Tuesday, December 27, 2011

"Coffee Run!"

In our house, the words "coffee run" mean many things.
It may mean that Joseph and I, and usually Nicole, simply want a morning cup of coffee. Sure, we could have our own coffee maker at home so we wouldn't have to go out for that java, but . . . . then we wouldn't have "coffee runs".
So, when we go out for coffee, the least we do is get a cup of coffee. We also stop by the bank, go to the library, run by the post office, and other mundane errands. Not terribly exciting, I know, but I enjoy it. (Keep in mind--if I am home, I am working . . . if I am not home, I am not working. Make more sense now?) What else do we do? It usually depends on how much time I have that day to call my own, but those "coffee runs" typically include any of the following:
(1) delightful trips to Goodwill
(2) explorations of new coffee shops
(3) meals at exotic restaurants
(4) people watching galore
(5) singing to the radio
(6) laughing and talking with the family
(7) not working.
So, when someone yells, "COFFEE RUN!" in our house, it is little surprise that Tami shoves her shoes on quickly and finds her purse and one, two, or all three of the kids head for the van. In the Orr culture, "coffee run" means F-U-N, mixed with a little caffeine.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Please Send Healthy Thoughts . . .

Nicole was sick.
We put it down to some kind of food poisoning.
Until Joseph woke with it this morning. So please, please send healthy thoughts that no one else gets it. Coryn is supposed to go out of town this weekend for the holiday. Caspian works at the nursing home. Tami makes the family income. We really, really don't need this one. That has become my first official New Year's Resolution. The vomit stops here. :)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Odd, but Wonderful

A recent saying in our house--the worst experiences make for some of the best stories. We are absolutely positive this Christmas will qualify.
We planned to celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve because Nicole's new job required her to work all day on Christmas. The night before (Christmas Eve Eve), we got the presents put into the stockings and planned to put the others under the tree once people were in bed and not peeking.
We went to bed that night with great anticipation . . . I was looking forward to this Christmas more than I had in years.
The morning started with a touch on my shoulder and Caspian's voice saying, "Nicole needs you, Mom. She's sick."
Sick does not quite cover it. She was SICK. Throwing up uncontrollably sick.
The day was spent holding her hair back, bringing her water, emptying bowls, providing large amounts of sympathy, warming up heat packs, and hoping she felt better after each round. On the plus side, both of our sons were amazingly patient and kind about opening presents and waiting til she felt better. No pressure, no unhappiness--just sympathy.
We opened up some gifts about noon. Got about 1/3 through and then she needed a break to be sick. Then sleep. And sleep.
About 4 pm, we opened up some more. We finally finished and Nicole slept a bit more.
My favorite moment of the day? We were all done. Everyone had been pleased and surprised and we were heading out to our respective rooms when I said, Oh hey--Caspian you might want this, and handed him the P90X exercise program he had been wanting . . .he was so surprised. Then, I said, Oh Coryn, you might want this too and I tossed him the iPod Touch he has been lusting after for six or more months. He was SHOCKED. Almost speechless shocked. And I got the BIGGEST hug ever. Yea, best moments for sure.
And now it's Christmas Day. Nicole isn't going to work because heading to a kitchen to make baked goods for the elderly when you've been sick isn't wise. And presents got opened. And now the house seems quiet. I admit to really missing hanging out with family today. I wish we had a big family dinner to go to--wish I would spend part of today surrounded by people and chatting, but alas, no family out here to do so. I will, instead, most likely hang out in Powell's Bookstore, drinking coffee and looking across at my family and being infinitely grateful. A part of my heart is with those not here--always with them--but I send them love as well.
Hope your Christmas was wonderful or at least odd, but wonderful also.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Blindsided by Kindness

You know how life can sometimes just jump up and kick ya when you're least expecting it? We've all been there. No fun.
But sometimes, it does the opposite. You find yourself suddenly given something wonderful . . . something completely unexpected and kind and so generous. That happened to me today. I was given a gift from a friend--an amazingly generous, exciting gift that left me in tears and speechless. I have no idea how to say thank you enough . . . . except to let you know that my faith in the kindness of people was restored once again. Thank you, Delaine. Thank you more than I can say.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Light . . . . . .

Look! See that???
That glimmer in the distance? S L O W L Y growing brighter?
That would be the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.
Meaning . . . I might be, sometime soon, perhaps, just maybe getting closer to being caught up.
Of course, I am still behind four books, but it WAS EIGHT books, so a definite improvement. And I have several new companies that will kick in with work in January but right now that is forever away.
Of course, NO WORK for several days would be my number one Christmas wish anyway. I just want to sit back and relax and enjoy having my children here. I will deeply miss the people not sitting here, of course. Years later I miss the sound of my parents' voices on the phone. I always, always miss the sound of our oldest daughter's voice and hope she knows somewhere, somehow, in her heart or mind, or both, that she is loved and missed. I miss the slow southern drawl of my Texan friend who died a year ago. But, oh the golden sound of my kids laughing and talking, my husband's hand in mine, AND no work. Wowza.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

WHAT Eclipse at the Orr's?

