Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Apple Pie Surprise

Each week, when I head Over the Blues to go to work early, early, EARLY Monday morning, Teri packs me a nice care package. This "lunch," packed into an old "Little Playmate" cooler, sometimes with incredible precision to use every atom of space, often is enough to get me through several days, even though I like to eat five times a day. This evening I was in for surprise. And it was more than just the typical note she cleverly hides in the care package. Tonight, having already consumed several snacks at work, having already tackled the apple, carrots and cheese sandwich, I opened the cooler at supper time only to discover, wrapped in tin foil, an absolutely gorgeous, beauty contest winning piece of apple pie.

What a way to cap a great Monday. My baby spoils me rotten, and I love every minute of it.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Snowing Hard and Continuously

The wind blew last night enough at the beach condo to turn shingles into missiles. Fortunately, the place is new and the shingles are nailed down well.

Part of our Monday morning tradition, besides getting up at 4:30 a.m., is to take a quick peek at the Oregon Department of Transportation Trip Check. One thing I expected, despite its being 45 degrees down in the banana belt and raining lightly, that it would be snowing hard and continuously at the Interstate 84 Meacham crossing of the Blue Mountains. The mountain range is a storm catcher that snags storm coming off the Pacific Ocean and squeezes as much moisture out of them as it possibly can.

Up top, the visibility on drives like this morning's declines. A driver has to watch out especially for other traffic, what we like to call "flakes." The windshield wipers work overtime, as does the defroster. There are no atheists on the road.

I was thankful this morning that the snowplows were out in force trying to clear the worst of the rapidly falling snow from the road. I was also thankful when I finally descended below the snow line in the Grande Ronde River valley west of La Grande.

It was nice to have another successful trip over the Blues in the Prius snow leopard with the best snow tires ever in my rear view mirror. Life is a daring adventure or nothing, Helen Keller said. This is all part of our daily adventure, and for the opportunity to spend weekends with my Sweetie, no matter how challenging the driving conditions, I am extremely thankful.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Quality, not Quantity

Sometimes I read about couples married 30, 40, 50 years or more. The odds of Teri and I celebrating our 50th anniversary are about 1 in 100,000. We'd both be 104 years old, with more wrinkles than a shar pei.

That's fine. Our marriage is about quality, not quantity. Yet we want to make good choices with exercise, diet and social life most of the time. We can add 10 years to our life just by limiting the times we get angry and not bingeing on food or sugar drinks. We can add 10 years of quality living by lifting weights and doing aerobics, even if that is something as simple as going for the occasional after-dinner walk.

I want to share a lot of years with Teri, see where this adventure takes us. Life is either a daring adventure of nothing, Helen Keller said. We want to make it adventure today, this week, this month, this year and for the rest of our lives.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Key Bowl

One critical element in a successful marriage is the key bowl. Yes, you heard right. The key bowl is where you put your keys when you get home from work, and wallet, bills to be paid, outgoing mail and whatever else is important to deal with right away. It's a great organizational tool, and a nice work of art besides.

Today, while spending a wedding gift card at Target, I found a really nice rubber wood key bowl. It cost only $10, and will pay for itself right away in keeping things organized and helping get bills paid on time.

Sure, key bowls aren't for everyone. Some people like chaos, disorganization, clutter, searching frantically for important papers. Some people also thrive on crisis. They like daily drama.

I am not one of those people. I love the key bowl and think it deserves a prominent place in every home.

Shake it up, Baby

Marriage comes down to hundreds of tiny details. They include shaking up the soy milk before pouring. If I've told you once I've told you one thousand times .... I'm a slow learner. Once I incorporate a habit into my repertoire, however, it is there to stay. If something is important to one person in the couple, it becomes important to both people. And little details, like always changing the toilet paper roll and putting it on so it dispenses in the proper manner, can add in a big way to quality of life. We get enough aggravations in our jobs and in our commutes. We need to make our home life, or in our Living Apart Together relationship our homes life, as seamless as possible. Yes, Dear, I'm learning to shake up the soy milk before pouring. It might take 10 years — but I'm learning.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Black Ice

Wreck ahead, the signs warned. It was the middle of the afternoon on a Friday in late January. The freeway was supposedly in great condition. I crept along in the Prius, my 43 miles per gallon miracle car, in the Grande Ronde River canyon, just west of La Grande. A series of flares warned of trouble ahead. An Oregon Department of Transportation snowplow truck was in the other lane, spreading deicer. Ahead I saw the SUV. It had crossed the bridge on a curve and then rolled. Perhaps it was going too fast. Maybe it hit ice. Probably it hit the invisible black ice. Whatever, it made me thank my lucky stars for being so fortunate as to drive through this mountain ravine time after time without incident. This time of year in this deep mountain canyon shaded areas predominate. Ice lingers. Day after frozen day.

