The beach on a rainy day in April

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We went to the coast a few weekends ago, and it was really cold.  We had a swim meet so we were indoors for most of the days, so it didn’t matter that it was raining.  But it did get us wet when we went to check it out while Siena rested.

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Treasures and frisbee is a must at the beach, right?

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Wet clothes, sandy and wet feet, soaked coats, sea smelling hair, and our lungs filled with fresh smelling ocean air.  Even for just an hour, it felt good to be out there.

This is how Portland gets its name

Portland (Oregon) is called The City of Roses.  And yes, it is a sight worth seeing, each and every spring.

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We have this small, unkept rose bush, and it flowers every year, and I love seeing that little bit of color in that corner of the yard.  But it is those who know Roses, that I enjoy the most seeing their gardens.

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And of course, visiting the Rose Garden up in the hill is a real treat.

But it is the rhododendron what always fills my heart the most at this time of the year.  When we first moved to Portland (and didn’t spend our spring weekends in swim meets or baseball tournaments), and we hiked in the woods more frequently  that I enjoyed and amazed at the size of wild rhododendrons, underneath the tall canopy of trees, in the middle of the forests.

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Last weekend, without going too far for a hike, just a walk in the neighborhood, while the kids warmed up and waiting for the baseball game to start, I noticed these beautiful plants in front yards.

IMG_2051 The delicate colors and flowers…

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Oh the colors….. against that bright blue, I think this orange made the top of my list that day. IMG_2069 IMG_2070 IMG_2089 IMG_2084 IMG_2086 IMG_2078

I think Rhododendron should be Portland’s middle name.  Portland, The City of Roses and Rhododendrons (and Azaleas).

Spring in the second half of this April

IMG_1556Brighter and longer days, sometimes dark and fluffy clouds sprinkling above. Spring skies I call it.

DSC_0100More and more time spent outside.

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All of our Mason Bee homes are almost full.  It is really fun to see them fly around and help them with their life cycle. IMG_1443 IMG_1408 The porch Clematis is starting to grow.

IMG_1409I think our Lemon Verbena survived last winter… probably because I didn’t touch it, Mark did all the handling.

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Spring is here, and some days feel like summer has already arrived.  I will share a whole week of garden and nature posts, to celebrate the beginning of May.

And by the way, Happy World Naked Gardening Day today. 

This is what spring in April looks like around here

IMG_1062 We are spending more days outside.

IMG_1283Our apple trees are blooming, and also dropping the petals leaving the ground covered in a white-pink-ish layer, like a flower dust.

IMG_1260IMG_1304 IMG_1310IMG_1284 IMG_1286IMG_1312My Mother’s Day Clematis is almost ready to burst into blooms…

IMG_1287The dogwood is starting to bloom and soon, everything around us, even inside our kitchen window and Siena’s room, will have a pink tone for few days.

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We can still see the sky in our backyard, through the mostly bare tree branches.

The long way there

We went to visit our family in Idaho this week. We left very early one day and this is what we saw on our way.  This is the (long) pictorial story of our long drive Eastward.  Go get a cup of tea, it gets cold, and it was beautiful.

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I fell asleep as we left (and the kids did too) as Mark drove that early morning.  When I woke up, the sun was coming up and the sight was unbelievable.  It always is.             IMG_0039IMG_0040 Oh the colors…

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The reds, yellow, oranges, purples, blues, all of them, all at once.IMG_0049 IMG_0050 IMG_0052 IMG_0060

A beautiful sight.

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The colors as well as the view outside the window changed as the minutes and hours, passed and we (Mark) kept driving.

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From mostly (dark) greens to browns and some greens spread across. IMG_0070 IMG_0072 IMG_0074 IMG_0077 IMG_0078 IMG_0079 IMG_0084 IMG_0087

As we passed the Blues Mountains, reaching the summit, there was this thin white blanket that made the view outside our windows almost magical. Just a dust of white as a cake is sprinkled with powder sugar for accent and a delicate touch, barely covering the grounds for few miles.  And we could feel the chill in the air.  I love that cold air coming through your face, knowing we were warming up soon.

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We left our house what it felt like the middle of the night.  So the kids were in PJ’s until we stopped on our regular spot for a break.

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Usually is lunch time by the time we get here… almost half way our destination.  But this time it was not even 9am. The park was closed for the season, and it was freezing outside.  A much different sight when we do this in the summer and it’s lunch time.  So this time was a quick breakfast stop and we kept on going in the warmth of our car.

