Archives for category: Seasons

There are so many articles about uncluttering your home, getting rid of your stuff, simplifying everything. I start on a project like this and realize that I actually live in a scrapbook, a living scrapbook.

When I was a little girl, I always had a bulletin board and kept a scrapbook. Nothing was too insignificant to me if it reminded me of someone special or something that happened that I didn’t want to forget – ever! This is a habit that has never left me and it now adds up to 72 years this week of my life as scattered all around me.

I’m not sure if it bothers me enough or if it bothers me at all, to tell the truth. I’m more amused by it when I should be horrified. Maybe I’m just defending myself so that my daughters will laugh as they dig through when I’m gone – one of these days. Not leaving yet!

I mean, what do you do when you look on a shelf and find your own teddy bear from babyhood (music box inside it is broken – wonder what it played?) sitting next to your husband’s teddy bear?  Personally, I smile. Just so you know how bad it is – I also have my Daddy’s teddy bear and my son’s collection of bears.


When dusting my mantel, I pick up each of these old elephants and feel the smooth wood. Daddy brought these home from the war when he was stationed in Africa. My brother, sister and I played with them, hence the lost tusks and glued on trunks.


I don’t have anything stored in this old metal box, but I opened it many times during my childhood to see what Daddy kept inside. It’s still mysterious to me and that’s just fine.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s another music box. My husband bought this one for me in Switzerland. We wanted another one, but this was the one we could afford and its melody reminds me of that trip so many years ago.


You see what the dangers are as I dig through a lifetime of little things that all bring a special moment or place or a beloved face to mind. There are memories on every shelf, every table, in every drawer. Where do I start to erase them? Which ones do I let go, wondering if they will be lost forever if I don’t have this little memento, this scrap of paper with handwriting so familiar, this memory of a laugh or tear?

Now it’s time to decorate for the holidays and I have way too many decorations, especially Santas. There are some I can let go when I feel like it, but mostly I just like them. Here is a picture of my kitchen window last year. In it I see a tall skinny Santa from my childhood, one that my husband bought me at a gallery in New Orleans, a couple that my kids bought me with their little hard earned coins and bills, one made by a lifelong friend, another given by a friend who died way too young, some from a volunteer project I worked on as a young mother, and others collected from travels or from artists or because I liked them.DSC_0174Imagine a house full of memories like that and you are with me. I’m going to keep trying to shed things that are meaningless, if there is such a thing in my life. I’m going to keep trying because it’s what I’m supposed to be doing. In the meantime, my memories are refreshed all the time and that’s not such a bad thing for an old lady.

The first wildflowers I noticed along the highway were Indian Paintbrush, which started small12986938_10208256409264599_7286732991570888144_nand then grew taller and fuller until they blanketed hills along the way.DSC_0009As the weeks have gone by, other wildflowers have appeared. There are patches or whole fields of one color and then there are the mixed fields. Driving along, you spot the colors sometimes paired with native grasses as you whiz by.DSC_0102This week, I stopped on a beautiful bright breezy day because the flowers are so different up close. First there were large vistas of purples that appeared over the last week. DSC_0019Look how pretty these flowers are up close. Nothing like you would think from the road.DSC_0023Then there were white flowers, some standing tall above the other plants, waving in the wind.DSC_0065Up close, they are little bouquets.DSC_0033Or these other small flowers for a doll size bouquet.DSC_0060The yellows are in bloom, swaying in the background.DSC_0087These are probably something that irritates those with allergies, but they are so pretty.DSC_0092And smaller yellow babies are bright along the ground.DSC_0101More tiny flowers for the doll tea party…DSC_0074Or flowers as bright as the sun that day.DSC_0095A random flower to accent the field.DSC_0100And more fields of orangey red blazed beside the road.DSC_0070And more and more orangeDSC_0069Indian paintbrush…DSC_0006mixed with Indian Blanket, Oklahoma’s state wildflower.DSC_0045As I was getting in my car on one of the gravel or dirt roads where I pulled off to wade in the flowers, a pickup stopped and a scruffy resident smiled a somewhat toothless grin and asked if I was stuck. I laughed and said I had stopped to see the wildflowers. He laughed back, waved and drove away. I can’t imagine that people who live in the middle of all this color don’t love it as much as I do, but maybe some take it for granted.

