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NOVEMBER 2019
#40

 
The First Senior Cohousing Community in Port Townsend, WA
Gratitude
 
When asked for one or two words to describe what we Quimper Village folks feel grateful for at this point in life, this is what we say. Know that this is by far not ALL that we are grateful for, but an example of the richness in our lives:

Accepting Reality

I recently returned from Hawaii visiting my daughter Lily. Hawaii was beautiful as always, even though the rainy season had set in. Rain and mud on the hiking trails made hiking slippery and potentially treacherous.

So Lily suggested paddle boarding. I hesitated even though I have always loved water sports, am generally strong and have excellent balance. On a couple of recent visits, I became aware of how the aging process has impacted my physical capabilities, and my emotional reaction to it. Surprisingly to me, while snorkeling on those occasions, I panicked when I felt like I couldn't breathe, and I became very anxious. These incidents certainly tempered my enthusiasm for playing in the sea. Still, I agreed to go. 

At first it was so peaceful on the clear blue water bobbing away on the waves, looking down 40’ to the bottom of the sea through crystal clear water, and feeling the warm winds surrounding us. We paddled quite a ways out from shore to get beyond the breakers. Lily donned her snorkeling gear to view what was below us. 

Suddenly, a strong off shore wind came up. At the same time, a powerful current began pushing us out to sea. I saw that I was drifting farther and farther away from Lily. I struggled against the wind and current to narrow the gap to where Lily was hovering above a rare spotted eagle ray, but it was she who swam out to me. Together, we were having difficulty paddling back towards shore, as wind and current opposed our efforts. My strength was fading. Did I have the power to get back to shore? 

Few boats were in sight. Then a glass bottom excursion boat came by and asked if we were ok. Lily said yes, assuming we could get back in by ourselves. They went on, and my heart sank as I saw them go.  

We kept paddling towards shore, attempting various techniques, but making little progress. I was feeling nauseous, weaker and more anxious by the moment. Thankfully, the glass bottom boat saw us struggling, returned and again offered assistance. I emphatically said YES. The kindly Tristin helped us and our gear on board, offering water and juice. Exhausted and exceedingly thankful, my breathing began to slow down. 

Heading back to port, they encouraged us to rest. When they saw that I was not recovering my equilibrium, they called a taxi to take us back to where we began. We packed ourselves, both long paddleboards and paddles into the cab.

It took a couple of days for me to recover. With it came a mixture of sadness and acceptance. I used to love being on the water, especially warm sea waves, body surfing, snorkeling, and sailing. This incident, coupled with the other recent struggles I had with the sea, made me uncomfortably conscious of the inevitable process of aging and the diminishing capabilities that once seemed so natural – a lesson learned in accepting reality…

Post Script: A few days later, we drove up to the North Shore and stopped at Shark’s Cove, a large tidal pool with lava and coral reefs. The surface was clear as glass, dotted with snorkelers, faces pointed down. Wanting to prove to myself that I could overcome my newfound wariness of the sea, I took a deep breath, affixed my snorkel and ventured into the water again. This time, the magic of swimming in the warm tropical waters and viewing the multitude of undersea life overtook me and restored my wonder in that hidden part of our planet. Thus my faith in myself was restored, while prompting continuing awareness to be mindful of my limits and to choose activities wisely.          ~ Araya

