Gardening... stops time?

So, life granted me a few extra hours on a Tuesday afternoon. What to do? Being it is early February in the Pacific Northwest, NOT raining, and actually in the lower to mid-60's. I did what most would have done with this opportunity, I spent this time believing, however silly, that Spring had arrived! So I spent the $50 and grabbed the best locally available compost and I re-introduced these vital nutrients into my sad and dilapidated garden pots from last year. I won't lie, my expectations are two-fold: perfectly beautiful, SUNSET magazine flower display and this perfect day with perfect weather to last until next year. It is almost impossible for that to actually happen so I may have set myself up for disappointment, but it was such a lovely moment. Pictures of the fruits of my labor will follow soon. Already seeing the beautiful buds of my Clematis and Azaleas... SO beautiful. Looking to add some window planters, anyone have any planting suggestions?

....A New Beginning.

It has been about 4 years since I have posted on this blog. A shame really. Life has come and gone in a rather challenging 4 years of life which I presume is the main component in me choosing to stop blogging. Well, I have had a change of heart. Good or bad, you are going to hear from me. I will be spending some time altering the look and feel of this blog but feel this outlet is unrivaled and wish to start sharing my life again.

My Recommendations in Paradise...

Maui is simply a gem. I must admit for the last few years, I was under the faulty impression that Maui was simply NOT a destination for me. I was convinced that the lush rainforest and beautiful sandy beaches were simply a spot for honeymooners and not quite the pulse I was looking for. I could not have been more wrong. This place has so much to offer and the best part is it is all accessible in a rather short stint of time. Case and point...

Yesterday was Mt Halleakala, the only tour I booked on this trip as I wanted as much freedom as possible, a style of traveling I would recommend as the flexibility proves priceless. However... as tours go, this was pretty spectacular. A 2AM pickup at lodging, and after they round up all the others and you head up the mountain. To everyone's surprise, we had the first lightening storm in years up there and they recommended we all stay in the vehicle upon arrival at the summit some 11,000 feet up. I did not heed there advice and ventured off into the FREEZing misty abyss. It was well worth it. It was not the best sunrise they have ever had up there do to visibility, but it was nevertheless mesmerizing. Mt Halleakala is like mars, it is literally unbelievable -- so spectacular I am hoping I can fit one more jaunt up the Mt to hike the Sliding Sands trail... we will see, I hope I can make it happen. I will keep you informed.

Now for the real treat... Haeleakalla bike company. There are many touring companies that bike down the volcano, but most are guided. This means they have a rider in front, a van in back and you follow the leaders pace. BORING -- Haeleakala bike company is the only non-guided tour there is. After sunrise, you are given a bike, instructions on where to turn so you don't get lost and there number in case something malfunctions. I was off.... I met Nick and Chuck, my new best friends for this ride and they insisted I set the pace. It was an error on their part as I flew off at breakneck speed. I had no idea how exhilarating it would be to speed down a volcano on a gravity bike... the problem with the speed is the intense switchbacks all the way down, you are flying down the mountain which is simply unreal and then you have a blind curve/switchback to contend with... awesome! You then ride through lovely and aromatic Eucalyptus forests followed by lavendar fields... awe inspiring. I can't recommend this enough... truth: if you are an adventure junky like myself, this has the potential to be rather dangerous... I couldn't go fast enough, the boys couldn't keep up with me. SMILE! Took a little over an hour of sheer delight. This is the best $99 I have ever spent. So, folks -- don't forget, this will NOT be as exciting if you take one of the guided tours. They are boring. They stop at all the expected "viewpoints" and you pull over for all vehicles behind you. Come on... I made the vehicles go around me! If you can ride a bike, this will blow your mind.

Nick took me out for a lovely breakfast -- recommended by the locals and not found in any guidebook, North Shore cafe in Haiku is utterly amazing. Sweet people, great vibe, and the best corn beef hash I have ever had with cheesy/bacon potatos and POG (passion/orange/guava) juice. Guess what folks... $5.85. Hawaii does not have to be expensive... you have options.

I spent the rest of yesterday snorkeling ... went from beach to beach, the water was pretty choppy which makes for tough snorkeling, but tomorrow is a new day. This morning I am off to see Iao Needle hike and then part of the Hana drive. Wish me luck! Talk soon!



So, it's a beautiful fall this year. Feeling rather nostalgic, just a great feeling in the air-- something tells me that major life change is just around the bend. For the next six days though, I will be taking time out for myself to rest, relax, and focus my perspective. My first trip to Hawaii and i am stoked! There is simply no better feeing than being on the cusp of a great adventure -- better than most things. Maui is the destination of choice and for those days I will be unavailable as I will be spending all of my time exploring all the bodies of water Hawaii has to offer.

