grizzled and gnarled,
you lichened, weathered, old man;
desert strong sagebrush
gnarled by Angie Quantrell
Cowiche Canyon, Yakima Valley, Washington State
grizzled and gnarled,
you lichened, weathered, old man;
desert strong sagebrush
gnarled by Angie Quantrell
Cowiche Canyon, Yakima Valley, Washington State
It’s official. This writer/editor/crafter/Nana is a bit out of shape. At least for what my phone termed as 55 flights of stairs.
Our afternoon hike yesterday on the Cowiche Canyon hike was gorgeous. Pretty nice on the way across the uplands and down the steep hill to the canyon floor. Pretty sweaty and filled with loud gasps and burning muscles on the way back up and over.
But a good time was had by all two of us.
We started on Summitview Extension, parking in the last available spot. It is a small lot, really a parking pad. Then up, over, and through the sagebrush and blooming spring flowers we went.
Yes! There were so many desert flowers blooming-purple, yellow, white, chartreuse. Because we had lovely, sunny weather, the lighting was quite overpowering for taking photos, but try I did.
We followed the Summitview Trail. Since the trail loops and swirls all over, it’s possible to wander for hours. We decided to hook left on the Radio Flyer Trail. This really does wind through the sagebrush but leads all the way down to the Cowiche Canyon floor by way of the Lone Pine Trail. Do note, the trailhead at the bottom headed up the hill looks deceptively simple. That’s where we managed to rack up flights of stairs. I wore regular tennis shoes, but hiking boots would have given me more traction in the slippery dirt and ankle-twisting rocks. (I avoided the rocks, but did slip a few times.)
Our hike was over 3 miles and took us about an hour and 20 minutes to complete. I’ll say it’s because I stopped often to take pictures. But I also stopped often on the way up the hill to breathe.
We even had an “attempted” Sasquatch sighting! Oh, the silly things one does to have fun.
The Cowiche Canyon is a great location for exploring close to home (Yakima Valley). Once we were up over the hill of Summitview Extension, traffic noise disappeared and we could hear only ourselves and the occasional fellow hiker. NOW is a great time to visit. Mud was not an issue at all, wildflowers are blooming, rattlesnakes are sleeping, and heat and ticks are not yet an issue.
Go. Now. Just please. If you are a dog owner, clean up the poop.
Look at the cute guy! He asked me to marry him back in the days of Polaroid pictures. He took this picture and had to mail it to me (snail mail). 1981! What a great year.
We graduated from high school in 1981 and I went off to college. Poor fellow. He thought he would never see me again, lost to one of those studious university boys.
Four years later, after too-many-to-count phone calls (ring twice and hang up to let the other know we were thinking about him/her), boxes of letters and cards, miles and miles traveled to visit each other (I chose a university that was over four hours away from home), and alternating weekend visiting schedule, we were married at our home church.
After a honeymoon to Disneyland (yes, we are a COOL couple), we settled in the lower Yakima Valley to raise our children and pursue our careers.
How long was our dating and engagement period? The total is about seven years. We met in high school, started dating, took a year off, then got back together for good. 35 years later, we are still best friends and more in love than ever.
And they said it would never last.
Take your time, youngsters. Be patient. Wait for the right person. Make sure you are best friends first. And then commit for the rest of your life.
LOL. Old lady Quantrell giving marriage advice. Best ever piece I can give? Base your relationship on faith in Jesus. God has kept us going through good and bad times, and we’ve had plenty of both.
Happy anniversary, my love.
It feels like ages since I’ve just chatted and shared life over a cup of tea (Irish breakfast with a dab of honey) with you, my friends. How is life treating you?
Christmas came and went so quickly! I can’t believe we are back to counting how many days there are until next Christmas. One of the favorite gifts this year among the grands was a whoopie cushion. Can you tell what age group we are?
And Happy New Year! A new year, a new decade, and new numbers to train ourselves to write.
I’m off and running, er, writing my way through Julie Hedlund’s 12 x 12 Writing Challenge. I was overjoyed to learn that I had won a scholarship to join this challenge. SO many resources available for writers. I just cannot believe the wonderful support and encouragement to be found in the kidlit writing community. Thank you, writer friends, and thank you, Julie Hedlund!
I’m enjoying the challenge of a new editing opportunity. I alternate between extreme joy and mental work and moments of terror and concern over what I feel I need to change. And will somebody please read this after me to see if I did it correctly? What a great adventure that stretches me in new ways. I hope you have something like this in your new year to grow you and make your heart sing.
