It’s now Easter of 2021, and the second Easter of the pandemic. Last year I was in Mexico and didn’t go to church. At that time I avoided crowds and religiously wore my mask when I went out for my daily walks. I went out only to buy food or use the ATM.This year I’m in Leavenworth. I went to church on Good Friday and am going to a service today, Easter Sunday. I usually wear a mask only when I go into a public building or a shopping mall. I seldom wear a mask when I’m out walking unless I’m in the downtown area where there tend to be lot of people.My favorite place to walk is in the town of Cashmere. Here are some pics I took the other day while strolling down Cottage Avenue.When I’m in Mexico I don’t get to see the flowers and trees budding. And I’ve missed it.Cashmere is amazing when it comes to scarecrows and Halloween in October. But I did see some Easter decorations including this tree.I stopped at the bakery and was delighted to find hot cross buns. I haven’t tasted those in eleven years. In Mexico Easter is synonymous with empenadas.Happy Easter to those who celebrate. Easter 2021 is definitely better than Easter 2020. But I do wonder if we’ll still be wearing masks in church in Easter 2022.
My last post was about how gorgeous the weather is here in Washington state. Of course the day after I published that post I awoke to a winter wonderland out there.
The snow didn’t last, not here in Leavenworth. The mountain passes were a different story, covered in snow and ice.
That afternoon I ventured into Wenatchee where there was no snow at all. Thankfully the wind warnings didn’t materialize into much and the sun shone in all its glory.
On my way back home I stopped in Cashmere to go for a walk. I was delighted to capture these shots of spring flowers.
Even my favorite tree, a red maple, was beginning to bud.
Although it was cool yesterday, today we’re back up into the 60s. I guess Mother Nature was just toying with us on Monday. After all, spring has sprung.
The weather here has been incredibly mild and sunny. Tuesday was a great time for a day trip to Cashmere.
I bid a fond farewell to my ski jacket and boots. No need for a toque or gloves either.
First stop was the outdoor ATM at Cashmere Valley Bank. And then it was off to the Sure To Rise Bakery. I discovered this amazing bakery the first summer I came to Washington. This place is home to the best apple fritters on the planet. To my delight this year they also began making cinnamon buns, Texas size.
Just down the street is a new bakery that specializes in cookies and cupcakes. We each bought a cookie and our verdict was that this bakery won’t be around too long. No way can they compete with Sure To Rise.
Next we walked down to Spirit of America. If you’ve read my previous blog posts, you’ll know that this is a very special memorial that I visit often.
We then walked down to Aplets and Cotlets. In addition to all the wonderful candy they make it is also home to a quaint gift shop.
No snow was in view anywhere and it was a perfect day for a walk through town.
Yesterday I had planned to meet a friend in Cashmere. However when I got up in the morning, the previous night’s rain had frozen over. The sidewalks and streets were glass. It was too treacherous to venture out. We would have to reschedule.
I checked my Facebook groups from Wenatchee and Leavenworth. Blewett was closed due to spinouts. Stevens was closed for avalanche control. These are the two main passes through the mountains to get to Seattle.
Leavenworth got over a foot of snow. Here in Wenatchee we got less than one inch. There were power outages all over Chelan County but not here in Wenatchee. The highway between Wenatchee and Cashmere was icy with lots of spinouts. While freezing rain and snow continued to fall in Cashmere and Leavenworth, here in Wenatchee the sun actually came out and melted the little snow we did get, although more rain is in the forecast.
This is so completely different from the Winnipeg winters I experienced before moving away just over ten years ago. Plummeting temperatures and bitter windchills are just memories now. I think I chose a good place to spend the winter this year although I’d much rather be in Mexico. I miss the sunshine and warmer climate. And even though I don’t need boots yet here in Wenatchee, it isn’t exactly sandals weather either.
A year ago in January I was in Aguascalientes visiting museums and coloring in parks. I met friends for coffee or lunch. I took long walks and browsed through my neighborhood tienguis. I listened to rosters crow and watched children playing in the streets. I call this time the new “BC.” These two letters now stand for “Before Covid.”
Winter in Wenatchee is my new reality.
Just because it is now 2021 does not mean that 2020 is over. The events of 2020 will not be forgotten. Covid-19, race riots and bombings readily come to mind. But while we need to deal with these traumas in some manner, it is important to move beyond these issues in search of the positive in order to remain mentally healthy.
