“A picture is worth a thousand words.”

Olivia, Joyce, Dick & Rafael

I will post later.

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Tumalo Falls

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“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” (But not in this case)

It is June 23, and as Dick drops me off at the Redmond Airport, my thoughts are on Las Vegas.  Susan’s birthday is tomorrow and when she turns 50, she will join her brothers Michael (52) and Kirk (51) in the next decade of her life.

My flight leaves at 11:45 AM and arrives in Las Vegas at 7 PM, as I have a 3 hour layover in Seattle.  My son-in-law, Mark and I have been planning this surprise for 3 months and thus far, Susan has no idea.  The plane arrives right on schedule, and as I walk towards the terminal, the 103 degree heat hits me like a ton of (hot) bricks.   In a way, I enjoy this as it has been so cold in Bend. 

Mark and I text back and forth as our plan takes shape.  They have reservations for a show, and are scheduled to leave their hotel (Vdara) at 8:30 PM, which gives me plenty of time to hop a shuttle.  WRONG!  The terminal is huge, and so from the main terminal, I quickly stride through the throngs of people, who are anxious to get to the casinos, and realize I need to catch a tram to the baggage and exit area.  In all the confusion, I go out the exit where the cabs are lined up, only to find out, I’m on the wrong side of the building.  A security guard helps me back into the terminal where I finally go out the right doors and onto the street to await the hotel shuttle.  It is now 7:40 and the perspiration is dripping down my face.  I’m so stressed that I won’t get to the hotel by 8:30 and ruin the surprise.  When the shuttle finally arrives, I sit for another 20 minutes waiting for other passengers.  At last we are on our way and I think all will work out.  WRONG again.  The driver stops at 2 places on the way.  I’m feverishly texting Mark that I won’t arrive at their room before 8:30.  It is now 8:27 and I rush through the hotel’s doors to the elevators.  Murphy’s law?  Mark texts me they are on floor 30, room 32.  Guess what?  In all my haste, I take the elevator to floor 32, room 30!!  I’m now back in the elevator and it is at 8:30 that I finally find the room, ring the doorbell and step aside.  Susan answers the door and sees no one and then I appear.  Her shriek of surprise is so loud, I believe everyone in the hotel heard her! 

We have just a few minutes to chat and then Susan and Mark take off for their show, and I check in to my room in the same hotel. 

As I lie in my comfortable bed on the 19th floor, I am finally relaxed and ecstatic that we pulled off the surprise without Susan having the least bit of suspicion!!!

June 24

To celebrate Susan’s birthday, we eat a late breakfast, stroll the crowded and noisy streets of Las Vegas, and pick up our tickets for the show at the Mirage (Cirque du Soleil).  We have time to cab over to the infamous “Pawn Stars’ shop.

Before the show, in Susan & Mark’s room, we sip on champagne and chocolate covered strawberries (compliments of Kirk) .  The temperature this evening is 99 degrees!

I had reserved my ticket to the show after Mark told me what seats they were in, so another surprise for Susan when she finds out I’m sitting next to her!  This performance is the Beatles Love show.  It’s hard to describe.  So much going on that my eyes are going crazy taking in all the colors, the costumes, the women and men dangling from ropes high above us.  The dancers, the music.  I’ve never seen anything like this!  And with all this activity going on, there is the Beatles music playing throughout.

We end our evening with a delectable birthday dinner at a lovely restaurant within walking distance of our hotel.  I have to awake at 4:45 AM the next morning to make my early flight back to Portland and then into Bend.

June 25

I arrive at the Redmond Airport at 12:10 PM, and as I’d hoped, Dick is waiting for me with Olivia and Rafael.  They had spent the night with “abuelito.”  What a great end to a beautiful weekend.

This is our last week at our “River Retreat”  I plan to post a recap of all we’ve experienced and then Joyce’s Journey will begin “Chapter 2.

 

 

 

 

Susan

Susan

Susan in front of a dragon made completely of chocolate!

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Winding Down

We have been in Bend for 5 weeks and Dick is ready to “hit the road.”  Our last day at our rental home is June 30.

Sunday morning Dick & I hike alongside the river.  Dick wants me to see an aerie nest he discovered the other day with Michael.  So after 2 miles, we finally spot the nest in one of the tallest trees I’ve seen, and lo and behold, with our binoculars, I am able to spot the head of an osprey peeking over the top!  On our way back, Dick convinces me to climb up the steep hill to our home, and as difficult as it is for me (loose gravel and narrow trails) I make it to the top without a scratch!

We are now on our way to Corvalis to watch ceremonies at Oregon State University.  My ex brother-in-law’s daughter is graduating.  The 2 1/2 hour ride is incredibly beautiful and my eyes are dizzy with all the sights along the way.  Rivers, lakes, meadows, snow capped mountains and so many lush green trees surrounding us on either side of the pass.

The graduation is at 3:30 and Jim meets us at the entrance of Reser Stadium with our tickets.  As we follow him to our seats, I notice special uniformed agents high above the bleachers.  The First Lady is the keynote speaker and security is high.  Michelle Obama is introduced and given an honorable degree from the president of the university.  Mrs. Obama’s younger brother is the basketball coach and so she could not refuse his invitation.  For me, her speech is so inspiring that I want to return to college and work towards my degree!

