Entries in there's no planet b (14)


deception pass

Climbing the North Beach Bridge Trail at Deception Pass State Park for this view. In other news, today was pretty much perfect. #theoceanismedicine #natureistherapy


goodbye, mr. president and family

Farewell, my beloved Obama Family.


this is the heart that i call home

Credit: unknown (reverse image search didn't turn up the photographer; will gladly credit when I find that info)This is my world. Truly it is a wonderland.



across the ocean and back again

This was the view from the lanai of the condo we stayed at on Maui, where we've been (along with Oahu) for the last week. Just arrived on the red eye home to gloriously gray and cool Portland and cannot wait to climb into my own bed and get back into the Pacific time zone. Ocean waters are good for any sea loving heart, but this little mermaid's flippers are definitely most at home in cooler northern waters.


bountiful handful


You and I still aren't on speaking terms, Summer, but I suppose these little peace offerings get us a little closer to truce. Thank you for this handful of today's tomato harvest.






welcome to the right side of history, oregon

“Where will this all lead? I know that many suggest we are going down a slippery slope that will have no moral boundaries. To those who truly harbor such fears, I can only say this: Let us look less to the sky to see what might fall; rather, let us look to each other…and rise.”

-- Concluding paragraph from the federal judge’s decision striking down Oregon’s same sex marriage ban. It’s taken 10 years to reverse what should never have passed in the first place, but love still wins in the end.


breathing a sigh of relief

includes the simplest, humblest annotation: "thank you"

So a week ago today, we breathed a sigh of relief that the crazies had not successfully taken over the asylum.

Which isn't to say that things are all perfect now. It is, after all, still an asylum.

But things are better than they were, and there's hope that things will continue to get better. Maybe not in all the ways we want, nor as quickly as we want. But considering the alternative? That was very, very bad for anyone who wasn't a rich, white, Christian American man?

Yes, things are better.

Thank you, Mr. President.

lunch, deli club:

  • imitation crab
  • molded egg
  • green beans
  • peas & carrots
  • Starkrimson pear with cashews for gap fillers

there's a reason her secret service codename is renaissance

"If farmers and blacksmiths could win independence from an empire, if immigrants could leave behind everything they knew for a better life on our shores, if women could be dragged to jail for seeking the vote, if a generation could defeat a depression, and define greatness for all time, if a young preacher could lift us to the mountaintop with his righteous dream, and if proud Americans can be who they are and boldly stand at the altar with who they love… then surely… surely we can give everyone in this country a fair chance at that great American Dream."

-- Michelle Obama, speaking at the Democratic National Convention




ending the year on a hopeful note

The last day of the year, when we're all looking ahead to the next, seems like a good time to post something hopeful and heartwarming. Sure, it's older than dirt in internet years, but the good stuff doesn't have an expiration date.

And for good measure, here, have another:


Deep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the infinite peace to you.

-- Gaelic blessing


the poor object to being governed badly...

...the rich object to being governed at all. -- G.K. Chesterton

For anyone in the Portland area considering participating in Bank Transfer Day and/or the Move Your Money project, I can highly recommend Unitus Community Credit Union as a terrific local option for banking.

We made the switch several years ago when we were fed up with US Bank (NEVER AGAIN) and big corporate banks generally, and have regretted only that we didn't do it sooner. They offered an eco-friendly discount on our loan when we bought the Prius and have a loan program for purchasing a bike (including accessories) for people trying to switch over to bike commuting, which we also took advantage of. They even have their own smartphone app!

And if you're looking beyond just making your banking local, check out Localvesting (hat tip to our neighbor, Grant). I haven't read the book yet but the Resources page has a handy list of links to help you get started.

Lastly, because I'm feeling even more populist than usual lately: before Occupy Wall Street, before the French Revolution, there was the Peasant's Revolt.

lunch, blue bunny & moons

  • rice casserole (brown rice, broccoli, Italian sweet pepper, mushroom broth, herbs)
  • steamed broccoli
  • chicken breast and carrot slices
  • carrot sticks and kiwi berries
  • dark chocolate-covered raisins
  • apple slices with cashews as gap fillers

the heart of the earth is emerald dark...

