Breathing (and quilting!) again…

November 11th, 2020 – Well yeah!!! Biden and Harris won the election! We will have a new administration in January! Action will be taken on the pandemic, on climate change, on humanitarian treatment of every person, with intelligent, informed, common sense in decision making.

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And, our new vice president Kamala Harris represents the breaking of the glass ceiling for so many underrepresented and often abused populations of people! What joy!


Halloween was  celebrated in a subdued way.

My neighborhood trees have gone through their beautiful color change cycle. Just today I walked through red, yellow and orange paved sidewalks. Rain is turning leaf piles to mush. The city clean up trucks are coming tomorrow.

For me, now that I know that our current president will be replaced by someone with decency, I can feel my stress levels decreasing. So many events this year involving breath – the coronavirus, the smoke from wildfires, the political morass…I am beginning to breathe more freely again!

Another thing I can do again has to do with my crafting. I love quilting and sewing, but for me it is a different sort of creativity than knitting. And for me, all the stress of the past four years has found its best relief in knitting. I am grateful, and I will keep on knitting. But on Friday night, when my son told me I really did have reason to be optimistic, I got the notion to pull out a languishing quilt top. Quilting is a different creation process to knitting, and not nearly as immediately satisfying as picking up needles and frantically knitting until I calm down a bit. I have already basted the quilt, and am making decisions about thread and pattern, so soon will be stitching.


Plaid Rectangle Charms quilt


I finished my Rio Calina scarf (Cat Bordhi).


I made a tiny Mochimochi Gnome.

I have no delusions that our national way forward will be easy. Almost half of the nation voted for our country to stay on the same path. I believe that people are allowed to believe whatever they want, but there should be a wall that separates church and state. White supremacy is wrong.  I and more than 75 million other Americans, not to mention millions of global citizens, have been holding our breath these four years, knitting frenetically in my case, waiting to be able to breathe again. When all the law suits and the recounts and the lame attempts at coup are done, we will all be inhaling deeply, exhaling freely, back on the path of decency, with many long hills still to climb, but a worst scenario overcome.


Knitting update, neighborhood walks, an art exhibit, and waterfalls…October 2020


My fingers have been busy:


Stripey socks – finished!


Rio Calina Cowl – getting longer, and I might just make it into a long scarf instead of a cowl.


Dissent Socks, in honor of Ruth Bader Ginsberg – I’ve finished the ankles – on to the heels!

Walks around the neighborhood,

New signs, whimsy, architectural elements:

Fall colors evolving…

I have been hunting witches and other Halloween displays, to be shared in a later post.

Portland Textile Month, Tiny Pricks Art Installation

We visited the exhibition window to see the stitchery, made by artists who embroider a quote onto a vintage textile as a form of protest. It is not how I want to spend my crafting time – but I was glad to get a chance to see a small sampling of the thousands of pieces that have been contributed to this crowd-sourced artwork.


Silver Falls State Park

October 19th – We hiked the 5 mile waterfall loop. It was hard to relax and enjoy the scenery –  there were a fair number unmasked, seemingly Covid-protocol-oblivious hikers. We cut our day shorter than usual. The waterfalls are always beautiful, and the light streaming through the yellow big leaf maples enchanting.


South Falls


Lower South Falls


Double Falls


Middle North Falls


Deschutes River/Ferry Springs Trail, Oregon – October 14th, 2020


Image 10-18-20 at 12.36 PMDeschutes River trail, a smattering of rain, it feels like walking through a purifying mist, and there’s no Covid out here.


Deschutes River


Rabbit brush


Sumac along the trail




Raindrops on leaves


Raindrops in the creek



A place to rest


Burned tree from 2017 fire


Golden grasses

I could be wrong, we have passed a few hikers, anglers, a hydrologist; there are boats on the river, workers on the railroad across the river, campgrounds and powerlines nearby.


Looking uphill to the east.


Our trail continues south, upstream.


Columbia Hills to the north.



Rocky cliffs


Seagull in the river


Maybe because in this low desert landscape, with golden light on the black cliffs and the dry grass of late summer, I feel like I can really breathe out here; the scent of the high desert, and a smattering of rain only enhancing the sense of free fresh air.


