#356––FFOB 2022, a great success . . .

The 2022 11th Annual Florence Festival of Books is over, and now, I can get my life back. It does have a way of taking over between June and September each year.

“Our first time at a book event and we thought this was well done!”

This year, it was a great success! And I’m not the only one who thought so; I’ve included comments that were on the evaluation forms we handed out one hour before closing and picked up just before. That way, we usually get a good return.

Ed Fender has been here several times before.I just loved his book Italy Calls. I keep; asking him to write a sequel. –Photo Courtesy Ed Fender

I wasn’t sure it would be a success at first. Five minutes before the panel discussion was to start at 9 a.m., I, the moderator, was the only one backstage. But the panelists magically appeared right on time . . . except for one. He had taken ill the evening before and was not there. But another panelist had his script and would do his part as well as hers. Okay! When it was time to start, few people were in the audience.  With only an hour, we had to start. So, we did, and it went well for about 20 minutes, then a mic conked out while a panelist was speaking. Matt, the FEC go-to guy for any tech problems brought one up. Okay. Soon another conked out. Then Matt brought up a handful.

Although the audience grew, it didn’t get much over 30. But they were an engaging group. Their questions kept coming until we had to wrap up at 10. So, in spite of a missing panelist, mics conking out, and a small audience, it was a success because we all heard up-to-date info about how to turn a manuscript or print book into an eBook and we all appreciated it! And if anyone still had questions, each of the panelists would have a table during the book fair and could answer questions until 4 p.m.

“I want to thank you for the many young people and others who greeted us when we arrived. Being from out of town, we felt very welcomed and well cared for. Thank you!”

One of the most popular services we provide are the young greeters. These young people, whom we didn’t have set up until just a few days prior, were there and greeted the participants as they drove up. They helped unload boxes, banners, and other table swag. They then guided the participant to the posted table layout, so they could see where they would be and took them there. That way, nobody was wandering around lost or wondering what to do.

Here are four participants––panelist Donna McFarland, Jennifer Chambers, Cy Bishop, and Catherine Rickbone. Catherine was the only author in this photo new to FFOB. —Photo Courtesy Kathy McCullough

Another popular service is the volunteers that could be spotted by their blue aprons. They would answer questions and take over any participant’s table when they needed a break or went for lunch. That way, tables were always occupied.

“I want to compliment you all on a well-organized, friendly, supportive event! All the blue-apron helpers were so awesome!”

We have a central location for those participants who do not have the ability to handle credit cards. That way no sales are lost, and it is greatly appreciated. For example, I have a Square card reader, but I need my mobile phone to use it. On this day, I left my mobile phone at home. I had put it in my purse the night before, so I wouldn’t forget it. But the next morning, I made a last-minute change. I took the important stuff from my purse and put in my fanny pack because then I would have room for my change purse and booklet for recording transactions. But I did not check the compartment where the phone was. Because I didn’t have my phone, I couldn’t take photos or use my card reader. I was bummed! So, I was among those very grateful for the credit card service.

On the left is Leslie Ghiglieri, new to FFOB. I was very pleased to see that she is a ‘true crime’ writer. That’s a first for FFOB. –Photo Courtesy Leslie Ghiglieri

After 11 years, we have worked out most of the kinks and pride ourselves on being well organized. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be problems. Every little while, Victoria, one of our committee members, would come to me with a question or problem, which we would discuss and she or I would handle. There was the empty table of the panelist who could not come. We simply moved the table next to the adjoining one and she spread out her stuff. We never want an empty table.

Then we had an unexpected participant show up who said he had filled out an application and paid, but we had no record and he had not brought his confirmation. Because he was one who had come before, we believed him, and put him at the previously empty table after removing stuff and putting it back. Then there were a couple of participants who kept leaving their table unattended. Later, there were questions about when should we announce this and that, including the door prize announcement, and so on.

“I loved the ability to send people up to the credit card sales clerk as my Square device was not working. Also appreciated the layout and space for the event and individual tables. Many thanks!!”

Because the FEC was going through personnel changes during the summer, during the time of our preparation, there were a couple of glitches. The welcome letter, evaluation form, and small door prize form for the attendees was on the FEC computer, and they needed to be updated and enough copies run off. Well, the evaluation form had the first paragraph with dates updated, but the bottom questions asking about Friday events had not. This year, we were a Saturday, one-day only affair with no Friday events. At least 16 people pointed that out to me the last hour of the book fair.

Kathy McCullough (left) learned to fly when she was 16 and retired as a Boeing 747 captain in 2007 and now enjoys being an author of fiction. –Photo Courtesy Kathy McCullough

And the attendee form from which we hoped to gain zip codes and permission to add names to our mailing list did not get used. Another form, not used in years that did have many places listed where they may have heard about the FFOB, was used. It did not have the two items, we really wanted. I was very disappointed when I realized this. What a missed opportunity! Before the event, I did check to see that they all had been run off, but should have checked more thoroughly. At least, the data we did get will help us target advertising next year.

As far as the participants and the attendees were concerned, it was a smooth-running affair. There was help when they needed it, there were many books of many genre all for sale to choose among, and the new caterers outdid themselves with great food being served in the lobby area.

“So friendly—the vibe and energy are outstanding. I’ve been to many book events, have sold more books, but the collaborative kindness here is outstanding.”

I don’t know the total number of attendees. I do know that it was a lot more than last year, but not as many as our highest number years. And I know that most participants had good sales. And what I especially enjoyed was the happy vibe throughout the day from both participants and attendees.

This is the certificate I was presented to acknowledge my 11 years as Co-founder and Co-chair of the FFOB.

I, personally, had a fabulous time. For those of us who have been every year or even several years, it’s like a reunion. It’s absolutely terrific to see other authors who have become friends. I spent so much time socializing that I didn’t concentrate as much on selling books. Even so, I sold 19. The networking that goes on is one of the real pluses of these types of events.

This year there were several returnees and several new authors—a good mix. One of the new authors told me that the best thing was being in a room filled with other authors! She was positively giddy!

“The panel discussion was great! It was worth the price of a table. And the Keynote Address by William Sullivan was worth twice the cost of a table!! A great day!”

