A Little Red Wagon ~

I was a deprived child.  I did not have a little red wagon of my own.  I did, however, have shiny metal roller skates with a key.

So I guess that makes up for it.

I don’t know if the two grown-up kids in this video were wagon deprived in their youth or not, but to me they are two shining examples that there is still a little “kid” in each of us no matter how grey hair our hair or how many wrinkles crease our cheeks.

Whatever you do today, let the child in you come out to play.  Because it really is the simple things in life that bring us joy.

Cheers!

Nancy

 

2 thoughts on “A Little Red Wagon ~

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The Big Float ~

It rains in Portland. It rains a lot!  So when summer rolls around and the sun finally shines its happy light on us, everyone heads for the great outdoors and some fun in the sun – Portland style.  Which is how hubs and I ended up at The Big Float.

Wandering the streets of downtown Portland

Wandering the streets of downtown Portland

This year more than 2,500 souls dragged their pale white bodies, their favorite flotation devices, kids, friends, grandma and in some cases, even their dogs through the streets of Southwest Portland making their way to Tom McCall Waterfront Park to pay the $6 fee that allowed them to participate in one of Portland’s most unique summer events.

The Big Float officially kicked off  with a spectacular parade let by the Last Regiment of Syncopated Drummers, a very good and very loud drum corps marching band.   The band played as the would-be floaters, in all their floating finery, clutched their flotation devices big and small, formed a very long line and began to snake their way slowly down the pedestrian walkway from Waterfront Park to Poet’s Beach. They shuffled for roughly a quarter mile passing a high end hotel, several restaurants, shops, a wine bar and a condominium complex.

They marched!

They marched!

Some smart folks, who had probably done this once or twice before, decided to skip the official parade and beat it down the path to Poet’s Beach well ahead of the official start.  They had time for a pre-float work out and some mental prep.

Practicing their float moves

Practicing their float moves

getting mentally prepared.  The hats are key.

getting mentally prepared. The hats are key.

When the marchers finally reached Poet’s Beach, things slowed down considerably as they had to make a very sharp left turn, leave the pavement and pick their way very carefully down a narrow gravel path.  This was easier for some than others.  Like the folks carrying large 6 man rafts on their heads.

Making the turn

Making the turn

The band played for an hour and still the parade was lined up as far back as our eyes could see.  They were a patient bunch but it was hot and  that chilly river water was looking better and better.

A bride

A bride

And her bridesmaids

And her bridesmaids

I had a vision of thousands of very colorful lemmings singing and dancing their way to the sea.  But in the end, everyone agreed it was definitely worth the slow walk and the long wait.

The Big Float

The Big Float

When they finally did hit the water, it was an easy float or paddle back to Waterfront Park where the party was now in full swing.  Three bands entertained from a barge just offshore, nine carts provided local food and drink, chair massages helped work out the kinks and a play area entertained the wee ones.  Add lots of cool grass to stretch out on – and a good time was had by all.

Portland, you sure know how to throw a Summer Party.  Thanks for inviting us.

Keep Portland Weird!

Cheers,

Nancy

22 thoughts on “The Big Float ~

    • Ha Char! Dawn said Portland was copying Pt Townsend. You guys have way more fun but I love sharing some of the great things that go on around here. I hope it inspires others to get out wherever they live because there is always fun happening if you look for it – as you already know.

  1. Not sure anyone would want to put their tush in the water on either of the Philadelphia rivers (hence, the skulling tradition), but this looks like fun!

    • Actually, Suzanne, this why the whole event was started. A group is promoting river clean-up and access wanted to show the river was safe and fun (now that so much work has been done to restore it) so they created the event 4 years ago. It brings people to the river and a lot of awareness to keeping the local waters clean. All good stuff and lots of fun!

    • It was pure wacky entertainment Neva. I took so many photos I had to restrain myself to just post a few on the blog.

    • It definitely was fun. Lots of dads + kids on all kinds of floating devices. Thanks for stopping by the blog.

    • It is a great area Michele. When you survive the long dark damp winters, you have to know how to get out and frolic in the sun! Portlanders have taken frolicing to an art form.

  2. Fun! Minneapolis should adopt this practice in one of the lakes, if not the river. Most people here head to Wisconsin’s Apple River for tubing. Vans (and sober drivers) retrieve the revelers down river.

  3. Portland folks know how to celebrate summer. Never heard of this before, but I’d totally love to participate (or at least witness) in all the fun sometime. I’ve never been to Portland except to change flights — a shame since I live in N. California!

    • Well Cathy, maybe its time for you and Mr. TWS to come visit. I’d be happy to give you a personal tour!

    • Mine too, Marilyn. There were so many great get-ups that it was hard to just post a few photos. Can’t wait to see what the coming weekend brings!

