Our daughter took the train up from Portland for the Carrie Underwood concert last week.

Carrie Underwood ends Denim & Rhinestones’ tour on a high note with exuberant Seattle stop

Owen R. Smith, Special to the Seattle Times

I think our daughter and her friend would completely agree😊.

We picked her up in Seattle on Saturday morning and had enough time for a stop at Pike Place Market for a walk through and lunch before her train departed.

The Market was packed! 

We haven’t been there on a Saturday for quite some time.  But it certainly felt like the Market of old. It definitely qualified as a crowded indoor environment and, as usual, we were the only ones masked.  I happened to spot a state public health leader in the crowd without a mask☹.

The vendors were out in force and daffodils and tulips were everywhere.  It is tough to beat a spring stroll through the Market.  There were throngs of people on the sidewalks and every establishment had a line out the door. 

We often always take a photo of the special Market floor tile my husband bought in honor of his parents back in the mid 80’s.  Here is a link with more information about that history.

We had lunch at a Tom Douglas’ spot, Seatown Rub Shack and Fishfry. We like their Alaskan cod and chips quite well.  Our daughter had a tasty salmon lunch and we all left happy.

After we dropped her off at the train station, we took a detour to Mutual Fish for crab and the first halibut of the season.  Thanks to Juanito, we will be feasting all week on our favorite seafood!

We didn’t venture into downtown Seattle.  My past visits have just been too depressing.  I don’t think the downtown Seattle of old will be back anytime soon, if ever, and reinvention is in order.  For that to happen, a handle needs to be gotten on crime and soon☹.

Back to a positive note, we had a great visit with our daughter.  Spending time with her is always high note for us!

Life is short. Time is fast. No replay. No rewind. So, enjoy every moment as it comes.





I just finished Enchantment: Awakening Wonder in an Anxious Age by Katherine May.  I loved her earlier book, Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times, and was anxious to check out her latest.  Her writing is pretty magical.

As an adult, she was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.  

The title had a lot of appeal to me😊.  Her ‘anxious age’ is primarily about the ongoing pandemic and recovering from a COVID infection.  My anxious age is the pandemic, plus the:

  • recent bank failures
  • stock market
  • Russian invasion of Ukraine
  • assaults on LGBTIQA+ and women’s rights
  • assaults PERIOD

So, I was ‘anxious’ to get started on the book. 

She takes us on a journey through earth, water, fire, and air to find enchantment in everything from the mundane (dandelions) to the sublime (a meteor shower).

Here are a few favorite passages from the book.

Regarding nostalgia:

A yearning for somewhere you no longer want to be, but which seems, in an instant, perfect? Or perhaps perfectible is a better word, a place you could restore to the glories you still see in it, if only it will let you.  

Katherine May

Being disconnected from meaning:

We sense it when we worry we cannot stem the flow of our materialism.  We sense it  when the pull of our smartphones feels a lot like an addiction.  We sense it when we realize that our lives are lived in the controlled climate of air conditioning, but we still don’t want to feel the weather outside.

Katherine May

And finally, enchantment:

More often than not, I find that I already hold all the ideas from which my enchantment is made.  The deliberate pursuit of attention, ritual, or reflection does not draw in anything external to me.  Instead, it creates experiences that rearrange what I know to find the insights I need today.

Katherine May

While I didn’t love this book as much as Wintering, her thoughts and insights on enchantment are keepers!


Happy birthday to my Dad (March 17, 1898 – October 30, 1982)

$1300+ PER MONTH!

I’m sure that many of you saw that the venerable weight loss program, Weight Watchers, is jumping on the semaglutide (Ozempic, Wegovy) bandwagon.  And how many of you have the Ozempic advertising song in your head?  Seriously!

I know first hand that obesity is a complex condition that is difficult/impossible to manage. I am all for a safe, effective and relatively affordable drug that can help with brain chemistry, along with healthier eating, exercise, and stress management.  I am just not sure we have found the ‘magic bullet’ with semaglutide.

Here is a great article from the NYT about the Ozempic craze.

