volcano gawkers

We live along a part of the Pacific Rim of Fire, a seismically active horseshoe of volcanoes and earthquakes.   Well before I lived here, in May 1980, Mt St Helens, one of the local conical volcanoes erupted so strongly that it exploded cataclysmically upward and outward, destroying 14 percent of its peak and devastating about 150 to 200 square miles of forested land.

Here’s a very short video that shows the before and after shape of the mountain (with amusing musical accompaniment).  Here’s a National Geographic gallery of pics.  Our pics upcoming will show only the after.

Last Friday we took the camper to a park about 50 miles from Mt St Helens, just to get out of Dodge for a few days.   Almost as an afterthought the next day, we decided to drive the 50-mile road that winds toward the summit and go nose around.

The only other time we’d been here was heavily overcast with no chance of seeing this volcano.  I’ve flown over the area many times, so have seen the destroyed peak and bleak landscape from 30,000 feet.  Our Saturday was clear and warm.

Herewith, perhaps too many photos to illustrate those 8 hours we messed about.  (N.B.  Click on any photo in a section and they’ll get bigger!)

We continued tootling up the road, along sections of the Toutle River that were devastated in the explosion.

For the gawkers, the smart powers-that-be constructed many waysides and several complex interpretive centers.  I kept wondering about having to rebuild if the mountain blew again….  We’re a peculiar species.  I digress.

bunker potty--I'm trying to imagine the request for proposal:  need blast-proof potty in case the mountain blows again

bunker potty near the end of the road–I’m trying to imagine the request for proposal: need blast-proof potty in case the mountain blows again.  Maybe we’re supposed to hide in their for a few weeks?!

We found a wayside about 20 miles (?) away from the mountain, just a parking lot with three interpretive signs, no facilities, and a knock-em-dead view of the peak and surrounding terrain.   We had the camper (with a potty!).  We lingered.  Had lunch al fresco, had naps, and I did laundry because I dumped a cup of tomato juice right into my only bag of clothes.  Sigh… !!

Our final view of the mountain at that spot:

late afternoon and the clouds bathe the broken peak

late afternoon and the clouds bathe the broken peak

The clouds continued to thicken.   Sunday the cloud deck was so low that there was no hint of a peak.   Weren’t we smart to go up the road on Saturday?!

We took kitty Calpurrnia with us because she needs three medicines twice a day, though we’d rather leave her home with Ooper.  They probably snuggle up when we’re not looking.  …  Nah…  Not sure how much longer she’ll be with us, our old girl, and it grieves me deeply to think of her fuzzy tortoise-shell self absent.

The camper road trips are quite demanding of me, but I recover faster now, which inspires lasting hope instead of mere pockets clung to in desperation.


poppy heads

Jude of Jude’s Photography over in the Dordogne in southwest France (“surrounded by beauty in the form of wildlife, rivers, medieval villages and châteaus”), recently posted a photo of Oriental poppies.  Gorgeous!

I love the color!  Orangey-red.  Yum.  Here’s a poppy just opening from last year in my garden:

poppy hat

poppy hat

Here is the state of my poppies right now, a sunny day in mid-April:

poppy fronds

poppy fronds

early spring poppy head

early spring poppy head

poppy head

poppy head



In those early November days in the garage studio, freezing my a&& off, I learned to doodle from an enthusiastic and talented doodler who generously posted her techniques online (Joanne Fink, Zenspirations Patterning Techniques).

I remembered that I’m not a natural doodler, but I’ve begun to see how it could add something to an already painted page.


doodling (on canvas sheets)

At one daily show-and-tell after Big came home from work, I showed him that I had learned to doodle.   He told me I already knew how to do this and pointed to the beaded curtain I had made some years ago:

beaded curtain

I kept messing with doodling, using those markers, color pencils, and Micron pens I’d gathered for landscape design school:

Fibonacci's Spiral; golden mean

Fibonacci’s Spiral; golden ratio (the flip side of the first doodle)

If you’re curious about the Fibonacci’s Spiral or the golden ratio, this site looked great.  Don’t get bogged down by the words–look at the pictures and especially watch the little animations at the beginning.

Nature and mathematics or perfectly-harmonious-but-I-don’t-know-why architecture:  who’d-a thunk it?!  <:-D

Press This: gardenhistorygirl: Words with a Garden History: Favela

It’s a short bit about words and gardens.  What’s a better combination?!  And we get to learn about Brazil!

gardenhistorygirl: Words with a Garden History: Favela.

She says:  “What is your favorite word with an unexpected or forgotten garden meaning?  Mine is vignette, which means something short enough to be written on a vine leaf.”

Writing from the Edge: The Goddess of Plenty

Writing from the Edge: The Goddess of Plenty.

I love this blog.  Just do.

Here is how Lorely, an evocative writer from the Wild West Coast of Ireland, captures this particular blog post:

I looked around my own small patch of earth, my generous share of the goddess of plenty’s gifts, with all its plants – flowers – beauty – healing and power.

It is all given to us, I thought, in infinite variety – to see, to hold, to use, to pleasure our senses, to heal our bodies, to quiet our minds, and – as is the way with the earth – everything links into everything else, but it is up to us how we use it, how we see those connections.

So – I pondered – let’s do it – let’s look at the bounty around us, admire it, celebrate it, share it and spread it around.

(She is celebrating her one-year blog anniversary by giving away something very special.)

