Archive for the ‘Being Mindful’ Category

Can you hear it? The garden is calling!

Tuesday, February 20th, 2024

February 20, 2024

Here it is, just a few days past the mid-point of February — often a time when we might expect a snow flurry or even some icy weather.  But, instead, it was a mild 52º outside with no wind at all — not even a zephyr!  No wonder I could actually hear the garden calling me!

I took a little walk-about, wondering if it was time yet to set up a mowing schedule (I decided not) and cursed myself for not braving the stormy weather the last few weeks to spray the camellias with deer repellant.  While I have been hunkering, the deer people have been munching.  The camellia leaves are definitely looking tatty and I have no doubt that those garden visitors have been scoping out the York Roses, as well — never mind that they are still without leaves or blooms.

I went right to work with my magic spray bottle with lots of apologies to the primroses and hydrangeas (as well as the camellias and roses) for my neglectful ways and with promises to do better in the days ahead.   Actually, the primroses look pretty good and both of the camellias are starting to blossom beautifully.  I’m so curious about that.  The last few years they began blooming in December and now they are back “on schedule” with the first blossoms coming shortly before my birthday.  Go figure.

Otherwise, things don’t look too shabby.  The daffodils are beginning to bloom and the rhododendrons are budding — the Jean Maries whispering, “We’ll see you in May! We’ll see you in May!”  And, of course, I answered, “Yes!!”  And sooner than that I’ll be out here a bit more.  Daylight Savings begins in a few weeks and it always seems to give me more time to be outside.  And four weeks from today is the first day of Spring!!   No wonder the garden is calling!


Our Heavenly Oysterville Sky!

Tuesday, February 6th, 2024

February 6. 2024

Evening Sky

Where was I when the sky was showing off?

Or was Tucker the only one it was struttin’ its stuff for?

Do you think it’s because he has an artist’s eye?

Or does he spend more time looking than the we do?

Perhaps he and the heavens have a special arrangement —

One we aren’t privy to.

But never mind.

We don’t need to know the secret…

Tucker shares with us, anyway!

Thank heavens!  (No.  Thank Tucker!)


January 1st: A Day for Goal Setting?

Monday, January 1st, 2024

Do people really make resolutions on the first day of each year?  And, if so… then what?  Do they evaluate their commitment and progress toward that resolve as the year progresses?  Or does intention  fade ever so gradually as the days go by and we get back to our regular routines.

I honestly can’t remember making any significant changes in my life trajectory as a result of a New Year’s Resolution.  In fact, I can’t even remember any of the resolutions that I must have made over the years. I do accept that my memory ain’t what it used to be, but you’d think at least one grand resolve over one’s lifetime could be remembered.

So then my thoughts segued into the realm of a “personality flaw” and, after pondering that for about a minute I re-took the Meyers Briggs Personality Test to remind myself what my (supposed) deep-seated strengths and weaknesses are.  Plus, I was curious if my personality had changed in the last 40 years since I had last taken the “test.” That was back in the day when I was supposedly in my prime — career-wise, relationship-wise, and confidence-wise.  But, thought I, since the test is extremely subjective, could the results change by taking it in a less “peak” time of life.

Nope.  No Change.  I’m still an ENTJ — and my idea of finding a “weakness” around which to establish a resolution for 2024 more-or-less collapsed.  If my personality has changed, my self-perception obviously has not.  According to these results I am still 63% extroverted versus 27% introverted; 58% Intuitive vs 42% Observant; 88% Thinking vs 12% Feeling; and 56% Assertive versus 44% Turbulent (whatever that is).

So do I want to “work” on one of those weaker areas — become more introverted or observant or, perhaps react more to my feelings in a situation rather than rely on my thinking skills?  And turbulence?  I don’t even want to go there, although maybe a little investigation would provide some clarification about the term.

Sum total of my early morning “research.”  I think I’ll leave well-enough alone and continue as I’ve been doing for many years now:  one step at a time, the best way I know how, and bolstering that process with the knowledge that “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”  So step cautiously.

.  I’ll be interested to know how my friends and loved ones approach this traditional start to the New Year.  Do tell!

It’s getting harder and harder to keep up!

