Au Revoir, 2018!

Monday, December 31, 2018
We imbibed smoked salmon, truffle oil roasted nuts, and a variety of spreads, pickles, and cured salamis at our neighbors' house tonight to celebrate the New Year on East coast time.  I had to work the next day, so bedtime for me was 10PM.  Jay and Leslie have worked in the wine industry, so it's always a treat when we get to try out high-end (to us) local wines.  I actually brought a bottle from Trader Joe's (note to self: don't bring Trader Joe's wine to a party hosted by a wine connoisseur!), and I think it was reluctantly accepted.  We watched Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel, laughing and enjoying good company.  Pretty great way to ring in 2019! 
Image by Folio Art
  P.S.  I'm thinking about possibly ordering this print for our living room.  

Mary Poppins Returns

Sunday, December 30, 2018
Amelia at Bagdad Theater & Pub on Hawthorne
Absolutely loved watching Disney's Mary Poppins Returns, which was such a treat as Disney really hasn't put anything this magical out since I was a little girl.  I think "Dumbo' will be coming out again later this year.  Amelia and I had a great night out, and, of course, came home and watched the old classic.  Made for a relaxing, post-Christmas evening, and it's always a treat to spend one-on-one time with each of my children. 

Wrapping Up 2018

Saturday, December 29, 2018
I've taken a blog-posting vacation during the holidays to focus on spending time with Adam and the kids, but now that the flurry of Christmas has come to an end and we prepare for a New Year, I have been pulled back to this space. 

We hosted Christmas Eve dinner with my family, then had our blended family together with friends on Christmas morning.  By the time everyone left in the early afternoon, Adam and I had quite a lot of dishes to put away, stock to prepare, and food to store in the refrigerator.  But then we sat down on the couch about five hours later, sipping on holiday beverages, watching Grey's Anatomy, and crashed a few hours later as I had to work early the next morning. We had a nice Christmas, though it was a bit of work to pull off, and everything came together nicely in the end.  I think our maple-infused brine made this year's turkey my best yet!  Tomorrow I am going to start taking down the Christmas decorations.  I thanked myself this year at my careful packing job, as nothing was tangled, and everything was so neatly organized in the Christmas storage bins.  I plan to spike my coffee with rum and get to it today, packing everything away as neatly as before.  I hope you all had a lovely holiday season spent with those you love most.  Saying a prayer for those less fortunate who battled a health crisis in their family or tragedy around this time of year.  Love and peace to all of you.  --Karli

P.S.  We have been placing a handful or two of roasted and unsalted peanuts in this tray for the scrub jays, and they make quick work of making off with their newfound treasures.  I've always liked bringing a little Christmas to our pets.  Pepper got some bits of turkey, the chickens were free-range for the day, and the backyard bird feeders were well stocked.  Our guests loved watching the birds flit to and fro during our Christmas brunch.  (Unsalted because salt is bad for birds, roasted so they don't germinate when scrub jays bury them, which they do)

Goodwill Finds

Tuesday, December 18, 2018
I hadn't thought before to look at Goodwill for picture frames, as I have always been very particular about framing, and have been known to pay good money for a decent frame job.  When it comes to art that I love and know will hang in our home for possibly the rest of our lives, paying for the skill of frame selection and design is worth every penny.  I have to say, though, that my daughter picked out a print at Crafty Wonderland by Ursula Barton for her dad and step-mom, and I wanted to have it framed for her, because I could see the print getting bent in the Christmas opening ruckus, but didn't want to pay a lot.  Because I had another idea to gift vintage mugs with loose-leaf tea for my Christmas morning guests, I thought I'd have a look at frames for her while I was browsing Goodwill.
Old print 4/50 by Iris Boyd
I gotta confess, I never go to Goodwill, but oh, my goodness were there some cool finds.  I picked up eight mugs for $.99 each for my Christmas morning guests (will pair them with loose leaf teas from Tao of Tea), and a couple of beautiful vases for a couple of dollars each.  There were SO many cool paintings and vintage frames.  We found the above beautiful frame with an old print that we switched out for my daughter's Ursula Barton print.  I cleaned up the glass, dusty frame, as well as used soap and warm water on the slightly stained fabric on the frame, and voila!  Looks like a $150 frame job (well, almost), and it only cost us twenty minutes of time and a mere $5.00 (I can't even get a latte anymore for $5.00).