Here in Oregon daylight arrives at 5:30 A.M. and it remains light until 9 P.M. so there is still plenty of daylight on our drive home, which is a bonus for us, as we can once again view nature in all its splendor.

Monday morning we arrive at our walking class at the senior center at 10 A.M.  I mentioned on my past blog that our instructor Laura, walked 14 miles to Sisters when it is actually 26 miles!  Even so, my 3.5 walk this morning is an accomplishment for me. (Enclosing a photo of our class.)

The rest of this week we plan to spend our days with Olivia & Rafael, whether it be movies, swimming, shopping, lunches, etc.

As always I wish happy and healthy days to all my friends and family and a special wish for a speedy recovery to my very good friend, John.

Love, Joyce

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Days in Bend, Oregon

We have been in Bend for 5 weeks and I can now say I am blending in with the life style and the people.  I am able to drive around town (without getting lost) and am feeling more like a “local.”

Dick finds a meditation group that meets on Monday evenings (same night as in Santa Barbara) and now that the weather has warmed up, I find my meditation time each morning on the deck of this lovely home, where I take in the smells of the pine needles, hear the sounds of the river below, listen to the chirping of birds, and of course every so often have a visit from a deer or two.

We continue to participate in classes at the Bend Senior Center and spend as much time as possible with our grand kids.  Now that school is out for the summer, we are able to see them more often.  They love to come over here, swim in the pool and stay overnight.

Michael recommended a drive for us to take so off we went with Olivia & Rafael in tow and headed out to “the Painted Hills.”  It takes us 2 hours and once we arrive, we are inspired by the colors and formations that surround us.  After hiking around the area, we find a lovely picnic area and  eat our lunch.  There is so much beauty in the world!

On our Monday walk at the senior center, our instructor, Laura, takes us to a lovely trail close by.  It cuts across roads and homes and a small creek meanders along side us.  Laura is a tall woman in her 60’s with flaming red hair which she pulls tightly back in a pony tail and her eyes are a pale blue.  Previously she lived in Santa Barbara, working at a once popular restaurant called Mom’s Italian Village.  She later moved to Colorado, opened her own restaurant and eventually came to reside in Bend.  Her son, Jeff, works at Newport Market with Michael.  Laura is a strong, big boned woman and showed me how to use the equipment in the weight room.  She is an avid walker and last week walked to “Sisters” a town located 14 miles from Bend!  On our walk there is one other gentleman.  David, originally from New york, is an author who has written two short stories, soon to be published and Dick gravitates toward him . The two of them continue the remainder of our 3.5 mile walk discussing all of their favorite books and authors.

Tomorrow we are driving to Corvalis to attend the graduation (Oregon State) of my ex brother-in-law’s daughter (Riley) where we will see and hear Michelle Obama.

We are loving all the parks and the outdoor activities that this city has to offer.  I can now fully understand why Michael sold his home in Santa Barbara and moved his family to Central Oregon. He has truly made a wonderful life here, especially since he bikes EVERYWHERE!  He still has the nickname of “Iron Mike.”

I hope after being spoiled here with all the luxuries, I can acclimate to R.V. living!

Love, Joyce

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Exes, etc.

June 7

After spending most of our day at the Senior Center, participating in classes and dancing to a live band, we celebrate Drew’s 19th birthday dinner at Jim’s home.  Jim Peters is my ex brother-in-law but we still remain close friends.  The other family members include Jim’s ex wife, her husband, their 2 children and Drew’s girlfriend.  It is there that Jim tells me my ex husband’s wife is arriving in 2 days for Drew’s graduation. Are you still with me?  In all this weirdness of exes, etc. I find it fascinating that all these past lives have come together with no animosity and much love. Jim and his ex wife have 2 children together, so it is a mixture of extended families and I am happy that Dick & I are part of this.

June 8

Although there is a chill in the air, the sun is out and Dick & I hike along the trail by the Deschutes Rriver, a good 3 miles to the “Farewell Bridge.” (Photo included). Thus far, the only animals I’ve seen are deer, geese, squirrel and funny looking creatures named “rock chucks.”   I’ve yet to spot an eagle, but Michael tells me on one of his (many) bike rides he saw an osprey with a trout in its mouth soar overhead!  Our day ends with dinner and dancing at the local Elks Lodge, where we meet more friendly Oregonians.  So many connections to home.  I’ve met people who were born in Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo, and Olivia & Rafael’s orthodontist’s mother lives in Santa Barbara!

June 9

Today we meet Carmen & Rafael (Michael is working; Olivia is at a girl scout field trip) at an arts & crafts event across from Bend Library.  It reminds me of our Sunday walk along Cabrillo, but on a much smaller scale. Michael loans us his car so we don’t have to deal with parking our R.V. and we drive back to our retreat in time to change clothes for Drew’s graduation party.  It is at his mom’s home, just about 1/2 mile from where we are staying and I remember spending a 4th of July there on a previous visit.  Lots of good food and a fun gathering.  Jim’s daughter, Riley, drove down from Corvalis, but has to leave early in order to attend her graduation from Oregon State on Sunday. (This is where Michelle Obama is speaking.) My ex husband’s wife is there along with her nephew, and fortunately I do not experience any awkwardness.

I hope all is well with family & friends and everyone is enjoying good health.

Warmly (the temperature is going to be in the mid 70’s next week; yippee),

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