Blogging the Infinite Static

Sun, 22 Feb 2015 17:54:24 PDT

sun 8 feb 2015... Book Piles

This month I'm working on mail, for LetterMo, and my reading time has been significantly reduced. And my Book Piles are staring me in the face.

Yes. I have piles of books that I've bought but haven't read yet. I had to start a new pile when I came home from xmas. I am doing my part... the new pile has been reduced by 3 books already.

It's been a while since I've done a count of my unread books. And I thought it would be interesting to list them here...

Book Pile

This is my new 2015 pile. Not too bad, huh? Except a couple of the books are some heavy reading.

The wordpress book, yeah, is a tech book... I've been interested in learning WP for a while now and it's been ages since I've learned any new computer stuff. So, that's one of my goals this year!

2015 Pile = 4 Books

Book Pile

This is my 2014 Overflow Pile. Some odds and ends here... A couple movies on the left, including Doctor Who dvds! and the wrapped bundles are back issues of a magazine that I love: GreenPrints. And there's an issue of another mag I subscribe to: the magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. There are also a few books in this pile that I started reading and then abandoned for whatever reason. When I come back to them, I'll have to start over at the beginning.

(Not counting magazines and zines)
2014 Overflow = 13 Books

Book Pile

And this is my Ancient Pile. I don't even know how long I've had some of these books! And this is the pile I'm referring to when I say "I can't die until I've read all my books!" haha.

Ancient Pile = 13 Books

Total = 30 Books

Huh, well it's not as bad as I thought. Though, there are a couple more books laying around randomly... Plus a couple more on my kindle... But probably the actual total is less than the 50 books that I thought it was! So that's good!

And, since I read about 30 to 35 books in a year, I could conceivably get through my piles in a year or so. But how can anyone get through a whole year without buying any new books? Impossible!

ha. So many books, so little time!


Thu, 05 Feb 2015 19:00:13 PDT


Sun, 01 Feb 2015 17:43:31 PDT
From the Letter Writers Alliance website...

Post for the Parks

Painting 59 National Parks, and then mailing each painting to the head ranger of the appropriate park.
Oh My Gosh! LOVE!

Sun, 01 Feb 2015 12:00:00 PDT

Sat, 31 Jan 2015 10:02:17 PDT

Thu, 29 Jan 2015 18:13:31 PDT

I have a little GREEN Internet Cat from Free Press:

Net Neutrality Cat Fight at the FCC

How Awesome!!

Sat, 17 Jan 2015 09:40:29 PDT

This amused me greatly...

Internet cats unite for Net Neutrality

On Thursday, the FreePress Action Fund set up hundreds of Internet cats outside the FCC headquarters in a symbolic rally to support Chairman Tom Wheeler's hints that the agency will pass strong Net Neutrality rules next month.
It was fun, a little absurd and definitely got the attention of FCC employees heading into work.

Yes, I Adopted an Internet Cat! haha!

thurs 1 Jan 2015... Review and Revise

Happy New Year!

In 2014, I read 34 books. The average book I read was 323 pages and I read about 211 pages per week. (Which is quite a bit less than 221 pages per week I read in 2013... Guess I need to work on that!)

In 2014, I sent 1177 postcards and notecards, which is an average of 98 mailings per month. (More than last year's 78 per month!)

In 2014, I wrote for 14 Amnesty International Urgent Action cases, and all 10 Write for Rights cases. (I had written for 37 total cases in 2013...) There were a few issues with the Urgent Action Network this year, and I lost my dedication along the way. Everything's fixed now, and better than ever, and for 2015 I'd like to work on a case every weekend.

In 2014, I also wrote letters for 7 Animal Causes.

And in 2014, my GoodReads mailing group averaged 39.5 participants every month.

In 2014, I took 4730 photos, averaging 394 per month. (strangely, way less than my 555 average in 2013?!)

In 2014, I averaged 2 blog posts a month, other than November during which I typed every day. I think it would be nice to type here more often, but with all my other projects going on, it's hard to make the time!

In 2014, I worked on a year-long Space Clearing class, which had daily lessons. I kept up admirably, but had to take a break from it in December. I got some good stuff organized through the year, because of the class... but there's much I didn't tackle. It's a forever class, meaning I'll always have access to the lessons, and I'm thinking about re-taking the class for 2015.

