Weather Report From the Outpost

My love woke me up yesterday morning by saying “look at the fog…” and then drifted right back to sleep. I opened my eyes towards the picture window. It was all white. Usually we have a view. I got up and threw cozy stuff on and went outside to take a pano… it was raining and we were boxed in with fog. We’d never seen that before here at the Outpost. Usually we could see past Joshua Tree clear down the 62 all the way to Twentynine Palms.

The creosote smell was thick and heavy and delicious. I went back in but I couldn’t go back to sleep- it was too unusual. Too beautiful. I lit a fire in the woodburner and snuggled with our pup. I put coffee on. 

The rain hesitated and the fog slowly pulled back and I could see the familiar highway below. The sun tried to break through for a moment and put up a good fight for about 15 minutes. The sunlight illuminated every drop of rain clinging to all the desert plants like tiny crystals.

Then low dark ominous clouds started moving in stealthily and laid thickly over the valley and it started to rain again. The clouds were moving dramatically but they didn’t seem to know where they were going… I watched them for a long while- my hands wrapped around my coffee mug for warmth.

The wind finally started to whip up- we’d been hearing about the wind warning for days. The rain hesitated again and I decided to quickly take our pup for an early walk. I could see a wall of the thickest darkest storm clouds yet rolling in and headed towards us. 

Outside wind-blown Suki unexpectedly turned into a turbo pup and turbo’d high speed around the cabin three times without stopping- so cute- her back legs were almost ahead of her front legs. I was running after her in Jon’s big parka and hood just laughing and trying to keep up which was impossible. She turbo’d up into the hills and I called out so she’d wait for me- I didn’t want her to bump into any roaming wet and hungry coyotes.

I have the habit of calling Suki a pup- but really she’s 11 years old. I haven’t seen her turbo like that in at least three years or so. We got back inside just in time for the real storm to began.

The clouds were becoming less interesting now- just solid grey. A steady heavy rain blew past our big picture window in windy waves. Jon was awake now and I showed him the photos I took earlier when the fog and clouds and landscape were distinct. It felt cozy inside. The Outpost weathers storms well.

The rain eventually got lighter and lighter and the desert sun successfully broke through. A low arching and very brief rainbow appeared… followed by the clearest crisp air you could imagine. You could see for at least 30 miles down the highway and beyond.

What a nice change it was from the usual desert dry. I looked back out the picture window and thought- I hope you drank deeply hi-desert… while you had the chance. There are rumors of more rain headed our way- we shall see…


Into The New Year…

Dec. 26 – I’ve never had a jewelry box. I’ve always wanted one. For years. I’ve had my bracelets in one tiny box… my rings in another… my necklaces in a ziplock… etc.- so during this Christmasy season when I wasn’t looking for anything for me- I came across this- an antique italian piece and I was like- there it IS! My jewelry box. The one. Merry Christmas to me!


Dec. 27 – This year’s new ornament. Hand-painted Joshua Tree on a wooden heart. ❤️


Dec. 28 …so we chose the day exactly between Christmas and my dad’s birthday to celebrate both- and that day was today! So much fun. Love my fam so very much… ❤️😍💋


Dec. 29 – Jon hangin’ with John the most excellent handyman today as he makes us a temporary door for one side of our wood burner- we had a blow-out last night… the one glass door just suddenly shattered late night and freaked us the heck out- I guess the embers that had fallen against the door were too hot… now we know- don’t let the embers touch the glass!


Dec. 30 – Hello moon 🙂


Dec. 31 – Bbqin’ and happy hourin’… 😊 happy New Year’s Eve!!!


Dec. 31-Jan. 1 – New Year’s Eve. I’m so appreciating every single second with this guy… last year this was Jon’s second night in the hospital in Med-surg with pneumonia and the mystery abscess in his lung (this was his 2nd night of 11) and I stayed as late as I could with him at the hospital but there was threats of a snow storm… and I didn’t want to get stuck somewhere away from our cabin at Gamma Gulch with little Suki home all by herself. It was a sad night. Suki and I built a fire and hung out wishing our Jon was with us. Jon tried talking a nurse into a sip of champagne at midnight to no avail… it was the first New Year’s Eve we’d been apart in 30 years.

