Superbowl – It’s not all fun and games

It’s the Superbowl calling!  Come to Phoenix for a week.  It will be fun!

I’ve made it a practice to say a hearty Yes! when an opportunity for adventure knocks.  And when my friend Sallie knocks I know that fun and adventure will always follow and whatever I say yes to will stretch me in some new way.

Vendors were hawking high-priced Superbowl gear everywhere - even in our hotel lobby.

Vendors were hawking high-priced Superbowl gear everywhere – even in our hotel lobby.

Well, a couple of months ago Sallie called and asked me to work for her at the Superbowl It was definitely an adventure and I was truly stretched.  And stretched and then stretched just a little more.  I was 66 when I flew from Portland to Phoenix and felt closer to 106 when I returned home eight days later.

It has been several years since I have felt the near constant pressure of putting on back-to-back high level events.  I was definitely rusty and out of shape.  Honestly, I wasn’t sure I was up to the task.  I was terrified of failing in a huge way like leaving a VVIP stranded at the airport, or at the golf course or dinner.  I worried about giving wrong directions to one of the many vehicles we had moving about town or sending a bus loaded with special guests on a merry trip to nowhere when they were supposed to be at Taste of the NFL.  (That almost happened).

I had been dubbed Transportation Czar for the week.  And it was a test of my ability to step up and Get ‘R Done.  I think I rose to the moment.  I hope I did.  I worked 18 hour days/nights and let me just say I felt every one of my years.  My brain always seemed to be a beat or two behind.  I hung in.  I bucked up.  I made it work.  And in a very strange way, I was proud that I still had it.  Even if “it” was a little slower and sometimes had a short fuse.

Thank you Sallie for inviting me to join you in another great adventure!  I can’t honestly say it was fun.  But it was a great opportunity to stretch and it certainly gave my aging brain cells a workout they haven’t had in a long time.  A few probably fell out, but I think we blew off a whole bunch of gathering cobwebs as well.

PHXSuperbowlTV

Getting ready to watch the game in the hotel lobby bar with a group of cheering strangers was actually fun.

When I told hubs I was going to Phoenix for the Superbowl, his eyes lit up.  “Can you get me a ticket?” he asked hopefully.  “No chance in hell.” I replied.  When I told him that the closest I would get to the game was sitting in a shuttle bus in the parking lot, he felt much better.  He even smilled!  He and Mr. Ricky had a great time at home without me.  And he got to watch his favorite team pull off an amazing win – all in the comfort of his recliner chair with a beer and a bag of cheese puffs.

PDXcarpet

Home again! Feet firmly planted on our beloved carpet at PDX.

Life is good!  And as hubs is famous for saying, “Just keep saying yes until you have a reason to say no.”   Yes is where adventure lives.

Go Hawks!

Nancy

Nancy

 

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

 

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

Happy Monday ~

Happy Monday to you.

Here’s a little something to put a smile on your face, a song in your heart and a spring in your step…

Wishing you a week filled with many happy moments and unexpected adventures.

Boogie on!

Nancy

drseussonagequote

 

 

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

 

Happy Fourth of July ~

Happy Fourth of July!

Greetings from Hillsboro, Oregon 1988. 

Fourth of July Parade

I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy

I love a parade.  And one of my all time favorites is in Hillsboro.  It’s the largest 4th of July parade in Oregon.  Everything from kids decked out and ready to strut their stuff to giant John Deere tractors roll right down the middle of Main Street.  Jazzercise mamas, high school bands, church groups, hand-made floats on the back of flatbed trucks and even a local politician or two round out the entertainment.  It’s definitely 2 1/2 hours of small town wacky bliss.

America truly is a great big melting pot of weird and wonderful.  And that’s exactly why we mark this day.

Whether you choose to celebrate at a small town parade, enjoying brauts and brews in your neighbor’s backyard, lighting off bottle rockets under the cover of darkness (oh no, please don’t!) or stretched out on the grass gazing up at a night sky filled with flash and sparkle, enjoy the day and savor the moment – from sea to shining sea.

Cheers!

Nancy

 

Ducklings ~

Last week I took an after dinner camera stroll along Lake Oswego.  I sat for a long time watching a mama and her ducklings.  Some days I feel just like these little guys.  The pond looks deep and the water murky.  It feels safer to just sit on the rock and bask in the evening sun.  ducklingonarock

Or hang with my bestie… ducklingpair It all looks a little too scary… ducklingtestingthewater But, what I (finally) know for sure is that when I close my eyes, hold my nose and dive in… I bob along just fine.  Sometimes better than fine.  I find joy in the adventure every time I flex my bravery muscle. ducklingswimming Maybe that’s why they call it getting your ducks in a row.

Have a happy weekend.  I’m off to play with my Colorado besties.

Cheers!

Nancy

Happy New Year Resolutions!

I resolve to ~

~ Do better

~ Be smarter

~ Lose weight

~ Make more money

~ Save more money

~  Stop eating chocolate

~  Give up the glass (or two) of wine

~  Make friends with my inner child, my wrinkles and those damned age spots on my hands

Or not…..

Like a lot of people I know, I’ve pretty much given up on all the “resolving”.  It’s futile to say the least and frustrating at best.  Maybe I should tell all those folks who crowd the gym in January so you can’t get on a treadmill or find a tiny piece of floor space in Zumba.

Don’t get me wrong, I have big plans for 2014.  I’m setting my sites on new adventures, exploring more retirement options, discovering hidden travel gems close to home and across the globe.  I’ll be looking for information and inspiration to share right here on the blog.   But, here’s the deal.  I don’t need to resolve to fix me or make a better me to enjoy the life I have and the future I’m working on creating.

