Posts Tagged ‘Springtime in Oysterville’

The worst part was…

Tuesday, May 25th, 2021

Anterior cut of an enlarged heart; ACardio_20140403_v0_003

We left Oysterville at 4:30 yesterday morning.  Nyel had a 9:00 a.m. appt. for blood draws in the lab at the Seattle Medical Clinic and a 10:00 appt at the Cath Lab down on the 2nd floor for a right heart catheterization —  a test to see how well his heart is pumping (how much it pumps per minute) and to measure the blood pressure in his heart and the main blood vessels in his lungs.

The drive up — at first dark and rainy but getting lighter and drier.  Siri kept us informed — two fifteen minute traffic slowdowns but, even so, we arrived at 9:15.  No valet parking (they could have forewarned us).  Got Nyel into his wheelchair and into the front door and then the trip through hell to find the entrance to the underground parking garage.  Asked three people.  Only one knew where it was… a nightmare.

Found Nyel (Yay! for cellphones!) on his way to the cath lab (despite the Information Desk being unable to tell me where it was… why don’t they find INFORMED people to work there???).  Helped Nyel get ready — “Gown opens in the back…” and was directed to the waiting room where I spent two hours alternately reading one of Alexander McCall’s “44 Scotland Street” books and… worrying.

The procedure, which he has had done previously, sounds “routine” when the doctors and nurses talk about it.  But, inserting a catheter into the jugular vein, threading it into the heart and through to the pulmonary artery sounds terrifying to me.


If Nyel’s pressures were bad, they would keep him in the hospital but I couldn’t stay with him.  And, if was told he could go home, but got out too late, my eyes would not let me drive us home in the dark.  I had made arrangements with my cousin Ruth (Bless her!) to take me/us in… either way.  We figured we could muscle Nyel up the one small step into her house on Mercer Island.

About 12;15, here came a nurse pushing Nyel’s wheelchair.  Both (the nurse and Nyel — probably the wheelchair, too) were all smiles.  The procedure went well!  So… quick! up to the third floor to see the cardiologist to get the “verdict” — hospital or home???  Home it was.  Found the parking garage (and the car!) and were on the road by 1:20.  No rain, no dark, no traffic slowdowns.  Ate the “lunch” Nyel had packed — cheese, crackers, tangerines — as we traveled.  Home by 5:20.  Whatever the worst part of yesterday was, it was totally neutralized by Nyel’s good report!  Yay!!!

Bumper Crop of Bambis in Oysterville

Sunday, May 23rd, 2021

Among the Lettuces

Suffice it to say that Mrs. W.T. Deer knew what she was doing when she chose this particular Oysterville garden to hide her newborns.  She must have had insiders’ knowledge that this wasn’t mean Mr. McGregor’s garden and that her little ones would be safe among the vegetables as long as they didn’t move a muscle.

And they didn’t.  These weren’t naughty Peter Rabbits. no sirree.  These were well behaved Bambis and they didn’t so much as blink — “great photo subjects,” according to Tucker who knew (and wasn’t telling) their location.   According to the site, “Deer, like Jackrabbits, will leave their young alone for up to twelve hours at a time while they forage. The babies know to stay still and quiet, tucked into the grass where their mother left them.”  Or among the potatoes and asparagus.

Twins In The Garden!

Obviously, Beatrix Potter’s Peter was not a Jackrabbit.  I remember that his mother reminded him,  “Your Father had an accident there; he was put in a pie by Mrs. McGregor.” I wonder what the twin Bambis’ mother said to them before she went off to have breakfast.  Whatever it was, they seem to have paid close attention.

There are several other fawns in town this season.  I saw two of them galloping across Territory Road toward the schoolhouse the other day, stopping traffic in both directions.  They were both still wearing spotted coats, though one looked to be half a size bigger than the other.  I didn’t see mom; presumably she was at the front of the line, trusting that her little ones would keep up.

I can’t remember when we’ve had so many babies in town.  Perhaps our year of sheltering convinced the Mama Deer People that it’s a safe, quiet area for bringing up little ones.  Now that our visitors are back, however, we sure could use a few “Bambis at Play” signs along the road!


Mrs. Crouch, are you at it again?

