Author Archives: iamkaren23

About iamkaren23

I am a Canadian writer currently living in Leavenworth, 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.

Weekend in Mazatlan

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Weekend in Mazatlan

I arrived in Mazatlan bright and early Friday morning. TAP was not only on time but actually early. I prefer ETN but this trip the timing was better on TAP.

I’m staying with my friend Koren who happens to be an amazing caterer. She kept me well fed on Friday while adjusting to yet another time change and the scorching heat here in Mazatlan. I then ventured out for a walk around the neighborhood after a short nap.

Quite a few changes. New condos, new construction, new park……but I was delighted to see old friends Lance and Daniel. We sat around for a while catching up while watching a glorious sunset.

Saturday morning before it got too hot, I went out for my five mile walk in Centro. I passed by the mercado, the cathedral, Republica and Machado. I had conversations in Spanish with various vendors as well as with others seeking shade on park benches.

Tonight I’m meeting a friend for dinner on the malecon, where we will enjoy the sunset as we dine. Delmer is another Canadian and he and I taught together a couple of years ago here in Mazatlan.

A concert is happening at the park near my house and there are rumors of fireworks tonight as well.

Tomorrow Rotary is having an event at Zaragoza Park. Hard to believe it’s been three years since Steve was manning the barbecues at this annual event. The years are just zooming by way too quickly.

Monday morning I will be on a bus on my way to Culiacan and a whirlwind weekend in Mazatlan comes to a close.

Dia De Los Muertos

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Dia De Los Muertos

I’m back in Tlaquepaque enjoying one of my favorite Mexican celebrations…..Day of the Dead. This is a time when family and friends gather together to pray for and remember family and friends who have passed away. Altars are constructed and food and photos are prominent. Personal possessions are also displayed. Faces are painted and traditional dress is also featured for both adults and children alike. Brightly colored marigolds are everywhere and the cemeteries are alive with celebrations of the spirits of the deceased.

I spent hours walking down Calle Independencia and Calle Juarez taking photos of altars. It was fascinating watching the various artists painting faces of children and adults. The costumes were outstanding and Catrinas were everywhere.

 

In the evening I checked out the amazing altar outside El Parian in the square. An added delight was the celebration inside the government building which featured altars, catrinas and mariachis. In the Jardin Hidalgo a stage had been set up and various singers and dancers performed.

The vendors were out in full force. Food ranged from tortas ahogadas to churros. Other vendors sold everything from leather goods to jewelry. Needless to say, the people watching and photo ops were plentiful. Here are a few:

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Goodbye Again

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Goodbye Again

It’s that time again. It’s time to say goodbye to Leavenworth again. It’s time to say goodbye to all my friends here. The last bridge game. The last book club meeting. The last life group. The last SAIL class. The last music night. The last lunch at the senior center. The last trips on Link Transit to Cashmere and Wenatchee.

I feel like the last six months have been more like six days or hours, not months. Friendships have increased and grown stronger. My involvement in children’s ministry is more meaningful. Leavenworth is really starting to feel like “home” to me after years of traveling, never quite settling down in any one place.

People envy me. They marvel at the places I’ve been and the adventures I’ve had. However this type of life does carry a price tag, and it’s a hefty one. It means that I meet lots of new people, but then there are lots of goodbyes that go along with that.

Of course we always have the option of planning our future. But as Robbie Burn’s once said, “The best laid schemes o’ mice and men gang aft a-gley.” I remember planning a future years ago, when my children were young. But it never included traveling from country to country on a regular basis. In fact it never included living anywhere but in Winnipeg.

The times are different now. My children don’t live in the same province anymore although they are both still in Canada. The idea of Friday night family dinners as well as birthday and holiday celebrations together is not in the plans anymore.

It has been interesting and enjoyable spending special times with different people in different places, but I would give anything to relive just one more minute of family time spent together. That precious time is gone forever.

Alas I must return to the mundane art of packing, another pastime I do not find in the least enjoyable. It’s also a challenge to keep within the 50 pound limit. Gone are the days when the number of bags allowed and the weight carried no restrictions.

Goodbye for now and my next post will be once I’m settled in Guadalajara, where I am looking forward to Day of the Dead festivities.

Apple Days

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Apple Days

Apple Days was held over the weekend in Cashmere at the museum. I found myself volunteering in the Richardson Cabin in the pioneer village. Thirteen people lived in this home, originally built in the 1880s in Monitor, Washington. The home was moved to the pioneer village in 1961.

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The interior featured the latest in appliances and furnishings at the time.

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A number of other activities were held, including a gymnastics display.

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The Boy Scouts were busy making cornbread and apple crisp.

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The staged gunfights were enjoyed by all. There were a few vendors selling everything from jewelry to fudge. A bake sale and a book sale were also popular, as was the cafe with hot dogs and tacos on the menu. The children were enchanted with the pony rides.

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The entertainment also featured a folk singer, mariachis and dancers.

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A big feature is the apple pie baking contest. And I will leave you with this photo of the prize winners.

