Mature Friends Newsletter



What’s New This Month
Mailing Address:
Mature Friends
PO Box 21203, Seattle, WA 98111-3203
E-mail:


Every month, Mature Friends publishes a member newsletter with updates on our activities such as: • traveling (both locally and internationally), • attending arts events, • playing bridge or pinochle,• reading and discussing books, • making investments, • touring gardens, • taking walks and going on hikes, • choosing among many options for dinners and lunches, • cooking, • and tasting fine wines from around the world, including our own Washington state. The same newsletter information is included here but without member contact information.

Want the newsletter? See How to Join on the Welcome page.  

 


Goings On

NOTE: Because of the threat posed by the covid-19 virus, all activities have been suspended until the ban on group gatherings can be safely lifted.

Please click on underlined area for additional information.


Eating Date and Time Location
Lunch Out  Suspended Jimmy's [closed]
Dinner Out
First Tuesday [NEW]
Third Tuesday
Suspended Palermo’s on Capitol Hill, [closed]
Robb’s 125th Street Grill
Monthly Potluck
Food Contributions
Canceled until further notice
Wallingford Community Senior Center [closed]
Wine Tasting  Wine
Suspended
In members’ homes
Dinner for Six Suspended In members’ homes
Annual Banquet
Banquet Form
Canceled
Women’s University Club
Annual Picnic
Sat., Aug. 15, 2020
12:00 noon
Meridian Park 
Christmas Lunch
Sat., Dec. TBD
Cocktails at 11:30 a.m.
Lunch at 1:00 p.m.
TBD
Playing Date and Time Location
Bridge Club 1 Suspended Wallingford Community Senior Center
Pinochle Club2  Suspended
Wallingford Community Senior Center
Board Games
Suspended Wallingford Community Senior Center
Green Lake Walk  Suspended
S.W. Corner of Green Lake at tree #51 on map
(Afterwards, lunch at the Blue Star Cafe and Pub.)
A Better Club for Investing    Suspended
Members, contact club leader for location;
See newsletter for contact information.
Book Club Zoom meetings:
Tue., June 16, at 7:30 p.m.
Tue., July 21, at 7:30 p.m.
American Studies, by Mark Merlis
The Charioteer, by Mary Renault
Board Meeting Suspended
In a board member’s home
Walk/Hike Suspended A reminiscence of past hikes
Garden Tour
Suspended
TBD
Theater, Music Dates and Details below
SIFF 2020 and Sixth Annual Shakespeare
Festival, Ashland, OR., and more....
Scarecrow  Screenings Suspended Scarecrow Video
Oddball Outing  Suspended
TBD when state gives the OK to gather again
Travel and Events Various trips, foreign and U.S.
Check our destinations

1 The fee for Bridge Club is $4.00 per night for members (who pay an annual fee of $40.00 to join the club) and $5.00 for nonmembers.

2 The fee for Pinochle is $4.00 per night for members and for nonmembers.


 


Potluck Contributions

On the last Saturday of the month, the membership meets for a big potluck at the Wallingford Community Senior Center

Each member is assigned a type of dish to bring based on the initial of their last name.

If you bring a vegan or vegetarian dish, please label it as such.

Plan for all dishes to serve 6-to-8 people.

Dish to Bring Initial of Last Name
Appetizer1
Main Dish

Vegetable

Salad

Dessert


1 For those assigned to bring an appetizer, please arrive early.
NOTE: Food to bring to the annual August picnic is assigned the same as the potluck.

 


Walk/Hike

Once a month, our hike leader takes a group on a day hike through some beautiful territory. If the hike leads the group out of town and you share a ride, expect to chip in $5.00 or $10.00, depending on the distance, to the driver for gas. Also, the group sometimes brown bags it for lunch along the trail. Other than that, this activity is an invigorating, frugal day’s entertainment! So why not join us on the next hike?

