Sunday, September 25, 2011

Senior In Seattle

I volunteered to docent at today's Seattle Architecture Ravenna Bungalow tours. First, let me say I LOVE the Seattle Architecture Foundation!! Their programming includes something for everyone who is interested in or already loves this glorious city. There are walking tours in different neighborhoods almost every day - and the guides are knowledgeable and charming. This is my city...but I have only begun to know it.

Last spring I was a docent at a tour of fabulous downtown condos and it was more fun than I ever expected. We loved showing off the young architect's beautiful renovation of a waterside property. The "tourists" in this case were mostly Seattleites like myself who marveled at the angled walls, perfectly placed windows and skylights and lifestyle kitchen. Meeting interesting people and sharing ideas about art and architecture was a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Today's Ravenna tour promised to be a lovely day too. This neighborhood is rich with Craftsman work. I had participated in the tour a few years ago and looked forward to helping out at this year's event.

Unfortunately, I had forgotten that the President would be in town today. You may know that Seattle is full of extremely polite drivers...and terrible traffic jams. We are also surrounded by lakes and bridges that must be crossed to get from my home to Ravenna. And when the President comes to town, most things shut down. Like bridges and freeways and polite drivers - everything but the traffic jams.

End of story: I waited in stop-and-go traffic for over a half hour. When my gas warning light came on, I waited another fifteen minutes inching toward the bridge. And then, dear friends, I joined others in making a right turn. Away from the bridge, the architecturally beautiful bridge, and headed for a gas station..and my home.

Please don't blame this on our President. He has enough troubles right now.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Senior In Seattle

Though I love reading so many blogs and have continued to read my favorites daily, I haven't added comments or let you know that I still think of you as neighbors and friends. I haven't had much motivation to write at all lately, but I am hoping that will change.

Mostly my life has been filled with adjusting to some health challenges and navigating the complexities of the medical world. Add to that the reality of retirement, the maze of medicare and insurance decisions and the bewilderment about why this should be so confusing.

On the flip side I now have the time to practice yoga three times a week, walk regularly and take advantage of all things "Senior" in my wonderful city and the Pacific Northwest.

For Instance:
Tuesdays are Senior Day at OakTree Cinema - first run movies for $5.
* Every day is a discount day at Crest Theater - older movies for $3.
* Seniors can buy a Lifetime National Park Pass for next to nothing!! Spent three days at Paradise Lodge on Mt. Rainier with friends who don't acknowledge they are Senior in any way...but definitely took advantage of the pass.
*Love having friends who don't need a special occasion to have ice cream, though I haven't found a senior discount for ice cream cones.

Friday, April 8, 2011

It's Cherry Pink...

Whoo Hoo for Friday April 8,2011!! Seattle was treated to a full day of SUNSHINE!! It seems we can't remember the last time that happened. A week ago we turned out with most of our neighbors to breathe in the blossoms - a First Friday tradition,and we felt fortunate that the sun blessed us for a full 22 minutes before the rain returned. Today, however, was pure bliss - there is nothing, I mean nothing, more wonderful than a sunny day in Seattle. They say the clouds will roll back in tomorrow.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Happy Happy Birthday, Baby!

Today is Baby Rivers 36th birthday! How could this be when I think I'm not a day over 40?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Let the Music Wash Your Soul

Today I attended the memorial service for Kumi. She was an amazing and adventurous soul - wife, mom, artist, cook, party giver, bank vice president, world traveler, school board president, university board member, peace corps volunteer at 65, and what a grandmother! Each of her five grandchildren received the gift of a lifetime on his/her tenth birthday: a trip of their choosing - anywhere in the world with grandma. Wow!

The service was lovely, beginning with each grandchild lighting a candle. Her very closest friends and family spoke and we all watched a montage of her life. Two incredible pianists, young relatives, filled the room with Beethoven, Liszt, and Bach. Kumi,of course, had planned the entire service - everything down to the color of the flowers and the food to be served after. I'm pretty sure she designed the program and picked the photos for the cover. It was easy to know that she was very much present.

Words from her memoir:

"I do not feel afraid. I live with no fear lurking around my psyche. I am aware and awake to the beauty of each moment. My orientation each day is to know what would give me pleasure that day and to choose to do it. It is to enjoy whatever it is that I am physically able to do that day. I don't find myself wishing I could be doing something else. I am genuinely living a good life, living it fully and living it in gratitude. I feel as though I am living in a state of grace, in a place I characterize as heaven. To die having consiciously experienced LIFE is a gift beyond measure. I believe this was the gift of my cancer.

Years ago I spent lots of time at Kumi's beach house. It was filled with art from around the world, shelves and shelves of books, music, food, friends and Kumi. We figured out how to make sweetpeas grow on string frames. I haven't tried to grow sweetpeas in a long, long time. This year I will. It will be my pleasure.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Round toes of the High Shoes of Old Friends

On Sunday my newspaper carrier made a mistake. Instead of leaving me the Sunday Seattle Times, he left the Sunday NEW YORK TIMES!! I did not call to inform him of his mistake.