These are extraordinarily expensive drugs and are rarely covered by insurance if used for weight loss.  They have some nasty common side effects, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.  And once on, weekly lifelong injections are needed to stay the course

I also have lots of concern about people with diabetes who can’t get this lifesaving medication because too many people are getting Ozempic for weight loss (off label use), causing shortages.

This is a good time to bring up ‘who is actually fat’ from a health standpoint. 

BMI is finally falling out of favor as a measurement tool for obesity.  I am all for the move to using cardiometabolic measures, such as blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, etc. as more accurate ways of determining if a person’s body size presents a health issue.  And that conversation should happen between the patient and the provider, not at a party.

I have no concern with obese people, specifically those with cardiometabolic measures that aren’t well controlled, taking semaglutide or having bariatric surgery. That’s between them, their health care provider, their insurance company, and their pocketbook. But it sounds like people are jumping on the semaglutide bandwagon who are borderline overweight, at best.

I have lost a relatively small amount of weight recently.  I also have high blood pressure and high cholesterol.  Both of those conditions have been fairly well controlled with medication over the years, but my weight loss has improved those cardiometabolic measures even more.  My weight loss was result of some small dietary changes my doctor ordered to better manage chronic indigestion.  And those symptoms are pretty well resolved 😊

I would like to say my recent weight loss is all about my health, but I must admit vanity does enter in to the conversation. I enjoy wearing a smaller size and it was rewarding to take 3 big bags of ‘too big’ clothes to Goodwill this week. But no way am I vain enough (or rich enough) to even consider lifelong weekly injections of semaglutide at this point when my cardiometabolic measures are on target!

So, let’s move on and not focus on body size as a measurement of anything.

To be beautiful means to be yourself.  You don’t need to be accepted by others.  You need to accept yourself.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Note: I’ve tossed many of the books in my vast library of weight loss tomes.  But I still have (more than) a few on the shelf☹.



I don’t know about you, but we have at least 20 photo albums in various spots around the house. On top of that, we have folders of negatives (which might be a fire hazard). And we have many boxes of undated photos.

Would it have been so hard to at least write the year on a photo?  I guess I thought I would remember. Apparently, that is the case ☹.

I truly don’t know what we are going to do with all these photos!  We always ask our daughters to help themselves but they have their own photo collections to manage. I also have two boxes of old photos from my parents and, in many cases, I have no idea who is in the photo, much less when and where it was taken.

Why is it so hard to throw photos away?

My friends and I often take a picture of a photo, send it , and ask each other if anyone can remember who is in it or when it was taken. Occasionally, one of us will chime in and the mystery is solved.

My husband and I were remarking on the evolution of our own photography. 

He had always been a bit of a photography guy and still has an Instamatic from the 60’s.  He eventually had a VERY HEAVY 35 mm camera that we toted on numerous vacations.  I remember him leaving it in a bar in Athens.  When we came back to get it, by some miracle, it was still there!  He also had a VERY NICE 35 mm camera stolen on a bus in Rome.  He was sick about losing the camera and all the photos on it.

The move to digital cameras was welcome.  They were much lighter and easier to use.  Photos could be deleted and saved to a computer and/or printed.

Enter smart phones with cameras😊

Looking back at my phone photos, I became a regular photo taker back in 2014, thanks to my smart phone.

Of all the tech advances in recent years, this might be my favorite.

I’m not a great photographer, but I love to take photos.  And photo editing makes even crummy shots look decent.  I also like being able to search photos by date and by person.  And if my phone dies, the photos still live on in Google photos.  It is all good, as long as Google sticks around.

And nothing beats pulling out my phone and grabbing a quick shot of something or someone when I’m traveling.

That being said, I now have way too many photos on my phone and never seem to get around to organizing or deleting them.  I guess tech will only take me so far 😊.

“A good snapshot keeps a moment from running away.”
― Eudora Welty

And since I hate being photographed:

“There are no bad pictures; that’s just how your face looks sometimes.”
― Abraham Lincoln


P.S. Happy 20th birthday to our granddaughter!


This post could also be titled the joys (?) of home ownership!

