Great Adventures Have Small Beginnings

This post is dedicated to the men and women who worked at Crater Lake National Park in the 1980’s.

Big events define a generation, but small events define a person.

A college student needs a summer job. She’s afraid to go to an interview alone. She asks a friend to go with her. Her friend lands the job—she quits school, moves back home, gets a job at a bank.

But what happened to her friend?

Her friend travels 500 miles to a National Park in Oregon State and is forever change by the experience.

*  *  *

June 1984. At 7,100 feet, forty feet of snow cover Rim Village in Crater Lake National Park. Snow walls tower over the recently excavated roads, snow tunnels leading to building entrances. A few puddles dot the road and parking lot. White fluffy clouds speckle the blue sky. The air is crisp. The pall of deep winter pervades.

A white sedan pulls up to the Cafeteria and Gift Shop. The trunk pops open. A young woman climbs out of the back seat of the car, removes a Samsonite suit case and closes the trunk.

The older woman in the front passenger seat rolls down the window. “We’re worried about black ice, and the sun will set soon. You’ll do fine.”

The sedan peels out of the parking lot before she could say goodbye.

The young women walks into the cafeteria. The clock on the wall says 4:15 p.m.. Beneath the clock sitting at a table, a petite, middle-aged woman wearing a dark blue smock writes on a clipboard. The middle-aged woman looks up and waves the young woman over to her table.

“Welcome to Crater Lake. My name is Teresa, but you can call me Mom.”

Great adventures have small beginnings.

The promise of sunrise.

The promise of sunrise. Mount Scott.

*  *  *

In a magical place, in a magical time—when Prince and the B-52’s provided the sound track—I worked with a group of people who worked their magic on me—each person a link in the story.

Animals strike curious poses. . .

Animals strike curious poses . . .

Star gazing around a fire pit, pretending to touch the Milky Way. Ghost stories told on the forbidden fourth floor. Steel cables holding the lodge together, the lodge groaning and popping with age. Singing made-up songs on the CB and nearly getting fired for it. Playing the card game spoons in the Great Hall after the lodge closed for the season. Treasure hunters and spiritual seekers. Forest fires, building fires. Love found and lives lost.

Forbidden moments atop Sinnott Memorial.

Prohibited moment atop Sinnott Memorial. 7,000 feet approximately.

Through mistakes, successes, laughter, tears, elevation and camaraderie, we formed bonds which time cannot wear away. Enough adventures to fill a Nevada Barr novel but too numerous to mention in a single post.

When we meet, the years of separation evaporate with a single hug.

Great adventures have small beginnings, but they are our very definition.

*  *  *

All photos courtesy of Daniel Perkins.


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Herb Robert—A Smell That Could Kill Someone

I don’t consider myself a gardener, however, nature forced my action.

If you saw last week’s photo, you know the roses are in bloom.

Winter forgot us this year. Warm, wet, windy weather mixed with spectacular sun breaks brought another visitor to our yard. Herb Robert. Like the Roman armies of old, Geranium Robertianum marched across our yard.

An ocean of lacy green leaves with small pink flowers covered the forest floor. Conquered by shooting seeds 15 to 20 feet beyond its root base. An expeditious enemy—with an unseen weapon.

We shall take no prisoners.

We shall take no prisoners.

We wanted our woodland yard back.


On my hands and knees in the warm sunshine, digging up roots, the weapon not released until I tugged the plant from the ground.

A distinct, pungent, peppery, oily odor waft through the air with the power of a startled skunk. An effective weapon against the faint of heart. “Stinky Bob” cracked the Kraken.

After 30 minutes power weeding, sweating, burning tears, and sneezing forced a break. But I will not be broken.

If you’ve ever crossed the border into Canada, the Customs Agents among their many questions generally ask you these three:

Where are you coming from?

How long have you been there?

Where are you going to?

This is where I came from: One-third acre of vegetal vengeance.

Sulfur springs smell better than this stuff.

I lost a garden gnome in there somewhere. Don’t worry little fellow, we’ll rescue you.

I’ve been there for four weeks and counting.

This is where I’m going . . . a yard free of “Stinky Bob”.

Freedom to breathe.

Freedom to breathe.