Walk/Hike — [Suspended]


During this time of shelter in place, enjoy a virtual hike of the Old Sauk Trail near Darrington.

I have another hike photo album, this time to Twin Falls. I will try to do one of these a month during the suspended activity period.

To stay safe during the coronavirus epidemic the Mature Friends monthly hike is suspended until conditions allow it to be resumed. Meanwhile it is important to get exercise. Exercise is good for physical and mental health. Go for a walk, in your neighborhood or one of the many parks, or on a hike. When you do that observe the six feet of separation from others that is recommended by health authorities.

There are many online sources of information about walks and hikes in our area. All Trails lists many local hikes on its site and phone app. Washington Trails also has a hikes search on its site and its phone app. Most of the local parks in Seattle and area are covered in those sites, and many trails outside of Seattle. Those sites also have reports by people who have walked the trails recently, where you can get up to date information on trail conditions.

February Hike — Cedar River Trail

In February we hiked along the Cedar River Trail, starting from the south end at Landsburg Park, near Maple Valley. The trail follows an old railroad bed and runs parallel to the Cedar River. In this section of the trail we walked in a wooded river valley with trees and views of the river and maybe some early spring flowers.

Hiking along the Cedar River

John, Dale, Duane, Stephen, Ramon and Keith Hiking the Cedar River Trail

We hiked the trail north to the Big Bend Natural Area, where we turned around. We enjoyed nice views of the river during our lunch break. Our hike covered three miles round trip with no elevation gain.

Snapshots from Some of Our Previous Hikes

Our hikers posed with beautiful backdrops from some of our past treks. The following pictures show some examples.

Some photos of the hike to Barclay Lake

Ron, Dale, and Garry Hiking in Schmitz Park

Dale, Jim, Larry, Garry, Ed, Duane, and Roger Hiking in Hamlin Park

Dale, Garry, Stephen, Jim, David, and Duane



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Garden Tours

This wildly popular activity takes you on tours of beautiful gardens in the Seattle and greater Seattle area. if you like plants and gardens or if you’re just interested to learn a little about horticulture, come join us!

The Garden Tours for 2020 have suspended until further notice.

October 2019 Tour: Seymour Botanical Conservatory

On Thursday, October 17, 2019, two of us Mature Friends had a wonderful private tour of the Seymour Botanical Conservatory at Wright Park in Tacoma. Tour guide Kayla pointed out many of the beautiful specimens in the botanical collection.

We were sorry that nobody else showed up but we had a great time and I courage many of you to make your way down. It's a wonderful little gem. And Kayla obviously loves her work as she frequently got very excited about seeing new blooms.

In 1908 the historic W. W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory was opened and is one of only three public Victorian-style conservatories still in existence on the West Coast. Listed on the National Historic register, the conservatory’s tropical plants and flowers gave many of the early residents their first chance to learn about many exotic and species not native to the Pacific Northwest.

Today, visitors experience the conservatory’s permanent collection of ferns, palms, figs, bromeliads, orchids, and many other rare, unusual, and endangered plants as well as its changing floral exhibits.

Address: 316 South G St., Tacoma, Washington

Cost: $2.00 per person

September 2019 Tour: Point Defiance Zoo

Eleven Mature Friends enjoyed a tour of the gardens at Point Defiance Zoo lead by head gardener Bryon Jones on September 19.

Group

The zoo gardens are home to hundreds of plant species with three full-time gardeners responsible for garden design and plant maintenance.

Byron Jones

Byron Jones

Special garden areas visited included the Asian forest sanctuary, bamboo garden, and an area dedicated to conifers, cycads, and ferns. We also learned about living fossils, such as the Ginkgo Tree and Wollemi Pine, both once thought to have been extinct. We also learned about plants grown in the zoo gardens that are used as food for the animals, including Dogwood, banana, bamboo, and kiwi.