...and pulses beneath liquid crystal...

This is Lake Crescent. It's located on the Olympic Peninsula, between steep sided mountains carved by glaciers. It is 624 feet deep, only five miles from the Juan de Fuca Strait as the crow flies yet contains not a drop of saltwater, and is so clear that you can see to a depth of 60 feet when the water lies still. Storm King, the mountain that forms its southeastern shore, is an ancient Native American god who was angered by fighting between warring tribes and smote them all with a cataclysmic landslide that split the lake in two.

the lodge as seen from a rowboat

(click to see the full set of pictures)

As an early birthday present, I whisked Sal off to a four day getaway to the Olympic Peninsula. First, to Lake Crescent Lodge, where we stayed in a quaint little cabin no more than 30 feet from the lake shore. We dangled our feet over the dock, rowed a boat across the lake to Pyramid Mountain and back, took the self-guided walking tour through the old growth forest that surrounds the Lodge, read books in weathered Adirondack chairs, sipped hot chocolate in the Lodge's enclosed verandah, and spent the evenings curled up in massive chairs made from logs, playing Monopoly and Tri-ominoes and nibbling on the delicious treats we crammed into a cooler for three full days of meals. Fruit and veggies, cold cuts and cheeses and crackers, Sal's homemade rolls, homemade cherry-almond scones, homemade chocolate chip cookies, my own fried chicken and pasta salad. And beer, of course. Never forget the beer.

Our trip began Friday as we made our way to Olympia, then turned westward to explore the Olympic Peninsula, a first for us both. We made a leisurely way along the eastern edge of the Hood Canal, then glimpsed the Olympic peaks as the road turned inland. Closer and closer, and finally to Sequim, and then to Port Angeles. We didn't spend time there, but we plan to go back, with a sidetrip across the Strait to Victoria.

Saturday night from our cabin's porchWe arrived at Lake Cresent early Friday evening, with the sun shining and bright blue sky. The weather held for Saturday, too, so we had plenty of time outside. But of course the rains arrived, as they inevitably do, Saturday night and it came down in a ceaseless downpour all night, and all the next day. We left Sunday a little before noon and continued westward on our planned trek to explore the peninsula.

old growth forest from the "Moment In Time" trail near the lodgeWe had reservations for another Lodge, this one on the Washington Coast, but it was less than a two hour drive from Lake Crescent and we still had hours to kill before check-in, so we decided to take a side road north and far to the west, to maybe see the westernmost point of the contiguous United States, Cape Flattery.

Perhaps it was the heavy gray sky and the constant rain, but this was not a nice drive. It's beautiful -- thick forest and most of the way, right along the northern Washington coastline, only a dozen feet above the water. But the signs of human habitation here are...depressing. As if the people here have long since given up, and no longer care about the place they call home. The few little towns are empty shops with boarded doors and broken windows, economies far past saving, junk everywhere, and hardly any sign of human activity. It started to feel as if we were at the edge of the world, and it came with a deep-seated panic and disquiet. We turned around before we reached the end.

me doing my best vampire impressionBack on 101, we continued to Forks. Yes, Forks. It's unavoidable if you're making the trip we were, and it's the last chance for a grocery store and (reasonably-priced) gas for more than 100 miles if you're headed south. The town itself is small but nice, and reminded me of a small Tillamook. The drive down their main street was lolarious, as expected, with every business either incorporating"Twilight" in its name somehow (my hand to God, "Twilight Campfire Wood") or proclaiming "get your Twilight [food/shirts/memorabilia/quilts(!)/gear/ etc.] here!" But god bless them for making the most of the tourist opportunity and hey, who can bedgrudge any fans a pilgrimage to their mecca? Whatever floats your boat, even if it's Twilight. (Although I srsly lol'd at the hotel sign on the way into town that said, "Edward Cullen didn't sleep here!" OH HOTEL MARKETING DIRECTOR I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE.)

