Archive for the ‘Being Mindful’ Category

Fingers Crossed – It’s Boostering Day!

Sunday, October 24th, 2021

Nyel – My Hero!

Nyel gets full credit!  He claims, of course, that he is a total luddite, that he can’t find his way to and from his email address, and that he is (at best) at three or four with his computer.  Yet, more than once, he has come to my rescue, solving the unsolvable and interpreting the techno-speak of instructions from “help sites.”  And now… he’s done it again.

I was in the other room deep into 2017 — finishing up a scrapbook long set aside — and I heard, “Do you want to get your booster shot tomorrow?”  Say what???  OF COURSE I wanted to but… We’ve been waiting for news of that Moderna shot forever, it seems, and have watched our Pfizer friends with envy as they’ve gone off to be boosted here there and even at CostCo.

“What are you talking about?” I asked as I dropped everything and followed the sound of his voice.  “They’re offering Moderna Boosters at Walgreen’s.  Tomorrow!  I can sign us up on line!”  And he did!   (Luddite, indeed!  What a guy!)   I called our friends Bill and Sue who have also been waiting patiently and… the upshot is that we’re all going together, wheelchair included, in their van and then out to dinner afterwards!  Is this a Red Letter Day or what?

And speaking of Mr. Klinkenborg…

Saturday, October 23rd, 2021

Well, I know that chances are slim that you really have been talking or even thinking about Verlyn Klinkenborg of late, but I do highly recommend him.  Especially his book, the rural life.  And, in case you still don’t know who I’m talking about, check out my blog of May 26, 2020, “Characterizing Oysterville…Again!” for a quickie overview of both this amazing author and his book.

I’ve been re-reading bits of it, as I do periodically, and came across this sentence about the old farmhouse in upstate New York that the Klinkenborgs have been gradually restoring to its origins:  The house has changed us more than we’ve changed it.  What a lovely thought.  Right up there with “If these walls could talk.”

I do, indeed, believe that when we form a bond with a house there is a reciprocal relationship that occurs.  Somehow, we accommodate to one another.  Mr. K’s example is :  I almost never smack my head on the low ceiling over the stairs to the mudroom anymore.  For me that passage has grown taller over the past year.  Visitors smack their heads again and again, no matter ow often I warn them.

After-Performance Photo, 2017

I immediately thought of the time our friend Cameron missed the step going into our laundry room and fell to her knees on the (carpeted) uneven cement foundation, necessitating a hurried trip to the ER, stitches, and a slight delay to the Rose City Mixed Quartet’s performance at Vespers that afternoon.  So used to that one-step down were we, that I’d never given it a thought…  We certainly did think about it from then on!  And even more so now that Nyel is in a wheelchair.

But there are so many other, subtler ways the house and we have come to understand one another — the windows that won’t stay open unless propped; the door that opens by itself when the south wind blows (though Mrs. Crouch gets the blame); our automatic canting of a pen or pencil this way, not that way, lest it roll off the dining room table.  And, of course, which rooms we’ll be in according to the weather — never the front of the house if there’s a freezing east wind!

There are probably a dozen more subtle ways that we have changed — ways I haven’t even noticed.  A fair exchange, no doubt, for us re-painting, re-papering, and even re-purposing a room or two.  Maybe now that Mr. K. has set me to thinking, I’ll become more aware.  And maybe, someday, I’ll actually hear the walls talk!

Counting The Days…

Wednesday, October 20th, 2021

Last Year in Our Yard

I don’t know when I’ve been so eager to set the clocks back and return to “normal” time.  For whatever reason, the timing of morning light and evening dark, the chickens’ routines, and my own activities, are all out of whack right now.  The upshot is that I’m saying my goodnights to the girls in the pitch-of-it-all when a flashlight, no matter how bright, is NOT all that helpful.  And I seem to forget their breakfast until almost lunch time.  (Apologies don’t cut it with chickens.)

The night chores are the worst.  I can see where I’m going by moon, stars, or flashlight, and it’s not all that far.  But I can’t see who’s just beyond my sightlines — deer people eating the pears?  bear people ambling through?  scary little ratty people snuffling up the poultry food?  It’s a bit creepy, you betcha.

I can’t remember feeling this way about our nighttime garden in the past.  Not until the last ten years or so since we’ve had lots more four-legged visitors of the wild variety in and around the village.  Day and night.  They like it here and, for the most part, don’t cause much trouble.  A garbage can raid now and then by a bear or a thorough foraging of the roses by the deer.  That’s about all.  And since I’ve been ever-so-careful to take in the girls’ feed each evening, the rodents have deserted the coop as far as I can tell.

