Two Steps Forward, Three Steps Back

Two Steps Forward, Three Steps Back

I don’t know what I was thinking with this Every Day In May blog challenge. I’ve done these kinds of marathon challenges before, and they always turn out the same: they feel like a marathon. More specifically, they transform my passion into a chore. I hate that. Sure, the pride of finishing the challenge is a great momentary high, but in the end, not worth the collateral damage of burn-out.

So I’m calling quits to this one right now, even though I have several days of posts that I just didn’t get to posting. I could go back and just delete my original challenge announcement and reschedule the two other posts that I did manage to publish. I wish life was as easy to edit as a blog. But I am not going to do that. I am going to honor my process, even though it includes a failure, ummm, or rather, set-back.

I just re-watched the

Why I Volunteer

Why I Volunteer

Every time I have to leave the house for a full day of meetings, I am reminded of my awe and appreciation for all the working parents out there. Especially the single working parents. I really don’t know how they do it. I left my house at 9 a.m., and got home around 3 p.m. I immediately had to walk Alton and then sit down at the computer to get some more work done, for about another hour and half.

That means nothing else got done in my house. So today I will play some catch-up on the housework that didn’t get done yesterday. I’m thankful to have the flexibility to do what I love and take care of the house, it’s just some days I wish there were two of me, or a magic wand. Kudos again to all the parents (and grandparents, aunts, uncles, older siblings, etc.) doing it all.

While I don’t have a full-time job, I do have multiple volunteer responsibilities that do keep me busy and attending meetings out of the house on a semi-regular basis. Two meetings landed both on the same day yesterday which is why I was gone so long. The first was a strategic planning meeting for the board I Chair at the Center for Independence of Individuals with Disabilities. It is a non-profit Independent Living Center

A Cracked Cross and Jeopardy

A Cracked Cross and Jeopardy

I am sure you have heard of deferred maintenance of a house. You know, those projects that aren’t super important, but still should get done at some point. Well, I’ve been tackling some deferred maintenance of my life. Projects of all types of randomness that I’ve wanted to get done for a very long time, yet, somehow never made it to the top of my to-do list.

One set of projects I would classify as “needing repair.” One of the keepsakes on this list is a really pretty decorative glass cross that I bought almost 10 years ago. Unfortunately it has been broken for almost half that time. The story goes like this: In 2008, the Presbyterian Church had its bi-annual national conference in San Jose. Andrew and I, being local Presbyterians, volunteered to serve on the organizing committee. Specifically, we helped organize and make arrangements for attendees who have disabilities. Just a footnote to conclude: it was a great conference, a lot of fun, and an honor to serve. But back to the glass cross.

Part of the conference was a traditional Expo. An area set up where vendors and artisans could share information and also sell their products. That is when I came upon the booth selling the glass crosses. Now, truth be told, I’m not a big cross person. I only own one other cross, which was given to me at my baptism, and I don’t own any jewelry crosses. As Seinfeld would say, “

Every Day In May

Every Day In May

I’m trying an experiment and setting a goal. I want to write and post a blog every day in May. One of my longer-term life goals is to write a book some day— probably a memoir. But, as they say, practice makes perfect, and I need to improve on all things writing: my storytelling, sentence structure, syntax, grammar (and no thanks to spell check) my spelling. Maybe Harper Lee could sit down and knock out a best-seller at first try, but most authors I am sure, write many books before they see their name on any awards list.

Each day I will gather some thoughts into what i hope will be a read-worthy post. Along the way I will hone my skills a bit, see if I can sustain writing every day, and share a bit more about who I am and what keeps my world spinning. In advance, thank you for reading.

Also, the photo of each post will be a snapshot from my day. Just another way to share my story.

I HATE LOSING THINGS

I think I’ve lost my sunglasses. I don’t want to admit defeat just yet, but it doesn’t look good. Andrew and I were grocery shopping on Saturday, and I was in a rush at the check-out counter. Typically I put my sunglasses either on my head, or back in my purse.

Giving my photos some new life

Giving my photos some new life

I’ve tried to remember when I was growing up, how many pictures were on display in my home. What I recall is that we didn’t have that many. Not compared to what I saw in other people’s houses, or the fictional homes that I would see on TV. It felt like the few photos we did have on display were put there more by obligation than desire. My mom (who has passed away) would have been the one responsible for such things, and I never thought to ask her about why she did, or didn’t like hanging photos on the wall.

Now when it came to taking pictures, there was much more intention. Both my mom and dad would gather my sister and I in front of the camera for significant events and holidays. Photos that captured poses in front of the Christmas tree, the spontaneous snapshots opening birthday presents, and silly moments of our dogs doing goofy tricks or other adorable random things. I know partly why we took more photos than we framed. They were to send to my grandparents and extended family who lived in Minnesota.

As I grew up, my relationship with being photographed, and photos in general, was nuanced. As far as being photographed, I was self-conscious because of body image insecurity issues. I knew I should’t feel bad about how I looked in photos, but that didn’t mean I didn’t. I think that insecurity bled over into framing and putting photos on display.

Summer 2018 Vacation Roadtrip to the PNW: Victoria B.C. and Oregon (Part Two)

Summer 2018 Vacation Roadtrip to the PNW: Victoria B.C. and Oregon (Part Two)

This post is Part Two about our 2018 summer vacation road trip adventure to the Pacific Northwest and Canada. You can read Part One here.

