August 2021 – summer gardens, knitting an albatross, the wing and the wheel….

August turned out a bit differently than planned, as we had to cancel travel due to the spread of the delta variant of Covid-19. I celebrated another birthday, walked the neighborhood, ate lots of fresh garden tomatoes, knitted, sewed masks, enjoyed my daughter’s visit, and went on a few hikes (next post). 

Neighborhood and garden


Summer roses









View to downtown from Alameda Ridge from the top of…



the 38th Avenue stairs.



Signs of support in the neighborhood…



Water splashing in the Beverly Cleary sculpture garden.






Puffy clouds in the evening sky,



Half moon rising,






Farmer’s market and garden bounty



Birthday cupcakes and books


Knitting and sewing

An Albatross –

I finished knitting an Albatross Chick, pattern by Rachel Borello Carroll. The face and legs are perfect, the body and wings a less accurate reproduction, but I love having the chick on my shelf.


During our travels in New Zealand in February of 2020, we saw albatross chicks in their nests at the Royal Albatross Center in Taiaroa.


Albatross, taken from the bird blind at Pukekura/Taiaroa Head, February, 2020


After we returned home, almost immediately into pandemic lockdown, I discovered the albatross chick Atawhai, who we probably saw on our visit, was live on camera 24/7 on the Albatross Webcam:…

I spent many a moment of zen during this pandemic, watching Atawhai sitting in the beautiful landscape that we visited, the beaches we walked upon beyond. Atawhai fledged in September of 2020.

This year I have been watching the new season of albatross on the webcam. There is a new fluffy chick named Tiaki, who will also fledge soon. She is down to only a few fluffy feathers, and spends lots of time stretching her wings in the wind (wingspan about 3 meters!) One day in the next month, the wind and wings will catch together successfully, and she will fly off for a few years, somehow knowing how to dive into the water to get food, having never touched it before. And new chicks will be hatched in January. The photos here are screenshots from the Webcam.


Other knitting and sewing: I finished two more hats for donation, and made new masks for my daughter.


Not traveling

Our travel destination turned from orange to red the week before departure, so we will not be walking through the Mid Atlantic Ridge, not watching an active volcano in the twilight, not walking along the shores of a glacial lake with floating icebergs, or seeing the birds and marine life of the North Atlantic ocean. We thought we would be too early for northern lights, but I was looking forward to seeing the lopi yarn, the black sand beaches, all the recent volcanic features, and the many waterfalls….   I heard an interesting discussion about the ethics of making the choice to not get vaccinated, and whether people making that choice (excepting those with true medical reasons) should have consequences. I fall squarely on the side of yes they should, and not because my travel plans are delayed. People are dying, people are surviving with long term consequences. Everyone’s life has been interrupted, and will continue to be until herd immunity can be achieved. So yes, I think that those selfishly ignoring the science, unwilling or unable to evaluate all the misinformation out there for what it is (more divisive rhetoric from the right wing patriarchy), should be restricted in their ability to move through public spaces freely, especially when they won’t offer the courtesy of at least wearing a frigging mask! It is a public health emergency!


RIP Nanci Griffith

We lost one of my favorite singer songwriters this month. I have been listening to her beautiful voice and poetry for more than 40 years, and will continue to listen. 


There’s a pale sky in the east, all the stars are in the west
Oh, here’s to all the dreamers, may our open hearts find rest
The wing and the wheel are gonna carry us along
And we’ll have memories for company, long after the songs are gone.

Nanci Griffith – Wing and the Wheel


A walk on the beach – Nehalem Bay, Oregon

Nehalem Bay State Park, Oregon,   August 3, 2021

Too hot for hiking inland, we decided to drive out to the coast and walk the loop around Nehalem Bay spit.


The green line is our track – about 5 miles round trip.


Crossing the spit to the ocean beach.


View north to Neahkanie Mountain.


We are walking south, wind at our back, to the Nehalem Jetty.


Equestrians on the tidal bars.

Most of the birds we saw were near the jetty.

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Nehalem Jetty


The rock jetty was also a catch for sand and drift wood.


Nehalem River north jetty


Looking across to the south jetty and shore.

