Sunday, February 28, 2016

Wonderful Weekend

Hello again, all!

My, what a great past couple of days it's been since I last wrote.
Crazy to think we are one week+ since Dash's accident.
I'm happy to report that he's doing splendid, barely limping and the laceration on his forehead is healing up great. The doctor did a super job and it will be just the lightest pink line ever, me thinks.

Come Saturday, I was feeling much better than I had before, and the day kicked off with a trip to the Corvallis Waldorf School.
The occasion? Their Open House & Alumni Panel! :D

I was mostly there to see about meeting new prospective parents and get to snoop around the classrooms since I don't usually get the chance. Ha!
I wish I'd taken some photos, because there was some really stellar artwork on the walls and I'd have liked to show off what William's and classrooms are like. Oh, well! That's what happens when the school's a cell phone free zone I guess ;)

After the Open House, the rest of Saturday really became a Mama-Ella date :)
We hit up the Howland Community Art Show for Ella to enter some art into.
I've written about this Art Show before, and this is the piece she's entered:

This thing's all of 2" x 2" I swear.

Technically, she drew this "Candy Witch" back in October. So just imagine where her art's at now :D
I was happy to see some familiar faces in both the CWS and artist community that I love so very much. Good folks all around!

Magical Mr. Mark Allison, the great Kristi Hager, and the talented Emily Thomas for starters!

The weather was so nice, Ella and I made an impromptu downtown outing of it, hitting up Pegasus Studios to see some of Mark Allison's work on display, getting a replacement tube/tire for her tag-along, and perusing the delicious Kaleidoscope bead store.
Last we were there, it was the Corvallis Arts Walk, which was fun but a little busy.
It was nice to take the time to speak with the owner, Lori, this time around, and she even taught me some basic knots that are sure to help me with future beadwork (remember what we did for V Day?).

For starters, I learned how to do a proper Square Knot, and how one more loop around makes it the ever durable hard-to-undo Surgeon's Knot. Turns out the usual double knot is also technically called a Granny Knot. Just remember that what makes a Square Knot a Square Knot is starting with the same "side" string/thread/rope/etc for both knots. Confused? Check out youtube for a video. You'll see what I mean ;)

Another thing I got from Lori was this nifty tilty marble labyrinth thing!!

So fun and challenging!!

I vaguely remember having one as a kid, and now I look forward to mastering it and having the kids hone their fine motor skills as they tackle it too.

We then did a little "Huge-y Boo" run at Big Sports 5, where Ella Rose used some holiday money savings to buy these adorable stuffed animals for herself, William, and friends. One of them was for her good friend Beatrix to whom we delivered the stuffie promptly.

I must note here that all the downtown fun was on foot and the Huge-y Boo run and delivery was with Ella on her own bike. I am feeling more confident with her on her bike now and I am so proud of her stamina!

Saturday was topped off with dinner at El Sol de Mexico. Mm-MM!
And I got to pick up the latest issue of the Corvallis Advocate which also has an article about the Gift Economy and Clothing Swap in it!

It's technically a truncated version of the one that appeared in the online Valley Parenting magazine (which I wrote about here), but still good to see in physical form :D

Sunday was knitting during church and then hitting up the Letter Writing Social with Ella.
We really branched out our usual letter recipients with such ambitious destinations as Ty Inc. (creators of Beanie Boos), Nintendo of North America, and El Sol de Mexico.

Nothing like having stamps on hand to really make the letters fly~!

We'll see if we get responses from any of them ;)

In other news, I am all caught up on The Walking Dead issues my BIL got me, and am listening to another Sherlock podfic. And it's thirty-one chapters long!!!! ♡♡♡

I suppose that's all for now.
I foresee brightening spring weather this week, along with finishing off those curtains, doing some work in the art classrooms and getting some translations done.

Until then, stay tuned, take care, and Happy Wonderful Weekend!!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Sickness Strikes~!

Hey hey!

Sorry for the long absence there.
Wednesday was a great day and was mainly comprised of tidying the house, practicing piano, and then working with an artist group in the evening.
I think it was that evening work that did something to me though because I was really pushing myself hard, and Thursday morning I woke up with both an insanely sore back and a super achey stomach.

I ended up spending all day in bed, only venturing out to trudge through a Japanese lesson with Jack-san for a couple of hours in the middle of the day.

That was pretty much how today, Friday, looked too.
Can't say I have a 24-hour bug or the flu, because really my only symptom is a feverish and very achy body and belly. Huh. It's meant a ton of sleep, zero food, and lots of reading of The Walking Dead comic on my computer. Buya~!

