Taking on Life at Full Speed

Learning from the past to make a brighter future

Yep, it is definitely Autumn — September 11, 2017

Yep, it is definitely Autumn

Hey Everyone!

Even though today got up to 90, that can happen this time of year. This morning, when I went to my orientation for my new job this morning, it looked, felt, and smelled like fall. Looking out the kitchen window at 4:30 pm, and the backyard is all in shadows, the light has totally changed in the past couple weeks.

I landed a part time seasonal job, after a spring and summer without a job.

I originally wasn’t going to address the fact that today is September 11th. Then a friend’s Facebook post kind of got me thinking. This friend was only 1 when the terrorist attacks happened, so she doesn’t remember the day. Her post was along the lines that it hadn’t even been mentioned once during her school day. My thoughts were pretty much “I’m not surprised”. Before going off on me, telling me I am cold and heartless, I am not. Every person who lost their life that day, or in the years since from injuries or illnesses caused by being there, or the young men and women who lost in the years since fighting in the war brought about by these attacks, are lives that can’t be brought back, and loved ones who have and still are grieving the loss of their loved ones. I don’t want to diminish the loss they feel and have experienced.

Why I am not surprised it is being mentioned less and less, and the realization of the fact that there will come a point when there ceremonies that take place on this day around the country will no longer happen, is because it happened with after Pearl Harbor – December 7th, 1941. While there are some still alive who were alive and old enough to remember The Attack on Pearl Harbor, but those who remain who can actually remember that day, are growing older or have passed away. The same thing will happen with 9/11, as those of us who lived through it and are old enough to remember that day. It will become a chapter in a history book, and no one left to tell first hand accounts of what started off as a normal Tuesday morning in September. Just because we don’t mention it every time we have a chance on the anniversary, doesn’t mean we have have forgotten by any means, it is a sign of healing and doing what life does best, moving forward.

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Breaking out of the Insulated Bubble — July 11, 2017

Breaking out of the Insulated Bubble

Hey Everyone!

I know I have talked about wanting to move away from the City, and if I have the opportunity I would. At the same time, in exploring other parts of Portland I have found other neighborhoods that feel like home. The neighborhoods that feel more like home for me are the neighborhoods that were traditionally working class family neighborhoods from the mid 1940’s –  1960’s. I know I had a very insulated childhood in a nice neighborhood, and lived a different kind of life than I prefer to live now. As a kid I was very mainstream yet insulted life. Choosing to live more a life that is based on eating more naturally, knowing where my food comes from, how it was raised / grown, and all in all a more Portland lifestyle has been something that didn’t happen over night. The seeds were planted and started taking root while I was in college. It took off after I developed food intolerances. It doesn’t help that our food has been changed and altered so much since my grandparents were raising my parents. 

Looking back at the past few years I can see how much I have changed, and I finally feel like I can see everything coming together and the direction I am supposed to be going. 

I had an interview today for a job I feel would be a good fit for me, and something I would excel at. I have to wait a few days to find out if I get it out not. 

It’s Rose Festival Week — June 7, 2017

It’s Rose Festival Week

Hey Everyone!

The Rose Festival is back in Portland. That means it is also Fleet Week.

The Rose Festival is one of Portland’s annual traditions that has been going on for more than a century. It is one of the big events to kick off the summer season in the City of Roses.

It starts if with City Fair (where all the rides are) and the Starlight Parade on the first Saturday evening. The Starlight Parade has floats and high school bands. The Wednesday during the Rose Festival is the Junior Rose Parade which is made up of elementary and middle school entries (including bands). The final Saturday is when the Rose Festival Queen is crowned (each of the high schools elects a princess who competes for Queen), just before the parade kicks off. The parade includes high school and adult bands, horse and float entires. All the float decorations have to be decorated with natural products (like seeds, nuts, and flowers). It is a huge event that attracts a lot of people to turn out in person to see it, as well as people tuning in and  watching it on TV.

This week, as part of the Rose Festival, it is also Fleet Week, where we have Naval, Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy ships come and dock along the water front (on the Willamette River), for a few days and during certain times can be toured.