Instead, I sat down with the same glorious anticipation I experience before a meal at a gourmet restaurant or when dreaming about Kaiden’s celebrated coconut cake. I read something fabulous from every page, marveled at the headlines, the bylines and the photo taglines. Oh the travel section, book reviews, crossword puzzle, theater arts and museums. The society brides, "Coppel Snopple Durham-Grinder" CEO of thus and such. I scoured the ads for couture, jewelry and retirement homes.
While my eyes greedily scanned each section I became vaguely aware that my mind and senses were being transported back through the decades to a time when New York City was a brief train ride away and The New York Times was my daily bread. I could smell the street vendors, hear the cacophony of cabs competing with the disharmony of musicians tuning up for the overture, I could see and feel the steam rising from the streets and sidewalks. Lovely memories of another me in another time. For a few hours on Sunday I felt very smart and cosmopolitan. Thank you delivery guy for making my Sunday! Next week bring me The Economist.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Saving Face

Brenda from The Big Fresh passed on the following from The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp:

"A Manhattan writer I know never leaves his apartment without reminding himself to "come back with a face." Whether he's walking down the street or sitting on a park bench or riding the subway or standing on a checkout line, he looks for a compelling face and works up a rich description of it in his mind. When he has a moment, he writes it all down in his notebook. Not only does the exercise warm up his descriptive powers, but studying the crags, lines, and bumps of a stranger's face forces him to imagine the individual's life." (The Creative Habit, p. 30)

I love this. It is the sort of exercise that challenges one to be disciplined and intentional while wandering through life. It asks us to really see the people around us, to think of individuals with empathy and compassion. Maybe it asks us to think of walking in another's shoes. Coming home with a face might eventually inspire more right actions in the world. Think I'll give it a try.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Memory Brushes the Same Years

Girls weekend!
It came at the right time, right price and right place. A quick Friday morning flight to Spokane with three good friends to spend the weekend at D.'s beautiful waterfront home. We each had our own bedroom, rainshower bath and view deck - lovely posh linens, sauna and soaking tub. What a luxury to get up early with a freshly brewed cup of (not Folgers) coffee and step out on the deck for that Folger's moment! What a gift to stay up late with good friends sharing stories, joys and sorrows over wine, limoncello and bubble water. We cooked, snacked, hiked, read, watched movies, meditated, stared off into space, enjoyed the fabulous original William Papas art on every wall and napped at will. We giggled like school girls and retold old stories just for the fun of remembering together. The cab driver on my way to the airport had joked: "lucky girl you are off to sing and dance and make merry with your pals, huh?" Yes sir. You're right on. Just can't say it enough. I am so blessed.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Like Rain in a Drought

A good friend and CEO of a large organization sent a newletter to her staff today and shared her thoughts about the recent shootings. Her words were profoundly sad. But she ended her message as she often does with an action item:

"Perhaps you are feeling helpless and that the world is spinning out of control. I urge you to change your thinking right now. Each of us has the power to do some small thing to set things right. I urge you to do one totally unpredictable act of kindness in the next twenty four hours and show someone that the world is a little better than they thought it was going to be. I give you permission to do this on company time."

I commit to doing one totally unpredictable act of kindness in the next twenty four hours. Won't you join me?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Freedom is a dark road when you're walking it alone!

What does it take to be truly happy?

According to Dr. Kathianne Lewis: Relatedness, Competence and Autonomy

To be truly happy we "connect" with others maybe in a loving relationship, maybe in a friendship, maybe just meeting the eyes of a stranger. (Definitely through sustained communication with other bloggers.)

To be truly happy we experience our activities with a sense of confidence and accomplishment in one or more areas. And - we continually renew our competence by taking on new challenges, trying new things, refining something we already do well.

To be truly happy we are autonomous - retaining our personal strength, power and choice. To be truly happy, an autonomous person gets to CHOOSE relatedness and competence.

One might think relatedness and autonomy are opposites - until the rugged I can do it myself individual understands that life could be richer when exercising the right to choose connection and competence.

Sometimes in my life I have let go of relationships and chosen isolation when what I needed was to maintain the connections and provide for the needed solitude - and I have thought that I couldn't risk trying something (like painting or dancing)until I had (privately) established competence - and then given up or not shown up because I was indeed not good at it.

What do you think?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

We Are The World

You are walking down the street and a young person asks you for money to catch a bus. What do you think? What do you do? Does it make a difference if it is Christmas? or cold? or night? Does it make a difference if it is a man or a woman? Would it be different if there was a child involved? Would it be different if the person asked for money for food? a cup of coffee? drugs? health care? a decent place to live? an education? Does it make a difference if the person is ringing a bell and standing next to a red pot? Does it make a difference?