...there was an incident at work today...



Happy As...

Isis got to run off-leash at the beach today, through sand and surf and back again.  I ran with her, and it was good.
very good
It was the first time she's really been able to run in over four months.  I think she regained some of her intrinsic self as a result.  I think I did, too.


Black and White and Blue All Over

Today I walked on what can only be described as a fairy tale beach.
now imagine a silvery selkie dancing in the surf


The Classic

We started our four-day coastal camping trip today.  Nathan asked me what I wanted for dinner and I was like...



Sweet Family

I did not refrain from putting these in my mouth


That's No Spoon

Nathan's momma brought me a lovely bit of jewelry!
pre-1900s (maybe), from Sheffield, England
I like it a lot: it's a good weight on my arm, and it has a charm on it that I can change out for different charms, if I want.  Which I do.  Because yay variety!


Stranger Danger

Nathan's parents got into town tonight, but they did not elect to join us on Isis's nightly PT walk.
it was a bit late


Needle Nap

I started getting acupuncture in the first half of 2013, to help with my fertility issues.  I was somewhat skeptical about the whole thing, but studies have shown that it helps with conception, so I figured I'd at least give it a shot.  Better than drugs, I figured.

When I got there, Tracy told me to tell me every little thing that was wrong with me: she'd find something that my insurance covered, and do the rest of it while we were at it.  So I rattled a bunch of stuff off, and... she started fixing it.

For real.

And then I was pregnant within the first six weeks, and I became A Believer.

For menstruation and fertility issues, anyway.  I didn't really think much beyond that until about six or seven months ago, when I was complaining to her (in a casual way) about a pain I had beneath my right scapula, and how I had gone to a masseuse but it hadn't worked, so I was going to try a chiropractor.  She sort of snorted and said, "I'll fix that.  Chiropractor indeed."

Sure you will, I thought, inner eyes rolling because this truly felt like a mechanical problem to me, and what can needles do for mechanics?  But hell, I was paying for a session, anyway- might as well let her throw a few more of the little buggers in.

The next day I realized that the pain was just... gone.  I could still feel that there was something not-right about my shoulder, but there just wasn't any pain.  And because it didn't hurt, I was finally able to start relaxing and then... well, yeah, you guessed it- it got fixed.

I think that's when I started to become A True Believer, but I didn't fully commit to that status until today, when I was laying on the table, and I stretched out and felt the old pain in my left shoulder (super old surfing injury, plagued me for years).  I thought about that injury, and how nothing has ever helped it, and I'd sort of accepted that it was just part of my body now, and then I found myself saying, "Hey Tracy..."
We'll see



"Bay-beeeee," I whined as I tromped up the stairs to the office.  "There are no photos left in the world!  In the entire world!"

But even as I whined externally, I inwardly congratulated myself on having gotten over halfway through the ninth month of this project before the world ran out of photos.  It was a good run.  I tried.

And then I caught a glimpse of what was outside my office window.
and it was good

A Speech for a New Brother

My Katie got married yesterday...
just a couple of old married ladies!
...and while the following words aren't I said, they are what was written on the piece of paper folded and clutched in my left hand like a talisman.

(feel free to imagine your own amusing interjections from the audience- they were a mouthy bunch ;)


So here's the thing about this speech- I've been working on it for months.  You can ask Katie- every week or two she'd get a text that was mostly expletives, and generally concluded with, "I'm never going to be able to write this thing!"  And the reason why, is that every time I started to wax poetic about the beauty of our decades-spanning love, I kept tearing up like a ginormous baby.  And as much as I like to joke that I was just going to come up here, sob for five minutes, and then sit down, that's not really the speech I want to give.  So I realized that if I want to get through this thing without getting all blotchy and mucous-y, I 'd better address it to Kevin.

Kevin.  Man.  First of all, I have a confession to make: back in the early days of your relationship with Katie, I told her she should break up with you.  It's true: I did.  But not because I didn't like you- actually I liked you quite a bit, I thought you were awesome- but I didn't think she was ready for you yet, so I advised her to stop seeing you for a while, until she was ready.

Good thing she didn't listen to me, right?

