#219–My big day . . .


Although I had sent out invites to everyone I knew that I thought might be interested in attending the 2nd Saturday Gallery Tour reception at Backstreet Gallery, I didn’t expect a big turnout. Only a couple of people actually said they would be there. Most had somewhere else to be or lived away from Florence. I really didn’t expect the out-of-towners to be there but wanted to share the good news.


2nd Saturday Gallery Tour and reception for featured artists Judy Fleagle and Meredith Draper.

Every 2nd Saturday Backstreet reception honors one or two of the gallery artists, and this was my first time to be so honored. I was sharing the honor with Meredith Draper, the vintage watch artist, who also spins wool into yarn and then weaves it into beautiful scarves that are also on sale at the gallery. She has terrific photos on cards there too. I just have my books there.

Meredith, as the gallery person in charge of window displays, told me she was giving me the whole front window and then helped me get my display together. I had the idea to put the bridge poster of McCullough coastal bridges in a sandwich board configuration facing both out the window and in and flanked by photos I had taken over the years of various McCullough bridges some facing out and some facing in. And my books would be interspersed.

Meredith’s husband, Charles, made two 12- by 18-inch copies of the bridge poster on fabulous paper from the large file I had on a flash drive. Then I took them to Pacific Frameworks to be mounted on foam board and hinged. This project was not cheap, but I’ll be able to use at book fairs in the future.


My window display featuring McCullough bridges.

I may have had the idea for my window display, but Meredith made it happen. After spending three hours going over a decade of digital photos, I found 22 and put them on a flash drive and gave to her. She selected a dozen and ran them off on good photo paper and then mounted them with frames and backing that she ordered for me. I reimbursed her for them. I was only too glad to have her recommend what to order and to frame them. She had years of experience; I had none. I did write up descriptions of each bridge and mounted them on the back of each photo and on the front on the plastic sleeves that protected each photo.

On the first Tuesday of each month display changes are made. And Meredith spent at least two hours getting my display just right. I love what she did, and it will be there for all the world to see until April 3.


Erin Leonard and me at the reception.

For Meredith, the reception was not a big deal because she has been the featured artist many times before—not so me! It was a first. I was thrilled and excited to be so honored. The evening before, my sister called to wish me well on “my big day,” and an out-of-town friend sent a dozen yellow roses.

I was also in charge of the reception, as I am for every other one. I do the ‘odd’ months and someone else does the ‘even’ ones. I did all the ‘check on this and check on that’ responsibilities prior to the event and got there early enough to help in set-up and stayed through take-down. During the event, the ‘even’ reception chairman took over, and I will do the same for her next month when she will be unable to attend her month’s event.

So I was able to mingle and socialize during the whole time. It was not a big crowd but a steady crowd. There were always folks I knew to talk to and some of them came just because I was being featured. So I was very pleased, and I’ve never had the time fly by so fast at a Saturday reception. I even sold a couple books.


Erin Leonard bought one of my bridge books. She’s been threatening to for years!


Jeff Lovejoy played some of my favorites.


The weather was great, at least until the last half hour or so when we were hit with a couple showers, but that was it. Soon it was back to decent weather. And the music was great. Jeff Lovejoy played keyboard and sang, and a lot of the songs just happened to be my favorites.

The food was also great. It was the second time to have Fresh Harvest do the catering, and they outdid themselves. There were four items. One was a mini reuben and another deviled eggs. My favorite was the mini chicken salad on croissant sandwich, and the dessert was puff pastry bites with melted Brie drizzled with a choice of strawberry or raspberry preserves. Doesn’t that simply make you drool! Anyway, the deviled eggs and puff pastry bites ran out before the end of the reception, but I lucked out. I got to take home a few reuben and chicken salad mini sandwiches that were left over. So I was a very happy camper.


Rhiannon Nickerson from Fresh Harvest is the main one responsible for all the wonderful food.

All in all it was a lovely reception, and I had a wonderful time!

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#218–Dream comes true . . .


Ever since 1985 when I moved to my home north of Florence on a ridge and saw the bathroom with a large window with the best view in the house, I’ve wanted a soaking tub.


Lovely setting, but not a good soaking tub. And by the time the window was removed, the upper part had grown cloudy.


There actually was a tub there, but a typical 5-footer that only holds about 9 inches of water where I could get part of me soaking, but never enough of me. And the water would cool off too fast. And the window would steam up; then I couldn’t see the view. If I put on the fan to clear the window, it would cool off the room too much. So I was never a happy camper with that tub.


