Monday, December 29, 2008

My Mood: Exhausted

I have insomnia.

I can't sleep and I'm up with a sick dog and a time bomb of illness known as our younger cat.

Jelly has kennel cough again and wants to cuddle up all the time. Kitty has what may or may not be an abscess developing on her chest. If it is then this will be her second in as many months. The last one required an hour wait in the lobby at the vet's and a $116 bill for a quick 5 minute confirmation of my diagnosis and some antibiotics.

The landlord is coming in the morning to inspect the apartment to see if it is possible to run an extension off the gas line to put in a dryer for us. We have a washing machine but no dryer which would have come in handy when Jelly peed all over the couch five minutes ago. Now the couch will be missing half its slip cover in the morning as it will be resting on the drying rack over the heating vent.

I will now return to 1/2 the couch with a book where I will cuddle Jelly so at least one of us can rest peacefully.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Crows Footprints and Red Red Apples

Images from my walk to work this morning. We are in the middle of several snowstorms. Most of the snow had melted as of today and we are bracing for another 6 inches tomorrow. This never happens in Portland, OR. It was magical and relaxing to throw on the old hiking boots and ipod and walk and take photos. Above photo foot prints from crows in the snow.

Here is the last apple of fall hanging on in the face of old man winter.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snowed in on the couch

We are snowed in! There are infomercials on tv for hip hop exercise tapes and I need to get off the couch and clean the house.

Here's what got me motivated. For those of you who know my love of Liz Lemon Enjoy!!! For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, watch 30 Rock.

Don't ponder

Don't wonder



Saturday, December 6, 2008

Here We Are, the End of the Year.

So it is December. We are thinking about picking out our tree and perhaps throwing a small Christmas party. After all, someone needs to help us drink all that spiced wine I make.

We just returned from a great week in Chicago. Rarely do we have that much time to visit with family and friends. A week felt like a luxury. We got some snow the last few days we were there which made me very happy.

Today is a beautiful day in Portland. Cold and clear with blue skies which is abnormal for this time of year. We installed light blocking shades in our bedroom last night...totally necessary for city living. I can't believe we've gone this long without them! After a nice night of sleep we woke up and took the dogs for a walk on Mount Tabor. For those of you who've never been to Portland Mount Tabor is our neighborhood park and also has the designation of being the only volcano in an American city. That's right, our local park is a volcano! Don't worry though, it is extinct. No eruptions anytime soon. Now Mount Hood is a different matter. It has been trembling more and more lately. Here is a photo of Mt. Hood as seen from our walk this morning.

Here are some more photos from our walk.

Here are a few random photos of Jelly. First is her pirate eye patch for her bad eye.

Jelly's Halloween Costume.

In other exciting news I stumbled on a book that has changed out lives.

This book explains that 50% of miscarriage is just nature running it's course. That means that 50% of miscarriages are the result of TREATABLE CONDITIONS. Such a simple reverse of logic why have we never looked at our problems from this perspective? Perhaps the most frustrating angle to our experience has been the countless doctors and genetics councilors who have simply told us to "keep trying". Keep trying huh? I wonder if a single one of those people has ever lost a child. Can they possible fathom what they are asking us to do? The grief, anxiety and depression we will walk through if we lose a baby again? My guess is NO.

Well, now we have hope. This book led me to several others which are educating me on all the prepregnancy testing we should have been receiving this entire time. Testing that no doctor has offered us. Testing to show everything from genetic problems to blood clotting issues. Tests that have been there waiting for us all along. When we lost the last baby we went to one of the mostly highly acclaimed research hospitals on the west coast for me to have a D&C. At this hospital we saw a genetics specialist. When I asked for further testing including testing the "products of conception" (another horrible medical term) I was told that they would not run tests until I had lost 3 pregnancies. In other words we are expected to simply go home, 'try again' and only then if we lose another baby will they "consider" further testing.

As I am sure you can all understand we are now processing some serious anger about our lack of medical care. According to my research the single most important test is to check the miscarried fetus for abnormalities. This should have been done with the first pregnancy since I miscarriage after 10 weeks (when most chromosomal abnormalities miscarry by), and my second pregnancy since I already had a history of losing pregnancies. Not only were we not tested, we were scoffed at for daring to ask before we have lost 3 babies. I mean really, are we living in the dark ages? There is absolutely no reason to be treated with this lack of concern when you are losing children.