The Zoo gardens feature:

The garden is home to hundreds of varieties of plants from decorative to functional. Zookeepers use some of the plant growth, such as banana leaves and bamboo shoots, as food or skill-building tools for the animals. The plants also create a stunning botanical paradise.

Address:

5400 N. Pearl St.
Tacoma, Washington 98407

Directions to the Zoo:

  1. From I-5 North or South, take exit 132 (Highway 16 West).
  2. Exit Highway 16 at 6th Avenue (Exit 3),
  3. Continue to the second stoplight and turn right on to Pearl Street (WA 163).
  4. Follow Pearl Street into Point Defiance Park. Signs will lead you to the Zoo's free parking lots.
Cost: Adult $19, 65+ $18.

There are hills involved so mobility may be an issue for some. They do offer motorized scooters for rent $35.00 and wheelchairs for $10.00 each.



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Book Club

The Mature Friends’ Book Club met on Tuesday, May 19, via Zoom to discuss Gregory Martin’s Stories for Boys. In this memoir of fathers and sons, Gregory Martin struggles to reconcile the father he thought he knew with a man who has just survived a suicide attempt; a man who had been having anonymous affairs with men throughout his thirty-nine years of marriage; and who now must begin his life as a gay man. It was a lively discussion, and as far as I know, no one who tried to join the Zoom meeting had a problem. At a tipping point in our national conversation about gender and sexuality, rights and acceptance, Stories for Boys is about a father and a son finding a way to build a new relationship with one another after years of suppression and denial. Martin's memoir is quirky and comic.

We will meet on Zoom again on Tuesday, June 16, at 7:00 p.m. for socializing and 7:30 to discuss Mark Merlis’s American Studies.
This is a fictionalized account of the difficulties F. O. Matthiessen suffered at Harvard for his political views as well as his sexual orientation. Matthiessen is the founder of the discipline of American Studies, which combined literature with history and some social science for a more holistic description of American culture. His books are still seminal in the study of American literature and culture.

In the following month, we will meet on Tuesday, July 21, at 7:00 p.m. for socializing and will begin at 7:30 to discuss Mary Renault's The Charioteer. Mary Renault is better known for her books based on ancient Greek history and myth, some with gay themes where relevant, but she also wrote several novels set in contemporary times. The Charioteer tells the story of a young soldier wounded at Dunkirk, who is torn between his attractions for two different men. The novel was initially refused publication in the United States because of its positive portrayal of homosexuality.

These books were chosen, in part, for their relatively easy accessibility in our current period of closed bookstores and libraries.  Both are available on Kindle and used from Amazon, and probably from other on-line booksellers.


Bruce B., Book Club Leader


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Wine Tasting

This every-other-month activity is hosted in a Mature Friends member’s home. The newsletter gives the location and wines to be tasted.

Wine Tastings

The ever-popular tastings have been suspended until further notice.

January Tasting: Red Zinfandel

Sixteen members met at the home of Tim O’Connor and Jeff Stolz to taste and discuss ten Zinfandel wines. As is often the case
we were pleasantly surprised by the general quality and variety these offered. Sometimes thought to be too heavy or “alcoholic,”
most were subtle and offered a variety of flavors. They were full bodied and fruity, balanced and easily enjoyed. Some effort was made
to select quality examples, the better wines in the $25-$40 range. Often outstanding, like the 2003 Kiona, The Big Zin from Washington’s Red Mountain grapes, The Home Ranch from California’s Alexander Valley or the Forgeron of the Columbia Valley, there were other fine wines at a much lower price. A most unusual 2004 late harvest Zin was brought by Larry Gogenola, syrupy and sweet as a Sauternes. The lively discussion along with sipping pointed to the variety of experiences these wines offered.
Here are photos of the wines and some participants.


Ed K., Wine Tasting Organizer


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Oddball Outing

This once-a-month activity that began in 2017, takes us on day trips and activities around the town or to locations nearby. The newsletter gives the location and time. Many events require an RSVP to Jerry P. See newsletter for contact information.

