Thankful Thursday

[I started this post earlier today and now it’s too late to really fill it out with photos, so you’re getting the stripped-down version.]

I am still doing my art journaling, but don’t plan to post it every day. You’ll get caught up soon enough (and you’ll be sad I ever started the project!).

I’ve actually felt a little cranky the past couple of days (I think allergies and poor sleeping are the main contributors), but I’ve been simultaneously able to see why I shouldn’t feel cranky. Here’s some of the good stuff:

1. Shopko had a big clearance on all of their plants, so I was able to get a couple of hanging plants for around $5 each! I always wish to have plants to hang on my deck in the summer, but at around $20-40 each, I usually talk myself out of it.

2. The Safeway near me has finally started selling two delicious products: Mexican Coke (aka Coke with cane sugar instead of corn syrup) and raw tortillas! Since I don’t have a Costco membership, this makes getting the good tortillas more convenient (for my friend with the Costco membership, at least). As for the Coke, well I don’t typically have non-diet soda, but if I do splurge, I might as well go for real sugar.

3. I had a sore shoulder yesterday, and then it was fine. I’m not sure if the pain was from my new pillow or what, but it was bugging me all day and then in the afternoon I realized the pain/discomfort was gone! The nice thing about having pain or sickness is that it makes “normal” feel SO good by comparison.

4. I don’t buy from them very often, but sometimes I will compare prices on things like hair products. So I ordered some stuff from them the other night, and I discovered they have lowered the minimum order for free shipping, and they gave me great customer service when the free gift I was supposed to get didn’t show up on my order. PLUS: My order shipped out on Tuesday and I got it on Wednesday!! That’s pretty crazy–that was the free shipping, not expedited.

5. New hair products! (Once again my thankful list is mostly shallow and materialistic.) I’ve only tried the stuff for one day now, but wow my hair is noticeably curlier and more voluminous (a word I never say). I’ll probably tell you what I bought after I give it a bit more time.

6. You guys. I really appreciate that you follow my blog. Even without comments, it makes me happy when people make a point to subscribe/read regularly. 🙂 Thank you.

Okay it’s late. Goodnight.

PS Happy birthday June and Deborah! I know I texted you both, but I figured I’d mention it here. If I were a more thoughtful person, I would’ve included each of you on this list with why you rock!


Thankful Thursday

Happy Thursday! I ♥ Thursdays. I’m going to include a few photos from the past week in this post, and they may or may not relate to my thankful items.  

1. Responses. I didn’t expect so many responses and for people to read all I wrote yesterday! 🙂 Thank you. I already feel better and more excited about my blog after posting that.


2. My new blog design. I changed it up–go look!


3. Summer. I love summer here in Oregon. It’s the nicest time of the year. I loved summer growing up, too, but when I was an adult I started liking it less after we moved from our house with the pool and I had to work full time in the HOT weather of the north valley of California. Moving to Oregon has changed the meaning of summer and it always reminds me why people live here in an otherwise dreary climate.

4. L’s visit was what I hoped. I feel like we got to do all the things I wanted to do with her, and we had safe travels and only minor glitches. I’m working on a video compilation and it makes me happy to watch the little clips. I’ll show you guys when I’m done.

5.The coast. I don’t go as often as I’d like, but I’m glad I have access to make it there a couple of times per year, at least.

6. My friends. I’ve said it before, but repeat thankfulness isn’t a crime. I have some really nice people in my life. Friends from church and work, online and offline friends from all over the world, and friends from places I’ve lived before. There are lots of nice people out there.

7. Speaking of friends from work, I have some really nice coworkers. There are people who consistently encourage and appreciate me. Just yesterday I got a gift from a coworker in thanks for basically just doing my job. I also received many nice words from some ladies I am on a committee with. It was sweet and unexpected!


8. The Internet. A couple of my friends are moving away, but thankfully it’s so easy to keep in contact with people these days.

That’s all I’ve got today! My lunch break is over, and Blogger is driving me crazy with the formatting, so sorry for weird spacing you may encounter. 