For her, I add a photo of the twisted willow in my yard, Salix tortuosa.

the healing willow tree

This lady leads a rich life–she shares about gardens, dogs, Napoleon, cats, skinny dipping (!)….  wait–here’s a screen shot of her tags/categories!

Go on.  Off with you.  Go visit and stay awhile.

the Weather Service KNOWS…

I’m a weather-freak, the stormier the better.  When it’s calm, I’m not.  Go figure.  I ain’t gonna.

This morning got my day going perfectly:

take heed, Earthlings!

choices, fallback positions, and faith

Recently, I’ve been faced smack-on with having to pursue one option or another.  Time to reflect on that idea, the idea of choice.

What to choose and how to make the decision?

My choices have been an either/or, but not both.  What would I choose and how to make the decision?

I found the answer to “how” by remembering a theory of successful negotiation–always always always have a bottom line, a position beyond which you do not progress.   Stand there quietly in that confident knowing.

The “what” came immediately because of the how, but this does not assume that it was easy.  So, “how” comes first.

The how is:  we have to know what we want, the shape of a path, even if we don’t fully know the path.  Choosing causes the path to veer and wind toward a goal, perhaps, or just allows a peaceful stance, one of acceptance of choices made.


A fallback position, the choice I could make if other options don’t seem to be working or presenting themselves, sounds like a good idea.   In theory.  In reality, adding an option that we don’t really want just adds tension and does not allow for acceptance.   So, no, I don’t want a fallback position because I don’t want to give up on paving my path with the choices I am interested in.

Having a fallback position presents too many options and causes paralysis.  Have to choose, to narrow down, to whittle away the swirling fog of confusion and plant my feet firmly somewhere.  Anywhere.  To do as my landscape design instructor kept hammering into us:  “Get in the boat.  Stay in the boat.”  (By which he meant, choose a theme/intent and stick with it.) More


For you regular visitors, you know I’ve been spending a fair bit of time with the TV for company.  McHale’s Navy, Peter Gunn, Rifleman, and movies when I feel like it.  You know also that my brain remains fuzzy from the excitement created by the hospitalization in early February.

For several weeks now, I’ve thought I was truly losing my marbles because the TV has been changing channels spontaneously!   Did I blonk the remote?  Is our TV dying?  Is someone outside the window changing the channel?!  What the heck?!

Hmmm…. I finally figured out it wasn’t me or a helpful neighbor.

The Sun has been dictating my television watching!  Earth has been the target of bursts of intense solar energy.  All the warnings about disruption of electronics are true!

It’s happening now, during a replay of the movie Notting Hill.  There I am keeping an eye on a nice lil ole romance while I read or do something else and I suddenly realize that the TV is showing us how to mix peanut sauce in a food processor.  Usually at the romantic dialogue or meaningful glances…  sigh….  It’s hard enough right now, Mr. Sol.  Gimmee a break!

Glad I’m not flying an aeroplane; the TV is challenge enough!


The woodstove, our sole source of heat, is making an effort this morning, but I did have to bring in an armload of wood to encourage it.  On the way to the woodpile….  brrrrrrrr…..

ice storm (updated photos)

yikes!  happy to be sick and at home!  my poor corkscrew willow!  waaaaah!

ice storm!

Told ya it wouldn’t last–freezing rain has been pattering down since late last night.  It is hauntingly, deceptively beautiful, and very dangerous.  There are folks driving in this stuff.    See the new shininess?!

I'M not walking out to the compost bin, thank you very much!

and, I'm not walking that-a-way either!

that's more than the 1/10" of ice predicted!


winter is here in the Pacific Northwest (US)

it won’t last long, but the snow, wind, and cold are balm for my winter-starved soul.

red sky at morning, sailor take warning…

Except here it just doesn’t work that way.  But it was spectacular this morning.  I rushed out in my jammies with the little point-and-shoot, once again thankful for the landscape screening I planted a few years ago!  >:-D

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on the road for Xmas

We’re in our stalwart camper and ancient truck–here’s a previous pic so YOU get the picture!

Along the way–

And here’s where we’re staying:

Looking over the bluff to the cove below

We hear the changing tidal actions

Happy Solstice, Earthlings!

The quality of daylight starts changing as of right-now-ish.  When I lived in Alaska, I gave Solstice parties, but I was the only one mourning the return of the light.  Don’t know why, but the dark is where I thrive.  All my friends toasted the coming light….

Happy Solstice, All You Earthlings!  And, OK, you too, you lurking beings from off-planet, you cut-ups who turn my jammies inside-out in the middle of the night, who zapped my brain, and who love rock ‘n’ roll.  There’s one thing we did right, huh, rock ‘n’ roll?  I know it’s not enough right for you to want to colonize our planet.  We’ve wrecked Earth all to hell, so no, no, no no colonizing!  (I’ve seen the movies; I know how it works!)

Oh, and isn’t the word put together beautifully by those early French (based on Latin roots)!  (You may sense my linguistics minor in school!)

solstice Look up solstice at Dictionary.com
mid-13c., from O.Fr. solstice, from L. solstitium “point at which the sun seems to stand still,” from sol “sun” (see sol) + pp. stem of sistere “to come to a stop, make stand still” (see assist).
(Citation:  The Sciolist, and what an interesting intro page!  I may have to go back and see what else he’s talking about.  Anyone who puts together an etymology dictionary is a good kind of oddball!)
© No Stealing!  That’s what the little c in the circle means!
© lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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