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Archive for March, 2015

Monday, 23 March 2015

Ah, it looked like a good rainy, windy day to be inside and work on my Sylvia Beach Hotel full immersion blog.  BUT I got the message that there was a new availability list to peruse at the Basket Case Greenhouse.  The order needed to go out by Tuesday, so we went to have a look at what we might like the nursery to carry.

Basket Case Greenhouse

Basket Case Greenhouse

perusing the list (Allan's photo); picked out some agastaches, penstemons, and much more.

perusing the list (Allan’s photo); picked out some agastaches, penstemons, and much more.

our good friends Shadow and Walter (Allan's photo)

our good friends Shadow and Walter (Allan’s photo)

Nancy came forward to visit from the back greenhouse, where she was planting the hanging baskets for which she is famous.  She couldn’t visit long, and called for the dogs to return with her.

Walter is moving very slowly as he'd like to stay and visit for longer.

Walter is moving very slowly as he’d like to stay and visit for longer.

Fred and Allan in the greenhouse

Fred and Allan in the greenhouse

Fred shows off a new deep red annual geranium.

Fred shows off a new deep red annual geranium.  He’s teasing me because I don’t use them much.  I like the deep clear colour of that one.

the perennials house (Allan's photo)

the perennials house (Allan’s photo)

santolinas in three colours, one of my favourite perennials

santolinas in three colours, one of my favourite perennials

Fred showed me the tag for a new plant.  Our friend Ed Strange had it last year and said it bloomed prolifically and long.

plant

a cross between Echinacea and Rudbeckia; the plants are small and not available for sale yet.

A monsoon begins.  I make it into the van; Allan is stuck in a greenhouse.

A monsoon begins. I make it into the van; Allan is stuck in a greenhouse. 

Allan's photo of me escaping the torrent in the van.

Allan’s photo of me escaping the torrent in the van.

Fred has plenty to do in the shelter of the greenhouses.  (Allan's photo)

Fred has plenty to do in the shelter of the greenhouses. (Allan’s photo)

Ah, the rest of the day was spent at home catching up on this blog by writing about one of my favourite topics, the Sylvia Beach Hotel room journals!

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Sunshine called us out to a mission to plant sweet peas in Long Beach, and maybe Anchorage and Boreas, too.

Long Beach

Long Beach city works has a nice pile of Soil Energy for us to use on areas that need fluffing.

tarped to keep weeds out

tarped to keep weeds out

buckets for fluffing up Fifth Street Park

buckets for fluffing up Fifth Street Park

I weeded and applied mulch and Dr Earth fertilizer all along where I planted the sweet peas in Fifth Street Park, and applied much sluggo at the end in hopes of better results than last year.  Allan took photos:

before

before

mulched garden

mulched garden (after)

after

after planting sweet peas and mulching

While I worked on the sweet pea project, he weeded here (before)

While I worked on the sweet pea project, he weeded here (before)

after

after

At my request, he did some pruning (before)

At my request, he did some pruning (before)

after

after (As far as I am concerned, that whole mugo pine should disappear.)

What the heck am I doing here? Oh yeah, pruning some cotoneaster in the little park by Lewis and Clark square.

What the heck am I doing here? Oh yeah, pruning some cotoneaster in the little park by Lewis and Clark square to reveal some lost astilbes and primroses.

Anchorage Cottages

We had time to plant sweet peas and do some weeding and deadheading at The Anchorage Cottages.

shady bed with trilliums and pulmonaria

shady bed with trilliums and pulmonaria

sweet tiny narcissi in a windowbox.  This new Olympus pocket camera does not seem to focus well on flowers.

sweet tiny narcissi in a windowbox. This new Olympus pocket camera does not seem to focus well on flowers.

the center courtyard

the center courtyard; there’s a new pelican statue 2/3 of the way down the garden

courtyard planter

courtyard planter

more courtyard narcissi.  A innkeeper from years ago planted that heather...not me!

more courtyard narcissi. A innkeeper from years ago planted that heather…not me!

more courtyard narcissi

more courtyard narcissi; narcissi are my favourite flower

tulips by the office

tulips by the office

Tulip 'Green Star'

Tulip ‘Green Star’

The parrot tulips that usually bloom into early May are awfully early this year.

The parrot tulips that usually bloom into early May are awfully early this year.

planted sweet peas by the chimney, where Tulip 'Gavota' still looks fine except for the focus problem.

planted sweet peas by the chimney, where Tulip ‘Gavota’ still looks fine except for the focus problem.

Manager Beth tells me that Dennis Co again had the little lemon cypress trees like this one that she got.  (When we go, right after work, they are all out again!)

Manager Beth tells me that Dennis Co again had the little lemon cypress trees like this one that she got. (When we go, right after work, they are all out again!)

After the Anchorage, we were too low in energy to start planting sweet peas at the Boreas Inn, so we dumped a few more buckets of mulch in Long Beach’s Fifth Street Park and went home before dusk.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Even though we had a fine rainy day, we had to leave the house to meet with our nice accountant.

Her office has two lovely tulip bouquets.

Her office has two lovely tulip bouquets.

a red one

a red one

and a yellow one

and a yellow one

Her sweet dog Helen lay under the desk while we concentrate on our tax numbers.  The meeting went well and we left all the figures in her capable hands and took a drive past the boatyard and along the portside gardens just to reconnoiter on the way home.  I was pleased that all the big horsetail had not sprouted yet in the boatyard garden.  Allan fixed a “Please don’t pick the flowers” sign, and we discussed (him) making new ones. I noticed a lot of narcissi deadheads along Howerton Way to be dealt with tomorrow if the weather allows.

rain and a drooping sign at the boatyard

rain and a drooping sign at the boatyard

And then…home to blog like fury, so that I will be finally caught up and can spend the next day of computer time catching up on Mr. Tootlepedal and that new puppy on the Miserable Gardener blog.

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Sunday, March 22 2015

It was a rainy, snoozy day.

It was a rainy, snoozy day.

In considerable rain, we drove down to Cape Disappointment State Park to have lunch at serious pizza with Susie and Bill of the Boreas Inn and Kathleen.

sp

pizza

Bill and Susie and me

Bill and Susie and me and Jim, owner of Serious Pizza

Co-owner and chef Chi loads a pizza into the oven.

Co-owner and chef Chi loads a pizza into the oven.

Chef Chi.  You can tell by the sparkling kitchen that Jim and Chi are perfectionists.

Chef Chi. You can tell by the sparkling kitchen that Jim and Chi are perfectionists.

We are all very thrilled that Jim and Chi will soon open a sandwich shop and eventually add pizza at their second location by Ilwaco’s stoplight: Buoy 10, opening in May!

Kathleen and I.  I am probably talking about the room journals at the Sylvia Beach Hotel.

Kathleen and I. I am probably talking about the room journals at the Sylvia Beach Hotel.

The salad with delicate, ripe pears was one of the best I've ever had.

The salad with delicate, ripe pears was one of the best I’ve ever had.

one side: goat cheese, the other: grapes, walnuts and bleu cheese

one side: goat cheese, tomatoes, olives, the other: grapes, walnuts and bleu cheese

You can also get a small pizza; this was Kathleen's choice.

You can also get a small pizza; this was Kathleen’s choice.

The Serious Pizzas are exceptionally good down to the last bite of crust.

The Serious Pizzas are exceptionally good down to the last bite of crust. (Allan’s photo)

This birthday treat from Bill and Susie was finally the official end of the celebrations of my 60th birthday.

By the time we got home, the sun had come out. Much as I longed to continue blogging about my Sylvia Beach Hotel obsession, I had to do something in the garden after a week’s neglect.  I’d acquired some lily bulbs at Costco on the way to Newport, so I planted about 20 here and there.

a wallflower and more in the front garden

a wallflower and more in the front garden

tulips and cardoon...a favourite vignette right now

tulips and cardoon…a favourite vignette right now

parrot tulips by the fence in a deer protective cage

parrot tulips by the fence in a deer protective cage

a corner shockingly full of "stinkmint" which I did not feel like weeding (and did not)

a corner shockingly full of “stinkmint” which I did not feel like weeding (and did not)

tulips

tulips

Ribes speciosum

Ribes speciosum

still strongly in bloom

still strongly in bloom

an attractive bergenia in Allan's garden.  (He could take those old leaves off.)

an attractive bergenia in Allan’s garden. (He probably does not know he could take those old leaves off.)