BUS RIDE
        For Quimper Villagers who no longer drive, or have their car in the shop, or want to be ecologically self-righteous, Jefferson County Transit is easy money for getting down town, up town, Fort Worden, the Jefferson Healthcare Medical Center and other places. If you are over 60 or have a disability, within Jefferson County, you can ride at the reduced rate of $1 and are never or seldom challenged. 
        It took me six minutes to walk, at a normal pace, across Quimper Village, across the asphalt path, to the public trail that led up to San Juan Avenue, San Juan Commons bus stop (route 2). The friendly bus driver helped me enter my dollar bill into the payment slot (exact change required) and we were off.  
        The bus was clean but needed stronger shock absorbers. We went to Fort Worden, then down Tyler Street to up-town (Lawrence Street), turned right on Washington, where I pulled the cord for the Haller Fountain stop.  From there I walked to Better Living through Coffee where I wrote for nearly an hour, then back up to the Fountain. From the Fountain, the bus took me to the post office, then to Haines Park and Ride, the end of the route for number 2. But stay on the bus! With a flick of the driver’s wrist, it becomes the number 3 bus and takes off five minutes later. The 3 has you at Jefferson Healthcare in only two minutes or back to the San Juan Commons in 19 minutes. I exited at Jefferson Health Care, where I had lunch with my wife who was just finished with physical therapy.
        In addition to serving Port Townsend, the number 8 bus goes to Sequim and the number 7 goes to Poulsbo and from there you can catch a Kitsap County bus to Bainbridge. 
        If you want to become a bus rider, I recommend getting a copy of Jefferson Transit Bus Schedule, available at many places, including the Community Center, Haines Place, and the Transit Center at Four Corners.
        For the Regional Reduced Fare Permit that is valid in all counties on the Peninsula and in Seattle, including the light-rail, one must be 65 or over or be verifiably disabled. The card is issued at the Haines Park and Ride for a three-dollar filing fee.          ---JimD
TRICK OR TREAT!!
Out came the goblins and butterflies for our Halloween party.

Filtered or Tap?

I’m reminded of The New Yorker cartoon with 5 dogs sitting around a conference table, eyeing a striped ball in the center of the table.  With raised eyebrow, one says, “Perhaps we’re overthinking the situation.” 

Could be that’s what I’m doing about the installation of an inline water filter in our Common House from which we get our drinking water for the evening meal. We recently installed a replacement filter. Do we need it? What’s wrong with our water? Does it contain cancer-causing chemicals? Does it smell of chlorine? Or do we just figure filtered water is always better?  

I’d heard people claim that we have “good water” here in Port Townsend. What does the science say? To find out, I entered my zip code into the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) National Water Database. Port Townsend supplies water to 9,954 households and has zero contaminants from 4 of the 5 contaminant sources - Agriculture, Industry, Treatment Byproducts, Runoff & Sprawl, Naturally Occurring. The 8 byproducts in Port Townsend water result from the chlorine treatment; note that these are linked with cancer.

I had an email from a neighbor touting a visit to the city’s water treatment plant - not typically listed on “Places Not to Be Missed”. Fortuitously, the local Unitarian Universalists Fellowship offers a tour of the Port Townsend water treatment plant as part of its Adult Learning Program (ALP). Let’s go! 

The tour was led by the retired director of operations who oversaw the design and construction of the current water treatment plant completed in 2017 for $17M. It is a marvel of engineering, efficiency, and structural accommodation of potential disasters, primarily an earthquake.

Plant personnel give much of the credit for the high quality of the water to its source, the Big and Little Quilcene Rivers on the Olympic Peninsula. The Port Townsend paper mill originally created the water system in 1927 from the Big Quilcene and Little Quilcene Rivers and continues to maintain the pipelines today in partnership with the city. The city gets priority if ever the water supply dwindles or is temporarily limited.

The tour of the Port Townsend water treatment plant and the EWG’s National Water Database answered my question about Port Townsend’s water quality. Turn on the tap and drink up - unless you are in a compromised health situation, such as a person undergoing chemotherapy, undergone an organ transplant, with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorder. Then filtering out treatment byproducts may be needed. 

Perhaps, I wasn’t overthinking the situation. Our water quality and treatment system give me confidence that what I drink right out of the tap is excellent. So drink up, lads and lassies!                             -Kate

Feeling SAD?

Early November is midway between autumn equinox, with 12 hours of daylight, and winter solstice, with about 8 hours of daylight. It’s getting darker day by day. Low hanging clouds add to the gloom. For the ancient Celts, this marked the beginning of six months of winter. Darkness descends.

For me, and many others, it’s the time of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a major depressive disorder, or at least a case of the “winter blues”.

As daylight diminishes, darkness may engulf those sensitive to the lack of daylight. SAD may cause symptoms typical of depression, such as feeling hopeless or worthless, difficulty functioning, and even losing  interest in life.

SAD and “winter blues” symptoms also bear some resemblance to hibernation, i.e., craving carbohydrates, weight gain, low energy, feeling sluggish, sleeping too much, and social withdrawal. 

