Tues 28 Jan 2020... Deers on Hidden Trail|
Pic taken 28 Jan, Posted 18 Feb
I love this photo. It's not a great photo. I love it
because it taught me something!
I had always assumed that we had Mule Deers here. White
Tail Deers are an eastern species, Mule Deers are a western
species. Right? ha! When I first looked at this photo, I
decided to research Mule Deers.
And I discovered I was wrong!
Okay, Mule Deer ears!
- Mule Deers have big ears that
come to a point.
- White Tail Deers have ears that are rounded at the
Um. White-Tail Deer rump.
- Mule Deers have a large white patch on their rump.
- White Tail Deers have some tufts of white outlining
And a few other interesting anomalies!
photo deers are greyish: Mule Deers.
- Mule Deers are greyish brown, White Tails are
photo deers have a brown face, but the white points are not
prominent at all: White Tail Deers?
- Mule Deers have white or light colored face. White
Tails face is the same colour as their body, with white
*Laughs* Finally, I looked up what kind of deers live in
oh. Black Tail Deers!
Bahaha! of course! I just didn't know! :)
It's good to learn new things!!
Fri 24 Jan 2020... The Hidden Trail|
Started 24 Jan, Posted 17 Feb
I've been exploring the neighborhoods to the south of my
home. I like to make a loop, rather than turning around and
going back the same way... so I've been studying the map
before I leave the house.
*laughs* There are so many dead ends, curves, circles, and
unnamed streets, I still get lost! I'm thinking about just
printing up a map to take with me!
But if I had done that, I might not have noticed this little
thing. I was just at the end of my loop, and was headed
towards the ½ mile circle street before heading home.
I looked the other way... up the "dead end" street,
just wondering. And I heard water. I walked a few
meters up the street and found a little creek, being
directed under the street.
And there was a little paved path, going up the hill next
to the creek, going right between the houses.
oh my gosh! This narrow strip of nature is Amazing!
I didn't go up very far, I had already walked a couple miles
and had over a mile to go to get home. But I couldn't wait
to explore it another day!
And when I got home, I tried to google it. Nothing.
There is nothing about it. So weird. It's hidden...
And it's a secret!
And I think that's why I got stuck, working on this blog
post. I think the Hidden Trail has a blessing on it to
keep it hidden! Not a curse! A Blessing! ha!
Wed 22 Jan 2020... Happy Things|
To combat the rut I'm in, I've been walking in a different
direction. When I walk from home, I always head towards
the bike path...
To the east, is the Community Garden and along the way
there's lots of green space for wildlife to pop up from.
But this is the path I've walked a thousand times.
To the west, it's nice to walk thru the neighborhood
occasionally, but few photos happen there.
To the north, are shops and businesses. I go that way
when I need to, but the road to cross is pretty dangerous.
And to the south are some very nice neighborhoods. The
road to cross is much easier, and I haven't been potientially
squished by a stupid car on that street yet.
It's nice to walk someplace new, but there aren't many
photo opportunities. A couple people have bird feeders in
their front yard, but the birds aren't interested in me.
Even the squirrels are running away from me.
Oh well. I did see a couple things today that made me
A lady walking a super cute little white dog who had
black spots shading down to brown. Little dog was so
friendly and happy, she made me happy too!
A couple of ladies, drinking coffee on the porch,
having a jolly laugh about something!
A woman walking with her phone, and singing along with
the song that was playing. We grinned big at each other!
Mon 20 Jan 2020... Another Pause?|
Sheesh, another ten day pause here, when I want to be
blogging every day. I'm in a rut, and the political
situation in the US is getting me down.
So here's a funny story for you...
I was walking down my street towards the bike path and I hear
a crow yelling. I look up and see a turkey vulture up in
a tree, who is being mobbed by this one crow.
I am interested because Turkey Vultures migrate, and mid-January
seems way too early for them to return. And Crows do mob
hawks, because hawks will invade nests and eat eggs or babies.
It's not nesting season, of course, but it's also silly
to mob a Vulture. And, sure enough, the Crow flies away
after a couple swoops.
I snap a few pics and go on with my walk along the creek.
But when I get back home and look at my photos...
Even the non-birdy-est person on the planet could tell
that is not a Turkey Vulture!
haha! Out on the street, looking almost straight up into
the sky, that bird was just a silhouette. And, really,
there's no reason a Bald Eagle should be sitting on
a tree on my street! No Reason! :)
Fri 10 Jan 2020... The Pause|
A bit of a pause here on the blog... I've been sick.
Down with a cold.
I'm feeling better, but I'm having trouble re-building my
momentum and enthusiasm for my projects.
I have been reading, tho. And one of my New Years
Resolutions is to keep up with my GoodReads reviews.
And hopefully even catch up with the couple of years
that I haven't written reviews. (I quit reviewing on
a regular basis in 2017.)
And I was happy to update my GoodReads Shelves! I've
finished two books, so far, and will be adding a 3rd soon:
2020 book shelf
I would also like to spend more time organizing my mail
I think I have a good system, I just ignore it sometimes. :)
I also started a couple of almost daily practices last year
that I would like to continue.
Many of my blog posts center around a photo, and I enjoy
sharing my thoughts about nature and conversations with
I just need to get back into the habit of doing tiny
drawings every day. Since I don't draw very often, every
stupid little sketch feels "precious". yeah, like Gollum
"precious". My goal is to get away from that feeling and
to "let go" of my drawings.
- Make and Send Mail Every Day
Of course, this isn't a new thing. But I want to mention it
anyway, since I've been struggling to write postcards, here
A napping Great Blue Heron. and how I've felt
while I've been sick, just
wanting to hide my face from the world.
Wed 1 Jan 2020... Review and Revise|
Happy New Year!
Well, this is going to be a pretty unusual
year in review.
I didn't work for much of the year -- I was laid off
from my awesome job of 10+ years in March and I decided to
take a temporary retirement! So I got to do a lot more of
all of my favorite activities!!
Walking in 2019
A serious car accident at the end of January
sidelined me at the beginning of the
year. I was bed-bound and then house-bound
with pain for a month,
and a broken foot kept me down for a while after that
and then tight
tendons made walking painful for many months.
The places I've walked are pretty
limited (because of mild problems with driving):
my neighborhood and out to the community garden,
the Ruth Bascome Riverbank trail, and the Ridgeline at
Hendrick's Park. But I really upped my game. I
walk 4 miles most every day and walk 5+ miles once a week!
in 2018... 11,570 pics, avg 964/month
in 2019... 15,124 pics, avg 1,260/month
Walking is Photography! Since I walk every day now,
I take a lot more photos!
Going thru all those photos has been a problem, tho.
It takes time to pull up each photo and pick out the
best for printing, and the interesting for the blog.
Mailing and Postcards
I sent 915 bits of mail in 2019, averaging 76 per month...
a significant step down from the 104 per month I sent out in
The GoodReads group I host had gotten overwhelming in
2018, and I redesigned the way we exchanged postcards there.
I lost a lot of regular members, which makes me sad. But it
made my life so much easier, and I rediscovered joy in
sending out my postcards!
I've been sending more cards and letters.
I took on a new postcard project. and
I revived my poor lonely
and sent 44 postcards there.
I hosted 62 swaps at Swap-Bot and participated in
131 swaps all together!
My good but temperamental and expensive printer finally
gave up the ghost in April. I bought an Epson SuperTank
to replace it. It was spendy, but I hope it won't be
an ongoing expense like the Canon was (buying new printheads
all the time). The new Epson prints fine, but has recently
issues with ink smearing. Probably because it doesn't like
the heavier photo paper I use for my postcards. damn thing.
Community Garden 2019
The garden was a major disappointment this past year,
ironic since I had extra time to spend working there! A cold
spring and a cool summer messed things up,
and no plants were productive.
but probably I'm
just a terrible gardener! ha. Experimented with Fennel,
me and the Guinea Pigs like the leaves as salad, but I don't
like the bulb part at all. Also planted a cover crop for
the winter for the first time. That's going well, at least!
Writing and Drawing
I took a couple HTML and CSS classes over the summer, and
started typing here on a mostly daily basis in October.
I am really happy about that and want to continue. There's
some major back-end stuff that I need to work on, and I
hope to get to that soon.
I'm also thrilled that I started drawing most every day
in August, and then re-starting mid-Sept.
Intentions for the New Year will be a separate post,
since this one got so long!
Friday the 13th 2019... Elks|
I'm on the front range in Colorado (east side of the
Rocky Mountains) and it's fun to look at the local wildlife!
And every time I go outside, I see a raptor of some kind...
Far away or standing in a tree off in the distance.
Eagles or hawks or falcons.
No photos of them yet, but it makes me happy to know
there's a good population of predators!
Sun 8 Dec 2019... Delta Ponds Again|
And another dark and dreary day...
Not expecting any wildlife, I started taking moody
But I come around the corner, and there's a ripple in the
pond. I stop to look... And it's a Mink! And she's close
enough, I might get a decent photo?
Well, no, not a decent photo... but way better than any
other photo I've gotten of a mink! So it's awesome! ;)
Friday 6 Dec 2019... Delta Ponds Duck|
A happy surprise at the Delta Ponds this morning... it was
so dark and dreary, I wondered why I bothered to bring the
camera: far away wildlife will just look like the fog!
But there's a new white Mallard at the Ponds,
and he's paddling right
for me! And climbs up on the bank and walks right up to me!
What a sweet heart! And beautiful blue eyes.
But he lost interest quickly when I didn't produce
any treats. :)
Mallards have all kinds of natural colour combinations!
Nearby, on the river, I've seen a pair of almost black mallards.
The white ones are the result of domestication. This one
is probably an escapee! Yay!
And the tail curl indicates that he's a male...
Wed 4 Dec 2019... Daily Drawings|
I kind of got side tracked from my projects Thanksgiving
week. The blog was irregular and not actually uploaded
many days, and I skipped several days in a row of my
daily ATC drawings.
I got back to it today, and pulled out a new 9-pocket
card holder page. I've filled 6 pages, which means I've got
55 little drawings!
Before drawing today, I glanced over my previous pages.
I tend to do my pencil sketch, and then either leave it
or do a little shading with pencil. So today I decided
to try to do a simple pencil sketch and then colour it.
I was pleasantly surprised at how it turned out.
I draw a lot of birds, but I hate drawing feathers. I'm
trying to figure out how to indicate them with a couple
of swoops or dribbles of colour.
Yeah. I'm not quite there, obviously.
But I think the overall impression is okay!
Tues 3 Dec 2019... Teals|
Hooded Mergansers and Green-Winged Teals are regular
winter visitors at the little creek that runs down the
hill from our home.
I've not kept records, unfortunately. But
it seemed like the Mergansers were early this year,
and the Teals are late. Today was the first time
I'd seen Teals at the creek...
Mon 2 Dec 2019... Five Mile Monday|
(oops... I've not been very consistent about the updates
Today's 5 mile walk actually turned into 5½ miles
because I went out to see Pluto!!
ha! The Riverbank path has a science installation of a
scale model of the Solar System. Over the weekend, I walked
down to see the Sun and inner planets.
The Sun is 4foot 6inches (1.39 meters)
and Earth is a little speck 492feet away (150 meters)
and Pluto is an even smaller little speck 3.7 miles away
Wait! Pluto?! I didn't even know about Pluto! On my
regular walk along the RiverBank, I pass Uranus and Neptune.
Turns out Pluto is on a side path I'd not been on yet!
And that's where I walked today. The loop turned out to
be longer than I thought. Thus the extra 1/2 mile!
Sat 30 Nov 2019... Squirrel|
This squirrel caught my eye because his tail is SO red!
