Archive for the ‘Being Mindful’ Category

It’s been a long time since…

Wednesday, June 16th, 2021

“Willows Road Speeders Should Slow Down” said the heading in one of today’s Letters to the Editor in the Chinook Observer.  “Yes,” I thought.  “And so should speeders on every other road on the Peninsula.”  And then I read about the writer’s cat and I thought, ” I’m so sorry.” And “There but for the grace of god…”

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen any law enforcement presence stopping speeders on the Peninsula.  I think about that every single time I pick up my mail at the Oysterville Post Office.  In case you haven’t visited there recently (or ever), I might mention that it is snugged up against the eastern side of Davis Hill — right at the bottom.  There is no way for drivers to see the cars parked there until they crest the hill.  By then it’s too late.

It’s not a very big hill and for years there was little traffic coming or going over it.  But now that Surfside has come into it’s own, cars and trucks speed over it regularly. Those of us backing out of the P.O. parking area cannot see who is coming toward us from the west — not until it would be way too late.  Presumably, “they” could swerve into the oncoming lane of traffic to avoid us, but only IF nothing was in that lane headed west.  It is scary to the max.

The speed limit signs say “25.”  No one reads them.  Or if they do, the number doesn’t compute.  My personal vote would be for speed bumps — big ones — on the west side of the hill.  I imagine that will happen some day.  I only hope it happens before it’s too late.

Why is it so hard, Kilroy?

Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

Just back from the Warrenton Run — Staples to return used ink cartridges; Goodwill to deliver a load of “stuff” from the back forty; CostCo to get a couple of food items; Fred Meyers to get other food items.  The first two went well — maybe because we were donating.  The last two, not so much — probably because my expectations are too high.

At CostCo it was The Mask Problem.  As I entered (masked) I saw that there were two “checkers” — one masked, one not.  A man a and his young (8-ish) son (both unmasked) were asked by the unmasked checker if they had had their vaccinations.  “Yes” was the answer and in they went along with the rest of us who were masked.

Inside, most  shoppers were masked but about a third of them wore theirs Kilroy-style with their noses hanging over the edge.  Ditto the employees. What’s with that, anyway?  It irritates me no end — brings out the Cranky Teacher, the Nagging Mom, the Despair of Stupidity in me.  I did my shopping and was out of there in ten minutes flat.  I’m not sure I’ll go back very soon.

At Fred Meyers, the Delivery Woman said there had been three substitutions of food items — Simple Truth brand brown eggs instead of Kroger brown eggs; wheat crackers instead of rice crackers; jumbo pimento stuffed olives instead of regular size garlic stuffed.  We okayed the first one but said “no” to the other two.

We got home and found the crackers and olives had come along with us, anyway.  Nyel called.  “She should have pulled them.  Check your online receipt to see if she took them off your bill.  And, no, we don’t want them back.”  I’m sure we’ll find a happy home for the crackers and olives but I was disappointed, anyway.  It’s probably time to start shopping locally again…

Did I mention that I hate doing errands — most especially shopping… she said in a cranky tone of voice.

The Pattern of Our Days

Tuesday, May 18th, 2021

It’s interesting to look back over a significant chunk of your life — especially to remember and reminisce with the person who has most closely shared those years with you.  That’s what Nyel and I are doing these days as we look back on the scrapbooks I’ve been keeping since 1979.  Which doesn’t half tell the story.  For some years there were as many as five scrapbooks but, thank the stars, not for all.

Each day we try to look at three or four of them. It doesn’t go as smoothly as we might wish.  They are not necessarily in order and there were at least a eight or nine that were badly damaged when we had an upstairs hot water heater disaster in 2002.

I remember that morning with all the clarity of a first-hand memory of a train wreck or volcano eruption.  Early morning.  Getting ready to go to Seattle to stay for two days at the Olympic for my birthday.  Hot water pouring through shelves below. Frantic call to  plumbr Don Anderson and then to neighbor Leigh Wilson.

