Saturday, August 30, 2014

for today

Outside my window...
it's a grayish, Autumnish sort of Saturday.  Too warm for sweaters, but cool enough to start baking.

I am thankful...
Some people are just truly kind and it makes all the evil in this world a little less in the forefront when we can love and be loved.  It's part of why we are here, why we live; "love one another as I have loved you" (John 13:34 and John 15:12).  Be kind.  Be courteous.  Be a light in the darkness.  I'm thankful for those that do.

In the kitchen...
~brownies with a chocolate-peanut butter glaze
~peanut butter cookies
~"Dreamy" bread from my friend Sandi's recipe

I am wearing...
jeans, a pink t-shirt, messy bun
I went...
 back to school shopping with my fellas yesterday.  If the back-to-school part were not enough, the first pumpkin spice latte of the season put it over the edge.  I'm jumping into this season with both ankle-boot clad feet! 

I am reading...
Talking Dirt  by Annie Spiegelman, and daydreaming about next Spring's garden

I am hoping...
my chickens start laying soon!  They are 18 weeks old now.  I bought them some white ping pong balls in the hopes that they'll realize that round white things are boring, dull, unappealing objects and there won't be an egg eater in the bunch.

Around the house... 
freshly swept and all the laundry is put away, the doggies are both sleeping as I sit here and type.  Some "golden oldies" music is playing.  The boys are off with friends.

A favorite quote for today... 
Never look down on someone unless you're helping them up.

One of my favorite things...
Netflix dates with my husband.  Right now we are watching the first season of "Revolution". 
A peek into my day... 
Thai lunch for one
Eli McBride's photo.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

sad stories and silver linings

I live in the PNW (Pacific Northwest).  What's more, I live on an island in the Puget Sound of the PNW.  So, when we get hot summer days, we're talking 85 with humidity somewhere around 70%.  But a person gets used to weather.  When we lived in California it was not uncommon to battle summer temps of 112.  One hundred and twelve degrees!  But I'm not acclimated to that, not that I ever was.  No, I'm a northwestern girl that begins to melt a little at 78.  What's more, I'm a waitress in a restaurant with a black uniform and no air conditioning.  Can you say HOT? 

By the end of my shift today I was a sweaty, greasy, hot mess.  After a quick shower I had a few minutes to redo my nail polish (fingers and toes!) before getting the boys off to football practice and work.  I rarely paint my nails because: a) I don't have time, b) I end up peeling it off within 24 hours, c) my hands are usually in dirt or soapy water and my nails are a mess anyway.  But today, I needed that little bit of TLC.  While I was out taxiing boys and stopping at the grocery store, my cooling fan relay went out on my Jeep.  When I got home I had to find and remove the fuse from the engine compartment that would shut down the cooling fan manually.  Let me paint you a picture.... greasy, hot engine compartment + freshly painted purple glitter nails. Since I was on the phone with my husband who had to guide me to the "power distribution center" under the hood, I also ended up with grease on my forehead, my cheek, and my neck.  Sad story.

Silver lining?  The parts store has the relay in stock and we have the funds to pay for it.  And my nails aren't terribly ruined.  And I'll probably just peel the polish off tomorrow anyway.

In other news.... I ordered my student's homeschooling materials yesterday.  Looks like they'll arrive by the end of business on the day I was hoping to start school.  But what is homeschooling if not flexible, right?

I believe these are called first world problems.  You know, the kind of "problems" that people in some parts of the world would love to have.  A problem with a vehicle because that meant you actually had a vehicle.  A problem with nail polish because that meant that you had the time and energy for such frivolity.  Late  arriving education materials because someone is getting an education.  Ah, there I go being humbled. 

And life continues.  And it is beautiful.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

summer's end

One year ago we were packing, signing papers, getting keys, moving in, eating our first meal in our new home.  Here we are a full year later and there are so many projects we just didn't get to (I know there will always be projects we didn't get to).  Hopefully before winter sets in we will be residing under a new roof (same house).
Life marches on and projects get set on the back burner.  The calendar fills up with work and appointments and errands and football season begins and suddenly we are all about getting one son to practice and the other to work.  And sometimes there is time to take the dogs to the beach and just breathe.  And sometimes there is not.
The first football game of the season landed on a perfectly sunny summer day.  We had home field advantage playing against Sedro-Wooley.

Final score: 49 to 8.  What a great way for the guys to start their season!

