Monday, August 12 was beach day. The plan was to go to the beach in the afternoon and over to where my brother lives for dinner. He lives in a sort-of geek commune, or "nerd-i-cile" as my nephew referred to it, a place where a bunch of techies live together to spread out the burden of paying for housing in the Bay area. It works well for them.
Our trip to the beach was a little more truncated than planned. We started late (I know, you're shocked) and spent a little of our precious beach time trying to find a good one. We stopped at a "wild" beach first, you know the kind that are free and open, but you have to hike through the jungle to get to them.
We tried, but the hike was down a cliff---not exactly the best activity for someone freshly recovered from a foot fracture---and the jungle turned out to be made of poison oak. I am wildly allergic to poison oak. OK, maybe that's an exaggeration, but it does very bad things to me, including turning me into a whiny, self-pitying diva-monster. Not the best scenario for a happy vacation!
After a hasty evacuation back up the cliff, one of the kids suggested we pray about it. I thought that was a wonderful idea, and I must admit, there was some real sincerity as I prayed that none of us would get poison oak. And none of us developed so much as a pustule. What a blessing!
Sadly, the good beaches we came to were all off limits to dogs. We were running out of options, and Finley was considering writing his congressman, when a kindly park ranger told us about a beach only 10 minutes further where dogs were welcome.
Turns out we could have saved ourselves the trouble. Finley does not approve of oceans.
Pebble Beach was lovely, but to the disgust of various children, I wouldn't allow any of them to get in the water. It was a rather steep beach, rapidly deepening out from shore, and I had this crazy goal to return with as many kids as I started with.
After a series of particularly vociferous complaints, I double checked with Devon's mom and found that she was in complete agreement with my goal. Poor Devon. Forced into survival by unfeeling relatives.
He consoled himself by contemplating a career as a cave hermit, far from the reach of over-controlling aunties.
It was while we were at Pebble Beach that another one of the little, unlooked-for blessings occurred that God liberally sprinkled throughout our entire trip. I love to tide-pool; it's always been a big part of our family heritage, but I didn't think we'd get a chance this trip. Well, Pebble Beach just "happened" to have some tide pools.
It wasn't great timing---the tide was coming in---but we still got to see lots of little ocean creatures, including a BUNCH of hermit crabs skittering around the bottom of the rocky pools. The Pacific Coast has some of the best tide-pooling around because of the cold, nutrient-rich currents that sweep down from Alaska. Not much fun to swim in, but the marine life is fantastic!
The kids still wanted to find a beach they could actually get wet at. Well, technically they wanted to swim, but since I'd prepared myself for the day by reading up on how treacherous the ocean was, I wasn't about to let them have TOO much fun. We went back up the road to a very nice, sandy beach where the kids could play. But not poor Finley. He stayed in the car with my mom. I don't know what he was complaining about, anyway. He didn't like the ocean at all.
Beaches are wonderful places to rediscover your inner child. There's something about the coquettish way the waves play tag at your feet that entices you to play tag in return, no matter your age or station. In no time, even the most dignified members of our party were chasing up and down the shore. Except for me. I was too busy guarding them against a sudden attack by the vicious, malevolent ocean. You can never be too careful...
Plus, Tiggy had her camera on her. It is OK for me to take ridiculous and embarrassing shots of other people, but people had better not get a chance to take any of ME! I have the self-control to handle such pictures WISELY.
Well, sometimes wisely.
Tiggy and I took turns taking glamor shots of each other while the boys charged up and down the shoreline. It was a gorgeous day, and I would have loved to do a fancy shoot with all the trimmings, but we tried to be as glamorous as we could in shorts and t-shirts.
If you ever wondered why professional photographers take pictures so fast on professional shoots, well here is the reason. I was trying to get a beauty shot of Tiggy strolling on the beach. These pictures were taken one right after the other. What a difference a second makes! And you can imagine how sad a photographer would be to miss the "money shot" because he depressed the shutter a split second too late.
(See, I'm using my embarrassing pictures for education....)
It's against the law to go to the beach without burying someone in the sand. Naturally, we picked Devon to turn into a voluptuous mer-maiden. And once he was buried sufficiently, there wasn't much he could do about it!
Yes, I could get used to an ocean. Perhaps North Dakota can see about putting one in (complete with modern safety features), what with all the oil money the state has right now. I think it would be a nice tourist attraction and generate lots of revenue for the state.
Perhaps Finely can mention the idea when he writes to his congressman.