Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Chaos Wins

Okay, I'll admit it.  I have gotten to a certain age where I find it necessary to use two kinds of deodorants.  I think it's one of those perimenopausal things that Oprah was going on and on about a few years ago... back when I was too young to pay attention to it.

Anyway, I like to use one that you twist and the stuff pops out of some little holes at the top.  Do you know what I mean? 

This morning, I hopped in the shower after my new crunch regimen (another necessity from this "aging" thing), lathered, rinsed (but did not repeat - have you seen how long my hair is?!), hopped out and went to apply my deodorant.

Open, twist the knob and apply to the left arm pit... twist again... nothing happens... twist again... nothing...

Sadly, deodorant is not like hand lotion.  When you're running low, you can't rub two armpits together to spread out the last little bit of deodorant.

Luckily, as I mentioned, I use two kinds.  So I think perhaps chaos and I came out even in this one.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


In my last post I wrote about my recital sickness... how I was missing the annual dance recital.  We didn't really talk with the girls about it, but I thought they were probably missing it too.  So we decided to fill their day with distractions.  And what a neat one we found too...

Okay, a confession...WE didn't find it.  Our friend Caryl asked us to meet up down there.  So, in the interest of full disclosure, it was her idea.

We took them to Portland's Rose Festival.  The Rose Parade was on Saturday, but since we're not really "parade people" (I'm sure our kids are parade people - John and I just are not), we skipped that part and took them to see the floats on Sunday.  This was MUCH better because we could get up close and see all the cool details of the floats.  Like the bee above...his beads are painted walnuts, hazelnuts, and well, other kinds of nuts.

I liked these:

And the girls really liked these:

Abby and Caryl checking out the flowers
This parade is like the better-known Rose Parade (you know, in Pasadena) where every covering has to be from nature: flowers, seeds, grasses, etc.

Then we walked along the river, sidestepping copious amounts of people, their children and dogs.  The girls were excited to see a man with a huge yellow snake around his neck...just walking through the crowd.  Nope, not a side show...just keeping Portland weird.

During the Rose Festival, they also have dragon boat races.  Not that I'm into rowing, or anything requiring physical exertion, but this looked like fun.  Some of the teams dressed alike or had funny names (for the life of me I cannot remember a single one right now!).  A crowd had gathered on the grass to watch and cheer them on.

We finished off with a libation at Rock Bottom Brewery and a Max ride back to the car.  And yes, the girls loved the Max...their first real "train ride."  (But trust me, that's a post all to itself - such interesting people ride the Max.  I kept having to remind the girls to stop staring.)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Recital Sick

This weekend was truly the first time I spent most of the weekend thinking, "If we were still in Michigan, I would be (insert activity here) right now." 

It was recital weekend there and I kept thinking about my fellow dance teachers (I really want to write "comrades in arms") at Connie Cassidy School of Dance  and all the struggles/problems/frustrations... and joys... that occur in these two short days.  Saturday is spent filling the stage as quickly as possible with class after class for rehearsal.  Shoe changes happen rapidly (and not so rapidly), last-minute tickets are sold, and questions about nearly everything are answered.  And on Sunday, nine months of weekly classes boil down to two hours on a red-curtained stage.

For nine years, I have spent a weekend in June in that theater, and I really missed it this year.  I kept remembering all the things I would do to move things along and solve problems and help where I could.  I kept thinking, "I should have told (insert name here) about (insert problem here)."  But I'm not so deluded as to think it can't be done without me.  And perhaps that bothered me a bit too...

But I also missed seeing all the hard work come together.  There have been years when I felt like certain classes would never pull something off, and they did.  There have been dancers that I thought would never "get it" and they did.  Strangely, I also missed all the goofs and problems and catching the eye of a fellow teacher with the look of "What just happened?" flashing between us.  And I missed seeing each dancer grow up as the years passed.

This year I'm also filled with guilt over the-recital-that-wasn't for my own daughters.  I miss the after-church rush of eating lunch and getting dressed into beautiful costumes.  I miss the frustration of trying to get Abby's long hair into a bun (or whatever she has in mind), and trying to get Ella to do something (anything PLEASE) with her hair.  I missed the battle over just how much make-up I would allow.  And the excited car ride to the high school...

And I missed the goofy grin I would get watching my girls dance... (the same grin I once chastised MY mother for wearing during my performances).

We didn't talk about it much at our house.  I know the girls are disappointed.  They love recital.  And we were so close... the costumes are hanging in their closets.  But it was time to put our family together again.

So I spent this weekend being "Recital Sick" (like being home sick) and trying not to show it.  I think we did a good job of distracting the girls from the day (and I'll tell you about that later), but it didn't work so well for me... (sigh)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


I have found that with each of our moves, we have been left with a hankering for some restaurant or place we've left behind.  When we moved from the Northwest ten years ago, that place for us was Edgefield.

Walking up to Edgefield's side entrance

It holds special memories for us because it was one of the first treasures we found when we hit the Portland area.  A little poor in both cash and friends, we'd head around the corner to Edgefield.  It's the county's old "poor house" that the McMenamin troupe has refurbished into a B&B, complete with gardens, extra restaurants, a brewery, a winery, a distillery, a three-par golf course and more.  Our "night out" would consist of wine tasting in the grotto-like wine bar while we dined on oyster crackers.  Sometimes we would splurge on the fifty-cent tasters.

But more than that, it's enchanting.  There is artwork everywhere - and I mean everywhere.  Even lighting and the necessary evils of buildings (like exhaust systems) are turned into something beautiful.

Edgefield outdoor light

Tiny, old outbuildings become charming settings with tables for two.  Winding paths lead to unique finds... like this one:

So, we were excited to take the kids there on Memorial Day.  The weather was iffy (and always is here it seems), but we were able to get in a few holes of golf - Wren only had "to go" once on the course - and end our time sitting outside while the kids slurped up chocolate shakes in the sun/rain/sun.

It was a good day...

But now I could really go for some Glenlord pizza...  (sigh).

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Three Hour Tour

I know I promised pictures of all the quaint details of our house, but you'll like this better.  I promise...

The Butcher came home last week and announced we were going on a hike Saturday.  The trip to the trail head was to be about an hour and he heard the hike was awesome, ending at a beautiful waterfall.  He even invited a friend and his kids to come along. 

It was going to be great - a wonderful reconnect-with-nature day.

But we woke up to this.

Rain.  Not just your typical Northwest Drizzle, but actual pouring rain. 

The Butcher would not be dissuaded as he packed a backpack with snacks, grabbed a handful of ND baseball caps (I swear, at one point we all had on ND baseball caps), and made sure the kids had "rain gear."

And off we went.

About an hour down the road and after much "Let me check the GPS," we turned around.  And a little after that, we turned around again.  And the kids complained of all the "turning around."  The "hour down the road" turned into two, and I reminded him of another "three hour tour."  Pretty sure he didn't appreciate that.

During the drive, the rain stopped and we finally made it to the trail head.  We piled out of the cars, checked to make sure we had coats, hats and snacks and headed into the woods.

Yes, it really says 2.2 miles.  We took a four year old on a 2.2 mile hike into the woods... and back to the car.  And truly, she did great.

And we were all rewarded with this.

But truly, the best parts involved singing silly songs along the trail (Wren turned it into "99 Barrels of Beer"), finding good "potty spots" for all the kids, forging a stream to stay on the trail, and getting to spend some time with some of my favorite people.

And the rain held off until we were all securely back in the cars...