Thursday, September 15, 2016

Happy Birthday To Me!

My birthday was last weekend. So we took the whole family to the beach. We stayed in a small town called Manzanita. Shhhhh, don't tell anyone, that it's practically the perfect place to vacation for a few days. We were able to use a friend's beach house and walked everywhere. Do you have any idea how much I love not having to use a car? With Portland traffic worsening every day, the relief is immense! First world problems, I know.

Anyway, I had a fantastic birthday, received kickboxing gloves, a salt float and massage, a little electronic massager, and a homemade cookbook. I made gluten free pancakes that tasted like the real thing, ate too much nutella with them and was treated like a queen by the family.

But you know the best part? My kids got along all weekend! Seriously, it was like entering an alternate universe, where their twin beings replaced the real kids and walked along the beach talking and laughing with each other. And when my son decided not to buy a certain candy in the candy store, my daughter decided to buy it for him... because she could... because she wanted to.

That right there was my most favorite birthday present and that's why this blog post was worth writing.

That is all.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Procrastination Station

I am the world's most successful procrastinator. Honestly, I dare you to find someone who is as good at it as I am. I am not proud of this particular skill, as it usually ends with me being in a rush when whatever project I'm supposed to be working on needs to be finished. This is the case right now with 3 articles I'm supposed to be writing. They're due tomorrow. Each of them is supposed to be 1200 words in length. I will write them all today, maybe the last one tomorrow. Apparently, I still provide quality work when I write at the very last minute, and that's lucky. I often receive compliments for my well written articles. But, I'm annoyed. Annoyed with myself for not being able to just sit down and do the deed. I mean, here I am and I'm writing a blog post! Isn't this the most ridiculous thing? I write a blog post instead of an article. I'll admit, this flows a lot more freely than the articles I have to do some research for.

I do this in other areas of my life as well. I take on projects as a volunteer. I always finish them, and I always do my job well. But I always wait until the last minute to even get started. I can't say that I'm getting a kick out of my procrastination. I don't thrive on the thrill of doing everything so late. But I am also not too worried about it when I am once again procrastinating. In my mind I say things like, "Oh, I'll do it tomorrow." then carry on with my day. Well, a full week can pass before my tomorrowism becomes a todayism. And then it's still a, "Oh, I'll do it this afternoon."

No, I'm not proud, and I would like to figure out how to stop procrastinating, but that would require to actually figure it out, and that can wait until tomorrow........

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Morning Walk

I've read that research has shown that a walk can replenish serotonin levels, especially if this walk happens to be in nature. I go for walks every morning, sometimes with my husband, often alone. I occasionally walk about the little forest trail near our house, but most often I walk the "lake loop" as we call it. It leads past a shopping center with a man-made lake right next to it. On good days, I can see Mount Hood (my mountain, as I like to claim) which is always a treat, no matter how often I've seen it.

I can't say if my serotonin levels are replenished after my walks. But I do know, that these walks are so much more to me than just a walk around town. During these walks, I solve problems, sometimes I laugh at funny memories or little episodes in my life. Sometimes (when the right.... or the wrong song plays on the phone) I have entire conversations in my head with people. Sometimes, this is work related. I do think of work a lot. Sometimes, I'll have a conversation with the mom of a friend of one of my children, because there has been drama (again). And sometimes, I have conversations with people who have left my life, and I tell them just how awful I feel and how mean they were to me (do I sound like a preschooler now?). It's a little comical actually, because I often have the same conversation about 5 times until I get the words just right. And then I wonder, when I see other people walking alone, if they have conversations in their heads as well, or am I the only nut walking around the neighborhood? And what do they think when they see me with my hair not brushed and the bags under my eyes? Okay, so that's not that much of a concern.

This morning was special. It rained last night for the first time in many weeks. The first rain after weeks of heat and sun makes the air smell so fresh and cool, and when it's the end of the summer, it holds a promise of the beautiful fall months to come. Fall is my favorite season. I love that day in late August when the sun shines, but it looks just a tad bit more golden. It's when you look around you and notice just a few red leaves in trees. Is there anything more beautiful than to walk in the fall, when the trees explode with color, when you have to wrap a scarf around your neck and bury your hands in your pockets?

