Sunday, November 17, 2013

Fast Food

Up for a big breakfast, load the boat and off to the bay less than one mile away.

A couple of hours wrangling crab pots.

Back to dry land to start the water boiling filling the air with the delicious smell of bay leaves and herbs.

Just a few moments later....


Lunch is served!  

From the bottom of Netarts Bay to table in less than an hour.  The crab meat is incredibly sweet and doesn't even make it to a salad before being devoured.  I wouldn't live anywhere else.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Words Not Required

Photo of sunrise over Netarts Bay by Nancy Zavada

There should be a beautiful poem or inspirational caption to this 
photo taken as the sun rose over Netarts Bay on Sunday. 

However, Mother Nature was doing the talking 
and I have nothing to add.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Monday, October 28, 2013

Heavenly Sent

Sitting on the front porch with my father's dog, Goldie, last evening we reminisced about Dad.  You see it was his birthday.  He would have been 83.

We hoped he was at peace and wanted him to know our love for him endures.  We told him how much his life mattered to us and how we would have given anything to spend another birthday with him.

We didn't sit too long before we felt his presence and the sky lit up with his love.

photo of October Sky by Nancy Zavada

Friday, October 18, 2013

Facing the Storm

You may have read my blog a few weeks ago about a crazy storm we had at the coast.  Turns out it was the remnants of Typhoon Padbuk that had come ashore with over 80 mph winds and torrents of rain.  We weren't the only ones riding out the storm.  The pelicans had decided flying was not an option and had landed on Netarts Bay literally riding out the storm facing into the wind.

Several days later when the typhoon blew over, the pelicans ousted the seagull population from their favorite breakwater to rest up on dry land.  A little preening and drying of feathers and they were as good as new.

Everyone lived happily ever after except the seagulls who wanted their land back.  They screeched and hollered about it but their complaints fell on deaf ears.  Is that why they call it a "pecking order?"

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Find Yourself

photo of Twin Rocks in Rockaway Beach Oregon by Nancy Zavada

For whatever we lose,
It is always ourselves we find in the sea.

--e.e. cummings

Friday, October 4, 2013

Free Smiles

photo of a sunflower by Nancy Zavada

Because you just can't resist this sunny face on a warm, fall afternoon.
You know you can't!

Monday, September 30, 2013

What Doesn't Knock You Down, Will Bring You Closer

Four brothers came together at the beach last weekend drawn by the love of family and each other.  It had been years since all four had seen each other.  The time was designed as a chance for them to reconnect with one another, their mother and family.

The weather had been glorious all week leading up to the event, so all sorts of activities from crabbing and kayaking to hiking and beach combing were on the docket.  Instead two "unseasonable" storms (according to the weather forecasters) hit the coast bringing winds peaking at 83 mph.  The first storm started early Saturday and reached a crescendo that rattled windows and literally shook the house.  Rain slammed against the windows in sheets and the sea birds took cover to ride it out.

The activity schedule changed to sitting inside, cozy and warm.  Convened in one room, they shared stories of their lives past and present.  They reminisced about places, people, and girls whose hearts they had broken. Occasionally a huge gust would hit the house and conversation would stop as everyone took a moment to acknowledge the beauty and fury of the storm.  Then back to the reflections and storytelling.    Meals were made together and enjoyed after giving thanks for this precious time and the storm which made it more intimate.

When a nice walk was suggested, the brothers and a nephew suited up in every available piece of rain gear and headed out.  However, the more adventurous of the siblings turned the walk into a hike to the point of Cape Lookout.  The din of the storm, shear power and exhilaration of the near hurricane force winds had them all whooping and hollering like young boys.  The decades dropped away and they were playmates again.

Later, safe and sound back inside with the storm on the outside, it was time for hot tea and dry clothes.  They had new stories to tell about their latest shared adventure.

All agreed, Mother Nature's fury had conspired in their favor to provide them with an unforgettable weekend of love, laughter and memories.

They were very grateful indeed.

For a peak into the storm, here is a video that doesn't quite do it justice, but you get the idea.

Monday, September 23, 2013


Life is a balance of work and play 

My simple and elegant philosophy of life. Whether that means playing by being creative at work or taking time out to laugh, take a walk, have lunch with a friend.  Conversely working hard to complete a personal project during vacation is also very satisfying to me.  When I am not watching a clock and I play with all of the details to my heart's content.  Both work and play are woven through my daily life whether it be a weekday or weekend. 

If I get out of balance, I usually know immediately (right after my husband tells me).  Over the years, I have learned to watch for indicators if the scale is tipping in either direction and can correct the balance myself.

Indicators are sometimes subtle and internal or other times have to be a little more obvious.  During this vacation, we worked pretty hard on changes to make our beach home a comfortable, inviting and healing place.  The sense of completion and transformation felt wonderful to me even though my body was aching. 

