Meg Noble Peterson

Author of Madam, Have You Ever Really Been Happy? An Intimate Journey through Africa and Asia

Category: Whidbey Island (Page 1 of 2)

HAIL TO THE SPRINGTIME WITH FLOWERS AND BIRTHDAYS

It’s a given that being a Gemini is a heavy cross to bear, but when the number hits eighty-nine you start to take stock big time. You receive a plethora of funny cards warning that “the warranty on your life has expired,” or “don’t worry, it’s only a number” or, “hell, you could be ninety, so stop complaining and consider the alternative.” At least by this time I am completely honest…I don’t subtract a year and I certainly don’t add one. It is what it is! And, believe me, I count my blessings, which are many.

We had a magnificent cake from CJ&Y Decadent Desserts, the women who bought JW Desserts. But Mr JW Desserts himself–John Auburn (now of Whidbey Island Bagel Factory fame)–came and gave me a birthday present of a ride on his motorcycle!

Time for a new lifestyle!

It was fun to be joined at the head table by such friends as Irene Christofferson (96!) and Loretta Wilson (a mere 86), along with little ones coming up on six-years-old. So enjoyed the evening with friends at Talking Circle and the hilarious birthday limericks. I couldn’t resist another ride on the zipline! You should try it some day….

Fun on the zipline!

I can’t get enough of all the flowering plants, trees and rhodies that bloom around the time of my birthday.

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Look at the beauty of Whidbey in June as seen from Meerkerk Gardens.

GLOBAL WARMING, CLIMATE CHANGE…CALL IT WHAT YOU WILL, IT’S HERE!

Before I get back to my adventure last December in Nepal, let me interrupt the story for an important symbolic cry from fellow citizens to call attention to this serious threat to our planet. I think it’s important, and part of our duty as citizens in this time of turmoil, to point out moments of effective citizen action and ways we can speak up for change.

Science is being discounted and industrial profits are riding the wave, while our new president seems bent on upending the Paris accords and eight years of struggle to prevent, or at least slow, the destruction of the planet. Forget people, forget wildlife, forget native habitat. Short-term profit is god.

After all that’s been written about the danger to us and future generations, starting way back with Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, to scientists like Neil Degrasse Tyson, to Obama’s fight to lower greenhouse gases and find alternative energy sources, you’d think our politicians would have gotten the message. Seems not to be so, hard as that is to believe. As a result, and in an attempt to dramatize the danger, concerned citizens and scientists are marching, shouting, and taking action. Whidbey Island is no different.

Here in Langley we gathered an enthusiastic and dedicated crowd of people, who marched through town on April 29th, adding our numbers to millions of concerned Americans around the country. The message is loud and clear!

My favorite placard was this:

followed by the one I inadvertently walked off with, thinking it was up for grabs. The owner dashed after me and informed me otherwise.  My upcoming birthday and the message seemed both satirical and humorous.

Click on the photos for a slide show.

 

THE BIG APPLE: EXCITING, SLUSHY, BLUSTERY, AND BEAUTIFUL!

Cheryl and Steve

And, I might add with a hint of nostalgia, sunny. If you are from the Northwest, ten days of sun, no matter how high the snow, is a treat that lifts the heart and soothes the soul. New York City was like Christmas on the first day of spring. I treated myself to endless theater, one opera at the Met (Fidelio), and visits with as many friends as were available, from Cheryl Galante at whose elegant Maplewood home I crashed at the beginning and the end of my trip, to James Wilson, whose third floor walkup in Greenwich Village kept me in shape for more Himalayan adventures. Then there was Fidelio at the Metropolitan opera, where my niece, Margaret Magill, plays in the orchestra, an afternoon at the Metropolitan Museum of Art preceded by an extensive walk through Central Park, and theater with Phyllis Bitow, Terri Pedone, Paul Sharar, Barry Hamilton, Grandson Adam Bixler and his lovely girlfriend, Allie Francis, and, on my last day, lunch with Gary Shippy and dinner with Allie’s vivacious and interesting family.

Wearing heavy hiking boots and a down jacket to the theater is a first for me, but everybody else was doing it, so I fit right in! Some theater highlights include the new musicals, A Bronx Tale, starring the outstanding Nick Cordero, Ground Hog Day, with its crazy sets, frantic action, and pyrotechnics, War Paint, with Patti Lupone and Christine Ebersole bringing down the house, and Spamilton, an hilarious takeoff on the writing of Hamilton that left us laughing for hours and fit in with the city-wide celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. I had heard about this spoof from my friend, Judy Wyman Kelly, who had one of the actors, Juwan Crawley, in class. What fun we had!

