t going to miss out on something I was going to enjoy. I did marry that fellow for quite a while, I also remember one evening asking if he’d like a some ice-cream or something like that as we were watching a movie, he replied, “No”. I went about getting myself some ice-cream and when I came back he looked at me and said, he thought he had told me he didn’t want any? “Yes, you did” I replied “but this is for me” . To which he was surprised that I would get some for myself when he didn’t want any? I stayed married to him for much too long, but I did get three wonderful children out of it. Actually for many years at the end of that relationship I felt more alone when he was there than when he was gone. So really living on my own is wonderful.

Yes, it might be nice for someone to ask how your day was, or to make sure you got home safely, or if you are feeling ill that they might make you chicken soup. Someday I may find someone to share my life with who appreciates me for me, who is comfortable with who he is and is an equal partner.

But right now, I can decide that I want to make a certain type of soup, or that I want to experiment with it, and I don’t have to be concerned at all whether someone else might like it. I don’t have to compromise, or not be true to myself, I can go where I please and do as I wish. It’s a darn fine life and I’m a very lucky person to be living it as fully as I can.


16722410_10158248774290501_1439403914849664656_oPlanning my trip to Guatemala in the fall of 2014, I figured I should nail down accommodations for over Christmas and New Years before maybe there weren’t any or they were out of my price range. I thought I would like to spend that time in Antigua, Guatemala and a World Heritage site. I found a place through AirBnB I believe, it sounded perfect but it said those dates weren’t available. I decided to send them a note anyways seeing if they might suggest other accommodations for that time. The owner got back to me, that since I was a single lady, I could stay there during that time any ways, she had booked it off as her child “Oliver” was coming at that time. Oh, I thought, and replied, maybe since this was such a special time for her I shouldn’t impose. Initially I understood by how she replied that she was pregnant and expecting her first child, so I offered to help in any way I could with cooking and cleaning at that time to help her. Then when she kept referring him to him as “Oliver” I thought maybe I misunderstood, maybe he was already born, and she just got to visit with him at that time. So I started telling her a bit about my children and how old they were. She replied then, that no he had not been born yet, and indeed was expected to arrive at that time. I had a place to stay. A wonderful family, and her Mom was going to be staying with them as well to help out and be there for the birth.

I felt like part of the family, the first day there I got to attend a baby shower at their church. I was there when the priest came to visit at their home prior to the birth. They were not yet married yet even though they had been together for sometime as there were problems due to Daniel being from Germany I believe. (Guatemala is very religious with something like 97% being Roman Catholic.) That was another question I was asked from place to place as I arrived, was I religious? My answer, “No”, but I was brought up Roman Catholic.

Antigua is a wonderful place to be around the Christmas/New Years holidays, lots of extra activities happening. There was the evening before Christmas when a procession went by at night, maybe a rendition of them looking for a room for the Virgin Mary, I’m not sure but the lanterns, etc were a nice surprise, and it was very small scale, intimate. Video of procession

Paola had been hoping to give birth at home with a mid wife, but just before Christmas, she learned that the baby was breech, the midwife tried moving it, but he was too comfortable, or big. Paola tried crawling around a bit as she was told this might get the little fellow motivated to move but it just wasn’t happening. Plan B, a doctor and hospital, to find one in a place that she felt comfortable in. That done, now the doctor was trying to encourage her to have it before Christmas, but she really didn’t want to, even though her husband was anxious to see the little guy. I thought the Doctor just didn’t want to be disturbed during the holidays? There was also the thought of schooling and where that would put him in the school year when that time came. Paola decided she would plan for Jan 2, if the baby decided it could wait that long. (Daniel had painted from time to time, images on Paolo’s growing stomach, the one I remember most, the cat’s back end, and  a cracked egg. They also wanted to make a cast of her stomach just before “Oliver” was born. I’m not sure if that happened, but I think so. Very creative.)

On Christmas Eve, which is the day they celebrate or on the stroke of midnight, Paola’s mother Isabelle, Paola, Daniel and myself all sat down to help make tamales, a Costa-rican version as that was where her Mom was from. Quite the assembly line we had going, and by the end we had made over 100.

Making tamales 

(Making cost ricin tamales for new years
Plantain leave, masa with garlic, salt and pork fat, then rice with achiote or paprika , spoonful of peas, pork slice and pork fat, 2 slices of tomatoes and carrot, 6 raisins,1 prune, 1 olive, wrap it all up and bake for 1 1/2 -2 hours at 325′)

Then there was Mass, which Daniel asked why I wanted to come if I wasn’t really religious, part of the experience I told him. A grand church, with a nativity scene that they had brought in dirt from the various areas around so that all were represented.. Then we went home for the meal and gifts, they even got me a journal, with a cover that had local weaving on it. Then I heard it, that strange sound… What could it be? I finally asked, “that rumbling noise, what was it?” It sounded, I said, like someone rolling a barrel of ice down the cobblestone hill. Her brother looked at me, curiously amused. “Only a Canadian would come up with something like that. It was fireworks.”…Okay, I have to admit that did make a lot more sense, and then we went up to the roof top to see. All over the city fireworks were being set off at midnight, not in just one spot, the whole sky was alive with them. I was told that they would set off fireworks at midnight, 6am, noon and 6pm, that’s a lot of fireworks!! I know how expensive they were back home so I asked about that there. Yes they said, they were expensive there as well, but everyone saved up to set off fireworks, rich to poor. On Christmas day I called home to talk to my son on Facetime just before noon, and I was up on the roof top showing him the view when the fireworks started, “Get down, Mom!!!” he shouted, as he thought it was gun fire, no I assured him, just fireworks.