Tuesday, December 5th, 2023

Mostly, I don’t even try to “keep up” anymore.  I stopped watching “The News” as in national and international long ago.  There are just too many wars, too many shootings too many alternative lifestyles and multiple personalities for this old mind to deal with.  And to what purpose, anyway?  Long ago I realized that if I could make a difference in this tired and ailing old world, it would have to be up close and personal — by reaching out to someone I could actually touch, perhaps.

So, for the most part, I confine my “news” intake to what I can glean from our local paper and from what I learn from first-hand experience.  I do get the “Morning Newsletter” online from the New York Times which purports to “make sense of the day’s news and ideas” (which it doesn’t always) and the “New York Times Opinion”, also online and from which I sometimes pick and choose from the columnists editorials, and essays.

However, I may have to re-think even that small foray into the world beyond.  This morning’s guest column by Lydia Polgreen  in “Opinion”  began: We live in a society that valorizes individual freedom and lionizes those who march to their own drum.   

In The News

Valorizes? “Is that a word?  Surely not,” I thought.  But yep!  There it was in the online dictionary from good old Merriam Webster.  “ enhance or try to enhance the price, value, or status of by organized and usually governmental action’ 2.  to assign value or merit to.”

To make matters worse, the word has been around since 1906 (talk about being out of the loop!) though, apparently, not much used until the 1960s.  Obviously, I’ve been out of touch with more than the news for even longer than I thought. .  Apologies to Ms. Polgreen! Though, in case you are wondering if I’ve had a change in attitude, please go back to the first sentence of this blog.

Not a complaint. More an observation.

Friday, November 24th, 2023

In the last year or so — since I’ve been closer to 90 than to 80 — I’ve had some rather annoying encounters with “professionals” who seem to equate elderly with feeble-minded.  Or, perhaps, more accurately, with “not very important folks” or maybe even as “throw-away people.”  Or at least that’s the way they make me feel.

My latest such encounter was with a youngish man (but not all that young; his beard is more gray than dark and his appearance unkempt in some purposeful way that speaks of trying to be trendy.)  It was a dermatology appointment and perhaps I was sort of “prepared” for an unfavorable experience.  The  clinic involved has recently changed its name.  Twice.  First they added “and cancer” or something to that effect to their “dermatology” name.  Next they changed their name entirely so it’s difficult to tell just what their focus is.  Yet, they say they are the same old outfit — just name changes.

Admittedly, I hadn’t been in for a year, but I was surprised to find no familiar faces.  I had made my appointment a few weeks ago specifically to have several “spots” of seborrheic keratosis removed (frozen off.)  This is a genetic condition I’ve inherited from both parents — not a big deal, but for the last 40-almost-50 years I’ve made yearly trips to my dermatologist to have them removed.  Needless to say, several of my dermatologists have retired or gone out of business during those years, but with each new person, a similar yearly routine has been established.

Not this time.  “I don’t really believe in removing these,” he said to me.  “They aren’t really a problem –(easy for him to say)– and there is always danger of infection from removing them..”  “Really?” I countered.  “That’s never been a problem for me nor has anyone ever said it might be.”

By then he had looked me over, and said very little more before he was outta there.  Wot the hell?  Why did they allow me to make an appointment for the removal of my seborrheic keratosis (which I had clearly specified as the reason for my appointment if their new hotshot doesn’t believe in that procedure.  I guess they are counting on my insurance company to pay them for an office visit.  But it was a waste of 2-1/2 hours of my time, however much gas it takes to drive 34.7 miles round trip and big-time wear and tear on my psyche.

I won’t go there again.  Ditto the eye clinic in Astoria — which I wrote about several years ago.  If there is one thing I know more about than any other human being, it’s me.  If I’m having a problem, I expect the “professional” I consult to at least give me credit for a little intelligence and to treat my concerns with considerateness and civility.  I may be elderly, but I’m not less important because of my age.  Shame on that young man and all the others like him!

So, the other day when the lens fell out…

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2023


…of my glasses, I slipped it back in the frame ever-so-carefully and called my eye doctor to see if the optician was in.  She was, so I gathered my coat and purse and, also, my wits and drove ever-so-gingerly to have  it replaced properly.  It only fell out again once and I caught it before it hit a hard surface.  Whew!

Not only do I have just one pair of glasses (which I actually don’t need for distance since my cataract surgery some years ago) but I have been on the search for the same exact frames which I feel have “ME” written all over them.  I got them originally maybe 10 or more years ago at a little boutique frame shop on NW 23rd in Portland.  They were grotesquely expensive but Nyel and I both agreed:  I had to get them.  And, as far as I’m concerned they have to last as long as I do.