The Eastern Fox Squirrels do not have a lot of
variability here... since they are invasive, they probably
don't have the broad genetic base that they have at home.
East of the Rocky Mountains,
Fox Squirrels are black,
grey and yellow, grey and rust, black and brown with a white
stripe on their face! (That last is pretty funny looking
Our Fox Squirrels are just grey and orange.
Plus one with a red tail. :)
Thurs 28 Nov 2019... Happy Thanksgiving|
Out to my favorite hike, Hendricks Park and
I knew it was going to be a good walk because a Song Sparrow
was greeting me right at the entrance of the Rhody Garden!
After my turn thru the Garden, I headed up the hill to the
hiking trails. About half way down the West Trail, I run
into one of the regulars. Usually we just grin at each other,
but this time he asked me what I did with my photos.
Ha. I wasn't sure I wanted a long conversation, but I told
him I turn them into postcards. He said he sends postcards,
too. Huh? Yeah, they're cheaper and you don't have to say
very much. ha, okay!
I said, well I wish I had a pen and paper, we could exchange
addys. But I'm wearing a new winter jacket and I've not
filled my pockets properly yet.
oh he says,
I've got that.
He pulls out a pen and a piece of scrap paper and hands it
It feels weird telling someone in real life about my online
name, but I write down rift vegan and my PO box...
A stranger in the woods is not getting my home address!
Are you vegan? he asks when he sees my name. Yep.
Oh, me too. ha, okay!
He gives me his real name and real address, and we continue
on together. He chats and asks questions. And I pretend
to know how to do small talk.
I point out some wildlife and he points out some plants. In
fact, we went past a forest restoration area on the Oak
Knoll trail and he mentioned
that he helped plant it, a couple weeks ago.
Snow Berries, some Ferns, and new to me: Osoberries.
And it turns out, he works on the newsletter for the
of Hendricks Park. He encouraged me to think about
sending some photos.
ha, maybe! They definitely need a
Wildlife of the Park
section in their newsletter! :)
Wed 27 Nov 2019... no snow|
They were all predicting snow. It would have been fun,
but I'm fine that we didn't get any!
There was a dusting at the top of the hill to the immediate
south of us, tho...
They said the snow level dropped to 1100 feet... I need to
figure out what the elevation on the hill is. hmmm...
Looks like our home is around 430feet, our street goes up
a steep hill and across the road it hits 500feet.
The nearest hill goes just above 1000 feet,
and yep, I think that's the hill I'm looking at from the
bike path. Interesting!
Mon 25 Nov 2019... Geese at Five Mile Monday|
The place where I park for my Five Mile Mondays, is right
behind a big soccer field. And today there was a huge
gathering of Canada Geese!
I looked around for someone special to take a pic of... and
here's a single Greylag Goose...
And their son or daughter?
Mostly Greylag, with some Canada Goose influences.
Similarly, there is a single Canada Goose who hangs
out with the Greylag flock.
Just like with humans, we love who we love!
Sun 24 Nov 2019... Reading|
Someone recently reminded me about the
Medal, an award for Nature Writing.
I'm not sure when I discovered it, but I had read a couple
books from the list, which I mostly enjoyed,
and it seemed like a good idea to read more.
But then I read a Burroughs winner that broke my heart.
I read this book in 2016, and it still brings tears
to my eyes. Here's my review:
It's taken a while, but I've decided to give the list another
Lovely and the Wild is the 1969 winner of the Burroughs
Medal, and it's available in Kindle form.
I started reading it yesterday. Kind of a slow start, there's
a 50page intro. But now we are into the animal stories...
and I'm loving it!
She lives in Ontario, Canada, so I'm not familiar with all
the eastern birds and critters. But I can definitely
relate to how she follows everyone who gathers around her
It's illustrated by Glen Loates, and oh my gosh, I love the
The drawings are obviously based on the text, and they
are just beautiful. I wish I could do that!
Sat 23 Nov 2019... Squirrel|
I love to come across our native Western Grey Squirrels
out in the forest.
The non-native Eastern Fox Squirrel has most of our urban
areas under their own control. A Western wanders through
the neighborhood every once in a while,
but they are more common in our larger parks.
And I think it's the young Western Greys who have the
overwhelming curiosity about the humans on the trails!
Fri 22 Nov 2019... More Ducks|
One more, in the cast of characters at the Delta Ponds...
They are year round residents. And -- like cormorants --
also stay just out of camera range. meh.
But check this out!!
Coots don't have webbed feet because they are not ducks,
they are related to Sandhill Cranes. But look! Their
feet are so funny looking!
Thurs 21 Nov 2019... Cormorant|
Walking past the Delta Ponds again today. And you know,
it's a lot more fun looking at ducks, now that I know most
Cormorants are not ducks. They are big, aquatic diving
birds. And Double-Crested Cormorants spend the winter here.
I don't really pay much attention to them. They are easy to
identify, and are usually pretty far away. Here's a
haha. This was my GR PC Feb, and I love this pic!
But the other day, I almost got a decent photo of a closer
Cormorant. It's still pretty blurry, but Oh My Gosh!
Look at her eyes!!!
Wow! Do they all have eyes that colour? I wish they came
closer more often!
Wed 20 Nov 2019... got away|
And then there's the wildlife that gets away, without a
Today was too dark and dreary for photography, but I was
having pretty good luck with the birds, never mind the
A Robin stayed for
a couple pics, and a Junco as well. And then a woodpecker...
Downy or a Hairy??
I decided to stop and watch a Heron. But she was
watching someone as well. I couldn't tell what she was
seeing, but she was staring hard at the opposite bank of the
creek, craning her neck every once in a while.
And the nearby ducks were interested as well.
What the heck?
A flash of movement, and a splash... and it could only have
been a mink. And she was gone in an instant, probably
panicked by the Heron. Minks are pretty small compared to
Herons, after all... especially Herons with
in their eyes! :)
But I was a bit bummed for missing out on a cute little
But it reminded me about the otter that I saw last week.
Who I did get a portrait of. A bad portrait, unfortunately...
it was another dark day, and the otter wasn't giving the
camera time to focus.
But it was super fun to watch her... she was as interested
in me as I was of her. She'd pop her head up to look, then
duck down under the water and swim to get a different angle.
Until she got bored and headed down stream.
Tues 19 Nov 2019... Heads Up|
My five mile walk of yesterday was at the Ruth Bascom Riverbank
path. I had just crossed Owosso Bridge, to come back on
the West Bank side. There's about 3 blocks where the path
goes along a street instead of next to the river...
I guess the city couldn't get the
land for the path. Which is a bummer, but
it's an okay neighborhood to walk thru.
A biker is coming towards me.
Careful! he says.
There are two turkeys!
That makes me laugh with joy.
Oh my gosh! Thanks!
I go a bit further, and sure enough, around the corner...
Awesome! I love turkeys' cute sad faces!
(and also great to see recycling happening!)
People notice my camera, and
I always appreciate the heads up from my fellow
path users about wildlife!
Several years ago, a lady with a happy little black dog,
Licorice, told me about a Great Blue Heron perching in the
Douglas Fir that she points out. We meet again, not long
after, and I tell her I was able to get pics of her Heron.
Her name is Joyce and we still occasionally cross paths!
A couple weeks ago, a lady with a Chihuahua, Little Man,
told me about two Egrets. We actually went looking for them
together, since she had just seen them just a couple minutes ago.
But they were gone. We went our separate ways, but on my
way home I saw both the Egrets! Yep, we ran into each other
again, and her name is Diane.
Mon 18 Nov 2019... exercise|
I walked 5 miles again today! I guess monday is going to be
my five mile day. :)
Most other days, I walk 4 miles. Occasionally, I will just
walk 2 miles around the neighborhood and then stop at the
gym to do some weights and 30 minutes of elliptical.
Yeah, I keep pretty active. And I'm really proud of myself
for getting up to 5 miles, too...
I've had a very difficult time recovering from the broken
foot of January. I was still in the walking boot when the
doctor "released" me in March. She just threw some printouts
at me for my therapy exercises.
Your tendons and ligaments tighten up and stop working after
being immobilized for a while. Since my doctor abandoned me,
I don't know if my tendons were really bad, or what. But the
therapy exercises HURT. a lot. But eventually, I was able
to walk thru the pain. And eventually, I walked further with
the pain. And eventually, I thought I would always have
pain when I walked.
In September, I was starting to ignore the pain. And in
October... I was better! Just some twinges, every once in
a while. And I've been walking further and further and
Thus I get excited about 5 miles! :)
Sat 16 Nov 2019... Mushroom|
A little bit of rain on Friday morning, after a long dry
spell, brought out the mushrooms.
My partner even brought home a beautiful orange mushroom,
saying he was going to cook it up and eat it.
Ha! I put the nix on that. He's such a troll, I never
really know when he's joking!! :)
Fri 15 Nov 2019... Starfish|
Yesterday I showed a sketch that included a starfish.
It reminded me of ecological collapse...
A few years ago the starfishes on the Oregon coast were found
with arms that looked like they were melting or turning into
slime. I don't think the scientist ever figured out what
was wrong, whether it was a virus or a prion or what. The
disease caused massive die-offs in about 40 species of
Sunflower Sea Stars were the only remaining predator of
Purple Sea Urchins. Humans had already decimated the sea
urchins other predator in the 19th century:
Sea Otters, murdered almost to
extinction for their fur. And now the Sunflower Sea Stars
are gone as well.
Purple Sea Urchins, with nobody keeping their population in
check, have in turn decimated the Kelp Forests off the coasts
of Oregon and California. The kelp is gone and the sea
urchins literally cover the sea floor and are starving because
there's nothing left to eat.
Thurs 14 Nov 2019... Adult Colouring Books|
About a month ago this book showed up in my mailbox. I
pre-ordered it in May, and had forgotten. So it was a
Johanna Basford's illustrations definitely charm me
and I have several of her other books... Not that I've
taken the time to colour any! haha. I just like to look
at her art!
I have done a couple of my daily drawings, based on her
work. I think they've turned out okay, but it does take
longer to work on them since I have to decide where to put
haha, I know: the one looks like horns!
The book also has Garden and Forest sections, but I like
organic and abstract of the Ocean drawings.
Wed 13 Nov 2019... Write For Rights|
(Sorry about the non entries of the last couple days.
Just lost my mojo, temporarily.)
December 2011, I discovered Amnesty International's
Write For Rights campaign.
I became an Urgent Action writer for
after that, but the Write For Rights holds a special
place in my heart!
Writing for AI
is all about sending letters of protest to
governments or authorities.
The major difference between UA
writing and W4R
writing is the letters of solidarity! This is the part
that I really love!
Sending a card for support to the person who is in
trouble -- maybe they are in jail for their human rights
activities, or maybe a family is waiting word from someone
who has been disappeared --
makes all the difference in the world.
The letters of protest are easy too... if you go to the
Write For Rights page and scroll down to the half way
point, it says "Now, Write a Letter". Just under that is the
yellow bar to download a PDF of the ten cases this year.
That PDF includes the address and sample text for each letter
of protest. And then has more information and how to send
your message of support. Some of these are messages on
social media, some are a forwarding address kept by
I like to send my handmade cards based on my photography...
Even better when I can match info from AI with one of my
photos! For instance,
Ubaldo loves nature, so I'll
be sending her one of my chipmunks! :)
P.S. If you live in the UK, please check out
Amnesty International, UK
because there are a couple different cases you can write
for: Migrant Women and Young Trans People.
Both VERY important!!
Mon 11 Nov 2019... Walking|
(Today I walked 5 miles for the first time!)
(Exercise is good.)
