Archive for the ‘Rants and Raves’ Category

Would a sorting hat really help?

Thursday, June 1st, 2023

The clock said 5:25.  The sun was just about to peep over the Willapa Hills to give me my morning kiss and I was… well, I was wishing I had a sorting hat à la Harry Potter.  Not to sort out which of the four Hogwarts Schools I was cut out for, but for a far more practical and grown-up sort of reason.  To sort out my activities for the  day.

It was already promising to be one of those times when there were too many things on my to-do list — all of less than medium desirability to get done and of equal urgency in terms of time.  So, there was nothing for it but to get on with it…

By nine o’clock I was feeling very much accomplished.  1) Two loads of washing done!  2) Lawn sprinklers going full blast and already moved twice.  2) Spent flowers collected from the Espy Cemetery Plot and containers gathered and put away for next Decoration Day.  4) Mail sent; none to collect. 5) Breakfast eaten.  6) Scrapbooks for “fine-tuning” sorted and ready to pursue.”

I was then off to get a tank full of gas — trying to calculate how many trips hither and thither I could make this month at my current (Prius hybrid) rate of 58.8 miles per gallon!!!!  And I was on my way to the optician in Long Beach to have her adjust my glasses which seem to want to slide off my nose.

By then it was ten-tennish and I was tired of it all.  So I did what any sensible Woman-Without-Sorting-Hat would do.  I called my friend Carol and asked if she was up for a coffee at Colleen’s about two o’clock.

I am making no apologies for only getting halfway (or less) through my mental list of “musts” for today.  I made it perfectly clear at the beginning.  I NEED A SORTING HAT!

Or better yet… a magic wand!

Not enough hours in the day…

Friday, May 26th, 2023

My “state of the art” electric typewriter on which I wrote a series of social studies texts in the early 1970s.

It seems to me that I get less done as the days go by, even though I have cut out a good number of activities as the years have passed.  First and foremost, I’m retired from teaching.  By my calculations that should give me at least ten hours per day (yes, ten) every weekday and often three or four hours on each of the weekend days.  Plus I wrote a series of K-5 text books subsequently adopted by the State of California to be used by every child K-5 child in public schools.  Admittedly, all his was back in the dark ages before technology made things easier and faster.  (Or does it?)

And I now have help in the garden so I’m not slogging around in the flower beds except for the occasional Slug Patrol or Deer Fence duties.  I don’t have  help in the house — never have had in this house — but I go by my mother’s mantra — “An old place like this (built in 1869) wouldn’t feel like home without a little patina of dust.”

Oysterville Schoolhouse — 100 years old in 2008

Plus I’ve given up any duties with Oysterville organizations — volunteer or otherwise.  And The Community Historian Project has turned a corner and is not based upon 15 weekly half-day classes.  I am hoping that our fledgling plans for a monthly History Forum at the Oysterville School September through May will not require too much of my non-existent time.

So… my question is:  what has become of all those hours in my life.  I seem to be busy all the time — tidying up, writing, researching, tidying some more.  But I fail to see very much actually accomplished.

Christmastime or anytime is rocking chair time these days!

I seem to remember my mother telling me now and then that my eyes were bigger than my stomach — reminding me, of course, to eat up everything on my plate or, more importantly, not to take so much next time.  Maybe there is an expression that relates to getting things done.  Perhaps, “My expectations exceed the realities of time and energy.”  Or, more likely, “Cut yourself some slack, old lady.”  Hmm.  Words to ponder.

“That old lady in Oysterville…”

Tuesday, May 16th, 2023

Along Our Northern Border

In the great scheme of things, or at least in the world of tourism on the Peninsula, I am thankful that seven ayem is pretty early in the day.  There usually isn’t much activity over at the church or in the road in front of our house.  At least, I hope not.