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Lake Chelan

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Lake Chelan

It’s a rainy evening and I’m quite content to stay in and sort through photos. This also means that I have the time to write a blog post. Looking out the window, it’s hard to believe that last Friday it was warm and sunny.

Last Friday I went out to Lake Chelan. It was nice to get away for the day. Leavenworth was already crowded with tourists coming in for Autumn Leaf Festival. Chelan is quieter at this time of year as most of the summer visitors have departed.

My first stop was the museum. It’s quite a bit smaller than the Waterville Museum but it does have some interesting displays. Here are a few.

I enjoyed a delicious lunch at B C McDonalds and then walked down the street to the church.

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I walked through the courtyard and down to the water. It was serene and peaceful. I strolled along the walkway for a while and then sat down on a bench to admire the view.

I plan to return to Lake Chelan next summer and take the cruise up to Stehekin as time has run out on me this year. Something to look forward to…………

 

Waterville Museum

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Waterville Museum

Last summer my friend Ann and I went out to Waterville as we’d heard about an incredible museum in this town. Waterville is the county seat of Douglas County. The latest stats I could find on population date back to 2016 when it was 1181. We never did get to see the museum that day. There had been a death and the whole town was at the funeral so the museum was closed.

This past Friday we decided to try again. We enjoyed a beautiful drive to Waterville via Badger Canyon Road upon leaving Wenatchee. The leaves are beginning to change color and the mountains are amazing. We stopped a couple of times to admire the view. I was disappointed in my photos as it was a cloudy day.

We arrived in Waterville and took a drive through town. We noticed that the library had moved but everything else appeared as it had last summer. And the museum was OPEN!

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We stepped inside and were in awe from the moment we entered. I took over 200 photos and will include only a handful in this post. There was such a variety of collections. We lucked out and had our own private tour guide who was a wealth of information. She told us how people just kept donating collections and donating items and that the building had been outgrown.

In the first room I was enchanted with the toys, dolls and vintage books. Creative talent had built a church out of thousands of popsicle sticks. There were also displays of vintage hats, purses and other accessories. This room also had cases filled with glass, china and other collectibles.

Next we moved into a room containing rocks, fossils, petrified wood and vintage courthouse furniture. We got to touch a piece of a meteorite. The lights were dimmed and we were treated to a black light show of the contents of one of the cases. We learned that petrified wood is the state’s gem. We were also told that the majority of the rocks in the room had been donated by one man who had displayed them in the basement of his home for a number of years.

We then went into the largest area in the back of the museum. A large horse and sleigh greeted us. Vintage rooms on display included a medical office, a laundry room, a child’s bedroom, a kitchen, a dining area and a living area. There was a statue of Minerva, a display of Native American including a headdress, original vintage wedding gowns, an old organ and other instruments and phonographs. There was an old vault inside a replica of a bank office, a John Deere display, and so much more.

The basement also held treasures ranging from a two-headed calf to tools. Here is a pic of an old cream separator.

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Three hours later, we finally left in search of lunch. For a small town, this is truly an amazing museum. I can’t wait to visit it again next year to see what else has been added. 

Fall Has Arrived

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Fall Has Arrived

The temperature is dropping and the leaves have begun changing color. Summer is now a memory. But it has been an eventful week.

I belong to the Bavarian Book Club at the Leavenworth Library. Once a month we get together to discuss a book we’ve read. The book we reviewed on Monday was by a Washington author and took place primarily in the San Juans on Orcas Island. It was interesting for me as I had spent some time in that area back in August so I could really relate to the places mentioned in the book.

Tuesday’s highlight was attending the memorial service at Spirit of America in Cashmere. One of the speakers recalled his 9/11 experience of boarding a flight at Pangborn in Wenatchee only to be directed off the plane moments later as the FAA had grounded all aircraft in response to the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers. I was living in Canada back then and recall that tragic day vividly.

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In addition to my regular Wednesday afternoon bridge game, the weekly children’s ministry program at church had its first gathering. Snacks and a video were followed by bible study, games and crafts. It was wonderful to have such a great turnout the first week and I look forward to sharing more with the children until I head back to Mexico in a few weeks.

Thursday morning I taught a fitness class. I had missed Tuesday’s due to the 9/11 memorial service. In the afternoon I went down to the Lions Club Park for the Farmers Market. And in the evening Becky and I went to the first meeting of the season of a BFS (Bible Study Fellowship) group.

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Saturday morning found me at Central Washington Hospital at a meeting of the Wenatchee Valley Autoimmune Network. The guest speaker presented an interesting experiential workshop on the benefits of music and sound in reducing stress and inflammation. After this presentation I went upstairs and visited with a friend recuperating from surgery in the hospital. In the evening I was at the senior enter with several others enjoying some great music. Six musicians had turned out to jam together.

This morning after church Laurel and I went out to Sleeping Lady to look at the amazing glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly. Although it was cloudy, this is still a beautiful piece. It is even more beautiful in the dark when lit up. The rain began and we then went out to the Wild Huckleberry at the golf course for lunch.

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The leaves are changing color. I will have to go and visit my tree in Cashmere this week.