Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Aba Visit Days 5 + 6

Hi again!!!

So Sunday was a pretty significant day for Aba because she actually joined us for church!
That's right, a non-Catholic Presbyterian service!!
I had gently (but persistently) prodded her about joining us because there are just so many wonderful folks at First Presbyterian that I wanted her to meet.
She actually caved!!
Evidence that she is, in fact, mellowing out in her later years (for the better??) since I recall her being unreasonably fixated on Catholic-mass-or-bust in our youth~~~

It was a lovely service, Fellowship Hour was full of meet-n-greets, and the walk home was as lovely as the walk there. ;)

After church, we then hit up the Letter Writing Social!!
I love how my mom can easily blend into a given social situation and entertain folks with her doctor and/or Spanish anecdotes and such.
I got to write a letter to Father Paul Drobin, who is the priest who married Dash and me; baptized my two kiddos; and was generally a staple for most of my life. Mom told me he's not doing so well health-wise so I took a moment to write him a note thanking him for the profound effect he's had on my life and wishing him well~

Sunday evening was a very fancy dinner (for the Dashiell household) as my mom bought all the ingredients to and whipped up pan-con-tomate as well as salmon!!
The salmon was prepared with pears and almonds on top. And we enjoyed it with more of that leftover arroz con pollo. YUM!

She even topped the evening off with sundaes and we together all enjoyed the final episode of GBBO Season 3. Woot woot!!

Her last day, Monday, consisted of dropping Ella off at the first day of her summer camps "Circus Camp" through the Corvallis Arts Center.

We did a lot of walking during this entire visit :)

Almost every single week this summer, Ella will be in some art-based day camp from 9am - 5pm!!
I think she will like it and blossom mucho socially and artistically as well~

Ella in her natural habitat~

I had a quick job at LBCC in the early afternoon, during which Aba hung out with William solo style. Love it!!

William looks a lot like me here @_@

We then picked up Ella, drove straight to the airport, enjoyed a lovely Hawaiian themed meal at "Beaches" at the airport, and drove back home with both kiddos asleep (and me too pretty much).

William was in a "mood". I think it was from all the blueberries he's been gorging on~

Today, Tuesday, I am actually leaving for an entire month to be with my twin sister, Kathy-neechan, in Richmond, VA.

I'm super stoked, partly afraid that I'll miss my family terribly, and definitely looking forward to the insane lack of responsibility that I am not quite used to. :D

Bye, kiddos!!!! ;D

 I don't know how much I'll be updating my blog during this time away, since it isn't really about my "life here in Oregon". But we'll see~

In the meanwhile, take care, thanks for stopping by, and Happy Aba Visit Days 5 + 6!!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Aba Visit Day 4

Hi again!

Man, another weird night of sleep last night. Got up at 5am (could be worse!) and read a bunch of Bakuman. only to follow asleep again while everyone was breakfasting. Huh. @_@

Let's see...yesterday (Saturday) was our fourth day with Aba. How did it go...?

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but my mom is a really hard worker so even though she's come to visit us "on vacation" she naturally has brought a ton of work with her. So truth-be-told, the first half of Saturday was her taking care of some work, which I was actually able to help with too!

Besides her full-time job as an endocrinologist running her own practice, she always has some project or other on the side. When my bro was in Tanzania for the Peace Corps. she rallied a huge local effort to gather and send books to start a library at his village's school...a year or so ago she was creating a tile mosaic for her church (@_@)...this year she's working on patenting a new drug!! I cannot share much about it right now, but the process for getting FDA approval is really something, and so I am helping her as much as I can. Hopefully I'll get to share news about it in the near future if/when it is approved :D

So yeah, the afternoon then consisted of going to a classmate of Ella's birthday party! Jacob turned 8 years old (wow!) and the celebration was set in the lovely Chepenafa Springs Park, the weather was perfect, and I was very happy to get to introduce some of Ella's rising 2nd grade class to her :)

Back at home, Aba held onto the kids while Dash and I took a leisurely stroll down to the library. It's starting to sink in that I will not be seeing him for a whole month so I want to clock in as many hours of quality time with him as possible!!

Dinner was leftovers reinvented, yum!

And it was cool how dinner dissolved into a bit of a math lesson for Ella Rose. Taking advantage of the chalkboard door, we taught "more advanced" addition to Ella which she just gobbled right up~!

Also covered problems such as 18+27, where you have to carry the one and all that ;)

And then GBBO.

So...yeah. Not the most cram-packed day but a good one nonetheless.

I'll cover what we've been up to so far for this sunny Sunday day later this evening~

Til then, thanks for dropping by, hope you're having a great weekend and Happy Aba Visit Day 4!!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Aba Visit Day 3


I woke up this morning at 4am over guilt of having not finish my book due yesterday (gulp!) but at least those few uninterrupted hours before everyone else woke up did provide me the time to complete that and the script Dash usually needs for Sunday. So Phew!!