While I was in Band in Middle School I was in the Junior Rose Parade twice. In 9th grade I was in the Grand Floral Parade (in Marching Band) and my sophomore year I had been in the Starlight Parade. Being in the grand floral Parade was a big deal, and I got to do it as a freshman. My freshman year was the last year the band from my high school (by itself) was invited to be in the Grand Floral Parade.

I had attended the Starlight parade a couple of times while I was in Middle School since my brother was in it. My brother and I were both in the high school bands the year we were in the grand floral parade.

The parades, the ships and city fair (which is like a big fair or carnival), is a really fun way to kick off the summer season and for the kids (especially the band kids), to be ending the school year on.

50 Random Facts — May 16, 2017

50 Random Facts

Hey Everyone!

I have been doing this blogging thing for a few years. I started this particular blog back in August of 2014, though I have been blogging on some level since 2011. 

I decided that it was time to do a 100 random facts about me post, for you all to get to know me a little bit better. 

  1. I gave up drinking coffee ☕️ in August of 2014
  2. I love the smell of campfires 🔥  (especially at the beach) 
  3. My favorite place to go is the Beach
  4. My favorite Disney character is Winnie the Pooh
  5. My favorite Disney Princess is Merida
  6. My favorite band / music group is Celtic Thunder (the Original 5 + Neil)
  7. My favorite piece of classical music is Rachmoninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini variation number 18
  8. My favorite film is Somewhere in Time
  9. My favorite color is royal blue
  10. My top travel destination outside of the United States 🇺🇸 is: Scotland 
  11. The state I want to visit the most that I have not visited yet is: Alaska
  12. I like a good cup of tea ☕️ 
  13. I am left handed
  14. In College I majored in Social Science (my focus area was U.S. History)
  15. In college I minored in Literature 
  16. I spent my first 5 terms of college as an early childhood / elementary education major
  17. I love being outdoors 
  18. I enjoy hiking
  19. I was in band in grades 7 – 10
  20. I did choir in 11th grade, as well as several terms while in College
  21. I went to Florida when I was 13 with my family
  22. I attended a Marine Corps boot camp graduation when I was 15
  23. I went to Hawaii when I was 19 with my family
  24. I went to New York on my own when I was 23
  25. I was still an Infant, the first time I went to Canada 🇨🇦 
  26. I love overcast, cool, rainy days
  27. I enjoy knitting
  28. I enjoy reading books
  29. My favorite TV show has been Grimm
  30. I know how to can (aka preservation food in glass jars for later consumption)
  31. The one dairy item I miss the most now that I have to be dairy free is Cheese. Tillamook Cheese 🧀 is the best. 
  32. I enjoy exploring historical sites
  33. My favorite season is autumn 
  34. I love architecture. 
  35. If I am going out to eat, my top choice is typically a Lebanese or Greek restaurant 
  36. I call the Willamette Valley home 
  37. My favorite author is Robin Jones Gunn
  38. My favorite board game is Scrabble 
  39. My favorite animal is the bottle nose dolphin 🐬 
  40. I enjoy watching Period Dramas (Downton Abbey, Lark Rise to Candleford, Dr Quinn Medicine Woman, etc)
  41. My favorite musical is the Sound of Music
  42. My favorite flower 🌺 is Plumeria 
  43. My favorite fruit is: Cherries 🍒 
  44. Favorite dessert: the gluten free vegan lemon lavender poppyseed cupcakes from my favorite bakery
  45. I got to see The Phantom of the Opera when the traveling show was here in Portland 
  46. I went to Public School for K – 12
  47. I was the first of my friends to get my drivers license 
  48. Of all the yarns I have worked with, the Todd and Duncan Cashmere was my favorite.
  49. I worked at a knitting studio for a few months
  50. I love exploring old ghost towns
The Legacy I want to Leave — October 23, 2016

The Legacy I want to Leave

Hey Everyone!

