10 albums in 10 days and how I can’t keep up with a social media endeavor to save my life.


A friend tagged me in a “10 albums in 10 days” post over on Facebook last week.  If you haven’t see it going around, the idea is you post an album cover from an album you’ve loved – 1 each day for 10 days.  You’re also suppose to tag a person each day to do it and so on and so forth.  I dropped the tagging right out of the gate.  That sounds exhausting.

And, also, mostly right out of the gate, I dropped the 1 a day thing.

I’m good at many, many things, staying on schedule with a social media assignment isn’t one of them (as evident by my spotty blogging).

A couple of weeks before being tagged to do this, I was talking with my husband about turning my 10 favorite songs into a series of blog posts.  When I hear a song on that list, I can very solidly say “OH, it’s a top 10… probably number 4” and I easily have 10 songs ranked.  Why my brain works like that, I don’t know, but it does.  The album selection has been a bit harder but thankfully it isn’t a top 10 album list so I have an out there.  I may get to that song thing… but for now, I think blogging about each album will do.  Since I don’t post info on FB about why it made the list, a blog post will allow for that creative release.

The first album I posted was not surprisingly (or maybe surprisingly to some of you) an Elton John album.  Specifically, Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy.  Elton was the first musician I obsessed over.  And obsessed is putting it very mildly.  Back in Jr. High – 8th grade I believe – my mom took me to see Elton John and Billy Joel on one of their Face to Face tours at Texas Stadium (may it rest in peace).  In my head I remember that it was her last ditch effort to keep me from dropping piano lessons… I may be embellishing that a bit, but I’m sure the seed was planted somewhere in that vicinity.

She also gifted to me a mixed tape she had with “Rocket Man” on it and I listened to that song over and over.  I very vividly remember laying on the floor of my bedroom rewinding that song over and over and over again.  I was hooked.  It wasn’t long until all of my allowance money went to CDs and used vinyl from Half Price Books to start building my collection (a collection of vinyl I still have to this day and am quite proud of).  I brought my Jr. High best friend along for the ride and she became just as much of a fan as I did.  We listened to records while laying on the floor of my room… or her room… as I imagine our mothers/aunts/etc doing when they were younger.  We imagined meeting the artists performing… imagined living in the 70s so we could have been groupies (we were naïve for the most part I don’t think we truly knew what groupies were all about until Almost Famous came out years later… or maybe we did and I’d like to pretend I was more innocent than I really was)… essentially we’d get lost in these albums until the needle would pick itself up at the end and settle back into the cradle.

I eventually went to a total of 5 of his concerts before graduating HS.  One in Vegas, one in Boston, a few in Dallas.  It was a wild ride in the years leading up to that point, I was publically made fun of for being a fan of a gay musician (ugh – hello?!?!) and later publically apologized too which was almost worse (also, Jr. High boys that you’d later find out had a crush on you were absolutely the WORST), I had the opportunity to get an autograph after being hoisted over 3 rows of seats to get to the front row, I learned every Elton song I could on piano, played two of them for weddings, and had teenaged Elton John fan pen pals all over the world.  Like I said, obsessed.

It wasn’t a hard choice to pick this album.  Not only is every song fantastic, but the album art is spectacular.  It’s the total package.  I find myself going back to it time and time again – on vinyl, on CD, on Spotify – if you haven’t had a listen, check it out, you won’t be sorry.


A Thing

501F1D65-E67B-455F-A749-307B67659DA1I started a thing this week.  This thing used to be something I did a lot.  It’s something I worked on for almost 2 years BBA (that’s before broken ankle).  I decided to start running back in 2013.  I worked my way through a couch to 5K program.  I ran in my neighborhood.  I ran at the park.  I ran on the trail at the golf course and eventually, I felt confident enough as a runner to hit the esplanade along the river.

I eventually made it to 3.1 miles and ran a few races and then up to the 10k… and then it happened.

I slid down an incline hiking in California and broke my ankle.

Running came to a halt for obvious reasons.

Running never came back to me, or rather, I didn’t find my stride again ABA (that’s after broken ankle).  I’d hit the pavement on occasion but didn’t get back into rhythm.  It was hard.  I was upset… no, pissed.  My brain convinced me there were other things to do and a few races was enough under my belt.

That was 2015.

