Transforming Mineral Mist

Received this as a free gift from the SpaW night of beauty a few weeks ago and it quickly became one of my favorites! Spray to set your makeup or to re-energize yourself.

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Europe on a budget

My fiancee is always searching the web for cheap tickets for anywhere in the world, and earlier this year he found round trip tickets to Europe and back for about $800 per person- which is a really great deal since prices right now are about $1200 per person and up.

I have always been interested in travel but growing up we didn’t travel. My first time out of the US was when I traveled alone to Tanzania in 2008- and that is when the bug started. I have flown around the world several times with Google Earth and I’m not really picky about where I want to go, because I eventually want go everywhere. So when my fiancee booked the trip and surprised our family, we were more than excited!!

The trip he had booked left Redmond Oregon and flew into Frankfurt Germany and our return flight had us leaving Paris France- everything in the middle and where we went was up to us.

After looking at so many different locations in Germany we decided to make our first stop Rothenburg ob der Tauber in Germany. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rothenburg_ob_der_Tauber

Before we had left on our trip we surfed websites like www.couchsurfing.com and www.airbnb.com- 2 really great sites if you like to travel, meet people and save money.

While in Rothenburg ob der Tauber we stayed with our host, Harry. I found Harry on couchsurfing.com. Harry had a spare room that we stayed and it was perfect, and being right in the middle of town you were close to everything! Bed, shower and good company… what more do you need? The price for staying with Harry for 2 night? We took him to dinner at the cutest beer garden along the Tauber river.

We were of course on our own for breakfast which was fine because there were several bakeries and coffee shops to go to. Lunch was easy and cheap too and there were several places to chose from. Best place for kraut and sausage!

On our third day in Germany we headed for Stuttgart/Tubingen Germany where we stayed in a “family” room with 3 beds at Hostel Alex30. I don’t remember how much we paid there but with 3 beds, showers and breakfast served, and parking it was a scamming deal.

We made our way to the Rhine staying at a cute little hotel- Hotel Keutmann for 1 night which allowed us some relaxation a wonderful dinner and laundry. The owners of the hotel spoke VERY little english, but they were wonderful hosts. Our room was a 2 bedroom connected by a main living room and bathroom. Our stay included a traditional breakfast of rolls, meat, soft boiled eggs and cheese. The next morning we made our way to the little country village of Bonnelles France where we stayed for the rest of our trip, taking the train into Paris each day.

 

 
We found our next host on airbnb.com. Again- such a wonderful host! She let us stay at her home while she stayed at her boyfriends home. Such a great deal as we were only planning on renting the spare room she had. We purchased a pastries in town from breakfast and then drove to the train station. Each night before we left Paris we bought baguettes, meats, fruit, cheeses, and a bottle of wine, and soda for the under 21 son.

 

This trip was amazing! And total cost for everything all in- the airfare, food, places to stay and our car rental was close to $4,000! I think for where we went and what we did that is pretty good.

We are keeping our eyes open for our next awesome airfare deal to see where our next adventure will be.

My 13 week running program

 

 

It’s been more than a few months since I started this book, but I just had to share it.
I came across this great beginners running book and decided to give it a try. I had tried running many times on my own before onlt to quite after a week or two.

The book explains that people who make a New Years resolution to lose weight and start running go about it incorrectly and jump into running long distances without properly conditioning for it, they injure themselves, have to quit running to recover and then never try running again.

What I really liked about this book, is that it very slowly eases you into running. I have to admit the first few weeks were a piece of cake, and I thought of just skipping those weeks and jumping into week 3 or 4, but after reading about the importance of gradually easing yourself into running and the reasons why, I started with week 1.

The book talks about the importance of good shoes, conditioning your muscles, joint and ligaments- things most people dont really think about. I know I didn’t.

Starting with week 1 your session is 35 minutes long. You run for 30 seconds and walk for 4 minutes, 30 seconds and then run for 30 seconds again. You do this 7 times- then you’re done. Your next 2 sessions that week are the same running and walking times, you just repeat them 8 times.