Now to share how yesterday, Thursday, with Aba went :)

After a pancake & bacon breakfast (yum) we all pedaled out CWS and Blueberry Meadows!

By "we all" I mean Aba, the kids, and I -- Dash got to have a relaxing/productive time at home to do what he wanted/needed ;)

Awesome bicycle train at work~

It was great bicycling/picking weather because it was overcast with a slight breeze and no direct sunlight~

At CWS, I got to pick up Dash's snazzy CWS sweatshirt!

The only logo-toting clothing allowed at the school, heh ;)

We also picked up Ella's report card for the year!! :D
Really, it was almost more of an evaluation of her as a whole person, not just marks for each realm of her curriculum, and it was very reassuring to say the least~ ♡ So proud of her!!!!

We took that opportunity to show Aba around the school a bit even though the classrooms were pretty much gutted at this point.

The pictorial representation of what the First Graders' school year was like :)

At Blueberry Meadows, quantity was not the emphasis of the day, so we only picked about 6 lbs. William is on a really strong affection kick, and told me no less than 20 times (sporadically and without prompting) things like "mama, I love you" and "you're the best mama ever, thanks for letting us come here" *_* So...endearing...!!!!

Snazzy harness for holding the bucket helped too!

Back at home, Aba and I got to take another long walk to the bank and back, and then it was Dash Night!!

Again, the weather was still so mellow that we strolled on downtown, hit up this funky little Mediterranean Cafe, and then went to watch The Lobster at Darkside Theater.

I was initially really jazzed about the off-kilter feel of the film...but by the end it definitely left Dash and I more depressed than rejuvenated. BLEGH.

In the meanwhile, Aba had a great time with the kids!
She whipped up an amazing arroz con pollo dish, which the kids gobbled right up...

...with a side of salad too (!!)...

 and some lovely sibling affection was caught on camera too.

I love when Ella read to William!!

At home again, we had some leftover pie and coffee, and then off to bed~

And that was Friday.

Today we've got a birthday party to catch for Ella's good friend/classmate Jacob and no other real big plans besides that~

Hope you're all enjoying your weekend so far.
Until next time, take care and Happy Aba Visit Day 3!!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Aba Visit Day 2

Yo yo~

Sorry for not posting this last night -- my phone can be buggy sometimes and refuse to send photos. And what's a blog post without at least one photo??

Anyway, yesterday Aba was a star.
It was a rainy day, so she took the kids to the indoor pool for the afternoon while Dash and I got some work done!
They packed a lunch and even shampoo and such so that they'd have all their needs covered while there. In the time they were away, I indeed completed my script from start to finish. PHEW! Granted, I have to polish it before sending it off today, but all that time a huge help :)

I'd forgotten to list it in yesterday's post but swimming was definitely something Aba came here looking very much forward to doing.

And to thank her for her kind gesture, as well as get some good ol' solo time with mi mama, I treated her to a pedicure just down the road!

I hadn't realized the wonders of pedicures until speaking with my friend A.W.
I marveled at how she could have such lovely, baby-smooth heels and she said that it was all thanks to a pedicure with Modern Nails.

Not only do they paint your nails (all that I'd assumed a pedicure entailed) but they also massage your calves, moisturize your entire foot, buff off all the hardened callouses, and trim/beautify your nail beds and such. An almost hour-long experience for only $25 -- such a good deal and so good for self-care/love/hygiene. :)

Now I have these lovely smooth heels and funky purple toe nails and I'm feeling good!
I'm considering making it a seasonal thing from now on~

Mom was then sweet enough then offer to buy dessert and wine (Dash was home making TRB at this point) so we got to have even more alone time walking to the store and such.

During dinner, Aba told us some stories from her trip to Tanzania back when Uncle George was a Peace Corps. volunteer there. Having her here after so long has made me realize how much I love hearing her tell stories -- be it about her youth, or her experiences as a doctor, or tales that other people have told her. She's just a really good storyteller! And I believe Kathy-neechan has inherited that gift~ Or maybe I just really love being read to overall. It'd explain my penchant for audiobooks, eh? ;)

Anyway, after dinner, we wrapped up the evening with two rounds of of "May I?"

Played with three different card sets: Zelda, 3D cats, and standard poker. HA!

Ella won both rounds!! With honestly only minimal help from Aba. I love the idea of having the kids grow up with cards as an after-dinner entertainment the way we did. It fosters a wee bit of competitiveness but also smart strategizing and makes for a bunch of memories!!

