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Archive for December, 2013

With some variation, the Christmas staycation week revolved round  Olde Towne Cafe.  Former Ilwaco resident Patt was in town dogsitting at the hydrangea house and was, as she put it, greedy for as many coffee klatsches as she could get before having to return to her new town of Battleground.

day one: Tuesday, 24 December 2013

I felt a slight regret at going to a midday coffee klatsch on a beautiful day when I could have accomplished some gardening.

The garden calls...and I ignore the call...

The garden calls…and I ignore the call…

Sarah Sloane's topiary came through the cold weather with no protection other than the eaves of the house.

Sarah Sloane’s topiary came through the cold weather with no protection other than the eaves of the house.

I do want to get that center garden bed cleaned up...

I do want to get that center garden bed cleaned up…

Smokey intends to enjoy a day in the garden.

Smokey intends to enjoy a day in the garden.

We had one delightful errand to run before coffee time:  picking up a box of Christmas cookies that I had ordered from Pink Poppy Bakery.  Up to Long Beach we drove to Madeline’s new bakery storefront near the Long Beach arch, just west of city hall.

Akari Space and Pink Poppy

Akari Space and Pink Poppy

The bakery is located on the side of the building now known as Akari Space.

pinkpoppy

I love the “Mission Control” sign for Starvation Alley Cranberry Farm.  I’m not sure whether or not it’s Pink Poppy that will be offering coffee and tea when they open with regular hours sometime in early 2014.

pink poppy

Oh, I see boxes of tea right there!

Baker Madeline Dickerson in her kitchen

Baker Madeline Dickerson in her kitchen

Madeline did a community fundraising where many locals loaned money for a “square” (or something like that) for $50 to help her get the oven for her bakery.  I’m proud to say that Tangly Cottage Gardening was one of the investors.  The bakery, whose goods up till now have been by special order or sold at a booth at the Ilwaco Saturday Market from May-September, is so popular that it only took a couple of days to raise the money.

Pink Poppy seating

Pink Poppy seating

Part of the rest of the building is given over to coworking areas (Akari Space).  Since I don’t quite understand what that’s all about, here is an article on the subject provided by the Akari Space Facebook page.

conference rooms

The space is attractive.

the ceiling in one of the rooms

the ceiling in one of the rooms

wall finished with the sort of lath with which one makes trellises

wall finished with the sort of lath with which one makes trellises

Watch for the interior side of our dull mid 70s manufactured home front door to be transformed with lath like that…I hope.

Then…we went to Olde Towne.  Our friends were making noises about too many pictures having been taken of them, so I contented myself with some vintage kitchenware:

at Olde Towne

at Olde Towne

and a wall of art for sale

and a wall of art for sale

At home, I walked into my room just in time to catch this sunset from the back yard of Nora’s house next door.

sunset over Jeff's boathouse

sunset over Jeff’s boathouse

sunset

sunset

from the south end of Nora's yard, Jessie's Christmas star

from the south end of Nora’s yard, across the port parking lot, Jessie’s Christmas star

Pardon me while I add a photo that will be of interest to gardeners:

deer poop in Nora's yard near our deer fence!

deer poop in Nora’s yard near our deer fence!

We opened our presents before dinner.  Not being a morning person, I’ve started a Christmas evening gift ritual in our family.  One member of the family had opened his present two days early, however!   Allan had found, in the middle of the living room floor, this gift tag:

tag, with teeth marks!

tag, with teeth marks!

I recognized the handwriting and knew immediately that one of the cats had gotten into the box of presents under the tree from Montana Mary.  Sure enough, later that evening I had found Calvin playing with this:

catnip Christmas stocking!

catnip Christmas stocking!

Allan had been into a Kinks website and found me a representation of my two favourite songs by them, Waterloo Sunset (a mug) and, of course, Village Green Preservation Society (a tea towel).

kinks

Why o why can’t Ilwaco have a village green on the vacant lot next to the Pharmacy?  If I had the money to buy that lot, I would make it so.

I had been looking forward for several weeks to the Christmas Eve Dickens Dinner at the Depot Restaurant; we ended up sitting at the counter next to the Christmas tree where we were able to watch the bustlings about of the staff of personable servers while we dined.

at the counter right next to the Christmas tree

at the counter right next to the Christmas tree

above the front door: train lights and old luggage

above the front door: train lights and old luggage

Yorkshire pudding!

Yorkshire pudding!

and a dessert of hot buttered rum bread pudding with hard sauce

and a dessert of hot buttered rum bread pudding with hard sauce

We got the last one of that delicious dessert.

On the way home, we got a photo of the decorated porch at Larry and Robert's house, five doors down.

On the way home, we got a photo of the decorated porch at Larry and Robert’s house, five doors down.

day two: Wednesday, 25 December 2013

My paperwhites on the kitchen windowsill bloomed just in time for Christmas.

My paperwhites on the kitchen windowsill bloomed just in time for Christmas.

With no extended family in the area (and in my case, my family of birth is all gone), we went to the afternoon potluck gathering at Olde Towne, for people who wanted a place to gather with friends on Christmas day.

potluck offerings

potluck offerings

Christmas gathering...I made tabouli and Allan made a jello fish mold!

Christmas gathering…I made tabouli and Allan made a jello fish mold!

Luanne came up with a creative solution for some vanilla pudding that had not set up properly.

Luanne came up with a creative solution for some vanilla pudding that had not set up properly.
Patt, Heather of NIVA green, art historian Pat Moss, and baker and masseuse Dianne Duprez.

Patt, Heather of NIVA green,  Pat Moss of Fine Art Investigations, and baker and masseuse Dianne Duprez.

After our potluck we had a white elephant gift exchange, for which people wrap up something inexpensive or re-gifted and you take your chances with what you get.  I was amazed at how well the presents worked out.  Captain Phil from Nahcotta got a gardening book that I donated, and I think he was one of the few gardeners there.  And Sarah, who loves birds, got a birdhouse kit that Allan had originally bought for his dad.

Sarah and her new birdhouse kit

Sarah and her new birdhouse kit

Linda, Chon, Patt, Allan, Sarah

Linda, Chon, Patt, Allan, Sarah

Patt's spouse, Chon, came from Battleground for the day.

Patt’s spouse, Chon, came from their new home in Battleground for the day.

Cat got some sort of cat thing.

Cat got some sort of cat thing.

Allan had enough jello left for "fish head stew".

Allan had enough jello left for “fish head stew”.

day three:  Thursday, 26 December 2013

Again at Olde Towne:  Shortly after bringing us our lunches, Luanne had time to sit and visit with us for a spell.

Donna took this beautiful photo at Olde Towne.

Donna took this beautiful photo at Olde Towne.

and this one, too

and this one, too

day four: Friday, 27 December 2013

Of course, I went down to Olde Towne to have coffee with Patt.   Just to avoid the tedium of repetition, I took a photo of a different Olde Towne bunch.

another regular coffee klatsch including our gardening client Ann (left)

another regular coffee klatsch including our gardening client Ann (left)

After coffee, I stopped by the Antique Gallery, one of two Ilwaco antique shops run by our friends and gardening clients Robert and Larry.  Robert’s domain is the big shop on First Avenue.

Antique Gallery

Antique Gallery

My mission was twofold:  Take some photos for the business’s Facebook page and have a nice long schmooze with Robert.  Both missions accomplished.

platter with three men

an unusual platter with three men

The danger of taking the photos is I usually see something that haunts me with desire to own, and I might find something irresistible.

milk glass?

milk glass?

milkglass

Although I am immune to the charms of “milk glass”, if that is indeed what these white pieces are, they remind me in a sentimental way of one of my favourite writers, Glady Taber.

I found it very hard to resist this tea set.  What saved me is not having room for it.

I found it very hard to resist this tea set. What saved me is not having room for it.

Here is what I found so irresistible that it came right home with me!

Here is what I found so irresistible that it came right home with me!

(Shhh... I'm hoping a certain someone gets me these for my birthday!)

