Thursday, December 30, 2010

Merry Christmas!

It has been a festive vacation! Decorating, cooking, baking, and taking after dinner Christmas lights walks. August loves it - the cheesier and more colorful, the better. He cried last night when we walked away from the illuminated reindeer and snowmen. We hustled down the block to the next display, and then he was happy again.

My parents are getting ready to move into their new house. Today they are meeting with appliance people and window-treatment people. John and I might take August to the zoo, depending on John's cold and the weather. Right now the boy is sleeping in the stroller, parked in the mudroom, after a frosty morning walk.

Here are some pics from Christmas...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Looking good

Not sure where this was taken (our mantel decorations are a bit more basic)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


How have I not posted anything since Thanksgiving? Lots going on. In addition to "fish" ("dish," "sshhh") August now says "ball" and "bubbles" -- and he makes the sign for "more" when enjoying delicious vanilla goat milk yogurt. The yogurt was inspired by his buddy Lucas, who made the trip with mama Mary Ellen this past weekend. So great to have wonderful West Seattle friends visit us. So much to catch up on and share. John said he has never heard two people talk more.

Thanks to advice from Mary Ellen, my mom, and great aunt Kaki -- I have some very wise and observant women in my life -- the new year for me is going to be more about ME. I have put myself 200% into motherhood, and now need to let go a little and nurture my own hobbies, needs, etc. So that means more running, reading, gardening, baking, writing, and maybe just DOING NOTHING, and... learning how to surf. I have wanted to learn forever, and now it's time. Bring on the cold Pacific water and wetsuits!

This is my last week at work before vacation. Mom and Dad arrive for good on Dec 23, and move into their new house in early January. They've been having a flurry of goodbye parties in NC. Hard to believe this is it! No more runs around "the loop" in their Raleigh neighborhood. We'll be starting new routines and traditions - all of us in the same city.

This is one of the most festive Christmas seasons - such fun with August. He points to the lights, and loves the Christmas tree (he sweeps it with the broom, one of his fave toys). He has only stolen a couple ornaments -- we keep moving them higher up on the tree.

For all of you reading this -- if you don't get a Christmas card this year, don't worry, you weren't dissed! It just means I didn't get around to making them. Not sure if it will happen or not -- just another way for me to practice "letting go..."

Monday, November 22, 2010

She'll be comin' round the mountain...

Grandma is on her way. She's in the air right now, landing at 11:30. Bob gets home from San Francisco this evening. Good timing for a winter snow advisory in Portland. The house is clean, the guest bedroom is ready, the kitchen is stocked with coffee, apples and bananas. We can't wait. Wish dad was coming at the same time as mom, but he will be out later this week.

This song has been stuck in my head since yesterday, when I took August to see the Alphabeticians -- live Sunday morning kids music at a local coffee shop (Brilliant songs including "The back-facing carseat blues" and "I just want to put it in my mouth" in addition to the classics).

Oh, we'll all go our to meet her when she comes...

Friday, November 19, 2010

So little

What is it about baby socks? Every time I pick up a pair of August's socks I am overwhelmed with cuteness.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Let the holidays begin

I know it isn't Thanksgiving yet, but I'm all about the holiday spirit. I usually hate "rushing the season" but this year, bring it on. The Christmas songs started on the radio this morning as we were driving in to town.

I sang Feliz Navidad to August as we waited in a road-work traffic jam, trying to get on to the Hawthorne Bridge. Then "Grandma got run over by a reindeer" came on. Have you ever listened to the lyrics? It's an awful song. Maybe because in our family, grandma and grandpas are pretty special. Or, it's just a dumb song.

Our very own mama/grandma arrives a week from today. I think that is contributing to my seasonal excitement. I'm taking the week off of work, and August and I will help her look at houses. Then dad/grandpa/TeSo will join us for Thanksgiving festivities. It's going to be wonderful having everyone here, all of us together. And come December 23, they will be living in Portland for good. The whole family in the same town. August is one lucky grandson, and I am one lucky gal.