Our house was built in 1998 so it is now past the 20 year mark.  We bought it in 2008 and this is the longest we have stayed put in our 44+ year marriage!

We haven’t lived anyplace long enough before to hit the major repair/replacement stage, but our number is now up.

Everything seems to be going wrong at once and it is quickly adding up!

We replaced our stove, microwave, and dishwasher early on (and they are probably due for another replacement soon). We replaced the roof last year.  We just replaced the water heater and air conditioner.  On top of these, we had to replace a sky light and have our gas fireplace repaired, another surprise!

A corner of our house is also sinking a bit, our deck needs repairing, etc. …….

Our refrigerator, washing machine, and dryer are likely past their sell by date.  I have a girlfriend with similarly vintage appliances and we both have our fingers crossed that we can get a few more moments of life out of them!

One of the sad/troubling things is that nothing lasts as long as it once did.  Our AC unit was the original and lasted 24 years.  Our AC installer said that we shouldn’t kid ourselves and think that our new unit will last nearly that long!

Here is where ‘predictable surprises’ come in. 

While almost of all these repairs/replacements were predictable due to the age of the house or appliance, each new event seems to come as an unwelcome surprise. We haven’t spent money on things like these over the years when travel beckoned.  But while travel still beckons, we now also have multiple costly home repairs we can no longer put off ☹.

Since we may not have many more opportunities for independent travel, we refuse to postpone our travel plans and are biting the bullet as more ‘predictable surprises’ loom on the home front!

Most events that catch us by surprise are both predictable and preventable, but we consistently miss the warning signs. 

Max Bazerman, 2008



Title IX turned 50 last June. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Title IX, here is a great recap from the Women’s Sport Foundation.

Title IX gives women athletes the right to equal opportunity in sports in educational institutions that receive federal funds, from elementary schools to colleges and universities.


I graduated from high school in 1971.  While I was an active free range kid, I wasn’t exposed to ‘girls’ team sports until high school I was on the cross country team, played a little bit of basketball (at 5’2”), and dabbled at football.  All of these were very short lived as I displayed ZERO talent or real interest.  I was easily distracted😊. I even tried my hand at softball in my later years – again, ZERO talent but I had fun!

Our daughter had more exposure to team sports than I did.  She tried softball, volleyball, soccer, and track. We did not invest time in really supporting her in those activities.  We definitely showed up for every event, but my husband and I did not have the time or talent to really help her along.  By the time we moved to California, her peers were far more advanced in those sports and she found other pursuits.

Enter our granddaughter.

She is somewhat the epitome of a Title IX success story.  She is a bit of an athletic phenom.  She can play golf and has been active in track, volleyball, and basketball from a very young age.   She plays most school sports and works hard to be successful.  She is also a sports team leader and that will serve her well later on. She was recently awarded a track scholarship to an Oregon university.  We are immensely proud of her accomplishments😊

I think for most successful athletes, there is a likely supportive family behind the scenes.  Our son-in-law has been there from the get-go to teach her how to play, be a good sport, and has coached her along the way.  Her older brother, also a great athlete, is her role model and coach as well.  Her mom and older sister are at every event and makes sure she has what she needs to focus on both her sports and school. It hasn’t always been easy to drive all over Oregon in inclement weather to support their daughter in her various sports, but they all show up!

I know there is still a long way to go to make Title IX a reality, but our granddaughter’s success speaks volumes!

Why is this so important?

It has been proven that when girls and women have access to team sports, they are able to cultivate critical skills — confidence, leadership, and problem-solving — that also serve them well in their personal and professional lives., March 30, 2021



My sister died earlier this week at her home in Colorado.  She just turned 85 and was in poor health.

Other than my family and childhood friends, most people don’t know that I had a sister.

Here is her story – at least what I know of it.

She was born in 1938.  She had 3 older sisters and, I think, 2 younger brothers.  Her birth mother died when she was very young.  Her older sisters, teenagers at the time, were left to fend for themselves (this was the 40’s).  Her younger brothers were put up for adoption.  I don’t know what happened to her father but the rumor is he remarried and had another large family.

