Friday, February 27, 2015

Changes on the Horizon: Chickens

So.many.potential.changes on the horizon for the next six months.

But one change that happened this week was the rehoming of my beautiful, intriguing chickens. I've SO loved these little ladies and I really enjoyed their funny personalities....

BUT I need to just recognize that backyard birds aren't always the best solution in a suburban neighborhood. 

There are lots of potential transitions happening this summer so in the back of my mind I'd been wondering what to do with the birds anyway....but then the ladies started getting out of the yard and wandering the cul-de-sac with the neighbors apparently chasing them back into the yard....

...and even though they aren't roosters, they sure liked to greet the morning at sunrise with lots of loud noise and excitement. When sunrise was at 8am this was less of an issue, but as it's steadily been getting earlier and entire week of 6:40am wake-up calls started to get tiring and I could only imagine how thrilled my neighbors were....'s one thing for me to want the eggs and to enjoy them as fun pets....but it's another to subject my neighbors to disturbances that they never asked for :(

And so two days ago I posted an ad on Craigslist, specifying that my ladies needed more property and to be with someone who was familiar with chickens. And've never had such a Craigslist response! At least 30-40 people responded and some sounded so ideal that I wanted to be a chicken on their properties! In the end, a woman with three acres nearby and ten other hens who are guarded by a farm dog, came and picked my ladies up that same evening.

So sad to say goodbye to my lovely birds...but hopefully they've settled in nicely. figure out what to do with the cat....and see what comes of potential sitters (hopefully for 3-6 months) for my amazing doggies.....

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ten Awesomes as of Late

1. I'm on a salad kick. As in a salad almost every single day. In the summer, I'm not a salad fan. In winter, there's something I love about it. ALWAYS mixed greens with chopped veggies, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds. Today had an egg and fried asparagus thrown on top. Two days ago it was orange roughy (fish). Sometimes it's chopped up steak. Sometimes it's just veggies. But I'm in salad love lately :)

2. The library card makes my heart happy....even if I overdue it and usually have to renew my books at least twice before I get them all read. Still two in but hope to get going on some of the rest here soon! SO glad to be reading for fun again and continuing to learn in my fields in the process. 

3. I made it to the mountain for one snowboarding lesson last week. I ended up realizing that I will probably never be willing to learn toe side. Even though my instructor seemed to think that you can't snowboard only going heel side, apparently people do it. Needless to say I bailed out of my lesson early before I became rude to the instructor, but I had a great time just being up on the mountain soaking up the view, trying to learn a new sport, and drinking a cider on the patio in the sun in the long run. :) At this point most the snow we had is gone again, if we get enough then I might give it one more shot but we'll see what the weather produces! 

4. These chickens. They are SO fun watching them flap, peck, and run around the yard. I seriously am becoming attached to these funny lil ladies and am totally enjoying their almost daily eggs. I'm not completely in love with their incessant noise at 6am and 7am as the day begins however...and I'm hopeful the neighbors aren't too upset about it. (I left a dozen eggs on their doorstep with a note today.) Sometimes I don't feel like I'm a farmer...and then I realize that I partially am...

5. Some mornings you wake up and you just know it's going to be a good & productive day. That's been the case a couple days in the last week. But one of the most awesome things was that a stop at the thrift store scored me the find below! I'd been eye balling this sucker at Target for a couple months and because this one ended up with a small gouge on one of the arms it was sent to the the thrift store. Yep, I'll take it! It will be on my walls in the next month or so :) (And yes, I know it would have been way cooler if it wasn't actually from Target... Ha! :))

6. I also scored two new great shirts. I've been wanting a plaid like shirt so was glad to finally find the one on the left and then the one on the right was awesome for Valentine's day :) Both are comfy, fit well, and wash-and-wear ready.....always requirements! 

