Late April 2021

Continuing my neighborhood walks: After the cherry blossoms, the pink snow,


We go from pink trees


to pink sidewalks in a week’s time.

And find them all through the neighborhood.

Dogwood trees and other flowers bloom,



Interestingly cracked concrete catches my eye…

We went on two more hikes with amazing wildflowers:

Tom McCall Trail, OR, April 23

When we hiked here on March 11th, the slopes were covered with purple grass widows. Today, the balsamroot is the star!


Starting up the trail with friends.


Lower cliffs, balsamroot and lupine in full bloom!



Eastward view.


Every blade abloom under the oak trees.


Open slopes of balsamroot and Mt Adams.


Continuing up.


Paintbrush in bloom on the upper slopes.

Views from the top:


West to Mt Hood.


North to Mt Adams.


Northeast, to the Cherry Orchard.

More views on the hike down:


Rowena Plateau.


Paintbrush! and the Memaloose Hills, with their yellow backs.


Parsley Alley….


And a few more flowers, for the day.

Bitterroot Trail, Catherine Creek, WA April 26

Aptly lived up to its name – the earlier blooming flowers have faded, but the bitterroot is just getting started today!


We began near the fairy ponds – now filled with camas lilies; the adjacent rock outcrops hosting glorious bitterroot flowers.


Lewisia rediviva


Sprinkled across the basalt; bicolored cluster lilies speckle the meadow beyond.

We wind our way up the slope:




Camas lilies and shooting stars.


Death camas and purple camas lilies


Turn left at the balsamroot, while admiring the windswept views east,


and west…


We drop down the Rowland Wall trail,


One of the largest clusters of bitterroot buds I have seen…




A giant clump of cliff penstomen surprised us!


More bitterroot scattered across the rocky surface along our return trail.


This is their time to rise up!


We finally had a chance to see the heritage American Chestnut Tree in the Sellwood neighborhood. It dwarves the house, and there is an enormous stump of another chestnut tree behind it.


Rare American Chestnut, Sellwood, Oregon


Leaves just budding out.




I’m making progress on the baby quilt.

Repotted plant report from Washington DC:


Commentary on the verdict, and the path forward:


Blooms of early April 2021

The crabapple tree in our front yard finally bloomed during the second week of April. This tree was in full bloom the day we moved into our house in mid March almost 30 years ago.


April 9th


April 11th


April 15th

Other garden blooms:

And some cupcakes for a friend’s birthday:



April 2nd, Memaloose Hills, OR –


Begin at the Memaloose Overlook…


Today’s star is balsamroot!


Buttercup carpet in the woods.


Balsamroot all the way up Chatfield Hill.


Looking back.


North view from the top – Mt Adams, paintbrush, yellow parsley.


Columbia River, Columbia Desert parsley, balsamroot


Mt Hood to the west.


Willows and bees near the spring on the return hike.


Popcorn flowers on Marsh Hill.


View from Marsh Hill back to the Memaloose Hills.

More wildflowers:

 April 8, Coyote Wall, WA – Our first hike with friends in more than a year! We are all fully vaccinated!


Starting up The Old Ranch Road.


Service berry in bloom on the Little Moab Cliffs.


The edge of the Coyote Wall, yellow parsley.


And balsamroot, eastward view.


Southward view.


And we are going higher!


Upper cliff edge view.


A nice meadow near Atwood Road, as we loop eastward before hiking down.


A day when every blade of grass seems to have a bloom!


So many flowers!


Desert parsley along Old Hwy 14 cliff, return hike.

And more flowers:


Some progress on two projects:


I finished the yoke on this bamboo cardigan, and it is way too big, despite careful swatching, so this one is in time out for a while.


A mystery project for a gift…


I am starting a baby quilt for a new family member!

The rest of March, 2021

Tulips and cherry blossoms, three more hikes, a new knit along, a careful cross country trip, and our neighborhood loses our star author, as we continue into our second year of pandemia.

The neighborhood in bloom –

Catherine Creek East

March 26th – A beautiful day – we roamed on the eastward loop to see the latest of early spring flowers sprinkled on the grassy slopes.


White death camas and saxifrage all the way up…


Yellow agerosis and yellow bells


The first of the purple camas,


the last of the grass widows.


Monkey flowers, rosy plectritis and orobanche


Shooting stars and saxifrage


Larkspur, and purple Columbia desert parsley


Yellow parsley and Mt Hood!


