#301–Cruising the coast with Teeta in a Tesla . . .

Teeta had a new Tesla and wanted to drive it. So, she picked me up, and I played tour guide for the northern half of the Oregon coast while she drove.

Teeta’s new Tesla was too smart for me.

We planned the trip months ago and I made reservations in March because I know how slammed with tourists the Oregon coast is in July. I made reservations at places I either wanted to stay in or wanted to return to.

Trip to Astoria

We left Monday morning, and Teeta enjoyed the ocean views between Florence and Yachats. We stopped for coffee in Waldport.

The Grandview B&B was charming and delightful.

When we got to Lincoln City, we stopped at Volta Gallery because Teeta loves blown glass and that’s what they specialize in. And she did find something she wanted. Then we visited the glass blowing studio across the highway. More glass to oogle as well as watching the glass blowers.

We could have stopped at a dozen places to eat lunch with an ocean view before Lincoln City, but we weren’t hungry then. We went over to the ocean at Pacific City looking for a place to park with a view of the ocean but no luck. And we needed to make sure we could get to Astoria where Teeta planned to charge her car. So, we headed back to 101. We ate while we drove on to Astoria.

Astoria

We found the Grandview B&B, which is an historic Victorian with friendly ladies managing it where we had reservations for two nights. It was not elegant, but charming and delightful. And eating breakfast in the only bullet turret in Astoria was a special treat. The breakfasts were very good, and we enjoyed our room. I had always wanted to stay in one of the historic Victorian B&Bs in Astoria; now I can cross that off my bucket list.

One morning, we had breakfast n the special bullet turret.

We found a place to charge the car across from the Fort Henry Brewery, pub, and bakery. We also found an angel who came from the Brew Pub, He was an older fellow, who also owned a Tesla. From his second story perch in the Brew Pub, he saw Teeta struggling with trying to figure out how to use this non-Tesla charger. He came down and helped. It was complicated, but with his help the car got charged.

We ended up having pizza and beer at the Fort Henry Brew Pub, and it was great. I enjoy beer from the tap right at the brewery. And the pizza was very good, but filling. We took half of it with us.

The next day we saw the Astoria Column, but did not climb up because there was low cloud cover and there would be no spectacular view. Then we toured the elegant Flavel House. It is just as fabulous as the last time I saw it. Then we went to the Columbia River Maritime Museum and spent a few hours there.

The fabulous Flavel House Museum.

We really scarfed down our pizza by the time we got back to the B&B. Then we talked and talked. We have been good friends for 60 years, which is very hard for us to believe, since we both feel about 40 . . . most of the time.

That night, we had no reservations and found that our first two choices were filled up or taking no walk-ins. We luckily stumbled upon Fulio’s Pastaria and a table was available. It was a fabulous Italian meal. We had really lucked out.

Off to Cape Foulweather and the Inn at Otter Crest

We stopped in Seaside at the Outlet Stores where we found Tesla superchargers. You can do major charging in much less time on these. While the car charged, we shopped. Of course, we did. It’s one Outlet Store after another. Who can resist!

Then we toured Seaside and Teeta enjoyed seeing the quaint cottages and brilliance of the flowers in the many flowerboxes. We also stopped to see the Lewis and Clark Salt Works that are on a side street—no longer on the beach. I thought we would get out and walk along the Prom, but it was too crowded.

The Lewis and Clark Salt Works in Seaside.

We cruised through the main street of Cannon Beach. There were so many people and no visible parking, so we moved on. We did check out Haystack Rock, as well as the one off Pacific City two days earlier.

Next stop, Manzanita. As soon as I saw a parking place, I said to take it. Mistake. This town was not as crowded and we walked and walked and walked and saw plenty of parking places. We looked but did not see any place to eat until finally a Mexican Café. It had very good food. Teeta also enjoyed the many flowers on our long walk back to the car.

When we got to Tillamook, Tillamook Cheese, where I wanted to stop for an ice cream cone as well as a self-guided tour, was jammed with people. So, we headed for Blue Heron French Cheese just a short distance down the road. We got lots of good cheese to take with us and some still warm small baguettes, as well as a Tillamook Ice Cream cone. And we got to see the petting animals—pea hens, chickens, a goat, an alpaca, and more. We enjoyed this stop.

Wonderful cheeses, plus Tillamook ice cream cones.

We also stopped at Bear Creek Artichokes, between Tillamook and Pacific City, and got some wine and salad to go with our cheese and baguettes for a dinner in. The Mexican food earlier had been very filling.

We arrived at the Inn at Otter Crest by taking the northern route. We took the single lane around Cape Foulweather and Teeta, as well as her car wondered if I knew where I was directing them. Just when I was beginning to wonder myself, the Inn appeared.

I had stayed at Otter Crest about 25 years ago with a group from Oregon Coast magazine. I loved it, and always wanted to come back. Beautifully landscaped grounds, fabulous views from the rooms, and a special tram to take you to your room were just as I remembered. The Inn is composed of 24 buildings on a slope overlooking the ocean.

The Inn at Otter Crest (near the top) is located on the slope of a rugged part of the coast.

Our room did have a fabulous view and was spacious. We enjoyed staying in and having a terrific dinner of all the goodies we had accumulated.

Onward to Yachats and The Adobe Resort

We slept in and checked out at 11. Since they didn’t have breakfast at the Inn, we stopped at The Chalet in Newport. It was fabulous (and we were hungry). I had a Belgium waffle with bacon and an egg on the side. Then we toured Nye Beach, which was quite crowded just like all the other tourist hot spots.

Teeta likes beads and in Nye Beach, a sign saying BEADS caught her eye. So, we stopped at Nye Cottage Beads. What an amazing assortment for anyone into beading.  And Teeta found something she needed.

Nye Cottage Beeds has fabulous assortment.

We also cruised through the BayFront. Too crowded, so we didn’t stop. On to Yachats. We checked into the Adobe early and our room wasn’t ready, so we headed out to explore the town. We got some coffee and checked out the town and then had lunch at The Drift Inn. Always good food there. I had a hamburger and fries and couldn’t eat it all.

