Archive for the ‘Being Mindful’ Category

Poised To Take My Next Breath!

Sunday, May 31st, 2020

Tomorrow’s the day!  Pacific County will step into Phase Two of Governor Inslee’s “Phased Approach to Modifying Physical Distance Measures as we Reopen the State.”

Even though I don’t forsee any serious changes in what we are doing here in our household, I feel a bit like I did the first time I jumped off the high diving board at San Rafael High School in 1950.   Logic told me that I would be fine, yet my fight-or-flight response was in high gear.  So… I took a deep breath and got on with it.

Now, seventy years later, I still have the urge to take a deep breath while our  community takes this gigantic plunge into the unknown.  But it will be two weeks or so before we find out just how risky that unknown is — too long for continuous breath-holding.  Even the Bajau of the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, who take free diving to the extreme, can only manage thirteen minutes or so.

Recently, we heard James Nestor talking with Terry Gross on “Fresh Air” about his new (May 26th!) book, Breath.   Fascinating — as in, did you know that the nose is more closely connected to our genitals than any other organ?   It is covered in that same erectile tissue.

And Breath is informative — as in, we take some 25,000 breaths a day and nose-breathing (as opposed to mouth-breathing) orchestrates innumerable functions in our body to keep us in balance.

In fact, Breath (and the author, himself) sounded so compelling that we have ordered the book.  It should be here tomorrow!  Great!  I may not be able to hold my breath until we find out how we’re managing during Phase Two, but maybe I can start reducing my stress level by working on my breathing skills.


Leave It To Maggie!

Sunday, May 24th, 2020

The Perfect Answer to Current Conditions!

Yesterday I received “A Special Message from Maggie.”  Maybe you did, too, if you are lucky enough to be on Maggie Stuckey’s mailing list.  And, if you are even luckier and count Maggie as your friend, her message will delight you but not surprise you in the least!

She begins her message this way:  There has never been a better time to plant a vegetable garden.  It’s the Maggiest sentence ever!  At once it underlines her concern for our present situation — the pandemic and consequent sheltering — and combines two of her passions– food and gardening.  Right off the bat:  Maggie, the quintessential nurturer!

Her message concerns her 2002 book (with Rose Marie Nichols McGee), Bountiful Container, which can help get even the neophyte gardener started on “a small garden plot or a few containers jam-packed with veggies.”  Apparently, the book is unavailable right now and Maggie is offering to fill the void from her own private stash.

Maggie’s Other “Must Have” Book!

You, too, can get a personalized, autographed copy directly from Maggie. To find out how, go to: I don’t know how many she has on hand, but my suggestion is: get ’em while they last!

In our house, the spin-off to Maggie’s book offer has been a serious discussion about having a cement patio poure in the area we jokingly refer to as “the kitchen garden” in order to make it wheelchair friendly.  A few containers out there at the proper height for Nyel would go a long way to satisfying his gardening itch.  The project is under serious investigation, thanks to our friend Maggie-the-Nurturer!

Pride cometh before… approaches re-open.

Saturday, May 16th, 2020 online photo

I’ve been feeling proud of our county these past few weeks — especially with regard to their decision to close the beach approaches on the Peninsula to help allay the spread of Covid-19.  It was a hard decision to make.  And yet, it seems to me, it was a no-brainer.

Today’s breaking news story in the online Chinook Observer is headlined: “Pacific County approves plan to reopen beach approaches next Monday, May 18.”  Apparently, after due consideration, our commissioners, in concert with the county health department and law enforcement, have looked at various reopening options — including, perhaps,  waiting for a bit or opening only on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  The decision has been made.  Open!  Seven days a week!

I wish I’d been at the meetings.  My question, as always, would have been, “Why?”  One of my earliest memories of my mother being disgusted with me was her answer to my persistent “why” about something.  “Oh, Sydney,” she said, “why’s a hen?”  And I understood perfectly, even at the tender age of three, that I was being a pain in the ass and there would not be a satisfactory answer to my question.

