Archive for the ‘Friendship’ Category

Quick! I hope there’s time to check it twice!

Tuesday, November 29th, 2022

It’s been happening for a while now.  Ever since retirement, I’d say.  Suddenly the end of November is upon us and Christmas is already demanding our full attention.  There’s the Naughty’n’Nice List to double-check, the gifts to gather and wrap and beribbon, the baking to be done, the house to decorate — maybe even outside as well as in! — the events to attend — and the loved ones to gather close.  Oh my!

The question that always nags at me is how in the world we did all that and worked, too, back in our salad days.  Especially those of us who taught little ones.  Multiply the paragraph above by at least two — you know, the classroom to be decorated (and the halls and the gym) and the Christmas program to plan and the rehearsals and secrets and… oh yes.  Be sure to stay on track with all those curriculum requirements.  Bless all of you teachers who are still carrying on — and I think it’s probably way more complicated these days.  Can we even call it “Christmas” or is everything a “Winter” celebration or ????

As I reflect on all of that, my own little holiday plans seem much more manageable.  And, wonder of wonders, good friends have offered help — to climb-that-ladder-to-adorn-the-top-of-that-ten-foot-tree kind of help.  I feel teary with gratitude and Christmas spirit.  And I’m here to reassure you that even though these holidays are bittersweet, they have their own special comforts and delights for us old folks!

Tiny Tim had it just right when he said, “God bless us every one!”

An Adventure for the Non-adventurist!

Saturday, November 19th, 2022

The Bowline Hotel, Astoria

I’m not what you would call an adventurous eater.  Or so it would seem after yesterday’s experience at Tiffany and Brady’s newest pub and eatery, The Knot Bar at The Bowline Hotel in Astoria.  (Don’t hold me to that “newest” comment — I honestly can’t keep up with their cutting edge entrepreneurship — a latest count includes the Adrift Hotel, Long Beach; Adrit Distillers, Long Beach; Inn at Discover Coast, Long Beach; Pickled Fish Restaurant, Long beach, Boardwalk Cottages, Long Beach; Ashore Hotel, Seaside; the Shelburne Hotel Seaview and now the Bowline Hotel and Knot Bar in Astoria.)  And to think I knew Tiffany when she was in the second grade class across from mine at Ocean Park School!  She was a force to reckon with then, as well!  And the Tiffany-Brady alliance seems to know no boundaries!

But… back to The Knot.  In all fairness, it is an “eatery” last — or so I see it.  First:  THE VIEW — right on the river’s edge within hailing distance of passing ships and  just westward of a gentle bend that provides a view of Astoria’s intriguing shoreline and ever-changing cityscape.  And second — A BAR which is more about beverages than snacks, although their website says this:
Locally sourced food and classic cocktails pair with post-industrial aesthetics…Our cocktails are handcrafted and celebrate local distilleries. The food menu is Scandinavian-inspired and pays homage to our community’s seafood history…

My Bloody Mary came with a small garni of celery and a generous piece of beef jerky on a cocktail swizzle (which I finally managed to extricate in multiple pieces.}  The menu, divided into four categories: “Snacks,” “Small Plates,” “Plates,” and “Sweets” was exotic (by my standards) and made for difficulty in choosing.  The listings, all spendy, included Foie Gras Tart, Beef Tartare, Bitter Greens, Sliced Duck Breast, Sweet Carrot Crepe Cannelloni and many many others.

I finally had the celery root soup which was served with flair from a glass flute (about cup-size) into a large bowl at the table.  Michael, who ordered the same thing,  explained the lukewarm quality — the individual serving of piping hot soup was decanted into bowl just out of the freezer.  With it, I had and a side of bread which was a very generous serving (four slices, I think) with butter. (Nothing special, but I freely confess, Nyel spoiled me for life in the Bread Department.)

Entrance to The Knot at The Bowline

The best part of the meal — visiting with old, dear friends and having the lounge completely to ourselves.  I understand it’s “jumping” during the evening cocktail hour but if you’re looking for a place for a noontime tête-à-tête with a view to die for — The Knot at The Bowline is just the place to put down your mid-day anchor!

P.S.  I won’t be offended if you tell me I’m showing my age.  It’s been on raging display for some time!  And aren’t I the luckiest “Old Broad” (Gordon’s pet name for me) in the world to have wonderful friends who keep me up-to-date and well-nourished?

Friends, food, flowers! Repeat!

Saturday, September 10th, 2022

From Leigh

It’s Saturday and another week is ending — the thirteenth full week since Nyel left us.  It’s been a week of visiting and catching up — friends from Astoria, from Seaside, from Seattle, even from Nahcotta and Long Beach.  They’ve brought flowers, taken me to lunch, and dropped by for tea.  Each day has brought splendid remembrances of past adventures and many promises of more  delights to come.  How lucky I am!