We headed to the Overleaf Lodge to charge the car. Then back to the Adobe where we got our key and headed to our room on the second floor. When we used the key card to open the door, imagine out surprise when we found that there were people already in the room. What a shock! We immediately closed the door. Then it opened and a woman came out and we showed her our card with that room’s number. Somebody goofed!

The Adobe Resort is right on the water.

Back to the front desk where they finally figured out how it happened. Then they started looking for a room for us. Only rooms left were two on first floor with no ocean view or one on third floor with view and king bed. We need two beds—I have restless legs and Teeta flip-flops through the night. So, we took the king room and requested a rollaway.

The rollaway was larger than most twin beds. And it turned out to be very comfortable. The room was huge, the view fantastic, and we were happy campers. Both the couple in our original room and Teeta and I in this third floor room got better rooms than we each paid for! Not a bad deal, after all.

We went to the Adobe dining room for dinner, which is one of my favorite places on the entire Oregon coast. I wasn’t real hungry, so I ordered the steamed clams that were on the “starters” part of the menu, had a cup of soup with some bread and that was it. Oh! We did share a gigantic piece of chocolate cake that was delish! Then I was full, very full! Teeta turned in early, but I sat up and watched the waves that were lit by the Adobe’s lights. The rooms are very close to the waves. It was wonderful.

Teeta at the rock shelter at Cape Perpetua.

Heading back to Florence

The next morning, we went to the lobby area and received a bag breakfast of many items that we could choose among. We went back to our room to eat and then packed up and left at check-out time. Just a few miles south of Yachats is Cape Perpetua. We turned off the highway and went up to the top of the cape and took the trail to the rock shelter. What a fabulous view and the day was gorgeous. Teeta was impressed.

We stopped to see Heceta Head Lighthouse and the Keepers House and the Cape Creek Bridge, but didn’t stay—too crowded.

We stopped in Florence and Teeta charged her car. While it charged we went up one side of Old Town and down the other. I felt just like a tourist, until I saw familiar folks. Then I knew I was home.

My Astoria refrigerator magnet to remember the trip–– Maritime Museum, the Astoria-Megler Bridge, Flavel House, and Astoria Columnm.

The takeaway: For the first time in 19 months, I went beyond Yachats or Eugene and ate in restaurants––lots of them. I also discovered that a Tesla is way too smart for me. And Teeta got to cool off from the hot weather of California, got to see the northern half of the Oregon coast, and got to drive her new Tesla. Most importantly, it was a wonderful trip for two long-time friends.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

#300–In praise of my refrigerator magnets . . .

When some people travel, they return home with art to adorn the walls, crystal or pottery to adorn shelves, or books to adorn the coffee table. I, on the other hand, return home with refrigerator magnets. Okay! I do have some crystal and pottery and books along with lots of pamphlets and postcards. But, nowadays, I’m running out of space. So, refrigerator magnets it is!

Love the historic village and gift shop, which are part of the Kern County Museum.

Oops! I almost forgot, I collect Christmas ornaments, so I do keep my eye out for really special ones. So, ornaments and magnets are on my radar when I’m traveling.

One of the reasons I like refrigerator magnets is that they are seen and enjoyed every day every time I open my fridge. Here are some of my favorites:

For years, on my trips to Bakersfield to see my family, which I did three times a year for many years, I would stop at the Kern County Museum and visit their gift shop as well as the village composed of historic buildings from throughout the county. The village was amazing and one day, just by chance, I saw a house being transported along city streets in very slow motion on the way to the historic village. And I always found something special in the gift shop. I couldn’t resist this  magnet, which just fits my sense of humor.

A favorite painting at the J. Paul Getty Museum in L.A.

The J. Paul Geddy Museum in the L.A. area is perched high on a hill top. It is easily accessible from a nearby freeway and parking is plentiful. Then  you take a tram to the top and have fabulous views of the L.A. area. When I was there, no smog blocked the views. The buildings are stone surrounded by gardens. The whole place is very impressive––outside and the vast amount of art exhibited inside the many buildings. You could spend days and not see everything. I have been there with my sister, Edna, and her ex about a decade ago. Then a few years ago, I visited it again with my friend Theresa Baer who lives in the L.A. area. I got this magnet on my first visit. Both times this painting by Fernand Khnopff titled Jeanne Kefer (detail), 1885, stopped me in my tracks. And I wasn’t the only one. The docent on duty told me that it is one the most popular paintings on display.

One of many windmills seen in Solvang.

Yes, Solvang has windmills. Many of the businesses sport windmills and some others are actually real. Solvang is a tourist attraction, but a delightful tourist attraction. It is built like a fairy tale Danish village with many delightful shops. Theresa and I have been there twice and we would go back in a heartbeat. The Havarti cheese and the chocolate were to die for. We checked out their Elverhoj Museum of History and Art, the Old Mission Santa Ines on the edge of town, and other fascinating and less touristy towns in the Santa Ynez Valley. The visits were great fun, and I have my windmill magnet as a souvenir.

Even though it fell and broke into three pieces, it ia a favorite.

We also went to Barstow, even though everyone wondered why—including the folks working at the Barstow visitor center. They asked where we were headed and were momentarily dumbfounded when we said Barstow. Theresa wanted to get out of L.A. and see the desert, and that is what we did. It was Christmas time and perfect weather. We found many terrific places to eat in town and fabulous places to see such as the NASA Space Museum and the Route 66 Museum both housed in the over-the-top Harvey House train station––all in town. Outside of town, we saw lots of Joshua trees and toured Rainbow Basin one day and spent another day at Calico Ghost Town.  I love my cactus magnet from Calico and was upset when the freezer door slammed open, hit the wall, and my magnet broke into three pieces when it hit the floor. Thank goodness for Elmer’s glue.

In remembrance of some wonderful meals.

When my sister and I spent two weeks driving up the Maine coast a few years ago, my goal was to check out their lighthouses and eat lotsa lobster. I accomplished my goals and I have this red, metal magnet to remember how delish the lobster was. The first evening there, we had the classic Maine dinner—whole lobster, corn on the cob, and steamed clams with blueberry pie for dessert. We had had little sleep on the overnight flight and meals had been spotty, so we were very hungry and enjoyed it all.