7. I was recently gifted the below print from an old friend. The cousin of one of our hometown friends was selling some art work, so he purchased a variety of prints. This one is a picture of the cape where I spent most of my childhood summers (and where the family beach cabin is located). I've been desiring some changes in the house and art work is such an easier way to do that. Scored the frame on sale at Joanne's for $10 also! The photo is amazing and it's great to feature another local artist on my walls. 

8. These two. Need I say more? Look at their lil faces :) These two bring me joy 

9. We've been having such nice sunny weather this week/end. Although this potentially doesn't bode well for our water levels in summer and sure has been nice to do some of my grading curled up in the hammock on the back patio with the dogs and chickens milling about.... 

10. Oh Valentine's Day :) Best bud and I dragged another one of our buddies out with us and took on the night with as many non-Valentine activities as we could think of. ;) We grabbed cheap night happy hour at a BBQ joint, played three games of bowling, drank lots of brews, and then walked to a local dive bar that I'd been wanting to go to and played a couple games of pool. Altogether it was a lot of fun together and a great way to pass the evening :)  

Life feels pretty scattered and all over the place right now due to the abundance of different things going on, but there are so many amazing moments and connections in the midst of all the various pots boiling. What are some of the awesomes you've been having recently?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Dog Mountain & Horsetail Falls Hikes was GORGEous! So incredibly beautiful on this February day.

I was technically supposed to hike today with an IG contact but when that didn't pan out, the dogs and I headed out on our own anyway. It was so well worth it! Dog Mountain is a well-known and traveled Gorge hike that I had wanted to do last year, so it's been nice that the dogs and I have been able to pick off some of the hikes that are left over from last year's list!

Dog Mountain is about 7 miles round trip with a 2800ft elevation gain. You pretty much go uphill for 3.5 miles and then return down, although the dogs and I took the easier downhill route toward Auspberger's Mountain trail. (We debated going on to conquer that trail too but due to total timing we didn't.) Overall this hike had some parts that left us huffing and puffing but honestly it wasn't as much of a butt kicker as I expected. The views throughout this trail are so pretty however, as the Gorge is visible and/or the sun is shining through the trees most of the way. Definitely worth doing again! :)

Yes, we WILL take the "less difficult" trail!

First main viewpoint about 1.5 miles up.

After another mile, we climbed up a decent incline then rotated around and headed up the final part of the trail. Such amazing weather and views!

I think the dogs were mesmerized by the far away water!

At the top of Dog Mtn we ran into two other solo women hikers. Chatted with each of them for a bit and snapped a few pictures before heading back down trail.

After about a mile of decline, we kicked it into trail running time and jogged the rest of the 2.5 miles off the mountain. Altogether was a gorgeous incredible outing!

Since we still had another 1-2 hours to spare before I was to head back to meet up with a friend downtown, I decided to check out the final Historic Hwy 30 waterfall that the dogs and I hadn't explored yet. Horsetail Falls is visible from the road but after a few switchbacks you arrive at Ponytail Falls which you can walk behind. We carried on along the trail until we reached the bridge that crosses the Oenata Gorge and from there we turned around.

SO many people were out today on this gorgeous President's day and it was so great to see so many lil kiddos out with their parents on the trail today. Was definitely impressed by two of the guys I saw packing lil babes up the elevation gain also!

Altogether a really great day!

From behind Ponytail Falls

Horsetail Falls

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Hebo Mtn Hike

I'd found the Hebo Mtn 16 mile hike online last year when I was trying to mileage load, but I was unable to get around to it. It's remained on my list however and it eventually dawned on me that the location of it made it only 30 minutes from the family beach cabin. Thus once my exams were over, I decided to take the dogs over to the beach and decided to fit the hike in finally!

Anna seriously loves the outdoors but I think she's pretty partial to the sandbox.

When we arrived to the Hebo Lake campsite, we parked outside the gates. (Many campsites tend to close/lock the gate in winter.) Throughout the duration of the hike we only came across a handful of individuals. One guy was training his hunting dogs at this particular campground at Hebo Lake and there were a handful of individuals fishing at the turnaround lake of South Lake.