From Lana Jane and Paul

And tomorrow — brunch at the home of friends who, though newish in our lives, had already begun to build memories that included Nyel.  It all reminds me of that song I used to sing with my 1st/2nd/3rd graders at the beginnings of most years:

Make new friends
But keep the old,
One is silver,
And the other, gold.

Tuesday, September 13th would have been our thirty-fifth anniversary.  I’m sure that it never occurred to either of us that we would get so close to such a milestone!  How lucky we were!  And how fortunate I am, still.  If you are among the many to whom I  haven’t given a direct “thank you,” please know that it’s a totally unintentional oversight!  I am ever grateful to each and every friend — for your sustaining thoughts, your heartfelt laughter, and for the memories that we are lucky enough to share. (more…)

With Much Love On Your 100th, Marian Lee!

Saturday, September 3rd, 2022

Sydney with Marian and Jim Lee

Tomorrow, September 4th, is Marian Lee’s 100th birthday — the official one!  But it was today that the community came out in force to celebrate with our beloved centenarian and her family.  It was breakfast at the Senior Center in Klipsan Beach from 8:30 to 10:30 — with Barbara Bate playing at the keyboard (loved all the Scott Joplin!) and the crowd singing Happy Birthday as Marian took her place at the head table.

It was packed!  Every possible chair at every possible table was taken.  There were folks from all over the Peninsula and far beyond. “We’ve never served so many breakfasts!” more than one waitress said.  And, as always it was service with a smile and “Would you like more coffee?” or butter… or syrup… and it would soon materialize!

I wondered if dear Marian and her handsome husband, Jim, ever got to eat anything at all.  There was a steady stream of well-wishers at the table — sometimes a whole line-up.  Marian, gracious as always, didn’t seem to worry about her pancakes and sausage getting cold.  She held firmly to each well-wisher’s hand and smiled and smiled.

“Thank you for coming!” I heard her say over and over again!  It seemed a bit tacky to say, “Thank you for making it possible!”  But what DO you say to the birthday girl who seems to think that you have done her a favor by celebrating such a fabulous achievement?

Come to think of it, there aren’t a lot of precedents.  So far, only two in my lifetime — two women who I count as friends:  Betty Paxton and Marian.  How fortunate are we who have known them!

Happy, Happy Birthday, Dear Marian!  Thanks for sharing your celebration with all of us!


Overnight O’ville Mail – Deja Vu Backwards?

Thursday, September 1st, 2022

From My Friend Casey!

So… yesterday morning when I went for the mail, there was a priority mail package for me.  For a minute I thought it might be Anna’s purse finding its way back to me  — and if this doesn’t make sense go back a blog or two.  But, the return address said “From Your Friend Casey” and it had been sent from Stevenson, WA on August 30th — the day before!  Not only had I received it overnight, but it had arrived in Oysterville in time for our 8:30 a.m. mail distribution.  WOW!

“But then,” thought I… maybe Casey has magic strings he can pull.  He was Oysterville’s Singing Postmaster for years and worked in many other WA and OR post offices as well before he got smart and quit to write poetry full time.  But… even as the thought erupted, I knew that wasn’t the reason.  It was probably some other logical combination of things .

It’s only 162.6 miles from Stevenson to Oysterville, according to Google, while it is 199.1 from Oysterville to Seattle.   The time from Stevenson 3 hours and 8 minutes  but from O’ville to Seattle, it’s 3 hours and  18 minutes — just ten minutes more.  Obviously, it has more to do with where the sorting and transfer points are than the separation of post offices by time and distance.

But never mind all that.  Whatever was Casey sending me that required priority mail?  I can’t tell you how surprised (and pleased!) I was to find a loaf of home-baked bread in the package.  Casey made it with his own hands (I emailed and asked immediately).  “Yes, I did make that loaf of ordinary white bread but it has been so fun to make and so yummy that I can’t abandon the recipe,” he told me.  And “yummy” it is!  I mixed up my last can of Erik Fagerland’s tuna (jalapeno flavored) and had two (count ’em, two) tuna sandwiches on Casey’s bread (toasted).  OMG!  I made yet another one today for lunch.  Heaven!

Tuna Sandwich Ingredients: Tender Loving Care!

How I wished Nyel was here to share these treats with me.  Did Casey and Cynthia ever get any of Nyel’s home-baked bread?  I hope so.  Did Erik and Pat?  How blessed I felt eating those luscious sandwiches.

