Thursday, November 2, 2017

happy sighs

Today I am content.  Many days I am content but today has just been a little more content-esque, a little more conducive to contentedness.

It starts with the fact that there was no school today due to parent-teacher conferences.  This means that I got to lazily sleep in and it was luxurious.  I woke with just enough time to get a few household chores done, one cup of coffee enjoyed, and out the door to Maria's yoga class.

Home again and I made myself a late breakfast of chopped vegetables fried in butter and mixed with some leftover taco meat and served in crunchy taco shells.  Another cup of coffee and some journaling as I watched the rain fall.

My Blake and I went to the parent-teacher conferences.  We stopped by his French teacher's table (he's not in French this year but she adores him still).  We talked with his other teachers and all raved about my boy.  And all I can do is agree because I know how hard he works and how much he does to be as amazing as he is.

The afternoon has been spent sitting by a warm fire with a hot cup of lemon tea working on some things for my business, typing up contracts and releases.  I love every bit of it.  While the business side is intimidating (really, really intimidating) I love that this is MINE, that I am building something that I really can stand behind and be proud of.

Life lately has just been real and rewarding and exciting.

I will now explain in too many words with run-on sentences:

Real as in, everybody is working and sometimes we don't see much of each other and the dog poops in the garage and the garbage has to be taken out again and this one has a doctor's appointment and that one has a doctor's appointment too and we worry about things and there's always more to do than energy and time.  Rewarding as in, I have been having some amazing conversations with my boys and I feel like we've entered a new level of relationship that is deeper and stronger than ever before and my business has all the promise of growth that I could ask for and I've been learning and growing so much in all areas of life that I can't help but to be excited for what the future holds.  Exciting as in, at this point in growth there is no going back, I see the things that will be happening in the next little while and I am just so happy and excited and optimistic and sure that I'm doing just exactly what I need to be and there are things I can't yet share here but just be happy with me because my heart literally LEAPS with confidence and anticipation.

-happy sigh-

I need to go feed my fire and put together some dinner for my family.

Until next time!


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

beautiful contradictions

Rain falling steadily out of low, thick clouds.  Leaves, edges curling, droop from trees before they fall in colorful confetti swirls.  Tea steams in a colorful mug, it's warm fragrance wafting through chilly air.  This is late October.

The past week has been full
and wonderful
and all the things.

Just some highlights:

*working at the restaurant over the weekend, I was witness to a large family paying tribute to their patriarch with a final meal at his favorite restaurant.  They shared laughter and tears and a meal.  They thanked the staff profusely for the evening and how we had treated their father and even hugged one of the cooks.  Life and loss are such beautiful contradictions.  It was a really heavy shift for my sensitive soul.

*celebrating my husband's birthday, it was one of those new decade kind of birthdays.  Our boys helped make the day extra special.  We went bowling together which we haven't done in too long and all came to conclusion that each one of us is very competitive.  Then we had a nice, big, splurging sort of dinner at Olive Garden.

*spending an entire day with my 18 year old son and my puppy dog.  We drove toward the mountains and took in the most unbelievable oranges and reds on the hillsides.  We both took our cameras and stopped here and there to take pictures.  He shared his music with me, we stopped for snacks, we conversed, we saw a bear (!!).  You know those kind of days? 
That's him ahead on the path. Charlie was in the grass to the left, nose buried in smells.

The Gorge powerhouse in Newhalem.


*remembering my dad on what would have been his 90th birthday.  I carry so much of him with me, recognize parts of him in my behavior, or just things he used to say that pop into my head at random times.

