Archive for the ‘Being Mindful’ Category

Do I need to give up on the C.O. too?

Thursday, September 22nd, 2022

Such A Tempting Posture

I’m beginning to think I want to be an ostrich when I grow up.  There is something to be said for sticking your head in the sand when the going gets tough.  Actually, I guess I did do that to some extent twenty some years ago when I retired and vowed never to watch the nightly news again.  I’ve pretty much kept that vow and as far as I can tell have saved myself a lot of angst.

My reasons were many-fold, but mostly I found that the national and international news was mega-depressing and that I really couldn’t make a difference no matter what I did.  I decided that I’d rather focus on our local community and try to do something that 1) I enjoy and 2) had at least the possibility of making a positive impact on a few folks beyond my immediate sphere of influence.

So, I put my energies toward researching our local history and writing about it and making it available, at least as much as I could, to others who might be interested.  That desire spawned seventeen or eighteen books, a number of newspaper and magazine articles and, best of all, the seeds of the CPHM’s Community Historian Project.  Yay!

A Role Model Perhaps???

But… when I read (with heavy heart) yesterday’s local paper — our esteemed Chinook Observer — I felt myself sinking into the doldrums once again.  Too many negatives — the Weyco Strike, county-backed housing at the expense of open space, new Covid deaths, clam dig cancelled, mortgage rates rising, new gimongous airport threatening farmland… and on it went.  And… what can I do about it?

Write a letter?  Ten letters?  Join a protest march?  Put a sign in my yard?  Sorry.  Been there done that.  Many times.  I think it’s time for the next generation — actually those who were born several generations after my peers and I were struggling to be heard. But wait.    Aren’t those the “future leaders” who were raised on Saturday morning cartoons?  And we wonder why we’re in trouble…

 Super Heroes to the Rescue?

Meanwhile… each Wednesday I’ll continue pulling my head out of this Peninsula sand dune we live on — just for a moment —  in case something positively positive and unexpected happens.  I don’t have high hopes.


Even though I know better…

Monday, September 12th, 2022

Sometimes I think that certain medical problems are sort of like fads.  Take sleep apnea, for instance.  Thirty or forty years ago, most of us had never heard of sleep apnea. Then, in 1965 it was “discovered” and in 1981 continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy was introduced through a nasal mask.  “The rest is history,” so to speak.

In fact, it seems to me now that every other person I know has been involved in at least one sleep study and wears some kind of a mask at night.  Granted, most of these folks are  older — the same age as the grandmas and grandpas of my childhood who used to rattle the windows with their nightly snoring.  And, it stands to reason that as our medicos have become more sophisticated in diagnosing and prescribing, “new” ailments are turning up in enough numbers to get our attention.

Another one of these new fangled “fad” ailments is “trigger finger” — also known as stenosing tenosynovitis. It is a condition in which one of your fingers gets stuck in a bent position.   Your finger may bend or straighten with a snap — like a trigger being pulled and released.  Often it is work related, in that it can be caused by frequent repetitive movements.  People who have diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis are at higher risk of developing trigger finger and it is more common in women than in men.”

“Trigger finger,” like “sleep apnea” is a term I had never heard ten or fifteen years ago — maybe even shorter ago than that.  My awareness, of course, has nothing to do with the  severity or the extent of the problem.  I just find it interesting that we (or at least I) flail along unaware of these sorts of conditions and then, when some sort of critical mass is reached, I become aware of multiple situations.  So different from the concerted world-wide effort put forth to educate us about a pandemic…  But, as they say, “it’s all relative” as well it should be.

It seems that some things are just on a need-to-know basis.  I truly hope I don’t need to…


Uh oh! Silly little tree frog!

Wednesday, September 7th, 2022

There’s an unmistakable and instant “recognition” when you stick your bare foot into a garden boot right on top of a frog — even if you’ve never done it before!  Fortunately, my synapses were firing on all four burners and before I shifted my weight to put on the other boot I absolutely knew: if I do that we’ll have a boot full of mess and we’ll be missing one of the more delightful of our garden creatures.

So, out came my foot and I gently upended Mr. Treefrog from his hiding place.  He hippity-hopped over to the wall where he posed just long for me to take his picture.  He didn’t look very happy about it, though.  When I came back from setting the hoses, he was nowhere in sight and I was glad of that.  I hope he found a safer haven nearby.