Last Year at Tucker and Carol’s

But, with Mother Nature, it is necessary to be ever-vigilant.  Unfortunately, my internal alarm clock does not seem to be synchronized with the ever-changing hours of daylight.  In the morning, it’s not so much of a problem, though sometimes my own activities are well underway before I think “Chickens!” and scurry to open their gate and take them their food and morning treats.  They are sure to let me know that Forgetful Farmer’s Wife does not make for happy chickens.

As yet, Unseen At The Coop

The evening is far worse.  It’s usually “Big Dark” by the time I grab that flashlight and scurry forth.  I try not to think about the time I heard movement just beyond my light beam — fortunately a doe and a buck watchful but too busy eating pears to leave the area.  Would a bear have been so polite?  Do I transmit scaredy-cat-victim endorphins all over the place?

So far, so good.  But November 7th and the end of Daylight Saving Time can’t come soon enough.  What a difference that hour will make.  I hope.

Even in the best of regulated families…

Monday, August 30th, 2021

We felt badly when we wrote to Cuzzin Ralph and uninvited him to come to Oysterville (or “Oyster Patch” as he calls it) for a visit.  He was coming out from his home in Virginia to a family reunion of first cousins in Eastern Washington.  The plan was for him to stay with us for a day or two before heading up to SeaTac for his return flight.

But as our Pacific County Covid numbers increased, so did my nervousness, and I wrote to Ralph.  “No worries,” he said.  He would just stay in Garfield for an extra day.  He hadn’t been out our way since Covid began and it gave him extra time with his sister and their nearest and dearest.  They had all been vaccinated, their activities would all be outside, and they were looking forward to the reunion.

But… the best laid plans.  Though the air was smoky from nearby fires, they persevered.  Hostess Donna began to suffer from smoke-related allergies — or so she thought — and finally went to get tested.  The results came in the day Ralph reached home.  Positive.  Damn!  So far, though, Ralph tests negative as do the others who were at the reunion.

Other members of Donna’s family, though — not so lucky.  Her daughter, grandbaby, and daughter-in-law all have it and, yes, except for the baby all were vaccinated.  Donna wrote to me yesterday:  What I am learning? Covid takes time to “percolate”. A positive test only happens when you are three to four days fully into the virus. Rapid tests work well if you are really festered. Rapid tests are hard to find…
It effects people in different ways. I thought I had my annual harvest smoke filled sinus infection I always get this time of year. Emily had aches in muscles, headache and sore throat, no sinus or lung stuff. Today Frances is so run down with it, I went to her house and brought her car with her three kids to Garfield, planning to stay here two nights. She can’t get rest with them around. Ian can’t get more time off. Talk about conundrum for families!   So far, my only grandchild with Covid is the baby! She turned 1 today and we shared Zoom birthday wishes. She coughed and laughed through it but is obviously not at 100% and I can’t help!

My heart is heavy with concern.  There seems nothing to say about the situation that is helpful.  I can hear my mother’s voice:  “Even in the best of regulated families…”  Her catch-all phrase for when the unthinkable happened to thinking people.  To people she admired and loved and knew that “but for the grace of God go I.”


And then there’s Covidchatter…

Friday, August 20th, 2021

There are many ways to speak and understand English, and I’m not talking about whether you’re grounded in Australian, British, Canadian or one of the other offshoots of the mother tongue.  I can think of several other commonly known (but seldom considered) types of English.  For instance:

Plain-speaking: talking in a frank, outspoken, or blunt manner; most associated with Harry S. Truman (1884-1972) who served as 33rd president of the United States from 1945 to 1953.  He has been described as open, frank, honest, independent, forceful, modest, confident and decisive.  It has been speculated that the Myers-Briggs personality type for Harry Truman is an ISTJ (Introversion, Sensing, Thinking, Judgement.  “Plainspeaking” became popular as a term with the 1974 publication of Merle Miller’s book by that name — a biography of President Truman.

The Best Laid Plans…

Wednesday, August 18th, 2021

Cousin Alex

We learned yesterday afternoon that the long-awaited visit by my cousin Alex and his friend Katie will not be happening after all.  Their August 19th Alaska Airlines flight from Chicago to Portland has been cancelled — “not enough support crew to fly. and unable to find a replacement flight within 48 hours.” Their visiting window of opportunity ran out.

