Archive for the ‘Being Mindful’ Category

Hard to Believe!

Monday, September 14th, 2020

Happy 33rd!

“What’s going on?” I asked.  I’d gone into the kitchen to get some ice for my evening Bloody Mary and saw on the table a wine glass and a bottle of apple cider.

“I thought maybe we could have a toast to our anniversary,” Nyel said.  OMG!  September 13, 2020 — our 33rd anniversary and I hadn’t given it a thought all day long.  I don’t know which was harder to believe — that we’d been married for all those years or that it was Nyel, not I, who remembered.  I must say, it wasn’t the smoky air that made me tear up for a moment.

Anniversary Chicken

So we shared a few moments of remembering our surprise wedding at the 3rd Annual Croquet and Champagne Gala in this garden.  That year it was a benefit for the Water Music Society.  And we talked about some of the many memorable moments over the years — trips to far and exotic places; celebrations we’ve attended or hosted; family events in Oysterville and New Hampshire and California and New York and Delaware!

Anniversary Roasted Potatoes

And, inevitably, we spoke of the people who have made so much difference in our lives — especially those who are no longer with us: my folks and Willard and Louise and Ed and Cleo; Gordon and Roy, Charlie and Kaye, my California teaching partner Tom Davis, Larry Weathers, Dorothy and Chuck Huggins, Helen Heckes, Carol Nordquist, Martha Murfin — so very, very many.

Anniversary Salad

And, of course, we talked of all of our friends and relatives from whom we feel estranged just now with fires raging and the pandemic not yet under control.  We paused for a moment when we realized that we’ve been married exactly half of Marta’s lifetime and more than half of Charlie’s!  How fast the time has gone! Have we used it wisely?  Do our loved ones know how much we enjoy and appreciate them and how they have enriched these many years?  (It’s actually 36 if you count our first three years together!)

September 13, 1987

How fast they fly by.  Hard to believe, indeed!

Living On The Edge of Hell

Saturday, September 12th, 2020

Air Quality Icon For Oysterville Today

It’s scary to wake up to that red, frowning air quality icon on your screen.  First thing.  The good news, at least for us, is that Portland’s air quality is no longer the worst in the world as it was last night.  This morning it’s Vancouver, B.C.  We are between the two geographically but, thank goodness, much lower than either on the air quality index and, so far anyway, not in harm’s way of fires.  Still… it’s another inside day here in Oysterville.

There is is no “there there” across the bay again today.  But it appears more like fog than yesterday’s eerie, rose-colored curtain shutting off the rest of the world.  Still, the air seems thick and smells smoky and is likely to hang around for a while.  No breeze so far.  Not like years ago when we would greet the summer mornings fogged-in and Dad would say, “It’ll all burn off by eleven o’clock.”  Even the expression “burn off” seems totally inappropriate just now.

Clackamas County, Oregon 9/11/20

Our neighbors down the road have reported in.  Their full-time residence is  in Clackamas County, Oregon near Oregon City. That area (as of last night) was a “Level 2” — “be ready to evacuate immediately” — so they spent the last few days moving animals to safety — 3 horses, 3 donkeys, and 5 llamas.  Linda is here at their Oysterville house with a grandson and 6 cats and 2 dogs.  Harry is staying at home in Oregon unless/until the “Evacuate Immediately” order comes.  OMG!

We are so glad they are safe but, somehow, hearing that they are amplifies the fact that so many are not.  Ten percent of the Oregon population — 550,000 people have had to evacuate.  So far.  OMG!

Beyond Our Meadow: No There There

There seems nothing to do but pray and wait.  Bless them all!  Especially the first responders who are far from the edge of hell;  they are smack-dab in the middle of it.   “Stay safe!  Stay safe!  Stay safe!” is the mantra here.  And everywhere.

The fourth wonder? Probably.

Friday, September 11th, 2020

Buddy Holly

Nyel and I were working outside yesterday on our rhododendron project — I was clipping, Nyel was bagging.  I had gone around to the other side of the fence and was walking to a spot where I could toss some clippings in Nyel’s direction when I turned and saw an unfamiliar looking man walking step-for-step a few yards behind me.   He was carrying a big shiny something-or-other (turned out to be a camera) and, when I stopped, he kept coming.  No mask.  It felt uncomfortable.

“You don’t remember me do you?” he said.  ” I visited you and your husband when he was in the hospital.” and he told me his name.  “Julian Frank.” Unfamiliar.

“Do you remember Julian, Nyel?” I asked.  And Nyel, in his wheelchair on the other side of fence and rhodies said, “No.”