Here's a quick shot of what their card playing looked like yesterday:

'Twas a simple game of "War"

Today the weather should be nicer than yesterday, so we plan to go blueberry picking, run a quick errand or two at CWS, and definitely end the day with Date Night for mom and dad :D Aba is thrilled at the chance to watch the kids for us for as long as we like so we can enjoy a little get-away~

I'll tell you how it goes~!
Til then, take care and Happy Aba Visit Day 2!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Aba Visit Day 1

Hello hello!

Sorry for the couple-day absence there.
We were busy busy in the Dashiell household getting ready to receive a very special visitor: Aba!!

You'd never guessed she'd been running on 4 hours' sleep!

My mom hasn't seen the kids since last summer's primada and hasn't been to our house since...I wanna say Christmas of 2014. @_@ Wow, that's a long time!

My mom is such a trooper. Woke up at 2am to catch her flight, then put up with the long drive to our place, played with the kids nonstop (including some frisbee/boomerang action on the CHS grounds and cards!), and even stayed up for the semi-finals episode of GBBO. :D Needless to say, it's been a long day for her~!

She's only here for five short days (;_;) so here is a hit-list of all that we'd like to do while she's with us:

- blueberry picking!
- Letter Writing Social!
- joining us for a friend's birthday party!
- pedicures!
- the beach!

And of course the myriad of other activities and events that are bound to spring up along the way ;)

I love my mama with all my heart. She is my role model and inspiration and a doting abuela too.
We are all so happy to have her and to record our precious time together.

Until tomorrow, take care, give your mom and extra big squeeze and Happy Aba Visit Day 1!!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Crafty Father's Day

Hey there~

Firstly, Happy Father's to all the dads out there!
Here in the Dashiell household, Sundays are always a busy deadline day for Dash, so we will be celebrating this wonderful man in the evening with a dinner at El Sol de Mexico. YUM!

While he's been working, me and the kids have been up to some crafting projects that are long overdue.

First on the list was Juggling Balls!!

You may recall that back in Spain we made some but somewhere along the line (I think we were still in Spain actually!) they all went missing ;_;

So this morning (even before church!) Ella and I set about crafting not one but two new sets!

Supposed to be Pokeball themed, but some look more like...

They were made using some globos that Andrea bought for us just before we left at the end of the summer. Crazy to think that these little bags of globos had just been waiting around untouched for that long! And it only took us about 15 minutes to make all six of them.

I filled them with some rice I came upon during the Student Exodus which I knew not many folks would be hip on wanting since it was in an open container. Glad I was able to put it to use here though :)

I look forward to much more juggling now that I have a couple of nice sets to work with~

The other thing I crafted up today were some Fenders for Ella's tagalong.

In rainy weather, when we have the trailer hitched up and William riding in it, he will get mud splatters all over his face because the tagalong wheel kicks up all this water and mud and poor William's face is right in line of it. ;_;

So! I asked the Corvallis Bicycle Collective if they had any splash guard fenders that would fit a 12" wheel, but apparently they are hard to come by.
Instead, the man there (Ron) recommended looking up some DIY tutorials online about making them out of coroplast.

That's right! The material they make political campaign lawn signs out of it :D

I was so happy to know that I had an extra one from my Clothing Swap advertisement stash, so I found a tutorial online and came up with this:

Just wait until we paint it! It'll be both functional and fashionable~!

I'm happy that this little project cost me exactly $0 because the sign was free courtesy of the Corvallis Public Library and all the twisty ties came from those that naturally enter my house through bread bags and such.

I almost wish we had rainy weather just so I could test this baby out, but I have a feeling it'll do its job and if not, then at least I have a solid sense for what kinds of adjustments would have to be made.

The last craft project of the day (so far!!) was a Bicycle Pannier for my friend Karen!

I got the empty cat litter container off the CFGE, had the leftover metal plank from the first set I'd made a couple years back, and the rest of the hardware I'd literally just picked up off the street on my many bike rides over the past year :D

Small package, big potential!

Ought to get the job done!

I hope she likes it!

I think I'll spend the rest of the afternoon sewing and knitting some things that are in my to-be-mended pile.

And then...El Sol de Mexico!! ♥︎

Til then, thanks for stopping by, take care and Happy Craft Father's Day!!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

8th Grade Graduation Ceremony

Yo yo~

So I never got to share a ceremony I went to even before our S.F. trip.
In fact it was one week ago today!

And that was the CWS 8th Grade Graduation Ceremony.
(I was still in the midst of the Student Exodus move-out effort, hence the delay in posting about it)

The program involved touching speeches, impressive displays of musical prowess, and lovely artwork by the very talented Kayley :)

I don't recall my own "graduation" from middle school into high school being all that memorable or celebrated, but I suppose that since CWS only goes as high as 8th grade and entering 9th grade also means leaving the Waldorf education system, it really is a bigger deal.

