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October 2006
    Missouri Retreat

    Although I found a house in September, it's not available until late November.  What to do the weekend I had to move out of temporary digs?  Weather still mild and lovely so I headed west then south to the Missouri Ozarks to car camp.  Had every intention of setting up the tent, but the first evening it dripped.  Next day south across the Missouri River, along mining country, past well kept churches announcing Wednesday night meetings and roads named Hollows.  Again and again, I realized I was no longer in fast paced Idaho--rarely was anyone in the rear view mirror, waiting to pass.  I was off the beaten path in classic Ozark country--abandoned cars and dilapidated homes, folks parked on porches, just like in stories, interspersed with brand new homes; it was a little eerie.  The next night, when the campground on the map didn't appear, pulled onto a dirt road in the woods.  The morning scene was gorgeous.  The 3rd evening, alone in an official campsite along the Current River, was balmy, damp and drippy again.  Late in the night a barred owl called.  What'd I do these long, long nights?  Bit of reading; lotta sleep and relaxing, letting go of months of mental and physical moving; lots of listening to night sounds; bit of hip therapy.  It was a vacation just to be away from an active train line!
    The next morning finally cooked my idea of a "real breakfast"--noodles and vegetables.  The sun burned through the fog as I hiked to the nearby spring.  Didn't like the campground enough to spend another night.  Circled on north and west.  As I was glorying in the changes in fall colors with each valley, clouds blew in and the temperature plummeted.  It was finally Wednesday, but Wednesday night meetings were no longer on church marquees; I was disappointed--the country had changed.  Car camped a final night in a closed for the season Corps of Engineers campground near Lake of the Ozarks.  Bra.  Time to head home.  Got back in time for breakfast at Perkins Friday morning.  After re-establishing camp at the rectory, turned in early after a most welcome hot bath.  Enjoyed having a good light to read by; fell asleep early like on the road, without even hearing the hourly trains.  Musta left a layer of stress in the Ozarks.

August 2006
    Ireland -- Desiccated travels abroad (me, not Ireland)

Frankly, it's all a blur!

    It's all a blur--2 weeks in Ireland.  Phrases like Around the World in 80 days altered to Lifetime of Celtic Ruins in less than 2 weeks.  Much as I love old stuff, don't appreciate it on the run.  Enough's enough, especially when we passed incredible beaches and hillsides on Dingle Peninsula without a pause.
    Knew it wasn't gonna be easy for this independent Idahoan to join a group of similarly stubborn folks to tour Ireland, under a triune of authority, only one of which I'd met.  Kept my nose to the grindstone, packing for Illinois all summer, leaving maps and details entirely to email leaders.  Knew I had no idea what to expect.  No research, no maps from my end, just some reading from Fr. H; a great discomfort traveling abroad alone; a deep love of Celtic spirituality based on listening to John O'donohue's Irish brogue; and an awareness that dad's side perhaps came to America from County Antrim.  B&B's would be good, but I can do dorms; deferred to "experts".  In my summer busyness, sorting and packing, I ignored the note on the final agenda saying 'you're on your own the first 4 days and nights in Dublin'!  Eek!  I'm no city person.
    Did it anyway--saw Dublin on sore feet.  Never got used to traffic being reversed, or doors opening inward; heavy, heavy doors, by the way, that slammed snug.  Pedestrians walking on the left (as well as motor traffic driving in left lane.)   Got used to the food right away--cream!   But not the use of sugar substitutes.  Did I really hear Ireland banned smoking in public buildings, as in pubs!?  After millennia of changes, the euro was just another, why not ban smoking!
    After coping with Dublin, wasn't prepared to then repeatedly zigzag across the small country, 31 of us (±2 or 3) rugged individuals, constantly piling in and out of a chartered bus, looking at ruins, largely identified as monastic.  Crossing my legs as it were, eventually drinking nothing at breakfast--so much for my brief caffeine/tea binge.  Sorry body, sorry Dr A!  Drying up started when airlines took away our lethal water bottles.  (Crazed killer that I am, lost grandfather Mann's tiny engraved knife I mistakenly left in my waist pack, to the first round of security.  &*()_%.)  No toilet stops for hours.  By the time I got back to The States, I was thoroughly desiccated, prone to headaches, drinking very little.  Forever grateful to MacDonalds Dublin for their public toilets upstairs.
    We saw a lifetime of visitor centers and Celtic ruins on foot, and miles of tantalizing hillsides and the Dingle Peninsula from bus windows.  Eventually when I realized we weren't stopping for photos so I started clicking from the bus.  (Got some dandies of traffic jams by the way.  Right up their with LA or Seattle.)  We bailed out to take the 10am ferry to Aran Island; the 5pm back.  (Little did I know I was expected 15 minutes early, so I was "late"--again--shunned by furious fellow bus folks I'd inadvertently held up.  If I'm not let in on plans, that happens, folks.)
    I was hard on my fellow travelers and they were hard on me.  Fr H was so dismissive of the Celtic spirituality that delights my soul that even catholics were surprised.  More than a couple of us so called "pilgrims" had no interest in religion whatsoever, perhaps an understatement.  Pilgrimage this was not.  Didn't notice much of the sense of shared adventure or spirit of pilgrimage I'd expected.  (My lone tender moment was a small boy accompanying what looked like a grandfather, at St. Teresa in Dublin, handing me a green scapular, after I smiled at him.)  Returning to whining--accessible front seats were permanently staked out by the most aggressive, veteran travelers.  These guys had been elderhostling and regularly trotting off to Europe for decades, while I'd been driving around the boring American West.  Discussions like, "and where did you go in Spain?  Italy?  London?" were common.  (Beats comparing illnesses!)