Route 66

The visitor seemed surprised to see Nyel there, but it didn’t slow him down. He proceeded to tell me (not us) how he had gotten a rental car (some spiffy kind with an even spiffier engine) in order to see the Buddy Holly crash site.  “Why?” I asked.  “Was it around here?”  He said, “Don’t you know who Buddy Holly is?” and went on to tell me (not us) about his trip to Iowa, his stop to see the bridges of Madison County, his drive on Route 66, how he couldn’t get away from an old lady at a museum along the way, etc. etc. etc.  He didn’t say how Oysterville fit in.

“How did you find travelling?” I asked.  “Did you stay in motels or …?”

“It was fine.  No one in Iowa wears masks.  Me neither.  I’m a Viet Nam vet and ain’t no way anyone’s going to make me wear a mask.”

“Fine, just stay far away from me,” I said. And I backed up a few more steps.

“It’s a hoax, you know,” was his retort.

“No, it’s not, but believe what you want.  Just stay away from me,” I repeated.  And off he went.  All-in-all, a very unsatisfactory conversation.  And why in the world was he in Oysterville, anyway?  Not only unsatisfactory.  Sorta creepy.

Church and ‘Parsonage’ in Oysterville

I looked up Julian Frank on FB.  Unsatisfactory.  Then, I Googled him.  First thing that came up: “Julian Andrew Frank.  Classification:  Mass Murderer.  Status: Dead.”  More than creepy.

“Good to know that Oysterville’s right up there with Buddy, Route 66, and those bridges,” Nyel said.  “I guess we’re the fourth of the seven wonders of the world.”  Yes.  Always good to know.



I can’t imagine… but just in case!

Sunday, August 16th, 2020

As far as I know, our mail-in balloting process in Pacific County has always gone smoothly and I expect that voting in the November election will be seamless this time, too.  But it’s always good to have a back-up plan.  Just in case.

Since most of what we mail from here goes first to Portland for sorting (don’t ask) it is within the realm of possibility that there might be a hang-up there.  Portland’s had more than it’s share of the evening news lately, and I’d hate for our general election to be cause for yet more headlines.

Our ballots have to go to South Bend, of course, which is just a spit and a holler to the northeast of us.  And, there is a special mail slot at the Long Beach Post Office for mail that goes directly to South Bend as in do not pass go and do not mess around with an out-of-state sorting facility.  If you get your ballot in the mail, in Long Beach, before 11 o’clock in the morning, it will go to South Bend that very day.  Post haste, as they say.

I actually can’t imagine why anyone would wait until the last minute.  Not on this election!  Ballots will be mailed to us on October 16th.  That gives us a full two weeks to mark our choices and get those ballots in the mail.  Most of us already know how we will vote.  Mark ’em and mail ’em, I say.  It’s a no-brainer.

Two by Two — August Visiting in 2020!

Saturday, August 8th, 2020


So far this month, it’s been ideal al fresco visiting weather here in Oysterville.  The days begin in a fog (literally, if not figuratively) but by noon the breeze comes up, the sky clears,  and our south garden provides the perfect setting for New Age Visiting — outside, socially distanced, no shared beverages or food, just plain old-fashioned talk-talk.

We’ve had two visitors at a time and, from our perspective, it’s been grand — a time to catch up with one another and to share our thoughts about the state of world and how we think it’s all being dealt with.  Actually, for most visits, there hasn’t been much political conversation.  I think we’re all up to here with the covid news except in instances where it might affect us directly.


We have found that most of our friends have been “out and about” a bit more than we have, but we realize that that’s the way it’s been for more than a year now — since Nyel has been wheelchair bound-  In a way, it’s reassuring to ‘register’ that we’ve adjusted well to this new lifestyle.  There’s been little “discomfort” (if that’s the right word) about staying sheltered here at home.  We are busy and happy.


I’m sure if we were still working, or if our extracurricular life hadn’t always been centered here at home, we’d not be so content.  As it is, we count our blessings and are gradually coming to understand  that if this is our “new normal,” it’s not half bad — at least not in summer.  We’ll see what a change in the weather brings…


Making Hard Choices During Difficult Times

Friday, August 7th, 2020

2nd Grade Sydney, front row middle with sign, – 1943

As a kindergartener in the fall of 1941, I was blissfully unaware of the turmoil that must have been happening at Edison Grade School in Alameda, California.  Only in later years did I realize that our classes became crowded because of the people coming in to work in the shipyards or that, for the first time ever, the school had a woman principal because all the male educators had gone to war.

And that was only the beginning.  It became the norm that women worked outside the home and families needed to cope with after-school child care.  Children were expected to take on some of the home responsibilities and, often, contributed to the household finances by delivering newspapers or baby-sitting or mowing lawns.