Look at this cake! It was mammoth and the slices they divvied out to folks were super generous~!

I attended the CWS 8th Grade Graduation Ceremony for three very special 8th graders in my life:

1) Jack-san!

His 8th Grade Mentor Program display and other works throughout the year.
So beautiful!

I've been tutoring Jack-san in Japanese for two years now (wow!!) and was his 8th Grade Mentor too! The Waldorf mentorship program entails a student choosing some professional to shadow and learn from over the course of the year in whatever field interests them. I was so honored that Jack-san wished to learn about the inner workings of Japanese translation through my own career. :) He really is a bright kid and I hope we can continue his studies for as long as possible!

2) Maggie-san!

Her table and wall art to showcase a taste of all that she's accomplished this year :)

I've also been tutoring Maggie-san this year, and she is such a treat! She's enthusiastic about languages and the interesting nuances of both English and Japanese. And she also enjoys anime!! Her mentorship focus was on illustration and I was happy to hook her up with the very talented Zach Starker to be her mentor in that field.

3) Kayley!

Her mentor taught her all about falconry and I believe she's well on her way to being a real professional in the field!

Kayley, as you may recall, was Ella's 8th Grade buddy this year, and just an all around cool gal. She strikes me as being extremely mature for her age, and having experienced a lot in her young age. I know that this was her first year in a Waldorf school, that she's passionate about birds, that she's a talented artist, and that she's even a budding musician...but I look forward to hopefully learning more about her. I've just always felt this instant connection with her -- like her honesty and style always clicked with me.

Aaanyway, I'm happy that all three of them will be going to CHS for their high school career so that I can see them even more regularly (hopefully! :D )

Oh, and I just talk a little about the Ceremony itself, don't you think?

First off, the faculty sang a rendition of "Stand By Me" that had me nearly bawling because it was so touching.

Really, the whole atmosphere was that of bittersweet good-byes, pride in these young adults, and you could tell that the bond that the students and teachers form is strong.

The graduating students got to perform musically (with instruments and voices) and both solo and as a group. And they also shared memorable moments of their time with their classmates.

 It was was again very reaffirming as to what kinds of people the Waldorf education system helps to mold: confident, talented, respectable and capable young adults.

I really hope I get to mentor someone again in next year's 8th grade class because it's a great feeling to know that you are maybe shaping this kid's perspective on some given field of expertise. And it's nice to form that friendship you get from spending so much time with them, working on learning a skill like that. :)

Congratulations, Graduates!
And good luck in high school!!

Teeny tiny class of six kiddos ;)

Well, until next time: thanks for stopping by, take care, and Happy 8th Grade Graduation Ceremony!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Back from S.F.!

Hi hi~!

So I haven't been blogging for the past couple of days because Dash and I took an exhausting trip down to San Francisco!

As you may recall one of my New Year's Resolutions is getting the kids their Spanish citizenship.
Well, upon receiving the final missing piece of documentation needed for that the other week, we were able to have a successful appointment with the Spanish Consulate! :D

The long ten-hour long drive down was actually quite a treat since I got to talk to my older sis for her 35th birthday, and with Kathy-neechan constructing more of our story.

Things went without a hitch at the appointment, and now all we have to do is wait the long 6+ months for the Consulates in New York and L.A. to verify all the documents relevant so that we can get a Libro de Familia, and then start the process of getting them their Spanish passports. PHEW!

We were able to make the most of our three-day trip (two of which were all driving) by seeing friends and family!

Martin let us crash at his place while he was at E3, and it was good catching up with him Tuesday night before he left. He and Kathy-neechan really seem to be thriving despite (thanks to?) their long-distance arrangement -- he's taken up shooting pool, hiking, and watching whatever movies he wants without having to make sure Kathy would be interested in it first ;D

We also got to see some dear friends/coworkers at VIZ!

The happenin' Hope Donovan~
We ate a tasty little lunch as we braved the blustery winds of Market Street. Woo-ee!!

Awesome Alexis Kirsch!!!!
I had to take this particular shot since one of my Japanese tutee, Ayden, likes Bakuman. and introduced it to me. :) Alexis even gave me Bakuman. volume 5 because that's the one volume our library doesn't have, and which is keeping me from getting to enjoy the entire series!! SO generous, not just for me but for all of the Corvallis community~!! ♥︎

We also saw Fawn Lau and Marlene First and Mike Montesa and everyone seems happy and well. So that was good~

Lovely Lea Eidler~!!

We also got to see my prima Lea!! After meeting her at her work place, we hit up Zeitgeist, a pretty hip lesbian bar, where we got to catch up. Last time I saw her was in February and she seems to be getting along smashingly in S.F. -- living the hip single girl's life!!

