Sunday, November 29, 2009

Zoom Zoom

Went for a lovely drive and photo session with a neighbor today -- mostly reported on the Southern Oregon Coast blog.  We stopped at Pistol River to watch and photograph the sunset, which was colorful, but no clouds or other weather phenomena to make it spectacular.  I spotted this little arch in a big rock offshore and zoomed in on it -- the sun was shining almost directly through it.  Fun.

Full zoom on this one -- the sun way, way off on the horizon with a little reflection beneath.

As we left the sunset and turned around, this met us to the east. I couldn't resist, since I was in a zoom state of mind.  Hand held, and none too steadily at that, so it's not as tight a focus as I'd like, but that's my fault, not the camera's fault.

Lovely afternoon -- even if we never found the secret sea caves we were looking for.

And, as an amusing side note -- I've taken to wearing my odometer (better known as a pedometer) again in an effort to fight the quickly-encroaching middle age spread.  I began the day with 20 minutes on the treadmill, then when my friend suggested the drive I decided we probably wouldn't be doing much walking, so I walked to the library (clear at the other end of town) and by the time I arrived back home I had over 11,000 so I was set for the day.  Well -- his knee has healed since our last outing so we did a bit of walking after all.  I ended the day with 18,014 footsteps, a record for me when I've been wearing the thing.  I'm happy to report that I'm no worse for the wear, so tomorrow, we begin again. :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It's Summer!

Another amazingly beautiful day here on the Southern Oregon Coast.  Warm, bright sunshine, everything sparkling, people in T-shirts, convertible tops down.  Summer.  Or so it seems.

I drove down into California and walked through some redwoods for awhile.  I need to soak those babies up as much as possible before I leave here, which, as someone reminded me this morning, is now only about 7 weeks away.  It seems like such a long time, when I'm trying to be patient -- but such a short time when I think about all I have to say goodbye to here.  Yes, I wrestled with all this last spring and, in the end, couldn't do it.  It still won't be easy, but after 6 months of intensely experiencing, appreciating and enjoying all the beauty this area has to offer, I CAN do it.  I have to admit that I felt more than a small twinge this morning walking through those trees in the quiet forest.  Let's face it -- at my age and financial circumstances, once I leave this part of the world it's highly unlikely I'll return.  But -- it's time for a new chapter and I have to believe that much good awaits me in Georgia.

I just got a nice Thanksgiving present from Nikon!  Overnight shipment, which is the first surprise.  I hadn't expected to see it until Friday, at the earliest.  And, it's a different model camera -- a P90 that's quite a bit more expensive and has lots of goodies like manual focus plus it's what's called an ultra-zoom, 24x.  Way to make an unhappy customer happy again, Nikon! It's still not a DSLR, but it's a nice toy nonetheless. Naturally, my batteries and new battery charger, and memory card, won't work with it, but I guess that's a small price to pay.  I just read a quick rating of it on-line, and while it doesn't get the best rating of its class, it didn't get the worst, either. It's also the lowest priced in the class and like the rest of them, many features rated higher or lower than others.  Worst was video, which I hardly use.  Now I need to get the battery charged and see if Fred Meyer carries a memory card for it, and I'll put it to use.  Lots of new toys to play with -- and much I don't understand but will figure out.  Can't do anything until the battery charges, so guess I'll take yet another walk down to Freddies.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thank You, Nikon!

Hallelujah!  Nikon has decided to replace my camera, after 3 weeks on a parts hold.  The new one is shipping today and I should be back in business in a few days.  I can't tell you how wonderful that is.  I don't think I realized how much fun I had, exploring and photographing and sharing it all here.  I have to tell you, they were within a hair's breadth of losing me as a customer forever over this. After all, they 'broke' it when I sent it for the first repair.  It came back with a whole host of new problems.  Plus, it's not an expensive camera, so I'd think good PR on their part would tell them to just replace it. So -- congratulations, Nikon, for doing the right thing.  I was dreading the thought of getting the old one back and having still more problems with it.

I'm thinking about taking the real southern route - I-10 - when I travel, through San Antonio and New Orleans then cutting up to I-20.  Several reasons -- mostly change of scenery and a chance to see a part of the country I haven't seen before, or for a long time anyway.  I also have some good friends who live in the tiny town of Marathon, TX, which is a short hop off I-10, towards Big Bend National Park.  I think the odds that they will actually be in town in late January are pretty slim, but if they are, it would be great to stop and visit.  My friend Google Maps tells me the route (aside from any side trips) is only about 140 miles longer this way.  It won't be hurricane season, and there surely won't be any snow to deal with!

