Last Week’s Links

Granny’s on Instagram! In the COVID-19 era, older adults see time differently and are doing better than younger people

Marcia G. Ory, founding director of the Texas A&M Center of Population Health and Aging, has been studying the effects of COVID-19 on the older adult population. Her overall finding: “older adults – despite their awareness of increased risk – are generally not reporting more feelings of anxiety, anger or stress than younger age groups.”

Nikki Giovanni, Finding the Song in the Darkest Days

Now in her late 70s, poet Nikki Giovanni has never stopped writing over “her 52-year career.”

“Her staying power over half a century comes from a stream of acclaimed work, her proclivity for a punishing schedule of tours and readings, and a fearlessness born of not caring what foolish people think.”

2020 wasn’t all bad: Here are 8 small but great things that happened in Seattle

I urge you to look for an article similar to this one in your own local newspaper.

From the Seattle Times: “But at the end of a very overwhelming year, we asked our writers to look back and identify some good things we discovered or experienced within ourselves and our communities in 2020. Here’s what they came up with.”

When Your Dad Falls Apart

Kevin Grant tells the story of his father’s diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s  disease at the age of 58.

Outwitting the Grim Reaper

Kevin Berger reports on an interview with Daniel Levitin, age 62. An emeritus professor of psychology and neuroscience at McGill University, Levitin’s book Successful Aging offers insight into how aging affects our bodies.

Asked why we age, Levitin replies, “We age because there’s been no evolutionary pressure to keep our bodies alive for a long time. I don’t know why that is and I don’t think anybody does.”

© 2020 by Mary Daniels Brown

How Colin Kaepernick inspired activism, awareness and Seattle athletes to speak out against racial injustice | The Seattle Times

Four years after San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee to protest racial injustice, more athletes — including Sue Bird, Megan Rapinoe and Russell Wilson — are speaking out themselves.

Source: How Colin Kaepernick inspired activism, awareness and Seattle athletes to speak out against racial injustice | The Seattle Times

Last Week’s Links

A Washington author renovates a Port Townsend house, and her life

This is “an edited excerpt from the new book, “House Lessons: Renovating a Life,” © 2020 by Erica Bauermeister.” 

“Because here’s the thing — we aren’t looking for a house; we’re looking for a home. A house can supply you with a place to sleep, to cook, to store your car. A home fits your soul.”

This is a local-interest for me, as Port Townsend is a vibrant arts community within an easy day trip from where I live. And the book is a memoir about the search for community, or home, as much as the story of the remodeling of a historic old house.

12 Reasons Why The World Wouldn’t Be The Same Without Washington

And OK, this one is pretty frivolous, but I’m still in love with my new home state.


About 20 years ago I went through a prolonged period of scrapbooking. It was relaxing and fulfilled my need for a creative outlet. It also put important photos into an accessible format. It’s so easy, and often comforting, to pull a scrapbook off the shelf and dust off old memories.

And I was reminded recently of the advantage of scrapbooks when my external hard drive labeled “Mary’s Photos” went off line. The device is apparently dead, and unless I can find some techie service to try to rescue its contents, some of my photos will be lost forever.

Sebastian Barry: ‘Family stories mean a whole different thing in your 60s’

When art imitates life:

The story behind all his novels – beginning with The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty in 1998 and including Annie Dunne, the Booker-shortlisted A Long Long Way and The Secret Scripture – is one of the deliberate and careful construction of a family that would at some level stand “in place of the kind of disaster of the family I was accidentally part of originally. I mean utter disaster.”

How to reduce ‘attention residue’ in your life

“Mundane chores take up our time and headspace. Bundling life admin into specific time slots – known as GYLIO – might be the ultimate act of self-care.”

A discussion of GYLIO (get your life in order) practices being developed in some Australian universities: “Essentially, GYLIO is about bundling tasks into a single morning, day or week in order to clear your mind; learning to prioritise and find focus so that you can enjoy guilt-free downtime.”