Now, on the eve of Saturday, I am feeling a little better, though definitely will be laying low still...

Hope you all are feeling well and looking forward to a great weekend! I know I am~!!

Til next time, take care and Happy Sickness Strikes!! (wait, what?)

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Two Awesome Days

'Allo 'allo!

So things are going well in the Dashiell household these past couple of days.
Firstly, Dash is doing great in his recovery, even though I did get him a cane off the Gift Economy to help him get around. I think it makes him look almost scholarly when coupled with his glasses and budding Harry Potter scar. ;)

There's always a silver lining to these things, you know?

For instance, now that we are without a car I've been having to bike ride everywhere and clocked in  about 21 miles on Monday, what with the kids' drop-off and pick-up and then having to drop by the tow company out of town.

I got to take a shot of the truck and say one last good-bye to it:

Thank you little $800 truck, you served us well!!

Pretty amazing to think that Dash came out of that wreck in as good a shape as he did. And what a surprise that the windshield didn't so much as crack. Huh.

Another thing that happened on Monday was that Ella's other front tooth finally came out!
That thing had been rattled around in its socket for, like, three weeks so I know it was a relief to Ella to finally have it out. Myself, I like that somewhat vampiric look it's given her:

Holding a lovely camellia flower~

Monday was actually rather sunny and even, dare I say it, warm so I took a nice long walk to the library with the kids with William riding his little bike and my main goal being to wear them out.
I think it worked because they promptly fell asleep at 6:30pm. What-what?? NICE.

Oh! Monday ended with a happy surprise for me, when I was notified that an article came out in the local Valley Parent Magazine the Gift Economy and upcoming Clothing Swap :)
You can read about it here, and it was written by the lovely Sarah Nieminski who had interviewed me back in early January for it. Truth be told, that very same day I had had to remove this fellow I'd installed as an admin for the group because of his persistently vitriolic comments made to members and such. I'd been a whirlpool of anxiety over that whole thing, and the interview had helped calm it down...and now that the article is finally out, it's nice to think back to that time and how much has transpired over the past month and more. Time keeps on slipping in the future, as they say, and so far, all good things are coming from it :)

Which brings me to today!
I've been looking forward to today because I got to partake in my second experience of the Benton County High School Career Convention.
I don't recall how I heard about it, but I went to the one last year, too, and sat on the "Writing, Journalism, and Language" panel with the fantastic local author Tom Birdseye representing the field of Writing, and Anthony Rimel from the GT representing Journalism. I, of course, represented the Language field and discussed my career as a translator and all the pros of knowing a second language.

Truth be told, last year I hadn't come all that well-prepared, and just sort of winged it.
The results had been all right, I suppose, with some kiddos coming up to ask questions at the end, but nothing came of it.

Today's Fair, on the other hand, went much better!
I sat on the same panel, as well as in the "Arts" panel where I represented the field of comics (to some degree).
I passed out a lot of business cards, and even got a thank-you card targeted at me in particular by one gal in the audience who felt that what I spoke about is right up her brother's alley. So I thought it was sweet of her to be looking out for her little bro like that. :)

I love love love speaking to kids about what I do for a living because I like to show them that "yes, you can turn your passion into a paycheck!" and because I truly love what I do to support my family. I hope to convey all the positive feelings I have around my career, since not all adults are very enthused about what they do and I count myself as one of the lucky ones who gets to do what she loves for a living.

Oh, and I must give a shout-out to our friends the サンソム家族 for making this possible for me by picking up the kids since Dash is still in no shape to be bicycling around let alone with children in tow.

And so that is how yesterday and today were awesome.
Nice weather, Dash getting better, some attention given to the Gift Economy, and a chance to speak to about my career :)

I hope your week is starting off well, too, and until next time take care and Happy Two Awesome Days!! 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Final Day of February Break

Hello again!

What a week it is has been.
With lots of ups and only that one big down of Dash's accident, I think we spent it very well.
Let's see, what did I accomplish of my intentions?
From the list that I compiled on Valentine's Day, this is how things stand now:

DONE listen to the rest of We're Alive podcast (only 4 more chapters until the finale!!)
DONE knit Dash a pair of handwarmers
DONE listen to the Sherlock podfic
DONE read the rest of BAKUMAN. books in my possession (4 volumes)
NOT DONE AT ALL- listen to "Everything's Illuminated" through
ALMOST DONE sew curtains for my friends Rachel and Rachael :D
ALMOST DONE finish reading David Sedaris' "Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls"
DONE translate Space Dandy volume 2

All riiiiiight~!
Not too bad!
I'll be a honest, a lot of time this week was spent inside for all members of the families if not because of the near constant rainfall then because there's just so much to entertain us inside!
Ella's reading is getting better and better every day, and William loves to play his games with Dash.

