what a week!

Life, Travel and Other Adventures

Raf and I went on an interesting hike at the Columbia Gorge last weekend. Again we found it in “100 hikes in Northwest Oregon” and it proved to provide us with all kinds mystery. Again. This time the hike referred to a trail that that barely existed. We finally found the trail by chance and followed it but it was very rustic.

The story behind this place is interesting. It is Tooth Rock and it used to be the old Columbia River Highway. Here’s what the book says on page 118:

When Engineer Samuel Lancaster laid out the original Columbia River Highway in 1913, he decided not to tunnel through Tooth Rock, a basalt shoulder of Wauna Point that juts out over the river. Instead he perched the narrow roadway on a perilous-looking viaduct, a half-bridge clinging to the cliff’s face. The resulting viewpoint was so impressive that Model T drivers often stopped to gawk – and were sometimes rear-ended by the next car” – William L. Sullivan.

Sounds interesting doesn’t it? Well, it really isn’t that spectacular. In modern days the view is of the Bonneville Dam. Oh well. It was an adventure.

Speaking of adventures, our apartment complex was the scene of this little news story. It was quite the story in our little town here. The scariest part of it for us was that Raf almost walked right into it when he went outside to check the mail. He called me to ask if I could check the news to see what was going on, that the manager’s house was surrounded by armed FBI agents. So, yeah. Big news. I’m not happy that the the tenants of the freaking complex were not notified that this was happening. The least that could have been done was put some police tape around the area, blocking people from entering the crime zone.

So there’s my little rant of the week.

Have a good weekend!

the one where I update you on some happenings.


The sun has actually come out in the PNW. Can you believe it? This photo was taken last weekend when Raf and I decided to go for a walk at Powell Butte in Portland.  What a great place! And right in Portland. Another reason why I love living here. When you hike to the top of the butte you get views of Mt. Hood (of course) but on a clear day you can also see St. Helens and, I think Jefferson, too. Sadly, there were too many clouds on the horizon so we didn’t get a view of St. Helens. However, I did get to see it while driving around on Wednesday which was the clearest day I’ve ever experience since I moved here. I was so stoked!

I’ve been distracted by the internet. My latest little obsession is DailyMugshot.com. You take a picture of yourself everyday and the site puts together a kind of digital flipbook of all of your photos so you can see how you change through time. The site is inspired by JK Keller’s Daily Photo project which I have always found fascinating. So I thought, what the hell. I’ll do it. You can see my mugshow in the sidebar or on Daily Mugshot.  Kind of a weird, silly thing, but fun at the same time.

I’ve been thinking for some time that I should update you all on my Kombucha Tea adventures.  Unfortunately we had to give it up. A few months ago I rushed Raf to urgent care because we thought he had appendicitis. It turned out to be an ulcer. We ended up cutting out acidic foods and drinks from his diet and the tea was the first to go. Kombucha tea is hella acidic so if you have stomach problems it probably isn’t the best thing to drink. I have read that it could be an ulcer treatment but the doc said nothing acidic so I don’t want to take any chances. I still love it and I have no problem drinking it. But we had to give up on making it. I’ll buy it if I want it.

I sold my first item on Etsy! This made me very happy.  Somebody bought my Chiengora hat. I’m glad there’s a market for Chiengora because I have a box full of dog fur and plan to spin it all up.

I started journal writing again. I hadn’t written in ages. I have this old Moleskine journal that I would update with an entry about how much I was unhappy with this or that. And then I would forget about it and find it and make a new entry. So the first part of the journal has entries that are sometimes years apart. It’s kind of interesting to see where I was several years ago and see where I am today. I’ve really enjoyed my daily writing practice. I’m finding that it is helping me through the grieving process. It’s also helping me learn a lot about myself. There is only so much, “I hate my life” that you can write about before you start reflecting on why you are unhappy. So that’s good.

Have a great weekend!

Rest in peace, little guy.


My mom’s dog, Sam died yesterday morning. It wasn’t a big surprise because he was really old for a big dog. 16 years old. We all knew this was coming soon. But still, it’s hard. He was a great dog and we are all going to miss him. In fact, he was my favorite dog. I loved him very much. When I went to visit he would always come to the door to greet me happily and the first thing I did when I stepped through the door was pet Sam. I looked forward to seeing him and I’m going to miss that.