I love how it turned out--the gold around the print brings out the gold tones in the art, the cloth mat makes the white paper in the work really pop, and the etched wooden frame looks beautiful with the lines in the twin spires of the Oregon Convention Center (where we actually purchased the print!).  I'm sure this gift will be enjoyed for many years to come, and we got to reuse something old instead of buying something new while saving money and making memories together at the same time.  Feels good.  x o , Karli  

P.S.  Even though the Boyd print isn't really my thing, I left it behind our new Barton print out of respect for the original owner of the frame/work and the artist.  It just seems wrong to toss printed art.

Book Club Christmas Potluck

Monday, December 17, 2018

Our annual book club Christmas potluck was this evening.  Every year we each bring a wrapped book to exchange and select our reading list for the upcoming year.  Curious to know what we'll be reading?  Here's our list:

January: Becoming by Michelle Obama (we're going to see her in February when she's in Portland)
February: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
March: The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
April: The Thing about Clare by Imogen Clark
May: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
June: Tribe by Sebastian Junger
July: Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind by Yuval Noah Harari
August: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
September: Green Grass, Running Water by Thomas King
October: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
November: Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover
December: Christmas Potluck--no book selection

Each month, I write a review on the blog and on Goodreads after we meet on the third Monday of every month, so stay tuned for January's review of Becoming!  Can't wait to crack that cover!  P.S.  I rarely buy books anymore, but I always buy a book if it's one I want on my shelf.  My bookshelf is reserved for only my top favorite books, and I have a feeling Becoming will be one of them, so I ordered it in hardback.  x o, Karli


Sunday, December 16, 2018

It's been a rough couple of weeks because of my anxiety, which has led to a great deal of personal suffering.  Today, we finished our unit newsletter, the Nutcracker season came to an end, and the Christmas cards were finished (will be mailed out tomorrow). 

Moving forward . . . moving past this . . . all I have to do is begin.

The Children's Nutcracker, 2018

Saturday, December 15, 2018
This little sweetie has been performing all week in three separate shows of The Children's Nutcracker, not including the dress rehearsals, and I am so proud of her!

Amelia with her new ballet "Dance" bag pre-performance
Every day, she has been patient with me as I get her high bun just right, with the long hours of waiting back stage, and the bustle and go of this busy week. 

The Arabian dancers return to the stage for their final bow
Amelia was an Arabian dancer this year--the costumes and set are beautiful.  Classical Ballet Academy does a superb job with their productions.  We feel so lucky to be a part of it.

Amelia in Arabian costume for "The Children's Nutcracker"
Isn't she beautiful in the Arabian costume?  We can't wait until the formal pictures come out of these productions.  Over the years, I have created an album with the professional pictures.  This is her fifth year as a ballet dancer!

Karli with her youngest daughter, Amelia
I love my kids more than anything, and of anything else I have accomplished in my life, I am the most proud for having brought these three beautiful children into this world.  So proud of my Amelia-girl.  x o , Karli

Beneath the Christmas Tree

Friday, December 14, 2018

My Arabian Coffee dancer pre-show tonight, stopping in for a tall hot chocolate pre-performance.

Then here is Amelia just before she was on stage, looking so beautiful in costume.

Getting home tonight after volunteering at the check-in/check-out counter at the first performance, I found another present left by Santa, and that is Pepper, who has wrapped herself up as a present 'neath the Christmas tree, a present gifted to our family, with not a meow to be heard until 05:30am when breakfast should be served.  x o, Karli

My First Macrame

Wednesday, December 12, 2018
I've been admiring macrame for awhile now, and purchased a little one over the weekend at Crafty Wonderland.  Meant to be a Christmas ornament, I thought it was too pretty to only see once a year, so hung it in this little corner in our upstairs hallway.

