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blueshoefarm at gmail dot com.... and that would be how to reach me

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Blue Shoe got a Restoration Award!

Well, in all truthfulness, not really the house per se, but the contractor got an award for the work he did on my home.  He did do a great job... insulation, wood windows, age appropriate siding, plus all the structural work in the basement. As it was phrased in the award ceremony...."an appropriate restoration with a restrictive modest budget"... meaning I was always on them about cost details.
It seems like this is a summer 2013 picture - dead grass, daisies in full bloom. Note the chair outside the window? That would be one of the kids not having their key to get in the house so they clamber through my bedroom window.  

Monday, October 14, 2013

Exterior of farmhouse is painted!

Before and after...I rather miss the blue, how it blended with the sky.  BUT do so love red.  I also put the wood supports back on both porches and replaced rotten siding where the roofing runs into contact with vertical walls -- primarily the lower level rooflines on the porch and "ell" addition. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Housing, Boating. Parenting

Good lord a mercy I have been having a life.  After our sailboat journey this summer I was asked in passing, rather casually, if I would be interested in sailing around Vancouver Island.  Knowing that is quite an adventure... lots of weather, currents, waves I answered I wanted to see the boat's nether regions first.  Next thing I know we are hauling out in Port Townsend and I am looking at the bottom of a boat.  What am I looking at? What am I looking for? Who knows, but there I am.
Next, turns out, the boat is being painted. Teak is being replaced. My daughter and I installed fresh new name letters on the stern. There is talk of new sails.

Then we finished painting my front door and house.  Which looks great!

And then my daughter, my lovely, gentle, kind, intuitive college bound girl, postponed college.  There is a boy she fell in love with, some really squirrelly, negative choices, and endless challenges have knocked on her door. I have been trying to stay calmish and healthyish all the while riding this wave without drowning, or letting any family members drown.

But that is all firmly part of living.  Can't avoid, ignore, deny the unpleasantries, they run right alongside all the joyful parts.
I will not say my life is tedious or boring.

The sign company said putting these letters on the boat would be
excruciatingly easy. They sooooo lied. 

Front door painted.  Cheery bright... orange?
I avoided a pic of the clutter to the left of my door. You know, the fence posts,
 garden plants waiting to go in the ground, mud shoes, clippers, feed bucket.  

One whopper of a rainbow while out sailing...

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Old Boats and Old Houses

I believe I have been fairly clear in my fondness for a home that is was created in an pre plastics, polymers and composites era.  A home with some age to it.  That has seen a few things, lived through some times, for better or worse. A home constructed from timber within a couple mile radius, that doesn't offgas petrol byproducts into your home. A storyteller with four walls.
I am moving more into "appreciation" of the above type home, and the owners who love and maintain them... as opposed to owning said home and being responsible for its upkeep. That is a never ending money pit, similar to owning a boat.
I discovered a whole new layer of ownership insanity this weekend. Well, I always knew about it, but the level that one can descend into it was eye-opening.
Old boats.  We have pulled the sailboat out into a boatyard to give it a fresh coat of bottom paint.  We took a walk a couple nights ago and saw some amazing boats.

We walked around a corner and off in the distance was this hue of mud looming gigantic over the roadway. This one made me sharply realize I should never own a boat. Because I am strongly drawn to this type of project.  I get the idea of seeing this boat sit sunken and derelict in the water for a couple years, only its mast sticking up out of the water... and wanting to pull it out and rescue it.  That Is Insanity.
Turns out there is a slight reason for this insanity... this is a boat John Steinbeck wrote about. Built in 1937, Steinbeck and a marine biologist friend chartered it soon afterwards building tales with it.  Its most recent home was drowned in gunk in Anacortes.  Estimated cost to fix? 1 million.  And it will never float again. Even I, nutty person for old things with stories, would not venture onto this project. Although I have to say, I would volunteer to help for a time.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Sailing to the San Juan Islands