IMG_0117 We saw snow in the distance, almost the rest of the way, as we headed East.

IMG_0120The sky opened, turning to a huge blue and white and gray ocean above and ahead, and all around us.

IMG_0128 IMG_0129IMG_0114 One of the things I look forward to in this drive, is seeing these white giants.

IMG_0125 At 70 mph (in Oregon) this time, made the trip a whole lot faster.

IMG_0119This new road trip-project had a great start.  With a planned 10-hour trip each way, I was excited to get all that time for knitting. As long as Mark was happy driving.  Which he did.

IMG_0123I had some time to play with our new camera too.  A small, lighter one to carry around in the purse or pocket, which I left handy and used for all these photos.  (I am happy how they turned out, but I think I should read the manual to know exactly how it works and not be surprised at what is happening while pressing the button!  Oh… details.)

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Sharing a book on tape I love hearing them laugh at unison, but not being able to hear what the story is all about.  It makes me smile every time.IMG_0155 IMG_0157

The Snake River.  The dessert.  The cement plant. The windmills.  The vast land.  The undulating hills.  The long road.  All are part of what will be our memories of this trip, this time around.  Each time different, at different stages of our lives.  This time, its own chapter, I know.IMG_0158IMG_0164 IMG_0167Lucas’s car game.

IMG_0162My knitting growing with each minute that Mark drove us East.  So thankful for this time.

IMG_0163 Music.  Audiobooks.  Conversations.  News.  Snores.  Silence.  Sleepy eyes. Closed eyes.  Open eyes.  Questions.  Answers.  Jokes.  Memories.  Laughs.  Stories.

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Cities. Towns. Farms. Mills. Sugar factories. Car lots.  New cars. Old cars. Tractors.  Snow.  Sand.  Pebbles.  Shacks.  Homes. Cabins. 18-wheelers. Corvettes.  Trucks.  Mini Coopers.  Trees.  Rivers.  Sage brush.  Plantations.  Bridges.

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Greens. Grays. Blues. Blacks. Grays. Reds. Yellows. Sun. Clouds. Rain. Snow flakes. Clear skies. Wind. Calmness.

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Freeways.  Highways.  Exits. Turns.  Straights.  Rest areas.  Gas stations.  Parks. Restrooms.  Road side stop. Dirt roads.

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Turn after turn.  Hill after hill. Snow.  Vastness. IMG_0213 IMG_0215 IMG_0216 IMG_0221 IMG_0222 IMG_0219 IMG_0225 IMG_0236 IMG_0237

And the snow is sparse but the air is fresh and thin and very large. IMG_0238 IMG_0240

And right up on the edge of these mountains, we arrived to the first stop in our visit.

A winter walk and some reminders

I’ve said it before, and I say it almost every day, I love where we live. And I love the rain too.  It makes where we live, the beautiful place it is.  I am glad I took my camera.

DSC_0004 We were lucky to go for a walk at a park we don’t usually go to, with a good friend and two happy dogs.

DSC_0010 DSC_0014And two happy kids.

DSC_0012 Green.

DSC_0008White. Snow. Berries.

DSC_0017 Winter sights are there, waiting for us to discover.  Dormant.

DSC_0020 Bare.

DSC_0021 Colors.  Textures. Delicate.  Subtle.

DSC_0025 DSC_0027 Brown.

DSC_0030 Shapes.  Sharp.

DSC_0032 DSC_0033 Red.

DSC_0034 Water.

DSC_0035 Black.

DSC_0036 Gray.

DSC_0037 Clouds. Rain.

DSC_0038 Orange.

DSC_0041 Yellow. Life.

DSC_0044 Levels.

DSC_0046 Open.

DSC_0047 Happiness.  Freedom.

DSC_0050 Dried.

DSC_0054Wet.

DSC_0052 New.  Alive.

DSC_0055 Space.

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Mud.

DSC_0060 Water.

DSC_0065 Work.

DSC_0066 Life.

DSC_0068 New.

DSC_0074 Air.

DSC_0076 Sky.

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DSC_0087Thankful. Friends.

 

Moda Center in Portland

Last year we went on a tour to the Moda Center, where the Trail Blazers play.  We got to visit the place when the team was good, and had lots of players liked by my family.  I’m glad we went then.

