Thursday, November 7, 2013

"The United States is not a country, it's a business. So pay me!" Brad Pitt in Killing Them Softly

The above quote is no more telling than in the recent vote in Washington State on Proposition 522. A measure that would require labeling on products that contain genetically modified ingredients (GMO's).  There was more money pumped into this issue than any in the states history, mostly in the against camp. 
gm dangers

Genetically engineered food crops have been around since the 1990s, and they took off rapidly across the United States. Now certain American crops are almost universally GMO: more than 90 percent of soy and sugar beets, and 88 percent of corn, according to the US Department of Agriculture. Modifications are done at the genetic level, often to make a crop resistant to a particular pest or herbicide. The FDA regularly approves new GMO plants—and soon, an animal: GMO salmon are on their way.

Franz Family Bakeries offers a "100% Natural, 100% Whole Grain" loaf of bread, touting its "premium Northwest grown & milled ingredients" and lack of high-fructose corn syrup. When asked  about GMOs in their bread, and they "do use cornmeal, soybean oil and canola oil in our products, and most of the corn, soybeans, and sources of canola oil are GMO, so most certainly these ingredients would be genetically modified."

A vast majority of the American public supports labeling foods with GMO ingredients. A 2010 NPR/Thomson Reuters poll found that 93 percent of Americans were on board. Worldwide, more than 60 countries already label foods with GMO ingredients, including members of the European Union, China, Japan, and India. A recent Seattle poll showed that 88 percent of those surveyed wanted to know if their food contained genetically modified ingredients. So it would seem that something as simple as labeling would be a slam dunk, right?  WRONG!  The measure did not pass.  And I for one am flabbergasted by the result of this vote.  I had faith in the State of Washington as a health conscience and progressive state.  Legalizing same sex marriage and recreational pot use as just an example.

So what happened to Prop 522?  That's the easiest part of this story, what happened was money.  The giant corporate farming money from companies like Monsanto and Dow Chemical.  They poured tens of millions of dollars into advertising in the state of Washington, Record amounts of money warning us of the high prices of food on the horizon for us if we require GMO labeling. 

I have researched the top contributors to the No on 522 campaign and vow to withhold any future purchases from these companies. The first one hurts me and was one of the largest contributor, Pepsi Cola spent 1.6 million. It surprised me until I remembered that one of the chief ingredients in both Pepsi and Coke is High Fructose Corn Syrup. Remember that 88% of all corn grown in the U.S. is genetically modified. Coca Cola is also on the list running a close second with over a million dollars in spending.

Nestle USA and Hershey have also given large amounts of money to defend their plantations of GMO Sugar Cane.

General Mills, the makers of cereals you may have even grown to love and trust, along with Kellogg Co. have donated more than three quarters of a million dollars together to try to defeat 522 under the ‘protection’ of the “Defense of Brands Strategic Account” fund set up by the Grocery Manufacturers Association.

Obviously the big players here are Conagra, Dow Chemical and Cargill the big corporate farmers. Monsanto spent over four million dollars to defeat Prop 522.  Conagra is the parent company of brands like Hunts, Banquet, Rotel, Davids Seeds, Slim Jim, Marie Callender, Healthy Choice, Reddi Whip, Chef Boyardee, Pam, La Choy, Egg Beaters, Orville Reddinbacher, Wolf Brand Chili and etc. Go to to see all of the brands that they have gobbled up and are infusing with genetically modified foods.

Cargill is a company that many of you will be dealing with soon and their biggest retail season as the parent of Honeysuckle White Turkeys and poultry products. But mostly they are a food ingredient supplier. From the feed for your livestock to the malt that goes into your beer. Every aspect of your diet has a genetically modified ingredient from Cargill.

