Happy Birthday to me…and somber news

I woke up to a beautiful birthday morning on the desert.

We said goodbye to the Alvord Desert and headed to Fields, Denio, Highway 140 and Medford.

My mother-in-law and I share a birthday. Bill and I balanced our wish for an unhurried day with some time to explore with our wish to share a birthday dinner in Medford.

We enjoyed driving by a flying saucer on 140, the Sheldon National Antelope Refuge, and the opal mines beyond the refuge headquarters. Nothing was open, which was helpful for our itinerary.

There are some spectacular grades on this route (complete with curves and abrupt, immense drop-offs). We saw a sign warning of wild donkeys and got excited. We didn’t spot any.

Other signs left us baffled.

Hula-hooping pronghorns?

We made Medford in time for a leisurely, lovely dinner with Bruce and Jo. (Did I tell you that I have the best in-laws?)

When mom called later that evening, I thought it was just for birthday wishes, but it was much more somber. She let me know that dad had only 24-48 hours to live.

My dad underwent chemo and radiation for esophageal cancer more than a year ago. It was a tough couple months, but the outcome was more than a year of pretty vigorous life. He’d not been feeling well for a month or so, but still. It was a shock.

Dad lived for another month, cared for with great love by mom, my siblings, and his grandkids. He enjoyed sharing stories right to the end.

Dad passed away November 16, 2020.

I was honored to be asked to give his eulogy.

My father-in-law is a gift

Mark’s birthday

Last night Mark and Jess were considering heading home, but when Bruce offered a driftboat trip on the river, they decided to stay. Wise folk!

I don’t have pictures of their trip, but know from experience, that it was beautiful. Bruce knows the Rogue and the critters and birds along its banks.

I have the best in-laws (my siblings voted) and I know it.

Happy birthday Mark!

Adventures with a spinning singing candle

Seal Rock Campground

It was supposed to be a noon start, but Bill’s lunch was frustratingly slow [Happy Birthday Marc] and he didn’t pick me up until 1:30. Oh well. We skipped getting shellfish permits and headed out into a beautiful afternoon.

Off to Seal Rock, a rare National Forest Service campground located on salt water.

Even behind the chip truck we made pretty good time.

Gerald and Carol with their pop-up A-frame were about 15 minutes ahead of us. They found two neighboring spots and another across the road. Pretty lucky since it was the last weekend of shrimping season.

We pulled Brave Horatio into the spot next to Carol and Gerald’s setup. Brave Horatio is sporting new dividers in his utensil drawer—pretty slick.

Bill covets Gerald’s axe

I hung my hammock next to the C-G campfire and walked to the beach. It was covered with oysters. Oysters shining in the sun and me without my shellfish permit. I poked at oysters, tipped over rocks to pester tiny crabs, and tossed pebbles into the sunny water.

Mt. Rainier over Hood Canal

For dinner we enjoyed duck breast, quinoa, and a mango-pomegranate-avocado salad around a lovely campfire… and we talked.

We totally did not notice the group that set up a couple tents and a picnic table kitchen in the spot we’d reserved for Mark and Jess—the one LuluBelle was parked in. I guess they didn’t notice the BIG RED vehicle in the camp spot when they parked along the road.

It worked out fine.

Mark and Jess, on their inaugural trip with their new TAB teardrop, set up in the campsite driveway and worked it out in the morning. (The interlopers left with no heated emotions.)

We celebrated Mark and Carol’s birthdays with a fantastic chocolate-beet cake and everyone laughed at the sparkler-flamed flower candle that spun and sang.

It just kept spinning and singing so I stomped it.

That worked for a few minutes…then the singing started again!

Another stomp killed it dead.

Happy Birthday Dammit!

Great Blue Heron