Painted Hills

On our drive home from Reno a few weeks ago, Captain Cavedweller and I made a side trip so we could see the Painted Hills in Central Oregon.

We’d driven past them before, but we hadn’t taken time to stop and really take some photos. I thought I’d share some of them with you today.

The Painted Hills are one one of three units that comprise the John Day Fossil Beds. I did a post a few years ago about the John Day Fossil Beds here.

Maintained by the National Park Service, there are three units that make up the John Day Fossil Beds: Clarno, Painted Hills and Sheep Rock.

In the Sheep Rock Unit you’ll not only find great places to hike on trails and take in unbelievable views, you’ll also discover the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center and The James Cant Ranch.

Many people don’t know that most of Oregon was once like a tropical rain forest. The Paleontology Center takes visitors through 40 million years of history through a collection of fossil specimens and large murals that are incredibly informative and interesting.

The Sheep Rock Unit isn’t too far from the Painted Hills unit.

1 PH a

The Painted Hills are a few miles off the highway, but easy to get to.

1 PH b


1 rock crib

I love old rock cribs!

1 PH g

Aren’t the colors amazing?


1 PH f

This one almost makes me think of ancient fingers or toes spread out. (I know I’m weird!)

1 PH e

I wonder what the pioneers who traveled through this area thought of the colored hills.

1 PH d

I bet they found them just as fascinating as we do today.


1 PH c

If you ever have the opportunity to visit the Painted Hills, make the trip and the time. It’s worth it!



This week’s challenge is to list the ways you enjoy investing in your mind, body, and soul.

* Faith – is an investment my heart, mind, and soul need.

*Laughter – is one of the best medicines out there and I am blessed to be married to someone who makes me laugh all the time.

* Self-help books – I’ve read many, enjoyed several, cherish a few. If you’ve never read one, why not give it a try? I think my favorite is probably The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch.

*Meditation – When the weather is nice, I give myself “sunshine breaks.” I go sit out in the sunshine for 10-15 minutes and do nothing. Just sit there, close my eyes, and let peace wash over me. CC will ask me if I got my sunshine break in when he comes home from work. If I haven’t, he gives me a look that let’s me know he thinks it’s important I not skimp on that quiet time either.

*Joy and Gratitude – I think we have a daily choice to make… we can choose to be grateful and we can choose to be full of joy. When we choose those things, we invest in our happiness, and that, my friends, is priceless.



Love of Junk

It's that time of year again!

Love of Junk!
I’m excited to participate in Love of Junk again this year! You’ll find me at the farm this weekend, June 15-16.
Since I love vintage goodies and antiques, this is such a fun event for me, although I don’t get nearly enough time to browse through all the great booths! (Which might be a good thing considering all the things I see I want to buy!)
I hope to see you there.
For more details, visit the Love of Junk website.

Senior Sneak

We were visiting my mom and dad a few weeks ago and apparently this time of year was making them both nostalgic for their school days.

They had out a pile of yearbooks and photos from class reunions.

Which is doubly fun for us because not only did my mom and dad graduate in the same class in 1949, Captain Cavedweller’s grandmother, his great-aunt, and my cousin’s father-in-law were among their classmates.

CC and I were sitting at the kitchen table with Mom, looking through yearbooks when Dad dropped this photo I’d never before seen in front of me.

Mom and Dad senior sneak

Gosh, my parents look so young and carefree. This photo was taken on their senior sneak day in the spring of 1949. I just love it and the expressions on their faces.

My mother’s family had moved to the area when she was in grade school. But my dad’s family bought a farm and moved right before school began their senior year.

So Dad, who was the “new boy all the girls were goofy about” (according to Mom), quickly made friends and made a place for himself among his new classmates. He joined the band and FFA, and I think he played basketball (I know he had a letterman’s jacket). In fact, Dad fit in so well, he and his group of friends played a few memorable pranks.

He and the guys had been out hunting and happened upon a pig roaming around. Of course, they decided the best place to take the pig was the study hall at school. So they snuck in and turned the pig loose.

Dad said the teacher who found the pig thanked them for providing him with a nice fat pig to butcher, but they didn’t get in trouble.