Meadow lark


Fairy ponds

Wildwood Trail,  milepost ~ 10 to 14

March 29th – A slightly rainy day, trilliums lining the trail on our loop. I have now completed about 20 miles of the 30 mile trail during the pandemic.


Wildwood trail on a damp day.


Trillium blooming all along the trail.










Return along Leif Erikson Drive


Sky breaking out!

Cooper Mountain

March 30th – We took a quick loop around this mountain on the edge of suburbia, being reclaimed/preserved so that all doesn’t become concrete, while our son was at an appointment nearby. A few early spring flowers on view.


I finished another hat, and continue to knit on the socks and cardigan.


Plaid hat – a test knit for a friend.


Sock and cardigan, in process.

Son’s trip to DC:

Travel is fraught in these Covid times, yet we needed to transfer one of our cars to our daughter on the east coast. Our temporarily unemployed son volunteered, so in the midst of the pandemic, he bubbled himself across country. With all appropriate masking and testing, he delivered the car. Then he flew back, and after more bubbling and testing, successfully completed his adventure Covid free.


Postcards from the road


Cherry blossoms on the National Mall


More cherry blossoms, tidal basin.

Beverly Cleary

We live in Ramona’s neighborhood, the same neighborhood in Portland, Oregon, where the acclaimed children’s author went to school and roamed Grant Park and Klickitat Street. Beverly Cleary died last week, a few weeks short of her 105th birthday. Though she spent most of her adult life in California, our neighborhood honors her legacy. Libraries and schools bear her name. We have a walking tour of the neighborhood to see her world.  I remember getting my middle school aged son to read the books to his three year old sister while I was making dinner, and he never objected – he looked forward to it. “Is it time to read to Emily yet?” I especially enjoyed her two memoirs, recognizing many of the scenes from her childhood as replayed in her novels. I heard her say in an interview that she identified most with Ellen Tebbits. She got to live a good long life, and in our neighborhood we have her “ordinary” fictional children cast in bronze in the sculpture garden in the park, which doubles as a splash pad in the summer. Last week there were flowers in the sculpture garden in tribute to her memory.


Ramona the Pest


Henry Huggins




March 2021, so far….

We are sliding into spring around here. Flowers are blooming, with a few warm days between the rainy stretches. We were vaccinated at just about the one year anniversary of the pandemic, and I am grateful! I feel the hope of spring, yet I know we still have so far to go until everyone can say that. And then my daughter reminds me of our privilege in the world. I know. I can only live where I am, but I do know.

Knitting, reading, hiking, on we go, fuzzy days mushing into each other. Planning the weekly grocery list. Creating with my hands, my brain, I take notes. I try to find the distinguishing features of each day, and celebrate the positivity and the beauty. That is most of what I do, and will do, and am lucky to do. So….


1) We snowshoed up White River on Mt Hood on March 2nd – clouds swathing the peak much of the day, but in a most artistic way.


Mt Hood in clouds, near the Sno-Park.


Lunch view, near the Timberline Trail crossing.


The snow on nearby Boy Scout Ridge looked unstable, so we kept our distance!


Return trip…


Last views – we can almost see the entire peak.


2) On March 11th we hiked Tom McCall Point and around Rowena Crest, east of Hood River in Oregon, to see the fields of  grass widows.


Thousands of grass widows on the plateau below Tom McCall Point.


Grass widows


More grass widows…


Columbia River reflecting the Cherry Orchard cliffs in Washington.


Parsley alley


Mt Adams and Rowena Plateau, from near the top of Tom McCall Point.


Tiny flowers of spring whitlow grass.

Then we walked around Rowena Crest, closer to the river:


East view from Rowena Crest cliffs – kettle lakes in the foreground.


Westerly view.


One of the lakes on Rowena Crest.


Abstractions in the lake reflections…



And more grass widows!

3) The next week, on March 16th, we went out across the river to Lyle Cherry Orchard again. No squalls this time – a perfect hiking day, and the first of the bright yellow balsam root blooms were opening as we hiked.


Hiking up above the Convict Road.


Columbia Desert Parsley in full bloom.


Balsam root opening on the upper slopes.

Lots of flowers showing for the first time this spring:

Stunning views from the cherry orchard:


Eastward, one of the remaining cherry trees.


Westward, balsamroot

4) We also walked a fast loop through Tryon Creek Park, on March 17th, where the very first of the trillium were opening, a little later than last year.


