Thursday, March 27, 2008

Today the sun was out!

Having the sun out wouldn't be so astounding, except that it's only happened a few days since about . . . maybe last October? The trolley has been running on nice days. I took this photo from our front porch, showing the same scene as the one yesterday with the guy jogging in the snow flurries.

By the end of the day it was still pretty sunny. Yes, it's still considered a sunny day here in the Pacific Northwest even with this many clouds in the sky. You can just see the snow on the hills across the river in Washington. I'd gone out to buy some office supplies down the street, then walked back along the river. The gray building to the right was refurbished last year and houses a real estate office and one of my favorite coffee houses, so I stopped for a decaf extra wet cappucino. That's my poison. I try not to have one every day, but I do love them. What a gorgeous day. Still a bit cold - jacket weather. I've never regretted moving here, but a day like today reminds you why it's special.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Snow in Astoria, Oregon - March 26, 2008

You never know what the weather will be around here at any season, but "unseasonable" is hardly the word for today's event. Lee, who has lived in Astoria for 35 years, says he doesn't remember seeing snow here after February. I took the top photo from our front porch at the Tapir and Friends (Tapir Preservation Fund) office. You can click on any picture to get a better view of the snowflakes - a rarity here, so we want to see them up close. They are quite large, by the way, and not sticking on the ground, although they were plenty stuck to the mailman's truck. He'd just come down from the top of the Astoria hill.

This one is from the back porch of the office, looking onto the Columbia River. Lee says it's snowing in Bend today, too, but that's in the high desert - not so unusual.

Back to the front porch again. It's snowing harder, around 1:45 pm.

This is Lee's office, across the street from us on Marine Drive.

From our front porch looking at 15th Street and Marine Drive. It's a little soggy for bike riding!

It snowed (sometimes hard) for several hours, finally starting to stick and accumulate, then it turned slushy, and just before 5 pm it stopped.

Girls' Night Out and a Peaceful Sunset

Around 5 pm, Laurie brought food and wine into Area Properties and hosted a "Girls' Night Out" party, where Laurel (Lee's daughter, my friend, and a Body Shop consultant), explained the company and the extremely inviting products, and let us try out several foot-pampering things. We soaked our feet in warm water, fragrant with peppermint-smelling natural stuff. The company was good, the food was good, and we had a wonderully relaxing time. We toweled off and tried the creams. Everything smelled so wonderful. I'm sure I can say that a pleasant time was had by all. I bought a few things, and in fact I'm going to host a party myself in a couple of weeks. Yum. It was fun.

From the office windows we could watch the changes, as the weather continued to do calm but interesting things. The light changed. It snowed, it hailed, it sprinkled, it stopped. A rainbow gleamed in a dark sky. You can see the cruise ship "Spirit of '90" docked behind the River Pilots' building. The clouds broke and the sun treated us to the scene below as the day came to an end. I went home with relaxed feet and, yeah, a bit of a pleasant buzz. Nice.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Looks nice in Chinese . . .

Looks refined? Looks cool? Get it on a shirt, hat, or mousepad. Depending on who you are, you may find that this pretty green text is actually one of your favorite slogans. Only your Chinese-reading friends will know for sure. Check it out on Work Redefined!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

How's the weather in Astoria today?

In a word, rainy. In two words, rain and wind. Not so much wind, actually, but more than enough rain to make up for it. It started raining last October, and it hasn't stopped. My new bike, which I love riding along the River Walk, has spent most of the winter propped against the bookshelf, unmoving. I like rain. It's one of the reasons I moved here. I appreciate sun more than ever, but I guess one has to like the rain to stay. In a typical year, we get about 70 inches. This year is supposed to rival 1996 (when I wasn't here) and Astoria got about 110 inches. I took the photo this morning along the trolley tracks that run along the river walk between Marine Drive and the Columbia River. The seed pods and grass look like Spring, and it's a soggy one, to be sure. The residents have mostly had their fill of water.

More Spring colors, also along the trolly tracks, looking across Marine Drive to the back of several businesses, including The Bent Needle, which does embroidery on clothing, caps, etc. To the right are apartments, newly refurbished, I'm told, and downstairs a pet store (which may have recently closed, I'll have to check, because people come into our shop [aka The Animal Store] where we sell stuffed animals, plastic animals, animal gifts, etc., asking for dog food and cat collars; we've been directing them down one block, so I'd better see if they're still open).

