Sunday, September 20, 2015

Hello, Fall!

Oh, September, I'm so happy to see you! The summer was long and truthfully, it was an adjustment moving into a new home, being out of town, working a lot and finding the time to make our new house feel like ours. I expected to feel right at home in our new place since we'd spent our first year in Vancouver living just down the street. On the one hand it was comfortable from day 1 and I knew my way around as if we'd never left, but felt off and I can't place it. Burned out? Exhausted? Adrift? Adrift. That's the word that comes to mind when I think of where I've been the last few months. So much focus on work, making our house our home, late nights, and going in so many different directions that I've forgotten what makes my heart sing. I haven't blogged, I've barely finished a book, I hardly play my violin, and I only take out my camera if I absolutely must. So. not. me. But, here it is September and I am hopeful. 

Club Continental, Orange Park, FL

September has always been one of my favorite months of the year. It is back to school month which always reminds me that it's a fresh start no matter what. This September started with a vacation for us which was a welcome relief from the hot dry summer. We hopped on a plane and landed in hot humid Florida! But it was for good cause and we celebrated sister, Ashley's, wedding. It was a "working" vacation as weddings often are, but it was nice to be a part of her special day and welcome our new brother into the family. The festivities started with the bridal luncheon on Friday September 4th. The event was hosted by 3 of our aunts and had a clever nautical theme, which was woven throughout the entire wedding weekend. 

I have a most beautiful mother....I mean really. She's 63. I love her! 

Ashley with aunt Janet.

The bride with her niece.

Mama, Emily, and I.

And then it was on to the rehearsal dinner.....such a lovely spot! The Winterbourne Inn is an historic home on the St. Johns River full of southern charm which overlooks a sprawling green lawn and the river.  

Stella and her pal, Katie

The Cranston family....John and Irina and their two sons

Emily and Stella

Getting her Belle make-up on!

That laugh! She was just DELIGHTED to be a princess. Love her to pieces! 

The rehearsal.

The Spanish moss....I couldn't get enough! (Turns out it's an air plant. Who knew?) 

Entering the wedding venue, Club Continental

And then I had to put down my camera because I was IN the wedding so I don't have many photos of the actual EVENT. But, it was a lovely week spent with my family, coffee every morning with my sister, pickups at school with Stella, plenty of playing, lots of ironing of tablecloths and seat covers, and a lovely celebration of love. It was so nice to be back with MY husband at the place we married. The photographer even captured a special photo for US. So kind of her. I'll post it when we get it back. But what I appreciated the most was that JSM and I were back, 8 years later, having weathered a few storms. Marriage is HARD. But we're still married, still loving one another, and still certain we'd make the same decision today. Not only do I love, but I really like the man. I chose. 

Since I've felt so overloaded this summer I am trying hard to make my weekends feel restful and rejuvenating. I recently read Laura Vanderkam's What The Most Successful People Do on Weekends and guess what? They don't lay around! They participate in something called active rest which means you actively do things that fill you up. Truthfully, I fantasize about laying on the couch all weekend, but in reality I know it would leave me feeling like a bag of rocks. Instead, I've created a list of 100 dreams (OK, I can only come up with 73 so far) which Vanderkam recommends. So, when I am looking for something meaningful to do I can pull from my list. They are not fancy, expensive, or far flung. For example I've included #7 make pumpkin deserts (my favorite!), #14 spend time in nature, and #37 create a meal plan and eat at home during the week. But, I know they are things I actually want to do and that's important when I want to feel like I've made the most of my weekend. It's a quick read if you are looking for a little inspiration for what to do with your down time. 

Now that we are home, I can focus on my favorite time of year. I love the long shadows that fill the late afternoon, the crisp breeze that rolls in around 4 pm each day, and the rustling of the leaves which has started a bit early here because of the long, dry summer we experienced. Leaves are already turning and falling in our little piece of backyard. No doubt from being scorched in the fiery August sun instead of the natural move from fall into winter. Fall decorations fill the downstairs, long-sleeved shirts fill my closet, new books fill my Kindle, and my list of 73 dreams is waiting for me. September is the new January and I'm ready to be full of all the things that make my heart sing! 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Pretty Good Month

Summer has flown by and it's been hotter than ever. A record summer they say. We've had blue skies almost everyday since May (lovely!) and temps in the 90's (not so lovely!) It actually seems to be cooling off with highs in the low 80's. I already notice the light changing ever so slightly as we move closer to fall. Believe me, I can hardly wait! Not only is it my favorite time of year, but I am desperate for those lower temperatures. I hope they arrive on time this year.

Look at that late afternoon sun!

Roses are pink!

Gratefully, we got a little bit of rain ONE day last month.

July was busy, full of travel, celebration, guests, and some much needed downtime. We've been putting our house together (slowly) and it's starting to feel like OUR home. We have the most beautiful sunsets, our roses are thriving on our back patio, and we finished putting together 2 full rooms. The most important: A place for guests, and a place for JSM to watch football because it's. almost. that. time. of. year.

JSM's man cave (but we both want to hang out in there!) 

The most beautiful sunsets in East Vancouver...

If you come see us, you will stay here. 

JSM headed to the Fare Thee Well show in Chicago, celebrated his 50th birthday with a hippie birthday party, and we had our very first house guest in our new home. Nanny Annie came to visit! 

Dispatch from Soldier Field! While JSM was here....

I was here.

And here. Glorious!

We celebrated both of our birthdays!

Of course. Every very hippie birthday needs a marijuana candle.

The most beautiful birthday cake for JSM made by my sweet friend, Christine!

Birthday man!

Hanging out after golf and fantastic food!

All the guys went home with t-shirts saying "JMac is 50" on the front corner and "What a long strange trip it's been on the back." They were a hit!!

The beautiful!!

At Multnomah Falls

JSM and Nanny Annie

I never tire of Multnomah Falls....

I met sister, Tiny, in Seattle for a sleepover which was wonderful! It had been almost 16 months since we'd seen each other. She's a flight attendant, but she doesn't get a layover in the NW very often.

This is 29 and 39. Wow....time flies! 


Sunday, June 21, 2015

Hot Tub. Time Machine.

 Yes, that's the title of one of JSM's favorite movies that I refused to watch, but it's also how I feel today. We gloriously relaxed in not one, but two hot tubs over the last few weeks and I'm now wishing for a time machine to take me back.....way back. The past few weeks were LONG with board meetings, work, volunteer activities, and a funeral. It is always hard when illness strikes, but it's an extra punch in the gut when it is quick, unexpected, and completely unfair. I would love a time machine to take me back for just a day to work with such a consummate librarian, a dynamic person with whom I shared a name (my middle, her first), who knew the print reference collection backwards and forwards, loved estate sales and Wired magazine, read voraciously, shared a love of books about religion, owned the first ELF in Portland and constructed a granny flat in her backyard. She had plans to live in it. Sadly, her light went out before the sun rose on her retirement. For the third time in a year, I am reminded that the days are long, but the years are short and time with friends and loved ones can never be replaced. May she rest in peace.

And so I am extra grateful that JSM and I had the loveliest of TWO weekends away from Vancouver. In honor of experiences (not things) we made a spontaneous trip to Carson, WA in the gorge for a stay at the Carson Hot Springs. Not glamorous, but oh so relaxing. In fact, it was the simplicity that made it so wonderful: surprisingly old claw foot tubs, spectacular scenery, and an historic, if a bit dilapidated, hotel. This little surprise getaway made my one day weekend feel like a week. We stopped at the Skamania Lodge for brunch and ended the afternoon with a pedicure.

On our drive up the gorge......the Columbia River.
JSM relaxing in the mineral water.
 And then we headed down to Black Butte Ranch, just outside of Sisters, Oregon to spend a weekend away. Which included a hot tub. On the golf course. What more could we ask for? Nothing. We hardly left the "ranch" and I finished books (imagine!), had spa treatments (yes, plural), and drove the golf cart (what fun!) while JSM played nine holes on a most beautiful day. It was glorious and we can't wait to return.

My weekend. Seriously.
The view from the Lodge at the ranch. Two of the "sisters".


Portrait. Selfie.
Crossing the golf course behind the house.

Perfect shot, JSM!

On the ranch....
And this stared at us all weekend!
Love the chandelier!
Perfect Pendleton pattern....classic Oregon. 

Doing one of his favorite things!
And a great place to do one of my favorite things...reading!

Lovely weekend(s) away. Real life awaits, but still wishing for a hot tub. :)