Causes are likely complex. Somewhat like a bear going into hibernation, these symptoms may stem from decreasing light, biology, psychology, body chemistry and inherited traits. Those living further away from the equator are more prone to SAD. For example, 1% of Floridians are affected, versus 10 % in the northern states.

If you are a bear, then no worries, this is natural, go find a cozy cave somewhere. For the rest of us, relief may be found in combinations of daily exposure to light therapy, Vitamin D, medications, less stress, psychotherapy and exercise. And maybe a touch of humor?

Light Therapy boxes (10,000 lux of full spectrum light) can be very effective. A 30-minute daily dose from fall through spring may bring much relief. Combining light with other therapies, bring more relief.

If you are unable to shake depressive feelings during the change in seasons, be sure to seek the help of a health professional. Seasonal depressive symptoms are not be taken lightly.         -Cindy

One good way to beat the blues is to stay connected with our friends and neighbors. We have a LOT of ways to enjoy each other's company.
 
We continue to enjoy listening to members talk about their lives. Ivar (left) brought pictures to accompany his stories and we all learned a lot about him.

That’s a Disaster! 

Quimper Village wants to be prepared in case of disaster. So, what kind of disaster might we have here?

Airplanes crash, rivers flood, fires burn. Most police, fire and medical agencies prepare for these, often with help from other government levels. Floods and forest fires can be very large, and both are growing larger and more common, but they tend to be somewhat predictable and move slowly enough for agencies and individuals to organize responses.  

Tornados are rare here, and hurricanes don’t fit our meteorology: they need a big, warm ocean. For our ocean, 60º is hot.

Volcanoes?  Got ’em— but not too nearby. We don’t expect lava to run by our doors, but heavy ash falls, and disruption of utilities and services are possible. Also, refugees.  It won’t be pretty, but we can handle it, so long as the regional power net stays on.

Earthquakes — ouch!  There are small faults all around the region, and new ones are found routinely. Small, local quakes can do damage and endanger people, break utility lines, drop bridges and ruin roads. We plan for flexible responses, to be as adaptable as possible. And then there’s the Big One.

About 100-150 miles west, 50 or so miles off the coast, the small Juan de Fuca tectonic plate (small? about the size of Oregon!) is slowly sinking beneath the North American plate. Small quakes rattle windows every few years. But a Big One happens every few centuries—most recently, in 1700 A.D. Gazillions of tons of rock dropped and rose and moved, creating a quake of approximately 9.0 magnitude. Blocks of shoreline dropped far enough to drown forests or rose far enough to raise new bluffs. Earthquakes can also cause tsunamis, like the recent Japanese killer tsunami. [We can date the 1700 earthquake here because it caused a tsunami recorded in Japan.]

A Big One will happen again. When it does many things will fall: buildings, bridges, mountainsides, and people, over thousands of square miles. Tsunamis.  Flooding. Fires. Power lines down for weeks or months.  

Only three roads and bridges from the mainland lead to towns on the Olympic Peninsula. A major quake might close them for weeks, months, even years. All that’s left is ships and airplanes — but they, too, need facilities that will take time to restore. Planners tell us we need to be able to survive for at least several weeks almost entirely on our own.

Water supply is critical, and communication is a close second. Food is also important, and our grocery stores do not maintain large local warehouses.  Restoring electrical power to the area could take weeks.  

So:  Quimper Village cooperates with other disaster relief agencies in the region, as in the recent “Great Shakeout” exercise, and we make our own preparations.  We have a large generator with fuel for a month, FRS radios with limited range, and cell phones. We have lists of “away” contacts and of medical needs of residents. Some of us have medical training and Red Cross experience.  

But are we ready for a Big One? Never ready enough.             — Jack 

A haiku moment
Sailing is the thing
For those who like nature’s way
Of playing in waves.
Mena is giving a 4-week beginning course on how to use acrylic paints. These folks have never painted prior to this class and (rightly) feel a big sense of accomplishment for their efforts. Keep it up!
Newsletter Team: JimD, Araya, Cindy, PamC, Jack, Kate and Cheron
Additional photos: Nancy, Mena - thanks
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3105 Sage Lane
Port Townsend, WA 98368

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Quimper Village · 3107 Sage Lane · Port Townsend, WA 98368 · USA

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