A Bittersweet Goodbye…

I made a very difficult decision last month. A decision that was life-changing (for me, anyway).

When Husband and I planned our trip to the Mid-West a couple of weeks ago to see some of his family, I had no idea what would be put in front of me. Husband, Mother-in-Law and I traveled there with two dogs…and we came back with only one.

You see, as I’ve mentioned before, Husband and I are in the process of moving. And by “in the process” I mean that we sold our house, but have no other house to move into yet. We had several different houses picked out, and every single one of them fell through. The most recent, however, was the most difficult, as we were ready to purchase the house and were informed only days before closing that the loan had fallen through. Thus we have been indulging on the kindness of a friend of ours, who has been letting us live in his house while he is trying to sell it. (He’s already moved, so it’s just been empty.) However, because he is trying to sell it, our dog and cat could not be inside the house, which meant they had to be stuck in the large pens/kennels that we brought with us. Diddy (the cat) is not so bothered about it, but Samus?

Well, it was pretty much torture for her given how much she loves to play and be with people.

I exercised her as often as my schedule would allow, but I missed having her inside the house with me while I took care of basic household needs. It just wasn’t the same, and while I was willing to make this sacrifice for a couple of months, we were supposed to be in a house by now. With the most recent loan falling through, we have absolutely no idea where we’re going to end up. Suddenly, my poor puppy was looking at being stuck in a kennel all the time for a minimum of 3-6 months.

It certainly wasn’t planned, but when we visited some of Husband’s family over in Illinois, we were introduced to some good friends of theirs who had a teenage daughter. The daughter, a senior this year, is an animal-lover through and through and couldn’t stop playing with Samus and the large golden retriever owned by Husband’s sister.

Long story short, I watched as this family fell in love with Samus, even begging us to let her stay for a little longer one evening when we visited their house. As we drove away that night, I felt a tug in my heart. One that I honestly didn’t want to listen to, because it meant sacrificing my own happiness for that of my pet. But deep down I knew the answer.

I was supposed to offer Samus to this family.

She would have 200 acres to run around and play on, and a family who absolutely adores her. Her life would never be without love, so as painful as it was on my end, I gave her to the ones who could provide a stability for her that I simply couldn’t right now. Won’t lie, I cried for a full day after letting her go. Even now, I can’t think too long on it or I start to tear up yet again.

Thankfully, the family has been kind enough to keep me posted on her progress, which has helped ease some of the hurt. I know that sometimes when we love something, even if it’s simply a pet, we have to think about what’s best for them and not just what we want for ourselves. Ultimately, I wanted her to be happy, whether that was with me or with someone else.

I miss my pup. There are days when I wish that I could have her curl up next to me on the couch, that I could throw the tennis ball for her one more time (and I never thought I would miss that). But it was the right thing to do. I know it.


Toys everywhere? Yeah, I’m pretty sure she’ll be juuuust fine….


Why did I never think to put her in a bandana!? So cute!

Miss you, Samus girl. But I’m glad you’re truly happy.

Glacier National Park

IMG_1702One of the awesome things that we got to do in Glacier National Park is go white-water rafting. It was a bit of an adventure for a couple of reasons: #1.) I hadn’t gone white-water rafting since I was in high school, and that was led by really talented instructors who told us exactly where to go and what to do. #2.) Apparently Husband had never been rafting before in his life. (Finally! Something I had done that he hadn’t.) In fact, of the four of us, Husband’s cousin was the only one who had any REAL experience when it came to rafting.


It was…interesting, to say the least. Now usually, depending on where you go, there’s a little bit of a break between rapids. I mean, that had always been my experience. We could dink around and swim for a little while in the slower parts, laze about in the raft, then gear up for the next set of rapids.

Well, not this trip.

