Saturday, July 30, 2011


This ghostly pirate was waiting in the back seat of the car after we stopped for coffee on Hwy 101. He wanted a ride to his favorite haunt, the Ghost Hole Tavern down in Garibaldi. Although he seemed friendly enough, we thought it prudent to oblige without further discussion.

Friday, July 29, 2011

You Are Our Sunshine!

You can actually taste sunshine!

I came home from the Farmer's Market with raspberries and strawberries straight from the fields a few miles away. We put the flat on the kitchen counter and the entire family began popping the warm, juicy berries into our mouths. They had not been refrigerated and had a sweet crust as if they had been coated in sugar. Each berry tasted like sunshine feels when it warms your face on a spring day. Seriously, it was an amazing experience we all kept talking about as we kept eating more and more.

Later that evening, while still delightfully yummy, the berries' sunshine essence had disappeared as had most of the berries. None of us will ever forget the summer magic!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Good vs. Evil

The town of Rockaway is consumed with a battle of good vs. evil. According to our neighbor to the North, the “good people” now have political power and things are getting done again. According to our Southern neighbor, the “evil people” are now office and we should do anything we can to prevent them from being successful. It is sad, in a town this small, to see such polarization ripping the community apart. It mirrors what is currently going on in our nation and FOX news would have a heyday here.

We are staying out of the fray, not taking sides, and attending all events (no matter which “side” sanctions them). Seriously, I get enough of this in my daily life. So, Welcome to Switzerland also known as Saltair Station. Our little piece of paradise is the neutral zone.

We were encouraged to see one of the local restaurants has a poster adorning its wall with some advice. Advice, the town people, should heed. I offer it here as a reminder for all of us:

How to Build Community
Turn off your TV
Leave your house
Know your neighbors
Look up when you are walking
Greet people
Sit on your stoop
Plant flowers
Play together
Buy from local merchants
Share what you have
Help a lost dog
Take children to the park
Garden together
Support neighborhood schools
Fix it even if you didn’t break it
Have potlucks
Pick up litter
Read stories aloud
Dance in the street
Talk to the mail carrier
Listen to the birds
Put up a swing
Help carry something heavy
Barter for your goods
Start a tradition
Ask a question
Hire young people for odd jobs
Organize a block party
Bake extra and share
Open your shades
Sing together
Share your skills
Take back the night
Turn up the music
Turn down the music
Listen before you react to anger
Seek to understand
Learn from new and uncomfortable angles
Know that no one is silent though many are not heard
Work to change this!

So if you ever want to join us in "Switzerland," stop by our fire to look at the stars and swap stories, please pull up a chair. We love this community and hope it can find peace once again.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Honk If You Love Music

photo of truck in Rockaway Beach Oregon
The North Coast Big Band Concert was several weeks ago on a delightfully sunny day. We grabbed our chairs and headed for the park. At the entrance, we saw this truck with quite an elaborate sound system. At first we worried this was the sound for the concert, you know, small town style. Luckily we were wrong. The music was swinging, toe-tapping fun amplified without the use of the truck.

I am watching closely behind me when I drive down 101 though. If this person honks at me, the Prius will most likely vaporize.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Summer's Here, Grab Your Umbrella

The lucifers in the front yard are just about to burst forth. I am glad they waited one more day so I could capture Nature's symmetry adorned with crystal drops of salty rain.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Don't Grow Up to Be a Weed

photo of a dandelion by Nancy Zavada

While driving through the coast range, Gardener Bob suddenly asked, “Is that a weed?” pointing to the beautiful purple foxglove along the side of the road.

Nope, I answered.

How about that one? Inquiring about the Queen Anne's Lace, equally as magnificent.

Yes, it’s considered a weed.

Although I had answered very definitively in my best gardening authority voice, I started pondering what makes a weed a weed. It can’t be beauty, because some weeds are quite beautiful. It can’t be smell as the same holds true. Is it the invasive characteristics of the plant? Well, that would make most ground cover qualify as weeds. Hmmmm.

I finally decided it is being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Take for instance, the dandelion. It isn’t a bad looking little plant, the leaves are flat and green, it has a delicate yellow flower which later turns into an exquisite ball of fluff, it can be made into wine and it thrives year round--especially in my yard. As far as I can tell, its only crime is popping up in the middle of manicured lawns and gardens. That must have been enough for us humans to decide it was a weed, giving full power to lots of companies to make lots of nasty chemical products (and money) to help us “control” them.

Feeling sorry for the dandelion plant for getting such a bad rap, I decided to consult the dictionary to prove myself wrong. Unfortunately, I was pretty close. The official definition reads, "weed: A wild plant growing where it is not wanted and in competition with cultivated plants.” Geez, tough crowd.

Take my advice if you are a wild plant, growing as nature intended, not causing harm to anyone; steer clear of the cultivated plants and landscape that humans prize. Just sayin’...

Note: The Urban Dictionary defines weed as, “God’s gift to the world. Brings peace when used wisely.” I think this is a completely different topic.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Peaceful Dawn

photo of sunrise over tillamook bay, oregon

The moon setting as the pastel sunrise reflected on the morning fog was our reward for getting up with the earliest of the early birds!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Ode to Cap'n Dick

There once was a Pirate named Dick,

Whose temper was mean and quick,

When the wench served his beer,

He would grab her and leer,

Until she chased him off with a stick!

(I think I have gotten the "family pirate" theme out of my system now and I will return to my regular posting. That is until I start the tales of my family mermaids!)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Not To Mention The Z Pirate Gang!

