Deer and Daffodils Everywhere You Look!

March 23rd, 2024

In the southwest corner of our garden.

The sun shines betwixt and between scattered showers.  The peepers are peeping out in the bogs and the geese and ducks are honking and quacking as they fly overhead.  And just in case you doubted the season, daffodils are everywhere.  And so are the deer.

The other day as I was driving from Nahcotta to Oysterville,  I pulled over as five (count ’em! five!) lovely doe people crossed the road in front of me.  They moved in their usual leisurely fashion and the only forewarning I had that there would be a third and then a fourth and a fifth was that the first didn’t wait for the second one and that second one wasn’t a young’un.  They were all grownup lady deer, ambling slowly, oh so slowly, across the road.

Too, more than once I’ve had to stop as I went up Wiegardt’s Hill headed for Ocean Park.   Fortunately, everyone coming and going has slowed and then waited, too There is no “Deer Crossing” sign, but the locals know.  And… while we wait (usually for only one or two in that spot) we can enjoy the bright daffodils that the Ocean Park Village Club and Tom Downer have planted along the walking path on the north side of the road.

Deer Sign on the Camellia

So far, I have seen plenty of deer sign and nibbled camellia leaves in my garden… but no deer people.  They must know when I’m otherwise occupied.  I do love to see them, but I don’t love the havoc they leave behind!  And, will I have any roses at all this summer?  I’m thinking that there are other delicious morsels coming out in the woods around town about now — but I don’t know how to convince our visitors to choose those over our garden plantings.

Thank goodness, though, that they aren’t interested in rhododendrons or poppies or peonies or daffodils or… as far as I know — nasturtiums or lilies.  At least, they leave some of my favorites alone.  More or less.

Wasn’t it apostrophes? Now I’m not so sure.

March 22nd, 2024

WHOOPS!

There used to be a running joke among elementary school teachers that Americans just could NOT get how to use apostrophes.  I thought (silly me! that it was the one basic bit of usage that was the least understood by the most adults.  I’ve written several blogs explaining apostrophes, the most recent being Apostrophes Are Simple Really written back in 2011.  Here’s the link: https://sydneyofoysterville.com/2011/apostrophes-are-simple-really/  Check it out.

Now, though, I’m not so sure that apostrophes are the most mis-understood of the basics in English usage.  I think it goes right back to the identification of a syllable — second only to the A-B-Cs as far as understanding how to read and write.  “Who cares?” you may say.  And you may be right.  But, I for one think that if you can’t identify a syllable, you probably are in need of reading and writing assistance.

I found a great explanation online which I’ll  include in this blog, but first I want to thank my friend Vicki for posting a game involving the first syllable of the player’s name.  I was amazed at how many of the responders couldn’t identify their very own first syllable!  Maybe they don’t care, but to me it’s another of those big announcements regarding the failure of our education system.  The first grade teacher in me came bursting forth!

Clapping Out Syllables

Here is a simple lesson for you to practice in the privacy of your own home — maybe using the first names of family members:

  • “All words have syllables. A word might have one, two, or even more syllables.”
  • Reading has two syllables: read (clap)—ing (clap).” To demonstrate, clap as you say each syllable.
  • Blue has one syllable: blue (clap).”
  • Pumpkin has two syllables: pump (clap)—kin (clap).”
  • “Now you try. Clap your hands for each syllable in the word pig.”

This is from the Spelling section of the All About Learning Press website.  Check it out!

May the birdwalking long continue!

March 21st, 2024

Bill Harley

I just ran across this statement online: Commentator Bill Harley recounts how his best teacher meandered off the subject at hand and left an indelible impression on him. “Birdwalking” is a term of derision used by educators about this practice.   Apparently the remark was made on January 7, 1997 on the NPR show, “All Things Considered.”

One almost down; another on the horizon!

March 20th, 2024

Dr. Yuval Noah Harari

As I wrote the title of this blog, I wondered if readers would think I’m referring to books that I have in the works.  So, let me disabuse you of that idea right off the bat.  I’m talking about books I’m reading, not writing.  They are companion books by  Dr. Yuval Noah Harari who has a PhD in History from the University of Oxford and who now lectures at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, specializing in World History.  I’ve mentioned them here before but I don’t know that I have stressed  enough that they are a must read — especially for those of us of the Silent Generation (sometimes called the Traditionalist Generation.)

Since last summer, my children (who are Boomers) and I have been reading Harari’s first book, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind and discussing it during our weekly zoom meetings.  The book is dense with ideas and information and the three of us are all busy… so progress is slow.  But as we near the end of’ this one, we are all eager to get to the next one: Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow.  In it, Harari will be dealing with the future that most of us will probably just get a hint of in real time.

