Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Oregon Rain

[Side note: my favorite Phish song is their cover of Purple Rain, originally recorded by Prince. I find that funny.]

[Side, side note: this is my 100th post. I find that fun.]

Upon deciding to move to the great state of Oregon, Ben gave me a few 'lessons' in Oregon culture. He figured that we would fit in since, in our southwestern Pennsylvania home, we were known as the 'crunchy-granolas' because we, . . . wait for it . . . recycled and liked to camp - insert astonished, mouth-opened-wide GASP!! (Okay, so there may have been a few talks about me wanting dreads, but those never came to fruition so technically that shouldn't count against us.) Ben also assured me that our political views would probably not seem quite so left (indeed, we actually fall closer to the middle than the far left out here. In PA, we were most definitely far left-ists!).

The lesson that I like to bring up often though, the one at which I am constantly baffled that I believed, is Ben's proclamation that rain in Oregon isn't really like rain in PA. It's more of a drizzle; a constant one, he said, but a misty-drizzle nonetheless. Yes, to some degree my loving husband is correct. There are days that are just plain moist. Days when, though there is technically nothing falling from the sky, the glasses that adorn my face are wet and the air is thick. However, more days than not, my amazing man is wrong. We have actual raindrops falling from the sky, a LOT of raindrops falling. And, for the past couple of weeks we have been having downpours. Like, cats and dogs downpours. Spattered with hail. I am trying desperately to keep a good attitude these days, but holy hell, this is a lot of rain. I need some sunshine in my life (and would like to actually get some plants for the garden, call me crazy here, planted in the ground).

To Oregon's credit, we do have wonderfully warm, dry summers (usually July through September). Those are the months we all live for (and the sporadic days throughout the remainder of the year that we are given sunshine).

I guess for now I will continue to live for and look forward to those 90 degree days, full of sun, and out-of-door playtimes, with a thriving garden in the background. . .

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Strolling Together

We had declared this to be a rest day. The previous three days had involved two (yes, two!) trips to the zoo and a carnival. Our kids were done and we were too. Why is it, though, that when kids are tired they still insist on being energetic? Don't they understand the beauty of a nap? Or sitting and reading quietly? Geez.

We knew this going in to our declared-day-of-rest. Ben and I were prepared for the whining and the not-so-peaceful actions. When we saw that things were escalating a bit too much, we decided to step in and separate the kiddos. Treefrog and Fish had the "I'm going to clobber you to get you to do what I want" tiredness, so we knew that they needed separated. The toss up was Pillbug. Each boy individually dotes on her and so we Rock-paper-scissored for it, and Ben won the privilege of taking Pillbug with him. The three of them drove off to find us some local, raw honey (allergies are upon us full force, our normal honey-supplier is STILL. NOT. OPEN., and we are Desperate). Treefrog and I decided a stroll through the woods was in order.

The beauty of where we live is that we are within walking/biking distance of the grocery, post office, our church, and many friends, as well as The Canyon. The Canyon is part of the college campus and is a wooded area that is home to many paths, a creek, and a few wild life. One year we had a hawk that nested there. It is usually teeming with nutria and deer have been known to meander around as well. Today, we got a little taste of wildlife as I almost stepped on a snake. It was a garter snake (ours looked like the one in the top right corner of the link) and so there was no fear as it was just lying there. Treefrog decided to watch it for a while and so we stood while it slowly made its way across the path and into the dried leaves off the side. It was a peaceful few moments. He asked many questions about the snake (some answers I knew, some I said we would have to look up) and we did a search for the snake's possible home. Eventually Treefrog was ready to move on, collecting wood for his "campfire" in our backyard, and I realized that the kids' kind of restfulness is rejuvenating in its own way. I like strolling with my biggest little man.

p.s. The honey was only available in the gallon size. For $60. We are still honey-less.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Tuesday Nights Revive My Soul

Each Tuesday evening I can be found (or can be found wanting to be) at my friend A's house for a few hours. She hosts a "Craft Night." At times there is a little bit of talking and a good deal of knitting/crocheting/whatever-ing. While at other times there is only talking, wine, and chocolate. One never knows what the night will hold beyond good company, freedom to just be, and a lifted spirit at the end. Tuesday evenings have become a sanctuary for me.

Thank you, A, for making your house available, allowing us to laugh loudly, talk too much, craft too little, and stay too late each Tuesday evening. The time there revives me for the remainder of the week!

Last night we spent much time talking to a new(er) friend about our milk choice. I haven't blogged about this yet, but, well, we've gone raw. (Are you keeping a list? I now make my own deodorant, wash my hair with baking soda and vinegar, AND drink raw milk. It's official - I'm a hippie). We pay $5 per half gallon and get milk that was in the cow less than 12 hours previous to us taking our first drink. It is a beautiful thing for me. I love having a connection with a local farmer, making a sustainable choice for our milk, and knowing the cow from which we are consuming milk. So, our newer friend was intrigued (maybe a bit disgusted at first), but took the plunge, tried the milk, and declared, "Oh! It tastes just like milk!" I guffawed heartily and we moved on. It was fun introducing someone to the choice my family has made in a non-judgmental (hopefully!) way. There was no request for her to join us in getting the milk. We didn't talk her to death about the health benefits and/or the way our milk industry treats milking cows and/or the benefits to buying local. The three of us present who are buying the raw milk could have gone on for hours on these topics. But we didn't and I think that is what begins the process of good communication regarding these issues: Talking all friendly-like about the choices my family has made and accepting and communicating that not all families can or should make those same choices.

So, yeah, Tuesday nights rock. And buy local (when possible).

Monday, May 10, 2010

To Bake Bread or Cookies . . .

Tonight, I chose the cookies.

Yesterday was a weird day. When people asked, I answered that it was good (after all, it was Mother's Day), and really, I didn't have much to complain about. Ben made me breakfast (a super yummy omelet with spinach, onion, pepper, and aged cheddar. mmmmmmmm), the kiddos got me a gorgeous hanging basket, and Treefrog made me a very cute plate in his pre-k. It was fine. Really.

Except, it wasn't.

Ben and I went to service for the first time in 2 (3?) months. We were out of town every weekend in March, I taught or helped in the third grade class throughout April, and then check outs happened. We were busy, is all I'm sayin'. Rewind to the previous times I had been to church. . . I had never once felt lacking in our service. I had never felt disconnected from those around me. I had never had the desire to stand up and scream about the lack of participation in the service. Never.

Until yesterday.

I sat in service and was struck by how I felt like I was watching a performance. I was put off by the people singing, or more like whispering, around me. I felt as though I was disconnected from those sitting in front, behind, and beside me. It put me in such a funk. I was restless. I was angry. I couldn't engage in the happenings, no matter how much I prayed for a connection.

Two months and the gathering that I have become a part of on Sunday evenings has completely flipped my world upside down without my knowledge. I was completely unprepared to realize that my church, my connection with other worshipers, the time where I feel I bring forth my gifts and offer them to God alongside others, was usurped by a gathering that, a year ago, I would have said I wouldn't have a place in.

I am still processing this - with Ben, with God, apparently here. I know I will be okay with this eventually. I think I will need to allow myself some time to mourn this loss. Does that sound silly?