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A Year in the Life of My Feet

I love the expression, “If you could walk a mile in my shoes”. I love it because it’s an easy way to remind someone that we all have different experiences, different lives, and different perspectives about the things that happen to and around us. I love to remind myself of this phrase when I cannot understand another person’s train of thought or actions.

I’m not entirely sure why I started shooting my feet in different situations after we moved up here to the Oregon Coast. I think part of it stemmed from not always taking the greatest selfie. Maybe my hair was messy or my face was sleepy or I just wasn’t into taking a selfie that day. In a world of selfies, I’m not one to remember to take them often. It’s typically a rare occurrence when I think, “Oops! I don’t have a picture of myself in this amazing place.” Then I snap a couple and call it good. I rarely share them, but love having them for the memory of having been in that time and place. I think the other reason for taking these foot selfies (if you will) is because my feet are what I see as I boat, or pedal, or hike about. It’s the first-person view – a glimpse – into my life. When looking back through my photos from last year (our first year living here on the Oregon Coast), I noticed that I had shot all of these foot selfies and that each one reminded me of a very fond memory. My second thought was how fun it would be to share them in a sort of “year in the life” of my… you guessed it, FEET!

Before you begin to peruse, can we be real for a moment? I hope we can be real here – it is *my* blog after all. I didn’t do this because I think I could be a foot model and as you’ll see many of my feet selfies are not the perfect selfie. I’ve got missing and chipped polish, sometimes my ankles are a bit swollen from heat and/or long hikes, and sometimes they are downright dirty (like the camping feet during the eclipse). I hope that you can look past those imperfections and see the realness in these foot selfies, the magic in the memories, and get a glimpse of what it was like to live our first year on a lake, on the Oregon Coast. Enjoy!

My first foot selfie doesn’t have any human feet, however it does include my new FAVORITE lap blanket. My dear, sweet friend Lori Anne sent me this lovely mermaid afghan shortly after we first moved in. It is SO soft and warm and cozy! I love that it’s knitted (as I do not know how to knit, only crochet). I love that it has scales on the body of the tail – making it so fun and more realistic. The fin just drives me wild. I love to get cuddled up on the sofa with a cup of hot tea and watch a movie and sometimes if you catch me in the right moment, you’ll see me whipping that fin around with the sway of my legs bobbing up and down.

Ah, the pedal boat and sunshine! Two of my favorite things here on the lake. We spent a lot of hours in that pedal boat our first year on the lake. Mostly at first because we didn’t have a motor boat to travel around in. Yet, even once we got a boat with power, we still loved jumping in the pedal boat and taking it for a spin on a calm evening to watch the sunset. The advantage to the pedal boat is that when you stop pedaling and you just float, there is no motor sound. We could hear all of the nature surrounding us and enjoy the serenity. Looks like this day was cool enough to have my yoga pants on but warm enough to ditch the shoes. I love that temperature – smack in the middle between warm and cold. It’s lovely!

Our first warm day in our first boat. So many fond memories in this boat and we only had her on the water for about 6 months. We named her The Rebel since she was blue and yellow like our high school alma-mater (we both went to the same high school). This day was exceptionally warm. It was our first experience of warmth on the lake. I can tell that it was very warm because I’m wearing my crane dress and it’s made out of that silky fabric that is too cool against the skin if there is a chill in the air. Later that day, the sun would warm us so much that Dennis jumped into the lake VERY briefly. It was freezing cold! The water hadn’t had a chance to warm up yet since it was only the beginning of May.

This was one of our many adventures around the coastal area near home last year. We had driven up to Florence and on our way back, we stopped at the Siltcoos River to check it out. It was a magnificent place with a fantastic walking path all the way around a gorgeous lagoon! There were dozens of species of plants and flowers, lots of interesting insects (we saw a dragonfly the size of a teaspoon!), and tons of birds fluttering about. I’ll have to write an entire separate blog about the lagoon – it was filled with that much to tell!

This foot selfie makes me smile. I cannot count the number of days where it was beautiful enough to pop out into the garden, lay on the lounger, and watch the wildlife go by. We call it the golden hour. When everything gets calm, maybe only the subtlest breeze. It’s warm and the sun is shining and everything feels quite perfect. I’m not sure if there is perfection in life, but if there isn’t, this is as close as I’ve found.