If you don’t stop to smell the flowers, you miss so much. If I hadn’t stopped, I’d have missed this fellow fan of the flowers. And that would have been my great loss that day.DSC_0043

Anyone who travels a certain route begins to recognize certain things along the way, things that mark where you are in your drive, how far you have to go. It’s kind of a subtle thing where you suddenly notice something and are kind of amazed that you’ve missed it before and then it becomes something you look for. And you add to your collection of travel markers the more you drive that way.

For me, it’s been driving Highway 51 between Tulsa and Stillwater for the past couple of years. People are amazed that I prefer the old road to the turnpike – and the turnpike is fine – but I really like this old road, the same one I drove when I was in college with massive road improvements in the last 50 years, thank goodness. It was longer and more dangerous back then, more curves and curves and curves. Now it’s pretty much a straight shot from here to there and back again.

I call it my zen drive where I think and watch and look for new things along the way. Since I travel with my camera, I’ll stop and take a picture of something I want to remember (because that’s what I do). Here’s kind of a travelogue of the trip. There are some things I love that I can’t get photos of because there’s no place to stop or I haven’t stopped yet. But, you’ll get the picture.

When I leave Tulsa, I drive through beautiful historic neighborhoods before crossing the Arkansas River heading west. I’m now crossing over the railroad yards and into an industrial area. When I return, I get a wonderful view through oil refineries with trains running through and the skyline of Tulsa in the backdrop. It makes me realize how our city grew from its early days.DSC_0043Here’s the view when I pull up the hill into Chandler Park and look back.IMG_9932I’m mixing pictures coming and going, so there are views from east and west. Bear with me.

Then, I turn onto Avery Road, which winds around under Chandler Park with the Arkansas River to the north of me. This is one of the most nostalgic pieces of the trip to me, although it’s curvy and narrow. No pictures of the drive because there are few places to stop, but you have views of the river in the winter and lush greenery in the summer. There are bluffs to admire as you drive under them and colors of fall and spring to enjoy. This is entering Avery Drive from the west side as I come home. There are more hairpin turns to come.DSC_0037As soon as I turn off of Avery Drive, I see one of my favorite landmarks, a memory of all the years I’ve driven this road. It’s the Monarch Cement…what is it? Pretty cool anyway. In the summer, it’s covered in greenery.DSC_0001Coming from the west, you see it in full frontal, although I still can’t figure out all the words on it. Monarch Cement Co.  ???? Dept. From the west, I can see it from miles away.DSC_0023On the straight road past that, there is usually a train either parked or passing. Who doesn’t love seeing trains? I even love all the tags left by rogue artists decorating the train cars.DSC_0036DSC_0041Next, around the corner, is the little town of Lotsee. I’ve looked it up and it’s named after the owner’s daughter. The whole place is hardly more than a few lots long along the highway as you pass the Lotsee city limit signs on each side in about 15 seconds at 65 mph. From the west, you spot the big cow sign.DSC_0035I’ve actually stopped in to buy pecans and they have lots of varieties in the fall. It’s a 2,000 acre cattle and pecan ranch with horseback riding added called the Flying G Ranch. I don’t think Lotsee was there, but I met her husband, the only two official inhabitants of Lotsee, OK. They are Oklahoma State University people, so we had that in common.

Over the hills, past the Keystone dam, headed for Mannford, you cross over a small part of Lake Keystone and a quick view of the lake. That’s fun as you watch the weather on the water with either peaceful calm or windy whitecaps. Heading into Mannford, I’ve started looking over for this funny sign that I noticed when I stopped there once.DSC_0003Awesome!

