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.

My Life Right Now

I promised I’d give you a peek at what my life is like here at Franke Tobey Jones.


I take a shower, get dressed, fix my tea, load any leftover dishes or glasses into the dishwasher, eat a breakfast bar, feed the birds, water the flowers, check my email, read all the blogs I’ve received in my RSS reader, check the bank account, do a Curvy puzzle, work a jigsaw puzzle on-line, check to see if anybody has posted anything interesting about any of the ancestors, check Facebook to see what’s happening, read the New York Times headlines, the Huffington Post shorts, updates from Knitting Paradise (and read the whole article if it interests me). By that time, it’s probably 11:00 or 11:30 and time to think about lunch.

We eat our dinner at noon and each fix our own snack-type suppers – soup, sandwich, fruit and cheese, nachos, etc.


About 5:30 or 6:00, Big Al and I meet in the living room to watch the news and Rachel Maddow. If there’s anything on network or cable that we want to see, we watch that (not often); otherwise, we watch something on Right now we’re watching the British series, “M-I 5“, and “All Creatures Great and Small.” We usually get one or two episodes a night of each. Followed by the local news, and Jay Leno’s monologue, and finally – to bed.


Bethany Presbyterian Church worships at 10:30 and Sunday School is out for the summer. During most of the rest of the year, Sunday School is at 9:00.

Big Al and I go out to lunch after church, often on the waterfront.


Many Sundays we take a ride after lunch, sometimes through Point Defiance Park, sometime exploring.

Old Growth Forest

Because I probably didn’t get anything from my daily routine done except the shower and the tea and breakfast bar, I spend a couple of hours in the afternoon catching up on my on-line reading. By that time, it’s 4:00 or so, and I go over to the Wellness Center to spend 50 minutes on the recumbent cross trainer (my personal preference for exercise torture). I try to get in three sessions a week of exercise, so Sunday is my make-up day if I’ve been a slug otherwise. If I don’t have to exercise, I spend an hour or so enjoying the porch and reading in my rocking chair.


Every other week I get together with other residents and a genealogist who gives us tips about how to get past the roadblocks in our research and where to find more information. She also helps us with presentation of our research and encourages us to include stories rather than just facts.

Every week, Big Al and I go to the Gamers Club and play bridge or some other game over in the Tobey Jones building. We only stay for an hour, but we enjoy the folks who make up the foursome – a retired federal judge, and a retired school teacher.

Once a month, the chef has a program on nutrition, or some other interesting topic. He also brings goodies to sample. Recently he has talked about protein, the difference between shrimp and prawns, diabetic diets, etc.

I try to fit in my 50 minutes of torture at the Wellness Center on Monday afternoons as well, sometimes before Gamers Club, sometimes, after.

Once a month I have a meeting of the Pierce County Hunger Advocates – part of the Ministerial Alliance.


Big Al and I eat lunch in the Bistro (think Starbucks or local coffee shop) here on campus. They have sandwiches, soup, and salads, and we usually each have a chef salad.

Then, I scurry off to my Tai Chi lesson, while Al finishes his lunch and reads the newspaper.

After Tai Chi, we go over to the Garden Apartments where we play bridge with a foursome we have been playing with ever since we lived there.

Then, it’s back to the Wellness Center for an hour or so of Brain Games. We play word games (like Scattergories) as teams, have paper games to work on, and have some social time. It’s fun, and a way to stretch my mind, and hopefully fend off the on-set of Alzheimer’s a little longer.


Wednesdays are the least structured of my week.

Wednesdays are often the day for trips. So far (since the weather has turned decent this summer), we’ve been to a winery, and the Wildlife Park. There’s a lunch cruise scheduled for next week.

Big Al volunteers at the FISH Food Bank once every six weeks. He also has a luncheon meeting of the state Safety Association in Tukwilla once a month.

I try to get in my 50-minute work out on Wednesday afternoons.

Wednesday is also the day we go to the commissary, about once every 6 weeks.

If you have a birthday or anniversary during the month, you are invited (with your significant other) to a lunch either in the Tobey Jones dining room, or the Lillian Pratt dining room on the last Wednesday of the month.

Often there are interesting programs on Wednesday afternoons, from the Tacoma Historical Society, a gardening expert, or on some other topic. Once a month, we have a program on wines.

Once a quarter, all the independent residents are invited to a dinner, usually on a Wednesday evening. There’s one coming up in a week.


Once a month, the CEO hosts Coffee with the CEO on Thursday mornings. Anyone who wants to can come and ask questions and air grievances. Generally everyone is pretty happy with how everything is going.

On Thursdays at 12:30 I have my second Tai Chi lesson of the week.

There’s also often a program from Senior University on Thursday afternoons.

