Summertime Projects

Thursday, July 05, 2018
McMenamins Edgefield
So far, it's been 70s and sunny for the past two months, as we enjoyed 70s and sunny in Australia, and now most of June has been the same.  I can't tell you how much I'm enjoying this beautiful summer nights, only slightly cool and with mostly clear skies.  We're trying to keep the kids busy this summer, but I'm limiting myself to one big day per week where we will go out of town for the day to do something fun.  The rest of the time I am trying to tackle projects at home or do fun things here around Portland.  Family bike rides and walks are always a good option.  As far as projects go, I work in the garden a lot this time of year because the weather is nice, but when it's too hot to work outdoors, I focus my energy on the house.  Summer is a time to pass things on, and closet by closet I try to offload quite a bit each summer that we either no longer use or no longer want/need.  I've found I have many spices and medications, for example, that have long since expired and need to hit the bins.  Spring cleaning for me always happens in the summer.  What are some of your favorite ways to pass the time during the summer months when the kids are home?

Celebrating the 4th of July--Can We Ever Let Go of Traditional Fireworks?

Wednesday, July 04, 2018
After catching Jurassic World at Portland's Laurelhurst Theater, I drove the family down to Sellwood Riverfront Park to watch fireworks.  There were lots of campfires along the beach, and it ended up being the perfect site to sit back from slightly afar to watch the explosions in the night skies.  I take the kids because they love them, but I recognize the amount of waste, pollution, and noise that these fireworks create, which terrifies wildlife, not to mention many of whom have served in combat.  I guess I'm really not feeling too patriotic these days, either.  But, in the spirit of tradition, we still set them off, and I still take the kids to see them.  I do wish we could find another traditional form of celebrating, though.  Thank-you for the link to the article "Loud Fireworks Affect Wildlife", Eileen Stark!

Looking towards the barge near the Hawthorne Bridge from Sellwood Riverfront Park.  July, 2018
P.S.  Happy 2 1/2 years of marriage to Adam and I!  We have worked hard to be together, as we met by chance in New Orleans, then fell in love over the weeks and months that came after. With Adam down in Australia, we didn’t know how we could make it work, but we did! Now we have been married for 2 1/2 years and together for almost 4. I love the life we have created together, and am excited about all the years of marriage yet to come. I love you, Adam--the best is yet to come!

Celebrating 2 1/2 years of marriage at Pambiche Cocina and Repostería Cubana

Vance Joy at McMenamins Edgefield

Tuesday, July 03, 2018
Every year, I like to buy tickets to see at least one live music performance out at Edgefield, because rain or shine, it ALWAYS makes for a beautiful summer evening.  I've seen Brandi Carlile, Michael Franti, Steve Martin, Emmylou Harris, and this year, we saw Vance Joy.

Life is good, especially when drinking cold blackberry ciders on a July evening at McMenamins Edgefield with this guy playing live:

In My Garden You Will Find: Typha latifolia (aka Cattails)

Monday, July 02, 2018
These are actually along our rain garden, which is quite dry at the moment.  I am excited to have these growing along it, as 1) they remind me of the landscape where I grew up in Yamhill County--the rolling hills were full of them!  I remember they grew all along the fence lines and along creek beds.  2) It has great value medicinally, is ornamental in the garden, can be used as a food source, benefits and attracts wildlife, and can be used practically in many ways.  The Native Americans found many uses for this beautiful plant, even using it as padding for bedding.  It's also a great purifier of water, has antimicrobial properties, and when combined with manure, fire ash, and water, it can be applied to sickly trees to bring them back to health.  These are only a few of the many ways in which this plant benefits humans and wildlife. 

I spy a little girl amongst the cattails!  We hope this will do well near our rain garden.  We will most likely plant it at the trough where most of the water will drain as cattails like small amounts of standing water.

Live and Counting Crows in Ridgefield

Sunday, July 01, 2018
Last night, four of us got to go see the Counting Crows in Ridgefield, Washington.  The tickets were right up by the stage, and it was AMAZING.  I've loved Adam Duritz as an artist for as long as I can remember--he sings with his soul.  Live (who doesn't love the album "Throwing Copper"?) opened for them, too, and they were amazing in their own right.    

