Notations on beach life…

Things I have seen, or heard, while pondering life at the coast, or life in general, these last few days –

*Dogs. More dogs than I’ve counted in my own neighborhood in years. Folks love to bring their dogs to the beach, and quite frankly, I think the dogs love it too.

*Pajama clad neighboring cabin dwellers, up at 6:30 AM, barefoot and walking on oyster shell pathways trying to find their version of a dog who is not leashed, (as required) and who has scampered off into the underbrush.

*Construction. So much change is happening in this (no longer)  little community. Empty lots are no longer empty. Green space is quickly becoming a town center. Trees are coming down and million dollar homes are going up on the last remaining cliff overlooking the sea. That bluff you see used to be dense forest.

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An entire new district, more farmish than coastal, is being cleared of old-growth timber to the north of this picture. It will contain more of those million dollar homes and even a farm-house inspired inn. I could never afford a home here. I suspect many others cannot as well, which is why most of the houses are rentals year round. Feeling nostalgic while seeing all this change led me to the realization that I liked this place better when it was small and unknown.

*Overpriced merchandise. Because everyone needs a $25 glitter-encrusted starfish, and a $35 “Coastal Breeze” reed diffuser, and a $64 distressed look box filled with pure white sand holding pillar candles that aren’t really for burning for their $299,000 beach cabin. Okay, I know I sound snarky, and maybe even a bit jealous, with these last two comments. I don’t care what your home costs actually, or where it may be located even. Sixty-four dollars for a wooden box you could likely find in your garage is pretty ridiculous.

*Wind. Everything from a gentle breeze that makes the leaves on the saplings flutter, to lofting currents that carry all manner of bird life through the sky, to gusts so strong I wonder about the stability of the timber behind my cabin.

*Conversations. I have my windows open, or I sit out front in the Adirondack chair and listen. Snippets float by from nearby cabins and even from the roadway, carried on the wind.

  • A group with their dogs, talking to a newcomer -“We’re at 10, no actually 13 right now but come over…”
  • “Do you have any outside seating, or a fire pit”
  • From a mom “I bet the beach will be beautiful today,” to her rather disinterested daughter. “Uh huh,” comes the only reply.
  • “The store is closed right now.” The whine of a child who may not have had enough sleep complaining, “But Franklin needs that toy…”
  • “I told you to sit on the bench and wait…” from the frustrated mom who is trying to wrangle kids into and out of the toy store.

*Steps away I see sand, and ocean waves that I hear roar. The sound carries all the way to my cabin and is as constant as each breath that I take.

*Bikes. Some brought in with families, but most rented here. Not mountain bikes, but oldie-timey Schwinn bikes like these that clank and rattle and are painted in rainbow sherbet colors. Many of the rental homes provide them as amenities.

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vintagebicyclerestoration.com

*Neighbors. Clearly unconcerned neighbors, silent at 10:30 PM, marking quiet time for the community, but uncaring that their bathroom window is directly opposite one of my windows. I begin to see consistent lights go on and off every few minutes. The lights are on for 30 seconds to a minute, then there’s a break, then the light illuminates my window again. I know what’s on the other side of my window, yet I decide to peep out through the closed slats of my blinds. The top 2/3 of a head clearly visible. Wearing a knit cap, this person is seated on their toilet. Two more times the light turns on and off. The fourth time I peep again. A male, standing facing what I know to be the wall because their cabin is exactly like mine. His head bent down. One can only assume from this point on what he may be contemplating as he empties his bladder before bed. The lights stop. Their cabin finally dark. I chuckle and go to bed.

*Silence. This may seem impossible with some of the sounds I have described already, however this silence is the type that comes with no traffic noise. No car engines speeding a car past. Just long moments of silence broken only by the call of a bird or the wind rustling my blinds. Even the tick of the clock on my wall doesn’t interfere with the silence, but only settles into the comfortable background noise of life.

