Thursday, July 12, 2018

life in a nutshell

It is a beautiful Thursday, mid-summer, in the Pacific Northwest.  I've spent the morning watering the garden and cleaning out my refrigerator.  I know, exciting.  One of my favorite morning routines is to pour my first cup of coffee and sit on the front step with my puppy.  He'll usually climb into my lap and we'll just watch the birds together. 

The weather has been perfect lately.  Mid 70's.  Sunshiney.  My garden is growing well.  I'm growing swiss chard which is yummy sautéed in butter with some garlic.  I've got peas, yellow beans, beets, Mexican squash, potatoes, lettuce, cilantro (already gone to seed), tomatoes (started from seed so they are just now beginning to blossom), and always rogue sunflowers and poppies that pop up all over.  The cherries on our tree are just about done for (overripe) and I'll probably just let the birds get the rest.  My chickens are fat and happy.  I gave them a few fresh peas straight from the vine this morning and they loved them.  Just three chickens and only one laying but I still enjoy them so much.

I have to work later today and I know it is going to be hot and miserable so I'm trying to relax and enjoy the calm.  I like my job but shifts can quickly become overwhelming in the peak of summer tourist season.  Tips are good so that is the silver lining.

Here's a phone shot of the Puget Sound yesterday.  There is Mount Rainier in the distance and a blurry cargo ship a little closer.

My pup and I got back on the trail together yesterday.  This was just his second time hiking since his whole flea/tooth infection debacle and we went further this time than last.  He's not always fast so I try to be mindful of that.  He's technically a "senior" now so we take it easy and slow when he needs to but for the most part you would barely notice.  He hiked for miles with me yesterday.  And at the end, we laid in the grass and watched robins and squirrels.

Last week on Independence Day I went downtown before the big parade and walked the street fair.  I got an apple strudel at Chris' Bakery and played around with my camera.  The carnival was in town too.  I watched the first little bit of the parade before leaving to go to the woods.

Here's one of the paths in my favorite woods:

I mentioned there are poppies growing in my garden.  These are a result of one poppy that popped up a few years ago (brought by bird?) and subsequent poppies show up every year in greater number.  I love the flowers so I don't mind, I just have to pull the plants early so I have fewer of them.  Anyhoo, I recently brought a lone poppy petal inside and played around with some macro photography.  I love the delicate curves and the soft colors.

I had planted some mixed flower seeds at the beginning of the season and these are one of the varieties that came of it.  I don't know what they are.  But they are hardy and beautiful!  I like splashes of color in the garden.

Back out to hiking, this is a bluff on the west side of our island.  I will never get tired of this beauty.  I'm mean, really, it is perfect!

Down at west beach on a late afternoon.  The tide was high and the waves were coming in quickly. They made impressive crashes against the old bulkhead.  Plus, that sun!

That's all for now.  Until next time!

Sunday, July 1, 2018


reading...  Agatha Christie's The Crooked House

playing...  working on my viola skills.  It is so different than violin but also not so different.  The body is bigger, the notes are further apart on the strings, and it has the most beautiful deep, reverberating voice.  Haunting.

watching...  the last movie I watched was Coco and that took me two tries because I fall asleep so easily

cooking...  with my husband gone and my boys and I all working varying shifts it has been hard to maintain any sort of dedicated meal cooking.  Although last night I did make an actual square meal of baked chicken, mashed red potatoes, and salad.  The night before was Dairy Queen drive-thru at 10 p.m.  You win some, you lose some.

eating...  I had a turkey and bacon sandwich on nine-grain bread for dinner tonight

drinking...  recently made a sweet tea with a goji berry tea blend from a little shop in Port Townsend, it makes such a great summer iced tea!

doing... harvesting sweet peas from the garden daily, and picking fresh cherries off the tree.  This is usually done barefoot with chickens underfoot.  I love it!

going...  on a shopping trip tomorrow to buy supplies for our church picnic

enjoying...  my new computer.  It's so sleek!  Still learning all of it's capabilities.  I'm really thankful to my husband for making me promise to get this while he was gone.

thinking...  my Aaron is coming home in 19 days.  19 more sleeps.  Gah, I miss him.

feeling...  capable and strong.  And really, really tired.

listening...  Justin Timberlake, Man of the Woods album

celebrating...  my Charlie received a clean bill of health and is almost completely recovered from his vet visit.  He fell (or jumped) off my bed (I have a very tall bed) in the middle of the night and threw up on my bed in the morning but I am thinking he'll be ready for an easy hike in another day.

smelling... my favorite woods have all the best smells.  The scent of the salt water drifts through on the breeze.  And on a sunny days the air is sweet, like berries.  I can't figure out why it smells like warm berries but it is the BEST.

thankful...  That my boys are both excelling in their workplaces.  They're incredibly hard workers, dedicated and trustworthy.  It makes a parent feel good.  They've both been employee of the month this year and are constantly receiving amazing feedback. Onward and upward my boys!

planning... a girls' weekend with my bestie next month.  We're going to celebrate being 40!!  We've been friends since we were 11 so this has been a long time coming.  And neither of us acts 40 so it ought to be a riot.

