Meg Noble Peterson

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

Category: Whidbey Island (Page 1 of 2)

GUESS WHAT? IT’S BACK TO NEPAL WE GO!

I’m sure this comes as no surprise that Cary and I are resuming our yearly sojourn to Nepal, adding a week in South Korea at the end of December. There we will visit Shawo, a Tibetan student we first met ten years ago at the TCV (Tibetan Children’s Village) school in Suja, India, and have been in touch with ever since. He is studying at Dongguk University in Gyeongju, and has planned an exciting few days to acquaint us with this country, its culture, and terrain.

Our time in Nepal is more unstructured than usual, by choice. We may visit Lumbini, where the Buddha was born, and we certainly will visit Dhulikhel and our old friend, B.P. Shresta. We have a ten-day trek in the Annapurna region, but it will be much shorter than the full circuit I took in 1999 when I met my friend, Jon Pollack. We decided not to go the usual route by Poon Hill, but head over the Khopra Ridge. Our guide tells us that it’s not so crowded and more laid back. We’ll fly to Pokhara, drive to Kimche and hike to Ghandruk. From there we go by way of Isharu, Bayeli, and Christibung up to the ridge. I have a new Sony camera, so I expect to dazzle you with my creations. That is, once I learn how to use it! Cameras are better and better these days, as well as more and more complicated. But I’m told it’s good for the brain, so I soldier on!

As we reach the end of the growing season and wrap up the farm activities until early spring, I’d like to share with you the end of the year festivities at the fabulous school farm that Cary started here on the island. For me the ending is always a bit poignant, since I will have to forego fresh produce for these upcoming winter months. But, selfishness aside, the season went out with a bang—the school Harvest Feast. Friends and family enjoyed a sumptuous repast of kale salad, mashed potatoes, carrot sticks, and pumpkin pie with whipped cream, all made by the students from veggies grown at the farm. You can read the school farm blog HERE, with new end-of-the-year and Harvest Feast posts coming soon.

And now it’s off to Asia, wishing you a wonderful holiday season and glorious New Year.

MY FINAL HOURS….

I stood up from my desk and, suddenly, the room started to rotate. I made my way into the living room, bouncing unceremoniously against the walls, clutching furniture along the way, and collapsing, heavily, into my reclining chair. For half-an-hour I prayed to the gods that be to clear my mind. I promised to stay off my computer and eschew any electronic devices in the future. I forgave all those who had transgressed against me during my lifetime, and asked, only, that my precious travel journals be spared the recycling bin. Then I called my daughter.

“Cary, I feel very, very strange. I think you’d better come down.” I tried not to slur my words.

Cary arrived. “What have you eaten today? How much water have you had?“

“Not much. A friend came over and he shared a mo mo and half a mango.”

“That’s not enough. Here is some water. Did your friend feed you something else?”

“No.”

“What have I told you about eating? You’re obviously hypoglycemic.” She started searching in the refrigerator for high calorie foods. Out came orange juice, figs, bread, chili….

I stood up to protest, whereupon my legs and entire body started to tingle and shake. I looked out the window. “OMIGOD, the mountains are all golden and shimmery. When I close my eyes the images turn purple. It’s lovely….Oh, dear, I feel sick to my stomach.”

Cary took out the frying pan. “You need to eat. You have all the symptoms of someone whose blood sugar is low.” She had been hovering over her iPhone, searching for relevant medical information.

So I ate and things got worse. “I’m so tired. I think I’m dying. I’m having a stroke, just like my father. The world comes and goes. You either like it or you don’t like it. I feel so unattached. It’s lovely and it isn’t lovely. Am I making sense? I think dying is very relaxing.” I was slurring my words and I felt extremely stupid, which made me start to laugh and move my arms as if I were trying to swim to the other side, wherever the other side was.

“Mom, why don’t we lie down together and rest?”

“No, no. If I lie down I’ll die. I know it.”

Cary called a friend who is a doctor, and she said to call 911. Then she asked me to write my name. I couldn’t get to the end of it before I slumped into my daughter’s arms and could no longer speak.

911 asked, “Is she breathing?” “Yes, she’s breathing.”