Climbing up the cliffs..



Golden grasses


Lunch view north.


Looking down at the river from our lunch stop.



Looking down to the river through the rock arch.

Up on the hill now after lunch, golden and desolate views of the rivers, views of the black volcanic rocks that used to enclose cascading waters of Celilo Falls, cascading waters that used to have salmon leaping up them every year, salmon leaping up into the nets of the Celilo people, before the dam.


Ascending the hills.


Closer view of the Deschutes/Columbia Confluence


Windmills on the hills, power transmission lines to the dam, cell towers, highways, train tracks, campgrounds, and yet I feel alone on this golden hillside.


Golden grasses


Dried balsam root will bloom bright gold in spring.


Approaching the upper Ferry Springs crossing.



Ferry Springs

I feel alone even though the powerlines are buzzing above us, the powerlines are transmitting the thoughts and bytes of millions, and yet I feel blessedly alone.


Its all downhill now to the trailhead.


Dry waterfall and power lines humming above.


Back down to river level, with power lines.

I’m not really alone of course – hiking with Dan, in a respite from the city; the desert is a place of wide open freedom – harsh, spiky, dry, rocky, steep, prickly; hidden hazards beyond each cliff, under every rock, yet wide open above, on an autumn day, I am lucky to be here, to be breathing freely.

Bonus content: More River otters! There were six otters playing in the river near the trailhead – 


River otters



River otters and ducks

Celilo Falls, Salmon fishing, before the dam:

“Courtesy of the U.S. National Library of Medicine”

Fresh Air at the Oregon Coast

September 20 to 23, 2020

We were able to reschedule our planned trip to the central Oregon Coast until after the wildfire smoke cleared out. We stayed in a hotel, brought our own food, and walked on the beaches and trails, following all the covid-safety protocols. Many of the parks and trails along the coast were closed due to the recent windstorms and wildfire smoke event, or due to Covid precautions. But all of the beaches were open for walking.

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Central Oregon Coast, and places we walked on our trip.

Sunday, September 20th

Yachats, Oregon

We arrived in Yachats in the evening, in time to walk along the rocky outcrops near our hotel as the tide was receding, and watch a lovely sunset, with pelicans and gulls.

Yachats sunset

Yachats sunset



Yachats sunset

Yachats sunset

Pelican peleton

Pelican peleton

Monday, September 21st –

Washburne to Hobbit Beach at low tide – A lovely three mile walk toward Haceta Head.


Tidal pools and sand bars on the beach as we walk south toward Haceta Head.


Rocky outcrop with tide pools.


Sea anemones, barnacles, and mussels.


Blue sky, blue sand.




Return walk north.


A skittering of sand plovers.


Sand plovers, doubled.

Darlingtonia Wayside

After our beach walk we continued south along the coast looking for more adventures. Our next stop was to see a swath of carnivorous plants.DSC03030DSC03026

North Jetty

We followed the north side of the Siuslaw River to it’s mouth and took a walk along the North Jetty, where we again saw pelicans and plovers.


Entry to the North Jetty.


Walking seaward on the North Jetty – those shadows in the distance are birds!


Another skittering of sand plovers! It makes me so happy just to watch them!




Pelicans and other sea birds far out on the jetty.


Pelican in flight!


I spotted one seal nearby.


The dunes and lifeguard tower near the North Jetty entrance.


A line of rocks in the estuary make perfect perches for the seabirds.


Pelicans and gulls on their perches.

Exploding Whale park

As we drove back toward Florence, this park caught our attention. It is named for the infamous attempt to dispose of a washed up dead whale with dynamite, on a nearby beach, about 50 years ago.


Local citizens voted for the park name.



A short walk here reveals nice views of the highway bridge, and the dunes to the south.


Haceta Light House

We stopped briefly south of Haceta Head in the early afternoon to see the lighthouse through the fog. On our return trip north in later in the day, the view was much clearer.


Haceta Head Lighthouse from the beach, through the fog.


