Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Gathering to Meet and Greet

Saturday, June 16th, 2018

In our many years of Friday Night gatherings, there are a few subjects that we seldom broach.  One of those is politics although I have to say that in the last two or three years we have, indeed, done a bit of serious broaching…  How can anyone avoid it these days?

But any political discussions we have are mostly about national concerns.  We have stayed away from local politics.  In a small community (and I’m talking the Peninsula or even Pacific County here – not our miniscule village of Oysterville) where friendships and politics often overlap in strange ways, it makes for better social gatherings to leave political opinions out of our chit-chat.  Last night was a huge exception.

We devoted our Friday Night to a Meet and Greet for Pam Nogueira Maneman who is running as an Independent for the office of Pacific County Prosecutor.  We had met her at a similar gathering at the Shelburne a month or so ago and we were impressed.  We wanted our friends to meet her and to hear what she had to say about her own plans if she is elected and how her philosophy differs from the current status.

Usually, attendees at our Friday Nights are a bit of a surprise – our friends just come if they can, knowing we’ll be here unless we’ve let them know otherwise.  There have been a few times when only two or three other people have been here but usually it’s more like thirteen or fourteen.  However, for this Meet and Greet, we wanted to be sure that Pam would have an audience, so I let our “regulars” and a few others know and asked for RSVPs.

There were fourteen of us and it was a perfect number. Pam took ten or fifteen minutes to talk about her background and experience – born in Brazil 27 years ago, an exchange student at Raymond High School, graduated from high school in Brazil, undergraduate work at UW, completed three-year UW law school program in two years, became a U.S. citizen, has worked in law offices in both Pacific and Grays Harbor Counties etc. – and then it was just questions, answers, and lively discussion.  Everyone seemed appreciative of this opportunity to meet Pam and I believe the feeling was mutual.

I understand that the AAUW will be sponsoring a Candidates Forum for all those running for County offices – July 10th, Ilwaco High School, 6:30 – 9:00 p.m.  Pam says she will be there for sure.  So will we!  (I didn’t realize until last night that voting in the primaries begin July 20th here!  High time to become better informed!)

Monday, March 29, 1915

Thursday, March 29th, 2018

Medora, 1915

My Aunt Medora has been gone more than a hundred years now.  Yet, sometimes I wonder what she might have been doing on this month and day when she was living.  According to her diary, this is what she was doing on March 29,1915:

I am really home and sitting on the edge of Willard’s bed that has been everything from a boat to a forest full of bears, in the dear old shabby nursery.  I love this old old-fashioned house with all its nooks and corners that are so very hard to clean – I arrived safely in Nahcotta Saturday morning.  It seemed so funny to see all the business buildings gone… I found Sue up and well though still thin and weak.  She doesn’t do anything about the house but amuses herself all day which is so different…scrubbed the kitchen and dining room thoroughly but that is all I really accomplished.

Suzita Espy, c. 1920

It’s odd to read her words all these years later.  Less than a year after she wrote these thoughts she died in her sleep at her boarding house at the Portland Academy.  Willard, who was five when she sat on the edge of his bed that Monday morning, would lead a complicated, fulfilling life and would immortalize their beloved Oysterville.  Sue, just recovering from pneumonia, would become a flapper, marry a rum runner and leave two young children when she once again contracted pneumonia and, this time, died – also in Portland.

This “old old-fashioned house with all its nooks and corners” is still “so very hard to clean” and Nahcotta never did recover completely from the fire that swept through the town in January 1915.  I can’t help but envy her sixteen-year-old energy – scrubbing the kitchen and the dining room “thoroughly” sounds like an overwhelming chore to me.  Sorry to say, the thought isn’t very inspirational.

Medora’s Diary, August 1914

I’m grateful I have her diaries and letters. (Actually, copies.  The originals are at the Washington State Historical Society Research Center in Tacoma.)  Sometimes it just seems nice to check in with the past.  Especially with someone as grounded as Medora.  I wonder who the people a hundred years from now will be checking back with.  Do teenagers write diaries anymore?