Onyx, the neighbours' cat

Onyx, the neighbours’ cat

in the back garden, ornamental rhubarb

in the back garden, ornamental rhubarb

There’s another birthday present in the garden: a colourful new birdbath from Allan.  I realize as I write this after dark that I don’t yet have a photo of it.

the back garden

the back garden

Mary keeping an eye on me.

Mary keeping an eye on me.

more tulip/cardoon admiration

more tulip/cardoon admiration

Allan's photo in his garden

Allan’s photo in his garden

fence tops that Allan tacked on top of the fence posts in the afternoon

fence tops that Allan tacked on top of the fence posts in the afternoon

Next door, Alicia’s dad was down for a week of clamming.  We chatted and he showed me, on his phone, photos of his impressive limit of good sized clams.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

As soon as a slight wind came up, I used it as an excuse to go in and do more reliving about the Sylvia Beach Hotel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Saturday, 21 March 2015 

It was Montana Mary’s 60th birthday, four days after mine.  When I turned 50, she sent me a card in which she wrote something like”When we were younger, it was very important that you were four days older than me, but now it’s important that I’m five days younger than you.”

 

I made her a Harry Potter birthday picture from the JK Rowling room at the Sylvia Beach Hotel.

I made her a Harry Potter birthday picture from the JK Rowling room at the Sylvia Beach Hotel.

at home

First, I took a quick look around the front garden to see what had come into bloom.

The white tulips are new.

The white tulips are new.

white bleeding heart

white bleeding heart

tulips and cardoon

tulips and cardoon

white Dutch iris...so early!... and a serious amount of the weed I call "stinkmint"

white Dutch iris…so early!… and a serious amount of the weed I call “stinkmint”

foreground: Tulip sylvestris just going over

foreground: Tulip sylvestris just going over

fern in Allan's garden and the lantern his mother made

fern in Allan’s garden and the lantern his mother made

Peninsula Quilt Guild Show

Our workday began with glorious weather and a visit to the annual quilt show at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum.  Here are just a few of the more gardeny quilts:

Poppies by Beth Riesen

Poppies by Beth Riesen

Detail with beading

Detail with beading

Foxes for Lucy by Beth Riesen

Foxes for Lucy by Beth Riesen

Still Life II: Flowers and Lemons by Wendy Romaggi

Still Life II: Flowers and Lemons by Wendy Romaggi

Still Life: Flowers and Cherries by Wendi Romaggi

Still Life: Flowers and Cherries by Wendi Romaggi

Looking Through the Window by Wendy Romaggi

Looking Through the Window by Wendy Romaggi

Manzanita by Joanie Chapel

Manzanita by Joanie Chapel

This Red Hens quilt by  Merri Johnson reminds me of Garden Tour Nancy's flock.

This Red Hens quilt by Merri Johnson reminds me of Garden Tour Nancy’s flock.

Harvest Pumpkins by Joanie Chapel

Harvest Pumpkins by Joanie Chapel

Charlie Brown's Pumpkin Patch by Becky Olson-Evans

Charlie Brown’s Pumpkin Patch by Becky Olson-Evans

Palette Explosion

Palette Explosion

None the Same by Nellie Beasley

None the Same by Nellie Beasley

You can see more photos of the quilts on my Ilwaco blog, here.  I should have rousted out to see it during the previous day’s rainy weather.  Had not been able to tear myself away from processing photos of my trip.

On our way out of town, we saw a change at the stoplight corner.  We’d have to get a proper photo later as we were in a rush to get working.

something has changed

something has changed

Long Beach

After the quilt show, we finally headed to Long Beach to deadhead narcissi in the planters and street tree gardens and parks.  I suppose there had been some dead flowers during the week.  I had not even thought about work during my time at the hotel (which means I had not figured out any solution to our overwork problem).  I’d decided that it was not going to ruin anyone’s beach vacation to see some weeds or dead flowers.  If the vacationer was not a gardener, they would not notice.  If they were a gardener, they could feel sympathetic and/or happy with themselves for being a superior gardener.

in Long Beach: Tulip 'Lilac Wonder' by the police station

in Long Beach: Tulip ‘Lilac Wonder’ by the police station

Allan and I split up and I walked the southern blocks while Allan did the northern.  My head was still not in work mode after seven glorious days off.  Before my trip, I had been in high spring clean up gear and all systems were go, go, go.  I needed to rev myself back up somehow.  Some things in Long Beach would have to wait because we needed to do another job today, as well.

The carousel is now in operation for the tourist season.

The carousel is now in operation for the tourist season.

the tulip bed in Fifth Street Park needed deadheading and I ignored it!

the tulip bed in Fifth Street Park needed deadheading and I ignored it!

I noticed that the new Thai place was open.

I noticed that the new Thai place was open.

a parrot tulip bud

a parrot tulip bud

the sort of horrible deadheads that people had had to look at while I was one

the sort of horrible deadheads that people had had to look at while I was one

stunning red tulip still going strong outside the smoke shop

stunning red tulip still going strong outside the smoke shop

back up the other side of street, the primroses by the new Malai Thai

back up the other side of street, the primroses by the new Malai Thai

backlit tulips

backlit tulips

asphodel...got it at Joy Creek some years ago, would love to get more; it's a great doer!

asphodel…got it at Joy Creek some years ago, would love to get more; it’s a great doer!

If I ever see it for sale, I will buy lots and lots and lots.

If I ever see it for sale, I will buy lots and lots and lots.

Allan's photo: narcissi and heuchera by the Elks Lodge

Allan’s photo: narcissi and heuchera by the Elks Lodge

Allan's photo: dwarf rhododendron by Funland

Allan’s photo: dwarf rhododendron by Funland

Andersen’s RV Park

After our quick one hour walk around in Long Beach, we went to Andersen’s on the mission of planting sweet peas along the picket fence.  I sorted a few out from each of the many colours that I have this year.

sweetpeas

sweet peas sorted for Andersen’s, some of each

The sweet pea names:  Princess El1zabeth, Beaujolais, Blue Streamers, Beaujalais, Painted Lady, Saltwater Taffy Swirls, Chocolate Streamers, Velvet Elegance, Black Knight, Janet Scott, Watermelon, Countess Cadogan, Lipstick, Lord Nelson, Old Spice Mix, Zinfandel, Miss Willmott, Flora Norton, Jewels of Albion, Queen of Hearts, Pastel Sunset, America, Early Multiflora Blend, Chiffon Elegance, Blue Reflection Mix, High Scent Mix.

Last year, I had bad results with sweet peas.  This year, we did an extensive clearing of all other plants along the picket fence, added dairy manure, and applied liberal amounts of sluggo after planting, plus I have enough seeds to do a full replanting if necessary.

Allan's photo: he helped weed along the fence (before)

Allan’s photo: he helped weed along the fence (before)

after (and I did not give him enough time to weed the very end, which had been his original project for today.)

after (and I did not give him enough time to weed the very end, which had been his original project for today.)

sweet peas in, inside and outside the fence

sweet peas in, inside and outside the fence

Allan cleaned up an area to the north of the house so I could plant sweet peas around a bamboo teepee.

Allan's photo: before

Allan’s photo: before

Allan's photo: after

Allan’s photo: after

Lorna likes the big showy narcissi.

Lorna likes the big showy narcissi.

These tulips were getting raves.  They had petered out in one of the big pots because the drainage was clogged.

These tulips were getting raves. They had petered out in one of the big pots because the drainage was clogged.

Lorna had bought some knee high sweet peas which I planted in the back of the Payson Hall planters.  We'll see if that works out.

Lorna had bought some knee high sweet peas which I planted in the back of the Payson Hall planters. We’ll see if that works out.

