Happy New Year!

Two years ago, Mike and I tried to get to the top of Snow Peak and failed miserably. Today we made it.

Just as we turned onto the logging road going up to the old fire lookout we came across this beauty. It flew along the road, just ahead of the Jeep, before finally taking off into the tree tops. It was a lovely welcome.


We hit snow part way up.


And more snow.


Just enough to let us know we weren’t alone.



And just the right amount to make for a lovely hike.

And a slippery final scramble to the top.


Where Cola showed us up.

But the view was worth it.

And the company was grand.


We did a little math and decided we’ve been coming up here for 40 years. Here’s to another 40.

Love, peace, and a long and happy life!




A lot of people sing the praises of Labrodoodles. Somehow, I got stuck with a Labroduck. But at least she’s a rare, red-beaked one.20180522_194557

Cola at 2 and a half.

Ghost Towns for Halloween

Mike and I decided to take a trip last fall and since it was the end of October, what better place to go than a few ghost towns? This trip kept popping up on my Facebook feed so I plugged the coordinates into my phone, and we took off.


This was Cola’s first road trip and I wasn’t sure how she would do with all the driving time. I shouldn’t have worried.

We left home and drove up past Mt. Hood before dipping down around the Warm Springs Indian Reservation to  Trout Creek Campground. We didn’t do any rock climbing, but Cola swam in the Deschuttes River while Mike and I walked along the abandoned rail line that follows the river. 20161028_161400


The skies were amazing the entire trip.


Setting up camp.


This is the abandoned rail line. Makes for a lovely, level walking trail.


Mike was pretty sure he could see someone climbing high on the right.


Happy campers.

In the morning we took off for our first ghost town, Shaniko. Like I said, Cola was a good traveler.



From Shaniko we drove to Condon, which just seemed like a small, run down town. Mike and I were struck by how many people still actually live in all the towns we visited. I finally looked up the definition of “ghost town.”

“a town for which the reason for being no longer exists”

It seems many of these towns have found a new reason for being: Tourism. But, even though the towns themselves were a bit of a disappointment, the roads we travelled between them were amazing. And, we would have never taken those roads if we weren’t heading to the next town on the list.


Wild turkeys.


Alice sent Grandpa on this trip with candy to keep him going.


The roads were truly stunning.


Cola was very patient whenever we needed to shop for supplies/treats.

The next town we visited was Lone Rock. Wonder where they came up with the name.


From Lone Rock to Hardman was the most scenic drive of the whole trip. Also the slowest. We were on a one lane gravel road. I think we averaged about 20 mph. But that speed gave us time to see everything, which was a very, very good thing.


Hula girl got a good workout.


At one point we came around a corner and drove through someone’s farm. We didn’t see any power poles along the road. Pretty sure this farm runs off the grid. However, they are definitely using their resources wisely.


The rock wall ran along one side of the road. A small creek ran along the other side. When we looked closely at the rock, this is what we saw.



I’d love to see this wall when the babies have just hatched.

Once we came up out of the canyon, the whole world spread out around us.


We found a campground just outside of Hardman. It was too dark to see anything, but we were pretty sure there was a body of water somewhere out there in the darkness and fog. Sure enough. In the morning we woke up to this view.


After breakfast here: 20161030_101442

We continued on. Mike and I made the decision to stay on paved roads from that point on. Cola made the decision to try sleeping on the floor for awhile.20161030_132029

We skipped a few towns, but did drive through Granite,


enjoyed the road to Sumpter,

and got out and got more supplies/treats in Sumpter.


Cola guarded the bank vault while we did our shopping.

We ended up driving through Halfway and camping at Copperfield Campground, right on the Snake River/Oregon/Idaho border.


Cola took advantage of the time to get some swimming done. She went after the sticks we threw without ever seeming to realize the bubbles popping around her were fish. Lots and lots of fish!


The campground was really nice.


The last ghost town on our list was Cornucopia. It looks like there is a big push to make it a resort/hunting destination. Cola tried a new nap position.


We found a few more old looking houses.


And then we headed home through John Day and the painted hills.


Cola and I obeyed the signs.


Although I’ve got to admit, I thought this one could be interpreted several different ways, one of which would mean we needed to learn to fly.


The patterns and colors always remind me of Indian blankets. Probably where they got their inspiration.

It felt fitting to finish the trip heading into the sunset.

You Had Me at Light

I’ve been working on a story about loss. The story is going well, I think I’m getting good words on the page. But in order to find the words I want, I’m going back into memories that bring up a lot of sadness.

Yesterday, I finished a really good revision. The story is close. Very close. And writing it brought me close to tears. So I did what I always do when I need to remind myself that life is also a part of death. I took a walk.

“C’mon, world. Make me feel better. Make me remember joy,” I said.

The day was grey, but not so wet I needed to wear rain gear. Cola, as always, was thrilled to go and immediately found a stick, found a puddle, found a gopher hole. A dog is a good companion when you are looking for joy.

As I walked, the sun began to peek below the clouds. The tops of the bare trees became gold. Light seeped around the edges.

“Nice, world,” I said. “Thanks.”

And then I turned the corner.

And cried. And laughed. And cried some more.

Because I asked for a reminder that life is good and I get this. The most amazing fucking light show I could imagine, complete with a sprinkle of rain on my upturned face like tears from heaven.

I always feel better when I get off my butt and take a walk. But this? This was ridiculously healing.

Peace and love,


Profane to Profound

A few weeks ago I was asked during a critique of a piece I wrote with two POV’s which voice was mine. Was I the timeless, sweet, warm voice or the tongue in cheek humorous voice? I didn’t even have to think about my answer.

I’m both.

Life is full of moments that take my breath away, make me cry, leave me feeling moved beyond words. And then it farts, or trips or flashes me a bare assed moon and I laugh ’til my tummy hurts.

Life is both, too.

I took Cola to meet my dad today. He would have loved her and fed her forbidden snacks and let her get away with stuff he shouldn’t have and generally spoiled her rotten. And while I sat at the gravesite, Cola calmed her hyper, 6 month old self down enough to crawl into my lap and snuggle and the sweetness of it made me weep. Of course, it didn’t last long, and before I knew it she had jumped off my lap, squatted over Dad, and peed all over him. And in that moment I could almost hear Dad’s laugh again. Almost.

Life is laughter and life is tears and life is everything in between and so am I and so is everyone else.

Someone once told my dad he could go from “the profane to the profound” in one sentence. Dad took that as a great compliment. I take that as a goal to aspire to.