I just crossed the border at Nogales. What do you mean I’ve been back in the USA for three months already?
That got me thinking about all the changes since I first arrived in Leavenworth in July of 2016. I’ve always lived primarily in Leavenworth but I’m now living in East Wenatchee. But I still commute to Leavenworth to teach fitness classes.
Covid caused a lot of changes. The Senior Center in Leavenworth has yet to reopen. I went there often for lunch and I also volunteered in the kitchen. I played bridge there and went to craft afternoons.
Covid also affected the library programs which all switched over to Zoom. The rumor is that in person programs are starting again next month. And I am looking forward to those, including book club, craft programs and speakers.
I now attend a church in Wenatchee and have a new life group as well. It’s a much larger church than the one I used to go to in Leavenworth. It’s also a Free Methodist rather than a Nazarene church.
My attorney has told me he’s retiring at the end of the year and my doctor has told me she’s moving on to a different clinic. More changes.
Over the years I’ve met a lot of people and have developed close relationships with many who I now consider as part of my extended family. Friendships are especially important to me considering my nomadic lifestyle. And those constantly change depending upon where I happen to be living. But my extended family changes very little.
There are constants in my life here as well. This is my sixth year teaching fitness classes in the SAIL program. Next month I’ll be taking training in A Matter Of Balance. But more about that in a future blog post devoted to the program.
Another constant is the beauty of the mountains. I am as much in awe of it today as when I first came here six years. This is truly God’s country!
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.
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.
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.
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.
The leaves are changing color. I will have to go and visit my tree in Cashmere this week.
These blog posts seem to be getting farther and farther apart. There is just so much happening here in Washington that I find myself out and about constantly and haven’t spent much time at home. This means I’ve been taking lots of photos and having interesting adventures but there has been no time for writing. We went to church this morning in Cashmere and then out for brunch to 59er Diner. I told my friend that I was determined to stay at home this afternoon and organize photos and do some writing.
Organizing photos has become quite the challenge as my phone and my laptop do not appear to be on speaking terms lately. This means I need to email photos and then download them and finally put them into albums. This is a very tedious process and today’s task is going through an entire month’s worth of photos.
Now down to what has kept me busy. Where to begin…………
I enjoy walking and I live in a delightful neighborhood close to the downtown area. Here are some of the sights I see along the way to the Senior Center:
In addition to my usual activities at the senior center as well as teaching fitness classes, I enrolled in a memoir writing class and joined the Bavarian Book Club at the Leavenworth Library. VBS (Vacation Bible School) at the Nazarene Church is only a week away. My friend Linda and I are rotation leaders for the craft and play in the preschool division. We’ve been decorating our classroom and perfecting crafts for the kids.
Other festivals and events make this a busy time of year. The Farmers Markets have begun. Founders Day in Cashmere and the Accordion Festival in Leavenworth were followed by July 4th. Although fireworks have been banned here due to the dry conditions and the high risk of forest fires, there was lots happening in Leavenworth.
The day began with a pancake breakfast at Lions Club Park served up by the 4H kids. Kinderfest followed with a bike parade and numerous activities for children of all ages.
I’ve enjoyed a variety of music this past week. Yesterday at the gazebo a talented accordionist and yodeler entertained us. Earlier in the week I attended a dress rehearsal for Sound of Music up at the amphitheater. Last night was Gospel night at the Senior Center.
On Friday we were in Wenatchee picking up our instructor t-shirts at Wellness Place and decided to go to a movie. Won’t You Be My Neighbor was our choice and it was a great tribute to Mr. Rogers. A word of caution…….remember to bring your tissues. It is a little tearful.
I somehow found some time to return to the Nutcracker Museum. Last summer I spent about three hours there but I was pressed for time and only had an hour this time.
Tomorrow is Monday and the roller-coaster starts up again.. The morning will be spent preparing for VBS. Then lunch at the Senior Center. Then writing group. Then book club. A day in the life………….
For someone who despises routine, I apparently do have one that includes packing, moving and unpacking. And it seems to be done on quite a regular basis. In the past month, I have repeated this process on my journey to Leavenworth from Mazatlan which included stays in Culiacan, Frankford and Toronto. And I have just moved again here in Leavenworth. While I am getting more efficient in organizing this whole process, it’s nice to finally unpack with the idea of staying here for a longer period of time.
My room is quite comfortable and is bright even on a gloomy, rainy day like today, a day very conducive to writing. It’s nice to slow down after a hectic week of packing and running around. Once I get this post up on my blog, I hear my characters calling in my current work in progress.