The rhododendrons along most of the south, east and west garden borders are now so large that I am unaware of folks who might be walking along the lane toward the bay or stopping along their way to take pictures.  And so it is that I am often out walking the garden perimeter and having a righteous conversation with my beautiful co-residents, happily under the illusion that no one but the flowers can hear me!

Mother Lilac and Jean Marues by the east Oircg

This morning I apologized profusely to the camellias for neglecting them a few weeks back, somehow forgetting to spray them with Deer and Rabbit Fence, the surest protection I know of against our voracious local ungulates.  Sadly, therefore, from knees to bellies (theirs) they have been chomped and chewed to an unsightly, extremely un-camellia-like display of shorn leaves.  “I’m so sorry!” I said over and over.  “But you’re doing a great job at recovery!  You’ll soon look good as new!”

And then there are the lilacs — back again for the umpty-umpth year and nearby their “babies” that Nyel had dug up and planted hither and thither beginning to bloom for the first time!    “How I wish Nyel could see you,” I said.  “He would be so proud of you!”

Mrs. G.W. Leal! A force to be reckoned with!

Then there are the overwhelming Mrs. G.W. Leaks who must be over thirty feet tall now:  “OMG, Mrs. Leak!  You have outdone yourselves this year!  You are beyond gorgeous!  Thank you so much!”

And on I went… It wasn’t until well after I came indoors that I wondered if there were listeners — perhaps dog-walkers and their four-legged companionswondering who the old nit-wit is that wanders the garden praising and scolding and carrying on, apparently all by herself.  Oh well!  I know the flowers love our morning conversations — they show me their appreciation every single day!  Bless them for making the world seem so simple — at least within my garden fence.

Say WHAT, UPS??? You want a password???

Friday, May 12th, 2023

I think UPS just put me over some edge.  They sent a message that they would provide tracking information (it’s my Mother’s Day present from Marta — she already told me it’s coming by UPS), if I would give them a user name and password.   Say what????  Just deliver the damned package.  Why in in the world would they want a password?  Which item of privacy am  I protecting now?

I don’t know about you, but I am up to HERE with passwords and user names and privacy worries.  Especially considering I don’t think we have any privacy, anyway.  Why is it that I can blog on my WordPress site about anything at all and before I’ve even gotten it posted, I’m getting advertisements for products related to what I’m writing.

And all the while I’m reading that our County Sheriff (who has not had any more training than the rest of us who played cops and robbers when we were kids) really thinks he is in charge of our County.  Say what?  I wonder if he has a more potent password than the rest of us.

And then there’s the guy in Raymond who “everyone” says is the Kingpin among the drug dealers of the County.  Probably his password is even more effective.  We’re undoubtedly into some “My password is bigger than your password” time of existence.

Sorry UPS.  Just call me a luddite, but I really don’t care WHEN my gift arrives.  It’s the thought that counts and my thoughts about your password request would probably be bleeped out of cyberspace.

P.S. — Just revisited that UPS email.  It’s now gone!  Replaced by the tracking information (“out for delivery”) — and all without me providing a password.  Do you think they’ve been reading my blogsite even before I’ve posted it?

And before I forget to say so… our UPS driver, Chrissy, is THE BEST!!  She even got married in the Oysterville Church!  (And there were no passwords involved that I know of.)

Have you read today’s “Observer” yet?

Wednesday, May 10th, 2023

Extra! Read all about it!

In answer to my own question, I have to say, “Only partly.” And those portions that I did read sent me through the gamut of emotions — disgust and distrust, anger and sadness, shame and anxiety.  Plus a good dollop or two of fear as I considered the implications  of  our young and totally inexperienced sheriff’s beliefs as outlined in the letter to the editor from Dave Sweblom of Raymond.  Scarey.

A bright spot was Ken Woodrich’s letter urging Ocean Park to incorporate.  I so hope that his words resonate with the leaders of what could be the largest municipality on the Peninsula.  Don’t you find it ludicrous, in this day and age, that we are still limited to three county commissioners just as we were in 1851 when Pacific County was formed and our population was 152, with 61 eligible voters?  Now,   our population is well over 23,000 and we still have three County Commissioners who (duh!) have far more responsibilities;  it will not be until our County population reaches 300,000 that we will be eligible for another commissioner.

