The Right (Or At Least A Better) Direction

Tuesday, February 12, 2019
I saw a psychologist this morning that specializes in panic disorder, and guess what? turns out it's treatable, so we're going to conquer the panic together this year.  The thought of living in a different way, without the panic, is almost something I can't imagine, because I can't remember a time when I lived without it.  I've lived with panic disorder for over twenty years, and am only now finding help, but you know what, it's never too late!  For the first time in my life, I feel hopeful.  I found someone who helped me believe for the first time that I can beat this, that it's treatable.  Can't tell you what that means to me.  The thought of my kids remembering me differently from the person I am today is what will keep me going this year as one by one I face those old demons that have plagued me for so long.  I guess I just got desperate, and I'm needing something more . . . there's something else I'm searching for . . . and I still haven't found what I'm looking for, but I think I'm heading in the right (or at least a better) direction. 

From "Shallow"

Tell me somethin', girl
Are you happy in this modern world?
Or do you need more?
Is there somethin' else you're searchin' for?

I'm falling
In all the good times I find myself
Longin' for change
And in the bad times I fear myself

Written by: Andrew Wyatt, Anthony Rossomando, Mark Ronson, Stefani Germanotta

Tracing Time

Monday, February 11, 2019
Just over two years ago, Sam was eleven, and looked so much younger than he does now.  The kids asked me the other day if I wish they would stay little forever, and I can't honestly say that I wish they would, as I remember how exciting it was to grow up and gain more and more independence from my parents.  Of course, at times I do miss when they were little, but I am also excited for their future.  Here's a pic of Sam, just after he landed in Australia in October of 2016:

Sam in Brighton-Le Sands, NSW, Australia in October, 2016
I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.  There's this thing called hormones, and the changes in just over two years are amazing.  But no matter what, he'll always be my little boy.  x o

Sam at Timberline Lodge in February, 2019, just 28 months after the first picture was taken.
And now, how about we crank up a little Bowie to commemorate the changes of my growing boy.  Sam, if you're reading this some day, just know how much your old Mommy loved you, even if the posts embarrass you a little.  x o , Mommy

"Time may change me / But I can't trace time" --Bowie

Happy 14th Birthday, Sam!

Sunday, February 10, 2019

And just like that, I have a fourteen year old!  Today was Sam's birthday, and we gathered all our winter gear and piled into the Subaru for a day trip to Mount Hood.  We stopped in at Timberline Lodge for drinks, had pizza for lunch at Ratskeller's in Government Camp, then spent the rest of the afternoon tubing at Ski Bowl.  What a fun day it was, and it all ended at home with a chocolate tarte, homemade by Adam. 

At 9lbs. 13oz., Sam was born with big feet.  Like a puppy with large paws, I always knew he'd tower over me one day!  The years are flying by, but I am so proud of the young man he is becoming.  Love him so much!

A Special Announcement

Saturday, February 09, 2019

After a couple of year's of thought and planning, and in lieu of recent events, it has become clear to us that the time has arrived for us to add a new member to family . . .

We are so excited!  Mama is due with the litter March 8th, and we will bring it up from Southern California in mid-May. We are currently preparing by reading books, doing research, and getting our house ready for this special puppy.  I haven't had a dog since I was a kid, and my own kids have never had a dog of their own.  We are looking forward to training the puppy, taking it to classes, and maybe even showing him/her. Stay tuned for lots more info to come in the weeks/months ahead! We might not get it all right the first time, but look forward to learning from others and sharing our journey with our whippet with you.  If you have any blogs or sites that you recommend for learning more about the whippet breed, don't hesitate to share what you know with us!

x o, Karli

The Last Two Weeks

Friday, February 08, 2019
It's been two weeks since my last post, but nine of those fourteen days, I was at work.  I've been at work a lot.  This might have been a good thing, as I was actually going through quite a lot, and being at work was a distraction from the fear, anxiety, and pain.  Infertility is so painful.  Our last month of trying with fertility medications did not lead to a conception, and I am very sad that Adam and I are unable to have a child together.  In addition, I had a medical scare that led to some additional testing that has resulted positively, but it's been a hard couple of weeks, and I think it would have been a significant challenge in terms of working that many shifts in so many days, but I've had to process and cope with so much more.

