Archive for the ‘Rants and Raves’ Category

Coming To Grips With Necessities

Monday, May 18th, 2020

In addition to our Covid Shags, there is the matter (in my case) of the Covid Claws.  It’s been years — at least 30 — since I’ve had to bother with manicuring my nails.  For a few years it was Jan and, for the last 20 or so, it’s been Gina To The Rescue — every two weeks come hell or high water, as they say.  And then came the Coronavirus!

Knowing that dozens of others are in this same high water boat doesn’t help.  My nails are a disaster.  And it doesn’t help to remember that before their introduction to the wonders of acrylic, they were also a disaster.  Bottom line:  I have crummy nails.  They are weak.  They flake and peal and bend and break.  They are pretty much useless without being enhanced.

But, as with the other amenities of enhanced feminine allure — lipstick, mascara and all sorts of makeup; nail polish and “nail art” (as they call it); hair colors and haircuts; and all those piercing and waxing and tatting possibilities — I’ve more or less lost touch with the purpose of things.  I mean, what is the purpose of lips or eyebrows or, for that matter, nails?  Fortunately, except for a bit of makeup (when it occurs to me) my only indulgence has been those acrylic nails.

Works In Progress

I find that sheltering in place is a fine opportunity to get back in touch with the purpose of things.  Fingernails, for example,  “shield the fingertips and the surrounding soft tissues from injuries. They increases the sensitivity of the finger by acting as a counter force when the pulp of the finger touches an object.”  Or, according to the experts, that is what they are supposed to do.

Mine never did any of that very well and, so, enhancement has been a godsend.  But now that the acrylic is loosening and extending to disruptive proportions, I am having to remove the “fake nails” one, by one.  Right now, I am in Digital Transition which gives a whole new meaning to the DTs.  My fingers are sensitive, my own nails still too short and too flimsy to be useful, and my three stubborn, remaining nails, ugly  and bothersome beyond belief.

The big question, of course, is will it be Gina-to-the-Rescue as soon as she can be back to work?  Or will I be “sensible” and try to get used to the natural (albeit inferior) keratinous, translucent structures at my fingertips?  Will I be forward thinking and come to grips (so to speak) with the very real possibility that this sheltering time will need to be repeated?  And, besides that, what of my waning years and decreased abilities to keep up appearances?  To say nothing of the unsightly changes to my fingers from arthritis — as in why draw attention to them?

Fortunately, summer is on its way and nails grow faster in summer.  Perhaps giving my fingertips a break (so to speak) for the season will help me decide.

We’re calling ours “The Corona Shag”

Tuesday, May 12th, 2020

R.H. Thompson as Matthew Cuthbert

Matthew Cuthbert– R.H. Thompson, 2018  Canadian Screen Award, for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama, “Anne with an E” — is our new role model in the matter of hair.  If you are becoming  agitated about your own haircut situation and you haven’t seen the series, you are missing a bet.  You’ll feel much better  about your own shaggy mane once you become acquainted with Matthew, the painfully shy, stoic, humble potato farmer from Prince Edward Island.

Like the rest of us, when Matthew was about to face a stranger or a visitor or when he felt he needed to make a good impression, he often made an effort to smooth and straighten his hair.  Usually that involved an aborted attempt ending in jamming his hat back on his head to conceal the worst of it.  It never really worked and served only to make him all the more endearing.

I’m counting on that very reaction as I search through my old, discarded bits and pieces of headgear.  So far, I have come up with only one really suitable option.  Unfortunately, it is a knitted wool cap — too bulky and too warm by far for the upcoming season.  Not that I’ll be out and about that much, but it’s always nice to have some sort of appropriate sartorial splendor at your fingertips.

Better Than A Kerchief!

Speaking of hair and hats.  After years of having short, sensible hair, I’m finding these shaggy locks quite trying in the night.  There seems to be hair everywhere — in my face, caught in my kiss-and-lie-down-dress, pulled this way and that as I turn over.  Finally, I understand the line in Clement Clarke Moore’s famous poem:
“And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap…”

No wonder they wore night caps (and probably drank them, too!)

“It’s required.” Except when it’s not?

