Mature Friends Newsletter

What’s New in January
Mailing Address:
Mature Friends
PO Box 21203, Seattle, WA 98111-3203

Every month, Mature Friends publishes the newsletter with updates on our activities. So, here is what we’re up to this month, 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 our own state, from other states, and from around the world.


Goings On

Please click on underlined area for additional information.

Eating Date and Time Location
Lunch Out  🍴 Wed., Jan. 9 and 23
12:00 noon
Roosters on Broadway
Dinner Out 🍴
First Tuesday [NEW] –>
Third Tuesday –>

Tues., Jan. 8,  6:30 p.m.
Tues., Jan. 15, 6:00 p.m.

Palermo’s on Capitol Hill, 350 15th Avenue East.
Robb’s 125th Street Grill
Monthly Potluck 🍴
Food Contributions
Sat., Jan. 26
Appetizers at 6:00 p.m.
Dinner at 7:00 p.m.
Wallingford Community Senior Center
Wine Tasting  Wine
Mon., Jan. 21, at 7:00 p.m.
Priorat County Wines of Catalonia, Spain
Dinner for Six 🍴 Determined by participants In members’ homes
Annual Banquet 🍴 Sat., June TBD, 2019
Cocktails at 6:00 p.m.
Dinner at 7:00 p.m.
Women’s University Club
Annual Picnic  🌭
Sat., Aug. TBD, 2019
Appetizers at 12:00 noon
Meridian Park 
Christmas Lunch  🎄
Sat., Dec. 14
Cocktails at 11:30 a.m.
Lunch at 1:15 p.m.
Robb’s 125th Street Grill
Reservations must be received by Dec. 11.
See Newsletter for reservation form.
Playing Date and Time Location
Bridge Club1 🃏 Every Wed. at 7:00 p.m. Wallingford Community Senior Center
Pinochle Club2  🃏 Wed., Jan. 2 & 16, at 7:00 p.m.
Wallingford Community Senior Center
Green Lake Walk  🌳 Every Wed. at 11:00 a.m.
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    📈 Sun., TBD, at 5:00 p.m.  
Members, contact club leader Karl for location;
See newsletter for contact information.
Book Club    📖 Tue., Jan. 15, at 7:30 p.m.
Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
See member newsletter for location.
Board Meeting  📓 Mon., Jan. 14 at 7:00 p.m.
In a board member’s home
Walk/Hike 🚶 Tue., Jan. 15, at 10:00 a.m. Seward Park
Garden Tour  🌺
Gone dormant until Apr.
Last Tour of 2018: Amazon Spheres
Theater, Music  🎭 Dates and Details below
Fifth Annual Shakespeare Festival, Ashland, OR
Scarecrow  Screenings  🎭 Sun., Jan. 20, at 3:00 p.m. East Side Story
Oddball Outing  Fri., Jan. 25, at 10:00 a.m.
Nucor Steel Plant
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

No June or August Potluck: in June, our annual banquet substitutes for the potluck, and in August, the picnic substitutes.

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 A, F, H, L, O
Main Dish
E, K, P, R, T
J, M, N, V, Z
C, I, W
B, D, G, S

1 For those assigned to bring an appetizer, please arrive early.



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 a few dollars 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?

January Hike in Seward Park

Our January hike will be in Seward Park, a long-time favorite of many Seattleites. We were scheduled to hike this location in December 2017 but a rain and wind storm prevented us from doing it. Maybe this time the weather will cooperate.

Purchased in 1911, the park was named after William H. Seward, the Secretary of State who was responsible for America’s purchase of Alaska in 1867. The park has nearly 300 acres of forest land with old growth trees. In addition to the 2.4-mile perimeter trail along the shoreline there are numerous trails in the woods. It’s not uncommon to see eagles and lots of other bird life.

We will meet at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, January 15, at the parking lot in front of the bath house. Make a left turn after entering the park. The street address of the park if you are mapping your route is 5895 Lake Washington Blvd. S. Come and join us for a post-holiday walk!

December Hike at Carkeek Park

The winter hiking season has arrived and that means we do hikes in Seattle and nearby places. In December we visited Carkeek Park in northwest Seattle. We hadn’t hiked there in five years, and there are some fine trails to explore.

December Hikers in Carkeek Park

Carkeek Park has 200 acres of woods and more than five miles of trails. You can choose to walk the level trail along Piper’s Creek or the hilly trails on the slopes of the ravines that make up most of the park. There’s also access to the beach on Puget Sound.

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.

Garry, Phil, Luis, and Dale on the Cougar Mountain Trail

Dale, Keith, Garry, and Roger on the Big Four Ice Caves Trail

Jerry, Scott, Stephen, and Dale (Hiker Keith Not Shown)

Chris, Duane, Al, Steve, Garry, and Dale Hiking Up to Barclay Lake

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Garden Tours

This wildly popular activity takes you on tours of beautiful gardens in the Seattle and greater Seattle area. Led by our resident horticulturalist, Dr. John Wott, you see a variety of plants, flowers, and shrubs. So, if you like plants and gardens or if you’re just interested to learn a little about horticulture, come join us!