 Who doesn't love these bands?  U2, Gin Blossoms, Counting Crows, Blues Traveller, The Cranberries, Natalie Merchant, Live, etc were all bands I listened too during the 90s when I was coming of age and figuring out who I was.  Their music brings back many memories of those days where my friends and I had our whole lives in front of us--the days when life really was easy and free.  I've posted the lyrics and youtube clips of two of my favorite songs from Live/Counting Crows.  It was a good night, and probably hands down the best first concert Sam and Juniper could have attended.  They loved it!
Round Here
Step out the front door like a ghost
Into the fog where no one notices
The contrast of white on white.

And in between the moon and you
The angels get a better view
Of the crumbling difference between wrong and right.

I walk in the air between the rain,
Through myself and back again.
Where? I don't know
Maria says she's dying.
Through the door, I hear her crying
Why? I don't know

'Round here we always stand up straight
'Round here something radiates

Maria came from Nashville with a suitcase in her hand
She said she'd like to meet a boy who looks like Elvis
And she walks along the edge of where the ocean meets the land
Just like she's walking on a wire in the circus
She parks her car outside of my house, takes her clothes off,
Says she's close to understanding Jesus
She knows she's more that just a little misunderstood
She has trouble acting normal when she's nervous

'Round here we're carving out our names
'Round here we all look the same
'Round here we talk just like lions
But we sacrifice like lambs
'Round here she's slipping through my hands

Sleeping children got to run like the wind
Out of the lightning dream
Mama's little baby better get herself in
Out of the lightning

She says, "It's only in my head."
She says, "Shh, I know it's only in my head."

But the girl on the car in the parking lot
Says: "Man, you should try to take a shot
Can't you see my walls are crumbling."

Then she looks up at the building
And says she's thinking of jumping.
She says she's tired of life;
She must be tired of something.

'Round here she's always on my mind
'Round here (hey man) I got lots of time
'Round here we're never sent to bed early
And nobody makes us wait
'Round here we stay up very very very very late

I can't see nothing, nothing
Around here
You catch me if I'm falling
You catch me if I'm falling
Will you catch me because I'm falling down on here
I said " I'm under the gun"
'Round here.
Oh man I said "I'm under the gun"
'Round here.
And I can't see nothin', nothin'.
'Round here.
Songwriters: Steve Bowman / David Lynn Bryson / Adam Fredric Duritz / Charles Thomas Gillingham / David A Janusko / Dan Ryan Jewett / Matthew Mark Malley / Christopher C Roldan

Selling the Drama
And to love a god
And to fear a flame
And to burn a crowd that has a name
And to right or wrong
And to meek or strong
It is known just scream it from the wall

I've willed, I've walked, I've read
I've talked, I know, I know,
I've been here before, yeah

Now we won't be raped, hey
Now we won't be scarred like that, hey
Now we won't be raped , hey
Now we won't be scarred like that, hey

It's the sun that burns
It's the wheel that turns
It's the way we sing that makes 'em dream
And to Christ, a cross
And to me a chair
I will sit and earn the ransom from up here

I've willed, I've walked, I've read
I've talked, I know, I know,
I've been here before, yeah

Now we won't be raped, hey
Now we won't be scarred like that, hey
Now we won't be raped , hey
Now we won't be scarred like that
Scarred like that

And to love, a god
And to fear, a flame
And to burn, a love that has a name

I've willed, I've walked, I've read
I've talked, I know, I know
I've been here before, yeah

Now we won't be raped, hey
Now we won't be scarred like that, hey
Now we won't be raped , hey
Now we won't be scarred like that
Hey hey na nana

(Hoo hoo) we won't be scarred like that
(Hoo hoo) we won't be scarred like that
(Hoo hoo)
Songwriters: Chad Alan Gracey / Chad David Taylor / Edward Joel Kowalczyk / Patrick Dahlheimer
Selling the Drama lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Amelia's 7th Birthday

Saturday, June 30, 2018

My youngest daughter, Amelia, turned 7 years old today!  She is a joyful child, always smiling.  She is thoughtful and kind, sensitive and caring.  We love her so much! 

We had a backyard BBQ with family, and Amelia invited her good friend Defne to join us.  It was a beautiful afternoon--not too hot and not too cold!

In the blue beverage dispenser, I mixed together some Sangria.  Everyone had a lovely time. 