I get to celebrate my birthday in September and see the Harvest Moon with its deep orange glow. I didn't even know about the Harvest Moon until a few years ago, when I was made aware of it. Now, I wait for it all summer.

As I was walking alone this morning, inhaling the fresh air, I thought of all the things I love about fall, some mentioned above. I thought of going to the apple farm where we purchase a variety of delicious apples and eat caramel apples. It's a family tradition I cherish, because we usually go for a hike somewhere right afterwards, followed by a good meal at a restaurant.

I thought about drinking tea with my kids, which is something we love to do together. We buy German chocolate, put one piece on a spoon and hold it into the hot tea until it melts just a little, then let it melt completely on our tongues.

And I thought of delicious  meals I will cook, that I only ever cook during the fall and winter. Heavy meals that fill your belly but also your soul, that create what we will someday consider beautiful memories from way back when. So many of our good conversations as a family happen around the dinner table. I treasure those times, because my two younger children are teenagers, one of them starting her college journey with dual enrollment soon. By the time she is 18, she will have a high school and an associate's degree, and knowing this particular child, she will die to move out and be all grown up.

So, there you have it. Morning walks are great therapy, and I can only recommend them to you. Just wait and see what comes up. Maybe you will have conversations in your head as well. ;)

Friday, August 26, 2016

A Shout Out to the Audubon Society

May I introduce to you my dog, Bugsy? Three years ago, we adopted him from an animal shelter. He is a Schnoodle (Schnauzer Poodle mix), weighs a whopping 8lbs and the truth is, he is really not much of a dog. His favorite thing in the world is to sit on someone's lap, eat treats, bark at the front door whenever anyone approaches it, and follow me around the house.

Every now and then, Bugsy remembers that he's a dog and chases after squirrels who balance on top of our fence. But usually, he is blissfully unaware of the critters roaming around in nature. Recently, he even missed the 5 deer we encountered on our morning walk.

This morning however, a bunny rabbit somehow found its way into our backyard. Bugsy's dog instinct set in and he chased the little bunny into a corner. I am not entirely sure what happened, but I believe the little bunny may have kicked so hard with its hind legs it actually broke its own spine. I'm not making this up... the girl at the Audubon Society told me this is likely what has happened.

And speaking of Audobon Society, they are really the reason I'm writing this post. The poor little bunny sat in my front yard and didn't move. It had been barely able to crawl away from my dog. It had no visible exterior wounds, but it looked quite hurt. I took to Facebook, asked what I should do and was promptly provided with a link for our local Audubon Society's Wildlife Care Center. During a quick phone call I was asked to put the bunny in a box and bring it in. If its injuries weren't terrible, they would then nurse it back to health and even return it to the same neighborhood from where it came. Otherwise they would gently put it out of its misery.

Upon my arrival, I was greeted by a lovely young lady who had me fill out a form. I told her my story and she was the one to inform me of the bunny's ability to break its own spine by kicking hard with its hind legs. As I was filling out the form, she took the box into the back. After a few minutes she returned and confirmed that the poor bunny did look pretty bad and it was likely not going to live.

It wasn't unexpected, but I'll be honest that I'm glad I didn't have to make this decision. I'm grateful that the Audubon Society makes it its mission to protect and care for our local wildlife. And I am even more grateful that they are taking care of the sad job of ending the life of this little critter. I'm sad but also relieved that it no longer has to suffer. Thank you, Audubon!!

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Sound of Silence....

Okay, I'm a little obsessed with this song! It was covered by Disturbed and it's eerily beautiful... and I just want to listen to it really, really loudly!!

