Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Driving 5000 miles in a month!

Since Labor Day, I have made two round trips to San Diego. I transported my daughter's possessions to her dad's in Chula Vista. Also visited my high-school-and-college buddies in Coronado, a marina/housing community near Chula Vista.

I took the motorhome, so I had a comfy place to rest on my trip.

I like to help people and I picked up a homeless man on the freeway, named Don. I took him from the Oregon border to Stockton, helping him with laundry and a meal. He said he was an Air Force veteran from a 3-generation military family. I felt sad that a veteran could be in his position, but I know he's not alone.

I'm addicted to AM620KPOJ. Ed Schultz, Randi Rhodes, Mike Malloy, Ron Reagan, etc. They give voice to so many of my thoughts! I'm looking forward to seeing Ed on November 15th in Seattle at the Town Hall Center. Hopefully I will connect with Joan S., my long-time friend from the old ERA days (my first legacy), and let her "wine and dine" me at her cozy place on Camano Island. She and her partner Tim love kayaking and exploring our natural world and Joan has dedicated her professional life to helping women keep access to birth control. She's a modern day Margaret Sanger!

I'm missing my dog, Lucy. Hopefully soon I will upload her photo, made by Margaret L. This photo captures Lucy's lively spirit and beauty. I'm so glad Margaret took this picture when she was taking care of Lucy when I was in Germany this summer.

Good news on the Riggs front: the Emmaus Christian School overview of the explicit phonics program is now on You Tube. Karen R., who has taught Riggs/Spaulding for 21 years, presented the information. Apologies for the video quality. I am now preparing a self-paced explicit phonics program for YouTube, so anyone anywhere in the world can take advantage of this very logical and effective reading program. That's my second legacy.

My hoped-for third legacy is planting trees in Africa with Magawi Mathai, the Nobel prize winner.

What I'm reading: Ralph Nader's Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! It's very uplifting. I also found a sequel to an old favorite: The Eight by Katherine Neville. It reminds me how much I love playing (losing at) chess! Chess is truly one of the most wonderful things in this crazy world.

Hope all's well in your life! If it isn't, hope you can sit down, breathe, and go to your internal "happy place." :)

Your friend,


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me and a Magnificent Sadness

62 years ago, many babies squealed as they emerged from many wombs and one of them was me! I spent my birthday night in a motel somewhere in central California, counting the hours till I would be back in merciful Oregon.

Still embroiled in the mortgage mire: hanging onto the house with fingernails...the renters are Jessie and her daaughter Becca and Jessie's sister Lauren, Pacific students. The house is up for sale. They wanted to buy it but ...

My humble abode is my motorhome, a 1986 Toyota Dolphin, in the back of the lot; it's handy for sleeping but falls way short on "showering." I do have a working phone, but the best way to reach me is still marywhitmore@hotmail.com.

Movies: Saw Surrogates with Bruce Willis. 3.5 stars. Can't wait for Michael Moore's new Captialism: A Love Story, although reviews complain it's a little slow.

Radio: Are you listening to AM620KPOJ? You can listen on the Internet, too. Progressive radio accounts for only 94% of all radio. It's radical, it's logical, it's dynamic, it's hope!!

"Wait for me, Big Girl!" On September 17th, my canine soulmate of 3.5 years was in a tragic accident and was paralyzed. I had to put her down on the 19th and I' still going in and out of grief. My friend and neighbor Margaret held me up and gave me the most beautiful photo card which I will try to publish: Lucy Lu (a perfect profile) and shots of her having fun on an Oregon beach during a camping trip while I was in Germany. I need a way to express how much she meant to me, working on that. I wrote a poem for her:

To My Dog Lucy
Mary Whitmore

You helped me feel more fully alive
Giving your joy freely to all who happened
To cross our path

You gave me all the bits of your being
And its wholeness
You lovingly waited eight and a half hours
In the car, chill or heat,
While I taught the children
You waited for me

I gave you love in every way I knew how
Because like a black mirror
You reflected my love back