We got up.
We put on warm PJs.
We went outside.
Yes, the moon was slowly disappearing.
Just wait, we said, just wait 'til it hits full totality and we see those amazing reds and oranges.
We waited.
Guess what?
The moon simply disappeared, as if under a cloud.
No colors, no excitement, nuthin'.
We kept checking, really we did. In between I read, Joseph surfed the net, the kids chatted.
At 6:15 we all said "to hell with it" and went back to bed. Now it's 10:30 and I'm back up and my whole schedule is whacked, and the eclipse? Next time I'll stay in bed.

Eclipse at the Orr's

The news and email kept letting us know that there would be a total lunar eclipse very early this morning. So, as we crawled into bed about 1 a.m, we set our alarms.

Blearily crawling back out four hours later, we donned warm PJs and came downstairs to find one boy already on the computer playing WOW, one son sound asleep, and one daughter walking around having not gone to bed at all. Oh, and a moon that is slowly disappearing.

So, here it is at 5:30 a.m. at our house and we walk out on the deck (brrrrr) every 15 minutes or so to watch the moon disappear. No pretty colors yet, but that is supposed to get here about 6, so trying to be patient. Once it is here, I plan to go "ooooh" and "ahhhhh" a lot . . . . yawn, take off the warm PJs and then crawl back in the bed with warm flannel sheets and a husband, and go back to sleep for a couple of hours. I have an entire book to write this weekend (what else is new lately?) so I need some rest.

How is the eclipse at your house?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Thrill of the Hunt

When I was growing up, my grandparents, who were actually quite wealthy, often behaved in ways that seemed poor . . . They wore worn, shabby clothes. They took all of the sugar packets and jam samples off of restaurant tables and took them home. They never spent money without agonizing over it. They even, my mother would tell me in hushed tones of embarrassment, went to (add a disdainful tone here) . .. GOODWILL. So, I was raised to think that going to Goodwill was a terrible thing. It was something only the poor people did if they couldn't afford to buy NEW things. When I lived in Indiana, I almost never, ever went to a Goodwill, even if I was broke. It was what the poor people did . . . right?

I have come a long way, baby. I now love Goodwills like no other store. I am in one of the six to eight stores in the Portland area every single week. I have found more treasures there than any of those silly pirates out on the ocean. I have found everything from electronics to purses, collectibles to furniture, clothing to books. And you know what? I am spoiled now. I walk into a retail store and my first reaction is LOOK AT THOSE PRICES!!!!! I cannot fathom putting out $30 for a pair of jeans, $25 for a sweater, $40 for a sweatshirt or $20 for a pair of shoes. No way.

About 90 percent of what I buy now comes from Goodwill . . .the only things that don't are items like underwear, toiletries, groceries, etc. And to this day, every time I walk into the store, I cannot wait to see what I will find. Unlike other stores, the merchandise here changes all the time. Even if I was just there two days ago, it will all be different. Almost everything I pick out will be less than $10 and often less than $5. I find beautiful paper, gorgeous wall hangings, lovely bedding, fashionable clothes, amazing purses, and comfy shoes. And I get everything I need for a tiny fraction of what it would have cost at a retail store.

Of course, my parents were horrified that I did so much shopping at Goodwill. I still have friends who don't go to thrift stores who tend to think I am either secretly poor or just eccentric for going there. They have no idea how exciting it is to walk in and paw through shelves to find that perfect item. They can keep their department stores and boutiques, their high end fashion shops and chains. I will happily go Good Will Hunting :) instead.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Overworked Woman in Gresham, Film at 11

I know, know, know how many people there are out there right now struggling to find work. I have been there, done that, and no t-shirt. It just sucks.
But right now, I have more work than I can handle and I am being hired by new companies left and right. Which is wonderful. Really. It is. But there are signs that I am getting overworked . . . I have nightmares, wake in the night shaking, wake up feeling nauseous, and can't let go at night when I crawl into bed. These are not good.
Last night, when going into a semi meltdown over something due and a site not allowing me access so I could finish it, my sweet oldest son came out and asked me to close my eyes and hold out my hands. (I don't do that for just anyone, ya know.) I did and in them he placed a kaleidoscope that I had raved about in Seattle. I have always loved kaleidoscopes and this is a truly gorgeous and unique one. We had all looked through it and oooohed and aaaaahed. Unbeknownst to me, while Nicole and I strolled on down the road, he went back and bought it for me.
I now keep it tucked in my front desk drawer. When feeling too stressed, I pull it out and sit back and watch it for a few minutes. It rests my eyes and my brain and it fills my heart--all at the same time.