Tuesday, August 30, 2011

{Day Off} Tumalo Falls

With the way this series is going, you people are going to start thinking I have tons of days off. This is NOT true. I work my tail off, so I like adventures in my free time.
This weeks adventure took Sammy and I to Tumalo Falls, the biggest waterfall in Central Oregon.
About a 20 minute drive from Bend, the dramatic cliffs indicate that you are almost at the falls.

Tumalo Falls

Tumalo Falls is visible from the parking lot, and the North Fork trail follows the creek up into Deschutes National Forest for about 3 1/2 miles before running into Happy Valley trail.  Dogs are required to be on leash in the immediate vicinity of Tumalo Falls, but about 40 yards past the last viewing deck, there are very few people on the trail, so Sammy gets his freedom. We are watchful and respectful of other hikers and their dogs though, don't worry. 

The trail climbs steadily uphill, through old growth Douglas Fir and some Ponderosa Pines as well. The different micro-climates in Central Oregon always surprise me. This trail makes me feel transported back to my old Mt. Hood stomping grounds.
About 15 minutes hike from the top of Tumalo Falls, the trail widens out, and the sound of freezing glacial water crashing can be heard.

Waterfall #2 can be seen from atop a cliff. It makes me sad all the tourists that flock to Tumalo Falls, and probably less than 5% hike any higher than the overlooks. They don't know what they're missing!

Another 5 minutes along the trail, and we arrive at this!
Waterfall #3!! Stunning!! 
The trail levels out here, and continues on for two more miles before running into Happy Valley. Sam and I did some exploring and found several gorgeous pools in the creek. 

Tumalo Creek is very cold, and very clear and clean. It is also the watershed for Bend City Water, and ask any local, our tap water is some of the best around! Blessed people we are here in Oregon. 
I started hearing thunder rumbling in the distance, and storms build quickly here at this time of year, so we began heading back to the car at this point. 

We did take one more creekside stop for splashing, and found this fun tower.

This is looking Southwest from above Tumalo Falls, the canyon to the right is South Fork.

The rain started falling just as we arrived back at the car. But we had one more quick stop before our trip was done. 

 These are the same cliffs we saw coming in, and the storm that chased us away!!!

A few years back, James and I came out here for a hike and decided to carve our initials in an Aspen. We hadn't visited the spot since.

That little blob the in upper right says '08. I would have stayed longer, but the thunder was really crashing and lightning was snapping all around, so we had to leave in a hurry!!

Any cool spots near your town that you frequent? How about crazy storms brewing? Or initials carved in a tree? Don't get mad at me for doing it, it was an act of love. And I love trees. Tell me all about it!

And check out our other day trips to Mt. Hood and Sparks Lake

Sharing this post at Centsational Girl's Favorite Things in my Town Link Party!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

National Dog Day

Well, as usual I am a little late on the post, but I learned from Michelle over at Decor and the Dog, that yesterday was National Dog Day! It was founded by the Animal Miracle Network in 2004, and serves as a reminder of the importance of our furry friends and their roles in our lives.
Sammy is a frequent face around these parts... how can you resist this sweetness eh?
He is a camera lover, that's for sure.

But at one point, James and I were lucky enough to have another dog as well, Cruz.

This picture pretty much exemplifies his personality, always smiling and having fun, handsome little devil, and always up for an adventure. Words can not even express how much we miss him. Before we dive into that, a little backstory...
We take a lot of mini-vacations to the Mt. Hood area to ride our bikes and visit my family. There is a feed store in my hometown that always has free kittens and puppies (danger danger!!!). One day, we were nearby and I suggested that we pop in and just 'look'. Well, as luck would have it, they had a litter of rottweiler/boxer pups. And Cruz came home with us. 

This is the day we got him, he was 6 weeks old. He threw up on my lap in the car. Sammy was smitten with him instantly. It was love at first sight for all of us. 

James and I weren't living together at this time, we were both renting as well, so the doggie shuffle was just a way of life for us. We bent over backwards all the time to make sure Cruz was getting walks, getting outside when he needed it, and getting tons of socialization. 

He always loved kids. He is about 4 months old here...
Time passed, and Cruzie grew SO Fast!!

He would always find random objects on our walks, like this dead sunflower, and carry them until he got bored. One memory that always cracks me up, I was walking him and Sam to the store and he picked up a branch. It kept poking Sam in the face till  he finally frustrated and bit the branch in half. Killed me lol. 