Nyel rescued books, separated wet pages, put them in the freezer.  Leigh and I used every paper towel in her house and ours — sopping up water, separating pages, spreading scrapbooks all over the upstairs bedroom floors.  At Leigh’s insistence we packed and left while she continued working.  Bless her!  We saved them all (only about fifteen actually got badly damaged) and now, nearly 20 years later, I’ve only had to get rid of three or four.  Some, of course, are a little the worse for wear but, so far, 38 (most perfect) have gone to the Heritage foundation.  We’re about one-third through.

So many memories — so many good times, hard times, new babies, weddings and, again, new babies.  In recent years, old friends departing — too many final goodbyes.  How glad I am that Nyel and I have taken time to revisit those years once again, no matter how briefly. And how grateful I am that their stories (at least parts) will stay in the community for a while longer!

About those crotchless panties…

Sunday, May 16th, 2021

I indulged myself in the purchase of a few unmentionables not long ago — actually, these days, I think mentioning them might be old hat, so to speak.  Boy-cut underpants.  Very cute; very comfy.  But after the second or third wearing/washing, my favorite pair began to unravel — right at the crotch!

So far, there are no “break-throughs” so to speak and I am poised to discard them should the problem persist.  Meanwhile, however, I have to say that the situation has caused a few flights of fancy.  As in… are crotchless panties and thongs counterparts?  Do the manufacturers of the unmentionables without all the usual parts save those parts to be used for thongs.

Which brings up another sort of undergarment that I actually find a bit laughable,  And useless.  Though I’ve never had the pleasure.  The closest thong experience I’ve ever had is when I was a skinny little kid and my underwear would ride up in the back.  I think we called them “Indian panties” in those days — which is undoubtedly at the top of some politically incorrect list these days.

Which again makes me wonder.  How can the items on the Frederick’s of Hollywood site (and probably a gazillion others) pass muster when I see that friends on FaceBook have been taken down for the most innocent of word choices — apparently misunderstood by the watchers and censors.

Perhaps these unraveling ruminations of mine will be removed, as well.  It’s hard to tell what the rules are these days.  Where is quality control, anyway?  What are the standards?  Obviously, they are coming apart thread by thread.



A day late and… you know the rest.

Friday, April 30th, 2021

Clearing Out The Back-Forty — A Scary Proposition

As I wrote a few days back, Nyel and I are doing what we should have done during the Sheltering Time of 2020 — clearing out, cleaning up, relegating, and passing on.  It’s one of those love/hate jobs.

I love the re-discovery parts — coming across all those once-upon-a-time treasures that we couldn’t part with back in the… well, in the once-upon-a-time days.  But now that time has passed and our lives have actually taken on some semblance of “patterning,” we are almost having a good time of it.  I’m not sure “patterning” is the right term.  It’s whatever you call having lived long enough that your memories and the physical things connected to them fall into clear(ish) categories.  Mostly.

And it has something to do with having put chunks of things behind us.  Like the years before we lived here or before we met.  Or some of our vacations that we know won’t be repeated.  Or the events we participated in or, perhaps organized, that are over  and done with.  By now, all of the “stuff” associated with those things are easily parted with — but so fun to look at one more time and do some reminiscing.

Granny’s Cake Plate, 1897

We’ve also made it easier on ourselves by finding “homes” ahead of time for many of the things we’ll be sorting through.  Any Espy family related stuff — especially documents and photographs will go up to the Washington State Historical Research Center to join the Espy Family Archive.  Or to appropriate family members.  Our personal treasures, especially if community related, will go to appropriate local organizations or to relatives if items are family connected.  And then there’s the Good Will and Friends of the Library and local thrift shops.

