What I’ve Been Up To

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What I’ve Been Up To

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………….

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Founders Day, Cashmere, Washington

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Founders Day, Cashmere, Washington

Founders Day was celebrated in Cashmere, Washington last weekend. On Saturday we braved the 90 degree temperatures and took in some of the festivities. Cashmere is my favorite town in this state and is also home to my tree that I photograph constantly throughout my stay here.

Cashmere was originally slated to be called “Mission” but there was a conflict with the name as it was already being used by more than one town in the state. The town of Mission was incorporated on July 1, 1904. In 1909 telephone lines were installed. Paved walks were next in 1913 followed by electric lights in 1914. Paved streets arrived in 1919.

Cashmere is a charming town that boasts the Cashmere Museum and Pioneer Village as well as Spirit of America, a tribute to 9/11. We began our afternoon on the grounds of the museum where a barbecue was being held along with a small flea market.

Next we explored the outdoor area at the Pioneer Village.

We then headed over to Riverfront Park. There was nonstop entertainment featuring local talent. A handful of vendors were selling everything from kettle corn to jewelry. Helicopter rides were available for brave souls and a children’s activity area was quite popular.

An added feature was the steady stream of rafters on the river.

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After a few hours the heat got to us and we decided to return to Leavenworth before the ping pong drop from the helicopter and the grand parade. Back in Leavenworth the accordion festival was in full swing. Alas there are only so many hours in a weekend…………….

This Weekend in Washington

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This Weekend in Washington

Is it really Friday again already? It was just Monday!

The Accordion Festival started yesterday here in Leavenworth. There will be music galore throughout the weekend at the gazebo and in the Festhall. Saturday will feature a parade throughout the town. I enjoyed all of this immensely last year.

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But I have different plans for this weekend. I’m going to Cashmere with friends to take in Founders Day celebrations. A barbecue and time at the Pioneer Museum are on the list. Upper Valley Connection are performing The Little Mermaid again this year. One of my friends will also be on a float in the parade.

The real kick-start to the weekend happens tonight at Icicle Junction. The Nazarene Church is holding a mini-golf and pizza event for the kids and I am one of the many volunteers. Here’s a shot of us all at last year’s event.

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Also on my to do list for the weekend are visiting a friend in hospital, buying tickets for summer theater performances and regular Sunday church services. My characters are talking up a storm today so I will dive into my current work in progress once I get this post up.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Today and Yesterday

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Today and Yesterday

Today is Father’s day. The last time I celebrated Father’s Day with my dad was in 1976, months before he passed away. He never met his grandchildren. He missed out on so many milestones in my life and in their lives. My dad was my world and I think of him often, not just on Father’s Day. This is one of the last photos ever taken of us together.

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As a child, I remember creating elaborate cards with interesting verses for my dad. We often enjoyed barbecues on that day with my Auntie Jan, Uncle Harry and my cousins. I have fond memories of those childhood Father’s Days.

My dad taught me how to ride a bike and how to drive a car. He taught me the importance of getting an education. Although he was around when I received my first university degree, he was already gone when I achieved subsequent degrees and diplomas. He never lived to see his grandchildren graduate from university, but I know he would have been proud of them as well.

Today is June 17th. Back in 2012 I was one day away from my first knee replacement surgery. And I was convinced that I was going to die. My mom died after having the same surgery and I was terrified that I would meet the same fate. Not only did I survive that first surgery, but a year later I found myself having my second knee done on June 17th.

Today is Father’s Day, June 17th and I am in Leavenworth, Washington. My children and my granddaughter are in Canada, so there are no family barbecues for me today. Instead, my day has not shown a hint of Father’s Day as I once knew it.

This morning I passed on the church I usually attend and went to Faith Lutheran with my friend Karen. To my surprise, I knew several of the congregants although it is an extremely small church. People from my fitness classes, bridge group and the senior center were there. The pastor was Hispanic so I got to practice my Spanish with him. The service was interesting and different from other services I have attended here in Leavenworth, in Canada and in Mexico.

We then headed over to the First Methodist to bid farewell to Pastor Denise. Although this is not my usual church, Denise had become a familiar presence here in town. She came to the senior center often and attended many local events here and in Cashmere. She will be missed by the community.

Now I know it is definitely not proper church etiquette to take photos during a service, but those of you who know me know all too well that my philosophy is that rules are there to be broken.

The first photo was taken at the Lutheran church. I was determined to get a photo of the pastor in his garb. The other photos are of the incredible artwork on the walls of the church.

This next photo is on of Pastor Denise at the Methodist church. Note the ladies wearing hats, a tribute they had decided upon for Denise’s last service.

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And now it’s time to call one of my best friends who lives in Toronto who is celebrating a birthday today. Happy Birthday Deborah!

 

Writing About Life

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Writing About Life

As a young child, I delighted in writing short poems and creating birthday cards with rhyming verses. I even continued to write throughout my teens. I began a novel but somewhere along the line the magic vanished. When depression and anxiety entered my life as an adult, I began to journal. Next came the publication of two self-help books. I then discovered the art of blogging. Unfortunately the journaling has fallen by the wayside at the moment, but a new course in writing memoirs has taken its place.

This week’s homework entails finding a childhood photo and sharing a memory. This has proven to be quite a difficult feat as all the family photo albums are back in Canada and I am not. While I do have countless photos of my own children stored on my Seagate, I have only a handful of myself. I think my appearance as well as taste in clothing has changed significantly over the years. The bonnet and dress have been replaced by jeans and t-shirts.

