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True, I was scrounging for mushrooms at the time — fairy rings, angels wings. chanterelles — up in the windblown, bonsai-lookin’ trees there above the South Jetty of the Columbia Bar, the very gateway to the Pacific Graveyard, but on my honor, I had not ingested anything that might have thro… Read more

Having been a fan of phone conversations since I was old enough to use one, I was both surprised and saddened when my pedicurist confided that she’d recently chided her husband for calling his friends. “People don’t like talking on the phone,” she told him. Read more

I found the bank statement in my mailbox as we headed out to watch Monday night football. It was growing dark, so I couldn’t see it that well, but well enough to note that it was from Chase Bank and apparently they had wiped out my savings account. Where once there had been $17.31, there was… Read more

In 2014, Veronica Willemin hung nearly four dozen individually painted banners from street lights all around the oceanside neighborhood of Nye Beach. It was the sixth year of the Nye Beach Banner Project. Read more

I have mixed feelings about traveling back east to my old hometown. I love seeing my family, of course, but it’s hard to escape that sense of been there, done that. Read more

I was at a writing workshop on the coast when I first heard of the Cascadia Subduction Zone. That was nearly 20 years ago so the details are fuzzy, but I don’t recall being all that concerned. I understood it was real, but it didn’t feel like a threat to me personally, rather a distant dange… Read more

One of the bonuses of being a journalist is that you are always learning something new. Often as not, it’s something you never dreamed would be that interesting, say, for instance, the life of a turkey vulture, or the history of a giant tree, and instead you find yourself fascinated. Read more

As I write, this last week of July, my thoughts turn to August. Our relationship is complicated, as they say. August is my birth month, but also the month I lost my mom. Even in childhood, August was a mixed month for me. On one hand, it meant a birthday party, presents, a trip somewhere; He… Read more

Animal lovers, philanthropists, beer drinkers and hell raisers (of the nicest kind, of course), this one’s for you. I come to this story with a history that is both sad, but ultimately uplifting. I came to it first as a journalist and now as a friend, a fan, an admirer. Read more

They say there are no guarantees in life and I generally believe that’s true. And yet, recently when I booked tickets on Amtrak and the clerk assured me the short time between the bus arrival and train departure was of no concern, I never questioned it. Read more

I’ve played Bingo maybe three times in my life and that was so long ago I’m not sure if even that much is true. So a few years ago when my cousin suggested we play, I resisted. I wasn’t sure I even knew how to play. But how hard can it be. You get all the numbers in a row — horizontal, verti… Read more

Until recently, my close encounters with jelly fish (as I used to call them) occurred on the beach as I ran in bare feet trying to avoid them. Even dead, I believed they could sting the heck of me. What I didn’t know was that the jellies were not there on the sand by their own volition but e… Read more

Fifteen years ago, I sat in a local restaurant across the table from David Ogden Stiers. My friends had bid on the lunch at a fund-raiser and were kind enough to invite me along. That afternoon we sipped wine and ate food of which I have no recollection and talked about all sorts of things —… Read more

First came the boat fire, a nasty affair with burning fiberglass spewing black smoke all over Devils Lake. The North Lincoln Fire & Rescue crews were just getting things cleaned up when another call came, this one for a structure fire in an out-of-the-way place. Then came the call for CP… Read more

From the day Luna came into our lives, we said we would find her a companion. We’ve always believed in having at least two of any pet so they would have a friend of their own species. It seemed it should be simple enough. Sort of. Luna is a bossy little thing — the Queen, we call her — and I… Read more

“So, what do you want to be when you grow up?” I asked my new beau. I figured it would be good to know if he’d given any thought to how he might make a living before we went much further. Read more

Shortly after I first moved to the coast, I signed up for an Octopus Encounter at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. Standing in the back room next to the open octopus tank, I confess I was feeling just a wee bit creeped out. I had grown up watching cartoons in which the octopus surfaces from the da… Read more