(Shhh… I’m hoping a certain someone gets me these for my birthday!)

day five: Saturday, 28 December 2013

I had the late morning to kick around the house a bit as our coffee klatsch was not until two.  (I’ve switched to my staycation time, the natural rhythm for me of staying up till 3 and sleeping till 11.  I often would rather be a morning person for the sake of daylight but I love the quiet velvety hours of the night too much to sleep through them.)   Out my window around noonish, I saw this deer in Nora’s backyard.

deer

on the outside of our deer fence

She was very interested in watching my cat, Frosty, who had followed me outside.

She was very interested in watching my cat, Frosty, who had followed me outside.

She is small, perhaps one of last year's fawns

She is small, perhaps one of last year’s fawns.

Before I left for coffee, I could see her bedded down for an early afternoon rest.

from my window

from my window

She was relaxed enough to not get up when Frosty and I again went for a closer look.

She was relaxed enough to not get up when Frosty and I again went for a closer look.

Meanwhile, Smokey has found a new cave in the closet where he sleeps every day now.

Meanwhile, Smokey has found a new cave in the closet where he sleeps every day now.

On the way to coffee, I stopped at Larry’s branch of the antique shops to take some more photos.

In Larry's shop, just around the corner from Olde Towne.

In Larry’s shop, just around the corner from Olde Towne.

Coffee klatsch lasted from one pm all the way till about 4:30 as we worked very hard on solving some of the world’s problems.

today's klatsch...Jamie, Donna, Olde Towne owner Luanne, Patt, and Patricia....

today’s klatsch…Jamie, Donna, Olde Towne owner Luanne, Patt, and Patricia….

and our Jenna (Queen La De Da)

and our Jenna (Queen La De Da)

We are all missing the presence of our Judy who has been absent because she and Tom have a busy holiday with lots of family members at their house.

Meanwhile, as I spend my staycation life goofing off, Allan broke down our old rotten work trailer in preparation for a complete rebuild.  The evening that the tailgate fell off because of rotten wood around a bolt and dragged behind us by a bungie cord was a catalyst but this had been one of his planned winter projects all along.

stripped down

stripped down

I suggested that we go to Pelicano Restaurant for dinner with the gift certificate given to us by Mary and Denny of Klipsan Beach Cottages.  Allan was not hard to persuade.

At Pelicano, window seats had a view of the lighted boats outside.

At Pelicano, window seats had a view of the lighted boats outside.

My photo of a delicious shu mai appetizer did not come out well, so I borrowed this from their website.

My photo of a delicious shu mai appetizer did not come out well, so I borrowed this from their website.

my dessert: an extraordinarly delicious apple tartlet, fresh made in 12 minutes, with homemade vanilla ice cream

my dessert: an extraordinarily delicious apple tartlet, fresh made in 12 minutes, with homemade vanilla ice cream

With Pelicano being the only business open in the winter evenings, some of the Christmas boats had  kindly docked outside.

With Pelicano being the only business open in the winter evenings, some of the Christmas boats had kindly docked outside.

We took a little walk along Waterfront Way to enjoy the holiday lights, soon to disappear into the darkness of January.  I do wish that such lights were not just associated with Christmas so that they could see us through the whole winter.

boats

I can see the masts of the two boats above from my south window and will miss their lights next week.

another lighted boat and the Jessie's star

another lighted boat and the Jessie’s star

coffee klatsch intermission:  Sunday, 29 December 2013

On the day when Olde Towne is closed, I accomplished too much sleeping, and a reasonable amount of housecleaning (and the first part of this blog entry).   Allan was far more productive with his trailer project.  This is the first complete rebuild of the trailer since he moved down here and put it to work gardening in January 2005.

old rotten boards removed

old rotten boards removed

new sides going on

new sides going on

The neighbour cat, Onyx, supervising

The neighbour cat, Onyx, supervising

glossy Onyx

glossy Onyx

I'm worried that one of my Rustias has turned brown while the other is still green.

I’m worried that one of my Rustias has turned brown while the other is still green.

the first full flowering of a hellebore this season

the first full flowering of a hellebore this season

day six: Monday, 30 December 2013

By the time I had breakfast, worked on this blog entry a bit more, and emerged into the daylight, Allan was already being productive with his trailer rebuilding project.

more usefulness

more usefulness

I wandered the garden a bit, saw much that needed doing, and did none of it.

wheelbarrows at rest

wheelbarrows at rest

Smokey in a messy border.

Smokey in a messy border.

I haven't been back to the bogsy wood for three weeks!

I haven’t been back to the bogsy wood for three weeks!

We have had no wind fierce enough to take Danger Tree down; getting something done about it is must be addressed this winter.

I had to do something productive so decided the tree must come down, mainly so that I could more easily admire my new garden bookshelf area.

Our lovely tree was in my new garden book corner.

Our lovely tree was in my new garden book corner.

Down came the ornaments,my favourites viewed with appreciation:

the unusually shaped ones...

the unusually shaped ones…

the frosted ones....

the frosted ones….some with words and pictures

the ones with insets...

the ones with insets…

and the ones that most strongly evoke times past.

and the ones that most strongly evoke times past.

(I’m going to add these to my Christmas tree post, so anyone who happens to read this blog straight through will have found this to be repetitive.)

They are packed into Christmas tins and small boxes, inside big boxes, for extra protection.

The Christmas tins sit under the tree during the season for extra decor.

The Christmas tins sit under the tree during the season for extra decor.

Once upon a time at my Grandma’s, such tins were an important part of making and delivering an assortment of cookies to all the neighbours.

I had one last look through a cunning, tiny book that is another favourite ornament:

a small book ornament

a small book ornament

part of the story

part of the story

The book has a strong message about being kind to animals, as  “boys who chased the cats and stoned the birds and were unkind to dumb animals…found rods and empty bags, and stockings filled with bran.  But in those days as now, to the children who were good, and kind, and true, Old Kriss left rattles and tops and presents for all.”   The author also makes a point that the reindeer are well cared for:

inside

Where this little book came from, I do not know.  It appeared among my ornaments as if by magic.

My new book corner, revealed in all its glory, will be the subject of a blog post sometime in January.

garden books all together at last!

garden books all together at last!

In the evening, coffee klatsch (Jamie, Pat Moss of Fine Art Investigations, Heather of NIVA green, Luanne of Olde Towne Café, Patt, me, and Jenna of Queen La De Da’s), convened at El Compadre Restaurant in Long Beach for dinner, making this the official sixth day of Patt’s coffee klatsch holiday gatherings.   I did not want to pester my friends with photos so concentrated just on the ambience:

Heather's coat!

Pat and Heather’s coats!

the bright and cheery restaurant

the bright and cheery restaurant

colourful chairs and tables

colourful chairs and tables

and our party departing

and our party departing from our cozy corner

Luanne says we need to have a coffee klatsch dinner once a month and I couldn’t agree more.

day seven: Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Coffee klatsch was scheduled for one thirty PM on into the afternoon for any of the informal group who could come for Patt’s last official klatsch before she returns to her new home in Battleground.  The quilting group was also there when I arrived.  An attempt to do a stealth photo was rewarded by blurriness that I somewhat redeemed by going sepia.

Peninsula Quilt Guild

Peninsula Quilt Guild

If only we had the know-how to do this for Tom!

If only we had the know-how to do this for Tom!

Our group came and went till the four PM closing time.   To our utter delight, Judy made it out today.  She has been absent because of a busy family Christmas, and she tells me it is ok to reveal that another reason she has been absent is that her Tom is going through chemo again.  You may recall many tears shed one night while bulb sorting awhile back; the reason was that after a year of remission, he has had to re-enter the difficult process of chemo.  We miss his being able to come to klatsch and wish we were techie enough to have him join us through a computer monitor on a traveling frame like Sheldon did on Big Bang Theory!

Jamie, Patt, Donna, MR, and Our Judy

Jamie, Patt, Donna, MR, and Our Judy

We stayed till after hours before bidding adieu to Patt.  Her heart is in Ilwaco but her life is now in an inland town.  While I might encounter her at midmorning breakfast coffee on Thursday,  it will be a poignant farewell instead of a cosy klatsch.

