December 31, 2012

Skookumchuck Narrows

We went on nice 8k (round trip) hike to see the famous Skookumchuk Narrows. The colors in the forest were just unbelievable, with more shades of green than I ever remember seeing!

December 29, 2012

Lessons From a Two Year Old

Here I am with an entire blog and mission to find delight in everyday living...and I realized today I should be spending more time with Miss Mia.  It's easy to forget how a 2 year old views life through the lens of new discovery, and everything to them is wonderful and delightful! Who knew the joys of:
  • Seeing a cat.
  • Picking up a rock.
  • Sharing your rock with the cat.
  • Holding a nut.
  • Getting a cookie.
  • Sitting on the carpet in front of the fire.
  • Swimming!
  • A good drink of milk.
  • Holding a soft, pink blanket.
  • Playing with markers.
  • Seeing something blue.
  • Laying on the floor with your feet in the air.
We adults work too hard at life sometimes!  Bahahaha!

A cat on the back porch was so exciting.

December 28, 2012

Miss Mia

We've enjoyed checking out Sechelt. I located a bakery, which made my heart beat a little faster.

Miss Mia is the sweetest little pill ever!  Too bad I couldn't get pictures today at the indoor swim park.  She was thrilled!

December 27, 2012

Oh, Canada!

10 of us in a van, 15,394 hours of driving, and a new record for the number of cookies ingested = the beginning of an exciting vacation!  The border crossing was a bit slow, but we made it through in the nick of time, and headed off full speed to the ferry.

We miraculously made it to the ferry in time, but tickets were sold out hours before.  So we sat in the dark, all too familiar van for another 2.5 hours.  The rain was coming down and things started getting damp and stinky.  =)  Add in a 2 year old who enjoyed her new People-Jungle-Gym-In-a-Van and we had a whole new batch of memories!

We finally arrived at 10:33 pm.  We fell into bed and woke up in the morning to the view:  

December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve 2012

Tonight is Christmas Eve.  In my dreams I am completely prepared and well rested, the house is beautiful, traditional things have been planned, and I've done everything to create a lifetime of beautiful memories.

I learned of a man the other day who was happy to celebrate with a loved one, pineapple upside down cake, and Parcheesi.  Gotta love the simpleness.  Not such a bad idea!

My new prayer is that Christmas 2012 will be remembered as the year that was filled with wonder in spite of everything, including a tree that bravely stood only half decorated.

Christmas blessings to you all!

December 21, 2012

Putting It In Perspective

The unthinkable has happened.

4 days until our Christmas Eve celebration and the tree has lights only - no decorations!  The cookies aren't baked!  The presents haven't even been thought up yet!  Nothing is wrapped and under the tree!  No holiday meal plans!

Heavy sigh. 

This year I have sacrificed much for the sake of work.  I rest knowing that I provided a measure of comfort and joy to those who are dying.  For many, this is their last Christmas and no doubt they don't care about cookies and presents.

Time for more hugs.

December 19, 2012

School's Out

...and some things never change!  Teachers and their friends are now sleeping.  Ours should be waking up in a few days. =)

December 18, 2012

The Seventh Night Before Christmas

...When what to my wondering eyes should appear...
But a million white snowflakes to bring us good cheer!

December 14, 2012

A Lencan Memory

Today I wonder how she is, living up so high in the damp mountains.  Is she warm?  Does she have a dry shawl?  Does she have enough to eat?  

December 13, 2012

Fairy Tale Muffins

Once upon a time there was a beautiful and lovely queen who decided to bake up a storm in the royal kitchen.  She hoped to give treats to all her friends, using the cute little pumpkins that had grown in her garden.

So she washed those pumpkins. And cut and scooped and scraped and baked and baked some more and scooped and pureed those little pumpkins.

Then she measured and stirred and mixed and poured and put 27,496 pumpkin muffins into the oven. Some even had chocolate chip surprises in them!