Totally unrelated, that story Kathy-neechan and I have been working on since November finally went up! It's on AO3 so we'll see how many Hits and Kudos and such we get. ^^ Already in the planning stages of the next story.

Since today was church and I taught Sunday School again, I thought I'd share with you the craft we did:

By my co-teacher, Jennifer :)

The story was "God's Promise to Abraham" so we made star-themed bracelets to give to our grandparents in honor of them being our ancestors. Because as you may recall God allegedly promised Abraham as many descendants as there are stars in the sky.

All right!
Well, until next time take care and Happy Final Day of February Break!!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Day 6 of February Break

Yo yo~

All right, the weekend is upon us!
I missed Breakfast with the Beatles this morning, but only because I got to sleep in until 9am. BUYA.
Today I was all set to play the Florence Nightingale role for Dash, but he was insistent that he could take care of himself, which actually created a bit of a tiff between us, but thankfully resolved itself pretty soon. And yeah, as so long as he doesn't try to lift much and takes his time getting around, he can even pull off making his own breakfast, etc.

I did more curtain creating, and then when Clara came over for a playdate with Ella, I took it as the perfect excuse to get out of the house with William for more bicycling and grocery shopping. Took a whopping two hours, I swear, because of having to fix the chain on William's bike and helping him start from a stopped position, etc etc... He got frustrated quite a bit, but I'm glad he didn't give up in the end.

Back at home, I challenged myself to make a tasty treat that I thought everyone would enjoy from something I'd seen on imgur some months back.

Just watch the gif below to see what it was:

Turns out ours is not a "deep-fried mashed potato with bacon and cheddar" kind of family. :D
Nobody was a big fan.
Oh, well! I had prepared a TRB dinner as a back-up.

Dash spent most of the day in bed but that didn't stop him from reading to the kids, or playing handheld games with them. So that was super nice of him.

I see much of the same happening tomorrow, though my goal is to finish that last lingering curtain so that I can show the fruits of all my labor. Phew!!

Til then, take care and Happy Day 6 of February Break!!

Day 4 & 5 of February Break

Hello again!

Okay, so wow! What a wonderfully productive and enjoyable past couple of days it's been.
Been crushing that to-do list I set up for myself at the beginning of the vacation. So let's see how things have been:

On Thursday, we had another long playdate with Beatrix over here at Chateau Dashiell.
Since their last playdate, they'd been insisting on holding a tea party next time they got together. So that's what we had happen :)

Complete with invitations and stuffed animal guests

Ella picked daffodils out of the yard to put in a vase, and Dash picked up this insane strawberry shortcake to enjoy with the tea.
Look at that beast of a cake!! The kids, thankfully, don't have "sweet tooths" and only ate a portion of their slices, so I got to partake in the rest. Buya ;)

I had an early lesson with another of my pupils, and then off we scurried to our dear friends, the サンソム家族.
Suya made 肉まん (YUM!) and we brought veggies for both raw enjoyment and fried up.


Look at that lovely spread!! I was reminded of my absolute love for 山芋.
All the kids play together splendidly (and loudly!) and even graced us with a fashion show.

They had such great clothing pieces to work with ;)

I love this family!!!
They are such good people and so talented too!
Just the other day, Dain had held a concert on the organ (which I had missed) and I got to see him in action in his home on their piano! He even allowed me the chance to accompany him with the super easy part of Pachelbel's Canon in D.

I felt very nervous/honored to work beside a lifelong piano-player like that~!

I felt very inspired to work more on my own piano playing at home, and my next goal is to memorize Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. Wish me luck!

All in all, it was a splendid wrap-up to the day :) And I loved the way dinner was handled with the kids eating first so that they could then romp about while we adults could enjoy good conversations over tasty beer. 

On Friday, I really put my nose to the grindstone, and finished off my chapter and complete 単行本 that was due. Phew!! And I did more work on those curtains for R.S.!!!
I must say, I really enjoy making curtains and I would even go so far as to say I am pretty good at it! Granted, all it takes is measuring, cutting, and sewing but the measurements do have to be correct in order for it to work on the window and I think I am meticulous enough for that. :)
I will definitely post photos of them when they are all done.