The first time I made this trip, back in 1986, I took I-20 and it was a terribly boring trip -- miles and miles of desert that seemed to take days to cross.  Texas really is a big state!  When I drove back west in 1996, I avoided Interstates, stuck with the Blue Highways, and cut high, along the Red River to Santa Fe.  That was a much more pleasant trip, but I had all the time in the world, no place to be or even a place to go.  I was a free spirit -- my cat and I traveled for about two months and about 13,000 miles before settling in Oregon.  I don't have that option this time.  I need to be there when my stuff arrives, and even more importantly, I want to see my new house.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Stormy Weather

This about says it all -- supposedly taken during one of our recent storms in this area. Helluva photo, no matter where or when it was taken.  All to say that a big -- as in B-I-G -- storm is approaching offshore, due to arrive sometime before tomorrow morning.  Winds of 80 mph are forecast for the headlands.  Glad I'll be inside, safe and dry and warm.  I've lived on the coast during big storms before -- in Waldport, many years ago.  This place feels much sturdier than the place I lived in then. I remember one storm where I thought the building was just going to blow away! The storms are exciting -- the surf wonderful to watch.  They can cause a lot of damage, however.

I just went for a walk despite the forecast -- had to get out, needed to think about a lot of things.  No rain yet, just wind and gray skies. Walked down the street to the cliffs, watched the big breakers coming in for awhile, then walked downtown and ended up at the cattery, where I cuddled a few cats.  I felt a serious need to cuddle some cats and kittens.  They always make me feel better.  Harry is still there -- he's the one I fell in love with when I was helping clean.  It was mutual.  I've had serious thoughts of taking him with me to Georgia.  Still might, if he's still around when the time comes.

Storms have hit the home-buying process, too, although they are not totally destructive.  Yet.  Turns out the place is in a flood plain and I need flood insurance.  I was already on a high insurance rate because of the gas space heater, and this really boosted it up.  I can still afford the payments, although it's a lot more than I was expecting.  Somehow, the cash needed at closing has gone up to a point where I simply may not have enough to do it.  I'm not sure how it's happened -- has something to do with the hazard insurance, escrow amounts, etc.  I trust the banker and my real estate agent, so I know they are both doing the best they can.  For the moment, I had to put a stop to the process and give it some thought, figure out just how gutsy I am going to be in this process.  Going forward with the current estimates would have me arrive in Cedartown almost penniless.  Not a nice position to be in, but I've been there before.  I'd have my next social security payment about the time I arrive, no rent or house payment for February, and stand to get $5000 in stimulus money from the feds after I file my tax returns.  That's all great -- but still a scary place to be.  No wiggle room in there for unexpected expenses.  Or in case the final $$ amount on closing day is more than I have.  That would be a fine pickle!

On the positive side, the sellers have agreed to put gutters in.  They are doing all they can to make it work.  So is everyone else involved.  But I can't manufacture cash, and that's the sticking point.  I'm going to sleep on it, maybe even wait until Monday.  I have until the 29th to back out without penalty.

What to do, what to do?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Susan Hayward

OK. Time for a change of pace here.  Something more interesting than house hunting.

Tonight, courtesy of Netflix, I watched the movie "With A Song In My Heart" with Susan Hayward.  I first saw this movie when it was released in 1952 (in Cedartown) which would have made me just shy of 10 years old. Funny how things change.

I haven't seen it since then.  My memories were almost exclusively of the plane crash, which took, I don't know, a few seconds perhaps, of the entire 2-hour movie. Why do I remember the seeming importance of staying in your assigned seat?  Maybe because the person in Jane Froman's seat didn't survive the crash, whereas Jane did, having switched seats?  My second memory is of not liking Jane Froman's singing voice and my overall impression was a negative one that I nevertheless could not forget over all these years. Strange how the impressions of a 10-year-old still hold sway. I'm glad I got past that to order and see this film.

Susan Hayward was my idol in those days.  I wanted to BE her. I thought she was fabulous. I swooned over her, saw all of her movies. I was ten. My Uncle Ed laughed at me. I didn't care.  If you were to ask me today, I'd tell you that if I could choose some Hollywood star for reincarnation, it would be Rita Hayworth.  In those days, it was Susan.

Back to the movie.  I really, thoroughly enjoyed it.  I must say, it's a movie anyone could appreciate and its standings on Netflix reflect that.  The story before and after the plane crash is wonderful.  And, while Susan does a fabulous technical job of lip-synching to Jane Froman's voice, somehow that part just wasn't believable to me.  Perhaps that's because Jane's singing voice and Susan's speaking voice are so very different.  I loved the music (sorry, I was weaned on music of that era) but I have to admit, I still don't care for Jane's singing voice. Maybe the impressions of a 10-year-old are not that far off.

On the other hand, all that fuss and bother about a leg seems rather ridiculous in this day and age.  Not that I'd be happy to lose one of mine, but still -- after 40 years or more of maimed soldiers who would no doubt be happy to have only lost one leg, it seems a bit fussy.  I guess they didn't have the terrific prosthetics then that they have now.

Ahhhh -- Susan. She ended up marrying some dude from Warner Robins, Georgia and living out her life there.  And frankly, for her beauty and elegance and all the rest of it -- I still wouldn't mind being reincarnated as Susan.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Step Two

Just got word from Georgia that I have an accepted offer.  Now, the inspector does his thing and we look at details.  I really don't expect to find anything -- this place has clearly been very well maintained -- but we have to look and be sure.  We have a 20-day period to get this done, will hopefully get it done sooner and then get on to step three -- appraisal.