You may be wondering "where were the kids during this whole affair?"
Well, believe it or not, they didn't even have to be present for this appointment with the Consulate, so they spent three days and two nights with the Sansomes!!

They're settle right in like one of the family :D

We'd been a bit curious/worried about William, in particular, since this was his first time ever staying somewhere without Mama and Daddy, and he wakes up every single night to crawl silently into our bed some time around midnight.
But would you believe that he never once did that with them??
Dear God, please that pattern persists here at home!!!!!

And another huge thank you to the Sansomes for so generously taking them in and caring for them so long -- especially just before their own big trip to 日本!!

And with that, we are back at home and stoked because tomorrow is the official last day of school for CWS~! More on that later ;)

Until then, thanks for stopping by, take care and Happy Back from S.F.!!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Lessons Learned

Hi again!

I woke up at 5am today, because of a mixture of having had a wee bit too much margarita to drink last night, and also just plain old nerves.

Yesterday, as I'd shown, was a huge haul and now that most everything's sorted, I'm undergoing the long process of posting items up on the CFGE and trying my darndest to really spread the wealth and coordinating all the different pick-up times that work with people's schedules. Lots of work, but also so rewarding knowing that these items will be much appreciated in new homes and rescued from the landfill.

I thought I'd be getting more calls to come and get things from Greek houses again, but apparently not yet... So today was all sorting/posting/coordinating. Phew!

But besides all that, today's post is going to be dedicated to all the lessons I've learned in my first attempt at this Greek House-oriented move-out effort. In no particular order, here they are:

1) Hold the Summer Swap after Commencement weekend

Next year, I really ought to time the Summer Swap to be the Saturday following Commencement, because holy cow it'd be a lot easier to just bag/sort/bring all the items there for Swap attendees to peruse and take at their leisure. Rather than having to photograph and post, say, every pair of shoes and such.
So yeah, mos def gonna do that next year!

2) It's really only a couple of days of having to collect items

I'd had this idea that starting on Monday, I'd be getting called to the Houses to start taking items away because residents would be moving out. But it wasn't until Wednesday, finally, that Chi Omega had me come in to take away a few bags. Really, the majority of students move out Thursday and Friday, especially since some Houses officially close up Friday evening. But some Houses are also left with poorly cleared out rooms which they have to tackle later, even up through the following week, as one House warned us. But in general, it's not the 6-day-long endeavor I'd thought it would be.

3) Greek Houses are a world all their own

When I initially reached out to all the Greek Chapters of OSU, I didn't realize that there were such things as un-Housed frats/sororities, so although I sent out 43 emails, of them, probably a dozen were actual Houses that this effort really works for.

Also, there is a chain of command as to who should be contacted to coordinate of an effort such as this. I simply emailed all the Presidents because that's what I saw on the website, but there are also House Moms/Dads, and facilities managers/directors. Presidents might deal with more social stuff, while the facilities managers deal with how the House is physically run (repairs, clean-ups, etc). So this is right up their alley.

Also, not all fraternities close for the summer so they don't have the same big move-out the way the sororities did.
In fact, I was told by the guys at Sigma Phi Epsilon that it'd be best for me to try getting in touch again in the fall instead, because that's when they do their major clean-up effort. Go figure!

Different houses disseminate information in different ways. For example, Pi Kappa Phi didn't really hand out the move-out kits. The House Dad just took a photo of one of the move-out kits and posted it to their Facebook page. It would be awesome to not have to spend so much money/time on the material side of the move-out kit, if telling them digitally is the way to go.

4) Doorhanger element not as crucial in the move-out kit

I'd had this idea that the move-out kits would go on every resident's doorknob in a given House, so that if the person is away, they could come home to find the move-out kit greeting them right at the door. But Kappa Alpha Theta's facility director told me that she had the board president pass it around at one of the House meetings that all the residents attend. And they had the best turnout of donated items of all the Houses I visited! In fact, I ended up gathering up a lot of leftover/unused move-out kits yesterday, so evidently it hadn't seemed appealing to my contacts there to distribute them doorknob style.

With all the leftovers I have, I think I'll have enough to supply the need for next year's Student Exodus, and what I'm going to do is just chop off the top part that has the hole and the slit to fit over a door knob. It'll be easy to do and will make them look so much tidier :)

And if I have to make new move-out kits, I will not go through the incredibly redundant task of having to punch the 1 1/2" hole and snip the slit. I did that to 1000 of these babies. @_@ So much work! HA!

5) Better signage for the House's designated spot needed

As my previous lesson demonstrated, I really took an individual-by-individual approach with this move-out effort, and there was no other signage anywhere in the House to inform/remind residents who might have, say, misplaced their move-out kit or something. Next year, I think I'll give my contact at the House a nice big sign that just says like "CORVALLIS FAMILIES GIFT ECONOMY DONATION PILE SITE" (or something obviously better than that :D )

Anyway, just something so that even if a resident doesn't have his/her move-out kit information doorhanger piece, they'll at least recognize the donation pile area (be it in the lobby or kitchen, they tended to be a spot with high traffic, thankfully), and be constantly reminded that it's an option for them when dealing with moving out.