I’m sure the yard waste haulers love collection day at our house—a Hockey player’s gym bag smells better.

May your weekend battle be won with determination. May your coaxing be tempered with sunscreen. May it smell of roses or barbecue or pizza. May you wake-up Monday morning celebrating a victory without too many battle scars.

And whatever you do, avoid the stinky stuff. The nose you save may be your own.

Now where did I put the Benedryl . . . .


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Holiday for Anniversary

I will be away from the web for a few days celebrating time with my better half.

Roses in bloom in my back yard.

Roses in bloom in my back yard.

This is one of my rose bushes that should not be blooming this time of year. We forgot to have winter this year.

See you next week.



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Arthur Lee Samuel, Three First Names?

Artificial Intelligence or an era of political rhetoric. This month’s contribution to the BoFN.

The Blog of Funny Names

Today I am standing on my soap box—because I’m too short for you to see me otherwise—and whispering, because if you want people to pay attention, you whisper. And have a slice of Chocolate Bourbon Cake. I understand it’s one of Dave’s fav’s.

A little bribery never hurt. A little bribery never tasted so good and virtual calories don’t count.😉

You might need to turn the volume up.

Let the whispering oratory begin . . . I won’t stand for it anymore. There are consequences and they must be dealt with.

Not since Arto wrote the notable Norbert Wiener post, postulating the Wiener Sausage, have I been this warmed up—except in August and it’s in the upper 90’s or low 100’s (Fahrenheit)—about a missed opportunity. In that case, to use the Wiener Sausage as a base for an episode of the Big Bang Theory. But that’s something else entirely.

I’m talking about amending…

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Conjoined Mushrooms Or Great Neighbors?

“Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.” ~ Yoda

Our neighborhood is a mix of baby boomers and young families. We enjoy summer barbecues, block parties, and neighborhood watch. Neighbors chat in the street in the evening. Occasional turmoil occurs when someone cuts down a tree or parks an RV in the street.

The most exciting things on our street—naked squirrels running up trees or kids joy riding on scooters.

A week ago, moving vans parked in front of one of my longtime neighbors’ (twenty plus years) home. I assumed one of their adult children moved back. I assumed wrong.

They moved in the middle of the week, in the middle of the day, without telling anyone.

Unknown neighborhood dispute? Witness protection? Stalker?

Stairs. Stair. Stairs. They now present an insurmountable issue. Our former neighbors moved twenty minutes away to a single story home.

Fortunately, we’ve been invited to visit them. Glad to know we’re not the other kind of former neighbors.

The next day, while talking to one of my friends at the neighborhood grocery store, I didn’t examine the mushrooms I took from the display. I just shoved them in my sack.

“You will find only what you take with you.” ~ Yoda

When I prepped the mushrooms for our spaghetti sauce, guess what rolled out of the bag?

This is what happens when you can't let go.

True friendship.

This is what happens when you’re afraid to lose your neighbor who is your friend. The good news, our neighbors are selling their home to one of their daughters so we aren’t losing anything.

“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” ~ Yoda

Try. But I did try. And the conjoined mushrooms tasted great. Circle of life, my friends, circle of life.

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Comicon Carry Over

A few weeks ago, a group of us took a foreign exchange student to Emerald City ComiCon (ECCC)—allowing us to cross it off our bucket list.

Seeing ComiCon through the eyes of a 15-year-old exchange student raised the event to another level.

My younger sibling, also a SciFi fan attended as a Dalek from Doctor Who. I’m the one in the orange wearing The Blerch shirt.  Over the course of the day she posed for over 70 photos with Doctor Who fans. Small children followed behind her chanting in mechanized tones, “Ex-term-i-nate.”

Posing with a Dalek outside ECCC registration.

Posing with a Dalek outside ECCC registration. Okay she’s really my sister.

I’ve only viewed a couple episodes of the Doctor, making it much more amusing for me.

The event staff wandered around the convention center with shirts saying “Minion”. One of the Minions presented my sister, the Dalek, with a Super Fan award for her costume. She was psyched.

A good costume is a terrible thing to waste.

Two weeks later, while still basking in the memories of our recent Comicon adventure, we celebrated Quiz night dressed in our costumes.