The 2nd week you run for 1 minute and walk for 4 minutes, repeating it 9 times.

So your 13 weeks basically bumps up the running and bumps back the walking. You follow the next 11 weeks in this similar fashion until you are done. It doesn’t always just bump up or back 30 seconds- but it’s always manageable for the most part. There have only been a few instances where I thought I was going to die . :-)

And I have to thank my sweet fiance for doing the program with me! It really does help to have a running buddy to keep you committed weekly to the program. I honestly think without him doing the program with me I probably would have stopped a while ago. But each session each week he is right there with me, sweating right along with me! He even thanked me the other day for turning him into a runner!

We have worked my way up to week 8- running for 5 minutes, walking for 1 minute and repeating this 10 times. We really should be at week 11 or 12 by now but we went on vacation, and there were a few weeks where work, school and family life just make it impossible to get your sessions in. But that’s ok- we just start where we left off.

I personally had a little extra hope after reading the book, because there was this guy in the book who was diagnosed wtih RA (rheumatoid arthritis) at the age of 51. He says in the book that ‘running helped him get a grip on his arthritis . I too suffer from RA- mainly in my spine. I am on Humira injections and take a prescribed anti-inflamatory and I have pretty good results between the two of those. Since I started running my back actually feels really good-especially my lower back! Someday I may be able to quit the meds, but for now I continue with them. I feel very lucky that I am able to run and not have it cause issues for me with my back or any of the other joints in my body-I know not everyone will have the same success.

We have our first 5k run coming up on Thanksgiving, the “Turkey Trot”… it will be our first big accomplishment since beginning running program.

Stay tuned……

 

Naked Bee

I found this little jem in the Redmond airport when I was leaving for vacation. It’s the perfect size for traveling in your purse, and it smells absolutely wonderful and it’s organic!!! Not sold in regular stores yet, but you can locate it online.

Family Reunion cont…..

On August 22nd, we started out our 11 day trip with a red-eye leaving Redmond, Oregon at around 8:30pm. We flew from Redmond to San Francisco. We had close to a 2 hour lay-over and then it was off to Dalles Texas. After a few very long flights and not much sleep, we finally arrived in Washington/Dullas, rented our electric Toyota Prius, and off we went to Grandmothers house…. over the river the thru the woods…. to Charlotte Court House Virginia.

Rather than taking the main highway to Charlotte Court House, we took back roads. They took only a little bit longer, but driving these back roads we were able to see so many beautiful and old plantation houses. You would see these lush rolling hills… absolutely beautiful, and then you would come around a corner or huge tree and there would be this giant white plantation house with 3 story tall white columns in the front sitting up on the top of this hill. Beautiful really. I bet that old house has some great stories to tell!

We arrived at Grandmothers house at about 5pm. As soon as I get out of the car and she sees me, she tells me I look so much like my mother- which I think pleases her from the smile on her face. I know I look a little like my mother, but I guess I never thought I looked a lot like her.

Now- I have to tell you Grandmothers house may be like other grandmothers houses with dolls, doilies and silk flowers everywhere, but I bet most other grandmothers don’t have bugs in their houses. And I am not talking a few bugs here or there, I am talking ALOT of bugs.. german roaches really. I have not seen so many bugs in my life. You walk into a room and they would scatter to the far corners. Kerry and I wondered at first if grandmother knows she had that many bugs, but surely how could you not? And the answer is.. yes she knows. :-)
Don’t get my wrong- she is the sweetest grandmother, and she even has the cutest glamour shot photo of herself in the hall way. But my experience growing up in Oregon was for the most part.. aside from mosquitos, bug free.

During our visit to Virginia, we spent time between grandmothers house, and my Uncle Jimmy’s house- he lives in Newport News, Virginia, and works at the ship yards. He builds and repairs engines/boilers in aircraft carriers and subs for the military. A great job for a place like Newport News, that’s for sure, but those ships/subs get very hot during summer when they are dry docked- with no A/C. Yikes!

