Posts Tagged ‘Springtime in Oysterville’

The Perfect Nonsensical Dinner Choice!

Thursday, April 28th, 2022

We went out to dinner at El Compadre with Carol and Tucker Tuesday night and, against all odds for Nyel, it was the perfect restaurant choice.  But… first a little background:

One of the side effects of eliminating as much excess fluid as possible from Nyel’s system — (the congestive part of congestive heart failure) is that he is no longer producing saliva.  Lack of saliva leads to all sorts of other problems like being more prone to cavities and having mouth lesions or bleeding ulcers on lips and gums and soft palate.

So far, he has not had any cavities but the blood from the lesions sometimes covers his teeth and he looks vampire-ish and scary — to say nothing of his own pain and discomfort trying to eat!  The dentist gave him some sample mouthwash (which didn’t seem to have any effect) so we’ve gone back to my grandmother’s cure-all for mouth injuries — a mouthwash of warm salt water three to five times a day which, I must say, has helped a lot.  Meanwhile, his cardiologist has backed off some of his diuretics so we hope to see an improvement in saliva production soon.

All these travails notwithstanding, Nyel very much wanted to take Tucker and Carol out to dinner as a very small token of our appreciation for all their TLC during these last few months.  Tucker’s favorite restaurant on the Peninsula is El Compadre so that’s where we headed Tuesday evening.

Say what???  Mexican food and mouth lesions?  That doesn’t sound like the perfect combination by any means.  But it was!  Nyel ordered the bean and cheese burrito with rice and refried beans (as did Carol and I) and it was perfecto!  Not too spicy.  Not too crunchy! It was absolutely grand.  The only think I felt badly about was that Nyel couldn’t try the chips and salsa.  THE BEST EVER.  I ate his share and mine, as well!

And I’m happy to report that his mouth felt and looked better Wednesday and continues to improve!!!  So… Cinco de Mayo is coming up and, besides, El Compadre is not only open but does take-out every day of the week!  ¡¡Olé!!


Barb: My belated birthday present!!

Sunday, April 24th, 2022

Barbara Canney – From Her FB Site

For my 85th birthday in 2021, Nyel’s gift was to have my friend Barbara Canney of Cohasset, MASS, come and organize my files — computer files or hard copy files, my choice.

(Background: in 1980, my Uncle Willard arranged for Barb — who was about to begin her Senior Project at Evergreen — to come and catalogue the Espy Family Papers.  He agreed to pay her a stipend for one academic quarter; the project took her a year and a half and became the foundation for the Espy Archive, now housed at the WSHS Archive Center.  I was her “mentor” during that project… )

What a FABULOUS gift!  And who would be better qualified to dive into the morass that loosley qualify as “my files”?  In that long-ago year and a half that Barb was here, we became fast friends and have remained so — never mind that a continent and family obligations etc. etc. separate us.

The Canney Family, 2014

Unfortunately, though, Covid and other health issues have intervened and my gift has yet to be delivered, but… NOW, FINALLY Barb has her ticket and will arrive May 17th!  St. Patrick’s Day!  She’ll be here for a week and then her husband John will join her for a week-long vacation here in the place where they did their courting long ago.

I am SO excited!  Never mind that I need to organize my office so that Barb can organize my files.  And never mind that we’re not sure if she should start with documents or photographs.  And never mind that, like her initial work on the Espy papers, this week should segue into several years…  It’s a start.  And so much more!

My husband has the best idea for presents…ever!!!

One of the hardest parts…

Thursday, April 21st, 2022

Last week and this have been non-stop appointments for Nyel — all the medical, dental, and you-name-it-health-related folks wanting to weigh in on his status, needs, unkept appointments, new prescriptions, etc. etc. that you might imagine after his recent four weeks in the hospital.  We are both exhausted.

As it is with everything in life, each expert or professional considers that they are the ONLY one he needs to see.  It reminds me a lot of high school homework.  Every teacher seemed to consider that he or she was the only one who was giving you an assignment and god forbid you complain.  Especially if it was Mr. Dressier, the chemistry teacher, who might double the amount just because…

Mostly, we are both tired.  Today we tried to nap after lunch, only to be interrupted by a phone call from Dr. Trusted’s assistant wanting to change Nyel’s meds based on yesterday’s lab tests.  Unfortunately, the change would put him back to  a combination that landed him in the hospital in March.  Even more unfortunately, there don’t seem to be any alternatives left.  But… they are working on it.