I had a revelation while looking past Payson Hall at the six whiskey barrels on the lawn. I feel so stupid!  I could not figure out why the narcissi had not come up this spring.  I suddenly remembered our big job last May, digging out all the narcissi and replanting them into the garden, as they had become overcrowded and I wanted the planting of annuals to be easier.  I meant to plant NEW narcissi in the fall and not only did I FORGET but I also forgot WHY I had no flowers this spring.  (The ones in the garden look great, though!)  I hope this is not a sign of increasing addlement.

the west side garden

The west side garden has some of the narcissi from the barrels.

Ilwaco 

On the way out of town this morning we had noticed that the murals were up, as promised, at the old Oddfellows building on the corner.  It has recently been purchased and is being fixed up.  We would have participated but the main part of the project happened while I was gone.  I had made a picture of the volunteer group’s publicity release and an old photo I had.

project

ilwaco

close

a long shot taken the next day

a long shot taken the next day

Tackle renovation of this very old building is an impressive project..

Next: rain was predicted for Sunday and I still had not managed to kick myself back into mental gear for catching up at work.  At least it felt great to cross Andersen’s off of the sweet pea planting list.

 

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Monday, 16 March 2015

On March 16th, the day after Allan got home from the Sylvia Beach Hotel, the crabbers at the gear shed next door were tarping down their pots for the season.

DSC01211

DSC01212

During the time I was gone to the Sylvia Beach Hotel, Allan had (bless him!) done some of the gardening work. On March 16th, he finished the Big Pop Out in Long Beach, a task completion that had been eluding us.

March 16: before

March 16: before

after

after, rugosa roses controlled (for now) all along the fence and a weed infested kinnickinick removed

before and after...impressive!

before and after…impressive!

his load of debris

his load of debris

species tulips in the big pop out

species tulips in the big pop out

Thursday, 19th March 2015

(You can read about Allan’s March 18th boating trip in yesterday’s post.)

On March 19th, he tackled the dreaded weeding of the Bolstadt Beach Approach blocks-long garden and felt discouraged by how long it took him to accomplish this much; it’s a horribly hard job:

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before

Three hours later.  I personally think that is pretty fast and efficient.

Three hours later. I personally think that is pretty fast and efficient.

I arrived back from the Sylvia Beach Hotel in the early evening and I have to admit that after my five quiet bookish days, we watched a two hour episode of Survivor in the evening.  The cats were ever so pleased to see me…when they woke up.

Smokey and Mary

Smokey and Mary

I opened my birthday package from Montana Mary; she had given me SIXTY presents, or tried to (she wrote that she may have lost count) including each individual piece chocolate from two fine chocolatiers (one from Wyoming and one from Bozeman, Montana).

presents from Montana Mary

presents from Montana Mary

Mary says “both are owned by charming people who produce marvelous confections!”  (A couple of days later, I got another little package from her, some “chocolate” seeds from Chocolate flower farms: chocolate colored nasturtiums and chocolate cherry tomatoes.)

Allan made delicious muffins from the flour.

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Before I’d gone on my trip, Allan had given me a set of books relating to my Green Lake neighbourhood Seattle childhood.  Of course, I had been too immersed in the Sylvia Beach Hotel room journals to read them.  They still awaited my perusal.

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My old friend Shaz, now an Oregonian but who once lived by the bay where years ago I had made a garden for her, sent art supplies:

inspirational

inspirational

Friday, 20 March 2015

view from our north windows

view from our north windows

On my first full day back, I was ever so pleased at torrents of rain because it gave me the opportunity to download and start processing all the photos from my stay at the Sylvia Beach Hotel.  The cats had been so glad to see me last night and sat right by me.

Smokey and Mary

Smokey and Mary

In the evening, we were joined at the Cove Restaurant by Carol and J9 and Kathleen for a belated celebration of my 60th birthday, since I had spent my birthday itself with Carol at the Sylvia Beach Hotel. Bill and Susie of the Boreas Inn stopped by but could not stay as they were checking in some guests that evening.  I took my new camera to dinner; not a good choice, as the old camera known as Spot, which takes bad outdoor photos, is the one that takes good indoor ones.  As we drove north in the rainy dark through Long Beach, I could see deadheads (dead flowers, not lounging hippies) in the planters and felt some small urgency about work.

Allan's photo: We had a table right by the fire.

Allan’s photo: We had a table right by the fire.

Carol and Kathleen at dinner

Carol and Kathleen at dinner

an appetizer of five "prawns solo", the perfect number for our group

an appetizer of five “prawns solo”, the perfect number for our group

Carol's bahn mi sandwich, my steak salad

Carol’s bahn mi sandwich, my steak salad

presents!

presents!

From J9: Catnip Murders art print by an Astoria artist; from Kathleen: Harper Lee in large print and my favourite tea (Earl Grey) and some Nestle’s Crunch and peanut butter cups.  The candy is a shoutout to our fun time at Halloween, when she helped us give out candy and learned my favourites from the Halloween mixed chocolates bag.  From Susie: a pretty little purse with some fancy lip balm inside and a date to take us out to lunch on Sunday!

from Allan, a Hello Kitty gardening set!

from Allan, a Hello Kitty gardening set! for one of my plant tables

It had been an extravagant birthday week (and was not quite over, with the lunch date with Susie and Bill coming up).  However, the weather was due to change and I seriously had to get back to work.

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Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Allan goes boating on the North River

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The North River is at the top of Willapa Bay, a little over an hour away from Ilwaco. Further upstream it also crosses Highway 101 near Artic. A local told me today that he once boated 35 miles from Artic down to Willapa Bay. Well, sorry, we’re just going upriver three and a quarter miles, but this isn’t just an ordinary woodsy river.

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Lower North River at low tide. Launch is at lower right.

See those white dots in the river above the ‘105’ sign? I found out from poking around the internet that those are floating cabins. There are no access roads, nor do any cabins seem to be for sale as far as my searches can determine. Zillow.com doesn’t place a value on these cabins either but if you want a 500 square foot cabin in Seattle, $275,000 will get you one next to  Gas Works Park. http://seattlehouseboatrentals.com/sales.htm

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The tide was a plus eight feet and falling but I had previously seen the ramp without mud at a one foot tide. The incoming tide could have helped me upstream if I had arrived earlier. I was sure of a quick trip back. Turned out my speed upstream was about 2-3 mph but I later got a 6.9 mph top speed reading downstream for a 2.9 mph moving average overall.

boat

Smith Creek launch at 8 foot tide.

Let’s check out the cabins.

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Under the first bridge & leaving Smith Creek.

Smith Creek and the rest of the North River are going to have to be another trip. The other boats I saw today had motors and probably could explore a lot more quickly but not quietly.

DSC01228

Pilings to the left and the North River bridge ahead.

Rounding the point and heading upstream.

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Cabins ahead

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The first neighborhood of cabins

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There is a nice artistic sequence of a landing goose on the first cabin. Their next cabin has a couple of geese strung up by their little necks. This is the land where fresh food delivers itself.

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A home with a boat garage…

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…and a glassed in porch and covered wood pile / work area.

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Here is a place ready for fishing off the back porch.

 Out of respect for their privacy, I tried to stay mid river or on the other side. I imagine people don’t set up cabins out in nowheresville to have boaters gawk at them all day.

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Enclosed porches often had the workshops combined with storage rooms to leave the rest of the cabin less cluttered.

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More cabins upstream

These places must have been built elsewhere and towed in.

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I was on the opposite shore to give this guy his privacy and got a wave anyway. On the way back a couple of boats had docked, the deck was full of friends on chairs and the smell of barbecue drifted over.

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Sound of an outboard coming downstream

Power boats aren’t sneaky but usually good for a wave.

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A tunnel under the branches

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Another lone cabin

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Protected by pilings

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This boat slowed down until I put out a thumbs up sign. I also noticed that when I came back with the tide pretty low, a pair of vehicles with their boats already trailered waited until I beached before they drove off. I like to think people watch out for each other out here.

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‘google earth’ doesn’t show any access roads – the river is their highway (low tide view).

