Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Old Man Winter

Winter has been particularly fierce here in our neck of the woods. It's been intensely cold (for ths area) and we've had an unusual amount of snow for an unusual amount of time. It started snowing on Saturday 12/13 and snowed almost every day for a week. From then it's been too cold for any melting to happen and it's still been snowing intermittently. Right now there's a mixture of rain and snow, telling me that it's too cold to just rain but too warm to just snow.

I'd love some rain about now. I've fallen thrice since last Friday (12/19), all three times on my right side with my shoulder taking the brunt of my weight.

For some reason blogger has decided that I can't move my pictures around so these are not in chronological order.

There are some large icicles hanging from the eaves outside our front door. The effect that the dripping water has produced is illustrated in the following two pictures. They're little tiny stalagmites, aided in formation by the fir boughs on the front porch that I had intended to make wreaths with. It looks like a tiny 1" a

This is what the deck looked like in the middle of the snowfall. By the time things started warming up at all, another 4" had accumulated.

This is the reproducing icicle during the cold

James and the kids walking home from the mailbox.

Upon first seeing this picture, James commented that if you didn't know any better, you'd think this was taken up in the mountains. In all actuality, I took this photo in our sleepy little valley 5 miles outside the city limits.

Captain Snowbeard

The kids and I after our sledding adventure.

The Valley Association's sad attempt at closing our road...

No, those are not people's driveways...they are cars that have been abandoned after attempting to drive up the hill on the road that had been closed.

Our street.

Our roof and the trees behind our house.

Some videos of the sledding fun!

That's what our holiday break has looked like so far. What has yours looked like?

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Today is a good day. I woke up in a good mood at 10:00 this morning and had breakfast with my family and we are having our typical Football Sunday.

I was looking at my Facebook page earlier today and received a painful reminder. Now I am attempting to feel the painful feelings in order to give them some recognition and then let them go. Forgive myself and the other person involved.

I miss someone whom has been hurt by me and I have been hurt by her in turn.

I've gone through, and still go through a range of emotions regarding my (lack of a) relationship with her and today I am sad.

Her name is Erin. She used to be married to my husband and was my good friend, confidant, and band mate for a long time. We had a falling out three years ago (I can't believe it's been that long) and we haven't spoken since. There have been many e-mails between us but nothing good.

I attempted to confront some things that were going on and my feelings surrounding them. Mainly that she was systematically cutting everyone out of her life because of a man that she has a relationship with; and then saying that she felt isolated by her friends because we didn't want to be around this guy. Apparently that was a big mistake.

There is also an issue of money that we owe her for watching our kids. Still. Part of me wants to send her whatever money we can so that I can let go of all of this but, at the same time, I still feel that she has a part in the fiasco that resulted in DSHS not paying for the services. And I want her to own up to that.

Without going into boring detail about this situation, I will just say that our friendship is over and that makes me sad. Although she has been quite selfish in our relationship, I miss her smile, her laugh, her silliness.

Most of my other friends remind me often that it really is for the best. That her selfishness has brought an end to several of her friendships. But it doesn't hurt any less. An organic, sort of moving away from tight friendship would have been preferred.

Maybe I'll send her a Christmas card with some money in it. See if that helps me to let go and get over it. Find the forgiveness I need so badly.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

!Si, se puede!

I am absolutely blown away that Barack Obama is our next president. I have been overcome with joy since the announcement last night. We watched the results roll in while enjoying margaritas, shots of Leyenda del Milagro, some delicious enchiladas and family. James' boss, Jeff, whose family we have been friends with since our preteens were toddlers, came with his beautiful family and shared the historic evening with us.

Here is a picture of us just after Obama was announced as President Elect. Tears of joy.

Additionally, my friend Marci sent out a letter from Alice Walker to Barack Obama. That letter follows.

