Grandma Gertie always said there's not a savory dish that can't be made tastier by just a touch of tarragon.

Tsunami and Me

Tsunami and Me
too big to escape now....

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Setting Sail in the Summer of '16

Viking's Lif on a Grand European Cruise

If you'd asked me this past May what I'd envisioned for the last summer of my seventies, I certainly would not have predicted another miracle.  I've already benefited from so many. Death-defying recoveries from accidents, attacks and ailments. Life-enhancing jobs in Belize, Seychelles, Washington DC and Washington State. Unexpected honors and heartwarming celebrations. My life actually can be defined as a long series of miracles. I've already had far more than my fair share.

Sue leads the Amazing Gray Yoga Group in a rowing skit
So at this summer's start I'd only anticipated continuing to enjoy the yoga and aerobic classes at my apartment complex, lead by Sue Burchfiel, of Amazing Grays Fitness. And I do, attending one session or another nearly daily, if only for the discipline of being forced to wiggle my arthritic ankles, and to pretzel myself into a forward fold. Sure, I long for the days when I could execute butterfly bends on a drum and one-handed walkovers. Now, at 79, I'm content that I can not only lean down to touch the floor without bending my knees, but can flatten my palms on that floor. Also I credit Sue's gentle flexibility classes for my ability to have soared through 2016 so far without a major attack of sciatica. Another miracle.

Though my late husband, Ken Wilson, and I had taken Holland America cruises to Alaska and across the Mediterranean and Baltic seas, I'd never floated down a river, except on a kayak on the Saline south of Little Rock one afternoon with a friend. But this summer, after watching Viking longships sail at the opening of season after season of "Downton Abbey," I embarked on a fifteen-night Grand European Cruise, down the
New friends from Alabama and New Zealand enjoying Mozart.
Danube, Main and Rhine Rivers, from Budapest to Amsterdam. Highlights aboard our "Lif" included a Mozart concert in Vienna and a German night aboard the boat, where we feasted on seven kinds of sausages, plus pork loin and schnitzels. Our staff dressed in lederhosen in honor of the occasion. We ended the evening discoing to the tunes of Abba...and I shook my booty for an entire half hour without collapsing on the postage-stamp-size floor...another minor miracle. Again, all the credit for my continued stamina goes to my low impact aerobic classes.

All these summertime diversions have kept me away from updating my blog. July is my first non-entry month since I began to log my literary and travel adventures back in 2010.

These have been busy and engrossing weeks, with AAUW activities, with learning my responsibilities in my new appointment as 47th District Liaison for California AARP, and participating in my book, film and travel discussion groups. I even put the final touches on two or three stories that will be published in books in time for the holiday season.

And it's been a summer of nonstop fun. There've been excursions for starlight concerts during the last season of the Pacific Symphony at Irvine Meadows, frequent treks to the movies...special favorites include The Free State of Jones, The Music of Strangers, Genius, Cafe Society and theater presentations, including "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," and "The Great American Trailer Park Musical," dining at old favorites like Mimi's and El Torito, and new favorites like The Galley in Newport and Hercules in Orange.

My 6/28 birthday at Hotel Laguna with a friendly author.
Best of all...this summer I met a friendly author. A university professor, he's published a scholarly book and has been working on polishing his skills at fiction. In his youth he greatly admired Hemingway, but is patient as I rant about why I consider Fitzgerald a better novelist. It's been an unexpected treat to trade ideas for future literary projects. He also shares my passion for classical music and Broadway show tunes.

We've planned more summertime fun...the Laguna Pageant of the Masters next weekend, and a trip to Pismo Beach in September, as well as a Catalina voyage for his December birthday. Maybe even London, Oxford and the Isle of Wight next summer.

Nearly daily we find new common (and sometimes uncommon) interests. You might call if serendipity that we met one another at all, given the population density of Southern California. Or synchronicity, or simply happy circumstance. He claims we're riding the same wavelength of the universe. I'm convinced it's yet another miracle.


  1. I've always admired your zest for life. I'm so happy it continues.

  2. You are such an inspiration. So happy for your happiness these days.

  3. U put a smile on my face..Really inspiring..Made me think that I have lots to do..and miracles can happen at any moment..Really admiring your zest for life..keep in u lots..