Sunday, October 19, 2014
We leave for Turkey tomorrow at 5 a.m. Unfortunately the last leg of our flights, the flight from Frankfurt to Istanbul, has been cancelled due to the Lufthansa pilots strike. The travel agency is working hard to rebook us; I am so glad that Gate 1 Travel called us back from their emergency message line. I have NOT been able to reach Lufthansa, they must be flooded with calls (450 flights cancelled).
So I am hoping that we can have a restful and relaxing trip. I have been on the phone for hours trying to rebook our flights. At this point I am going to trust in the travel agency!! But it has been 4 long hours trying to get this flight rebooked ...
Wednesday, October 01, 2014
I spent a lovely sunny weekend at the Oregon Coast with my friend LB. Our room was right on the beach Ė this was the view from the window. We really enjoyed walking on the beach.
On Saturday we went to the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport. I loved it!
This young otter was orphaned, and was fostered to another mother. Unfortunately after 8 attempts to release him into the wild, he was too habituated to humans to be successful (on the last attempt, he swam many miles to return to aquarium).
This seal is posing like a statue!
Auks at the aviary (I thought they were penguins, but a volunteer identified all the birds for us)
We LOVED the jellyfish. One aquarium had ghostly see-through jellyfish; the other had a dramatic blue painted wall.
The aquarium converted the huge tank that had formerly housed Keiko the whale (who also alas was not successful when released into the wild Ė another very sad story) into a underwater sea tour. Very beautiful and unusual experience! Huge plexiglass tunnels take visitors through large aquariums, with fish swimming overhead (and under your feet).
LB admiring a fish (or is the fish admiring LB??)
The final zone of the undersea tunnel walks through sharks and stingrays.
Shark & stingray overhead!
We stayed at a tribal casino, where my friend enjoys gambling. I played a little bit to keep her company (she provided the accommodations for both of us through her casino points), but I am NOT a gambler -- I might as well flush money down the toilet! And her luck improved greatly once I left the casino!
I appreciated that the Native American tribe (Siletz) hosted a ceremony on the casino memorial grounds to honor military veterans. Tribal members drummed and sang, and the chief entered wearing his full ceremonial regalia. It was very moving. They presented a warrior blanket to a young woman who served with honor (she had received a Silver Star).
A very relaxing and enjoyable weekend!
Monday, September 22, 2014
Well it was a quiet weekend at home for me. No hikes or adventures. Which prompted me to think about the importance of social connections. I am looking to retire within a year, and I realize I have let my job get in the way of friendships and relationships. Not to the same extent as some other friends who are NEVER available to do anything! But I am going to make a concentrated effort to rebuild and strengthen my network of friends.
I made a conscious effort to make friends and build relationships several times in my life when I relocated for work. And now 22 years after my last move (through no fault of anyone) I need to do the same thing again. I got complacent with my best friends and hiking companions. Now HM & DM are both very ill and do not want to socialize. LB is nursing a very sick husband and is having a hard time getting away from the caregiver role. PH is great fun, but she is away most weekends. The list goes on; but my circle of friends is changing. I need to expand my social network. This challenge is not unique to me, so I hope some of these suggestions are useful to you. And you may have useful suggestions for me!
So in addition to reaching out to my current valued friends, I will take action to meet new people and/or follow up with people I have already met! Itís not always natural and itís not always easy, but I can at least make the attempt. While I donít expect every contact to be successful, if I donít even try, then I am guaranteeing failure!
Here are my strategies, let me know if you think of others.
1. I will connect on Facebook with old college and former business colleagues (I already started this last month). Iím meeting an old college friend and her DH tonight, when I travel to her home town for business.
2. I will attend a local church. I will try at least 2 different churches if the first one isn't welcoming. In addition I will go to the casual Sunday evening service at least twice.