Madeleine Dore explains her experiment with this approach to life’s inevitable chaos.

Stop Telling Older Women to Step Aside

Leslie Bennetts reviews and discusses the book In Our Prime: How Older Women Are Reinventing the Road Ahead by Susan J. Douglas. Bennetts calls the book:

a clarion call for older women to “rip off the invisibility cloak” and reinvent the world they live in so it stops cheating them. Aside from the title, it’s hard to find anything here that a fair-minded reader could dispute — and also impossible to deny the political, economic and cultural potential of what Douglas describes as an incipient demographic revolution, albeit one that is “underappreciated” and “undercovered” to date.

Bennetts writes that Douglas’s book performs a valuable service in describing how and why change must occur in a society that continues to ignore the needs and underestimate the value of older women.

© 2020 by Mary Daniels Brown

Three Things Thursday

I missed the first week, but now it’s time to start another year of Three Things Thursday, the purpose of which is to “share three things from the previous week that made you smile or laugh or appreciate the awesome of your life.”


Impressionism at the Seattle Art Museum

Last week a few of us from Franke Tobey Jones traveled to the [Seattle Art Museum](Wednesday’s Word) to see the exhibit INTIMATE IMPRESSIONISM FROM THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART:

The Seattle Art Museum is proud to present Intimate Impressionism from the National Gallery of Art (in Washington, DC). The collection is comprised of extraordinary paintings, considered to be the jewels of one of the finest collections of French Impressionism in the world.

This exhibition features 68 intimately scaled paintings by Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masters, including Edouard Manet, Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, Eugène Boudin, Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas, Camille Pissarro, Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, Paul Gauguin, and Vincent van Gogh, among others.

Art history is one area in which my education is sorely lacking, so I welcomed this opportunity to learn more about this school of painting.

We had never been inside the Seattle Art Museum before. I was surprised to discover that visitors to the museum are allowed to photograph many of the works on display, including those in this exhibit.

Here, then, are three Impressionist paintings from the exhibit.

(Click on any image to see a larger version.)

Three Things Thursday

Another miscellaneous list for Three Things Thursday, the purpose of which is to “share three things from the previous week that made you smile or laugh or appreciate the awesome of your life.”

1. Potty Parity?

Pink PortaPotty

I had never seen a pink PortaPotty. As you’d expect, this one is labeled Women.

Photographed in the parking lot at the Washington State Fair.

2. Water Conservation

In a drought, we all help out.

This sign happens to be on our front lawn, but we’ve been seeing them all over town since Tacoma joined the cities of Everett and Seattle in a voluntary water conservation effort.

According to Tacoma Public Utilities, “Over the last six weeks, the region has collectively cut back water use by 14 percent.” This conservation effort has been especially important now because salmon are swimming up river to spawn. Both lowered levels of streams and warmer-than-usual water temperatures can adversely affect the salmon run. The Green River, Tacoma’s primary water source, is home to chinook salmon, a threatened species.

Because we’ve had a bit of rain recently, our lawns don’t look as bad as they might have otherwise.

3. Profound Philosophical Pondering

Never trust atoms: They make up everything.

It’s so hard to find a really good T-shirt nowadays. Many of them are just plain raunchy. I was delighted to find this one on our recent trip to Leavenworth, WA.

Living in the Shadow of an Active Volcano

Related Post:


(Click on any of the images to see a larger version.)

Mount Rainier is so beautiful and majestic to see that it’s easy to forget how potentially dangerous it is. Here in Tacoma, WA, we live in the shadow of this active volcano:

in the shadow of an active volcano
Living in the shadow of an active volcano (photographed at Washington State History Museum)

Washington is home to five major composite volcanoes or stratovolcanoes (from north to south): Mount Baker, Glacier Peak, Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, and Mount Adams. These volcanoes and Mount Hood to the south in Oregon are part of the Cascade Range, a volcanic arc that stretches from southwestern British Columbia to northern California.