Yesterday, while my best friend and I were out at Oxbow Regional Park. We both loved what we were seeing while out there. 

We had gone for a short hike, and while we were there, I couldn’t help but feeling like I was from the wrong period of time, and I kept wondering about what would it have been like for the early settlers to the area, and what their lives were like 150 years ago. Other than diaries that were written by those who lived during that era, we don’t have many first hand accounts of their day to day lives. That discussion then lead to us talking about documenting our own day to day lives, and talking about my own childhood, and what it was like to be 13 when 9/11 occurred and how that changed our lives, and the world as we knew it. What a way to mark our entry into our teenage years. Also talking about the music, movies, tv shows and such that are iconic of our generation. Now that I am an adult, what my own life is like, especially living in Portland Oregon, and for me personally walking the line between alternative and mainstream culture, and lifestyle. 

So watch for those posts coming up in the near future! 

Living in the 21st Century — February 15, 2016

Living in the 21st Century

Hey Everyone!

It is Monday, so here is my first post in my what’s on my mind Monday Series.

The past few weeks I have been thinking a lot about who I am today, and how I got to where I am today in terms of the life experiences I have had and what I believe.

I grew up in a fairly conservative environment, yet I went to public school, grew up with my mom having had a career her whole adult life, and having grown up with two grandmothers who were both strong women, yet were amazing Christian women at the exact same time. One of whom had to be a single mother and finish raising two girls on her own after my grandpa got sick and then passed away. My grandma held full time jobs, supported her children, kept house, and was active in her church. The other grandmother was a pastors wife, who was good at what she did and at least at one point in time had a job outside the home in addition to her responsibilities as a Pastors Wife. She was also a strong woman, personality wise, from what I remember she and my grandpa were well matched and each was what the other needed to bring to do what they were called to do.

Even though I saw my grandmothers and mother hold down jobs, I also saw them do the normal, cook/keep house and raise kids like they were “supposed” to do. Women are capable of being wives and mothers even if they need to work outside of the home.

So growing up I saw that, and saw that women could think for themselves, and could make their own decisions (which were good decisions), and they were completely able to take care of their own business out in the real world. For me, between how I was raised and where society was and is, there was never any doubts that I could do anything I set my mind to. I got my drivers permit at 15, my license just before my 17th birthday, I went to college, had my own apartment and had paid bills all before I turned 21. I graduated from college after 4 years, at the age of 22, I then went to New York on my own at the age of 23.  I have a full time job, I pay my bills, I can balance my checkbook, I have travelled on my own, all in my 20’s and without being married. Marriage may or may not happen for me, but if it doesn’t I know I can take care of myself and am not reliant on my father/brother/other male relative to support me like I would have been years ago, or would be in other countries. I still believe much of what I was taught growing up, as far as being a Christian and all of that. I have also seen how real life can be and that things happen, like getting married later in life if one gets married at all, or a spouse can die and you don’t get remarried. Being on your own as a woman isn’t necessarily a bad thing, even as a woman, it give you the time and opportunity to grow closer to God, and the other women (Married or unmarried) in your life and to learn from them.

Even with how far we, and by we I am meaning women have come in the past 100 years in the country, it still isn’t without its flaws, and the inequities are still ever present. Like the fact that we are still only earning $.79 to every $1 a man makes, of how here in the US we don’t have a paid maternity leave system for women in our own country, women are lucky if they work for a company that offers any paid maternity leave let alone 3 – 6 months of paid maternity leave. We (the United States) is the only westernized country that doesn’t have some form of national laws mandating paid maternity leave.