I once again joined the Bavarian Book Club at the Leavenworth Library. These meetings will be held immediately after my memoir writing class at the Methodist Church, so Mondays will be busy days. The book we are currently reading fits right in as it is a memoir of a family and culture in crisis entitled Hillbilly Elegy by author J.D. Vance.
I spent all day Tuesday at Grace Lutheran Church in Wenatchee with other fitness instructors. It was a most informative professional development day with presentations by physical therapists. It was also a great opportunity to interact with other SAIL instructors from across the state of Washington. The SAIL program is aimed at seniors and focuses on preventing falls as well as remaining fit.
Wednesday was moving day in the morning followed by lunch and bridge at the Leavenworth Senior Center. And then it was major unpacking and organizing my bedroom. No idea where I found the energy but somehow I got it all done.
Yesterday I unexpectedly taught the fitness class in the morning as the scheduled instructor was unable to teach. Then it was off to Wenatchee to do some shopping in the afternoon. Dinner with a friend rounded out the day. We ate outside and to our delight saw a deer wander down the street.
The rain began last night and has continued throughout the day. It’s a great day to stay in and write. Skies are predicted to clear tomorrow so I intend to pursue some outdoor activities.
The view from my bedroom window at sunset, just a tad different from Mazatlan.
It’s August already? What happened to July? Since I returned from Springdale, the days have been a blur of activity. Aside from the usual exercise classes, bridge games and lunches with friends at the senior center, there have been other things on the agenda.
Along with my friend Becky, we volunteered one night at the concession stand for Leavenworth Summer Theater’s production of The Sound of Music. The venue is atop a hill, albeit a considerable amount of smokey haze somewhat obscured the spectacular view of the mountains. The audience numbered approximately 500 people, and it was well worth the climb uphill to reach their seats. In the opening scene, Maria sauntered through the woods singing as she made her entrance onstage. What an ideal setting for this musical!
The Rotary Club held a barbecue at a park in Wenatchee. Clubs from Leavenworth, Cashmere and Wenatchee were represented. The park had a swimming pool, a playground and tennis courts. About 100 people attended this event.
Last Friday I braved the smokey skies and headed for Lake Chelan. I was delighted with the museum and enjoyed viewing the variety of items on displayed. I sauntered through the churchyard and headed down to the water, but it was far too smokey to stay very long. I then had a lovely lunch at BC McDonalds before returning to Leavenworth.
Guess what some of us did last Saturday morning at 8 am? Nope, we didn’t sleep in. We attended a four hour CPR/First Aid class held at Leavenworth Church of the Nazarene. And we now have a two year certification by the American Red Cross. I hope we never have to use these skills but it’s good to have reviewed basic first aid, CPR and the use of AEDs. It’s also interesting to note how the laws vary from state to state, quite different from the classes I took back in Canada where lawsuits were only lightly mentioned.
Earlier in the week on the internet I obtained my Washington food handlers certification. I want to volunteer in the kitchen at the Senior Center where this course is required. And this week I began a new course online entitled Rethinking Ageing offered by The University of Melbourne. I also had my home group online from Church of the Rock in Winnipeg.
Earlier this week I also went out to Plain with my friends Dee and Karen. The first stop was Plain Hardware.
Karen then gave us a spectacular tour of Grunewald Guild. She used to live here and we spent hours touring the buildings and the grounds. Once again, I took far too many photos, but here is a sampling.
We then took a short drive through Lake Wenatchee State Park, where despite the smokey haze, surprisingly quite a few people were swimming and boating.
I am heading to the golf course shortly to have lunch with Charlene. Wild Huckleberry is one of my favorite restaurants in Leavenworth. Not only is the food amazing, but the view is also spectacular. Perhaps the deer will be out today. A lovely start to the weekend!
When I was younger, I always envisioned retirement as a time when my husband and I would kick back and relax after years of working and raising children. We would enjoy leisurely hours together and do things we’d never had time to do before.
Part of this has come true for me. My life is a lot less stressful and I am certainly involved in activities I’ve never participated in before. But instead I’m divorced and am doing these things on my own.
Did I say on my own? Not really. I have developed friendships and relationships with people I would have never met had I still been married. On a whim two years ago I moved to Mazatlan from Guadalajara, where I anticipated teaching full-time as well. And that’s when the retirement began. Teaching in schools became history and a few private students became the norm.
Of course this has led to my having more time to pursue my writing. As well as my blog posts, journals, travel writing and the book I’m currently working on, I’ve submitted articles and stories to books published by other authors. I belong to online writers’ groups and have just discovered a group right here in Washington where I am spending the summer.
