Category Archives: Just Playing

Portlanding

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Charlotte did a beautiful post on our trip to Portland together. You can find it here. It is such a completing and wonderfully written post, that I hesitated to add anything to it. So I’ll just add a little.IMG_20150806_153849

Charlotte and I met online when we were both pregnant and living on boats. There was an immediate mutual admiration and connection because of this lifestyle choice. We communicated often through social media, through an online forum that Eric and Charlotte started. And we blogged and got peaks into each other’s lives. Charlotte’s generousity and her openness appealed to me immensely.

The first time we physically met was in Mexico when I was invited to attend her birth. Who says no to an offer like that? Our families spent a month together, living as neighbours as we waited for Charlotte to go into labour, and then as we were able to be there for the first two weeks of Lyra’s life.

After Mexico, we weren’t sure when we would see each other again. Then tragically, we met up in Texas to attend Kitty’s funeral.

Meeting to first attend a birth and then attend a funeral, it seemed we had covered the heavier aspects of life. Now it was time to have fun. And fun was had!

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I took the train from Vancouver to Portland. I had never travelled by train in North America. It will certainly not be my last time. It was such a sophisticated way to travel. I mean, they didn’t start serving alcohol until 7am but that can be forgiven. The seats were spacious, the cost was low. The food on Amtraks is terrible. I can drink some pretty bad coffee but I could not stomach this stuff. So, I highly recommend the train. But bring your own snacks and coffee!

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The scenery is amazing. The passengers are fascinating. There are plug outlets so that if you don’t get lucky enough to sit next to anyone, you can use your laptop.

And then, there is Portland itself.

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Portland has this really cool vibe to it. Where everyone is wearing a cool, funky, retro or completely bizarre t-shirt. We saw many examples of these shirts in stores.

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I loved the fun quirky stores, the thrifting, the micro-brewery beers on tap, the knit shops, the book store. But the people were the best.

 

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Portland was the kind of place that is just waiting for the flash mob to happen and then everyone in the city would join in.

For example, Charlotte and I had been preparing to see each other by challenging each other to do 100 push ups a day. The first afternoon we arrived, we did push ups on the side walk before we went out. The next time we did push ups, our beautiful host Jessica joined us. The next time, two of her neighbours joined in. By the last day we were there, there were 12 people on the side walk doing push ups together. (Including a couple people that just happened to be walking by.) The people of Portland seem to be up for anything and they are willing to make time for weird and random happenings. This attitude of openness was so fun!

In our wanderings, Charlotte and I came across a store that sold beekeeping paraphernalia and mead. They were primarily selling equipment for Kenyan top bar hives, which I hadn’t seen very often. But they had the regular Langstroth hives too. Also, there was lots of tasty mead.

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Thank you to the beautiful Jessica for hosting us. Your place is beautiful and was completely ideal for us. Thank you to all the wonderful people we met by chance and happen-stance, by their sense of humour, by letting us try to guess and then never succeeding in guessing their names.

And a hugest warmest Thank you to my sweet friend Charlotte. I’m so grateful for you in my life. Your sense of adventure in living on a boat, then inviting me to Mexico, (Heck! Birthing in Mexico takes guts!) sailing across the ocean and being up for pretty much anything! This is just one of the qualities I love about you, friend. Here’s to the next city we take by storm.

And thank you to our wonderful husbands for watching the kids, encouraging our adventures and friendship.

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Thanks Portland, for keeping it weird.

Bug Crazy!

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Maybe I started it. Maybe I am the one to blame.

Gabrielle has been capturing bugs and keeping them in containers for a few months now. Imagine my horror when the earwigs were still alive after 3 weeks of kind captivity, only to find out that they can live for 3-5 years!

But I mean, they say that kids learn by example. And I do keep approximately 70,000-100,000 bugs in a box. Outside.

Anyway Brie’s fascination with bugs didn’t stop with keeping them herself. She heard about the Bug Zoo and it was all over.

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We had to wait until the opportune moment. We had to wait until we had a day where there was something else we had to go into town for, that she wouldn’t want to do. I know! Vaccinations!

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The Bug Zoo became a bargaining chip and it worked well.

My mom also came to visit recently and she overcame any hesitation and suited up with me to go into the beehive.

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The funny thing about taking a picture of people with bee suits on, it really could be of anyone.

Happy June-ing!

In the Air

IMG_6776Spring is in the air! Let’s dance about it! Finally, Winter is receding and the flowers are sprouting! Sing a song, do a twirl! Hurrah for Spring!