Friday, May 1st, 2020

I was five years old when the United States entered World War Two.  I spent my early school years collecting tin foil, buying savings bonds, standing in lines with my mom with our ration books.  I remember us all being full of patriotic fervor and singing songs like “The White Cliffs of Dover”  and “Over There.”  It was our government right or wrong, no question.

By 1970, I was married, had a teenaged son, and had been teaching for a decade.  We watched the news and “special coverage” programs on television and felt “up close and personal” with regard to the war in Vietnam.  We participated in the Peace Marches in San Francisco and sang “Where Have All The Flowers Gone” and “If I had a Hammer.”  We wore peace buttons, urged “Save the Whales” and “Make Love Not War.”  We questioned everything, especially the government.

So here we are in 2020.  In the midst of this unprecedented pandemic, we look for leadership and wisdom.  Directions from the government are conflicted; from the scientists and health officials, more cautious and, seemingly, more sensible.  If we have to trust one or the other, I’m putting my faith in the science and health departments.

But then last week, the government and the health officials met, face to mask you might say.  Our second-in-command (government-wise) refused to wear a mask when he visited one of our nation’s most esteemed medical facilities.  Of course there is a huge flap.  After all, the Mayo Clinic REQUIRES that no one enter without a mask.  So, why, one might ask, was Mr. Pence allowed inside?  Does “require” have a new meaning now (health-wise)?  Or are our health officials not to be trusted either?  It is disconcerting to say the least.

Stimulus money for dictionaries all around, I say.  REQUIRED READING. Paid tutors to be provided as needed.

Oysterville’s Part-timers Here in Force

Monday, April 27th, 2020

Backyard Visitor – Photo by Tucker Wachsmuth

Letters from the County be damned!  There’s a sense of entitlement that seems to accompany the part-time residents of Oysterville.  I doubt the letters from the County did any good at all and those of us who are here all the time know better than to lodge complaints.  Full-timers are in the minority here.  We learned some time ago that we haven’t any clout.

Off With The Suet – Photo by Tucker Wachsmuth

Oysterville, of course, doesn’t have sole proprietorship when it comes to that impotent feeling of having little say in what happens “in your own backyard.”   It’s definitely a county-wide problem.  It used to be pretty much a seasonal thing.  Now…  it’s more year ’round.

Yesterday, Tucker sent some pictures along with this note:  We were so excited: we thought that Manchie bear had returned. Looking closer at the images later, we noticed that the noses from 2019 and 2020 seem a different color. It didn’t stop the bear from grabbing one of the suet feeders in his mouth and running off into the woods with our wire fence trailing after. I recovered the fence some minutes later. Of course, all of the suet was gone.

Yep!  I knew the feeling.  Probably most Peninsula full-timers do.  Those pesky part-timers come, take what they want without an aye or a nay, provide us with some picture ops, and leave us with a lot of clean-up.  To say nothing of mixed feelings.  And speaking of clean-up and mixed feelings — our two-legged part-timers are here in force, as well — Covid-19 warnings notwithstanding!  Yep!  The swallows are back!  And lots of other familiar birds, as well.

Then, this morning, part of the elk herd traveled north again, this time ankle deep in the receding tide.  Yesterday, they churned up the shoreline with their big hooves as they milled around eating something apparently delicious.  Today, though,  they were moving by at a rapid pace — no apparent interest in anything or anyone here in Oysterville,  I think that’s just fine with most of us here in town.  Sort of an “it’s nice to see you, but don’t bother staying” attitude.  Just sayin’…

Listening/Interpreting… Who’s in sync?

Saturday, April 4th, 2020

“Think, think, think.”

I’m finding that there are people putting the accent on the “wrong syl-lah-ble” (at least from my viewpoint) with regard to the health directives given to us by Governor Inslee.  I guess it’s a personality thing — like seeing the glass half empty or half full.

In the first place, maybe my interpretation of “directive” is stronger than some others who are treating his words more like “suggestions.”  I can see why.  I think he has been much  too “soft” especially with regard to the circumstances appropriate for going outside.  To be fair, the Governor has tried to be firmer since seeing that people are still crowding the streets of our cities and paying little heed to his stay-at-home order.  But… still not firm enough to my way of thinking.

Now, the order has been extended until May 4 with the caveat that it may be even longer.  And still Inslee is careful to say that can Washingtonians can continue to go for walks, runs, and bike rides outside if they maintain a six-foot distance from others.  In my mind, he continues to give the inch that prompts people to take the mile.

