Archive for All About Me

Sundial

I’ve always wanted one. Lucian picked this small but impressive looking one, I would have chosen something more plain probably, but I think it’s perfect. As I placed it in the yard, it occurred to me that a sundial is practically an ‘ironic’ item in cloudy/rainy pacific northwest — it promises to be definitely useless most of the year! As in this moment here, I think I installed it approximately correctly, but I couldn’t tell until the sun comes out.

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Twilight and A Burger

It has been so long since I spent any kind of real time, effort or budget on my wardrobe (due to waxing and waning figure past 5 years) to a point I had no idea what size I ended up being. Anyhow, I decided to spend my precious weekly date with myself (because minding three noisy kids 24/7, even with a fantastically supportive husband like Todd will drive anyone insane!) actually trying on some clothes at Bridgeport Village. And I did. Quite lamely though, I bought nothing except for a scarf  which I meant to buy last year to replace one like it that I had lost — it was 75% off (it’s good to dilly dally sometimes!). I got bored of shopping, in about one hour and fifteen minutes, and sat down with a burger.

I saw the ground where various patterns meet and thought it’s the kinda photo Todd would take and so I did that on his behalf.

I happen to be sitting in front of the cinema with my burger. The sun is setting, and lights are being turned on!

I tried to resist taking pictures of humdrumly landscaped flowers, but they were just so brightly yellow and hard to ignore.

…and then I noticed that the sky has turned gorgeous pink and purple!

I do love summer twilight in the Pacific Northwest — the way the temperature drops no matter how hot it had been during the day, and lovely colors the sky turn into illuminating everything on earth with a touch of magic.

 

Seeing the World Through New Eyes

…Ok, so technically just one eye. Besides, it’s more like a third eye? Ah well, contextually failed use of cliché 😀 Anyhow, new equipment for fun and for work. I am entirely excited.

Here, the soft focus effect was achieved by the use of dusty mirror. That’s right. Poor house-keeping turned into creative device. Ha!

Cherries and Stuff

Summary of my week in one photo:

Not that there’s shortage of cherry photos in the world, but here — it’s for my sister. She loves cherries (hi!!!). The two years we were lucky enough to be able to live together in our adult life (her last 2 years of undergrad and my grad years), I remember her eating entire pound of cherries all by herself. I don’t like cherries all that much because I’m too lazy to deal with the stem and the pits. But Todd and Ashland loves them. They are delicious this time of the year and I do end up having some despite myself.

Well, It ALMOST Worked

…But, it didn’t. These past several months, we had been trying to buy a house. It’s something we had been contemplating for a little over  a year. Purchasing the first home for anyone is a big deal, but we have the added challenge in that we are self-employed. It’s such a stupid thing because we can afford the very modest property we are wanting (monthly mortgage being far cheaper than our current rent), we have good credit, we would theoretically never be fired from our jobs (unlike most other people with regular jobs these days!) but banks don’t care about these things. So when we made the opportunity happen for us to be able to circumvent some of these issues, we grabbed it and worked really hard to make it happen. And it almost worked (several times, actually!), and we almost got the almost-dream-house-with-some-compromises. But for no particular reason at all, it fell through. And that was that.

The reason why we were trying to make this work in a hurry (Aside from that we really do need more room. And also, our neighbors are weird — lets just leave it at that, shall we?) was that Immi is starting summer school this month, and then pre-school this coming fall. We know that this will be challenging for her, and wanted to put her in a more permanent community and thought that extra effort to move to before her school starting would be worth it. Anyhow, we could keep trying at this, but we’ve run out of time in this sense, so we are putting it off for now. Especially because in about 6 month, our company will be out of it’s infancy stage (having been around two full tax years) which will hopefully gain us better credibility. If I had known that it would take this many months, so many hours of our time, general frustration and ridiculous amount of paperwork, and generally not being able to make it happen before July, we wouldn’t have pursuit this rout and waited a while longer. But we tried, and we had to.