    Highlights from the Emerald Isle:
· Dublin - airport.  A pair of child's blue eyes of such a different hue I was stopped in my tracks.  Strong sense of knowing people, faces, throughout Ireland.  American roots everywhere.
· Dublin - Museum with illuminated manuscripts from all religions - Chester Beatty Library.  Simply couldn't keep quiet—gasped audibly at every beautiful page.  Incredible.
· Dublin - National Museum.  Lo, there were gold "torcs", like the one I'd read about being hauled up in a fishing net off Scotland.  Out of bogs.  Over heard a stunned Brit by a case full of gold understate, "My word".  Indeed.
· Dublin - Actor Neil O'Shea was handing out flyers for his 1 man show on Irish Writers one evening.  Ran into WI Sue on my way there, who joined me.  5 of us in audience.  O'Shea sat and chatted with 3 of us afterwards.  Alas experienced Ireland traveler Sue and buddy didn't included others in their side excursions!  Oh, I had an attitude.  NaNaNaNaNaNa, 31 control freaks abroad.  Too bad I couldn't leave myself at home and travel!
· Dublin - Marks and Spencer Food Floor.  YUM!
· Pub Famous Ireland now "Smoke Free"!  Incredible!
· Ruins - Wandering off with Marilyn from TX to look at ruins that weren't so crowded.
· Rock of Cashel - Local brass band playing "By the Time I get to Phoenix" on the castle grounds, while hosts of tourists wandered about, picnicking and sight seeing, photographing gravestones and rock walls, on a lovely Sunday afternoon.  Also the Tequila song.
· Glenstal Abbey, a living abbey.  Fr. H arranged for a monk library scholar to talk with us.  Brother Colman was the real thing--a live, teaching monk, with all the mythical sparkle and charm of monastic lore.
· Bathtub!!  Last stay.  As long as me, a tad narrower.
· Beautiful weather, even the light rains the last couple of days.  Wouldn't be an emerald isle without showers, and emerald it was!
· Stonework - Cobblestone streets, granite curbs, stone buildings old and new.  Wonderful stone everywhere.  Not concrete, but stone!  Smitten by fossil tracks of Liscannor stone.  (Flagstones from our quarries at the Cliffs of Moher: ... characterized by the fossil tracks of a marine worm, that traversed the sediments, which formed the rock 350million years ago.
· Survivng 7/8 hr flight back with 4 yr old kicking from behind or terrorizing aisle (while dad smiled and flight attendants hid out)!