This macrame ornament is made by Nancy McElligott of ZigZag Macrame, and can be purchased from her Etsy shop.  Hope this finds you well on this Wednesday.  I'd like to save up for a large one to hang above our bed frame, as I think they are so lovely.

P.S.  Tomorrow is the first of three Nutcracker performances, and I will be volunteering at the check-in/check-out counter.  Taking this month one day at a time, and only saying yes to those things that bring enrichment to our lives.

P.S.S.  21 years ago today, I moved in with my friend Sharla during her 21st birthday party.  Sharla, Jamie, Erin, and I lived together for almost two years at that little house off 54th and Hawthorne.  My Dad helped me move in that night from my dormitory.  He brought the trailer up, along with a bed frame, boxspring, and mattress he picked up at a furniture store along the way.  I still have that bed frame today, and always will.  Crazy to think that was 21 years ago.  Today is Sharla's 42nd birthday.  Mine is coming up in three weeks. 

Peanuts at the Top of the List

Tuesday, December 11, 2018
I had to slow way down today, write a small list of things I needed to get done, and let all the rest go.  One of the things at the top of my list today (and this might surprise you) was to replenish the unsalted and roasted peanuts for the scrub jays.  Watching our backyard birds helps ease personal anxieties and restores peace of mind.   

A scrub jay grabbing a peanut from a feeder with our evolving backyard habitat behind.
P.S.  Birds need unsalted peanuts, as salt is not good for them (nor for us!).  Roasted is best as scrub jays like to bury peanuts, and if they're roasted, they cannot germinate.

Happy 11th Birthday, Juniper!

Monday, December 10, 2018
Last night, Juniper and I celebrated her 11th birthday! New haircut with sparkle strands, new nails, new booties, new necklace, happy hour, and a fancy dinner out.

Juniper and Karli on her 11th birthday at Urban Farmer Portland
 Juniper was my firstborn daughter, my first home birth, and the first granddaughter on both sides of our family.  She is a beautiful person inside and out, and everything I could have ever wanted in a daughter.  Tonight was a special birthday for Juniper where just the two of us spent the better part of the afternoon and evening together.  Memories to treasure for a lifetime.  x o, Karli  

Crafty Wonderland, 2018

Sunday, December 09, 2018
250 amazing artists gathered in one place?  Yep, that's pretty much my definition of a wonderland!  Crafty Wonderland is this weekend, and I've been looking forward to it for months now!  I discovered Crafty Wonderland a few years back, and love that I get to meet some of my favorite Etsy shop owners in person, as well as meet new artists to add to my list of favorites.  Local stores like Carter and Rose, Tilde, and MadeHere PDX all support local artists, designers, and makers from the Pacific NW by selling their wares, but this event brings them together in one place!  Crafty Wonderland is the perfect event for anyone who would like to support local artists during the Holidays, meet the artists to discuss their work, or simply browse.  I've listed a few of my 2018 Crafty Wonderland favorites here:

Luna Beehive
Aren't these cactus garlands by Luna Beehive the coolest ever?  Loved them!  I'm a sucker for pretty much any felted products.  Christen Glenn makes little felted Christmas ornaments, too.  Her shop is a must-favorite! 

Final Switchback by Katie Jeanne Reim
Adam loved the work by Katie Jeanne Reim of Final Switchback.  In her Etsy shop, she describes her work this way:  "I am fascinated by the patterns and designs made with the lines on topography maps and love pairing them with the inspirations I seek in nature. I am new to metalsmithing and am excited by all the possibilities to learn and create."  Adam was especially drawn to the upper left work with the coffee mug and storm cloud.  I have to admit, I loved the combination of map topography with Pacific NW scenery.

Kayla Burke Designs
We loved the floral crystals of Kayla Burke Designs.  There's something extra special about botany frozen in time, which is why I've always loved petrified wood and other botanical fossils.

Lauren Blair
How beautiful are these illustrations of the natural world by Lauren Blair?  I was in love with her work from the minute I saw this display, and am following her now on Etsy, hoping to buy one or two of her prints very soon. 

There were a few ceramic artists at Crafty Wonderland, and NIKO stood out to me this year.  She makes these very stylized nip planters that are unlike anything I've seen, but are so beautiful.  I hope to explore more of her work at future exhibits.   

