Father’s Day 2015 & Other Stuff

I suspect that many people will wind up here because of the generic title of this post, not because they know me and are interested in seeing what will be revealed this day from my half-wit age-adled memory banks. So, let’s get to it …

Father’s Day began yesterday with a trip to the beach with Diane, my lovely bride of umpteen-eleven years. Jennifer, Diane’s oldest Daughter, and Jeran, her youngest Son, filled the remaining seats in the Impala as we ventured forth at the un-godly hour of 0800 on our trip to Cannon Beach to join the crowds near Haystack Rock for the 50th Annual Sand Castle competition. It’s something we’ve never done before and we deemed it was time. Besides, it’s been a while since we’ve been to the beach and it’s one of our favorite destinations. Another reason for the trip was to watch a soccer match between Lydia’s tournament team play against the Astoria Varsity team.

First, the trip … it is my custom to relinquish my front seat navigator’s position to company whenever we have any because that’s just the way I am. Another reason I do that is so the new passenger can sit closer to the conversation she is undoubtedly going to have with the driver. It’s a safety thing, ensuring the driver isn’t engaged in a heated discussion with someone in the back seat.

Jeran joined me in the back seat and we were very comfortable during the entire trip. Everyone was being so good that Diane stopped at the Berry Patch Restaurant in Westport, one of our favorites, where we ate a hearty breakfast. Once our tummies were loaded, we continued our trek to Cannon Beach.

As the first Cannon Beach exit from Highway 101 loomed in the distance, Diane and I had a brief discussion about whether or not we should continue south to the Tolovana exit. Before we ended the conversation Diane had made the decision to take the first exit that also leads to Ecola State Park. Instead of turning right at the first stop sign after exiting all those frantic drivers on Highway 101, which leads to ECP, Diane went straight ahead into town. It was a good choice. She made another one of those when she didn’t cruise down the main street of town looking for a place to park. Instead, she took a parallel street, went south a few blocks, and pulled right into a vacant space.

Across the street was a pretty incredible art gallery that we couldn’t pass up because it had a bronze statue of a little girl holding a cabbage patch kid and it reminded Jennifer of her youth when she got a new cabbage path doll every time I went to sea when she was small. The statue even looked like her. Sadly, I didn’t take a photo of that or of anything inside the gallery. Amazing stuff.

The beach was only a few blocks from where we parked and looked a lot like this when we got there … that’s Jennifer in the middle of the photo taking the long way around to all the people gathered closely around the roped off areas where sand castles were being created.

Diane, Jeran, and I took the short cut to begin, but Jeran bailed on us and headed over to his Mom who was walking on firmer sand. They beat us to the displays for some reason. It didn’t make sense.IMG_1931

This is the first area of about 10 that were roped off so artists could work without interference from the masses of people watching their progress. We arrived shortly before 1130 when the judging was supposed to commence, but none of them were anywhere near finished. Sadly, we couldn’t wait to see the finished products because we needed to get to the soccer fields on Ridge Road which defines most of the eastern boundary of Fort Stevens State ParkIMG_1932 IMG_1935

On the way back to the car we stopped for a short rest and photo-op where Diane took this photo to commemorate the day. Had I been more aware I would have sat straiter which would have allowed my stomach to retract a bit into the cavity from which it was seeking escape as she snapped the shutter. But, it is what it is.IMG_1955

Lydia’s soccer team played extremely well beating Astoria 8-1. Lydia played the first half and a newly acquired 2nd goalie played the second half during which Astoria’s only goal was scored. This pleased Lydia.

I must interject to report that next year, Lydia’s Junior year, she has been designated as the varsity goalie for the school team. She’s really stoked about that and is looking forward to the experience. So are we.

On the way to our perch on the hill surrounding the field on which the girls played we encountered what most people would call a “mole hill” in most parts of the world. Here at the beach, however, I figure this one should be called a “mole dune”. It’s all sand so what else could it be?IMG_1956

Before leaving Warranton, we stopped at Duggar’s restaurant for a late lunch. We weren’t sure Lydia was going to make it there because she only had one sandwich to fill the void for that 2 mile drive. It was a really good lunch and the trip home was restful for all of us, even the driver, Diane. She got to go 100 mph more than once.

I don’t think I mentioned that I assisted Daniel with his task of replacing the disc pads on his commuter car on Friday. Apparently it was a dirtier effort than I had anticipated. I even wore gloves!