 

 

Lunch with My Friend Miki

Sunday, March 25th, 2018

Miki

We don’t know the answer yet and we are hoping it was just ‘one of those’ mix-ups that happen.  There were supposed to be three of us meeting for lunch at the Roo.  Two of us got there about ten minutes early and had a consultation.  The Roo, it seemed, was closed for a “Private Party” (which we cleverly realized wasn’t us) so we decided that when Alena arrived, we’d go to the Pub, instead.

Alena never arrived.  We called.  We left messages.  We waited some more and finally went on to the Pub, hoping she’d hook up with us there.  It didn’t happen, so Miki and I carried on.  We have a long history of that… though not in quite the same context.  The every-six-month-lunch-dates with Alena are relatively new – since she moved back here after a twenty-year (No! That must be wrong!) absence.  Miki and I, on the other hand, have been meeting periodically during all that time  – usually for coffee, but it doesn’t really matter.  We still feel as though ‘we are one’ when we get together.

Dorothy and Miki

Our friendship goes back to the 1980s at Ocean Park School.  In fact, I was on the team who interviewed Miki when she applied to work in the Ocean Beach School District.  All I remember of that day is that Miki was absolutely superb – answered all our questions with calm aplomb – while her eighteen-month-old daughter Dorothy crawled around my classroom floor exploring every crook and cranny.  A few years later Dorothy would be a first grader attending my class in that very room and Miki and I would be “joined at the hip.”

We were the two that appealed to the superintendent to allow us to convert Ocean Park School to a multigrade (first/second/third grade in every classroom) configuration.  Miki and I spent hours researching, meeting with other educators, with parents, with administrators to make our case.  We were successful and for five or six wonderful years, Ocean Park became a model for multigrade education in the district, in the state, and in the region.

alena, Miki, Me — A Year or So Ago

It didn’t last, of course.  Sadly, nothing does when it come to education. But our friendship – Miki’s and mine – is deeper now than ever.  Long gone are my high school days when I had a BFF (as they call them now) but, as an adult with an entirely different perspective on friendship, I can truly say that Miki is one of my closest friends.  We think alike about almost everything.  We have the same concerns – educational, political, social, even personal.  No subject is ever off the table.

And besides all that, Miki always makes me feel better about things.  And about myself.  (No one else has ever said that I was the best bullshit meter the District ever had!  Wow!)  We had a lovely lunch yesterday, sitting in the lobby in the newly ‘extended’ pub.  We think we have to do it again, soon.  As soon as we can find Alena!

Get ready! She’s on her way!

Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

Early Morning Fog Bank

She’s not due to arrive until March 20th – almost two weeks away.  Yet we saw her striding boldly toward the Peninsula as we drove up and back from Seattle yesterday.  Lady Spring!  She’s on her way for sure.

We saw her as we rounded the head of the bay at first light, hidden in the deep fog bank that hung above the Naselle River.  We saw her in the bright squinty sun that tried to blind us as we headed north on 101 out of Raymond.  We saw her in the cloudless blue sky in Seattle – a sky which I’d have sworn is always gray.  And we saw her in the glory of snow-covered Mt. Rainier as we headed home in the afternoon.

Glorious Mt. Rainier

Unbelievably, it was still bright daylight when we rolled into Oysterville at five o’clock.  The days truly are getting longer – even without Daylight Savings time which doesn’t begin until Sunday.  And, to top off this glorious day, the daffodils by our old gazebo were smiling a springtime welcome as we went out to check on the chickens.

I’ve seen several online articles lately about “getting ready” for spring.  One was titled “The 16 Easiest Ways to Get Your House Ready for Spring.”  OMG!  Sixteen?  Another, “5 Ways to Get Your Garden Ready for Spring.”  That sounds better.  And then “6 Tips to Get Your Body Ready for Spring.”  Frankly, I don’t even want to know…

Cheerful Daffodils

I’m absolutely a-tremble with eagerness – body, mind, spirit and all.  I am so very ready.  Bring on the sunshine!  And the flowers!  And that lovely green haze of the waking alder trees!  As for the house and garden, I expect they’ll limp along as usual.  Or maybe energy and enthusiasm will arrive on March 20th right along with Lady Spring.  We can but hope!