Saturday, May 22nd, 2021

Hot Water Faucet Yeilds Only Cold Water

Tricky arrived on Tuesday afternoon and left Thursday morning.  He was our first house guest in over a year — actually since (we think) the Milt Williams/Barbara Bate House Concert on February 9, 2020.  No one has stayed upstairs since then, so when Tricky said on Wednesday morning that there didn’t seem to be any hot water, we were a bit flummoxed.

We do have a dedicated upstairs water heater.  And there have been times (mostly when we have an attack of the cheaps) that we have flipped its circuit breaker so it isn’t using any electricity and, of course, isn’t creating any hot water.  But it’s been years since we’ve done that.

And besides… the circuit breakers for the upstairs are located in an impossible-to-reach location requiring a ladder or a tall step stool.  Since Nyel can no longer get upstairs and I go up unwillingly and have not gone on ladder or step-stool for at least five years…  And since Tricky is pretty sure there was hot water the last time he was here and is also pretty sure he didn’t flip that breaker switch…

Circuit Breaker Box

Last night we asked our much younger and more agile friend Charlie (who was here for “Friday Night” )if he’d check the breaker switch.  Up those killer stairs he went (like a young gazelle!) and… “Yep!”  It had been tripped.  He switched it back to the ON position and this morning I went up and turned on the hot water  Nada!  We don’t know if the circuit breaker switched off again or if the water heater, itself, is defunct…  Damn!

We have concluded that we might have a problem.  But… it’s never simple, is it?  We have four house guests coming June 1st and another 9 coming on June 7th.  Hot water is a must.  (Not everyone says, “No problem.  A quick cold shower is just fine!”)  So we have a call into the plumber for starters.

Never mind that we will be in Seattle at the UW Medical Clinic on Monday to check out Nyel’s heart.  And never mind that he may need to be admitted to the hospital for a few days (or more) so we don’t know exactly when we’ll be coming home.  We are counting on Carol and Tucker coming to the rescue but we already know that they’ll be gone on Monday, as well.

In some ways, it might have been easier before electricity came to Oysterville in 1936…  Or maybe even before Mrs. C came in 1902.

Talk, Laugh, Eat… and then do it some more!

Thursday, May 20th, 2021

Sydney and Dick at the Bistro

Our friend, Tricky, whose name is really Dick (and if you were in California in the 1950s you can probably fill in the backstory), came visiting from Bainbridge Island for a few days.  It was such a treat to see him!  The last time he was here was for the Milton Williams and Barbara Bate House Concert on February 9, 2020.

Nyel at the Bistro

It seems to me that we spent our time during his stay primarily on three activities — talking, laughing, and eating.  We had, of course, talked on the telephone  several times a month during the pandemic but even so… there’s nothing like seeing a wry expression or a look of disgust or the twinkle in the eyes of someone pulling your leg.  Phone calls just don’t cut it and (with apologies to the zoomers among us) neither do zoom visits.  Up-close-and-personal is the only way a “visit” makes complete sense, especially when you have a choice.

As for the eating part!  OMG!  “The Tricks” (Tricky’s nickname which, when you think about it, is a nickname for a nickname…) was here for a total of five meals.  Chef Nyel prepared the first three — spare ribs for dinner Tuesday, scrambled eggs (store bought, sad to say) with all the trimmings for breakfast Wednesday, and African Peanut Soup for lunch that same day.  To the Bistro in Astoria for dinner last night and a send-off breakfast this morning at the 42nd Street Cafe.  I can hardly waddle.

Noel and Patty at the Bistro


When Push Comes To Shove

Wednesday, May 19th, 2021

Sometime priorities fall into place without much thought at all.  Yesterday was a fine example.  And, it’s not that I have second thoughts about the choices we made, nor any regrets.  Not exactly, anyway.

It all began a few nights ago when we couldn’t get out trusty TV to show us Jeopardy — which, by the way, I am rapidly becoming disenchanted with, anyway, now that their “quality control” seems to have died with Mr. Trebec.  In any case, instead of the program, we were treated to a message which said something about no connection with our satellite dish and suggested we check our various connectors. We switched to a Netflix series we’ve been watching and decided to do the Scarlett O’Hara trick — think about it tomorrow.

