Beautiful Weather

We’ve had “typical” PNW (Pacific Northwest) weather the first part of the week. Cloudy, cool (in the 60s), showery with sun breaks. Yesterday, the heavens really opened up a couple of times and we had about an inch of rain.

Today dawned clear and warm, so for lunch, Big Al and I decided to go down by the water.IMG_0465

Simply beautiful – and tasty, too.


74 degrees and a light breeze.

THIS is why we moved here! (Even though I also love the rain.) What I really love is being able to appreciate it because of the contrasts.

Rattling Around in my Head

I was heartened to see the way Hugh Hollowell and Love Wins Ministries in Raleigh, NC, were able to make inroads in some of the draconian laws and ordinances about the homeless.


I also absolutely agree with David Hensen in his God Article. I am constantly amazed at the shear meanness some governments exhibit when it comes to “the least of these.” We’ve got to do better, people.

* * *

On a related note, I grieve for the folks in Seattle who have made their “homeless homes” in Nicklesville. Apparently the city is closing it down, and cleaning it out, but Seattle also hasn’t provided anywhere else for them to go.

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I’m re-reading Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver.


Interestingly, the current issue of the National Audubon Society Magazine has an article about using native plants to control pests and increase the bird population. Fiction imitates life.

* * *

I’m absolutely opposed to us taking unilateral action in Syria. I think the use of chemical weapons is anathema and beyond the pale. But I’m sure we can no longer be the arbiters of the world. I keep thinking “If this is so awful that it warrants bombing those in power, why don’t we feel the same way about the atrocities being committed in sub-Saharan Africa?” Big Al disagrees with me, and I’m not sure what the answer is, but I am sure that an escalation of violence is not it.



Just Another Wacky Wednesday


Once a month FTJ treats all the birthday and anniversary celebrants to lunch, complete with CAKE and ICE CREAM.

Today was the day for August folks, and (in honor of my birthday) we had lunch with a nice group of other special people.


I had fried chicken, and Big Al got Salisbury Steak (and beets – ICK), so we were both pleased with the menu. Additionally each couple received a box of chocolates. Couldn’t ask for better.

Now I need to decide whether I’ll go work out, or read my book (I’d much rather read, but after the cake and ice cream, I’d better work out.)

Hunger Advocacy

My evening yesterday was taken up with a meeting of Pierce County Hunger Advocates. They are an ecumenical group who were inspired by the regional organizer of Bread for the World. They have been in existence for about 18 months, and have been meeting monthly during that time. I became affiliated with them in April, I think, at another visit from Bread for the World.


They are a lovely bunch of people, but, unfortunately, about half of them are virtually computer illiterate, and the other half are very social media savvy. As the Blogmaster and Facebook page owner I have to keep reminding myself that these folks can just barely use email, and they are very wary of all the other social media (as well as not understanding the need for it).

Stacy suggested getting a QR Code for the Bread for the World website’s pre-written letters to Congress, and several of them just looked at her like she had snakes crawling out of her ears. (They were amazed, but really didn’t understand.) Today we got the regional organizer to send us a QR Code to be put on bulletin inserts, etc.


You can try it out from the convenience of your own home! Let me know if it doesn’t take you right to the page.

At any rate, I sometimes feel like I’ve been pushing jello uphill by the time I get out of those meetings.

They keep coming back to “we need to print out sample letters and take them to people so they can write it out in their own hand and put a stamp on it.”


Oh, the joys of living through a major social and societal shift.



I’m just beginning to understand why I haven’t been very good about posting on the blog. I put up a post every day last week, BUT I didn’t get over to the Wellness Center to work out – at all.

I’m not sure what the answer is, unless I give up something else.

  • I really like my reading time.
  • I really like sitting in the living room with Big Al in the evenings while we watch TV and I knit and do puzzles on the iPad.
  • I really like the activities I participate in during the day.
  • I really like spending an hour or so catching up with my friends on Facebook (I have already mostly given up Twitter because it was such a time-suck).
  • I don’t really like taking the time to cook dinner in the morning, but it’s better than cooking dinner in the evening.

I’m just not sure how I’m going to be able to fit in the time to both blog and work out.

* * *

The preceding was written before lunch, and now I’m back from working out, after going to my Genealogy Group. Maybe this won’t be too disjointed. At least I hope not.

If anyone can figure out a solution to my problem of lack of time, I imagine you could make a fortune by bottling it!

* * *


I have a meeting tonight for Pierce County Hunger Advocates. If you aren’t following that blog, or that Facebook page, then you aren’t really following me because that’s where a lot of my bandwidth is going these days.