Leaving Mannford, you head into areas where your cell phone service can go in and out as you drive through hills with breaks for views across the way. As you cross Cottonwood Creek, you can see an area that links to Keystone and is sometimes dry and sometimes swampy with rainfall. Somewhere along the way, you see this row of mailboxes for inhabitants you can’t see from the road.DSC_0032I also met these guys last week around that area. A couple of weeks before, some of them had escaped somewhere and I found myself passing three black cows as they ambled along the shoulder of the road.DSC_0027Then I cross the Cimarron River, which has the most beautiful view of bluffs, shadowed in the morning and glowing in afternoon light. I look both ways as I cross over. Cimarron reminds of the land run and the book and movie Cimarron and Oklahoma in general.  Miles past this, the road rises and I can look to the south when I’m heading east and see where the river turns into the countryside.DSC_0017One of the great surprises of the drive came this winter when I noticed a herd by the side of the road and turned back to check it out. Sure enough, it was a herd of bison near the crossroads where you can turn towards Oilton. Now I check for it all the time, coming or going. Once I pulled over to watch them and a highway patrolman stopped to see if everything was ok. That was a nice feeling because he was thoughtfully checking on me and I told him I was just watching the bison. He may have thought that was a bit much, but I always find them interesting.DSC_0014This stretch of highway I drive is only about 65 miles and I see all kinds of animals. There are lots of cows, horses, sheep, goats, and even a llama. As I head towards Yale, OK, home of the great athlete Jim Thorpe, 

This building as you come to Yale from the east is intriguing. The basketball goal with the old building is a story of some kind out here along the road.IMG_0051Coming into Yale, I always enjoy this place, whatever the weather. Peacefully falling down in its own time.IMG_6427I slow down as I come into Yale because I know there is a watchful policeman there and I’ve been to their traffic court once (enough). Going slow, I noticed this patriotic painting.DSC_0030Leaving Yale, I cross Salt Creek and am always happy to see the herd of donkeys in a field. There have been adorable babies, but I haven’t caught a picture yet. How many animal herds have I mentioned in this relatively short drive? Not to mention chickens. DSC_0029Past the Salt Creek Arena, I drive through woods where I once saw a deer step out in the early morning until I reach the intersection where my Sky Barn is seen best as you drive from west to east. I did a whole post on it.DSC_0253Past that are the archaeologically interesting Twin Mounds, where remnants of Civil War camps have been found. You only catch a glimpse of both of them coming from west to east. I learned about them when I stopped at the best little museum and antique shop ever, which is a couple of miles off of Highway 51 near Stillwater. I’ll have to write a whole post on this treasure of Oklahoma regional history.IMG_9145Next is one of the goat farms I pass. DSC_0045A new landmark for me is this field that I’ve passed so many times. Recently, I was driving on a clear day and the sky became hazy, smoky for no apparent reason. As I approached this place, the field had been burned in the few hours since I drove by in the morning. I’m hoping it was a controlled burn but it didn’t do much damage. Here is it is right after the burning.DSC_0005Within three days, I could barely tell it had burned for all the green. Amazing. About three weeks later, this same spot looks like this. Gotta love nature.DSC_0010When I pulled off to take this picture, I spotted a Scissortail Flycatcher, Oklahoma’s state bird, on the fence.DSC_0013I now look for this house as I pass. I saw it once and couldn’t find it again for awhile. Now I know the landmarks to look for so I can nod as I pass. In the country, you don’t have to worry about taking down old houses and barns. Charming really.DSC_0004

On the final stretch into Stillwater, I pass a farm with several pumpjacks on Clay Road (my son’s name was Clay). I always look for this one to read the sign and smile. This week, the Indian Paintbrush is in bloom. Gorgeous.

DSC_0003Sometime, I’ll do a post on the different pumpjacks, but this time I’ll just show you more Indian Paintbrush.DSC_0009DSC_0006Next is the road to historic Ingalls, location of one of the great western gunfights. I wrote a post about that awhile back.

