Tag Archives: Leavenworth WA

Has It Really Been That Long?

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My friend Mitch commented on my wall the other day that it has been just over ten years since the auction closed down. Auctions were a big part of our lives back then. Mitch worked at Wachniak’s in Winnipeg. And my friends and I went to these auctions hunting for treasures for our E-Bay businesses as well as for ourselves. We’ve all had so many changes in our lives since then. Partners, occupations and residences have all changed. All that is left are the memories of another lifetime.

Today my friend Kathy posted that her dog is still enjoying the many toys I gave her when Koal left us. And that was just over nine years ago, although sometimes my heart aches like it was just yesterday. My life has changed so much since then. Travels and people and adventures have made the time pass by way too quickly.

The last time I had Christmas dinner with my children was eight years ago. We actually enjoyed it together a week early, as a friend and I were off to Cuba for Christmas. I envy my friends who are able to celebrate the holidays with their families back home. For me it has just become an impossible dream at this point in my life.

Just over seven years ago I arrived in Culiacan to teach English. Juan was a colleague eager to improve his English, and my Spanish was non-existent. We became great friends and he and his wife adopted me into their family. Indeed their entire extended family has welcomed me. Over time, Juan and Lucila’s family has grown and I now have three precious nietos (grandsons). I am off to Culiacan in two weeks to ring in 2018 with my family. I can’t wait to see how much the kids have grown since I last saw them in April before I headed up north for the summer.

Do you recall that proverbial question that was asked at all job interviews……Where do you see yourself five years from now? Well, five years ago I never would have predicted that I’d be dividing my time between Mazatlan, Sinaloa and Leavenworth, Washington. Five years ago I was living in Guadalajara and had never even heard of Leavenworth.

So now I cannot fathom where I will be five years from now. Can you? But I am enjoying where I am right now………………

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And The Nomad Moved Again

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And The Nomad Moved Again

I am back in Mazatlan. Winter has arrived and Leavenworth had its first snowfall. I admit that it does look kind of pretty, but I haven’t seen snow like that in 8 years.

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I took the Wenatchee Valley Shuttle to Sea-Tac and had a layover at LAX. When I arrived in Mazatlan this was the view at sunset just a block and a half from my house.

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Of course the price one pays for leaving snow behind is sweltering temperatures in the 90s along with high humidity. But it’s been a week and a half now and I am acclimatizing nicely.

The area I’m staying in this winter is called Los Pintos and is close to the Centro Historico. Everything is within walking distance as opposed to last year where buses were the norm.

Zaragoza Park is about a ten minute walk. Saturday mornings an organic market is popular and on Thursday evenings dancing and music prevail. I stopped by the park this afternoon and met these little guys. Unfortunately the iguana was camera shy and hid in the shadows.

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I’ve seen two excellent movies at El Recreo this past week. This coming Tuesday evening I plan on attending an art and music event there. Last weekend I met some friends atop the Freeman Hotel for drinks at sunset. And I’ve also found a new card group here in Centro. Our Red Hat group had its first luncheon last week and it was nice to see so many return this winter.

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But what convinced me to move here two and a half years ago was the ocean. And I certainly am enjoying my long walks along the malecon.

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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!

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…………………

VBS 2017

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VBS 2017

Last week marked one of the most amazing weeks of my life. The occasion was Vacation Bible School at Leavenworth Church of the Nazarene. It’s incredible to think that only a year ago I arrived in Leavenworth and had never even heard of VBS. I recall walking into the sanctuary for the first time and seeing the decorations. And then I was enthralled with the voices of the children as they were the praise team that morning. I knew that I had experienced something really awesome, and that I wanted to find out more about VBS and the church’s role in the community.

Becky Goodman is the pastor for children and families, and we soon became good friends. This dynamic lady hales from Indiana and is a treasure in the ministry of the church. Her passion and drive are amazing. I am always in awe of how she remains so calm, collected and cool no matter how gargantuan the challenges may be.

I first got my toes wet when I helped at Light the Night last fall. I was back in Mexico for the winter when Becky asked me if I’d be interested in volunteering for VBS (Vacation Bible School). I was definitely interested. I told her that I was flexible and to put me where she needed me, as I was totally unfamiliar with VBS and what was entailed in planning the program.

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Becky decided that co-director of the preschool/kindergarten program would be a good place. When I arrived back in Leavenworth in May, I soon found myself engrossed in planning meetings. I met Heather, the other co-director, and we were soon busy organizing and purchasing supplies, as well as decorating and setting up classrooms for activities.

The statistics are impressive. There were 204 children registered and 134 volunteers involved. The children were divided into groups of five, each with a crew leader to assist them in the activities. Each station had two rotation leaders. Other volunteers were in registration, in the kitchen, doing security, assisting with light and sound, as well as setting up and taking down of decorations.

The mission project for the week was raising funds for a concrete floor to replace the existing dirt floor in a home serving as an orphanage in The Democratic Republic Of The Congo. Earlier that month, the missionaries themselves had visited our church and told us about their experiences working with the African people, describing in detail the poverty and the decrepit conditions in which they lived. The goal was to raise $1600. The generosity of the community was overwhelming, and the total amount raised was a staggering $5222.50. Not only will there be a concrete floor, but there will also be a ceiling and beds for the children.

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The theme of VBS was Maker Fun Factory. A typical day at VBS began with an opening program in the sanctuary. The children were introduced to a Bible Point and a Bible Buddy. A skit was presented by two teenagers. The 29 children in the praise team enthusiastically ensured that there would be lots of singing. Everyone sported wristbands to remind them to “Watch For God”. Each day God sightings were discussed and colorful lights were added along the walls in celebration. 

 

The elementary division held their activities in a separate area of the church. The children rotated between Bible Discovery, KidVid Cinema, Imagination Station and Maker Games. The preschool/kindergarten division rotated between Bible Adventures, KidVid Cinema, Craft & Play, Exploration Station and Games. There was even a group of nursery children all three and under who checked out these stations as well. All children were provided with a healthy lunch prepared by volunteers in the kitchen.

Here are some photos taken in the preschool/kindergarten division.

A closing ceremony at the end of the day showed a video with highlights of the day, as well as a discussion about the Bible Point and the Bible Buddy. Parents were encouraged to attend this daily event.

On the last day, a preview of VBS 2018 was shown on the screen and the squeals of delight from the children added to the excitement. 2017 was my first experience with VBS and I know that I will be back for more. Will you?