After the book fair was the Keynote Speaker. We only had scheduled 15 minutes for break down and moving everyone out of the display area. The book fair ended at 4 p.m. and the Keynote to start at 4:15 p.m. Not enough time. Next year, I’ll bet we change it to 4:30 p.m.

Here is William Sullivan, our Keynote Speaker, at his table right where you entered the display area. –Photo Courtesy Kathy McCullough

Before the Keynote began, there was a special recognition given to two FFOB Planning Committee members who would be stepping down from leadership positions. One was Bonnie MacDuffee, who will no longer be treasurer of our umbrella group FACE as well as our committee and me as Co-chair for the past 11 years. On stage in front of a much larger audience than that morning, each of us received a lovely bouquet of flowers and a framed certificate of appreciation. I was totally surprised and loved it! The flowers are on the dining room table, and the framed certificate is on prominent display in my office.

I heard the Keynote Address by William Sullivan was great––entertaining and humorous as we had advertised. I had planned to attend, but had to finish loading up and then gathering the evaluations and attendee forms to tally later at home. When I was offered help to load my stuff into my car, I took it. Then there were a couple of folks I knew, whom I visited with. As they left, a woman walked in wanting to buy some books and was disappointed when I told her that the book fair was over. She was truly unhappy, so I told her I was one of the participants and had some books that I could show her. She gladly followed me to my car, where I opened the trunk and proceeded to show her my books. She bought two, paying with exact cash. We were both happy!  Just as I was about to go back in to hear at least a part of the Keynote, the audience started streaming out. I had missed it!

“This is the best book-selling event/venue I’ve ever attended. Thanks for your hard work.”

All in all, it was a great day! . . . I was glad that it was a success, happy that I’d had such a good time, and relieved that it was over! It was the culmination of planning begun in April.

Note: Mark your calendar. Next year, the Florence Festival of Books takes place on September 23, and it will probably continue as a one-day event.

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#355–FFOB Crunch time . . .

It wasn’t fair that Aleia, the gal who worked at the Florence Events Center and who was part of the Florence Festival of Books Planning Committee, was leaving just before we opened up to accept registrations. Working with different people not familiar with the Festival’s inner workings turned out okay for the most part. But we no longer have an FEC person on the committee.  Much of what Aleia did, we are now doing. We miss Aleia!

 By early August, sponsors were lined up for the Florence Festival of Books, so we were able to get our flyers and poster finished and printed. By the third week of August, all tables were sold out. Then the bios of the authors and publishers participating were edited and placed on the website, www.FlorenceFestivalofBooks.org along with info about the Festival as a whole, info about the eBook discussion panelists, and info about the Keynote Speaker, William “Bill” Sullivan. All that was happening mostly on schedule.

These five books were part of a “Wake Up and WIN” book giveaway each day last week on KEZI TV in Eugene.

Then three weeks prior to the Festival, everything ramped up––especially advertising. We were on the radio, TV and social media. I did a 25-minute interview for KXCR in Florence and two other committee members were on Our Town for KCST also in Florence. And two of us recorded 30-second spots for KCST

I was recorded via Zoom for a 2-minute, 45-second segment for a Eugene TV KVAL news program that aired at noon. We were mentioned every day for 10 days on Eugene TV KEZI with a book giveaway each day from 10 of our participating authors.

And these five books were given away each day this week. All to help advertise the Florence Festival of Books.

We were in the local newspaper with articles and ads as well as the Insert the Wednesday before. We plastered Florence with flyers. And mailed them to 55 venues throughout western Oregon and distributed in person in Yachats, Waldport, and Reedsport. I heard from more than one source that they noticed more advertising this year. I certainly hope so, that’s why we hired a marketing consultant.

On Wednesday just four days before the Festival, the special 12-page Insert appeared in the Siuslaw News devoted totally to the Florence Festival of Books. To prepare for it, the committee put together four articles and the lists of sponsors and committee members as well as assigning two more articles. The deadline was September 2 and proofing was done the following week. Besides appearing in the paper, the Insert will also be the program at the actual event.

Here is the cover of the 12-page Insert for the Siuslaw News that came out Wednesday with the paper and also will be our program on Saturday at the Book Festival.

On Thursday, a special sponsor poster we had ordered was picked up and is exactly what we wanted.

On Friday morning, the FEC team will set up the tables and drape them as well as set up the separator curtains between them. That afternoon, the committee is scheduled to collate and pass out everything needed by the 66 participants. Later that afternoon, the keynote speaker, William Sullivan, will meet with the tech person at the FEC to set up for his Keynote address.

Fifteen or so volunteers are undergoing training this week for their particular duties on Saturday. And by now, the committee has located the T-shirts and/or aprons that they will be wearing.

One committee member has prepared the table numbers and participant names and also the name inserts for the lanyards, and they’ve been edited. Someone else located the lanyards. The welcome letter for the participants and the evaluation to be filled out at the end of the day have been run off and are ready for the participants.

This is the centerfold of the Insert that shows the table layout and where all 66 participants sit at their 50 tables.

A form for the attendees letting us know how they found out about the event and their zip code and their email if they want to be on our mailing list has been run off also. This form will go into a drawing, where one will be the winner of a basket of goodies. Included in the basket are five donated books from participating authors. I sent out the request Thursday, and within a couple hours all five let me know that they would be happy to donate a book. Love these authors!

This was taken last year. This is a typical scene at the Book Festival. This is author and publisher Suzanne Parrott, one of this year’s eBook panelists. Notice the table skirting and the black curtain divider behind.

The central credit card station will be set up with help from Oregon Pacific Bank and the forms in triplicate needed for credit card sales were located last week and collated into packets of four to be passed out to every participant.

Each panelist is prepared for their segment of the eBook panel discussion, and they plan to arrive early enough to get their tables set up before their 9 a.m. panel discussion. I’ll be the moderator and have been working with them.

The participants arrive Saturday morning and set up their tables and display areas before the public arrives. Here a few years ago, H.S. Contino sets up her area with one of the helpers that assist participants unload their cars in the morning and then later in the day help load back up.

On Friday, the stars of the show––all 66 participants––will be getting their books together, obtaining cash for their cash boxes, and locating their display swag and packing it in their cars ready for a quick getaway Saturday morning.  Or maybe they will arrive on Friday, having made plans to spend one or two nights at the coast. We did work out discounted lodgings at three places in town.  