One of the important things I wanted to do while in Newport News  is visit my mothers grave since I did not attend her funeral service. So My Uncle Jimmy, Kerry and myself set out one hot afternoon in the cemetery to look for her grave- we spent a very long time walking around in the zillion degree hot sun, just sweating like nobodies business. After a long search and coming up empty handed, we left. I ended up calling the funeral home the next day when they were open to see if they could shed any light on the situation, and unfortunately they could not. Seems this is one of those stories where the cemetery owners were doing some funny business and sticking people in anywhere they could find space. In between people, at the heads of foot of an already established plot. The city has stepped in after folks complained, but now there is no way of finding my mothers grave, since there is also no headstone for her that could be found. This news was the hardest for me during my trip. I was hoping for closure, a place to visit if I ever get back to Virginia.. something, but there is nothing. And yes- I know she’s not really “there” but I feel that she is lost and I wanted to find her. For myself if anything.

Uncle Jimmy also drove us around and showed us a few places where my mother and my sister Penny had lived when they were both alive. he also took us to the pier where walked along- letting the summer breeze cool us off a bit.  This too made me a little sad. On one hand it made me feel closer to my mother and sister, but on the other hand I wished that I had been able to see and share these things with them both- just never had the chance to. What am emotional day!

The end of my visit with Grandmother came to an end too quickly it seemed. I have some great pics of my other relatives, great grandparents and my grandmothers siblings, along with some great stories.

 

Family reunion- my self discovery

I feel I have to give a little background information here before really jumping into my story.

My parents divorced when I was little, and I was raised by my father. I only remember seeing my mother a handfull of times throughout my life.  We wrote letters, exchanging only a few letters a year. I had hoped after my son was born in 1997 that we could get to know one another and build on our relationship. Shortly after my son was born she told me she had cancer-I was heartbroken. She kept her hope up while she was going through chemo and she was doing what the Dr’s told her, but I honestly think the cancer has spread too far  by the time they found it. She died in November 1998. We never got the opportunity to be mother and daughter.

Since then I have thought about my mother and often wondered about the person she was. What kind of music did she like? What was her favorite color? Her favorite food? What were her views on life, religion and politics? I knew nothing about her, not even when her birthday was. But that was all in the past. She was gone, what else could I do? The biggest question on my mind… am I anything like her? And where does my reddish hair and blue eyes come from when neither of my parents have them?

in 2009 I really became interested in geneology after watching the show “Who do you think you are?” Where they would take celebrities and camera crews would follow along as they found out about their past. Where did they come from? Who are they related to? So I set up an account through Ancestry.com and begun the search into my past. Where did I come from?

In talking with friends and co-workers I was amazed at  how little any of them seemed to know about their own ancestors and family history. Without our ancestors none of us would  be here and I can’t imagine how many stories are lost and will never be told again. Stories that could be passed down from generation to generation, but are most likely lost forever. When exactly did we stop talking about our ancestors who participated in the great race for land here in America? Our European ancestors who  spent months on a boat to travel to a new world for new opportunities? Did any of them do anything great? Was there tragedy? Triumph?

I got as far as I could on a few of my family lines with the help if a partial geneology book my Grandmother Kay (my dad’s mom) put together. I found out my Great Grandfather was born in Germany- I never knew I had german lines  that close in my family. I also found out that I have Amish/Mennonite lines that really arent that far back when you really look at it.  I would spend time tracing what I could,  would take a break for a few months, then would go back. I could trace my fathers family lines, but was stumped when it came to my mothers. So I asked for my fathers help to try and remember back. He came up with my grandmothers name and I plugged that in. How was I to know which Edith Caroline was my grandmother? There were so many that popped up on the Ancestry.com page. I found a few people who were good candidates, but really still had no way of being sure.

Jump to September 2010. So I had my Grandmothers name on my mothers side, and I knew that she lived or had lived in Virginia at one point in time, as this is where my mother was from. And I had an old letter from my mother where she had been talking about her siblings so I had their first names, just no last names or where they might have lived. Still not much to go on.