We’ve been asked…why don’t we just go rent a house? Well, because that won’t give us a permanent address! Those investment properties foreclose all the time, and we can’t be kicked out due to this at random times — we have business to run and kids to mind. And I HATE moving. I absolutely and completely HATE it. Next time we move, we are going to be staying there for long long time. (Can you blame me? I have been moving every 2-3 years since the time I was 9 years old!) Besides, the trade off of having more room and a yard isn’t good enough when I consider the possibility that landlord might totally suck. This apartment we are currently staying in, the front desk ladies are very nice and everything we ask for gets improved or fixed generally within 24 hours. The maintenance guy here is also really nice and we can totally trust him (…so the leak in the wall incident months back? We just told him we’d be at the beach for a few days!). Having lived in a rented condo previously, we know how much it sucks for things to not get fixed promptly (if ever…) when it’s not ours to fix. Besides, most of the ideas we have for our future house, we can’t implement in a rented place anyways — house or not. Like we are planing on having some chickens (Sounds totally crazy to you? It’s entirely normal in Portland) in our yard.

Anyhow, this debacle was in a way a wake up call. I’m glad it didn’t work out. I honestly thought, while we were in the midst of it, that if it falls through I would be upset. I wasn’t. I was entirely relieved and felt more content then I had been in an entire year! Besides, getting an “almost perfect” home couldn’t possibly be “our” way — everything worthwhile we do takes time and effort, challenges us above and beyond, but the result is always rewarding. Since we have waited this long, when we do make this happen, we might as well take the time and make it perfect.

So instead, we are going to do what we should have been doing these past 2.5 years we’ve lived here, which is to actually live here. I always thought of this place as a temporary space so I never bothered decorating it. We never hung up many pictures or even replaced furniture that came broken in the cross country move with something that we actually love. I think I forgot to realize that even if we did make this little apartment a cozy home, it’s quite easy to move the whole thing to the new location. Besides, most important part of a home is the life that’s being had in it. And this thought makes me content.

Hi There!!

Been a long time! I don’t suppose you missed me? Anyhow. I been silent for a short while because we have been trying to make some big things happen around here and I can make change happen best in silence and perfect stillness. Well, at this point in my life “silence” is only metaphorical (or something…) since that almost never happens with 3 little ones around. Like Todd said the other day “It’s such a strange thing that ‘silence’ have become a commodity since kids came around…”. Regardless, I have been productive craft-wise despite everything since in crafting, I find my sanctuary. The pursuit of the quiet seems to have influenced my beading ideas a bit.

The above bracelet uses two of my fimo clay beads. When I imagined the sort of jewelry I wanted to make — something ancient and at the same time futuristic looking — I didn’t have any such beads in my stash, so I just made some.

I have also been making water kefir almost daily. It gets drank as fast! I think I will have to double up my production to keep up with the demand. This one is flavored with cranberry and orange. I like drinking it with breakfast.

Another thing that kept me quiet was that I suffered serious migraine for about 2 weeks, which thankfully went away. I haven’t found any medication that works for this, prescription or not.  But towards the end of this horrible migraine episode, I was so fed up with it that I decided to finally try one thing my skeptical self hadn’t tried. I had heard about about wearing amber on skin for pain relief, and recently re-encountered this in the form of teething pain relief for babies (worn as a necklace). Anyhow, I happen to already have very nice quality Baltic amber beads (which my mom gave me…oh, like 7 years ago!) and some hemp to string it on, so I really had nothing to loose. …And to my disbelief, it worked!! It did make me feel dumb for not having tried it sooner. [What happened exactly was that the pain got muted quite significantly over the first 3 hours or so of wearing it — mind you, I had this severe pain non-stop for 2 weeks! — and then over next few days, migraine left me completely. I was too scared to take the necklace off at this point, so I wore it for few days longer!]

The lovely weather season have officially started in Portland. We made the first beach trip 🙂

 

Lately…(in photos)

Lots on my mind lately which seems to make me wordless. Anyhow, not for lack of doing things that helps me keep my sanity!

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Wishing I Could Fix the Broken World with a Band-Aid

I love Lucian’s Oh-Oh face.

