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COVID Diaries: Day 65

It’s the weekend!  I have a four-day weekend this weekend, due to my work schedule, which is awesome, but the staying at home part is not as awesome.  Originally, in life-before-COVID days, I was supposed to be taking a long weekend trip, but I guess you folks will just have to put up with me instead.

Other than that, I’ll just be reading, writing, cleaning, organizing, doing yard work and hopefully doing a hike or two.  I have been watching the Channel Islands National Park, Georgia Aquarium and Monterey Bay Aquarium live cams when I need a little relaxation.  I swear when this is all over, I’m going to travel every weekend for weeks and never get tired of it!

I put on jeans this week. The kind of denim that isn’t super-stretchy even, and I was so excited that they aren’t tight!  I have felt like I’ve been doing pretty well staying in shape, because I have been taking long walks most evenings and being really good about getting my steps in, but jeans were a test.  I passed!  It was literally the first time I have worn real pants since March 23.

Yesterday after work my friend Shelley and I went for a long walk on a different route than we normally take.  We checked out the old Georgia Pacific property in town; it is finally being redeveloped.  The Port purchased the property in January 2005, and some of GP’s operations there continued until 2007, when GP finally closed for good.  Political infighting left the redevelopment languishing for years after that.  In the last three years or so, it has finally gotten moving, with old buildings being demolished, and roads, a bike pump track and a park being built.  One old building has been redeveloped, but is currently closed due to COVID.  In the years to come, additional mixed use buildings will be built and old GP buildings converted, a combination of light industrial, retail and residential space.  I love that they have saved some of the old industrial features of the site, and they stand proudly as architectural salvage and a reminder of the history of our city.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and remember those who fought and died for our freedoms.

 

COVID Diaries: Day 49

I have one more day of my work-from-home workweek and then I get a three day weekend!  To stay home.  But at least the weather is going to be sunny and warm!  I’m planning to work on cleaning the winter gunk off the deck in the mornings and lay on the deck with a book and some wine in the afternoon!

This evening I ventured out for the periodic shopping trip for me and mom.  Mom wanted peach yogurts, but they only had three so I got her a strawberry one.  Apparently strawberry yogurt is terrible so I am now the proud owner of one strawberry yogurt.  The caramel praline ice cream will work in place of regular caramel though…  There’s always something she wants that sends me up and down the aisle at least 5 times searching; this time it was a package of fun-sized candies.  She is probably cursing me right now as she reads this – giving away her secrets!

My neighbor dug up and divided their Shasta Daisies and put some clumps out by the mailboxes, so I lugged a big clump home, divided it up into sections and planted it in a few spots around the yard.  It was hard work digging holes, but maybe I’ll have some new flowers at the end of the summer!  This is me having a rest after all the digging…

And finally, it’s about time to do another evening walk up to the University to catch the sunset.  It’s been a bit…  This photo is from last week, but the sky was so pretty I had to share!

I hope you are all having a good week!  What’s keeping you sane?

 

COVID Diaries, Day 20

I’ve been sad the last couple of days.  Sad about all the people dying, sad that I can’t see my friends and my family, sad about all the people who have lost their jobs, sad about all the people who just don’t get it, and even sad about all the people who think it’s their job in life to publicly shame the people who just don’t get it.  As if that’s going to make them get it.

I’m sad about my horse too.  I’m mostly ok, but then I think about a memory, and lose it all over again.  30 years is a long, long time…

Yesterday after my very first remote, video-conference public Board meeting (surprise! no one from the public “attended”), I still had time to walk up to the now empty university campus to watch the sunset.  The perks of working from home.  Hearing the birds chirp, and the seagulls squawking and seeing the sun going down over the bay, as it does every night, made me feel better.

Astoria Weekend: A Fort and a Column

Day 3, Sunday, May 26, 2019

Sunday morning of our Astoria trip, we found a little breakfast place called Arnie’s Cafe, just south of Astoria (in Warrenton) and stopped for a bite. The food was delicious, and there was no wait! We must have gotten there at just the right time though because it got busy after we were seated!

After breakfast we headed to Fort Stevens State Park to explore. I have blogged about Fort Stevens before, home of the Peter Iredale shipwreck, and a historic battery dating from before World War I. We checked out the beach first, and of course explored the shipwreck! The kids had fun writing their names in the sand and looking for shells and interesting rocks. Unfortunately, this stretch of the beach, on the open ocean, isn’t known for having many intact shells.

The kids took off their shoes and waded in the water, despite the fact that it was a pretty cool day! That’s par for the course in the Pacific Northwest I suppose, having your hood up and tightly cinched around your head, while wading barefoot in the ocean. It was windy!

After we had our fill of the beach, and needed to warm up, we headed over to the battery. The Fort Stevens battery was built between 1863 and 1864, an earthwork battery meant to stand as a sentry to the threat of invasion by sea, and to stand guard over the mouth of the Columbia River.  They were more concerned about invasion by the British though, as there were long standing territorial disputes in the region. The fort was expanded and the current concrete batteries were constructed in 1897.

