Tsunami Readiness

The first day we arrived for our work/camp hosting at Bullards Beach State Park, we attended a meeting with our Park Ranger, who along with telling us all about our work duties, also told us about Tsunami’s, and showed us where the Tsunami evacuation route is located.

I tried not to let the idea of a Tsunami worry me too much because I like to think positive and want to believe it won’t happen… However, it is real hard not to think about Tsunami’s around here because everywhere you go there is a big sign reminding you of what to do and where to go in the event a Tsunami strikes.

I finally decided Bill and I better get educated as best we can on exactly what to do if a Tsunami does strike while we are here. So, last Thursday evening, Bill and I attended a Tsunami readiness class offered right here in the park. The park brought in an expert guest speaker from Coos Bay to enlighten us on the facts about Tsunami’s. It was very informative, and we learned a lot about how Tsunami’s happen, and how often they occur, on average, here on the Oregon Coast.

I was surprised to learn that, on average, a Tsunami has hit the Oregon coast, every 250 years. Right here, in this very spot where we are located. Now imagine my “deer in the headlights” look when the instructor went on to inform us that it has been 315 years since the last Tsunami hit. He went on to tell us that when (not if) the next one hits, it’s going to be huge. He said the first and only warning we will have is the huge earthquake that will proceed the Tsunami. He told us the earthquake will be violent, and last for at least five full minutes. He actually set a timer and continued talking just to show us how long that five minutes will be… He said we will think the world is going to come to an end, but it’s not, and that we will think we are all going to die, but we won’t. He said the earth will be shaking so hard we won’t be able to stand up or walk at all. He told us to drop, take cover, and hold onto whatever we can find as protection against things falling on us. He said when the shaking stops we will have about 10 minutes to get to our ‘safe zone” before the Tsunami hits. Then he said “now I don’t tell you this to scare anyone, but rather to help you understand how important it is for you to be ready”. OMG! Well it’s already too late to try not to scare me about this! And, now, knowing all that will happen, that put a whole new level of importance on making sure Bill and I know what to do, and where to go, not if, but when the next Tsunami hits!!

Important things we learned were to have a “to go bag” packed, and at the ready, to grab and run with. In the grab and go bag you need water, medications, food, flash light, extra set of cloths etc. for at least three days. The instructor told us we will be on our own because bridges will be gone, there will be no power because all the power lines will be gone… and no one is going to be able to come and get us for days, or even weeks… You better know I’m a planner, and our backpacks are packed and ready right this very minute..

We were also told to practice the Tsunami evacuation route so we know exactly where to go and how long it will take us to get there. So this morning, instead of taking my usual walk around the park, Bill and I practiced the Tsunami evacuation route and timed how long it will take us to reach “the safe zone”.

This is the route we have to take. The pictures are not as sharp as I would like, but when your trying to run and shoot pictures at the same time, you take what you get… Also keep in mind, after the earthquake stops, you have about 10 minutes to get to the “safe zone”.

So, here we go… We have to leave our campsite

run past all the other 100 plus campsites

run down this long road

turn a corner and run down another long road,

turn another corner and go to the Tsunami route trail head

run up the evacuation route that will take us up 80 feet high. It’s a long, winding trail.

Oh, look, sand… now where did that come from. Keep in mind our park is 3 miles from the ocean/beach…

keep running up, up, up…

dodge trees

 

Oh, more sand…

and try not to trip on tree roots that stick up out of the ground and might be hidden by all the sand… I asked Bill where he thought all the sand came from? He said he didn’t know, but it was probably from the last Tsunami. Are you kidding me!!! This is supposed to be a “safe zone” that will keep us above the Tsunami waters…. Now, I’m not always the brightest bulb in the bunch…, but something is  not adding up for me with this picture… Especially now that I remember the instructor saying some Tsunami waves can reach heights of 100 feet or more… This “safe zone’ is only 80 feet high… Do you think that adds up??

But no matter how high the “safe zone” is, it’s better than staying in the campground where the Tsunami waters are for sure going to cover everything… so just keep on running until…

finally, you reach a clearing which is the meeting place for us, and all the other hundreds of people that will be heading for the same little spot…

Bill said it took us seven minutes to reach the “safe zone” from our campsite. Not good enough, because we were fully dressed with shoes etc. If we were to have to do this in the middle of the night, we would have to get dressed, or at least put our shoes on, then grab our to go bags… Thankfully, they are all packed and ready to go..

I just hope all the other folks around here are packed and ready like we are. Because, if they aren’t, and I saw some little kid looking at me hungry, or cold… I would have to give them all our stuff and we would end up just like we never prepared at all..

Stay Tuned!

