Dobsons 411

Hanging on for the ultimate ride--God's great adventure.
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Location: Oregon

The author of fourteen contemporary and historical novels, Melanie Dobson lives with her family in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Her latest novels are Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor and Chateau of Secrets. More info at

Monday, March 31, 2008

Easter Pix

We had a wonderful, rainy Easter celebrating with friends. The girls painted eggs a few days before Easter and then spent hours practicing their search techniques and strategies for the big hunt. All their training paid off on Easter. They raced through the house and scooped up almost all the eggs in record time. There is still one egg hidden in our living room, and one of them will be SO excited when they find it and the jellybeans inside.

My dad came to visit this weekend, and we went hunting as well--this time for whales from a station on Hwy. 101. Dad saw one whale, but I'm not sure about the girls. Kiki was mesmerized by the whale-watching boats teetering in the ten-foot waves (I almost got seasick watching them from steady land). Karly was way too busy feeling whale skin and touching whale bones to actually look for live whales.

Here are some new pix:

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Back Home

I had an amazing trip to the Mt. Hermon writer's conference. I was encouraged, inspired, and had adult conversation for five days. And I slept great--my wonderful roommate didn't wake me up one time crying because she had a nightmare or asking me to go to the bathroom with her. :)

I'm enjoying hugs and kisses from the girls this afternoon, a princess fashion show, and a little bouquet of weeds that Karly picked for me. I've successfully folded laundry, found the knob that someone screwed off my nightstand to keep under her bed, and scrubbed a crayon masterpiece off our front windows.

My brain is still on overload and my body's a little tired, but it's good to be home.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Lost in Mount Hermon

Mount Hermon in Northern CA has to be one of the best places to have a writer's conference. Great food. Gorgeous scenery. And hundreds of other writers who delight in even the smallest adventure.

After my workshops today, I wandered away from camp and hiked through the towers of sequoia trees until my path petered out. Below me was a stream, and on the other side were two wide paths leading, of course, to mysterious new places. So I climbed down and crossed the water on a sliver of a log.

There was a local hiker on the other side so I asked her how to get back to camp. She told me it was easy. Go left and stay on the lower path until I found the foot bridge. Cross it, and I'd be back.

But the lower path didn't stay low. It climbed higher and higher until I was almost at the top of the steep hill. I looked for a side trail that would lead me back down to the river, but never saw one under the thick brush and leaves.

The path curved, and as I hiked around it, I saw a camo-dressed guy chopping wood. He ignored me as I stepped closer, smiled, and stepped closer again. "How do I get across the river?"

He refused to meet my eye, grunting back at me instead. "The bridge is out."

"Okay..." I started to turn. "Is there, like, another bridge that maybe isn't so out?"

He swung his ax into the log, pointed toward the trees, and said something about there being a chain and a bridge that way. Good enough.

Even though his directions were a little sketchy, I found the narrow bridge and discovered that the trail back to camp was blocked on the other side--a nice detail my ax-wielding friend might have mentioned.

I hiked up a new hill, away from the trail, and followed worn railroad tracks toward what I thought would be the camp. Instead I found a couple more people...and they took pity on me. The guy pointed toward a meadow and listed off the bridges I needed to cross and hills I needed to climb to get back. Thankfully, he was right, and an hour or so after I started my short hike, I walked back into camp.

I'm thinking that before I tackle Mt. Hermon's wilderness again, I may just get directions prior to my departure. Or maybe I'll take my cell with me so I can call for a little back-up. Or maybe I'll get really smart and take a friend.

After I told someone how I'd gotten lost on the mountain, she said it sounded like fun and asked if she could go hiking with me tomorrow. Only a writer would understand....

Monday, March 10, 2008

Frozen Winters in Ohio

My parent's home was buried under in Ohio this weekend. It made me remember all the frozen winters I spent there as a child--building snowmen, sledding down the big hill near our house, skating on the lake. But it was 65 and sunny in the Pacific NW yesterday so I'm having a hard time thinking about being in Ohio right now though my kids REALLY want to put on snow pants and stomp around in that wonderful white stuff. We only had a dusting of snow all winter here (no complaints from me...).

Here's a poem my stepmom sent me about winter in Ohio:

It's winter in Ohio
And the gentle breezes blow
Seventy miles an hour
At twenty-five below.
Oh, how I love Ohio
When the snow's up to your butt
You take a breath of winter
And your nose gets frozen shut.
Yes, the weather here is wonderful
So I guess I'll hang around
I could never leave Ohio
'Cause I'm frozen to the ground.

Author unknown

Last time I was in Ohio we were almost frozen to the ground, but we made it out in spite of the way-below-freezing temps and ice storm. Next time I visit will be in the summer. :)

My Parent's Front Porch

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Martian Child (Recommended Movie on Adoption)

This weekend we watched a great movie called Martian Child. If you haven't seen it, it's about a widower (John Cusak) who decides to adopt a troubled young boy, a boy who believes he's from Mars and spends his days inside a cardboard box instead of playing with other kids. Even with the difficult themes of emotional abuse and abandonment, the story is funny and heartwarming and presents the adoption of older kids in an honest yet hopeful way. I loved it!

It's so rare to watch a well-written, clean movie these days so kudos to New Line for giving us a family story without all the extra junk (apparently they edited the foul language out for the DVD version--double kudos).

As a writer, the characters in this movie are a great study (not to mention the main character happens to be a novelist who uses his love of science fiction to relate to the child). If you're not a writer, I hope you watch it as well. When it's done, you'll want to hug your kids, and if you've been considering adoption, you may be inspired to open your home to a child who needs a family.