Tag Archive: Spring


Today was a rest day from my intense workout schedule, but I still wanted to do something so I took a little walk around the neighborhood. It’s was great to be outside and take some new photos since it’s been a while. I’ve been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the honeysuckle blooms. I finally saw signs of progress and could smell just a hint of their intoxicating aroma as I was right next to them. Soon the air will be filled with their perfume. I can hardly wait!

Normally I would cross the street and head over past Autzen Stadium (GO DUCKS!) to Alton Baker Park, but I turned around to go home and see what the kids were up to. I hung out with them at the basketball court for a while where the older one was shooting hoops with a friend and the younger one was riding his brother’s scooter. As I stood there watching him we both learned a little lesson. While it’s important to look ahead at the big picture, be careful of the little things along the way because ignoring them can really trip you up.

Once I was sure he was ok, I took that photo of the tiny pebble that caused him to go sprawling on the ground. He survived with no major injuries and hopped back on which of course made me proud. I took one more photo and then attempted to sink some shots with my other son. It was definitely an off day for me, but that’s ok because we had a good laugh which I think is much more important than showing off my skills. 😉

With only three hours of sleep last night, I decided to go for a walk. I was tired and would normally crawl back in bed (ah, the joys of working from home), but nature was calling…in the sense that it was unbelievably gorgeous and begging to be photographed. Who was I to say no? And I am so glad I went. Not just because it was rejuvenating to be out in the sunshine and fresh air, but because I made a new, unexpected friend. If there’s one thing I learned while out walking today, it’s that you should never get too comfortable with how you see the world around you. Someone or something could surprise you and shake up the way you think at any time if you’re paying attention.

First of all, this van parked at Autzen Stadium cracked me up.

Then I saw some “wildlife”.

And of course, “the tree”.

Most of the time I look up to find interesting things to photograph, but today down was interesting, too. I couldn’t believe how clear the water looked.

Normally, I would head out to the North Bank path, but something caught my eye so I went in a slightly different direction.

I was loving how some of the leaves were a shiny silver, reflecting the sunlight.

Of course I couldn’t help taking lots of pictures of interesting trees…

…and flowers…

…and birds.

I made it over to the main section of Alton Baker park where there were even more flowers blooming than the last time I was there. Especially in the garden area.

As I headed back, I passed by the “triplets”. When I walked through here in winter when they had no leaves I wondered what they would look like in the spring. I think they turned out pretty great.

It was at this point that my walk got really interesting. While I was standing there taking that last photo I saw a squirrel out of the corner of my eye scampering up the tree to my left. I thought the tree was pretty so I took a photo. It was then that I realized the squirrel was watching me from one of the lower branches.

I waited a few seconds thinking for sure he would be scared off by the camera noise, but no. He stood his ground so I kept getting closer taking more and more pictures. Part of me was a little concerned that he was going to pounce on me at any second and infect me with rabies, but I couldn’t bring myself to stop. I’m posting all of the photos so you can understand just how long we were there staring at each other. Keep in mind there was at least a 10 second delay between photos and I didn’t zoom in or crop them. I was easily less than 5 feet away from him when we were closest to each other.

I looked away for a moment and noticed that the ground looked interesting there, too. I was certain that the squirrel would run away once I broke his gaze, but he was still there just watching me.

Finally, he (or she I suppose) decided to move. Possibly so I could get his other side.

By this point my heart rate had gone down and I figured I should move on. There was no telling how long we were going to stand there staring at each other so I said goodbye, let him know he was going to be famous (there wasn’t anyone else around to think I was crazy talking to a squirrel), and headed home…taking a “few” more pictures along the way. Just a few steps past the tree were two geese, one of which could’ve been a little nicer like the squirrel. It hissed at me several times as I walked by. Other than that, it was a fantastic walk and experience!

It’s been a while since I’ve gone out, taken photos and actually posted them. Today was absolutely gorgeous and one of my best friends and I took advantage of it with a 2 hour walk. If we count Brodie, her sweet and adorable pit bull, we were an official walking group. Of course, I had to take a picture of “the tree”, which will never really change because it’s dead, but everything around it is constantly changing. If you look back over previous posts you’ll see what I mean. One of the things I love most about walking with friends is that we get to catch up on everything going on in our lives. Sometimes it’s the best kind of group therapy. And everything seems better when you’re out on a perfect day. Bright sunshine, blue skies, fresh air and a cool breeze make it difficult to hang onto stress. 

