Thursday, December 31, 2020

December 2020 Books I read

The Same River Twice by Chris Offutt (library) another, "I got away from my hill-billy upbringing" story. Guy "squanders" his  youth (his words), but brings it together when he gets married and has a kid. 
Leave Yesterday Alone by Richard Matheson (library) an autobiographical story and the addition of a journal that Matheson kept make this very interesting. 
The Cracker Factory by Joyce Rebeta-Burditt a female type "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" Published in 1977, so that era of psychological treatment. 
The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult (library) what if you had made a different choice and it changed  your life? That is basically the story. This character experiences a plane crash and survives and goes back to change her life from that choice she made in her youth. 
The Writer's Library by Nancy Pearl and Jeff Schwager (library) interviews with authors about the books that they love. I really enjoyed it and I now have a HUGE list of books to read! LOL
The Queen's Gambit by Walter Tevis (library)  I really enjoyed it. The mini series stays very true to the book. About a chess prodigy who happens to be a girl. 
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbary (library)  Reminded me a lot of a Man Called Ove.   Same kind of thing, someone decides to commit suicide, but then is thwarted by life happening around them. 
The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham (audiobook) (library) 2 women are pregnant and one has a secret. And actually both are living lives that are a sham. 
My Sister's Grave by Robert Dugoni (library)  A woman becomes a cop after her sister is abducted and missing for years. As the book begins, they find the body and the case is fresh again. I enjoyed the PNW locale. 
Butterfield 8 by John O'Hara (library) The book that the movie is based on, I liked it and I want to read more John O'Hara
Hieroglyphics by Jill McCorkle (library) I really enjoy this author and I read everything she writes. After surviving a plane incident a woman leaves her family and goes off to reconnect with the life she left behind during college. It is about the choices we make and what would we do if we could go back and get back on that track to another life? 

Monday, December 28, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach The last one

If you have enjoyed my postcards of Wrightsville Beach and would like to learn more about the history of this beach town, some good resources are the books “Land of the Golden River” by Lewis Philip Hall, “Cape Fear Beaches” by Susan Taylor Block and “Tide and Time: A History of Wrightsville Beach” by Virginia Whiting Kuhn. The Wrightsville Beach Museum is at 303 West Salisbury St., housed in an old beach cottage. It is a great place to visit.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Christmas Ornaments 2020

 Some ornaments that I collected this past year

A Nancy Drew themed star that I created myself

A gorgeous mountain on a spool

big foot in copper

                                                            Felted wool ornament

Airplane in tin

wine ornament

                                                                     oysters ornament

ornament from Ryan's mom's new home

                                                                Cork Angel ornament

Monday, December 21, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach: Intra Coastal Waterway

 At first I was going to just lump this card together with another for the Intracoastal Waterway, but the message on the back of the card was so interesting, that I felt it deserved it's own post! Postmarked from Wrightsville Beach December 1965, so this was a Christmas card to someone in Omaha, Nebraska! And the sender notes that they were staying at the Blockade Runner --which at the time, was barely a year old, so very modern and brand new!! The sender says that they had Christmas Dinner in the new dining room overlooking the ocean.

The sender also says that "the ocean has been like a lake" and having lived there, we used to call it "Lake Atlantic"

So this was a fun postcard to have in my collection.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach Churches

I could have sworn that I had postcards of Mount Lebanon Chapel (Episcopal) and Little Chapel on the Boardwalk (Presbyterian) but I cannot find them. So St. Teresa's is what I have to show you.

Mount Lebanon is regarded to be the oldest known surviving church structure in New Hanover County, it was built in 1835.  I was raised Presbyterian, so I did attend some services at Little Chapel on the Boardwalk over the years.

Monday, December 07, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach Holiday Inn

The Holiday Inn deserves it's own post because my sister worked there! She has many colorful customer service stories from her time there, but I will only share one "insider hotel clerk" story. 

They had a room that had a Murphy Bed and it was always the last room they would ever sell, so it was sort of an employee lounge when they were on break, they would go there and watch tv or just relax. If they were needed, it was always known to call that room to find them.

