Tag Archive | girlfriends

Oh What Fun!, Day 3

My mother, as my most loyal reader, pointed out that I must not have liked the advent calendar’s day 2 wine… The Shiraz… Cardboard? I mean, I didn’t like it at first, but thankfully it opened up after 20 minutes or so and redeemed itself!

Unlike Day 2, Day 3’s Pinot Grigio was delicious right from the first sip.  Golden delicious apple flavors at first, finishing with a tart lemon on the finish.  Both Tiffany and I really enjoyed it – a definite crowd pleaser!

It was 12.5% ABV and a product of Italy, from the Terre Siciliane region.

If only we could take a trip to Italy!

COVID Diaries: Day 199

Well lookie there, we are almost at 200 days of this “new normal.” Blech.

I went clothes shopping in the new normal last night. Which consisted of me buying four pairs of jeans, taking them over to my friend’s house, which is closer to the store, trying them all on, and returning the other three to the store. Someone please tell me how this makes sense.

It has made for some quiet weekends and busy work weeks. I did have a great little day trip over to the island with a few girlfriends on the last weekend of summer. The boat ride was incredible, the weather was perfect, and we had fun poking around in shops and laughing so hard we cried. We even saw porpoises from the boat! Girlfriends are the best.

Then the weather turned to fall with a vengeance. High winds and heavy rain for several days. Fun. It did clear out the smoke though! In the last couple of days the smoke has closed in again, but not to the same degree. There’s hope that it will go away starting tomorrow. It irritates my eyes and my throat…

I’m definitely not ready for winter. With everything being so messed up this year, it feels like we shouldn’t even have to count it! We should get to skip winter and start in the spring! It seems like a good idea to me, but I doubt I’m going to be able to get this plan off the ground.

At least it is the weekend!

COVID Diaries: Day 157

It’s the weekend! And the weekend is very much needed.

It also poured down rain last night and part of today.  I have to admit, that was much needed too.

My aunt and uncle were in town this week, so I got to spend three evenings with them.  That was fun – I always enjoy my time with them and I know my mom does too.

Last night my girlfriend Tiffany came over and we had dinner and went for a walk.  She is my oldest friend – we’ve been friends since she was 5 and I was 7! I don’t even want to say how long ago that was…

Tomorrow I’m going hiking with two other girlfriends.  It is going to be back to sunshine, and I’m so excited!

Happy Friday!

COVID Diaries: Day 117

I was supposed to go hiking today, but my friend was sick (not COVID), so Shelley and I decided to take a long walk to happy hour instead.  It was sunny and warm, and I wasn’t motivated to clean the house anyway.

The cocktail special was called a Georgia Ice Pick, with peach vodka, peach Schnapps, and iced tea.  I rarely drink hard liquor but it sounded so good.  And it was!  I might have to try this at home sometime; it would probably be very good with vodka, raspberry liquor, and iced tea.  That way I wouldn’t even need to purchase any ingredients!

The long walk also meant that I have over 21,000 steps today too!  I hope your work week starts off well tomorrow!

 

Farewell to a Decade!

2019 is almost over, and with it we are leaving behind another decade.  Like every year, it has had its ups and downs, but sadly this year they were overshadowed by losing my Dad.  There were other joys and experiences, but between working through my grief and starting my new job, the happy times were just more subdued this year, and that’s okay.

  1. Dad died suddenly in February.  It has been hard without him; never having had the opportunity to say goodbye or tell him I love him one more time.  He left behind a lot of estate and probate stuff for my mom to work through, which is difficult to face when you are grieving.  All the milestones are new ones in our life without him.
  2. I did a 15K this year in March with my friends.  I didn’t train, as it was less than a month after dad died, but I finished.  My time with my friends is dear to me; they are a lifeline when I need them most. 
  3. Mom and I took a few days away in March and flew down to Tucson.  It was a nice mother-daughter trip, with some laughter, and definitely some tears, with both of us grieving. 
  4. I started a new job in March.  There’s a learning curve, and there was some drama in the beginning (not my drama!), but things there are good; the people are kind and reasonable and I feel valued.
  5. I visited Astoria in May; I met Jeff and the kids there for a Memorial Day long weekend of fun.  It was nice to check the place out and see some familiar places and some new ones.  Making new memories is always good! 
  6. I visited Westport, on the coast of Washington, in June with friends.  I had never been there.  The weather was cool and sort of rainy, which made for less than ideal camping weather, but we had fun checking out the lighthouse, grilling some delicious food, and walking the beach. I added a ton of sand dollars to my collection! 
  7. In July, Jeff and the kids and I took a whirlwind trip down to Lassen Volcanic National Park in Northern California. It was so much fun camping and hiking and checking out the waterfalls! Lassen is definitely a place I want to get back to soon.

