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.  Suck it, Mavericks!
  

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.
  

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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.

  

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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

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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.

How to tire out the puppy: Part 2

Repeat Step 1 from previous post.

Step 2: Substitute XL dragonfly for nonexistent birds.  Be very encouraging; tell puppy she’s bound to catch that tiny bird eventually.  Praise puppy for her exuberance and valiant, though completely fruitless, efforts.  Enjoy the show.

Step 3: Throw Chuckit ball for puppy.  Retrieve Chuckit ball, as puppy has moved on to alternating grazing with searching for nonexistent birds.

Repeat Step 4 from previous post.

Step 5: Enjoy cool shower while puppy sleeps it off on shady patio.

How to tire out the puppy

If you have a young, active dog–maybe, for example, a 1.5 year-old pit bull mix–you’ll appreciate how difficult it is to tire out your dog.  Loving Husband and I were completely convinced that this was, in fact, impossible.

Today, however, I finally discovered a sure-fire way to tire out the puppy.  I don’t know how long it will last, but I’m going to sit back with a cold beverage and enjoy it while it does.

Step 1: Walk puppy the long way around–six blocks or so–to neighborhood schoolyard during the hottest part of the day (approximately 82°F with a lovely breeze).

Step 2: Encourage puppy to run around deserted, completely fenced-in (thank you, god) schoolyard looking for nonexistent birds for as long as possible. Enjoy the osprey family flying and calling to each other overhead. Wonder if persistent, very low-flying osprey is eyeing puppy as possible evening meal.

Step 3: Practice coming when called over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over.

Step 4: Leash up puppy and walk her an extra eight blocks. Enjoy feeling of loose leash dangling from hand and sound of puppy panting as she tries to keep up. Tell puppy, “You lag, you drag.”

Step 5: Arrive home with tired puppy. Wonder how long it will last as you sit on shady patio drinking cold beer.

 Image

A blizzard of petals

Seinfeld is life.  That being said, here’s a timely George Costanza quote from Episode 112, The Postponement:  “Spring. Rejuvenation. Rebirth. Everything’s blooming. All that crap.”

As usual, the show’s writers hit the nail on the head.  Who doesn’t feel a sense of rejuvenation and rebirth when the sun finally comes out in earnest, the air is soft and reeks of lilacs, damp earth and apple blossoms, and the days get longer and longer?  I imagine it’s a bit like what a bear feels upon waking from its winter hibernation.

I’m looking out the patio door at our apple tree, currently bursting with fluffy pink pompoms, each of which is comprised of several dozen individual flowers.

Apple tree blooming

Each flower has five petals that shower down randomly when they can no longer hang on, creating drifts in the grass and on the patio.  When a breeze hits the tree–or a dove or jay lands on a branch–the petals create a swirling pink mini-blizzard that lasts a few seconds.  It’s one of my favorite expressions of “nature porn,” if you’ll pardon the term– several others being fireflies, cardinals, diamond dust and sunlight sparkling on water.

sunset on ocean

I’m also a big fan of rainbows, unicorns, butterflies, and fluffy kittens.

kitty in sink
Anyway, spring has most assuredly sprung, and I am revelling in it.  The daffodils are completely over, tulips are on their way out, the hydrangea is sprouting, and our roses are budding.  Everywhere I look around the neighborhood, there are flowers, flowers, flowers–and more shades of green than I can count.

I’m practicing being Present, trying to focus on the many things that are right in my life, rather than the few that aren’t.  I’ve gotten more clarity on what I want in a job and what I don’t.  I’m working on my first book.  I’m trying to love Happy Dog–who joined our family almost exactly a year ago–unconditionally.

Puppy sleeping in tulips

I’m still missing my family and friends in South Dakota, and some days are definitely better than others.

But even though I’m out of Nancy’s yogurt again, this time there’s no need for panic and mayhem.  I’ll just ask Loving Husband to stop at Market of Choice after work.

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

The Law of Attraction at work.

If, like me, you’re a student of Abraham and the Law of Attraction, the following will make a lot of sense.

Yesterday was not a good day.  Sometimes the smallest thing sets me off.   More often it’s the combination of the smallest thing coupled with perimenopausal hormone levels.  Then, because the Law of Attraction is a real thing (like gravity) and is in effect every day all the time, most times things just deteriorate from there–unless I’m able to reroute my attitude, which doesn’t often happen.

The thing that set me off yesterday was a trip to our local Safeway for my favorite yogurt and discovering they apparently no longer carry it.

Nancy's yogurt

Let me be clear that this kind of thing inexplicably happens to me with disturbing and irritating frequency.  This leads me to believe I either have really bad taste or I belong to a very small, elite minority with such highly evolved taste that the rest of the world simply can’t keep up.

Anyway, the AWOL yogurt was another one of those Final Straws I mentioned in an earlier post.  It prompted an f*bomb-laden text to my darling husband, who is painfully aware that I don’t always respond to these types of personal challenges with my Highest and Best Self.  The text said:

You know what?  Fuck Abraham.  Sometimes I really just want to be able to hate my fucking life without the fear of attracting more shit.

Ew, right?  Right.  Enter the Law of Attraction.  Or, if you prefer, the very similar Threefold Law, as stated in the Wiccan Rede:

“Mind the threefold law ye should, three times bad and three times good.”

In other words, like attracts like.  That which is like is drawn unto itself.  As within, so without.  You get the picture.

Back to the yogurt.  I decided to try the Corvallis Safeway about 15 minutes away.  Guess what?  No Nancy’s yogurt there either.  So I went to Market of Choice, and SUCCESS!  All the Nancy’s yogurt flavors I could ever want and then some.  Hurray for me!

[Insert thoughts of rainbows, butterflies, unicorns, playful kittens.]

At this point, I should let you know that I had brought puppy along for the ride.  Remember happy dog from the other day?

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I thought you might.  She is cute, isn’t she?  Unfortunately, she also gets carsick.  But I naively thought she was over it–with good reason, as she hadn’t gotten carsick for almost a month.

Here’s where things started to get weird.

We were in the Trader Joe’s parking lot, and I was just about to go in when she barfed up copious bright pink vomit containing all manner of yard debris, including grass, plum pits (hence the bright pink hue), scilla bulbs, mulch, and a rather unhealthy amount of colorful string from the rope toy she’d been busily ripping apart for days.

“Hello, friend,” said the Universe.  “This is especially for you.  Thank you for your order.  I am happy to comply.  Please come again.”

Can you see where this is going?

Poor sad puppy.  Poor grossed-out me.  I cleaned up her travel crate as best I could, and we headed straight home.  I then found myself following a garbage truck for the next 15 minutes.

“Hello again, friend,” said the Universe.  “Aren’t I doing a good job giving you exactly what you asked for?  Enjoy your drive home.”

When I got home, I realized I’d forgotten about leaving one of our two cats out on the patio in the kitty cabaña.

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She, of course, had barfed up a large hairball and was meowing at the top of her lungs to be freed from the vomitorium.

“Hello, friend,” said the Universe once again.  “Have you had enough?  I can keep this up all day, if you like.”

I’ll wrap this up.  I apologized to the pets for being the worst mom ever, fed them dinner, cleaned up the car and the patio, threw a load of vomit-splattered towels, blanket and crate pad in the laundry, and thanked the Universe for being so responsive.

Husband came home from work shortly thereafter to find me tear-streaked and sprawled on the couch in front of the stereo listening to Rush loud enough to shake the entire house in a manner akin to the classic Maxell audio tapes commercial, drinking wine straight from the bottle.

“Mind the threefold law ye should, three times bad and three times good.”

Indeed.