* * *

Speaking of hunger, homelessness, etc., I’ve been interested to follow the kerfuffle in Raleigh, NC, where the police threatened to arrest groups who were trying to feed the homeless on Saturday and Sunday. You can get a pretty good overview by checking the Pierce County Hunger page on Facebook. For information straight from the horse’s mouth, see the blog for Love Wins Ministries. Social media played an enormous role in “convincing” the city council and mayor to pay attention to the problem.


The sermon this morning was about gratitude, and how we should view the world through the lens of thankfulness. Apparently the Holy Spirit kicked me in the tushie a week too early, because that was exactly the thought I came up with last week.

I was entranced with the website when the preacher showed some of the posts this morning.

Leah Dieterich’s mother always told her to write thank you notes. So she does. To everything. thxthxthx is her daily exercise in gratitude.







Unfortunately, the following note is post on the top of this page (dated in late 2012).

If you miss thxthxthx

Make sure to like me on Facebook and follow me on twitter (links on the right side of this page). I’m still posting all kinds of thx notes there, but will not be updating this site regularly. thx you so much!

I wish I had known about this site when it was active, but I can still go back and read some of the lovely little notes she has written in the past. I hope you, gentle readers, enjoy her gratitude as much as I have.

Summer is Winding Down

Several weeks ago we began the saga of the rebuilding of our deck. Apparently they had decided last winter before we moved in that it was time for it to be refurbished and rebuilt, but we were still in the rainy season, so they put it off until this summer.

They did a really nice job of it, although it was stretched out for longer than I was happy about because the workers kept being pulled off of my job and sent to ready another living space for new residents.

I appreciate that, BUT I was not happy that they moved all my plants off the deck, took the steps apart, and then quit working on it. I couldn’t easily get to my plants (I would have had to walk all the way around the house) in order to water them. Anyway, I finally got to them when they were almost dead from lack of moisture, and I’ve been trying to baby them back into blooming, but they still (after a week or more of TLC) look a little sad.


The verbena seems to have succumbed and the petunias are dried up.


The begonia is still not doing very well.


Although this begonia has mostly recovered. The trailing things are coming along fine, but the cone flowers are pretty well gone.


And the window boxes/rail boxes are not doing well at all.

They have probably reached then end of their really pretty blooming life, so I’m starting to think about replacing them with fall color.


I got a couple of pots of chrysanthemums yesterday, and the nursery says more will be in next week. I’m seeing visions of orange, and rust, and yellow, and gold.

I’m a little frustrated though, because many of my potted plants are perennials, and I hoped to keep them until next year. I’ve been asking for some help creating a flower bed back by the fence, but they say they’re going to replace the fence this summer, and I don’t want to bother with planting stuff out there if the workers are going to trample all over it while they’re working on the fence. Apparently the fence is in line behind my deck, and I’m beginning to wonder if it will be done in time for me to plant some bulbs for spring.


We just have this bare expanse of fence (yep, one of the sections blew down a year or more ago, and it was replaced but never painted). It would be much nicer to have that space occupied by blooming flowers and ferns. I guess I can always do it next year if I don’t get it done in time for plant spring bulbs.



(I thought life was supposed to slow down when you retired…)

Jumped out of the bed this morning at 7:30 (horrors – I usually sleep until 8:30 or 9:00). I had an appointment to get my hair cut at 9:00 and I really didn’t want to miss it. The stylist is a recommendation from someone at church and I liked her very much.

When we were moving out here, I remember my cousin Anne saying she didn’t want to move because she just couldn’t bear having to find a new hairdresser. She thought she would rather change doctors than try to find someone new to cut her hair.

I laughed at her.

I apologize.

I feel her pain.

We’ve been here 14 months and this was the 5th person I’ve had try to cut my hair like I wanted it.


I think she did an okay job.


We’ll see how it holds up after it’s washed.

I had no sooner gotten home than it was time to go to the Knitting Club here at Tobey Jones. I’m trying to get the sleeves of a sweater done before it turns cool enough to need it. I should be okay, but I’m pretty bored with the pattern since I’ve used it on the back and both fronts. Thank goodness I decided to do drop sleeves, so I don’t have to worry about the extra 6-8 inches raglan or cap sleeves take.

Then Big Al and I went to lunch at Silk Thai – our favorite Thai restaurant. We’ve neglected them the past couple of months and they were feeling a little bereft without us visiting them.

We got home in time to go to Happy Hour at the Garden Apartments. It’s also been a while since we’ve been over there, and it was good to see everybody and catch up on the news. There are a lot of new residents there since we moved, so it was good to remind ourselves who lived where, etc.