This fork in the river might have been an island, maybe not. Given a choice of a wide empty river or a narrow branch with cabins, of course I took the cabin route. The woods and muddy banks on the main channel  can wait. On the Chinook River trip I heard from another kayaker that it’s sometimes hard to remember features of the individual rivers. I’m being a little heavy on the pictures so I can relive these trips later. I discovered later that the wider branch was the one to Artic and beyond. Yah sure, maybe if I was going downstream but not today, upstream, and against the tide.

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An ‘on the water’ view of the string of cabins shown previously

Up cabin row. The pilings are high enough for a flood and a log boom helps prevent bumps in the night.

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Huzzah, a canoe on Riverside Drive.

Lewis and Clark are pointing to where you can find their trail about fifty miles south.

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Fresh water system

A water collection system with no garden.

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That little duck above the end of the log is a female hooded merganser I think,  hanging with a male mallard. She had lovely light brown feathers done up in a mohawk that let the sun filter through. They were the best looking couple on the river and posed for a couple of movies.  They did fancy footwork swim-bys, log-hops and aerial feats for me that I couldn’t do.  First here’s a generic picture of her from the web:

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A female hooded merganser

And here is a 45 second video of this couple’s performance:     North River ducks video 

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A very old cattle chute?

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A gate

This floating log was hooked between two fallen trees. Just a little push to the left would have freed it and let it float away but I  couldn’t slide it sideways.  I was able to push it upstream and paddle through, and then, it closed behind me.

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An interesting island a hundred feet ahead but the waterway was blocked on both sides. I was not going to join up with the main channel or go upstream any further.

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A boat garage.

I parked in the garage, got out some food, turned around and went to undo the gate again.

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Now, all I have to do is grab the left side of the log, and pull it open against the current. Just like pushing but backwards.  It really wasn’t the same at all.

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up & over

Instead, it was a push down on the shallow end of the log and pulling myself over.

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Now it’s back down the other side of the cabins and home.

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Greetings from Chinook!

As I approached the bridge I used up the last of the camera battery stalking a seal that had splashed off a dock. Didn’t get a picture but above is a cute picture of a seal I took up the Columbia River.

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‘MapMyWalk’ took me straight overland at the end when the battery totally died while looking for the seal.

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The rod is supposed to be straight

It must have been fun as I had to unbend both flipper rods on the foot drive when I got home. It seemed to have run OK and I wasn’t trying to jump the log either. The shallow side channels did grind me to a halt a few times as I looked for relics of the timber industry that used to be here but I’m not sure what I hit.

Next time maybe it will be less cabin shopping and more upriver paddling for the easy float back, I’m not done with this river yet.

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Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Carol and I woke in the Emily Dickinson room and went to breakfast in the Tables of Content, putting my birthday presents from yesterday in her car on the way.

I always admire the porch two doors south of the SBH.

I always admire the porch two doors south of the SBH.

I walk around the north side of the hotel and down the ramp to the restaurant; it’s easier for me than the stairs, on which I slow people down.

the hotel's morning shadow

the hotel’s morning shadow

After the breakfast, delicious as always, we climbed to the library to await the switch to the Jules Verne room on the first floor.  We would rather move our luggage than have the housekeepers do it.

"my" blue chair

“my” blue chair in the third floor library

my view to the south; Carol is still reading The Historian.

my view to the south; Carol is still reading The Historian.

At 12:00 or so, we checked into the Verne room.  The housekeeping staff had indeed moved most of our luggage down from Emily’s room before we could do it ourselves.  (We make sure to leave a good tip in the room each day; the other option is to put a tip in the jar on the front desk.)

The Jules Verne room

The Jules Verne room, which used to be Robert Louis Stevenson.  The adjoining door goes to the Tolkien room, and the rooms can be shared if there are friends next door.

over the desk

over the desk

the door.  (The blue pad is the comfy extra sleeping bed that we lug around with us.)

the door. (The blue pad is the comfy extra sleeping bed that we lug around with us.)  That’s the Alice Walker room across the hall.

bathroom wall mural

The luxuriously large bathroom has a wall mural.

A door leads out to a deck by the front door of the hotel.  Edna, who used to stay here for years, would sit out here and greet guests.  I was told some of her ashes are in the garden here.

A door leads out to a deck by the front door of the hotel. Edna, who used to stay here for weeks at a time in the RLS room, would sit out here and greet guests. I was told some of her ashes are in the garden here.

At the front desk, I talked to the clerk about how much I love Pat Henderson’s journal entries.  She showed me a model he has made, and said he has an even more elaborate one in the making.

model by Pat

model by Pat

After we’re settled into Verne, Carol walked down to the Old Town port.  I noticed that the Dr. Seuss room was open, so I settled in there to read room journals.  This entry spoke to me:  “These journals are such a delight.  I could read them for hours and hours (as I have).”  I am now into day 5 of journal reading and have only shared with you an iota.  The most angsty personal posts you will have to go and read yourself; I share the ones that specifically move and inspire and comfort me, and the ones that praise the hotel, but not the most excruciatingly brave and personal ones (even though I eliminate names and even though they are my very favourites of all).

seuss

The Dr. Seuss room is where Robert and I stayed when we walked into the hotel on a whim in summer of 1991.  (I had read about its author theme in Northwest Best Places.)  I found the first journal entry I ever wrote…in doggerel (or catterel) as many Seuss journal entries are written:

mypoemwhole

 I have much more peaceable cats now and they come and go in the bedroom as they please.

view from the Dr. Seuss room

view from the Dr. Seuss room

Back up the library, where I read an old journal from the former E.B. White room.  I was pleased to find two entries from my also journal obsessed friend Destiny.   “I picked up a few of this room’s journals not expecting much, but I have been amazed at the art work.  I just hope that NO ONE tears them out for their own selfish pleasure.  (My aunt’s lighthouse from a couple of years ago has been stolen.)  This is a magical place and the enchantment is returning to see all that you have written over the years.  The other amazing thing is that this is such a place for readers and writers.”  She adds a postscript:  “11 years later, EB White is no more but I still was able to find this journal in the upstairs library—NOW where the bloody hell can the POE journals have gone to?”  

********************

 I quested into the library attic for more journals (if only I could find the POE journals), and there I discovered a treasure. Tucked in with some jigsaw puzzles was a thin notebook with some book recommendations by hotel owner Goody Cable.  I intend to read them all.

goodybooks

goodbybooks2

I LOVE May Sarton, especially Journal of a Solitude.

I LOVE May Sarton, especially Journal of a Solitude.

A prowl for more journals lead me down to the first floor again and the Agatha Christie room, one where I have stayed with Mary and with Carol.

Agatha Christie's room is large with north and west windows and a fireplace.

Agatha Christie’s room is large with north and west windows and a fireplace.

agatha2

agatha3

As with the last time I stayed in this room, I searched and searched but could only find one old journal, a very tiny one with a deeply moving first entry by a woman who celebrating her 93rd birthday.

“Remembering: Birthday visit. Agatha Christie Room.  Standing on the balcony, I look at the ocean, the every changing, always the same ocean.  The ‘wild white horses’ ride the waves only to collapse, powerless now and dead, upon the sand.  Three children, hair ruffled by the wind, run, laughing, to meet the waves, squealing with delight as the foam almost, but not quite, reaches their dancing feet.

Gulls, on the wing, scream their anger at the children, and a large brown barking dog cheats them out of their hope of finding food left by the retreating tide.  Away they go to a more secluded place, shut off by huge rocks and piles driftwood logs, to peck for their share of the sea’s largesse.

The sun is warm on my shoulders.  The sea breeze is cool on my face.  My eyes, tiring from the brightness and the constant movement of the water, I go inside to warmth and stillness and a book.

Now it is almost time for the dinner.  The cool, clean air has made me hungry. Down we go to the dining room.  Soft lighting, good smells, happy people.

Climbing the stairs, I go slowly.  Younger feet than mine pass by me but I have grown used to that.  One does when one becomes a nonagenarian!  Reaching the last step but one, I thankfully accept the strong, young hand held out to lift me up.  No longer am I too proud to accept such a gesture.  (Once, a long, long time ago, I had been the one to extend that helping hand.)