Nov. 5, 2008
Dear Brother Obama,

You have no idea, really, of how profound this moment is for us. Us being the black people of the Southern United States. You think you know, because you are thoughtful, and you have studied our history. But seeing you deliver the torch so many others before you carried, year after year, decade after decade, century after century, only to be struck down before igniting the flame of justice and of law, is almost more than the heart can bear. And yet, this observation is not intended to burden you, for you are of a different time, and, indeed, because of all the relay runners before you, North America is a different place. It is really only to say: Well done. We knew, through all the generations, that you were with us, in us, the best of the spirit of Africa and of the Americas. Knowing this, that you would actually appear, someday, was part of our strength. Seeing you take your rightful place, based solely on your wisdom, stamina and character, is a balm for the weary warriors of hope, previously only sung about.

I would advise you to remember that you did not create the disaster that the world is experiencing, and you alone are not responsible for bringing the world back to balance. A primary responsibility that you do have, however, is to cultivate happiness in your own life. To make a schedule that permits sufficient time of rest and play with your gorgeous wife and lovely daughters. And so on. One gathers that your family is large. We are used to seeing men in the White House soon become juiceless and as white-haired as the building; we notice their wives and children looking strained and stressed. They soon have smiles so lacking in joy that they remind us of scissors. This is no way to lead. Nor does your family deserve this fate. One way of thinking about all this is: It is so bad now that there is no excuse not to relax. From your happy, relaxed state, you can model real success, which is all that so many people in the world really want. They may buy endless cars and houses and furs and gobble up all the attention and space they can manage, or barely manage, but this is because it is not yet clear to them that success is truly an inside job. That it is within the reach of almost everyone.

I would further advise you not to take on other people's enemies. Most damage that others do to us is out of fear, humiliation and pain. Those feelings occur in all of us, not just in those of us who profess a certain religious or racial devotion. We must learn actually not to have enemies, but only confused adversaries who are ourselves in disguise. It is understood by all that you are commander in chief of the United States and are sworn to protect our beloved country; this we understand, completely. However, as my mother used to say, quoting a Bible with which I often fought, "hate the sin, but love the sinner." There must be no more crushing of whole communities, no more torture, no more dehumanizing as a means of ruling a people's spirit. This has already happened to people of color, poor people, women, children. We see where this leads, where it has led.

A good model of how to "work with the enemy" internally is presented by the Dalai Lama, in his endless caretaking of his soul as he confronts the Chinese government that invaded Tibet. Because, finally, it is the soul that must be preserved, if one is to remain a credible leader. All else might be lost; but when the soul dies, the connection to earth, to peoples, to animals, to rivers, to mountain ranges, purple and majestic, also dies. And your smile, with which we watch you do gracious battle with unjust characterizations, distortions and lies, is that expression of healthy self-worth, spirit and soul, that, kept happy and free and relaxed, can find an answering smile in all of us, lighting our way, and brightening the world.

We are the ones we have been waiting for.

In Peace and Joy,
Alice Walker

Sunday, October 12, 2008


I've been doing some portraits for a couple of friends.

The jewels are the beautiful handiwork of one of my BFFs. She came over the other day with some props and a light box which we used to stage some shots of her necklaces and earrings. These are a few of those shots.

Yesterday I got together with my friends Ali and Jason and took some shots of their beautiful family. Ironically, the cemetery has some beautiful scenery.

It was lots of fun and I'm stoked I got to have this opportunity.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Mom, Mommy, Mother, Mama

I love this picture. That's me playing my bass. I love the feel of it in my hands...

I never realized how cold 69 degrees could feel. I just can't get warm today.

I'm home sick with Jeremyah today. He had a sore throat and a fever this morning so I took the day off from work and have been browsing the Internet for various things.

I heard about a contest a while back, put on by a new (?) magazine called Mindful Mama. The contest involves writing an essay about what you think it means to be a mindful mama. The grand prize winner gets to go see Ani DiFranco in New York. That sounds awesome to me but will I be able to get up the gumption to write the essay?! I constantly have thoughts swirling around in my head and if I took the time to write them down I'd probably have a library of books. My strategy for this essay? Take the one-line thoughts about mothering and write them down. Elaborate later. See, my problem is that I get caught up in the details. Instead of just putting down the thought to edit later, I look at each sentence and want to find just the right combination of words. I need to get over that. It's not like I have to write it all down by hand.

