Tuesday, February 16, 2010

on getting older ...

A few days ago, I left 60 behind forever! I have to say that 60 has been a good year... not as good as 26 but as far as years go, this has been a great one. May I take a few moments to highlight the highlights. :-)

It all began with a bunch of friends and family showing up for my 60th b'day party, with all the mandatory rude gifts to remind me that I was no longer in my 20's. Janaya had contacted a bunch of my friends and put together a book, with photos from my past, and memoirs and well wishes from many of them. A few days ago, I re-read that book from front to back and re-lived many cherished moments... including the overwhelming feelings I had when I first received the book itself almost a year ago. Thanks to everyone who took the time to say a few words and special thanks to Janaya for the huge amount of work it took to coordinate it all.

A year ago, our house had been up for sale for 4 months without a bite, but finally, in May, after 10 garage sales, countless trips to the recycle, restore, storage unit, and the dump, we completed the sale of our home and nearly everything we have ever owned. We handed our keys to the new owners and drove out of the driveway with barely a glance back. We loved our home, but it was now time for a new chapter in our life story. We were headed into unknown territory. The "adventure" potential invigorated me... Winona? Well not so much...

For the first time in our lives, we were "homeless". I'm sure Winona was worried about what life on the street living in a cardboard box would be like, but gratefully our friends and family pulled through. We had "booked" enough timeshare time with gaps being filled-in by friends who kindly opened their homes to us, that we were all set... at least for the next few weeks and at least as far east as Salt Lake City.

(oh, yeah.. .this was supposed to be just the highlights... I'll try to keep this short...!)

OK. The highlights...

Since June 2nd, 2010:

Nanaimo, BC - John & Susan Russell
West Vancouver BC - Jon & Mary Elton
Vancouver, WA - Richard & Kathy Krikava (visited with David, Shamaine, & **Hayden**)
Orem, UT - John & Linda Livingston
Salt Lake City, UT - Lived across the street from Temple Square and the Tabernacle Choir for a week!
Vail, Colorado.
Lunch in Leadville CO. Highest point ever in our car.. nearly 11,000 feet

drove across Kansas to:
Branson, Missouri - our first ever experience at 105 degree F temperatures and 87% humidity! (except in a Sauna!)
JUN 27 - arrived at Janaya's house in Springfield Virginia.

Thank heaven for our GPS that navigated us across the USA and through Washington DC turnpikes and to our daughter's front door with our marriage intact!

JUL 4 - Independence Day celebrations in Washington DC... how cool is that!
Baltimore, MD
NEW YORK CITY - The Big Apple - guided through New York's rail and subway system by an "angel" who carried a guitar and worked for Microsoft. World Trade Center/Ground Zero. Fell in love with Central Park, Supper on Times Square, Statton Island Ferry, Times Square again.. this time at night, Broadway, got back to Hotel at 2AM
Cape Cod
Martha's Vineyard

JUL 17 - Winona's Birthday - Received our Mission Call to Micronesia, leaving in November

Plymouth Plantation - Lobster Dinner at Isaac's, Plymouth Rock, Mayflower
Boston, MA
Stowe, Vermont - von Trapp family chateau (Yes, "the Sound of Music" von Trapps!)
Montreal, QC (Corinne & Kurt's Cottage, actually)
Montreal - renewed our Passports (picked them up two hours later!)
Quebec City. Loved Quebec City. No need to take Winona to France now! Suddenly like being "beamed" into Europe. (Discovered the value of Priceline - "Name Your Own Price!")
B&B in Fredericton NB... Winona's first area on her first mission. Ran out of gas across the street from a gas station that refused to help us. Bought a gas can and enough gas to get us to the next station! (oh yeah, "highlights!")
Cardigan, Prince Edward Island - Fred & Mary deVries... best Lobster dinner ever! Got to operate an excavator! Ripped a tree out by its roots! (I meant to do that!)
Philip River, NS. Near Amherst Nova Scotia - Janice and Dean Tolley.
Visited Halifax, Tatamagooch, New Glasgow, and Stellarton

began our return west:

St Johns, NB
Freeport, Maine
Back to Boston, MA
Hartford, Connecticut
Washington, DC - to the top of the Washington Monument.
Springfield, VA
Williamsburg, VA
Massanuttan Resort, Harrisonburg, VA (3 weeks -- longest time in one place since we became homeless :-)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Dayton, Ohio
Nauvoo, Illinois
North Platte
Snowbird, UT
Benton City, WA (David & Shamaine had moved here since we began this trek)
OCT 8th... back in Nanaimo (Parksville actually) at Pacific Shores
OCT 31 ... Orem, Utah (John & Linda, Drew & Joanne Cahoon, Randy & Nancy Miller)
NOV 2nd - Mission Training Center, Provo, Utah

