Tag: November 2014

halloween complainings
sat 1 nov 2014

Entry #1 of 30 on this page (tagged: november)

crow at the beach

I was terribly disappointed yesterday evening because we only got one little family of trick-or-treaters for Halloween. bummer!

I am also not happy with my day job... I have tons of homework that I need to work on this weekend. ick!

And I haven't been able to get out to the garden in weeks. Do we have any butternut squashes left or are they all rotting? We need to dig up the sweet potatoes! And we needed to plant the garlic weeks ago! arg.

And the most devastating of all... we have a problem with our lock on our mailbox, and I've not gotten any mail since last saturday! ARG! I haven't had time to pick the mail up at the post office this week, so it's just piling up. It might get fixed next week, but I'm not very optimistic about it anymore.

Then I went for a walk and now I feel much better!

eastern fox squirrel

So, here are some of the things that I'm going to type about this month...

My family visited me in October. I've got six days worth of area hikes and waterfalls and the Pacific coast and the local raptor center!!

A couple of vegan adventures.

And other randomness, of course.

Begin Again
sun 2 nov 2014

Entry #2 of 30 on this page (tagged: november)

National Blog Posting Month

Ha... After my first National Blog Posting Month post -- in which I mostly just complained about stupid little things -- I feel I should start over and maybe offer an introduction.

I've been blogging since 1998... but reintroductions are important every once in a while.

So, Hi! I'm rift vegan.

Yes, I'm vegan! Vegan is not just a diet, it's a lifestyle that includes every decision that you make every day. I love being vegan and it's the best part of me!

Yay Vegan!

Other Stuff...

I am a reader! The only reason I have a day job is to pay the rent and to buy books. I enjoy lots of non-fiction, science fiction and randomness.

I am a photographer! I carry my camera everywhere. But please don't ask me about the settings, I'm all about point and shoot.

I love sending postcards! I print up my photos and mail them as postcards. This is how I share my love of nature. I'm an active member on several mailing web sites and I usually send around 100 postcards every month!

I pretend to garden! My partner and I have a plot in a community garden. Many of my photos are taken at the garden or on the one mile walk to or from the garden. As for actual gardening... well, I do plant a few things, and I might weed a little. And somehow I end up with some zucchinis and cherry tomatoes!


mon 3 nov 2014

Entry #3 of 30 on this page (tagged: november)

uh oh.

I don't have anything to write about.

it's only day 3 and I don't have anything to write about!

I should have made a plan!

Why don't I have a plan?!


great blue heron

part 0: october family vacation
tue 4 nov 2014

Entry #4 of 30 on this page (tagged: november)

My Dad, Mom and Brother visited me in October. They arrived on tuesday evening and... hmm. Actually. There needs to be a little bit of back story here!

I live in Eugene Oregon, in a tiny townhouse with my Significant Other and two guinea pigs. My immediate family lives in Colorado. Both my parents have visited in the past, both together and separately, but my brother has never been to Oregon.

I was super nervous about their visit... I've never given our town house a serious, deep clean in the 9 years that we've lived here. And even tho I've been doing cleaning and tidying chores all year through my Space Clearing class, I knew our home would not be perfectly clean by the time they got here.

And then also, I was nervous because I wanted them to stay in our townhouse, rather than in a hotel. And, honestly, the tiny townhouse is sometimes not big enough for just the two of us humans, let alone five humans for six days!

Ha. So anyway, in the weeks and days leading up to the family's visit, little random things were going wrong. Little annoyances, but then something big. Significant Other's van had an accident. SO had minor injuries and his van was totalled. He had two weeks to mend before the visit, but he was still carless.

The night before the visit, we were playing with Lucy and Ethel, the guinea pigs, and giving them treats. And Lucy is squinting her eye, painfully. What the heck, Lucy?! Of course, I couldn't get an appointment right away, I was to drop her off at the vet clinic on wednesday morning, family to arrive tuesday evening.

Fortunately, we didn't have any set-in-stone plans, and it all worked out in the end.

Family arrived tues night, and Significant Other served up a great dinner of homemade Yumm! bowls. (altho my brother didn't like the Yumm! sauce. foo.) We all chatted and laughed, and didn't stay up too late because they were tired of all their traveling.

Wed morning I got up early and loaded Lucy up in the carrier. Dad got up and came with us to the vet to drop her off. Everybody was still in bed when we got back!

