Thursday, 3 March 2016
Today was the drive to Aberdeen to see a neurologist. Thanks goodness I was not the driver, as anxiety had given me but three hours of sleep despite a desperate sleeping aid dose at 3:30 AM.
Above, the blue is how a sane person gets from Ilwaco to Aberdeen. We added a bit of time (just ten minutes, surprisingly) by taking the grey loop along the river at the bottom, joining the blue line AFTER the “Willapa Curves” along the bay because these days they scare the geewhillickers out of me.
Of course, it was a beautiful day and would have been a good work day. That did make the drive more pleasant.
On the way, I succeeded in getting photos of a particularly charming spring garden in Chinook. I’d noticed it driving back from shopping last week, and was pleased to see this week’s windstorms had not blown the clematis flowers off of the vine over the doorway.
I wish I could show you some of the beauty I saw between the bay and South Bend. We would have had time to stop, but there is no good place to pull over on the two lane narrow road.
Below: Here, the low marsh grass was such a bright green that it was almost like neon.
Below: As we drove along this area just before South Bend, I saw in the field of bright green low grass, interlaced with water, some tufts of a taller grass’s brown stalks from last year. Along the waterways marched rows of cattails threaded through the landscape. I would like to mimic this look somewhere in my garden.
Below: Here, too, lines of cattails and grasses short and tall were arranged in enticing ornamental form.
I remember once, years ago, going to Seattle along this route and seeing a slough of waterlilies next to the road with cows grazing just past it. That image has stuck in my mind as a perfect photo that got away.
As we passed through Cosmopolis, before reaching the bridge to Aberdeen, I saw a big sidewalk sign saying Blind Person’s Crossing. “That’s a bad sign!” I said to Allan and texted to Melissa, because my big fear with the neurologist is going blind.
My dear friend Mel texted back “You are not going blind. You will be ok. I know it.”
Then just as we crossed the bridge, I looked to my right and saw a big Star Wars mural. (You may recall I am quite the Star Wars fan—except for the prequels).
I texted Mel “Just saw a cool Star Wars mural…good sign” and she immediately responded, “See, the Force is with you.”
I did not find out till I got home that this is a famous Star Wars shop! I am not saying I hope to go to Aberdeen again (since it would involve neurology) , but if I do, we will visit the shop.
I had given us plenty of extra time so we could go to at least one of the three well reviewed thrift stores in Aberdeen. I would have picked Salvation Army last, as I don’t like their attitude about gay marriage; however, it was the first one we drove by so in we went. (Just to be clear, I would always pick shopping at a charitable thrift store with secular backing if given a choice.)
Outside again, I walked half a block to photograph a mural across the street.
Aberdeen is known as the birthplace of Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain.
As I turned back to our parking place, I glimpsed a passerby’s tee shirt and asked him if I could photograph it.
Allan said as I wrote this on the following day, “He could have told us about the Star Wars store!”
The street trees have handsome grates (must be hard to weed, though) and are staked down low, as trees should be.
Note the star inset to the left. A kindly police officer saw us admiring the grate and told us each star is of a famous Aberdeen person, including actors, musicians, of course including Cobain (on another block).
The city has the same kind of planters as Ilwaco (well, we saw this one), with smaller matching containers as ashtrays (which Ilwaco sorely needs).
So far, the planter is mostly chickweed.
The policeman had told us proudly that the parks department does a great job in town, nd that this year they hope to add big hanging baskets. Each pocket park we drove by did look tidy. I could imagine living in this working class town and caring for the parks.
On our quest for another thrift shop, we passed the Aberdeen branch of the Ilwaco Timberland Library. I sometimes get books from this branch delivered to our much less grand Ilwaco branch. Aberdeen’s building is handsome indeed.
In the parking lot of the second thrift shop, we saw this bumper sticker, thus making three Star Wars omens.
In Thrift City, all the clothes are organized by colour. That makes for a pretty picture, and makes it easy to find a green shirt, but harder to find one’s size.
Aberdeen is a town known for poverty, so it makes sense that it has great thrift stores in one way (people need them). In another way, it is mystifying: Where do the good clothes come from, when poor people usually wear their clothes to the last thread? (I know I do.) I did manage to acquire a few more work shirts at Thrift City. Now I won’t have to clothes shop for years!.
The time had come to go to the neurologist’s office. Our GPS took us up and over the hill where the more well off people live, causing me much anxiety as we got a bit lost on narrow streets and I feared I would be late. Some steep sharp turns reminded me slightly of the labyrinthine West Hills of Portland and there was a bit of screaming on blind curves.
A number of the gardens looked promising and I think I would be interested in any garden tour of Aberdeen next summer.
We did get to the doctor’s office in time. I liked him; he seemed kind. He also seemed to take an inordinate interest in the details of our garden work. I later realized he was getting me talking so he could diagnose how well I was able to talk! He seemed to find my symptoms to be significant, and gently advised that while I COULD ignore them unless they got worse, he would like “a picture of my brain”, from an MRI and a carotid artery ultrasound. He doubted there is a brain tumour because the lightheadedness and faintness are so intermittent. “THANK you!” said I. He did not like one side being weaker on the reflex and strength tests. (I wondered later if he realized how much more a right handed gardener works the right side.) The happy news for me is that I can have the MRI and other test at the hospital in Astoria, and he said if the results are good, he will talk to me on the phone so we don’t have to drive an almost four hour round trip to get them. I can’t say when the tests will be as the approval has to come from the insurance company. I wish I had not read about the risks of carotid artery surgery later on. Dr Google was not reassuring. My dear friend Susie , who has medical knowledge related to this area of health, is reassuring, saying that the surgery is probably not going to be necessary.
On the way out of town, we paused so I could get photos of this charming garden.
Further long the same road, we drove past a spectacular sculpture; because we were on a one way street, we did not get a closer look. I found a website about it.
Based on what this website has to say, I think we missed the actual downtown area, which must be closer to the water. More about Downtown Aberdeen here. I wish I had researched the town better as we would have had a half hour to explore the downtown and waterfront after the appointment. I like working class towns.
The drive home passed with no stress; we saw a herd of elk. Back in Ilwaco, we went to Salt just to celebrate the day being over. I had been so worried that I had packed an overnight bag just in the far-fetched case the doc had said I needed emergency scans at the Aberdeen hospital right away. Being back in my town felt sweet.
I had a craving to celebrate at Salt but felt we should go to the Depot to share the love.
The Depot was hosting a large party at six, so we went to Salt after all.
Even though I am not one who frequently seeks a burger, I could not resist another go at Salt’s delicious version. I swear next time it will be a healthy kale salad. The chef knows the secret to making kale truly delicious.
Friday, 4 March 2016
Much rain and wind. Even the cats did not want to go out.
I continued archiving my grandma’s life by photographing her old photos. And in searching for all of them, I found four more scrapbooks.
The one to the left, made of cloth, is all photos of babies. Not of much interest to me. Disappointingly, the middle one was made by me as a gift to my grandma in 1972. It does have some amazing flower pictures. The one on the right is another of my grandma’s old ones, with pictures from the 1920s. So I spent more of the day photographing them (not the babies, though), along with a bunch of loose pages that turned out to be yet a fourth scrapbook. If the predicted two days of rain and wind appear, I will spend a couple of days processing the images. I would also just like to sit and read but…Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock.
Ginger’s Garden Diaries
1998 (age 73)
March 3: I spent today ordering stuff from Habard, Starcrest, Plow and Hearth, Brookstone, etc, including the copper boiler I’ve wanted for months. It was cold out so I didn’t get anything done outside.