Fast forward to 2018.  I’ve seen a bit of weight loss since February (25 pounds to be precise – so perhaps more than a bit).  I very randomly started waking up early without issue and am able to stay awake when watching tv at night.  I figured there’s no time like the present to add running back onto my plate.

So I started on Monday.  I ran.  I ran further than I thought I’d be able to do but not as far as I was hoping… if that makes sense.  It was hot.  Slightly humid (which is rare for Portland).  It was hard.  So hard.  But I ran.  And on Tuesday, I ran again.  It was hot.  More humid.  Still hard.  So very hard.  An today, I ran.  It was miserable to be honest, but still, I ran.  I concentrated on interval running again and did much better.  I’ve seen what I can do, am trying not to compare myself to where I was in 2015, and I’m okay with backing up a bit to  start again – at least not starting from scratch.

When I first started running in 2013, I could barely get a minute without throwing in the towel.  On Monday, I made it a mile before slowing down.  Not quite the 3.1 miles I’d be able to pull off 4-5 times a week when I was training up for the 8k… then 10k… but it’s nothing to laugh at really.

I don’t laugh.

Instead, I strut around work.  Admiring my new spirit.  Proud of my sore legs that are strong enough to carry me through a mile run… proud that I’ll be able to push out 2 miles, then 3 – with time.  I know nothing comes right away, but I’m excited to get back at this.  Maybe I’ll make it up to that half-marathon I started training for when I first moved to Portland.

For now, I’ll keep lacing up, hitting the pavement, and sweating through it.  One step at a time.  One interval at a time.  One day at a time.

3 years, 4 months, 22 days


I won’t start with an apology… I doubt I’ve been missed on here… not by you at least.

But a conversation this week left me missing me.

Missing the me that used to write.  The one that would open a door to her brain letting thoughts flow through her fingers and into the words that built Idyllhands.wordpress… and ehwin.wordpress before that and the 2 blogs that made up ehwin.com even further back.

So how does one pick back up on something that she’s ignored for over 3 years?  Best friends have fallen apart in less time.  What do I write about first?  So much has happened since I last signed off.  Let’s be honest, so much has happened in the last 7 days, multiply that by 170 or so and well, that’s quite a lot to catch up on.  So how about a high level recap?

I ran a 10K.

I started training up to a half marathon.

I went to the redwoods in California and broke my ankle.

I never trained up to that half marathon.

I spent Labor Day weekend at The Gorge with thousands of my new best friends.

I bought a new car.

I camped.

I went to Arkansas for Christmas.

I bought a house.

I hiked.

I hosted family and friends from all over.

I spent another Labor Day weekend at The Gorge with thousands of my new best friends… and this trip transformed me in ways I could only explain in person.

A friend moved to Portland and into my spare bedroom.

I learned to play the ukulele.

I avoided a huge snowstorm at home while sipping margaritas in the Texas Hill Country.

I traveled for work… a lot.

I re-hiked the trail that broke my ankle 2 years prior.

I saw Tom Petty in concert just a couple of months before it was too late.

I drove my sister to the tiniest ER in a coastal town in the middle of the night.

I worried harder than I’ve worried since my mom passed.

I joyfully drove my sister back to the hotel after her stay in the ER and silently thanked anything that would listen.

I interviewed for what I thought was my dream job… and thankfully didn’t get it.

I was sicker than I’ve ever been and missed a much anticipated wedding.

I had my tonsils removed.

I became an Instagram narcissist.

I lost much of my sense of taste.

I reconnected with my past.

I logged in to wordpress.

That brings us here.  Still nothing to really say but this is a start.  This blog serves as a creative outlet that I now know I so desperately need.  I don’t make jewelry like I used to.  I haven’t spun yarn since 2014.  It was long ago that I sold all of my wool dye and carding equipment.  The piano still gets played, the bassoon is tickled and my ukes are strummed on occasion, but writing brings me a different kind of peace.  One that’s been missing.

Missing for 3 years, 4 months and 22 days.




Quesadillas and Mix Tapes

Tonight I made cheese quesadillas instead of my usual bowl of cereal for dinner.  To at least two of you, this doesn’t seem like a major shake up from my typical “home alone” routine.  In fact, I think I talked about cheese quesadillas on Facebook quite extensively last fall.  These kicks come in phases.