The Oddball Outings have been suspended until further notice.

February Outing was: Dim Sum in the Year of the Rat

This month we will celebrated the Chinese New Year which has just begun. In Chinese element theory, each zodiac sign is associated with one of the five elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Gold (Metal), and Water. 

To celebrate this momentous year, February’s Oddball Outing will be Dim Sum at the Dough Zone, located at 815 Pine, at Ninth Avenue. We will
meet on Friday, February 7, at 11:30 a.m. The Dough Zone has terrific dumplings and a tempting Dim Sum menu.

Jerry P., Oddball Organizer


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Travel and Events

This section is about upcoming or recent trips planned for Mature Friends. Everybody who has gone on one of these trips has had a great time and was well taken care of. So, what are you waiting for? Sign up and join the fun!

NOTE: To travel with us, you must first join the club.

Travel Options in 2020

Our travel coordinator will once again search for trips, based on how many members are interested and on when the travel ban is lifted.

Past Trips and Events

If you missed some of the trips organized by Mature Friends, you might be interested in reading about what you missed. Or if you went on any of these wonderful trips, you might be interested in reliving the fun and adventure. If so, this section is for you!

Thailand in Spring 2019


Travel to Thailand—once called Siam—where independence, hospitality, and the traditional philosophy that "life is pleasure" casts a spell over every visitor.

Twelve Mature Friends returned from a sixteen-day adventure to Thailand on March 29. We started with a boat trip though the canals of Bangkok with a lunch that featured David Turner using a mortar and pestle to make red curry for our lunch. In Bangkok, we also visited the Grand Palace. We proceeded to Kanchanaburi, where we walked across the River Kwai Bridge and along the Hellfire Pass railroad constructed by World War II prisoners of war. We also visit the Kanchanaburi prisoner- of-war cemetery.

Then off to Sukhothai Province to visit historic ruins and a local school. On the way to Chiang Main, we stopped at roadside food booths for sticky rice and barbecued rats. A highlight of Chiang Mai was the elephant-care center, where we fed sugar cane to elephants and also washed them.

We ended the trip at the Golden Triangle in Chiang Rai, where we looked from Thailand across the Mekong River into Burma and Laos.

Pictures to come. Stay tuned!

Bruce T.

Viking Homelands: April 28 – May 12, 2018

Eight Mature Friends embarked for fifteen days on Viking Ocean Cruises to Bergen, Norway, and disembark in Stockholm, Sweden. We will visit eight countries and dock at eleven ports of call. Accommodations on the Viking Sky consisted of a private veranda stateroom, including wine and beer with meals. The itinerary comprised eleven guided tours with ports of call that include Helsinki, Copenhagen, Berlin, Gdansk, and St. Petersburg.

A full account of this magnificent trip, with photos, will be forthcoming, so stay tuned.

Tacoma’s Big Three Museums: November, 2017

On Thursday, November 9, we bused down to Tacoma to visit three Tacoma Museums, including the Museum of Glass, Tacoma Art Museum, and Washington State History Museum. Each participant chose what museums to see and paid his or her own entry fee.

Special exhibits for November at the Art Museum include “Two Centuries of Still-Life Painting,” “The Dynamic American West,” and “The Art of Framing.” The Museum of Glass showcased special exhibitions dedicated to the work of Dale Chihuly and the glass and steel sculptures of Albert Paley.

Lake Diablo Day Trip, 2017

On August 10, thirteen Mature Friends bused to Diablo Lake. Hop aboard and get a taste of what these tourists saw and experienced. Maybe you can schedule this tour some day.

Diablo Lake Tour

California Coastal Cruise, 2017

Departing on April 11, seven Mature Friends sailed on the ten-night California Coastal Cruise departing from Vancouver, B.C. sailing at 4:30 p.m., we cruised down the coat for two days before arriving in Los Angeles, followed by a day on Catalina Island. After Catalina, we embarked for Santa Barbara for a day, ending up with an overnight stay in San Francisco. Then we sailed up the coast for two days before arriving back in Vancouver the morning of April 21.