 

 

Looking For Common Sense

Anyone that knows me, or follows my blog, knows my husband, Bill, and I legally adopted our first granddaughter, Shantel. She had both eyes enucleated due to cancer before she was two years old. If anyone reading this doesn’t know what enucleated means. The dictionary says it means ” removal of an organ or other mass intact from its supporting tissue”. In layman terms, it means both of her eyes were taken out. I hate to be that blunt, but as you read this post you will understand why.

I cannot even begin to tell you how many people, from the time Shantel first lost her sight, to this very day, come up and ask what caused Shantel to be blind. When she, or I, explain she had to have both eyes removed due to cancer, and that what they are seeing when they look at her are prosthetic eyes… These folks will actually ask if she can see anything through her prosthetic eyes?I have to say, I think sometimes, the folks Shantel ,and/or Bill, and I come in contact with when we are out together, just don’t grasp what we are telling them about Shantel’s loss of sight. They ask questions before they really think about what they are saying…

But I will never, ever, excuse that kind of questioning from people in agencies, that are supposed to be there to help people in their time of need.

To say the very least, Shantel losing her sight, and all that followed trying to help her become the contributing member of our society she wants to be, was a horrific experience that I would not wish on anyone. But it was a journey both Bill and I were willing to take with Shantel to save her life and because we love her.

Because Shantel is totally blind, she can, and does, receive social security disability insurance from time to time. I say from time to time, because Shantel doesn’t want to depend on any government assistance. No, she wants to make her own way in life.

Shantel went to a Community College, and graduated with two AA degrees. One in psychology, and one in general studies. And, she also has a license to sell life and health insurance in Arizona…

All Shantel wants to do is work. When she graduated college, she made it her job to find a job. She went on endless interviews. I took her to these interviews, so I know first hand what she was told.

Over and over, Shantel was told ” you don’t have enough work experience… Of course not, when she was in High School, like all her High School peers, she applied for jobs in every burger joint etc. around our community, and not one place would hire her stating “we have more qualified applicants”…

Fast forward several years… Shantel is out on her own. Living in a one bedroom apartment. She finally got a job working in a Call Center. She LOVED working there even though they couldn’t support her need to have a screen reader on her workstation. She went through two training sessions, because they were not ready for her to take active calls after she graduated the first class… So, finally, she was assigned to listen in on calls with new employees and help them know what to say to the customer… She worked there for about nine months when the company was sold, and the people in the division Shantel worked in where let go.

So, what now for Shantel? Well, she applied for unemployment benefits, and was told she would have to go to get a note from a doctor that says she is “visually impaired” before she can receive unemployment benefits.  Shantel told the unemployment office she has a doctor’s letter from Social Security stating she had both eyes enucleated before she was two years old.

This is where I’m looking for  “common sense”. .. The unemployment agency actually told Shantel,  “you need to have a letter stating that you are still blind today”. Apparently the unemployment agency does not understand what enucleated means…

So Shantel had to go to yet another Doctor today, just to give her a letter saying… YES, YOU ARE TOTALLY BLIND, and your EYES ARE NEVER GOING TO GROW BACK!!!

OMG, as her parents, and going through all that we have gone through just to get Shantel where she is today, which is where we are so PROUD of her to be… We just can’t believe she still has to deal with this kind of incompetence …

If you know where common sense is… please let me know!

Beyond belief…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lesson In Futility

One of the items for sale in the Lighthouse where Bill and I work two days a week, is a Jigsaw Puzzle of the Lighthouse. The pieces come in a cute little pail, and I decided we should purchase one so we could work on it together in the evenings when it was raining to hard to be out and about…

Now, I’ve never been big on games and such, but I thought this jigsaw puzzle might be perfect on rainy nights, because we don’t have any TV reception here…

I don’t know whatever possessed me to think this was going to be a good thing, because I’ve never put together a jigsaw puzzle, and had no idea how frustrating they can be when all the pieces begin to look-alike, and I have the patience of a gnat for things like this. I just thought this was a small item, that won’t take up much space in our RV, so we bought it.

 

Well, the first thing we realized, a little too late, was that we needed to go buy some kind of board, or tray, to put the jigsaw puzzle together on. Because, if we put it together on the table, we need to be able to pick it up and move it when we have dinner or need to work on the computer…

So we went off to Walmart to purchase a cutting board to work the jigsaw puzzle on. We decided on a cutting board because I have a rule of making sure anything we put in the RV needs to serve at least two purposes… I wish I would have remembered that rule before we bought the jigsaw puzzle..

Finally, it was time to begin working the jigsaw puzzle. We spent hours here and there, spread over many days, working on our puzzle. We talked, and laughed, and had a lot of fun trying to get all the little pieces into the right positions… And, Isn’t it pretty?