And then there is Dow Chemical.  They put chemistry into your diet and frankly, after doing this research I don't think I can eat anything that is not a local produce or home grown for awhile. Some of their products include:
Methocel Food Gums- Help enhance the structure and texture of foods and beverages.
Amberlite and Dowex food grade ion exchange resins and adsorbants-Ion exchange resins and polymeric adsorbents for use in food processing including sweeteners, beverages, and nutritional products.
Fortefiber-Offers a simple, cost-effective and convenient way for people to increase their fiber intake.
And there are more frightening ingredients that they offer to chemically enhance our food supply.

Some of the other companies that have aligned their selves with this list : Bimbo Bakeries parent company to Orowheat, Sara Lee and Ballpark.
Land O'Lakes, Del Monte and Campbell Soup.

Their scare tactics have scared the people of Washington but I will fight them back with my wallet.  None of these companies will get a dime form me in the future.  And I encourage you to do the same until they agree to inform us as to what they are feeding us.

The most telling part of the election was on election night when the results came in. They showed the pro-522 camp with all of their supporters at election headquarters. Hundreds of people, disappointed with the results. Waving banners. The concession speech relaying the thought that if conversation started the loss was not in vain.

Cut away to the victory announcement at the anti-522 winning presser.  The spokeswoman at the podium in the usual hotel ballroom set aside for election night.  However there were no citizen supporters in the audience for her written and recited comments. I don't mean a sparse crowd. There was not one single person there! Nobody. It just put a spotlight on the fact that there were no citizen supporters of this campaign it was 100 percent corporate.  An entirely empty room with one woman giving victory remarks.

How did they scare the public? By telling us that labeling regulations would dramatically increase the price of our food. We were scared into submission and confused about the issue.

What difference does it make?
Chinese researcher shave found small pieces of rice ribonucleic acid (RNA) in the blood and organs of humans who eat rice. The Nanjing University-based team showed that this genetic material will bind to receptors in human liver cells and influence the uptake of cholesterol from the blood.
The type of RNA in question is called microRNA due to its small size. MiRNAs have been studied extensively since their discovery ten years ago, and have been implicated as players in several human diseases including cancer, Alzheimer's, and diabetes. They usually function by turning down or shutting down certain genes. The Chinese research provides the first in vivo example of ingested plant miRNA surviving digestion and influencing human cell function in this way.

This study had nothing to do with genetically modified (GM) food, but it could have implications on that front. The work shows a pathway by which new food products, such as GM foods, could influence human health in previously unanticipated ways.

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine does not think that GMO's are safe.
" Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food,” including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. The AAEM asked physicians to advise patients to avoid GM foods.

So the bottom line is, if this issue comes up on your ballot, do you want to know what you're eating?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

This Is Not a Tourist Event by Jen Graves

This Is Not a Tourist Event by Jen Graves is one of the best articles that I have read on the Canoe Journeys.  Instead of writing about this years event, I would like to share her article with you as I couldn't come close to the insight that she has given to this wonderful cultural journey undertaken each year by the Native American peoples of the Pacific Northwest.  The article was originally published in the Stranger.

This Is Not a Tourist Event

Ten Thousand People, a Dangerous Canoe Journey, and the Spectacular Endurance of the Tribes the American Government Has Tried to Kill

This Is Not a Tourist Event
Photos by Matika Wilbur
TRIBAL CANOE JOURNEY The Salish Sea is not for amateurs.

DANCING, DRUMMING, STORYTELLING The tent is large enough to house a football field.
"Seattle—I always say it's the epicenter of the Indian movement right now," says Caleb Dunlap. "I can't remember where I heard that. Maybe it was just inside of me. But it said, 'Go to Seattle if you want to be part of change in what we call Indian Country.'"
It's Friday, August 2, 2013, and Dunlap is sitting on the bumper of a red pickup truck parked on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. He's Ojibwe, of the Minnesota Chippewa, but today he's in Quinault country, in the town of Taholah in Grays County, 150 miles west of Seattle. He moved to Seattle last year from Los Angeles, and he manages the programs at the Chief Seattle Club downtown. Dunlap dresses preppy. He wears stylish eyeglasses. He's queer and out. All these same traits apply to his twin brother—they jokingly refer to themselves as the Nerdy Natives. They're two of the thousands of people who have pitched tents on this cliff and in these forests for the first week of August. All these people are here to celebrate the endurance of the tribes the American government has tried to kill.