It was after all that translating and sewing, that things took a downturn.
After dinner, Dash went out to make a Craigslist transaction in Albany...and got into a car accident on the way there! @_@
The truck is totaled but he is okay besides a gash on his forehead, a bloody knee, and a sore chest.
It was very scary when he called me to let me know he was being taken to the hospital, and then I couldn't get a hold of him because his phone had died.
But our sweet neighbor, Dave, picked him up from the ER when it was all over, and at home we counted our blessings and tried to regain some semblance of normalcy, watching more Venture Bros. and snuggling in for the night.

It is definitely a reminder that you never know what the day will bring and to never assume a loved one that leaves the house will necessarily come back in one piece.

Hug your family extra tight today and stay safe on the roads, friends!!
And with that, the last weekdays of our February Break are wrapped up.
Now to go and tend to Dash some and keep the kids out of his hair.
Until next time, take care and Happy Day 4 & 5 of February Break!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Day 2 & 3 of February Break

Hi again!

Oops, I missed yesterday's post.
But I'll tell you why!!

It's because I've started this new "audiobook" (technically a podfic) and it is absolutely taking up my life and I love it!!!
I listen to it while cleaning the dishes, going on errands by foot, or working on craft like knitting or sewing.
Love love love it.
It's a fanfic based off the BBC Sherlock universe being read aloud by a British lady that is such sweet music to the ears. In fact, when I was putting the kids down tonight I read them the B section of their children's alphabet (if you think that's nuts, Dash has been reading them Old Testament stories from their children's Bible... Yeah, totally surprised me too!) I read the entire B section with a sweet British accent. Kick aaaaass. ♡♡
Okay, so quick rundown of what we've been up two these past two days.
Yesterday, I translated my book to p. 100 (score!) and then biked with the kids to a birthday party of a classmate of Ella's.
That's right, I had William on the tagalong while Ella rode her own bike. So proud of her!!!
Though truth be told, of course I was sweating bullets worrying about the cars nearby. But I have to remind myself that Corvallis is a pretty bike-aware town and she was safe.
The party was at a bowling alley and it reminded but that this mode of entertainment still exists despite its super dwindling popularity. Oh, well! Good times had by all.

Well, except that William must've had too much sugar (or salt?? He likes to dump the salt shakers at restaurants onto his plate at eat that straight up... Silly child, and I warned him it wasn't good for him!) because he was pretty much a thorn in my side the entire rest of the day.

Ella had her pottery class following the party (and a quick trip to the grocery store), during which I listened to the podfic while knitting more of Dash's second handwarmer.

At home that evening (it was 5:45 by the time we got home), we had TRB and then I knitted more while listening to yet more of the podfic. Nnnnghhh, so good!!!!

Today I got right to work sewing these curtains I've been meaning to create for my friend Rachel S. and guess what I listened to during all that work. That's right: PODFIC.
Man oh man, I am a sucker for love stories and this one has the added allure of a really well designed detective case. Mm-MM!

Dash and the kids went off to listen to a dear friend of ours play the organ, while I had a spa appt ;) and then mosed on home listening to more fic. Then a fun Japanese lesson with another pupil, and by the end of it all I was not in the mood to figure out dinner and we went out to El Sol De Mexico. My second home, really :D

I think I'm going to whipout ooooone more curtain set before I call it a night because I still have four more chapter which is about 2+ hours of podfic, me thinks. Man, I'm gonna be hungry for more good stories after this one, but I think I will finally redeem this gift card to that I got from my bro- and sis-in law "Everything is Illuminated."

No pics, sorry!
But thanks for reading my journal post.
Til tomorrow, take care and Happy Day 2 & 3 of February Break!!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Day 1 of February Break

Howdy howdy~!

So today was the first day of the kids' first time off from school since Christmas break.
And with no plans to travel or entertain guests or anything, I am super jazzed about this very family-oriented chillaxed (but also productive!) week. :D

To start us off, today was a grand day.
Firstly, I finished the We're Alive podcast and it was a very satisfying (even tearjerking!) ending, and I very pleased to be done with it so that I can move onto other stories now. I'm very bad at reading more than one book at a time, even if it's an audiobook!

Then, Beatrix joined us for the morning and the weather was super warm and spring-like with tons of sun, so we got out into the garden at last! Pulled weeds and planted some simple salad seeds. I'm sure it's too early according to some books, but oh well! Felt cool digging into our compost pile to get out garden-worthy soil that we'd "created" too.

Inside, I also spent time translating this book that's due Friday, and wrestling with William for a good long time. After that, we went on a bike ride, just me 'n' him. I must say I don't spend nearly as much time with William one-on-one as I should, so it was fun and good for us.

Later in the after noon, I had a Japanese lesson with Maggie-san, and then read BAKUMAN. to Ella and William, for like two hours. I'm now halfway through volume 4!!
I am just knocking off these items from my February Break To Do List, bam bam!

