Friday, 26 May 2017

7: home

7 (from May 24)

It's been a tiring day, but we're almost back. Drove past everything I remembered from on the way out. Tried to nap a bit. Stopped at Trader Joe's once more to stock up on cookie butter etc.
We got to Port Angeles about an hour early, so we walked around a bit. It's very quiet. And not very big.
It's hard to see the island across the water, not nearly as easy as seeing the Olympic mountains from Victoria.
And now we're on the ferry heading back.

Home again, time to organize all my classes for next year.

We've had some short blog posts, but that's ok. See y'all on the next trip.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017



We're leaving tomorrow early, so today has been about packing and cleaning. No big outing today. The parents and I went into the town of Cannon Beach to buy some cheese, chips, and I found a brand of yogurt called Chobani. This is exciting for me and Tobin because it features heavily in a webseries called Gayle. We ate it while watching Gayle. It was a good time. The town of Cannon Beach is very Tofino-esque, including the drizzly rainy grey weather of today. There was a shop called the kite factory, and the grocery market we shopped at was cozy and piled with 8 foot tall shelves of goods and built like a maze. 
We listened to some more of the audiobook as a family, and I made yet another friendship bracelet. Rainbow this time. 

Should be an interesting road trip tomorrow. 



Quiet day today. No cheese factory; too far to drive, and there's no visitor's centre at the moment so not possible to see the fabrication processes. 

After the scorching noon day sun had calmed down a bit around 5pm, we walked the 2km down the beach to Haystack Rock. It's about 200ft tall, covered in birds nesting. Seagulls and some small black birds. We saw a bald eagle swooping around trying to get some eggs. 
Lots of people on the beach despite it being a non-weekend. We forged the small river to get to the busy side of the beach. 
Another beautiful beach day. It's easy to let the days go by with friendship bracelets, a good audiobook, some music, and a stunning sandy beach. 
Tobin has mastered the striped friendship bracelet. Julias has completed a zigzag one. I've finished one for myself with a pattern I've improvised. Lise burned her anklet friendship bracelet in the beach fire last night (intentionally) and has now completed another bracelet. 
Jeff is not interested in making a bracelet. 

This has been a good trip for embroidery thread. 

Monday, 22 May 2017



Fun fact: there's no sales tax in Oregon. 
Also my legs are stiff as heck from yesterday's sand escapade. 

We just got back from go carts and visiting the tourist town of Seaside. Go carts were a lot of fun. Although once you can already drive a real car, some of the novelty wears off. They are really fun to try to take the corners nice and tight, then really gun it on the long flat stretch. The Captain Kid place with the go carts and mini golf was displaying an American flag, Mexican flag, and Canadian flag.
Seaside was your typical tourist town, packed with beach-goers. The beach was also packed with people, and peppered with tents. We ate lunch at an expensive tourist burger joint. They had put bags of water with pennies over the doorways (later we looked it up-apparently it's to stop flies, the theory being that the water reflects light and confuses their multi-faceted eyes- this is of course a complete myth). There was a server there who was definitely having a bad day; she had a permanent scowl. Their gluten free buns were pretty good, especially if you just think of them as polenta and not as actual bread. Their milkshakes were superb and also gluten free. 
There was a ton of variety in the kinds of people walking around Seaside. Gay couples with kids, teenage mall couples, bikers, husky owners, tiny kidlets, women with hijabs, women with spray tans, First Nations families, Indian families, very sunburned white families, elderly couples, packs of toddlers with blue ice cream faces, and us. Everyone was just waddling through the sunshine. It was a good time. 
We went to Safeway on the way home and stocked up on ice cream and zucchinis. Julias, Tobin and I had a fun time criticizing the various plastic toys and cheesy greeting cards. Some of the rubber toys looked very much like nudibranchs or sea cucumbers. And I was overwhelmed by the number of perfect spherical coloured rubber balls available.
I am now very tired, as are we all. Today seemed very hot to us (about 20 Celsius) but people were in hoodies etc. I guess it is still May and not technically summer. But it sure feels like it. 

We finally had a beach fire tonight. We went out at about 5pm and got in by 10pm. I brought my mandolin and played a couple Wailin' Jenny tunes. Julias, Tobin and I walked over to the river and Julias waded about halfway across "for science". He ended up with some very wet pants and the knowledge that bare feet do not do well on sharp rocks. On the way back we tried different ways to make footprints; we were inspired by the human, seagull, crow, and dog prints abundant everywhere. There is a way of shuffling your feet next to someone else so that the impression is of a large truck with big treads has gone through. 
We watched the sun set over the large waves in a beautiful clear sky of pink and orange. Just gorgeous. We roasted our chicken sausages in the fire. 
After dark the parents and I stayed to extinguish the fire with water I fetched from the far away sea (I say far because my legs are still quite stiff and uncooperative). We watched the burning embers as the wind which had been a constant bellows died out slowly. A beautiful end to a beautiful night. Back at home we listened to "The Magicians" a bit more and had some more dried fruit and cookies and Boursin on bread. 
We are all now thoroughly exhausted , as proven by the fact that as I write this Julias has fallen asleep on the couch. I get the loft bed tonight upstairs, which is nice. I'll have to be asleep sooner than 2am today. We're off to a cheese factory tomorrow at 11am. 