Now, the good news. Through this research I learned of two Perinatal centers here in Portland that work with couples like us. Unfortunately one is at the research hospital we attended so I am skeptical about that one. We are going to call the other center after the new year and see what their approach is. I will no longer take no for an answer. I will no longer allow a doctor to imply that I am hysterical or imbalanced for wanting answers. I will no longer accept a doctor that implies I am wasting his or her time with my questions.

So, some sadness and frustration but a silver lining. This is the first time in a long, long, time that we have felt hope. Now I am holding my breath and hoping that our insurance will cover the testing. Remember, the medical community doesn't believe we have a medically necessary situation here. urrrgggghhhh.... Wish us luck and send us your prayers and positive thought, we are going to need it.

If you would like to understand further what we have been experiencing, paste this link into your browser and watch the short video at the bottom of the page:

If any of you know people going through fertility struggles, please refer them to these books. I wish I had known of them earlier:

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sweat Much?

Question: What do you do when it's the third day of 100+ temp. and you don't have air conditioning?

Answer: Drive up this mountain (which happens to be right outside your city...and is also an active volcano) and jump in a lake
within view of lovely snowy glaciers.

Monday, August 11, 2008

How Many Rugs Does it Take to Fill a New Apartment?

Honestly, I'm glad we bulked up on rugs from Craigslist before moving. Here's the first day in the new apartment, cleaning the rugs with a rented rug cleaner.

We are settling into August and finally settling into our new apartment. We rented it in July and we have been blessed with lots of friends and family visiting, as well as new jobs so the time, energy, focus hasn't been there to fully nest. Now, being two Virgo's in one apartment spells nesting overload. Or, in our case, increased stress levels when we can't find a certain extension cord or the tin foil isn't in the proper drawer. Believe me, these simple inconveniences can throw off a Virgo's entire day.

So we arrive in August and I am fully going out of my head with the urge to set up the apartment. Granted, it's come a long way, however, there are a few more shelves and odds and ends needed to make it fully functional and comfortable. It looks like it will be awhile before these comforts will materialize. This month we are scrambling to recover from the money drain of last month. Moving into a new apartment, coupled with Scott's Bootcamp (this was the first two weeks of his new job which were unpaid), combined with the fact that July is a historically slow month for Massage, combined with the medical bills arriving from my procedure puts us in a tight spot. On the positive we have food on the table, a beautiful apartment, and careers just starting that promise a comfortable lifestyle one day.

Scott turns 30 next month (September 7th). Not only is this a milestone birthday, this year symbolizes the fruition of mountains of hard work and strain. Scott has worked incredibly hard over the last two years to land the job he began last month. Now the challenges shift, and it will demand much determination and hard work from him but it's different when you are applying all that energy in a job you love instead of applying it in an attempt to get that job. I hope you will all join me in celebrating his achievements...including surviving three decades on this earth:) I plan to throw a small party here at the house with food, grilling, and possibly croquet or bocce ball in the yard. I already know I will be making the red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting that he loves.

One of the lovely advantages of our new apartment is that Scott and I finally have space for our own individual creative spaces. When we lived in Missoula we had our home set up that way, alas, moving to the city necessitated our renting of the tiny basement apartment for the last 2 1/2 years. In the basement there was never the luxury of enough room to build a space that did not have a concrete function. In our new apartment there is room for both of us to have creative space. A few days ago we found a fantastic old desk on Craigslist for $20 which is perfect for Scott's needs. I am in the middle of carving out a space and deciding on a desk for my area. Since moving to Portland my artistic outlet has morphed into sewing and general DIY projects. Next on my list...making canvas bags to hang off my bike rack to put groceries in (to buy then new is $300!!!), making my first pair of long yoga pants, transforming $2.00 sheets from Ikea into beautiful hand painted curtains for our apartment. Aside from the sewing I have also been making jewelry, primarily earrings and a few necklaces here and there. The results have been so pleasing I've been thinking of starting a simple little online store at to peddle my wares.
New project, this little fabric bird. After making several this will become a mobile of sorts with branches and wire.