He was a leaner and a groaner, and always slept with his head rested behind James when we rode in the car. He was James' first dog. 

He approached every adventure with a smile on his face.

He had serious hops...

And the most beautiful face ever...

Despite their constant battles over toys, Cruz and Sammy were inseparable, true brothers. 

He loved Sophie as well, and would follow her around and play her little games and let her pull on his face and tail, and never growl or bark, just shower her with kisses instead. 

Nearly a year ago now, Cruz started having problems relieving himself, so we went to the vet to get him checked out. We figured it was just a little bladder infection. He was about 18 months old at this time.

Were we ever wrong. Cancer. 

We opted to have the tumor, which was in his bladder, removed immediately. Chemo was an option after the surgery, which we decided to do. The cancer he had was extremely rare, and it was impossible to remove all the margins of the tumor. But the surgery went well, and we hoped that after a few months of chemo he would beat it and we would all move on with our lives. 

His spirit never sank. His positive outlook on life only grew stronger, which helped James and I soooo much in coping with the situation. 

After 6 rounds of chemo, the cancer seemed to not be spreading. We planned on doing one more round, just to be safe. 

He had a way of looking at a person, which made you feel like he really understood everything that was going on, and he was at peace with it. 
In February of this year, we woke up to him whining and running around the house frantically. It was a saturday, so we had to take him to the emergency vet. It was 3 days before his last chemo was to be done. 

The vet immediately put him on a catheter to drain his bladder and did an ultrasound.
The cancer has erupted in the two weeks since we had last been in and completely cut off his urethra and colon. To do surgery to remove it, they would have had to break his pelvis. 
We didn't know what to do. On the surface, he seemed fine, besides having to wear a catheter. A few days passed, and we spent every moment with him. 

He always loved to snuggle on the couch. We went for walks at his favorite places, and made him steak and eggs to eat. 
On Wednesday, just 3 days after he got dramatically worse, Cruzie left us for heaven. It was by far the hardest thing I have ever been through, same goes for James. Cruz was so peaceful though, no fear at all, even though it was obvious he knew what was going on. The shine was gone from his coat, and that mischievous spark in his eyes was fading. We had no other choice, although in hindsight I will always wonder.

It was two weeks before his second birthday. 

As we drove home from the vet that evening, after saying our last goodbyes, we saw a crazy rainbow prism in the sky. 

There were no other clouds around. I know deep inside me that it was Cruzie sending a message to us, letting us know he was ok and he would always be watching over us. Since then, we have seen another cloud like this, and every rainbow reminds us of him as well. 
We had a beautiful blown glass sphere made with some of his ashes...

We also planted a wildflower garden and mixed in some ashes, in his favorite place to sleep in our backyard. 

Losing a dog, a best friend, a furry child is never easy. The pain has faded some, but all of our memories remain clear as ever. Just yesterday I remembered how he used to dive into grassy places on walks and just lay there, as if to say, 'sorry boss, but I'm done walking for now.' 
We do plan on getting another puppy, but for now we are just happy to have been able to live with Cruz, and to have learned so much from him. 

Miss you buddy, and I'll see you someday at the Rainbow Bridge. I know you'll  be there waiting for us. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Failure times two

So sorry for not being around with posts for the last oh... week. Or more. Sorry.

Please note, I have attempted two different crafty projects in this time period.
The first I hinted at in my West Elm Fall Fantasizing last week, it was supposed to be a piece of art for the giant wall in our living room.
I had an old poster frame from Wal-Mart, and picked up this vintage-looking botanical prints at one of my fave stores here in Central Oregon, Casareal. All four were only $5 total. I gave the frame a couple coats of Oil Rubbed Bronze to freshen it up, and things were looking good for new art for the living room!
As I got deeper into the project, I decided to try and 'measure' where I should glue the prints... bad idea.

Needless to say, I messed up on the second one I glued down, and then the paper started separating as I tried to remove it!!! Gah!!! So I gave up and had another glass of wine and watched old episodes of Design Star on HGTV. I think I am going to cut out the cardboard that they are glued on, and maybe mount that on some old wood or something? Or get a canvas? I dunno. I'm sad. So that was Crafty Fail #1. Oh yes there is more...