    Lassen Volcanic National Park

  8. I didn’t do much hiking this summer because I was experiencing a lot of pain in my belly, but I did go on a couple of hikes.  My hike to Watson Lakes with Lelani was so much fun!
  9. Jeff and I met near Salem, Oregon on Labor Day weekend for a few days.  We checked out the Oregon State Hospital Museum, the Salem Farmer’s Market, and enjoyed our time together.  We also took a day to hike Silver Falls State Park, and saw all the beautiful waterfalls!  What an amazing experience! 
  10. In October, my girlfriends and I did a 10K in town.  It was fun to support a great charity and get some exercise as well!
  11. On December 23, I had a total abdominal hysterectomy.  I have been having pain and other troublesome symptoms for years, so it was time, but it was still scary to be wheeled into the operating room that morning!  My surgeon and nursing team were awesome and everything went smoothly.  My family came to the rescue, setting me up at home and taking care of me for the first several days.  My uterus and its benign fibroid tumors weighed over 5 pounds (a healthy uterus should weigh about 2-4 ounces) – 5 pounds of extra stuff in my belly causing havoc!  I am still healing, and moving pretty slow right now, but am already feeling relief from my symptoms and can tell I will be feeling better in no time! 

2020 is a whole new decade, and one that should have some new beginnings for me.  I’ll be able to spend more time with Jeff and the kids, and once I recover from my surgery, I’ll be able to get back to my active life!  Here’s to a lot of good things coming soon!

May the New Year bring you all peace and joy.

 

Mount Rainier Snowshoeing 2019

In February, Paula and I did a repeat of our snowshoe weekend.  We spent two nights at Mount Rainier over the President’s Day holiday.  It was glorious!

Last year, the road up to Paradise was closed the entire time we were there, due to avalanche danger and rain.  This year, we were able to drive up to Paradise and snowshoe up there!  We got up early and headed up early, driving up just after the road opened.  We were the first ones out on most of the snowshoe trail, and had the opportunity to snowshoe through fresh, unbroken snow!

That morning, we hiked out under a partly cloudy sky, with a spectacular view of Mount Rainier!  It was so beautiful!  We took lots of photos and selfies, because when you grow up around mountains, you know that the mountain isn’t always out, and you take advantage of the view when you can get it.  I love seeing this view!

We snowshoed out a bit further in the fresh snow, and on our way back noticed that Mount Rainier was now obscured by the clouds.  We were lucky to have gotten out there when we did – there is a benefit to being the early bird!

That afternoon, we snowshoed around the Trail of the Shadows, an easy 1 mile flat loop trail. I love it because it takes you by an old turn of the century cabin, originally built by the Longmire family, as well as remnants of the old mineral baths – they were advertised as having healing properties, if you could stand to soak in the sulfur smelling waters.

We renewed our ritual of sitting on the porch to drink spiked hot chocolate and wine, and also had a good time working on a new puzzle in the game room and making new friends.  We had grass-fed burgers and blackberry cobbler.  Both were to die for!

We were sitting on the porch just after they closed the gate to Paradise at 6 pm, and Paula spotted a critter making his way near the road.  We watched him trot across the road and realized it was a fox!  It was too dark and we were too far away for photos, but he was so adorably cute from afar!  This may be the first time I’ve ever seen a fox in the wild too!  Our room this year overlooked the road in the front of the hotel – it is so pretty there!

I certainly hope that we continue this tradition, either just the two of us or with other friends as well!  It was so much fun!

Girlfriends

I met Taryn in college.

Taryn and Me with the bow

I used to work with Shelley at my first HR job out of graduate school (not counting internships).

I met Katie and Katy when I joined a young professionals networking group sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce round about 2008.

I met Mikaela when I started having her cut my hair. (And why do I not have a photo with her!!!?)

I met Kiera because she managed the staffing agency that I used at a previous job.  Kiera introduced me to Lelani.  We have stayed friends long after Kiera moved to Seattle, then Boise.

Bliss was my real estate agent’s wife when I bought my current house.  I also met her mother JoAnne.

Shelley, Me, Bliss, JoAnne and Katie, before the race!

I met Paula through her cousin Brandon, a long time friend.

