Boxes to Fill and It’s Raining Outside

I’m sitting here at the computer not doing what I’m supposed to be doing, but then… exactly what am I supposed to be doing? Packing. Yes, I should be packing. Books into tubs to take, kitchen glasses, plates, etc. Those are my tasks. I need to get to them. Yet, I blog, I surf, I go into the ol’ flickr account and organize photos. I’m avoiding the packing. Five weeks to go. Five weeks on Thursday. Not many weekends left until the big Uhaul leaves the town of Scappoose and heads east toward our new home in Urbana, IL.

I’m excited for the future… for the change, the adventure, the new life moments created with our grandson and the kids, the pups, and each other. I’m very excited about all of that. I’m excited about living in and decorating a new house, about planting new flowers, about riding our bikes and walking around a new town. I’m excited for the friends we will make and the times we will have.

It’s just that I don’t want to pack… not right now. Not right now I don’t. It’s raining outside and dreary on this not so sunny Oregon summer day. The dogs are asleep on their beds here in the office. My honey is working away… hard and with purpose. In command of her job and what she does so well. I’m listening to her type and talk on the phone and be in charge. It’s impressive. Weston snores occasionally and the little girlie changes positions every now and then. They look up at us hopefully every so often thinking maybe if I look at you and then at my ball and then at you again I will get you to play with me. Will you? I say to them… later babies. I promise. And we will.

It’s a Tuesday…

Visiting The Office

Went in to the office today.  Picked up 11 years of stuff and dropped off my work keys, key card, and phone with charger.  The best part though, of course, was seeing everyone.  I love those people.  I also love that place.  I think it’s because they are there, and so many great memories of being around them are there.

I thought I would cry more, but I managed to keep it under control.  Stan gave me a card I read on the way home which made me cry.  I know there will be more crying in regards to work in the future.  For now though, it was just so nice to go in and see everyone.  I hadn’t been there since my last work day at the end of May.  At the time I didn’t know it would be my last day, but it was.  It was lovely getting to hug everyone.  Chat with everyone.  See everyone.  I missed a couple, and will try to see them on future visits, but I got to see a lot of them.  My ex co workers, my friends.  And again I will say…. I love those people.  Stellar to the last of them.  I was lucky to work with them and will continue being lucky in remaining their friend.

Resigned to the Fact

Today was the day.  Those of you who know us know I originally had a plan of leaving my current job and venturing into new frontiers.  My current situation, the leukemia and all, sort of put a kibosh on that plan.  Basically we just forged ahead with treatment and getting me back on my feet and working toward getting me well again.  My accrued time ran out, and then some kind and wonderful people working at the county donated time to me so I ended up getting a couple extra months of pay.  That runs out this month.  I was able to request three months of leave without pay and in doing so the county will continue to pay my insurance for an additional three months…. taking me to the end of November.  Then, well… Cobra and us paying my insurance.  Karen is going to add me onto her insurance, but can’t do it until the first of the year.  We’re hoping her company stays with Kaiser, but if not she will add me, but we will keep paying for the Kaiser insurance until I get through the maintenance portion of my treatment (that’s two years).  It’s complicated.

The other part of this is that today I turned in my letter of resignation effective December 1.  So I will have the three months of leave without pay to keep the insurance, and then my resignation date will be the day after that ends.  I was surprised a bit by my reaction today when I wrote it, Karen walked in and I was crying, but not really that surprised I guess.  I love those people.  They are a second family to me.  Just really lovely people, some of whom I’ve spent the last eleven years with.  It’s lucky to find a work environment like that.  It’s tough work, emotionally very tough sometimes, but when you get to share that with such a stellar cast of characters… well… a person feels lucky.  I did, and do.  It made me sad to write the letter, and I am still sad, sitting her crying again writing about it.

