Author Archives: iamkaren23

About iamkaren23

I am a Canadian writer currently living in Leavenworth, Washington. I published When Glad Becomes Sad in 2009. My second book, Alive Again, was published in March of 2015. Both are self-help books. I am currently working on a third book, this time a work of fiction.

Autumn in Washington

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Autumn in Washington

Autumn has long been my favorite season of the year. Trees and bushes show their glorious fall foliage. Once they fall to the ground they make a crunching sound under my feet as I walk along the street.

When my son was a toddler, we would head for Assiniboine Park in Winnipeg where we would collect leaves. He would squeal gleefully as he darted about  looking for different colors and shapes. We would take our treasures home, wrap them in saran, and place them carefully in one of my heaviest cookbooks to preserve them. I actually saved that one cookbook with the last leaves we collected and it’s hidden beneath some photo albums in a bin stored at my son’s house. A beautiful memory.

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Two years ago I spent a couple of days in Toronto. My friend Deborah lived by the lake and I recall our wonderful walk among the colorful trees in the neighborhood. I hadn’t experienced fall in a while as Mexico has a totally different climate and vegetation.

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Last summer I discovered Washington state and I returned again this year to enjoy the summer and fall. Busloads of tourists come to Leavenworth to admire the amazing display of color at this time of year. The Autumn Leaf Festival held two weekends ago attracted hundreds of tourists. The Salmon Festival also happened recently. But we are now in the midst of three weekends of Oktoberfest, which means thousands of people flocking to Leavenworth.

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Oktoberfest! This quaint Bavarian village is synonymous with the Oktoberfest celebration. Lederhosen and dirndls are worn by many. Entertainment abounds at three different venues. Bratwurst on a bun is just one of the many items on the menu. And of course there are numerous types of beer to choose from. Hotels and campgrounds are booked solid. Driving through town is more like a congested parking lot.

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This weekend Apple Days was held at the Pioneer Museum in Cashmere. Yours truly got caught up in the spirit and volunteered in the vintage railroad ticket station. Entertainment varied from gymnasts to mariachi and more. Shoot outs were held on the hour. And of course an apple pie baking contest was featured. This gentleman was serving up sarsaparilla in the bar.

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A wind blew in yesterday and a shower of pine needles has covered the ground. The aroma is heavenly. And my favorite tree in Cashmere has begun to change color.

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Autumn Leaf Festival Parade

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Autumn Leaf Festival Parade

Fall has arrived and the annual Autumn Leaf Festival took place on the weekend. This is the longest running festival in Leavenworth and celebrates the turning colors of the autumn leaves. It originated in 1964 when the town adopted the Bavarian theme. The parade is a highlight where floats as well as bands come from all over Washington state as well as British Columbia. Hundreds of people crowd the streets to view this spectacle and Highway 2 is closed down for several hours. Restaurants and shops are filled to overflowing, and parking spaces are at a premium. Indeed Icicle Road has become a parking lot all the way down to the golf course.

I hope you enjoy these photos. 

Oh how I love a parade!

Six Days

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Six Days

This morning I went to Wenatchee. As I drove along the winding roads I marveled at the view of the majestic mountains, valleys and rivers alongside Highway 2. The sun shone brightly and traffic was light. This truly is God’s country.

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Last night Becky and I went out to Mountain Meadows, a personal care home that also has assisted living units. The Village Voices were performing and our friend Charlene sings in this choir. Their harmony was beautiful and their renditions of a variety of songs brought bright smiles to the faces of the seniors in the audience.

I volunteered at a children’s ministry in church the other day. The children were enthralled with the story of Adam and Eve, and eagerly participated in games and crafts. Children are so precious.

I met a woman the other day who had just celebrated her 72nd wedding anniversary. She and her husband chose Disneyland as the venue for this momentous occasion. An amazing event.

Spirit of America in Cashmere captured my heart at a memorial service on September 11th. The flag at half mast, a color guard, music, awesome speakers and a 21 gun salute ensured that there was not a dry eye in the audience. God Bless America.

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Elder Speak was held at Snowy Owl Theater in honor of Grandparents Day. I was especially touched by one member of the panel who at the tender age of ninety-five offered the wisdom he had gleaned throughout his years.

And I also got to speak to both of my kids in Canada the other day. Real conversation, not just voicemail. The highlight of my week.

This Princess Doesn’t Pump Gas

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This Princess Doesn’t Pump Gas

For your Sunday afternoon entertainment…………………

I refuse to drive in Mexico. After living in Culiacan and in Guadalajara, I firmly believe that one must have a death wish to drive in those two cities where buses rule and pedestrians are merely targets begging to be run over. Signals? Amazing if the majority of vehicles even have brake lights. Bus drivers talk on their phones, text, smoke and eat tacos while driving. Yet I actually feel safer on a bus than in a taxi or a friend’s car. Go figure.

But here in the village of Leavenworth pedestrians rule and traffic laws are enforced. And I am quite comfortable driving down Highway 2 to neighboring towns. Of course that would necessitate adding fuel to the vehicle. And that’s wherein the problem lies.

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Back in Canada, Domo was MY gas station. Their slogan was “We jump to the pump for you.” They pumped the gas, not me. And they washed your windows and even even brought you the requested chocolate bars and drinks. They also gave away premiums such as wine glasses. And they were conveniently located throughout the city. BTW, just look at what the price of gas used to be!!!