I have a couple holiday craft projects in the works. For our Thanksgiving decor, August will color some pictures that I printed out from online (simple Thanksgiving pics, like a pilgrim's hat, pumpkins, etc). My vision is to display them in the dining room on a string with clothespins. Or if that ends up looking lame, use them as place mats? We'll see. (Oh, and by "color" I mean "scribble").

For our Christmas card, I am attempting a collage that represents our year. It's fun as I collect the images and piece it together. The challenging part is finding a safe place for the collage-in-progress, away from babies, dogs, and vacuum cleaners. It's currently sitting on a large wooden cutting board in August's pack-and-play (which shows you how much time he spends there these days).

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

At the park

That smile! Those cheeks!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Oaks Bottom

In Portland, you don't have to travel far to find a little wild nature. We had an urban adventure recently to Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge on the Willamette River. It's just a short drive from our house. The air smelled like fall, the big leaf maples were in their golden glory, and we heard all kinds of birds and Pacific chorus frogs. I walked down the path with A in the Ergo, and let him down when we got to the tadpole pond. I love seeing him explore different places, textures, etc.

Frog habitat.

A. got a kick out of throwing sticks and stones in the water and making splashes.

Back in the Ergo, A was getting fussy, ready for a nap. We walked a little more and came to the river.

Major fussiness now, so we didn't linger. With binky and shushing, we headed back up the path. The lullaby of Pacific chorus frogs sang the babe to sleep.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


August has a stomach bug. He threw up a lot yesterday. I smelled like vomit the whole day (that sour smell on my shirt brought me back to the newborn spit up days) and he was clingy and cuddly, and I loved it. Of course I hate that he feels bad, but I loved the day of cuddles and little boy sweetness. In the Ergo, his head on my chest. Crawling into my lap to snuggle as I sat on the floor. I don't think we've cuddled that much since he was an infant - these days he wants to be held if he's nursing or tired, but that's it.

He is a full-fledged toddler now. He got his first real pair of shoes (with solid rubber soles, not the soft leather Robeez). On Friday we went for a little excursion down the sidewalk and explored the wild alley -- it isn't paved, and is where we picked blackberries in late summer. He points to pictures in books, and he likes to move the beads along the wires of his wooden toy. He no longer ignores his stuffed animals, but points to them (asking me to get them out of his crib so he can play with them on the floor). Sometimes he hugs them. He hugs the dogs at least once a day - he gets a real kick out of them, watching them play and throwing pizza crusts at them.

Right now he is asleep on the bed and I am typing on the laptop. The clock says 5:20 but b/c of the time change it's really 4:20. And I should be sleeping. I've already folded laundry...maybe I'll go downstairs and make some muffins. Pumpkin apple oat?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


August did this drawing today with a green marker. He also crumpled up the paper a little bit and drew on the back, which I think makes a pretty bold statement and adds a whole new dimension to the piece. His teacher said that when he was finished he had green marker all over his forehead -- the sign of a true artist.


Well it's really more like a snack, but it's all I could whip together this morning.

Post-Halloween Trail Mix:

* toasted pumpkin seeds (preferably harvested from pumpkin guts with help of one-year-old)
* dried currants
* dried cranberries
* roasted almonds
* shredded coconut

Toss together. Throw into a container. Bring to work and eat at desk -- and then scoot over to daycare and take the boy to the park in the middle of a glorious warm sunny fall day.

He played with fallen leaves and I showed him how the little caps fit on acorns. And then he tasted them.

And then we settled down on a bench and I nursed him under the golden canopy.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Batman was very sensitive about having his true identity revealed.

Here are our pumpkins.


Do you like the fish? They are wild steelhead, in case you can't tell.


As soon as August saw me handing out candy to the trick-or-treaters, he had to have what was in the bowl. I let him carry around a couple snickers bars for a while. He was very pleased with himself and got them nice and squished and melted before I polished them off.

Happy Halloween!
(This is our neighbor's yard - love the tall pumpkin tree men)

Friday, October 29, 2010

River-saving figure-skating Iron Chef ninja mama

On Thursday night we had a party for Leslie, a great friend and colleague of 11 years. So Thurs afternoon I was home getting things ready.