In a couple hours, everyone was up and the vet called. Lucy had a scratch on her eye and needed eye drops, three times a day for the next 2 weeks. No big deal, I could pick her up any time.

lucy the guinea pig

Lucy above, Ethel below.

ethel the guinea pig

speaking of guinea pigs
wed 5 nov 2014

Entry #5 of 30 on this page (tagged: november)

Significant Other was out buying timothy hay for the piggies the other day. As he was checking out, the lady asked him what kind of critters he had. He told her guinea pigs and then she asked if we ever let them out.

My first piggy, Adric, spent most of his life on the floor of my little studio apartment. He'd only spend a couple hours a day in his house. It was so wonderful having him running around all the time. And he went to the bathroom, in the bathroom, which had real tile and so was easy to clean up.

The next guinea pigs were Tegan and Tess. They also got tons of floor time. But since I had moved into an apartment with SO, they couldn't have the run of the whole house! I piggy-proofed my bedroom, blocked the door with something I could step over and then made them a big house with a door so they could come and go (and they went to the bathroom in their house).

After that, I started rescuing guinea pigs, instead of getting them as younglings. The major problem there... it was difficult to teach them "Don't Pee on the Carpet!" Ha. So, floor time became limited.

The current pair, Lucy and Ethel, live in the same big house that I made way back when. It's around 8 square feet, I think, and they've got plenty of room to run around in. We tried bringing them out a few times last year when we first brought them home from the humane society... they would run around the coffee table twice and then huddle underneath the couch. It was not fun bringing them out. And so, Lucy and Ethel have not had much floor time.

But we gave it another go this evening. Lucy explored, while Ethel headed directly for the couch. After a few minutes, SO tempted them out with cucumber. And they both came out without much trouble!

We may try that again some time.

sunflower at the community garden

simple pleasures
thurs 6 nov 2014

Entry #6 of 30 on this page (tagged: november)

Simple Pleasures in Autumn

Driving around in your car with the heat on and the window open.

Sitting next to the window at home, wrapped in a blanket and watching the rain. Hopefully with a good book and a nice mug of something warm and sweet.

Butternut squash. (and Pumpkin, I suppose... but we didn't grow pumpkins in the garden this year!) And soon, sweet potatoes.

Leaves crunching under your feet as you walk in a blue-sky-crisp morning or afternoon.

Soup warming in the slow cooker.

Collecting all the leaves that make you happy.

autumn leaf

Day 1, Oct Fam Vacation
fri 7 nov 2014

Entry #7 of 30 on this page (tagged: november)

My Dad, Mom and Brother arrived on tuesday night, and as I talked about in Part 0, I had an early morning drop-off at the veterinarian for Lucy the guinea pig.

Everyone was awake, and had coffee and/or breakfast in them by the time the vet called back, so we started planning the rest of the day.

We all drove out to my day job. I was proud and happy to show my family the warehouse I work in and introduce them to the wonderful people I work with.

On the way home, we picked up little Lucy and her eye medicine. After lunch we had an outing to our community garden.

Our community garden plot is such an important part of my life, I was so happy and excited to share it totally with my parents and brother.

Significant Other and I have had our Community Garden Plot since 2009. I pretend to garden there: make plans, plant things, weed stuff, and then harvest and eat zucchinis and cherry tomatoes. But this was the first year that I felt happy and comfortable about the Wild Flowers (aka "weeds") that I didn't kill: the borage had a large section of our plot and the honey bees and a few native bees were happy.

The Community Garden is 1 mile from our home, and I usually walk there on the weekends. About 90% of the photos I use for my postcards are taken on this walk (or at our garden). My photography and my postcards are a huge part of my life, and I wanted to share this with my family!

That wednesday afternoon, we all walked to the garden on the path I always take. I was desperately hoping to see some urban wildlife, or something interesting, so that I could show them how awesome my neighborhood is!

And sure enough! There was a Great Blue Heron waiting for us in the creek next to the path!

I was not so happy with the sprinkle of rain that came down on us. Then again, it's autumn in western Oregon, the rain should be expected!

At the garden, we ate the Sun Gold cherry tomatoes and marveled at their sweetness. I pointed out the zucchini and the butternut squash, the beets and the snow peas and the sweet potatoes that still need to be dug up.

