The Ages of Woman – 60’s (Part II)

I wrote the original of this post in September of 2011. Since I was only 67 at that time, it was a bit premature, I think. Now that I’ve passed my 70th birthday (2 days ago), I figured it was time to up-date it with “the rest of the story.”

I left you after the doldrums of that awful summer in Dallas – too hot to breathe and too dry to live. I reported that, living in liminal space as I was, there was something I really needed to learn. Perhaps that something was a deeper connection to God (particularly with the Holy Spirit), and a stronger connection to the church.

In September 2011, I was fortunate to attend a workshop on the Emerging Church, and I heard Nadia Boles-Weber and Brian McLaren both speak.

Brian McLaren (2) Nadia Boles-Weber

In November, the smoke detector at our house went crazy (on a Friday evening about 10 pm) and we discovered it was wired into the electricity of the house (no battery to replace) and we couldn’t get it to shut up. Big Al got up on a chair (with me dithering all the time for fear he would fall) and examined it, but nothing would make it quit squealing, and we finally ended up knocking it out of the ceiling with a broom handle.

Hanging Smoke Detector

We called our handyman to come repair the damage on Monday (to the tune of over $100) and I declared that we HAD to get the house back on the market and sell the thing and get moved, and let the maintenance men who came with the house take care of crap like that!

We spent Christmas in Madisonville with Bill, Erika and the kids, with all the obligatory mess and festivities.

Christmas morning at Bill W's (7)

Al got a flat-screen TV for his birthday, to use as a monitor for his computer, so he was a happy, happy camper. It’s big enough that he can see everything!

Al's Bday - new monitor (3)

In February, we got really serious about selling the house. (I may have thrown a couple of fits at the idea of spending another summer in Dallas). In order to make the house more sellable, we had the kitchen repainted, including the nice wood cabinets. We also had the tile in the “big” bathroom refinished so it was white instead of green.

IMG_0191 IMG_0196

In April, there was finally some movement on selling the house, and toward the end of the month we accepted an offer. The early part of May was spent cleaning out, donating, throwing away, and packing all the detritus of the last 12 years of our lives. Bill and the kids came up for a weekend to help pack the electronics and movers came and carted away everything we would need in Washington.

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We signed the final papers on May 18th, stayed one more night in a motel, and the next morning, bright and early, we got out of town. Then began our epic journey from our old life to our new one. You can read all the blogs I posted from the road if you look up all the dates from May 18, 2012through June 18, 2012.

In June we arrived at Franke Tobey Jones and moved into a one-bedroom, teeny, tiny apartment, while we waited for somebody to either move out of a duplex, or die. We were top of the waiting list, but it seemed like everybody who had a duplex was disturbingly healthy.

Boxes in the Kitchen Boxes to be unpacked

We got it all unpacked and settled in at the Garden Apartments. We loved the weather – cool – very little rain – blue, blue skies – sparkling Puget Sound – great views of Mt Rainier.

We took the ferry over to Vashon Island.


and went on the bus from Franke Tobey Jones to Paradise on Mt Rainier

Mt Rainier

and we took a cruise around Elliott Bay in Seattle to “Meet the Fleet”


and went to see Mount St. Helens.

Mount St. Helens crater

We also enjoyed an annual picnic at Franke Tobey Jones, and several concerts on the lawn.

Concert on the Green Picnic (6)We settled in at Bethany Presbyterian Church, and attended their National Night Out Street Party, and their annual Picnic.

In September, we explored a little bit on the Olympic Peninsula and spent several days at an Armed Forces Recreation Area by the ocean.

Headland at low tide (2)

In October we went back to Vashon Island with a trip with FTJ.

At the Lighthouse on Vashon (4)

At the end of October, Margaret Dickey died. She was the last of my mother’s generation, so I felt like I had to attend her funeral. I figured while I was that close I would visit Bill, Erika and the kids, so I spent a week in Covington before returning to Tacoma. I got to see one of Kate’s school programs while I was there.


I returned to Tacoma on the train, and brought an awful cold with me (courtesy of two grandchildren). It was a nice ride, though, particularly since the sleeping car attendant brought me my meals and took great care of me, since I was feeling so awful.

We had Thanksgiving Dinner in the Dining Room, and it was very nice, even though we didn’t have family to share it with.

While I was in Louisiana we learned there was a duplex that was going to be available in January, and we counted that as our best Christmas present. FTJ throws a big Christmas celebration in all the buildings on campus, and we wandered around looking at all the decorations and Christmas trees.

Christmas Tree in TJ

The church always has a Christmas play every year, and in 2012 they did a Charlie Brown Christmas.


We had a quiet Christmas Day with just the two of us (although we did go out to eat at the Lobster Shop down on the Sound.)


In January 2013, at last we moved into our duplex – got all the boxes that had never been unpacked emptied – and settled in.

Our Duplex (2)

Through February and March we learned to appreciate our little home. It was wet and cold outside so our activities were limited to car rides and restaurant visits.

Then in April, the world burst into bloom. I  have never been around rhododendrons before, but I was entranced to watch all the bushes on campus burst into spectacular color.


The mountain came out from behind the clouds, and we were able eat out on the deck at the restaurants on the sound.

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I got flowers and filled pots for the back deck


We continued to take advantage of various day trips from FTJ, and we went to a couple of local wineries, and to Northwest Trek, an outdoor wildlife park.

Bethany had an empty lot that they turned into garden plots for members of the church and for the neighborhood. We dedicated it in July.


In August, I returned to Mt Rainier, and the Lunch Bunch from FTJ visited Olympia and their farmer’s market. We also had a street party at the church, their annual picnic, the annual picnic at FTJ and more concerts on the lawn.

I became interested in Pierce County Hunger Advocates, who encourage churches to write letters to government officials in support of efforts to eradicate hunger in this country and abroad. I’ve ended up being the Facebook master for the organization, and spend a fair amount of time posting articles from Bread for the World as well as other Hunger Advocacy groups around the area.

Ray, my #1 son, at age 47, finally decided to get married. So in November, Big Al and I took the train to Chicago for several days of festivities prior to the wedding, followed by the wedding itself, the reception, and a return to Tacoma on the train.


The best part was a mini-family reunion, as all my siblings and their spouses, and both of Al’s siblings attended. It gave us all a chance to catch up with each other’s lives. and a wonderful time was had by all.


We got back just in time to breathe a minute before it was Christmas – our first in our little house. All the obligatory December things happened including the big Tobey Jones Christmas party, the play at the church, and Christmas dinner at the restaurant on the Sound. We continued to marvel at all the sights at our place as the year came to a close.

Winter Sunset

I finally decided to do something about my weight, and went on a strict, medically supervised diet. So far it is working well and I’ve lost almost 60 pounds. I have many more pounds to go, but it’s a start.

I went on the Session at church in January, and I continued to work with Pierce County Hunger Advocates. In March we put on a symposium on hunger and had our US Representative, the Honorable Derek Kilmer as the featured speaker.


In the spring, I had the landscaping maintenance men dig a small flower garden for me along the fence behind my house.

More Plantings (2)

And thus began the battle of the deer! They are completely destructive around flowers, and you would think, with a whole forest to forage in they wouldn’t need to destroy my garden, but you would be wrong.

Running of the Deer

In June, Big Al and I took the train to Portland, just for lunch. It was a lovely ride and a nice day.


I also went to Seattle with the FTJ Lunch Bunch for lunch at the top of the space needle. Beautiful views including Mt Rainier.


Other sightseeing this summer has included a return trip to Northwest Trek and a visit to the Mt Rainier Scenic Railroad.

Since I’ve been losing weight, I love walking, particularly along the sound.


Bethany had a service project during a church service to pack school bags (Gift of the Heart Kits) for Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and Church World Service and I was in charge of the project.


And that’s the rest of the story of my 60s.

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