Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

I’m counting on birthday luck!

Tuesday, January 31st, 2023

When Nyel and I signed up for Starlink and said “bye-bye” to CenturyLink, we truly thought that there would be smooth internet sailing… at least for a while.  Well, there was.  If you count four months as “a while.”

And then, Elon Musk moved (or took down or who knows) one of his satellites — maybe something to do with the Defense Department or with astronomers or something dire.  It was the satellite that effects starlink dishes that are facing north.  Like ours.

Now, the best way to face is west, apparently.  All very well and good unless your two-story house is to the  west.  As in the dish’s face.  So now, when I try to zoom with my loved ones, I get a message on my computer screen that my “internet service will be disrupted every 43 seconds.”  We are back to conference calls on our cell phones for the time being.  Moving the dish will require finding a spot, someone to re-mount it, an electrician and who knows what all.  And, besides, I have learned that Mr. Musk is not to be trusted.

So, today I called Pacific County Public Works Department to find out anything I could about the cable that “someone” has been busy laying along the right-of-way on Territory Road in Oysterville and beyond.  “Charter Communications” the helpful voice on the end of the  line said, and gave me their phone number.


I’m not just sure who I talked to when I called that number but whoever it was said there would soon be “some marketing” and as of February 28th, homeowners would be able to sign up for their service.  February 28th!!!  That’s my birthday!  I can’t think of a better present.

Not at all as expected — thank goodness!

Sunday, January 22nd, 2023

I’ve often thought that Oysterville exists in some parallel universe.  Or maybe it’s just this house   Yesterday was no exception.  The winds gusted and whipped and whistled most of the day to the point that I chose to forego the mail run and just wait until Monday.  I fully expected that our power would go out at some point.  I mean how hard can those poor old trees hang onto their limbs, anyway?

But the power stayed on.  The house stayed warm(ish) and the PUD crews lucked out — at least with regard to our little Brigadoon.  Out of curiosity, I checked what the wind gusts measured here yesterday.  “16.1 mph S at 12:13 PM” was the Wind Gust High, according to a site that gives daily weather stats for the Long Beach Peninsula!  If that statistic isn’t proof that Oysterville exists on some other plane, I don’t know what is.  I’ve been in this house through many a storm with “hurricane-force winds” and yesterdays gusts were right up there.

Perhaps the stats were for Long Beach, itself, and not for the Peninsula as a whole.  That would not surprise me.  The weather patterns change every few miles along the Peninsula’s 28-mile-length.  And, of course, even though “Oysterville” may be the only community with that name in our whole wide world (except for Oysterville, Oregon, which has been under water for a century or so) it’s still hard to get any information specific to this little enclave.

In my head, anyway, yesterday’s gusts were more like 61.1 mph.  I choose to believe that the weather stats reporter had a slight attack of dyslexia when he entered his numbers for the Long Beach, WA area.  Just sayin’…

Hello? Hello? Mrs. Crouch is it you?

Saturday, January 14th, 2023

Cell Phone With Its Red Case

Well, it’s a steep learning curve for a young woman of the 1890s, but I do believe that Mrs. Crouch tried her best to master the mysteries of my cell phone.  There really is no other explanation.

It all began yesterday afternoon when I drove through the raindrops to pick up my neighbor Carol for our coffee date at Colleen’s Coffee Shop in Ocean Park.  I was a few minutes early so I took my cell phone from my jacket pocket and called her, telling her I was out front.  She quickly joined me and then, as Lewis and Clark said in their journals:”We proceeded on.”

There were about a gazillion cars at Colleen’s so we parked at the western end of the allotted space, right next to a pickup with a very diligent watch dog — barking, barking, barking.  We gave him due praise and then went on in to meet Colleen’s newest cashier and to enjoy our coffee and conversation.  It was lovely. as always.