Because here's the thing: she really wasn't ready for you, and on her own she might never have been.  But you were ready for her, man, and that's the key.  And you are such a far-seeing, clever bastard:  Katie's heart was like this wild little falcon, fierce and wary, easy to startle- but you stood there with your hand patiently outstretched, just waiting.  And she circled you, looking to see if that hand would be snatched back, or used to hurt her, or to curtail her freedom in any way... but it never was, and it never did.  And eventually that fierce little falcon came closer and closer, until at last it nestled in your hand, tamed without even suspecting you of it.  No hood, no jesses: just trust, and love, and respect.  Faith, and a willingness to stand firm no matter what.  And, of course, a mutual appreciation for Elfquest.

That last bit is actually pretty important in this particular moment, because it means that Kevin will understand exactly what I'm saying when I tell him that Katie is my soul's sister.  And now that you've married her, you've become my brother, and you will never, ever get away from that.  And I know that sounds like a threat, but it's a promise, really.  A promise to love you and look out for you forever and ever, because that's what you've promised to my Katie.  That's what she's promised to you.  You're lifemates, now, and I not only wish nothing but the best for you, I'm willing to go to the mat to help you fight for it.

So here's to Kevin, the clever, lucky bastard that captured my best friend's heart!  And here's to Katie, the clever, lucky girl who let her heart be captured!  But most of all, most importantly, here's to the both of you, and to your long and happy marriage!  I love you both so much.


Outside In

My Katie got married this morning (more on that in a bit), and afterwards we went out and did a little tour of the seedier aspects of Portland.

(Needless to say, it was a short tour.)
Because it's Portland.


Rising Glory of the Morning

I took today off from work, so that I can be available to my Katie in the last dwindling hours before her wedding...
wake up, wake up!
...and also get myself a mani/pedi.  ^_^


Also the Night Guard

We have recently started allowing Isis back on the stairs again, which means she came come up and see us at bedtime.

please note the adorably flipped ear



Keep It Together

I was no older than eleven the first time I got CPR/Basic First Aid training.  It was part of a baby-sitting-certification class I'd been eagerly anticipating.  It was the first step in a lifetime of keeping-myself-prepared for emergencies.
...that's not creepy at all...

I went on to be a lifeguard in high school, which obviously required even more training, and the "re-upping" of my various certifications every two years (or even more frequently, if you were me and paranoid about keeping your skills sharp) (I took my job very seriously).

The truth is I'm still fascinated by emergency medicine.  I love reading about the technological advances (you want scifi?  Read up on battlefield medicine, my friend.) Part of me would dearly love to become an EMT, or even a paramedic, but then I have a long, hard conversation with myself about the realities of those jobs, and I have to confess that I'm happy with the low-stress, relatively-well-paying job I have.  Although I suppose that wouldn't keep me from just getting my EMT certification, if I'm serious about it.  Because the truth is, I like being the calm, level-headed one in a crisis, who keeps her shit together and gets other people through it.  I think it's a gift that is due partially to my own nature, but more to my mother's nurturing (she trained to be a nurse, and it definitely comes through in her parenting).  It's something not everybody can do, and in a way I feel like I have a duty to be as prepared as possible.

Which is why I was at the Source this morning, getting my refresher on (man, that muscle-memory just kicks right in, even a decade later) and while I'll be at the next wilderness first aid class when it's offered.  And hell... maybe I'll even enroll at Clark College and put my money where my mouth is re: the whole EMT thing.  After all, what good is a relatively-well-paying job if I don't do something good with the proceeds?


At the End of the Night

Tonight was the Murder Myth-tery party, and I think it went pretty well, although I didn't realize just how bloodthirsty our circle of friends is!  Literally over half the party was murdered within the first half hour.  Anyway I had fun, and I think other people had fun, and most importantly of all I believe my Katie had fun, so win-win-win all around.  ^_^

I'd meant to take pictures of everyone in their wonderful costumes (and some people really went all out- it was fantastic) but I got so caught up in being A Good Hostess that I didn't get a single shot!  Boo!  So instead you get a picture that shows how much hard liquor we went through (never mind the beer and hard cider and wine...):
(pretty much four people demolished that bottle of bourbon)

The funny thing about this party is that it started at five, and the very last stragglers (who, come to think of it, were the first four here at five!) left sometime after ten, and I was all, "Man, people stayed so late!" in my pleased-mental-voice, but then I had to laugh at myself because, really?  We've reached the age where hanging at a party until ten on a Saturday night is a late night?  I think back on parties past that literally didn't start until 10pm, and I just smile at the college-kids we were and the adult-kids we've become.

Of course, I'll be in pretty good shape for my 0900 CPR/First-Aid re-certification in the morning, so hey... that's better than being sick with a hangover, right?  Sure it is!