One of the stuffed (plush toy) vultures in Tapir and Friends looks a little sad in the dim light. He seems to enjoy his perch overall, where he can keep an eye on the River Walk. The trolley tracks run just beyond, and in fact you can see the small shelter on the left, which is one of the trolley stops. For one dollar you can ride the trolley the length of the River Walk and back. What a deal. The trolley is old and tarted up, the conductors are volunteers who explain the fascinating history of Astoria and its waterfront. Some even direct people to come into our store. The River Walk itself is beyond the chain fence. The big expanse of pavement is the parking lot for the River Pilot building. Not much is happening on the river today since it's Sunday, and Easter to boot. So the lot is empty. I'll have to show the scene again on a sunny day. It's a different world.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Here's tusk in your eye!

I took the photo of the young babirusa above on February 16, 2008, when we visited the Oregon Zoo in Portland. Click the "babirusas" label in the shaded green box below for more posts on the two babirusas in Portland. Meanwhile, here is a link to another bit of babirusa news from England.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Unusual dino discovery - it had stripes almost like a baby tapir

I hate to start another blog post without a photo, but I've got to run. I just wanted to save a link to this post, which I found fascinating (not only because it mentioned tapirs). One of the categories I've been meaning to start here is interesting and odd discoveries or occurrences in nature. Being an animal person, most of them have something to do with life on the planet rather than, say, the cosmos beyond our earth-bound cloud formations. Note the label I've used below (this one may be a bit lame, as I said, I've got to run). Anyway, when I get more than one post in this category, the "interesting nature bits" posts (whatever I decide to call them) can be collected to read at one time by clicking on the label below or in the Labels list to the right. I like the name of the blog linked above - Oddities&Endities.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Civil War Letters of Napoleon Bonaparte Hudson

Since postage stamps were few and far between at the front in the American Civil War, those in the military were allowed to write "Soldier's letter" on the envelope, and this would be treated the same as a stamp. The writing is Napoleon's.

Download PDF file [623 KB]
Transcriptions of letters, with maps and commentary

Download Napoleon B. Hudson's siblings and ancestry [13 KB]
FamilyTreeMaker chart

In the 1980s I was privileged to have come into possession of over 1,000 letters and documents written by and to, or saved by, my ancestors and their relatives during the 1800s and early 1900s. The discovery of these letters is a story in itself. After spending several years organizing and filing them, I began transcribing. They were so interesting that transcription led to research, not only of the family members and their genealogy, but of their locations, associates, and the periods in which they lived. I began printing this research for the family, but being so interested in the history and being a perfectionist at heart, the project grew and grew until I had stacks and files of reference material and, by comparison, not much edited into publishable form.

OK, this is not quite fair. I had edited 14 volumes, printed them and mailed them to a few family members, libraries, and museums. I had divided the material into folders and projected 50 volumes. I had become so enamored by the material and the characters, and what could be learned from the details as much as more than from an abridgement of the story, that I was unwilling to edit for length. I felt that the collection, which had, for the most part, been preserved in so glorious a sequence, seemed to have a life of its own. As its curator, I wanted to present it whole (in installments, fine, but not truncated) so it could be studied with all of its fascinating detail. There are always decisions to make. I agonized over whether it might not be best to abridge the letters and present the story. But somehow I could not imagine losing the detail and flavor that had made the writers of these letters come alive, and bring me into their time in a way I had never experienced in all my reading of history and historical novels. I wanted to share that. But I also didn't want my obsession to keep the material under wraps for who-knows-how-many more years.

At some point in the decision process, I began to compile Napoleon's letters. They were few by comparison, and the Civil War is a subject of huge interest in the US. It feels incomplete to present his thoughts without the intervening letters from his brothers and others in his life that round out the picture. I interjected some of the history and some quotes from these other letters, and then the project languished unfinished. But I feel the time has come.