Meanwhile, I still haven’t heard from Anna or her purse.  I think Anna had just a quick turn around when she got back from Canada and then she was off  on yet another business trip.  As for the purse — no telling what adventures its been on.  But I’m here to tell you that most experiences that begin in Oysterville are worth every bit of angst and uncertainty.  I hope that extends to purses, as well.

Tonight was the twelfth gathering…

Friday, August 26th, 2022

Tucker shares Arthur Nissan’s arwork.

There were thirteen of us here this evening for our Friday Night Gathering — the twelfth Friday get-together without Nyel.  It’s hard to realize that a dozen weeks (and two days) have gone by since he left us.

And yet, the time has not behaved normally.  At least, not for me.  Some days crawl by without accomplishment.  Others gallop and crash into one another and maybe things get done but I can scarcely remember what they might have been — a phenomenon which matters sometimes.  And mostly not.

And did I mention the fabulous food?

The first Friday without Nyel, there were twenty of us here — friends who came to offer support to me and to one another. The simple fact of their being here was a lovely tribute to both Nyel and me; the caring was palpable.  Since then, the numbers have varied — sometimes eight or nine, seldom fewer.   And things have settled back into a rhythm that has become soothingly familiar over the twenty years since our Friday Night tradition began.

Another Friday Night in Greater Downtown Oysterville

We talk, we laugh, we plan, we give one another a hard time now and then, even as we share our successes, our annoyances, our aha moments.  We don’t always agree but we seldom disagree very seriously.  It’s comfortable — a fitting finale to one week and a promising beginning to the next.

Or, at least that’s how I see it.



RCMQ Incognito!

Tuesday, August 16th, 2022

RCMQ – Incognito at the Oysterville Regatta Dinner

I’ve seen them in formal wear.  I’ve seen them in casual outfits.  But on Sunday at the Regatta Dinner was the first time I had ever seen the Rose City Mixed Quartet incognito!

The four of them — Mark Petersen, bass; Helen Dietz, alto; Dale Webber, tenor; Cameron Herbert, soprano; — had come for one of their periodic weekend visits.  Mark’s wife, Elo was with them which was a special treat and I was pleased that their stay in Oysterville coincided with our annual Regatta weekend.  To top things off, the weather was picture perfect.  Never mind that there was hardly enough wind to make it a proper sailboat race.  We happily cheered and clapped, were given ice cream bars by Regatta organizer Tucker Wachsmuth, and all had a marvelous time!

Our neighbors “four doors up,” Alan and Kathy Dees, hosted the Regatta Dinner this year — pulled pork or Buddha bowls with all the trimmings!  Then the Awards Ceremony, topped off by Commodore Tucker’s presentation of the Oyster Cup to first place winner, his son Clark Wachsmuth.  Closing the festivities was this year’s Regatta Song presented by Tucker with zany vocal accompaniment by Fred Carter.  A grand finale… we thought.

Rose City Mixed Quartet – In Formal Wear

And then, when most of us were diving into dessert, came familiar voices singing “Ain’t Misbehaving.”  WOW!  “Did you know they were going to sing?” I asked Elo who was sitting next to me.  “No.  Not at all.”

As Tucker said the next morning, “It was like magic.  No one there knew who they were — just that they had been your guests at the Regatta, as such, were at the Dinner Party.  And suddenly, they were singing and there was just no mistaking that they were professionals!  Really!  It was like magic!”

Rose City Mixed Quartet – In Casual Mode

The crowd gathered, standing, behind our front row seats and you could have heard a pin drop as we all listened.  Tucker had it right,  It was magical!  Then a standing ovation, introductions, and we all resumed our dessert.  The Rose City Mixed Quartet — no longer incognito in Oysterville!

Cloudwalk, Sunshine, and Moon River!

Saturday, August 6th, 2022

Today was the “Celebration of Pam” — an Open House gala event presented by her husband, Sturges, and their four daughters — a fabulous, festive occasion to commemorate her remarkable life.  Friends and loved ones gathered from 2:00 to 5:30 at Cloudwalk — the Ocean Park beach house that she and Sturges designed not so many years ago.

The guests arrived by the scores, guided to the magical property by balloon bouquets to mark the way and by helpful, handsome parking attendants.  At the beginning of the driveway, we were greeted by a sign-in table and a copy of “The Book of Pam” for each of us.  This is our love letter to Pam, from her daughters, Elizabeth, Sarah, Meredith, Jennifer, her family and her many friends — and most especially from Sturges.  The book is a unique telling, complete with pictures, of Pam’s remarkable life.