Alas. My Seahawks finished the year yesterday after they lost to Green Bay. Probably not many of you are football fans, but I have really enjoyed watching my team. It’s fascinating to learn their little tricks and figure out what the announcers are talking about. I still don’t know what a nickel back is or a slot play, but I hear those words over and over. Next year, Go Hawks! Be healthy and come back strong!
And this is the part when Monday happened.
All the grands were at school, though two had minor health complaints.
During preschooler pickup time, I received a phone call informing me about the oldest, Hayden, being in the office in tears with significant eye pain. He had something in his eye, or as the nurse was guessing, pink eye. And he needed to see a doctor.
Before leaving the parking lot, I called and secured an appointment. Pick-up Hayden.
Waiting time until appointment. Rearrange who picks up where and when.
We left for appointment and just as I merged on the highway, received a phone call from Aucutt Mama that second child, Khloe, was in office in severe ear pain and tears. Papa was MIA for phone contact, so Mama left work to drive to the opposite side of town to get Khloe.
While I was at the doctor’s appointment (with Hayden and two preschoolers, which was another fun story all together, because both of them were feeling NO pain and great JOY, which they shared loudly with all), Aucutt Mama and I arranged a second appointment for Khloe to have her ear checked. And I called Quantrell Mama to meet me at doctor and divide the preschooler frivolities by dividing the number in half. She took Autumn, leaving me with Gage and Hayden.
Shortly after they left (we were still in exam room), Aucutt Mama arrived, just in time to find we needed to extend our adventure by heading immediately to the eye doctor. We met in the waiting room, I handed off an extremely talkative Gage, and Hayden and I drove post haste to the eye doctor (yet another valley and opposite end of town). Aucutt Mama stayed for the Khloe appointment.
To wrap up our afternoon of operation organization (OH, I forgot to add Papa and I played phone tag to secure a ride home from school for Donavyn, the only child not involved in the traveling circus of medical events):
~ Hayden ended up having a seed pod stuck beneath his eyelid. This caused extreme pain AND corneal abrasions. Such a tiny thing making such a mess! Eye drops and healing in order.
~Khloe had temp and severe ear infection. Antibiotics, pain meds, and rest in order. Plus, return visit to doctor if ear drum bursts. Which it did, overnight.
~Donavyn made it home just fine.
~Autumn missed us at the doctor visit and left her bunny in my car. Not a happy camper upon that realization.
~Gage continued to talk nonstop to his mama, quite gleeful to have her ear.
~Aucutt Mama met me at eye doctor to fill in forms, then went back across town to grab prescriptions. Not much sleep in that household last night.
~Nana and Papa collapsed after using their super-speed powers to make and consume dinner.
Short story. It’s only Tuesday, but we survived!
How about you? Thanks for sticking through the story to the end. How was your Monday?
Happy New Year, friends!
We’ve decided to make hiking the Cowiche Canyon an annual event. We hiked it last January 1st and made a return trip today. It’s becoming very popular!
May the Lord bless you and your family in this new year of a new decade.
I might be slow, but I finally figured out why all the New Year’s Eve parties were 20s themed. May your 2020 be filled with roaring good fun and great health!
Not THE ROCK, Jesus. Or the Rock, Dwayne superstar Johnson. Not even the diamond rock.
Just the rock. As in, “the rock that bounced into my car.”
It was HUGE. Grapefruit-sized. Did I mention it was bouncing?
The time: Tuesday morning, between 8:05-8:10 am. I know this because the Nana bus had just dropped off Khloe at her before school study group.
The location: west Wide Hollow Road, near Gromore Market
The perp: FedEx truck (AND the rock)
The victims: white Mazda Nana bus, shocked Nana and 4-year-old Gage riding in backseat; also the fog light grill, bumper, and inner shroud
How it all played out: The Nana bus was headed east for home. After making the sharp corner around the market, we were barely going 30 mph. Nana spied a FedEx truck who was stopped road side up ahead with a driver who had just completed a delivery.
Said driver headed back onto road and took off headed west for more deliveries.
We were headed east, he was going west, when a huge clod of mud came bouncing out of his rear tires. It was odd, how round and bouncy that mud was. The first big bounce was easily over a yard high. It came bouncing directly into our lane and front bumper, but there were no shoulders on the road for avoidance and the distance was too close to slam on brakes. Crash! We hit the mud clod. Smash, crunch, crumble.
Whew. We were over it. Both Gage and I felt the driver side tires grind over the bits and pieces. But also, whew! The tires were not flat and the car was still driving.
