Monthly Archives: January 2012

Joanna and her sisters

Joanna and her sisters

One of the luckiest things about my life is that I have three sisters. A – B – C: Anne, Barbara, and Cathy. They are all close in age, but I am five, seven and nine years older than them. During childhood, that made quite a difference.

We have four brothers too, but they pretty much did their own thing. What I remember most about them is that they were very physically active and ate like horses.

I helped Mom look after the “little girls” and I know that while we were            growing up, they were somewhat intimidated by me, but now we don’t feel any gulf of years. We will all be in our fifties this summer… (one entering, two wading through, and one hanging on by the toenails! ) We are all married… we each have children of our own.

Sisterhood is a unique bond. One of us is having an operation today, and another has one pending… I wish I lived closer so that I could make chicken soup…

When they graduated from high school, each of my sisters spent time with Jorge and I in Merida. They all enjoy the weather, the food, and other wonderful attractions of Mexico.

Mom always urged us to dance, carry on and have fun! Our childhood vacations were spent by the water: swimming, boating, beachcombing. To please our mother, we all took dancing lessons, joined Brownies, took a whack a field hockey, sewing and playing Bridge… with varying degrees of aptitude.

We four don’t always agree with one another’s choices, but each of us knows the others are “on call”… if needed we’ll be there in a heartbeat.

Later this week we will mark our mother’s passing… I still miss her every day and I know my sisters do too. We all have   her round eyes and pointed chin… and the same penchant for sweets. Mom could swim like an otter, and she taught us to do so too.

On the fourth of February, I’ll put fresh flowers in Mom’s dark red crystal vase and place it on my dining room table. I’ll bake an apple pie, brew a pot of Earl Grey and drink from one of her Chelsea Bird tea cups… with lots of milk and a spoon full of sugar – the way Mom served it when we were young.

If there’s a Heaven, Mom is there and she’ll surely join me and toast: To Joanna and her sisters!


Filed under Family and Friends

The Changing of the Guard

The 2012 – 2013 Board of the International Womens Club of Merida

The International Women’s Club of Merida held their annual election this past Saturday. With very mixed feelings I watched Marianne Kehoe chair her last meeting as the president.  Under her leadership  2011 – 2012 has been a good year for our group with many fun activities as well as satisfying accomplishments.

I thought it very fitting that this board chose Lenny Hau as their last monthly speaker. Lenny is one of the young women that the IWC awards a monthly stipend to help with university expenses. When I met her three years ago, I saw a painfully shy girl; on Saturday I listened to an accomplished Law student speak about her investigation in the field of Indigenous Law. WOW! Lenny impressed us all with her excellent English and her sensitivity to the Mayan communities very special needs. Mark my words, she is going places.

Marianne graciously acknowledged her Board: Anny Schrader, Marie Barchus, Rainie Bailie-Bowie and Faye Jorgenson.  Just before the end of the meeting, another former president Dulce Firth presented Marianne with a floral arrangement in recognition of her excellent leadership.

Now, at the beginning of this short recap, I said I have “mixed feelings…” This is because, as sorry as I am to see Marianne step down, I’m very excited about the new Board. I know that Marie Barkus will do an excellent job as President; how can she not with Nancy Walters, Beth Knepp, Theresa Gray and Rainie Baillie-Bowie to help her?

Theresa even has a party planned: a real winner for costume lovers; she proposes we have a 100th anniversary commemoration of the sinking of the Titanic. Rainie got a laugh when she piped up with, “We could all wear life savers!”

I hope you enjoy the photos of the lovely ladies of the club…

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Filed under Family and Friends, Vida Latina


Sleeping: that’s what I don’t always do so well. I fall asleep just fine, but after 3 hours or so, its touch and go. I often wake up and then, I have trouble going back to sleep.

I have tried most of the usual healthy aids: a glass of warm milk, light exercise, meditation, a relaxing bath, wearing socks to bed … I have also tried every sleep medication on the market. All have the same not-so-effective result: I wake up before I’ve had enough shut-eye.

A nice strong drink or “dot-dot-dot” will ease me into Dreamland, but as I’ve said, getting to sleep isn’t the issue – staying asleep is.

Counting sheep, visualization, biofeedback… none of that has worked… I even tried hypnosis. ¡Nada!

So, OK… what do I do once I’ve woken up, and I’ve realized that returning to sleep mode isn’t happening?

Sometimes I get up. Sometimes I stay in bed and listen to an audio book or music; I don’t usually check my email, I don’t work on my book or other writing projects. I try not to strain my eyes.

But once the ear buds start to feel irritating, I sometimes draw or I blog – like I’m doing now.

It’s 03:21 and I’m going to go brew some of that “Sleepy Time” herbal tea… whatever!


Filed under Writing