One afternoon, I quit working on the house and played on the beach with the dog.  I was walking along thinking how much I loved the balance of this life when I happened upon these rocks.  Perched upon a piece of driftwood, the rocks were perfectly balanced to avoid dipping into the stream.  Not a very subtle sign, but certainly one affirming I am on the right track.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Happy Hour at the Pelican Bar

After a long day of fishing, the pelicans hit the sand bar.  Friends gather, stories are told, and there is a little good-natured chasing of sea gulls.  The sun sets on another perfect day!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Early Bird Gets the Moon

Photo of the Harvest Moon over the Pacific Ocean by Nancy Zavada

The Harvest Moon was my gift from Mother Nature for getting up at sunrise this morning.  Grabbing my camera and running out into the dew covered grass, I captured the moment just before it dropped into a marine layer of clouds over the Pacific Ocean.

It is now my gift to each of you.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Low Flyer

photo of bird over Netarts Bay Oregon by Nancy Zavada

This frequent flyer is heading south, perhaps for the winter.  His flight plan takes him over Netarts Bay toward Cape Lookout.  During his entire journey, he is never more than a foot over the water.  At several points, the tips of his wings dip into the bay.  Not missing a beat, he skims along the glassy surface.

Oh how I wish, I could share that experience!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Celestial Game of Chase

Photo of the moon over Netarts Bay Oregon by Nancy Zavada

The Moon chases the Sun around the Earth. 
We benefit from the sheer beauty of their antics.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Apologies to the Spider

It is about this time of year, when watering the garden turns into a daily occurrence.  The heat and lack of rain make for very thirsty plants.  It is also about this time of year, when spiders begin to take over the yard spinning their webs every evening for the catch of the day.

My highly-advanced remedy to avoid walking through spider webs is waving one arm in front of me in a move resembling a baby elephant's trunk.  Around the garden I go, waving one arm while watering with the other.  The children always found this hilarious while I found it very effective.

This morning I was hurried and began darting about with the hose (forgetting the elephant walk).  At one point I took a sharp turn and came face to face with...

this unhappy spider whose web I had apparently disturbed during my watering activities.  Too close for comfort, I apologized both quickly and profusely while retreating to the house.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Skippin' Sisters

There's nothing like a big sister to teach you how to skip a rock.  First, she picks out the perfect rock with a flat surface so it will bounce across the water.  Then, she shows you how to stand a little sideways and fling it just so until it skips 1, 2, 3, 4 and even 5 times before plopping to the bottom of the lake.  She patiently shows you again and again so you get it.

And then...your two-year old self picks up the biggest rock you can find and throws it directly at your big sister.  That will show her what rocks are for!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Know It All

photo of dew on leaves on the Oregon Coast by Nancy Zavada

What do you know?

Not what do you believe, feel, see, or imagine.  

What do you know to be true with every fiber of your being?

Live life from this knowingness.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Beach Lily

The salt air, mist, and spotty sun breaks seem to make Calla Lilies spring forth everywhere at the Oregon Coast.  Their flowers embody grace and simple elegance.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Water Stars

As in the heavens, so it is here on Earth.  

Shiny, twinkling, sparkling light brought to you by Mother Nature to feed your soul.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Saturday, June 22, 2013

I See a Dragon

photo of Twin Rocks in Rockaway Beach, Oregon by Nancy Zavada

As we strolled the beach, my good friend Colleen, told me Twin Rocks looks like a dragon or a sea monster.  With it's head in the water, neck arched and serpent hump following along, the creature heads south down the Pacific Coast just beyond the breakers.

Now I see the dragon each and every time walk along the shore and the two rocks have ceased to exist.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

I Remember You

This was my first Father's Day without my father.  He was in my thoughts all day as he often is, but it was more poignant on this special day.  I wanted to talk about him, to reminisce about his life, to keep him alive through stories and anecdotes with anyone who would listen.  No one was listening.

At a family gathering, no one mentioned him or how my sister and I might be feeling.  It was too uncomfortable for them.   It was as if they didn't ask, they wouldn't hurt us, see our pain or deal with the real grieving which continues.  Friends and family sidestepped the vulnerability and intimacy instead of risk being drawn into it.

I understand it is hard to watch someone grieve, really I do.  For me, it is harder still to just ignore the person who was a huge part of our lives and is no longer present.  What a lose his physical being and all of the memories of him at the same time. 

In our culture, once the memorial service is over, we shut down to avoid the pain.  This phenomenon always seemed strange to me.  Instead of keeping them alive through our memories, we don't talk about them hoping to stop the emotions and ease the pain it might cause in loved ones.

So right here, right now, I am asking those in my life not to spare me.   Please,  please let's talk about all of the people so near and dear to us that have passed on.  If there are tears, laughter, sorrow, anger or joy, let's experience the full range of those emotions together and grow closer through the experience.

