Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I forgot to send my grandmother her birthday card. I’ve become too busy to drop a card to my grandmother two days before her birthday. Most family members I send an e-card to them right around the day of their birthday is cheaper and more earth-friendly that way. However, it is also further proof to me that the art of letter writing is dying.

I have actually been thinking about this a lot lately. With my purchase of an iPhone, my parents learning how to text message, and emailing sometimes being a faster way to get a hold of some one than calling them we are more connected than ever these days. But the passion seems to have fallen out of those communications. It’s everyday and mundane, but we love it. Call me nostalgic, but I like going out to my mail box to find more than bills and junk.

When I was in high school I had a few pen pals. People I’d met at different functions and wrote back and forth with about monthly. This was in the late ‘90s when internet was starting to become a normal thing in the American household and I could have just as easily written emails back and forth but it wouldn’t have been the same. There’s something that goes in to sitting down and writing a letter to some one: picking out the stationary, what pen you’ll use, what you are and aren’t going to mention. There is so much more effort in that then writing 140 characters or less about your morning coffee. And really, if you think about it, not many people care about the mundane day to day things that we do in our life. In fact, there’s a line that we cross all too frequently in our over connectedness.

I’m not saying that I want to go back to a day when letter writing was the main form of communication, I would just like to revive the hand-written word. It shouldn’t be a dying art, but sadly it is.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


When I arrived home last night my house had changed from Pepto-Bismol pink to a relaxing sky blue. I never realized how much I hated that our house was pink until that transformation occurred.

Hubby and I moved in to our current home about two and a half years ago. We bought the pink house on short sale because the house was great and all it would take was some paint to change one of the few things we didn’t like. A quick fix. Time, as it always does, intervened. More important things came up between moving in to the house and present day that the exterior color of the house became less a priority. Finally, with the wood siding exposing more of itself, and the shabbiness of the pink paint becoming more apparent we booked a painter.

The thought of changing the feel of the exterior completely nearly made Hubby and I giddy as we walked in to the paint store to face the overwhelming wall of paint chips. It took us half an hour and thirty or so paint chips held under various lights to decide between two colors. A light true-blue and a light shade of blue-gray. We took home sample sizes of each to paint on the side of the house. After a week at the coast, and realizing we live in Oregon where the sky is a shade of gray for most of the year, we decided on the light true-blue or “Respite”.

It’s true that if you change the color of something it will illicit a different reaction. Now, when I pull into my driveway and look up at my house I don’t loathe the look of it. I look at my home and my shoulders relax a little and as I pull my car in to the garage I begin to enjoy my respite.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Gym Synthesis

What I’m about to describe to you feels vaguely pretentious. But I tell you, it’s as far from it as we can get. I joined a gym in the beginning of March, a month away from my birthday when I always feel like I’m getting old and I need to do something drastic. I realize joining a gym isn’t a drastic change in a life, but getting my butt off the couch and to that gym on a regular basis is. Anyway, everything is going great I’m getting to the gym after work 3-4 times a week for the most part and I am physically feeling a lot better. But at some point I realize that I can’t just keep going in and doing the same thing over and over again because I’ll get bored and stop making all of this progress so I sign up with a personal trainer.

Already, I feel pretentious to mention that I have a personal trainer. It seems that only movie stars or people with a lot of money have a personal trainer… and there’s a good reason for that. Personal trainers can be quite expensive. Somehow I talked myself into employing the services of one because I am not a gym rat and left to my own vices likely would make much slower progress. My personal trainer, who I will call JT, is a 19 year old all-star football player type but a genuinely nice guy.

When I started up with JT he asked me what my goal was, I said I of course want to lose weight, but I want arms like Michelle Obama. He just smiled at me in a way that made me wonder if he knew who she was or even what her arms looked like. I’m sure he would have carried on his marry way if he did or not. So the basic plan for each one hour session is I come in and we work on a muscle group (arms, legs, or core) until I’m utterly exhausted and unable to further use said muscle group.