I need to eat veggies.  I’m aware.  I promise, I keep it balanced.

Most of the time.

I’m fully aware that I started a blog post talking about my very  uneventful dinner.  You can judge me, just know, though, that I’m judging you in return and I’m far more judgmental that you might expect.

I had a plan for this!  I was going to go into quite the prose about what I do with my free time when Rocky is at work (he’s always at work when I’m at home for those of you keeping score).  I’ve been spending a lot of time cleaning and organizing as part of Apartment Therapy’s January Cure.  I started the month out with a bang talking about that.  I’ve been making a small list of projects that need attention, nothing too daunting.  I took some time out a week or so ago to drink wine and play games with some friends (we played a lot of games… and we drank a lot of wine).  I’ve played the bassoon and spun some yarn.

Tonight, however, I turned away from the productive and turned to something for my soul (soul care… is that what those trendy blogger types are calling it these days?).  I opened up Spotify and started listening to music.  Yes, it’s just like you are picturing it, a cheese quesadilla wedge in one hand and my laptop balanced on my lap and being managed by the hand free of a sad excuse for Mexican food.

I listened to new music.

Old music.

Music that took me back 5 years and music that took me back 15.

That seems to be my theme for the past few days, reminisce.  In case you missed the influx of the best pictures ever taken during the 90s that I posted over on Facebook, I went through a large tote that I’ve been hauling around with me since my mother passed away.  It contained a few baby dolls, some of my baby clothes, baby dishes (not sure what good those will do me – I’m not really chomping at the bit to enter the world of motherhood), papers, art projects, and photos.  I haven’t really dug through the box since bringing it home almost 5 years ago, but this weekend I went through each and every item.

Most memories were good.  Some made me want to kill all the cute precious things in the world.  But all were memories good or bad.  I was taken back to a time when I didn’t quite get along with my eyebrows as well as I do now.  Taken back to a time when I would stay out way too late with friends and hope and pray I could sneak in the side door without my mom catching me (never worked out that well).  Taken back to a time when hand holding sustained me for WEEKS at a time.  This was the time of small folded notes being passed to best friends, crushes and band buddies.  We were innocent to the world but yet, not quite as angelic as I’m hoping my parents thought we were.

I mean, my mom wasn’t on to me was she?  Just because you say you’re going to the park with friends doesn’t mean she knew I was really going with one friend to kissy face at the top of the slide?  She didn’t know that did she?  DID SHE?

It was so simple then.

It was so wonderful then.

No one had died at a too young age yet.  No one was broken up with.  Bills were non-existent and car troubles were fixed by my step-dad.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking back on those years since going through the box.  It’s led me to think about this concept of “ghost life” again.  I believe I’ve talked about this before… at least, I think I did.  It’s basically where you’d be if you took a certain path very different than the one you took (or maybe not so different).  I’m always amazed when I think about this.  I don’t think about it longingly, but rather with fascination  We so easily change the course of our life with a simple hello.  I’m just amazed at the Choose Your Own Adventure that lies ahead of us on a daily basis.  There is no way that 18 year old in the pictures had any idea where she would be at 34.

I’m so happy things turned out as they did.

I’m so happy I moved to Fayetteville on a last minute whim and went to carve pumpkins with that tall guy that worked in the facilities department at Walton Arts Center.  I’m so very glad the box of memories I’m building now is bursting at the seams with good ones.

My Own Pace

Today has been a bit of a hilly route to the end of the waking hour.  I went to sleep last night a bit bent out of shape about a situation and I’d be fibbing if I said it didn’t cause me to wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.  My coworkers were very lucky I didn’t start every conversation with “OKAY I KNOW WHERE YOU’RE GOING WITH THIS JUST LEAVE ME ALONE AND COME BACK TOMORROW”.

Actually, maybe I’m lucky I didn’t go there.  I’d hate to think about that conversation with my boss later this week once he received wind that I was screaming at everyone (and GOD, what if he was the one receiving the shriek?).  I shudder to think!