The results: At home, Gage and I searched the car for damage. I noticed the smashed in grill. Gage found peeling paint on the rear license plate cover. 🙂 It was not a part of the rock incident, but good eyes, Gage!
The fog light grill, a very small opening in the front bumper, was smashed clean through and torn loose. Later examination led me to discover that the shroud right behind the grill plate had a huge hole smashed through it as well. Even later, when Papa came home, more pulling apart of the bumper and grill area led to the discovery of the rock still resting inside the shroud amidst shattered portions of thick plastic.
Evidence! That was why the “mud clod” was bouncing so high. It was a ROCK. A very large rock, which if it had bounced one more time, would have come through the windshield into my head.
I am very thankful. God gave me my own little (BIG) miracle as I traveled my daily route in caring for my grands. Just one more blessing for which I can give Him credit.
Perfect timing, don’t you think? Thanksgiving is right around the corner. In just a few more sleeps, we will wake to excited taste buds ready for the feast that will be prepared. But this year I want to remember to give thanks for all the blessings, protections, and miracles the LORD has provided.
I pray you have a happy and blessed Thanks-for-giving. Look for the miracles.
woods, stream, leaves, and fall
collide, put on nature shows-
such beauty explodes
fall explosion by Angie Quantrell
Photo Credit: Angie Quantrell, Hood Canal, Belfair State Park, WA state
What a week!
Our daughter ended up in the hospital due to cellulitis from a bug bite. As a result, we juggled child care, transportation, hospital runs, and assorted other duties while she received aggressive IV treatment to stop the infection (previous antibiotics did nothing to stop the infection from spreading).
Every week is busy and we tend to go full speed. Writing, working, cooking, cleaning. But add one off-kilter event, such as a parent (our adult child) being hospitalized, and chaos rules the day.
Good thing for me, I had a weekend away tucked in my hip pocket. Of course, I would have cancelled had my daughter not been released from her expensive spa treatment (that’s what we called her stay). Hooray, her bite improved, the high powered antibiotics did their job, and she went home in plenty of time for my retreat.
After handing off care of 3 grands to my daughter-in-love, I loaded the car with the important things (rubber stamps, food, clothes) and headed to Seattle to stay and play with my crafting partner. And boy did we pack in the fun.
I was amazed at all we managed to fit into our weekend. We
~rubber stamped cards (36 total for me)
~took a ferry ride to Hood Canal
~relaxed at a cabin where we sipped hot tea, read a magazine, read the newspaper, and attempted a crossword puzzle
~completed a four-mile walk through the state park where we saw one spawning salmon and several done spawning and deceased fish, bald eagles, a seal, seagulls, gorgeous fall colors, and sparkling streams leading to Hood Canal
~stopped at a craft market AND a thrift shop
~enjoyed a new apple crisp (with cheese!) recipe
~tasted creative and delicious meals
~talked much and solved world problems
~watched the Seattle Sounders win the national championship game
~walked to the University Village
~listened to a mystery on cassette
~kicked off the Christmas season with traditional music selections
~planned Christmas gifts and adventures
~traveled to Southcenter (a shopping area in Renton) where we perused Impress for more rubber stamping ideas and supplies, braved crowds and long lines at IKEA (plus I had coupons for a free birthday meal and stuff), and used coupons at JoAnn’s
~slept in and snuggled kitties
I’m sure that’s not all we did, but the change of scenery and responsibilities refreshed my body and energy. I was sad when my weekend away came to an end and I had to reload the car and drive home.
What a wonderful way to recharge! Should you find yourself needing stress relief and relaxation, consider a weekend getaway. Choose a new or favorite destination, pack your bags, and hit the road. It will be worth all of your time and efforts.
How do you relax? Where do you go to get away? What was your favorite weekend away?
Speaking of “Adventures with a Book Lover” (part of the title of this blog), we moved into our RV on August 20, 2016. That was approximately 1,125 days ago. Do I sense a celebration coming on?
Let me tell you. We are still married. We still love each other. We are better at dancing around each other in tight spaces. We wear the same clothes over and over again. We ignore the wardrobes in the shop for the ease of grabbing the same somethings from the tiny cupboards. We cook, shop, store, and recreate differently than when we lived in a stick house. We entertain in unique (and sometimes HOT or COLD settings, due to outside venues) ways. We rotate seats when groups > than the number of available seats visit. And I still haven’t gone through EVERY cupboard and drawer to remove things we have never used. That goal was from summer #1 in the RV.
