As I mentioned in my last post, wildfire season is well underway here in Washington state. And a brush fire has escalated to a Level 3 Evacuate Now two towns over in Monitor.
The alert came over my phone last night. The winds are blowing the fire towards Wenatchee. It’s a pretty scarey situation.
Around here being prepared is always a good idea. My to go bag is always packed in my closet. Important documents, passport, jewelry, medication, devices and other valuables that will be difficult to replace. I always have a similar bag packed when I’m in Mexico. When I lived in Tlaquepaque we were evacuated once in the middle of the night due to a gas leak.
Friends on Facebook reported power outages near Monitor. This is one nasty fire. I pray that the firefighters are able to get it under control and that no one will be hurt.
Today’s lunch plans in Cashmere may have to be relocated to Leavenworth. It depends on what the smoke level is like. Cashmere is quite close to Monitor.
My friends in Mexico are posting videos of the torrential rains they are experiencing. I wish some of that moisture could be sent up here. Dry, hot temperatures in the 100s lost their charm quite a while ago.
We need rain. No lightning to cause more fires, just rain.
It’s been a hot and dry July so far. Wildfire season is upon us here in Washington state. There isn’t much smoke blowing in to Leavenworth, but a fire near the airport in Wenatchee caused some people to be evacuated.
In Manitoba I enjoyed the thunderstorms at night after the heat during the day. But here the lightning is often responsible for sparking fires. Thunderstorms are dreaded.
Chelan County has a fireworks ban in place. Over in Wenatchee fireworks were set off on the 4th but no-one was allowed into the park. Watching from a distance was the norm this year.
Two car crashes in the news this weekend. One near Tumwater resulted in a fatality. The other near Stevens Pass tied up traffic for hours. Too many reckless drivers out there in a hurry to get through the mountain passes.
On the prairies in Canada it’s a different story. A flat terrain and straight roads often lull drivers to sleep. Of course speed and intoxicated drivers just add to the mix, regardless of where you live.
I’m sipping a last cappuccino at Old Soul as I write this post. This quaint coffee shop not only has amazing coffee, but the food I’ve had here has been delicious as well. The air conditioning and WiFi are added bonuses.
This is my last day in Sacramento and I’m reflecting on my life. I am thoroughly enjoying my travels on Amtrak. The view out the window more than makes up for the lack of WiFi. I’ve seen towering trees, humongous mountains, tranquil lakes and charming small towns.
When this is posted, I will be on amazing train ride along the coast to LA. Can’t wait for those ocean views! I read about this particular train ride a couple of years ago when I was in Mexico. I need to pinch myself that I am actually taking this trip now. When Covid reared its ugly head I doubted I’d ever be able to do this. But here I am, on a train headed down the coast.
This has been an amazing and much-needed trip. I’m just not used to spending 11 months in one place in Mexico without traveling and then eight months in Leavenworth without traveling either. Covid has really slowed this nomad down.
I am determined to seek more adventures for as long as I can. I’m not getting any younger but I must admit that the knee replacements and the cataract surgery have definitely enabled me to do what I do. Life is just too damned short and the days fly by even faster as we age.
June 19th marked 25 years since my mom passed away. I wonder what she’d think about my lifestyle. She lived within 10 minutes of her kids and grandkids, and hated going away for the winter without seeing us for a few months, although we did visit her in Palm Springs or in Port Charlotte. I’ve been living in different countries from my kids for the last 11 years and only see my kids if I travel to them.
I think my kids want me to settle down somewhere. Maybe someday I will. I’m just not ready yet.
July marks five years since I retired from teaching ESL in Mexico and first came to Leavenworth. The routine of six months in Mexico and six months in Leavenworth with side trips to Canada to see my kids was comfortable. Until the advent of Covid. Eleven months in Mexico has been followed by eight months in Leavenworth with no side trips to Canada.
When I first arrived in Washington State, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the mountains. I still am. Names such as Peshastin and Wenatchee roll off my tongue easily now, as do expressions such as “the other side” and “up the Icicle.” Maifest, Apple Blossom, Autumn Leaf and Octoberfest are just a few of the many festivals I’ve celebrated here when there is no Covid.
