We left home a week ago today for a short visit with old friends and a few days at a rural timeshare. It's been a good time away.
We spent three days in Lethbridge, Alberta with two college roommates of mine and their spouses. We visited Waterton National Park (Glacier National Park on the US side). My friend Sharon took this picture of the six of us.
I used to tell her she could only take five pictures of us per visit. We've been meeting up from time to time for over 20 years. She has become a better photographer, and I have finally found my "pose smile".
Sharon and Ann and I were roommates our senior year at UC Santa Barbara. We found each other through the want ads but we got along pretty well. We all married shortly after graduation, and we knew each other's husbands. Eventually we all got divorced. The three men in this picture are our second spouses. We think we all made pretty good choices the second time around. Sharon and Bob live in Massachusetts, Ann and Larry live in Toronto, and we live in Seattle. We've met up in half a dozen places over the years. We eat, watch TV, read, and go on outings. These days, we also talk a bit about our grandchildren.
Our timeshare for the second half of our trip is in Blanchard, Idaho. Art and I are having a quiet time here. We'd planned on putting the finishing touches on my soon-to-be-published book, and we have spent a few hours each day at the dining table with the computer. We've also gone mushroom hunting at Priest Lake (about 80 miles north of here) and, today, attended the Apple Festival at Green Bluff, Washington (about 40 miles southwest of here). The weather was in the 50s and cloudy both days, which is fine with us.
At the mushroom hunt we found four mushrooms which we left behind for another hunter. At the Apple Festival we bought two bottles of flavored balsamic vinegar from the woman who made it, an acorn squash and an apple for 66 cents from the farmer who grew them, two bunches of yellow beets for a dollar a bunch, a wood and metal bird feeder from the man who made it, two pulled pork sandwiches with potato salad, and a medium-sized bag of kettle corn which will probably be gone by bedtime. Art says he doesn't want any so I get a small bowl for myself, and then he assists in eating it.
We forgot to bring a road map of rural Washington and rural Idaho. We have a GPS in our Prius, and I have an iPad, but some of the roads were quite remote and the iPad frequently had no signal. So we ended up on some very rural back roads, and going the wrong direction. It was all fine, though. We knew we'd eventually come to the Canadian border or I-90, and we knew our way home from either place.
Tomorrow we'll be visiting one of Art's sisters and her husband who live down the road half an hour or so. And Tuesday we head home.
I've had thinking time on the long drives and in the quiet condo. From time to time I need to reevaluate what I'm doing. I clarified my priorities this week in the light dreams that happen just before final waking in the morning: spirituality, community, curiosity, purpose, and exercise. I get off track sometimes. When I got up, I deleted a game I'd been playing on the computer; it was stressful and serving no purpose other than wasting time. I felt better already.
I love traveling with Art. He can be quiet for long periods of time. He can pick up a book or two in a "take one, leave one" library and be content. But he's always up for a walk or an outing. And so am I. When we're home we're busier and more distracted.
Tonight we're having a simple meal: broccoli and cheese soup, baked acorn squash and a simple salad with beets on top. That sounds really good to me.