Second Grade Puppet Show, Southgate School, 1962

By 1961 when I began teaching, myself, class sizes in primary grades were 30 to 35 childen.  “Individualized instruction” was a concept yet unheard of.  There were no provisions for special needs students — they “sank or swam” in the regular classroom — or weren’t sent to school at all.  There were no teaching assistants or classroom aides, no specialists in reading or math or physical education.  In fact, kids got their “exercise” during recess; P.E. was not yet a requirment and it took a few years before elementary schools began to incorporate John F. Kennedy’s 1961-62 Physical Fitness Program into their curricula.

Over the next forty years, until I retired in 2001, the changes in our schools continued — often faster than we educators could keep up.  School became much more that the place to learn “the three R’s” and to prepare for higher education or for work in the “real world.”   By the time I retired, much of our population depended upon schools to feed children their breakfast and lunch, to provide after-school programs to take care of child-care needs.  In many places, local doctors and dentists volunteered to visit the schools, adding another, much-needed layer to the hearing and visual screenings done by the school nurse.  “School” no longer was thought of as an academic institution.  Schools now had far greater responsibilities within the community — far beyond their original mission of teaching reading, writing and arithmetic.

Oysterville Schoolhouse 2008

And now, educators find themselves between a rock and a hard place once again.   My heart goes out to them.  No matter what choices are made, the results won’t be perfect.  And, the changes can’t be put into place gradually.   The need is right now, ready or not.  I send every teacher, every administrator, every person working in any capacity for our schools, my heartfelt thanks.  Certainly there is no one “right” choice.  Whatever your decisions, I hope our communities will give you their blessings and support!  You are all saints!

A Case of Arrested Development?

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020

Judging by the “message” and, perhaps, by the handwriting, I’d say the graffiti on the CLOSED sign at the church was done by someone with about an eight-year-old’s mentality.  If it was an eight-year-old in my classroom, they’d earn a barely passing grade for the handwriting part.  But I think it was probably done by an adult who is still confused between handwriting methods — D’Nealian or stick-and-ball?  Not a good example of either.  Plus the arrow and the ellipsis are a bit more sophisticated than most eight-year-olds might do.  A bit.

As for the message, itself… it was probably intended to be funny or clever.  Presumably, a message conveys news, advice, or a request.  I guess this is “advice” albeit advice to break the law.  Definitely an eight-year-old’s mentality.  Let’s put it up for a vote.  Clever or stupid?

I imagine it was done by a disgruntled tourist although an ORF Board Member suggested it was probably a disgruntled neighbor.  I’m not aware that any of the neighbors have ever used the church on a regular basis for saying prayers or even for quiet meditation and we have no eight-year-olds living in town.  So I’m discounting that suggestion.  Mostly.

I’ve replaced the sign.  I wonder how long the new one will last.  I’m thinking one replacement is enough.  Any more is way above my pay grade.

OMG! I actually YELLED at her!

Thursday, July 16th, 2020

If you have followed my blog for any length of time, I think (and hope) you can attest to the fact that I thoroughly enjoy our Oysterville visitors.  They lean over our fence and ask questions about the village.  They give me amazing (and undeserved) compliments about our garden.  Sometimes they even tell me that they have roots here in Oysterville and, even more amazingly, some turn out to be relatives!  And I enjoy it all.  But this morning, all of those warm fuzzy feelings vanished in a trice!

I had backed the car out of the garage and was positioning it so Nyel could get into the passenger side from his electric wheelchair.  Approaching from the north was a pleasant looking woman with a dog (maybe a German Shepherd puppy) on a leash.  “Isn’t it gorgeous today?” she said.  “So sunny and hot.”

I said something like, “Never hot enough for me here on the Coast,” and she laughed but instead of walking on by, she veered around the car and INTO our garage.  It was a bit off-putting but I backed away toward our inner sanctum and she continued around the car and back out into the street.  Very strange.

A few minutes later, I was bringing Nyel’s  “travelling wheelchair” out and putting it into the car.  The woman (and dog) had now entered her car and was presumably starting to bypass our house and car.  Suddenly she stopped, was out of the car and was approaching me.  “Here!  Let me help you!  My boyfriend who just died had one of these.  I know all about them.”

“No thank you,” I said.  “I’ve got it.”  But on she came.  Of course, she had on no mask.  Nor did I.  (I was on my own property, after all.)  “Back up,” I said to her.  She kept coming… so I backed up and repeated, “Back up!”  But by then she was grabbing the handles of the wheelchair…  I sort of lost it at that point and yelled really loud.  “BACK UP LADY! YOU AREN’T WEARING A MASK!  I’M NOT WEARING A MASK!  GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME!”

Finally, she dropped the wheelchair and discontinued her forward momentum.  “I was just trying to help,” she said.  “I keep forgetting about the virus.”