I feel that way especially because the boutique is no more and I have been unable to find a pair of glasses — perfectly round with no nose pads.  The optician at my former eye clinic said she couldn’t find them.  So… I was worried… Deep in my soul, I felt that this might be the beginning of the end…

And, sure enough, when the optician repaired them she said the screws are pretty well stripped and I’d best think about getting new frames.  I told her my sad story and she said, “Well, give me a minute…” and disappeared into the back room with my glasses  She came back a few minutes later with a print-out showing my exact frames from the manufacturer.  In Portland!  Still being made!  “But,” she said, “it looks like they only come in bronze.”  I don’t think I said “Oh Yuck!” out loud, but she said, “Their contact information is on here.  Why don’t you give them a call?”

Merry Christmas!

It took me a few days to get over the sticker shock but I justified it with the old “I deserve a Christmas present from myself” argument and I worked up the courage to call.  “Hang on a minute and I’ll see,” said the pleasant voice at the other end in answer to my “Do they come in black?” query.  YES!  And today they arrived in my mail!

Am I lucky or what?  Now the question is… should I have these lenses put in them or wait until my insurance will pay (well, partly) for a new pair of glasses?  I think that might be a year from now…  I guess another phone call is in order.

Just what is an “honest” mistake, anyway?

Wednesday, October 25th, 2023

I might be nit-picking a bit here, but when I read the Page 2 headline in today’s Observer —State senator says Hong Kong gun charge due to ‘honest mistake’ — I had to stop and mull that over for a bit.  It seems to me that a mistake is a mistake.  Period.  I don’t quite see how there can be an “honest” or a “dishonest” qualifier.

But then my thinking is probably skewed by the fact that the Senator’s “honesty” (or possibly his “mistake”) involved a gun.  And a handgun at that — or so I assume since it was in his carryon luggage along with his chewing gum.  So, in an effort to see if I was mistaken (either honestly or dishonestly), I looked up the word “mistake.”  According to Merriam Webster:  noun. 1. : a wrong judgment : misunderstanding. 2. : a wrong action or statement proceeding from faulty judgment, inadequate knowledge, or inattention.

So then I asked Google, “Is there a difference between an honest mistake and a dishonest mistake?”  And the answer was:  “An honest mistake of course, is understood as someone “trying” with a sincere intent and effort to do well and not make a mistake. A “dishonest mistake” would be more correctly characterized by someone taking on a project with NO intent to avoid a mistake.”

So, am I further ahead than I was when I started?  I honestly don’t have a clue.  I can’t quite wrap my head around someone packing a gun in his carryon luggage “with a sincere intent and effort to do well and not make a mistake” if the rules (or in this case, the law) says No Hand Guns In Carry On Luggage.    I must conclude that his was not a  dishonest mistake (see paragraph above) and I can’t see the “mistake” part very clearly either.   Just plain stupid, I say — no honesty, dis or otherwise, involved.  And certainly not a mistake.

I wonder what the Hong Kong courts will say…


Here endeth the first lesson.

Tuesday, October 17th, 2023

Nyel’s Handicap Placard Too bad it’s expired, eh?

I’ve been thinking about this for a while.  About trying to be a little pro-active about my health and welfare.  I thought it might be a good idea now that I’m approaching 90…  (Well, not quite.  I have two years and four months to go, but today I learned that it’s a moot point, anyway…)

I’ve been thinking  that it might be a good idea to have one of those Handicap placards to hang from my automobile mirror when I need to park closer than a gazillion blocks from something.  It’s not that I can’t walk just fine.  But I don’t always feel secure.  My peripheral vision is far from perfect.  I don’t always notice curbs or buckled sidewalks My balance is okay but if someone were to bump into me (or I into them) I’d likely fall.

But mostly, it’s when I’m grocery shopping and having to schlepp my stuff up and down the rows of cars or step back and forth over the curb to get stuff out of my shopping cart into the car — that’s when I feel vulnerable.  And I don’t think i should really have to feel that way.

So I called my Primary Care person and asked if he could write me an order or a prescription or whatever for one of those Handicap placards.  “Can you walk 200 feet without difficulty?”  Well, yes.  “You don’t get short of breath like someone with emphysema might?”   Well, no.

