Friday, May 29, 2009

In the new place, finally

The last week has been VERY busy! I packed, moved some boxes, packed some more, then moved the rest of my stuff into the new place. I like the new place! A Lot! It feels great to move into a new space, a fresh start I guess you could say. My Roomie is great and took the liberty of moving 'us' into the kitchen. Heather is great in the kitchen and she somehow managed to find space for all of our stuff. The apartment also has a great floor plan for dinner parties and get togethers. I'm looking forward to those events--
This is a pic of the morning sun from the back porch. We have a little river behind the building. The little river, the morning sun, a cup of coffee and the new Oregon Wilderness Backpacking book (given to us as a housewarming gift from Betty) made this morning perfect! 

Last night Betty came over and I made shrimp, quinoa and fresh veggie salad for dinner. I think this set up is going to work out just fine! Did I mention that I will be paying HALF the rent that I used to? Cherry on top of a special cake(I'll blog about that cake later).

Happy sunshiney day! I'm taking the pup for a walk.

Friday, May 22, 2009

ME/CFS Awareness

May 12th of this month was ME/CFS Awareness day. 

I am posting this on my blog to increase awareness. I too am a blog follower. I religiously follow two blogs of two women whose lives are deeply affected by this terrible condition. I was moved by their entries and want to join the cause..... I want more research done on this condition..... I want to be an advocate. My mother also suffers from Fibromyalgia, which shares many of the symptoms of ME/CFS. I want to be a part of this fight. 

First- a little bit of background on ME/CFS (straight from Wikipedia):

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is the most common name given to a poorly understood, variably debilitating disorder or disorders of certain causation. It is also commonly known as myalgic encephalomyelitis or ME.  Symptoms of CFS include widespread muscle and joint pain, cognitive difficulties, chronic, often severe mental and physical exhaustion and other characteristic symptoms in a previously healthy and active person. Fatigue is a common symptom in many illnesses, but CFS is a multi-systemic disease and is relatively rare by comparison. Diagnosis requires a number of features the most common being severe mental and physical exhaustion which is "unrelieved by rest," is worsened by exertion and is present for at least six months. All diagnostic criteria require that the symptoms must not be caused by other medical conditions. CFS patients may report additional symptoms including muscle weakness, cognitive dysfunction, hypersensitivity, orthostatic intolerance, digestive disturbances, depression, poor immune response, cardiac and respiratory problems. It is unclear if these symptoms represent co-morbid conditions or are produced by an underlying etiology of CFS. Full resolution occurs in only 5-10% of cases. CFS is thought to have an incidence of 4 adults per 1,000 in the United States. For unknown reasons CFS occurs more often in women than men and in people in their 40's and 50's. The illness is estimated to be less prevalent among children and adolescents, but studies are contradictory as to the degree. There is no medical test which is widely accepted to be diagnostic of CFS. It remains a diagnosis of exclusion based largely on patient history and symptomatic criteria although a number of tests can aid diagnosis.

The following is a link to a blog by CFS Warrior. She chronicles her symptoms, treatment protocols, and the struggles she encounters while living with this condition. She is one of the bravest people I know. The second link will connect you with Miss D's blog. She too is full of strength, wisdom, patience and love. Her blog will inspire you to read, cook, create art and more importantly, work on being the best human being you can be. She too is an Amazing woman!

I hope you learned something new after reading this blog. I hope you too will become an advocate in the fight for ending this terrible condition. It takes a village.

Nothing but weekend!

Happy Memorial Day Weekend! I hope everyone has big plans to get out of town, stay home and do some relaxing, or just escape from reality in a way that excites you! I wish I could say I was going camping or enjoying the weather, but I have been busy checking to-do's off my list lately and this weekend my big task is to move! Yes! I'm moving away from the shaking, screaming, grunting and vacuuming fest that occurs regularly above me! I'm also going to be moving in with one of my favorite gal pals Heather, who is on my back in the picture below. I'm sure she will be mentioned a lot more on this blog, as we will be spending tons of time together. I love this girl! We had a ton of fun in Peru and I can only imagine how much laughing we will be doing in our new pad.
Have a fantastic weekend everybody!!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Happy Day(s)!

Today is my 23rd.... uhm hm.... I mean my 31st birthday. Twenty three just sounded so good. Honestly though, I'm really at peace with my birthday this year. I dreaded my 30th least year. I even fled to Peru, thinking it would keep me from thinking about what transitioning into my 30's really meant. Well I have had a whole year to think about it, and it turns out that being single, educated, and empowered isn't so bad. I think I'm going to just slow down and enjoy the ride.....

My friend Erica just emailed me an astrological reading for the Taurus and I feel like it sums up a powerful change that is occurring within me. She found it on Rob Brezny's site and it goes like this: "'The people of future generations will win many a liberty of which we do not yet even feel they want,' said German philosopher Max Stimer. That bracing prediction has special meaning for you right now, Taurus. According to my astrological analysis, you are just becoming aware of freedoms that have not previously been on your radar screen. And as soon as you register the full impact of what they entail and how much fun they would be, you'll be wildly motivated to bring them into your life". Nicely said and I'm looking forward to it thank ya very much!

