Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Have We Learned from the Pandemic?


First, look what came yesterday, a proof for my novel, The Girl on the Pier. The stripe is to make sure I don’t sell it. Everything fit, the spine worked, no unnecessary blank pages. I choose a misty/foggy cover for it is a bit of a mystery. First, why would a customer offer two million dollars for the painting The Girl on the Pier? Second, when he saw it he said, “But that’s not the painting, there is another?”

Now, onto El Bloggo:

“There is more love than hate in the world, but hate gets noticed.”

Have We Learned from this Pandemic?


I don’t know. Maybe.


Today I heard someone say she was tired of commuting, tired of her job, just tired, and didn’t want to talk to anyone. She just wanted peace and quiet and to crawl off alone. She said that recently she had spent a lot of time in meditation. “Did I cause this pandemic?” she asked. 


The answer was, “Yes. Along with all the others who were tired of the way it was.”


Wow, that hit me like an anvil.


That’s a pretty out-there statement, but what if that is true? We were tired of the way it was. Competition wore us out. Long hours at the job were draining us. Commutes were pushing people to the breaking point.  Kids were getting shot at school. We still had racism and prejudice, and that was after we thought we were smarter than that.  We allowed a wall to begin at our border. We separated kids from their parents at the border. We were discouraged and feeling that we weren’t getting anywhere near to what we wanted. We felt impotent to instigate change when issues such as global warming were staring us in the face.  (Oh yes, global warming doesn’t exist, say some, or it is a natural earth cycle—well, maybe we ought to study it.) We are having more wildfires because of dry conditions. Why did the winter slip past with hardly a cold day? What happened to the snows of yesteryear? When I was a kid, it was so blooming cold in the Cascades that the water flowing over Multnomah Falls froze on its way down. and during this time the Columbia River had chunks of ice the size of Volkswagens.


People like wild-caught salmon, but if the tributaries, the spawning grounds of salmon, dry up, there will be no fish. We take supplements, fish oil to make us healthier. No fish, no fish oil. We’ve come to accept such luxuries without thought of where it comes from. Californians are happy to have the electricity that the Dams on the Columbia River provide. That river needs input from other rivers. Other rivers come from snow-melt.


I wonder if we have learned anything. People are anxious to get back to “Normal” WHEN NORMAL SUCKED.


And now they call what’s coming the “New Normal,” insinuating that it means something not good. That further scares us.


I have tried to get people out of fear and into possibilities--I don’t know if I’ve been successful, for the fear mongers have a louder voice. And who am I anyway? Some little blogger sitting out in the sticks, taking walks in the forest, and proclaiming that we can create the world of our dreams.


Well, how stupid is that?

I tried to place a 30 sec video here, “Pond Ripples.” This site, however, had different ideas. The video is a moment of calm. The water was so clear, and the reflection so perfect we had to throw pebbles into the water to prove it was wet.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Oh Dear

A few days ago, someone asked me why I was doing this, writing, blogging, all that. So, I decided to tell you.


Long ago and far away—in San Diego, a long way from Junction City, Oregon, where I now live, I sat on a hillside overlooking Fashion Valley. Alternately drinking a McDonald’s coffee and orange juice, I asked one of life’s persistent questions: “What do I want to do with my life?”


I had just delivered my two girls, ages six and nine, to school, a 45- minute commute, and I didn’t want to drive home and be back by 2:30, so I parked. 


“Well,” the little voice in my head answered my question, “I’d write if I had anything to say.” 


That day I wrote a little children’s story and haven’t shut up since. 


This morning Amazon Kindle informed me that I was eligible for their StoryWriting contest. That’s good.


The rub is, a part of the judging depends upon people reading the book. That's the "Oh Dear," part.


Oh, but then all of you would love to read it/ them. There are two. Not to be pushy or anything, but people have to know it’s there, for they aren’t apt to stumble upon it. 


Here are what they look like and the links.





Where Tigers Belch is a novella, 8,424 words


One young girl’s search for her purpose.