So, I spent the last two days trying to figure out how I was going to pack everything into a small carry-on backpack. Success... look at that beautiful picture, it includes: Tent, Sleeping bag, laptop, camera, snorkel, mask, fins, clothes, and of course toiletries. I am proud of this accomplishment. A small victory but nevertheless a victory.

Finally, I have compiled a great list of musical gems to accompany this trip since music is a bit of a pulse in my life I will be updating you with my current sounds and musical stylings. Playing now is Holocene by Bon Iver... the perfect pre-trip mood music. I love it! Off to board the plane! Later!

...most serious injury thus far!

It has become apparent that I am prone to injury while doing the most mundane things. Woodworking all day -- no issues, injury free so far. Cleaning out my trunk and relocating important items into their appropriate home inside my apartment___that is imminent danger! This evening whilst attempting to clean out my trunk to make room for my ever expanding collection of woodworking tools and African Mahogany, I managed in the darkness of the night (as the outside light burned out 6 months ago) to drop my very new, very sharp 1/2" chisel on top of my left foot just behind my big toe. At first, not realizing it was in fact the chisel I dropped, I thought nothing of it...not much pain at all, I continued "packing" my trunk until i realized I was standing in a puddle of blood. At first, I didn't quite believe it was coming from my foot. I get bruises all the time, but I have never really been "hurt." Pretty soon the panic set in. I waddled into the front door making my way up the rather treacherous stairway to my front door. Once I got into the light from inside the apartment I realized I was hemorrhaging from my left foot, I began to freak out. Anyone that knows me can attest that I am good in a crisis as long as YOU are the one bleeding. If I am bleeding, game over, I will become light-headed, convince myself I am dying and insist on lying on the floor demanding to be covered in ice. Not sure what the ice is for, but I will insist on it!

This time, I was alone... I was at the front door of my apartment trying to figure out how I could get into my apartment without getting blood all over my carpet. I really did think about the $500 security deposit... I want that money back when I leave. Bloody footprints along my oatmeal colored carpet would be a bitch to clean so I grabbed my yoga mat bag I just made and wrapped it around my left foot and leaped with one foot until I hit linoleum. In case this ever happens to you... leaping through your apartment in an effort to get from the front door to the kitchen as cleanly as possible doesn't really work... it actually acts almost like a centrifuge and spurts blood everywhere and in all directions (I thought it poor taste to post images). There was blood everywhere... I didn't quite know what to do. Calling 911 seemed to be a bit much, I didn't cut my foot off, I just marred it a little bit, and the expense to ride in an ambulance is far to great. I have done that before. Totally SUCKED. So I stood up briefly trying to locate my phone which tends to be lost but as luck would have it, it was sitting right on my island where I last put it. I called my parents. I told my mom I had dropped my chisel on my foot and I was about to pass out and she should really come over. I wanted water but couldn't stand up. Like the wonderful parents they are, they hoped in the car and came over. Of course, I called Maryalice to get some moral support she is good in these situations. Since I was panicking, she told me to put pressure on the wound and to relax and breathe.

My parents arrived... my dad came rushing into my apartment not knowing how bad it was fully prepared with his ER kit. Like any good father would do, he poured alcohol directly on the wound without warning. There are no words to really describe that moment -- agony doesn't really even come close, but if I had to choose a word, I suppose that will suffice. On the bright side, it was now sterilized and clean, fingers crossed, no amputation necessary. So, my dad being the outdoorsy man he is,stopped the bleeding decided that although 3 stitches would be helpful, he could provide the same treatment with a package of butterfly bandaids and some weird anti-germ cream. As it was after my bedtime and the idea of stitches was entirely unappealing, I trusted my father and his mad skills. My mom appeared back from the store with the necessary quantity of butterfly bandages and my dad went to work. My left foot looks a bit mummified, but overall, it was successful! I suppose time will tell --now for a new life rule. No task will be completed without the use of footwear. Felted clogs would have been a lovely barrier had I chosen to wear them. Lesson learned!!! Color has returned to my face and I am feeling rather sleepy... so off to bed! Goodnight!!

The perfect day!