Then there are the issues of Slut Shaming and Victim Shaming. Both are poor excuses if even that for men to try to get out of taking responsibility for their actions and make women responsible for the stupid, idiotic, irresponsible behavior.  I believe in modesty, but I also believe some take it to the extreme. Modesty goes both ways. While it seems that females are more the focus when it comes to modesty, but guys can be immodest as well. Responsibility also falls on both sides. I also be live that slut shaming and victim shaming is a scape goat and an excuse for guys to be jerks and not take responsibility for their actions, like why should they when they can just blame their irresponsibility on a girl for how she dresses or how she is acting. Those guys aren’t men, they don’t deserve respect because they haven’t earned it. Degrading and demeaning women for how they dress is also wrong, even if you never lay a hand on them, how you talk about them, how you talk to them, and how you treat them/ act toward them is also your own responsibility, not theirs. Guys, if you want our respect don’t blame the girl for you raping her or beating her up because you are a jerk who thinks you are all that because you can cause harm to a woman or a child. Do I think women should dress modestly? Yes, but that doesn’t mean you have to look, think or act like the Duggar girls, there is a middle ground. Guys, you can learn some self control, and expect more from yourselves and take responsibility for your own actions and choices. Respect and trust is earned, not demanded. 

That’s all I got for tonight all. Thanks for reading, and check back next week for another what’s on my mind post.

Diversifying My Style — September 11, 2015

Diversifying My Style

Hey Everyone!

It is Friday, which is my typical weekday off from work. This week I only had a three day work week, beings that Monday was a holiday. Today has been a pretty busy and very productive day. This morning I got my grocery shopping done. I got my groceries back to the house, and put away before going and meeting up with a friend of mine for treats and tea. I picked her up and we went to my favorite bakery, and then to the tea shop next door. This was my first time going to the tea shop. It’s like a typical coffee shop in atmosphere but serves tea rather than coffee. It is this cute little shop that I had been by more times than I can count but never took the time to go in. I plan on going back again. At the bakery I got a gluten free & vegan blueberry lavender cheesecake as well as a gluten free & vegan chocolate muffin. At the tea shop I got a cup of pumpkin spice chai tea with coconut milk. I am thankful I have been living somewhere for the past 4 years that has so many options for those who have food intolerances. There are so many varieties and variations on the gluten free/dairy free/vegan fares. While I am not full vegan, I tend to gravitate to the places that have vegan options because then I don’t have to worry about dairy. When I am cooking, or know what I am getting into, I have no problems with eating meat, fish, eggs, or honey (I have had all of the aforementioned foods except for fish to eat at some point in the past 24 hours).

When my friend and I were wrapping up our tea and treats, we got talking about what to do afterward. Beings that we had done treats and tea which was as far as I had gotten in plans, she wanted to go clothes shopping, I resisted for a good bit, as I hate clothes shopping unless I absolutely have to, but I eventually caved. We went to Cascade Station out by the Airport, and had gone to Maurices, where I had actually made out like a bandit. I found a couple really cute button down shirts as well as a really cute sleeveless middle layer shirt and a couple tank tops (one of which, matches the blue in the two button downs I bought), and they pair well with the middle layer sleeveless top and the button downs. The middle layer top, I came to find out after I got back to the house goes with most of the button down shirts I already own. The past few months, especially, my clothing style has changed a bit. During high school and college I was totally into jeans and a tee shirt or jeans and a sweatshirt. It worked well for me during that period, but I have been out of college for 5 years already have realized that as I have grown up, my style has changed and has needed to grow up with me. Beings that I now have a steady income, I am working on adding items to my wardrobe that fit my current style that is more age appropriate to being in my late 20’s. I am still waiting for my Old Navy orders to arrive, but between those orders, what I picked up today and what I already own I feel like I have a solid base for my wardrobe. The middle layer top I bought today I absolutely love, and it goes with so many other tops to help make more outfit options for me. Lately I have also understood on a different level why dressing modestly is important. Modesty is an issue that I just want to touch on, and could be an entire post of it’s own, but I will keep it to my own experience. I was raised with the understanding that modesty was important, but it didn’t mean that I had to look like I was Amish, Mennonite, Radical Mormon or the Duggar Girls from the era of “14 kids and pregnant again”. Especially once I was in college, I realized I could look and dress “normally” but also be modest, I just had to keep my eyes open, and look for clothing that was modest. I found that it is possible with some work and shopping around on my part to make it happen. Part of why I love fall and winter (in addition to the cooler weather, awesome scented stuff, awesome decorations, and the best foods), is that the stores start caring the warming clothes that are more modest.

