Beach Trip!

August 31, 2021 by Adam in Family

Emma and I are back from our beach trip, settling back into work and the summer routine.  Joanna had a good time at the writer's retreat, staying in a tipi and working on plotting.  Presumably it's writing-related and not a murder or heist sort of thing.

Emma and I were extremely efficient in our journey - Emma had planned it all out in the days before.  We started with lunch at Old Town in Florence, watching the crowds of people escaping from the sunny valley.  I wanted to break a $20 for the $5 day-use park fees, so we went next door to the bookstore.  It was full of fascinating treasures, including an old book on pirates with Emma's favorite ship inside.  After a long while we left and then headed to South Jetty to visit the beach.

It was incredibly windy, to the point where it felt like we were being sand blasted the entire time.  Occasionally people would walk up the steep dune, take a look, and turn back to their cars.  We wandered around a little, then returned back.  I led Emma slightly astray, passing a couple bird corpses into the tall beach grasses.  Eventually we sorted ourselves out and safely returned to the car.

The afternoon was spent playing board games, eating pizza, and watching The Bravest Warriors on my phone.  I had Spotify play rain noises all night and we conked out in our no-frills hotel.

Emma was up early and we feasted on single-size Rasin Bran and leftover pizza to fortify us for the day.  Packing up went quickly and we got to the Darlingtonia nature preserve, admiring the beautiful carnivorous plants.  Next stop was the Hobbit trail, which led to Hobbit beach.  It was a bit of a journey, full of hedge tunnels, mushrooms, and a weird passage through the sandstone with the walls lined with crab shells.  The beach itself was quiet and misty and nearly deserted.  We wandered through the fog to some tide pools, then returned past the sandstone cliffs where generations of teens carved names and symbols to mark their existence.

As were were done with our agenda and Emma was worn out, we listened to sea shanties and returned home.  The rest of the day was relatively quiet - Emma played I Expect You To Die 2 in VR.  Joanna returned from their writing retreat.  The last of my beach vacations were sadly over, though the memories continue to be lovely.

Mocha Friday

August 27, 2021 by Adam in Family

I'm getting back into the swing of things at home.  Joanna went off to a writer's retreat, sending pretty pictures from their tipi by the river out in Marcola.  Emma's hanging out with me - she cooked me dinner and we watched Legally Blonde together.  She's also been planning our beach trip, coming up with an itinerary that includes visits to botanical gardens and board games.

I'm a little whistful that my vacation is over, replaced by work and the responsibilities of home.  It was so nice to get away for a little while.

Last Day in Paradise

August 25, 2021 by Adam in Family

We awoke this morning to our final day at the coast, watching kids play in the sand as we ate breakfast from our condo.  Soon we'll be packing and heading back home.  Joanna's improvising a potato salad for us to eat along the way.

Monday we spent our first full day in Rockaway heading down the road to a hiking trail through the woods to see a giant cedar tree.  The trail itself was fun, with one highlight being an extremely noisy baby eagle that we watched beleagured parents swoop in and feed every few minutes.  The cedar at the end of the trail was impressive enough, followed by a cheerful tromp back to the car.

Unfortunately every vacation seems to have a story of being thwarted and a touch of unexpected suffering.  We'd planned on driving down to a yarn store in Tillamook.  Unfortunately it was closed, as was the first place we looked for lunch.  Eventually we waited a long while for a sandwich at a little kiosk, then headed to a city park to eat it.  As fate would have it, we discovered it was next to a sewage treatment plant, so we ate in the car and headed to Fred Meyers for supplies.  We fled town, deciding to pass on the tour of the Tillamook Creamery, which even in COVID times had a horde of tourists lined up.

Yesterday was much more pleasant.  We decided to go on another hike in the woods, this time to Neahkahnie Mountain.  There were some questions as to the trail and distance, and it ended up being much longer than expected.  The trees were lovely, roots spread over the trail to form steps up the switchbacks.  Birds and other hikers kept us company along the way.  We got briefly lost towards the end, sitting down on the narrow trail and eating lunch, perched on the steep green mountainside.  We turned back, discovered our mistake, and scrambled up the rough, rocky peak to be greeted by an older couple and shirtless guy with a drone.  The view was amazing and after taking in the sights we returned back to our condo once again.

We puttered a little in the afternoon. We finished the animal puzzle.  I worked a little on a game, making a little robot run around a tiny maze in preparation for greater things.  Eventually we left for dinner, suffering a long wait so that Joanna could get some sea food to make their belly happy.  We returned to watch a funny movie and turn in.

