Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Heading Home

The sun came out for our last morning. Willem fetched a pail of water for us to wash our breakfast dishes in.

This kid

is totally full

of beans.

The one thing we ALWAYS do when we get over to the coast is stop at the Bowpicker in Astoria for the best fish and chips on earth. I had to include this picture of us eating there on our drive home because the expressions our faces totally crack me up.

I'm pretty sure Willem and I are thinking There's no place like home. There's no place like home.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Camping, Day 2

I was discouraged to wake up our second morning to honest-to-goodness mud. But breakfast at the Cottage Bakery Cafe & Deli in Long Beach perked me right up, especially when an elderly regular got up from his table to find himself some more coffee and came by our table with the coffee pot to top off ours while he was at it. Nels and Willem each had a plate-sized "Texas" doughnut with maple glaze. 

I have never seen a kid with a doughnut look as miserable as Nels did once we sat down with our food. Turns out he felt he was being laughed at. The place was very crowded, and the sight of two young boys with two massive doughnuts was causing a stir. I did my best to explain to Nels that people were just enjoying it, not making fun, and that they were probably just thinking about how wonderful it would be to be eight years old and eating a giant doughnut. I know I was.  

After breakfast we drove out onto the beach for novelty's sake. Shaun always expects the boys to get excited about that, but they don't really know any different. Poor beach-deprived boys.

Fortified by our dry indoors breakfast, we decided to check out the North Head Lighthouse, which is something we'd missed doing on previous trips to the area. First, we took the opportunity to check out the historic lighthouse keeper and assistant lighthouse keeper's residences. Holy smokes. We didn't peek into the windows as much as we would have liked, because they are occupied. YOU CAN RENT THEM. So, yes, I see an awesome trip (with friends; there are plenty of beds) sometime in our future.

Beautiful even on a gloomy day.

You may need to click on these pictures to see that there's a lighthouse in them.

In the parking lot, at the base of the trail that leads to the lighthouse, there is a sign that says (among many, many other things) that no one under seven years old may climb the tower. Nobody reads the sign that closely. We didn't.

Willem took it really well, but it was kind of horrible to wait for Shaun and Nels to make the climb. All the while we watched a steady stream of families with young children walk into the lighthouse excited and walk out dejected. It was saaaaaad. If I were the ticket lady, I would have made my own big sign and taped it onto the official park one. She didn't seem too bothered about being the bearer of bad news, though.

After all that cold, we decided to reward ourselves with a movie, so we drove back to Long Beach and watched Brave. Shaun and I may be the only people on the planet who don't usually like Pixar movies, but we all liked this one just fine. And three of the four of us left wishing we had Scottish accents.

We spent the two sunniest hours of the day in the movie theater, but the boys had been promised beach time, and beach time they would have.

They eventually went all the way into the water. All that cold and activity wore them out, and I think Willem was ready for bed at 7:00. He was very snuggly. I will take it while I can get it.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Camping, Day 1

Rise and shine!

 Here we are hunkered down under the shelter Shaun put up for us, eating the hot breakfast he fixed for us. Every family should be so lucky as to have a Shaun.

The first business of the day was to take a long walk out onto the jetty. It was windy.

Very, very windy.

And gray. 

And windy.

We walked out until the footing started to get more challenging (for me) and watched the pelicans and the seals, and even some arctic terns fraternizing with a flock of seagulls on the beach. A passerby was kind enough to point them out.

Afterwards we let the boys loose on the beach next to the jetty. It was perfect kite weather. No running required. 

The boys enjoyed exploring all of the shelter remnants we encountered. There were many.

But the best fun of all was jumping off the edge of the bluff. They could have done this all weekend.

At this point I was wondering how much of this sand was going to end up in his sleeping bag.

After the beach, we stopped by the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center for a bit before it closed. The center charges admission for the Lewis and Clark display, but not for the floor devoted to maritime history.

Outside are the remains of Fort Canby. We didn't linger long, but we walked through the fortifications. The signage was good: a diagram showed us what all of the different rooms were used for, so it we could imagine them in use as we looked around.

Here's a photo of a soldier posted right in front of the spot where it was taken.

And back to camp to poke a fire with a stick. What more does a boy need?

Monday, August 6, 2012

We Camped

A week after school got out, just over a month ago, we went camping at Cape Disappointment State Park. I think we can all agree that if you camp at a place named Cape Disappointment, you forfeit the right to complain if anything doesn't go well. It's not like they didn't warn you.

The campground on the lovely Long Beach peninsula fills up fast in the summer, so we had to make reservations before we knew it would be a rainy weekend. When we got to the campground, we noticed that everyone either had a camper or a canopy. We had a tent with a rain fly. But we also had a secret weapon in the person of Shaun, who MacGyvered a shelter over our picnic table with the tarp we usually put under the tent.

It rained (mostly just drizzle) off and on for the duration of our stay. The sun came out the morning we left. A few times a day, Shaun and I would put our heads together and say that we'd go home if it got any worse, but then it would slightly improve, so we ended up sticking it out. Shaun feared that a rainy camp experience would make me never want to camp again, so he worked extra extra hard making it pleasant for everyone. I hardly had to lift a finger.

So, yes, it was damp. And yes, Nels did throw up once after a bit of ash from the fire flew down his throat. And one night Shaun and I were awakened in the wee hours by the couple camping next to us. Ahem. But the trip was well worth the while.

The camp sites themselves were not particularly interesting, and they were very close together. I like that we had a crazy muppet-looking rock on ours.

Boys on aforementioned rock.

A walk on "our" beach the first evening we were there. 

Shaun took lots of nice pictures, so those are coming next. Broken up into days so as not to overwhelm.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Thank You, Internet

Today on Twitter, Biola professor Fred Sanders tweeted a link to this list of best books for writers. The title and description of the book On Looking: Essays caught my eye. Noting that the author teaches at the Rainier Writing Workshop MFA in Tacoma, Washington, I looked up the program. Then I looked to see who teaches in the program.

And that's how I discovered that there's an American writer who writes fiction and essays about Appalachia whose name is Ann Pancake. Could anything be more wonderful?

p.s. According to Wikipedia, she is a distant relative of the writer Breece D'J Pancake, whom I also never heard of before today but obviously need to familiarize myself with. Do read his Wikipedia bio, at least.

p.p.s. And as if that weren't enough, you can find Ann Pancake's brother, actor Sam Pancake, here on IMDB.