         "The change," Caleb explains, "is to acknowledge that we are a people still."
I've come not knowing what I'm getting into. I'm ostensibly following Matika Wilbur, an artist of Swinomish and Tulalip descent who has shown at Seattle Art Museum, among other places. She recently gave a TEDx talk about her crowdfunded Project 562: her solo journey visiting and photographing all of the 562 federally recognized tribes in the United States. This has included, among many other adventures into Native America, a trip by Natives-only helicopter to visit the Havasupai on a remote outcropping in the Grand Canyon. (Tourists are forbidden to take photographs of the Havasupai people.) Wilbur deserves, and will soon get, her own story in this newspaper. But through her, I witnessed an entire world that rises up every summer in the form of the Tribal Canoe Journey. If you are not Native, this display is not for you. This is not a tourist event. But if you are a respectful guest, you'll be honored and welcomed no matter who you are—even if you have no idea what you're about to see.
This is the biggest event of the local Native year. If you had visited every reservation between Vancouver Island and Olympia during the first week of August, you'd basically have found them empty: Folks were in Quinault. Each year, a different tribe hosts the journey. And each year, the journey—a variant on ancient traditions, revived in 1989—grows bigger. This year, there were nearly 100 canoes pulled by representatives from more than 75 tribes. Almost all the tribes are from the Salish Sea, but some came from as far away as Hawaii, New Zealand, and New York. An estimated 10,000 people celebrated.
Golf carts and shuttle school buses ran up and down between the coast towns of Ocean Shores and Moclips and Seabrook to bring guests. The gas station in Kurt Cobain's hometown of Aberdeen was so unprepared for the onslaught of travelers that by Friday night, when the celebration wasn't even halfway through, the regular-grade gas had already run out. You had to buy premium if you wanted gas. Likewise, the staff of the little visitors' center for the Olympic National Forest in the town of Quinault—which is not, incidentally, where the reservation is located—was bewildered. "People just keep asking me where the canoe journey is, and I don't really know," says the older white woman working the desk. "I think it's in Taholah. At least that's what I heard, and I keep sending people there, and nobody's coming back."
I arrive on the Thursday afternoon the canoes are scheduled to land. They were supposed to come in at 11 a.m., but the waters were so choppy that they were turned away, some capsizing. It's a dangerous journey. The Salish Sea is not for amateurs. In 2006, a hereditary chief of the Mowachaht/Muchalaht tribe of Vancouver Island drowned and three people had to be hurried to the hospital when their canoe capsized in a storm west of Dungeness Spit during the journey. "Look at each leg of the journey as a journey in itself," warned this year's tip sheet for canoe families, as the teams are called. It's easy to get thirsty, sunburned, hungry, cold, and separated from your support boat. "A good rule to follow is to plan on being out 18 hours with only what you carry."
The canoe landing at Quinault could not have been more gorgeous. "Just look at our rez," a Quinault spokesman says. The beach is a long curve of stark, fog-coated shore shielded entirely by the high cliffs topped by green forest. Out among the breaking waves, monumental rocks hold their ground. The water stretches to the horizon line. Nothing besides nature is visible—usually. This is private land. No one is allowed here without express permission from the Quinault. On this particular Thursday, though, there's a crush of car and foot traffic on the beach.
Sometime in the late afternoon, the canoes begin coming in off the open water, escorted by two big old European-based ships meant to signify cooperation. Each canoe emerges from the fog like a spaceship reentering the atmosphere, passes by the tall ships, and approaches the beach, where a row of young female dancers wearing red and black regalia prepares the way. The travelers stop before they get to shore. One representative comes onto the beach to request permission to come ashore. Over a booming loudspeaker that sends the words all the way up into the trees on the cliffs, the words of response are given: "Welcome ashore. Welcome to the Great Quinault Nation." At this, the rest of the team steps out of the wooden canoe as one synchronized force. They bend down, hoist the canoe over their heads, and walk onto the land.
