Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Weight, Weight, Don't Tell Me!

A beautiful day in Sun Valley - not Snow Valley
The Great Northwest, December 16th - February 5th. We packed up, teared up, and will definitely need to shape up as we return to our travels. A few weeks in the good old USA was enough to undue some of the benefits of all that walking and healthy eating in Europe!

However, there were some very tasty meals with good friends to be had while we were home - and we wouldn't have passed up a single brownie, Serious Pie pizza, or Taco Time binge. And I did enjoy cooking for family and friends over the holidays. It started with banana bread, cranberry nut bread, and chocolate chip cookies, moved on to french toast, bacon and more bacon, lasagna, fajitas, chili, meatloaf and BBQ; and ended with a stash of American sweets, snacks and condiments I was sure we couldn't travel without (see weight restrictions below). 

Warning: The following reads like an overly long Christmas Letter. Skim or skip.

Colette decorating her first tree!
We spent the week before Christmas in Paris and enjoyed decorating the Christmas tree with Coco and Marcel. The lights in the city were magical and Coco and I took a twinkly little train trip around Montmarte. Hard to say goodbye, but we looked forward to time in Seattle ... and we will see them again in February. 

The time went quickly while we were home. We started in Seattle at our home-away-from-home, the Murray-Robinson's delightful guest house on Mercer Island. I attended the annual Ladies Christmas Lunch at Carmine's. Michael and Kelly enjoyed their annual Messiah concert at Beneroya Hall, and we were dazzled with shopping options right up 'til Christmas Eve. We had a great little Christmas with Kelly and Chris at Chris's house in Ballard (I brought the little decorated plug-in tree from the Tip Top office) and we barbecued flank steak and asparagus for a great steak and eggs brunch. Then off to my brother's to catch up with more family. Drove to Portland the next day for Christmas cheer with the Portland Campbells. The grandkids were so much fun. The next road trip took us to Black Butte where the entire Portland and Seattle clans gathered at Alistair and Jenny's wonderful home in the woods. The snow forgot to show up - but we enjoyed crisp walks in the woods, games and more food, food, food (see above). Next stop - Sun Valley! We caught up with Carla and Tom, and if we thought we loved staying in their guest house, well, their Sun Valley house was truly a home-away-from-home with serious upgrades! Again, the snow was stuck in traffic, but we had a few days together and then Michael and I stretched out for a luxurious, sun-filled three week stay. The only word I can use here is spoiled. We spent time planning our next leg, watched American TV, read, cooked and counted our blessings. We didn't ski - but we did snowshoe. The Ketchum library was amazing with it's crackling fireplace and visitor library cards that let you come and go with an armload of books and DVDs. Headed back to Seattle via Walla Walla and a spectacular drive along the Columbia River. Stopped in Portland for the weekend for a few more hugs.

I would insert a long paragraph here about all of offspring and there many accomplishments - which are many, but I am afraid I would lose your attention. Suffice it to say everyone is healthy, happy, more than gainfully employed in the fields of their choice and so much fun to spend time with. Oh, and our four grandchildren and one grand nephew are exceptional. Upcoming highlights will be the birth of Mary and Greg's third baby at the end of May and Chris and Jamie's wedding August 9th!

Ten days left in Seattle to see friends we missed the first week, squeeze in doctor and dentist visits, and swoop through Goodwill for an armful of nearly new kid clothes to take to Paris. It all finished with a fabulous Mad Women Book and Wine Swilling Club gathering at Carla's followed by classic apple pie and ice cream at my brothers house before heading out for Round II.  You can look now!

Leaving Paris with the help of the fabulous Gregoire

Sorry Europe. Nothing beats Darte.

The lovely Jenny and Lucy in Portland
Speaking of eating...Fondue for Two, for one!
A rare sighting of my brother Jerry and I

It was time to pack. We had the best of intentions to take fewer things this time, but trying to pack for six months with your next stop being wet and wild weather in London, spring in Spain and summer who knows where - all stuffed into one bag is a tall order. We did commit to packing a bit under our weigh limit of 23 Kilos (about 50 lbs) so that we had some wiggle room when flying on discount airlines in Europe due to lighter weight limits and stricter carry-on rules. Plus I personally dislike the "if you are going to add something to your suitcase, you'll have to give something away" rule imposed by a spouse who will remain nameless. Takes all the fun out of shopping - especially if it's a dreamy bottle of olive oil. Or wine. Or a hefty souvenir. Oh well, keeps the spending light, too. In keeping with the weight theme, we were spot on with 23 Kilos each. Once I off load the kids goodies, I hope to gain that much needed wiggle room.

Here we go again! Bags and tummies full.
Off to the airport! We arrived two hours early as planned, only to discover our flight was delayed by three hours. Good thing we have a wonderful airport to explore and the ongoing backgammon tournament can begin early. We look forward to keeping you up to date with our adventures.

Much love to all -  the Senior Nomads!

p.s. If you don't have plans for my birthday on March 6th, you might consider attending the Pike Place Market Foundation Luncheon. A great cause that is near and dear to my heart. for details.