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...