Friday, July 31, 2009

Lurking in the Flowers

There are good reasons I sent my husband ahead of me with a broom, brushing away spider webs, before I'd take pictures of my beautiful sunflowers this morning. And here the evil, lurking thing is . . . I swear I saw the bee buzzing as I snapped picture of neighboring flowers and when next I looked, it was deathly still. Upon looking closer, I saw this eery white spider. We'd met before, this spider and I. The last time I took pictures of the sunflowers. That time I  was sure he was going to attack my camera lens (as you may remember in previous post!). Oh, he's ugly!
The heat has broken here in Portland. Thank god! We finally joined the long lines of desperately hot and irritable people buying air condition units on Wed. Well, hubby did as I was steaming in clients' homes doing "therapy" -- what kind of therapy occurs when your brains are bubbling with heat? I'll tell you. Not much kind of therapy. However, there's a kind of bonding that occurs in mutual misery -- those that sweat together, stay together? When I came home, I found the family nearly worshipping the AC unit. I should have taken a picture of the two kids kneeling at the foot of the black, cool-air breathing machine. Priceless! 
Today the kids and I have all sorts of plans for enjoying the break in the weather, beginning with a morning trip to the park to ride bikes and take pictures. Then, perhaps a movie so mom can finish her notes and complete evals for the class she is teaching. After that? Water play!! Still need to gather more photos of our fountain trips to submit for a blog entry for ShutterSisters. I'm having serious performance anxiety. I thought perhaps I would write back and say that the city of Portland shut the water off to all the fountains. Or perhaps the dog at my camera? 

Monday, July 27, 2009

Heat Wave and an Attitude Adjustment

The irony is not lost on me. I'm about to whine about an impending heat wave that I anticipate nearly being the death of me and my kin in our sweltering house . . . and it was only weeks ago that I was bemoaning cool, overcast skies.  But you don't understand (must imagine the long drawn out syllables of a fatally wronged child in mid-winge) . . . we don't have AC and with each day of exceedingly hot weather, the temp in the house builds, failing to recover fully with the drop in night time temps. Give us three days of high 90's/low 100's and our house temp will hover in the high 80's. And yes, children are starving in 3rd world countries and we should be grateful for the simple pleasure of water fountains and sprinklers. But I just want to sit in my misery for a bit. How's that for honest. PMS. That explains everything. And the heat. We escaped our house Saturday and spent a very pleasant couple of hours on the river. The children were in mud and sand heaven and we got to watch a drunk jet ski rider get arrested. Good fun! Man, I need an attitude adjustment. 
My sunflower garden! It's a bloom'n. I snuck out one evening last week to capture the light on the petals while hubby did the honors of bath time. Never fear, karma bit me in the hind quarters by way of large, white, preternaturally freaky spider perched on one of the flowers. Should say crouching on one of the flowers, posed for imminent attack. It eyed me and my camera lens as if ready to launch itself on a kamikaze mission. I backed away slowly and thought I had averted certain spider death when I felt a light tickle on my shoulder -- not the same spider but surely a disgruntled relative. Knocked that sucker to the ground and stomped him good. Apparently hubby had finished baths and watch my little spider dance/shriek routine from the kitchen window. 

Putting aside my snarky attitude for a bit, I have made progress on renovating the wooden doll house that I intend to take to word. Sanded yesterday and today will cover some of the walls with a sweet rosebud print contact paper. I also plan to add a few decorative touches and sand the few pieces of furniture that I have at this point. Still on the hunt for used doll house furniture on craigslist. I'll be sure to post pics of this little feat in "home improvement" when it is done!

Despite my anticipation of doom and much sweating, the morning is beautiful and I think I'll drag my tots out to enjoy it while we can!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Zen To-do List

1. Sand and generally clean up used wooden dollhouse and accessories for my office . . . necessitating a trip to
2. Craft store run
3. Grocery shopping
4. Laundry 
5. Few odds and ends in paperwork
6. Adventuring at local water fountains for kid play and photo ops
7. Mow the lawn? we'll see.

