my soft spot

just a mom who plays hockey and knits

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Beach vacation: one week later

I am not sure what we did, but probably, it was the first day we went to Marsh's Free Museum. I know we didn't go to the library yet, as it wasn't open until the next day. Mom didn't go with us to the "museum," as she'd rather do pretty much anything than go. G looked around at the shells for a long time, trying to decide what to buy with his money (which was more like banked money, as I never did pay him his allowance in cash, which afforded me the ability, this vacation, to refuse to buy him various things I deemed unsuitable). He settled on a small menagerie of shells, which were packed carefully into a cotton-lined box, and were given with a generous helping of their free shells (small shells glued onto cards, given with every purchase), as G asked, "Do you still give those free shells?" That's my boy.

We noticed that the bag had all the "exhibits" listed on it, so made sure to make the rounds of the "museum" to see the two-headed calf, the eight-legged lamb, and various other stuffed entities in various conditions. Then I opted to buy 3/4 of a pound of salt water taffy, whose flavors we tried in vain to remember during the ensuing days. I did remember which ones were cranberry, and ironically (given that the Peninsula is a huge producer of cranberries, largely for Ocean Spray), they were the least flavorful!

I think this was the day I insisted on unwrapping Mom's new printer, as I'd wanted to make a copy of a page from a book I'd found at the library. She'd gotten the same AOI I'd gotten from her, my dad and stepmom, and my sister, but had never set it up. We cleared out her old HP and cleared even more room for the AOI--it needing a place where the cover could be lifted in order to place items to be copied on the platen. Amusingly enough, she taught me that you can actually put a stack of paper in a lower drawer of the printer from which to print--I had not yet noticed it in mine! I guess I should go back to reading manuals cover to cover.

We had made it to the library that day--they had a summer reading program, so G signed up for his fourth (so far) and got a bag of materials, which included a bookmark, suggested reading list, and a form on which to fill out his books. He read several that visit in the library, and we got out the fourth Lemony Snicket book, he being perilously close to finishing the third, which we'd brought along from our library. (He has already, as of this writing, finished the fourth as well.) I managed to find a copy of Alice Starmore's Fair Isle Knitting, which I carefully and breathlessly brought up to the librarian's desk, nearly insisting they keep it as a reference book and never, ever lend it out. (It is worth $100-300 on eBay, and I hear copies get stolen all the time for this value alone.)

Earlier that day, Mom's spinning group met at the house. It was so fun having a houseful of spinners, chatting and making yarn, of all sorts of levels and experiences, including another Jennie, who had just bought her wheel the day before!

We returned to the library at 10 the next morning for a "Wacky Art" project (rubbings of various interesting items, including several coins glued to one of the cards), followed by a magic show in a side room. G sat in front and was a little obnoxious (shouting "That's not funny!" at times), ugh, but other kids were doing similar things... the magician increased the pace and really got the kids interested, and even asked G to help him with a very funny and avowedly disgusting card trick (the card ended up folded up in the magician's mouth--he offered the card to G and G happily declined).

This was Mom's birthday! I stayed up late the night before, finishing the tea cozy I'd started last fall and that my sister had encouraged me to give to Mom for her birthday. My mom's teapot, unlike the usual ones, has an arching bamboo handle over the top and I was sure glad I'd made the steeks accidentally high. I cut them down and sewed them open, and attached the buttons I'd bought Wednesday at the local yarn store in order to secure the flaps to each other. She was very pleased with it, the nightlight we'd found for her at the local has-everything store, Jack's Country Store, within her specifications: not LED nor fluorescent (not bright enough), not automatic (didn't want it to go off at dawn), and with an on-off switch. Bingo! I had also remembered some Sharpie pens (always a hit with Mom) and a steno notebook (ditto). I did realize later that I'd totally forgotten the English toffee I'd gotten for her at Disneyland, and the penuche fudge I'd gotten in Monterey. I did get some replacement fudge later in Long Beach at a candy store.