    I love old walls and tombstones, green, green rock walled hillsides.  We stuck to the leaders' agendas and hurtled past old peat bogs, coastline, intriguing road signs, over hill and dale.  The skill of our bus driver encountering another bus on a one lane roads is beyond words.  Days after we returned, Marilyn said she was still exhausted.  Me too.
    From reading through Fr H's articles on Ireland ahead of time, I got the gist of Ireland's waves of conquerors.  My personal impression is that the deep, earthy Celtic spirit remains, like the last of the peat bogs.  How clerks and Heritage site staff could remain so cheery and patient to bus loads of tourists asking for the toilets, floored me.  "Institutional" food was delightful!  Something is very right in Ireland.  It was a blessing to have ordinary, brief encounters with that remarkable Irish flavor.  Once again Eire is being swept with foreigners with new languages, as yet another wave of immigrants is assimilated--Eastern Europeans this time, especially Poles, perhaps just in time to revive the Catholic Church, which appeared to this outside observer to be joining its famous monastic ruins.  As tourists, we heard everything but splendid Irish-English!  (I even noted magpies had Irish accents.)
    Now I'm enjoying my digital slide show (accompanied by music from St Patricks Cathedral, one of my few purchases from the trip) perhaps more than the actual travels.  I can enjoy the scenery at my own speed, drink tea, and stop for the bathroom anytime!  The perfect vacation!

Post Script.  Months later, the trip memory that keeps coming around is of the confident woman who told her story while we waited to fly Aerlingus at O'hare, a nurse with 2 teens, from somewhere like Arkansas.  She regularly commutes to visit her Irish law student husband she met over the internet.  Now there's a woman with a life!  I thought, as she showed photos of her handsome Irishman (and her teens).  She's determined to move to Ireland.  He wants to move to the States.   Bets, anyone?

Catching my breath near Cashel

             Irish StairMaster                            Brother Colman teaches, Glenstal Abbey                  Dingle Peninsula - Bougainvillia hedge                                            Cool cars, eh?