We walked around the community garden and looked at other people's garden plots. Sunflowers and zinnias and black cherry tomatoes and artichokes!

Back at home, we talked and laughed and got out my dominoes for a few games of Mule Train.

great blue heron

working weekend
sat 8 nov 2014

Entry #8 of 30 on this page (tagged: november, )

I have tons of stuff that needs to be done this weekend, not the least of which is some homework that I brought from the day job.

Worrying about how long the homework was going to take, I decided to start the day right, with some art. I had a little doodling project that was stuck in my head. I got it out of my head and into the mail box. And then I felt ready to take on my chores for the day.

I had really debated about what I should be doing every day in november. I actually thought about doing National Novel Writing Month and instead of typing a novel, I could type up 50,000 words of journal entries.

And then I thought I should do Art Every Day Month. I always love love love all the art that I make.

And then I decided on National Blog Posting Month, mostly because I wanted to type about the family visit and I was lacking the motivation to just do it!

But I guess that goes for the other things as well... I lack the motivation to just journal or to just draw. Which is kind of a funny thing to say, because I do journal on a regular basis, and draw occasionally, and I even type up a blog post on a blue moon.

I just want to go deeper into all these things!

gold finches eating sunflower seeds

We did finally get out to the garden today!

We dug up the last of the beets and planted garlic in its place. We also found one more butternut squash, hiding under some leaves... The squash vine is still very much alive in some places and there are a few butternuts that are green but might still be growing! ha!

We've still got the three sweet potato plants to dig up. I hope it keeps for a little while, since we've got loads of butternuts to eat first!

sun 9 nov 2014

Entry #9 of 30 on this page (tagged: november, )

My mailing projects have kind of been on hold for the last 6 weeks...

At the beginning of October, I took a couple weeks off so that I could get organized for my parents and brother to come visit me.

Shortly after their visit, my mailbox lock died. It's taken 2 weeks to get the lock replaced. I've been unable to go to the post office to collect the mail that's piling up, but Significant Other went a couple times.

But without my usual daily mail, I just haven't been inspired to do anything about my usual mailing projects.

So, I've got a big pile of un-acknowledged mail that I would normally message "thanks" for.

And my sent mail has taken a serious nose dive. I normally send over 100 postcards every month. September, I sent 90. October, I sent 60. This month, I've sent 5.

um. yeah. It's the second weekend of the month, I should have 40 postcards out the door. And I have 5. nice, huh?

It's not about the numbers. Sending out mail gives me joy. And when I am not doing something that makes me happy? What kind of person will I turn into?

I need to change this situation!

I've printed out a bunch of postcards. I need to cut them up. I'll start writing on them in the coming week.

Meanwhile, I've also written for the Amnesty International's Urgent Action Network...

decorating envelopes

I wish my workspace were as lovely as this one, Save Snail Mail: Letter writing al fresco. But we must work with what we have:

I live in a tiny townhouse and there is no room for a proper desk. I do most of my work on a lap desk, either on the floor or on my bed. It works and it fits my personality.

The photo displays my usual set up for my Urgent Action letters. I type them and print them on coloured paper, I usually switch between light green and today's light purple.

I also love to decorate the envelopes! My favorite way to color envelopes is with Copic Wides... these markers have a 3/4 inch nib, which is the ultimate fun in quick colouring! Today's envelopes have a simple plaid design on the left side using G21 Lime Green, B24 Sky Blue, and V22 Ash Lavender.

birds at the community garden
mon 10 nov 2014

Entry #10 of 30 on this page (tagged: november)

oh, I get so excited when I find a new bird at the community garden! And this one was super easy to identify! Nice little yellow spot on his head...

golden crowned sparrow

Golden Crowned Sparrow

They only live on the western coast of North America, so that's kind of cool that I got to see such a "local" bird!

This year, I've taken pics of these birds at the community garden:

  • crow
  • scrub jay
  • a red winged black bird
  • a house finch
  • about a million gold finches
  • Anna's Hummingbird
  • Rufous Hummingbird
  • and now the Golden Crowned Sparrow

Yay Birds!

Day 2: at the Ocean
tues 11 nov 2014

Entry #11 of 30 on this page (tagged: november, )

This is the continuing series of my October Family Vacation: my parents and brother, from Colorado, were visiting me in Oregon.