Lighthouse from the highway viewpoint, early afternoon.


Lighthouse from the highway viewpoint, late afternoon.

Monday, September 22nd

Wax Myrtle Trail and Lagoon Trail, Siltcoos River

Campgrounds in this area were closed, and the trails were particularly empty on this beautiful September day.


The walk to Wax Myrtle Beach follows the Siltcoos River.


We spotted a heron in the estuary as we got closer to the beach.




We followed the Siltcoos River to the sea.


A line of sand dunes border Wax Myrtle Beach.


Dunes and beach.


We walked north to the mouth of the Siltcoos River, where birds were out on the low tide sandbars.




More plovers in the foreground!

As we walked back upriver on our return hike, another hiker pointed out three river otters who were swimming upstream and eating fish along the way. We followed along with them until they disappeared upriver. This is my first time seeing them in the wild!



All three otters in this photo – the third one in the upper left corner. They are very fast and hard to photograph!


We walked partway around the nearby lagoon, where these beautiful plants floated on the surface.



South Jetty, Siuslaw River

We drove back north toward Florence, and decided to drive out to the South Jetty of the Siuslaw River, just across from where we had walked on the North Jetty the previous day. There were plenty of people out there, also plenty of room to walk on beaches and in the dunes. 



Looking seaward between the jetties. The North Jetty lifeguard tower is on the horizon.


Waves crashing against the South Jetty. Not as many pelicans on the outer jetty.


South Jetty beach from South Jetty.


Seaweed on South Jetty beach.


Swash zone.


Looking south.


Sand dunes to the east all along the beach for miles.

Sunset in Yachats

We had a lovely colorful sky outside our hotel.


Wednesday, September 23rd Yachats

We woke up to wind, and predictions of a storm coming in. We walked a short way on the beach in the wind before heading north toward home.


Seal Rock and Ona Beach

On our drive north, we stopped to look at the Seal Rocks, in the wind. 


Seal Rocks to the south.


Seal Rocks to the north.

We stopped at Ona Beach, just to the north of Seal Rocks, and walked out to the beach.


Crossing Beaver Creek on our way to the beach.


Beaver Creek estuary


Squirrel getting ready for winter.


Ona Beach.


Windblown sand across the tidal flats.


Sand ripples, birds on the low tide bars.


These might be our last pelican sightings for the year.



Ona Beach, looking south toward Seal Rocks. Too windy to explore today – we will have to come back another time.

Rain started as we headed back to the car. I felt so refreshed from our few days in the fresh air and wide open spaces of the Oregon coast, and thankful that I could be there during this difficult year of pandemic, climate and political crises. 

9/20/2020 – Fresh air again

Sun out today, white clouds, blue sky, it looks the way it should.

Today we are going to actually do something.
Today we are going to the coast.

Today when I woke up I felt so helpless- thinking about the death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and all the political turmoil that is part of the way we live now, spiraling down through conspiracy theories of my own regarding the complete fall of our democracy bit by bit throughout this administration, and how it will go on if the election fails again.

And Covid, and wildfires, and the fact that I can’t hug my son, and seeing my daughter is risky…a whirling spiral life of anxiety….and I am priveliged to take a break but cannot really, though I have my home, my town – safe places for the most part, for now…

I woke too early, at 6 am with these thoughts. I opened Facebook and there my friend Helen was posting in the wee hours last night about her own anxiety, her fears. And so many people told her she was not alone, they shared her fears.

I am sitting here in the sun in my kitchen window, watching the post-wildfire-smoke neighborhood come back to life. We donated money to political, food assistance and wildfire relief organizations. We are going to take some long walks on the beach this week, and clear our brains a bit, return refreshed and newly ready to proceed under the most stressful circumstances of this year, do whatever we need to do, whatever comes next. I hope.

September – wildfires and smoke

September began with a heat wave, too hot for hiking. I went on my usual walks through the neighborhood, noting the late summer flowers and early signs of fall.

And I finished sewing my summer kimono robe.