In 2015, I would like to take on some vegan projects. Potientially, I will be heading up a veganic gardening group. And there is a vegan group at Swap-Bot that needs some attention.

And in 2015, I would like to do some drawing.

And through all of my crazy projects, I want to enjoy my life!

canada geese flying


sun 30 nov 2014... Write for Rights

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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sat 29 nov 2014... long weekend accomplishments

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.



fri 28 nov 2014... Day 5: Moon Falls

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

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thurs 27 nov 2014... thanksgiving

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.


wed 26 nov 2014... Day 5: Spirit Falls

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

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tue 25 nov 2014... Day 4: McDowell Creek

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

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mon 24 nov 2014... Day 4: McDowell Creek

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 55miles (88km) 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!

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sun 23 nov 2014... Currently...

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


sat 22 nov 2014... another working weekend

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.


fri 21 nov 2014... Day 3: Great Horned Owl

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!

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thurs 20 nov 2014... Day 3: Raptors

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.

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wed 19 nov 2014... Day 3: White-Tailed Kites

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

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tues 18 nov 2014... Day 3: Taka

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.

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mon 17 nov 2014... Day 3: Raptor Center!

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)

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sun 16 nov 2014... sunday evening

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!


sat 15 nov 2014... weekend!

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


fri 14 nov 2014... Day 2: at the Ocean, end

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!

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thurs 13 nov 2014... Day 2 at the Ocean cont again

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.

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wed 12 nov 2014... Day 2 at the Ocean cont

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!)

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tue 11 nov 2014... Day 2: At The Ocean

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!)

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mon 10 nov 2014... birds at the garden

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!


sun 9 nov 2014... Mail

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.

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sat 8 nov 2014... working weekend

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!

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fri 7 nov 2014... Day 1: Oct Fam vacation

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

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thurs 6 nov 2014... simple pleasures

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


wed 5 nov 2014... speaking of guinea pigs

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


tues 4 nov 2014... part 0: October Family Vacation

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

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mon 3 nov 2014... huh

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


sun 2 nov 2014... Begin Again

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!



sat 1 nov 2014... halloween complainings

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.


thurs 30 oct 2014... tap, tap. Is this thing still on?

testing... testing...

National Blog Posting Month

Just making sure I remember how to do this blog thing! ha. I think I've been averaging about 2 posts a month here this year. I've been busy, but that should be an excuse to post more often, to tell you what all I'm doing!

I'm going to blog daily in November.

Yeah. We'll see how that goes...


sat 27 sept 2014... stuff in sept: Vegan MoFo

I am not a foodie, and I hate to cook, so I tend to ignore the fact that September is the Vegan Month of Food. But for many of the vegan blogs I watch, this is the only time of year that they post, and it's easy to get excited about some of the great food they write about!

And so the discovery of vegan mac & cheese.

I don't buy very many convenience foods: expensive and not healthy. But I like to try new things from Vegan Essentials every once in a while, and I had a box of the Earth Balance White Cheddar Mac & Cheese laying in the pantry.

And when Vegan Chai kicked off her Vegan MoFo with Mac & Cheese Mondays, I figured I'd give my box of mac & cheese a chance.

Yeah, I loved it. I got addicted in one meal, and now only wonder when I can get my next fix. It's all on backorder... so Earth Balance is pretty much evil for not making enough!

gold finches

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sat 20 sept 2014... Stuff in Sept: Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week is Sept 21 thru 27, but I like to celebrate all month! Intellectual Freedom is important to me, as a reader and as a human.

Unfortunately, in other parts of the world, the fight for intellectual freedom is actualy a human rights issue. Journalist are kidnapped and killed too often: Committee to Protect Journalists: 711 Journalists Murdered since 1992

I've read 9 of the 46 books on the Banned Classics list. (the same as last year.)

5. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
7. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
9. 1984, by George Orwell
16. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
17. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
33. The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
40. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
45. The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
57. Sophie's Choice, by William Styron

From the 2000-2009, Top 100 list: 13 books (two more than last year!)

4. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
8. His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
17. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
23. The Giver, by Lois Lowry
26. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
36. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
69. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
74. The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
80. A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
88. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
90. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L'Engle

I am currently reading Maya Angelou's autobiography series, which begins with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings... her writing and her stories have me completely under their spell! I'm reading the 3rd book of 7.