The only answer for better oversight seems to be for a big chunk of the  population to remove themselves from the Commissioners’ jurisdiction by forming a municipality.  It would not only give autonomy to the new city (of Ocean Park) but, presumably, it would free up the rest of the County Commissioners a bit, giving them a chance to pay better attention to the needs of their constituents.

And then… the dreadful news of the Hospital Bond which failed by less than one-tenth of one percentage point.  I don’t know if the 60% passage requirement (the super majority) was mandated for that Bond, but I’m pretty sure it was not required for passage of “Ban the Boom.”  My understanding is that the super majority was an arbitrary requirement.  In the olden days, we simply called that “stacking the deck.”

Uncle Cecil’s Wheelbarrow by Earl Thollander

Well… I must get back to my reading.  If you get to Section B, do read my “Saints or Sinners” story and tell me if you think I should be less like “the talkative Espys” and more like Uncle  Cecil and Uncle Will.  Especially with regard to current times.


The Trouble With Naps

Monday, May 8th, 2023

Naps seem to be a recurring theme these days — the thinking about them, the taking of them, and the writing blogs usually when needing one.  I’m sure this Daybook is sprinkled with my feelings about naps — as in I DO NOT LIKE NAPS.

I firmly believe they are time-wasters.  I do not feel “better” after having a nap.  In fact, I usually feel grumpy and out of sorts for several hours after waking.  And they do not result in staying up later (as in making up for lost time) nor do I sleep less soundly or wake up earlier the next day.

And yet, my friends and family members swear by naps.  “Just twenty minutes in the afternoon and I’m a new person,” some say.  “”Nothing less than two hours, but you’ll be re-energized and get so much more done!” say others.  “Bull puckey say others.”

However, I’ve reached a time in my life when I am taking naps now and then because there seems to be no alternative.  If I’m writing at my computer, suddenly CLUNK.  My forehead hits the keyboard.  I’ve fallen asleep mid-sentence and there’s nothing for it but to grab a pillow and my blankey and give in.  So far, it’s the most aggravating old age problem.

Just recently I read an article that seemed to be well-grounded in research.  It gave three fairly compelling reasons for taking naps — but only 20 to 30 minute naps:  They improve memory, increase creativity, and increase willpower.  (However, if you cross the 60-90 minute threshold, you will get up all groggy and irritated.)  So now I have to remember to set an alarm?

I’m sure there are more annoying old age problems and certainly more serious ones.  But, if there is anyone out there “of a certain age” who feels as I do and who has found a solution, do tell.  About two hours from now.

Another Double-Edged Sword

Thursday, May 4th, 2023

I guess there’s been a lot of talk lately about the bots taking over the world and destroying us at last.  Well, I can’t say I discount such a possibility, but right now I’m stuck in the world of their somewhat slower and less-able cousins, the computer chips.

First, it was our cars.  Or probably not first, but the first real annoyance.  I think it might have been our PT Cruiser whose heater went out because of a faulty computer connection.  We didn’t think much about it because it was summer and we were on our way to California, so who needed heater, anyway?  However, we soedon learned that the pesky heater’s chip was connect to the air conditioner, as well, and it wasn’t a case of fixing it for the price of one you betcha!  It was not a pleasant trip…

Yesterday my spiffy GE dishwasher went out.  Second time in two months with a variation on the same problem.  The LED panel at the top of the door which controls EVERYTHING has gone into LOCK mode.  Full load of dirty dishes.  No way to get the START button to activate.  I can unlock the controls but pushing START simply activates LOCK again.  And again.  And… ad nauseum.