As we arrived at Alton Baker Park, I was pleasantly surprised by all the plants and trees exploding with color.

As we continued past the park and along the river we talked about how people tend to assume that others will react to situations the same way they would. Well you know what they say about what happens when we assume. It’s not good. Ha ha! Seriously though, relationships are truly the most important thing  in life and sadly we’ve all put strain on them by making assumptions about others based on what we would do, even our relationship with God. If we can pay a little closer attention to how we’re seeing a situation and open up communication we can save a lot of heartache from happening. Forget about what you would do and find out what they would do. It’s not hard, just ask.

Brodie was looking thirsty so we stopped at a bench and they headed down to the bank while I took more photos.

And then we headed back. Poor Brodie’s feet were starting to hurt and we a long way to go.

Almost back to where we started. Looking forward to our next “group session”. 🙂

Well, last night went as planned. I had some green tea then around midnight I made my last shake of the day. Chocolate again with water and ice, but I added a little rum extract and a dash of nutmeg. Festive! I also drank another 32oz of water before going to bed at 4:30am. I didn’t plan on staying up that late, but between the energy I got from that last shake and the fact that my husband was up working on lesson plans it just worked out that way. The only time I was tempted to eat something not on the plan was when I made chicken flavored ramen for my husband. Yeah, I know the stuff is horrible for you. I discourage him from eating it, but he likes it and it’s quick. Once we go through what we have I probably won’t buy any more. Then I’ll have to brainstorm other quick and easy things for him to eat in the wee hours of the morning. Please feel free to leave suggestions.

I’m just now getting around to uploading yesterday’s photos. Here are my morning shake and the salad I had for dinner. If you’re just joining in today you can see the plan and why I’m doing this here.

This morning I woke up around 7:20 to get the kids up and off to school. I definitely felt empty so I decided to have my first shake then instead of waiting until afternoon like I did on Day 1. I completely forgot that there were still some frozen strawberries left over from my snack and ended up having another chocolate banana shake. Maybe I’ll remember the strawberries tomorrow if the kids don’t eat them first.

After everyone left I tried to go back to sleep, but it just wasn’t working so I went for a 95 minute walk and took some more photos. It felt great to get outside in the sunshine! Now it’s about 12:20 and I’m ready for my snack. I’m thinking apple today. More later…

Had my apple and then another salad for dinner. I even dealt with the raw chicken. Didn’t end up having the third shake because I fell asleep. Did drink plenty of water, though. One more day to go! Still feeling great and clothes are getting looser. Even went on two walks because it was such a beautiful day. Now I have tons of photos to post. I think I’ll have to spend an entire day getting caught up soon. 🙂

You may be wondering, “What is this Shakeology 3-Day Cleanse of which she speaks?” Well, basically it’s a 3-day cleanse using Shakeology. Sorry, just couldn’t help myself. Seriously, though. You follow the same plan for three days in a row which includes drinking  three shakes made with water and ice (one for breakfast…and you can add some fruit to that one…one for lunch and one for an afternoon or evening snack). You have a piece of fruit for a morning snack and dinner consists of a large salad, 4oz lean white protein like chicken or fish or beans for vegetarians, and 2Tbs lowfat salad dressing. You also drink a lot of water and some green or detox tea without sugar or artificial sweetener (stevia is fine). The purpose of the cleanse is to jump-start a weightloss program or hit the reset button by cleaning out excess water weight and toxins, but without starving yourself.

This is the third time I’ve done the cleanse. Well, the second time around I didn’t do the three full days so it’s more like 2 2/3. I decided it was time for another round because I’ve been eating a lot of high sodium foods lately and I feel fluffy. Plus, it’s recommended to do a cleanse with the changing of the seasons so it’s a good time since it’s the beginning of Spring. The first time I did it I lost over 8 lbs. which was pretty amazing and the second time it was over 4 lbs., still a great result considering I only stuck with it for two days. I won’t know how much I’ve lost this time because I lent my scale to a friend a couple of weeks ago so I don’t know my starting weight. It doesn’t really matter to me, though. I’m doing it because I want to feel “clean” again, if that makes sense. I’ve always felt great after I’ve done it and found myself craving the healthiest of foods afterwards. Always a good thing. I also struggle with remembering to drink enough water daily and doing the cleanse helps me to be properly hydrated. I believe the term for it is homeostasis. Whatever it’s called, I like it.