I think this was my favorite day of my family's visit! I live about 60miles/100km from the Pacific Coast, but I never drive out there. It's been several years since I've been to the ocean, so I was looking forward to it!

And we had the most amazing weather! October is supposed to be cool and rainy... but we had a warm sunny day, not even all that windy! It was so lovely!

We went straight west and our first stop was the Sea Lion Caves. Bit of a disappointment... there were no sea lions in the cave. haha, it never occured to me that the sea lions only hang out in the cave seasonally! Oh well.

We drove to the beach just to the north and had a fabulous vegan picnic lunch.

Mom and Brother walking on the beach

The crows and one gull were all interested in the food we brought!

crow and gull at the beach

I rolled up my jeans and tried to wade. But once a wave went over my ankles, the coldness of the ocean made me run away! ha.

(to be continued... I got distracted with some back-end website stuff this evening!)

Day 2 at the Ocean cont
wed 12 nov 2014

Entry #12 of 30 on this page (tagged: november, )

Next on our drive up the coast was Heceta Head Lighthouse. (pronounced huh-SEE-ta)

Heceta Head Lighthouse

We walked up the trail to the lighthouse and got a tour, going inside the lighthouse, all the way up to the lenses at the top! (Apparently, the stairs on the inside can only take so much weight, so they only let one small group in at a time. And then they rush you out so the next group can come up. ha! )

Heceta light and lenses

Above pic: looking up at the light in the lighthouse, seen through a break in the lenses, which were turning. And the light is obviously on as well... I wonder why they keep it running during the day? Maybe it's too much trouble to turn it on and off all the time.

It was interesting to learn that every lighthouse has a unique pattern of flashes. This timed pattern, along with the colour of the light, makes the lighthouse easily identified by lost ships.

Heceta has one white flash every 10 seconds.

(to be continued again!)

Day 2 at the Ocean cont again
thurs 13 nov 2014

Entry #13 of 30 on this page (tagged: november, )

We drove a little further north and stopped at Spouting Horn. This is a place on the Oregon coast where the beach is just rocks. There is a little sea cave which has a hole in the ceiling... so when the tide comes in, water explodes up through the hole in a "geyser-like" spray.

I guess the sprays can be so big they hit the highway! But, here's a little puff that I caught (you can see the road isn't exactly close!):

Spouting Horn Oregon

My Brother and Dad watching the waves at Thor's Well.

Thors Well

I had warned my family: Never turn your back on the ocean! A few people die every year, getting swept out with a sneaker wave.

The tide was just coming in as we arrived at the coast. And Bother and Mom were a bit too close and a big wave came in and splashed them! They both kept their footing, but got a little wet.

As they walked back in their soaked clothes, strangers asked, "Did you turn your back on the Ocean?"

Mom answered, "No! We saw the wave coming!"

haha! but seriously... when you see a wave coming, and you know it's big; Make like a Sea Star and lay down on the rocks and grip with everything you've got!

And speaking of Sea Stars... the tide pools here were sadly empty. The Sea Stars have been devastated by a terrible disease. "largest mortality event for marine diseases we've seen", cause: unknown.

I did find one tide pool with a lonely dark red anemone:

tide pool

(on the left side of the pool.) Most puddles had some kind of little shrimp-like creature swimming in it.

No Sea Stars to be seen, tho. Very Sad.

Day 2 at the Ocean, end
fri 14 nov 2014

Entry #14 of 30 on this page (tagged: november, )

We drove up the coast a little further and stopped at The Devil's Churn. An old sea cave, but the roof caved in, now it's a narrow channel where waves crash in on each other all the way to the end!

The Devils Churn

Photo of the mouth of the Churn, taken from midway down the trail (you can see the lower part of the switch back on the left side of the pic).

We walked from the end of the path, down to the end of the Churn. The Internets say it's about 100feet long, and at the end you can see the ocean is making a new sea cave.

My brother was quite fascinated by the powerful waves.

Brother at the Devils Churn

After we left the Devil's Churn, we drove a little bit further, up to Waldport, and decided to head home. Dad found a tiny, one-lane back-road, which wasn't even on his GPS... a more direct route, but we were only going about 25 mph through all the turns. It only seemed like it took forever!

Back in Eugene, we picked up my partner who had stayed at home for the day, and went out to eat. Cornbread Cafe is 100% vegan and everything on their menu is yummy and wonderful! I only wish we could have eaten more than one meal there!