Our mother worked at a small neighborhood grocery store and got to know the family.  She took a particular shine to Loretta.  When Loretta’s biological mother died, our parents took her in.  They formally adopted her in 1944 when she was 6 years old and gave her a new middle name, Mae, after our mom. Her biological father formally relinquished his rights.

Loretta stayed very connected to her biological sisters over the years.  Her oldest sister was somewhat of a surrogate mother to her. 

Loretta was almost 15 when I was born.  After she graduated from high school, she worked briefly as a dental assistant. Loretta married at 20 (this was the 50’s) and had 2 children (in 1959 and 1960). She and her family moved to Colorado when I was in elementary school.  I am not sure of the date, but the last photos I have with her are when I was in about 5th grade.

I don’t have many memories of Loretta from my early childhood.  But I do have a few photos of us and she seemed to like me OK 😊.

Because she left home when I was so young and because of our age difference, I was pretty much raised as an only child and have all the ‘only child’ quirks to show for it.

Loretta and I gradually lost touch over the years.  I still exchange Christmas cards with her daughter, my niece, and that is how I know a little bit about my sister’s life. The last time I saw her was in 2004 at our aunt’s funeral.

My niece called me to tell me about Loretta’s passing.  I am still processing the impact.  I shared the news with my family and friends who knew her or about her:

Of course, you feel loss.  She was important to your early life.  Even though you weren’t close, she was an anchor to that part of your life.  The last anchor to that era.  So, of course, there is a great sense of loss.

My first friend

Well said!



Dealing with mental health issues has never been my strong suit.  During my nursing education, we spent a 6-week rotation at the state mental hospital.  I couldn’t wait to leave the building!  As an adult, I still tend to ‘leave the building’ when someone is having a tough time with a mental health issue.

I didn’t have a lot of exposure to anyone with severe mental health issues when I was growing up.  In hindsight, I think my mother suffered from depression but she was never diagnosed or treated.  My dad’s mom (pictured in the collage) spent time at the state mental hospital, but she died long before I was born.  I don’t know what happened to her because mental health was never discussed in our house!

My first exposure to severe depression happened shortly after I graduated from college. A high school classmate died by suicide using a gun.  I remember him as an introvert with amazing skills as an athlete.  He broke his hip which ended his athletic career and I think he died by suicide shortly after.  My friends were all shocked and we gathered at his memorial. 

I have been fortunate to not have other people close to me die by suicide.  But I know many of my friends know friends whose children have suffered for years with their mental health and many have died by suicide.

I think we are all aware that Senator Fetterman was recently hospitalized with clinical depression.  I can’t begin to imagine the pressure the man has been under as he recovers from a stroke, all while learning the ropes as a new senator.  I’m glad we live in a time where we can openly discuss mental health and wish him well!

I was particularly moved by the recent David Brooks Op-Ed in the New York Times: How Do You Serve A Friend in Despair. It is the story of one of his close friends whose long term depression was overwhelming and he died by suicide.  If you haven’t read it already, it is (IMO) a must read!

David Brooks talks about all the things he did for his friend, such as reminding him of his blessings, saying ‘this too shall pass’, and trying to be ‘normal’ around him.

Depression is a landscape that “is cold and black and empty. It is more terrifying and more horrible than anywhere I have ever been, even in my nightmares.

Sally Brampton

In hindsight, Brooks’ lessons learned for relating to a close friend or family member with severe depression include:

  • Try to understand
  • Allow them time to share their experiences
  • Give the family a break
  • Provide them the comfort of being there, i.e., don’t leave the building!



I think I have groused about my bad knee a number of times, but indulge me for just one more round….

I had a failed knee replacement in 2013.  As a result, I have chronic pain and limited mobility.  My left knee flexion is 65 degrees; normal knee flexion after a knee replacement is usually around 120 degrees.  100-110 degrees of knee flexion is needed to be able to perform basic activities, such as sitting, walking and stair climbing. I am a long way from 100 degrees of flexion, despite more surgery and physical therapy.

