And the road goes on forever...

Friday, April 24, 2009

A Sloppy Bar

Oregon’s boating fatality rates consistently outnumber the U.S. average. In fact, it is documented that the Pacific NW coast of California, Oregon, and Washington is more deadly in pure fatality numbers than Alaska’s dreaded Bering Sea. Out of the three states, by far and away, it is Oregon’s coastline which claims the greatest number of victims. Analysis shows that Oregon has some of the worst sea weather, treacherous tides, shoals, rocky shorelines and bar crossings of any waters.
Oregon State Marine Board Boating Accident Statistics

A bar is simply a narrowed opening where a river meets the ocean. Frequent shoaling and shifting deposits of sand can change the character of the bar from day to day. For small, recreational boats in particular, crossing them is always inherently dangerous. I have only crossed this one a few times but it always makes me uneasy to feel the power of the undulating wave rise beneath us and lift our boat to surfboard position in the blink of an eye. “Thrilling” just doesn’t quite seem to convey the entire concept.

On a recent clearing afternoon, I stood at the south jetty watching the interplay of tide, wind, and waves, still showing signs of the recent storms. No boats were out; for obvious reasons the Coast Guard had closed the bar.

Unsafe bar conditions are listed as: wave height 4 feet or greater, or wave height which is greater than the length of the boat divided by 10 plus the freeboard, or surface current of four knots or greater. Watching the tide rip through the narrowed channel and meet with the ocean waves, creating a frothy cauldron, there was no question that it was the last point causing the closure today. The waves came roaring ashore with hardly any time between swells and left me glad to be standing on land rather than riding the boiling point of today’s bar. A mariner’s good rule of thumb: if the sum of the Wind Waves + the Height of the Swell exceeds the Time (between swells), in seconds, STAY HOME. Sounds good to me.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Art and Sunshine in Coos Bay

The sunshine promised a nice gorgeous day, the activities headline promised a fun event at the local Pony Village Mall. Somehow the promise of both didn’t quite meet my expectations. The wind built to an uncomfortable velocity, running me indoors from my task of repotting some plants. The mall was holding a wine tasting, gourmet and flower show event so I struck out to check that out.

The Pony Village Mall is actually a well done, very comfortable space but in dire need of more stores. I guess in terms of “anchors” there is a Ross store which seems to do fairly well and a small Macy’s which constantly amazes me that it stays in business in this town of economic underprivileged. Many others have sadly closed. The crowd was small, but in all fairness, there is also a Home and Improvement show going on this weekend in another part of the community.

As I wandered amidst the representative Oregon wine tasting stations it made me wonder why I would come to something like this by myself. Wine tasting alone is no fun; it takes at least a partner and sometimes even more is better, as evidenced by this group of engaged young women.

Skipping wine, I proceeded to check out the orchid show. These things always amaze me; how can a plant with one flower sell for so much? They were beautiful and colorful:

From there, I caught the art show. My lead photograph was made by a wood carver who specialized in burls. There was quite a bit of watercolor print work, most nondescript, and a few pieces of ceramic and other glassware.

A final look and listen to the young kids’ jazz band, Lab Band; and I was on my way home; just another lonely day in Coos Bay. I miss Marc.

Sometimes You Just Want a Change

Living in a tiny house there is little I can do to affect any sort of change. I am one of those who previously used to like to move furniture about every six weeks into a new configuration and even buy new furniture every several years if the spirit moved. I’d paint walls; change out decorations. Let me tell you that there is very little movement of furniture in an RV, and a park model trailer doesn’t offer much more.

It all started with a roller blind in the bedroom which wouldn’t retract once pulled down. For too many days I had to manually try and rewind it and it finally got so bad it just had to be folded over the valance rod. It got irritating to the point where it had to be removed and of course, it wouldn’t budge. I ended up hack-sawing it through the middle. A trip to Wal-Mart, and I found the perfect panel curtains; tab tops which would fit onto the current wooden dowel I used for the valances I previously made.

Those valances were throughout and looked like this:

The cream color of the hopsack I had sewn them out of had yellowed over the years and although they still went with the d├ęcor, they were no longer the look I was after. After all, this is a beach cottage and that usually means white, white, white!

After installing the bedroom curtains I decided they looked so good I carried them to try on other windows. That required me to splurge and buy curtains for the entire house. Once up, the breezy white was perfect but something was missing. Ah ha…it needed a seaside touch so off I went to the gift store in Charleston for some sea stars. Viola, now I have the perfect seaside retreat!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Is Spring Finally Here?

Spring is trying really hard to come to the Oregon coast. After off and on days of rain, it finally broke this afternoon and allowed a moment’s respite amidst the stunning scenery of forest and large waves. I marveled at peeks of awakening life after winter: vivid blooms and fat robins on their merry way seeking the sounds of earth-bound worms under their feet, paying no heed to my camera.

