Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Deepwood Estate

7/29/2012 - Catching up on photos that have been sitting on my phone while watching the Summer Olympics. These are from last December (2011).... I went on a tour of the Deepwood Estate with my Bible Study group (Jana, Jeanne, Christine) and my mother also tagged along, which was lovely. We toured the home and then we went out for dessert at Gerry Frank's Konditorei. I was still recovering from gallbladder surgery, so it was my first outing in almost two months (besides church) that didn't involve doctors or hospitals! And I could even eat the cake!

Love the tower! And there's a sun room off to the left.

An unusual split flue that allows for a window in the middle.

The house was full of amazing stained glass.

Beautiful woodwork everywhere.
The Door  with the glass window on the right is actually curved to fit into the wall!

Love the detail on old hinges.

A sweet corner in the kitchen.

Looking down the unusually curved stairs with a globe light on the pillar.
The stained glass windows sit over a curved landing with window seats.

Listening to the tour guide.... we are all envying this room.

More beautiful stained glass; even in the bathroom.
Also, notice the paneling!

Part of the gardens that were originally designed by Elizabeth Lord & Edith Schryver. 

Cake! At the Konditorei...

Me, Jeanne, Jana and Christine. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Scandinavia, holidays and waffles

I've really been digging Scandinavian blogs lately. I'm especially enjoying Hei Astrid, Krims Krams and Brit-Arnhild's House in the Woods. Maybe it's because Scandinavians know how to do winter right. They also know how to do interior design right. mmm.

Blurry photo of candle sconce and a bucket with decorative dead greenery and pretty dead bird.
I was lying here feeling sorry for myself (I'm doing a lot of lying around right now, listening to stories and napping) when I got inspired to steal my mothers candle sconces and put up a smidgen of a Christmas decoration above my bed. Now I just have to get one of my ever lovin' brothers to put on my red and white comforter cover and I'll be on my way to holiday happiness.

Though now I just lie in bed paranoid that I'm going to drift off to sleep and the candles are going to explode and next thing I know there are three foot black flames licking up my wall.

I made these waffles for dinner tonight. Or I mixed them up and Daddy cooked them. Awesome waffle maker that man is. Daniel also finished baking our classic Christmas is coming Molasses Spiced Cookies. Starting to feel the holidays a bit.

I'm wearing a striped shirt today. Which makes me quite happy. I don't think I've owned a striped shirt for over 10 years. I think the last shirt I owned that was striped had a v-neck and I got sunburned in it at camp one year. I then had to wear it for the next three days as no other shirts had a matching neck line. Fond memories.
Said striped shirt. Also notice raccoon in background.

One of Jacob's main love languages is gifts. And if he is feeling concerned or loving toward you, he gives you a stuffed animal to sleep with. Last night, I got Mister Raccoon to watch over me. I tell you, I slept better for it.

Reading Scandinavian blogs and thinking about Scandinavian interior design has got me reevaluating what I like in design. And the only problem is that I can't figure out a name for what I like. Which isn't very helpful. I can think of decorating styles I'm not. And styles I admire. But I'm not sure what I like to live in. Eclectic might be the word. But it's not a very helpful or descriptive word. Expensive also works I guess.

Also, did you know that one of the reasons I got pulled out of public schools was... we studied Scandinavia in fourth grade and all we learned about were trolls and fairy tales. Helpful for when shows like Once Upon a Time and Grimm are all the rage, but not really helpful. At all.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Surgery, etc.

Well, quite a bit has happened since I posted. I began the week with a gallbladder and ended it without one.

I met with the surgeon on Monday. It was one of the most painless appts I've ever had. I think it helped that I looked pretty pathetic. I had started feeling a whole 'nother notch worse on Sunday, really achy and tired, so he pretty much said, let's do this sooner rather than later and I think we can fit you in on Tuesday. And I thought, Praise God.

So on Tuesday, I got it out. Nothing to spectacular. I do remember going into the operating room and joking with the anesthesiologist about the Christmas music playing. I thought that was pretty awesome that they had music playing in the operating room. Thankfully, I didn't really seem to get nervous before the operation; or else I was just too out of it!

Dad was so sweet and he took me. Once I had woken up and been wheeled into the recovery room he just hung out with me while I slept. Every once in a while he would give me a little cracker or soda. Eventually he ran out of laptop juice and we realized that we could turn on the TV and watch cable.  Yes! (we don't have cable) We found Modern Marvels and decided it was nice that we had the same taste in TV shows.  I then slept on and off for what seemed like hours, but eventually I felt well enough to try moving around and then we headed home.

Me. Not at my best. I think my dad was bored.
 Once we got home, everyone was very eager to see my war wounds, two under my ribs and one near the belly button. (I also have an impressive 4" circle bruise under my belly button!) and Daniel made me some Hot Chocolate to sip. Also, my mother anticipated that I would be wanting some English muffins and got them out from the freezer an hour before I got home. I didn't know this so when I got home, so I was bummed when Daniel came and told me there weren't any in the freezer. I was SO sure that I had seen some earlier! Then happy surprise when Mom told me the truth. I love her.

