Tag Archives: Oregon

White Christmas Memories

by Kimberly A. Cook

Happy Boxing Day! It’s a balmy 28 degrees here in Oregon and the ice and leftover snow are still on the roofs in my neighborhood. The unexpected freezing rain on Christmas Eve turned into fluffy snow in the late afternoon.

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The glare of ice crystals on the bird bath on Christmas Eve, lit by the street lamp reflection. Birds will need ice skates!

 

Geared up with crampons on my boots and cookies and eggnog in my backpack, I hoofed it over to my Mom’s house at 2:30 p.m. for Christmas Eve eggnog and cookies. Walked carefully since one does not want to fall on their eggnog. The Army did teach me to find my feet on the ice. The walk back home through fluffy white snow and the quiet that only a holiday with a blanket of white can bring was magical.

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The bird bath on Christmas Day. Since the birdie bath heater died, it’s now an ice rink. Must get to the store to replace the heater.

 

An emergency run for take-and-bake pizza on Christmas Eve morning by my sister worked out well to pre-position food for the holiday. We went with super easy Christmas dinner this year. Christmas pizza a first for us. It was wonderful with eggnog and cookies, plus some salad thrown in for good measure. Plus dark chocolate. ALWAYS dark chocolate.

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This is the winter camellia blooming while hit by the freezing rain. Note my fabulous mini pink bunny trellis in the background. Did that this summer for color in the garden for the winter.

 

So I played with my camera and thought I’d share some pics from our little weather event. Forecast for more freezing rain, snow, sleet, locusts tonight. Something like that. So here are pics from a lazy photographer who basically stands on the front or back porch and takes photos. I blame the pizza and eggnog.

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One of the last rose blooms attacked by the ice.  Spring will come again!

 

 

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This is my laziest photo of all.  I’m a big Music Choice fan on Comcast. I love the holiday music which comes with fabulous rotating pictures. This is my favorite photo every year. Cookie conveyor! It dawned on me I could take a picture of the tv from my LaZBoy and share it. Truly the laziest pic of all. Almost Happy New Year! 

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Happy Bright ZooLights!

by Kimberly A. Cook

While we’re still full from Turkey Day celebrations, it might be time to go for a walk and work off those 4,000 calories from yesterday. The ZooLights program at the Oregon Zoo is one way to support the animals, get exercise and see fun lights!

Whatever your community offers, get out there and mingle. Then you have an excuse to eat leftovers. More pumpkin pie please. I have my own personal can of whip cream.

Have a great weekend and Happy Quirky Friday!

 

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Miracles Do Happen

by Kimberly A. Cook                       (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

When last we chatted Oregon was preparing for the fabulous eclipse. It was a great party. Since then, correct me if I’m wrong, but it feels like we’ve been playing a national game of disaster whack-a-mole. Hurricane Harvey, wildfires in Oregon and the West, then Hurricane Irma. Yowsa.

Whoever ticked off Mother Nature, apologize now.

But miracles do happen through the efforts of “ordinary” Americans:

The fire fighters who stood their ground and saved the historic lodge at Multnomah Falls by surrounding it in a wall of water all night while the flames burned all around and over them and embers flew across the Columbia River. No easy feat that save, with the fire coming within thirty yards of the wood shingled lodge.

The shelter dogs and cats evacuated ahead of Hurricane Harvey from Houston to Oregon and Washington, many have already been adopted.

The 1,700 food boxes packed and shipped by the Oregon Food Bank to Houston to help feed those in need. Know they will be packing more for Florida.

The curator and a staff of nine at the Hemingway House in Key West, Florida who rode out the storm with the fifty-four Hemingway cats and all were spared. Angels were above them all.

The news reporter who helped get one exhausted baby dolphin back out into the sea and helped with other volunteers to carry another stranded dolphin back out into the ocean.

The bystanders who quickly realized two manatees were stranded in the mud after the storm suck took all the water from the bay. With the help of Manatee Sheriff Deputies, they dragged the two manatees back out into the ocean a hundred yards.

There will be many stories of kind acts and we will grieve for those who have died. We will also rejoice in the team who went out in the storm to help deliver a baby. Baby’s don’t wait for weather.

Through all the damage and destruction, we’ve seen the best of our country while Mother Nature hit us with her worst. Maybe she wanted to let us know she was in charge after all, by blocking out the sun then hitting us with her best shots.

Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Oregon, California, Washington, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the East Coast, we’ve got your back. Huge hugs and thanks to all the law enforcement, fire fighters, U.S. Coast Guard, Navy, Army, Air Force, Marines, National Guard, FEMA, federal, state, county, city, power company and gasoline employees working their butts off now and for weeks to come.

A special thank you to the men and women at the National Weather Service in Key West, Florida and the military personnel at the Key West Naval Station who stayed behind and did their jobs. You guys are rock stars!

Also gratitude to the American Red Cross volunteers and staff, the non-profit agencies, and all the animal rescue groups. The retailers who opened their stores and the restaurants who are feeding people now are all a big part of our USA team.

Our hearts swell from the volunteer efforts of the Cajun Navy to the monster truck drivers and the thousands of folks who helped their neighbors and the news crews who jumped in to help when needed.

This is going to be a long rebuild, but we’ll get through this together. What better way to honor the loss of the men, women and children on 9/11 that we honored yesterday, than to become a better nation after their and their family’s sacrifice.

With folks like the ones in the video below, USA, we’ve got this.

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Got Cat Maze Boxes?

by Kimberly A. Cook                         (Twitter@     WarriorTales)

Still don’t have a grasp on August. Hopeful for September. In the meantime, we are preparing for eclipseageddon here in Oregon.

Yesterday was the first traffic jam in La Pine, Oregon for folks arriving for the music festival eclipse party. With even all the hotel rooms in Vancouver, Washington booked, all 17,000 rental cars reserved at the Portland Airport and not a Porta-Potty available in the state, it’s going to be a weird weekend and wacky Monday.

So what are those of us who live here doing? Hunkering down with snacks, watching the tv coverage from our LaZBoys so we don’t damage our eyes and staying off all roads for the next four days. Trafficageddon and cell phone tower overload is predicted. The current mantra? Pack food, water and cash.

So what better thing to do instead then set up toys for your cats? Cole and Marmalade demonstrate an indoor activity for cats and cat staff everywhere. This is one way not to have to put eclipse glasses on the felines!

Happy Quirky Friday, have a safe weekend and very safe eclipse!

 

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Heaven In Hood River?

by Kimberly A. Cook                               (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Last month I took off on a day adventure with my family to celebrate my birthday. One of those decade birthdays and I’m not telling which one. Now this trip came about because the two special places I wanted to go for lunch only served dinner. Drat it all. After trying other ideas, I asked myself what I really wanted to do; road trip to Hood River was the answer.

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Packer Orchard and Bakery pre-made pie fillings. Seriously, the easy button for pie bakers. 

 

Born and raised in Oregon, sometimes it’s easy to take our amazing state for granted. A quick trip up Interstate 84 and I feel miles from Portland. It’s a short trip unless it’s winter, then it can be a skating rink for semi trucks. Which is why Troutdale has a big truck stop for the gazillion truck drivers who need to sleepover when the Gorge highway closes to all rigs.

This summer day was perfect with fabulous sun, a great view of the Columbia River, waterfalls on our right and excellent company. Ever the operations officer/sergeant, my mission op was in place; first stop Packer Orchards and Bakery, at 3900 Highway 35, on the road up to Mt. Hood.

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North View from the Packard Orchard and Bakery parking lot. They have picnic tables you can use in the orchard. The view is Mt. Adams in Washington state.   

 

This is the mother ship for big cookies and the fabulous cookie bar. In addition, there are pie fillings you can buy, jams and jellies and even pickled asparagus and white honey to name just a few treats. Since I’d bought a bargain tiara before the trip I’d decided to wear it only in the car, but upon a few glances from other patrons I realized it was still on my head. Every woman should wear a tiara into a fruit stand at least once in her life.

After loading up on jams and cookies, piled back into the car and headed for? Foothills Yarn & Fiber, 4207 Sylvester Drive, my favorite alpaca yarn store that comes complete with alpacas. The herd had been shorn for the summer and they were quite happy to bound toward us to get the feed we purchased from the former quarter candy machine.

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Sunny day, shorn alpaca, daisies. Be still my heart.

 

After playing with the alpaca kids and the greeter dog, bounced into the store and bought more yarn I don’t need for my collection. It was my birthday so I could buy yarn; it’s the law.

Next it was off to the Sixth Street Bistro and Loft, 509 Cascade Avenue, for my favorite salad of all time and a grilled cheese sandwich where cheese goes to die. The 6th street pear and walnut salad with maple vinaigrette is the closest I’ve come licking a dish in public, every time.