The Girl on the Pier is longer. Most novels are around 90,000 words. This one is 43,718 words. : The Girl on the Pier


When a buyer offers two million for a painting but then says, “That’s not the painting, there is another.” It sends Sara and her newly found love on a world search to find the lost painting.



It looks as though I can attribute my writing career on my girl’s schooling. More accurately, those long commutes did it, for I often spent those hours between delivery and pickup, studying, reading, and writing.


Now my girls have children of their own, and Grandma is still plugging away at the keyboard.


Blogging makes you notice things, allows you to make comments, and is a commitment, and, think of this…no professor will mark your page with a red pencil.


I must love what I do, or I wouldn’t keep doing it. 


“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”


Yes, I consider what I do art. It’s my creative endeavor, and I preach to others to find that thing that gets them up in the mornings. We are all artists. Find that thing that lights your fire. 

Why in the world are so many people on drugs, uppers or downers, when they have a fabulous endeavor at their fingertips? We have eyes to read and a beautiful world to enjoy. This is life, folks. 

When someone asked the Science fiction writer and person who coined the word ROBOT what he would do if he was told he had fifteen minutes to live, Isaac Asimov answered: “I’d type faster.” 





Thursday, June 10, 2021

For the Love of Dogs and Other Incredible Critters


Now for the blog. Here we go…

Abraham Lincoln loved dogs, and dogs loved him. 

“When Lincoln was elected president, he was concerned that Fido would be fearful and unhappy with the bustle of Washington. The Lincolns arranged for the John Rolls family to care for him. Lincoln specified that Fido could not be tied up alone in the yard, must be allowed in the house whenever he asked to come in and allowed in the dining room at mealtime. To help Fido feel at home, the Lincolns gave the Rolls the dog’s favorite horsehair sofa.

Abraham Lincoln’s dog Fido
"I am in favor of animal rights, as well as human rights, that is the way of a whole human being." 
--Abraham Lincoln

Talking dogs are now a rage.

Owners are presenting dogs with buttons that represent a word. The dog sends his communication with the press of a paw.

I watched a Sheep o’ poodle—something like that, a Sheepdog/poodle mix. This dog had 29 buttons, and she knew their meanings.

I watched as she pressed “Mad.” “What are you mad about?” the owner asked. “Stranger,” came next. “Ouch,” next. “Ouch? What hurts?”


The owner examined her paw and found a foxtail stuck between her toes.

Awesome. That foxtail was a stranger to the dog.

I talk to my dog, but I’m not doing the button thing. I’m afraid she will begin bossing me around, although both dogs do that already. However, it would be nice to know if something hurt or what they were concerned about. 

I find animals fascinating. And there is a lot of inter-species interaction. (When they have developed a friendship.) Our cat Obi licks Lafayette, the coon hound. But let the dogs see a strange cat—ho ho, not good. And a bunny in the yard—that makes them salivate faster than a steak.

I once saw a video of a polar bear playing with a husky. Chimps adopt kitties, and Zoos place a companion dog in with wild cats. Yipes. 

Animals love to please humans, except when it interferes with their desires. Or if they encounter a stranger, or an intruder, or like to announce, or take the center of attention. 

Like us.

Farm animals learn how to deal with the other animals on the farm and take the human’s food—well, being penned, they must. And regarding cleanliness, they must rely on the humans again to clean their area. 

Both the human and the animal probably think the other is stupid.

The dog, however, has a bit more savvy regarding human beings. He is non-judgmental. Oh, he can be hurt by humans, but has a great deal of tolerance for their owner’s bad behavior. He knows how to connect, how to communicate, how to be a friend, and how to love. Dogs love a job, and they perform theirs to perfection and will work for a human if they human knows how to teach him. 

I’m even learning about Blackie, our adopted chicken, who has free run of the back yard. I saw her agitated, going round and round the little chicken house, where the young pullets are penned.

The second-story door is open to the nesting box, and finally Blackie went in and laid her egg. She was like a pregnant woman about to give birth. I hope it was easier for her.

Blackie roosts on a chair with a paper under her, and in the mornings, I pick up the paper—chicken toilet.

