Monday, February 27, 2012

The Timing Part is Hard Sometimes

I'm feeling restless and cranky this afternoon. I didn't sleep well at all last night, a combination of an afternoon nap before driving back to Portland and then just being...well, alone in my bed last night. After 5 nights with my dear husband next to me, when I can just stretch out my arm and feel his warm body next to me when I roll over in the middle of the night, it's hard to go back to alone-ness. Just me, 3 big blankets, and a space heater. It's a chilly nocturnal existence I'm leading these days and only slightly better during the days. I miss my boys.

I am dragging my pathetic, lonesome self out of the house tonight and checking out a local gospel choir with one of my music therapist friends. They're having open rehearsals for a couple months since they're looking to add a few new members. I should probably add that this friend has a wonderful, big, resonant voice, perfectly suited for gospel. I do not. I can sing on key, I've been told I have a lovely tone, but I have what my dear husband once termed a "white girl voice" - belting and filling a space are not really within my scope of performance. Oh well. Maybe they need a white girl in this choir...we'll see...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Mommy & Daddy's Weekend in Astoria

Dear Monkey,

I took Daddy on a surprise trip this weekend to Astoria, Oregon. Can you find Astoria on the map?

First we drove from Portland, which took about 2 hours. What direction did we drive?

We drove through Seaside, Oregon, where I saw an advertisement for a Shark Tour. Maybe we can go on a Shark Tour next summer!

Once we got to Astoria, Daddy and I drove around and crossed all 3 bridges. The biggest bridge took us across the river to Washington State. Can you find the name of the big river we crossed? I definitely want to learn more about the big bridge and when it was built.

It was a little rainy and windy on Saturday, but we still had fun driving around. We went up some steep hills to a tall monument. Up there, we could see all of Astoria and the 3 bridges. Can you find the name and a picture of this monument?

Daddy agreed to go to some little shops downtown with me - brave Daddy! First we went in a fabric & yarn store that smelled funny. I saw lots of pretty things, but didn't buy anything because the prices were about twice as much as my favorite fabric store in Portland. Then we went in a toy store that had lots of baby toys, but no big boy toys for you, sadly. Finally, we went in a store that had clothing from the country of Nepal. Do you know what continent Nepal is on?

Daddy was very patient while I tried on pretty shirts, skirts, and scarves. I ended up buying a red skirt for $10, a blue skirt for $10, a brown shirt for $20, and a brown sweater for $27. How much did I spend altogether? Then, surprise! I got a free scarf from the store owner because I spent more than $50, and guess what? It's purple!

Then Daddy and I went to the hotel, checked in, and took a nap. I still don't understand why you stopped taking afternoon naps - they are great!

After we woke up from our nap, we went to a little movie theatre near our hotel. Daddy was wearing a PLU sweatshirt and one of the boys working at the theatre asked if we were from Tacoma. It turns out he went to the high school where Daddy worked as an aide before we met. After so many years living in Virginia and Texas, I'm still not used to running into people who even know where Tacoma is, let alone used to live there!

I decided to be brave and chose a scary movie, called "The Woman in Black". Daddy didn't think it was scary, but I had my eyes closed at several parts & held Daddy's hand through most of it. I'm still not entirely sure why people like scary movies - I was exhausted from being so tense through the whole thing! One of the previews was for The Avengers, made by Marvel - we saw Thor and his hammer!

By the time the movie was done, it was pouring down rain and really dark outside. I was still a little scared from the movie, so I held Daddy's hand REALLY tight on the way back to the car. We went and bought a pizza to have for dinner. Daddy's half had Canadian Bacon & pineapples; my half had chicken & tomatoes. What would you have put on your pizza?

Daddy slept really well last night, but I had a hard time staying asleep. Good thing we didn't have to get up early this morning! Our hotel room had a bathtub so big that Daddy & I both fit in it together - it would have been like a pool for you! I let Daddy be in charge of the bubblebath and so we ended up with *mountains* of bubbles. It was like taking a bath in whipping cream! What do you think it would feel like to take a bath in whipping cream? I bet it would be hard to find your sharks.
For breakfast we went to a cute little cafe that served breakfast in the mornings and sushi in the evenings. Do you know what sushi is? Do you think Daddy likes sushi? I had a bagel with delicious cream cheese and jelly, as well as a fruit smoothie. What is your favorite kind of smoothie?
We drove back to Portland a different way than we came, going along the Columbia River instead of through the forests. There were lots of homemade signs for little shops along the way, including one advertising "Elk Jerky" and "Buffalo Jerky" - we didn't stop for those. We did stop when Daddy saw a Blockbuster Video store that was going out of business, though. I got about 25 DVDs for $20, it was pretty cool.
When we got back to Portland, Daddy and I stopped for some lunch and then I dropped him off at the train station. We had a great weekend, but I know he was ready to come home to you and I am excited to see you soon, too. What kind of adventure should we have the next time I come to visit?

