Reading the Bones

Happy Best Day of the Year!

Since today is my High Holy Day, I took a half-day from work so I could come home and finish up all those little last-minute things before our Party tonight, including turning the pouch for Nathana's "finger bones" into something he could wear around his neck:

now with realistic rattling action!
If you're confused as to what the heck costume requires wearing bones around your neck, it's this one:

The Onion Knight
And if you're still confused (and I don't blame you), I shall point you towards this for Nathan's costume (and this for mine, because they come from the same universe).

Now, check us out!
Official Portrait
Other Official Portrait

And here we are, supporting our Chosen Monarch, IStanis Barathepig:
The First and Most Confused of Her Name
Eventually I'm going to photoshop an antler-crown on her head.  It'll happen- you'll see.

Oh, and if you're wondering about that hint of green on Nathan's gloves:
...that's what post-production is for.


Ghost in the Glass

A group of us went on a Haunted Pub Crawl this evening.
we meet them coming and going
It was... well, it was cool to hang out with my friends, quietly ad lib-ing our own embellishments onto the less-than-stellar storyteller's awkward recitations.

("We'll pass a leather store-"
"Which is haunted by the ghosts of slaughtered cows!"
::snicker snicker::)

(We should just make our own tour)



Something wonderful happened at work today.
It called for leaving a little early and getting a drink.


On Memory's Wings

Once upon a time, my family lived in Spain.

(and by once upon a time, I mean within my lifetime)
 My mother bought jewelry during our time there, and eventually passed some of it down to me.

(Someday I'll go back, and buy some damascened pieces to pass on to loved ones of my own)


A Small Taste

...of what was awaiting me at work after my ten days away...


The Fourth Steep

Spent today on the couch, under the wretched-thumb of Miserable Plague Misery.
cure me, gypsy cold cure


Perchance to Dream

Sometimes these photos are a last-minute thing.
like tonight


Old and New

My new ring, paired with an old favorite.
i love all things copper and snuggly


Gone With Gold

Last night we decided to spend today prowling around Joseph...
She sees what I did there.  Oh yes she does.
 ...but the overnight winds were so strong that our tent poles were occasionally inverted (so exciting to wake up to metal one inch from your face!), and when we got up this morning there were storm clouds threatening, plus Nathan felt Something Terrible trying to take up residence in his throat, and so we decided to pack things up early, spend half the day hanging out in Joseph, and the other half heading home to Timaru, where walls stay where they've been put.

One of the neat things about Joseph is the abundance of really nice bronze statues:
Making friends.  With a shirtless cowboy.  As you do.
 We did a bit of shopping, as well (what vacation is complete without spending more money?!), and Nathan got himself a souvenir fish hat, and I got some hand-crafted jewelry (see the earrings below!) from the neatest little shop (I knew I would love it when I saw the dragon over the door).  We also made time to buy postcards for the niblings, and then of course we had to fill them out, so naturally we chose to do so in the local chocolate shop.  Again, staffed by amazingly friendly people.  I don't know what they put in the water here, but it's working.
or maybe it's in the chocolate?
 Once we'd gorged ourselves upon sweets and hospitality, we shoved the post cards in a mail box and headed out for the long drive home.

(When road tripping with a photographer, one must always budget 1/3 again more time.  At least.)

Just as we'd long wanted to go see Palouse Falls, we'd also wanted to stop at the tree farm we always see during our drives to Spokane.  As it turns out the place is called GreenWood, and it makes for exactly as lovely photos as we'd thought it would:
Poplars?  I think?  Who is knowledgeable about trees?  Share your wealth!

And now we are home.  And going to bed.  Because it is not late, but we are quite sleepy.


Slice of the Road

Ah, our first full day in Wallowa!

After chatting with some friendly strangers yesterday evening, we decided to head on up to Hell's Canyon Overlook.  Our original plan (you know, the one we had before car troubles and road closures) had us exploring Hell's Canyon, so being able to view it via the overlooke had a certain appeal.