But, here I am, back again in this space.  It's supposed to snow a lot over the next week, and I don't have to work again for the next seven days, so I'm looking forward to nothing but relaxing, time with Adam and the kids, celebrating Sam's fourteenth birthday, and moving into a better space physically, mentally, and emotionally.  Look for a big announcement on Beetles and Bees tomorrow!  x o, Karli

Happy Australia Day!

Friday, January 25, 2019

For my husband and immediate and extended family and friends in Australia, Happy Australia Day!  I thought this bouquet illustrated the diversity of culture that makes Australia the great country it is, as we have flora from all over the world.  I think I see eucalyptus, proteas from South Africa (they're in Australia, too), roses, wax flowers, and rosemary.  Have a wonderful (albeit sweltering) day!  x o

P.S.  Australia is a day ahead, making this January 26th, not the 25th, in the Australian Eastern Daylight Time zone.

Lan Su Chinese Garden

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Today we picked up a cultural pass at Ledding Library and headed down to Lan Su Chinese Garden.  I love the cultural passes--a great use of tax dollars, and who ever says that?!

Here is the Tower of Cosmic Reflections teahouse I mentioned in a former post.  It's a Chinese teahouse operated by The Tao of Tea.  They kept refilling the hot water in our pots, so I must have had five or six pots of the Eight Treasures. 

From the menu: "Eight treasures tea, Ba Bao Cha, has a long history as a Chinese elixir and delicious beverage made from flowers, fruit, green tea, medicinal herbs, and rock sugar.  Flavor profile: A melange of flavors.  Sweet, soothing tea."  It was so delicious and calming.

There are two levels to the teahouse.  The photo above is of the ground floor.  We ate on the top floor, which looks like this:

Next time you have a free afternoon, this is a great place to be.  The garden was beautiful even in the dead of winter.  I loved this description of the Chinese garden, which was printed on the brochure:  "Plants serve many purposes in a Chinese garden.  Besides providing beauty, color, texture and fragrance, they also convey meaning."

"For example, plum, bamboo an pine are collectively known as the Three Friends of Winter and serve to remind us to persevere.  The plum braves the cold of winter to blossom; the pine stays green throughout the cold season; and the bamboo bends in storms, but does not break."

  I was so happy to have affordable access to this place today through the cultural pass offered through our local library.  It's certainly a special place to visit, and " . . . a historical treasure . . . a place where people, ideas and cultures intermingle."

Afternoons at The Tao of Tea

Wednesday, January 23, 2019
I mentioned it last week, but I have been taking the girls about once every other week after school to The Tao of Tea, where we try different teas, and experience the art and culture of an international teahouse.  We always leave feeling much better in body, mind, and spirit than when we arrived.

The girls split a pot of Egyptian chamomile, and I enjoyed a pot of my favorite 500-mile Chai with whole milk and raw honey.  Chai translates to 'tea' in Hindi, so one should say Chai, not Chai tea, as that is redundant.  From The Tao of Tea's website:  "The tale of the ‘500 Mile Chai’ is famous in India. It refers to long distance truck drivers traveling on the highways at night. They would stop at small Chai stands called “Dhabas” and request very strong, sweet Chai to help them continue safely on their trip. “Give me the 500 Mile Chai,” is a way of saying, 'Give me your strongest tea!'"

The girls love the chocolate-covered macaroons, and I usually favor a savory Indian aloo paratha with a side of raita.  This paratha is filled with potatoes, cilantro, and onions.  Very tasty and pairs well with a pot of tea.  If I have a choice, I almost always choose savory over sweet.  My girls, on the other hand, will choose sweet over savory any day (as will my husband, Adam).