Sun 10 Nov 2019... Reading|
(Today I read my book all afternoon and all evening!)
(It's great sci fi.)
by Sue Burke
is any form of activity, conduct, or process that
involves signs, including the production of meaning.
A sign is anything that communicates a meaning, that
is not the sign itself, to the interpreter of the sign.
The meaning can be intentional such as a word uttered
with a specific meaning, or unintentional, such as a
symptom being a sign of a particular medical condition.
Signs can communicate through any of the senses, visual,
auditory, tactile, olfactory, or taste.
Sat 9 Nov 2019... Forest Restoration|
One of the trail junctions in the middle of the forest at
my favorite local hiking spot, has had signs up during
the summer. They would be doing forest restoration there.
And finally they have.
I recognized a couple of the shrubs they planted in the
area. Snow Berry, which is common in large patches all
across the hills...
And Oregon Grape, which is also the state flower. :) The
leaves look like holly...
And then the ones I don't know yet:
and then there were several cages which just contained some
sticks! I suppose the deers or the bunnies like to munch
on whatever is in there! I'll have to wait and see what
develops in the spring.
Fri 8 Nov 2019... day of chipmunks|
Sometimes when I go out in the forest, there is no wildlife
to be found. I thought today was going to be one of those
days and I started taking photos of the plants. Which is
just as good, but not as exciting. :)
But I walked up Oak Knoll, this trail always has somebody
cute to photograph! If only a single Song Sparrow.
Today there were chipmunks everywhere!
There are 5 or 6 species of chipmunks who live in our area,
and there isn't any way for an amateur to identify them.
This one is looking pretty round.
Chipmunks do hibernate, tho not in the bear way. Chipmunks
wake up every couple days to munch on the nuts they have
stored in their hidey hole.
I'm not sure if they hibernate here tho... since we have mild
winters, they might stay active thru the season. More
direct research, forthcoming!
Thurs 7 Nov 2019... Drawing Project|
I have been making ATC sized sketches almost every day
for just over 7 weeks now, and I just started filling
my fifth 9-pocket card protector. I began this project
on 16 Sept which means
(math: 7.5 weeks is 52 days, and with 37 drawings is 70%)
I've been drawing about 5 ATCs per week!
*** Sorry about all the numbers there. Here's where we actually
begin! :D ***
Of course the surprising thing is... I'm still at it! And
you know what else I'm still doing?! The daily blog!
The two projects kind of lend themselves to each other...
I've been better about going thru my photos every day, since
I usually like to have a pic here. Which means I also
check my photos for the printable ones, and I will do test
prints of the borderline photos. And when I have extra
photos laying around, I can grab one to sketch it!
I like looking at other people's work space, so here is mine
Yep this is where I write my postcards and notecards,
you can see a few stamps in the background.
And yep, I work on the floor. I really like to spread out
when I'm working, and a big desk would not fit in our tiny
Wed 6 Nov 2019... Leaves|
I was going thru my October photos, looking for some
Autumn Leaves for a Swap-Bot swap I'm in. Yeah, I do take
some pics of leaves... I love the colours or I love the
shapes! And I just love leaves in general.
Here's some fern fronds that really caught my eye...
Tues 5 Nov 2019... Song Sparrows|
Just a photo that makes me really happy.
Song Sparrows always put a smile on my face
and in my heart!
I am not sure when I started taking notice of Song
Sparrows. But a photo I took in December of 2016 has
become a significant one... I am still sending that one
out as a postcard to welcome new members at my
Song Sparrows have a lovely song, of course! And since they
live here all year, I usually hear them every time I go for a
Madge Madge Madge, put on your tea kettle ettle ettle
is how my Audubon field guide has it, which kind of
captures the rhythm of it.
But it's their contact call that I pay attention to most
Jeep. Jeep. Jeep. And they are probably
bouncing around in the under story, so don't look up!
Mon 4 Nov 2019... More Ducks|
Still trying to get interested in ducks. And it is nice that
they aren't all Mallards! Mallards are fine, but when that's
all you've got to look at, they are boring! :)
Wandering thru the Delta Ponds today, I saw the both the
ducks I had identified here... Coots! and, shoot,
I couldn't remember the Wigeon. I think I need a bit of
interesting information to go with the duck to help me
recall their species. For instance: Coots aren't real ducks.
For Wigeons, hmm. There is an American Wigeon and a
European Wigeon. And sometimes a European is found hanging
out with the Americans, and sometimes an American is found
hanging out with the Europeans. That has a nice balance
Here are a couple new ones I found today...
A Northern Shoveler with a funny looking bill:
And a Pied-billed Grebe, cute little face, but no tail!
Sat 2 Nov 2019... Houseplants|
I got a pleasant surprise when I opened the back blinds
this morning to let in some sunshine... one of my African
Violets is blooming!
This is a clone of one of my Grandma's plants... she
had loads sitting on the dryer in the kitchen.
I don't take care of my houseplants very well. Fortunately,
African Violets thrive on neglect! ha.
I've got a few houseplants that have survived my haphazard
care... Spider Plant, Chinese Evergreen, two different
Pothos, an Umbrella plant, a Peace Lily and a Dumb Cane
(Dieffenbachia, but I never remember how to pronounce it!).
Oh, and a couple of Begonia cuttings.
All of these plants were given to me by family or work
Fri 1 Nov 2019... Poetry|
The last book I read was a science fiction novel,
A Memory Called Empire [it was okay, not great]
was an important part of the culture. The people there
memorized long poems in school and poetry contests were
part of every day conversation as well as national
Today I started re-reading a book. I read and enjoyed
A Tale for the Time Being in 2013.
[I rated it 5 out of 5 stars.]
I've just been thinking about it lately for some reason.
It's got a little bit of poetry, but the story is
written so well it almost reads like poetry itself.
I'm not really a poetry person. I like things to be
straight forward, and sometimes when I encounter a poem
in a book I don't want to take the time to figure it out...
or even read it. yep, sometimes I just skip it!
ha! Shameful I know.
But reading Empire, I wondered why I was never forced to
memorize a poem in school. My partner can recite parts of
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. But me?
I know a few one-liners:
Quoth the Raven Nevermore, and Hope is the thing with feathers,
and Oh, the Thinks You can Think! :)
And I wonder. Maybe I'm impoverished. Maybe I should
find a poem to memorize.
Tues 29 Oct 2019... Health Care for Halloween|
I have not talked about it openly here, yet, but I'm a
huge advocate for reproductive justice, Planned Parenthood
and independent clinics, birth control and abortion.
So I was absolutely delighted when I saw Mama Doctor Jones
put out a YouTube of her Halloween costume... She's going
as a uterus with a copper IUD!!
ObGyn makes DIY Feminist IUD
It is so brilliant... and she's got her overies on her
It's a 12½ minute video, but she shows flashes of
herself in the costume at the beginning, if you don't
have time to watch the whole thing.
Anyway, it made me laugh. :)
Sun 27 Oct 2019... Ducks|
I am very interested in all the new, unidentified
song birds I come across
in my wanderings. I try to take as many pics as I can, even
blurry pics are fine when I don't know who I'm looking at.
And I try to Look as well as photograph and
note any behavior that will help.
And when I'm home, the field guides come out! The blurry
photos are studied and maybe I consult
About Birds, Cornell. And the little bird is figured
out and my happy knowledge has been increased!
Not so much with ducks, tho. I just don't care as much, for
So every time I visit the Delta Ponds, and I see those
somewhat cute little dark grey ducks, with the black heads...
They've got a funny looking face, and are instantly
recognizable because of their constant diving... And I don't
know what species they are!
American Coot! All
About Birds says Coots aren't actually ducks! They
don't have webbed feet and are related to Sandhill Cranes.
And the American Wigeon...
A winter visitor in our area.
And that's interesting because
Hooded Mergansers and Green-Winged Teals are also winter
visitors and today was the first time I'd seen them this
Sat 26 Oct 2019... Garden Birds|
I love this time of year at the garden... autumn brings all
kinds of birds to munch on stuff that's gone to seed. But
there are also interesting new birds that are migrating
A House Finch, in his winter waning red glory...
And a Junco with... I don't know what this red-violet plant
is, but it apparently self-seeds and grows freely
across the community garden. The
birds love it, and I want it for my own garden plot. If only
I knew what it was!
Fri 25 oct 2019... The Garden Experiment|
I brought home a couple leeks from the garden today.
I hate onions, but I really like leeks. We don't grow leeks
at the garden very often. Because I don't remember how much
I like leeks!
Leeks are great in soup... I slow cook some barley and lentils
and chop up the leeks with some celery and carrots. Yum.
But it's good to throw leeks in when you cook up
pasta or rice, too!
I should grow more leeks. That's one plant that is easy to
grow because the slugs won't munch on them! And then, they
don't mind the cold, so they can stay in the ground in the
autumn until you're ready to eat them.
I try to experiment with something new every year and
this past year's experiment was
Fennel. I'd never grown or eaten it before.
So, Fennel? thumbs up and thumbs down!
I do like the leaves, they are wonderful just to munch
on when wandering thru the garden. Very refreshing!
and they're good in salad, but you have to add quite a
bit to actually taste it. A happy
bonus: the guinea pigs also like to eat the leaves! :)
But Fennel root? meh. You can treat it like celery, but
when I nuked it with my pasta there were always tough parts
that made it yucky. I didn't cook it enough to figure out
how to remove the potiential tough parts.
and I didn't cook it enough because it wasn't tasty enough
I left 3 fennels to go to seed in the garden... it's supposed
to self-seed easily. And we shall see what I do with the
results next year. Maybe the piggies will like the root
more than I do?
Thurs 24 Oct 2019... Foggy Birds|
I've really been hoping to catch a Black and Orange bird
to use as my October postcard... I saw both the prime
candidates yesterday, but the heavy fog made the ambient too
dark for the camera.
And a Varied Thrush...
Wed 23 Oct 2019... Trees and Fog and Light|
I went for a hike at my favorite place here in town.
Hendricks Park was up in the clouds! Not much wildlife
... but the trees are actually quite lovely.
~ Westley to Buttercup at the Fire Swamp
Mon 21 Oct 2019... Sudoku and word games|
I enjoy doing sudoku. My local newspaper carries it every
day except sunday, with monday being easy and the puzzles
getting progressively harder thru the week.
Monday is so easy in fact, that I handicap myself by not
making any marks. Still, it only takes me 5 minutes. Tuesday
I only make outside marks, and it takes a little longer.
Wed and Thurs, I use marks and it takes 15 or 20 minutes to
finish. Fri and Sat... ha, sometimes I abandon these because
I'll get stuck and it's taking too long to find the one
little thing that will tip the puzzle over so it will fall
like dominoes! When I do finish these, it can take 30 or 40
Occasionally I will screw up. It's mostly about going too
fast because I'm timing myself, and not noticing that
there are two 5s in the same row!
arg. Sometimes I notice relatively quickly and I can back
track and finish. Other times I abandon.
I also try my hand at the crossword, but I'm terrible at it.
For instance, in today's crossword, I got 4 words. yeah.
I wish I were better with words! But so often when I have to
think of a word, my mind just shuts down.
You know that game Scattergories? You get a letter and you
have to think up words starting with the letter for like
12 categories. Girl Names. Kitchen Devices. You know?
I effing hate that game. I can usually fill out 1 or 2
of the 12 blanks, maybe 3 or 4 if I'm very lucky.
And my brother fills out all of them. And he even
argues passionately about his questionable answers!
It would be funny --
how bad I lose and how brilliant he wins --
except I take it so seriously!