Dinner was an amazing homemade meal provided by Dash: homemade pork patties on homemade buns, and homemade fries! Rounded off with some pickles and salad, and mm-mm what a meal!
It's amazing because I never grew up with homemade bread and it will be interesting if the kids see it as "normal" since they are growing up with it. Hmmm~

With the dishes done and the kids being put down by Dash, I think I will round off my evening finishing the first of Dash's handwarmers (yesssss!) while I crack open that Sherlock podfic Kathy-neechan recommended me. Mm-MM!

A'ight, well sorry for the lack of photos but I will be in touch again tomorrow, with hopefully more visuals.

Til then, take care and Happy Day 1 of February Break!!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Valentine's Day!

Hey hi!

So today was Valentine's Day.
But did Dash and I do anything romantic for just the two of us?
It really was more of a family affair on account of Sundays always being his big deadline day and this week, in particular, he had twice as much work as usual. I'm thinking we'll do something special this coming Friday instead ;)

Sooooo, today it was mostly a day for me 'n' the kids :)
I helped teach Sunday School, and then we ended up hanging at the church library (new favorite pasttime following the service) until 1:30pm!!
During that entire time (about two hours) the children entertained themselves with the books and puzzles there, while I knitted.

I finished that scarf I'd mentioned starting just yesterday evening :)

Short 'n' Sweet

Not as long as I'd have liked it, but the dark blue ran out and that dictated the final length.
Oh, well. As long as I can tie it in a little knot around my neck, I'm aaaaall good.

When we got home, we then got right into some Valentine's Day love-spreading.
First, we baked a batch of brownies for our neighbors and delivered them along with a bouquet of daffodils out of the yard. Only the one neighbor was there to receive it, but I think he will share it with his housemate (whom I have yet to meet!).

Then, Ella and I took a nice long walk and then bike ride to deliver Valentine's Day cards to our neighborhood friends. While she was whipping those up, I was reading BAKUMAN. yet again.

I swear, I am quite hooked on that series!

It brings up how this coming week there will be no school and I have sooooo many things I want to accomplish! Both recreational and work-wise. They are as follows:

- listen to the rest of We're Alive podcast (only 4 more chapters until the finale!!)
- knit Dash a pair of handwarmers
- listen to the Sherlock podfic
- read the rest of BAKUMAN. books in my possession (4 volumes)
- listen to "Everything's Illuminated" through
- sew curtains for my friends Rachel and Rachael :D
- finish reading David Sedaris' "Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls"
- translate Space Dandy volume 2

So yeah, as you can see there's a lot of literature I want to get through (both auditory and visual!) as well as some crafting and finally, at the end of the list, actual work. HA!
Thankfully I can multitask with the audio books, so for example after I publish this post I am going to listen to We're Alive while knitting those handwarmers. And I can sew the curtains while listening to things playing off my computer through bluetooth headphones. Thank the lord!

This is gonna be a big, great week.
I also have three tutoring sessions during it and am going to make sure plenty of playdates are lined up.

I'll keep you updated throughout the week.
So until next time, take care and Happy Valentine's Day!!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Breakfast with the Beatles

'Allo, loves!

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but my all-time favorite band is The Beatles.
Hands down, I could only listen to their work for the rest of my musical life and I would be happy.
I listened them most back in 2006-2008 when I was working for Go! Comi and would bike 4 hours a day, to and from work. That was a lot of time to listen to mp3s of their songs off my iPod.

And to this day, I still have a special time to listen to them.
Saturday mornings starting at 8am, I enjoy the radio show "Dennis Mitchell's Breakfast with the Beatles on KLOO 106.3.
It features not only songs by The Beatles but also some interviews!!
Today's interview featured John and Paul sharing their opinions on the songwriting process. I am especially interested in creative processes of all kinds these days on account of writing a little fanfic with Kathy-neechan. It's always fascinating to hear how others not only come up with ideas but actually implement them.

On that note, I started reading the manga "Bakuman" at the suggestion of one of my tuttees.
It's basically a manga about creating manga, and although I'm only two volumes in, I'm already very hooked and love getting this inside look on the creative process behind something so demanding as weekly-release manga. :D

By the same artist who did Hikaru no Go and Death Note

One last thing about creating, I have started creating a scarf for myself!


