Wishing you and yours peace, love, and joy.
We bought a house!
It’s kind of in the country (or country-ish, as we’ve been saying).
So now we have a city and a country house. Not on purpose though. We actually need to sell the city house. Anyone looking for a big house in the capital city of Virginia?
It’s got refinished hardwood floors…
HGTV moment when we discovered we had hardwood under the vinyl in our foyer. #InstantCharacter
So in addition to the downsizing and the painting I mentioned last time I posted, we’ve been updating, renovating, cleaning, and moving.
And there’s been lots and lots of road trips, if you count driving 45 miles round trip between houses as a road trip (or the 60 miles round-trip to the large metro shopping area). Oh and if you count the many times I’ve accidentally passed our new exit. Because I’m not used to driving so many highway miles just to go home, I get in a zone, like I’m headed to Key West or something. And every time I do that, it’s a 12 mile mistake…with no beach or mojito.
But our new house is cool. It’s smaller and has one less bathroom to clean, Yay!
Plus, IT HAS A BARN DOOR.
I’ve posted about my fascination with barns, I love them. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s like my main character Grace from my Chasing Normal series said:
There’s just something so stable about barns. 😉
So lately we’ve been living life like an episode of Property Brothers meets Fixer Upper. And it’s been fun and exciting, but a MAJOR change.
Dear hub likes to say, There’s no crying in moving/renovating. Oh but there’s been tears. Happy. Sad. All kinds. So much is different. After 20 years in the same house, we’re in a new one.
And get this, I have an outside mailbox.
Ok so most people probably do. But in our old house we had one of those mail slots in our front door, so basically I tripped over the mail every day.
Now I forget that I need to check the mail box.
Oh and I don’t know if this is a country-ish thing, but we have this spider that can play dead. And she’s living in our mailbox. She rolls onto her back when I open the mailbox. Of course I told her she can’t live in the mailbox and carefully prodded her with a leaf until she left.
But the next day I met her kids.
So I don’t get the mail if the sun has gone down.
And considering I broke a finger when I was 18 during a spider encounter, I’d say this is PROGRESS.
And progress is good.
So is having my kids home for the holidays.
A Happy Thanksgiving photo op.
And planning a real road trip—we’re going to New York City in a couple of weeks to visit dear daughter and have some family fun.
Plus I’m making time to be creative. I’ve got a new book coming out soon and I’ve been doodling.
A doodle for Hanukkah
And painting. And decorating. And baking. And button gluing (turns out this is meditation for me).
I just like to make stuff.
That’s one thing that hasn’t changed at all.
What’s new with you?
Also, if you go outside to get your mail, are mailbox tenants something to be expected?
In general, I’m not afraid of dolls.
But they do have the potential to be super creepy.
I loved (but also kinda hated) this book in middle school.
And a recent trip to the flea market reminded me that I wouldn’t want to spend the night in a flea market.
She’s for sale! I dare you to take her home.
Now she looks sweet.
Still not having a slumber party here though.
Sure she’s smiling but all I can hear is a line from the Twilight Zone episode, Living Doll.
“My Name is Talky Tina, and you’d better be nice to me.”
A doll selfie.
She was in my attic.
Apparently I have unknowingly been sleeping in a house full of dolls.
Especially because she’d probably have to stop to pick up her hat.
And her hair.
But they’ve got their eyes on me.
So I’ll sleep with one eye open,
probably wondering where her other arm went…
but mostly trying not to imagine it stuck in a giant spider web.
If dolls don’t make you shudder, what creeps you out? I’d love to know!
Um, please excuse the paint.
Nine shades of greige
We’re sort of swimming in a sea of greige right now.
According to our realtor (and more importantly, Pinterest), greige is the BEST paint color to sell your house. So we’re awash in neutral.
Anyway, back to where I left off weeks ago. Which was that pretty cool Pacific Northwest road trip we took in early June. For weeks I’ve been blogging in my head about it (and other topics my mind would like to figure out, like how I might sell dust bunny crafts on Etsy, bc I’ve found OODLES of dust bunnies behind bookcases my friends), but as cool as you all are you probably can’t read my mind (this is a good thing, it’s dusty in there).
So without further ado, here’s the last bit of our trip.