Chi Omega and Kappa Alpha Theta's house managers made their own signs for their donation pile areas and, again, they really did have the best piles of generously donated items :)

6) Need to start at the top

Next time I do this, I want to coordinate with the lady in charge of all Greek Life, Leslie Schacht Drey. If I can meet her in the fall, maybe she'll let me make this cause known right off the bat to set the year right for all the new Greek residents that move in. I believe "move in day" is something of an event -- maybe I could get a booth or something?? :D I honestly am very clueless about how this whole Greek community works...

Aaaaaaanyway, so yeah. Lots learned, and lots more to learn I'm sure~!

On a lighter note, I just wanted to share here, for archiving's sake, a couple photos from the GT story that I particularly liked ad were a little more on the hidden side since they weren't the main page one, nor even the second or third :D

I don't quite recall to whom were listening in this shot...
All photos taken by Anibal Ortiz, by the way~!

That clipboard has been my life for the past week :D

I just love all the red going on -- Dash, me, and the bricks in the background in the first shot, in particular. I hadn't realized we were wearing matching colors, Dash and I!

Well, having woken up so darn early, I'm pretty bushed.
Going to turn in early for the night.

Thanks for stopping by, hope you're doing well, and until next time: Happy Lessons Learned!!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Greek Chapters Run :)

Yo yooooooo~!

So today was a big day!
A day I've been looking forward to (dreading) for the past 6 months at least.
The day I go out and hit up all the Greek Houses on my list to see about saving items that might otherwise end up in the dumpster. So instead I can salvage them to be utilized with great appreciation by local families. :)

Accompanied by my wonderful husband and close friend, Angie Weeks, we were a trio to be reckoned with ;)

We hit up eight Greek houses total, mostly on 26th street, and accumulated all these goods to be rescued from the landfill and redistributed to local families:

All women's clothes -- and we're not even done sorting yet!
Shoes, shoes, and more shoes!
Bedding stuff and hats/scarves/gloves box

Quite a bit laundry detergent!! Considered "gold" by any household with young children :D

Thank you, Sigma Kappa, Delta Delta Delta, and Alpha Gamma Delta!!

The main venue for redistributing will be through the Corvallis Families Gift Economy, and anything not posted/claimed will go to the wonderful Vina Moses. While school supplies (pencils, binders, etc) will go to the Jackson Street Youth Shelter.

Kappa Alpha Theta was an incredible resource -- the facility director, Jen, was so on-point in getting all the move-out kits to the residents and designating a spot in their dining hall for items to be dropped off as donation items.

Yesterday, I was able to pick items from some sororities and it resulted in a bunch of postings to the CFGE page with items to be donated (mostly women's clothes!). This weekend will probably be the same :D

So happy that the Gazette Times wasted no time in getting the story out there so as to get the word out about alternatives to throwing items in the trash.

The challenge now lies in distributing items to families in need and helping some of the houses really clear out the leftovers the residents couldn't take with them.

We live in a society of abundance, and that has been made all too clear in this tiny little move-out effort alone. Let us all remember that, next time we feel we need/want something, we look to alternative sources that spare the earth even further consumption of materials and energy.

Thank you for checking in and until next time, take care and Happy Greek Chapters Run!!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Rose Ceremony

Hi hi!

So today was a sweet ceremony at CWS.
The Rose Ceremony is an opportunity for the first graders to give thanks to their 8th Grade Buddies who will be graduating from CWS, by presenting a rose to them in the same way that the 8th graders had presented roses to them in the fall.

The 8th grade class with corresponding 1st grade buddies in front of them

Ella's 8th Grade Buddy was Kayley, a super confident and smart and talented young lady with whom I feel Ella had an instant connection. Kayley's really into birds and is an excellent artist. Her 8th Grade Mentoring Project consisted of learning all about falconing and it seems she really got into the culture of it and became quite an expert herself! I have a feeling this girl is going to go places!! :)

Ella and her classmate William shared Kayley as their 8th Grade Buddy

I didn't see it, but Ella apparently cried a bit during the ceremony.
The class recited a blessing/poem for them, and the whole time Ella was looking right at Kayley.
I really hope we can stay in touch even after she moves on to high school!

As I'd mentioned before, I'd been working on making these origami stars for a gift to the 8th graders I am most acquainted with, so this morning Ella and I strung them into crowns and gave them to them at morning drop-off.