I just finished a weeklong tour of the San Juan Islands via a 33' sailboat. Gorgeous weather the whole time, I was with an experienced sailor who knows his boat inside and out.  Therefore, on the last day when we headed out across the strait of Juan de Fuca, with a small craft advisory that whipped us across that long strait in a few hours, I had no concerns other than seasickness.
There were a few pondering moments....noticing we were the only boat on the water except for a Navy ship... the only boat in the major shipping lanes from Seattle and Tacoma on a weekday.... I pondered a "huh" but had no worries.  Noticing my upper back was sore for three days afterwards for solidly yanking on the tiller to keep the sailboat on course while we surfed the waves- and I was not the primary person on the tiller.
The San Juan Islands (central), Vancouver Island (left) , and northern peninsula of Washington (bottom).  I am writing of sailing somewhat where the green line runs from Friday Harbor to Port Townsend.  
Noticing at times one side of the boat's gunwale skimmed alternatively on top and then slightly underwater as the waves rolled with, through, alongside us.
By the time we got into port it was dark.  Another highlight : learning how to avoid moored boats in the dark. A very quantifiable skill-  I don't think I can add it to my resume, however.

Bottom line is the boat has a certain gravitas, and solidly loves to be upright. That is not to say I was very aware that if I was alone on that sea... the boat would not have fared as well.  I follow instructions well when it is important!

Note the horizon line is not level.  So the boat (33' Luders) is even more angled than this pic.  We are heading to the left land form directly ahead.  

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

RED farmhouse - preliminary

My painter is coming over to do the preliminary assessment for painting the farmhouse. I won't have a two-tone house anymore, which I am sure will make the neighbors happy.  (Not that I ever succumb to doing things for the neighbors...).
I was walking the perimeter the other day and noticed the south wall siding is gapping.  I did not replace this stuff, it is old and cracked.  It was not as bad as what I did replace, but getting close.  And now that the foundation settled, it moved and separated even more.  My friend Simon recommended that I let him send over his two carpenters to re-side the rest of the south wall.  I still have a paint job and bathroom to fund, so south wall siding is not in the budget.  As appealing it is to just take care of it. Oh, and a kid going to college next year.  So my house budget is going away rapidly....

The color chosen was found on here
Image from
I have already painted the new gable end a version of this color, but I picked a more buttery trim color.   Now I am just undecided if I am going to paint my garage and barn this color....considering Eric is due in one hour, I better decide!
The soon to be red farmhouse.  
Gee, I will have to change the blue farmhouse picture on my blog. I better plant some sunflowers quick!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

May and June happenings- pictorial essay.

In a nutshell: Life is rolling along at a busy clip, dogs, cars, kids, love. Rose is graduating on Saturday, after tons of drama.  Piles. Mountains. Someday I will be through this and look back and laugh. Right now though, not much mirth. A little, because that is what I do.. but not an overabundance.
 Meanwhile a friend sent a link to a Darius Rucker song - It Won't Be Like This For Long, that made me tear up in my car on the ferry. When I say tear up, I had to stop the song because I was going for all out sobbing.  About a daughter growing up -- I am such a weenie.   When I watched it later I was fine.  It must have been a moment of weakness....or hormones. 
Rose's 18th- celebrated in her fave Indian Restaurant.
Wilder's 14th birthday.
Getting ready for his singing debut...
Geri and her new friend, Henry!
New (used) car with EXCELLENT gas mileage.  Yay!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Electrical : Part 2 of 23

So I posted pics of the installed GFCI here....  (Click on me, right here, right now).  This makes my electrical line profoundly more sensitive to problems - which it is having.  To figure out where the snafu is we are breaking it down into baby steps.  Whenever the entry way light is flipped on in the kitchen, the GFCI blows. First step :  we started with the switches. When you take the cover off you may see that all three are from different manufacturing eras, different materials and none are what you can buy in 2013.  Of the three switches, only two actually turn on anything.  We replaced the two switches.  They are certainly old. The wiring makes me "nervous" to say the least but I am feeding off the confidence of the fellow helping me. He basically says : yeah, you live in an old house that has some old things, get over it and we plug onward.

Second step : After replacing the working switches the GFCI still blows when the entry light is turned on.  So next stop is to evaluate the fixture.

The minor, small issue is that this line controls outlets and fixtures in four rooms of my house.  If this one light fixture is not the culprit we have alot of detective work to do.  Fun! What is life but a monster house project to-do list? 
Quick guess. Which is the offending switch?
I love electrical work.  I love taking off covers and seeing wires like these powering my house.   
Pretty sure the Bryant ceramic switch on the left is from my house's early electrification.  The other is "Slater". The third I didn't replace is a Sears. 
This sort of stuff just warms my heart.  Dirty. Funky. Electrical. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

House Maintenance

Yesterday I went to put a towel on the rack in the bathroom and it fell off in my hand.