We found a lunch spot on the jetty with a wind shelter. After lunch, we crossed to the inland shore of the spit, and walked north along the Nehalem River/Bay, with different views and shore features, and the added advantage of being less windy.


Mussels in the low tide zone.


Looking back seaward


Walking north along Nehalem Bay

Some of the marine life washed up in the low tide zone:

Continuing north along Nehalem Bay:



Looking for clams.



We enjoyed our day at the beach – fresh air, mountain and ocean views, a few birds.

On our return drive, we stopped at the highway overlook in Oswald West State Park, to look back at Nehalem Bay and the jetty. And to once again thank former Oregon governor, Oswald West, for claiming the beaches in Oregon as public land, in 1911.


Looking south from Oswald West overlook


Nehalem River Jetty

NZ2020: Days 10 and 11, Walking the Kepler Track near Te Anau, lots of rain, and a film

February 3rd and 4th, 2020 – Te Anau, New Zealand. After returning from our Doubtful Sound cruise, we were supposed to go to Milford Sound. As described in my earlier post, we were experiencing extreme rain and flooding throughout Fiordland. Many roads were washed out. Our guides improvised some other adventures for us, based near Te Anau.


Trail sign, locations of our next two hikes circled. The diagram shows how these lakes are interconnected to the huge hydropower scheme that ends up at Doubtful Sound, where we were the previous day.


Yes, it rains!

February 3, 2020

After lunch, we zipped up our rain gear and set off on a 6 mile hike near the shores of Lake Te Anau on the Kepler Track.  We passed through beautifully green rainforest, and crossed a river that was swollen with runoff. We paused at Brod Bay on Lake Te Anau, our turnaround point, then walked back the way we came.


Starting off on the Kepler Track in our rain gear.


A swollen creek entering the lake.



Brod Bay beach, turnaround point.


Walking through the rain forest.


Another view toward Te Anau across the lake.

February 4, 2020

The next morning, with rain still falling, and many surrounding roads still closed, we set off on a different stretch of the Kepler Track, this time along the Rainbow Reach to Moturau Hut, a 7.5 mile hike.

We crossed the Waiau River bridge, above a swollen river.


Waiau River


One of the highlights was passing through a wetland near Spirit Lake, with amazingly colorful plantlife and beautiful reflections in the water. On a nicer day I could have spent a lot of time here playing with the lights and reflections with my camera. 


Wetland side trip



Spirit Lake, rain.


We arrived at Moturau Hut, near Lake Manapouri, where we paused long enough to eat lunch. The rain continued to fall during our return hike, again through the lush and green rainforest.


View from Moturau Hut to Lake Manapouri


Rainforest trail with possum trap.


I took two pictures from the same vantage point, about three hours apart, that show how Waiau River still rising.


9:20 am


12:30 pm

Later that afternoon, after we had dried off, we visited a pub in the town of Te Anau, and then went to the Fiordland Cinema, and watched a film called Ata Whenua – Shadowland. The movie was made by some of the Lord of the Rings film makers, and included gorgeous cinematography and ethereal music depicting the beautiful Fiordland landscape that we could not see because of all the rain.


Serious Jenga at the Redcliff Cafe.

Image 7-25-21 at 2.54 PM

Another map of our Kepler Track hikes.

Meanwhile, our guides were creating a new agenda for the next day, an impromptu tour of Southland, since all the roads in every other direction were closed by flooding.


Six Hikes in June, 2021

We had six hiking days in June, all repeat hikes, so I am showing just a few highlight photos, and linking past posts for trail details.

  1. June 3 – Hamilton Mountain, WA, hike – I love this hike, however challenging (8 miles, 2200 feet), and always feel accomplished to have made the trek again, especially when I get to see the lovely Lewisia flowers on the upper switchbacks.

2. June 10 – Grassy Knoll, WA, hike – Another well loved hike. A bit rainy today, and on the early side for flowers blooming, but so green and lush along the trail!

3. June 17 – Saddle Mountain, OR, hike – We were here last month before the full bloom of the upper meadows, so hiked again on our way to an overnight at the Oregon Coast.