From the wikipedia page about Maya Angelou:

Beginning with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Angelou used the same "writing ritual" for many years. She would wake early in the morning and check into a hotel room, where the staff was instructed to remove any pictures from the walls. She would write on legal pads while lying on the bed, with only a bottle of sherry, a deck of cards to play solitaire, Roget's Thesaurus, and the Bible, and would leave by the early afternoon. She would average 10 - 12 pages of written material a day, which she edited down to three or four pages in the evening. Angelou went through this process to "enchant" herself, and as she said in a 1989 interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation, "relive the agony, the anguish, the Sturm und Drang." She placed herself back in the time she wrote about, even traumatic experiences like her rape in Caged Bird, in order to "tell the human truth" about her life. Angelou stated that she played cards in order to get to that place of enchantment and in order to access her memories more effectively. She stated, "It may take an hour to get into it, but once I'm in it - ha! It's so delicious!" She did not find the process cathartic; rather, she found relief in "telling the truth".

Yes! I love to hear about other people's writing habits. Enchanting yourself with serious alone time, solitaire, sherry and a thesaurus?! how wonderful.

banned books


sat 6 sept 2014... Stuff in September: Passenger Pigeons

Martha the Passenger Pigeon died in a zoo on Sept 1, one hundred years ago.

In the early 1800s Passenger Pigeons were the most abundant bird species in North America. They migrated across the continent in flocks that were made up of billions of individuals. Billions!

And humans made Passenger Pigeons extinct. We killed all of them through hunting and mass deforestation.

And we've learned nothing. We continue to kill animals like it doesn't even matter. Sometime through hunting (wolves!), sometimes by mass poisoning (bees!), and mostly by mass destruction of ecosystems (everyone!).

So here is a project to bring awareness... Fold the Flock. I love their About statement:

Fold the Flock is an initiative of The Lost Bird Project, an arts-based environmental non-profit that connects people more deeply with the earth through art.

Yay Art!

Their goal is to reach 1 million origami Passenger Pigeons by the end of the year. They are currently at ~453,500.

And you know, one million sounds like a lot... but it is a tiny fraction of the billions of birds who formerly roamed North America.

Here's my first attempt...

Fold the Flock, origami Passenger Pigeon

I've never done any origami before, and you can see that my folds are not great. Regardless, it still looks good, and it stands all by itself! ha!

I hope you'll try it as well. They have a free download that fits on letter-sized paper that you can print. You will have to cut it down. And you'll have to run the instruction video many times. :)

It's fun learning some origami!

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sat 30 aug 2014... Letter Writing Activist

At the beginning of the year, I was writing letters of protest for Amnesty International every weekend. At some point in February, I stopped receiving my weekly emails from AI.

For a while, I went to the website every weekend and picked a case and wrote for it. It was much harder for me to do this because I was overwhelmed by all the cases. It wasn't long before I quit writing every weekend.

I tried to get back to my letter writing in May, but I only wrote for two weekends. I've thought about it since then... I think about it often, actually... but I can't bring myself to look at the site and wade through all the most recent cases.

So I was thrilled to get an email from the crew at Amnesty International's Urgent Action Network. The email detailed the process of getting the cases to the AI activists, and some of the issues they've had this year. The email said "Please Respond" and I wrote back immediately and with enthusiasm.

Unfortunately, I haven't gotten an immediate response. I'm disappointed. Maybe next week?

Meanwhile, I'm going to write a few letters this weekend.

I am on the email list of both the USA and the UK Amnesty International offices... and I noticed when I sign the UK (email) petitions, they have a tab that hides a letter writing section. They provide a mailing address and the sample text!

Today I wrote a letter based on one of the UK petitions! It was to an embassy in London, I tracked down the ambassador in Washington DC and sent a letter to him as well. The sample text makes this so easy.

I'm also going to be writing a few "Animal Action" cases. I think I'll start with the Mirage Hotel Dolphins and then add some protests to Sea World. You've seen Blackfish, right?

kitty and squirrel

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sun 17 aug 2014... Random

Nobody ever updates around here. I think I need a secretary or something.

We have new summer-time neighbors at the day job...

turkey family

A mom and four kids. We have been putting out cracked corn for them... along with the sunflower seeds we give to the local squirrels!

The above photo was from a month ago. The four kids are quite a bit larger now. The family wandered into the warehouse last friday, just as the FedEx guy was picking up. Gil snapped a few pics on his cell phone before getting our packages into his truck! haha.

