04 May 2009


Sending my concerns into the universe was liberating. By voicing my fears, I let them go. And again, the universe answered me. With a little help we are going with the flow once more. It is not an official flotation device, more like those little inflatable things that go around your arms. But they work. Bills are lower than expected, we are working a few extra hours, Ryan has diversified into lawn care. It gives us hope. Once again, we feel like we just might make it here.

Yesterday was not the anticipated cold and rainy day, but an unexpected warm and sunny one. A gift from Mother Nature. Walking around the grounds with a clipboard, we made a list of every yard project we started last year but did not finish. We divided them into projects that do and do not require cash. And then we busted butt!

It is so wonderful to see it all come together. The horseshoe-shaped flowerbed between the house and the barn is finally finished. Some plants have been patiently waiting to be planted for about a year and a half. They must be so happy to finally be able to stretch their roots. I could almost hear them sigh with pleasure. Ahhhhh...

Years ago I started a list of all the things that make me happy. I borrowed the idea from a talk show host whose name escapes me right now. Yesterday I thought of my Happiness List for the first time in a long time. The first entry is the smell of freshly cut grass.

Watching my husband and my daughter mow the lawn together at the end of the day while the scent of grass tickles my nose is the epitome of happiness.

01 May 2009

The Need To Bead

I have been working for Bello Modo for about ten months now. I should clear up right off the bat I am NOT a jewelry maker. Never have been. I was perfectly safe here. I could work with all the pretty, shiny, yummy beads and still go home with a full paycheck rather than owing the boss money at the end of the month because I spent it all on beads.

Slowly but surely, as I got more familiar with the inventory and the art of jewelry making, an urge to be creative started to build inside. At first I could satisfy it with website work and reorganizing the shop. But soon that was no longer enough. I expanded my activities to include some crafty projects, embellishing a birdhouse and a notebook with some very cool brass pieces.

Then one day, Pam brought back gold, copper, and silver colored heart banded resin donuts. I cannot say exactly what about these beauties I love so much but my need to bead could no longer be contained. Yesterday I made my very first necklace. I added a few large copper resin nuggets and strung it all together with a handful of seed beads. Add a large copper clasp and voila, this is what you get.

Now I am really in trouble...

30 April 2009

Long Live The Queen!

It's Queen's Day today in Holland. The day the Dutch celebrate Queen Beatrix's birthday. It's not really her birthday, though. It's her mother's birthday, the late Queen Juliana. And her brother-in-law's. Beatrix's birthday is in January. However, since her palace is too small to host a party for all of Holland, the event is usually celebrated outside. And it's cold outside in January. Practical as we Dutch are, Beatrix decided not to change the date of Queen's Day when she assumed the throne.

Naturally I will have an orange beer in her honor tonight. Hip, hip, hurray!

Update: I just read on a Dutch news site how this year's Queen's Day turned deadly when someone drove his car into the crowd cheering on Queen Beatrix and her family, killing five people and wounding thirteen others. That makes me so sad.

24 April 2009

Dead Fish & Dirty Towels

I listen to KAOS (public radio) in the morning when I drive to work. Shortly after 8 o'clock radio columnist Jim Hightower comes on. He comments on US politics, "battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be." His column is sponsored by the publisher of his book 'Swim against the current, even a dead fish can go with the flow'. I haven't read the book but I think the title is brilliant!

We filed our taxes last week. Had to be done. It was not good. We knew it was coming, but it was still a shock when we actually saw the numbers. Stress levels in this family have gone up a bit since then. We decided to throw in the towel, then took it out again. Threw it in again, and took it out once more. We keep going back and forth and the towel is getting quite dirty.

My Olympic Adventure has become a constant struggle. For all its beauty, we do not own our property, it owns us. The burden is gaining weight. There is so much potential here, I am convinced it is a worthy fight. But as much as we try to go with the flow, we swim mostly against the current these days. And it is wearing us out. We are not moving forward, not even a tiny bit, we are barely staying afloat. It breaks my heart to write this, but we are in serious danger of drowning. I think it might be time to get out of the water.

So, since the universe seems to be in tune with my blog, I am throwing it out there once more: if this is meant to be, can we please get a sign of some sort? And perhaps a flotation device? Thank you!

