Sunday, June 30, 2013

Little Nellies

Are any of you doll collectors? I came across this little doll (above) at the thrift store the other day. I don't normally buy dolls, but she caught my eye for some reason. I think it was her face because she looked a lot like a little finger puppet I had when I was a kid. Anyway, something attracted me to her, so I bought her. She was priced at $1.75, so I figured that was a good deal, especially since I got a feeling she might be vintage, if not valuable. 

I've been searching online for other Bradley Dolls, but not much comes up. I'm guessing this little doll was from the 1970s. I've found other dolls by this company, but they're a little fancier and are listed as "boudoir dolls" on some sites. This Nellie doll looks more like a ragdoll, although her face, hands, and shoes are all made of a hard material. I can't tell what it is — maybe porcelain. She came with a certificate of authenticity, but other than that, there's not much I can find out about her. It doesn't look like she's ever been taken out of her box. On the back it says: Made in Korea. Weird thing about her is that she has literally NO BODY at all. Her arms, body, and legs are just empty bits of fabric.

I'll keep looking around to see if I can find anything about her. I doubt she's worth much, but even so, I'd love to find out when she was made. I did find one like it on eBay, which is pictured below. These two dolls are being sold together here. I noticed they're only listed at $12 for both, which makes me think the one I have isn't worth that much. Either that, or the person selling these two below doesn't know either. If you know anything about dolls and can shed some information, I'd really appreciate it. I have no idea where I'll put her, or if I'll ever take her out of the package, but ... she makes me happy, so I'm good with that.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Hiking to Cold Lakes

Rick and I hiked to Cold Lakes in the Mission Mountains today. It's not a long hike at 3.8 miles round trip, but it's considered a moderate one as far as hikes go. It's way back in the mountains in the heart of bear country — both black bears and grizzlies. As always, we came prepared with bear spray. Of all the hikes we've taken, we've never had to actually pull out the canister of spray from our holders. Today we did. We had just gotten started on the hike and were going up a pretty steep incline. I stopped to take a picture, as usual, making Rick get a little ahead of me. I called for him to wait up, which is a good thing because right as I caught up with him, I looked down the cliff in the forest and there was a black bear looking right at me. It couldn't have been more than 50 feet away. Had Rick kept on walking, the bear might have met him on the trail because he looked like he was going up towards it. I managed to spit out, "Bear!" and he took off. From what little I know about bears, this one looked young, like maybe it was only 1-2 years old. If that's the case, there was a good chance the mother was around. The bear ran off in the direction we were heading, so that's why we decided to carry the spray out of their holders for awhile. I wish Rick had seen him, but he took off. I didn't even get a picture.

I got a few photographs of other things, although not as many as I would have liked. Going up the inclines and constantly looking and listening for bears, it was hard to get as many pictures as I would have liked.

The photograph above is of the lower Cold Lake. There are actually two lakes — lower and upper. If you look at this picture and see the mountain with the snow still on it, that's where the upper lake is. I was really glad Rick was willing to see both of them. The trail to the upper lake is not maintained and it was really rugged. We had to climb over and under trees, walk through bushes that literally blocked any visibility, and deal with mosquitoes from hell. Gosh, the bugs were horrible! I only had a couple of OFF packets in my backpack, but I was thankful for those. They helped, but only a little. Note to self: BUY MORE BUG REPELLANT ASAP!

There were quite a few places going to the upper lake where we got off the trail by accident. There's just too much fallen debris to really know where the trail was. It got pretty gnarly at times. Sometimes we just had to guess which way to go. That's scary in bear country.

This picture below is of the upper lake. Basically, the upper lake is about the same size as the lower one. These pictures don't do it justice at all. First of all, it was sunny the whole time we hiked up, but once we got to the lakes the clouds rolled in. It was really windy at the upper lake too, and there wasn't anywhere to really sit down by the shoreline. We hoped to cross the stream that runs from the upper lake to the lower one, but there was no way. It was filled with logs and they weren't sturdy enough to walk on. So, we took a few pictures, looked around, and headed back to the lower lake.