A book again, an hour or two of reading, then sleep. ” 

I have to save this; what if this journal, too, went away and her words were lost forever?  After praising the hotel breakfast, she closes with “Perhaps this book can be placed in the intriguing small, old desk in the Agatha Christie room so that later occupants can add their comments on a visit there”, and she signs it “Lovingly, Gertrude Miller” with her address.  I would write to her but….another journaler adds, “Gertrude was here in early spring 91 celebrating her 93rd birthday” and that brings tears to my eyes because she must be gone now.  Yes, it is easy to cry here, 24 years later, wishing I could meet Gertrude Miller.  Thank goodness the book is still in the desk, and is filled with more entries to follow.

agathaage6

gertrude

I realized that the Wilde room is still open, so I took more journals from it, two at a time with the usual anxiety of getting them returned before a guest checks in.  I took them to the library because I’d be embarrassed to be found sitting at the desk in a room guests are checking into.  As it turned out, the room is still empty that evening and the worry was unnecessary.

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the ever changing view

the ever changing view

A most excellent entry: “Opening Oscar’s little desk, I come upon a quote from the writing of an old friend, describing a quiet night with his wife (now dead) by the pond near his home—across the mountain from mine.  The sounds and sensations that he notes are familiar to me—the bird calls, that night swooping owl—and thousands of miles away from this rolling seascape—familiar to me also is his thought at the end of the passage, as he strains to identify who/what it is that moves in the forest near the pond and knows ‘that I will never know’.  So I am once again open-hearted, terrified and eager to know, at the lip of mystery seeking to name what moves in my heart and knowing that I will never know.”

***********************************************

A frequent visitor wrote: “Time has softened the intense grief I was feeling the last time I was here.  There are small compartments in my mind-heart where the memories of departed spirits I have known reside.  …I no longer have the constant renewal of their presences in my life.  But I’m still grateful for reach life that has touched mine and enriched it.  I’m trusting that my spirit does the same for others.”

Yes, your spirit DOES touch and enrich mine.

by my window; I posed this photo on the Sylvia Beach Hotel Lovers Facebook page and got this comment:  "Hey, someone's in my chair!"

by “my” window; I posted this photo on the Sylvia Beach Hotel Lovers Facebook page and got this comment: “Hey, someone’s in my chair!”

Another comment in the Wilde journals by someone who is taken, as I am, by P___ L___’s entries about traveling with her bears:  “Dear P____ L____, we have bears, too!”  She, Pat H and Wild Rose are the most prolific of all the journal writers.  I find an entry by Pat H in 2000:  “Whatever happened to all those journals entries by P____ L___ of Portland?  Did I overlook them? Is she well?”  (She did return as late as 2005.)

Pat H. laments the loss of Oscar’s journals.  (Yesterday, I read a later entry in which he says they were returned to the room.)

pat

The very first entry in the Wilde journals, by the roomer (room creator:)

3-14-87 “We are now in the middle of the open houses and people are really excited!  It’s been fun doing this room.  I hope it gives the welcome I’ve hoped for for any one who stays here.  There are no bad spirits in this hotel.  That’s amazing considering its history.  There were so many times during this project when I didn’t think we would go—Goody never gave up.  Now we all share the gift.”

***********************************

 

Here is one by my favourite journaler, P____ L_____:  12/19/87  “It is brisk and biting out (not as biting as Oscar’s wit, to be sure).  This room is a guardian against the cold and a welcome host to this traveler after a walk, and a walk, and a walk on the beach.  The town is a stroll away, but this place is like entering a different world—the world of many imaginations.  No television, radio, loud noise, smoke, visual pollution, just the hum of reflection and reading.  My bear and I are content.

 And another.  I love her because she seems so self sufficient and a little eccentric; if I did not have a severe driving phobia, I would go to the SBH alone, a lot:  4/16/88 “This room is more haven to me this time than ever before in the past.  My fellow guests are particularly isolationist this weekend, as, perhaps, am I.  Much of my reading has been with Oscar, rocking with my bear by the window.  I’ve spent a few moments in the library.  I had a long beach walk this morning, savoring the mist and tides, and gazing at a solo kite following the sea gulls over the beach.  Life at Sylvia Beach is good.  I am alone, not lonely, and enjoying my own company.”

Another reader wrote her this message: June 3 1989 “The circumstances which brought me here were not happy but I had a peaceful and enjoyable stay.  The most comforting activity was reading in this book the comments of former guests.  Life goes on….up and down.  A message to P____ L____—I had three bears with me and they send greetings to your bear when you return.”  On June 23, P___ was back and wrote a long entry that began “Thank you, Jean’s bears.”

Later that year, someone else wrote to her:  “In the midst of the masters, we find journals like these, where we can eavesdrop on each other while we practice our scales. P____ L____, everyone wants to meet your bears.  A polaroid perhaps?”

P____ replied on November 23, 1989:  “Bear is thrilled with the attention.  A polarbearoid?  It’s a thought.  Katherine was left at home, however, and Edgar Linton, my newest bear, has accompanied me instead.  I’m keeping my eye out for Heathcliff.  (A black bear, of course.)  I’ve much for which to be grateful, including this quiet hideaway.  The storm has wrapped the hotel in times past and afforded study time for me.  …This may be my last November entry.  I get to return with my wonderful daughter next month—probably no bear.”

During the December visit with her daughter (and no bear):  “My pig slippers had to take the place of the bear in the skilled housekeeper’s hands and they were arranged in joyful poses on the bed.”

I am so very very happy reading these.  I would love to meet her daughter someday.

On 6-19-94, P___ wrote after a stay of several days:  “This is the place where my alter ego holds court—and I thrive.  I’m leaving and here are the lessons I have learned:

1.  Never bring part of the world if I’m trying to get away from it.

2. Time travel is difficult with extra baggage.

I will return at Thanksgiving and will bring only my bears.  They may use the trundle bed.”

I love, love, love, love, love her.  Love her SO much.

As I read, someone new entered the library, exclaimed at the view, and sat and picked up a journal.  She looked immediately absorbed.  Would she become a new journal attic?  Her husband wanted to check into the room.  I wondered if she will return and read more.

journal

the first journal glimpse; I was thrilled when it happened to me.

I was amused to read of people sneaking into other rooms to read journals, just as I do:

rooms

a back and forth between sneaking into Oscar Wilde and into Poe.

All Hallow’s Eve 1991:  “I spent the afternoon reading much of this journal, and upon seeing the report of ‘lewd’ comments in the Oscar Wilde room, immediately snuck up there to read that one—not cover-to-cover, just a few passages, but no lewdness rewarded me there.  Ah well.”

There IS a steamy passage in the 1995 Oscar Wilde journal, and a later entry by the fellow’s girlfriend saying he made it all up!

Edgar Allen Poe room

in the Edgar Allen Poe room in 1991

In hunger, I went to the gift shop and bought myself a snack mix. The library was so quiet that I felt the wrapper made too much noise.  Solution: pour all the mix into a cup from the kitchenette.  Much politer to other readers.

snack

 

art

Sometimes, I just admire the look of a page.

Sometimes, I just admire the look of a page.

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artmag

garden view from my library window

garden view from my library window

Of course, I wanted to have dinner at the hotel.  Carol demurred.  She said I could go alone, but I often see her only once a year and so I would choose her company over another chance to have a joyous game.  I know a great experience with the Game can be had, and have glimpsed it.  This time, with the two stilted dinners of the night before, it was not to be.  If I could go alone, I’d have the dinner every night in search of a good experience at The Game.  It can happen:

Jan 4 1998 “This is a wonderful place.  Last night at dinner, we played the ‘game’.  At first, not many people wanted to play but then we even went into the lobby to finish playing after dinner was over.”

P___L___had written of what it is like when the game goes well:  “Dinner was all too short.  Two truths and a lie with five people of various ages, all connected with education, went like a well directed play.  All of us were animated and interested.”