So far this year, I’ve not heard the Treefrogs singing to one another.  Perhaps I haven’t been outside at dusk.  I’ll make a point to remedy that now.  I do love to hear them call out to one another — often from our hanging baskets of fuchsias.  Harbingers of Fall for sure, marking the end of yet another Summer.

The Word On The Street

Sunday, August 28th, 2022

Wrong again!  That’s what I get for believing the word on the street — at least when the street isn’t in Oysterville.  I think I’ve already established that the Oystershell Telegraph which functions here in the village is pretty much always right.  But on Friday, I heard the enticing “fact” that on March 12, 2023, we would spring forward for the last time, adjusting our clocks for permanent Daylight Savings Time.

Though I know better, I didn’t research that “fact” until after I had passed on the information to several people, even prompting a bit of a discussion at our Friday Night Gathering about which would be better as a permanent time solution — Daylight or Standard time.  I’m all for sticking to one or the other and hadn’t thought much about which I like best.  But, my friend Bill (who is another early morning person) is adamant that by “giving” us an extra hour of daylight in the morning, Standard Time is by far the best.  Good point, Bill!

I’m embarrassed to say that it wasn’t until I’d bought into the truth of the word on the street (the “street” being in a community to our south, not in Oysterville) that I did a little research.  Emphasis on “a little.”  As far as I can learn, it’s not a done deal yet.  Apparently, last May the Senate unanimously approved a measure called the Sunshine Protection Act that would “make daylight saving time permanent starting in 2023, ending the twice-annual changing of clocks in a move promoted by supporters advocating brighter afternoons and more economic activity”

YIKES!  Wouldn’t you know that it’s all about money!  I also read that “The House of Representatives… must still pass the bill before it can go to President Joe Biden to sign.”  So far as I have learned, that necessary piece has not yet happened.  So… maybe Standard Time still has a chance.  Or maybe we should be considering solar time.  As another of the Friday Nighters put it, “I just like the the clocks to say 12:00 when the sun is straight overhead — the way the time gods intended.”

I’m counting on readers to let me know if there have been further developments that I’ve missed.  As they say, “It’s not over ’til it’s over” or, in this case, until we take the saving and spending out of the equation altogether– assuming we can ignore the old adage “time is money,” that is.

The Perfect Nonsensical Dinner Choice!

Thursday, April 28th, 2022

We went out to dinner at El Compadre with Carol and Tucker Tuesday night and, against all odds for Nyel, it was the perfect restaurant choice.  But… first a little background:

One of the side effects of eliminating as much excess fluid as possible from Nyel’s system — (the congestive part of congestive heart failure) is that he is no longer producing saliva.  Lack of saliva leads to all sorts of other problems like being more prone to cavities and having mouth lesions or bleeding ulcers on lips and gums and soft palate.

So far, he has not had any cavities but the blood from the lesions sometimes covers his teeth and he looks vampire-ish and scary — to say nothing of his own pain and discomfort trying to eat!  The dentist gave him some sample mouthwash (which didn’t seem to have any effect) so we’ve gone back to my grandmother’s cure-all for mouth injuries — a mouthwash of warm salt water three to five times a day which, I must say, has helped a lot.  Meanwhile, his cardiologist has backed off some of his diuretics so we hope to see an improvement in saliva production soon.

All these travails notwithstanding, Nyel very much wanted to take Tucker and Carol out to dinner as a very small token of our appreciation for all their TLC during these last few months.  Tucker’s favorite restaurant on the Peninsula is El Compadre so that’s where we headed Tuesday evening.

Say what???  Mexican food and mouth lesions?  That doesn’t sound like the perfect combination by any means.  But it was!  Nyel ordered the bean and cheese burrito with rice and refried beans (as did Carol and I) and it was perfecto!  Not too spicy.  Not too crunchy! It was absolutely grand.  The only think I felt badly about was that Nyel couldn’t try the chips and salsa.  THE BEST EVER.  I ate his share and mine, as well!

And I’m happy to report that his mouth felt and looked better Wednesday and continues to improve!!!  So… Cinco de Mayo is coming up and, besides, El Compadre is not only open but does take-out every day of the week!  ¡¡Olé!!