Saddle and summit


Pacific Ocean from the summit


Washington peaks from the summit

4. June 18 – Oregon north coast beaches – We stayed overnight in the Tolvana area of Cannon Beach, with a lovely view of Haystack Rock beyond the parking lots.


The next day we walked from Arcadia Beach and around Hug Point at low tide, to Big Barnacle Rock. We visited all our favorite landmarks from 30 years of visiting this stretch of beach nearly every summer, often staying for a week when our kids were young. So beautiful!


The sphinx of Arcadia Beach guards the northern beaches,


but we are heading south, along these open sands as the tide recedes.

We saw some birds and tide pool creatures:

Next we crossed over the old road carved out of Hug Point, passable at low tide.


Looking south toward Arch Cape from Big Barnacle Rock – our turnaround point.


North view, crossing back over Hug Point.


Walking into the wind, sand rivers pelting our legs.

5. June 22 – Three Corner Rock – Another repeat hike. We were the only ones on the trail today. It was just shady enough in the forest to be comfortable.


Our big surprise was the profuse bear grass bloom in the upper meadows below the rock. And almost no wind.

Views from near the summit (we didn’t scramble to the upper platform):


Looking south – Mt Hood and the cell tower, and so much bear grass!


St Helens, Rainier, Goat Rocks and Adams


Mt Adams


Mt St Helens

And a few more flowery views before heading down:


6. June 30 – Thomas Lake to Rock Lake Mosquito chase – Indian Heaven Wilderness, WA – Why we thought we could out-smart the famous mosquitos of summer in Indian Heaven I do not know, except sometimes you have to find out for your self. Which we did.

There  was plenty of water (mosquito breeding grounds) in Indian Heaven.


Thomas Lake


Dee Lake


Shooting stars, Heather Lake


Vernal Lake in one of the meadows.

The highest trail section had snow patches, with marsh marigolds and avalanche lilies blooming nearby.

We made it to Rock Lakes, and sat long enough to devour our lunch as quickly as possible, while the mosquitos devoured us through our DEET sprayed clothing.

We had reached our tolerance point, so rushed back down the trail, stopping just long enough to notice Mt St Helens through the trees.


We learned our lesson! There is not enough DEET in the world to make this a comfortable time in Indian Heaven. We will return in late summer or fall when the mosquitos are gone. 


June 2021 – Emerging…but into a heat dome?

It is June 2021 and I am emerging from pandemic life a little more each day, like the cicadas from their seventeen year hibernation, or the Munchkins of Oz after the tornado dropped the house of the Wicked Witch of the East on them. Well not exactly like that. But I am slowly meeting more friends in real life, blinking at the brightness of their unmasked smiles; hesitantly, then greedily leaning into their hugs; ramping up our conversations of all the not shared words of the past fifteen months. Then I go home and recover from the intensity of the interactions, but feel more relaxed, more appreciative of life before the pandemic, when meeting my knitting group and chatting for a few hours was a weekly occurrence; when the warmth of shared interactions was not impeded by a cold glassy screen.

I know the global pandemic is not over, that many places are still locked down and in crisis. People anxiously await their vaccinations, as I did three months ago. People with young children continue sheltering until their vaccines are approved.  But it is time for us to go outside again…

Around town:

We are enjoying berry season! We went on several hikes (see the next post), and also to see the roses.


June 8 – Portland International Rose Test Garden – We visited during the week when Portland traditionally celebrates the Rose Festival, mostly cancelled this year due to Covid-19. On this showery day, we saw a full rainbow of glistening roses – appropriate for Pride month!



Knitting :

I have completed two projects – socks, and a donation hat. I have four works in progress: another donation hat, socks, a cardigan and a gnome:


Kroy socks


Donation Tam Topper



I also met in person with my knitting group a few times, still outdoors and careful, but no masks as we are all vaccinated. We visited the Knitted Wit Warehouse on her open house day, and I acquired some new yarn. I also got a pile of potential from our knitter’s destash table at one of our meetups. It is so hard to leave beautiful yarn behind, knowing it was all going to donation if not taken home by one of us. So not sure what I am making with these, but I love the colorful potential!


New skeins


New to me destash table collection

Quilting :

I finished the baby quilt and sent it along to the new little one.