I had woken up early that morning to make sure I got my work done, but things kept popping up. So as the afternoon slipped away and the party hour approached, I was in major juggling mode. August. Naps. Lap top on the kitchen counter. Recipe book open. Phone and binky in my pocket. But I was in control. I was making it happen. I was getting it done.

I was the ninja in the video game, karate chopping my way down the street as bad guys popped out of buildings. I was kicking down every obstacle that appeared in my path. Poopy diaper? Phone call from the New York Times? No problem! I had it covered.

I was a river saving Iron Chef mama ninja obliterating my to do list.

And then I morphed into an Olympic figure skater nailing my routine, wowing the announcers.

Will August stay asleep long enough for Amy to finish five emails? Yes! Double axel!

Will my cell phone ring when my hands are covered in gobs of raw sausage for party meatballs? No! Double lutz!

Will I get the necessary info to the reporter in time to make Friday's front page Oregonian story and not burn the toasting pine nuts? Yes! Triple axel!

In my final move, I put August in the Ergo to do a couple outside chores - fill up the dogs' water bucket and put A's stroller away in the garage. Done and done. Back inside, tasks complete, all that was left to do was take a shower. I put A down and noticed half the meatballs on the baking sheet were gone.




Not wanting to totally freak out and lose my cool in front of A, I put him in his pack and play. I went back in the kitchen.

And even as I yelled at Queets and locked him outside, I knew this was one of those moments where I'm supposed to say, Oh universe! What a funny joke! And let it go, let it go, let it go.

And then I remembered the lesson - which I always forget and need to re-learn- from over ten years ago on the Lower Youghiogheny River. The Yough is in Pennsylvania. When you learn to kayak on the Potomac, like I did, the lower Yough is where you go when you're ready for the next level. The rapids are more substantial than those on the Potomac, but still straightforward and fun.

I grew to be really comfortable on the lower Yough, loving the smell of the sweet water, the lush canyon, the sound of the train running over the tracks alongside the river. One summer, a bunch of colleagues floated the Yough. Most everyone was in rafts. But I was one of the few in a kayak. I was a paddler, and I was pretty proud of myself. Feeling pretty cocky. So of course, five minutes after putting on the river I flipped. In a riffle. And I screwed up my roll, and ended up swimming.

That's what you get for forgetting humility on the river.

And that's what you get for thinking you're a superwomen ninja Olympic figure skater ruling the world.

So Thursday afternoon, I called John and told him that I was going to kill Queets if he didn't get home asap. Then I drove with A to Otto's to pick up some Italian sausages. And then we ended up having a great party. John took over the drink-serving and dinner-cooking. My handsome and talented partner, gliding in to save the day. Overhead lift! Throw jump!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Crossing the river

Driving home from work at the end of the day yesterday, August and I came up with something kind of cool. I was exhausted (John had been out of town for work since Sat, and single parenting a one year old and two high-energy dogs is just a bit taxing) and work has been particularly stressful.

I picked up A from daycare and my mind was buzzing with work stuff, to-do's, etc, etc. We pulled on to the 100 year old Hawthorne Bridge to cross the river, from downtown to the eastside, where we live. And as we crossed the silver-gray ribbon that is the Willamette, I said to August (chewing on a piece of granola bar in his car seat):

Look, buddy, we're crossing the river! Do you see the water? See any fish? Salmon? Ok, listen: by the time we get to the other side, all of the worries and work stress and crap (I think I actually did say crap, but he can't talk yet) will be behind us. We're going to leave that on the other side. When we cross the river, there's a fun evening ahead of us - we'll get home, have some milk, see the pups, meet Julie at Foster Burger for dinner, and cuddle and play.

I was talking to him, but mainly talking myself into switching gears, making the transition, slowing down. And it worked - I still thought about work when we got to the other side, I still did some work email that night once A was asleep - but for the most part I was present and grounded and content (and seeing Julie, visiting from Seattle, was definitely good medicine).

