Saturday, October 18, 2008

Vacation is What You Make of It

We “escaped” the first weekend in October to the Oregon Coast. It was grey and drizzly and required a sweatshirt to walk around outside. But it was heaven. JewelGeek, Critter and I hadn’t been away from the house on vacation since March. (And I think we went to the beach then, too, come to think of it…)

We shopped all the way down (gotta love outlet malls),
shopped at the beach (more outlet malls), and shopped coming home (Pirate Coffee, anyone? Pirate Coffee in Depoe Bay, by the way, is a “must stop” on our beach trips. Not only do they have some of the most amazing coffee beans, the proprietors are a hilarious older couple, who know everyone and who share their love of life with everyone. They have a fabulous latte called the Spicy Wench – espresso, steamed milk, Oregon Chai, and buttered rum syrup (in the right proportions, of course).

Oh yeah, and we flew a pirate kite on Saturday evening, just after the sun went down. The wind picked up, but it was still warm, and we got the kite WAY up there. Critter actually let out the string all the way. We read the bag later, and discovered kite had at 50-foot string. Wow. It definitely looked spooky against the night sky. I can understand why the pirate flag on the horizon stuck fear into the hearts of sailors past. It is quite an ominous sight.

We also recommend Captain Dan’s Bakery in Taft (the southern tip of Lincoln City, This establishment is operated by another husband/wife duo who take their pirate theme with tongue firmly planted in cheek. The pastries are good, and they serve Pirate Coffee (of course!). But the BEST part is the talking parrot. It’s an animatronics’ bird, which they’ll tell you they purchased at Fred Meyer around Halloween a year or two ago. It looks pretty realistic with its plastic beak and talons and feathers made from a low-nap, synthetic cloth. It squawks, tilts its head, asks for crackers (a special plastic cracker it came with), and has a vocabulary of over 100 words. But you have to coax those words out. Over time. As it learns them.

While we were there, Critter got it to make a crunching sound (to simulate eating the cracker), and say “MMMMMMmmmmm.” Apparently, it had never done that before.

And it has a memory. When Captain Dan starts turning the lights out for the night, he turns each bank off in order. The bird starts going crazy, because it knows that it is the last thing to get turned off each night. He says it is very creepy.

To add to the animatronics creepiness, Captain Dan and First Mate Kathy told us a story of the Furby toy they bought one year after the Furby craze was over. They had an original Furby – and had kept it for two or three years. It knew all sorts of things, and could (mostly) hold its own in small talk. So they bought this new Furby and kept both toys in their office at the bakery. After a couple of days, the new toy could say everything the original toy could. They only thing they could figure out is that the old toy taught the new one everything it knew… (insert Twilight Zone music).

So for a few blissful days, we didn’t have the phone ring, or listen to anything remotely political, or do much of anything we didn’t want to. We ate great seafood (I personally think mussels in beer broth is pure genius), and picked up yummy salt water taffy to share with my coworkers. The only sad part was walking the bay front and discovering that the Cat House was closing its doors. Clearly cat toys are luxury this economy cannot support.

We had a marvelous time. I miss it already…