… so here we are now- I bought TWO bottles just to make sure we were covered! 😜🥂❤️


Jan. 1 – Peace and love from the Outpost on this New Year’s Day!!!


Jan. 1 – Today I took the longest walk ever yet with my desert pup. I listened to the wind and tried to understand what it was saying. I stacked wood. I appreciated the moody clouds and  light of new year’s day. I sipped on a beer and just dug the moment. Jon  read out loud to me for hours. We lit a fire and are hanging by it now. I am so proud of my love for designing and publishing five amazing books this last year- and we moved from the amazing Gamma Gulch to the even more amazing Outpost! I enjoyed hanging out with both my family and our friends this year… and I love where I work. Speaking of work- I guess I have to go to work tomorrow…  but I have to say I had the BEST Christmas vacation- and the best New Year’s Day- and I hope you did too ❤️!



Dec. 22 – The cowboy at the JT saloon is looking mighty festive tonight in his poinsettia lei!!!


Dec. 23 – My bundled-up babe outside in the cool crisp desert air taking in the last of the day’s light on Christmas Eve eve… ❤️


Dec. 24 – Hangin’ bulbs on the patio! Can’t wait ‘til it’s dark…


Dec. 24 – Christmas Eve sunset…


Dec. 24 –  Decorating the tree in 12 seconds 🙂


Dec. 24 …our new lights at night!!! 😊❤️💡


Dec. 25 ❤️ Merry Christmas from Suki!!! ❤️


Dec 25 – This year’s Christmas card.


Dec. 25 – Hope everyone’s evening is peaceful and full of contentment… love from the outpost!!!


Dec. 25 – Slow-cooker pot-roast cookin’… almost ready. Pup shagged out on the bed from much hiking around. My love playing around on his new tablet. Toasty fire burnin’… “Martinis & Mistletoes” playin’… ❤️



Photo Rewind – Early December

Dec. 1st – My loves…


Dec. 1st – Hello, Friday. Hello, moon. Hello, good friends…


Dec. 3rd – The flannel road. Cozy Suki.


Dec. 3rd – Sunday night. Sitting by a blazing fire with a beer being read to. Cat’s Cradle. Vonnegut is sooo good… dang. I know I already love him, and have for a long time, but I forgot just how much. Fugging brilliant! 😜


Dec. 6th – Wood-burner and the rising sun. First night we’ve kept it going all night! Cozy at the outpost…


Dec. 8th – If Flo is “ded”… well, you’ve been warned.


Dec. 8th – So guess what we’ve been doing for 1,461 days? Livin’ in the hi-desert! That’s right- it’s our 4 year anniversary of being here- and as you might have heard- we ❤️ it!!!


Dec. 9th – Goes well with anywhere. Especially here! ❤️🍻 Happy hour with Uinta Hop Nosh IPA’s…


Dec. 12th – “I know where happiness lives…” – John the handyman


Dec.12th – Listening to The Jam and Christmas cardin’ and beer drinkin’…


Photo Rewind – November 2017

Nov. 7th – W O W  what a sunset!


Nov. 11th – Yay Saturday! Happy hour with Jon.


Nov. 11th – Welcome to the Outpost Baby Head Chicken!!! Gifted to us by Cain Motter.


Nov. 12th – I ❤️ stacking wood! Who knew? I just finished stacking the bad-ass wood rack. It’s like a meditation to me- putting on my gloves and grabbing from the pile- piece after piece and seeing where it perfectly fits as I stack… I get into a zone- I love the physicality of it and I love the puzzle-pieceness of it.

Before we had our first cord of wood of wood delivered at the gulch I hadn’t moved more than a 6 piece pre-packaged plastic-wrapped camping bundle. 

The bad-ass wood rack holds about 1/3 cord… (maybe a little less) so there is still a giant pile in the sand waiting for me when we use this up. 😊🔥


Nov. 16th – Drawing. This is where stories come from…


Nov. 17th – Happiest of hours!!!