A fabulous vegan dinner for all was a wonderful way to end a spectacular day!

sat 15 nov 2014

Entry #15 of 30 on this page (tagged: november)

It's been a peaceful and relaxing saturday... I'm thrilled that I don't have any homework from the day job this weekend!

I got up early. Spent some time working with my GoodReads group. Surfed the Internet. Made mail. Made art. Went for a walk. Read my book.

Doesn't that sound nice?

Sweet Gum balls

sunday evening
sun 16 nov 2014

Entry #16 of 30 on this page (tagged: november)

Well, I'm not feeling very articulate today, so I will leave you with this photo.

My African Violets are blooming! I have some dark magenta ones in the background, and my favorite, white with light purple rims. They are both from my Grandma, who had them on her dryer in the kitchen, catching the morning light.

african violets

The weekend has been too short, as usual. But I suppose hell will freeze over, if I ever actually get caught up with all my projects!

Day 3: Raptor Center!
mon 17 nov 2014

Entry #17 of 30 on this page (tagged: november, )

I was really excited about this day! I had been introduced to our local raptor center last year when my day job participated in United Way's Day of Caring. We had decided to volunteer at Cascade Raptor Center, and 11 of us worked there for a couple hours one morning last September.

The raptor center has quite a few permanent residents... birds who have been hurt and have healed, but can't return to the wild because they would not survive. It seemed like the biggest issues were either vision problems, or wing problems where they couldn't fly well enough to hunt or make their migration.

The residents were in big cages outside, and guests can wander through and see everyone, and read their story. It was just amazing to be so close to these very special birds.

When we were there, last year, we had been invited to see the "handler's talk"... One bird comes out and his or her handler talks about raptors and what happens at the center. Unfortunately, no one else was interested, since we were on company time, they wanted to get back to work. humph.

And also unfortunately, the handler's talks only happen at noon during the week. Not on the weekends. So this was a perfect family activity when my parents and brother visited!

We got to meet Taka, a dark morph Swainson's hawk...

Taka, Swainsons hawk at Cascades Raptor Center

(more tomorrow)

Day 3: Taka
tues 18 nov 2014

Entry #18 of 30 on this page (tagged: november, )

Taka, a Swainson's Hawk, was found by a road in California, but he hadn't been hit by a car... he had been shot. They fixed him up as best they could, but when he was healed he could not return to the wild.

His wing doesn't extend fully, so he would not be able to survive the 3000 mile migration down to Argentina.

Taka not only adapted well to captivity, he also doesn't mind being in front of a crowd. So he helps teach at the raptor center, and sometimes they take him to teach kids about raptors at special events. His handler emphasized how incredible Taka is for being able to do this... there aren't very many wild-born raptors who can!

Taka at Cascades Raptor Center

Taka was found as an adult in 2001, which means he is at least 14 years old and may be quite a bit older since they can't tell how old adults are. The oldest Swainson's Hawk recorded is a 24 year old banded bird in the wild.

Altho Swainson's Hawks are currently a species of "Least Concern", in the past they have been threatened by pesticides. They migrate south in the winter, and in Argentina they are known as Grasshopper Hawks.

When farmers sprayed DDT and monocrotophos, the grasshoppers and the Grasshopper Hawks died in droves. The US and Canada worked with Argentina to prevent these deaths. But DDT and monocrotophos are still being produced and used in many parts of the world. :(

And it's not just bugs and birds who are killed by monocrotophos and pesticides... humans are killed as well.

If you've not read Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, I highly recommend it. It was written in the early 1960's but it is still relevant since DDT is still being used, and hundreds of new pesticides are being developed every year.

Day 3: White-Tailed Kites
wed 19 nov 2014

Entry #19 of 30 on this page (tagged: november, )

After the handler talk, my Parents, brother, partner and I got to walk through the raptor center.

All of the injured and healing raptors are kept separate and safe. Humans are stressful to wild birds, and injuries don't heal as fast when you're stressed. And, of course, they don't want any recovering birds to become acclimatized to humans, either.

But there are some raptors who have healed, but can't go back to the wild because they would not survive. Either they can't see well enough to hunt, or they can't fly well enough. These guys have a permanent home at the raptor center.