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This of course, does not mean that we are in short-sleeve shirts every day. The garden is still quite swampy and we are still layering in hoods and toques, but not always.IMG_6826 IMG_6831

Spring also means Nettle Season. Stinging Nettles. It’s such a hippy thing so my hippy rating goes way up as I show you these pictures. We pick nettles, then we make pesto, stew, soup, tea, smoothies. You get the idea. And then all us Pender hippies take pictures of them and instagram it. I can’t even. For real.IMG_6833 IMG_6834 IMG_6843 IMG_6850 IMG_6852 IMG_6854 IMG_6860 IMG_6864 IMG_6868WWhen I get super busy and go to a bunch of births in a row, Gabrielle and Marc entertain themselves by woodworking. Now added to Brie’s ever-growing vocabulary are words like “tongue and groove” and “bevel” as well as “braxton hicks contractions” and “posterior baby.”

 

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And then I came home after teaching a class in Victoria all weekend and she had written me her first love note. I melted. I swooned. And I want to frame it forever. Below is the other side of the card. It has a sun, a moon, mountains, a rainbow, flowers and the sea. What more could a girl want?

The answer is nothing. I am complete.IMG_7019

As the days get smaller

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As the days get smaller, shorter, quieter, and the nights become darker and longer, we move toward our woodstove, I pick up my knitting, and increase my vitamin D dose. But it’s not like we are hibernating! Our bears in this part of the world don’t even hibernate, so why should we?

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There is still time for a bit of sailing, a bit of apple picking, a bit of mushroom hunting. IMG_3137 IMG_3138 IMG_3143 IMG_3149

My child, since she was small, has played with non-toys. Primarily vegetables. Maybe it is because we have such an abundance. When she was wee, she rolled around tiny squash, and now she clusters them into little families. She finds a green onion husk and suddenly it is a microphone and she is a rock star. Well, I already knew that!

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It’s funny as a doula entering my third year, I am noticing patterns when babies come. I theorize to myself that when it is cold outside, babies are often late because they are gaining that every ounce of insulation from their mamas. And when it is hot outside, babies come earlier because they don’t need the extra time. This is not substantiated by any evidence whatsoever. It is just a quiet observation as I begin to wonder about patterns with babies. This is the third Hallowe’en that I have been at a birth. Why do babies wait for Hallowe’en?

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I hope you are finding yourselves moving toward your own Winter patterns as November sucks us in.

Happy Smaller Days, friends.

In Summary: She, Me and Him in October

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Gabrielle started ballet this September. It is as cute as watching kittens run around aimlessly and bonk into each other and the wall and the furniture. We saw “Awww,” then cringe a little and send our condolences to the teacher.

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The photo below is not in focus, but it is a meal where we provided completely for ourselves. A chicken that Marc butchered, carrots and potatoes we grew ourselves. I spend barely any time in the produce section, unless I’m buying bananas, so I hope the cashier doesn’t judge me and think we don’t eat any veggies at home. We are overrun and blessed with scads of veggies. And we are giving them away like hot cakes, because the fruit flies are multiplying. Oh the dreaded fruit flies!IMG_2890 IMG_2937 IMG_2946 IMG_2965 IMG_2989 IMG_2992

I taught a beekeeping class in September and it was received well. I am looking at writing more curriculum for different classes I’m thinking of teaching so that will keep me busy.IMG_3002 IMG_3007 IMG_3084 IMG_20140826_181857

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Gabrielle has begun informal preschool at home with me. We are having a good time as we inconsistently learn letters and numbers a few times a week. She is already recognizing words. She amazes me!IMG_20140918_124058 IMG_20140919_151042

I’ve been trying to bake a lot of our own bread. It just tastes So Much Better!IMG_20140921_093557

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We went blueberry picking in September. Most of the berries were done but we still got a whole bucket. I’ve become quite a lot more adventurous in my processing techniques compared to last year.IMG_20140922_172304 IMG_20140924_164213 IMG_20140925_102615

Gabrielle has been farming with every toy we have.IMG_20140925_135519 IMG_20140925_165434 IMG_20140926_095048

Life has been busy, bursting at the seams, but nourishing all the same. We are intentionally moving into Autumn as we begin planting our garlic and putting the garden beds to sleep. Then the sun comes out again and we dash outside for some hoola hooping, bean picking madness. My morning runs have become like dreams. It is dark and the shadowy leaves blow across the road as I pad along with my headlamp bouncing. I find myself accepting the changing of seasons, even embracing it, but also looking forward to next year’s new beginnings. But I suppose I could use a little bit of hibernation.

Now, to stack some wood. Soon daily fires will be our reality.

Happy October!