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

November 2020 Books I read

Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby (library) Fun essays. I laughed a lot while reading this book.
Too Much and Never Enough by Mary Trump (library) growing up in the rich, dysfunctional family of Trump. I read this before the election results
The Lady in the Van and other stories by Alan Bennett (library) there are two additional stories in the book besides the Lady in the Van story. And they are all good. 
Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance (library) memoir about growing up in a poor, dysfunctional "hill-billy" family in Kentucky and Rust-Belt Ohio. It was okay, what intrigued me more was the backlash and an entire book that was written in response to this book. 

Appalachian Reckoning, BookA Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy (library) Folks from Appalachia write essays and poems and share their own stories about growing up poor and fighting against the "hill-billy" stereotype perpetuated by the J. D. Vance book. 

Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson (library) Lots of twists in this thriller. Right up until the very last page. Of course if you read these all the time, you see some of them coming. But I was entertained for sure
Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin (library) I thought I had read this years ago, but it felt fresh to me. I had checked this out of the library for Halloween reading, but just now getting around to it. 
I'm Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid (library) This is a movie on Netflix -- very creepy vibe and there are twists
Late Show by Michael Connelly (library) (audiobook) I actually have enjoyed Michael Connelly more by listening to his work than actually reading it myself. Odd. But when I try to read his books, I just don't get hooked into them as much. I guess because listening to them is more passive. I don't have to work as hard and I just absorb it. 
The Urban Homestead by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen (library) I was curious about how to grow more vegetables and stuff on my deck and this book came across with lots of other ideas on how to conserve and be more self sufficient in an urban setting. Humorous too. 
For Nobody's Eyes Only by Nick Redfern (library) Great Conspiracy Theory reading! So suspicious that all those Roswell documents conveniently disappear.  
Day After Night by Anita Diamant (library) the book was okay, what I found more interesting was how she came to write this book. She found a photo of some girls and she created the story around that photo inspiration. 
Cooked by Michael Pollan (library) very enjoyable book about the transformation of food. I enjoyed the descriptions of cutting onions and making sauerkraut.  
Midnight Water by Geoffrey Norman  very much like a Travis McGee novel
The Girl With a Clock for a Heart by Peter Swanson (library) another twisty thriller from Swanson. Not his best, but still a fun read.
Grace by Natashia Deon (library) about a Slave during the late 1800's

Monday, November 30, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach: Ocean Terrace Hotel Aerial views

Originally, this was the Seashore Hotel....destroyed by fire in 1921 and rebuilt and renamed in 1935 as the Ocean Terrace Hotel. It then burned down in 1955 and the hotel rebuilt on that site was the Blockade Runner Hotel, which is still there today!

Monday, November 23, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach Cottages

Folks visiting Wrightsville Beach did not always stay at fancy hotels. Beach cottages and apartments were always available for rent. Here are two postcards representing these types of accommodations.  My Dad even owned a house here as a rental property for a few years. It was not very successful for him. Once when tenants left town without paying, we were able to go in and confiscate the things they left behind. That was how I got my first stereo. I remember that when we were allowed to go into the house, the police thought there was a dead body in there. The tenants had left a crockpot of food out and it smelled so bad! 
The Pomander Walk apartments and the Surf Inn

A reminder to folks who are fans of my postcard posts. Coming in 2021, I will be highlighting the cards that you guys send to me. So send me a postcard! And you will see it on the blog in 2021.  Amanda Arkebauer PO Box 16131 Seattle, WA  98116

Monday, November 16, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach: More Banks Channel

Arcadia Publishing reproduction 1919

Aerial View of Banks Channel 1980's

1974 postmark Banks Channel

Banks Channel 1970's

The first postcard is a reproduction of a photograph by Arcadia Publishing, from about 1919.
The second postcard is more modern from the 1980's and shows an aerial view of Banks channel.
The third postcard is postmarked 1974 and is a night time scene on Banks Channel. The last postcard is also from the 1970's  Because the waters in Banks Channel were more protected than the ocean waters. It was usually nice and calm. This area was usually where we learned to sail or paddle board. 