I had had a phone call from our friend and client Jo and I deceived Allan into thinking we needed to go to her Long Beach home in the very late afternoon to pick up some work money.  The real reason is that Jo had made him a quilt!

Allan with Coco at Jo's house

Allan with Coco at Jo’s house

and the glorious quilt

and the glorious quilt

While on the subject of Jo and her glorious quilting skills, here’s the one she made for me a few years ago:

my quilt

my quilt

Jo and Bob were divesting themselves of a garden patterned rug which is going to be just perfect for my garden book corner!

couldn't be better

couldn’t be better

(You might wonder if I accomplished anything other than coffee klatsches during this week….The answer is not much other than the final billings of the year, the Astoria blog entry which took a good long while, the reorganizing of my garden books, and the reading a few books and four months worth of excellent older entries in The Miserable Gardener blog.)

We move on now to a New Year and the last view from our south window of the Christmas tree and star at Jessie’s Ilwaco Fish Company and of the holiday lights at Time Enough Books.

My only New Year's wish on the Jessie's star is for good health for all of my friends.

My only New Year’s wish on the Jessie’s star is for good health for all of my friends.

For Patt:

 Mist in the Valley by Edna St Vincent Millary

These hills, to hurt me more,
That am hurt already enough,—
Having left the sea behind,
Having turned suddenly and left the shore
That I had loved beyond all words, even a song’s words, to
convey,

And built me a house on upland acres,
Sweet with the pinxter, bright and rough
With the rusty blackbird long before the winter’s done,
But smelling never of bayberry hot in the sun,
Nor ever loud with the pounding of the long white breakers,—

These hills, beneath the October moon,
Sit in the valley white with mist
Like islands in a quiet bay,

Jut out from shore into the mist,
Wooded with poplar dark as pine,
Like points of land into a quiet bay.

(Just in the way
The harbour met the bay)

Stricken too sore for tears,
I stand, remembering the Islands and the sea’s lost sound—
Life at its best no longer than the sand-peep’s cry,
And I two years, two years,
Tilling an upland ground!

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Monday, 23 December, 2013

Today was the last day of running around, trying to get things done day before Christmas.  How, without family or children involved, do we create such busy-ness!?  Fortunately, it was ever so enjoyable.

With Olde Towne coffeeshop closed, we got right down to errands and work after a late breakfast.  Yes, work, but I’m not calling it work because we did not charge anyone money for three brief garden checkups.

In Long Beach, the freezing temperatures of a couple of weeks ago had hit the schizostylis in all the planters and parks and turned it to mush.  That is not something I will spend time fixing at this time of year, but a lesson learned is to maybe cut it all back during earlier fall clean up next year.

mushy Schizostylis in planter by Fifth Street Park

mushy Schizostylis in planter by Fifth Street Park

I did particularly want to stop at the planter above to clip off some white stalks that had caught my eye unfavourably last time we drove through town.

more mush in Fifth Street Park

more mush in Fifth Street Park

Above, I am leaving the dead stalks to hide the weedy mess behind the restroom building, an area we can’t easily get at in the summer…and while I was somewhat bothered by the grass blades on the lawn, I was not bothered enough to do anything about it, especially since we had not brought a rake.  It will have to wait till February or for a member of the city crew to notice it.

later!

later!

It does bother me, though...

It does bother me, though…

No, I have turned in my last bill of the season to Long Beach and am on break.  Darn it.  Walk away.

In a planter by the park, the Asphodeline was thwarted in its attempt to bloom.

In a planter by the park, the Asphodeline was thwarted in its attempt to bloom.

We stopped at the Cottage Bakery to get a couple of pastries for a Christmas present.

Cottage Bakery holiday window

Cottage Bakery holiday window, downtown Long Beach

And at Sweet Celebrations to get six cupcakes to add to our present for Klipsan Beach Cottages.

sweetcelebrations

in the tiny little mall just north of The Cottage Bakery

Then we stopped at NIVA green, my favourite shop, for twofold reasons:  To get a few more last minute presents and to deliver the pastry present to owner Heather Ramsay.

a new creation by Heather: a lamp inside an old heater.

a new creation by Heather: a lamp inside an old heater.  “Moth 2 Flame” art lamp

After a pleasant social visit during which local author Sarah Sloane dropped by (very fortuitously, as Allan had a present for her which he was going to leave with Heather!) we drove on to do a little more work in Ocean Park.  I knew the cold weather would have browned off the Gaura lindheimeri ‘Whirling Butterflies’ in the Oman Builders Supply garden, as I well remember how last year my first visit there revealed the shocking sight of some that had looked terrible for who knows how long.

I was so right!

I was so right!

There was far more Gaura than I had remembered and we were hard pressed to stuff all the debris into a big garbage bag.  We did not even have a broom to pick up the mess as we have removed all but a few hand tools from the van.

all cleaned up (sort of)

all cleaned up (sort of)

As for the lavender and the Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’, they can keep their old spikes till February because we ARE on staycation, after all.

On the way south again, we made our Christmas present exchange stop at Klipsan Beach Cottages.

winter deer fence at KBC

winter deer fence at KBC

In the dusk, I just had to cut down the damaged Melianthus major, some Agapanthus and, precariously, some Helichrysum ‘Limelight’ in the center planter…dangerous because I did not want to cut the cord of the decorative lights!

Melianthus...down...

Melianthus…down…

I managed to not cut the light cord in  the planter this time!  (There was a sad story about some summer “bee” lights that got snipped once upon a time.  I wrecked them; Allan tried to fix them to no avail.)

kbc2

KBC garden

some more lights in the KBC garden

the tree on pond island

the tree on pond island

Inside, we had some wine and a short but pleasant visit before the family dinnertime, and the agreement that we had all been so busy during the year that a longer visit was long overdue.

in the living room

in the living room

That's Sarah, or Timmy, with Denny and Mary-Mom.

That’s Sarah, or Timmy, with Denny and Mary-Mom.

and the new dog, Bella (a rescued Great Pyrenees)

and the new dog, Bella (a rescued Great Pyrenees)

and one of the kitties drinking from the sink, so cute.

and one of the kitties drinking from the sink, so cute.

On the way back home, we happily succumbed to a suggestion planted by a photograph on the 42nd Street Café’s Facebook page and stopped there to get the hot cider drink (with “cedar bitters”) and dinner.

the suggestion

the suggestion

the suggestion

and our result

42nd Street Café

42nd Street Café

Intrigued by the idea of pizza made with delicious naan bread, yet mystified by the word “muffaletta”, I queried owner Blaine Walker and learned that muffaletta had something to do with olives.  I love olives, so ordered it and I would happily eat this every day of my life.

pizza made with muffaletta sauce

pizza made with muffaletta sauce

We sat next to an Eric Wiegardt painting and there, in the background above, sat our gardening client Eric and his family.

Starters at the 42nd Street always include some fresh, warm bread and their signature corn relish.  I also had a cup of their  tomato soup, the best version of tomato soup with blue cheese that I’ve ever eaten.  I’d had a craving for it ever since our friend Patricia Moss served it at a birthday party.  It is their most requested recipe.

bread and corn relish

bread and corn relish

This goes way back to the days of the previous owners and to my early days on the Peninsula, when the 42nd Street was a basic roadside diner serving comfort food (pot roast, chicken fried steak, and the like).  Those things are still on the menu along with more “fine dining” options.  I tried a comfort food item which was absolutely delicious on a cold evening:

I could happily eat this every week!

I could happily eat this every week!

Allan got the rockfish special of the evening and was very pleased.

Allan got the rockfish special of the evening and was very pleased.

As we dined, one of the head servers came out with a piece of cake with a lit birthday sparkler fizzing away on top.  I was utterly charmed by the way she paraded the bright little cake around the entire room before presenting it to the birthday girl who was seated at the table closest to the door, and then the whole restaurant sang happy birthday.  It still brings a tear to me eye to remember it as this part of the best of human nature.