Let’s back up to November of 1980 when my mom pushed a beautiful, brown eyed, strong headed and perhaps slightly sensitive girl into the world.  Yup, that’s me.  To be fair, I was the baby by 10 years so many of my growing up years were spent living like an only child if not the smallest child and I wasn’t picked on and I didn’t have to defend a decision or my position on something.  I grew up making a decision and getting support for it.  A few times my mom questioned my direction or forced me to do something I swore I didn’t want to do (band, for example – funny thing is, I ended up majoring in music so you know, moms do know best) or even flat out asking if I was sure I knew what I was getting into (signing up to sell Mary Kay Cosmetics comes to mind in that case).  My dad never questioned me… probably the result of only getting to see me every other weekend or during major life events (piano lessons, band concerts, award ceremonies).

I grew up making the right decisions.  At least, in my head I think that.  There have been some that weren’t the BEST decision but all have lead me to the right place in the end.

That’s where my rotten day comes in.

I’ve recently taken an interest in wanting to learn how to play the ukulele.  There really is no reason to it, just kind of want to.  I received a gift card for my birthday and I thought buying a ukulele would be fun.  They don’t cost much.  It’s really no different than blowing a gift card on a new bottle of perfume or a pair of shoes you don’t really need.  It’s birthday money, KNOCK YOURSELF OUT, HONEY!

I announced my grand plan on Facebook last night because where else to you make these important announcements?

What happened is surely the result of some strange polar reversal or whatever you call that.  The one person who almost always publicly questions my almost everything was in full support of me wanting to try this out and that was about it.  Other people poked a bit of fun (I know, friendly fun, but I’m getting to it) and my sweet boy was confused as to where this came from.  No one said I shouldn’t learn, no one said I was crazy, but no one really jumped in and supported this decision.

That was absolutely the most alone I’ve felt in ages.  I went to bed with a lump in my throat trying not to cry.  Why did I react like that?  I’ve faced worse rejection before (if only I blogged in August of 1999 when I didn’t make the Longhorn Band my first year of college – geez, emotional much?).  In fact, despite my saying above that I am completely used to full support, I face rejection quite often.  It’s almost daily at work (I have some STRONG personalities on my team, I’ll leave it at that).  Also, I didn’t blog about it, but any one remember when I interviewed and interviewed and interviewed for the same company and after 5 conversations/interviews/meetings with them they still didn’t hire me?  See, completely used to rejection.

And don’t get me started about the time my dear brother went one and one for what seemed like an hour (probably just 5 minutes) about how terrible Dave Matthews Band was.  UGH.  I’ll never forget that conversation that took place in a restaurant in Philadelphia in 2000.  Scarred for life.  Seriously.

So why did last night leave me so sad?

I wanted to call my mom.  She isn’t there to call.  I think she is the one who would go buy a ukulele if she darn well pleased no matter who said what.  I would tell her of my idea and she would want to hear my first song.

But she just isn’t there to call.  I also feel like talking to air doesn’t get the message to her.  I used to feel that way, but not anymore.

I went through today longing to talk to her.  But still, she’s not there.

This will wear off… hopefully before I actually yell at someone to leave me alone tomorrow.  It always does.  This one just got blogged about whereas the others come and go and life goes on.

Today made me stop in my tracks.  I’ve been going and going and going on this Apartment Therapy January Cure.  If i missed a day for any reason, I picked up and did double duty the next day or switched days to something more manageable.  I have been completing these tasks like my life depended on it.  Was I overly distraught today because I’m emotionally tired?  I’ve been cleaning, organizing, rearranging, cleaning some more, moving things here, moving things there, but I haven’t really stopped and taken a break since this started on January 2.  I’m also missing the sweet boy like crazy (his work schedule is what it is but I wish it wasn’t).

I need a break!

So tonight I took one.  I haven’t read today’s January Cure task email (and haven’t gone to the Apartment Therapy site today for fear I’ll see the task) so I’m not even stressing that I’m not doing whatever I should be doing.  I took a beautiful run after work (with scenery like above, it’s hard not to enjoy it).  I’m enjoying my very clean and organized pantry (one of last week’s tasks) and cooking gourmet food for one.  Now I’m sitting in my PJs on my couch.

Doing nothing but writing and browsing Pinterest for recipes I love to pin but will never make.

Tomorrow is another day.

Lists, Lists, Everywhere Are Lists

It seems blogging about this January Cure thing is working out for me… so far.  I guess I’ll try to keep it up as long as the getting is good.  Today’s task wasn’t as active as I was hoping for but necessary all the same.  I walked through the house and made a list of EVERYTHING that needed attention.  Okay, okay, most things that needed attention (I got hungry before I finished and had to make dinner and then the steam was gone).