My hope is that they'll want to wear them at graduation and look like the shining stars that they are! :)

Well, until then, thanks for stopping by, take care, and Happy Rose Ceremony!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Roller Coaster Day

Hello again~!

So today started off super low, but ended pretty high, so I'm here to share with you the ups and downs of this hump day ;)

I started off the morning with volunteering with the OSU Recycling Center's on-campus move-out efforts from 8am to 10am.

It's equal parts admiration for how tight a system they have in place to deal with all the potential waste...and disheartenment at how much consumption and subsequent mindless disposal of material goods takes place. And that's just from what I saw on a Wednesday morning at one campus. When I start thinking about all the other days in the year and locations all over the planet where landfills are being injected with perfectly good items that others are hurting for...well, needless to say it can leave me feeling a little despondent. ;_;

So although I was volunteering (which is supposed to be a good thing) and having a hand in the move-out efforts put on by the campus (a personal passion of mine), it did put me in a bit of a sad mood.

Then I had to come home and work on this grueling manga which had been taking up a lot of my time when what I really wanted to be doing was getting items from the Greek Chapters I'd been in touch with. I was starting to wonder "is anything going to come of all the energy I've poured into the donation drive move-out with them?" A few of the houses have been impossible to get a hold of, and the others keep insisting nothing's really been gathered yet, and to wait for Friday/Saturday.

On one hand, I dread that it'll be a piddly little turn-out, and I'll have hardly made any difference.
And then on the other hand, I dread that it'll be too big for me to handle and end up with me embarrassing myself and nobody wanting to work with me again. ;_;

So yeah, I was a bit of a mess.

But here's where the upturn came in:
In the middle of the afternoon, I got the okay from the Chi Omega sorority to come and pick up some items that had been accruing in their little donation pile.
I drove the car up and this is what I was able to pick up!

A couple of boxes and six bags full of clothes :)

My contact lady there, the facilities manager "Miss C." was such a sweetheart, saying how great an idea she thinks this is and how everybody she tells always agrees, and it just made my heart swell to hear that :)

The moment I got home, I sorted the item and started posting them on the Corvallis Families Gift Economy page. It feels so great to know that these are items that are willingly being parted with by people who honestly didn't want them anymore, and they are finding homes with people who are enthusiastic about receiving them.

Later, after working with the Wednesday night drawing circle (for the last time until the fall!) I started to go about with my "guerilla-style PSA posting" mission. Mind you, it was 9pm when I got started, so I only got 200 posted around before I felt terribly tired, hungry, and cold. >_<

Oh, well. I will go out again tomorrow night, me thinks~!

OH! And the icing on the cake, was getting word back from CWS that they'd accepted our tuition adjustment plea so that both kids can go to school there again next year :D Yaaaaaay!!!!!

So yeah, what a day of despair and hope, frustration and progress.

Thanks for stopping by, and until next time, take care and Happy Roller Coaster Day!!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Student Exodus Progress

Howdy howdy!

So today was another super scorcher, and as I sit here typing, my nape is throbbing with a sun burn ;_;
D'oh! I try to be so good about putting on sun screen, and did my face and arms but didn't realize how exposed my nape was during all my bike riding today... Oh, well. I've applied aloe vera so I'll hope for the best!

Anyway, today's highlights included the passive but larger outreach effort I'm making for my Student Exodus endeavor: business card sized shout-outs!

The front of the card
The back

These will be taped to (by?) the doors of student-filled apartments in the next couple of days.
The idea being that students will take the minute or two it takes to make a curb alert post on CL and leave their items on the curb, rather than chuck perfectly good things in the dumpster.

The QR code brings you directly to a Corvallis Craigslist new post form.

I got 1000 made, and when I think about just the apartments on 11th street, it makes me wonder how far I'll be able to stretch these things :D

Besides that, I am now going to start listening to "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" on audiobook while I make more origami stars. This batch of origami stars will be for my goodbye present to the CWS 8th grade graduating class ^^

Will post photos of that when they are all done!

Until then, take care and Happy Student Exodus Progress!!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Summer 2016 Clothing Swap

Howdy hoooo~!

So today was the 2016 Summer iteration of the Corvallis Family Clothing Swap.
I swear, with every Swap I can feel the machine of it running smoother and smoother.
I have a dedicated team of volunteers who go above and beyond to make sure the Swap is going as well as it can both during and after all the attendees are there.

I love these ladies!!!!!!!

I felt that today's crowd was maybe a little smaller than usual, with both new attendees and veteran ones alike :D
Must've been the sweltering hot weather (99 degrees here in Corvallis!) that made people decide to lie low and be more subdued...

A lot was brought in but a lot was taken out too so that by the end we didn't feel overwhelmed by the mega piles of leftovers or anything :)

Mandy S. was such a dear, looking out for my and my sister's clothing needs and finding many a good professional pieces for Kathy-neechan down in VA.

