Monday, March 29, 2010

Motherhood: not always thankless.

Yesterday was my Annie’s birthday party at Pump It Up, a different party than the one we had on her actual St. Patrick’s day birthday, which was at home and included just family and close family friends.
Annie hasn’t had a party with invited friends for a couple of years.   I won’t go into all the reasons, but I felt it was important that she have a special party this year. 

It was a pain to organize, because there is so much going on right now, and planning parties on top of so many other responsibilities and obligations I have right now is just not my forte.  I have to say, though – I got THE BEST reward ever for my efforts.  After the party, my beautiful, beaming little girl looked at me directly in the eyes and said,

“Mom, thank you for the party!  Pump It Up is the BEST place to have a party.  It was PERFECT!”

I will never, ever forget how good that felt to see her delight and hear her powerful, clear words about how she felt about the party.  My heart is full.  

AnnieAnnie at Kah-Nee-Ta a few days ago.

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From my backyard…




Saturday, March 27, 2010

Change of Plans

Back during the Winter months, I sat with my sweetheart across the table from an old friend of his, who in the last couple of years has really made some dramatic changes to her physical health and fitness level. It was inspiring to see how she completely reshaped herself and got back to her best and healthiest weight.  It was also really fun to hear her describe her actual exploits – she can run farther, bike farther and do many things with great strength and endurance. 

I really like this woman, and I cheer her on when she updates us on Facebook.  Considering she’s around my age, I am just so impressed with what she’s achieved and want to follow her lead.  She has truly become an athletic and very fit person, beyond merely liking activity and getting out once a week or so.  She is active on a daily basis and has really focused on her health.  Despite making enormous strides, she still continues to improve and work on it, even focusing on what she eats and preparing her own food more.
When she suggested Scott and I participate in a triathlon with her and a number of other mutual friends this May, the words “let’s do it!” came flowing easily out of my mouth.  I wanted the challenge.  I’m a good swimmer, love riding my bike, and felt I could run the distance with some training.   I had plenty of time to prepare, and I wanted a goal.  

Well, now I am a little over a month away from the day of the event, and I don’t feel ready.  Life got very busy with a move, and I made some logistical decisions recently which have been important for my mental health and peaceful home life which have affected my ability to to take personal time regularly.  My “training” has been very spotty and for some elements of the event, simply non-existent.  I’ve not made it to the pool even once (barring the recent trip to Kah-Nee-Ta with the kids).  I think if I had been preparing for a biking event, I’d be ready, because I like riding into work and have been doing that.  I can focus on that one thing,  and think I could even fit in longer rides on weekends.  If I had only been training for a 5K, I might have been ready, because I would have been focusing on just the running, and I have a gym and the treadmills, and some trails by my office.  Could have used my lunch break.  As it stands, I have been pulled in many directions, and have felt paralyzed and stressed out about it.  I’m never been good at spreading my energy around to many different things at once, even though I have to do it on a daily basis, just to keep things going for my household of 4.

So, now, such a short time away, I have pulled out of the triathlon to let a wait-lister participate.  I don’t like the feeling that I’ve “quit” at all.  It just doesn’t feel good.  But frankly, the idea of participating in the triathlon quit being fun and started to feel like something to dread.  I need “fun” right now, especially when it comes to my health and fitness.  I’ve decided to focus on cycling as my primary fitness tool.  It’s more fun for me than it’s ever been.  Last Summer I had a blast on my bike and I still feel so much more confident riding than I have ever before in my life.  And now I finally have the bike and the gear to really dig in and enjoy it  more.  I’m excited again about the prospect of getting more fit.  I thank Scott for pushing me in this direction.  I love that I can commute by bicycle.  It really fits with my desire to leave less of a carbon footprint, and I see real results in terms of my fitness.  I simply love that I get to work full of fantastic energy to apply to my job, and I appreciate the stress-relieving transition to my home life in the afternoons, too. 

To make up for “quitting” the triathlon, I am setting a new goal.  I want to do a MUCH longer ride this Summer.  I don’t know what yet, and I will talk with Scott about it, and see if he thinks I can do a century, and if so, if he can help me pick out a group ride to go on and help me set up a training plan.  If one thing ends, it’s important to find the next thing and keep moving forward.  I want to be ever-striving, like my inspirational friend, too!

I’ll be updating as I go!

Friday, March 26, 2010


Shadows move swiftly across the sage-dotted, red, rolling earth.  They chase tempestuous clouds which roil and wrestle in the sky, like a dusty swarm of warriors battling in a vast bright blue field.  Jumbles of basalt jut out over rivers and streams, vexed and swelling with the first evidence of snow leaving the mountain tops.  Ravens tumble and turn together against this striking backdrop.  The drama of Spring is unfolding in the high desert.