So there you have it!  Another afternoon spent at The Tao of Tea.  We hope they never close, as it is a favorite afternoon spot for us!  x o, Karli

Teaching Children to Love Vegetables

Tuesday, January 22, 2019
We get bi-monthly produce boxes from Organics to You, but I still struggle to get my girls to try new things and expand their palate outside the two, maybe three, vegetables they have decided they like.  Sam, my son, will eat just about anything, and is never afraid to try a new item.  Since what we receive is mostly seasonal, the vegetables are always changing that come to us.  Amelia is the one out of my two girls that likes carrots, though my other daughter is not so keen.  None of my kids care for avocados, but you'd never know from this cutie patootie picture!

The kids have to try certain things, we keep trying with different seasonal vegetables that come through, as well as some fruits, and slowly by slowly, I hope they will loosen up. 

Parsnips are a root vegetable that I have to hide in soups, sometimes pureeing them.  I am always telling the girls that even if it LOOKS funny, it doesn't mean that it TASTES funny!  Having said that, this one looks pretty FUNNY!

Oh, Amelia.  If you'd spend even a fraction of the time sampling as you do staring at these odd looking things that we call food, who knows, you might just like them.

In addition, I beautify fruit and vegetables by displaying this beautiful calendar in our kitchen by Brooke Weeber of Little Canoe, an artist I have been supporting for many, many years.  We have her succulent, vegetable, and fruit magnets, too.  All of her work is lovely, and as of this year, we have started buying her Power Foods calendar to promote eating fruit and vegetables in the kitchen.  P.S.  These calendars are currently 40% off, and I would highly recommend ordering one!

Soon, the following poster will be hanging in the kitchen, also--I just need to find the right frame first.  I'm thinking a rustic green one.  1.  Buy it with thought.  2.  Cook it with care.  3.  Use less wheat & meat.  4.  Buy local foods.  5.  Use what is left.  x o, Karli


Monday, January 21, 2019

Those closest to me are aware that my panic/anxiety disorder hit an all-time high towards the end of last year, and has trickled into the New Year as well.  I always like to approach a problem with a variety of interventions.  One that I am currently trying is acupuncture.  So far, I have seen good results with my levels of anxiety.  I will not pretend to be very knowledgeable about this very old practice of Chinese medicine, but it's covered under my insurance and seems to be helping, so that's good enough for me.  x o, Karli

Special Package from Lemontree Interiors

Sunday, January 20, 2019
My all-time favorite interior designer is Ontario-based Sophia of Lemontree Interiors.  I love her home that she and her husband designed from the ground up, her style sense, her love of Nature, her online market, and following along with her lemontree_interiors Instagram posts, which is something I look forward to nearly every day.  Recently, for my 42nd birthday, my husband surprised me with two hand-forged brass spice spoons (one shorter, one longer) from her shop.  I absolutely love them, and will use them probably most frequently with my loose leaf teas, and maybe also occasionally for cocktail stirring.  They are beautiful to display on the counter or a kitchen shelf, and are timeless.  As Sophia notes in her online shop, "the shorter the spoon, the better for serving, the longer the spoon, the better for stirring."  x o, Karli

Banana fiber serving tray from Uganda, genmaicha (a favorite tea of mine), Le Creuset honey pot, inherited teacup and saucer from my Mother, a teapot from Tao of Tea gifted to me in the late 1990s by a dear friend, and my two new brass spice spoons from my husband Adam.  x o

South African Metal Antelope Bust from World Market

Saturday, January 19, 2019
It must have been over a year ago that I mentioned to Adam that I spotted something at World Market/Cost Plus that I thought would look nicely mounted over the downstairs fireplace mantle.  It was a metal antelope bust in light grey, and I kind of fell in love with it at first sight.  He must have sneaked back and purchased it, because I was surprised when I opened it this Christmas--they don't even sell them anymore!

