Hello From Vlaardingen!

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I just started going through some images that I had taken over the past couple of months. I have been home with a nasty flu and miss going on daily strolls with my husband Collin. I miss exploring and as I have so recently moved to Europe (omg I LIVE in EUROPE! Still can’t hardly believe it) everything is so new and exciting. I can spend hours staring out of the window on our road trips. If Collin stopped every time that I said “look hunnie” or “what the heck is that” we would never get anywhere.

I have also started uploading a few images that I especially like to a website that you can find here
netherlands photos
And here are some of my favorites that came from my camera….

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The streets in the neighborhoods are brick over sand. I watched the guys laying these bricks one-by-one

all by hand. Truly back breaking work and much faster than I originally expected. I love that there is no

asphalt here except on the main city streets. It adds to the character of the city as well as keeping things

traditional. I find that the Dutch are quite practical. The old bricks are removed, new sand is added to raise

the street level, and most of the original bricks are relaid.

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This farmhouse is across the lake near home. We live on the edge of the city where forest cows, sheep,

horses, swans, and other farm animals roam freely and intermingles. There are no fences to speak of.

The natural waterways separate pastures from roads.

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This is Klootwijk Bakkerij- Fresh baked bread is the norm here- I’ve seen lines going out the door and

onto the sidewalk at these places. The aromas are fantastic. We love to have a kaas broodje on our

morning strolls-nothing like fresh baked bread with molten cheese in the center mmmm…..

Home Sweet Bliss

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Locked out of my blog 3 times because I couldn’t remember the password-Not good. To my friend Laurie…. my apologies 🙂 

Here are a couple of recent pics from Broek Polder-a forest across the bridge where Collin and I go for long hikes/strolls-We went to check out the damage after the big storm that came through on Monday. I had planned on going through to see the changing of the leaves but the high winds blew most of them off of the trees and into the mud. 

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Everywhere

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I guess I should wipe the dust and cobwebs off this here blog of mine. I’ve been neglecting it of late. I’m feeling kind of guilty because I had every intention of posting something at least once a week and I have not kept up with it. Shame on me. So here I go…..

We had a long, albeit late summer here in Grays Harbor. Virtually no rain for about 3 months. The girls and I took advantage of the sunshine and warm weather and spent quite a few Saturdays at the Elma Ponds, soaking it all up.

Now that the rain has returned, I finally settled in to look at the over 1000 pictures that Ariana and I have taken over the past month or so. She loves taking pictures almost as much as I and with a promise to her that I would incorporate some of her shots here, she set to snapping pics at every chance she got. Here are a few which were taken at the ponds with Ariana behind the camera, and a couple from around Aberdeen that I took.

Big Ideas…

I have to laugh at myself when I hear my voice saying something like, “yeah, I’m going to start…” or “I know, I’ve decided to stop…” or change, or fix, anything that I believe needs adjusting in my life. The latest chuckle I heard emanating from my chest stemmed from some nonsensical idea that I’m going to keep myself so consumed with activities that I love, like trying healthy recipes with the girls, taking AND POSTING pics, working out, reading actual books, writing, etc, that I will be too busy to look for it and love will “find me”. Haha!! I’ll stick with reality and tangible BFF’s for now 🙂

Anyway…

GOSH it was a beautiful day! This morning I took a couple of pics with my iPhone that I would LOVE to upload and edit with my iMac, but it has not yet arrived. Any day now….It’s been delayed. On that ship. With the private jet. And unlimited wishes…. 🙂

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Aside

Refuge

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The past couple of months have been eventful. Unfortunately, there were negative events that I thought I was dealing with just fine and moving forward….until the past week. It’s all coming crashing down, and me with it.

I had some major relationship shifts-some revelations. I realized that love really has many different shades. What I thought was red hot romance became a cool mint green and it’s comforting to know I have a friend for life. No matter what.  I’ve also discovered that I am the best ever at misreading signals-UGH!! Lesson number 87 in humility… and getting over it. I’ve met new people, felt butterflies in my stomach, and even spent a short time getting closer with my older daughter. The situation changed and now she’s gone again. In and out, up and down, the roller-coaster ride that is my life never ends. Where do I get off and go back to the carousel with the bright lights, pretty ponies and festive music???

I can feel it coming. That pressure in my chest, the tingle up the left side of my neck and I can’t breathe… my lungs just wont open up. It’s anxiety. I sense it on the rise and I know I have to do something quick. Run away!!! my brain says-but “it” will just chase me. Call him my heart says-but I can’t risk anyone knowing what a basket case I have become today. Stop and go THERE my common sense says-somehow any fragment of common sense hides until I’m at this desperate point. It’s the only way. So I stop in my tracks. Close my eyes. Everything around me disappears. The noise fades, I feel the tension leave my body as I transport myself to another place… The ocean. Waves crashing in a storm. I am standing on top of jagged rocks waiting for the next wave to come in-the wind whipping my hair into my face. My clothes are getting drenched from the spray of sea water and I don’t even care. It’s icy cold. Arms crossed and fists clenched tight so nothing can get in to my heart….I’m safe.  But the tension has gone and now I can let go, let the air flood back into my lungs. A deep breath, a smile returns to my face and my eyes open. Nothing  has changed while I was gone…Except me.  And my secret storm subsides until I need refuge another time.