Riding the success of that prank, the boys took on an even loftier endeavor. There was an establishment in town called the Multnomah Hotel that was not a hotel. Instead, it provided a venue for women of questionable repute to engage the services of men looking for a good time.

I don’t even want to know how dad and his friends knew what the “hotel” really was. They were walking around downtown (where the hotel was located), and watched men come and go from the hotel. Then they thought it would be funny to hide and jump out at the next fellow who came out of the hotel.

So they did.

Dad laughed and said the man started running, he was so startled that he’d been caught doing something he shouldn’t have.

Although he didn’t say which one of them (I think there were five hooligans in his gang of practical jokers), came up with the idea, but they thought it would be hilarious to take the hotel sign and hang it on the front of the school.

So two of them stood on the shoulders of the others and worked the sign free. (Dad said it had metal hooks that hung from rings). They promptly took it to the high school and climbed up to where they could hang it in front of the building where it couldn’t be missed.

Somehow, they didn’t get in trouble from that adventure either, although the principal called them to his office and gave them a warning to knock off the pranks.

While Dad told more stories, I continued looking through their yearbooks. Mom had written a message to dad addressed to “Buzzard Bait” and lamented losing her shoe.

When I asked how and where the shoe was lost, neither could remember if it was on their senior sneak day or another day they’d gone off with friends.

Dad autographed Mom’s yearbook by calling her “Stinker,” and saying how much he’d miss her. (Sweet!)

I asked them when they had their first date. They agreed it was probably sometime in March or April (although they couldn’t recall exactly when) and they both said they’d gone to the movies with friends. But the movie they went to see appeared as lost as Mom’s shoe.

Then Mom looked up and said, “Dancing in the Dark.”

dancing in the dark

Apparently, the movie they went to see was Dancing in the Dark.  You can bank on me seeing it soon, since I’ve not yet watched the old comedy.

When your parents are gaining ground on turning ninety, you treasure each detail from the past they’re willing to share or magically trickles into their memories.

list 1

I didn’t get my Happiness List for last week posted, so I’m doubling up today.

The challenge for week 23 was to list simple ways you enjoy being kind to others.

This is a fun one.

I think my favorite ways to be kind to others are the following:

  • Smile. It always brightens my day when someone smiles at me. I try to smile at people I encounter when I go to town – even the people at the grocery store. Some people smile right back, others take a little time. Some scowl. But at least the effort was made.
  • Offer a sincere word of praise or thanks. If it comes from the heart a “kind word in due season” can mean so, so much to someone. I know a kind word from others has changed me whole outlook when I’ve struggled with a tough day.
  • Be thoughtful in actions. If there is something I can do that will help another, I generally try to do it, even if it’s just holding the door for someone with their hands full. Little acts of kindness go such a long way.

Are there acts of kindness you like to do for others?


The challenge for week 24 is to list every color you can think of what mood you associate with each color.

Wow. This could be quite a list.  I won’t list every color I can think of, but will hit some of the highlights.

Pink  – (One of my favorite colors since I was old enough to pick what colors I liked!) I like shades of pale pink, peachy-pink and bright pinks (like raspberry), but I’m not a fan of the in-between shades (think Pepto). Pink makes me think of roses, which makes me think of summer, which makes me think of things I love. In essence, pink is just a happy, lovely color for me.

Green – (Another favorite!) My favorite shades of green are again on the ends of the spectrum… mint green, sage green, hunter green and forest green or my greens of choice. Mint and sage I find calming (think spa days), while hunter and forest are rich colors that put me in mind of fairy tales and royalty.

Burgundy – Again, makes me think of fairy tales, castles, and royalty. A rich, deep color full of possibilities.

Blue – My favorite blue would be the shade of Captain Cavedweller’s eyes and cobalt blue always brings those amazing peepers to mind. I like sapphire blue (again such a rich hue). I also like Robin’s egg blue (which puts me in mind of spring!). I’m also a fan of navy blue. It’s just a classic color that makes me think of Jackie O and elegance.  And I love the gorgeous blue of a summer sky. Makes me feel free and takes me back to the summers of my childhood.

Red – I tend to favor the blue-red shades over orange-red. Red is a powerful color that can evoke strong emotions (like passion or confidence). Years ago, when I had important meetings with one challenging boss,  I would wear red for an extra boost of confidence.

