March 21, 2013

Goal: Note each flower species in my hometown when I see it bloom. (Naturally flowering, not recently planted from the grocery store)  Wish me luck.

I live in the Willamette Valley, which runs from Portland, Or. to Eugene, Or., parallel to the Pacific Ocean Climate zone: 3. Plant hardiness: 8b. Marine Westcoast Climate (Cfb)

Week of February 17
Primroses (I've only seen one; it was planted in a school's flowerbed)
I smell the delicious wafts of pollen! I'm excited for spring-
The city looks stark. The trees are brown and barren. No sign of spring on their branches.

Week of February 24
Paperwhites (bulb, 4-12", 5+ small white bells)
Crocus (bulb, 3-6", royal purple and white)
Valley Valentine (by my parents' mailbox)
Daisies, field (1-2")
Dandelions (1-2")
Forget-Me-Nots  (6-12")
Hellebore  (1-2')
Ready to pop: Daffodils
We've had a few beautiful warm days. The trees are still gray and gaunt.

Week of March 3
Daphne  (shrub, 1-5')
Daffodils  (bulb, 8-16")
Daisies, giant  (14"-40")
Camilla shrubs (3-15')
Vinca  (Vine ground cover, purple, 2-4")

Week of March 10  (8th:  Eugene)
TWO cherry trees opened!  I'm thrilled!
Tulip magnolia, star magnolia (Tree)
PJM rhody (shrub, 2-5')
Forsythia (shrub, bright yellow, 3-6')
I'm excited when I see tulip stalks poking their way up!

Week of March 17  (17th: Shamrock Run - PDX)
The entire city has erupted in cherry blossoms.  The capitol mall is beautiful.  (!!!)
Magnolias trees are in full bloom.
A very cold week.  Frozen car in the morning, blustery stormy days.

Week of March 24   (Spring Break)
(Texas bluebells?  Orange bush at Wunc's, white shrub at mom's)
I saw a green tulip head. (!)
I drove to Eugene last weekend.  Daffodils are in the highway median, scattered and wild, and overwhelmingly beautiful.

OH NO!  Weeks of entries were somehow deleted by our friends at :(  And today I learned that they do not save revision histories.
I'm not sure how to recouperate the notes...

April 7
* Wallflower -delicate dark purple leaf
* Crane's Bell

April 14
*  Dogwood

April 21
* Wild Rose (Approx)
* X berry Azaelia
* Colombine

April 28 
Golden Chain tree
Wild foxglove******
Perennial Salvia (spiky purple)

May 5  (Here with Carol - mothers day)
Jupiter's Beard

May 12

May 19  (Cold, wet week)
Water Iris (3 buds)

Soon:  Canterberry bells


March 24, 2012

Big Announcement!

I’m finally on my way home from a delightful and transformative winter in Mexico.  And I’m returning South as soon as possible.

The majority of my time was spent volunteering for Isla Urbana, the rainwater harvesting NGO in Mexico City.  There is a tremendous water shortage here.  Families in some regions often go several weeks without water from the city grid.  I am  blessed to have worked on a wide variety of projects, including installing systems, photographing and documenting events, translating, creating a fundraising campaign for the US, and building connections within the NGO community.  At the same time, I integrated myself as much as possible with those in my neighborhood.  I am blessed to have made friends with all types of travelers and locals with a wide variety of education and socioeconomic statuses.  My life is much richer for knowing them.

Thank you to those of you who helped offset my cost of living while volunteering – This was essential to me staying as long as I did!  And thanks to all who gifted me “play money” for Christmas – I had a blast exploring on weekends and over Christmas. A $13 bus ticket brought me to a nearby warm paradise.  What a blessing.

I changed much as a person during these months.  I learned that I love México deeply, and that this is my home.  Specifically, I feel most alive in Oaxaca.  This is my seventh trip to the country. 

March 17, 2012

Right place, right time.

Today was beautiful.

I attended the perfect wedding of my delightful and beautiful friend Katie.  I saw many treasured friends.  I am blessed.

I left early, too exhausted from travel and reverse culture shock to function.  It was raining, and I was in my antique leather coat.  I slipped into Great Harvest for a slice of bread (I sure do miss "real bread" when I'm traveling!).  The gal told me if I danced an Irish jig for three seconds, she'd give me a cookie.  Their cookies are amazing, and you know how I like American cookies...  I danced.  And earned a walnut chocolate chip cookie.

The rain continued, yet the low sun was casting a bright evening glow on the old downtown buildings.  I decided to go for a short walk at Riverfront despite the rain, wind, cold, and my vulnerable leather jacket. The raindrops clinging to the blades of grass twinkled.  And a rainbow appeared.

I thanked God for bringing me home safely, reveled in the pleasure of my cookie and the rainbow, and knew that at this moment in my life, I'm in the right place at the right time:  Exactly where I need to be.  And then I stepped in a big puddle.  :)

March 11, 2012

Musings - Journaling in Oaxaca

(free-flow thoughts just as I jotted them down in the moment)

Hair, clumpy and tangled, blows in the pulsing breeze.  My small triangular table barely fits in the cage jutting out of the café - Café los Cuiles.  