Escape into Cuba

Five Mature Friends took off on an all gay tour with seven days in Cuba. They departed from Seattle and arrived in Havana in time for a group dinner.

The tour included a bus overview trip around the city and visits to a rum-bottling facility and a tobacco farm to see the cigar-making process. We also saw the unique mountains and caves in Vinales National Park. The highlights, though, were the explorations of the city we did on our own.

We saw the beautifully renovated plazas and streets in Old Havana (a UNESCO Heritage Site), strolled along the Malecon with hundreds of cell phone-toting Cubans, saw various museums, and reveled in the joy of riding in 1940s and 1950s vintage American car taxis. We all thoroughly enjoyed one another’s company, and it was a trip we will long remember.

Sail Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain Sailing Ships

Avast, ye buccaneers! Last summer, our evening sailing on the Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain got canceled because of a heavy rain and lightning storm that struck just before our sailing time. This year we tried again.

The three-hour cruise on Lake Washington in reproductions of eighteenth-century sailing ships features booming cannons, close quarter maneuvers, and the singing of sea shanties. Both ships have appeared in numerous movies and television shows. The ships will sailed on Saturday, September 3, at 2:00 p.m. from the docks at Carillon Point in Kirkland.

But don’t take my word for it. Read all about it and check out the pictures!

— President Bruce T.

The Cruise to Nowhere, September 16 – 23, 2017

The famous Cruise to Nowhere (actually it went somewhere) departed from Seattle with a one-day stop in Astoria, Oregon, then for two days in San Francisco, and finally one day in ., before returning to Seattle. This voyage consisted of a full seven-day cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas with no airfare required.

Cruise to Nowhere

Rome and Tuscany, April 23 – May 8, 2016

This trip began with a week in Rome. We spent a week in the Eternal City with a gay guide escorting us to the major tourist sites, including ancient, renaissance, and contemporary Rome.

We spent the second week at a private villa in a small hill town in southern Tuscany. Day trips took us to Siena, the wine towns of Montepulciano (home of Brunello wine), Assisi, Pienza, Chiusi (Etruscan sites), Orvieto, the antique fair in Arezzo, and Monte Olivetti Maggiore (a major abbey with a large collection of frescoes by the Renaissance painter Sodoma).

The fabulous trip concluded with a day in Florence. Some travelers extended their tour for a day or more in Florence.

Weekend in Texas, October 30 – November 1, 2015

On Friday, October 30, nine Mature Friends flew on Alaska Airlines nonstop to

San Antonio. We spent a great time in this beautiful city over Day of the Dead (Halloween) weekend, staying at the traditional El Tropicano River Walk Hotel right on the banks of the famous River Walk.

Daily high temperatures hovered around 75º with cloudy and clear skies. San Antonio is a popular convention town and the most visited city in Texas. It has the Alamo, an easily walkable downtown with several museums, and an amazing San Antonio River, which meanders for miles and on which quiet tour boats glide. Great restaurant terraces line the route from which you can watch the lighted boats pass and hear Mariachi and jazz quietly echoing up the canyon. The natural ambiance is romantic and real. And . . .

Remember the Alamo!

The Alamo


We spent a low-stress weekend mainly riding the hop-on-hop-off sight-seeing bus. Some in our group had booked a Halloween dinner cruise on the San Antonio River, but at the last minute the cruise got canceled due to heavy rains. Undaunted, the dinner guests got re-booked into a fine restaurant on the River Walk. Others of us went off on our own and also experienced fine dining on the River Walk. Two went to Landry’s Seafood and sat outside by the river. When the rain started, everybody scampered indoors . . . all except for two of us, who decided to stay put when the staff erected an umbrella over us.