Jeanette Zeis Ceramics
I discovered Jeanette Zeis pottery earlier this year, buying one of her wall vases for my mother-in-law in Australia.  I absolutely love her work, and would highly recommend checking out her Etsy shop for a unique gift that will brighten any home.  

michele maule
 I've also loved for a very long time the work of Michele Maule.  I picked up that sweet little "Happy Birthday" hedgehog card for Juniper's 11th birthday tomorrow.  Love, love, love her work!  I thought of Juniper instantly when I saw the little hedgehog.  

Little Golden Fox Designs
 Last but not least is Little Gold Fox Designs.  I absolutely love her work, and have often purchased her wooden postcards at New Seasons.  I follow her shop on Etsy, too.  One of the ways I stockpile cards is through Etsy, so I always have what I need for upcoming celebrations or events.  Her designs are lovely and beautiful.  Notice her Christmas cards displayed above--I absolutely adore her work. 

Thank you for joining me on a mini-tour of this year's Crafty Wonderland, as well as taking a look at a few of my favorite artists and makers.  For a complete list of the vendors at this year's event, you can click here.  From that list, you can click on any vendor to be taken to either their website or Etsy shop.  Whether you are new to Etsy, or wondering how you can access local art, I hope you find these links useful.  x o, Karli


Saturday, December 08, 2018

“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time."
– Unknown

Caboodles Are Back!

Friday, December 07, 2018

For my thirteenth birthday (1990), I received a two-toned Caboodle, and used it through all of my teen years.  Popular in the 80s and 90s, they seemed to have disappeared over the past two decades.  But this year--2018--they are back with a bang!  I decided to buy each of the girls one, filled with little cosmetics/toiletries appropriate for seven and eleven year olds (i.e. no makeup).  Nail polish, facial cleanser, special creams, bath bombs and poufs, and organic chapsticks.  I'm sooo excited to have tracked these down.  Target and Ross Dress for Less were sold out, but guess who had lots of Caboodles in stock?  Urban Outfitters for the win!  Can't wait for them to open these . . . very cool that they've come back after all these years.  x o, Karli

My Personal Battle with Anxiety and Panic Disorder

Thursday, December 06, 2018
Some people may not know this, but I have suffered from anxiety disorder for most of my life.  Anxiety took on a new form in my early 20s when I experienced my first panic attack while hanging out with friends at a house.  We were all talking and having a good time, when one of the roommates, who was a security guard, came home from work and started to clean his hand gun.  I didn't know I was having a panic attack, or even what a panic attack was, but I knew I had to leave before what I was experiencing was noticed by my friends--I did not want to appear "uncool", at least at that time in my life.  Not long after that evening, one of my close friends was killed in a traumatic, fiery car crash when his best friend fell asleep at the wheel.  A few months after his funeral, I realized I was experiencing severe anxiety and panic disorder around being a passenger--this is also known as amaxophobia.  It was really bad for many years, mostly impacting my first marriage, but then got better over time.  I still experience small flares, but it is nothing like it used to be in those years following my friend's death.  During this time, I also developed a panic disorder around dogs, experiencing my first dog-related panic attack while hiking the Eagle Creek Trail, a popular hike in the Columbia Gorge that winds along a river bed at high elevations.  This trail had many off-leash dogs that day, and I experienced a panic attack, which led to at least a decade of panic that had me walking into the street if there was a dog on the sidewalk.  I had panic attacks several times when dogs ran toward me at a park.  One time a dog in a coffee shop startled me so much that I dropped my coffee and started crying.  The owner of the dog scoffed at me, defensively trying to convince me that their dog would never hurt anyone, and didn't know what my problem was.  This made my anxiety even worse, as it was a reminder that my anxiety not only negatively impacted me, but others around me.

My panic attacks have taken on a new form this past year, where the anxiety that pulsates through my body is so intense that it feels like someone is choking me.  I feel like I'm going to die, and that I can't breathe.  It is terrible, and I suffer for many hours and even days after.  