Monday, November 09, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach Wits End

This postcard is from the Wits End bar --It was a popular beach bar from the 1950's and beyond

A reminder to folks who are fans of my postcard posts. Coming in 2021, I will be highlighting the cards that you guys send to me. I currently only have enough for about 30 posts, I need 52 to do a post once a week.  So send me a postcard! And you will see it on the blog in 2021.  Amanda Arkebauer PO Box 16131 Seattle, WA  98116

Monday, November 02, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach Seapath

We lived for a while at a townhouse at Seapath. My Dad's boat can be seen in this postcard on the first dock. I worked one summer cleaning boats that were chartered....I got to keep whatever I found on the boats after they came back from charter. This was Pirate Booty to a teenager! Half used bottles of sunscreen, a floppy beach hat or even better, the stray can of beer or the dregs in a bottle of rum would all be taken as spoils!! LOL

Friday, October 30, 2020

October 2020 Books I read

American Serengeti by Dan Flores (library) basically a look at the Great Plains of North America and the animals that used to be there to today. 
A Kiss Before Dying by Ira Levin (library) His first book and a really good mystery thriller
All the Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson (library) great thriller, I am working my way through all his books right now
Dead Wake by Eric Larson (audiobook) The story of the Lusitania, very good and I learned a lot.
My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell (library) creepy, very Lolita-esque told from the point of view of the girl. 
Little Heathens by Mildred Armstrong Kalish Growing up on an Iowa farm during the Great Depression. Wonderful stories
Flyover Lives by Diane Johnson memoir about growing up in Illinois and "escaping" to travel the world but coming to terms with her mid-western roots. 
The Water's Lovely by Ruth Rendell psychological murder mystery. I always enjoy Ruth Rendell. 
Deep End by Geoffrey Norman The last of the Morgan Hunt mysteries. I did enjoy these Florida books by Norman
Murder on the Air by Ric Meyers A look at TV detectives from Martin Kane, Private Eye to Magnum, PI  Lots of behind the scenes info about some of my favorite TV series from Ellery Queen to Columbo to Murder She Wrote. If you are a TV detective fan, this is a fun book.  He has another one called TV Detectives that I am on the hunt for now too. 
The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane by Laird Koenig How many remember the movie with Jodie Foster? Nice and creepy for Halloween. And you know the book is always best. 
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey (library) almost like a fairy tale, set in the Alaskan outback during winter. I really liked it's otherworldly atmosphere
One Across, Two Down by Ruth Rendell (library) classic Ruth Rendell always enjoyable mystery
Firefly Cloak by Sheri Reynolds  dysfunctional family drama dealing with death and abandonment. 
Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith (library) rereading again after many years. So good
The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel (library) a bit disjointed and confusing. I would just rate it a so/so
The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair (library) I think I am going to have to buy this book. It really is one of my favorites that I have read this year. It tells the story of colors from optics and light to artist palettes and pigments. 
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (library) maybe because of the title, but I went into this expecting the over the top drama that you see on Mexican soaps and that is what I got from it. It was good, very soapy in my opinion
Quitter: A Memoir of Drinking by Erica C. Bartnett (library) memoir of an alcoholic who quits then relapses, quits again and relapses again etc etc. How the AA, 28 days detox strategy does not work for everyone. Every addict is different. 
Coma by Robin Cook (library) recently watched the movie, so rereading a classic! 
Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson (library) The entire time I was reading this, I felt like I had read it before. It has some similarities with other thrillers I have read for sure. 
The Searcher by Tana French (library) I really enjoyed it.  An ex Chicago cop retires to a quiet Irish village and gets involved in a Missing Persons case.  Lots of really quaint Irish atmosphere. Makes me want to go retire there. 

Monday, October 26, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach Vintage

I really like these old images of the beach ---Fisherman and Seagrass

A reminder to folks who are fans of my postcard posts. Coming in 2021, I will be highlighting the cards that you guys send to me. So send me a postcard! And you will see it on the blog in 2021.  Amanda Arkebauer PO Box 16131 Seattle, WA  98116

Monday, October 19, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach: Newell's

Newell's was a variety store built in 1946. Wings currently occupies the old Newell's location. When we lived at the beach in 1970, we would walk to Newell's after dinner and get an ice cream. 

A reminder to folks who are fans of my postcard posts. Coming in 2021, I will be highlighting the cards that you guys send to me. I need at least 52, because I post once a week.  So send me a postcard! And you will see it on the blog in 2021.  Amanda Arkebauer PO Box 16131 Seattle, WA  98116

Monday, October 12, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach Surf bathing thru the years

postmarked 1943

Just evidence at how popular Wrightsville Beach has always been...crowded in 1943, crowded in the 1960's and crowded today!