Garden Tours Dormant for the Winter

As with some plants, the Garden Tours has gone dormant for the winter only to spring back to life in April 2019.

August and October Tours — Amazon Spheres (Take Two)

In August twelve Mature Friends were selected by lottery to tour the three spheres of the newly opened Amazon headquarters. The tour was limited to twelve members all drawn by lottery.


On October 30, another group toured the spheres. Dr. Wott selected eighteen again by lottery. Luckily he was able to talk Amazon into accepting the larger group. I have posted more photos taken by Garden Tour participant Brian.

Brian's Spheres Album

September Tour of Two Gardens

On Saturday, September 15, 2018, we visited gardens recently featured on two special horticulture tours. We met at the garden of Jason Jorgensen who transformed a previously tired front lawn into a new focal point for the neighborhood. The south facing slope has been transformed into a densely planted summer dry garden featuring a carefully selected palette of drought-tolerant yet winter hardy trees, shrubs, perennials, and billowing grasses.

The backyard, gracing a central in-ground water feature made from a granite slab, is a richly planted mixed border featuring a tapestry of perennials, roses, and evergreens. The garden also includes raised fruit and vegetable beds and a patio enveloped by carefully curated shade plants.

Mature Friends   Mature Friends
Mature Friends at Jason Jorgensen’s garden.                                          Mature Friends at Gillian Mathews garden.

The garden of Gillian Mathews, owner of Ravenna Gardens in the University Village, was featured in the Sunday, August 17, 2018, Pacific Northwest Magazine. Within the past two years, the garden has been redesigned and replanted. Fruits, vegetables, and herbs flourish in the sunny back garden while clipped boxwoods, lavender, and evergreens create a quieter space in front. The formerly lawn-dominated lot showcases progress within a year.

Dr. John

Dr. John Wott, Horticulturalist and Garden Tour Guru

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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. RSVP to Ed K. (see newsletter for contact information).

January Tasting

On Monday, January 21, at 7:00 p.m., we will taste wines produced in the Priorat County, along with Rioja. These wines have the DOQ classification, which places requirements on every step of production. Early vineyards, established in the 12th century, were decimated by the phylloxera pest in the late 19th century (along with much of European wine production). A rebirth in the late 20th century led to the emergence of internationally prized Priorat wines. We can, however, find many in the $15.00 to $30.00 range. The region’s wineries cultivate a number of different varietals.

This is an opportunity for us to discover the pleasures of a less common, though highly respected, region in Spain. Purchasing a bottle with another member can be useful in sharing cost and learning about the wine. To read more about Priorat you can find wonderful articles online. Please contact me if you plan to attend.

November's Tasting

Bruce Sprague and Stephen Phillips hosted this evening of Greek wine. They matched these mainly unfamiliar wines with cheese, fruit and nuts from the region, a very good idea. Whites dominated the tasting. They were from dealers large (Total Wine) and small (The Agora). Generally, the wines were somewhat light with a pleasant, summery quality. The Seattle rainy chill didn’t help in appreciating many of these fresh, low alcohol selections. And I think we are more in tune with robust, fruitier blends. The pine flavored Retzinas were under $20.00 and seemed too alien. I have been told many are very good but require some careful food matching. During the evening we had eight wines most of which garnered neutral reactions from the group. To really appreciate the products of these vineyards a guide would be useful.

For more information about Greek wines, see this wine cast.

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.

January Outing a Tour of the Nucor Steel Plant

January’s ODDBALL OUTING will tour the Nucor Steel Plant in West Seattle! If you have ever wondered about that large mill south of the West Seattle Bridge, here is your chance to explore it in person and learn how steel is made. It is an exciting and informative tour. We’ll don hard hats and get an up-close and personal view of molten steel being formed into different shapes. Afterwards, those who wish to can gather for lunch at a nearby restaurant.

The tour will be Friday, January 25, at 10:00 a.m. and will last about two hours. The tour is free. You will need to arrive at the plant at least 15 minutes early. Because this is a working plant, you must wear long pants and sturdy shoes (no open toes, heels, or sandals). And you must be physically able to climb up and down numerous staircases at a reasonable pace. The tour is limited to 15 people, so you must sign up. See the members' newsletter for Jerry's contact info.

The November Outing was to the Bainbridge Museum of Art

November’s Oddball Outing toke us on a thirty-five-minute ferry ride from downtown Seattle to Bainbridge Island, where we visited the lovely Bainbridge Island Museum of Art. Several intriguing exhibits are on display. First is a retrospective of over thirty artworks by Seattle artist Alfredo Arreguín. His paintings feature jungle settings, religious symbolism, portraits (including Frida Kahlo), landscapes, salmon paintings, and seascapes. Also on display are thirty impressionistic paintings and monotypes by local landscape artist Pamela Wachtler.

Finally, we saw creations by master metalsmith Heikki Seppa, which included works in conceptual and functional sculpture and jewelry art. This was in addition to pieces from the museum’s permanent collection.

After touring, we ate lunch in the museum’s bistro restaurant.