For dessert, we each got the tiny mint chocolate sorbet “for those who want just a hint of chocolate and sweetness after their meal”.

exquisite and really not all that tiny

exquisite and really not all that tiny

At the very end of the meal, Blaine brought us a taste of a squash liqueur, a specialty of the Café.  I found it fascinating (especially since it is only in the past few years that I have learned to appreciate dishes like butternut squash ravioli).  Next time, I will be sure to order some.  I think that next time will be soon as I have suddenly fallen in love with dining at the 42nd Street.

At last, all our Christmas errands but one were complete and we could settle into two weeks of staycation before January and (I am sorry to say) potential jury duty for me.  Staycation itself will last until February…and possibly INTO February if I feel I have some jury time to make up for!

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Sunday, 22 December, 2013

We awoke late morning with a mission to go across the river to, as I suggested vaguely, “look at stuff”.

Fog on the 4.1 milebridge to Astoria hides the upper part of the bridge.

Fog on the 4.1 milebridge to Astoria hides the upper part of the bridge.

fog on the north hill of Astoria

fog on the north hill of Astoria

All the way over, Allan wanted to know what I had in mind.  Just “to look at stuff!”

We found the Astoria Christmas indoor market near the Ship Yard (bar?) entrance.

shipyard

Astoria Christmas Market

Astoria Christmas Market

Inside, we recognized vendors from the spring and summertime Astoria Sunday Market and even the Ilwaco Saturday Market.

"Niceland", an Ilwaco Market regular

“Niceland”, an Ilwaco Market regular

basket maker from the summer Sunday market

basket maker from the summer Sunday market

holiday songs on the banjo

holiday songs on the banjo

Allan's holiday market photo

Allan’s holiday market photo

After a few small acquisitions, we set out through the town in quest of lunch.

east end of downtown Astoria

east end of Commercial ondowntown Astoria

It tickled me to see a sign for a late night breakfast:  shades of my olden days at Beth’s Café or The Doghouse in Seattle.

breakfast

 While I had had my mind set on Himani Indian Cuisine, I was open to Allan’s suggestion that we go to the Columbian Café, a famously quirky eatery where he had only eaten once before.

east end of downtown Astoria

east end of downtown Astoria

We passed the Astoria coffee house on the way.  Allan noticed the outdoor knitting!

knitting or crocheting

Note how it matches the building.

fiber art

fiber art

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

I have told that this could be an incident of Yarn Bombing.

I was thrilled to see weeds in a curbside garden on Marine Drive, as it made me feel better about any that might sprout in our Long Beach and Ilwaco public gardens during staycation.

Marine Drive, one block north of commercial, runs east-west.

Marine Drive, one block north of commercial, runs east-west.

I was less thrilled that the Columbian was closing in 15 minutes and had a small waiting line inside.

Columbian Café....too late for us

Columbian Café….too late for us

So back we went to Commercial to dine at Drina Daisy, the Bosnian restaurant where I had dined once, years ago, and where Allan had never dined.

Drina Daisy

Drina Daisy

What an excellent choice.  My faint memories had not included images of all the beautiful plants inside.

drinainsidedrinainside

It would be odd to sit next to strangers with the big plant in between.

Big plant in between two two-tops.

I have a frog piece almost exactly like this and now I have an idea...

I have a frog piece almost exactly like this and now I have an idea…

Allan ordered a coffee to start.  It came with a cookie, so I decided to have mine at the end.  It also arrived with a small palate cleansing glass of a flavoured mineral water.  I had a large glass of the same water and found it so delicious that I could have drunk a pitcher of it.

coffee tray

coffee tray

coffee

While placing his order, Allan made some indication that he might like the starter course of smoked meats and a dipping sauce.   Our server, who I believe is also the owner, strongly suggested he choose one of the main courses instead because it would be more intricately flavourful.  Allan followed his suggestion, and then the server/0wner brought us a sample of the appetizer anyway!

a gift!

a gift!

We each had Sarma, cabbage rolls, with and without beef.

our table by the window

our table by the window

food

two servings of Sarma

table

Allan’s photo

in the planter next to our table

in the planter next to our table

Sarma

The owner told us that the chef, who “prepares the food just the way she prepared it for more than 20 years in her restaurant in Gorazde, Bosnia, near Sarajevo”, is very particular about the freshness and quality of her fruit garnish.

Toward the end of the meal, she emerged from the kitchen and gave us a box of chocolates saying “From my homeland.  Merry Christmas.”
another gift!

another gift!

part of the view from our table

part of the view from our table

from the website:

Why the name, “Drina Daisy”?


The Drina is a river in the south of Bosnia with significant geo-cultural importance. Historically the Drina River has been described as the dividing point between Eastern & Western cultures. We see it not as a point of division, but rather as the point where cultures meet & come together. The bridge depicted in our logo is one of the most widely recognizable structures in Eastern Europe, the bridge over the Neretva River in Mostar located in south central Bosnia.

The Daisy is a simple, yet elegant flower that flourishes both here & in Bosnia. Our Daisy, however, is this & a bit more. Our Daisy is a very special lady, she is “our” Mother. Our Daisy was “transplanted” in this great Northwest from her native Florida by way of Astoria & its Tongue Point Naval Air Station during its peak activities of the 1940s.

Our Drina Daisy experience remains strongly in my mind three days later and I have the urge to return there soon after such a wonderful time.

After lunch, we strolled east through a fine and not too cold mist along Commercial.  The west end of downtown is almost all derelict buildings, many owned by one historic family.  A long wrangle has been going on with the city trying to reclaim them.  Meanwhile, I admire the solution that someone has come up with of putting historic photos in the windows.  I would like to see this or something similar done in the empty storefronts in my town.

Astoria downtown, west end

Astoria downtown, west end

astoria

astoriaastoriaastoriaastoria

astoria

One of the old photos (below) is of the Astoria Plywood Corportation.

millpond

I am pretty sure that that is where Millpond Village is located now, the location of my favourite Astoria gardens.

[I found out several days later that my dear friend Jenna, AKA Queen La De Da, was instrumental in getting this photo project going back when her shop was in downtown Astoria.]

Ambling down Commercial, I marveled at the casual stringing of a few of the extension cords powering the holiday lights along the street.

extension

At a side street, white pillars caught my eye from a block away and we walked one block south to Duane Street.  I had been reading bits of news about the Garden of Surging Waves, a tribute to the Chinese heritage in Astoria, but had not realized that it will be right downtown.  It is “named for the famous Surging Waves Pavilion located in a classical Chinese Garden in Suzhou, China”.

garden in progress

garden in progress

surgingwaves

surgingwaves

waves

pavilion

pavilion with hand carved dragon columns

a stunning wall of words, juxtaposed with the American Legion building,

a stunning wall of words, juxtaposed with the American Legion building.

words

words

It is right next to the hole in the ground where the old Safeway store collapsed into the basement!  Somehow, this is going to be incorporated into the park, I believe.

perhaps a water feature?

perhaps a water feature?

I so look forward to seeing the project completed; it is already breathtaking.

On we walked along Duane.  In the distance, I saw the new-ish falafel lunch truck, a worthy stop if one can get to town before it closes for the day.

The O Falafel lunch truck

The O Falafel lunch wagon

Turning north again to return to commercial, we passed the elegant Elliot Hotel and I was reminded of another hotel lobby that I wanted to revisit.

Elliot Hotel

Elliot Hotel

As I quested for said hotel, we passed the always beautifully decorated windows of the pharmacy on Commercial.

Pharmacy windows

Pharmacy windows

Here’s what I was looking for: the revitalized Commodore Hotel.  I do advise visiting the website and clicking on “story”.  Hint:  Use your cursor to turn the pages of the book.

The Commodore.

The Commodore.

It must have been our friend J9 who first took me in to see the lobby, where one wall is fashioned of artifacts found during the remodeling of the old hotel.

just inside the front door

just inside the front door

wall

Through the door to the right is a coffee shop.

holiday stars

holiday stars

Old suitcases, bottles, papers, books, boxes, and more are incorporated into the wall.

above the fireplace

above the fireplace

I did not photograph the fireplace below because people were sitting and knitting there (perhaps cozies for tree trunks and planters and trash cans!)

wall

wall

detail

I thought that the sign on the wall of artifacts might explain some of the history, so I took a telephoto shot.  Oops….and there I had been nosing all around the lobby when I fit neither of the allowed categories of people!

oooops

I did not realize my faux pas till I looked at the photo at home.

