Category Archives: General Musings

Springtime?

No…not really…the rain returns on Sunday. But TODAY…today was the most spectacular day we’ve had since October!

I left work mid-day thinking I’d so some work in the yard and pot a few plants on the deck. Once home I grabbed a bite, changed into a t-shirt (really) and sandals (not kidding!), ventured into the sun to put the cushions on the patio chairs and…

…SCREW the yardwork!

Sometimes you just have to take advantage of the beautiful weather. Waste a little time. RELAX! After all, this is only the second 60+ degree day we’ve had up here since early December!

I put some classic Grateful Dead on the stereo, popped a beer and lay back in my chair to catch some rays. OH BOY!!!

The birds were everywhere…hairy and downy woodpeckers, goldfinches in full mating color, white crowned sparrows, towhees, chickadees, juncos, house and purple finches, nuthatches and even a coopers hawk. Better yet..NO INSECTS! Nope…still too cold for them little buggers.

WHAT A GLORIOUS DAY!!!

I tried to take a picture…

…as you can see, my skin is so white the reflected light just kills all detail. Better than a face lift!

And that’s Spring in the Pacific Northwest!

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Spo Shirt Charity Tour

I did get a short break from all the stress early in January when my blogger buddy Michael at Spo Reflections wrote to inform me that I’d reached the top of the list on the Spo Shirt Charity Tour and would soon be in possession of his beautiful shirt of shirts.

For those of you who may not have heard of this by now, let me fill you in. Michael makes beautiful/fun/funky Hawaiian shirts and he decided to send one out on tour to raise money for one of his favorite charities. The deal is, take a picture of yourself in Michael’s shirt, post it on your blog and choose which of his worthy charities should receive the money.

Well, the shirt arrived mid-winter and during our coldest spell which immediately limited the photo ops in his summery shirt.

My plan was to get a picture featuring each of our many bridges. I made it to two before freezing my ass off and going home. Well…two is better than none.

Once at home, Mac decided he wanted to get in on the fun. Of course his motivation wasn’t the possibility of a donation to the Humane Society as he’d led me to believe. His true motivation was the possibility that Harper, Michael’s sweet bitch, would see his picture and hopefully fall for him. I have to admit it wasn’t so far fetched an idea, after all, everyone falls for Mac, especially when he’s working a look like this?

Thanks Michael for the entertaining distraction and if you ever need a little pocket change…give me a call…that shirt was impeccably tailored and you certainly know just where the hem should hit!

[NOTE: I was a little disappointed that when the shirt arrived it smelled freshly laundered. All those sexy men who’d worn the shirt prior didn’t even leave a hint of manscent on it. Not even around the lower hem…Sean.]

Dark Times

My…a little time has passed since my last post. Hmmm.

December turned out to be the month from hell as some of you know. Pops was diagnosed with double pneumonia that required immediate surgery. Although the docs thought the surgery would go well…they weren’t sure about him coming off the respirator. Well…that all went swimmingly.

A week later things went downhill quickly and I had to “make the decision”. In the early hours our Christmas Eve Pops passed peacefully and I went to a dark place for a while. I’m still trying to figure out just how everything got handled this past month and half. Mark and Aunt Paula certainly made things easier and kept me sane throughout. And…I received so many notes and cards from my dear friends I never once felt alone in this.

I’m so grateful to have such a loving, caring support network and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

I miss you Pops!!

Oh, What a Beautiful Morning

I slept in this morning after spending the evening enjoying the company of our dear friends Toni & John, and their new little girl Maeve. Of course….being at the mountain….my first thought was “look out the window” and was I ever rewarded!

Quiz

(click on pic to truly appreciate description)

Hetero Block Party or Gay Dance Party?

You decide.

Owl

I spent Sunday under the influence of muscle relaxants thanks to spasms in my shoulder and neck. After some reading and short nap I decided I needed to do something productive so I grabbed the camera to download some photos. I set it on the table, turned to get the laptop and something caught my eye. I looked out the window but didn’t see anything. Then…it struck me…a large tree stump on the side of the hill looked “different”. I looked closer and was surprised to see this massive, Great Horned Owl sitting atop the stump casing the yard for lunch. It seemed odd that he would be out hunting at 2:00 in the afternoon, on a sunny day, but I’m glad he stopped by.


(click on pics for larger view)

Unfortunately, my telephoto lens was in the camera bag in the other room and I was worried he’d fly off before I changed lenses, so all you get are these.

Maybe I should stay home on drugs more often.

Road Trip

Crossing the Siskiyou Pass, there’s a spot about 4 miles north of the California border where you come around a sweeping turn and are suddenly faced with the majestic Mt. Shasta in all it’s snow capped glory. After many long hours of driving, and with many more to come, it’s this moment when I get that overwhelming feeling of having come home. Maybe it’s the summers spent with my family on and around the mountains and lakes of the Shasta/Trinity forest or those late teen years hiking with friends throughout Lassen Volcanic Park, but simply seeing this peak brings a great comfort to my soul.

Of course once you’ve passed through this beautiful paradise, you drop into the upper Central Valley of California and for the next hundred miles you can’t help but want to turn the car around and head back north. It doesn’t take long before the miles upon endless miles of alfalfa and olive trees begin to take their toll. Not to mention the unbearable heat and horrible roads. It was this desolate landscape that slapped me back to the reality of this unexpected trip home, my fathers impending hip surgery.

After 10 days of hospital visits, cleaning, moving furniture, cooking and generally getting Pop’s house ready for his return with a walker and various other accoutrement, and sure he was in the good hands of his girlfriend, I was ready to head home. I dreaded getting back on that same highway now that I wasn’t in a hurry and I wanted to relax and enjoy the trip knowing everything was under control. So, I did a little mapquest query and found that heading West across the SF Bay and North, along the Redwood Highway would only add about 3 hours to my drive. I hadn’t taken that route in over 15 years and the choice between driving straight flat roads in 90+ degree temps, with the air conditioner on full bore revisiting those Olive trees, versus winding mountain roads, windows-down-fresh-air and Redwoods…towering Redwoods…spectacular, towering Redwoods, was a no brainer.

By the time I hit Sonoma County the Grateful Dead were moving me merrily down the road and all the stress of the previous week started to fall away. Before I knew it I was through Garberville and turning off the highway to drive along the Avenue of the Giants. This stretch of road is magical and driving through the filtered sunlight under those grand Coast Redwoods it’s as if time stops. The centuries old trees appeal to my soul, calling me close. It’s impossible to not stop and touch their beautiful bark, feel their strength, lie beneath them. That rich, woody scent fills me with a peaceful energy clears my mind. This was a journey I hadn’t realized was necessary until this very moment.

Getting back into the car facing another 7 hours of driving suddenly seems welcome and I continue out to the coast, the trees falling away and then…returning, in between short views of the Pacific Ocean and the smell of salt air. With the marine layer now moving in, blotting out the sun, I roll up the window and smile at just how far I’ve driven and how many different climates I’ve experienced since departing the Central Valley with it’s brown hills, scrub oak and dry heat earlier that morning. However, the marine layer also reminds me of Portland and the fact that I’ll be living with those gray skies soon enough so it’s time to head back over the coast range and into warmer weather for the night.

I turned East just after Crescent City and continue on the Redwood Highway toward its terminus in Grants Pass but first there’s one last stand of the big trees in the Jedediah Smith State Park before I reach unknown territory. Well…unknown to me. I’ve never driven beyond the park and was thrilled to have chosen this point to cross back to the valley. The road runs alongside the Smith River and the canyon is beautiful. It wasn’t until this point that I really missed having Mark and the dog along. Not that I didn’t want them along to begin with but here were so many opportunities to swim the dog and enjoy this narrow canyon. I’m already plotting a way to drag them down there for a long weekend of camping.

The canyon finally opens up just after the Oregon border to yet another surprise: the Illinois Valley. This area is home to many budding vineyards and its gently rolling hills, rivers and quaint little towns remind me of Sonoma County before the population boom of the late 80’s.

Of course I did have to get home as our friend Bill Hawley was arriving in Portland that very night so I said farewell to my mini-vacation and hit the I-5 at Grants Pass. Once the sun set, I started to feel the weariness of such a long drive…and not feel anything in my left foot so I decided it was time to find a place to sleep. I purposely stopped in a small town with nothing to distract me, found some dinner and promptly went to bed so I could be up for the quick three hour drive to Portland early the next morning.

Although the purpose of the trip was not a pleasant one, I was able to make it enjoyable by taking the scenic route home. It was nice to visit places I haven’t seen in many years even if only out the car window. Spending time in the Redwoods and the trek through Shasta/Trinity brought back many fond memories and those are sometimes best experienced in solitude. Back home now it’s as though I was on a little magic ride through time and still I’m filled with peace.