And so it goes . . .

The planning that began last April, culminates this Saturday, September 24, in our all-day Book Festival. The past few weeks have indeed been “crunch time” with almost daily last-minute problems that needed solving. Finally, we feel like we’ve got it covered, that we’re ready, that everything will run smoothly. So, I hope you can stop by and see for yourself how it all comes together.

Note: Except for the panel discussion at 9 a.m. and the Keynote Address at 4:15 p.m., you can come and go as you please during the book fair between 10 and 4.  All events are free and at the Florence Events Center, located behind Safeway. See you there!

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#354–Sclerotherapy’s second session, my captive audience . . .

People accuse me of being shameless when it comes to my books––that I’ll talk about them anytime, anywhere. The truth is, I only talk about them when asked. If someone asks, then I usually start with a very brief account of each book or the ones they seem interested in. If their interest continues, then I’ll continue.

Well, today was a case of me talking about my books in an anytime, anywhere situation. In my defense, I was asked, ”What kind of books do you write?”

Sclerotherapy involves injecting chemicals into the veins to cause them to shrivel and die. This is one form of treatment for varicose veins.

Picture this, I’m lying face down on the bed with a surgical team around me performing sclerotherapy on both of my legs. (See August 2022, #341) And I’m talking away about my books.

Sclerotherapy usually follows endovenous laser ablation (See March 2022, #327), both of which are treatments for varicose veins. The ablation is done with a laser that travels through the veins via a catheter and the patient is sedated. It’s a more serious procedure than sclerotherapy, which involves injecting chemicals into veins. And the patient is not sedated in sclerotherapy. The chemicals cause the veins to shrivel and die, which the body eventually absorbs. Since there is a limit to how much a human body can handle of this chemical, there is more than one session.

Endovenous laser ablation is a more serious procedure than sclerotherapy.

This was my second session. Sally, with her bright smile and dressed all in red, took my vitals and got me ready. A short time later, I was lying face down with needles being inserted one at a time in different veins—first one leg and then the other. Not long after beginning the treatment, I was asked what kind of books I write. So, I began talking about my bridge books.

That’s when Dr. Tawil, the surgeon, joined in. I had given him Crossings, McCullough’s Coastal Bridges. So, he continued the conversation about that particular bridge book. He’s, also, a bit of a tease, so gave me a bad time about ways I had described him in past blog posts that I have written about my various varicose vein adventures.

I had also told him previously about the Florence Festival of Books, and since I was wearing my FFOB T-shirt for this second session, he proceeded to tell the others about the book fair and how he and his wife would be going. So, I had to talk a little about that too. It’s the other topic I’m passionate about.

I wore my FFOB T-shirt to my second sclerotherapy session, which generated a fair amount of interest.

All this while, I was face down in a pillow. Regardless of how bizarre it seemed, I returned to talking about my books. After the bridge books, I mentioned The Oregon Coast Guide to the UNEXPECTED that which is odd, unusual or quirky, and that did it. it peaked the interest of the other two members of the surgical team.

I learned that the physician assistant, Lauren Jackson, loves to check out everything along the way on her day trips to places to hike. She has a curious mind and had many questions about the Guide to the UNEXPECTED. And the nurse on the team, Carrie, used to live in Port Orford on the south coast, so she knew about several of the places that were in the book and added her perspective. We had quite a conversation going.

It turned out to be a lively, fun experience that we all participated in. Looking back, I thought it so odd for me to be talking through my mask into a pillow to a surgical team during a surgical procedure, but it may not have seemed so odd to them when dealing with a non-sedated patient. No doubt, they have used the tactic of getting the patient talking to take their mind off what is happening numerous times.

Well, It certainly worked on me. Before I knew it, they were done. And only a few times did I notice the needle insertions hurting and each time was brief. So, no big deal!

This was the book that captured the attention of Lauren so much that she wanted a copy!

I don’t know if I’ll be having any more sessions, but it’s definitely not scary and can be enjoyable. . . . One way to look at it from my POV is that I had a captive audience to talk to about my books and the book fair. What’s not to like about that! Hey! Hey!

What’s more, Lauren wanted a copy of UNEXPECTED. So, after the procedure and before heading home, I retrieved a copy of UNEXPECTED from the trunk of my car and took it in for her—signed and personalized. You just never know when someone’s gonna want a book!

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#353––The eyes have it and so do the eggs . . .

 “The Eyes Have It,” is the theme of Backstreet Gallery’s 2022 Community Challenge show, which is a take off on “The ayes have it!” heard at many a business meeting.

The Eyes Have It Community Challenge

If you’re interested in entering The Eyes Have It Community Challenge, now is the time to let the creative juices flow. Now is the time to think about some form of art where “the eyes” are all important. It can be any media––a painting, a collage, a clay sculpture, an assemblage, or something I can’t even contemplate. All submissions are due October 25 at Backstreet Gallery. And will be on exhibit at the Gallery from November 1 through December 3. Go to www.BackstreetGallery.org and click on Events and then Click on The Eyes Have It Community Challenge to find the rules for entry and an application.

These shows always have great community participation with amazingly creative pieces of art and are among our most popular events. A reception will be held at the Gallery on November 12 to honor those who entered and to pass out the ribbons to those who won 1st, 2nd,  and 3rd  placements.

Then I got to playing around with the words “The Eyes Have It” and before I knew it, I was saying, “The eggs have it,” and thinking of Easter eggs with big eyes. . . . Then I remembered two situations where eggs really were the major players.

1933 Montana

Grandma all dressed up and standing in front of the Willys Knight that Dad got to drive occasionally.

To set the stage, this was about 1933 on a remote ranch in Montana where it was a 12-mile drive along a dirt road to town, Melstone. Don’t know what the population was in 1933, but today it’s around 300 and the streets are still unpaved. This story is true, and my Dad loved telling it. Here it is in his own words as I recorded them and then put in the book, Chuck & Jean, the Interesting Years.

“Dad didn’t drive much, and he always had problems with the stick shift. So, he had me do the drivin’ on this trip in the old Willys Knight. I was only 14 and knew how to drive, but had hardly ever driven this car.