(Just got the news from home that another of our hens gas gone broody… very exciting. Might give her some of the eggs that our other broody hen is currently on. )

(I know-the photos are of terrible quality. Wifi not good enough and my time not long enough to transfer them digitally from iPhone) (but at least it's something)

Sunday, 21 May 2017

3: Oregon


Just finished a viola practice; I'm reviving Bloch for the year end concert. Tobin has just injured his hand on a folding bed and is consequently a bit mad. We've looked up the best surfing time today and it's from 2pm on, so we're waiting till then to get in the waves and do some bodyboarding. 
No tsunami so far.

I must've spent about four hours at the beach today, not all in the waves. All five of us went out in the water armed with boogie boards and neoprene shells. Some of us (Jeff and Julias) the lucky ones had full-length suits, the rest of us had to make do with half covering (and I have the wind burn and salty bruises to prove it). Julias was experimenting with our newly purchased waterproof camera, so we might have some interesting pictures from today. I didn't spend that long in the water as the waves were only passable and I couldn't move my hands. So off I went to our claimed beach branch to join Lise who had already bailed. She went in to change as I brought out our pocket kite: a tiny stick-less kite with a disproportionately long string. I set about letting out all the string as it was very windy and I felt the need to compete with the high up kites from the other side of the river. The place was packed with Saturday beach-goers, mostly sequestered by the convenient river to the south stretch of sand, leaving the north end quite sparsely populated. I got tired of holding the kite, so I cleverly attached it to the beach branch where it remained quite happily for the next two hours or so. 
Jeff went in to change as well. Tobin, Julias, and I set about modifying the sand as much as we could with our hands and the small bucket and shovel from the beach supplies here. The plan was a castle. The reality was… not that. But still pretty impressive. I managed to build a three-foot tall mound using only my hands and my sheer arm strength. The result was a very floppy-armed Eva. The boys dug a moat, made a bridge, planned the rest of the moat, made a mount of sand, watched the mound fill in the moat, then more or less decided a hole would be a much better idea. 
The three of us started bringing loads of sand from their pile to my mound, dropping it directly on top of the pointy mountain-like pile. The idea was to create a natural base for whatever artistic creation I would endow upon it later. It was very interesting to observe the particle dynamics of the sand as my mount grew to an impressive four-ish feet tall, helped by the fact that Jeff had now returned dry-clothed and ready to try to recall his knowledge of particle physics out loud. 
After maybe two hours, we had a hole and a mound. Both very impressive considering we basically just used our hands. I had some fun making realistic mini sand stalagmites from the watery hole. Tobin had some fun in the watery hole. Julias decided it was time to go in. 
By this point Jeff had almost finished winding in the kite (which I had unwound and forgotten about, oops). I decided to really make use of the giant pile of nice damp loose sand we had accumulated… by sitting on it. It made an impressive seat actually. Quite moulded, nice and tall. Then I stood in it and watched the sides of my mountain crack in great chunks, opening up deep chasms to the heart of the structure. As the giant trapped in the mountain I removed pieces of the sides feeling like a god. 
Yes I am 19 years old. And also a child. 

Back inside we had roast chicken and terrible watery Costco green beans and cheesies chips and dried pineapple and straight up half and half cream for dinner. So pretty much the usual. We listened to some more of "The Magicians" together, people practiced their instruments, then we played some more Taboo. Our version of Taboo now involves no timer, no points, no buzzer. Each person gets six cards to try to explain. Much less stressful like this, and a lot more intellectual. 
We decided no beach fire today as we are all a bit exhausted from the beach earlier. 

After a bit of YouTube (Kate Bush music videos, RuPaul, Chris Fleming as Gayle) it was getting late and the adults went to bed. I taught Tobin how to do basic chevron friendship bracelets (I had showed him an even simpler kind earlier) as I worked on the other half of Julias' watch strap bracelet. Tobin picked it up really well. I made sure to tell him everything I wish someone had told me when I was just learning (such as move the threads you're not working with at this very second as far as they can get away from you). When I first learned, it was just from a book, and it went disastrously. So I'm glad I get to give a Tobin a better experience. 
I stayed up late again working on the watch strap. I think they're pretty much done at this point. I'll have to wait till we get home to attach them though; I'll need a needle. 

Quite a bit of the fun of this trip so far has been to have the time together as a family. It doesn't happen so much anymore, and despite the many disputes and moods and minor injuries, I think we're all feeling a lot more connected to one another. For example I've been meaning to teach Tobin how to do friendship bracelets for ages. And I think we've all practiced more so far here than we do at home. 
Patchy wifi has its perks, I must say. 

Saturday, 20 May 2017

2: Oregon


We haven't done much today so far. Been recuperating a bit from yesterday and planning the upcoming days. Jeff and Tobin tested the waves this morning, the are apparently alright but not great. They're supposed to be better tomorrow, and there's another beach to the North we will try as well. 
We've just returned from a family trip to Costco. I don't think we'll need to buy any more food while we're here, there's quite a bit of it now in our fridge. We got some fancy chicken sausages for a beach fire tonight. The Costco here is exactly the same as the Costco at home. They are very, very similar. We got a waterproof camera. 
I finished a bracelet for Tobin. Looks good. 