We watched “Jack Reacher” last night, and I was pleasantly surprised. The dialogue was pretty true to the books and Tom Cruise did a very good job as Reacher. BUT, it still suffered from his size. The fight scenes were less believable since he is (comparatively) so slight. But it was a nice way to spend the evening.

Now if I can only get Big Al to take me to see “The Butler.”


I’ve been pretty busy today. Thursday is my regular wash day, so I’ve had the washer and dryer running basically since I got out of bed.

I had Tai Chi right after lunch.


I really enjoy that class and I hope I’m getting stronger, more limber, and have better balance. I think it’s working.

Following Tai Chi I went to the Book Club. We read The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, by Alan Bradley.


It was a fun read with an 11-year-old protagonist who thinks she knows everything (and often does). I liked it so much I’ve gotten all four of the other books about Flavia de Luce, and I’m better than half-way through the third one. There’s nothing particularly enlightening or spectacular about these books, but they’re fun to read. Some of the other people in the group had a hard time with Flavia knowing so much, but it’s one of those things that you need to suspend disbelief for the sake of the story.

I don’t think I ever said what I thought of “The Hobbit”. I was disappointed that it was only the first half of the story, and drawn-out and padded, at that. It could have been done in an hour and a half (instead of almost three hours), and would have been much more true to the book. This one suffered by my familiarity with the book, unlike the Lord of the Rings, that was true to what Tolkien wrote.

We got “Jack Reacher” from Netflix today, and we’ll see how that holds up.


Maybe Tom Cruise can pull it off, but that one I will definitely have to suspend disbelief for. The thing is – in the novels, Jack Reacher is 6’5″, and weighs 235 lbs, all muscle. It I had been casting it on looks I would have cast The Rock rather than Cruise, but then, what do I know. Anyway, I’m excited to see it, and I’ll let you know tomorrow what I thought.


Big Al and I got up early this morning and went to breakfast at Knapps down in the Proctor district. It’s a fine little family style, plain home-cooking restaurant. The excuse was to talk to Representative Derek Kilmer, who is our representative to the House of Representatives. (Do you think I could fit one more “representative” into that sentence?) He’s a first-term congressman and is really trying to do what his constituents want. It’s helpful that most of his constituents are also flaming liberals, like me.


Anyway, during this recess he is holding “Conversation with Derek” at various coffee houses and venues around the district, and there was one scheduled for this morning near us – so we went. It was very nice, because he came around to each table and sat with us and just visited – asked about what our hot-button items were and told us what he was doing. We said we were primarily concerned with the erosion of military retirement benefits, with SNAP (formerly Food Stamps), and with the attack in various parts of the country on voting rights. (We told him we were eternally grateful that we no longer had to apologize to the rest of the country for being from Texas.)

He serves on the Armed Forces Committee and the Science and Technology Committee, and all the Navy bases on the Kitsap Peninsula are in his district, so he seems intimately familiar with the status of military pay and benefits. He promised he would do what he can to assure the benefits that were promised to us for many years are not further eroded. Unfortunately, he is pretty junior, but he’s willing to go to bat for the service people in his district.

I told him I was on the Board of Pierce County Hunger Advocates, and he said he remembered meeting with Herman Diers (the chair of PCHA). He thanked me (blush) for my involvement, and I told him we were aware of his support for SNAP and for a fair and balanced budget. He said he was appalled at the rhetoric during the debate on SNAP, and he related how “mean” (his word) the Republicans seemed about the issue. He said he was embarrassed at them wanting to require employment for eligibility for SNAP, as if they didn’t know most people on SNAP either had a job already or couldn’t work because they were elderly, disabled, or children. He’s trying his best on this issue, and I asked if we could do anything to help him. He said the best thing to do is to spread the word to all our friends and family and set the record straight.

He has joined Rep. John Lewis in an effort to restore provisions of the Voting Rights Act, and will be co-sponsoring a bill to that effect. This to me is one of the most important issues currently in our country. We told him the story of the Texas precinct that had moved its polling place to the whites-only country club, and he just shook his head. He said he will try to do what he can to see that this is put right.

Of course, I ate too much breakfast while waiting for our turn with the Congressman, so I spent the rest of the morning in a semi-comatose state.

Then I had a lunch appointment with a lady from the Nominating Committee at Bethany Presbyterian Church. She asked me if I would be willing to serve on the Session for the next three years, and I agreed. I miss having my fingers in the church pie, and you all know, I’m the ultimate presbygeek, who reads Roberts Rules of Order for fun, and has the Book of Order on my bedside table for a little light bedtime reading. 😉 I was so full from breakfast that I wasn’t able to eat much lunch, but we had a good time talking about politics and church and generally getting to know each other better.