Finally I decided to try to find my Grandmothers phone number via the world wide web. There were more Edith Carolines in Virginia that I imagined. So I did what any good person delving into their past would do- I started calling them one by one. Thankfully I found my Grandmother on the second phone call.

“Hello” her little voice said

‘Hello? Is this Edith Caroline?”

“Yes”

“I’m looking for an Edith Caroline who had a daughter named Diane Lynn”

“Yes- that’s me”

With relief  I said “Well, then that would make me your granddaughter, Laura, Dianes daughter”

And since then we have been talking on the phone.

January 7th is my Birthday. For my Birthday dinner my fiancee took me to one of my favorite places for dinner-Zydeco. In my Birthday card he had scribbled a funny shape in there and said that it was my birthday present. Not really sure what it was he said it was Virginia. He was taking me to Virginia to meet my family. This was the best and greatest Birthday present anyone had ever given to me! What a wonderful man he truly is!

As I am writing this, I am getting misty eyed, because the time for my trip is now just 2 short weeks away. In 2 weeks I will meet my grandmother for the first time- after 40 years! This wonderful woman who I have been talking to since September. Who shares her bread recipes with me, who is excited to share old family photos with me, share pictures of my mother with me, the person who calls me baby girl and always says she loves me when we hang up the phone. And I will of course be meeting my mother’s siblings. Aunt Sharron, Uncle Jimmy and Uncle Chuck… and who ever else is there. I’m still not sure how big this gathering will get.

There is so much history with this side of the family to be told- She and her brother used to play the banjo. She says he was really good at it too! She used to play, but her fingers don’t allow her any more. She’s also got an old fiddle that belonged to her bother that he used to play. I wish I had stuck with violin playing, I’d love to play that old fiddle-Oh the stories that thing could tell! Most of her siblings are gone now, but she still has stories to tell and I am here to listen and remember them.

We will also make a trip up to Pennsylvania to see Amish country. I haven’t been able to trace those lines as easy to anyone current, but am still working on that. I am amazed at the simplicity of their lives. Working hard, working together, their sense of community and of God. My dad and his sisters used to tell us girls that when we turned 18 they would ship us off to live with Amish families to learn to cook, quilt and raise a barn in a day, which after finding the Amish history, made much more sense.

So the count down begins- the count down to family discovery, self discovery and everything that comes with it. Will be an adventure for sure!

New house

So last August I put an offer in on a house here in Bend, and after a long 5 months, closing is scheduled for tomorrow.

I must say that the short sale process should really be called a long sale process. There had been nothing short about this process. At times I wanted to just forget it all and walk away-waiting for the bank to decide what they want to do, and even when I countered back with a price the bank asked for, it still took them a month to accept the offer they had asked for in the first place.

Banks dont want these properties, but they sure don’t appear to have a plan to get these homes moved quickly and off their books. There seems to be no motivation in their part at all.

I even went out yesterday and bought a few things for the new home. I have tried not to get too excited about it, but now that closing is just a day or so away, it is finally sinking in that this whole thing might actually happen!

I also started new classes earlier this month. Math (again) and writing 122. They are already starting out to be more difficult than the ones I took during fall term. And the last writing class I took in 2009 was apparently a much easier class than what it is now and then it was only a 3 credit course, and now it’s a 4 credit class. So I’m flying by the seat of my pants, and learning things as I go. I just hope I can keep up.

As for math, all I can say is that I better be able to keep up and understand it all, because I have another4-5 years or more to go and it’s all math/business stuff!

Loving this time of year-

It is that time again.. where the leave have all changed, and fallen to the ground, the cool crisp air has rolled in, and there is frost on the car each morning.
There’s something about this time of year that begins to feel very festive to me, long before the Christmas lights go up and the Christmas carols are played in the radio. I can’t wait for the quiet hush of the freshly fallen snow to blanket our neighborhoods while I watch from inside my home, all cozy – woodstove ablaze.
And really, maybe I love this time if year, because I know that Christmas IS just around the corner. I don’t think there is one thing I don’t love about the Christmas season. I love how downtown and the Old Mill look with the trees strung with little white lights-especially at night when it’s snowing. I love how Starbucks has their special Christmassy cups and brings back the Pumpkin Spice latte, and Peppermint Mochas. I love the hustle and bustle of the shoppers, and looking for just the right gift for that special someone.. or the one gift your child has been asking for daily for the last 3 or 4 months.