Nyel, bless him, went right back to sleep.  That put me in mind of my old classmates who didn’t seem to mind the extra assignments.  (Actually, I think I was one of those.)  What a difference 65 or 70 years make!  But then, I always was cranky if my nap was interrupted…  My mother said that was the reason she quit giving me naps much earlier than most moms.  (My cousins said that’s why I’m so short.)

The Annual D&L@TBB Gathering Resumes

Wednesday, April 20th, 2022

Nyel and Michelle

Yes! It was The Annual Don(McQuarrie) and Laura(Creekman) at the Bridgewater Bistro Gathering last night.  Almost all of us were there.  We almost always have been there for the last fourteen years — or so.  We really can’t remember.

Last night, besides Don and Laura — who long ago lived on the Peninsula and moved away when their three children were small — there were Noel and Pat Thomas who also used to live on the Peninsula in those days, and Nyel and me who still do, and Tony and Ann Kischner who still do but we can hardly remember that because they are the owners-operators extraordinaire of the Bistro and that’s where we usually find them.

Don, Laura, and Tony

Missing from the usual Gatherers were Chris and Dave Jensen who, also, still live on the Peninsula but were not quite home from some exotic get-away last night.  And, we had one extra surprise person — Tony and Ann’s youngest daughter, Michelle (Doctor, Wife, Mother of Four) who came to hug us all and to tell us how important we each had been in her life.  What an incredible woman we “collectively” (according to her own words) turned out!

Part of Tony, Ann, and Nyel

And, there you have it!  We hadn’t gathered since Covid struck and, since then, many milestones have been approached and dealt with — bad health issues for several of the guys, a grandchild on its way for Don and Laura — expected in October on Laura’s birthday!  And between Don and Nyel enough weight lost to equal another person!  OMG!

That we have survived the Pandemic (thus far), that we still have lots to laugh about, that we all teared up at Michelle’s remarks, that we all remember Red’s and MaryLou’s and the days when Fred Rutherford was mayor, and that none of us can quite believe that we all got this old — all that and more will keep us coming back in the years ahead — god willin’ an’ the creek don’t rise!

Living Inside An M.C. Escher Painting Or…

Monday, April 18th, 2022

Escher Staircase

Sometimes I feel that I am living inside a vortex — a strange whirlpool of force like the one in Oregon where “The House of Mystery” has been attracting visitors since the 1930s.  Or maybe our old house is actually an M.C. Escher lithograph or woodcut.  Especially our dining room.  And if you have ever been here, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about.

Partly, it’s that the floor slants rather sharply to the northwest.  It’s not a problem with the floor joists or with the foundation.  Not exactly.  We’ve had our underpinnings checked and rechecked.  It’s that our foundation, once as firm as could be, is built on the shifting sands of this Peninsula sandspit we call home.  Drop a pencil on the south side of the dining room and it travels neatly toward the north side of the kitchen — sometimes stopped by the threshold between the two rooms, sometimes not, depending upon the shape of the implement and the momentum it picks up enroute.

House Of Mystery in Gold Hill, Oregon

Today we had a new vortex experience.  The  Cranberry Museum had ordered 18 of my Arcadia Oysterville books and I brought them from the storage area into the dining room and stacked them on the table.  Two piles of nine books each.  But one pile was clearly an entire book higher than the other.

I recounted.  Nine books in each pile.  So I left them there until my Business Manager (that would be Nyel) had time to write up an invoice.  As he wheeled his chair by the table, he said to me: “You’ve only got 17 books there.”  And a discussion ensued, culminating in several countings and re-stackings.  No matter how we divided the eighteen, the stacks were never even in height.  Period.

Optical Illusion?

We considered that the paper used for some of the books (in a different print run?) might be of a thinner quality.  But… no.  Or that pages had been inadvertently left out of some books.  No again.  It was the Vortex Effect, pure and simple.  Even though the table looked level and even though we put the stacks in different spots on said table, two piles of an equal number of books was never the same height.  Vortex, I tell you.

And no wonder I am often half a bubble off!  Or more.

It’s lambykins for dinner! Happy Easter!

