I spent the entire month of July in Winnipeg. I’ve written about it in other blog posts so I’ll just touch on this month briefly. July 4th I found myself out at a cabin rather than celebrating with parades or fireworks as I usually do in the USA. It was nice to get out of the city. I enjoyed spending time with my son and my friends but on a more sad note I attended a funeral. I also replaced my laptop finally. The old one had died during Covid back in 2020 and my tablet had become my best friend.
The first week in August I was back out at the cabin and the following week I flew back to Washington. Leavenworth Summer Theater was in full swing and I enjoyed The Music Man and The Sound of Music. The latter production is a favorite and I try to see it every year. The mountain setting makes this show even more spectacular. I also began teaching four SAIL classes a week instead of the usual two in Leavenworth. The two new ones were in East Wenatchee.
The September long weekend this year was really special as my daughter and granddaughter came from Kelowna. I enjoyed showing them some of my favorite places in Leavenworth and Cashmere. The County Fair began right after they left and I hadn’t been to one in three years due to Covid. September was also the 9/11 Ceremony in Cashmere and Autumn Leaf Festival in Leavenworth. Sadly it was also time to start thinking about returning to Mexico for the winter. Every year it gets harder to say goodbye to friends for six months of the year.
Three flights and a short bus trip and I was back in Aguascalientes. I love my neighborhood. Las Flores doesn’t change much even though I leave for several months every year. It was nice seeing friends again and catching up. I really dived into my writing too. The lure of the new laptop was definitely a factor. My characters were also quite talkative and that certainly helped as well. The internet has also been much better this year too.
November began with the celebration of Day of the Dead. This is one of my favorite holidays in Mexico. The catrinas are always outstanding and even the tiniest shops have colorful decorations. The alters in remembrance of loved ones are also prominent. This year I opted not to go to a cemetery but merely admired everything as I strolled through the streets. The entertainment was amazing and venues were set up throughout the city.
Suddenly it was December and the last month of the year. Festivities were now geared towards Christmas and the Centro area turned into a magical fairyland of colorful lights. Music was an integral part of this celebration and I saw dancers, heard bands and watched children performing. The tienguis was larger than usual with more vendors. I didn’t trim a tree this year. Just didn’t get around to it. Writing occupied much of my time instead. I went to Christmas posadas and Christmas Eve was spent in church. The inevitable fireworks lit up the sky in Mexico as well.
A new year is just around the corner. Here’s to a fabulous one filled with Health and Happiness for all.
The featured image for this post is a photo my daughter sent me from Kelowna last year when they were evacuated. But there are areas in Washington state that look like that today. Highway 2 is closed due to the fires raging at Stevens Pass. That’s about one hundred miles away from where I live, but the smoke is thick here in East Wenatchee. The mountains have all but vanished. And it may be time to once again start using a mask.
In Cashmere on Sunday the turnout for the 9/11 service at Spirit of America was much lower than in past years. The air was thick with smoke. Combine that with the extreme heat warnings and it was definitely not a good day to be sitting outside. But it was a very moving experience for those of us who did attend.
I still haven’t booked my flights yet. I know that I’m going back to Aguascalientes for the winter. But right now I need to decide which airport to fly into. Last year I flew into Guadalajara and was happy I did. It’s hurricane season now on the west coast and flying into Puerto Vallarta could be tricky. I’ve flown in there before in the aftermath of a hurricane and it was not a good experience. Likewise for Mazatlan. Flying directly to Aguascalientes means going through Dallas, not one of my favorite airports. Okay, Alaska Airlines. You’re my favorite airline so I’ll check out the connections through LAX.
Tomorrow is Thursday and it’s our last binge with Virgin River to finish off the season. When I’m in Mexico I only watch TV in Spanish. English is reserved for my time here in Washington. Speaking of Spanish, time to get back to Duolingo. I’ve taken a break over the summer.
Interesting the impact of Queen Elizabeth’s death on some of my American friends. In all honesty, it had more of an impact on some of them than it did on me. And I’m Canadian. I still have haunting memories of singing God Save The Queen back in elementary school. But her death marks the end of an era. And she has definitely left her mark in history.
That’s it for humpday today. Hope you have a good one.
Amber Alert. Silver Alert. Extreme Fire Alert. Air Contamination Alert. The smoke is rolling in.
