Snow Wonderings

13 01 2017

This has been one hell of a winter. It’s 9am on a Friday, and instead of greeting my students at my classroom door, I’m sipping cup-o-joe number two in my jammies. Again. Simba is snoring loudly in front of the stove and my car hasn’t moved in 3 days.

We’re buried in snow, yall. Like, a LOT of snow. Feet of snow. And the temperatures aren’t warming up, and the forecasted rain never came.

Hello extended break! School has been canceled almost every day this week. We made the attempt on Tuesday, but they had to delay three hours. That’s a lot.  Nine days off this winter so far. My poor kids are going to be in school through July at this rate…winter wonderland Hood River OR 2017

So I’ve been in a weird place. I haven’t had this much down time in so long I forgot what to do with it. Fear not, it didn’t take long – I dug back into my pre-grad school hobbies and have been pulling all sorts of things out of the closet. I’ve been knitting, writing, cooking, talking to my mom, and takingthe longest tromps through the snow with Simba. I dug out a new knitting pattern and hit YouTube to figure out double-pointed needles. I started making a photo book of trip photos and ordered a super cute fleece jacket for Simba. I sat on my bed staring at my DSLR camera, trying to decide if I should try again at non-Instagram shooting. It hasn’t happened just yet….but I did charge the battery….

***

It’s the tromps through the snow with Simba that have been the best. I run around in my base layers all day, so when it’s time to tromp, I can throw on my outer layers and off we go! (Ok, 20 minutes later when I finally get ready, off we go…)

Down the driveway, skidding out in the street, stumbling through the piles left from plows and shovels, slipping on hidden ice. Simba spins out on the ice like a cartoon and I clunk along in my huge boots and 15 layers of clothes like the little kid in A Christmas Story.  We head down the hill and turn west. The main street has been for-real plowed, but the sidewalk is buried. The first couple days, we broke trail, wading through knee-deep fluff, Simba following behind so he didn’t have to swim. By now, the path has been packed down by boots and skis and snowshoes and paws.

Sometimes we turn uphill a couple blocks over, up to the trail that winds past the pastures and orchards. Other times we turn downhill, plummeting down the trails through the blackberry thickets towards the big fancy neighborhoods at the bottom. Simba runs back and forth, sticking his whole head in the snow, floundering every time he falls off the path. It’s exhausting and exciting and tons of fun.snowday Hood River OR

The snow is so so quiet. Even in the daytime, we rarely run into anyone else. The frozen world is still and muffled, blurred around the edges and shiny. Night is my favorite. The snow is magical in the glow of streetlights; the sky doesn’t quite get dark and the houses all look warm and inviting.

I wonder as we wander. My mind weaves stories about the people in the glowing windows. My imagination plays with tales of the winter birds twittering around the bare trees. My heart wonders about the folks that don’t have glowing windows or 15 layers. Simba ponders if he can get his leg high enough to pee on that tree.

For some reason, the snow wonderings also make me nostalgic. And make me miss my momma. I talked to Hope for a long time on the phone a few days ago, and yesterday Ijumped online and bought a ticket to go visit. My Texas family balks at the negative temps and piles of frozen precipitation, but I can tolerate 95 degrees in April for 6 days with my folks. I daydream about me and my momma in the houses I pass, wishing she lived closer and could come hang out.

Then we end up back at our own house, with it’s own glowing windows and J waiting inside with steaming mugs of hot cocoa. I emailed the plane ticket to mom so she can block out the week on the calendar, and I curl up on the couch with my JBoo. I might ache for the family I left in Texas, but this snowy wonderland is my home now.

And I love it.

 

 

winter layers Hood River OR

 

 





Reminiscing Once More

31 12 2016

Here we are, sitting on the cusp of another new year. I’m not going to lie, I’m a little surprised we made it.

howIfeelabout2016

Whew, we made it. That was a rough one, girlfriend.

It’s weird to sit back and think over the last year. Partly because I haven’t had much time to sit back and think at all over the last 12 months. But being New Year’s Eve, I feel ok about allowing myself these few minutes of nostalgia….

This time last year, I was overflowing with all the feels – I had diamonds on my left hand that I couldn’t stop staring at while I shimmied into my gold dress to ring in the new year in the city square in Granada, Spain. We ate grapes and cheered and sang and kissed under the grand lights and I felt like this was going to be such a great year!!!

NewYears2016GranadaSpain

So optimistically happy ❤

And a lot of really amazing things did happen this year. Since my social media is full of lists of all the crappy things that happened in 2016, I’m not going to add my own. The future is unknown, and right now a little uncertain and scary, so I’m going to ruminate on the positive.

  1. I came home from an incredible adventure in Spain, engaged to my handsome beau
  2. Grad school did not kill me, and instead I graduated
  3. After lots of anxiety and applications, I landed my first teaching position
  4. During the first week of said teaching position, our 2 families gathered together and I married that handsome beau and made him mine
  5. I turned 32, and felt ok about it
  6. Teaching proved to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I made it the first trimester
  7. We bailed ship as soon as school let out and celebrated…well everything, on a delayed honeymoon in Costa Rica

And here we are! J and I are still unpacking and resettling after our adventures. We talk a lot about the coming months, years, but right now, its nice to celebrate the happiness we have right here right now.

Happy New Year!

honeymooninCostaRica





I am not a tree

8 05 2014

Some might call me a “gypsy”, others prefer “nomad” – most stick with “crazy fool”. I don’t care, the fact remains: I LOVE MOVING.

If you’ve been around a while, you already know this. In the 3 1/2 years I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve moved 3 times! Well, I have now…

That’s right, I squeezed in another move. We found a house right before our awesome trip to the coast, signed the first set of papers as we headed out of town that weekend, and started packing like maniacs as soon as walked back in the door Sunday evening. Ahhh, the delightful scent of cardboard mixing with the aromas of packing tape and sharpie….

We didn’t go far this time. In fact, we’re still on the same road, sort of. Just 20 miles south. But we’re closer to “town”, as we country folk like to say – about 5 minutes into White Salmon, WA, 10 minutes to Hood River, OR. So awesome!!

The reasons behind this move were vastly different than the last 3 – no falling in love and closing the gap of a long distance relationship, no new jobs or promotions. Nope, I’m just a pansy and have hit my limit with being a hermit. My isolation has driven me close enough to the point of insanity that J agreed we should move closer to civilization. Yay!

This kind of move dredges up a whole different team of emotions than other kinds. We’re not off to brand new places full of brand new things – we’re generally in the same area. And most other aspects of our lives are staying the same…same work lives, same people we hang out with. I know some of this will change – but you get my drift.

I discovered that this new team of emotions was an interesting bunch. Nostalgia has shown itself to be the definitive team captain. I noticed Regret hanging out on the sidelines, trying to sneak in. Excitement and Stress are varsity starters…but Nostalgia is running the show.

It’s so easy to fall into his trap. “Aww, our old house was so big and roomy…man I miss our wood stove…I’m so sad to leave my towering Ponderosas…” And then the other side of the coin: “This new place is so small…we’re literally living in someone’s basement…why are there so many spiders? Where are we going to put our stuff?”

Yes, it’s true, our last house was pretty awesome and in a ridiculously gorgeous spot. But I was living the life of a hermit because we lived so far out. Thirty miles to the grocery store gets old fast. It would be different if I had a job I went to every day, where I could soak up human interaction like a little sponge. But I work from home, waving at neighbors from afar and slowly becoming more and more socially awkward. So we moved. And I have started countering all Nostalgia’s big moves. That house was too big, bigger than we needed, and intimidating to try to keep clean. The fire in the stove was great to watch, but the smoke made my eyes burn and left a delightful gray film on everything – the walls and windows and furniture. It also consumed about 4 cords of wood, all of which had to be cut, split and stacked. No wood stove might be nice….

And moving to a smaller place forced us to purge our crap. Neither of us are real pack rats, but when there’s space, there’s no motivation to get rid of anything. Our Goodwill pile is damn impressive!! We decided we might stash it all and have a big yard sale when we’re settled in.

Our new little basement is charming and cute and just big enough for us. The house is built on a slope so one side of our new digs is mostly windows, though the deck above us provides shade to keep us cool all summer. And the location – man oh man! We’re right in the valley of the White Salmon River, which you can hear below from our porch, and only about 2 miles up from the Columbia. The land around us is half orchard, half untamed, overgrown brush and forest. It’s insanely gorgeous and the orchard fruit stand is just at the end of our driveway – fresh produce all summer! And without those towering ponderosa trees shading the entire yard, I can garden again!!

20140508-163504.jpg

Not a bad view…

Possibly the best part of all is that we live in someone’s basement. That someone happens to rent out rooms upstairs, too. We moved into a house where other people also live – built in friends! So far, all our new housemates are ridiculously nice. One awesome woman is soon to be my new BFF – I just know it!

The pros definitely outweigh the “aw dang it”‘s that Nostalgia keeps trying to through my way. Our last place was great, sure – but so is this one. I have a sneaking suspicion that once we get the boxes unpacked and the cellphone boosters installed and my garden planted, this new house is going to surpass the old one.

A favorite quote of mine says, “If you don’t like where you are, change it. You are not a tree.” I think this applies to much more than geography, and our new house is just the first step for me not being a tree. But it’s a big step, and one that I think will help me greatly.

It might take a bit for us to get unpacked and organized, but who wants to visit first?!?

😀





A Place To Call Home

20 10 2012

I had this long, drawn-out, mushy post written about the meaning of “home”. When I was first writing it, typing furiously to try to finish it on my lunch break, I couldn’t help but be impressed with myself for digging deep and really showing off my philosophical side.

Thankfully, I didn’t finish it on my lunch break, I re-read it just now, and I made it about 3 paragraphs in before selecting all and hitting delete. What a load of crap! I have many homes, and the meaning of the word has changed for me as I’ve grown old and wise and blah blah blah big yawn zzzzzzzzzzz. Gross.

So here’s what this post is really about: I’m feeling all mushy and nostalgic because I’m ditching yet another “home”. That’s right – we’re moving. Packing up and getting the hell out of Dodge. Moving on to greener pastures. Hitching up the mule train for the great beyond. Something like that.

wagon train to Oregon

We are moving almost to Oregon. Let’s hope we don’t die of dysentery, drown fording the river, or get shot by Indians on the way…(photo from 32finearts.com)

The truth of the matter is that I’m freaking out about it. Well, let me rephrase that: I’m freaking out in general. We just have so much going on at once!! We leave for Peru in a little over a week. The movers come on Friday (more on this in a moment). We drive from our house in Twisp to Seattle, fly to Peru, have an ridiculous awesome time for four weeks, fly back to Seattle, then drive to our new house in Trout Lake, WA. We’ll be homeless for a month!! World travelers with address unknown!! Just the thought gets my gypsy blood a-pumping! So we’re trying to plan our humungo trip, prep for the move, figure out where we’re going to live, decide what to do with all our stuff while we’re busy gallivanting around South America, and find someone to baby-sit Spartacus and the houseplants for a month. And once we leave for Peru, we leave the Methow for good….

That’s a lot of logistical crap to nail down. I’m sure you can see why I’m a giant stress-ball. Worst of all, I don’t even have the work to occupy me. I love to pack, but movers are coming to do it all for us. Which I know I’m not allowed to complain about, but…I’m going to anyway. I wouldn’t have so much time to sit and worry about everything – I’m a do-er yet have nothing to do. In fact, I think it’s making me worry more. Strange dudes are going to be all up in my stuff! I know, they could care less about all my crap. But it also means that I don’t get to go through all my crap, and that I don’t get to do my typical ritualistic purging. Oh the tragedy of it all!!

So in order to cope and not drive J up the wall, I slathered on a chocolate mud mask and made a huge spaghetti dinner and I feel much better. Ok, so it wasn’t just me that relieved my stress – J also got us a house, verified that we can store our stuff while we’re gone, asked some friends and family to take care of our living belongings, and gave me a Tylenol and a back rub. Whoever did whatever, I feel fantastic now.

Besides, we’re moving to a really cool place. We’ll live in Trout Lake, which is about 25 miles north of the Columbia river gorge and Hood River, OR. The gorge is world-renown for wind surfing and kite boarding, which I want to try out and see if I can live to tell about it. We’ll be right between Mt Adams, the 2nd tallest mountain in Washington, and Mt Hood, the tallest mountain in Oregon. (Both are also active strata volcanoes – I love volcanoes! I’ll have to make a new evacuation plan….) We’ll also be just over an hour out of Portland and about 3 hours from Bend, OR – so close!

Mount Adams, Trout Lake WA

Soon, we’ll live here at the base of Mt Adams. I do love me some volcanoes….

Boooo – insert pouty face here. Yeah, Trout Lake is awesome and I’m sure I’ll love the new place once we get there, but I already love this place. My apply orchard, and my view of Mt McClure all day, and my crazy-cool mountain range…. and my amazingly-awesome Methow pals!! Don’t get me wrong, I like moving, I like new places and new people, I’m excited about this move, I really am. Really. But the Methow Valley is a place like no other, and I really hope we get to come back to visit often. And my Methow besties better not forget about me!!

Leavenworth Oktoberfest

Come visit me ALL THE TIME! And we still have to go on our annual ski trip…and we have to go wine tasting…and we could go – DON’T FORGET ME!!!!

North Cascades from Mt McClure, Twisp WA

This is my current backyard. Hard to beat…

 

I told you I was feeling all nostalgic and gooey. But I guess this just points out that I have come to call this place “home”. And that’s a big deal, in my world. I am super excited for the adventure of a new place, but I’m leaving a little piece of my heart here in the Methow.

Good talk, I feel better. Thanks, yall.

😀








%d bloggers like this: