Author Archives: iamkaren23

About iamkaren23

I am a Canadian writer currently living in Wenatchee, Washington. I published When Glad Becomes Sad in 2009. My second book, Alive Again, was published in March of 2015. Both are self-help books. I am currently working on a third book, this time a work of fiction.

Leprechauns

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Leprechauns

I have no idea why but leprechauns have been on my mind. Maybe it’s because St. Patrick’s Day is coming up next month. Walmart had cookies out and Dollar Tree had decorations out. And both stores had Easter treats and other paraphernalia out.

It looks like I’ll be here in Leavenworth for Easter this year. That will be a first. I’m usually in Mexico. I wonder if the snow will be gone. April 4th is still a ways off. It’s getting warmer and rain is replacing the snow.

Back to leprechauns. Do you remember the movie Darby O’Gill and the Little People? I remember seeing it as a child. And it featured leprechauns.

Anyone out there ever in a Brownie pack? One of the sixes in my pack was leprechauns but my six was pixies.

When you see pics of leprechauns they often have a spark or twinkle in their eyes. They appear to be mischievous little sprites. And they’re always male in gender.

Leprechauns have their roots in Irish folklore. Pics often show them to be short and dressed in a green coat and buckled shoes. They also sport a top hat and their profession is shoe making.

One legend is that if you can capture a leprechaun he will trade you his treasure for his freedom. Another legend is that he will grant you three wishes.

Although leprechauns possess a certain charm, they are deceitful and are not to be trusted. They may make promises, but after all, is there ever really a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow?

Avalanche Warnings

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Avalanche Warnings

Here we go again. The temperatures are rising, the snow is falling and there are avalanche warnings out for the mountain passes. The passes were closed last Tuesday and there actually were a couple of avalanches in two of the areas close to the passes.

Before I came to Washington state this winter, avalanches were just something that happened in the movies. That had been my experience.

Of course hurricanes and flash flooding were all new to me as well when I moved to Mexico. In Manitoba it was always extreme cold, windchills and tornados.

Here in Leavenworth we’ve been blessed with an abundance of snow, although the locals all tell me that this winter has been unusually mild with less snow than usual. But after eleven years of winter in Mexico any snow is a lot of snow to me.

Roofs are slanted here to accommodate the melting as well as the weight of the snow. These photos of the overhang was taken yesterday.

The house where I’m staying overlooks the seventeenth hole on the golf course. It looks very different in the winter.

But I’ve been told that avalanches never happen here in town, only higher up in the mountain passes. And that’s reassuring.

One Down One To Go

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One Down One To Go

I was vaccinated yesterday. The first shot went well and I will have the second shot in three weeks. I thank God that I am in a country where the vaccine is available now and that I don’t have to wait several months. God Bless The USA!

Wind back the clock to September 2020. It was now possible to leave Mexico and head up north. The pandemic was raging throughout the world and travel was greatly discouraged.

I’m Canadian. Returning to Winnipeg from where I was in Mexico involved three flights on three different airlines and a minimum of two days of travel through four airports.

My other option was to come to Leavenworth. Only three airports. A flight to Dallas with a connecting flight to Seattle. I left Mexico in the morning and arrived in Seattle in the afternoon. Only about a two and a half hour drive to Leavenworth. Definitely a better option.

Leavenworth is home to me. I may only be here a few months a year but this is where my friends and my support system are. This is where my life is. I usually spend the summer and fall doing volunteer work so my time this year has been spent very differently. It’s winter and Covid is still around.

In Washington state the vaccine distribution program is working well. Appointments are made on the internet. I made mine on Sunday. Yesterday, Tuesday, my friend Linda drove me to Town Toyota Center in Wenatchee, a designated mass vaccination site. I didn’t even have to get out of the car. A symptom check and the actual vaccination took under five minutes. I did have to wait thirty minutes after instead of fifteen as I have a shellfish allergy.

I was given a card with my appointment for the second shot. I had received an email reminder yesterday about today’s appointment. By the time I got back to Leavenworth I had received another email congratulating me on being vaccinated and it also included my patient record.

I also registered for the follow-up program. I receive a text daily inquiring about my health and any symptoms I might be experiencing. Very reassuring.

Thank you Washington state for your efficient handling of the vaccination process.

This Week In February.

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This Week In February.

February is a short month, and this past week has not been the greatest. The groundhog saw his shadow back on February 2nd, so maybe that explains all the snow we’re getting now. It may also account for the temperatures that have plummeted from the forties down to the teens.

But I’m not complaining too loudly. When I talk to friends back in Winnipeg I hear stories of extreme windchills and cars not starting. That’s a typical winter on the Canadian prairies.

A friend in Winnipeg is back in the hospital as they still try to determine the cause of an infection. Another friend just lost her brother to cancer. More friends in Mexico are struggling with Covid and one has died.