Over the Blues is not just a cute name. In winter it is serious business getting over this mountain range in Northeast Oregon to see each other. We drive as carefully as we can through all sorts of weather to be together as a couple. That is one of the prices to be paid with a Living Apart Together, or LAT, relationship. It is a price, however, that pays rich dividends when I consider my best friend is waiting at the other end of the drive. We want to spend many years together. We want to be careful. Someday the drive won't be necessary. It's a great adventure.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Taking out the Trash

The five love languages are affirmations, quality time, gifts, acts of service and physical touch. Acts of service can be anything from washing dishes to taking out the trash and changing the roll on the toilet paper holder. Or it could mean folding clothes or drying down the walls after taking a shower. None of these is a big deal. But put all together they are a big deal. They tell the other person that you believe love is in the details.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Storm Chaser

Romance is an adrenaline sport when you live 90 miles apart, most days, with a storm-catching mountain range in between. No, the Blue Mountains of Northeast Oregon aren't the Sierras or the Cascades. But the Blues aren't anything to sneeze at either. Storms marching off the Pacific Ocean can pack a fierce punch as they slam into the Blues in a winter weather season that lasts from November through April. Teri and I love the Blues. We love the magnificent views coming down Cabbage Hill. Every time we drive over this hurdle to see each other our love grows stronger, more enduring, as enduring as our beloved mountains. To us, over the Blues means more than just a drive through snowy pines. It means moving beyond sadness and despair to the rarified air of a love that is as strong as a mountain storm -- and much more enduring.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Over the Blues

Semi trucks line the side of the road putting on chains. I am lucky. I can go over the snowpacked interstate with the excellent snow tires on my Prius Snow Leopard. Sure, I'd love to have an all-wheel-drive Subaru. But the Prius gets 43 miles to the gallon and makes this long distance relationship financially more doable. Neither Teri nor I is rich, except in spirit. We are thankful for decent jobs. Warm, dry houses. The ability to make good decisions when it comes to driving over the Blue Mountains in winter time.

The mountain cabin and the beach condo are 90 miles apart, with the Blue Mountains in between. The pass at Meacham is about 4,200-foot elevation. The mountain cabin in Cove is at 3,000 feet above sea level. The beach condo in Milton-Freewater is at 1,200 feet above sea level.

I am the designated driver in the relationship. It makes sense. I work in La Grande, which is 75 miles from the beach condo and 15 miles from the mountain cabin. Teri works in Walla Walla, which is 100 miles from the mountain cabin. This means on Monday mornings and Friday afternoons I have a shorter commute — just 75 miles compared to Teri's 100 miles.

It's a beautiful drive Over the Blues, most days. Pine forests cover the mountains, and in late spring wildflowers blossom in meadows. Occasionally, we'll even see a herd of elk, near Meacham usually. Then there is the descent off Cabbage Hills, six miles of 6 percent grade, or ascent in early morning with the lights of Pendleton flickering in the distance.

When we made our commitments to each other, we knew what we were getting into. It's a big investment in time and energy, but having a lifelong love makes it all worthwhile.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Lucky Girl

Whatever in the world I did to deserve this man... I am certainly glad I did,
whatever it was.

Jeff is kind, thoughtful, generous. He is smart, funny and adventurous.
And... I love him.
Jeff is patient, loving, helpful. He is quirky, interested and comforting.
And... I love him.

Forever and a Day.

I am a lucky girl.