This place that I am calling home for a few days is not grand. In fact, it smelled a bit like a wet dog when I arrived as it is one of the pet friendly homes here. It is different though. These are not my regular walls. The furnishings here are not what I would pick. They are comfortable, even slightly worn as this cabin has been here for five years. It isn’t my home, but that is what I need and why, I believe, I have lived relatively pain free since Thursday when I arrived. Perhaps coincidence…perhaps a clear message that I keep choosing to ignore, but all that neck pain always blamed on arthritis just disappeared as I drove west toward this place.

I have sat in positions that would bring me to tears if I was home. I have hopped easily from hard chairs to soft couches, used pillows or not, slouched or sat erect. I have worn my glasses and put my head in both bent or upward facing positions over and over. I can’t do this at home. There is always ‘that spot’ that my head must find to see with my bifocals if I want to read. At home it is almost impossible to remain in that position for long. Here, I think I could stand on my head and acknowledge clearly that something has changed. 

I have a pretty good idea what that change is about and I suppose the real test will come when I return home tomorrow. For now, I plan to enjoy the rest of this day, and evening and my last few hours in the morning. Anything after that will just have to be dealt with in time.

 

Share Your World 2016 – Week 17

Cee gave us a fairly easy one for Share Your World Week 17

I have to admit that most of the time the questions are light and answers come to mind rather quickly, but there have been a few since I started participating in this challenge that have stumped me, or caused me to feel like I have to think way too much. That fact has nothing to do with what Cee asks, but reflects my own, very often irrelevant need to read more into something than is necessary.

When writing by hand do you prefer to use a pencil or pen? I’m not a very neat writer. At least I think so even though I had to take penmanship and learn cursive in school. I balked when I learned that kids are likely not to officially learn cursive anymore as part of their curriculum, then I realized learning it didn’t help me much… so… With all that, I prefer using pen, as pencil seems to add to my sense of sloppiness. It must be a big, fat pen that is easy to grasp, not those skinny little Bic things. My fingers cramp up after just a few words, which also might be why I don’t like pencils.

What’s your choice: jigsaw, word, maze or numeric puzzles? First choice would be jigsaw, although (and yes I sound like a broken record) those little pieces are hard to grasp anymore. Mazes can be fun, and a crossword every so often provides a challenge, and also makes me feel woefully inadequate in my use of the English language at the same time.

Do you prefer long hair or short hair for yourself? Short. No doubt it is short. I wore a pixie cut for years both straight as a board and also finally with a lot of styling product that allowed for some curl. I was told once that short hair as a woman ages can seem harsh (? really) and so now keep things about or around a bobbed sort of ear-level bowlish cut, only not with the straight, too short bangs across my forehead. Side part on the left, consistent color to hide the gray and those bangs reach mid-ear right now. Give me a few years and I’ll likely be ready for all over curls and a nice blueish-silver tint.

List five of some of your favorite blogs. So, not really fair to only list five cause there’s a whole boatload of others, which – when I remember to update – I have compiled into a list that can be found here.

the kitchens garden

the dancing professor

coffee and a blank page

heart to heart

behind the white coat

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?  

Since I forgot about writing this post until later in the week, which to me makes it almost ‘last week,’ lets just say that I’m grateful I remembered to check out the prompt before the week was completely over.

As to looking forward – I look forward to finishing out this week in my little cabin by the sea. Yes, I made it here without incident and even took some optional routes for a change of pace. This little community isn’t so little anymore and continues to grow by leaps and bounds. I look forward to hearing how our savings is going to be drained when we get our roofing estimate, and best of all…I look forward to giving Alison (my youngest) a big hug when I return home. She learned earlier today at work that she will have a new, longer-term position with greater pay at her current workplace. This means, much to her delight, and my true sadness, that she will be moving out in the near future.

 

Determined to make this a grand day

In a few hours I will set out for the coast and a few days of solitude. Most of the time I don’t mind the two hour drive. It is straightforward, usually predictable and scenic enough that I can stay awake and focused.