Yesterday it was arms and shoulders and as I’m struggling through a third set of incline pushups he declares “It is my goal for you to do a full push up.” I can’t help but think, “Well, good for you.” I have never in my 28 years done a full push up and never really had any goals to the contrary. And then I am suddenly aware while doing weight assisted pull ups that he is likely to reach his goal dragging me kicking and complaining the whole way. After all, isn’t that what I signed up for?

Thursday, June 17, 2010


I heard a statistic this morning that volunteering in the U.S. is up by 20% from this time last year. The news caster made a point that it wasn't a result of the Gulf Oil disaster, but an overall rise. I may be one of the people included in that statistic.

I have been volunteering since last July with a local group called CAT Adoption Team , the feline alternative to the humane society. It's a great group, doing great things for the homeless cats in the area who wouldn't have any options otherwise.

In my humble opinion, the rise in volunteering is partly a result of everything else in the world being so grim. It feels nice to be needed and appreciated for something even as trivial as scooping a litter box for a cat in a shelter.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


It's June 3rd, but it feels more like October 1st lately. All the rain we've been getting around Portland for the past few weeks gives me cabin fever and wish the weather would start acting like summer and not fall.

This morning I couldn't help but notice the sun shining. It's still cold but at least the suns out. That made me start wishing that the sun would stay out all day. And the I started thinking, what if it did? What excuse could I find to go out in the sunshine to get some vitman D? I've been so burnt out by work lately that I can't help but think about using one of my sick days for a mental health day. I likely wont but its nice to feel like i have the option. The sun coming out makes me want to escape that much more.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Taking the Cake

I grew up in Sacramento, CA. A place that I don't find much to brag about in retrospect. And I think that because Portland is so different from Sacramento is part of what I love so much.

When I was in high school a band by the name of Cake became nationally popular, and I had the pleasure of bragging that we share a home town. A pleasure that carries forward to today.

This morning as I was getting ready for work and their song "Open Book" popped up on my iPod. I love this song for many reasons, one is the lyrics: "you think she's an open book, but you don't know which page to turn to. Do you?" Another reason, like many of their songs, it feels so timeless.

They are by no means my favorite band. Even though most of their popular songs hit when I was in high school I can't help but love it and identify with it.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

An Ode to Bacon

There are few foods in the world that feel sinful to consume. Bacon is one of them. Think about it, the fattiest part of the pig sliced into strips and fried until it's crisp for our consumption. It's so bad, that doctors will tell heart patients to stop eating it all together. But it tastes so good.

Hubby and I are making Migas (Mexican scrambled eggs), among other things it has four slices of crisp bacon in it. We have been using a common grocery store brand bacon, thin slices and mostly fat. We got a new brand of bacon when we were last grocery shopping, the slices not only looked thicker, but they looked meatier so we figured it would be worth a try. This morning when I plopped four slices in to the pan I knew we were in for a treat. These were were like slices you would get from a butcher shop, not prepacked in the deli section at Winco like the other ones. As they were cooking they barely shrank, a good sign of their hearty, meaty nature. When they were done cooking the slices were crisp, but substantial enough to not fall apart when you bit into it. Truly a a delightful change in our Sunday Migas.

So, I thank you Daybreak Bacon for giving me a bacon I can truly sink my teeth into.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Two Haikus

Today is too busy
So enjoy this little haiku
Because there’s nothing else.

And one I wrote for my company's CEO about our students:

No more excuses
Now get your learning online
Clothing not needed

Monday, May 24, 2010

5 Dirty Words

Caught your eye, didn’t it? I know it caught mine. And no, it’s not what you think.
Like most Portlanders I tend to have an eye toward conservation: I take public transportation to and from work, I combine trips when I’m out driving around, I recycle, I even compost.

In the first part of May, MINIGirl and her family took a trip down to Southern California so I had the opportunity to “sublet” her parking spot in the garage next to our office building for a week. In the two and a half years I have worked in that office I hadn’t once driven myself to work. In fact I frequently extolled upon the virtues of taking MAX to work daily, and for the most part those still hold true.