At 4:00 is the All-Campus Wine and Cheese, where we are invited to lift our glasses and socialize with other residents and the board.


Friday morning at 11:00 I scurry over to Lillian Pratt for the Knitter’s Club. There are 5 or 6 of us who get together and chat while we do some kind of handwork. There’s a retired college president who is learning how to knit to keep his hands and brain busy, as well, and we can ask the others for help if we run into a problem. They always provide us with coffee, tea, and a goodie to stave off starvation until lunch time.

Friday is one of our lunches out. Once a month, the community takes the bus to a local eatery with whoever wants to go. We’ve been to a Japanese place, a Mexican place, an Indian place, an Italian place and a seafood place. If the Lunch Bunch isn’t going, Big Al and I find our own place for a nice lunch out.

The community has Ice Cream on the front porch at Lillian Pratt every Friday afternoon in the summer.

The Garden Apartments have Happy Hour on Friday afternoons. Everybody brings a little snackie-poo, and they provide wine and hard liquor (and soft drinks). We like going because it gives us an opportunity to catch up with the folks from the Garden Apartments.

Once a month, they have “Chef’s Table” that you have to sign up for. Chef Tim plans a specially nice menu and prepares it table-side, while he talks about the ingredients and preparation. It’s limited to 12 people, so it’s a nice opportunity to visit with other residents over a wonderful meal (with unbelievable desserts).


For the most part, Saturday is a day of catch-up. This is my day to work out (so I won’t have to on Sunday afternoon). We also go to the grocery store, hit the garden shop, buy more bird feed, etc.

So that’s what I do all the time. I’m just as busy as if I weren’t retired, but I really love it.


I’ve spent the last several days getting my social media on for Pierce County (Washington) Hunger. If by some stretch of the imagination I haven’t asked you to check our blog, “like” our facebook page, or follow us on Twitter (@PCHunger) it was merely an oversight. Do that right now. Thanks.

I’m out of this for today, but I’ll be back later.


It’s been a while since I wrote about how we’re settling in. There’s still not too awfully much room, but we are coping.

My dresser, sans mirror, does very well in the entrance hall with lots of family pictures on it.

My little corner of the bedroom,

Al’s corner of the bedroom,

and the cedar chest take up three walls, with the closet on the fourth one.

Al’s chest of drawers fit in the space between the door and the closet (barely) and the two bedside tables are stacked at the foot of Al’s bed.

In the living room, our chairs are on the wall across from the fireplace,

the TV is in front of the fireplace (not able to use it, so I’m glad it’s been warm).

I’m using the printer stand that has a pull-out drawer for a keyboard for my desk.

We bought a little 24″ desk for Al.

We’ve got the two little bookcases back to back with books facing the living room and the other shelves for additional storage in the kitchen.

The kitchen table with one of its leaves folded down barely fits.

I guess the nice thing is I can stand in one spot and reach the refrigerator, stove, table and sink, with only a small step in any direction.

We’ve been attending a little Presbyterian Church, not far from where we live.

Bethany Presbyterian Church’s building was built 100 years ago. It’s a small congregation, with mostlly people who have grown up there. It is an “open, and affirming” congregation, and there are a fair number of LGBT members, and many more who have gays and/or lesbians as children or siblings. The usual Sunday worship is about 70 folks, and I understand the membership is around 100. I knew the pastor from Twitter and Facebook before we came here. Since we’ve been attending they have welcomed 7 new members, so it seems to be revitalized and growing. There’s a lot of energy there. We’re still visiting churches, but these folks seem to be very welcoming.

One of the really strange things about this area is the shift in attitudes about temperatures. The public pools are full whenver the sun is out, even if it is in the mid-60s. I can remember that I wouldn’t like my kids go swimming until the temperature got up to 80 deg.

We’re enjoying exploring the area and trying out many of the restaurants. I love to go down by the water to eat. One of my favorites is Harbor Lights.

Whenever we leave we have a great view of the sound.

This is our patio (my desk looks out the window at this).

And as we come home this is the view from the front of the property.

All in all, we are content!

Expecting the Word – Advent Two – Saturday

My Advent series this year will follow the Words Matter Advent study from the National Council of Churches. Download the whole booklet if you’d like, and follow along with the writings for each day. I’d love to discuss them with you. Also, here is a link to the Advent readings from the Inclusive Bible. I prefer the more inclusive language here, than the NRSV texts used in the study booklet (be sure to read the note on page 6).

Mark 1:1-8

Mark introduces us to John the Baptist.

I love the mental picture in the devotional of being baptized with words as well as being baptized with water.

I know that I am woefully remiss by failing to speaking words of affirmation and acceptance.

I will try during the coming week to tell people who matter to me that they do. I know I often just assume that they know how important they are in my life.