“You don’t require a cane or other aid for walking, do you?”  Well, no.  “You can walk 200 feet without falling?”  Well,  yes.  “Sorry, the State of Washington will not issue you a Handicap placard,  You don’t fit the parameters…”  or something like that.

So there you have it.  Eat right.  Live 87 plus years without ever being overweight, breaking a bone, or needing a walking aid.  Stay active.  Take care of your eyes, your teeth, your mind.  Stay in good shape and if you get concerned that you might need a little extra support DO NOT LOOK TO THE STATE OF WASHINGTON (probably especially the DMV.)

As I said… Here endeth the first lesson.  Well, probably not the first.  Most of us over 80 know we are in the “Make-A-Fuss-Over-Then-Throw-Away” category.  The State of Washington just seems to have skipped the “Fuss Over” part.

It’s Friday the 13th! Again!

Friday, October 13th, 2023

Hand drawn Halloween icon with a textured black cat vector illustration.

Most years have one  Friday-the-13th but this year we are curse —  or blessed if you happen to be Taylor Swift with two.  Today is the second (and last) one of the year.  The first was in January and, truth to tell, I don’t really remember noticing.  Some years, apparently there can be as many as three!

That seems a big potential for bad luck, unless of course (as mentioned above) you are singer/songwriter Taylor Swift.  According to the hype about her:  She was born on the 13th (though it didn’t happen to be a Friday) and she claims that whenever she is seated in row 13 or row M (the 13th letter) at an award show, she always wins. When she ‘Tay-lurks’, she goes to a fan’s livestream and comments 13 emojis. If she sees a 13, it’ll bring her luck, but if she sees no number 13 that day, she’ll lose.

Hmmm.  Where the Friday part fits into all that, I have no idea.  (Truth to tell, I don’t really understand any of those last two sentences about ‘Tay-lurks’ and emojis…  I’m definitely the wrong generation.)

What I do understand is that the Friday-the-13th superstition has evolved over time and across cultures. It is difficult to pinpoint its precise origins.  Both Friday and the number 13 have been regarded as unlucky in certain cultures throughout history —  unlucky 13 ia traceable back to Norse mythology, when Loki, the god of mischief, gate-crashed a banquet in Valhalla, bringing the number of gods in attendance to 13 with disastrous results.

Well… whether or not you are superstitious about this day and its portents I think it’s only sensible to avoid breaking a mirror, placing a hat on the bed, walking under a ladder or letting black cats cross your path.  After all, why tempt the fates?

A Most Hopeless, Most Interesting Task!

Monday, September 18th, 2023

Ruth Dixon

I’m trying to clean out, consolidate and, in general, make sense of my files.  However, I’ve  all but given up after just two days.  The problem is, I saved these “gems” because they are just that and I’m just not ruthless enough to pitch and toss.  Just now, for instance I ran across a note from historian and journalist Ruth Dixon (1906- 2001) to my Uncle Willard, probably written to him when he was collecting information for his book, Oysterville, Roads to Grandpa’s Village.

Copied from the diary of Patterson Fletcher Luark, a pioneer of the vicinity of Westport:

Wednesday, Feb. 11,1863:
Went to lighthouse with team.  Found 7 or 8 men here from Bruceport pretending (?) to hunt for the body of Captain Wells; he and a stranger from Oregon in crossing from Bruceport on the 15th instant were both lost off Tokes Point.

From James A Gibbs Pacific Graveyard: Willapa Bay Light Station shows two lights. The shorter tower, proving too low and threatened by erosion, a higher tower was bult at right.

Friday, April 3, 1863:
The bodies of Capt. Wells and Cline, lost on the 15th of February off Tokes Point were found yesterday and today.
(Mr. Luark refers to giving Mrs. Wells a ride to his house for a visit, or returning her home.  They seemed to be very good friends.)

This is just a few of the tidbits I have, but not knowing just what you lack, and what you have, this will give you some idea.

Our history is so lacy — full of holes, it is a great feeling to be able to smooth it out a bit.

Thank] you for writing.

And, yes, please do send me a copy of Isaac’s letter.  [Isaac Clark, ss ]  Quite a few members of the family (mostly Wilsons) are collecting data, and I enjoy helping, and sharing.

The information about the July 4, 1872 boat race will be so welcome.

Signed [Ruth Dixon]