Made from reclaimed metal from local scrapyards in South Africa, there are paint markings on the metal that are left, speaking to the original history.  Handcrafted, each one is a little different.  I remember when I was in Uganda watching African craftsmen make beautiful things along the roadside or at the markets, which I was able to obtain for loose change.  I packed as much as my suitcases would allow, leaving behind most of my clothes I brought for the African children in my host village Bwerenga.  An African stool became my carry-on (was very useful while waiting in long customs lines), many African batiks were rolled up, one even framed, and many banana fiber figurines were amongst a few of the souvenirs I brought back.  I love this antelope bust from World Market, and it looks just right above our fireplace downstairs.  Oh, and our new battery-operated copper-wire fairy lights now grace both of our two mantles . . . just the right amount of light to create a homey ambiance.  They remind me of fireflies and fairies.  x o, Karli

The Art and Culture of Tea

Friday, January 18, 2019
My girls and I have been drinking more tea lately, and sometimes for an after school treat, I'll take them to Tao of Tea to try new teas at one of my favorite teahouses in Portland.  Opening in 1997, it was one of the first places I used to go with friends when I moved into the Hawthorne house in 1997, and has been a favorite of mine ever since.  You could say I've been going there for over twenty years now!

Dew Drop Inn Tea House at the Nan Tien Temple in Berkeley, New South Wales, Australia
I personally love almost any tea, my favorites being brown rice tea from Japan called genmaicha and I rarely turn down a steaming cup of Masala Chai tea.  I like almost any black or herbal tea, gravitating to hibiscus, licorice, nettle, red clover, red raspberry, and bergomot.  Some of those I have listed are used to boost fertility, so I have been drinking them for the better part of this past year, and I enjoy some of these iced as well.  Last year, to further boost my fertility, I would add false unicorn or Dong quai tinctures to my teas, also.

Juniper and Amelia enjoy lavender tea at Tao of Tea in Portland, Oregon, after school.
The girls have been choosing flowery teas, and both agree they like lavender tea.  Both add a little milk to their teas.  They enjoy the experience of the teahouse as much as they presentation, the Tao of Tea serving their teas in a variety of teaware, mostly ceramic, stoneware, clay, or gongfu teapots.

Tao of Tea in Portland, Oregon
What about you?  Which teas do you like?  Do you enjoy the art and culture of teahouses, with the differing traditions depending on the country.  You can find teahouses in Japan, China, Nepal, Egypt, Mynamar, and British countries have their own style with china and high-tea traditions.  Buddhist monks used teas many hundreds of years ago to aid in meditation.  Tea can be medicinal, calming, energizing, and cleansing to name just a few ways that tea can benefit the body and the mind.  One place we have not yet visited is the Lan Su Chinese Garden in downtown Portland.  Tao of Tea operates a teahouse there in the Tower of Cosmic Reflections, serving Chinese teas in traditional Chinese teaware beside the Chinese gardens.  Next time you have a free afternoon, try visiting a local teahouse, exploring the different traditions and presentations of tea depending on what type of teahouse you visit.  x o, Karli

Rest in Peace, Mary Oliver

Thursday, January 17, 2019

I worried, by Mary Oliver
I worried a lot.  Will the garden grow, will the rivers 
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn 
as it was taught, and if not how shall 
I correct it?
Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?

Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,

Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
lockjaw, dementia?

Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up.  And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang.

Mary Oliver. Swan – Poems and Prose, 2010 Beacon Press

Walking Upstairs

Wednesday, January 16, 2019
It's late.  Time for bed.  About to head upstairs, I pause with wandering thoughts.  But then I hear it, and it stops me in my tracks.  The sound of my daughter's even breathing as she soundly sleeps.  The silence now coming from my son's room after an hour of coughing, now soothed by the glass of water and Australian magic drops.  Coming up the stairs, there is Pepper, sitting in the dining room, wondering if she wants to be a night owl or fall asleep on Juniper's coat on the couch.  I hear the wind outside tonight, spinning around our house like it will whirl it up like a top that leaves the ground.  Then the wind is still, my thoughts are still, my daughter keeps breathing, and Pepper keeps watching, perhaps wondering if the wind might cast a stray bird or feral cat against our screen door.  But the wind dies down, the house is quiet, the rain has started making pelting noises on the gutters, and everything else will somehow fall into place.  x o, Karli

Horsley, an Australian suburb in New South Wales, in the Fall of 2018

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