That's all I've got for now.  Until next time!

Saturday, June 30, 2018

my Charlie

What is one of the strangest things you eat?  I'm currently eating macaroni and ketchup.  In a bowl.  With a spoon.  Childhood comfort food, thanks Mom.  A mug of hot chamomile-lavender tea sits to my left.  To my right is my Charlie-pup, sleeping off anesthesia from his veterinary visit this morning.

It is raining outside and I have an entire afternoon and evening of nothingness.  But this is a good nothingness.  So good.  Because I always have something.  And if I don't have something I put myself to work doing something.  But not today.  I'm just going to chill here next to my dog while he snores.

After I dropped my pup at the vet this morning I drove straight to my favorite woods.  I was stressing out something fierce after they gave me all the worst case scenarios that *could* happen during his procedure today.  There was possibility of a broken jaw during tooth extractions, nerve damage resulting in blindness, needing every single tooth removed resulting in a bill of near $3,000.  But he's my dog and I love him and things have to be taken care of.  And I have to make the best decision I can for him.  So all these thoughts swim around in my mind and my heart.  And the woods call to me.

I hiked those woods today and let my worries fall to ground.  Some stretches of trail passed by in a blur as I worked through thoughts and emotions.  But always, always I see beauty.  I came upon a pair of Bald Eagles perched on a tree branch at the edge of the bluff.  I saw rust orange mushroom caps with concentric dark circles growing from the center.  I found two feathers, one with a light blue tinge and the other with stripes.  And a few times a stray rain drop would find it's way through the tree tops and land on my skin.

A few hours later I was picking up my pup at the vet.  They cleaned his teeth really well and discovered that there were NO teeth that would need to be extracted.  Hallelujah!  Plus, the fleas he had picked up a few weeks ago when we went out of the state have been mostly eradicated with just some good at home care.  So, we are back in the game and my hiking buddy will be back on the trails with me in no time.

Until next time friends!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

light and freedom

My husband left for Alaska fifteen days ago.  It'll be a stretch before he's headed home again.  He's currently working on a commercial fishing boat, gill-netting salmon.  It is not a glamourous job.  We text everyday but the texts don't always go through.  He sleeps when he can, sometimes catching just a couple hours here and there.

Meanwhile, back at home, I'm going it alone.  It's tough, really.  I've been married to this man for nigh unto 21 years and I'm used to him.  I'm used to seeing his face everyday and hearing his voice and sleeping next to him and just knowing that he's nearby.  He's my rock and my best friend.  He's my sounding board and my cheerleader.  The days are quiet and long without him.

It has been two years since the first time he spent the summer in Alaska.  I was a mess that first time.  I didn't really know what to expect and it was the first time we'd ever been apart.  Two years later and I'm really no pro at this but I do feel better prepared, a little less crazy, and far less weepy.

I've gone through a lot of my own changes in the last two years and continue to transform, grow, and shed layers.  I feel a bit stronger now than before, a bit more capable in my own skin.  At forty, I would've expected this far sooner but, it is what it is. 

I think I've been captive for a long time.  Captive to self imposed limits.  Captive to judgements and fear.  There is quite a bit of freedom on the other side of fear.

Still I struggle.  Struggle to allow my voice to just be.  Struggle to gain victory over thoughts that just aren't real, things that I once held to be true that I have found were no more truth than the world is flat.

I struggle to let go of competition.  This has been a big speed bump in this past year.  I want to learn to live peaceably with my strengths and my weaknesses and my purpose.  I want to do well what I am meant to do regardless of what others do.  It's been difficult to stay in my lane, especially because I am so competitive.  I don't know where that comes from but I would be happy to be rid of it.

So, I'm resetting.  Rethinking.  Remembering.  Reworking.  Remodeling.  Regarding.

I've got some things in me, some strengths, some talents, some fountains of creativity and those are what I have to give to the world.  I can let my light shine but I can never compare my light to someone else's.