(hat tip to Adam for enabling all our grownup shenanigans!)


Prepare the Way

Tomorrow night is my Katie's bachelorette party, which I am hosting here at the house.  It's going to be a co-ed Murder Myth-tery party (that I wrote myself because I can't ever seem to do things the easy way), complete with shiny "gemstones" to be used as in-game currency.  And because I had to know how many there were in order to divide them evenly amongst the players, I had to count them.  And obviously if you are going to count rainbow-colored glass ingots (or "dragons' tears", as I grew up calling them), you lay them out in proper color order.  And this is how you discover that Orange is the rarest color (less than half of the next rarest color, which was Red in case you were curious) and that Light Blue is the most common color (by about ten more than Green don't judge me) and that the Greens and the Dark Blues are considerably larger than the other colors, like to the point where your lines won't go straight WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE MANUFACTURERS?!


Yeah.  Anyway.  They're pretty.
It's okay: I want to put them in MY mouth, too.


A Storm of Wind and Light

I woke up this morning not to the alarm, but to howling winds and dancing tree limbs.  I checked my weather app, and sure enough- we're under High Winds Advisory until seven tonight- gusts up to 40mph!  Needless to say, I opted not to ride my bike to work today.

Once I got in to the office, the effect of the early-morning shadows on the walls was too fascinating not to try and capture on film:
...but of course it's not the same without the movement...



When you work in certain industries, vendors bring you swag:
If the vendor remembers your office manager has a dog, and brings her poop bags, chances are he's going to make it back on the schedule...


Boozeday Tuesday and the Natural Science Field Trip

It's Tuesday, and you know what that means!

Rosé from a plastic cup, ya'll.  Classy!

With my ladies!
My Katie was there, too, artfully dodging the camera.

And one gentleman!

Blue lookin' dapper in Green!
We took a field trip down to Portland to watch the swifts, which was pretty dang cool. I'd never even heard of it, but Melanie suggested it and we all thought it sounded like fun, and it totally was.  Aided, naturally, by junk food and booze... (my thermos definitely had hot cocoa made with heavy cream, sweetened with honey, and spiced with cardamon.  Plus, you know... vodka...)

Aaaaaanyway, the end result is that yet again I can't really choose between two of my photos as the official "photo of the day", so you get both:
Our Inverted Stars

Swift Descent

(...see what I did there? Didja?  Didja?)


Spice in the Afternoon

It's been so insanely busy lately that I haven't been able to get to acupuncture for over a month.  Today was my first day back, and for some insane reason the traffic was so amazing that I got there early... an hour early.  So I wandered down the street to a little cafe, and had myself a glass of milk flavored with honey and cardamom.

Then I sat in the sunshine and read my lovely book.


A Sour One in Every Bunch

One by one the weeks fall off the calendar, and with them go the various events that I have gotten myself entangled in.  All of these events have been/will be fun and wonderful, but I'd be lying if I said that they weren't also stressful.  Today was the fifth of seven weekends in a row that have been Booked with a capital B, and I am feeling so much lighter now that I am more than halfway through the gauntlet.

Today's event was particularly stressful because it was a work outing that I had a major hand in planning.  I was very, very nervous about whether or not people would have a good time- after all, it was supposed to be a reward for the best performers in the region!
We did a tasting and tour at Willamette Valley Vineyards, Tualitin Estate, and it was just lovely.  The wines were fabulous (Nathan and I ended up buying three different bottles: a muscat, a riesling, and a gewürztraminer) and the day was perfect for sitting around sipping and chatting and playing a few lawn games.  I relaxed pretty quickly, as it soon became evident that people were having a good time.

Well, most people.

There was one person who... I think came for the sole purpose of not having a good time?  I guess?  This person was actually part of the reason I was so nervous leading up to the event, because they'd sort of been poo-poohing all my ideas and efforts.  Seeing them in the context of all the other people, however, who were laughing and having a great time, I suddenly realized that I genuinely don't give a fig if they think it wasn't "good": the only reason they were having a "bad time" is because that's what they decided to have before they even showed up.

So there.


