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.





Today, I’m determined to get my daffodils planted. So, of course, I woke up and it was raining and 45 degrees. I’ve just about decided to just stick on the clothes I had on yesterday, eat breakfast, and go out and JUST DO IT! I’ll take my shower and warm up after I get the d*mned bulbs in the ground.

Yesterday, we went to the Mandolin Japanese Sushi and Steak House with the FTJ Lunch Bunch.


It was very tasty. The hibachi stir-frying was pretty typical, but entertaining. Big Al had the chicken and shrimp with vegetables, but I opted for a Beef Hot Stone Pot, which turned out to be a bed of rice covered with sautéed vegetables and topped with beef in a hot and spicy sauce – similar to a thick teriyaki, only not as sweet, and spicier. It was very tasty!

As soon as we got back, we scurried to the new writer’s class that JJ from Senior University is running. It’s just a writer’s roundtable – no real teacher – where we read our pieces and ask for criticism. Who knows how it will pan out, but it should be interesting. I’m probably going to be sharing what I write here on the blog. Some folks are interested in writing poetry, and that will be interesting, too. I’m much more visual, and need the crutch of a photo to pad out my prose. I really admire this blog. I don’t know who does it – pen name “seedbud” – but s/he inspires me daily with a photo and a haiku.

We were so full from lunch we didn’t even try to go to the monthly Duplex Social here at FTJ. I would have loved a glass of wine, but I don’t know where I would have put it. We did play bridge in the evening with our regular Friday evening bridge group.

The next three days will be filled with football and playoffs and much angst/rejoicing. We can’t escape Seahawk mania here in Tacoma, so I’ll give a nod to their game this afternoon.


Tomorrow, “da ‘Boys” will play in the frozen north at Green Bay. I’m devastated that it will be during Sunday School and Church. I’m really conflicted about where my tushy will be between 10:05 and 1:30 – Pacific Standard Time. Will it be in my favorite recliner in front of the TV? or will it be at Bethany Presbyterian Church in a pew? Stay tuned…


Then – on Monday evening – my beloved Ducks will play against Ohio State for the first College Football National Championship. GO DUCKS!!!


The biggest question is “What on earth am I going to think about after Monday night?”


After the dreadful weather the last weekend of September and the beginning of the first week of October, we’ve had several days of bright blue sky and warmer temperatures. The weekend was simply mahvelous! Last evening, after dark, a nice rain moved in, and, although today is bright, with scattered clouds, it’s colder and very windy (no reading on the porch for me). WeatherBug says it’s 54 degrees with a wind chill of 52. The rest of the week looks like it will be changeable, with scattered showers and sunbreaks. Typical fall weather!

The trees around town have started changing colors, and there are some spectacular sights. Maybe I’ll remember to take my iPad and get some decent pictures of the really beautiful ones later this week, if only the wind doesn’t blow all the leaves off of them. We lost one of the big trees that line the drive onto campus last week in the storm last week, but, so far, the trees in the forest over the fence from my backyard seem to be holding their own.

Kudos to the Ducks for maintaining their place as #2 college football team in the nation with their game against Colorado. Unfortunately, the Cowboys were didn’t fare so well, although they were in it until the last play of the game. I was very impressed with U-Dub (that’s the University of Washington) against Stanford on Saturday night. They seem to be a real team this year, and the Ducks had better buckle down and try hard next week when they play them in Seattle. It’s the featured game of the week on ESPN next Saturday. ESPN will be bringing Game Day to town, and the excitement is running high.

About the only excitement for us last week was a Lunch Bunch trip to Silk Thai. I wrote a guest post for the Franke Tobey Jones blog about it, but so far it hasn’t been published. I’ll let you know when it finally pops up.

We talked about DESPAIR in Sunday School yesterday, and we’ll be talking about it for the next several weeks. We’ll be looking at Biblical references to despair (think Job), and we’ll be using Kathleen Norris’s Acedia and Me to explore further. We’ll be looking at acedia as containing depression but being different. In one episode of West Wing, Josiah Bartlett says “There’s a Korean word, Han. I looked it up. There is no literal English translation, it’s a state of mind, of soul really. A sadness. A sadness so deep no tears will come, and yet still, there’s hope.” I think that’s what we’re looking at. What is the Christian response to that existential angst?

I’m trying not to bore y’all with my thoughts on the idiots in Washington, DC., but it’s never far from my mind. Lord in your mercy…

Gearing Up

This week is shaping up to be a busy one.

We start up with Brain Games again tomorrow afternoon. It’s a lot of fun and I hope I’ll do even better this time around since I’ve been in training with Lumonsity.


Wednesday I’m having lunch with the preacher. I’ve been asked to fill a volunteer job at the church and we’re going to talk about it. We going to The Rosewood – a local spot that I haven’t been to before. That will be fun.