As it turns out, many of these amazing ladies have come together to lift me up and support me over the years, and some have become friends with each other too.

Taryn met Paula on a weekend trip I took to Portland to see them both.

Katie and Katy met through the networking group too.

Waiting to start

 

Shelley met Katie and Katy when we started doing our half-marathons together.

Shelley met Mikaela when she asked me for a hairstylist recommendation.

Katie met Mikaela because they were both pregnant at the same time and in the same birthing support group.

Lelani met Katy through networking, or a mutual friend, or I don’t even know.

Bliss and JoAnne met Shelley and Katie from walks and half-marathons.

Bliss and Katy both work in the medical field.

Lelani met Paula on a long weekend trip with me.

Lelani and Paula outside an awesome shop!

There are others too – this tribe of mine.  Women I see frequently or rarely, but who I know have my back. I love that even though some of these amazing ladies live far away, and I might not see them often, when we come together it is as if we spent no time apart. I love that we do things together, and do things separately.  I love that these women are all strong and independent and give me people to look up to.  I love that we all at times feel like we have our shit together, and at other times feel like we are failing.  I love that we listen without judgment, give advice when asked, and sometimes provide that kick in the butt that is needed.  We have lost mothers and fathers, said goodbye to beloved pets, had medical scares, have found love and lost love, been challenged by children, have found and left jobs, have navigated career hardships, and have moved away from each other.  I love that we laugh so hard we cry, and at times cry so hard we laugh.  I love that we all need each other.

I am blessed to have these women in my life.

4 Chicks and a Little Bitch: Oregon to San Francisco

Day 2: Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Our day began at about 6:30 – Lelani is an early riser – curses!  She got up to take the dog for a walk, and I figured that since I was awake, I probably wasn’t going to get any more sleep and might as well get up too.  I grabbed my camera and followed Lelani and Shaka to the beach, where we did a bit of early morning exploring and relaxing.  It was misty and foggy, making for a pretty view down the beach, and a lot of condensation on the lens of my camera…

We headed back to camp and got things packed up and put into the car and were ready about 10 minutes before 9.  Off we went.  Lelani mentioned that she thought we would be pulling into Santa Rosa about 5 for happy hour with a friend of hers, and I checked the GPS and then let her know that if we made no stops at all (there were a couple planned), we would be rolling in about 6…  Oops.  Never mind – we would just play it by ear and see what the day brought!

The day brought a stop at the Devil’s Punchbowl a whirlpool rock formation on the coast where ocean water rushes in and swirls wildly in a rock formation that is shaped like a bowl.  The Heceta Head lighthouse is also there, so I was able to get photos of it as well.  What a cool quick stop – one day I would like to check it out more!

We stopped next at the West Coast Game Park Safari.  I wanted to like this place and was expecting it to be a drive through game farm where the animals have large open habitats.  Not so…  The animals were in cages and looked mostly sad to be there. Some of the animals they had, big cats and chimpanzees, are far too large and are not meant to be in cages like that. I did like the farm animal area, where the domestic animals can interact with visitors (and steal the ice cream cones full of pelleted food you can buy to feed them), but the wild animals were just heartbreaking to see.  I chalk this up to a tourist fail for me – I can’t in good conscience recommend a visit.  Laura, Brenna and I left disheartened…

We got back on the road and continued the journey south.  Our next stop was at Meyers Beach North.  We got out and took Shaka for a walk on the beach, and climbed on the rocks here.  It was so incredibly windy!  It was just a quick stop to stretch our legs and check out the view before continuing into California.

We drove on, stopping next at the Trees of Mystery.  If you don’t know, this is one of those iconic stops along the California Coast. I have been there before, to check out the giant 50 foot tall Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox.  However, I have yet to go in and check out what is supposed to be a fairly cool boardwalk among the Redwoods.  One day – as we were now aware of how terribly late we were actually going to be, we made this a quick stop to use the restrooms and get some cheesy photos with Paul and Babe.  Onward!

Paul Bunyan and Babe

 

Proof that I have a hard time being appropriate…

 

At this point the drive began to get hard.  We knew that we were going to miss the happy hour wine tasting in Santa Rosa, so we made the decision to just continue on to San Francisco, in order to not miss our first night’s lodgings.  Yet, the road gets long and winding on this stretch between the coast and wine country, and every moment we spent slowing down for all those twists and turns put us into San Francisco later and later.

