Pirates taking over the beach

Pirates taking over the beach

During the federal government shutdown, the beach is officially closed. But, that mostly just means the parking lots and bathrooms are closed, there are no lifeguards on duty to protect the public, clean up the beach or ensure dogs appropriately use the beach, and most of the businesses in town are seeing fewer customers. But, there really isn’t a way to close down the beach. So, during the shutdown, the beach still gets about 5,000 visitors on a sunny weekend day.

This pirate flag flying from the shuttered life guard tower struck me as the perfect symbol of both how pirates seem to have taken over our government — as well as our beach.

Better know your sand

The sand at Stinson Beach is as ever-changing as the tides — with different weather, wind patterns, and surf bringing different types of sand formations to the beach. Here are a few of the different types of sand formations I’ve seen in recent months.

Beach erosion in the winter

Beach erosion in the winter

Beach erosion on a fall day -- not nearly as dramatic as winter

Beach erosion on a fall day — not nearly as dramatic as winter

Sand on a quiet weekday -- when there are more birds than people

Sand on a quiet weekday — when there are more birds than people

Sand on a busy summer day chopped up with lots of use

Sand on a busy summer day — chopped up with lots of use

Sand at sunset

Sand at sunset

Sand as the tide is turning from high to low tide

Sand as the tide is turning from high to low tide

Sand on a windy day

Sand on a windy day

Sand near the mouth of the Bolinas Lagoon is much more rocky than sand elsewhere on the beach

Sand near the mouth of the Bolinas Lagoon is much more rocky than sand elsewhere on the beach

Sand after the life guard comes through

Sand after the life guard truck drives by

Weekday sand

Weekday sand

Sand during the GOP shutdown of the federal government

Sand during the GOP shutdown of the federal government — still a lot of people around considering the park is technically closed

Sand at very low tide

Sand at very low tide

I definitely don't understand what inspires people to dig sand tunnels and giant holes in the sand, but this is another prominent sand formation at the beach.

I definitely don’t understand what inspires people to dig sand tunnels and giant holes in the sand, but this is another prominent sand formation at the beach

You Know You Live in Stinson Beach When…

Inspired by this list of 23 Signs You’re a New Yorker, here is my list of signs you live in Stinson Beach.

1. Without fail, you will find sand in the lint trap of your dryer.  No matter how vigorously you shake your laundry.

022

2. You save your egg crates to be refilled at your local 24-hour honor system farm stand.

farmstand

3. You live in a place safe enough to have a 24-hour honor system farm stand.

4. You know there are posted hours for your local gym, but since all of the locals have their own keys, it really doesn’t matter what those hours are.

5. You don’t worry too much about whether the artwork on your walls is straight and level, — since your house was probably built on sand, your walls probably aren’t even straight and level.

023

6. You know the real summer is between September and October, not June and August.

IMG_5563

7.  You have a unique definition of what you “really need.” Since you can get most of what you need in town and since it’s at least 30 minutes over a winding road to a Costco/Safeway, you think twice about whether you really need it before heading over the hill.

stinson04

8. You giggle a little when you see someone from out of town lock up their bike to grab lunch — bike locks are so unnecessary in Stinson Beach.

9. Even your 2-year-old daughter knows the 15-second test of the air raid siren at noon and 5pm are only tests — not real emergencies.

10. Your emergency plan is pretty simple — if it’s a fire walk to the beach, if it’s a tsunami walk up the hill…if it’s an earthquake, since you practically live on a fault…good luck!

11. You’ve been recruited by at least 5 people to join the volunteer fire department solely based upon the fact that you’re under 60 years old.

12. You shop at the Stinson Beach Market in your pajamas, and you put the order on your tab.

13. On a weekday night, not only can you walk down highway 1, but you’re more likely to see deer, foxes, coyotes, skunks and owls, than another person.

14. Your know your local school bus driver surfs while the kids are at school.

school bus

15. You have access to public transit, but it is geared toward getting tourists to your town, not so much for getting you to anywhere you would want to go.

16. Technically none of the restaurants in town deliver…technically.

17. You know the names of at least 4 friendly town dogs.

207

18. You know where to find not one, but two operational phone booths and when one of them breaks, you can try using the cup and string instead.

phone booth

19. Your kids have to make up their own forms of entertainment.

watching tractor

20. You may live in a small town, but you essentially live in a 51-acre park surrounded by a 7,000+ acre national seashore…so you can literally hike out your back door!

hiking

21. The town green is mostly maintained by volunteers, and you are one of them.

097

22. You’ve given directions to at least a dozen people who have unsuccessfully tried to find the turn off for Bolinas.

23. You operate on West Marin time….which most definitely is not a New York Minute.

Tip # 13 — Love Your Beach Body

Tip # 13 -- Love Your Beach Body

You would think that living by the beach would make you self- conscious about your body (since you’re surrounded by too many Baywatch Babes to count), but I’ve actually grown to be much more comfortable in my own skin since we moved to the beach. I’ve learned to love all of my jiggly parts, to accept that as a working mom I just don’t have time to shave my legs or paint my toenails on a regular basis, and to realize that happiness doesn’t come from being thin or beautiful, it comes from being the best version of yourself you can be — even if that includes a little wiggle when you walk.

I think my new-found comfort with my body comes in part from the strength in numbers. Everyday, hundreds of glowingly happy people visit the beach; and no matter what they look like, they have the courage to strip down to what my daughter calls “baby soups” (aka swimsuits). The beach wouldn’t be the same without a swimsuit — it really is the best way to experience the amazing combination of warm sand, occasional sun, salty water, a towel, a book, some toys, and sunblock — and I’m so happy people come from all over the world to experience our beach in their swimsuits, regardless of their body type!

But, I also think my body acceptance comes from the repeated exposure that you can only get living at the beach. The more times you see your glaring -overly-sunblocked-legs sticking out from a tasteful “Mom” swimsuit, the more likely it is you’ll feel comfortable with your body.

So, next time you go to the beach, be sure to show off your beach body with pride! Just remember there will always be someone skinnier than you and someone chubbier than you, but there will never be another you…so, just love the body you got!

The photo credit for this picture goes to the nonprofit About-Face, which has inspired me in many different ways!

Sheriff Calls in West Marin

Police activity

When you have kids, you want them to live somewhere safe, somewhere you can leave the door unlocked, somewhere you can leave a car packed full of kid-necessities (stroller, toys, hiking pack, books, pack & play, etc.) without worrying someone will steal them, you want your neighbors to help make your kid feel like a part of the community. Reading the police blotter recently reminded me how lucky we are to live in a place like Stinson Beach…where the sheriff’s call log reads a bit like Mayberry!

Friday, June 28

STINSON BEACH: At 12:49 a.m. hikers were stuck behind a locked gate.

POINT REYES STATION: At 7:51 p.m. a tree was blocking a lane.

MOUNT TAM: At 8:41 p.m. a hiker reported himself lost.

STINSON BEACH: At 9:22 p.m. a 40-year-old woman was sick.

Saturday, June 29

BOLINAS: At 11:38 a.m. a wallet was found outside the laundromat.

STINSON BEACH: At 12:59 p.m. a 10-year-old girl hit her nose on a play structure.

MUIR BEACH: At 1:10 p.m. a man, having run the Double Dipsea, was cramping.