The Oregon coast highway 101
The BEST part of this day was waking up knowing that the only thing on our agenda was getting from point A to point B, with miles of awesome stops and discovery along the way.
Sea monster on the beach…or driftwood?
The views on the other side of the road were spectacular too.
Netarts Bay. Loads of clams and crabs. And muck.
Dear mystery couple in the muck,
I’m sorry for taking your picture.
And for being entertained by you.
And for using you as entertainment here.
That’s all. xo
This is Nye Beach.
It’s like a million miles to the water’s edge here, but we stopped at plenty of beaches along the way. Including one with dozens of ladybugs on the sand.
Unexpected. And pretty cool.
Ladybugs are my jam.
We like factory tours. Tillamook was delightfully cheesy.
A Tillamook grilled cheese sandwich with gluten free bread. Yay!
Have you ever found something unexpected or interesting at the beach? Or been to a factory tour?
Since we got home from our Pacific Northwest vacation last month, I’ve basically been busy in a “middle place”.
There’s been some
pulling books out of the brain writing.
Saw this artwork – Allocation of Memory by Malia Landis – in a Eureka, California bookstore.
But there’s been more working at the library and house stuff. Did I mention we’ve started the process to downsize from the big house we’ve lived in for 20 years to a smaller one? #emptynestchanges
Yup, another winding, somewhat foggy journey.
But like the road above, the journey has got some cool stuff to discover.
Avenue of the Giants, California
Ever since we visited the Redwoods, the idea of big vs. small has been on my mind.
Especially because lately there’s been so much living in the in between space. There’s the daily work that has to happen–and even the stuff that perhaps doesn’t (the part where I become one with my TV).
A crab at Shelter Cove beach in California (Sometimes I’m crabby and like to hide too).
The middle, at least for me, is not really the place where I do creative stuff. But sometimes I really like when I have work that makes me feel mindless. Where I can take a break from thinking, I suppose.
Drive thru tree. Do not try this at home.
But then there’s that big and small thing. I love when I discover and enjoy those really small things. Maybe it’s a great cup of coffee. A new book. Or maybe, you happen upon a quirky realtor at an open house, who drives a mini Cooper (complete with British flags covering the side mirrors) and tells you a funny story (in an accent of course) and just makes you laugh.
Or you find a TINY snail on a leaf in the middle of all those giant Redwoods.
Then there’s the big. For me the Big Picture is made up of the dreams and hopes and awesomeness (read: whatever is your personal fairy dust) that honestly make me feel like ME.
When I first walked through the forest of gigantic trees, I thought, It’s nice to be tiny. I could breathe (and it wasn’t just the woodsy freshness). In that moment, I wasn’t in charge. And honestly, I felt relief.
I can just be.
But then lately, as I step away from the middle place and participate in my BIG: write, doodle, find the story in a photo.
I feel relief too. And I need to make the time for my big stuff–as well as note all the good in the tiny joys
Another Redwoods snail
–because then, not only can I just be,
I can just be me. 🙂
Note: The Avenue of the Giants has a picnic spot and Los Bagels in Eureka, California is a great spot to grab a gluten-free lunch before driving down.
They have giant gluten-free cookies too!
What tiny joys make you smile? Have you experienced the Redwoods?
So driving, or rather co-piloting, on a foggy mountain road in the rain is kinda one of those life defining moments.
Turns out I’m sweet, patient, and my language completely complies with all FCC broadcast regulations.
And here’s a beautiful view of Crater Lake:
June 1st at Crater Lake National Park Lodge, Oregon
Okay. So the view was non-existent (and I’m a nutcase when it comes to mountain roads).
The first 24 hours the weather was rain, freezing rain, sleet and then snow. But the worst was the fog.
I really wanted to see the lake!
A remnant of Mount Mazama after a volcanic eruption, Crater lake is the deepest in the United States, and a beautiful blue.
So they say.
The hub and I went for a hike anyway. We walked the rim, trying to find the water, the blue, something.
A Clark’s Nutcracker (name derived from William Clark from the Lewis & Clark expedition)
This little bird wanted to hang out. Much to the worry (or quite possibly egging on?) of his/her family/friends. The other birds chirped loudly every time this bird perched near me.
Rebel bird (or the one who drew the short straw). 🙂
We moved on and well, like it does (even when it seems like you’ll never get clarity), the fog lifted.