We were planning some adventures after the Labor Day weekend, when the trails would be quieter. Instead, quite literally, all hell broke loose. In my last post, I expressed my “hope for a late summer without a local fire season.” I could never have predicted the late summer snowstorm in the Rockies that created an ‘unprecedented’ giant windstorm that swept westward across the continent, fanning the flames of wildfires in every combustible forest on the west coast of North America. We were safe at home, watching in horror, as the news kept getting worse.

Satellite photos from September 11th show the smoke being pulled far out to sea:

After the winds died down, the heavy smoke settled in, limiting visibility, and making breathing painful. We learned how to use the AirNow app to monitor our air quality, constantly refreshing the page, hoping for better results.

For six days I did not go out of doors at all – grateful to have a safe home to harbor in, knowing there were so many families evacuated, and many with their homes burned. Many have still not been able to return; meanwhile the firefighters, Red Cross, and all the social support services have stepped up to aid those in need. I have only gone out once, so far, to pick up a prescription and some groceries. Nobody is walking our neighborhood streets – the air has been too bad. Today it finally shows signs of improvement, and we may be able to step out in the next day or two.

September 16th – our first glimpse of the sun in more than a week.


Once again, knitting to the rescue. I have had time to finish a few projects:

And make progress on other projects:

Awake and say
“What time is it?
What day is it? What season?”
No sun,
but not dark,

End of summer in a strange year
when all the cues are gone,
and now gone again.
Most things closed down again.
Wildfire smoke blankets our part of the planet.
Fall approaches, but is it the fall of our civilization? Or autumn?
Invisible viruses still pervade the air.
Not quite invisible smoke particles dim our sight, harm our lungs.

A metaphor for the insidious gloom covering our entire nation in an unprecedented election year, the outcome to determine how we will breathe going forward.


Eleven Lakes and a bear in Indian Heaven Wilderness, and more pandemic knitting

We took two hikes in Indian Heaven Wilderness, a beautiful patch of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest between Mt Adams and Mt St Helens in southern Washington. A few small volcanic peaks rise above the rolling forested landscape that is also spotted with dozens of lakes, and covered with ripe huckleberry bushes in August.

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August 20, 2020 – Indian Racetrack Lake and Red Mountain


Trailhead into the forest


Racetrack Lake – the only lake on this hike


Looking Across Racetrack Meadow to Red Mountain


View of Mt Adams on the way up to Red Mountain


Closer view of Mt Adams,


And closer.


Nearing the top of Red Mountain

Views from the top:

Mt Hood beyond Red Mountain Lookout


We climbed up to the viewing platform on the lookout.


Some other hikers pointed out a bear cub down on the other side of the mountain, eating huckleberries.


Looking back east at Mt Adams – clouds now covering the top


Mt St Helens to the north


And starting down again, we can see our trail dropping into the woods, and beyond we see the spine of Indian Heaven Wilderness: Berry Mountain, Gifford Peak, burned East Crater, and Lemei Rock.

Some details along the trail:

Lily pads and grass, Racetrack Lake


Falls Creek

Hike #57, 6.8 miles, 1500 feet

August 28, 2020 – Thomas Lake trailhead to Junction Lake

The other ten lakes were seen on this hike.


Once again we enter the forested wilderness…


Thomas Lake


Heather Lake


Dee Lake


Eunice Lake


Nuha Lake


Rock Lakes


Unnamed lake beyond Rock Lakes


View of burnt East Crater from the Old Cascade Crest trail segment


A glimpse of Mt St Helens as we cross the shoulder of East Crater


Unnamed lake near the trail junction


Junction Lake, our turnaround point

Some details along the trail:

Reflections in the lakes…



Huckleberry bushes turning red


Mountain ash berries




Most likely the last beargrass bloom of summer


And another view of Mt St Helens above Eunice Lake on the descent.


Hike #58, 6.8 miles, 630 feet.