Tomorrow turned out to be yesterday when our friend Dick Hawes arrived for a visit — first one since our pre-Covid concert with Milt Williams and Barbara Bate!  It was a gorgeous day, so when Nyel suggested a “waalkabout” in the yard, I suggested that the two of them take the pruning equipment and clear the area around the Direct TV dish.  They did and… voilá!  Television reception is back to normal.

Big and Beautiful

Our garden, however… not so much.  Our beautiful rhododendron looks a bit mis-shapen.  It occurs to me that perhaps if we’d waited a week or two for the blossoms to disappear, the unladen branches would have retreated from the Direct TV dish and we’d have preserved that bit of symmetry for yet another year. Obviously, we didn’t think through our priorities.  Sigh…


The Pattern of Our Days

Tuesday, May 18th, 2021

It’s interesting to look back over a significant chunk of your life — especially to remember and reminisce with the person who has most closely shared those years with you.  That’s what Nyel and I are doing these days as we look back on the scrapbooks I’ve been keeping since 1979.  Which doesn’t half tell the story.  For some years there were as many as five scrapbooks but, thank the stars, not for all.

Each day we try to look at three or four of them. It doesn’t go as smoothly as we might wish.  They are not necessarily in order and there were at least a eight or nine that were badly damaged when we had an upstairs hot water heater disaster in 2002.

I remember that morning with all the clarity of a first-hand memory of a train wreck or volcano eruption.  Early morning.  Getting ready to go to Seattle to stay for two days at the Olympic for my birthday.  Hot water pouring through shelves below. Frantic call to  plumbr Don Anderson and then to neighbor Leigh Wilson.

Nyel rescued books, separated wet pages, put them in the freezer.  Leigh and I used every paper towel in her house and ours — sopping up water, separating pages, spreading scrapbooks all over the upstairs bedroom floors.  At Leigh’s insistence we packed and left while she continued working.  Bless her!  We saved them all (only about fifteen actually got badly damaged) and now, nearly 20 years later, I’ve only had to get rid of three or four.  Some, of course, are a little the worse for wear but, so far, 38 (most perfect) have gone to the Heritage foundation.  We’re about one-third through.

So many memories — so many good times, hard times, new babies, weddings and, again, new babies.  In recent years, old friends departing — too many final goodbyes.  How glad I am that Nyel and I have taken time to revisit those years once again, no matter how briefly. And how grateful I am that their stories (at least parts) will stay in the community for a while longer!

About those crotchless panties…

Sunday, May 16th, 2021

I indulged myself in the purchase of a few unmentionables not long ago — actually, these days, I think mentioning them might be old hat, so to speak.  Boy-cut underpants.  Very cute; very comfy.  But after the second or third wearing/washing, my favorite pair began to unravel — right at the crotch!

So far, there are no “break-throughs” so to speak and I am poised to discard them should the problem persist.  Meanwhile, however, I have to say that the situation has caused a few flights of fancy.  As in… are crotchless panties and thongs counterparts?  Do the manufacturers of the unmentionables without all the usual parts save those parts to be used for thongs.

Which brings up another sort of undergarment that I actually find a bit laughable,  And useless.  Though I’ve never had the pleasure.  The closest thong experience I’ve ever had is when I was a skinny little kid and my underwear would ride up in the back.  I think we called them “Indian panties” in those days — which is undoubtedly at the top of some politically incorrect list these days.

Which again makes me wonder.  How can the items on the Frederick’s of Hollywood site (and probably a gazillion others) pass muster when I see that friends on FaceBook have been taken down for the most innocent of word choices — apparently misunderstood by the watchers and censors.

Perhaps these unraveling ruminations of mine will be removed, as well.  It’s hard to tell what the rules are these days.  Where is quality control, anyway?  What are the standards?  Obviously, they are coming apart thread by thread.



What’re the odds?

Monday, May 10th, 2021

1969 Volkswagen Bug

It’s early evening or late afternoon — take your pick.  Five p.m.  I think I’ll just call it “the cocktail hour.”  We’ve just returned from Longview where we spent a long, boring three-and-a-half hours at Bud Cleary’s Subaru Dealership having the air conditioner assembly replaced in our 2017 Forrester.  In simpler terms:  another frickin’ recall.  The second one in our less than four years of Subaru ownership.  What’re the odds.?