Leaving the hotel, the sight of the Columbia River to the north lured us down to the River Walk.

looking north across Marine Drive; who could resist?

looking north across Marine Drive; who could resist?

We passed a tableau in a window, something our friend Queen La De Da (queen of the mermaids) would like:

seascape

seascape

mermaid

And then we were right at the water’s edge with all sounds muffled by the fog.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

at the foot of the street

at the foot of the street

The thick fog almost obscured the view of cargo ships at anchor.

Allan's photo of ships in the fog

Allan’s photo of ships in the fog

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

We were right next to the Bar Pilot Station.  I am in awe of these people who do one of the most dangerous jobs:  guiding ships over the rough Columbia Bar.  Briefly, and as I understand it, the pilots go out on a boat, and sometimes on a helicopter, to board ships out waiting at sea and skillfully pilot them over the treacherous bar.  The most dangerous part is the transfer from the pilot boat onto the ship.

pilot

headquarters of the brave

headquarters of the brave
Pilot boat

Pilot boat

We ambled west along the river walk, that runs for five miles along the river.  In the two block stretch that we traversed we found much of interest.

The River Walk

The River Walk

interpretive sign

interpretive sign

wild (noxious weed) buddliea

wild (noxious weed) buddliea on the river bank

I noticed the most glorious mural.

I noticed the most glorious mural.

mural3

mural2

mural4

dog

Allan noticed a detail that escaped me: information about the artist!

“Performed & Painted by Joanne Lumpkin Brown Local 729, 503-325-7885 painted June 1 thru July 30th, 2001, sistahpaint@hotmailcom”

muralart

flyer contains the artist’s name and contact information

Just west of the mural were the big windows of the Wet Dog Café, a place much favoured by our friends Tom and Judy.

The Wet Dog

The Wet Dog

The River Walk, looking west from where we turned inland

The River Walk, looking west from where we turned inland

The River Walk

The River Walk

Someone had brought two chairs to join a bench!

Someone had brought two chairs to join a bench!
dinnertime for ducks

dinnertime for ducks

Just up the street, I so wanted to get a photo of these two colourful storefronts and just as I raised the camera, as often happens, up pulled a car to park!

shops

shops

I’m sure the shopkeepers were happy to have another customer.  The shop called Cargo looked so colourful inside and bustled with people.  Only wanting to not drive across the bridge in the dark kept me from going in.

Cargo

Cargo

Just by where we parked, a window displayed a restaurant table set for dinner and a reflection of downtown (and me).

Twas either the Silver Salmon or T Paul's

Twas either the Silver Salmon or T Paul’s

The last photo, from the car, shows raindrops and Fulio’s Restaurant, another wonderful place where we have had many delicious meals, especially the Butternut Squash Ravioli.

Fulio's

Fulio’s

On every staycation, I think I will take the bus to Astoria and just walk around all day, stopping at different coffee shops and browsing here and there.  Perhaps this staycation, seeking blog fodder, I will finally do so.

.

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In early December, we went to Home Depot, a store I usually avoid.  I had heard they had a wide selection of artificial trees.  Yes, we were considering buying an artificial tree.  It would be easier, and we could put the tree up earlier without worrying about it drying out.

Home Depot had one by Martha Stewart that was sort of real looking.  All their trees had tasteful white lights.  None seemed to have room for my vast array of ornaments.  We tried Costco, where a tree was available with lights that could be programmed for white or colours (for $379!)

Martha tree and the Costco tree

Martha tree and the Costco tree

Where would I put the ornaments??

If I were to get an artificial tree, I might like a cool metal one:

(found it on Google images, failed to find the source)

(found it on Google images, failed to find the source)

I would want one that is silver and tree like, not ultra modern:

not like this!

not like this!

PlanetChristmasTree.com has a rather amazing purple metal tree that is tempting:

If it had lower branches, I would probably go for it!

If it had lower branches, I would probably go for it!

I love this tree that I saw in the Toepfer garden in Klipsan Beach:

tree

But it does not have enough room for ornaments.

Perhaps I could find a bare twiggy tree growing where it’s not wanted and cut it down, maybe paint it silver…or not.

maybe the top of a small lichened tree that looked sort of like this.

maybe the top of a small lichened tree that looked sort of like this.

But I found no such cute stray twiggy tree.  I could only find ones that were cone shaped with a lack of room for ornaments.   Two weeks of dithering about it and not enough planning ahead…and the inability to find the just right artificial tree….and almost deciding not to have one at all….led to buying a cut one, as usual.  We chose the Ilwaco High School Band tree sale so that the money would go to a good cause.

tree sign

The music director poses, below, with the last trees out of the considerable number that they had sold.

more on this later!

We were too late for the tall, grand trees and settled for the one in the middle.  In Seattle, I used to have ten foot ceilings and an eight foot tree, so these looked too short to me…but were all that remained after the successful fundraiser.  They sold out completely about an hour later!

This may be why I would like an artificial tree.  If I acquire a tree before the 10th, I tire of it before the 31st.  And yet by the middle of the month, the trees left are Charlie Brownish.

So we took the tallish but not ceiling height, rather narrow tree home, put it up and I decorated it.

tree

And yet it was so very cone shaped that the many ornaments could not tuck into the branches, so they ended up sort of laying along the outsides.  The music department trees were Noble Firs.  I researched, looking for the kind of tree with lots of space between its branches.  Perhaps I want a Spruce, even though Spruce needles are mean and pointy sharp.

A few weather proof ornaments ended up on a tree outside.

outdoor tree

outdoor tree

I had the perfect tree in 2010.  Perhaps a tree expert can tell me if it was a spruce:

This tree we had (from The Planter Box) in 2010 was better suited for my vast array of ornaments.

This tree we had (from The Planter Box) in 2010 was better suited for my vast array of ornaments.

Ah, the sentimentality of Christmas tree ornaments.  In my mid 20s, I had a yard sale purge of ornaments because I thought I was done celebrating Christmas.  Then I spent years recollecting the sort that remind me of my grandma’s and parents’ ornaments that I had sold.  Now I cannot tell which are the original and which replacements, but I can tell you the story of some of them.

a metal tree that I bought in a Mexican folk art shop on the hill climb at Seattle's Pike Place Market.

a metal tree that I bought in a Mexican folk art shop on the hill climb at Seattle’s Pike Place Market.

a heart given to me by my 80s sweetheart, Bryan

a heart given to me by my 80s sweetheart, Bryan

This battered old peach was an ornament that hung on my Grandma's tree when she was a child.

This battered old peach was an ornament that hung on my Grandma’s tree when she was a child.

My star lights won't fit inside my little cottage ornaments, but with the right kind of light, they glow.

My star lights won’t fit inside my little cottage ornaments, but with the right kind of light, their windows glow.

glass ornaments of unusual shapes are my favourites

glass ornaments of unusual shapes are my favourites

also frosted ones, and ones with patterns

also frosted ones, and ones with patterns

and best of all, ones with words

and best of all, ones with words

When horror writer Wilum Pugmire was my housemate in Seattle, he always hung skeletons on the tree, so this is for him.

When horror writer Wilum Pugmire was my housemate in Seattle, he always hung skeletons on the tree, so this is for him.

I've had this garland with glass bells since I was a child.

I’ve had this garland with glass bells since I was a child.

Back in Seattle, I used to go to the gym a lot...before i worked full time as a gardener, which is about all the physical work I can handle.

Back in Seattle, I used to go to the gym a lot…before i worked full time as a gardener, which is about all the physical work I can handle.

I especially love glass ornaments with insets.

I especially love glass ornaments with insets.

insets

the more is more school of decorating

the more is more school of decorating

netting

"pears" ornament from the Pike Place market

“pears” ornament from the Pike Place market

horse

horse

two

whale

whale

Frosty! Inset! Multi colours!!