So Carol and I went across the street to April’s and had an excellent meal.  I did tease Carol when our meal began with a table of three unusually loud children (and two harried parents) next to us by reminding her that the hotel’s guests would have been much quieter.

flowers outside our ground floor room as we leave for dinner

flowers outside our ground floor room as we leave for dinner

menu

menu excerpt

salad

salad

my dinner (the curry salmon)

my dinner (the curry salmon, as good as it looks)

sunset through the lobby of the SBH

sunset through the lobby of the SBH across the street

More reading followed in the library.  Every chair was occupied and everyone read quietly and the hot spiced wine was delivered early, shortly after nine.  Carol and I were ready and pounced on it!  I said to the fellow waiting his turn in the kitchenette, “It used to come at ten o’clock” and he fervently said “I KNOW!” so maybe he, too, had missed out earlier in the week.

an adventurous journal entry

an adventurous journal entry

another beautiful page

another beautiful page

And here’s my old entry from 2009 going on and on about the journals:

me09-1

me09-2

me09-3

(Note: the dorms are gone now, replaced by a four-bed room and by Goody’s private retreat.)

My love of the journals is a fascination shared by others:

“I really love coming up the stairs to this room.  Had dinner, enjoyed the hot mulled wine and then finally we found the ‘treasure’ of this room.  These JOURNALS.  How awesome to be able to read so many thoughts and experiences from others I have not met, yet I feel somehow we are connected by the fact that we ended up here and we all seem to share the same delight when writing of this place.  It is a treasure.  An Oasis, and perfect place to self-reflect.”

June 00:  “This is what my Narnia would be like: a closet door that opens to this place—into Wilde or Dickinson or Austen, or any of the others—so that whenever I worry too much and small, silly things start to make me sad, I could escape for awhile and be here instead.  Writing and reading are my sanctuaries.  A book, a fireplace, the ocean outside, and an orange cat who demands to be let into my room so he can spend the night on the foot of the bed.  It’s enough.” 

The orange cat would have been Dickens, here in 2012.

The orange cat would have been Dickens, here in 2012.

“I am beguiled by this thing I am doing….I am writing a message to a completely unknown person.  I know you are out there.  I have been fascinated with reading these journal entries and I see there are others who share this fascination….It is mentioned in the writing and in fact there are ‘conversations’ going on between unknown people who don’t know it’s going on.  How marvelous!  So I wonder who you are.  Yes, you, the person reading this.  Well, I guess we have some things in common….We like to read journals….we like books…we like the ocean.  I feel you are someone who feels peaceful and whole and more real and fully alive when you can spend time on the beach.  I am very much that way.”

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“I think one of my favourite things has been reading the journals.  Many times I wonder what has happened to the people that come through and would love to hear their continuing stories.”

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Destiny:  “The first night I was here I stayed by all night reading all the journals I could find.  (Where do the old journals go? The attic?) It was a brilliant night.”

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Down to the Verne room Carol and I went after our wine, where we read till one AM.

my reading view

my reading view

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I wrote a journal entry with the very cool Verne room pen.

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Verne journal art

Verne journal art

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art

jellyfish nightlight with changing colours

jellyfish nightlight with changing colours

on the bathroom ceiling

on the bathroom ceiling

Verne books

Verne room  books

Thursday, 19 March 2015

The Verne room is famous in the journals for the rushing sound of water from its pipes.  I’d read about it in many entries in the Robert Louis Stevenson room journals.  Back when it was the Stevenson room, the suggestion was often written that it should be the 20.000 Leagues Under the Sea Room.  So now it is, and I found that the torrents of rushing water during people’s morning toilettes gave me an intensely sound sleep between 7 and 9 AM.  I had been looking forward to the pipes experience and it surpassed my expectations in volume.  Others have enjoyed it, too:  “I think this is the most inspired room.  Well done! Every detail was great.  Even hearing all the water rushing through pipes (old building plumbing) seemed like part of the 20,000 Leagues experience.”

in the dining room for our last breakfast

in the dining room for our last breakfast

ah, the peach kuchen and the lemon bars...I will miss them.

ah, the peach kuchen and the lemon bars…I will miss them.

a scrumptious baked egg entree

a scrumptious baked egg entree

Carol at the car while I contemplate the weedy garden (full of bindweed) and fantasize about bringing it back to glory...

Carol at the car in the SBH lot across the street while I contemplate the weedy garden (full of bindweed) and fantasize about bringing it back to glory…

but the bindweed would be a fierce foe.  That's my only thought about actually gardening for the last five days.

but the bindweed would be a fierce foe. That’s my only thought about actually gardening for the last five days.

To my delight, Carol wanted to go for a walk so I got to return to the hotel library to read for another hour or more.

passing our little deck off the Verne room (which made it easy to haul our our luggage)

passing our little deck off the Verne room (which made it easy to haul our our luggage)

in the library, my chair, and two EB White room journals to read.

in the library, my chair, and two EB White room journals to read.

my view, soon to be left behind

my north view, soon to be left behind

a little boat

west view: a little boat

We couldn't have the cat visit us as Carol is slightly allergic.

We couldn’t have the cat visit us as Carol is slightly allergic.

My own worries have been quiet for days...

My own worries have been quiet for days…

So what are some of my takeaways of the inspiration that I sought by coming here?  Well, this one of course:

oscar

needs

from Pat Henderson

This is the way I try to be...unobtrusive but productive.

This is the way I try to be…unobtrusive but productive.

diamonds

I had some dark times in 2014. Better now.

bestrong

inspired to be strong and despite scary setbacks, do what I can do for as long as possible

Do not let people take away my self-respect.

Hold on to my individual self-respect.

move on, let go of shunning former friends,

move on, emotionally let go of the former friends who shunned me, don’t miss the time that is left for me.

My friend Destiny says:

My friend Destiny says: read more, write more, live more, love more.

live in hope

live in hope

be kinder (something I already strive for)

be kinder (something I already strive for)

Of course, I don’t want to go, and I understand the alleged actions of this couple:

staying

staying2

They did get dragged out, because they wrote that in the Dickinson journal and Carol and I stayed in that room on Tuesday night.  I might have seen some claw marks on the doorjamb as they held on…

Like all journal writers and readers, I hope all future guests have the same depth of experience here as I did.

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sand

The most important piece of enlightenment is an old one.  I must return more often even though it is three and a half hours from home.

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cat

back

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Tuesday, 17 March 2015

In which I continue reflecting upon how the Sylvia Beach room journals speak to me and help me in my quest for figuring out the best way to live…

Last night in the Jane Austen room journals, I had found a birthday entry.

I found a birthday journal entry for my birthday at the SBH

I found a birthday journal entry for my birthday at the SBH

I like the birthday poem even though the last time I have a vivid memory of actually being lonely was in 1979.

This week, I had set up the perfect birthday to myself: a day of reading Sylvia Beach room journals.  Today is my 6oth birthday and I chose to spend it with my dear old friend, Carol, also 60, at the Sylvia Beach Hotel.  In a perfect world, Montana Mary (who loves the SBH) would have been there, too, as she will turn 60 on March 21st, along with Kathleen Shaw and Garden Tour Nancy and Sheila and J9, all my bookish friends.   Carol is my Sylvia Beach companion, and I’ve also been there with Mary, but I’d like to introduce them all to the place.  We could rent the cuckoo’s nest!  Some birthday thoughts from the journals:

I’d long awaited a birthday vacation to the beach and finally, on the 24th year of my blossoming life, my wish was granted.”

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“Today is my 8th night in the Oscar Wilde room.  I am here in SBH for 12 days.  This is the longest I’ve stayed here but as I am celebrating my 70th birthday it is my gift to self.”  [Note to myself: if I had 5 night for my 60th, maybe I will have 10 for my 65th and 15 for my 70th!!]

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I did not meet any other St Patrick's Day babies.

I did not meet any other St Patrick’s Day babies.

Today I began my 76th year with a See’s chocolate nut cluster!  A good beginning!  It’s nice being ‘cloistered’ here.  I don’t know what’s going on in the world so I don’t have any worries.  It’s a relief to know that my worries are of external origins.  Inside myself I feel at peace.”