June 2006
    Inspiration refill --Albuquerque

Why I got lost in Albuquerque and why I couldn't see the River

    To get through this challenging summer, took micro break to hear Fr. Richard Rohr and Sr. Joan Chittister at what was called The Prophets Seminar, sponsored by Rohr's Center for Action and Contemplation the weekend before 4th (of July).  Joan and Richard were awesome, although the Albuquerque Conference Center, downtown, wasn't exactly my cup of tea.  Sitting in frigid air conditioning, only to emerge into terrific heat, thought I'd split like a hot rock dropped in a cold water.  Over a thousand of us gathered up, testimony to superb speakers and material.  The opportunity to hear Sister Joan brought me; lo, there she was on Saturday, standing tall at the podium, in a striking gold/green/purple jacket with a gold or silver chain, this life long Benedictine sister, with a mind a clear and sharp as they get. Her sense of humor had me carefully shrieking with delight.  Hilarious.  Joan and Richard model the very best in complementary teaching.
    At some point Richard mentioned the blessing of religious freedom to have Amma and her following concurrently meeting across the street.  Saturday night I couldn't resist the the opportunity, though I was dead on my feet, to see if I could find the group.  Followed a crowd of long haired, white robed youngsters, to the Hyatt across the street; slipped off shoes and kneeled in the ballroom where Amma was hugging and blessing. My smile grew wider and wider as I experienced the bliss of her presence.  By the time I returned to the shoe room--Indian food looked terrific but the lines were daunting--I was drunk on divine love, so I shouldn't have been surprised to look up and see Lane from Boise.  While we chatted about life, a door person asked if I'd like to take a shortcut to meet Amma; thanked her, said I felt fully blessed, and wondered ever since...
    The other highlight of the weekend was hearing Franciscan brother Eddie Fronske at a session entitled "Reconciliation and Identificational Repentance".  With a heart for peace making, I was deeply moved by his work with the White Mountain Apaches.  Sat through his time slot twice, tears streaming, as he showed faces of the teams of Indians he works with, asking forgiveness from each other.
    Didn't meet many conference folks--brief hellos to David, Mazie and Joyce from Twin; a Poor Handmaid sister once upon a time from Taylorville, Illinois--looked for midwesterners.  Evidently religious on task forces attended for Richard and Joan's unusual clarity about the future of the church.  Prophets, indeed.
    Outside of the conference I chatted with care takers at the Madonna Center (where I stayed).  (Learned Rohr's books are banned!)  Met a Calvary Chapel woman when I finally got to Whole Foods for something besides burger king and tacos.  Yeah--vegetables!  (Creme brule!)  For some reason there were no grocery stores between the Conference Ctr and the Madonna Center.
    New Mexico is a red-green state, the seminar emcee kept joking.  Very funny, I yawned; I hate spicy food, chilis.  By the end of the weekend I concluded New Mexico ain't for me.  With it's heat, closed off river front, parking permits required for Sandia Mountain--who needs just another sprawling, hot big city, unless you know someone and like spicy food!  However I spent a rather divine final evening at the airport, despite the plane delay.  Ticket agents were chatty; the handful of fellow fliers to Denver on July 3rd were unusually warm and friendly.  The airport was eerily empty--very strange; the flight clerk took great care of each of us through the delay and gate reschedule!  Wow.  The very best of company, from Denver and Nebraska, San Jose.  Returned, inspired.

June 2006
    Illinois - Orange and Blue (and green) roadsides
    (wild tiger lilies and flax)

Summertime in Illinois--livin' looks slower!

    Weekend back to Jacksonville (via flying into St Louis) to look at homes and visit "isn't the weather awful" Illinois.  Lucked out; weather was lovely.  True--cudda been dreadful.
    Days Dianne showed me houses I tried imagining owning/living in.  Met her Saturday morning at the Farmers Market; returned to the restored rectory where I stayed this visit and steamed up a super Illinois summer  brunch (above).  Saturday afternoon swung in the shade, with high school classmate Connie, renewing acquaintance with classmate Eva visiting from Virginia.  Sunday 4 of us went by Shirlee's.  More socializing than a month in Boise!  Evenings, stopped by Charley's to sit on his roof/ porch, listened to tales, watched lightning bugs in giant neighborhood trees.
    Jacksonville isn't quiet--stock car races still happen Friday nights--but it sure seems slower pace.  Sigh.  Get packing, Jeannie

May/June 2006
    Memorial weekend at Folklife, nat
    Sleeping with sand

      After much indecision, drove over for one more Folklife--just 2 days worth this time.  Marli's glassblowing roommate offered to put me up; couldn't resist her warm offer.  By the 2nd day surprised myself by thinking I'd be back.  Not very good about saying good (though I never set foot on the contra dance floor--first time in 20 years!  Nearly jumped outa my skin to hear Balkanrama Sunday night--phenomenal!!  Not to mention the gypsy buskers; and the amazing duo "Amber Tide".  What would I do without the Shape Note sing along and a few chanties?  Running into old folkies wasn't bad either--smile--pretty fun.  It didn't really ever pour, but was one of the dampest Folklifes I recall.  Reveled in sun Tuesday, when Marcy and I visited her heavy duty artist friend Laurie on Marrowstone Island.  Exquisitely beautiful day! Managed cole slaw three meals in a row--my idea of heaven.
    Slept blissfully in the car a lot this trip while rain pattered on the roof, forever brushing sand off the foam pad.  Could understand where it came from after walking Dungeness Spit, pantlegs rolled up a bit, but every night?
    Beautiful low tide calm morning at Clallum County Park--thought it always stormed there.  Great nights sleep with frogs in Oregon again.  Ah, the Northwest!  Plus listening to terrific memoirs!  Thank you Great Spirit for this relaxing change of scene, all who put me up and renewed my spirit.