My time with him is simply too precious to be polluted by outside worries and distractions. So I like crossing the river at the end of the day. It's symbolic. Downtown and work and daycare will all be there tomorrow.

Crossing the river gets us home.

Monday, October 25, 2010

What I'm reading

The latest Newsweek story on privatizing water ("Should private companies control our most precious natural resource?" Hmm. No.)

Sometimes a Great Notion, by Ken Kesey. I have tried to get into this book two times before and failed. Now that I'm an Oregon resident, I feel a sense of duty. Hopefully third time's a charm.

If I Ran the Rainforest (Dr Seuss). It is in our nightly rotation. I melted when I first saw the sloths on page 20. They remind me of August circa 8 mos.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Here in Portland, it rains a lot.

But we find ways to entertain ourselves.

See? This measuring cup fits perfectly in this shoe.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Lovely day. Went to Cafe au Play, a great kid-friendly coffee shop / gathering place. Had a chai, chatted with some other moms, watched August play with all the cool toys. One of the moms had two little boys- named August (of course) and Arlo (the name of my friend Darcy's new baby). Guess we're on the cutting edge.

Also, while there a woman came up to me and said I looked familiar. It took us a while to figure it out, but we finally came to it - we were at Trinity together. Fun connection. We exchanged info and I'm sure we'll get together soon.

After that, stopped by the Portland Green Parenting shop/cafe/warehouse. They have a club where you can buy local organic food in bulk (grains, produce, meat, etc) and I got the info to sign up.

Other than that, we just played, napped, cooked, and walked the dogs. And didn't lock ourselves in or out of anything.


Our weekend started out with some excitement. On Friday we drove to Enterprise so John could rent a car for his work trip down to the North Umpqua River. We entered the parking lot and didn't pull into a spot b/c there were no openings and it was just a quick drop off. John got out, car still running, and closed the driver side door. I jumped out and closed my door to run around to get in the driver's seat.

Then we realized the car was locked. With both sets of keys still in the car. With our baby in the backseat.


Then panic.

Then really freaking out.

The car was still running! Oh no. No no no no no no.

John ran into the office to see if the Enterprise guys had a key that would work for our car, or something to pick the lock. You'd think they'd at least have something to pick a car door lock, being a car rental place and all. But no, they didn't.

The Enterprise guy came back with a hammer. You can break the window, he said.

Yes, we could break the window. John took the hammer while I ran across the street to an auto body shop. I must have looked totally panicked because the mechanic immediately stopped what he was doing and looked at me like, Ok, chill lady, I will help you.

They didn't have a slim jim (great name for lock picking tool) but he said a tow truck was in the area and would bring one over. Max ten minutes.

Ten minutes! That seemed like an eternity. But thank you, thank you. Great.

Meanwhile, John was swinging the hammer and pacing in frustration around the Enterprise parking lot. I ran back over. August was safe, but crying in his car seat. We couldn't wait ten minutes.

We were going to break the window. John started strategizing - should we break the small part of the back window? But then the glass might fall on August.

Then we had a revelation - call the cops! They can pick locks, and can probably get here faster than anyone. So I made my first 911 call. And I have to say, it was a great experience, as far as those things go. The woman was super helpful and clear and reassuring.

As soon as I got off the phone, the tow truck guy showed up with a slim jim and got to work on the driver side front door. Two minutes later, the fire truck pulled up and five firemen got to work on the passenger side front door.

Meanwhile, August had stopped crying and seemed pleasantly entertained by all the activity.

The firemen got the door open - heros! - and I practically hugged all of them. Everybody safe and sound. A happy ending.

We were so dazed by the experience that John decided not to leave on his trip until this morning. And now August and I are looking forward to a very quiet, uneventful weekend.

Oh, and for future reference - we learned this from the auto body guy - if you have to break a car window, break the main big one, NOT the small one - the small ones are actually more expensive to replace. But since I am never letting go of my keys ever again, we shouldn't have this problem.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sauvie Island pics

Photos from our pumpkin picking outing last weekend...