Here's our yummy lunch: roast chicken, salad, and a little cheese fondue

Here's our lunch 10 minutes later!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Flowers & Friday

Yes. It's Friday. It's *FRIDAY*. It's Friday and I am done with work for the week...sort of. It seems like complicated work situations generally arise on my half-days or days off. Oh well. I'm *mostly* done with work for the week. And, after I finish my lunch and make a few more phone calls, I will be *really* done with work for the week and ready to pack up a little overnight bag for the little romantic weekend I have planned with my dear husband. He will arrive on the train from Tacoma around 9 pm tonight and, first thing tomorrow morning, we are taking off for a secret location (still within the state of Oregon, I will say that) where we will sight-see, bum around, and spend a lovely night in a romantic hotel room (which I secured for a song more than a month ago) before heading back to Portland Sunday mid-day so he can take the train back up to Tacoma on Sunday evening. Then! After only 1.5 days of work for me next week (woo hoo!) I am heading up to Tacoma on Tuesday evening to spend a blissful FIVE WHOLE DAYS with my boys, perfectly planned to coincide with Monkey's mid-winter break, aka - he and I will have Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday together. Yay!

Now, I of course need to mention those lovely flowers picture above. My only regret is that you can't smell them through the computer screen because, oh my goodness, they are *fragrant*! I didn't have a chance to blog on the day of, but my 31st birthday was this past Tuesday, February 14. It was a great day and I felt quite overwhelmed by the demonstrations of love I received from family and friends, including homemade chocolate cupcakes, flowers, a pretty yellow scarf, phone calls, cards in the mail, and of course posts on my Facebook page. I can only hope that 31 will be even more fantastic than the wonderful year 30 was - here's hoping!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Sunday that Accomplished Much

So today was an unexpectedly productive day. I woke up without much of a plan, other than eating breakfast and finishing the very last bit of scanning/shredding for the massive organization project I mentioned for that professional organization. I'm amazed I managed to get it all done in less than a month, honestly. Well, almost done. I do still have to burn all the files to two sets of CD-Rs - one to keep with the Treasurer materials, the other to stay with another member in another state in case my computer explodes or something. But the box is empty. Empty! It's beautiful. And I got a little knitting done while waiting on the scanner, as well.

Then I got a craving for chicken taco soup, which I have literally not made since we moved up from Texas this summer. Really, I haven't been doing much cooking at all, actually. So I whipped up a little list, made a quick trip to Safeway, and had the soup in the crockpot at exactly 2 pm, which meant it was done cooking at 7 pm, right after I had finished piecing the sunflower quilt I started in college. Yes, college. Circa 2001, I believe. It is, in fact, the only project that has been pulled out, worked on, and packed away in Washington, Virginia, Texas, AND Oregon. Phew! And's done. It's pieced and it's ready to be quilted. Now I just have to decide whether to try & quilt it myself or to take it to a professional. Thoughts?

The Circle of Highland Dancing Life

It's been about a week since I last wrote here, I think the longest I've gone since the new year. It was a challenging week and I'm glad it's over; life lessons and all that. I had the lovely opportunity this afternoon to volunteer at a Highland dance competition. I was actually signed up to compete, originally, but have not been keeping up with practicing or classes at all. Aargh. As my teaching partner says, "My job is getting in the way of my life!" So true, so true. When I made the decision to pull myself from the competition a couple weeks ago, realizing there was no way I'd be ready in time (and, trust me - when you're 30 years old and dancing against nationally ranked 16-year-olds, you *need* to be at the top of your game!) I offered myself up as a volunteer. After all, I had the weekend off, the boys and I weren't traveling to see each other - might as well, right? Gotta get my bagpipe fix somehow!

Several of the board members (who run the competition) made it a point to thank me for volunteering, which I thought was very nice. It was definitely interesting to
see how it would be attending a competition where I was not dancing, nor were any of my students (still fantastically fun, in case you were wondering). So then it struck me - the reason I was able to compete at these same competitions, run by the same organization and its (volunteer) board over a decade ago is because people stepped forward and did what needed to be done because they loved Highland dancing. No other reason. Because they loved it. So, while I truly appreciated the kindness and gratitude of the organizers, I must say that they were the ones doing me the favor today - giving me a chance to "pay it forward" to the next generation of dancers who will keep the strength and tradition of Highland dancing alive in the United States. Thanks, y'all.

Me, circa 1989, trying to look like I knew what I was doing!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Mommy Day

I'm sitting in a nail salon, literally waiting for paint to dry. On my toes. Also watching my sweet husband and Monkey Boy goof off on the couch across the salon. They made the 3 hour drive this morning to spend a little over 24 hours with me, even though husband and I are both feeling a little under the weather (Allergies? Cold? Who knows?) and Monkey apparently talked the ENTIRE way down. Husband requested going for pedicures (his angry feet require regular professional attention) and going to buy a pair of sneakers for Monkey, who continues to grow by leaps & bounds (no sales tax in Oregon, remember - it adds up!). But then, apparently, we are having a MOMMY DAY - i.e. I am to decide what we should do as a family. Fun! Unexpected! After working 53 hours this week and barely making time for 2 phone calls with my boys, I hardly feel like I deserve such kindness. I am grateful for their grace in showing me love this weekend, when I do not feel deserving of it, yet I so desperately need it. Thank you, my boys, for being sweet & kind & loving me unconditionally.

Progress is being made with the knitting project!