Although the road was muddy, we did fine until we got to the Musselshell River. We came around the bend, and saw a car sittin’ right in the middle of the narrow two-lane road on our end of the bridge. They were lookin’ at all the water comin’ down the river.

I shifted down to get better slowin’, and about that time Dad got excited and put his foot on what he thought was the brake. Instead, he hit the accelerator. We roared up on the bridge, hit the other car on the front fender and rode right up over it. Then it was like slow motion as our car just tipped over on one side and then over again until it was restin’ on its top with the hood hangin’ out over the rushin’ water. It only took a minute to figure out that we weren’t hurt. We climbed out very carefully, so as not to rock the car into the river. The people in the other car got out too. Except for their fender, they had no other damage. With their help we were able to turn our car upright.

I remember Grandpa as a man of few words and not being too fond of kids. This is the only photo I have of him. We were visiting from Washington, which we did every couple of yers. This was the late 1940s and they had a well out front, an outhouse out back, and used kerosene lanterns for light and a wood stove to cook on. It was a tough, difficult place to live, but as kids, we loved visiting.

It looked in pretty good shape, but in the process of uprighting the car, we put a fence stave right through one of the windows. After it was back on its wheels, the old Willys Knight started right up. So, we continued on to town. The top was a kind of cloth, and as we drove along. I could look through holes that weren’t there before. The car started overheating because we had lost a lot of the water and oil while it was upside down. Thank goodness, we didn’t have far to go. When we got to town, the first thing we did was to get more water and oil.

After taking care of the car. Dad turned to me and said, ‘Charlie, what do ya think we oughta do with all those eggs?’

We normally traded eggs for groceries; eggs were worth 10 cents a dozen then. You can imagine our surprise when we opened the crate in the trunk and not a single egg of the 30 dozen was broken. So, we went on to the grocery store just like always.”

I always loved that story, and Dad always got a big kick out of telling it.

1948 Washington

This next egg story, also true, also involves an accident involving a car.

We lived on the outskirts of Vancouver, Washington, on Fourth Plain Boulevard. It was a busy street even then. We lived near an intersection with a not-nearly-so-busy cross street. On the corner across the cross street was a grocery store

When I was somewhere around 6 ½ to 7 years old, my sister, Edna, who was about 4, and I walked to the store to get eggs for my Mom. We probably crossed at the corner where a stop sign and crosswalk would have been located. We bought the eggs, and headed home. We came out of the store and for some reason, I didn’t go to the corner to cross. We jay-walked. I told Edna she could run to the yellow line in the middle. About that time, a neighbor directly across from us waved. I don’t know if Edna saw her or not, but she didn’t stop at the yellow line. She kept going and collided with a car coming around the corner.

My brother Harry, me, and my sister Edna. I was the oldest and they were only 11 months apart and like two peas in a pod. So much alike! According to my sister, I was the serious one, always taking care of things. In this photo, I’m about 6 1/2 to7 and Harry is about 5 and Edna 4 or close to that..

Before I knew it, there she was lying in the street. I got to her about the same time as the neighbor. She seemed dazed and her lip was bleeding, and she kept trying to get up. But the neighbor made her stay put. Edna doesn’t remember much after being hit. She does remember the ambulance, and that’s about it.

While the neighbor stayed with her, I ran to get Mom. I clutched the eggs as I ran across the corner lot to our house, which was adjacent to it. A new Dairy Queen was in the beginning stages of construction with piles of lumber and equipment filling the lot. Mom and I made it back to the scene of the accident in record time, while navigating a route through the construction site. Apparently, Mom went with Edna in the ambulance. Neither Edna nor I can remember.

I’m sure there were bruises and soreness, but the only lasting reminder was a scar on Edna’s lip. She was very lucky; it could have been so much worse. I felt guilty for years, thinking it was my fault for not crossing at the corner. And I totally don’t remember what happened after Mom and I got back to the accident scene. I don’t remember the ambulance at all. What I do remember, is walking back to the house alone, still clutching a carton with a dozen eggs. And none of them were broken.

In each situation, the eggs were the reason for the trip. In each situation, there was a car accident involved, and no one was seriously hurt. And in each situation, no eggs were broken. I didn’t realize the similarities until I was saying––“The eggs have it!”––and these two stories popped into my mind.

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#352–Siuslaw Pioneer Museum––the place to be . . .

Sea Lion Caves Reception

It certainly was the place to be for 150–200 folks last Friday evening on August 26, when the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum hosted the reception to celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the Sea Lion Caves.

In the center are Steve and Sue Saubert in front of the Sea Lion Caves exhibit.
Photo by Scott Steward

It was like a reunion of folks I used to see at concerts and such and just haven’t seen since Covid hit. It was the same with folks who’d volunteered at the museum over the years and whom I hadn’t seen in ages. So, I had a wonderful time catching up.

Since I was wearing my Museum docent nametag, people knew my name. Several introduced themselves throughout the evening. One was Mary Jacobson who handles the finances at the Caves and is descended from one of the three original owners. I knew her mother, Jo, back in the late 1980s and through the mid-90s. She said that her mother had spoken of me often over the years. Her mother passed away several years ago. So, that was lovely to hear. I spoke with several people who knew me from talks I’ve given at the museum or who had one or more of my books. I didn’t recognize any of them, but it was fun. Made me feel like a celebrity!

At the end of his speech, Steve presents the Museum with this giant check for $25,000. Wow!
–Photo by Scott Steward

There were wonderful goodies, including champagne and truffles, cheeses and crackers, shrimp with dipping sauce, and yummy pastries with savory fillings. There was also wine to drink. Marianne Brisbane, who catered the reception, outdid herself.

There were the usual speeches, of which most were quite short. Steve Saubert another descendent of one of the early-owner families spoke last. He is one of the more important folks in town, but I think of him as a down-to-earth guy with ethics and a sense of humor. I’ve interviewed him numerous times for my books, and I think he’s a sweetheart and so is his wife, Sue. At the end of Steve’s comments, he presented a check to the Museum from the Sea Lion Caves for $25,000. I was stunned! It will certainly come in handy, as there are always repairs when the Museum is housed in a 117-year old building.

