Sunday, February 2, 2014

Cheesy Fun in Tillamook

Healing is a Sacred Journey:  Cheesy Fun in Tillamook


Virginia Pickles Jones

Way back in 1978 when I was attending the University of California and began grocery shopping for myself, I discovered this cheddar cheese called Tillamook that was far tastier than other cheddar cheeses.  I bought the Tillamook cheddar and left the Kraft cheese on the shelf.

Somewhere in the back of my mind was the fact that Tillamook cheese was made some place in Oregon.

Fast forward to 2002, when I followed a friend's advice and visited The Tillamook Cheese Factory for the first time.  Who knew that a cheese factory could be such a fun place to visit?  And we all know that fun is healing because that is the whole point of this blog.  The Oregon coast town of Tillamook boasts two cheese factories which welcome visitors -- The Tillamook Cheese Factory and the Blue Heron Cheese Company.

I love The Tillamook Cheese Factory with its cheese samples, fudge samples, superior ice cream and wall sized window views into the cheese making and packaging process.  In addition, the Tillamook Creamery's Mudslide Ice Cream is my favorite food, not merely my favorite ice cream.

However, despite the inside view of a cheese factory and fabulous ice cream, for quieter, more intimate family fun, I prefer the Blue Heron Cheese Company, which specializes in 
brie and blue cheese. 

 The Blue Heron Cheese Company also specializes in a petting zoo and a lovely, whimsical, flower filled garden.  One of my favorite ways to eat a picnic lunch on an Oregon beach is to buy a baguette of bread and cheese at the Blue Heron Cheese Company and take them with me to the beach.  I also like simply visiting the store and grounds to commune with garden and animals and feast on samples of dips and jams and cheese.  

So what can you do in Tillamook, Oregon?

Check out the cheese samples at The Tillamook Cheese Factory.

Impersonate a cow,

or graze on goodies by the geraniums in the cafe.

Then head to the Blue Heron Cheese Company and check out their samples (not shown).

Also check out their Petting Zoo and…

yak with a llama;

gossip with a goat;

chat with a chicken;

dance with a donkey;

and bow to a sheep.

Then gravitate to the garden.

Bask in the summer sun by the bird houses.

Pretend to be a pig;

and eat cheese and bread and dip and come again next year and do the same all over again.

Copyright 2014 Virginia Pickles Jones

Following the Footpath to Fishing and Fishing Boats in Garibaldi, Oregon

Healing is a Sacred Journey:  Following the Footpath to Fishing and Fishing Boats in Garibaldi, Oregon


Virginia Pickles Jones

Begin by the Bay Lane Clam Bed Pier off of 12th Street just south of Highway 101.  Low tide allows you to walk on the rocky bay side.  When you have had your fill of turning over rocks and looking for invertebrates, take the stairs to the pier.

In reflecting on your own life, where did you begin your journey to healing?

The casual crab fishermen plies his pleasure, baiting a trap and throwing it into the water below.

The crab he catches nurtures his taste buds, body and soul.

What do you do to nurture body and soul?

Whether you are fishing or walking, enjoy the azure skies, the view of green forested and grassy hills, and the mild breezes coming off the Pacific.

Pacific… Pacify…. Peace….

Where do you find peace?

Walk up the pier…

…to the shore.

Take the trail which leads from the pier along the bayshore by the western edge of the marina.  
Walk along the bay.

Enjoy the view of the Clam Bed Pier as

fog rolls over Cape Meares to the South.

On clear days the sun gleams on Tillmaook Bay.

At low tide, the retreating waters expose mud flats -- home to thousands of clams.

Climb up the bank to the marina.

Leave the ocean side of the bay, and

walk across the marina to where the fishing boats moor.

Where is your path in life taking you?

Here in Garibaldi, billowing white clouds and blue sky reflect on the water…

Enjoy the beauty of this moment.

Meditate.  Is your life on a path to beauty?

If not, do you need to change direction?

The marina is alive with movement and color: Brick red fish processing plant, pink buoys, yellow surfboard, blue fish totes….

Life explodes with color if we provide ourselves with opportunities.

Where can you find bright colors and breathtaking beauty in your life?

Walk down to the boat mooring docks.

Metal crab traps, stacked on the dock, wait for trips to sea.

Is there anything caging you?

How can you set yourself free?

Change your perspective.  Turn around and look
between boat and dock to where land and sky meet on the water.

What can you see when you change your persecutive on your life?

A rust painted boat reflects on the water.

Reflect on your life.  

Is there metaphoric rust in your life?

Is there beauty in your life despite the rust?

What can we do to repair the rust and emphasize the beauty?

Green hoses sit coiled on the dock, ready to wash off fish scales and slime.

What dirt and muck do we need to wash off of ourselves as we journey through life?

Life is work in progress just as the work of fishermen and fisherwomen is never done.
The nets and traps are emptied into fish holds, which are then emptied into the processors on shore where fish or crab are frozen or processed into product and shipped elsewhere.

But for the fisher, once the crab has been removed from the traps and the fish moved from the holds, everything must be washed and scrubbed for the next haul or the next season.

Each season batters the boat and wears and tears at paint and hull.  When the season ends, 
each boat must be repaired and repainted.

What repairs and repainting are needed in your life?

Where can you go to repaint and repair your soul?

(Hint: Garibaldi, Oregon)

Copyright 2014 Virginia Pickles Jones

Maximum Relaxation in Rockaway Beach

Healing is a Sacred Journey: 

Maximum Relaxation on Rockaway Beach

by Virginia Pickles Jones

Many years ago, when my children were little, during the years after my husband and I divorced, I worried how I would support myself and my children.  I needed inexpensive fun activities for them and for me.  My deepest form of relaxation was resting on the beach while my children played.  I brought a simple lunch of fresh salsa, tortilla chips, sodas in plastic bottles and Pepperidge Farm cookies, spread out a couple of beach towels and a picnic cloth and stayed the whole day.   One of my favorite places to go was Rockaway Beach, Oregon.  Now I am sharing Rockaway Beach with you.

Close your eyes and breathe in slowly and deeply…..

Think of what you are feeling.

Are you relaxed and happy?  Stressed and anxious?  Or just numb?

Go for a walk on Rockaway Beach.  Take the kids.  Take the dog.  All will be content.

First, take off your shoes and feel the grains in the sand between your toes.  Walk down the beach. 

Walk along the water’s edge south to the Twin Rocks.

Walk down the sand strip between town and sea.

Relax with friends.


Walk back up the beach.  Cross the sand dunes and take a trail to where the strip of houses, shops and cafes lines Highway 101.

Watch the Oregon Coast Scenic Railway train pass by…



After all, how are you going to watch the coastal scenery if the train travels travels quickly?

Cross Highway 101 to Flamingo Jim's were you can find whimsy…

Or inspiration….

Or a Buddha…

…or two or three…

…laugh, relax, maybe even give Flamingo Jim some money so you can take the whimsy and inspiration home with you.

Walk back up the beach….

Contemplate a pebble in the sand.

Change your perspective.  How does your view of your own life change as you change your perspective?

Play in the stream....

Play on the beach........

Sit on a log and rest for the day.

Close your eyes and breathe...

No need to think, just be...

Now, what are you feeling?

Relaxed?  Concerned?  Happy?  Scared? OK?  Ready to go forward again?

Right here , right now, in this moment…

…..all is right with the world….

copyright 2014 Virginia Pickles Jones