This is it, I thought. I knew I was dying, and I felt so young, so not ready….

The next thing I remember is my doctor, bless her, standing over me and asking me questions. I think I was laughing at my silly answers, and begging her not to think I was crazy. Then came what seemed like ten young men hovering over me asking me more questions as if I were in kindergarten. “Don’t talk to me like that,” I remember saying. My blood pressure was 70 over 40, causing alarm. I didn’t care about anything or anyone. I just wanted to pee, but didn’t want the whole army to come into the bathroom with me. I was totally humiliated and felt like a non-person. How much worse can it get than that?

I couldn’t open my eyes, but remember being bumped down the stairs, hoisted onto a stretcher, and moved into a waiting ambulance. More wires and tubes than I thought existed were plugged into me and wrapped around my arms and legs and under my breasts. EKG, IV, all to make sure I’d make it to the hospital.

Blood work, another EKG and one CAT scan later a catheter (that’s the worst!) provided a urine sample, which answered the question hovering over me. How could I be so loopy and incoherent, when nothing seemed to be wrong?

At 11 pm, the attending physician strode in, slightly stern. “All your tests are good, and your urine is clear, but….


Mrs. Peterson, tell me about your marijuana usage.”

“I hate the stuff. I lose my memory, I get horny, I never touch it.”

Cary looks at him, mouth agape. He continued, “Your urine tests positive for marijuana.”

I was gobsmacked.

Cary now turns and looks at me and, suddenly, the light goes on. Oh, dear, now I’m in trouble. This afternoon, after my friend left, I was so hungry that I started rummaging in the freezer, hoping to find something to assuage my hunger. I came upon a slice of what I remembered as hazelnut bread, given to me by my neighbor a couple of years ago, when I was suffering from jet lag and couldn’t sleep.

“Try this, Meg…but only a tiny bit at a time. It’s an edible. That is, cannabis baked in my fabulous hazelnut bread.”

“I won’t take it. I had a terrible experience with three small cupcakes fifteen years ago.”

“Take it. You never know. But be sure to label it M for medical.”

He was so generous, I thought, and maybe one of my friends might need it some day. So I put it in the freezer, forgetting to label it.

So, if any of you, my dear readers, wish to experience the prelude to death, which I do NOT recommend, I have a friend who can help you. But please take just one tiny piece. Don’t be like me…a starving fool who ate the whole thing!

They discharged me from the hospital with a diagnosis of marijuana intoxication, and the nurse dutifully read me the handout on substance abuse and where to get help. I begged them to add “accidental” to the diagnosis. Behind the professionalism, their eyes sparkled and I do feel they believed me and were all delighted at a good outcome and a good story. Oldest yet to succumb to edibles!

I share this story with you, not because I’m proud of my ill-advised behavior or because most people have found it rather hilarious (so much for sympathetic friends), but because now that marijuana has been legalized in so many states, we all need to be aware of the ease with which anyone can overdose on edibles. You usually don’t have any effects for at least an hour, and I have had friends who, because they felt nothing at first, ate more and more, and had very disturbing experiences. It is no laughing matter. We need to be fully aware of the impact of this substance on us, individually. Can you imagine what could have happened had I been behind the wheel of a car when “my trip” kicked in, rather than bouncing from wall to wall in my living room?

So these weren’t to be my final hours after all. Dramatic they were, to be sure, but also rather freeing, once the fear had gone and acceptance replaced it. And the lesson learned is still, two weeks later, lingering in my body and my mind, having had a profound impact on my rather frantic OCD ADHD life. I’ve had many moments of soul-searching, something that usually follows such a crisis. And when I lighten up a bit I am reminded of that wonderful Sondheim ballad from Follies, sung so poignantly by Elaine Stritch, I’m Still Here. Yeah, and very glad to be!