Honey Don'ts

You've heard of honey-dos. The Wonder Woman and I have a series of honey-don'ts. They include don't go to bed angry; stay up and fight. Don't do the Over the Blues drive on black ice. Don't linger on the pity-potty. Don't dwell on depressing thoughts. Don't underestimate the power of Mother Nature or unconditional love. Don't be impatient. Don't judge or be petulant, even, especially, when you get older and it becomes the natural course of events. Don't be sedentary. Don't linger in the processed foods section of the grocery store. Don't sell yourself short. Don't be too serious. Don't jump to conclusions or leap to assumptions. Don't underestimate the power of patting -- or of love.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Riding out the storm

Ever since 9-10-11, the glorious day Teri and I got married, and even before, I've been riding waves of change at work. Just a few weeks before 9-10-11, my boss of more than 15 years announced abruptly that he was quitting as editor/publisher of the newspaper. That was not long after the company announced it was filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which resulted in pay cuts and pay freezes, and my boss announced he was on seven different blood pressure medicines.

Fortunately, Ted stayed long enough on the job so I could enjoy a honeymoon trip to British Columbia. Then, not long after we got back from Squamish, I had to fill his shoes for seven weeks while we hired a replacement editor. There was no plan. There was no direction. There was no new arrangement to share responsibilities. I worked like a dervish for no extra pay to just keep the lights on and the door open, while dealing with some humorless co-workers.

Then, in late November, the new editor arrived. He's a good guy. Extremely smart. Laughs a lot. Still, there were many more changes, and even though I was already overbooked, I was given even more of the mundane jobs formerly carried out by my editor/publisher. I was OK with that. It all pays the same. As long as I can set boundaries, come in at 7 a.m., go home at 4 p.m., remained reasonably healthy, kept the blood pressure at a good spot, it was fine.

Then, just when we were getting Glen's system down, the company brings in a new computer system. We are moving from Quark, which we have used for 15 years and I know all the shortcuts of, to InDesign. That's fine. I look forward to learning the latest thing. But I am the guy tasked with building pages fast. Now I need to learn new shortcuts. And the people teaching seem scattered. Very smart. Yet prone to go off on tangents and tell us about many features we have no need to know and will never use.

Teri, too, had to fill in for a co-worker gone missing from right after the honeymoon until mid-January. She too got no extra pay for a lot of extra work.

All this work stress has only strengthened our relationship. Teri gives me support, and I give her support back. We will carry on and use this as an opportunity to show just what we are capable of when times are tough. Love endures, forever and a day.

Weather warning

The Columbia Basin, where Teri lives at the beach condo, most days, is encrusted in several inches of ice. Roads, schools and businesses are closed. Everyone is hunkered down waiting for the inversion to lift.

The Grande Ronde Valley, where I live, most days, is basking in 40 degree temperatures. Cove, at 3,000-feet elevation, is up in the warm air where the rain is coming from. The rain is falling from that layer of warm air onto the surface in Milton-Freewater where the temperature is hovering around 20. The rain is freezing as soon as it hits the ground, turning the basin into an ice rink.

Now it's Friday, my normal time to commute over the Blues from the Grande Ronde Valley to the Columbia Basin. The weather looks iffy. The roads look dicey. But as the day goes on, the weather will likely change and warm up, Maybe by late afternoon, when I get off work, the roads will be good enough to make a run for it over the Blues, down Cabbage Hill and then up to Milton-Freewater. We'll get on the phone and make an educated decision.

As the Wonder Woman says, better to stay in our respective homes one weekend and not risk our lives, and then have many, many more weekends together. I like how she thinks. Maybe that's why she engraved, on the inside of my wedding ring, Forever and a Day.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Lonely planet

Winter evenings when we are apart, me at the mountain cabin, Teri at the beach condo, can be loooooooooong. That's especially true on dark and stormy nights. And when weather conditions at one place or the other, or both, are frightful. Last evening Teri had to do her 10-mile commute home from work in freezing rain. When I read about it from a friend on Facebook, I was concerned. But when I tried to reach Teri by phone, there was no answer. I just told myself she was driving home and could not answer the phone, then. She'd let me know soon enough that all was OK. When I finally was able to reach her, the relief was palpable.