And . . . 
1. Practice breathing when children begin fussing for no known reason prompting me to want to run screaming into my own bedroom
2. Put the to-do list aside when they are vying for my attention -- the rest can wait
3. Appreciate beauty wherever it might be -- like the sunflowers beginning to bloom in my overgrown backyard. Don't need to move to enjoy them!
4. Connect with friends.

Hope your day is full of just the sort of things and people you need today! Cheers.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Parting "shot" from Hawaii

Our last morning in Maui, we took a "ridge" walk with cameras in hand. As we moved from the beach where early morning sunbathers witnessed a marriage ceremony at the edge of the surf, we saw the landscape change from lush green to open fields and plant life more suited to an arid environment. The above pic was a detour we took from the path, chasing orange butterflies. The sassy things were never captured on camera but teased us through out our walk!

One of my goals was to take some "night" photos but I was too shy to use my tripod. These evening pictures were just after the sun had set. I love the colors. Soothing. 
Hubby and I played a ridiculous game as we drove through the main street of Lahaina. At a stop, I was to take a picture of whatever presented itself. Um, interesting idea in is conception not so fab in application! Moving targets, damp windows and did I mention it was dark! We got a few good laughs and probably frightened a few hapless tourists on the street. 
My beach happy feet . . . 

Now I must go to work. Hmm. Not sure I'm mentally prepared for the human chaos that is waiting. I think I'll take a few of these pics and turn a little corner of my office into my own "happy place." Cheers!

Monday, July 20, 2009

More Maui

This has been a very productive day. Most Maui photos processed (so more to come, poor readers), groceries bought and menu planned, car washed and now two blog entries written. Mercy. Time for a nap. Still struggling to adapt to change in time . . . seemed easier when I was younger and didn't have children and a job. Hmm. 
I don't suppose you remember many moons ago an ill-fated rainbow hunt that I and the family set out on? We should have set sail to Hawaii! There were rainbows everywhere, at every turn. It was an embarrassment of rainbows. At some point, I simply had to put my camera down and say "enough." :) They provided a wonderful opportunity to see what exactly what a polarizing lens can do . . . my hubby pointed out that when I twist the durn thing, I can make the rainbow "pop" or completely disappear. The really exciting discovery was that if I tilted my head to the side while wearing my polarized sunglasses, I could also make the rainbow disappear. Did you know that? I sure didn't. Quite the pretty picture the pair of us standing with our heads to the side staring at a rainbow slant-wise. 
Hubby and I found ourselves wondering aloud about the lives and people who vacation in the fabulous resorts we strolled past. So extravagant and beautiful . . . It's a bit like the rainbows. If you experience breathtaking rainbows at every turn, do you begin to lose appreciation? I mean, do you expectations for a "good" rainbow change? It must be a full double rainbow with all colors demonstrated or it simply doesn't make the grade? 
Hubby and I were amazed by the blue of the ocean. It changed depending on the light and depth and who knows what other factors. Just simply amazing. I could watch waves curl and crash and then roll back out to sea all day. There was endless variety in beaches. On some, we saw swells of several feet breaking on the sand. Saw a few hapless tourists attempt to body surf and get tumbled in the waves . . . heedless of the bored lifeguard's warnings over the loudspeaker. Silly college boys. On other beaches there were black volcanic rocks that provided obstacles for the surf to surge around. The sand varied to beach to beach as well -- soft and fine, rough pebbles and again, the ever present reminders of what birthed the island. 
I promise to subject you to more pics and ramblings soon. Ma-wa-ha-ha (evil laugh)!