Here’s my very simple plan ~

  Image

And know that sometimes its okay to just relax and get on the bus.

And to put my feet up and enjoy the ride…

Wherever it takes me.

Cheers and Happy New Year!

Nancy

 

 

It was a very good year!

Time flies when you’re having fun.

And, since 2013 seems to have flown by in a blur, I must have been having one heck of a good time.  I certainly hope so, because there is so much of it that I’ve already forgotten.  What’s up with that?  It’s a good thing I never go anywhere without my camera.

They say that looking back in gratitude at where you’ve been helps you adjust your sights on where you want to go next.  With that in mind, and with much gratitude to those who made my journey through this year the thrill ride that it was, here are just a few highlights from my 65th turn around the sun.

My 2013 Mandala -

My 2013 Mandala –

In January, I set my intention for 2013 during a Mandala Workshop at Via Artistica.  My words for the year were passion and risk.  The tarot card I drew was the Chariot which, among other things, signifies travel, change and movement.

Everyday Magic

Everyday Magic

I challenged myself to find a little bit of magic every day through the lens of my camera.  Thanks Tammy Strobel for inspiring my creativity this year with your brilliant online classes.

Published an article

Published an article

I officially became a published author.  Thank you Mark Chimsky for inviting me to take a very scary leap with my writing.

It's mom with FOOD!

It’s mom with FOOD!

I became a “grandma” when a momma Junko built a nest and laid 4 tiny blue eggs in the lettuce bowl planter on my front porch.  Yep, those are 4 tiny, wide open baby bird mouths.

Doing our best Vrikasana at the gate to the Japanese Garden

Doing our best Vrikasana at the gate to the Japanese Garden

Hubs and I participated in our first (but not last) Urban Adventure Race.  Thanks to my husband and partner in crime for (almost) always saying a hearty YES! to my hair-brained ideas.

Two weeks worth of Medicare Love.  XO

Two weeks worth of Medicare Love. XO

I signed up for Medicare.  Yep, I’m that old.  Thank you to the Government for providing this safety net.  Now, please quit trying to de-fund it.

And the race is on!

And the race is on at the Milk Carton Boat Races.

I participated in the 2013 Word Count Blogathon and blogged every day in June with the theme 30 Fun, Funky and Fabulous Things to Do Within 30 Miles of Portland.  I love this town!  Oregon ~ Things Look Different Here.

NancyCaminoI celebrated my 65th birthday by walking 65 miles on the Camino de Santiago in Spain.

Looking back over this year, I’m reminded once again that “Life should not be measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath away.”

I am grateful for every breath I take these days, and it is my fondest wish that 2014 leaves each and every one of us absolutely breathless on more than one occasion.

Cheers! 

Nancy

 

Christmas Crack ~ Fancy Nancy’s Tropical Toffee

Last weekend I took the train to Seattle for the Second Annual Girls Gone Wild Holiday Weekend with my friend Dawn.   Truth be told – we’re no longer girls and it’s been a very long time since either one of us has gone wild.  And that’s OK because we hang out, catch up on each other’s lives, eat, drink a bit, and do LOTS of fun stuff.  I’ll take that kind of wild every time and I’ve been looking forward to this visit for months.

This year my adventure started with a missed train and a four-hour delay.  Snow dusted the Portland streets and brought traffic to a standstill.   Instead of lunch in a lovely restaurant in downtown Seattle, I made do with a Bloody Mary and a bag of chips in the club car.  Entertainment was provided at no charge by the two truly wild women sitting in front of me.  These girls came prepared – glasses, corkscrew and two bottles of wine.  By the time we were mid-way to Seattle, all was merry and bright in our compartment.  Love you girls!

traingirls

My train buddies.

Last year we had tickets for the Seattle Men’s Chorus – Baby It’s Cold Outside show.  It was truly magical and I wrote a post you might enjoy. This year, we decided to split our time between downtown Seattle and Port Ludlow/Hadlock/Townsend, three delightful little towns just a short ferry ride and a world away from the big city.   It was 19 degrees and I was dressed up like that kid in A Christmas Story, but we didn’t let the weather slow us down – even when breakfast in my favorite Port Townsend restaurant, Sweet Laurette’s, meant keeping the puffy coat, puffy vest, scarf and hat on because the heat had gone out.  Let’s just say you could see your breath in there but breakfast was still delish.  We got our art on in a festive luminaria making class at Daily Bird Pottery, sipped wine while Jack Frost nipped at our nose and toes during the evening art walk, and I way over-indulged in the best holiday treat I’ve tasted in a very long time – Fancy Nancy’s Tropical Toffee.  Oh My!  I nibbled my way through the weekend.  I even had a piece for breakfast with my cup of tea.  Yes, like crack (so I’m told), I was hooked from that first bite.  And really, how could I resist anything called Fancy Nancy’s?

making luminarias

Carving the clay to make beautiful Luminarias

Last night I made a big batch of this tropical toffee crack with the help of the fabulous Miss Nicholette, hubs, and couch-side color commentary from my son, Mitchell.  It was a family operation.  We all proclaimed it delicious.  And now it’s bagged, tagged, and ready to deliver to the kids at my local Starbucks as my Thank You For Your Outstanding Service holiday treat.  They’re gonna love it!

Fancy Nancy's Tropical Toffee

Fancy Nancy’s Tropical Toffee

And so will you.  Here’s the recipe “Liddabit Sweets Tropical Toffee” from candymaker Liz Gutman courtesy of the Seattle Times/Nancy Leson.  Note:  when you add the chocolate and coconut, it becomes the Fancy Nancy version.

May your days be merry and bright.

Ho Ho Ho and Yum-O!

Nancy