Frosty! Inset! Multi colours!!

Am not that big on Santa; I have this style because my grandma did.

Am not that big on Santa; I have this style because my grandma did.

many garlands

many garlands

frosty patterns like the ones my mother had

frosty pattern ornaments used to be my mom’s

Am pretty sure my best friend Mary sent me this postcard...I love it so much I always put it on the tree.

I love this postcard so much I always put it on the tree.

The note says “Dear Santa, the cheese is for you”.  I thought for a long time that my friend Montana Mary sent it to me, until it dawned on me that it is blank so I must have bought it for myself and created a sentimental memory.  She agrees with me it is just the sort of thing she WOULD have sent me because our tastes are similar.

There was lots of room to tuck ornaments inside the 2010 tree, giving it depth.

There was lots of room to tuck ornaments inside the 2010 tree, giving it depth.

I like bird ornaments that can stay out on houseplants year round.

I like bird ornaments that can stay out on houseplants year round.

Remember these ornaments that would twirl over the hot bulb type Christmas tree lights?

Remember these ornaments that would twirl over the hot bulb type Christmas tree lights?

I used to lie on the floor and watch them twirl, because my parents hung unbreakable ornaments at the base of the tree.  (Now I do the same, because of cats.)

silver sleeping kitty

silver sleeping kitty

2010: the perfect height to touch the ceiling

2010: the perfect height to touch the ceiling

2011, also tall and with well spaced branches

2011, also tall and with well spaced branches

2012, tree in the window

2012, tree in the window

The trees of 2010, 11, and 12 were especially treasured because I had never found room for a Christmas tree in my little cottage behind the boatyard.

Other than the lack of space between branches, another difference in our 2013 tree is that it is narrow rather than wide at the base.  This has proved to be rather a blessing because I’ve been reorganizing my garden book collection onto a shelf right next to it.  (That’s another story!)

I feel good about having contributed to the fundraiser for the high school band’s school trip and have grown fond of our funny, too-short, narrow, conical 2013 tree with its a funny bent over top.  I’m glad I didn’t skip having a tree altogether.  I think I would have felt sad not to have it.

pictures of my grandma and her sister gaze upon it...

pictures of my grandma and her sister gaze upon it…

little tree by e.e. cummings

little tree
little silent Christmas tree
you are so little
you are more like a flower
who found you in the green forest
and were you very sorry to come away?
see          i will comfort you
because you smell so sweetly
i will kiss your cool bark
and hug you safe and tight
just as your mother would,
only don’t be afraid
look          the spangles
that sleep all the year in a dark box
dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,
the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,
put up your little arms
and i’ll give them all to you to hold
every finger shall have its ring
and there won’t be a single place dark or unhappy
then when you’re quite dressed
you’ll stand in the window for everyone to see
and how they’ll stare!
oh but you’ll be very proud
and my little sister and i will take hands
and looking up at our beautiful tree
we’ll dance and sing
“Noel Noel”

The Shortest Day
By Susan Cooper

And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us – listen!
All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!

you are more like a flower
who found you in the green forest
and were you very sorry to come away?
see          i will comfort you
because you smell so sweetly
i will kiss your cool bark
and hug you safe and tight
just as your mother would,
only don’t be afraid
look          the spangles
that sleep all the year in a dark box
dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,
the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,
put up your little arms
and i’ll give them all to you to hold
every finger shall have its ring
and there won’t be a single place dark or unhappy
then when you’re quite dressed
you’ll stand in the window for everyone to see
and how they’ll stare!
oh but you’ll be very proud
and my little sister and i will take hands
and looking up at our beautiful tree
we’ll dance and sing
“Noel Noel”
the unusually shaped ornaments

the unusually shaped ornaments

the frosted ones....

the frosted ones….some with words and pictures

the ones with insets...

the ones with insets…

and the ones that most strongly evoke times past.

and the ones that most strongly evoke times past.

 

 

 

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The Staycation routine of Olde Towne, reading, restaurants and a bit of gardening got interrupted by another holiday event somewhat of my own making.

Thursday, 19 December and Friday, 20 December 2013

Let me throw in three photos taken in downtown Long Beach on Thursday evening that did not make it into the Holiday Village post.

decorations at Marsh's Free Museum in Long Beach

decorations at Marsh’s Free Museum in Long Beach

Long Beach looking south from midtown

Long Beach looking south from midtown

and looking north in the sparkling holiday town

and looking north in the sparkling holiday town

Friday, I made the usual restful round of the post office and Olde Towne Café.

cute decoration at the Ilwaco Post Office

cute decoration at the Ilwaco Post Office

At Olde Towne, Chester showed me a beautiful birdwatching calendar by Doug Swanson that is for sale at Rusty’s Coin Shop (First Place Mall in Long Beach).  (The red bird is a Summer Tanager.)

three of twelve impressive bird photos

three of twelve impressive bird photos

Plenty of other folk were enjoying the good ambience of Olde Towne, as well, including a gathering including (left) Doug “In Doug We Trust” Knutzen of Box K Auto Repair and (right) Wendy from beachdog.com (expert local website design business) and her family.

oldetowne

Errands followed after Olde Towne.  At Long Beach City Hall, while picking up the last cheque of the year, it was pointed out to me that the cyclamen were blooming in Peggy’s memorial garden (Peggy’s Park).  For more about Peggy, see her garden on the 2013 Music in the Gardens tour.

Peggy planted these.

Peggy planted these.

We acquired more lights on our errands run at the Dennis Company store in Long Beach where, in small town fashion, we encountered Tom and Judy as well as Donna M.   Our colour choice for lights was driven by the fact that the store was out of long strings of multi coloured lights, and white would be too glaring.  Purple will work for Halloween also (a big night here in Ilwaco).  Allan could not wrap the posts because of the wire mesh trellising right behind them; I think the way he attached the lights looks just fine.

lights

Allan attached the new lighting in the pouring rain, at dusk!

Friday, 21 December 2013

I woke early (for staycation) to pleasant weather, with a feeling of mixed excitement about the cash mob event of the day mixed with frustration that I had indoor plans for the entire day during unexpected good gardening weather.

looking south...I want to clean up that center bed!

looking south…I want to clean up that center bed!

From my window, to the southwest, I could see the entrance to the Saturday Christmas Market.

next door to Time Enough Books, telephoto (the way my mind sees it)

The flag marks the market space, next door to Time Enough Books, telephoto (like my mind sees it)

The Peninsula Cash Mob, created by me and Michelle Z of The Breakers resort, encourages people to go to a certain shop at a pre-arranged time and spend between five and twenty dollars to boost the business.  Usually there is a café associated with the event.  For December, it had been Michelle’s brilliant idea to mob the Saturday Christmas Market where a few vendors from the much larger Ilwaco Saturday Market set up a festive Saturday sale during the month of December.

me, in purple, entering the market with another local

me, in purple, entering the market with another local

I became anxious immediately because the market, at 11 AM, did not look mobbed at all, so I went next door to Time Enough Books.  I always worry that a cash mob will turn out to be a flop with hardly anyone showing up.

Time Enough Books

Time Enough Books

After a few minutes, I dared to go back into the marketplace…and it was mobbed!

inside the Christmas market

inside the Christmas market

wreaths with sand dollars

wreaths with sand dollars

Rebecca, who used to operate The Canoe Room café at the port, shows off her purchases.

Rebecca, who used to operate The Canoe Room café at the port, shows off her purchases.
Charlene and Debbie, gardeners and readers of this blog, in holiday outfits

Charlene and Debbie, gardeners and readers of this blog, in holiday outfits

and buying treats from Pink Poppy Bakery

and buying treats from Pink Poppy Bakery

Allan looks over some glass colours; the glass folks are going to cut pieces for us to replace the ugly orange plastic in our very 70s exterior doors.

Allan looks over some glass colours; the Suzie Q’s Magical Glass folks are going to cut pieces for us to replace the ugly orange plastic in our very 70s exterior doors.