Nov. 18th – Hard at work laying out a 654 page manuscript for a client…


Nov. 18th – Eleven years ago today I spent a weekend dividing up this guy’s hair into 72 individual dreadlocks. I rubber-banded and twisted and back-combed them into being… and now! Wow…


Nov. 18th – Dusk. Our shack.


Nov. 19th – “Clack-clack” the roadrunner checking me out while I’m checking him/her out…



Nov. 19th – …coming up next Saturday is Jon’s reading from “Somewhere Out There In The West” at the Sun Alley Shops at Space Cowboy Books in Joshua Tree!!! So fun- it would be so cool if ya’ll came… it’s from 3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. 


Nov. 21st – Now. Well- actually a couple minutes ago… 😜


Nov. 21st – …so this afternoon Jon had his first video interview about his novel “Somewhere Out There In The West” with Jean-Paul from Space Cowboy Books in Joshua Tree! We’ll let you know when it’s on YouTube 😊


Nov. 22nd – Cozy pup on Thanksgiving eve…


Nov. 23rd – Happy Thanksgiving!!! Here I am (with the super-blondest hair!) in 1970 with my mom.


Nov. 23rd – Thanksgiving! Start off with Simon and Garfunkel. Bread pudding for breakfast. Making buttons for the reading. Lizard hunting with the pup. Preparing materials for promo packs for the reading. Cat Stevens. Garlic aioli mozzarella melts. Happy hour. Neil Diamond. Assembling materials for promo packs. Mindrocker- Anthology of the 60’s US- Punk Garage Psych. Jon reading out-loud to me while I am “slicin’ dicin’ Leysen.” Cookin’. Garlic chicken. Sautéed mushrooms & onions. Mashed potatoes and stuffing. Feast!!! Stuffed. Tradition. Arlo Guthrie doing “Alice’s Restaurant.” Now- beer and and a fire and “Godless”…


Nov. 25th – Front row seat at the reading today. So awesome!!! Thank you everyone who showed up to support the authors at Space Cowboy Books. Reading today were Jon and Brent Harris and Gabriel Hart and Rich Soos- (who stepped in read for Robert Deloyd who reportedly had been abducted  by aliens and couldn’t attend)… it was so fun! What an awesome community we have here in the hi-desert! ❤


Nov. 25th – …at the JT Saloon aka “chocolate-town” 😉! With Gregg and Sheri and doggie Steve- and we had the pleasure of meeting Leah for the first time!!!


Nov. 27th – Dust storm rolling in over Joshua Tree…


Nov. 30th – Hwy 62! 3 nights in a row getting off work to jaw-dropping sunsets…

2:34 A.M.

It’s 2:34 a.m. 

The time just changed tonight- so I guess it’s really 3:34 a.m.

The only sounds are the crackling fire, my love’s sleeping rhythmic breath, and an owl outside making whoots… like “who who whooo who…” 

Most of the day I spent doing loads of laundry, cuddling with my pup in the sun and hiking around with her. 

Above: Blooming creosote

Jon went to visit the artist Uli Boege and bring him the mock-up of his art book… and then Jon wrote, and wrote some more. 

We had happy hour in the late afternoon sun while Suki hunted for lizards in the wood pile.

I made creamy garlic mushroom soup for dinner with toasty sourdough rolls… super tasty yum.

I grabbed a random box of what appeared to be mostly early 90’s stuff and marveled at the memories within…

Above: Manipulated Polaroid from back in the day…

Just a day. A weekend day. Nothing extraordinary. 

But it’s heaven. 
Heaven right here.


Our Anniversary, Idyllwild, and Hicksville Pines

Less than an hour & a 1/2 away from the hi-desert… up and UP into the San Jacinto Mountains through the pine trees and aspens is what we’d been looking forward to- Hicksville Pines Bud & Breakfast! 