This picture really doesn't do Hebo Lake justice, as it was really cute and made me think it would be a great location for someone who wanted a small outdoor wedding. There were several campsites and a couple of these small deck areas. The lake itself also had lots of salamanders :)

Just starting on the first mile of trail there was a long section of many different variations of vibrant green! And I absolutely loved this funny little grove of trees.

The second mile or so had more incline and a different tree variety.

Eventually we crossed a couple paved roadways and then traveled on an old wagon/jeep road stretch for a while. The directions for the hike had said it was well signed but there was at least two spots that had me scratching my head and just attempting the route to continue on. Luckily I chose the right way and didn't have to back track at any points...well minus when I came back on the return trip :)

At the lower summit of Hebo Mtn. Technically this section is not the top of the "mountain" but it was prettier and I liked the contrast of the colors here. In the photo you can see the Pacific Ocean arriving into a little bay area, plus lots of farmland between there and where we were.

The next mile of trail looked a lot like this....water running through the trail. And then there was a section of about two miles of decline that I'm pretty sure even the dogs realized they weren't going to be happy coming back up that section :) At about mile 6.5, we arrived at the top of North Lake and after calculating out travel time and daylight hours, we carried on to complete the final mileage to South Lake. We stopped long enough for the dogs to drink and then turned back. Even with that mile of incline, we made good time on the return route, so we were able to go explore the "moors" of the summit which were so enticing!

This section was so fun to check out and I would actually come back to this area to explore it further at a later date. It definitely was cold at this point with a lot of coastal wind whipping through.

On the way back down I snagged this picture of one of the confusing sections of trail. You can't really see it that well but on each side of the trail there are trees that have signs that state "trail" with an arrow pointing down the trail....except the arrows point you in opposite directions and there are no other signs around telling you anything else. :)

Altogether this hike was 16 mile round trip: 8 miles from Hebo Lake to South Lake and then 8 miles return trip. The best section of the trail was from Hebo Lake to Hebo Summit however, so technically a 8 mile day hike would be ideal here. It'd make a great backpacking trip for someone who was new to backpacking or wanting to just do a shorter trip in general.

Definitely fun to see some new terrain and get some long miles under us again!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Highlights as of Late

Happy beautiful February!

I know I've already posted since the start of the month, but it took the end of my exams in order for me to feel like the month had actually begun. Thus over the last week, I've been busy celebrating and "relaxing" in my own way and it's been FABULOUS! And yes, what that I passed! 

My massage license arrived this week and I already scheduled my first three paying clients! (Okay, so one of them is my mom :)) We'll see how all this goes, but I'm attempting to do my own "outcall" business. Since I currently have both of the rooms in my house rented out to others, then I'm going to try to flexibly schedule family/friends in their own houses. I'll bring my table, linens, oil/lotion, etc and give them a massage there. I'm still toying with the idea of eventually transitioning into using one of the rooms here, but ideally I'd love to work 2-3 days in a clinic setting. Since I'm going to be gone several times in the next six months, I'm trying to see if running a business this way might be easier.

The picture above is from the first camelia bloom. It's a SUPER early spring this year although I keep thinking we might get one more major cold spell coming through. Maybe?! The mountain could sure use it...although mentally I've already transitioned to thinking about backpacking season...
....but the first blooms meant that I've been able to do a few days of yardwork already and the chickens are all officially laying! Seriously, they're so fun (well minus their cackles at 7:30am when they want out of the coop....). They have distinct personalities and two of them actually enjoy being petted! 

The new housemate continues to be fun! She also has family in Seattle so she has already spent two weekends up there....and brought me back an Argentine treat which was amazing! It's been so fun to have someone in the house who is from Argentine culture. If I'm honest, I'm really getting to the point where I'm looking forward to the day I can live solo in the house again...but I've also so enjoyed meeting so many of the (mostly) great people who have shared space with me over the last several years.