At least, not right away. We found a really pretty stretch of river not far from our campsite and excitedly boarded our raft. It was Husband, myself, Cousin-in-law and Cousin-in-law’s wife (Cousin-in-law-in-law?). We got started down the river, with Husband and Cousin-in-law manning the paddles. Cousin-in-law’s wife and I were in the middle, ready to start bailing water out of the raft if too much got inside. The excitement quickly faded when we were plunged into the frigid waters in the first set of rapids. There was no time to stop, either, as two more sets of rapids (one of which was easily a class 3) came at us fast.

That brings me back to poor Husband. Now remember, he’s never done this before, and he’s still trying to figure out how to maneuver the vessel to begin with. He was placed in the very front of the raft, which meant that every time that we dipped down he was flooded with icy water and thrown backwards. And since he was wearing a life vest and a CamelBak, he rather resembled a giant overturned turtle. (Which was actually stinkin’ funny. Don’t tell him I said that.) He would flail frantically, while still miraculously gripping the oar, and scream, “Push me up! Push me up!”

We wives would dutifully shove him back into place, and the whole ordeal would begin again. Oh yes, those first three rapids were a bit rough. I did actually think I was going to fall out at one point, because we went down one of the biggest rapids backwards, but I managed to hang on by sheer adrenaline and even shoved Cousin-in-Law’s wife back into the raft in the process. That’s right. *flexes biceps*

Even in the scary moments, it was super fun. There’s something about that rush that totally gets your blood pumping. I’m pretty sure that Cousin-in-Law and I were the only ones who felt that way, but still. Once we were past those rapids and able to get to more stable water, Husband and Cousin-in-Law got things figured out pretty quickly. (Though to this day, I’ve never heard Husband’s voice reach the decibel it did when we went down that rapid backwards. He can laugh about it now, but he wasn’t in such good humor at the time.)

The rest of the day was spent continuing down the river a good 22 miles, which was a bit too far in all honesty. We probably could have cut it in half and still enjoyed it, but the latter half did mean some really gorgeous scenery. The only real downside (apart from the near-death experience) was that the water was freaking COLD. I mean, it’s called GLACIER National Park for a reason. And the water was pretty much straight off the mountain, so it was positively freezing. We had to stop several times with the excuse of dumping out the raft, but I think the real reason was to warm our poor feet so we didn’t up with hypothermia.

Still, it was a grand adventure and one that I would gladly do again. (Especially now that we sort know what we’re doing.) And Glacier is stunning. Simply beautiful. If you don’t want to brave the water, at least go for a hike or spend a few nights camping. It is well-worth the trip.


Over the course of my lifetime, I’ve been privileged enough to visit quite a few places. Oh, not nearly as many as some people, I know. I’ve only been out of the country once, and that was to Canada. (Though both Vancouver and Victoria were lovely places to see, especially Victoria. Gorgeous gardens there.) But I’ve now seen a handful of states, especially here on the west coast. There’s always been something special and unique about each place, something I’ve enjoyed. I loved the tropical climates of Florida and Hawaii, the warm winters of Sacramento, the lush forests of Washington, even the strange desert beauty of Nevada. But no matter how wondrous the location, Oregon always felt like home.

I’ve been all over Oregon, from corner to corner, and while I like some places better than others, for the most part I enjoy the state as a whole. We have the beauty of the coast, lush forests and farmland, high desert, mountains, plains…pretty much something for everyone. I was always very particular to my home state, and I never thought that I would really want to leave it.

And then in May I visited western Montana.

Holy. Moly. Granted, we have some pretty beautiful mountains in Oregon. The Cascades run down the western side of the state, not too far from the coastal range. There are some pretty decent peaks, the highest of my region being Mt. Hood. Lots of skiing, hiking, and rock climbing for those who like that sort of thing. In fact, it was my favorite range that I’d yet seen…until the Rockies.

Husband and I covered quite a bit of ground on western Montana. We originally came through Coeur d’Alene, ID, which is nestled right at the base of the mountains. After staying the night there, we continued on into the heart of the amazing Rockies. I originally wrote on FB that what was so impressive about the Rocky Mountains wasn’t so much their elevation as how MANY of them there were. I mean, we had been driving for nearly three hours and were still surrounded by mountains.