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Travel and Events

This section is about recent or upcoming 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.

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. In a small group, you’ll weave your way into daily life to get an authentic glimpse of a culture that has gone untouched by western influence. Let locals lead you through their cities, villages, markets, and temples on this adventure from Bangkok to Chiang Rai.

Exploring Thailand from the cosmopolitan south to the remote northern hill tribes, you’ll witness Buddhist monks receiving alms at a dawn ceremony, walk along scenic stretches of the Mekong River, hear about the studies and aspirations of students at a local university, and maybe even buy some fresh lemongrass in Bangkok’s floating market. A local Trip Leader will help you gain an insider’s perspective into Thai culture as they connect you with locals—prepare a traditional meal alongside villagers, dine in a local home, and ride on a traditional wooden rice barge. Discover what captivates so many visitors in this tropical nation.

Departure for Our Group

Optional Pre-Trip: Three-night Hong Kong stopover departs US
on March 11, 2019.

Main tour departs US on March 14, 2019, returning to US on March 29, 2019.


Optional three-night Hong Kong stopover: $695*

Main Tour: $2595 per person

Airfare from SEA: $1400 (but all US commercial airports available at varying costs)

*There’s a $195 single supplement fee on optional Hong Kong stopover

NOTE: You must book by July 13 and there must be 16 Mature Friends to keep the trip exclusive to our group. After July 13 if we don’t have 16 members signed up it will be open to the general public.

Steve L., Travel Chairman

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!

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: Last 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

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.

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

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

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.

Screening of “East Side Story”

Our next screening is Sunday, January 20, at 3:00 p.m., hosted at Scarecrow Video. East Side Story is set in East Los Angeles, where Diego’s life is in disarray, with his culinary career in jeopardy and the neighborhood undergoing gentrification. And sex games with his boyfriend are difficult given that Diego lives with his grandmother. Then he meets the new neighbor and sparks fly. Enjoy this romantic comedy of an interracial gay couple adapting to a changing world. Directed by Carlos Portugal; starring Rene Alvarado, David Beron, and Steven Callahan. Released in 2006, running time is 90 minutes.

The private viewing room will accommodate 30 people.


Scarecrow Video
5030 Roosevelt Way NE

The private viewing room can accommodate only thirty people. To make sure no one is turned away at the door, please send your indication of interest to Roger M. (except not October 2018; see your newsletter for contact information.)

— Roger M.

A Movie New Year

Just go see the Mexican film Roma, it is at the top of most best 2018 film lists. You can watch it on Netflix but it needs to be seen on the BIG screen. It is amazing film, a very well told story and even has an interesting male nude scene. There are great 2018 year-end films showing: The Favourite (by the director of The Killing of a Sacred Deer and The Lobster), Shoplifters (by the director of The Third Murderer), and If Beale Street Could Talk (by the director of Moonlight) each would make a great movie outing and each is a big screen movie.

Also coming:

See you at the movies!

John Chaney, Film Aficionado and Past President of Mature Friends

Shakespeare and Daedalus in Ashland

Our trip for 2019 will be September 13 through 16. Due to the smoke in August for the last two years, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival has scheduled the Daedalus AIDS Benefit in September rather than August, so we will be moving our trip to September as well, when we hope there will be less disruption of outdoor activities. We will see four plays, three by Shakespeare: Macbeth, As You Like It, All’s Well that Ends Well, and one by Paula Vogel, Indecent, which presents the story of a ground breaking and scandalous Yiddish play produced in 1932 on Broadway.

We will also participate in the Daedalus Festival on September 16, including the semi-staged reading of a play related to gay themes or AIDS, and a talent show which includes the ever-popular underwear contest, where teams from the company compete and you vote for the most interesting underwear [or person in the underwear] with your dollar bills. Costs will be around $400, which includes tickets to four plays and the two Daedalus Events, a group dinner, and happy hour cocktails each afternoon. It does not include housing, transportation or other meals.

The first play will be at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, September 13. For those interested I can try to get you tickets to Hairspray on that day at 1:30 p.m. Tickets to Hairspray will not have the group discount and will be on the order of $100–$120 each, if I can get them.

Rooms will be reserved in the Stratford Inn for those who want them. You will pay directly for your room on departure, around $100 a night each for a double occupancy. There is not much discount for a single, but I can suggest more reasonable choices nearby for those wishing a single. The Stratford includes breakfast, an indoor pool, and Wi-Fi. It is a ten-minute walk to the theaters.

You will need to arrange your own transportation. It is about an eight-hour drive to Ashland, which is just fifteen miles from the California border, on I-5. Some of our participants fly. There are reasonable flights to Medford on Horizon, and ground transportation to Ashland is easily arranged, by either taxi or shuttle. It is about fifteen miles.

A deposit of $50 will reserve you a space. The remainder will be due in August.

There is a slight chance the lineup of plays will change. I have submitted our reservations, but they will not be confirmed until January. If there is a change, I will inform you in the February newsletter [and by email to those of you who have already reserved a spot].

— Bruce B.

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