What a great feeling of accomplishment and creativity it was to place the very last puzzle piece into its proper place. We stood back and admired our work with big smiles on our faces.. Then, the “big picture” sunk into my head. What are we going to do with our master piece now? We can’t frame it because we have no wall to hang it on, we don’t have a coffee table to set it on etc. .. No, it’s still sitting on the cutting board that we move from the table to the sofa and back again as needed. All we can really do with it is take it apart and put it back in the cute little pail it came out of…??

The dictionary says the definition of futility is “having little or no purpose or importance or has little positive outcome“. That’s exactly how I feel about our jigsaw puzzle right now… Ha!

Bill said “we can at least use the cutting board for the next jigsaw puzzle we buy” to which I promptly said “why would we ever need to ever buy another jigsaw puzzle when we can just keep putting this one together and taking it back apart again? He said “you’re the one that thought it would be a good, fun, thing to do” and I said “well, what do I know, I also thought it would be a good idea for us to volunteer to take down snow fences in Wyoming, and that didn’t turn out so great for us either”. 🙂 🙂

I don’t have the heart to do it just yet, but soon, I will take our jigsaw puzzle apart and put it back in the cute little pail.  I will just take pleasure knowing that the little positive outcome from this was that we had fun talking and laughing while we put our temporary masterpiece together. And that made it all worthwhile.

Stay Tuned!

 

Tears in Heaven

I’ve heard it said that when we get to heaven there will be no more tears and no more pain… But I now believe there will be tears in heaven, at least for me there will be.

Today is our daughter, Shantel’s, birthday. She is 24 years old today.

Shantel lost both her eyes to cancer before she was two years old. Because she was so young when she lost her sight, she doesn’t know what Bill and I look like. In fact, when she first lost her sight, I would always say “hi, Shantel, it’s mama” whenever I picked her up from her crib etc. so she would learn to recognize my voice.

As she got older, and I would go to pick her up from daycare, or even a little later when I would go to pick her up from school…, I would always approach her saying “hi Shantel, it’s mama”, and she would always answer “hi mama”.

A couple of weeks ago I had a dream that was so real, and affected me so profoundly, that I couldn’t even tell Bill about it because it just overwhelmed me with emotion. I dreamed I had passed away, and was in heaven, and I became aware that it was Shantel’s time to come to heaven, and I was sent to meet her at the gates of heaven. I stood at the gates of heaven and watched as Shantel approached me. Of course, she could see now because she was made whole and had both her natural eyes again. As she came closer to me I said “hi Shantel”, and she looked into my eyes and said “mama”? I said “yes”, and she said “oh, mama, you’re so beautiful”, and we hugged each other so long, and so hard, and let me tell you there were tears in heaven that day… tears of pure joy!

Happy Birthday, Shantel.

I love you,

Mama

Bullards Beach State Park, Oregon

I was asked to write my thoughts about my first impression of the Oregon Coast. Well, guess what? For the first time, in a long time, I actually don’t know what to say. I don’t think I even know words that can begin to describe the beauty Bill and I are sitting in the middle of here at Bullards Beach State Park. After a year of waiting, planning, and anticipating this Oregon adventure, we are finally here. And, all I can say, is that I am overwhelmed by the absolute beauty everywhere I look.

From the moment I looked up and saw a glimpse of the Oregon coastline as we were making our way to Bullards Beach State Park, all I could do was cry. I know some folks find it hard to believe, that at 65 yrs of age, I have never traveled across country, until Bill and I retired and started our full-time RV life, but it’s true, and I have never seen anything like Oregon. I just can’t wait to get out on some day trips, and explore all that Oregon has to offer, because I’ve been told “you ain’t seen nothing yet”… But, for now, I will share some pictures of what we are enjoying within the Park we are calling home for the next two months.

Welcome to Bullards Beach State Park, Oregon.

This is our campsite where we are all set up to sit a spell with coffee in the mornings, happy hours in the afternoons, and a campfire in the evenings…

Of course, this is the awesome lighthouse where we work two days a week.  LOVE it!

And look closely in the middle of the next picture and you will see two deer romping around.

This park even has a horse camp area, complete with corrals, where you can have your own horses right in your campsite (Laurie Archbold). Now who wouldn’t love having a horse to ride on the beach…? This girl would… 🙂

There are several trails within the park that lead directly to the ocean/beach…  Bill and I followed this trail that lead us to …

these awesome sights!

I guess I’m rocking the windblown look right?

Bill is mesmerized by the ocean waves..

Like I said, I don’t know what to say, because everywhere I look, everything I see is beautiful.

Bill and I are so thankful, and grateful, for this opportunity to be here. Everyday is a new blessing for us, and we are like two kids at Christmas just running from one thing to another as we take it all in.