*a dream day doing the things I love:
  • photo session at a real estate listing
  • yoga class at The Lotus
  • editing photos
  • photo session with a beautiful person at a beautiful setting on a beautiful day
  • baking an apple pie for my family (thank you Sara Lee!)
  • cooking a delicious meal (pan fried steak and onions, roasted fingerling potatoes and Brussels sprouts)
*a rainy day spent at home in sweats catching up on all the things (business taxes, church secretarial business, more photo editing, laundry, and online shopping)

Just these everyday things, the things that make up a life, the beautiful contradictions that collide in great splashes of color.  Autumn is example of that as we see the trees let go of their leaves in glorious colorful displays.  The letting go, the surrender as winter bears down on us from ahead.  Always shifting, always changing, but always beautiful to the heart that is willing to look.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

likes and dislikes

Like: honey in my coffee
Dislike: artificial sweeteners in anything

Like: walking barefoot
Dislike: dirty floors

Like: breakfast sausage
Dislike: Italian sausage

Like: transparency
Dislike: fake friendliness

Like: Johnny Cash
Dislike: Luke Bryan

Like: fresh sheets
Dislike: sleeping with pillows

Like: country roads
Dislike: freeways

Like: gummy bears
Dislike: black licorice

Like: peace and quiet
Dislike: bustling crowds

Like: minimalism
Dislike: stuff

Like: sweeping
Dislike: ironing

Like: cello
Dislike: harpsichord

Like: encouragement
Dislike: competition

Like: gray
Dislike: black and white

Like: whipped cream
Dislike: Cool Whip

Like: spring water
Dislike: water with flavor enhancing minerals

Like:  true humility
Dislike: condescension

Monday, August 28, 2017

motivationless and self portraiture

Monday roared in like a train engine and rolled right over my motivation that was laying across the tracks.  Whatever, I didn't really want to accomplish anything today.  Last week was kind of draining, emotionally.  The weekend was draining physically from my waitressing gig.  I'm drained.  And Monday doesn't care.
I didn't wake up to jump on my yoga mat.
I didn't eat breakfast.
I didn't even get in a cup of coffee before it sat cold in the mug.
You know it's bad when the coffee suffers.
It was well after noon before I trudged outside to cut back a little ivy that grows invasively on our back fence.  I didn't even do that well.  The cut vines are still laying out there, not even in a neat pile, just spread, haphazardly.
I thought maybe a trip to Walmart would shake things up.  Meandering around the store I chose a couple new nail polishes, some notebooks for my son's start of school, and rather impulsively six bags of mulch.  Ha ha!  I could still accomplish some beautifying of the front beds.
The trip home had me detouring to The Lotus.  I love this place.  It's a yoga studio AND a tea bar AND a great place for a yummy sandwich.  I got The Dancer which is turkey, greens, jam, provolone, cream cheese, and LOVE, along with a bowl of chicken tortilla soup with avocado and sour cream. Deliciousness and just what the doctor ordered.  Or, just what I ordered.  Anyway... 

On the way back to my car I spotted a random set of cement steps.  Curiosity led me up the steps and behind some bushes to an empty lot that was full of pink sweet pea and one giant Oak tree.
When I got home, in the heat of the afternoon, I spread those six bags of mulch and wondered why I hadn't put on something besides flip flops and why it was so hot and maybe I would die in the afternoon sun and why hadn't I waited till late evening and there was so much sweat and I got a sliver between my toes.  How's that for no motivation, Monday?  Who's the captain now?
So now I sit here.  Showered.  Freshly painted toenails.  And wonder, who is going to make dinner?
Reflecting back on a photo shoot I did yesterday...
It was impromptu and no other humans were involved. just me, my camera, my tripod, and the golden hour.
If I didn't already know that I kind of like photography, whenever I am turned loose with creativity and abounding light and amazing subject matter, it's like the planets align and the angels sing and every atom in my body is lit up and I realize, this photography thing could be something.
While I was not the focus of my photo shoot I did get in a few self-portraits.  I chuckled as I went along at the out-takes, at how I would have looked had I had an audience, and just how silly I felt in general.  But it was fun overall.
So, I'm building a website for my photography business.  I'm planning on putting most of my photo shoots on that website, and on my professional Instagram, and on my business Facebook page
It is my plan to keep my little blog here as casual as I am myself, separate from my business.  I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you want to see my prettiest pictures they will eventually be on those three platforms I just linked.
No pressure.  I'll probably link again.