This is their final destination, and here they'll celebrate for five days straight, all through the nights and days, with breaks only for breakfasts and dinners provided by the Quinault. Lunches will be delivered in brown bags handed out to the assembled crowd inside the performance, or "protocol," tent, and all the elders will receive their lunch bags before anyone else is offered anything. Throughout the ceremonies, Wilbur will continuously ask her mother, her aunties, and any other women and men older than her whether they want a blanket, or some water, or a meal. Respect for elders happens simply and ubiquitously here.
"Protocol isn't going to start tonight," somebody says, and everybody begins passing around the word. Because the canoes had to arrive late, protocol will start Friday morning, after everyone has had one good night of rest. When Friday morning comes, hundreds and hundreds of people file into the white tent that's large enough to house a football field, and the dancing, drumming, singing, and storytelling begin. This tent is situated right next to another identical tent with endless rows inside it of white-plastic-covered tables for eating—hot breakfasts with eggs and fruit and breads, and feast dinners with crab and chicken and ribs and corn on the cob. These meals are free of charge for every comer.
I cannot pretend to have understood what I witnessed in those hours and hours of singing, dancing, and drumming. I was invited to dance by an old woman in a long braid and dress who grabbed my hand and held me through the whole dance. The elders sitting on the floor closest to the stage area shared stories with me that are sacred in their horror: of Joe Washington, a Lummi boy who was sent to a white boarding school and forbidden to speak Salish but who couldn't speak anything else. He was punished for his muteness by having his tongue pressed to a frozen pole and the flesh of it torn off, and then he was sent home anyway. He stopped speaking at all for years. "So when they say, 'Oh, you don't speak your language?' I go, 'No, my grandmother was too afraid to teach it to her son that he would be punished, so excuse me that I don't speak my language.'"
That's the voice of Nancy Wilbur, Matika's mother, whose life is a book waiting to be written. She marched as part of the American Indian Movement (one of the founder's teenage sons is here, sitting next to her), and she participated in the successful occupation of Discovery Park in Seattle in 1970. She was a Native history and culture college professor, then a lobbyist in Olympia. Her tribe, Swinomish, is 800 or 900 people today, on a reservation of five by seven miles in the Skagit Valley. She remembers a sign on a tavern in La Conner: "No dogs or Indians allowed."
The elders on the sidelines gave gifts freely. After I accidentally insulted another of Matika's relatives, Heather Gobin, by sitting down on a hand-woven cedar headpiece that she'd made and that I didn't see there, a few hours later she handed me a cedar rose. She'd woven it by hand; she is known as a master weaver. Her son, who couldn't have been more than 15 years old, was sitting behind us. He tapped me on the shoulder and gave me a tiny, perfect version of the same rose that he'd twisted together in his lap. He hadn't said anything to me up until then, but he witnessed the whole thing. When his mother was leaning away, he said to me, "Hold on to these as long as you can. They are special."
Down on the beach, the tide comes up so high that it's a gamble to car-camp even right up against the cliff, so when night falls, I find myself running across the beach in driving rain to rescue my minivan before it washes away. As I'm running, I have a mental picture of the van riding out into the water, this dumb-looking machine bobbing off, taking some of the unwanted conditions of my life with it. I think of another vessel, too: the Spanish boat that arrived here in 1775, carrying the first documented foreigners into what was later called Washington State. Rather than lose the van, I move it up to the cliff and sleep in it that night, and in the morning I return to the beach on foot. The Quinault allow me to dunk my naked self into this 50-degree water for as long as I can stand, which is not very long at all, and then I drive the van back to Seattle. recommended