The scarf that I've been absolutely dependent on ever since the cold weather started has mysteriously gone missing!!! It's a scarf that Kathy-neechan actually knitted herself and gave to me.
It was bulky and thick and I just adored it.
In order to capture that same thick quality, I'm actually doing something I've never done before which is knitting with two strands of yarn simultaneously. It's not at all hard to do, and is making for a very fun pattern so far. Will share photos when I'm done ;)

And with that, I will leave you this Saturday night.
Quite a fine Saturday it's been.
At the risk of jinxing myself, I must iterate how utterly good life is to me these days. And that's something I say to myself many times a day too. I truly am thankful we are all as healthy as we are, have as much food as we do, and have love coming from every direction :)

I hope you are feeling good in your own lives too.
And do check out Breakfast with the Beatles Saturday mornings if you can wing it too! It's a great way to start the weekend ^^

Until next time, take care and Happy Breakfast with the Beatles!!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Whole Lot Of Crafting Going on

Hey hey!

So in anticipation of the kids' classroom Valentine's Day celebrations, and budding spring-like weather, there has been quite a lot of crafting going on this week.

First, a few words on the Valentine's we made for the kids.
For William's preschool buddies, I pretty much did what I did last year (but failed to blog about) which was heart-shaped bean bags.

Made thirteen of them, all of which were in these nice contrasting colors

I've talked about making bean bags on this blog before, and we did make heart-shaped little cloth Valentines before.
But this hybrid is really, in my opinion, such a perfect gift for the holiday because it's part-valentine, part-toy, and part-learning tool (gross motor skills, anyone? :D).

Going to be honest, William didn't do much by way of creating these Valentines himself...besides "testing" them out by playing with them all week. Ha! But oh well, as long as the kiddos get to enjoy them, and William sees yet another example of how homemade rawks.

As for Ella's Valentines, she and I delved into the beads box we have and made a bunch of bracelets for her class of sixteen:

All delivered in a little origami box that I made yeeeeears ago~

Did I ever tell you how we scored this huge collection of beads while walking by a dumpster during the great Student Exodus a couple of years back? Well, that collection just keeps on giving, and we were able to make a lovely selection of Valentines tokens to express Ella's appreciation for each and every classmate. Good stuff~

Besides working on these Valentine's Day presents with the kids, I've also been doing a lot of good knitting on my own time.

Fun with scraps!

That's right! Another pair of handwarmers made from that giant stash of wool yarn I scored from a friend off the CFGE page. My goal is to use up all that yarn in these sorts of projects before I dare acquire any more yarn. That's my resolution!

I honestly have lost count as to how many pairs of handwarmers I've knit by this point. But I am getting faster and faster! It now takes me only a couple of hours to knock out one handwarmer. :)

This pair is for a friend of mine that I made handwarmers for maaaaany years ago (which I alluded to here!). When Kathy-neechan showed her the new wooly ones I'd made her for Christmas, this friend expressed some envy for the softness that wool offers that acrylic just can't. So! I made her this new pair...and since I don't want to leave my other good friend (her roommate!) out in the lurch, I am making her a pair of handwarmers too. Heh!

Then...then I'll finally get around to knitting that other sock for Dash. I'm sure of it!!

I've been listening to We're Alive double-time this past week ever since I learned that my pupil is hooked and I can't very well let him get ahead in series~! So I am about eight chapters away from completing the entire show. When I'm done with it, I'm totally treating myself to a podfic ;)

Last but not least, one more bit of creative crafting that's gone on this past week, came from Ella unbeknownst to me until this very morning:

Nice archway!

In case you can't tell, that's a Fairy House :D
Apparently Ella has a couple at school too and has even had them visited by fairies! She says she knows because the fairies leave the beds unmade. I wish I had that kind of magic going on when I was that age!

Not the most structurally sound Fairy House, but that dragon tears pathway makes up for it!

Aaaaand that's just about it for crafting this week.
Next week the kids don't have school and I have one book due, so I look to get some major sewing in there. Namely for this lady who gave me a stash of fabric to work on for her (back in October! Gulp!!) and the last set of curtains for little Henry's room. <3 p="">

Until next time, I hope you all have a great weekend, take care, and Happy Whole Lot of Crafting Going On!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Men's Shelter

Howdy howdy~

So today I had the pleasure of volunteering at the local men's shelter.
I didn't do much, just provide snacks for the men in the evening.
But I really enjoyed my time there, and wanted to record it here and share it with you.

I first had the opportunity to volunteer at the men's shelter last year, when a call was made at the First Presbyterian Church for volunteers last year. We were to supply volunteer staff to check bags, help sign people in, supply snacks, and even stay the night.
Last year, too, I supplied food in the form of a mighty big helping of my Yayi's carrot soup and homemade corn bread muffins.

