#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!

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on #354–Sclerotherapy’s second session, my captive audience . . .

#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.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

#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!

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on #352–Siuslaw Pioneer Museum––the place to be . . .

#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.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

#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!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

#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.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

#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!

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on #348–Learning about eBooks . . .

#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!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

#346–Smooth(er) sailing for the FFOB . . .

This week is definitely smoother sailing than when I last posted about the FFOB on July 1 (#343–The ups and downs of the FFOB). We had just lost our Events Center liaison only days before we were to begin accepting applications on July 5 for this year’s 11th Florence Festival of Books. And we got a late start getting the word out due to circumstances beyond our control. It was a rocky beginning, Did I mention that FFOB is my favorite four-letter ‘F’ word. During moments of frustration, F-Fob said quickly, works just fine.

Now, everything seems to be on track.

On July 5, at 10:01 a.m., I went to the FFOB website and clicked my way to the individual application, filled it in (including my bio), submitted it, and then clicked to handle payment. That put me on the Event Center’s payment system. I filled in all the info required and submitted it. Everything worked, and I was done in about 12 minutes. I was so relieved that everything worked! By being first, I was the test case. As it turned out, I was fourth and by the end of the day, we had nine signed up.

The 2022 FFOB Planning Committee: Karen D. Nichols, Bonnie MacDuffee, Vickie Kennedy,Co-chair Judy Fleagle, and Victoria Sharbowski. Not present Co-chair Meg Spencer (participating via phone), Kevin Mittge, Helen Ritchie, Scott Steward, media consultant, and Rachel Pearson, FACE President.

Instead of our usual 68 tables, we are cutting back, like we did last year. We are having 50 tables and as of this writing, we have only half of those left. So, the application process is moving right along.

Helen Ritchie came in shortly after our group photo was taken. She is one of our newer members, very eager to help, and will be contacting lodgings soon.

I wanted a space for bios on the application, since I will be editing them before they are placed on the website. Last year, we had no space for bio on the application, and I had to contact each one. Never again! So, as they are coming in, I am editing them. We asked to keep to 40 words and all but one did. That one had 188. Hmm! Always one! I cut it down to 43. They don’t call me “slasher” for nothing!

In the past we always categorized the bios by where the authors and publishers participating lived. This year, we are doing it by genre. Much more difficult. Coming up with all the genres, and then what do you do with those who have more than one (like me). Our web person pointed out that folks may not want to keep reading the same bio over and over. So, I came up with a solution today. I will post the bio of each author under their main genre and just their name under other genres they mention. At least, that is the plan of the moment. Obviously, the bios are still a work in progress.

So, the applications are coming in and the bios for the website are being worked out.

Our Keynote Speaker is all set. We still need to arrange comped lodging, but we have the same committee member handling that who has done it before.

Bonnie is our Treasurer, a long-time member, and an ace when it comes to landing sponsors.

And two days ago, we had nothing definite for our eBook panel discussion. I got busy, and today, three of the four slots are filled. I have two publishers that I know and think highly of, who have experience with eBooks that will be on the panel. They were thrilled to be asked. And we have one author whose books are in print and in eBook format and says that his eBooks sell well. I know one other author who has been a successful eBook author for years, whom I’ve asked, and she is thinking about it. So, glad to get these slots filled. Three down and one to go!

We have a goal of $7,000 from our sponsors, and so far, we have $4,900 in the bank with another $500 committed. The deadline is August 1, and I think we’ll make it.

Our official flyer and poster have been designed and only need the names of the sponsors before we run them off and start distributing about second week of August..

Our media consultant, whom we hired this year (something we’ve never done before), has quite a good article to send out to many types of media within a three-hour radius of Florence. This article is aimed at attendees. He’s also handled the advertising packages with the newspaper and radio station. And doing our Facebook page and some parts of the website.

Victoria is a whiz at assigning tables and organizing volunteers.

We have the person, who will be key in assigning tables, in charge of keeping track of the applications. When we assign tables, we have to keep in mind those who paid for six foot and those who paid for 8 foot and those who are sharing an 8-foot table and those who need electricity and those who request to sit by specific participants. I have always been a part of the assigning process, and it is like putting a jigsaw puzzle together.  

And we have lined up which committee members will be acquiring and organizing and training volunteers for the day of the event. Volunteers relieve participants at their tables when they need to take a break or eat lunch. We always need several. They have either a morning or afternoon shift and are easily spotted with their blue T-shirts or aprons with the Festival logo.