How many legs?

For me, Long Beach School’s current “We’re going on a bear hunt” is the perfect (and downright appalling) example of pushing the envelope.  The instructions from the staff to our community’s adults are:  “Place a bear in your window, on your porch or fence or anywhere children can safely see it from a distance.”

And to kids:  “Walk or drive your neighborhoods and count and classify your sightings.  How many bears can you find?  What color are they?  How big, how small?  Are they stuffed or drawn?  Did you spot other stuffed animals in windows, too?”

Bringing Fresh Air Indoors

I appreciate the intent — an educational counting/classification activity that also gets kids out in the fresh air.  It’s the “out” part I object to.  In my mind, now is not the time and the activity is fraught with pitfalls.  Why not have a similar activity inside the house?  Instead of bears, make it legs — table legs, chair legs, legs on toys…  Fresh air is a good thing, but not quite this way and probably not right now.  Not when the risks are so high and people are so likely to relax their attention.

And why don’t the instructions at least include “wear a mask” and “keep a six foot distance from those you meet.”   I’m only glad I’m no longer teaching and don’t have to “own” that activity.   I can only hope that the activity is rescinded before it leads to an outcome none of us want.

Fiddling and Twiddling

Friday, March 27th, 2020

They say that Nero fiddled (in the musical sense) while Rome burned.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  If so, it was not with a fiddle as we know the instrument.  Violins did not come into play (ahem) for another fifteen centuries.  But he could have been using a lyre.  Those had been in use for several thousand years already.  Or maybe Nero was fiddling in a different sense of the word.  As we know, leaders do that under stress.

In this day and age, twiddling is more apt to be the time-waster, not fiddling.   Our thumbs, especially our leaders’ thumbs are busy, busy, busy.  In fact all of us have busy thumbs these days.  Facebook has never been more full of itself and I’m sure twitter is much the same.  Perhaps fiddling and twiddling under pressure is what we all do best.

Most of us, though, expect more of our leaders.  But have you considered that perhaps we should be thankful that they are twiddling?  Or fiddling?  Either way, those thumbs are busy.  Otherwise, no telling just where those thumbs would be.  Or can thumbs be used for twiddling, fiddling, and shoving out of sight all at the same time?  A whole new meaning, perhaps, for being all thumbs?

Word of the Day! Illustration for the ages!

Thursday, March 26th, 2020

A few days back, I wrote:  I’m also thinking of carrying a yardstick when I go outside.  Added to the length of my arm, it’s still a foot short of the six-feet rule.  But, even so, I’ve found that many people “forget” or have a truncated idea of what six feet looks like. And even though it  couldn’t be used in the post office, it might serve as a reminder to  the stubborn and the gormless.

My son, who is way smarter than I am, wrote, “What’s gormless?”  I was just going to send him the standard dictionary definition (though I think it lacks the true essence) when a headline in the online  Chinook Observer caught my eye:  Car driven into Port of Peninsula Mooring Basin 

As I read about the two women who had spent from midnight until seven in the morning sitting beside the mooring basin near the spot where their car was resting in the bay, my incredulity grew.  Then,  halfway through the article I read: “They thought their car was overrheating and they parked it in the bay.”

I immediately forwarded the article to Charlie.  “Read this and you’ll understand the meaning of gormless,” I told him.  “It’s perfect!”


Wow! Be careful what (and who) you ask!

Saturday, March 21st, 2020

I try to avoid political commentary if I can.  But, in the face of our current crisis — one that is unlike anything in the experience of anyone now living — I have to register my horror and flat out disgust at yesterday’s outburst by our country’s man-in-charge.  In case you missed it, this is what happened according to Oliver Darcy of CNN:

In an extraordinary exchange on Friday, President Donald Trump attacked an NBC News reporter who asked what his message would be to Americans who are frightened by the coronavirus pandemic that is spreading across the country.

The exchange, which occurred at the White House’s daily coronavirus task force briefing, began when NBC News reporter Peter Alexander asked Trump whether he was giving Americans “false hope” by touting unproven coronavirus drugs.

Peter Alexander

Toward the end of the exchange, Alexander cited the latest pandemic statistics showing thousands of Americans are now infected and millions are scared.
Alexander asked, “What do you say to Americans who are scared?”
Trump, shaking his head, ripped into Alexander in response.
“I say that you are a terrible reporter,” Trump replied. “That’s what I say.”