Let’s hear it for SHIPS!

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

The Shelburne Inn c. 2010

Once again, I am missing my friend Larry Weathers!  It just seems so wrong that he isn’t here to carry on with all the things he was into way before anyone else was noticing.  Like SHIPS – the Seaview Historical Preservation Society.  He would have loved the concept and he would have loved attending their gathering tonight at the Shelburne Hotel.

Shelburne c. 1900

In case you haven’t been keeping up… the iconic Shelburne Hotel (the oldest continuously operated hostelry in the state) has been closed since early January while new owners Brady and Tiffany Turner oversee a little renovating – most specifically refurbishing the fifteen guest rooms. “Conceptually, we want to take them back in time, but modernized for today’s travelers,” say the Turners.

This evening from 6:00 p.m. until 7:00, SHIPS will be getting an in-person update and sneak-peak look-around at the historic hotel before it opens to the public in the spring.  There will also be an update on the Seaview sign replacement endeavor – a huge undertaking, in itself.  (Gone are the days of our youth, Larry, when a few good men could cobble together an approach sign from the bits and pieces of a salvaged shipwreck – but that’s another story.)

Larry Weathers c. 2001

Larry Weathers worked in the Pacific County Planning Department (as I think it was called in those days) in the late seventies and eighties.  He was the… drum roll… designated County Preservation Officer. Part of his job involved helping County residents obtain official recognition for their historic properties.  He assisted the then Shelburne owners David and Laurie Campiche in getting the hotel placed on the National Register of Historic Places and he spent a considerable effort in trying to interest Seaview residents in forming a Seaview Historic District.

Larry, my friend, in your efforts on behalf of Seaview, you were definitely ahead of your time.  How I wish you were still with us.  I’d pick you up in a Nano-second and take you with us to the Shelburne tonight.  The event is open to the public and, by going early, we could actually order a meal from the pub!  And, best of all, I could introduce you to Nan Malin, primary mover-and-shaker in Seaview these days and president (I think) of SHIPS!  Or… maybe there’s a heavenly communication network.  You can reach her by calling 360-655-5883 or at info@seaviewhistorical.org.

Meanwhile, for all of you still earthbound history buffs… hope to see you at the Shelburne tonight! And, keep this thought: Very few things happen at the right time, and the rest do not happen at all: the conscientious historian will correct these defects. – Herodotus, The History of Herodotus

Due Diligence versus Self-Preservation?

Friday, January 26th, 2018

Proposed Changes to the Hampson House?

Readers take note:  If you were among those who expressed interest in attending the County’s public hearing on a proposed change to the Hampson House in Oysterville, you need to know that the hearing has been postponed.  According to the DCD (Department of Community Development) the matter will be heard sometime in February.  No date set yet.

I thought long and hard before mentioning this change in today’s blog.  A week ago, when I devoted my daily entry to the history of the properties to our north (http://sydneyofoysterville.com/2018/next-door-north/), I was totally unprepared for the ensuing ‘conversation’ on FaceBook, in my email, and in the comment section of the blog, itself.  Most of the remarks were prompted by a neighbor’s response that what I had written was “an alarmist call to arms.”

I was so amazed at that take on my words that I had to re-read what I had written.  Twice.  Neither reading helped me put together his comment with the words of my blog.  Apparently, his reaction was just as mysterious to most of the folks who responded. That was somewhat reassuring.  If there was one take-away from my first-ever journalism class at San Rafael High School (about a gazillion years ago) that I still think is important, it is to be clear about what you mean.  “Say what you mean; mean what you say” was the mantra we learned from Miss Girardo.  Subtle, underlying messages are not part of my writing style nor my intention.