Tryon Creek


First trillium of spring

Around Portland

My neighborhood is also blooming.


I finished knitting a pair of socks for me and another hat and a cowl for the guild charity project, and cast on new socks and a cardigan.


I hold the more difficult challenges to the outside world in my heart. This week it is yet another uniquely American gun violence episode in Georgia, another hate crime, anti-woman, anti-Asian. I know in my heart it is all true, and part of the work we all have to do – bring out all the biases into the light of day and see how they harm so many. I am listening and learning more each day, and it all rings true, and saddens me. I pledge to myself to be as much of an ally as I can recognize. Listen and learn. Validate. Search for the commonalities and not the otherness. From my place on the privilege spectrum.  That is most of what I do, and will do, and am lucky to do. And before I can publish this – yet another mass shooting at a grocery store in Colorado.

As a youngster with all the idealism of youth, I envisioned a giant magnet circling the world sucking away all the implements of violence, all the guns and weapons of war. On days like today with a heavy heart and a less idealistic world view, still I sigh and wish it could be true.


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And a volcano is erupting in Iceland!

Hiking in February 2021

Despite the mid-month ice storm, we managed three hikes in February – all in the eastern Columbia River Gorge of Washington.

Lyle Cherry Orchard / Lower Catherine Creek – Feb. 2nd

We were hoping for good weather east of the mountains, but were foiled by a squall.


Starting up the Lyle Cherry Orchard trail, we could see nothing but blue sky from the Convict Road…


But there are clouds over the Columbia River to the east,


and west.


We saw our first Columbia Desert Parsley of the season,


and scattered grass widows.


As we continued up the tiers of basalt,


we noticed more ominous clouds to the west.


We continued up,


to about this point, when we encountered wind and driving rain on the unsheltered slope


We sheltered briefly under one of the oak trees, then headed down. 

By the time we reached the car, the skies were blue again, so we decided to stop at Catherine Creek before going home.


We walked the Lower Loop, with views of the waterfall,

DSC05651 (1)

and of our Ponderosa guide tree, up on the slopes above the Labyrinth.

We saw a few early wildflowers, and finished just in time for another squall to blow through.


Blue jay


Bitterroot foliage


Rain in a vernal pool.

We saw rainbows in our rear view mirror as we drove back to rainy Portland.


Coyote Wall – Labyrinth Loop – Feb. 9th

We started cold and overcast, but hiked into a bluer, warmer day.


Looking up at the wall from the trailhead – we would soon be looking down from there….


View to the east from the lower slopes.


Ice on the trail.


First yellow parsley of the season,


and first prairie stars, with salt and pepper.


A bald eagle below us, watching the river.


Continuing up the Little Moab trail to the edge of the cliff…


Heralded by this raven the whole way.


Looking down at the trailhead,


and up the edge of Coyote Wall toward our lunch stop.


Trail continuing up the slope…


to the rocky edge where we took our lunch break.


The clouds began to part after lunch.


We headed east toward the Labyrinth across the upper slopes,


into a bluer sky.


Icicles in the upper Hidden Creek crossing.


Eastward view from our Ponderosa guide tree viewpoint on the Upper Labyrinth Trail.


Continuing down, we could see Mt Hood on the skyline peeking out from the clouds.


Through my favorite oak grove,


Past the columnar basalt buttes,


Following the waterfalls of Hidden Creek down the Labyrinth,


beneath the blue sky.



These falls were nearly dry in November,


now the pool is overflowing.


Goodbye to the ghost tree.


And back to the trailhead beneath the wall. A successful day!

Dalles Mountain Ranch – Vista Loop – Feb. 24

After two weeks of snow and ice storms, we were finally able to find a blue sky day at Columbia Hills State Park, an hour and a half east of Portland. A beautiful day, edged by snow on the skyline. Take a peek here if you want to see this trail in full spring bloom!


View south and west from Dalles Mountain Ranch trailhead – Mt Hood in Oregon, far across the Columbia River. We are heading downhill toward the river.


Looking back to the ranch as we hike down Eight Mile Creek.


Creek crossing.


Our lunch stop along the Missoula Floods scoured lower bench. Mt Hood, Columbia River, The Dalles and Horsethief Butte. Lots of purple grass widows in the foreground.


Eastward lower viewpoint.


Salt and pepper, grass widows.


Yellow bells


Gold stars


Another desert parsley


Looking back up to the ranch on the return hike.


One tree to rule them all.

