spring breakers

Last week we joined the gazillions of families who use their little ones’ spring break as an opportunity for some family togetherness. We feel lucky that we don’t have to venture far for great vacation options. We passed up the ever-popular Sunriver for Brasada Ranch in the Powell Butte area outside of Bend. Despite some bumps during the booking process and pre-arrival, I can’t think of many bad things to say about it once we were on the property. It was great.

After five(ish) days of R&R, we returned to gorgeous weather in Portland over the weekend. Our second Easter in our home with the gift of sunshine and perfect temperatures. It was a lovely week, and very appreciated time as we return to our day jobs, volunteer work for two upcoming schools events, and the start of Little League and swimming again this week. I think it’s going to be a busy spring.

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here’s to 2013

Like any year, 2012 had its ups and downs, but for the most part – it was a good year. I feel so fortunate in that way – that except for 2010, which stands out to me as notably tough year for our immediate family – we have been blessed with good health, shelter and general happiness each year so far. I can only pray it stays that way.

Of course, 13 happens to be one of favorite – if not my favorite – number, so no pressure 2013, but I’m expecting particularly great things. In the meantime, it’s been a lovely holiday break and a quite nice New Years Eve here in Portland. (Minus the weirdness than Ian is not here; he’s enjoying his first “sleepover.” I’m thinking a lot about how strange it is that he’s not home, though judging his level of excitement, I have no doubt he’s not given one thought back to us.)

Happy New Year to all.


scary stuff

Beware of the ZOMBIES

Wednesday marked our first Halloween in our “new” house. Wow, what a difference. We used to have plenty of leftovers but this year, nothing. In fact, I should probably be ashamed to admit that as soon as we recognized that the bottom of the bowl was in sight, we pulled out a few for ourselves. Er, uh, I mean, of course they were mainly for Jeff but I didn’t want him to feel bad so I just said that I’d probably eat one, too.

Ian decided to be a zombie, which he did quite well, I must say. Elena went as a more-cute-than-scary spider, which coincidentally, is exactly what Ian was when he was her age. Hmmm….

It was a fun evening circling around the new hood and saying hi to the neighbors. A couple of houses seriously go all out – so much so that Ian was scared to death to go to the front door. I got him to go up with me once, but the other one – no way – which is unfortunate because I heard a rumor that the prize was a full size candy bar. Maybe next year.

Scary house with big prize.

summer’s last gasp

It’s pouring outside. I can hear it as I type. It’s the kind of rainstorm that blows in from the Pacific and makes you want to stay inside curled up by the fire. Friday was the same way…one of those wet, cold, gray, just plain nasty days. It is, of course, not a surprise given that like clockwork, sometime right around Halloween the glory that is summer in Portland disappears as Mother Nature casts her wet spell over the region for the next several months.

Jeff recalls that he took the transition hard last year, but I’m the one who is having the hard time this year. It was around last weekend that the local weather guys and gals began sounding the warning sirens: For the first time in some crazy string of time, rain was headed our way; a storm was coming in Thursday night. The buzz began that the end of summer was imminent.

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the grinch of july 4

I have a secret that I only share with certain people, which, as of this very posting is not-so-secret anymore. I mean, not that like 99.99% of people could give a hoot, but hey, I’m coming out anyway. So here goes: I hate fireworks. Almost as much as I hate smoking. Except, not quite as much. But almost.

Now that I’ve come out with this bold statement, I must retract a bit to clarify. I don’t hate ALL fireworks. In fact, back when I was a young, silly lad-ette, I had the pleasure on more than one occasion of fighting the 10 gajillion people on the National Mall in the sweltering humidity that typically defines the 4th of July in the nation’s capital to see the annual spectacle in the sky. And, even though you couldn’t have paid me a similar amount of money to fight those crowds after I got older and had “been there, done that,” like so many things I experienced during my time as a Washingtonian, I’m very happy to have had the opportunity to see it. I even have positive memories of fireworks shows at a local park when growing up in the now, as of this past week, largest-city-in-America-to-ever-go-bankrupt Stockton, Calif. I’m guessing the city doesn’t host those fireworks shows anymore…

But now as Portlander, my experience with fireworks is defined by all the average Joe’s who like to start shooting off their down-the-road-fireworks-stand devices starting about a week before the 4th, lasting until about a week after. I especially love when I’m jolted out of a deep sleep by the shocking “pow, pow!” of distant neighbors who decide it’s only fun to shoot off fireworks in the middle of the night. (Preferably the night before I have to get up super early or have some big meeting.) Plus, think of all the poor pets out there who spend the 4th and the surrounding nights buried underneath their owners’ beds for fear of not knowing when they are going to feel as though they’ve been put in the middle of war zone. And last, but most certainly not least, what makes me the most frustrated is waking up the morning after the 4th and hearing the stories of fireworks-related calls the night before that, at best, were simply a drain on taxpayer resources and at worst, caused injury or heaven forbid, death.

I mean, not to be a total Debbie Downer because I know that they can be fun…but at what cost? Starting accidental fires? Injuring children? Scaring pets and little kids to death? There are a few things in life that I find little need for in this world, and I have to say that home-use fireworks are one of them. They are annoying. They are dangerous. And, ultimately, in my opinion they are an unnecessary risk. To summarize, let’s just say that I would not lose any sleep (in fact, dare I say I would likely gain some sleep?) if someday all but permitted, professional fireworks’ shows became illegal. So there – now I’ve said it.

Happy Independence Day. (And to my mom, Happy Birthday!) Now, can someone please pass the barbecue chicken and watermelon?