At the end of the day, my sweet husband and I sat alone on the porch.  He offered up a toast to Joe and Dick, the fathers who we deeply missed on Father's Day.  We shared memories, laughed and cried for their lives really did matter.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

That is One Dandy Lion

photo of a dandelion by Nancy Zavada

When I was little, I would carefully pick a dandelion as to not knock off any of the "wishes."  Then I would concentrate on a truly spectacular wish and blow, blow, blow until all the wishes were airborne.  I was very confident this ritual worked and still am.

Lucky for me I have a whole yard full of dandelions and can wish away whenever I want!

Friday, June 7, 2013

One Too Many Vampire Movies

The group of preteen girls huddled together pointing at the cormorant.  They were so animated and talking excitedly.  Then the tallest one proclaimed with impeccable authority,  "That is a BAT."  They squealed some more and ran off.

Although tempted to follow them and correct their nature studies, I let them enjoy their Twilight fantasies a while longer.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Rose Festival

Everywhere you look in the Pacific Northwest, roses are in bloom. 
Their blooms are so fragrant and graceful...a festival for the senses indeed!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Aging Beautifully

photo of rings of a tree by Nancy Zavada

When I grow older, will the wrinkles in my face tell the story of my life as beautifully as do the rings of this tree ?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Double Eagles

photo of bald eagles by Nancy Zavada

There I was lounging on the deck immersed in a good book.  I looked up from the mystery to see these two bald eagles perched in the tree above me.

It is at this point, I decide it would be prudent to move around a bit just in case they were discussing whether or not I would make a good meal.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Local Artist

A robin made this beautiful work of art, right in my backyard.  

The structural design, use of materials and intricate weave of this nest are astonishing.  
Especially if you consider, this mother bird doesn't even have hands!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

What Will You Risk?

bald eagle flying int the San Juan Islands by Nancy Zavada

"I do not care what you do for a living.  
All I want to know is what you ache for, 
and if you dare to dream of achieving your heart's desires.

I do not care how old you are.  
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, 
for your dreams,
for the adventure of being alive."

The Invitation by Oriah

Thursday, May 16, 2013

A Face You Can't Resist

Grumbling through my early morning walk, this little face made me break into a full grin. 
I stepped a little lighter after that.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Mermaid Lessons

I wasn't the first mermaid in the family, that honor goes to my grandmother.  Grandma Mimi loved swimming, floating, wading and pretty much any excuse for being in the water. 

She would wade out in the Columbia River and toes up, start floating downstream.  The huge smile on her face could be seen from the shore.  She waved at me as she drifted away.  I knew right then, I wanted to be just like her.  From time to time, she would worry my grandfather as he would lose sight of her.  She always came swimming back up river though, without a care in the world.  Water makes me feel that way too.

I still have her beach bag, it is packed just as she left it, ready for an outing.  It's funny the things you hang on to, the things that remind you of loved ones, the things you will never part with.  How lucky I am to have a mermaid's bag full of treasure.


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Joyful Planet

photo of a pink poppy by Nancy Zavada

People from a planet without flowers would think 
we must be mad with joy the whole time
to have such things about us.

--Iris Murdoch

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Overheard, But Not Seen

“I have a dragon…I suppose you want one too?” the little girl asked.

“Of course,”
exclaimed the little boy.  “I have always wanted a dragon.”

Unable to resist temptation, the evil witch (me from a window above) called out, 

“I want a dragon too!” 

Hearing my voice, they ran away shrieking still unseen among the trees.  A while later they wandered back within earshot and the conversation between the two resumed…

“How did you find me?” she wondered.

“You are standing right here,”
he was getting quite annoyed.

“But how did you see me?” 
her tone very perplexed.

“Because you are standing right here!”

“You can’t see me,  I am invisible.”

I didn’t interrupt this time, I just smiled to myself as I stroked my new dragon.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.
I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light.
For a time I rest in the grace of the world,
and I am free.

--Wendell Barry

Monday, April 29, 2013

Friday, April 26, 2013

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Nine Lives

Everyone on the Oregon Coast has a story to tell.   Luckily, the pace of coastal time makes it easy to sit and listen to them.  The crusty bunch of characters who share the land at the continent's edge have done a wide variety of things.  In our small area alone...

  • The realtor was the general store owner after retiring from a company "in the valley"
  • The mole trapper was a stone mason
  • The bartender was a school teacher
  • The home inspector organized motorcycle events in Bend while working in a grocery store
  • The breakfast diner's cook was in the "big house"
  • The plumber was a commercial fisherman in Alaska
  • The cable installer didn't really remember much about his past, but told the tale eloquently

Somehow or other, they have found their way to one of the most beautiful places on Earth.  It's not easy living here.  Making a living can be as daunting as the grey clouds in winter, but they adjust, learn a new skill and stay.   