We have all experienced trauma in our lives prior to 2020. We have addressed it and learned how to cope with the anxiety and depression associated with these traumas. I, for one, am not content with remaining stuck in the past.
As I look back on 2020, I look at my extended stay in Mexico as a time of reflection, a time when it was okay to slow down the pace of my life and really live in the moment. I would take long walks and appreciate the beauty of nature. I watched an incredible amount of movies and that gave me the opportunity to practice my Spanish comprehension skills. I began doing video calls instead of just phone calls. I colored, I read, I did word searches and I spent a substantial amount of time playing games on my phone. Unfortunately my laptop chose that time to rebel and disappear into electronic heaven. So now my blog posts were all made from my phone.
And I also was in Mexico for Independence Day, although the celebrations were very low key.
Instead of spending the usual spring and summer in Washington, I am now enjoying the fall and winter seasons. It was interesting shopping for boots and other winter clothing for the first time in over a decade. It’s been a challenge adjusting to the layers of clothing.
But the trees were absolutely glorious in the fall. The leaves turned such spectacular colors. And when they fell from the trees I enjoyed the crunching sound as I walked down the street.
I admired all the scarecrows in Cashmere back in October. This town really goes all out for Scarecrazy.
Cashmere also goes all out for Halloween.
Even the snowfalls are beautiful. The light dusting on the trees has a beauty of its own. Here is my favorite tree in Cashmere after the first snowfall. No brilliant red leaves at this time of year.
The lights in Leavenworth are amazing. This Bavarian village attracts thousands of tourists. The lights are on from Thanksgiving in November until the end of February.
The mountains are snow covered. The only downside is that the passes can be somewhat treacherous.
Here in Wenatchee the snow has fallen and melted away a couple of times. The slush reminds me of Winnipeg in the springtime. I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before the temperature drops and the snow will remain. But it’s January 3rd, the sun is shining and boots are not needed today.
Yes I did. I moved again. On Thursday. To a house in Wenatchee. Covid has slowed me down but hasn’t stopped me yet.
I was at Cascade Medical the other today and the receptionist remarked that I’d been seen on two occasions and this was now a third address and a second phone number.
The phone number is a simple explanation. Because I’m gone more than three months AT&T makes me get a new phone number each time I return to Washington.
Two years ago I saw a doctor and was living on West Street in Leavenworth at the time. Last week when I had lab work done, I had moved onto Prospect Street. And when I saw the doctor on Tuesday, I provided the clinic with my new address here in Wenatchee.
My plan right now is to stay here until my 180 in the USA is up this time around. I must admit I’m getting tired of counting days and dealing with immigration in three different countries. But when I think of actually settling down in one place for more than a few months at a time, it’s actually a tad overwhelming.
Wenatchee is the largest city in Chelan County with a population of just under 35,000. Wenatchee Valley Mall is an indoor mall with Macy’s, Ross, Bed Bath and Beyond, Victoria’s Secret and Bath and Body Works as well as several other smaller stores. North Valley Mall is a strip mall and has J C Penney as its anchor along with Old Navy and a WinCo opening up in the near future. Wenatchee also has Costco, Wal-Mart and Target. There are lots of restaurants here as well including Applebees and Olive Garden. When I lived in Leavenworth I spent a fair amount of time here as it’s less than a half hour drive.
Wenatchee is also closer to Cashmere, my favorite town so far in Washington state. I often visit Spirit of America, an amazing memorial for 9/11. The cinnamon buns and apple fritters at Sure to Rise Bakery are the best I’ve ever had. Agave Azul is home to the best Mexican cuisine in the area.
While the sidewalks in Leavenworth are icy due to the recent snowfall, I just returned from a walk on clear sidewalks with no ice or snow in sight. At a lower elevation, snowfall is significantly less and temperatures are milder here in Wenatchee.
This will be my first winter up north since 2009. Wenatchee seems to be an ideal spot for this experience.
We are more than halfway through October and I’ve been back almost a month. The days are cooler now, the trees are losing their leaves and Halloween 🎃 is only a couple of weeks away.
Scare-Crazy in Cashmere has always been a favorite. Scarecrows are on display for the entire month. I found this one the other day that is decked out in Halloween attire.
While Walmart in Wenatchee already has a Christmas display inside, Halloween is still the theme outside.