The books are long (the Sapiens paperback is 466 pages — 498 including Notes and Index.  It takes you from the Big Bang 14 billion years ago, thru the evolution of Humans 2.5 million years ago and a time when there were many others of the genus Homo — Homo  rudolfensis, Homo erectus and Homo neanderthalensis.  You will learn about “The Original Affluent Society” — the foragers. and on through “The Agricultural Revolution,” “The Unification of Humankind” and, then as we get closer to history as we know it, “The Scientific Revolution” (which begins with “The Discovery of Ignorance” — which occurred about the time of Columbus.)

As I approach the final chapters, I’ve come to a section called “Bionic Life.”  The first paragraph under that title presages why I think all of us old ducks should read this book (and, probably the next one,)  Here is what Harari says:  Here is another new technology which could change the laws of life: cyborg engineering.  Cyborgs are beings that combine organic and inorganic parts, such as a human with bionic hands.  In a sense nearly all of us are bionic these days, since our natural senses and functions are supplemented by devices such as eyeglasses, pacemakers, orthotics, and even computers and mobile phones (which relieve our brains of some  if their data storage and processing burdens).  We stand poised on the brink of becoming true cyborgs, of having inorganic features that are inseparable from our bodies, features that modify our abilities, desires, personalities and identities.

And I’m only on page 453 of the first book…

 

Any thoughts about the Oysterville Daybook?

March 19th, 2024

Next week I’m embarking on a scary (for me) adventure with a new Webmaster — revising my now almost 20-year-old website to make it more streamlined, more accessible (I hope), and more focused on 1) my daily blog and 2) my books, both old and forthcoming.  I’ve hired an expert who has been in the web-designing business for a while.  She will handle all the techie stuff as well as design a site which is updated, streamlined, and easier to deal with from my end as well as yours — or so I fervently hope.

So… it occurs to me that it might be nice to get a little feedback from you, my faithful readers.  First, I’m not really sure how most of you access my Oysterville Daybook.  I “think” most people find it on Facebook — but if you get it another way, could you please let me know? And, tell me what sorts of problems you’ve had accessing it, if any.  (Michael Lemeshko recently told me that none of the pictures were coming through — only the words.  Then, today he wrote that the problem fixed itself.  I don’t “think” the problem was at my end… but I really haven’t a clue.)

I’m also interested in how frequently you comment on one of my blogs — or if you avoid doing so for a particular reason.  (If it’s the latter and that reason applies to this blog, as well, please do write to me at sydneyofoysterville@gmail.com. ) In a perfect world, of course, I’d answer every question and respond to every comment and if there’s a way my Web Guru can make that more possible, I’ll certainly be grateful!

And, finally, why do you read my blogs — as in what would you like to see more of?  Primarily, of course, they are about day-t0-day life through my eyes, a fourth generation resident of our little (9 full-time residents) village of Oysterville.  I’m especially interested in the history of this area (the Long Beach Peninsula and Pacific County, WA) and I work in historical aspects wherever they seem pertinent.  I’m also increasingly interested in the history my own generation has lived through and am all about documenting whatever catches my fancy.  But I’d like to know what sorts of topics within those parameters catch your fancy, as well!

Don’t be shy!  I’d really love to hear from you.  SOON!  My first conference with my new Web Designer is today.  By the end of next week we should be all but finished — “god willin’ an the creek don’t rise” as they say!

Old People/Houses: The same rules apply!

March 18th, 2024

Remember that old joke — after you reach 40 it’s Patch Patch Patch but after 60 it’s PatchPatchPatch?  Well. I’m here to tell you that the same goes for houses, but since this house was built in 1869 (and never mind that I’m way past the Age 60 Date Stamp!), I’m not just sure how to express the maintenance issues.  For both of us, of course.  But mostly for the house!

Last year at this time I was having the wonderful ChimCare crew rebuild our west chimney — just from the roofline up, thank goodness.  Spendy doesn’t even come close to what it cost but, considering it was ready to tumble down and take a good part of the roof with it, I didn’t quibble.  No Sirree!

This year this old lady needs a bit of facelift.  (Well, yes, that could definitely apply to me but, we need to choose our priorities, eh?)  So… in April the house is getting some necessary refurbishing by my friend Painter Jay whose last name (Short) belies his six-foot-seven height!  But, I must say his long reach is perfect for his profession  — never mind that we made an interesting sight as we walked about this morning, side-by-side, assessing the needs of the house!