My neighbor has invited me over to use her hot tub from time to time, and I’ve really enjoyed soaking all of me in it. But I prefer an indoor tub. Hot tubs are kept quite hot; I won’t need to have such a hot soak. And I would prefer not to have to go outside, especially in winter. And after a nice relaxing soak, it’s not fun to have to  dash across the road and then take a shower before returning to a relaxing mode.


So after doing some research, I decided a walk-in tub was best for me. Not only will I be able to soak, but it has water jets. First, it will help the soreness and stiffness in my legs that have been a problem for the past couple of years. Second, I can get into and out of it easily and safely, which I could no longer do with the tub I had. And it has an inline heater to keep the water warm.


Testing it out before it was installed.


But it wouldn’t be easy installing a walk-in tub in my house. It has two problems, getting it to the bathroom and then creating a workable space once it’s there. In the space where it would sit, there is already a tub with tile around it, and the new taller tub will extend into the window area. So this bathroom is going to need remodeling in addition to tub removal to make it work.


The chairlift has been removed and is lying down upstairs. Only the rail remains.


And the best way to get it in the house and upstairs is through the front door and up the inside stairs, not to have to carry a big, bulky, heavy tub all the way around the house and up the back, outside stairs. The back stairs, however, are wider and do not have a chairlift blocking the way. The chairlift on the indoor stairs would have to be removed in order to bring in the tub in the shortest, most efficient way. (The chairlift had been for my late husband, but works for me as a dumb-waiter to carry heavy stuff upstairs.)


Most people would not remodel a bathroom just to have a soaking tub and dismantle, albeit temporarily, a chairlift on the stairway. But they are not me with my desire for a soaking tub. So when the opportunity came along, I wasn’t about to let these hurdles stand in my way. It was also suggested that I might want to consider a new, larger hot water heater. This project was going to cost more than I anticipated, but I could afford it because I had recently come into an inheritance with enough to cover it.


Smaller window and remodeled wall. Still old tub.


The actual project began when I met with the American Standard sales person last December. He measured and told me the hurdles we would have to overcome. Within days, I met with Randall at Siuslaw Glass and Mirror. He came and looked and measured inside and out and ordered a smaller window. In January, he removed the large view window and replaced it with the smaller one. Then he built up the wall and new windowsill. After that, he added new siding outside and painted it with primer. Lastly, he added insulation between the new studs and put green drywall inside and for the new sill.


Then a week later, I had a new, larger hot water heater installed. I was ready. When American Standard called, we set an installation date for later in March. But earlier this week, I received a call to see if I wanted it installed the next day. I said that wouldn’t work, but the next two or three days would. So it was scheduled. I then received a call from Maynard from Boise who would be doing the installation after traveling to Florence from Klamath Falls where he had just finished installing a tub.


Door frame and door were removed.


Tuesday evening, Maynard came by to scope out the job. He decided that he could dismantle the chairlift and put it back together, since he had done it before.


He arrived Wednesday morning. First thing, he removed the door to the bathroom—frame and all. Next the toilet was taken out. Then the chairlift was lifted off its rail. Now for the big job. He started on the removal of the tub made of porcelain/cast iron. He had a powerful saw that was very loud and took a long time, but it made a cut all the way through. But the tub wouldn’t budge. So he had to cut out a section, which made it possible to get his hands inside and gain some leverage. Finally, it started to loosen, and he got the sections out. Boy, did it look strange to see wall studs and insulation and no tub.


Old tub out,


When he went to lunch, he also bought some conduit to run wiring from the fuse box in the garage around the house and to the bathroom. He got it all installed. By then, it was early evening and a helper arrived to help carry in the walk-in tub that had been sitting in front of the garage all day. They got it to the bathroom doorway and it was not going to fit. The drywall needed to be cut about an inch. After that, it slipped right through. The walk-in tub had arrived in the bathroom.


With the chairlift removed, going up the stairs was not difficult.


The helper left, and Maynard reattached the chairlift before he left. So much was accomplished in one day.




Thursday was stormy, so all work was done inside––mostly plumbing. Moving the plumbing around to the opposite wall and attaching hoses and checking for leaks on the tub took a lot of time. Putting on faucets and other stuff on the tub and making sure everything worked took more time as well as moving the tub into place, leveling it, attaching it, and installing the drain so that it could dry overnight.


There was so much to do before it could be put into place.




Friday was cloudy but no rain. So Maynard ran six wires through the conduit and connected them to the fuse box in the garage and at the tub end where wires were sticking out of a wall-plug-size space.