My tree in Cashmere is not nearly as resplendent as it has been in past years. Some wicked winds have done their damage and the rain didn’t help matters either.
And now to the goats. These guys were out for a ride the other day when I was walking along Highway 2 in Leavenworth.
I wonder what Halloween will be like this year in view of the Covid situation. There will be no Light The Night at the Leavenworth Church of the Nazarene, an event the whole town looks forward to every year. I imagine that the number of trick or treaters on the streets will be significantly lower as well. Halloween will certainly be different this year.
I’ve been back in Leavenworth now for two weeks and it’s a very different town than when I left 11 months ago.
Shops have closed and others have closing sale signs or for sale signs in the window. Restaurants such as Gustav’s, Good Mood Food and Wok About are closed with no intention of reopening.
We went to Visconti’s the other night for dinner. Reservations are recommended due to the limited number of tables available due to physical distancing. Fewer choices appear on the menu but the food was amazing as usual.
In Cashmere the 59er Diner closed its doors this week. Thankfully the owner has kept the other location at Coles Corner open. We ventured out there for lunch one day and I thoroughly enjoyed my very favorite chocolate milkshake with my meal.
Several restaurants offer takeout and curbside only. They are unable to comply with the necessary restrictions that have come into place regarding physical distancing. But at least they are still open.
In Wenatchee we went to Walmart and it was a very different experience than in Mexico. In Aguascalientes, masks required, my temperature was taken, staff disinfected the shopping cart and there was the ever present antibacterial gel. In Wenatchee I wiped down my cart myself and masks required. I prefer the self-checkout and was happy that it was still available.
There is one thing that has not been affected by Covid-19 and is far removed from the threat of being forced to close. Mother Nature will always remain open. The leaves are truly a sight to behold in all their autumn splendor.
Yesterday morning I went to Cashmere. I remember vividly the first time I visited this town and a flood of memories of other visits came to mind as well.
I’ll start with Spirit of America. And the 9/11 memorial services I’ve attended. And the many times I’ve come here to just think and reflect.
I wandered through the downtown. I went to the bakery for an apple fritter and had a lovely visit with staff who remembered me, the Canadian who has adopted Leavenworth as a summer home. I went to the bank. I passed by the library. I noticed a few minor changes as a result of Covid-19. My favorite Mexican restaurant, Agave Azul now offers takeout and curbside only. Scarecrows have begun to appear as October is just around the corner bringing with it Scarecrow Days.
My favorite pastime is walking the streets and admiring the trees as they change color. My favorite red maple is just beginning to show its fall color.
Here are some other photos of trees on Cottage Avenue.
October also means Halloween is on the way. Decorating has begun early this year.
It’s the end of September and some flowers are still blooming.
Later in the day a walk through downtown Leavenworth was on the agenda. Front Street is closed to traffic now in order to provide additional outdoor seating for restaurants due to physical distancing practices. It was sad to see that some shops and restaurants are now permanently closed as a result of Covid-19. The usual celebrations and festivals have all been cancelled this year as well. But even the virus can’t stop the glorious fall colors of the leaves.
The beautiful hanging baskets add to the charm of this Bavarian village.
The park and gazebo area are also favorites of mine.
I’m here. I’m back. Very different from where I was living ten days ago. It’s nice to be back home.
We all have memories of 9/11. I was watching the news on TV before heading to work that day. What I initially thought was a replay of the first plane crashing into the towers was actually a live version of the second aircraft hitting the building.
Disbelief. Shock. Confusion. Fear. Anxiety. Anger. Overwhelming sadness. These were a few of the emotions I struggled with that day.
Back then I managed a group home for mentally challenged adults. I was riveted to the TV set until they returned from their day programs. I delegated staff to take them out for dinner so that I could continue watching the coverage.
When I got home that night my kids wanted to talk. They were young and their experience of the day’s events was quite different from mine. That made it even more complicated as I didn’t want my fears transferred on to them, especially seeing as I was scheduled to fly to the USA on a business trip less than two weeks later.
For the past four years I have been in Washington state on September 11th. A highlight of my time there is attending a memorial service at Spirit of America in Cashmere. This year the memorial service has been cancelled because of Covid-19. But I know in my heart that when I am finally able to return to Washington state, Spirit of America is one of the first places I will visit.