Jenna (Queen LaDeDa) supporting the market.  I saw her at every booth.

Jenna (Queen LaDeDa) supporting the market. I saw her at every booth.

Jenna fell in love with a purple bag.  If I used bags of this type, I would have been some tough competition for it.

a really gorgeous bag!

a really gorgeous purple bag!

Our friend J9 is a big fan of the same style of bag and she and a friend each bought one at the market last weekend.  This vendor is at the summer market every Saturday.

I bought one of these adorable pillows two weeks ago as a present.

I bought one of these adorable pillows two weeks ago as a present.

(It’s for someone who doesn’t read this blog, so I can safely post it here!)

Harmony Soapworks from Oysterville

Harmony Soapworks

Harmony Soapworks sells their soap online as well as at local shops, and they have regular shipments of soap going to Japan!

Our gardening client Ann

Our gardening client Ann

and another client, Cheri

and another client, Cheri

Harmony Soapworks

Harmony Soapworks

Our friend Ed Strange of Strange Landscaping was at the Pink Poppy Bakery booth, and I swear he posed for this photo.

Ed!

Madeline and Ed!

Pink Poppy Bakery is run by the daughter of Pink Poppy Farm, my favourite garden on both local garden tours this past summer.  Because she had run out of her amazing lemon sugar cookies, I ordered a box to be picked up on Christmas eve at her new storefront by the Long Beach arch.

Pink Poppy Madeline and Kathy (sister of Time Enough Books' Karla) pose for the definitive cash mob shot

Pink Poppy Madeline and Kathy (sister of Time Enough Books’ Karla) pose for the definitive cash mob shot

The camera loves Madeline and her Amelie-style flair

The camera loves Madeline and her Amelie-style flair

I was smitten with a new vendor.  They’d  been at the last outdoor Saturday Market in September and plan to be there twice a month next year.

coastalwood

Everything they had to offer appealed to me!

wreaths

wreaths

signs

signs

beachy words

beachy words

beachy scrabble racks

beachy scrabble racks

At the other end of the room, Knotty and Knautical was down to just three glass bricks, having sold one to Debbie or Charlene (I think).

the Knotty and Knautical booth, also a regular at the outdoor market

the Knotty and Knautical booth, also a regular at the outdoor market

the market, pretty well mobbed

the market, pretty well mobbed

I stepped out to stroll down Waterfront Way to Jenna’s shop and had a moment when I very much wanted to be home cleaning the dead foliage off of my river of Geranium ‘Rozanne’.  I find it hard to staycation without gardening; rainy days are a blessing to me.

the view from right outside the market

the view from right outside the market

The good weather enabled a cute picture of “Queen La De Da” outside her shop.

our Jenna

our Jenna

inside the Queen La De Da's shop

inside the Queen La De Da’s shop…

Who did we find but Debbie and Charlene!

Who did we find but Debbie and Charlene!

Jenna asked if I had told her spouse, Don, about the purple purse, so I popped back down to Don’s  art gallery and informed him.  He had me watch the shop while he went on a Christmas gift mission.  (I’m 100% sure they are too busy to read this blog, so don’t tell!)

Don ALWAYS has treats for customers in his gallery.

Don almost ALWAYS has treats for customers in his gallery.

At two, Allan and I went to OleBob’s Café and met Michelle Z for lunch.  And who did we find there?

The very festive Charlene and Debbie!

The very festive Charlene and Debbie!  Those gals know how to do a cash mob!

They had their Christmas present exchange, which included the wonderful new book of collected gardening columns by the late and much missed Dulcy Mahar.  Michelle, meanwhile, gifted me with a gorgeous green and purple scarf, the knitting of which benefits the South Pacific County Humane Society.  (Bonnie Carey of “bjs pet projects” makes the scarf, and donates her profits to the no-kill shelter.)  So I thought it was appropriate to have Mary model it later on in the day.

How did Michelle know these are "my" colours? ;-)

How did Michelle know these are “my” colours? 😉

And here I am with hardly any presents even wrapped!

We visited at OleBob’s for well over an hour…

OleBob's holiday decor, and boats

OleBob’s holiday decor, and boats

…and were only a few minutes late to coffee klatch at Olde Towne!  Patt had come back to town and of course we had to gather with the group of her special Olde Towne friends.  Rain began to fall and I could finally stop thinking about gardening!

oldetowne

olde towne

At Olde Towne, Jenna, MR and Donna, Tom and Judy, and Patt

Allan ran errands instead of joining us, his main mission being to donate some extra things to the Reach Out Thrift Store in Long Beach.  Our friend Cat (very much an Olde Towne regular) was working there and asked Allan to say hi for her to the gang since she couldn’t be there with us.

Cat with a little thrift store tree she was about to decorate.

Cat with a little thrift store tree she was about to decorate.

I have to close with a little Olde Towne item that I found so charming (but was able to resist buying).

the idyllic childhood Christmas I didn't quite have!

the idyllic childhood Christmas I didn’t quite have!

Now it haunts me.  If it is still there on Tuesday, it might come home with me!

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Thursday, 19 December 2013

High on our agenda for holiday rituals is the annual visit to the Hungry Harbor Grille and their holiday village.

last week's early peek

last week’s early peek

After dark on Thursday, Allan and I went (as we often do) to Mexican dinner tonight there (every Thursday in winter) and spend a good long while perusing every little building.  I think Allan heard there are 117 now!  Many of them are painted with the names of local businesses.

list

Queen La De Da's ship

Queen La De Da’s ship

Jessie's Ilwaco Fish Co

Jessie’s Ilwaco Fish Co

Jessie's

Jessie’s

Neptune Theatre

Neptune Theatre (Long Beach)

The real Chen's, in Long Beach, is not this pretty but the food is good.

The real Chen’s, in Long Beach, is not this pretty but the food is good.

Sid's Groceries (Seaview)

Sid’s Grocery (Seaview)

Dairy-Aire delivered milk up till they retired about a year ago.

Dairy-Aire delivered milk up till they retired about a year ago.

Dennis Company (Long Beach)

Dennis Company (Long Beach)

Cottage Bakery (Long Beach)

Cottage Bakery (Long Beach)

Hungry Harbor

Hungry Harbor…and a knitting shop that could be Tapestry Rose.

knit

knit

It could be the Purly Shell knitting shop, which is soon to open (in real life) at the Port of Ilwaco.

our local newspaper

Our local newspaper is represented by a newstand.

one of our several realtors

one of our several realtors

beloved local artist Don Nisbett (Ilwaco)

beloved local artist Don Nisbett (Ilwaco)

Oman and Son Hardware (Long Beach)

Oman and Son Hardware (Long Beach)

I can mentally lose myself in the streets of the village, and sometimes at this time of year when falling asleep I will imagine living there.

Let’s just walk around, starting at the harbour.  The only time I like walking in snow is when it is all fluffy and non slippery, having just fallen.  Clearly, the village is gently coated in just that kind of snow.

light

lighthouse

santa

I hear the barking of the seals.

I hear the barking of the seals.

I do love walking along the harbour and looking at the boats.

Whale Watching Tour Boat

Whale Watching Tour Boat

whale

Harbor Ferry

Harbor Ferry

ferry

ferry

ferry

Bessie

Bessie

boat

the haunted shipwreck

the haunted shipwreck

another lighthouse

another lighthouse

How did we get a haunted shipwreck with so many lighthouses?

How did we get a haunted shipwreck with so many lighthouses?

Whale Point Lighthouse B&B...

Whale Point Lighthouse B&B…

...and guests

…and guests

North Head Lighthouse (Ilwaco)

North Head Lighthouse (Ilwaco)

Bay Boatworks

Bay Boat Works

The wind is cold down on the harbour so let’s walk up into town.

overview

train

Uh oh, our little scenic train has derailed (and no one can reach in far enough to right it!)

The Clamshell Railroad depot

The Clamshell Railroad depot

The Clamshell Railroad seems to be living up to its reputation as the “Irregular, Ramblin’ and Never-get-there Railroad”.

also near the train station, The Nottingham Hotel is convenient for stranded travelers.

also near the train station, The Nottingham Hotel is convenient for stranded travelers.