February 2021 ice storm; knitting

We did get the ice storm. Sunday morning, February 14th, the outside world was coated with ice; icicles hanging from the eaves and power lines; drifts of snow were frozen hard as cement and nearly impossible to shovel. We only lost power for about 12 hours – not long enough for lasting harm.


Sunday afternoon the thaw began. Icy chunks and spears crashed down for a couple of hours until the winter glaze was gone, leaving a foot of snow to melt away over the next few days. The crocuses made it, though they seem a little wilted.



I finished and blocked my beautiful Habitation Throw. The pattern is by Helen Stewart, the 24 different mini skeins from my  knitting group advent calendar. I enjoyed the knitting, and I’m already planning another one.


Habitation Throw


I took an online class about Knitting Marls with Cecelia Campochiaro. We learned about color theory and sequence knitting. I knitted my swatches from six colors of Malabrigo Lace yarn, and now just have to decide which swatches I will use in my class cowl project.


Six colors of Malabrigo Lace.


Marl swatches

Happy Valentines Day!

I was cheered on our icy Valentine’s Day by this lovely card and key chain from my sister who is also a Jane Austenophile.


Skiing in Portland, February 2021

February 14th – When it snows in Portland, our city mostly shuts down. This only happens every few years. We don’t have enough plows to keep side streets clear, and often get sheets and layers of ice with the snow, so best to stay in if possible. This year, we were ready, having practiced pandemic life for eleven months. We have apocalyptic quantities of nonperishable food in our pantry, and can resupply for a week or more with each grocery shop. So no panic, just sit and watch the winter wonderland form, and hope the power stays on.

I took my usual walks around the neighborhood on cross country skis for three days. The streets are flat, with very few cars out. Traffic is mainly dog walkers, families going to the park with sledding accoutrement, other skiers and fat tire bikers. A few skate skiers whizz by, but I am happy to kick glide along, probably slower than I walk, enjoying the novelty of skiing through my snowy neighborhood.


Traffic on Tillamook Street


I always notice these opposing statues on Thompson Street:


Dogs staring at Lions.


Lions staring at dogs.


Tonite the ice storm cometh. So far we still have power, but parts of the city have had outages. Eventually we will thaw and the slush will melt away, and I will be back to walking, but I have enjoyed a few days of skiing. Today was a bit icier on the road, unlike the first day when the surface was fluffy. Today I had to focus, keep my weight over my knees, and stay aware of icy tire tracks diverting my ski path. I was reminded of myself, in my early 30’s, when I attended an annual party at a park with a high dive on the swimming pool. Every year I would make my way to the platform and leap off, feet first, trusting the water to break my fall, just to see if I could still bring myself to do it. Today I trusted my knees and balance to keep me upright on an icy road, sliding along on my 30 year old skis. Check.


Sewing: I finally collected 200 pennies! No one uses pennies anymore, yet they are the perfect filling for a set of pattern weights, pattern from an old Elizabeth Hartman blog post. I used some of my Jane Austen fabric. 


A side


B side

Knitting: I finished my Artists Garden Socks. I have made a goal to knit at least one item per month for the Puddletown Knitting Guild project to supply a woman’s shelter with warm items next winter. I obtained a pile of donated yarn from the guild, and have finished two hats so far, and started a cowl.


Artists Garden Socks


Quick Ombre Hat


Barley Light Hat


Meanwhile, around the yard and neighborhood, before the snow, I saw crocuses, one daffodil, and a cherry tree. Hopefully they will all survive the freeze we are in now.






NZ2020: Days 9 and 10, Deluge in Doubtful Sound

February 2nd and 3rd, 2020: Overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound, Fiordland, NZ

After our day off in Queenstown, we began the second part of our tour by meeting three new tour members, and an additional tour guide, in our hotel restaurant. We drove south and west, from Queenstown to Manapouri, in a steady rain, with two stops along the way.

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Our first break was in the town of Garston – a small inland village with a speciality in honey production. We sampled some honey, then resumed our journey. Mountains, clouds, green fields full of sheep, elk and deer whizzed by, through the rain.


We next took a short leg stretching break at a wilderness reserve that demonstrated the native plant communities that are typical of this cold, mountainous inland area before European settling and agriculture. We took in what we could, but the rain and clouds obscured mountain views and much exploring.



View to the Southern Alps.



Closer view of some of the plants.

