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!).  

It's a Grey's Anatomy, Chocolate, and Kombucha Kind of Night

Monday, June 25, 2018
You know when you just need to veg out?  Well, that's me after the weekend I had at work.  Some shifts just drain everything out of you.  Then I had a stack of paperwork to sort through from the school year waiting for me this morning.  So tonight is all about treating myself to bad TV and treats.  Can't wait!

A Small Irritant

Sunday, June 24, 2018
I found this in my draft posts from many years ago . . . definitely written by a younger version of myself, but I think I still feel the same way.  Empower your workers!  

My first apartment, circa 2001 (before 9/11)
For some reason, I was a little annoyed this afternoon by this dialogue I overheard between a coffeeshop owner and barista as I sat blogging at a nearby table:

Barista: There was a rush of people before you got here, and since I was by myself, it was a little stressful, but everything worked out--I'm just glad we're staying busy. I'd rather have a rush than no rush. 

Coffeeshop owner: You know, if you want to comp people a dollar or two off their purchase to make them feel better about the wait, then you have my permission to do that. I don't have any problem with giving you the liberty to comp waiting customers . . . [pause] . . . NOW if you start comping your friends and family, I'm going to have an issue with that, but for waiting customers, don't hesitate.

I guess I was a little insulted for the barista. Does she really need to be told by her boss that he will take issue with her comping friends and family for coffee beverages? I'm of the opinion that it's insulting to tell people what they can't do, especially when it's common sense. Focus instruction on telling an employee what they can do, but leave the part out about what they can't unless it's actually an issue. This coffeeshop owner seems to love his authority a little too much.

Mental note: example of how NOT to manage my staff if I'm ever to be a coffeeshop owner some day.

After the Double-Back

Saturday, June 23, 2018
You've seen the nursing memes.  We laugh because they're TRUE.  These just about sum me up after my double-back shift today:

and this:


Working a Double-back

Friday, June 22, 2018
What's a double-back shift, you might ask?  Well, it's when nurses do crazy things like stay over for four hours after a twelve hour shift, then come back within eight hours for another twelve hour shift.  You get paid overtime for the four hours over on the first shift, and time-and-a-half for the entire next day, because (per our contract) if the next shift starts within eight hours of clocking off the last one, it's time-and-a-half.  Good money for four extra hours of work, but boy can it be tough to pull off!  Here's me after seventeen hours on the floor:

I haven't had time to see my hairdresser since coming back from Australia, but that appointment is on the calendar for Tuesday!  I'm ready to fall into bed when I snapped this--I'll be glad I put myself through this when I get my paycheck next Friday!  To bed for now . . .

Happy First Day of SUMMER!

Thursday, June 21, 2018
A corner of Barbara's Garden on Mt. Tabor
After suffering through a migraine this morning (not sure where that came from, except I tried to only drink decaf this morning), I spent this first day of summer (longest day of the year!) outside in my garden.  What a delight and a joy it has been for me to transport Barbara's things from her garden and place them in mine.  I guess delight and joy might seem like inappropriate words to use since her loss was just that--a loss--but somehow I know she is smiling down on her dear plants, pots, rocks, and even insects that were transported along with her things, knowing they will be lovingly cared for as long as I am living.  "Barbara's Garden" in my own garden now has an eclectic collection of rocks, seashells, and additional plants that were hers, some very beautiful (I promise to post an updated picture soon!).  I have also incorporated many of her river rocks, pots, and plants into my landscape depending on their growing requirements.  I planted her plants in her own pots.  Most everything she had is actually native to Oregon, and the soil in her various pots is golden.  I also have her worm bin, something that I have long wanted, but never actually acquired.  Adam pulled the whole thing apart, fed the worms, and put it back together.  We have a huge bucket of tea that has been collecting for many months, and we will dilute this down as a health potion for our various plants--I'm excited!  Look for a post soon on the worm bin, how it works, and how it benefits the garden.  x o , Karli