I can tie back most of my anxiety triggers back to traumas that I experienced as a little girl.  Without going into specific details about my background, I can share that I had traumatic encounters with both guns and dogs in my childhood, and it was only after I had my first panic attacks as a young adult that realized I had a panic disorder.  This is so crazy to me, because I went through my childhood not knowing those experiences impacted me like they did until I encountered reminders of them as an adult and started having panic attacks.

I really dislike labels, and I remember even ten years after having panic attacks, when I heard the words "generalized anxiety disorder" from a therapist I started seeing during my divorce, it felt hard to accept.  I have accepted at this point that I struggle with anxiety and panic disorder, but in the past year or two, I've realized that I have most of the characteristics of a highly sensitive person (HSP).  I ran across a meme in social media awhile back that listed a few characteristics, and that was the first time I had even heard of HSP, or realized that I might find clarity about my anxiety if I better understood this part of myself.

You can click on the hyperlink above if you're interested to read more, but just know that I fit the profile, with the exclusion of sensitivity to others.  Through my academic career and nursing profession, I have curtailed many of these, as a big part of my job is giving and accepting feedback from others.  If I constantly worried what others were thinking, I wouldn't be successful in my career as a nurse.  Having said that, I almost 100% match in my sensitivity to self and environment.  

When I started traveling more after meeting my husband, who is Australian, I realized I had a new anxiety around crowds, especially when confined on a train or bus, but also just crowded intersections.  I started having so much anxiety to the point of almost having a panic attack in the middle of a crosswalk, where I would freeze up with so many people walking towards me (think downtown Seattle or Sydney).  It was my husband in those situations that has put his arm around me and kept me going.

I cannot begin to list all the times I have had panic attacks, but every one was triggered out of a fear of something I perceived as a threat or from being flooded by too many things at the same time.  When I experience anxiety and/or panic on this level, I become debilitated, unable to think logically.  I lose my focus, sense of well-being, and ability to make decisions.  I can't speak clearly, I become frozen, and time stands still.

Sometimes I find myself wondering why I was born this way.  Why I have to suffer like this almost daily.  For a lot of my life, I have not felt like I belonged in this world, the way it currently operates and functions.  I wish I could go back to a day where things were simpler, and what we opened and read, for example, was intentional, rather than part of a feed that I have no control over (i.e. Instagram, media sites, and Facebook).  There are times that news stories flash in front of my face that leave me with anxiety and nightmares for days.

I like to think that I could one day be 100% free from my anxiety disorder, but that would mean somehow unraveling my life history . . . all those traumas and insults to my brain that caused it to develop in the first place.  Also, it's not a disorder that evolved from only experiences, as there is most likely a genetic component to it, also.  This may be why some experiences have impacted me to the degree they have, while for others, they would have been able to move on without long lasting impact. 

And so this Capricorn finds peace and happiness where she can.  Gardening, hiking, spending time with friends, spending time with my children, with Adam, dreaming up new interior design for our 1955-Ranch, creating content for this blog, but always in the back of my mind is a fear that those happy times will be stolen from me by an unexpected trigger.  I refuse to isolate myself or resort to avoiding any situation that might increase my anxiety, because I want to live my life.  I just hope every day that I find a way through it, and that one day, it will not be a daily battle.

Carter & Rose

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

I discovered a new favorite shop today in SE Portland: Carter & Rose.  To reward myself for the four articles I wrote for our unit newsletter this quarter, I purchased these four wall planters, which were handmade.  I love supporting local business, local artists, and treating myself for working hard. 

Filled with beautiful ceramics made by the owner, as well as handmade art and jewery, as well as soaps, balms, salts, etc., you could easily spend an hour in this tiny store.

There are classes weekly at Carter & Rose, for $4/Hr.  A co-worker's daughter does open clay there all the time, and says they have it three times a week.  It's a great, community-oriented shop.

I love the natural things placed around the store.  It really is a beautiful shop.  The prices are reasonable, too.  I'll add a link to their shop on my sidebar.  Check it out, and definitely support them if you are looking for unique, handmade gift ideas.  x o, Karli

Mulled Cider

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

The girls and I decorated the house this evening, and it all came together so nicely.  Every year, I seem to do something a little differently.  I thanked my foresight from last year in packing everything so neatly.  Nothing was tangled, and everything was so easy to put out because it was so well-organized last year.  Win!

