2014 in pictures

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



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



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!



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.



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.


Fluffy kitten
Our new family member


Two people with green hills in background



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



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.


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


They grow ’em bigger and bluer in Astoria.



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?



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.



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?”


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)



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.


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

2013 in pictures


Rock and waves
Waves at sunset
Yaquina Head
Yaquina Head


Sunset splash


Cape Perpetua
Cape Perpetua


Spouting Horn
Spouting Horn
Sun reflecting on waves


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


Puppy meets ocean
Puppy yawning
Snakebite drink


Coastline with fog
Willamette River Ferry
Wheatland Ferry


Wine wannabes
Marion Lake
Marion Lake
Dog and pond


Puppy on beach
Haystack Rock
Haystack Rock
Couple on beach


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


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


Christmas tree
Sacrificial tree

Ode to summer


Otter Rock & Roll
Otter Rock & Roll Youth Surfing Competition


Puppy, meet Ocean. Ocean, this is Puppy.


Nothing says summer like a beach umbrella.


Sleepy puppy
Beach makes Puppy sleepy.


Rock ocean
Hello, Rock. I’m Ocean.




St. John's wort
St. John’s wort



Cobble beach
Pedi matches beach.


Twonicorns are better than un.


Puppy love
Puppy love.






Cascade Head
South from Cascade Head


Sunset at Mary’s Peak


Haystack Rock
Haystack Rock, Pacific City


Father and daughter






Happy birthday
Best.  Day.  Ever.


Life is good.



Marion Lake
Marion Lake, Mt. Jefferson Wilderness


Ocean view window


Queen Anne's Lace
Queen Anne’s Lace


Vineyard sunset
Vineyard sunset







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

The healing power of the ocean (and beer)

On Sunday, my husband, Happy Dog and I went to the beach.  I am thrilled to report that Happy Dog enjoyed a glorious Oregon coast day without getting carsick.


Not only are we are fortunate enough to live in one of the most beautiful, fertile river valleys in the U.S., whose farmers produce four of my favorite things (wine, lavender, blueberries and mint), we’re only 1-2 hours from the coast, depending on where we go.  Sunday we chose our current favorite:  Pacific City, home to Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area and Bob Straub State Park (named for a former Oregon governor), the Pacific Dory Fleet and, most important, Pelican Pub & Brewery.

pelican pub & rock

There are undoubtedly lots of other places in the world where one can drink beer on the beach with their dog, but there’s no way you can beat the view from the Pelican.

Plus there are always plenty of other interesting things to watch:  surfers, migrating whales, stand-up paddlers, dories coming and going, dune-boarders, kites flying, skimboarders, hang-gliders and beach dogs (as illustrated above), to name a few.


Simply put, it’s where I go when I visualize my Happy Place.


My husband and I only learned to appreciate beer quite recently.  We were in Newport on vacation a few years ago before we moved to Oregon.  The November weather wasn’t particularly conducive to a warm, enjoyable stroll on the beach, but luckily, Newport is home to Rogue Ales Brewery.  We looked at each other and said, “Let’s go taste some beer!”

Rogue Ales

And thus we evolved into a new phase of our life together.


Part of our beervolution has included volunteering for the past two years at the annual Oregon Garden Brewfest.  The Brewfest is one of the garden’s biggest fundraisers–if not the biggest.  We pour beer for folks to taste.  This year I poured for Flat Tail Brewing in Corvallis, and husband poured for Fish Brewing Company, from Olympia, Washington.


I learned a lot about hoppy beer that day, and I’m starting to be able to taste the differences between beers.  I feel very sophisticated.  I’ll never be the beer snob my brother is, but still.

Boy, I really went off on a beer tangent there.  I really didn’t mean for this post to be about the healing power of beer so much as the healing power of the ocean.  So, back to Pacific City.

We started with a walk at Bob Straub State Park.  We were pleasantly surprised by the lack of people–it being Labor Day weekend and all.


Not only was it a holiday weekend, it was also 1) sunny and 2) above 70°.  But the year-round lack of crowds is one of the most beautiful things about the Oregon coast.

We also enjoyed the offerings of Bubble-Blowing Woman:


Some people just know how to have fun, don’t they?


We then headed north to the Pelican–at which there’s a pretty generous public parking area–and discovered where the hordes of beach-goers were.  Not only was the parking lot full to overflowing, the main road and side streets were choked as well.  The beach itself was a parking lot with several thru lanes.  There were people and cars everywhere.  And unfortunately I was the one driving.  We did, however, finally find a spot on a narrow side street just a couple blocks from the brewery.  It took about fifteen minutes, but in the big scheme of things–like, say, compared to New York City or Washington, DC–I guess I can’t complain too much.

We thought we’d maybe get something to eat, in addition to the beer, but there was a 90-minute wait for a patio table.  And, as neither of us had thought to bring our phone along, we had no way of being notified when a table became available.  So we settled for sitting on the edge of the patio and enjoying our beer and the ambiance.

All this is leading up to the pinnacle experience in my day, which was so simple as to be almost ludicrous.  After finishing our beer (and boy, did we make it last), we went for another walk–this time among the hordes.  But believe it or not, when we got down to the water’s edge and started walking south, it really wasn’t as crowded as it looked from the patio.

At this point, there’s something you need to understand about me:  there is nothing–and I do mean N.O.T.H.I.N.G.–that makes me happier than walking on the beach, except walking barefoot on the beach, which is something I don’t do very often because of the plantar fasciitis I mentioned a couple weeks ago.

beach feet

And, as you can see, depending on where we’re at, there are other reasons I don’t walk barefoot on the beach.

On Sunday, however, all the stars aligned, and I took off my Chacos  and walked.*   And suddenly, magically, everything was OK.  Unemployment, pending bills, dwindling hormone levels, the bald patches on puppy’s face that I would learn on Wednesday is demodectic mange, the traffic and lack of parking–it was all completely irrelevant in that one magic moment.  I realized I was Present.  I was There.  I was in the Vortex.  I felt completely blissful–like that time I was on painkillers when I had an ovarian cyst and we had to cut our vacation short so I could get home and have surgery.  I knew everything would be all right.


There’s that Vortex again.

Sunday was one of those incredible days that, for whatever reason, I only get to have occasionally.  Why is that?  Why shouldn’t I have these blissful, magical days a lot more frequently?  Do I somehow think I’m not deserving?  That days like this should be parceled out as infrequent rewards or dangled in front of me like a carrot on a string?  I don’t buy that.  I can’t buy that.  I truly believe I could have as many of these days as I choose to have, but for some reason don’t.

That’s what I need to figure out.  That’s what I need to work on.

(*If you have plantar fasciitis and have never tried Chacos, treat your feet to a pair.)

Pelican Pub & Brewery courtesy yourlittlebeachtown.com
Spongebob Squarepants courtesy Nickelodeon & kidtoons.tripod.com
Vortex courtesy crestock.com