So I dug out the manual.  No help.  I went on line — even had the model number in case they asked.  Which they did.  I watched the video.  I followed all directions.  Nothing.  I then turned off the breaker switch devoted to the Dishwasher.  (An entire breaker switch to itself??  That has to tell you something…  When I turned it on again, all seemed well.  Nothing locked.  But nothing started either.

I called the appliance store — which also happens to be the place that has taken care of all my appliances for the last forty years.  “This is the second time in a month,” I whined (or maybe yelled.)  “And last time it cost me $99.  This is ridiculous!  And besides, the repair guy lives three blocks from me and fixed on his way to work… “

No comment from the other end.  Just “I can have someone there next Tuesday between 11 and 1.”

Computer chips.  Bah humbug!  What happened to good, old-fashioned on-off switches?

Reliable? Only sometimes…

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2023

1969 VW Bug — The Best of the Best!  (This wasn’t mine, though.  I never had such fancy wheels.)

It’s my Forgetter I’m headlining here.  They can talk about “short term memory loss” all they want, but for most of us old ducks it’s just that our Forgetter is working overtime (sometimes) and is unreliable (all the time.)  Or that might be the Recall Button that’s unreliable.  I forget.

Anyway, take today for instance.  I was on my way over to Lum’s Dealership for my second (free!!! yay!!!) scheduled service on my barely year-old Prius and I got to thinking about the old VW Bug days.  There were lots of them.  I think I had a 1957 — part of Bill LaRue’s wedding dowry — a 1964, a 1969 and, finally, a 1974 Super Beetle.  (Charlie may remember the years more clearly.  He inherited the ’69 and had it a good many more years) The ’64 and the ’69 Bill and I picked up in Europe, drove over there for the summer, put in storage for a month or two and imported them as used cars.

The SuperBeetle I picked up in London and drove my folks to all my favorite European haunts on their first-ever trip there.  Charlie and Marta met us in June of that year and we turned the car over to them (gulp!) — Charlie had just graduated from high school and Marta, the older sister, was already playing and singing with Bay Area bands.  I was sure they’d do fine — and they did!

Sydney’s Super Beetle – 1982 Painting by Nancy Lloyd

When I moved to Oysterville full-time in 1978, I still had the Super Beetle and I kept it until just before Nyel and I were married.  I never did like it as much as the Bugs and only our P.T. Cruiser came close to any of the VWs.  The Prius comes in at a firm third place.

But the Forgetter Part is about those VWs.  I don’t ever remember getting them serviced.  Surely, I did.  But where?  And when?  I remember getting a few dings repaired and even who did the body work — (one of Marta’s boyfriends.)  But I have NO memory of oil changes or carburetor adjustments or tire rotations or any of that other stuff that might be connected to servicing.

But then if my Forgetter MUST click in occasionally, I guess that’s as good a subject about as any to forget, eh?

It was just one of those days…

Thursday, April 20th, 2023

There aren’t very many times — especially when I have one of those terrible horrible no good very bad days… that I would even consider do-overs.  Not even today and it was a doozy.

First of all, very low on my list of Favorite Things To Do is driving over to Astoria.  But this time I had to — it was time for my car to be serviced (free!) at Lum’s and I thought I might combine it with getting a few errands done and meeting a friend for lunch.

Before I set out, I checked the calendar.  Again.  I need to do that these days.  Yep.  2:00.  So, I put in a call to Miki, hoping she was free for lunch, went to the post office and was on my way by 9:45 or so.  Of course, Miki called back when I was about to Sid Snyder Drive.

She’d LOVE to meet me for lunch but… she was at Ocean Park School helping Martha Williams with an environmental education project.  It sounded spiffy and so we agreed to “put a pin in lunch” and do it another time.  (Besides, I’d just seen her yesterday!  She came all the way over to Surfside to give me moral support as I talked about Oysterville to the Surfside Homeowners Association.  — which didn’t go especially well, I might add, and it was lovely that Miki came over afterwards for a debriefing cup of tea!)

