Cheers and thanks to Texans, Wyoming Mamas, and all who extended invites to stop by while “on the road.”
But I now confess that “road” was a slight misnomer.
I am in furrin parts. The only “road” portions of the trip were the three-hour drive to the airport in the dark in a storm (have I mentioned before that I hate to travel?) and the hair-raising drive from the airport to a B&B with a driver to whom my language was as furrin as his was to me. (“Donde you?” “Vengo Washington state, USA.” “Ah, Barack Obama, El Presidente!” “No, el otro Washington.”)
I had the opportunity to come here for next to nothing, checking out another potential “offshoring” destination. So here I am.
That’s the view from my room at a B&B.
Of course, there’s a resident dog.
Actually there are two resident dogs, but the second is hiding — horrified by the hyperactive toddler* belonging to the other guests (a very nice family determined that all their children will travel to Latin America and start learning Spanish before they’re two).
This is my room, where I’m also hiding momentarily from the toddler (and from more socialization than my hermitty heart is ready to handle, despite everybody being very interesting).
That first photo, with the fountain, mosaic, and miniature pool, is actually the middle of the house. Outdoors, but still basically the living room. The guest bedrooms border it, and we guests have actual walls, though not actual glass windows. The family that lives here comes up short in the wall department. Their bathroom and al fresco kitchen is at one end of the courtyard, and there’s a shady sitting room with a hammock at the other, both wide open to the atrium.
I’d find it rather weird to have strangers swimming between my TV room and my kitchen, but everybody here seems to consider it quite the usual thing.
I haven’t been out of this deliciously cozy courtyard home since arriving yesterday so sleep-deprived and travel weary that I could scarcely remember my name.
I intend to remedy that situation shortly. And will keep on reporting as long as the slightly iffy wifi holds up.
As I did last time, I’ll reveal the Secret Location after I return to “Barack Obamaland” next week. Meantime, you’re welcome to guess and I’ll probably drop some pretty obvious clues without even realizing I’m doing it.
*Is there such a thing as a non-hyperactive toddler?
Thanks also to the near neighbor in these furrin parts who offered to meet up, hang out, and tour around with me. I didn’t mean to snub you, as I hope you understand. You’ve been more than helpful. But I’m mainly here to rest. It’s been nearly a year since my life has felt like my own & I just needed a time without commitments.
Oh. And being warm. In March. You know, that’s a glorious thing.
Sometimes just being away is enough. I could almost have checked into a motel across town from my house and gotten the same benefit of “away-ness.” Of course dramatic surf, art galleries, and amazing restaurants are a plus, but not really necessary.
The perspective is what matters.
Being warm is good, too. My house is very cold and hard to heat. Being chilly all the time makes me feel as pathetic as Oliver Twist.
This, too, shall be remedied in time, but right now, it’s fantastic to remedy it simply by turning a thermostat. The wood stove here is just atmospheric gravy.
Just waiting, in a comment on yesterday’s blog eloquently expresses my exact feelings about the ocean and being near it.
It seems strange to “recreate” next to such a powerful, unpredictable killer beast.
I brought most of my own food for this getaway, but promised myself one Big Indulgence meal each day. Today it was breakfast. To wit: a Dungeness crab omelet topped with Havarti dill cheese and half an avocado, served with a bowl of fresh fruit on the side. I’m not actually that huge a fan of either Dungeness crab or avocados, but it sounded exotic enough to be interesting. And it was. Very tasty, with enough crabmeat in there to feed several sailors.
I promised you some photos, and the omlet was so pretty I whipped out my camera to take a picture of it. But — groan — “lens error.” Funny how carrying a camera around in a pocket full of lint and dog hair will do that. So no personal pix from this trip. Not one. :-(
But since I promised, I’ve posted a ‘Net-found photo below. Um, not of an omlet.
This town is noted for its art galleries: I gallery hop and admire, but don’t touch. Between the galleries are shops full of high-class beach kitch, fancy novelties, and inexpensive imports. Some of those are nice enough to be tempting. (And get this, there are two shops devoted solely to dog-related merchandise.) I’m resisting. So far.
I’m Christmas shopping for two friends. One is easy to buy for; the only problem in shopping for her is finding too many things I know she’d love. The other friend is the hardest person in the world to buy for. She is so self-effacing, so self-sacrificing, so eager to place her interests beneath everybody else’s that finding anything just for her is impossible. Last Christmas I gave her a gift certificate for a massage; I have a sneaking suspicion she never used it, maybe even gave it away despite my stern admonitions.
I want to ply her with small luxuries. She patiently resists being plied.
A seagull just landed on the deck railing outside my window and is staring in at me as if he expects a handout. Sorry, bird. Ain’t happening. He looks pretty well fed without my help.
Even if I were inclined to share goodies with him, it’s apparently verboten. The one thing I don’t like about this town and the whole yuppie culture it exemplifies is how much is controlled or forbidden. No feeding the seagulls is just a sample.
Before being “allowed” to stay anywhere in town, every guest over the age of two has be be registered, in advance, on a police form. Ugh. The instructions on what I’m supposed to do with whatever trash I generate during my stay are so complicated (complete with penalties for not putting the exact right thing in the exact right recepticle) that I’ll probably just pack my trash back home rather than risk committing a grave and costly offense against local propriety.
Today was trash day and I swear I counted at least four different hauling/recycling vehicles rumbling up this tiny street. I wanted to run out and apologize for not having anything for them.
Meanwhile, Mr. or Ms Gull is still staring and I think I’ll have a late lunch now just to drive the poor old bird crazy.
So I’ll leave you with that promised photo. Now everybody who knows the Oregon coast knows exactly where I am:
It has been. Since last spring. A crazy, crazy, hectic, maddening, stressed-out year. Not necessarily a bad year, understand. But … difficult.