From coils of wire  lying on the upper deck, Maynard ran the wires into and through the conduit.







After the electrical was completed, it was time for the moment of truth. He closed the tub door and ran in water and then tested the quick drain motor. Everything worked with no leaks.




Then he cut sheets of acrylic to form the backsplash and to form the new windowsill. By late Friday, the tub was just about finished. The finishing touches would be added Saturday along with the installation of a new toilet.  A  free new toilet was part of the deal.


Some caulking and adding trim are all that’s left to be done.

So tomorrow night I may just take a soaking bath in my new tub. I can hardly wait.



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#217–The ups and downs of a single day . . .


Yesterday was the day I had been looking forward to for the past couple of years. But I almost blew it. I had a feeling it was going to be a strange day, when I looked out the window in the morning and it was snowing at 41 degrees. Huh!

Yesterday was the day I was going to finish the edit to my latest book The Oregon Coast Guide to the UNEXPECTED—that which is odd, unusual, or quirky! I had my last two locations to write about. I really got going on it last year at this time, but from last May through this January I didn’t work on it at all. But I got back to it this February.

In the morning, I kept responding to important emails and phone calls. I was not getting to my last two write-ups. I was getting frustrated, but I was also hungry. No wonder, it was 1 p.m. So I stopped to eat. I took some food out of the fridge and put on the counter. Then I stepped back—without looking—and stepped on the cat’s tail. He let out a yowl. He hadn’t been there just seconds before, but I know to look and hadn’t.

I tried to shift my weight off his tail and lost my balance in the process. Down I went! What a helpless feeling when you feel yourself falling. I hit on my right rear with a loud thump and then hit my head on the cabinet door under the sink. My head and hip hurt. Neither good!


This is where I fell. I hit one of the cabinet doors under the kitchen sink and damaged it.

I lay there for a moment and thought, “Oh, my God, what’ve I done!” I figured I’d broken something and neither of my phones were on me or within reach. But I didn’t feel any terrible pain. I didn’t move. I didn’t panic. I took stock.

My hip and head were the only parts hurting. I tried moving everything gingerly at first, and it appeared that nothing was broken. Then I carefully sat up. Again I moved everything carefully and stayed put for a couple of minutes. Nothing seemed to be getting worse. So I thought I’d try to get up, but I couldn’t do it from where I was.

So I moved onto my knees—so far, so good. Then I crawled around the counter into the dining room and by using two chairs hoisted myself up. Again, I took an assessment. So far, so good.


I used a chair from the table and one from the counter to hoist myself upright.

I walked to the bathroom and took an Advil. Then I took a couple of squirts of Hemp Oil Spray, which I’ve been using since Christmas and has made it possible for me to walk almost normal after sitting for awhile. Previously, my one leg just wouldn’t work for up to a minute after about an hour or so of sitting or lying down, and I’d just have to stand and wait. When I did start to move, it was a poor imitation of walking—sort of a hobble. Well, with the spray, I was doing much better. After the fall, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to have a couple extra squirts.

My other go-to fixers are the magnets. So I got out my special fabric tape that I can cut to size and cut a chunk. Then I placed the two magnets and attached to my right butt where it hurt.

Then I went back to fixing lunch. I remained shaky until after I’d eaten and turned on the TV and watched a program to get my mind off me. It worked. My head no longer hurt and the hip pain wasn’t there unless I was in the act of sitting or bending over. Once I was seated, I felt okay. I was so lucky. I could’ve broken something, like a hip or knocked myself out or gotten a concussion. It was definitely a wake-up call. I need to keep my phone on me and check out the various LifeAlert systems that are out there and get one. I am 76 and live in a house of stairs and a cat. Duh!

After lunch, I felt good enough to head for the computer. Within three hours, I had cranked out the next to last piece for my book. Then I spent an hour going over and over it. When I felt good about it, I took a break.

When I’m writing, I’m in a zone and don’t pay attention to anything else. So after returning to normal mode, it was a chance to assess myself. When I stood up, I could tell I was stiffer than normal but no worse otherwise. And my head didn’t hurt at all. I headed to the kitchen for a snack and found that my head had broken the cabinet door under the sink. Guess my old head is harder than I thought.


My head knocked loose the inner panel and as it came apart in back, two pieces ripped off. Who knew!

When I came back to the computer to do the last one for the book, I had an email to edit a small piece for Backstreet Gallery. I’m the “official editor” there, so nearly everything is run by me before being posted or sent out. That only took about 40 minutes.