I have a job interview on Tuesday with a different wellness center closer to our home. I am torn and anxious to find out what they have to offer. The wellness center that I am currently working at feels very much like home. The nature of the office, as well as the people I work with suits me on every level. However, there aren't enough clients for me to make a profit. The manager continues to assure me that summer is slow and if I hang on I will make a profit. The real catch here is that I have applied to be accepted to insurance panels, which will then allow me to accept insurance patients which will then become profitable for me. The problem is it can take up to 6 months for a single insurance panel to accept my application. In the mean time I am treading water and having to pay a $500 overhead every month to keep my space there. This overhead is killing me, last month was so slow that I ended up paying the wellness center instead of them paying me. That was one of the worst feeling I can remember ever having. It makes me sick to watch my paycheck evaporate into someone else's overhead.

Which leads us to the current situation. I am keeping my options open and interviewing with other Wellness clinics to see who can offer me the better deal. Anyone who works with Insurance patients (Pam) knows the value of having a receptionist who does all your scheduling and insurance billing. If I stay with the current situation in a few months this could become very lucrative, however, in the mean time it is costing us money we don't have. If I like the other Wellness center that I'm interviewing at it is only a 5 minute bike ride away from our house, negating the need to drive and spend money on gas. I will know more after the interview regarding their profit split and how many massages they expect in a days work (I don't do more than 4 a day or my body starts hurting). It's funny, these moments of freedom to choose should be exhilarating but with me I feel mostly stressed out:( I know I am just craving a steady job and a nice routine right now. After all the years of school and stress and financial insecurity I am ready to be working and earning and falling into a nice rhythm.

Speaking of riding my bike to work. I have made a project of sprucing up my bike this summer so I can use it more. Today I learned how to apply new tape to my handle bars. This is critical since the tape is made of a cork like substance and provides padding. I already bike with padded bike gloves but these are often not enough and my hands start to hurt. Being a massage therapist it's important to keep my hands in good shape. Thus, the new bike tape. I ordered it off Ebay and when it arrived I had absolutely no idea how to apply it. Thanks to a few instructional video from I was able to remove the old crappy tape and replace it with my lovely padded version. It may not look like much but that's the point, to put it on in a uniform way that makes for clean lines. Yeah for comfy bike tape! Next project, attaching the aluminum rack over the rear tire.

Iverson hanging out on the porch helping me with my bike project

We have decided to adventure in the world of urban chicken stewards. In the Portland city limits you are allowed 3 chickens per household. We have met a few neighbors who keep chickens and it is incredible. The difference between fresh local eggs and what you buy in the store in no contest. For awhile we were buying local free range eggs from Scott's boss. Now that Scott has switched jobs he doesn't see his old boss. We are sad and miss our excellent eggs....time to take things into our own hands! I picked up some books about it, and it says it's best to pick out new chicks in Spring. So this fall and winter we will be designing and building our new chicken coop. Here is a photo of what I have in mind.

Our Neighbor's Chicken Coop~A Modified Dog House

Neighbor's Chickens

Other wonderful news in our orbit. My brother Jeff has just landed a job in Portland and will be moving here with his girlfriend Kate in early September. Many times since moving here we have yearned to have family close to us. This is such a wonderful surprise and we can't wait for him to get here (little does he know we'll be asking him to dog sit a lot!) My other younger brother RJ will be home on his first leave from the Navy in late September, early October. I am attempting to plan a trip to Montana to see him as he will be there visiting our parent's. I am really, really excited to see him.

Jeff and Kate visit Oregon and we all went to the coast together. How could they not fall in love with it? Especially with a tour guide like Scott...

Other than that we are missing all of you! Portland is working out well for us, however, we certainly wish we could be closer to all of you. Does anyone know the plans for this holiday season? Let us know what the families are thinking so we can start making some tentative plans. Much love to all of you!

Last but certainly never least...