They live in large outdoor cages. It is so interesting to walk around, see these beautiful birds so close, and to read their stories.

We walked to the back part of the center first... and a White-Tailed Kite was out, practicing her flying with her handler.

White-Tailed Kite at Cascades Raptor Center

The handler would stand 10 or 15 feet from the stand, and ask the bird to fly to the stand. As soon as she did, the handler hurried over to give her a treat. Then the handler walked back to the starting point, then asked the bird to fly back to her for another treat.

There are two White-Tailed Kites at the raptor center. Anu and Dakini, I'm not sure who is who, but here is her sister, sitting in their shared cage.

White-Tailed Kite at Cascades Raptor Center

Day 3: Raptors!
thurs 20 nov 2014

Entry #20 of 30 on this page (tagged: november, )

Here's Darwin, a Pygmy Owl...

Pygmy Owl at Cascade Raptor Center

He had been hit by a car, which broke his arm near the shoulder. The bones healed with imperfect alignment. Darwin can fly, but not well enough to hunt. He's been at the raptor center since Dec 2007.

Here's Nike, his good side...

Gyrfalcon at Cascades Raptor Center

He's a Gyrfalcon with just one eye. A raptor researcher found him in Washington state, with a very infected eye. They had to remove his eye, and he wouldn't be able to hunt well enough with just one eye. He's been at the center since March 2005.

And this is Newton, a Northern Goshawk.

Northern Goshawk at Cascades Raptor Center

Newton came as a baby to help teach people about raptors... he did his first program before he could fly.

It's rare for a wild Northern Goshawk to be at a raptor center... in the wild they stay in the wildernes, far away from people. If a Northern Goshawk does get brought in with an injury, they don't adapt well to captivity or being around humans.

But if they imprint on humans as a baby, as Newton was, they can live in our world without trouble.

Day 3: Great Horned Owl
fri 21 nov 2014

Entry #21 of 30 on this page (tagged: november, )

When we were exploring the front part of Cascades Raptor Center, we met Lorax, a Great Horned Owl.

Great Horned Owl at Cascades Raptor Center

Lorax has a bum right wing. She had fallen out of her nest as a baby, and broken her poor arm all to pieces. Because of her injuries, there was no hope of returning her to the wild, so they socialized her to human contact. She now helps teach at the raptor center.

She doesn't like being in the cage while it's being cleaned. So someone brings her out, and visitors get to walk by and tell her how beautiful she is!

When we were done at the raptor center we went across the street to one of the trail heads for our Ridgeline Trail.

Ridgeline trail is about 14 miles long, wandering through forests and to the top of our highest peak at the southern edge of the city. Yep, it's all within the city limits!

Ridge Line Trail

I came to western Oregon for the rain and the trees... but the moss and ferns certainly intrigue me as well.


We did a quick 1.5 mile jaunt on a mountain bike trail and a pedestrian only trail. The trails are not well marked. But wandering around in a forest is definitely my family's idea of fun! haha! For Real!

11.22 another working weekend
sat 22 nov 2014

Entry #22 of 30 on this page (tagged: november)

Yep, got another load of homework from the day job. sighs. But I'm making an effort to get some other stuff done as well...

I started the morning right, with some postcard writing! I got a little handful written and in the mail before the postman got here in the morning.

The state of my postcard projects is currently a little chaotic. I usually send a monthly postcard to everyone on my list. I've gotten behind, tho, and decided to skip the september postcard for now. The rest of the october postcards are going out this weekend. And now I'll begin the november postcards!

I love making and writing my postcards! I actually wish I could send out postcards more than just once a month to people! ha.

The next most important thing to do on a weekend day: go for a walk!

Late morning I went for a short walk, between rain showers. I always take my camera, but I didn't see anything interesting until I got back home...

I noticed movement on the concrete in our entryway...

tiny snail

The tiniest snail I've ever met! Her-His shell was less than half the size of a dime... maybe like 7 or 8 millimeters! Tiny, and oh so cute!

And I'm going to say "she-he" and "her-his" for snails because they are hermaphrodites!

I'm an animal lover, and I love all animals. But snails are especially cool. I highly recommend The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey.

sun 23 nov 2014

Entry #23 of 30 on this page (tagged: november)

I used to do these prompts on my blog every once in a while, but it's been years. (and yes: my blog is a teenager, 16 years old. I started in summer 1998!)