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But here in Leavenworth self-serve predominates. And this princess doesn’t pump gas. So……….. I am teased mercilessly by Steve but I have him trained to be sure that there is always gas in the Explorer. He knows my threats are not idle when I state that I will leave the vehicle wherever it stalls if it runs out of gas.

But one other slight problem arose the other day. Actually it was the first time we encountered this situation. Steve just got a new truck so he parked the Explorer in the garage. He left for work before I left for my exercise class. My intent was to go grocery shopping that day so I was planning on taking the Explorer. I took one look at the closed garage door and headed for the bus. If I can’t push a button to open a garage door then the door stays closed. This princess is used to automatic garage door openers.

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I expressed my frustration that night and chuckled when not only did he open the garage door, but he also backed the Explorer out onto the driveway. And yes, there was gas in the vehicle. I went to my exercise class, had lunch at the senior center and then went grocery shopping. The Explorer is now resting in the garage.

But I am extremely proud of myself as I have now mastered the art of opening this garage door entirely on my own. While it is annoying that as I push it up it tries to come back down, I can get it up high enough to just clear the roof rack. Being 4’11” does have its challenges.

But I still refuse to pump gas!!!!!!!!!!!

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A Museum, A River Baptism, An Outdoor Movie, Village Voices, Bavarian Brass and Bye Bye Birdie

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A Museum, A River Baptism, An Outdoor Movie, Village Voices, Bavarian Brass and Bye Bye Birdie

Wow! There is just so much to do around here! Choices, choices, choices……….

A priority was to explore The Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center. This friendly statue greeted me near the entrance.

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On the main floor I came upon this vintage auto, as well as a display indicating that in 1997 the museum made the Guiness Book of World Records for the largest apple pie weighing 34, 438 pounds. Volunteers put in almost 3000 hours creating this pie.

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I headed up the stairs and found myself in a vintage train station. A display featured a model train that traversed through tunnels and over bridges for a full six minutes at a time.

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I then wandered through an area depicting Native People of the Columbia Plateau. Another section featured Beringia Migration and an extensive array of items was found in the Fossil Collection. There was also a room dedicated to flight and an extremely interesting section which unfortunately prohibited photos and had a history of Pangborn as well as a variety of other vintage items on display.

The Museum hosts a number of children’s programs over the summer and also offers lectures and field trips for adults. The main floor also features a gift shop.

On Sunday afternoon we ventured up the hills in Peshastin into an orchard where Leavenworth Church of the Nazarene was holding a River Baptism. This was very different from the traditional hot tub found at Church of the Rock in Winnipeg. How amazing to have a beautiful park-like setting complete with a river to celebrate a baptism! Talk about God’s country…………

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Around here everything revolves around the outdoors. On the weekend we were up in the hills again, this time near Cashmere. Rotary Club was showing an outdoor movie. Yep, they hang screens from trees around here.

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And then I was off to another production by Leavenworth Summer Theater. This time the venue was The Fish Hatchery and the musical was Bye Bye Birdie.

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And I can’t possibly forget the kick-off potluck dinner for Village Voices. The Bavarian Brass serenaded us with Christmas music while we ate and then the ladies enchanted us with their musical selection.

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And a new week begins…………………

My Newest Hobby

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My Newest Hobby

The other day I was talking to my daughter in Ontario and telling her all about how I spend my time here in Leavenworth. She groaned when she heard me talking about the senior center here, and accused me of being like her late Bobba. She said it made HER feel old. I told her that I was indeed at that age, and that she should be happy that I was staying active. I informed her that she should be reading my blogs regularly to find out what I’ve been up to. Let’s see if she took my advice. I haven’t yet told her about my newest hobby. I had shocked her enough for one phone call.

I was at the senior center for lunch one day when I first heard about this hobby. Dee was excited as in September the craft afternoons would resume for the season. I shook my head and explained to her that I don’t knit, crochet or quilt. Count me out. Dee was determined and asked me if I colored. I gave her a funny look. Colored? Colored what?

And that was when I first heard of adult coloring books. No, they’re not adult rated with anatomically correct body parts, at least not the ones I’ve seen. These are coloring books with fanciful flowers and beautiful birds, with the intent of relaxation as well as maintaining co-ordination in older adults.

The following day Fran brought in a book, along with a package of the brush pens she uses. And I colored one of the fish you can see in the background. What fun! And it would have been even more fun if I had my reading glasses with me.

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Off I went to Walmart the following week when I was in Wenatchee. My choice was birds, flowers, birds and flowers…..or zombies. I decided on birds and flowers. There were no brush pens so I settled for a pack of colored pencils.

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Of course finding the time to just sit and color is the real challenge. I really lead a busy and full life here in Leavenworth. My plan is to set aside a few minutes every day to color. Here is a photo of my first masterpiece, albeit a work in progress.

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I was in Lake Chelan a couple of weeks ago and found a bookstore. I checked out their coloring books but the prices were astronomically high. I was intrigued by the box of brush pens until I saw the price………$29! I’ll have to check out Hobby Lobby in Wenatchee. At least I have a coupon that I can use for 40% off. 

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Kimmy, if you’re reading this you’re probably rolling your eyes by now. But I assure you that I haven’t lost ALL my marbles just yet. And I can hardly wait for the craft afternoons to start next month. I’m ready!!!!!!

And August Begins

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And August Begins

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!

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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.

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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!