The good part is, even living 90 miles apart much of the time, we still share the same moon. And through email, text messaging and phone calls, or chatting on Facebook, we can stay in touch. We know there will be loneliness, but with patience, trust, understanding and unconditional love, we can get through to that far distant day when we will actually share the same house full time. It's something to look forward to.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Playing possum

In the interest of making this blog a springboard for a best-selling book, I suggested to Teri that we get a pet opossum. She was not amused. They're ugly and they stink, she said. But what about the young woman photographer who raised a coyote in the heart of Wyoming sheep country and lived to blog about it, I pleaded. She wrote 'The Daily Coyote' book and is probably right now basking in the glory in some villa in Tuscany. No way, no who, no how, the Wonder Woman said, putting her foot down right on top of my arch. So it looks as if the opossums of the world will have to fend for themselves in the cruel streets of nature.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Playing with Food

Teri may not fess up to it, but she is a great cook. Loves to watch cooking shows. Enjoys experimenting in the kitchen. And I don't mind at all being experimented on. It's important in building a relationship to have fun with food, and to both chip in with kitchen chores. It's important to eat well, to savor the dining experience, to sit down together at the table, to pray together. It's all part of long-term bonding. Sunday evening Teri made (with a little assistance from me) orange chicken stir fry and rustic apple pie. We served the pie with some sharp cheddar cheese melted on top. Was that a big hit or what!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Play 60

The National Football League has a great series of TV ads furthering its effort to combat childhood obesity. Play 60 is also a great slogan for couples, no matter what their age. Saturday Teri and I did our Play 60 by taking a walk. The weather was sunny and unseasonably warm. Even the squirrels in the maple tree -- we counted six -- were following the Play 60 mantra. It's not just getting out there and getting exercise and Vitamin D. It's also bringing a spirit of fun. It's dancing in the street when the spirit arises. It's kicking a rock with your Sweetie. We aim to Play 60 every day, whether we are together or 90 miles apart. And it makes all the difference.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Date Morning

You've heard of date night. Well, Teri and I have started a new tradition-- date morning. All you need to do is find a restaurant with great food, great service and great ambiance. After enjoying a leisurely meal and some good catching-up time, you can go to the Saturday farmers market or do some other needed shopping.

Best, even if you romantically split a meal, portion sizes being what they are in America today, you might even be able to bring home lunch.

Of course, it takes a while to establish a tradition. But date morning is shaping up to be part of a great Groundhog Week -- that is, a week that bears repeating and continues to build a life that resonates.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The first love language: affirmations

During wedding counseling, Teri's cousin, Delbert, our minister, introduced us to a book that spelled out the five love languages. The first of these was affirmations. I'm a strong believer in affirmations. In fact, I began reciting a list of positive statements each morning after having been assigned, in my job as an editor in a daily newspaper, to check over the comic page. OK, so the page contained more than just "Family Circus" and "Doonesbury." The page also contained the "Dear Abby" column, which one day recommended a series of Just for Today affirmations. I started out with theirs. But being a contrarian, soon I had crafted my own. The Just for Todays proved invaluable as I went through my first wife, Tina's final illness and untimely death at age 48 in 2007. When times got rough, I had an inner strength to draw on.

Today, with the Living Apart Together arrangement Teri and I find ourselves in, she in Walla Walla during the work week and me in La Grande, I find affirmations to be one of the best things I have going. I remind her she's beautiful, inside and out, whether that is in our nightly phone calls or in the early morning email or through a text message.

Teri being the Wonder Woman, it's easy to find things to praise. I also like to do a takeoff on her initials, T.D., and give her a Ta-Dah! or a Ta-Ta-Ta-Dah!!! when appropriate.

It's great to live in the 21st century when there are so many ways to communicate, a multimedia three-ring circus. You still have to be mindful. But sending out affirmations has never been easier.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Lunch with Larry

Occasionally I have lunch with my friend Larry. We flip and match quarters to choose what restaurant we will go to and who will pay. It's a lot of fun. It also always brings back fond memories of 9-10-11 when after the wedding, after when we had gone through the gantlet of friends and family tossing parchment butterflies and well wishes, we jumped in the Prius and raced off. Suddenly, a vehicle horn started honking repeatedly. We looked in the rearview mirror and there was friend Larry in his Jeep chasing after us. It was great fun losing him in the streets of Athena and finally being together, just Teri and I, for a brief time in this busy day.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wonder Woman