I had to go through some of my old posts, to re-discover some of my old topics. It looks like the first one I did was in Feb 2003, I was living in Phoenix at the time, and wrote the post shortly after our ceiling fell in from too much rain! ha! the previous entry describes that mess.

I picked a few old topics that interested me and added a couple new topics...

Currently Reading: I just finished Station Eleven (I haven't reviewed it yet, tho). And I've been reading Maya Angelou's autobiography, I'm currently on book 5 of 7, All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes.

At my day job, I'm reading the current issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.

Currently in the garden: The tomato plants have died enough that I was finally able to rip them out of the tomato cages. Hopefully next weekend, we'll be able to do some work out there. I want to lay down some leaf litter in the back to help keep the evil grass at bay. And see if there are any sweet potatoes. I totally forgot about them, and now the vines are dead, so I have no idea if they are just rotting underground or if they'll survive for a little while!

Current Critter Stories: I have been letting Lucy and Ethel out for floor time, a few days a week, for about 30 minutes. They run around, all cute-like, and have tried exploring parts of the kitchen and half bath. At first they were ready to go back into their house, after the 30 minutes. Now... they run up to me for their treats, but they try to run away when I go to scoop them up!

Currently Listening To: I listen to Pandora, my favorite stations are Nine Inch Nails, Pink, Lindsey Sterling, Moby and the World Beat genre station. But I'm not really listening to anyone new.

Currently Journaling: For the past several years, I have been very interested in digital journaling. I usually make digital pages on the weekends, print them up later, and then bind them up with the hand-written pages that I write during the week. It's a process that agrees with me, and I usually enjoy the gathering that occurs before the binding. (Altho there are many months that haven't been bound, the papers are filed in a flat box, instead.)

But my current process does not encourage any drawing or doodling, since I add hand-written pages infrequently. And this is something I'd like to change. Drawing and art are an important part of my life, and this should be reflected in my journal!

Currently Mailing: Unfortunately, I had too much homework this weekend, so I wasn't able to get all the october postcards out the door. I also haven't sent any Amnesty International letters this week, or last week. arg! And with the holidays coming, my busy-ness will only increase, and my mail time will decrease. A sad state of affairs!

Current Photography: late fall: I love the autumn season, but you have to look closely to find inspiring photos. Here's a pic from the community garden plot, the seed heads on my aster plant...

Aster seed heads

Day 4: McDowell Creek
mon 24 nov 2014

Entry #24 of 30 on this page (tagged: november, )

This is the fourth day of a family vacation: My Parents and Brother were visiting me in Oregon.

We decided to do some easy hikes and look at waterfalls! McDowell Creek has several waterfalls along a short stretch, and was about 55 miles north. We road tripped up there on a saturday morning.

ferns and moss on a tree trunk

As you can see, it was another beautiful, blue sky day! Entirely unusual for western oregon in autumn... It should have been raining the entire week my family was here. I'm glad we lucked out with our climate change/ global warming.

Then, again... the lack of rain also created a lack of water falling out of the waterfalls! This is Royal Falls:

Royal Falls at McDowell Creek

Pretty wimpy, right? But that's okay. It was a beautiful day, and we are walking out in nature.

We walked down the path a little bit further. We were heading towards a picnic area, shown on the map. We were slightly surprised at the state of the picnic tables when we got there...

picnic tables

haha! Covered in moss and not just damp, soaking wet and slimy!

We ate our picnic lunch straight out of the trunk of the car, instead!

Day 4: McDowell Creek
tue 25 nov 2014

Entry #25 of 30 on this page (tagged: november, )

After lunch we got back on the trail. We were heading towards Majestic falls, but saw this cute little one on the way:

Little falls, McDowell Creek

Moss, ferns and mushrooms were everywhere.

mushroom on a tree trunk

And then beautiful Majestic Falls, a 39 foot waterfall (almost 12 meters).

Majestic Falls on McDowell Creek

Day 5: Spirit Falls
wed 26 nov 2014

Entry #26 of 30 on this page (tagged: november, )

On the fifth day of my family vacation, with my Parents and Brother visiting me in Oregon, we decided to do a hike to the south. Another 55mile (88km) road trip, and another stunningly beautiful day...

trail to Spirit Falls on Alex Creek

Down in the valley it was almost 80°, but we were up in the hills... much cooler and more pleasant under the trees and near the water; it was a great day for a walk. And soon the trail brought us down to Spirit Falls:

Spirit Falls

This is a 40 foot waterfall (just over 12 meters), but again, due to the lack of rain, not as spectacular as it could have been. Then again, walking in the sunshine is much nicer than walking in the rain!