…Because it makes me feel, for however brief a moment, that the only problem that matters in this whole wide world is the flipped over toy train, or the ball that fell behind the shelf or any other such little things that can easily be fixed. And it’s very comforting.

I believe in making the world a better place humbly. By being a good person, doing good things and creating to bring amusement and joy be it through music or crafting or taking pictures of things that make me happy. All the choices we have been making — moving to Portland, starting our own business which we can be proud of taking part in (as opposed to pretending that something amiss isn’t going on somewhere in it), supporting other small businesses, consuming mostly whole-foods, choosing to re-use, recycle or re-purpose whenever possible, always learning better ways of doing things — hasn’t been the easiest of paths. Regardless, we have chosen this path because we believe that it contributes to making the world a better place, if only marginally.

But there are so much crappy things going on around us, not just in far away places I’ve never been to, but right here. All these protests going on everyday, everywhere,  for every kinds of reasons, remind me continuously that the situation of our world as we know it is…dire.  And it gets to me. I can’t help feeling upset that I don’t have a better world to offer our kids.

Happy New Year!

Last thing I made in 2011, is a rice krispies treats (made with all natural marshmallows, not jet puffs)! We haven’t made this in forever because Wholefoods don’t have rice cereal that are similar enough to Kellogg’s Rice Krispies, and Trader Joe’s don’t have natural marshmallows. This means that it requires nothing short of divine miracle for the two necessary ingredients to ever meet in our kitchen.

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Todd has been obsessed with little sandwiches made with freshly baked dinner rolls. Luckily for both of us, I really like making little breads.

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First bread of 2012! It turned out nicely, I’ll take it as auspicious sign for the new year 😀

…And what you don’t see is the batch I screwed up few days ago (first bread FAIL since the first try!). I think that it had to do with overly happy yeast which pouffed up the bread uncontrollably in the oven making it look scary, AND I forgot to set a timer, so it was completely under cooked.

And reflection on 2011?? Well, part of it, I’m sure glad is over. The not-so-fun bits started moving along once we met the right lawyer, a business accountant, and health insurance broker (when did our life get so complicated?). So much paper work and frustrating process! Doing things the “right way” takes a lot of time and effort. But a lot of 2011 was wonderful. Living in Portland. Learning new things like baking and practicing hand-sewing. Contemplating and working towards life we want to live it, and remembering to enjoy the process. And Lucian. I know he was born at the end of 2010 technically, but with him, our not-so-little-anymore family feels complete. I think that Immi, Ashland and Lucian enjoy each others’ company a whole lot and from my perspective, balances each other out. There wasn’t a day in 2011 that I didn’t have something to smile or laugh about. …So with that, 2012, here we come! My new year resolution? Same as every year — work hard, play a lot, eat well, stay healthy, enjoy life. Addition of “sleep more” would be nice, but that’s a wish, not a resolution…

 

Picnic

The reason for my more-or-less absence online is that I got really sick around Sunday before last one. I think at that point, I hadn’t felt quite *right* for few days, and then while having this picnic, I started feeling really quite ill. After that, it was a down hill — by Monday, I felt like if I just closed my eyes I just might never wake up, ever. I had no idea what was wrong with me I thought I was having allergy or something. But then I developed a fever which I figured means I have some sort of infection, so I went to see a doctor on Tuesday. As it turns out, I managed to get staph infection “somewhere” in my body (that’s the official diagnosis…exact location inconclusive) and by the time I was in the doctor’s office, I has very very low blood pressure and high heart rate. He told me to take an ambulance to ER — I told him I’ll just go home and drink lots of water (I thought I might survive infection, but that I would not survive ambulance/ER for various reasons). I’m glad I got medical attention before any permanent damage was done and the infection responded well to antibiotics (and lots of water and probiotic foods). At this point, 1.5 weeks later, infection is probably all gone (the doctor gave me extra 3 days of antibiotics to make sure so I still have to take them 2 more days) but it seems to be taking some time for my body to recover from shock it went through for few days. Hopefully I will get back into swing of things soon.

That which fails to kill me will make me stronger right?