Early on, as a weekly columnist for The Observer in La Grande, Oregon, not wanting to compromise Teri's anonymity, I began referring to her as Wonder Woman. And indeed she is. She's a character with character. She's funny and intelligent. She makes me laugh and makes me think. She also has that womanly instinct for giving just the right card. Today, arriving not by phone call, email, text message but by that now far too underutilized snail mail, was a card with Wonder Woman on the outside and on the inside, as usual, a pithy personal message: "Ta Dah! Just stopping by to say I love you gobz. More later, Teri." Many readers now refer to her not as Teri but as the Wonder Woman. They want to meet this everyday superhero. I am lucky that in my time of crisis she came to my rescue.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Simultaneous 4:44s

Our lucky number - besides 13 because we are contrarians - is 4. And our special time is 4:44- luckily p.m., not a.m. Today we simultaneously text-messages each other at 4:44 from 100 miles distant- me at the mountain cabin in Cove, Ore., Teri at work in Walla Walla, Wash. Such traditions may seem corny. But they are particularly important in Living Apart Together relationships. Simultaneous text messaging. Amazing!

Color for my Sweetie

Every month, on the occasion of the day Teri answered my wink, Oct. 12, 2008, I send her a colorful bouquet. Some people said the tradition would end after we got married. I took that as a big, fat challenge.

Well, that magical day, 9-10-11, came and went, and the bouquets just keep on arriving. They're colorful because Teri absolutely loves color. They are a sign that I am thinking of her, in my office, 85 miles and a mountain range from her office. It gives her something bright and cheery to look at all week long.

Don't tell my honey, but ordering flowers is as easy as picking up the phone. The people at the flower shop are happy to have the business, and I'm sure they wish a lot more husbands would take such initiative.

Sure, a bouquet has to be an agreed-upon monthly budget item. But I can think of all sorts of ways to spend that money -- fast food, potato chips, soft drinks, beer -- that wouldn't be anywhere near as profitable.

Monday, January 9, 2012

In sickness and in health

The Christmas tree glows in the corner. Colorful cards cover the door. Soft music plays on the TV. If I must be sick, it's much better to be sick here, in the beach condo, with Teri nearby, than it would be to be 90 miles apart, me at the mountain cabin, as much sick with worry as with sickness. Sure, our wedding vows were nontraditional, and may have never covered "in sickness and in health," but those words are implied. We aim for an unconditional love. And since no matter what you do, no matter how nutritiously you eat or religiously you exercise, there are no health guarantees, we have to expect some illness. Through the tea, the warm Jell-O, the homemade chicken noodle soup and the frequent pats, I know I am loved and will get better, sooner.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Fear of the Unknown

We've attended two funerals lately. Both men set the bar high for moving on to the next level. Both would help people out whenever needed, and not worry whether the other person could give anything back. They were nonjudgmental.

The ministers conducting the services, however, spent a lot of time on the topic "fear of the unknown." Who has time for such fears? Why not just fear the known? Fear what we can do but aren't. Fear the consequences of eating too much sugar or drinking too much beer. Fear what will happen to our bodies if we don't move at least a half hour a day, five days a week. Fear what will happen if we cut ourselves off from social contact, if we choose not to volunteer or get involved when opportunities arise.

Nothing against good Christians getting prepared for the afterlife. As was said in the Rob Carter service, for a true American hero, it's good to have no regrets when you step up to St. Peter's gate. It's good to know you have made the right choices. It's good to have not been a whiner.

Fear of the unknown? I don't think so. I'll fear the known, and try to be a little more like Carter in providing those around me nonjudgmental love.

Friday, January 6, 2012

No excuses

Once I was working 70 hours a week for a newspaper in Cody, Wyo. Call me crazy. I've been called a lot worse. One week the editor/publisher approached me and asked that I do one more story. I said I didn't have time. He kindly sat me down and gently reminded me that my life would be more pleasant, not just that year but many years down the road, if I never used that excuse again. Excuse? I felt I was at the breaking point. Truth is, most of us live life at 50, 60 or 70 percent of potential. Rarely do we go up to 80, 90 or 95. The only people that give 110 percent are those lifting Volkswagen bugs off button-nosed children when the heroes get a burst of adrenaline in an emergency.

The lesson learned is there is always enough time for what's important. We do what we need to do, in matters of work and relationships. No more, no less.

In many jobs, however, there comes a point of diminishing returns. This economic law works in all areas of life to keep us from expending unnecessary energy in unneeded ways. It helps keep us sane.