Comparison is the thief of joy.  I know this to be true.  It has crippled me, rendered me useless.  Stolen the very passion I have to do the things that bring me life.

But moving forward with optimism and purpose.  I have my legs back under me now and I feel strong.

If you hadn't noticed, I stepped away from photography over the last two months.  This was a two-fold purpose.  Reason number one was for lack of the proper gear, mainly a computer that was up to the challenge.  Reason number two was because I lost myself in all of it.  In trying to build a photography business I lost the simple joy that just taking pictures gives me.  And without that, photography has nothing worthwhile for me.

In guarding my joy I have ceased looking at other photographers' work.  I have stopped reading articles that tell me how I should be photographing.  I have not used my professional Instagram in quite some time, nor have I been updating my business Facebook page, and I also chose to opt out of photography groups on Facebook.  In essence, I blocked out the photography world because it is too loud.  I can't hear my heart over the shouting.  And slowly, slowly I return to the beginning, to just taking pictures that feed my own soul.

There is a freedom here, the freedom to capture light and color, to create and allow.  I vow to stay in this state of freedom, to remember always this simplicity and joy.

It's is amusing to me that this "revelation" goes so much deeper than just photography.  This is a life lesson.  A wisdom that my forty years is finally grabbing on to, embracing.  What is important is not what I had thought was important. 

It comes back to shining my light.  It's that light that is important, the one that resides right there in my soul.  The light that is only mine, unique and beautiful.  Powerful and bright.

The pictures featured here in this posting were taken in natural morning light.  This is all one small petal fallen from a flower in my garden.  These are unedited and reflect what I've really been trying to say here. 

This is simplicity. 

This is beauty. 

This is what I have to offer.

If you've stuck with me thus far, THANK YOU.  Obviously, I had a lot to say.
Until next time friends!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

ramblings of diets and mothering

I've just sat down to some leftover manicotti.  It is stuffed with ricotta cheese and zucchini and covered in mozzarella and parmesan.  It is vegetarian because sometimes I imagine that I want to adopt the vegetarian lifestyle for health and ethical reasons.  Then I go to Applebee's and mow through an entire plate of barbeque riblets.  I've never really dieted or followed any strict eating regimen.  For me, mindful eating is my motto.  Everything I eat is a choice and I really do try to listen to my own body's cues whether that be a craving for greens or fat.  The moment I start thinking about cutting things out or eating a certain way is the moment I start craving ALL food, ALL the time.  It's annoying.  So, I don't diet.  I just eat and enjoy food and get a good variety and make the best choices I can.  I've been within the same 10 pounds for the last 20 years, my body's happy place I guess.  If I'm more active it is very diligent to make sure I make up those calories and gives me all the cravings.  Like clockwork.

Recently I've been very busy around my house, fixing up the front yard, keeping things mowed and taming the ivy that encroaches on two separate property lines.  It's good work and keeps my mind occupied.  Actually I prefer to work outside over unpleasant things like sending emails or making phone calls.  Yesterday I needed to make an appointment and instead of making a simple phone call I drove to the office to set up my appointment.  I don't like phone calls.  It's a little ridiculous.

It's been nice to have all the outside work and the normal house upkeep lately.  I've had to cut back on my photography business for the moment because I need a new computer.  I'm currently saving my waitressing tips for the big purchase.  I love that I have that option.  My tips bought my camera too.  Who new work as a server could help build a small business?

The saving for a computer is definitely two steps forward and one step back. This week I gave my oldest son money for a hotel stay.  His work sent him on an overnight business trip but because of the distance and traffic, we sent him down a night early.  He is excelling at his job with Dick's Sporting Goods.  He just received a promotion and pay raise.  Good things.

It's a weird season of life right now.  As a parent.  Neither of my boys really needs me, yet I still have this strong instinct to mother.  They are nigh unto grown up and I treat them as such but I try to be home and available  when one gets home from school or work.  I try to have dinner planned each day to make sure they get a good full stomach.  I can't shut off the worry or the care but I also try not to show it.  So, I just be here, the face of home.  And if they approach me with a problem or a question or a favor, I try not to get too excited that they DO need me occasionally.  It doesn't matter if they are 2 or 20, I would lay down my life for my kids.  I think about animal mothers and the strong instincts they have to protect their young.  Otter moms blow warm air into their babies fur, fluffing it up thick so that they'll float on top of the water while the moms dive below in search of a meal.  It is in us, keep the babies alive, keep them safe, keep them fed.  It's powerful.

Anyhoo.  I have a shift at the restaurant today.  And I've got to fix up some dinner for my family before I leave.  And a cake, from a box, just for fun.