Washington State Department of Natural Resources

In conjunction with the anniversary of the eruption of Mount St. Helens on May 18, 1980, May is Washington State Volcano Preparedness Month:

State of Washington Proclamation for Volcano Preparedness Month
State of Washington Proclamation for Volcano Preparedness Month

The Washington State History Museum presented an exhibit earlier this month entitled “Living in the Shadows” to remind the public that what happened at Mount St. Helens could happen here:

Photographed at Washington State History Museum
Photographed at Washington State History Museum

When most people think of the danger of a volcanic eruption, they think immediately of flowing lava. But there are two more immediate and potentially widespread dangers:

  • lahars—volcanic mudflows
  • pyroclastic flows—ground-hugging avalanches of hot volcanic ash, pumice, rock fragments, and gases that destroy everything in their path

Dangerous Mount Rainier
Dangerous Mount Rainier (photographed at Pacific Science Center)

As part of the state’s volcano preparedness program, students perform annual lahar drills in which they practice evacuating their schools ahead of lahar:

Student lahar drill
School lahar drill (photographed at Washington State History Museum)

Also see the local news article Orting schools conducting lahar drill Thursday.

On our recent visit to see Pompeii: The Exhibition, we found the Pacific Science Center in Seattle used the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in Italy in 79 A.D. as a springboard for education about our local situation:

description of lahar and pyroclastic flow
Lahar and pyroclastic flow (photographed at Pacific Science Center)

This map shows the potential danger zones if Mount Rainier were to erupt:

Mount Rainier hazard zones
Mount Rainier hazard zones (photographed at Pacific Science Center)

My home town of Tacoma is up there near the top, on the left.

The beautiful Cascades have been around for years. Long before the USGS (U. S. Geological Survey) started keeping records, Native Americans knew of the mountains’ power:

Volcanoes through Native Eyes
(photographed at Washington State History Museum)

Washington’s Volcano Preparedness Month announcements and activities remind us that it’s not a question of “if Mount Rainier erupts,” but rather “when Mount Rainier erupts.”

Additional Resources

35 years after Mount St. Helens erupted: A new world of research

Dzurisin, D., Driedger, C.L., and Faust, L.M., 2013, Mount St. Helens, 1980 to now—what’s going on?: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2013–3014, v. 1.1, 6 p. and videos. (Available at

Recent News Articles about Erupting Volcanoes

Did she blow? NW submarine volcano likely just erupted

Scientists find missing link in Yellowstone plumbing: This giant volcano is very much alive

Calbuco Volcano Erupts in Chile, and Nearby Town Evacuated

‘Wired’ Underwater Volcano May Be Erupting Off Oregon

35 Years Ago Today: Mount St. Helens Erupts

Today is the 35th anniversary of the eruption of Mount St. Helens, a mountain in the Cascade Range, located in southwestern Washington State.

At 8:32:17 a.m. PDT on Sunday, May 18, 1980, an earthquake caused the north face of the mountain to slide away, producing the largest landslide ever recorded that moved at 110 to 155 miles per hour (177 to 249 km/h). The eruption column rose 80,000 feet (24 km; 15 mi) into the atmosphere. Strong winds carried ash east of the volcano at an average speed of about 60 miles per hour (97 km/h). In Spokane, WA, 250 miles away, visibility was reduced to 10 feet (3.0 m) by noon. Noticeable amounts of ash fell in 11 states. Some of the ash drifted around the world in two weeks. The eruption lasted about 9 hours.

Volcano Illustration
Volcano Illustration (click to enlarge) (photographed at the Washington State History Museum)

The U.S. Geological Survey reports the following data about the 1980 eruption:

  • 1,314 feet (400 m): elevation lost
  • 2,084 feet (635 m): depth of crater formed
  • 0.60 cubic miles (2.5 cubic kilometers; 3.3 billion cubic yards; 165 million large dump trucks): volume of landslide deposit
  • 80,000 feet (24,000 m): height of eruption column reached in less than 15 minutes
  • 0.26 cubic miles (1.0 cubic kilometers): volume of volcanic ash produced

Destruction caused by the eruption covered 150 square miles:

1. 57 people were killed.

