Another Right of Passage!

November 17th, 2020

Not In My House!

Yes, “right” not “rite.”  There are some passages that are noted by a ceremony or event “marking an important stage in someone’s life, especially birth, puberty, marriage, and death.”  Those are the rites with an ‘e’ and no ‘gh.’  Then there are the rights that are moral or legal entitlements “to have or obtain something or to act in a certain way.”  So says

I am definitely talking about a “right” here.  It’s yet another of the entitlements I’ve actually awarded to myself in recent years.  The first was the right to let certain tasks carry over from one day to the next.  That was a big step, having been brought up to finish what I’d begun.  And in a timely manner, besides.    Sort of the home equivalent to the teacher’s mantra, “plan your work and work your plan.”   Some years ago, I realized that it would be okay to let some things take a bit longer to accomplish — especially if I needed to smell the roses along the way.

Yesterday’s new right has to do with my eyesight, or increasing failure thereof.  In a fit of pre-holiday cleaning (like, why?  go figure.) I ran smack dab into a huge cobweb in the corner of the living room  — back between the fireplace and the low shelf where the big leather-bound family Bibles are kept.  Not only was that cobweb huge — it actually had a fly or two trapped among it’s spokes.  OMG!  I actually felt it on my face before I saw it.

The Right To See It My Way?

Not surprising, though, when I think about it.  In fact, I’ll be the first to tell you that I long ago stopped worrying about facial wrinkles.  Reason?  Simple, My dimming eyesight no longer permits me to see them.  Ditto chin whiskers.  And Lord knows what else.  Permission granted to remain oblivious and unconcerned.

Now… permission granted to stop dusting and webbing on any kind of regular basis.  Actually, I think that part happened a while back.  The right of passage has to do with not giving a rip.  So easy.  Out of sight, out of mind as they say!


Coming Up: The Oyster Crackers in Concert!

November 16th, 2020

Mark your calendars!  Two days after Thanksgiving — another Blessing coming our way!

Bill and Helper Holly to the Rescue!

November 15th, 2020

Team Bill and Holly

We all know that the Deer People are not inclined to do their grazing on rooftops.  Until this morning, however, I’ve never before considered whether they might write thank-you notes.  If they discover the new stash of pears that our friend Bill dislodged from atop our cordless woodshed, I’ll have a little etiquette discussion with them.

After reading my blog of distress about those pesky pears, Bill wrote and offered his assistance.  I didn’t mean the blog as a call for help but, now that the woodshed roof is fruit free, I’m very glad that Bill is, by nature, a problem-solver. Since higher-than-I-am-comfortable would be involved, I was more than happy to say, “Yes, please!”

He brought his own ladder, his own tool (which looked like a long- handled window squeegee) and his daughter Holly, Sweeping Assistant Extraordinaire.  As it turned out, she “earned her keep” when the squeegee came loose from its moorings and followed the pears to the ground behind the woodshed.  Holly to the rescue without missing a beat (or a sweep, as it were.)

South of the Woodshed

If the Deer people are smart enough to look behind and to the south side of the woodshed, they will be sore amazed!  I know they will be grateful for the bounty, even if they are disinclined to write.  But, perhaps they will talk with me about it and I can drop a note to Bill and Holly on their behalf.

As for me… chilly as it was outside, my palms got a bit sweaty just watching Bill maneuver on that ladder.  I could only stay long enough to take a few pictures.  Both Nyel and I feel that we are in Bill’s debt once again!  And now, in Holly’s too!

Sheltering, Settling, and Salads

November 14th, 2020

It’s not the “Covid 15” as I’ve heard the Sheltering weight gain referred to.  No, the number on the scales has stayed the same.  But not so the number on the tape measure.  Or so I assume.  I haven’t checked, but my blue jeans get harder and harder to button and so my suspicious are no doubt justified.

After a certain age, we’ve all experienced a thickening of the thorax.  That seems to come along between 40 and 60.  No matter how one tries, the sylph-like silhouette of one’s youth just expands into oblivion.  Then the vertical shrinking begins and the girthy middle regions become even harder to control.

At least that’s how I have it figured.  These recent months of Sheltering seem to have compounded the Settling Issue.  And don’t bother to mention exercise.  That has never been part of my agenda and, in fact, since Nyel has been wheelchair-bound and I’ve taken on some of his duties, my Exercise Program has increased by triple digits.

So, we are going into Emergency Mode around here.  That means that one meal a day will be a salad.  Period.  No accompanying buttery bread just out of the oven.  No side of crunchy crackers with a bit of cream cheese on board.  Nope.  Salad plain and simple.  Until further notice.  Which, of course, means when my waistline is back to “normal.”  (Well, normal for an octogenarian-and-a-half.)