Also, I like it that Jay prioritizes by what the public sees first — the street-side view – which is especially important in a National Historic District that encourages our thousands of yearly visitors to take a walking tour through the village.  After that area, priorities run to what is most needed #1 for the health of the house and #2 for the particular places that bug me the most.  This is the way we’ve been doing it for a good many years now, and the house has stayed in fine shape — visually as well as physically.

I wouldn’t say the process is easy… but it sure is easier with this Old Lady House than with the Old Lady Owner..  But then, I really don’t expect to be around at age 155! (I wonder what expectations the house had back in 1869?}

 

 

‘Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Duit’

March 17th, 2024

Bill Grennan, all decked out for St. Patrick’s Day 2024. (And Me).

Since our Friday Night Gathering was the nearest date to St. Patrick’s Day that we’d all be together, Bill Grennan took the opportunity to come in full regalia — an Irish Green Kilt with all the accoutrements, including a matching Green Bowler!  He looked terrific — a photo op waiting to happen.  I was sorry I didn’t have “a kilt o’ me own” but was pleased that Tucker asked me, anyway, to pose with the Kilt Man of the Peninsula!

Though kilts are definitely part of Ireland’s culture (and anyone can wear one). there is a bit of disagreement about when  they became popular.  Many say the Irish first played the bagpipes, and the Scots first wore kilts.  Since they are both Celtic nations, both wear kilts with pride and both remain silent on what is worn underneath. (Though I did read recently that kilt wearers are about “half and half.”  Half wear underwear; half go commando.   I can’t help but wonder who exactly did that survey.  And how.)

Bill in his Kilkenny Kilt, 2012 — and check out those Ghillie Brogues!

While Scottish kilts can be traced back to the 1600’s, Kilt-wearing became common in Ireland during the mid-1800’s, although not long ago, an aged Irish kilt was dug up in a farmer’s field. It was traced to the year 1590.  So the discussion continues.  Even so, it wasn’t until the early 1900s that kilts became synonymous with Gaelic heritage.

While there are thousands of family or clan tartans in Scotland, in Ireland, there are only a few families with registered kilts, including Murphy, O’Neil, and Fitzpatrick.  Kilts in Ireland are tied to a person’s county or region. There is a designated tartan for each of four Irish provinces: Connacht, Leinster, Munster, and Ulster. A man from Cork would probably wear the Cork Tartan, and so forth.  Bill Grennan’s people come from Kilkenny, the county town of County Kilkenny in Ireland. It is situated on both banks of the River Nore, at the center of County Kilkenny in the province of Leinster in the south-east of Ireland.  He usually reserves his Kilkenny tartan for very special occasions.

 

 

 

 

Remembering Carolyn Glenn

March 16th, 2024

 

 

 

Laurie Anderson, Darlene Battles (hidden behind), Una Boyle, Lorna Follis, Sydney Stevens, “44”, Bette Snyder, Karen Clarke, Karen Snyder,  Marion Oman.  (March 27, 2009  Bette Snyder’s 86th Birthday Tea at Carolyn Glenn’s)  Photo by Carolyn Glenn.

This photo was sent to me by Lorna Follis and, I’m chagrinned to admit that even though I’m standing next to her in the picture, I have no memory of her.  I think that the occasion of this “Tea” — which I actually remember as an elegant, full-blown luncheon — was our first and only meeting.  But, she reads my blogs and wanted to share this amazing photograph.  She remembered almost all of the women’s names (I knew maybe half) and she reached out to Karen Snyder to make sure of the one or two she didn’t know!

I remember the occasion very well. indeed.  Carolyn was working in the kitchen when I arrived and had commandeered two or three other early arrivals to help her arrange salads on plates, finger sandwiches on platters and carry things into the dining room.  Our hostess gave gentle suggestions but, as usual, appeared totally relaxed with plenty of time to introduce those of us who didn’t know one another and to answer the door and make each newcomer welcome.

I remember being impressed that she was using the antique green Wedgewood plates that were identical to my paternal grandmother’s set which are now treasured and on display in our home, but never used.  Hers had faded from their forest green color to a light green — the glaze having washed off over the hundred years or so of their use.  “I don’t know how old they are,” she said.  “Marguerite always used them for special occasion, so I do, too.”  (I tried to follow her example afterwards… but I could feel my father’s concerned disapproval and wished that he and Marguerite and Carolyn and I could have a philosophical discussion about the use of family keepsakes and treasures.  But… I digress.

I don’t remember much about the afternoon except that I only knew the hostess and the guest of honor and one or two others very well.  Indeed, some of us hatched the idea of having a movie nigjht (at Carolyn’s) once a month or so which might have lasted a half year until, perhaps, one of us got sick.