Streamside ferns danced in the wind as I walked through the picnic area with long abandoned tables that obviously had not seen anyone eating off their moss-laden slabs in quite some time. The deep green grass was calling for the sounds of children’s laughter and footsteps but that will have to wait for warmer days. It’s just enough to see the sun this afternoon.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Bridge to the Future

Our daughter has been married off and it is time to move on and make some decisions about our lives and what comes next. Marc continues to struggle with no responses to his repeated attempts at trying to get interviews and in most cases we don’t even know if the company in question ever really received his resume in the first place. Internet job searches are so impersonal and fruitless.

Years ago I had taken some introductory medical classes thinking I had interest in heading in that direction career-wise. Somehow I just never had the opportunity to make use of those classes but in reviewing careers that seem to be most in demand in most locations, one can’t escape anything smacking of the health field. The problem with much of it is that the training process can be quite extensive, involved and time consuming. Reviewing options, I recently made the determination that if I could get schooled as a Certified Nurse’s Aide it might behoove me to do so. First, the time frame is very short, mere months. Secondly, from the plethora of want ads in any given town crying for CNA’s it appears to be in high demand. Thirdly, it’s a highly mobile career; many states feature reciprocity once a license is held in one state which makes it easy to get re-licensed in a new state. Finally, there is huge opportunity to work up.

I bumped into a barrier right away however in that there is a severe lack of training classes available compared to the demand that exists for them. Typically, a nursing home will offer the class, hoping to gain fiat employees from the graduating class and they limit their classes to only several times a year, ten students at a time. Some will only allow you in as a student if they have already decided to hire you as a future CNA so the classes aren’t open to the general public.

Lady Luck decided to smile on me this week however; I had applied to one offered in Coos Bay and just found out that I will be accepted into it, starting April 27th. School runs for two months; with a month of classroom experience and another month of clinical in the nursing home. Then after a three week hiatus, I will test at the state level for certification so should obtain that sometime in July.

Since we left our RV on our lot in Yuma Marc has no choice but to return for that. He will continue to look for work from there at least until June; with the thought being if he obtains a project in the south, the RV is better off being towed from that shorter distance. Why the south? Because it seems to be the only place where construction projects are still active and the most likelihood exists. So, the Road Warrior left earlier today, on his quest…while his damsel sits in Coos Bay on hers. Time to live apart for awhile; I hope it doesn’t prove too long.

Being in school all day and living alone is not going to lend itself to great blog material so I apologize in advance if the blog goes unusually quiet.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Happy Cat

Looking for some little projects to do while we are spending time in the park model in Coos Bay, we decided our cat needed a better perch. He typically lays on the back of the couch but since a high hedge blocks his entire view, we figured it must be pretty boring for him as cat perch’s go.

Marc went to work using some scrap lumber and fashioned a foundation which would hold a plywood ledge which could be temporarily inset into the window jams. I followed up with some white paint and in no time flat our cat had a new perch.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Rachael & Brandon...March 28, 2009...A Very Sweet Day

The snow clad mountaintops glistened silently, overlooking the Bavarian themed hamlet of Leavenworth, WA: the setting for the marriage of our daughter Rachael and her soon-to-be deployed soldier, Brandon.

Marc and I arrived a day early to meet up with son Neil and his wife Hillary, also attending. After dinner out and a nightcap from Coldstone Creamery we retired to our room in the Obertal Inn, featuring a nice mountain view.

Rachael and Brandon arrived early the next morning so we would have the day together since it was a 4 o’clock ceremony at the Wedding Haus, a quaint home built in 1906 and having served as a wedding venue for the past twenty years.

Once we got everyone else rounded up in late morning, all the guys and Hillary decided to visit the fish hatchery just out of town, while I took Rachael first to pick up her bouquet and then wine-tasting to calm her nerves. Leavenworth, being the tourist town it is, has over ten tasting rooms and three wineries. Sufficiently relaxed, we found out the group was at Ducks and Drakes Pub having some brews and lunch so we joined them for the fun. Shortly thereafter, Rachael’s two bridesmaids also joined the group.

The girls decided to all get ready in the honeymoon suite of Rachael’s hotel while Marc and Brandon used our room. Shortly thereafter, Brandon’s side of the wedding party arrived and we all met one another and then it was time for the ceremony.

An intimate group of thirteen witnessed Rachael becoming Brandon’s wife, and as they said their own vows to one another, she was on the verge of tears. (So was Mom). Brandon was solemn until it was all over and he was told he could kiss his bride.

Cake and champagne followed, with the group mingling and taking photographs for an hour before we ushered the newlyweds out to their waiting carriage, for a horse-drawn ride through Leavenworth’s streets before dropping them at the downtown German restaurant they had picked for their wedding dinner. Congratulations, kids! You make a beautiful and glowing couple; may your future be bright and happy!