Juwan Crawley and me

The Present, the first play of the young Anton Chekov, starring the inimitable Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh (a Sydney Theater company production), The Man From Nebraska, a rather subdued piece from Tracey Letts, C.S. Lewis, the Reluctant Convert, Noel Coward’s Present Laughter, with a sardonic Kate Burton and a droll Kevin Kline, and The Glass Menagerie, with Sally Field and Joe Mantello completed my theater experience for the time being, but there’s always next year….

Unfortunately, because of the delay in my flight due to the big snow storm, I missed several other close friends, including my buddies from the Plainfield Symphony, but I’ll be back. You can’t keep a theater addict away from NYC for long.

Here are a few shots of Central Park in the snow and our visit to the Seurat exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum. You’ll recognize the landmarks and the paintings.

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In the museum, we saw a Seurat exhibit, and many other paintings from the French Impressionist era were on display. Everyone you go are beautiful statues and artifacts. Here is just a sampling.

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On the way to the theater we walked through the park again.

 

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I can’t resist a couple of photos of Lincoln Center’s Metropolitan Opera at dusk, and me with the chandeliers I love so much! Click on photo to start slideshow.

I also can’t resist a few backyard shots of Maplewood. You’ve gathered by now that I love the snow!

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As we descended through the clouds on our approach to Seattle, what should await me but a splendid rainbow. This is what makes all that rain palatable! It was good to get home to peaceful Langley.

Happily, through the raindrops, I was greeted by a few signs of spring, plus a mystical stroll on the shores of Puget Sound, just a five-minute walk from my home. Ain’t it wonderful?

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Dusk on Puget Sound…

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NOW IS THE WINTER OF OUR DISCONTENT….

What a play Shakespeare could write about the craziness that has enveloped our country in the past few months. So many of my friends from around the world are writing passionate letters, worried about their future and that of the United States. Join the crowd. Pick up the paper, watch the satirists, do the research, and make your beliefs known by your actions.

I returned from a delightful week in Denver, CO, to witness a spirited march on January 21st here in Langley, where over 1,000 people spoke their minds in a city that only has about 1,000 citizens. The crowd went all the way up the hill at First Street!

Seattle (on the Other Side) was around 175,000 and my grandson, Thomas Bixler, and my niece, Rebecca Magill, told me of the astronomical numbers crowding the streets of Washington, DC. Ditto for seventy countries around the globe. You’ve all seen the pictures and read the stories.  Here are two of Rebecca, her daughter, Amaya, and husband, Paul Benzaquin.

In an attempt to find serenity I enjoyed two hikes while in Colorado. One at Sawmill Pond in Boulder with Bonnie Phipps and her husband, Bill Moninger, and the other with my daughter, Martha, great grandson Theo, and grandson-in-law Zack. My, that’s a mouthful!

Sawhill Ponds Hike slideshow

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Hike in the Denver Rockies slideshow:

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I always like to leave you with a good taste in your mouth and here’s a poster I saw at the South Whidbey Commons this week. It proves that the Asians are not the only ones to enjoy and depend on the soothing and social repercussions of coffee!

A CHILLY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL….

It’s been two weeks since we said goodbye to our beloved Himalayas and headed back to the comfortable community of Langley, WA.

Now I’m delighted to be able to go to Denver, Colorado, for an unexpected visit with my daughter, Martha, my granddaughter, Cally, and her husband, and my great grandson, Theo, now 14 months old and walking. From now on I am GiGi. That’s for Great Grandma, of course. I wear the moniker with pride and disbelief. How did a young girl like me ever reach this exalted place/age?

I’ll also visit autoharp greats, Bonnie Phipps and Lucille Reilly, and nephew, David Magill. Then, it’s back to a blow-by-blow report of Asia off the beaten path….

For the first time in all our travels we experienced what to many is a common occurrence: a lost duffel bag full of all Cary’s camping and trekking equipment plus the usual precious mementoes of her Asian adventure. A predictable gnashing of teeth followed. And to this day, still no bag.