My lawn may be approaching the height of the Serengeti after a good rain.  I could have hidden lions in it.

The pantry shelving in my laundry room decided to collapse. Boy, I had a lot of food in that pantry.  Luckily only the canned pears and pear butter broke.  (I am joking as to my perceived luckiness,  sugary smooshy things that flow across the floor and everything else are not fun.) And why did this happen? Did the previous owners use minimal attachments when placing it on the wall? Would you be surprised if I said yes?

I poured a whole cup of coffee on my nightstand.  (You might be surprised just how often I do that. There may be too many books on the nightstand and I may not be looking where I am putting it down. Maybe.)

My house is still cracking and settling from the post and beam work in January.  Every week is a new lesson in "Huh.  That is a new and interesting crack in my dining room/kitchen/ceiling/wall". 

There are a lot of little things beginning to fray around the place.  I suppose it is spring, and we all have extensive to-do lists.  I am going to put on some offensive (but really bouncy) music and get to work today.
Towel rack.  I have noticed they work better when attached to something.

Just looking at this picture is daunting.  I am glad no one was in here. This is before I knew pears were involved.

The poor coffee and tea stained nightstand draining after the most recent douse. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Negotiating with a man - Part 2

So does this sound ideal or what?  I am a woman with an old house.  Always seem to be fixing it.  I started dating a contractor.  What's not to love?   What draws me to him is not actually his chosen career, that is how I was introduced to him, what draws me to him is laughter and brightness.  Because of that career there are times he problem solves on my house just out of habit.  I am not so comfortable with that.  It is not his baby.  It is not his gateway to freedom from a empty marriage.  It is not his calm and beauty all wrapped up in a cracked plain farmhouse. To me it is all that. 
 I left my husband with this house.  I have had no decision making help so far. It is a loud knocking at my door of (perceived, delusional) self-sufficiency I think I have going on here to let someone share in this work - in this house. There are some minor(major) bumps for me in skipping down a relationship path with a basket of cookies for grandma.  One, I may have an unhealthy co-dependent relationship with my house.  Two, I may have some boundaries that are tough to cross. 

For starters, let's say for the sake of argument, I might be a tad bit independent-  maybe even fiercely independent, although with a strange dependence streak.  I might have equity - equality issues.  And, last but not least, there might be some major trust issues left behind from my marriage.    Nothing highly unusual for a woman who has lived a life. 
So,  accepting help on something like working on a simple issue for my house is a huge quandary for me. I vowed in the beginning I was not utilizing his skillset other than as verbal assistance, and even then  only after months of seeing him. Heck, maybe years.  The focus was that he is going to be having meals with me, walking, talking, driving, dancing... not managing my home repair list.  My house is an eternal money pit.  I could be doing something on it everyday.  I still have not replaced sections of bug-chewed fir flooring.  It is not fully painted.  I haven't changed out porch supports for ones with less insect holes.  There is that upstairs bathroom that is not quite done.  On and on.   Yes, it would be "easy" to hand over my to-do list and follow his lead.  But it would be crippling.  (And bottom line is I won't do it.) That is not equitable.  In my world, there have never been things "that men do" and things "that women do".  Maybe things "that men do easier" and likewise for women, but a lot of that is cultural.  I know for many people this is crazy talk. They cannot imagine their lives not interwoven with another life where reliance, dependence, being taken care of --are strengths to a relationship, not code words to run like hell.   I get that.  They are not necessarily bad things.  We are products of our environment.  I was raised by a single mom.  A very competent intelligent educated woman.  She led a very self-directed life, with a focus on me.  It was a great environment to grow up in.  There was a large support group of friends that supported her.  Bottom line though, is she taught me to be independent.  Do it myself.  Or learn it.  And my mother being a librarian I had access to a  gateway to all knowledge - books.  Books can only do so much.  They don't drive you to a hospital, help you build stalls, drink tea and knit with you, make you laugh when you want to dive into darkness.  So I am learning balance.  Which is a great thing to learn.