But the thing I love most about this time of year are the smells of the season. I love the smell of the tree in our home, the smell of wood smoke in the air from the wood stoves in our neighborhood and the smell of spices like cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and hazelnut. These are the smells that remind me of being home, being with my family all warm and cozy-when you can just sit down and relax and say ahhhhhh……and enjoy being together. It’s like being wrapped in a big puffy blanket, drinking hot cocoa with fuzzy socks on.

There’s nothing for me, like having these quiet, memorable moments during one of the most crazy seasons of the year.  I, for one, am very much looking forward to the coming season, and everything it brings. And yes, I would have to say I love this time of year, because I love Christmas!

Bring on the snow!

Back in School

Well, I started my classes at COCC just about a month ago, and it already seems like forever.
Don’t get me wrong- I don’t mind taking classes, it just makes for a very long day that I am still trying to get used to. Alarm starts going off at 5am, I will snooze it until 5:30- then up, shower, get ready, make sure my son is getting up and that he is ready before I leave (I leave before he does). Then to work by 7am.
I am enjoying my math and computer classes, although at times they can be a struggle.
Math was never my strongest subject, so this is a good refresher for me, and I am re-learning things they said I would need for my future, but obviously have not needed in 20 years! Next time someone says that to me, they’re going to get an ear full!
My computer class is good- there is alot of learning to do in a short period of time, but I’m managing. Our first big test was last week, over the entire Unit 1 book (there are 3 altogether), and I got a B. I stressed about whether or not I was really ready for it, but I was more prepared than I thought I was.
I am still amazed that the kids who are in my classes still do not take college seriously. They come to class unprepared, homework not completed.. if they even started it.
These are the young men and women who are going to be in charge of our country someday? I am very worried…
The same people come in each week, twice a week and ask others around them if there is homework due, and then they act surprised when there is. Hello- weren’t you here last week when he had the assignments up on the overhead projector? Yes- I believe you were! Thinking I would be the least favorite person in the class if I turned around and mentioned that to them, I bit my tongue. Maybe winter term will be better for them.

I look  forward to another 4-5 years of good education, hard work and long hours, because when I graduate and get that degree.. my double degree, it will all be so worth it for me!

Social Networking

So I went to my first social networking event in a long time today, and I have to say I was a bit surprised to see that there was not one person there that I recognized from any of the events I had gone to in the past. Oh how things change! I still had a wonderful time meeting new people.. it’s what it’s all about!
I was surprised, however,  at how poorly people knew what their own ‘introduction’ speech is/was. I swear that one guy I met had either smoked pot before he arrived or that he had a bit too much to drink. Where first impressions are huge, I can say without a doubt that this guy will not get any of my business in the future!
Are we so far removed from face to face networking that we have forgotten how to interact personally? Have we forgotten how to really talk to other people?
With the internet, Facebook, Twitter, Linked in and Myspace and other social networking sites, is there room for both kinds of social networking?
I think internet social networking is great, because I can do that any time of day. I can do some form of it at 2am, when I wake up and can’t sleep. And I can network with people all over the world whenever I want to and only have a few minutes.
But I also don’t think you can’t push aside the face to face networking either. I think to keep that personal touch is important. You never know who you’re going to meet. What door or opportunity that will open for you. And it may not happen right away. An opportunity might happen 6 months to a year from when you meet that one person. But I also think, that the face to face is where you can meet a possible business contact, expand your business, create leads, get a client, make a friend….or, find someone to come fix the broken seal in your window.. you just never know!
Lets try not to lose all personal touches in the business world. We don’t want to become a society that cannot interact with one another unless it’s through an electric magic box in our house.