Fortunately, we can cover the whole village on foot.  There are very few cars on the peaceful streets.  As you will see, the village has many places we could stop for dinner.

The Lobster Hut Restaurant

The Lobster Hut Restaurant

Whale Tale Pub and Inn

Whale Tale Pub and Inn

pub

pub

Whale Tale

specials

whales

Brew House

Brew House

The Hungry Harbor

The Hungry Harbor, of course!

tables

Plogmann's Tavern

Plogmann’s Tavern

I always wonder if someone misspelled “Ploughman’s” Tavern.  This is my village watering hole.  It is idyllically like The Rover’s Return on Coronation Street.

We can see our friends in there waiting for us.

We can see our friends in there waiting for us.

friends

Earlier, we would have begun our day at the coffee shop (Olde Towne, of course).

My daily hangout.

My daily hangout.

I like a coffee shop that is open in evening...Have not had one of those since leaving Seattle.

I like a coffee shop that is open in evening…Have not had one of those since leaving Seattle.

nearby, a purveyor of fine chocolates

nearby, a purveyor of fine chocolates

I wonder if Allan decided to open a garage?

I wonder if Allan decided to open a garage?

In my dream village, I have a bookish niece to treat with books and toys.

In my dream village, I have a bookish niece to treat with books and toys.

toys

toys

You would think that I’d choose one of the houses, with grounds, for my dream place to live in the village.  Instead, the place that calls to me the most every year is the top floor of this apartment building:

my village home

my village home; I have the top floor and the roof garden!

side view of my building

side view of my building

coffee

The coffee shop is conveniently located near my apartment building, which reminds me of The Gables on Capitol Hill in Seattle, where I had a beautiful old one bedroom apartment in 1975.  (The best apartment was the old ballroom, with skylights, on the fourth floor._

on the second floor, with many big windows running all the way down the center courtyard...

on the second floor, with many big windows running all the way down the center courtyard…

I left here only because I wanted a house with a garden.

I left here only because I wanted to try out communal living.  Bad decision!

But…back to the village.  I wouldn’t say no to this house (below); its stonework reminds me of the previous Tangly Cottage when we lived over behind the boatyard.

my other house in the village!

my other house in the village!

or perhaps this one!

or perhaps this one!

I'd have this in my garden.

I’d have this in my garden.

my greenhouse

my greenhouse

Here's the village version of The Basket Case Nursery.

Here’s the village version of The Basket Case Greenhouse (but open year round)

flowers

I still would have the same job taking care of parks and gardens.

I still would have the same job taking care of parks and gardens.

Windmill Park

Windmill Park

This would be one of my gardening jobs.

This would be one of my gardening jobs.

Let’s stroll through the covered bridges and explore more of the village streets.

Let's walk through the covered bridge and look at some more houses.

bridges

bridge

still walking along...

still walking along…

The Post Office

The Post Office

housecats

two

Towers abound in the village.

I love the house with the towers, but even in the dreamy village it is out of my price range.

I love the house with the towers, but even in the dreamy village it is out of my price range.

a pretty house with a tower

a pretty house with a tower

Business are mixed with residences throughout most of the village.

pets

I can guarantee the pet shop sells pet supplies, not animals.

I can guarantee the pet shop sells pet supplies, not animals.

Precious Pet Store

Precious Pet Store

The owner of the pet store lives by the shop with her dog(s) and cat(s).

Precious Pet Store residence window.

the school

the school

The Fire Station

The Fire Station

firestation

The Bank

The Bank

Christmas tree sales

Christmas tree sales

garbage

Village Square Library

Village Square Library

a grand house

a grand house

house

apartment building

apartment building

Oh….look…THIS is my perfect little dream house, luring me to move out of the roof garden apartment that I have loved up until now; the gate is even open to welcome us.

my house

my house

nearby, a treehouse

nearby, a treehouse

We’re at the base of the hill now.

hill

It’s lovely to have a farm within walking distance.

barn

pigs

At the top of one hill is the dairy where Dairy-Aire gets milk and cheese.

dairy

farm

coop

Chicken Coop Produce

information about hiking trails up in the hills

information about hiking trails up in the hills

winter camping, fly fishing tours

winter camping, fly fishing tours

and a Sauna to warm up in?

and a Sauna to warm up in?

Church Hill

Church Hill

and the Creator

and the Creator

I’ve emerged from the dream of walking through the village, but I can return there in my mind anytime I want to, and, happily, I live in a village that is in many ways similar.  

Most of the village buildings are from Department 56.

The Hungry Harbor Grille is in downtown Long Beach, Washington at 313 Pacific Highway South.  Every year, the holiday village appears right after Thanksgiving weekend.

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Sunday, 15 December 2013

With our friend J9 (Jeannine) in town, she and I attended the annual ritual of Tuba Christmas at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum.

a standing room only crowd

a standing room only crowd

Tubas playing Christmas carols

Tubas playing Christmas carols

tubastubas

tree

and of course, treats for intermission!  They had JUST enough.

and of course, treats for intermission! They had JUST enough.

Here is a link to a youtube video of a performance by the Astoria Tuba Quartet.

Afterward, J9 came to our house for a little while.  She may be the only person who stops by to see our tree, so here it is.

tree

J9 moved away over a year ago and now wants so very much to find a place to move back here.  She may have found a trailer to rent while she seeks work and a better living space, and if she does, expect to hear more of her in the blog! 😉

We took her to dinner at the Depot Restaurant.

depot

The Depot Christmas tree, decorated with food themed ornaments

The Depot Christmas tree, decorated with food themed ornaments

Monday, 16 December 2013

My planned day of perhaps doing some housecleaning changed when I saw that the weather had turned out mild and conducive to a bit of gardening.  First I walked five doors down to Larry and Robert’s garden on the next block and cut back some  frost damaged foliage.  It did not count as WORK because I did not charge them for it.

the garden boat, devoid of annuals now

the garden boat, devoid of annuals now

some pineapple sage got chopped.

some pineapple sage got chopped.

The white house in the background, formerly the home of Nora Saunder’s mother, has been sold, had two dormers added, and is now a cheerful blue.

I remain envious of the beauty berry that I planted in this garden...

I remain envious of the beauty berry that I planted in this garden…

tidied up

tidied up

On my short walk home the bright glow of one of Judy and Tom’s Japanese maples caught my eye.

maple aglow

maple aglow

At home, our front garden had been hit hard by last week’s frost.  I plowed in to cut anything back that did not look archetectural.

front garden before

front garden before

and after

and after

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

I get so much more done on staycation on the days when my favourite coffee shop is closed!   Of course, I spent awhile at Olde Towne on Tuesday and decided to acquire one of their vintage Santas as a companion for the one I got last year.

a Santa selection at Olde Towne

a Santa selection at Olde Towne

Christmas tins at Olde Towne

Christmas tins at Olde Towne

and fishing floats

and fishing floats

We took two of the lighted houses that Allan inherited from his mom’s collection down to add to the holiday decor.

little houses next to the Olde Towne tree

little houses next to the Olde Towne table  tree

On the way home, a photo of a pretty house, one of my favourites in town, a block south on Lake, with holiday greenery.

the twin dormer house

the twin dormer house

At home, my cute Santa couple represents to me how glad I am that gay marriage became legal in this state a year ago.

Mr. and Mr. Santa

Mr. and Mr. Santa

Wednesday, 18 December, 2013

The big event of the day was trying out the delicious new steak and blue cheese salad at Olde Towne….along with some good company.

scrumptious

scrumptious

Allan joined me as we had coffee with Jamie B. and New Judy, our new neighbour three doors down.  Jamie requested no photo of herself for a change, so feast your eyes on the salad instead.

At dusk, I took a puddle and sunset walk.   The puddles were the best part of the sunset, as the clouds that promised drama mostly just turned dark grey.

puddle

puddle2

puddle

sunset

pots

Next:  a visit to the Holiday Christmas Village at the Hungry Harbor Grille

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