Even the Twinkies came dressed as “Minions,” and the water bottles wore capes.

Minions come in all shapes and flavors.

Minions come in all shapes and flavors.

I’m not sure how many of the “Minions” survived the evening . . .


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Smartphone Succubus, The Exorcism

*Warning: Because our cell phones are under the age of consent, their pictures will not appear here. Does anyone know when a cell phone reaches the age of consent?

*  *  *

The it’s-too-large-to-fit-in-a-pants-pocket smartphone sat patiently on top of my better half’s car roof like it does every morning when he loads his car to leave—gleaming gold and white on the black roof top.

He climbed into the car and backed out of the garage. The phone, still sitting on the roof and powered by the laws of physics, took a different route and landed on the cement driveway with a sickening crunch. The face plate fractured, splintered. Siri moaned in protest, her back light faded.

Our insurance company sent us a new phone over night.

FedEx delivered more than a smart phone. Lurking in the shadows of the box something dark and ominous arrived with the phone.

The instructions from the insurance company requested I remove the SIMM card from our original phone before returning it. Done.

I set the old SIMM card on my desk on top of the return envelope.

I opened the box with the phone. Twin to the original with a pristine face plate. I opened the SIMM port to install the new chip. My phone rang. I set the new SIMM card on my desk.

One of my cats hissed, leaped on my desk, and knocked everything but the phone to the floor.

Oh crap, which one is the new SIMM chip?

I guessed wrong.

Somehow my older version smart phone and my husband’s sleek new smart phone mind melding, becoming an old fashioned party line. Shared Texts, check. Shared photos, check. Shared phone calls, e-mails, documents and apps, check check check.

We were one in phones as well as last names.

I swapped the SIMMs, reset the phone and via the magic of tech support we separated the Siamese phones, everything that is but the text messaging. They couldn’t figure it out either.

It worked well for the first few days. Then the phone hiccuped during a meeting. He couldn’t make calls, couldn’t answer calls, couldn’t even unlock his phone.

On the bright side I could still read his text messages, but I don’t really care about chimpanzees drinking beer and orangutans making photocopies of their derriere—you know, that important stuff.

This time we drove to our service provider’s brick and mortar. They assured us this happened all the time, people just tapping the wrong part of the screen. After thirty minutes of struggling with the phone, it worked properly. Problem solved.

Two weeks of smart phone serenity.

Then the phone hiccuped again—during a conference call while on speaker—in the middle of a conference room table when no one touched it. It changed settings to VoiceOver mode. Only we didn’t know that’s what happened.

Siri nagged non-stop, but she wouldn’t listen.

I handed my husband my phone and took his phone back to the brick and mortar.

My hands folded in prayer. “Please help.”

The concierge said, “You look like you might cry.”

It took me fifteen minutes to unlock the phone—with supervision.

I took copious notes on 3” x 5” cards as two technicians performed the exorcism.

Caution tape, big orange cones, another 15 minutes, a group prayer, the laying on of hands and the Hallelujah Chorus. The sun broke through the clouds filling the store with real daylight. And by the power invested in us by Father Guido Sarducci or maybe it was Greyskull, the phone worked properly.

Although when the sun broke out, I thought I heard Arnold Schwarzenegger’s voice whispering in falsetto, “I’ll be back.”

As I walked out the door Technician 2 said, “Visit YouTube for instruction for working with your phone.”

More important, Technician 1 said, “Have a blessed day.”

Can I sprinkle holy water on a cell phone?

  *  *  *

Refer to note 1 every time the phone powers down for no reason.

Refer to note 1 every time the phone powers down for no reason.


Patience is a virtue when your phone is possessed.

Patience is a virtue when your cell phone is possessed.

Now that I no longer have finger prints, opportunities abound.

Now that I no longer have finger prints, opportunities abound.

Whatever you do, don't look away from the screen, unless your driving . . .

Whatever you do, don’t look away from the screen, unless you’re driving . . .

It's as if she's say, "Accessibility, you don't need no stinkin' Accessibility."

It’s as if she’s said, “Accessibility, you don’t need no stinkin’ Accessibility.

While I don't ordinarily advocate violence, that felt really good . . .

While I don’t ordinarily advocate violence, that felt really good . . . .

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