Now, if I had to do it all over again, I would have stayed in the hospital overnight. I didn't take my pain meds as quickly as I could have/should have when I got home, so I wasn't as comfortable as I could have been until around 2am. I also didn't realize that I was going to have to sleep in the LZ boy couch/chair thingy. Thank God we had it though! So yeah, next time, spend the night.The next morning, Tyler, who is so sweet and kind loaned me his 4" foam topper mattress so that I could sleep on my bed. I also lowered my sleep number from 100 to 30 and added about 4-6 pillows in a wedge formation so I could sleep on my back. Yay for pillows!Also, big secret out there. My mother shared this with me, so all credit goes to her. If you like electric blankets, put them underneath you. This has made all the difference. It makes it so much easier to get up, since I only have to deal with the comforter! And it has a much different, more comforting sort of warmth, if that makes any sense....

Anyways, recovery has been slow but fine. And really, in some ways I felt better hours after the surgery than I had in weeks! I did come down with a fever one night, which worried us, but the surgeon said it was probably nothing to be concerned about and thankfully it broke that night. Mostly I've just been doing a lot of sleeping. The first three days I slept a good couple of hours almost every time I took my pain meds. Today's the first day I haven't felt like I slept all day. My appetite is also slowly coming back! Tonight I ate the more food than I think I've eaten all week.

So, I'm glad this week is over. And I'm definitely looking forward to feeling like it's Christmas season and actually taking part in it. Instead of me just observing it. I love going to Portland at Christmastime and today the family went, gasp, without me! Oh well, I guess I forgive them. And really, my family's been just great; they deserved a day of having fun without having to wait on me hand and foot. :)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Mt Angel Abbey

If any pilgrim monk come from distant parts, if with wish as guest to dwell in the monastery, and will be content with the customs which he finds in the place,  [....]  But, if he have been found gossipy and contumacious in the time of his sojourn as guest, not only ought he not to be joined to the body of the monastery, but also it shall be said to him, honestly, that he must depart. If he does not go, let two stout monks in the name of God, explain the matter to him.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Single. And why I'm not.

I have no clue why I'm ruminating on being "single" tonight. I'm the sort of person that thinks the more you think about being single, the more likely you are to be discontent about being single. So most of the time I ignore it. Which probably disqualifies me from giving any advice. So this isn't advice.

Here are some things that I tell myself...

1. Be thankful. Of course, that's so easy to say but not easy to do. Thus the second step.

2. Pray proactively. Don't wait for the moments of despair to wash over you to reach out for God. Pray before you are tempted. Pray when life seems like it's humming along and you don't feel like you need to pray. When you don't feel like you need to pray, that should be huge flashing lights going off in your head. PRAY.  Pray for faith, joy, peace, patience, etc. Take responsibility to ask God to help you keep your cup running over.

3. Don't identify yourself by singleness. It's so easy to start feeling sorry for yourself when the world becomes single vs. married. Find your identity in Christ surrounded by believers. If someone told me to list out words to describe myself, I'm not sure that it would ever occur to me to say "single". Because, I'm not. I have a family, and you should too. I'm not saying that you have to live with your family, but you should have someone there as backup and counsel. If you don't have family, then find some. Do like my friend Rebekah did and adopt a wise couple at church to be your family.

4. Don't feel badly about not feeling fulfilled in life. Women were meant to be completed by husbands and bearing babies. It's okay that your job does not completely fulfill you. And it's a lie that it should.

5. Continue to work on being selfless. Because no one wants to marry selfishness. Find areas to serve others and try not to live by yourself. It's easy to fall into the trap that you're perfect if you have no one else to disagree. This may mean living with your family and you know what, you won't die. At least I haven't yet. Or it could mean living with friends. Just make sure you choose wise friends. :)

6. Appreciate things that are easy to do when single. Shopping and traveling are two that spring into my mind. It's much easier to go shopping without having to unstrap and strap three carseats at every stop. And traveling is much easier and cheaper! So think of things that you enjoy and go out and do them. Because one day you probably won't be able too. Or it will involve a potty stop every 20 minutes.

7. Enjoy not having to change dirty diapers. Especially at 2 am.

8. Interact with kids. If you didn't grow up around kids, then find ways to interact with them now. Take advantage of this time when you can interact with kiddos without having to be responsible for them! Especially babies. ;) Plus, if your husband has nieces and nephews, you'll be a better Auntie for it.

9. Be prepared that every time a friend or sibling starts dating, and you're not, you might feel sad. This hasn't happened every time for me but it has happened sometimes. It is okay to cry for a moment, but only for a moment. No pity parties. God has you exactly where he wants you. Just remember you don't want to marry that guy anyways. Or if you do, I guess there might be bigger issues to work through....