Happy 7th birthday, Amelia!  We love you dearly--hard to believe you're going to be in 2nd grade next year!

Facing End of Life

Friday, June 29, 2018
I've been working several shifts in a row, and end-of-life has been on my mind.  You see, I observe strength and courage in my patients every day.  Some are facing their mortality, yet many do not have fear.  I imagine that if I am in a position to face my own mortality one day that I will feel scared.  I remember how it felt the first time I faced it.  I was 21 and my friend Josh Arnold was killed in a tragic, fiery car accident after his best friend fell asleep at the wheel.  It was the first time I felt a sense of my own mortality, because one of my friends had faced theirs.  It was hard to comprehend how one moment he was here with us and the next moment he was gone. 

My patients are my greatest teachers--one thing I've learned from them is what it means to face one's mortality with courage and grace.  We all have hopes for our lives, those goals we hope to accomplish before we leave this Earth.  When life is cut short, these goals change into something more attainable for the short time we have left, but the goals to achieve something meaningful remain nonetheless.  My patients inspire me to live a life with less fear, and to hold on to those parts of life that make it all worth it, letting the rest of it go.   

In My Garden You Will Find: Yarrow

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Native yarrow is growing in my garden, and I'm thrilled to say that it's already spreading here and there beneath the cedar trees.  It's doing quite well, and my first patch is already blooming. 

Eileen Stark writes in Real Gardens Grow Natives the following about yarrow: "Flowers provide for many pollinators, including syrphid flies, bees, and numerous butterflies including swallowtails, hairstreaks, mourning cloaks, and the endangered Oregon silverspot.  Host plant for painted lady butterly larvae.  Some cavity-nesting birds use yarrow to line their nests.  Provides forage for many species, including deer and upland birds" (168). 

I am thrilled to have some of our natives thriving in our garden.  Others are still putting down roots and struggling with clay soil that is so prevalent in our backyard.  We are slowly amending, but it will take time.  It will most likely be several years before our bare root natives become established enough to see the fruit of our labors.  We are hoping for a beautiful understory beneath the pine and cedar trees in our backyard in the years to come.  Already, the beautification of our work since buying this house last summer is evident--we receive many compliments when people come to visit!  And when you do come by to visit, look for our patches of yarrow--it is a beautiful plant with many medicinal properties.  Next time you're at the grocery story, notice yarrow tea--it has many valuable properties.

The Day I Got Married and Then Later Earned My Motorcycle License

Wednesday, June 27, 2018
Originally, today marked the day of my first wedding in 2002, which sadly ended in divorce seven years later.  A few years after my divorce, I decided to make today a new event, so I signed up for a weekend motorcycle training class with Team Oregon and earned my motorcycle license on June 27th.  I bought a Buddy 170i scooter, and rode that thing to and from nursing school class, clinicals, and for long rides on my days off for about two years solidly.  Then I found myself in a phase of life where I wasn't really riding alone anymore.  Nursing school had finished, and I was on night shift.  I felt unsafe to ride it on night shift to and from work, as I was always soo tired before and after my shifts, so it sat in the garage.  About six months later, I decided to sell it, and I really have no regrets.  I felt with each time I rode the scooter, I was increasing the odds of my life expectancy being shortened as drivers often don't see scooters/motorcycles, and you have to ride with high levels of defensiveness at all times.  I didn't feel alert enough on night shift to maintain that safely.  I thought about making June 27th a new celebration of some kind, but I don't have any brilliant ideas at the moment.  So I'm just going to let it be June 27th again, just another pretty summer day.  A day I once got married and a day I once got a motorcycle license, but now just another summer day to appreciate along with all the others.

Cut and Color

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

I love those afternoons that come around about once a month when I get my hair cut and colored.  I always feel so much better!  I've been seeing Amber Rae at Luminary Salon for many years now, and she always does a lovely job.  I started turning white when I was a teenager, so it's been a battle to cover those grey hairs throughout my adulthood, especially as my natural color is very dark.  With more and more white hairs popping up now that I'm in my 40s, we've had to go lighter so the grow-out isn't as noticeable, but we can't go much lighter than this as a lot of my original hair still remains in the back, and always very dark.  But here I am, with a new cut and color, and (not pictured) a 20-ounce iced Love Brew Dr. Kombucha from Townsend's Tea in my cup-holder (on tap!).  
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