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Congratulations Mrs. and Mrs. W!!!

I am so happy to celebrate the marriage of a very dear friend who I will call Mrs TW. Married recently at the San Diego Pride Festival. In the midst of the mayhem and carnival atmosphere that the Pride Festival brings with it, was a solemn and important ceremony that would finally make this loving and committed couple a real family in the eyes of the state of California and the Federal Government. Mrs. TW and her new wife Mrs. LW have been together for seven years and have a beautiful daughter together. I have known Mrs TW for many years and am pleased to say that she was a part of my own wedding ceremony and it thrills me completely that she has been able to consecrate her own relationship in the state of California. My most heartfelt congratulation T and L!

Thanks to the Supreme Court rulings of the recent past, now all loving families in California can experience the security and joy of marriage.  Not only does marriage give a family legal and financial security, but it also endows an emotional security that unmarried couples do not have. I lived with my husband for a number of years before we were married and although we have always had a strong bond and loving relationship, my feelings since we tied the knot are a much deeper and secure kind of love.  I feel a much greater peace in my heart now and am glad that my dear friends can now experience that peace as well.

Many naysayers claim that same sex marriage devalues the institution of traditional marriage. I for one think that is brainwashing BS and think that the opposite is true.  I know of many heterosexual married folks that do not respect the bonds and vows of marriage and their behavior and attitudes do not impact my marriage one bit. Other than to feel a sadness that they don't enjoy what I have, a lifelong love and commitment.  Then there are the celebrities that get married and divorced at the drop of a hat.  Todays hetero society views marriage as a more formal way to go steady for a little while and then break up and split up the assets. 

My LGBT friends on the other hand have fought long and hard for this basic human right and don't take marriage lightly. These families have a deep commitment to each other and their families that I truly admire.  Does it lessen my relationship?  On the contrary, seeing such loving families being made whole under the laws of the land strengthens my views of "traditional marriage".  Having this beautiful little girl grow up knowing the security of a whole family is a beautiful thing.  She now has the legal protection of her parents marriage and the emotional well being of legitimacy of family. I couldn't be happier for her and her Mommys. I hope that all of my loved ones in different states will get to know that same security in the near future!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Life in a Small Town

We have the best of both worlds here in B-Town. Only ten minutes from downtown Seattle, yet a world away.  Nestled on the shores of Puget Sound you will find Burien.  With its quaint main street and shopping area, it is like stepping into the past. We happen to live in Olde Burien, just a half block away from the popular eateries and pubs that line 152nd Street.

Summertime is by far the best time of year for small town living.  Especially in the cold and drizzly Pacific Northwest.  There are festivals and street fairs. The weekly farmers markets. And just about everyone is out walking and enjoying the sunshine. Trying to store up on vitamin D before the rain and gray come back in the fall. Not too many weeks ago we had our annual Wild Strawberry Festival and the Fathers Day car show in Downtown B-Town.  It includes a carnival and bazaar, live entertainment and events up and down the street.


Street Blocked off for the day

Git Hoan Native Dancers

Today is the Fourth of July and that means that B-Town is alive.  The most exciting day of the year in Burien, we have a full day of festivities on the slate. And although I miss living on Three Tree Point and the festivities we enjoyed there on the Fourth, the town is jammed packed with action on the holiday. The streets are blocked off starting at 6AM for a morning full of cycling races.  Then at 3PM it is time for the big 4th of July Parade through downtown Burien.  What a fun day to walk around town and enjoy the sunshine. We took Charlie out with us on the first stroll we took around town to see the races. And we made a trip through the weekly Farmers market, it's shaping up to be a glorious day!

Then it was back home for some brunch before we headed out for the afternoons festivities. Our plan was to stroll long the parade route in the opposite direction of the parade, stopping in for a cold beverage at the establishments along the way. Well that turned into a daylong pub crawl through every dive bar in Burien. I will give my reviews of the respective establishments in another blog post. We did happen to see the parade however in between beers from one place to the next.