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Camas, Washington ~ a small town gem

Camas, Washington ~ a small town gem and a great destination for a quickie weekend getaway.

welcome to beautiful downtown Camas

welcome to beautiful downtown Camas

A short 25 minute drive from the burbs of Beaverton takes us across the Columbia River into Washington State, land of legal pot for anyone who’s so inclined.  We weren’t there for the legal buzz but, by the end of the day as we wound our way back home we were definitely high on life and small town adventures.

Around 20,000 people reside in Camas and these lucky folks enjoy the best of both worlds – living in a small town within easy access to the big cities of Portland and Vancouver.  It’s about a 20 minute drive to the Portland airport and and easy drive east on Highway 14 takes you further into the Columbia River gorge for all manner of outdoor activities, art festivals, resorts, and wineries.  As they say in real estate – location, location, location.

Last Saturday morning, hubs and I headed out to stretch our legs and shake off the work week (me, not hubs the professional retired gentleman as his newly minted business cards proudly proclaim) with a leisurely seven mile stroll around Lacamas Lake, conveniently located just a few miles from the heart of downtown.  If I lived in Camas, I would definitely own a canoe!  While we walked, we enjoyed watching the lake come to life as the sun warmed the air and weekenders came out to play.

summer fun on Lacamas Lake

summer fun on Lacamas Lake

Kayakers paddled slowly and silently, hugging the waterlily lined shore while happy kids whooped and hollered as they hit the wake behind buzzing speed boats.  A few fisherman tried their luck and even a sea plane got into the act and skimmed the water for a graceful takeoff.

the trail meanders around much of Lacamas Lake

the trail meanders around much of Lacamas Lake

It’s hard to keep your eyes on the path with so much going on but we managed to avoid any walking accidents and made it back to the park and parking lot exercised, entertained and ready for lunch and a self-guided walking tour of downtown Camas.

First, lunch!  We headed to Nuestra Mesa (Our Table) where we savored a leisurely, al fresco Mexican lunch complete with cervesa for hubs and a pomegranate marguerita for moi.  We enjoyed authentic, well-prepared food in a lovely atmosphere and met the owners, Todd and Tania.  We chatted with Tania who shared their story of meeting in Sayulita where Todd, a surfer dude from the US, had opened a restaurant with his buddy and Tania, who grew up in Mexico City, was working in a family-owned business.  It’s a long way from a small beach town in Mexico to a small river town in western Washington, but we’re glad they’re here and we will definitely be back for more delicious tacos and tortas.  And next time I’m trying the grapefruit marguerita.  Olé.

Our bellies happy, we set out for a walk and window shopping along Fourth Street which appeared to be the main drag in downtown Camas.  It’s a beautiful tree-lined street with lots of lovely shops and a few more interesting restaurants worth a stop.  We could have spent way too much time fondling the treasures tucked away in Camas Antiques, but we moseyed on – past the beautifully restored Liberty Theater and poked our heads in for a peek at the charming B&B Camas Hotel.  What a fun place for an overnight getaway!

this shop is an antique hunter's dream

this shop is an antique hunter’s dream

enjoy the first run movies without the multiplex crowds

enjoy the first run movies without the multiplex crowds

A charming little place to tuck in for the night

A charming little place to tuck in for the night

Camas was once a mill town and a large paper mill still sits at the west end of town.  A good wind in the wrong direction and your nose will let you know it’s still in operation!  All was clear on our Saturday visit.  These days, however, although it is a short commute to the “big city”, several high tech companies like Hewlett-Packard and Sharp Microelectronics have set up shop nearby.   Camas is definitely growing.  Let’s hope it manages to keep it’s small town charm.

Sometimes we get so focused on traveling to far flung places and foreign “bucket list” destinations that we forget to explore the hidden treasures right in our own back yard.  Small towns like Camas are perfect destinations for day trips or weekend getaways and they dot the highways and back roads all over the Pacific Northwest.  What are your favorite small town gems?

See you on the road.  Let’s meet up for a glass of vino.  Hubs is buying!

Cheers,

Nancy

2 thoughts on “Camas, Washington ~ a small town gem

  1. “Professionally Retired Frenchie”? “Retraitée”? “No longer working; t’was about time!”?
    I’ll have think about that! Is hubs from Canada also?

    • Let me know what you come up with Patricia! Hubs is an America boy, born in Boston Mass. The fleur de lis had something to do with the shop – unfortunately not Québec but just across the border from Portland in Washington state.

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Traveling with our Taste buds ~

We love to travel.  We love to eat.  And these days we’re really into walking as a way to discover interesting places to eat. I call it traveling with our taste buds. It’s my theory that if I walk for food, I can pretty much eat whatever I want and not gain (too much) weight.