Expecting the Word – Advent Two – Friday

My Advent series this year will follow the Words Matter Advent study from the National Council of Churches. Download the whole booklet if you’d like, and follow along with the writings for each day. I’d love to discuss them with you. Also, here is a link to the Advent readings from the Inclusive Bible. I prefer the more inclusive language here, than the NRSV texts used in the study booklet (be sure to read the note on page 6).

Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13

The devotional today asks us to think about the rhythms of our life, and whether they are reflected in our corporate worship.

I confess that corporate worship at PHPC seems to be diverging from the current rhythms of my life. Since retirement, my life has become much more internalized and introspective. I yearn for an opportunity to participate in more outward expressions of my Christianity, but I’m floundering. When I attend conferences on the “new” or “emerging” church and then return to my home congregation, full of enthusiasm and report on what I’ve heard and learned it seems like the rest of the folks look at me like I have snakes crawling out of my ears.

I realize that one of my spiritual gifts is prophecy, and that most prophets are not appreciated by their peers, but it doesn’t make it any easier.

Thank goodness, I have found a group of like-minded individuals on Twitter and Facebook who are connected with the Presbyterian Church (USA), and who are marching to the same drummer that I hear. The rhythm of change and growth is terrifying to many of my conservative brethren in the church, and I can only pray that through me they can catch a distant echo of what might be possible.

The Present

Do you have any hobbies or special interests? – As I said last time, I love reading, and web-cruising. I think I may have already mentioned, too, that I love knitting. I’ve discovered yarn that makes striped socks, and I always have a pair on the needles.

That’s what I do to occupy my hands while I watch TV in the evenings and so I don’t snack.

          I always use the same basic pattern that I have memorized, so I don’t even have to count stitches any more except when I’m turning the heel. I’ve done these since mid-winter, and I’ve already given away 4 or 5 pairs through PW at the church. I figure there’s always some teenage girl who would like a pair of funky socks.

Do you enjoy any particular sports? – I love to watch football – my favorite teams are the Oregon Ducks, TCU Horned Frogs, the Dallas Cowboys, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the New Orleans Saints, and I root for anybody who plays against the University of Texas, Oklahoma University, Ohio State University, any of the southeast conference except University of Arkansas and Louisiana State University, the Minnesota Vikings, the Indianapolis Colts, the New York Giants, the Philadelphia Eagles, or the Washington Redskins. I like going to live baseball and live soccer games, but televised games don’t hold much interest to me. I DESPISE!!! basketball! I love to watch diving, track and field, ice skating, and gymnastics on TV. I never was much of an athlete myself. Taking a walk for exercise is about as much as I care to do, myself (mostly because I HATE to be hot and sweaty!)

What’s your typical day like now? – I get up between 6:30 and 7:30 in the morning and fix myself a cup of tea (Bill has gotten me hooked on Teavana), I take my pills for the day, and have a breakfast granola bar with my tea. Then I read my e-mail, check in on Twitter, check in on Facebook, and by that time it’s usually 10:00 or 10:30. I take my shower and get dressed. If I need to go to the bank or the grocery store, I do that before lunch. Big Al and I have lunch between 12:30 and 1:30. Then I spend the afternoon reading, messing around on the computer, etc. I have a game going on Facebook, I’m one of the organizers of Presbyterian Women Interest Group on Facebook, I’m doing some genealogical research on, and I write my blog for the day. Al goes out to watch the news at 5:30 and I usually join him when I finish my blog. If we went out for lunch we each fend for ourselves for supper, or if we ate in I usually fix something. We eat supper between 7:30 and 8:30 while watching TV. I almost always go to bed between 11:00 and 11:30 after checking my e-mail one last time. About the only variation to this schedule is Wednesdays, when we play bridge in the afternoon – I play in a foursome that meets at Barnes and Nobles, and Al plays with a group of four or five men who play at the church. The other variation is Sunday when we spend the morning going to church and then go out to dinner and get home about 1:00 or 1:30. I used to go to Toastmasters every Friday morning at 6:45, but I’ve recently dropped out. It’s too hard to get up that early since I’m not used to it any more. We’ve got doctor and dentist appointments fairly regularly, so that also breaks up the boredom of the weeks.

How is it different from your daily routines in the past? – Since we moved to Dallas, I usually worked – 7:30 to 4:30 or 8:00 to 5:00. After I started my own practice I had clients that I visited several days a week. I also attended lots of networking meetings – breakfasts, lunches or happy hours – to try to get additional clients. Being a CPA meant I had to keep up with a lot of professional reading and training, and when I had an IT employee, I had to keep up with his training. For the last couple of years though, I’ve been gradually decreasing my book of business in anticipation of retirement.