Monday, June 9, 2008

The Radio Silence is Broken`

It has been a long time since I have posted. I feel that I have been avoiding it, weary that the computer will remind me of my negligence when I am innocently checking my email. I have asked myself why the silence, or more importantly why am I avoiding my own words. The answer seems to lie in my aversion to passing on bad news. I never intended when I began this blog to only report the happy moments of our life. However, as interest has grown and more people have begun reading I worry about disappointing or worrying our loved ones who often worry over us without needing more fuel for that fire.

That said...I am breaking through this block and from this moment forward I am writing as I experience. In the last few months there have been mountains of happiness and heartbreak here in the Calanca corner of Oregon. The highs and lows have been a wild ride and I feel like I may be finally adapting to the mental and emotional whiplash.

The most recent obstacle we are overcoming is the loss of my second pregnancy. Many of you know that Scott and I have been trying to have a baby since our last miscarriage. It is hard to believe that we lost the last baby a year and a half ago. It is hard to believe that we have spent the better part of two years trying to get pregnant. We have been working with a Naturopathic Doctor doing everything within our power to stack the cards in our favor. The physical burden of this struggle unfortunately falls upon me as the vessel, the grower of said baby. This has included bi-monthly acupuncture treatment where I lie on a table for 45 minutes, listening to soothing music and trying, often unsuccessfully, to quiet all the fears in mind. It has also included a dizzying array of medications, herbs, and supplements in an attempt to chase down why my body wont grow babies.

Now I feel like I am standing at the end of the tunnel that is the last two years bruised, battered, bloated and reeling from the side effects of drugs and pregnancy hormones with nothing to show but the wisdom of losing two pregnancies, two separate and united hopes. Having a baby in my arms would be much nicer.

I am grateful that with this pregnancy I did not take the time to buy any supplies or even unpack our old store of baby and maternity clothes that were gifted to me. The only thing I bought was the little sweater above and that was .75 cents at the local thrift store.

We received that bad news last Friday during a follow up ultra sound where there was no heartbeat, no baby and lots of technical terms like Blighted Ovum and Missed Abortion. We had an ultrasound the week before but the results were inconclusive, leaving us floating in a Neatherland for a week daring to hope that our baby would develop and fearing the hope that could lead to heartbreak. In the meantime I was placed on heavy doses of progesterone to combat my uterine cramping. Progesterone is what causes morning sickness. Heavy dosed of it will turn you into a wreak. Not only did I feel really ill and bloated, I felt disconnected from my body and could not access information from my own brain. Perhaps the most memorable moment was when Scott and I attempted to do our grocery shopping. Manned with my half of the list, standing in front of a wall of bagged salad I could not read anything on the list, and nothing around me was familiar. I didn't understand what the letters on the paper in my hand meant, what salad was, nor why we would buy it. I had a mini meltdown, impressively restrained considering how I felt and was shepherded to the car while Scott finished the shopping.

Now I am sitting at home waiting for the miscarriage to start. It is a horrible feeling, sitting here with our dead dream in my body. I find myself wishing it would just hurry up and happen so I can get through the physical pain and start healing. My body is exhausted from giving itself up to this mission. I feel like I don't know how to be myself in my own skin now. I am no longer the woman who had the one unfortunate miscarriage, I am now the woman who has trouble getting pregnant and once she does there is no great track record of success.

Aside from my sadness there is a positive side to this shitty coin. The doctors say it is wonderful that I got pregnant again. They say that this miscarriage is a good sign because it means I can get pregnant after all. Can you imagine why it would be hard in our situation to find the silver lining in that message? They say that 2 miscarriages really aren't that many and that I am still young and there is time. I hope to god they are right. It will be hard to celebrate Scott's 30th birthday this year when we had so hoped to be parents by that point.

The really positive side is that I feel so much stronger this time then last. I hope this does not fade. I have an ability to "manage" this situation until the miscarriage is over and I am out of physical threat then falling apart. My intuition tells me that wont be the case this time. I have grown in the last year and a half and know enough now to line up a support team if the emotional fallout gets too bad.

And the positive in this situation is I feel so much love and support this time. This must be a combination of my willingness to reach out and the increase in our community of friends here. During the last miscarriage we felt really alone here in Portland. I also felt the curse of the woman who had miscarried. I was the carrier of bad news, I was sad all of the time and people didn't want to be around that. This time I have a lovely group of friends and I am finally not afraid to burden them with my sadness, although I am still able to laugh which wasn't possible last time.