2. More than 11 million animals died, including:

  • 1,500 elk
  • 5,000 deer
  • 12 million salmon fingerlings

3. More than 4 billion board feet of timber, 230 square miles (600 km2) of forest were knocked down, though some lumber was later recovered.

4. Also destroyed:

  • 200 houses
  • 27 bridges
  • 15 miles (24 km) of railways
  • 185 miles (298 km) of highway

The number of human lives lost could have been much higher. Because the eruption occurred on a Sunday, more than 300 loggers were not working in the area.

Eruptions since 1980

During the summer of 1980, five more eruptions occurred. Geologists also carefully watched incidents of volcanic activity between 2004 and 2008.


Dzurisin, D., Driedger, C.L., and Faust, L.M., 2013, Mount St. Helens, 1980 to now—what’s going on?: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2013–3014, v. 1.1, 6 p. and videos. (Available at

I used the PDF of this fact sheet for much of the information here. The web version includes videos.

Mount St. Helens Erupts

Because the May 18, 1980, eruption was preceded by more than two months of earthquakes and steam-venting episodes, people began to doubt that danger was imminent. This four-minute video from condenses the history of the eruption and gives a good idea of how people reacted, both before and after, the eruption. Be sure to notice the remarks of local Mount St. Helens resident Harry R. Truman, who is buried, along with his 16 cats, on the mountain.

Note: Music accompanies this video. You can turn it down or mute it, as you wish. You have been warned.

35 years after Mount St. Helens eruption, nature returns

This CBS News report covers the return of life to the Mount St. Helens area in the 35 years since the eruption. It’s an uplifting story to see after reading about all the devastation.

Pompeii: The Exhibition

The Roman city of Pompeii, on the western coast of Italy, was a thriving port in the first century. The region’s fertile soil made it a leading source of agricultural products, including grains, nuts, and fruits, particularly grapes that were made into wine. But life in this prosperous city came to an abrupt halt in 79 A.D., when Mount Vesuvius erupted and covered everything with 13 to 20 feet (4 to 6 meters) of pumice and ash.

Pompeii lay buried and forgotten until its rediscovery about 250 years ago. The artifacts found there were well preserved because of the lack of air and moisture. Archaeologists have carefully excavated the site and uncovered many artworks and objects that indicate what life was like for the residents of the city in the first century.

Selected artifacts from Pompeii comprise an exhibit that has toured the world. We caught the exhibit today, near the end of its run at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, WA, the final stop on its current tour.

Terra Sigillata Cup
Terra Sigillata Cup

This terracotta cup was found in a house in Pompeii packed in a wooden crate with 89 similar pieces and 37 lamps. It indicated the high quality of North Italian ceramics manufactured from the end of the first century and throughout the second century A.D.

Gaius Caesar: Age 10
Gaius Caesar: Age 10


This bust is thought to represent the 10-year-old Gaius Caesar, grandson of the Emperor Augustus. It was found in Herculaneum, a city near Pompeii that was also destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The marble bust is thought to have been made between 63 B.C. and 14 A.D.



Pompeii was a vibrant, cosmopolitan city because of its trade-route location. By 79 A.D. many wealthy Roman citizens had holiday villas there furnished with artworks, such as statues and mosaics, and painted walls called frescoes:


a painting that is done on wet plaster


Fresco: Roman Bath
Fresco: Roman Bath

During the excavation of Pompeii, archaeologists used plaster to fill in the voids that had once held human bodies. These plaster casts reveal the exact positions people were in when they died.

Reclining body
Reclining body

Body of child
Body of child

I was a classics major in college and had read the surviving letter by Pliny the Younger, who witnessed the eruption of Vesuvius. In the letter he describes not only the eruption itself, but also the death of his uncle, Pliny the Elder, an admiral of the Roman fleet who died trying to rescue Pompeii’s citizens from the devastation. As much as I enjoyed seeing the many artifacts and artworks, the location of these body casts at the end of the exhibit reminded me of the sudden extinction of so many lives. (Estimates of the population of Pompeii at the time of the eruption range from 11,000 to 20,000).