From farmers markets to cooking classes to sidewalk bistros and street carts, hubs and I have eaten our way across Portland, much of the U.S. and now we’re working on eating our way across the globe.  One tasty bite at a time.

Jamon - a staple in Spain

Jamon – a staple in Spain

A pop-up sidewalk bar just when you need one.

A pop-up sidewalk bar just when you need one.

Learning to cook Oaxacan style.

Learning to cook Oaxacan style.

Walking through a market is a must stop in a new city.

A farmer’s market is a great place to stroll (and sample) in any city.

Always try the local delicacies...at least once.

Always try the local delicacies…at least once.

Buys your tortillas by the kilo - fresh, hot and muy sabrosa

Buy your tortillas by the kilo – fresh, hot and muy sabrosa

Try it...even if you aren't sure what it is.

Be adventurous. Try it…even if you aren’t sure what it is.

We’ve got a lot of traveling ahead of us and a lot of great tastes to explore.  I’m sure some of them will be more interesting than delicious.  Let’s just say that my taste buds have a long way to go before I can truly call myself an adventurous eater.  I’m working on it.  What’s the most interesting food you’ve eaten in your travels?

Bon Appetit!

Nancy

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5 thoughts on “Happy Monday ~

    • Margie, we should make our own Happy video with all the Hull folks when Les and I visit. They are doing this all over the world – old and young. Even in Iran where the young people got thrown in jail for it. You know how to make a movie happen… ???

    • I believe they are in Australia. Forgot which city. I agree, it looks like a lovely place to actively retire. Fun folks that’s for sure.

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I Did Then and I Still Do ~

On the road of life, it’s not where you go, but who’s by your side that makes the difference.

walking the camino de santiago

wandering the roads less travelled

It’s our anniversary today.  Eleven years have zipped by so quickly.  Apparently time really does fly when you’re having fun.

Last year on this date, when I sat down to write an anniversary post and share my gratitude for the wonderful man who has shared this crazy life with me for the last ten years, I  circled back to a post I had written way back in July of 2012 for a quick walk down memory lane and a spark of inspiration.  It took me right back to that beautiful morning 11 years ago.  That post expressed my feelings perfectly.   For once, I seem to have gotten it right the first time.  So, I’ve decided to make it my special Anniversary Post.  Every year I’ll bring it back, dust it off, and change the date, because…

I did then, and I still do.

Eleven years ago today, on a beautiful sunny morning, I put on my new dress, a pair of strappy sandals with heels, took  extra care with my hair and makeup and then walked with my best friend out to the very end of the point away from Rosario Resort on Orcas Island.  We stood there under the branches of two huge oak trees whose trunks had grown twined together and looked out at the Puget Sound.  Boats glided by.  Birds soared and swooped.  The ferry passed and we waited.  In the background the lawnmowers hummed and leaf blowers buzzed as the head groundskeeper and her crew tended to their daily duties of keeping Rosario lush and beautiful.  We waited and then waited a little longer.  We watched a car approach slowly and come to a stop at the end of the narrow dirt road.  Finally, she was here.  The woman we’d been so patiently waiting for.   Another Nancy, and she had come to join my friend and I in marriage.  Fifteen minutes later we were husband and wife.  Becky (the head groundskeeper) and Barbara (a neighbor of the minister) were our witnesses.  I cried from beginning to end and, of course, never thought to bring a hankie.  An hour later, after a champagne toast, my new husband and I set sail on our first adventure as a married couple – kayaking in the San Juan Islands.   Cheers to this wonderful man who has brought so much laughter and joy to my life.  I loved you then.  I still do.  I always will.

We’re off on Life’s Next Excellent Adventure. July 18, 2003, Orcas Island WA

Here’s to many new adventures to come and my wonderful partner-in-fun who willingly goes along for the ride wherever the road leads.

Cheers!

Nancy

 

3 thoughts on “I Did Then and I Still Do ~

  1. brought tears to my eyes again reading it for the third time and knowing you both. Cheers to you both. love you guys Evans

    • Ha ha! Thanks Evans. Even though we do a great impression of The Bickersons when Mr. Wonderful is trying to tell me how to drive :))) Have a great weekend. We are going out to a new tapas restaurant this evening to celebrate.

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My #WDS2014 Adventure ~

You are never too old to indulge in a wee bit of World Domination!  That was my thinking anyway when I attended #WDS2014 aka The World Domination Summit - a multi-day gathering of 3000+ lively, creative and inspiring souls who traveled from all across the globe to connect in downtown Portland Oregon for the fourth annual iteration of this very cool event.

WDS was on my bucket list and this year I was lucky (early) enough to snag a ticket.  These babies sell out quickly so, you snooze, you lose and that’s what happened to me last year.  This time I jumped the day they went on sale.

