Tag Archives: outdoors

Alien Abduction or How I Spent my Summer Vacation

©Anthony May Photography, courtesy of seattle pi

©Anthony May Photography, courtesy of seattle pi

The days are shorter, but still warm and oh, so humid. The dry days of August have waved goodbye, and the monsoons of the Pacific Northwest fall have once again made their presence felt…three weeks ahead of schedule. Lightning flashes across the sky and thunder rolls, shaking the house and waking the occupants, who turn in their bed and hug each other for comfort.

The mornings are dark, and the kitchen feels warm and safe. The coffeemaker gurgles to a finish and I feel a sense of sadness, once again feeling as if I somehow missed the summer this year.

My husband walks quickly out to the old Forester and leaps in as nimbly as any strong old man might, dodging the wind and rain. He drives away through the dark, in the pouring rain.  I, faced with the dark house and a mountain of work in my office,  feel somehow abandoned by the gods of weather.

how-to-play-gin-rummy-1Where were the card games at my sister’s house that normally make the summers so much fun? How did the entire summer go by without even one game of San Felipe Rummy?

We didn’t have many dinners on the back porch. I don’t recall sitting in the pool more than once.

I don’t recall having my morning coffee on the back porch and that is something I look forward to all winter.

Was I abducted by aliens? Thinking logically, I must doubt that theory. My blog posts and work calendar all indicate I was here, apparently doing what I was supposed to be doing, but I don’t recall enjoying the rare bursts of sunshine that turn the summer skies a magical shade of blue here in Olympia.

clouds ms clipartI was here, because I definitely published a novella, Tales From the Dreamtime, a collection of three short stories, and I think it’s my best work yet. I’ve made a great deal of headway on various editing projects for private clients, and I have made headway on my own work. I wrote two posts a week for this blog, some of which I think are rather good posts.  I read at least two books a week all summer, and blogged about them on Best In Fantasy.  All these are proof I was here, but how did I miss the summer?

Both my mind and my Google Calendar say I was not abducted.

Nevertheless, I believe at least my mind was taken elsewhere, because summer has come and gone, and I have no recollection of it.

The rain pounds on the roof, and rattles the gutters. It flattens the grass and the flowers,  and thunder rolls down our little valley. The rain is our identity, and our curse: the one thing we can count on.

A patch of blue becomes a jewel, a treasure in the eye of the beholder.


Filed under Adventure, Books, Fantasy, Food, Humor, Literature, Uncategorized, Vegan, writing

Stormy Weather

Amaranthus and Savvy at the needles by haystack rock cannon beach Haystack Rock Cannon Beach ©cjjasp 2012

Amaranthus and Savvy at the needles by haystack rock cannon beach Haystack Rock Cannon Beach ©cjjasp 2012

We are on holiday in Oregon, at a little town called Cannon Beach. This is a wonderful place, famous for the rock formations and caves, and the scenery was featured in the film, The Goonies.

Even in August, the northeastern Pacific Ocean on the Oregon Coast is cold and frequently cloudy and rainy. But when the sun shines, it is amazing.

Watching the storms roll in from the safety of the porch of the condo is nothing less than awesome. The beach is uncrowded, and Amaranthus and Savvy can play to their heart’s content, running wild the way cousins have always done since time began.

Amaranthus digs bunkers, and wades waist deep in Ecola Creek where it runs into the ocean. He rides his skim-board along the edge of the ocean like a pro, using his skate-boarding skills to the max. When he steps onto the porch, he is chilled to the bone, and his 6 foot tall, 14 year-old frame is shivering. His lips are blue from the cold, and he doesn’t even have to be told to take a shower–he’s a man now. He knows what to do.

Leah and Christy Cannon Beach 2012 © cjjasp 2012

Leah and Christy Cannon Beach 2012 © cjjasp 2012

Savvy is bright-eyed and deeply interested in creating marvelous sculptures of sand, just like her mother, my daughter Christy and her Aunty Leah. All our children were keen sandcastle engineers! The girl also rides her skim-board and stays out until she is blue from the cold.

It’s a family tradition.

Savannah is 11 and she’s a girl, so she also doesn’t have to be told to warm up. She wants only to sit in the Jacuzzi when she finally has to abandon her sand castles.

Sandcastle Sam 2010

Sandcastle Sam 2010

Nephew Samuel is 16, and is fixated on riding his bike the length of the beach, from Rockaway Point to Ecola Creek as many times as he can fit into the vacation. He is also a sand castle excavator, bringing spades, a pick-axe and many other large implements for proper excavation. No matter how cold, blue and near death from hypothermia Sam is, he won’t take any advice on how to get warmed up, preferring to sit in a corner looking like death-warmed-over. Did I mention Sam is 16?

Rockaway Beach © cjjasp 2013

Rockaway Beach © cjjasp 2013

This year I’m here resting up, recovering from my surgery, and writing intense scenes for the revised version of Julian Lackland’s story. This is the perfect environment for me, and with everyone else checking out the caves on Rockaway Beach and trudging down to Haystack Rock, I have the perfect combination of peace, quiet and beautiful scenery to motivate me. Throughout the rest of the year I live for this week of writer’s paradise.

Local legend says Ursula K. Le Guin spends time writing here in Cannon Beach, which seems right since she lives in Portland, 1 hour and 45 minutes away. I know that this place inspires me more than any other place we go.

The Needles at Cannon Beach ©cjjasp 2013

The Needles at Cannon Beach ©cjjasp 2013

The weather is frequently awful, but we know it, and we plan for it. But there will be two days of glorious skies of a blue impossible to adequately describe.

The moods of the Pacific Ocean are anything but peaceful. It is a wild, beautiful thing, that is never the same two days running.  The waves crashing against the sea stacks and  the cries of the sea birds combine with the wind to clear my mind, and at last I am free to just write.



Filed under Adventure, Books, Fantasy, Literature, Uncategorized, Vegan, writer, writing