I don't know why. Probably because I always have such high
hopes when we start playing. This Time I'll be
able to fill in a respectable amount of blanks! But it never
Sun 20 Oct 2019... Chickadees|
I love Chickadees! But 99% of the time, I ignore them.
I hear their little
chicka dee dee dees every time I go outside.
They are named for their alarm call... The more dees they
add, the more dangerous the situation. A Human on the bike
path might get 2 or 3 dees, but a prowling cat gets a long
line of dees.
I listen to their dees. Chickadees say a lot about the
environment, after all. But I don't try to find them. And
I certainly don't bother to turn on the camera for them.
They are impossible to take pictures of! They bounce around
way too quickly and the camera won't focus fast enough. I've
tried. Lord, how I've tried. And that's why I ignore them
But today... I was actually trying to take portraits of a
couple of Downy Woodpeckers. And some Chickadees got in the
haha, not really.
Sat 19 Oct 2019... photos|
I was going thru my photos today, picking some out for a
swap I'm in.
I really need to do this more often... to pick out the better
ones. And to see if any are print quality. And to just
remember all the cool things I get to see!
A House Finch and Tree Sparrow in the rain.
Fri 18 Oct 2019... Cover Crop|
After three weeks of very hard work at the garden, I've
finally got most of the plot Weeded and Seeded!
Actually, it was a bit of a surprise to finish this morning.
While I had started out working 5x5foot (1.5 x 1.5 meter)
sections, the soil towards
the back of the plot was not as easy to work with. The
past week or so I've only been able to finish 3x3 sections.
But when I saw how close I was, I just kept going. My back
was in spasms and I was getting a blister on my thumb...
but I kept going! ha.
And it's only a month late. Yeah. You're supposed to have
your cover crop planted a month before the first frost date.
So all this should have been done on 15 Sept. eh.
No worries, baby clovers are being born!
heh, along with baby weeds of all types.
Thurs 17 Oct 2019... Jays|
I got a bird postcard in the mail today.
I had never seen this bird before and I had all kinds of
questions! ha! I studied the picture carefully...
Definitely a Jay. That face, that look? Definitely.
I flipped the postcard over and had to search for the info.
Almost obscured by some happy bird washi tape :) but I didn't
have to peel anything up to read it... Eurasian Jay.
How beautiful! And I'm sure they are just as bold and
obnoxious as the Jays in the US!
Jays are well known to the East of the Rockies in the
United States. On the Western side, we have
Jays, both of which are also blue (and frequently
get called "blue" jays by normal people). (ha!)
Jays are beautiful and interesting. They are always yelling
about something. And they love peanuts in the shell...
people feed them and this time of year all the Scrub Jays are
holding one, to be buried in an undisclosed location! :)
Wed 16 Oct 2019... birds|
I was walking home from the Community Garden this morning,
and there were three Vs of Canada Geese flying towards me.
The first V was the smallest, and I counted one arm. About
20. The second V was bigger, maybe 30 or 35 on an arm.
The last V wasn't a V anymore because the Geese were
changing places and moving around. It was a long line, with
little jags coming off it. 80 or 100 Geese?
I'm not sure, but I stopped walking to watch them fly by.
And all of a sudden, I'm almost crying.
Here I am, in awe of a couple hundred birds. When 200 years
ago there were so many Passenger Pigeons
that they darkened the sky when they flew by. How many
gajillions of birds does it take for that to happen?
Martha, the last Passenger Pigeon, died in captivity on
1 Sept 1914.
America has lost more than 1 in 4 Birds in the Last 50 Years,
a net loss approaching 3 billion birds, or 29% of 1970 abundance.
It's the same with bugs.
Insect Numbers 'Threaten Collapse of Nature'
insect abundance (as measured by biomass) had declined by more than 75 percent within 63 protected areas in Germany—over the course of just 27 years.
Humans are killing everybody.
And I'll cry, watching them cut down our sick trees. And I'll
cry for the dead squirrel at the side of the road. And I'll
cry for the curled up mouse on the path, killed with poison.
And I'll cry for the raccoon mama with her infected hand, and I'll
cry for her teenage kids who are wandering around without
her a week or so later, looking pathetic and skinny.
I don't tell these stories, because who wants depressing?
But this is what we are doing. And we should face it
every once in a while.
Tues 15 Oct 2019... Deer Zoomies|
(Continued from Saturday's post...)
Blurry pic of the deers doing zoomies, but I'm amazed that
I got all three in the same frame! They are totally
haha! Once they calmed down, I did take a couple decent
photos. Here's another fun one...
I have no idea why the squirrel is using the tree to hide
from the doe, instead of hiding from me! And the deer is
obviously wondering the same thing!!
Mon 14 Oct 2019... reading|
I skipped the blog post on Sunday... I had started
a good book on Friday, and by Sunday afternoon I was deep
into it. I just didn't stop reading until it was done.
And then it was bed time! :)
Isn't it awesome when you find a book like that?!
This one was
The Book of Flora
which is the third book in the series which began with
The Book of the Unnamed Midwife.
I wondered when I started reading it,
if I needed to re-read books
1 and 2. I should have, but I kept reading #3 anyway! Ha,
it's funny how long it took me to remember who the main
character was, from book 2!! *laughs*
I'm re-reading book 2 right now, and it's fascinating how
well the stories in book 2 and book 3 fit together... the
author must have been working on them together. Which
delights me and makes me jealous: I can't even figure out
what I'm going to do tomorrow, and the author has all these
characters' lives laid out in detail.
But that's the great thing about reading, huh?
All those other lives, other adventures, other worlds.
The magic of... differences!
Sat 12 Oct 2019... Hike|
Oh my gosh, I had such a great hike this morning!
I got there and headed to the Rhododendron Garden... and
just across the way there's a deer Running! They quickly
disappear behind trees and I'm left wondering what in the
world scared the deer so much in this park.
a human with a big dog??
haha. nope! The deer comes bouncing back! She sprints this
way and that. And, oh, here comes another deer! And another.
And... how many are there anyway? The three or four are
all bouncing around and acting like it's silly time.
I laughed out loud watching them! They noticed me, but
didn't invite me to play. heh. But they did let me walk
up to them pretty close. :)
I haven't looked at my photos yet.... I'm nervous that there
won't be any good pics.
Fri 11 October 2019... Drawing Project|
I've shown you a few of my August Daily Doodles, where I was
drawing on a calender page. I took a little break from
drawing, but then mid-September I started some ATC sized
drawings. It's not been daily, but it's part of my
The August Doodles were on a sheet of matte photo paper.
that because I knew I would be using my Copic markers, and
the colours really pop on that paper! Unfortunately, I
discovered it is quite impossible to use an eraser on
photo paper... it smears and leaves ugly marks. I tried
all my different erasers: gum, vinyl, that grey kneaded thing,
a black one. All the same crappy result. Bleh!
I had cut up a page of photo paper for my first few ATCs as
well. But then I remembered I had a little stash of
Blending Card left over from work. So I cut a page of
it up for my next batch of ATCs... oh my, it erases
But, since I'd been using the Copics on the other paper for
so long... the new paper felt and looked odd. So the past
week or so I've not been colouring my drawings. But I've
been getting good practice with shading and markings with
I've been using my own photos for reference... yeah, you
might recognize that Goldfinch from the 3 Oct post!
Thurs 10 Oct 2019... Climate Change|
Another cold morning, but it just makes me appreciate the
hot shower even more!
The hot shower is one of those "every day" type things
that I absolutely treasure. It's going to be the one thing
that I'll reeeally miss when civilization crashes.
If I survive.
Yep, I'm a Doomer! I believe civilization will crash
within my lifetime! And it'll probably be climate change
that does the trick.
Blog: October Writing Prompt
In October, write about the impacts of climate change in your region or country.
Eugene is about 60miles (100km) from the Pacific Ocean,
so we will not have to deal directly with the sea level
Excessive rain may bring local flooding. Our home is
a little ways up a hill, so that's good. But there may
be landslides coming down on us from further up the hill.
The trend for our area is less and less rainfall. And
hotter summers. Which is a major bummer for our trees.
Our Douglas Firs are slowly dying, from the warmer
summers. The same with our lovely Big Leaf Maples.
Our Oak trees are sick as well... in fact, they cut down
two from our apartment parking lot today. That was a
depressing thing to watch. Now, instead of happy leaf
shadows, the sun pounds down.
And then there's the bark beetles, killing our drought
stressed pine trees.
Basically, our temperate rain forests are done. And we
are just noticing the beginning of the end.
Happy Autumn Leaves.
Oh, except... you see the brown on the pine tree?
Sighs... You know, hot showers aside,
I also really like oxygen. I suppose
we'll have to get along without it.
Wed 9 Oct 2019... Walk and RSS|
Pretty chilly this morning and I bundled up for my walk!
And you never know who you are going to run into when
the seasons are changing...
Unfortunately a very blurry mink. I didn't get any good
photos. What else is new.
And then one of our winter visitors, a Golden Crowned
I do like sparrows, "little brown birds".
And yeah, it suddenly occurred to
me that I should probably be marking my photos.
Because it's the Internet, you know. :)
Oh, and while I was not posting real stuff on Monday
and Tuesday, I was actually doing blog stuff... The
RSS feed now works again. Yay!
What's that? You don't care about RSS? Yeah, I don't
know why RSS isn't more popular. But if you read blogs
that update randomly (*waves hand*) and if you don't like
advertising (*waves hand*) you should check out RSS feed
The Old Reader.
It's free, with a paid premium version.
Sun 6 Oct 2019... Autumn Juvenile Birds|
Oh my goodness, what an adorable little bird...
This is a juvenile Cedar Waxwing.
I had no idea what this bird was, when I was taking her/his
portrait. (But it was pretty obvious, once I zoomed in
on my photos!)
A couple weeks ago, I got dive bombed by a couple birds
chasing each other. I followed them down the path and
discovered a whole flock of them, bouncing around in a
cherry tree. And, again, I had no idea what species the
birds were, as I was taking their pictures.
Turns out they were juvenile American Robins. (sorry, bad
pic to show you! She's holding a wild cherry, but her face
is partially hidden behind a leaf.)
What's with all the juveniles, here in autumn?!
Both Cedar Waxwings and Robins can raise more than one
batch of nestlings during the summer. And these crazy
kids are probably the successful result of those later
And, our Robins don't migrate, they are year round residents.
So they don't have a stressful flight that needs to happen
It looks like Cedar Waxwings do migrate, but they
might not go very far. So, I'd assume it wouldn't be too
hard for the kids to get there.
I do worry, but probably the birds know what they're doing!
Sat 5 oct 2019... Garden|
I have been working very hard at the garden this week,
getting ready for winter. We are required to cover our
plots for winter, and we usually haul in leaves. But
this year I want to try a cover crop.
Every other day, this week, I've walked out to the garden.
I choose a section, about five feet square. I pull up all
the garden plants and the borage. The Borage breaks down
quickly so I throw it along the edges of our plot. And
the garden plants go to the community compost pile.
Then the work: Loosening up the soil and picking out as
many grass roots as I can. This is incredibly hard work.
But then the fun part! Scattering the clover seeds! I
rake them in, lightly... they are small and so they're
supposed to stay close to the top of the dirt. And then
I walk over the section, to kind of push any extra seeds
down into the dirt.
I've been working a little over an hour, on the days I go.
And dang, I am getting exhausted... because I don't let
myself rest on the other days. I still go for my hilly
hike or my 4 mile walk! ha.
But I keep going out to the garden, even reluctantly. I
really want this cover crop, so the work has got to be done.
The garden plot is large, and even working five foot sections
it will take a while to get it all done. But, I can see
that the seeds are sprouting already, in the first section
I did, so that's gratifying.
