My one word for 2015 is “Honesty.”

Let’s see how I did with Honesty in July and August. (I was recently reminded that I haven’t done much posting AT ALL this summer.)

My garden is still taking up a fair amount of my time. I’ve donated almost 40 pounds of cucumbers, squash, and tomatoes to the Fish Food Bank. That’s in addition to everything Al and I could eat. We’re eating a couple of tomatoes a day, and plenty of squash. I also supplied us with several weeks of green beans. The second round of beans that I planted around the middle of July are just about ready to be picked, so we’ll have those to enjoy. I got enough Serrano peppers to make pepper sauce, and a few small jalapenos to make pico de gallo.

It has turned cool this week (after temperatures consistently in the upper 70s to mid-80s). It’s also started to rain some (we had NONE – ZERO -ZIPPO since early June). The woods and fields were on fire all over Washington but the rains since the middle of August have helped. Folks here welcomed the early warm, sunny weather, but now they realize that we really need the rain that usually falls.

I’m still walking every Thursday morning with the group from the church, and I’m keeping up with my 12,000 steps a day as counted by my trusty Fitbit. I also continue to faithfully log my food on MyFitnessPal, although the scale isn’t moving. (sigh)

The racial unrest, typified by Ferguson, Baltimore, Sandra Bland, McKinney, and Charleston, finally got under my skin enough that I began to be more pro-active about seeking change. Another woman and I from the church curated and led a discussion on race for four Sundays in July and August. We talked about systemic racism, white privilege, white fragility, and racial appropriation. Then in August, I “attended” an online course entitled “Hard Conversations on Race.” I feel like I sharpened my antenna for veiled racial slurs, and I’m becoming more vocal about challenging them when I hear them. It probably isn’t endearing me to my associates, but I really don’t care if racists don’t “like” me. At least, I finally feel like I’m being HONEST!

In August, my team at Bethany hosted a neighborhood night out and the annual Church Picnic. At the picnic we packed school bags for Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, and Church World Service. (Sorry, I was busy enough that I didn’t get any pictures taken, but you can see photos from the last couple of years here, and here and here.)

Big Al and I are getting excited for our big 50th Anniversary trip. We leave Tacoma on Sunday, September 27th and return on Saturday, October 24th. We’ll take Amtrak from here to Vancouver, BC, where we’ll board VIA (Canada Rail) and ride to Toronto. We’ll spend the night in Toronto, and then take the train to Montreal where we will spend two nights before training to Quebec City and boarding the Queen Mary II for a cruise up the St. Lawrence, around Newfoundland and down to Boston, Newport, RI, and New York City, looking at the autumn leaves (hopefully). We’ll spend a couple of days in New York, sightseeing and visiting Harriet and Robert, before we board the Jersey Central RR for Philadelphia and a quick visit with Marianne. We’ll take the train from there to Washington DC where we’ll spend three nights sightseeing (we’ve both been to DC as teenagers, but we haven’t been back). Then we board Amtrak on the Capital Limited for Chicago where we’ll have a one-night layover before catching the California Zephyr, bound for Sacramento. We’ve traveled the Empire Builder so many times we know the route by heart, so we decided to see the central Rockies this time. In Sacrament we’ll catch the Coast Starlight and home to Tacoma.

I’ll be posting pictures from the trip on Facebook, and, possibly Stellar, but I’ll be sure to put a link here to those posts.

Don’t be surprised if I don’t do an HONESTY update the first part of October, but I’ll promise to do one in November. See you then.



My one word for 2015 is “Honesty.”

Let’s see how I did with Honesty in June.

Lunch Bunch was a trip to the Clubhouse at McCormick Woods Golf Club, in Port Orchard. Good food, and a lovely setting overlooking the 9th tee.


The main thing that happened in June was our 50th Wedding Anniversary. Both of the boys and their families came and we really enjoyed having them here.


Ray and his wife (and step-daughter who is being camera-shy).


There she is after all – Katie Meers.








and Kate Watters.

While they were here they went to Seattle and saw the sights. Big Al and I stayed home (why get on I-5 if you don’t have to?)

We also had a picnic at Owen Beach on Puget Sound and Bill and Kate tried their hand at kayaking.


We went up Mt Rainier to Paradise…DSCN1022

…rode around the Olympic Peninsula where Bill spent most of his time looking for Big Foot. We stopped in Port Angeles for lunch and looked across the Strait of Juan de Fuca at Canada…


…saw Crescent Lake…DSCN1032

…drove through Forks (no vampires visible). Then we stopped at Ruby Beach on the Pacific Ocean.


They all left on the 13th and 15th, and Big Al and I have had a fairly quiet rest of the month.

My garden is still taking up a fair amount of my time. The squash are taking over the joint. I had green beans for lunch today that I grew, the peppers are making nice little peppers, and the onions are getting pretty big. I’m pretty sure I have some cucumbers under the big tepee, but I can’t get to them for the tomato plants. I have more little green tomatoes than I can count.