So then I started on the last piece. I reviewed all the notes and research material and planned how to put I together. Then I got started on the last of 27 places that will be in the book. I finished at 8 p.m. I was tired but pleased that I had stuck with it.

Putting these pieces together for the book has had its ups and downs too. I started with 35 and the list changed many times even after I did the research last year. I wrote a piece a week ago about the award-winning Brandy Peak Distillery, located on a back road down by Brookings and the only legal, outdoor, wood-fired still in the United States. I used research material from last summer. When I went online to see if anything had changed, I found a letter to everyone telling about how after 23 years, the business was closing and no longer open to the public. Damn! I had to delete it all! Couldn’t use it now. And another one on the south coast is apparently for sale. Hmm!


This stack holds 27 files of research.

For the next six weeks, I’ll be factchecking, visiting, and gathering photos for each of the 27 places I’ve written about. I want everything to be accurate before I send to my publisher. I hope to send by mid-April and he will edit and when there are no more editing changes to be made and all the photos are acquired, he will lay it out. At that point, I become the editor. After trips back and forth between us until there are no more changes to be made, it will be ready to send to the printer. And I’ll have 1,000 copies printed. I hope to have them in my hands by the end of September for the Florence Festival of Books, but if not, I’ll settle for having them for Christmas sales.

So although I fell and scared myself, I apparently will be okay. (Not so the kitchen cabinet.) And I completed the last two segments for my book, in spite of it. Yay!!!! I always feel good when I complete a writing project. It was definitely a day of ups and downs. And one I will long remember.

Posted in Judy's Book Adventures, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 2 Comments

#216–Life’s little frustrations . . .


I’m usually pretty easy going. Not much pisses me off. But there are a few things that really bother me. And I’ll bet I’m not the only person with these frustrations.

Caps & lids

I have arthritis in my thumbs and I have had for years. The upshot is that it’s no longer fun to open anything. I have a couple of helpful tools intended to pry off lids, and I have knives and hammers that I use when the helpful tools don’t work.

I try to get medications and supplements without childproof caps. I only have one prescription that I take, and I don’t notice the lid at the time of purchase because it’s closed up in a bag. Most children above six don’t have trouble getting those caps off, but I simply can’t press down while turning at the same time any more.


And a bunch of pills went down the drain.

I got so frustrated a few months ago after trying and trying and trying without success that I banged the large container of 180 pills on the faucet. Lo-and-behold, it opened. But the stopper was not pushed down in the sink and several pills went bye-bye down the drain. Enough to stop it up! Really dumb, I know. I pried a few out but not many. I simply left it, and used the other sink in my bathroom for the next couple months. By now, they’ve disintegrated or worked their way through, and I’m back to using my usual sink.




Last week, it was the lid on a container of almond butter that tried my patience. I tried the usual tools and nothing worked. I got out my hammer, which often does the trick. Not this time. So since it was not a glass jar but a plastic container, I got out the serrated butcher knife. I sawed my way around while holding it over a large bowl. It was quite runny, so as soon as I could, I let most of it run out. Then I finished cutting through and got out my trusty tiny spatula and got the rest of it out. I eventually got it all into a container of appropriate size and put it away.


When all else fails, get down the big knife. I never could get the lid off.

Then the cleanup began. Imagine runny peanut butter. It was all over the knife, the two parts of the original container, the bowl, the spatula, and everything I had touched in the process, including my cheek and nose. From start to finish, it took a half hour to get into my almond butter and get it cleaned up. I’d almost forgotten why I got it out in the first place.

Computer upgrades

Once I have a new computer and have figured out how to do that which I need to do, it seems like it’s time to upgrade. And I don’t want to because I’ve just gotten used to it and feel comfortable. Besides, some upgrades don’t make things better, which I would think would be the whole point of an upgrade!


Not another upgrade!

I don’t like the upgraded iPhotos on my Mac. Before, I could take photos and as soon as they were saved, I could insert them in my blog post. Now, it’s as if they are not there. I can go into the file and see them. But when all the photos are there to choose among for inserting, they are not there . . . yet. They will be tomorrow! Now how is that better! And before, when I wanted to insert, I would have certain categories to choose among and then select from just those. Now, I have to look through the thousands of photos I have just to find the one I want. It takes forever. How is that better!

On my email, after a few warnings I get the message that my email will no longer be serviced unless I upgrade. So whether I want to or not, I have to. And, again, not everything is better.