The “hate” part of this chore, of course, is facing up to the fact that most of the “stuff” that has brought us so much pleasure during our lifetimes will have little or no meaning to anyone in the years ahead.  It’s just the way it is.  Especially when you leave no grands or greats.  No one to say, as I so often do about things in this house, “This cake plate was the first purchase my grandmother ever made with her own money, after she was married in 1897.  It cost her ten cents as I recall.  Or maybe it was twenty-five.  (Perhaps in all our purging I’ll find that list of her wedding gifts and the one of her first household purchases somewhere.)  History seems so much more “real” when it’s entwined with family and memories.  Doncha think so?

And now… let the sheltering recede!

Tuesday, March 9th, 2021

October 2020

A year and four days ago — on March 13, 2020 — we went into “Sheltering Mode.”   Since then, we’ve had no social events, neither small nor large, here in our house.  We did, of course, have a few limited gatherings in the garden during the warm months,  masked and socially distanced.  And, like everybody else, we’re pretty sick of the isolation .

November 2020

So our hearts are doing a happy dance now that the new CDC guidelines are out.  We were especially pleased to learn about these points:

  • Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or staying 6 feet apart. 
  • A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the last required dose of vaccine.

We do, of course, lament our very much younger friends and family members who do not yet qualify for the vaccine but (strangely) more folks we know do qualify now than don’t.  And Charlie and Marta just wrote:

  • Fully vaccinated people don’t need masks around low-risk unvaccinated people.

Nyel and Sydney, 2018 and from now forward, we hope

That’s a little loosey-goosey for me — or would be if I were a l not yet fully vaccinated, myself.  I’m just not clear as to who those low riskers are and, unfortunately, I’m not too trusting of people not to cheat. It’s  not that I’m paranoid, exactly, but it took only one person to tell me to my socially distanced and masked face that this was all a “hoax” to ramp up my skeptical side.  Just sayin…

Be that as it may. I am excited to start welcoming old friends back into our home.  It’s been a very long time…



Is our sheltering condition morphing?

Friday, February 26th, 2021

Fireside Evenings — Perfect!

As we approach the first anniversary of “sheltering in place” (which for us is right here at home)… and now that we’ve had our two covid vaccinations… we are looking forward to getting out and about more.  Or at least that’s what we tell one another.

But the truth of the matter is that we haven’t suffered all that much by staying at home.  In fact, neither of us is much of a go-go sort.  I do enjoy certain sorts of gatherings — openings at the Heritage Museum or local galleries, Community Historian classes and outings and, of course, parties.  Otherwise — for shopping of any kind, I’d rather let my fingers do the walking and, once again, thank goodness for the internet.

Nyel, on the other hand loves to shop — but only in the old-fashioned sense of looking, looking, looking.  “For what?” I ask him.  “Nothing,” is the usual response.  Thank goodness.  Because the only places he “shops” are thrift stores, junk shops and, occasionally, salvage yards.  I try to bite my tongue.  What we don’t need is more junk.  Now I lament that those forays of his are pretty much past… now that he’s been confined to a wheelchair.  As in be careful what you wish for.

Best Place Ever For Relaxing and Visiting and Watching the Tides Change

What we’ve both missed most during this sheltering time is seeing our friends.  We’ve always done a lot of hosting right here at home.  It’s a house that is happiest when it is full of people or so it has always seemed to me.  My mother and her six siblings were raised here and continued coming back as adults and bringing their own families.  During my childhood, I associated “Granny and Papa’s House” with talk and laughter and people everywhere.  When it was our turn to move in, Nyel and I continued the full-house tradition — the best way we could.  By hosting parties and gatherings and house concerts.

So the sheltering hasn’t been all that difficult from a leaving-home-standpoint.  I wonder,  though, when it is finally unnecessary…  will we feel the need to leave home at all?  And if not, will we call our condition “agoraphobia? ”  I hope not.    “Homebodies” sounds better…

Catching Up With Reality

Monday, February 22nd, 2021

July 26, 2017

Last evening a friend called — a friend who lives not all that far away, but whom I’ve not seen or visited with since The Sheltering began.  It was good to talk with her.  But hard.  Lots of changes in her life that I wish I’d koown about, though there was nothing I could have done.