Family Trip to Hood River

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

We didn't make it to the Oregon beach today, as I felt too tired for the longer drive, but I did feel up for a trip to one of my favorite places to visit: Hood River, Oregon.  On our way up, despite the already 80-degree weather at 10:45AM, we did the less than 1-mile hike to Bridal Veil Falls and back--it was a beautiful stop, especially with so many other falls now shut after last year's fires.  It was pretty sad for me to see the burned trees visible along I-84, my first time since the Eagle Creek fires of last summer.  It was refreshing for me to see the beauty still intact, however, and Bridal Veil is a beautiful stop.  I was amazed at how much was preserved--the firefighters did a hell of a job last summer.  Fire patterns are also interesting to see when visualizing the aftermath.  There will be a patch of trees spared in the middle of a blackened and charred forest.  This spring, the forest floor has sprung up with new life again.  And so the next ecosystem will begin its work to establish itself.  Most likely, we will not see the Gorge again as we knew it in our lifetimes. 

 Once we arrived, we traveled along the Hood River Country Fruit Loop, picked up some peaches and apricots at the Draper Girls Country Farm, and stopped at the Apple Valley Country Store for huckleberry and marionberry milkshakes.  We had a picnic lunch along the actual Hood River at Tucker State Park.  We also made a stop at Lavender Valley along the Fruit Loop (all of our stops were along this track, actually), which was a beautiful stop as the lavender is all in full bloom right now.   

"Il Dolce Far Niente" or "The Sweetness of Doing Nothing"

Tuesday, June 19, 2018
I couldn't meet the expectations I had for myself today.  Most, if not all of them, I had placed on myself.  I want the kids to have a great summer, but I also have a list a mile long of things I want to get done, such as go through all the things I brought over from Barbara's last week, water and weed the garden, level some pots beneath the shepherd's pole, sort through the end-of-year stacks the kids brought home week before last, and the list goes on.  More than anything, however, I wanted to get out and do some things with the kids.

Today I accomplished nothing.  I just couldn't do it.  I was so tired all day, and then I was upset with myself for being tired, which made me more tired, and the cycle continued all day long.  I was bound and determined to take the kids to the beach tomorrow, but I had to be honest with myself tonight.  I am WAY too tired to be driving 4-5 hours tomorrow.  So, we are going to compromise and go to a beach on Sauvie Island that we haven't explored before, and afterwards, we might stop to get some fresh berries at one of the local farms.  I haven't been to the beaches at Sauvie Island before, so I messaged a friend who had posted pictures at one point of being on the beach with her family.  She offered the information, but then also added that she hadn't been to the beach yet with her family this summer, and it just dawned on me . . . why do I put so much pressure on myself?

Karli at the National Arboretum in Canberra, ACT, Australia
It is so important that we listen to our bodies, our spirits, and our minds.  For whatever reason, I have been dragging the past two days (I worked all weekend), and I'm not sure why, but for whatever reason the past five weeks have caught up with me and I am flat out exhausted.  Do you ever feel that way?  Do you sometimes catch yourself wishing someone would give you permission to simply do nothing?

I am learning that doing nothing is not as easy as it sounds, especially in American culture.  We live in a high-productive, busy world, and it often seems, at least to me, that doing nothing is not doing enough.  But it is, and we all need time for doing nothing.  

(It's funny to watch this guy go on in the barber shop while the barber continues to try to cut his hair!)

Elderberry Juice and Soda Water

Monday, June 18, 2018
I bought some elderberry juice today (one day I will make my own!) to make some refreshing drinks this summer.  Mix a tablespoon of this with a glass of iced soda water and enjoy!

Elderberries have many health benefits!  A good source of Vitamin C and antioxidants!  Heart healthy!  For an easy recipe on how to make elderberry syrup, which might be even better than elderberry juice, link on over to Happy Healthy Mama!

I'm Still Here!