April 2006
    Illinois - Part 1 - Left, Left, Right, Left
    Boxing up - of swollen ankles and june bugs

   Just back from taking a load of stuff/my life back to storage in Illinois.  Surely I'm nuts (folks not necessarily gently remind me), schlepping "stuff" cross country rather than get rid of it and replace what's really important!  Such attachment!  On the other hand, why not--I'm a worldly American!  Indeed.  May not have a big screen teevee and entertainment center, but I got stuff.  So I squeezed in-between semis and joined the parade crossing American on I-80.
    Returned 3 trunks I'd brought out West, back to their origin.  One still has dad's name on it.  Lotta stuff going home--high school tennis racket and ice skates!  Drew the line at taking my old braids back though!  Hammock and frame.  2 bikes; kayak; sports gear--snorkel and fins--one never knows; books, books and more books; yoga magazines back to #1.  Now that's crazy--can't keep up with the current issue-- whenever am I going to read archives!  They look so good though!  Music gear--stereo/tape deck/ CD changer/speakers/ receiver/ record player.  Teevee/vcr.  Toyota back seats.  Table and chairs; 2 ladders.  Bamboo poles.
    Standing lamps; 3 light weight dressers.  Couple of coffee tables.  Sewing machines--5th amendment on quantity.  Speaking of heavy items--cement Buddha in a box, nose resting on toyota head rest.  Shelving and bricks.  Sears stepper; ab rocker.
    Several down quilts (surprising how many one woman thinks she needs!!)  Shoes, winter clothes.  Christmas stuff.  Larger picture frames (for whatever reason, packing these hung me up more than any other project).  Favorite rocks (just being honest here); sand boxes and sands (desert, river and aeolian)--embarrassing, but true.
    More boxes of family stuff than I realized I had, back to Illinois.  Lotta photo slides and albums.  Violin.  Teapots.  2 mirrors.
    Still to pack--most bedding, towels, yoga stuff; CDs, LPs? ...
    Not going--bed or dining room table.  For months I've worked on the To Go, Not To Go and Maybe lists.  Give away/sell list.  Sorta organized.  But then, I've had all winter.
    I can never, ever wonder if there's a loving God for early Boise friend Dan reappeared to organize the garage, boxes and load into truck.  Invaluable.  More than that, he said just the right thing, or nothing at all, at the right time.  Could not have been better.  He's a brilliant packer.  I was humbled.  Packing and driving I couldn't help flashing back to Richard Pryor in the film "Moving", the only comedy all winter that made me shriek out loud (I really shopped for them).  Especially the shot of the packer from Hummingbird Movers daintily wrapping a knickknack, or Pryor falling to his knees when the multiple personality driver appeared, or the neighbor from hell...
    And, on the other end of the trip, Charley volunteered to help unload, without commenting on untoward about attachment.
    Divine Oneness got me onto the interstate, across Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska and Missouri, into Illinois on a dark and stormy night.  Slept a few hours across the front seat, in Wyoming the first night--ugh.  Just drove, drove, drove.  Though mapquest was 2 pages, basically all I did was turn left onto the freeway I-84 East out of Boise, left onto I-80 East; right to I-59 South in Missouri; left onto US 36 to Illinois!  Promised myself I'd use the back of the truck the 2nd night; found the perfect roadside park in NB.  Slept divinely in cool, damp night air.  If cops patrolled the area, I was oblivious.  Yup, it was a shocker putting $60 and $70 in the gas tank each stop, 6 or 7 times.  About the time I got the hang of using a credit card to pay at the pump, got off the interstate and never found another gas pump that had a working credit card system.