As long as the journals exist, so does one memory of the person who wrote this.

As long as the journals exist, so does one memory of the person who wrote this.

Someone wrote in a long journal entry:  “I’ve observed that you live on with people for maybe one generation and then you’re gone.”  I read a novel once (The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier) in which after death, people go to a pleasant purgatory where they hang out in cafes and wait around until the very last person on earth who remembered them dies, and then they move on to a new place. I loved that concept.

**********************************

 In honour of Carol (my friend for the past 37 years) and all my good friends, two journal entries about friendship:

March 23, 2001:  “What an extraordinary place this is.  A haven and delight. I’m here on a serendipitous visit with my dearest friend.  How lucky we are to have the sort of friendship that carries on through time, and distance, and then perks up again as though we were still living across the hall from each other, when we meet.  We can still talk about anything under the sun, or nothing at all.  Kindred spirits.”

That also well describes my friendship with Montana Mary, whom I’ve known since we were 12.

One of Jane’s themes was the power of sisterhood.  She understood, and was able to communicate, the special bond that womyn’s friendship encompasses.  We have shared 7 years of best-friendship and truly are more like kindred spirits or sisters.  I feel blessed that I have the strength of our bond to draw on when I need it and that I, too, am strong for her.  Many people don’t understand that our friendship is as deep as the ocean and as wide as the sky.  I think our society places the romantic bond as the ultimate intimacy but perhaps platonic relationships can be just as fulfilling…we we open our hearts to the possibility.  As Christopher Robyn says, ‘Friendship is a very comforting sort of thing to have’.”

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“Don’t know what it is like to have a crowd of friends.  Mine are occasionally one or two.  It’s great to hear stories at the breakfast table of groups of friends hilariously joking.  Writing, I am reminded of the different hermit life I live.  But I love the silences and peace, my inner world filled already.”

 I agree with the writer above that groups of friends are not a part of my life.  I’ve tried it and it was a disaster.  I think its a trait of being on the autism spectrum that it is extremely hard for me to follow conversations in a group. Allan commented to me when I stopped doing “the group thing” that he was relieved.  He would join me, to be with me, but he felt ignored and discounted because he’s quiet.   I tend to focus one on one even in a group situation and cannot keep up with cross talk, and as soon as I say something, my voice rings in my own ears with the sound of stupidity. Individual friendships are what work for me, but the enticement of hearing happy laughing groups is what inspired me to try (and fail at) the group thing.  I jumped into a group all at once without knowing most of them well; what a mistake. All my close friends now are one-on-one types, and it works to blend them together sometimes.

That is, I just realized, why I so love The Game (Two Truths and a Lie) at SBH dinners.  When it works well, attention is paid to each individual at the table.  Each person is asked questions and given time to answer, and SBH owner Goody explained to me that that is why the Game is suggested each night before dinner is served.  I love listening to the quietest people being drawn out and encouraged.  Even though I also think there is nothing wrong with people who choose to decline to play, I wish they would so I could hear their stories.

But, back to the daily rituals of the Sylvia Beach Hotel.  Breakfast in the Tables of Content was most delicious with one of my favourites of their rotating menu.

menu

breakfast offerings

breakfast offerings

breakfast entree

breakfast entree

After breakfast, Carol departed for her long daily walk while I repaired to the Lincoln Steffens room to read the journals, starting with the remainder of the typed folders.

note the typewriters on the transom window

note the typewriters on the transom window

in the Lincoln Steffans room

in the Lincoln Steffens room

steffans

I wonder if those pennies are from Steffens’ time? Did not think to look.

steffans

 

This article explains the magic to which journal writers often refer:

mist

I learned that Steffens pinpointed my feelings about solitude:

solitude

I always enjoy a Star Trek reference:

startrek

A memory of the hotel before it became the SBH:  “When my wife and I walked on the beach below here on Sunday mornings and looked up at the old building, speculating that it was too bad it couldn’t be saved, but that it would be probably better for the world—and safer—if they tore it down anyway, we knew it as the Gilmore Hotel.

“But looking at a place to stay overnight now, since we live in Seattle, I was struck not only by the miracle of hotel reclamation, but by the nice name you had chosen.  I of course had heard of Nye and Agate, but Sylvia Beach? And to think we’d used to go walking in those very sands, not knowing the name.”  (I think the writer is being droll.)

While many of the Steffens room typed entries are ABOUT the experience of typing on an old machine, and the memories it brings back, and the comparison to word processors and computers, there are a few scintillating personal stories, and then this, with which I much identify.  Like Harriet the Spy, I want to know everything about everybody (not really, I don’t want to know horrible things about horrible people) and the SBH is a great place to learn how people think.

snoopy

But it’s not a place to learn how everyone thinks, just the kind of person who goes to that special hotel.  That’s why I love the journals more than any online journaling that I’ve found; the Sylvia Beach attracts a certain KIND of person, and that’s the kind of person I want to know more about….the quiet, bookish people.

I followed some instructions in the typed journals:

page

the last page, as instructed

I looked at the last page, as instructed

I admit I had never heard of the liberal, muckraking Lincoln Steffens before my 1991 first visit to the SBH; I now intend to read his long autobiography.

teddy

By now, I had checked into the Emily Dickinson room right next door and had taken the Steffens journals in there to read.  I followed the journal’s advice and walked back into Steffens to have a look at the photo of Teddy Roosevelt:

"The gift of the gods to Theodore Roosevelt was joy, joy in life." -Lincoln Steffans

“The gift of the gods to Theodore Roosevelt was joy, joy in life.” -Lincoln Steffans

Here is the Emily Dickinson room’s comfortable chair where I sat reading journals:

emily2

view from my chair

view from my chair

Dickinson room

Dickinson room

Dicksinson room

Dicksinson room

an iPhone panorama

an iPhone panorama

Emily's desk

Emily’s desk

Oh dear, not as many old journals remain as in Jane's room....

Oh dear, not as many old journals remain as in Jane’s room….good thing I’ve perused most of them before when the room was unoccupied.

Here, too, people write to Emily, as they do to Jane.  3-11-93: “Stopped by to visit you after recently being introduced to your works.  Even though you were out, I felt as if we were communicating through our thoughts this whole week.  It was a wonderful experience.”

*****************

Sept 30, 1991:  Emily, Thank you for the serenity of your room.  It was a joy to get to know you as my grandmother and I read so many of your poems and the books about your life.  The wisdom of the sea, the gulls, the weathered rocks remind me of the lessons of life my grandmother has taught me through the years.  Like last night’s sunset, this was a perfect finale to my grandmother’s visit.

I think this is her grandma’s entry:    “In much of my eighty years, I have searched for a vacation spot that was just right for me.  I’ve found it here at the Sylvia Beach Hotel in Emily Dickinson’s room where the view of the sea greets me as I wake up, where I find books and comforts, but no telephone or T.V.  I am enjoying being with my granddaughter who brought me here.”

*****************************************

The mulled wine appeared again in a journal!  See yesterday’s entry for how Carol and I missed out the previous evening, and then journal entries galore about the wine appeared.  Tonight, we would not be denied!

To the library, it’s ten o’clock, for hot wine with cinnamon and interesting talk.

It’s a cold and blustery autumn day.  I know Lincoln Steffans would have liked it that way.”

and

wine3

 and

For us the opportunity to share spice wine (wassail) and relax in the reading room offered a sense of peace and serenity that could only be matched by this great Inn and the holiday season.”

and, humorously:

What’s with the complimentary wine and night? 10 PM is coming quick and I’m dreading going up to sup wine with a bunch of baby-boomers, pre-geriatric fuddy duddies who are going to paint me into a corner with small talk.  Now you may think that this is my as yet undiagnosed social anxiety disorder shining through but you would be incorrect.  I just so happen to be the most easy-going, laid back, well adjusted person I know….in addition to my sterling good looks …I am also ostensibly modest; just ask anyone who knows me.