There is this other thing.  The thing I am a bit out of practice about.  On how to share my life.  How to be a partner. I think there can be a bit of trading off of skills that can happen.  My inclination is to line them up on ledger paper in clean debit and credit columns.  I know this is not practical.   But taking the subjective and making it objective with maybe a bit of logic thrown in is very appealing.  But I am well aware this is my fantasy life thinking it calls the shots. 

And, lastly, for the record, I am just babbling.  I am not alone in the wilderness on this, there is actually another person involved in this relationship who verbalizes excruciatingly well.  So even if I think I get to make all these pseudo rules?  I don't.   So voila.  I get to share my life.  I get to challenge my independence issues daily.  I'll let you know if I start grinding my teeth. So far, so good, we seem to be negotiating just fine.  Although I am still a bit iffy on the electrical.... but the everlovin' cool thing is that he will talk to me for as long as it takes until my concerns and red flags about whatever I am winding up about have been allayed.  And that right there is what will keep me joyful.    

Monday, May 13, 2013

Negotiating with a man - Part 1 - Electrical

I think I mentioned in passing I am seeing a fella.  Great guy. GREAT guy.  The only problem is that he is involved with an "independent" woman... me.  A somewhat unconventional woman leading a somewhat conventional life. 
He has a skillset that I covet.  He has 35 years of home building and renovation under his belt.  Damn.  So, when I have say -- a light in my bedroom that flickers on and off as Wilder walks in the room directly above--obviously an electrical snafu of some sort that is high on my freak-out scale, he looks at it as an easy adventure and repair he can do. 
We are still negotiating on this sort of stuff.  I have issues with - let's see for starters - being taken care of.  Being paid for.  Being bought.  Being dependent.  I think those are adequately loaded words for starters on how I feel.  So when said fella says he wants to "look at" my electrical as I head off to an appointment I think "yeah, that is fine".  Go ahead and look and tell me what you find. 
Return a few hours later and get an email communique that he added a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) to the line so that will go off if there is a short before the breaker trips. A GFCI monitors the amount of current flowing from hot to neutral. If there is any imbalance, it trips the circuit. It is able to sense a mismatch as small as 4 or 5 milliamps, and it can react as quickly as one-thirtieth of a second. It adds a level of electrical sensitivity/safety to wires that seem to be having an issue before we figure it all out and fix it.   
OK.  There is a difference between looking and doing.  He acted. 
And I am torn, since I hate electrical problems and he just took care of a portion of it. 
The GFCI tripped last night and I went down this morning to reset it.  I was gone this weekend so did not see what he had done.  He spent 30 minutes and a lot of hand motions explaining how this all works to me over the weekend, without me seeing the actual product. So that all made sense as he told it and I expected to see the addition of the GFCI downstairs that I now needed to reset.   When I went downstairs and saw this... I just laughed.  Somehow when he explained this it was all simple.  HA. This is not simple.  None of it. 

Above is the part I laughed at.  Not the actual lovely GFCI (below the white outlet to the left of the electrical convolutions) but this box of wires.  Yup. This is why I don't (yet) touch electrical.  I have the feeling I will be soon, however...

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Prom Season

So my daughter looked at prom dresses about a month ago.  Her friend found one for $200, Rose found one for $1400.  Ha.  I heard nothing else about prom stuff until this weekend.  One week before the actual day.  She has no dress, no shoes, no hair plan, nails, etc etc blah blah. 
A good friend asked her to go to prom with some beautiful flowers and her favorite coffee drink.  (We are such NW people, bribe us with coffee and we will pretty much do anything!) 
She was stressin'.  With nothing to wear, and a week until the show.  We got on the ferry after school Monday and blazed through traditional bridal/event dress stores, department stores, boutiques.  Found nothing.  Was hot footing it to the late night ferry and had 30 minutes before the ferry left to blaze through a large downtown department store.  She pulled five dresses into the room.  When she put on the second she became instantly excited about prom.  It is the dress for her.  She ran downstairs to find shoes and the salesman gave her a 10% additional discount along with their sale price.  It was a good day. 