I left car and wheelchair in the road and retreated to the house to get the spray sanitizer, my mask, etc. etc.  Thankfully, when I went back outside, she was gone.  It will take me a while to feel warm and fuzzy about tourists again.  If there’s one thing I can’t tolerate, it’s stupid.  (And speaking of such, I should have taken her license number. I hope she didn’t leave any microbes behind…)



As long as we’re on the subject…

Friday, July 3rd, 2020

A Town in the Wild West

I really didn’t expect that my blog of yesterday would generate quite so much response.  But I’m glad it did.  There was a lot of commentary to remind us that  we aren’t so far removed from the “wild west” of a hundred and thirty or forty years ago and, furthermore, we’re not nearly so civilized as some of us would like to believe.  From what readers wrote about this weekend’s holiday happenings, it would seem that the hot-spot of the Peninsula, wild-west-wise, is Long Beach.

from our bookmark

That’s not exactly a new situation.  It seems to me that there have always been renegades in Long Beach.  Right now, one of the most blatant is the World’s End Public House whose FaceBook page begins a long statement saying: “Worlds end public house simply stated… ‘we support everyone.’  It’s not complicated?! Wear a mask if your [sic] comfortable doing that! Don’t wear a mask if your [sic] not…” And on it goes.  It’s painful reading and even more so for me because the restaurant occupies the space in the former Campiche Building where we had the Bookvendor for a number of years.  It’s a great location and used to stand for something positive in the community — or so we always thought.  Now…it will be interesting to see how many of the locals (especially us old ducks) support the restaurant after all is said and done.

It all reminds me of something I wrote on this site back in 2017.  The blog title was “You just can’t make this stuff up!” and, among other weird law-and-order situations in Pacific County, I wrote this:  And here I thought it was pretty crazy, back in 1985, when Mayor Fred Rutherford fired all the policemen (or maybe it was ‘almost’ all) in Long Beach.  I can’t remember the details except that we got a call at Ocean Park School where I was then teaching that “Everything is under control.  Fred is marching down the center of Pacific Avenue wearing his six shooters and the town is pretty quiet.”  Just like Yosemite Sam!  Perhaps you remember that?  It doesn’t seem nearly so strange in the light of more recent law-and-order events in the county.

Fortunately, we are content staying home.  And I must say, most of the tourists in Oysterville this week have been wearing masks even though they appear to be in family groups and are outside strolling around the village.  Thank you!


Disappointed doesn’t half express it.

Thursday, July 2nd, 2020

Seattle Policemen During 1918 Flu Pandemic

Yesterday’s front-page headline in the Observer:  Face Masks Mandatory But Don’t Expect A Ticket.  “What then?” I wondered.  “Will it be a go-directly-to-jail-offence?”  But no.  The article clarified a far worse scenario as far as I’m concerned.

Long Beach Chief of Police Flint Wright says that there will be no consequences at all.  In fact, if a merchant asks a customer to put on a mask or leave and they refuse and won’t leave, the merchant then may call the police – which, I might point out, is putting the responsibility fully on the merchant.  Hardly seems fair.  At that point, according to Wright, it would become a trespassing issue.  Say what?

How much “education” does it take?

Robin Souvenir seems to concur saying his office will be “focused on education.”  Talk about needing education… where have those guys been these last few months?  Is there  a person on the planet over the age of reason (which used to be age 7) who does not understand why it’s necessary to wear masks during this pandemic?  In my not-so-humble opinion, we are now at the point in our “education” program that consequences need to be added to the mix.

Governor Inslee  and Secretary of Health John Wiesman understand that.  Their mandate has clear consequences.  As of last Friday, not  wearing a mask in a public space is a misdemeanor which is punishable by a fine or incarceration or both.  But, apparently not in Long Beach and not in Pacific County.    And again, for those over the age of reason (which perhaps no longer exists) the decision to mandate mask-wearing and make non-compliance punishable is based on rising numbers of Covid cases because (drum roll) … too many people have not demonstrated their ability to comply with polite requests.

The Law in WA as of 6/26/20

Without consequences, some people just plain won’t do it.  That was true when I was teaching first grade; it was true when I taught sixth grade; it was true when I taught adults.  And, in case you haven’t noticed — some things don’t change.  There are always those who feel that they are asserting their rights by ignoring the rights of others and turning a blind eye to the greater good.  Consequences seem to help.

As one of ‘the old and most vulnerable,” I feel betrayed by our law enforcement leaders here.  In my mind, they are the buck-stops-here people who should be looking out for my welfare.  I not only feel unprotected, but undervalued. Shame on you, Flint and Robin!  I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who expects more of you.  It’s one thing for ordinary citizens to flaunt the law but you are paid to enforce it.  Or so I thought.