Thankful Thursday

I don’t have time for a big list, but today is my niece L’s 13th birthday! I’m so thankful for her. 🙂 🙂

L was my very first nephiece. For the first half of her life, she and I lived in the same city (sometimes in the same house!) and I got to spend lots of quality time with her and her younger sister, K. I have a lot of happy memories of watching them grow, and they (along with my other nephieces) are one of my favorite gifts I’ve received in this life! Being an aunt is a huge blessing. And if I keep talking about this, I’m just going to start bawling. 😛

Since she was born before I got a digital camera, I don’t have any baby photos handy, but above are some photos over the years. She’s the girl of many hairstyles!

I can’t do a birthday post for every nephiece on every birthday, but 13’s kind of a big deal. Maybe I can start that tradition, at least.

Happy birthday, L. 🙂 🙂 I can’t believe you’re now a teenager and taller than me. I can’t wait to see you next week (she’s coming to visit me!!).

UPDATE: R sent me some baby photos of L!

Thankful Thursday

Yeah it’s been awhile blah blah blah.

1. Nice weather. I’m happy to put that on every one of my Thursday lists if it means its true! Loooooving the nice sunshine. Even if I don’t spend a lot of the day outdoors, just seeing it through the windows makes me a happier and more motivated person.

2. My car’s oil is changed. Glad to have that chore out of the way.

3. Free stuff. I got a set of nightstands for free the other day! How, you ask? From Freecycle. I’ve never even been on that site, but my coworker uses it and it was through him that I got the furniture. Possible photos to come, after I figure out how I want to use them.

4. Freezer burritos. I made this recipe (with some tweaking) the other day and am loving that these are easy and don’t seem to get soggy. I guess I always thought that would happen so I’d never made them for the freezer before.

5. Upcoming fun.  I’m driving down to visit my parents soon–did I tell you? My friend is even able to carpool with me (to visit friends in the area), so I won’t have to make the 8-hour drive alone.

6. Upcoming fun part 2. My niece is coming to visit me next month!!

7. Beaver season. No, not for hunting! Sheesh. I just like it when it’s light enough that I can watch the beaver buddies pretty much any evening.

8. Padington’s Pizza. I just suddenly had a craving for them so I figure I’ll add them to my list. They are THE BEST. And their personal pizzas are a really good deal.

That’s all I’ve got. Sorry, R, it’s just 8. I know 10 is a more comfortable number for you! I’m just feeling a little blank. Padington’s was really just tacked on.

Okay fine! More tacking:

 9. My Wii. I ❤ it.

10. Cherry Zero Coke. I love it too much.

Wow, this list is pretty shallow. Oh well.. I’m living in a material world and I am a material girl. So what made you happy this week?

Thankful Thursday

It’s been awhile since I did Thankful Thursday, hasn’t it? Or maybe my memory is failing me yet again. Anyway, here goes…

1. Getting organized. Lately I’ve had sudden bursts of motivation to clean and organize, and I’ve made pretty good progress on some things I had been neglecting. Like going through the Old Electronics and Cables Basket that has sat untouched for years, and bringing boxes for Goodwill down to my car.

2. Early productivity. Along the same lines, the other morning I woke up much earlier than necessary and suddenly found the energy to do some chores before work. (If you knew me, you’d know this is a miracle. I’m NOT a morning person.) It felt so awesome to come home to a very clean kitchen, freshly brewed iced tea and even a clean shower curtain.

3. Car cleanliness. I’m on a roll with these cleaning thankfuls! Recently I had the car wash do a little detailing on the front end that I had put off for years, thinking it would be too expensive. I won’t explain it all, as it’s kind of boring in text, but I’ll just say it was a huge relief to take care of this aspect of my car that has bothered me so long.

4. Birds! I put this birdseed thingy out on my deck like a week or two ago, but it had received no attention. Then the other day I noticed a chickadee eating away, and since then I have seen one there almost every time I look! They are so cute, and not really bothered by me standing at the door taking pictures. BONUS: Morning sun and a spider web!

5. Spring. It’s raining a lot, but we’ve had moments of sun and lots of birds and new things blooming all the time.

6. Trying new things. I successfully cooked steel-cut oats in the crockpot last night. I’ve never had steel-cut oatmeal, and I’ve never cooked any sort of oatmeal in my crockpot, but it worked to just cook it on the warm setting (as opposed to high or low) overnight. Oh and in case it’s not clear, that’s brown sugar in the shape of my heart teaspoon on top. (NOTE: I am not actually a big oatmeal fan, but I try it from time to time to check in with my taste buds. It doesn’t make me gag or anything, but it’s not my favorite breakfast.)