Screenshot – Jan. 19, 2018 Blog

On the other hand, I am thin-skinned and a little naïve when it comes to others’ reactions to what I write.  Invariably, when I am misunderstood, I go back to what I said or wrote to see how I could have stated it better.  And, I am always amazed that, despite all the instant-this and cyber-that, communication is still the most difficult of all our human interactions.  Sometimes I don’t think we’ve progressed far from the growls and grunts of our cavemen (do we have to say cavepeople, now?) ancestors.  In the interest of self-preservation, I am tempted not to post this.  But, once again due diligence is winning out over my hypersensitivity.

Back In Production Again

Monday, January 22nd, 2018

This Week’s Supply

Twelve eggs in seven days!  Not a world’s record for four hens – not even for our four hens.  But, in our coop right now it’s huge news.  We only wish we knew the why of it all.

Why, for instance, was there a total work shutdown from July through November?  By November, of course, the ‘experts’ (other fowl owners and sellers of chicken feed) were saying that it was the “low light levels.”  But, that doesn’t explain July, August, and September.  Not satisfactorily.

Nest Box This Morning

Why, also, has laying begun in earnest now that the darkest months are upon us?  Any chicken expert (see above) worth his salt and pepper will tell you that. According to Poultrykeeper.com, in fact:   “There is a gland behind the eyes of our birds called a pituitary gland. When stimulated by light this produces a hormone that is carried via the bloodstream to the ovary which sets egg production in motion.”

That article, like many others we have read, goes on to say that setting up artificial light (even a twenty-watt bulb) in the coop will increase winter production.  We’ve actually done that in the past by running a heavy-duty electrical cord from our house to the coop, but it’s not the best way to solve the problem.  This past year, being as it was, it all seemed too much to cope with.  And besides… the problem began in summer.

Aunt Rye (Ella Caulfield) and Banty Chickens at Heckes Inn, c. 1930

I remember (just barely… ahem!) when my grandmother would ‘put up eggs in water glass’ in the fall when her chickens were still in full production mode.  That process assured the family of having eggs through the dark days of winter.  Although we had electricity at the time, it was a new and iffy proposition,  and I doubt that it would have occurred to anyone to waste it on the chickens.

“Age,” people said.  “Your hens are probably too old to lay.”  But the oldest is only three.  And anyway, according to MyPetChicken.com:  “Chickens usually don’t simply “stop” laying eggs when they get to a certain age, but they will lay fewer as they get older. That said, most laying breeds will lay more or less productively in backyard terms for five or seven years. We know of one ancient buff orpington cross who still lays an egg occasionally at 17 years old!”

Water Glass Label, 1920

“Could be a dirty coop,” we read.  We cleaned it.  And cleaned it again.  “Could be diet,” we read.  So, we changed our brand of chicken feed.  It took a while, but we think that was the answer.  We hope the uptick in production continues, winter or no winter.  We were worried about those girls!  To say nothing of missing their delicious eggs!

Clotted Up With Surveys

Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

They come in our email.  They show up on FaceBook.  Our telephone rings off the hook with them.  Surveys!  Opinion polls!  Day in, day out.  Sometimes from the same medical institution as yesterday or the same political pollster as last week. I guess they are job security for someone. I don’t see that anyone really cares about the answers.

If they did care, Trump would be out of job by now, the cafeteria food at one or another hospital would be improved, and the service department at our auto dealer’s would vacuum the car when they wash it.  It’s all enough to have you yank the phone out of the wall, cancel your cell phone contract and go into permanent hiding.  Oh. Wait.  “You can run but you can’t hide.”.  Isn’t that what they say?

Taken on an individual basis, each of these surveys, questionnaires, etc. might be seen as an honest effort to gather information that could result in positive change.  Taken as a whole, however, and given the lack of results… they are a huge timewaster.  Even worse, they are a distraction-to-the-max – a look-over-here, no-look-over-there, yes-somebody-does-really-care distraction!  Keep us busy giving our opinions (is that supposed to make us feel important and like we truly have a voice) while the movers and shakers go right on rattling the planet off its axis and out of sync.

So…  Push one if you agree.  Push two if you disagree. Your information will be kept private.  Thank you for your transparency.