Off we went again, this time to our final tour bus destination – Pearl Harbor in Manapouri, where we began our overnight in Doubtful Sound adventure. We said goodbye to one of our guides for the moment, as he was staying with the bus. To get to Doubtful Sound, deep in the mountains of the Southern Alps, one must take a ferry boat across Lake Manapouri, to the far shore.


Crossing Lake Manapouri by ferry.


Next we boarded a bus that took us over the steep, 13 mile long Wilmot Pass Road, then down to Deep Cove Dock at Doubtful Sound. There, we boarded the Fiordland Navigator, our home for the next 24 hours.


Fiordland Navigator, from the bus window, in the pouring rain.

The Navigator was a very comfortable ship with an experienced, multitasking crew that choreographed our time on board with a well crafted schedule. The 42 passengers were shown into the main cabin/dining salon. We received our safety briefings, and were assigned our sleeping accommodations – for us, a private cabin, but for most, four bed bunk rooms.

Then we were free to explore and wander, and hopefully see all the views, while the naturalist pointed out various features of interest. Steep glaciated gneiss walls rose up on both sides of the fiord, draped in brilliant green foliage, and streaked with tumbling white waterfalls in every direction. Our naturalist told us that they usually see a lot of waterfalls, but because of the steady downpour, we were seeing more than usual, and more volume than usual. We could see fairly well from the large windows in the dining salon and forward viewing cabin, and even from under covered walkways on the lower deck. How lovely it would have been to stand or sit on the upper deck as we passed through the fiord, but the drenching rain made that uncomfortable. We did go out for short forays, and longer moments during rain breaks, but really, it did rain most of the time this first day. We made the best of it, constantly, not always successfully, trying to keep water off camera lenses. We assumed that this much rain was typical. Later, we learned that this was a particularly wet stretch of weather – more so than usual, and that it would affect the next few days of our tour. Our intrepid naturalist spent most of her time out on the deck, narrating the landscape, seemingly unphased by the drenching.


Waterfall after waterfall…



Our intrepid naturalist…


A rain pause as we continue west toward the Tasman Sea.


We travelled all the way to the entrance of the fiord with the Tasman Sea. We stopped to watch fur seals basking on the rocky islands in the sound entrance – also unphased by the constant rain. But of course, they are creatures of water and cold.


Fur seals on rocky islands near the mouth of Doubtful Sound.


We turned back inland, still watching the waterfall-striped walls of the fiord go by. We reached the “activities” location and weighed anchor for a while. Here, most of the crew switched to guide mode. Most of the passengers, despite the rain, opted to go out in kayaks or rafts, to get a closer view of the walls and waters of the fiord. I might have joined in better weather, but it was still rainy and cold. I felt that just being where I was, in the middle of a fiord in the wilderness was a fairly extreme adventure for me. We watched the kayakers and boaters from the deck.


After they all returned safely, the crew changed roles again, and became ushers/servers for a delicious, many options, buffet dinner. It was all run like clockwork, yet not pressured or uncomfortable. Our little group sat in a booth with windows and enjoyed getting to know each better as the beautiful landscape drifted past. Later, we retired to our tiny stateroom and slept very comfortably in crisp white sheets. I peeked out our window occasionally, to see rain and dark and gray.


Dining salon.


Sleeping cabin.

The next morning, breakfast was run again in buffet fashion, extremely efficiently, and we packed up, ready to enjoy another morning of viewing in Doubtful Sound.



Morning waterfall viewing.


We traveled into the Hall Arm of the Sound, where we experienced a quiet moment – engine off, passengers in a preselected spot, five minutes of complete silence, during a break in the continuous rain.


Afterward, the boat motored up again, dipped its snout into a flowing waterfall, and we eventually made our way back to Deep Cove.



Return to Deep Cove.

During both journeys across Wilmot Pass by bus, the drivers expressed concern about the river ford being washed out. Both times we made it across, but there was plenty of heavy equipment at the crossing keeping the road clear. We reboarded the ferry to Manapouri, ready for our next adventure.


Waterfall from the bus windows on Wilmot Pass.


Wilmot Pass river crossing, from the bus.


Pearl Harbor – return to Manapouri.