Aside from the great food and beautiful scenery along the river banks, we enjoyed touring the Alamo, the San Antonio Museum of Art, the Tower of the Americas, La Villita, the Spanish Governor’s Palace, the Buckhorn Saloon and Museum, as well as many more sights. We could have spent a week and seen something new every day.

We flew home on Sunday evening after a full day of last-minute of sight-seeing. Everybody had a great time. Thank you, Jerry and Bob, for organizing this relaxing, enjoyable long weekend in Texas.

Cruising the San Juans 2013

In September 2013, several Mature Friends set sail to spend a long weekend cruising the San Juan Islands in the northern part of Puget Sound. But don't listen to me, check out the trip for yourselves:

Boating through the San Juans

Reno Gambling Trip

Twenty-one people took off for our annual gambling trip on May 12. The package included round-trip airfare and accommodations at the El Dorado Resort Casino. We arrived in Reno shortly after 5:00 p.m., just in time for cocktail hour in the Roxy bar.

But to get the full story, come on and click the link and see some pictures of this relaxing three-day excursion.

Reno or Bust!

Grand Tour of China 2014

In April 2014, about twenty Mature Friends set off for an adventure of a lifetime — touring China! To read about the trip, all we did, all we saw, please click the link:

Tour of China

And enjoy the pictures, too!

Spain and France 2014

On October 12, 2014, twenty-four Mature Friends took off for Madrid, where they began a two-week tour of Northern Spain and Southern France. Please click the following link to see some of the sights they saw:

Tour of Spain and Southern France

Don’t forget to click the links in the story to see some pictures.

Cruise Down the Asian Coast

At the beginning of the Year of the Dragon, several Mature Friends took a cruise down the East Coast of Asia. We began in Hong Kong and ended up in Singapore. As with the tour of China, we saw several incredible sites, but without the hassle of unpacking and repacking, because our Holland-America ship acted as our home base. Check out this great cruise:
Cruise Down the Asian Coast

Cruise to Alaska

On April 29, a few Mature Friends set off on a short cruise off the Alaskan coast to Ketchikan. Everybody had a great time, as usual on a Mature Friends’ voyage. Check out some of the pictures of this relaxing trip

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Theater and Music

This section lists local theater and music productions that might be of interest to Mature Friends.

Screenings of Gay Themed Movies

Suspended until further notice.

Location

Scarecrow Video
5030 Roosevelt Way NE
Seattle

Brian T. & James B., Scarecrow Video coordinator

Shakespeare and Daedalus in Ashland


In 2019, our annual trip took place on September 13 – 16. Eighteen Mature Friends, the largest number so far, spent an extended weekend in Ashland, Oregon, attending plays at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and taking part in the 2019 Daedalus Project, the Festival’s Aids Benefit. We enjoyed three Shakespeare plays:

Ashland Group

Elizabethan Theater

We also saw Paula Vogel’s Indecent, which is playing this month at the Seattle Rep in a different production. We saw a lively staged reading of Hedwig and the Angry Inch as part of the Daedalus Project and enjoyed the talents of the company’s members in a talent show, including the ever popular Underwear Contest. We also enjoyed a group meal at Arbor House, an excellent family-run restaurant in neighboring Talent, Oregon, as well as many meals in the wide variety of Ashland restaurants.

The 2020 Shakespeare Festival


TThe 2020 Ashland trip to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival has been canceled. The festival is planning to reopen in September for a truncated season, but two of the four plays we were planning to see have been canceled. An informal poll of the group registered preferred canceling to a diminished season. The deposit will be rolled over into a deposit for next year. If you did register with a deposit this year and know you are not going next year, I can refund the deposit. More information about next year’s trip will be in a future newsletter. As you can imagine things at the festival are quite chaotic currently as the box office reschedules or refunds tickets for five months of performances



— Bruce B.

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Edition: 20NewsMF03.5