Some spaces were easier than others.  My entry way just needs a nicer storage unit that’s short enough to stay about knee height but still provide a space to stash a collection of towels we use for just about everything (need a towel in the car?  We have that.  Need a towel for a mid-summer work out?  We have that too.)  It’s best to keep these by the front door but I’m completely over the plastic drawers they are currently stored in.  This was originally hidden away in a closet but now they aren’t… not really sure what happened there.  Maybe the project that needs attention in the entry way is figuring out how to get those drawers back in the closet instead of searching for a new pieces of furniture.  I’ll think on that.

Other rooms weren’t as easy.  My living room, for example.  At first glance, it’s fine.  It’s nice, neat, comfortable… but something about it bugs me.  I need to hang things on walls, I don’t love where the book shelves are, our couch is hanging on by a thread – see, not as easy.  I need to be realistic about this space.  Am I really going to move those book shelves?  I could, but where would they go?  I think they shall stay.  Do I have money for a new couch?  That’s and easy NO.  So I’m down to hanging things on walls.  That leads to another project – find frames!  Paint those frames!  Frame that art!  Okay, three other projects.  Who’s counting?

My other rooms were similar.  Bathrooms are fine, not a lot of projects there (need to hang a towel ring, but that’s about all I can come up with).  The bedrooms aren’t as simple but it’s easy to list the projects.  Wash the pillows, find some curtains, hang the curtains… nothing overly complicated.

I have a feeling those might be my famous last words.

To be 100% honest, it took everything I had to do tonight’s task.  I left work late, avoided the temptation to stop off at one of many Thai and Chinese take out places for a quick dinner option and headed to the store to get ingredients for lettuce wraps and egg drop soup, came home and just wanted to crash.  Granted, it’s my first day back to work after a couple of weeks but the days won’t get easier.  Some nights I’ll jog after work, some nights I’ll want a nap… how will I have the time and motivation to keep this up?  I’m just being real here, no flowers and bunnies and kittens on this blog.  Just honestly.  Sometimes it’s amazing how motivated I am to complete a task and sometimes I’m lucky I don’t stop in my tracks and not move again for hours.

It is because of this that I’m convinced many lifestyle bloggers are robots.

Okay, all, all lifestyle bloggers are robots.

Another list that I think it worthy of note is my list of 2015 resolutions.  I can’t remember a January where I made a list with the intention to keep up with it.  I also haven’t taken the time to pour over old entries on this blog to see if I’ve written about this in the past.  It’s possible I have.  It’s also entirely possible that I’ve forgotten all about it sooo… you know… shows how dedicated I was in the past.

This year will be different.  As God is my witness… I’ll never fake resolution again!

Whew, I’m glad I got that out of my system.

My resolutions this year are meant to be fun and full of win.  They are, in no particular order:

1 – Spin yarn and start selling it on Etsy… again.  I haven’t spun yarn since 2013 so this one is long overdue.
2 – Run a 15k.  I’m working up to an 8k for a race in March.  I KNOW I have this in me.
3 – Become a better baker.  I adore cooking and have recently taken up baking on a semi-regular basis.  I’m getting there, but I need some work.
4 – Start a house down payment savings account.  We keep putting this off because “we need to pay off debt first” or “we don’t have enough to make a different” or “hahahahah… buying a house… really?”.  The big girl pants are going on and time to get serious.  Every dollar makes a difference and the longer we wait, the more the house will cost in the long run.  Let’s do this!

These are all manageable resolutions.  Hopefully this list won’t scare me off.  It seems like I’m surrounded by a lot of lists right now.  Not sure how I feel about that.  I’d rather be surrounded by a soft, warm quilt taking a nap.  Not as productive but naps are a good escape.

Have I told you that naps are my favorite?

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And One More Thing

Yesterday I went on and on about cleaning my floors. Who knew I had so much to say about such a topic? Okay, yeah, I know, I have so much to say about every little thing.

It’s a blessing, just go with it.

