Eat, Hike, Kayak.
Make that eat, hike, eat, kayak, eat, hike, eat, go crabbing, kayak, eat, walk along the beach. And did I mention, eat?
This week marked the end of Part I of MH’s and my sabbatical. We spent four plus weeks at Manzanita, Oregon. Disneyland, schmisneyland – Manzanita is, for me, (arguably) The Happiest Place on Earth.
My time spent there was invigorating, relaxing, refreshing and reflective. Unfortunately, despite my opening riff on a certain popular soul-searching/self-discovery title of a few years ago, there will be no book proposal arising from my experiences.
Alas, I am not a self-absorbed thirty-something woman seeking spiritual and emotional clarity after a nasty divorce.
( Y’all know the title to which I refer; it rhymes with Bleat, Bray, Shove. In 2006-2008 TSA employees detained any woman over the age of 21 who intended to board an airplane without carrying a copy of that book ).
Nor I am the local literary darling whose own spiritual-journey-memoir-flavor-of-the-month-book is soon-to-be-a-major-motion-picture. Nope, I am not a woman devastated by loss who seeks deliverance from her dubious personal choices (promiscuity; drug abuse; the belief that using a symbolic surname as your non de plume confers hipness) via a solo wilderness trek.
I just don’t have that hook – in literary biz terms, some scandal-worthy and/or titillating personal details – which would give me a “promotable platform.” What I do have is a picture of a beautiful place MH and I stopped for lunch during our beach hike from Cannon Beach to Humbug Point. Okay, the tip of MH’s banana is visible in the picture – this is my nod to titillating.
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Department of What Being Married to Me Has Done To Him
I was informing MH of my upcoming schedule in the 1.5 days we have before we travel again, this time, to attend a family wedding. When I told him I planned on treating moiself to a pedicure, MH wondered aloud if that meant my feet would be subject to the ministrations of a pedifile?
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Previews of Coming Attractions
While attending the Harvest Festival of Manzanita’s Community Garden, MH and I signed up for a trial paddling session with the Nehalem Bay Tiderunners, a local branch of the Wasabi dragon boat paddling club of Portland. Newbies interested in learning about dragon boats joined the Tiderunner veterans in paddling a dragon boat up and down the Nehalem River one cool/gray Saturday morning. I wish I had a picture of the curious seal whose bobbing head followed the boat during several practice runs.
The dragon boat paddling stroke is different from the kind of paddling one does in the recreational kayaking I have been doing for years. The technique reminded me of when I participated in the Disneyland Employee Canoe Races, all those years ago.
MH and I had so much fun we stayed for a second session. I’d been considering joining a dragon boat team ever since I first saw several teams practicing in the Willamette River, but I’d always had scheduling conflicts with the various teams’ practice schedules (plus, there’s the drive to Portland and back). This year, with the looming sabbatical travel, I didn’t want to make any kind of commitment I could not keep…. but when my schedule calms down, I’ll try to find a boat crew that will accept me. You have been warned.
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Department of Trying To See Who’s Paying Attention
MH alerted me to an upcoming volunteer opportunity at the Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve. We both separately filled out online volunteer application forms for the event. The form’s first blanks requested first name, middle name, and title. The form’s title options consisted of Dr., Jr., Mr., Mrs., Ms., None, Sr.
Harumpf. There was no option for me to choose or write in my preferred title: N.a.D.  Mature person that I am, I accepted the slight. There was, however, a fourth name-related blank: “preferred name, (nickname, etc).” All righty. I typed, Boutros Boutros Ghali.
A couple of days after completing our application forms, MH and I received identically worded emails – except for the salutation –  from the Volunteer Coordinator. Here was mine:
Hi Boutros Boutros Ghali,
Thank you for volunteering at the Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve....
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Sometimes we all need to look at a proud & pretty Parisian Pigeon.
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May your paddling stroke efficiently propel the dragon boat of your heart (sorry; I’ve been refining my treacle-laden wedding toast),  and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
 Which stands for, Not a Doctor. You knew that, I know you did.
 His began, Hi _____ (his first name). Can you believe that?
 Which may lead to more footnote-worthy stories in next week’s blog.