What the heck is a heat dome, and why is it lingering around my neighborhood!

At the end of the month, we were challenged again, by the heat dome! A rare meteorological event that produced record high temperatures across the usually mild Pacific Northwest, and once again confined us to our indoor spaces for a few days. Fortunately for me, we have an air conditioned house, but it is not common in Oregon. As the temperatures rose and the air stagnated, I was reminded of my time in Tucson, AZ, when the summer temperatures were commonly above 100 degrees, but not in the 110’s! We are out of it now, but it was uncomfortable, and catastrophic for many. 

We resorted to making popsicles from our ancient Tupperware molds.


These neighborhood cactus plants were blooming and happy.


We are hoping for a mild July….

May 2021, part 3: Hiking

Three significant hikes:

May 5 – Weldon Wagon Road, WA

We returned to this favorite trail while the balsamroot were fresh, and the later season flowers were just beginning to bloom.


Open slopes of balsamroot along the upper trail.


Mt Hood view from the open trail.

Late season flowers:


Old plow at the turnaround.


Second growth firs viewed through oak trees.

May 11 – Saddle Mountain, OR

Another favorite trail – this time we were early for the full bloom, and saw fawn lilies in the upper saddle.

The alder trees in the lower forest had not leafed out yet. We made our way up to the prominent knob, admiring lots of early flowers in the alternating woods and open slopes.


Alder trees


The knob, and first view to the ocean.

Some of the early flowers:

Lilies along the first summit before the saddle:


Glacier lilies


Pink fawn lilies



View to the saddle and summit.


Prairie fire in the upper meadows.


Lewisia foliage – too early for flowers.


View of three Cascade peaks from the summit.

May 28 – Ridge Trail, Forest Park, Portland

This was our first time hiking the Ridge Trail in Forest Park.


This trail has an excellent view of the iconic 1930’s St Johns Bridge, over the Willamette River. 


The trail ascends 1000 feet from the start near the St Johns Bridge in North Portland, to the intersection with Firelane 7. We continued the loop on Firelane 7, the Wildwood Trail, and Leif Erickson Drive, before returning on the lower Ridge Trail for a total distance of 4.25 miles. Most of the time we were in the forest.


Through the woods…


Vine maples




Late trillium

We stopped to admire the bridge again on our return trip – sky a little bluer than when we began.




My next and last May 2021 post will be about our wonderful first post-Covid-vaccination trip to visit our daughter, in Washington DC.

May 2021, part 2: Garden, Knitting, Sewing

My garden:


Native irises


First roses

Our tomato plants are doing well – next we will add a few basil plants.


Walking in Portland:


California poppies


Same poppies on a cloudy day.



Meadow rue and allium


Colorful landscaping

And in the “weird” Portland spirit:


Fairy garden


Sidewalk interactive music box display


Mannequin arms on Yogurt Shop bench


First local Hood strawberries! (Not weird)

Knitting and sewing:


I am making progress on my bamboo Em Dash cardigan.


I’ve finished all of the parts of the albatross – assembly next.


I am close to finished with the red/brown socks. 


I started these green socks for travel knitting, made good progress on our DC trip. But I lost at yarn chicken. 

The pinwheel quilt for a new baby in the family is basted and ready for quilting:


I used this opportunity to knit Egg to Turtle for the big sister. I have had my eye on this Susan B Anderson pattern for a while, and enjoyed the opportunity to make it for someone.

I refreshed my mask supply for our flight to DC and travels there:


I have some garment sewing patterns queued up for stitching. I’ve been using my Jane Austen pattern weights:


And in other crafty news, my knitting group is planning a Big Hug-Show and Tell Back Yard Party later this month, after we are all fully vaccinated. It will be great to share all our knitting projects that we have only seen over ZOOM.

The month of May, 2021, part 1

Life is opening up again. We and most people we know are fully vaccinated, and thus we are beginning to live life out in the world again. In May I went to two museums; rode with non-“pod” members in the same car; dined at the homes of others, both inside and outside; shopped in a store for clothing; got my haircut in my stylist’s salon instead of on her back patio; and best of all, flew across country in an airplane to Washington DC, where I got to spend a few days with my daughter, and see her and other family members that I had not seen in 18 months. It has taken a bit of time to get reaccustomed to worldly life, in a cautious, Covid-safe manner. Yet I haven’t felt anxious about it – just taking the steps that seem safe at the time, and trusting all the good news about how great the vaccines are, THANK YOU, SCIENTISTS! But it means I have neglected the blog – too busy living life. So this is catch up time. This post will be about local activities, there will be other posts about hiking, crafting, and our DC trip. Onward!

