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West Linn Adult Community Center volunteer Mary Jean Rivera encourages all to keep track of the many surprises we encounter each day.

Editor's note: West Linn Adult Community Center volunteer Mary Jean Rivera says surprises are just part of everyday life, and we should keep track of the special ones. Read on for her take on life's surprising things.

Probably everyone gets little surprises in life. We need to keep track of the good ones! Here's my short list, in no special order:

I was surprised when I first met my firstborn son. He looked directly at me, like he knew something so secret between us. I guess he did.

My teenage daughter surprised me when she asked me a question that showed such maturity, and then when I responded, she dramatically accused me of not trusting her friends.

One day when I was busy in the kitchen, my husband demanded that I come with him immediately to help him deal with the piles of dirt gophers had made in the yard. He handed me a shovel and ordered me pound on the nearest mound, as he pounded on another. I was surprised by my own laughter — we were playing live "whack a mole."

I am constantly amazed, more than surprised, at how much our family home has made possible: a home for kids with their friends, returning college students getting on their feet, foreign exchange students, one homeless woman, relatives and traveling friends, sleepovers for grandchildren, and now an Airbnb guest house for income.

Garage sales hold special surprises for me. I purchased an original R.C. Gorman very reasonably at one. Another garage sale find is a framed print, artist unknown, that I have titled "Door to Eternity." It comforts me.

I was pleasantly surprised to find the perfect red recliner in a garage sale at half price, $12.50. I love it!

Birds surprise me all the time, landing on my feeders while I stand close, or on my car while I am driving, flying closely overhead. I always wonder if they see me there?

I once painted an icon and was very surprised when it changed. It looked at me.

I was surprised when I realized how many Native American artifacts I had, all from the pueblo areas, connected to my husband's mother (who died when he was very small). Was she watching over us?

I was pleasantly surprised at our 50th college reunion to find my old roommate and I still agreed on just about everything!

I was surprised after being widowed that sex still interested me, that I could feel it rising. It's about hormones, not love at all!

It is a goal of mine to see the sun rise every day. But the very best one was on July 5, 2018, 5:30 a.m., seen from the top of a ship docked near TriCities, Washington. It was a glorious sky, edge to edge, the sun radiating clouds and light, all reflected in the water for a double gift. I take it very personally.

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The WLACC will present the Winter Seasonal Dance for the enjoyment of older teens and adults with cognitive or physical disabilities from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13 at the center. Semi-formal attire is encouraged and refreshments will be served. Admission is $5 per attendee.

The lunch menu this week features beef stroganoff with egg noodles, peas and chocolate pudding on Monday, Dec. 2 and birthday brunch with quiche, hash browns, sausage and fruit salad on Wednesday, Dec. 4. The center is closed Friday, Nov. 29 in observance of Thanksgiving.

The WLACC is located at 1180 Rosemont Road in West Linn.

Mary Jean Rivera is a volunteer at the West Linn Adult Community Center.


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