Art Journal. I've worked on a couple pages in my new art journal...

art journal

... and there have been experiments. For instance, the back of the left side page of the above spread, had some watercolours on it. The next page after the above spread has a background "painted" with beets. Beets from my community garden plot! ha! How awesome is that?! I don't know what I'm going to draw on that page. Maybe nothing. It's a lovely shade of red-violet. :)

kitty on the path

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sat 26 july 2014... from Blah to Boing!

Last week I was feeling rather disenchanted with all my projects. I knew I had to do something new and different, in order to get my mojo back. But I had no idea what my new and different thing should be.

I went to bed thinking about it, Friday night, and I woke up thinking about it, Saturday morning. I got nothin'. I didn't want to get out of bed, ever.

And then suddenly it hit me.

I literally jumped out of bed and started tearing thru my tubs looking for my favorite crochet hook and some fun string.

I made two dish cloths last weekend. It was exactly what I needed. The thinking time. Keeping my hands busy. And making something.

two dish cloths

I'm not sure when I last crocheted, but my last crochet blog entries were posted in 2011. Well, I don't think I will continue crocheting... it was a one weekend deal and now I'm done. I think!

So this week, I am back to my postcard projects. I won't be able to get my letter writing goals attended to before the end of the month like I wanted... but that's okay. I've got some other stuff going on anyway.

Including the Community Garden plot. I've eaten yellow zucchini every day this week for the first time. and today I brought home the first significant haul of Sun Gold cherry tomatoes.

zuc and tom

Sun Golds are the yummiest. The first Lemon cucumber is about ¾ grown! And I think we will be overwhelmed with butternut squashes! Oh, and I'm bringing home an occasional beet, as well. I'm not sure how they have organized themselves so perfectly, but one is ready to be pulled up about every other week. Just the one, and that is all. nice!

And... someone else's art, which I noticed on the walk home from the garden...

Sidewalk graffiti

"Pick up garbage = ♡"

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USA International Stamp Sun, 20 Jul 2014 07:47:43 PDT
July Mail Goals
Greeting Card: may june july
Letters: short short long long short
Postcards: 25 50 75 100

sat 12 july 2014... goals, updates, odds & ends

My mailbox is happy most every day, but when I receive a letter from a friend whom I've not heard from in a while, I am especially happy. I've received two such letters recently... but when I went through my records, I realized that I have not sent any such happy letters to others in months! oh dear!

So, I am here making a public statement of my mailing goals for July: Catch up with my Greeting Card project; Write at least four reply letters, two short letters and two long letters; and Keep up my usual postcard pace of about 100 per month...

LetterMo International Achievement Sat, 12 Jul 2014 16:28:46 PDT
July Mail Goals
Greeting Card: may june july
Letters: short short long long short
Postcards: 25 50 75 100

mailbox in the garden

The community garden plot continues to be awesome... I've been eating zucchini for every meal on the weekends, and I was able to add one week day meal this past week! (I know: soon I'll be sick of zucchini and I'll want to pay people to take them off my hands! ha! meantime, I am enjoying them immensely!)

sun gold cherry tomatoes

Ate 3 cherry tomatoes this morning... I wish they would hurry up! Will gather another beet tomorrow. The butternut squash is taking over the plot, it's leaves and vines are covering about 6 square feet (almost 2 square meters) and I'm a little concerned about how many butternut squashes I'm going to have to eat!

And the "Odds & Ends"...

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sat 5 july 2014... Independence Day Weekend


Yep, we went out to see the fireworks. I had fun, but think next year we'll have to find a new place to watch... The fireworks didn't seem to go up as high this year, and most of the explosions were half hidden by the trees at the bottom of this pic! disappointing!

Plus, I need to remember to study my camera settings before I leave the house! ha. I just guessed on one of the night settings, since this cam doesn't have a specific "fireworks" setting. humph.

And this morning, a trip to the garden...

Baby Butternut

We've got a baby butternut squash! Ate a couple cherry tomatoes today. And the lemon cucumber plant is finally getting serious about growing. Couple more beets will be ready to pull up maybe next weekend.

And I'll be picking the 4th yellow Gold Rush zucchini tomorrow...

sharing space

It's a little bit hard to see in the above pic because of the morning sunlight, but that is a volunteer tomato plant on the right! ha!

