One More Trip Around The Sun ~

Well it’s happened again, somehow I’ve managed to complete one more trip around the sun.  My 65th to be exact.

Sixty-five turned out to be a damn fine year if I do say so myself.  I am grateful for each and every moment, for adventures shared with friends and family, and way too many laughs to count.  Life is truly filled with magic moments.  And these days I take every opportunity to look back, reflect and savor my days on this planet.

So… I made a little movie.  It’s how I entertain myself when hubs is watching Mash reruns on ME TV.  Thanks to each and every one of you who made this movie possible by sharing your light, your laughter and your wine with me.  I am truly blessed.

And here’s my birthday gift to you… I gathered a few fun thoughts on being “older”.  Here’s the good, the bad and the what-the-what?

First the good ~

•There is nothing left to learn the hard way.

•No one expects you to run anywhere. (Except for Gil Peters – we expect him to run everywhere)

•In a hostage situation, you are likely to be released first.

•Things you buy now won’t wear out before you do.

•You can live without sex but not your glasses.

•You quit trying to hold your stomach in no matter who walks into the room.

•Your eyes won’t get much worse.

•Your investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off.

•Your joints are more accurate meteorologists than the national weather service.

•Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can’t remember them either.

•Your supply of brain cells is finally down to a manageable size.

And the not so good…

•Wrinkled was not one of the things I wanted to be when I grew up.

•In dog years – I’m dead.

•You sit in a rocking chair and can’t get it going.

•You can live without sex but not your glasses.

•The twinkle in your eye is the sun reflecting off your bi-focals.

•Your wild oats have turned to mush.

•At 66 you find yourself at that awkward age – somewhere between desirability and complete senility.

•Everything that doesn’t hurt, doesn’t work.

The silver lining…

•Age is only important if you are cheese or wine.

•The older you get the better you were.

•Old age and treachery trump youth and skill every time.

•It still beats the alternative.

So as I prepare to celebrate my own “sweet 66″ (all weekend long – thank goodness Monday is a holiday), I raise my glass to each of you.  Enjoy every magic moment on your own trip around the sun this year – whatever number it is.  Because…Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming “WOO HOO what a ride!”

Cheers!

Nancy

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7 thoughts on “One More Trip Around The Sun ~

    • Looking forward to seeing you guys and taking the tour. Judy, can you please email me with your address. I was only there the one time and I don’t have it any more. Thanks! See you Sunday at 12 Noon. Nancy

  1. It made me positively misty-eyed (in a good way!) to watch all the wonderful adventures and life you’ve had the last 365 days! Lots of laughter and friends sharing those adventures, and of course, Hubs! Blessings for many more Happy Birthdays and trips around the sun!

    • Kirsten, I am so glad that we got to share so many happy moments in this past turn…here’s to a new year, new adventures, more laughter and more bocce tournaments for each of us.

  2. Happy Birthday! I love the video and your saying at the end:

    ‘Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming “WOO HOO what a ride!”

    Lol! That’s awesome!

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Dog Days of Summer ~

We’re officially in the dog days of summer.  I wasn’t really sure of the origin of this phrase so I turned to the every-trusty Wikipedia for some enlightenment.

It started with The Romans who referred to the dog days as diēs caniculārēs and associated the hot weather with the star Sirius. They considered Sirius to be the “Dog Star” because it is the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major (Large Dog). Sirius is also the brightest star in the night sky.

The Dog Days originally were the days when Sirius rose just before or at the same time as the sun.  (apparently this is no longer the case, but whatever) The Romans sacrificed a red dog in April to appease the rage of Sirius, believing that the star was the cause of the hot, sultry weather.

Dog Days were popularly believed to be an evil time when “the Sea boiled, the Wine turned sour, Dogs grew mad, and all other creatures became languid; causing to man, among other diseases, burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies.” according to Brady’s Clavis Calendaria, 1813. The Dog Days ran from approximately July 24th through August 24th.

And there you have the sum total of my newly acquired knowledge about The Dog Days of Summer.