My sleeping schedule has almost completely shifted to that of someone who works a night shift so I didn’t have my first shake until after 2pm. I made it with 8oz water, 1 scoop chocolate Shakeology, 1 scoop Shakeology fiber boost, 1 small banana and 4 ice cubes.  So far, I’ve had 16oz water and need to step that up. I’ll continue to check in through the day and night.

Ok, it’s now 10:46pm and so far so good. Around 6:00pm I was waiting for my kids to get done with their karate class and realized I should be eating some fruit. Since I hadn’t planned ahead I went to Albertson’s to find something. I have no idea how people can afford to shop there on a regular basis. I walked around, fairly hungry, but not at all tempted because of sticker shock. I finally decided on a 10oz bag of organic frozen strawberries that was on sale for $2.79. I drove back to the dojo and used my teeth to rip open the bag because even though it was resealable, it had to be cut open. I ate half the bag, or about 1 cup, for 70 calories and 4 grams of fiber. It was enough to tide me over for a while.

I was feeling great when we got home and it was still light outside so I went for a walk. Since I still had two shakes and the salad with protein to eat I figured I’d better get to it. As soon as I got back I made another shake with 8oz water, 1 scoop Chocolate Shakeology, 1 scoop Shakeology fiber boost, 4 ice cubes and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. It was delicious. I forgot how good it feels to be only consuming healthy food. I don’t even know if I could put it into words, but it’s something like feeling energized and balanced and clean and light. It’s all good. Delightful even.

After I fed my husband and kids I made the salad with “artisan” lettuce, 1 tomato, 4 radishes, and two small carrots. Not feeling like dealing with raw chicken, I opened a can of organic garbanzo beans from Trader Joe’s. I knew those would come in handy someday. I topped the salad with about half the can and 2Tbs of lowfat cilantro dressing, also from Trader Joe’s. It was a lot of food and very satisfying. Now I just have one shake to drink before I go to bed. I think I’ll have it around midnight since I’ve been going to bed around 3:00am. I’d also like to get in at least another two liters of water. So far I’ve had four. I was supposed to drink two cups of tea, but that hasn’t happened yet. We’ll see. Actually, maybe I’ll make some right now. Talk to you tomorrow…Day 2.

Don’t like how your life is going? Stick around because it’s about to change. Actually, it’s changing now. We just don’t always see it because the change may be happening outside our perspective or slower than we can detect. Have you ever seen those time lapse videos where they show clouds moving across the sky, a plant sprouting or a flower unfolding? I love them because you get to see incredible changes that would normally go undetected even if you were staring at the thing for hours or days.

Sometimes change comes more abruptly. My husband has been in school for over six years now and that’s about to change along with what our family has come to know as normal. There have been some minor changes along the way like new jobs, new schools, and moving into town from a more country-like setting. But now we are looking at the possibility of relocating to a new state so he can find a job teaching. We’ve also considered going to Korea for a while. There’s even a possibility of moving to China for a year. That would certainly be a big change! I know I’d survive as long as I’d still have access to facebook, though. 😉

Even as I was walking around the track at my son’s school while they played basketball I was reminded how much things have changed in my lifetime. I don’t consider myself old, but I do remember a time when you had to actually get up off the couch to change the channel on the TV and adjust the rabbit ears. As a rounded the end of the track I heard a car alarm go off and it made me think about how people used to leave their cars and houses unlocked. Now it seems we focus a lot of time, energy and money on protecting ourselves from each other. Of course, there have always been people who wish others harm, but the more elaborate our means of security become the more ingenious are their ways getting around or through them.

I suppose in some ways there are things that never really change at all. The same basic concepts get recycled over and over like good vs. evil or positive vs. negative. They may just look a little different each time around. I find that comforting because it means we can learn from the past if we pay attention. As individuals we can choose how to react to each situation, or even better, to be proactive. We can choose which side we want to be on and how we perceive what’s going on around us and in us.