10. Remember that God is never early and He's never late. This was driven home to me during a family camp on marriage. God will not move you into marriage until you can do more good serving his kingdom married. And His kingdom is all that really matters.

Psmith & Miss Halliday

This made me laugh out loud the other day....

Psmith, going into Miss Clarkson's Employment Bureau, has just become acquainted with a Miss Halliday leaving the office. After already meeting with her on the streets a few hours earlier, he is eager to learn more about her.

"Is that young lady a nurse?" he asked.
"Do you want a nurse?" inquired Miss Clarkson, at once the woman of business.
"I want that nurse," said Psmith with conviction.
"She is a delightful girl", said Miss Clarkson with enthusiasm. "There is no one in whom I would feel more confidence in recommending to a position. She is Miss Halliday [....] She is a charming, warm-hearted, impulsive girl....But you will hardly want to hear all this."
"On the contrary," said Psmith, "I could listen for hours. You have stumbled upon my favourite subject."
Miss Clarkson eyed him a little doubtfully, and decided that it would be best to reintroduce the business theme.
"Perhaps, when you say you are looking for a nurse, you mean you need a hospital nurse?"
"My friends have sometimes suggested it."
"Miss Halliday's greatest experience has, of course, been as a governess."
"A governess is just as good," said Psmith agreeably.
Miss Clarkson began to be conscious of a sensation of being out of her depth.
"How old are your children, sir?" she asked.
"I fear," said Psmith "you are peeping into Volume Two. This romance has only just started."

From P.G. Wodehouse's Leave it to Psmith.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Victoria, Sophie and Thanksgiving

Thoughts from today ( and no it's not all related to my stupid gallbladder)

Went and saw the naturapath today to make sure she didn't have any tricks up her sleeves. She gave me some stuff and said if it's going to work, I should be able to eat Thanksgiving dinner. Which would be beyond awesome. But I'm not counting on it; I think maybe if I had started on the stuff right away might have worked, but it's been a month now...So I'm still seeing the surgeon tomorrow.

At the last visit though, the naturapath gave me some stuff to make it a little easier to eat,. It also helps that the gastroenterologist gave me pain pills that melt in my mouth. Between those, I can eat some white bread and white rice with my broth.So I think I am feeling a little better because I'm finally getting something besides soda.

I'm currently reading a book about the lives of Queen Victoria's daughters. This is what I've learned so far.
1. If you go live in your husbands country, don't offend them by inisiting your country is better in everything. It makes it hard to get along with your in-laws.
2. Don't compare your children to each other.
3. Don't call them ugly.
4. Don't be born a princess.
5. If you can't avoid step 4, then try to fall in love with a royal someone who has a good position.
6. If not, screw the family. You'll be happier.
7. Don't give your children the same environment to grow up in that you hated growing up in.

Also, fun fact. Apparently Alberta, Canada was named after Princess Louise. When her husband was the Queens ambassador in Canada, he chose it as it sounded better than Louiseland, or something like that. Apparently, Alberta was her second name.

We have a new kitty. Rather a stray that showed up on our doorstep about a month ago. My mother swore that there was no way we were going to keep a ninth cat. But Mom didn't realize just how cunning this new cat (Sophie) was. Sophie, being smart, decided to befriend and be nice to the one person in our family who didn't consider himself to have his own cat, my dad. Yup, she won Dad over. The man that earns her bread and butter or really, her kitty nibbles and litter. Smart move, Sophie.

We are enjoying tremendously the new HULU show, SPY. I know, I never imagined it could be so good, but if you like some British humour, than try it out.

Thanksgiving is in two days! Yay. Or that would be in all capitals if I thought I would be eating it. I have resigned myself to drinking a whole bottle of Martinellis as consolation.

Our traditional menu looks something like this:

Relish Tray/Spinach dip/Some other appetizer

Stuffing (we totally cheat here and go with Stove Top)
Homemade Gravy
Mashed Potatoes
Garlic Green beans
Creamed Onions (My favorite!)
Homemade Jellied Cranberry (Discovered last year how crazy easy this is to make!)
Fresh Cranberry Orange Relish
Sweet Potatoes (no marshmallows!)
Rolls (sometimes)

Persimmon Pudding (German tradition)
Hard Sauce
Wine Sauce
Pies (apple, pumpkin...)
Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake (the only cheesecake that I love)

Usually my favorite part of dinner is creating the exact right proportions of a little bit of stuffing, onion cream sauce, mashed potatoes and cranberry on my fork. The flavors meld together beautifully.

And then I love persimmon pudding with some hard sauce on it. mmm.