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Well, I quickly had to backtrack when we finally crossed through them and ended up approaching from the other side. After seeing the icy tops of Glacier National Park, I realized that perhaps their elevation WAS rather impressive.

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We traveled through Missoula a couple of times, stayed one night in Butte, and saw a fairly good amount of the mountains as we headed south to Yellowstone National Park.

Thus I have a confession. For the first time in my life, I saw another state as home. (Don’t hate me, dear Oregon!) Those snow-capped peaks and seemingly endless rows of forest absolutely captured my heart. They are simply stunning, and I found myself reluctant to leave, even after only a week. Yes, it rained several days while we were there, and no, I would not like driving in the snow.

But I fell in love with those mountains, and I truly hope someday to go back there, perhaps even permanently.

It’s Official!

Sorry to everyone who might have this cross-posted, but I’m so excited I can barely contain it! My book is officially available through Amazon. (As you can see by my lovely banner and sidebar. Overkill? Maybe.)



It’s thrilling to finally start living the dream. I’ve wanted to be a published author for years now. I’m roughly ten chapters into book two, which is a good start. My goal is to have that out sometime this year (2013).

What I’d like to do over the next few weeks or even months is do a profile for some of the main characters of the book. I guess it will partially depend on whether or not it garners any interest, but it would be fun for me! (And that’s all that really counts, right? Right?)

We had a great time down in California, as I mentioned in my earlier post. It’s really beautiful down there.

Bye, Mt. Shasta! It's been real.

Bye, Mt. Shasta! It’s been real.

I think driving by Mt. Shasta was one of the highlights for me. I had no idea it was so HUGE. But so pretty. I have a weakness for mountain ranges. I grew up just a matter of hours from the Cascades, so I always got to have them for a backdrop for road trips. I love them.

We even got to go to the coast!

Half Moon Bay lit up by the sunrise.

Half Moon Bay lit up by the sunrise.

We stayed at Half Moon Bay overnight, and it was simply gorgeous. I would love to go back. I sort of have a weakness for the beach, too. We often vacationed on the Oregon coastline as a family, so I was spoiled by that, too. This is only the third time I’ve been to the CA coast, though. I have yet to see a beach that I haven’t liked!

The coolest thing about my time off was being able to get my book online, by far. Yes, I enjoyed seeing family and meeting Husband’s friends, yes I enjoyed the beautiful drive and all the scenery, but having the chance to fulfill my dream was the best part. So what are you waiting for? If you like young adult medieval fantasies, go check it out! Heck, if you just like fantasy in general, go check it out. (I’m shameless, really. Shameless!)

Gotta love time off

Just a quick post, as we’ve been traveling around the burg of Sacramento for the last few days. I’d never been down here before. (Because I’m kind of a hermit like that, hehe.) Actually, I’d just never had a reason to come down before, but Husband has lots of family/friends here, since it’s where he grew up. Makes me really glad, because if I had to be the one driving in this traffic, you’d better believe there would be bloodshed. No way do I have the patience for this. He maneuvers through the lanes with a precision that can only come from years of experience. And probably lots of language.

But, all that aside, it is absolutely lovely down here and I can see why it draws so many people to it. The views around the outskirts of the city are spectacular. So many oak trees and lush greenery. Really beautiful. Oregon will always be my home, but I will happily travel down here to visit. Seeing the Sierra Nevadas and Mt. Shasta…I just love it. And overall, Sacramento is a pretty cool city.

The best part of this vacation? Having at least two days to work on my book. That’s right. I might just be able to get this puppy up and running by either this week or next at the latest. I’m thrilled, truly. In fact, now I feel the need to go work on it some more. Oh, the excitement!

Eastern Oregon…More than just desert.