This morning Diane was up and rolling at 0700 making a cassarole thing for the Father’s Day brunch the ladies were putting on after church. I even got to help and was glad to do it. Helping my bride with any task is my destiny. I’ve learned, however, that it’s prudent to wait until asked instead of barging in a taking over as I’ve been known to do historically. Lots less stressful on everyone concerned.

Now the light is fading from the sky on this longest day of the year, and I hear Diane dialing up an on-demand movie from our stunning array of entertainment available due to a free weekend of on-demand HBO & CINEMAX.

It’s been a great weekend and I must now bid you farewell till another day.

OH! And Happy Father’s Day to all you Dad’s out there.

Seaside, Oregon – Day 2

0512 – although the dogs aren’t with us, my body apparently forgot and forced me to get up and go to the bathroom. After wiping off the seat, I went right back to bed and slept until Diane got up for her ‘morning call’. She didn’t wake me up by getting out of bed, but by closing the bathroom door. It’s very creaky and squeaky. That wasn’t a problem for me because the door was already open and I saw no reason to close it at 0512 in the morning. Flushing the toilet was more of a concern for me than the door, so I didn’t flush. Diane didn’t mention it so she didn’t notice, or chose to just not comment. I have no idea what time she got up because I was feigning sleep in case the toilet proved to be an issue. After a short time, Mom got up and then the noise started – the TV came on, the coffee was started, and they began talking non-stop.

Not all of that is true, of course, but I’m not going to tell you what parts. Just let your mind run wild with that.

The morning noises weren’t a problem – they were actually comforting. I couldn’t understand what was being said, just the underlying buzz of vocal chords vibrating in the air, but I knew they were talking about me. They always are. Even when we’re home alone Diane talks about me under her breath. She doesn’t know I can hear her, but I do. Most people would call that paranoia, which is true. It is. It keeps me on my toes.

I finally drug myself out of bed at 0815. I felt refreshed and ready for another day. I’ve been planting seeds in Mom’s head that we’re going to ride the bumper cars today. Either that or the ’tilt-a-whirl’. Her choice. So far she hasn’t committed. The girls were watching Good Morning America so I sat and watched, too, while eating my banana and Tillamook yogurt, which everyone knows comes directly from specially bred Tillamook yogurt cows without processing. It’s amazing. The farmers just feed these cows the proper fruits to make whatever flavor they want. Today I had the raspberry kind so my cow ate raspberries. I love that kind. Diane likes key lime which make her cows pucker while processing.

It’s now 0945 and everyone has been cleaned up except me. I’ve been stalling because I don’t want to take a shower. But I will. Everyone else is smelling good, so ‘spect I should, too.

There is no plan for today so, like normal, we’ll just let whimsy take control of our sense of direction. I do know of at least two places we will visit that are required for trips to this area. One is Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach.


If you’ve ever seen the movie “Goonies”, you’ve seen Haystack Rock. It was depicted as the location of the pirate ship in the movie. It isn’t, however, hollow. It’s a 237 foot tall monolith that we used to climb on as small children but has since been designated as a bird sanctuary, mainly seagulls, I think, like this …


Now, people can walk up to it, touch it, and check out the really neat tide pools that surround it, but feet aren’t allowed. This can only be done at low tide because the water gets pretty deep around it when the tide comes in. That’s another reason they closed it to foot traffic because of the incredible number of ignorant people who climbed it at low tide and waited too late before trying to leave.

Diane and I walked down on the beach, at Tolovana, so we could touch the water, a tradition with us – gotta touch the water – and met Mike, a former stranger, on the way. He asked that I take a picture of him with Haystack Rock in the background, so I did. We talked a while and learned that he’s from Aloha (pronounced Aloah), worked for Tektronix, and Intel, and has been married for 30 years as of yesterday. Diane said she looked around for a likely bride but didn’t see one. It didn’t occur to me to question why he was on the beach alone if this was his anniversary trip. He may have had her hog tied in their room awaiting further attention for all we know.

Here’s Diane with Haystack Rock, and she’s advertising Cannon Beach …


While on the beach a couple of fishermen drove their boat up on the beach, hooked it up to their pickup, which was parked nearby, drug the boat further away from the surf line, ratcheted it onto their trailer and drove away. Interesting. Never saw anyone do that before.


Once the boat was gone, we kinda lost interest in the beach. We’ve seen Haystack so many times over the years, loving it every time, but the missing boat was a detractor. I went back to the car to make sure Grams was OK, and took some more pictures of the area as we waited for Diane to return from the restroom. It took her a while to return but she clarified the delay by telling us she had to weave her way through a “turdload” of people who were congregated in the middle of the sidewalk at the top of the stairs to the beach. We are unclear as to what a “turdload” constitutes, but all agreed it was best to be elsewhere. So, we left, transiting through the Cannon Beach tourist district on the way.