What a fun time aboard the tall ship, The Lady Washington, in Coos Bay last year during the Tall Ship Festival. We got to explore the whole ship and touch the aging woods, see the super thick ropes that tied her to the dock, the tiny stair well down into the cabin of the ship, the old fashioned compass (it was BEAUTIFUL), and the wheel. It was exciting to see all of the rich history that she possessed.

Another day in the pedal boat – as I mentioned, we used it quite a bit last year. This time it wasn’t as warm but the sunset was glorious. If you look closely into the water, you see the reflection of the trees, the very blue sky, and some soft white clouds. Those clouds help to create a magnificent sunset that evening as we floated on the lake, surrounded in bugs and bats and swallows. Experiences in nature are definitely my favorite.

Aww, the bear paws! If you live in Reedsport or have visited there often, you might know where these are. I won’t give it away in case you have the opportunity to travel there and find them for yourself. We found them the day we went to the Chainsaw Carving Competition – yes, they have those here! I had never heard of such a thing so we just had to go and check it out. We honestly had no idea what we were in store for. We made plans to do several things that day with one of them being a stop at the competition to check it out for an hour. We were pleasantly surprised by the artistry and skill and craftsmanship of the carvers. It was mesmerizing to stand and watch them carve away with abandon. They had tiny little chainsaws for details and great big saws for larger work. Some carvers had as many as six chainsaws of varying sizes. What a fun day! We can’t wait to return again this year.

Feet in the sand – another one of my favorite foot selfies. This one even has dressed up toes! Living on the coast has been magical, even though we picked a location that takes us about 25 minutes to get to the beach, we can still hear the ocean’s waves when we are outdoors and we can even hear them indoors after a stormy day. We get the coastal fog that rolls in at night and hovers over the lake, staying locked into the canyon in the morning on calm days when there is no wind. We love to drive over to Winchester Bay and visit the beach there. It’s our favorite local beach so far with lots of driftwood to rummage through, soft, powdery sand, and the roar of the waves as they crash agains the shore. I can smell that salty sea air just thinking about it.

Another day out on The Rebel. Cooler out on this day than the previous one (funny because the earlier Rebel foot selfie is from May and this one was taken in June). That’s the thing about Oregon weather, it’s pretty unpredictable. For me that’s one of the fun things about living here – you never know what you’re going to get! From a gal who lived in the Mojave Desert her whole life where every day was sunny, windy, and some varying degree of temperature based on the time of year, it’s incredibly exciting to see the weather change so often and so unexpectedly. I love the meme that says “Oregon, you can’t have all the weather in one day”, a little cartoon character with a tshirt Oregon on it says “Here, hold my beer.” We have seen the weather change from sunny to hailing to snowing all in a matter of minutes!

Beach Day! Can you tell we spend a lot of time either on the lake or at the beach? That is why we moved here so we are sure to take full advantage of such. This particular beach day, I was thinking of the artist who calls himself “Circles in the Sand”. He’s a popular sand drawing artist who lives up here on the Oregon Coast. I’ve been really wanting to make the trek and see some of his works happen in person. Of course, he draws huge elaborate mandalas and shapes, but I wanted to try my hand at a little drawing in the sand. It was incredibly fun and I look forward to trying more of them with a longer stick. This was going to be a koi fish but turned into a mermaid at some point. There is something satisfying about drawing something impermanent.

Yep, you guessed it, another beach day. This one, we sat on a big old growth tree that had washed ashore and we were warming our feet in the hot sand. I love love love sand on my feet. It must be on a list of one of the most luxurious things in the world.

Another golden hour on the deck this time with a magazine. This time it was so warm outside that I was actually hiding in the shade – not something we do here often as the temps don’t reach over the high 60s most days. Reading and eating are two things I consider to be enriched by being outdoors. I love reading and stopping to watch a hummingbird fly by or a gaggle of geese fly over honking and cheering each other on. The slight breeze brushing my face and toes and shoulders. I often have to pinch myself to see if living here is truly a reality and not some amazing dream I’ve fallen into!