Building History

It was built in 1905 as the first school building for Florence. The lower grades were downstairs and the high school students upstairs. Sometime during its first five to 10 years, the bell tower caught on fire and the large, cast iron bell fell. A chunk broke loose, and we have it on display in one of the display areas. I like to tell people that the Liberty Bell isn’t the only bell on display with a crack in it.

When the school was quite new between 1905 and 1910. –Photo Courtesy Siuslaw Pioneer Museum

It was a school for decades and then had a number of different uses including a depot for brush collection and later a site for a variety of small shops.

There was another fire in the bell tower in 1953 that burned a portion of the upstairs. After that fire, the building was rebuilt with a different configuration. And that is how it looks today.

The current configuration of the Museum.

The Museum Exhibits

The walls, ceiling, and floors you see downstairs, are original. We’ve set up one section off of the lobby to show how people lived long ago. And on the other side is what they did––fishing, farming, and logging. All items on display were donated by families that lived in the area.

An old-fashioned kitchen.

That is true of the upstairs as well––except for one fabulous exhibit that covers the Western Lane County Fair of 1922 that was created by the library research staff. There were several occasions in the 1920s when there was a Western Lane County Fair. Today, there is simply the Lane County Fair in Eugene.

Part of the logging exhibit. The misery whip and the drag saw.

Upstairs is a sewing room with a loom set up. Prior to Covid, we had a weaver come in on weekends to demonstrate. There are many, many photos upstairs, quite a display of dolls in the sewing room, a children’s room with several toys, many lndian artifacts, and a display showing every covered bridge in Lane County. The largest room upstairs is also used for programs and meetings.

The sewing room with its loom and other fabulous displays.

More display areas are outside the main building. One of my favorites is in a separate room next to one of the Museum entrances. This room holds one of the original mechanisms that opened one side of the Siuslaw River Bridge, which is a double-bascule drawbridge. It was operated manually from 1936, when the bridge opened, to 2010, when it was renovated and updated. During that time, it took one person on each side to open the bridge. Now, it is computerized and only one person needs to be on either side to open the bridge. But computers can go down. So, there is a drawer on each side that when pulled open exposes a miniature manual means of operating the bridge. So just like in the old days, it takes two people. I like to say to visitors that what is old is new again. Above the bridge mechanism on display is a flat-screen TV with a loop video and voice over showing and explaining what happens when the bridge opens and closes. As the bridge lady of the Oregon coast, I love this exhibit!

The bell that fell in the first fire.

There is another display area outside on the enclosed deck area that house many large items used in fishing and on the farm. There’s also an actual river boat built by an early pioneer, Mads Jensen, on display. He named it Melba, after one of his granddaughters. Melba was my partner for a few years and knew a lot of the early history of the area.

Also, in that display area is the large bell that fell during the first bell-tower fire. One of the most impressive exhibits out there is the miniature, scale model steam lumber mill showing in 12 stages what happens from cutting the tree until it comes out as finished lumber. It was built by a logger over a 25-year period.

Museum offers more than exhibits

Besides the Museum exhibits, there is a gift shop area, where four of my books are sold. And in a separate building is the Research Library, which works best if you secure an appointment first. When visiting the museum there is a lot to see. Plan on at least an hour. Every time I’m there, I see an item or photo that I’ve not seen before. Newly donated items are always being added. Nowadays, there is a lift, so folks who can’t do stairs can get to the second floor.

You need an appointment, but it contains many photos, documents, and newspaper articles and just all kinds of stuff. I spent much of five months here doing research for Around Florence, the history of Florence from 1876 to present day.

 I’ve been a docent at the Museum for 20 years. When I started, I was still working at the magazines, but I’d take off from work every other Wednesday afternoon. I did that until Covid hit. The Museum was closed for most of a year. Since its reopening in March of 2021, I’ve been there nearly every Sunday.

For several years, the Museum was located in the building housing the Lutheran Church south of the bridge. Not many visitors stopped by then. We moved into the current location in 2006. Being in Old Town in an historic building is the perfect location for the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum. Stop by. It’s the place to be!

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#351–My daily walk . . .

Walking the dog

When you have a dog, you walk it on a leash—at least most people do nowadays. Growing up, we just opened the door and let our dog, Rusty, out to roam the area—it was out of town. We would roam the area and hills as well, and Rusty would be with us, but we never used a leash.

Asa was a happy dog on his walks––even in the rain.
–Illustration by Karen D. Nichols

For about 10 years, I had a Standard Poodle, Asa, that I walked twice a day on a leash. We covered at least a half mile in the mornings before I went to work and more in the evenings when I got home. And we went much farther on the weekends; we’d go off-road, and he’d be off leash. We walked regardless of the weather—rain, snow, howling wind. So, I got my exercise.

After he was gone in 2002, I walked only on the weekends. Over the years, it got so that I only walked occasionally. Then when one of my knees caused one leg to become increasingly kinked a few years ago, I quit going for walks. It was too difficult and painful.

Another reason to walk

This past year, with my various varicose vein surgeries and procedures, it’s been a requirement of healing to walk at least a half hour every day for two weeks after each procedure. The main reason is to prevent blood clots from forming. This time around, my last procedure was two weeks ago and the last day I’m required to walk was yesterday. But I’m going to continue.

Going up the hill is smooth, lovely, across the front of my house and continuing around the loop is a much rougher road.

Walking routes

Where I live, I have some choices, but they all involve a certain amount of uphill and downhill. I can go up and up the big hill or down, down to Collard Lake Road, or around the loop, which has the least uphill and down. The road going up the hill is smooth and lovely for walking as is the road going downhill––Collard Lake Road. It was paved by the county.

The folks living along the roads going up the big hill or around the loop had to pay for any improvements themselves. There were decades of fighting with the county before Collard Lake Road got paved, but the roads leading off of it were not.

So, the property owners along each road determined the exact amount of improvement they were willing to pay for. Those living around the loop only agreed upon 1/10th as much as the property owners up the hill. And you get what you pay for. The road around the loop has never been totally paved. It’s been graveled and oiled numerous times and had a major patch job some years ago. Now it needs work again. So, when I walk, I use a walking stick. And it is very much needed.

This tree seems much bigger than I remembered!