one of several of the "oldest in the country" very old trees in the Hoh RainforestWe stopped at a local pizza place for lunch -- avoiding the Porto"Bella" speciality pizza -- and then next door to Thriftway for some ice and a few items to add to our food stores. Then we were on the road again through forests even more ancient than before, the rain clouds so low we couldn't see any of the peaks to our left. Unlike the Oregon Coast, 101 is inland for most of the drive so you can't see the ocean as you drive. Still very beautiful, though.

gray and rainy at the coast, just the way we like itWe decided to make the 20 mile side trip to the Hoh Rainforest. Well worth the drive and there are several places to stop and see something beautiful and amazing, like enormous, ancient Sitka spruce and Douglas fir. At the visitor's center, there are multiple trail options, both short and long, easy and hard. Unfortunately, it was late in our afternoon and the rain was coming down hard (and it was cold) so we didn't stay as long as we might have otherwise. And honestly, that side trip up north had deflated us both a bit.

some of the great masses of logs along the bluffs of KalalochThankfully, Kalaloch Lodge, where we were staying for the night, wasn't much further down the highway once we made our back to 101. Perched right on a bluff that overlooks the ocean, we were in a genuine log cabin that faced northwest with an unobstructed view of the beach and water below. (It also had a picnic table right outside the door, which was one of the few times I wished it wasn't raining so we could sit out and eat our dinner with the ocean right there.) And although the weather made it too chilly to go down to the beach, it was perfect for curling up for a smorgasbord of goodies* while we soaked up the view just as we had the two nights before at Lake Crescent. Except this time, our cabin came complete with a wood-burning stove and split cedar logs and kindling. Thanks to Sal's superb firebending skills, the stove got so hot that we could crack the windows enough to hear the surf without getting cold. We fell asleep to the flicker of firelight and the steady roar of the ocean.

*(Both Kalaloch and Lake Crescent Lodges feature restaurants with terrific menus, which I'd love to try if we get a chance to go back.)

The weather did finally clear a bit as we were leaving Monday morning, long enough for me to snap a few more pics of the ocean, this time with blue sky and no rain-speckled camera lens. The rain stopped by the time we reached Humptulips (best. name. ever.) and we had sun for the rest of the drive home once we got to Elma. Thanks to our terrific neighbors, we arrived home to find the house still standing and the cats sleeping contentedly on their cushion by the dining room window, with only a bit of shredded paper on the floor as punishment for leaving them.

What an amazing, amazing trip. We haven't done a trip like that -- someplace completely unknown to us and somewhat isolated -- in a long time, now that I think about it, and even in just a span of three and a half days, it disconnected us completely from our daily life and routines. We've gone a little too long without a vacation together, especially without a recharging trip to the coast, and we were reminded why we try to get away every few months, even just for a weekend. How blessed we are that something so vitally important to us both is something we can do.

Happy Birthday, Sally. Every day with you is a gift.

see the full set of photos

a Google map of our route


if the oregonian were more regularly this awesome...

...I might actually subscribe to it. Hat tip to April Henry, who posted the following yesterday about the headline that's got everyone in town talking:

Actual front-page headline in today's Oregonian: "Scary Bright Ball in Sky Will Go Away."

It was sunny yesterday.

The last time before that?

41 days ago.


one planet, one people

"The Egyptian people will take care of themselves. The Egyptian people will be the ones who will make the change. We are not waiting for help or assistance from the outside world, but what I expect from the outside world is to practice what you preach, is to defend the rights of the Egyptian to their universal values" - Mohamed ElBaradei, currently under house arrest.

Great goddamn, I am so proud of the courage of the Egyptian protesters, of what's happened and is still happening in Tunisia, what might be starting to happen in Syria, in Yemen. My heart and prayers are with them all, with their incredible courage and will for something more, something better even as they are assaulted with water cannons for protesting with prayer.