Today was not newsworthy... definitely no life altering moments in and of themselves, however, this day was such a joy I thought I would post it. So, not often would I celebrate such an early morning, but it happend to be one of lifes oddities... I awoke from my slumber completely rested at 4:30AM??? Perhaps the previous evenings Bikram Yoga experience??? Who knows... nevertheless, what do you do when the whole world is asleep on a Friday morning? Make your way to the gym of course___ 5:45a cycle class to be specific. Rather invigorating starting a day off with an intense sweat... and, to have the daily workout completely before 7a on a day off is an utterly amazing start. So, the only people who would be awake an available this early would be my folks so I made the surprise visit to stop by after class, secretly hoping for fresh scrambled eggs and bacon which my wonderful mother happily provided for me. I am so very blessed! To make this day even better, I brought over the lamp I wanted to sell them and got a rather generous $40, along with lbs of meat, canned goods, and a bouquet of flowers. Aren't parents amazing! I love you guys!!

So, after my shower, I rushed over to the emissions testing and took care of that... I passed!!! YAYAYAYAY! So, then I packed up a bunch of things I no longer needed -- as I have promised myself I will NEVER be over a size 8 ever again so anything above and beyond must go which happens to me the majority of the clothing I own -- I sent it off to the Goodwill. Done! Now, I took a few select pieces and a drove of books down to Portland. Sold the books for $30.75 at Powells and the clothes for $15 at Buffalo Exchange. In total, I brought home $85.75 today which isn't half bad for a day off work. Spent a few dollars on an adorable new sweater and off to Sauvie's Island for the $17 box of green beans. Dilly bean adventure here we come! The Pumpkin Patch red barn was my destination and I got the box of beans, some dried red peppers, and dill weed. Next destination HOME.

Any day off must have some relaxing so upon arriving home, the next hour was spent laying out on the back patio absorbing some very important vitaming D. As I don't do sun very well, I had to move inside rather quickly and spent another hour in bed taking a nap. Ha... you thought I wouldn't be able to fit it in... WRONG. While I was sleeping I had the jars sanitizing in the dishwasher so as not to waste any valuable time. Also, my stove doesn't heat up such an enormous pot very well, so I got that started early -- put on some music... currently enjoying MMJ, and cut the flower tips off of all the beans. This is quite a project. Once the sanitation cycle was completely, I began individually stuffing the beans, dill weed, garlic, pepper, salt, and spices into the jar... followed up with Apple Cider Vinegar because it is so good, and then cold water to the top. I will provide the recipe at the end of this novel for all to enjoy. Finally in the hot water bath they go. Get to a rolling boil and use the tongs to place 7 jars in at a time. Once a rolling boil, set timer for 10 minutes. When done, pull out and place on towel and cover up. Do NOT have windows open, a cold breeze will crack the jars and your efforts will be wasted and nobody wants to clean that up. Completed. Now, we wait weeks and weeks to eat them -- I promise they are worth it.

Overall a stellar day... and the weekend hasn't really even begun, oh and I washed my sheets in there somewhere...blissful day. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Here is the recipe for the dilly beans, a major thanks to the Southard Family:

*Into a plain quart jar, pack clean beans, (cut off the tip of the blossom).
*Add one large head dill weed.
*One and a half tbsp mixed pickling spices.
*One garlic bud, one large or two small dried red peppers.
*One and one half tablespoons pickling salt.
*One half cup cider vinegar.
*Fill jar with cold water seal tightly as possible.
*Keep in warm place.
*Shake occasionally, then keep in cold place.

10 minute water bath. Warming your water to 180 and putting the jars into hot water. Then bring to rolling boil and begin timer for 10 minutes. THen pull out of water and keep under a towel.

a flashback....

Spending a copias amount of time at work is beginning to wear me out. It appears that this intensity forworking has permeated my friends as well and we have decided ENOUGH is ENOUGH. The mundane weeknight evenings of a quick supper followed by a mediocre film whilst laying on the couch recovering from a 10-12 hour shift, only to spend the weekends recovering from our mid-week laziness with laundry and the necessary domestic obligations needs to come to a swift and classy ending. So, what did we propose? Well, dancing of course! The Crystal Ballrooms infamous Friday night 80's dance party was the first thing on theagenda... Why have we not ever done this before? If spending hours with hundreds of strangers dripping with sweat, dancing to the 80's in a small cube with the intense aroma of body odor and marijuana permeating your clothing doesn't get you excited... well, I don't know what to tell you. Must note: one floor below was the Underwear Dance party which had I known about I would have definitely planned on attending... half naked dancing in public... liberating or violating?

So, as life is too short to be taken seriously and I must post that which would most likely mortify others --I have provided a before and AFTER image of our lovely evening. I can't stop laughing... must be noted, alcohol was not a contributing factor -- CLASSY huh!