Daytrip: Oregon Coast and Devil’s Punchbowl

Last weekend my family and I made another day trip.  This time we aimed for the Devil’s Punchbowl.  It is a circular outcrop at the base of a cliff where the center has eroded.  At minus-tide, you can walk into the center of it.  At high tide, it fills about half full.  During storms it can fill all the way to the top.  The viewpoint directly overhead was rather windy, but what a view! My husband and teenagers ventured down inside while I stayed up top to take photos.


My kids looking at the sea anenomes inside the punchbowl.


There are many viewpoints at which you can stop and take photos along the Oregon Coast hwy 101.  We stopped at a viewpoint just north of Devil’s Punchbowl and had a spectacular view overlooking Otter Rock and Devil’s Punchbowl.

My favorite view overlooking Otter Rock
Overlooking Agate Beach with many brave surfers


A bit further north we stopped at another viewpoint with great views.  A group of college aged boys were joking as they headed into the Lookout Souvenir shop “I must buy a refrigerator magnet!”

DSCF5023DSCF5008bridge oregon coast

As we headed north, we stopped for a frisbee-break at Tierra del Mar beach.  We tried stopping for lunch at Pelican Brew Pub in Pacific City, but couldn’t find parking.  We don’t usually go to the coast on the weekends, but wowza! Large crowds there.  There was extra excitement as a group of good samaritans helped lift a Subaru stuck in the sand as the tide was coming in.  They literally had to lift it out of the water and to dry land.  There are just a few beaches that allow cars on them.  (I’m not a fan of cars on beaches.) From Tierra del Mar we headed north all the way to Cannon Beach where we headed back to the heat and traffic of the Portland Metropolitan area.

Tierra Del Mar
Neakhani mountain
Neakhani Mountain
Tide’s coming in…
beach exercise



Fractured Fairy Tales

As a child who grew up in the 60s and was slightly warped by watching Bullwinkle cartoons, I have an affinity for fractured fairy tales.

I used to volunteer a lot at my children’s elementary school library and gathered a list of favorites, but I’ve added a few I might need to check out to buy for future grandchildren.  If you enjoy reading to children and appreciate a funny story, check these out:

Goldilocks and the 3 Hares, by Heidi Petach (my daughter loved this one!)

Goldilocks Returns, by Lisa Campbell Ernst

3 Spinning Fairies, by Lisa Campbell Ernst

Very Little Red Riding Hood, by Heapy & Heap

Little Red Cowboy Hat, by Susan Lowell

Ninja  Red Riding Hood, by Corey Rosen Schwartz

A Bean, a Stalk, and a Boy Named Jack, by William Joyce

The Cowboy and the Blackeyed Pea, by Tony Johnston

Cindy Ellen, by Susan Lowell

Cinder Edna, by Ellen Jackson

Dinorella, by Pamela Duncan

3 Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig, by Eugene Trivizas

Dusty Locks and the 3 Bears, by Susan Lowell

Prince Cinders, by Babette Cole

Seriously, Cinderella is SO Annoying!, by Trisha Speed Shaskan

Trust Me, Jack’s Beanstalk Stinks!, by Eric Braun

Cinder-Elly, by Frances Minters

The Trial of the Big Bad Wolf, by Liam Farrell

The Very Smart Pea and the Princess, by Mini Grey

True Story of the 3 Little Pigs, by Jon Scieszka

Goldilocks and the 3 Dinosaurs, by Mo Willems



I Inherited a Desk

My aunt and uncle called the other day. Would I like a set of dishes? Would I like a desk? While I was tempted by the dishes as I have a weakness for vintage china, I could not squeeze room in my china cabinet for one more teacup let alone an entire set. But when my uncle told me this desk had been in the family since the 1880s or so, he definitely piqued my interest. “Tell me more about the history”

He thought it was from his dad’s side of the family and was told someone made it maybe as payment for a debt, or to pay for his room and board. Or was it someone in the family made it? He didn’t know much and sounded like one who has been told the history of the piece when he was younger but hadn’t really been listening at the time. He mentioned someone had written a name on the underside of one of the drawers…maybe Morris or Maurice? Maybe he is the carpenter? My mind instantly jumped to “no…if it says Maurice then it is not from his father’s side, but his mother’s side. I knew in our family tree there is a Maurice who was his mother’s uncle.

Without knowing what it even looked like, I accepted. They are retiring to Mexico soon and can’t take it with them. I couldn’t take the risk of having it sold at a garage sale and disappearing from the family. I’m the sentimental old genealogist of the family so was their first choice to inherit the piece. Surely I can make room for a seventh desk in my house?

My husband and I arrived with our pickup to get the desk on the next sunny dry day. To my relief, it was a rather attractive, if not slightly primitive but not overly large desk.