Report from Oysterville & Oz – Day 16

Friday, March 25th, 2022

We seem to be doing the two-step, Nyel and I.  For Nyel right now, it’s two steps forward, one step back.  And for me, it’s two steps this way and then two steps that way — not necessarily forward or back in either case.

Nyel is still gaining weight, even though he has been put on a liquid intake restricted to two liters per day.  That regimen, of course, supposes that someone is watching the amounts of liquid he’s getting — ice chips from the nurse, beverages accompanying his meals, sips of water with his pills, etc.  But… no one is monitoring or keeping track.  Not the kitchen, not the nurses, not the helpful nurses’ aides.  And certainly not Nyel.

And where is his cheerleader/advocate/unofficial Nurse Ratched?  Obviously not where she is needed.  Although I’ve been running around tending to business — a mammogram (all negative and benign), a trip to Strand Insurance to transfer our coverage to the new Prius, a stop at the library for a book Nyel reserved, and to the post office and to Penttila’s to check on a stone that we ordered long ago, and lots of facetime with my computer to catch up with writing chores, answer correspondence etc. etc. — my primary, number one, top-of-the-line priority is temporarily on the back burner.  I feel guilty.

Although I’d spoken with Nyel at least a half dozen times by 2:00, being an advocate (or sometimes a nag) is never as good long-distance as it is up-close-and-personal.  I must say, though, that he did address all of my concerns to his team of doctors, even though he wasn’t really sure they were important.  I’m happy to say that the doctors and I see eye-to-eye on advocacy issues and Nyel seems duly impressed.  He’s paying better attention…I think.  It’s hard to tell over the phone.

So there you have it.  No ETD yet.  Not for either of us.  Stay tuned.

Report from Oz & Oysterville – Days 14/15

Thursday, March 24th, 2022


So many of my readers have expressed concern these last few days when I have “skipped” an entry and for that I greatly apologize.  I can only attribute it to EO (Extreme Overload) and will catch you up the best I can.

First and most importantly — Nyel continues to make progress slowly and both he and the doctors have decided to “stay the present course” for a while longer.  The goal continues to be to get him as “dry” as possible using IV diuretics and other medications  (ever mindful of his endangered kidneys) until they feel they have reached their optimum effect and then switch to oral meds, hopefully keeping him stable so he can return home and cut the “IV umbellical cord” (so to speak).

Yesterday (or actually the night beforehand) they moved him up a floor — into another cardiac unit but for a reason that had naught to do with him.  They needed his  first room for a Covid patient for whom there was no space in the ICU.  There was little explanation for the move and Nyel, being Nyel, asked no questions.  I, on the other hand, had a gazillion of them and we finally learned that Nyel’s first room is a “Negative Pressure Room”  that keeps patients with infectious illnesses, or patients who are susceptible to infections from others, away from other patients, visitors, and healthcare staff.  Nyel did not need such a room and since there was an opening on the floor above…  voilà!

2022 Prius

As for me — I drove home yesterday from Seattle through patches of torrential rain.  Fortunately most of that came after I was out of the metro area and knew my way, whether or not I could actually read the signs.  Nevertheless, I was amazed that the trip took only a bit more than four hours and, mostly, that I arrived here in one piece!

Space Age Controls

My “to-do” list is lengthy and I’ve been working non-stop since I got here.  Today I spent four and a half hours at Lum’s completing the transaction for our new car — a 2022 mid-sized Prius, classic silver with black “leather-like” upholstery.  The drive home (with errands enroute) was an adventure, to say the least — where’s the hand-brake?  how the heck do you shift with a button gizmo?  where’s the cruise control — I know it’s here somewhere!  And thank goodness it’s not dark yet — there must be lights; isn’t it a law?  Mostly I lamented not having my navigator along to bolster my courage and clap and cheer that I made it (even into our garage!) without incident.
Oh… and I almost forgot.  It’ll parallel park for me, too!  (One more thing to figure out…)

And suddenly I realized… I have a column due tomorrow for next week’s paper!  YIKES!


A Midnight Visit With My Mom

Friday, January 21st, 2022

The Oldest and The Youngest Espy, Labor Day 2007  Dale Espy Little 95 yrs, 10 mo. and Silas Ronco, 3 mo.

“Why did you quit talking?” I asked her.

“Because no one listened any more,” she answered.