Boys and wagons

Can't get enough of my boy

Dirt. Would you like some?

Blue sky

This is fun

My parents are pretty cool. Can I have some more blueberry milkshake now?

Who is Eddy?

Several people have asked about the name of this blog. Eddy isn't a person. Well, she is the girlfriend of Gus in David James Duncan's book "The River Why" (no, we didn't name our Gus after that Gus, although many friends think we did. Our Gus is named after John's dad) - but this blog isn't named after that Eddy.

It is named after the place in a river, called an eddy, where the current runs counter to the main flow. It is the place, formed by a rock or jutting bank, where a kayaker can sit and rest and regroup and plan her next move. All kinds of things turn up in eddies - leaves, twigs, debris, lost water bottles, broken paddles...

In this eddy, I collect our stories and photos and other bits and pieces. It's my quiet spot amidst the rushing of work and family and environmental advocacy.

From here, I scout my line. I catch my breath and savor the wild and beautiful scenery.


According to the NY Times, Sunset Magazine is hip again.

A couple years ago I traveled to Sunset's headquarters in Menlo Park, CA for a roundtable discussion about rivers and water in the west. The interview and article, Will Our Rivers Survive? was featured on the web and in the magazine.

While I was there they treated us to an amazing lunch. I toured the wine cellar and garden. The house, designed by Cliff May, is open and airy with great patios.

I like that Sunset, a lifestyle magazine, isn't afraid to tackle thorny issues like water policy along with recipes for date shakes and grilled tri-tip.

Lemon curd

Inspired by brunch at the Delta Cafe, I want to make lemon curd. Thinking it could make nice Christmas gifts (along with my nine little jars of fig preserves)...

Stumbled upon this recipe on Bread and Honey, a Portland arty-mom-food blog.

Why did I think lemon curd was healthier than it really is? Mainly egg yolks and butter. Hmm.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pumpkins, Pok Pok, and Po' Boys

Great time on Sauvie Island on Saturday. It's an island formed by the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers, just 30 mins from our house. Mostly farms and a wildlife refuge.

I had seen an ad for a pumpkin patch, Kruger's Farm, so we followed those directions. It was right off the exit, and it was mayhem. Hundreds and hundreds of people, cars, traffic. People directing traffic. Haunted corn mazes and beer gardens and a petting zoo. John, being from Montana, was appalled to see the hay ride pulled by a giant tractor, not a horse.

We got out while we still could. Disobeying the traffic director, we turned the car around and escaped. The boys were still asleep in their car seats, so we knew we had time. We pulled back on to the main road - see ya suckers! - and set off to explore the island and find a patch that was more our speed.

It was a beautiful sunny fall day and the trees were just starting to turn gold and red. We saw glimpses of the river as we drove. We stopped at a little country market for blueberry milkshakes and beer. Eventually we came to Columbia Farm. A barn, a pumpkin patch, and a pile of hay for the kids to climb on. And only one little line of cars parked in the grass in front of the barn.

The kids loved the wagon, we played on the hay, got a bunch of pumpkins and apples, and then made our way back to town, where we spent the rest of the day celebrating John's birthday. Beers in the Pearl. Dinner at Pok Pok. Wonderful having Barb and Sierra in town. So fun to be together with our boys.

Sunday, we had brunch at the Delta cafe. Delicious: beignets with lemon curd. Fried bananas. They also had a stellar fresh-squeezed lemonade. I drank one and got a refill. Everybody else had bloody Mary's, but I think they were jealous when they saw my lemonade.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


October is birthday month around here. The little boy turned one earlier this month, and John's big day is today.

I baked a chocolate cake for A and we were expecting to get the typical baby-smashing-cake photos, but he really wasn't interested. John liked the cake, so I'm baking round two today. We'll see if A wants it this time around.

I just made the frosting. As usual, I bake while others sleep. It's 6am.

Our friends Barb and Sierra, their son Jesse, and 3-legged dog Sammy are visiting for the weekend. Our first Portland house guests!