A FAMILY SUMMER

Family can mean so many things and be expressed in so many ways. Happiness, struggle, warmth, disagreement, and unconditional love. It can be long lost friends who brave the ferry lines at Mukilteo to pay a visit and share the joys of a jaunt up Ebey’s Landing.  It can be relatives—aunts, uncles, sisters, cousins, nieces, nephews, you name it—who touch base at the cottage or on a woodland hike to remind me that we are still family. And then there is the ever-changing and growing Whidbey Island family that moves throughout the myriad summer festivities and barbecues with the promise not to lose touch when the rain and cold of winter arrive. And this year I found a new family at our Island Shakespeare Festival, feeding my love of language and theater. I feasted on Twelfth Night, Sense and Sensibility, and Othello, over and over, again, starting in the warmth and late sun of June and ending in the chilly nights of September. These accomplished young actors became my family, and helped fill the void that has persisted since I left New York City. And is there anything better than open-air theater?

Twelfth Night cast members after the closing show of the Island Shakespeare Festival season

And then there was that one last look at beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee before the summer ended.

You knew I couldn’t resist mentioning my yearly sojourn to New Hampshire, even though I have inundated you over the years with my reminiscences of time at the family summer cottage. (See my blog post THIS OLD COTTAGE.)  This year I enjoyed the best weather of my lifetime—temperate, sunny, clear—with only one rainy day, which didn’t spoil swimming, but added a touch of mystery to an overcast lake.

You can imagine how special this was for a Northwest transplant who spent weeks this summer dealing with a blanket of smoke blowing in from the Canadian fires up north, the direct result of global warming. Some days it looked to me like Delhi or Beijing, and four weeks ago I drove my daughter, Martha, to Vancouver, B.C., because there were no planes, large or small, flying out of Seattle. Not even a small seaplane. She had arrived from Denver early in the morning and had twenty students waiting for her at a destination that looked almost impossible to reach. It was strange to speed north through forests of fir, which stretched high into the gray sky like misplaced ghosts. Fortunately, however, Martha caught a small plane flying to Campbell River, and connected with a water taxi to Cortes Island, where she taught a course, Move Without Pain, at the Hollyhock Lifetime Learning Center.

I think the best description of what is happening here on the entire West Coast appeared in an article written by my niece-in-law, Jessica Plumb of Port Townsend, for the Seattle Times.

Meanwhile, back in New Hampshire: My two youngest sons, Robert and Tom, joined me during my two weeks. But before Robert arrived, Tom and I spent a pleasant afternoon at the historic Castle in the Clouds, a 16-room mountaintop estate in Moultonborough, NH, overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee and the Ossippee Mountains. We walked through its woodland paths and enjoyed the falls, in an area very reminiscent of The Flume.

(Click on photo to start slide show)

Naturally, no summer is complete without at least one strenuous hike. This summer it was Moat Mountain in Conway. I had no climbing shoes or poles, but I survived. Good practice for the upcoming trip to Nepal this November!

When Rob arrived, he and Tom decided to break all records in a killer climb up Boott Spur trail on Mt. Washington in the White Mountains. I found this clip on YouTube that gives you some idea of the trail. When Rob was taking shots of the summit with his iPhone, it was blown out of his hand by a fierce wind! Fortunately he had used his new Sony a6000 for the photos of their climb.

The day was long, but they arrived back at the cottage in time to grab a few artsy photos around the cottage and some stunning shots of the sunset. Rob is quite a photographic artist!

Ready for a swim

My photography tends to be more muted, but I love these shots of the sun going down behind Rattlesnake Island, taken before Rob arrived.

At the end of our stay, we were treated to a short visit from my niece, Rebecca Magill, her husband, Paul Benzaquin, and their daughter, Amaya, They had just returned from one month in Ethiopia and treated us to a slide show of their work and travels in the country of Amaya’s birth.

On the way home, I left my sons at the Manchester airport and headed for Peterborough to visit my older sister, Anne Magill, and her husband, Frank.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t visit my younger sister, Cary Santoro, in Harrison, NY. Will save that for my next visit East.

Then it was on to West Hartford, CT, to visit Judy Wyman-Kelly, a longtime honorary member of the Peterson family, her husband, John Kelly, and daughters Leah and Sarah. She had generously lent me a car for two weeks, and now gave me a great send-off from Bradley Field, the airport where I started my first overseas travel, leaving on a World War II DC-3 propeller plane for a 22-hour journey to Paris by way of Gander, Newfoundland…in 1949. Can you believe how long it took? I was part of a student group with the AFSC (American Friends Service Committee), heading for three countries to help in rebuilding war-town Europe.