I think I'm going to either stick a plate of food in the freezer and eat it in a week or two. Or I'll just insist on Thanksgiving dinner for my birthday. That sounds good.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Short takes of a long couple of weeks

I can't sleep and I don't know why, so I guess I'll try blogging. 
So it turns out I wasn't sick. Not the normal flu kind of sick anyways. Apparently, my gallbladder is trying to commit suicide and if that's not enough, to kill me in the process. 
Anyway here are some random notes from the past couple of weeks.
If for some reason you're reading this and you are not actually my friend on facebook (I have no illusions that anyone else would read this blog), this status should explain some of the fun I've been having:
Highlights today: visiting the "nuclear medicine" office (high cool factor when you combine the words nuclear and medicine); realizing you've been so out of it you didn't realize that you had a 2" bruise on your elbow from previous and numerous IV attempts; having more IV attempts; falling asleep in a "waffle maker"; and later that day, having radioactive tears that sting. Fun times.

In the last two weeks I've had a Ultrasound (gallstones), CT scan (appendicitus), HIDA scan (gallbladder) and an Endoscopy (ulcers).

Which means I've been asked about five billion times "Are you pregnant?" "Are you sure you're not pregnant?" "Any chance you are pregnant?" "Are you REALLY sure you're not pregnant?"

If someone asks me that again, I might punch them. So far, my standard response has been simply a passive, "No." But I've decided I'm sick of that, so I've been thinking of alternative responses.

"Damn it, No"   (Okay, I probably wouldn't swear)
"No, are you?"    (Snarky)
"I wish"    (Not that I do wish, but I could leave them hanging)

Ideally, I think I would like to respond with something that communicated along the lines of, "No, I'm a Christian and I'm saving sex for after marriage.."  But I have no clue if I could pull that off, especially at 7 in the morning.

So far the only side effects I've had from all this stuff, is that the HIDA scan (they put radioactive tracer into your blood) made me randomly sneeze and tear up throughout the day. What was really weird is that the tears stung. And then after my endoscopy, I sneezed hard and violently probably every 5 minutes for the rest of the day. Weird.

It was right before my endoscopy of my stomach and duodenum that the doctor came in and told me that the HIDA scan had come back abnormal. I was so relieved that they had found out that it really was my gallbladder that I couldn't believe it. Anyways, after I regained consciousness from my endoscopy apparently the first thing I said when I saw Tyler (who had driven me) sounded like this: "Tyyyyleeerrrr, I"mmmm sooo haaapyyyy myyyy gallllbbbllladddders baaaadd. I couldn't talk right, but the emotion was there.

So right now, my body is pretty much only tolerating sugar and water products and some broth. I've never been a big soda drinker, so I think after this I might never be able to drink soda again. I've also gained a new appreciation for V-8 as it's one of the few things I can drink that isn't really sugary.

Right now, I'm focusing on what I read this evening in a little devotion book.

Take it on trust a little while;
Soon shall thou read the mystery right
In the full sunshine of His smile
John Keble

And one last thought... My family, especially my brothers have been so fantastic. It's been really tough on Daniel and Jacob since they are pretty much the only ones that are either a) well or b) don't have college classes. Daniel told me the other day that he is enjoying proving himself responsible as he figures that means he'll get his permit sooner! Also, my dad and Tyler have been really sweet about driving me to all of my appts. I feel loved.

I'm so spoiled! Tyler bought me flowers.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

You knwo you're sick when:

You look in the mirror and realize you're carrying a FULL 2 liter 7UP soda and a bowl of jello to your bedroom to eat while you watch a movie.

You look forward to licking the salt off of a saltine.

You are tired of canned chicken noodle soup, and not eating the noodles.

The heat pad is your best friend.

You have time to read too many blogs about traveling. Thus leading to tempting thoughts like, "what am I still doing here?"

You're getting used to making breakfast without eating it.

But as long as you don't eat it, it smells SO good.

If you eat it then you might die though. So you don't.

You make consistent progress on your knitting project leading you to conversations in your head such as, "Next time I'll do this differently," and then the response,"What? Have you forgotten the HOURS it has taken you to get this far?"

 Well, I've had the flu for awhile now, but I did go see the doctor today and it sounds like it's almost over. Yay! And it actually hasn't been horrible. I've mostly had a low grade fever with light nausea. Basically I feel great as long as I'm not walking around a lot or eating anything.

Part of me wants to consider this to have been a purposeful spiritual fast. But I'd be lying.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Commandments & Coveting

A little chain of thoughts concerning commandments. Forgive me if this is choppy. I don't do my best writing when sick... but I wanted to get my thoughts written out before I forgot them!

1. Today driving home I was thinking about how Christians are supposed to care for the orphans and fatherless. And instead of me feeling the sometimes-guilt that "Oh I should be doing more." I realized that not only does that command tell us to actively take care of the orphans and the fatherless, it is also telling us to be proactive in not adding to the existing orphan and fatherless population.Such as, promoting Christian marriages and Godly parents. Sometimes I think that a lot of American youths are half orphaned. I mean, if growing up you are put in day care/school 8 hours a day and on top of that add homework, early bedtimes for little kids, no family meals and the billions of TV watching that the average kid does, do you really bond with your parents?

