Friday, December 29, 2006

My Christmas Trip to Oregon in Photos

Because I know that you all wanted to come with me to Oregon for Christmas, so I am going to share my experience in photos.

After sleeping only on the short plane trip from Salt Lake City to Portland, because I left all my packing until the last minute, as well as the last minute shopping, and the last minute apartment cleaning, I stepped out of the Portland airport to rain. Which was fine. I like rain. I miss rain.

Our family's Christmas Eve celebration was different from our usual tradition this year. Instead of Grandma's house, we went to what is referred to in my family as "the farm." This is some land near Amity, Oregon that has been in our family since the 1840's. It isn't really a "farm"... well, sometimes trees are farmed from the land.

My grandfather built a house there in the 1980s, and named it "The Highland House" in honor of our Scottish ancestry. My uncle lives there and manages the property now. I hadn't visited it in at least 10 years, so I got out and walked the property with my brother. It was nice to be outside and it was nice to have some alone time to catch up with my bro.

It started raining pretty hard while we were out walking. I loved how the rain was dropping off of the needles of the trees like little globes, little sparkly globes of water-light.

By the time we got back to the house, and the family party, we were drenched. I now cringe at how I must have looked, sleep deprived and drenched. That must have been why all the relatives were asking when I would be moving back to Oregon.

Uncle of the tree farm was quite insistent that I move back to Oregon soon, and then all my friends can come visit me at the farm and we can do things like bonfires, and swim in the ponds. It would be fun. There is a shadow of an idea in my head.

After Christmas Eve with the extended family, which was wonderful, my parents, my youngest brother, and I drove out to Cannon Beach, where my Grandmother owns a vacation home.

When we were all settled down, we realized that none of us had wrapped our presents. We also were really tired. Especially me. So we just went to bed. But, I made my brother promise that we would get out of bed before noon. (We have had a bit of trouble with him the last few years.) It ended up being me they had to tickle to get out of bed at 10 in the a.m.

Christmas morning we all wrapped the presents, one by one because we had only brought one pair of scissors and one roll of tape, and then unwrapped them one at a time, because there were only four of us and I insisted that we do it that way.

I liked the unwrapping one at a time thing. It was nice to thank everyone appropriately, and see every ones reactions to my gifts. I think that I did okay with the gift giving this year. Wahoo!

After we opened presents we noticed that it was raining. And we saw surfers. It was stormy and the waves were big. I think that the surfers were a little nervous. They stayed near shore most of the time.

After the surfers we saw Santa Claus and Mrs Claus walking on the beach. It was very nice to know that they also think that Cannon Beach is the perfect vacation spot.

My brother and I like to walk on the beach at night, and he had to work the day after Christmas. Even though it was stormy, we knew that we needed to take our walk on Christmas Day night. So, we planned a trek towards Haystack Rock for after it got dark.

After dark I was in my room, answering a few text messages. My brother was anxious to go and got frustrated because he had to wait for me to send a "Merry Christmas" text message off to a few friends.

I took my phone with me on the walk "just in case." It was the last thing my poor cell phone was able to do.

As we walked, both my brother and I were very surprised at the amount of debris on the beach, and the amount of foam on the water. I cracked a joke that Poseidon must be taking his annual bubble bath because of all the foam.

Shortly after my comment I tripped over some debris in the water and then several big waves came in rather quickly, before I could get up and away from the original tripping hazard. The waves went over my head and they knocked my brother down and soaked him completely too.

We both were wearing my brother's headlamps so that we could find seashells, but the headlamp I was wearing got swept away by the sea. (My head was under the water longer than my brother's.) In the chaos, I watched the light shine under the water, in an attempt to try to go after it, but found that I mostly needed to focus on keeping my head above the water. Poor brother's headlamp.

I guess Poseidon doesn't have a sense of humor.

My cell phone was in my pocket. Now it is dead. Poor cell phone. All sandy and corroded by the salt water. I hardly knew you... really, I just barely was figuring out how to save pictures on you. Now, I no longer have the picture of the really big tumbleweed that almost killed me, or the adorable apple-sized pumpkins. All I have is pieces of plastic, metal, and sand.

But, oh, you should have seen the sand that came out of our clothes. After we rinsed off outside I still had sand in the shower an inch thick, and it took three washings to get our clothes clean.

The day after I went down on the beach and took some pictures of the debris. As you can see, there were lots of things that I could have tripped on. That makes me feel a little less clumsy, and a little less like the whole dousing was my fault.

And here is even more debris... almost up to our house... which means the water was really high.

My parents asked me if I had learned any lessons from my experience. I say that the lesson learned is not to make fun of Poseidon's bubble baths. They think that I should have learned to not take my cell phone everywhere.

Sheesh. Parents.

While we were in the Cannon Beach area, we visited the Recently-Damaged-and-At-One-Time-the-Nation's-Tallest-Sitka-Spruce. I was really sad to see it in the condition that it is in. It will probably be have to be cut down, according to the Forestry Service. Sad.

That tree is (by most estimates) 750 years old. That means that it was a little seedling when the Magna Carta was being reissued and changed to get all the bugs worked out.

But, just in case you were wondering, there are still lots of other pretty trees in Oregon. I just worry they won't be around as long.

After we saw the Sitka Spruce, my mom and I walked into the town to do some shopping. I bought some chocolate, and soap. The soap smells good enough to eat. And so did the chocolate.

Then it started pouring. And boy did the wind blow. The weatherman said that we got 2.6 inches of rain in three hours, and winds gusts up to 45 miles per hour. Yep, we were walking in that.

By the time we got home, we were so thoroughly drenched that my mom's cell phone was making popping and crackling noises because the rain had thoroughly soaked it.

I guess cell phones are only for indoor use in Oregon.

My dad had gone into Portland with his cell phone, and my brother was gone to Eugene with his, so my mother and I were without ability to communicate further than our voices could carry for the rest of the day. And that was okay. We were at the beach.

But, the storm kicked up some killer waves, and wind gusts shook the house perfectly. It was just the right atmosphere for snuggling up with a book and hot chocolate.

Too bad we forgot to bring the hot chocolate, but triple wahoo for new Christmas books!

We finally did have one day of good weather. It was the last day we were there. The ocean was calm and blue. Perfect!

And, now I am back in Utah.

Bye! Bye! Oregon!


Edgy said...

We're glad to have you back in Utah.

And you're not allowed to move to Oregon. Well, unless we give in to peer pressure and move to Seattle. Then you can move to Oregon. But only if you're close to Seattle.

And you should come and visit us and see how much my parents love us.

Absent-minded Secretary said...

Wahoo! for partying with Edgy!