This is the second year that I haven’t hiked and camped in the Northwest with Jon Pollack. His death ended our nineteen-year exploration of the Olympics and the Cascades and has robbed me of one of my most treasured and simpatico companions. His buoyant spirit, humor, and love of nature filled my summers with delight, and it will take me a long time to recapture, if ever, the joy of exploration into the wild that I enjoyed with Jon.

I spent a lot of time roaming the beaches on Whidbey Island this summer, and especially enjoyed low tide on the Langley waterfront, when I can walk all the way to the marina.

The tide came in and it was dusk.

And then came the sunset over Puget Sound.

The following day I visited friends living high on the bluff off Sills Rd., and got another view of the Sound at sunset.

And so, until next year, I say goodbye to summer and welcome the autumn, with its own special beauty.

90…IT’S NOT ALL THAT BAD!

By popular request, for those of you who missed my gala party or might be freaked out to find that I’m still navigating this world at such an advanced age, I have been persuaded to share some of my thoughts on reaching ninety and becoming the prehistoric valentine in my neighborhood.

On paper it sucks. In reality nothing’s changed, except the constant chatter from friends and family, who cannot just introduce me as Meg Peterson, Cary’s mother, but have to add my age for effect. They love the oh’s and ah’s and “I hope I’m like you at that age. You are my role model” responses. I have threatened to wear a placard on my back with huge letters declaring, “YES, I AM 90!” to save the need for such an announcement.

And I can’t resist noting that the pat answer to every complaint, whether a mosquito bite or the forgetting of a name is, “You ARE older, you know.” “Yes, I KNOW, and so what? There ain’t nothin’ I can do about it…so please don’t keep reminding me!”

In all fairness, most of us have been guilty of such admonitions, including me, who, when in my fifties, used to be amazed at how agile my 70-year-old friends were. So my chickens are now coming home to roost. Lesson learned. I’m just grateful for my friends and my good health, and that’s the end of it.

If you’ve ever lived in the Northwest you know that the next three months are very, very special. All year, as we watch the rain and the fog, and try to find something good to say about it…romantic, mysterious, poetic…we wait, and we wait, and we wait. As a newcomer to the area I do more waiting than most, who are acclimated, and really do find rain romantic. Ah, but our waiting is finally rewarded with the most glorious temperate, sunny burst of heaven, combined with cool breezes over Puget Sound. Even a few setbacks at the beginning of June, which is humorously referred to as Junuary, cannot dampen spirits. Bliss has arrived, and the hiking, boating, climbing, biking, swimming, music-making, and street-dancing begin. Glutted with overflowing largesse, Islanders come out of their caves and into their gardens and all that waiting was worth it!

But I digress….

June 2-3 was a busy weekend. For most Whidbeyites it was the real beginning of summer. Even so, with many folks heading off-island, over one hundred friends, relatives, and well-wishers, including fifteen from the Midwest and East Coast, came to celebrate my birthday with music, dancing, gourmet food, and the zip line, until late into the night.

Pictures will speak better than I. Over 1,000 were given to me after the party, so you can imagine how difficult this has been for someone who is known to have trouble making choices. A good practice, however, as I joyfully, resignedly, and gratefully step into my tenth decade.

Many thanks go to Lee Compton, Tim Clark, and Jenny Vitello, my roving photographers.

(Click on any photo to start slide show)

Added to the festivities was live music by the inimitable Chris Harshman, Troy Chapman, and company, with solos from Nancy Nolan, David Edwards, and a birthday poem from Judith Adams that brought down the house.

The potluck, with the theme of sampling food from around the world, was superb. The cake, made by Erinn Cameron-Edwards and her daughters, was over the top! Husband David Edwards did a yeoman’s job of carving, down to the last crumb.

One of the highlights was the spontaneous singing of Happy Birthday. It started out as a simple acapella rendition, and after the first singing, several strong voices, like David Edwards, began, again, and branched into amazing three-part harmony that blew me away. I will never forget it!

How blessed I am to have such a group of upbeat friends!

(Click on any photo to start slide show)

Many thanks go to Lee Compton, Tim Clark, and Jenny Vitello, my roving photographers.