On this day I am reminded that I AM surrounded by people that love me. Thank you Thank you Thank you to my family and friends that contacted me in some way either with a phone call, email, on facebook, with a text message, with happy thoughts, or birthday card. I feel loved!!

I did a little impromptu planning this year. I pretty much wanted two things for my Bday this year; rollerskating and sushi. Sunday night I met up with some friends in my old hood for some beer, rollerskating and ice cream at the Dairy Queen. Sounds great, right? 

We went to the Sunday night Skate session. The music was a live organ and the average age of skaters was about 60! 
Betty and I 'hanging' out by the pay phone.
This was my favorite pic from the night. This couple had to have been over 75 and this older lady was sporting some skating tights and a skirt and she looked Gooooooood!
After rollerskating, my friend Clarissa bought me a dipped cone. She told the DQ worker that it was my birthday and this is what she made for me! I was overwhelmed by the size of my dipped cone and could only eat half of it! I was kind of disappointed in myself, but didn't want to get sick on my birthday. Good times.

The next day I had to work. But after work, I planned to eat dinner at the most authentic restaurant in the United States! Syun Izakawa and Sake house makes the most delicious Japanese food and it is located in Hillsboro, OR! Hillsboro is located about 45 minutes west of downtown Portland. The restaurant is located in the basement of an old library. 

I had the caterpillar roll. It had my favorite spicy tuna inside and avocado on the outside. DELICIOUS!!!
Jennifer had some type of beef dish. It looked kind of raw, but she liked it.
Rebeca's order ended up being a martini glass with raw tuna and raw egg. It was surprising, but her raw tuna was amazing!!! This must have been a fantastic cut of tuna. It was soft, tasty, tender and not fishy! 
Jennifer, Sally and Jon.
Rebeca, Me and Soph. 

It was so much fun! Thanks to everybody who helped me celebrate!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sunny Spring Sunday

It is that time of year again...... for farmers markets and barbecues! Milwaukie had it's first farmers market of the season. I love this farmers market. They have fresh veggies, plant start ups, local honey, fresh DONUTS, music, coffee, fresh baked goods, and the list goes on and on. Whenever I'm in town for the weekend, I go out of my way to attend this farmers market.
Plenty of artsy goods too...

Fresh squeezed juice...... And this year there is a new addition!!!  Naturally sweetened, fat free shaved ice! I had Mango and I am in love with this healthy, natural, delicious treat! 
After a relaxing neighborhood walk and attending the farmers market , Baby and I went to a friends Barbecue. Temojai is a neighbor and has become a very good friend. She is moving to Burns, Oregon for 6 months in a few weeks and I will miss her and her boyfriend Brian (stay tuned for posts from the official middle of nowhere, Burns, Oregon!). She invited me over to her Mom's house to celebrate Mom's day with their family. There was tons of food, little girls and little girly fun had!

Jathia is Temojai's niece. She is super smart and creative. 
We have started a ritual every time I make a trip to her house.... we play beauty shop and I love it! I think it started out when I was a child. I loved it when my Mom ran her fingers through my hair. Now, I love to have my hair brushed, played with, etc. Jathia likes to do my hair, then either draw a picture or take a picture of her creation. She's great!
This is a pic of Aubry (Jathia's little sis). Temojai is the very proud owner of an African Grey named Ash, who coincidentally happens to be perching on this cute little girl's toe. What a brave little one!
Of course I would have loved to have spent Mother's day with me Madre. However, I am thankful that I have great friends who feel like family in the PDX area. What a great day it was!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!!!!

It is a beautiful Sunday morning and I'm sending out Happy Mom's Day love to all the Mom's in my family, as well as to my friends who are Mothers! I decided just to post some fun pics from the past, many of my own adorable Mom. I hope you all have a wonderful day filled with love from family and friends. 
This picture was taken in 1997 at Christmas time at my Grandma Junette's House.
This photo of my Mom and my brother was taken in '98 in Japan after a 10 day visit. My dad came too. They were boarding the plane back to the states the following morning. We may have been drinking Japanese beer and playing pool for several hours before this shot was taken....
This is a photo of my Grandma Louise and my Grandma Junette at my Brother's wedding.
Wow!! Blast from the past! I'm guessing this bowling photo was taken in 1988? Oh how time flies!
This photo was taken last spring at my Graduation party. Love my Mum!
This is a photo of another wonderful Mom in the family! My brother's wife Angie (my sista) with her beautiful new baby boy Mathew! Here is a similar new baby picture from '99 with my Sister Carrie, her itty bitty baby Megan and my Late Great Grandma Della. The ladies in this picture represent four generations. Powerful stuff! We miss you Grandma Della!Here is a picture to celebrate Grandmother's day! Christian and Megan with Grandma Junette!
So My Mom rocks, especially at white water rafting! We took this trip in '00 and my Mom seriously knows how to navigate a raft through class 4 rapids! She was a rockstar!
This picture was taken on our trip cross country. I was moving to the great state of Delaware for grad school and Mom accompanied me on the road trip. That was a wonderful trip! I love hanging with my Mom. She is so easy going, calm under pressure, and friecken hilarious! We laugh a lot when we hang out. I love you Mommy and I also love all the other Mom's in my life! I hope you all have a fantastic day!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