A modest sum of money (long awaited, overdue) finally landed in my vicinity a couple of weeks ago. Glory hallelujah! But I immediately put it to work creating more chaos. Which got more chaotic as it went along.
My head. Was about. To explode.
So yesterday I went online and found the lowest-cost vacation rental in an Oregon beach town, booked it, and dropped the poor, pathetic, protesting pooches at furrydoc’s kennel (thanks, furrydoc!). Today … here I am, watching a seagull pace the ridgetop of the beach cottage across the road.
I don’t travel gracefully. I am not a free spirit. I fret about the preparations, the getting there, the what-might-be-happening-at-home while being there, and … well, everything.
All the way here I worried whether my sight-unseen studio apartment might be in a tsunami zone and where the nearest evacuation route might be. Yeah, I think like that. Sorry. I kept wondering (ala Marvin the Paranoid Android) why I was making this little getaway because I’m not going to enjoy myself.
Then I got here. It’s on a nice, satisfyingly tall hill that looks out at the ocean (from a nice, safe height) over the roofs of several houses. Tsunami frets blew away.
And I was floored by the wonderfulness. My goodness. For less than $50 a night, I’ve got an apartment with big windows on three sides of it — including one lovely stained-glass window. The front windows open onto a deck with a view of the waves. Rear windows look onto an intimate fenced garden.
Awaiting me was a gift bag with coffee mugs and half a pound of certified organic fair-trade coffee beans (this is the world of Portlandia, after all; and yes, there’s a coffee grinder in the room). The queen bed has a feather duvet. There’s a woodstove with a complimentary Prest-o-Log already in place and a store down the road that sells bundles of wood. There are books! Wicker furniture. Even musical instruments (not that I know how to play them) and a cabinet full of board games. And need I mention free wifi?
Wow. I’m also the only occupant of this whole house and practically the only occupant of the entire street. You know I love that.
I made one miscalculation, though. Tonight is V for Vendetta night and, figuring there couldn’t possibly be a DVD player in the room, I didn’t bring V along. But would the folks who provided coffee beans and a grinder forget the DVD player? No, they would not.
So the only thing I’ll be missing tonight is movie tradition. And that’s my own fault.
But heck, this place is so fabulous, I might just stay here until next Guy Fawkes Day. My friends can bring V when they come visit.
Or … more likely I’ll ask to stay three days instead of the two I booked. This is just too fabulous.
Now to rest, relax, and renew …
(P.S. I did bring a camera and if I get any good pix I’ll post them.)
“13 nutrition lies that made the world fat and sick.” It may not be instantly apparent what this one has to do with resistance to Authoritah — until you consider who promulgated the lies that are being debunked. Yes, what you eat and how you learn about what you eat has changed since gov and agribiz introduced the old pyramid and had it accepted as 1980s gospel.
Here’s another non-obvious sign of hope: IBM sales plummet in China. Because NSA is inspiring distrust in all its collaborators, or even suspected collaborators. If US tech companies want to thrive, they’ll have to prove to the world that they aren’t the UberGovernment’s sock puppets.
Swarms of tabs are buzzing ’round my head again. Some contain news that fills me with such loathing I can’t decide whether to blog about it or run for cover. I’ll avoid the most loathsome for now and merely blog the good, the bad, the indifferent, and the funny to clear my browser and my head.
The NSA disguised itself as Google to enable even more spying. Part of me says this is bad in the same sense that the CIA’s longstanding practice of disguising its agents as journalists is bad (for the health of actual journalists). Part of me sez, “Hey. Wait. You mean somebody still thinks Google isn’t the NSA?”
Got an E-Z Pass (or your local equivalent of one)? You’ll be very unsurprised to learn that you’re not solely being tracked at tollbooths. Article applies only to NYC, but was sent by S, who’s pretty sure the same thing’s happening where he is, also. Convenience. Why do we expect we’ll never be made to pay — and pay and pay — for it?
Oh goodie. Our Masters now want to decide who’s an authorized journalist and who isn’t. If this goes anywhere, those without a federal stamp of approval would not be entitled to First Amendment freedom-of-the-press protections. Hm. We’ll see about that …
News of the weird: Did the Vatican steal Jesus’s … um, body part?
Oh well, gotta laugh about it all. Here, thanks to Brian Wilson, is the ObamaCare version of the Capitol Steps’ “Ten Pills and You’re Fine”:
This was a week for getting reminded of unconventional freedoms — and unconventional Outlawry (though some might call it just plain criminality).
First, we got fascinated with Christopher Knight (aka the Maine Hermit), whose solitary life some found irresistible. Imagine speaking only one word to another human in 27 years and sleeping outdoors through 27 northern winters. Imagine doing that, yet remaining so un-resourceful that you think stealing from a camp for handicapped kids is a legitimate way to survive.
Then yesterday afternoon, NPR interviewed Mike Brodie — not their usual sort of book author. At 27, Brodie is a freelance auto mechanic who disdains any claim to thinking of himself as a writer or photographer. But at 17, he started hopping freight trains, taking along a Polaroid camera. Now he’s published A Period of Juvenile Prosperity, a photo memoir of that Outlaw life.
Most of us are more respectful of property than the Maine Hermit and more settled than Mike Brodie’s friends. But tell the truth: Do you envy them a bit? Do you sometimes wish you could just walk away from the life of earning and spending and getting, the life of being responsible, filling out paperwork and carrying credit cards and IDs? Do you sometimes long even to give up some of your comforts? Do you think you could do it in the future? Or have you done something like that in your past?
I’m not asking if you’re ready to chuck it all, or if you approve of train-hopping hoboes or thieving hermits. Just wondering if you ever feel the urge, ever acted on it — or ever might.