2. I've been thinking alot about the proactive side of commandments thanks to the sermon series that our Pastor is going through on the 10 commandments. Right now, we are Thou Shalt Not Covet. So last week he talked about coveting within marriages. Well, obviously I'm not married, but does that mean I can say "Hah, I'll wait til later to deal with that?" Um, no. I need to control my thoughts now. I have to be proactive in applying that rule now.

3. Which leads to modesty. And this wasn't the direction I was going with this at all, but it just came to me. Growing up in a culture that emphasized modesty I remember having a good laugh when I heard some pastor comment that no where in the bible is it mentioned "Thou Shalt Be Modest". And so yes, people can take it to the extreme and say that it doesn't matter what you wear on the outside, it's all about the heart, but really thanks to that sermon, I now think that when it comes to modesty, it's all about coveting. The girl wanting the guy to covet her and the guy wanting to covet the girl. So really, this commandment does directly deal with modesty and that it is both an extension of the heart and helping others to avoid coveting.

4. Um, now I don't remember the brilliant point that I was going to make instead of the third one. Humility, eh?

5. {5 minutes later} So I guess that the point that I was getting to was...that instead of looking at a commandment and thinking, Okay, I guess I won't murder anyone today." We should look at a commandment and think, "Okay, that's what I'll not do. Now what SHOULD I be doing?" And that's a lot harder!

6. {added the next day} I've also now been thinking about how God through the Bible moves Israel/The Church from being told "DO NOT" (reactive) to "DO THIS" (proactive). I'm guessing that's a sign of maturity? For instance as kids are immature, there are very simple black and white rules. "Don't do this, Don't do this" they get told over and over again. But once those building blocks are firmly cemented, then that's when all sorts of beautiful character traits can be emphasized... And then in the Bible, God  has filled the Old Covenant with Do Nots, which the Israelites then get punished for not obeying. But by the New Covenant, the Israelites are obsessed with following the rules and have failed to move beyond those basic building blocks. So in the New Covenant (Or New Testament) part of the Bible God hardly ever says "Do Not" (Compared to the OT) but instead mostly says "Do This" trusting that we understand the foundation that this is based on.

Thoughts, anyone? I would love to flesh this more out later...

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Jane Austen & Regency Tea Party

This week started and ended with Jane Austen. I could say that I planned it but I didn't... (all pictures taken by the lovely Hadley who never put herself in a photo... silly girl.)

On Monday I hosted our third annual Regency Tea Party. So much fun. I feel hesitant about blogging about it as I don't want people to feel left out. I think pretty much every gal I know is a Jane Austen fan! The last couple of years we've done it outside so it was easier to invite more people. Plus, this was a good year to just keep it simple because of my silly memory. I kept forgetting about the whole thing. I even forgot to invite specific people.. please don't get mad! In fact I think I forgot about it each day the whole week before. Oops.

This year, at the encouragement of my friend, Kaitlyn, I did a more specific theme of Jane Austen. I asked people (if they wanted!) to share one of their favorite passages from her books. We then took turns reading them out loud which felt quite Jane Austen-ish.I chose the passage from Pride & Prejudice when Lizzy learns that she will be a stranger from one of her parents.

Here I am enjoying the party. I have no clue when Hadley took this picture, but I love it! Plus, those are my favorite-est earrings!

 Also, now I'm kicking myself for not taking more pictures, but I was actually enjoying the moment and not thinking of how I was going to be blogging this later.

After the readings we played a game. I wrote out various characters from the books onto cards and then taped them to everyone's back. The goal was to find out who you were by asking yes/no questions from other guests. You could only ask one question from each person at a time, ie, not standing there and grilling the other person! I turned out to be Mrs. Bennet which was funny as I had forgotten I had written her down!

Some of the younger ladies (and a very young lady) in their Regency Finery.

 After the game, we sat down to eat. What I've learned from hosting tea parties is that one of the funnest ways to do tea parties is for everyone to bring a dish for each lady coming. That way, there is usually a nice variety and the hostess (ie, lazy me!) doesn't have to do lots of cooking. And I think almost everyone enjoys having an excuse to make their favorite tea party recipe!

Also, I ask each lady coming to bring their own tea cup. That way I don't have to worry about not having enough tea cups and who doesn't love a chance to show off their favorite tea cup. :) After this tea party, I realized it really makes clean up much easier if you don't have to wash a whole bunch of tea cups!

Before the tea I also placed cards on the table with two conversation starters along the lines of: "What Jane Austen character are you most like?" and "What is your favorite Jane Austen movie/book?" It was delightful to hear everyone's thoughts. The girls then headed off to take some photos and we squeezed in a group photo with almost everyone!

Dog, knitting and wood fire. Not pictured: Pride & Prejudice on the screen.

Skip forward to today. I've now been sick with some weird nausea virus for four days. It's the weirdest one I've ever had. I'm kind of afraid to google it as I don't want to have anything really nasty. Anyways, today everyone went off to a wedding while Mom and I stayed home. And I was in the mood for Pride & Prejudice. So I sat and watched and knitted. Which sounds pretty ideal if it had only included something besides jello and chicken noodle soup to eat!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The newest member of our cast

 Please join us in welcoming Brutus!