While I had dreams of opening the drawers and finding them stuffed full of family letters, cards, and documents also dating back to the 1880s, alas, that was not to be. What a genealogy treasure that would be! My uncle did pass along several papers and more importantly a questionnaire booklet his mother had filled out decades ago. It was one of those school projects kids do …have your grandparent answer these questions about what life was like for them growing up. Nice find! While I already knew the answer to many of the questions, one certain question intrigued me. “Are there any family treasures that have been passed down in the family? In her answer she writes about the desk. My desk! Proof positive that it came from her family, not her husband’s.

As soon as the desk had been placed in our living room, I started pulling out all the drawers and inspecting them. There it was. In pencil “Maurice” in little boy handwriting. That would date the desk in the house by to around 1900 when Maurice was 6-10 years old. On another drawer was even more detailed writing. Maurice’s older sister Nellie had written the birthdates of herself and another sister. My genealogical records I found were off by one day. I had some corrections to do!DSCF2992

Although my little cottage style house doesn’t really have room for, or need another desk, I am grateful to be the recipient of this family treasure. A month ago I didn’t even know it existed. I managed to squeeze it in to my living room, and will need to do some adjustments to placements of all the furniture for it to look right. I am anxious to rehang the artwork on the wall behind it. (Yay, just what my husband loves…more holes in the drywall!) I have already decided I will use the desk to store all my genealogy research and little family treasures I have collected. The old books inscribed with family signatures will belong here. Great grandmother’s round box full of buttons will go there. Great grandfather’s desk clock will go there.  It will fit right in.

All because I inherited a desk.

Storm Front Arriving: A View from the Baseball Field

As I sat at my son’s baseball game on Sunday this week, an unforecasted, unexpected storm front moved in.  We watched as the thick ominous massive gray clouds worked their way towards us, as we sat in the hot sun under bright blue skies.  Wind started whipping us from behind. No one was prepared for rain, but being Northwesterners and baseball moms, we all had umbrellas in the car, alongside the bottles of water, extra coats, blankets, sunscreen, snacks, stadium seats, and folding chairs (you just never know what you’ll be needing.)  This was the championship game of a 4 day weekend tournament.  Please don’t get rained out!  Please don’t see lightning!  The wind started to hit us in the face, blowing the storm straight our way.

The player’s pants were waving in the wind, but the rain held off.  The game ended up being a blowout in just 5 innings as we had used up all our pitchers and had to put in boys that hadn’t pitched in 2 years.  My son, the catcher, ended up having to pitch the 4th inning. The 18U team won the day, defeating our 16U team.  The last required inning, our coach told the boys to go out and play any position they wanted – first come, first served.  They had a blast playing that last half inning, laughing and being goofballs, yet still trying to do their best.

The rain came down in buckets just minutes after loading up the car.


Home Made Cards

I have made home made cards for birthdays and events as long as I can remember. From cartoons, to pen & ink illustrations, to digital art, I’ve done them all.  Would it be easier to buy one? Of course.   Would a purchased card be prettier?  Probably. Would it be as meaningful? Probably not.

The cards I make may not always be picture perfect, but they are created with love.

This week I am celebrating my niece’s graduation from college.  I looked around at graduation cards and they all seemed so….blah.

I saw somewhere on Pinterest someone made an illustration using an embossing machine to create a raised flower image then filled it in with watercolors.  It looked fabulous.  I just don’t happen to own an embossing machine.  So I used the next best thing and used glue.  I outlined the flower in regular old Elmers school glue and let it dry overnight.  I filled it in with watercolors and was rather pleased with the results. Of course, I could have just drawn an illustration of a flower and called it good, but the glue adds an interesting three dimensional quality to it.  Next to work on my calligraphy skills…


The Best Mother’s Day Present

I received the best Mother’s Day present ever on Sunday.  It was exactly what I needed.

It was not a heart-shaped necklace.

It was not a sweater.

It was not a coffee mug with a butterfly on it.

It was not an expensive brunch at a local restaurant.

It was a letter.

A letter from my 16 year old son.  My youngest. These teenage years have been pretty rough on our relationship.  He pushes me away when I feel he needs me the most.  I want to teach him things. He does not want to learn.  I still have life lessons to share with him.  He already knows everything there is to know.  I feel he has too much time on electronics.  He feels he doesn’t have enough time.  He feels 5-6 hours sleep is plenty for a teenager on a school night.  I do not.  These battles have been going on between us for a couple of years now and they are wearing me down.

I received a phone call the morning of Mother’s Day from our daughter who is away at college.  My husband made breakfast for us as usual on weekends.  My son spent most of the day in his bedroom.  No cards, no flowers, no breakfast in bed.  I was feeling a bit sorry for myself and went in the yard to sit in the shade and actually read a book from start to finish guilt-free. That rarely ever happens.  At bedtime, I pulled back the covers and there on my pillow sat a folded piece of paper with the word “MOM” written in pencil.  My expectations were pretty low at this point, but when I opened it up and found a letter written to me by my son, my heart lurched just a bit.  A letter of apology.  A letter thanking me for trying to keep him on the right path.  A letter I really needed to hear.

In future, that’s all I really want for Mother’s Day.  A letter from my two children.  A letter from the heart.

The best Mother’s Day present ever.