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DSC_0109 copy DSC_0112 copy DSC_0113 copy The large pictures on the wall towards the changing rooms and the court are amazing.

DSC_0118 copy DSC_0130 copy DSC_0133 copy RoLo’s shoes, size 20.

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Robin Lopez was a favorite Blazers, and he got to sit in his chair and put his feet next to his shoes.

DSC_0136 copy DSC_0137 copy DSC_0139 copy Damian Lillard’s shoes. DSC_0142 copy DSC_0143 copy Chris Kama’s shoes.

DSC_0145 copy DSC_0146 copy Wesley Matthews shoes.

DSC_0149 copy Matthews the one we actually  ame to see I think. And so very sad he was injured last year, and even more sadness when we heard he was leaving Portland.  So this season, we gave Lucas for his birthday tickets to see the Blazers play Wesley Matthews with his new team, Dallas Mavericks.  It was fun to see him play again, and got a big ovation when he was introduced.  Portland liked Matthews.  We miss seeing him play for Portland.

DSC_0154 copy DSC_0153 copy DSC_0156 copy The Blazers get a much nicer space than visitors.  Funny to see the difference.

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A stop at the (empty) showers, with the shower heads so very high up in the ceiling almost.  Got it… these are all tall guy ins using it.  And the funny thing… a Kirkland shampoo laying around…. with the many thousands of dollars these players get paid and using Costco brand shampoo… funny.DSC_0163 copy This (also) tall seat in the treatment room, if they get injured playing.  The kids had to jump high to be able to sit on them.

DSC_0201 copy DSC_0208 copy We then walked to the court.  the day we went they were getting the court ready for ice hockey.  I had no idea how they did this.

DSC_0187 copy They put water over the floor and cold. Right now they were painting the field.

DSC_0210 copy DSC_0214 copy The drawings and logos were amazing!

DSC_0255 copy After painting all the signs and logos and sponsors, they put another layer of water, to cover these.

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It was so much fun to watch them get the court ready.  So that night they had a hockey game, and the following day there was a Blazers game, and they said that they put the floor on top of the ice and have the basketball game.  The players and coaches and people sitting in the front row notice that there is ice underneath, because they have to keep the court cold enough to keep it frozen, so it makes it for a much cooler sitting.  Which the players (playing) actually enjoy.

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DSC_0224 copy DSC_0234 copy DSC_0245 copy DSC_0252 copy DSC_0254 copy DSC_0257 copy DSC_0275 copy The VIP sections are cool too.

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It was a real fun tour.  If you live here, I recommend it.

A meet in Corvallis

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Corvallis has a beautiful aquatic center.  We’ve never been there, so it was fun to get to see it. DSC_0103 copyDSC_0013 copy

They have bleachers downstairs by the pool, but also upstairs with windows, making it much cooler.

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We watched the meet from up there, more comfortably unless when Siena was racing.DSC_0025 copy DSC_0026 copy DSC_0027 copy

The first race of the day, the Medley Relay.  Siena did the butterfly.DSC_0028 copy DSC_0044 copy

Soon after that, she had the 100m Butterfly. DSC_0049 copy DSC_0055 copy DSC_0057 copy

She did great.  This is the race she’s going to State Competitions next month.  We are so proud of her.DSC_0020 copy

We watched from up there.  The team relays, other teams, her team mates.  I really enjoy swim meets. DSC_0073 copy DSC_0075 copy DSC_0077 copy DSC_0082 copy 100 backstroke.  And then to an evening in Corvallis.  A short visit to OSU campus and bookstore, and to watch crazy OSU fans get ready for a basketball game on campus.

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A second day of swimming.  This meet, Siena had her sessions in the afternoon.  That was very nice for a change not to have to wake her up super early, when her body is not quite ready to start the day. DSC_0095 copy A calm pool… for a little while.

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I do enjoy seeing and feeling the energy the swimmers bring.  Everyone getting ready, putting caps on, goggles, waiting by the end of the pool.  All ages, from different cities. DSC_0108 copy

The official says over the speaker that the pool is open for warm ups, and there they go.  Sometimes there’s music and the kids sing, do a little dance in the water or while waiting for their turn to dive.

And then we play Where’s Waldo Siena? I like finding Siena in the midst of all the swimmers.  Trying to find a girl, with blue swimsuit, a cap and goggles… in a mix of 300+ swimmers, most of them wearing dark swimsuits and goggles… the caps narrows her down.  But we can almost tell which one she is by her swimming style. DSC_0109 copy And we wait and wait.  Knitting in hand.  Yes, knitting always helps.