Our stay in the Tibetan enclave of Delhi, Majnu Ka Tilla, was dampened by this turn of events, but we still enjoyed our Tibetan friends and spent a day roaming the area after greeting our first Christmas tree at the Wongden Guest House. Click on the photo to start the slideshow.

Another much happier “first” to occur on this trip was our frequent flyer upgrade to business class. It was like another world for us and we thoroughly enjoyed our new privileged status as coddled passengers sleeping and eating and drinking our way around the globe. On the return trip from Delhi to Shanghai to Seoul, we also spent our waiting time in lounges patently and conspicuously  bourgeois. It didn’t escape our notice, however, that we were often frowned upon. Our ratty climbing attire and clunky boots screamed “tourist class” to the spiffily-dressed “models” who hosted China Eastern. It was only after we moved to the more relaxed mélange of Delta hostesses of a certain age that we felt at home in our egalitarian attire and laid back in heavenly slumber for the better part of our trip. Thus, no jetlag. Oh, Gods of the airways, grant us another such experience before we die. I beg of you!

Two days into my return I looked out my front balcony to be greeted by five fat robins perched in a frosty tree. It was a bone-chilling 20 degrees.

Omigod! Why are these robins so fat? Who has been feeding them? Surely they can’t get worms from the frozen ground. Suddenly, my mother’s words came to me: “He’s puffed up like a  robin in winter.” So I looked up robins in winter (how I love the internet! Gives me such a momentary feeling of erudition). And I found out more than I ever wanted to know about them. Even when the temperature is subzero, these little creatures can puff up their feathers and increase the amount of air next to their body to insulate themselves.  It can be 104 degrees under the feathers and 10 degrees outside. How about that? Nature, to me, is unbelievable in its complexity.

In closing, here is my cheerful New Year’s message. It’s from the Tenyang Coffee Shop, our favorite place for cappuccino in Dharamsala, nearby the Dalai Lama’s temple.

THOSE LAZY-HAZY-CRAZY DAYS OF SUMMER….

Oh, yes, Nat King Cole, there was a time when that song warmed and thrilled me. That is, until I realized that living on Whidbey Island in the summer is anything but lazy or hazy. Crazy is the only thing that fits! Shakespeare in repertory graces our open-air theater, the wind blows over Puget Sound, and I don my polar fleece watching the sun set from my deck. And there is enough music and dancing to wear out the most avid teenager on any night of the week.  Given our demographic, however, you can be sure that a lot of healthy adults are also gracing the streets, halls, and fields where the revelry takes place. Choose your poison: bluegrass, country, folk, jazz, classical, Baroque. And before the evening begins, wander through endless art exhibits from Greenbank to Langley. There’s no time to be lazy!

I do bless this weather when I hear from friends in St. Louis, Florida, or Texas, who are sweltering, while we look up at a blue sky with whipped cream clouds, and enjoy cool breezes that make us forget the dark, damp days of January and February.

orchids mom june 2016I arrived home from my three-week sojourn on the East Coast to find my orchids waiting to embrace me and the gardens in peak production, giving me the fresh produce I had so missed while away. And I looked forward to the frequent strolls I take along the shore at dusk. langley sea view june2016

maxwelton fourth july 2016 Tom_7566maxwelton fourth july 2016 Cary_7549

The very next day was the annual Maxwelton 4th of July parade with outrageous costumes and themes ranging from children riding red, white and blue decorated tricycles to politicians campaigning to local non-profits promoting their cause and locals just promoting a cause… my daughter Cary was distributing snap peas on behalf of the School Farm and Garden Program, and son Tom was part of a group bringing awareness to climate change, with humor.

New construction is going on all around Langley, and the utility company is having a ball in front of my apartment, where a small lake has been growing for two weeks, the result of a major glitch in the stormwater system.  I told the engineers that I wouldn’t swim in it until they removed the mosquitoes. (Actually, I have yet to see one out here, but something is germinating!). If I were six year old, I’d really love to watch dozens of burly men digging up the street and painting patterns on the pavement where an underground labyrinth waits to be discovered, thus reducing my lake to a mere duck pond. Yes, there’s activity everywhere!

Upper Langley, the new affordable housing community started by daughter, Cary, and three like-minded friends, is now in full swing, with builders digging foundations and homes arising right in front of our eyes. There’s excitement and anticipation in the air—an understatement to be sure.