The hand slapping line.  Not sure what it's actually called.  Most of the guys just kind of half heartedly touch hands in a sort of sportsman- like action that says "hey, good game".
Then they turn around and jog back to a receiving line made up of cheerleaders and other supporters.  Cheering, clapping, hollering.  That sort of thing.
My lack of football understanding is glaringly obvious but I can muddle through well enough to know when to cheer, when to hold my breath, when to sigh in empathy.  It's like trying to hold a Spanish conversation but only knowing 8 Spanish words.
There has been a lot of garden harvesting recently.  I was able to pull nearly 10 pounds of potatoes from my potato tower (less than the 40 pounds I was expecting).  Next year I might try two potato towers, planted a couple weeks apart, and leave them to grow until early to mid-September.  The carrots are still producing.  I dig out a handful every couple of days.  They taste a lot like parsnips.  Every couple of days I gather a couple cucumbers (the crunchiest, most perfect I've ever had) as well as zucchini.  I've not tried the spaghetti squash yet as it still looks a pale green and the ones in the stores are always yellow so I'm not sure if they are ready?


School starts in a week and a half.  My work schedule will change slightly to accommodate this as I drop a work day to spend more time with my lone homeschooling student.  One son will navigate his Sophomore year in high school (we are BOTH nervous).  I foresee a rewarding challenge as we figure out how to balance homeschool and public school and a student in each.  I've learned that having teenagers is more of an adventure than having toddlers.  They are growing and changing just as fast and we are treading on new ground for all of us.

So many things I want to write about.  So much.  But it seems I'm in a season of life that doesn't offer the luxury to write what's on my heart.  My time is limited and beyond that, when I do have time, I sit and stare at an empty screen, cursor blinking in curiosity of what I have to say.  So many things on my heart and mind but that is where they stay, held closely, not willing to be shared.

Have a good week everyone!  I will be gearing up for the Fall season.  Making plans for school and all the yummy pumpkin things I will bake when not cheering at football games.

Sunday, August 17, 2014


It may be preseason for the NFL but, for our city's youth football league, it was Jamboree over the weekend.  Our team played 10 minutes of offense and 10 minutes of defense against 4 separate teams.  It was their first taste of competition for the season.
It was my first real turn as a spectator of youth football.  Not a big football fan (at all) but when you've personally invested 13 years into one of the players, it makes the game a little different.  And youth football still has the innocence, the pure love of the game.  It isn't driven by money or fame.  It isn't filled with celebrity drama and sponsors.  It is able to just be football.  And then, it's not so bad.

Thursday, August 14, 2014


What does a girl do when she is physically and mentally exhausted?  When her feet ache and she feels like she could sleep for days?  Well, this girl makes a big batch of homemade spaghetti sauce and a double batch of pumpkin scones.

It seems counterintuitive maybe, to some.  But it's the therapeutic properties of fresh vegetables diced small and simmering in fresh tomato sauce that really unwind a mind.  It's the soft dough and warm cinnamon scent that help muscles to ease.  In the kitchen, that is my therapy.

The recipe I used for the pumpkin scones can be found here.

The recipe I used for the sauce is all in my mind but it included spinach, a zucchini, basil, roma tomatoes, thyme, red bell pepper, and ground beef.

I'm certainly not trying to hurry the process along but it is undeniable that Autumn has been in the air around here this past week.  We have weeks of Summer left but, there are glimpses here and there of the impending change.

One such change is spider webs.  It seems, just as fall descends, so do the orb weavers.  I think their webs are beautiful, especially when decorated with dew.  Just this morning I found two beautiful webs.
This one was in the garden.  You can see my cucumber plants in the background and the sagging sunflowers in the foreground.

This one was over the back fence. 

Blake is in full swing with football.  This is his first year playing and he's on the senior team of our city's youth league.  He loves football.  I mean, the boy LOVES football.  I'm glad we were able to give him this opportunity.  His biggest struggle has been with shin splints, for which we've tried multiple treatments (ice, Epsom salts, TigerBalm, stretches and exercises, ibuprofen, coconut oil massage, rest).  It's been a two week battle and he's still in pain.  Any ideas?

I recently ran into a snail, out for his morning jog.  He let me snap a couple pictures, midstride.  Who knew a snail could be so photogenic?

The end.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


I woke to rain.  Beautiful, soft, healing rain.

Purple finches are lively, even in the rain.  In constant communication with each other they flit from tree to feeder to tree and off.

Pink flip flops offer no protection from the rain but the drops felt good on my feet as I walked around the yard pulling weeds for the chickens, checking on the garden, tending the tomato plant that threw a haphazard vine.

I harvested a perfect zucchini this morning and the first prickly cucumber.  It looks like there will be enough spaghetti squash to feed my entire neighborhood.

The chickens don't love rain.  They'd rather stay in their close quarters, keeping quiet.  They had a breakfast of leftover pancakes and yogurt. I also gave them lots of dandelions (roots and all).  Then we had a lesson: "how to eat seeds out of a sunflower".  They've never seen such a thing as a sunflower before so I carefully bent it open and pulled out a few seeds which they immediately ate out of my hand.  Once they figured out where the seeds had come from they tried it for themselves.  Those girls made me laugh with their inquisitive glances and quiet cooings.