22 April 2009

Words Of Advice

Every morning on my way to work, I pass the Lutheran Church on the corner of 46th Avenue and Boston Harbor Road. They have one of those message boards in the front yard, the same kind you mainly see in front of supermarkets and video stores. The message on it is renewed every couple of weeks. The current message reads:

"A sunrise is God's way of saying Lighten Up!"

It makes me smile every time.

14 April 2009

Sing-A-Long Post

Because The Sound of Music is a classic, everyone should be able to sing along! Here we go. One, two, three...

Raisins in noses
A daughter that cringes
Saline filled hoses
And blue bulb syringes
One screaming toddler
That's tied down with strings
These are a few of my least favorite things

I didn't really tie Lola down with strings, I pinned her down with my legs but that doesn't rhyme. Nor was it a hose filled with saline. Just a little tube. In the end there was no raisin to be found in her nose. She probably just pushed up a booger while she was picking her nose and eating raisins at the same time.

That'll teach her!

13 April 2009


No sunshine for Washingtonians this Easter. Just rain and lots of it! So much rain in fact, that when Ryan opened the front door this morning, two ducks took off. They had mistaken our lawn for a pond.

11 April 2009

Arts & Crafts

A few days ago I played hooky and left work early to enjoy a few hours of sun. Totally engrossed in planting petunias, I lost track of time and was a little late picking up Lola. Carla opened the door looking frazzled, begging me to take my child far, far away. The child was already in her jammies and her hair looked wet, as if she had just taken a bath. I wasn't that late. Hmmm, strange...

It turns out Lola is slowly becoming a One Nap A Day Girl and didn't sleep at all during her afternoon nap. She just hung out in her crib. Evidently she got bored after a while and decided to do some painting. With the contents of her diaper. Poor Carla. While I was enjoying the sunshine and fresh air, she had to deal with my filthy child. And I honestly thought Lola hated getting her hands dirty!

We brought Carla a basket of petunias to make amends. And LOTS of baby wipes.

10 April 2009

The Day My World Changed Forever

I cannot recall what the weather was like on the day Lola was born. Yesterday I looked at pictures of my boss' daughter giving birth. It was a beautiful series of a beautiful event. The soon-to-be mother had her eyes closed for the duration of the birth. She probably won't remember what the weather was like either.

I caught myself looking at the clock frequently yesterday, counting the hours until 9:00 PM. That was the hour my water broke two years previous, announcing Lola's arrival. Two years ago at this very moment I was still huffing and puffing away. And counting my way through contractions. I counted for 23 hours straight.

Lola is not yet aware of the significance of her birthday. I am. It is more than the day she was born. For me it is the anniversary of The Day A Mother Was Born. I know in time, when Lola gets older, this day will be all about her. And that is as it should be. But for now, it is very much about me, too.

Happy Birthday, Lolalief. I love you. I am deeply honored, grateful, and blessed to be your mother. And Happy Birth Day, me!

09 April 2009

Lizard Killer

The other day when I moved a large bucket that had been sitting outside all winter, I accidentally woke up a little salamander that had gone into hibernation underneath it. His rude awakening did not make him happy, in spite of the lovely weather. Obviously it was way too early for him.

When I looked for him the next day, I expected him to be gone. But no, he was still there. The poor creature had fallen onto his back and was not able to flip himself over. He laid there helplessly waving his tiny limbs in the air. Judging by his slow movements, he was still not fully awake. I helped the little fellow up.

I looked again the next day, and to my horror I found a totally dehydrated, and very dead, little salamander. I felt awful. His state of slumber had apparently kept him from finding a new dark, cold, and soggy spot to continue his sleep. He had not survived a day of sunshine with temperatures in the seventies.

When I went online to find out more about the habits of salamanders, I thought at first he was a Van Dyke salamander, a VERY RARE species, found only in Western Washington. The species is somewhat at risk because of low numbers due to the small area where it lives. And now there was one less and it was my fault. How was I going to live with myself?

However, it was most likely a Plethodon Vehiculum, or Western Red-backed salamander, a moderately common species that doesn't move around much. It wasn't lack of sleep that kept him from finding a better spot, it was his character. I am still a lizard killer, but not responsible for expediting extinction. Phew.

08 April 2009

Stand By Me

For my loved ones, the newborn babies, this month's birthday girls and boys, the newlyweds, my good friends, our families near and far away, and all the wonderful people in my life...

