Friday, October 23, 2015

Fall in Oregon

Yesterday I spent the morning on a photo shoot with 2 friends, Pat and Lyle. We drove from Eugene toward the Cascade mountains, to an area called Westfir. We were drawn by the fall colors. We had a lovely time, and afterwards had a wonderful lunch at a little burger joint in Oakridge. Here are some of the photos I took simply for the sake of taking pictures:

Thanks for looking. : )

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Paradise in a Raptear

Recently we've been thinking that our giant (24ft) camper is just too much to haul around (seeing as how we haven't done anything with it except use it as a guest room for over a year!). So we bought ourselves a cute little teardrop trailer. -->
We got it from a local (Eugene) guy who has a company making them. This particular one was a prototype for his little family and includes a bunk bed inside for one small kid (which we happen to have, for a little while longer). The back opens up to form a galley kitchen. I forgot to get a picture of the extra shelf that attaches to the side. And you can't see the sink or double burner stove that pulls out, and all the storage for kitchen stuff.

Our maiden voyage with the "Raptear" as the seller called it, was to Paradise campground about an hour from Eugene, up in the mountains. We were camped right beside the McKenzie river, and these two cuties were my adventuring companions.
Sunday was Mother's Day, and my son and step-daughter had given me some very nice earrings shaped like bacon and eggs (because bacon and eggs are wonderful!). Right after we took this family pic, while on a hike, I realized they had both fallen out. So we all searched the ground as we walked back to camp. Jacob found one on the trail, and I found the other in camp. They were pretty small, so it was nothing short of a miracle!
At any rate, it was a short but lovely trip - just one night. The trailer worked great! It was cold outside but cozy inside. Unfortunately someone (I won't mention names) had to get out and pee in the middle of the night and inadvertently let out all the warm air, which made the rest of us very cold!! Lesson learned. We are looking forward to a longer trip in the summer when Jacob is out of school.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Bandon by the Sea

We spent the weekend camping near Bandon, a little town on the southern coast of Oregon. Since having lived in our camper for a whole month after the fire, we've regressed to tent camping. 13 years ago we spent our honeymoon in a tent and since then camping has been a big part of our life. It was like going home. Except we were in Oregon, not Texas, which is arguably friendlier for camping! No fire ants, no 100 degrees, no cactus, no scorpions ... shall I go on?

We spent a good part of the first day wandering the beach near the campground looking for rocks. I seem to have infected Jacob with my love for them, which warms the cockles of my heart. : ) Here are just a few from my new installment:

There is a magnificent display of haystacks (great big rocks in/near the ocean) in Bandon. We were still a ways from them when I took this picture, so you might not get a feel for their true size. Believe me when I say they are the size of buildings!
Here are a few fun shaped ones with a little rivulet running between.
And here's Jacob among some of the smaller rocks. Fortunately he ran into some boys about his age at the campground, so his social calender was set. Unfortunately, together they became a wild pack. Alone Jacob is a good kid. The pack pushed limits constantly, including trying to burn every single inappropriate thing (in the campfire) they could get their grubby little hands on. I'm so glad I have just one!
On the second day we got up early and went down to the beach for a super-duper low tide event that only happens once or twice a year during waking hours. We were able to get really close to this hole where the day before it was a tiny speck.
We also saw lots and lots of starfish, sea anemones, mussels, barnacles and other various sea creatures in the tide pools and clinging to the sides of the haystacks.
These 4 here looked to be doing some kind of crazy dance before they were exposed by the low tide. They seemed frozen in embarrassment.
The best part of the whole day (we all agreed) were the sea caves! It was so cool to see what the water can do to rock over time, and especially to see what most of the time is underwater.

We feel very fortunate that all this is only a 3 hour drive from where we live in Eugene. What lucky duckies we are!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Finished Quilt

It's done! Yay! I stiched in the ditch for the quilting part (my husband thought I made up that term but it's real). And I learned the most common way to finish the edge (binding) from a couple of Youtube videos, and it magically turned out perfect. The hardest part was figuring out how to get a good picture of it. If I could have laid it down outside I would have, but it was too wet.
Here it is laid out on the floor inside so you can see the whole design and a little of the purple back (no my squares did NOT all line up ... didn't know that was important until the end). As soon as I finished, Jacob said, "Can you make one for me?" So that is my next project. What I like about quilting is I can have it all out and do a little bit at a time - whenever I'm bored with everything else.


For the past couple of weeks Eugene has been frozen. The temperatures have been hovering just below freezing, day and night. And we've had lots of fog but no rain. Consequently we've had lots of moisture collecting up in the trees, among other places, and then freezing. It's been very cool to look at, so yesterday I spent about 2 hours outside taking pictures. It was fun but I nearly lost my fingers to frostbite. I guess I shouldn't joke when there are places suffering negative numbers right now! Anyway, here are a few of my pictures.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Endless Quilt Project

I have been going through a major block with my painting these last couple of months, so after the busy-ness of the holidays I decided to get back to a quilt project I started last summer. I have also decided to only paint when I feel like it, going forward, so I'll probably be able to actually finish the quilt soon!