DSC_0131 copy Lucas gets ready to film her.

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And then she races.  If she could do more of those 1,000 m races, it would give us more time to watch her swim.  but for the most part, 1 or 2 minutes tops, it’s quick, and then more waiting until next race.  This one is one of my favorites.  Her 200 IM. DSC_0149 copy Butterfly. Backstroke.DSC_0154 copy Breastroke.DSC_0166 copy Freestyle.  And she’s so close to a State time.  We are crossing our fingers for the next meet to see if she can make it.DSC_0172 copy

The weekend is over and we are heading back home.  Some tea, a frozen juice to snack, and some more knitting while watching the pretty scenery go by outside our window. DSC_0175 copyBye Corvallis.  You are as pretty as always.

the most beautiful snow

We live just over an hour away from Mt Hood but we don’t really go there in the winter, very much.  I am not a skier, and Mark, even though he grew up skiing, stopped going many years ago.  I don’t know why we did it, but it wasn’t in the list of things we wanted to do in our free time, even in all those years before we had kids.

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Siena was about 7 when we first went skiing with her, the first time in many years for Mark and I.  She loved it.  She learned very quickly, and it was on her third trip to the mountain that she skied in the black diamond runs.  She was fearless.  That winter, Mark and Siena went skiing one day, and on their way back, they had a car accident, and our pickup was totaled.  They were both OK, but the scars were more than physical.

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After that, Mark worried to drive in the snow, and Siena cried and worried even just thinking about going to the snow.  So we stopped, for the most part.  We’ve done a little here and there, to get to the snow, but take care of choosing the days and the weather we are driving in.  When we pick the Christmas trees, we stay in the main roads, they need to be plowed, and we haven’t been able to go if it was snowing.  Slowly, she and Mark, are getting ready to get up there again, or in any snow, really!

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With all the rain and cold we’ve had, Mt Hood was looking beautiful from the city, so we decided to go yesterday.  We woke up to a rainy day in Portland, which meant snow up in the mountain.  We headed up anyways, knowing we might need to stop and come back if the road was looking too much for Siena.  Hot chocolate in the thermos, snacks, jackets, warm pants, hats and the chains on hand.

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Snow was on the ground much lower than what we’ve seen and the rain turned into snow quickly.  Book on their mp3 player trying to distract Siena from the white stuff all around us, was doing little.  Mark decided to put the chains on, but struggled to get them on since we haven’t done it in many years.  Lucas helped and then Siena helped put them on, and we were on our way.  I think it was a great thing for her to help, I think she felt she was helping with the safety of the driving.

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I am glad she did, because the sights were the most beautiful I’ve seen in a long time.  The road was not bad, Mark was a little more relaxed since Siena was a little more relaxed.  It was a good trip and the view outside our windows… just incredible.

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There were lots of people on the road and up sledding.

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Fresh powder, snow, still falling. Is there anything better than that?

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A little sun trying to come out, but the clouds were passing by, and snow was falling the whole time we were up there. Small, beautiful flakes.

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I know, each to our own.

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This view was amazing.

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A parking lot full.  Some coming others leaving.  Some alone or in groups doing alpine skiing or snowshoeing.  Others with snowboards or skis coming down from a day in the snow.  And yet others with littler ones, crying with the cold after just having arrived, or maybe after playing for a while, or crying because of a fall, or just tired from a day outside.  Others happy, with rosy cheeks, tired from carrying those sleds up and down the hills. Everyone for the most part, enjoying this beautiful day.

DSC_0167 copy Us, with two tired kids, cold, happy and with rosy cheeks, and hungry.  Ready for a snack and in time to get back to the city for some swimming.

DSC_0168 copy The sun still trying to make an appearance.

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Siena in the back seat with Lucas, listening to their book, I think less worried after a safe and fun day up in the snow.  Little steps.

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And this sky, the clouds, the sun, the trees, the snow…

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This is our Oregon. It is just a wonderful place.

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We crossed this snowplow and to my delight, everyone was still excited to see it working on the road.  I think it’s a very cool truck!DSC_0183 copy DSC_0186 copy DSC_0184

Happy, filled with cool fresh air.  I couldn’t have asked for a better day.