Our next stop was supposed to be Milford Sound – a place we really wanted to see. We were supposed to drive to Milford Sound via Hwy 94, with a hike up Key Summit on the Routeburn Track enroute, and a short cruise on Milford Sound the next morning. Over the past 24 hours there had been over a half meter of rain in the area and more than a meter of rain during the four day deluge. All roads to Milford Sound were flooded. People there were stranded and moving to higher ground – no one could get in or out by land. It was several days before they were finally able to open the roads. Meanwhile, our guides and tour company had formulated a new plan for our tour. They found lodging in nearby Te Anau, accommodations that were open because the people with those reservations were trapped in Milford Sound, or because so many of the usual tourists from Asia this time of year were beginning to cancel travel due to a spreading coronavirus in that part of the world.  (I am finally writing this account about a year later, after almost a year of global pandemic. That was one of the early signs of it, though we didn’t really think too much of it in the moment.) Meanwhile, we had a new agenda for our tour, starting with a rainy walk on the Kepler Track near Te Anau.

We loved our Doubtful Sound experience. I might have liked it more had we had sun, but we had soo many waterfalls – I don’t imagine I will ever see more in such a short time. We got to experience an extreme rain event – a different sort of bucket list item, I guess. I am very glad we were with an experienced tour company for this time, because they very swiftly arranged new plans. I had been expecting a more rustic experience on the boat, but it was actually fairly luxurious – delicious hot meals, a dry viewing cabin, extremely comfortable bed with privacy, and amazing scenery. It was a beautiful immersive adventure!

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Begin anew! January 2021

January 20, 2021 –  So far 2021 has not brought much change to our daily life, but the relief of having a new president casts a hopeful light on our future! We celebrated our 36th wedding anniversary this month, with homemade Indian food and leftover Christmas chocolate. We continue in pandemic lockdown mode, staying home unless doing essential shopping, going on neighborhood walks, or weekly out of neighborhood hikes. Vaccines are seeping into the community, mostly to health care professionals and long term care facilities. My husband has temporarily unretired and will be helping with vaccinations. Thus he was able to celebrate inauguration day doubly, as he got his first dose today.

Hiking: We have been on three hiking adventures so far. The first, on January 7th, was our annual trek to see the bald eagle nesting area along the Klickitat River near Lyle, Washington. We saw at least thirty birds, many of them juveniles that still have brown plumage. 


Bald eagles flying across the Balfour-Klickitat pond.


One eagle stayed perched in a tree nearby.


Closer view.


Many more eagles in the trees across the pond.


Zooming in, even more eagles can be seen disguised in the foliage.


Another dozen eagles were out on the sand bar where the Klickitat River flows into the Columbia River.


Two adults, one juvenile bald eagle on the sand bar.


Osage oranges along the trail here.


They are a curious fruit.


We walked a couple of miles along the Klickitat River trail.


Downy woodpeckers were in the bushes nearby.


This is a converted rail trail with a nice even tread.


We turned around at the Fisher Hill Trestle.


View down the Klickitat River from the trestle.


A side stream cascading into the Klickitat River.


On our return walk we saw a congregation of a couple of dozen eagles circling overhead.

On January 14th, we walked around Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge in Southeast Portland. The blue sky was reflected beautifully in the water, and we saw cormorants, herons, and a barred owl near the trailhead.


Blue sky.


Reflections in the marsh.


Winter foliage.


Muraled Mausoleum across the marsh.


Oaks Park on winter/Covid hiatus.


Cormorants and herons, Downtown Portland.




Barred owl.

Back out at Catherine Creek, near Lyle, Washington, on January 19th, we found the first grass widow of spring, then hiked a long loop up Atwood Road, across the top of Sunflower Hill, then down the Desert Parsley Trail back to Rowland Wall, thus completing some of the gaps in our map there. It was a beautiful day – chilly, but conducive to hiking up hill at a steady pace to see the eastern gorge spread below magnificently.


First grass widow of spring!


Catherine Creek waterfall set in the winter landscape.


Mt Hood to the west.


The arch from Atwood Road.


An old stove near Atwood Road.


Lunch view from the top of Sunflower Hill.


Oak tree, Mt Hood, noonday sun.


Looking up at our guide Ponderosa from The Desert Parsley Trail.

Knitting: So far this year I have finished knitting a sweater and a gnome, I’ve started a blanket and a new pair of socks:


Farallon Cardigan


Here We Gnome Again


Habitation Throw, using my “advent” yarns exchanged with my knitting group


Artists Garden Socks

Quilting: I finished my Plaid Rectangles Charm Quilt, a companion piece to my Plaid Applecore Charm quilt.


Plaid Rectangles Charm Quilt


Companion quilts.