As I walked, thinking about change and taking a few photos, I noticed that the sun was setting so I decided to do a bit of a time lapse experiment myself. Every third time I came around the track I took a photo of the sky to see how much it would change in a short time. I was pretty pleased with the results despite the fact that I had to use my phone since I’d left my camera at home (must remember to take it with it at all times). The first few shots were taken when we arrived and the last four were the ones taken from basically the same spot every three laps. Just as I had taken the last one, the dark clouds that had been slowly moving in unleashed a downpour on us so we ran for the car and headed home.

As the sun dropped lower in the sky, the shadows grew longer and dark clouds moved in from the northeast.

I was even surprised myself how much of a change there was between the last two photos. Once those dark clouds picked up momentum there was no stopping them. So don’t give up. Things may seem to be at a standstill in your life, but you never know what’s coming. Just be thankful for the time you have to prepare yourself for what’s ahead by cultivating a positive attitude and an open mind knowing that you’ll never be asked to face something you can’t handle if you have the faith to believe there’s someone watching out for you every second of every day.

On Tuesday, I was expecting a few people to come over for the local weightloss/fitness challenge we’ve got going on. Only one showed which wasn’t ideal for the challenge, but it was perfect because that gave us time to talk and catch up (plus extra leftovers). After a dinner of tortilla soup, southwestern black bean and brown rice salad and a green salad with cilantro dressing from Trader Joe’s we went for a walk. It was great to go out in the evening instead of the morning and I got some nice shots of the sky.

Having people over isn’t the norm for us so company is a nice change of pace. It motivates me to make the apartment sparkling clean (or at least cleaner than it was before) and it inspires me to cook more interesting meals. It’s easy to get in a rut when we basically do the same things day after day and life is to short to be spent in boredom. I hope you’ll find something that gives you a nice change of pace, too.

I said I was going to post photos from my walk on Sunday yesterday, but it didn’t happen. More family time. Now the kids are in bed and my husband is working so I’m catching up on a few things. Have I mentioned that I love Spring?

Thanks for visiting and being patient! 😀

Take the fact that I grew up in an angry, violent home environment and factor in my red hair which prompted many people over the years to make comments about the temper that I must have. What do you get? An angry redhead. The problem of controlling myself peaked as a teenager and only by the grace of God have I gotten it under control…for the most part. Every great once in a while something will push my buttons and it will be all I can do to refrain from acting upon what I’m feeling. Today was one of those days.

As I headed out to walk I passed two young men in the hallway who were going door to door selling magazines. If anyone is sympathetic it’s me because I’ve done door to door work before and it’s not easy. But today I was leaving my kids at home (no big surprise that they didn’t want to walk with me) with their dad who was getting some much needed sleep after a week of getting less than 5 hours a day. I asked them nicely if they could do me a favor and skip my door and explained why. One responded, “Sure, no problem. We’ll catch you when you come back.” Ok, that annoyed me. “That’s ok.” They laughed. (!) As I entered the elevator I felt the need to let them know I had purchased from their company before (which I had) and I didn’t want to again. The door slid shut and I wondered if they would respect my request.

I dialed my son’s cell phone to let him know not to answer the door if someone knocked. A few short minutes later I was on my way down the street, but couldn’t stop wondering if they had knocked. I called my son again and sure enough, they had…twice. I was steaming. It was so tempting to turn around and go back to confront them, but it was such a beautiful day and I knew if I went back I’d miss a small window of opportunity to take some nice photos. I settled on calling the office and left a message letting them know someone was soliciting in the buildings. I fumed for a few more minutes, but as I walked the anger started to melt away despite my best effort to hold onto it. There’s something about a good workout (especially Turbo Jam or TurboFire with all those punches and kicks) that dissipates negative feels. You may not forget the thing that was bothering you, but you’ve had a chance to work through it so you can handle it in the best way.

Ultimately, I’m glad I decided to keep walking and enjoy the weather instead of going back. Maybe they would’ve learned something if I had, but maybe not. I don’t think I was in the right frame of mind to be reasonable in a confrontation so I believe I made the best choice. Woe unto them if I happen to see them on the property again, though. 😉

Today was a rarity in this part of Oregon. Usually if there are clouds they’re completely covering the sky and everything is grey. Not today. Here’s what we got to enjoy, even if only for a few brief minutes.