The drive up there was beautiful in and of itself, and consisted of many pulling-over-to-the-side-of-the-road-to-take-photos-moments:
(actually part of a failed panorama)

Oh look!  A rare photo of the two of us that does not involve Nathan scowling at his camera in the background, or the expanse of my arm reaching out to the lens...
recreate-ing SO HARD right now
There wasn't much actual hiking involved with any of this, so after we got back down out of the higher altitudes, I demanded that we go do a little hike near the campground that someone had mentioned the night before.  It was about 2.5 miles round-trip, and involved a waterfall, so it sounded pretty much perfect to me.

As it turned out, it went beyond the reasonable-expectation-of-perfect right into actually perfect, because we were the only ones on the trail.  And because we were the only ones on the trail, and knew that no one would be starting the hike so close to sunset, we let Isis be off-leash for the return trip.
my loves  (some of them)
She did quiet well, as it turned out: she alternated between walking between us and ranging ahead, but would wait when I gave her the command (which I only gave if she was getting out of sight).  It gives me great hope that someday, someday, she might actually be 100% reliable off-leash.  But not just yet... I feel strongly that a large part of her cooperation was due to being tired from the first half of the hike.  Knowing your dog's (or child's) limits is a large part of raising them properly, I suppose.

We came back into Joseph for dinner, and decided to try out a different brewery.  Mutiny was swankier for sure (in the way where I count local carving and photography as marks of swank), but delivered the same delicious food and friendly service.  I'm beginning to wonder if it's even possible to have a bad food experience in this town.


My Focus

We're back on the road again today:
Taking off before the sun comes up!  Sorry loved ones!

 and we spent much of the morning drinking in the beauty of western Idaho.

pretty impressive
Looking over Lewiston
Looking over Nathan looking over Lewiston
 The nice thing is that we actually had a destination in mind: Nathan did some research over the weekend, and decided that we needed to check out Wallowa Lake State Park.  If it was everything he thought it would be, he could see us doing many trips out this way.

(spoiler alert: we're going to be making many trips out this way)

We got her early enough to set up camp and get dinner at a great little place in the nearly-unbelievably-charming town of Joseph.  We chose Ember's because there were three dogs hanging out with their people on the deck, but as it turned out the food was every bit as enticing as the hospitality.  My burger was possibly bigger than my face.  And delicious.  And people cooed over Isis, so obviously this town is amazing and full of intelligent, discerning individuals.

Also it basically looks like the Bavarian Alps around here.  It's insane.  Words don't do it justice.  Neither does my iPhone.

After dinner we headed back over to the lake so Nathan could attempt some sunset photos...
that guy
...while Isis and I explored the shoreline.

The sunset was a bit sulky about things, so we ended up heading back to the camp with enough light to let us get the fire started without using headlamps.  And, as it turns out, the fire-making lessons my brother gave us really work, so we had a roaring fire in no time flat, swiftly followed by roasted marshmallows because why else do you go camping?


Coeur D'Alene

Today's Grand Adventure was venturing into Coeur D'Alene, about which I have heard many wonderful things but had never actually been to.  Which, when you consider I've never actually been to Idaho (driving through at top speeds on a 3000 mile road trip doesn't really count), makes sense.

Anyway, now I've been- and it was lovely!

Nathan, Chelsea, Eaglet and I all went together, and our first mission was to find some delicious lunch, which we did at a little place called Cafe Carambola.  Seriously you guys- if you are in CdA, you need to eat there.  Holy cats, everything was so amazing.  Plus the workers were super sweet.

Anyway, after that we headed down to the charming downtown area, strolling in and out of shops and investigating such important cultural touchstones as Mrs. Honeypeep's.
Then we headed over to a magnificent playground*, which included a small-children's playing area that kept Eaglet engaged for approximately negative three seconds before he went tearing off for the Real Deal, his Auntie Jenny O scurrying behind him.

Kid has good climbing instincts, that's all I'm saying,

So an excellent time was had by the two of us (and Nathan and Chelsea seemed entertained by our antics), but eventually we abandoned the playground to do a hike around Tubbs Hill.  Chelsea carried Eaglet for a while, but eventually gave in to my begging to let me take him.  He was a pretty good passenger, but I was reminded of why one has to build up to carrying a 30 pound pack for miles on end... (and by miles on end I totally mean only two miles.  If that.)