Today I am posting an incomplete document, or fledgling book. These are the transcribed letters of a man who left no descendants. He was the brother of a man who married into my family, but not into my direct ancestry. Nathaniel Carlos Hudson, brother of Napoleon Bonaparte Hudson, married Helen Rosetta Joy, whose genealogy chart can be found elsewhere in this blog, and who was the sister of George Lewis Joy, my ancestor. [Also see Dirk Hudson's tree of the Hudson genealogy here.] Realizing that it will be years, if ever, before I complete this massive work, I want to make as much of it as possible available - incomplete or not - to those interested. I do not like producing flawed work that could contain misinformation, so the decision to begin posting the material was difficult. However, even more than that, I dislike the idea of hoarding documents that others might want to read. I've proof-read the transcriptions carefully, left the original spelling and punctuation, and made clarifying comments where I felt they were needed or were of particular interest. I have also indicated text I found undecipherable and have left questions in my commentary - like "to do" notes, as I've said in the PDF file. Here is the first installment - Napoleon's complete letters. Sadly, I have no photo of him. I hope that many will find this material as interesting as I do.

By the way, I found one other Napoleon Bonaparte Hudson online. Based on the dates and location, I don't believe he was related to our Hudsons.

Friday, March 14, 2008


I love these collages! Some are kinda sorta like ones I've made in the past (the better ones I've made, that is). Some are ones I wish I had made. Very few that I've seen on this site are collages I would not like to have made. Just one more project to look forward to. Well, mine don't quite look like this. I usually use a lot of paint along with the pictures. Someday I'll get mine out and scan them. Someday I'll make more. Meanwhile, it's back to work on tapirs, the tapir web site, posting some of my own pix online, Tapir and Friends Wildlife World Gift Shop and my new Market America venture. Much of it is linked from my home page at These collages are inspiring! Thank you!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

It's in the mail :)

Kate, your shirt - or shirts (four of them) - went out in the mail today along with the usual mailbags of orders. That's your box in the front with the Priority label on it :) I took pictures of the shirts before sending them. It makes me so happy to know they are going to you! I spilled something on the front of one of my very favorites, but maybe you can wear it to paint in. Or spill more food (not that that would happen). The designs are a surprise until you get them or I post them. One of them was my gift to myself at the end of an absolutely stunning eight mile hike. I want to post pictures of the hike. As usual, it will be hard to pare the pix down to one or two (or three, it really was spectacular). More soon. Thanks. "Free to good home." Like kittens.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Dedication speech at the Bernice Jameson Todd Elementary School

Last Friday was the dedication day for the school (pictured on this blog) named after my grandmother. My cousin, Nancy Morris Perry, gave a speech in behalf of the family. I wasn't there at the dedication, but Aunt Helen sent me a copy. I think Nancy did a beautiful job of capturing many of the thoughts and memories we have about our grandmother and many of the high points of why she's remembered and revered by so many people. This is an interesting perspective on Bernice's life. Thanks, Nancy. I didn't realize that Dr. Mayo didn't think she was marriage material!


I am here today at this beautiful new school to share with you about the woman for whom it was named, Dr. Bernice Jameson Todd. She was my grandmother and I am speaking on behalf of the rest of the family members who are able to be here today and those who are not. I hope that this opportunity will allow me to give you some insight into her character and who she was.

Dr. Bernice Jameson Todd was born in Corona in 1891. Her grandfather, George L. Joy, was one of the Corona’s founding settlers. She was one of six children of William Henry and Hetty Joy Jameson. The family was involved in several businesses
including the farming of citrus.

My grandmother attended Corona schools. Her parents instilled in her and all of their children a passion for education and strong desire to help others. All six children, including the four girls, went on to pursue college educations, an unusual venture in the early 1900’s.

In 1909 Dr. Todd’s father sold a lemon grove in Los Angeles. Instead of prudently investing the money in the bank, he packed the family up and embarked on a year and a half long trip around the world. During this trip Dr. Todd was deeply moved by the extreme poverty and lack of medical care she saw in China and became determined to become a doctor. This was the beginning of a lifelong quest to help those in unfortunate situations. Dr Todd applied to and was accepted at Stanford
Medical School.

Dr. Todd worked hard in her studies. Signs now indicate that she probably had dyslexia, a learning disability that makes reading and writing quite difficult. Medical textbooks in the early 1900’s were still published in German. This must have made studies for her so much more challenging than for most.

