She used to be my girl

Squishie. Hoochie. Big Gray Girl. She had many nicknames. Our 18-year old matriarch, Sidra, crossed the Rainbow Bridge a week ago today, leaving a gaping hole in our little family.

We adopted Sidra in May 2002 from the Humane Society of the Black Hills in Rapid City, SD. She was supposedly about a year old at the time, and had recently given birth, making her teats a little prominent. Because of this, we named her Sidra, for one of Jerry Seinfeld’s girlfriends on the show, whose breasts were both “real and spectacular.”

We didn’t realize when we brought her home that she had a highly contagious upper respiratory infection, and our resident cats, Sputnik and Biscuit, were behind on their shots. We were rewarded with three sneezing, snotty cats for almost a month.

In her younger days, she was a gorgeous, plush, gray shorthair who appeared to have some Russian blue in her genetic makeup.

Photo of a gray cat with gold eyes

She almost always looked grumpy, even when she was purring happily, being cuddled in our arms or on a lap.


Regardless of that, she was a very good-natured, tolerant cat, toward Loving Husband and I, anyway.

Photo of blonde man and gray cat asleep on green couch

(You wouldn’t believe how many photos I have of Loving Husband asleep with one or more of our pets.)

Sidra never once clawed or bit me, like all our other cats have at one time or another. She was very, very tolerant.

Photo of gray cat laying on side with toys on top

Most of the time, she was a terrible bully to her sister, Nemo–but she was capable of sharing at times.

Photo of two cats on a lap   Two cats on a lap

She was such a bully, in fact, that we came very close to rehoming her a couple times. It’s very painful to remember that in the context of losing her last week. Words cannot express how thankful I am that it never came to pass.

To a lesser extent, she also bullied our former boys, Sputnik and Biscuit. But they weren’t as easily intimidated as Nemo.

photo of two cats and a box

Even though she didn’t actively bully Chai,

Photo of two cats on stairs

he was, nonetheless, well aware of his place in the pecking order.

The dogs she simply ignored.

Sidra & Rye Lee

She was the only one of our four-legged crew who lived in all five houses we owned from 2001 till now.  In February 2007, she moved to Harrisburg, PA, with Loving Husband, who moved there four months ahead of the rest of us to start his new job, while I stayed behind in Rapid City to sell our house.

Photo of blonde man and gray cat

Sidra loved being carried around in a laundry basket, with or without laundry in it:

Photo of gray cat in a white plastic laundry basket

She was about 14 lbs. at her heaviest, so laundry could be a serious workout at times–especially since our washer and dryer were never on the main level.

She really, really loved being in the laundry basket.

Photo of three cats laying on a bed with a dark pink cover. one cat is in a laundry basket.

Lounging in the sunshine was also a favorite activity.

Photo of a gray cat laying in a sunny window near a pot of cactus.   Photo of gray cat and pug dog laying in sunshine

Like every one of our pets, Sidra brought us more laughter, love and joy than we could ever have imagined when we first brought her home. She was a gift to us from a loving Universe, and I will miss her every single day, like I do Sputnik, Biscuit and Kyllo. I feel confident in my belief of what happens to humans when they transition back into Nonphysical–as explained by Abraham-Hicks–but I don’t understand as well what happens to our pet-children. I don’t see any reason, though, why they can’t also be part of my Posse.

I do know this: the Universe is telling me that she’s okay, and her energy is still very much present, as evidenced by this link a friend sent two days after she died:

Photo a black cat from a humane society web page

According to my friend, this cat has already been adopted.  Sidra is working her magic from behind the scenes.

I like to think she’s found another laundry basket in a patch of sunshine.

2014 in pictures

Has a year gone by already since I posted 2013 in pictures?  How can this be?  Whatevs.  Here we go.

January

  

New Year’s day at Neptune Beach (Oops. You can tell that’s not an Oregon wine, can’t you? My bad.)
  