We played some Taboo as a family, had some Costco dinner, and I did the dishes. Now beach fire time. We're not roasting the sausages though. Already ate. 

We didn't end up doing a fire, but we had a nice time walking along the beach for a bit. I played some mandolin. No fire because it was starting to rain a bit. There was a river that was fun to break the edge of the sand bank into. 

Worked on another bracelet until 2am. Beach stuff tomorrow. 

Thursday, 18 May 2017

1: Oregon


Off we go again on a trip- bit of a short one this time. Only a week long, to Cannon Beach in Oregon. Currently we are in the lineup to the Coho Ferry sitting in our van, listening to the various alarms (car and otherwise) that continue to go off every once and awhile. Julias is regaling us with mine raft soundtracks, lending a bit of a surreal feel to the whole situation. Doesn't help that I'm pretty tired. 
We've brought five instruments: cello, violin, two violas, and a mandolin. Everyone needs to practice for upcoming year-end concerts… the size of the cello means that the backseat needed to be sacrificed. Nice and cozy for us children in the middle seat. 
Every time I'm down at the inner harbour recently I miss my outrigger days… it will be interesting to ride the Coho after so many encounters as a fellow vessel in the inner harbour. 

I don't think the interior of the Coho has changed at all since the 70s. The prominent colour scheme includes pale green, matte finish metal counters, and beige floor tiles. The Art Deco burgundy seats are pretty comfy. A couple have collapsed and are taped off. All the signs are very quaint; very 50s diner "Food service available at the stern of the vessel". It's definitely an experience. 
Watched victoria harbour disappear behind us in the watery trail. Can confirm: we live on a tiny island. 

Here we are in Trump's America. Drove through the American Nanaimo-town of Port Angeles, saw many gratuitous American flags. It's that manifest destiny seeping through. Saw some recreational marijuana stores, a reminder that it's pretty legal here in Washington state. 
Stopped at a gas station, officially done 30 min of our trip. Gun store next to the gas station "Jones arms: best prices on guns and ammo. Turn here!!!". Gun store on the other side of the station "Fred's Guns". 
Passed a road called "Kitchen-Dick" road. Ah, the United States of America.

First trip to Trader Joe's. I can't believe it: a good 95% of every single product is Trader Joe brand. I don't know how they can do it. They must license other brands or something. Only select products were off-brand: Jarlesberg, condensed egg whites, a certain brand of dog treats. They made the other brand of dog treats. They cleverly copied the look of each brand for each product, making it LOOK like a shelf of various brands, but upon closer inspection, everything says Trader Joe's. It's a bit unnerving. I'm very impressed. 

We stopped at a gas station, and found another spider in the van. Tobin was trying to herd it outside, but it fell into a bag of mostly finished kettle corn. So then the spider was in the popcorn. And we proceeded to try to remove the spider in the middle of the parked gas station cars. Jeff got it out. 
This was the fourth medium-sized spider we've found today in the van. Our guess is that some hatched in here. Julias says "Now we need to ask for spider poison in American", referencing a time Lise and Jeff had to ask for ant poison in Italian. 

Four total gun stores passed at this point. They don't hide, let's just say. Guns and weed: both very available here. 

Passing through a small town with an alarmingly large number of metal animal sculptures: "Rabies vaccine for $25" we definitely needed to know that. What a sweet deal on rabies vaccine. That's a draw. 

Passed a rest area called "Dismal Nitch". Inviting. 
About to cross a giant bridge from Washington into Oregon. It's very long. Just kinda fades into the distance. 
Been listening to a good story called "The Magicians" in the van. Like Harry Potter with swears, grit, and technology. Loving it so far.
Now crossing another big bridge. Many bridges. Much engineering.  

THE PLACE IS BEAUTIFUL! It's right on the beach. And it's big and tall-ceilinged with a distinct Japanese vibe. Beautiful kitchen, nice loft bed area. Everything is perfect. 
Lise's getting right in on cooking the pasta we bought earlier. Julias and I are going to be flipping a coin each night for the separate room. Julias and Tobin are eating cookie butter on graham crackers. The blinds are god-like: you move them where you want them to be and the stay there like magic. 
We have free yoga classes and wine and chocolate in our lovely welcome basket. The complex has a pool. The beach is in sight. 
I am in heaven. 

After dinner and some sibling drama and bit of injury between my bros, everyone minus Julias went off to explore the beach. It's about a 2 min walk and it's gorgeous. The sun was just setting and we could see beach fires starting up on the shore. We are planning to have one tomorrow if we can. The waves look Tofino-worthy at least and I can't wait to get in my wetsuit tomorrow. The sand dunes are like something out of a fairytale, with tufts of grass and perfectly smooth cool sand. Picture Hawaii, but frigid water. 
Lise and Tobin are doing some angst-ridden practicing, with limited success. I can feel the family getting pretty tired with each other. They are arguing about dishes. 
I think it is time for bed.