Monday, December 31, 2012

Shipwreck at Fort Stevens and Hoyt Arboretum

We went to the beach on a whim Friday.

It was rainy and shitty outside. The drive over the snowy pass was not too fun, but seeing the ocean made it all worth it.

Something about the power of the ocean. So majestic and strong. It helps me regain my bearings. Reset and recharge.

Here's one of my favorite pictures and a photo album:

We also went to Hoyt Arboretum yesterday to enjoy the sun. First completely sunny day in more days than I can count. We walked the trails, had a breath taking view of  Mt. St. Helens, did some yoga in the sun and played with twigs. It felt so good to have the sun on my face.

I think that's it for 2012!

Jason and I are going to a 3 hour yoga retreat in the morning to set out intentions and focus for 2013. We have some pretty big goals and drastic changes that we plan to implement this year in order to increase our health and happiness. Starting 2013 at a place where we feel strong, safe, and fortified seems like the perfect way to embark on the new year and the challenges it will bring.

See ya next year!


This is a great "phoenix" song -- seemed appropriate for the last day of the year. The yuke is so bright and words are simple, yet comforting and encouraging.

Gonna rise up
Turning mistakes into gold

Gonna rise up
Find my direction magnetically

"Rise" by Eddie Vedder from the Into the Wild soundtrack.

Such is the way of the world
You can never know
Just where to put all your faith
And how will it grow

Gonna rise up
Burning back holes in dark memories
Gonna rise up
Turning mistakes into gold

Such is the passage of time
Too fast to fold
And suddenly swallowed by signs
Low and behold

Gonna rise up
Find my direction magnetically
Gonna rise up
Throw down my ace in the hole

Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Winter Solstice!

"The seasonal significance of the winter solstice is in the reversal of the gradual lengthening of nights and shortening of days."

I'm so happy that the winter solstice is finally here! Today is the shortest day of the year. It's been getting dark by 4:30pm recently and I'm so excited for the cycle to shift and the days start to getting longer again. I can't wait until the days end after 9pm and the sun is up by 5:30am. The farmer in me craves the long days and a hospitable growth environment.

We have some overwintering purple broccoli, bok choy, garlic, onions, chard and spices. They are interesting to watch, but definitely stunted by the temperatures and lack of light. I feel like the winter solstice is like getting over the hump. We've now achieved shortest, darkest day so let's get ready to flow into daylight and watch the world expand out around us.

Thank gawd the world didn't end today as everyone has been predicting. I've got big plans for our garden next year and would've hated to miss that!

(Side note: Jason and I were wondering, if the world did end today, what timezone would hold the definitive hour? In business, East Coast is usually the opener and closer of the day, but I'm not sure how that's handled in "Apocalypse time".)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Extraordinary Machine

Today I went to back to-back yoga classes because this is the last day that Yoga Hillsboro is having classes for the rest of the year. They offer an AWESOME holiday all-class pass -- for $30 you get unlimited classes for 3 weeks and access to all workshops and special events. I managed to go to 3 Nia classes, 5 yoga classes, and 2 workshops. That's about $140 worth of classes -- SCORE!

So, today was the last day to hit up classes -- they had one at 10:30am and another at noon so I went to both! I'm pretty proud of myself for just getting there. The weather is terrible - cold, windy, rainy, gray and gross but I decided to take the train anyway. I could have taken Jason to work and had the car for the day but it seemed superfluous since the train picks up one block from my house and drops off one block from the yoga studio.

The hardest part about the weather and riding the train is what to wear. Being on the train isn't bad, but it's the waiting that's the hardest part. Standing in the rain and wind for what seems like eternity. Never really knowing when the train might arrive. I think I've finally figured out what to wear though. Here's a picture of me when I got home. I felt like a closet exploded on me!

It doesn't look like much but here's the list of clothing I had to wear to stay warm, dry and comfy (and do yoga):

Top to bottom:
down jacket with hood (hood up)
heavy scarf
longsleeve t-shirt
shortsleeve tshirt
tank top
yoga pants
lined windproof running pants
knee-high wool socks
snow boots
paper bag containing umbrella, thermos of tea, Jitterbug Perfume (book), banana

I always feel a bit like a pack mule when i do this. But I'm so happy I pushed through and went.

I was listening to Fionna Apple's "Extraordinary Machine" on the train and I thought it was perfect for the moment.