Tomorrow we will go to Mass, at a small Catholic Church we found in Bandon, and you know Bill and I will be giving thanks, because we take absolutely nothing for granted..

Stay Tuned!

 

 

Danny And Bea

One year ago this coming July, my brother, Danny, lost his beloved wife, Bea. Bea died in their home, very suddenly, and very unexpectedly.

Danny and Bea were married 28 years. In addition to being husband and wife, they were the best of friends. Bea was a beautiful person, both inside and out. She loved Danny with all her heart, and was the perfect mate for him. They both worked hard, and enjoyed the life they built together. With Bea’s passing, Danny found himself alone in their home, with just their three dogs, and memories of Bea everywhere you look.

It goes without saying that this past year has been very, very, hard on Danny. Bea’s passing was so stressful for him, he got shingles, so bad, that it got into his spine, and was in his ear, to the point the doctor was afraid it was going to get in his brain. So the doctor had to put him in the hospital, on morphine, to try to get the pain under control, and to give him anti-viral medications through an IV. The shingles caused some nerve damage in Danny’s neck that he is still dealing with today.

At her request, Bea is buried in Winslow Arizona where she grew up. Winslow is about an hour and a half from Cottonwood, and Cottonwood is just a few miles from where Bill and I are staying in Camp Verde.. Yesterday, Danny called me and asked if Bill and I wanted to go with him to visit Bea’s grave and see the headstone he bought to mark it.

We stopped along the way and bought flowers to take to Bea. Danny gave her the pink roses that have a small heart-shaped stone attached that reads “my angel”. Bill and I took the red, white, and blue flowers so she would also be all fixed up for the upcoming Memorial Day Holiday. We love and miss you Bea, rest in peace sweet lady.

After a lot of consideration, thought, and research this past year, Danny decided he wants, and needs, to make a change now. He is going to sell his home in the town of Maricopa, and move to Cottonwood Arizona. He has already purchased a piece of property in Cottonwood, and is going to have a Cavco modular home built, and put on the property.

Bill and I went with Danny to see the property he purchased. Here are some pictures.

It is a large, fenced, corner lot, surrounded by big, beautiful trees. It has all city utilities i.e., electric, water, sewer, and he is going to have a 50 amp electric receptacle installed so when Bill and I come to visit, we can just plug our rig into his electric…

Danny said he will have the property smoothed out, and have the fire pit that is currently in the front yard removed, and put gravel, and pretty landscaping in his yard.

I asked Danny when he expects to move to this property. He said he hopes to have his home in Maricopa sold, and be ready to move to his new home in Cottonwood within a year. I’m so happy for you Danny, and I love the property and know that this is going to be the perfect place for you, and your three dogs to live. I honestly believe Bea would agree.

Now, I want to note here that Bea was the one sister-in-law I had that enjoyed having wine with me when she came to visit. We had many good times at my house just talking and sipping our wine. She also enjoyed going to the casino every now and then. She and Danny would go to the casino for breakfast sometimes, and she would always want to go play the machines for an hour.  So, in honor of Bea, and to celebrate Danny’s new soon to be home in Cottonwood, Bill, Danny, and I went to the Cliff Castle Casino last night. We sat at the bar and I sipped wine, Danny had some beer, and Bill, being the designated driver, played a round or two on a poker machine. And we all shared some nachos.

While we were enjoying our drinks, nachos, and talking about what all Danny wants to do to his new place, a man sitting beside Danny struck up a conversation with us. He said he was a used car salesman, and that he also had a upholstery business in Cottonwood. He was well dressed, and looked like your normal run of the mill guy. However, as we were all getting ready to leave, that man looked over and noticed we hadn’t eaten all the nachos, and asked if he could have our leftovers!!! I mean, who does that? I swear we laughed about that all the way back home. It was just the perfect comic relief we needed to end our day.

Stay Tuned!

Batter Up!

For a homemade catfish dinner.

Our daughter, Shantel, and her best friend, Jaz, love, love, love, catfish.  And oh, my, Shantel, papa and I made some this week that was melt in your mouth good.

We soaked some fresh catfish in buttermilk,

coated the fish in cornmeal mixed with some flour, Old Bay seasoning, and some other  ingredients specific to our taste, which I’m sure it will be to your liking as well. Then we pan-fried it up to a golden brown.

Of course we served it up with some fresh-baked, homemade, cornbread that had to be served with butter and honey..

And the meal wouldn’t be complete for us, without some homemade coleslaw…so, so, good. I’m sure you and Jaz would also like some mac and cheese with this as well, but papa and I were fine with just the coleslaw.

When we get back to Arizona, papa and I will for sure make this for you and Jaz.

Stay Tuned!

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