There were some excellent views on that little hike, but unfortunately my little iPhone was not equipped to handle the high contrast, so you don't get to see any of my shots.  Maybe I'll come back and add some of Nathan's, once they're processed...

*oh my goodness watch the first video on this page it's so great!


Autumn's Gifts

After yesterday's lounging, I was adamant that we get out and Do Something today: in specific I wanted to Do Something Iconic, which translated to going and picking apples.  So in the afternoon we headed out to Walter's Fruit Ranch,to pick apples.
By which I mean, obviously, EAT apples.
The part of the orchard we wandered about in had braeburn (pretty good), red delicious (better than in the stores, that's for sure) and golden delicious (my favorite as a kid, and these reminded me why).

I call these Snow White apples.
So we ate more apples than perhaps strictly advisable (Isis included), and then filled up Chelsea's purse with a few more and headed back to sort of carnival that was going on.

As it turns out, lots of things were going on, including baby bouncing:

Look at how completely calm and collected Eaglet is.  We'd been a little skeptical about him enjoying this one, since he'd protested the pony-ride at a mighty volume, but as it turns out the pony ride was just too tame for his bad self.  Damn, bitches.  Lesson learned.

Also going on was some sort of corn cannon thing:
for fighting off the pumpkin invasion?

Turns out good marksmanship isn't much help when your projectiles are so variable.
Sadly my brother did not win us $100.  But we felt pretty well rewarded, regardless.
still nomming his apple


Tiny Monster

Today was a pretty lazy day.  The guys spent most of it watching football...

(so did the dogs)
...whilst Chelsea and I wandered in and out, and out and in, and ran errands and jabbered and played with Eaglet and planted bulbs in the most resentful way possible (we are neither one of us what one might call 'natural gardeners', and thus tend to think many of the requirements are more like suggestions we can just ignore).  All in all a nice, domestic sort of day.

The highlight was actually in the morning, when Eaglet and I had a pajama dance party in the living room.  That boy likes to shake it, shake it, that's for sure!  But so do I, so that worked out well.

And then there was an additional highlight when a package from my mom arrived, full of exciting things, but none so exciting as Eaglet's new slippers:
Perfect for Rampaging

Much delight was taken in knocking over block towers, I tell you what.


A Family Affair

We spent all of today chasing light around the Palouse from one butte to the next...

and playing guitar!
...but after dark we finally made it to my brother's house in Spokane, where we were treated to delicious curry for dinner, and dessert was strawberry shortcake made with the most amazing gluten free angel food cake!  The whipped cream was made from scratch, too.  And not with a blender, oh no- four grown-ass adults stood around whisking and bitching about how hard it is to whip cream by hand.  And then we moved it into a larger bowl and it got a bit easier.
How many people DOES it take to whip cream?

(I feel fairly certain that the ghost of my pastry-chef great-grandfather is rolling his eyes as our collective wussiness.)


To the Edge of the World (With You)

And we're finally off!

(Nevermind what time we actually left the house.  That's not important.)

Our first stop is the Palouse Region in Eastern Washington, specifically Palouse Falls State Park.  They have a pretty decent little camping ground here, which is nice, since I thought about it and realized that this is actually the very first time Nathan and I have been camping with just the two of us.
okay, just the three of us
I'm pretty quick at setting up our campsite (lots of Smith practice), which freed Nathan up to scout around for good sunrise locations.

And, you know... go get us some dinner from the closest town.  Which isn't actually that close.  But it was delicious!  Thanks, Sonny's Great Food!  Your sign was not false advertising!


Like a Boy Scout

It is a well known fact that Lists help the Jenny O feel Calm and In Control (regardless of the actual situation).
mmm, crossing things off...
Today is the first day of our vacation, and it's a good thing we'd already decided that this was going to be a very unstructured vacation, because so far very little has going according to our (very loosely defined) plan.  The car is in the shop (and has been there since 0730 on Monday morning), several of the roads we wanted to use are closed for repair, and other roads that are open simply aren't designed for our little commuter car.


