Saturday, July 31, 2010

Checking things off...

Ever since I've moved into this little, tiny house, I've struggled to find a place for everything.  I've had boxes full of stuff stacked everywhere, and it's very annoying to me.  My carport, in particular, has been a total mess - and a huge embarrassment to me.  Since there is no garage, all the stuff has been just sitting out there for the neighborhood to see.  Today I took care of some of that.

1.  I finally set up the "Gorilla Rack" I bought from A-Boy some months ago.  That allowed me to empty the boxes of auto supplies, special cleaners, dog shampoo, bike cleaning supplies and that sort of thing, which were piled up all over the carport.  They now have their own special place, and this makes me very happy.

2.  I broke down ALL of the empty cardboard boxes from the move and set them up to go out with recycling on Monday morning.  Looks SO much better!

3.  I went to A-Boy and got some screws so the kids' dad could help me hang the heavy, white utility cabinet I bought at a garage sale around the time I was moving in here.  It hangs on one of the house sides out under the carport above the "Gorilla Rack" shelving system I set up, and it holds the kids art supplies.  Ta Daaaa!

4.  Ron also put up the bicycle hangers I bought for the carport while he was at it, too, so now the kids bikes can be put up and out the way - and locked even!  Now I have way more room in the little storage shed out back, because the bikes aren't in there.  I have put the boxes of winter boots and such, which were also sitting out on the carport, in the backyard storage shed - and out of sight!

5.  I also finally delivered the pile of stuff I had collected for Goodwill.  It looks so much better now that it's all gone and not sitting there gathering dust and cobwebs!

6.  Since Ron was here with the kids earlier, and I was trying to get other things done, he mowed the lawn for me.  It wasn't so high that I couldn't take care of it or anything like that, but it sure is nice that I don't have to mess with it again for awhile!

I feel so much better about the front of my house, even though the house itself isn't much to look at.  It's just so much more tidy than it's been.  I feel so much lighter having taken care of so much of it today.  I do have a few more things to take care of, though.

I will be calling Goodwill, or some other organization to come and pick up the derelict sofa my landlady left here.  She told me she wanted, but never did pick it up, so it's been sitting out on the carport gathering dust and getting faded out, until I covered it in a garish orange tarp.  She recently told me I could have someone come take it way, in an airy voice suggesting that she never meant for me to leave it out there.  (whatever...I'm just happy that it will be gone soon)

I think I want to put some hanging flower baskets out front, to add something bright and cheery to
this drab little, light blue box.  I will go look for something tomorrow! for some reading.  In peace!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Back in the Saddle

Finally, this morning, I have pumped up my tires, dusted off my seat and handles and gotten back on my bike.  I even actually rode it into work.  I feel fantastic.

I don’t know why I’ve not ridden for most of the Summer, but I do know that I missed it.  I will have to work harder at it for awhile because I’ve lost my fitness momentum, but I am looking forward to those endorphins that I really need in my life for balance and mental health – never mind keeping weight off.

I’m looking forward to the way that riding again will help me continue to overcome the feelings of being overwhelmed that I’ve had in recent months.  I’m working to prioritize and simplify my life as best I can, and exercise is the missing piece that’s most critical to me at this juncture.  Playing softball once a week just doesn’t cut it!  

Here’s to climbing back on that “horse!”

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Color Blending

Green thoughts...
Black fears...
Red passions...
Blue tears...

Orange is my joy. 
Purple - my pain.
I've sepia memories
through bright silver rain.

The cool brown earth,
it wants me to stay.
But the golden horizon
begs me away.

Thank you, Shar!

Today we were split over how to spend the day.  My two girls really wanted to go to the Maplewood Picnic and Ice Cream Social to see their friends, and Evan and I wanted to go hiking and have a picnic out by a waterfall or somewhere else less crowded.  I've not gotten much hiking in this Summer because of sports obligations and other logistical issues, so I was really railing against the idea of sitting on my butt out in the hot sun in 90+ degree weather today when I know there are lovely shaded trails near creeks and waterfalls only 45 minutes away, where I can move my body, breathe fresh air and dip myself into a cool mountain stream.   Imagine my happy surprise when I called my daycare provider about a completely seperate issue and she offered to take Stella and Annie to the picnic!  That left Evan and I with a few hours to escape the city!

Since everyone still wanted to have a picnic, we compromised and ate rustic baguettes with blue cheese, brie, berries, grapes and cherries out on our back deck before we went our seperate ways.  It was delightful!  It's such a shady, pleasant spot back there!  Evan and I took the remaining baguette with us on the hike, and Stella and Annie looked forward to Ice Cream at Maplewood.