While I love to travel, I don’t always get a chance to do so as often as I’d like. (You know, that whole “not-having-money-unless-I-go-to-work” thing.) But every once in a blue moon, we get to go on a fun road trip and see something new. We went to a leadership conference put on by the Calvary Chapel in Boise, Idaho last year and it was really good. So when we were offered a chance to go again this year (for free, no less!) we said “Heck, yeah!”

Honestly, it was the first time that I’d ever been to Idaho. I’d never driven that far east before. I’ve traveled all over Oregon, my home state. I’m probably a bit biased since I was born and raised here, but I do happen to think we have one of the most beautiful states out there. (I mention that I’m biased because I’ve only ever visited 5 states here in the U.S. in my entire 27 years of existence. Sad, I know.) Other states have beautiful attributes, but Oregon has something special. It goes from the dry, high desert to the fertile, lush valley. It has a coastline that’s almost always worthy of photographing. There are plains, mountains, valleys, beaches and even large(ish) cities, for those who don’t care for nature. Of course, to see all of this you have to drive several hours, but the views are worth it.

Everything’s so green right now! Fields and grass aplenty! I actually hadn’t traveled through Eastern Oregon hardly at all. North, south, central, west…those I know pretty darn well. But east? Not so much.

We spent two nights there. The hotel was pretty nice, though I have decided that hotels in general don’t regard short people who have to put on makeup in the morning. They are notorious for installing large, obnoxious counters that helpless 5’2″ shorties like myself have a most difficult time reaching across. I can’t see what I’m doing from five feet away, so I have lean over, using all of the muscles in my lower back to hold myself upright whilst I line my eyes, lengthen my lashes, etc. Not to mention the lighting always sucketh. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve put on my makeup in a bathroom not my own and thought that I was looking okay, only to step out into the harsh sunlight and realize the error of my judgment. What was hidden by bad lighting is now horribly exposed in the unforgiving sun.

But I digress. Apart from a slight pain in my lower back from too much counter leaning, the trip was most pleasant and quite fun.

It’s a love-hate relationship between humidity and my hair. On the one hand, my hair feels so amazingly soft that I love it. On the other hand, the added moisture apparently gives it license to do whatever the heck it wants. I give it an inch and it takes a mile.

We traveled to Vancouver, WA this weekend for a family wedding (pictures to follow) and I tried to curl my hair for the event, only to have it end up a rather half-hearted attempt in the end. Most of the time my hair is really easy to maintain. If I curl it in the morning, it stays curly all day long. If I straighten it, same thing. However, when there’s any moisture in the air, my hair becomes this half-wavy, half-straight hot mess. I guess I just haven’t been in that kind of environment long enough to know how to handle it. I’ve only ever visited places like that. Our climate is extremely dry.

Sometimes I wish I lived someplace nice and humid. It’s always so green and beautiful. But I think the rain would eventually drive me crazy. Having grown up in the high desert, where the sun shines the majority of the time, I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t see it on a regular basis. It makes me happy. I like to be happy.

I think I need to look into nature photography. Then I could travel to all of the beautiful, humid places I want to visit and have a legitimate excuse. I love to take pictures, but most of all I love to manipulate pictures. Photoshop is seriously like crack to me. I could sit there for hours (and have, actually) working on just one picture.

I need more hours in the day. I’m not able to do the things that I love to do because the persistent problem of money, darn it. Hence why I’m looking at publishing my book. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to quit my day job, but part-time would be nice. Very, very nice.


What would life be like without dreams, I wonder? 😉


 We just went on a very fun vacation. We got to see lots of really neat things. This is a view of Moonstone Beach in California. The sun was setting and made it look very mysterious in the fog.

Moonstone Beach

From the other side, we could see Moonstone Rock. It’s easy to see where it’s name comes from.

Moon Rock

We went to a lighthouse that had a great view. It was foggy, but we didn’t mind.


This is a cathedral in the small town of Ferndale, CA.

Ferndale Cathedral

Overall, California is a beautiful state and I hope to visit there again soon.