Sunday, April 17th, 2022

Gerbera Daisy — Beloved by Deer and Slugs and ME OH MY!

This day went by in a flurry. First I was late with my morning call to Barbara Canney in Cohasset who said, “OMG!  I thought you might have gone to church!”  We laughed and I recalled the time that my dad thought Charlie really needed to know about church attendance.  So he took Charlie on Easter Sunday to Grace Cathedral on San Francisco’s Nob Hill for the “full meal deal.”  Charlie was ten.  Grandpa loved every minute of it but as I remember Charlie was silent on the matter.  Charlie’s next “church experience” was six or seven years later when he was visiting his father in NYC and went to see “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

The Cutest Easter Bunny Rab EVER – By Nanci Main

Our friends Petra and Michael came by — brought us smoked salmon and stories and lots of laughter. It was so lovely to see them!  Then Nyel got busy making dinner.  The plan was to eat at four o’clock.  As I write this, it is six-oh-one and the lamb has just gone into the oven.  Yes! A four pound leg of lamb, boned and rolled that I picked up at Gulley’s Butcher Shop in Astoria yesterday.  Nyel specified what he wanted over the phone and my mouth has been watering ever since!

Chef Nyel and The Lambykins!

To add to the ambience of Easter and the season — a lovely Gerbera Daisy from Pat Fagerland that will go into the garden when danger of frost is over (as in WHEN do you think THAT might be.)  AND the sweetest Easter Bun Rab in town from Nanci Main — I know the bread will be delicious but can we really cut into this cute little fellow?

Happy Easter Everyone!  I hope yours is as memorable as ours promises to be!


It’s Dreaded Income Tax Day!

Friday, April 15th, 2022

Remembering Oscar Madison of “The Odd Couple” on Income Tax Day

Well, it used to be one of those dreaded yearly milestones — staying up late the night before, crossing every T and dotting every I and making sure to get your return in the mail and postmarked before midnight on the 15th of April.  No one asked for extensions in time in those days.  We didn’t want to draw attention to ourselves and risk being audited.

I don’t remember exactly when that entire “Income Tax Scenario” began to change.  Maybe about the time that H and R Block started in 1955.  At least that’s the first place I remember going to for help with all those forms and reports.  Or maybe the dreaded income tax just didn’t seem so onerous by the 1960s and ’70s when government agencies of one kind or another began to permeate our existence.

This year, with Nyel in the hospital for almost an entire month just before April 15th, we didn’t give any of it a thought.  We contacted our CPA and asked her to file for an extension and have slept easy right through last night.  On the other hand, there was an excise tax payment due to the State of Washington for the few books that I’ve sold at retail this year.  Nyel always takes care of that online — easy-peasy.

But yesterday, even the Help Line Lady at the State Revenue Office could NOT help us out.  It was a computer mess-up with repeated  lock-outs to our information.  Frustrating to the max.  Fortunately, the Help Line Lady ran into the same techie difficulties we did and filed for an extension on the spot — the downside being more hours with someone on the phone today trying to figure out what went wrong with the computer algorithm.  Nyel is truly a saint!

So… if you are in a similar circumstance due to the dreaded April 15th date, you have our greatest sympathy.  This too shall pass.

The Worst Winter Day in April… Ever!

Wednesday, April 13th, 2022

Old Nelson Home, Oysterville 1875 – By Pat Akehurst

Probably the worst winter in Oysterville’s history began the night of January 1, 1875.  That night, the weather turned sharply cold, and the thermometer hovered at zero.  When morning dawned, parts of the bay were sheets of solid ice, with the oysters embedded within it  As the tide moved in and then out, the oyster-laden ice simply floated out to sea, totally wiping out many beds.  The freezing weather continued for eight long days and nights.

Yesterday morning, as Nyel and I started off for Seattle at 4:30 a.m. for an appointment with Cardiologist Extraordinaire, “Dr. Trusted,” I have to confess that I didn’t give that historic January winter a thought.  And why would I?  It was April, for Heaven’s sakes!  April 12th, to be exact, and more than three weeks into Springtime 2022.  Nearly 150 years after than historic weather event here in Pacific County.