Such a wonderful trip it's been.

Rockaway Beach

August 22, 2021 by Adam in Family

We bid our farewells to Kendra this morning and the little room that kept us warm the last few nights.  Yesterday we hung out in our room until after lunch, returning to Manzanita to rent "fun cycles," these recumbent three wheelers, and roam about the beach.  It ended up being more fun than expected, very much a workout for our legs.  Eventually we got to a stretch of sand where we sunk too far into the sand and could go no further.

We staggered back, poking our heads into the little shops along the way.  Joanna found the same brand of candies they had in England.  Dinner was some chicken enchiladas for Joanna and tomato soup and salad for me, followed by binge watching Shadow and Bone and blissful sleep.

Today we rented kayaks at Wheeler, paddling up towards Nehalem and the dock we waited for our pizza a few nights earlier.  The wind was brisk and the sky gray, but it was warm enough and there were plenty of seals and birds to keep us company on the way upriver.  We stopped for lunch on this little island, then summoned our strength to paddle back to the marina.

We still had a couple hours to kill until our condo was ready, so we popped into a coffee shop and read a little.  I've already finished two books and made a good dent in the Ursula Le Guin essays.  The condo ended up being surprisingly nice, we a great view of the ocean.  My only complaint was hauling all our things from the car up the stairs and down the hallway.

The Twin Rocks are visible nearby, where one can apparently be buried beneath the waves.  We started our first puzzle of the trip.  Joanna is cooking dinner.  It's all very lovely after our afternoon exertions.

Hiking to Smuggler Cove

August 20, 2021 by Adam in Family

We had a hearty breakfast of baked eggs and potatoes, followed with a visit with our chatty B&B owner.  After getting situated, we drove up to Oswald West State Park and followed the surfers down the windy path under the freeway and eventually to the beach itself.  There were some great old growth trees and a fun suspension bridge.  The beach itself had some interesting geology in the cliffs - granite and sandstone all tilted at angles suggesting ancient and powerful events visible in the cliffs.

We ate our leftover pizza on a picinic table near the freeway, then drove to Manzanita for a long walk on the beach.  The fog was rolling in, making everything disappear as we moved along the sand.  We eventually returned to the shops and stores along the main road, killing time until the whiskey bar run by Joanna's agent friend opened up.  Sadly the friend was absent, as apparently owners of whiskey bars are sometimes, but we enjoyed the ambience and I nibbled on pasties and sipped ginger beer.

Now we're back at our b&b, I finished my physical therapy, and it's time to relax before a quiet night of Netflix and reading.  Tomorrow it's bikes on the beach, I think.  We'll see where our whims take us.

Greetings from Nehalem

August 20, 2021 by Adam in Family

We're staying at a little bed and breakfast near the Nehalem river. It's small but generally serviceable. Fortunately it's far better than the Ramada we stayed at in Portland. At least we haven't found anyone sleeping in the hallways yet.

Duncan and Ben made it to Rochester. Emma's back from Corvallis, getting ready for the introDUCKtion at the U of O tomorrow. Our housesitter reports the cats and garden are good.

It's been a lovely time hanging out with Joanna. Last night we walked around Manzanita a little and picked up some pizza for dinner. We started watching Shadow and Bone, which Ben had nixed as an evening show - too much risk of romance.

Sweet, Sweet Rain

August 17, 2021 by Adam in Family

It rained last night, a welcome event after so many hot, dry days.  The cars and patio have funny gray spots where rain moved ash around before evaporating in strange patterns.  Tomorrow we get our house sitter settled in and head off on our various adventures.  Duncan and Ben are preparing for their trip back east, loading up laptops with videos, music, and games to sustain them through Internet-free zones.  I've got to pack up my physical therapy gear for our beach adventure.  I'll miss Emma's IntroDUCKtion, despite the terrible pun - fortunately I went to Sam's and it's probably good Jamie experiences the event this time around.

Work's going well - I'm happiest when working on slightly crazy hard problems.  I'm slowly moving away from giant databases to url changes, which has little pieces everywhere.  Our next version has some nice polish and cool bells and whistles.

Joanna cooked up some of the corn we grew, a little on the small side, but very tasty.  I feel spoiled with all the great produce of late.

Midway through Summer

August 13, 2021 by Adam in Family

It's been over 100 degrees the last couple days and the sky is hazy from smoke.  On the plus side, it's not as bad as last year - maybe we're all getting good dealing with disasters.  Plus there's another indoor mask mandate, so our slow apocalypse just keeps trudging along.