Happy Dog contemplates eternity

  

pink seashell on beach
  

Ocean sunset
  

Tidepool at sunset
  

Nelscott Reef welcomeNelscott Reef Big Wave Classic, Lincoln City
  

PhotographersPictures of people taking pictures of people . . . surfing.  Their cameras were much, much bigger and better than mine.  See what they were taking pictures of.
  

Surfer running on beach
  

Heart-shaped rock on beach

  

February
  

Surfrider Foundation table
Every February, at the Newport Seafood & Wine Festival, Husband and I pour Barefoot Wine for the Newport Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. It’s the biggest fundraiser of the year: Barefoot donates all proceeds from the Festival to our Chapter. Thank you, Barefoot!

  

Man pointingThat’s the best one, right there.  The Harmony Gewurtztraminer.  You should buy a case.
  

Bare feet in water and sand
Can you tell that’s not Pacific seawater?

  

Seashell on beach
  

Palm trees at sunsetI wish the Oregon coast had these.  Have you guessed yet where I was?
  

Manatees! They’re swarming!

  

Party poopers.

  

According to this sign, swimming with the manatees is not, in fact, prohibited. However, this would be more than enough deterrent to keep me out of the water, manatees or no.

  

Manatee with scarsHardly any of the almost one hundred manatees we saw were without scars–even the small calves.  They all get sliced up by motorboat propellers.
  

Manatee swimming across springA geo-tagged manatee swims across the source of Blue Spring.  Several manatees were trailing these satellite tracking devices.
  

AlligatorNow that’s what I’m talkin’ about!  Timing is everything.  I’m so glad we got to see this big boy.  I was hoping for a giant flock of flamingos, but I only saw a pair flying over.  (at Merritt Island NWR)
  

Thanks, mom & dad, for a fabulous vacation!

  

March
  

Walking the labyrinthMy friend Denise came to visit in March.  First I took her to the stupendously gorgeous labyrinth at Good Sam Episcopal Church in Corvallis.
  

Then we went to the beach.

  

Sunset on close-up beach cobbles
  

dog paw, toy shark and human foot
  

Three people drinking wineThen we tasted wine.
  

Then we played Monopoly. I lost.

   

April
  

Easter egg balanced on end
Did you know you can do this on any day of the year–not just the equinoxes?

  

It’s Easter. So, naturally, we went to the beach. I wore my camouflage boots.

 

That’s a big f*ing wave.

 

Volunteering at the annual Oregon Garden Brewfest

 pond and treesThis is why we volunteer there.

May
 

Fluffy kitten
Our new family member

  

Two people with green hills in background

    

June
  

P6013495Happy Husband and Happy Dog climbed the dune at Cape Kiwanda.  I sat on my ass at the Pelican, drank beer and watched the ocean.
  

It’s entirely possible they’re up on the dune somewhere. Who knows?

  

Woman hugging dog on beach
  

Wine bottle, glasses, food on table overlooking vineyardSunday afternoon picnic at Illahe Vineyards.
  

Otter Rock-n-Roll Youth Surf Contest

  

People on beach with surfboard
  

Surfrider Foundation tent

    

July
  

Happy Dog and I took a day trip to the coast.

  


  


  

We dragged my parents around the top of Cape Perpetua. Looking south, you can see the Spouting Horn . . . um . . . spouting.

  

Dad tasted some delicious Illahe wines.

  

Gratuitous plug for Illahe wines.

  

I hate the thought of wasting even a drop.

  

Then we dragged mom and dad up Salal Hill on Yaquina Head.

  

peregrine falcon on hillside
We watched one of the Yaquina Head resident peregrine falcons as it ate something.

  

Happy Dog & IPuppy and I took our day trip to Erratic Rock State Park.
  

DSCN3832
  

Cargo ship outside window
There’s a sight you don’t see every day.  Unless you live in Astoria and hang out at Buoy Beer Company on the riverfront.
  

View of Astoria from the top of the Astoria Column
Astoria from the top of the Column

  

Hydrangea
They grow ’em bigger and bluer in Astoria.