“You define yourself by your decisions.” – Gary Ryan Blair 

Such a simple statement, but very profound. It took me years to figure it out, but I am not defined by the labels others have chosen for me or by the circumstances that surround me. Each and every decision defines who we are. We can choose to be what others expect us to be or we can choose to show them who we really are. No matter what the behavior is, we can find a way to avoid it if it needs to be or we can find the courage to follow through if the goal is worthwhile. Today I chose to be a lover of nature instead the angry lady on the 4th floor. Who will you choose to be?

This morning I asked my facebook friends what the weather is like where they are and most answered that it’s cold and snowy. That’s not the case here! Today started out bright and sunny with a cool breeze and has stayed that way…for now. So even though I only got 5 hours of sleep last night I just HAD to get outside for a walk, especially since the forecast is calling for more rain this weekend. At first I thought I’d just make it a quick one, but once I got out in the sunshine and fresh air I felt energized and did my usual loop down by the river and over to Alton Baker Park. Everything looked so vibrant and I was reminded why I love yellow or green and blue together. Well, actually I love pretty much any color against a bright blue sky.  It makes my heart happy. 🙂

Of course, I took a photo of “the tree”. It’s just hiding.

See the tiny black dot at the top of the middle tree? I would’ve totally missed it if it hadn’t been chirping. Yes, it’s a bird. A tiny, tiny bird that couldn’t have been more than 2in tall.

Here’s a shot of the bridge similar to one I took before, but this time there were gorgeous magenta flowers blooming. I love Spring!

The lack of water across the low part of the path allowed me to shoot the underside of the bridge. Interesting combo of metal plates and wood.

The beautiful day was bringing everyone together with one purpose…enjoy the sunshine while it lasts! I can honestly say I’ve never seen skaters on the path before (though I did see two people on giant unicycles once). It was a nice change from the usual cyclists and runners.

More trees…and ferns.

Pretty big cedar. I love how you can see the streaks of purplish wood through the bark.

This has to be one of my favorites. I took it looking straight up at the branch.Looking back at the same tree.I started noticing more interesting people on the path. I’ve never seen anyone carrying a purse before…or walking so close to the left side. I was a little concerned she’d get knocked over by someone on a bike coming around a turn.

Then I was passed up by a jogger. Pretty typical I guess, but I was happy to have some people in the photos.

Hey look! More trees! Seriously, though. How can this not make you smile? It’s as if it’s exploding with green.

This is the same tree that a few weeks ago only had leaves on the bottom branches. It reminds me of my first son who, when he was a baby, went a long time with hair only around the bottom and sides of his head and nothing on top. He kind of looked like a little old man. Fortunately, it all grew in. 😉

Oh, look! More people! I started getting a bit pickier about who I photographed. I only turned around and took their picture after they passed by if they smiled when we met on the path.

He was my favorite. Seemed to be quite a character. He was under the tree with the ferns.

There was no way to get a good shot of the most interesting couple I encountered without being too obvious. It’s not the two who are walking on the path, but the two looking at the map in the background. She was wearing a yellow and black dress that looked like it was designed for line dancing on Broadway and he was wearing a black and silver shirt with black pants. I wasn’t sure where they were going, but I don’t think they were anywhere near their destination. Pretty much anything goes in Eugene so not much shocks me, but yet they still seemed out of place. Gotta love it!

And back to the trees.

If swarms of ants make you uncomfortable, scroll past this next one quickly.

I had a few thoughts along the way, though I was mainly just enthralled by the beautiful weather. Since it wasn’t raining I was able to look up without being pelted in the face and some of my favorite photos were taken from that angle. I think it’s good to always remember to look up and see things from a different perspective. Too often we get caught up in ourselves, looking inward, and we miss the bigger picture. And even if we think we’ve seen something before, a second look can reveal a change in the situation. Spring is the time for new beginnings so why not try something new or decide to look at life from a different angle. You might be pleasantly surprised by what you find.

 And one last observation…people are curious and we all have influence because of it. Every time I stopped to take a picture, the people near me on the path looked in the direction I was pointing the camera even though they had no idea who I was or what I was doing. Those around us will naturally be drawn to the things we focus on. If we want to draw attention to negative things we simply have to make that our focus, but if we want to show people the good things in life that’s what we need to be paying the most attention to ourselves. And since our families see us all the time, it’s even more important to focus on the right things.