    Rain brewed then began the 2nd full day; by evening pulled into J'ville.  Managed to find storage and unload the first round thunderstorm and all.  Took the hint that the new Econo Lodge in the same block might be the place to stay out of the rain--figured on camping!  It was.  Were these really my legs, I thought as I felt swollen ankles or swung them up the side of the bath tub?  Forgot what happens on long drives.  Hobbled around the next few days.  The night clerk, a remarkable young woman, let me check email each evening.  Learned how to use the guest phone (duh) and pick up messages.  Slept ever so well the entire trip, until the final night, when I reverted to toss and turn in preparation for Boise, I guess.  I may look cool and calm in the truck photo--dunno how that happened--I was beside myself about getting onto the freeway, something of a wreck all winter, worrying about driving something I couldn't reach across to roll down the far window.  If I'd known how fantastic the mirrors were, I might have fretted less.
    Drove carefully into town Sunday morning, truck partially unloaded.  Met Connie in her beautiful, round church.  Bless Charley for volunteering his ok back for the afternoon, while sheepdog Abby waited in his truck.  Unloaded between showers, periodically grabbing the camera and searching for the rainbow that surely ended in the storage unit, but never found it.  Perfect welcome back to balmy, sweaty Illinois weather.  We did the deed, and were joined by Connie and Bob (Class of '63) and Howard for the final just-put-it-anywhere.  Adjourned to dinner at the diner right across the street for reminiscing and most agreeable conversation.
    Added 1500 some miles to the new Budget truck's 4000-some.  Monday morning I drove an additional 30 miles to turn it in, when it turned out the original turn in destination was no more.
    Met with realtor Dianne--what a going concern!  Either I was incapable of making a house decision because I was done in by the drive, or I didn't see the right house.  Gotta get re-oriented to Jax.  Seems I may spend the same as booming Boise housing prices if I want to live even near the old stomping ground.  Humpf.  So much for depressed economy!
    Aside from Dianne under whose feet no moss grows, had a strong sense of life being slower and kinder.  Sigh.  Dare not think about life without mountains.
    My last day in Illinois was sunny with a night starry.  June bugs sat all over the parking lot that evening and clonked off the window screen.  Just like yesterday.
    The only utter failure in the journey was my attempt to line up a PO Box.  Not without giving up one's first born would the PO hear of issuing one.  Blech.  Snorted back to Idaho with my authority issues rekindled.
    Shouldn't have worried so much about making all 4 flights back to Boise Wednesday.  The door of the last plane (Salt Lake to Boise) was open at least another 5 minutes as I staggered back to the 30th row (the only plane big enough to have that many rows)!
    Thanks much Charlene for fetching me home from the airport!

