How Not to Ride the Waves

I love going into a pool or into the ocean. I also have been afraid of drowning since I was a child. Puts me in a bit of a bind, it does. Because I love the water more than I am afraid, I go in anyway.

Even though I go into the water, I am reluctant to immerse my head under water. Afterwards, my eyes sting so badly that I need to dry my eyes with a towel before they stop stinging and I can see again. Wiping them with my hands only seems to make them sting more. I have tried to shake my head, as I have seen boys and dogs do after they leap, god-like, up from the water, but it doesn’t help.

Because my eyes are sensitive to the water, I cannot wear contacts. Plus, I have poor eyesight. Without eyeglasses, I feel even less confident wave surfing because I am concerned about misjudging wave height, getting knocked over, and drowning.

To summarize with the help of an equation:

My reluctance to put my head underwater/Wear no eyeglasses > My love of water > My fear of drowning

Yesterday, I went to Jones Beach for the afternoon. Jones Beach is a beach along a peninsula off the southern coast of Long Island. The last time I went to Jones Beach was as a teenager, so it’s been at least 25 years since I spent time there.

I had forgotten that the shore can be steep in places. You do not have to go far out into the water to find yourself riding some pretty deep waves. Two or three banks of waves came in one after the other. Children with parents and teens were wave surfing in groups.The beach felt both crowded and empty. I found parking easily. People settled under umbrellas near the lifeguards, but plenty of room still existed for newcomers.

When I arrived, high tide was rolling in. In the span of a couple of hours, the waves dumped a lot of sand on the shore at the spot where I waded creating a deep bank where none had existed. I wrote under a shady umbrella, and then baked in the sun for a bit so that going into the water would be refreshing.

While I was in the water, I started riding some waves higher than the earlier waves by a foot or two. Unfortunately, a huge wave came and I had to make a decision. Go under or try to go over. Which one do you think I made?

Answer: The wrong one.

If I had not been afraid to go underwater because my eyes would sting, I made the choice to try and go over it. But it was already too late for that choice. I had not been close enough to the waves when it was building. As it started to crest, I tried to go over it. Guess who won that one?

Answer: It wasn’t me.

As the water was about to cover me, I held my breath and tried to grab my nose before water went up it (I didn’t make it). The wave knocked me backwards and into a somersault. The lower back of my head hit the sand. My other hand went out for stability, and I felt the water lift my prescription sunglasses up and off my face. I was able to stand pretty up right away, even though I got hit by another, smaller wave. I took a few steps towards the beach, and I heard someone gasp and giggle. I realized that my top and been yanked way down. I was standing with my boobage visible to all. I yanked up my shirt and made my way out of the water. I was kind of, sort of, but not really embarrassed. As I shook my hair out, I realized that my hair clip was gone, too, as was the flexible fabric bandaid that had been on my leg.

Neptune was a greedy bastard.

I tried looking for a washed up pair of sunglasses on the beach. But I know how quickly items can be moved either out to sea or down shore, so I didn’t look too hard to find them.

Afterwards, I felt lucky that my neck didn’t get broken or that I didn’t drown. I was on the edge of the green flags that the lifeguards use. But you can bet next time that I am planting myself right down in front of them. I will leave the glasses behind, or secure them to my body (although I think it will be safer just to leave them onshore. I will have to read up on how to make them sting less or just try to see if exposure will get my eyes used to the salt.

When it comes to wave riding, I will play by Neptune’s rules because he doesn’t play by mine.

Brief Hampton Bays Trip

My husband and I stayed two nights at a place on Route 80/Montauk Highway called The Hampton Maid. The grounds were lush and peaceful, even though we were just above a busy one lane road.

My mother’s and sister’s rooms were adjacent to our room towards the right and a fourth room was on our left. An open porch spanned all four rooms with two rocking chairs, a table, and an ashtray outside each of the rooms. These photos were taken from my front door.

The two main windmill building rooms had large sliding glass doors that opened up onto the expansive lawn. Behind the dogwood tree shown was a shuffle board and a vending and ice machines.

Left side view from Room

Left side view from Room

Opposite from the rooms was bench seating. We had a small staircase that led up to our room. Across from us was the pool. Behind the pool was a swing set and small playground, including slides.

Room with a pool view

Room with a pool view

To our right was another cabin. You can get an idea of what the front of our cabin looked like because the one shown below looked the same.

Right side view from Room

Right side view from Room

The restaurant let you take up carafes of coffee on a tray up to your room with additional coffee cups, two of which were already in the room. Breakfast was only served until 1pm, and then the coffee was shut off, too. Six buildings with at most four cabin rooms each peppered the grassy hill amid ancient pine and maple trees (I think maple). The salty sea breeze kept temperatures down and spirits up.

Unfortunately, I got sick the first night we were there. I reluctantly passed on a day trip to Montauk with my family because I decided it was safer for me to nap than it was for me to drive.  That evening, we dined at at nearby restaurant Edgewater that had a small koi pond outside the door.  The food was excellent, and the staff pleasant and accommodating.