Finding Calm in the Midst of Chaos

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

My Office

For me, routine and a sense of order are necessary components of sanity.  I don’t do well in chaotic situations.  When my external world is in disarray, I can feel my internal world beginning to fray.  I am full of empathy for all the displaced persons living amid the disarray of makeshift camp cities and, come to think of it, I was never crazy about camping even when it was a planned ‘recreational’ activity.  Being outdoors: fabulous.  Not having bureau drawers: untenable.

I’ve been thinking about all of that for the past eighteen hours or so.  Not that I’m outdoors.  But we are more-or-less camping.  After twenty-some years of wear and tear, our wall-to-wall carpet in bedroom, closet, and my office is being replaced.  I loved the old carpet but the color choice (celery) was not a good one.  Years of foot traffic, bedside spills and other invalid-related disasters conspired to prompt a change.  The new carpet is an avocado color and we have high hopes.

Chaos

“A day and a half,” said our CG (Carpet Guru).

“Will we be able to sleep in our own bed tonight?”

“No problem,” he said.

We moved the small stuff – my gawd, where did it all come from?  Even things stored under the bed!  Our CG moved the rest – bureaus, file cabinets, the chifforobe…  OMG!  When all was said and done, the fainting couch was standing on its head in the hallway, our east room was a complete clutter and the bed was in pieces in my office with the dust and cobwebs of the ages hanging from the parts not seen for decades.  YUCK!  I could feel the unravelling begin.

In Progress

“I’m afraid you’ll have to sleep upstairs tonight,” CG said quietly at the end of the day.  “Will that be all right?”

Of course it was.  As in, there were few alternatives.  It was making my way into the closet for clothes this morning and trying to retrieve my makeup and hairbrush from a drawer in the bathroom that was tense.  I unraveled some more…

Early Morning Crossword – Calm, Cool, Collected

But today our Community Historians class begins.  No time to wonder if the CG will complete his task today.  Or tomorrow.  Not even time to worry about whether we’ll get put back together in time to host Sunday’s House Concert.  OMG!  Thank goodness for Nyel – always a bastion of calm no matter what. Perhaps I can re-ravel after all.

Putting on the… what?

Sunday, November 26th, 2017

2017 Apple Cup

Choices on television were pretty limited last night – especially for a couple of old folks who could care less about football.  But here we are, a stone’s throw from Husky stadium and Nyel a two- times graduate of the UW (BA ’65; MA ’85), so watching the Apple Cup seemed the right thing to do.  For a minute or two.  On and off.  Just to assure himself that the Dawgs were bringing home the bacon, or in this case, the applesauce.

We spent far more of the evening watching the National Dog Show – always fun but never enough time with any of the dogs.  This year there were 2,000 dogs competing and it was a Brussels Griffon named Newton who won best of show.  Nyel was underwhelmed.  Nothing against Newton (who is called a “Chewbaca look-alike”).  It’s just that Nyel prefers large, or at least mid-sized dogs, and Newton is definitely not in either of those categories.

Newton, the Chewbaca Look-Alike

Nyel’s choices among the dogs we saw were the Golden Retriever, the Giant Schnauzer, and the Old English Sheepdog. I’m always partial to German Shepherds and Border Collies.  But, as the commentators pointed out, small dogs are the very most popular these days – a fact reflected in the judging, we’re pretty sure.

Nyel has been talking “dog” for some time now.  He has visions of sitting by the fire with pipe (though he doesn’t smoke) and slippers, a big, mellow dog at his feet, gazing at him with adoring eyes.  Great idea, as far as it goes.  “But,” says a small (probably a bit querulous voice) who is going to walk this imaginary dog?  And feed it?  And clean up after it?  And give it a bath?”  So far, no answers have been forthcoming…

Maybe it will suffice to see dog movies on TV.  Last week at Emanuel Hospital we saw “A Dog’s Purpose” and both enjoyed a huge dose of warm-and-fuzzy.  There must be lots of great dog films.  And it certainly would bring a whole new meaning to the term “putting on the dog!”