A fun way to remember Acadia National Park.

My sister’s goals were to visit the home and museum of one of her favorite authors––Sarah Orne Jewett––and to stay on one of the many islands off the Maine coast. And we did both of those. The island we stayed on was Vinalhaven––truly a step back in time, and definitely not a tourist trap. We couldn’t get over the friendliness of the people. One of our last days in Maine, we visited Acadia National Park and had the traditional tea and popovers at the Jordan Pond House. This clever teacup magnet caught my eye in the gift shop.

My sister and I walked here.

In 2019, my sister and I went to Washington D.C. and saw everything we planned to see and much more. Neither of us had been there before, so we treated it as a once-in-a life-time trip and filled all 16 days with memories. One day, we took a cruise along the Potomac to Mount Vernon. It was exciting to walk around the house where George Washington actually lived. I was amazed that it was not a mansion but a very nice farm house with a couple of special rooms for visiting dignitaries. I couldn’t resist this magnet from the Mount Vernon gift shop.

II’ve had this one for many years. It has a place of honor on the fridge.

And, many years ago, on a visit to Florence before moving here, I bought this magnet, not knowing that it would become my favorite bridge of all the McCullough bridges on the coast of Oregon. It holds a place of honor on the fridge.

I do enjoy my magnets. And I’m sure I’ll continue to add more. . . . Maybe I should invest in a larger refrigerator. Hmm!

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on #300–In praise of my refrigerator magnets . . .

#299–Back in the groove––sorta . . .

Pre-Covid

My normal summers were busy with trips up and down the coast, delivering books for sales, which I’d already arranged over the phone or by email and had the invoices ready. Sundays were spent at the Yachats Farmers Market selling books, every other Wednesday I was at the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum as a docent, and I’d put in three or four days a month clerking at Backstreet Gallery as a member/owner. I also edited the newsletter and press releases and was in charge of receptions every other month at the Gallery.

Not at the Yachats Farmers Market this year. I miss being there.

The rest of my time in summer was devoted to the Florence Festival of Books––regular meetings twice a month and subcommittee meeting more often and, as secretary, I wrote up and distributed minutes and did the agendas. I also wrote many press releases and articles, contacted many of the sponsors, was in charge of the marketing sub-committee, delivered flyers and posters all over western Oregon either in person or by mail to all the venues that carry my books.  

What a Difference a Year Makes, Again

2020 was a lost year. When it came to my book sales, they were down by 87%. The Museum was closed, and the Gallery reopened at the end of June last year at reduced hours and only a few days a week. So, I ventured out very little last summer. 

This summer, 2021, some things are getting back to normal, others not yet, and some things are just the same as before. Book sales are improving, but not enough to justify long trips up and down the coast. The farthest I’ve driven this past year on the coast is to Yachats. Speaking of Yachats, I’m not participating at their farmers market on Sundays this summer because it’s still at a reduced size, and food vendors have priority.

I’m here on duty as a docent every Sunday!

In every other area of my life, though, things are picking up and I’m keeping busy. Instead of every other Wednesday at the Museum like I had done for 18 years, I’m there every Sunday––hardly anyone wanted Sundays. I’m there with Ellen Bloomquist every single Sunday.

At the Gallery, we’re now open six days a week and later hours on the weekends. I’m busier than ever because I’m the secretary as of last November. So, twice a month, I take notes at Zoom meetings, type them up, and distribute a draft, put in numerous requested changes, and then redistribute. These folks take their minutes seriously! I clerk three or four days a month and continue with the editing. No receptions to plan for yet––perhaps, by fall.

FFOB Still Takes (Almost) All My Time 

After a year off, the Florence Festival of Books is back in my life and back to taking up most of my time—just like it always has. After nine years, I am no longer secretary. Hooray!  But since my co-chair, Meg Spencer, is the Librarian at the Siuslaw Public Library, she can no longer get away for meetings because of cuts to staff and volunteers. So, I am conducting the meetings and still do the agendas and most of the other stuff I’ve done in the past. Just as busy as ever with the FFOB. 

This is the logo designed by Karen D. Nichols for the FFOB.

As an example, here’s how this week is going. Monday, I had a lengthy conversation with the other person working with sponsors, Bonnie MacDuffee. That phone call covered enough to be considered a sponsors sub-committee meeting. 

Then I prepared for and met (at my house) our newest FFOB planning committee member who is now part of the marketing sub-committee. That’s where we needed the most help. After almost two hours, she left eager and motivated now that she has an idea of what needs to be done.  After she left, I typed up her duties with suggested time frames in which to do them and emailed it to her.

Tuesday, I did the agenda and emailed a committee member hoping she can take on some social media commitments. 

Wednesday, I need to start contacting the sponsors I’m responsible for. Then Thursday is our next planning committee meeting. It seems like, every day there is something to do for the FFOB.

,As it turned out, my Microsoft Word just plain quit; I couldn’t open documents or create new ones. I could not access the sponsor letter Bonnie and I had updated. So I edited the Newsletter for the Gallery and a press release; then I balanced my checkbook, did my budget for July and paid some bills. 

On Thursday, Jolene at FTS Computer Repair remotely worked on my computer and got Microsoft Word back in working order. I was so relieved. And our hybrid Zoom meeting, also on Thursday, worked. The sound was a little difficult at times for the folks on Zoom, but the bottom line is that it worked. So we will continue that way.  

Here at the 2018 FFOB, someone may be pitching an idea for a new book to this publisher. Hmm!

There are eight active members on the FFOB planning committee and two past members who will help out when they can. One of the active members recently moved out of state, but still has a home and business here. She can handle the social media, thank goodness, and get the word out on her own extensive mailing list. Zoom works well for her. Two other active committee members work at the Library, and, therefore, have limited time for FFOB this year. That makes three on Zoom, and the other five can now attend in person for our meetings at the Events Center.