Rose and Nick. Prom 2013.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Undoing the ties that bind - leaving a long relationship

This title is a little misleading  I left my long term relationship physically 6 years ago but have never succinctly wrapped it up like a little burrito to carry around as just another life tale.  Well, here I go. 
I was with Michael 9 years before I married him.  In those 9 years I was in college and he worked full-time.  I went out with friends and danced.  Oh, how I danced.   Michael did not go, since he was too tired from working too many hours. We were very independent during this time, different lives but wound love. We slid into marriage because I was ready to have kids. I was going to leave him over it, and he proposed.  We had 'em, raised 'em, and there was a huge lapse in relational judgment on his part.  And a huge "If I don't see it - it is not happening" on my part. We worked long hours keeping busy. There was therapy. There was a big national parks summer trip when the kids were 5 and 9 that drove it home I cannot participate in the marriage anymore.  Four weeks on the road with them, and he joined us for a week.  Something about stepping out of my too-busy life made me realize it would never get better - I might never heal and forgive, and he did not have it in himself to change.  I needed that month with the kids to see just what was happening, and what would never happen.  He is a nice guy in a generic sort of way, with our generation man problems, just too toxic for me. I was not whole when I was with him.  So I separated from Michael, took the equity out of our Seattle house and bought this 1904 farmhouse.  None of this was easy, or a light decision.  Our kids were young.  It was enormously stressful.   We were gearing up for the divorce.  I found the lawyer. I was pulling together money stuff.  I was raising the kids. Then finished that damn book for work.  It was all amicable, then bam, stroke.  Two months later and I would have not had the caliber of doctors I accessed because I would not had his insurance.   I have calmed down so much since then.    I am still separated now, I need that insurance, and he is fine because I raise our kids. He has never lived in my house, and never will.  But he will always be the kids dad.  And they are my priority, and thankfully his. We are not a traditional break up.  There is a lot of history there that we have not colored with hatred.  I don't have it in me, I am not that kind of person.  I remember the history, and at one point we were happy.  How people disengage is complex and convoluted and even though his behavior was the impetus, I was involved and present.
Michael has been dating since we separated. I had issues with that not because I wanted him back but because I wanted him to help me teach our kids what a relationship is. He can't do that, I know. It has only taken me almost 30  years to figure that one out (and I think I am so smart) ha.   I was stubborn and would not date until I had that divorce.  Well, forget that.  After 6 years of being separated, I am letting go of that moral view.  Life is short.  My kids will navigate their lives.  Everything, and nothing,  we do guides them.  I think they will be okay.  They are seeing their mom happy in a different way than they have ever experienced, and it is opening them up. Rose creates conversations she never would have previously with me. Wilder is navigating the approach to becoming a man. I wish I would have known this years ago, I shouldered an enormous load that in many ways was unnecessary.  Well, I guess it was necessary because I did not see any other way.  Now I do!  

Wilder has this as his bookmark for school -- he loves dancing.

And there is always my half-painted house.  (I wonder if I could ever be happy in a house that did not need something done to it??) Waiting for spring and drier weather to turn the whole house RED!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

April 2013 to-do list

It has been a while since I did one of these.  It is long overdue.  I will try  to keep swearing to a minimum.
1. Finish building a garden gate so bunnies and deer don't free range my raised gardens.
2. Put down bark-rock-something around the raised beds.  So it is not just luscious weeds softening my footfall.
3. De-moss my barn roof.
4. Move the manure pile into a line next to the driveway for the sunflower wall.
5. Finish FINISH the upstairs bathroom. Arghh.  Put the plumbing in for the tub. Cover the plywood ceiling. Oh, this one makes me nuts.  I will so enjoy a bath.....someday.
6. Refinish wood trim on kitchen counters.
7. Build bookshelves. Now that I have my house supports done, I can put all my books in one area of the house. Yay!! Related: Decide where bookshelves should go.
8. Clean out garage. (Three car, I can't even tell you what is in there.)
9. Organize tools.  It is getting embarrassing.
10. Get horses in shape.
11. Pull down stunning acoustic tile in living room. I don't know how I will live without its beauty in my life... but I am willing to try.
12. Strap bathroom vanity to wall. (It has only been a year, after all)
13. Paint the flippin' farmhouse - inside and out.
14. Plan garden.
15. Find seeds that got moved to some unknown unspecified location, so that item 14 can be accomplished.
16. Make one more raised bed.
17. Plan margerita party, graduation party, birthday parties. Not all the same day.
18. Repair garage gutters.
19.  Pull out all horse tack and clean and repair as needed.  Get rid of saddles I don't use.
20. Have the horses teeth floated.
21. Buy shocks for the truck. Try to do it for less than the $1200 quoted.
22. Send my eldest off to college. 
23. Finish my medical tests and slide back into my career. 
24. Give my kids lots of hugs.  Whether their squirmy teenager-dom is comfortable with it or not. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A normal day in the life of a feisty woman.