We are beyond disappointed.  It’s a visit we’ve been planning on for several months.  But, beyond that are the implications in an ever-growing stream of disruptions to whatever “back-to-normal” we had been hoping for.  Here on the Peninsula, “Help Wanted” and “Now Hiring” signs proliferate — to the extent that Adelaide’s in Ocean Park, for one,  is closed for lack of employees.  And in some other kind of domino effect, friends have reported that the shelves at Okie’s and other grocers on the Peninsula are bare.  To say nothing of the events that have been cancelled — Vespers, the Kay Buesing Kite Festival Gathering, the Oysterville Regatta Awards Ceremony — and those just for starters.

Visitors to Oysterville, both masked and unmasked, preface remarks to us with “We’ve been fully vaccinated.”  However, these days, that isn’t really very reassuring to anyone.  “Breakthrough” and “variant” and “Delta” and “booster shot” have crept into our vocabulary bigtime.  We are beginning to wonder about phrases of reassurance such as “herd immunity” —  and just how did humanity survive plagues through the ages when they not only didn’t know the cause but had no idea about any the “science” that the experts are telling us to count on?

And then, this very morning I saw a familiar name in an online New York Times article — a comment by an old friend of Nyel’s:  Our whole family were all vaccinated as soon as it was possible to do so, yet our grandson, who has been working in a day camp this summer, brought home the Delta variant. Luckily, our daughter-in-law is a scientist and got everyone tested as soon as he had a runny nose. Our grandson and his mom were positive, our son and granddaughter were negative and we are waiting to find out if my husband and I are positive. — Beda Herbison, Seattle   

Spectators – Oysterville Regatta 2017

As we watch what is happening right here in Oysterville — those touched by the virus and its variants as well as those who proclaim “it’s over!” — we wonder if there will ever be a return to normal as it was three or four years ago.  And, if not, will our little village survive a “new normal.”  Somehow I think there are parallels to the old rural way of life of the 1800s giving way to the agribusiness models of today.  But I can’t quite wrap my head around it yet…  I’m still stuck on missing out on a visit from Alex and Katie.

Thursday: that shoulda coulda woulda day!

Tuesday, August 17th, 2021

Day after tomorrow will be another day in a long line of shoulda coulda woulda days.  It shoulda been the day we’d all see one another at the World Kite Museum in Long Beach as we celebrated Kay Buesing’s remarkable life.  It coulda been the most memorable day of the 2021 International Kite Festival.  And I have no doubt that it woulda been terrific

But the uncertainties of the Covid virus and its spin-offs just made it all too iffy.  If even one person got just a little bit sick due to attending… well, it doesn’t bear thinking about.  So, wisely but with heavy hearts, Kay and Jim’s family put a halt to the proceedings.  I can totally empathize.  When we had to call off the 2021 Oysterville Vespers’ season at the eleventh hour I, too, was heartsick.  And, even worse is the wondering — what next and for how long?

Meanwhile, Kay and Jim’s personal kites still await an appropriate time to be auctioned off, the proceeds earmarked for the Kite Museum.  It seems only fitting that they should be auctioned at a time when as many kite flyers as possible could have an opportunity to bid.  During the Kite Festival would have been ideal.  Is it too trite to say,  the answer to when the auction will occur is blowin’ in the wind…

Honoring Kay Buesing, The Kite Lady!

Sunday, August 15th, 2021

 Kay Buesing, c. 2013

I don’t think I’ve ever known anyone who did more and talked about it less than Kay Buesing, the mover and shaker behind the World Kite Museum in Long Beach.  Not that she didn’t talk about kites and kite flyers and kite events.  She just didn’t say much about her part in it all — which was HUGE!

I’ve often thought that if we could find that proverbial bushel it would be Kay’s light shining brightly beneath it.  And well it should be!  I’m probably not the only one who has had several “discussions” with her during the past year and a half about her dying in February 2020 — right when we were first closed down for Covid.  We didn’t get to say a proper goodbye!  And now, just when we all thought that at last we could pay tribute to her in a public gathering at the World Kite Museum on Thursday… up comes the surge, the variants, and all the worries once again.  As we speak, her family is agonizing over ways to scale back the plans for her celebration on Thursday… so stay tuned.