Wizard Island. Magical.
Totally worth the wait (and okay, the scary drive on the mountain road).
This was what was behind all that mist and fog!!
Then we also walked the Sun Notch hike.
At the top there’s a viewpoint
The Phantom Ship
Crater Lake is awesome.
And right before we left, we really got to see the lake in full color
Bye bye, Crater Lake.
Btw it’s easier driving on the non drop off side. 🙂
Note: The lodge at Crater Lake is really nice. Somehow I got the impression it would be rustic. So I was pleasantly surprised. Bonus, both the dining room and the casual eatery, Annie’s Creek restaurant had plenty of gluten-free options.
Next time: California! And if you missed the last stop click here: Columbia River
How do you feel about driving on mountain roads?
And the road trip continues…
Twenty four miles from Portland, Oregon is the Vista House at Crown Point
View from inside
Stairway to vistas
The Columbia River Gorge is gorgeous!
8 miles from the Vista house…
Multnomah Falls seems to be the must see waterfall in the Columbia River gorge area
but I really liked Latourell falls
even though the Multnomah stop had ice cream
It’s a quieter spot compared to Multnomah
and you could feel the spray of the falls. 🙂
After our hike we headed back to Portland,
and searched for a spot to watch the sunset.
Skidmore Bluffs overlook is tucked away in suburbia
and stay as long as you like because Voodoo Doughnuts is open 24 hours
Is it really necessary to put frosting on a fritter?
Okay, so that question may be sparked by jealousy, as Voodoo doesn’t have gluten-free treats.
But I found plenty in Portland, my fave being the Back to Eden Bakery (for regular eats with gluten-free options we also really enjoyed Teote and The Tin Shed Garden Cafe).
Next post: Snow in June? Stay tuned. 🙂
And if you want to see our first stop it’s here: Seattle
So do you think fritters should be frosted?
Warning: Vacation pictures ahead.
The hub and I just got back from a road trip (my favorite kind of trip!). We flew to Seattle and then rented a car
and drove 1700 miles in 7 days.
This is just the beginning…
Peaceful space above the clouds. A sharp contrast to the turbulence in my mind (I’m still a work in progress when it comes to zen and the art of flying).
Ah. Coffee. The best? Storyville Coffee at the Pike Place Market.
Note: We passed seven Starbucks (in less than one mile) to get to it.
So I’m conflicted as I post this pic seeing as I tend to post more lively photos of wildlife,
but it is a big part of the Pike Place Market in Seattle.
And now in case you need soothing, here’s a monster cookie.
And bonus, if you need, it’s gluten-free, from Cinnamon Works.
(Another great gluten-free option at the market: Coffee & Specialty Bakery)
A more lively bunch of Salmon at the Seattle Aquarium.
This guy was a total ham for the cameras.
Mt. Rainier as we saw it from Seattle’s Great Wheel.
This was my hub’s favorite snack. A smoked mozzarella mushroom and broccoli pie.
He enjoyed it so much he immediately got back in line to buy the sweet cinnamon cardamom braid. 🙂
A good spot for eating your market snacks is the Urban Garden at Pike Place.
This is a popular section of post alley at the market.
Reminded me a bit of Diagon alley from Harry Potter,
except if you look very closely at the walls
you will see
Gum. Lots of it.
Some of it artistic. Some philosophical like above. #chooselove
And yes, a wee bit gross.
Me? Cinnamon Trident.
Next stop: Portland, Oregon. I think. I haven’t gone through all my pics yet. But Oregon for sure will be represented!. In the meantime, it’s back to work!
According to a recent article at Time.com, the number one thing that holds people back from success is…
I SO get this.
There are days I know I need to rally. I want to rally.
But then you know, you’re tired.
Anyone else up for being carried around?
Or distracted. Somewhere else.
I’m sure you’ve seen this before.
Or felt this:
You’re frustrated. You’ve lost your focus.
You need an attitude metamorphosis.
So get ready.
Here’s some baby attitude to get you started.
It’s go time.
**Thank you to the lovely creatures at the Richmond Metro Zoo, Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, and the ones I’m related to (note: not the giraffe, I don’t have that graceful of a neck) for their camera ready looks.
Any of you lovelies have a tried and true method for regaining your spunky attitudes??