You understood me
And I, you
Yet there were promises unspoken
Of worlds we would walk through
I wanted to help you walk into your
Dog Old Age
I knew you would stay with me for my ever

I know someone hurt you
When you were little
When you could not find your mother
You were lost
But with Big Lucy’s help
You found me
You adopted me
You herded me
You protected me

I am sorry for my part in your leaving
I am sorry for the silly squirrels’ part
I am sorry for the driver’s part
For the hardness of the road
For the beating of the sun
For the staring of the bystanders
The spinal cord
The bruising
The pain

You turned me from a cat person
To a Lucy person
Your love lifted my heart/soul/spirit/
To look into your eyes was to see ….
Unconditional love, sparks of light
Your only thought:
“What does Mary want or need?”
But you felt free to look the other way
When I wanted one of those tricks
Or offered you some morsel that just wasn’t
Exactly what you wanted right then
But I want you to know, Lucy,
The best tricks were the things you did
On your own:
Margaret and I agree that your
Lying with your hind legs stretched out
Behind you
Was just the cutest!
Your lying on top of me as I watched TV
Was so endearing—
Your good morning greeting
Made Mom smile
You amazed all of us not only
With your intelligence
But how you were a magnet for love
Children, adults, dogs, cats,
We all were drawn to your

Thank you, Lucy,
For three + years of joy.

Wait for me, Big Girl!
That's all I can say for today. Many thanks to Marv, Shannon, Kayla, Kassy, Janice, Marilyn, Barbara and others who comforted me--what would I do without you?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Chula Vista, Coronado and points south

(Reviewing my blog, I need to mention Jessica did NOT end up going to Afghanistan after all, but rather left in June for an 8-month deployment in the Pacific.)

On 9/3/09, I drove my new 1986 Toyota Dolphin motor home down to Chula Vista, CA to visit Lewis T and drop off boxes of Jessica's stuff. I realized I need an HD radio for trips of any distance. The trip down went smoothly--no car trouble and for some reason I did not notice the heat. CV is a stone's throw from the Navy base and she is due back from deployment in Feb. Lewis has a trailer a few blocks from the beach, but he misses Oregon a lot. He might be coming back "after the winter."

I remembered from my SU reunion that a former high school classmate and his wife now live in Coronado, which is 11 miles from CV. Carmel and David Fleck are the most financially successful of any of my acquaintances. Dave ran a plastics injection company for 16 years, retired and then un-retired, buying a company that repairs yachts and becoming a distributor for an electric put-about boat called a Duffy. Yes, their back yard is a marina. Carmel is retired from nursing and collects Disney memorabilia. They took me out in the Duffy, and it whetted my appetite for a spin in their 36' sail boat. I hope Jessica gets a chance to meet them; maybe she can go out for one of their weekly races.

I visited the Dutch Consulate to discuss work and resident visas for Amsterdam. There is a three month limit for tourists. If I could find work there, I could apply for a work visa. It would be very comforting to be only 4 hours from the grandkids. I can see myself with a part-time job assisting a professor in a University English department.

I bought a kodak digital camera for $100--it only holds 6 pix--so had to buy a memory chip. Want to download some pix for this blog...wish me luck!

The return trip to Oregon seemed much longer than the ride down. I could not pull over and rest because of the heat. Turns out the A/C on the Dolphin does not work and I can't run the fan to keep cool with the inverter/battery connection for very long. I just could not take the heat and pulled over in Corning, CA; it was 105 degrees! I broke down and stayed in a motel--the first since I left 9/3. Tomorrow's my birthday--I will be back in FG! Kayla promised to bake me my favorite carrot cake!

Lucy's fine--still attracting friends. I was worried she had a flea problem because she was scratching a lot. The groomer in Santa Monica found ONE flea. I finally found some dogfood she will eat! Cesar (little plastic tubs with aluminum seals, about $1.)

Planning on attending a Peace Corps meeting 9/16 in Portland. The cutoff date for aps is 9/20 to be assigned for fall 2010. Fingers crossed.