Recently I worked an auction for a friend. As I was moving 'won' items around tables it dawned on me.  10 pm at night.  Mind racing with organizing, multi-tasking, being my "normal" energetic self.  No brain issues. No exhaustion, fog, loss of clarity, loss of words, dizziness.  I literally- amid the craziness of a big auction- leaned on the table with both hands, closed my eyes and thanked god.  I am so happy to be here.

I have seen what is coming and realize I  have the opportunity to change some shit.   Straight talk within my own head and those I am with.  Engage in life fully.  Make sure my friends know I love and appreciate them.  Ditto with family.  Slow down. Don't be too busy for the little stuff, that is the only stuff that matters. I have said this before, but when I was in the hospital waiting for the stroke to do whatever damage it was going to... I guarantee I was not thinking of my stellar work accomplishments or how green my lawn was. It was 100% pure people I love and what I may miss.  So now, when my son is telling me about an in-depth lego thing that is enormously detailed and enormously boring, I just listen and watch him and his excitement. When my daughter and I get the guffaws over something, and we are laughing our heads off, and she gets that spark in her eye or tilts her head a certain way to say something clever... I notice.   Because, to me, that is all that really counts.  I am having a lot of fun these days!

Rose and I watching surfers....don't we look like we are enjoying it?  I was noticing skill - Rose was taking note of other things.  

Monday, April 8, 2013

Pithy kauai observations

1.Comment by Rose on the day of our arrival as we drove down slow two-laned roads:
It is like a tropical Poulsbo! (Which is our town-we cracked up because Kauai is nothing like Poulsbo.)
2. Comment as we drove down the Kuhio highway.
There is a lot of really nice driveways here! (The houses are all set back from the road, and there were some lovely drives leading to them,)
3. Comment by my astounded teenage girl watching buff, tan and toned young workmen running slowly next to the road, hair waving, safety vest slipping off bare chests- much like a romance novel bookcover:
Who does that? Why don't we have workmen like that?
4. Teenage boy who truly hit grumpy puberty on this trip:
Oh - my - god. Would you guys stop stopping.
5. One of the many over the top comments that perfectly fit in Kauai but would be cheeseball back home:
Looks like someone took all their pretty pills this morning!
6. Very small, very cute child leaning out a car window at us waving and yelling : Hang loose!!
The island mantra.

I took my blood pressure after five days of being there ...86/56. I think I was a teenager when I last had it that low.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Kauai snippets

Who has a fresh coconut in their fridge?
Tree climbing.
Amazing tropical color.
The most disgusting ad ever.

Friday, March 29, 2013


Lush. Wet. Sunny. Tropical. So laid back we all feel like we took a big huge chill pill and have no worries. The fish is wonderful, so many types and we have an avocado tree outside our door. These pics are the view from our house. I have been taking better images with my regular camera but have no way to upload them here.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Spring break with the kids.

This week I am taking the kids to Kauai.  I have never vacationed in a tropical place (generally I piss and moan if it gets above 78`), we usually go no further than Seattle or Oregon for vacation but this year I thought -- what the heck!
Rose is almost graduating, I am somewhat bucket-listing my life of late, and endless years of endless friends going and loving it have taken their toll. I bought the tickets, rented the vacation house and the mid-size Ford. 
I will post pics.  Supposedly, according to my son, we are zip-lining.  That means I will be laughing and screaming in terror and probably need to be wearing some sort of urinary accident protection.  Too much information?     I won't share pictures of my tonsils as I scream.  