Just before dusk children and adults had a ball on the zipline. Check out these intrepid souls.

Pure delight

With night coming on it was time for a bonfire. The perfect way to end a perfect day.

The bonfire burned out that night, but, 90 or not, the fire still burns brightly in me!

NEW YEAR’S GREETINGS

I hope you are all taking some time to groove on the holidays, enjoy your family, and make plans for what I hope is a healthier, more thoughtful, compassionate, and peaceful year ahead.

I seldom put personal information or political opinions in my blog, but I’ve received so many wonderful year end reports from friends, who press me for basic information, that I’m sending them and you the sketchiest of news. This is a first for me. I’m not known for brevity.

My youngest son, Robert, is off to Shenzhen, China, on business, leaving his wife, Gwen, in Orlando, Florida, to hold down the fort for their golf entertainment enterprise, Glowgear. My daughter, Martha, has returned to her home in Denver, Colorado, after three months of teaching Essential Somatics in the U. K., Ireland, and Australia, to be on hand when her daughter, Cally, gives birth to a second son in January (what does that make me…a great grandmother, again? Can’t be!). I shall be joining the Denver wing of the family for Christmas while Cary and Tom are staying in Langley, with the school farm program and Tom’s house building at the Upper Langley affordable cohousing community going swimmingly. Grandson Adam and his girlfriend, Allie, are in New Jersey tearing up cyber space with various innovations. Grandson Thomas, a prolific writer of fantasy fiction, will greet me in Denver before he makes his way to Portland, Oregon, to embrace a new job and that soothing winter rain. Cary and I miss going to Nepal, but the holiday season brings a lot of wonderful connections with stateside family, friends, concerts and theater that we don’t find trekking in the Himalayas.

And to all of you…a wonderful Christmas and jolly holidays. And try not to behave yourselves….

(Stay tuned for more reports of my trip to Mongolia last summer!)

View of Puget Sound from Cascade Avenue in Langley, WA on a sunny December day.

HAIL TO THE SPRINGTIME WITH FLOWERS AND BIRTHDAYS

It’s a given that being a Gemini is a heavy cross to bear, but when the number hits eighty-nine you start to take stock big time. You receive a plethora of funny cards warning that “the warranty on your life has expired,” or “don’t worry, it’s only a number” or, “hell, you could be ninety, so stop complaining and consider the alternative.” At least by this time I am completely honest…I don’t subtract a year and I certainly don’t add one. It is what it is! And, believe me, I count my blessings, which are many.

We had a magnificent cake from CJ&Y Decadent Desserts, the women who bought JW Desserts. But Mr JW Desserts himself–John Auburn (now of Whidbey Island Bagel Factory fame)–came and gave me a birthday present of a ride on his motorcycle!

Time for a new lifestyle!

It was fun to be joined at the head table by such friends as Irene Christofferson (96!) and Loretta Wilson (a mere 86), along with little ones coming up on six-years-old. So enjoyed the evening with friends at Talking Circle and the hilarious birthday limericks. I couldn’t resist another ride on the zipline! You should try it some day….

Fun on the zipline!

I can’t get enough of all the flowering plants, trees and rhodies that bloom around the time of my birthday.

Look at the beauty of Whidbey in June as seen from Meerkerk Gardens.

GLOBAL WARMING, CLIMATE CHANGE…CALL IT WHAT YOU WILL, IT’S HERE!

Before I get back to my adventure last December in Nepal, let me interrupt the story for an important symbolic cry from fellow citizens to call attention to this serious threat to our planet. I think it’s important, and part of our duty as citizens in this time of turmoil, to point out moments of effective citizen action and ways we can speak up for change.

Science is being discounted and industrial profits are riding the wave, while our new president seems bent on upending the Paris accords and eight years of struggle to prevent, or at least slow, the destruction of the planet. Forget people, forget wildlife, forget native habitat. Short-term profit is god.

After all that’s been written about the danger to us and future generations, starting way back with Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, to scientists like Neil Degrasse Tyson, to Obama’s fight to lower greenhouse gases and find alternative energy sources, you’d think our politicians would have gotten the message. Seems not to be so, hard as that is to believe. As a result, and in an attempt to dramatize the danger, concerned citizens and scientists are marching, shouting, and taking action. Whidbey Island is no different.