I have memories of attending a homecoming football game and racing at the oval track. Events at Snowy Owl Theater as well as Leavenworth Summer Theater productions were most enjoyable. I dressed up in pioneer costume to volunteer at Apple Days in Cashmere. And the 9/11 memorial services at Spirit of America always bring tears to my eyes.
I have memories of volunteering at the senior center, having lunch with friends, craft afternoons and music nights. I miss the entertainment at the gazebo on the weekends. While I did enjoy seeing the colorful trees this year, there was no tree lighting ceremony or ice festival.
While the library has reopened, book club has not yet resumed and neither have the craft activities. There is still some speculation as to whether the pool will open. And just this past week we were given the go ahead to start teaching fitness classes again.
It’s Faith Promise weekend at Leavenworth Church of the Nazarene (LCN). On Friday night we headed out to the orchards at McDivitt’s and had dinner with some eighty other people. I remember the first time I went out there almost five years ago for another church barbecue. I didn’t know a soul back then. And now I know so many people.
Five years ago today, May 23rd, I was living and teaching ESL in Mazatlan. Retiring and becoming a snowbird were never on the radar. Yet now I can’t imagine any other way of life.
I have no long range plans. My short range plans never seem to work out. So why bother with long range plans? I can’t even blame it on Covid either. If anything, I can thank Covid because these days I don’t think any of us can really make long range plans. So my friends have stopped bugging me about what comes next in my life.
I actually do have a few things in mind of what I’d like to have happen. Whether these will come to fruition or not is up in the air. Just for fun, I’ll share them with you. If nothing else, this post will be amusing when I look back at it some time in the future.
It’s a given that I’m not ready to settle down yet. Since I arrived back in Washington state in September I’ve lived in Peshastin, two different homes in Leavenworth, Wenatchee and I’m now in Dryden. I have done some traveling but before I leave the state in about a month, I hope to go on a couple of short train trips.
Then my travels get longer. I have friends in other states that I’d like to visit. In all likelihood, I’ll be returning to Mexico sooner than later unless things change drastically in Canada. I want to see my kids and my granddaughter. But right now that seems like an impossibility.
My friends marvel at how I thrive so well in a continual state of limbo. In the beginning, it was more an issue of survival. But as time goes on it has just become one great adventure after another, and has given me more of an appreciation for wherever I may find myself living or whatever I may find myself doing. And isn’t that what life is all about?
Perhaps I should change the term “long range plans’” to “long range dreams.” But I don’t even think that’s an appropriate expression. Somehow the word “ideas” may be a better word. It offers far more flexibility.
I moved. For the month of May I’m living in Dryden, a small town about 10 minutes down Highway 2 from Leavenworth. I’ve become the master of packing and unpacking and was quite comfortably settled in within hours. I even found the time to dive into my craft bag and play with acrylic paints yesterday.
The air is so fresh out here and of course the traffic is much lighter than in Leavenworth. The house where I’m staying is nestled in nicely between the river and the orchards. And of course the mountain view is outstanding.
I’m looking forward to a peaceful and relaxing month here.
Every day on Facebook I check out the Memories section. And I reflect on my life and all the different places I’ve been. I also can’t believe how fast the time has gone by and how much I’ve changed throughout the years.
Two years ago I was volunteering at Camp Heartbeat in Peshastin. It was the beginning of my annual children’s ministry experience at LCN.
Three years ago I was in Toronto visiting my friend Deborah. I recall long walks along the lake and the beautiful view of the water from her backyard.
Four years ago I was in Puerto Vallarta enjoying walks along the malecon and gazing out at the ocean from my lounger on the beach.
I found another memory where I was actually in Winnipeg at this time six years ago. That was a year before I discovered Leavenworth.
And then I found a memory from ten years ago. On my way back from a visit to my friend Rochelle in Los Angeles, I had stopped for some beach time in Mazatlan before returning to Culiacan.
Today I’m moving from Leavenworth to Dryden, a town about 10 minutes away. Not quite as exotic as other places I’ve been, but it will be a memory nonetheless to look back on one day.
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.