23 June 2009

Eagle Spotting

I know. I really need to update Olympic Adventures with my latest adventures in camp living and beading. And I will. When I am a little less busy. For now I give you the ultimate American symbol: the Bald Eagle.

Our friend John has a view of an eagle nest from his front porch. The eagle toddlers are venturing out of the nest while papa eagle keeps an eye out...

29 May 2009

Let There Be Light

We have all the windows we need for the downstairs but we cannot install them yet. First we need to frame in the walls and for that we need wood. And since we are focusing on no cost or low cost projects for now, the windows will have to wait a little bit longer.

However. We do have HUGE barn doors. We have just been waiting for the right time to open them. With temperatures in the high seventies and low eighties, that time has come.

Bert & Ernie

Most mornings when Lola wakes up, I take her into bed with us to snuggle for a little bit. I have this romantic notion in my mind of the two of us sleeping together in the big bed, spooning and cuddling. I love to look at her sleeping, with her rosy cheeks, snug in her bed surrounded by an increasing number of stuffed animals and dolls. She is such an angel when she sleeps.

A little while ago, Ryan was out with a friend and he was going to spend the night away from home. I was very tired that day and when I put Lola to bed, I decided to turn in as well. And since I had all this extra room in my bed, I took the opportunity to let her sleep with me and live out my fantasy.

It was a nightmare! She would not stop talking at first. At one point she had become quiet and I thought she had fallen asleep. I was almost gone myself when she grabbed my nose and started singing "I like to move it, move it..." from the Madagascar movie with the dancing hippo shaking her booty. It was as funny as it was annoying. I kept shushing her until at long last she was silent.

Unfortunately, that was not the end of it. She wouldn't lay still either. She tossed and turned, kicked me countless times, climbed over me to my other side (and again, and again), she even fell out of bed once. I tried putting her back in her own bed but it was too late for that. She wouldn't have it. It was hours later when she at last conked out. By that time I was wide awake, of course.

It reminded me of the Bert & Ernie skit where the two of them are in bed and Ernie keeps waking up a tired and sleepy Bert to tell him something trivial. "Bert, Bert, wake up Bert..." By the time Ernie finally falls asleep, Bert is wide awake. At least he had his own bed.

So much for romantic mother and daughter sleepovers. Live and learn. And sleep.

28 May 2009

Country Living

I came home from my yoga class last night to find Ryan and Lola hanging out in the backyard. Ryan had started a fire, the sun had not yet set, and it was still warm enough to sit outside. After we put Lola to bed, I relaxed in a chair by the fire with a glass of wine.

As it got darker, the frog choir piped up, interrupted by the occasional coyote howling. Ryan cooked a couple of steaks over his fire and I lit the candles in the lanterns along the path. I have always thought of myself as a city girl but I do not miss the city at all. Country living can be pure bliss.

Beading On

Last weekend Bello Modo organized its first annual Trunk Show. We had invited several lampwork and ceramic artists to join us at the Hotel deLuxe (wonderful venue with superb service and the best Gorgonzola Cheesecake EVER - we highly recommend both the hotel and the cheesecake) in downtown Portland OR. Like any trip without luggage or time restrictions, we loaded up a U Haul truck with far more products than we could possibly put on display and leisurely made our way south on Friday afternoon.

On a side note: there is a new television show called 'Leverage' that is set in Portland. When we arrived at the hotel they were filming next door. After we had set up, we headed to the bar for a cocktail and found most of the cast and crew there too. The show stars Timothy Hutton, my friend Susan's teenage crush. I was so hoping to run into him. Not because of him - while he was rather attractive back in the day, I can't in all honesty say he is aging very well - but just to able to tell Susan I ran into him. But I didn't, so I can't.

It was a great trip. We learned a few things like not to plan a show during Memorial Day Weekend, to book a larger room, and to bring an A-board to put up outside to attract walk-ins. I also think we should set up an area where our customers can play with their new treasures and we can show them a few tricks. In spite of these shortcomings, we did pretty good. On Saturday evening Shelly met up with a friend which left me with the evening all to myself. Finally I was able to give in to my need to bead.

Since my first necklace, I have developed a taste for more. But I hardly ever get the chance to be creative. There just isn't enough time. At work, we are busy filling orders, working on the website, organizing the store. At home, I have a husband and a daughter competing for my attention. Not to mention the endless list of projects and the bad lighting. But last Saturday evening, without any of these distractions, I played to my heart's content. And when I ran out of beads, I simply went downstairs to pick up some more. Heavenly!

Next week I am going on my first business trip ever. I suppose our Portland show was technically a business trip too, but there was no flying involved. This time there is. Pam and I are going to Milwaukee WI for five days to the biggest bead show in the nation. I am very much looking forward to it. Beads galore during the day and meeting up with family and friends at night. Who knew beading would be so much fun?!

27 May 2009


Frequently overheard in our house these days:

"It's mine!"

"Yes, it's yours."

"No, it's mine!"

"Yes, it's yours."

"No! It's mine!"

"Okay then, it's mine."

"NO! It's MINE!"

And then, of course, there are the many, many instances where the item in question is not Lola's. Learning to share and learning to talk at the same time is not as easy as it sounds...

14 May 2009

Bad Hair

Whilst enjoying some lovely Washington weather (read: it has been pouring rain here for days) I was reminded of an earlier post about the lack of umbrellas in Olympia. I blamed it on the beanie hat wearing hippies that make up a large part of the local population.

Turns out I was right. Olympia is the second worst hair city in the US. Only the citizens of Corpus Cristi TX have grubbier hair. There are twenty five listed hairstylists for a city of approximately 45.000. No wonder everyone covers up their hair.

13 May 2009

Raspberry Opera

My friend Shelly makes beautiful jewelry. She sells her designs in her Etsy store Positive Creations. Pam and I harass her frequently to promote her jewelry more. One of our suppliers, Vintaj, hosts a monthly designers challenge on their weblog. This month Shelly has entered one of her designs, a necklace with the intriguing name Raspberry Opera. She is contestant #4. Do me a favor and vote for her before midnight on May 18th. Thanks!

Update: unfortunately Shelly's design came in second. She lost at the last minute to a Dutch woman! I feel somewhat guilty. We'll try again next month. Thank you all for voting!

Puppy Love

Lola loves animals. She wants nothing more than to play with them. "Bird!", she exclaims whenever she sees a robin in the backyard, and charges after it, never quite catching up. She is always happy to see Sandman and is completely oblivious to the fact he does not reciprocate. "Hi Sandman!" when she walks in the door, "Bye Sandman!" when we leave.

Lola especially loves dogs. Not too many dogs want to play with her, though. Most dogs are afraid of small children. Perhaps because they are unpredictable, make too many sudden moves, are too rough, or because they instinctively feel they need to stay away to avoid the possible wrath of the mother. But this weekend when we were playing in the park, there was a puppy that did not run away.

He probably should have. You see, he was a boy puppy and boy puppies have parts you can pull on. Add sexual harassment to the list of reasons why dogs do not like small children. Poor puppy...

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!