This is my first quilt, so I started by flipping through some books on the subject. I have to admit I didn't read a whole bunch, but rather just looked at pictures, and am now (halfway through) realizing some mistakes that could have been prevented. (sheepish grin)

I decided on a simple design (so it wouldn't take months & months - ha!) based loosely on one I liked in a book and jumped right in. We have a fabulous fabric store here in Eugene - every fabric is one I want! I had a hard time narrowing it down, but I finally chose this as my general theme.

I made a bunch of these squares, all with slightly different layouts. This one (above) is not completely stitched.

Just the other day I started laying them all out on the studio floor (much to the annoyance of my family who now have to avoid stepping on it). Next I will stitch all these parts together, and then put on a border.

I just bought the back piece, which is going to match the purples. Next I will put my quilt "sandwich" together and do the quilting itself. I went back and forth about whether I should do it myself or pay to have it done, but I decided to go for it.

After that I'll bind the edge, which I have dutifully watched several videos about (thank god for Youtube!!!).

When it's done I'll use this quilt for travelling. The blankets in hotels are never to the liking of my knees. My husband says my knees are crazy, but whatever.
: )

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Death Hike Around the Three Sisters

This is going to be quite a long post, but mostly just long in terms of pictures (23), so please bear with me. Last Wednesday David and I started out on what we thought would be a 5-day, 50 mile hike around Oregon's Three Sister mountains, the third, fourth and fifth highest peaks in Oregon. We bought packs, a tent, sleeping mats and bags, a water purifier, etc. When all loaded down my pack weighed in at about 28 lbs, and David carried about 35. Not minimal by any means, but we met a guy on the trail with at least 50 lbs!! Here's David, loaded down:

Unfortunately when we finally caught sight of the first mountain, they weren't quite as big as we expected. David touched the top without even breaking a sweat.

At first I was really worried about running across a bear. Fortunately, that never happened, but we did see quite a few of these in the mud, which looked suspiciously like bear footprints.

After a while we did run into snow. At first it was just cute, little patches. I especially liked where they created little bridges across streams. So cute!

But when the patches started getting bigger - so big the obscured the trail, we were really, REALLY glad we had a GPS. We lost the trail on many occasions, but were always able to find it again with GPS.

On day two we turned a corner and suddenly ran into this spectacular view:

This a series of lakes called Green Lakes. We were curious about the name, since they are so clearly blue, until we got closer. The water was very green, and so clear you could see down to the bottom all the way in the middle of the lake.

At some point on day two I decided there were already plenty of pictures of David, so I mugged with the mountain:

Creeks and waterfalls were very common along the trail. Oregon is supremely breathtaking. I feel incredibly lucky to live here.

On day three we wound around to the west side of the mountains and our trail met up with the PCT for a while. For those of you who aren't familiar with this, the Pacific Crest Trail runs from Mexico to Canada all along the west coast. I recently read a FABULOUS book ("Wild") about a girl who walks most of it.

Halfway through day three we were feeling some pain. When you are carrying that much weight, going up and down over sloshy snow, miles of sand and everything from tiny marble sized rocks to boulders, your muscles can get a little cranky, and your toes get downright mad. By this point, David could barely muster a smile.

We stopped at this scenic spot to filter more water and rest our feet:

We even soaked our feet a bit, but since this was pure snow melt, we couldn't keep them in for more than about 5 seconds at a time.

Day 3 was a long one. We ended up hiking quite a bit further than expected, mostly because we couldn't find a flat enough spot without snow to pitch our tent. By my estimates we hiked 15 miles that day. At the end, when my feet felt like bloody stumps inside my boots, I said, "I don't care where we stop, but we're stopping NOW!" So we pitched our tent right beside the snow. When we weren't hiking we spent all our time in the tent, because as soon as we stopped walking, especially in the evening, we were swarmed by mosquitoes. This next picture shows just how small our tent is. It's amazing we still love each other.

On the fourth day we decided to try and make it back to the car, since there were only about 16 miles left, even though we had originally planned to be out one more day, and even though we had two passes to traverse before we were done. The first pass, called Opie Dilldock Pass (what a name!) was absolutely the toughest part of the trip. We marched up a looooong series of switchbacks over bits and pieces of volcanic rock. Honestly I just looked right down at the ground and trudged until it was over.

But the view from the top made it all worthwhile!

Later we came to a treacherous bit of trail where we were expected to skirt along near the top of this snow bank. Every step brought us closer to sliding, so we did the only rational thing - we sat down and slid on purpose. It was the highlight of our whole trip!!! Here's David starting his slide:

 And here he is again near the bottom. Our butts eventually dried.

I didn't get a lot of pictures after this because I was too busy hurting! I had one thing on my mind and that was getting out early enough to drive to Sisters and eat a burger!

David took this last picture of us with his iphone, right before we reached the car. You can see we're not doing too well. Right now we can't imagine ever doing this again!!! But, we will eventually forget the pain. And we learned some things that we'll do differently next time. One, be in better shape before we go. Two, don't go so fast. Because as hard as it was, it was a great trip, and we hope to go on a death march every year from now on, and maybe, someday, bring Jacob.