Right now on my computer is a message to “Upgrade to High Sierra: Enjoy the latest technologies and refinements to your favorite apps.” AARRGGHH!

Computer ads

This method of advertising is insidious! Just a few at first. Then gradually more and more ads come at you on the computer. At first, it was along side or above or down below. You could click an ‘x’ and it was gone.

Now I click to go to my blog site and another advertising site pops up behind it full-page video complete with sound.  And when I’m researching something on the web, I’ll click to go to the next section of the website and another page of advertising will appear on top of what I want. Fortunately, a click will remove both of these.

What’s most annoying are the small ads that appear at the bottom, right-hand corner. It’s a video with music and voice until you hit the mute. But the video will continue until a count-down gets from 10-1 to an ‘x,’which you can click, and it will disappear. Be a little slow, and the 10 reappears and the count-down starts all over again. These make me want to bash in my computer! I try never to buy whatever is being advertised!

Email promotions

One of the joys and necessities as a non-fiction writer is to be able to do research online, instead of having to make lots of phone calls and trips to the library. I do still factcheck with phone calls and actual trips (when possible) to the sights written about before publishing, but doing the initial research online saves endless time. However, some of the places I’ve researched, now have me on their mailing lists, and I get endless updates on a regular basis.


The top four arrived in a 40-minute period. Three or four times a day, I delete many emails advertising a new product or promotion.

But the research I do in my personal life generates even more emails. I went online to find out what kind of car I wanted to buy last spring, both new and used. I ended up checking out dealerships throughout the state. I also checked out car insurance companies to see how mine stacked up to the competition. I now get daily emails from dozens of companies. Some were part of my research, but some were not.

Last year, I bought a new TV here in town and did my research in Consumer Reports—not online. But I needed a TV table to set in on. Every company I checked out online is sending me info nearly every day on their latest promotions. And the same is true of catalogs whenever I order anything. And it doesn’t have to be ordered online. It happens even if I order by phone or mail. I also get emails from catalogs I’m never even ordered from.

And I get daily updates from Esmerelda who wants to tell my fortune and the Cardinals Baseball team whom I’ve never followed. I have no clue how I got on either of their lists.

Every day, I have to delete 10 or 12 emails several times a day. Very frustrating!


Endless advertising emails are driving me nuts!

Bad grammar

As an editor, I have a hard time not editing everything I read. But some mistakes bother me more than others. Like when certain words get mixed up with others. “Close but no cigar” as the old saying goes.

So here are the ones that make me grit my teeth:

  • anyways instead of anyway (spoken)
  • your instead of you’re (on signs)
  • whose instead of who’s (written)
  • are instead of our (spoken)
  • its and it’s mixed up (written)
  • there, their, and they’re incorrect (written)

I’ll bet you can relate with the computer upgrades and endless advertising on computers and in emails. If you have solutions, please share. In the meantime, hang in there!

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#215–To Sir with love . . .


This blog post proves the old adage, “Dogs have masters, cats have staff!” Sir Groucho is an indoor cat with a well-trained staff of one—me. I’ve listed several examples that will leave no doubt.


Sir Groucho lives up to his name in this photo.

These blinds have specific settings

You can spot the house. It’s the one with the blinds raised just high enough for Sir Groucho to see out easily from the skinny window by the door, and raised just so on the middle window in the living room. This is where he looks out from a small table.


Sir Groucho is master of all he surveys, as he sits atop the “cat palace.”

Cat palace

This large piece of furniture sits smack dab in front of the sliding glass door in the dining room—blocking the best view in the house. I bought the cat palace to keep Sir Groucho from jumping on the dining room table and kitchen counter. He took right away to the climbing aspects, the scratching post, and sleeping in the box on top. But he ignored the two-story cat house with the hole in the roof for climbing in and out . . . until this past year. Don’t know why, but after five years, he finally discovered it. Of course, the cat palace didn’t keep him off of anything. He simply used it to launch onto the kitchen counter.




The portable cat steps solved Sir Groucho’s problem, but created problems for me.

Portable steps both solve and create problems

I spend a lot of time in my office, which doubles as a guest room. So when I put cat steps in there to make it easier for Sir G to get to the top of the cabinet, it greatly inconvenienced me. He used to jump from the chair I sit at to get to the top of the cabinet, but when he fell a second time, I got out the cat steps. I had them stored in the garage. They had been used for my previous cat, Jetson, when he needed help getting up on the bed at night in his last couple of years. When I put them in my office, Sir G just ran right up them. No problem. Only thing, I could no longer use the futon couch to sit on, and it made it impossible to get to my bookcase without moving them every time. And when I had company, they were in the way big time.