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Local pears, sugar coated walnuts, dried cranberries, gorgonzola cheese, maple vinaigrette, sourdough bread, three cheeses; my life is complete.

 

Went for the gusto and finished off the meal with the chocolate mousse, which I hope is served in heaven or I’m not going. Amazing dessert. Almost licked the glass too.

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Local chocolate mousse!

 

All in all a wonderful day with family, food and laughs; life doesn’t get much better when you throw in sun and alpacas too.

I’ll let you in on a little secret about the Hood River area; it’s the setting for both fiction series I’m writing. More about them in the months to come.

Also explains why more Hood River road trips are necessary to eat and soak up the ambiance with a chocolate mousse chaser. I LOVE research!

Got a favorite summer place? Hit the road and explore!

 

P.S. Working on combining my web site and blog, moving domains and a web page redesign. If everything disappears it’s not my fault.  Heading off to get a dump truck load of Dove Dark Chocolate to make this happen in the coming weeks. Pray for me, send chocolate or tech help. Preferably all three…….

 

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Got Secret Sea Lions In Your Camera?

by Kimberly A. Cook             (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Sun fever. That’s my excuse for no posts the last two weeks. The bright orb came out for three days in a row, so I grabbed Mom and we bugged out for the beach. The Friday traffic was light, the sun kept shining; we were sure we’d get struck by lightning, but nada. Yeah!

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This is one of the coves on the North Point at Depoe Bay. You can see the city in the background along the sea wall.

 

Took my almost new Canon PowerShot SX530 HS with me to put it through its paces. This beauty has focal length from 24-1200mm with a 50x zoom and 16 megapixels for about $250.00. It’s my first foray back into larger body cameras after leaving my metal 35mm Minolta’s behind in 2006 to go digital with the Canon ELPHs. Sometimes you just need a bigger lens. Smirk.

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When I went full zoom from the same spot above, look who showed up? A faithful seagull subject. Thank heavens the clouds came in so his colors show up nicely and he/she is not bleached out.

 

Anyway, a big perk is the plastic body so it doesn’t weigh a ton like my vintage 35mms. When I worked on the newspaper I carried a 28 wide and a 100-250 zoom on two camera bodies and tried not to break my neck. Weighs less than a pound. This seems the best of both worlds, plus no film!

Of course, the manual has so many gadget settings it may take me years to figure them out, but I was out stalking marine wildlife and taking shots to test it. Much fun. Mom is working on her photo skills too, so we were girls on a mission.

One thing I did was make like a human tripod, since I didn’t bring one along on our walk. Both tripods were safe in the car back at the condo. I ended up leaning against a post and bracing my legs and then my elbows on my chest. It helps, really.

The clouds came over as a bonus since we were out at 2 p.m., not the best time for getting photos. But you take what you can get and go with it. When the wind picked up we scuttled back to the condo. Upon perusal of my many pics, I cracked up when I saw the ones of the buoy.

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One photo trick is to get the path to take the viewer into the picture. This one I used both the rope and posts on the left side and the path on the far right. Between trees three and four from the left, is where the buoy is in the next pic.  It’s a ways out there, trust me.

 

Surprise sea lions! The 50x was at its max zoom, I was concentrating on being a tripod and just trying to get the buoy in the frame, so imagine my delight to find sleeping sea lions in my picture, lounging on the buoy. You never know what might show up in your pictures.

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A tripod would have helped this exposure. As the “marine mammal editor” on the paper I was always mixing up the harbor seals with the sea lions. Harbor seals are like fat sausages and sea lions have the big flippers and small ears.  Sea lion on the right, I’m holding judgment on the other two.  Next time I’m taking both tripods!

 

So keep taking pics and being surprised. It’s part of the adventure!

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Water Safety Weekend Everybody, Even For River Otters

by Kimberly A. Cook                      (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

We might get two actual days of sun in a row this weekend, it’s a miracle! With all that hope and cabin-fever induced crazy going to happen, make sure you wear your SPF 50 sunscreen and practice water safety.

Our new youngster Tucker at the Oregon Zoo is getting taught to swim whether he wants to or not by his Mom. This reminds me of swimming lessons in grade school. Yikes! But he’ll be cruising around making waves in no time.

Have a wonderful weekend and Happy Quirky Friday!

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