Monday, October 05, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach: Present Day

Two modern day postcards of Wrightsville Beach

Robert's Market first opened in 1919 and is still there today 

The Johnnie Mercer Pier was named in 1942 after it's new owner, previously it was the Ocean View Pier and the Atlantic View Pier.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

September 2020 Books I read

At Half Price Books Redmond, WA

A Prayer for the Dying by Stewart O'Nan Set just after Civil War out west, a plague hits a small town and they must quarantine. Creepy and unsettling --especially in light of what is happening around us today. 
Homefront by Kristin Hannah (audiobook) I am not a huge fan of Kristin Hannah and this audiobook did not change my mind. Great subject matter of a mom who goes away during the gulf war and returns home changed by the experience and how it impacts her family. So if you like her, you will enjoy this one. I prefer Jodi Picoult or Elizabeth Berg for this genre. 
Cry Hard, Cry Fast by John D. MacDonald the lives of several people as they hurtle towards an accident on a highway. 
Window on the Square by Phyllis A. Whitney Gothic Noir type set just after Civil War in NYC
Gringos in Paradise by Barry Golson about an American couple who builds a home in Mexico
Bats Sing, Mice Giggle by Karen Shanor and Jagmeet Kanwal  How animals create, build and entertain themselves, how they express grief, joy, fear etc. The scientific explanations for animal behavior. 
Fly Girls by Keith O'Brien The story of women competing in air races during the 1920's and 1930's. Good stuff!
Hollywood Homicide by Kellye Garrett (library!!!!) my first library book since March! My local library is finally allowing curbside pick up of holds. Fun, I liked the Hollywood setting. The author used to write for Cold Case 
The Secretary by Renee Knight (library) One of those unreliable narrator type thrillers. 
The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish (library) It was like Yentl crossed with People of the Book. I liked it. 
Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews  guilty pleasure ---just enjoying a read from my youth
Flight Risk by Jennifer Fenn fictional story inspired by the true story of Colton Harris Moore who was known as the "Barefoot Bandit" and stole hundreds of thousands of dollars in property, including several small aircraft, boats, and multiple cars.
The Double Bind by Christopher Bohjalian (audiobook) set in a world where The Great Gatsby is real. So that was the hook that got me to get this book but it was a little weird and I did not enjoy it as much as I thought I would. 
Murder Being Once Done by Ruth Rendell Wexford is supposed to take it easy and not exert himself, but he finds a mystery to solve anyway, while on holiday in London
$2.00 A Day by Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer Poverty in America, this book was written in 2015 with research from decades prior. 
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman by the same guy who wrote A Man Called Ove, so super cute and poignant.
I Still Dream About You by Fannie Flagg another quaint southern tale by Flagg and eerily like A Man Called Ove in a way. 

Monday, September 28, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach Johnnie Mercer Pier

In the 1940's Atlantic View Pier was bought by Johnnie Mercer and renamed. . In 1954, Hurricane Hazel  destroyed the pier and it was rebuilt. These postcards are from the Heydays of Johnnie Mercer pier from the 1950's....until 1996 when Hurricane Bertha caused extensive damage, in the same year, Hurricane Fran destroyed the pier. The pier has since been rebuilt as the first all-concrete fishing pier in North Carolina. Johnnie Mercer reopened in 2002 with reinforced concrete pylons.

A reminder to folks who are fans of my postcard posts. Coming in 2021, I will be highlighting the cards that you guys send to me. So send me a postcard! And you will see it on the blog in 2021.  Amanda Arkebauer PO Box 16131 Seattle, WA  98116

Monday, September 21, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach Fishing Boats

Private fishing boats and charter boats were often moored at the Wynn Plaza in Wrightsville Beach near the Wings store on the causeway. Now Wynn Plaza serves as a public dock. These boats would often leave at midnight in order to be at the fishing areas by dawn. They would fish all day and return by sunset on the second day.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach Enjoying the Beach

Examples of postcards from the 1950's and 1960's   I especially like the one on the bottom with the folks beaching their boat and enjoying a picnic. This is  something that we did a lot when I was a kid, but not at Wrightsville Beach. We would go to other islands along the intracoastal waterway that were not inhabited.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Solo Backpacking!