Yo ho - yo he he
A Pirate Gang is the life for me
Yo ho - yo he he
Setting sail for the seven seas.

The Pirate Gang hunts for treasure
Gold and silver is our pleasure
Check the map
X marks the spot
Better get digging - what have we got?
Dig - Dig
Dig in the sand
Dig all day with the Pirate band

The pirate gang loves the ocean wide
So turn the wheel as the waves we ride
Round - Round
Give it a spin
Look a storm is coming in
Up and down
We can hardly stand
We just can't wait 'til we reach dry land

Yo ho - yo he he
A Pirate Gang is the life for me!

-cbeebies, BBC

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Me Thinks, Pirates Run in the Family

We's pirates in bikinis
singing proper pirate songs,
while wearing scary pirate hats
and teeny-tiny thongs.

We prance around the poop-deck
in our bathing suits because
we plunders much more booty
in our itsy-bitsy bras.

In fact, when we attacks a ship
we needn't lift a sword.
We makes our victims laugh so hard
they tumbles overboard.

And as we takes their treasure
we sings proper pirate songs,
while wearing scary pirate hats
and teeny-tiny thongs.

So if you sees us coming,
bag your swag without no fuss.
We's pirates in bikinis
and your loot belongs to us.

--Kenn Nesbitt

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Here's Hoping

"Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good,
God would permit us to be pirates."

Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain

Monday, July 11, 2011

Spectator or Parader? You Decide!

One thing is for sure, it can be hard to determine which category they fall into at Rockaway's Fourth of July Parade. Take this guy...

Or this?

Although "crabby" does seem to be a theme this year...

These two don't look crabby, more like "Sleepy" and "Happy"...

Luckily, they hose EVERYONE off at the end of the parade!

photo of rockaway beach oregon 4th of july parade

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Things I Learned Along the Way

Lately, I have been reflecting on the amount of knowledge I have gained over the past fifty-plus years. It started when my daughter, Kate, asked me why I wasn’t using a recipe to make one of our favorite dishes. I hadn’t even thought about it, but I guess have made it so many times, it is now inherent.

So, how (or when) did I accumulate all of this information and develop it to the point I don’t need directions, a recipe or a reference book anymore? Information I take for granted, like…

  • How to deep to sow a tomato plant
  • What children need at 2 or 7 or 17
  • How to sew a wedding dress
  • Which ingredients flavor Mexican or Asian food
  • What knot to use when anchoring a boat
  • How and when to buy and sell a house
  • The names of Pacific Northwest plants and which ones grow best where
  • The tricks to planning a memorable event
  • What to do for an upset stomach or fever
  • How to be frugal without being cheap

Over the weekend, I was watching a baby practicing with muscles she will soon use for standing and walking. Just starting out on this knowledge journey, she learns first to use her physical body and then her mind. Oh, how far we have each come from birth to our lives today. Layer upon layer, we learn and expand--never stopping this thirst for knowledge.

I enjoy sharing these bits and pieces I have gathered along the way with other eager students of life. One day, Kate’s children may well ask her why she isn’t using a recipe to make that same dish. Perhaps she will wonder, as I have, and then she will pull up a chair so they can reach the counter to help stir.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Fire In The Sky

Armed with my little digital camera (no tri-pod), a warm summer evening and a breath-taking fireworks show directly overhead, I was able to capture these fanciful images.

Note: for authentic visualization, please shout, "BOOM" really loudly between photos!

photo of fireworks over rockaway beach oregon
photo of fireworks over rockaway beach
photo of fireworks over rockaway beach oregon
photo of fireworks over rockaway beach oregon
photo of fireworks over rockaway beach oregon

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Oh No, Not Again?!

photo of fireworks at Rockaway Beach, Oregon
Now I am seeing faces in the fireworks. Perhaps too much salt air?

Monday, July 4, 2011

An Old Fashioned Celebration

photo of American flag by Nancy Zavada
The sun shines most brightly this holiday weekend. In fact, it is the best weather on record according to me. Flags are flying, the ice cream shop is hopping and the beach looks like Coney Island.

The parade has passed by and the 2011 Weiner National racers are relaxing (Brandy beat Sheriff this year for Top Dog honors). The crowds have retreated to their homes to barbeque before the big fireworks show tonight.

There is nothing like Fourth of July in a small coastal town!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Reality Check, Please!

Okay, I see a face in the piling outside the house. It doesn't appear to be any important historical or biblical figure however. Please tell me you see it too!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Everyone Loves a Parade!

The trip to Saltair Station yesterday was really more like a road rally. Drivers were jockeying for position along the twists and curves of the Wilson River Highway. Passing in no passing zones, forcing other drivers to pull over and riding the bumpers of the car ahead. I even saw a ambulance with flashing lights racing toward Portland and right (and I mean right) behind him was a motorcycle taking full advantage of the "escort" to the city.

Near the end of my journey, I came up behind an older couple in their vintage Thunderbird going 40 miles an hour, completely unaware of the commotion. Top down, wind blowing gently through their white hair, they were smiling out each direction like the Grand Marshalls in a magnificent parade. As they passed, the trees and ferns along the road seemed to wave like spectators cheering along the parade route. I would not have been surprised to see the couple wave back and give them a regal nod of the head.

The line of cars behind us must have sensed that the road rally had changed into an old-fashioned holiday parade because no one else passed in the final miles into Tillamook. Perhaps they were busy waving to the crowd too!