We had a volunteer tomato plant last year as well, but it didn't amount to much, tho it did make a few tomatoes. This one looks much healthier! It's interesting because the only tomatoes we plant are hybrids, which shouldn't be able to reproduce. But, I guess "Life Finds A Way"! :)

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fri 4 july... USA, Hobby Lobby Decision

I try to avoid politics, but this thing annoys me so much, I feel I should type something about it.

On Monday, the US Supreme Court ruled that corporations may claim religious rights to be exempt from Obamacare's mandatory coverage for birth control. Basically, Hobby Lobby will not cover certain forms of birth control in the health insurance they provide to their employees.

This is horrifing on so many levels. Not paying for birth control in your health plan? What century do we live in? And then, we are granting ever more individual rights to corporations. And also, it is opening the door a little wider on the "war on women".


I am not happy with the Hobby Lobby decision, and I am not proud to live in a country where corporate rights trump the rights of people.

Enough of that. Here is some cuteness relief...

guinea pigs, Ethel and Lucy

That's Ethel eating some beet greens and Lucy who has snubbed the beet greens and wonders what she's supposed to eat. haha.

Update: 12 July

Thanks to Aimee Dars for the link...

Knit a Brick, Secular Coalition for America

I am supporting this campaign!


sat 28 june 2014... an overdue update

It's been over a month since my last post here. I miss this. Typing up a post, and uploading my photos is enjoyable. I should do it more often!

The snow peas were not very successful this year, only a couple handfuls were gathered. The beets (a new experiment this year) are good -- three pulled up so far, and a bunch of little ones that still need to grow up! I ate my first (Gold Rush) yellow zucchini today! and the Sun Gold cherry tomatoes will hopefully get going soon. The butternut squash (another first year experiment) is nice and big and thinking about some blossoms.

Gold Rush zucchini

Mailing Projects
I have managed to fall behind on my personal mailing projects... which is to say, more behind than usual! ha. But I'm working on it this weekend, want to get the "May" postcards out the door. I have abandoned my Amnesty International writing again, and I've not even written any Animal Letters either. Not to mention my LetterMo replies. I guess I was taking a break, but I'm ready to get writing again now!

USA Forever Stamps: Song Birds

Art Journal
Decided I should occasionally use some of the art tools I buy! I'm aiming to work in my new blank book once a week. Last Weekend: Copics + Tombows. I think I would like to focus on illustrating some quotes... Mostly working on the lettering. maybe some drawing too?

House Projects
I have been taking a year-long Space Clearing online class. It's going amazingly well. It's amazing because I'm still looking at the daily lessons! I typically start ignoring online classes after two weeks, and here I am, still going strong six months into the class! ha!

Little things, here and there, get cleaned or taken care of. With house stuff, I have learned to ask for help and my partner has done some amazing things around here. My big goal, tho, is to take care of the piles in my bedroom. well... the best I can say about that is that it hasn't gotten much worse. *shakes head* At least I'm on the path!

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sun 25 may 2014... happy Garden trip

Last weekend, we bought some vege starts at Saturday Market and planted them right away. I meant to go back to the garden plot the next day (sunday) to get some weeding done, but it rained all day.

So I was very eager to visit our community garden plot this weekend. Not only for the weeding that needed to be done, but also to see how the starts fared.

Status of Starts: two out of three are growing happily. The lemon cucumber might need to be replaced.

Status of Weeding: yes, lots of grass got chopped and hoed and generally killed. I was feeling very pleased with my efforts and when I returned the hoe to the tool shed, one of the community gardeners called me over...

"Do you have lettuce?" he asked. "No, I don't," thinking what an odd question.
"Would you like to take some lettuce? I'm taking care of a friend's plot, and all this lettuce is ready to go." "heck yeah, I'd love some!"

Funny thing is, I was going to plant some lettuce seeds after I put away my hoe! Instead, I brought back several whole lettuce plants, thank you Marilyn! I stuffed them in my backpack and decided I had to walk home immediately or else they would wilt!

I got a bit distracted on the way home tho...

I had discovered an invasive red-eared slider turtle at the creek mid-April. And yesterday I saw her again, a little further upstream.

invasive red eared turtle

and then the ducklings! A mom with 5 children. Then the mom with the 2 older kids, that I saw last weekend. And a mom with 6 babies! Delightful! but hard to get decent pictures of them swimming...