Let’s just call it a “Storage Shed”

November 13th, 2020

With one thing and another, our woodshed didn’t get completed until it was too late to fill it with a few cords of dry wood.  No problem.  We have enough firewood to see us through this winter and then we’ll work on it.

Meanwhile, though, it seems to have another purpose.  Situated as it is just under our pear tree,  its roof has become the quintessential Pear Depository for our garden.  Not that the roof isn’t slanted.  The rain runs off just fine.  But those pears are like rocks.  Heavy.  (Just ask painter Charlie Short who was a target for a few brief hours.)  And they tend to stay (THUNK!) where they land.

If they were normal pears, we might be able to count on the birds for cleanup.  But the birds have learned, perhaps through the Bent-Beak Method, to leave them alone.  Only the Deer People really love them.  But, until we can teach the deer to climb, that possibilty seems off the table (or the roof, you might say.)  I think teaching deer to climb is probably a lot like teaching pigs to fly…

“Just sweep them off,” said my helpful neighbor Chris.  I think that would probably involve a ladder with me on it with a long-handled rake or broom.  Not going to happen.  Maybe if that “just like the 2007 storm” ever arrives as “promised” by the weather gurus, the winds will take care of it.  On the other hand… it might be a toss up (again… so to speak.)  That pear tree is probably 100 to 130 years old.

Nyel says it all depends upon which way the wind blows… the tree could take the derelict gazebo (which would be fine with me.)  Or it could take a good part of our fence.  Or it could take the southeast corner of our house.  YIKES!  There really must be a better way to get rid of pears on the woodshed roof!

Eight Months and Counting

November 12th, 2020

Enterring Month Nine!

As you enter the ninth month, you get a little crazy.  At least that’s what I remember from my “Expecting Days” and that’s definitely what’s happening during these Sheltering Days.

This morning as I was making coffee, my Covid hair finally pushed me over the edge.  I foraged around in the kitchen junk drawer and found a couple of rubber bands and took care of the problem.  When I arrived back in the bedroom and handed Nyel his cup, he didn’t even notice.

A Work In Progress

“Good!” thought I.  I guess I can go with this new look — at least around the house.  Never mind the scraggly look at the back.  I can’t see it and probably my true love won’t notice that either.  I figure another eight or nine months and I can bag the rubber bands and comb my long gray locks into a chic coif to be proud of.

Well… you’ll have to admit:  so far, anyway, my sense of reality is as frangible (yes, it’s really a word) as ever.

Our County’s Political History – just sayin’…

November 11th, 2020

In today’s Observer,  there was a statement about our County’s political history that caught my eye. “The County used to be the bluest shade of Democrat blue.” That must have been written by a newcomer to the County, thought I.  But, I have to concede that even the term “newcomer” is open to historical interpretation.  So, I thought I’d just correct the record a bit.

From the time Washington achieved statehood in 1889, Pacific County was on record as strongly Republican.  That wouldn’t change for another thirty or forty years. But on November 11, 1932, the Pacific Tribune ran this article:


Pacific County Votes Democratic For First Time
The Democratic donkey turned out to be a wild and wicked jackass in this election. Even Pacific County went Democratic for the first time in a million years and the State of Washington turned Democratic even to the extent of
defeating the old timers at Olympia…Not  a Republican will be left in Olympia but N.D. Showalter, superintendent of schools, and the Democrats did not have anyone against him.
Roosevelt carried the state by 100,000 majority… The state elective officers bowed down to the Democrats by majorities ranging from 20,000 to 50,000, being carried away in the general demand for a change. It is reported that Fred Norman is the only Republican senator elected to the legislature and the Democrats will be in full control at Olympia as well as Washington, D.C .
It was not an election, it was a revolution!


When the Sou’wester reprinted this article in 1981, Editor Larry Weathers added:  The election of 1932 was a milestone in county politics, but to be truthful, it was to be another ten years before local residents completely switched their loyalties to the Democratic Party.

I should probably add that both the Democratic and Republican parties have changed a great deal over the ensuing years which may account for some of the switched allegiances.  Or so I understand. In the early 1900s and beyond, my grandfather was a staunch Republican.  By the time I came along in 1936, his children were leaning toward the “other side” and now, there are no elephants left among his descendants as far as I know — just “wild and wicked jackasses” to quote that long-ago Ilwaco Tribune article.  Ahem.

Here come the holidays!

November 10th, 2020

Nyel (who follows these sorts of things) tells me that roast chicken is going to be the centerpiece of most Thanksgiving meals this year  So says the internet. That won’t be a change from “the usual” for us.  We’ve been a family of two for Thanksgiving for many years now.  But, I am just a tad concerned that whole chickens will become the new shortage — the déjà vu of the run on toilet paper last Spring.