I remember going on vacation as a child, leaving early in the day headed to the same coastline, arriving around lunchtime, checking into our home away from home, and still having most of the day to venture about. Check in times have gotten so late in the day now that ‘the day’ is mostly gone. Check out times are just as bad so I always feel as if I must book an extra day just to have the experience of having any sort of actual time away.

I also, when I think too long about the subject, get a bit miffed that my dollars are being used to hold a room or house that reality tells me I won’t be allowed to occupy for 1/4 of my four days on the road. This issue is the biggest reason that I would love to OWN a small home near the coast. I could leave at 4AM if I chose, arrive by breakfast time and have an entire day to do nothing, which is the entire purpose behind my vacation. I don’t like feeling cheated out of my doing nothing plans.

I went to bed last night with a sinus headache. Even with allergy meds on board, my head knows when pollen levels change. I don’t sneeze and itch so much, but pressure in my head skyrockets. We have just moved from tree pollen to grass in my area. I didn’t need the meteorologist to confirm this for me. This morning the headache lingers, but even more bothersome is the fact that I have some sort of pinched nerve or muscle strain right under my left shoulder. I’m shifting and turning and bending, trying to find a comfortable position while trying not to think of that two hour drive ahead…

How does something like this even happen? I seriously doubt that I was doing gymnastic maneuvers in my sleep. I usually fall asleep on my right side and wake up on my right side. My hips typically don’t like that I don’t move much at night and it takes me awhile to get moving in the morning, but how does one manage to aggravate a muscle, or pinch a nerve in their sleep?

It is what it is though, and I will do my best to overlook it all, arrive in one piece, buy a donut or scone at the new bakery later today, and enjoy the sounds of the sea.

 

Share Your World 2016 – Week 16

Share Your World Week 16

If you had to have your vision corrected would you rather: glasses or contacts?  Or what do you use if you need to have your vision corrected? have had vision correction since roughly age 8 or so, although honestly I so hated wearing glasses as a child that they would come off the moment I got around the corner from my house and I would squint all day at school. Contacts were a must by the time I reached high school, and I loved them, until my seasonal allergies would have me scratching my eyes out from the pollen – contacts weren’t the best idea then so it was a back and forth thing. Then it was contacts with magnifying readers hanging on a chain around my neck…yes, I did do that, but only at work. Then I got older, and just wanted what was easiest since I needed both distance correction, close up correction (I have 1 nearsighted eye and 1 farsighted) and those readers. Now it’s glasses and bifocals with the hint of a cataract that will need to be removed at some point.

Can I just opt for new eyes all together, perhaps in a nice hazel this time around?

If you had to describe your day as a traffic sign, what would it be? This answer would totally change depending on the day, but universally I can choose this one – indicating a never-ending circle of doubt, indecision and confusion.

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tirezoo.com

Was school easy or difficult for you? How so? I’ve always been fairly ‘academically inclined’ so I would say school in that sense was easy. I was not graceful or coordinated though, so PE was often a nightmare, and I struggled with the social side as well. I like to learn, which is a big part of the reason I went back to school in my 40’s to get my degree and check that off my bucket list.

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jezebel.com

Would you rather take a 1 or 2 week vacation with an organized tour or take a cruise of your choice? I’ve watched enough Rick Steve’s over the years to know that sitting on a tour bus with 25 or 50 other hot, sweaty, grumpy people likely isn’t for me. I like to plan my own activities, or not plan anything at all and just anticipate lounging and drinking wine and eating all the things I avoid at home, so rather it’s a cruise or something else, I have to go with the “my choice” option every time. I can always find a tour if I get desperate.

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http://www.abc.net.au

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

Still pretty happy about that big furniture move although it is a bit odd to sit and watch TV and know that anyone walking by on the sidewalk can now see me being lazy watching recordings of ‘Call The Midwife.’

I’m definitely looking forward to later next week. I’ll be heading west to the coast for a few days of vacation. Rain or sun, it doesn’t matter. I will be exercising that ‘my choice’ option fully.

 

A Major Move

We accomplished a big step yesterday. There was lateral movement within the house. We flip flopped our furniture between designated family room and living room.