Seattle Times Photo

About opening the beaches, the answer to my “why” question is clear:  The residents of Pacific County are chopped liver.   It’s all about tourism and the economy.  In an earlier story about the deliberations,  Commissioner Frank Wolfe was quoted:

“Closing the beach approaches did seem to help reduce people traveling to the area at first,” Wolfe said. But as the weather improves, he expects more visitors to come regardless of the closures. “The beaches give people a place to go and spread out,” Wolfe said.

“Other than building barricades on 101, I don’t know how we could keep people out if we wanted to, and quite honestly those people are our life’s blood here and we really don’t want to have them stay away,” Wolfe said.

Chinook Observer Photo

Why am I not surprised?  When has our County ever been able to hold a line — any line?  And now, right when the infection rate in Pacific County has been on the rise, we are encouraging tourism?  Will the tourist-related businesses be opened next, regardless of the health-related numbers? Whose “life’s blood” is being considered here, anyway? I thought our County was going to consider health first…   Why did they change their minds?  Why is short term economics more important than the possibility of life/death?

“Why’s a hen, Sydney?”

Last seen on Monday

Wednesday, May 13th, 2020

May 9th – Treats for Three

One by one, our chickens are being picked off.  It’s the same old syndrome.  They are backyard chickens but, unfortunately, their English is limited and my Chickenspeak is non-existent.  The fence which surrounds our half-acre (plus or minus) is not chicken proof, although Nyel has our landscape-guy working on that. I don’t know how to tell the girls it isn’t safe to wiggle under or through the pickets.

So, bottom line, the chickens go visiting.  They go to see the neighbors.  They waddle down the lane toward the bay.  They go next door to see how the current construction project is coming along.  Almost always they come home.  But on Monday, Snowhite didn’t.

I was hopeful that she’d show up yesterday.  No such luck.  Slutvana and Little Red Hen were beside themselves.  Every time I went outside, they’d come running.  They murbled and clucked softly, undoubtedly urging me to DO something.  I commiserated and gave them extra treats, but truth to tell, I felt as miserable as they did.  I called and carried on.  So did they.  Unfortunately, in this case, we understood one another perfectly.

Sunbathing Snowhite

I’m pretty sure it’s dogs.  Despite all the sheltering rules,  we’ve had a number of visitors in town lately whose dogs have not been leashed.  Nor, apparently, do their owners care about cleaning up after their pets.  It’s beyond annoying.

Small dogs have even managed to wriggle into the yard and chase our girls.  Years ago we were right here when Polly’s Jack Russell came in, caught a hen bigger than he was, and took off up the street, Farmer Nyel giving chase at full speed.  That time, Farmer and chicken prevailed.  But there have been several incidents that we know of since — plus our three recent mystery disappearances — and “prevail” wasn’t what happened.  Not in English and not in Chickenspeak.

Short of keeping the girls locked in their run (which is muddy and unappealing at this time of year), I’m not sure what to do.  If I were certain about the source of the danger it might help.  I dislike the feeling that a local dog might be the culprit, but if that’s the case, the two remaining chickens had better shelter in place for a time.  Just like the rest of us.


Oh, the places I’ve been!

Thursday, May 7th, 2020

Screen Shot #!

This morning I received my first ever “Google Maps Timeline” email.  Apparently, I received it because I turned on “Location History, a google Account-level setting” that saves where I go to my private Timeline.  Hmm.

According to this account, I visited one city  (Warrenton) in April and made three visits there — one to CostCo and two to Fred Meyer — each on separate days.  I do believe that is accurate.  However, there is no record of my going to the post office here in Oysterville which I do two or three times a week.

On the other hand it says I spent 51 minutes at the church one day — which I didn’t.  What I might have done was park on the street in front of my house (which is right across  from the church) for a few minutes — time to unload groceries before returning the car to the garage., perhaps.