And so my drive goes, never knowing who I will meet along the way…DSC_0044…driving into Stillwater where I pass this new exciting Transformer by the road…IMG_7820and see these familiar structures ahead. IMG_9942My final destination is Oklahoma State University with its beautiful campus, but this is the story of the road I take. I travel with beautiful sunrises…IMG_5136 IMG_0087 IMG_0092and sunsets…DSC_0001This trip reminds me to slow down and see all that is around me and notice something new every time. I travel from the city to the country to college town and back again. I drive through the Creek and Pawnee nations. I go from oil refineries and railroads to granaries and see the history of our state unfold before me. There are hills, woods, plains, fields and crops, farms, ranches, small towns, lakes and rivers, all changing with the season and the weather, different on cloudy days or different times of day when the slant of the light accents different objects and views. The skies are wide open and everything is there to remind me I’m alive and so glad to be here!

I find myself paralyzed these days as I watch the horror of the current elections with both amazement and genuine terror. When you get to my age, you hope you’ve seen everything stupid that can happen and then this…

Trying to figure it all out, I think back to the elections of my younger days when we didn’t have 24/7 news coverage, the internet or social media. We got a little news from television, more from newspapers and magazines. I’m not advocating we go back, because we can’t, but it has definitely made an impact on how we live through the news ad nauseum as it unfolds minute by minute.

To be fair, and because I tend to want to see all sides of an issue, I try to watch and read as much as I can from every viewpoint. I had a conversation with a university student who was turning 21 and voting for the first time in a national election. His genuine confusion was interesting as he tried to make sense of anything, even with so much information all around him. The problem is that we’re pounded with it, over and over.

When I’ve worked on projects where I need to get a message to an audience, I’ve learned that you need to send it in as many ways as possible since most of us get so much information every day that we may miss it or put it aside. Some of my friends rarely read an email and have no idea how to tweet or text. Snail mail may work best with them. Maybe. Most of us need it all to make something stand out. Repetitive jabbing at the consciousness. Obviously, politicians embrace this technique to the extreme. No publicity is bad publicity, as they say.

So, the end result of all of this constant repetition of the confusing messages is a sense of alarm, a gnawing fear that this year’s elections are leading us to a place most of us don’t want to go. Every day is some new trigger from our state legislatures, the election rallies and debates, local craziness. Always something.

It doesn’t help that I’ve just finished two books that revolve around Germany in the 1930s, “In the Garden of Beasts,” by Erik Larson and “The Boys in the Boat,” by Daniel James Brown. Read them both. You’ll learn from the first one and feel better about being human from the second. My brain is full of images of Hitler’s speeches inciting the crowds to follow him blindly into the evil chaos that was to come. Do we never learn from history?

I understand being fed up with the powers that be. When did we become a country that only worked for our political parties and not for the people? What is this stalemate that has been created in state and national legislatures where you can’t vote for your conscience or for what you know, only for what your party leaders tell you to vote for – if you want to be reelected. And who doesn’t want to be reelected, especially to a national office where you get perks for life even if you’re an idiot and only serve one term. Wow!

In the past months, I’ve had nightmares, real nightmares, about Donald Trump. That’s the result of the constant pummeling at my brain that is coming out in my sleep. I need my sleep.

I have no solution for the madness that is going on around us other than to be careful with your votes. I’m not even sure I want you all to vote if you’re going to continue voting the way you have been. “The people speak” isn’t as reassuring as it used to be.

Last year, one of my favorite movies was Disney’s “Cinderella” with its message: Have Courage and Be Kind. My new mantra.

Right now, I’m going to look away from all the nuttiness and say goodbye to Winter with it’s slanted light and lovely images through the bare skeletons of trees…DSC_0002

…and say hello to Spring with its burst of Hope we need today and every day. Maybe the Spring rains will wash away some of the nastiness that is creeping into our souls.DSC_0003



Winter evolves into Spring with the most dramatic and the most hopeful of changes.  In the city, there are beautiful flowers and trees, but most of them have been specifically planted for the effect.  Not that I don’t love seeing the gorgeous azaleas and flowering trees and popping flowers.  I love them!

I’ve been through some long sad winters in my life, life changing seasons when I had to trudge through loss and hope I could make it into the next phase.  But Spring always comes along to brighten my outlook.  Always.