Do many of you have two areas designated as separate living spaces? I know that there is that whole ‘great room, open concept’ idea that’s popular now. Folks like that enormous open space where all rooms flow into the next and walls magically aren’t necessary to hold up things like second floors or roofs. Our home was built in 1992 and the idea then was that you had a room (formal or not so formal) that was defined as living room, plus there existed a second area (ours is open to the kitchen) that could be a combo of play space-office-TV room-junk area…whatever the home owner needed or wanted. Our two family space rooms have had various uses throughout the last 23 years as kids, furniture and needs have come and gone.

The latest incarnation in defining these spaces meant that the main, front living area held an old couch earmarked for Alison when she moves, a few chairs, and a desk/computer set-up that is the best dust collector ever. It’s like one of those magic Swiffer sweeper things. Dust is automatically attracted to electronics and ours do a bang up job collecting. The other room, the ‘family room’ held my spouses very large TV and a large sectional couch.

I have never liked this second room really. The layout is odd, I often feel as if I am sitting directly in the kitchen, it can be rather dark, and over the last few years, as his hearing has worsened, my husband consistently increased the volume on the TV. That was enough bother during the day, but even more bother at night as our bedroom is directly down a short hallway and the sound from the TV carried even through a closed door.

I’ve been angling for some time, trying to figure out how to downsize the TV, (never going to happen) or move it. By chance, a friend of the husbands had a speaker system he was giving up and you know who pounced on that opportunity.

Did I mention yet just how much I am not an electronics person? When the speaker set-up arrived, I knew it was my chance to spring a major move. There was no room for all that garbage equipment to be arranged around the TV in it’s usual location. I was pleasantly surprised when the husband was on board with the change, and yesterday in relatively short time, and with great thanks to Alison, everything changed position without incident. The only one traumatized by all this is the cat, who should ideally be happy because she now has more places to perch near the windows and watch for birds, squirrels and her arch nemesis Little Kitty, but who – with her senility – likely feels betrayed by all the changes.

The test came last night when I went to bed and even with the bedroom door open, could barely hear the TV, now situated not merely 10 feet down the hall, but in the opposite corner of the house with two full walls between us.

Little victories make for brighter attitudes, and better sleep.

Share Your World 2016 – Week 15

Share Your World 2016

Name one thing not many people know about you. Somehow I think that I’ve revealed almost everything about myself (hopes, dreams, wishes, the good-bad and ugly, etc.) at one point or another on this blog with the exception of sexually related info so I’m not sure where to go with this one. How about a rather creepy story – It was around 1980. I had broken up with a serious boyfriend and moved into an apartment alone. The bedroom window faced the parking lot and I routinely kept the curtains pulled. The patio window and a smaller kitchen window faced a road which backed up directly to the freeway. There were no buildings across the street, only trees. One night my phone rang. A man’s voice said something like, “I really like watching you…” I was freaked out for days after that and wouldn’t open my curtains. I never felt comfortable in that apartment again.

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If a distant uncle dies and you were always his favorite and leaves you $50,000 (any currency) in his will, what would you do? I would find a great therapist that would help me put aside my fear of flying and then I would hop on a plane and visit Europe for as long as the money lasted. That’s my dream answer. My real, practical answer would likely be that I would set aside some for my grand kids then rent a beach cabin for the summer and sit on my ass, look at the ocean and read.

Where do you hide junk when people come over? I don’t have junk to hide. I’m an obsessively organized person for the most part and stuff being where it doesn’t belong drives me crazy so it’s all likely put away already. I do have dust and cat hair so the vacuum has to make an appearance for sure because it’s just embarrassing to lint roll your guests before they leave your house…

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Complete this sentence:  I want to learn more about … my ancestors. Even though we recently put together that family tree, and actually found quite a bit of information on some very distant relatives, I’d like to go farther back. I’d love to have the opportunity to meet many of them and hear their stories first hand. In my imagination I am descended from Danish royalty, perhaps Sweyn Forkbeard, because…what an outstanding name.