The street was crowded with folks waiting for the big Parade!

Friday, May 31, 2013

An outstanding opportunity to experience NW Tribal Culture

Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission
1111 Israel Road S.W., P.O. Box 42650, Olympia, WA 98504-2650, (360) 902-8500
Don Hoch, Director
Media contact:
Jack Hartt, Deception Pass State Park, (360) 675-3767
Leslie Eastwood, Samish Indian Nation, (360) 293-6404
Virginia Painter, State Parks Public Affairs Office (360) 902-8562
Celebrate Native American culture and 100 years of state parks at Deception Pass June 8
OLYMPIA – May 13, 2013 – The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission invites the public to attend the Eighth Annual Salish Sea Native American Culture Celebration with the Samish and Swinomish tribes.

The celebration runs from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 8, at the Bowman Bay picnic area on the Fidalgo Island side of Deception Pass State Park, 41020 State Route 20, Oak Harbor. The event celebrates the maritime heritage of the two participating Coast Salish tribes. This year’s event also commemorates the 100th birthday of the Washington state park system, which was created by the Legislature in 1913.

The June 8 event will feature canoe rides and native singers, drummers and storytellers. Artists from the two tribes will demonstrate traditional weaving, cedar work and woodcarving. A salmon and frybread lunch also will be available for purchase. The Discover Pass is not required to attend the event. In recognition of National Get Outdoors Day, Saturday, June 8 is a State Parks “free day,” when visitors to state parks are not required to display a Discover Pass.

Cultural event activities are presented by the Samish Indian Nation, the Samish Canoe Family, the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community and the Swinomish Canoe Family. Proceeds from food sales at the Salish Sea Native American Culture Celebration support the Samish and Swinomish canoe families’ participation in the annual intertribal canoe journey; each year, tribes and nations from the Pacific Northwest travel by canoe to different host communities along the Salish Sea. This year, the Quinault Tribe plays host to the intertribal canoe journey, which lands in Taholah on August 1. For more information about this year’s canoe journey, visit

The event is accessible to persons with disabilities. If special accommodations are required in order to attend the event, please call (360) 902-8626 or (360) 675-3767 or the Washington Telecommunications Relay Service at (800) 833-6388. Requests must be made in advance.

The Salish Sea Native American Culture Celebration is part of a broader series of events celebrating Washington’s diverse cultures and presented by the Folk and Traditional Arts in the Parks Program. The program is a partnership between the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, the Washington State Arts Commission and Northwest Heritage Resources with funding provided by National Endowment for the Arts and the Washington State Parks Foundation.

Deception Pass State Park is a 4,134-acre marine and camping park with 77,000 feet of saltwater of shoreline, and 33,900 feet of freshwater shoreline on three lakes. The park is best known for views of Deception Pass and Bowman Bay, old-growth forests, abundant wildlife and the historic Deception Pass Bridge.

Stay connected to your state parks by following Washington State Parks at, and Share your favorite state park adventure on the new State Parks’ blog site at


Friday, May 24, 2013

Roger Dodger, you old Codger, how does your garden grow? Sorry honey but it rhymes.

Well it's springtime in Washington.  The geese are back to Lake Burien. The flowers are blooming and the cherry tree in the front yard is raining blossoms all over my car.  The weather has been downright weird this spring. A couple of weeks ago we had a hot spell and tied with Phoenix one day as the hottest city in the country at 86 degrees. It was a beautiful and sunny Easter.  Last week it was in the fifties and rainy and still is.  Right now it is forty six degrees and getting ready to rain. Maybe some hail too according to the weatherman. Yay! I just love the forty five minute commute in the rain every day!