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Wandering – Searching For “Home”

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It’s been difficult for me living here in the dark rainy Pacific Northwest the past two years. I used to LOVE rain growing up in the Mojave desert. The thunder and lightening storms thrilled me and standing in the pouring rain on a hot 100° plus day was awesome!
I left the town I grew up in when I hit 18 and ended up wandering around LA and Riverside for years. The weather in most places was sticky, the air was thick with smog and I couldn’t breathe.

Not like I did in Victorville.

I remember running track in Jr High and High School and feelin the hot air rip through my lungs. I always paced myself with the fastest and pushed to beat my previous personal records. 5:38 – my fastest mile. That was thrilling to me. The runners high after. Closing my eyes to the desert sun and gasping for the clean dry air.

I visited Victorville last summer with my daughter. We spent a week and guess what….. It was 102° and the rain began…. My heart raced and I felt a lump in my throat… I couldn’t wait to get outside- and then I felt a deep sadness. I had left this place years ago because I felt so trapped- I wanted to see things and experience Los Angeles and the “hustle and bustle”- well I’d experienced it alright. And as I stood there in the rain waiting for my ride, I felt a loss of innocence hit me and almost a heartbreak for the places and friends I’d left behind. Memories came flooding back. Loves and crushes adventures and accomplishments.

I moved here to Washington State to be closer to my parents- we’d been apart for nearly 20 years. I’ve been here for 2 years now and they have decided to retire back to California. Not the desert mind you, most likely central Cali. So now I have no reason to stay here. It’s me and my girls and we are free to go where life may lead.

All of this has my mind spinning out of control. Will we move? There’s no reason to stay where I’m not happy. Where will we move? I don’t know. I had sworn off California at one point. Now I’m open to anything. VV? Sheesh. It’s not like it used to be.

So for now I walk around every single day dizzy with thoughts and memories. Ideas and dreams. Questions unanswered. Where? When? It’s starting to become overwhelming and I find myself searching for missing links from my past. I’ve come across a special few. And I hold them close. Trying to recapture something I cherished at one time and make up for lost years. The thing is, while they’ve grown and accomplished things I feel as if I’ve been stuck in a time capsule and haven’t changed at all- other than aging. I have the same hopes and ideas, same silliness-which annoys some. Same as it did.

And so I ramble on… Same as I always have- and realize its already past midnight and I should be getting up in 5 1/2 hours- time to sleep. Hopefully the time I spent with the girls in the sun after work this afternoon will help my mind rest, and maybe dream of the hot air and blowing winds of my desert.

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Wynoochee

Here I find myself at Camp Satsop off the Wynoochee River- no cell service, no Internet/wifi. And surprisingly I’m perfectly fine with that. Yeah I’ve thought a couple of times about checking emails and such, and of course wondered whether the certain “someone(s)” had replied to my previous messages. But all in all, it was a perfect escape from the technology ruled life I live.  Ariana Said several times over that she was bored. But then she picked up the guitar I brought along and started playing and singing her latest “fav” song. Priscilla combed the bushes nearby for blackberries and thimble berries. I kept the fire stoked and just let my mind wander. What more could I want than my girls outside breathing fresh air and my mind set free. Wish we had more time to hang out here. No internet, no tv…..Image
The owners of the place were very kind. Such hospitality seems rare nowadays. It’s a senior husband and wife team and “he” actually carried firewood to our site via wheelbarrow, offering to help start it if I needed assistance.  Our neighbors to the south were very friendly. “She” helped me get it started, stacking wood and stuffing empty pockets between the logs with newspaper and cardboard as she shared her story of how she came about raising her grandson. I love to hear people’s stories.
I’m still up now- at 12:49 am listening to obnoxious campers shouting and laughing in the center of the property- they either don’t realize that there’s an echo from that area or just don’t care.  I don’t. The sounds of fires popping, country music quietly playing, lovers whispering and friends sharing stories is just what I need to give me a restful sleep.  People living. People enjoying the great outdoors and having a good time.  Nice. 
Now as I finish this, knowing that I can’t post until tomorrow night, everyone’s going to bed. I’m the only one actually up sitting by the fire. I hear tents being zipped closed, snores, an owl not so far off. With my phone battery at 9% it’s time to hit the sack. Sweet dreams, and happy camping. ImageImageImage

Ariana had dibs on the camera for the trip home. Following are all her shots. 

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