Sunday, June 17, 2018
My goodness!  This past week was a whirlwind!  My Grandma passed away (98 years old!) while we were in Australia, and her memorial service/funeral was Friday.  The day before that, I was helping Barbara's caregiver move some of her plants over to my place, as well as some of her books, outdoor furniture, and even a tabletop BBQ.  Some of you might remember I lost a dear friend, Barbara, in early April.  I have been helping here and there with some of her things, many of which have a new home at our house!  There was also a lot of scrap lumber and old pots and bricks, which I will repurpose over time.  It feels good to have so many of Barbara's things.  Rosario, her caregiver, brought tears to my eyes when she gave me a bag of some of Barbara's things that a month or so ago I had said were dear to me. 

Barbara's back porch
 I also worked on Wednesday, and prior to that, I was struggling with jet lag!  They say it takes a day per time zone, I think, and I'd say that has been our experience coming home this time. 

Flowers in Barbara's garden, which is Backyard Habitat certified!
But I'm still here, and will be back to blogging and connecting here with you!  It has been a busy month, but we're settling back down into a routine.  x o , Karli

Current Favorite Instagrammer: Ashley Petrone

Saturday, June 16, 2018
I'm not sure how I discovered Ashley Petrone's Instagram (IG) feed, but somehow through the IG design network, we connected and I've been following her ever since!  Her blog, Arrows and Bow, contains beautiful posts though most of her time these days is centered around her IG feed.  "Living Simply, Going Tiny" says it all about her life pursuit in "finding the joy in the in-between".  Less than two years ago, she opened an IG account and started posting--she now has over 90K followers!  An inspiration to her readers, she lives in a beautifully renovated RV with her three children and husband Dino.  Minimalism is not just a goal for Ashley and her family--they live out minimalism and all that goes with it every day in their tiny RV space!  Apartment Therapy, Domino Mag, Country Living Mag, The Daily Mail, and SF Gate are only a few places you'll find Ashley featured--she is one of a kind, and it's no surprise she has struck such a following!

Image by Ashley Petrone
I am always striving for minimalism, so Ashley has been a true inspiration to me as she is truly walking the talk.  I realized when we moved last August how far from minimalism I really am through the packing and moving process.  Ashley posts all the time on IG about simple living and holding on only to those things you either love or need.  She doesn't attach herself to material things, and has no problem with offloading those things that are unnecessary.  In fact, when she downsized from home to RV, she got rid of most things, and has no regrets about that.  She talks about how freeing it is to live with less is in her posts.  If you're not already following Ashley over on her arrowsandbow IG feed, I highly recommend it--you will find inspiration and her daily IG stories and posts will be sure to brighten your day!  

Aussie-isms: You Say Esky, I Say Ice Chest

Friday, June 15, 2018
Communication can be a challenge in any marriage, but up-level that challenge with cultural differences?  Well, it's tricky, folks.  Adam is from Australia, and I'm an Oregonian.  We have differences (many, actually!), and some of those differences show up in language.  We say funny things here in Oregon, and Australians definitely say funny things.  In this new series called "Aussie-isms", I hope to help define some of the words that have led to communication break-downs here and there between Adam and I.  By the time they make it to the Aussie-ism post, you can bet we've had a laugh or two over them!

Adam: "Could you grab the Esky for us?"
Karli: "The what?"
Adam: "The Esky, babe--it's in the boot."
Karli: "I don't know what you're SAYING.  Oh, do you mean the ICE CHEST?"
Adam: "Yeah, the Esky.

Over in New Zealand, they're referred to as "chilly bins".  Call them what you will, they're ice chests in my book, and eskies in his.  Speaking of coolers, check out Apartment Therapy's 2018 guide on The Best Coolers by Nicole Lund (Just sayin', I don't think they included the Esky in their list, unfortunately).  Love you, Adam--differences and all.  x o, Karli

P.S.  Get your Amazon Prime Coleman Vintage cooler in turquoise here:  Coleman Vintage Steel-Belted Portable Cooler with Bottle Opener, 54 Quart, Turquoise.  It's LOVELY and currently on my wish-list--there are many colors available, but I'm in love with the turquoise and rose-pink.  Swoon.

