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My friends, Mel and Steve came to visit from Hawaii for a week and seeing as Leo and I live in a town called Aloha (pronounced "a-low-a" by the locals, here. I guess the "h" went back to Hawaii) and seeing as it seemed like we were saying, goodbye too soon after saying, hello, "Aloha" seemed like the perfect blog title.

It's always fun to see where you live through fresh eyes. We haven't been in Oregon all that long but Mel and Steve wanted to really get to know the place and it meant hitting all our favorite spots in one short week.

We went berry picking at the local farms

Mel and Steve visit Portland_025

And said, aloha, to some alpaca.

Mel and Steve visit Portland_013

We had microbrewed beer at little bars with live bands.

Mel and Steve visit Portland_018

And hiked around the coastline.

Mel and Steve visit Portland_019

We even went salsa dancing.

can't see the video, click here.

Ok, well, I went salsa dancing and everyone else enjoyed the live music and people watching.

Luckily, they are both crazy dog people and spent plenty of time dolling out belly rubs, treats and generally helping to keep the dogs properly spoiled.

Mel and Steve visit Portland_004
What? You don't invite your dogs to sit next to you at your breakfast nook?

I didn't come close to documenting all the places we went and things we did, but suffice it to say, it was great fun hosting them and hopefully just as much fun for them to be here. The dogs are a bit displeased at the precipitous drop in ear scritches, since their departure.

I hope the dogs forgive us


Normally, when we go for hikes it's a no brainer, we bring the dogs. You may not be aware of this but we kinda love those little furry poop factories.

But, just about a mile from our home is a newly opened nature park with a few miles of absolutely stunning trails. It's a wildlife preserve and they do not allow domestic animals on the trails for the safety and comfort of the wildlife.

Cooper Mountain Nature Park
See all the pictures here
1. Tree trunk, 2. No dogs allowed on trail...bummer, 3. Cragly tree, 4. Prairie overlook, 5. Blue skies and yellow leaves, 6. Blue skies and yellow leaves, 7. Autumn in Oregon, 8. Bird listening station, 9. Blackberry leaves, 10. Suggestive map, 11. Backlit trees, 12. Beautiful trail, 13. Arched tree
Created with fd's Flickr Toys

It's beautiful especially with all the leaves changing, and I'm sure the pups didn't mind that we left them home.


Um, ok, next weekend, we'll take them somewhere they can play.



All day at the Oregon coast. It couldn't have been more beautiful, mild and lovely.

May 16, 2009
1. Oregon Coast Day Trip -- May 16, 2009, 2. Oregon Coast Day Trip -- May 16, 2009, 3. Oregon Coast Day Trip -- May 16, 2009, 4. Oregon Coast Day Trip -- May 16, 2009, 5. Oregon Coast Day Trip -- May 16, 2009, 6. Oregon Coast Day Trip -- May 16, 2009, 7. Oregon Coast Day Trip -- May 16, 2009, 8. Oregon Coast Day Trip -- May 16, 2009, 9. Oregon Coast Day Trip -- May 16, 2009, 10. Oregon Coast Day Trip -- May 16, 2009, 11. Oregon Coast Day Trip -- May 16, 2009, 12. Oregon Coast Day Trip -- May 16, 2009, 13. Oregon Coast Day Trip -- May 16, 2009
Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

We played soccer and fetch with the pups then pulled out our bikes and ran them until they seemed to be almost something resembling tired.

The soccer ball is now Thea's passion. It irks her to no end that she can't get her mouth around it and still she can't stop chasing it. Panda can't be bothered, it's the squirrel all the way.

History and a hike


I know, these two things just don't have anything to do with each other, but I feel I have to mention how historic a day it is, while still giving a nod to my wonderful weekend.

Reuters Photo found via

Watching the inauguration, today, I couldn't help but sob with the immensity of the day. Whatever your political leanings, there is no doubt that the swearing in of the first non-white president is an historic day for the US and I'm proud to be alive to experience it. Can the day be too far away when all these matters are as trivial as hair color? Should it matter what someone's gender, religion (or lack there of, thankyouverymuch,) sexual preference, or nationality is? Wouldn't it be grand to judge people on their, I dunno, credentials and a strong ethics? Crazy, I know. I'm going to go out back and hug a tree now.

Speaking of which (that's a segue, people,) we saw some grand trees this weekend on our hike to Falcon Cove.

Hike to Falcon's Crest
1. IMG_0296, 2. IMG_0007, 3. IMG_0085, 4. IMG_0111, 5. IMG_0116, 6. IMG_0185, 7. IMG_0224, 8. IMG_0301, 9. IMG_0324, 10. IMG_0336, 11. IMG_0337, 12. IMG_0349, 13. IMG_0364
Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

We hiked a total of about 4 miles after a bit of fetch on the beach, and we actually managed to tucker out the herding dogs which is no small feat. It was absolutely beautiful, a bit muddy and completely exhausting and I can't wait to do it again.

See all the pictures from our hike here.

Rainy, muddy and fantastic


This weekend, we made a long overdue trip to the beach. It was a little cold (thought not too cold) a little rainy (no one here minds the rain) and foggy like you wouldn't believe.

Check out these shots.

Manzanita Oregon
1. IMG_0015.JPG, 2. IMG_0006.JPG, 3. IMG_0035.JPG, 4. IMG_0025.JPG

That's the same stretch of beach we almost always go to. We would have spent all day there, but the rip current was pretty strong and Thea is not the most buoyant dog around. Visions of her being pulled into the briny deep made us uneasy.

We thought the day might be shot, after about a half hour, but we decided to do a little hiking to make the long drive worth the while.

Off we went to Ecola State Park, where we had nearly the whole trail to ourselves. The fog made the view look like a fantasy.

Trail to Indian Beach in Ecola State Park

1. IMG_0064.JPG, 2. IMG_0081.JPG, 3. IMG_0075.JPG, 4. IMG_0076.JPG

By comparison, this is how it looked the first time we went.

But I think there's a pretty good reason why we had the whole trail to ourselves. By the end of the hike, the four of us were coated in mud.

Getting muddy on the trail
1. IMG_0187.JPG, 2. IMG_0151.JPG, 3. IMG_0149.JPG, 4. IMG_0192.JPG

We learned that Panda would make every effort to go around giant puddles of mud, while Thea would aim for them. Either way, there was no keeping clean, but we definitely appreciated Panda's efforts to stay clean.

We had to put the girls in the car, however we decided that a dip in the ocean before we leave would be much preferred to a bath, when we got home. So we headed back to Seaside and played a wee bit of fetch.


It was good to see their beautiful white coats again.

As we were clipping on everyone's leash, someone nearby said, "Did you see the elk?" and pointed to the hill ahead. I looked up and saw three little heads, just showing above the ledge. Leo had the the good sense to go put the dogs in the car, and I walked over to where a small crowd had formed, a safe distance from the herd.


We've seen our share of elk at the coast, but never this many at once. Such a great way to end a fantastic ocean trip.

Our day wasn't over with the ocean, though. My sweet guy treated me to a delicious meal to celebrate our 8 year anniversary.

It was a great meal, beautiful view and, of course, perfect company. And for the toast, he said "Here's to 8 years, 8 years more and nothing more."
Of course, I refused to toast to that nonsense, so he said, ok, well, what if we lay the second 8 on its side?"


There's a reason I keep him around.

It's a shame to have this lovely long weekend end, but it was great while it lasted.

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