Seattle Summer Sunsets

by Nancy Mueller
( July 18th, 2014 )

Seattle Sunset

We Seattleites are used to hearing jokes about our rainy weather:

“What do you call two straight days of rain in Seattle?” Answer: “A weekend.”

“When’s the rainy season in Seattle? Answer: “August through April and May through July.”

“What does daylight saving time mean in Seattle?” Answer: “An extra hour of rain.”

“When does summer officially begin?” Answer: “In Seattle, after July 4th.”

Wait – that last one’s no joke. But moving on . . . The truth is, Seattle summers mostly rock! Temperatures are mild for the most part. Sunny days stretch into fiery sunsets of goldenrod yellows and peach-orange before deepening into vibrant violet reds. Combined with the magnificent Olympic Mountains, emerald green forests and water, water everywhere,  the Pacific Northwest is the place to hang out in the summer.

Here’s another view of the spectacular summer sunset Seattleites experienced earlier this week:

Seattle Sunset

What’s the reason behind this stunning Seattle summer phenomenon? Just ask University of Washington Professor of Atmospheric Sciences and weather expert, Cliff Mass, who boils it down to several factors: right season, geometry, virga (check out his blog for further explanation) and wildfire smoke. As Mass calls it: “This sunset was liking winning the Trifecta at a horse race.”

Seattle Summer Sunset


Wander on!


What’s your favorite summer sunset memory, wanderboomers? Please share with us here.

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Happy 4th of July 2014!

by Nancy Mueller
( July 4th, 2014 )

Seattle Center 4th of July 2014

Land of the free . . . Home of the brave . . . In a day marked by BBQs, fireworks and John Philip Sousa tunes, 431 people from 70 nations were honored today as new citizens of the United States in Seattle.  The oldest candidate to be sworn in at Seattle Center’s 30th Annual Naturalization Ceremony was Korean-born Mr. Kyung Ku Lee, age 80.

U.S. American Flag Seattle Center House

For all the years I’ve lived in Seattle, this was the first time I have attended the event. Now I’m wondering what took me so long. What better way to spend Independence Day than welcoming our country’s newest citizens? The celebration included festive music by the Greenwood Concert Band and performances from native Americans and the Total Experience Gospel Choir, reminding me of our country’s strength in diversity.

Maria Mueller and WA State Senator Maria Cantwell

As I listened to the speeches from local dignitaries, my mind wandered, wondering about the individual journeys that each of the 431 individuals had taken to U.S. citizenship. Not to mention the Naturalization Test that each had to pass to get here.

30th Annual Naturalization Ceremony Seattle Center

Did you know that there are 100 civics (history and government) questions for the Naturalization Test? And that to pass the civics test, an applicant has to answer 6 out of 10 questions correctly in an oral test conducted by a USCIS Officer? The USCIS Officer can ask up to 10 questions, but of course applicants have to know the answers to all 100 questions. Here are a few examples. Let’s see how you do (and no fair scrolling down for the answers):

1) How many amendments does the Constitution have?

2) How many justices are on the Supreme Court?

3) Who is the Chief Justice of the United States now?

4) What is one promise you make when you become a United States citizen?

5) The Federalist Papers supported the passage of the U.S. Constitution. Name one of the writers. Okay, here’s an easy  one:

6) When do we celebrate Independence Day?

Happy 4th of July, wanderboomers! Oops – hope I didn’t give anything anyway . . .

Now for the (rest of) the answers:

1) 27

2) 9

3) John Roberts

4) give up loyalty to other countries, defend the Constitution and laws of the United States, obey the laws of the United States, serve in the U.S. military (if needed), serve (do important work for) the nation (if needed), be loyal to the United States

5) (James) Madison, (Alexander) Hamilton, (John) Jay, Publius

6) Today, of course!

Be Bold and Wander On!


U.S. American Flag Plover Ferry

How do you celebrate Independence Day, wanderboomers?

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Summer Books for Boomers Worth Rereading

by Nancy Mueller
( June 18th, 2014 )

Harry Potter Lord of the Rings

Why summer, if not for spending long, lazy afternoons in a gently swinging hammock, absorbed in one great book after another? Especially when those books hold a universe of magic, mystery, adventure, play, romance, reflection, or simplicity – the very essence of summer. Here are a few summer books for boomers worth rereading. Timeless treasures, reading pleasures . . .


Who doesn’t love a little magic in her life? Conjure up the spells of Harry Potter in J.K. Rowling’s world - Serpentsortia! Imperio! – or inhabit Middle-Earth with elves and hobbits in Lord of the Rings for pure escapism and fantasy. Rediscover the value of friendship, loyalty and heroism no matter the cost or consequences.


Donna Leon

It’s easy to immerse yourself in the world of Donna Leon’s mysteries. Her series features the beloved everyman, Commissario Guido Brunetti, whose crime cases deal with truth, justice and the Venetian way. Leon paints a convincing portrait of a man caught up in social issues of the day against the backdrop of a loving family in a city of irresistible beauty.


Robert Moss

Summer days inspire us to slow down and play. Make your own fun with games that dreamers play in The Three “Only” Things: Tapping the Power of Dreams, Coincidence & Imagination, a non-fiction guide to living your life out loud by dream archeologist, Robert Moss. The author counsels, ”Dreaming is less about sleep than waking up” and “The time is always now.” Sometimes life rhymes . . .


For wanderboomers, tales of swashbuckling adventures flash back to Robin Hood and his merry men or thrilling stories of pirates sailing the wine dark sea. Maybe that’s why I find Patrick O’Brien’s series of Jack Aubrey novels so comforting and compelling. Aubrey’s sidekick is the ship’s surgeon/naturalist, Stephen Maturin. The story of their friendship while serving in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars offers both heartbreak and inspiration.


I love a good beach book (engaging, escapist, quick read) as much as anyone. But for the lasting pleasure of a literary romance, I turn to Love in the Time of Cholera by Noble prize winner, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, every time. How long would you wait for the love of your life? Would you wait fifty-one years, nine months and four days?


Gift from the Sea

With stretches of unstructured summer days (Yes, I can dream) comes time for reflection. In her memoir, Gift from the Sea, Anne Morrow Lindbergh muses on the meaning of what matters most. By sharing her thoughts on work-life balance, motherhood and marriage from her own life experiences, she inspires gratitude, grace and tranquility.


Caroline Kennedy Mary Oliver

Even with limited downtime, my summer reading plans always include a book of poetry. Why? Because a good poem suspends a moment in time that captures a special mood or feeling. We identify with how it feels to fall in or out of love, become a parent or face middle age, delight in the sight of a deer in the woods or choose which of two roads that diverge there. A good poem can be read, remembered and cherished for crystallizing an extraordinary or everyday universal experience. Recommended volumes include Mary Oliver’s New and Selected Poems, Volume Two and Caroline Kennedy’s She Walks in Beauty: A Woman’s Journey Through Poems.

Wander on!


What’s on your reading list this summer, wanderboomers? What are your go-to books every year?


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