Monday, July 14, 2008

Quick Update

I had a great weekend, a great birthday, and a good time all around. I'll post more later, but right now I'm recovering from my very full weekend!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Happy Birthday To ME!

Exactly 26 years ago, at the moment this blog was posted, I was born! I am 26 :) Any birthday is a huge celebration for a CFer. I also send birthday wishes to my grandma. Even though she is not doing well, and this will quite possibly be her last birthday, she's my special, birthday sharing Grandma.

Time to go play on the beach!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Family Reunion

Right now Matt and I are on our was to Pacific City, OR to my yearly Lyda family reunion. A yearly tradition that I've grown up with, always the second weekend of July, and except for a brief break, it's almost always at the coast. This is the spot that 3 years ago Matt proposed to me. Below are a few pictures of what I'll be seeing this weekend.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


I love summer in Oregon. Sure, we're known for our rain. The dreary days stretch out endlessly, but that is only in the winter. When summer comes around, the clouds run away, the sky turns blue, and the days warm. Sunny day after sunny day stretch out, lasting the entirety of July and August. Over two full months with only a trace of rain here and there. And while it may get warm, it hardly ever gets hot like so many other places in the country. Triple digits are rare, maybe a few times a year, and the humidity almost always stays blissfully low. A "muggy" day here would be laughable by the standards set by the rest of the country.
I never realized my favorite part about summer here though until I spent summer days in Maine, South Carolina, and Florida... my favorite part, is that every night brings relief from the warmth of the day. The crystal clear skies bring in cool air. Houses are thrown open, welcoming the coolness. It's almost average to have a low in the 50's, even in the heat of August. Air conditioners are rare in homes here, because of our cool nights. If you open up the house at night, and close it up in the morning, it will stay livable most days.
The landscape also stays fairly green, even though it doesn't really rain. Our months of rain before it creates a high water table, that is fed all summer by the melting snow from the mountains.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

What do you think?

So what do ya'll think about daily 3PM posts that I have been doing the last several days? Do you mind that some posts may have been written a few days before?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


I know I have not introduced many aspects of my daily life... so here is the first..

This is my baby boy Hazard.

Right before Matt and I were married, we decided that we wanted a kitty for me. He already had Lil' One, who was devoted to him for life, and while she accepted my existence, she definitely was not a kitty I could call my own.

After much difficulty with the Willamette Humane Society in Salem, we decided to go to the Oregon Humane Society up in Portland, to see what they had. We already decided we probably wanted a kitten. While we are fine adopting older kitties, we wanted someone small to make the adjustment on Lil' One better. We showed up to the very busy Humane Society, as there was a mass adoption of Labradoodles going on. All of their kittens were spoken for, except for one black baby. We asked to visit with him and were escorted to a private viewing room. Soon they brought the kitten to the room, placed him down, and left, giving us a chance to interact with him. However, the little fur ball was not interested in us at all. He was not scared of us, but would not even feign interest in the toys that we dangled, did not want to be petted. No, instead this kitty needed to check out the room. He sniffed every surface, wiggled into all the corners, and got the lay of the room. As soon as he did, he switched into an entirely different kitty. He became playful, loving, and like any other friendly kitten. This personality quirk of fully exploring his surroundings when changed became the first of his many endearing traits.

That very first night, he taught us his name. We were driving him own, on a rain drenched, wind swept, dark night that signals the start of the stormy season in Oregon every late fall. The freeway was covered in water, visibility was bad, and the wind shifted the car like it was a small child's sailboat. Hazard was restless in the car, again showing his need to explore every surface inch of his new surroundings. He climbed out of my reach in the passenger seat, up Matt, the driver's shoulder, and out on his head. Two paws onto Matt's hat bill, chaos broke lose. Suddenly, in slow motion, I watched as the hat fell to cover Matt's face, his glasses tumble into his lap, quickly followed by a black furry streak. I grabbed the wheel with one hand, picked up the cat, popped the hat off of Matt's face, then handed him his glasses with a flair and coordination that I can only exhibit in situations where my livelihood is on the line.

After we were safely piloted by a driver who not only no longer had a hat across his face, but could also see with the aid of his glasses, I turned my attention to the small black cat. Exactly what type of cat would try to kill the people who just saved him? He didn't even let us get home before he tried to kill us! You would think that cats would know that part of being adopted was not to kill the adoptive parents... shouldn't they have a class or something? I held his face firmly in my hands and looked deep into his eyes.....

"Hey little guy, you can't be a road hazard".

As soon as the word hazard left my lips, the cat lunged forward towards my face, head butting me with a force of a big bear hug. I pulled him back and looked at him again...