The sun shone and but for the gentle breeze off the ocean, it might have been almost too hot.  There was music on the deck.  And a banquet to die for — served by a white aproned crew under the direction of Chef Nanci Main.  Bartender Pamela Jewell served white wine and, later, champagne for a toast following heartfelt words by Sturges.  And then “their song”– “Moon River” sung by Fred Carter with all of us joining in the second time through.  There wasn’t a dry eye.

We admired Pam’s gardens, now lovingly tended by Todd Wiegardt who worked closely with Pam during her last years at Cloudwalk.  And we were invited to roam through the house and to go up to the balcony for the best view of the Pacific Ocean anyone could desire!

I loved it all.  And the best part?  The best part was knowing that Pam had not only created this piece of paradise, she had enjoyed it to the max!  She was house-proud and garden-proud and reveled in sharing her domain with those she cared about.  She would have loved today’s “Celebration of Pam!”

A bigger farewell than we knew…

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2022

View from the Bridgewater Bistro

On June 2nd, Nyel and I took our friends Barb and John Canney to the Bridgewater Bistro in Astoria for a “Farewell Dinner.”  Barb had been here with us for two-and-a-half weeks, ostensibly to help me with my computer files.  Her visit was my 2021 birthday present from Nyel and it had been a year plus several months before it had finally all come together.  And well worth the wait!

It turned out to be the best birthday gift EVER!  Not only did Barb get me on track to continue streamlining my files, she helped me in countless ways with household chores, with nursing necessities, with cooking and shopping and just BEING — the way only old, dear friends can manage.  Barb’s husband John joined us for the last few days of her stay — all the way from Cohasset, MA.


Our Farewell Dinner was on a Thursday.  Barb and John left on Friday.  And the following Wednesday, Nyel died.  Little did we know that Thursday’s final dinner with our good friends would also be Nyel’s final dinner at the Bridgewater.  And, as it has turned out, my final dinner there as well.

At least, “there” under the loving stewardship of our friends Tony and Ann Kischner.  They have sold the Bistro and it’s the end of an era, for sure.  Not only their restaurants but they and their family have been part of our lives for forty years. Both their daughters were my students at Ocean Park School.  Ann was President of the Water Music Festival (before it became a “Society”) the year Nyel and I gave our Annual Croquet Gala to benefit Water Music — the year we got married in a surprise ceremony before the Awards Ceremony.  I gave my bouquet to Michelle who took it to school the next day for “Show and Tell.”

Nyel and Dr. Michelle,

We celebrated family birthdays and anniversaries at Tony and Ann’s Shoalwater Restaurant at the Shelburne.  During our Bookvendor years we ate many a meal at their Lightship Restaurant in Long Beach and their Heron and Beaver Pub (also at the Shelburne) was the perfect place to meet friends for a drink or a cozy evening meal.

The Pub was also where the Croquet Trophy lived between September tournaments and it was at the Pub that I held my retirement party followed by a dinner with good friends in the Shoalwater dining room.  So many memories — 40 years’ worth!  And all of them bound up in that last Farewell Dinner that we didn’t realize would also be a Farewell to the Bridgewater Bistro, as well!


Laughing Along With Judy Eron!

Wednesday, July 27th, 2022

Judy Eron — Singer, Songwriter, Author, and More!

This afternoon I’m going plum-picking with Judy Eron.  Or maybe I’ll get to compete with her to become a Rodeo Queen. And perhaps, too, I can share in her excitement over her first social security check and help her find her yodel!

You can join in these adventures, too, at the Peninsula Art Center from 4:00 to 6:00 this afternoon.  That’s when Judy will be center stage, playing and singing some of her own songs.  I’m not sure which ones — she’s written over 500 in her long career!   I hope there are some of my favorites, but I’ve found with Judy that each “new” song of hers I hear becomes my new favorite… so no worries!

And, you might think from my use of the word “career” that Judy has been a full-time musician all these years. Well… sort of.  But she is also a clinical social worker (which sounds almost as impressive) and, an author — of What Goes Up. . .Surviving the Manic Episode of a Loved One (2005).

Judy Eron – From Her FB Page

Perhaps, most impressive of all, to me, is that she lived and worked in Nashville for twenty years!  Nashville!  Rubbing elbows and writing songs for all those country singers we know and love!  She has also recorded two LPs, has written musical theater and has had two musicals produced — in Vermont and Nashville.  Wow!

Judy tells me that she may call on her friends Charlie Watkins and Janet Clark to do a few numbers with her today — the three of them make up three-fourths of Double J and the Boys.  But, mostly, this afternoon will be all Judy.  As she told me, “This is my once-a-year concert of all my own songs.”

I can scarcely wait!  I hope the Peninsula Arts Center tent is full to bursting — have you called to reserve a spot? — and that Long Beach reverberates with Judy’s enthusiasm and rollicking music!