Here’s Jon’s FB post he put up before we left on our adventure explaining it a bit more in detail …

Purple and green and blue chalets and a big red lodge greeted us along with a super cool couple running the place- who tried speeding up our check-in and tour of the grounds so Jon could be in our 420 room by 4:20 ;)! It wasn’t really “a room” actually- it’s the top 1/2 of the blue chalet. 

Inside is shag carpet and our very own candy machine- as well the grooviest glowiest peaked roof of a “room” with black light posters and hand-painted black light murals with a sunken bed in the middle. Nice. 

The rest of the grounds included a gazebo (with disco lights that were put up for a wedding)…

…and a tepee to have a communal fire in- as well as rec room with shuffleboard and ping pong and a juke box that we blasted (couldn’t find any volume control) T.Rex songs from- fun stuff. The walls were filled with velvet paintings which we loved- the Log Lady and Cheech & Chong and John Waters…

That evening (our anniversary night) we took Suki to her first dog-friendly restaurant- “Cafe Aroma”- where they were holding a beat poetry night- totally up our alley! Suki was so good!!! We were both so proud. Like parents I guess, who are so pleased their child behaved.

Of course she wanted to sit on my lap the entire time- to get the best view of all the action happening on the stage and closer to all the smells of the food on the table… 

There were great local poets reading (or preforming) their poems- I wish I’d written down the names of our favorites- but our very fave was “the Trump guy”… watch the video! 

Back at Hicksville Pines- it’s very pretty at night! Time to enjoy the glowiness of our rooftop chalet room… the rest of the evening isn’t fit to print as they say ;)!

Breakfast is served “10-ish” which we loved- late risers that we are… and Val and Jason made us deliciousness and we sat outside and weather was so perfect we couldn’t even believe it.

Then off we go to the Idyllwild Nature Center to hike with Suki- a nice and easy trail for us low-key folks. The Manzanita trees with their deep red bark and flowers mixed with the pines were very beautiful… 

Suki was all tuckered out after hiking and ready to kick it in the chalet for a bit while we hit the town…

First we ate a fabulous meal and drank delicious margaritas…

…and then wandered around a bit and did touristy stuff- I got a pair of mukluks! I’ve always wanted mukluks- just one of those things. Jon got a book and we got (locally made) beef jerky and taffy and Amish-made kettle corn…

Back again to the chalet and Suki and hanging out and happy hour on our little balcony and watching our awesome hosts Val and Jason tour the newbies around… 😉 

We decided we were too lazy to go out again for dinner so we ordered to pick up at Fratello’s Restaurante and Pizzeria- and got the tastiest lasagna (Jon) and stuffed spinach and mushroom ravioli (me) that was ravished along with a good IPA.

Then it was time for a black light mukluk fashion show and another IPA (or two) and hangin’ around in the ambience- we took shots of our favorite posters…

Next morning we couldn’t lounge about like we wished we could of… we had to be back in the good ol’ hi-desert to deliver two of Jon’s paintings to the Beatnik Lounge for the “Do What You Want” show- and then go to a book reading and release party at Space Cowboy bookstore. 

We got some cool gifties from Val and Jason at Hicksville Pines and took some detail shots of fun stuff below… a seriously good time was had by all. 

Goodbye for now Hicksville Pines!

31 Years of Love


Above: Love at Casa de Gamma

The Jon and Tania Story – In 31 Photos!

We started going out on October 12, 1986, got married on October 12, 1992 (our sixth anniversary) and now 31 wonderful years have gone by…

To celebrate our Anniversary, here’s a gallery of photos of us together from 31 years of love – From 1987 until now, with each photo representing one year of the journey.

Gallery of Moments – click images to see them larger

(Almost Exactly) 5 Years Ago Yesterday

I am hanging out with my love under the stars around fire-pit… it’s the perfect temperature and breezeless. Shadows are dancing on a pile of a freshly delivered wood next to us…

We are reminiscing about the last time we were sitting around a crackling fire camping in the hi-desert. It seems so long ago. So long ago because we basically stopped camping when we moved here. We felt like we’d moved into the National Park when we landed in Gamma Gulch. It was better than camping. We had a whole little cabin instead of just a tent, smack in the middle of endless gigantic boulders- and right out the front door were hiking possibilities in several directions. 

Better than camping. Our Gamma Gulch cabin.


So the last time we sat around a crackling campfire at a campsite… was almost exactly 5 years ago today at Hidden Valley Campground in the Park. It was our anniversary week… there was an unseasonably cold front storm warning for that evening- and wow did it live up to it- we’d only experienced mildly chilly desert nights up to that point. Late night it got crazy windy and crazy cold and rained like a mad dog- our portable thermometer read 33 degrees in our tent. 

We wrapped the pups in a down comforter and lay zipped up in our 20 degree bags with the air so cold on our faces it almost stung. We weren’t used to this. We woke up to frozen water bottles and realized- the desert can get COLD. Very cold. 

Pups waking up after the 33 degree night.


That day it warmed right back up though- and was so clear and so fresh our city eyes and lungs didn’t even know what to do…

After the storm.


We hiked around and imagined what it would be like to actually live in the desert… a conversation that had been ongoing for at least 5 years… discussing different aspects and wonderments and puzzlements… we had no idea that just a little over a year later we would live here! 

Now here we are at the Outpost- our second dwelling place in hi-desert… with a view that knocks our flip-flops off and astounds us everyday. With a porch that constantly beckons us to hang out and behold the view as the light and colors subtly shift and change across that vast expanse we’d been longing for. 

Here we are around a crackling fire under the stars not so much dreaming as we are appreciating this exact moment. So happy to realize that we love living here all year round and being hi-desert people as much as we hoped we would- even more actually… even our pup Suki has proven to be the ultimate desert dog. (The only thing she misses is eating grass- so we have a little pot of organic grass for her to nibble which she loves- and is much healthier than the pesticide-ridden lawn grass she used to munch.)

Suki and her desert grass.


We drove home 5 years ago after camping feeling crestfallen and wondering- why does this desert heaven always have to come to an end? Can’t we figure out how to stay? Of course, the rest is history… 

-by Tania


Somewhere Out There In The West

Introducing my debut novel, Somewhere Out There in The West – now available from Traveling Shoes Press!

It’s not quite science fiction and not quite speculative fiction. It contains elements of both genres. It’s more like metaphysical fiction…

There are Lizard people, Avenging Angels, Ancient Nagas, Illuminated Ones, Garuda, a coke dealer, a shaman, a dog named Major, the Macedonians and their spaceship, and more.

Join Billy Hero, the prophetess Shirley La Grange, Reverend T.J. Clemons and a host of characters as they explore time, space and consciousness from here to the ends of the galaxy!

If you like Kurt Vonnegut or Tom Robbins, you’ll probably enjoy my novel.

You can read an excerpt or order the book here:


Signed copies of “Somewhere Out There In The West” are now available at Space Cowboy Books in Joshua Tree!!! (see the copy on the counter?)

 Jon and Jean-Paul are discussing the book release & reading coming sometime in November- we’ll let you guys know when we have the official date!


Our friend Shad in the LBC received his copy today and sent us this pic!!! So cool! We are so grateful for the support of friends and family and book lovers that have ordered a copy- thank you so much ❤ Every book that goes out into the world is exciting to us…


Tania’s Public Service Announcement!
If you’re buying this guy’s book today- and you already purchased it- bless you my friend!!! If you haven’t yet- please order from as opposed to Amazon. Amazon gives the writer approximately .40/book and Lulu gives the writer approx. $4/book. BIG difference!!! just sayin’… and either way- you guys are awesome!!! here’s a direct link!
Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Books, Snakes and Happy Hours

8.5.17 – My novella, Somewhere Out There In The West, turned into a novel after I went on a writing spree a few weeks ago…

Just got the proof copy from the printer and it looks great. I’m so excited! It’ll be available September 21st! Of course, I’ll remind you later 🙂

Book website here:


8.9.17 – My grandmother is 105 today!!! 

Super happy joyous birthday wishes to you bonma!!! Sending you kisses and hugs from the hi-desert ❤💋🎂⭐️🌵🌞🍰❤!!!

(This is us visiting a month and 1/2 ago and getting some hand-signed copies of her memoir to bring back with us…)

Read about her memoirs here:



Now Available from Traveling Shoes Press!

Los Feliz Confidential: A Memoir by Nora Novak

LOS FELIZ CONFIDENTIAL chronicles Novak’s life from immigration to poignant childhood and teen years through her adventurous, sexy, freewheeling twenties. Follow her escapades through the glittering decadent ‘70s as she encompasses the unique culture of the era with a seductive sense of sophistication.

A rock’n’roll, art loving glamour girl, Novak will have you devouring her wry tales and asking for more.

Read an excerpt or purchase:


8.11.17 – Happy friday from the outpost!!! ❤


8.12.17 – Aaah Saturday… how I love thee!


8.13.17 – The Sunday cozies.


8.17.17 – That’s me with a king snake cruising up my arm! …learned SO much at the “Brown bag lunch lecture- Reptiles of the Mojave Desert and Rattlesnake Safety”!!! A passionate and informative lecture from the founders of the herpetological conservation organization “Cali Boys Reptile Rescue and Relocation”- as well as “Spike” a lady ranger who’d worked in the park for over 20 (or did she say 30?!) years- these people knew their stuff! Awesome. 


8.17.17 – Such a great day! After learning all about hi-desert snakes on my lunch break- I come home to this… a beautiful 4 ft. (at least!) long gopher snake stretched out across the driveway. We admired him for a long while before he’d had enough of us and dove off under a boulder. Then a BBQ on a wonderfully unusually still evening… 🙂


8.18.17 – Seeing the light at happy hour…

-At the Joshua Tree Saloon.


photos by Jon and Tania

Tania’s Birthday Weekend

The 4-day birthday weekend has begun… cheers!!! ❤


Hot dog.


Thunderstorm over Joshua Tree…


Joshua Tree Farmers’ Market. Lunch and a beer with my love at Frontier. Local vintage shopping. It’s already been an excellent bday weekend and it’s just begun! ❤


At “The End”…


There’s really nothin’ better to me than handmade pizzelles with my morning coffee ❤ thank you maddie for the treat! 


Summer afternoon in the hi-desert… (Video)


Remote viewing.


Road to the outpost… ❤


Beers and cheers! My birthday lunch with this guy- waiting for our food- first time at Kimi Grill! 


So… it’s my 48th bday today and I did a little (light) research on “48”- and I’ve come to the conclusion that it seems like a good number/year for me! (Gleaned from Wikipedia and tarot cards…)

•In Chinese Numerology, 48 is an auspicious number meaning ‘determined to prosper’, or simply ‘prosperity.’

•Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, sat under a bodhi tree for 48 days attempting to understand the nature of reality and Universe. Buddhism was the result.

•According to the Mishnah, Torah wisdom is acquired via 48 ways (Pirkei Avoth 6:6).

•Tarot cards- unused opportunities leading to new solutions/  illumination and cultivation of the will…  

I dig it- I welcome you 48 🙂!!!


Bday BBQ! I really don’t know how this day could be any more beautiful or any better… 🙂


The last of the day’s light. The outpost up on the hill. Tail end of a most wonderful 4 days… ❤


photos by Jon and Tania


Catching up… Late July 2017

7.17.17 – Tonight’s sunset from the Outpost…


7.19.17 – My world. Jon typing away at his latest story- all the windows wide open and a perfect 80 degrees with a desert breeze…


7.21.17 – Desert hood ornament at the JT Saloon…


7.22.17 – Me and Suki listening to Jon read to us from his latest story…


7.22.17 – Dusk, tonight. (Video)


7.23.17 – We have procured provisions from down the hill- namely, a cooler full of Trader Joe’s… and of course, a stop at Five Guys for Jon and a Rubios avocado mango quinoa salad bowl w/ shrimp for me- ah yes- treats! But I tell you, Palm Springs melts me… back to the hi-desert for us!!! 


7.24.17 – The rural route.


photos by Jon and Tania