Sir Groucho loves being up high.

Five-story cat tower

Impulse buys are not always the best buys, but this was the exception. When I saw a tall skinny climbing tower for cats at Mini Pet Mart a couple of weeks ago, I came back the next morning with bungee cords. I got most of it in my trunk and anchored it to the trunk lid with the bungees and got it home.







He enjoys sitting at every level.

I got it upstairs with the help of my stair lift and set it up in my office. Then introduced it to Sir Groucho. He took to it cautiously, but by the next day was making his way to the top and back down in record time. He loves it. And the cat steps are back in the garage.








He even enjoys the bottom level.



Water bowl saga

Groucho used to drag his water bowl all over the kitchen splashing water everywhere. Then he received a heavy ceramic bowl with a low center of gravity, which he didn’t move for about a year. Then when he started moving it, I placed it within a rimmed cookie sheet. That worked for a couple of years before he started splashing water all over. Now, he uses one of the sinks in the master bedroom bath, which I fill with fresh water each morning. Good thing I have two sinks. At the moment, it works just fine and no more problems with the other water dish.

Feed me, feed me

While I have three meals a day, Sir G gets fed five times a day. This is down from the 11 times a day I fed him when I first rescued the scrawny, bedraggled creature that trusted no one, I did get it down to twice a day for most of the past eight years. But things changed a few months ago, when I realized that he had become quite skinny. His weight had gone down from a high of 11+ pounds to just under 9. So I started to feed him more often to fatten him up. It has worked. He is at about 10 pounds, which is perfect. He looks good and under his long fur, I can feel he’s put on weight. But I’ve created a monster; every time I walk into the kitchen, he lets out a terrible, loud wail. You’d think I never fed him. And if I try to sleep in, he’ll knock cups into the sink or knock other stuff off the counter, creating quite a racket. This, of course, gets me up. He simply wants to be fed!

Brushing can be dangerous

He loves being brushed and will sit patiently while I brush him and then comb him with a steel comb that used to belong to my Standard Poodle (haven’t told him about that). If I am really fast in flipping him over to do his underside, I brush and comb him there too. Once it sinks in that he’s on his back, he turns into a snarly, growly monster that would rake me with his claws and sink his teeth into me. That happened once, in a totally different situation, when I hadn’t had him too long. I won’t risk it happening again. So I move quickly and keep my face as far away as possible.

Cutting invisible toenails

He turns into that same unfriendly monster when I try to cut his toenails. Since he has long white fur on his feet that hides his toenails, I have trouble just trying to find them—let alone cutting them. So I go to the vet every month and have them trimmed. It’s well worth the cost.

Constant companion

Wherever I’m in the house, he’ll be nearby. He simply doesn’t allow me to become lonely. He also has an opinion about everything, and, of course, I respond. Whenever I sit, he wants on my lap. And he gets his way except at mealtime. If I’m not sitting, he’ll often get in front of me when I’m walking down the hall or busy in the kitchen and flop onto his side. This means “pet me . . . now!”


He loves to peek around the corner at me.

Still playful

After he eats, he likes to play with his toys. He’ll often dash around chasing balls, and then hit one towards me. He loves it when I return it. Which means I run all over the place, and he stays put. He also peeks at me from around a corner. When I chase after him, he dashes away and a game of hide and seek ensues. And every evening he chases the shadow of and the actual rope I have attached to the bedroom closet door when I swing it in his direction. He bats at and hits it with either paw. He will charge it and back off and keeps letting me know how he wants to change up the game. He gets so excited, he’ll snort and gnash his teeth. No matter how tired I may be, we have this playtime. When I see him sitting expectantly in the closet, I never have the heart to say no.


Sir Groucho usually takes up a fair amount of space. Good thing it’s a king-size bed.


It’s a good thing I have a king-size bed because he’ll often take up one side, lying sideways or diagonally. If I wake up and find myself on the edge, I simply get up and walk around to the other side. At least once during the night, he’ll come close and lick my cheek or touch nose to nose, while purring. He likes this together time, and when he’s had enough, the purring stops and he moves down by my feet or to the crook of my legs.

I can’t imagine living without him, but he is becoming older—somewhere between 14 and 17 according to the vet. So I’ll cherish each day.