Screen Shot #2

I’m not quite sure if this Google function would be helpful if you were beginning to get a little addled.  Nyel says maybe it could be used to prove that you were NOT somewhere at a certain time… like at the scene of a crime.  (Say what??  Why would he even think that?  Must be a guy thing…)

But… twice in March I went to the Recycle Center in Nahcotta and I see that those trips were on this Google App as to “The Charles Nelson Guest House.”  The Charles Nelson place is cattywampus across  from the recycle bins, so I guess that’s considered close enough.  Although, my mind does flash to a new Nahcotta version of the board game, “Clue” — “…at the guest house in the garden with an empty vodka bottle…”

I haven’t decided if I want to turn the app off.  The record goes back to January 1, 2020 and does include a list of all our medical trips to Seattle, Astoria, etc.  with mileage.  But… why do we care?  Under the new tax laws we no longer itemize.  Nor have we received a tax refund for a number of years.  So… of course, we have not yet seen a stimulus check…  just sayin’.

Yesterday, one of my friends gave me a hard time about whining in my blog.  Was I?  Am I again?  I don’t think so, although maybe there’s an app to determine that, too.


The Third Time Wasn’t Quite The Charm!

Wednesday, May 6th, 2020

It’s good to have wine-drinking friends!  And not necessarily in a way you might think.

Yesterday was our third trip in the last six weeks to go across the river to get our groceries at Fred Meyer’s.  We had placed our order — a big one — several days beforehand, we had been assigned a pick-up time, and we were all set.  Or so we thought.

We went the front road, through Long Beach, which was crowded with traffic.  Dennis Company, in particular, seemed to be doing a bumper business — parking lot and curbside full and many people (none masked) coming and going.  Hmmm.

The pick-up parking lot was almost full so we had a bit of a wait, for our delivery.  When it arrived, the transfer to our trunk went without incident though there seemed to to be a bit of reshuffling toward the end to make room.  It was all done very efficiently while we stayed safely in place inside the car. We went directly home to take care of the refrigerated things asap.

First, though, was Nyel’s transfer from car to wheelchair to get him into the kitchen at the receiving-and-put-away end.  Then, it was my turn to schlepp about a gazillion bags from car to house.  When I opened the trunk to begin, the first thing to greet me was something we hadn’t ordered.  Wine.  Lots of it — six boxes each containing five liters of Rhine wine.  Wow!  Someone was planning a party and it wasn’t us!

Since we are not wine drinkers, I took only one box in to show Nyel and alerted him to be on the lookout for anything else that might be a mistake.  We ended up unpacking 14 big bags and checking off each item against the receipt.  All but five things had arrived — probably the equivalent of one grocery bag.  And, in addition to the wine, there was one bag containing items we had not ordered and had absolutely no interest in.

Nyel called Freddy’s.  Apparently the other party had already called and their order had been re-filled.  The store would replace the things we hadn’t received but said “We can’t take back any of the rest.  You can keep it or dispose of it… whichever you like.

We called friends who we thought might be interested in the wine and maybe some of the other items.  I put them all out on our porch table and in twenty minutes they arrived.  They were glad for the wine and in a few of the groceries and offered to drop the rest off at the Food Bank.  Perfect!

Today we go back across the river to pick up the rest of our order.  Yet another sheltering adventure for the old folks!  Woot! Woot!

Week Nine Begins

Monday, May 4th, 2020

In our household, the sheltering for the Coronavirus Pandemic began March 9 which means that today begins Week Nine of spending twenty-four-seven (as they say) within the confines of our house and garden.  We’ve endured without benefit of visitors except one over-the gate chat with Cate and two or three out-in-the-street visits with neighbors.

We’ve exited the premises three times for groceries and I have gone once for a prescription pick-up and two or three times a week to the post office to get our mail.  So far, we have no complaints.  Between Facebook and and the telephone we manage to keep up with friends and family — in some cases more regularly than B.S. (Before Sheltering).

