Last summer Sheila happened upon an AARP photo contest about your best vacation ever. She entered the photo of us holding up the tandem at the end of our cross country journey (shown right) and forgot about it. In the fall she was sent a $100 gift card. Not bad. Encouraged by success, when she saw a new contest she decided to try again. This one was an essay limited to 200 words on the topic “Our Town”. The judges selected the top 9 in each of 9 communities based on their specified criteria and Sheila’s was included for Seattle. Here’s what she wrote:
Growing up in New England and living in Europe and Asia before settling in Seattle. I can say Seattle is THE greatest place to live. This diverse and densely populated city is divided into walkable neighborhoods with distinct personalities. You can be sure it will feel like a community where farmer’s markets, street fairs and sidewalks abound, all connected with a transportation system that includes car and bike sharing with extensive bike paths. The temperate weather lets us enjoy all the scenic wonders the Puget Sound region offers while sailing, kayaking, mountain climbing, hiking and skiing. Seattle was named the most literate city, with a nationally acclaimed library and reading program. Town Hall serves as a community cultural center, offering affordable daily programs in humanities, civic discourse, and world culture events. There are dozens of professional cultural institutions with offerings from ballet and symphony to art museums and independent theater companies. And don’t forget the International Film Festival and the Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, and a multitude of offerings at the Seattle Center including ethnic festivals, Bumbershoot and Folk Life Festival. Seattle welcomes everyone, young and old with an active AARP chapter and many inter-generational cohousing communities and Villages.
Then in December there was a month of online popular voting. While we awaited the results we talked about what would we DO in the unlikely event of winning the $10,000 prize? We agreed we didn’t really “need” the money. We decided to give half to our cohousing community for some project that would not have been done otherwise and would have some lasting impact. And that we’d spend half on a special bicycle trip.
We found out in late January that indeed Sheila’s entry was selected. WHOOPEE! $10,000 is a sweet windfall. We are still in the planning stages but it looks like we will work with our friend Clarie Barnett’s business Seattle Mosaic Arts to develop a mosaic art piece for our new building’s entry as well as pavers representing each family in our atrium courtyard off the common space.
For our bicycle trip we decided to finally do the Banff-Jasper trip we’d planned just before Sheila broke her hip in May of 2013. This time instead of doing it all on the cheap (camping) we’ve signed up for a plush tour with Cycling Escapes. Watch for more about our training plans soon.