Home from, or perhaps returned to, Paradise

Ah, our trip was wonderful and surreal. We arrived in Maui after midnight and navigated in our musty economy car in the dark to find our accommodations. Neither of us had traveled by air for quite some time and boy, have things changed. There was the charge for each check in bag (two) and then the steady invitation to BUY a snack or meal on our 5+ hour flight. Thank goodness my mom, a more recent and experienced traveler, encouraged us to stash granola bars in our carry ons. We stumbled into our room a little unsteady on our feet and stunned by the proposition that the only people we had to worry about was ourselves . . . we adjusted quickly;) The above pic is the very first I took -- early the next morning as we wondered the beach in front of our condo. There is a three hour difference between home and Paradise which meant we were up early and dragging our feet by 8 or 9pm. 
We decided that the best way to spend those first early hours was to explore and take pictures. We found tucked away beaches, fishermen working with their nets and even more adventuresome tourists snorkeling before the sun could be said to be properly in the sky. 
The two above pics was found on a wonderfully unique beach at the end of an out of way 4x4 accessible road -- we walked. Beautiful vining flowers crawled along the sand, coral and shells were plentiful along the water's edge . . . there was a lone camper on the beach with his tent. He seemed to be collecting treasures at the water's edge. Unfortunately, there were many dead fish in various stages of decay on the beach. We theorized that a rather lively 4th of July beach party resulted in mass fish carnage. We didn't take pictures . . . aren't you glad?
Our first sunset. Never fear, I got lots of opportunity to try my brand spanking new polarizing lens. This is just to wet your appetite;) 

We arrived in San Francisco near midnight Friday night and at my parents' on Saturday morning. Our sweet children were very excited to see us and we were ready to be home. Yesterday we made the 11 hour trek back to Portland. There's a to-do list a mile long to settle in and prepare for work tomorrow but first we'll savor being home. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Back to the Grindstone

Albeit only for 3 days, I'm putting the harness back on and getting ready to dutifully plod my way to work this morning. Being the dutiful worker bee that I am (like how I mix the metaphors?), I've already checked my email and will likely check voicemail in the car . . . its amazing how quickly things can go awry in one week! I'd like to think that little ol' me is holding it all together and my absence constitutes a general falling apart at the seams but that ain't so. More likely, this is the level of chaos that generally exists in community mental health and I'm just stepping back into the current after a little reprieve. Despite my general angst at leaping in fully clothed, I love this job. There's never a dull moment. Each day is unpredictable and the stories I could tell if I could tell them . . . :) 

I can tell you a story about a patient my friend and I overheard while waiting in the ER. If you have a thing about spiders, prepare to be eeked out. This gentleman stumped his way into the ER with a full leg cast that had some serious damage. It looked like someone had first taken a saw to it and then desperately went about trying to rip the durn thing off with his hands. When asked by the solicitous nurse what brought him into the ER today, he said, and I nearly quote: I woke up about twilight and saw a HUGE spider crawling into my cast. I think he bit me. I feel light headed. My friend and I exchanged horrified glances and spent the rest of our visit wondering what exactly had occurred, whether they would find a spider inside the cast and really, what would we do in a similar situation. I'd like to think that I'd remain calm (not so likely) and drown the sucker with a hose. Don't you think that's work? I mean, the cast is coming off anyway. My husband is less optimistic about my ability to problem solve with a spider camping in my leg cast -- he thinks it's more likely that I'd follow suit with the saw or whatever tool came handy to my hand. 

In other news this morning, we are only 3 days away from our trip!!!! Suitcases are out and partially packed, lists are being checked, anticipation is building. Tomorrow I get me a fake spray tan. Hey, I'm a little vain and I'd like to wear my swimsuit without perpetually asking my husband if he thinks I'm fat. Now there's an entirely different blog entry! 

Cheers and happy Tuesday!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Ode to my Mini Van

Alas, no photos today. Just a quick reflection on coming home to my family after 5 days away . . . 

I was standing in front of the baggage claim, looking down the long lines of cars creeping their way towards all the other waiting passengers when I saw our gray Honda Odyssey come into view. The thought I had was that it was a love-seeking missile, singling me out of the crowd as that one special person. When they pulled up, the windows were down and there was a chorus of delighted exclamations from my two tots. They were little rainbow packages in their tie die shirts, wriggling with excitement. They demanded that I sit between them in the middle row and they alternated between holding my hands, kissing me and sharing their beaded necklaces and bracelets. 

My sweet hubby had washed the car and detailed the interior. The van hasn't been that clean in months! What a home coming.

Today began with a pan of baked oatmeal. Yummy. Now for errands and checking the list for our trip later in the week. Just three more days before we drive to CA and then off to Hawaii! Yeah! 

Thursday, July 2, 2009


I have joyful news to report -- my friend is going to fine! No scary cancer. She is recovering at home, tired and sore. And I'm so glad that I can be here to support both her and the family. Big sigh of relief and lots of gratitude for prayers answered.