Friday, October 8, 2010

Help has arrived!

Sometimes, it turns out, if you just keep asking the universe, you find your pleas answered.

Meet Tiffany, the farm hand who fell from the sky in her Amazing Biodiesel Eco-bus House squarely onto Stop Sign Farm. She, her bus, her 2 cats, and her super good energy arrived a week ago today.

I have been yearning, wishing, fretting about an extra pair of hands around here, for the mundane and the colossal,
but was thwarted by lack of housing for any intern. Tiffany has been stressed to the breaking point in the crush and noise of the city, yearning for some breathing space and a nice big spot to park her house.

We found each other, we met, and a beautiful friendship is beginning. Her radio producing skills are of interest to Mark; the love for children she brings to her day-job - nannying - makes her an instant friend to Dylan. I suspect she will make herself indispensable in no time flat.

My advice: Keep asking - maybe a Tiffany (or a Stop Sign Farm) is just around the corner.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Paella Fest - Looking into our own future

A couple weeks ago, Mark and I accompanied my mom and visiting pal Phyllis to a gala event at Vashon's Senior Center. There are senior centers and there are senior centers. Here on our little rock, we are blessed to have a centrally-located building filled with volunteers and laughter, hard work and classes, fund-raisers and charity works.

It's got its politics and warts, like any small town organization filled with retirees, but for the most part, our senior center is a vibrant and integral part of our close-knit community. My sense, from 8 years of island residence and 45 years of life, is that it is one of those rare elder facilities that folks in the community just gradually find themselves more and more a part of until, before they know it, they're serving on the Board, running Monday bridge night, and giving out scholarships when graduation rolls around. The Vashon Senior Center doesn't sit quietly in the corner of our shared life until the Age 65 bell goes off and one feels obligated to shuffle over and play pinochle.

So, while Mark and I were undoubtedly the whipper-snappers at the table, it didn't feel at all out of place to be breaking bread with this gang at a recent "friend-raiser" - an all-out Paella Fest ambitiously held outdoors in the driveway-cum-patio. Ambitious, yes - but the wisdom of the organizers shone through in the form of many, many canopies.

And a good thing too. Because, as 2010 has shown us repeatedly, Mother Nature is indeed a fickle friend. The traditionally dependable September balm was rudely shoved aside by a storm of nearly gale proportions. Most of the dressed-up seniors retreated inside to enjoy their feast and the Flamenco dancers warm and dry, but a few - including us pre-seniors - sort of reveled in the sizzle of the paella pans and the sparkle of the meticulously-hung fairy lights swinging in 40 mph winds and shining through curtains of rain all around us.

We helped, we feasted, we ferried dirty dishes through the weather to the kitchen. And by the time we went home, we were happily, gloriously drenched.

Whenever Mark is feeling old, I remind him that it's better than the alternative. And, looking into the future of an old age here in this community, I know it's true.