The birds are partaking of the chicken food, and I have a stainless-steel watering dish with a hose steadily dripping in it. The other morning five birds were having a free-for-all fun bath in the watering dish.

This week I completed my paperback version of Where Tigers Belch. I’m calling it a novella for it is short and to the point. 

It follows The Alchemist’s genre in that it follows a young person’s quest to find their purpose.

In my case, a young woman’s quest is on a jungle trail. And her spot will be where tigers belch.

I don’t know much about tigers, except they are the biggest cat and are camouflaged with stripes. But orange? Why orange? Well, it’s pretty. You might wonder how an orange cat is concealed in the jungle. First, mammal’s fir cannot make green, but it makes orange very well. To most colorblind animals, a tiger looks green. 

 Viola’ big cat, not seen.

Tigers do not have the long-range running ability, so getting close to their prey is essential–thus the need for camouflage. And although we feel sad when a tiger kills an antelope or a deer, they miss 9 times out of 10. 

Why the title Where Tigers Belch? I just like Edward Abbey’s poem: 

“May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles, and poet’s towers into dark primeval forest where tigers belch, and monkeys howl…beyond that next turning of the canyon walls.”

Making a Kindle book is easy—but have you tried to make a paperback book? I thought it would be easy since I had done it before.


The ending of Where Tigers Belch gives me a smile.

A muse wrote it.

Link to Where Tigers Belch

Click on the cover

Whoa, I just hit my video link and the whole kit and caboodle came up here. Well, that makes it easy.


Monday, June 7, 2021

You Know What?

 I got this on the trail: The universe doesn’t know the difference between a penny and a million bucks.

I can hear you…don’t go there.

We will explore this concept later on…

For now, the second video is up, and you know what joined us?

Dogwoods. Exquisite blossoms right beside the trail. Who would have thought? I probably will never again find the road I took that day. There is a web of logging roads in that vicinity. I took a wrong turn on the way home and ended up in a blackberry patch.

Poor truck.

But, as I have told my grandson, “I’ve never been permanently lost.”

But I got the video. Jewell’s Happy Trails #2 – YouTube  

Rob Breszny, who writes for The Eugene Weekly under “Free will Astrology,” expressed this week exactly what I am going through. I like him—mainly because most of the time I agree with him. Isn’t that the way it goes?

I got a kick out of this article. 

“Aquarius-born August Strindberg (1849-1912) was a masterful and influential playwright. He also liked to dabble in painting and photography. His approach to the two fields was different.”

While he was a polished writer, he would always be an amateur at the visual arts,” he said, “And I intend to stay that way. I reject all forms of professional cleverness or virtuosity.”

“Just for now, Aquarius,” wrote Breszny, “I recommend you experiment with the latter attitude in your own field.”

I’m doing it.

In walking my trails, videoing them, and placing them on YouTube. I’m exposing myself as a rank amateur.

I need the walks, and I figured many of you need a breather, So, come hang out with me. We’ll explore the trail, and I’ll babble, or turn down your volume and be with nature. It would be nice to have a conversation instead of a monologue, but you weren’t there. 

Hang in with me.

Maybe I’ll get the gist of YouTube videos—like turn my camera sideways, or make shorter ones.

My purpose of these walks was to talk my walk, and put out my take on The Law of Attraction.  The term The Law of Attraction, might annoy the heck out of some, and attract others. Putting out subjects is like sifting through the sand for shells. Some people want to collect shells or use them in their art. Others will use the sand for playing, building castles, or melting it down for glass.

Both are artists.

You see, I believe everyone is an artist. They just express themselves differently.

I have a friend who sews so beautifully that you can’t tell her work from the professionals, but she doesn’t think she is an artist. Pfff.

In Seth Godin’s blog recently–he writes daily, so it’s hard to keep up with him—this time he wrote about the benefit of the doubt.

The benefit of the doubt is what happens when instead of being skeptical, we’re inclined to believe.”

Godin says, “We grant the benefit of the doubt to the big man on campus, the homecoming queen, the tall person, the celebrity, the person who apparently has amassed a lot of money, the one who fits our cultural mores, the male, the white person, the conventionally pretty one, the conventionally abled one, the popular one. But it also might be the class cut-up, the insurgent or the renegade.”