If there was a better way to go then it would find me
I can't help it, the road just rolls out behind me
Be kind to me
Or treat me mean
I'll make the most of it
I'm an extraordinary machine

I certainly haven't been shopping for any new shoes
I certainly haven't been spreading myself around
I still only travel by foot and by foot, it's a slow climb,
But I'm good at being uncomfortable, so
I can't stop changing all the time

I notice that my opponent is always on the go
Won't go slow, so's not to focus, and I notice
He'll hitch a ride with any guide, as long as
They go fast from whence he came
- But he's no good at being uncomfortable, so
He can't stop staying exactly the same

If there was a better way to go then it would find me
I can't help it, the road just rolls out behind me
Be kind to me, or treat me mean
I'll make the most of it, I'm an extraordinary machine

I seem to you to seek a new disaster every day
You deem me due to clean my view and be at peace and lay
I mean to prove I mean to move in my own way, and say,
I've been getting along for long before you came into the play

I am the baby of the family, it happens, so
- Everybody cares and wears the sheeps' clothes
While they chaperone
Curious, you looking down your nose at me, while you appease
- Courteous, to try and help - but let me set your
Mind at ease

If there was a better way to go then it would find me
I can't help it, the road just rolls out behind me
Be kind to me
Or treat me mean
I'll make the most of it
I'm an extraordinary machine

Do I so worry you?
No need to hurry to my side
That's very kind
But it's to no avail
I don't want the veil of flowers, no
Everything will be just fine

If there was a better way to go then it would find me
I can't help it, the road just rolls out behind me
Be kind to me
Or treat me mean
I'll make the most of it
I'm an extraordinary machine

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

End-of-Year Reset

Yesterday, I officially kicked-off my vacation for the rest of the year! Hooray! I don't have to work again until 2013! Mmmmm, that feels great to say! Due to the nature of my work, it's really hard to get away during the year, so I hoard up all my vacation time and take it at the end of the year. Most of our clients shut down for the holidays or are on vacation as well, so it's just easier.

Until this week, I had only taken like three vacation days this year -- and that's when family was visiting -- otherwise it probably would have been zero. Not the ideal situation, but 3 weeks off at the end of the year is DELICIOUS.

This is what I woke up to this morning:

 Snow showers mixed with rain. Not too bad, but definitely not conducive to being productive.

So, for now,  I'm just hanging out with the animals, reading books, watching a shitload of Netflix, and once the motivation hits me, I plan on doing some crafting and painting. We'll see how things progress. No pressure. This is my end-of-the-year reset. If all I do is stare at the animals for three weeks, I'll be just fine with that too.

These guys are hillarious!! Derville really thinks he's hiding from Crash! I wish he could see the picture of his fat ass sticking out of that box. I think he'd play it off, "Whatever, that dog wouldn't know MY ass from a hole in the ground!" (I love it when animals misuse common phrases - they're like funny little foreigners!)

Ahh! This just happened right as I was about to hit publish!

Hello sunshine! Didn't expect to see you today!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Deck the halls with fah la la la lah

I'm trying to get more into the holiday spirit this year than I have in the last couple years. So, I broke down and put up a few Christmas decorations the other day. Not much though - just a few choice items. We have a little 4 foot tree and lots of special ornaments, but we also have a mischievous cat and a destructo dog who work together well when it comes to destroying stuff. They make a good team -- Derville climbs up and knocks the "prize" down to the floor and then Crash chews the shit out of it.

So, in efforts to preserve the few decorations that we do have, everything has to be above a certain height, with no ledges or counters to climb on around it. Also, everything had to be put up during "nap time" or Mr. Derville would have a fit. He doesn't welcome change but seems to be doing fine with what we did put up.

Here's what we have so far:

Sad little Charlie Brown Christmas tree (this thing breaks my heart in cartoon-kinda way). Derville doesn't seem to mind this tree - maybe next year we can upgrade to the four footer..

Lights, jingle wreath and a little garland

The same stocking I've had my entire life (with Jay sewn in and Derville and Crash pinned on).

Finally, the Christmas countdown felt strip. This thing has been around as long as I have (maybe longer). I have a ton of memories of counting down to Christmas by untying a bow every night starting Dec 1.

My brother and I used to take turns each night untying a bow, and now Jason and I share the tradition. He's so cute - every night he reminds me at least ten times the we have to untie a bow before bed. He's going to go crazy when it's time to ring the bell at the end!

It's a sweet little tradition and I'm glad that I have someone to share it with.

I have a good feeling about this holiday season.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Coming out from the storm

It's been raining here so long I've stopped counting the number of days. It really does make it easier to just  think of it like, "Hooray, the sun is shining TODAY!" rather than, "It hasn't stopped raining in TWELVE days!!!"

It's so strange to step outside after so many days, inside watching the rain or outside dodging it, stomping through puddles and rotating between furry slippers and rain boots. When we finally do come out from the storm, it feels like stepping out of a fallout shelter or bomb cave after a war. Everything outside is a mess but the sun is shining and you can finally "see" again. Days of darkness reveal a light so strong you recoil like a vampire. Eyes adjust, the smell of fresh air returns, and a crisp breeze makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up. It's exhilarating.

Friends from other regions of the country have been asking us about the weather a lot. It must really look terrible from the view of the rest of the country. But here, it's just the view of a Northwest winter. You take what you get and you don't through a fit. Wait fifteen minutes and it'll change. Hell, right now I should be outside running before the rains return but DANG it's cold there!

One of the local weather stations has a funny commercial that says, "We're Oregonians! If we waited for the sun to come out, we'd never leave our homes!!"

That's the truth -- you just have to bundle up, put on your raincoat and boots and go for it. Eventually, you don't even notice if it's raining or not.