I asked her what she wanted us to do on her birthday, and we ended up newspapering and then mulching her entire side walkway, not a small feat, especially as the mulch had been dumped next to her driveway a year ago, and the trees had put out copious roots to soak up the nutrients in the piles. G also took the loppers (!) and cleared out tons of elderberry and blackberry that was hanging over her driveway. I cut up the blackberry so it could fit in her trashcan (she doesn't have greens pickup and doesn't want this stuff in her compost pile, and I don't blame her). The walkway looks great. G also insisted on showing me his "secret path," on the Bay side of Mom's house, which was indeed secret looking, but what I hadn't guessed was how steep it would be: we both ended up crawling up and down it, unable to walk it. Afterward, I showed him how to pick huckleberries, and we picked some ripe raspberries from Mom's raspberry canes (and both decided we didn't really care that much for berries with so many seeds, although they do taste wonderful, which is more than one can say for the ample bushes of salmonberries, which are a lovely peachy yellow but taste, honestly, like nothing at all. Good in a pinch, like if you were braving the wilds, we always say).

That evening, we went to an inn in Seaview where folks gather on Thursday nights at 5 to spin. There was an "art walk" in a nearby city, but I really wanted to spin with the spinning folks again (having packed an extra suitcase with nothing but my spinning wheel and a bunch of padding). We did manage to leave the house in time to visit the heritage museum in nearby Ilwaco, where they had a really fun train exhibit that included tracks running through the cities as they used to exist (including one that doesn't exist at all any more), which would start for a quarter. There was also a Lewis and Clark exhibit (of course; this is L&C country) that included simulated (or real!) elk poop, plus a map of the Graveyard of the Pacific, the mouth of the Columbia, where many ships have been lost, due to its many and shifting sand bars.

From the inn, we went back to Ilwaco to dinner at a lovely restaurant owned by people Mom knew (of course!) and really had a delicious meal. (I happened to notice a mom & boy who were dining there, and spotted them at a cafe near Mom's house 2 days later; small country out there!) I had the duck salad (pretty amazing), followed by the halibut, which was even more terrific. They were able to make some tasty buttered, cheesy noodles for G, and added some corn and green beans by my insistance. Mom had the salad also and the salmon. It really was a great dinner, and great to finally be here to celebrate her birthday with her, which I haven't been able to do in years.

No idea what we did Friday.

We went to the Ilwaco market on Saturday, mostly wondering what it would be like. Mom decided to bring her wonderful fox-red Lab, Jesse. We all thought he might've done better with a long walk ahead of time--there were tons of dogs also there, on leash but still somewhat-to-quite aggressive. We walked all the way to one end, stopping at a wildlife booth where a man did very well to keep kids and adults alike fascinated by his talk of the various skulls he had brought along. I found out that G knows the terms omnivore, herbivore, and carnivore already. I was proud of him for what he contributed, but dismayed when he kept calling the interactive talk "boring" and wanting to leave--even after he'd happily participated. I know the distraction was partly the candy booth we'd passed. We walked down to the other end and I bought a beautiful pair of mother-of-pearl earrings that I just couldn't leave behind. Then we went into a bookstore and I bought G a Star Trek novel for $1 (I like!) but didn't find anything for me except a set of refills for my portable notebook. Then I held Jesse while Mom browsed. (I did point out the "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" book on the front table. Pretty funny.)

There was another Market on Sunday, this time in Astoria, but the weather was much worse--pretty cold and drizzly--and by the time we got there, we were all out of sorts due to hunger. In retrospect, I wish we'd sat down at the near end and just gotten lunch, as the choices were much more varied, including Greek, Indian, and other interesting food. As it was, we got some hot dogs at a booth at the far end and walked back to the front to use the tables. G had said he wanted some scrambled eggs (one booth proclaimed "farm fresh eggs" but they were, as I'd feared, just selling raw eggs in the shell), so I asked at a stall that had an "Astoria omelette." The man said Yes, it was an omelette, and proceeded to ignore me for several minutes, enough so that I walked away. "Aren't you interested in the omelette?" he called after me. Uh, no, not if you're rude, buddy. Sheesh.

I can't remember buying anything but food, except for half a loaf of wheat bread the gal had been cutting samples off of. She offered it to me for less than half price, and since G and I had really enjoyed the samples, I readily accepted.

What was funny was that we hadn't realized how many booths in Astoria would be the same vendors we'd seen the previous day. Maybe half of them were new--too bad!


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