How quickly we forget

Isn't it strange how after we complete extremely difficult tasks, we are quick to forget how much agony we experienced? It seemed like for me Grad school both in Delaware and Oregon State provided me with many 'oh crap, are you kidding me?' experiences. For example, at Delaware I was advised to take a video statistics course that had a recommended prerequisite course(which I never took), but at the time I didn't know any better. So I took the course, was way to busy to complete the weekly assignments on a weekly basis, not to mention I didn't understand them since they were too difficult and being taught by a man in a box in my living room. I put all the assignments off until the end of the quarter. I completely freaked out. I felt like I hit rock bottom. How could I have let that happen? 

It is so funny to me that that event which caused me to cry, a lot, was so easy to forget because it is out of sight out of mind. Well, I did end up finishing that course because I am stubborn. I requested an extension, hired a tutor and painstakingly worked on each problem separately with my tutor at the computer lab. Oh and I'm sure I wouldn't have gotten over that little speed bump without the care and compassion of my Mommy. Thanks Mom.

So the only reason I'm bringing this up is because I have been meeting with my Very good friend Erica frequently as she completes her dissertation process. She is finishing on nearly the same timeline I did last year. Only last year I was the one grueling over transcripts and statistical output! It felt like a decade ago! I just think it is crazy how stress can make any given task feel like a mountain and yet once we conquer it, we look forward and easily forget how much we have accomplished. 

Here's to Erica and the most important time of her dissertation process. I keep telling her we are going to look back on all this work and laugh at how much sleep we lost. Although I wouldn't change anything, so I guess we are doing something right?

Erica coding her transcriptions....
Erica re-fueling with strong New Seasons Coffee...... (Hhmmmm... New Seasons is yummy!!)
And a smile for the cheesy photog and her camera.
After my pump-up session with Erica, I decided to take Baby on a local trail. Just over 2 months ago I found what I believe is Milwaukie, Oregon's coolest treasure. It is called Elk Rock. This Island is just south of downtown Milwaukie and is home to a nature preserve. 
A photo of Baby enjoying what was an AmAzInG Saturday afternoon!
Unfortunately, because it is spring run-off time, you can not access the island unless you are willing to swim. When I discovered the park a few months ago, Baby and I were able to hop across the half-filled tide pools, gaining easy access to the Island itself. This time we found a cozy spot on a flat warm rock to read for a couple hours. It was really relaxing, which I kept thinking was the exact opposite of the stress I experienced this time last year! 
On our way back up the trail we watched a Blue Heron.
Also captured some more fun flowering tree photos.

So I know this is a random post, so I will just add one more thing because I can and want to. Last night I splurged on a movie. Yes... I went to a movie in the movie theatre! I never pay for movies, I don't even pay for cable or have a TV screen larger than my laptop.... But I had heard so much about the new Star Trek Movie and decided to go. 

Here is my recommendation for this movie:         GO!! It was great! I was sad when the movie ended and was already wishing they would make another one! I'm not a trekky, but I really enjoyed the special effects.  Worth every penny!!

Monday, May 4, 2009

short but sweet

I made a quick trip home this past weekend to go to a wedding with my Mom. I really only spent 36 hours in Seattle, but managed to complete a lot. The first highlight of my visit was hanging out with my Sister and my Mom on Saturday night. I am so proud of my Sister! She is in nursing school and has been formally recognized for being cool and wanting to help older adults. I don't want to burst her bubble, so all I will say is SHE ROCKS!!

On Saturday, Baby and I enjoyed our favorite trail on the Weyerhauser campus, then my brother Dave and Will came over for some outside fun. 
No surprise here... We played outside and had fun exploring my Mom's yard. I managed to take a few shots, one of which is on my photo blog.Will made sure he helped my Mom increase her Dandelion population.

Will and G-ma Julie.

On Sunday night I went to Sam and Darbie's wedding with my Madre. Their wedding was short and sweet with a Fantastic cake. Loved the design and use of colors.
The groom is the son of a very close family friend. Cindy and Bob have been long-time friends of my mother and this wedding was like a reunion of that whole crowd. 

A picture of the proud father of the groom and S/O Cindy.
It was a very productive weekend. Now I'm back in PDX and exhausted!