7. I have also managed to hard-boil eggs successfully. They are something I kind of forget about, but it’s been handy having them available for breakfasts, snacks and salads. (I feel like I should explain that the egg photo was taken with my cell phone.)

8. Taking pictures. It’s fun! The other night I had to take some for work, and I was happy to be there after hours and take advantage of having my camera on a tripod (I so rarely use one because they’re inconvenient for me). I need to do that more.

9. DrawSomething. Now, in addition to Words With Friends, I’m playing DrawSomething with several friends. Do you play?

10. Insight. I feel like I’ve gained a little on some faith-related matters, lately.

Birds are adorable.

Valentine’s Day

I’m suddenly feeling very grateful for all the nice things people have done for me, and even though that seems more like a Thanksgiving post, I thought I’d list a few thank-yous here (and I know I’m missing A BUNCH). This is just off the top.

1. Thanks to any friends and family who have been willing to let me take pictures of them, whether for practice or because they needed them for some purpose. As much as I hate having my own picture taken, I extra appreciate your cooperation.

2. Thanks to Dania (and anyone else) for visiting me several times in the past year or so! I was just thinking about how fun that was to have her company. Dania, I hope you might consider coming again this year. 🙂 (One thing that reminded me of this is that the above rose photo was taken when she and I went to Butchart Gardens in ’07.)

3. Thanks to anyone who has been hospitable to me. Friends, relatives, immediate family, and acquaintances. I know how much work can be involved in having guests stay. It’s so nice that people have made beds and meals and welcomed me over the years–even people who barely know me, sometimes!

4. Thanks to anyone who reads this blog. 🙂 And especially thanks to anyone who comments either on this blog, in email, or in person. I know there’s a lot of stuff you could be reading and the fact that you take time out for me is very awesome of you.

5. Thanks to my parents for taking my sisters and I places when we were kids and still as adults. The other day I was thinking about all of the really great memories I have of special times as a family–days on Lake Tahoe, trips to Disneyland, delicious restaurants, camping, trips to Mexico. The list goes on and on, and I might post about it more sometime. I know that it’s a lot of effort and expense to do stuff like that, but I have really wonderful memories to show for it. My dad takes care of the overall vision and planning fun adventures, and my mom is the cheerleader and caretaker as she assists my dad and does lots of little chores here and there to keep things running smoothly.

6. Thanks to my nieces and nephews for being so adorable and also for liking to spend time with me! They’re such an ego boost. I love them and love having them in my life. See you soon, S, C, Z, J, C, L, K, N and E! ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

7. Thanks to my close friends for letting me vent and whine and talk about the same things over and over. For sharing inside jokes with me, supporting me, complimenting me, liking my cooking, helping me with the dishes afterwards, watching movies with me even when I criticize them throughout, teaching me games, answering my texts, and cheerfully putting up with overly-analytical and sarcastic me.

8. Thanks to my coworkers for being so nice! I can’t ever complain that I am not appreciated at work. I am continually getting comments of praise about my work. It feels unfair, sometimes, because I happen to have a job (graphic design/photography) where I have something to show for my effort, while many people can be overlooked even though they work a lot harder than I do.

9. Thanks to anyone in customer service who is consistently helpful and kind when I know it’s hard to deal with many people out there. We all have to work in customer service to an extent, but people in retail, food service, customer service call centers, etc. have to deal with an extra dose of unfriendly people on a regular basis. It’s impressive when they can still be so pleasant despite that.

10. And thanks to God for all of the above and so much more!

You’re all my Valentine’s! Hearts all around! ♥

Thankful Thursday

This week I’ve been thinking about some of the recent good things, and I knew I should’ve written them down but I just kept thinking I’d surely remember. (How dumb am I?) And now, of course, I can’t remember. Hopefully they’ll come to me as I compile this list.

1. My immersion hand blender. I love that thing! I got it for Christmas and have used it so much.

2. Friends who drive me to and from the airport. It seems like I often have an upcoming flight and I’m needing yet another ride. Even when the times are incredibly inconvenient, my friends are always so willing to help me out. They never complain or seem put out–they even say they enjoy it! (It’s over an hour to get there, so it’s not a quick trip.) I have a handful of people I can ask so that there is always someone available, and they have saved me the money of parking my car at the airport, and the extra time it takes to park and catch the shuttle. THANK YOU, FRIENDS! And I owe some of you an email about who “won” the upcoming rides. 😀

3. It’s getting lighter later. It seemed like the dark drives home from work were very few this year, even though I know it’s about the same every year. But now it is still a little light when I drive home, and it really makes a big difference in my mood as I leave work.

4. No cavities! I had a dentist appointment after not having one for two years (hey, I don’t have dental insurance!). I was certain I’d need some dental work, but I’m apparently not as knowledgeable about teeth as my dentist!

5. My cross street is open again. Over the summer, the main road I take out of my neighborhood was closed for two months while they rebuilt a bridge. Every day I felt annoyed to have to take the more complicated route, and I was so glad when it was finished! Then, last week during the flooding, it was closed again due to the creek that likes to overflow. It was only closed about a week, but I missed it and was very glad when it was open again.

6. Words With Friends. Have I already mentioned this in Thankful Thursday? If so, oh well. I really enjoy having a game I can play with several friends. It’s just a little way to connect and exercise the brain, but it’s very entertaining. My mom and I play, and I like that we have regular contact through a game that she taught me years ago (in the form of Scrabble, of course). (If any of you want to play WWF with me, I’d love to play! My username is GreengatePhoto.)

7. Tax season. I know that it won’t always be a time I welcome with open arms, but for now it means a refund! I’m anxiously awaiting my W-2s. And a sub-thankful: my life is simple enough that doing my taxes very manageable. I don’t own a home and I’m unmarried and childless, so it’s all pretty straightforward.

8. Comments on my blog. Thanks, all of you who comment! I love it, and I’m sorry I’m not very quick to respond. I’ll try to do better.

That’s all I have. There’s no rule that I have to do 10.

What’s something good from your past week or so?

Thankful Thursday: The Goodness Of Winter

Happy Winter Solstice! Typically it falls on the 21st, but this year it’s on the 22nd, which works out well for Thankful Thursday. I admit that winter is my least-favorite season. There are plenty of things I don’t like about it, but let’s talk about the nice things.

[The pictures in this post are all old photos from winters past. I thought it would be fun to dig out some pre-blog stuff.]

I could be wrong on the location of this photo. We were on a drive, so maybe we weren’t quite in Maine yet. R?

1. Snow. It’s rare enough here that it’s an exciting treat when it snows (challenges aside). Getting a snow day is awesome, but even just having a chance to take snowy pictures is something I look forward to.

2. Being cozy. People often say it’s easier to warm up than cool down. That’s especially true in the land of no air conditioning, and I love being able to wear sweats and cover up in blankets while I sleep.

3. Drinks stay cold in the car. It’s a little thing, but it’s one of those perks I always appreciate. I tend to keep bottled water in my trunk, and it’s so nice that they are ready to drink! Or if I forget a beverage in my cup holder, it’ll stay nice and icy cold for hours while I’m at work or in the store.

4. Fog. I enjoy this mostly from a photography standpoint, like many things. It gives the landscape some mystery, adds dewdrops to spider webs, ups the chances of streams of light coming through the trees, and it makes everything a little quieter.

5. More ducks on the lake. In the summer I mostly see mallards and wood ducks out on the lake behind my place, but in the winter we have several other species that have migrated down. It’s fun.

6. A better view of the lake. Without all of the leaves on the trees, I can better see the aforementioned ducks. Or ice.

7. The days get longer. I remember my dad once mentioning how the nice thing about the first day of winter is that the days get longer from there. It feels so dark so early, that this is very bueno news.

8. Holidays. Yes, I have complained about the holidays, but they certainly have their good aspects, too! Christmas can be magical, New Year’s means new beginnings, and even Valentine’s Day (heart fun!) falls in winter.