Brutus was graciously given to us by our friends the Paynes.
We are hoping that he will be insturmental in eating weeds in the pasture.
Fingers are crossed that he might, just might, eat some thistles.

Which, if it wasn't for that promising thought and the fact that he's extremely friendly,
he might not still be ours.

I believe his escape count is so far at 5.
This is why we swore we would never get a goat!
This only includes escaping far enough to eat the roses around the house.
Not the times hes escaped from one pasture to the other!

Also the sheep were hilarious. It might take a while for him to gain their acceptance.
He trotted after them wanting to be friends and they would run away in horror.
Then when he turned around and started walking away, they would timidly follow him. 
Even though they were sure he would kill them any minute.
Curiosity might have just killed a sheep, let alone a cat.

Well, that's all for right now. Sorry for the bullet point writing, but my brains fritzed tonight!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Random links of various interests

Just a few links that I thought would be fun to share....

First off, The Art Of Clean Up is pretty awesome. It's written in Spanish, but the main idea seems to be that he takes ordinary scenarios (parking lot, or a fir branch) and organizes them.

Second, I just discovered this, Semester at Sea. I want to do the Summer 2013 trip. England, Europe & Egypt! Yes please. Although, it is lacking Holland, France and Germany. But that's okay, it would be a good intro, right?

Third, if you like to travel, I just discovered this blog, Prêt à Voyage. Very fun! I'm enjoying her posts about {Un}glamorous Paris.

And one more thing, if you like dollhouses, you might want to check out this Dollhouse Challenge. I've always loved anything miniature and I do have a dollhouse I could decorate. So it looks awesome. (I'm not doing the challenge though, I already have too many projects going on....)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Women & Winnie-the-Pooh

 Jacob tells a joke

While digging up potatoes this afternoon, Jacob came wandering by. I told him to grab a shovel for me and then come into the vegetable garden so he could see what I was doing. On his way over we had the following conversation:

Jacob: "Sara, do you want to hear a joke?"

Me: "Yeah, sure".


Jacob, in his deepest possible voice: "women."

 I laughed, as it was so unexpected.

Jacob: "I just don't know why that is so funny."

We then spent the next few minutes talking about why it's a funny joke. I wasn't much help.


After growing up watching Winnie-the-Pooh my whole life, I am rather embarrassed to admit that I am finally reading it. Jacob and I have been reading through Winnie-the-Pooh in the mornings and my goodness, is it hilarious. It's not just a childrens book. This section made me laugh out loud yesterday morning....

During the flood, Pooh sets out for Piglet's house...

Then he had an idea, and I think that for a Bear of Very Little Brain, it was a good idea. He said to himself:

"If a bottle can float, thena  jar can float, and if a jar floats, I can sit on the top of it, if it's a very big jar."

So he took his biggest jar, and corked it up. "All boats have to have a name," he said, "so I shall cal mine The Floating Bear." And with these words he dropped his boat into the water and jumped in after it.

For  a little while Pooh and The Floating Bear were uncertain as to which of them was meant to be on the top, but after trying one or two different positions, they settled down with the Floating Bear underneath and Pooh triumphantly astride it, paddling vigorously with his feet.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Walking the valley

Today, for eight hours, minus half hour for lunch, Mom and I were either driving to hospitals, walking around them, or sitting in doctor's waiting rooms and offices. And we thank the Lord that our visits are just that, visits.

We had two appointments today for Mom. Not neccessarily the best idea. And, one lesson learned is, don't pile up appointments. But sometimes with these doctors you have to take them when you can get them.

Mother is eternally optimistic that the doctors will have the answers. The right answers. The clear answers. And today was supposed to be the culmination of a years worth of appointments.A meeting about her brain "freezes" and a meeting to discuss spinal surgery. And by now, most of the normal things have been tested. But it turned out to be like many other appointments. No easy news, no "we can fix it and make it all better" news.

Now, things are not hopeless, and there are still more avenues to pursue. But the avenues are shrinking. Instead of one of those confusing intersections with five broad boulevards, it's more like a road, a few alleyways and maybe a dirt path.

I'm making tremendous progress on my never ending sweater.
It's looking more and more like Mom will always have debilitating pain in her upper back (which medicine can only somewhat take away). And she'll probably always be on medicine for her brain "freezes". In fact, the doctor wasn't even sure what to call them. They're not seizures. They're not epilepsy. Epilepsy only takes place in the cortex of the brain (the outer part) whereas these originate from deeper within. They're just a  pain in the butt to have to deal with daily. And to manage. The doctor said that it's better than having epilepsy, but of course, it's something that is not as well researched, so thus there is not the same regime of meds available.