This trip to Oaxaca is so full circle, I worry I may never return.  (I first visited in 2003)
The church bell rings incessantly.  The evening sun is still hot on my back.
The lime water is too sweet.  Warm, except on the surface where a single ice cube floats.
I'm almost entirely drained.  My feet throb, my back aches, my glutes feel torn and burn.  I'm walking a good number of miles every day.

It seems surreal to watch the humans interact with one another as the sun kisses the avocado green trees on the artists' park.

One thing I do know - I've loved these last days, visiting hotels, spas, gyms, and everywhere else, familiarizing myself with the city in a more intimate way than I've ever met any city - the wealth and the poverty, the nightlife and the tranquil silence, hitchhiking and on city transport, knowing I'm not a tourist and finding myself carrying an attitude toward them... 

I see my reflection in the class panel door as I stretch up on the bars - I look elegant, I feel beautiful. 

Warm lime-aid and tired muscles
I stopped writing and took a picture.  Scott said to take one every time something caught my eye.  I've taken a lot of photos of beautiful moments I'd otherwise only hoped to remember.

I inhaled my avocado stuffed with tuna salad while watching a white, balding guy with a semi fancy looking camera take a picture of...  My eyes followed the direction of his lens.

Why do we care what fancy photographers see, but not what captures the gaze of small children?

I caught him later; he took my photo.  Chilango, and he hoped I liked his shots.  Encantada.

Behind the bars
My mind is still in a frenzy - what a busy day!  Still physically drained.  DF, USA, MOM!, friends, medical bills, racing racing to make money -

The sun is almost done kissing the trees; my back is no longer warm.

And...  And I started to write a thought for someone reading this, but right now I'm only writing for me.


February 5, 2012

Nov. 16 - Nov. 22: Paradise, Penny Pinching, and Pain

November 22

Prayer request: My body pain is often consuming and affecting my ability to sleep, energy level, and attitude. It can be discouraging.
Prayer for healing of fibromyalgia (chronic pain) and spondylosis (tissue between vertebrae degenerating), prayer for a good attitude, prayer for deep and restorative sleep, and prayer for me to be better at self-care.
I brought some savings specifically for massage, and I need to put it to good use.

Thanks for your continued love and support!!!

Centro Energetico Integral - Tel. 5514 1775 I did a workshop with Sergio Magaña and was extremely impressed with him, enough so that I will spend 10 days on a tour that he will lead. I generally don't like big group trips but I think that what I will get out of it will be worth it. He doesn't do treatments anymore but you can find someone there who does. Profound, powerful work! - Jeya

Going to bed at 8pm. In too much pain and too exhausted from not sleeping last night to function at all.

The two masseuses were not working this afternoon! Ak! I don't leave the house much. Five blocks to the masseuse was actually an effort. I hate traveling in the city.. I've been sluggish lately because of the pain. Sigh. I did make it to the store today, and am set for cooking tomorrow! That was my big accomplishment :)

A Zumba class costs 10 pesos in my neighborhood. 2 people for 15 pesos.
10 pesos = $0.75. :) Now, if I could only understand the haphazard directions to class...

November 20
Yesterday (Saturday) I worked hard while the others played in the sun.
Today I woke up, harvested fresh oranges, made orange juice, and enjoyed the house in Cuernavaca.

Someone mentioned Thanksgiving; I was shocked that it is this coming Thursday. I usually don't associate bikinis with Thanksgiving. (Ha, Salem, enjoy your weather.)

Thank God for Sunday, for sunshine, for friends, and for three day weekends (Monday is a holiday).

Nov 6 - Nov 15: Cuernavaca, aloneness, and Int'l live party

November 13
‎...That heaviness that only a hug can fix.
Not logic, not prayer, not exercise, not chocolate.
This volunteer/NGO family is kind and affectionate, but hugs are different when they come from a person who deeply knows you. I'm trying to convince my mom to come visit me in February :) (And airfare is only $300 or so, y'all!)

November 12
NGO getaway: Cuernavaca, Mexico.
This morning I woke up, sunbathed in my bikini, and swam in a pool surrounded by a lush garden of flowers and mandarin trees. We all eat vegetarian goodness. The poinsettia is easily 12' tall.
My new friends/family/coworkers are a star-studded cast of brilliant, adorable dorks. (I fit in in my own way!) I am tremendously blessed to be welcomed into the family.
And in an hour we will walk down the street to eat Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
:) No complaints from Mexico!

Productive day working hard - researching, creating a bit of structure for future IU interns, and studying. Oh, in my bikini by the poolside eating too many mandarins we picked from the plentiful nearby trees yesterday.
Here's to working remotely!
I love my netbook, and am so grateful I brought my work to Cuernavaca.
Thanks in advance for telling me you're jealous. :)I got barely crisped today. Yummmmm. (Yes, Mom, I wear sunscreen on most of my body.)