Inside Colleen’s — The Perfect Gathering Place for Refreshment and Conversation

Back to Carol’s an hour and a half later and a short visit with Tucker to see his new Oysterville Cemetery Map.  (Bravo!)  Then home to do a little more getting ready for tomorrow’s house concert.  Then, for some reason (was I going to call Charlie for something?) I reached in my back pocket for my cell phone.  Not there.

For the next few minutes I looked in my purse, in my jacket pockets, in my car and… then again.  And maybe again.  No cell phone.  I drove over to Carol and Tucker’s: “Have you seen my….?”  The answer was no.  Carol called my number and had me go listen in the car… just in case. No phone ringing.

“Come on with me,” she said.  “We’re driving to Colleen’s” — which, by then we knew was closed.  When we arrived, I banged on the door; Carol searched the parking lot — to no avail.  No, Colleen hadn’t seen it.  She and I looked in the area that Carol and I had been sitting and we promised to call one another if it turned up.

On our way back to Carol’s place (and my car) we stopped at my house to try calling there.  But before Carol could even punch in the number she said, “Is that your phone?  On the chair?”

And there it was!  Right on one of the chairs I had been setting up for the House Concert tomorrow!  Carol said that my jaw actually dropped!  Talk about gobsmacked!  And just what was Mrs. C. doing anyway?  Trying to reserve a seat?

I don’t know which emotion took precedence — relief or incredulity!   I phoned Colleen to call off the search and then went with Carol to pick up my car — clutching my cell phone and wondering how in the world Mrs. C. managed to get that close to modern-day contact.  But then, truth to tell, I wonder that about all of us nearly every day!

I hope my smug didn’t show.

Friday, January 6th, 2023

It’s not nice to be smug. I’m not sure why.  And neither, apparently, are the many online writers who, nevertheless, consider it a failing right up there with jealousy, cowardice, avarice, sloth and a whole host of other undesirable traits.  So… today when I felt smug several times in a row, I cut myself a little slack.

At issue was the internet which apparently was “down” here at the north end of the Peninsula — at least to CenturyLink customers.  I first became aware of the situation when I ran across my neighbor at the Post Office this morning.  “Internet service?” she asked.  “Yes.  Or at least I have had most ot the morning. No problems with Star Link.”  And I felt a slight tingle of smugness begin.  (Ironically, she was the one who turned Nyel and me onto StarLink a year or more ago, but it seems that she hooked up her business, but not her home.)

Cash Register

Later, when I was at Jack’s in Ocean Park, credit and debit cards were being handled sort of semi-automatically.  “The internet is down,” they said, “so we are having to do a work around.”

“Until 5:30,” another clerk chimed in.

“Yeah.  It’s CenturyLink again,” added someone else.  “It’s the whole north end.”

“But I live just across from Okie’s,” said another voice.  “And we’ve had interet all morning.  “But here we have CenturyLink…” said someone else.  “What the heck?”

Smugger and smugger, I tell you.  I do hope it’s not a sin…

When is a hamlet more like a tref? And other weighty Oysterville matters.

Sunday, October 9th, 2022

Oysterville Sign

In Oysterville, there are a lot of “fine lines.”  Like are we a village or a hamlet or a tref?  Here are the definitions of those designations.  But do they fit us?

Village – a group of houses and associated buildings, larger than a hamlet and smaller than a town, situated in a rural area with a population of 500 to 2,500.

Hamlet – a small settlement, generally one smaller than a village with a tiny population (fewer than 100), with only a few buildings.  Generally a maximum size of 30 to 50 people; consisting of a small kin group, no larger than an extended family or clan.

Tref – The meaning of TREF is a homestead or hamlet under old Cymric law.  Said Merriam-Webster:  a group or area acting as a single community as regards cattle and plowing, constituting a taxable unit, and consisting typically of nine houses, one plow, one oven, one churn, one cat, one cock, and one herdsman.

One way or another, whichever term you choose, your designation seems to boil down to population.  And, as about “All Things Oysterville”, there is continual and ongoing discussion about the numbers (and area) involving our population.  Full-time residents in the national Historic District of Oysterville: 15, most days.  Include part-timers and the population can soar to 50 — but seldom all at one time!