I can’t imagine ANYone answering a question in that manner — not a parent to a child, not a teacher to a student, not a doctor to a patient.  Such a response goes against every bit of socialization that I have been subjected to in my 84 years of existence.

I can’t find a single logical rationale for that answer to a very caring and concerned question.  I immediately thought of the oft-quoted statement by FDR in his first inaugural address on March 4, 1933: …the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Personally, I think Mr. Trump is scared witless.  And I, for one, am afraid of that!

I’m gonna get alot of flack for this…

Wednesday, March 18th, 2020


Do I remember from something I once read that Pacific County has more elderly residents per capita than most other counties in Washington?  I don’t know how many of us old ducks that means in actual numbers, but it’s probably more than eight.  That’s what came to mind when I read today’s paper.

Ocean Beach Hospital Medical Clinic is staffed to operate eight beds, said Blair Oman, human resources manager for the hospital.  Staffing is a key factor in hospital capacity, Oman said.  (Note that there are no quotation marks.  So maybe Blair didn’t exactly say this.  Hard to know.)

Ocean Beach Hospital

The article went on to say:  The hospital owns one ventilator, which is designed for transporting patients to another hospital…  There is enough personal protective equipment in the hospital for staff, Oman said.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love our Ocean Beach Hospital and I love the staff there.  And when it come to a situation like this when their lives are literally on the line, I have nothing but admiration and respect.  OBH has always been our hospital of choice for Nyel  — even though they have refused him on more than one occasion because his needs are too complex.  Fair enough.  We still love everything about our local hospital.

But… why are they so very unprepared for this pandemic that we’ve known for several weeks (at least)  is headed our way?  I would feel MUCH better had the article included what preparations are being made.  Surely there are some.  Is there any kind of state-wide nursing pool they can tap into?  And what supplies are on order?  What will they do with the 9th person needing hospitalization?   Or the 10th or the 100th?  Is there a plan?    A back-up plan?  Inquiring minds want to know.

Test Kit

There was no mention of test kits or numbers of people who might potentially get tested — just that the Ocean Beach Health Medical Clinic will partner with the Pacific County Health Department to ensure our most vulnerable populations receive testing…  That would be me.  And Nyel.  But, presumably only if we become symptomatic.

All-in-all, I was pretty much underwhelmed by the information in the article.  Mostly it underscored what we’ve heard over and over to this point about American communities in general:  poor preparation, uncertain planning, little reassurance.  Who handles public relations at OBH, anyway?  It would seem to me that this is the time to be pro-active.  A little reassurance — at least that they are making every effort to cover the bases — would go a long, long way.


The Feds Strike Again!

Wednesday, March 11th, 2020

There is disturbing news in this month’s issue of “Out of the Archives,” the newsletter from the Washington State Archives which comes from the Office of our Secretary of State:  The Public Buildings Reform Board (PBRB) has proposed selling the National Archives facility in Seattle. The decision was made without public  meetings or soliciting comments from stakeholders in the four Pacific Northwest states which are being impacted by the closure.

The facility contains important federal historical archival records from Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington including military records, census information, documentation of Indian treaty rights, tribal reservations, salmon recovery etc.  Researchers who use the archives include the news media, authors, attorneys, historians, genealogists, and many government agencies at all levels.  In the future, these researchers would need to travel about 1,000 miles south to Riverside, California to access Pacific NW federal archival records.

As for active (as opposed to archival) records, they are currently being sent to the Seattle NARA facility which is a short drive from the storage facility for archival records.  In the future, the active records will be shipped over 2,000 miles to a National Archives Records Administration (NARA) records center in Kansas City.

Archives Building, Seattle

Of course, it’s all about money.  According to National Archives, they have been underfunded for years and they do not have money for critical building repairs  ($30 to $60 million.) Meanwhile… the Washington State Secretary’s office is in the planning stages for the new State Library-State Archives building in Olympia.  They have suggested that NARA consider relocating next to their new facility, pointing out that doing business in Olympia would be a considerable savings all the way around.

Considering that we are “the other Washington” and that the decision concerning that proposal will ultimately be made by the Feds, what is your best guess as to the outcome?