I did note that it was cold in Oysterville — very cold for April.  But still, I was more than a  little surprised when we arrived in South Bend in the midst of what looked like a blizzard.  The road was covered.  The trees were covered.  The windshield wipers were clotting up.  And to make matters worse, it was still dark.  Very, very dark.  At 6:00 a.m. in April, for Heaven’s sake!

I white knuckled it through Raymond and up through the already washed-out and not-yet-repaired road to Montesano.  OMG!  And still it snowed.  And hailed.  And sleeted.  It was slippery underfoot as I dashed into the restroom at the Montesano Quick Stop.

And so it continued… all the way to Olympia.  Did the traffic slow down at all???  Not that you’d notice…  But we didn’t see any accidents or mishaps and we arrived at the UW Medical Center for Nyel’s appointment with ten minutes to spare.  We asked hard questions about the prognosis for Nyel’s future…  The answers were hard, too.

All in all, it was good to get back home yesterday afternoon.  Dorothy was right, you know.  There is no place like home.  Especially if it’s Oysterville!  And even if it’s wintery here in April.

Blissful, Solitary Slutvana

Saturday, April 9th, 2022


We’ve probably all known girls like Slutvana.  Aloof.  Totally independent.  A bit pushy when she wants to be.  And the biggest flirt in the crowd.  Do the boys see through her?  See her for what she is? Who knows?  Most of those randy- rooster types don’t put a very fine point on proper behavior.

So, now that Slutvana has no competition in the coop, she seems quite content.  She still dashes out to be the first one to get scratch in the morning.  It takes her a minute or two to realize that there is no longer any competition, but even so she doesn’t linger over the morsels of corn.  Peck-and-gone! Peck-and-gone!  No use taking chances.

Slutvana at Work

It’s hard to tell if she really realizes that it’s just her and me now.  She isn’t kowtowing to me — not yet  When there were more chickens she’d come to me immediately — treats be damned — and “assume the position” in deference to my alpha (apparently male) status.  Never mind that it didn’t get her anywhere.  Those Russian Orloffs are bred to be submissive, apparently.

Slutvana on Patrol (“No new chickens in MY coop!”)

Well… yuck! to that.  And I’m not even tempted to find her a rooster.  We’ve had more than our share of bad luck with roosters.  Several people have offered but I can’t really think that they have either Slutvana or their struttin’ cock-o-the-walk foremost in mind.  I say that because I say, “No thank you regarding the rooster, but we’d gladly give Slutvana to you and your handsome chanticleer.”  So far: end of conversation.

But lest you warm-and-fuzzy chicken lovers worry, as does my friend Nancy, that lone chickens “don’t thrive,” don’t waste your time with Slutvana.  I wouldn’t be surprised if she starts laying again.  You never can tell with chickens, you know. Those backyard fowl can really be quite foul!


The cost of satisfaction: $5.00!

Thursday, April 7th, 2022

You may remember that on March 7, 2022 — exactly one month ago today — I wrote this in my Oysterville Daybook blog:
1:00 – 3:30 — Composed a letter to the Head of the Billing Department at OHSU outlining my frustration with their failure to submit our claim to Blue Cross.  (See yesterday’s blog: “It’s the principal of the thing.”)  I sent copies of said letter to the President of OHSU (at friend Steve’s suggestion) as well as to each of the eight Directors who sit on the OHSU Board, as listed on their website.  (They cleverly include no phone numbers.  But we’ve played that hurry-up-and-get-disconnected-game with OHSU before so no matter…)

With the original letter to the Head of Billing, I attached a $40 check to pay the “bill” that I did not owe so that I would not be turned over to small claims court.  I had no expectations of getting a response but, in fact, within a week or so I did hear from someone in their Customer Relations Department saying that she was “looking into the matter” and to expect a response as to her findings within thirty days.

What I received last week was a check from OHSU, made out to me,in the amount of $40 with this generic note attached:  We are refunding an overpayment on your account for medical services at OHS.  The overpayment occurred due to over collection of patient payments.  Should you have any questions, please call our customer service department at (503)494-8760.

“Overpayment” my ass!  That was NOT the issue.  But, never mind.  They finally submitted my claim to my secondary insurance company which was all I had expected them to do in the first place.  As I figure it, I’m only out the postage on the ten letters I sent and, by rights, they should reimburse that, too!! But I am SO done with them, I could care less.

And here endeth some sort of lesson — for whom, I’m not sure!