Yet there are others…

There is so much rabble it is hard to tell fact from fiction. I am encouraging people to follow that still small voice that lives within. It’s our internal guidance system. Unless we have completely put aside our rational mind we know when something rings true.

From my horse-training days, I remember Pat Parelli saying to never call your horse a derogatory name, for it builds barriers instead of bridges. 

Now, wouldn’t that also apply to people?

For a moment, I step out of time. I go to the forest and walk a trail. I smell the sweet fragrance that seeps from the trees and the ground cover, and the brush alongside the trail.

And I come home refreshed.

That’s my wish for you.


P.S. I have a novel now on Kindle and paperback. I’m entering a contest, so I needed both. It’s a big deal for me, for I have spent the last week formatting the paperback. It finally worked. I figure if people buy the book they would want a Kindle version, but rules are rules. If I sell a paperback I would make the whole sum of 89 cents. Cool. All I need is to sell a million copies. Hee hee.

The Girl on the Pier by jewell d

Joyce’s YouTube channel:

Subscribe to my You tube Channel and I will love you up one side and down the other.


Wednesday, June 2, 2021


The forest along the McKenzie River was ablaze. 

“We literally had minutes to make a decision,” said Jeff Ziller, a Fish Biologist for the South Willamette Watershed District.

He had just received an emergency message that the Leaburg Dam had pulled all three gates. It would be drained to avoid any catastrophic debris pile-up if the dam’s power went out.

“Do we act quickly and release the 1.2 million trapped fish at the hatchery, or do we let them die?”

They decided to save the fish. 

So, with an okay from the National Forest Service and the Oregon State Police escorting them, Ziller and 6 others set out to release the trapped fish.

The police lit the way through the smoke with strobe lights. One hundred to 150 salmon were trapped in a fish ladder. Seven hundred adult salmon, plus juveniles, would quickly be stranded in a pond as the Leaburg dam drained.

Seven hundred thousand Spring Chinook salmon,150,000 to 200,000 Steelhead, and 12,000 t0 15,000 catchable-sized trout fingerlings were released into the river. 

We were driving along the McKenzie Highway through the burn that happened last September. I checked my phone for the fire’s date and found the story of the fish rescue in Catch Magazine

I remembered the red skies from our house some 100 miles away and ash afloat in the air, but I didn’t remember the date, and this day was the first time since the fire we had driven the highway.

Sparks from downed electrical lines caused the fire. Extreme winds drove the blaze to an almost immediate engulfment of forest that burned 173,000 acres and destroyed 400 homes. It is officially called The Holiday Farm Fire, Labor day, September 7, 2020. I can’t imagine what it was like for the people living there.

When we first moved to Oregon west of the Cascades, I said I didn’t think I was in Oregon until I saw the McKenzie River. It is beautiful with a raging river and old-growth trees surrounding it. 

Last Saturday, however, we drove for 20-30 miles through blackened trees and decimated hillsides. Within these areas were oasis’ of homes intact, surrounded by their green lawns and flowered borders. It was remarkable how some were spared. Magical almost. Strange to see the evidence of a burn weaving, engulfing complete hillsides while leaving other places untouched. The little town of Blue River, slightly off the highway, is completely gone.

The fire stopped before McKenzie Bridge, and just beyond it was our destination.

Since I am videoing forest trails, I wanted to film the one I had walked several times before. It is one of my favorites. And so, as Husband Dear, Sweetpea, and I walked the trail down to the river. I captured it on my phone/camera. It will be posted eventually on YouTube, Jewells Happy Trails as # 3. 

I didn’t talk on this walk.

Perhaps I will add commentary when I learn how. I wonder, though, it is so beautiful, and when you come to the roar of the river, it is magical. It would be lovely to give people an experience of a peaceful trail through an old-growth forest, to walk among the trees, and watch the green go by. I’m sure some have never experienced the giant grandfather trees, with the delicate and beautiful ground cover that flourishes beneath them.

I need time to think.

Up from the ashes of Blue River….

Chinook Salmon on the McKenzie