4.20.2017

the uncluttered lightness of being


Easter morning was quiet and slow.  We had an egg hunt for Thor in the back yard and then headed to the river.  We went to one of our favorite spots along the Clackamas and soaked up the beauty and solitude.  Seeing our little tech junkie get completely lost in the riverside worlds, to the point we had to call to him to go, was very heartening.  We all needed this time away from technology and our familiar daily tasks and surroundings to unclutter our minds and prepare for the week ahead, lightened and enlightened.

The past few weeks I have been working on a thorough sweep of the house, letting go of more things.  It seems like we are always doing this, but this time it's not just the little things or bags of clothes.  It's the things I always keep around just in case, or just because.  The things that just sit in the dark, that get in our way, that we never use, that we don't even especially like.  We took a pickup truck load to a donation site last weekend and are hoping for another this weekend.  I've always said that when my house is cluttered my mind feels cluttered.  Lightening up and letting go of so much stuff feels like such freedom, physically and mentally. (I also just really love a good project - up next is working on the yard, the never-ending project...)

Happy weekend!

4.01.2017

siren song strong


Rain on the windshield.  Sleepy silence in the back seat, steamy coffee curls and npr in the front.  These pictures were taken over a month ago now.  It was one of those days we felt pulled to the coast, its siren song strong.  We got coffee in Gearhart at a favorite cafe, then headed to Battery Russell and the wreck of the Peter Iredale on the beach in Fort Stevens State Park.  My husband and I both have so many memories of this place from when we were kids.  My family used to take our beloved 1960s camper here for weekends with church/school groups, and my husband had (and still has) many a family adventure here as well.  It still mostly felt like winter, but the Scotch broom was starting to bloom, and we sat ever so still in our car as a coyote walked the edge next to us - a magical moment - filling us with a joyful wonder and anticipation of spring.  We then drove to Astoria, found a charming delapidated old blue house on the hill we almost bought right before we got married, and then ate at a vegan cafe where I had the best tempeh sandwich.  We drove a back way home, passing through Scappoose and a part of Portland we don't normally see.  Oh, Oregon coast.  Oh, family.  Oh, memories.  A pretty-close-to-perfect day. 

2.27.2017

taking steps

 Silver Falls State Park : February 4, 2017

Hello again.  How have you been?  It snowed this morning.  As much as I love winter, I admit I am ready to be warm again, to see more sun again.  I'm ready for days spent outside with my hands in the dirt.  I'm ready to feel a warm breeze on my arms and grass under my bare feet.  I'm ready for a change. 

I don't know about you, but I became a total news junkie in the year leading up to the election, and have been since.  I obsessively refresh the news on my phone more times a day than I can count.  I'm definitely feeling news fatigue, and this over-stimulation of news often fills me with sadness, anger, and worry.  I want to do something.  But I am not an organizer, or someone who can eloquently energize others into action, or someone who wants to get on a big stage.  So, I've been thinking a lot about what I can do, however small, to make my corner of the world a better place in ways I care aboutTo start, I've taken these small steps:

    * Inspired by a friend on Instagram, I'm going to start picking up trash again.  Litter has long been something I've cared about, but for some reason we never started the practice of picking it up when we moved back to Portland.  Thor and I used to do it every week in Salem together.  He even recruited bands of neighborhood kids to help, and it was so great to see them care, too.  It's been too long; it's time to resume this small yet big act of stewardship.

    * Last year I spent a total of $20 on new clothing.  Immediately regretful (the waste, the low quality, the dubious origin - have you seen True Cost?), I resolve not to spend simply to spend this year.  I'm aiming for a no-spend year on brand-new things I can buy second hand or make myself.  This won't be a huge change from last year, but I'm hoping to sew more this year.  My husband, who hates overconsumption, fixes things around the house instead of buying new.  He will more than likely go without if he can't fix something (but he can almost always fix things)It all takes more time, but less money, and we feel good about less waste.

    * I switched from a rather lax vegetarian diet (I ate meat or fish maybe once every several months) to a strictly vegan diet six weeks ago.  I tried going vegan seven years ago but couldn't stick to it; this time, it seemed so much easier.  I physically feel so much better; I haven't had a stomach ache or bloating since I quit dairy.  It was also a conscientious choice to not participate, by being a consumer, in the suffering of animals.  If you think they don't suffer, watch Earthlings, The Ghosts in Our Machine, or any of the other many documentaries out their on the topic.  You won't be able to forget what you see.  I'm not saying it's the only right diet (or that all farms mistreat animals), but for me this feels right.

There's one other area I am hoping to become involved in, but I will post about that if/when it happens.  

It feels good to make a positive forward motion on things you care about.  There are bigger issues out there, but these are my steps right now.  Have you made some changes this year?  I'd love to hear what you are doing, too. 

Hope you are well.