Or… if our population includes everyone who gets their mail at the  Oysterville Post Office, I believe the number is now about 200.  That of course means the number of boxholders, not necessarily the householders involved.  And so the confusion mounts.

However, I think we can safely conclude that Oysterville is closer in size to a tref than to a village or a hamlet. To find out exactly what the modern interpretation of a tref would be, we’d no doubt need to consult a present-day Welshman.  (The modern Welsh name for themselves, incidentally, is Cymry but I’m not just sure what a modern name for a tref might be.  Perhaps my friends Suzanne and Doug Knutzen might know; they are just back from a vacation in those parts!)

There’s another fine line I’ve been thinking about lately — what constitutes a lane, a path or a road?  Does it depend on its size?  Or maybe its use?  Or even upon who is responsible for its maintenance? Does it change from century-to-century or even from decade-to-decade?  These can be weighty questions here in our little village/hamlet/tref, you betcha!



35 years ago today…

Tuesday, September 13th, 2022

Mr. and Mrs. Stevens – September 13, 1967

September 13, 1987.  It was a Sunday and, in Oysterville it was misting heavily at first light. I remember “knowing” that the day’s events would proceed NO MATTER WHAT!  It was the day of the 3rd Annual Oysterville Croquet and Champagne Gala.  More importantly, it was our wedding day– though only a half dozen people besides us knew it.

We had decided on the spur of the moment.  “Why not at croquet?” we said.  “All our friends will be there.  We’ll be in our croquet costumes — totally suitable for a wedding.  The champagne is ordered.  The food is planned.  Yes!  Why not?  And let’s keep it a secret until the time comes… for fun!”  And so we did.

Sealed With A Kiss!

Joel Penoyer (and presumably his wife, Betsy) knew it.  They had already reserved their space for croquet when I called Joel and asked him if, in his capacity as Judge, he would prepare the paperwork and marry us just before the Awards Ceremony.  And “Sh.  It’s a secret.”

My son Charlie was coming up from L.A. I phoned him the previous week and he made hurried arrangements. I knew even then that it would be the only Croquet Gala he would ever attend (there were 16 in all.)  And “Sh.  It’s a secret.”

Gordon Schoewe and Roy Gustafson knew about it.  I had called asking if they would stand up for us.  They, also, had reserved their places as they did every year (plus Gordon had created the logo on the croquet trophy and he and his alter ego, Ambrose, designed the croquet invitation every year.) And “Sh.  It’s a secret.”

Afterwards – Dad Made An Impromptu Speech Welcoming Nyel to the Family

Plus, Dr. John Campiche knew.  I was unclear about Washington’s marriage requirements.  In California where my only previous experience had been, you were required to be screened (for VD I think) but Dr. John said “No such requirements here.  You’re good to go.”  He and Val, too, were already coming.  And “Sh.  It’s a secret.”

No one else… not even my folks or my beloved Uncle Willard (the Master of Ceremonies) knew.  For me, the day went by in a blur — not a misty one, thank goodness.  Although the day stayed gray, it cleared enough for us to rush around before the 2:00 opening and get the signage and balloons up, the champagne and food in place, put on our croquet costumes and proceed.  Mostly I remember Charlie taking pictures of me at work at the Registrar’s Table and of Nyel, clipboard in hand, as one of the judges on Croquet Court One.

Wow! We even made the local papers!

When the time came, Willard balked at giving center stage to Gordon (for whom I had to intercede — another story, entirely!);Gordon presented me with a nosegay (read: bridal bouquet); my mother had a case of the vapors, and the crowd gradually realized that a marriage was really, truly taking place.

Last Spring, Nyel and I talked a bit about how we would celebrate this day — our 35th anniversary — but we never really made a plan.  That was unusual for us.  Perhaps we knew, somehow, that another plan was in the works for us…



Queen Elizabeth II and Me

Friday, September 9th, 2022

For whatever reason, for most of my life (and hers) I’ve identified closely with Queen Elizabeth II — not because of our similarities, mind you, but because of our differences.  She was ten years older than I and my first clear recollection of her was in June 1953 — the year of her coronation.  She was 27 and I was 17.