So.. as Lewis (or maybe Clark) so often said —  I proceeded on.  I figured I could hit the liquor store, Walgreens for some make-up and shampoo items, then Freddy’s for more nasturtium seeds and some fire starter sticks (and not even for the barbecue!  I’m still struggling with fireplace needs.) And then I headed for lunch.

I went to that place near the old Staples whose name I repress regularly.  The Uptown Cafe?  Maybe.  I ordered barbecued chicken tacos (they came in twos) and a cup of decaf and while I waited I checked my messages.  Apparently at 10 something-or-other (about the time I was talking to Miki), Lum’s left me a “reminder” that my car was scheduled for servicing at 11:00 a.m.

SAY WHAT???  A reminder with less than an hour’s notice to a customer who lives at least an hour away?  I was furious.  My decaf arrived and I took a calming sip.  Then I called their service department.  It was SO loud in that restaurant that I could hardly tell if I was on hold (I was) or supposed to be talking to someone.  Finally — my meal had come and was cooling … someone answered.  I tried my best to take full responsibility — didn’t say “Why the f… don’t you send your reminders a day ahead??? — and asked if they could squeeze me in this afternoon.  No answer to that.  Only the offer of a May 2nd date at 2:30.  DONE!

The “barbequed tacos” were dreadful.  Barbeque sauce apparently made of pure honey. I scraped all that off, saved the two slices of avocado drenched them in sour cream and tried not to notice that the tacos had been permeated with that dreadful “barbecue sauce.”

Roble Hall, Stanford

Home again, home again, jiggity jog.  What a dumb day.  Plus I thought I’d write my blog about Dianne Feinstein who I remember clearly as being the “student house mother” at Roble Hall, the Freshman Women’s Dorm at Stanford when I was there.  I looked in my old yearbook.  There I was.  There Dianne was not.  And all these years I’ve clapped and cheered for her more out of college sentiment than anything else.  Well… I wasn’t wrong;  just my motivation was off…

Clearly is was a day NOT to be remembered…

Old and crotchety or just plain old?

Tuesday, April 18th, 2023

Both.  That’s my answer when it comes to the Big Push to get me to do all of my banking online.  No thankyou I’ve said over and over.  And still they try — every new account, my tried and true old accounts, ALL of them are bound and determined to have me pay them through a credit card or through an online banking account.  They do NOT want me to pay by check.

That was driven home to me in yet a new way when I had to ask my local bank for an over-the-counter deposit slip.  “Yes,” the teller told me.  “Now, when you get new checks, they are only including one deposit slip in the booklet. They want you to use an online app to make your depoits”  Well, that’s okay by me.  The over-the-counter deposit slips the bank have on hand are free — you just have to go in, fill in your own account numbers, and Bob’s your uncle.

When online banking possibilities were new, I was all “in.”  But then I had a nasty experience — a wake-up call if you will.  I paid my Terminix bill online as I had been doing for several years, but then I was notified that it had not been received.  I was able to trace it “part way” — apparently the payments are routed through several offices (read several states) before your bank becomes involved.)  But then I was dead-ended.  When I contacted the online banking group, they said they couldn’t help me.  Nor could my bank.  I had to write another online check and put a “stop payment” order on the first one.  The “stop payment” cost was a good deal more than the Terminix bill and so I made a great big noisy fuss, cancelled all further dealings with Terminix, and only use online banking to keep tabs on my account now and then.  I do NOT pay bills that way.  Period.

But, no matter how many times I refuse that “service” from creditors, I continue to be hassled by them.  Why?  I’ve never made a late payment.  I don’t object to buying stamps.  I am totally happy being crotchety.  And old.  It’s sort of the opposite of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  IT IS BROKE, SO FUGGEDDABOUDIT!”

I can only think that banks, as we know them, are on their way out,  The virtual world is encroaching more and more and bartering is looking like a better alternative all the time.  Now, if I only had something worth bartering…