So thankful to our sponsors, as always.
I had this vision that Dash would go around and take video testimonials of happy Clothing Swap goers so that we could send them to our sponsors, but the shyness bug took over. So he opted, instead, to take photos of happy folks on their way out. I think I'll make something of a collage/PPT for our sponsors using that instead. ;)

It was cool to talk to certain attendees who'd been attending since their little ones were in utero and who are now wee little babies sitting in their baby carriers. Talk about an intergenerational experience :D

It was too hot to try on my new finds to showcase in a fashion show style, but trust me I have found a couple treasures~!

Well, til next time take care and Happy Summer 2016 Clothing Swap!!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Certificado Literal de Nacimiento

Hello hello!

My, what a day!
High of 88 degrees and a mixture of fun and productivity and personal endeavors and progress!!

Firstly, I got to spend a couple of hours this morning with the sweet Karen C. who helped me start my journey of tackling my favorite song from R&M: Do You Feel It? by Chaos Chaos.
On the piano!!

It's amazing. I feel like I'm at a first grade (max!) level when it comes to reading music and Karen's there are college graduate level reading and performing a beautiful piece without having even ever heard it before~!!!


Then I got some work done, created some key pieces for tomorrow's Clothing Swap, and then...the icing on the cake:


Yeah, that's right.
It's a new copy of my Spanish birth certificate which was the last piece of documentation I needed to be ready for our cita with the Spanish Consulate in two weeks in San Francisco.

After anxiously waiting two months for this, I am finally all ready for proceeding with getting the kids' Spanish citizenship arranged and even getting our own Libro de Familia -- buya!!!

We also topped the night off with pizza and wine, so I'm gonna sign off early tonight.

Thanks for stopping by, take care and Happy Certificado Literal de Nacimiento!!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Roses & Thorns

Greetings again~!

I thought I'd share with you something we do at the table every evening for dinner:
Roses & Thorns

This is pretty much each family member's opportunity to share their rose (best part) and thorn (worst part) of the day.

It's a nice way to hear about everyone's day and often leads to more in-depth story telling about it or tangent conversations in general.

Tonight Roses & Thorns look something like this:

Dash = hanging out with William
Ella = playdate with Beatrix
Chrissy = raspberry picking with the kids
William = "this dinner" (is default answer)

Dash = getting pricked by the prickly plants out back
Ella = none
Chrissy = not really liking the star to of "Sense & Sensibility" which I'd just begun listening to
William = mama making him eat his dinner

Before R&R we always given thanks too, either with reciting "Blessings on the Blossom" or singing the "Thank you God for ____" song or just exclaiming いただきます! 

What are some family table traditions you have in your household?
I'd love to hear about it!

Until next time, take care and Happy Roses & Thorns!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Waiting with William

Hello again~

I don't know if I told you this already but the kids have two different schedules at school that looks like this:
Although Ella goes to school five days a week, William only goes three (M,T, W) and though they start at the same time (8:15), Ella gets out at 2pm, while William gets out at 12:30pm.

That means that three days a week, assuming I'm the one doing pick-up (I usually am), I have to kill time between 12:30pm and 2:pm.

That's one and a half hours.

I opt to hang around on campus rather than go back home, because 9/10 times I've ridden the bike to school, which means it'd be 30 minutes to home and then 30 minutes back to school again...so I might as well sit tight there.

I talked a little about what I do while waiting for all that time back in my Waldorf in the Spring post.
But I thought I could take this opportunity to disclose a little bit more about how William and I spend the early afternoon together.

We'll start with when the weather is crappy.

Depending on its availability, we'll take advantage of having the school gym all to ourselves.
William will practice dribbling while I play on the piano, or we'll nab some books from the front office and read them quietly.

A few times we got to be spoiled by Miss Wendy and hang out in the Golden Roses room where William played and I got to sip tea with her.

We've also been known to volunteer to sweep the hallways which get quite dirty from all the dirt and muck that gets tramped inside.

But when the weather's nice, oh how good it is to hang out at CWS!

There's the various playgrounds to take part in; seeking shade in the woods; exploring the greenhouse and garden; or even climbing the bamboo out front:

I swear, he's suddenly shot up, this kid.

That last one's technically a new addition but one that I look forward to rocking for the remainder of the year and next fall too.

Oh, man.
Speaking of which next year is going to be even more interesting with the difference of the two kids' pick-up times.

William, being in kindergarten, will still get out at 12:30 but Ella's class won't be released until 3:15 @_@

I'm not quite sure what the game plan will be then in terms of pick-ups but one thing's for sure:
I have enjoyed this routine very much this 2015-2016 year, and I cherish all the bonding time it's given William and me.

Well, until next time take care and Happy Waiting With William!!