Being a volunteer has always been an important part of my life.When my children were growing up, I volunteered in a variety of organizations. Now I have become quite active at the Leavenworth Church of the Nazarene. When I was here last year, I enjoyed helping out with Light The Night. My focus right now is on Vacation Bible School to be held next month.
This year I discovered the Leavenworth Senior Center. I’ve made new friends and attend exercise classes, play bridge and have lunch with them regularly. There are other activities that I just finding out about, and I am looking forward to participating in them as well.
I also joined a women’s bible study group in the nearby town of Cashmere. We’ve just begun reading a book by Randy Alcorn entitled Heaven. Thought provoking questions accompany this book in the form of a workbook.
A friend of mine is a contractor and the other day I painted a basement floor in a house he is renovating in Waterville. Although I was able to snag a few photos, I’m interested in going back to this small town to check out the antique and thrift shops.
Another favorite pastime is wandering around Wenatchee. The Valley Mall in East Wenatchee is small but indoors, and has Bath And Body as well as Ross. The outdoor North Valley Mall has Old Navy, J C Penney and several other stores. There are also restaurants in abundance in Wenatchee, as well as The Igloo for an ice cold Mack n Jack.
My favorite town is nearby Cashmere. This quaint place is home of Spirit of America, a tribute to 9/11. Cute little shops, a candy factory, a pioneer museum, a library and a great Mexican restaurant are found here. And if you’ve read my past blog posts, you know that my favorite tree is here as well.
I walk around Leavenworth, exploring and taking photos. This quaint Bavarian town attracts hoards of tourists, especially on weekends and during festivals. Acres of orchards are found in this area, and the cherries are just beginning to color the trees. Rafting, tubing, jet skis and kayaks are also popular around here. I have to pinch myself sometimes to believe that I actually live in this paradise several months of the year.
I lead an active and fulfilling life here in Leavenworth. I am truly blessed with the friends I have made here and the time that we are able to spend together.
Watch for Retirement Part 2 when I return to Mazatlan for the winter.
I left Mazatlan on April 29th and it seems like yesterday. May was a blur of traveling and suitcases until I arrived in Leavenworth on May 16th. Then it was finally time to actually unpack a suitcase and settle down for more than 3 or 4 days in one place.
I’m still in awe of the beauty of the mountains and the rivers and streams around here. Spring is here. The pungent aroma of budding lilacs fills the air along with the scent of pine from the towering evergreens. I went to visit my tree in Cashmere the other day and it is completely green with no evidence of the crimson glory displayed last fall.
A friend and I were sipping Mack n Jacks at Igloo in Wenatchee the other day when I remarked that I felt like I was at home, as though I hadn’t been away for six months. Everything was so familiar and very little had changed. It’s comfortable and relaxing and it’s good to be back.
I haven’t even pulled out my laptop all week. I’ve been out and about and too busy to write. I’m back volunteering at the church again and it’s so nice to be back with my church family. Vacation Bible School is fast approaching next month, and as a co-director I am only too aware of all the planning and organizing that needs to be done this month.
I also joined the Leavenworth Senior Center. I’ve met some lovely people and enjoyed lunch and an afternoon of bridge the other day. Next week I start an exercise program and I plan on attending some of the daily lunches at the center. There are other activities offered as well including a monthly trip to a casino.
I took Link Transit into Wenatchee and rode around on the trolleys to the various shopping areas. And I got an ID card as I’m at that wonderful age where public transit is now half price for me.
I visited Spirit of America in Cashmere. This tribute to 9/11 is a must for any traveler.
I’ve also joined a bible study group in Cashmere and am only too delighted to have yet another excuse to visit my favorite town in Washington.
The public library system in this state is amazing and I have been at both the Leavenworth and the Cashmere branches this week. I have lots of reading material to catch up on as John Grisham and Danielle Steel are difficult to find in English in Mexico.
Also on the agenda this past week was a walk in Walla Walla Point Park in Wenatchee. The path is alongside the river, peaceful and tranquil. A few people were in the water on rafts or in boats as it was quite a warm day.
I start a course next week from Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. The course is titled Emotions: A Philosophical Introduction. It’s wonderful to have the time to take courses that are of interest rather than courses that are compulsory in order to obtain a degree.
I’m also indulging in another favorite pastime while in Leavenworth. I love to cook and bake and both the kitchens and available ingredients are certainly lacking in Mexico. I am overwhelmed when I walk into grocery stores here but I eagerly make my purchases and return home to bask in the glow of an American kitchen.