Category: My Journey

The City is Calling

Hey Everyone!

For me, this is crazy. For the past 8+ years I have always been like “I want to live in the country, I hate the city”. It’s still true that I want to live a simpler life, that is less materialistic and I still want a garden and do more in the way of Urban Homesteading. Most of all I want to get away from the neighborhood I grew up in. It’s not that it’s a bad neighborhood, it is really a good neighborhood, I want to get away from it mainly because it’s rather ritzy for my taste. I prefer the working class and lower middle class neighborhoods that are still safe. I really like the houses built between the 1920’s and the 1950’s.

Today I had gone out. Today has been the coolest day we have had in over a week, and I was ready to get out and enjoy it. I went exploring some different neighborhoods in the city. There are definitely a couple that I like. One area I like is technically in 4 or 5 “neighborhoods”, but it is kind of centralized around a certain area that is made up of different corners on the edges of these five neighborhoods. The other is near one of the main “hipster” eclectic hot spots in the city, but has more of the style of houses I like and is near good grocery shopping and decent schools.

There is so much I would miss if I moved too far from Portland, like Bob’s Red Mill, the Gluten Free Vegan Bakery I like to go to, all the great tea shops here, I would also miss the occasional trip to New Seasons, Market of Choice, and Trader Joe’s (they have the best price on nuts ūü•ú).

In the near future I am definitely wanting to go check out the Portland Nursery, to get a feel for what they have in stock.

When I was younger I wasn’t that adventurous, but as I have gotten older (with the help of going to college and then going to New York on my own at 23, as well as having jobs in different parts of the city), I was pushed out of my comfort zone to the point where I don’t left fear and doubt stand in my way of exploring and getting out of my comfort zone.

I should also mention the fact that the city has the best internet speeds, which is a good thing, for where I want to take my blog as well as making videos.

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Peopled Out

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This past week has flown by, and I have been fairly busy. When I have been home, I have spent a fair amount of time, that I haven’t been sleeping, outside in the garden.

Over the weekend I made pineapple curry with chicken, which turned out really good. I made it on the mild side since I don’t like things super spicy, but like the flavor of the dish.

The garden is seriously taking off this summer. I have gotten my first batch of jam made from raspberries picked from the backyard. A couple weeks ago, I got the tomato plants staked, which was just in time. Had I waited any longer and they would have toppled over and been a mess. I have been seeing quite a few flowers which is looking promising. The vines are well above the top of the stakes now, and when I staked them they still had room before they got to the top.

This past week I have also been spending some time at a church convention. It’s local so I am able to sleep in my own bed, not really worry about food, as well as go and come as I please. It has become a tradition that the one minister I want to hear preach, gives the sermon for the evening meeting on the Fourth of July. I have known him, and his wife my whole life, and they have known my family since they started coming to the church (45 years ago), my grandpa had been their first pastor. So they are like family.

I am hoping that this next week is a bit calmer. I am hoping to spend some time with a good friend of mine from Tacoma, who I have also known my whole life.

Last night I totally hit the wall of social situation overload and now I am peopled out. Fortunately I can come home and hide for a little bit. Especially being an introvert, I can only handle so much social interaction before I am exhausted by it, and need time to recharge.

This Urban Homesteading Life

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Summer is finally here, and I am jumping back into what I am currently able to do in the way of Urban Homesteading. Where I am at, I am doing what I can with what I have to work with. At this point I am still really learning about Homesteading and Gardening while I am in the city. Sometimes you have to work with what you’ve got even though it is less than ideal.

Currently, in the backyard there is a prune tree that has been on the property longer than I have been alive. We also have an apple tree that was planted when I was a kid. We also have a ton of raspberry plants, as well as a few tomato plants, a little bit of rhubarb and the red romaine lettuce plant that I planted today.

As I was out picking raspberries yesterday, I had gotten looking at the tomato plants and was eyeing them, thinking that it wouldn’t be much longer that they would be upright and free standing on their own. Last year they weren’t staked and toppled over from the weight and became this huge mess. While there were tomatoes that were trying to grow, they weren’t getting enough sun as they were buried, and the ones that were able to start ripening up were picked at by animals because they were on the ground. I didn’t think of it last year until it was too late to try to stake them as I have only really taken over the garden last August while my family was gone.