Hello darkness, my old friend
I've come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains within the sound of silence
In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
'Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed
By the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence
And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs
That voices never share
And no one dare
Disturb the sound of silence
"Fools, " said I, "you do not know
Silence, like a cancer, grows.
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you."
But my words like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells of silence
And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon God they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
And the words that it was forming
And the sign said,
"The words of the prophets
Are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls."
And whispered in the sound of silence

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Adult kids rock

I love all my kids (in case anybody wants to know, I have three of them). Each have their very own personality and style. They each know what they like and dislike and they will voice their opinions, like it or not! Two of my three kids are teenagers. I could end my blog post here. Every parent of teens knows that it's your teens (not old age) that make your hair turn silver. I thought I'd somehow dodged that bullet because I'm homeschooling. Yes, I admit, I was absolutely convinced that because of homeschooling I'd be raising little angels! So sue me! Anyway, I'm learning my lesson. My teenagers are completely normal people who roll their eyes at me and at least one of them swears like a sailor. They argue like pros, and it doesn't help that they're 6' and 5'10 3/4'' respectively. When the heck did they get so freaking tall???
Anyway, even if they challenge me every single day of my life. And I know that the tough teen years will end and my children will become adults... like my eldest. She will turn 22 in a few days. And aside from the fact that I find it shocking to have a child THAT OLD, I have to say, it is a wonderful thing to have her in my life.

Adult kids rock because:

1) They ask your opinion and then don't yell at you because you offered your opinion.

2) They don't argue until you're green in the face.

3) They make money. And when they borrow money, they pay you back.

4) They thank you just for making them eggs and bacon.

5) They clown around with you in the movie theater and don't give a shit about people staring.

6) They are super easygoing about doing stuff. Wanna go see a movie? Sure! Eat a burger? Sure! Schedule a tour through Pittock Mansion? Sure! Okay if I drive? Sure!

7) They suddenly become really thoughtful.

8) They make goofy faces with you and don't mind you posting them on Facebook.

9) They are funny as hell!

10) They tell you that they love you a lot!

Yes, I love them all three. And I'm thrilled to see the teens grow up and find their passions and navigate their lives. But I am also excited for their adult years (even if that means that I'll be EVEN OLDER than I am now) and the wonderful people they'll become!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Things I learned during my camping trip

So we went camping with the homeschoolers in Central Oregon. Tumalo State Park is located between Sisters and Bend. There is a river flowing nearby, and the truth is this river is the ONLY thing that makes camping at Tumalo bearable. Because this is the high desert. The trees don't grow as tall as they do in Portland. The earth is brown. The sun beats mercilessly from a blue sky every. single. day. Oh sure, it has its own rough beauty. But no, I would not live there if you paid me. I like Portland just fine, thank you very much!

Nevertheless, we had a good time and I learned a few things.

1. Having a yurt is nice. But sleeping on yurt beds is the most miserable thing on Earth. And I think it's getting harder with age! I'm still hurting two days after returning home.

2. Cooking in the Instant Pot isn't easier when the sun beats down on you. And you can't move faster either, because you're too hot and it's impossible to speed things up.

3. Floating on a shallow river means you'll hit your butt on river rocks... a lot.

4. Sometimes, you'll hear cows mooing right next to the campground in the middle of the night (in Central Oregon, that is)

5. Everything you eat somehow tastes better than at home. Why do I bother cooking at home?

6. Some people (okay, very young 13 year old people) think that Germany is still a very scary country "because you know.... World War 2"! And they go on long, long, long, long rants about Germans and Nazis and how scary it all is! *sigh*

7. Friends are a beautiful thing. They're just there to laugh with you, chat with you, and they let you
borrow pillows from their RV to make your night on the yurt bed a little less miserable. And they might tear a muscle in their leg trying to reach for those pillows and then have to walk in crutches for 3 days. Now, THAT is true friendship.

8. Meditation on one leg with a cup full of.... wine.... is totally possible.

9. Don't use hand cream as toothpaste. I really, really does not taste good.

I'm home now, in my air-conditioned house. I slept a full 8 hours last night. I cooked food in my nicely stocked kitchen, and right now I'm watching a movie on Netflix. I'm so happy to be home. But next year, I'll do it all again. Why? Because I'll take those hard yurt beds anytime if it means to learn a few new things (and drink a few cups of wine... and hit my butt on the river rocks).