6 ducklings

And then I got home and shared the lettuce with the piggies...

guinea pigs munching


sat 17 may 2014... spring babies


Does it get any cuter than that?! This bunch -- mom with 11 babies! -- was wandering through the parking lot at the day job. There isn't a pond or any water nearby so I was a bit worried about them.

But our resident birder said the mom mallard would feed them bugs from the fields... maybe mom was waiting to cross the street later in the day.

Also, at the day job... There is an osprey nest at the top of a cell tower. It's probably a couple blocks away, but we set up a spotting scope in the upstairs art department and watched them last spring. Unfortunately, they lost the babies. (Predation from other ospreys?) And then even more unfortunately, in the autumn stupid humans tore down their nest. Arg!

Well, the ospreys came back this spring and complained loudly. They went away for about a month, but now they are back. They've decided to rebuild!

ospreys rebuilding

(just hoping the ospreys didn't want baby duck for dinner!)
and it seems a bit late in the season to be building a nest. Will they try for some late babies? Or is this prep for next year?

And, in my own neck of the woods...

creek ducklings

some much older mallard ducklings. Just the two, and mom was close.

It's been years since I've seen baby ducks at the creek... the ducks get fed bread by misinformed human parents at Ducky Hill. The ducks gobble it up, but it's not good for them. None of our ducks have the deformed feathers that have shown up in other local park duck populations (Angel Wing, incurable). But a lack of babies is definitely a sign of malnutrition via bread.

So two mallard younglings is cause for celebration!


sun 4 may 2014... time

Turns out, the weekends are never long enough.

ha! Oh well. For may I've decided to go forward -- and not have any guilt for the projects I've abandoned!

So. Here is something that caught my attention today, that I wanted to type about...

Going through my feeds this weekend, I came across this post at UPSP Stamps: Latest Issue of USA Philatelic Now Available.

I realized I had somehow gotten off the USPS mailing list, so I signed up for that again. But then I noticed the author bio in the right sidebar:

Favorite stamp: My favorite stamp features a black-and-white photograph of designer Ray Eames holding a Christmas ornament over her husband's head. The stamp is from the 2010 Charles + Ray Eames stamp pane, and it always makes me smile. I love how joyful they look.

Well, I don't have the cool drawing of myself, that Mary has... but I do have an urge to answer the questions posed in that sidebar!

Favorite Stamp I really love the current postcard stamp, a hummingbird. But my absolute favorites are from the Nature series: the Kelp Forest...

Kelp Forest Stamp set

Three things I always have with me My camera, no matter what! I carry my back pack with me most of the time. Inside: my backup camera, the current magazine I'm reading, pens and mechanical pencils, some cash, and a clif bar or two.

Favorite way to spend my spare time Spare time? That would be nice! If I had some I'd be: Reading, Making postcards from my photography, and Internetting.

The last book I read Just finished The Golden Notebook it was very long and rambling, but I enjoyed it.

One thing I can't live without ha! my printer and computer? But when civilization crashes, I will really miss hot showers. But "can't live without"? I have more books than I can read in a lifetime... I think it's the books that I can't live without!

My favorite place in the United States My former life involved moving every 3 or 4 years... but I have finally found my Forever Home in Eugene Oregon.

The best meal I ever had an All Vegan restaurant here in town called Cornbread Cafe... every single item on their menu is complete and utter bliss!

Life motto Get Away From Me, You Stupid People!
(Yeah, I'm a little bit asocial!)


fri 25 apr 2014... flashing amber 5 times

I had other things I was going to type about today, unfortunately my printer gets precedence.

Canon i9900 printer

The printer died suddenly this afternoon. I am annoyed, but not as frantic as I was the last time it happend. Which was last July. Which means the printer is not even a year old. Which makes me further annoyed, since the first one lasted at least 2.5 years.

But I know what the problem is and I know what the solution is. It's a bit expensive, and there is a good chance the replacement won't work properly either and I'll have to return it for another. Whatever: been there, done that, no big deal. However...

I use my printer extensively and having the printer down, completely disrupts my life. I print my own postcards, and I make and send 25 or 40 every week. Not being able to do that for a week or two?

Yes, I'll survive. But this is the hobby that gives me joy. This is the hobby that makes me excited to get out of bed on Saturday mornings.

A week or two of store-bought postcards. ugh. I'll probably survive...