So after a quick lunch at a friends house, off we sailed to another appointment. We had been warned that this doctor probably wouldn't have any simple answers. And he didn't. More testing is needed. More questions to be pondered. Is it worth the risks? Would it solve pain or mobility issues?*

There's nothing like talking to the doctor and finding out that they don't have all the answers. And that once again, you're the "weird one" The special case that doesn't fit into any of the boxes. Not just normal whiplash and concussion, but, no you're special.That hurts. And it hurts in it's own way when it's someone you love. It hurts to watch hurting. It hurts when its your mom.

When you're little, Moms are infallible. Moms aren't supposed to be sick. They aren't supposed to get injured. They aren't supposed to get cancer. They aren't supposed to die. You  never expect tragedy to strike. You know that someday they might get sick, but it will happen one day; it will be some other day. Later.

Thankfully by the grace of God, my mom is strong. And brave. While she can't be as strong as she used too be physically, (how many 50 year olds still climb trees?) she's growing stronger spiritually. And that is precious to watch. To know that we are never to old to lean on Jesus.

I often mentally give hospitals different awards.This hospital won the award for nicest bathroom.

Afterwards, because Dad had meetings in Portland, we were able to meet up at a Olive Garden for dinner.And that was exactly what God knew we needed. To see Dad's support and love for Mom as she walks this valley was sweet indeed. The way he listened with love and then insisted that the waitress write something beautiful on Mom's "doggy box". Because she is beautiful. To him, to us and to Jesus.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Laurelhurst: Explored

Today we explored Laurelhurst neighborhood. It's one of those neighborhoods that we always drive through and think.. "we should walk here sometime". Well, today we did. We mostly walked through the parks, but we did put in some house spotting.

1. Unusual double peaked dormer. Daniel disliked the "messy" ivy haning over the garage door.
2. A very rambly many storied house.
3. Mediterranean inspired house with a owl weather vane on a tower. Awesome.
4. The house of mystery.  The lawn was basically a meadow. And I think we counted 10 chimneys.
5. Close up. Where the front door should have been there was an elaborate grille work box around it. Also, now that I checked out on zillow, it sounds like it has a ballroom....and it was quite better looking when it was sold! Later: I just found this article on it.. It's called the Bitar House and this link has some awesome pictures.
6. The house that is for sale that we imagined buying. Apparently it was built for a former Portland Mayor and Senator...

Laurelhurst park was beautiful. 
Here we are setting off in search for the elusive play ground that we saw a sign for. 
It never appeared. Sadness.

We were very amused to see puffball ducks in the pond... 
Maybe they were somebody's pet?

Mental Note: We should go back here in a couple of weeks when the trees begin to turn color.

Jacob made friends with someone's pet lion. :)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Weekly round up

This week in pictures:

1. Learning how to use a router
2. The sheets I would make my mommy buy me if I was five. Sniff. Please, mommy, please?
3. Running errands in style (ie, my out and about outfit.- Brown coat, denim skirt, brown boots.
4. Daniel & Jacob playing on the rope pyramid thingy at the park.
5. Texting Ellen & Sally about my skinny jeans. Ssh.
6. Started the week out with a wedding.
7. Soap making with friends. Too much fun.
8. Delicatta squash & bacon soup and smoked Gouda at the park. It was cold, but the soup was oh so warm and yummy!


Did you know that the phrase Tah-dah comes from the Hebrew word for thank you? At least I think it does. Because I've been learning some Hebrew (well, kind of, but not really) and in Hebrew "Thank you" sounds like Toh-Dah. At least to me it does. Aren't you glad you learned that? Although, here I mean it in the traditional American sense of "Look at this accomplishment!"

And now I have to go investigate a VERY loud purr that just started from my wardrobe. Just a sec. Okay, purring investigated. And yes, there is a cat in my wardrobe. And, yes, it really is a wardrobe  just like in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Although I don't keep fur coats in it. Just furry cats. Sometimes.

Anyways, I digress.

The house in it's current glory! We still need to paint the door.
And we are hoping to add shutters in the not to distant future.
And as long as we're talking big... 
expand the porch out and put in more landscaping. :)
Oh, and a bench swing! Definitely need one of those....

Also, notice the lights on either side of the door?

They started looking out like this. Stained and simply hideous brass. 
In fact, I rescued them from the garbage!

But add a little spray paint magic, and they're beautiful!

I love them so much now. Yay!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Simple Life. (Part One)

Lately, I have come to realize that I don't believe in choosing to live "the simple life".Which, considering the amount of blogs I see out there about living the simple life, or about choosing simplicity, this may be somewhat of a shocker statement to put on a blog. But let me explain...

Now, granted, if you live a life where a) you're never at home and b) you have tchotchkes lining your shelves like can-can dancers, you might need to simplify your life some.

But, my worries are, that all too often living the simple life, means living the selfish life. The question is, does living the simple life equal living the Godly life?
I doubt it.

Also, I worry that there are wonderful women out there, feeling guilty that they are not living up to someone else's standard of the perfect life, the simple life.