I go down the stairs one at a time and I can’t hike on steep hills or uneven trails.

Over the last 10 years, I have figured out ways to manage my lack of mobility by finding my ‘sweet spots’.   I use lidocaine patches for pain😊.  I use hiking poles for fitness walking.  I pay extra for more leg room on flights.  I often try to get handicapped seating at sporting events.  I’d love to do everything my more mobile friends can do, including riding a bike or skiing, but it’s not possible. But I refuse to stop being as active as I can.

In Italy, we used to rent a car with a 6-speed manual transmission.  My husband had great fun driving at least 80-90 mph on the Autostrada.   It takes a lot of concentration to shift, navigate, and keep an eye on traffic.  On our most recent trip we went with an automatic transmission. Automatics are larger and it was a big @#$ car to park, but it is easier to drive since that is what we are used to. We want to continue independent travel to Italy and having a car helps, so renting an automatic is our new ‘sweet spot’.

My husband describes these realities as ‘limitations butting up against aspirations’.

I just finished reading The Swedish Art of Aging Exuberantly: Life Wisdom from Someone Who Will (Probably) Die Before You by Margareta Magnussen.  The author is in her mid-80’s and had a lot of wisdom to share for people of all ages.  It is a quick read about some of her ‘sweet spots’ on appreciating beauty, connecting with loved ones, and enjoying our time together, such as:

  • Having a gin and tonic with a friend.
  • Volunteering as much as you can – she now helps seniors learn how to email and use the internet.
  • Surrounding yourself with the young
  • Treating little children, big children, and grandchildren as you want to be treated (i.e., don’t talk to them about your bad knee)
  • Keeping an open mind.
  • Eating chocolate (as the author says, ‘what the hell’)
  • Deciding how to approach your daily routines.
  • Not falling and other practical tips for graceful aging – she now happily uses a walker.

Because if you are over eighty, you must not fall. If you do, recovering is very hard work indeed.

Margareta Magnussen

Understanding your sweet spot can increase your satisfaction in every arena of your life, but it goes even further than that. Evidence suggests that sweet spots can have life-or-death consequences.

Susan Cain


P.S. Happy Valentine’s Day!


We took a quick trip down to Oregon this week to see our family.  Our granddaughter is a senior in high school and played her last regular home basketball game.  It was quite the event!  We were able to go down on the gym floor and be included in her ‘Senior Night’ recognition.  It was special and very fun.

Our son-in-law happens to be the school district superintendent for the opposing team.  That made it kind of interesting😊.  Unfortunately, her team lost.  But everyone rallied at dinner and we had a fun gathering.

By some miracle, we were able to see the whole crew.  We haven’t seen our oldest grandson in a while because he is a busy guy.  He goes to college fulltime and works close to fulltime to boot.  But he came to the game to cheer on his sister and we had a great time catching up on all his adventures.

We also met our granddaughter’s boyfriend, an exchange student from the Puglia region of Italy.  He says the school is good, but he misses his friends, the weather in southern Italy, and the beach. It must be such a culture shock for him!

Our fun continued this morning at the coffee shop where our granddaughter works, Flowers and Fluff.  I have raved about it before.  It has great coffee, breakfast/lunch items, plants, and some cool gifts.  If you are on Highway 30 between Portland and Astoria it is worth a stop.  We are so proud of her for working as much as she does and excelling in school.  She is a wow! 

Now to the money clip. 

My husband had his money clip in his pocket at the game and it turned up missing.  He thinks he dropped it when he took his cell phone out.  We thought it was a lost cause.  He told his daughter about his misfortune and she told us her husband happened to find a money clip in the gym.  He had no idea who it belonged to. Our son-in-law turned it in and my husband was able to reclaim his money. 

While this is absolutely in character for our son-in-law, it made us appreciate him even more. There are honest people everywhere, but I do think there might be something special about a small town😊.

I’m all about small towns.  I think it’s a great place to grow up.

Kacey Musgraves

Our 2 granddaughters are graduating in June and we will be back down for the festivities. We are so proud of both of them!