This year, I’ve had the lovely experience of driving a state highway at least once a week, making the changes in the countryside even more dramatic.  One week there was snow, the first week in March.  A couple of weeks later, I noticed the trees were fuzzy, small leaves pushing their way out.  By the end of the month, we were having warm days, punctuated with the kind of clouds we watch explode in the sky, the ones that show the atmosphere is in turmoil and we have to watch carefully.  The beauty of the massive clouds can easily turn into dark skies with swirling tornadoes dropping towards earth.  DSC_0344A week after I see the leaves pushing at the ends of branches, I’m overwhelmed by the sense of the baby green colors of the trees around me as plant after plant shows its new colors.

Then the redbuds bloom in the forests, our state tree showing its colors, fuchsia and white, wild along the roadways.

DSC_0007 DSC_0006

The ground is turning from brown to green for the babies, calves and colts, that arrive.  I drive into a mass of young green…the lacy profile of the branches from winter is filling in…

DSC_0255We still have wild skies and are enjoying a rainy season, needed for all that grows from the earth…DSC_0333The Cimarron River is filling and the trees along its bluffs are softer…DSC_0256I call this the “Sky Barn,” a place I see from the road at a country intersection.

DSC_0254And then, there was color along the roadsides, Indian Paintbrush starting to bloom.

DSC_0160DSC_0164Over the past two weeks, the flowers are spreading and growing brighter as I suddenly see fields of the wildflowers…

DSC_0162 IMG_6943And other flowers are coming, purples and whites and yellows along the way.

DSC_0168The baby greens of early spring are now lush shades of deep green, the trees full.  And my heart is full of hopeful new feelings.  Welcome Spring!


A week ago I drove through the countryside which was accented by stark snow-covered branches against the sky.  A week later, just a week, I drove through the countryside on a cloudy, rainy day and noticed a difference.  The tree branches looked fuzzy on the ends.  I realized that the leaves were starting to bud.

IMG_6531And then the week brought more signs.  There were wildflowers in a patch by the road, a little color.  Suddenly, cows were standing on green patches.  When the sun came out, it was warmer.  I got a sunburn watching a grandson play baseball.

There may be more winter to come, but, for right now, Spring is definitely beginning to push Winter aside.  The cycles of nature are a continual source of hope for us all.

The nice thing about Oklahoma is that you never know what the weather’s going to be, so we get to experience a little bit of everything, short of hurricanes.  We opt for tornadoes instead.  We’ve had a mild winter, especially compared to the east coast, so when we get a little snow, it’s mainly an annoyance.

What do you call it when you get a couple of inches of snow and it’s more than a dusting and less than a blanket?

I drove from Tulsa to Stillwater on Highway 51, the old highway I used when I was in college with a few improvements to make it a little safer.  I like the turnpike, but this road has so much nostalgia for me.  I like it.  The roads were clear, but the views were snowy.  I was taken with the tree limbs covered with snow early in the morning.

IMG_6429On the old two lane highway between the Arkansas River and Chandler Park, I drove through snow covered rocks and hills of snow covered trees on one side and an icy river on the other.  I didn’t have my camera, but I had my iPhone, so I would pull over and take pictures as I drove along.  So much for getting to my meeting on time.  I was mesmerized with the beauty of the winter landscape.

Eventually, I pulled into a drive, turned around and was struck by the sun trying to break through the icy sky…

IMG_6426I wish I were the kind of writer who could take you there with wonderful words, but I also believe in the power of photographs.  I’m a fan of both.  Here are some beautiful trees…

IMG_6437And that wonderful sun was still trying to break through…

IMG_6435I turned down a few country roads…just because…  Wonder what critter walked under the barbed wire gate?

IMG_6443The ghost town of Ingalls in the snow…

IMG_6454Something about the tiny general store gets me…

IMG_6455Some unexpected views from the road…IMG_6458IMG_6459A landmark ruin…IMG_6427And black cattle on the white snow.IMG_6467That sun never broke through so the drive back home was cold and frosty, with fog at the end.  I did stop on the bridge to get a shot of the beauty of the Cimarron River.  IMG_6469What can I say?  Sometimes the dreariest days have their own beauty to lift your spirits…




We’ve had a green autumn in Oklahoma.  I don’t remember having a mild summer (well, for us), followed by a very warm fall before.  We’ve had some autumns when our trees turned brown too quickly because of the hot summer.  This year,  hmmm.