Among other things, we spoke about a couple of families who were deported by ICE a few years back — families I wrote about in my “Stories from the Heart” series for the Observer.  My friend has kept up with those families through occasional phone calls and she brought me up to date.  Especially she told me about “Maria” (as I called her in my story) and her three young children.

When I met them in the summer of 2017, Maria was working out on Willapa Bay, trying to save enough money to move with her three children.  Erin Glenn and I went calling — to see how we could help:
“…Dos años he said in answer to Erin’s ¿Cuántos años tienes?  Two years.  And he solemnly held up five fingers to prove his point.  Oscar is the middle child.  Curly-haired Alexa is ten months, and Joel, who was off playing with a friend, is ten and on summer vacation from Ocean Park School.  Their father, Miguel, has been gone for three months – deported to Mexico.”

From The Daily Astorian, December 10, 2018

“How are they doing?” I asked my friend.  “They’re having a very hard time,” came the answer.  “Miguel has planted pineapples but it takes a year for the crop to mature.  Meanwhile, he does odd jobs for a friend.  Maria and her sister-in-law cook during the week and sell their food at a roadside stand on the weekends.  Joel has a job, too, — digging graves.  He is 13 now.”

Digging graves.  At thirteen.  OMG.  I flashed on the regulation-sized volleyball court Miguel had built in their back yard here and how there was often a game going among adults and kids, as well.  I thought of how Joel had chosen to leave with his family rather than stay here with a friend, though the offer had been made.  I thought of Oscar, now truly as old as his fingers had told me…

Sometimes “catching up” isn’t all that great.  Sometimes “reality” sucks.

Works in Progress at Our Place

Sunday, February 21st, 2021

New Barn Doors for Woodshed Waiting for Final Painting

We have had our own little WPA (Works Progress Administration) happening here since the Sheltering began.  Nothing so grand as Timberline Lodge or Bonneville Dam or even the Ocean Park School.  (Yes, did you realize that we had several WPA projects right here on the Peninsula in the 1930s?)

Our projects are on a much smaller scale, but they’ve involved using stimulus money to jumpstart a few projects that we had been putting off.  For years.  Like a woodshed.  And a “patio area” outside our kitchen for tending to the potting and planting needs of herbs and salad greens (for instance.)  Some repair and spiffing up projects, too — a new roof for the toolshed and and a keep-out-of-the-mud area around the chicken coop.

Twenty-five Pavers Stacked at the Ready

To accomplish these outdoor projects we’ve had the help of our Garden Girls, our Painter Friend, our Jack-of-all-Trades Guy and, of course, the jump-start of the first stimulus monies.  It’s amazing what a lot of time and a little money can accomplish!  And that doesn’t even count what Nyel has been managing to patch and repair inside!  Or what good friends have helped with around the garden!  We’ve missed a lot this past year… but we’ve gained a great deal, too.  We are counting our blessings!

When the call came, I held my breath…

Friday, February 19th, 2021

A pleasant sounding young woman called from the Pacific County Health Department the other day…  I held my breath.  Did they need to cancel our second Covid-shot appointment?  Had they run out of vaccine?  Would we have to reschedule?  And how crucial is the timing for this second vaccine?  Were they going to need to switch us to another kind?

I think it was only Nano-seconds before she explained the reason for the call.  But it’s amazing how fast those synapses in your brain fire the alarm signals and pose the questions.  (Of course, Nyel says it’s just me — always looking at the empty half of things.  He’s probably right.)

The call was to ask us if we could come for our shots a half hour earlier.  Whew!  “Yes, of course,” I told her.  “We’ll be there.  No problem.”  We still need to drive to South Bend and back.  We still plan on packing a lunch.  And we’ll still be relieved when this is a done deal.

One step closer to the new normal.