Sunday, June 24, 2012

Grab a Stamp--Please?

Hey there. Just returned from visiting Caspian and struggling to help him fit in with a bunch of kids he really has nothing in common with. After sitting in the circle with him and listening to everyone discuss their 'greatest accomplishments', I realized that since he hasn't done drugs, been abused, or gone to school, he really had nothing to connect with most of these kids.
Anyway, he told me that letters and cards make all the difference to him, so I am asking anyone who is willing to take a moment to send him a note, a card, something to make him smile. Just leave a comment here or contact me via email and I will share the address with you. Thanks!

Friday, June 22, 2012


Hello all (yes, you DOZEN of followers, I mean YOU!). We had a wonderful trip to Maupin. It is the first time we have gone there and back and not spent time on the side of the road with some kind of malfunction. :) Almost made me nostalgic for engine problems. Almost.
It was a hot, sunny, windy weekend and I was reminded of how much I adore camping there. The beauty is amazing. Nicole and I read two books each, wrote lots and lots of letters, and talked. There were a few naps taken, plus tasty meals from the cooler and made on the cook stove. Both sons were missed, but we also did not have to worry that they were bored AND we never ran out of food. :)
Since we have returned, I have gotten back to work, Nicole is taking doula training, and life continues.

Here is one thing I don't get though.
If you've been reading here or know me in person, you know that high blood pressure is a problem for me. I have been to a couple of doctors and I am taking three medications to keep it under control. Well, to try and do so, because basically, nothing works. They thought it was caused by kidney stones. Stones are gone now (some MUCH MORE painfully than others). They attributed it to the hyperparathyroidism. They fixed that too. High BP is still there. WITH meds, it averages 180/110. Without, well . . . let's just not go there.
Only ONE THING seems to stop it. ONE. And it makes me mad 'cuz I really don't like the ONE at all.  It's the paleo diet. J. wants this diet 24/7 and I cannot argue with the research, but it just isn't ANY FUN. I really struggle with it.
What happens when doing something you really, really don't like results in two things you REALLY DO (lowered BP and losing weight)??? Talk about ambivalence!
I don't know what it is about the damn diet that has this reaction with me. It isn't not drinking coffee, because I've gone coffee free before and it made no difference. It isn't not using salt--I don't use salt. Whatever it is, it's fast. Today, with meds, my BP is down almost 100 points from where it was a week ago. That's a bunch, man. (And helps to explain why I am so tired I don't want to get off the couch.) I'm already cutting back on meds and we've only been doing this for TWO DAYS. That just doesn't make sense to me. . . .
Oh well. It's just food, right? Eat what you don't like but live way longer (or maybe you just feel like you do?!).  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Maupin Bound (One Way or Another)

Tomorrow is the departure day for our annual trek to the desert region of Oregon. Yes, boys and girls, time for VW camper buses from all over the country to gather in a lovely valley appropriately named the Oasis. Surrounded by the roaring white water river on one side and mountains on the others, it is time for hippies to reunite amid tie dying, beer tasting, music playing, and much more. It is the highlight of our summer in many ways. We start counting the day when spring is just starting.

This year's experience is going to be a bit different than in the past, however. A BIG plus is that Nicole will be here. Last year, she was in Alaska when we went to the event and although I had a nice time, it was definitely not as fun without her with me. Those long hours writing letters in the sunshine were a lot lonelier. This year, she IS home and will be with us. Another plus is that my work schedule opened up enough that I won't be worrying about what I should be doing.

On the minus side of the equation . . . . neither son will be with us. Caspian is back at NYC doing the summer session of work out in the wilderness. He will not be home until July 22, but a parent's weekend will let us visit somewhere in between. Coryn is going to stay home so that he can go camping with a group of his friends from the community center. The six are already down to three. :)

The other minus . . . we will be driving our Mercury Van Villager to this VW event. (I wish I could find a license plate holder that said, "My other car is a Volkswagen . . . but it's in 500 parts in the garage.") Why? Because the engine of the bus is not IN the bus. Joseph has been working on it all week and got to the point of putting it back in . . . and can't do it. He tried for hours and hours and hours yesterday. Coryn and Nicole were right there helping him. Today, his arms are COVERED in bruises--looks like someone beat him. And the engine is still on the floor. We have asked others for help, but to no avail. Everyone is . . .  too busy, apparently.

So today will be spent unearthing the camping trailer, filling the coolers, checking sleeping bags, buying a new air mattress, and making lists of what else needs to be done. I am very sad that we can't go in the bus, more for how I know it impacts Joseph than anything else, but I am still excited about getting away for four days and soaking up the sunshine in one of the most beautiful places on earth. The carriage that takes me there is just not relevant to me.

Off to the desert!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Life Lessons

Yesterday was a . . . tough day. We dealt with an  . . . organization, shall we say? . . . that was rude enough and unpleasant enough that I heard my husband YELL for the first time in . . . 20 years? He just doesn't do that. Half a dozen phone calls, and lots of tears (on my part) later, the situation is resolved, but not in the way we had hoped at all. Nicole wisely reminded me that from every crappy thing life has ever done to any of us, we tend to either find (1) laughter (later, sometimes MUCH later) or (2) valuable life lessons. Smart girl.

So, what did we learn yesterday?
1. Banks see you as numbers, not people with unique circumstances.
2. Sometimes laughing, even when you don't feel like it, helps.
3. Nothing makes challenges easier than the love of your family.
4. My children are amazingly generous souls.
5. If you hang tough and tight together, you can get past almost anything.

Thanks for the reminders, life. Lessons learned.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Oh No! Not another educational experience?!

In the last few days, our family has actually watched a couple of educational movies and . . . oh my! . . . . enjoyed them immensely. We watched "Temple Grandin" and found it amazing. Claire Danes was incredible and all of us were fascinated by Grandin's brilliance. Then, we watched "The King's Speech". Also just amazing. An insight into history, as well as the portrayal of great friendship, dedication and courage.

Of course, now that they are over, the husband says, "Put in 'Zombie Strippers'".
Education has many different faces, right?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Followed by a Perfect Saturday

This morning, Joseph and I slept in until 9. We then got up and went to downtown Gresham for a delicious coffee and a stroll through the Saturday Market. He bought tomato plants and herbs for the garden, while I bought some bagels. Then we followed our tradition and bought a bratwurst (on a stick, Jose!), sat on the curb and ate them while we people watched. Then, we walked slowly back to our car. All I could think the entire time is that these ARE those moments we will remember and cherish. I can't imagine going through my life with a better man, or being luckier than I am to have him, four beautiful and successful children, a strong and fulfilling career and this perfect Saturday morning.

There are worries, concerns, problems and conflicts, of course. But for today, they have been pushed to the background and I am focusing on the blessings. Wishing the same for each of you who stopped by to read.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Gold Star Day

Yesterday was one of those really nice days . . . highlighted by: resolving a tax issue that had weighed on me and it was virtually painless; Nicole PASSED HER DRIVER'S TEST, so she is a licensed driver now (and drove herself to work this morning, which was wonderful since she has to be there at 5:15 a.m. and that is SO hard to do) and we went out for ice cream to celebrate. As we were leaving, my two sons--my all grown up 16 and 19 year old sons--started dancing with me (yes, both at the same time) and seeing who could twirl me the best. :)
Those are the moments I want to cling to with both hands and never, ever, ever let go. A good day.