I had such a nice time with my young son.  I've not spent time with just him in a very long time.  He is always such good company and I like that he really notices beauty around him.  We have that in common.  And while I really enjoy my girls, Evan is also very engaging, but doesn't feel the need to talk constantly.  He does have interesting thoughts to share and is really fun to hang out with.  We had a pleasant drive to Eagle Creek, the hike we chose because we had limited time, but wanted to get out of town.  Evan's never been there.  Because I usually have all three kids with me if I have one, and it's got some really high, narrow places where it would be tough to manage the safety of all three at once, I don't go there with kids, usually.  It's a great hike, though, because it's got an easy grade, and there are spectactular views all the way, so that even though we couldn't make it  all the way to even Punchbowl Falls with our time limits, we enjoyed plenty of beautiful sights and some good exercise.

We also really enjoyed playing in Eagle Creek on our way back to the car, and I took a few photos, too, of my beautiful little boy in this beautiful place. 

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Fun Saturday in July

Today is the first weekend in quite a few, when I didn't have a tight agenda - no soccer tourney, only one birthday party (Stella is constantly getting invited places - this time a pool party a the girl's home!) and no travel plans. I decided the laundry could wait, and so could every other eyesore of a mess in my house. The kids and I decided to go to Saturday Market in downtown Portland, with a stop-off at one of the fountains, before dropping Stella off at her party. Here are some pics from the day!

(To see any of these larger, simply click on them.)

Stella enjoying her GIANT Elephant Ear

Annie doing the same.

Evan, too.

Recycling is big in Portland.

Smoking clowns using walkers, not so much...

Stella just noticed the smoking clown.

Lots going on at the fountain.

She preferred to twirl her hoola hoop.

Sunshine in Portland makes people joyful!

Annie enjoyed water in Evan's face, but I don't think Evan did.


Stella thought the guy with the dog was funny, too.

Do you think this boy was having fun?

Evan and Annie sure were!


Woo hoo!

Second thoughts...

Future heartbreaker.

Love her "Popeye" expression, here.

Wrinkly fingers = fun times!

Do you think the fountain designer had this in mind?

Annie wanted to make sure I knew what Evan was doing.

You thought that was funny, right?

Thing 1 and Thing 2, back at home.

Blast off!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Charming Old City

I spent 6 wonderful days of escape in lovely, old New Orleans this May.  I have yet to reclaim my heart from this grand old city, and a part of me is walking still along the old cobblestone and brick sidewalks and streets.

My travel partner, Shellie, and I heard great Jazz and talked to so many warm and friendly people.  We drank refreshing cocktails unlike any I've had before, and  we soaked in sights that have been shared by travelers and fellow romantics for hundreds of years.  There was such a rich mixture of history, delicious food,  pathos, debauchery, beauty, heady scents and magical moments.  I won't forget sweet Miss Elizabeth, the psychic tarot card reader with the healing spirit we met on our way to a late night bite to eat.  And Noche Flamenca, the world famous Spanish flamenco troupe who shared our hotel space, provided a truly unique diversion during our downtime.  What fun they were with their singing and clapping by the pool!  Their company was simply lovely.  Their performance at Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre, the oldest continuously running theatre in the country, was absolutely breathtaking.  It brought tears to my eyes.  Today, my words aren't really up to accurately describing everything I loved about New Orleans.  I truly  felt like I was in another country.  It was such an exotic place.  For now, I just want to acknowledge a trip that will hold a special place in my memories for the rest of my life. 

Here are a few of my favorite photos from the trip.  Some are not technically great, but they make me smile to see them.  I hope you enjoy them, too.

View of Antoine's from our balcony meal across the way on the first night. Lovely sunset.

Shot from a cab as we rushed not to miss Noche Flamenca. 

Thought this porch and railing was so pretty.  Loved the architecture in N.O.

In the Garden District.  Live Oaks make things even more beautiful.

Best Shrimp Po'Boy ever!  At "Catch" on Magazine Street.

View from outside of gated cemetary.  Got there too late to stroll inside.

Simply loved these steps leading to a Garden District Home.

Passion Flower

Inside Napolean House - est. 1797 

Serving 'em up at the Napolean House!
Loved their Pimm's Cup!

Saw this type of horn nearly every day.

Couldn't help snapping this...loved everything about this guy.  What a friendly face. N.O. was full of friendly people!

Found the flower on the ground and placed it here...

Funny story behind this pic!  Shellie made him smile like that.

Too cute!

Jumbo Shrimp Band - gotta love their fun, Dixie-Land style jazz!

Sudden Downpour

Took me a long time to get this shot.  Had to wait for droplets to quit splashing and people to move on...

Very old street after a heavy rain.

Shellie in the pool in our hotel courtyard.  We loved The Olivier House on Toulouse Street!

Seen on Bourbon Street near Toulouse, early one morning.

Early morning peek across the Mississippi River.

Pretty Sunrise on the Mississippi

Caffe Au Lait and Beignets at Cafe du Monde - so yummy!

Rain washed Jackson Square before the crowds came in.

I wonder how long these have been there.  So pretty.

Cute baby statue in Audobon Park

These girls were so cute and having so much fun on Bourbon Street

Night Scene in the French Quarter

"Touchdown Jesus" as the locals say.

Old Street Drainage

Spanish Cabildo Ironwork

Daytime Shadows