That’s right, I walked the butte in my turquoise clogs today

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Dirty turquoise clogs from walking Pilot Butte

So, I accidentally walked the butte in my turquoise clogs today. It was another beautiful fall day that I spent stuck inside in front of the laptop for work. So I decided around 6p to do my Pilot Butte hike. I invited everyone, but only my step-son was up for it. We were half-way there before I realized that I’d forgotten to change into my tennis or hiking shoes. {It was also one of those days where I forgot my phone, and I spent a stupid amount of time locating a bill I needed to pay and the checkbook to pay the bill with.)

I have a thing for turquoise-ish or sky blue shoes, it seems. Which is weird, because I don’t really like most blues all that much. I once had a pair of turquoise suede hiking boots (pre-vegan days) and at least one other pair of turquoise casual shoes that I wore to death. The turquoise shoes always get good comments, for some reason. {In high school, by the way, I also had a pair of those neon orange converse super high-tops with neon yellow insides.}

Fortunately, my linen Sanita clogs that I got at a Seattle area discount store are well-worn and fairly comfy—they may never be the same after the dusty trail today—but frankly, they weren’t that clean to begin with. And they actually have great tread. They slowed me down a little and my legs will be sore in weird places, but it was another beautiful evening up there.

On the way down, a couple pointed an owl out to me that was perched near the top of a juniper. It was too dim by then to tell what type of owl (and I don’t know my owls that well), but she was quite large—looked like a fat cat from the back. I watched the owl for a few minutes,  until she decided to flap away. I probably made her nervous. (Or him).

Finally getting in to Among Others. Sometimes I have to start a book and then come back to it weeks later, which is what I did with this one. Until one day I pick it up and it just clicks. I hope to read a big chunk of it this weekend.

Taste Test: Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Vegan Bon Bons

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Today I happened upon this idea. I thought it might be fun for the girls to make these at my step-daughter’s birthday party coming up on Monday. Of course, we had to do a test first. {We just happened to have the sprinkles, so we thought, “Why not?!”} 

We didn’t even last an hour before pulling them out of the freezer and having a couple. The bananas were still a little soft, which made them taste kind of like a creamy banana peanut butter cup—delicious! I’m sure they will be good frozen solid as well.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Vegan Bon Bons, with Sprinkles

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Vegan Bon Bons, with Sprinkles

Soaked on Pilot Butte

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Pilot Butte Thunderstorm Sunset #1

Pilot Butte Thunderstorm Sunset #1

We’ve had some magnificent thunderheads and thunderstorms recently. This afternoon, I sat on the back porch reading {Any Day Now, Terry Bisson}, with 4 out of 5 kitties sprawled around. My left ear began to throb, which it’s been doing a lot lately. A few minutes later, I heard the first thunder. We watched and listened as the day grew darker and the angry sky louder. All in all it wasn’t a terribly dramatic thunderstorm—just long. Finally, it rained a bit, and we came in off the porch.

Pilot Butte Thunderstorm Sunset #2

Pilot Butte Thunderstorm Sunset #2

Later, it cleared up and I thought we were done for the day, so about 8:30p I started climbing the butte. On the way up, I took these photos with my phone. By the time I got to the top, the clouds had moved in. On my way back down, it started to pour. Good thing it was still very warm out, because I got soaked; It was kind of fun. It wouldn’t have been so fun if there had been much thunder and lightning, though. I thought of that as I hurried down the trail with my metal water bottle and iPod.

Nothing compares to the damp permeating odor of wet juniper and sage. Part urine, part perfume: I can never decide if it’s a smell that I actually enjoy. Colors intensify and juniper berries do sparkle in the rain—that I know I like.

A day of volunteering for the family; Alive on Pilot Butte

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The 3rd busy day in a row, but so worth it.

Today, my older step-daughter did her 2nd volunteer stint at the community theater and officially made “crew” for the kids production coming up next week. Which will mean she needs to be at the theater for several hours Monday through Thursday evenings this week. She’s meeting some interesting people and is excited about it, which is great to see in a newly minted 16-year-old.

The rest of us went to Equine Outreach. It was my hubby and younger step-daughter’s first time. This time we made it through a very long orientation in 90 degree weather (what a difference a month makes in Central Oregon), much of it in the direct sun, and then stayed to do our first volunteer stint: “picking” pens, i.e., shoveling shit. It was fun. Really! Since none of us have much horse experience, we started off with the friendliest of the bunch, cleaning the miniature donkey pen and then the pen of their horse neighbors. We can’t wait to go back and get to know the horses (and the donkeys) better. I got to see my buddy, River, from last time. He came over to sniff me and seemed slightly peeved that I hadn’t brought snacks this time.

Pilot Butte Sunset July 7, 2012

Pilot Butte Sunset, July 7, 2012

Afterwards, we had a long, lazy afternoon of picking up a few groceries, waffle making (somebody was trying out their new birthday waffle maker), reading, playing (water balloons! —well, the twins anyway), and napping. I then left about 8:45 to go walk Pilot Butte. Evenings after a hot day are magnificent up there. The air feels alive, almost as if it has arms that are enveloping you in a soft, liquid embrace. A vibrant silence surrounds you as you float above the city with the jackrabbits and the lizards, the rabbit brush and the wildflowers.

And now I’m blessed with a quiet house—everyone else but the animals long gone to bed. It’s 80 degrees in here. In spite of this, I’m trying to make bread because we’re out and have been for days. The dough turned out strangely because of the heat, or maybe because it’s been awhile since I last made dough, but that’s OK.

Once it’s done, I’ll retire upstairs to read and enjoy these last few precious moments of a good day.