Thankfully, invasions never came, but the battery was shelled by a Japanese submarine on June 21, 1942.  The shells fell harmlessly away from the fort, and no damage was done; the Fort Commander did not allow his men to even return fire.  The battery was decommissioned after World War II and the guns were removed by 1947; it became part of Fort Stevens State Park. It is open to the public, and young and the young at heart can climb up on its walls and explore its rooms and stairways.

And if you are like me, you can step off a step, suddenly discover you stepped wrong, twist your ankle, fall down, and skin your knee. Yep. Not often, but sometimes, I’m a real klutz. Oops. It really hurt! Of course, it also hurt my pride as the flash of pain left me unable to get up for a few minutes, and the nice man down below watched me hit the concrete and called up to ask if I was ok? Yeah… I will need to sit here on my butt in the middle of the path for a minute though! I was undeterred in my adventure seeking, and not willing to give up on our day, so I soon powered through the pain and walked it off. OUCH!

Our next stop for the day was the Astoria Column. Built in 1926 as a way to showcase the history of the area and its discovery in 1811, the column is 125 feet tall and has an internal staircase rising 164 steps to the top. You can buy balsa wood airplanes for $1 at the Visitor’s Center; the kids enjoyed climbing to the top of the tower to launch them off the top. What fun and the views are spectacular!

That evening, we endured a long wait at Buoy Beer Company, but the kids were entertained by the plexiglass in the floor that allowed them to watch a huge male sea lion lounging on the dock below. The adults were entertained by the ability to enjoy a beer anywhere in the brewery, so we could relax with a cold one while we waited for a table. The food was amazing – I loved my fish and chips! The Champagne IPA was delicious!

Our last adventure of the day was to catch the sun lowering in the sky, and to drive over the Astoria-Megler Bridge into Washington. The bridge was opened in 1966 and is the longest continuous truss bridge in North America at 4.067 miles long. The sunset was beautiful, and a nice end to a great long weekend, as the next morning it was time to head home and back to real life.  What a wonderful getaway!

Arizona Getaway 2019: More of Tombstone

Day 2, Friday, March 15, 2019

After we checked out the OK Corral site, we still had plenty to see in Tombstone!  Mom and I had lunch at a BBQ place just off one of the main streets; Puny John’s BBQ – it was delicious!

After lunch we visited the Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park to get some of the less sensationalized history of Tombstone. The Cochise County Courthouse was built in 1882, after Cochise County became its own county and needed a county seat.  The Courthouse is filled with some fantastic exhibits, a few on the Earps and the OK Corral, but mostly on the other parts of Tombstone history.

There is old mining equipment, and an antique bar from one of the local saloons from the Old West era.  There is furniture and other artifacts from late 19th century homes to show what life would have been like in Tombstone at the time.  You can see the historic courtroom too!  And then, there is the gallows.  Four men were hanged at the gallows behind the courthouse; this one is a reconstruction.  It is interesting to see it as it looked then though.

We checked out the newspaper printing office where the Tombstone Epitaph as published back in the 1880s.  It was free to visit and you could wander around and look at the old printing press that was used to run the paper.  We picked up our souvenir copy of the paper from the day in 1881 when the story of the OK Corral ran; it was complimentary with our ticket to the corral from earlier.

We also sampled some wine from the Silver Strike Winery, which sadly was a big disappointment and the service was incredibly slow.  Oh well, I guess not everything can be wonderful in life.  I did keep my souvenir tasting glass, and pull it out from time to time when I just want a small glass of wine or juice.

Silver Strike Winery

A short distance down the street we visited the Bird Cage Theatre.  The Bird Cage was opened in 1881 and was intended to be a theatre for the for the “respectable women” of Tombstone, featuring appropriate entertainment and free ladies’ nights.  Unfortunately for the respectable women of Tombstone, “appropriate” doesn’t sell so the owners soon began featuring more bawdy entertainment and gambling for the miners.

The Bird Cage was the home of the longest poker game in history.  It cost $1,000 to buy in, and then it ran for eight years, going 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Players included Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, among other famous gamblers of the time.  It is estimated that $10 million dollars changed hands over those eight years, with the Bird Cage getting 10% of the winnings.  Not bad, considering that would have been on top of the drinks that the men bought!

We didn’t take the tour of the Bird Cage, but instead checked out the front room and exhibits.  Perhaps one day!

We enjoyed our day in Tombstone and were both tired by the time we wandered back to the car for the drive back to Tucson.  That evening we found a Pho restaurant for dinner and mom got to try this delicious noodle soup for the first time.  What a good day!

Pho!

Recovering

My body is beat up and sore, I can’t walk fast, getting up and down and in and out of bed hurts.  I am tired. All that is to be expected and it means I’m recovering.  I’m being well taken care of.

I saw this gorgeous sunset Sunday evening. It was spectacular.  It felt like a sign that all would be fine.

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Merry Christmas everyone! May the day bring peace and joy to all of you.