2002 PT Cruiser

To amuse ourselves on the way home, Nyel compiled a list of cars that each of us has owned since we became driving age (which adds up to 132 years between the two of us.)   Twenty-three makes in all including:  MG-TC, Mercury, Plymouth, Austin Healey Sprite, Nash Rambler, VW Bug, Kaiser, Chevrolet, MG-A, Porsche, Ford Mustang, Toyota, GMC Pickup, Chrysler LeBaron, BMW, PT Cruiser ,Prius C, Ford Pickup, Dodge Pickup.    Among those makes, we had 4 (at least) VW bugs.  Not a single recall among any of those vehicles — not until the Subaru Forrester.  I repeat… what’re the odds?

2017 Subaru Forester

Nyel says it’s because of all the bells and whistles these days.  Too many things to go wrong.  I say lack of pride/care/smarts in workmanship from the design concept forward.  I’d go back to a Bug in nothing flat if they were still being made…

It’s Mother’s Day Sunday, but honestly…

Sunday, May 9th, 2021

This year the “official” Mother’s Day began on Wednesday with a UPS delivery from Ms. Marta LaRue, my super-duper bonus daughter.  A handmade card and a box of See’s chocolates — all sorts of milk chocolates especially for me!  I got into them after dinner that very day and read and re-read the sweet greetings — “a true blessing” “a steadfast presence” “fun and joyous” — and thought “back-atcha” over and over again.

And yesterday, here came the florist’s delivery truck and a lovely bouquet from Charlie — roses and gerbera daisies and Queen Anne’s lace and purple stock — and other bits of beauty that will brighten this special day and many more to come!

But best of all, it’s a Zoom Day.  In fact, every Sunday evening for more than a year has been a Family Get Together — the four of us on a Conference Call or Zoom.  Neither is absolutely reliable since both our telephone and internet services seem to be “intermittent” now and then.  One or more of us (but usually me) just goes away during a phone call.  With Zoom we can still see one another but are frozen in peculiar poses and silenced, as well.    But never mind!  It’s all wonderful and magical, anyway — and will be extra special on Mother’s Day!

“…as ithers see us.”

Saturday, May 8th, 2021

Our Garden in Early May – Photo by Cate Gable

My take-away from Robert Burns’ 1786 poem, “To A Louse, On Seeing One on a Lady’s Bonnet at Church” has always been that we would be disabused of our pretensions if we could see ourselves through the eyes of others.  But, lately, Nyel and I have received or run across photographs of things near and dear to us that have simply given us a different perspective.  If there have been pretensions involved, they have yet to come clear.

Like the photo of our garden that Cate sent yesterday taken from the path to the east — a path seldom taken by us these days.  “Your yard is gorgeous!” said the accompanying note, and we had to concur. In this case it’s probably one of those “can’t see the garden for the grass that needs mowing” or “the weeds that need pulling.”  It is so lovely to look again!  Through Cate’s eyes!

Sydney at Greenridge c. 1962 — Photo by Bill LaRue

And then, midst the  “treasures” (NOT!) that we are clearing out of our nooks and crannies came some photos of me taken 50 or 60 years ago by my (then) photographer husband Bill La Rue (Marta’s Dad.)  I remember that I was getting ready for work, putting on my makeup, and he was somewhere behind me with his Hasselblad.  I was in a hurry and he was an annoyance.  There are six of those photos, each 7×9 inches, mounted on heavy cardstock.  Were they once on display somewhere?  I don’t really remember.  I don’t think I liked them much.  And now???  All I can think of  is “was I ever so young!?”

Come to think of it, that’s what’s so hard about this down-sizing and purging process — at least to me.  It’s coming to grips with how we “saw” things then and how we see them now.  After a lifetime, perspectives change.  I see myself and Robbie Burns’ “ithers” from a totally different point of view now.  A better one?  Not necessarily.  And does it make the sorting-and-discarding process easier?  Not that I’ve noticed.  Not so far, anyway  I wonder if everyone goes through these agonies when the time comes…