I left the flower procurement portion of this weekend’s task to today. Of course today saw the clouds open up and the rain flooded in. When will I learn to do my shopping in Portland on SUNNY days? Even if I’m not quite out of everything, I really should take advantage of those days more often. Alas, I didn’t and today I found myself dodging oily puddles across a rain soaked parking lot in front of a nicer Safeway than the one I have around the corner from my house. Somewhere east of here… more in the burbs. That’s where you go to find nicer Safeways, the burbs or closer into town. I live in a crevasse of run down shopping establishments, fast food eateries and shady Chinese restaurants.

Remind me to move one of these days.

Anyways, back to those flowers. As I expected, the nicer Safeway did have a better selection of floral offerings than my local Safeway (which isn’t terrible but not spectacular – it’s more of a mix of sad “sorry I forgot to take out the trash and by the way, I made out with your best friend” arrangements than bright and cheery “Your floors are clean – amazing” arrangements). I picked up and put down about 23 different bouquets. Every color of tulip, all the roses, strange mixes of greenery, plain and boring carnations… THAT’S IT. Carnations.



Will last me until St. Patrick’s Day.

$4.99 with my Safeway Club card.


I picked out a nice pink arrangement which I thought would stand out from my usual choice of autumnal colors or whites and creams. I opted to not purchase greenery, I live in the Pacific Northwest, greenery is EVERYWHERE for free. Now later when I was scavenging for the perfect sprig of green in the rain, I questioned my decision made in the store, but again, I haven’t learned to do these things on sunny days yet.

Now I’m at home, admiring my nice floral arrangement, looking forward to keeping this small indulgence up on a regular basis and fighting with my computer to download Garmin Express (why isn’t it working?).

And yes, with that, I’m still running.

Happy Sunday!

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Dear Apartment Therapy…

Avoiding my assignment for the weekend involved cleaning up some of my favorite vintage kitchen goodies… it was a trade off.

Design Blogs.

I can’t think of a situation in which I wouldn’t enjoy browsing through a design blog. Even the bad ones are a good opportunity to raise an eyebrow or two and judge the person who chose THAT paint color. My favorite (good) one is Apartment Therapy. It’s updated often, provides a wide variety of things to browse through and inspires me daily.

It also makes me loathe my current living room set up, couch, book shelves, bedroom set, walls, kitchen… you get the idea. I’ll spend a few minutes in the evening reading through some of the most current house tours and be left pouting that I won’t have a space like that… at least not until we move. I also don’t have space to rehab furniture which is a huge part of why I love Apartment Therapy.

Because of my self-imposed inability to take what I see on the website and run with it, I’ve filed it away in my “use this to pin that for when we have a better space” category.

Enter Apartment Therapy’s January Cure. I’m not sure how long they’ve been doing it, but I’ve read about it for the last couple of years but haven’t jumped in and joined. On a whim, I signed up to receive the newsletter for this year’s round a few weeks ago. I’m pretty good of getting rid of things and keeping our space clean and neat BUT I’ve been drawn to a simpler look lately. Less furniture and what furniture you do have raised up off the floor (very mid-century modern I suppose), less clutter, less less LESS!

I can set off and do this on my own, but a bit of motivation and a plan doesn’t hurt. January Cure will provide that for me. It might also allow me to realize I can do some of what I’ve been putting off for another day (and a different house).

The first task/assignment/whathaveyou was fairly straight forward. “Clean your floors and buy flowers for your space”. Mind you, I said straight forward, not easy. This didn’t mean to run your vacuum over the carpet and sweep the entry way. This involved moving furniture and vacuuming under it, getting down on my hands and knees and scrubbing those scary spots on the kitchen floor (what were those spots anyway?), and using that flat nozzle thingamabob on the vacuum hose and going along every edge in every room. It was an intense 5 hours. I was very thorough.

VERY thorough.

I found cat litter in places that I didn’t think she could get. I’m going to go ahead and pretend that was fresh, clean cat litter and not cat litter that was previous clumped up in a urine ball in the cat box. Pretending is good and also a sign of a creative, brilliant mind. It also lets me sleep at night.

Now, allow me to let you in on a bit of a secret. This task was far beyond cleaning. The task mentioned to make a note of problem areas as I’ll be making a list of these soon. I noted some areas and went on about my cleaning business but quickly returned to those problem areas to start working on them. I went through a basket full of dusty sheet music and music books and cleaned out my record collection. It didn’t take long to fill a box to take for donation. I focused again on cleaning the floors and avoided the distraction of going through piles. I’ll get to those later, I’m sure of it. I think for this to be wildly successful, I need to complete the task and just the task.