The spring onions were great!

I’m still walking every Thursday morning with the group from the church. (Actually, I’m still walking every day – although the weather is pretty hot – even for someone from Dallas – over 90 deg. today.)

We went to see a baseball game at the local AAA ballpark – the Tacoma Rainiers played the Reno Aces. We lost unfortunately, but it was a good game.


I’m going to see the Seattle Mariners next week!

I won the virtual race to the border by several days (remember, several of us were counting steps to see who could walk 150 miles first – the distance from Tacoma to the Peace Arch on the Canadian Border.)

I’ve gotten a FitBit for Big Al, and he is still walking a little. Maybe he will reach his goal of walking a mile. He could do it if he would try. His physical therapist released him today, so we’ll see if he will keep it up.

Until next month’s report on HONESTY you can follow along with my daily pictures.




Throw-back Thursday

Boxes in the Kitchen

Three years ago we rolled into Tacoma, and began our new life at Franke Tobey Jones. The days of wall to wall boxes and falling over each other in the one-bedroom apartment have been over for long enough that they are barely a distant memory. This was a wonderful decision we made six years ago, and all the angst of selling and not selling the house, and travel, and packing, unpacking, etc. were well worth it.












My one word for 2015 is “Honesty.”

Let’s see how I did with Honesty in May.

Lunch Bunch was a trip to the Tanglewood Grill in Gig Harbor.


I think I told you last month couple of months that the church is doing a capital campaign to raise money to bring the facilities up to ADA standards and to do some needed repairs on our 80-year-old building. We have commitments for just shy of $300,000 to meet our goal. That’s a pretty big goal for a little church of less than 100 members, but we are very healthy, if aging, and are committed to living out our faith with our pocketbooks.

The new activities director at FTJ took us to Watson’s Nursery and I was able to get some lovely red and white columbine that are going a long way to minimizing the dying daffodils (you have to let them die down if you expect to get blooms next year).


I also got two more foxglove, since the ones I got last year look so pretty (and the deer really don’t eat them).


They finally had a Joe Pye Weed (it doesn’t look like much now, but it will spread and cover the whole corner by the steps to the porch.) It smells divine when it’s in bloom.


Finally, I started dividing the ground cover that is in the bed at the base of the porch. I had the yard men dig out the old stuff that was in half of the bed, and I’m getting this to “expand”. The runners I transplanted have taken root beautifully and are beginning to put out new runners of their own.


I’ve started walking every Thursday morning with a group of folks from Bethany. We walk on the waterfront for about half an hour and then we drink coffee at a new coffee shop in the new construction.


Two Town is mostly a bar, but they have decent coffee, tea, and pastries in the morning and we are the only ones there.

FTJ has begun taking the bus down to Owen Beach a couple of Friday afternoons a month so a group of us can walk on the paved path and look at the sound.


A group from FTJ went to see the Georgia O’Keefe exhibition at the Tacoma Art Museum.


We also had a talk by a biologist who studied the wild life and repopulation of Mt. Saint Helen’s after the eruption in 1981. You can see pictures here.

I have a little raised garden plot in the FTJ garden that has been taking up a fair amount of my time. I am growing green beans, crowder peas, tomatoes, yellow squash, cucumbers, Serrano and jalapeno peppers, and onions (if they ever do anything). I gave up on the purple hulls, and put Walla-Walla onions in their place. I also got two artichoke plants to try out.


The squash and cucumbers are blooming and setting fruit, and this weekend, I spotted a couple of blooms on the tomatoes. The green bean plants are getting enormous, and the black-eyed peas have started trying to climb. Sorry I don’t have any pictures of the whole garden recently.

The Wellness Center had a “healthy” potluck lunch on Senior Fitness Day, Wednesday, May 27. My team won first place in the Fitness Jeopardy game.

Fitness Jeopardy Champs

I remembered my one word, HONESTY, when we were eating lunch in one of the dining rooms here. (It was Memorial Day and they were having barbecued ribs.) Anyway, one of the old men at the table was blathering on and on about how awful Obama Care was, and how awful Obama was, and I finally stopped him and “tactfully” told him that he didn’t know what he was talking about. He tried to keep on, but I finally said, “I just don’t want to talk about it.” He kept on, and kept on, and I finally said “I said, I don’t want to talk about it with you. I’m obviously not going to change your mind, and you FOR SURE aren’t going to change mine,” and we got up and walked out on him, sputtering.

A group here at FTJ are doing a virtual walk to the Canadian border (almost exactly 150 miles). We’re keeping track with FitBits or other GPS devices. I’m in the lead with about 60 miles since the 27th of May. I’ve gotten a FitBit for Big Al, and his physical therapist is making him walk. His goal is to be able to walk a mile. I told him he would have to be able to do that if he expected to have a good time on our trip/cruise this fall.

Until next month’s report on HONESTY you can follow along with my daily pictures.




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.

IMG_0392 IMG_0393

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.