My trip to the East Coast was divided into the New Jersey/New York City experience, the Pennsylvania rustic Mt. Laurel Autoharp Gathering (MLAG), and a visit to family, ending at our summer cottage on Lake Winnipesaukee near Wolfeboro, NH. Driving a rental car for seven hours, two days in a row, flanked by trucks going 70 mph or more, is quite a change from my quiet island. Even Seattle traffic takes a back seat to the highways of New York and Pennsylvania and New England. But I lived to tell the tale. It’s one of those “adventures” I don’t care to repeat anytime soon.

I was able to overlap, briefly, with daughter Martha, in Maplewood, NJ, at the home of a dear friend, Cheryl Galante, the world’s most hospitable human being. Martha sold her home a year ago and is now relocating in Denver, CO. She started her cross-country drive the next day, and shortly after arriving in Denver, headed for Australia and a full teaching schedule (website: www.essentialsomatics.com).  But not, I hasten to add, before visiting her grandson and MY great grandson.

This trip, rich in the rekindling of old friendships, started with a visit to my grandson, Adam Bixler, who lives in a charming community in the East Village. The rest of the week I stayed in the West Village apartment of James Wilson, with whom I had traveled to Myanmar and Ladakh, and, happily, I did not swelter as I had last year. Wonder of wonders! The weather was marvelous. I got lucky before the “heat dome” moved in! And just picture me walking down the quaint streets past small historic houses and courtyards with Barry Hamilton, an actor and theater director, and his wife, Ruth Klukoff, a violin teacher in New York and Connecticut, to be treated to fabulous Middle Eastern cuisine and an afternoon by the Hudson looking across the water at the old Lackawanna terminal. Yes, New York has its pastoral settings, its park benches, and its flowering trees, and we enjoyed them all. I will not enumerate all the friends I enjoyed, nor the great restaurants I experienced, but I will grace you with a list of the superb plays and musicals I attended. Give the addict her due!

I took the family to An American in Paris. It was a repeat, since I had been wowed by it last year. Next came a special evening with Phyllis Bitow and Terri Pedone at the Tony Award musical Fun Home, and a reunion with Paul Sharar at The Father, to be mesmerized by the Tony Award winning performance of Frank Langella. James and I indulged in Something Rotten and the superb revival of She Loves Me, and Phyllis returned for the ABT production of Prokoviev’s ballet, Romeo and Juliet at Lincoln Center.

It was a heady visit and the next week at MLAG just kept the ball rolling with more superb musicianship, concerts, and visits with old friends, masters of the autoharp. The days were packed with workshops and performances by small group ensembles and headliners such as the laid back Tom Chapin, who brings an audience together in the spirit of Pete Seeger. Thanks so much to the new director, Gregg Averett, and the program directors, Neal and Coleen Walters. And thanks to George Orthey for the use of his lovely home away from home!

On my last week in the East, the three Noble sisters, of whom I am the middle, met in Peterborough, NH, and traveled on to our cottage, where nothing, except actual icebergs, keeps me from the water. Within a week I had defrosted and felt like a million dollars. I just can’t get enough of the spectacular sunsets over Lake Winnipesaukee.cottage sunset 2016b cottage sunset 2016a

mt washington 2016aAnd I never miss the opportunity to return to Wolfeboro and enjoy watching the “Old Mount” pull up to the dock as I indulge in a double dip ice cream from Bailey’s Bubble.

It was with lots of great feelings that I returned to Whidbey Island, to then head off to another cold lake at the base of Mt. Baker, as Jon Pollack and I start our annual ten-day hiking trip into the Cascades.

This will be a total escape from the craziness, which is not just summer, but which has spread throughout this nation for almost two years during the most unusual, deeply disturbing presidential campaign of my long life. Gird your loins, folks.

HAPPY MAY DAY and EARTH DAY ONE AND ALL!

Here’s a little upbeat news from the isle of milk and honey to counteract the present negative energy pervading our country. And this negativity is not just confined to our borders. Sometimes it’s difficult to be philosophical or even optimistic when so much destruction, death, and hatred is rampant in the world. What can I do about it? Forget it, it’s hopeless, you say.

But is it? So you’re just one person. You can choose to be depressed and discouraged and a naysayer or you can find what makes you and others happy and throw yourself into it. Like a pebble in the lake, your ripple, a small ripple to be sure, will eventually reach the shore, and added to all the others, make a sizeable difference. Look around at your neighbor, or find people who are working one-to-one with young people in one of a hundred ways to add excitement, meaning, and color to their lives. All it takes is one person over a period of time to make a child feel acknowledged, loved, and special. And sometimes that’s all it takes for us.