Just in case the girls are catching wind of the trends on the chicken telegraph, I’ve reassured them that we won’t be looking in their direction should we run into a problem.  Too old and too tough — although I didn’t put the news in those terms.  I don’t know that Chef Nyel has a back-up position, but I’m sure he’ll come up with something festive no matter what.  Something to be thankful about — along with so many other blessings this November 2020!

And, from my cousin Lina Biegl in Austria, we have received our first Christmas gift of the year!  It’s a darling Advent Calendar featuring a glittery carousel with Santa and all the sugar plums and surprises anyone could wish for!  And, about the glittery part, it says on the back: “Hadebeglittert in Deutschland – Glittered manually in Germany.”  I love that!

This is our second-ever Advent Calendar.  The first was last year from Lina’s sister, Eva Legerer, who wanted us to share in a tradition that they have enjoyed since childhood.  (And actually, last year’s calendar was sent by Eva but she said it was from the two of them; I think that’s probably true this year, as well, though Lina didn’t mention it.)

We can scarcely wait for Advent to begin.  November 29th is the date!  Last year we opened a little window each morning during our pre-dawn Coffee Hour.  It brightened the start of every wintery day until Christmas Eve and we wondered how we had grown so old without experiencing such a pleasurable tradition before!  Thank you so much, my beloved Austrian Cousins, for introducing this wonderful custom!  And for remembering again!

A Whole New Meaning for PC

November 9th, 2020

In recent days “PC” has taken on an entirely new meaning for me.  Not your Personal Computer.  Not Politically Correct.  Not Police Constable or Probable Cause.  No.  It’s PANDEMIC COMPLACENCY.

As I look at the reports of new Covid-19 cases world-wide,  in the United States, in Washington State, and in Pacific County, and see what is being done about it, I think we are now well established in the PC zone.

What is wrong with us?  While European countries are taking extreme measures — like France’s total lock-down, Spain’s border closures, the Czech Republic’s closures of restaurants, bars, and other gathering places, our country has no overall mandate and little enforcement.

Meanwhile, coronavirus continues its spread across the world and has now passed 50 million confirmed cases in 190 countries and more than 1.2 million deaths.  The United States is leading the pack…  and not in a good way.  According to the BBC World News, as of four hours ago today (November 9, 2020) the U.S. has had the most Covid deaths (236,591) and the highest number of total cases (9,893,685) in the world.

Right here in Pacific County, we are at an all-time high of newly confirmed Covid-19 cases — 28 as of November 6th bringing the County total to 155 cases since the beginning of the Pandemic.  Yet, as far as I can determine, life goes on pretty much as usual.  Most kids are in school, most businesses are open, the tourists continue to arrive in large numbers, and we are free to come and go as we please.

Too, it seems obvious to me that the public is half-hearted in following “suggested” health measures.  How else to explain the numbers?  And where is our leadership? The Public Health Officials continue with the same old, same old — wear masks, socially distance, wash your hands, stay home if you can.  We haven’t heard lately from Governor Inslee.  Pandemic Complacency seems to be the name of the game.

P.S.  Just after I posted this blog, President-Elect Biden spoke to the nation about his new task force on Covid-19 and the work he is already doing in preparation for immediate action once he has been inaugurated. YAY!  Finally after four miserable flailing-around years,  there will be a Leader in the White House!!



A ‘Covid Look’ among the fashionistas?

November 8th, 2020

Mom and the New Look, 1948

I well remember Christian Dior’s “New Look,”  On February 12, 1947, he  presented his debut haute couture collection in Paris. Its most prominent features included rounded shoulders, a cinched waist, and a full, A-line skirt with a clearly articulated feminine silhouette.   By Easter 1948, my mom was on the cutting edge!

I thought about that this morning as I debated whether to change out of my bathrobe to go outside for morning chores with the chickens.  There is still something that goes against my sensibilities when it comes to spending the day in my bathrobe.  “You should have a housecoat,” said my ever-helpful husband.

“What’s the difference?” asked I.

Me and the Covid Look, 2020

And so we looked it up:  A bathrobe is used when coming out of the bath or shower and is usually made from absorbent material, whereas a housecoat is used when getting dressed or lounging around the house, more of a useable garment, said one definition.  But suddenly we were into dressing gowns, spa robes, wraps, popovers (say what?), dusters and… who knew?

I began to wonder whether (if we are sheltering for long enough) there will be a style called “The Covid Look.”  In my opinion, it should definitely involve a bathrobe which in my parlance has nothing at all to do with bathing or absorbency.  It has to do with why-bother-to-get-dressed-when-I’m-not-doing-anything-and-Nyel-and-the-chickens-don’t-care.

But… if the clothing industry can find a way to make a buck, you can bet your Old-Look-britches, there will be a Covid Look that goes beyond a line of spiffy masks.  Mark my words.