Dr. Todd completed her residency at Children’s Hospital in San Francisco. She took her first job at the renowned Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. She was hired as lead assistant in thoracic surgery to Dr. Will Mayo. When he hired her, Dr. Mayo commented that she was not only dedicated to the profession, but was a suitable long-term hire as she did not seem to be a likely marriage prospect for anyone!

Love’s powers are stronger than one brilliant doctor’s assumption and my grandmother eventually returned to Corona to marry Clement J. Todd. Clement Todd was a graduate of the Coast Guard Academy and the first several years of their marriage included long separations while he served on an ice-cutting ship in the Bering Sea.

Grandma had the true spirit of an adventurer and the dedicated allegiance of a devoted wife. She and my grandfather had a close and committed marriage. When my grandfather left the Coast Guard to try his lot as a mining engineer in rugged, desolate Bisbee, Arizona, Grandma went with him. When my grandfather wanted to move to New York to work on the stock exchange, my grandmother went with him. When the market crashed in 1929, my grandparents came back to Corona where they became citrus farmers.

In the early 1930’s my grandmother began to work for the Corona schools as the school doctor. She helped treat children during the tuberculosis epidemic of the 1930’s and 1940’s. She established vaccination programs as well as nutritional and hygiene programs for the less fortunate. Dr. Todd provided meals for children who were not sure to receive them at home. She had a bathtub brought into the health
office so children who did not have plumbing in their homes could bathe at school. She would bring oranges from home so that children whose diets were supplemented
with that nasty castor oil could wash it down with fresh fruit. She served in this capacity for over 25 years.

World War II was a busy time for Dr. Todd. My grandfather died suddenly two weeks before Pearl Harbor was bombed. She was left with four children to raise. She was also entrusted to care for three nieces and nephews whose parents were
missionaries in Central America. She opened her home during the war to several military doctors and their families who were stationed at the Norco Naval Hospital. She also was left with the responsibility of running the family citrus farm. In addition to all of this, she continued to serve as the school doctor.

Doctor Todd was a committed Christian and was very involved in the Corona First Baptist Church. She believed that her God required action and outreach. In later years she could be seen in her walker picking fruit from her fruit trees to send to the Corona Settlement House and Senior Center.

All through her life she retained a keen interest in medicine, education and her faith. She wisely understood that education was larger than school and valued travel and varied experiences as well as a formal education. I can remember her reading her medical alumni magazines well into her ‘90’s. She often commented that “An education is something that can never be taken away from you.” She played a mean game of scrabble. Dr.Todd died in 1993 at the age of 102.

Dr. Todd had countless impressive accomplishments during her life. She is remembered by many as a woman pioneer in medicine. More importantly, she is remembered as loving mother and grandmother and great-grandmother who embodied the idea that those who have been given much have a responsibility to give to those with less.

Free T-shirt. Ouch! I can't believe I'm doing this.

Free t-shirt. What's the catch? There are two:

1. It's used (by me) (no stains or holes, looks pretty good)
2. You pay shipping (to anywhere)

Why am I doing this? It's size XL. I've lost 40 pounds this year and I've kept it off. As it turned out, the program I was on was pretty easy, and I don't see gaining the weight back. What was I thinking??? I forgot that I'd have to part with some of my favorite possessions! I don't buy a lot of clothing, and the t-shirts I do have usually mean something to me. I have about a dozen that I really love, but they have to go. I just don't have the space. Who knew that losing the weight would be the easy part? Most of these shirts have very good memories attached to them. Either Lee gave it to me, or we got it someplace where we had a good time, and/or it's just a cool shirt. I've taken lots of wonderful hikes and trips in this one. If it was only one t-shirt that was too big, I'd keep it and use it for a sleep shirt, frame it, make it part of a quilt, or just keep it and look at it. I thought, "Oh yeah, when I lose the weight, I'll just take my XL clothing to the thrift store for a good cause." I took some, but I had no idea it would be so hard to part with the last T-SHIRTS. This probably sounds horribly neurotic unless maybe you have something you feel the same way about. I don't usually have this much separation anxiety about THINGS (I don't think so, anyway). What is a t-shirt? Is it art? Identity? I'm not that philosophical a person, but I'm finding out that a t-shirt must have a whole world of symbolism I haven't bothered to think about.