Due to several circumstances, we are no closer to building a small house than when we settled in this tiny RV space. That’s an entirely different and very long post.
Was it worth it? You bet. How you ask? I love lists. Here is the short version:
1. Finances. The RV is paid off. DEBT-FREE living.
2. Coziness. We have this in droves. Come on over if you need a cupful.
3. Less stuff to worry about. Though I do have to shop more often, I need to purchase less because of storage. That was an interesting revelation.
4. Moveable. We don’t have to stay in one spot. We do, for the most part. But that will change in a few years. Travel options are unlimited.
5. Tiny living. This is it baby. We have about 228 (or some ridiculously low number like that) square feet, about 60 of them dedicated to the cat. LOL. We have learned that we really do not want a tiny house. We want a small house. About 800-900 square feet. With some breathing room. And a bigger shower. But for an RV, our bathroom is deluxe.
6. Cute RV. Really! Our RV is pretty cute. I’ve learned how much I can decorate without the cat knocking things over or the circuits getting blown.
7. Weather. We know what the weather is. Hot is hot. Cold is cold. The RV, four season though it is, is still a tin box. With excellent insulation, but still. We are so thankful for our super furnace and AC. The addition of the skirting really makes us successful during our northwest winters. We always know what the weather is. It’s a habit of RV life. Check the weather. Feel the weather.
8. Rain. On the roof. I love listening to it fall! The same goes for snow and wind. Weather is an interactive experience.
9. Creativity. Let’s say our creativity is enhanced due to multiple opportunities to solve tiny house living issues. We are building our brain cells!
10. Adventure. We are living the dream. RV living is definitely an adventure. One day (we tell ourselves) we will look back fondly on the funny and not so funny episodes of RV life and miss the adventures.
But until then . . .
It’s time for a celebration! Happy 1,125th day of RV life, Quantrells. Enjoy the ride!
I was probably in first or second grade in this picture. And I can tell you, we had no nature deficit disorder in my family. We were always outside. Either the kids were out, by choice or by mom’s choice, or the entire family was off and exploring.
It seemed like our family spent most weekends in the station wagon or camper, heading off to explore and find what we could find. Though I know we also went to church on a regular basis, so maybe we spent Saturdays traveling and skipped a random Sunday now and then to camp. Life as a kid was always an adventure.
I’m pretty sure this picture was taken at Turkey Creek in Arizona. Turkey Creek was a great spot. I can remember camping there at least 3 different times. Judging by the grin on my face, I loved getting outside. And in Arizona, being outside around water was a treat. Being a desert and all. We four of kids (maybe not James, who was a baby) had a ball splashing in the creek. We did the usual-get muddy, catch critters, drench ourselves, throw rocks, find favorite rocks, go fishing with plain sticks. I remember one trip in particular when I found a snapping turtle. I was, of course, sticking my finger towards its mouth, seeing if it would snap. It did. Pinched my finger hard enough that I wet my pants! I remember crying. Hello. If you poke a wild animal in its mouth, it will bite.
Besides random attacks from snapping turtles, I remember all of us being together. That was important. The mom and dad, the 4 kids, the dog, the cat, the bird. We all crowded into the camper and dad drove us along bumpy dirt roads to get to our camp or picnic destinations. That was back in the good old days when kids rode in the camper while the vehicle was in motion. We played cards, colored pictures, ate snacks, climbed up and down from the over-the-cab bed, and I’m sure, fought like crazy. But somehow, we all made it to adulthood.
Looking back at this picture of myself standing on rocks and my sister collecting nature items, I can remember the beauty of the water, the rocks, the plants, the dirt. I can feel the sun on my back. Just look at those boulders behind me. I mean, they are gorgeous. Plenty of lichen and hiding spots for poisonous desert dwellers. But we didn’t worry too much about those. Stay away from the obvious dangers like tarantulas and rattlesnakes. Leave them alone, they’ll (most likely) leave you alone. Dappled light gives great luster to this photo. I love how the sunlight highlights my braids. And I see I am, even at that young age, wearing one of my lifelong favorite colors. Orange. And stripes. I’m still into stripes. Funny.
I’m so glad my parents instilled in us a love of the outdoors and exploring our surroundings. It doesn’t matter where you live, there are interesting and beautiful nature hot spots just waiting to be discovered. You can go as far as your backyard (welcome, gallon jars of tadpoles) or escape to a different state or country.
Hello, Arizona desert. I miss you.
How about you? Where did you go exploring when you were a child?