What's up with you?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Back in the USA!

The visit to Shlosborn, Germany kept me busy: touring, laundry, waiting for the sun, swimming, great wine, getting ready for new carpet, my daughter's wonderful cooking, three grandkids under 5 with all their activities, friends, playdates, and a few hugs and kisses.

I had an unespectedly revitalizing visit to Amsterdam. It has more canals than Venice and bikes have their own lane (unfortunately motorcycles use them, too). Yes, they have cannabis for sale. Great knowing taxes for this recreation help pay for Dutch social services. I have an appt 9/6 to visit the Dutch Embassy in Los Angeles to discuss a work visa. Holland controls immigration like a hawk on steroids. Maybe that's why the city feels so great--I have never felt an environment more stimulating yet relaxing. I hope I can work there part-time to supplement my meager retirement income.

The job in Korea did not materialize, but I have almost completed the exhaustive Peace Corps application.

The Seattle University 40th Reunion was way better than I expected. Like a journey into the mists of time--and people were so excited to relate their anecdotes, and it was rewarding to see all the new buildings and programs. SU has the highest rated Law School in the nation. I may be able to make an Africa connection with the director of Alumni Relations. Of course, I had to mention "the ordination of women" to murmurs of agreement. Wonderful to see Carmel Widman Fleck and her husband David, with whom I went to high school. I missed seeing Karen Wagner (best friend at Auburn High School) but Carmel reminded me Karen dropped out in her junior year to get married, so she's not a '69er. 100 of our graduating class have already passed away...how fragile is our energy link to etermity. Ours was the largest class SU ever graduated (GO BOOMERS!).

I'm slowly outfitting my motorhome for the next stage of pretirement...my dog is by my side. I'm getting a whole new lease on life.

Special hello to my friend Shannon J.

Please do not use my Forest Grove address, as the house is rented now. Just use marywhitmore@hotmail.com.

Your friend,


Friday, June 19, 2009

Goodbye, Dad!

On June 15, 2009, Dad passed away in his sleep, 87 years of living drawing to an end. He has a new journey now. Go to Forest Grove News Times for the obituary for Dad and Mom, because I waited to do them together.

I'm in shock, even though I have been expecting this for so long. It does something to you to feel both your parents leave. Now I am the matriarch of the "West Coast Whitmores." I will be taking Dad's ashes to Chesapeake Bay soon. I will also put some of his ashes in Mom's crypt in Yakima, next to Marsha and Mary Judd and Howard Judd.

I don't know if I will be able to talk about this later--right now, everything is whirling around in my heart--getting ready to go to Germany to see my grandkids: Alexander Edward, Lola-Rose Coco and Sienna Lily. On August 27th, I will return to Seattle for my Seattle University 40th reunion. I still do not have a job in Korea, so I may go directly to Peace Corps (Kenya). My daughter Jessica is on her way around the world (8 month deployment.) Lewis E. Turner, my former husband has stepped forward to manage my property while I'm gone. FHe has also purchased a mobile home in San Diego. He met a very interesting

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Reirement or Bust!

Well, the 62nd milepost beckons and I heed the call! In about 40 days my retirement from PERS begins and on my birthday 9/12/09, my SS will start. I am leaving the U.S. July 6 to spend 2 months in Germany with my daughter and son-in-law and grandkids (Alex, Lola Rose and Sienna Lily). Then, back to Seattle for Seattle University 40th reunion for a couple days and then to Korea for a year of teaching English. After that, I hope to join Peace Corps for two years and, if all goes well, stay in Kenya for a long time planting trees with Mathawi. See her website: greenbeltmovement.org.

I'm trying to stay in touch with people...so let me know what's going on in your life!

journey with Mary

Today is my daughter's birthday--she's 23 and three years into her 6-year Navy commitment and ready to go to Afghanistan in August. She has 2 months training in Mississippi and then will be a prison guard in AF.
Don't mess with her!