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Oregon properties in need of some lovin'

It just won't be love from me, I am all tapped out! These are all north central rural (obviously) properties. Do you look at derelict properties and think....hmmmmm, I bet I could restore-rebuild-fix that? Thankfully, I am moving away from that thinking. It is too expensive.
You probably can't tell... but the porch has completely separated from the house.  A positive : this used to just be grey weathered siding, looks like someone painted!
We are not tobacco growers here in the Northwest, so I could not figure out
why this barn has so much ventilation.  Hops? Really volatile hay?
OK. Even by my standards this may be a bit too far gone
 (Oh, but think of the stories......)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Small World Part 12

I went car shopping.  I see a pattern here, whenever my life is changing I go car shopping.  I don't necessarily buy a car, I just see what the prices are and what new technologies are out there.
Was looking at a VW TDI (nice car!) which was a joy to drive. Also drove a bug, and a new Jetta.
The very low-key salesman, Dave, copied my license so I could test drive.  He was looking at my address and asked if that was off of Lincoln Ave.? I told him it was in Poulsbo.... something clicked and he gave directions to my small gravel road.  I said that no one can ever figure out where I live, how did he know? He answered that his old best friend lived out there, Darryl, and showed me a picture of his motorbike in front of a garage, commenting that was Darryl's old place. 

I bought my house from Darryl. That motorbike was in front of my garage.  Dave then filled me with stories of Darryl and Veronica and their family.  He also told me the kitchen counter I want to replace (white grouted 4"x4" tile) was put in by Veronica.  I didn't want that info because it makes me less inclined to replace it -- because now I have story to go along with that impossible-to-keep-the-grout-clean counter.  Curse my history-oriented ways.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Minister introduction

So I told you the story of ending up at a church 26 miles from my house HERE... I had not yet introduced myself to the minister.  In the beginning I was somewhat too freaked out as to how I happened to walk in the door and how familiar it all was.

Memories of summer. It will be here someday, right?

Last week the sermon was about freedom.  It was a circuitous esoteric talk in some ways based on a Walt Whitman poem "the open road".  I sat right behind the choir, and halfway through they got up and left... so my row became the front  row.  At the end of service I usually book out of there, wander the fellowship hall seeing what is new and then go off the brunch and a walk.  For some reason I did not, and ended up facing the minister as he walked out.  He put his hand out and greeted me : You have been here before, right? What is it about some religious leaders?  They are so good at slowing the pace down and listening.  Truly listening.  I told him : Yup, but I never will stand up and introduce myself to the congregation.  He said that was okay... maybe someday.  I told him my name and where I was from, he mentioned there is a church starting up in my neighborhood, then quickly said, but you are welcome here!  We walked out and away from each other and then I thought what the hell.  Yeah, in church.  And went back and stood in line to talk with him.  The last gal in front of me had a long story filled with wayward children, addiction issues, housing problems and I thought then I do not have the patience for the ministry.  But he does, and listened so kindly to her and empathized.  She left and I said : I think you know my grandparents from Michigan.  He: Oh really? Who?
When I told him my grandparents names his face brightened and he looked stunned. He affirmed he knew them very well and placed me in the family... did I attend that church in Michigan, whose daughter was I.  I clarified the only time I had met him was at my grandmother's funeral, that I am a 100% NW gal born and raised.  He then told me stories of my grandpa... ones that we think of in the family and roll our eyes and wished he could find his wife to introduce me to since she knew them also.  I'll make that intro next week and put another link in place.
I am slowly seeing a very big picture here. They say life changes every 20 years, I am in that change and just going to ride it out.  Hey, FYI, went on my first date in 29 years last night.  It was a BLAST. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Oregon trip- Painted Hills Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds

I am back from my Oregon trip.  It was very helpful.  I was supposed to be figuring out if it was feasible for me to do consulting work in Oregon from my home in Washington.  I am not sure I answered that... but I had a blast.
Also, I found the most amazing re-use stores in Portland.  I felt like I was all starry-eyed and in Disneyland for old house owners. So many doors, reclaimed wood, detailed woodwork, everything.  Normal behavior for me nowadays - an employee gave me his cell phone number so I could call him personally with fir flooring dimensions and base molding lengths that I was looking for.  I am just going to roll with this stuff and call it spring fever. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Neighbors with a tractor

Where I live is a little area of seven houses with acreage around a designated wetland area.  Recently, one neighbor lost his home to the bank.  A couple bought the house, which was in very bad repair, and for a ridiculously low price.  They have put alot of work into it since buying it - I hear chainsaws and big vehicles over there.  They are across the pond, so to speak, so only get glimpses when they leave their driveway but the other day I thought I saw a TRACTOR roll by.  Tractors make me giddy.  I need to rent one about once a year, and that usually runs me $400 for 4 hours.  Ouch. 