That the cardboard cutout of Obama was “part of our group” was typical of Carolyn during those years.  I remember that she brought him (affectionately called “44”) to one of Nyel’s and my Christmas parties and he was there, of course, when Carolyn and Guy brought in the New Year with eggnogs for the masses (or so it seemed to me.)  Always, Carolyn was the relaxed and interested hostess — whether it was a Tea for the Senator’s wife or a “Coffee” for a candidate for local office.

And for the last several years of Nyel’s life, she was his most faithful visitor — both here and in Seattle.  She mever failed to bring a half dozen of his favorite dark chocolate bars, always including a “new discovery” and wanting his expert opinion on its merits!  Her generosity of spirit, her gentleness of personality, and her forcefulness of belief were a combination that I at once admired and approached with awe.  I am so glad she made me a part of her life!

 

THE OYSTERVILLE SCHOOLHOUSE!

March 13th, 2024

The Oysterville School – Under Oysterville Community Club Stewardship since 1957

YIKES!  Miss Giraldo, my first journalism teacher at San Rafael High School, would never forgive me!  In my blog yesterday about Maggie Stuckey’s Soup Event I left out the fourth crucial W that every beginning journalist knows by heart.  WHERE?  The answer:  THE OYSTERVILLE SCHOOLHOUSE!

I think I covered the other W’s adequately, but just in case you missed that blog, here is the crucial information:

WHO?  MAGGIE STUCKEY, THE QUINTESSENTIAL QUEEN OF NURTURING

WHAT? MAGGIE WILL BE SHARING THE JOYS OF THE SOUP NIGHT TRADITION AND THE MAGIC IT BRINGS TO OUR SOMETIMES FRACTIOUS WORLD.

WHEN? WEDNESDAY, MARCH 20TH, FROM 2:00 TO 3:30 (OR SO)

WHERE?  THE OYSTERVILLE SCHOOL HOUSE

WHY?  MAGGIE BELIEVES IN “TEACHING BY DOING” AND SO SHE’LL SHARE A NO-STRESS WAY OF BRINGING PEOPLE TOGETHER, BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS, OVERCOMING ISOLATION AND FEARFULNESS — ALL WITH FRIENDSHIP KINDNESS, AND OPEN-HEARTED CARING.  AND SHE’LL BE SERVING  SOME OF HER DELICIOUS SOUP AND TALKING ABOUT THE SUCCESSES HER “SOUP NIGHT” BOOK HAS HAD ALL OVER THE COUNTRY! (And she’ll have copies of her book for sale: $20 cash or check only.)

And sometimes that H question, HOW is included as essential to an informative article.  But, in this case, we’ll leave the HOW up to Maggie.  She, after all, is the one with the magic formula and we will be the lucky recipients of her secrets!

Many thanks to Blog Readers who caught the error of my ways and full apologies to Maggie for my gaff!  Whatever was I thinking???  (Probably that all roads lead to Oysterville and, OF COURSE you’d find your way! )  I do hope you catch this follow-up information and spread the word to Maggie’s fans and, especially to those of us who are all about community and a wonderfully simple and delicious way to reinforce our friendships and togetherness!

 

March 20th! One week from tomorrow!

March 12th, 2024

Maggie Stucky, The Queen of Nurturing!

Mark your calendar.  Save your appetite!  Maggie Stuckey is coming to town!  And if you know anything at all about Maggie, you know that she is the Quintessential Queen of Nurturing — whether it be growing a garden, serving up a delicious homemade meal, or just showing us how to do it ourselves!

On Wednesday, March 20th from 2:00 to 3:30 (or so!), Maggie will be sharing the joys of the Soup Night tradition and the magic it brings to our sometimes fractious world.  She’ll share a no-stress way of bringing people together breaking down barriers, overcoming isolation and fearfulness — all with friendship, kindness, and open-hearted caring.  And the magic formula?  Soup!!

In this free program, we’ll sample delicious homemade soup while Maggie shares stories of Soup Nighters all around the country who are creating a real sense of community through the age-old idea of getting together for a simple meal on a regular basis.  In our greater Peninsula community, many of us do such get-t0gethers already — but perhaps not with the magic ingredient of soup.  (And somehow, that always reminds me of the old folk tale “Stone Soup,” but Maggie’s formula for Soup Night carries that idea just a bit farther along the magical neighborhood highway.)

Her book, “Soup Night” which is filled with recipes — several by community members you might know, including yours truly — will be for sale at the event — $20, cash or checks only, please, says Maggie.  And, you might even get her to autograph your copy!  Bring a friend if you wish.  And $20 if you’re smart.  Otherwise, just bring a bit of appetite for some delicious food and delightful discourse!  See you there!