Brown – To me this is an earthy hue that makes me think of rich soil and early spring or late fall.

Yellow – I really like soft, buttery shades of yellow and cream. Yellow is a cheerful color that can brighten up a dreary day.

Purple – I’ve had a love/hate relationship with purple. Certain shades I love. Certain shades I detest. But if it is one I love, I really, really love it! Purple has a richness, a depth to it that just makes me think of something elegant and luxurious.

Black – To me,  black is a very functional neutral that can look quite classic on its own or serve as a background for pops of other color. Other than associating it with funerals, I don’t know that I necessarily tie black to a particular mood.

White – This color (or lack of color) has always seemed serene and peaceful to me. I think it gives a hint of purity. It can also appear crisp and polished.

And there you have my basic color list.

Focus on your happy color (s) this week. When you see that color, acknowledge the feeling it brings you. Make it a goal to incorporate more of that color into the space where you spend the most time in your day.

Reno RT 2018

When Captain Cavedweller and I were in Reno for the RT Convention a few weeks ago, we took a bunch of photos.

I thought I’d share some of them with you today, just for fun.


We stayed at the Peppermill Resort. It was a lovely property with very nice rooms and plenty of places to eat and hang out.

One day, we ventured to Virginia City. If it hadn’t been freezing outside and pouring down buckets of rain, I would have taken oodles of photos.

On the way there, we saw a few of these signs.


We’re used to seeing signs with cattle and deer, but horses was new. And so awesome. We actually saw two groups of wild horses on our drive to Virginia City. Drat the rain. If it had been a clear day, I would have snapped a bunch of photos. (Part of reluctance to get out of the vehicle was the fact it was so cold and we hadn’t brought coats… it was May and supposed to be warm!).

We arrived in Virginia City where it went from pouring rain to a complete deluge. Seriously, I haven’t seen it rain that hard in a while. We wandered through a few stores, spent a small fortune on two glass bottles of pop, then grabbed some lunch.

In need of somewhere warm and dry to hang out for a while, we went to an old school house turned into a marvelous museum. The Historic Fourth Ward School is offers a glimpse into not only the school’s past, but also that of the area, especially the mines.

One room had several photos of miners. I was quite disturbed to see so many children working in the mines.


But the photo of the brash lad with a cigar left me utterly unsettled and so longing to know his story.

On our way back from Virginia City, the temperature dropped, it started to snow, mudslides dumped rocks all over the road (one of which we hit) and blew out a tire. If it wasn’t for a super helpful state trooper, one of us might have died of frostbite before the other one got the tire fixed. Did I mentioned we were on an incline?

We did make it back to the hotel in time for the event I had that evening. Whew!

Another day, we decided to take a drive (after CC purchased a new tire and got the spare back in place) to Lake Tahoe. Neither of us had seen it before.

I think the best way to sum it up is this:


A lake 1

We drove from Reno to Carson City then headed north around the lake.

A lake 3

The blues were so intense and gorgeous.

A lake 2

And it was a beautiful day for a drive.

A lake 4

It really was quite spectacular to see.

A trees 1

We drove to Incline Village and wandered around the visitor’s center a bit. It was nice to get out and stretch our legs before we made the drive back to Reno.


I think we took more photos of the two of us together that week than we have in the past year (or three).

One big, exciting evening was the night of the RT Book Awards.

Garden of Her Heart received the RT Review Source Award. While I was super excited about my book being chosen for the award, I was a lot less excited about getting up on stage and giving a speech. Even if the speech was brief, it felt like it lasted half of eternity.  (That’s actress Meg Tilly in the background. She was one of the emcees.)

awards 1

So here I am giving my little speech. Introverts really aren’t genetically programmed to enjoy this type of thing.

award 2

And here is my beautiful award that I’m so incredibly honored to have received.



Unforgettable Love
I’m joining 13 other authors for a fun a month full of fun on I Am A Reader’s Blog.
I hope you’ll enter the giveaway and check in throughout the month to connect with participating authors!
You could even win a $100 Grand Prize!



Summer Reads
Don’t miss out on the month-long Sizzling Summer Reads party on The Romance Reviews! More than 100 authors are offering prizes and you can enter to win a grand prize, too.