The following is my favorite selfie of all time.  No joke.  I would print this, frame it, and hang it on my wall.  I love the layers, the framing, the textures, the camera.  When people think of me, this is what I want them to see, because in this moment I am truly happy.

Same photo, different perspective.

I invite you to follow along on this journey with me whether it be this blog, my website, on Facebook, or either of my two Instagrams.  If I could ask one little favor it would be that you leave a little footprint, let me know you were here or there.  Feedback is always appreciated as I navigate this new territory.
Until next time!

Thursday, August 24, 2017


Reading...  Recently finished I Was Here by Gayle Forman. It was a gritty, painful book dealing with suicide and depression.  I am on the launch team for a new book that will be released in October.  When I receive it and read it I'll share more.

Watching...  We are working through the seasons of Frasier on Netflix.  I like watching Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy when I can.  Occasionally we catch America's Got Talent (Merrick Hanna is my fave so far).

Cooking...  Right now I have bread dough rising courtesy of James Beard's Beard on Bread.  I'm making Lingcod chowder for dinner.

Eating...  Pickled beets from Oregon Brine Works.  I also love their fermented Beet Kraut (better than the pickled beets even).  Here's to probiotics!

Doing...  I've been deep cleaning around here this week.  The change of seasons sparks that in me.  So the refrigerator and freezer are sparkling inside and out.  The microwave and the oven.  The pantry.  Sparkling.  I'll move through the rooms like this till I'm satisfied.

Loving...  My new business cards!!  It feels so much more real now that I have a card with my name on it.

Hating...  The raccoon that killed my best chicken last night.  RIP Mintie.

Discovering...  my new camera.  I've been purposing to get out and just take pictures to familiarize myself with the camera and to practice my craft.  I feel like capturing photos is art just as making music is and it requires practice to get better, to make deeper, more emotional art.  So I practice.

Enjoying...  Experiencing my younger son's joy along with him as he bought his first car yesterday.  He is all at once feeling the freedom and responsibility that comes with owning a vehicle.  I'm so happy for him though, he earned this car.

Listening to... Calvin Arsenia.  He is a harpist, songwriter, singer that I just recently came across.  His album Catastrophe is in constant rotation on my Spotify. 

Experiencing...  The seasonal shift.  While fully enjoying summer and shorts and sandals and sunshine and salads and sleeping in I have also bought a couple pumpkin candles.  I have worn my denim shirt and corduroy pants (cuffs rolled and with sandals).  The weather is not quite cresting 70 so it makes it easier to accept the leaves that have begun to fall and the fact that school starts in just 2 weeks.  And I already made pumpkin bread once.

Until next time my friends!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

the anniversary trip parts 2, 3, and 4

Day two of our anniversary trip:

We ate a big traditional breakfast at Pig N Pancake.  It's sort of a landmark and pretty much required when visiting.  Plus they have diner coffee in small ceramic mugs and I get a kick out of that.

Then we drove down to Seaside.  I came to this town a lot as a kid.  The day I got my ears pierced we came here and I watched The Lion King with my nephew in the theatre.  When we were first married I worked a couple jobs here.
It was so hazy, even right on the beach, from all the wildfire smoke.

I've never seen so many people on the beach here before.  It has certainly grown as a tourist destination.  The tall buildings on the left are resort hotels.


We stopped into a coffee shop.  I love the wall and bar and light fixtures.
Leaving Seaside behind we drove through the Lewis and Clark Valley to Youngs River Falls.  My brother-in-law took my senior photos here.  It was a lot different than I remember.  A couple decades can really change a place, or a memory.

My date...
I love this place.  My childhood was spent in creeks and rivers just like this, barefoot and happy.