Driving home with one of my kids, the new neighbor was driving his garbage can to the street with said Kubota.  I put my car in park and ran out to meet him.  I don't know what he thought, but he seemed cautious and kept telling me about his girlfriend. Obviously, he cannot tell the difference between a woman hitting on him and a woman giddy over the prospect of tractor labor for free, or more accurately the cost of diesel and some baked goods.  He mellowed out when he realized I was solely focused on the orange machine he was driving and offered to come over and haul compost around my yard.  What! Of course you can be neighborly in such a manner! He was a super nice guy, as all my neighbors have turned out to be.  My neighbors: there is Cal, the gatekeeper to our community.  Literally, his house is at the main road and he keeps an eye out on the cars traversing our road.  There is the skilled carpenter and his family, she has had their house in a magazine for her design skills.  There are my retired neighbors who bring me fresh salmon, clams and most recently smoked salmon.
Don and Jan, probably my faves due to proximity.  I know them the best, too. Somewhat hardcore christians, not the mellow loving type - there is that undercurrent of fanaticism.  Jan told me God gave me the stroke so I would turn toward Him. I didn't have the heart to say that I don't believe in a God that would be so small minded and angry. That being said they are there in a heartbeat.  She prayed for my horse Bey when he was trying to colic.  I can only think that helped.  Two other families live here also, both friendly. I kinda lucked out on all of them.  And I get to add to the mix: nice couple with the tractor.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Honesty vs. Being a Nutjob.

A friend far away reads this blog.  She commented on my last few posts as being a little wacky, but very honest.  Well, yeah.  I am a little wacky and very honest, and she knows that.  There have been several directions  my life seems to be going, and I am still having issues with not controlling it.  I am so used to figuring everything out with my own skewed logic and brain power it is a challenge just letting things go.  I am not talking not mowing my lawn, not feeding my kids (although if you saw my house right now you would wonder about my letting go of keeping order.) But letting go of my future plans.  Understanding impermanence.  Basically all the crap I have heard about my whole life but made no sense.  Now, NOW, it makes sense.
This weekend I am 'getting away' to Oregon,  something I have not really needed since moving to this house.  The place I go is desolate and a special kind of beauty.  And whenever I go it just settles things.  Plus, my first dog's memory is on a mountaintop there.  And I have told everyone to cremate me and take me to the same place, which always seemed like a far off pie-in-the-sky time period.  It is not so pie-in-the-sky anymore.
While there I have a couple things to calm down about and figure out.  (Wait, did you not just hear me say I need to "let things go" and maybe "go with the flow"?) I am still workin' on that.
1. Someone asked me to watch their 6 month old.  This is not just any 6 month old, she is the greatest baby ever, and I am saying that when I have two kids which I thought were the greatest babies.  Infrequently, during the week.  My problem:  Being tied to my house.  Being tied to a baby, as deliriously joyful as she is.  And that whole caregiver role.  It is all I do. And babies take all your being.
2. I have a huge crush on my contractor.  I have not crushed since I was 19, and that man I married.  This man is just super outgoing, confident and quick minded which is a drug to me.  Well, that and coffee.  I know this will blow over and I will calm down but I feel like a nutjob.  Any tips? I feel too old for this.  My 17 year old should be doing this (not crushing on the contractor --  but being driven by hormones).  Sometimes I think men are more protective of a single female with her hands full.  I know my male neighbors keep an eye out and take care of random stuff without being asked (which makes me batshit crazy) . I have to remember the intent is not that they think I can't do it, but courteousness and being a good neighbor. Back to contractor: I also think he is looking for a great reference.  Like I said, it will all go away and blow over but right now it is a special kind of he** for me.
3.  I need to not avoid the medical field. That's it on that. 
4. I need to update my will and add a whole lot of end of life information.
5. I need to not be tempted to tell my daughter to go live with her dad when I am pissed. 

Oregon usually makes things very simple and clear.  That is what I need at the moment, clarity.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Annual frog fest

Today the frogs started serenading from the wetlands. They are almost two weeks late, they usually begin around Valentine's Day.
This was my fortune for today.
Frogs on my neighbors house in the woods.  They don't clamber on mine as much, but I sure can hear them.

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