It’s November and the temperatures have been in the 70s and 80s.  I’m not sure we’ve even had a hard freeze.  About a week ago, the maple tree in my front yard burst into color…finally.  IMG_5498

This week, the temperature was almost 80 on Monday and, then, it dropped overnight to freezing.  On Wednesday, we woke up with winds and temps in the 20s.  When the wind blew, my maple dropped its leaves.  IMG_5615That was typical.  But…in my back yard, some of the trees hadn’t even turned yet and there was a flurry of leaves falling…all green.  I’ve never seen a green autumn before.  IMG_5614Oh well.  Not much to say…we went from one extreme to the other.  As Will Rogers said, “If you don’t like the weather in Oklahoma, wait a minute and it’ll change.”

My husband was a man, a big kid actually, who loved Halloween and everything about it.  Every fall, we drove out into the country, when it didn’t take so long to find the bare countryside, to look for the perfect pumpkins.  Everybody had to have their own, with his being the biggest one.  This was one of those holidays when I was along for the ride because I wasn’t good at making costumes and he was in charge of the carving and I just made popcorn balls and caramel apples and handed out the treats on the big night while he walked the streets with the kids and other fathers in the neighborhood.

We didn’t take as many photos in those days of film and flashbulbs, but I treasure the ones I have, especially now that my husband and son are both gone.  I’m pretty sure they have pumpkins in heaven however.  No doubt in my mind that they are getting ready for the big night in whatever afterlife they inhabit.  Scan 19Scan 16By the time our grandchildren were born, the pumpkin patch had expanded with animals and rides and photo ops galore.  Taking the grandkids to the patch was a way to keep my own kids’ memories alive and well.  So there are lots of pictures of these kids, now in high school, getting their pumpkins, just as their parents did.   Scan 19 86777-PH-5Oct2001-012 86777-PH-5Oct2001-017 Zac

86777-PH-9Oct2002-002And their parents take pictures that are part of the family tradition, the things that remind us of the best of times and hold us together in all times.   All my grandchildren are in middle school or high school now, except for the youngest, my son’s daughter.  He went to the patch with his nephews and niece when he was in college…Scan 19And took his own daughter for her first visit, his last before he died.  IMG_1476She gets to go back now, following family traditions, making her own.  DSC_0051They say that all we can really give our children are memories, and these are some of the best.  These days I look at my family and go back to look at the years that have done by way too quickly and I’m strengthened by the continuity of the traditions and the love I see in the photos.  The Pumpkin Patch is important in our family, but so are other traditions.  We can all make our own…and should.  IMG_5221