I was having this conversation with my mother last night.  It was a dream and was laden with those half-realities.  Dementia did, indeed, rob my mother of her ability to speak toward the end.  (Or so we thought.) She began to forget in 1995 and, though she kept the twinkle in her eyes and her wonderful smile, she gradually become more and more confused. And quieter and quieter.  She didn’t speak much during 2008 and maybe not at all during 2009.  She died in June that year, five months before her 98th birthday.

“Did I quit listening, too?” I asked her.  “Did I not pay attention any more? Did I simply second-guess your needs and forget the important things — all the ideas and thoughts you had?  All the living you had done and all the insights you could have offered?”

It wasn’t shame I felt when I woke up.  It was just a glimmer of understanding.  It’s not time yet… but soon, I think.  Soon it will be my turn to stay silent.

I wonder if I’ll have the courage.  The stamina.  The wisdom.

White Knuckles and Champagne Toasts

Saturday, January 1st, 2022

Where was this yesterday?

As I was scraping snow off my windshield yesterday about 8:15, a man driving by ever-so-slowly in his big black truck stopped and called out, “The roads are REALLY icy this morning!”

“Yes.  I’m not looking forward to it but I have an appointment in Long Beach.”

“You should be all right if you just go slow,” he said.

And, I did!  25 mph all the way.  The good news is that not a single yayhoo passed me.  Everyone was content to stay well back and to stay at 25 mph or under.  It was the worst — glare ice, black ice, snowy slush, and intermittent dry-ish highway.  And, of course, the ditches on either side.  Waiting.

When I entered Long Beach’s city limits, the streets were mysteriously clear — asphalt black and wet as if someone had just come by and dumped hot hot water on them and then vacuumed up the excess.  Just in Long Beach!  Wow.

The Intrepid Few

Going back to Oysterville two hours later was not any better.  White knuckle driving the entire way.  (But my nails looked fabulous.  Thanks, Gina!

Last night, a few of the intrepid Friday Nighters gathered.  Kenny brought bubbly and we toasted the New Year.  Never mind that we were five hours early. I’m certain it was midnight somewhere!  I hope it was someplace that felt a little safer than here — maybe somewhere that they sand the roads when its icy.  (Didn’t they used to do that on the Peninsula?)



Oh how I hope the weatherman is right!

Sunday, December 19th, 2021

Snow in the Siskiyous

Charlie leaves Los Angeles today on the long drive north to Oysterville.  I think he’s starting a day before he had planned in order to miss the predicted snow in the Siskiyous.  If the weatherman can be trusted with his current forecast, it will not snow until Tuesday in Weed, California.  Weed is a city of some 2500 folks and is located in Siskiyou County just off I-5.

More than once, when I lived in Bay Area and made the trek north in winter, it was in Weed that I stopped to put chains on my trusty VW bug — though truth to tell,  that happened very seldom in comparison to cars without front wheel drive.  Sometimes there were kids out on the freeway earning money for school by offering to put your chains on for $5.00.  (Could it REALLY have been that cheap?) And at least once, when Charlie was a teenager, he had the unpleasant duty, himself — and I did take seriously my “motherly” role of worrying that he didn’t have gloves or a proper jacket.   Nowadays, we both watch the weather forecasts closely and hope for the best!

Chicken Coop in the Snow. 2008

On the other hand, I saw that “flurries” are predicted for Oysterville on Christmas Day and for a few days thereafter!  Oh!  I do so hope that’s the way it will be.  I think the last time it snowed in Oysterville when Charlie was here was in 2008!!!  I remember that he went out to the chickens with us early in the morning and was enchanted, as were we, with all the animal tracks in the snow.  It’s always an eye-opener to see how many forest and meadow creatures come calling at night leaving not a trace except when it snows!

Deer Prints

But for now — no tracks, no snow, and for a few minutes, anyway, no rain.  The lawn is still pretty squishy, though.  With some steps I feel like I might continue right down below the grassy surface.  But I don’t.  And should that happen, I trust that Willard’s words in Oysterville, Roads to Grandpa’s Village still hold true:  In an ordinary year, a hundred inches of rain fall on grandpa’s village; we have mutated until we breathe with comfort air that is half water or water that is half air.  

It would be nice to feel the crunch of snow on just one or two mornings this season…  Just one or two.