Rosewood Cafe

Friday we have Lunch Bunch at an Italian restaurant – Marzano’s. I didn’t get around to making a reservation on the bus in time, so Big Al and I will be driving down in our own car.


Doesn’t that look WONDERFUL? My mouth is watering already.

Saturday I do a stint at the Food Bank registering voters (since there’s no Ducks on the TV). I’ve just about decided that I won’t be able to do volunteer Income Tax help this year. I’ve gotten involved in too many other things, and I don’t think I’ll have the bandwidth for it.

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 Ancestry.com 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 Netflix.com. 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.

Lunch Bunch

The Franke Tobey Jones bus loaded up and headed off to Gig Harbor for lunch on Friday.


We headed across the Tacoma Narrows bridge


photo: Washington State Dept of Transportation WSDOT

Before long we arrived at Gateway to India for a wonderful Indian buffet lunch.

IMG_1038 - Copy

Most of the folks had never tried Indian food before, but they all said they enjoyed it. Winnie McNair and Mary Damonte,


Jan Shearer…


and Shirley Robbins, the concierge for the Garden Apartments, who went along as our “chaperone”.


We were all entranced with the light fixtures. Delicate embroidery with little mirrors in the circles.



Big Al particularly had a good time, because he LOVES Indian food and we hadn’t found a good Indian Restaurant until now. (He looks happy dreaming in the sun waiting for everybody to load the bus for the ride back to Tobey Jones.)


I was happy, too, since I got my fill of murgh masala, vindaloo, aloo, biryani, and garlic naan. YUM!


Groundhog Day

Yesterday was a beautiful day – mid-50s, mostly sunny – and they promised the same for today, but it’s the mid-afternoon and we haven’t seen the sun yet. Also it’s 41 deg. Hardly mid-50s.

Settling in continues slowly. We received our belated Christmas present from Ray yesterday – a lovely umbrella stand.Umbrella Stand

It has the place of honor just inside the door, right where I can grab an umbrella when I’m ready to leave the house. I know, I’m not a real Washingtonian if I use an umbrella – but, hey, I prefer not to have a wet head all the time.

We went with the Lunch Bunch to Johnny’s Dock yesterday. It’s on the tide flats, by a marina across from downtown Tacoma. Tasty – and we probably wouldn’t have found it by ourselves.


I have given up and agreed to return to cooking (*sigh*), but only if we eat our main meal at noon. We’ve gotten used to it because lunch portions at restaurants are usually cheaper, and Big Al really doesn’t like going anywhere in the evening. He thinks we ought to be at home once the news comes on. I decided I’ll cook Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Tuesdays we eat at the Bistro because I have Tai Chi from 11:00-noon, and then we play bridge at 1:00. Thursdays we HAVE to have our Mexican fix at Moctezuma’s.


Sundays will be our day to explore interesting restaurants. We already know we love the Sunday Buffet at the Lobster Shop, and I’m not sure when we’ll get to indulge in Silk Thai, our favorite Thai restaurant. Maybe we can skip Moctezuma’s occasionally.

Anyway, we had barbecue pulled pork sandwiches for lunch today with cole slaw. I didn’t do much because we had the barbecue pork in the refrigerator, but we didn’t spend money at a restaurant. I’m already planning to try to recreate Zuppa Toscana because there isn’t a convenient Olive Garden around here, and I’ve been craving it. I also have the makings for chili, and pot roast. I splurged on a Crock Pot when we were down at McCord AFB at the BX last week, so I guess I’d better put it to good use. I’ve enjoyed my 9 month hiatus from cooking, but it IS expensive.

Now that I actually have a closet of my own with plenty of room in it, I got the clothes that I had packed away in the suitcases out and hung them up. Monday I’ll try to pin down someone to hook up the DVD player and all the other components.

I got out the card table and I’m going to start sorting the stuff for taxes. I undershot my estimate in 2011, so I had to make estimated payments in 2012. But that means we’re getting a LOT back. That should be nice!

Short and Sweet

I just got back from a nice lunch in Parkland, Washington, at a lovely tea room with the Lunch Bunch. This is the fourth day out of four days this year that we have had blue skies and have been able to see the mountain! It was warm today, too (51 deg which is really warm for January in Tacoma.) I love living here.



We went to continental breakfast this morning (which happens every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in the parlor here at the Garden Apartments). Then to the Lunch Bunch this noon. Now I’m running out the door to go to Happy Hour in the “bar/game room” in the building. Got to do that before the Texas A&M v Oklahoma game at 5:00 p.m.  This is such a whirlwind of existence.

Wasn’t the game last night (Oregon v Kansas St.) great? GoDucks!