This year, due to changes with the food safety guidelines set by the Linn-Benton Food Share, they were not allowing home-cooked meals so instead I brought Cuties, a platter of cheeses, and single-serving yogurts.

I have a particular interest in and sympathy toward the homeless community here in town and liked the idea of being able to connect with them in this way, providing them some food while also getting to hear their stories.

I think some people can be rather hard on the homeless folks, not wanting them around but not thinking about where they're supposed to go then. Much less helping them. Don't get me wrong, I've seen incredible gestures of charity toward the homeless on the Corvallis Families Gift Economy FB page, for example, and there are (in my opinion) lots of resources set in place to help homeless folks here in Corvallis. I'm just always a proponent for homeless rights rather than criminalizing them.

This is posted to the inside of the front door
It makes me happy to know there's so many people willing to help the homeless here in Corvallis, and I hope to reach more with such folks through Clothing Swaps and the end-of-the-year student exodus too.

Aaaanyway, if you are interested in volunteering with the men's shelter, you can contact Corvallis Housing First or check with your church and see if they have a kind of mission outreach ministry or something.

'Til next time, take care and Happy Men's Shelter!!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Birthday Weekend!

'Allo 'allo!

These past two days have been quite busy socially for the Dashiell family :)
We had not one but three birthday parties to go to.

On Saturday alone, there were two birthday celebrations.
For the first one, William was invited to celebrate the 4th birthday of his good friend Annika at the amazing Peak Elite gymnastics arena!

What was great that not only could the little ones go hog wild jumping/rolling/climbing/etc but we adults had equal access to the uneven bars, balance beams, and best of all...foam pit!!

Look at this beast!
Must've been upwards of eight feet deep, and those foam blocks had a clingy quality to them that would make it feel like they were dragging you down. Moving through it was like "trying to run in a dream." Same level of frustration. But a hoot nonetheless.

I got pretty into it too, flipping around on the uneven bars and jumping on the trampolines...
And now I am paying for it >.<

Gotta say, one of the main things I took away from that party was how embarrassingly out of shape I am.
I tend to assume that because I bike and walk a lot that I'm okay in the fitness/strength department.
It made me realize how rarely I move my body dynamically with even the simple action of jumping only coming along once in a blue moon.
It got me thinking that I'd like to a) work on some strength training at home (pushups/crunches/etc) and b) hold my birthday party celebration at the roller rink at Eugene! Assuming I even hold a party... That's also a rarity ;) It's just rare for us adults to move around a lot in the party setting -- mostly it's conversation and eating (which I love!) but yeah, it's been a long time since physical activities been included.

Aaaaanyway, it was a grand time with grand people and it's cool to see how much Annika has grown over the years!!!!! ♡♡♡

The second party of the day was to celebrate Annika's incredible mama, Jamie!
Dash and I got a babysitter for the kids from 6:30 pm- 11pm and made a real date night out of it. :D
Hit up a Mexican restaurant we haven't been to since I was pregnant with William (yowza) where I had not one but two margaritas. Oops~!

Then at Woodstock's Pizza, the adults-only party was a blast! Dash and I got to talk with a wonderful couple named Andrew and Brooks, and I must say it was the best time I'd had in adult company in a looooong time.

Two margaritas, a Mike's Hard Cider, and some special butter later...and I'd be surprised if I didn't totally embarrass myself

Then today Ella had another birthday party to go to after church!
I completely missed out on it because I was both a little sleep-deprived and paralyzingly sore all over. Literally feel like I tore every muscle in my upper body. Yowch! >.<

Oh! Speaking of Ella, this is super off-topic, but I want to share a recent little art piece she made.

Her name is "Jeannie" I believe ;)
And don't you love the attention to detail? I mean, look at those eyes, for example! They have little hearts in them! Adorable~

And she actually colored it too! Quite a rarity~

And while I am uploading photos, here is one from last week when the family was back in our neck of the woods.
Gooooo familia española!!!

You can thank our cameraman, William. ;)

Aren't they a beautiful family, the three Eidler-Perez's~? I love love LOVE them!!!!

Aaaand that's a wrap.
So three birthday parties in two days. That's a lot for us, but man it was a good time all around :)

Hope you had a good weekend too and you are looking forward to a new week.
Until next time, take care and Happy Birthday Weekend!!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Eco-Film Festival!

Hey hey!

Whoops! Haven't blogged since Tuesday.
Let's see, what did I do this week?

Worked on a book script.
Japanese tutoring.
Crafted Valentines for William's class 
Entertained visiting family again on Wednesday/Thursday.
And here we are today!

I have so many lovely photos of my time spent with Chita and company earlier this week, but I can't access them at this moment, and, besides, I want to dedicate today's blog post to a film I watched this very evening.