Until next time.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

go my own way

Criticism comes and goes.  Everybody has an opinion.  And for the most part, I'm pretty good and going my own way.  But sometimes.  Sometimes it cuts me off at the knee.

I'm super sensitive.  Sensitive in that I am hyper aware of things.  Sensitive in that said things can have a deep impact on me.  I have learned to protect myself from triggers.  I don't really watch the news, I try to not to click on the online news articles about sensitive subjects, basically I guard myself carefully.

It's probably similar to sticking your head in the sand.  I can't see it but that doesn't mean it isn't there.  The things that I fill my time with help me to see the rosy side of the world.  I photograph pretty things, I make pretty music, I grow pretty things.  Healthy or not, these are my coping mechanisms for dealing with the dark parts of the world.  I acknowledge it for what it is.

So...when I face criticisms or even healthy opinions and advice I can get a wee bit defensive.

Everything I do has a piece of my heart in it.  I don't know how to live any differently.  Every photo I take is a reflection of myself.  Even the work I do around my own house, I don't really do anything on accident.  I think through everything.  I plan it.  I second guess it.  I do it.  Then I ponder over what I've done.  Rinse and repeat.

Most of my energy, creative and otherwise, goes into building my photography.  I've learned and grown so much over the past year.  I read articles about building a business.  I research the craft.  I come across things that tell me how to build my Instagram and my Facebook.  But at the core of myself, I have decided that I will not try to fit in a box.  I will be honest and true.  I will be open and transparent.  And if that means that I lose business or I don't grow financially, for reals, I'm ok with it.  I will do it my way, with my heart and my originality or I will not do it.

Instagram says, color coordinate your postings to be a cohesive palette.  I say, I will post what I have created because I love it.

Facebook says, post once per day between the hours of 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.  I say, I will post or not post at any time of day because I have something to share at that moment and it can't wait.

The world says, don't admit your insecurities and just hustle every day.  I say, I am insecurity and sometimes I just want cuddle with my dog.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

life right now

What's been happening around here?  Maybe you asked, maybe you didn't.  Either way, here we are.

This is life right now.

Aaron works full time with our pastor, building and growing his plumbing business.  He has stepped away from the real estate business for a time.

Austin works at Dick's Sporting Goods as a "Lodge Associate".  In his spare time he has taught himself to play the bass guitar and continues to build on that.  On Monday he'll turn 19 years old.

Blake is a high school Junior with straight A's.  He is coming up on one year as a courtesy clerk at Haggen's.  He'll be celebrating his 17th birthday this weekend.

I am working on my photography.  I work as a server at a restaurant.  In my spare time I take pictures and make music.

We have three free range backyard chickens, a dachshund, and a king snake.

I'll be planting my garden this week.  I'm finishing projects and doing things.  We did a puzzle over the weekend.  I finished painting and distressing an old window I've had for years. 

The puzzle, thanks Mom!
The window.  It has so many layers of paint.  Obviously the latest is black, distressed to show the red and older white underneath.  I'm going to use this as a display for my photography.  It has three panes, so three frames. 

The garden:
  • basil
  • cilantro
  • rosemary
  • heirloom tomatoes
  • gold nugget tomatoes
  • a variety of sunflowers
  • a garden mix of cutting flowers
  • brandy boy tomatoes
  • grey zucchini
  • lettuce
  • sugar snap peas
  • rainbow swiss chard
  • wax beans
  • beets
  • 3 potato varieties
  • onions
  • garlic
  • cucumbers
The chickens and I have been working so hard at getting the soil fertile over the winter.  I turn the soil and compost.  They spread the compost and poop a lot.  We make a great team.

Other than that it's just normal daily things like laundry and dishes, groceries and bills.  Everybody works a different schedule and someone is usually coming or going.  It's different than it used to be, not worse, not better, just different.

I am alone a lot so I take myself on mini adventures.  Yesterday, I was hiking around at a beach in the sunshine, I try to take the road less traveled and so find myself balancing on ledges or sprawled across a crevice, or using a path that is definitely that of nimble deer and not clumsy human. For a time I watched a sparrow as it hopped around foraging.  I soaked in this moment, noticing, observing, thankful that the sparrow trusted me enough to stay. 

This was my favorite picture of the sparrow as it stood on tiptoe and craned it's neck high to gain a better vantage point:

Cute, right?

It's time to go make dinner.  Steak, golden potatoes, steamed cauliflower and broccoli.  And M&M cookies for later.

Until next time!