At today’s meeting, we also lined up a committee member to see if we can have some strong, young helpers from the Mormon Church to help participants bring in their books and stuff between 8 and 10 a.m. the day of the event and then help them load back up between 4 and 4:30 p.m. after the book fair. They have done this for us for several years.

Karen designed our logo, is a long-time member, works with the caterer, and just walked in when I snapped this photo.

Our former committee member who used to work with the motels to see if they would give discounts to participants, will be working with one of our newer members to steer her toward certain lodgings and train her in what to say and that it is better to set up an appointment rather than over the phone.

There’s a lot of organizing that goes on for months before an event. Years ago, co-founder Connie Bradley came up with a timeline of what to do and when. That is what I use to prepare the agenda before each meeting. And each year, we update it, as we make changes.

With the timeline as a guide and enough committee members to spread the jobs around, we have always had a successful event. We’re still short of committee members that have enough time to commit. But, by using part-time committee members and former committee members as needed, we are making it work.It’ll be great, so, plan to come.

FFOB Info:

*If you are an author or publisher and wish to participate, get your application in before they fill up. www.FlorenceFestivalofBooks.org .

Vickie is our newest member, and we are so pleased that she is our Secretary and will be organizing our strong, young helpers for the day of the event.

*If you wish to volunteer, contact the Florence Events Center at 541-997-1994.

*And if you like to read either printed or eBooks, mark your calendar for Saturday, September 24.

–The eBook panel discussion is from 9 to 10 a.m.

–The book fair is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

–Keynote Speaker William (Bill) Sullivan begins his presentation at 4:15 p.m.––“D.B. Cooper and The Exploding Whale: Folk Heros of the Northwest.”

Come see what’s new in 2022!

Hope to see you there!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

#345–Angels of the road . . .

Sometimes when I feel the world is going to hell in a hand basket, one of my mom’s sayings, it’s nice to remember times when certain situations reaffirmed my faith in humanity. Here are three:

Big Blue

Bam! A blow out! Then the sickening sound of driving on a flat––blubba, blubba––which only lasted a few seconds before Walt found a spot to pull off. It happened on a curve, and he really worked to keep the car under control.

Walt loved his ’62 Chevy Impala 409/409. It was the smoothest car I ever rode in.

It couldn’t have happened at a worse time. It was back in the early 1990s and Walt, my late husband, and I were headed to a car show in Springfield, Oregon. Walt was driving his most prized possession—Big Blue—his ’62 Chevy 409 that he had owned since it was new. Nearly all 409s had been raced to the point of being wrecked or having a blown engine. Big Blue was an original car with its original engine––a rarity.

We were taking the ’62, Chevy, Impala, hardtop convertible, Super Sport, 409 model with its 409 engine to a really big car show on this 4th of July weekend. It was Sunday, and the car show was the next day.

The powerful 409 engine. Walt had taken it all apart and put it back together and was very pleased when no parts were left over.

Almost as soon as Walt shut off the engine, an oncoming car skidded to a stop and two burly guys raced up to us. They had seen the blow-out and wanted to help. They were also drooling over the car.

Walt got out the jack and spare, the young men got to work, and I dashed off to retrieve the hubcap that I had seen fly across the road .

I was looking for one of Big Blue’s special, spinner hubcaps. And I saw it in a muddy ditch guarded by two snarling dogs on the other side of a flimsy wire fence. I carefully made my way into the muck, all the while making nice to the dogs. I retrieved the dripping, muddy mess of a hubcap and left the dogs still snarling.

By the time, I’d found a plastic bag to put it in, the two guys were nearly done. In no time it seemed, we were back on the road. It was absolutely unbelievable how quickly they appeared and got the tire changed. When offered payment for their efforts, they said to pay it forward. Angels of the road, for sure.

On display at the car show where it placed a winner inspite of the blow out.

The spare was not a white-wall like the others, and after washing the hubcap in the motel room, we saw that it was a bit dinged. Since it was Sunday on a holiday weekend, no tire stores were open to replace the tire before the show. We did have time, thank goodness, to clean and detail the car. Even with the mismatched tires and dinged hubcap, Big Blue earned many points and won an award.

By the end of the show, it seemed like everyone stopped by to see the car that survived a blow out and still placed a winner.