We're using today to very calmly clean the house and meticulously pack the car (or, rather, meticulously pile things onto the table to be shuffled into the car in the morning) and try to replan where the hell we're going and what the hell we're doing (other than camping).

One thing's for sure- we'll be together, so it will be fun.

(Or I'll know the reason why.)


My Old Friend

I helped paint an accent wall this evening.
a process which goes shockingly fast when you have three ladies on the job
I must admit, it's possible my anal retention really comes through when it comes to stuff like painting walls.  I almost couldn't bear not to have all my "specialty tools" for the job.




One of the downsides to camping is that afterwards you have to do all that post-camping stuff, like drying/airing out your tent.
so much material


These Chains Set Me Free

Wolf Rock:  I am a big, big fan.
This is the "looking the other way" view from what I usually post at the top of a route.

I did a 5.10 that challenged me, which was a really good feeling to have, after months of just sort of "maintenance climbing".  It made me determined to get back to the gym more regularly and up my game.

(I definitely look forward to coming back next summer, and spending a lot more time on this rock.)

Anyway, after we finished we headed down to a little hot spring (well, more of a warm spring) and got our soak on.  So.  Glorious.  It had been way, way too long since I'd gotten my outdoor nudity on, let alone frolicked in a hot spring.  But Nathan says he's willing to do hot-spring-specific hiking with me, so maybe it won't be such a long gap between this experience and the next...


The Dream

Unbelievably gorgeous day at Smith, and here is my proof:
taken from the top of a 5.8

The wind was super strong, tho'- so strong that at certain parts of the climb I had to just cling to the rock and wait for it to die down.  It made me glad I only led the one route, that's for sure (what with the insanely busy schedule of the past five months I haven't been climbing much- and it shows in my rusty skill-set).

Anyway, as gorgeous as it was, it was also a frickin' circus.  Way, way too many people to deal with.  We climbed until about 3pm, and then packed up our stuff and headed for Wolf Rock.  Well, technically we headed for a camp site about 45 minutes from Wolf Rock, which we'll be tackling tomorrow.  Woo!


Late Night Arrival

I'm doing a camping/climbing trip down at Smith with some buddies, but we didn't leave until after work, which means we got here pretty late.
pretty super late, actually
It's cool, tho', because as it happens I have as much experience pitching my tent in the dark as I do in the light.  Weird, I know.  But true.  Luckily it's a super-easy tent to pitch.  Strangely large for just one person tho'...



Kousa Dogwood Compound Berry


A Fall of Leaves, Inverted

Sometimes things are just pretty.
this is one of those times


Wood is Soft, but Bone Remains

Another callback to August:
as you can see, there's been a change

Yup, my wooden ring- my anniversary ring- has cracked and lost a piece of itself, revealing the underlying structure of antler.

Personally, I think it's better this way (although I'm annoyed at the "crafts person" who charged my husband for a faulty product)- but then I prefer bone to wood, as far as my wearable art goes.  Too bad nobody thought to make "bone" a traditional wedding gift...

...or did they?


Harlequin Glorybower Revisited

I have mentioned before that I have a favorite tree: here it is again, no longer flowering but seeding.
always lovely


Secret, Safe

We don't have a walnut tree in either of our yards, and there's not one in either of the neighbors' yards, so it was a source of puzzlement to me that walnuts kept appearing on our property in what I would count as frankly bizarre locations- not buried in the ground or hidden in some leaves, as you might expect, but perched on top of recycling bins, or balanced on the edge of the stairs.

I just now happened to look out my upstairs window and saw a squirrel, moving at an eye-catchingly-slow pace along the top of our front fence (a bounding squirrel wouldn't have made me think twice).  I watched him as he stopped and- these are really the only correct words for it- carefully and precisely placed this walnut on the backside of our fence.  He even sat back on his haunches as if to admire the effect.  Satisfied, he scampered off to his next errand.
Super Hidden

So now I know: we have a squirrel with all the nut-hiding prowess of a three-year-old at Easter.

(at least I don't have to worry about any walnut trees springing up)