  

August
  

Woman wearing Simpsons t-shirt next to tent
Time for our annual camp-out at Airlie Winery.
  

Man's feet and dog with lake and tents in background
Husband and Puppy enjoy the evening

  

Technically, this is not what the wind shelter should look like.

  

Cape Kiwanda
It doesn’t look that windy, does it?

   

September

Woman driving TeslaAh, the infamous Tesla test drive in Lincoln City.
  

Me and Laney at Emerson
Emerson Vineyard hotties on Labor Day weekend

  

Man and woman in front of Nana's Pub in NewportOne of our favorite places to take friends:  Nana’s Irish Pub in Newport
  

Man and dog overlooking lighthouse and ocean
Of course, we also like to take them up Salal Hill on Yaquina Head.

  

People on patio at brewpub
We drag everyone to the Pelican.

   

October
  

Woman harvesting grapes
Harvesting the Maréchal Foch at Emerson Vineyards

  

Man harvesting grapes in vineyard
  


  

Emerson’s winemaker, Elliot Johns
  

Grapes falling into bin
Our grapes getting de-stemmed

  

Tasting Room Open sign
Life is good.

  

Sunset at Nehalem Bay State Park

   

View south from Ecola State Park

  

Not-so-Happy Dog wondering, “Why, mommy, why?”

November

Proposal Rock at Neskowin
Evening in Neskowin

  

It’s November: must be time to climb the dune. Again.

  

rainbow with hills in background

Although it would appear this photo was taken from inside the pot of gold, I’m here to tell you there was neither pot nor gold anywhere in sight.

  

Waves, rocks, spray, ocean
The Spouting Horn was in fine form at this very high tide.

  

Thanksgiving: Oregon style

  

So my brother visited us over Thanksgiving. Our first beach day was a little wet.

  

Did I say “a little wet?” I meant stupid crazy wet. As in our clothes didn’t dry out the rest of the day wet.

  

F*ing leash.

  

Our second beach day was a huge improvement.

  

And I finally got to see what’s on the other side of the Cape Kiwanda dune! OK, I cheated and only went part of the way up. Still.

  

Back at Illahe Vineyards

  

Three people with the Willamette Valley in the backgroundIt’s never too cold to drink wine on the patio at Illahe.
(Photo courtesy Illahe Vineyards)

  

December

Christmas in The Garden

  

Christmas in The Garden

  

Husband’s arty interpretation of our Christmas tree

   

Our little guy is growing up.

  

Nothing says Christmas like hiking in Sedona.

  

One of my favorite things to do when I travel anywhere is walk the local labyrinths.

   

Watching Husband play with cactus is pretty entertaining as well.

  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA     OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Thank you, Arizona mom & dad, for a wonderful Christmas trip!

I drove an hour to see a rock.

glacial erratic, if you want to get technical.  But still, I drove an hour just to see this rock.  Because that’s the kind of geography nerd I am.  Physical processes have always been my favorite aspect of geography, and the French-heavy glacial terminology is almost musical, conjuring up images of soaring, rocky, snowcapped peaks, icy blue lakes and huge piles of jumbled boulders:  tarn, esker, arête, moraine, cirque, crevasse, paternoster lakes, drumlin.  Go on.  Say them out loud.  You know you want to.

It was overcast and rainy at home, but, aside from a miniscule sun shower while Happy Dog and I were basking atop the rock, it was a gorgeous day there.

Located a few miles southwest of McMinnville, Erratic Rock State Natural Site is part of Oregon’s state park system.  If you don’t blow past the trailhead and parking pull-out (like I almost did), Erratic Rock is easy to find.

Erratic Rock sign

That’s Oldsville Road, just off Highway 18, in the background.

The paved trail is only about a quarter-mile long, but the last 150 yards or so are pretty steep.

Erratic Rock trailheadHere’s a close-up of the interpretive sign, so you’ll understand why Erratic Rock is so cool.  You can click on it to make it bigger.