Posted in Colorful Animals I Have Known, Devil Cat and Other Colorful Animals I Have Known, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 2 Comments

#214–Mighty big waves . . .


More than once during the year, we get mighty big waves. That’s especially true in December and January. These are usually caused by storms out at sea that generate large swells that create larger than normal waves. And sometimes they are colossal.

The absolute best spot on the entire Oregon Coast to see these waves is Shore Acres State Park. Sometimes they splash 100-feet high against the rocky bluff. And, yes, you have to stand back or you will be splashed with seawater and possibly washed out to sea.

Every year a few folks meet this fate—not necessarily at Shore Acres but at various places along the coast. And every year the Oregon State Parks, Oregon Coast magazine, and radio and TV stations do their part in warning people.

I heard on the radio on January 19 that the waves were expected to splash up to 60-feet high in some places. Well, I couldn’t get down to Shore Acres that day or the next. For me, that’s a three-hour round trip. So on Sunday, the swells were still going to be strong with high waves predicted, so I headed for Yachats. That’s a much quicker half-hour drive.


The village of Yachats is in the distance, and this photo is taken from the scenic drive just south of town on a normal day  at low tide with no high wave action.

The waves would not be as high as Shore Acres, but I would be able to sit in my car and watch and take photos. I often stop by the scenic drive just south of town. It’s one of my favorite spots along the coast. I think it’s called Ocean Drive, the name has changed in recent years. It’s a loop drive that connects with Hwy 101 just as you enter Yachats from the south and the other end connects back to 101 just before the bridge across the Yachats River.So I got out my tide table, set for Yaquina Bay, and guesstimated when the high tide would be in Yachats. On this particular day, it would be shortly before 3 p.m. So I planned to arrive about 2:30 p.m.

The weather report for the day was stormy weather with 50 mph winds and big waves. What we actually got was a gentle breeze, no rain, and sun and clouds. What storm? This was nicer than many summer afternoons, when the wind at the beach makes you feel like you’re being sandblasted.


The waves were ferocious and the gulls hunkered down, taking it all in stride.

On the drive between Florence and Yachats, I could see that the waves were big. There were lots of folks at Cooks Chasm at Cape Perpetua as I went by, but only a couple of cars where I was going. I parked so that I could see both north and south. The waves here were really big and the sea frothy all the way out beyond the breakers. Very exciting! The gulls were hunkered down, taking it in stride. Lots of waves sent out huge sprays as they hit the rocks. Not 60-feet high, but still impressive. Of course on those, I was always just a tad too late with my camera.

I timed it right as far as arrival time. As the waves broke closer and closer, it became more and more exciting. This lasted for about a half hour. Then high tide peaked, and the intensity slacked off. I’m always surprised at how quickly waves recede after high tide.


I loved this shot of the lone gull resting on one leg, while the ocean churned all around.

Also, as the waves got larger and larger, more and more cars appeared. By the time I left, not many place were left to park.

On my way home, there were some empty spaces at Cooks Chasm, so I pulled in. Here you have to get out of your car to see anything. So I got out and looked over the wall. I noticed lots of nice wave action, but I had two spots I wanted to check out. From here, I could see Thor’s Well, and it was at its best. This round configuration appears as though the water all the way around is emptying through a hole in the ocean. It’s fascinating and great fun to watch. The other spot is the spouting horn. I walked over to the actual chasm, and it was doing its thing. Clearly high tide had passed; I’d seen it shoot much higher in the past. Still it’s always fun to see a big wave coming in and to watch for the spouting horn to appear.

I headed home very glad that I’d made the effort to enjoy the high waves. After all, this is one of the reasons that living at the coast is so special.

Posted in Adventures with travel, Coastal town profiles where books are marketed, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , ,

#213–Resuming weekly posts . . .


It was so gratifying to have many of you click onto my blog last week when I resumed posting after a six-month pause. My last post had been in August. I had no idea it would be so long before I did another.

My life just got busier than usual this past fall. I put my blog on hold as well as my latest book. The reason was my mom’s health and eventual passing. During August and early September were lots of phone calls to my sister to keep me in the loop, provide her support, and to help in making decisions. Then I flew down mid-September for a few days for a last visit with Mom. Then back to do two bridge tours up and down the coast and the final almost daily stuff involved with the Florence Festival of Books, which was held on September 30. On October 1, my mom died. And on October 3, I had a presentation on bridges at Salishan.

Jean Wilson

Jean Wilson at 100. She lived in her own home until just past her 105th birthday.