And I became truly "amazed" this year as we became intimately involved with the workings of our GPS. Not only did take us directly to our destinations, it told us where to find the nearest buffet restaurants (oooh ... bad idea on an extended car trip), the nearest gas stations, rest stops etc, as well as keeping us out of high traffic areas, toll roads, and toll bridges, it also told us where to find the nearest LDS Churches, gave us contact numbers and called them for us so we could get meeting times. As we travelled across the continent, we read (actually the GPS read to us)... the following audiobooks: "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer", "Huckleberry Finn", "Amish Grace", "Ghost: Confessions of a Counterterrorism Agent", "Confessions of an Economic Hitman", "Catch Me if You Can". I have NEVER before read 6 books in one year in my life. This was a new record for me... 25,000 kilometers and 6 books in 5 months.

I kept saying to Winona how much my Dad would have LOVED a GPS! I loved it... and the technology never ceased to amaze me.

So essentially, I've travelled more, and read more this year than ever before.

George Carlin's views on aging:

Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we're kids? If you're less than 10 years old, you're so excited about aging that you think in fractions. "How old are you?" "I'm four and a half!" You're never thirty-six and a half. You're four and a half, going on five! That's the key.
You get into your teens, now they can't hold you back. You jump to the next number, or even a few ahead. "How old are you?" "I'm gonna be 16!" You could be 13, but hey, you're gonna be 16!

And then the greatest day of your life! You BECOME 21. Even the words sound like a ceremony. YOU BECOME 21. YESSSS!! But then you turn 30. Oooohh, what happened there? Makes you sound like bad milk! He TURNED; we had to throw him out. There's no fun now, you're Just a sour-dumpling.

What's wrong? What's changed? You BECOME 21, you TURN 30, then you're PUSHING 40, Whoa! Put on the brakes, it's all slipping away. Before you know it, you REACH 50, and your dreams are gone... But! wait!! ! You MAKE it to 60. You didn't think you would! So you BECOME 21, TURN 30, PUSH 40, REACH 50, and MAKE IT to 60... You've built up so much speed that you HIT 70!

After that, it's a day-by-day thing; you HIT Wednesday! You get into your 80's, and every day is a complete cycle; you HIT lunch, you TURN 4:30; you REACH bedtime. And it doesn't end there. Into the 90s, you start going backwards; "I was JUST 90".

Then a strange thing happens. If you make it over 100, you become a little kid again. "I'm 100 and a half!"
- courtesy of Jon' Gems (Jon Elton)

Suddenly, I'm 61 and feeling young again!
May you all make it to a healthy 100 and a half!!


  1. Hey u 2 I'm not sure I want to talk to a couple of deserters like you! You left us behind to face all the rain and snow and cold stuff while you 2 lay around the tropical waters eatinf strane exotic food. Anyway Have a good and successful mission. Bro Buzz. Her's Linda
    Hi you two. Miss you. Hope your mission is going as well as you hoped it would. I envy you being in a warm place but I don't think I could take the extreme heat. Anyway, I wish you all the best and look forward to hearing from you. Love you, Linda

  2. Hey Sheppards. Ray and Meriel here with the Family Home Evening Group trying to fritz your blog by swamping it with messages. Have had a week from hell with eight days of computer meltdown, just put right today. You former IT guys . . . never the same urgency as us guys lost without our links. Ended up getting Windows 7 and starting all over again. Meriel here now, am painting the walls in our house. So while Ray's computer was out was able to paint behind his desk finally. I guess Yak won't be in the Olympics it sure is fun to watch. Canada came up with a gold medal in skiing which was our first on home soil. Anyway I hear the Olympics in the background we will be watching it instead of Greed tonight. Have a great mission. Ray and Meriel

  3. Lee and Winona from the Williams
    We had the group tonight and thought it would be nice to drop you a line from all of us. We miss you around here and hope that you will return here to Nanaimo at the end of your mission. We are having the warmest winter in over a 100 yrs.
    Diane and I are hoping to go to China, just north of Hong Kong, for 10 weeks in November. We did the math and we will only be 1800 miles from you so you could drop by for some herb tea.
    Till then

    We miss you both

    Rich and Diane

  4. Anonymous said...
    Hi Guys! Frank is watching while I type. We were landscaping across the lane today and we are both stiff tonight. We are having FHE at williams's tonight and the topic is 'Love', so natch we gotta write to you guys. We are enjoying the Olympics. The women's hockey team won their 1st game 18 to 0 - cool, huh? We are having the warmest winter in 110 yrs - have to bring snow in from Manning Park. L, FJ

  5. you're welcome. :) and happy birthday... again.

    great post. and seriously impressive travel-log! so glad you got to spend so much time here in virginia in the middle there. miss you guys!