We assess how it’s going periodically — usually when there is any “news” as to expected duration of the shelter-in-place orders or projections as to when a vaccine will be forthcoming.  Last night, over a dinner of roast chicken, mashed potatoes, and steamed spinach, we concluded that even if the sheltering orders are relaxed, we’d rather continue as we are until that vaccine becomes available — the caveat being that all such decisions are subject to change

Meanwhile, we are hoping for a summer full of sunshine with many opportunities for M&DGs (Masked and Distanced Gatherings)  in our garden– bring your own refreshments, bask in the companionship, tell stories, make music.  Right now that’s all sounding pretty darned good!

Today’s The Day!

Saturday, April 18th, 2020

I’ve never been to a spa.  I’ve never had a massage.  I’ve never had a permanent or had my hair colored.  No tattoos, no waxes, no lash extensions or any other assaults on my person.  But I do believe in having my hair cut and my nails attended to by professionals.

Nyel isn’t quite so picky.  Or maybe he’s pickier.  He’s as happy to let his hair grow long and attend to his own nails as to make the effort and (more to the point) spend the money on personal grooming.  Occasional haircuts… okay.  But that’s it.

But, for better or for worse, we don’t have that luxury right now — maybe not for a while — so we have declared this our PGD –Personal Grooming Day.  It should work out perfectly.  Nyel has had years of practice at trimming and clipping his beard; he’ll do fine neatening up my hair.

I, on the other hand have never used electric clippers and feel a little shaky about those long, pointy barber’s shears.  But Nyel is game.  “Who’s going to see us? ” he says.  “And we may have months to grow out.”  Good point.

And, there are always hats.  And, there are gloves if I can’t remove these acrylic nails.

Bottom line — we’ll be wearing masks in public anyway…  Voilà!  Incognito!


Chef Nyel, Problem-Solver Extraordinaire

Monday, April 13th, 2020

Blue Sky Picnic!

Easter Sunday!  It was another sunny, blue-sky-day with a noon-time temperature of almost 55° — Picnic Time Again!

“Sliced chicken sandwiiches!” I said.  “We haven’t any mayonnaise,” the chef said.

Which rang a sort of bell with me.  In one of Medora’s letters, she had written to her mother:

“The children brought home three crabs.  I wish you were here to help us eat them.  We have no oil and I haven’t a recipe so guess I can’t make any mayonnaise.”

Nyel’s Home Made Mayonnaise

The year was 1914 and Mama was in Portland “doctoring” and visiting the relatives.  Medora, 15, was at home in Oysterville in charge (along with Papa, of course) of her younger siblings: Sue (11), Mona (10), Edwin (6), Willard (4) and Dale (3).

“Well,” I said, “we have oil and plenty of eggs.  Do you think you could find a recipe online.”

He did and it was fabulous!  Just the right amount of tang from the red wine vinegar and lemon.  Today — another picnic with tuna fish sandwiches.  We have plenty of mayo, you betcha!

Easter’s almost here… Are you ready?

Saturday, April 11th, 2020

I guess I could have dyed eggs — a few, anyway.  The girls, though, are still being a little selfish about laying.  We get one or two eggs a day from the three of them — I don’t know who’s the recalcitrant one.  Anyway, Nyel says we have some food coloring. Somewhere.  And so I guess it might have been possible.  But… never mind.

Cousin Cheryl sent me some photos of her “Sheltering-in-Place” projects.  She’s been painting rocks and hiding them (in plain sight?) in the park where she and Virg go bike-riding or walking.  It’s a huge expanse of trees and trails — no danger of  seeing anyone, much less getting too close to anyone.  I hope her rocks find happy homes.

They are the perfect answer to a Sheltered Easter.  They invite all the fun of an Easter Egg Hunt but without any unwanted side effects should they not be found in a timely manner.  And, even if I had rooted around and found that food coloring, my results could never have matched Cheryl’s!  I just love having talented relatives!  Thanks for a lovely Virtual Pseudo Easter Egg Hunt, Cheryl!!  It will be another Easter to remember!