He had a happy life and he had great dog parents. Mom and Doug loved him and took really good care of him and, in turn, he took good care of them. He was very loyal and he loved his family. Every night when everyone was tucked into bed he would make his rounds. He would check that everyone was in bed before he flopped down on the floor to go to sleep.

He was very playful, too, even in old age. He loved to go out in the back yard and play tug-of-war with the other dogs. It was hard to get the other dogs into it too much but he tried his hardest! He would throw the toy up in air and catch it and jump around and bark his funny old-dog bark.

He really missed Doug. When Doug was on his death bed Sam was at his feet the whole time. In fact, he was kind of underfoot and in the way so when the hospice nurse came to take care of him we had to put Sam outside. When Doug was “actively dying” and breathing his last breath Sam knew. He was outside barking his head off. And barking was not something he did lightly. He only barked when he meant it. When we let him back in the house later on the Hospice nurse noticed that Sam knew what was going on. She said, “He came in the house and looked at me like ‘what did you do to my daddy?'” He wasn’t really the same after he died, either. He moped around the house and he wasn’t the same happy dog that I knew before. He kind of turned into a crotchety old dog. Things seem a little bit tougher for him and he didn’t have that puppy-like spring in his step he had before. Mom said that he would sit outside, as if he were “waiting for Doug.”

There is comfort in knowing that they are together right now. But, still, I’m going to miss the old guy. He was a great dog.

Adventures in DIY


I decided to make my own hand cream again so last weekend I searched out the original recipe I used. After a bit of googling I found it! I used the linked recipe as a starting point and added to it my own ideas. I thought about eventually, once I get the formula just right, selling it. But who knows when that will be. In the meantime, I thought I’d share my work-in-progress hand cream recipe. Here it is below:

Knitter’s Hand-cream

3 tbs coconut oil.
2 tbs cocoa butter
4 tsp almond oil
10 drops lavender oil

Put coconut oil and cocoa butter in a pyrex measuring cup (I use the 2 cup size). Place the Pyrex container in a small saucepan filled halfway up with water. Bring the water to a boil on medium and melt the cocoa butter and coconut oil mixture. When melted, add almond oil and mix well. Remove from heat and add lavender oil. Pour into a clean and sanitized glass container (a small jar with a wide mouth) and let cool uncovered until the mixture hardens.

My mistake this time was that the jar I used previously had minced garlic in it and now my wonderful hand-cream smells like a mixture of lavender and garlic. Mind you, I cleaned the hell out of my perfectly sized little jar but the garlic smell wouldn’t go away, much to my dismay.

The best jars to use (if you can find them) are 1/4 pint canning jars.

As I searched for my hand cream recipe I came across Angry Chicken’s recipe for homemade deodorant. Since I had some of the ingredients I thought I’d give it a try! I didn’t have Shea butter on hand so I substituted cocoa butter. The essential oils I used were lavender and tea tree oil. The formula turned out as hard as a rock and I had a hard time getting the stuff out of the jar. So I added a heaping tablespoon of Coconut oil and melted the jar in the microwave and let it cool overnight. The addition of the coconut oil softens it up sufficiently for me. So here is my work-in-progress recipe for deodorant:

Homemade Deodorant

5 Tablespoons Cocoa Butter
1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
3 Tablespoons baking soda
2 Tablespoons corn starch
5 drops of Vitamin E oil
5 drops of Lavender oil
5 drops of Tea Tree oil

Place cocoa butter, coconut oil, baking soda, cornstarch in your pyrex measuring container and melt in the microwave for 30 seconds. It won’t all be liquefied but if you stir it for a bit it will continue melting when you take it out. Add your E oil and essential oils. Mix well and pour into glass container. Let cool overnight.

Again, this is a work in progress. Next time I do this I will use Calendula oil instead of lavender. I think I will not add as much tea tree oil next time. I may order some Shea butter to experiment with, too. Also, I might try recycling an old deodorant container, as well. I’m interested to see if I can re-use one. I’ll let you know how that works!

In the meantime, have fun making your own perfect concoctions!

Crafty Monday: Hats, Hats, Hats.


CraftyMoni's Etsy shop


A couple of weeks ago I felt compelled to follow my creative impulses and they led me to this. I’ve been dyeing, spinning and knitting and I’ve opened my crafty Etsy shop. You can find it by clicking the banner below. I have lots of plans for the future! It’s like a floodgate has been opened and I have all of these ideas for hats and scarves and even some woven bags. So stay tuned and I will keep you updated as things move along.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.