Reasons to continue my walks

First of all, my health. I feel better and each day I can go a little farther up the hill. I also try to go around the loop. As I get in better shape, it improves my self-image. I don’t feel like such an old lady!

Second, reconnect with and meet new neighbors. I’ve lived here for 37 years and before that owned property here since 1980. So, I used to know everyone who lived in the whole area. But in the past 10 years or so as people have moved away or died and new folks moved in, I only know some of the people. I’m really enjoying becoming reacquainted with those who’ve been around awhile and meeting new folks.

Asa was very curious and very lucky. A most tolerant porcupine! —Illustration by Karen D. Nichols

Third, reconnect with nature. I’m enjoying the trees that have grown so much and the deer. I used to walk all over off the road exploring areas with my dog off leash, and we saw all kinds of critters. Most memorable were the baby coyote waddling out of its den to check us out, the world’s most tolerant porcupine that allowed Asa to follow him, the numerous bears we spotted and tried to avoid, the face-off with a buck who blocked our way forward, and the pack of coyotes that followed us home in such heavy fog, we could only hear them. And before that there were walks I went on with birding groups and my late husband prior to his passing in 2001. I’ve simply gotten so busy, I’ve lost touch with nature. Now, I ‘m re-acquainting myself with the birds and other wildlife of the area.

So tasty! Yum!

And last, pick blackberries. This time of year, on the bottom of the loop, there are wild Himalayan blackberries ripening. I can’t just walk on by; I stop and pick my fill. They are so tasty but have very large seeds that I don’t like. Since I’m usually by myself, I have no qualms at all about spitting them out.

There you have it, my reasons to get back to my daily walk.

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#350–Oh, what you can do with a beach towel and butcher knife . . .

My koala from when I was a baby in Hawaii seems to enjoy my beach towel. It has palm trees and says, “Aloha!”

The beach towel and butcher knife were essential for my project, but a bungee cord, clothespin, a relatively small tarp, and a long, slim kitchen spatula rounded out the necessary items that I would need.

What was I going to do with this odd assortment?

These items were what I could easily get my hands on when I decided to repot the barberry.

Barberries should be called barb-berries. They have thorns that make those on roses positively puny! Barberry thorns don’t poke or stick, they impale! So, when repotting a barberry, you need to protect yourself. And that’s the reason for my odd assortment. Even deer won’t go near them.

Why did I have to repot the barberry?

Here koala is guarding the butcher knife.

The plant that needs repotting is an upright variety of barberry with green leaves that keeps its leaves in winter and is almost three feet tall above the pot. It was doing well in its red pot that was part of a set of three red pots in the front.

Then one day, a couple of weeks ago, a car backed up and hit the pot. It cracked and fell apart. So, it needed to be replaced. Meanwhile, while I looked for a new pot, it was wrapped in plastic to prevent drying out and set in a large bucket with some water in it.

Trying to find a replacement was its own adventure. I went to Freddies and Laurel Bay Gardens and online and could not find a red, large (at least 15 inches top inside dimensions) with a particular rounded shape. I could either find the shape and size but not the color or vice versa.  It was frustrating. And they were all so expensive!

Even the deer stay away from barberry! This one prefers the ivy.

The person, who hit the pot with her car, felt terrible and conducted her own search. She found a blue-green pot at St. Vinnie’s and bought both it and a smaller one that matched. They were not exactly what I was looking for but quite nice. After some pondering, I decided that they would work. The large one was similar in shape of pot and almost large enough. With two of them matching, it would look better than just the one. So, I went for it.

I put new soil about a third of the way up the new larger pot. And a younger, stronger person placed the barberry into the new pot. He had to really work hard to cram it it. I don’t think the bottom of the plant hit the soil in the bottom of the pot, creating an air space, And there was no room at all for growth around the sides of the root ball.  While it looked fine in its new pot, I knew it was not the best solution. It would probably die. So, I decided to repot.

This plant and pot are five feet high and took some doing to do the repotting. They survived it, and the plant looks healthy. So far, so good!

Preparation is the key

I assembled my odd assortment and put on long sleeves and heavy-duty gloves. Because it was early morning, nobody walked by with their dogs or otherwise. So, I didn’t have to explain what I was up to.

I wrapped the barberry in the beach towel and held it in place with the clothespin. Then I snugged it tight with the bungee cord. That took care of the thorny part, but it also covered up where I needed to work. So, I tucked the bottom of the beach towel up into the bungee cord so I could see the base of the plant.

I used the spatula to loosen around the edges. Then started carving out chunks about three inches wide and about six inches deep and in length. I would cut and loosen with the butcher knife. Then work free with my gloved hands and drop onto the tarp.

It took a lot of hacking, a lot of effort, as I worked my way around the plant. Then I tried rocking the plant back and forth. Nothing at first, but gradually, it started moving. I finally worked it loose enough to pull out of the pot. Even at its reduced size, the plant was still heavy and awkward––almost more than I could handle.

My new pot with lavender. I like it!

Once it was out of the pot and lying on the tarp, I could easily carve the rest of the root ball, which was originally about 15 inches diameter and round. When I got through carving, it was more like about nine inches diameter by about 12 inches deep. Now I could handle it. Still heavy and awkward but doable.

I added more potting soil to the pot and replaced the plant and packed in more potting soil around it. Then moved it back into place and removed the beach towel. Then I removed the tarp with its pile of chunks of root ball and swept away any loose potting soil. After the clean up, everything looked the same. No one would have a clue to the morning’s repotting adventure.

I also repotted the smaller plant into the new, smaller, blue-green pot. It didn’t look so good, the colors didn’t work. So, I put it back in its original pot and put on my upper deck and put a new plant, lavender, in the new pot. It looks good and, what’s more, the deer don’t like lavender either. 

Everything looks good once again, and both plants are thriving. I check on them every day. I just hope no more cars hit the pots. But if they do, I now know what to do!

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#349–Scare-o, I mean sclerotherapy . . .

Note: This Friday’s post will be delayed until Sunday, August 21!

Last fall when I first met with Dr. Anan Tawil regarding my varicose veins, he said that first would be the laser ablation and then would come the sclerotherapy. The ablation was completed in March, and I had my four-and-a-half month check-up mid-July. Dr. Tawil was very pleased with the results. We decided to go ahead with the sclerotherapy because the ablation did not finish the job.  It’s hard to thread a catheter with a laser down a vein that starts to twist, so some of the worst looking veins were still there—not as large but still there. While, the ablation helped with the pain and edema, the sclerotherapy will make my legs feel even better and look good too. I’m all for that!