I learned early on through years of tramping with my construction lineman husband, and later as a travel writer, that rarely do you see something so clearly as in those first days of experiencing it. In a new place, everything is fresh and if you’re lucky, in some way amazing or at least int… Read more

We leave Newport on a morning of black ice and slushy snow, and arrive in Newport Beach to apologies that we have come when they are experiencing record cold. The temperature hovers somewhere near 60, but the gusty cold winds definitely make it brrrr-worthy. Still, the parkas and wool caps w… Read more

One afternoon a few years back, I took my hub’s watch to Zamora Jewelers for some minor repair. I handed it over to Betty and explained what I needed. Betty took it to Mike, who was sitting as always behind the counter at his work bench. Mike picked up his ever present jeweler’s loupe and to… Read more

When the phone rang in the wee hours last Tuesday, my thoughts (after ‘who the hell is calling at this hour?’) were that either someone died, it was a wrong number, or likeliest of all, it was a tsunami alert. Which raised the following question: Did I really need to get up? Read more

Our first house was a 640-square-foot log cabin. It had a kitchen, living room, full bathroom, loft and wrap-around deck. It wasn’t until we signed the papers and moved in that I saw what it didn’t have: a closet. That was OK, the hubs built me one for my birthday. It was the first of what I… Read more

When I think back on that September day in 2011, I remember the winds gusting to 60 mph, the white caps frothing up over a slime-slickened pier stretching far out into the bay and me trying to get out of walking the length of it. I was in Garibaldi to visit a one-of-a-kind historic boathouse… Read more

Christmas in our house starts Thanksgiving weekend. That’s when I pull out the decorations, turn on the music, and, most importantly, order my Christmas cards — one of my favorite traditions of the season. This is the one time of the year when I forgo technology in favor of good old-fashione… Read more

It was our first apartment together. Our first Christmas, and I decided our first Christmas tree would be themed in blue, white and silver, the most impressive color scheme — in my 21-year-old worldly view. We bought blue and white lights and silver tinsel and then it was up to me to find th… Read more

It’s been just a little more than a year since my novel “Wander” was published. It’s been an amazing experience and something of an eye opener as well. One of the things I learned right off is that if there is anything harder than writing a book (and convincing a publisher to publish it), it… Read more

As a journalist, I’ve covered many events honoring veterans — Memorial Day, parades, funerals, dedications, anniversaries and Veterans Day, of course. Usually, they are somber affairs with “Taps” and flyovers and the riderless horse, and it wasn’t unusual for me to find myself furiously swip… Read more

If fear of being put on the spot has kept you away from Newport’s annual Scary-Okie party, then this year’s event might be the one that finally gets you up on stage. Read more

I was working in a failing fast food restaurant in Anchorage when I saw the classified ad for dancers. I don’t recall what the ad said exactly, but it sounded glamorous and dreamy and just what a starry-eyed, newly turned 19-year-old with no idea of what she might do with her life would wish for. Read more

When I was a teen looking for a little adventure, my friends and I would make a nighttime visit to a country church cemetery known as Moonshine. There, we looked for signs of the ghosts of the Blue Eyed Six who we believed had been hanged and buried in the cemetery for a murder. That was abo… Read more

Sunday night, the thickest layer of marine fog we’ve seen possibly all summer crept in and blanketed our piece of the coast in thick, cold grey. I didn’t mind. I’ve always enjoyed the moodiness of the fog. But you couldn’t help but note the timing. All week, we’d had sunny, warm days, with j… Read more

I arrived in Seattle at the writers’ conference on a Friday morning with plans to attend an autograph party that night and the awards dinner Saturday night. My novel, “Wander,” was a finalist for the Nancy Pearl Book Award in the mainstream literary category and it seemed I couldn’t not atte… Read more