This year I took the initiative, while I still had the chance to get the tomatoes staked and did that yesterday. And today they don’t look any worse for the wear from staking them this late in the game.

I am hoping this year to get some tomatoes off these plants, and depending on how they do, we may get some tomato sauce from it. I am hoping to also maybe get some jam from the raspberries as well.

Beside the fresh produce straight from the garden aspect to Urban Homesteading, I also enjoy getting dirty and being outside in the fresh air. I like putting in the work and getting results that I can see and touch. I also like being tired at the end of the day and sleeping well after a hard days work.

American Honey

What is more All American than Baseball, Grandma’s Apple Pie, White Picket Fences and the Fourth of July?

The concept of what is “All American”, is a bit of a foreign one to me, that I have tried to grasp at different times over the past decade.

The closest I have gotten was while I was in college, living in a small town in the middle of farm country, in the summers when I didn’t come back to the city.

Songs like “All American Girl” by Carrie Underwood and “American Honey”, have made me wonder, do these small rural towns, especially¬†in the Heartland, still, have that “All American” feel, or is it something that was left behind in the 1950’s.

Anyone else know what I am talking about? The whole white picket fence, front porch sitting, lemonade (or sweet tea) sipping on a hot summer day, barbequing burgers on Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, watermelon on the Fourth of July, Fourth of July Parades, Fireworks, Going shootin’, muddin’, 4 Wheeling, Going to the lake or the river on a hot summer day, knowing your neighbors, and the town turning out for the Friday night high school football games, way of life? does it still exist? if so, Where?

Growing up in a city that had the nickname “Baby Beirut” in the 1990’s, where Old Town, China Town, and North Portland were places you didn’t want to venture alone during the day, and not at all past dark. Portland has changed over the years, but some things haven’t changed for the better. The homeless problem has only gotten worse, There are still Protests on a semi-regular¬†basis (just not as often), some that still turn violent (even less often, but they still occur). Portland has become less punk rock/alt¬†rock/grunge, and way more bougie and posh, with the Pearl and Nob Hill, and Goose Hollow. The Hipsters have taken over and turned Portland into a city I don’t recognize. If I ever find my way out, I would only come back to visit my family and for Bob’s Red Mill, my favorite bakery, and the Tea. Portland was never one of these places where the whole, White Picket fence, knowing your neighbors, Fourth of July Parade, block party’s and barbequing happened.

Like I mentioned earlier, the summers I stayed in the small towns I lived in while in college were the closest things I had to having the “All American” lifestyle. I would like to get back to that way of life, especially¬†if I ever get married and have kids.

It Rained on the Parade

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This weekend was pretty wet, with fairly consistent showers through out. Some were much heavier than others.

It even rained on the Grand Floral Parade. Saturday and Sunday were in the low to mid 50’s for highs.

This allergy season has also been particularly bad. I had been trying to make due without taking allergy medicine, but I have finally started taking some allergy medicine to try and help relieve some of my symptoms.

I had gone out earlier to pick up allergy meds, I got the store brand of Claritin, the active ingredient of which, is: loratadine.

While I was out, I went for a bit of a drive, and went out to Estacada, and then from there I went up into the foothills of the cascades. I love it out there. I am for sure an outdoorsy girl, who loves the mountains and the ocean. I had to pick one to live in / by I would have to choose the mountains, but stay close enough to the ocean to go visit.

Even with having lived in this part of the country, while on one level I do take the mountains for granted, I still love seeing them. Every time I see Mt. Hood, I am still like “wow, it’s beautiful”, even in the dead of summer when it is more grey than white and needs snow.

I can only speak for where I am, but the mountains, and how they look vary so much between the seasons that they are dynamic rather than stagnant.

It’s kind of crazy that from this past weekend to the middle of next week there is supposed to be about a 40 degree spread in our highs. One of the days this weekend really didn’t get above 53, and next week is supposed to be in the low to mid 90’s.

It look like next week will be a great time to wash socks and the shawl I have done. Now I just need to get the two pairs of socks I am knitting up out of KnitPicks yarn done. I am working on the second socks of both pairs. One is closer to being done, but if I keep working on them, I should have them done before we see 90 degree temperatures.

Anyone who know me, knows I don’t do heat, and that when it starts getting over 75, I am staying inside with the AC, only going out to check any of my socks that I washed.

Setting Out in Search of Roses

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The last few days I have been wanting to go out and visit some of the various rose gardens in the area since this part of the country is one of the best places in the country for growing Roses. The city I live in is also nicknamed “The City of Roses” since it is one of the things we are known for here.

There was this one rose garden and store/nursery store that had a great variety of roses that I had visited a couple years ago. I went back out there today and they were closed to visitors, and all the roses they had planted in the ground for visitors to look at were gone. It was sad, and I was very disappointed. I had even looked it up before I left the house since it is a little bit of a drive to get there from the city. While I don’t mind the drive so much, I am sad that all the roses are gone.

I will be going back out and going to rose gardens here in the city, that I know are still in existence and open to visitors at some point in the next few days.

IMG_3506While I was out, I went to the little town of Saint Paul, Oregon. It is one of these little towns kind of in the middle of nowhere. The only thing it is known for is the rodeo that takes place there every Fourth of July. It is a cute little farming town here in the Willamette Valley.

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This little church, is in the heart of Saint Paul. I had seen it once before, when passing through the town of Saint Paul, after the previous trip I had been to the rose garden that no longer is open to visitors in the area. Beings that I knew the church exists in the town, and I love older church buildings, I wanted to stop by again and take more pictures.

On my way home I had also gone through the town of Mount Angel, which hosts an amazing Oktoberfest¬†every year. I had wanted to stop at the Catholic Church there in Mount Angel, but it’s right next to a school, which was letting out for the day so the area was pretty busy and an inopportune time for pictures.

I love driving two-lane country roads, that aren’t that heavily traveled. They are so pretty.

Over the past twelve years, I have fallen in love with the small towns of the Willamette Valley between here and Corvallis. While I ¬†am not a huge fan of living in the city or even the metro area for that matter, I do love living in the Willamette Valley. This is Home for me. While I would consider moving if I found a job I could support myself on elsewhere, there is also a huge part of me that wishes I could find a job somewhere here in the valley (though haven’t had much success in the eight years I have been looking and trying……). I know what grows here, and what doesn’t grow in the valley, that I would want for canning and eating either grows in the Gorge which isn’t too far away, or in Southern Oregon and finds its way up north.

 

It’s All About the Simple Things

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Today I had gone for another hike. After the past couple days being so hot, I took advantage of the cooler day and went for a hike.

One of the things I love about hiking, especially in the woods, is when it’s quiet, and you can just listen to the bird songs back and forth through the trees.

I love being out in nature, any time of the year, but my favorite parts of late spring to early autumn, while we still have the migratory birds still around, is listening to the song birds chirping and singing. It’s even better if you are somewhere where there is a stream or a creek and you can hear the water flowing as well.

I have often thought that it would be amazing to be able to distinguish between the bird calls, as in being able to identify the different birds by their songs / chirps and know which birds I am hearing without seeing them.

I have also had a bit of an interest in at least elementary / basic Botany. For example I know I saw poison oak while I was out hiking today, but to easily identify it amongst the brush as I hiked up the trail, I could not. I want to be able to differentiate poisonous plants from non poisonous plants so I can easily identify plants such as Poison Ivy, Poison Oak ad Poison Sumac from other non poisonous native plants.

Through the years I have also enjoyed doing some amateur tracking / animal identification based on tracks and scat left behind by the animals that naturally roam the woods. I have seen some coyote tracks as well as deer tracks as well as what my friend and I concluded to be coyote scat.

I definitely stay on the trail that has been cleared, between any habitat restoration / conservation that is going on, not wanting to come into contact with poisonous plants I don’t recognize and the potential for seriously hurting myself on some unseen hazard / drop off / cliff, I follow the rules of staying on the trail that has been made. I also believe in packing out what I packed in, and leaving the trail in as pristine condition as I can so others can enjoy it as well.

This past year I have really been learning about slowing down from the fast paced on the go all the time rhythm of the city, which I have been back living in for the past eight years. The constant go go go of the city lifestyle doesn’t jive with who I am at my core, and it doesn’t make me happy, and I am not at my best when I am doing the whole typical city thing. That is a lot to do with why I have been getting away from the city as much as possible.

 

Considering Going Back to School

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Pretty much since the year after I graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree, I have toyed with the idea of going back to school and getting a second Bachelors Degree and then potentially pursuing a Master’s Degree.

Over the past almost 7 years that I have been considering going back to school, I have debated on what I would study, and where I would go.  I have a pretty good idea of what I would study, and the career outcome of what I want to do after I go back, and the whole reason to go back to school, I have narrowed it down from three options I have considered. I have also looked into projected industry growth over the next decade, and the path I am leaning toward has a higher than average projected industry growth, which is promising.

The School I want to go to, at least to get my Post – Bacc degree (second bachelors), would allow me to live in a state I have been dreaming to live in for years, and even if I moved elsewhere after I finished my degree(s) should I be able to stay at said school for my masters as well, I would get to live in said state for a good 4 to 5 years. That would be a dream come true in and of itself.

If things were to work out, I am still a little over a year away from starting school. It will take hard work and dedication to even get there in the first place and have everything fall into place that I need to fall into place, and then even harder work put in while I am there to make it happen.

I know this is a bit vague, and I am purposefully not saying what I plan to major in or the school I want to attend for privacy reasons, and should it not be the right course to pursue, and not work out, then the fact that going back to school is all anyone needs to know.

I feel like my 20’s were a time of self discovery, and figuring out who I am, and the path I am supposed to take. I have been able to do a lot of amazing things in my 20’s, and I have learned a lot about life and who I am, the things that I enjoy doing and that making me happy, as well as things that fulfill me and give me a sense of purpose. Due to the fact that I didn’t really have an idea of what I wanted to do career wise after college, and with the social science field being so broad and without a specific career outcome, I feel like I spent part of my 20’s being a bystander and inactive participant in my life and watched it go by, without being able to control much. I have felt lost, empty and confused at times and like the world was just passing me by.

If all goes according to plan and works out, this change will allow me to have a definite plan career wise and have an end game goal so that I know what I am working toward.

Part of why I had started my blogs in the first place, is because if I could help even one other young woman to see her full potential and set challenging yet attainable goals for herself and work hard to achieve it, and not listen to the haters and those whose goal is to distract us from what we are able to do, then I will have been successful at one of my goals.

I have had plenty of people tell me that I can’t do something for whatever their reason, but I am the kind of person that when someone tells me I can’t do something or that I shouldn’t do something, (highly dangerous to myself/others and illegal / immoral things aside), I make it my mission to do what I am told I cannot do, and prove people wrong about me. They aren’t living my life and they haven’t walked a mile in my shoes, so who are they to tell me I can’t do something and judge me for living my life the way I believe and know is right for me.

I am taking back my life, I know that going back to school, especially after being out for 8 years now (and likely 9 by the time I start school again), is going to be hard. I am willing to put in the hard work, and get the help I need while I am there, and take advantage of office hours, and ask a ton of questions.

What I am working toward has been on my heart for a few years now, roughly two or three as specific as it is, closer to six in the broader scope of the goal.

I still intend to keep up my blogs as much as I can, and share my experience of going back to University and pursing a second bachelors and then a masters, in my 30’s.

Knowledge is power, and education is so important. I am really beginning to see how important having and education is, whether that is in the traditional sense of post secondary education (here in the US we call it High School, other countries call it something different), or learning a trade after completing high school.

One day if I ever do have children, I want to teach them about how important their education is. I do realize and know that the statistics show that children whose parents have a higher education tend to also go on to have a higher education.

In my own life I have seen how important it is for a woman to be able to navigate and conduct herself in the business world. Even if she is able to and wants to be a stay at home wife and mother, she should also have skills that are useful in the outside world. What if her husband gets sick and passes away, or is seriously injured, or if he takes off, then what? In this day and age she needs to know how to build a resume, look for a job, go on interviews and work, in order to support herself and her family. Especially in urban life, needing to have two incomes is pretty much a necessity.

I am trying to not get my hopes up yet, as its still in its early stages, but should it all work out, I also look forward to the adventures I will be able to go on because of the change and move.

Tea Makes Everything Better!

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Today has been a somewhat chilly, but not cold, and overcast spring day.

I have been wanting some more Steven Smith Teamaker Bungalow Tea for a while. I have also been wanting to try the Portland Breakfast Tea as well. That being said, it was the perfect day to drive over to Northwest Portland, to the Pearl District and go to the Steven Smith Teamaker Teahouse. I picked up a box of Bungalow Tea, and got a to go cup of the Portland Breakfast Tea to try. I hadn’t ever had the Portland Breakfast Tea before, so before spending money on a box of tea (and these boxes aren’t cheap), only to have a cup and and not like it, especially at places like Smith Teamaker, I prefer to order a cup of tea to go of whatever I want to try. Then if I don’t like it, I’m only out that one cup and don’t have 14 more teabags sitting around potentially going unused. Beings that I liked the Portland Breakfast Tea, I will likely pick up a box the next time I go to Smith Teamaker.

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Driving 8+ miles through the heart of the city, from SE Portland to the Pearl District in NW Portland, just to get tea, sounds crazy to some, and daunting to others. I am trying to enjoy it and take advantage of the fact that I still live here, while, you know, I still live here. Portland does have quite a few great independent and locally owned tea shops that do their own tea blending and packaging (and sales) right here in the Portland Metro area. Portland also has it’s own fair share of locally owned and operated coffee roasters for those who like coffee. There are also still a handful of locally owned and operated yarn stores here in the metro area, despite the largest one that was downtown as well as the one that was my favorite over on Hawthorne closing up shop in the past 15 months.

I was curious to know how many cups of tea the average Briton drinks per day, so I looked it up. The average Briton drinks 876 cups of tea per year, or roughly 2.4 cups a day. From September through May or June, I could definitely pass for a Briton based on how much tea I drink.

This afternoon, since I got home from going out, while enjoying my cup of Portland Breakfast Tea, I have also been knitting. I tend to get a lot of projects going so when I don’t feel like working on one project, I have another one to pick up and work on.

Angel Eyes

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Yesterday I had gone down to the area I had lived while I was in college, for an adoption party. My good friends had gotten the adoption of their daughter finalized just after Christmas, and had the party yesterday. Little Miss also recently turned 5.

I still love the area there, and it was my home for four years. I fell in love with the area, and being in and around small towns in the middle of farm country. Having lived there will always be a part of me and who I am. It has been almost eight years since I lived there, and for a while I wanted to move back.

In more recent years, I have come to terms with and accepted the fact that I will likely never live there again, but it will always be a part of me, and I left a little piece of my heart there. I will also have the memories I made there.

I have had the song “Angel Eyes” by ABBA stuck in my head for the past few days. Really since I figured out the title of the song. I had been hearing it on the promos for Mamma Mia Here We Go Again (the sequel to the 2008 film Mamma Mia). I remember the summer of 2008, and having gone to see Mamma Mia in theater like three times. When you live in a small town in the middle of nowhere, going and seeing movies is one of the few things to go do.

Earlier I mentioned that I know that realistically moving back to the towns I lived in while in college isn’t going to happen. That being said, the small town & country life is more the life that I am called to than the city life is. The city is fun to visit on occasionally, and with having family still in the area, I know I will be back here to visit. Moving somewhere else, is what I am being lead to do. The west coast is so expensive, and realistically (based on my eight years of trying to find a full time job here), staying here isn’t possible. So I am definitely looking at moving elsewhere. I am ready to move and see what else is out there. This country is so big, and I have only seen a handful of places. I love adventures and seeing new places and new things.

Still being younger, single, and nothing holding me here, I am ready to see what is out there, and take life by the horns and take you all with me on my adventures.

Not living here, will make visiting, going for treats and tea on Alberta, and going over to NW to go to the tea shop there and get tea, and then to the Stash Tea store, and Bob’s Red Mill that much more special.