If I can't live the rest of my life on a beach in Hawaii I would live here, in a cabin next to a creek.
Day three of our anniversary trip:
We walked a block from where we were staying to get breakfast at Street 14 Café.  The vibe of this place is so chill.  And their flower arrangements were on point.  What even are those?
His and hers.  His was a blueberry bread pudding.  Mine was the BEST scone I've ever had.  So light and sweet and flaky and PERFECT.

His mocha....

My fresh brewed coffee and scone...
We came across this door in the foyer of the Commodore Hotel adjacent to the Street 14 Café.  It couldn't have been more fitting for two lovebirds celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary.

Fully awake and caffeinated we drove to the location of our first "date".  We had gone to Burger King for a bite (I remember I had eaten a Jr. Whopper and he ate fries) then out to Fort Stevens State Park.  Back then I just wanted to share with him all the places I knew, the places I loved so he could enjoy them too.
The Jetty at the mouth of the Columbia River.

We did not share a kiss way back then on our first date.  But now, twenty years later, same location....

The wreckage of the Peter Iredale...

Industrious little beach birdies...

I really, really, REALLY wanted to find a whole sand dollar.  I didn't know it would be so miniature!!!

We walked to dinner that night.  I captured a shot of this sweet smelling rose as we walked back.  If life has taught me anything it is to stop and smell the roses.  So, I do.
Day four of our anniversary trip:
We were anxious to beat traffic and get home at a decent time so we stopped in to Street 14 Café one last time for a coffee and a scone.  We filled up the gas tank and hit the highway.  Traffic was never terrible but the smoky haze from wildfires was inescapable.  Thankfully it has since cleared up but here is a picture I took of Seattle that day as we drove through.
It was a great trip full of tons of walking, tons of reminiscing, lots of good food and coffee.  We had great conversation and lots of laughs which is pretty important after 20 years.  Here's to 20 and 30 and 40 more years together.
Love, E

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

where it all began, day one

We took our anniversary trip at the beginning of the month.  Back to where it all began.  From that first night we met and the weeks and months following that we were inseparable.  We visited the location we met, our first "date", our first place together, our second place together, the church we were married in, the first job we shared. 

We walked miles, recollecting.  We were so young.  We have changed so much.  The places that were familiar to us 20 years ago have new faces or are not there at all.  The streets seemed a little smaller.  Just as time had changed the town, it had changed us to something maybe not recognizable from where we started, familiar but matured, experienced, a little wiser.

We stayed in a local hostel.  I had stayed there once before a couple years back.  It is the second story of a 100 year old building.  It has always served as a hotel but was renovated and refurbished by new owners. 

I love the creaky original wood floors.
I love the old windows with glass that is wavy and distorted.
I love the tiles in the shower. 
I love the glass door handles. 
I love the worn doorframes. 
I love the history in the air. 
I love the simplicity. 
I love the minimalism. 
I love the blue neon sign lit up at night. 
I love leaning out on the fire escape at night to catch a cool breeze.


The sign reflected in the window across the street:

For our first day in Astoria we mostly just went sightseeing.  We drove to all the places we knew.  We walked all over downtown.  We reminisced.

Our first place.  Really it was his first place and I was just always there.  I helped him furnish the kitchen with the things that were in my hope chest.  We bought cheap pans and Hamburger Helper. 

Now, 21 years later this is what is left....

The Liberty Theatre, downtown Astoria

The Pier 11 Restaurant.  I was a busser there back in the day.  My mom was a waitress.  The building still smells the EXACT same as 20 years ago but the restaurant is GONE.  In it's place is an internet café.


My family lived in this house for four years (from when I was 11 till I was 15).  It is a huge, old, odd house.  I'm quite certain it is haunted.  Beyond that, I have lots of memories here.  My dad used to feed crows out on the deck railing.  He'd leave them bread and they would come wake me up EVERY morning.

Please stay tuned for day two...