January 2006
    High desert visits

Ghost town Fairbank cemetery 

     Back to the past (of course)--visiting cousins on mom's side; connecting with a researcher of dad's flight unit, the Fighting 33rd Group.
    Military researcher Gary (who hales from Illinois farm country not far from my own roots) took time off work and welcomed me to his home to look at photos and tell stories.  Truly amazing how he's dug up the story of his uncle, filled in blanks.  While connecting dots he's created a community of those of us with family in the Fighting 33rd Nomads, sharing untold stories.  What a calling!  It's an 11th hour project, finding the last W.W.II veterans.  Clearly it's been an incredible journey for more than just Gary: Finding Uncle Virgil along what really matters.  I'm enjoying the oranges too!
    Fittingly, drove south down Cole to see cousin Pete and Dale, who are literally surrounded by fields of mothballed planes (along with Pete's own car and cycle collecting).  The Scholer's godfather was in high spirits despite health challenges.  A true desert warrior, he's got a Harley set up in the kitchen of their trailer to work on.  This second visit I realized even more clearly he's a fellow brother, living past glories, the cousin my age, of mom's sister who died young.
    To keep things simple--I thought--stayed at Holy Trinity Monastery, only I didn't make it clear I'd be flying in late Thursday night.  By the time I found the monastery in the high desert, it was late late, and cold cold, and there was no note for the late arriver.  Door after door was locked.  Just as I surrendered to look for a motel--it was well below freezing--a sign with "guest" caught in the headlights.  I was a little desperate.  Boldly found trailer door was unlocked, no one there.  Piled extra blankets on empty bed; slept well.  I'm always clue less about new places!
    The monastery is young, felt very much in transition.  No Benedictine welcomed awaited; didn't knowingly speak with a monk.  Perhaps one went around offering coffee to workshop guests and RV residents.  I don't know.  Chapel services were done by young folks reading passages is uncertain voices.  Got no sense of the heart of the monastery.
    Although the monastery is on a main highway, felt out in the toolies.  The cell phone paid for itself when I was able to pick up a call from cousin #2 telling me where to meet with his and cousin #3's families for dinner that night.  A good time was had by all at the local steakhouse, although my few photos are blurry.  While the Todd and Craig chatted enthusiastically, I talked with Craig and Jane's oldest son, Olley, and fiancée (also her parents!), arranging to accompany him on home eucharist rounds after mass the next morning.
    Benson parish has been blessed with a true shepherding priest, and they know it, reviving the parish.  (Cousin Todd and wife Dana, having already made 1000 sandwiches early that morning, drove back from Tucson for mass, and agreed.)  Afterwards I was deeply touched to hear Olley read eucharist in Spanish to one family; English to another.  Who wudda thunk religion in my family went south!  Appreciate the warmth "Spanish is a loving tongue" (Ian Tyson) has given this wing of the family.  That evening wife Craig's wife Jane and I attended a rousing Baptist worship evening, led by younger son Sage's wife, a sensational white gospel vocalist.  Her folks sang and played in the band.  I was especially touched by her miner dad, playing classical music, the back of his low slung belt just clearing the piano bench!  Sage beamed as he played bass. I was stunned.  These weren't Hemphills!
    Relocated for the last night to Craig and Jane's "Sky Acres" desert ranch (named after our grandparents home).  Slept well under an oil painting by Uncle Em.  Prayers for the health of this hard living wing of family, down by the border.
    Before flying out, found Medio Media in Tucson in time for silent meditation, brief tour, and last minute lemon harvest.  Come intern, they offered!  Terrific idea!

Holy Trinity chapel entrance, where Olley and Jennifer marry in April.

Holidays 2005/2006
    Reading Lolita in the Pacific Northwest

    Listening to the story of a family imprisoned in Morocco, then  Nasaret Afisi's Reading Lolita in Tehran, drove west to Bellingham for Christmas.  What a book--Lolita!  Fiction will never be the same; neither will Persia.
    Chose an early Christmas eve mass at Assumption (which I'd never much noticed when I lived in Bellingham way back when)--splendid.  Afterwards. enjoyed lights on the bay--folks had a bonfire, shooting sparks into the extremely windy night--at marine park in Fairhaven.  Christmas day was close to 60 degrees.  What a change from the big cold front of mid December!
    Good to see old buddies Carl and Katy, Jo and Gary, Karen and Marcy in their Puget Sound habitats.
    Then, armed with Christmas cards (to write), books and magazines, spent 4 nights at Breitenbush.  Ahhhhh.
    Settled down to read and read Diane Wilson's new An Outrageous Woman: a true story of shrimpers, politicos, polluters and the fight for Seadrift, TexasThen a little Joan Chittister.  Magazines and Christmas cards went untouched.
    Rained, rained and rained in Oregon (poured, stormed and flooded all over).  In my whole life I'd never used an umbrella so much.  Slept to rain, watched it come down on the sky light center of the sanctuary where I read; slogged in melting snow in raincoat and hat, robe, fleece pants and pack boots, to and from buildings .  Sat in hot pools between heavy showers and crowds.  Finally the Idaho Lottery travel umbrella I carry for emergencies started snapping stays.
    The final day I nestled in bed with the microcomputer and wrote and wrote.  Bless those young care takers and their difficult organic food.

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