So, what is sclerotherapy?

It involves injecting the problem vein with a chemical that causes the blood vessel to close up and dissolve. Sclerotherapy is the main treatment for spider veins and is also used for treatment of certain varicose veins, like mine. It is performed in an office visit and causes little to some pain.

I don’t have hardly any spider veins, just ugly varicose veins.

How does it work?

Using a very fine needle, the doctor injects a special chemical into the blood vessel. The chemical causes inflammation, which causes the walls of the vessel to stick together. As a result, the treated vessel can no longer hold blood. It shrivels and is eventually absorbed by the body.

How did it work for me?

I arrived in time to apply the prescribed lidocaine cream I was to apply one hour prior to the planned procedure, which was scheduled for 3 p.m. I was there at 1:30 p.m. and was placed in a regular patient visitation room. I had brought my blue paper shorts that I had been given for previous procedures there. I started applying the cream and had it on both legs by 2 p.m. This cream is the only pain deadening I would have during the procedure.

I then started doing a crossword puzzle. I had brought the puzzle book as well as another book to read for my one-hour wait. But before I knew it, Dr. Tawil stopped by to say ‘Hi” and to make sure I knew what we were going to be doing and to go over it briefly.  Just as I got going again on the puzzle, the nurse came in to take by vitals and to give me some socks with knubby bottoms for when we walked down the hall to the surgical suite.

They did not wait until 3 p.m. About 2:30 p.m., one of the nurse’s took me to the restroom first and then the surgical suite. I laid down on a special table that could be raised or lowered. The nurse prepared everything that would be needed. Dr. Tawil came in and didn’t waste any time in getting started.

Once again I return to the medical building on the McKenzie-Willamette Hospital campus.

I was wide awake, but I could not see what was happening. However, I could hear everything that was said. Of course, I didn’t understand it all. Apparently, the doctor chooses a vein and decides whether air or CO2 is to be added to the chemical. And since the body can only handle a limited amount of the chemical, he decides how much he can get done within that limit.

Each time, after the the needle was inserted, there was some pain—not bad and it was brief. Then some massaging, or at least that’s what it felt like. Then he would ask the nurse for a flush. Not sure what all was involved with that.

Soon a PA (Physician Assistant) Lauren Jackson came in. Dr. Tawil had told me that she was very good; if he were to have it done on his legs, he would want her to do it. So, I totally trusted both of them. Then the fun began. Comments like, “I want to do that one.” “I’ll do this one.” “Oh, look how nice this one looks already!” “Don’t these look good!”

Every so often, Dr. Tawil would speak to me. “This is the part of the job we enjoy.” “Each time is like the first time.” “You will be so pleased.” He and Lauren were clearly enjoying themselves. I told them that I was really pleased to see them enjoying what they were doing. He kept telling me how well I was doing, and all I was doing was lying there. During the whole procedure, there was a happy vibe!

Utterly fashionable, one-size-fits-all paper pants that I wore during the procedure. Not my favorite piece of clothing.

Since everything was going so smoothly, he asked me if I wanted the veins on my ankle done, and I said yes. Then, he asked if I was up for doing the other leg too. I told him that I was there and ready and why not. So, they did. Even with doing both legs, they were done in about 35 minutes.

After the doctors were finished, two nurses placed gauze and band aids where needed on places that had some bleeding. Then each took a leg and wrapped with gauze and then a stretchy tape that sticks to itself and last a thigh-high compression hose. The compression hose I was to wear for 48 hours. With all that snug bandaging, bending my knee was no longer fun. They were done by 3:30 p.m.

Because no anesthesia was used, I could drive home, and I did with no problem. I got home shortly after 5 p.m. I had a bear claw to eat, one of my favorite foods. Then walked for at least 30 minutes and met two different neighbors where we stood and chatted, so I was outside on my feet for about an hour. Then I came in and lay down and elevated my legs for a half hour.

I deserved it. I had survived scare-o-therapy!

My directions are to walk at least 30 minutes a day and to elevate legs often. After the 48 hours, I am to remove the compression hose and all dressings and take a shower. And to wear the compression hose every day for two weeks, but not at night. And no baths or swimming or heat or sunlight on the legs during that time. And I’m to take it easy, with no heavy lifting or using abdominal muscles for those two weeks.

Dr. Tawil said it would get worse before it got better. There would be bruising and possible lumps and other discoloration, but within six weeks or so, all the treated sites would look better. By four months even better. With sclerotherapy, it’s not a quick fix. You have to be patient and wait for the results.

In about six weeks, I’ll meet with Dr. Tawil. At that time, we will decide if more sclerotherapy is needed. When I saw him in mid-July, he thought four or five treatments would be needed. But I think they did more this past Wednesday than he thought would get done. So, we’ll see.

I can elevate my legs anytime during the day.

Besides the bruising and lumps and other discoloration, there are possible side effects. When you read through them, you’d think no one would ever undergo this treatment. For example, blood clots, skin ulcers, growth of new blood vessels around treated areas, and stroke. Yikes! But these are rare, and I keep telling myself that. So, I’ll wear my compression hose, walk 30 minutes a day, and elevate my legs often.  These measures are to help in the healing and to avoid certain side effects.

Since I had such an easy time during the procedure, I won’t call it scare-o-therapy any more—I’ll save that name for the serious side-effects. I have had none and no pain, just the tightness of the bandaging and compression hose, which is annoying.

As far as I’m concerned, so far, so good. But as I write this, it’s only been a little over 24 hours. So, I’ll keep you posted.

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#348–Learning about eBooks . . .

The panel discussion at the Florence Festival of Books is going to be informative, fun, and fabulous and all about eBooks. And nearly half the time will be devoted to answering audience questions. So, whether you intend to publish an eBook or are simply a reader of eBooks and curious about how they do it, you won’t want to miss “How to turn your book into an eBook.”  And if you’re not a fan of eBooks, you are still welcome! Mark your calendars for September 24, 9 to 10 a.m.