Super Hero

Super Hero

When I told folks that I was going to the World Domination Summit, I got more than a few puzzled looks.  “World domination?”  “What the hell are you getting involved with?”  “That sounds…interesting.”  “Well, have a good time.”

And I had more than a good time.  I had a fabulous time.  My creative mojo was re-charged.  My head is swimming with new ideas and my waning resolve to cut the corporate umbilical cord sooner rather than later has been fully restored.  In short, getting out of Dodge has become priority number one (again).  And I have a new toolbox to work with.

For two very full days, Grandma Nancy listened and learned and shared with a whole pack of mostly 20 and 30-somethings and they blew my socks off!

Here’s how it went down.

The Great Namaste.  When an event that starts with the intent to set a new world record for the most people doing yoga in one place, you know it’s not going to be any ordinary rah rah weekend.  On Friday morning 800+ people gathered in Portland’s Living Room (Pioneer Courthouse Square), spread out their colorful yoga mats on the bricks in the 90 degree heat and OM’d their way into the Guinness Book of World Records.  So far so good.

WDS Great Namaste

The Great Namaste

How do we live a remarkable life in a conventional world?WDS keynote

This was the question that attendees were encouraged to contemplate as we listened to a well-curated line-up of inspiring, heartwarming, funny, and very thought-provoking keynote speakers with lots of time for mixing, mingling, exploring, and making connections.  Throw in a 5k run, the Portland Experience in the Park Blocks, a scavenger hunt called the Unconventional Race and the very unusual “Highly Sensitive Person Lounge” located on the mezzanine of a nearby hotel where a dimly lit room was set up with several capsule-like hammocks for napping and you have one hell of an experience.  I didn’t nap, but I did check it out.  When I peeked in, every hammock was full and a very loud buzzing noise was emanating from one in the back corner.

But it always comes down to the people.

The Poem Catcher came all the way from Scotland.

The Poem Catcher came all the way from Scotland.

This group of adventurers and inspiration seekers were absolutely delightful – full of adventurous plans, brilliant ideas and interesting stories.  I met 29 year old Kat who quit her job in 2008 to work on the first Obama campaign doing social media and has been traveling the world every since.  Kat’s doing in her late 20′s what I hope to do in my late 60′s and she had lots of great advice for me.  I sat next to Tracy from Vancouver Island who at 50+ quit her job and began a new career as a designer of edgy baby clothes and up-cycled art jewelry.

Woody & Alice

Woody & Alice

I raised a glass in the beer garden with Woody from England and Alice from Romania who were extending their WDS weekend into a two week tour of the western United States.  They loved their Airbnb stay in Cannon Beach!

And I swapped life stories and dreams for the future with twin sisters Alex and Jennifer – currently from Boston and Atlanta who were plotting their next great adventures and bought me lunch (and several glasses of vino!).

Brave Bots wearing our invisible super hero capes!

Brave Bots wearing our invisible super hero capes!

We shared our “brave bots” with our waiters and they indulged us with a photo.  We talked and laughed for so long that we totally missed the meditation in the park meet-up, so we made a quickie doughnut run to Blue Star Doughnuts and raced back to find a seat for the final session.  My young friends then partied into the night while I headed home with my mind racing and my butt dragging.

A few take-aways !

The truth is, we are ALL cousins – from the funny and brilliant A.J. Jacobs, author of My Year of Living Biblically and currently gearing up to hold the world’s largest family reunion in NYC next June.

Stop talking and listen – Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant John Francis author of Planetwalker: 17 Years of Silence, 22 Years of Walking.

Don’t be afraid to meet someone – the WDS mantra!

It’s never too late – from all the courageous folks I had the pleasure to share my story with.

You are braver than you think!  – Dee Williams, author of The Big Tiny and Gary Hirsch creater of BotJoy

What do you want to be remembered for?

What do you want to be remembered for?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A huge congratulations and Thank You! to Chris Guillebeau and the entire WDS Team.  You rocked my world!

4 thoughts on “My #WDS2014 Adventure ~

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Senior Living Game-changer?

This could be a senior living game-changer.

A brilliant idea in inter-generational living has blossomed into the thriving community of Bridge Meadows.

Bridge Meadows, which opened in Portland in 2011, is home to three generations of residents: low income seniors who receive discounted rent in exchange for volunteering 10 hours a week; foster children; and the families who are in the process of adopting them.  There’s a grandma and grandpa or an auntie on every corner.

Old-fashioned family values have come back to life in a whole new way and it’s a very good thing for young and old alike.

Bridge Meadows is a unique multi-generational community located in the Portsmouth neighborhood of North Portland where adoptive parents, foster children, and elders – those over 55 – find a true home built with love and the shared vision of a better tomorrow.

I hope we see many creative inter-generational communities begin to bloom all across the country.

Cheers!

Nancy