After we finished up at Maurice’s we went through Banana Republic and Dress Barn quickly just to scope things out before going to the Bath and Body Works, where I got some hand soaps and a wall flower warmer, for my stash of bulbs that I am holding on to for when I get my own place. We also went to Ross for a little bit, but by then it was around 4:30 pm and I was so over and done with shopping, and had filled my quota of shopping for the next three months. Beings that I have never lived so far out in the boonies that coming to the city meant an all day shop till you drop marathon, I have a very low shopping tolerance, especially when it comes to clothes. If you told me that I had a day, the money and had places like the Body Shop, The Bath and Body Works, Old Navy, REI, a shoe store, and Barnes and Noble and told me that this was all I would get for the next 6 months to a year, I could spend all day shopping and getting what I would need/want for the next several months. Even when I was in college and living in a small town in the middle of farm country, the nearest mall that wasn’t in the heart of downtown of a decent sized city, was half an hour to 45 minutes (depending on traffic) away, which is only a little worse than going to the closest mall is to where I currently live. Even then, going to the mall that I am used to here in the metro area, with normal traffic would take about 75 minutes. So in the scheme of things I could go to a mall pretty much whenever I wanted to, which I did maybe once a term if even that.

I haven’t forgotten that it is September 11th, and while it has been on the hearts and minds of American’s, I haven’t forgotten, but have also chosen to not dwell on the past. It has been 14 years since that day. It has been fourteen years since I was a thirteen year old, eighth grader in Portland, Oregon who woke up to seeing the events unfold on the morning news. It has been fourteen years since that eighth grader, who was old enough to understand what was transpiring nearly 3000 miles away. It has been fourteen years since I watched the second plane hit the second town, and watched both towers collapse on live TV all before going to school.  It has been fourteen years since that eighth grader had to go to school, and try to get through the day while trying to get as much information as possible throughout the day, while some teachers allowed us to listen to the radio, while others chose to proceed with business as usual to try to keep our minds off it, but how could we, this was my generation’s Pearl Harbor. It has been fourteen years since the world as we know it had changed forever. Like the children who were too young fourteen years ago, or have been born since then will never know a Pre – 9/11 world, the same can definite be said about those who were too young to remember, or were born after the bombing of Pearl Harbor that we will never truly know what life was like before it happened. The events of 9/11 are a lesson, much like that of Pearl Harbor. While forgetting about and not learning from it would be a mistake, to dwell on it seems to be unproductive. Today I was wondering, for how many more years will the 9/11 ceremonies and reading of the names of those who lost their lives on that day continue, it can’t and won’t continue forever. I know I probably sound disassociated from it all, largely in part to the fact that I didn’t know anyone at the time who was there, and have only met a couple since who were in the area. I was young when it happened, and I also was at the other end of the country, so yes to some degree disassociated from it. I have been by ground zero, and I have no doubts that it was tragic for those who lost their lives, for those who lost loved ones, and for the nation as a whole. It has had an effect on my life. Time and distance has created that disconnect, like Pearl Harbor, none of my grandparents were even married when Pearl Harbor occurred, and yet, in school I learned about it, and am reminded that December 7th, 1941, “A date will live in Infamy” – FDR, of the events that brought my country into an active role in the Second World War. Having visited the U.S.S Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and seeing the sunken Arizona, as well as being abroad the U.S.S. Missouri (where the Japanese Instrument of Surrender was signed) made the History, made the history that has transpired many years before become more real. As much as I hate to be the one to say it, like Pearl Harbor, or the Gettysburg Address, or July 4th, 1776, the more time that passes, the more it will become a chapter in history textbooks that students will read because they have to, without any of the emotional and personal attachment to the events that transpired. Today, in my part of the world and in my life, Today went on like any of the other Friday’s have had in the past six months, Life as usual.

Part of Growing Up — August 5, 2015

Part of Growing Up

Hey Everyone!

I woke up to overcast skies and cool temperatures, which looks and feels like fall is here. Who knows how long it will last since it is only August. 

This week is youth camp, and it is kind of bitter sweet to not be there as I loved it as a kid. I had also gone a couple times as a counselor while I was in college. I had gone as a camper from the first year I was old enough to go (going into 4th grade), through the summer before starting sophomore year of high school. 

There were several years where my grandparents would pick me up from youth camp, and then I would spend a week at their house. 

Throwback Thursday — October 2, 2014

Throwback Thursday

Hey guys!

Today while my Dad and I were straightening up the garage, and he came across one of the photo albums my grandma had made, of pictures from when my brother, myself and my two cousins on my dad’s side of the family were little. Is more pictures of my brother and I, and my cousins were in the family and Christmas pictures. Aaron and Jesse if you are reading this, I am sure this is one of you two somewhere, if you don’t already have it.

It is interesting to see myself at that age at my grandparents house in Washington, that I haven’t been to in 13 years. I remember snippets of being there with my grandparents, but as I grow older it feels like another lifetime and the memories are fading faster and faster. My grandma passed away almost 13 years ago, so there are a few things that I remember but not much about the early years.

I was the only granddaughter for my Dad’s parents, and I was their 3rd out of 4 grandchildren. I have heard the story that when I was little, my grandparents were out shopping, and my grandpa had seen this little pink coat and insisted that they get it for me 🙂

The two (well technically 4, but I made them into 2 pictures) pictures below are from when I was little. One is of me with each of my dad’s parents and the other is from when I was 3, and had gone to Medford with my grandma to visit her mom and her oldest sister. I can vaguely remember bits and pieces of that trip.

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13 years later — September 11, 2014

13 years later

13 years ago, I was a 13 year old who had just started 8th grade. That morning I woke up, and had gone out and turned on the news like I normally did. What I saw I didn’t believe for a bit. What I saw was a skyscraper smoking after being hit by a plane. At first I thought it was some cruel prank or happening in some other country. Then I watched the second plane hit the second town live on national television. I had also seen the live footage coming in from when the plane had hit the pentagon. I was still glued to the T.V. as I watched both of the towers come crashing down all before 7:30 in the morning Pacific Time.

That was how my day got started 13 years ago. I don’t know how many school districts across the country shut down or sent kids home early that day. My school district was not one of them. I still had a full day of classes that day. I don’t remember much about what we did in most of my classes. I can only vividly remember two of my classes. In my math class, my teacher let us have a “down” day, and listen to the radio, to get more information, but in my science class it was class as normal.

At 13 years old, I understood what was going on, and wanted to know what was going on, and about all the developments and such. I was glued to the TV that day, and for days after.

When I had first tuned into that morning after the first plane hit but before the second plane hit, I was in disbelief. At first I thought I had come across some weird futuristic hypothetical doomsday scenario. Then the second plane hit the second tower. That morning I had seen the second plane hit, then had seen the plane hit the pentagon, and heard reports of a 4th plane crashed in a field. I had even seen both towers collapse before going to school for the entire day.

My, and everyone else’s world turned upside down that day. Life as I knew it had changed. It seemed like a world away but so very near. I know that I will likely have to explain what happened that day to kids of my own one day.

I have heard that for some from my grandparents generation compared it to being like Pearl Harbor all over again.

I had been in New York the summer before the 10th anniversary. I was by ground zero briefly and that made it all too real to me.

After my brother graduated from High School he enlisted in the Marines and had done a tour in Iraq. He was also stationed in Hawaii for most of the time he was in the Corps. I had gone and visited him once and had gone to the Arizona Memorial and had gone out to Ford Island and went aboard the USS Missouri.

Having seen the location of remnants of the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor and having been by ground zero is sobering.

I never want to forget what has happened. I want to be able to one day teach my children that there are people out there with bad and evil intentions and do bad things, but we don’t let that define us or break us down. We come together, get through it and become stronger. If we forget then we lose that strength that we gained by overcoming the bad things in life.