I confess I know next to nothing about Scotch. I once admitted to a girlfriend, who happened to be a seasoned Scotch drinker, that I’d never tasted the stuff. She suggested in a wry sort of way that I best not as it would knock me on my butt. And so I didn’t. Recently, I repeated my admissio… Read more

Every once in a while I make the mistake of giving someone my AOL email address, a move frequently met with mild ridicule. “You still have AOL?” they ask with a certain incredulity — even strangers I am interacting with on a professional level can’t seem to resist. It makes no difference whe… Read more

recently spent a week in Newport Beach and Avalon. I had a great time, lots of sunshine, good eats, shopping, but I came home with a fat blood blister on my toe, a matching one on the ball of my foot and crater on my heel you could fit a marble in. And that was wearing my sensible shoes. Read more

In just a little more than three months, thousands will converge on Oregon to witness the total eclipse of the sun. It promises to be quite the boost to our economy. Except, probably, for me. I’ve offered my guestroom, my yard, my driveway, my sofa, my floor to any number of friends near and… Read more

I didn’t give much thought to the decorative correctness (grin) of refrigerator magnets until one day when a friend was visiting. As she stood eyeing my varied collection, she said, “Bob won’t let me put magnets on our refrigerator.” And seeing her bemused expression, I got the feeling that … Read more

It may surprise some to learn that, as a general rule, I do not read animal books. I always worry they will make me cry. So when “The Art of Racing in the Rain” hit the bookshelves in 2008, I just said no. Then came the note last week from my friend Patti Littlehales, chairwoman for Newport … Read more

Today, for what might be the first time since Girl Scouts, I took a pledge. It involves the simple promise to join other writers in supporting each other. A given, right? Not necessarily. Read more

As we prepared for our February trip to Alaska, I had one thing on my mind: the weather. Living here on the Oregon Coast has left me largely with a closet of lightweight jackets and rain gear — all of which seemed fairly inadequate. Should I buy something new — knowing by the time it was nee… Read more

Some years ago, I was invited to attend a food and wine fest in Adelaide, Australia. It was a great trip with visits to wineries, restaurants and markets, and lots and lots of tastings. The days started early and lasted long into the evening, but it’s hard to complain when you are being wine… Read more

There will be singing and possibly a skit; tributes and no doubt a few poems. And laughter. I’m certain, there will be lots of laughter. It’s the way Andrew Rodman wanted it. Read more

By the time you read this, it will no doubt be a warmer world. But just now, the Central Coast is frozen. Snow here is not the rarity it once was, but it is still rare enough to cause all sorts of havoc. Highway 20 is closed, blocked solid by fallen trees and I have been warned to stay off t… Read more

My parents were not big New Year’s Eve people. My dad was always in bed early and while my mom would occasionally sit up with us to watch Dick Clark in Times Square, there was no big party or Champagne popping. I found this disappointing. I wanted them to get dressed up, be festive, act a li… Read more

We were relaxing in a hotel room in Portland following an afternoon peddling “Wander” at the Oregon Historical Society’s Holiday Cheer. Football was on the TV, but I, of course, wasn’t really watching. I saw the Steelers had won, groaned and said something rude. But the Eagles had lost and t… Read more

This is a story about drinking and driving, about how in one instant life changes. And there is no going back. Read more

Two weeks ago, I was sitting on a bed in Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital, waiting my turn for an outpatient surgical procedure. Tears were streaming down my face and I felt I owed the staff an explanation. I was not in pain. I was not frightened. I was grieving. The day before I had p… Read more

In his 12 years volunteering with Manzanita’s Hoffman Center for the Arts, David Dillon has helped host plenty of events. He’s seen some big names, too. Names like Cheryl Strayed, Ursula Le Guin and Phillip Margolin. But there was one event that so moved Dillon, he found himself in tears. It… Read more

The Newport 60+ Adventure Van will be heading to Tidewater on Tuesday, Oct. 18, for a guided tour of the While Wolf Sanctuary. Read more