A New Day! After a long, satisfying hike yesterday, I got up way too early (for me) to watch the inauguration celebration. I felt some trepidation, due to the recent insurrection. I am very relieved to report that all proceeded beautifully. The participants were diverse, eloquent, hopeful, forward looking! I cried as I witnessed the swearing in of our first female vice president! The singing, the president’s speech, and the prayers were relevant, meaningful, beautifully delivered.  I adored the young poet laureate, Amanda Gorman, and the firefighter who signed as well as spoke the Pledge of Allegiance. The outgoing vice president was gracious in the transition. The colorful wool coats of the ladies brightened a blue sky day, when the Capitol, unfortunately, had to be surrounded by military lockdown, as the previous occupant never really conceded to his violent, deluded followers. I am disappointed that my daughter, sitting in her apartment about a mile away from the proceedings, could not witness the day. She assured me they remained safely within, while the din of helicopters continued above. Perhaps, going forward, the domestic terrorists will withdraw and think about the bill of goods they were sold, the lies told, the violence fomented by a greedy, disappointed narcissist who was only ever out for personal profit and aggrandizement, with no concern for the common good, no interest in public service. Good riddance! Meanwhile, executive orders and initiatives are already putting to right some of the damage, and asserting to the world that we want to participate in finding solutions for global problems.  



2020 Review / 2021 Preview

Well, that was a year! When I reread my New Year’s post from last year, I wince and remember the saying about someone laughing when you make plans. I know that everyone in the world can relate – we did not forsee a global pandemic shutting everything down. We still don’t know what life will look like on the other side of the pandemic when we all have been vaccinated.  Nevertheless, I managed to accomplish about half of the things on my list of intentions. 

Travel: The  high point of the year was our month in New Zealand before everything shut down. Our plans to go to Washington DC and Italy were cancelled. We were able to take four midweek trips to hiking destinations within a few hours drive of our home – to Sisters, Yachats, and Prineville in Oregon, and Packwood in Washington (following all Covid-19 precautions). 


Hiking: I hiked almost 400 miles last year, almost 63000 feet of elevation gained, on 76 different adventures, 26 of which were in New Zealand. The hikes up Ben Lomond near Queenstown, and to the Sealy Tarns in Mt Aoraki National Park were my favorites there. Back home, we found a way to continue hiking in pandemic mode. At first we took several long urban hikes through Portland neighborhoods to high points or parks. We have hiked about half of the Wildwood Trail in Forest Park, and we have gone to farther flung, less popular trails, midweek. I feel lucky we can still get into nature.

Reading: I met my goal to read 64 books last year.

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Knitting: I knit over 5000 yards of yarn into 20 different projects: 2 shawls, 1 scarf, 5 pairs of socks, 3 hats, 2 pairs of mitts, 2 sets of wash cloths, 4 gnomes, 2 acorn ornaments, and a toy dog sweater. 14 of the projects were gift or charity knitting.  Knitting was a main source of anxiety relief to get me through the chaos and unpredictability of this year. My knitting group has continued to meet on line, pulling each other through. I am so grateful I found this group in 2019, as it has been a great source of comfort for me this year.

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2020 was a difficult year which tested resilience. I know I am privileged to have made it through in good health in a safe and comfortable home. I miss my family and friends. The worst part of the year was losing a brother-in-law to a noncovid illness in May, and not being able to travel to grieve with family. That loss haunts me every day, however correct the decision is/was for safety reasons. 

 2021 – The political upheaval and tension have been excruciating. The good news that we will have our new president, vice president and senate majority does not discount how hard it will be to undo all the harm caused by the lies, selfishness, and evil intent of the outgoing president. But it gives us reason for hope.  I hope for healing through an honest truth and reconciliation process. I hope it becomes widely accepted that racist agendas going back to the founding of our country have been used to convince the less advantaged to hate amongst themselves rather than to support government that is fair to all of the people. 

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At some point, we will be vaccinated and be able to travel again. I hope to be able to see my farther located family members and friends. Meanwhile, I will keep on knitting, reading, quilting, hiking, and blogging. My blog has been evolving since I started it in 2017, as a way to document my life and my quilts – mostly as a scrapbook for personal use. I wrote my 200th post last year. I still have more than a dozen unfinished posts from our New Zealand trip, and a number of quilt story posts to finish. Those are my modest goals for the New Year. I hope when I look back next year, I will have had some new wonderful adventures in a calmer world.