The committee is at its smallest size ever and could use more members who live in the Florence area and have time to help plan for and put on the Florence Festival of Books. We won’t overwhelm any new members with too much, and it is fun to be part of such a terrific event. There are many moving parts when it comes to putting on a major event, and we really do need more help.

The planning committee is so pleased that the FFOB has become one of the major events in Florence and one of the most popular book fairs in the state. Mark your calendars for September 17-18. You won’t want to miss it.

Note: Applications open for participants July 12–September 1. Due to social distancing, there will be 48 tables instead of 68. Expect tables to fill up sooner and a waiting list. For more information, check http://www.florencefestivalofbooks,org or call Florence Events Center, 541-997-1994. Applications will be on website.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on #299–Back in the groove––sorta . . .

#298–I am woman, I am strong, I am resilient . . .

I love the song “I am Woman.” During most of my adult life, it did not necessarily describe me. It provided goals to aim for and made me feel fabulous when I sang along with Helen Reddy. 

I was one of the speakers when Oregon City’s Arch Bridge designed by McCullough was reopened back in 2012. I was asked because, since writing Crossings, I’m considered one of the McCullough experts.

Being a widow for 20 years. I’ve learned that I am strong. I am not necessarily invincible as the song lyrics say, but I am resilient. For the past decade, I have been living a life I never dreamed I could. Fifteen years ago, I had no clue that I could write books that would sell. That I could give PowerPoint presentations all over western Oregon and become known as The Bridge Lady of the Oregon Coast. That I could co-found a book fair that is considered one of the best in Oregon. Who knew!

I’ve been a single person homeowner for these past 20 years. I have learned that I can handle small and large crises. What first comes to mind are a few leaking water pipes within the house over a 10-year period that caused problems that could be solved by spending hundreds of dollars each time. Then there was the major water leak that caused a whole ceiling to collapse. Then I had to bite the bullet and re-pipe the whole house as well as pipes leading to the road and having to come up with how to pay for it. This time, it was many thousands of dollars. I used up savings, borrowed from life insurance, cashed in a money market fund and and came up with several more thousands to turn the downstairs into an apartment. I didn’t have to mortgage the house or borrow from family or friends. But I had shot my wad and had only what came in each month, which was almost enough to live on.

The den was turned into a kitchenette and living room after all the water pipes were replaced. It became part of an apartment with its own entrance.

Without creating the apartment/money source, I would have had to put the house on the market and find a less expensive place to live. The house is paid for but there are ongoing maintenance expenses as well as the annual homeowners’ insurance and property tax. Just this past year, I replaced the 25-year roof in its 24th year, replaced some vinyl floors that needed it, and had an unexpected collapsing septic tank that had to be replaced. There is always something when you own a home.

I have learned that I can handle a lot at one time, like handling declining health and a dire diagnosis of a life-threatening illness while in the final weeks of preparing everything needed for a major event. I didn’t give in to it and end up in the ER until the day of the event. At that point, I knew the book fair would be fine without me and I had lined up volunteers to cover my table. The weeks of diagnosis and testing gave way to five months of treatment, all of which were scary. But I learned that I could handle it. Without a support system of friends and family, though, I could not have stayed in my home alone during the five months of treatment. For that, I am forever grateful.

Wearing my new wig, I’m hooked up to chemo during my second of six treatments.

So mentally, I can say that I am strong. But I can’t say that about me physically any more, which is no surprise, since I will be turning 80 later this year. Some chores, I simply don’t do these days. I don’t scooch along the edge of the roof cleaning out the drains anymore, and I don’t climb all over the various roof levels to clean clerestory windows and skylights anymore. I still wash all the other windows, though.

In the yard, I don’t do as much either. I have had the same yard man for 30+ years and he is doing more and more for me. By making accommodations, I can still do a lot. For example, I bought four large bags of bark mulch a week ago. It was raining, so I left them in the trunk of the car. The next day, there was a forecast of rain in the afternoon, but it was simply cloudy in the morning. So, I really got with it. I used my hand truck (like a shorter wider version of a dolly) and unloaded two bags onto it and pulled it up my driveway, along the road 100 feet or so and then along the lot next to me and into my back yard to the top of the steps leading down to the greenhouse. Two trips got all the bark into place, where I could handle it.

My terraced slope in the back has four levels.or tiers, as I refer to them.

It took all my energy to make those two trips. I came in the house and laid down. And I didn’t get up for 45 minutes. Then back to work. I slid a bag down the steps and drug it to the third tier of my terraced area. This first bag was the most difficult part of the whole project, lifting it over and around all the ferns. With the second bag, I didn’t have to go quite so far. Then the third and fourth bags I slid all the way down to the level of the greenhouse. I was able to mulch the third and fourth tiers of the terraces and the planting areas around the greenhouse. I had no idea, four bags would go so far. I thought I was just going to do the third tier. I was really, really pleased when I got done but also really, really tired. Once again, I came in and laid down. This time I got up after only 30 minutes. Then I had lunch.

Later, I did something I had often watched others do, but had never done myself. I re-caulked the corners of my shower. Only a couple inches on one side and about 15 inches total on the other side. Not a big enough job to hire someone, so I read about what I needed to do, got what I needed, and did it. I had already picked out the bad stuff and prepped it. And it looks great! So, I’m very proud of myself. . . . I do have a shoebox lid that has one end on the inside totally caulked. I had to use something for practice, because I had never done it before. I discovered that it is a lot harder to do than it looks.

Looking back over the past 20 years, I can say that I am woman, I am strong, I am resilient . . . but not totally invincible!

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

#297–Updates: Oregon Coast magazine, FFOB, new book & online shopping . . .

Oregon Coast magazine

The final issue of Oregon Coast magazine with the Siuslaw River Bridge on the cover.

Last fall was the last issue of Oregon Coast magazine or so we thought. Yesterday, I received the summer issue of Oregon Coast magazine in the mail and this one probably is the last issue. I have a soft spot for this magazine because I worked there from March 1989 until July 2009. That’s where I honed my writing skills and learned to become an editor.