To the spectacular people at the juvenile department… I am going to miss you, I loved my time with you, and will carry you with me always.  The work we did together, and the work you still do, is so important..  Every day we made a difference in the lives of kids and their families.  Sometimes heart breaking, sometimes heart filling… always remarkable.  I am honored that I got to share it with you and am so proud of you guys for doing what you do.  Thanks for taking such good care of me by taking on my caseload through this time.  I will appreciate that always, more than I can say.  You are, to the last of you, incredible.  And again I will say… I am lucky that I got to spend so much time with you.  Oh, and… don’t think you are getting rid of me completely down there… I will be stopping by to harass you now and then.  That’s what the tokenhippygirl does best….  😉

49 Working Days

Yep folks… Not counting today, I have 49 more days left to work in my current job.  Shocking.

64 Days

Yesterday I was asked how many more work days I had at the department. I didn’t know then, hadn’t been counting them at all. I have still felt it’s not really real. This whole changing careers thing. After all, I’m still in my same job doing the work every day. The kind of work I’ve been doing for 20+ years. In some ways July 30 seems like a long way away. In others it’s coming on fast. Which, in situations like this, is pretty ordinary. Real or not though, it is coming.

So…. after being asked yesterday I finally counted, and here is the truth of it… there are t minus 64 days until lift off. Saying it like that… out loud for everyone to hear, is a might shocking. Wow. There’s a big change a comin’.

Howdy From San Jose

I realize, and have heard from some of you, that I have been remiss in posting regularly to this little blog outpost of mine. I apologize. What can I say… the whirlwind of life sometimes takes over and before I know it a month or so has gone by. This phenomenon happens most especially when we are busy busy. Which, for those of you who actually know us, is the case for us in the last three or four months. Building an addition onto your house will do that.

So… we are almost done with the addition. Trim work to finish and we will be done. Kev is taking care of that for us so we’re looking like it could be completed shortly. Yes!

Currently we’re in San Jose visiting Karen’s family. I’m sitting in her parent’s living room as I type. It’s beautiful here right now. Warm and sunny. It was humid earlier today when we walked to Starbucks to get our customary chai and latte. We are in the habit of walking to the nearest Starbucks here every morning. Kind of a nice way to start our day… with a walk, a chat, and a cup of something tasty.

Tomorrow we are heading into San Francisco to meet friends and hang out for a couple of days before returning here on Sunday for another half a day of hanging out with the fam before heading back home on Monday. Should be fun, on both counts.

Right now I’m being driven mad by the tasty smell of roasting turkey and the fixings. It’s not Thanksgiving, but I’m thankful.

Oh, and for those wondering… the photo shoot the other day, my first paying gig, went well. At least, I feel like, given it was my first time, it went well. I was happy with the photos. Not too bad a deal… shooting for an hour, coming home and putting on the headphones, and working on the photos while listening to music. Life was and is, really good. I loved it. Made me very happy.

Right now eating some turkey is going to make me very happy. Yum.

Going Public

It’s happening. I have a meeting set up for Thursday with an interior designer who needs some shots of her latest work. It’s a tiny kitchen. Here we go folks. Time to become a paid working photographer. I’m both excited and sort of shocked. I’m also in the process of putting together a print for someone who wants to buy the print from me. I’d say things are starting to roll. Now if I can just get my photography website up and running I’ll be good to go. I’m hanging on… I think this is going to be a fun ride!!

Break on Through to the Other Side

Break on Through to the Other Side, originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl.

photo by Karen

This weekend was all about clean up. Well… food and drink with friends and clean up.

Our place has been a mess. The construction of our master bath addition has created some of it, but seriously, we were in trouble way before this. I think it all really started last year when we were in the rental buying and fixing up mode. We had to concentrate on getting these houses we bought fixed up into rental condition, which meant many many hours working, painting, dry walling, cleaning, moving, etc. During the course of all that things at our own house got out of hand. The yard started to get overgrown. It was like some weird prehistoric land. Plants growing and taking over the world. I could be exaggerating on that a bit, but not much. Then there was the shop… all the supplies in and out of there. Piles forming. Stuff just sort of thrown in because we didn’t have time to put it away or were too tired after working our regular jobs and then working at the rentals after work. It was a disaster. Embarrassingly so. Finally… our house. Cluttered. Much for the same reason… being really busy so you put something down instead of putting it away. We became somewhat ashamed. Which, thankfully, came to a head this weekend.

