Ocean or Mountains?

Which one do you prefer?  Which one rejuvenates you – replenishes your soul?

I ask because the answer is often not what I presumed.

I live on the coast.  I love it.  I can sit in the sand or in my car and watch the waves break for hours while I ponder God’s awesome power, the immensity of the universe and my place in it.  The ocean fills me with wonder.  I revel in it’s ever-changing beauty.  No two waves are alike.  No two sunsets the same color.  Foam patterns on the beach are different with each receding wave.  I meditate on infinite possibility. 

But it’s the mountains that heal me. There’s just something about being surrounded by trees that fills me with a serenity I cannot tap into elsewhere.

The sound of a creek waters flowing over rocks and swirling around a sandbar is soothing music to my ears.

I spent the day in the mountains yesterday.  I just drove by myself for five hours.  The higher the altitude became the lighter I felt.

I stopped by Burney Falls.  It was cold and damp from the mist and the late afternoon shadows.  But the smell was beyond Heavenly.  Pine.  Moss.  Damp earth.  Deep cleansing breaths.

Little traffic.  Fading sunlight.  Trees straight and tall on all sides.  Majesty above them.

Peace.  Completeness.  Inspiration.  Quiet.  Solitude.  Wellness.  Integrity.
All these words and more define the mountains for me.
I came home refreshed and ready for another round of parenting, working, struggling to survive. 
Which gives you that renewal?  Ocean or Mountains?

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God’s Country

We just came home from Yosemite. It’s the first time I’ve ever been there. Man, did God ever work overtime on that place! He certainly out did himself.

Words really can’t express how beautiful the park is so I will just give you a glimpse of my photos from Saturday.


Because Daddy-O is a complete dork

I am irritated with Daddy-O. I went grocery shopping last night and spent, well, an ungodly amount of money, as per usual. We had discussed having BBQd chicken for dinner. But because it was already late I also bought fixin’s for burgers which are so much quicker. We agreed to have BBQ Chicken the next night – tonight. I had bought two picnic (bulk) packs of drumsticks and thighs which I break down into two meals each. I marinate them before I freeze them so they are already prepped when I take them out of the freezer. Since it was late I gave Daddy-O the bulk packs of chicken to put in the garage refrigerator until I had a chance to break them down today.

At dinner time I went to grab them. They were sitting snuggly in the freezer. Still in bulk. Still unmarinated. Not ready for BBQing.

The pizza was delicious.

In order to NOT take my irritation out on my husband who was obviously not paying attention when I was speaking to him, I will instead, post evidence of his dorkiness for all the world to see. Because he also does not read my blog as my words have very little meaning to him. (I only believe this a little bit).

For your viewing pleasure:

Exhibit One:
The dork on the left is Squatter Dog and the one on the right is Daddy-O. The following pictures are from their July trip to Yosemite. Don’t ask me to explain any of them because I can’t even begin to…


Exhibit Two:


Exhibit Three:
I believe this would be posed…


Exhibit Four:
This is the whole crew: (r to l) Daddy-O, nameless friend, Gary, Squat, Mark. Otherwise known as The Marmots.

OK. No more dorkiness. Here are the spectacular photos taken on their trip.

Daddy-O tying his fly line.


Beautiful! Taken by Mark.


One of my favorites! Two marmots enjoying the view!


What I say to Daddy-O if he sees these pictures on the Internet!


Dragonflies!

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On a completely different weekend…

This is Ben’s first lake fish. He caught it completely by himself. It’s a big mouth bass. It took us a while to convince Danny that his brother hadn’t caught a “bat”, however. Apparently, someone needs to learn to enunciate.


And that concludes our photographic presentation. Thanks for viewing.

Vacation Vistas

Here are a few pictures from our trip to Oregon. What beautiful country.
Low falls on the Rogue

Low falls on the Rogue

Cheeky Monk

Cheeky Monk

Metolius River Wildflower

Metolius River Wildflower

Bumble Bee

Bumble Bee

Feral Boy

Feral Boy

Poetry in Motion

Poetry in Motion

Credit where credit is due

Education is important. So is dependability. Both are valued by employers but usually only career jobs place a value on the first.

Yesterday we stopped in Bend, OR for lunch at Ben’s favorite restaurant, McDonald’s. I was shocked and pleasantly surprised to see this sign prominently displayed in the lobby.


My parents gave us money for good grades ($1 per A, $0.50 per B). The potential reward was never mentioned throughout the school year. Report card day would just arrive with it’s windfall… or not, depending on how hard we had applied ourselves. My sister and I heard the lesson loud and clear.

Work hard. Apply yourself. You will ultimately be rewarded.

Life is simple like that.

I am proud of the Bend McDonald’s for rewarding their young employees for good grades and work ethic. Keep up the good work!

We’re camping, damn it.

We camped at the KOA in Sisters, OR for two nights. We were supposed to stay there longer but we found the most incredible stretch of river and moved our stuff post haste.

I dropped Daddy-O off at the Metolius River to go fly fishing. Once I got a look at the campgrounds I was hooked. The trees were majestic. Tall and straight. The river, melodious.
Best of all, the campgrounds were mostly empty. Sigh. Everything a vacation ought to be. So I high-tailed it back to the motorhome, my Mom & the kids to convince them that we needed to pack up and move.

Next thing you know, we were completely broke down (camp wise) and waiting on the river before Daddy-O was done fishing for the day.

These cute little ‘monks were all over the place! I always thought Chip ‘N Dale were cute but the cartoons just don’t do them justice. They would run through camp, lickety split, in a crazy game of Chase the Ace. And they can stuff an insane amount of Cheetos in their cheeks all at once!

Danny was not a fan of the camping experience. While he loved the idea of a vacation in theory… the reality fell a bit shy of the mark in his book. There was no bike to ride. Music was hit and miss at best. And he got a nasty cold right off the bat.

Here are a few photos of the local flora & fauna as I practiced with my new camera.

Daddy-O is off to fly fish and Ben is following close behind. Trying to be just like Dad. He could do much worse.

And here is Daddy-O in action. The Metolius River comes directly from under the mountain not far from here (less than 2 miles). The water is a constant 45-47 degrees. Daddy-O is very cold here. The fish are not.


I will post about our reunion when we get home. We drive from Redding to SLO today. Yeah!


Look how big Ben got over the summer! I have been trying to upload other pictures but the stupid free wi-fi at the KOA won’t let me.

We’re in Cascade Locks outside of Portland. It’s a nice campground, sort of. But there is a RR track about 50 yards from our cabin (and my Uncle’s tent). The RR wouldn’t be bad except they blow their whistle directly behind us. All. Night. Long. The train whistle sounded no less than 6 times between 10:30 and 7:00 last night.

We are seeing such beautiful country. The vacation is awesome! But true to form, both boys have gotten sick. Listening to Danny whine and cry for 10 hours had everyone’s nerves on edge.

The reunion starts today. All my extended family is beginning to arrive. This poor KOA may never be the same…