About the shirt, it has American Indian rock art designs on it and it came from New Mexico. Lee got it for me on a skiing trip to Taos. It's 100% cotton. Made by Oneita. It's soft. The color in the photo is pretty true to life. It's light gray-green (is that called "heather"?) with black designs. The back is also covered with black rock art, slightly different symbols, but the same style. There are some goats and a turtle-kokopelli-looking thing, and a swirling sun. If you're interested, send me e-mail.

I have some other size XL t-shirts I'll put on the blog when I decide which one I can deal with next.

POST UPDATE: My friend Kate saw the shirt and wants it. I am thrilled. I guess I had to feel it was going to a good home. Now it is. Stay tuned for next shirt event.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Wedding Album - San Francisco 2004

My friend Andy wanted to share this with as many people as possible, so I hope this helps. People in love should be able to get married if they want to. I love the music.

Gary Todd: "Work Redefined" - check it out

My little brother just made his first blog post. It's about his new CafePress shop. He's got some cool (read: snarky) ideas for t-shirts, etc. Check out Work Redefined (CafePress) and his blog by the same name (I sense a theme here). You can see who is the smartass in the family. He's actually a very nice guy, but I'm sure he wouldn't want you to know that. ALSO, I hope he gets rich because if he does, he owes me bigtime for the ideas to build a CafePress shop and start blogging about it. But the ideas for the products were all his. I'm not taking any of the credit (or blame) for those. If you've ever been ANYWHERE on the corporate ladder, you can relate to the products. (And no, he did NOT do this on company time.)

I'm also impressed by how fast he learned graphics. My brother is a very talented musician (I'm not kidding; there are three of us and you wouldn't want to hear the other two sing), and as such he could probably tell you how much money he's lost in that field of endeavor. As for the t-shirts and other products, even he probably didn't know he was a graphic artist, and I'm actually quite thrilled to see his store develop. At least now he has something useful to do with his twisted views on life :-p Hey, Gar, I love you! I'm proud of how you've navigated the learning curve. Next you can show me how to build a CP store. My ideas will be really different, though. Can we say, "probably animal-related"? Artistic, not so humorous? Maybe some neat travel pictures. Anyhoo . . . way to go!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Another log in the pilings

I should have gotten my camera out earlier. Here James has already sawed the log in two and it's fallen off its perch - the undercarriage of the building. At about half tide, it had come to rest completely off the ground somewhere between high and low water mark. This was certainly not the monster log of early January, but it did stretch nearly the width of the building. Earlier in the day, Lee tried to push it back into the river with the pike pole, but the log would have none of that.

Here you can see the log after the first cut.

. . . and James finishing it up as the tide started rising again. Note all the mossy green. Yeah, the water covers all that two times a day.

A crab's-eye-view of 1490 Marine Drive

The tide was especially low today. Laurel and I had clambered down the green rocks to watch James take out another log that had lodged under the building (see the post above this one). What's cool here, I think, is the patterns and light, and the fact that you can see how low and how high the water gets in the river. At high tide all of the broken and cut-off pilings are covered, including the sharp one in the center. On the day I moved in, nearly a year ago, I looked down to discover a raccoon scampering across the mass of ropes. They obviously find something they like to eat down here. I loved seeing it, especially because I'd been welcomed the same way to my first Astoria apartment on Bond Street, the one I was leaving when TPF and I moved across town to the river's edge.

Another view. The Bar Pilots' building is on the left. You can see their balcony. That building has screens to keep the floating logs out. Ours will also have a screen after this summer's renovations.

An unusual view of the radio tower and the back of 1490 Marine Drive.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Stunning photos by Denis Alexander Torres

If you want to see some truly beautiful photos, take a look at this collection by my friend and tapir colleague, Denis, from Venezuela. Here are Denis's photos on flickr. Many of the pictures are of wildlife, nature and amazing architecture in Venezuela. You'll be glad you followed this link!

Helen Rosetta Joy

Here is a link to Dirk Hudson's FamilyTreeMaker page, where you can find Helen Rosetta Joy. Her brother, George Lewis Joy, was my ancestor. Her husband, Nathaniel Carlos Hudson, was Dirk's ancestor. There is also a searchable PDF chart on Dirk's page where you can find Helen and her ancestors.

Runners reflected after a rain

I took this near 14th Street on the River Walk.