It was very festive down there with cars parked everywhere, and everyone jay walking willy nilly across the street, giving us stark reminders why we like Cannon Beach better in the winter.

On the way back to Highway 101, Diane took a left turn toward Ecola State Park which is NOT to be associated with E coli bacteria although we always think of that when we visit that park. It’s a really nice park and we were allowed to skip the $5 day use fee because I showed the cute young ranger my VA card. At least I think we got in free because of my VA card, but it could easily have been that she was overcome by my shining personality and astonishing good looks, and swooned a little, giving Diane a chance to sneak through the gate before she recovered. No one chased us so it was all good.

Ecola State Park gives people an excellent view of Cannon Beach, the town, and Cannon Beach, the beach, as well as Haystack Rock and other smaller affiliated rocks that stick up out of the ocean. Very picturesque.


Oddly, Ecola Point Lighthouse is just off … well … just off Ecola point.


Then it was back to Norma’s, as promised, for late lunch. It wasn’t really all that late, but it was after noon. Before dumping Grams and me in front of Norma’s, we did another drive to the turnaround to see how the volley ball poles were looking. Amazingly, all of them had nets – hundreds of volley ball nets where once I played as a tender young boy. Next thing you know they’ll be laying asphalt out there so people won’t get sand on their feet while walking to the beach. That actually makes sense, since I was able to gather enough sand in my shoes at Cannon Beach to leave my mark in the car that Diane so laboriously vacuumed before we left on this trip. Thankfully, she did the same thing on the driver’s carpet, so I didn’t get in trouble. Oh, and our hostess told Diane that there are 900 – nine hundred – teams signed up for next weekend’s volleyball tournament. Amazing.



As I said, Diane dumped Grams and me in front of the restaurant, claiming it looked like there might be a waiting line, then she went to park the Buick. Grams and I risked our lives crossing the street so we could gain entrance to this historically acclaimed facility. There was no line and we were promptly seated in a booth with a good view of all the patrons entering and leaving.

Finally, Diane arrived and we were allowed to order our food. We’ve been talking about how great the sea food is at Norma’s, and how much Grams will like it, so what did she order? One half of a turkey sandwich. I could only surmise that she presumed it was ‘Turkey of the Sea’ brand turkey which made it a fitting lunch for a well-known sea food restaurant.

It was good she only got 1/2 a sandwich because it had enough turkey in it for a whole meal deal. She could barely wrap her lips around it, but she did, and she ate the entire thing.


Diane got a broiled piece of dead halibut with fries …


… and I had fetuccini alfredo with some dead tiger prawns scattered through out as well as a cup of Norma’s celebrated clam chowder.


Though good,  Valerie’s clam chowder is every bit as good, if not better. I enjoyed my meal anyway.

Since our assigned quarters are only about a block away from Norma’s, and Diane had parked there, we walked up to the boardwalk, enjoying the afternoon sun, and slowly walked back to our cabin. Very relaxing.

The maids were making up our room when we got back, and I almost had to perform CPR on one of them. She turned the water on at the kitchen sink and the little sprayer thing blew off and water sprayed up to the ceiling. She recovered nicely, however, and got things cleaned up. Turns out the sprayer just wasn’t screwed on all the way. I claimed innocence though I’m not sure everyone in the room believed me.

While they were finishing up the room, we retired to the little yard outside our cabin door.


Last night in this little yard, two young ladies were BBQing bacon and chicken. That sounds so awesome that I can’t wait to get home and try it. I might just leave the chicken out and do the bacon.

Now it’s almost 6 pm, and the day is winding down to a successful conclusion. It was a good one. Tomorrow we must depart for warmer climes – it’s 90+ at home – and get back into the routine of “doing things”. That’s OK. I can do that.

Until then, however, I seek everyone’s advice as to what constitutes a “turdload” of people to you. Is it the number of people, or is it the quality of people? Perhaps it’s just an overall impression. I’m not sure and Diane doesn’t really know what it means, either. It was just one of those spontaneous things Diane blurts out once in a while, making me laugh.

Maybe it’s a situation and hasn’t got anything to do with people.

I have this inappropriate image in my head about what it might mean, but I’m sure it’s wrong, so I need help.

I’d appreciate it.