So, I took a peek at what a friend of mine wrote for her essay and was blown away. But then, it is Iris, and she never ceases to amaze me. That's why there's a quote from her in my signature on my Gmail account. When I went to the website to view Iris' essay, I found an awesome website that just might be the forum I've been looking for. In fact, I've already connected with a mom on the east coast who also has a troubled teen. Like I told her in an e-mail, despite the awesome support system I have, no one can really relate to having a teenager in distress unless they have one also. And, since I don't have any friends who are experiencing this, it's hard to find someone to talk to who truly understands.

Yes, Zack is continuing to make poor choices. He just spent 30 days in juvenile detention and is now in a group home, which is similar to rehab in that he has limited contact with the outside world and has to attend groups and whatnot. However, he still hangs out with all of his street friends. Now, I have nothing against people on the street. I was there once and I help whenever possible. I do, however, have a problem with the fact that Zack's friends supply him with drugs and alcohol. Those are two things the boy just doesn't need.

Then there's this issue with his girlfriend. I'm not sure what to think. They were together for about three weeks before he went to jail and didn't see each other for six weeks. About two weeks in to his jail time he told the social worker that his girlfriend was pregnant. I know how to get in touch with the GF via MySpace and so I asked her for confirmation of the pregnancy. She said she was, indeed, pregnant and that it was Zack's. A week later she called me and told me that she miscarried twins. Then she went on to tell me that she had a D&C and the doctor told her she likely has gall stones and that was what caused the miscarriage.

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but it's pretty likely that she wouldn't have missed a period until about two weeks after conception and probably not taken a test until she was at least a week late. So, assuming she got pregnant the very first time they had sex, she would have been about five weeks pregnant when she miscarried.

My feeling is that she may not have been pregnant in the first place but if she was, it likely wasn't Zack's kid. Apparently she told him that she was pregnant before she met him but was hit by a car and miscarried. Although this is plausible, I have serious doubts. She seems to have a propensity toward drama and she admitted to Zack that she has cheated with at least two guys. I really don't know what to think. I would feel terrible saying these things if she truly did have a miscarriage because no one should have to go through that, but I am overwhelmed by doubt and joy that Zack is not going to be a father. Yet.

Go check out www.mindfulmama.com
It's pretty cool.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I found an old movie on my computer that I made...just a series of photographs all about my dad. It was fun watching it again. Here are a few of the pictures I included:

This pic is me standing on the shore of Silver Lake with my dad and my brother behind me. I must have been four or five so that would be 1978 or 1979.

This is my dad and me on one of the passes on Highway 20 in 1979 or 1980.

Dad and me in 1975

Dad and Jeremyah in 2000

This is my sister and me, taken about five (or more) years ago.

We had a little get together at our house for the kickoff of the regular football season. Here are Cecily, Griffin, and Jaden eating hotdogs on the front porch

Molly took this beautiful shot of Griffin looking through the cross bars of a chair

There's most of the party crew. My brother is standing behind me and my (other) friend Kim wasn't there yet. I found out that she is pregnant and I'm so excited! They (Kim and Brett) are going to be such awesome parents.

Meanwhile, Jeremyah is playing tackle football and is having fun. His team got stomped in the first two games they played (30-something to zero), and after the second game he held my hand and said, mom, that was, like, 3,000 percent fun! I was so proud.

Here are James and his parents watching Jeremyah play in his first game.

You can kind of see him in the middle of the picture, white jersey, yellow facemask.

Jaden was having so much fun climbing on his Uncle James!

My fifth grader and my sixth grader on the first day of school

My employers decided to take all of the office staff and team leaders on a Leadership Retreat. We went to Sun Mountain Lodge just outside of Winthrop. It was absolutely amazing. We still did work stuff, but it was a lot of fun and we built bridges within the team. I definitely feel closer to them than I did before. It even helped to ease some tension between me and another person there. It was healing.

This is the view from the end of the dock at the lake on the Ranch. The cabin just off the left side of the end of the dock is the one I stayed in.

The view to the lake from the front porch of the cabin. Two of my co-workers (one of them my cousin!) are doing yoga at the end of the dock.

On the way there we had to take pictures representing each of the words from the acronym, CASTLE: Courage, Authenticity, Service, Truthfulness, Love, and Effectiveness. This is my team. We traveled over the mountains together and had fun along the way. This is just a fun picture of us with Crater Mountain in the background.