The late summer air feels different – heavier somehow.  Like change is floating in on the breeze.  Mid-August days are always hot and humid (some places more than others, thank you Portland) and I feel unusually slow and lazy. If I had a hammock, I would lie in it and sip a nice cool glass of my favorite drink Tazo lemon ginger over ice and read. And doze.  And read…

What I’ve been doing instead is playing with my camera – taking photos of dogs.  So I put together a little photo essay I like to call The Dog Days of Summer. Because, you know, every dog has his day.

I'm saving this table.

I’m saving this table.

Taking the dogs for a stroll

Taking the dogs for a stroll

I can sleep anywhere

I can sleep anywhere

dogatfarmersmkt

I met this cutie at the Hillsboro Farmers Market

Willis my grand-pup

Willis my grand pup

Tenzing the vineyard guard dog

Tenzing the vineyard guard dog

Enjoy these last few weeks of summer.  And be sure to drink up the wine before it turns sour.  I’ll do my part on that for sure.

Cheers!

Nancy

One thought on “Dog Days of Summer ~

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When should you hand over the keys?

My step-dad Bill’s last car was a 1965 Mustang. It was a beauty – sporty looking and fun to drive. He was always a car guy and had a new car every few years, but that Mustang sure held a special place in his heart. I have great memories of my dad and mom, very active members of the local Mustang Owners Club, participating in road rallies, Mustang caravans to Vegas and other fun social outings. That car was not just reliable transportation.  It was his alter ego.

1965_mustang

My dad was the proud owner of a license to drive for over 60 years.  Like most of us, driving was part of his identity.  It gave him freedom. And as he aged, it helped him hold on to his vitality and his “youth” – well past anything that resembled actual youth .

I don’t remember for sure, but I think he was about 80 when he gave up driving and the Mustang.  He sold it to two women friends who loved it almost as much as he did.  He was happy to see it go to a good home.  I’m sure it was bittersweet.

Giving up the keys was not an easy decision, but as I look back, I realize it was one he made with grace and much wisdom.  We didn’t have to worry about him on the road, we didn’t have to have “the talk” or to wrestle the keys from his hand.  He knew it was time.  And he rose to the occasion.  Thank you Bill!

After he’d given up his car, Bill used to visit me in Oregon and talk wistfully about driving.  I would offer him my keys but he never took me up on the offer.  I didn’t think much about any of this at the time.  Now that I am older and wiser, and growing closer to the time when I will have to make that decision myself, I am grateful.  Especially when I see my friends struggling with their parents who are well into their 80′s or 90′s and still behind the wheel.

How do you know when it’s time? There’s no magic number. It’s different for each of us and it is a life changing moment – relinquishing of your personal freedom, your independence and along with that some of your dignity.  Not a decision any one of us takes lightly.

Most of my peers are in their 60′s or early 70′s and giving up the keys seems like something in the very distant future. Hell, we’re still young. We’re healthy. We’re world travelers or marathon runners. We’re not the problem.

Until we are.

I’m not saying anyone I know should give up the keys…yet.  But it should be on the table for discussion.  I want to follow my step-dad’s lead and know when it’s the right time and have a plan.   He gave up the keys and took up walking.  I think the walking is what kept him fit and healthy into his late 80′s.

I sent this video to a friend who is struggling with “the key issue” with her parents.  It sheds an interesting light on the question “when is the right time?”  Listening to 97-year-old Evelyn puts a whole new spin on the current thinking. At least it did mine.

Perhaps the freeways of the future will be filled with centenarians swooping in and out of traffic in their mini convertibles.  And, although I can’t picture myself not being able to drive my own car, I’m not sure I’m comfortable with that either.

What I know for sure is that we will all be there sooner than we think.

I’m throwing this out for discussion… talk amongst yourselves…or better yet, leave your thoughts, experiences and brilliant ideas in the Comments below.

Now, where did I put my keys?

Nancy

8 thoughts on “When should you hand over the keys?

  1. An important part of aging in place for me is to live where I can get to public transportation within a block or 2. I suppose there may come a time when that will be too challenging too. The Village concept is really taking off in Portland. There are now villages forming in every quadrant.