The house had a lovely aroma as I made mulled cider this evening.  I use the recipe from Joy of Cooking, minus the rum and the sugar, and let it simmer all evening long.

Mulled Cider
Twenty 6-ounce servings
This satisfying alternative to Mulled Wine, 67, is particularly good when the weather is cool.  A nonalcholic version can be made by omitting the rum.
Combine in a saucepan:
        Five 750-ml bottles apple cider
        1 3/4 cups light or dark rum
        20 cinnamon sticks
        Peel of 5 oranges, cut into 4 pieces each, or 5 small oranges, thinly sliced
        5 tablespoons sugar
 Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, covered, for 20 to 30 minutes.  Ladle into warmed mugs, placing a cinnamon stick and a piece of orange peel or an orange slice in each one (Rombauer, Becker and Becker, 2006).

Work Cited:  Rombauer, I., Becker, M. and Becker, E. (2006). Joy of cooking. New York: Scribner, p.68.

Beauty in the Mess

Monday, December 03, 2018
The sedums creep during the winter months, beautifying the birch log terrace.
Well, what do you know?  The grey skies drifted away and the sky is blue and the sun is bright, just in time for my first day off this week.  You won't catch me watching movies all day!  I just let the hens out, filled the bird feeders, and had a look around the garden.  There are many kinds of birds in the garden today, including the scrub jays, who are after the roasted, unsalted peanuts in shells Adam put out for them earlier this morning.  I've noticed finches, wrens, and chickadees.  The birds are happy, and the squirrels are scampering around burying lost and found treasures. 

One of our bantam hens exploring the garden.
I wasn't sure how I'd feel today, so I had intentionally scheduled nothing, but now I am feeling inspired to go get our Christmas tree!  I'm going to put hot cider with spices on the stove and decorate the house today with the kids.  I might stop at Home Goods this afternoon to see if I can do something different for the base of the tree.  We usually get a 5-6 foot tree, so I usually don't place the base in a basket or do anything too fancy, but this year, I'd like to have a little more room at the base for the gifts, so think I'm going to change up my process this year.

Look for a blog post tomorrow about our day of Christmas decorating with the kids, complete with lots of pictures of our favorite things.  In addition, I'll share my favorite stove-top cider recipe, along with my top-ten list of all-time favorite Christmas movies.  And remember, just like this old garden pot, things can look messy, but at the end of the day, there is beauty to be found in the messiness.
x o, Karli

Intentionally Scheduling Nothing

Sunday, December 02, 2018
A doubleback shift is when you come back to work within eight hours of clocking out and get that entire next shift paid in time and a half. In my case, I came back to work within eight hours after working almost seventeen hours, so for four extra hours of work, I get 16 hours of time and a half. I'm sooo tired, though, and will probably sleep hard tonight.

I've had eight shots of coffee over the past five hours, and am still dragging.  I didn't get to bed until 1AM last night, and Pepper woke me up at 5AM for breakfast.  Going to intentionally schedule nothing for this week and take it easy as things will be very busy for a couple of weeks after that.  I just might watch movies all day tomorrow in between decorating the house for Christmas.  Happy December 2nd, friends.  x o, Karli

Happy December First!

Saturday, December 01, 2018
I'm still at work this weekend trying not to let the grey, foggy skies get me down.  Working up on a hill, I have a view of the whole city, including several bridges, but today, all I see is a grey cloud cover.  One thing that is brightening my work shift is listening to Lee from America's December Seeds playlist on Spotify while I chart.  Check it out--I only recommend her playlists because they are so wonderful.  If you missed my post last month, here's a quick link to her November playlist.  Lee is actually in Japan right now--follow her on Instagram if you would like to hear more about her adventures! 

My girls with our dear friend, Gay, on her 77th birthday
On this first day of December, remember that it's okay to say no.  Say yes only to those things that will bring meaning to your life.  Choose experiences over gifts; people over obligation.  Hope you are all having a lovely December first!  

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