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I had my first acupuncture treatment yesterday. I'm glad I am trying this route before venturing down the traditional medicine path, which could lead to drugs and surgery.

As Victoria inserted the needles into my feet, legs, hands, and shoulders I felt little pricks and tickling sensations. Only once was it sharp and uncomfortable, and she readjusted the point. She said it's normal to feel something, but it shouldn't hurt. After all of the needles were in she put a heat lamp over my abdomen and right hand, and left the room for 20 minutes.

I was supposed to relax and turn inward, because the more you can relax, the easier it is to get the energy flowing the right way. I wanted to look up to see exactly where she had placed the needles, but I was afraid to move - I wasn't sure if movement would tweak one of the points/pathways and cause a twinge.

So I closed my eyes, breathed, and pictured myself floating on my back through a canyon on the Main Salmon. It's a snapshot from a river trip four years ago, and I always go back to it when I am doing relaxation visualization. The cool water, warm sun, high canyon walls sliding by, the river carrying me. And then, I fell asleep on the table.

Victoria is great, and was glad I took a little "acu-nap". She is pregnant, and so was sympathetic to my theories of how hormones/nursing/carrying A. with my right arm might all be contributing to the pain.

I am already seeing some improvement. I had a pretty good sleep last night. Woke up with some numbness/tingling/pain, but not as bad or as often as other nights. I need to make an appointment for next week.

One of the reasons why I think I gravitate toward acupuncture is the river metaphor-- just as we restore rivers of the water variety by removing dams, etc, we can restore the rivers of energy that flow through our bodies.

Here's the short description:

The ancient Chinese believed that there is a universal life energy called Chi or Qi present in every living creature. This energy is said to circulate throughout the body along specific pathways that are called meridians. As long as this energy flows freely throughout the meridians, health is maintained, but once the flow of energy is blocked, the system is disrupted and pain and illness occur. Imagine rivers that flood and cause disasters or an electrical grid short-circuiting that causes blackouts. Acupuncture works to “re-program” and restore normal functions by stimulating certain points on the meridians in order to free up the Chi energy.

Thanks for the photo, British Library.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Out of milk and cream, I put a scoop of coconut gelato in my coffee this morning. A tasty treat at 3am. I actually had the best sleep in weeks -- 8pm, when I put August to bed, to 3. At 3, August was awake and my hand was hurting so we went down to the kitchen. I drank my coconut gelato coffee while he played with the tupperware lids. At 4 we went back up and both fell back to sleep. I slept until 6 and he is still sleeping!

Today is going to be a good day. Besides the good sleep, I'm also getting my first acupuncture treatment this afternoon.

Thanks, Culinary Chronicles, for the photo.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Too much of a good thing?

A tree heavy with fruit + several days of rain + super soft soil = uprooted tree.

I went out the back door this morning carrying August, dogs following, to get the stroller so we could all go for a run. As I was strapping and leashing everybody up, John opened the kitchen window and pointed to the big empty space over the back gate. Where just yesterday evening there was a giant mass of tree and leaves and figs, now there was just cloudy sky.

"D'oh!" said August, pointing at the empty space.

I had been feeling good about this tree, all of the sweet, slightly exotic homegrown fruit. Enjoying autumn, our own little harvest. I had told several neighbors to stop by and pick some figs for themselves. I was planning at least one more batch of preserves.

And now the tree is down, lying on its side. I wondered, is there symbolism in this sudden crash? I didn't know what the lesson might be, until it struck me later in the day: the tree is me!

Seriously - I have been going non-stop for weeks. Months. Giving, nursing, working, etc, etc 24/7. With hand pain. Not sleeping. If I'm not careful I just might collapse.

After the run I made one last harvest, collecting the last of the ripe fruit (now at least I could reach the ones on the top branches).

We talked about what to make -- figgy pudding? Too bad it isn't Christmas. We talked about whether to cut up the tree, or try to prop it back up, to save it.

In the afternoon, John made pizza dough (D'oh!) with August. He took him outside in the Ergo to enjoy the sun and inspect the tree.

And I took a much needed nap.