For a little bit of perspective, here's my Dad... around 6foot tall, looking up at the 40foot waterfall!

Spirit Falls perspective

thurs 27 nov 2014

Entry #27 of 30 on this page (tagged: november)

Thanksgiving dinner's sad and thankless
Christmas dinner's dark and blue
When you stop and try to see it
From the turkey's point of view.

~ Shel Silverstein

For the past several years, I have been doing a personal protest on thanksgiving by fasting.

To me, it seems like a day of gluttony, rather than a day dedicated to true thankfulness. And I choose to acknowledge this by not eating for a day.

female turkey

Wild and Free.

Day 5: Moon Falls
fri 28 nov 2014

Entry #28 of 30 on this page (tagged: november, )

We drove a couple miles to the trail head of the next waterfall. This trail was a bit longer, and mostly followed an old logging road. There were sections where the trees were young and planted in rows (ugh).

I discovered a dragon that the loggers didn't want to deal with...

tree root dragon


The area and trees around the creek are protected from loggers because it's a watershed, and it was a relief to climb down into this undisturbed sanctuary.

And, again, since there had been no rain, the creek was pretty empty... but such a beautiful spot...

Laying Creek below Moon Fall

And the waterfall looked like it would have been amazing... Moon Falls is 125feet/38meters, with many layers for the water to pour off. If only it would rain. This is just the lower part of the falls:

Lower part of Moon Falls

The next waterfall was Pinard Falls, and we got in the car to drive to it's trail head.

Sadly, the loggers were active on the road that lead to Pinard... There were clear cut areas, huge piles of debris covered with plastic tarps, machinery parked at the side of the road, and finally we had to turn around because the road was rutted with huge pot holes and littered with branches.

The loggers had devastated the area and I was disgusted. Yep, this is what we do with our public lands in Oregon. We willingly hand over our beautiful forests to corporations who destroy them and make a tidy profit and then some. oh, and a couple dollars go into our education fund. Despicable.

So, we came home.

Moon Falls

long weekend accomplishments
sat 29 nov 2014

Entry #29 of 30 on this page (tagged: november)

Yay, getting stuff done!

Mail I finished up the October postcards. I sent replies to everyone who mailed me in November. I've printed ½ the November postcards, and gotten a decent chunk written.

Inbox yeah, the 250 emails were starting to wear me down. I read, deleted, sorted and replied to all of them!

xmas and I have started organizing for the chaotic calamity that others call christmas.

I am so happy that I'm getting so much stuff done this weekend... and I still have another whole day!

scrub jay

A beautiful scrub jay, from a walk I took a couple weekends ago.

I try to go out for a walk, every day that I don't have to go to my day job. And I always take my camera.

The winter scenery doesn't always inspire me. Or, like today, I miss my photo opportunity. The cutest thing:

There are FOUR cats, all fat and well groomed, waiting patiently at the front door of a house. And the sign on the door says "Beware of Dog". hahaha! I didn't even have time to turn my camera on: a human is opening the front door right when I'm thinking about taking the pic.


Write for Rights
sun 30 nov 2014

Entry #30 of 30 on this page (tagged: november, )

As one project ends, another one begins!

I've been typing here every day for a month, and I've accomplished my goal of writing about my family vacation!

So, the project for December: Amnesty International's Write for Rights!

Here's today's work area...

Write for Rights

The Write for Rights campaign was what brought me to Amnesty International. I first joined the W4R program in 2011... I sent 5 letters that december, for 2 cases. And yep: I decorated my first envelopes as well!

After that, I joined the Urgent Action Network. My goal has always been to write letters for one case every weekend. Of course, it doesn't actually happen that way, but I do pretty good.

This year the support group for the US Network kind of fell apart. And I did not write as often as I should have.

But the new support group, is amazing and awesome! I think that 2015 will be a record letter writing year!

Will you join me? It only takes a few minutes to print out a letter and write the address on an envelope.

Decorating the envelope is only for crazy people like me! ;)

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