And since I just received an email with the official job offer, I feel a little more comfortable spilling the beans about Africa. In a nut shell, I walked in to an amazing informational interview and walked out with an offer to join one of the local natural medicine institutions on their student trip this summer to Tanzania with the potential for it to evolve into something more. After additional exchanges about my background and knowledge, the invitation to join the group evolved into an invitation to teach the public health course that is being offered through the program this summer. So I will be joining an incredible institution as adjunct faculty and get to teach in my subject area while pursuing one of my personal dreams. There have been weekly meetings focusing on selections and there is still lots of preparation/details to work through, but can you say: DREAM JOB?! Such an incredible development and I feel immensely blessed! We will be doing a mix of site work (clinic visits, seaweed small business start-ups, trainings, herbal gardens), tourist activities (game reserve tour), and of course the classes themselves. Absolutely amazing opportunity and I am so honored and excited to be a part of it! Amazing things seem to happen when I trust that the Big Man Upstairs knows what He is doing...lots of trusting still ahead!

Additionally, as I've been transitioning to no longer studying, I spent a much needed weekend (after Saturday class) at the family beach cabin, where I also crammed the first long hike of the year in. Hebo Mtn is one that I didn't get to last year, and I loved hiking through a different terrain within the coast range. (This will get it's own post.) After a long month, the dogs were also stoked to get in a 10 mile hike last Thursday and then the 16 mile hike on Sunday. We're all still adapting to increasing mileage after rest month again!

I've also been able to be more social again--wonderful! So I met a few of the gals for happy hour on Thursday---amazing BBQ joint with great cocktails. And then my colleagues and I had our second wine pairings class this last Monday evening. The theme of this one was sweet wines and desserts--which is always my favorite. It was great to get to see one my favorite couples, another former colleague I hadn't seen in two years was also there, and I had convinced my direct supervisor/mentor to join us this time and he had a great time as well. Such a wonderful evening!

In addition to all of that I took a trip to the library were I walked out with a ginormous stack of various non-fiction works and it's been so rewarding to just plow through some titles again finally!

We did get a few additional inches of snow this weekend, so while there wasn't enough snow for Reg D and I to do our winter camping snowshoe trip, there has been enough snow for me to head up tomorrow to try my first official snowboard lesson. Here's hoping it'll be a fun time! :)

So many amazing things as of late! What have been some of the highlights in your neck of the woods?!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Winter Work Wear 2015 Take 1

Since we're four weeks into the term, I figured I'd do a work wear post. I just posted my top favorite new combinations on IG today, but I've continued to quietly document what I've been wearing each day so I can continue to avoid repeats throughout the term. Some people find creativity from other means, but choosing what to wear to work is a way that I try to bolster creativity in my life I suppose. And I honestly love that so much of what I wear is usually thrifted. I still haven't decided if I'm trying to make it through any no buy challenge this year or what that might look like, but so far into 2015 I've been to Target twice and walked out empty handed...and I did finally score an awesome thrifted jean jacket :)

Week 1:
Not much variety here actually and most of the class that long sweater was off. This week I was just in a rush to get to work and so my standard pencil skirt and a tucked in shirt seemed to win out :)
Thrifted items: both pencil skirts, first two tops, long cardigan & belt on right

Week 2: 
All about the patterns! Absolutely love the middle outfit.
Thrifted items: entirety of middle outfit, cardigan on left

Week 3: 
Not a fan of the sweater on the right and don't think it "does" much for me. Totally in love with the middle outfit again--it fact it's my favorite thrifted outfit of late.
Thrifted items: entirety of middle outfit (minus boots), belt on left

Week 4: 
Man, my Wednesday night class is getting the better outfits for sure, because again my favorite here is the one in the middle. The teal combo will probably get worn again to teach since I wore it here for the work conference, but it would work well for a Saturday or fitness lecture class.
Thrifted items: skirt on left and right, teal button-up

Beyond the jean jacket, I also found a leather pencil skirt like I'd mentioned previously and if it hadn't have been just a teeny itty bit too small in the hips, then I totally would have bought this sucker too.
I totally think I could pull off something of this cut and style at work, even if it is leather. Thoughts?!