I took the kids out to enjoy the wonderful change of both scene and season earlier this week.  The four of us went to Kah-Nee-Ta  for a few days to play together and rejuvenate our little family.  We hiked in the desert in the morning and swam in pools heated by natural hot springs all afternoon.  We read books by the giant fireplace, watched movies in our room at night, and we went to sleep together in our two super-comfy king sized beds.  But I alone woke early and sat out on the balcony to enjoy some peaceful solitude over a cup of coffee and some truly glorious high desert sunrises.  This really is becoming a beautiful tradition.

(Feel free to click on any pics you want to see larger.)















Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Springtime Evening Break

After weeks of planning to move, packing to move, running multiple times to Goodwill and the dump, actually moving, and unpacking from the move - I’m still not completely settled in here in my new little house!  No matter - I decided to take a much needed break with my sweetheart this weekend, anyway.

Thanks to my friend Lars and his girls who came over and stayed overnight with my 3 kids, Scott and I were able to head out East to stay at his parents vacation house in Brightwood, near Mt. Hood.  On the way out, we made an impromptu stop at McMenamin’s Edgefield to walk the grounds and grab a meal and some drinks.  It’s always a great place to visit, full of interesting sights and sounds.  Last night was no exception.  There was a great Bluegrass style band playing outside in a large tent under the fully lit water tower and indigo sky, They were fantastic!

We both had our cameras with us, so we not only got to enjoy the food, drinks and music, but we got to capture shots of the glass blowers at work too, and also the gorgeous early Spring blooms at twilight.   What a treat!  I still have lots to learn, but I’m really enjoying the capabilities of this camera.  I took some photos at The Edgefield years ago, shortly before I met Scott, and I didn’t have near the flexibility with my little point and shoot.  Even in low light, I was able to capture some nice images this time.  Scott took the one of me. 

If you hold your cursor over each picture, you can see the titles for each picture, and if you want to see them slightly larger, just double click on any of them. Enjoy!

Glass Blower heating the glass.

These blossoms are amazing!

Pretty Daffodils


See the little bug?

My favorite of the night!


Magnificent Magnolias?

Magnolias with Water Tower in Background

Magnolias?  These were HUGE!

Homage to Georgia O'Keefe

Water Tower Detail

My Sweetheart


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Green Winter: February hike in Forest Park

Stella and I took a hike on Super Bowl Sunday and I’m finally getting around to posting some pictures.


This and That

Almost finished unpacking from the move.  Things are unfolding more slowly at this house, because I really am having to be careful about what I keep and creative about where I store it.  I still have boxes to go through on the carport, and shelves to hang inside.  I still need to buy new dishes, because, much to my sincere delight, my old ones were broken in the move.  I also still need to hem and iron my new bedroom drapes,  and purchase a couple of more panels for the living room window.  There are just many things that still need to happen for me to feel settled here, and I think I’m okay with that, as long as I don’t lose too much momentum.

I’m enjoying having a pretty and comfortable bedroom.  It’s cozy to snuggle in my private little oasis and read before going to sleep, and I love waking to the sunlight which streams into the large window and door which lead out onto the deck and into the backyard full of greening trees. I’m glad I finally did this for myself.  Here’s one angle:

My bedroom
I purchased my tickets to New Orleans last week.  Shellie and I are really looking forward to our trip at the end of May.  We can’t wait to talk to the locals, hear some good music, eat fabulous food and have a few drinks in the Big Easy.  We both look forward to photographing the architecture and enjoying the history of this old city. We are staying in the French Quarter for most of the trip and then making a quick trip into Lafayette and the surrounding areas to see Cajun Country, and my family as well.  We’ll be staying at a  cute little cottage with a screened in back porch looking out onto the Bayou Teche.  My brother has promised me a crawfish boil, and I am so looking forward to that.  I’m also looking forward to paddling a kayak in the Atchafalaya Basin, and hopefully getting some shots of cypress knees and alligators, Spanish moss and egrets.  What a great change of scene that will be!

At the end of this month, I’ll be taking a smaller trip with my kids, during their Spring Break from school.  Like last year, we will go and stay at Kahneeta Hot Springs Resort in Central Oregon.  My kids like it because they can swim all afternoon in warm water with water slides and sunshine.  I like it because I get to wake up to beautiful sunrises in the high desert, and get to take wonderful  hikes in the mornings before relaxing at in the natural hot spring water in the afternoon and evening.  On the final day, we will get up and head out to Smith Rock, which is one of my favorite places in Oregon.  Early Spring is a wonderful time to be there, before it gets overly crowded, and too warm.  I love hiking there.  Beautiful place with stunning vistas and jagged red rocks around which a gorgeous river winds.  I go back again and again in the Springtime.  Can’t wait to head out with my new camera this year!  Here’s a phone camera pic from a trip I made alone in late May/early June of 2009:

On the Crooked River at Smith Rock State Park

There have been all sorts of things on my mind since I last wrote, but they can’t all be tackled here and now.  I’m just happy to say I’m working out some kinks in my life and staying on track toward some important goals for myself and my family.  I’m grateful to be in touch with old friends and to have the understanding and love of so many who touch my life right here and now, too.  Even with the daily challenges, life remains so rich.