    • Judy, I totally agree about aging in place and being near public transportation. That is what made it work for my dad in Vancouver and unfortunately it is a challenge if you live in the burbs (carlandia). The freedom to come and go as you please is vital to growing old with dignity. I wrote a post a while back about the village concept. I think it’s brilliant! Can’t wait to see you soon and take a tour of the roadtreker.

  2. I love this video. Reminds me of my grandmother who also took an older friend to the store twice a week. They lived in California where car is freedom. I feel that way too, but I’ve noticed that people in the city, or at least here in Barcelona, don’t make that connection and some NEVER learn to drive! They don’t feel the need.

    • I would love to move next to areas where walking if easy and a car (for the most part) not necessary. Hopefully I will get to try that out very soon. P.S. Love your new 7 days in Barcelona Guide.

  3. Perfect topic, really. My great-grandmother, at the age of 98 (I was 8) was still driving in a very small town in MN. She drove until she passed on – not much later. So, geography and demographics of the city (lots of retirees) made a difference for her. She had excellent eyesight, too. My parents are driving in their 80s now. My mom has stopped driving in the night due to eyesight issues (I do the same!). But the town is full of slow-driving retirees. The entire town knew an old guy who was well into his 90s that was still puttering about in his vintage car, never having a problem. My in-laws were split: mom willingly gave up her keys while dad refused – scaring everyone with his new dings on the car, blaming everyone but himself for bad driving. Being a huge and stubborn old man with good eyesight, there was nothing we could do. Thanks, Nancy for bringing up this topic.

  4. What a tough thing. My grandma never did drive so it wasn’t an issue for her. It will be interesting to see how my parents handle it and then us … oh my! I love the lady in the video … so determined to help!

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Field of Dreams ~

Field of Dreams – build it and they will come.

This weekend hubs and I slathered ourselves with sunscreen, loaded our cooler with ice, water and lots of snacks and drove down a dusty gravel road headed for a beautiful place that we will forever remember as the orchard in the middle of nowhere.

I had signed us up to be members of a small but mighty volunteer army whose mission was to transform a dusty field in a pear orchard into an elegant location for a farm to table dinner.  Talk about a make-over!

This dream team, a well-oiled machine of many talents and amazing can-do energy (plus hubs and I) rolled up their sleeves, put on their sun hats and got to work early Saturday morning.  In less than 36 hours something akin to magic had taken place.

I had my camera in hand so I could capture the transformation. It was such a cool experience that I put together this little time-lapse video to share ~

Congratulations to Kirsten and the whole Home Plate Dream Team.  You guys rock!  Thanks for letting us get our hands (and feet!) dirty and use a few muscles that must have needed it.

Cheers!

Nancy

 

14 thoughts on “Field of Dreams ~

    • Thanks Kirsten, I always bring my camera but you never know in the heat of the moment and bright sun what kind of shots you are getting. I was happy that I had enough usable ones to play with and make the video. And I learned how to make a You Tube channel and upload the imovie to YouTube so I could then figure out how to embed it into the blog. I did this when I should have been working :) Congratulations one more time.

    • Thanks Char! It was a lot of work and a lot of fun for a really great cause so we were happy to participate. And I was happy to get to clean up (sort of) and be part of the event on the other side. It was a truly lovely evening in the orchard/vineyard. Did you get to meet my friend Evans? She and Dawnie were playing all last week.

  1. Well, that sure looked like fun! And fabulous too! I loved the transformation. And loved the dusty foot shot! You know, when you come to Hull, you will be meeting some of your most dedicated blog followers at the brunch! Be prepared to meet your public!

    • Thanks Margie. Les and I have not done that kind of physical labor (in the heat!) for a long time. It felt like the old days at Hollywood Props. See you soon!

  2. That looks amazing! Do you volunteer to see up and then eat? Or did you ask for the experience to help out? I have always wanted to do that! Fun!!

    • Hi Heather, we volunteered and the volunteers did get to eat but not at all those lovely tables. Les and I were the guests of Kirsten at her lovely table so we got to eat with the fancy people. I had to try to wash those dirty feet off with a bucket of water and paper towels in the farm bathroom. Home Plate Youth Services is an amazing organization that Kirsten works for as Director of Development. It serves homeless youth in Washington County.