Found at the Bottom of a Glass

Nathan had his final woodworking class today, which meant I dropped him off early in the morning so that I could have use of the car for the day.  At the end of said day I met up with him at the Green Dragon, and we had a couple of pints and shared some fries.
gorgeous color in a cherry-pomegranate cider by Atlas

It was actually a lot of fun to just hang out together a bar, which is something we very rarely do, seeing as how we are cheap bastards.  But it was a good atmosphere, and we are clever and fun company for one another, so I'd say it was well worth it.  Plus, you know... happy hour makes it downright economical...  ;)


Smoothing the Rough Patches

Remember when I said that I got Nathan woodworking lessons for our five year anniversary?  Well there's actually more to that story.  You see, they were originally scheduled for June 12th, 13th, and 14th.  June 12th was a Thursday, and my second day back at work after the miscarriage.  That evening, of course, is when I hemorrhaged, and ended up in the ER.  Needless to say, Nathan did not go to the second or third day.

After things had settled down a bit, I reached out to the woodworking studio and arranged for Nathan to finish up the lessons.  That's what he's been doing yesterday and today, and this evening he brought home a lovely little box:
like butter

Last night, as we were getting ready for bed, I joked that I hadn't even bled out or anything- that's progress!  And he admitted that he'd had paranoid thoughts of his own while he was in class.  It's a weird thing- we're both really happy that he's finally getting to do this thing he's wanted to do for so long, but we're also... skittish.

Some of you know that I've been avoiding Facebook recently.  There are a few reasons for this, but the main reason is that I sort of can't take any more photos of babies right now.  It's just a little too painful- or (and this is honestly worse) I find myself feeling nothing about these babies that I'm supposed to love.  Which makes me feel like an awful human being.  I understand that I'm not, of course, but I also understand that I am a grown-ass woman, and if something is making me feel bad, then I need to remove myself from the situation rather than bitching and moaning about what "other people" are doing or expecting of me.  Hence the Facebook hiatus.

I decided to pop back on last night, because I needed an address from the messaging portion of the site, and unfortunately the first thing I saw were pictures of a woman who is five months pregnant.  A woman whom I love deeply.  And I just... cringed.  Which told me that yep, I've made the right decision to stay away for the time being.

(I've had to check old messages twice since then, and I've taken to covering the majority of the screen with my hand until I have nothing but text displayed.  It's working quite well.)

Anyway, all of that was to sort of put a moment from this morning into context; I was out with Isis on her PT walk, and she was upset about not being allowed to chase a rabbit.  This prompted me to say to her,

"Yeah, well, I was supposed to be six months pregnant and in Scotland right now, so suck it up."


I came across a beautiful quote this afternoon, by the poet Edward Hirsch:

"I don't like the whole language of healing, which seems to me so false. As soon as something happens to us in America, everyone begins talking about healing. But before you heal, you have to mourn. And I found that poetry doesn't shield you from grief, but it does give you an expression of that grief."

I feel like I'm definitely guilty of trying to heal first and then mourn.  I've been in such a hurry just to fucking be okay, that I sort of forgot that still being sad three months after my miscarriage isn't exactly unexpected, and it doesn't mean I'm weak or pathetic or obsessive.  It just means that I need to cut myself some fucking slack.

Anyway, in honor of Mr. Hirsch's words, here are two poems that do a good job of expression some of the things I've felt.  The first is one I penned, the second is by Matsuo Bashō.  I feel they go together quite well, although I did not come across the one by Bashō until about a month after I'd penned mine.  I guess it just goes to show that certain aspects of grief are universal.

Even the sky
Cannot be silent
In her grief 


All crying done
Nothing remains
But the shell of a cicada


Love Apple

I took this shot in my friend Kara's garden.  I like it quite a bit, and not just because I find it aesthetically pleasing.  No, I find this image to be particularly satisfying because the very first gesture of kindness Kara ever showed me was to offer me little tomato plants.  I said yes, and the very next time she saw me, she delivered them.  And they grew up nicely and were delicious.
just like our friendship


All the Roads Long Ago

I was talking with a friend of mine recently and revealed that I happen to be a Fancier of Unicorns.  I actually didn't realize I was revealing the fact- I thought it was something about me That Was Known, but from the surprise she expressed apparently It Was Not.

Anyway, not only am I a Fancier of Unicorns, I even have myself a little collection:
as many as there are believing hearts in the world

Much smaller (and, frankly, better curated) than the collection I had as a child, but hey- one can only haul so many tchotchkes repeatedly back and forth across the continent, eh?


Come to An End

The long weekend ends today, and I am sad, because it was a really good weekend, and I don't want it to end.
...nor did I want to break my wine goblet.  Sigh.