And I have a soft spot for this last issue, it has my favorite bridge on the cover—the Siuslaw River Bridge––and inside is an eight-page story I wrote about the coast’s iconic historic bridges. I was so pleased to be asked to contribute to this issue along with two others also affiliated with the magazine for many years. Coast Lines, the editor/publisher column, explained it well. “We thought it was perfect that these long-time contributors end up in the final issue.”

Many photos were added, some historic and some present day. I like the way all of it turned out. (Although, the caption for two Siuslaw River Bridge photos got it wrong.) The last page has two sidebars about two other interesting south coast bridges. One of them took much research to find what I needed. The big story took a lot of time, but was not hard because I used excerpts from my book, The Crossings Guide to Oregon’s Coastal Spans.

I have an eight-page story about the coast’s historic bridges in this issue.

The first of those two bridge sidebars only took a little digging when I researched it, but the second one—the Chetco River Bridge––was difficult. It took days, I checked every site on the Internet that sounded like it might have something. I did get some background on previous bridges on that site, but not even a sentence about the current bridge. Then I looked in books I have on bridges and finally found what I needed in one of them. So, if you get a chance to see this issue, check out my story and appreciate that one last sidebar that took so much work. And see if you can spot what’s wrong in the caption for two Siuslaw River Bridge photos.

Florence Festival of Books

A press release I wrote and sent to many newspapers throughout western Oregon and this is the one printed in the Siuslaw News, June 12.

We had our third meeting of the Florence Festival of Books (FFOB) planning committee yesterday, Thursday, and everything seems to be going along on schedule.

I was able to share with the planning committee the press release printed in Florence’s Siuslaw News last Saturday. I had sent the same press release to newspapers all over western Oregon. I hope it gets run in most of those newspapers. It’s aimed at the authors and publishers who plan to attend the FFOB on September 17–18. It may seem a long way off, but we start accepting applications July 12 and we usually fill up within a few weeks. So, I want to get the word out about the July 12 date.

New book—The Cancer Blog

In a few weeks, I’ll have copies of my new book.

After weeks of waiting, we finally received a proof copy of the inside pages. I was concerned that they may be too dark. And they were! So, Bob, my publisher, sent them back, asking for them to be lighter and for another proof copy. More waiting. It arrived this past week and the color photos were much better. So, we gave the go-ahead. In a few weeks, we’ll have a shipment of 1,500 books. Now, I’m getting excited!

 

Online Shopping

Last week I ordered two silk plants for the front porch. And I ordered clothes for summer travel where the weather will be a lot hotter than it is here. I ordered three gauze tops and two pairs of cotton pajamas, none of which were my first choice. The clothes part was a day-long frustrating experience.

The pajamas I ordered arrived last Friday and were only 60% cotton and did not fit very well. So, after trying them on, I decided not to keep them. I re-wrapped and returned them. Later in the day, I ordered two pairs that I had seen on Cuddledown. They were more expensive, but they had my first choice in color in my size and said that they were 100% cotton. I was so pleased, that everything worked so well on this order that I thought I would cry. Yesterday, I got word that they have been shipped. I can hardly wait.

One of two new plants for the front porch.

On Saturday, I received a new Coldwater Creek catalog. On the cover were some big shirt type crinkle cotton shirts that could be worn as a top or with a tank top or other shirt under it. Lightweight like gauze, this was exactly what I was looking for. So, I immediately got my credit card and headed for the computer and found the shirt and lo-an-behold, they were out of all sizes in the colors I liked except small and extra small, which is not me! Once again, frustration.

Tuesday, I received a Northstyle catalog and found a tan shirt that looked perfect. Tan seems to be out of favor in catalog colors right now. Of course, it’s what I want. It was available in size and color and 100% cotton. So, I was ready to order, but I read through the reviews first and one stopped me. It said, since it is cotton, it needs ironing after laundering. Well, I have a perfectly good tan shirt that is linen and looks terrible without ironing and even after ironing, one wearing and it looks rumpled. So, I rarely wear it. That’s why I could use a tan shirt but not if it is another one requiring ironing. The fun continues.

As to the plants I ordered, one is delayed, but the other one arrived yesterday. It was scrunched but with a bit of working with the stems, it looked fine. I put it on the porch and I like it. So, I’m getting to end on a happy note!

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on #297–Updates: Oregon Coast magazine, FFOB, new book & online shopping . . .

#296–Convenience & frustrations of online shopping . . .

On my front porch, I had a crummy looking, faded plastic planter. Every few years, I would replace the plant. But plants did well there for years at a stretch. Then the planter developed cracks, and I had to replace it. I got two lovely pots, one slightly larger than the other. I got plants that looked great. But over a matter of a couple months they died. I got new plants and again within a couple months, they failed to thrive and just withered. After the third time, I decided to go with fake plants. Something, I never thought I’d do.

An Areca Palm.

They look so realistic these days. I found a company online called Nearly Natural,  and wow! Their plants look very real. I spent more than an hour looking and deciding. I finally decided on two totally different plants. And got a really good coupon deal, so it didn’t cost as much as I thought it would. I decided on what I wanted, ordered them, and they are on the way. That’s the way shopping online is supposed to work. Later that day, I had a different experience.

I live at the coast where a really warm day in the summer gets into the 70s. Most days are in the 60s and the afternoon wind makes it seem cooler. I don’t have summer clothes and winter clothes. I just wear one less layer in the summer. I wear sandals in summer but with socks. There’s maybe one day every other year when air-conditioning is needed. A really warm day is rare. Therefore, I am not at all acclimated to hot or even warm weather.

Not only am I not used to hot weather, I don’t have any hot weather clothes. And this summer I’ll be gone on a trip to Montana, where we’ll be in some really hot weather. And since I burn easily and don’t need any more skin cancers, I need to have very little skin showing. That means, no tank tops. That means long sleeves. I checked my clothes and decided I needed three cool day time tops and two pairs of pajamas that are cooler than my flannel ones.

This is a Hoya.

