Monday, June 27, 2011

I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy

photo of fireworks over rockaway beach oregon
Admittedly, I haven't been a huge fan of fireworks. Yes, they are nice to look at, but I get no real "can't live without it" feeling. Then last year, Holiday Bob made me walk the whole four blocks down to the beach to see what the Rockaway Fire Department had been working on all day.

From the first boom, which nearly stopped my heart, to the sparkling stars which rained down around me, I was a believer. There is nothing like sitting right under those majestic, brilliant sparklers. All of your senses are involved instead of just your eyes when you watch them from a distance. I was oohhing and aahhing with the rest of the crowd, chanting for more...please!

If you haven't experienced a Fourth of July Fireworks show up close and personal, may I recommend grabbing a blanket, laying back in the sand and watching with childlike wonder.

Photo courtesy of the Rockaway Beach Fire Department site.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Two Favorite Things

Those who know me can tell you about my love of nature and how thrilled I am when I can save money. Imagine my excitement when I had the opportunity to co-author a book about simultaneously doing both! Our new book will be coming out in a few short weeks and we have already had people pre-order copies.

I don't usually talk about business on this blog, but I am one of the lucky ones. My job allows me to combine my passion for the Earth and the meeting industry, making a difference everyday. So my personal and professional lives blend beautifully.

I am grateful for a husband and daughter who support my efforts and are my biggest fans. They cheer me on when I am terrified (just before a big speech) and applaud me when it is over. They also laugh out loud at the expression on my face when I am served food on styrofoam.

If this book had a dedication page, it would read...

"To Bob and Kate, thanks for believing in me."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Why Not Do Both?

photo of Garibaldi Oregon docks by Nancy Zavada
"I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day."

E.B. White

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service

It was a very busy day in Rockaway. Finally, after a long winter where the town was empty of tourists, they have returned. Bob and I were eating a late breakfast at a local restaurant where it was getting close to the end of their business day. One of the waitresses was clearly ready to go home as she was grabbing condiments from all of the patron's tables while we were eating. Okay, that was rude enough, here's what followed:

A young couple walks in the front door and stops, trying to decide if this is a "seat yourself" type of place because there isn't a sign.

Said waitress is nearby clearing a table. She looks up at them and loudly comments, "Oh, when will it ever end?"

The young couple is taken aback, they look at each other and offer to leave.

The waitress huffs and barks, "Just take a seat anywhere." Which they timidly do.

We sat there really quite shocked at the whole exchange. Then we looked at each other and remembered, "Oh yes, we are on coastal time where the customer isn't always right. In fact, they are treated as an annoyance." Just like a few weeks ago when I wanted lunch at 1:00pm at a local restaurant whose menu stated, "lunch served at noon." When I tried to order lunch, I was curtly informed without apology, "No lunch, the kitchen isn't ready and won't be."

I am not saying this doesn't happen in the big city, it does. What surprises me is this attitude is the norm, not the exception, in a town that relies on the three month tourist season for the majority of their livelihood.

Just saying, folks.

PS For a guaranteed big smile and a friendly greeting, walk down the street to the ice cream shop run by Big Al and his wife. The Tillamook Mudslide Ice Cream doesn't hurt either.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sailing on the High Tide

photo of a pirate in Rockaway Beach Oregon
The last hour of the last day of the Pirate Festival, I spotted this crusty buccaneer. Noose around his neck and cask of rum on his hip, he was headed past the row of vendor booths toward the ocean.

One can only assume the salt air and brisk tides were
calling him home to the sea.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Pirate Scouting, Day Two

The second day of the Pirate Festival brought rain in every form--downpour, drizzle, mist and downright nasty. Knowing that pirates are a hearty breed, I didn't think a little weather would deter them from a festival in their honor. So I took my trusty camera to capture the day in pictures.
photo of Rockaway Beach Pirate Festival
No pirates here...
photo of Rockaway Beach Pirate Festival

No pirates here, although this green ship is the one I suspected they traveled in last year...
Photo of steam locomotive with pirate flags

I waited for the town locomotive to rumble into the station thinking perhaps the pirates had sailed into Garibaldi, dropped anchor and took the train on up. After all, it was bearing their flags.I was disappointed once again...

Hoping the Emily G. Reed shipwreck might hold a clue, I took a look at her resting place (currently well below the sand) and found a flock of rather bored seagulls standing in a formation perfectly outlining her skeleton. But no pirates!