I hadn’t been to Victoria since I was a kid. Andrew had never been at all. Part of the reason we wanted to head north of the border was to have the excuse to ride on the ferry. The other was to go to Butchart Gardens. I’ve heard it is a breathtaking tourist attraction and I wanted to go see if for myself.

When you want to take your car to Victoria by ferry, there is only one option: take a vehicle passenger ferry that leaves out of Port Angeles, WA. Thankfully there are several trips made per day. Accessibility on a vehicle ferry is tricky because of the way they load the cars. They pack them in so tightly there is no room to let down the van ramp. We hadn’t made arrangements prior, so on the way over we had stay in our van and ride over in the belly of the boat. It wasn’t the most ideal, but the trip was only like 90 minutes, and we were just thankful to be headed on our way. (Going home we were able to load our van first so we could exit it before other cars got parked in around us. So we were able to scoot upstairs via the exterior ramp to the passenger/viewing levels.)

Summer 2018 Vacation Roadtrip to the PNW: Heading North to Washington State (Part one)

Summer 2018 Vacation Roadtrip to the PNW: Heading North to Washington State (Part one)

It had been about six years since Drew and I had taken a proper road trip to the Pacific Northwest. My family lives in Washington State, and he has a sister who lives in Portland. Every time we make the trek we always make time to see both. But because we had more time for this vacation we wanted to add something new into the mix: head even further north to Canada!

In our planning phase we were initially torn between going to Vancouver or Victoria. Drew thought it might be easier just to drive north into Vancouver. But I really wanted to us to experience the ferry, and I wanted to revisit Victoria. I had been there a couple times as a kid, and I wanted to go back and share that with Drew. Additionally one other place we knew we wanted to visit, that was new to the both of us, was Butchart Gardens. I have several family members who have gone there who said it was breathtaking, and sure enough, it lived up to the hype. But more on that in a minute.

I Will Never Be A Morning Person

I Will Never Be A Morning Person

They say that people change over time. That maturity, or life experience, or, just adapting to new forced circumstances will, over time, inherently change who you are. Well, for some people, about some things, this may be true. But there is one thing about me (spoiler alert in the title) that I don’t think will ever change— and that is not being a morning person.

I’ve made it to 42 years on this planet and I can most assuredly say that I don’t like waking up early anymore now than I did when I was, well, ever.

But before I go any further, let’s get clear on how I define “morning person.” To me a morning person is someone who naturally enjoys waking up early (before 7 a.m.) and can be productive, cheerful and conversational. Even if they incorporate some kind of quiet, meditative part of their morning routine, my overall assertion is that for a “morning person,” being awake early is something that is as normal and welcomed as watching a favorite movie.

Truth is, I wish I was a morning person. Early morning is actually a very productive time of the day. The world is still coming to life so that gives time to get a jump on replying to emails, returning phone calls, or kickstarting some daily chores. I know on the rarest of days when I do get up earlier than normal I am able to capture some of this precious time and always feel better for doing so. It’s just not something I enjoy enough.

The Power and Importance of Comfort

The Power and Importance of Comfort

I am typing this blog post at 11:19 at night in bed, laying flat out on my back, with an android tablet suspended over my head while typing on a Bluetooth connected keyboard laying across my legs. And I am completely comfortable. It helps that I have the peaceful sound of my golden fur son's snore purring at my side, and my hubby is here in bed too. I have my heart full with my family love while my head is still filled with whirling thoughts that I want to put into a blog.

This set up has been a long time in the making. I've made previous attempts to no avail. But this time, somewhat born out of necessity, I was determined to find a solution that would work. I came to the realization recently that if I was seriously going to get my blogs launched with some consistent writing, I was going to need to find more time in my day. The only time that is a practical option is the time late in the evening when I am in bed watching YouTube or reading the news on my phone.

If only I had the right set up to type blog posts while in bed.

I've Hitched A Ride on the Instant Pot Bandwagon

I've Hitched A Ride on the Instant Pot Bandwagon

I think this headline says it all because it completely fits my excitement when I talk about the best addition to my kitchen since, well, hmmm… when we did the remodel?!?. It’s simply The Instant Pot FTW!! After some dubious skepticism I finally caved and bought the 6-quart Instant Pot during the Amazon Prime sale.

I will just give the spoiler alert now and say that I don’t know how I’ve been surviving in the kitchen for the last 11 years of married life without one. (True, I did cook before I got married, but I’ve honed my skills well beyond my crockpot cream of mushroom chicken). The Instant Pot has truly upped my kitchen game in some major ways. But more on that later.

First, a bit of context. As you may remember, Instant Pots were the adult version of the “Tickle Me Elmo” craze last holiday season. They were being featured in articles from The Wall Street Journal to the Washington Post. In November 2017 CNBC reported that 5 million pots had been sold in a three year period. Special cookbooks are being published, and Facebook communities total members in the millions. It is a culinary cultural phenomenon.

Perhaps it’s my inner rebel, but I’m immediately skeptical of anything with that much hype. Combine my skepticism with the fact that some consumers reported stories of Instant Pot Recipes gone wrong. And not just wrong, but dangerously wrong. Exploding appliances!? Second-degree burns?! Kitchen catastrophes?! Here is one such story. Umm, no thank you.

But then I had what many of us ladies have— some good ole’ fashioned gab time with my hairstylist. Catching up during a recent cut and color we started to talk food and she spoke of how she was loving her new Instant Pot.