Here are some more Songs Around The World:
One Love
Don't Worry

07 April 2009

Yard Work

We spent the weekend playing outside in the sun. Raking yet more branches and twigs, and clearing the patch next to the barn. We burnt as much debris as we could. There is so much to be done still. Sometimes it feels like it's never ending. At the same time it's instant gratification, cleaning up the mess from last year's barn building and the winter weather. I never thought I would love gardening as much as I do.

If we don't pay her, is it still considered child labor?

I've got it, papa!

The start of a new front yard

Trilliums popping up in the path

Moment of Zen

No Lola, you can't eat these!

The new herb garden

Successful trillium transplants

She hates getting her hands dirty

Burn, baby, burn!

04 April 2009

Going With The Flow

Working out makes me feel good and it makes me look better. Nevertheless, I almost always have to push myself to go to the gym. That is not the case with yoga. Yoga is my new crack, along with blogging. I have wanted to take yoga classes for years but never actually got around to it until I was pregnant. And despite my best intentions, I didn't keep it up after Lola's birth. Until late last year.

I didn't want to be one of those New Year's Resolutions People that crowd the gym for a few weeks after January 1, so I started my yoga routine in December. (Coinciding with our move into the barn and the loss of a shower. They have wonderful showers at the gym.) Usually I take two classes a week: Gentle Yoga and Yoga Basics. The first emphasizes relaxation, the second is much more of a work out. Both are great, and I feel thoroughly revived after each class.

Maya, my Monday night yoga teacher was teaching in Hawaii this week (on a side note: what is up with EVERYONE going to Hawaii this year?) and her class was taught by Anne. Anne normally teaches Gentle Yoga on Saturday mornings. I really liked her teaching style. And since I did not have a child this morning, I got up when Ryan left for work and went to the gym to treat myself to Anne's regular class.

Every one of my yoga teachers has her own way of teaching. I love all of them; each fulfills a different need. Anne appears to be a grounded person yet spiritual at the same time. She radiates energy. She said things in class this morning that resonated in me. "Send your dreams into the universe. Give what you seek and receive it tenfold." She told us to take our deepest desires into our hearts and thank the universe as if we had already received them, whatever they were.

I find it interesting that the very second I voice my anger at the universe, I am reminded that all I have to do is ask and I shall receive. It feels like the universe commented on yesterday's post through Anne. If I put out there what it is I need, what I dream about, what I desire, I can make it happen. It is the power of believing that makes us realize our dreams.

I have been pondering the question all morning. What is my deepest desire? What do I really want the universe to give me? What do I NEED? "Money" seems to be the obvious answer, but there is more to it than that. I am going to do some more meditating on the subject and just go with the flow in the meantime. There is lovely spring weather to enjoy. The Farmer's Market is opening this weekend, and there is always yard work to be done.

03 April 2009

Balancing Act

In my last Wednesday night yoga class we practiced a new balancing pose. It is called a half moon pose. I did reasonably okay on my right leg, but failed miserably on my left. Or was it the other way around? I don't know what that says about me. Something insightful, I'm sure.

Earlier that day Ryan and I had a fight. A BIG fight. It came out of nowhere. Anger, fear, frustration, and resentment just poured out of both of us without any real cause. It surprised me. Because in spite of our circumstances, we are doing okay. Much better than the year before, I think. I mean that.

But it doesn't take much, evidently, to throw us off balance. We are so absorbed in our survival that we pay too little attention to romance. To doing things as a couple. We work, eat, crash. Our Friday night Date Night isn't much of a date these days. We need to redirect our energy to us. We can only make it through this if we find our balance together.

I am very angry with the universe at times. All I wanted was a family of my own. I do not understand why I have to forsake EVERYTHING else including plumbing, now that I have my wish. I am sure in a few years I will understand the point to this balancing exercise but I fail to see it right now.

I am not too blinded by our life however, to realize we are being looked after. Just after Ryan had left Wednesday morning, and I was left wondering what to do now, the phone rang. It was our Fairy Godmother whom we hadn't spoken to in months. She felt she needed to call us. Talking to her cleared the way to talk to each other.

Today all is right in our world again. Relatively speaking, of course. Still no plumbing. Tonight we will have our Date Night. Lola is spending the night at Carla's allowing us to practice balancing poses together. Or something.