So, I went through catalogs looking for light-weight, long sleeve tops and cotton pajamas. I went through Soft Surroundings, Land’s End. L.L. Bean, Coldwater Creek, and Cuddledown. I spent more than an hour going from catalog to catalog, changing my mind over and over. I finally decided on light weight gauze tops heavy enough that you can’t see through. Then I found the styles I wanted. I got out my pants and decided on just the right colors. I even checked the size charts to see which size for sure I should order, since I seem to be between two sizes. I even read reviews on the styles I had chosen. Then I did a similar search for pajamas. I decided on traditional, button top with short sleeves and cropped legs just above the ankles for the pants.

I had done my research, knew what I wanted, and was pleased that most were on sale. I got my credit card. I was ready.

I went online and found the catalog, the category, and the item for the first of two tops. And I was going to get two of the same type in two different colors. Then I hit my first roadblock. They were out of both colors. So I got the one called “Crema,” which I assume is the color of cream and will go with everything, but not what I wanted. I moved onto the second top and ran into the second roadblock. It was out of stock and not expected back until September, which would be too late. Geez! This was turning into a thrill a minute!

Some of many catalogs.

I went to a third style that I had considered but passed on earlier. It was not on sale, but they were still sold out of my first choice in colors. I felt I needed more cool tops for the trip. So, I ordered two in different colors.

I wanted three gauze tops and that is what I got. I got one of my choices in style but neither of the colors I wanted. And I ordered a top that was not one of my top two choices with totally different colors. Everything should work, just not my first choices.

Then I went to the pajamas. The ones that I had chosen were on sale and sold out. In fact, everything I liked was either on sale and sold out or they didn’t have my size or the colors/patterns I wanted. I kept searching. I think, I looked at every pair of pajamas that was available on several websites. I finally found two that I liked both cotton and one was on sale. And, miracle of miracles, both were available in my size and in patterns that I liked. Each one said that I was getting the last one available. Normally, I wouldn’t believe it; I’d consider it a sales gimmick. But this time, I believed it.

It took most of the day, and by the time I was done, I was punchy. Shopping online is convenient but can be so very frustrating.

The waiting game has begun. Will the plants look natural? Will I even like them? Will I like the clothes? Will they fit? Tune in next week!

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on #296–Convenience & frustrations of online shopping . . .

#295–Updated Edition The Crossings Guide . . .

A guide is supposed to provide the most updated facts about whatever it is covering. The Crossings Guide to Oregon’s Coastal Spans covers the historic bridges of the Oregon Coast. It was written in 2012, and at that time, it was totally up-to-date. Right from the get-go, it was a popular book. Folks liked that it fit in a backpack, tote, or glove compartment and that it guided them down the coast bridge by historic bridge.

By 2019, The Crossings Guide needed to be updated. For several months toward the end of 2019 and early 2020, I worked with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), and updated what is currently being done to some of the bridges and added what is planned for the future of each of the bridges.

I learned that ODOT has a new, less expensive process in applying cathodic protection. The new process was used on the Umpqua River Bridge, which was the last of the historic coastal bridges to receive cathodic protection. That’s the preservation process that ensures these bridges will continue on for decades to come. The new process is explained in the introduction to the book. Once again the historic coastal bridges are cutting edge.

While nearly every page of text had some changes made, the cover photos and all other photos were not changed. So the book looks the same. On the cover, look for the two words “Updated Edition!!” in the upper left-hand corner.

Because I did not want to change the format of the book, I had to add changes without adding to the total number of words on each page. That meant some words had to come out. I removed extraneous phrases, superfluous adjectives, and out-of-date segments. And I totally rewrote the introduction, since there were so many changes there.

The newly updated guide became available for sale a year ago—last June––in the middle of the pandemic. That was terrible timing. Many bookstores, museums, and tourist hot spots that normally carry my bridge books, had not reopened or had not reopened their gift shops or were not investing much in inventory. So, I’ve waited a year to to get the word out that The Crossings Guide to Oregon’s Coastal Spans has been updated. If you see The Crossings Guide somewhere and want to know if it’s the updated version, just look for the sticker in the upper left corner that says, “Updated Edition!!” Or the large words on the back cover in the blue box that says, “Updated Edition.” Or on the inside, look on the ISBN page for the words “Fourth Edition.’

It’s always available from the author. For those who want an updated edition, go online to crossingsauthor.com/books. Price $15 plus $3 shipping. The 100 or so copies I have left of the Third Edition, I’ll sell at a reduced price––$10 plus $3 shipping.

I like to say, “Whether driving, cycling, or hiking, don’t travel 101 without it.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on #295–Updated Edition The Crossings Guide . . .

#294–Bob Welch, William Sullivan & Melody Carlson headline 2021 FFOB . . .

For our 10th Anniversary of the Florence Festival of Books (FFOB), we’ve pulled out all the stops!

Keynote Speaker–Melody Carlson

Melody Carlson, Keynote Speaker.

For our Friday line-up. Melody Carlson, one of America’s most prolific and beloved Romance writers––of more than 250 books and more than one Hallmark movie––will be our Keynote Speaker Friday evening at 7 p.m. She has sold more than seven million books!

She has books for teens, tweens, children, and women. And most years, she has a special Christmas book. Many of her books are part of a series, ranging from three to 12 books. One of her books, Against the Tide, has the Siuslaw River Bridge on the cover, and I intend to buy it at this year’s FFOB.

Melody lives in Central Oregon and has participated as an author more than once at the FFOB. In 2018 she was one of our panelists where a variety of ways to publish were discussed. She was invited to be our Keynoter last year, but since we had to cancel, she graciously agreed to wait a year just like the rest of us. We are thrilled to have her as our Keynote Speaker for our 10th Anniversary.

Panel Discussion

Normally, we have four participants in our panel discussion, but because we have two writers of considerable acclaim, we are more than happy with two.

Bob Welch and William Sullivan will be participating in the panel discussion where the topic will be each writer’s pathway to becoming an author. Each has taken a different path and writes about different subjects, but each is the author of 20+ bestselling books. These two writers are among Oregon’s most popular and admired authors.

Bob Welch

Bob Welch, Friday afternoon panelist.