Then there are the hundreds of people on South Whidbey Island involved in the care and feeding of the homeless and those families who are having a struggle economically.

I had an opportunity to observe two exciting projects right in my own backyard over the weekend.

P1100280One was the May Day Celebration at the Good Cheer Garden, an organic garden that provides fresh produce for the Good Cheer Food Bank. It is run by young people who are dedicated to community-based sustainable agriculture. They have now expanded to a second garden where the celebration was held. For the occasion they added a maypole, face painting, rock painting, music, and lots of fresh food. I loved it! Finally somebody painted a goatee over my chin and I looked thirty, again. Well, maybe more like sixty.

Here are a few pictures as we waltz around the maypole. Click a picture to start slide show.


P1100015The week before, April 22nd, I witnessed 500 students celebrating Earth Day at the South Whidbey School Farm started three years ago by my daughter, Cary Peterson. What a success it has been! Elementary School youngsters get to grow the vegetables that are now served for lunch in the school cafeteria (Michael Moore take notice!), and stuff themselves with home-grown veggie tacos, which they make on the spot using kale leaves and filling them with assorted fresh vegetables they pick from the garden. This not only gives young people an appreciation of fresh food and how it is produced, but gives them a chance to learn about soil, garden insects, and how healthy food is produced. earth day cucumber pesto nibble P1100010

Oh, and you can’t imagine how great the pea shoot pesto was, grown and made by the children. There was also spinach pesto and kale pesto. All so delicious! And the children had a contest to see which was the favorite.

There were many activities from planting plants that attracted pollinators, to making garden flags, bugs, spirals, fairy houses, and rock friends. The boys, especially, enjoyed digging ditches and spearheading trench composting, and everybody got into planting winter squash.

The School Farm website has many photos of this delightful event… click HERE to see them!

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To read more about the School Farm, click HERE for a report on King 5 news. The Facebook site has over 47,000 views as of May 15th!

THIRTY DAYS HATH SEPTEMBER…and every one a jewel

September in Langley can be dizzying as we move from heady summer into crisp autumn. The smell of fallen apples, the waning gardens, the hint of harvest, the bright moon dancing on the Sound. There’s a nostalgia that creeps in toward the end despite the variety of activities swirling around us.  The outdoor Shakespeare Festival has come to an end and leaves are falling on Goss Lake. But we move on. There are the abundant art gallery openings and the two major theaters in town that present unusual and superb modern plays. So far this season I’ve enjoyed Looped by Matthew Lombardo and Dead Man’s Cell Phone by Sarah Ruhl. Then there is a gala open house at the retreat for women writers, Hedgebrook, the international Django Fest Northwest, and the inimitable Soupbox Derby (yes, you read that right). And let’s not forget Seattle, a ferry ride across the water, with its plethora of art exhibits and full cultural menu.

I started September with a flying visit from two of my favorite musician buddies, Coleen and Neal Walters, who have been spearheading the Mountain Laurel Autoharp Gathering I try to attend every year in Pennsylvania. They came by for lunch after performing at Pete d’Aigle’s Workshop in Seattle (Pete and Polly Daigle publish the Autoharp Quarterly), and we had a great time catching up.

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The streets were alive with music for ten days for a bigger and better DjangoFest Northwest than ever before. Langley was the center for topnotch players from all around the world. My favorites were the French contingent, highlighting Bireli Lagrene, thought to be the greatest known guitar player in the Gypsy Jazz genre. Musicians hosted a variety of workshops during the day and concerts every evening. There wasn’t a coffee shop or empty spot in town that wasn’t full of guitar players, fiddlers, bassists, and assorted wind players…and enthusiastic onlookers clapping and dancing to the music.

I remember my grown daughter as a four-year-old riding with her father in a handmade cart down a steep hill in Clarksburg, VA, and my young sons a few years later doing the same crazy thing in what they called the Soapbox Derby in Summit, NJ. So you can imagine my surprise to find that my new home town was continuing the tradition with its own special name (Soupbox) and even more elaborate vehicles to scare every mother and onlooker to death. Thank heaven for those bales of straw to save the young ones if the brakes failed. But, actually, it was the older ones who seemed to have the most trouble. What a hoot it was, and what a great way to usher out the month!