9. Using the oven. No need to worry about heating the house!

10. It makes me appreciate spring and summer even more. Does that count as a real reason? 🙂

I’m sorry to say I did not take this photo. I wish! My sister’s friend actually took it after an ice storm. I hope it’s okay I’m featuring it here. I came across it in my files and it’s just too awesome not to show you. Also, it reminds me of one of my favorite poems, Birches by Robert Frost:

But swinging doesn’t bend them down to stay.
Ice-storms do that. Often you must have seen them
Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
After a rain. They click upon themselves
As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored
As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.

(Please don’t hate me for quoting poetry in my blog! I know that’s a little sappy.)

Okay, tell me your favorite thing about winter, please!

Catching up

I haven’t been very posty, mostly because I don’t have a lot of photos and I just haven’t felt like putting forth any blog energy on my vacation. 🙂 But today my Project 52 photo is due, so I thought I’d mix it with a few other pictures and comments.

Project 52: I was watching this squirrel on my neighbor’s deck. She had some sort of berry plant that he liked.

But the click of my camera made him a little nervous.

He’s suspicious. (“I think this character is going to be suspicious about stuff.” – Joey from Friends)

Food non-Friday: I had many delicious and special foods on Thanksgiving. Breakfast was orange cinnamon rolls! Just the Pillsbury kind, nothing fancy, but they’re special since I so rarely buy these.

Thankful non-Thursday: One of the joys in life is clean sheets, so I had to take a picture after I made my bed up clean. Hey…how did he get in there? 🙂 That’s my orca, Finnegan! I’m a grownup.

More fall: Photo taken in the past couple of weeks.

Where are they now? While I’m being random, here’s my old Cabbage Patch doll that I told you about. My mom sent me a photo she had taken after she restored her from her one-armed state and sewed her a new dress. She is now apparently living a happy life in New Mexico with my niece.

Disappointing fact: People have said I look like a Cabbage Patch doll. 😐

How has your Thanksgiving break been? We get three days off from work, so I have five days of down time. It’s actually been really awesome! I managed to do a little cleaning and filing, I cooked foods I normally am too lazy to make, I’ve almost finished season 7 of The Office after signing up for a free month of Netflix, I talked to some of my family members, shopped, paid bills, slept in, read, played games, planned out some of my gift-giving, listened to music, and have been extremely lazy at some moments. Now I just need to not feel guilty about it and I’ll be great.

Have a nice weekend!

Thankful Thursday

Only one photo this time, sorry!

1. Local friends. I was considering this the other day. Not only is it amazing that I have more than one or two local friends at all, but several friends are even in a similar life situation as me (aka Christian, single, my age range, etc.). My introverted self doesn’t need a LOT of time socializing outside the home, but knowing there are people I can call on to spend time with is awesome. It’s also something I take for granted at times. Thanks, friends, for putting up with me!

2. Online friends. I know it might seem weird to some of you, but I have some really valuable relationships with people I originally met online (and some I still only know online).

3. Work projects that get done more quickly and easily than I feared. I don’t think I need to add anything to that.

4. Recipes that turn out as well as I’d hoped. I made this Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins recipe into a cake, in order to use up my apples and canned pumpkin, and it’s deeeeeeelicious! I used less sugar than it calls for, though–the topping is sweet enough to balance it.

5. The Old Testament. The stories are really interesting, so I find it easier to keep up with Bible reading (something I confess I’m NOT great about) when I get to reread OT stories. Right now I’m in Joshua.

6. Sketches in my notes. Something I’ve been trying this week is to have a little more freedom in my Bible note-taking. I’ve been drawing very quick (and very bad–I’m talking about stick-figures here, so don’t get any ideas about a detailed drawing that I’m being modest about) sketches to depict something from what I read. It’s fun and it helps me visualize the situation a little better, making it more real.

7. Feeling good without trying. Sometimes it’s easy to take for granted when I just feel fine, with no particular worries or ailments, and I didn’t even do anything to get myself to that place.

8. Stock photos and graphics. I rely on them a lot more than I used to. There’s some great stuff out there for pretty cheap, and it makes my job a lot easier.

9. Taking portraits. I actually haven’t done this very much recently, and it’s making me crave it, and appreciate the times I’ve been able to do it.

10. We’re hiring another designer at work. That should help a lot! If you or someone you know is interested in a graphic design job in Salem, Oregon, let me know. I can link you to the info (I don’t like to say where I work to the public).