I couldn’t believe all the firework debris along the streets. Then came the New Years celebration, the central street in Antigua was filled with performers, it was alive, and of course a big fireworks display.

The next day, January 2nd, time for “Oliver”, they told me the address of the small hospital, so when I thought enough time had passed, I wandered down, my Spanish not being very good, I managed to let them know what I was there for, and down the hall I went. Very different than our hospitals. There she was with little, or not so little, “Oliver”, one proud father, who I couldn’t believe how much this new born looked like!!!! He seemed all Dad and no, or very little Mom. A mini me, for Daniel. Also a very proud Grandma, and 2 brothers, her younger one was VERY excited even before hand and let Paola know, he already had a car seat so he could take him for rides.

So I was the very first person to hold that first born child, after the Mom, Dad, Grandma and Uncles, pretty special. Such a short time ago now, and he is such a big boy now at 3, (especially for that country, but there comes into play his German father), still looks the spitting image of his dad, who unfortunately, past away last year but will always be remembered, a kind caring person.

Sumac Champagne, Guatemala

I was off to Flors via taxi, to a public shuttle, crossed a river on a barge, told to transfer to a different shuttle, and then a small bus to Sumac Champagne. Reminded me of logging road, very steep, and buses that didn’t make it, down at the bottom, after many hours of driving in the middle of no where and dark, we stopped at one very small town and we got off but this wasn’t my stop, no. Next I was in the back of a truck, as the driver at one point shouted out a place, I wasn’t exactly sure if that was my spot but with some confusion with everyone involved, I got off. It wasn’t my spot but they had room, and I had travelled enough, besides the ride was gone. Did I mention that all this was done without speaking Spanish, on public shuttles., all except  the last “kind of” tourist bus, well one filled with tourists anyways.
I had seen pictures of Sumac Champagne and I was determined to see it, many layered waterfalls, I had seen pictures and my daughter had talked about as she had been a few years before. I hiked to it the next morning, quite a trek I was told there was a shorter route through the jungle but when I started on that path it was muddy and not a very visible path so decided to stick to the gravel road.
When I arrived then more hiking and I soon learned that when it said Miradora this way, that meant you were going to be going up, it was a place to check out the view. I met the odd person who was busy sweeping the trail or tending to it. Having lived on the prairies for several years my body wasn’t exactly accustomed to these elevations, and one worker, eyed me as I stopped from time to time to catch my breath before I continued on. He seemed quite proud of me or at least gave me an encouraging smile when I finally made it to the top and offered to take my picture, proof, that I had made it. Well I could see the waterfall now with all its shallow aqua coloured pools but now it was far below me. Off I started down the trail again, into the woods with the howler monkeys, at least this time I knew what those noises were, lol.
I finally made it down to where the waterfalls started, much easier than going up. There were several people there locals and tourists, playing in the shallow pools, sliding sometimes from one to the other, it was a wonderful day. I will post some pictures someday.
The road less traveled to a place you’ve dreamed about, where is some place you’ve taken on an adventure to get to a special place or person?


December 2014, I was starting my 2 month adventure in Guatemala. It was my walk about, I had had a couple of people offer to come with me for chunks of it, but I had just decided on early retirement and I needed this time for me, I had a lot to sort through.

It was an amazing adventure, I flew into Cancun, and took a night bus to Belize City, not a pleasant place to be even early on a Sunday morning, next a bus to Tikal in Guatemala. Actually the bus dropped me off and pointed me in the direction of a small town just south of Tikal. I had borrowed a backpack from my daughter-in-law, planning on hiking for a few days with a group around a volcano, that not so long but plenty long enough walk in to town, had me re-evaluating that idea really quick, not going to happen. I did make it into town though, found a place to stay and arranged to take a bus to Tikal for the sunrise the next day.
Up at 4 to meet the bus, it took us out to the temple. Dark and with flashlights we climbed up the side of the temple facing east, and as we had been instructed sat in silence and waited for dawn to waken the jungle.
I bit of mist was also about and as the sun-rose in amazing oranges, purples and red, the silhouette of other temples came into view, and the jungle most certainly came alive. As we sat in silence, little chirps of birds, and twigs cracking could be heard, but then next a horrific screaming started, I looked around to see what it was, no sign of anything. I looked to see if this sound had anyone anxious as it steadily grew louder and louder. Was our guide there? Was any one there to save us from what sounded like King Kong? I felt like maybe we were just sacrificial lambs waiting in silence on the side of the temple as the sun grew stronger and stronger. Finally some one said, it’s howler monkeys. Howler monkeys, what were they? How big were they? Had they eaten yet? Apparently, I was told they were really not very big at all, they just had a throat the created these BIG noises to scare off predators, it was very convincing. Now full of new knowledge I could again enjoy the spectacular scene unfolding before me. Apparently they came here to film a part of Star Wars, and also Jurassic Park, I can certainly understand that, it was a wonderful experience and just the start of so many more in Guatemala.
Have you ever been scared of an unknown sound, that you later found out was really nothing at all, or a shadow you mistook for something it wasn’t?