On October 7, I drove to California and was gone nearly a month. My brother, sister, and I were able to go through nearly everything in the house and to have the house appraised and put on the market. And we arranged for an estate sale after we were through sorting and removing everything each of us wanted. What took the longest was going through the dozen or so photo albums. We also got everything else taken care of involving lawyers and financial folks.

I came home with my car totally filled with stuff. My dad passed away in 2010 and most of his stuff was still in the house. So I took everything that had to do with his time in the service in Hawaii and aboard the USS Oklahoma just prior to World War II. It was a couple of boxes, including a scrapbook and album. Most of it, I donated to the new Military Museum here in Florence. They have the book I put together of my parents’ remembrances of their most interesting years. For my mom, it was her time in Honolulu before, during, and after Pearl Harbor was bombed. Those were exciting times, and I was born right in the middle of it.


My brother, Harry, and sister, Edna, looking through albums.

I was only home about a month before heading back to California for the holidays. It was our first Christmas without Mom. I was glad that I went, despite the frustrating drive down 101. It was good that we were together. We continued looking through albums.

So now I’m back home and plan to do the blog weekly. Some posts will be about my adventures with books, others about life in general, and occasionally about my health. Speaking of my health, one leg continues to be a problem as well as occasional aches and pains elsewhere. I’m definitely not a fan of growing old—but I like the alternative even less.

As to my books . . .

I fit in two bridge tours through the college the last week of September. Those were great with no rain to worry about. The buses were full of folks anxious to know about the bridges. I had a good time; I got to blather on and on about the bridges to a captive audience and was paid for it. What’s not to like!


I did well at the Florence Festival of Books the last weekend in September, and the event was a big success once again. As the co-founder, co-chair, and secretary, I’m thrilled at the success of this event. This year was the 7th Annual, and the event will continue on and on. So mark your calendar for September 29, 2018.


Jane Kirkpatrick, one of Oregon’s most popular authors, was our keynoter two years ago. This year she signed up for a table. We were thrilled!

Those of us who have participated in the Victorian Belles Holiday Show previously with our books were invited back for the 7th year. Connie Bradley, Karen Nichols, and I were together there once again and joined by Russ Dixon, a wood turner whose work is at Backstreet Gallery and has written his first book. The Holiday Show is a bit of a marathon, since it lasts three days. But we all sold several books. And I always find wonderful Christmas gifts.

I’ve also done a few presentations. The latest one was last week in Eugene at a very nice assisted living facility—Waterford Grand. The small theater could hold about 30 and there were about 15 in attendance. Since they had a great projection system, I just needed to hook up my laptop. I could keep it at the podium and click when I was ready—not have to signal someone. I have 70 photos with this particular program—so lots of clicking. The clicker for my projector has never worked, so I usually rely on a volunteer from the audience. This group was wonderful with great questions, and I sold a few books. All in all a good experience.

All but one of my previous presentations at assisted living facilities were not as planned. (Check out blog post #136–Budgets & old folks require flexibility . . .) And at the last one I did in Junction City, a gentleman coming in just as I was starting tripped over the rug over the cords and everything went black. And I couldn’t get it going again. So I simply passed out my smaller bridge book, The Crossings Guide, and was glad of my first grade teacher’s training. “Will everyone turn to page 9.” And so on. They loved having their very own book with which to follow along.


I  squeezed in a presentation to the Oregon Coast Learning Institute at Salishan on October 3–quite a large group. This presentation went according to plan and the group had marvelous questions. They also bought lots of books!

I continue to be involved in Backstreet Gallery with my books. In March, I’ll be one of two featured artists. So if you get a chance, try to pop in Saturday, March 10, 3 to 5 p.m. at a reception where I’ll be honored.

That brings me to my new book. I did the research last spring for The Oregon Coast Guide to the Unexpected: that which is strange, unusual, or quirky. And I have completed the writing for 13 of the 27 locales that I’ll be covering. Tomorrow, I start on number 14. I hope to get all the writing done before I head to California in April. When I return, I’ll need to fact check and get photos lined up before it goes to the publisher

Even though my mom is gone, the rest of my family is still in California and so are the friends that I enjoy visiting. So I’ll continue to drive there in April and during the holidays, but not in October any more. From now on, it’ll be two trips a year instead of three.

Here’s hoping you all have a wonderful 2018!

Posted in Crossings: McCullough's Coastal Bridges, Judy's Book Adventures, Marketing through book fairs, Marketing without Amazon or a distributor, The Crossings Guide to Oregon's Coastal Spans, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments