My one word for 2015 is “Honesty.”

How am I doing with HONEST this month? I think I’m doing pretty well – at least when I’m tempted to “forget” to count the several handfuls of cashews I just put in my mouth, I remember my word and I add them to my food diary.

Towards the middle of January, I fell victim to the dreaded cough and stuffy nose – no fever, just horrible congestion. I’m not sure whether it was a strange cold or an allergy to something, but I was very uncomfortable for a couple of weeks. I did skip my exercising for a couple of days, because I just didn’t feel like it. To be HONEST, I rocked my way to my steps on those days when I was felling so awful. (See note below about exercise.) I made them clean the filter on the furnace to make sure it wasn’t mold in the duct system, and I seem to have mostly gotten over it.


It helped that there were several day last week when the sun came out and the temperature improved to 60 deg. I took full advantage of the warmer days and visited the park and the waterfront for a couple of long walks. Like the rest of the country I’m ready for spring to be here, but I suppose we must wait another couple of months to really turn the corner.

Snowy mountain

I’ve been busy – mostly with church and exercise – but I’ve also started participating in a creative writing group here at Tobey Jones and next week I’ll start piano lessons again.

Since I’m on the session, I’m responsible for the Hospitality and Outreach Team, and we’re beginning a couple of new mission projects to do with education. HONESTLY, this is one of the places my heart lies. We will be meeting with the principal at the elementary school that’s a block from the church to find out how we can help them. I’ve also developed a relationship with the fellow who runs the “progressive” church college fellowship at the University of Puget Sound. We will be taking food to their dinner in March and perhaps we can expand our mission to them.

Bethany Presbyterian Church (2)

Another BIG project at Bethany is the beginning of a Capital Campaign to raise money to bring the building up to ADA code. It’s a nice old building, but it’s three stories and there is no elevator. It makes it completely inaccessible for any activities held on the third floor, and difficult for anything held on the lower floor which is where the fellowship hall, main kitchen and nursery are. Additionally, there is no bathroom on the third floor where the Sunday School rooms are. So our little congregation of fewer than 100 people need to raise $300,000. We’ve hired a consultant who assures us we can do it, but I wouldn’t be HONEST if I didn’t say I’m afraid we might be biting off more than we can chew. That’s going to be a major project for the next year.


On the exercise front, I’ve been faithful and mostly HONEST about getting my 10,000 steps a day on my FitBit (except for the two days I was sick). I will admit that sometimes I haven’t walked as much as the device has reported – it counts steps as I rock in my recliner in the evening watching TV – but I’m always careful to get the full 10,000 steps for the day before I sit down.

I did get some great news when I went to the doctor for my bi-annual type-2 diabetes check-up. Because of my obsessive exercise and food monitoring, I have apparently lost enough weight, eaten correctly and exercised enough that I am no longer clinically diabetic. My HbA1C was 5.9 (with no medication) and “diabetic” starts above 6.0. Of course, I have to keep eating right and exercising, and not gain any weight, but health-wise I’m fine. I’ve even been able to experiment with eliminating the statin I’ve been taking for many years. I particularly wanted to get rid of it so I could eat grapefruit again. The hurdle is my blood pressure medicine.

That’s been January – HONESTLY!


Washington State History Museum

Yesterday, we took the bus from Tobey Jones to the Washington State History Museum. They had free admission in honor of Martin Luther King’s Birthday.


The museum is housed in the old Union Station which was declared a national monument after train travel became less important and the upkeep of the building became more than the Union Pacific Railroad could afford. Part of it is now the Federal Courthouse and part has been refurbished as the museum. For its size, it has many very interesting exhibits.

I spent a lot of time at the model train layout (thanks to Ray Watters). I found it was really very accurate about Tacoma (and Western Washington in general) for the early part of the 20th century. It was interesting to see places that I’ve heard about in Tacoma’s history that aren’t there any more. It helps to be able to place them accurately, geologically.

There was a small, but nice, section about the history of women’s suffrage in Washington, honoring those early women who led the fight for voting rights for women. (Since it was MLK day, I was particularly interested in minority rights in Washington).

There was also a good series of short films about the Native Americans, and their poor treatment as the area was settled. The focus was on the loss of their cultures and languages. There were over 150 different tribes in Washington State, alone. Much of that is completely lost now.

I watched a longer (about 20 minutes or so) documentary about the Columbia River. It reawakened in me a desire to find out more about the exploitation of the river, because my grandfather worked on the dams around Spokane between 1905 and 1925 or so. My uncle was also an engineer for Portland Power and Light that ran the big hydro-electric dams on the lower Columbia River as well.

There were lots of interactive exhibits with hands-on activities that kids would appreciate. There were also exhibits showing a life-sized passenger rail car (that you could go inside), factory rooms, early dwellings, etc.  There was even a “pioneer” cabin with period clothing in kid sizes that they could dress up in.

I was disappointed not to see anything about Tacoma’s treatment of their Asian populations – either the expulsion of the Chinese in 1885, or the internment of the Japanese during World War II. The fact that this information was missing from the museum made me feel less confident in the other exhibits. I know these were shameful episodes in Tacoma’s history, but it was like I went to a historical museum in Dallas and no mention was made of the Kennedy assassination.

I just did a quick overview of the museum, and I think I will definitely go back.