Publisher Patricia Marshall of Luminare Press is a regular participant of FFOB and has been on one of our panels before.

As co-chair of the FFOB, I sometimes wake in the middle of the night stressing over various aspects of the Festival and one night it was the panel discussion’s turn. Since I couldn’t sleep, I got up at 3:15 a.m. and sat at my computer and sent a rambling email to all four panelists with my thoughts on the time constraints and who I thought could do what. I hoped it would pass “the light of day” test.

Well, it couldn’t have worked out better. It got them communicating with me and, more importantly, with each other. And within a couple days, they had it pretty well figured out who would cover what. I was privy to much of it, but since I’m clueless when it comes to eBooks, the techno jargon flew right on by. But I did learn a few things. . . .

Publisher Suzanne Parrott has lots of experience with eBooks, and is a regular participant at FFOB and has been on one of our panels before.

I learned that “eBooks” seems to be the most prevalent spelling but “ebooks” is also acceptable, and all eBooks can be in color. I thought you had to hire someone to format your book or manuscript to an eBook. Not necessarily so. You can do it yourself, but it helps if you know what you’re doing. KDP kept being brought up, and I just had to ask what it is and does it connect to CreateSpace. Here’s what I learned from panelist Donna McFarland, “KDP bought CreateSpace awhile back. CreateSpace did print books and KDP did eBooks. Now KDP does both, and CreateSpace no longer exists.” Like I said, I was clueless.

This panel is anything but clueless. They are experts and two of them have written books on formatting to eBooks and one does seminars on the subject. This panel not only has three panelists who turn manuscripts and books into eBooks, but we have an author who has had 14 of his print books formatted into eBooks. So we’ll hear from those who do it and one who’s had it done.

Ron Lovell, the author, who hired a publisher to format his print books into eBooks. And he’s glad he did. He’s also a regular FFOB participant and been on a previous panel.

Topics to be covered:

–Overcoming reluctance from author’s point of view.

–Some do’s and don’t’s when doing it on your own.

–When hiring it done, what is expected from both author and formatter.

–Working with children’s books and other books with illustrations and photos.

–The differences between fixed and reflowable.

–Distribution and marketing of your eBook.

–In a nutshell, the process from manuscript to eBook whether hiring or on your own.

Donna McFarland has also attended FFOB before, but this will be her first time as a FFOB panelist.

Meet the panelists:

Patricia Marshall with Luminare Press, offers book design and layout, custom covers, editing, distribution, marketing, promo packages, and more in print and eBook format. “I can speak to a variety of ways that an author can turn their book into an eBook.”

–Suzanne Parrott is the owner of First Steps Publishing. She is an illustrator, graphic designer, speaker, and the author of “The eBook Formatting and Publishing Guide,” “The Lost Sigil eBook Guide,” and 10 children’s books. She says, “I have A LOT of experience with eBooks.”

Donna McFarland, the author of over 15 books, also is a freelancer, formatting print and eBooks for self-publishing authors. One of her books is on formatting to eBooks. “I can contribute information about the differences between picture book eBooks and most other genre.”

–Ron Lovell is the author of 14 textbooks, hundreds of magazine articles, 10 Martindale Mysteries and 4 Lorenzo Madrid Mysteries. He says, “My 14 mysteries all have eBook editions that sell well.” 

After the panel discussion, each panelist will have a table at the book fair from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.—just in case you wanted to chat one-on-one.

It will definitely be informative but also fun and fabulous, so plan to attend, if you can!

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#347–Take time to laugh . . .

Note: All the six-foot tables for the Florence Festival of Books are sold out. There are only 11 eight-foot tables left before we are totally sold out. This is not unusual! It’s a popular event with authors.

When you listen to the news, it’s not hard to go into the doldrums, get angry, or start crying all during the same broadcast. That’s when I need a good laugh.

It’s the T-shirts that makes this catalog worth keeping.

And one of my best sources is the “Catalog Favorites: casual, comfortable & fun” catalog. It’s full of women’s clothes and accessories interspersed with pages of T-shirts with funny sayings. I stop at those pages and read each one. They run the gamut from wise to stupid, and there are enough truly funny ones to make the effort worthwhile. And some are laugh-out-loud funny. Those are the ones, I check and go back to when I need a good laugh. There’s even one that says, “I hate t-shirts with stupid sayings.”

These days, anything that makes me laugh out loud, goes right to the top of my list of good stuff. So, whenever one of these catalogs comes in the mail, it doesn’t go straight to recycling. I put it where it’s handy for when I need it.

If only!!!.

About two and a half years ago, I bought three of their T-shirts and posted about it. One of them, I wear when I’m around my sister, “Back off! I have a SISTER and I’m not afraid to use her.”  It was totally appropriate when she was my caregiver for two weeks after knee replacement surgery. We both got a big kick out of it.

Then for the next couple of months when I was going to Physical Therapy, I’d wear the one that says, “I do all my own stunts, but never intentionally!” The therapists loved it!

And my favorite of the three, “Hey Autocorrect? Quit ducking with my swear words! You can go to he’ll mother forklift!” My editor friends and I think it’s hilarious! But in some places, I receive strange looks.

I used to teach first grade, and I still like jokes that are totally literal!

My current favorite covers my frustration at how every single, solitary thing simply has to have its own blankety-blank password. You’ll love it, “Just once, I want a username and password prompt to say, close enough!” We can all relate.

Here are some of my other favorites:

“So, apparently, I have an attitude!”

“I will put you in the trunk and help people look for you. . . . Don’t test me!”

“Sometimes I wonder what happened to the people who asked me for directions.”

“My doctor asked if anyone in my family suffered from mental illness. I said, ‘No, we all seem to enjoy it.’”

I have a friend whom this would be perfect for!

“I just did a week’s worth of cardio after walking into a spider web.”

“It takes real skills to choke on air, fall up the stairs, and trip over nothing. I have those skills.”

 “It’s weird being the same age as old people.”

“I thought it would take longer to grow old.”

“Went to an antique show and people were bidding on me.”

“I told my wife I wanted to be cremated. She made me an appointment for Tuesday.”

“At my funeral, take the bouquet off my coffin and throw it into the crowd to see who is next.”

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do. Cheers!

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