Now, in building our married relationship, there are many things to do. The list seems endless. We need to do wills, combine finances, make sure each other knows what we want in terms of funerals. Many people are afraid of death and the unknown and put these things off. We have plenty of things to fear -- a recession, saving for retirement, niggling health details. There is no need to put energy into fear of the unknown. If we can put these things in our rearview mirror in the next few months, it will enhance our quality of life and help build our relationship. Love is in the details.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Living Apart Together

We got married, moved to our dream home on the Oregon Coast and retired to a life of making art. Just dreaming. In reality, after the magical wedding day of 9-10-11, after a wonderful honeymoon trip to Squamish, B.C., we dove right back into our jobs. And both work places were shorthanded, forcing us to double our efforts at labor and battling that fierce enemy, stress. No, we can't give up our day jobs just yet. We need to keep the electricity on and the bills paid. And since those jobs happen to be 85 miles apart, with the Blue Mountains in between, we have kept the "mountain cabin" in Cove and the 'beach condo" in Milton-Freewater. We have two homes to maintain, two jobs, double bills on everything. We are a classic Living Apart Together couple, staying in daily contact through email, text messages, Facebooking and phone calls and rendezvousing on weekends, holidays and vacations. Sure, it's not ideal. But we share the same moon. We see the same shooting stars. And we are making Living Apart Together work, growing and nuturing our love one day at a time.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

"Win The Day"

Our favorite college football team, the Oregon Ducks, have a mantra they live by. "Win The Day." It's what their coach, Chip Kelly, has infused into their collective football life and I am sure it carries over somewhere in their personal lives.

"Win The Day" is a good goal. Jeff and I have encouraged each other by using these words. Yet, this is more that a mere collection of words, it is a good way to live your life. We know we can't win every situation but striving to 'win the day' will serve us well. If we can win the day, we can win the week, we can win the month and we can win the year.

Happy New Year Everyone... now, get out there and "Win The Day."

Monday, January 2, 2012

Do the Duck

2012 started with a bang, not a whimper, as the Ducks beat Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. Teri and I celebrated by running around the beach condo living room doing the Duck. It's like doing the Jet except with a little more arm movement. Teri loves all things Oregon. Although having been more of a Beaver fan when I first met her in 2008, thanks to Duck coach Chip Kelly and his slogan Win the Day, she is beginning to see the light.

Even Steven

This year my goal is to write on even-numbered days. Teri vows to write on odd-numbered days. I like the idea of writing on even steven days. I believe for everything bad that happens, something good happens. It's like the Christmas eve sermon at Teri's niece Ashley and her husband Nathan's church in West Richland, Wash. The minister was saying, "When something really bad happens, a person asks, 'Why me, God?' Then when something unbelieveably good happens, the same person asks, 'Why me, God?'" I knew right away what the minister was talking about. That's how it worked with me. Tina's death in September 2007 at age 48 was the really bad, unbelieveably painful thing. Meeting Teri and getting married on 9-10-11 with the incredible outpouring of support from family and friends was the really good, amazingly wonderful thing. Why me, God? Why not me?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012... a new year, a new slate.

Ahhh... the possibilities. It has been 113 days since our magical wedding day, 112 days since my husband last posted on our blog. Here's to hoping that in this new year we'll share more of our time together in this blog.

Today, after a New Year's Eve celebration and a blissful night of sleep, we had a wonderful day. This morning I fixed oat and walnut pancakes and made a three-berry compote to top them off. Yummy way to start off the new year. We also managed some chores around the house, some needed reorganizing and such. Today was also a delightful day for a walk in the winter sunshine. Sunny and chilly, but I had my sweetheart with me. I love going for a long walk with Jeff. We have a chance to share the sights of the neighborhoods and talk about anything we wish. The walk never seems long when I am with him.

This year we won't have wedding planning and such tasks to accomplish so we can get on with our other projects. My part will be trying to clean out the clutter from the garage. My surroundings and my life need some reorganizing... but all in good time. I also plan to work on the two quilts I have in process. Also this year WE are going to the BEACH..... the Oregon Coast to be exact.

Also, I guess we should fill you in on some fun details of our wedding and share some photos we took on our honeymoon to Canada. It's been a marvelous time we've had together and we are looking forward to another year of adventures.