Tag: ,

sun 20 april 2014... Lab Animal Liberation Week

Okay, nevermind about the long pause in the blogging. Just re-arranging some stuff in the life!

And also I got bored with the mail related blog posts, here. I never meant for this site to be about postcards and letters only, and that's what it has become. Yes, making snail mail is a big part of my life... but I am a well-rounded human with many interests! :) And Static8 should reflect that!

So today I want to type about World Day for Laboratory Animals. The British National Anti-Vivisection Society dedicated a day on 24 April 1979, which is the birthday of a former NAVS president. The day, and now the week, is celebrated by demonstrations and protests by animal activists who want to end the use of animals in research.

As a vegan who cares for two sweet guinea pigs, animal testing is a topic that is important to me. Adopting guinea pigs is part of my animal activism.

the piggies

(sorry for the terrible pic, but they are both in it! Lucy in front, Ethel wondering what's going on.)

Please take a moment and think about some of the products you use. How about switching your shampoo to one with the leaping bunny logo? Don't give any more money to charities that experiment on animals. Support Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine instead.

Yay Vegan!

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Sat, 22 Mar 2014 17:48:06 PDT
Weekly Mail Check-in
Total Mail: 21
Reply Mail: zero
Amnesty International: zero

I had to take a break from the daily mail this week. But still... not a bad week with 21 postcards sent!

Sat, 15 Mar 2014 18:45:13 PDT
Weekly Mail Check-in
Total Mail: 23
Reply Mail: 3
Amnesty International: zero!
Instead, I worked on an Animal "Urgent Action" case last weekend: Oppose the Sportsmens Bills

Sat, 08 Mar 2014 09:31:57 PDT
Weekly Mail Check-in
Total Mail: 29
Reply Mail: 3
Amnesty International: One case
(Total AI cases this year: 6)

sat 1 mar 2014... Amnesty International

Amnesty International

I joined Amnesty International in December 2011 with their Write for Rights campaign, and shortly after that I joined the Urgent Action letter writing campaign. In 2012, I wrote letters for 40 cases. In 2013, I wrote for 37 cases.

My tentative goal for 2014 was to write for an Urgent Action case every weekend. Except, I've not been very dedicated: I've only written for 5 cases so far and this is the 9th weekend of the year!

Well, it doesn't help that I've not been receiving the emails... I'm signed up for a weekly message, where they send one current but random case. Since I've not been getting the emails, I've been going to the site to pick out a case.

And there are just so many to choose from.

I like the fact that I can choose a case that I'm interested in and passionate about. But the whole process takes longer: sifting through all the current cases, then writing longer letters because of my interest, and really hemming and hawing over the words and language I use because I want to get it right. ha!

AI, Urgent Action envelopes

I print my letters on coloured paper... today it was green. and I always decorate my Urgent Action envelopes. I hope it catches their attention. But I sometimes wonder what they actually think about it. :)

I'm hoping to get 2 cases written this weekend. Today I am writing for a Syria case... a Kurd postal worker was disappeared by the government in March 2012 and has not been heard from since. Unfortunately, the postal system in Syria is so unreliable the case sheet only gives fax numbers. It's sad and ironic that the postman they took is probably dead of torture.

It's hard, being confronted with these life and death situations, and people really are being tortured to death right now and every day. Sickening.

But I can't ignore it, and writing for Amnesty International is my way of dealing with it.

And then I go for a walk.
Nature cleanses my mind and soul.

Chickadee, dee, dee.

Tag: ,

LetterMo Mail Fri, 28 Feb 2014 19:18:47 PST
Weekly Mail Check-in
This Week: 26 mailings
Total LetterMo Mail: 150 mailings

Now the replies need to be written!

rifts avatar
I am rift vegan!
(Also known as cheri.)
I live in the Pacific Northwest of the USA, with my Significant Other (SO), and guinea pigs Lucy and Ethel. I am vegan for ethical and environmental reasons, my love for animals and nature is a very important part of my life.
        This blog is occasionally about...
Vegan Life
Handmade Postcards
Books, Reading & eBooks
the Paper Journal
Drawing & Art Projects
Randomness :)

Static8 Journal RSS 2.0 feed

Archive Pages
Jan 2015
Feb 2015

Yep, you can email me. and you can write to me.

rift vegan
PO Box 23724
Eugene OR 97402



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