I am surprisingly calm -- or is it sudden fear? :)  I think it's just acceptance that there is nothing more I can do from here.  I've been telling myself for a week now to just chill out, be patient.  Maybe that's working.  Or maybe I'm just in a state of shock.

Brookings is cool and damp today and, apparently, for the foreseeable future.  That pretty much means I won't be out and about doing anything interesting. My camera is still in the hands of Nikon, anyway (it's on 'parts hold'). It is, however, time for me to head upstairs and hit the treadmill. Yesterday I started my weight training routine again -- I stopped while I was doing yoga, but don't want to let it go too long.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Home Sweet Home?

I've been really quiet about this because I didn't want to jinx anything, but today I am making an offer on this little house in Cedartown. My realtor checked with the seller's daughter and she's sure her mother will accept the offer we outlined to them.  The bank has pre-qualified me. Now, it's just a matter of getting the paperwork to me and me getting it back to Georgia.  The place isn't fancy -- just a small older house -- but it's located right downtown Cedartown where I can walk everywhere PLUS the Silver Comet Trail is just a couple of blocks away.  The place is in immaculate condition inside and out, all appliances remain including washer and dryer, and all closing costs will be paid by the seller.  The Rural Development Loan is a no-down-payment loan, so the estimate is that I'll have to pay $45 at closing, plus my inspector, and that's it.  Not half bad for a poor person!

I love that big screened porch, will keep the swing if possible.  The lot is a little over 1/4 acre, level and not shaded except at the rear property line.  Lots of room for gardens and fruit trees and all kinds of good stuff.  A few laying hens, if the city allows that.  Most do, but I don't know for sure about this one.  The payment is really low -- much less than I would pay for rent anywhere that would be habitable.

It's just 4 rooms -- but all except the kitchen have this beautiful hardwood floor.  I love that big gas heater, too -- that thing will put out lots of heat for low cost.  Unfortunately, it's in front of the fireplace, but the fireplace might not be usable anyway PLUS there is also a fireplace in the front bedroom.

I like this big country kitchen, hope to be able to keep the table and chairs.  Will try to buy them at any rate.  I don't love that the washer and dryer are in here, but I can certainly live with it.  I'll switch out the electric range for a gas one at some point.  The door on the left is for a really large walk-in pantry, which is super.  Next to that is a back entrance.

Not fancy, but it has everything I need, and that's all I can ask.  Now I play the waiting game. And I'll probably end up moving sooner than February, alas.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Better Than a Treadmill.....

I used to run.  I loved to run.  Granted, it took awhile of forcing it before I learned to love it, but I did.  In Atlanta I ran lots of 5K races -- often every weekend,  between hikes and backpacks -- and the occasional 10K.  I'd run the wooded trails in a park near home before or after work, or along the road or sometimes, if forced, on a track.  Didn't matter.  I was training for a half marathon in 1993 when an auto accident ended my running career via a cervical injury.  Think 'paralyzed' if it had been any worse.  My orthopod was a dedicated runner, but he told me not to run. Not to take the chance of shifting something. Period.  Eventually, he thawed a bit, shook his head, and told me to try it, but stop if there was any pain.  I'd jog lightly around the blocks near my home in Grant Park, but yes, there would always be a bit of pain.  I couldn't do much at any rate so the fun went away, but I've missed it more than I can say.

Harris Beach back in May

Lately, I've been using the treadmill here in our building, and have done a little light jogging on that to test the waters, so to speak.  No problems.  Impact is the issue -- I can't do anything that will jar my spine.  Today, I was going to walk Harris Beach for a little exercise, but decided to try running barefoot in the wet sand and see what happened -- et voila!  I ran right at the water's edge, often getting my feet washed by the surf, and there was no impact because my heels sank slowly into that silken-soft wet sand, followed by the rest of the foot.  Deep into it -- a couple of inches, mostly -- but while it was soft, it was also firm enough to be supportive.  Perfect.  I ran south as far as the high tide would allow, turned around and ran back, and it felt wonderful!  I can tell this is my new obsession. Assuming there are no after-effects by morning.

Of course, it helps that this is one of those incredible sunny, warm, clear, sparkly days  here in Brookings.  The tide was also higher on the beach than I have ever seen it, effectively cutting off both ends of the areas I'm used to walking, but still leaving enough for a good run.  Spectacular to watch.  More than once, when I wasn't paying attention, the water swirled much higher up my legs which felt great, but left me with wet capris. A small price to pay.  The little rivulet that normally requires wading through is now flat sand, leveled by the high tides.  All the driftwood on this beach -- and others -- is washed high up at the base of the bluffs, far from the water.  I've often marveled at that, wondering how it got so far up.  I have a feeling I'll soon see the answer to that one, as the winter high tides come in with storms.  I'm guessing that one day I'll walk down the path to this beach and be faced with the ocean, right there in front of me.  No beach showing.  I look forward to that. Realistically, of course, that would be a really stormy day and I'd be home safe and warm, but still...

Another day when I craved my camera -- so totally beautiful out there.  But -- it's in my memory, and that is, perhaps, the best place for it.