We decided (thankfully we have pretty much the same clutter tolerance and we’d both WAY over reached it) to clean this weekend. We’ve been working on the yard a bit. Though with the construction much of that will have to wait until our yard is no longer a tool storing dirt pile.

Saturday we went to breakfast with our pal Maggie… nice noshing with you Maggie… at Java Vivace. Lovely crepes. So tasty. Afterward we went in search of plumbing supplies for the bathroom which had to be purchased this weekend so they’d be there for the plumber this week. Then… then folks… we started cleaning the house. A few hours later… ta da!… clean. Spiffy. Lovely. We didn’t clean our room, which is now pretty much a small closet (There are clothes piled everywhere and a huge piece of black plastic acting as one wall. This photo was taken after they’d broken through the little closet door, but now the whole thing is open. No wall. Framing, but no wall). The cleaning of our room will have to wait until AFTER the bathroom is a room and we can put clothes back in a closet. We are now sleeping in the guest room. It sort of sucks, but it’ll be worth it. I’m not really complaining.

Sunday… We met our friend Genine, hey Genine, for coffee. We had to drop off the disc of wedding photos I’d taken for her and her man at their wedding (there were 705 photos on that disc… yeah, really), as well as a book I’d made for them from the photos. It was great. Both the book and the visit with Genine.  The book turned out really well. I was pretty proud of it. After meeting Genine we went to REI to pick up our vests and t-shirts for the Providence Bridge Pedal that we’ll be participating in this coming Sunday. Pretty cool, can’t wait (6 bridges, 14 miles).  We then headed home for more cleaning. First we picked up all the dry wall our construction guys has removed from the house. A big pile of debris. We are taking care of the removal ourselves to save money, but let me tell you… picking all that up, working our butts off in the high heat on Sunday afternoon… not fun. We did it though. We did it and then congratulated ourselves on being two tough babes.  We got back from the dump and went to work on the shop. What a mess in there. A year of yuckiness. A year of filth and clutter and tossing things in without real regard for where things should go. It was terrible. Plus, we had a mouse issue. Ew. We got through a lot of it, but still aren’t done. We feel better about it, and also like we’ve actually done something in there, so it’s not too bad. We’re motivated now and so we’ll finish it.

Ah… the joy of home ownership and construction. The joy of rental work.  The joy of having a clean house.  The joy of going to the dump with huge loads of crap.   The joy of ending the weekend by taking a hot shower and having a fantastic barbecued steak and corn on the cob after working so hard.  The joy of being absolutely cognizant of the fact that ife is truly wonderful.

Driving

Driving back from the outback with Liz and blogging from the iPhone. Tricky eh?

219

Breakfast, originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl.

Breakfast in the office in Oregon.
Taken with the iPhone camera.

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Dinosaurs Attack!, originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl.

Playing around at the office in Oregon.

Taken with the iPhone camera.

In The Office

IMG_0348, originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl.

Yep, here we are, back home. And what does that mean for me? It means I’m spending time back at work… working. It’s been a bit of a busy couple of days. We got home from the trip on Sunday, did a bunch of stuff in and around and for the house, and then grocery shopped. Tuesday we both worked and were busy at it. And today… I had to take Karen to the airport, a total bummer, and I worked, ran home at lunch to let the little man out and have a few moments of cuddly bonding with him, went back to work, and came home for some dinner and more bonding with the little guy. Right now he’s cuddled up in a little ball next to me on the couch. What a cutie. It’s painfully obvious… I love the little mister. He’s an absolute joy in a day that’s been sad, because Karen had to leave, and busy at the office.

Get To Work

Get To Work, originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl.

