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The Old Trunk Or Creative Jewel?


Here is a fun spot in Hood River, Oregon. Make sure to take your camera to search for all kinds of treasures. Bring money for the ice cream!

by Kimberly A. Cook

Creativity is a muscle that needs to be exercised. One of my favorite ways to get the imagination train moving is shopping antique stores and flea marts. Not only is it a photographer’s paradise, it is so much fun finding treasures hiding in plain sight.


The vinyl mother lode! Actually, I have a cabinet full of vinyl myself, so feels like home. Notice the vintage radios and album carrying cases on top. I have one of those too.

Last week on our road trip we stopped at The Old Trunk in Hood River. This killer combo of antiques and soda fountain, plus fruit later in the year is a fun jaunt. I’ll admit we were lured in by the promise of huckleberry ice cream on their website; I’d go just about anywhere for huckleberries. Ice cream too.


These are cameras before the one in your phone.  Upper left? No batteries, ran on person power.  Viewfinder in the middle with the round disks? Video games for Boomers. Bottom left, Polaroid camera only known to the young people now due to Taylor Swift. Round canisters in the middle? Real film! No digits! Vintage rules.

With the trusty camera along, my creativity gets inspired and things jog my memory or I marvel at items combined in a different way. Of course, seeing all books a buck about sent me into a buying spree. I controlled myself; my bookshelves are overflowing.


Soda fountain! That red contraption in the middle is the soft serve ice cream machine. They mix Tillamook vanilla ice cream with fresh huckleberries, or other berries, and heaven happens.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t buy ice cream! One of the owners described the crowds they are seeing now and how crazy it will get as the season gets warmer. We lucked in between the crowds late in the day at 4 p.m. for a high ice cream, instead of high tea.


Soft serve huckleberry ice cream. Fabuwonderfulfantabulous! Trust me.

Simple pleasures, good friends, good weather and ice cream. Living the dream!

Whether you wander on purpose or journey to a destination, take your camera along and prepare to experience some whimsy.

Exercise your creativity muscles!




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Can You Balance Better Than A Goat?

by Kimberly A. Cook               (Twitter@   WarriorTales)

Goats have been on my mind this past week. At the day job we put some goats on contract to eat vegetation at one of our sites. They’re doing a fine job and I even got to see a photo of them in action. Cutie pies and top rate work too. So besides being paid to eat, I wondered what other skills they might possess and found this fascinating video.

This must be how they start to train goats to surf, is what I’m thinking. Then they could go on to work at the Surfing Goat Dairy on Maui that I love. Practice makes perfect. Do they have Velcro on their hooves? And are those baby goats too cute?

Have a great weekend and Happy Quirky Friday!


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HGTV For Elephants?

by Kimberly A. Cook          (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Very big redecorating going on at the Oregon Zoo for years and this past week was move in time! I don’t know if the “Property Brothers” could have even handled these picky clients, but the folks who designed the new elephant habitat gave them all the latest home amenities for our popular pachyderms.

Just in time for a sizzling hot weekend here in Oregon, the elephants get to roam in their new home, complete with large windows, then outside play area, elephant proof gazebo and auto feeders and misters! Nothing but the best for our lovable giants. Check out the action. I couldn’t resist all three videos.

Have a great weekend and Happy Quirky Friday! (P.S. Lilly is still SO CUTE!)






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Happy Pink Chickens Easter!

by Kimberly A. Cook             (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Obviously I was out of action last weekend with a cold because I didn’t hear about the pink chickens alert until I got back to the day job Monday. Seems a Portland chicken daddy drank way too much spirits and decided to dye his two pet chickens pink to make people smile. He then relocated them to a tree on the downtown waterfront for a day out on the town, deciding he would pick them up in the afternoon.

Not in my hometown! The pink chickens were spotted at dawn by an observant Rose Festival employee and the great pink chicken rodeo was on. Between social media and the chicken lovers it was an all out chicken hunt to find the perpetrators. You can cause bodily harm to people here but do not mess with our fowl or animals.

Picked up by Multnomah County Animal Services to be kept in protective custody, the chicken daddy soon came forth and proved he was a) a good daddy since the chickens were in fine health, b) used only beet juice and food coloring to color the chickens – and his dog and c) he was told not to release domestic chicken pets into the cruel city.

All’s Well That End’s Well for the chickens. However, chicken daddy might need to watch his back. Those two pink girls looked none too happy about being dyed pink. Just saying!

Happy Quirky Friday and have a great weekend!