I am glad to have had the opportunity to view this exhibition. It features not only human cultural achievement but also the massive power of the natural world.

Departing from Sea-Tac Airport

During the 40+ years we lived in St. Louis, we became spoiled air travelers. St. Louis was the hub for TWA, which meant that we could get a direct flight from our home airport to just about any other major city in the United States. And back in the truly good old days, we often had our choice of several direct flights and could pick the most convenient time for us.

But when TWA went belly up, American Airlines absorbed it and soon phased out St. Louis as a hub in favor of Chicago and Dallas/Fort Worth. No longer could we get a direct flight to anywhere and instead had to travel to either Chicago or DFW to get a connecting flight to wherever we wanted to go. The number of available flights also dwindled. We usually ended up with no choices, forced to take the one available flight to the new hub and then the one flight to our destination city.

Now that we’ve retired to Tacoma, WA, Sea-Tac Airport has become our new hometown airport. Alaska Airlines has for some time been the major airline headquartered at Sea-Tac and has been increasing its service area. In fact, Alaska initiated a nonstop flight between Sea-Tac and St. Louis just before we left St. Louis.

Recently, Delta Air Lines has begun to compete with Alaska Airlines as the major carrier out of Sea-Tac. This healthy competition is good for consumers in terms of number of destination cities and number of available flights.

But the addition of flights is a drawback in that Sea-Tac does not have the infrastructure to support both the increased number of flights and the increased number of passengers. Where passengers already see this problem is in the horrendously long lines that form at the entrances to the security checkpoints.

And the problems will only get worse. On January 27, 2015, The Seattle Times reported on plans to expand Sea-Tac to accommodate an expected boom of passengers over the next 20 years: Traffic at the airport is expected to grow from last year’s [2014] 37 million passengers to 66 million 20 years from now:

A new International Arrivals Facility planned for 2019 is only the beginning. Also on the drawing board are plans for 35 more airplane gates added to the north and south of the airport’s 81 current gates, and potentially an additional new passenger terminal.

This article reports that Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines are involved in a dispute over “how, or even whether,” the new International Arrivals Facility (IAF) should be funded. The cost of the proposed new facility was recently increased to $608 million.

More recently KING 5, Seattle’s NBC affiliate station, reported on March 5, 2015, about a public meeting at which Sea-Tac International Airport and Port of Seattle officials presented expansion plans:

Sea-Tac projects up to 66 million passengers by 2034 and indicates it needs to add gates, a new international terminal and reconfigure other infrastructure around the property.

There will be several more public meetings in upcoming months to gather public input on the expansion plans.

In the meantime, anyone flying out of Sea-Tac Airport should plan to allow plenty of time for getting through the screening process. When we arrived at about 6:45 for a recent early-morning flight, the line was not too long, but later in the day the line can snake out of sight down the concourse. Plan to arrive at least two hours before your scheduled departure time, or even earlier if you’re flying out during the peak mid-day hours.

Getting a senior discount? Here’s how to give it away

Moviegoers 65 and older who bought tickets at the Bainbridge Cinemas or the Bainbridge Performing Arts center on Bainbridge Island could pay full price for their ticket and have the $3 senior discount redirected to a local charity that provides child care to low-income families.

The program, called the Boomerang Giving project, raised $630 in a two-month trial this year.

via Getting a senior discount? Here’s how to give it away | Business & Technology | The Seattle Times.

I had not heard of this approach to charitable giving:

The intent of the charity is to encourage older people in a financial position to forgo discounts they receive on public transportation, movies, restaurants and other outlets to invest in their community by donating, or redirecting, some or all of the savings to charities of their choice.’

There’s lots of information here, including links to several sites for giving. The article also ends with a reminder that volunteering at an organization is another form of charitable giving.

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