And I have some happy company while I work...
The Goldfinches flutter here and there, all around the garden.
It's a joy to listen to their voices and watch them
when they come close.
Fri 4 Oct 2019... Landscape Photography|
Another one of the swaps that I participated in this summer
was an ongoing photo series that had a variety of topics.
Of course, I felt like I excelled at the Real Photos "Nature"
and "Critters" and "Floral". Unfortunately, I had to skip
the "Architecture" swap since I don't really take pics of
But then there was the "Scenery" photo swap. I am terrible
at landscape type photos. I know what good landscape photos
look like... Ansel Adams! And I know that when I attempt
to take photos of the land, there is just something missing.
I can see how beautiful the day is, but I just can't capture
that, for whatever reason.
So I signed up for the "Scenery" swap in order to challenge
heh, and I think the weather didn't cooperate at all. Like
there was one non-rainy day, or something like that, before
the deadline. *shakes head*
But anyway. I was thinking about Scenery and Landscapes
again today because the sky was just so amazing. so I made
some attempts. eh... The sky is interesting, but the
photos are just bleh!
But this one, maybe? captures more of the soul of the place?
That's the Willamette River and Skinner Butte,
a hill that's in the middle of downtown Eugene.
I love how the morning sun is really putting
definition on each of those trees in the mid-ground...
You can tell, each one of those trees is a character,
an individual. You've got round ones, you've got tall
ones, you've got the spiky ones.
And those couple that are almost turning red, it's almost
a focal point. Not quite but almost.
That's the thing that bugs me: I have to have a focal point
in my photos, and most of my landscape pictures don't
have one. And I don't know how to find that focal area
when I am out taking pictures.
Something to work on!
Thurs 3 Oct 2019... at the Community Garden|
Oh my gosh, I love this photo...
The focus is not great, it's a little bit blurry.
Which is really a bummer because it
makes printing it up as a notecard or postcard very
problematic. Heck, I even cringe a bit to blow it up this
large for the website!
But I just love the round sunflower heads, and the design
of the florets radiating out! And of course, happy
goldfinch, who was chowing down on the sunflower seeds.
Wed 2 Oct 2019... Hiking|
I go for a long walk every day, without fail.
I'm pretty bored of the walk in my neighborhood. I have
calculated that I've walked the bike path to our Community
Garden over a thousand times. So there are a couple of
nearby parks that I drive to, once or twice a week.
My favorite is Hendrick's Park. I take a swing through the
Rhododendron Garden, and that's where I find most of the
wildlife. There's a Native Plant Garden as well, where I
learned about Vine Maple and Ocean Spray and Solomon's Seal.
And across the street is a hiking area. It's a relatively
small area of forest and hills, surrounded by the city with
neighborhoods on all sides. But it's big enough for Mule
Deers and Turkeys.
None of that today, tho. There were some birds who stood
for their portrait, and I do love that! But it was the
mushrooms that were catching my eyes today...
So lovely and interesting!
Tues 1 Oct 2019... Creative Stuff|
I have not been very productive with my time, and for October,
I'd like to change that. My goal is to post here every day!
Over the summer, I was very active on Swap-Bot. In addition to
the weekly notecard swap I host, I was also participating in about
three to five other swaps every week. I was pretty much
sending out mail every day or every other day.
I enjoyed it... I work well when I have a deadline. But I was in so
many swaps, I had to get stuff out right away. Yeah, I had to be
And that took a lot of energy, and suddenly,
I wasn't having fun any more.
So I dropped all my swaps at the end of Aug... But there was
one last one that I was working on. A Daily Doodle exchange.
We filled out a calender page, each square was less than
1.5 inches. Some of my drawings were pretty good! And I
remembered how much I like drawing!
So I have continued. I'm now drawing ATC size,
not quite daily.
ATC: Artist Trading Card, the only rule is the size...
2½ x 3½ usually in portrait orientation.
Here are some examples at
ATCs. I am not nearly as good as any of the artists
there, but that's okay!
So anyway, it's very possible that I'll be uploading some
of my drawings in the next month, instead of typing away all
the time! :)
fri 30 aug 2019... camera|
I have had my camera for about a year and a half. It's a
Panasonic FZ1000, and I've never really been happy with it.
I've owned a short line of digital Panasonic cameras and in
the past, and have LOVED them. The auto focus is very very
intuitive (a stick in front of that bird? who cares?! the
camera always focuses on the bird!!) and the photos are
fully saturated with great colour.
My current cam has... issues... with light. It can't deal
with too much light. If there's not enough light, very
often it refuses to focus on anything. Dappled light in the
forest? Sheesh, why even bother?!
The thing is, I am very invested in simple point-and-click.
I have never been interested in figuring out the manual
settings. With wildlife, I don't have time to mess with it!
And I take enough photos that I do get a decent
But taking photos of sunflowers, the other day, I got angry.
I was looking up at these beautiful flowers, with the sky
in the background... Sunflower Yellow and Sky Blue is an
amazing colour combination!
But my photos were showing a pale sky and flat colour and
I was sick of it.
I consulted google. One of the first websites I found said:
have found that the auto exposure algorithms used by
the FZ1000 quite often lead to a shutter speed or ISO
setting which differ from that which I regard as ideal.
live in Sydney where bright sunlight and clear skies
are common leading to subjects with high brightness
range. In these conditions the FZ1000 has a moderate
tendency to blow out highlights with JPG capture.
Okay! So I learned how to adjust the exposure on the stupid
camera. And, um, well... instantly, there were better photos!
The blue, blue sky is back!
*laughs* And, I don't know, maybe the focus is a little bit
better as well...
I admit, this was probably just a lucky shot of this
lovely Green Heron. But I seem to be getting more lucky
shots since I've turned the exposure way way down.
So, I'm happy. And not as constantly frustrated with the
cam! But I am annoyed that Panasonic has screwed up the
auto settings so much.
sun 11 aug 2019... Garden Failure|
The valley that I live in, in the Pacific Northwest, has a
Mediterranean Climate... It rains from autumn thru spring
and the winter is mild. The summers are hot and dry.
Supposed to be hot and dry!
But this summer has been cool with chilly nights.
And instead of a week or two of 100° (38°C)
days, here and there
during the normal 85° (30°C) days --
we've had several weeks of cold cloudy days,
even with some rain!
And the summer garden veges hate the cool weather!
They haven't been growing properly.
The squash plants are tiny and pathetic looking
with their ONE blossom.
What tomatoes there are, haven't been ripening.
And the cucumbers have lost uncounted flowers.
When I look at my photos from last year... the current
garden looks a lot like the garden of mid-July.
So, the veges are a good three or four weeks behind schedule!
On the other hand, the spring garden veges did well, I
only wish I had planted more of them! But then, I always
forget how much I love fresh beets.
One of our experiments in the garden this year is Fennel.
We've never even eaten fennel before, but I was excited when
I googled it. You can eat the fonds, the stalks, the
bulb, and the flowers and fruits. It has a mild anise flavor.
I'd been munching on the feathery leaves every time I visit
the garden. Definitely refreshing! And this week I pulled
up the biggest one. The guinea pigs have been eating the
fronds, and love them.
And I chopped up ½ of the bulb and threw it in while
cooking pasta. Like this it looks a lot like,
and has the same texture, as celery. It had very mild
I probably over cooked it. For the other ½, I will
chop it and just steam it in the microwave for a couple mins.
This is my favorite little corner of the garden:
Everything is planted too close together, but it looks so
happy. On the left is leeks. Then down the center is
Part Two cauliflower (because of course Part One died!),
Purple Basil and Soybeans.
wed 31 july 2019... CSS|
I am part way through the third week of my five week CSS
class and I'm working on a new archive page for this site,
as I go.
I find I am completely delighted with the simple and clean
For instance... You see the grey bar above with
the date and the title of this blog post? Currently, on
this page, I'm using tables for positioning and a lot of
inline styling and the code goes like this:
<table align=center width=550 cellpadding=10 cellspacing=0 border=0>
<tr><td bgcolor= #74828f>
<b><a href="2019/20190731.html" style="color: white;">
wed 31 july 2019... CSS</a></b></td></tr><tr><td><p>
Pretty complicated, huh? Whereas the new code, using HTML5
and CSS separately...
wed 31 july 2019... CSS</header>
Of course, all that information that's in the TABLE tags of
the top example, still has to be spelled out. It's just
spelled out in a completely separate file so you don't have
to look at it when you're making a new web page.
Anyway, I just think it's pretty. And I'm glad I'm learning
I just love how the light catches the veins of the
Cherokee lettuce behind this Love-in-a-Mist flower!
The lettuce is going to seed now... and I let it be. Real
gardeners would pull the plants out and compost them. But
Goldfinches think the seeds are quite tasty! The lettuce
plants with the seed heads get pretty tall, a good 4 feet
or more. And I really think they are beautiful.
And even more beautiful with Goldfinches on them! :)
sun 21 july 2019... HTML|
Working on my mojo, I thought I might begin some repairs
here at Static8...
The website design you see before you is a cobbled
together mess! :) laughs. I taught myself HTML about a
million years ago, and this site has gone thru
iterations because I used to enjoy playing with design and
But the current Sunflower design has been up for way too
long. Plus it's done in HTML 4.01 with tables for
positioning. And the world has most definitely moved on!
I've taken a HTML5 and CSS Fundamentals class at
and now I'm continuing with a CSS Basics class.
My goals for the HTML and CSS class:
I wanted a refresher on HTML, along with best practices,
and I wanted to learn what was new in HTML5. Check!
I was also hoping to learn how
to use CSS to position my designs so they'd translate across
devices... to look good on a desktop monitor, on a tablet,
and on a phone!
Well, I did learn the names of what I want: Flexbox and Grids.
But the brief overview wasn't enough. I think I learned
enough to be dangerous with Flexbox, nothing about Grids,
and nothing about combining the two.
And, since I'm a random user of CSS, I actually needed to
learn about the original CSS positioning techniques
like relative position and float.
No big deal, the CSS class that I just signed up for
covers layout and positioning. But it sounds like it too,
just mentions Grids and Flexbox. So I may have to learn
that on my own.
A beautiful Banana Slug!
are bright yellow. In fact, I've never
seen a yellow banana slug... they have all been this tan
colour with dark spots and decorations.
But they are all big! Banana slugs are the 2nd largest slug
in the world, maxing out at almost 10 inches (25cm). This
one was only about 6 inches. But she+he is seriously lovely
with those marking.
(Slugs and Snails are both female and male, thus the she+he!)
Tues 16 July 2019... Update|
Well, 2019 has been a crazy year...
∞ Car accident, 22 Jan 2019
It was a pretty bad one, not my fault. I was bed bound
with pain from bruised ribs and sternum, and then house
bound. I had a broken foot, and I'm still having some
trouble associated with my time in the walking boot.
∞ Laid off, March 2019
I had worked at Copic for ten and a half years, and loved
it. So that was a major bummer.
∞ Partner in the hospital, May 2019
He had to stay for seven days, with severe pneumonia. And
on top of that, he had to drive himself to the ER, because
I thought he was being a
And now the year is half gone...
I still don't have a car. (I've used the bus a few times.)
I still don't have a job. (I'm taking some time off.)
But I do still have a partner. (That's nice.)
I have got a lot of time on my hands, and I'm doing things
I love: reading like crazy and going out for long walks with
my camera every day. But strangely, I have not done anything
creative with my time.
I quit sending out my monthly postcards last year, and I've
not gotten back to it. And this site has been abandoned
for many years. I haven't been drawing, and I haven't been
doing much with my photos, either. No crochet, no book making,
no bookmark making. I haven't even updated my book reviews.
I don't know why. I've just lost my mojo.
But that's okay. I'm working to get it back.
Stay Tuned! :)
Bushtits are pretty cool! They are tiny, and they usually
bounce around too quickly for me to get a photo. So this
pic is a happy surprise.
I think their pale eyes makes their face look like a hawk!
Well, I bet the bugs they eat are scared of them, anyway!
fri 18 jan 2019... Weekend Review|
Gah, half of January is gone already. And I'm
just a little bit slow, getting back into the swing of
Last weekend, I got a couple of extra
things done. Just little things, but
they made me happy.
I wrote and sent a letter and I
completed an Amnesty International Urgent Action. It has
been ages since I've sent out AI mail, and I am looking
forward to being active there again.
I have several big projects planned, but I've not really
started any of them.
Wait. Let me back up. I've not told you WHY I have several
big projects planned.
In 2018, the GoodReads postcard group that I host got
overwhelming. I spent all of my free time working on it...
and it had been like this for a while. I just finally
got to the point where I wanted to do other things!
I grabbed a couple friends from the group and bounced
ideas off them. I revamped the format of the postcard
group so that it basically runs itself, I just have
to get the ball rolling.
The January pc exchange is going great. And I have a lot
more time on my hands!! Thus, my plans for big projects.
But maybe I need to ... ease into my crazy plans. :)
Tues 1 Jan 2019... Review and Revise|
Happy New Year!
Well, I haven't done a New Year's post in a few years, but
I'd like to spend more time typing here in 2019... so here we go!
In 2018, I changed up my walking habit... instead of walking
the bike path down to the community garden, I've started driving
to different places. The hiking trails at Hendrick's Park are
my favorite: loads of wildlife, and a good variety of paths
to take. I've also enjoyed hiking
the Ridgeline at Fox Hollow and Spencer's Butte. And
there's Owen's Rose Garden, where I can walk the River Bank
trail and also hike up Skinner's Butte.
In 2018, I took 11,570 photos, averaging 964 photos a month.
I didn't realize my camera was broken, taking slightly blurry
photos, at the beginning of the year. My printer had died,
in an expensive way, and then my computer had crashed
in a permanent way. Using a tablet instead, I wasn't
studying my photos closely like I usually do. In May, I
bought a new camera. There were some frustrations, but
eventually my photography habit was invigorated. Jan thru
April, with the broken camera, I averaged 400 photos a month.
With the new camera, I was taking about 1250 photos a month!
In 2018, the GoodReads postcard group kind of took
over my life. We had between 70 and 110 players each month,
and averaged 84. The last 1/2 of the year was simply
overwhelming for me, and I was tired of having to spend
time every day working on this project. It became more
of an obligation, and less of a joyful fun thing.
In 2018, I also hosted 50 swaps at Swap-Bot, and
additionally participated in 46 swaps. I enjoy the weekend
notecard swap I host. Since I write about my weekend
and share the photos I took,
it has become a special kind of journal for me!
In 2018, I sent out 1250 postcards and letters,
averaging 104 a month. Febuary was my most challenging
month: both the computer and printer were dead. But for
LetterMo, I managed to send out 30 postcards and letters!
I found a good pace thru the summer, sending out about 160
postcards each month. But in the autumn, I started
My other major project of 2018 was the Community Garden Plot.
It was not a great year, and I didn't experiment with any new
vegetables. There are never enough Lemon Cucumbers, but we got
plenty of zucchini and Sun Gold cherry tomatoes.
* * * * * * * * *
In 2019, I want to get back to sharing my stories.
I want to type here, more often.
I want to get back to sending out
my monthly postcards to friends and family.
I want to get back to art journaling.
I am reminded over and over, that people enjoy reading
my letters. Many people like my nature photos,
but just as many enjoy my storytelling and the interesting
facts I discover and add.
sun 9 sept 2018... walking|
Yesterday, I didn't feel like driving to any of my usual
hiking places. And I wanted to get pics of Goldfinches!
So I walked out to our Community Garden.
The Comm Garden is about a mile away, and it is right on the
bike path. This path runs next to a creek and has a decent
area of green space along parts of it. It's a beautiful walk
and I have encountered all kinds of wildlife over the years.
But this year, I'm more likely to drive someplace else to
walk. Walking along the path yesterday, I thought about this.
I have walked that path about 1000 times. Yes, literally.
A thousand times. I did the math.
I know what kinds of birds or beasts or bugs
I might come across, at any time of the year.
I know the cracks in the pavement. I know the graffeti
with the misspelled word which has been there since last
year. I know when and where I might pick some blackberries
to munch on. I know the places where the homeless people
might hang out. I recognize many of the dog walkers, and
know a couple dogs and humans by name.
Knowing these things has been comforting for most of my
time here! But lately,
I just want to look at something different. :)
The Goldfinches are molting this time of year, so their
feathers look a bit messed up. :)
mon 3 sept 2018... Song Sparrows|
I have a love for Song Sparrows.
Yep, they are sparrows. Also known as "little brown birds"!
But Song Sparrows are seriously cute, with their stripey
face and chest. They stay here, year round. (and can be found,
all across the US and up into Canada for at least some of
the year!) And their voices are so cheerful and happy.
I just love their song!
But more importantly... Song Sparrows seem to be fascinated
by me and my camera!
When I happen to find a Song Sparrow close by, I start taking
pics and they start showing off for me! They hop around,
study me from several angles, flick their tail and stand up
straight, and stay and watch me for a while!
At first I just assumed it's because I'm awesome! *laughs*
But maybe they like the beeps my camera makes. I tested
this today. There was a Song Sparrow close to the trail
who dove into the underbrush when I saw her. She
didn't go far, tho. So I turned on my camera, and held
down the shutter button to do the auto-focus. *beep*
And the Song Sparrow came out of hiding immediately! ha!
I could hear her talking with her friend. Song birds have
this *chirp* contact call, which they say constantly to
each other. The *chirp* is nothing like the camera focus
*beep*... but maybe I'm making the *beep* as a natural
response to their contact calls.
anyway, we like each other.
sun 2 sept 2018... hike|
Instead of my walks to and from the community garden, this
year I've been going for hikes on the weekends. My favorite
place is a city park that has a Rhododendron
Garden and a Native Plants Garden.
And across the way, there's a forest trail and part of the
Ridgeline. The trails are short, but pretty steep. And
if you want to walk all of them, you can go for several
I walked these trails yesterday, and I wasn't having
much luck with the wildlife. I'd see a chipmunk! and
then I'd see her tail as she scampered away
into the underbrush. Several times over... Chipmunk!
Tail! Song Sparrow! Flicked his tail! then gone.
Some days are like that. I just kept walking up and down
the hills. And then a deer.
Or to be precise, a deer's butt.
He was pretty far off the trail, and I watched his butt for a
while, walking back and forth on the path, trying to get
a better view. He finally moved and laid down where I could
almost see him!
I've seen does at the park and a momma with a child, so it
was exciting to see a male for the first time.
He had a girlfriend with him,
too, that was sweet.
sat 1 sept 2018... An Experiment|
I have a little extra brain power, and I think I'm going to
dedicate it to blogging.
At the day job,
they fired all my friends in the warehouse. And I'm bored, so
bored, without fun and interesting people walking by who want
to chat with me about random things. So, instead of my
brain complaining to me about how bored it is... I'd like to
think up topics and writings for this place!
Don't know if it will work, that's why it's an experiment.
But I aim to post here, not every day, but 4 or 5 days a week,
for the month of September.
Note: Yeah, none of the internal links work here at the
website. I've not
fixed everything since my devestating computer crash at
the beginning of the year.
sat 5 may 2018 2018... Spring Cleaning|
Well so much for my March goals of posting more often.
And so much for my April goals of catching up with my
GoodRead book reviews. And so much for sending mail
every day. Multiple Failures.
I can't stick with anything, and I'm having trouble doing
anything at all.... Depression is acting up, big time.
But, it's a new month, and I'm going to give it another go!
My partner is visiting his mom, and he'll be gone
for two weekends, so I've decided to do some Spring
Cleaning. The floor of my bedroom is my craft area,
and there are several years worth of piles taking over.
It's embarassing, but, as I mentioned, with depression
it's just difficult or impossible to deal with things.
I took all the piles out and vacuumed.
There is no walking space in my partner's room... but my
room looks open and inviting. I celebrated by getting
my paints out!
This idea has been rattling around in my brain for a
couple weeks: Black Paper + Metallic Watercolours!
I'm going to cut up the page and send it as postcards!
Now the hard part, of course, is going thru all those
piles and finding a place for everything. About ½
the piles are just books... but I ran out of book
shelf space a long time ago. However, once I find
and clear a space, the books will be the easiest
thing to deal with.
All the other stuff, I don't know. These two weekends
might be interesting.
sat 31 mar 2018 2018... April Goals|
Well, sheesh. I did mean to post more often during the
month of March! Unfortunately, I've been dealing with a
(very) lingering cold and I've mostly slept thru the last
half of March.
Despite this, I have sent mail almost every day during
March. I only skipped two days. Problem is, I didn't
write ANY LetterMo replies, like I meant to!
For April, I'd like to continue my goal of sending mail
most every day. It would be nice to figure out a way to
motivate myself to write replies, as well. Not to
mention, I need to keep up with my mail log, as well.
But my major goal for April is a different project that
I have procrastinated for a very long time.
My book reviews GoodReads. I am currently a year behind.
It's important to me because, with my postcard group there,
I am very active on GR. I am a fairly serious reader, and
it's a bit embarrassing that I'm not adding the books
I use my book reviews to remember what I've read, and to
find new books when I find an author I like. The book
reviews are also a conversation starter with the members of
the group I host. And I just feel organized, when I am
all caught up with a project! :)
So here's my plan. Slow Drip! Ten minutes, every day!
When I pull out the computer every evening, I will set a
timer. There will be ten minutes of focused activity:
∞ Figure out the next book, find my
handwritten review. Read it and make corrections.
∞ Add the book at GR and type the review.
I hope to add reviews about every other day? I tend to
hem-and-haw about my reviews, so I'm not sure if I can
finish typing one in 10 minutes.
That's the plan. We'll see how it goes!
fri 9 mar 2018 2018... Story of the Printer|
Well. I think I have a working printer. We shall see
how long it lasts.
I've bought 3 printheads here recently. The first one only
lasted about three weeks. The second one never even
installed correctly (And then I was not refunded for the
peice of junk they gave me).
And here we are on the third one.
Yeah, at this point, I'm a little short on hope.
But I've started printing things here and there. Trying
not to get too excitable. Just a few basic postcards.
fri 2 mar 2018 2018... Arriving from USPS|
Yesterday my order from USPS.com arrived...
This is a fair representation of the stamps I buy every
month... About 5 or 6 sheets of Global stamps, usually two
rolls of Postcard stamps, a few sheets of Forever stamps
(especially new ones, or ones I love), and, if they have
new Postal Notecards, I'll get some of those.
I am especially excited about the amazing
Bioluminescent Life Stamps. Wow! They are shiny!
I love them!
LetterMo March On... my goal is to continue to send mail
every day, and to send some replies.
I actually did really well about replies in Feb... I sent out
four replies to SendSomething.net and LetterMo friends.
Since my normal is zero replies, actually sending a few is a
great improvement! *laughs*
wed 28 feb 2018 2018... Keeping Sane: Snail Mail|
This year's LetterMo -- Sending mail every day during the
month of February -- was not as fun as usual.
A lot of that, of course, was my personal apocalypse... no
files and no printer and I couldn't make my own postcards
and send tons like I usually do.