Edgewater Koi Pond

Edgewater Koi Pond

One night, we took a walk down a local street to the miniature public beach that lay at the end of the path. The featured image is from that night as well as this one:

Beach Reeds

Beach Reeds

And this one:

The bay

The bay

Two days is not enough time to spend out East if you end up getting sick like I did. Montauk will have to wait until next time…

Family Mini Break

This post is written in advance so that I can enjoy my family mini break and not forget my biweekly writing duty to you, my dear readers.

For the first time in decades, I am spending a brief time with my mother and three sisters at a favorite family vacation spot, The Hampton Bays near the eastern end of Long Island.

During childhood, I went with my parents and one sister, M, on a week-long vacation to the Hamptons. Sometime as a teen, I decided it was uncool to go away with my parents. I also wanted to be near friends. I stopped going. This was shy of 30 years ago.

In addition, we never were all together in the Hamptons. My eldest sister, S, would come. My sister A lived in Hawaii for 17 years starting when I was 5 years old, so we never were together with her in the Hamptons. For the first time, she will be with us as well.

I am excited and a little nervous about spending vacation time with my entire family, including 3 husbands, and a nephew. Monday will be a low key day, hopefully with some beach time. Monday nite, S heads back into NYC via train. On Tuesday, the rest of us are going to Montauk point to eat seafood at a place that my parents used to love going.

On Wednesday, Mark and I return, while sister M, BIL, nephew, & mom stay until Thursday, which is also my sister M’s birthday.

Friday nite is my nephew’s high school graduation. On Saturday afternoon, we celebrate with sandwiches and video games.

And next Sunday you ask? Sunday is, finally, a day of rest.

And laundry. Lots of laundry.

Week 6 Artist Date: Lido Beach

My favorite place is to go is the beach. I have not been to a beach on the south shore of Long Island, NY since some time in high school in the late 1980’s. I regularly went to any Jones Beach or, when I went on vacation with my family, nearby beaches in the Hamptons.

One of my cousins regularly goes to Long Beach, so I thought I would drive to Long Beach and see what it was like. I printed travel directions to and from Long Beach on different routes using Google Maps, which point me into the middle of Long Beach instead of the beach area itself.

I saw signs for Point Lookout at Lido Beach so I changed my plans and decided to go there instead. I wondered what I would see and how far I would be able to see the ocean from there.

I passed the Malibu, an oceanside nightclub. I used to listen to a local alternative New Wave station in the 80’s called WLIR (later WDRE) that used to frequently air commercials for the Malibu.

I was so excited! I actually go to see the ‘Malibu at Lido Beach’! I was there! I thought about stopping to take a photo, but was feeling uncertain. I did not know how long I was going to be driving on East Park Avenue, and I decided to keep driving.  When I came to a light, I realized I saw a sign for Point Lookout on the right.

I turned into the parking lot, and drove as close as I could to the beach. I parked next to a truck. Construction vehicles were moving large mounds of sand in the distance to my right.

I walked past the closed bathrooms and turned left to walk onto the beach. Mounds of sand collected against the building in drifts. I walked on the fine sand and, after a crest, walked near the water. I saw two piping plovers walking along the water’s edge, pecking the sand just after the water would go out. Their little legs flickered as they scattered around looking for food. They were also trying to avoid me, and I kept my distance.

Point lookout Views

I saw a promontory of rock, which I assumed was Point Lookout. No signs were around. Because I was by myself and I have poor balance, I only went as far as I felt comfortable, which was only 1/3 of the way from the beginning of the stones.

2014-04-03 15.10.19

Point Lookout Ocean View

2014-04-03 15.13.53

Point Lookout Shore View

I turned around and took pictures so I could get a 360 degree panorama.

2014-04-03 15.12.46

Point Lookout Right View

2014-04-03 15.12.35

More Shore on the Right

This next shot is a larger shot of the shore. Interestingly, the clouds that darken the ocean do not reach the shore. This gives the effect I went on two different days, but all these photos were taken at the same time of day from the same spot.

2014-04-03 15.12.30

Point Lookout Larger Shore View

To the left, a large stretch of land arcs around and farther out into the ocean.

2014-04-03 15.12.24

Point Lookout Left View

A little ways off to the left from the Point Lookup was some wood debris. The foot tracks leading away to the lookout looked cool, so I took a shot.

2014-04-03 15.09.18

Wood Debris

I took a closeup of the branch of wood because it looked creepy and cool with its twisting and turning branches.

2014-04-03 15.09.28

Debris Closeup

As I kept walking, I saw two additional lookouts that I explored. On my way back to my car an hour later, I came across a mess of piping plover tracks. In addition to the first pair I saw, I saw a family of five hovering close to one of the other lookouts.

2014-04-03 15.08.39

Piping Plover Sand Tracks

I decided to start picking up shells as you can see from the featured image. The interesting difference between the north shores of Massachusetts and southern Long Island beaches: Massachusetts has a lot of rocks on their shores, whereas Long Island has finer sand, black oyster shells, and almost no rocks.

I looked for rocks everywhere because one of the exercises in The Artist’s Way this week says to collect five small rocks. I could only find one. I will have to keep searching.

All in all, I experienced an amazing artist date. I see more trips to beaches as artist dates in my future.

New Zazzle Product: Mousepad in Paradise

I need a new mousepad, so I thought I would create one with a beach picture from my trip to Ocho Rios, Jamaica in January 2011.


I have made it available for sale. Let me know what you think!