But she did not know that pumpkins from the garden are much juicier than pumpkins from a can.  (My royal readers will know that juicy pumpkins make soupy batter, which is doomed for failure. )

As the queen swung open the oven door, she was met with the biggest disaster one could ever imagine! Alas! Those muffins were a gooey, sticky, runny, crunchy, messy, saggy, crumbly, forlorn mess.  It was a sad state of affairs.  They tasted just fine but they were the ugliest treats in all the land. She threw off her crown, shed golden tears of frustration, and was snappish even to her beloved King Bradley.  (He will report that this went on for some time.)

And then she remembered.

Within a fortnight, all of the grownup princes and princesses would be arriving back to the castle from their studies abroad.  She recalled how they loved to sit in the dark and watch the Christmas tree lights.  And stay up all night.

So she served them pumpkin treats on silver platters.  In the dark.

"Delicious!"  they exclaimed.
"Delightful!" they declared.
"Marvelous!" they professed.

The Queen smiled, thankful for yet another small Christmas miracle.

December 12, 2012


Today my heart goes out to the victims of the mall shooting.  And to the family of the shooter.  They are living a nightmare that won't end.

Time to text those who are far away and hug those who are near.  And be thankful for the life and breath we are so privileged to have.

UPDATE:  We learned that one of the men killed lived across the street from me when I was a child. He was best friends with a coworker's brother.  Such sadness.

December 11, 2012

Entropy in the Pantry

Entropy had it's full effect this fall.  But the long haul at work is over now, and holy cow, there is a lot around here that needs my attention!  

This weekend I pulled everything out of the pantry, wiped down the shelves, tossed the expired things, donated the useable stuff I'll never use in a million years, and reorganized every inch.  It's a good feeling to actually know what's in there.

December 7, 2012

On the Metra

I've only ridden the Metra alone once before, but I was up for the challenge.  Good practice for Europe, no? :)

The trick to not looking like a complete idiot is all about watching others.  So I watched where to buy tickets. I watched where others stood in line for the train, though I couldn't determine if the line was perpendicular or horizontal to the train.  As more business suits appeared, I finally decided it was really more of a "mob" lineup, with everyone politely crowding on. 

I hauled my rolling carry-on to my seat.  Right train, right time.  Small but pleasing accomplishments. Now where to put my ticket?  I watched others and saw they quickly put their's in the clips.  My error was that I didn't look closely enough, and try as I might, I could not get mine to stay.  Notice there are two layers on that clip, and the upper one is the wrong one!  Ha!

It was too dark outside to take pictures out the window.  Only reflections.  I have never seen so many mainstream, suited people in my life.  There were no tattoos, piercings, or alternative hair colors. Only one young man was wearing jeans, and he looked quite out of place. Goodness, I have lived around Portland so long that the lack of weirdness in another city caught me off guard.

Exiting the train was another challenge entirely.  Masses of people.  More business suits.  My carry-on was in the way, making it difficult to maneuver in the moving crowd.  And then I decided it was time to hold my head up and join the movement.  I moved forward like I had done it a million times before. Victory.

December 6, 2012

Chicago, Day and Night

This was the view from my Double Deluxe room by day

and by night!

Not too shabby!  Can't tell you how refreshing it was to get away.  It was food for my soul.  And it was great to come home when the adventure was over.  I think that's how travel should be. =)

December 3, 2012


So here I am in the outskirts of Chicago. There's nothing better than spending time with your sister...and brother-in-law, nephew, niece, and dog.  Today I got to hang out in Meg's 1st grade class, watch B's middle school basketball game, and play with M, who adores calling me the wrong name.  Two year olds can be that way.  :)

I have had some good reading times (still awake with the time change) and slept in late. And I have stuffed myself with way too much good food.  Last night we had oven roasted pork tenderloin with braised red cabbage and apples.  Tonight it was maple soy glazed salmon with braised leek and kale quinoa.  Not counting spices, there were 21 total ingredients.

I am not joking.

Obviously I inherited only the love for eating good food, not cooking it; truly, the genes passed me right by.  Sometime soon I will present my own method of cooking.  5 ingredients or less, my friends.

For now I revel in the wonder of it all.  Tomorrow brings new adventures in the city for work conferences, starting with an early morning train ride.  All good!