But some of it was the LetterMo website. The personal
messaging system was turned off, and that was a major bummer.
The badges were down, which in years past were always a fun
incentive. The forums were pretty slow, and there were only
a couple of blog posts... probably because there was a private
facebook page (which I'm not interested in, due to myriad
Anyway, just kind of a disappointing experience.
So I've decided to make March special by typing about my
mailing fun here! Here's what I'm working with...
Those are some of the postcards I've been sending out. Yeah,
store bought. sighs... but I did buy them to use them!
I am happy to use some of my store-bought notecards as well.
I've been signing up for more written notecard exchanges at
swap-bot, and I host my own weekly swap as well. It's
fun and I have learned how to fill a page with chatting...
I couldn't tell you if it's interesting or not. ;)
sun 25 feb 2018... Looking Up!|
Yay and Huge Relief! Files are back!
I haven't downloaded all of the years yet, but it looks like
almost all of my files have been returned to me. So far,
there's just a few weeks of January 2018 that are missing.
But getting Hundreds of Thousands of photos returned more
than makes up for it!
Next up: Figure out what to do about the printer and the
When I didn't have my files, I felt like my life
was on pause and I couldn't do anything. But now,
I feel like a real person again!
sun 11 feb 2018... Keeping Sane|
My regular and ordinary, if obsessive, hobbies are
keeping me sane during this time of
On an ordinary weekend day, I go for a walk.
I take photos. I turn photos into
postcards. and I mail like crazy!
Okay. So right now, I can't print. And I don't have any
addresses to send postcards to.
All due to the Extreme Troubles I mentioned.
But I keep walking. And I keep taking photos.
And I'm surprised at all the wildlife that's showing up!
There is this one tree, it's about 1/2 way out on the path
to the Community Garden. Birds like to sit there, it's
kind of a look-out tree because it's right on the edge
of the green area, and it's tall and alone, and it's base
is mostly surrounded by a Wet Prairie pond.
Sometimes Starlings. Lately, Crows. I noticed a big
dark bird in the tree as I came around the corner. But,
when I got within camera range... um, that's not a Crow!
In fact, she or he was being mobbed by a Crow!
Unfortunately, there is no hope for the photos I took.
The day was too cloudy and I was too far away.
But that's okay. It's always fun to see someone new!
This is a Red-Shouldered Hawk, a little bit outside her
usual range along the coast in California.
fri 9 feb 2018... My Apocalypse|
At the end of January a bunch of crises happened and I am
having the worst year ever.
∞ Print head died. AGAIN.
I had just bought a print head, and it only lasted 3 weeks.
I've now spent 500$ because I have to be able to print!
(This is a large, high-end printer, and yes, it's worth it.)
∞ SO's mom is in the hospital.
Fell and broke her left humerus. Kidney failure. and a
diabetes diagnosis. SO took a flight out to Miami to be
with her and help organize care.
And in the meantime, our phones went down and communicating
with each other on opposite sides of the country, became
∞ And then my computer crashed.
in a rather permanent way.
∞ And then my backup files disappeared
All my photos, gone. My postcard files. The address files.
The files and software I use to coordinate the mail
exchanges I host. Emails. My encrypted password file.
All gone. And I honestly don't know how to live my life
without all this stuff.
And I'm so overwhelmed, it's difficult to even look at
data recovery options. And I've been stymed again and again,
as I try to find a decent and real Data Recovery company.
I'm beginning to wonder if they are not all just scams,
out to get money from desperate people.
A Good Thing: I recently bought myself a tablet, and I splurged
on the extra memory. I'm fleshing it out with hardware and
software and it is now a decent replacement for my crashed
Just no files.
I go back and forth between hope and hopelessness. not to
Another Good Thing: My friends have been awesome, caring
and understanding. I don't know how I would have reacted without
them. Saying "Thank You" is such a ridiculous under-statement
of my gratitude that it makes me cringe. But...
sun 12 nov 2017... Daily Drawing|
I've not been posting... but I have been drawing every day
I sit down every evening to write some postcards, and then I pull
out an index card to do my drawing.
I'm using pencils and Copic Sketch greys.
Many of my drawings are coloured.
I am drawing from my own photos. I've got several pics of
Guinea Pigs Piper and Dawn. I've also drawn some of my
postcard photos of birds.
My drawings are not that great. Mostly, I am okay with this.
I only draw once a year, after all, and I'm definitely losing
my talent with so little practice! Arg.
sun 22 oct 2017... Creative Every Day|
For the month of October, I've challenged myself to send at
least one bit of mail, every day.
This used to be standard operating procedure. But this summer,
I took a break. ha: no good came of it, that I could tell! ;)
So, I need to get back to my mailing normals. Every Day.
So far, so good.
And for November, I will be drawing every day.
Last November, I sketched on 4x6 index cards and my focus was
drawing myself in the mirror. It was definitely something
different, since I don't really like drawing humans. But
I think it turned out rather well.
I'm not sure if I completed the challenge of drawing every
day of the month... I did run out of time to upload all my
drawings, and I don't remember how much further into the
month I got. I will look into this!
So anyway. This annual drawing challenge is important to me
because it's mostly the only time I bother to sketch.
I do other artsy things: I take
a couple hundred photos every week, and I design a postcard
or notecard every week. I create several journal pages every
But physically drawing something takes different creative
"muscles". It's a bummer that those muscles only get stretched
once a year... but maybe one November, I will keep going into
December, and then into the new year.
This is what I hope for. And this is why I keep challenging
myself with a daily drawing during November.
Sat, 07 Oct 2017 18:19:26 PDT|
Uploaded a couple old entries. Got some
back end stuff cleaned up.
And wishing I could spare some more time for
my poor, abandoned web site.
sun 24 sept 2017... Banned Books Week!|
Yeah, if I only write one blog post a year, this is the one
I'm going to type! :)
It's been a few years since I have added to the
But this year, I've read The Catcher in the Rye...
Which brings my Classics total to 12 of 46:
2. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
4. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
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
24. Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
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
And, I am excited to report, I've read at least one book from
each year's Top Ten list...
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
- The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
- Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
- Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher
- And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
- Beloved, by Toni Morrison
- The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman
- The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
- His Dark Materials trilogy, by Philip Pullman
- The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
- To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
- (Twilight (series) by Stephenie Meyer)
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
- Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
- (The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins)
- Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, by Susan Kuklin
- I Am Jazz written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
The thing I love about Banned Books Week is that it
introduces me to books I wouldn't ordinarily read.
Magenta about transgender teens??! How random!
And yet, it made me laugh, it made me cry,
and I hope it made me a better person.
wed 12 apr 2017... J is for Journal|
I am pretty serious about keeping my journal. In the past,
this has manifested as Daily Stories, Morning Pages,
Art Journals, and just Filling Up Note Pads.
Currently I am journaling digitally on the weekends, adding
photos, blog posts and emails... And then printing and
adding paper notes, written journal pages and random ephemera...
And then binding it all up into a wire-bound book!
This has worked really well for me for several years.
Well, except I perpetually don't have time for this project.
So, I'll print and bind a couple months here and there, and
then much later I'll do a couple more. Not sure how long it's
been since I've completed a full year!
And, you know? I am completely okay with that! I do
journal on a consistent basis... it's just the form that's
tues 11 apr 2017... Introvert|
I'm an extreme introvert. Toss in some shyness and some
social anxiety. Yep, that's me!
I love open space. I do not want humans in my bubble. My
bubble is pretty big. I'd rather not talk to you... but if
you want to type or write, I'm all for it!
mon 10 apr 2017... H is for Horses|
Yep, I'm crazy for horses!
I graduated college with a BS in Equine Science... nope,
I didn't go into the business: the summer jobs I had taught
me that working with horses is extremely hard work for
little pay. :) But I would not have done it any other
way, my misdirected schooling got me where I am, and I'm
quite happy here.
I do sometimes miss riding horses. I rode dressage, and
enjoyed it. But now that I'm vegan, I know it's wrong
to enslave a fellow earthling.
So these days, I occasionally draw horses but that's
the extent of it.
sat 8 apr 2017... Gardening and Guinea Pigs|
The baby guinea pigs are now 2 weeks old. They are definitely
the picture of cuteness! Still no names, yet, but I am
pretty sure the Big One is female and the Little One is male.
We've got a vet appt next week to be sure.
Taking care of guinea pigs is part of my activism for animals.
Guinea pigs, as a species, have been so abused by humans
that their name is synonymous with experimentation. It is
part of my mission in life to love and care for them.
And the gardening...
We have had a Community Garden plot since 2009. I still don't
consider myself a "real" gardener... I just pretend: I'm mostly
there for the photo opportunities, but I'm happy to get a
few zucchini and sun gold cherry tomatoes out of the deal as well! :)
The Community Garden is about a mile away, and right on the bike
path that follows the creek which runs near my home. It's a lovely
walk, and I go out to the garden most every weekend all through
the winter. During the spring and summer, I usually have to
drive there because I've got baby plants or tools or compost.
Our "go to" veges that we plant every year are: Sun Gold cherry
tomatoes, Zucchini, Lemon Cucumbers, Sweet Potatoes, Butternut
Squash. We do have some Strawberry plants, but only get a handful
of strawberries every year. After that, we experiment with new
veges every year.
I practice Veganic gardening, for the most part. That means
Organic (no pesticides, organic starts and seeds)
and Vegan (no animal-based compost, no attempts to kill slugs
or other critters).
The only non-vegan thing I do is the very occasional vermicompost:
We've got a worm bin at home... keeping and using worms as pets
is not vegan, but it helps the earth so much I think the "end
justifies the means"... but I am quite ambivilent about it.
We started this year's garden Today! I don't have very good luck
planting seeds, so we usually buy most of our veges as seedlings
from Saturday Market. Today we got Snap Peas, Cauliflower and
a new experiment Cherokee Lettuce.
I'm looking forward to warmer weather so we can fill up our space
with plants and flowers!
fri 7 apr 2017... F is for Freedom|
Life is a hard battle anyway. If we laugh and sing a little
as we fight the good fight of freedom, it makes it all go easier.
I will not allow my life's light to be determined by the darkness around me.
~ Sojourner Truth
I am a human rights activist. I do my best to Fight the Good Fight
of Freedom for everybody on the planet.
My activism through letter writing and postcard sending
is an important part of my life.
I am a letter writer for Amnesty International's Urgent Action Network.
It's been a while since I've been super active: I used to take on
an Urgent Action every weekend. These days, I am not quite so dedicated:
I'm writing one case a month.
And I take on other mailing campaigns, as I see them: I've sent
postcards for the blitz to Betsy DeVos
and I sent a bunch of postcards for the
The Ides of Trump.
thurs 6 apr 2017... E is for Ebooks|
I discovered Project
Gutenberg in 1997 or 98. I think the first book I read
on my computer was Alice in Wonderland... or maybe it was
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. I read both, early on and
it was the combination of two of my loves: books and computers!
I bought a Palm handheld device, at some point. I loved that
thing! I could read old Gutenberg books, or buy new books
from Fictionwise (now defunct). Plus I could play Sudoku and
an awesome pinball game.
Eventually the battery went out. Instead of fixing it, I
bought an Amazon Kindle. Which I'm still reading today,
even though it has a couple of micro cracks in the screen
and is slow as dirt. :)
When I bought the kindle, the deal I made with myself was
that I would only have one (bought and paid for) book at a
time. If anything else came up while I was reading my one,
I would get the free sample.
This worked brilliantly for years!
I have still bought more than I can read of the dead-tree
books. But my digital collection has remained manageable.
I had tons of free samples, but just the one book I'm
I signed up for this stupid Daily Deal thing at GoodReads.