Erratic Rock interpretive sign

There were quite a few distractions along this short trail.

blackberries

wild sweet pea

geese

I’ll leave it to you to figure out which were distractions for me, and which were distractions for Happy Dog.

Yaaaaaaay!  There it is!  It’s a Really. Big. Rock.

Erratic Rock

Erratic Rock

The surface looked exactly like slate to me.

dog on a rock

According to the interpretive sign, Erratic Rock is a 90-ton or so (I mean, who can really tell?) hunk of metamorphic rock called argillite.  Wikipedia says, “Metamorphism of argillites produces slate, phyllite, and pelitic schist.”  That would explain, then, its slate-like appearance.  Silly geologists.

Happy Dog and I enjoyed the sky and the scenery immensely.

Happy Dog & I

View of the Coast Range

DSCN3833

Big sky

Time to head back down.

Trail from Erratic Rock

View from Erratic Rock trail

Hmmm, I’m pretty sure we passed a number of wineries on the way here,

Map to the wineries of Oregon's Mid Willamette Valley - McMinnville AVA and Eola-Amity Hills District AVA

not to mention a monastery, at which reside the fudge-making Brigittine monks.  Chocolate and wine?  Yesplease.

2013 in pictures

January

Rock and waves
Rock
Waves at sunset
Spindrift
Yaquina Head
Yaquina Head

February

Snail
Snail
Sunset splash
Splash
Cairn
Cairn

March

Waves
Easter
Stump
Stump
Cape Perpetua
Cape Perpetua

April

Spouting Horn
Spouting Horn
Green
Green
Sun reflecting on waves
Shine

May

Parents reading paper
Surprise
Yoga tree pose in creek
Tree
Aerial photo
Almost home

June

Puppy meets ocean
Wet
Puppy yawning
Yawn
Snakebite drink
Snakebite

July

Coastline with fog
Fog
Sunset
Sunset
Willamette River Ferry
Wheatland Ferry

August

Grapes
Wine wannabes
Marion Lake
Marion Lake
Dog and pond
Camp

September

Puppy on beach
Puppy
Haystack Rock
Haystack Rock
Couple on beach
Us

October

Willamette Valley from Mary's Peak
Willamette Valley
Dog watching birds
Anticipation
Sunlight sparkling on ocean
Sparkles

November

Fool's Gold
Fool’s Gold
Airlie friends
Airlie friends
2 fools
2 fools

December

Christmas tree
Sacrificial tree

Ode to summer

June

Otter Rock & Roll
Otter Rock & Roll Youth Surfing Competition

 

Image
Puppy, meet Ocean. Ocean, this is Puppy.

 

Umbrella
Nothing says summer like a beach umbrella.

 

Sleepy puppy
Beach makes Puppy sleepy.

 

Rock ocean
Hello, Rock. I’m Ocean.

 

Rose
Rose

 

St. John's wort
St. John’s wort

 

July

Cobble beach
Pedi matches beach.

 

Twonicorn
Twonicorns are better than un.

 

Puppy love
Puppy love.

 

Daisies
Daisies

 

Fireweed
Fireweed

 

Cascade Head
South from Cascade Head

 

Sunset
Sunset at Mary’s Peak

 

Haystack Rock
Haystack Rock, Pacific City

 

Father-daughter
Father and daughter

 

Pebbles
Pebbles

 

Foxglove
Foxglove

 

Happy birthday
Best.  Day.  Ever.

 

Mojitos
Life is good.

 

August

Marion Lake
Marion Lake, Mt. Jefferson Wilderness

 

Window
Ocean view window

 

Queen Anne's Lace
Queen Anne’s Lace

 

Vineyard sunset
Vineyard sunset

 

Grapes
Wine-in-waiting

 

Gladiolus
Gladiolus

 

September

Cape Kiwanda
North to Cape Kiwanda

 

Dune grass
Dune grass

 

Willamette Valley
Willamette Valley view

 

Pelicans & pinnipeds
Pelicans and pinnipeds

 

Two's a crowd
Two’s a crowd

 

September sunset
September sunset