  3. What a great you tube video! You’ve got skills! It looks like all your hard work paid off with a great time for all!

    • Thank you Andrea. It was really fun to be able to tell the story through photos. I kept wishing for a better camera but then if it had been any bigger than my little point & shoot, I wouldn’t have been able to work and carry my camera in my pocket.

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Yummy Home-Made Cheese ~

Making home-made cheese is fun and relatively easy, especially if you start with the soft, fresh cheeses. 

Hubs and I have taken several cheese classes and I’m proud to say that we make some mighty tasty chevre, fromage blanc and ricotta. A while back, feeling a little cocky about our cheese making abilities, hubs and I attempted to up the ante with a mozzarella class.  That was a whole new ball of wax (er…cheese) entirely.

Here’s how our mozzarella making adventure went ~

cheesemaking equipment

Equipment needed:

A large pot for heating water and milk

A bowl for working curds Continue reading

6 thoughts on “Yummy Home-Made Cheese ~

    • Hi Pam. It’s always fun to see your name pop up here. Have you and your fun-loving cousin been on any adventures this summer? I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since our camino walk. Times sure passes quickly. Be well. Nancy

  1. Ooohhh! How fun! Hubs and me would love something like this… then again maybe we shouldn’t! We are avid wine and cheesers….if there is so much at hand, we’ll roll our way into retirement!

    • Oh Dale, I know that concern. At first we were making both the cheese and the bread all the time. Now we only get inspired on special occasions or I give some away. We would be the Pillsbury Dough Couple otherwise.

      • Ha ha! My boys keep bugging me to “make bread like Grand-Maman does” but I keep saying no…they’ll just have to visit her more often to get some!

        I imagine if it were a regular thing, the novelty would wear off and we would not feel the need to totally stuff ourselves…

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The Pope Knows ~ Top 10 Life Hacking Tips

The Pope knows – not to be confused with the Pope’s nose, a dubious delicacy from my Canadian childhood aka the icky, chewy, crunchy part of a chicken’s other end.

pope-francis-2013

Photo: L’Osservatore Romano/File/AP./ Published: 06/7/2014

I’m not Catholic. I’m not even much for organized religion of any kind, but I have a bit of a crush on this Pope. He’s a charmer with a huge heart. And he’s not only cute, but this man appears to understand a thing or ten about life and happiness. The world may already be swimming with self-help advice, but it’s not every day the Pope himself shares his life-hacking tips.

Here’s what the Pope knows for sure ~

1. “Live and let live.”
2. “Be giving of yourself to others…If you withdraw into yourself, you run the risk of becoming egocentric. And stagnant water becomes putrid.” Continue reading

3 thoughts on “The Pope Knows ~ Top 10 Life Hacking Tips

  1. Yes, I am “divergent” as far as spirituality is concerned, and I love this pope! :-) I do question #2 though. I have found that I am able to be MUCH more understanding when I turn inward, when I feel defensive. Then, I am able to look at what is triggering ME, which has NOTHING to do with the other person! When I find that, I am able to get past it and be more understanding.

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Really Big Balls!

Really Big Balls…bowling balls to be precise. mondo croquet

That’s what it takes to play Mondo Croquet. And a sledge hammer. And some rebar rounded to form wickets. Stir in about two dozen free spirited Portlanders. And, voilá! It’s an afternoon of quirky and highly competitive fun in the park.

There was no way I was going to miss this! Hubs, as usual, was a more than willing sidekick. Continue reading

2 thoughts on “Really Big Balls!

  1. Oh my goodness! Too funny! That would have been so much fun to watch … and yes, I want to to big ball crochet now too;0)

    • Well, big ball crochet is good but big ball croquet is the game for me. Unless, of course, your want to make cute little hats for your croquet balls??
      Sorry, couldn’t resist! Thanks for the comment. It was fun watching and writing about it as well.

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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. Continue reading

29 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!

    • Yes I have been to the sand sculpture in Canon Beach. We also have Sand in the City where we truck in tons of sand into Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland (aka Portland’s living room) and various groups create amazing sand sculptures for charity. Portland is a great town. It’s hard to leave in the summer…so usually we don’t although we do have a Boston trip coming up in a few weeks.

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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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