Big Blue was becoming well known, which we discovered one day on our way to a previous show. We had stopped for gas at a station visible from the road, when a passing car slammed on its brakes, flipped a U, and pulled up behind us. The driver ran up and asked, “Is that Big Blue?” An article I had written had recently been published in Late Great Chevy magazine.Who knew!

Toyota Flatbed  

Years before Big Blue’s blow out about 1980 when we were still living in San Jose, California, Walt and I were heading to Southern Oregon for a camping trip along the Rogue River.

His Toyota flatbed with side rails was used to transport his bike and those of his biking buddies. He loved this one-of-a-kind truck.

We were in his ’76 Toyota pickup flatbed. It was a one-of-kind truck. Originally, it had been built as part of an RV to support a large camper, but the camper portion had been damaged. So, this little truck with a big engine for the RV had been modified with a custom flatbed with side rails. When Walt saw it on a used-car lot, it was love at first sight, and he bought it. It was perfect for hauling his motorcycles and dirt bike.

On this camping trip, we’d made it on I-5 to between Weed and Shasta. We were at fairly high elevation and beginning the climb over the Siskiyous, when Walt noticed the engine was overheating. We stopped under an overpass. It was summer and quite warm, so the shade was appreciated.

The radiator was steaming away, so Walt kept his distance. This was long before cell phones. So, we waited for a California Highway Patrol officer to come along, and Walt put out a flare.

Arrival day when we moved to Oregon in October 1985. The Toyota is full of stuff and also pulled the motorcycle trailer with the Kawasaki 900. Notice Big Blue exiting the moving van where it traveled with the furniture. It always received special treatment.

After awhile, a young couple in a homemade camper stopped to see if they could help. Enough time had passed that the radiator cap could be safely removed. The young man went back to his camper, rummaged around, and returned with two jugs of water. He and Walt refilled the radiator. Problem solved. Afterwards, we hung out for awhile, sharing some snacks we had with them. Then Walt offered payment, which they gratefully accepted. Looking back, they were probably homeless, living out of their camper. What are the odds that someone would come along and have exactly what we needed? More angels of the road, indeed!

Kawasaki 900

Besides Big Blue and the flatbed, Walt loved his motorcycles. On Sunday afternoons, we would sometimes go for a ride on backroads on his Kawasaki 900. It had a back rest that made it comfy for me to ride along. That was in the mid- ‘80s.

This Kawasaki 900 is similar to the one Walt had.

Walt liked working on his vehicles. And he had bought and installed a new hydraulic suspension system for his Kawasaki. He had taken some short test rides but wanted to take a longer trip to see how it worked. So, we headed to Morgan Hill area to visit our friends––Jay and Shirley––who lived out of town on a couple acres. Jay also had bikes and was Walt’s riding buddy.

We stuck to backroads, and the ride was super smooth; we loved it. Then within a couple miles of our destination, the system failed and there was no more suspension. It became a very rough ride. Walt pulled over and turned off the engine. I got off and went in search of a house with a phone. Nearby, were some posh houses. I knocked on a door, nobody answered. At the third try, someone answered and let me in to call our friends. Jay said he would head out soon, looking for us in his pickup.

Walt was happiest when he was working on one of his vehicles.

When I got back, a couple on a similar bike had stopped to help. We all exchanged bike stories while we waited. This couple wasn’t leaving until help had arrived. Bikers are like that.

Before long, Jay appeared in his big truck. The problem now became how to get the bike into the back of his truck. Jay had no ramp. We looked around. Up the road was a bank that might work. Walt rode the bike up the road to a slope to the top of the bank and rode along to where it almost matched up with the height of the back end of the truck. Then it took all three guys to work the motorcycle into the back of the truck and snug it down. Jay only had one big strap to secure the bike. So, the trip to Jay’s place was very slow going.

Walt and I rode with Jay while the other couple followed along behind, keeping an eye on the Kawasaki. Shirley met us at their home, and had lunch ready for all of us.  

After lunch, the other couple went on their way with our heartfelt thanks, and Jay and Walt added more straps to really secure the bike. Jay drove us back home to San Jose, where Walt had a ramp to unload the Kawasaki. I fixed dinner, and Jay stayed to eat before heading back. It had been quite a day for all of us with more than one angel to the rescue.

Remembering these three experiences really does help reinforce my belief in the basic goodness of people, even when the daily news is so bad!

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on #345–Angels of the road . . .