While Canada is imposing even stricter restrictions, here in Washington state things are opening up. I must admit that I’m confused by church gatherings with no masks and dine-in restaurants open in some towns but not in others. So much for state mandated rules.

Today is Valentine’s Day. Last year on this day I was in Aguascalientes at the park coloring and visiting with a friend. Today I’m coloring inside at home, glancing out the window at the falling snow.

The highlight of this past week is undoubtedly the three video calls I received from my eleven-year-old grandson in Culiacan. He usually calls me twice a week, so the extra call was truly a blessing. He tells me what he is studying in his online classes. He reads me stories he’s written. He tells me about his favorite videogames. Occasionally we talk about Covid.

I hope next week will be a better one. I’m tired of hearing about illness and death and quarantine.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Yesterday

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Yesterday

Yesterday was February 9th. My dad died on February 9th, 1977. That was forty- four years ago but sometimes it feels like it was only yesterday. I have learned to live without his physical presence and that is sometimes quite painful. After all, he never even met his grandchildren and has not been by my side throughout most of my life.

My dad had a heart condition. Back then there were no stints or even angioplasty. What gave us all more time together was that he was able to escape to a warmer climate in the winter. San Diego was far removed from the harsh winters on the Canadian prairies.

We are currently in the midst of a global pandemic. Travel is being strongly discouraged and in many cases is all but prohibitive. And I wonder what the quality of life would have been like in those final years if my dad were alive today.

From a mental health perspective, the suicide rate has skyrocketed during the past year. Quarantine and isolation are dangerous. Depression and anxiety have become more prevalent. Far too many people are living in fear while being sequestered in their homes. Isolation is detrimental to our health and well-being.

Domestic violence has escalated. While some families feel ties have been strengthened in their households, others have felt nothing but increased stress and faltering relationships. Zoom and other types of video calls lost their charm months ago when it comes to extended family relationships and keeping in contact with friends.

Some areas have more restrictions than others causing people to reevaluate whether the trip to the grocery store is really necessary. Standing outside in long lines in frigid temperatures just does not appeal. Nor does juggling fast food on our laps after going through a drive-thru when we’d much rather be sitting inside a restaurant with healthier food choices.

More than ever I cherish the memories of the freedom I once took for granted. As much as I miss my dad, I am thankful that he is not here now to experience the travesty of living during this pandemic.

Sunday

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Sunday

It’s Sunday again. If I were in Aguascalientes I’d be going to the small church around the corner. But that was a year ago, before Covid. This year I do church online. And that’s okay too. Yesterday’s rain has now turned to snow.

I think back to Sundays of other years. I spent a fair amount of time in bowling alleys with my kids. When the kids were grown my ex and I often went out for brunch with friends. When my marriage ended I taught aquatic classes on Sunday mornings.

And then I moved to Culiacan. Sundays were non- teaching days so parks and museums were on the agenda. When I lived in Irapuato I went to church with friends. When I lived in Guadalajara Isaias and I traveled to numerous small towns in Jalisco on the weekends. When I lived in Mazatlan I went to church and out for brunch with friends. Then I often walked along the malecon. In San Ciro there was only a Catholic church so I did more touristy things.

For the past few months I’ve added a blog post on Sundays. I write about my life, my thoughts and feelings. I often include photos. And I never really have an agenda of what I should write about next.

I’ve taken a break from working on my book. My imaginary friends aren’t speaking to me very much. When they do, it’s just nothing I want to run with. Instead I have found other things to occupy my time. There has to be more to life than Netflix.

A 500 piece puzzle dominates the dining room table, a Christmas gift from my friend Joyce. It’s been years since I’ve done a puzzle. This one is a scene from England complete with double decker buses.

I learned how to bait rodent traps this week. My friend Steve has a pest control business and I helped him out one afternoon. Apparently rats, mice and voles are quite active in Washington state.

I had my hair cut the other day. No more long hair. It’s now in a short bob. Thank you to Lisa at Shears here in Leavenworth. No need to travel to Wenatchee for a style anymore.

I actually did go into Wenatchee yesterday with Ann. Walmart and Macy’s. I also had a lovely long walk. 50 degrees and sunshine in February. Very different from the brutal winters on the Canadian prairies.

Yes. I still play Candy Crush. But I play Candy Crush Friends now, not Candy Crush saga. I also play word games.

I still color. I’m enjoying the Thomas Kinkade coloring book. I’m learning how to blend colors with pencils and water now, although I still adore my gel pens.

Google Duo has become a good friend. Video calls with my grandkids are treasures, although I hope that someday virtual hugs and kisses will be replaced by in-person ones.

I read a lot too. It’s nice to have a library close by with books written in  English. Although the library is closed, curbside pickup is available for books reserved on-line.