It's all worth it when the sun comes out and the crab are swept in with the tide.  Business comes to a screeching halt and you'll find them seizing the day, leaving work behind and living the dream!

May we all be so lucky.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Standing at the Edge of the Sea

To stand at the edge of the sea,
to sense the ebb and flow of the tides...
is to have knowledge of things that are...eternal.

--Rachel Carson

Friday, March 29, 2013

Child's Play

photo of sidewalk hopscotch by Nancy Zavada

I would like to thank the small children and angels 
who put this childhood game 
on the path of my morning walk.  
It was good to play again!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Seeking Answers

photo of Nehalem Falls Trail in Oregon by Nancy Zavada

They say...

All who wander are not lost.

I know they are right.

They say...

Those who seek, shall find.

I know they are right.

They say...

Everything in The Universe is within you.

I'm counting on it!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

You Are Authorized to Help Each Other

When did people stop helping other people?  When did policies, identity security and "the corporate script" make it all right to disregard our fellow human's needs?  What happened to flexibility and customer service?

A series of recent encounters while trying to close accounts for my father, have me concerned for our world.  It started with the power company and went something like this...

"Hello, I am calling to turn of the power at my father's house, it was sold today?"

Power company rep: "Are you Mr. Johnston?"

"No, he passed away. I am the executor of the estate."

"You are not authorized on the account and the Privacy Act states I cannot talk to you."

"But I have a letter of testamentary, his death certificate, and his checking account if you need proof."

"I am sorry, I cannot talk to you about this account without Mr. Johnston's approval."

"He's dead. I have been paying your bills. How can I turn off his power?"

"There is nothing I can do until the next homeowners call to start an account.  It will trigger a Death Closure Ticket and the account will be closed.  I must end this call with you right now as I am not authorized to discuss the account with you."

The lack of customer service continued with the hospital...

"Hello, I am calling about the late notice on my father's hospital bill and strong language about being sent to collections.  I had to go through legal paperwork to set up an estate checking account to pay his bills.  It took several months and now I can pay it.  I would appreciate not being sent to collections."

Hospital rep: "We didn't know Mr. Johnston had died.  There is no record of that on my screen."

"He died in your hospital."

"It was your responsibility to inform us.  The computer automatically sends the bills to Mr. Johnston, I have no control over that."

"I thought because he died in Room 484 and this bill includes charges for final procedures on the body, the hospital might have an clue."

"No, you should have called us to inform us of his death and tell us who would be responsible for paying the bill.  If that is you, I will need your credit history now."

These actual conversations are just two of the eleven, I have had in the past several months.

They serve as an awakening and a reminder to me.  Even among all of the rules and regulations of life in 2013, let's remember that we are all human.  Let's help each other along the way and not be so strident in enforcing the "rules."  Let's not forget that a little understanding goes a long way.

It is alright that the person in front of me in the checkout line has 15 items instead of 12, they are probably fighting a battle I will never know about. 

At Last!

There is something infinitely healing in
the assurance that dawn comes after night
and spring after winter.

--Rachel Carson

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Celebrating Green

photo of fern in the Oregon Coast by Nancy Zavada

Go ahead and drink green beer.  
This is the green I am celebrating today!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Humble Beginnings

Photos of apple blossoms by Nancy Zavada

Earth teach me humility
as blossoms are humble with beginning.

- Ute Prayer

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Colorful Words

photo of a rainbow on a vintage typewriter

It appears as though my great-grandfather's Underwood No. 5 Typewriter thinks it is a perfect day to capture my thoughts on paper.  You just can't argue with a sign like that!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Trees Are My Brothers

"More fir trees of great tallness was on either side of the road--they did stretch out their great arms to welcome us.  I so do love trees.  I have thinks I was once a tree, growing in the forest.  Now all the trees are my brothers."

--Opal Whiteley's Diary at age 5, 1902

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Mas Moss

photo of trees in the Oregon Coast Range by Nancy Zavada

A man in Austin, Texas, asked me, "Is it true, in Oregon, moss grows everywhere?  I have heard that it even grows on sidewalks.  Does that really happen?"

True?  Yes, moss grows on sidewalks, on cars, on fences, on buildings, and well, pretty much anything left outside. This time of year, when there hasn't been much sun for over four months and the rain/drizzle/mist is constant, the moss is at its thickest.

It's damp, green beauty blankets everything with inches of soft fur and the leafless trees keep warm in their moss stoles.

photo of moss dripping from a tree by Nancy Zavada

Yes, sir,  it is not only true, it is magnificent!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Door of My Soul

photo of water lily at Rockaway Beach Oregon by Nancy Zavada

Since I learned how to love you,
the door of my soul has been left wide open
to the winds of the four directions.

--Thich Nhat Hanh