Now to face the rest of the day.  I'm thankful to see God's handing moving in my life and the lives of others but I'm also struggling with discouragement and confusion in some areas.  It's a sort of weight and balances that constantly sways one way then the other.  The key is to not sway with it. 

Happy rainy Wednesday friends!

Monday, August 11, 2014

road trip: part two

Seventeen years ago my husband and I packed up our little one bedroom apartment into a U-Haul.  Along with our cat and all our young dreams we drove 4 hours to a city where we had no home, no jobs, no friends.  And we set up a new life.
But the city we left behind held onto a part of me.  My family moved there when I was 10.  And so many of my memories live there.
This past weekend my eldest son and I took a road trip to meet up with my dearest friend in our hometown.  Before meeting up with her and her children, we explored.
We climbed the Astor Column.
We drove to Fort Stevens and explored Battery Russell.

I have so many memories at Fort Stevens.  We spent many days there bike riding, swimming, fishing, walking the beach.  My mom would take our dogs there and walk.  I'd have my bike and go off and explore by myself, meeting up with her somehow without a cell phone. 
 I learned how to drive there too.  In the empty parking lots first, then on the roads through the expansive park.  I drove out there so much without my dad knowing that when he finally gave me a driving lesson he was surprised how "naturally talented" I was.
The first time I set eyes on the ocean was at a beach much like this one.  And even though the world seems to have shrunk as I have aged, the ocean is still giant and expansive. 
My son and I enjoyed the soft, warm sand between our toes.

The Peter Iredale

A thinker?


A story:  My husband (before he was my husband) and I met one evening.  We hung out, talked.  The next day, we drove to the beach, climbed this lookout, and stared out at the ocean.  Unable to know that we were looking into the rest of our lives, together.  Fast forward 17 years when I stood on that very lookout with our 15 year old son.

Nine months after the lookout at the beach, we stepped out of the doors of this church as husband and wife.  The church has been remodeled since then so it looks quite different.  That single door used to be double doors.  My sister, too was married at this church and has a great picture of she and her husband on those very steps eight years before our wedding day.

Regardless of what it looks like, this is the BEST Asian food.  When we walked in for dinner I was shocked that it still looked and smelled the exact same as it used to.  I ordered what I ordered every time we went there and it looked and tasted the exact same.  Sesame chicken, pork chow mein, and fried rice.  And it always comes with a little bowl of red sauce, hot mustard, and sesame seeds on the side.  What a trip down memory lane! 

This is my sweet friend.  I can't even begin to describe the depth of our relationship.  Of all the human beings I know there are few that reside as close to my heart as she does.  And I rarely get to see her but when I do, we pick right back up where we left off.

Last time we left off she had four children.  This is number 5.  And I can't help but to love each and every one of them with my whole heart. 

It was a great trip.  A whirlwind of memories and nostalgia.  I'm thankful for where I have been, where I come from, the places I've called home, all the places that have contributed to who I am.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

road trip: part one

A weekend road trip with my fifteen year old son.
We left Whidbey Island by ferry and took the scenic route.  I couldn't help but think that my dad would be proud by that choice as he was always looking for the back roads.
Hours later the town I grew up in came into view.  Unexpected memories flooded my mind.  My son was inundated with details and facts as they flowed from the recesses of my memory.  We did some sightseeing, some exploring, some coffee drinking, some laughing.  Together.  And all of the sudden, he was less my child and more my friend.
We checked into the Norblad Hostel.  This was my first experience with a hostel and I must say, I was thoroughly pleased with every aspect of the 100 year old building.

We were welcomed to our private room by an open door, a cool fresh breeze coming in through the open window, and a peaceful simplicity that I've never seen in a Motel 6.

The hostel has 35 rooms, 4 private bathrooms, 3 private (marble!) showers, and a communal kitchen.  Here's one of the shower rooms.  Just love the mix of colors!

This is the view from the lobby looking down the flight of the stairs that leads to the ground level.  The Norblad occupies the second floor of the building.


Lobby and front desk.

I never once had to wait for a turn in the bathroom or the shower.  That was a real treat as we're always fighting over the bathroom here at home!  My favorite bathroom had this shiny silver wallpaper.

We had a great view of the Columbia River and the Astor building (the tall building there on the right).
I leaned out the window and snapped this photo of the neon. 

The only negative about our stay was the street noise.  Folks, in various stages of intoxication, passed by on the sidewalk.  Car noises reverberated up the sides of the buildings.  And, in the lonely hours between one a.m. and five, a violinist played a hauntingly beautiful tune on an instrument with a warm, deep voice.  While it was annoying to have my sleep disrupted, I can't say that it was all that unpleasant.