If you’re on the coast, you must make a stop at Hall Lake. It’s a pretty little lake surrounded by sand dunes. There are many of these little lakes out inside of the large sand dune complex along the southern Oregon Coast, but most of them are only accessed by ATVs or off road vehicles. Hall Lake is one of those exceptions. You can drive right up to the little park area surrounding it. It’s a very short hike in and over to the dunes side of the lake. It’s a very surreal experience as it’s like the ocean with sand leading all the way into the water yet there are no waves and no movement. The sand dune is very tall and people love to run up to the top and slide down. It’s a fun little park and a beautiful destination for a quick, easy exploration. This foot selfie, I had the idea to include the sweetie (if you’re wondering who the second set of feet are)!

Dirty feet. Absolutely, hands down, my favorite of all of last year’s foot selfies because this was taken the weekend of the full solar eclipse. We traveled over to Salem to see it in its entirety since it would only be 90-ish% at our home on the lake. We camped at a friend of a friend’s property (now our new friend) that is located on the back side of an RV park. It was dry camping and thus no showers but I don’t mind that when I’m camping. I like to get dirty sometimes, it feels good to feel like I am part of the earth. The RV camp had this adorable little train that took you around the park with a miniature village sprinkled throughout. This is the track that the mini train ran on. Dennis and I walked it after we were let out at the station. It was fun to check out the mini village buildings up close and to take in the warm, dry air. We were surprised by how dry it was there compared to the coast. It was a welcome change for a couple of days, but I have to say we were euphoric to get back to the cooler, wetter environment.

Feet AND legs in the sand, sitting on my Rumpl blanket, enjoying the warm day. There’s something about the ocean’s waves and the warmth of the sun that lull me to sleep. Flop a mattress out there on the beach and I might not ever go home!

These aren’t my feet – they are the sweetie’s – but I had to share this one. We were at the shore one day, enjoying the sunshine and the cool water on our feet when we noticed that crabs were washing ashore everywhere! They were good sized crabs too. We talked about it later, wondering whether or not we could have just scooped them up for dinner, but never having had them before, we weren’t sure we wanted them. Thankfully since then, our awesome friend Julie made us some FRESH crabs and they were delicious! We are hooked on fresh crab now and can’t wait to go crabbing next season. Maybe we’ll find some on the shore!

I love my rain boots. I’ve never owned rain boots until we lived here. It rarely rained in the desert and when it did, I just stayed indoors knowing it would be over soon enough. My mother-in-law bought me these boots. I look forward to having a little collection of them over time – although truth be told, I’m the sort of person who wears something until it’s worn out and only then I buy the new replacement. We’ll see, I do love these, I might just want more if I find the right pattern/style to peek my interest. I remember this day in my rain boots. I was going down to the dock to check the mail. It wasn’t super wet out especially since I’d be walking on the wood decking and stairs all the way out to the dock, but it was easiest to slip my boots on and head out. I took a stick with me that day. It was October and we have a Halloween-sized version of spiders that come out in October. Big web builders everywhere you look! I hold the stick out in front of me, slashing it back and forth through the air like a sword saving the lives of my people. It grabs and rips the webs out of the walkway so that I am not covered in them when I return (nor do I get any hitchhikers this way).

Crochet is one of my favorite hobbies. I thought I would crochet quite a bit more here but we are often far too busy enjoying nature and going on little adventures. I’m sure as we age, it will become more and more of a past time for me. This is my never ending flower rug. I took this foot selfie to see if I thought the rug was big enough yet – after seeing my feet and the rug in the photo, I decided to add several more rounds. It now has a deep teal border too! It’s not quite done as I ran out of teal yarn and need to order some more online. It’s in the pile of unfinished projects (if you’re a crocheter, you know the pile).

The “big” falls off of the Umpqua River. We took a drive out the Umpqua River in search of the big waterfalls. We’re learning that not all of Oregon’s incredible attractions have green highway signs showing us the way. Many of them have to be researched or require asking a trusted source for directions. We missed the turn off to the big falls but we found this lovely smaller set on our route and decided to stop and have a little picnic. It was warm outside, the fall colors were surrounding us – oranges, yellows, dark greens, light greens and pops of red here and there. It was exquisite. We sat on this little man-made, cobblestone, walkway and ate our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I looked at Dennis and said that these sandwiches at the falls are far better than any steakhouse dinner. For me, it’s all about location… and nature.

Well that was my 2017! Do you feel like you walked a mile in my shoes? Did you learn something new about perspective? I’d love to hear/read/see about walking a mile in your shoes. Tell me your story (or link to it) in the comments!

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