I think the magazine, Real Simple, with the motto, "life made easier" pretty much sums it up. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm all for reducing repetitive tasks or finding clever solutions. And I like anything that involves efficiency and effectiveness. Although, much to my own sinful dismay at times, I've noticed that God isn't a huge fan of efficiency. But, life made easier, isn't what it's all about.

Kitties complicate life.

Another beef I have with this movement is the word "simple", itself. Look it up in a dictionary. It isn't exactly a compliment. Or you can read the definitions below from Merriam-Webster...

1: free from guile : innocent
2a : free from vanity : modest b : free from ostentation or display <a simple outfit>
3: of humble origin or modest position <a simple farmer>
4a : lacking in knowledge or expertise <a simple amateur of the arts> b (1) : stupid (2) : mentally retarded c : not socially or culturally sophisticated : naive; also : credulous
5a : sheer, unmixed <simple honesty> b : free of secondary complications <a simple vitamin deficiency> c (1) : having only one main clause and no subordinate clauses <a simple sentence> (2) of a subject or predicate : having no modifiers, complements, or objects d : constituting a basic element : fundamental e : not made up of many like units <a simple eye>
6: free from elaboration or figuration <simple harmony>

 Looking at these terms personally leaves me with no desire to simple. In fact, it makes me want to be pretty much the opposite. 

In the Bible, no where does God call us to simplify our lives. Nor does he call us to be simple. Usually, women in the Bible have lives that are just the opposite. Most gals in the Bible are, gasp, rich. That's right rich. And that wasn't in opposition to being Godly! I've been reading through Acts lately, and I'm amazed how often Paul visits a city and the prominent women of the city are mentioned.

These women in the Bible had anything but simple lives,yet they were considered Godly. In fact they had undoubtedly had way more complicated lives than most people living in America. They had servants. And if there's one thing that makes life complicated and that requires wisdom, it's people.
And so do brothers who play with your camera and take pictures of kitties.

Simple & easy isn't what the Christian life is. Simple and easy does not force us to cry out to God for help. In fact, often he calls us to the opposite in our lives. The people I admire the most have usually had great hardships that have had to overcome. And what classic literature is about the hero decluttering his closet?* Classic literature is all about hard and complicated situations.

Instead of Simple & Easy, God often gives us Complicated and Hard.  Because Complication in our life brings wisdom. Hardness brings perseverance. Both bring growth and depth to our life. And dependence on God. Often it seems like you've just mounted one hurdle and then God brings another need, another person, another problem into our life. Should we run away from these, because they'll ruin our Simple Life? Our family often says "Life is Tough and then you die." And while we say it with half a smile, there is a great amount of truth to that.  Life is tough, and that's okay. Praise the Lord.

Are people going to remember you for having the time to do everything that was important for "you" or
are they going to remember you for having the time to do everything that was important for others?

What story are you leaving behind?

*Yes, yes, there is balance in managing our possessions wisely. More later...

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Cabin

Thus ends our time in the Sierras. I've more or less collected some of the photos that were taken at the cabin and the pond (ran out of room, guess there's another post in order) and collected them into this post, so things aren't in chronological order.

So here's the quick low down on the cabin. About fifty years ago, two couples (one set being my mom's parents) decided it would be neat to build a cabin in the Sierras. They each invited another couple to join them. Then they set about building a cabin that could hold quite a few people, but still seemed rustic and small. Over the next couple of years the families worked on building it together. My mom's family was in Europe quite a bit at the time, so at one point, my grandfather flew back and built all of the cabinets on trip. Mom also has memories of nailing the cedar planks onto the walls. Hopefully I'm remembering this right? Mom?

Then after a while, one of the families moved to Florida. The other couples decided to invite my other grandparents to join. Of course, this was before my parents were even dating...  ;P  So I have lovely memories of going here with both grandparents. :)

Here be the outside. It's nothing fancy. And check out the street names... Muriettas Roost refers to a stage coach robbers hangout. Pretty awesome in my book.

The boys playing Dominion. 
Notice all the swim towels on the deck? It may get cold at night, but the air is so dry things dry out really quickly!

We play a lot of games at the cabin! Here Jacob is teaching Grandma how to play nine square. 

And on another day, Dad, Jacob and Mom playing Bingo while Grandma observes.

When I was little this table was SO HUGE. Then in between trips I grew like four inches and I came back and was totally shocked at how it had shrunk-ed!.

Also, when they built the cabin, the group decided NOT to put in a dishwasher. Thus, doing the dishes is an integral part of the cabin, too.

Scot and Juli whipping up a delicious something.

Not a super exciting photo, but it does show the banister. And yes, this a real banister that you can slide down. And yes, I slide down it every trip.

Every laundry/mud room should have swinging saloon doors.

And there's no garbage service either. Here Andrew and Jacob are taking care of that problem.

And just a sample of the awesome decor.... Every cabin should have reward posters, right?