3. I will try a new (different) hiking group at least twice.
4. I will take a class at the community college in a topic that interests me.
5. I will join a music group (I recently started playing guitar again, including melody picking the lead in old time fiddle tunes). I will stretch myself to overcome shyness and I will melody pick with others (in addition to strumming along). It is a lot more fun to play with others! Locally, there is a bluegrass group; a ukele group; and a Scottish fiddle group (that I am aware of) that are open.
6. I will contact a woman who came on my last hike who is going through a similar experience of rebuilding networks. She nursed her DH and best friend through a terrible illness until his death last year. Now she is trying to build a life without her former constant companion. Very nice woman; she has signed up for the Peace Corps (she lost her job through the course of nursing DH; too many absences/too much stress).
7. I will contact a woman who just moved to town last month who also came on my hike. She was similarly nice, new to town, and interested in meeting people.
8. I will follow up on friendly overtures from others.
9. I will go to the next movie club event.
10. I will go on an archaeology club outing.
11. I will continue to make a special effort to spend time with my long term hiking friends who are struggling with serious illness. Dinner; movie; just time visiting.
I will be friendly and outgoing, and if someone isn't interested, I wonít get upset. Thatís their problem. I will just move on to another person/another strategy.
Sunday, September 14, 2014
I had a fabulous active vacation in Stehekin WA; 8 of us (hiking friends) shared a lakeside cabin. We traveled on Saturday to Chelan Washington, and took the Lady of the Lake boat to Stehekin the next day
Boat at Lake Chelan
Friends on the boat
Jet skiers followed in our wake
Stehekin is a small town (700 summer residents; 200 year round residents) that is not accessible by road; it can be reached by a 40 mile boat ride across Lake Chelan, or by a long backpack trip from the North.
Our cabin was right on the lake.
Sitting on the deck
Sunset from the deck
6 of us hiked along the Lakeshore Trail. I enjoyed the lovely vistas of the lake!
View from my window
Hiking the Lakeshore trail
The next day, we took the bus 11 miles to High Bridge where the dirt road ends, and hiked to Agnes Gorge.
View of the North Cascades from the trail
Deep blue glacial water
Ezra and I hiked a section of the Pacific Crest trail. We met many through hikers in town, they mailed packages of food to resupply their backpacks. In Stehekin, they have already hiked over 2,500 miles from Mexico on their way to Canada. I was most impressed by Jason Evans, who was diagnosed with Huntington's disease, and is enjoying life to its fullest (and fundraising on his hike). He hikes an average of 25 miles a day.
The salmon were spawning in the Stehekin River. (not sure if you can see the bright orange squiggles in the photo, they are salmon spawning in the water below the bridge)
On our last full day in Stehekin, John and I bicycled on rented mountain bikes. It has been a LONG time since I bicycled, but I enjoyed it (even though I had to walk the bike up the steeper hills). We biked to Rainbow Falls, then to the old schoolhouse and other historic buildings, then to Bruckner Orchard.
This old cabin has been converted to a store where local people sell their crafts
Lower Rainbow Falls
The orchard had several old farm buildings that we could tour, and well maintained orchards protected by bear fences. The ranger said we could pick a few heirloom apples. They were delicious Ė literally. The type of apple was the Common Delicious, crisp and sweet, golden and speckled with red. This type of apple is no longer grown commercially; it was replaced by the Red Delicious.
That evening, I was reading in the front yard of our cabin, when a passing car driver yelled at me: ďLady, there are BEARS IN YOUR YARD!Ē I looked up and saw a large black bear cub running up the path that leads to our front door, he was only about 10 feet away from me. I did not see the sow (mama bear) and I did not want to get between her and her baby. I banged on the side door which was locked, yelling ďBEAR!Ē and waited a few very tense seconds for one of my friends to let me in! Several of them saw the bear out the window and ran to get cameras. A hiker walking down the road told us he saw the sow and 2 cubs heading back into the woods, momma had something in her mouth. Perhaps she caught a fish in the lake!
The green building was our home
On the return speedboat
We returned home yesterday. It was a great vacation! I feel energized and rested. And I led a nice long hike today!
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