Meanwhile, we are floating along through more days of pandemia – some days we see no one at all, only virtual connections to the outside world. Our neighbors leave us tomatoes. We leave them apples and plums and wave across the rose bushes. Downtown is still burning up with civil unrest while I go on placidly through the days of late summer, of pandemia, of this administration… I virtually hold my breath, knock on wood, pray, cast spells, wish for a begin to a return to ‘normalcy’; hope for a late summer without a local fire season, hope for a scientifically tested efficacious vaccine, and hope for a fair election that will allow us to emerge from impending climate change, covid and facism. And I knit…

Knitting –

I cast on a hat and some socks…


Rafa by Joji Locatelli, Malabrigo Arroyo, Blue green


Sock, Berroco Sox yarn

Neighborhood sights:


fern shadows


Poetry Post


yard sign


neighborly tomatoes

And nationally…

My daughter attended the 57th March on Washington,

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The march

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Lincoln Memorial


The Mall

-and this artwork crossed my social media feed:


I am still struggling a bit with the new WordPress format….

Another couple of pandemic weeks with a birthday, two hikes on Mt Hood, and knitting…

8/17/2020 – I’ve had a birthday, which we celebrated with a hike and a socially distanced takeout Thai dinner with our two sons. Despite the palpable pandemic/political chaos tension in the world I have much to be grateful for. Although I am missing having our usual summer get togethers with extended family, so is everyone in the world right now. I am especially grateful that we saw almost every relation last year, between two weddings and a graduation trip to the east coast. My latest acromegaly lab tests all look good, and, we are eating homegrown tomatoes and basil almost every day.

Birthday cake, flowers from my daughter,
and a few lovely presents.

I have been knitting, knitting, knitting away on a few projects, fingers keeping the anxiety away.

My neighborhood walks continue to reveal signs of encouragement and solidarity.

Also in the neighborhood, late summer flowers, shadow play, interesting architectural elements, and tinges of the autumn ahead….

Two hikes on opposite sides of Mt Hood  –

Burnt Lake August 5, 2020

My birthday hike on the west side of Mt Hood was mostly through shady forest, on a hot day, with a few stream crossings, and late season flowers. The other time we hiked here the mountain was under a cloud, so today we were very glad to see the beautiful reflections of Mt Hood in the lake. Hike #55, 8.5 miles, 1500 feet.


The shady forest


Tree scorched in the early 1900’s.


Mt Hood, Burnt Lake


Mountain close up



Notable flowers and plants:

Newton Creek to Timberline Trail,  August 10, 2020

We started from the Elk Meadows trailhead, then walked uphill along the Newton Creek Trail, stopping for lunch near the Timberline Trail junction where we enjoyed lovely views of Mt Hood and Gnarl Ridge. We then walked south on the Timberline Trail toward Mt Hood Meadows for a short distance before turning back. Hike #56, 7.7 miles, 1600 feet.


Moon over Clark Creek


Newton Creek trail


Ghost tree in the forest


Gnarl Ridge beyond Newton Creek




Downstream, fireweed


Mt Hood ahead


Lunch view of Gnarl Ridge


Gnarl Ridge closeup


We saw a few tiny hikers crossing Newton Creek on the Timberline Trail.


Glacier closeup


The peak


Backside of pea gravel ridge, which we walked along as far as the descent into Clark Creek.


Return hike down Newton Creek.

Editing note – This is my first post with the New WordPress Editor, so there are lots of formatting inconsistencies. Not loving it, but I suppose I will get used to it as I continue hurling forward into the future, keeping my synapses sharp by constant novelty….

NZ2020: Days 7 and 8, Queenstown

January 31, 2020

After our morning hike near Lake Wanaka, and then our drive over the Crown Range Road, our guide dropped us off at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Queenstown, at about 3 pm. We were directly across from the waterfront, in a walking friendly area of restaurants, shops, and booking agents for any amazing outdoor activities one could wish. My husband was able to schedule a quick dental appointment for a tooth that was acting up. We did our laundry, had a delicious dinner at Bombay Palace, and walked around the harbor area.


Queenstown Harbor and the Remarkable Mountains from our hotel lobby.


Choose your adventure here!


Lots of people enjoying buskers along the waterfront.


Pier walk.


The Wakatipu Vessel by Virginia King depicts a waka (Maori canoe). This is just across the street from our hotel.


February 1, 2020

The next day we wandered around, and explored this beautiful setting. We were surrounded by views of Lake Wakatipu, the Remarkable Mountains, and Ben Lomand. Dan was able to get a haircut, and we did a little shopping in a craft fair that was set up in the park.


The poem Waipounamu by David Eggleton is inscribed in a long ribbon along the harbor wall.



Each phrase evokes an image or a moment in history of this place.


Local geology is highlighted in this plaza.


Kiwi imagery.


A giant Kiwi sculpture.

After lunch we  walked through the arboretum.



Fern sculpture.


Lily pond


Carved support for a huge tree.


Another view…


We looked back to see the Skyline Gondola going up Bob’s Peak, gateway to the Ben Lomand Trail, which was on our agenda for later in the week.

My google map showed me a “Bench with a beautiful view” at the far end of the peninsula. That seemed a worthy goal for our wanderings.


It was a bit windy, but felt good to sit for a bit.


Looking east from the bench.


Looking west from the bench.

Later, we ate dinner at a Thai restaurant with a window overlooking the harbor and mountains, and then took an evening stroll westward along the shore of Lake Wakatipu.  It had been a relaxing day filled with beautiful views and about 5 miles of walking.



The TSS Earnslaw, a 1912 coal powered steamship.


Double Cone Peak, Remarkables.

We carefully repacked our luggage. Tomorrow, the first day of the rest of our guided tour, would include an overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound.


The Remarkables beyond The Wakatipu Vessel in evening light.

Posting from my peaceful Portland neighborhood –

A trifecta of crises descends on my town –

I have been distracted from posting by current events. All I have been able to think about is how my community has been attacked by our own government. Federal gestapo-like forces have invaded Portland’s mostly peaceful Black Lives Matter protests and demonstrations, and created a war zone in the four downtown blocks around the federal building. Click-bait and spot news entertainment have focused on the four square blocks of federally-incited violence that occurs after most demonstrators have gone home. The leadership void in DC is trying to distract from inept pandemic management and interrupt local progress toward ending white supremacy. The ‘stormtroopers’ sent by a failed president are causing the violence. Today there is an announcement of an agreement to withdraw the troops. Our state and city have serious antiracist/police reform legislation proposals underway. I am cautiously optimistic.

I am speaking from a condition of white, middle class privilege. I myself have not been downtown, although I know people who have. I am of an age and health situation that I  think the best thing I can do to help is to stay home, not contribute to spreading Covid-19. I stay aware of what is going on, donate money, and hope that the trifecta of political, economic, and public health crises our country is experiencing will begin to resolve after November elections.

I honor the Black Lives Matter protesters. I appreciate the wall of moms, the dads with leaf (teargas) blowers, the wall of vets, the volunteer medics, street cleaners, and cooks, all the folks who have put themselves on the line to keep the conversation about systemic racism and police reform going.


Meanwhile, in my neighborhood…

The quiet and calm in my neighborhood are uninterrupted. I see signs of support and blooming flowers on my walks.

We have been eating sungold tomatoes and basil from our garden, and we’ve celebrated another family birthday.

I seem to be obsessed with knitting dishcloths and have also cast on a new sweater.


We have been out hiking in the past two weeks to places we have been before.

Lookout Mountain, July 22, 2020

Wildflower meadows and views of nine Cascade volcanoes, from Mt Rainier to Broken Top. Hike #53, 3.5 miles, 650 feet.


Mt Adams beyond the wildflower meadows of High Prairie.


Mt Hood from the volcanic spire overlook.


Glacier close up.


Mt Adams from the summit approach trail.


Mt Hood from the summit approach trail.


Washington Cascades from the summit.


Oregon Cascades from the summit.

Notable wildflowers:


Salmon River, July 28, 2020

A mostly shaded trail on a hot day along the Wild and Scenic Salmon River through old growth forest on the slopes of Mt Hood. Hike #54, 4.5 miles, 300 feet.


Peaceful lunch spot along the river…





monkey flower


Notable flowers…


Ghost pipe


Clarkia and blue gillia on a sunny cliff

Finding some peace in the old growth forest…