I have many varied activities in my life – seems like I’ve had several complete lifetimes, all rolled into one!
Oh, the different looks over the years!
I currently live near Seattle with my husband, Jere. We landed here in 2018. The Seattle area seemed fitting since we both have family in the area; Jere’s older sister and brother-in-law, and my elderly sister and her daughter (the daughter is my age). Being in the vicinity has strengthened our family bonds and also allowed us to assist family as needed.
We have a nice house on a quiet street at the edge of the “civilized” area. There are cows and horses in the field across the street! It is pretty quiet, except for being under the flight path for planes on approach to SeaTac airport.
I do some contract web programming for Jere’s clients (Words in a Row) to help pay the bills. I’m still writing (yes, a couple of new books are somewhere on–or slightly over–the horizon) and I enjoy answering the questions that come up about soap and cosmetic labeling and good manufacturing practices. I’m still speaking at conferences and giving classes (mostly online now), doing label reviews and am now offering consulting services.
In my spare time (what there is of it!), I am researching my family tree (see my somewhat maintained blog Looking Up The Dust) and like to spend time putzing around the house, organizing, fiddling with the plants, and cooking. A greenhouse came with the house, and I have great plans for “one of these days.”
I am a Scientologist (as is Jere) so we also set time aside to volunteer and take courses at the Church of Scientology of Washington State, in Seattle. We also occasionally go to the Scientology Retreat Ship, the Freewinds, in Aruba and to Church’s spiritual headquarters in Clearwater, Florida for advanced services.
From Then to Now
In 1995, my husband of 17 years passed away and a new phase of my life started. I moved to the family ranch with my daughter in 1997. Jere and I got (back) together in late 1998 (long story–we were actually engaged when I was 18!) and he moved to the ranch in 1999.
We were out in the sticks, REALLY out there. Eight miles out a dirt road, 50 miles (one way) to a WalMart or movie theater. As we told people coming to visit, “it’s not actually in the middle of nowhere, but you can see it from here.” (And, no, you couldn’t get cell phone reception!)
The ranch was owned by 8 descendants of my father, all women, covering three generaltions and a 60-year age difference between the oldes and the youngest. I was the Ranch Manager from 2003 to 2015 and learned a great deal about roads, timber, water, and weeds! I completed my Master Woodland Manager course in 2012.
In 2015, we decided the time had come to get back into society, and we started out on our great travel adventure. Manangement of the ranch was turned over to the next generations, (loosely referred to as “the youngers”) and I took on a non-voting role since I wasn’t going to be around and available. After a great deal of soul-searching, the younger generation made the difficult decision to sell the property in 2017.
Jere’s and my (new) life on the road was quite different than our previous life, to say the least! Along with Duke (our 130 lb Doberman) and George (our bossy, orange tabby cat), we roamed around the country. We both continued working on the road. At the 2 1/2-year-mark, we had visited 43 states and traveled 25,000 miles. (Since then we’ve hit 30,000 miles and all the lower 48.)
In early 2018, we found a nice house south of Seattle with room to park the bus and a large back yard for Duke. The decision to settle down was difficult, but seemed the right thing to do. Duke and George have both since passed away, within a few months of each other. We still have our bus, though, and occasionally go out for weekends or short trips.
[Updated June, 2022]