Bob is an author of at least 27 books, of which I have several. But he is much more. He is an inspirational speaker, an award-wining newspaper columnist, and writing teacher who has served as an adjunct professor of journalism at U of O.

Bob’s books are non-fiction and cover all aspects of life—his and others. Some are compilations of columns, others profile fascinating individuals. Some have to do with outdoor activities like hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. One of my favorites is Pebble in the Water about the rigorous research required to be able to write American Nightingale, The Story of Frances Slanger, Forgotten Heroine of Normandy.

Bob was the 2019 FFOB Keynote Speaker and left us all glad we had asked him to be our speaker. He has spoken at events throughout the country, and I’ve heard him numerous times here in Oregon.

He wrote a column three times a week for Eugene’s Register-Guard for 14 years during the 24 years he worked for the newspaper. He received numerous awards and retied from the newspaper in 2013.  After my first book, Crossings: McCullough’s Coastal Bridges, came out in 2011, Bob devoted one whole column to it. I was thrilled.

Most years, Bob holds his Beachside Writers Workshops somewhere in the state. And he also teaches workshops at Writers Conferences. I’ve taken at least one at the South Coast Writers Conference years ago. When I needed advice as to where to place my first book, Bob gave me suggestions that really worked out.

William “Bill” Sullivan

William Sullivan, Friday afternoon panelist.

William Sullivan, aka Bill, is the author of at least 22 books, of which I have several, and he also wrote a column for the Register-Guard for many years. He also teaches workshops at writers conferences, and he is involved with organizing three author events each year.

“Oregon Trails,” was a hiking column that he wrote for many years. He is best known for his column and his guide books. Most of his books are outdoor guides and all within the state of Oregon, but he has also written two histories, three memoirs, six novels, a play, a book of short stories, and Big Little Books for children.

One of his memoirs, Listening for Coyote, is the story of his 1,361-mile solo backpacking trek across Oregon in 1985. It was chosen as one of Oregon’s “100 Books” by the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission and has been reprinted by OSU press.

I’ve attended two workshops taught by Bill at the South Coast Writers Conference. At the first one, he covered a lot of material and gave everyone a small hard “floppy disk“ (now obsolete) that had hundreds of printers listed with contact info from throughout the country that were worth using. I gave it to my publisher, and on it, he found a printer that we used for printing four of my books. Years later, I took another workshop from Bill. This time the subject was getting your book published and what types of books sell. He spent a lot of time on guides and he held up my book, The Crossings Guide to Oregon’s Coastal Spans, as a good example of a guide. I was tickled pink.

Bill organizes three author events in Eugene each year––the Oregon Authors Table at the Art & the Vineyard Festival (normally July 4, but in September this year), the Oregon Authors Table at the Lane County Fair, and the Authors and Artists Fair, a fundraiser for the Lane Library League at the Fairgrounds, each December. Bill is very much involved with the Lane Library League.

***

Because of my connection with both Bob Welch and Bill Sullivan during the past 15 years or so, I consider them both mentors. And I have enjoyed getting to know Melody Carlson during the past few years. So, I couldn’t be happier about our stellar lineup for the 10th Anniversary of the Florence Festival of Books. Mark your calendars for Friday, September 17, panel discussion, 3:00–4:30 p.m and Keynote Speaker, 7 p.m. And all three will be at the book fair on Saturday. All events  take place at the Florence Events Center. For more information about FFOB check the website www.florencefestivalofbooks.com and the Facebook page. See you in September!

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on #294–Bob Welch, William Sullivan & Melody Carlson headline 2021 FFOB . . .

#293–Florence Festival of Books, planning in uncertain times . . .

Yes, we plan to have it, so mark your calendars. It will be September 17-18, one week earlier than it normally takes place. Despite my protests, we were bumped by a large event that the FEC has been trying to host for several years.

Connie and I began the FFOB because when we complained about some conditions at a book fair that we had attended, Dick Smith (in the middle) said, “So put on your own.” Then he went behind our backs and conspired with Kevin Rhodes at the Events Center and put down a date for a book fair. He then called to tell me he thought Connie and I would make great co-chairs! We put both he and Kevin on the committee. This photo was taken at the 5th FFOB in 2015.

Yes, we plan to have it on this our 10th milestone year. When Connie Bradley and I first started with the FFOB back in 2011, we thought if we got 20 writers to sign up, we’d be thrilled. Within a week, we had 20, a couple weeks later 40, and before long we had 60 authors and publishers. It was a success from the get-go, in spite of us not knowing what we were doing.

It truly was a steep learning curve! We assembled a wonderful planning committee and we all learned as we went along. The first week, Connie and I decided we needed sponsors because we had no money to work with. So, we hit the phones and within a half hour had $600. We thought we were rollin’ in dough! Fast forward to 2019––we received $7,600 from sponsors. We now have levels of sponsorships, materials with info, meetings with individual sponsors––just a much more professional operation. That first year, we didn’t pay much for the use of the FEC. I think, they thought that first year was an experiment to see if it would work. Today, we pay the normal rate, and we pay for advertising and marketing, for flyers and posters, a Keynote Speaker, supplies, and more. I think our budget was around $8,000 last year.  The FFOB has become one of the major events at the Florence Events Center. 

Author/artist Kathryn Damon-Dawson was an attendee in 2011 and pitched her idea to publisher Bob Serra (seen here). She returned in 2012 with her book that Bob Serra published.

Yes, we plan to have it, in spite of the pandemic. By September, more people will be vaccinated and, hopefully, numbers of new infections will be way down. In some ways it will be like our first year. There are a lot of unknowns. How much accommodation are we going to have to do because of the pandemic? Will any authors and publishers be willing to be inside for a prolonged period? We don’t even know how many tables we will be able to set up to meet social distance guidelines. Will the public attend an indoor event?

Authors of all genre participate, like this children’s book author in the 2012 FFOB.

We normally start planning the first of April and have applications available mid-June. This year we stalled as long as we could, trying to decide to have or not to have. The co-chairs and a few other committee members had some phone and email discussions and decided to go for it with pandemic accommodations as needed.