Why Making Things Harder on Myself is More Rewarding

Thursday, June 14, 2018
Adam asked me recently why I make things harder on myself at times. Here's my short list on why I sometimes choose the more difficult dirt road rather than the smoothly paved road of convenience:

  • Working with my hands

  • Saving money

  • Reducing packaging

  • Health and nutrition

  • Developing new skills

  • Nurturing creativity

  • Taking responsibility for what I consume by making what I can

  • Teaching my children to appreciate what they have because they either made it or helped to make it

  • Reducing my impact on the planet

  • There are many examples of this, such as pulling weeds by hand rather than using poison, but 9 times out of 10, the road less traveled pays off far more than the road often traveled.  What is something you do that makes things harder but is well worth it?  Do you hang your laundry instead of using a dryer?  Grow your own food rather than buy?  Make homemade bread?  Jams from your own garden berries?  Make your own laundry detergents and household cleaners?  The sky is the limit!

    Metro's Healthy Lawn and Garden Pledge Ladybug Sign

    Reflections on Travel

    Saturday, June 09, 2018
    Confession: I packed too much again!  I estimate that I didn't use 3/4 of my suitcase, and coming home, trying to keep our bags under 50 pounds was quite a stressful challenge.  Mental note: PACK LESS NEXT TIME!

    Most important question to ask yourself: will you have access to laundry?  If so, you will use WAY less than you think!  While at home, I tend to have favorites in my wardrobe that once rewashed are worn again.  When traveling, whether it be domestic or internationally, if I have access to laundry, I habitually dress by wearing my favorite, most comfortable items.  Pack these items with only one or two back-up outfits.

    While on the plane, I drank lots of water this time around, and my feet didn't swell like they have in the past, nor did I experience excessively dry skin on my face.  I will link to The Girl from Panama, who has some great tips for self-care while traveling on a long flight.  I second the importance of a facial mist and rich moisturizer!  Just remember to keep these items under 3.4 ounces or less for carry-on luggage.

    I am going to master the art of packing light!  With annual trips to Australia, it is a must-have skill!  The benefits to traveling light are countless, plus there's more room for souvenirs coming home!  See a future post on this topic!

    If I Were A Boy

    Friday, June 08, 2018

    I gotta say, "If I Were a Boy" is the best of Beyoncé.  I absolutely love this song, her amazing voice, the music video, the lyrics, and the powerful message this song conveys about gender inequality.  Speaks to the double standards that continue to persist between genders.  What would you do if you were a boy?  How would you feel if you were a girl?  Best song ever.

    In My Garden You Will Find: Mimulus cardinalis or Red Monkeyflower

    Thursday, June 07, 2018
    I am excited to establish a decent monkey flower patch in my garden, but while we were in Australia, it started blooming, and it's more orange than red.  Does anyone know why that might be?  It is in well-drained, but hard, clay soil which I have amended slightly when planting with compost.  The leaves also are erring on the yellower side of green.  I'm thinking I planted it in the wrong place.  Upon more research, I'm reading that it thrives in moist soil, where it will spread to form decent colonies.  Hmmm, might have to salvage some seeds from this one and plant closer to our rain garden!  As a big hummingbird attraction and SW Oregon native, I would like to see this do well in our garden!

    Jet Lag is REAL

    Wednesday, June 06, 2018
    After going to bed Monday, I woke up early Tuesday morning, took the kids to school, and started gardening.  I worked ALL DAY without any naps.  I thought, "what jet lag?".  But here we are, Wednesday, and it has hit hard, folks.  I slept late into the morning, and felt like I used to when I was a night shift nurse.  Just couldn't think, couldn't make decisions, and felt like I had a thick urban fog all around my brain.  All I wanted to do all day was lay around.  The thought of restocking the empty kitchen after our travels was beyond comprehension.  I somehow managed to drive the family to dinner out at Rock Creek Tavern in Hillsboro, but once we got back home, I passed out and didn't wake up until the following morning.  Sheer exhaustion from rapidly traveling across multiple time zones.  A little more time, and a lot more sleep, and I promise I'll be back to my old self, guys.  x o, Karli