He responded with another emphatic head butt, and another, and another. We had found his name... and another of his endearing qualities. The number of times that head has butted against mine are numerous. Soon we found that he communicated by varying his meows, able to express exactly what he thought about any situation. Him running in one morning, meowing a blue streak, telling me that Matt dared to feed them pate food was probably one of the funniest moments of my life.

My sweet, fuzzy, wild Hazard. There is no question in my mind how much he loves me... even if he did try to kill me!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Maybe They'll Still Know

First, I've added a couple more links on the right sidebar. Please visit them and show the great support to other blogs like you show me!

I've lately noticed a little habit of mine that I'm not sure how it started, and while it may have the greatest of intentions, probably looks a little funny.

There is a an interesection of two highways in town where it can be very difficult to get on the westbound highway, especially at rush hour. It's a difficult place to get on at, merging into traffic, hoping someone will let me in. You have to usually hope that people will give you a gap, and slip your car into it. Being a friendly person, I always wave once I've merged in, in a sign of my apprecation. That's normal, friendly thing to do. However, I've noticed that whenever I'm in my car alone, I mouth thank you while I wave. No one hears me, but I swear, they won't be happy with me if I don't say thank you! Yes I know the can't see my mouth, but I feel really guilty if I don't mouth it!

Maybe the universe tells them for me!

This quirk brought to you by the fabulously quirky me!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Across the Country 2007 - Part 2

After starting our drive in Eugene on Sunday, July 8th (actually you could say we started at the Pacific Ocean the day before), we reached my sister's place in Kentucky on Tuesday morning. Not bad time at all! Heidi, my sister, lives in Kentucky, where she attends Asbury Seminary where she is working for a degree in mission work. Matt and I spent most of the day sleeping in a real bed. After we felt more rested, we went out to dinner, then to the Harry Potter Chamber of Secrets Premiere. Matt and I slept again, ready to leave on Wednesday, make the final push to South Carolina, and get there before day's end, so we wouldn't spend Thursday the 12th, my birthday on the road. Here are some shots from this leg of our trip.
Matt and Heidi, hanging out.

Me, getting caught up with the world.

Did somebody say chicken?

Navigator's tools.

Hey, that's the state we were looking for!

A rainbow, right as we arrive at our destination.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Simple Things

I'm snacking on a whole pile of fresh pea pods from my garden. They are so tasty :) So far we've been able to harvest peas, strawberries, chives, radishes, lettuce, spinach, and one deliciously sweet onion. I love being able to go out and just much and graze :) Today I noticed my blueberries, slowly growing plumper by the day, and my first tomato, starting to turn color. I don't like raw tomato that much, but I love to cook with them :) Still growing and maturing in my garden I have rhubarb, peppers, squash, zucchini, celery, eggplant, pole beans, bush beans, artichoke, cauliflower, carrots, and kohlrabi. Points if you know what kolhrabi is! I leave you with a picture progression of my garden, from a few months ago to pictures from this morning.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Fourth!

Note - Pepe has pulled through her transplant, but had to go back to the OR after a few hours to stop bleeding. This is not unexpected with the severity of her disease, but it was concerning none the less. She has made it through the second operation and is recovering... my thoughts are with her, her family and friends, as well as the donor family.

Happy Fourth all :)

Enjoy the fireworks... especially if you are in South Carolina which has fireworks that are so illegal here! Here, nothing can fly off the ground, the fountains are super limited in height... but oh the fireworks my brother-in-law, Josh, sells in South Carolina!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Across the Country 2007

(Please read my last entry about Pepe!)

In the Summer of 2007, one of my "always wanted to do" came true, and Matt and I drove across the country. I've always wanted to be able to go across the county, in a car, with the miles of road stretching in front and behind of me like a ribbon. Below is a small portion of our trip, with more portions hopefully coming.

A fully loaded back seat, all the essentials for a 3 week trip :)

Our first mountain pass, over the Cascades. I took the slightly longer route, the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway as Matt had never been over it before. Winding between mountain lakes, bending around mountains, then falling into the city of Bend, it is a great drive on a sunny summer day. In Bend we had lunch with my Uncle Bob, Aunt Momi, Cousin Gerad, and Momi's mother Fumiko. It was great to touch base with them before heading out on adventures untold. The day before, we had seen my father's side of the family at the coast at family reunion, so seeing a bit of my mother's family as well was a great way to head off.

A stop for those little things you don't really think much about before heading out at Target in Nampa, ID, where the history of my family in the area is deep, with most of my father's side of the family working the land there in generations previous. I think we ended up buying batteries, extra sunscreen, a new CD player (as mine was terrible) and even a gift for Matt's brother while we were there.

We got back on the road, the sun setting at our backs, as we continued our journey eastward. Around 10pm that night, I was done driving, as I had been at the wheel since we left Eugene, and we were now approaching the Idaho/Utah border. Matt and I switched places, and I climbed into the passenger seat, curling up under my favorite blanket, and catching a night of sleep. We were in a hurry, as we needed to be in South Carolina by Friday, as Matt's cousin was getting married that Saturday. We made the decision to only stop for food and walking around on the way out to Kentucky, where we would spend the night at my sister's place. I took the day side driving, Matt tackled the nighttime. Sunday turned into Monday as we crossed the Rocky Mountains. At the Wyoming/Nebraska border, after we ate breakfast, it was time to trade off again. I drove across Nebraska, stopping at Cabela's to pick up my my father a few items from one of his favorite vendors.

Granted I didn't expect to see an elephant inside!

I like how they appreciate the fact that, well, places are a little spread out in Nebraska...

And signs directing us to well, ourselves, Fairfax, and in case we wanted Oregon, Missouri... there we go!

More to share later!

Miracle in Motion!

I woke up this morning, scared to check one of the blogs of my Internet friends who I have spent time chatting with at Gina a.k.a. Pepe has been very sick for a long time, with frequent absences from the nightly chat room brought by needing the vent again, or simply needing all of her energy just to breathe. I don't even know how long she's been in the hospital, but I know that she's been in for a very long time, waiting for a transplant, hearing the transplant may not be an option, and fighting just to live. All the while she maintained a wonderful spirit that I loved in the chat room.

Yesterday, my heart broke as I read the latest entry. I prayed for one more chance, for Gina to step past death one last time. I never imagined that THE CALL would come, that that is the first news that greeted me this morning. God came through greater than my biggest prayers. She still has a long road. Surgery is not even done, and her life hangs by a thread, in the hands of the surgeon's, guided by God.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Coming Home

This is chapter 15 in my history. Other chapters can be can be found by clicking on "History" at the right.

I know, it's been a long time since I gave a glimpse into my history, but here, goes, and we're almost up to the present.

I left off right after marrying my love, Matt. We settled into a tiny apartment in Salem, OR, with my long time roommate, Tyrone. Life was tough, between being in debt, Matt traveling an hour each way to work in Eugene, and living in a tiny apartment. I still was unable to find a teaching job, so I continued substitute teaching. By this time it was obvious that my health was slowly failing, but I was too stubborn to admit it. I was taking more and more days off from subbing, napping heavily on days where I did work, and never felt well. By Spring 2007, it was clear to me, Matt, and my parents that it was time for me to quit, but I was unsure if we could make it financially. This is when God's grace again touched my life and changed it radically.

Matt and I were both saying a prayer for a way to lift ourselves from the blanket of debt that smothered us. While we were able to keep a roof over our heads, food on the table, and the lights on, our credit card debt was out of control, especially mine. Years of living paycheck to paycheck and still not making it had caught up to me. All of my cards were over their limits, and the monthly minimums were impossible for me to make. I mostly stayed quiet about my struggle, the shame alone was too much for me to handle, let alone the humility to ask those around me for help. I sent up prayers for someway to wipe the slate clean, start over, and be free of the constant fear and paranoia of living in debt gave me.

Around this time, we were also considering a move to Eugene. This would put Matt in the same city as his work, and I could go back to a less demanding retail job, that hopefully I wouldn't bet as sick at. Tyrone, also ready for a new start, accompanied us on a low-income apartment search in Eugene. We started the next week, back to the grind of daily life, when Matt received news that would radically change the condition of our lives. The company that Matt worked for as a game programmer was being purchased by a larger company. The company would stay essentially the same, but now have capital to help make their goals a reality. In addition, they were buying the stock that the employees had invested. Matt had a significant amount of stock, and now we were set to receive a significant amount of money. Our debt would be gone, our worry lessened, and suddenly my not working didn't seem as scary. Not only that, but we had enough money to put a large down payment on a house... to go from one weekend looking at low-income apartments to looking at homes the very next weekend was quite the experience.

They say that money doesn't buy happiness, and at it's very core, that is a true statement. But the money made it so that there was so much less worry in our lives. The ability to relax and not stress as much led to more happiness and joy in our lives. We found a home fairly quickly and by April 2007 we were homeowners with only the mortgage hanging in our debt cloud. I made the official decision to quit work, and after an August hospitalization, I applied for disability. Officially resigning myself to not teaching anymore was difficult. I hated the thought of giving up the fight with my body to reach my dreams, but I knew that I couldn't physically handle it anymore. I was approved for disability, not a small feet for a first time applicant, and now we live in our home, happy and financially safe.

For the most part, this brings us up to today. There are many more stories to tell, but those will come, with time :) I am going to try to get better about posting more frequently, so we will see what happens!