The planning committee’s first meeting via Zoom took place on May 11 and we will start accepting applications shortly after July 4. This past week, three committee members with tape measures planned to walk through the FEC’s flat floor with last year’s table layout, making necessary adjustments for social distancing. They will come up with a new table layout. Then we will know how many tables we can have. Then we will know our limit of how many applications we can accept.

There will continue to be no charge for the book fair. And new this year, THERE WILL BE NO CHARGE TO HEAR THE KEYNOTE SPEAKER. It will still be at 7 p.m., and tickets will be needed because seating will be limited. We will probably have to block every other row and have empty seats between groups in the other rows. Our Keynote Speaker this year will be Melody Carlson, one of America’s most prolific romance and teen and tween writers. She has sold millions of books. She has more than 250 novels to her credit as well as a few Hallmark movies. She was on our Friday afternoon panel discussion in 2018 and has attended FFOB several times. We are thrilled to have her as our Keynote Speaker.

Melody Carlson is second from the left in this Friday afternoon panel discussion about the various ways to publish books held at the 2018 FFOB.

As to the panel discussion, it will take place as usual from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon, but we won’t have the same intimate setting where both audience and panelists were on stage. Because we have to consider social distancing, we will use the whole theater with some rows and seats blocked off. We don’t have the panelists lined up yet, but we are working on it.

Yes, we plan to have it because we can’t abide the thought of not having it . . . two years in a row. It will be the same, yet not the same. At this point in time, we have many questions. In some ways, it is like that first year where we didn’t know what we were doing. So, we will be adaptable and adjust as the Covid guidelines change and the risk levels rise and fall. Masks or no masks, vaccine passports or no vaccine passports, who knows! What we do know is that the Florence Festival of Books is going to take place on September 17-18, one week earlier than usual. So, mark your calendars now. See you there!

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on #293–Florence Festival of Books, planning in uncertain times . . .

#292–New book: The Cancer Blog . . .

Within a few months of my first major book, Crossings: McCullough’s Coastal Bridges, publication, I started a weekly blog about my adventures with my book. After I added more books, it became adventures with my books. Then when I became ill with late-stage cancer, it became adventures with my health. After I recovered, it became adventures with life in general. So, it has evolved lockstep with my life.

The Cancer Posts

In the years since my recovery from cancer, I’ve shared my posts about that period of my life with numerous people who had been recently diagnosed. Being able to read about someone else’s experiences in a similar situation provides hope and they know they are not alone. And first-person accounts have credibility. Folks often said that I should put the cancer posts into a book, but I pooh-poohed the idea.

That is, until this past Christmas. That’s when one of my roommates from college told me about her long-time friend, who had just been diagnosed with the same type of cancer that I had. So, I suggested my cancer blog posts, and she said to send.

I didn’t have any run-off copies handy, so I ran off some. I sent 16 posts, covering first symptoms to recuperation after chemo. As I ran off each one, I read it. Re-reading them, six years after writing them, gave me a totally different perspective. I decided that they would, indeed, make a decent book. Once it was MY idea, I jumped right on it.

From Blog Posts to Book

Here I am with my publisher, Bob Serra of Maple Creek Press (formerly Pacific Publishing) with the second edition of The Crossings Guide. The Cancer Blog is our fifth book together.

I ran the idea by my publisher of four of my other books, Bob Serra of Maple Creek Press, and he liked it.

I edited each post and beefed it up a bit and decided to keep them from the perspective of the day each blog post was written. The first was September 30, 2014, and the last was April 1, 2015. If I wanted to add anything that the author at that time did not know about, I put it in parentheses.

So, I worked on the 16 blog posts in February and March and started sending to my publisher, Bob, mid-March. I added a dedication, table of contents, and introduction in the front of the book and an epilogue, about the author, and cancer help information at the back of the book.

The “Epilogue: The Importance of Hair” chronicles the year following the end of chemo through the growth and changes in my hair as it grew back. It took a year to the day when I was diagnosed that I wore my new hair out in public for the first time. I became very attached to the wig I wore in public for 11 months and to the variety of head gear that I wore at home.

After Bob had designed the book with photographs and the cover, it went back and forth between us until we were convinced there were no more changes to be made. Then The Cancer Blog: For those who have had cancer and for those who haven’t went to the printer.

On the Brink of Printing

Two days ago, I went over everything in the digital proof sent by the printer. And, I found four minute typos that need to be changed. Dang! Change a period to a comma, change a comma to a period, and delete a comma. And one two-line section that looks darker and larger than the print surrounding it. Like I said––minute, nothing major!

I sent these off to Bob and he changed them. You can do that with a digital proof. I checked his changes and now the edit is good to go.

Here you can see the back as well as the front cover of The Cancer Blog.

When I printed everything out, the photos within the book looked dark but looked great on the computer screen. And I love the cover on the computer screen, but I would like to see how it will actually look—color saturation, thickness of cover, how much gloss. This is a new printer for us and they sent us samples of books they’ve printed, and they were beautiful. But I want to see how my book will look before giving the go-ahead.

I expressed my concerns to Bob, and he has requested a hard copy proof. Then we’ll both be able to see what our book will actually look like. So, we’re almost to the point of printing. It’s a little scary giving the go-ahead when 1,500 books are on the line! But it will happen, and soon.

I expect to have copies of my new book available sometime in June.

Endorsements

I’m including two of the five endorsements I have, the other three are on the back cover of the book:

No one knows if or when cancer or something equally bad will occur. The descriptions and perceptions of Judy’s experiences, that she reflects in such candid, insightful, and sometimes humorous ways, are appreciated. Maybe it will be for our own purposes or to extend to a loved one who is facing a similar foe. Nonetheless, information is power, and this book can serve as an inspirational path to acceptance and recovery.” –Laurel Gerkman, writer friend of the author

Judy and I are long-time friends. I used her descriptive blogs written throughout her cancer treatment to help me later when I was diagnosed with cancer. I then passed them on to another friend who was going through her own cancer treatments. Judy’s blogs, filled with optimism and humor, helped us all. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone affected by cancer.  –Phyllis Bright, friend of the author since college days.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments