Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Kendall visiting Manzanita, OR
Wishing all of you a happy and healthy new year.

Kendall and Gretchen

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Is it Christmas already?

Christmas is almost here, and I hate to say it, but things are running a bit behind around here. I'd love to say I had some really cute pictures of Kendall by the Christmas tree, but I don't. I had to borrow this one from the web. I'd give credit where credit is due, but I don't know whose it is. Things have been a bit hectic. We did get a small tree put up and my Christmas shopping is done, but not a single card went out this year. 

My mom passed away on Monday, so I've had a bit to deal with these past few weeks. As I mentioned in one of my October posts, my mom came to live with us and was able to stay with us until just after Thanksgiving when her health declined to the point that I could no longer give her the care she needed. We moved her to a wonderful foster home where she got excellent care right up until the end. She was one of four ladies living in the house. She was an avid Christmas card sender and has a notebook of cards sent and received for the past twenty years or so. As her cards are coming in, I'm sending back notes to let them know.

I have certainly learned a thing or two over the last four months! Here are just a handful of them:
  • Don't assume that one doctor is ever talking to another doctor and that they know what the other is doing.
  • The wheels on a walker can be put on the inside so it fits through a normal-sized door.
  • You're capable of handling a lot more than you ever thought you could.
  • Go with your gut when looking for a care facility. There are some great ones out there.
  • Be kind to your friends. They'll help you get through things.
  • If you want to fit a commode over top of your regular toilet, take the bar off across the back and you won't have to remove the toilet seat.
 I was able to make it through my grad school class with a B and will start a new class in January. I've decided just to chip away at the degree rather than taking two classes a term. Life's too short to spend it in school if I don't really need it for my career.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday. I hope to get back to my regular postings as soon as things calm down a bit.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Kissing Santa

Visiting with Santa Paws

Santa - I want a box of Greenies, some sweet potato treats, a new ball,  duck and sweet potato chewies, some new collars with bells for the cats...


Friday, November 5, 2010

Fall colors

It's been a weird wet, warm fall here in Oregon and the fall colors have been slow to come. Here's one of the trees from our back yard.

We have a plant in our back yard that I think is a camelia. I'm not much of a plant person, but the nice thing about this plant is it blooms in November and December. The blossoms just burst out over the past few days.

Kendall checking out the flowers

While I was out there taking pictures a hummingbird flew right up next to my head. It's so warm out today you'd think it was spring, but I know the cold and the rain are headed this way soon enough.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sometimes Life Comes at you Fast

We're not talking about insurance ads here. We're talking about real life. Things have changed quite a bit around our house in the last couple of weeks. My mom, who lived in Florida, is very sick. The decision was made to move her to Oregon so she would have access to better medical care and because she could no longer live alone. A week ago, she moved in with us. Prior to her moving in with us we had to get all of the carpets cleaned thanks to a kitty who didn't seem to know the appropriate place to urinate. We shuffled a couple of offices/bedrooms and outfitted a room for mom.

Kendall's adapting very nicely to having someone here all the time. She's getting great practice at being a therapy dog.

We've tried hard to make sure she's out having fun, too. There's doggie daycare on Tuesdays and the trips to the park when it's not raining too hard. Here are some random photos from this fall.

Just back from the groomer with her Halloween bows

Showing off her bows

Kendall, the wine snob
I'll try to keep up with the posts, but right now I'm juggling a full-time job, full-time caretaking, and grad school, among other things. My new mantra is "Breathe". If I keep taking things one day at a time I can figure it all out.

Monday, October 11, 2010

On the Road Again

Those of you who follow my blog know that I travel for work during certain parts of the year. This happens to be one of those times. I still have more pictures to post from vacation but that will have to wait until after this trip to New Jersey. Meanwhile, Kendall and the family are hanging out at home. I'm sure she's missing all of the deer and the adventures we had in Sunriver.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Cowboy Dinner Tree

One of the last adventures that we went on during our trip to Central Oregon was a trip to the Cowboy Dinner Tree in Silver Lake, OR. It's a restaurant located about 60 miles from where I was staying out in the middle of nowhere. You have to make a reservation, and when you do, you have to order your dinner. You only have a choice of a whole chicken or a 26-30 oz steak. I chose chicken and my husband chose steak. We really had no idea what to expect on our way there.
Cowboy Dinner Tree restaurant
 This is what the restaurant looks like from the outside. It's definitely not the kind of place you'd be driving along and decide to stop. It also had another building that was the waiting room/gift shop.

The waiting room/gift shop

Another view of the outside

This is where they cook all of the meat
Dinner comes with a salad, soup, yeast rolls, a baked potato, and dessert! Needless to say, there were a lot of leftovers to take home.

My chicken dinner

The steak dinner - no fat here

The inside of the restaurant
If you ever make it out to this part of Oregon, you have to go to the Cowboy Dinner Tree at least once. It was a fitting adventure to wrap up our vacation.

Now, it's back to reality. I head back to work tomorrow and Kendall is back to our usual routine. You can bet I'll be on the lookout for more adventures to blog about.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Oregon Outback

On Sunday, we drove out east on the Oregon Outback National Scenic Byway. I've been out that highway before but never knew that area was known as the Oregon Outback. As you head east, you definitely get into high desert country. The ponderosa pines give way to scrub brush and flat land. Then, you come across places like Hole in the Ground and Fort Rock.

Fort Rock
Here's Fort Rock from a distance. It was formed from volcanic activity. At one time, it was a big circle but wave action eroded one side. I read that this was called a tuff.

 You can drive up fairly close to one of the walls. Fort Rock State Park is a day-use park. There are hiking trails all through the area. We were on our way to dinner, so we didn't have a lot of time to spend here.

In the town of Fort Rock there is a museum where they have a collection of old buildings that they've brought in. On a previous visit we took time to go to the museum. It's well worth a visit. You also have to check out the tavern there in town - not the fancy, new restaurant but the local tavern. It's also worth a visit.

From there we headed off to dinner another 20 or so miles down the highway. That dinner deserves its own blog entry!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Lava Butte

Today Kendall and I drove up to the top of Lava Butte to take some pictures. Lava Butte is a cinder cone that juts up out of a lava flow outside of Bend. It's really spectacular to see and gives you a great view of the surrounding area. The nice thing was, it's one of the places that's included in our Northwest Forest Pass.
Image from the US Forest Service site
I've included a photo taken from the air because you just can't get a real feel for it from the photos I took. The road up winds around the outside of the cinder cone and stops on the top lip of the crater.

The view looking out from the parking lot at the lip of the crater

Mt. Bachelor

The other day I posted a picture looking out over the meadow with Lava Butte jutting up out of the landscape.
Lava Butte way in the background
 Well, here's a picture from the top of Lava Butte looking out over the meadow. The meadow is the yellow area in the back of the picture. They're doing controlled burns in the area, so that's smoke you can see hanging in the hills.

Looking out from Lava Butte over the meadow
Once you get up to the parking lot, you can climb even higher on a steep path up to the fire lookout tower. I left Kendall in the car while I walked up there. You can see her in the window of the VW station wagon.

This run of nice weather is supposed to end tomorrow. Perfect timing since the September adventures have run into October, and it's time to wrap up this vacation.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

This Blog is now Two!

It's hard to believe, but this blog is now over two years old. My first post was back on September 21, 2008. I started this blog so that we'd have a place to share our pictures of Kendall as she grew up. Now that's she's full grown, it's turned into more of a travel/social event blog. I never thought I'd be able to keep it up, but here it is two years later. There have been some lulls during my work travel, but all in all I'm happy with the way it's progressed.

Kendall at about 6 mo.

Fall in Central Oregon

 Fall is in full swing in Central Oregon. The aspen leaves have all changed and have almost all fallen off the trees. I love the sound they make when the wind rustles through them.

I've put a lot of miles on the bike since arriving in Central Oregon. I've also made good use of Kendall's Burley trailer. Kendall loves to go for bike rides. All I have to say is, "Let's go for a bike ride," and she's at the garage door ready to go.
Kendall's chariot

Could it get any prettier?

Looking out over the meadow

The clouds were amazing that day
I took these pictures the day I lost my camera. Luckily, the pictures of Kendall and the bike with the trailer clued the couple in as to whose camera they had found.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


There's no shortage of wild life near where I'm staying. I finally had the chance to use my "good" camera and the telephoto lens to take some pictures.

I noticed today that Blogger has made it much easier to upload pictures. I used to have to do them one at a time, but now I can choose multiple pictures. That can only mean one thing for you - more pictures!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Headwaters of the Metolius River

One place that we've been meaning to go for years but never seemed to find the time is to see the headwaters of the Metolius River. Most mountainous rivers start from several different trickles from snow pack runoff and then merge to make a bigger and bigger stream. The Metolius River is different, though. It bubbles up out of the ground at a single site and is fairly large from the very beginning.

We drove up to the headwaters on Saturday.
Sign on the way in on the trail

It's a nice quarter-mile walk from the parking lot to the viewing platform.
There it is. 

It doesn't look like much, but if you turn your head the other direction, you can see how much water is coming out of the hillside.

Looking the other direction

That's Mt. Jefferson in the background
We arrived here about noon, so the light was very harsh. I'd love to go back towards dusk or even early dawn when the light's a bit softer. It is a beautiful sight. The river is known for its fly fishing and people camp all along the river so they can fish.

Store at Camp Sherman

Camp Sherman is a little general store, fly-fishing shop, and post office. They also have gas available at some more modern pumps. There are cabins you can rent as well as various National Forest camp grounds with limited amenities.

From there we drove up to Suttle Lake, another place we usually blow by on our way to somewhere else. The lake was nice but it was right along the highway. I don't know that I'd choose it over some of the other lakes I've visited over the last few weeks.
Suttle Lake
There's a resort and restuarant at Suttle Lake as well as a day-use area with a nice beach. The restaurant is not dog friendly even though it has outside seating.

On the way back we stopped in Sisters, OR and the Sister's Fresh Hops Festival was going on. It was held in the park in the middle of town. It was dog friendly.

They had a big tent set up where you could get your tastes of beer and listen to music. They also had a large area outside where you could take your beer and food and enjoy the wonderful weather we were having.