I remember sitting on a lawn chair in the yard (it truly wasn’t a “garden” then) of my grandparents’ house in Oysterville, pouring over the June 15, 1953 issue of “Life” magazine. Although she had been Queen for a full year, the coronation couldn’t take place until the mourning period for her father, King George VI, had taken place.  As I read, I wondered over and over how it would be to know from your childhood what role you would play in the future.

I, of course, had no idea of my own.  I had just completed my freshman year at Stanford, majoring in journalism which I liked but… I wouldn’t say I was “committed” to a journalistic career.  I wonder how the Queen felt about her own commitment.  After all, it wasn’t her choice.  Her uncle had opted out.  Would she?

Through the years, my admiration grew — except for the slight glitch when her sister Margaret was not allowed to marry Group Captain Peter Townsend.  Surely the Queen could have interceded.  And, again, her long silence after Princess Diana’s death…  It has taken me years to understand that her reactions (or lack thereof, at least in public) were part and parcel of that steady hand that kept the ship of the realm on course for 70 years.  At what personal cost, I’ve often wondered.

Queen Elizabeth wasn’t a role model exactly.  More… the best possible example of making the most of the hand you are dealt and doing so with grace and persistence, sometimes against all odds.  I’m glad I shared so many years with her — even if from afar.



I do believe she’s a little P.O.’d!

Wednesday, August 10th, 2022

Still Standing At 2:30 This Morning

Wow!  That was some light show that Mother Nature put on for us last night!  Two ayem — and I’m pretty sure it was the light, not the noise, that woke me up.  My bedroom was as bright as day — but blinking on – off – on – off.  And then… the thunder.  It seemed to begin south of us, came right overhead, and then travelled north.

The whole performance seemed leisurely — lots of lightning for a prolonged period and then the thunder blasted forth — also for a prolonged period.  When is was smack dab overhead, I actually went out to the dining room and looked across the street at the church.  I knew (No.  Make that hoped) I was being foolish, but I went to check on the steeple.  Was it still there?  And if it weren’t, could the Mack Brothers and Sons replicate it as their mentor Ossie Steiner had done in 1980?

I didn’t really think about this house.  I did remember my dad worrying when the house shimmied and shook in heavy winds.  “Oh, Bill!” my mom would say.  “It’s stayed standing for storm after storm for more than 100 years.  I don’t think it’s going to collapse during this one.”  My dad didn’t argue — after all she’d spent at least twenty years growing up here before he came along… But he always looked skeptical.

This old house in the early part of the 20th century — when it was younger. And so were we.

I guess I, too, feel safe within these walls, at least weather-wise.  Tsunami-wise, earthquake-wise, fire-wise — probably not so much.  But so far, I’m counting on Mother Nature to continue to look on us favorably here.  In comparison to so many, we are mighty lucky.  Though I do think she was having a bit of a temper tantrum last night.  I wonder what pissed her off?  I hope whoever/whatever it was has seen the error of their ways and made amends somehow.  I’m counting on a good night’s sleep tonight!

Oh, please don’t let me kill them!

Sunday, July 17th, 2022

Twelve Baby Mastershalums!

I think of my friend Ann as the Queen of Mastershalums — and if you don’t know Winnie-ther-Pooh, those might be Nasturtiums to you.  Years ago, when Ann lived in a different place, her summer/fall garden was a riot of yellows and oranges and reds — Mastersahlums all over the place

So, when I suddenly realized that Spring and Early Summer had passed right by me and I hadn’t given a single thought to those “standards” of my flower beds, I wrote and asked, “Is it too late to plant them?”  I do belie!ve the answer I received is, at this very minute, sitting on my porch table — twelve lovely little nasturtium starts.  Whoever else could have left them?