November 10
In 4 days I've seen
0 cockroaches but about
25 potato bugs (rolly-pollys)

Yet another unexpected find in Mexico City.  My roommate calls them an "infestation."
This afternoon's snack?
Peanut butter and honey on... warmed flour tortillas. mmmm.
And one of the guys who lives here always puts mayo on his tortillas. Em, yuck.

November 9
Ever have one of those days where you wake up and simply feel... extra insecure?
Today was a good day overall, but my brain kept sending me false messages about being rejected or disliked in a dozen different forms. Odd.
It caught me off guard because I know that I know I am doing what I am supposed to be, and I feel fulfilled and at peace with my life path.

January 26, 2012

Nov 5 - 6 Birthday abroad & altitude sickness

November 6

Another reason why travel is not all glam: Altitude sickness. It's 5:38 am, morning after my birthday, and I've still not slept. 34 hours of nausea from the altitude change from my move from one week in lower-level Oaxaca to Mexico City has about done me in.
My birthday was nice but... I was certainly ill. (It's the price one pays!) At least I held the brownie and coconut ice cream down!

There are 90,000 police officers in Mexico City. That's a ratio of police:citizens of about 1:100 within the city boundaries, one of the highest ratios in the world.
The police presence was impressively strengthened about two years ago, and crime has dramatically fallen since.

November 5

first birthday out of the country and away from friends.
i love you, people.
(and i'm with my dear friend Pablo in Mexico, so i'm not completely alone!)
I spent most of my birthday with intense altitude sickness. I stayed indoors as much as possible other than lunch with friends, and had some pretty lame sushi for dinner. Overall, the day sucked, but my friends sure rocked.
You guys overwhelmed me with posts on facebook. I'm not sure how many - maybe 75? Needless to say, I certainly did not feel forgotten. Thank you thank you thank you. I love you.
I took a shot of homemade Mezcal for a friend yesterday... in a party... in a cemetary. One of the best
parties I've been to in my life. More later. (Dia de los Muertos)

A birthday wish:  "I wish you loads of ice cream!  - Sten
P.S. By ice cream I mean something sweet and enjoyable that takes your attention and makes you feel useful and at the same time relaxed and happy."
Oh, Sten, you are wonderful.


"Geography has little to do with the difference you make. What matters is that you are making the best use of your life by loving the people in it. This is the difference that endures."
Absolutely true to my life experience.

If a story of someone's life is written, then it is also co-written by the lives of the friends it intersects. I'm delighted to be a part of your story and I'm delighted that you are a part of mine. And I'm delighted that our stories continue.
(adapted from dear friend Jordan's words left in my journal)

Thank you for your love and wonderful birthday wishes. It is indeed overwhelming.
Love from Mexico City -

Oct 24 - Nov 3: Arrived, Conference, Food, and In Oaxaca

October 30 - November 3

caldo de nopales
elote con mayonesa, queso, limon, chile, y queso
quesillo (!!!!!!)
tortillas fresquitas
agua de horchata
maiz con leche
tlayuda de verduras
mole rojo
chocolate mayordomo
chapulines (grasshoppers)
jugo de... cosas nuevas

I've reached the moment when new foods are no longer named something straightforward, and I simply ask for what I've never heard of before, eat whatever is served, and smile at the results. :)
Sorry, I can't remember any of the new foods I've eaten in the last days!

October 29

I am honestly astounded at how safe, civil, and clean Mexico City is. I've not seen much, but have been delighted with what I've discovered.
Love from Oaxaca -
OH WOW is it gorgeous! I'm in a state south of Mexico City and having a phenomenal trip.
Dia de los Muertos.  I owe you a journal entry.

Why I'm using facebook instead of blogging

It's simple:  Blogging intimidates me, facebook is quick, and you interact with me constantly there.

Sitting down to write a blog means I need to write several full paragraphs with a well-developed idea, and post a photo or two to accompany it.

I prioritize living my life over documenting my life.  I simply do not have the time or energy to write like I wish.

Instead, I am grateful to use facebook.  Snippets of quick observations or musings only take a second to post, and I don't need to mess with the login and creation of a new blog post.  I decided to blog my fb posts and edit them with additional comments as a sort of journal.  I hope you enjoy the tidbits.

Thanks for understanding, and by all means "friend" me on fb using my email address.
I LOVE to hear your comments and encouragement.

Love -

November 9, 2011

Master Schedule: Mexico 2011-2012

Here's the skinny.

October 23-27:  Conference in Mexico City (DF)
October 28-Nov 6:  Travel in Oaxaca with Pablo
November 7-Dec 16:  Volunteer for Isla Urbana in DF.  Thanksgiving.
Dec 17 - Jan 2?:  Travel in Oaxaca with Jen.  Christmas.
Jan 3? - March 10:  Volunteer for IU in DF
Jan 21:  Mama Rumba con Jeya
March ?:  Run out of money.  Time to invent my next adventure!