After the week was over I gave MINIGirl her parking pass back and went back to my daily commute on Max. I hated it. I’d had a taste of freedom and now I was locked back in to the schedule that the MAX set for me. So I began to think to myself: “What if I drove to work everyday?” But logic hits me upside the head noting all the money I save by taking the MAX, and how virtuous for the Earth it is. So I quietly take my seat on the MAX and contemplate what another few months of light rail commuting would mean.

In between podcasts I looked up at the posters that line the walls inside the car and I see one from TriMet: “5 Dirty Words: POLLUTION. Fact: 4.2 tons of smog-forming pollutants are avoided every day by leaving our cars at home and riding TriMet.”

GUILT. Pure and simple. How selfish of me to want to shave ten to fifteen minutes off of my commute home and contribute to global warming.

If you would like to read the rest of TriMets 5 Dirty Words look here.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

What is My Subconscious Trying to Tell Me?

I had a dream in the very early hours of this morning that I couldn’t help but wish was true. I had made these earrings that were essentially red yarn crocheted to look like a stem of coral with seed beads mixed in. In all honesty, the earrings were heinous. Who wears crocheted things hanging from their ears? But I digress. I posted them in my Etsy shop, and *boom* I got ten sales, just like that. I was flabbergasted. It felt so real. I hoped it was real. In fact, when I woke up I checked my email for sale notifications but alas, there were none.

I feel like I’ve been trying so long and so hard to get my Etsy shop off the ground. But really ten months isn’t that long, and I’ve put more effort in to it recently than in many of the past few months. I’ve gotten a lot of great advice, but I think the reality of it is that I’ve got to buckle down and start making a lot of jewelry and post it to see what happens.

My Etsy Shop: Willow Works

Friday, May 21, 2010

Carry On, Nothing to See Here

Apparently I’m not doing so well at this “blogging every day” thing. Two days and I have already failed, but I can say now that I will try my best to continue on.

Perhaps this answers my question from a few days ago: what hobby should I focus on? Last night when I got home after a lovely dinner with FishSticks, I turned on my computer and then proceeded to sit down and work on another necklace.

I’m going to keep trying at this blog though. See if I can get 30 entries in 31 days. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sushi Me Sushi Sakura!

I’m going to take this opportunity to do a restaurant review. As you may have noticed, I’m not a restaurant critic but I enjoy eating well.

I’m a big fan of sushi and when the sign went up for Sushi Sakura I don’t know how many months ago now I got excited. A sushi-go-round so close to my office? I was nearly giddy. And no, I’m not over stating. MINIGirl was on vacation last week and made me wait to go try it out.

So, today was my first endeavor in to Sushi Sakura. When we first walked in the place was packed, and that says a lot at 11:30. When we sat down and I started to eye the sushi passing by on the conveyor belt I couldn’t help but want just about everything that went by, and everything I did grab was very yummy. I have to say that I’m very glad that it was, because after waiting and building the anticipation for nearly six months they could have easily disappointed me and I would have never gone back.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Is there such a thing as TOO crafty?

I had some one tell me that I was too crafty for my own good. At first, I wasn’t sure what she meant, and then I thought about it. I realized what she meant was that I’m dividing my focus among too many things trying to be amazing at all of them with only being good at most of them. I love to make jewelry, I love to write, I love to travel, I love planning events. I like to sew, I like to garden, and at times I enjoy working for an online high school, but where do my passions fall? I know I’m not one dimensional, no one is, but for me to be ultimately successful with any one of my endeavors involving something I love to do, then it’s quite likely I’ll need to buckle down and focus on the thing that I want the most.

So my good friend, and coworker, MINIGirl asked me: Why do you have to choose? My initial thought was: Yeah, why do I have to choose? But the reality is: do I want to be a Jack of all trades, but a master of none?

So, how do I decide? Why does it feel like so much of what I decide is going to define me as a person? A big part of me wants to just cut loose from the traditional work world and endeavor to pursue all of the things I love and some how make a living by doing it. What would my life look like if I did do that? Do I really have that kind of drive an initiative to achieve what I feel like I deserve? How long am I willing to be the starving artist before I can achieve something that may never come?