Here in Langley we gathered an enthusiastic and dedicated crowd of people, who marched through town on April 29th, adding our numbers to millions of concerned Americans around the country. The message is loud and clear!

My favorite placard was this:

followed by the one I inadvertently walked off with, thinking it was up for grabs. The owner dashed after me and informed me otherwise.  My upcoming birthday and the message seemed both satirical and humorous.

Click on the photos for a slide show.

 

THE BIG APPLE: EXCITING, SLUSHY, BLUSTERY, AND BEAUTIFUL!

Cheryl and Steve

And, I might add with a hint of nostalgia, sunny. If you are from the Northwest, ten days of sun, no matter how high the snow, is a treat that lifts the heart and soothes the soul. New York City was like Christmas on the first day of spring. I treated myself to endless theater, one opera at the Met (Fidelio), and visits with as many friends as were available, from Cheryl Galante at whose elegant Maplewood home I crashed at the beginning and the end of my trip, to James Wilson, whose third floor walkup in Greenwich Village kept me in shape for more Himalayan adventures. Then there was Fidelio at the Metropolitan opera, where my niece, Margaret Magill, plays in the orchestra, an afternoon at the Metropolitan Museum of Art preceded by an extensive walk through Central Park, and theater with Phyllis Bitow, Terri Pedone, Paul Sharar, Barry Hamilton, Grandson Adam Bixler and his lovely girlfriend, Allie Francis, and, on my last day, lunch with Gary Shippy and dinner with Allie’s vivacious and interesting family.

Wearing heavy hiking boots and a down jacket to the theater is a first for me, but everybody else was doing it, so I fit right in! Some theater highlights include the new musicals, A Bronx Tale, starring the outstanding Nick Cordero, Ground Hog Day, with its crazy sets, frantic action, and pyrotechnics, War Paint, with Patti Lupone and Christine Ebersole bringing down the house, and Spamilton, an hilarious takeoff on the writing of Hamilton that left us laughing for hours and fit in with the city-wide celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. I had heard about this spoof from my friend, Judy Wyman Kelly, who had one of the actors, Juwan Crawley, in class. What fun we had!

Juwan Crawley and me

The Present, the first play of the young Anton Chekov, starring the inimitable Cate Blanchett and Richard Roxburgh (a Sydney Theater company production), The Man From Nebraska, a rather subdued piece from Tracey Letts, C.S. Lewis, the Reluctant Convert, Noel Coward’s Present Laughter, with a sardonic Kate Burton and a droll Kevin Kline, and The Glass Menagerie, with Sally Field and Joe Mantello completed my theater experience for the time being, but there’s always next year….

Unfortunately, because of the delay in my flight due to the big snow storm, I missed several other close friends, including my buddies from the Plainfield Symphony, but I’ll be back. You can’t keep a theater addict away from NYC for long.

Here are a few shots of Central Park in the snow and our visit to the Seurat exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum. You’ll recognize the landmarks and the paintings.

In the museum, we saw a Seurat exhibit, and many other paintings from the French Impressionist era were on display. Everyone you go are beautiful statues and artifacts. Here is just a sampling.

On the way to the theater we walked through the park again.

 

I can’t resist a couple of photos of Lincoln Center’s Metropolitan Opera at dusk, and me with the chandeliers I love so much! Click on photo to start slideshow.

I also can’t resist a few backyard shots of Maplewood. You’ve gathered by now that I love the snow!

As we descended through the clouds on our approach to Seattle, what should await me but a splendid rainbow. This is what makes all that rain palatable! It was good to get home to peaceful Langley.

Happily, through the raindrops, I was greeted by a few signs of spring, plus a mystical stroll on the shores of Puget Sound, just a five-minute walk from my home. Ain’t it wonderful?

Dusk on Puget Sound…

NOW IS THE WINTER OF OUR DISCONTENT….

What a play Shakespeare could write about the craziness that has enveloped our country in the past few months. So many of my friends from around the world are writing passionate letters, worried about their future and that of the United States. Join the crowd. Pick up the paper, watch the satirists, do the research, and make your beliefs known by your actions.