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SOLSTICE IS OVER AND SUMMER IS IN FULL SWING….

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Just to prove it, here are photos of the sunset on the longest day of the year, taken from my balcony.

This island abounds with gardens of all types–flower and vegetable, large and small. Many families have their own space in cooperative community plots and you can see homemade green houses springing up every year for specialty plants suited to the Northwest weather.

Two years ago my daughter, Cary, spearheaded the Good Cheer Garden for the Good Cheer Food Bank, which helps feed hundreds of families every year who would otherwise be without fresh produce. And this year she has successfully put into operation an extensive school garden program that provides garden-based education to grades 1 – 5 at the Elementary School and grade 7 at the Middle School, while introducing young people to the joys of growing, and eating, their own food.

Here is a video made in May as the garden was getting into full swing. It will give you some idea of the enthusiasm with which these youngsters view their experience in the school gardens. You have no idea how hard they work to plant, hoe, fertilize, and harvest these crops…nor how proud they are of their accomplishments. The video was produced by the South Whidbey Schools Foundation which has provided grant funding to the school gardens.

Click HERE to see the video.

On June 24th, at a special fundraiser for Nepal, Cary shared slides of places we trekked before the earthquake and the same areas after the devastation. Over $1800 was raised! A big thank you to those of you who responded to my first plea for help in the rebuilding of this country we hold so dear. And no words could possibly express my admiration and gratitude to those Nepalese friends who are on the front lines providing help, taking food and supplies to towns isolated in the mountains, and building homes and shelters as the monsoon season approaches.

I have already mentioned Crystal Mountain Treks and Grand Asian Journeys, its U.S. affiliate. These are the people with whom we trek every year. Not only have they been instrumental in getting food and supplies to isolated villages in the mountains, but Jwalant Gurung, the director of operations, has now developed a new plan to help rebuild his country. Here is an opportunity for those who love trekking in the mountains of Nepal and also wish to be of service at this crucial time.

Click HERE for the rebuilding tours that Jwalant is organizing this fall.

TECHNOLOGY! TECHNOLOGY! TECHNOLOGY!

How many people over 65 (and that includes me) are roaming around the halls of mental asylums, clicking on every doorknob and cutting and pasting their inmates as they search for old photographs and lost documents, repeating, hysterically, pdf. mpf, hypertext,.doc.? I have come up with a solution: a new organization,Technology Anonymous for Technotards (TAT). It may not sound politically correct, but it will save your sanity. Who would like to join me? It meets every Wednesday at 6 PM at the Langley Marina on Puget Sound. Come dressed in your diving gear. It will be a long, dark night, but it sure beats Bedlam.

All of which is to announce that at long last I have had my website upgraded with new photos, incredible insights (just ask my children if you don’t believe it), and a clickable map of my travels that exhausts even me. It will be launched by the middle of May (cross your fingers), so watch for it! If my erstwhile webmaster, Matt McDowell (www.screenthumb.com), survives the ordeal, he has very kindly agreed to be the premier advisor to TAT. That’s the first split infinitive I’ve used in years, but Matt deserves it!

As a heralding of spring I want to share this beautiful African lily, the rare yellow clivia, which my son, Tom, brought me a few weeks ago when he moved to Langley. And there is another orange one just getting ready to bloom. Doesn’t it make you want to dance? P1070339 On the first day of March, Jon Pollack and I celebrated the beginning of the hiking season with a day trip to Park Forest near Eatonville. We were accompanied by old friends, the prolific historical writer, Dennis Larsen, and his wife, Pat Ziobron. Mt. Rainier was overpowering, with views all along the trail. I was unable to get a photo on the winding road back, but I did catch some beautiful shots at the marina in Tacoma near where Jon lives.

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The closer you get the more beautiful it is!

P1070291 Life continues in Langley, with enthusiastic Art Walks, excellent theater–a superb production of Other Desert Cities by Jon Robin Baitz–and an original musical, Pasture-ized, by Whidbey’s own Ken Merrell and Eileen Soskin, which could well start, immediately, Off-Broadway. And, of course, volunteering in the garden is in full sway as the fresh produce has returned in abundance, thanks to the tireless work of the garden experts  and their apprentices. I haven’t forgotten about Yolmo/Helambu. Just had a little detour, but it’s on its way….

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