Another good friend is Duolingo. I don’t want to forget my Spanish as I do intend to return to Mexico when it is safe to travel again. Oh how I miss traveling!

Time to tune in to Church of the Rock in Winnipeg.

Happy Sunday!

Time To Vent

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Time To Vent

Is it just me or is anyone else having trouble remembering things BC? Before Covid is starting to feel like a far away dream.

Why can’t the children play nicely in the sandbox? Democrats and Republicans need to put the people of the USA first instead of merely themselves.

Back in 1968 the downfall of Canada began with the election of Trudeau as prime minister. And now in 2021 Trudeaumania continues with the next generation in the form of the mishandling of the Covid situation and the latest ridiculous cash grab re quarantine.

COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. I expect that it will be around long after my lifetime comes to a close. It’s time to acknowledge this and learn to live with it.

Vaccines will not make Covid disappear. Travel is far from the leading cause of transmission of this virus. Rewarding people with more money to stay at home rather than work is disgusting.

Avoiding bankruptcies and lowering the suicide rate is where the focus should be.

That’s my rant for today.

Wear your mask, wash your hands often and do your best to maintain physical distance. Maybe then we stand a chance of opening up the world again. Maybe then we’ll be able to hug our kids and grandkids again instead of just blowing kisses on video calls.

It Sure Likes To Snow Here

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It Sure Likes To Snow Here

Colder temperatures and less snow? Or milder temperatures and more snow? Winnipeg is the former and Leavenworth is the latter.

Today is Thursday and we’ve had over two feet of snow since Tuesday night when I moved back to Leavenworth from Wenatchee. The Washingtonians take it in their stride. But after eleven winters in Mexico I find it rather fascinating.

Here is the view from my front door with the 17th hole of the golf course in the background.

And here is Steve’s truck after the foot of snow we got last night.

It’s now Friday. Linda and I went out to Sleeping Lady and went for a walk. It was warm and the paths were primarily clear with slushy spots. I was warm in my ski jacket and toque. I even wore my Thinsulate gloves for the first time although a lighter pair would have been just fine.

This beautiful glass sculpture by Chihuly looks completely different with the snow in the background.

We also came across this quaint little bridge.

Here is one of the charming cabins at the resort.

Today is Saturday. Once again the sun is hiding. We had snow showers this morning instead of the heavy snowfall we had earlier in the week. This afternoon it changed to rain and then to snow. I’m hibernating and catching up on laundry.

I am quite enjoying my first winter in snow in eleven years. I know I will never tire of the spectacular view of the mountains, even when snow covered.

Today is Sunday with more snow in the forecast. And it’s time to post this.

Again? Nomad Moved Again?

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Again? Nomad Moved Again?

YES.

Fourth move in four months.

I’m back in Leavenworth.

Sometimes I wonder why I even bother to unpack a suitcase. But I always do.

And I keep on moving. And this time I wound up back in Leavenworth.

It snowed all day yesterday and it’s still snowing this morning. It’s the first time I’ve ever moved on a snowy day. Usually it’s bright and sunny.

I also haven’t seen snow like this since 2009. It actually does look kind of pretty.

I was in Cashmere yesterday morning where it wasn’t snowing. I visited my tree, of course, and went to Spirit of America.

It’s a very different winter for me and I’m getting used to it. So far it’s been pretty mild. But it isn’t Mexico.

The 50 Plus Club

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The 50 Plus Club

We’ve all had a lot of friends over the years. As we grow older our friendships become even more important. But how many of these friendships have lasted five decades or more?

I think back to friends I went to school with, played sports with, went to ballet and choir with, belonged to various organizations with, and more. There are so many friends I’ve lost touch with over the years. I do have more than a handful of friendships that have lasted well over twenty or thirty years. But fifty years is special.

I was talking to my friend Carole last week. We first met back in 1964. I lived in Winnipeg and she lived in Minneapolis. There was no internet back then so we became penpals. We don’t see each other often. I last visited Carole on the July 4th weekend in 2011. I think we’re long overdue for a visit.

Sheila and I met back in 1965 in junior high school. We lost touch for a while after high school as I was going to university and she was busy having babies. But we found each other again on Facebook and we get together when I come back to Winnipeg to visit.

Rochelle and I met in 1971 when we were taking a course at university. While I remained in Winnipeg, she moved to Los Angeles when she got married. I did visit her in L.A. a few years ago. She has since moved to Arizona and I hope to visit her there once things settle down with Covid.

These are three friends in my 50 plus club. We’ve gone through marriages and divorces. We’ve supported each other in times of crisis. We’ve laughed and we’ve cried together. We don’t see each other nearly often enough as we live in different countries but thanks to technology we are able to keep in touch.

Here’s to many more years of friendship ahead!