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


This was going to be a very different holiday season from past years when Cary and I had gone to Nepal for the better part of November and December. Instead, after visiting Nepal and South Korea, Cary headed to China to teach English to Tibetan monks and, in turn, study Tibetan, and I went off to visit my other daughter, Martha, in Colorado, and get some sunshine and mountain hiking. Whatever happened, we knew it would be an adventure. It was!

Kissing the Manitou Springs bear

For the first two weeks Martha and I visited some lovely places near her home in Manitou Springs, with 14,000 ft Pikes Peak rising above us. We went on interesting, relaxing walks in old Colorado City, and strolled among the red rocks of the Garden of the Gods. Glorious vistas! Then we enjoyed a joyous family Christmas with grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Click on a photo to enlarge.

How quickly life can change! Was it the higher altitude and the dry climate and the extreme cold? No. I’d been here before and I was no stranger to winter. I began coughing uncontrollably and as the New Year approached, multifocal pneumonia exploded in my lungs. On January 2nd I found myself in the emergency room needing oxygen, gasping for breath. Happy New Year! Cary rushed back from China and after a week of skilled care from the doctors and nurses at the Grandview Hospital, she and Martha pulled me back from the brink, which is what it seemed to me. I learned first-hand what devotion and love look like. Credit also goes to Doug Hammond, Martha’s partner, whose sense of humor and endless stories, especially keeping things light after the pipes froze in the kitchen (no blame…it was minus 3 degrees), added a feeling of adventure to my personal almost-disaster.

The three musketeers leaving for the airport, oxygen and all.

Then we had the hurdle of flying back to Seattle with a portable oxygen concentrator that required lots of airline paper work. No small feat. God bless Cary for handling it all! I hope none of you ever has to deal with this. She got us back to Whidbey Island and dealt with all the deliveries, company visits and pick-ups, like a veteran. Now I’m almost back to normal and have one salient word of advice: Never let a cough get the best of you, and stay away from pneumonia!


On the bright side…spring is popping up all around me. Hailing from the frigid East Coast, it’s always a miracle to see flowers blooming in February.


Of course, Whidbey’s rain helps a lot. Cary has already started bok choy, lettuce, and peas for early spring planting. The earth is waking up. I’m so enjoying the radiance of the sun, and everything seems more vibrant. It’s great to be alive!

The one thing that our island children are missing, however, is our plethora of feral bunnies…the result of escaped 4-H domesticated rabbits from the Island County Fairgrounds. Some people loved them…gardeners and farmers called them pests. But children found them adorable and couldn’t get enough of feeding and chasing them. I spent lots of time photographing them. A catastrophic pandemic of Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease suddenly wiped them all out last summer. Langley, the Northwest Rabbit Capital, just wasn’t the same.

But, just last week on my daily walk I spotted a small tan rabbit scurrying across the field. Hmmm, could it be? Take heart, children, they’ll be back. Yes, it made me very happy.

I was also very happy to welcome my old friend and theater buff Arpie Maros, whom I have known since the days when he and my children were in high school together. He’s a talented actor and singer and the owner of Ahrre’s Coffee Roastery with two locations in New Jersey (Westfield and Summit). He also combines his charm and talent hosting house concerts with touring singer-songwriters. Be sure to visit his website:

Arpie comes to the Northwest four times a year to visit his friends, and see if the sun is shining. Ha ha! I’m one of the lucky ones.

Oh Meg! What do you think is going to happen next?


Cary’s update from Nepal and South Korea!


  1. Jerene

    Thank you so much neighbor Meg I always enjoy your writing!! and your adventures!! so very happy you made it back from the Brink!

  2. Joyce

    Wow… I’m so happy you made it back from the brink!!!, and I understand now why I intuitively didn’t feel like visiting Whidbey anytime in January, when I would hope to see you.
    I love your photos of some mountains in Colorado. I always see faces and people or animals in mountains.
    It’s such a blessing that you have such wonderful daughters, who help you out when you need it.

  3. Arpie was here!

  4. Thomas Bixler

    Quite the adventure! Glad it all resolved to satisfaction. Shame about the rabbits though

  5. Susan Smith

    All the best for a healthy rest of 2024. Lovely to hear from you as you head into spring – autumn is just around the corner in my part of the world. Take care and keep bunny spotting! Susan Smith New Zealand

  6. anne

    so happy to have you back on whidbey Meg!!!
    thank you Cary and Martha for all your loving care…
    i was recently back in france visiting my Mom who also became very sick…miraculously she recovered and celebrated her 97th birthday with her 5 daughters!
    sending love,

  7. Nancy Quickstad

    Hi Meg,
    I’m thinking of you and so sorry to read about your recent health issue. Soooooo sorry!
    You are very blessed with your two daughters, they are angels. Hopefully Dick and I can get over to Whidbey for lunch with you this spring. Lots of activities going on here, especially with my piano trio. Continue to take care of yourself, a day at a time.

  8. Anna

    Spring is on its way…my favorite time of year. I love you and the Bear! Great shot!

  9. Meg!!!!…….I am so happy to see and hear that you blasted through the pneumonia and are back to your energetic full of life self!!! I love you.

  10. Jennifer T.

    Your blogs are always enjoyable as well as food for thought: life is so precarious. Glad you conquered those pneumonia bugs, too small to be seen by the naked eye, yet stealthy killers-in-waiting.

  11. Lynn Rubright

    Megs. A saga in which the queen survives to thrive again on the island! Thank you Martha and Cary for your skills unraveling the nitty gritty of Bureaucracy of forms- and oxygen to strengthen the lungs and Megs indomitable spirit. Love Lynn

  12. Denise Merritt

    Sorry to hear about your illness. Frightening for sure.

  13. James wilson

    All that to avoid seeing shows in New York with me.

    Much love and cantankerousness

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