Shenanigans

 

Lelani and me – front seating

We stopped for dinner in a tiny town with two restaurant options; a bar that looked better left to Hell’s Angels types, and a Mexican restaurant.  The Mexican restaurant had the strangest, most apathetic server I had encountered in a while…  She honestly seemed completely unconcerned that she had customers in the restaurant.  And the food, while good, was not what I had ever experienced from a Mexican restaurant.  Lelani and I split an order of arroz con pollo, which is normally chicken and rice smothered in onions, peppers, cheese and sauce.  Here, it was simply chicken, rice and some finely chopped tomato – good, but not what I know as arroz con pollo.

It took forever to get dinner and then our check.  So long in fact that this is one of the few times that I have not left much of a tip.  Our server perked up as it came time to get paid, and all of a sudden started being really attentive, but it was already too late at that point.

We got back on the road, and more long, winding road stretched out ahead of us…  So much long, winding road…  It was long dark, and we were still driving, and I felt like we were going to drive forever…

We finally got into our AirBnB in San Francisco about 11:15 that night, exhausted.  We unpacked the car as quietly as we could, since we were in the heart of a residential neighborhood.  We got our things situated in our little apartment.  It had two queen beds, a bathroom, and a mini-fridge and microwave.  Our host had stocked it with sodas and some snacks for us too.  Once we had unpacked, we pretty much just brushed our teeth and climbed in bed, glad to not be driving anymore.  That was way too many hours in the car!

4 Chicks and a Little Bitch: Oregon Coast

Day 1: Monday, March 26, 2018

The first day of our trip had arrived – pickup time was at 7:00.  I was ready to go with my bag packed, and camping gear in a pile.  Tent – check, sleeping bag – check, sleeping pad – check, flashlight – check, hot hands hand warmers – check!!!  So many warm clothes are necessary for a trip camping on the coast and San Francisco in March – or so we thought!!!

I got picked up shortly after 7, and a valiant effort was made to Tetris all of our stuff in the car and the rooftop box.  Believe you me, EVERY nook and cranny was filled, from the cracks alongside the puppy crate to the footwells of our seats.  We were smooshed in… 

Laura took the first driving shift and off we went, stopping for coffee to give us a boost, and then gas in Lakewood with a puppy stretch break, and then driving until we finally hit Vancouver.  We stopped at the park right near the bridge that takes I-5 into Oregon, and went for a short walk with Shaka to give her a break from the crate. 

We settled on the Feral Public House for lunch – because well, seriously, why wouldn’t you!!!?  They had a special with a personal pizza and a beer for cheap!  So that’s what we all ended up having.  We all selected our beers, and they were all different – this was pretty much a theme for the trip – which was cool because then we could all sample what the others got.  The beer was so good, and so was the pizza. 

After we left as Feral women, we went over to Loowit to sample some more beer.  I ended up getting one of their ciders – which was amazing.  I really liked that cider!  The atmosphere was cool too, and it was pretty quiet for midday on a Monday. 

Loowit Brewery

Even though we all could have been happy just drinking beer all afternoon, we did have places to be, and couldn’t spend too many hours hanging out without even getting to Oregon, so we got back on the road and headed out for the next stretch of driving. 

It was at this point that the first murder podcast started…  My Favorite Murder – two women who research and present fascinating murders from throughout history and around the globe.  They even have a feature where listeners can write in with their own murder stories.  By “their own,” I mean murders they have heard about – not murders they have committed – I just want to make that crystal clear.  I’m not really sure what these ladies would do if someone actually wrote in confessing to a murder!

My Favorite Murder did put everybody except Brenna (who was driving) off into snooze-land – what can I say, those ladies have very melodic voices, but eventually we woke up and all enjoyed the road over to the coast, with its giant, moss-covered conifers.  It is so pretty!

We camped that first night at Beachside State Recreation area, about midway down the Oregon Coast.  The campground was awesome – flush toilets and showers (even though we didn’t use the showers), and it was only steps away from the beach.  We got our tents set up, dug out a bottle of wine and made our way to the beach to roam and watch a gorgeous sunset.  We also had to try to keep Shaka from eating some pungent seafood (we kind of failed at that…). 

Mellow Yellow all set up.

 

After the sun went down, we had hot dogs roasted over the fire on sticks, and potato chips and chocolate for dinner.  Plus more wine and the girls had vodka cocktails.  It was a fantastic evening!  Once we went to bed, I was cold, but tucking one hand warmer into my glove and the other into my fleece pants heated me right up!  I was warm all night!  I hope whoever invented those never worked another day in his/her life – those things are genius!

It was a fabulous first day, and I drifted off to the sound of the waves on the beach.