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Can You Water Ski Like Twiggy?

by Kimberly A. Cook             (Twitter@ WarriorTales)

We’re heading into a glorious weather weekend here in Oregon, 80 degrees and no smoke, high humidity or scalding temps. What will we all be doing? Heading for the water and picnics to enjoy this blessed gift of great weather.

What better way to send us off on the weekend than getting tips from Twiggy the water skiing squirrel. This athlete not only water skis, he watches the spectators, grooms himself, goes one hand only and hands free while on his ride. What a performer!

Have a great weekend and Happy Quirky Friday!


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How Can One Author/Writer Survive The Publishing Wars?

by Kimberly A. Cook                     (Twitter@ WarriorTales)

Don’t know if you’ve been following the fight between author and tv personality Stephen Colbert and his publisher vs. Amazon.com. Colbert basically declared war on Amazon.com last week since they would not honor pre-sales, plus other things. In a nice twist of fate, Colbert told everyone to go to http://www.Powells.com (Powell’s Books) here in Portland to order a book by a new author.

Gear up writers and authors! Protect your writing assets! (Me in an Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) back in my Army days - such a long story)

Gear up writers and authors! Protect your writing assets! (Me in an Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) back in my Army days – such a long story)

Boy howdy that worked. In fact, Powells.com barely had a heads up from the tv show staff before their servers came grinding almost to a halt to keep up with the order demand. As I watched the videos and read the online articles about the skirmish, I wondered what are a few of the things I’ve accidentally done over the years to survive this juggernaut of digital publishing madness. Besides chocolate, that is.

1. Built my own web site and kept it. Like the authors wrote in “Write. Publish. Repeat.”  anything can change, go out of business or be bought in a nanosecond, including this blog. Stake a claim for your career on the Internet and S.P.U.D. – an acronym from one of our former search and rescue deputies – stay put until you die. I ended up with an “aged domain” and top page ranking in Google just by keeping my web site real estate since 1997 or the Pleistocene era, whichever you prefer.

2. Check back. Things change. When I first started my writing business my very common name URL was taken. Rats. So I built the business around Warrior Tales. Several years ago at the Willamette Writers Conference, a speaker mentioned to recheck to see if your name becomes available later. Queried that night, it was and I bought it! Since my name is very common, in 1997 I first checked Amazon.com to see how many authors had my name – holy moly – a ton. So I used my entire name with middle initial to get some separation between moi and the herd of other Kim Cooks online.

3. Self-publishers buy your own ISBNs. When I get ready to launch my ebooks extravaganza, having my own ISBNs means that no matter what Amazon.com, nook.com, itunes.com, kobo.com and the partridge in the pear tree do in the future, I can retrieve my digital work and move it to another home; the ISBN will always be tied to me and I won’t have to keep sending new ISBNs to readers to hunt for in the grand future of digital words.  After all, we are all pretty much publishers now going our own way in this new adventure.

4. Keep writing. No matter what. Doesn’t matter if you have to take breaks to handle life’s roller coaster events, write when you can. The other day I asked myself if I got abducted by aliens never to return, the space kind not the green card kind, what would I regret? Besides not having the exclusive story on the whole alien thing? Not getting my stories written. So, write on!

(See Colbert wage war with Amazon.com)   http://on.cc.com/1xd6bRS

(View Author Sherman Alexie chime in on the debacle.)   http://on.cc.com/1xd660r

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Writers Must Be Young Reader Book Pushers!

by Kimberly A. Cook                        (Twitter@ WarriorTales)

Read a wonderful article on Friday by Frank Bruni of the “The New York Times” about the importance of literacy in our nation and the disturbing pleasure reading figures for young adults. Seems the current digital natives are veering away from reading to plug-in and zone out even more than we thought.

Original keeper books from my salad days.

Original keeper books from my salad days.

It made me think of my book favorites from grade and middle school. I promptly went to the keeper shelf and gathered a few and took their picture.

Interesting to note what I read in my early years is what still drives me now; romance, mystery, suspense. Seems we might know what writers we are to become by what we read as children.

Kids not reading for pleasure is a huge issue. The article quoted a statistic from the Common Sense Media report that reading for pleasure has declined for ages 13 to 17. It goes on to say “Fewer than 20 percent of 17-year-olds now read for pleasure ‘almost every day.’

Whoa! I know teens are busy, but this is not good for many reasons. The article goes on to talk about the symbiotic link between reading and intelligence. Just like exercise the more you do it the fitter you become, body or brain.

It has never been more important for our youth to read for pleasure. This crusade does not belong to only the Young Adult authors, this is a mercenary business need for all writers. If we don’t make young adult readers, we won’t have adult readers!

It’s time to become a book pusher today!

Link to article: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/13/opinion/bruni-read-kids-read.html?_r=0




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