I’m just making that last part up but it sounds good… right?

At least it makes me feel better for only giving some of my piles the attention needed to move them, vacuum under them and move back into place.

I learned a lot of things today. 1) The half bath has never been swept. Gross, I know. 2) Piano song books full of songs from the 60s are better left to the for sale shelf at Goodwill. 3) We have TOO much stuff. It shouldn’t take 5 hours to clean floors. I think a good 3 of those hours were spent moving things around.


I think this project will be just what I need to breathe life back into my space. Maybe it will give me the opportunity to blog about my progress. Apparently I have trouble keeping up with the old blog unless I have an assignment to complete.

Speaking of assignments, and I’m not making any promises, BUT, I might just embark on a bit of a blogging adventure starting in February (or March, we’ll see how it goes). You know all of those terrible cook books from the 60s? The ones with tuna Jello molds and weird bundt shaped pate? I’m half tempted to start cooking those terrible things and seeing how they go over either at the dinner table (and let’s be honest, my dinner table is a coffee table in front of the tv, so I don’t need anything too fancy there) or maybe in the break room at work. Kind of a Julie and Julia thing but more retro (well, Julia Child is pretty retro soooo…) okay, so more tacky.

I feel like those tuna Jello salad molds need to be brought to life and be given another chance. Any takers?

Mt. Hood from Lost Lake – summer was supposed to bring me back here.

I noticed it just today. The light is changing outside. How can that be? How are we already getting hints of autumn before I feel I’ve had a chance to fully enjoy summer.

It was just yesterday that I kicked off my shoes for the first time this season and stuck my toes in the sand of a nearby river bank.

Wasn’t it?

This summer, more than any other summer, time has slipped through my fingers. Somewhere in between rolling into work before the sun came up and ending the night recharged after a couple of hours with coworkers around a good drink, summer has taken place.

I had plans for this summer. I wanted to steal the Sweet Boy away for a romantic weekend at the coast or load up the car with gear and head out for a weekend camping trip at Lost Lake. We had planned to tie on our hiking shoes more often and explore new to us trails and cool off in the mist of a seemingly forgotten waterfall.

Summer, I had plans for you.

Now it feels as though I’ve run out of time. Yesterday looks like it might have been the last strong blast of summer air. As long, spindly fingers of heat not so gingerly reached towards the triple digits, Portlanders, the non-AC champions they are, searched for places to cool off. Patios were bursting at the seams with hipsters and cool pint glasses of IPAs. The docks along the river were speckled with sun bathers. The fountains played babysitter to packs of kids running in and out of the man made geysers while parents wilted nearby on a bench.

Today the sun crept back into a pile of clouds. Attempts of rain showers dotted the valleys and mountain crests. The breeze from the coast sighed across downtown and the patios were void of yesterday’s beer drinking champions. And now, at 8:15pm, my back porch is a bit darker than it was this time yesterday.

A walk to a meeting today smacked me in the face with the most abrupt question “any end of summer plans for you and your husband?”. Well… ummm… sure… we… uhhh… well… I scrambled for an answer suitable for any Pacific Northwest inhabitant. I wanted to brag about a condo rented along the coast, or a summer hideaway in Mt. Hood National Forest or perhaps one last float trip in the high desert. But none of those are in our plans. As I opened my mouth to say that I hoped I’d make it out to a river this weekend, even if I was flying solo while the Sweet Boy heads north to Seattle for a couple of days, I remembered…


Or more importantly, Dave Matthews Band at The Gorge! In the rush of today, in the last gasps of summer days, I had forgotten the one thing I’ve been looking forward to all summer. My sister is flying in from Arkansas so I can show her around Portland and so that we can go get our fill of DMB. I blurted this information out in such a fast and high pitched voice, I was sure the person asking hadn’t understood a word of it.

But they did. A nod of approval and a few tips about the venue later and mission accomplished. Someone else is now jealous of my end of summer plans and wishing they had bought tickets themselves. I feel like I’ve passed the summer torch. The person who took kayaking lessons all summer passed it along to a friend who made a float for the Willamette Float a few weekends ago who then passed it along to me to carry on to the next person.