It was called "Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story" and it was presented by the 12th Annual Eco-Film Festival here in Corvallis.

I must say it was an excellent documentary!!
Even though we weren't able to watch to the very end of it, due to technical difficulties, I walked away from the film and subsequent panel feeling hugely inspired!!

In what way, you ask?
Why, to take up dumpster diving again!

You may recall my escapades in the dumpster diving world a couple of years back, as covered in these posts, but I really didn't partake in it after a while...and I can't exactly remember why I stopped.

But I swear the moment I walked out of the theater, I said to myself "I'm downtown already, so let's see what kinds of things I can score from the dumpster around here."
Boom! Within two minutes, I'd unearthed perfectly good eggs from a bin behind the bakery.
And when I got home, I donned my traditional DDing gear (black hoodie, reliable sneakers, durable jeans) and hit up the bin of a nearby grocery store that's never let me down.
It was fun hanging over the edge of the dumpster again, with my hips acting as the fulcrum. Ha!

I brought home some salsa, and four packages of tortilla/pita bread in varying degrees of organic/GF/natural/etc labeling. :D Also, I assume they all got tossed simply because they were near the "best by" date. I just know the quality is still good and that these foods are going to play a role in coming meals since we are such a tortilla-rice-and-beans kinda family!

My dream is to locate grocery store dumpsters that have the kinds of abundance of items shown in the documentary (mind you, oftentimes food items are thrown out for mysterious reasons since they're not near expiration, nor expired, nor even damaged!) and give all the excess that we can't consume ourselves to folks/friends who are in need!

Maybe even setting up a kind of fridge on the streets that we can fill with all the gratuitous thrown out items, like this man in Spain did that I read about over the summer.

I must say, I'm so proud to live in a city like Corvallis that has an eco-film festival, because the upcoming movies look equally as compelling and enlightening.
I hope you can find a screening of the film too, and see if it inspires you to rethink the value of food and all the energy that goes into it so that we can all try a little harder to avoid food waste.

Also, I'll try to take photos of particularly impressive DD scores, or maybe just to show the variety.

So until then, take care and Happy Eco-Film Festival!!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Spaniards Visit!

Howdy ho~!

Man, I missed quite a lineup of days there.
But that's just because there has been so much going on!

This won't be the most photo-filled post I've done, but I want to record it here to reflect on later down the line and remember the good times :)

Last I'd written on Saturday, we were prepping the house for visiting family.
Well, that family was my Tia Chita, and primas Lea and Andrea!!! ♥︎♥︎♥︎

On the pretty campus of OSU
(L>R: Ella, me, Andrea, Lea, Chita, Dash, William)

You may recall that we stayed with my lovely aunt and cousin all summer in Barcelona, so when I heard that they'd be visiting us I was on Cloud 9!! Been looking forward to this visit for a long, long time to say the least ;)

Lea, my prima who is my age, has been living in the states for close to a year now, finding work as an architect in hip San Francisco. But as for Andrea and Chita, they'd never been to the west coast so, boy, were we excited to show them the wonders of the PNW :D

Plus, they are huuuuge fans of certain pieces of literature and cinema set in the PNW, so they made sure to take extra big advantage of their trip by traveling up to Seattle the day after they'd arrived.

So it was a whirlwind visit of walking to OSU campus, then downtown, by the river, back home, boozing and snacking at home (yum) and then hitting up El Sol de Mexico (double yum).

They'd been awake since 4:30am and were pretty zonked so it was an early night for all of us (7:30?? HA!) but it's cool because guess what...they're coming back down from Seattle tomorrow (Wed) for more visiting!!

I think it was all the drinking/dosing that landed me on the sofa for pretty much all of Monday, which was fine by me because I had some more knitting to do, storymaking to focus on, and I also did a ton of reading with the kids. We blasted through "The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords" and two Rainbow Fairy books. Plus, I'd been listening to David Sedaris' "Me Talk Pretty One Day" the whole time I'd been knitting.
So yeah...reading!!! (visually or otherwise ;) )

Yaaaay wool yarn scraps! :D

Today I was feeling much better (I'm sure the sunny weather helped), taking a nice long walk to OSU, biking to pick up the kiddos, having some good creative time in the library during Ella's pottery class, and then wrapping up the day with a TRB meal at home. Thanks, Dash~!!!

Aaaaand there you have it.
I think this week is going to be pretty varied with creative processes going on, relaxed evenings, and making some headway in community-building efforts.

I'll touch base again soon, so in the meanwhile, take care and Happy Spaniards Visit!!