    Packing Lightly is the Only Way to Go

    Tuesday, June 05, 2018
    Every time I go to pack a suitcase, my intention is to pack lightly.  I've always admired those people that don't check bags and roll a few t-shirts and a pair of jeans into a carryon and look amazing during their entire trip . . . you know, those same folks that limit their closet to 40 hangers?  Well, I kinda sorta blew it this time on the whole packing lightly thing.  I brought my FRENCH PRESS, for gosh sakes.  6 pairs of jeans (they are heavy in a suitcase).  7-8 dress-up outfits (I used one).  8 pairs of shoes (I used 2).  It was insane, you guys.  Coming home, it took hours to get the three suitcases to 50 pounds each, with most of the heavy stuff going in the carry-ons.  I will never do THAT again.  I am now 100% committed to PACKING LIGHTLY.  Here's what REI has to say about this concept: "If you're not absolutely sure you'll need something, don't take it."  I will say HANDS DOWN that every item I was unsure about, I didn't actually use on the trip.  It took up valuable space and weight, and limited what I was able to BRING HOME.  When I travel, I love picking up items along the way to bring home with me.  Some items are gifts for family, others are gifts just for me, to remember something special about that one particular moment or place I was when I was traveling. 

     So, never again.  From this day forward, this girl will be known as a LIGHT PACKER.  Look for a bullet point list on tomorrow's post on what I learned about packing on this fourth trip to Australia.

    We're HOME!

    Monday, June 04, 2018
    1000 Swans at Vivid Sydney 2018
    After more than thirty hours of travel, we made it back to Portland, the place we call home.  It was a fabulous trip, front to back, with many happy memories made and much time spent with our loving family and friends.  We travelled to Canberra, Newcastle, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, and Sydney.  There were many small-town stops along the way, which I will write about in separate blog posts.  For now, nothing quite makes me happy like being home again.  I love the life Adam and I are creating together, and coming back, I have a deeper sense of just how special our life is here.  For now, we are off to bed for long awaited s l e e p.  x o, Karli

    Au Revoir, Australia!

    Sunday, June 03, 2018

    We have had the best of times with family and friends in Australia, but the time has come for us to depart back to our home in Portland, Oregon tomorrow morning.  We lovingly carry our family and friends in our hearts . . . we will see you all again next time!

    Vivid Sydney, 2018: A Wonderland of Lights and Art

    Saturday, June 02, 2018

    "1000 Cranes"; Vivid Sydney, 2018
    We had a wonderful time in Sydney this year, as we were there during Vivid!  Adam has been several times before, but we had never been together, and it was a first time for Amelia and I!

    There was a woman who photographed us beneath the "1000 Cranes" exhibit, which ended up being my favorite light display out of all the exhibits.

    We logged over 30K steps tonight, and Amelia has surprised us with her resilience and ability to keep right up with us.  Vivid is mesmerizing.  I didn't think I would love it like I did.  It's so artistic and smart--the artists and designers obviously put much thought into what their work represents.  It's unlike anything I've actually ever been to.  Sydney is beautiful to start with, but Sydney during Vivid is absolute magic.

    What a way to wrap up our trip to Australia with four days in Sydney during Vivid.  Can life get any better?  We love you, Sydney!

    Well, Hello, Sydney!

    Friday, June 01, 2018

    We made it to Sydney, and the weather couldn't be more amazing.  70s and sunny, and we're just in time for the Vivid!  This little girl finally got up close to some kangaroos at Taronga Zoo.   Somehow this year, we managed to zig zag our way up and down the hills of the zoo, but we managed to see the seal show and catch most of the exhibits before dark! 

    And look who finally tried chicken parmigiana, an Aussie favorite!  This little girl right here.  We are currently walking all over Sydney.  We crossed the Sydney Harbour Bridge, walked down around Luna Park, back over the bridge, dropped down into The Rocks, stopped at The Argyle for happy hour, and a handful of old historic pubs we traditionally either stop at or wanted to try out.  Amelia has been a joy throughout this entire trip, and I've learned to not underestimate your children!  I think children love to travel, and taking each of our children individually has been a gift both to them and to us. 
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