Jim Buesing, c 1990

I don’t know exactly when I met Kay — she and I came here to teach at about the same time, in the late ’70s.  In the early ’80s, we were both involved in the establishment of the Peninsula Players under the direction of Lawrence Lessard.  And we were both members of Gordon and Roy’s crazy picnic group.  (In fact, Gordon often referred to Kay’s husband, Jim, as his “best friend.”)  When both Kay and Gordon were without partners, they often did things together — like come to the Mystery Book Club Meetings and almost always to our Friday Night Gatherings.

When I wrote about Kay and Jim for Legendary Locals of the Long Beach Peninsula, I interviewed Kay to make sure of my facts and, typically, learned a great deal about her “kite life” that she had never talked about to us — even while it was going on!  So typical!  Here is what I wrote (with her blessing!  Who knows what all was left out!)

Jim and Kay Buesing:  Jim Buesing’s love affair with kites began in 1980 when his wife, Kay, gave him a two-string “Skyro Gyro” for Christmas.  Within months, they had bought a small building on Long Beach’s main street and opened a kite shop.  Jim gave away as many kites as he sold, encouraging friends and strangers alike to “go fly a kite!1”  When the Washington State International Kite Festival began in 1981, the Buesings were soon in the thick of it, applying for grants and hosting kite flyers from all over the world.  They even traveled to China in 1987 where they represented the United States at the Fourth Annual Weifang Kite Festival.  They soon organized the World Kite Museum & Hall of Fame, and Kay, a retired teacher, became its director, devoting her full attention to “the only American Museum dedicated exclusively to the thrill, joy, art, science, and world history of kites.”  In 2003, Kay was inducted into the museum’s Hall of Fame for “immeasurable contributions” to the kiting world,

The World Kite Museum, Long Beach, WA

As of a few minutes ago, the celebration for Kay scheduled for later this week is being re-evaluated by her family. I’ll have more information on my blog tomorrow and I’m sure that any late-breaking news will appear on the World Kite Museum’s Facebook Page.  Meantime, you can bet, I’m shaking a fist or two at the Dark Covid Angels up there and hoping both Kay and Jim can convince them to fold up their kites and go home.  Enough already!


Words to live by? Fuggedaboudit!

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2021

The Oyster Crackers – scheduled for August 1st but, sadly, cancelled.

August 3rd and it’s my first blog of the month.  To say that yesterday and the day before were difficult would be understatements beyond compare.  On the other hand, beautiful bonus daughter Marta was here — the last two days of a ten day visit.  Definitely the bright side of an otherwise terrible, horrible, no good, very bad couple of days.  Alexander and Judy Viorst would absolutely understand.

It all began early on Sunday morning with the decision to close the 2021 Vespers Season —  just six hours before the first service was to begin.  Carol and I, who had volunteered in the first place to schedule the Sunday programs for August and September, scrambled to undo everything we had spent the month of July pulling together.  The day’s participants were notified.  Signs were posted on the church doors.  Would-be congregation members were met in the churchyard by Tucker who explained…  And then we began notifying all the other fabulous volunteers.  No Vespers in 2021.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to any of us, one of our neighbors awaited the Covid testing of relatives — all fully vaccinated — who had visited here last week.  So far, two of the five have tested positive for Covid, two have tested negative, one still awaits test results.  The only other two people they came in contact with here have thankfully tested negative.  Although we heard about this late in the day, the news strongly reinforced the decision to close the Vespers season.

Double J and The Boys — scheduled for August 8th but, sadly, cancelled.

So did the 480% increase in Covid cases in Pacific County during the last two weeks being reported by our Health Department.  And so did a letter from one of the ministers scheduled for later in the month:  I am truly sorry to be sending you this notice, but I cannot in good conscience participate in the Oysterville church service, due to the current Covid surge. There is just not sufficient space to make distancing anything like possible; it sounds to me like a super-spreader event just waiting to happen. I want you to know, I am truly sorry.

And, of course, there were rumors.  Reasons (not even close) for why there will be no vespers.  “Information” that “Covid is over.”  “Directives” that we were to re-schedule vespers — not!  “Information” via social media and coming to us by emails was scary in its distance from truth or fact — at least as Carol and I knew the situation to be.   I finally just had to console myself with the words of the late Gordon Bressack, “Fuggedaboudit!”

This morning I hugged Marta tight when I said goodbye.  You never know these days when that can happen again!  Stay safe out there, everybody.  It ain’t over yet…

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.