Ben finished up his Design Engineering class this week, a couple 3D printed objects as his reward.  Duncan went to the coast with a friend and his family yesterday.  Emma started selling produce from her mom's garden, apparently making $11 yesterday.  I continue my physical therapy for my sprained rotator cuff, which unfortunately aches more than I'd like.

We have a lot of coming and going in the next month, Ben and Duncan going to their dad's for a couple weeks, Joanna and I having a long getaway, Emma and I trying to get to the coast for a little kayak vacation, and Joanna going to a writer's retreat.  Hopefully everything works out as planned - the idea of getting away with Joanna does seem magical.

As for this weekend, Joanna's volunteering at Pride, I've promised Emma a library trip, and I'm sure we'll get some pizza, anime, and Star Trek in there somewhere.

A Comfy Loft

August 10, 2021 by Adam in Adam's Projects

Joanna and I went out to the cabin again today to move the loft down 4 1/2".  It sounds silly, but the difference ended up being fairly dramatic in the end.  It's no longer a claustrophobic nightmare and instead a cozy bed looking out into the forest.

The work itself was fairly straightforward.  We put up reinforced rails to rest it on, pried it away from the wall where the last nails were hanging on, bent the nails, and then lowered it down to new rails with a ladder and car jack.  There was some mild cursing here and there, but we reattached the loft with screws and tossed up the mattress to give it a try.  There's a bit more work to make sure it's solid, but the end result turned out well.

Four and a half inches

August 09, 2021 by Adam in Family

Saturday morning I cooked my usual hearty breakfast, loaded up on coffee, got Ben started painting his room, and then Joanna and I drove out to the farm to work on the cabin.  The goal was to throw a mattress in the loft and see if there was actually enough room to sleep up there.  The conclusion that it was probably not quite enough and the hope is that we could lower the loft be a magic 4 1/2" to get to a more comfortable sleeping area.

The next few hours were spent cursing the builders, setting up rails to support the loft, and removing dozens of nails.  Some nails were impossible to get at without disassembling the loft, but we managed to carefully pry the nails out of the walls.  I stopped before completely pulling the loft free as I was completely worn out.  Hopefully we can go back this week and finish the job without bonking myself on the head.

Sunday morning Ben finished painting his room, which is now bright white.  He did the bulk of the work, which is probably one of those character building activities.  There's still more rearranging to do, but his bedroom is looking increasingly white and spartan.

As for me, I started feeling under the weather - tired and headaches.  Emma arrived from her family reunion and we hung out, then I went to bed for a two hour nap.  Emma eventually woke me up, I helped with dinner, watched a bunch of Star Trek, and then went to bed again.  I feel somewhat better this morning, though still feel like I have some upper respiratory thing.

Now it's back to work time, fiddling with queries and trying to accomplish cool new things.

Mocha Friday

August 06, 2021 by Adam in Family

The lazy days of summer move along, back to mask wearing, the sky once again smoky and a layer of ash on the cars.  It does seem better than last year, other than the heat, though we've had a few cool days and cloudy skies which were welcome.

We haven't been up to too much lately.  Emma's going to a family gathering with her mom's family in Eagle Crest.  Ben's printing another Among Us character after the teacher smashed the last one with a hammer to demonstrate the importance of leaving a little space around the joints.  I think everyone should have a shop teacher at least once.  Joanna and I had another go-out-to-dinner date night, though it felt like indoor dining was an afterthought as they just set a "to go" bag at our table.  Our hot date wrapped up with a slog through Costco, returning to stock our pantry for the next disaster.

Joanna and I are planning on heading to the farm this weekend to poke around the cabin some more.  The loft doesn't quite have as much room as hoped, so there are some difficult decisions as to how to best use it or move it into a better position.

Our home gardens have moved on to tomatoes, with the sunflowers and corn looking better by the day.

Back to Work

August 02, 2021 by Adam in Family

All is well.  We had a relatively quiet weekend of library, pizza, anime, hanging out, and the occasional walk around the neighborhood.  Emma's schedule for the fall is nearly sorted out, very science and math heavy - hopefully it's not too overwhelming.  Joanna was in a writer's conference all weekend, which was a little too Zoomy.

Ben 3D printed his Among Us character he made in class today.  Later this afternoon he had an online class on programming his robot.  Hopefully that means he's ready for school in the fall as well.

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