I returned from a delightful week in Denver, CO, to witness a spirited march on January 21st here in Langley, where over 1,000 people spoke their minds in a city that only has about 1,000 citizens. The crowd went all the way up the hill at First Street!

Seattle (on the Other Side) was around 175,000 and my grandson, Thomas Bixler, and my niece, Rebecca Magill, told me of the astronomical numbers crowding the streets of Washington, DC. Ditto for seventy countries around the globe. You’ve all seen the pictures and read the stories.  Here are two of Rebecca, her daughter, Amaya, and husband, Paul Benzaquin.

In an attempt to find serenity I enjoyed two hikes while in Colorado. One at Sawmill Pond in Boulder with Bonnie Phipps and her husband, Bill Moninger, and the other with my daughter, Martha, great grandson Theo, and grandson-in-law Zack. My, that’s a mouthful!

Sawhill Ponds Hike slideshow

Hike in the Denver Rockies slideshow:

I always like to leave you with a good taste in your mouth and here’s a poster I saw at the South Whidbey Commons this week. It proves that the Asians are not the only ones to enjoy and depend on the soothing and social repercussions of coffee!

A CHILLY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL….

It’s been two weeks since we said goodbye to our beloved Himalayas and headed back to the comfortable community of Langley, WA.

Now I’m delighted to be able to go to Denver, Colorado, for an unexpected visit with my daughter, Martha, my granddaughter, Cally, and her husband, and my great grandson, Theo, now 14 months old and walking. From now on I am GiGi. That’s for Great Grandma, of course. I wear the moniker with pride and disbelief. How did a young girl like me ever reach this exalted place/age?

I’ll also visit autoharp greats, Bonnie Phipps and Lucille Reilly, and nephew, David Magill. Then, it’s back to a blow-by-blow report of Asia off the beaten path….

For the first time in all our travels we experienced what to many is a common occurrence: a lost duffel bag full of all Cary’s camping and trekking equipment plus the usual precious mementoes of her Asian adventure. A predictable gnashing of teeth followed. And to this day, still no bag.

Our stay in the Tibetan enclave of Delhi, Majnu Ka Tilla, was dampened by this turn of events, but we still enjoyed our Tibetan friends and spent a day roaming the area after greeting our first Christmas tree at the Wongden Guest House. Click on the photo to start the slideshow.

Another much happier “first” to occur on this trip was our frequent flyer upgrade to business class. It was like another world for us and we thoroughly enjoyed our new privileged status as coddled passengers sleeping and eating and drinking our way around the globe. On the return trip from Delhi to Shanghai to Seoul, we also spent our waiting time in lounges patently and conspicuously  bourgeois. It didn’t escape our notice, however, that we were often frowned upon. Our ratty climbing attire and clunky boots screamed “tourist class” to the spiffily-dressed “models” who hosted China Eastern. It was only after we moved to the more relaxed mélange of Delta hostesses of a certain age that we felt at home in our egalitarian attire and laid back in heavenly slumber for the better part of our trip. Thus, no jetlag. Oh, Gods of the airways, grant us another such experience before we die. I beg of you!

Two days into my return I looked out my front balcony to be greeted by five fat robins perched in a frosty tree. It was a bone-chilling 20 degrees.

Omigod! Why are these robins so fat? Who has been feeding them? Surely they can’t get worms from the frozen ground. Suddenly, my mother’s words came to me: “He’s puffed up like a  robin in winter.” So I looked up robins in winter (how I love the internet! Gives me such a momentary feeling of erudition). And I found out more than I ever wanted to know about them. Even when the temperature is subzero, these little creatures can puff up their feathers and increase the amount of air next to their body to insulate themselves.  It can be 104 degrees under the feathers and 10 degrees outside. How about that? Nature, to me, is unbelievable in its complexity.

In closing, here is my cheerful New Year’s message. It’s from the Tenyang Coffee Shop, our favorite place for cappuccino in Dharamsala, nearby the Dalai Lama’s temple.

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© 2018 Meg Noble Peterson & Site by Matt McDowell