 So exciting! My first ever solo backpacking trip. I picked the Ozette Triangle. I had been wanting to do this hike for many years, so it had been on my bucket list. Ryan was finishing the PNT trail and it ends at Cape Alava which is part of the Ozette Triangle. Ryan would be hiking out from Cape Alava. So I could hike out and camp and meet up with him on his last day. So that became our plan. Back country hiking and backpacking in Olympic National Park requires permits and that was challenging. I was lucky to get permits to camp at Sandpoint and at Wedding Rocks along this Triangle route.  And I was also required to have a bear canister. We have a large canister, but of course Ryan would be using it. And you can borrow one from the National Park service, but it is also a large one and much more than I would need. In fact, a large bear canister just fills up my small 40 liter backpack. After much searching, I was able to find a small canister (for not too much money) that could be sent to me in time for my hike. 

The Start of the Trail

The Triangle begins 

Nice and Flat
You still have to watch your step

The hike out to Sandpoint was so nice and flat along boardwalks. They were not very slippery the day I hiked out, but I am told that when it is wet, they can be treacherous. It was only 3 miles out to the ocean and the campsites. I wish I had weighed my pack before I started out. I will say that I was carrying 4 liters of water and that was a lot of weight, just under 9 pounds in water. 
Purple Mushroom

I love these boardwalks

My first view of the Pacific! 

Found a site and set up the tent

Lunch break, note the bear canister

view from my campsite

checking out the tidepools

Lots of trash on the beach

Pretty driftwood
And even the trash can be picturesque 

The sun came out in the afternoon and it turned into a pretty day. It was busy (labor day weekend) and there were lots of families with children and many groups of people camping along the beach.  The ranger came through about 3pm and was checking permits and making sure people had bear canisters. The ranger said that a male juvenile bear had been sighted to the north of Sandpoint and a mom and cub to the south.  I was lucky to see the male later that day. This is the best way to see a bear from very very far away!! LOL

Can you see the bear?
Can you see the bear? I'll zoom in...

Maybe you see the bear now?

There he is!!

I put the rain fly up on my tent, mainly for warmth overnight as it was not supposed to rain. And I had a nice evening reading books and writing postcards. When I got up to pee in the middle of the night, I saw that I had a visitor on my rain fly. A slug! 


The next day, I only had 1 1/2 miles to hike down to Wedding Rocks where I would camp again. Hiking along the beach was challenging. I had to go around two headlands at low tide, so I got an early start to the day to make sure I hit low tide. There are overland routes, but they can be like rock climbing and I had no desire to attempt that with a pack! Walking through thick sand, smelly kelp, slippery rocks and through shifting beach logs was not fun. 

So many of these plastic floats on the beach

Bear Scat 

A dead sea lion

My hiking pole is there for scale

A collection of floats

Hole in the rock

At high tide, there is an alternate route

pretty driftwood

Wedding Rocks

Wedding Rocks is famous for having native american petroglyphs. I was excited to camp there, which would give me time to hunt for them. The campsites are just north of the rock outcropping.  So I set up camp and went back to hike around the rocks and try to see some petroglyphs. And this is when my camera died. So I have no photos of the rest of my trip.  The camping area was very crowded and I am sure that there were folks camped there illegally. No ranger came by to check.  Also campfires were prohibited and people had campfires on the beach. All in all, it was not a fun place to camp with loud neighbors.

My last day, I started out super early, mainly because I had not gotten a good nights sleep and I did not want to slow down Ryan if he caught up with me. I had 4 1/2 miles to hike today. Ryan would be hiking from a campsite called Yellow Rocks that was south of Sand Point and he had about 9 miles to hike. The section from Wedding Rocks to Cape Alava was the hardest of the beach walk for me. There are several large trees that jut out into the water and you have to hike around them on slippery, slimy rocks. It is very slow going. It was a shame that my camera had died because today was very clear with great weather. I came upon an illegal campfire that was still smoldering and I was able to throw more sand on it to make sure it was out. What is wrong with people? Once I arrived at Cape Alava, it was teeming with people. (labor day weekend) Lots of families and day hikers. There is a water source and there was actually a line of people to get water from the creek. 

The boardwalk from Cape Alava back to the Ozette Ranger Station (and parking lot) was lots of up and down. Stairs and more stairs. It was definitely more arduous than the Sandpoint section. I got back to the car and was so happy to take off my hiking boots. I even drifted off to sleep as I waited for Ryan to catch up to me. He arrived only an hour behind me and we headed home together.