And, as I mentioned before: "A curse on those Daily Deals.
The book is 2$! Today Only! and I meant to read it some day, anyway."
Lordy. And, the bought-but-unread books are piling up on my Kindle
as well as in real life. But at least I'm not paying 10+$ for these
books I might not ever read! *giggles*
The kindle, with some dead-tree books I've read recently.
wed 5 apri 2017... D is for Drawing|
Drawing is one of those random things I like to do,
except, like blogging, it seems to only happen in
concentrated daily challenges like this one. I usually
do my daily drawing challenge in
(ha, I just remembered I ran out of time to upload all my
drawings from last november! Need to do some scanning and
pre-date a few more blog entries, I guess.)
Anyway. I usually do a half-decent job when I draw... as in
you can mostly tell what it is I'm drawing! And drawing is
a skill and I can easily improve, just by practicing every
day. Thing is, I've got a million other projects that I work
on every day as well. Just have to let some stuff go.
tue 4 apr 2017... C is for computers|
I have had a very happy relationship with computers since my
Dad got a TRS-80 when I was a kid! I eventually minored in
Computer Science at university. I got As and Bs, but the
programming classes were more difficult... school
stuff came pretty easily for me, so it was a surprise when
I actually had to think.
I never wanted a computer job, because I knew if I worked on
or with computers all day I would not want to play with the
computer on my own time.
But every once in a while, I do think I want to try with the
programming again. I'll buy a new book about some random
language, and then I will realize I don't have time
to read the hefty book, let alone learn anything!
ha, but some day I will get bored with my regular books,
and I'll dig out one of those old programming books...
mon 3 apr 2017... B is for Books (and Birds)|
I love reading!
And Birds are cool too. Sometimes I read books about birds.
The biggest reason why I like birds, is because they
are almost always available to be photographed! Even when
you don't have a bird feeder. :)
But this post is actually about books. I have a terrible
habit of buying more books than I can read. I'm not sure
of the exact count, but I'm positive that I have 60 or 70
books here, that I've bought but haven't yet read. Yeah,
there are piles of books all over the place!
Including on my kindle! A curse on those Daily Deals. (The
book is 2$! Today Only! and I meant to read it some day,
One of my piles. These are some of the books I got for
xmas. A couple of the books, I have read. Most I have
not! There are three bird books in this pile. :)
*PRE-DATED* sat 25 mar 2017... Piper, part TWO!|
Before Piper was brought to the local humane society,
she was kept with a male guinea pig. uh huh.
Greenhill Humane Society fostered Piper for a month, and
there were multiple vet appointments before she was up for
adoption. Her last ultrasound was on 14 feb, "Rechecked
abdominal ultrasound... Unlikely to be pregnant, ok for
Well, yeah. Humane Society people were very confident and
I totally assumed they knew what they were talking about!
But last thursday, I came home from the day
job, spent some time with Piper and realized she was very pregnant.
I could see a very active fetus on her left side, and a more
relaxed fetus on the right side of her tummy. and more fetuses
hanging out underneath? eek!
I looked up Guinea Pig gestation -- 70 days -- and did the math.
If Piper got pregnant on the very morning that she was brought in
to the humane society, the babies would be born on sunday 26 march.
That gave me a time-line to work with.
ha. I worried as Piper got more round every day. And more round!
Finally: Friday 24th of March, around noon. Two babies born!!!
I am so surprised and amazed that there are just the two. It means
that I have meet and become acquainted with both before they were
It took a couple of minutes, but soon I could tell who was the
active baby, who I had called a "tap dancer" as a fetus, from the smaller,
relaxed baby, who just stretched every once in a while inside Piper.
Tap Dancer is much bigger, and the stretcher is practically a runt.
They are quite adorable. In all my years of taking care of guinea
pigs, I've never had to care for babies, so this is new and wonderful
and terrifying and anxiety producing for me!
sat 1 apr 2017... A is for Art|
Thanks to one of my friends over at GoodReads, I am going
to attempt another month of daily blogging. The
from A to Z Challenge
sounds do-able and fun... Every day's topic is to begin with each
letter of the alphabet. So rather than an infinite number
of topics I could be typing about, I'll be more limited and
hopefully not as overwhelmed! :)
So. Art. Yeah, capital "A" art!
Yep, I love Art. But this post is actually about me. I
am an Artist. I don't throw that word around lightly,
but I definitely own it.
I am a photographer and I share my photos with the world:
here on my web site and on the postcards that I send out.
I am not a professional and I have never made money on
my art. I don't have to worry about such things because
I have a decent day job which pays me a living wage. That's
not to say I'm opposed to making money on photos, I'm just
not interested in it right now. And I don't consider money
to be an indicator of my success.
Success, to me right now, is simply knowing that I've brought
a smile to someone's face when they are standing at their
I do not have comments enabled here on the blog. I just
don't have the time to maintain them. If you wish to say
something to me, my email and my PO box are listed in the
sidebar on the right. Happy Day, rift
Another good "A" word, that I felt bad about passing by:
And Another Thing: I have Announcements to make, which I will
be typing soon and post-dating.
They'll be at the top of this page in the next day or so!
sat 4 mar 2017... The Piper at the Gates of Dawn|
My partner and I have adopted Piper the guinea pig!
at the Gates of Dawn"
is my favorite chapter in The Wind in the Willows and
I love the name Piper. I think she is named appropriately:
her webpage at the humane society mentioned that she's talkative,
and loves to sing!
Piper is about 6 months old. Her intake papers make me sad.
This is the paperwork filed out by the previous "caretaker"
who surrendered her to the humane society. They list her
name as Brown.
Sighs, that's not a name. That's not even a description,
since she's yellow and white.
And "How often is your pet handled?" Not Multiple times per day,
and Not Daily... but weekly. Which probably means less.
Sad, because she is very friendly. Definitely not
"shy" or "timid", which is almost a joke.
And her "Problem Behaviors" are "Chewing" and "Escape Artist"...
*giggles* I wonder if they kept her in a cardboard box!!!
(In case you don't know, guinea pigs and all rodents are
SUPPOSED to chew! Their teeth grow continually and they
have to chew hard things like wood to wear them down.
Trimming their teeth is a routine procedure at your veterinary
Here's Piper at home, accessing the escape possibilities. ;)
Mon, 27 Feb 2017 20:30:48 PDT|
Today's outgoing mail included a postcard protest directed
at the Department of Education.
I'm looking forward to the big postcard protest of the
15th of March...
The Ides Of...
Sun, 26 Feb 2017 20:04:38 PDT|
sat 25 feb 2017... mail|
I guess I forgot to post anything here, last weekend...
Yeah, that uploading a photo every day is going Great, isn't it??!
So this week, I've been working on the february postcards
for the postcard group I host. I like to send a postcard
to everyone who participates. It was a fun and joyful thing
to do when the group was small. Last year, the monthly
exchanges hit 50 and 60 participants, which was more difficult:
I would spend hours every evening for most of two weeks writing
postcards. I enjoyed it, but it was taking over my life!
This year, the group is up over 70 players every month.
I've simplified my process by typing my message on the
postcards instead of writing. It has helped immensely.
It's not as personal, but I can type a lot more since I
can reduce the font size. And of course, things go much
more quickly now. We are back to having fun and joy again!
Here's a pic of my work space as I'm cutting up the 2nd
half of the postcards...
As I cut out each postcard, I arrange them by country.
I send out International postcards first since it takes
them a bit longer to get to where they're going.
When I cut up the USA postcards, I arrange them
by zip code so I can send to the east coast first,
which is the furthest away. Closest locations --
California, Oregon and Washington state -- are sent
last and only take a day or two of travel time.
Before I printed all the postcards, I did stress a bit
about the wordage I was typing. When I was hand-writing
my postcards, I would practice what I wanted to say
and my words would change as I edited myself. And that
doesn't happen when I'm typing my words. I guess in the
future, I need to actually write my stuff a few times over
before I go to the computer to type it!
It's a big project, and I love it. The people are
wonderful and kind and I always enjoy conversing
with them... both online and in the post!
sun 12 feb 2017... mail|
Haha! So much for taking pics of my mail every day!
(I've not posted anything here for a week.)
Truth be told, I got bored of the pics because I was
only sending one or two postcards every day last week.
And I ran out of time to get creative with the backgrounds.
So, here is what I worked on this weekend, with the
standard boring background... tho I do like the Copic
markers as props! :)
Sending on Monday: 4 letters
One to a friend, one swap-bot notecard
and two swap-bot "Interest Me in a Book" notes
Oh, and I love to use digital paper as belly bands when I
send standard letter-size paper in the US#10 envelope...
You can't see it in the pic, but the brownish dot paper
is very beautiful and is included in this set, made by my
friend Linda at Happy Print Club:
Stationery Printables. And yes, there's tons of free
printables on the Internets... but I prefer to support
Mon, 06 Feb 2017 18:32:30 PDT|
I cut up a couple world maps to make a bunch of
postcards this past weekend.
They came out amazingly well!
I put 11 of them in the this morning's mail.
Also Sent: 2 welcome postcards
+ 2 letters
= 15 total bits of mail today!
Sat, 04 Feb 2017 18:26:33 PDT|
Sent: 3 welcome postcards
fri 3 feb 2017... condolences|
Sent: 1 condolence card
sighs. Last year I lost track of how many condolence cards I sent.
And this year is starting out the same.
This is the second sympathy card I've
sent this year, already.
It's a hard thing to do. It's sad and
there is nothing you can say on a
card that will help. But, believe me, it is very
very important that you write and send something!
Thu, 02 Feb 2017 19:02:55 PDT|
Sent: 1 GR Welcome PC
+ 1 Swap-Bot PC
Wed, 01 Feb 2017 18:50:25 PDT|
Sent: 1 GR Welcome PC
sun 22 jan 2017... LetterMo Plans|
Yay Mail! and Yay Month of Letters!
Okay, so you know the State of the Blog
is "way behind"... so what is
the State of the Postcards??
Well, there's good. and bad. and normal.
Good: I got a slow start at the beginning of the month because I was
not feeling well... but I am catching up big time and am on track to
have a regular month. During a regular month, I send out
about 130 postcards and notecards! Yay Mail!
Bad: I am very behind on my mail log. What's involved here? I scan
my incoming mail and type it into my mail log and then postcards need to
be registered with certain websites. I'm still dealing with december
mail, here! ack!
And Normal: xmas Thank You notes, not written yet. Probably won't be
sent until March or so! haha! yep. this is normal.
My letter writing work space in Dec when I was writing Amnesty International
protest letters for Write for Rights. I thought the Star Trek stamps were
appropriate! and I'm still decorating my envelopes with my Wide markers.
friday 20 jan 2017... Behind the times, but catching up|
Well. um. Happy New Year!
I have had some creative down time... I never completed the
posts for my daily drawing month in November, I didn't post
again after that, and, most importantly, I did not post my
annual First of January "year in review".
I've been doing a Jan 1st post for about a million years, and
this is the first time I've ever missed it!
I got busy. Then I got busy with the holidays. And then
I got sick with a bad and lingering flu.
I'm feeling better now, so, here's the plan...
I will fill in older posts as I get the time.
I will back date them, but I will post
them here on this page in the order that I type them.
I have deleted the rest of this page in order to encourage my
participation in this plan: it looks kind of empty around
here, doesn't it??! Look! You can see the bottom of the page!
hello, rift?! Type something, rift!!!
for Inauguration Day:
I stand on the side of LOVE.
Looking down at an Egret in the Rain.
I am rift vegan!|
I live in the Pacific Northwest of the USA,
with my Significant Other (SO) and
Piper the Guinea Pig.
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 :)