Still haven't decided what to do about the hair, so I seem to just be letting it continue to do it's thing. Although I do think the long hair makes me look younger and I'm not always sure if it's the most "professional" thing in the world...I also do tend to like it.

I'm pretty sure there is a suggested dress code for our Africa trip, so I envision a couple more Goodwill trips in my future for the coming months. But I also just went through my closet to take stock of what I already have and realized that there's plenty I need to be wearing more routinely. Additionally there are items that I need to be willing to pass on to others who will get more use out of them. I keep holding on to some things for that 1-3x a year that I'll wear it, when really I'm sure there are other items that will also make do.

The flat boot look is new for me this term, but I finally noticed that my heeled black boots need to be retipped so until that happens they're potentially a slipping hazard :) It's also neat to be noticing that I've truly developed a "style" of my own for work wear...definitely makes it easier to get ready for work when I already have a pattern down. 

What are your favorite pieces you've been wearing or dreaming of owning?

Sunday, February 1, 2015

This Week is a Big Week

Hi all,

So I recognize I have a habit of materializing and then disappearing, but I have five posts to adhere to each month, so at the very least I will be posting five times each month ;)

The last two weeks have been a blur. Lots of studying, a couple outings with friends (the birthday party, two nights out with different friends, couple dates, lunch outing with my gal), lots of grading (125 papers in one week!), conversations with the long-term housemate, cleaning and partially purging the house, the arrival of the short-term gal, yard work and chicken duties (yea for some amazing sunny days, the kiwi finally got topped, and 3 out of 4 chickens are laying!), easy slow jogs and mtg the vets for our Friday run time (this month focused on low mileage and letting my body recover), trying out a new church, watching an acquaintance's fun kiddo for an afternoon, a family birthday party, a day hike to try to manage and break from stress, a conference on collaboration at work, a mtg with my boss, and all the other regular errands. Mostly I've been trying my hardest not to stress about this particular week and also recognizing that I was failing at doing so. ;)

In two days I have my practical massage exam, which I'm I will pass. Tomorrow my aunt and cousin agreed to help quiz me, since I've been lacking on having the repetition needed to feel more confident in my responses. Tonight I completed the application materials for the Africa opportunity and emailed them in to the organization. Wednesday holds the next Africa meeting. Those two main items alone let you know why this week is a big week....and also where the stress is originating from....

In other news, I'm trying to keep my fingers crossed about filing taxes :) Long-term housemate is planning on moving out in the next month or two rather than being here through summer. I'm trusting that the next opportunity will present itself-whether this means continuing to rent that space to someone else or converting it into a massage space is what I'm not sure about though. And I'm still choosing to believe that this summer will be provided for as needed. I'm in a daily prayer accountability partnership which has been rewarding. The meeting with my boss went well. My schedule for next term will allow for lots of daytime for other endeavors, he agreed with my idea for trying to run a late summer course, and we brainstormed ideas for fall and the coming academic year. He's incredibly supportive of the Africa opportunity and the avenues it has the potential to lead into, which continues to make me so grateful for the job and colleagues that I already have in my life. Due to a lack of snow, the buddy and I are not able to hit up our snow shelter backpacking idea this coming weekend, but I'm thinking of taking myself (and the dogs!) on a little de-stress trip instead. Looking forward to enjoying time with friends during the second half of this week and hopefully doing a bit more business planning if/once the license is secured. Oh...and I already received my new passport--so that was another highlight of the last two weeks also! ;)

So here's keeping my fingers crossed that by Thursday, there will be more answers and that the massage testing will be over so that I can focus on other areas. Any prayers or positive thinking are always appreciated!

Hope y'all have been well the last few weeks also!