Wet and dismayed, I headed home to dry off.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Pirate Scouting, Day One

My initial quest to find pirates here a Saltair Station has resulting in the following sightings:

  • One middle-aged biker gang in full leather regalia cruising up Hwy. 101
  • Two young hipsters having their picture taken with a large chicken made of oil barrels
  • A wiener dog sporting a red, white and blue crocheted sweater
  • A saleman wearing three different types of plaid selling “real” bonsai trees for $10

No pirates, though. So, clever girl that I am, I decided to check the places where the thirsty pirates could get a fresh ration of rum. The Novelty Store (our town’s name for the liquor store) and the Pharmacy (Garibaldi’s name for the liquor store). Note to self: check to see why small coastal towns don’t call them liquor stores. I also checked the Pirate’s Cove Restaurant to no avail.

If not rum, perhaps jewels are the answer, so I even checked the Treasure Chest Antique Shop. I thought it was a long shot, but there was a big picture of a bulging treasure chest on the sign outside which I had hoped might lure them in. Nope.

I did see Jerry Garcia selling kettlecorn in a tie-dyed t-shirt while riding a large red tricycle—is that close enough?

Permission to Come Aboard

photo of pirate flag in rockaway beach oregon taken by Nancy Zavada
It is time once again for the annual Pirate Festival. Last year, you may recall I was very disappointed because I didn't actually see any pirates at the Pirate Festival just cheesy rides, kettle corn and vendor booths.

So it is with high hopes that I set sail for "downtown" to see if I can spot any buccaneers and report back to you. I am hoping since we now have a town shipwreck, The Emily G Reed, the pirates will be more likely to show up in search of booty and Pronto Pups.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Opening to Beauty

When I purchased the tight, white peony buds at the Farmer's Market, I had no idea their opening would be so stunning. A dramatic and elegant transformation occurred overnight.

Flowers, like hearts, must be open to share their beauty.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Mother Nature's Lace

This hydrangea bloom is still quite eye-catching even after surviving a long winter of gale force winds and relentless, salty rain. It brings to mind antique lace woven for the wedding of a fairy princess. Perhaps, Mother Nature herself has designed it for a special friend.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Working On Coastal Time

photo of the Nehalem River by Nancy Zavada
One of the peculiarities of living in a small town is the limited access to supplies. This coastal town has no gas station, no hardware store, no plant nursery and no appliance store. We do our best to plan ahead and be prepared.

Problem: to complete any decent plumbing or electrical project, Bob requires 1-3 trips to the store for parts and tools which entails a 20 mile drive in either direction. It's not his fault, it is a man thing.

Saturday morning, he was patiently installing the new porch lights I couldn't live without when it became time for a visit to the store. We decided to make it an outing, because the weather was sunny and unseasonably warm. We drove two towns north to Nehalem and the closest hardware store.

On the way back, we stopped for lunch in Wheeler at a restaurant with rustic outdoor seating overlooking the river. The well-worn docks were deserted except for a few crab pots and a "Seagull Security" guard. The seagull kept a keen eye trained on those crab pots for over an hour from his station atop the piling. Finally, sensing there was no immediate danger of theft, he sat down and basked in the sun along with the rest of us.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


photo of a sign in rockaway beach oregon
That's what the sign says, "chutney." The town convenience store sells beer, ice, hot dogs, marshmallows and all the things you need for a picnic on the beach. They even rent movies for those frequent rainy days. The fresh vegetables are hit and miss and I haven't tried the meat. Scouring the shelves, however, chutney was nowhere to be found.

Every time we drive by, I wonder what the grocer who ordered this sign was thinking, "Lets see, I can only list three items...hmmm. Wait, I've got it. Oh this will really draw a crowd, the tourists will definitely stop for chutney!"

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Not To Be Outdone

The evergreen trees also flaunt their beauty each spring
with a most delicious shade of green!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Open Bar

photo of driftwood at Nedonna Beach Oregon by Nancy ZavadaNedonna Beach, Oregon has a lot of driftwood. Seriously, it has a sea of sun bleached, saltwater soaked wood. The trail to the ocean from the parking lot leads you through a small portion seen here.

While some are content to sit upon a dry piece to watch the water, other project-minded visitors feel compelled to build things.
photo of driftwood fort at Nedonna Beach Oregon by Nancy Zavada

So as you wander down the beach you see all types of amazing structures. Some are clearly meant for blocking the wind and others appear to be forts. Ahhh, to be a child again working alongside my buddies building strongholds to defend the beach from marauding pirates!

photo of drifwood bar at Nedonna Beach Oregon by Nancy Zavada
This structure overlooking the ocean has been here for years. It is not a fort, but instead is a bar. Yes, that's right a working bar. Seen here in winter, you can make out the basic outline. Come summer, it receives repairs from winter storm damage and is outfitted with a bar sign, flags, drink menu and all the accoutrements necessary to serve up Salty Dogs (the drink, not the locals). We have never been able to figure out which family or group is responsible for this annual event, but we applaud their efforts and the creative use of nature's flotsam and jetsam.

Our mission this summer is to capture the bar open for business on film and report back to you, little drink umbrellas and all!