Oh, yeah, life goes on…

Whew! Life has been rocketing by at 100 miles per hour, but summer is here now, and hopefully things will get back to a more livable pace. There are all kinds of exciting things to tell you about, but first, let’s bridge back to where we were last: in one of our MANY winter snow days. They had to add a ton of days to the school year here in Portland to make up for all the days the kids missed.

As is typical for teens (and kids in general, I suppose), the end of the snow season resulted in our home being filled with a large collection of Stuff That Belongs to Others. I took to Instagram at one point to offer up a fine selection of goods to the young people who had most recently shown complete disregard for the whereabouts of their belongings been playing in the snow at our house:

In a fit of New Year’s Madness, David and I decided we were going to get rid of 10,000 things in 2017. Quinland scoffed, swearing that we didn’t even have 10,000 things total (we most definitely do), let alone 10,000 we didn’t want! But we figured it was an easy 27 things a day, and we got right to work

Some stuff was easy to jettison, but – as always – some was tougher.I could not bear to lose ALL the Eat and Learn placemats, for instance, so I kept my favorites and took photos of the ones that were going to be moving on to better homes.

I’ll keep you posted on how we are doing on the Road to 10,000. (Hint: I bet you can guess.)

Quinland spent lots and lots and lots and lots of time this winter doing college applications and writing more essays than he had ever written in his 18 years combined, by his estimation. This pretty much sums up his college- and scholarship-essay fatigue:

Stay tuned for more info on how the whole thing panned out!

At long last, the snow melted away, and Bonesy could go over to play with his dog cousins. That’s Tony on the left and Mittzi on the right. Bonesy and “Tonesy” are alike in their incredible energy and playfulness, while Mittzi resembles Bones in that neither of them can hold their licker.

(The leash you glimpse is attached to Bonesy, who still likes to mark on things when left to his own devices and once peed on one of Tante Ina’s oriental rugs.)

Here’s Bonesy resting in a sunbeam, just because he is the cutest ever.

That’s a hodgepodge of minutia, I know, but now that I’m getting my blogging legs back under me, I’ll try to be better about posting regularly. So don’t touch that dial! I still need to catch you up on so many cool things!

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

By the time you read this, the snow will be gone. I, for one, will be sad to see it go.

I love the snow.

I grew up in a beach town. I learned to ski in the local Southern California mountains, on snow blown in by snow machines. Snow that falls at my own home, in my own yard, still feels magical to me.

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I know that many Portlanders were frustrated by it. I completely understand why: kids out of school, difficulty getting to work, having to shovel your way out the front door or the garage or the driveway. I get it. And I know how lucky I am that I work part-time, that I have a husband who is a teacher (and gets snow days, too!), and that we didn’t lose power or heat. I do.

Still, to me, these days were so welcome. I loved seeing the snow pile up so quickly that first night and then stay and stay and stay! I loved seeing Bonesy frolic in the yard and on the deck, swimming in snow. I loved being at home with David and Quinland and whichever of Quinland’s crazy friends decided to hike over and then stay over. Every 6 am call from Portland Public Schools announcing another day off was music to my ears.

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The kids* had the best time: sledding on the hills at the middle school, building a snow fort, making snow angels and throwing snowballs. They dug out all our snow clothes and boots and gloves, got them soaked, and then hung (or flung) them all over the laundry room. Q  even hiked a mile in the deep snow to see Hannah on her birthday – almost two hours to get there! (*Edited to add: These kids are all in high school; most of them are seniors.  Everyone is a little kid when it snows!)

People who deal with snow on a daily basis for months at a time might roll their eyes at my naiveté. They know that I’d grow sick and tired of it just like they do. They are probably right.

For now, though, I’m celebrating the minor miracle that this last snowy month has been to me.

99 things– #61 through #65

I found a list of 99 things, and I will be bolding the ones I’ve done and explaining a bit about each. Because I have a tendency to yammer on, I am doing 5 of the 99 at a time.

61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies. Oh, my goodness, yes. Technically, I was never a Girl Scout myself, though I did a stint as a CampFire Blue Bird and sold Almond Roca in 1st grade. But I was a Girl Scout Leader for many years and that definitely counts! Yes, the girls do the bulk of the cookie selling themselves, but their parents/leaders are always deputized into bringing the order form to work. (My humblest apologies, coworkers of the past! and I hereby promise to buy your daughters’ cookies, coworkers of the future!)

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62. Gone whale watching. Hmm. I wouldn’t say I have gone on a whale-watching expedition of any kind, but I have definitely watched for whales – successfully! – a couple of times. The first time I saw a whale was on a ferry from Seattle to Friday Harbor, and the second was on a ferry from Port Angeles, WA to Victoria, BC. (While on a different trip to Victoria, David went on an official tour in a rubber raft to see whales, dressed up with all his students in stylish waterproof suits . . . and not a single whale showed itself.)

63. Got flowers for no reason. I am the queen of buying myself flowers for no reason. Unless, of course, you count “I walked past the flowers section of Costco” as a reason.

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64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma. I semi-successfully donated blood when I was a freshman in college. I was really excited to have reached 110 pounds, the minimum weight requirement to donate. (Let us all bow our heads and have a moment of silence for those bygone days.) The blood donation went fine, but my blood pressure – which had also just barely made the cut at 90/50 – plummeted down afterward, causing me to faint. I got to lie on a cot for ages, drinking orange juice and eating cookies, until I felt like I could walk again.

I tried donating blood again last year. My weight and blood pressure (both much higher now) were not the problem this time: it was my ridiculously difficult-to-stick veins. They stabbed around until my arm was black and blue, managed to eke out a quarter unit of blood, and then gave up. They couldn’t even use what they’d gotten, because the blood-to-preservative ratio in the bag wasn’t correct. Maybe I’ll try again in another 30 years.

65. Gone sky diving. No, and I probably never will. I’m not afraid of heights – and I’d probably enjoy it – but my structural-integrity-phobic side is haunted by thoughts of parachute failure.

Current score: Four out of five, 31 out of 65 in all. I’m up to 48%!

(Again, if anyone reading was involved in any of these, feel free to add facts or correct my memory… and I’ll keep looking for photos.)

For those of you following along at home:

    • #1 through #5 are here.
    • #6 through #10 are here.
    • #11 through #15 are here.
    • #16 through #20 are here.
    • #21 through #25 are here.
    • #26 through #30 are here.
    • #31 through #35 are here.
    • #36 through #40 are here.
    • #41 through #45 are here.
    • #46 through #50 are here.
    • #51 through #55 are here.
    • #56 through #60 are here.