The beargrass is in bloom right now. That's the flower pictured below. I love this stuff. It's a member of the lily family, and apparently, once it blooms it won't do so again for another 4 years or more. It's beautiful and has the most incredible feel to it.

This picture is of the moon, obviously. We left the house this morning at 7am and got to the trailhead around 8am. The moon was still really bright, and with my new camera I was able to zoom in and get a few good shots of it. I love daytime moons.


Below I'm going to post a few pictures of my gory leg, so if you don't like that sort of thing, don't look past the rock picture. Right after we got to the first lake and were heading towards the upper one, I took a nasty fall on some rocks. We were in really rugged terrain and we kept hearing sticks breaking. A lot of times bears break them when they walk on them, so that's what I thought it was. Well, Rick was ahead of me and he saw one thing, but I saw another. I saw a furry, brown head with little brown ears. Between that and the breaking sticks, I totally thought it was a bear. Rick heard the sticks breaking, but what he saw from his viewpoint was a man gathering firewood. So, he sees one thing, and I'm saying, "It's a bear! It's a bear!" He tells me it's a man, and then I get a better view and see that this man has a dog with him — a stupid dog with fluffy, brown fur and little round ears! I tell you, that dumb dog couldn't have looked more like a bear if it tried. Anyway ... in all of the excitement, I took a wrong step and went down hard. Below is a picture of the rocks I fell on. I think I stepped between them and my ankle twisted, causing me to totally lose my balance. It was one of those falls where I just kept falling. Had Rick not grabbed me when he did, I would have gone completely down.

So anyway, I pull myself up, and am more worried about my camera around my neck than anything else. Rick's trying to get me to go one way, but I'm heading towards a log because I know I'm going DOWN! I've done my share of fainting in my lifetime. I know that feeling. I know when I have to sit down. This was one of those times. I knew my leg hurt, especially my knee where I smacked it on a rock, but I didn't realize how bad I had scraped it. 

Of course, nothing ever looks as dramatic in pictures as it does in real life. But when I looked at my outer thigh and saw this, I knew I'd whacked it pretty hard. Rick and I both had first aid kits in our packs, but they were the smaller ones, which are pretty much useless when it comes to something this large. I had to use tissues to the stop the bleeding, which seemed to take forever. Then of course, the tissues got all stuck in the wound. We did have a few antiseptic wipes, which helped, but not much. Then all we had were small bandages. Rick patched it up as best as he could, but it was a mess. The mosquitoes were having a freaking field day with the free lunch! They must have told the yellow jackets because they appeared literally out of no where! So, Rick's trying to stop the bleeding, trying to get this mess cleaned up, AND fighting off all these killer insects who think I'm some kind of buffet.

All this happened BEFORE we were at the upper lake, mind you. Rick was all ready to head back to the car, but I didn't want to go all that way and not see both lakes. So, I basically hobbled on the undeveloped trail to the upper lake. That was a new experience in pain because the trails were full of brush. When the brush wasn't hitting the cuts, I was dealing with climbing over huge trees, and fussing with my bandages that wouldn't stay on. Fun stuff, I tell you! But anyway, we managed to see both lakes. After asking quite a few people we met along the way, we finally ran into two men who had a couple of larger bandages they were willing to give us. Not only that, but he gave us more antiseptic wipes. Then he simply handed his whole first aid kit to us. He goes, "No, here, take it! My son works in a hospital. I get these all the time." Bless his heart! After I got patched up more, we headed back to the lower lake and sat by the shore for a few minutes. I needed to rest and we both needed to eat something. The mosquitoes were relentless though, so we didn't stay too long before heading back.

Despite the drama and trauma — it was freaking awesome!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


I'm finally working on this story again. This is a middle grade novel that I'm considering self-publishing, although I still haven't made up my mind about that. I had one copy printed up using Lulu, which is what the one in the photograph is. It cost me around $10 for the book. After reading the story over and over and over, I STILL managed to find things I wanted to change and/or fix. I'm using this copy to write notes in and mark where I want to change things. Here's the blurb ...