This spring we have decided to join the growing population of urban farmers.  Roger has spent a good deal of time digging up the back yard and we now have a nice sized garden.  With all of the chemicals and pesticides used on our food we are looking forward to fresh and organic fruits and veggies.  There is nothing like picking something from the garden and serving it for dinner. And there is certainly no GMO in our garden!

Lots of little plants starting to grow!

Tomato Plants

Break time!

New Bar B Que grill.
In addition to planting a garden we have supplied the yard with a new picnic table and fire pit.  As well as some new outdoor furniture and a Barbeque.  We plan on enjoying the outdoors much more this summer, should it ever arrive. 

Getting ready for our first Barbeque on the new grill.

The flowers are making a comeback

Peas are popping up

Got the fire pit going and the wine poured!

Blackberries along the side fence.

Charlie on patrol!

This is going to be a great summer and I look forward to all of our fruits and veggies growing. Aside from the garden which contains everything from lettuces and tomatoes to peas and beans, broccoli and cauliflower, peppers ,cucumbers, carrots, radishes, leeks, watermelon and corn. We also have blackberry and raspberry bushes, apple trees, a pear tree, a cherry tree and an herb garden.  Should be lots to eat later in the summer. All we need now is a bacon bush and we're all set!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Sunny SoCal Adventures Part 1- San Diego

It was a much milder than normal winter in B-Town this year.  We had one day of light snow flurries and some cold and windy days, but overall it was pretty pleasant and dry.  The start of this year is the 6th driest in history so far.  It is still not San Diego though.  So it was with great joy that we touched down at San Diego International Airport . One night in San Diego and then off to Palm Springs for a week of sunshine and relaxation.

After arriving we went to pick up the rental car and headed off to our hotel.  Lucky for us the hotel was right next door to one of our favorite eateries, Anthonys Fish Grotto.  The perfect place for a nice relaxing lunch after trudging around the airports all morning.  Flying is not nearly as fun as it used to be!  And really, can they make the seats just a little bit smaller and closer together?

Since we have such a short amount of time in SD and a bunch of people we wanted to see, we arranged two different ways to accomplish that.  First up a trip to Hacienda Casa Blanca in El Cajon, our home town before moving north to Burien.  I put out an invite to all of our friends that we would be there from 6PM until 10PM and would love to see anyone that wanted to drop by.  Much to our surprise and glee our group took up most of the bar portion of the place.  We got to visit with most of our dearest friends, some of which we have not seen in almost four years. The last time that we had so many friends in one place was at my 50th birthday party.  What a great evening to see everyone.  Especially my very best girlfriends Stephanie and Alisa.  Also great to see Bev, Ramona and the Johns, our Belize traveling friends.

Roger with Alisa and her husband Russ at Hacienda

Then Saturday morning, Roger was off to play golf with his Mens Club at Mission Trails Golf Course. A great chance for him to catch up with his golf buddies, while I went out to brunch with my cousin Candace. I enjoyed some quiet family time chatting with her and getting all of the gossip! After brunch at the Omelette factory we went to join Roger at the golf course for cocktails and to visit with everyone at the club.

Candace and I at Mission Trails Golf Course
Roger and his good friend John

All in all a great 24 hours in our home town. Just enough time to get really homesick for our old life in San Diego.  However after three plus years of living in the Pacific Northwest, it felt less like home than it used to.  That was a really melancholy realization to feel less at home there than I feel now in B-Town .  You expect that everything will be just the same as it was when you left and some things are, but peoples lives move forward and you are much more disconnected from that movement than you knew you would be.  That in itself is eye opening on several levels.  Some people you greet and it's just like you saw them yesterday and you pick right up where you left off. Those are your best and lifelong friends.  Some people feel much more distant from you than before and seem almost like strangers to you.  That my friends is a very sad occurrence and something that we weren't prepared for.  The closeness that you used to share was no longer there.  I guess the old expression, "You can't go home again." is really true.

So we are off to the desert early in the afternoon and we will begin our Palm Spring adventures.  That however is a story for another day.....