Juniper Beulah

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Unfortunately, I was not quick enough on the draw to capture Juniper spinning with glee. It was adorable to witness her utter delight at seeing the ocean, which is amusing because our girl does not like water!


Olivas Adobe

The world’s oldest still flowering fuscia – planted in 1899. It was enormous!

The Dire Straits fan in me squealed with delight upon seeing the Telegraph Road sign!

Jacaranda before…

and jacaranda after. Both are equally beautiful to my eye.

Rose Valley Falls – Los Padres National Forest

Another hairless squirrel to ogle and taunt…

Tip-top lunch and sweet service at Azu, with beer flavored with Pixie dust and peel from the famous Ojai Valley tangerines (which we saw growing!) and a very fine Alisal rose. Delicious. What you can’t see? Sweet Juniper Beulah sleeping at the hubster’s feet. Good dog!

Bart’s Books – my first encounter with an outdoor book store. It was lovely.

After many years of patiently waiting, I am pleased to report that the Ojai Valley is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited!

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Sleepy head hubster and our favorite watch dog. Cuties!


Welcome to part two of our Arizona journey. Flagstaff, this first bit, reminds me of Boulder or Breckenridge when I was a teenager – laid back and lovely, breezes flowing, nice people and cool hippie shops (I bought rocks and crystals, of course). We enjoyed stellar Thai food and BBQ (Bigfoot!) a hop skip and a jump from the old Route 66 (sing it, Nat!). Sometimes the past and present collide, and hallelujah, nostalgia wins.

Sedona, red, wonderful, magical. And hot! We hiked to the Seven Sacred pools, scoring the last parking space in the tiny lot, enjoying the beautiful and lizard laden landscape. And what are lizards? Juniper says they are squirrels without fur and behaved accordingly.

I had never seen a cactus bloom in such a dazzling fashion. Eeek!

The Chapel of the Holy Cross is a stunning work of architecture, completed in 1956, the same great year as our house!

This last photo is Bell Rock, another gorgeous wonder of geology. It is also purported to be an energy vortex – a whirling center of masculine and feminine energy.  As you well know, I am a pretty open minded person and came to the vortex as such. Believers say the energy is palpable, and I can’t help but wonder if it is true. I got our of the car, moved close enough, and started to feel a pressure around my chest, like someone with massive hands was attempting to turn me round and round while I stood stock still, a bit dumbfounded,  before doing what seemed most logical. I adjusted my bra. The sensation remained. I observed the trees, twisted junipers, mostly, looking like I felt. I watched the cloudless sky. I took in the hot air. I sauntered back to the car and the sensation ceased. Maybe something happened. Maybe I was moved by the hands of the universe. I’d like to think so.


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The Chiricahua Mountains – how cool is that name?

We saw dirt devils galore. Kinda cool.

Almost there…

Hello from Bisbee! This is the Lavender Pit Mine – the town’s bread and butter up until 1974. It was mostly mined for copper, with turquoise and other stones serving as lovely byproducts. It’s a looong way down…

This lovely lady, whose name I never caught, sold us honey made by killer bees! The store is a sliver of a place and chock full of sweet goodness.

These three shots are all of the same GIANT agave. The hubster is 6’1″ for reference. Wowie!

After the mine closed, the town was slowly taken over by artists and other eccentrics. Our kind of place!

So many fine murals…

And great gates!

This photo was a very happy accident.

Take the High Road every chance you get!

Fifty-four steps to our lodgings, complete with Dutch door!

Meet one-eyed Jesus, a marker for for the fabulous Shrine hike that follows. Juniper did NOT like him, growling and keeping as far as caninely (not a word?) possible. Perhaps it was the fact that only one of his eyes was painted. Perhaps it was the fact that he was my height and very life-like, yet remained very, very still. I’m not sure. Nevertheless, we were amused. Also at this spot, on our way down – we spied a wild javelina! Neat.

Bisbee has cool buildings right, left, and center.

It also has a fine patina of rust and ruin.

Our littlest friend, made on our evening walk. Woof!


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You may be wondering if this is going to turn into a doggie blog. It might rabbit, it just might. Nah. That said, we are in serious doggie mode here. Our schedule has been upended, with us more regimented, rising earlier, so we can get at least an hour walk in every day, though Juniper sometimes behaves as though it’s only been fifteen minutes, darting around the yard like a race horse before deciding she is REALLY hungry and devouring her food in a minute flat. She’s energetic like that.

Our choice of books has been augmented to include everything dog, heavy on the Cesar Millan. We our doing our best to be calm-assertive pack leaders. She is doing her best to keep us guessing, well behaved dream doggie to a spazzy-zig-zaggy pup in the blink of an eye. She’s goofy like that.

But that’s not all I want to talk about, partially to prove that we are not all dog, all the time, and partially because it’s what is on my mind. I am pretty sure I have already mentioned this, but because I am human and rather fallible, I’m going to act like I didn’t. Part of what I love about Colorado Springs, besides its close proximity to near and dear ones and New Mexico, is that it reminds us of all the places we have ever lived.

Much like me, the hubster, and our new pup, our fair city is quirky, complete with a Keep Colorado Springs Lame bumper sticker. Our house is blocks away from a very Powell Boulevard-esque street. It is a five mile bike ride from downtown (though it would have been a treacherous one in Pittsburgh) in a very walkable city, for which we thank goodness, because we are going to cover every inch of it with our sweet Juniper Beulah. Palmer Park is almost equidistant as Mount Tabor was, complete with a snow capped mountain in the background! Capacious Red Rocks Park and Bear Creek serve as fine Forest Park and Frick Park stand-ins, swapping geologic wonders of granite and sandstone for dense woods and towering trees.

Though Portland reigns supreme in this category, we have some super organic food and grocers and stellar local restaurants. One of our favorites, insert spooky sound effect, even has the number 503 in its name. Whaaat?! Though it refers to an address, not the area code of our favorite rainy city. But still.

It is a collection of hills and dales and flat plains, coal mines slipped in and amongst a perfect grid and bowl of spaghetti collection of senseless winding streets, the best and the worst of East and West Side Portland and the whole of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

It is blue collar and higher ed, an hour from every beauty imaginable, save the stellar Oregon coast.

It is HOME, and we are so happy to be here.

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Play Date

Look at our girl, the sweetest and most cuddly badass in the land! We worried that she and Jimbo wouldn’t like each other, but much to our delight, they were fast friends, playing like old pals within minutes. Though he has the endurance of a Husky and is forty pounds heavier, they are pretty evenly matched. They played for an hour and a half yesterday morning, darting, rolling, running, jumping, two of the happiest creatures in the universe, right in our back yard. Near the end of their date, when Jimbo would return to the stoop to pant by my side, Juniper literally ran circles around us, eager eyed, head held high. Come on guys, you aren’t tired, are you?

When I imagine her life before being rescued, the difficult days of a skinny (13 pounds lighter than today) and sick and pregnant pup, I am beyond grateful to know all of that is behind her, that I saw her cute face in a photo and set her world and ours to rights. She no longer has to scrounge for a meal or a safe place to rest. She is our Juniper Beulah, beloved and playful and free.


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