Local Adventures:

May 3: South Waterfront Park – We took a walk along the river trail after I went to a health care appointment nearby. The former industrial area is slowly turning into a live-work-healthcare complex. The greenbelt along the river is being added to our urban trail system – though it is surrounded by construction in progress.


Tram tower; clouds reflected in the OHSU buildings.


We encountered a dead end at the south side of the trail.


We walked north, and looked at Portland from a new perspective.


Down the ramp to views along the Willamette River and under the Ross Island Bridge.


Tilikum Crossing Bridge beyond the Ross Island Bridge


The historic Queen Anne Poulson House at the end of the bridge.


It’s getting a new roof.


Up river view – Ross Island.

An art installation called ‘Cradle’ honors the indigenous people and natural world.



Cedar trees, oyster shells, cement, rebar.


Walking back upriver, we tried all the chairs in the greenbelt park.


The cement loungers were the most comfortable.

More flowers and reflections on this sunny/cloudy day. The residents of these apartments and condos have a lovely outdoor space. Someday I hope the path will connect farther north and south along the river.


May 7: Canemah Bluff Nature Park – This park is on a bluff above the Willamette River in Oregon City. I had heard that it is a great location to see native camas flowers in bloom, so we stopped by for a short walk when we were visiting Bosky Dell Native Plant nursery. We did see the last of the camas blooms.


From the bluff there are views downriver, toward Willamette Falls,


and upriver, across to West Linn.


Camas blooming on the rocky outcrops.


Camas, rosy plectritis and the nefarious poison oak!

May 9: Mother’s Day at home – My two sons joined us for an outdoor meal – our last “Covid” style meal before son #2 had completed his full two week vaccination window. My daughter joined us in spirit by having a decadent eclair delivered as I was speaking to her! It was delicious, shared four ways!


Eclaire from St Honore Bakery

May 13: Portland Art Museum – Friends had reserved tickets to the ‘newly reopened with limited entry’ Portland Art Museum. When their son couldn’t join them, we eagerly accepted a last minute invitation to see the new Ansel Adams Photography Exhibit. I have seen many Ansel Adams exhibits over the years. His name is almost synonymous with Yosemite National Park. As a child, my family camped in Yosemite every year, in the high alpine Tuolumne Meadows area. We hiked, fished and photographed the park. It is part of the lifeblood of my family. My father pursued photography with great passion, and followed Ansel Adams’ work. My husband and I used Ansel Adams Yosemite note cards as invitations to our very small home wedding in January of 1985, and spent our honeymoon at Yosemite Lodge. We purchased a print of an Ansel Adams Cathedral Lakes image with wedding gift money from my mother. I haven’t been back to Yosemite since 2006, but there is nothing like an Ansel Adams exhibit to fill me with that Yosemite feeling. How wonderful to walk among the large, beautiful images of his work, transported out of pandemic claustrophobia. Of course there were images of other places, and images by other artists, as part of the exhibit. This was one of those times when I marvel at the beauty and creativity of the human spirit.


Exhibit entrance


Lightening/shadow projected on the wall.


Sand dunes in the stair well.

May 30: Eugene, Oregon – Only two hours away, yet I had not seen my brother and his family since before the pandemic. We drove down, just for the day, had a lovely lunch in their garden, and took a walk through Hendricks Park, at the tail end of rhododendron season.


Sandy’s buddha




Primroses and rhodies


Stone wall

Of course we talked about old times, and my brother showed me our father’s slide rule, and some of his old campaign buttons.


May was a good month. Of course I know that not everyone is fortunate to be vaccinated yet. The pandemic and many other problems still/will always plague the world. We help where we can, but try to live as fully as possible, because that may not always be possible. The next post will include crafting in May 2021.

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:


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