In addition our families have been incredible. Not everyone was informed of the pregnancy which might be awkward. We had just embarked on the joy of telling our news when disaster struck. For those of you who we didn't have time to tell I am sure you understand. The phone calls from family mean the most, even if it is a message on our machine. Just knowing that people are thinking of us and reaching out makes all the difference.

So, that is the story of our latest sadness. But all is not lost! There has been much happiness in our life as of late. I am finding myself thinking of the Thai way of life. If you are unhappy then you are not giving thanks enough in your life. Such a beautiful sentiment.....when you're sad look around you and focus on all the beauty you are living.

So, I am thankful that Scott has been accepted into the Electrician Apprenticeship Program. I am so very proud of him. To watch him in the last year is to be in awe. When he was rejected last time his odds would have turned many others away. Instead of falling down, he took the low ranking he received as a challenge. I accompanied him on several runs around the city as he dry called on electrical companies and construction companies dropping of resumes in the face of many a frosty receptionist who told him his information wouldn't even be accepted or reviewed. He kept at it, knocking on doors until one opened. Starting on the ground floor he has worked his ass off driving huge supply trucks all over our fair city and coming home with chunks of his fingers missing. This last year he has made contact with as many electricians as possible and garnered a nice collection of letters of recommendation.

The union was hardly a match for him this time as he strode into his interview last month armed with the most desirable job experience working for one of the top companies in the state and a stack of fine recommendations, and or course his charm. Out of 500 applicants interviewed Scott was rated as #12! Take that Universe!!! I am beyond please watching him embark on this hard earned carrier, this is definitely a time of celebration!

July 1st we are moving. We intended to live in our tiny basement apartment for one year. Two and a half years later we are moving on. This apartment has been our saving grace as we adjusted to living here and struggled to put me through school. Now my education is complete and I am a working member of society again so we're blowing this Popsicle stand! Granted we are moving to the apartment above us, but the space is more that double and we get to keep our incredible yard with my garden I have worked so hard to establish. This feels intuitively right, like hitting a reset button. This apartment was a comfort to us, but it is time to move on and start fresh with our new careers.

So, that about brings us up to date. Thanks for reading, and you know where to find us!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

How is it March already?

Wow! I can't believe it is half way through March. Life in our little corner has been hectic and wonderful. I am in finals week right now and my practice is growing steadily every day. Scott is doing great at work and we have fallen into a nice routine. I need to board a bus to school in 10 minutes so I am keeping this short. I couldn't resist posting this hilarious and disturbing video I made for Saint Patty's day starring my brothers, Scott and me.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Missoula I Love You and Miss You!

I am obsessed with this new video and wishing I could be there to take part in the debate. We have been contemplating having chickens in our yard here in Portland, where it is legal to have up to 3 chickens within city limits. We haven't made the leap yet and now it looks like our old home town is debating the chicken keeping situation. Love the chickens people!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

A Pie and a Massage License

Today I made a pie. Well, I'm making a pie. The pie, a granny smith apple, is in the oven baking right now. I am making a pie and I am grumpy. Every time I start thinking about making a pie my heart is filled with gooey happiness and I imagine myself in my kitchen creating a wonderful, perfect specimen of american baking. The end result is rarely pretty. In fact now that I think on it I only make 2 pies a year which gives me 6 months to forget the last effort and replace the pie making section of my brain with happy images.

I often reach a point in the pie construction where I wish my grandmothers had shown me their pie making magic. Rarely in my life have I come across pies as beautiful as those that always seemed to be present in the kitchens of my childhood. I took for granted these beautiful works of art, assuming they came together as easily as they appeared. And I dream of a day when I will join the ranks of my maternal lineage and crank out a beautiful pie with the same ease and subconscious effort it requires to walk to the mailbox. Unfortunately making a pie every 6 months is not conducive to improvement. I need to get up, dust the flour off my skirt and give it a shot again and again until I have my own tricks for making a perfect crust and my own preferences for fillings. Someday if I am lucking I will pass that knowledge on.