It was hard to leave the central coast of Oregon but time to come back.  I never tire of watching the waves crash around me, so we went up the coast to get back to Portland this time.  One more look at crashing waves, please.DSC_0441 DSC_0418We drove up the coast, leaving Highway 101 to hit the coast drive to Cape Kiwanda…DSC_1330 and Cape Lookout, both with their views and beach warning signs.  Believe me, I wasn’t planning on going off any cliffs.DSC_1337The final Cape was Cape Meares, which was the most delightful of all.   Besides the views…DSC_1344there was the Octopus Tree, a 300 year old Sitka Spruce tree that fits into my memorable trees collection.DSC_1350And the shortest lighthouse, at 38 feet, on the coast.DSC_1363My tour was interesting, giving me insight into the life and work of the lighthouse men of our past.  Not an easy job.  This one had the original glass for the clear sections, beautiful in the sunshine.DSC_1374 DSC_1375We headed back to Highway 101, stopping in Tillamook, where barn quilts decorate buildings all over town.  I wasn’t familiar with this until this summer, so now I’m looking for them when I travel.  Here are a few I saw.DSC_1381 DSC_1382 DSC_1385I can’t go to Oregon without getting Tillamook Ice Cream, the creamiest ever.  Besides they have wonderful flavors like Marionberry Pie and Huckleberry.  Tillamook Cheese is a destination, a farmers’ co-op where you can watch the cheese being made, shop and eat, tasting all the flavors of ice cream, milk and cheese.  I can get the cheese at home, but not the ice cream!  I always have to stop, joining the crowds who share my passion.DSC_1389Our next stop was at one of the amazing beaches in the world, Cannon Beach, home of Haystack Rock.  On this particular day, it was sunny and warm.  People were sunbathing in Oregon in October.  I had to stop at both ends of the beach for the beautiful views of the rock.  Here’s looking from the south to north.  DSC_1390And north to south with the rock shining in the late afternoon sun.  You can’t imagine how big this thing is.  And how big the beach is.  Incredibly beautiful.  And fun.DSC_1399I got a clear shot of Tillamook Lighthouse, perched on its lonely, dangerous rock, from the beach, looking north.DSC_1402Although I could have dawdled all day on the beach, we were trying to reach Astoria by dark, so we headed north.  It was late in the day, but we were able to go to the top of the hill where the Astoria Column, concrete carved with the history of the region, sits.  I was too tired to climb the 168 steps to the top, but the views from below were incredible and the column is an incredible piece of art.DSC_1416Looking towards Astoria, you see the bridge that takes you from Oregon to Washington, and you feel chills thinking of the Lewis & Clark expedition charting these waters.  Looking to the view, where the mighty Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean is breathtaking in its importance.  DSC_1410On the other side of the hill, the Youngs River and the Lewis & Clark River enter Youngs Bay before joining the Columbia.  DSC_1428The charming city of Astoria is the oldest settlement in America west of the Rockies.  I’ll return for more.  I did love the trash cans in Astoria, symbolic of one of the major industries of the area.DSC_1435We headed east to Portland, leaving the coast behind us.  The next day, we went into Portland for the underground tour, which was very little underground, but a lot of colorful history of the wild and wooly days of early Portland.  Very fun.DSC_1440I’ve been to Portland various times in the past five years, enjoying the diversity and casualness of this beautiful city.  We had a wonderful tea and late lunch in one of the few Chinese restaurants left in Chinatown.  DSC_1441DSC_1448I really wanted the Hung Farlow to still be open, but they are saving the sign.  DSC_1443Portland has the signs saying “Keep Portland Weird,” just as Austin has signs that beg us to “Keep Austin Weird.”  I’m thinking “weird” is just a word for being open to everything.  There were more homeless than I remembered from my last visit, but just as many colorful people, trying to be as weird as possible or to fit in however they can.  It’s part of the charm really.   We finished our tour and joined local friends for a fun Thai dinner, watching the sport of Sepak Takraw, a combination of hackey sack and volleyball, on the television.  DSC_1462We’d passed the famous Voodoo doughnut place on our tour, but stopped at the second location on the other side of the river to stock up on the notorious doughnuts.  We HAD to have this Portland experience and included one Voodoo man doughnut in our box for fun.DSC_1458 DSC_1480The next day, our final day in Oregon, we traveled to Timberline Lodge on Mt Hood.  It was a beautiful day, warm even at 6,000 feet, and the views were spectacular.DSC_1485DSC_1492Timberline is an old WPA lodge and everything inside is hand made from local materials, including the furniture, drapes, hand wrought iron, carvings.  The building, used in the opening shots of “The Shining,” is a tribute to the craftsmen and women who worked in the program, not only grateful for jobs during the depression but showing deep pride in their creations.  It was a total delight.  The six-sided fireplace, made of local rocks, runs up through the three stories of the main lobby, with three fireplaces on two levels.DSC_1514I loved the scenes carved in linoleum on the walls of a meeting room.DSC_1504The views of Mt Jefferson and Mt St Helens in the distance were lovely.DSC_1527And the mists over the hills gave us the layers of blue against the clear sky.  DSC_1532The top of Mt Hood was rocky, but they continue to manicure the dusty snow for the skiers we passed coming and going up the mountain.DSC_1519Our Oregon trip ended with meals with friends before we headed back to Oklahoma the next day.  This Okie left with more lovely Oregon memories to fill my senses.  Okie in Oregon.  That’s me.