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

MAX Annoyance

Normally I like taking the MAX to work. It's usually consistent. I know if I get to my station at a certain time I'll get a specific train and get to the office on time if not early. But in the last two weeks it hasn't been the max that has been the cause of irritation, but people on the MAX. It causes me to wonder if there’s such a thing as common courtesy any more, or if people’s own needs and wants come before doing something kind for someone else. Does the golden rule no longer apply?

Just this morning I was sitting playing with my phone, listening to music, generally entertaining myself during the thirty minute ride in to down town. This woman was standing, holding on to the bar behind me and repeatedly elbowed me in the head, so many times in fact I was beginning to wonder if it was accidental.

Last Friday on the way home we pulled in to a stop that many people get off at in order to catch a bus. A kid (I use this term lightly as he was probably 15 or 16) instead of waiting for all of the people to offload before he got on pushes through with his muddy bike hitting me and a few other people putting the bike on the rack.

On the Monday prior, usually a busy day for the light rail system, an older frail looking gentleman climbed on to the train. He looked in the priority seating area for a seat, which common courtesy and general concern for another person would have dictated that one of the six people in these seats should have offered him their seat, but none did. In fact, they all seemed to purposefully avoid eye contact and hope that one of the other passengers would give him their seat. Finally a man standing nearby asked one of them to give up their seat and they did so. That shouldn’t have had to happen.

After riding mass transit to and from work for over two years I still appreciate the system for it’s finer points, but there are days when I just shake my head and can’t believe what I’m seeing.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Spring Fever

Around Portland the signs of Spring are popping up every where, a robin hopping around in my yard looking for worms, the cherry blossoms bursting out. Even though it’s only February I can’t help but start planning my garden and imaging it bursting forth with produce. I was reading my Father-in-law’s blog this morning and it made me yearn for my quiet time in the garden every morning while I water and check the progress of the plants. That quiet alone time is something that I don’t get much in the cold of winter when I barely want to crawl out from under the covers to start my day. It feels like it takes me just that much longer to get my mind in to the start of the day.

My Spring fever has likely been sparked by the tendency of Oregon-in-February to have a few weeks of really nice weather giving the rain soaked city a teasing taste of the seasons yet to come. Never the less, my garden line up for this growing season is shaping up nicely. I already have some spinach seeds planted and they started poking their heads through the soil over this past weekend. I have on order three tomato plants and two bell pepper plants. I have also decided to try to grow fingerling potatoes for the first time. My strawberry plants from last year are already starting to come back and I’m likely to start my herbs seeds this weekend.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Creative Drive

This morning I found myself trying to suppress the urge to just call in to work and just go home to be creative. On my walk from the MAX station to my office I can pass by two different stores that sell art of local artists, and at least one artsy clothing store depending on the path I choose to walk the eight or so blocks. Having a full time job I find that I often don’t have time to do the things I really want to do: write a novel, make jewelry, sew something or dig in the dirt of my garden. With that full time job comes paid time off, luckily, but there are only so many days that I can take off to balance with the work week.

Many other creative types understand the need for creative time, the desire to have a space dedicated to the goal of making something. For me, if I go too long with out indulging my urge to create to satisfaction I end up where I am now: longing to run away somewhere so I can do just that.

Monday, February 8, 2010

MAX Quiet

I've written about taking the MAX to work every morning before but this morning as I was waiting for the train I couldn't help but think of the different feeling each MAX station has depending on its location etc. Recently I've started using a station that is probably about two minutes closer to my house but before a major intersection that drives me crazy during the rush hours. As I was looking around this new to me station I couldn't help but feel that it was so much more remote and secluded than the others I'd been to and I think that's partly due to the protected wetlands on the west bound side and the undeveloped field on the east bound side. The other station a little further up the track feels much more urban has parking lots and buildings on both sides. Personally I prefer the new station because of its remote feeling. This morning the fog nestled itself neatly among the trees of the wetland and at the furthest edge of the field making the station feel quiet and encapsulated and so much further from the bustling city that I am going to be taking the train to.