Me and the boss lady on horseback, making our way to the Cowboy Dinner at the ranch.

It was fukkin dusty!! I was pulling dirt boogers out of my nose for days! Weeks, even! I swear!

A view from the top of my mount. I for get her name. She was awesome, though. Oh, it was Christa.

Our cabin. I stayed in here with two of my teammates and a few other friends. My cousin was the only guy among 15 people. He handled it well. Especially considering the fact that he had to stay in the party cabin with me and four other ladies! He's not exactly a partier. But he likes to have fun and laughed at most of our antics.

So, things are good at work. I have two births coming up--one very soon and one in early to mid December. I'm excited about that. James and I are wonderful--coming on 11 years this February (holy shit!); the (younger) kids are great; and the older kid may just be on a path that could take him somewhere positive.

His story is not one I can tell right now.
Maybe next time...

Monday, September 1, 2008


Well, summer is drawing to a close. Darker days and colder nights are coming...

It seems like summer was too short. It doesn't feel like we got many hot days and it was definitely wetter than usual. I'll miss the sun until next year...

We did have a pretty great season, however. We did a lot and had some awesome visitors.

Our first visitors were Auntie Tami and Uncle Marlon. Tami, Meadow and I took a day to pamper ourselves and each other. We went to tea and had tiny sandwiches and some yummy tea called Evening in Missoula.

We visited a local beach when the tide was very low and saw some marine life. Marlon was excited to have crab in his hand as well as on his hoodie.

We went to breakfast with my dad.

Marlon is from Cuba and hasn't seen the same kind of wildlife as we see commonly in the Northwest. He got very excited to see the deer that come and eat all the plants in our yard. It actually gave me a new appreciation for thing around me that I often take for granted. Now, whenever I see un venado, I smile remembering Marlon's excitement. This picture is pretty blurry but I had to capture the moment. If you look closely, you can see un vendao through the window behind the guys.

We went to a local park.

And visited the Village Green.

And a Japanese Sculpture garden

Last Wednesday, I received a message from a friend that I went to midwifery school with. She told me of an adventure she and her husband are on and asked if I had time to have coffee and could they pitch a tent in our back yard. I immediately responded that I no longer live at the house with the awesome yard but if they didn't mind staying in a guest room, we'd love to have them over for dinner and to spend the night. And so they came over to our house on Thursday evening. They're riding their bicycles from Vancouver, BC to Santa Cruz, CA. They rode 50 miles the first day in the rain. I was so impressed and excited to have them come and stay with us. At this point they must be getting close to Oregon. They were thinking that 60 miles per day was what they'd average, which would put them between Olympia and Portland tonight. Here are Dana and Greg as they were leaving our house Friday morning.

Poker has been my weekly ritual this summer. I play with three to six other ladies at a friend's place. We have lots of fun and talk lots of shit.

My good friend, Addie is getting ready to have a baby. She is 26 weeks pregnant tomorrow and has had a little bit of a rough go of it, complete with nausea that just isn't letting up! She's positively glowing, however, and I was thrilled to take some photos of her a few weeks ago.

Jeremyah is playing football again this year. But this time it's tackle football and he's so excited. Such a little man. He had his jamboree this last Saturday. Here is a shot of the football boy with a couple of friends from last year's team.

These next couple of shots are from two years ago. I think they were taken exactly two years ago today. I was on a road trip with my now former friend Bree. We drove from Boise to Boston in two weeks. We stayed at my cousin's place in Colorado before heading to Chicago; Niagara Falls; Seneca Falls, NY; New York City; Cape Cod, MA; and finally to Boston where I stayed the night, went to Cheers and headed home.

Here is an awesome trumpet player in Battery Park

So, summer is coming to a close. The kids are both starting new schools this year. Meadow is going to middle school and we moved out of range for Jeremyah to continue at his old school. I'm excited for them to go back to school. They need something to occupy their brains instead of TV and bitching at one another.
Ruby and Sprocket got the most out of summer they could. Here they are, resting after a day of frolicking.

Couldn't resist throwing this one in. Meadow and Sprocket!

Hope your summer was delightful and here's to next year!