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Another writing challenge that has occupied my time recently is an article to be published in Scoop, the newsletter at the Leavenworth Senior Center. I submitted two articles last summer about my life in Mexico. The article I’m going to share in this post was co-written with my friend Karen. We are two of the instructors in the S.A.I.L. program here in town and highly encourage seniors to attend these fitness classes. We both recognize how the exercises have enhanced our health and well-being, and are eager to share this experience with others.

 

Here is the article:

                                      STAY ACTIVE AND INDEPENDENT FOR LIFE

                                                                (S.A.I.L)

The Senior Falls Prevention Study was undertaken in 2003-2005 by the Washington State Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The WSDOH recognized the need for a program and sponsored research in social marketing in 2005-2006 aimed at how best to motivate seniors to participate. Also in 2006 S.A.I.L. instructor training was developed and funding provided by the WSDOH. In 2007 the results of a study of the participants showed improved balance, mobility skills and leg strength, as well as a reduction in fear of falling. Further research continues to support these findings.

S.A.I.L. is a strength, balance and fitness program geared towards adults 65 years and older. The activities have been designed to help seniors to stay independent and active as well as to prevent falls.

S.A.I.L. is evidence based as participants are assessed regularly by experienced and skilled instructors trained by professionals associated with Wellness Place in Wenatchee.

Classes follow a format of warm up exercises, aerobics and activities that promote balance, strength and flexibility.

Due to the nature of the program, a doctor’s consent is required prior to enrollment. Please drop by to observe a class and obtain the necessary forms.

The one hour classes are free of charge and are held on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 10:30 am at First Baptist Church, 429 Evans Street, here in Leavenworth.

We hope you will join us soon!

 

 

And now it is time for me to put the finishing touches on my submission for my writing class. I will leave adulthood for the present and delve back into my childhood.

Memorial Day Weekend

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Memorial Day Weekend

This past weekend marked the Memorial Day Weekend here in the USA. Canada celebrated Victoria Day last week with a long weekend. But I’m in the American mode now.

A fabulous brunch at Wild Huckleberry on Friday was a great start to the weekend. This restaurant serves the most amazing eggs benedict and also boasts a magnificent view of the golf course.

Wild Huckleberry View at Golf Course

My friend Laurel and I decided to go hiking at Ohme Gardens in Wenatchee. Flowers were beginning to bloom and the views were spectacular. With the aid of walking poles, we tackled some of the more difficult trails. The steep, rocky terrain was well worth the effort. And it was definitely strenuous for yours truly with two replaced knees, although Laurel was more like a mountain goat. 

I attended an Alpine concert at Snowy Owl Theater with some friends. The music was delightful and the Alpen horns stole the show. The first time I ever saw one of these horns was decades ago at Epcot in Florida. They are 12-1/2 feet long and are quite a difficult instrument to play.

I was so entranced that I went downtown to the gazebo the following day to see them perform once again. Out at Snowy Owl there had been only three horns. Have a look at the number of horns that played at the gazebo.

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On the weekend we also went to Cashmere. The flagpole at Spirit of America as well as the one at the post office had added a second flag to commemorate Memorial Day. The black flag signigied those who were prisoners of war or who were missing in action.

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A barbecue one evening rounded out the weekend. All in all, it was a relaxing weekend enjoying good times with great friends.

On This Day

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On This Day

Facebook has this remarkable feature entitled “On This Day” where I am reminded of what had gone on in my life by the posts I had made on that particular date. These memories are amazing. Some of them I can’t believe I had the audacity to share on Facebook while others are absolute treasures.

For example, this past week I saw photos of Mother’s Day celebrations with my kids in Winnipeg. This photo goes back to 2013 when I had returned to Winnipeg for knee surgery. Another photo dates back to 2015 when I had returned to Winnipeg for my book launch of Alive Again.

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A post from 2009 has me teaching an aquafit class at the West Portage YMCA and then going to a church service followed by lunch with friends. In 2011 I was in Culiacan, enjoying my first year teaching in Mexico. Back in 2015 Donna and I had gone on a tour of the Legislative Building in Winnipeg.

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In 2016 I was in Mazatlan and in 2017 I was here in Leavenworth. And I wonder where I will be next year at this time.

On This Day is much more than a conglomeration of posts and events. It is the story of my emotional and spiritual growth. It depicts the trials and tribulations of being single again after thirty-six years of marriage. It hits on some of the more sensitive experiences and awesome adventures I’ve had in the past ten years.

Of  course there are numerous posts I could have written about my life, but the more personal issues are not things I care to share with the Facebook world. Much of my life will always remain private and will be known only by those closest to me. And that’s the way it should be.

The past ten years has seen me living in three different countries and in seven different cities. And yes, Kyle, your mother is still a nomad. Even U.S. Immigration has adopted that term in my conversation with them last month when I returned to Washington.

I think a lot about the meaning of life these days. I guess that comes with growing older. Time is precious and life is to be lived. The life I have chosen involves extensive exploration, exciting discoveries, constant change and adaptation. It is not the conservative, conventional life that I once so tightly embraced. It has drawn a magnitude of criticism from family and friends. Nonetheless it has become my mantra. And I’m sticking to it.

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On This Day, I reflect on all the remarkable people who have shared in my life in the past and continue to do so today. I am truly blessed to have friends wherever I may go. And I always look forward to the new friends I will meet on my journey, wherever that may take me.

And now it’s time for a Facebook post……………