“Maybe we should’ve stayed at that cheap hotel on Hwy 101 with Home Box Office, microwave and a fridge.  I could be watching a clever situation comedy right now and eating processed foodstuffs.”

*************************************

 More love for the journals:

I am here alone.  I don’t believe in ghost stories, but as I read the pages left by my predecessors, I am struck by the notion that it is they who continue to live in this room, not its namesake.  It is simply delightful to be offered this unusual chance at immortality.”

***************************

You who have written before do so with, or rather have done with, such eloquence.  I don’t feel able to match it but I could not leave such a magical place without a word.  If you haven’t read the letters and notes kept in the library do take a look.”

Having finished the journals, in all the typed folders and  three handwritten books, in the Steffens room, I started to snag the journals out of the unoccupied Oscar Wilde room.

Oscar Wilde room

Oscar Wilde room

the door to Oscar's deck (used to be a window people climbed out of)

the door to Oscar’s deck (used to be a window people climbed out of)

desk with old journals

desk with old journals

I wanted to reread the entries by P____  L_____, a woman who wrote prolifically from about 1987 to 2005, mostly in the Wilde room.  I loved her entries, and when I visited in 1991 I had left my address for her, and she had written me.  We corresponded for awhile but lost touch after I moved to Ilwaco.  Not only did I find most of her entries (so droll, as she always brought a teddy bear with her), but I also found an entry by a friend of hers:  December 11, 2007.  “Turned 70 last month, and realized a wish to stay at the SBH.  The stay in Oscar’s room was strictly availability, and imagine my serendipitous surprise when poring through the 9 O.W. journals that my friend from Portland has been a TWENTY-YEAR friend of Mr. Wilde’s—none other than the famous journal writer of passion, precision, and pristine spirits, P____ L_____.  Happy 70th birthday, P___, and I look forward to catching up with you later this month.”

I was touched to read that in 1993, someone had worried about her absence:  Nov 14 93: “I am sad to see that P___ L___ has ended her entries in Oscar.  She made my reading moments enjoyable.  Oh, P____, I do hope that life is kind and nurturing to you right now.  I hope that no ill has come to you, though I fear it has.  Horrid, if so.”  P___L herself replied in 1994:  “Never fear, all the lovely spirits who have left wisps of friendship for me.  I am indeed alive, well, and prospering, if not in money, in depth of life…..  I intend to write to Ms. Walker, hoping her address is unchanged since 1991. We’ll see.”  (Nowadays instead of leaving my mailing address, I put my website after my journal entries in hope that another SBH lover might track me down.)

Only one of the old Wilde journals was missing, one that contained an entry by me (the one where I left my address and a postage stamp for P___) as I stayed in that room in autumn of 1991.  In a later journal, an entry by prolific journaler Pat Henderson mentions that his first entry was in 1992.  I couldn’t find it; in an even later entry he quoted it, and unlike his other prolifically entertaining entries, it was just one line:  “A restful and renewing experience” and he added “Have managed to increase my ‘babble factor’ several-fold since then.”  Do look for his entries in the library and room journals.  I love them.

Note that Pat H. also reveals that the Wilde journals were missing for awhile and then returned.  That gives me hope for the lost journals of the Poe room, etc.  What if a regular guest of the Poe or Cather or Undset rooms was as prolific and fascinating as P____L____ herself, and that person’s entries are lost to us because the journals are gone?

I did find an update from myself on another occasion when I had borrowed the Wilde room journals:

me

More fans of the Wilde journals:

After taking a walk on the beach, I came back and found the journals.  I’ve been scouring them for over 30 minutes.  They’re just so amazing. I hope one of you reads this.”

***************

July 31, 2014  “Reading through these journal entries is one of the best things about staying here.  The entries are a time machine into the souls of those who have stayed at the Sylvia Beach and understood its magic.  So many souls are witty, enchanting, vulnerable, clever, inspiring, honest.  It has been such a pleasure to be another soul wandering the hallways, adding the dust from my fingertips to the most marvelous collection.  This is only my second visit to SBH and certainly will not be anywhere near my last.  The comforting arms of the building and  its technology-less time travel capabilities are too important to ignore for long.

****************

As someone who as reclaimed reclusivity, I liked this post about trying and then retreating from “peopleness”:  “I enjoy reclusiveness.  People are often too strange for me with odd talk of should and division.  I sometimes enter into peopleness and learn things, then retreat when they take me so wrong and define me backwards.  I feel much misunderstood, very crystalline and faceted.  I can entertain myself thinking.”

door

The Mark Twain room was empty so I went in…

Twain room

Twain room

Twain in 2008

I stayed in Twain in 2008; it is one of three rooms with fireplaces.

I would love to re-read all the journals...but I am sure someone is about to check in...so I have to leave them.

I would love to re-read all the Twain journals…but I am sure someone is about to check in…so I have to leave them.

I hope to stay in the Twain room to enjoy the journals...next time...and it has a clawfoot tub.

I hope to stay in the Twain room to enjoy the journals…next time…and it has a clawfoot tub.

I was terribly anxious about getting the Wilde journals returned before someone checked in, so I did not read them all.

art

Carol and I read in the Dickinson room until dinnertime.

Carol has the chair now.

Carol in the window chair, me propped up on the bed pillows.

emily

art in Dickinson

When we went to dinner at the Tables of Content, we sat at a more convivial table of 9 than the previous evening’s awkward group.  There was a retired helicopter pilot whose new hearing aids hampered him from hearing others at the table, a young couple, she a pharmacy technician and he an avid player of Magic: The Gathering; there was a woman from Romania who has gone back to college as her previous degrees are useless here, a retired forestry worker, his quiet wife, and some other very quiet ones.  However, even though all but three particpated in the Game (Two Truths and a Lie), once again hardly anyone took advantage of being able to ask three questions.  Just like last night, it was as if the guests had no particular interest in the stories of others.  I was mystified.

My birthday remained a secret between me and Carol.  After dinner, I opened my presents from her in Emily Dickinson’s room, and then we went on reading into the evening…..

six presents, one for each decade

six presents, one for each decade

Above: Six presents from Carol, one for each decade: a quilt and two placemats made by a friend of hers, chocolates, wine, and a beautiful wooden box.  Carol went up to the library at 9:30 PM instead of 10:00 PM and returned triumphantly with two cups of hot spiced wine!  It does come earlier than 10 PM these days.  We read on until 1 AM.

bee

More than once, I have read of the innkeeper inviting people to explore the open rooms and then linger in the third floor library:  “Stopped here once in ’83, in a rainstorm, didn’t book, but the nice folks showed us some of the rooms and invited us to linger in the library, which we did.  We knew we wanted to come back, but didn’t think it would take 26 years….Getting old is tying up loose ends.”

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Some evocative Newport history:February 27, 2004:  “Blustery Friday.  When my mother was a little girl, her favourite grandmother would bring her to Newport for a holiday from their Eastern Oregon milltown.  I can see them in my mind’s eye—walking on the beach—1939—my great grandmother would stop, roll down her nylon stockings and remove them so my mother would have something to carry the rocks and shells she had collected.  I still have an agate tied up in the toe of a nylon stocking my mother gave me.  My mother died May 4, 2003.  My daughter and I cared for her to the end.  I wonder if my mother and her grandmother might have stayed in one of these lovely old places?

My daughter and I are here remembering walking on the cold, wet beach, wishing to catch a glimpse through the fog of a stately matron walking hand in hand with a sweet little girl whose hands are filled with treasures.”

 ********************************

 It is so very true that people do not write in the journals as extensively as they used to:

August 12, 2013: “It is more than a little sad that volumes 1-10 encompass two decades while the last 13 years are here in one small, torn volume.  Are we tweeting, messaging, emailing so much that we have forgotten the simple pleasure of putting pen to paper?  Writing is a physical pleasure as well as a mental act.  And as such it gives a physical joy.  Don’t lose it!”

in an old E.B. White room journal

in an old E.B. White room journal

also from E.B. White

also from E.B. White

And now I have entered my 61st year and had the best birthday ever, a day with the Sylvia Beach Hotel journals!

oscar

time for sleep

time for sleep

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