Into The Home Stretch

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Into The Home Stretch

Two weeks from today I’ll be on the Wenatchee Valley Shuttle headed for Sea-Tac. It feels like only yesterday it was the reverse. The past few months have passed by in a blur. The older I get the faster the time flies by.

Just the other day I told one of my friends that I don’t want to leave yet because there is still so much I want to do here. But the Reindeer Farm and an Amtrak trip will have to wait until next summer.

October is one of my favorite months here. The leaves on the trees are a glorious sight as they change color. The Autumn Leaf Festival and Apple Days are most enjoyable. Three weekends of Octoberfest are a bit much for my liking but are good for the tourism industry.

I’d like to share some of the beautiful fall colors here in Leavenworth.

And here is my favorite tree in Cashmere.

Stehekin

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Stehekin

Yesterday dawned cloudy and cold in Chelan. But at least the snow had stayed up in the mountains. Very different weather from last year at this time.

We arrived at the dock just before 8 am to board the Lady Of The Lake Express. Coffee was most welcome once we left the pier.

The view along the way was spectacular. The snow-capped mountains drifted in and out of the clouds. Or maybe it was the clouds drifting in and out of the mountains.

We made a brief stop at Field’s Point and then headed for Stehekin. Along the way our captain was an awesome tourist guide, pointing out various areas and their histories.

Upon our arrival in Stehekin, we hopped on the red bus for a tour. We stopped at Rainbow Falls and at the Pastry Shop. Other interesting sights were Carl’s organic garden, the original old schoolhouse, the new schoolhouse, the community hall/church as well as a beautiful log house.

We wandered up to the visitor center and watched a slide show. We sauntered through some displays and wound up in the art gallery where this captured my eye.

We ate lunch on the deck overlooking the water and then checked out the gift shop.

All too soon it was time to board the Lady of the Lake and head back to Chelan.

I hope to return someday and stay overnight. One day really isn’t enough time to explore this area, which also is renowned for its hiking trails.

In Addition To The Usual

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In Addition To The Usual

I lead a busy life here in Leavenworth. There are the regular activities at the senior center, the church and teaching fitness classes. Friendships have increased and grown deeper. And somehow I have found time to do some different things this month.

I attended a program at the Leavenworth Library where I painted a coffee cup and coaster.

We headed out to Snowy Owl Theater to Elder Speak, a program held annually by The Ripple Foundation.

By far the most memorable day in September was the 11th. The memorial service held at Spirit of America in Cashmere was even more special as the replicas of the twin towers and two new plaques were unveiled.

I attended a program at the Cashmere Library where I painted with water colors. Here is the pumpkin that was my model.

And here is my masterpiece which is being transferred to a T-shirt. On the First Friday Art Walk in Wenatchee we will all don our shirts and travel to various venues to display our creations.

We saw an excellent movie at Gateway entitled Overcomer. We all agreed that this is one of the best movies ever. I encourage you to see it and bring along lots of tissues.

I also attended a most informative meeting of the Wenatchee Valley Autoimmune Network. It’s nice having this support group close by.

Up and coming in the next week includes the Judy Garland movie, Autumn Leaf Festival in Leavenworth, and a cruise on Lady of the Lake from Chelan to Stehekin.

As September draws to a close, it’s time to start checking out flights back to Mexico next month. But I also intend to enjoy the beautiful fall colors here in Washington.

Elder Speak

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Elder Speak

Our world is different today. We email, we text, we tweet. Families live miles apart and no longer congregate regularly around the dining room table.

The Ripple Foundation offers a variety of programs throughout the year. Most of these take place over the fall and winter when I am not here. But I have attended Elder Speak for the past three years.

Four individuals are chosen each year to prepare for this event. They speak of their childhood, their careers, their marriages, their losses and their life experiences.

Yesterday the discussion centered around such topics as relationships and courage. The ideas of living, loving and learning were stressed.

A quote by Everett Berts, one of the Elders, jumped out at me. “There is a difference between knowledge and wisdom.”

Thank you to the Ripple Foundation for sponsoring this event. And thank you to the Elders for sharing their valuable life lessons.

Long Distance Grandma Part 2

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Long Distance Grandma Part 2

There is an age old controversy about defining family as blood relatives only. But it has been my experience that family are the people you feel closest to, the people who are there for us and who give special meaning to our lives, even though these people are not blood relatives.

When I first came to Culiacán almost nine years ago, I did not know a soul in Mexico. I met Juan and Lucila and they became much more than just friends. They became my family. At the time they had only one child. Juan Carlos was just over one year old.

The family has grown over the years and their four sons are my nietos, my grandsons. They call me abuelita, grandma. And I cannot imagine life without them. We haven’t lived in the same city for the past eight years, and Mexico is a large country geographically. But in the six months I spend in Mexico each year, I do try to see them as often as possible.

I’m delighted that my grandsons are learning English at school. I bring them back English books and activity books when I return from my time up north. But my Spanish definitely gets a workout when I am with them.

The photo in this post was taken when the baby was less than two months old when I was last in Culiacan in April. I wish I could visit more often. It’s tough being a long distance grandma.

Do You Play Bridge?

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Do You Play Bridge?

This is my third year playing bridge here in Leavenworth with Betsy, Hilda and Karen. We play at the Senior Center on Wednesday afternoons.

I had the most spectacular hand today. It’s the best hand I’ve ever had in my life, and I’ve been playing this game since the early seventies. I believe it may have been a compulsory course in hanging out in the arts lounge at the University of Manitoba back then.

Back to the hand. Twenty-nine points and all 4 aces. Amazing!

Bridge is a challenging game. There’s always something new to learn. And of course different conventions are followed by different players.

Do you play bridge?

Long Distance Grandma Part 1

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Long Distance Grandma Part 1

I’ve been through a lot in my lifetime but one of the most difficult things ever is being a long distance grandma.

My grandparents all lived close by when I was growing up. Although my dad had already passed away by the time my kids came along, my mom lived only minutes away when they were young.

I spent a few magical days with my granddaughter Madeline this summer. At 17 months, she had changed a lot since I had last seen her when she was only six weeks old.

Memorable times included a visit to a kangaroo farm, a splash pad, a children’s play center as well as her first haircut.

I miss building towers with her and playing in the “thunderdome” with her. I miss pushing her in her stroller or wheeling her around in a shopping cart.

What I miss the most was our cuddling time when I would read to her and give her a bottle before she went to sleep at night.

Although she came to the airport when I left, I don’t think she quite realized what was happening. I wonder if she looked for me that evening at bedtime, or looked for me the next morning when it was time for breakfast.

I know that I have this empty feeling and that part of my heart was left behind with Madeline in Kelowna.

It’s tough being a long distance grandma.