Underwood Holiday Letter – December 2017
The leaves are raked, the fountains drained, the east wind has swept the back drive clean, and we feel prepared for winter. The ice of last year was a strong incentive to get moving before it hits again.
In September we got the house re-roofed. This remedied persistent leaks and caused Jer to exclaim, “The roof is so beautiful.” His marveling is akin to a dentist admiring our gums, beauty being in the eye of the speaker.
Our house with new roof
Another of our annual projects – smothering the yards in lilies, hydrangeas, daffodils, tulips, begonias, brown-eyed susans, roses, iris, daylilies, coreopsis, and hosta – was universally admired.
And on to our travels:
At Joshua Tree National Park
In February we drove to Tucson, visiting relatives in Sacramento (where June bought a fine pair of hiking/desert boots), seeing friends in Mesa and Tucson (where we made a new face-to-face friend from the Internet), and exploring three national parks: Pinnacles and Joshua Tree in California, and Saguaro in Arizona.
Tucson and the Saguaro were grandly exotic (we were serenaded by the phainopepla every morning).
Phainopepla (from Wikipedia, photo by Lip Kee Yap from Singapore, Republic of Singapore)
Alas, we realized that hiking and clambering over boulders no longer suited our joints.
On the other hand, Jer did not grab a saguaro or a cholla to steady himself
The Casita, our home in Tucson
We never tire of the desert, so we went home via Utah, Great Basin National Park, and U.S. Route 50 across Nevada, the latter a long fascinating ride through multiple Basin-and-Range iterations.
One iteration along Route 50
In July we took a short trip to Bandon, Oregon, along the coast, where the cold and wind kept us huddled inside. In late September our friends George and Kit Szanto flew down from British Columbia, and we drove to Ashland. On the way down, we took them to Oakland (Oregon) where Tolly’s Restaurant, a fine kitschy eatery has been joined by Coco’s Grill and Bar. Two places to eat in this city of 900 save travelers from fast food and monotony along Interstate 5.
Scene from Ashland
After a hiatus from painting, June has begun AirSpace, three-dimensional art works made of wire strands, mesh and spherical objects and hung from ceiling hooks.
From the AirSpace collection
Jer contributes to Wikipedia while June makes art, and we take long daily walks together to see sights and get the stink blown off.
June, Jer, Sam, Jan
Sam, our grandson, is now a chemist at Forrest Technical Coatings and lives in Eugene with Emma, a chemistry student at the University of Oregon. Rick, our son-in-law, builds things and climbs mountains. Jan teaches Spanish at Portland Community College and joins Rick on hikes, climbs, and trips to exotic places.
Jan and Rick’s cat, Edward, Prince of the Household
Another of June’s AirSpace pieces
At Saguaro National Park
Looking south from the Desert Museum in Arizona
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