We went to the Chelan County Fair on Thursday. My friends here tease me because I get so excited when I see kids getting ribbons for their prize pigs. They grew up with 4H and animals. Yours truly lived in a city and was never even allowed to have a dog or a cat. The craft displays are also amazing. I especially marvel at the quilts. There is even a building where kids display their creations. There’s a building with fruits, vegetables and flowers. Of course there are jars of jellies, jams and pickles. The rides do not appeal to me but there are so many other little booths to check out. The Chelan County Fair is one of the smaller ones in the state, but it’s just my size. I was already back in Mexico last year, and then Covid was around. So it was nice to be able to attend the fair this year.
Today is 9/11. I still recall that day in 2001 when the world changed forever. Not that the world was ever really a peaceful place. There was always a war going on somewhere. But terrorism became all too common a word. And if people weren’t suspicious of their neighbors before, it became even more pronounced. Personally I detest stereotypes. Unfortunately far too many people don’t. Nonetheless, being here in the USA on 9/11 has become even more meaningful to me over the years.
I’m going to Cashmere today, home of The Spirit of America. At 11 am a memorial service is held every year on this day. Hundreds attend and there is never a dry eye in the crowd. I’m at a loss to find the words to adequately describe this event. You really have to be there to experience this for yourself, surrounded by others who are also overwhelmed with emotion.
The first time I ever attended one of these services, a man was distributing small capsules containing dirt gathered at the sight of the destroyed twin towers. That was a few years ago, and this capsule is one of my most treasured items I’ve accumulated over the years. I hope that someday I will have the opportunity to view that rebuilt area and the memorial in New York.
The sheep reelected the wolf again in 🇨🇦. The decision in the 🇺🇸 was to keep the land borders closed. Here in 🇲🇽 the entire country has been declared green or yellow on the stoplight.
Please take the time to check out the link. A very moving service was held at Spirit of America in Cashmere, Washington on September 11th. I usually attend in person but this year I was already back in Mexico.
We have been getting these incredible thunder boomers at night. After being up in Washington rampant with wildfires and drought, the rainy season here is most welcome. Iracema and I went out for dinner in the pouring rain. By the time we finished eating, the rain had stopped and off we went for a walk in the park.
Talking to friends in Canada this week, it appears that flights to Mexico are still chaotic. Canceled, rescheduled and extremely expensive. I’m so glad I decided to fly down from the USA. Great connections and reasonable fares. Alaska Airlines is the best!
INM is starting to crack down on people with expired tourist visas. They are checking regularly in bus stations and stories are circulating of people being held in detention and/or deported. Original documentation is required and a photo on a phone is not sufficient.
I have finally taken out my gel pens and started coloring again. Now if only King could fix the glitch with Jelly Queen on Candy Crush Friends…..
I’m into the home stretch. Saying goodbye to people and places.
My Tree. This spectacular red maple captured my heart back in 2016. Right now it’s still very green and I will miss the vibrant red leaves this year. I’m counting on my friends to send me pics. I know they will. After all, they visit my tree when I’m away for the winter.
Something else I will miss is the 9/11 service at Spirit of America. This is always a highlight of my time in Washington and sadly I will be far away in another country on September 11th.
The Chelan County Fair in Cashmere and the Autumn Leaf Festival in Leavenworth are two more favorite events I will miss this year.
Yes I will be thousands of miles away but I will be in time for Independence Day celebrations.
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 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.
I lead a busy life here in Leavenworth. There are the regular activities at the senior center, the church and teaching fitness classes. Friendships have increased and grown deeper. And somehow I have found time to do some different things this month.
I attended a program at the Leavenworth Library where I painted a coffee cup and coaster.
We headed out to Snowy Owl Theater to Elder Speak, a program held annually by The Ripple Foundation.
By far the most memorable day in September was the 11th. The memorial service held at Spirit of America in Cashmere was even more special as the replicas of the twin towers and two new plaques were unveiled.
I attended a program at the Cashmere Library where I painted with water colors. Here is the pumpkin that was my model.
And here is my masterpiece which is being transferred to a T-shirt. On the First Friday Art Walk in Wenatchee we will all don our shirts and travel to various venues to display our creations.
We saw an excellent movie at Gateway entitled Overcomer. We all agreed that this is one of the best movies ever. I encourage you to see it and bring along lots of tissues.
I also attended a most informative meeting of the Wenatchee Valley Autoimmune Network. It’s nice having this support group close by.
Up and coming in the next week includes the Judy Garland movie, Autumn Leaf Festival in Leavenworth, and a cruise on Lady of the Lake from Chelan to Stehekin.
As September draws to a close, it’s time to start checking out flights back to Mexico next month. But I also intend to enjoy the beautiful fall colors here in Washington.
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.