Does she know I have a rather brown thumb.  Two of them.  And eight fingers that compliment them perfectly?  I feel honored and oh! so timid about my responsibilities to these little ones.  It reminds me of how I felt about the baby chicks each Spring.  But Nyel was always there — Farmer Nyel, the nurturer.

He was good with plants, too.  He had two important qualities that I know I need to work on — attentiveness and patience.  He saw the nuances, heard the soft cries for help, felt when things weren’t quite right.  And he had the patience to fix whatever it was, a little at a time if that was what was needed.  But I will surely try.

Fingers crossed that there will be mastershalums just about everywhere by Autumn!


Today it was my turn to play tourist…

Wednesday, July 13th, 2022

Eric Wiegardt Demonstrating His Process — 7-13-22

… and right here in Oysterville, too!  After living in the very center of our National Historic District for more than a quarter of a century and answering a gazillion questions (or, more often, the same question, a gazillion times) it was great fun to put that tourist-y shoe on the other foot, so to speak.  But I didn’t ask any questions.  I just looked and wondered and marvelled.

My friend Debbie Fisse (more about her in a bit) was on the Peninsula taking a watercolor class from Eric Wiegardt.  Today they were in Oysterville over in the schoolyard, and I wandered over to take a look.  Eric was doing a demonstration painting for about a dozen students and, (inadvertently) for me.  His subject was the Dorothy Perkins rose vine twined around the schoolyard fence.

Eric’s Watercolor Class – Screenshot from Video

In conversational tones, he described what he was doing and why, his back to his students so they could see his brushstrokes caressing the paper… so they could watch the roses “grow” as the painting progressed.  If you could possibly hear a pin drop on grass, you’d have heard many.  The students were rapt.  Even the cars going by seemed to move on tip-tires so drivers could catch what Eric was saying.

About his workshops, Eric’s website says this:  These workshops are designed to loosen up even the tightest painter and break the niggling detail habit. Painting loose is much more than a technique. It requires an understanding of specific design concepts in order to free one’s mind. Each day, Eric will focus on one of these principles. He will show how to construct a beautiful painting in one sitting, and free creative thinking from cumbersome theories of color and composition. There will be time for individual instruction in a relaxed atmosphere. 

Demonstration Painting Completed 7-13-22

And relaxed it was — if that’s how one describes an ecclectic group of adults, lounging in the sun, yet riveted to the emerging painting and hearing nothing beyond Eric’s quiet explanations and musings, suggestions and revelations.  It was a magical forty-five minutes — or was it a half-hour or an hour-and-a-half?  I have no idea.  How long does it take a vine of Dorothy Perkins to grow, anyway?

Bless Debbie for suggesting I come take a look!  She is the daughter-in-law of Rose Espy Glynn who, during the 1980s, owned and lived in the W. D. Taylor House just south of the Oysterville Church.  Rose bought the house at the suggestion of her brother, Charles Espy, who had read Willard’s Oysterville, Roads to Grandpa’s Village and came here to meet his relatives and to see this little village for himself — a village that one of his cousins had founded back in 1854.  Rose volunteered at the Ocean Park Library, became good friends with my folks and, of course, introduced us to her son Ray Glynn and soon-to-be daughter-in-law, Debbie.

Debbie Fisse – From Her FaceBook Page

So… I guess Debbie is actually a shirttail relative but, more importantly, she is a FaceBook friend and, more importantly than that (at least on this visit) provided me with an opportunity to observe Eric’s class “up close and personal.”  (And did I say that Eric graciously invited me to come on into the schoolyard and showed me the very best place from which to watch his painting evolve?)

My take-away was not that he made it look so easy.  With a painter of Eric’s caliber, I believe that’s a given.  But that he made it seem like anyone — yes ANYone (even me) — could be successful at painting was the lesson that came shining through.  That Eric is a gifted artist I’ve known for years.  That he is a gifted teacher, I learned today.  Wow!  Right here in Greater Downtown Oysterville!