A few weeks back, I had the brilliant idea to spray paint our plastic trash can in our bathroom. I got a bouquet of sweet peas from the farmers market that were the perfect coral red color, and it was a nice pop in our teal and white bathroom. I love a good chevron print, so I snagged some Heirloom White and Apple Red paint and got to it. I even took a bunch of pics so I could do a great tutorial when my awesome project was complete.

I present you with, Crafty Fail #2... 
From far away, its not too bad. And by not too bad I mean, as soon as I find a new trashcan that isn't crappy plastic, it will be replaced. Here is a quick list of ways I failed for your reading pleasure: 
1. Used spray paint that is not intended for use on plastic. 
2. Used painters tape that is not intended for use on plastic. 
3. Failed to do any sort of measuring, which as indicated in the story above, also spells disaster. 
4. Forgot about said project for a couple days in the warm garage, so when I pulled off the tape, a bit or two of white paint came along with it. 

So thats whats up. Sometimes I suck at crafts, sometimes I kick ass at crafts. 

Any crafty mishaps you care to share? I'd love to hear it. Make me feel better.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The F Word

The word that everyone's been whispering, but no one has truly embraced yet.

It's coming. 
And proof is in the Fall West Elm catalog that showed up in our mailbox a few days ago. Of all the home catalogs that we get, West Elm is BY FAR my favorite. I've gone gaga over their Shane Powers Hanging vase here.

As I prepared dinner last night, I cautiously opened the first page of the catalog... and BAM!!
All pictures are property of West Elm, I am just dying over them
Everything about this room is perfection to me. And my love deepened when James said he liked this couch as well. Say WHAT??!! Hiphip hurray! Then he also said I am wearing him down with my incessant design talk. {love him} And have I ever mentioned that my dream house will have a library? Cause it will!

Turn to the next page of the catalog (pg 6)
I DIE! Seriously. This room could implant itself in my living room and I would be a happy woman. I am already a happy woman, but it would go next-level happiness.  
Plush Gray sectional? Check. 
Low arching drum shaded lamp? Check. 
Cozy, make-you-wanna-dig-your-toes-in rug? Check. 
Gigantic wall full of sweet vintage details? Check. 
Green-gray door with oak trim? Check. 

The whole catalog is FULL of amazing rooms and fantastic details. James and I poured over the whole thing together, and picked out at least twenty items we want NOW. 
How many will we get now? None. We have Whistler coming up. It is a no-spend time in our lives right now. However, Christmas is coming it's almost fall and I will definitely be splurging on new things. 
This room and its implantation into my brain has also caused me to issue a personal challenge to myself. With this photo as my inspiration, I am going to try and make our living room look similar to this space. In one year. 


Here is what our living room looks like today.

It is a large, open space which joins our kitchen and dining room, as well as our entry nook. A hallway runs off it which leads to our bedrooms and bathrooms. The layout of the house is ideal. We are entertainers, and live in our kitchen, so for it to be joined with the living space is perfection.

Looking from kitchen into living room. Entry to the left of the hall.

Here is my list of things-to-accomplish for this space to reach my goal of West Elm perfection:

Paint over 'peanut butter' walls. (They are orange. Our floors, trim, and cabs are oak. Yuck)
Purchase new couches or sectional
Find art or wall covering solution for giant wall behind TV (grasscloth?)
TV console solution (build or refinish something thrifted)
Current console... sweet. Not. But functional lol.
 Refinish drop leaf table
Gorgeous but we have enough oak. It needs to be black.
 Paint interior doors greenish-gray and add moulding detail (or find vintage door w/glass panes for pantry)
I like this color, Behr Witch Hazel

Replace gigantic floral chair 
Chair not good. Not at all. And not comfy so re-upholstery is not an option.
 New Rug
Refinish coffee table
Find fantasy lamp

I love the idea of sliding a small pallet on casters under the coffee table like in the room on pg 41. (can't find the image online) Sigh. I'm in dream-land right now. 

Anyway, I obviously have a Looooooong ways to go but I work better under pressure. Only 365 days left in the living room challenge. I welcome any suggestions, but be gentle. We are living with furniture from combining households, and we aren't bazillionaires. Our house is comfy and not perfect, we upgrade when we can afford it. We have pets. Our furniture shows it.

Whew. Serious biz I am putting myself into right now. But a year is a long time. And goal-setting helps me achieve results. 
Alright kids, wish me luck. I'm off to work on an art project for the giant wall. 

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