Happy Holidays! ***

Dear Friends and family,

It is Christmas Eve, it is snowing, Lili is baking in the kitchen and I wanted to take an opportunity to wish everyone a wonderful holiday and prosperous New Year. Lili and I traveled to Portland, Oregon for Christmas to be near Jo, who has to work Christmas Eve. A good friend, Kim, came along with us. It is a girl’s weekend this year. Here is Lili in the snow.

Yesterday we went to Powell’s books, a block wide store of books, new and used. It was a couple of hours of entertainment for all of us and we all got Christmas Eve books (a new tradition from last year). Today we will be making lefse and Swedish meatballs for dinner. The lefse is a tradition from my Norwegian grandmother, Mabel Bjerkness. She would make lefse and lutefisk for dinner every Christmas eve for all the family.

The good news is I have a place to live in Ashland, Oregon. I am still in the process of getting settled. It is a newly remodeled duplex with great light and views in a great neighborhood. The lower half will be occupied by a couple arriving in January from Flagstaff. It is interesting to see all my things again after almost 10 months in storage. I am continuing to thin my belongings down to fit in a two bedroom, two bath house with no garage. The wonderful part is that my new neighbors are friendly and known to my friends. I am going to have community in a very compatible way. Amazing how things work out.

The hard part is that the same day this month I was able to finalize this wonderful place to live, a good friend and Kim’s husband, Ken, had a major heart attack. He died a week later, never having regained consciousness. It felt like emotional whiplash, to go from so excited about the house to shock and grief with the loss of Ken. We are pleased that Kim chose to come with us for the holiday weekend. Kim, Ken and I have been friends for about 40 years.

The year of 2017 has been one of tremendous change, new friends and new experiences for me. I am so glad I took the opportunity to travel and explore different forms of community on my way to Oregon. I met many helpful and generous people all over the world. I enjoyed visiting the homes of friends both new and old, and meeting their families in Greece, Bulgaria, France, England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. I learned that there are many, many more considerate, kind, accommodating people than bad. I found the perfect place to live, but I had to be patient and hold the good dream, even though I had no idea how it could manifest.

I am looking forward to what 2018 will bring to my life. I wish you and yours light and love in the new year.

Best wishes,

Join the Conversation


  1. So good to hear from you, Valeria, and see the pictures of your new home. You have had quite a year, an unusual one, and I’m glad it all turned out well.

  2. Lovely duplex — congratulations! Hugs to the girls. And to Kim — rough time of year for such a shock.
    Best wishes for your holidays and 2018,

  3. Merry Christmas Valeria! I always enjoy your writing and your pictures. You are an amazing woman and I admire that you stepped out on the skinny branch and trusted. Your place to live looks fabulous. Keep your wonderful update coming.

  4. Great to get your blog. I had been thinking of you and wondered how things were going. Looks like you found a great place to live. I am in Michigan for Christmas. It has been a busy year. We celebrated my Dad’s 99th birthday. He will come out to AZ again this winter for 3 months. I will have to give you a call when I get back home. Do you have a new number?

  5. Merry Christmas, Valeria to you and your family! Love the pics of your new digs..will come to visit, no dates have appeared yet. So sorry to hear about Ken, glad Kim could make the trip and be with you and your loving family. We will be in AZ til New Years Day. Love you and wish you blessings and joy!

  6. Merry Christmas from Washington State Crow and Cauble!!! We love your home, it looks happy and comfortable. Sending love and light right back at you.

  7. Merry Christmas Valeria! Thank you for sharing your adventures and thoughts. I hope the New Year continues to be full of more blessings for you and your family. It must’ve wonderful to settle down near family.

  8. Merry Christmas Valeria! nice to know you getting settled and back to normal…your new place is lovely! Thanks for the tips with making my own adventure!

  9. I’m happy for you that you manifested such a terrific home and community. It was worth the wait! Wishing you good health, prosperity and happiness for 2018. Love from Pam

  10. Happy Holidays and blessed New Year!!! What a beautiful place you found to live!! You are an inspiration to me (and many others, I’m sure)! Thank you for being a light in the world!!! I love you!
    I am so sorry for your lost and pain! May your heart be healed as you go through the grieving of your friend! <3

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