So, pies aside onto the great news. I passed my written national exam which was a nail biter! I received my massage license in the mail two days ago. That means that I am now a Licensed Massage Therapist!!!!! I believe I am in shock. I always knew it would happen, I am just surprised that this day is here. It seems like the challenge now is to move from the state of constant struggle, constant striving for the golden apple and now simply accept it. It is time to open myself to success and believe it is possible. To end the decade long phase of being a student always alligning myself with a far away goal. The goal is here, now, it has become the present reality. The apple, or the apple pie rather, is ready to be eaten:)

I need to take this moment to thank all of you for your love and support. I am quite certain that I would not be here without you. 

Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank
you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank
you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you,Thank you!!!!!!!!!!

Who else is tired of it being February? Perhaps it'ss a Pacific Northwest feeling but the cabin fever has kicked in with a fury. I was in class the other day and a sliver of sunlight broke through and fell into the classroom. I looked around and realized that all conversation had stopped and we had all turned our faces to this one patch of sunlight, attempting to fill our brains and cells with rejuvinating light. This is our third winter in Portland and I am having a hard time with the lack of light this year, harder then any other year.

In an attempt to fill the time without loosing myself to movies and reading I have picked up sewing again. I have FINALLY completed a dress that fits me perfectly! It may not be a perfect specimen of fashion but it is mine and I made it. I have a stack of old sheets and duvet covers that our anxious dog has managed to chew holes in. Since they can't be donated to charity I have decided to use this surplus of sheets to create clothes. This way I can experiment and if I create something that can't be worn then it hasn't cost us anythings. Yes! The recycling continues!

...This dress used to be part of my bedspread!

This cold, dark season is conducive to warming soups. Here's my new favorite recipe, I added winter squash to it, Yum! (you can copy the address below into your browser to see the recipe)

And look at the color of these beets!!!!! I can't believe how beautiful they are. We bought them at the market, locally grown and really delicious.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A brief impression of my office. It will be finished by the end of the week! I'm off to take the National Exam this morning, thank you for all of your well wishes and prayers. Keep'em coming, so far they are working!

Happy Birthday to Kristyna tomorrow, we wish we could be there to help celebrate. Also, our thoughts are with you Kate as you make it through the end of your pregnancy. We can't wait to meet our new niece.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I did it!

Whewwww! On Wednesday I drove to the state capital (Salem) and took my practical examination. I will not know the results for a week or so but I feel like I passed it. I will be stone cold shocked if I do not. So, one down one to go. On Tuesday I take me national exam which is in my opinion the easier of the two. This national exam is written, whereas the practical I just took was completely hands on. I had two proctors observing me and the third proctor was the client on the table that I was working on! This next exam is much less stressful as it is just me and a computer at a testing center:)

The massage studio is coming along in a most lovely fashion. I believe it is a positive sign when the universe places what you need in front of you. The paint I needed was supplied at no charge by a friend who just happened to have extra in a color I needed. My business partner Tele had extra shelves which worked perfect in our space. Yesterday we were feeling bummed out because all the rugs we looked at where very expensive, and then we found the perfect rug for $40! All of the coincidences encourage me along this path and give me faith that I am making the right decision. Soon (in the next 3-4 weeks) I will finally be completely licensed and accepting clients.

School is going well. I am taking my elective courses to round out my advanced program. These classes are a breath of fresh air compared to the core program I just completed. Being advanced massage courses we have a level of freedom to expand out skills and teach one another as well as learn from our professors. The more I study the more I realize that I too want to teach one day. I am taking small steps now to begin that process and am registering as a certified tutor and massage evaluator through my school. This means that I have a history of good academic performance and can tutor, as well as receive massage from current students that I then evaluate for their learning purposes. I feel this is a good place to start. Perhaps in a year or so I will start looking into the 'junior' schools in the area for teaching opportunities. I have found that if you start at these schools and teach there for awhile, then the larger more respected institutes (such as my school) are more interested in hiring you.

That's about it from here. Scott is doing well and still waiting to hear back from the union regarding the next go round for the apprenticeship program. Hope you are all doing well!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Cookies and Sadness

Tonight my family said goodbye to one of our most trusted companions. Our family dog Peaches passed away in the comforting safety of my parents. This is a sad night and the end to a very difficult week for my parents. My mom called a few hours ago with the news. Since then I have been crying, laughing, and baking. There are so many great memories when I think back: I laugh remembering the time Jeff woke up from a 'romantic' dream to realize the girl he was kissing was Peaches, or how when we adopted her we went to the pound to adopt a cat and came home with our new hyper family member (my dad was so mad, only to eventually fall head over heals in love with her).

So tonight I am baking. Whenever I am sad I bake Molasses cookies. They remind me of my earliest memories being in my great-grandmother's kitchen on the family farm. She made these wonderful saucer sized cookies from the barn molasses they used to feed the horses. I loved those cookies and the smell of them brings old and deep memories of comfort that reside in my very bones.

So tonight we say goodbye to our loved family member who was with us for 13 years. Thank you Peaches for loving us as much as we loved you. Here is your candle burning tonight in memory of you.

This candle is also burning tonight in memory of Dutchess the super kitty who is missed in all of her fluffy, shedding, lap warming beauty.

And thank you Jamie for your council regarding Peaches this week. We are forever grateful that you and Char are so kind with your advice, never acting bothered or put out when our far ranging questions come in from across the country regarding our four legged friends.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Hurrah it's the new year!

(Iverson, neighbor dog Jack, and Jelly hiking with me in the mountains where we found snow)

Goodbye 2007 hello 2008. Never before have I been so happy to say goodbye to a year. For all the wonderful moments of 2007 there was equally if not more struggle and personal change. In fact, looking back on '07 my impression is one of struggle. The intense personal growth manifested from this difficulty is in its own way very much welcomed and appreciated. I just wish the greater perspective was a bit easier to come by.

Along with the struggles of last year comes the excitement for this new one. Much of last year was spent "laying the groundwork" for our professional identities. It takes much work and patience to carve out a path of survival that is of nonconventional means. At times the corporate ladder looks comforting in its linear progression and then I snap out of it and remember the vision of my future. So here we are in 2008. I am testing for my certification in 2 weeks. I have rented an office in downtown Portland that is very affordable and very lovely (pictures to come soon). Scott is working in his chosen field and in a few short days reapplying to the electrician apprenticeship program. In the mean time he genuinely likes the company he is working for and our comprehensive health benefits kick in any day. Aside from being on the cusp of our chosen professions it is a huge relief just to have the energy we put into these areas flowing again, moving forward after feeling like it was blocked for so long.

2007 was also a year of coming to terms with the miscarriage and the new challenges of planning a family. This has been a rollercoaster revival in and of itself, one in which we are still sorting out. It was also a year of feeling far from home while attempting to open my heart and let it thaw to this lovely place we live. It is working and I am starting to think of it as home (only 2 years after we moved here!).

I've never been one for new years resolutions. In the spirit of looking forward to the possibilities of this year I am making not a resolution list, rather a list of intention. Areas in my life where I would like to bloom more fully. Areas where there is potential for growth. In this I hope to avoid the guilt that can come along with a "to do" list and kindly explore these areas to the best of my abilities.

~Learn to meditate and incorporate this on a daily bases in small, simple ways
~Do More Yoga plain and simple
~Blog more
~Write my own zine see link...
~Welcome a child into our lives (fingers crossed, your positive thoughts and prayers would be much appreciated)
~Become a better listener to my friends and loved ones
~Garden with a riotous beauty
~Establish a relationship with a local rancher who practices sustainable ethical ranching. Buy our meat from said rancher
~Bake more, in particular learn to make bread by hand
~Sew more clothes. I want to know where my clothes came from and stop supporting factories in China and other places which abuse their labor source.....meaning human beings!
~Take a french class from the local community college

So, that's my list. It will be fascinating to look back on this in 12 months and see where I've landed. I hope all of you have had a safe and happy new year. Paul, if you read this happy belated birthday!!!!! Our thoughts are with you and all of our loved ones. Wish us luck in our most rainy and dreary of months here in the Pacific Northwest. If anyone has a time share in Hawaii or Mexico that they just happen to not want let us know (hahahaha)

In closing here is a photo of Ryan receiving is E4 on his ship probably in Japan or somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. Congratulations RJ! We love you and it's so nice to see photos of you again.....send more!