Summer, I’m glad I have not let you down. Please don’t let me down with any last, dying breaths of triple digit air. I’m all for a last hurrah, but please let me celebrate in 80 degree temps. I prefer it that way.


Joy best expressed in person

Pardon me while I take a few minutes of your time to share with you the obligatory post-conference glow post.

Before settling in to write this, I read through past post-conference posts. I 97% certain that they make up a collection of my favorite words. Some were reflections of life changing moments spent roaming the streets of Manhattan. Some were spent intently listening to every word shared with me while sitting in on panel sessions because the world outside was far to hot and muggy to even think about exploring. Some were spent trying to relive what I’m sure other 22 year olds were doing while I was studying music history and force feeding my brain French in college.

One conference saw me post a brave tweet, meet future mentors and be asked to write an article for an industry publication.

All were pretty fantastic.

This is where I pause. Actually, to be quite honest, this is where I find myself facing a huge speed bump and not knowing how to get over it.

I am so at a loss for words that truly have the meaning behind them that I intend. This past weekend saw my 5th VenueConnect conference with IAVM (my 7th conference/meeting with them if you include some sector specific and region meetings… then add Venue Management School on top of that). Not only was I fortunate enough to attend, but I had the honor of playing event manager for the host venue (Oregon Convention Center, in case you haven’t been paying attention). I was 2 parts excited and 14 parts nervous approaching the event. On one hand, I’m confident in my skills as a manager and didn’t expect any issues. On the other, I adore this organization and the people in it and the last thing I wanted to do was be at the helm if something fell through. If you’ve ever planned an event of any size, then you know that anything can fall through no matter how much planning, review, double checking and work went into it. Those of you who have ever worked in an environment like I do where there are what seems like 42 people planning these things, then you know it’s almost inevitable that something will fall through.

Guys… not a single thing fell through. Oh sure… things changed… surprises came up… but everyone adjusted. No complaints. No screaming matches in the back halls or behind office doors (if you knew me back in my Arkansas days then you knew I’d either witnessed these a few times or unfortunately, were dragged into them once in a while – screaming just meant we were passionate about what we were fighting for… right?).

No problems.

Not a single one.

I work with a team of people who made magic this past weekend.

While at dinner last night with an old friend from Arkansas, I was able to brag a bit about my new workplace and coworkers. I wanted to gush about them the entire time. I spent the entire weekend with colleagues from across the country but ended each evening spending time with my coworkers. We ended one night at Spirit of ’77 over beers and honest conversation, we spent one evening eating one of the best meals I’ve had since moving to Portland and ending up at the Moda Center where we had more beers and brutally honest conversation and then ended the conference letting loose and again, enjoying beers and laughter at P’5 while we listened to great music and enjoyed the summer breeze.

I’ve spent the last day reflecting on this.

Just over a year ago I was starting my new job in Portland. I was sure I wanted the job and wanted to move but it took a few months to really let go of any hesitation I had about making the right decision. My work environment was extremely different from my previous job. I went from working with mostly women (and not having the best relationship with some of the men I worked with – unfortunately those men sat in some key roles for my future at the venue) to sitting on an executive team where I was the only female and the youngest member of that small group of people.

Would they respect me? Would they be patient with me as I learned my new job? Would they include me? These questions ran through my head a lot and left me exhausted at the end of the day.

And this is where that speed bump comes into the picture. I don’t quite know how to express the joy that my job and coworkers bring me on a regular basis. I just don’t have the words. I thanked my boss today. Just walked into his office and thanked him. I thanked him for the opportunity to work at the convention center. I thanked him for being patient while I figured things out. I thanked him for dropping everything to listen when I needed to talk about a frustration or success.

And then I went back to my office and cried. I’m so happy. It sounds ridiculously sappy but it’s true.

I feel like one of the luckiest people out there. This past year has brought me so much joy. My new home… my new marriage… and the best job in the world.

Lucky, lucky me.

Disclaimer: there were some magical times spent at my previous job. They allowed me to grow, work the Superbowl, attend Venue Management School and I had some fantastic co-wokers there. However, if you’ve been following my blog through the years, you knew I also faced what felt like impossible tasks during my last couple of years there. Things change, that’s inevitable – my frustrations were simply a result of change that I wasn’t best suited for. Thankfully life allows you to adjust when you need to and Portland was just the adjustment i Needed.

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