We had a bit of an interesting weekend. On Saturday it snowed here about 4 inches. Really nice, and fun. Karen made a snowman… I helped by putting on the face and the hat, but she did the hard work rolling up the snow and stacking it while I was walking around the yard taking pictures and Weston was running around in the snow like a mad dog. He loves snow now. Anyway, Karen did most of the work so she got to name our snowman who was dubbed 3 Ball. I laughed and thought… very appropriate.

We were supposed to go meet our electrician at the house we just bought that we’re referring to as the rental. We couldn’t get out. But yesterday, well that was a different story. The temps warmed up and the snow started to melt so we ventured out. We got chai, we bought blinds for the rental, and we went over and installed them. At least we were able to do that much. We even made it home, barely… with some major slipping and sliding to get back up our driveway… in time to watch most of the super bowl. YEAH New York! Woo hoo!

Now, this morning, I’m stuck here at the house again. We still have about an inch, maybe a bit more, of snow and everything that had melted yesterday is ice today. I’d rather have the snow. Looks like I’m waiting a bit before heading in to work.

Can of Soup Anyone?

I’m sitting here tired and sore. Today was the day we sorted food… canned goods, dry goods, etc… for the annual Kiwanis food drive. And before you ask, no, I’m not a member… but I know some. Hence my reason for helping out with the food drive.

Let me tell ya… sorting food is back breaking work. This year I was at the soup station. Kids, from a local alternative school, took the food from the very large pile in the center of the room and sorted it according to type by using shopping carts to move around to various stations where they left off cans from their cart o’ goods. From experience I can say… people like to donate soup. I stood there, loading cans into boxes, counting, and numbering said boxes for a good 4 and a half or five hours. Then, after the sorting, after the huge pile was gone, and after the kids left, we went to each station doing master counts adding up the numbers labeled on each of the boxes. Loading those boxes and moving them around made me want to buy stock in Doans Pills. Isn’t that the sore back medication? I can’t remember, I’ve never used it.

I ‘m really not complaining… much. Just tired and sore. But you know… this year was a banner year for donations. Over 18,000 items. Pretty cool. It makes me feel good to be a part of it. Knowing there are families in need out there who will be getting the fruits of all that labor today. I’m sore… but it’s worth it. It always is.  Can of soup anyone?

4:27

Will this work day ever be over?  I mean, c’mon… it’s gorgeous outside.  It hasn’t been gorgeous for quite some time.  I want to be out in it, not here, looking at it.  Some afternoons during the work week are just hard to take.

centennial golf course

centennial golf course

photo by Stacia

Originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl

This last weekend, and Monday and Tuesday, I attended a conference in Southern Oregon. Medford, to be exact. The reason I went down on Saturday, instead of the usual Sunday evening President’s reception kick off bash, was because I golfed in the annual tournament. This picture was taken by my compadre, Stacia, while we were out on the course. Her phone takes great pictures. We did well, if you compare us to our last years and the year before’s scores. If you compare us to the rest of the teams, we came in… last. No worries though, we always do. I’m never upset about this. I mean really, I’m not even a real golfer. I probably golf two or three times a year, including this tournament. Stacia carried the team this year, and thank goodness for her. She amassed half of our needed drives. My best accomplishment? I out drove the guys, there were two, on our team. Yeah me.

As for the rest of the conference…. it was fine and dandy. It’s always nice to see people you haven’t seen for six months or a year. I’ve been in this line of work now for 18 years, not counting the two I took off to run around the country with a trucker, work in a coffee shop at the beach, and bum around the Oregon State campus for half a term (I was deciding whether to go back to school, I didn’t). 18 years is a long time to do anything. I know I still have things to learn, but the conference organizers are hard pressed to get people I haven’t already heard, or at least people who aren’t presenting information I haven’t heard. Once in awhile it happens, which is great, but not often.

I’m rambling…

I will go now. Time to take Weston out to enjoy the wet and rainy yard. It’s Friday night. The weekend is here. Tomorrow we’re going to see Mom (and Don if he’s back from helping to raise a house). We’re taking crumpets. Mom has the butter, jam, and the tea to go with. It should make for a nice visit.