Twelve-year-old Bobbi Allen needs a vacation more than anything – even if it means lying to her family and sneaking out of the house. Dragging along her best friend Mitch, the girls set out by themselves on a two-night camping trip in the Montana wilderness. Taking utmost safety precautions, their adventure goes nearly as planned, until they are faced with a grisly discovery. Realizing the grave danger she had put Mitch in with her dishonesty, Bobbi struggles with outside opinions and questions her own right to coexist peacefully with nature.

I'm really excited to be working on this again. Years ago I came up with the concept of a story involving girls sneaking out to go camping, but I was stuck on what would happen. Then a local bear incident set everything in place for me. I've put off working on it for way too long. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day Hike

Rick and I decided to take a hike through Lone Pine State Park earlier today. We had planned on driving to the top of the mountain, parking at the visitor center, and checking out some maps before we headed onto the trails. It's not a huge park, and I think there are only about 7 miles of trails. Even so, we weren't familiar with them, so we wanted to get a map to see where to go.

Then we changed our mind and parked at a lower trail head we'd seen previously. We figured we'd walk up to the visitor center instead. We asked some people which trail was harder, and then we ventured onto the one we thought they said was easier. Turns out, we walked on one of the harder ones. It wasn't too bad. I guess all those squats I've been doing have paid off because I felt pretty good the entire time. Rick, on the other hand, is on medicine for high blood pressure, so that made it harder for him. He managed okay. It was a little over a 700' incline. 

On our way back down, we decided to go the hardest part, which was still not too bad. It was steep in some places, so I was glad we went that way coming down and not going up.

I took a few pictures, but not that many. I don't know if it's my new camera, my eyes, or what, but I've been having a hard time getting my photographs to turn out the way I want them. I kind of think it's a combination of everything. My eyes are getting worse, and it's hard to see without my glasses. Plus, sometimes when I'm outside my eyes start watering something awful, which just makes it worse. Then I have the issue with having to deal with a whole new camera and all.

The photo above is looking south from Kalispell. You can sort of see a lake there. That's Flathead Lake. I live on the east side of that lake. It looks really far away, but it's only about 20 miles from Kalispell to Bigfork where I live.

We saw some pretty wildflowers. I believe these above are blanketflowers. I could be wrong. I only saw these two, and they look kind of hammered, but I still thought they were pretty.

It was such a beautiful day, so it was perfect for hiking. We got back in time for me to put dinner and desert in my crock-pots. I told Rick I'd make him lasagna for his Father's Day dinner tonight. I also made a cherry dessert in one of my smaller pots. I hope you had a nice Father's Day!

Friday, June 14, 2013


If you follow me on Instagram, you might have noticed that I'm doing one of those photo-a-day things. They give you a prompt for each day, and then you post a photograph relating to it. I did it for the month of May and am now doing one for June as well. Today's prompt was "texture", so I posted a close-up picture of the alligator. They have such unique looking skin, so I thought that would be a good one for today. However, taking pictures of "textures" is one thing I really love doing. Today's prompt made me think of a bunch of other photographs I've taken that are texture-related. Here are just a few that I've posted on IG ...

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


While we were at Walt Disney World last month, we spent a few days at the Animal Kingdom. It's one of our favorite parks, but I never get to spend as much time there as I'd like. When we were ready to leave, we decided to stop and rest before heading back to our resort. We went to the Flame Tree for a soda. The restaurant was still open, but since it was so close to closing time for the park, hardly anyone was there. We walked down and sat at the tables by the water.

That's when we saw this alligator. He (or she) was right by the end of the water, just next to the platform where the tables were. We were pretty high up, so there was no way it could get to us, or vice versa. I think alligators make my mother-in-law nervous. She took a look and then proceeded to get ready to leave while the rest of us stood around taking pictures.

I've only seen two or three alligators in the wild before — all were in Florida. My first one was by the boat dock at the Wilderness Lodge. I've posted that picture before. The others were in swampy areas that I saw from the Disney buses or buses to the airport. I didn't get any pictures of those, unfortunately. 

Anyway, this isn't an animal I see in Montana, so I get a kick out of seeing them in the wild.